The Week — Sept. 29

Bubbles of goodwill for Bubbleman, the city gets judgemental on poetry, be ready for the big one and the Ancient Forest Alliance makes nature more accessible

Bubbleman Terry Wilson (left) and Aubergine’s Leon Zetler are taking care of the Fernwood community.

Bubbles of goodwill for Terry

Fernwood’s one and only Bubbleman Terry Wilson still has some sticky details to work out with his living situation, but thanks to one Fernwood business owner, food won’t be one of them.

Wilson, 64, who makes his living by creating those magical bubbles you see around Fernwood, was evicted from his home last August, when a resident complained about his illegal RV set-up in a driveway. As Monday reported in the Aug. 25 issue, Wilson had to seek housing elsewhere, trading his $350-per-month rent for a $875-per-month savings dwindler. This past week, Aubergine Specialty Foods owner Leon Zetler has donated a $100-per-month food voucher to Wilson for a whole year, and challenges other local business owners to do the same.

“Terry is a terrific lad, and a fixture of Fernwood, and we all want to see that he stays around. We have to look after the people in our community,” says Zetler. “I would challenge anyone who can to come forward and help him out.”

Wilson, in typical fashion, says he’s uncomfortable with the idea of charity but hopes that he can find a way to help others with the generous donation.

“I’m shaky around the idea of charity, because I get by just fine. But, if I can’t use everything, I’ll just give it away to other people,” says Wilson. “This is what you do for your family, and everyone is family here.”

This poem doesn’t count?

Victoria will be choosing its new poet laureate in a matter of weeks (applications close Oct. 7), but some artisans and spoken-word fans will be devastated to discover one of Victoria’s best-loved poets isn’t eligible.

Victoria Slam Master Missie Peters — and any other poet who carves out a niche with spoken word and slam poetry — doesn’t count, according to the city’s guidelines, which declare the applicant must be a recognized poet with at least two published poems (and self-publishing is a no go). Peters, a legend in Victoria, has performed in countless competitions around the country and has hosted poetic events from Tongues of Fire slams to the Victoria Spoken Word Festival, to the historic Poetry in the Raw. She has self-published her poetry online (check out missiepeters.com), in word-form, recordings and YouTube videos. But as her website boldly states, “spoken word is meant to be heard.”

“The world has changed since the Poet Laureate program was first launched in 2006 — iPhones allow users to carry HD cameras in their pockets, and the rise of social media has made online promotion vital,” says Peters, adding the rules are “restrictive and antiquated.”

Peters and the Victoria Slam Team have started a petition on her Facebook page and website, asking for signatures to prove Victoria is ready to upgrade its poetic standards. (See petition here.)

“The role of the poet laureate is an honour bestowed on an accomplished poet and, to date, traditional publishing has been considered a valid element in that determination,” says city communications head Katie Josephson. “That said, times are changing and over the next term we will be reviewing the criteria … to challenge ourselves to adapt to the changing definition of publishing.”

Let’s hope it’s in time. Peter’s personal poetic project sums it up best: this is “Not Your Grandma’s Poetry.”

Shaking things up, again

For anyone who’s questioned whether or not they’re ready for The Big One, the Victoria Emergency Management Agency wants you to know there is plenty you can do to prepare for an earthquake.

The group is hosting bi-weekly emergency preparedness workshops throughout the year, and will even come to private businesses to work out a plan.

“I don’t like to see fear mongering; I like to see good information given to people that lets them know how much control you have,” says Rob Johns, emergency coordinator for the city. “You decide if your water tank is tied down, if that bookshelf is secure, if there’s a glass frame by your bed, or a ready-to-go bag by the door.”

To register for an upcoming free workshop, call 250-920-3373, or email vema@victoria.ca.

If that’s not enough nerve-settling, local author Maggie Mooney just released her book, Are You Ready? How to Prepare for an Earthquake — A Four-Week Program to Help You and Your Family Survive. The 160-page book is written Island-specific, and offers illustrated how-to’s for surviving that impending forecast.

Nature: now more accessible

To those looking to spruce up their walls with a little nature (especially in dreary fall weather), the Ancient Forest Alliance has a fundraiser to the rescue.

The AFA Photo Show will be held today, Wednesday, Sept. 28, between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at a private penthouse suite downtown. For location details, call 250-896-4007. On display will be a collection of large and small prints, priced between $50 and $200. Featured images will range from Canada’s biggest trees to coastal landscape views and lush forest scenes, as well as new unreleased images from one of the most unique forests on Vancouver Island.

Can’t make the show? Browse and purchase photographer TJ Watt’s art at utopiaphoto.ca. M

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