Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Rereading the Riot Act & On: Top Canadian art book for fall

This was a bit of a thrill. Rereading the Riot Act & On the book I, in collaboration with Jeremy Isao Speier, published with Publication Studio Vancouver on Workers Day was selected by  Blouin Art Info as a top 6 Canadian art book this fall. 

What was great about this mention is it reminded me of our public actions during the project and of that night, the night we, (Leannej, Carol Sawyer, Lori Weidenhammer, My Name is Scot, Jeremy Isao Speier) reread the riot act at our performance art cabaret as the Riot Act was being read. You couldn’t make this up! And yet, strangely or not so strangely, the media was uninterested in the fact our event took place the same night of the Stanley Cup Riot. I did write a blog for the LRB who were interested.

It also reminded me of the months I spent going through archives and newspapers learning about the labour history events in 1935.

It was also amazing because approximately 5 people will have opened this book.

I want to do more interrogations into local labour history. Working class history seems to be somewhat erased, like many histories.

Thank you Blouin Art Info and to the mysterious writer/reader/critic who opened and read our paste-up book and the others on the list including Coach House one about Will Munro, “Frank Shebageget” from Univ of Winnipeg, “In Different Situations Different Behavior Will Produce Different Results: A Chapbook”  from Paper Pusher & two more.

(Just when you think no-one is reading … the miracle of a single reader)


Rereading the Riot Act @ London Review of Books

Unit/Pitt and Rereading the Riot Act II makes the London Review of Books. Move over Elvis impersonators & gardening hour, our event got no local coverage at all. Grateful to the “incomparably lively and thoughtful” LRB for embracing it.

I’ll be writing more about the Cabaret (consumed with my novel edit) on this blog and am touched by the messages I’ve received from the small population who came out and supported it.  Thanks also to the performance/visual artists Leannej, Carol Sawyer, My Name Is Scot, Jeremy Isao Speier and Lori Weidenhammer for engaging with my project and for their thoughtful, robust responses. And for the writers/artists/performers/activists and the Solidarity Notes Labour Choir who participated in the first Rereading the Riot Act event on April 23, 2011 at Victory Square & Woodwards.

We are instigating a panel discussion in conjunction with SFU Humanities I hope and there will be a publication from the project published this Fall by Publication Studio.



Who are the people who have written on the plywood boards apologizing to?

Everything about the hockey in latter weeks has expressed some urge for “participation”. As I ponder Weds nights events, beyond the mind-blowing matter of doing an event called Rereading the Riot Act during it, that explored another reading of the Riot Act in the city’s history in 1935 (hunger rather than privilege) — I return to this question of whether this hole, that clearly exists, into which people want to pour their participation does not point up the lack of funding by the Province into arts & culture.

Is this what you get when you do not fund the arts? Are people’s identities so bound up in this singularity of entitlement to “an event”, this event, this match, right now, our time, our turn.

In the last two weeks I could feel something brewing. Language changed, people sounded like we were in a war situation (us/them), all day Wednesday I had a terrible sense of foreboding that I could not place. It hit me in the community garden that morning early in the day when an incident took place on the road with a man who leapt out of a car. And since then I keep thinking about identity, the clutching at it and the hunger for participation. (in something).

Rereading the Riot Act II Performance Art Cabaret June 15, 2011 @ Waldorf Hotel

Rereading the Riot Act II Performance Art Cabaret

Rereading the Riot Act (April 23, 1935/2011)

Thanks a million to all the people who came out and participated in yesterday’s event in the DTES. We had a great turn out and a wonderful, rousing event, marking and reinscribing.  I was very touched by the enthusiasm and collective nature of what took place.

Process-orientated work is fascinating because there are all these hidden layers that become apparent once the event is underway. You offer a departure point, something of a framework but where the participants and viewers take it and where it decides it wants to go is brand new and immediate.

I am still pondering what took place but essentially we remarked or reclaimed the Mayor’s route with a fictional protest based on an actual historical protest that also interfaced with another recreation of an actual protest — Stan Douglas piece at Woodwards — and then headed to Victory Square for more responses some of which interfaced with actual events and others which created new versions of it.

I have more to say about it, but one of the most fascinating aspects was also the response and interaction at street level, and the various forms of protest and inquiry towards what was taking place. Within the responses we had a diverse array of voices, times, history, language, song, objects, the yesterday, today (now) and the tomorrow.

The Solidarity Notes Labour choir were amazing, raising the hoops at Woodwards and rocking the skies at Victory Square and participating with heckles and laughter. What a vital bunch of individuals and wonderful singers they are. I hope you have the chance to sing with them or listen to them.

Parataxis: walking the ride

Yesterday I walked Helen’s fine Parataxis map (for our planned May 1st event) and enjoyed the adventure very much. Esp. standing alone in my good black coat, obtained at my sister’s prompting last summer in Dublin, and reading aloud from Taxi! to no one in particular, into the city.

I was able to experience the difference within the past two days of being a flaneur (esse?) vs being an orator. I’ll give you a clue, it is way easier to orate.

I could not be more glad of my current crop of artistic ventures and the experiences and interactions they have given me. All of which would be nothing without the goodwill and generous input of my various collaborators. Thank you to them all!

An intense day of reading and discovery!

Firstly we had our arses frozen off at the Farmer’s Market (where’d that fierce icy wind blow in from?), we, being the delightful Mme Beespeaker (Lori W) and meself, as we ate eggs and pulled pork, followed by catch up, discussion and exchange on my impending project Rereading the Riot Act. Helpful and inspiring as ever is Lori and add tales of tea on top of all that.

I spent the latter part of the day and evening in the basements of UBC libraries rummaging through rarities and old newspaper reports, which it took me most of the time to figure out how to turn that blessed machine on. It reminded me of a cotton mill trying to fathom how to thread the yoke into the other yoke to discover the newspaper was back to front?!

The young fella beside me had a dreadful cold, but I shared my front page discoveries with him. He told me he had taken a BC  History course but had never heard of the 1935 incident I was waving my hands over. There was a lovely moment where when I stood up to leave, a young woman approached me, firm and frantic, initially demanding my services. “I need a Reference Librarian,” she said. I was rather chuffed to be mistaken for a Reference Librarian given my problems turning the machine on. (This having used identical machines in four other cities on numerous occasions … but some technicals never quite make an impression on me).

I am still confused about how biting that wind was this morning. There wasn’t much of a hint of it on leaving the house, and then…Lord I felt it in the old fingers and bones.

To G Perec et Jean Michel Basquiat maintenant.