The executive team spent all last night proofing this year’s journal and damn does it look amazing. We’re really excited to show it to you at our party at Open Space this Thursday! (Entry gets you a free copy, along with access to friends and fun and cheap drinks.)

Need another reason to come to our Spring Release Party? The lovely and talented Noah Edwards will be performing. More info here

See you there!

Nine Questions with Bethany Hughes


1. Introduce yourself

I deserted southern Ontario suburbia for Vancouver Island four years ago to study visual arts and creative writing.

2. How do you define your own work?

Usually my ideas manifest in dream logic, then, in waking, I channel them into the proper outlet. Practicing multiple disciplines forces me to think in different languages in order to mechanize what the hands or brain collect in dormancy. Sometimes I’ll circulate an image, memory, or state through paintings or maquette studies before it fits neatly into prose. Lately my work confronts wastelands, purgatory, and decay. I’m interested in synthetic vs. organic materials so I’ve been playing with encaustics, varathane, and a set of oils I inherited while building (and giving away) two year worth of spore prints. Preservation is important in my work, but I try to exercise the form recklessly to avoid sentimentality.

3. Where are you the most creative?

I live part-time on a farm in Cowichan Bay, so it’s very positive having a sanctuary to retreat from town. Here I can devote whole days to refining a piece and if I’m uninspired I can just walk out of the barn—which is fitted for a carpentry workshop—to scratch the donkeys or pick some berries or grapes to recoup. Having many works to abandon and come back to helps me stay imaginative.

4. Biggest vice?

Impatience. When I commit to layering a large-scale painting I know I’ll be scrubbing in pastels, which I think are too trivial before I can level in harsher tones. You can’t fake it as much with visual art as you can with writing since all your editing and shape labour is present in the material surface.

5. Most embarrassing creation?

I don’t know about embarrassing, but I’ve been using prescription pills for their texture in mixed media so the viewer can judge what kind of medication I’m using or abusing. Some freakier experiments led me to make a series of embryo paintings on micro slides of male and female ejaculate.

6. What do you think our generation will be remembered for?

The next B.C. export to dethrone Jeff Wall and Aurel Schmidt.

7. What was the most memorable response to your work?

Selling paintings is a real motivator. My mentor Lee Henderson understands my wavelength and always nourishes me with encouragement.

8. Best advice you’ve ever received- or worst?

Don’t undersell yourself, from my Papa Hughes.

9. What’s next?

Commissions lined up to self-sufficiency, stretching the leniency of dual citizenship: New York, one day, graduation, at least.

Say Whattttt!? The Warren Spring Release Party is in TEN DAYS. Come celebrate the journal’s fifth anniversary with friends and drinks and performances and live music—you know you want to.More details and event page coming soon.

Say Whattttt!? The Warren Spring Release Party is in TEN DAYS.

Come celebrate the journal’s fifth anniversary with friends and drinks and performances and live music—you know you want to.

More details and event page coming soon.

Canada was built on the forcible theft of Indigenous lands and the destruction of our societies, and through the disempowerment and desecration of Indigenous women, it continues to condone gender violence and genocide by failing to take action to end these epidemics. Men, regardless of race, economic class or educational background continue to exercise their privilege to abstain from directly engaging the issue of gendered violence. Indigenous women’s voices continue to go unheard. We remain both targeted and unsupported.



I advocate for love because it is the most powerful, life-giving force and it is our greatest strength. Love is the reason our people have survived, the reason we fight to protect our lands and our future. Love is the source of our courage, it is what that enables the most disempowered to stand against genocide and destruction, though outnumbered, outgunned, and largely unsupported. Love is our life force. It is the most healing, regenerative, empowering resource we have to draw upon. And, even more, it compels us to action.

- Siku Allooloo, “From Outrage to Radical Love

Happy International Women’s Day!

In Canada, all gendered violence exists within a colonial context. Read and share the rest of INM’s #ItEndsHere series here: http://nationsrising.org/tag/itendshere/

A little teaser for out IdeaFest panel on “So you want to launch a magazine” at 12pm today, HSD A270.

The Victoria Spoken Word Festival runs next week!! "This year’s theme is Inside Story and the festival is packed with adventure - from instant poetry to storytelling to puppetry. Plus, this year’s Poet of Honour is punk accordion poet Barbara Adler of Ten Thousand Wolves."See the events schedule and get tickets here.

The Victoria Spoken Word Festival runs next week!!

"This year’s theme is Inside Story and the festival is packed with adventure - from instant poetry to storytelling to puppetry. Plus, this year’s Poet of Honour is punk accordion poet Barbara Adler of Ten Thousand Wolves."

See the events schedule and get tickets here.

Warren Sunday Review: artGO with Harold Hejazi at the Victoria Emerging Arts Gallery By A.C. Frueh

Just getting off work at the diner on a Sunday, my feet aching from running plate to table to drink to table to kitchen, my head spinning with complaints of under-salted fries and over-aged coffee, I marched down the street in search of the Victoria Emerging Arts Gallery (VEAG). Google Maps told me I would find the gallery, which I had never before seen on my many strolls up Fort St., between Vancouver St. and Quadra. My friend Harold, whom I phoned at 4:05 (five minutes past the start of the workshop) informed me casually that the gallery could be located through the red door, at the top of the stairs.

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            With directions like these, it was no wonder I was late. Thankfully, Harold came down to usher this poor dazed soul into the VEAG. I have known Harold Hejazi since our first year of post-secondary school at Langara College, back when we both lived in Vancouver. We were taking a writing course and on the first day we were asked to share with the class why we had chosen to focus on poetry composition. Many students gushed about an heart-felt, deep-down, bubbling love-spring in their souls for poetics that had been effusively surging forth in them for like, forever—but not Harold. Harold’s response cemented itself in my mind for eternity, perhaps because of its strong juxtaposition to the other answers, mine included. “I want to learn to write poetry,” said Harold slowly, quietly, deliberately, “to pick up girls.”

            It is this absolute honesty and placidity of speech that can lead people to believe Harold child-like and thereby underestimate him (I’m looking at you, local comedian who played Felicita’s Thursday evening). Do not let his calm exterior mislead you. Harold speaks slowly because he is considering every word he is about to speak, and he speaks with complete candor because he is braver than you or I will ever be. It is for these reasons that I learned to admire Harold and one of the reasons we are still friends five years later, long after he outgrew his hightop-sneaker-phase and I, my unfortunate and unflattering red-jacket-phase.

            It is also for these reasons that Harold is as successful in his endeavors as he is. In 2013, he received an Outstanding Community Contribution Award for founding The Foster Mom Collective, a non-profit arts and crafts skill-sharing collective established in 2011. This year, Harold became the workshop coordinator for the Victoria Emerging Arts Gallery (VEAG) as part of its artGO series. The artGO series are Sunday workshops designed to encourage art education within the Greater Victoria community. The workshop series were created with accessibility in mind; they have been built to accommodate any level of experience, and at 25-35 dollars per session, are easily affordable to people of all incomes.

            The artGO workshop I chose to attend was the January 26th “Comics and Cartoons” class taught by Patrick Murray, alumni editor of the Warren Undergraduate Review and creator of the beloved local comic strip, North-East Lynx, (http://northeastlynx.tumblr.com/). The class was already seated by the time I arrived, with five other students fitting snugly into VEAG’s well-lit workshop room. Patrick thoughtfully waited for me to sit my shame-faced self down before giving us an illuminating overview on the history of comic art. Throughout the next two hours, Patrick would guide us through four different comic writing and drawing exercises, each more stylistically and intellectually involved than the last. He patiently explained to us the importance of comedic timing in cartoons, and how the writing and artistry should always build upon the other to create a whole comic that surpasses the sum of its parts.

            How did I find Patrick’s class? Well, those of you who know me know that I have been making my own comics for over a year, and though I do some self-guided study on the art of comic creation in my own spare time, Patrick was able to offer many useful insights into the art form that I had previously overlooked and undervalued. Previous experience was not necessary to appreciate this workshop, however, and the novice cartoonists in the class were thrilled to leave the gallery with a solid foundation of cartoon making under their belts. Needless to say, if Patrick were to teach a regular class on comics and cartoons I would be there. Hell, I would even break custom and get there early, as VEAG’s only downside is a lack of ample workshop space.

            The experience of the well-directed comic workshop was enhanced by a sense of camaraderie invoked not only by Patrick Murray and my fellow classmates, but also by Harold Hejazi, who joined our class and was on hand to offer refreshments of tea or homemade cookies to students and teacher alike.

            I enjoyed the workshop so much, I stuck around afterwards to help stack the chairs and ask Harold some questions about the artGO series.

A.C.: What do you hope to accomplish in the community by hosting these workshops?

HAROLD: My intention is to inspire students and empower them, as I take great pleasure in seeing people learn and thrive through art. All of the art organizations (MISSA, Fostermom Collective, artGO) I am a part of share the same mandate: to foster an environment for the arts, recognize practicing artists, and employ them to share their knowledge. I see artGO contributing to the arts community in Victoria by broadening the network of people here who are passionate about the arts. ArtGO workshops provide the perfect opportunity to unleash one’s inner creativity and encourage people to try something different and new without having to commit too much of their time. From ‘expressive arts’ to cartooning and computer programming, something unique and exciting is offered every month by guest instructors from the creative community in Victoria. Classes are small to keep it friendly and social. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than learning, meeting new people, and creating something beautiful?

A.C.: How do you find teachers for your workshops?

HAROLD: I look for folks with fresh skills at art shows, in art classes, and through the internet. It is rewarding for me to recognize talent and reward artists for their work. I get great satisfaction from employing emerging artists in Victoria.

A.C.: Patrick Murray did a great job with our “Comics and Cartoons” class. How do you help teachers like Patrick prepare for their workshops?

HAROLD: I help them prepare by raising their confidence and lowering nervous anxiety. The instructors I bring in rarely have teaching experience, and thus, my formal training in education (from the Secondary Teaching Program at UVic) comes in handy.  It is second nature to me to be present and to encourage artists with compliments or suggestions. Perhaps my greatest skill as an artist lies in the art of teaching and empowering others to transcend personal boundaries.

A.C.: Who can attend these workshops, and how can they sign up?

HAROLD: The workshops are meant to be affordable, accessible, and open to everyone. I take great pleasure in seeing people learn and thrive through art! You can find all the upcoming workshops here:

https://www.facebook.com/artgoVEAG

Space is often limited. Please register at the Victoria Emerging Arts Gallery or by phone at: 778-430-5585

Gallery Hours: 

Thurs: 3pm - 6pm

Fri: 3pm - 6pm

Sat + Sun: 12pm - 4pm

Warren Sunday Review: Coriolanus Gives Modern Context to Revive an Old Epic

by Simone McFee

Coriolanus may not be one of Shakespeare’s better-known tragedies; however, it is undoubtedly one of the most visually epic. Sieges, duels, and visceral wounds dominate this play, and so director Josie Rourke’s decision to stage the story of the stubborn, brave, and unapologetically imperious Roman general Caius Martius “Coriolanus” at the minimalist space of the Donmar Warehouse appeared a difficult and ambitious choice.

Thankfully, Rourke demonstrates skill and economy in directing for a small space. The set is simple, consisting largely of chairs that are moved strategically to mimic the benches of the senate or the barricade, which the soldiers hide behind at the bloody siege of Corioli. The “room” where the primary action takes place is marked on the floor with red paint by the actors themselves, and this square is manipulated or added to in accordance with the demands of the scene.

The primary backdrop is a plain brick wall with the graffiti of the malcontent public scrawled across it (“grain at our price”). The graffiti stylistically resembles protest graffiti that has sprung up in places like Egypt in the wake of the Arab Spring. It is, therefore, unlikely incidental that the costuming of the actors, and particularly the angry public, resembles an urban military aesthetic reminiscent of the rebels fighting in Syria.

These stylistic choices are not only gripping and visually intriguing, but they remind the audience that the struggle of the people to be heard by the ruling elite is not a story removed from our own present. The anger of the people manifests itself in colour: red is a prominent component of the set, from the lines painted on the floor to the lighting. In one scene, the blood that drips off Coriolanus himself becomes indistinguishable from the lines painted on the floor; red also emphasizes the visceral attention to blood and injury paid by the script of Coriolanus.


The aforementioned script is slightly abbreviated for this adaptation, but the drama and intensity is not lost largely due to the talent and presence of the actors. Tom Hiddleston plays the title role, and his inherent playful likeability made me doubt his ability to embody the self-destructively haughty general. Fortunately his outward geniality serves to strengthen the complexity of Coriolanus’s character: he is fierce on the battlefield and kind and loyal to those he considers his friends and allies. His contempt for the “plebians” and devastatingly naive lack of political sharpness is subsequently all the more dismaying: tragic heroes are Shakespeare’s forte, and Hiddleston makes Coriolanus’s downfall heartbreaking enough that we almost forget his distasteful contempt for democracy.

Deborah Findlay is similarly compelling as Volumnia, Coriolanus’s mother. Because of her intense influence over her son, Volumnia can and has been portrayed as manipulative and callous; Findlay, however, brings us a Volumnia who is temperamentally like her son in her fierceness and bravery but who exhibits a flair for diplomacy that Coriolanus’s personal impetuousness does not allow. The shared moment of vulnerability and tenderness in their final meeting at the close of the play emphasizes their relationship as one ultimately of affection and not an unbalanced power play.

Mark Gatiss delivers an absolutely luminous performance as Menenius, Roman senator and Coriolanus’s closest friend. His wry witticisms and shrewd diplomacy are a welcome contrast to Coriolanus’s obstinate earnestness and the effect when he abandons his glibness in the face of utter betrayal is painful to watch. Birgitte Hjort Sørenson manages to make her brief time onstage as Coriolanus’s distraught wife Virgilia memorable and her character deeply sympathetic.

Elliot Levey and Helen Schlesinger are satisfyingly infuriating as the scheming tribunes Brutus and Sicinius, and Hadley Fraser plays Coriolanus’s sworn opponent Aufidius with the pride and macho swagger expected of his character. Interestingly, the homoerotic insinuations found within the text of the play are physically brought into the forefront by Fraser: Coriolanus’s and Aufidius’s obsession with one another overtly blurs the lines between hatred and passion in this adaptation.

There are problematic components of this play. While I loved the decision to cast Sicinius as a female rather than a male, I found the addition of a romance between her and Brutus contrived and unnecessary, and played out awkwardly on the stage. The set change music attempts to continue with the edgy and contemporary look of the play, but the grimy, dub-y club beat forcibly pulled me out of the production. Thankfully the components that work work well enough to outweigh the unsatisfying elements.

This production of Coriolanus tells the torturous story of a man spiralling toward his own self-made destruction but also reminds us that the concerns of the public to whom he refuses to cater are not removed from our contemporary society. It is quick, smart, moving, and entertaining as hell. Josie Rourke has made a minimalist epic with brilliant success. The Cineplex Odeon will broadcast an encore performance of Coriolanus on February 22. Tickets are available at the theatre or on their website, cineplex.com.

We're an open concept literary journal at the University of Victoria.