For the Georgia Straight’s 19th annual Best of Vancouver issue, our editorial team has spent months on the lookout for good deeds, weird urban details, and various howlers to highlight. Here’s our contributors’ picks for Best of Vancouver 2014.
Best trash talk
As everyone who lives in the Republic of East Van knows full well, there are certain things you don’t do once you get on the badass side of town. Like, for example, try to pay by credit card when you’re standing in the checkout line at Santa Barbara. Or ask what meat dishes are on special at Sweet Cherubim. Or, most dangerous of all—as this warning just off Victoria Drive near the Cultch makes clear—mess with another resident’s garbage when the city only picks up nonrecyclables every second week. Attention, potato-peeling Junior Mint eater: you can run, but you can’t hide.
Best app for Vancouverites on a tight book budget
The Vancouver Public Library’s app for Android or iPhone
Come across a book that you want to read but can’t afford? You can use this app to scan the barcode, pull up the book’s record at VPL, then place a hold on it. The app also gives you quick access to scads of ebooks and DVDs. Use the force that is your library card!
Best title of a public talk
When Little Mosque on the Prairie creator and author Zarqa Nawaz spoke at the Indian Summer festival, the event carried the cheeky title “Putting the fun back in fundamentalism”. Don’t worry. No one was beheaded.
Best proof of an appetite for radical journalism
When the Indian Summer festival organizers brought author and activist Arundhati Roy to Vancouver earlier this year, there was an overflow crowd at St. Andrew’s–Wesley United Church. More than 1,000 people came to hear her radical perspective on the downside of India’s democracy. Roy isn’t the only radical writer to attract a large audience over the past year. SFU Woodward’s featured several progressive speakers who drew big crowds, including author Christian Parenti and cartoonist Joe Sacco.
Best name for a new literary festival
The Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop and Ricepaper magazine launched literAsian as a festival to celebrate writing by Canadians of Pacific Rim heritage. Celebrated writers Denise Chong, Evelyn Lau, Terry Watada, and Terry Woo were among the participants, demonstrating that this was a festival to be taken seriously. The closing banquet at the Pink Pearl Restaurant honoured Arsenal Pulp Press publisher Brian Lam with a community-builder award. One of the key organizers was Jim Wong-Chu, who’s been a phenomenal mentor to so many local writers of Asian descent. When is he going to get his community-builder award or, better yet, an Order of B.C.?
Best reason to attend the Vancouver Writers fest
Because those who read are often superior to those who don’t.