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Green Glass Ghosts with Rae Spoon & Illustrator Gem Hall

August 22, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT

On Tuesday, August 22nd at 6pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books, and Arsenal Pulp Press in welcoming musician and author Rae Spoon and illustrator Gem Hall for a reading of Green Glass Ghosts.

“Rae Spoon and Gem Hall’s Green Glass Ghosts documents a time that hasn’t been written much about, and needs to be – a particular kind of working-class, queer/trans kid life in early 2000s Vancouver. Spoon and Hall craft a portrait of the many kinds of ghosts – of trauma, colonization, and displacement – in that place and time, and the messy, persisting dollar pizza-eating queer and trans kids trying to get by and make something different, even if we don’t know how. Hall’s artwork does a beautiful job of capturing this place and all the beings on both sides of the veil who inhabit this queer space of becoming”. – Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, author of Care Work and Dirty River.

This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada. Ce projet a été rendu possible grâce au gouvernement du Canada.

Venue & Accessibility

The event will be hosted at the Massy Arts Gallery, at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.

Registration is free and required for entrance. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/green-glass-ghosts-with-rae-spoon-illustrator-gem-hall-tickets-679500372907

The gallery is wheelchair accessible and a gender-neutral washroom is on-site.

Please refrain from wearing scents or heavy perfumes.

For more on accessibility including parking, seating, venue measurements and floor plan, and how to request ASL interpretation please visit: massyarts.com/accessibility

Covid Protocols: Masks keep our community safe and are mandatory (N95 masks are recommended as they offer the best protection). We ask if you are showing symptoms, that you stay home. Thank you kindly.

About the book

Green Glass Ghosts (Arsenal Pulp Press)

At age nineteen in the year 2000, the queer narrator of Green Glass Ghosts steps off a bus on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver, a city where the faceless condo towers of the wealthy loom over the streets to of the east side where folks are just trying to get by, against the deceptively beautiful backdrop of snow-capped mountains and sparkling ocean.

Armed with only their guitar and their voice, our hopeful hero arrives on the West Coast at the beginning of the new millennium and on the cusp of adulthood, fleeing a traumatic childhood in an unsafe family plagued by religious extremism, mental health crises, and abuse in a conservative city not known for accepting difference. They’re eager to build a better life among like-minded folks, and before they know it, they’ve got a job, an apartment, openly non-binary friends, and a new queer love, dancing, busking, and making out in bars, parks, art spaces, and apartments. But their search for belonging and stability is disrupted by excessive drinking, jealousy, and painful memories of the past, distracting the protagonist from their ultimate goal of playing live music and spurring them to an emotional crisis. If they can’t learn to care for themselves, how will they ever find true connection and community?

The haunting illustrations by Gem Hall conjure the moody, misty urban landscape and represent a deep collaboration with the author based on their shared experience of seeking safety, authenticity, and acceptance on the West Coast. Green Glass Ghosts is an evocation of that delicate, aching moment between youth and adulthood when we are trying, and often failing, to become the person we dream ourselves to be.

About the author:

Rae Spoon is a musician, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and author. They have released twelve solo albums (Coax Records) spanning folk, country, indie rock, and electronic genres and published three books (Arsenal Pulp Press). Rae has been nominated for two Polaris Prizes, and a Western Canadian Music Award. They have toured internationally (Canada, Europe, the USA, Australia, China). Rae is a non-binary, trans artist who lives with multiple disabilities.

They have published three books with Arsenal Pulp Press and a humorous booklet called How to (Hide) Be(hind) Your Songs (2017). Their first book, First Spring Grass Fire (2012), was nominated for a Lambda Literary award and the co-write Gender Failure (2014) was on the Over the Rainbow Project book list and was published in German. Rae’s first novel, Green Glass Ghosts (2021), was illustrated by Gem Hall and reviewed by Quill & Quire, CBC and the Globe and Mail. In 2013 Rae was awarded a Dayne Ogilvie Prize Honour of Distinction by the Writers’ Trust of Canada and has been nominated for two Polaris Prizes and a Western Canadian Music Award.

About the illustrator:

Gem Hall is an interdisciplinary artist interested in the creation of art & music as a means of survival — a language to explore & document stories & songs of resilience, recovery & the magic of storytelling & witnessing. With a background in DIY/zine culture & queer & trans community organizing, they use ink, watercolour, textiles & their ancestral practices of harp playing, tarot reading & plant medicines to hold liminal spaces between worlds & ways of being.


23 East Pender Street
Vancouver, BC Canada
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