Laura Zizek


Story Planet: A Bloor Street haven for young writers


In Bloordale Village you might come across a shop that seems to be an ordinary coffee shop, but which is actually a lounge for space travellers called the Intergalactic Travel Authority. Here you can order a black hole coffee or a Venus cappuccino. What goes on behind the spaceship portal is supernatural; it’s Story Planet’s home-base. With four staff members and 150 regular volunteers, Story...

Love Letters to a City: Lindsay Zier-Vogel’s Epistolary Project

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A woman in her late 20s is walking down Queen Street and stops in front of a bicycle. She opens her bag and pulls out an airmail envelope. There is a hole punctured on the side with a piece of string attached, the woman crouches and ties the string to the handle. The next morning the bike receives another visitor, the owner. The word “love” is scrawled on the bottom right corner of the dangling...

Special Ed at Hot Docs: Winnipeg, spelling, and stop motion


Reviewed in this essay: Special Ed, directed by John Paskievich, Canada, 2013 at Hot Docs 2013. Director John Paskievich’s documentary Special Ed follows Ed Ackerman, a filmmaker who creates short stop-motion films that help kids spell. He loves words, enjoys puns, and his old boat-like car is decorated with colourful-painted letters. Then his life is suddenly turned upside down. The first...

Oil sands, Pussy Riot, and Arnaud Maggs: A guide to the 2013 Hot Docs Festival


Toronto’s twentieth annual Hot Docs film festival begins April 25th and will screen 205 films over eleven days. The complete list is here — but here are a few that caught our interest. The festival will kick-off with director Shawney Cohen’s The Manor, a film about his journey back to Guelph, his home town, to help out through a difficult time at the family strip club. In two films, music helps...

A guide to the Toronto Public Library’s Keep Toronto Reading Festival


The Toronto Public Library is hosting events about Fahrenheit 451 all through April as part of its eighth annual Keep Toronto Reading Festival. The festival is all about celebrating the joy of reading. Whether you’d be encountering Fahrenheit 451 for the first time or rediscovering it, Ray Bradbury’s classic is still current and very much worth reading with the TPL. First published in 1953, the...