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Main Street Magazine Tour promises to be a real page turner

Workshops, walking and trashy readings enliven literary event

Tracy Stefanucci hopes to introduce Vancouverites to underappreciated treasures-compelling writers, thoughtfully wrought magazines and lesser-known spaces-with the Main Street Magazine Tour, Aug. 18.

"Chinatown and that neighbourhood are just really close to my heart," said Stefanucci, organizer of the event that's being presented by the Magazine Association of B.C. "I live in Strathcona, so it's the neighbourhood that I frequent and there're just all of these hidden gems that I thought it would be really great to introduce people to. The kind of community spaces where readers and writers and artists hang out, really pair them up with magazines that have the same sort of spirit to them."

Two tours that include readings and workshops begin with a reception at the Dr. Sun YatSen Classical Chinese Garden at 6 p.m. and end with a Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing after-party at the garden's Hall of One Hundred Rivers.

Sara Bynoe, producer and host of Say Wha?!, will lead literary writing lovers to the Euro-style Everything Café on Pender for a workshop on how to get published, presented by women's literary magazine Room, then to a reading at Blim featuring local writers Gillian Jerome, Donato Mancini, Jeff Stautz and Jen Currin, co-presented by EVENT magazine from Douglas College and PRISM international, the literary journal from the University of B.C.

Jaz Halloran, art director of OCW Magazine, will guide guests to 221A Artist Run Centre to hear poets including Clint Burnham and Kevin Spenst speak about poetry and technology in a presentation hosted by Poetry is Dead magazine, then to Hogan's Alley Café for a mini-workshop on how to write your life story, presented by Lester's Army and featuring readings by senior authors who are publishing their memoirs.

Lester's Army aims to connect youth and seniors through creative writing, storytelling, art and photography and Stefanucci likes that the Main Street Magazine Tour makes cultural artifacts 3D.

"One of the things I'm really passionate about is finding new ways to make magazines relevant and connect with audiences," said Stefanucci, editor and publisher of OCW Magazine. "Publications exist for their audiences, so it's a way for them to really be developing a community around these magazines and what they stand for because without that, the magazine isn't relevant."

Stefanucci said Poetry is Dead draws designers and artists who aren't necessarily connoisseurs of poetry because of its "absolutely amazing and gorgeous and really contemporary" art and design.

"A lot of the people who really care about [literary magazines] are still really enamoured with print and enjoy holding something tangible and a really immersive reading experience that the print form provides," she said. "Long term, the way that we interact with writing is probably going to be become very digitized, but we're still just at the very, very beginning of that change."

Daniel Zomparelli, editor in chief of Poetry is Dead, will be one of the writers to read trashy prose at Say Wha?!

Host Bynoe said she'll probably recite excerpts from 20-something literary star Tao Lin's book Eeeee Eee Eeee.

"I picked it up because [performance artist] Miranda July had a quote on the back basically saying this guy was a genius," Bynoe said. "It said, 'The hamster had a neutral facial expression.' And then two paragraphs later it says 'The hamster had a very neutral facial expression.' For me that was it. I'm like, I'm throwing you against the wall."

She expects Zomparelli and others to unearth a mix of appalling material.

"Any celebrity-penned work is guaranteed to be awful," Bynoe said.

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Twitter: @Cheryl_Rossi