Showing 37 results

Person/organization
Simon Fraser University Special Collections and Rare Books

Sidhoo, Ajaib

  • Person
  • 08 Jan 1923 - 22 Feb 2016

Ajaib (Jab) Sidhoo was born on January 8, 1923 in the Punjab, India, when it was still ruled by Britain. Due to his father’s protestation against high British taxes on farmland in India, Jab’s father relocated to Vancouver Island in 1927, where he worked in the Kapoor sawmill. Jab was sent to join him in 1929, accompanied not by family but by another couple from his village.
After a number of years residing amongst the Island’s lumber mills, the Sidhoo family moved to Kitsilano in the late 1930s and Jab attended Kitsilano High School in 1939, where he played on the school rugby team. In 1941, he transferred to Vancouver Technical High School to learn a trade. In 1943 he was one of three students from his class recruited by the Canadian Air Force, becoming one of the first South-Asian Canadians to serve in World War II. He was trained in aircraft maintenance and worked as a fleet mechanic at bases in Caron, Saskatchewan and in the Yukon.
After the war Jab founded East India Traders in Vancouver as a wholesaler for imported carpets and goods. He spent time in India training in the profession, and it was there that he met his future wife Nirmal Dutt (also known as Munni [ca. 1933]). They married in India in 1950 then returned to Vancouver, eventually having two children, Asha and Ravi. Jab’s business also expanded as his client base grew to include hotel chains, banks and other successful professionals. He renamed his business East India Carpets and opened a retail location at 1606 West 2nd Avenue in 1962, where it remains a fixture in the community.
An avid sports fan, Jab was one of the original 100 investors of the BC Lions in 1953 and became a lifelong season ticket holder. He also amassed a considerable collection of football-themed newspapers and magazines, as well as souvenir programs from games in the 1950s and 1960s.
Together, Jab and Munni were active in their community and involved in philanthropic ventures, such as the Ajaib (Jab) and Nirmal (Munni) Sidhoo Charities Fund which sponsors medical scholarships and schools. Munni died on November 14, 2001. Jab passed away on February 22, 2016 at the age of 93. His archive, recently donated to Special Collections and Rare Books by his family, consists of photographs, documents, sports memorabilia, ephemera and objects detailing all aspects of his life as a first generation Canadian, and the communities in which he lived and worked.

Popoff, Eli A.

  • Person
  • 1921-2014

Eli A. Popoff (1921-2014) was born on a farm near the town of Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan and as an adult he moved to Grand Forks in the interior of British Columbia. He was a farmer, carpenter, bookkeeper, writer, community worker, Doukhobor historian, educator, translator, editor of Iskra newsletter, member of the USCC and a family man. Popoff’s contribution includes working as an administrator of the USCC, as a secretary of John J. Verigin and as a primary correspondent of the USCC with individuals or organizations dealing with the Doukhobors from 1970s to 2010s. In 1957, Popoff was a first Doukhobor to hold public office in BC as School Board Trustee in Grand Forks. In 1968, Popoff became a secretary of the Association of Canadians of Russian Descent and helped organized 70th Anniversary of Doukhobors in Canada. Besides being editor of Iskra for two years, Popoff published numerous works on the Doukhobor beliefs and translated various Doukhobor writings, including psalms, hymns, songs, letters and speeches from Russian to English. In relation to Doukhobor songs translation, Popoff collaborated with Kenneth Peacock of the National Museum of Man in Ottawa in order to preserve musical tradition of the Doukhobors. In addition, from 1970s to 1980s Popoff was involved with Selkirk College, BC and gave series of lectures and facilitated discussions on the Doukhobor philosophy and history. Moreover, Popoff edited and translated the proceeding of the Joint Doukhobor Research Committee Symposiums Meetings, 1974-1982 that were published by Selkirk College in 1997. In 1992, he complied and published a collection called Stories From Doukhobor History containing translated articles about the Doukhobors meant to be used as teaching curriculum for children at the Sunday school meetings of the USCC. In 1999, during the Conference on the Doukhobor Centenary at the University of Ottawa, Popoff was awarded with the Institute of Canadian Studies Award for Outstanding Achievement in Canadian Studies.

Neil, Al

  • Person
  • 1924-2017

Al Neil was born in Vancouver, BC in 1924. In 1941, he worked as a surveyor with the Department of Transport, helping to build the wartime airfield at Port Hardy, Vancouver Island. He served in Normandy during the Second World War. After the war Neil worked at a variety of jobs, including clothing salesman, postal clerk, roof tarrer, lighthouse keeper and jazz musician. Neil passed away in Vancouver on November 16, 2017

Al Neil co-founded Vancouver's Cellar Jazz Club in 1952 and performed with artists such as Art Pepper, Conte Candoli and Kenneth Patchen. He married Marguerite Sanders circa 1964; they separated in the early 1970s. During the 1960s and 1970s Neil became known for solo and ensemble performances which combined music with texts, art assemblages, slides and prepared tapes. He performed regularly at the Western Front in the early 1980s, and his collage works were exhibited in galleries such as the Vancouver Art Gallery, Coburg Gallery, and Atelier Gallery.

Neil lives in Vancouver, BC, with his partner and collaborator, Carole Itter. Their Dollarton beach cabin was the last remaining of a number of beach shacks in North Vancouver, and was removed from the waterfront in 2015. As of 2016, a collaboration of grunt gallery, Creative Cultural Collaborations (C3) and Other Sights is working to remediate and repurpose the cabin as a studio for a floating artist residency program.

Neil’s published writings include “West Coast Lokas” (Intermedia 1972), “Changes” (Coach House Press 1975; reprinted by Nightwood Editions in 1989), and “Slammer” (Pulp Press 1981). In 2003, Neil was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Emily Carr University of Art & Design. His work was the subject of a retrospective entitled The Al Neil Project, in 2005, organized in part by grunt gallery. Al Neil’s artwork was featured on the poster for the 2008 Vancouver International Jazz Festival, which included a concert called Homage Collage: Improv for Al Neil. In 2014, Neil received the Vancouver Mayor's Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Twigg, Alan

  • Person
  • 1952-

Alan Twigg was born in North Vancouver, British Columbia in 1952. Since 1987, he has owned and published the newspaper, B.C. BookWorld, Canada’s largest circulation publication about books. In 1985, Twigg co-founded the B.C. Book Prizes, and he was its executive director and
chief fundraiser in the 1990s. He also created the Van City Women’s Book Prize, and coordinated it between 1992 and 2005. Twigg was a representative of the Writers Union of Canada, on the original Board of Directors for the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University. He also served on the boards of the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Committee and the Vancouver Cultural Alliance. He is a founder of British Columbia’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia, which he has also coordinated since 1995. In 1994, he organized events aiming to honor George Woodcock, who was British Columbia’s most prolific man of letters.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Alan Twigg worked as a freelance writer. From 1995 to 1998, he wrote a weekly editorial column for The Province newspaper. He has written for The Quill & Quire, BC Historical News, as a theatre critic for The Georgia Straight, Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Maclean’s, Vancouver Sun, Step and Pacific Northwest Review of Books. Alan Twigg appears frequently as a guest on CBC Radio, and he has been the host of a CBC television series about B.C. authors.

bissett, bill

  • Person
  • 1939-

bill bissett (born William Frederick Bissett, November 23, 1939) is a Canadian poet known for his anti-conventional style. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, bissett (who deliberately does not capitalize his name) attended Dalhousie University (1956) and the University of British Columbia (1963-1965) but dropped out of both universities because of his desire to live as a free agent, writer and painter unencumbered by academic constraints. He did complete course requirements for his two majors in English and Philosophy. He moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1958. In 1963 he started the blew ointment magazine and later launched blewointment press, which has published volumes by Cathy Ford, Maxine Gadd, Michael Coutts, Hart Broudy, Rosemary Hollingshead, Beth Jankola, Carolyn Zonailo, bpNichol, Ken West, Lionel Kearns and D. A. Levy. bissett is based in Vancouver and Toronto, Ontario, alternating between the two cities. He is known for his use of a unique orthography and incorporating visual elements in his printed poetry, and his performance of "concrete sound" poetry, sound effects, chanting, and barefoot dancing during his poetry readings. He has also had large exhibits of his paintings and made audio recordings. He was the lyricist and vocalist in the Ontario band, Luddites. His work typically ranges from the mystical to the mundane, incorporating humour, a sense of wonder and sentimentality, and political commentary.

Emerson Wortis, Ruth

  • Person
  • 16 Mar. 1938 - 13 Sep. 2015

Ruth Emerson (Wortis) was a dancer, choreographer, dance educator, and a pioneer of postmodern dance. She was born in Palo Alto, California on March 16, 1938.
Ruth had her first exposure to dance under the inspiring mentorship of Mim Rosen at University High School in Urbana, Illinois. She was an undergraduate at Radcliffe College, where she spent all her spare time dancing and studied summers at the American Dance Festival in New London, Conneticut with Louis Horst and José Limon. She graduated from Radcliffe in 1958 with a BA in Mathematics. After college, she supported herself by writing school math texts while taking dance classes at the Martha Graham School, the Merce Cunningham Studio, and the Robert Joffrey School of Ballet in New York and performing with the Dancemakers in Boston. In New York she danced with the Pearl Lang Company. She was a founding member in 1962 of the Judson Dance Theatre, pioneers of the formal, minimalist movement style now known as Postmodern Dance.
In 1964, she married theoretical physicist, Michael Wortis, moving first to Berkeley, California, where she danced with Ann Halprin and then to Paris, France, where she performed and choreographed at the Theatre d’Essai de la Dance. From 1968 to 1973, she held a part-time faculty position in the Dance Department at the University of Illinois. She completed an MA in Dance at the University in 1973 under Margaret Erlanger and Jan Stockman Simonds. She founded a dance company, Somedancers, Inc., which performed in Champaign/Urbana from 1974 to 1978. From 1981 to 1987, she taught dance and choreographed musicals at University High School; during this time, she also held a residency at the Radcliffe Institute from 1986-1987.
In the fall of 1987, Ruth, Michael and their two daughters moved to Vancouver, B.C.. She helped to develop the first Provincial Dance Curriculum for B.C. schools under the Provincial Ministry of Education. As a Sessional Instructor at the Centre for the Arts and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Education at Simon Fraser University, she developed and taught a program for student teachers. She also continued to perform and to choreograph locally, offering dance courses at local community centres. She served nationally on the grant selection committee of the Canada Council, Dance Section.
Ruth passed away on September 13, 2015.

Haley, Heather

  • Person

An editor and reviewer for the LA Weekly and publisher of the Edgewise Café, one of Canada’s first electronic literary magazines, Heather Haley’s writing has appeared in numerous print journals and anthologies. In addition to publishing Rattler, a critically acclaimed multimedia arts and literary journal, she is the author of the poetry collections Sideways (Anvil Press), Three Blocks West of Wonderland (Ekstasis Editions), and Skookum Raven (Ekstasis Editions) and the novel The Town Slut’s Daughter, set in Vancouver British Columbia's early underground punk rock scene. Haley has directed numerous videopoems (Dying for the Pleasure, Purple Lipstick and Bushwhack) and official selections at dozens of international film festivals. She also has released collections of spoken word song, Princess Nut, and Surfing Season, under the name AURAL Heather.

Haley was a member of one of Vancouver’s first all-female punk rock bands, the Zellots in the late 1970’s. Following their dissolution, she formed the ‘45s with Randy Rampage of DOA, Brad Kent of the Avengers, and Karla Duplantier of the Controllers and relocated to San Francisco. Later, she formed HHZ—Heather Haley & the Zellots—praised by music critic Craig Lee as one of "Ten Great LA Bands". She has played the Smilin' Buddha Cabaret, Mabuhay Gardens, and Geary Street Theatre (People's Temple) in San Francisco, the Hong Kong Cafe, the Palomino Club, Blackies, Club 88, Club Lingerie and the John Anson Ford Theatre in Los Angeles. Haley currently performs in the indie folk duo, The Pluviophiles, with Keir Nicoll.

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