By: Conrad Leibel
On the night of March 31st, Vamps: Journal of Absurdity and Horror released an issue at an evening of incantations by local poets, writers and other eccentrics. The Copper Owl was an ideal location for the event, offering several occult themed drinks to participants and keeping the atmosphere spooky and dimly lit.
The evening included several performances, opening with a reading by Kate Adams – who read several poems by John Wilmot – Earl of Rochester – a personal favourite for dirty readers. Kari Teicher read a wonderfully grim fable “The Foxes” – which left more than one writer in the audience in awe. Chase Dow Prince – in persona as “Black Visor” provided a conducive atmosphere for a literary gathering of lovers of the Gothic and Lynchian aesthetics. David Eso, a long-time poet and writer, provided the audience with several uncanny narrative poems. The evening closed with Professor Jamie Dopp, an expert in Canadian literature, history and music generally – playing a blues song – a genre which he avowed to not have a strong liking for, followed by something bizarre by Conrad Leibel.
The launch was a success – with the venue nearly full with friends and supporters – and all issues of the journal have sold out. It is the wishes of this writer to thank Rachel Lallouz, Allison Murphy, Donald Kimber, Tom Nienhuis, Levi Binnema, Emma Skagen and Elisabeth Hill for the work that they put into this labour of love. Additionally, thanks are owed to Kate Adams, Catriona Duncan, Anthony Goertz, Chase Dow Prince, Juniper Mae Gittens, David Eso, Sarah Hamill, Dr. Jamie Dopp, Kari Teicher and the employees of the Copper Owl for creating a fantastical evening. This writer also thanks the Graduate Student’s Society (GSS) and the English Graduate Student’s Society (EGSS) for their support in making this night possible. Finally – thanks are owed to the writers who contributed to the journal – without whom none of this would be possible : thank you Theresa Faulder, Tomas Andel, Josephine Hendrick, Emily Driver, Robyn Holly-Taylor Neu, Nicholas Eveneshen, Alana Sayers, Melanie Oberg, Amy Tang, Matthew Punyi and James R. Louden – among many already named for their assistance with all levels of journal creation. Again – my deepest wishes and love sent to all those who believed in this writer, this project, and the transformative powers of creative writing.
Conrad Leibel is a graduate of the MA program in English with a concentration on medieval and early modern studies. He has worked for most of his conscious life as a musician, a poet, an actor, comedian and a dramatist. He has released a full length album (Shock of Life by Fringe) and has published with the history department at the University of Alberta and UVic libraries. His latest completed project, Vamps, is an absurdist journal of horror and the gothic. Conrad is now working on a dramatic script, a screenplay, and a collection of short stories.