Steven R. Duncan's Vancouver Events

Monday, July 09, 2007


On September 7th the artist-run Tin Press will launch Justine Brown’s playful, unsettling novel Spin the Bottle, beautifully illustrated by Fantagraphics comics legend Dame Darcy.

Brown , author of non-fiction books All Possible Worlds (1995) and Hollywood Utopia (2002), has long been fascinated by utopianism. “My parents were hippies,” she says. “I have first hand experience of commune life.” She considers herself part of a “post-utopian” generation.

With Spin the Bottle, Brown turns her attention to the Back-to-the-Land movement which flourished in the 1970s British Columbia, and another part of countercultural life she knows well from personal experience. “The novel shows a lot of it from a child’s perspective—the whole dream of living like pioneers in a hand-built cabin in the forest, without electricity, running water, or any other modern convenience. “It’s kind of a dark comedy,” she remarks, “but there’s a lot of affection there too.”

The novel has historical and supernatural sides as well, dimensions that come out strongly in the gothic ink illustrations contributed by the inimitable California-based Dame Darcy. Mermaids, fairies and phantoms abound, and a whole sub-plot involves the theory that the explorer/ pirate Sir Francis Drake came as far as the unmapped British Columbia coast in the sixteenth century, searching for the fabled Northwest Passage which would take him and his crew back to England.

“Dame Darcy’s enchanted artwork emphasizes my sense of B.C. as a magical geography,” says Brown, “a place where anything is possible.”

Join Justine Brown and other members of the Tin Press for a glass of champagne to celebrate the launch of Spin the Bottle on Friday, September 7t, at Forufera Studio, 505 Hamilton Street (6-8 pm). Brown will present aspects her new work. Also performing will be elegantly humorous poet Alexandra Oliver and musician and painter extraordinaire Kevin House.

For more information, contact Steve Duncan at 604-788-8340

Check out the Tin Press website at


Dame Darcy won a scholarship to the San Francisco Art Institute in 1989. There, she majored in film and animation, studying with George Kuchar, Kathy Acker, and others. During this time Dame Darcy began self publishing her long standing comic book Meat Cake which is currently published by Fantagraphics Books, (the largest independent comic book publisher in the U.S.) Meat Cake is on its 16th issue and counting.

While in San Francisco she toured with her first band Caroliner Rainbow, and produced her first independent solo music releases,The Devil made her Do It, Will O' The Wisp Octopus (Villavillakula), Are You Afraid to Die, Dame Darcy singing saw,(Nuf Sed) collaboration, (with Kill Rock Stars, The Cocktails, etc.) and cabaret. Darcy plays Banjo, electric bass, singing saw, and sings.

To date, her albums, short films/ animation, and comics collaborations have been released in the U.S.Canada, Europe, Japan, and elsewhere.

In 2006, her latest graphic novel The Illustrated Jane Eyre, was published by Putnam Penguin USA (NY). A DVD/book, Dollerium, was released ( Tokyo based Press Pop) and her latest CD Death By Doll (indie label Emperor Penguin) which she toured in the US.

Her current projects include Meat Cake Comix, and graphic novel, Gasoline, which is also currently in preproduction as a feature film(for more info please visit: Her band, Death By Doll is the soundtrack for the film and the CD will be included with the Graphic novel. She is also working on a graphic novel/animated TV series for young adults, The Excorsisters. Her books, fine art and hand crafted dolls, music, movies, fashion design, and current events can be acquired and seen on

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