What’s in a Name? Would a Shebeen by Any Other Name be as Intriguing?

“The Algonquin Round Table”, by Al Hirschfeld

“The Algonquin Round Table”, by Al Hirschfeld

A few years ago, the group regularly met in the tiny, upstairs room of the Irish Heather that was called “The Shebeen” (for the origins of that word head here), and thus the name was applied to the literary group which we have today.

Today, however, the Irish Heather has moved across the road, the room is now its own Shebeen Whisk(e)y House out the back of the gastro-pub, and the group mainly meets at the Revel Room a few streets west from ‘The Heather’. The name itself has never meant much more than the location of origin, and doesn’t reflect its raison d’etre: to exchange information and promote the arts of writing in all forms, be it journalism, novels, poetry, plays, or marketing of all those.

So: how do people feel about any of the following options:

  • The Vancouver Algonquin Group (after the original one)
  • The Vancouver Bloomsbury Group (after the original one)
  • The Vancouver Literary Circle (which is dull, but somewhat self-explanatory)
  • Keep the extant name
  • [insert your own suggestion here]

Anyone…? Anyone…? A what kind of revolution…?

My feeling here is that what we have is the opportunity to create a central group and/or monthly event where people can discuss their trials and tribulations, exchange intelligence and information, and generally enjoy fellowship with their fellow travellers in the hacking together of words into paragraphs, as well as promotion of them therefore.

The idea of this group has always been to create a group for professionals and semi-pros who use words to gather, but the active welcoming of people other than novelists and short-story writers has met with less-than-the desired results. Where are the playwrights, the non-fiction writers, the journalists, the publishers, the book-sellers, the editors, the newspaper people, the marketing people, and so on? Is this partly because the name ill-befits our purpose? What do people think of that as a solution? Do you think it simply is a good idea, simply from a marketing standpoint so as to attract ‘fresh brains’* to the monthly meetings?

* mmmm… brainz…!

June 20th: Pitching Your Thing to the Media

Whatever you have to pitch to the media for coverage — your band’s new record, your new publishing company, the fact you won a big shiny award — it’s not always easy to attract their attention. While different media outlets and platforms have their idiosyncrasies, there are general rules and techniques that always work (and not necessarily include tucking a bottle of whisky into the package, although that does help). Come to the June Meeting and learn or re-learn the rules, share your own tips about successful pitches, and generally sharpen your pitching techniques.

Additional fun includes hearing “Bad Pitch Horror Stories”: Pitches from Bitches! Don’t miss this evening’s zany hilarity!

As always, tickets are $20 in advance [Eventbrite Link] (available ’till June 16th) or $25 at the door, and that includes dinner and a drink. The venue for this month’s event only is the Shebeen Whisk(e)y House, in a separate building behind the Irish Heather at 210 Carrall Street, just steps from Maple Tree Square. For our July Event, we will return to Revel Room (238 Abbott Street just south of Gastown)

  • LOCATION: the Shebeen Whisk(e)y House, 210 Carrall Street, Gastown
  • JUST $20!! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE! [Eventbrite Link!] includes dinner!
  • …or, bring $25 cash on the evening
  • Monday, June 20th
    • 6:00 – 6:30 | meet & mingle
    • 6:30 – 7:00-ish | listen & learn
    • 7:00-ish – ?:00 | conversation & congregation

UPDATE Nº1: Menu is as follows

  • MEAT IS YUMMY: Grilled Pork Ribs, Homemade BBQ Sauce, Savoy Cabbage Slaw, Roasted Potatoes.
  • VEGETABLES ONLY: Crispy Polenta, Organic Tomato Sauce, Fresh Basil & Parmesan Shavings

PLEASE NOTE: The Shebeen Whisk(e)y House has a maximum capacity of 60 people, and we’re already half-way there. BUYING YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE IS A SMART MOVE.

UPDATE Nº2: WALK-UPS ARE OF LIMITED CAPACITY, DUE TO KITCHEN CAPABILITIES. Chances are if we run out of the above items, you can bob into the pup proper after the presentation and grab a bite there, having then given the cooks a chance to catch their breath.

SPECIAL VANCOUVER MEDIA GUEST: Globe & Mail columnist and the host of CBC Radio One’s On the Coast: Stephen Quinn!

Mr. Stephen Quinn

Mr. Stephen Quinn


Stephen Quinn began his reporting career in 1996, after graduating from BCIT’s ‘Broadcast Journalism’ program. During his last year of school, he interned at CBC’s “As it Happens” in Toronto during the last Quebec referendum. He returned to Vancouver and was hired by CKNW as a general assignment news reporter where he spent more than four years covering various court cases, crime stories, breaking news and Vancouver City Council.

In 2000, Mr. Quinn was hired by CBC Radio as a civic affairs reporter. He covered Vancouver City Council, Translink, the GVRD Board (now MetroVancouver) and other civic issues.

He was also an occasional guest host of CBC’s local current affairs programs “The Early Edition”, “B.C. Almanac” and “On the Coast”. He co-produced and hosted a radio series on the 2005 provincial election campaign which won the RTNDA’s ‘Ron Laidlaw Award for Continuing Coverage’. He was also the recipient of the RTNDA’s ‘Gord Sinclair Award for Special Programming’ in 2009. Mr. Quinn has also been part of numerous award-winning newscasts and has received one honourable mention from the Jack Webster Foundation. He is creator of “Quinn’s Quiz”, a popular radio segment that first appeared on “The Early Edition”.

He has guest-hosted “Freestyle”, “Sounds Like Canada”, and “Q” for CBC National Radio. He has also produced and hosted a series on the media for CBC’s “The Current”.

In 2008 he was hired as the host of “On the Coast”, CBC Radio’s local afternoon show in Metro Vancouver.

Mr. Quinn grew up in Ottawa, Ont. where he attended Lisgar Collegiate Institute. He moved to Vancouver in 1983.

Hear the Organizer’s Voice!

All TALKING! All THINKING! ALL HOUR LONG!

All TALKING! All THINKING! ALL HOUR LONG!

Tomorrow at 17:00 PDT (or 20:00 EDT, or barely into Wednesday at 00:00 GMT) you can hear the organizer of The Shebeen Club interviewed on Blog Talk Radio with Wayne Herlbert. In addition to the possibility he’ll mention an up-coming title or two for his publishing house, here’s what Mr. Herlbert is claiming will be discussed:

Independent book publisher and President of Atomic Fez Publishing, Ian Alexander Martin, shares his views on current and future trends in the publishing industry. Ian describes the challenges facing publishers in the current economy and with the rapid changes taking place in the publishing industry. Ian shares his thoughts on genre busting fiction, developing a niche market for specific titles, and how an author can get published in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Ian also offers some advice for successful online book marketing including some very unique and unexpected tactics for which Atomic Fez has become famous.

Frankly, it might be a bit of a stretch to say that “Atomic Fez Publishing has become famous”, but we’re hardly going to dissuade Mr. Herlbert at this point.

The interview is an hour long, so Ian will have to work at being briefer than normal. More than likely, about half-way through everyone will get far off the subject and start debating the various advantages of tea-making techniques. Also possible is comparing of the cinematic visions of Akira Kurosawa v. Francis Ford Coppola or Terry Gilliam v. Orson Welles.

It’s also entirely likely that they’ll talk about books. You never know.

  • STREAMING LIVE: Tuesday, May 31st at 5PM Pacific / 8PM Eastern / 00:00 GMT (Midnight at the start of Wednesday): CLICK HERE

UPDATED: and we’re done! For those of you who missed it, head TO THIS PAGE and click the little button on the player to start the 66 minute babble. Or, if you’re into that sort of thing and would rather download it and play it as a podcast, HERE’S A LINK FOR THAT.

OTHERS’ EVENTS: The Reading Writer’s Tea Party

Sure, The Shebeen Club meeting tonight is the most important thing in everyone’s life, but what do you do between that and the next one? Well, here’s a suggestion, thanks to Kathrin Lake.

REMINDER: The Reading Writer’s Tea Party is next Saturday!!!

To RSVP you are coming if you have not already, see buy now button below, or email me your assurances and how many are coming. We have to reserve you a tea cup and a seat.

ALSO: If you are reading get me your 5 minute manuscript (2 pages max – may be abridged) for the desktop booklet BY Wednesday the 25th.

I will also have a very exciting announcement at the Tea Party that you all may be very interested in…. keep you in suspense.

You are cordially invited to…

The Reading Writers Group

My only wish for organizing events at the recent Women & Words conference was that I had hoped we could include an open mike reading event, cabaret or café to read in-process, new or favorite works. But it was too busy. So, as Spring dawns on the Wet Coast and brings the urge to use my grandmother’s tea cups again, I thought Tea Party! Ohhh… what about inviting all those W&W participants and on Saturday, May 28th, 3pm having…

  • Tea and coffee out of my precious, inherited, elegant tea cup collection
  • Yummy goodies, both healthy and sinful
  • Gabbing
  • Brilliant Readings from Authors or Will-be Authors
  • PLUS: Your own take away free booklet at the event that may have your own words published in it (see below*)
  • AND: A shelf to display and sell your own books again (bring no more than 5 copies if you have them)
  • Other surprises….

◊ WHY NOT make sure that the writers who are volunteering to read are rewarded by being PUBLISHED in a little desktop “booklet”

That’s right, if you are a writer who is reading your work at the tea party, and can send us the text a week in advance by May 21st (2 pages max), then we will print all or part in the “booklet” that will go home with everyone!

Entrance is less than $9 with everything included.

CLICK THIS SECURE LINK and buy now to reserve your spot. Pass this on to guests who will be joining you

Date: Saturday, May 28th 3pm to 6pm

Time: 3pm to 6:30pm

Location: #401 – 1288 Broughton – BUZZ 401 – in the English Bay area!

This is my large downtown apartment unless there is huge demand, and I may move the event to another downtown location. Parking is on the street meter, pay parking garages, and some lucky free parking, and transit is a block away.

May Meeting: Help Us Help You Help Us All

Mr. Grumpy Pants

Mr. Grumpy Pants

Why so serious, pookie?

Has your writing career got you down? Things not falling into your lap like those unicorn rainbows and lollipop dreams would have it? Wondering what to do and how to do that (short of offering to sleep with Jack McClelland)?

THEN YOU NEED TO COME TO THE MAY MEETING OF THE SHEBEEN CLUB!

What with raincoaster heading off to places to our north so as to discover new alcohol-based uses for ice, The Shebeen Club is being forced on a new sucker transferred to a new, bright, shining set of hands! Ian Alexander Martin (a guy comfortable with writing about himself in the 3rd person) wants to know what you — yes, you — want to see in the meetings!

Come on down to the Rebel Room, put him in a sleeper hold, and then calmly explain what you need to learn about and who should explain it to you as a presenter.

The best way to get what you want is to say what that is. No one is willing to admit they can read minds, so join us on Tuesday, May 24th at 7pm for a timely, lively discussion by you and other intelligent people who are writers, publishers, literary agents, PR and Media people, or just plain people involved in that Publishing Biz. Bring your questions, suggestions, and your brain!

As always, tickets are $20 in advance [Eventbrite Link; let us know you’re coming and we’ll give you the early bird price] (available till May 23rd) or $25 at the door, and that includes dinner and a drink. The venue is the upstairs lounge at Revel Room, 238 Abbott Street just south of Gastown.

  • Revel Room: 238 Abbott Street just south of Gastown [need a map? CLICK HERE]
  • JUST $20!! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE! [Eventbrite Link!] includes dinner!
  • …or, bring $25 cash on the evening
  • Tuesday, May 24th
    • 7:00 – 7:30 meet & mingle
    • 7:30 – 8:00-ish listen & learn