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Storming The Barricades
Vancouver's Underground Press Gangs: 1967-1973
Hello, and welcome to this, the first do-it-yourself listing of everybody Korky Day, Mike Quigley, Bob Mercer and Rick McGrath (with Kevin McKeown) could remember who toiled for the Georgia Straight or any of its spun-off underground papers in the 60s and 70s. Turns out there were quite a lot!
If you have any alterations, corrections, additions or stories about those wacky times, please email me and I'll make the necessary changes. Maybe, depends on how stalinist I feel that day... hit the "contact" link above.
GrapeShot - Vancouver’s underground press, 1972: Here’s the crew from The Georgia Grape, the underground paper that was started up by Georgia Straight staffers pissed off with the antics of Georgia Straight editor/publisher Dan McLeod. We are: 1. Mick Lowe, 2. Tony Tugwell, 3. Irving Stowe, 4. Mike Quigley, 5. Korky Day, 6. David Garrick, 7. Peter Burton, 8. Rick McGrath, 9. Robert Sarti, 10. Jeff Marvin, 11. Ken Lester, 12. Eric Sommer, 13. Sylvia Hawreliak, 14. Brad Robinson, 15. Lori Rosenthal, 16. Shelley Reitberger, 17. Ellie Waldman, 18. Dara Culhane. It sure the hell wasn’t like the offices at Rolling Stone magazine.
WHO WE'RE LISTING
This directory includes contributors to the Georgia Straight from 1967 until the founding of the Georgia Grape and the publication of its first issue on January 20, 1972. Also included are those who contributed to the spin-off newspapers: The Grape, The Western Organizer, Western Voice, The Western Gate, and the Terminal City Express.
For a founder's version of how the Georgia Straight was created, see the sidebar story by Pierre Coupey. His article in the first issue of The Georgia Grape was accompanied by a reproduction of a poster which was was put up around town before the first issue of the Georgia Straight. It announced that the first issue would be on May 5, 1967.
The 20 contributors mentioned in that poster were Harry Rankin, Sid Simons, Wasp, Michael McLure, Milton Acorn, Dan McLeod, Peter Auxier, Leonard Minsky, Jon York, John Kelsey, Rick Kitaeff, Carol Reid, Peter Hlookoff, Greg Simpson, Pierre Coupey, Tony Gringkus, bill bissett, Joy Long, John Mills, and Dave Taube.
1968 pix of GS Staffers outside the office: (l-r) Al Sorensen, Barry Cramer, Ken Lester (front), Dan McLeod, Brad Robinson, Tony Tugwell (with child on shoulder), Bob Cummings, Zipp Almasy.
THOSE WHO WERE THERE:
Lani Almas. Full first name Leilani. Writer of full-page weekly column analysing the Status of Women Report from the Canadian government, and other articles. One of the women occupiers of the Straight offices. They published the "Women's Liberated Georgia Straight" on April 8, 1971. The industrious Lani also compiled the weekly "Heads Busted" column, which listed who got arrested for dope. She was a typesetter and handled our subscriptions and infamous classified ads. Quit before, or at the time of the split, probably in order to attend university. Later a physician in Prince George, BC. Appointed by provincial government to the Terrace and Area Health Council.
Zipp Almasy. Real name Peter Almasy. One of the early people at the Georgia Straight. A cartoonist who drew "Acidman", a funny LSD-driven superhero somewhat like Gilbert Shelton's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comics in the USA. Almasy went on to the famous commune Rochdale in Ontario, which he took over and ran, we hear.
Heather Armour. Front-desk cashier and general help-about-the-shop. Probably did some typesetting -- as did many of us -- on our old Friden typesetter.
Peter Auxier. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. Almost died in his car after the organising meeting.
Roy Beaumont. Movie reviewer. Rick McGrath recruited him at SFU.
Lanny Beckman. Writer and a leader of the movement for the rights of "mental patients" like himself. Founded the Mental Patients Association with Jon York (Obits). MPA was later taken from the patients by the "health care providers". Marilyn Sarti (Bob Sarti's ex.) works there. Lanny is the brother of Bonnie Beckwoman, below. He went on to work for New Star Books in 1974.
Bonnie Beckwoman. Writer, cartoonist. Now goes by first name Bonita. Sister of Lanny. Her revision of their surname is a feminist statement. Since about 1980 has owned "Beckwoman's Emporium" art and variety store on Commercial Drive. Recently opened a hostel, too.
Christine Bennet-Clark. Worked at the GS in the early days as the one and only typesetter. She was there until 1969, when she gave birth to her daughter, Serenity. Currently lives in Winnipeg where she is completing a Master's drgree in education.
Tom Berger. The Straight ran his column when he was a BC MLA and NDP Opposition Leader. Later he was the MacKenzie Valley Pipeline Commissioner, and wrote a ground-breaking decision for the environment. Later a BC supreme court judge who wrote a couple of books about sensitive issues like native rights. In 2003 / 2004 he was the Vancouver Electoral Reform Commission. His proposal for wards was defeated in the 2004 referendum.
bill bisset. Poet. No capitals in his name, like the poet e.e. cummings. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. Might have printed the original launch poster. Then managing editor at The Capilano Review (Capilano College's literary journal). Remember, the Straight ran that literary supplement? Many of our list of poets, professors, etc. contributed to that. Later at Co-op Radio? Might still read poetry on-air there (CFRO 102.7 FM, www.coopradio.org). Still chanting.
Helen Bouvier. One of the two main typesetters of the Grape. From England.
George Bowering. Montreal correspondent and literary writer. Canada's poet laureate 2003 / 2004.
Liz Briemberg. Wrote "Sisters" feminist column in Georgia Grape #5. One daughter. Spouse of Mort.
Mort Briemberg. Writer. Professor at SFU. He and John Cleveland influenced The Grape into becoming The Western Voice. Now at Co-op Radio 102.7 FM (Redeye programme Saturday mornings 9 a.m. to noon; www.coopradio.org) and Douglas College. One daughter.
Ellie Burton. See Ellie Waldman.
Peter R. Burton. Political and labour writer. Named the Georgia Grape. Went on to the Western Voice. Later a labour lawyer in Victoria, BC. Now back in the Vancouver area. Daughter Jessica Burton of the Vancouver Sun.
John Cleveland. Writer. "Political activist since the early 1960s." John was at SFU; now professor of sociology, University College of the Caribou in northern BC.
Barb Cochrane. Writer with The Grape.
Pierre Coupey. One of the first organizers of the Georgia Straight. First co-editor. Also did layout and collages. After leaving McLeod, starts up The Western Gate, which lasts two issues. He then started the literary journal, The Capilano Review: www.thecapilanoreview.ca. If you want an insider's view on the infamous "split, Pierre outlines Dan McLeod's betrayal of the original collective owners and their principles in his article "Straight Beginnings: The Rise & Fall of the Underground Press", printed in The Grape #8, March 8, 1972. That two-page spread is now available by e-mail from Korky Day. Pierre is a Capilano College (North Vancouver) professor of humanities. Also a painter. www.coupey.ca.
Barb Coward. Writer, editor, and layout artist with the Grape and Western Voice collectives. Now teaches ESL at Douglas College. Still partner to Steve Garrod.
Rhonda Cramer. Teen-age cashier at the Straight. Barry's daughter (see "Obits" at end). Her late brother Gary Cramer was a guitarist and singer in the psychedelic rock band Brain Damage.
Grant Crawford. Staff cartoonist and illustrator.
Dara Culhane. Writer. Sometimes credited as Dara Culhane Speck. Lived in a house on East 20th Avenue with Peter Burton, Ellie Burton, Rod Mickleburgh, and Jeff Marvin (Obits). Later adopted two children. Her mother, the late Claire Culhane, was a famous advocate of prisoners' rights who wrote a book about not being allowed to visit convicts in the local prisons (BC Pen and Oakalla), Barred from Prison. Her mother's earlier famous book was Why Canada Is in Vietnam. Dara's sister, Siobhan Culhane, used to do a Celtic programme at Co-op Radio. Dara's three books (as Dara Culhane and/or Dara Culhane Speck): Error in Judgement: The Politics of Medical Care in an Indian/White Community 1988. The Pleasure of the Crown: Anthropology, Law and First Nations 1997. In Plain Sight: Reflections on Life in Downtown Eastside Vancouver (with Leslie Robertson) 2005.
Ann Daskal. Writer. From USA. Later on the staff at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. See also Tony Tugwell (Obits).
Korky Day. Full name Kirk Norman Day. Pen names: Mr. Natural, Korky Gay, and Amanda Coleslaw (a take-off on a pen name of B. Robinson). "Wacko nudist & perennial hippy." Came to Canada from California as a Viet Nam War resister in 1968. Before being let onto the staff, he sold the Straight on the street for about a year, earning a modest living at it. Around February 1969 was arrested and charged for selling the Georgia Straight in Richmond, BC: "possession of obscene matter with intent to distribute". The RCMP didn't even look into the paper before arresting him. Later they found that all they could object to legally in that issue was the language in a cartoon. It was by Gilbert Shelton about Billy Graham preaching Christianity to the hippies in Haight Ashbury, San Francisco, California. The stoned hippies were saying in response to Graham, "Far f*cking out, man!". The case was thrown out of court. Always haranguing the staff to try selling papers to real people on the street in order to get in touch with the realities of our readers. Wrote about nudism, asbestos dangers, dope (against it), gays. Edited "Headlines", the calendar of events in the Straight. Edited our directory of community help organisations called "Help!", "Help Yourself!". Started Allies Newspaper (1992-1996, circulation 35,000) to try to revive and improve on the form and practice of the Georgia Grape. Now a Green Party activist, Co-op Radio 102.7 FM broadcaster (Armenian Variety Show, Tuesdays 6-7 p.m.), Web site developer, and born-again practicing monogamist. www.korky.ca Korky pix by Vlad Keremidschieff in 1970.
William Deverell. Lawyer who defended the Georgia Straight. Bill later was an NDP MLA for Strathcona neighbourhood in Vancouver and a best-selling crime fiction author. Lives on Pender Island.
Rick Doucet. Grape distribution guy?
Rob Driediger. Paid to do lay-out for the Georgia Straight and refused to do anything else.
Joe Ellis. Early business manager of the Straight. He also laboured renovating old Gastown buildings in the 1960s, 1970s.
Eric Freeman. Worked on the Georgia Straight in the first year, 1967. Said to be a music composer.
Fred Flores. Was he in sales for the Straight or the Grape? I think he worked for one of these papers, says Mike Quigley.
David Garrick. Pen name: Walrus Oakenbridge. Possibly involved with Greenpeace. Worked with Earth Embassy. Later a staffer of NDP MP Jim Fulton. Later was executive director of the David Suzuki Foundation.
Steve Garrod. Writer, editor, and layout artist for the Grape and Western Voice. Currently teaching in a program for First Nations kids in the downtown eastside. Still partner of Barb Coward.
Toni Gatland. Co-wrote article "Red whitewash" about First Nations struggles in Georgia Grape #1.
Brian Giles. Georgia Straight advertising manager, astrology columnist, and reporter. Tried to prevent the split. Later an NDP candidate in the provincial Garibaldi riding. Still with the NDP. Married. Now a realtor? See also John Webb below. Lives in Campbell River.
Rick Gordon. Writer, editor and layout artist extraordinaire for the Grape / Voice. Now teaches philosophy at Langara College.
Tony Grinkus. Listed as a contributor in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. One of the Georgia Straight editors in the first few issues.
Hank Harrison. A contributor to the Straight in the early 1970s, though maybe not until 1972, after the split. Author of a biography of the Grateful Dead: The Dead: A Social History of the Haight-Ashbury Experience; and/or The Dead Book: A Social History of the Grateful Dead, 1973. Father of Courtney Love.
Sylvia Hawreliak. Writer about prostitutes' rights.
Tracy Hearst. Nickname: "Racey". Rock concert photographer. Last sighted as a window display and/or textiles artisan living on Bowen Island.
Peter Hlookoff. Second ever organizer of the Georgia Straight. Worked as a stevedore in Vancouver. Now in Grand Forks.
Alison Hogan. Worked briefly as a layout volunteer for The Grape.
David Jones. Wrote "Clubs", about local nightclubs, in Georgia Grape #1.
Jim Jones. Georgia Grape cartoonist. Drew Disney-like animals. Maybe from the USA. Mike Quigley: "Don't laugh, in one of the few issues of the paper I kept there is a "review" of some revival meeting at John Oliver High School which was led by THE Jim Jones [Jonestown, Guyana, massacre]. The guy writing this review seemed to think that JJ wasn't such a bad guy!"
Claude Jordan. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight 1967.
Rob Joyce. Contributor for Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE). Now a West End realtor.
John Kelsey. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967.
Vlad Keremidschieff. Photographer. His credits read simply "Vlad", short for Vladimir. We think Mike Quigley worked with this guy on the Province, with the two of them went to numerous events together, including the Seattle Pop Festival. He currently lives in Sidney, Australia, and still has all his old photos.
Rick Kitaeff. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. Lives in Seattle.
Robert Klein. Photographer. Also a writer? Rob took that defiant staff portrait in the Straight / Georgia Grape office at 56A Powell Street, Vancouver, which appeared on page 3 of the Georgia Grape #1. (If anyone wants a high-rez scan of the pic, just ask for it.) Later with an east side community weekly newspaper. Early Internet user. Now a commercial photographer and courier driver.
Louise Lamont. Subscriptions.
Laurier Lapierre. Writer for pre-split Straight. Later host of CKVU-TV's news/evening show. Now a Canadian Senator!
Fred Latremouille. Radio DJ and sometimes music writer. Started with the paper around Straight #7, according to writer Ron Verzuh. "Hired to do a Beatles interview -- and botched it", says Rick McGrath. Has a winter home in Hawaii, where he hosted BC Premier Gordon Campbell on the evening of the latter's 2003 drunk driving arrest while visiting Fred and Kathy Baldazzi on Maui. Now back on the air on Clear FM in Vancouver.
John N. Laxton. Lawyer for some of the nasty trials the Straight went through. Represented Dan McLeod in the internal staff split of 1972.
Ken Lester. Writer and organizer. Grape benefactor. Helped organize the 1971 Grasstown Smoke-In, which turned into the famous police riot, which led to the political success of TEAM and COPE in the subsequent Vancouver elections. (More under E. Sommer.) During the Grape days, Ken also started Terminal City Express weekly newspaper with Bob Mercer (no connection to the Terminal City Weekly newspaper of the 1990s and 2000s). Even later, maybe late 1970s, Ken went back to the Straight for a while, writing and editing. Ken is mentioned in Joey Shithead's book (I, Shithead: A Life in Punk by Joe Keithley, now in paperback 2004).
Peggy Lester. Previous surname Simpson. Writer and lay-out. A full-page nude photo of her, Ken Lester and their baby girl was on the back page of the Grape, probably of section 2, which was titled Better Days. Now married to Bill Kelton.
Glenn Lewis. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight 1967. Has plant nursery in Roberts Creek, BC.
Sonny Pat Lewis. For a long time now has been "Sunny Lewis". Born and raised in New York City. Writer. Part of the women's occupation of the Georgia Straight. Then became a reporter for CFUN radio in Vancouver. Then started Environment News Service (in the 1980s?), which now e-publishes daily to 112,000. She is also on the air at Hawaii Public Radio where you can view a recent picture and listen to her latest 10 reports on the website. Lives in Honolulu with husband and ENS business partner Jim Crabtree. As "S.P. Lewis", published Grace, a biography of Grace Woodsworth MacInnis, the first BC woman to sit in the Canadian Parliament. Harbour Publishing, 1993. Now editor in chief, Environment News Service (www.ens-newswire.com) and also Environment Reporter, Hawaii Public Radio (www.hawaiipublicradio.org)
John Ley. Photographer; did distribution with his VW van. John Webb thinks Ley worked with the Straight before the split, then went with D. McLeod's faction. Ley writes recently that he was with the Straight 1971 and 1972, which might have been both before and after the split. Waiting for clarification. Lives in Monterey, CA, running John Ley Tree Service.
Donna Liberson. Women's take-over issue. Mike Quigley remembers fondly: "When one of the typesetting machines broke down during the women's occupation, they called me to fix it (which was a real desperate measure, since they were not letting men into the office at all!). As I did this, Donna sang, "It's so nice to have a man around the house..." Pix above shows Donna being apprehended by security guards at a 1971 fashion show. She had a leather shop on Water Street called "Leather and Things". The shop was advertised in the Straight and/or Grape. Donna is critical of the SPCA, and passionately despises the sham and scam and cruelty of the SPCA and does what she can to make the public aware. Involved with the rescue of stray cats. Now she is a realtor.
Joy Long. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. Lives in West Vancouver.
Mick Lowe. Back-to-the-land column "Tribes by Mason Dixon". Other pen-name "John Reed". The column was later taken over by Alice Too. From the USA. Alive and well in Sudbury, Ontario. Mick wrote: "Watch out always for Bob Sarti in the nom de plume dept. I suspect...Ed Averill. That slippery character had more noms de phonies than the average 16-year-old has e-mail accounts!" Opening quote lyric on his Web site is from "like an angel passing through my room" by Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus (half of ABBA), 1981. Any of you easy listening mavens out there might like the CD. It's on "For the Stars: Anne Sofie von Otter meets Elvis Costello"; it comes highly recommended.
John Lyle. "The singing postman." He wrote some record reviews and was interviewed by McGrath.
Mary Mailer. Front-desk cashier and general help-about-the-shop.
Ted Mann. Vancouver writer Terry Klein says (2006) that he "always was, in the years I knew him, a thoroughly decent person who treated everyone with respect and generosity." He produces, writes scripts, and acts in the HBO series “Deadwood”, about a lawless 1877 Western town.
Drena McCormick. Writer? Longtime feminist and union activist currently working at Douglas College, and still partner of Guy Pocklington. Living in East Vancouver. Grown son.
Leo McGrady. Writer and lawyer who helped with legal harrassment by the government. Leo wrote a column called ‘The Bar Tender’ -- legal advice on a civil disobedience, drug laws, etc. -- from 1968 to about 1971. He was one of a number of lawyers who ran a legal aid clinic out of the Georgia Straight offices during the days before any organized legal aid. Some of Leo's civil disobedience material was later turned into a 20 page guide to civil disobedience, which is posted on Leo's website, www.mbwlaw.ca under publications. Before the split Leo juniored John Laxton and also acted alone as counsel for the Georgia Straight. Once the split happened, Leo began to act for the Grape exclusively.
Rick McGrath. Pen Name: McDog, and about 40 zillion other crazy nicknames invented by Mike Quigley. Georgia Straight entertainment editor & rock critic 1970-1972. Georgia Grape rock critic & benefit organizer, 1972. Terminal City Express writer, 1972-1973. Following the demise of the underground press Rick became a journalist for a few years before moving into advertising as a copywriter and then creative director. Now retired, Rick has become an archivist of the late JG Ballard, maintaining a large JGB website and tending what may be the world's largest collection of Ballard first editions & archival memorabilia. Rick also writes for a genre movie site called Quiet Earth. He sometimes pretends to be a photographer and video artist.
Kevin Dale McKeown. Pen name: QQ. Wrote "QQ Writes Page 69" column in the Straight from June 1970 to April 1974, except for a brief hiatus when the Gay Liberation Front bullied the Straight collective (still gun-shy after the then-recent women's takeover) into dropping the column for being too gossipy and insufficiently political. QQ's column was the first gay journalism in western Canada and maybe the first in Canada, if you don't count "Duke Gaylord" in Toronto's scandal tabloid Tab International, which was said to be ghost-written by staff members. Kevin: "Speaking of those crash pad days, I also shared the digs above 56A Powell Street briefly with Doug Bennett (of Doug and the Slugs, who first joined the Straight after the split). Doug amused m'self and a thousand or so others one night at a Doug and the Slugs concert by introducing me from the stage as 'the only man I've ever slept with!' Well, futons were in short supply!" Proprietor of Arcanum Books, until 2006 at 317A Cambie Street, Vancouver; Web site www.arcanumbooks.com. Also an arts event publicist as PublicityPlus Event Marketing www.publicityplus.ca.
Dan McLeod. Pen name: Paul Tarasoff. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight 1967. One of 20 contributors mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. Dan graduated from Kitsilano High School, then studied mathematics and meteorology at UBC. Was a math teaching assistant there while working on his Masters degree. Still Owner/Publisher/Editor of The Georgia Straight. With Yolanda Stepien, Dan has two grown children. Stepien is distribution director of the Straight, and Matt is the current art director.
Michael McLure. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. A significant San Francisco poet, but he has no real connection to the Straight except as one of the early people we published. He didn't participate in the making of the paper at all, and might not even remember it. Still in San Francisco.
Bob Mercer. Writer, son of a preacher man, graduate of SFU left (PSA undergrad, SDU, member of "The 114" arrested for SFU administration building occupation, later part of comedy political party NLF/YIP (Northern Lunatic Fringe of the Youth International Party), author/artist of two SFU Comix circulated in buildup to 1969 student strike, creator of The Little Man cartoon character. As a member of the Vancouver Street Theatre busted in Stanley Park in 1969, netting a Georgia Straight cover story, his first contact with the paper. In 1970, founding member of Yellow Journal collective (he proposed the name and logo) and authored the slogan in the first issue's centrefold poster, "We're out to smash capitalism and we mean business!" At YJ did editing and layout, also contributing comic strips under the pen name Gloria Mundi (Latin for "earthly treasures"). One Gloria Mundi strip was reprinted in the Women's Rat, a women-only iteration of the underground paper New York Rat that was foremother of the women-occupied Georgia Straight. As a member of Vancouver Yippie!, helped organize, among other actions, the 1970 Blaine Invasion (Invade Amerika!"), a response to the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. After YJ folded, Bob was recruited by Ken Lester to join the Georgia Straight, where he wrote under the pen name Mousey Tongue, briefly covering the nascent Vancouver Tenants Union among other topics. Was not part of the collective immediately prior to the Straight / Grape split but returned for early issues of The Grape, doing layout. Had a brief post-split stint as Straight art director under editor Allan Earle circa 1975, then two stints as editor, 1977-79 and circa-1984-86, including part of a late-1970s period when Dan McLeod dropped the Georgia Straight name entirely and renamed the paper Vancouver Free Press. Bob then was hired away to edit Vancouver Magazine branchplant Calgary Magazine, then in 1987 replaced Vancouver founding editor Malcolm Parry. Fired from "Vanmag" in 1989, joined The Province as Design Editor, later laid off, then rehired as copy editor. Took early retirement in 2003, now receives $288 monthly pension cheque from the sons of Izzy Asper. "Editor/designer/theorist," separated, father of three, now a sessional instructor of magazine publishing in SFU's School of Communication. Deceptively, wrote this proto-obituary of himself in the third person. Caveat emptor. Lives near Trout Lake in East Van, where he is a recent convert to gardening under the excuse of "pimping my yard." Since January '07 Bob had been editor/art director of Vancouver city magazine VLM (the magazine formerly known Vancouver Lifestyles). In a profiled posted by mag industry newsletter Mastheadonline.ca Bob claimed VLM stood for "Vancouver Liberation Magazine," but then admitted he was just kidding.
John Mills. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight 1967. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. SFU English professor at the time.
Leonard Minsky. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. English literature professor at SFU; left to join the GVRD Planning Department.
Helen Mintz. With the women's takeover issue? A member of the Western Voice collective in the early 70's, working mainly as a writer. Now a well-known professional storyteller in Vancouver: mainly Yiddish stories, many of which she translates.
Jeannine A. Mitchell. Pen-name Pamplemouse. Funny ("re-use your toilet paper"), practical, and insightful columnist. Later seen at Co-op Radio. Still later sold Family Pastimes Games. Mike Quigley writes: "She was working in magazines in Hong Kong, then in Toronto for a financial magazine run by the Financial Post, where she was doing financial audits of major corporations. Eventually she and all the people that she worked with got turfed. Then she was an aide to the NDP government in Ontario; she says she didn't support anything terrible; she was always recommending environmental stuff like investing in ethical funds. A great article "The Funnybone Movement" by Jeannine spotted in Shared Vision magazine 2004. Grown daughter Robin.
David Mole. Writer? In Georgia Grape #1 staff photo and list.
Nancy Naglin. Wrote "Exiles take a stand" about USA war resisters, in Georgia Grape #1.
Brian Nation. In charge of distribution for some time, also did some jazz writing. Brian wrote to me: "I've been thinking lately about writing about my own involvement in the Straight/Grape affair, so coming on your page is timely. I sided with Dan, and have questioned that decision every since. Not that I think about it all the time, but you know what I mean." Brian has a website at http://boppin.com
Al Neil. Literary writer and jazz musician. His autobiography ran over many issues of the Straight, one full page each issue, during 1971. Recently he was feted at Grunt Gallery. Now a reclusive neighbour of Bob Sarti. Al says to keep in touch: telephone 604-255-8851. Has no e-address. McGrath interviewed Al in 1972.
Sharma Oliver. Writer and lay-out. From Montana; now in Seattle, WA. Married Michael Decker. One grown daughter.
Julie Palmer. Circulation department.
Stan Persky. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight 1967. Reappeared after the split. Political writer. Later with UBC, CBC, an author, and a world traveler. Lost election as UBC chancellor. Has written on Polish "Solidarity" and gay topics. Amazon lists many books by him. Is currently published by New Star Books and has been teaching philosophy at Capilano College for 20 years.
Guy Pocklington. Writer. Also Co-op Radio. Still partner of Drena McCormick. Grown son. Living in East Vancouver.
Lillian V. Poirier. Wrote article "School rots your teeth" in the Georgia Grape #1.
Liora Proctor. Married name Liora Salter. Writer. Grape stalwart. She also founded Co-op Radio with her spouse Rick Salter, Tony Tugwell (Obits, below), and Art Hister -- the CBC physician and writer. Korky Day: "One of our cleverest triumphs at the Georgia Grape was when we got offered a full-page ad from the federal government's grant agency LIP (Local Initiative Project). Some of our Georgia Grape owners didn't want to take that filthy capitalist money, but we decided to run the ad -- but facing a brilliant look-alike parody of the ad by Liora. Kind of a prelude to Adbusters magazine. Now an SFU Communications professor.
Michael J. Quigley. Reviewer of classical music; speed typesetter. Solo picture of him gleefully typesetting is on the front of Georgia Grape #1. Rick McGrath says of him: "Still a musical genius. Mike used to take sheet music to symphony concerts and check to see if the orchestra screwed up. We had a lotta fun doing rock star interviews together. If he wanted a break from typesetting, he'd just go into overdrive & type so fast the old Friden would seize up and he'd have to stop for 10 minutes to let them cool off." Used to spike the sleazy classifieds with made-up ads for "Sheba the Shepherd" or the vegetarian porn film, "How to Stuff a Wild Zucchini". Rand Holmes (Obits, below) did a cartoon of Mike (as Mickey Mouse) at a grand piano. www.mjq.net.
Duncan Raeside. Helped with "security", we think. Big guy, around 6' 6" tall. One of the rare long-hairs at the time who loved to play football. Bob Sarti writes: now married to a Disney exec in California.
Carol Reid. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. According to her, though, she never did contribute in any way, though she and her partner knew or know most of the early contributors. Partner of Jamie Reid, who organised the Be-Ins in Stanley Park. They live in North Vancouver.
Shelley Reitberger. In Georgia Grape #1. Perhaps also with the women's takeover issue. She dated Tony Tugwell (Obits).
Davy Rippner. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight 1967. At the time was also the Leathersmithe. Now in northern California. He writes: "Hi, chums. Alas, I was just a fascinated and excited supporter and hanger-on. I attended one or two meetings but wasn't really involved, short of hanging out with good friends Pierre Coupey and Rick & Annie Kitaeff. Lots of familiar names and reminiscences, so thanks for including me in the ancient gossip-fest." Lives in the hills above Garberville, California. Looking to return to BC -- Saltspring Island.
Bob Rosen. USA war resister. As a member of the Western Voice collective in the early 1970's, he wrote, typeset, edited the "Cheap Thrills" page, and sold ads for the Grape, later the Western Voice. "I went on to a career in teaching where I was a long-time activist in the Surrey Teachers Association and BCTF. Currently retired and living in Vancouver."
Don Rosenbloom. Lawyer for the Georgia Grape. Helped the Wreck Beach Defence Fund nudists in 1970 and is still helping the successor group, the Wreck Beach Preservation Society (www.wreckbeach.org).
Robert A. Rouda. Jazz reviewer. Intense jazz reviewer.
Dan Rubin. Writer. Musician and maybe Grape lay-out artist. His house on McSpadden Street was used for lay-out for a few issues of The Grape in 1972. (We also worked out of space above the Anchor nightclub, 95 Powell Street, before we got our office at 324 Powell Street.) He or someone by his name writes for the People's Weekly World in the USA.
Bob Sarti. Prolific writer. Used pen-names, such as E. Averill. From the USA. His father fought the fascists in the Spanish Civil War. Reporter for the Vancouver Sun for many years. He might have taken a buy-out there at some point. Jackie Weller: "When the editors at the Sun saw Bob Sarti's in that picture of the collective at the Grape [first edition, page 3], they stopped giving him good articles to write, relegating him to minor stuff. It was too bad, as he was a good reporter." With Marilyn Sarti had a son, Doug Sarti, who is ad services supervisor at the Straight. Bob volunteers at the Carnegie Centre, 401 Main Street. Partner "Muggs" Sigurgeirson.
Mark Ivor Satin. Writer. Organized houses for USA draft resisters like himself. Author of the popular book New Age Politics (1976), which he laid out himself in our Georgia Grape office at 324 Powell Street. Wrote other books, such as Manual for Draft-age Immigrants to Canada, 1968. His latest is The Radical Middle.
Eugene Schoenfeld, MD. "Dr. HIPpocrates" syndicated column of "hip" medical advice. An M.D. in Berkeley, CA. Worked at the famous Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, as did the now famous author Dr Andrew Weil. Some factual sexual discussion in Schoenfeld's column was the subject of criminal charges against the Straight. He has a website: http://www.eugeneschoenfeld.com
Jerry Silver. Wrote for the Terminal City Express.
Sid Simons. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. Practicing law in Vancouver as Sidney B. Simons.
Gregg Simpson. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. Lives on Bowen Island.
Bob Smith. Writer, layout. Long-haired jovial guy. Korky Day: "I once rode with this guy [on his motorcycle] to SFU carrying the rolls of yellow Friden Justowriter tape so we could print the Grape on their photo-typesetting equipment. He later became a BC Hydro bus driver. He was kind to people who couldn't pay." Probably was with 3 Cent Pulp, too (later Pulp Press, now Arsenal Pulp Press). Ann Daskal says he is still around, had been a city bus driver for quite a while, politically involved. He has at least one child.
Eric Sommer. Writer. From USA. He and Ken Lester were two of the main organizers of the Grasstown Smoke-In, summer, 1971. Jacki Weller: "[Lester and Sommer] were blamed for the ensuing police riot. In the whitewash government inquiry several months later, the judge called Ken and Eric "the two most dangerous men in Canada", which was ironic since the protest was peaceful and it had been the police who had rioted! That's when I found out that the RCMP Red Squad had recordings somewhere of phone conversations I had with Eric, because I was involved with him at the time and they'd been tapping his phone for months." In mid-1980s, Eric had a company which sold computer disk programmes. Maybe still teaching English in Japan. Bob Sarti, though, says he does so in China.
Allan (Al) Sorensen. The Straight's first rock 'n roll writer, then entertainment editor. Wrote a column called "Poppin" and interviewed a number of music greats, including Eric Burdon, The Velvet Underground, Johnny Cash and Mitch Ryder. After leaving the Straight in 1970 Allan married CKLG FM jock Sharon Edwards and had four children, one of whom is in the movies, with roles in Mutant X and Cold Squad. Allan currently lives in Toronto. In 2007, and possibly because of this web site, Allan was re-united with another of his children, Serenity, born to him and Christine Bennet-Clark in 1969. They had not seen each other since that year.
David Spaner. Did some writing and layout in The Grape. Yippie. Co-founded The Open Road newsjournal with fellow Yippies Ken Lester, Bob Mercer and Bob Sarti. Later he was manager of the punk band The Subhumans and put on gigs under the name Ed Sullivan Productions. ("Ed Sullivan presents . . . the Dead Kennedys.") Movie critic at the Vancouver Province, often writing about the independent-film scene. Author of Dreaming in the Rain: How Vancouver Became Hollywood North by Northwest.
Ed Starkins. Georgia Straight writer 1970.
Michael Szasz. Reviewed the play "Crabdance" in Georgia Grape #1.
Nancy 'Mouse' Taylor. She was present at most Straight meetings and functions (indeed at any function at all) usually seated demurely at Dan's side, or at his feet. She did a fair bit of work around the office, no writing but plenty of scut work like sorting, collating and bundling. Dan replaced her with Cyndi Whyte.
Dave Taube. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967.
Alice Too/Tooo/Two. Pen-name of Ken Lester for the "Tribes" column after "Mason Dixon" (Mick Lowe) stopped writing it. Alice Too was listed as one of the owners in Georgia Grape #1. However, "Tribes" by "Alice" appeared in the February 17, 1972 Georgia Straight just after the split. Please clarify if you know more.
Kirk Tougas. Film critic in the Straight, filmmaker. Managed Pacific Cinematheque lfor many years.
Vince Venditti. "Scandal research".
Ellie Waldman. Writer. A.K.A. Ellie Burton (ex-wife of Peter Burton). Daughter Jessica Burton of the Vancouver Sun.
Ken Wallace. Art department, circa 1968.
Paul Watson. Wrote for the Georgia Straight and the Georgia Grape. Greenpeace founding director. One of the first Green Party candidates in Canada: for the Vancouver Park Board, 1984. In 1996, he ran for mayor of Vancouver for the Greens. Now head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which he founded because he had differences with Greenpeace. (See Bob Hunter's great book, Warriors of the Rainbow: A Chronicle of the Greenpeace Movement). Mike Quigley on Watson: "Once he stole a case of cola off a delivery truck parked in front of the Straight office to show how cool he was." Kevin McKeown: "For a year or two (1971-1972) I shared the top floor at 56 Powell Street (above the Straight office at 56A Powell) with a revolving cast of characters, including Sharky Robinson, Rand Holmes (both in Obits below) and Bob Geldof (who joined the Straight after the split and still later became a big rock star). Watson showed up at some point needing a place to crash and I let him do so in my front room. This was before he had discovered Orcas and his cause of the moment was the dictatorship of the Shah of Iran. I remember not being able to shut him up on the subject for even a moment." Watson also wrote favourably about aboriginal activists and maybe got adopted into one of the First Nations. Teaches at a Los Angeles college and is still head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: www.seashepherd.org.
Errol Wayne. Wrote "Mackaseyitis" about Bryce Mackesey and UIC in Georgia Grape #1.
John R. Webb. Music writer who wrote his first story for the Straight the week of the split, then went with Dan McLeod's faction. Wrote on pop music. The Straight was put together on his dining room table for a few weeks after the split. John remembers: "I have always been a lefty, the whole break at the Straight conflicted me at the time, I went along with Mitzi and the folks I was sharing a house with but had a lot of affection for the people on the paper [Grape] though I had a full time day job and was only peripherally involved." Partnered with Mitzi Gibbs in those days. Recently (2004) had good visits with John Ley and Bob Wilcox. He is also in occasional contact with Brian Giles. After moving to Toronto in 1976 and spending time in both the film and music businesses, he was owner-operator of a woodworking business, then moved to Victoria in 1989 and went to work for the provincial government, where he puts broadband into small communities. With Communities and Communications NetWork BC, Ministry of Management Services, Province of British Columbia, Victoria, BC.
Jackie Weller. Writer. She says: "I was one of the leaders of the High School Student Union from 1968 though 1971, which was why I wrote articles about high school issues for the Straight. We were lobbying for basic Bill of Rights rights for minors. I was the editor and publisher of the Inter High newspaper, the underground high school newspaper, which at its peak had a circulation of 20,000. At one point we got some federal grant money and paid off our bill to our printer and typesetter, which allowed us to keep going another year. Being high school students, without money or cars and dependent on our parents, our stock joke was: "The Revolution has been called off because we all had to go home for dinner". I remember being at the old office of the Straight one evening when the paper was being finalized. Everyone was under deadline and rushing to get the paper to bed. In the middle of this chaos someone had dropped off a guy -- a stranger to the staff -- who was having a bad acid trip. He was lying on the floor with his hands in his pants, playing with himself for security. He was talking to the staffers and they were answering him back impatiently and sarcastically. I remember asking Jeannine Mitchell why this guy was there. She was unsympathetic, saying that this kind of thing went on a lot, that the people who dropped him there didn't know where else to take him. I was at one of those decision-by-consensus staff meetings when the Grape first broke away from the Straight. It was terminally long and tedious. One by one, people had to leave. Finally, only some hardcore socialists and I were left. There they were, hours later, still hammering out the correct line. I decided that the reason why the Trotskyists were so good at taking over organizations was that they outlasted everyone else. It was power by attrition. In the intervening years I have worked as a cook in the kitchen of a natural foods supermarket, in nonprofit management, as a minister, psychotherapist and teacher. I am a High Priestess of the Wicca (witch) and have been a psychic for 25 years. I am working on a series of books in the areas of Pagan / Wiccan / Earth Religion Spirituality and Self-Help. I have lived in Colorado (in "the heart of the beast", as Che' said) for 30 years. I am still an activist for feminist, environmental and civil libertarian causes." She dated Korky Day and Eric Sommer.
Cyndi Whyte. Dated Dan McLeod. Did she actually help with the paper, other than errands? We don't remember if she ever voted in meetings. She sided with him at the split. Korky Day says that at an attempted reconciliation meeting she brought stuff and got some Grapers stoned. Kevin McKeown on Cyndi: "The first time I ever had sex in the backseat of a car was one rainy night in Stanley Park in Cyndi's black Ford Falcon (not with her!), which she had lent me when she first went off to Paris to become a famous fashion model. We knocked the car out of "park" and rolled back into a ditch, leading to much "busyiness". You didn't need to know any of this but I'm having fun with the memories!" Her mother, Kayce Whyte, was a reporter for the Vancouver Sun and author of a yellow do-it-yourself book on divorce sold at the Georgia Straight office.
Bob Wilcox. Lay-out artist. Worked with the Straight before the split, then went with Dan McLeod's faction. Now a graphic artist in Toronto.
Ellen Woodsworth. Probably part of the Women's Issue. Definitely a feminist. Her grandfather Harold was a brother of J.S. Woodsworth, who started the CCF. Her father was Ken Woodsworth. Her parents were socialists who were persecuted for signing the Stockholm Peace petition and supporting the CCF. Her cousin Grace Woodsworth MacInnis (daughter of J.S. Woodsworth) was the first BC woman elected to the federal Parliament. Served on Vancouver City Council 2002 to 2005 for COPE.
George. "George" was an amusing nick-name for a young woman. She and Rob Driediger did lay-out for the Georgia Straight.
Peter. Russian or Ukrainian surname? Distribution?
Wasp. Presumably a pen-name or nick-name. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. Pierre Coupey, who put Wasp's name on the poster, can't recall ever meeting the person or even knowing whether Wasp was male or female.
NO LONGER WITH US
Milton Acorn. Famous Canadian poet; one of the Georgia Straight founders. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. Contributed the most initial money.
Steve Brown. Pen-name Estevan Pardo (Espanol for Stephen Brown). Probably also a Sun reporter. Friend of Bob Sarti. Later edited a West Side community paper. His daughter writes: "Hi Rick, Great page on the underground press and the struggle for collective ownership of the Straight. I never knew about any of this. My dad was Steve Brown - he had another pen name in the Straight - Veritas - he died in 1997 and the West side community paper he published/edited was called The Vancouver Herald. It's fascinating to get a glimpse of that time... Makes me feel more connected to my dad. Thanks so much, Gillian Brown"
Barry Cramer. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight 1967. Straight finance guy, dad of Rob Cramer. Was training to be a teacher. Barry died around 1971. His son, Gary Cramer, of the rock band Brain Damage, died in 2006.
Bob Cummings. Pen-name Wanis Kouri. On the first Greenpeace voyage for the Georgia Straight. Columnist wrote the hilarious column "The Addled Retirwepyt" (Retirwepyt is typewriter backwards). Also wrote the wild "Occasional Nothings", which were news bits with his very funny spin added. He was always joking and laughing. Probably quit the Straight before the split to work with Greenpeace. His "Occasional Nothings" evolved into "Piffle Canada", a column in the theatre programme Playbill.
Fred Davidoff. Photographer. He worked in the printing department at the Workers Compensation Board for a number of years in the late 70's then moved up to the Kootenay's to be closer to family, changing his name to Dave. He was with Sears in Trail for a while then moved to a farm halfway between Nelson and Castlegar where he lived for about 10 years. In early 1996 he suffered a massive heart attack and died a few days later in hospital.
Kim Foikus. Kim is short for Joachim. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight 1967. Later was Vancouver's official Town Fool on a federal government Canada Council grant. He passed in 2008.
Mitzi Gibbs. Worked with the Straight probably before (but not at the time of) the split, then worked with Dan McLeod's faction. Melissa (Mitzi) Gibbs passed away in November, 2006, in her sleep. Mitzi, who had been in bad health for quite a while, was known to many jazz and rock musicians in Vancouver. In the 1950s, in her teens, she showed up at the old Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver and was adopted by people like Barry Cramer (father of Dylan and Gary) and P.J. Perry. In the early 70's she lived with singer Jesse Winchester and later, the recently departed Billy Cowsill. She was a great friend of Long John Baldry. John Webb writes: "During the Straight office occupation, which excluded McLeod and his allies, the [Georgia Scab] was put together in a large house on West 7th Avenue in Fairview Slopes where a bunch of them lived. Mitzi pulled that together. She has a lot of charisma and she did administrative stuff, got people involved. She never wrote or had specific journalistic responsibilities. Mitzi was really involved before the break. I lived with her at the time and she was obsessed with the Straight. The rest of us were much more blasé. She was an old friend of Dan so was very loyal to him. The rest of us more or less followed her. I remember having a lot of respect for the breakaway group but not having the same amount of history and seeing it as the political struggle." Photo: Brian Nation
Gerry Gilbert. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight 1967 April. Poet. Later at Co-op Radio, had poetry programme called radiofreerainforest for about 20 years. Published BC Monthly until his death in 2009.
Rand Holmes. Probably the greatest and most famous Canadian "underground" cartoonist. Wrote and drew the Harold Hedd series. Some of our women staffers objected to one panel of that one which showed a woman's breasts. Rand reluctantly re-wrote and re-drew that panel, which still portrayed breasts, but in a more acceptable way to the women. Rand also drew Korky Day's idea on our double-size cover showing Vancouver in the future full of freeways, which helped us stop the actual freeway from going through the Strathcona-Chinatown neighbourhood on Prior Street. His cartoon of gay male sex (1971) caused us legal problems. College Printers wouldn't print it unless we censored the erect penis, which McLeod did with black cat symbols (the ones used then for restricted movies). Rand's weekly full-page cartoon Harold Hedd was the most popular part of the Straight at the time of the split. Rand drew the cover for the famous book by Mark James Estren, A History of Underground Comics. Unfortunately, the latest edition of the book has a different (inferior) cover. Later he taught art at Langara College in Vancouver. Harold Hedd collections are still sold.
Bob Hunter. Did he write for the Straight? Maybe after the split? See mention of his book under P. Watson. Died May, 2005, in his mid 60s.
Jeff Marvin. Wrote column about Quebec. Mountain climber. One of the initial office occupiers during the split. Died early 1970s.
Jack Moore. An "editor" and contributor under pen-names such as H.B. Pencil in 1970 and 1971. Went back to Hong Kong in the late 1980s after stints at various local weeklies and some broadcast work.
Harry Rankin. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. We ran his syndicated column as a COPE Vancouver city councillor, possibly the biggest [only?] paper to do so. His son Phil was elected to the school board. Had another son and a daughter. His cousin is/was on Burnaby city council. Died 2003? Widow is Connie Fogal-Rankin, former COPE parks board commissioner, now leader of the Canadian Action Party.
Brad Robinson. As "Engledink Birdhumper" wrote the column "Let It Breed". Other pen-name Armando Collishaw. A literary type. Also reported on the Cosmic League (softball) in Vancouver. Reported on the Grasstown Riot in 1971 summer. In the 1970s he worked for the Comox Valley Star and Campbell River Mirror and published Robinson's Fortnightly. The Fortnightly gave him both an unfettered platform for lobbing pithy broadsides at the powers-that-be and a vehicle for publishing his novella, The Stiff in a Country Cadillac. In the mid-1970s Brad was a deckhand on the Sechelt Queen, a ferry that ran from Little River to Powell River. He later worked as a carpentry apprentice, teaching him the skills that allowed him to make a good living for the next 20 years. Brad moved to Toronto in the mid-1980s. His most productive years as a tradesman, specializing in porch and stairway construction, followed. He also met and married Elizabeth, who shared his interests in music and literature. Robinson wrote a friend, "We had a truly great romance and I asked her to marry me. We had the best wedding I've ever been to". In 1991, they moved to the Comox Valley and Brad continued to work in construction. After a divorce, Brad earned a certificate in teaching English as a second language, and in 2002 he moved to Thailand. There he taught English at three schools during the next six years. As well as baseball, Brad had a passion for tennis and coordinated the Wombledon tennis tournament in Comox. Under his stewardship as "Papa Doc", the event took place annually for 20 years. Brad was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. He authored numerous works of short fiction and poetry. His publications include The Rainpipe Poems (1970), Thank Goodness You Called (1971), As Far As The Music Will Go (1972), Afternoon Tea (1986), The Point Petre Notes: A Country Journal (1986), and The Walking Wife Series -- A Lunch in Bangkok (2008). Two unpublished manuscripts remain, a book of poetry, Four Decades (1982), and a novel, Isobel Burnett (2009). A full obituary is posted online at www.sgautama.net.
"Sharky" Robinson. Distribution worker. One of the few to stick with D. McLeod after the split.
Elmore Smalley. Confirmed died? Kevin McKeown heard through the old-queens' grapevine that Elmore died a few years ago. Writer? Founded the famous hippie organisation Cool-Aid in Vancouver. Later practiced law.
Irving Stowe. Column "Greenpeace Is Beautiful" in the Georgia Straight in the very early days of environmentalism, 1971. A key founder of Greenpeace; organized the Amchitka Concert (with James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs and Chilliwack) which funded GP's first "direct action". Quaker background. Irving and wife Dorothy, daughter Barbara and son Robert, left Providence, RI for Auckland NZ in 1960, opposed to US President Kennedy's decision to deploy Polaris submarines equipped with nuclear weapons around the globe as a dangerous escalation of the Cold War. Moved to Vancouver in 1966 when NZ sent troops supporting the US-led Vietnam War. Quit the Straight staff (and his column) for his health when the staff voted to continue to allow smoking during staff meetings in our tiny office at 56A Powell Street. Died in 1974 of pancreatic cancer. Widow Dorothy died in 2010 at age 89. Daughter Barbara Stowe, a writer, and son Robert, a neurologist and neuropsychiatrist, still live in Vancouver.
Glenn Toppings. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight 1967.
Tony Tugwell. Writer. Later founded Vancouver Co-operative Radio 102.7 FM. At times boyfriend of Ann Daskal and then Shelley Reitberger. Later joined the Rajneesh movement at their huge pro-sex spiritual commune in Antelope Valley, Oregon. For a while he was quite committed to the group, reflecting his continued quest for, and belief in, alternate communities and social structures.
Jon York. At founding meeting of the Georgia Straight 1967. A contributor mentioned in the poster announcing the launch of the paper in 1967. According to Terry Edwards: Real name John Jepson. He was from Vancouver; born in 1938, died in 1984. Besides the paper, he was an actor, a folksinger, a professional roller derby skater, and a founder of Mental Patients Association. He wore a Darth Vader costume on the street to promote the original Star Wars movie.
HELP US TO FILL IN THE BLANKS
Will you help us with more names, backgrounds, e-addresses, other facts? This is not for inundations of e-mail, just the occasional greeting, question, or invitation to a re-union.
ANYONE INTERESTED IN A REUNION?
Contact either Korky Day or Rick McGrath.
BOOKS ON THE SUBJECT
Underground Times: Canada's Flower-Child Revolutionaries
Deneau Publishers, Toronto, 1989
Korky Day: Ron Verzuh's 1989 book Underground Times: Canada's Flower-Child Revolutionaries is quite good, covering the major underground papers across Canada. Though I think it told about the Georgia Grape, it was, if I remember right, too kind to Dan McLeod. Also, it falsely says that I ran the classifieds department. Even though I was in the telephone book, Ron never called to check.
The Georgia Straight: What The Hell Happened?
Naomi Pauls and Charles Campbell
Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver 1997
Subtitles: "30 Years of Vancouver's Alternate Weekly", and "The Best of The Georgia Straight"
Korky Day: Dan McLeod hasn't matured on the question of his stealing the whole paper from his fellow owners, as evidenced by the phony history book he put out. The book mentioned some of us and our revolt, but "spin-doctored" his theft. It is by Naomi Pauls and titled, The Georgia Straight: What the Hell Happened? (Douglas & McIntyre 1997). In researching the book, the author never contacted me. Did she contact any of the other Grapers? If she did, she doesn't seem to have included their evidence of McLeod's theft and betrayal of the whole community. I don't recognize her name, so maybe she was chosen because she was not around in those days.
Pierre Coupey: There is no truth to the idea circulated in The Georgia Straight: What the Hell Happened? that the newpaper was inspired by Leonard Cohen – a crock if there ever was one.
Bob Mercer: The book was the basis of Naomi's MPub thesis and was likely thought up by Naomi or Charles Campbell, her mentor who assumed editing [the Straight] in 1986 when I went to Calgary Magazine but who stayed something like 12 years before taking a medical leave and returning to be fired.
Rowland Morgan: Hi, Rick, I enjoyed your Georgia Straight Staff page, with all the people written up. One item particularly drew my attention, the reference to the What The Hell Happened? book, which is silent about the years when the Straight was in the doldrums. I don't know whether Dan McLeod fixed it with the authors or not, but I do detect his guiding hand in the censorship of this sem-official corporate history of the paper.
I was a victim of the MSM's vicious exclusionary politics at the time, having committed the crime of going to Victoria to participate in the post-Bennett era NDP reforms as a research officer for the NDP Caucus in the Legislature. I had worked in B.C.'s FP newspapers (the Sun and the Vic Times) for several years, but when I quit the Victoria scene and returned to Vancouver to ask for my job back, the new editor who followed Bill Galt, Ritter I think was his name, told me I would never work in newspapers again because I had worked for the NDP. That was when I offered my services to Dan McLeod.
However, the entire period during which I was editor of the Georgia Straight has been censored out of What The Hell Happened?, including my name and that of advertising director Bruce Striegler and layout man Doug Bennett, who later started the pop group Doug and The Slugs. Among those writing in our pages at the time were Bob Hunter, Gary Bannerman, Ben Metcalfe, Peter McNelly, Daniel Wood, Jack Moore, Geoff Gray-Cobb, Mark Harris, Tom Harrison, Jeani Read, Denny Boyd, Tom Shandel, Bob Cummings, John Haslett Cuff, Bill Nemtin, Ted Laturnus and Maureen Sager. Rand Holmes was doing his best work at the time, and could have become an excellent political cartoonist with the right encouragement. We all put quite a bit of effort into keeping the Straight going at a difficult period in its career and McLoed's censorship of it stinks.
The paper was in big trouble. The Georgia Straight when I edited it was in transition between being a busy collective in its prime and a commercial listings free-rag in its latter decadence (with one progressive article glued on to the front to maintain cred). It still had subscribers and sold copies out of machines on the street and was not a "controlled circulation" freebie. Sales were pretty much dead in the water, except for the hundreds of policemen, security state agents and drug bosses who followed the news stories closely.
This peculiar readership had its uses. Using the pages of the Straight, I was able after several months' intermittent coverage to get the notorious case of Wayne Burtenshaw's murder on Christmas Day in Woodwards Store re-opened by the police. The result was, however, that I was targeted. The Vancouver Sun vindictively pinned the whole story on me on its front page -- thanks, guys! I still believe that Wayne, who sold bags of weed to his friends and therefore had an eye for dope rackets, was murdered by the security people at Woodwards because as a temporary security officer he had found out about their drug importation scam through the Woodwards pharmacy. I still believe this murder was covered up by officialdom because it threatened to blow open the establishment cartel that then ran illegal drugs in Vancouver, and for all I know still does. Southam's Vancouver Province was part of the cover-up, running a rigged photograph on its front page of a sandwich that the patsy, a boy minor whose father was an old lag and police client, was supposed to have left at the scene of the crime. Everything revolved around that murder, it was vital to set up the patsy, who quietly went away to reform school.
In 1976 and '77 the Straight was down to sales of fewer than 2,000 copies a week and was making a loss. As a trained newsman, I held that alternative news stories (like the Burtenshaw case) would still sell the paper, but McLeod (who had named himself proprietor and sole owner and thus controlled the journal) wanted to sell to a pop music readership and get advertising revenues.
Here's the thing: the Georgia Straight would have closed and would be forgotten today if McLeod and I had not subsidised it with a sister publication called the Vancouver Star. The Vancouver Star was a sex newspaper in the days when sex was still controversial, i.e. gays and other minorities needed an outlet for their sexy classified adverts. We sold these classifieds for good money, in addition to which the massage parlours all advertised, and the paper's street sales were brisk. The Vancouver Star made a tidy profit, and McLeod used its revenues to keep the Georgia Straight afloat until he could succeed in switching it to a freebie listings rag.
That trashy sex rag, the Vancouver Star, is not something that multi-millionaire businessman McLeod now cares to remember, so he arranged to have my years editing the Straight and the Star rubbed out of his corporate history.
Rick McGrath: I hear you, Rowland... I was Entertainment Editor for almost three years, interviewed Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Van Morrison -- and did boost the local scene/clubs -- and am not mentioned once. I was also passed over in the FGS's 25th Anniversary issue. It appears the victors do write the history...