BETWEEN THE SHEETS WITH THE BOOKSHELF STAFF

INTERVIEWS BY CHRIS TIESSEN

THERE’S NO DENYING THAT THE BOOKSHELF – GUELPH’S FAVOURITE BOOKSTORE, CINEMA, RESTAURANT AND BAR – IS AMONG THE MOST IMPORTANT CULTURAL HUBS IN OUR REGION. A MAJOR REASON FOR THIS: THE STAFF WHO WORK THERE. EXPERT CURATORS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT, THE BOOKSHELF STAFF KNOW A THING OR TWO ABOUT GREAT BOOKS AND MAGAZINES, OBSCURE MOVIES, AND HOW TO ROCK A PARTY. NOW IT’S TIME TO KNOW A THING OR TWO ABOUT THEM.

CHARLOTTE CLARKE- PROJECTIONIST

CRAZIEST THING THAT’S HAPPENED IN THE PROJECTION BOOTH?

I’ve been told that when we still used real film, one of our projectionists had a film platter break before a sold-out show. He ended up having to feed film into the projector by hand throughout the entire screening.

BEST FILM YOU EVER SAW AT THE BOOKSHELF?

Probably ‘The Lobster.’ We had a few people walk out, so I was a little nervous to watch it. In the end, though, I thought it was great.

WHAT MAKES A GREAT MOVIE NIGHT?

Some of my favourite movie nights have been just coming to the theatre by myself. For a night at the movies with friends, it’s pretty convenient to grab a drink at the eBar afterwards and enjoy discussing what you’ve just watched.

BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?

I really like being aware of current movies and seeing so many of them in the theatre. And I love being around people who want to talk about what they’ve watched, whether it’s people I’m working with or folks who are just visiting.

ANDREW HOOD- BOOKSELLER, BOOK REVIEWER & MOONLIGHTING PROJECTIONIST

WHAT ROLE DOES THE BOOKSHELF PLAY IN OUR COMMUNITY?

For some people, The Bookshelf is a reliable public bathroom. For others, though, it’s the hub around which their cultural lives spin. The place has no single function, and I think that malleability is the closest to a role in the community we have. The Bookshelf is whatever the community needs it to be.

MOST SURPRISING THING YOU’VE EVER FOUND IN THE STACKS?

For a while someone was tearing racy pages from the books in our Health – Sexuality section and stuffing them into random books around the store. From time to time, someone would come up to the counter with a handful of nudity to report.

FAVOURITE AUTHOR?

Lorrie Moore.

ASTERIX OR TINTIN?

Get out of here. Calvin and Hobbes.

BEST PART ABOUT BEING AROUND BOOKS ALL DAY?

As an author, I can find it tough being around books all day. There are books I think deserve to be read by everybody that nobody reads. By the same token, there are books that I didn’t think anyone would read that everyone reads. The one noble truth of bookselling is that every book is someone’s favourite book.

KRYSTAL EIPL- GENERAL MANAGER, EBAR & GREENROOM

WHAT’S EBAR’S DIFFERENTIATING FACTOR?

Our ability to host so many types of events – from live bands to DJ nights; burlesque to drag shows; book launches to poetry events; pop-up kitchens to weddings. We’ve built a solid reputation as being great hosts for all sorts of things.

WHICH WEEKLY EBAR NIGHT IS A MUST-GO FOR FOLKS?

My favourite is our ‘Playful & Rowdy’ Saturdays with DJ Jinx – it’s good vibes & great tunes. However, we host a variety of monthly events that are so much fun I can’t choose one over any other.

WHAT’S YOUR RECOMMENDED MENU ITEM & COCKTAIL AT EBAR?

I love the Canadian Thin Crust Pizza paired with a Wellington SPA. Our mixologist, Jess, creates some of the finest craft cocktails in the city.

THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?

Definitely working in the downtown community; the creative freedom to try so many things; and the great team that surrounds me each day (and night) at work.

BRAD de ROO- BOOKSELLER, MAGAZINE GURU, INTERVIEWER

FAVOURITE AUTHORS, BOOKS & MAGAZINES?

One of the last really great books I read was ‘The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington.’ As for magazines – I regularly read The Literary Review of Canada, The New York Review of Books, and Wire (a UK avant-garde music magazine). And Canadian Notes & Queries. I do author interviews for their website, which is gorgeously designed by famed cartoonist Seth, and features consistently great literary criticism, poetry, graphic works, and short fiction.

MONOCLE OR THE NEW YORKER?

The New Yorker – for the short stories and the cartoons.

WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT PRINT?

Print is especially adept at sopping up design, texture, tears, and beer. It also makes you slow down and take note of the quality of your thinking, empathy, and intoxication.

BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?

Aside from being surrounded by great books and coworkers, I get to chat with all sorts of creative people. And The Bookshelf is very supportive of any creative work I do. They told me to tell you I have a new album called ‘Chimeras of Decline’ coming out – it will be available at bradderoo.bandcamp.com by the end of January.

CATALINA NOVOA- BOOKSELLER, EVENT PROGRAMMER & EBAR DJ

WHAT ROLE DO YOU THINK THE BOOKSHELF PLAYS IN OUR COMMUNITY?

As an independent bookstore and cinema, we can champion and showcase voices – authors, directors, musicians, artists – that aren’t part of the mainstream.

A SUREFIRE TRACK TO GET PEOPLE RUNNING ONTO THE DANCE FLOOR?

Jorja Smith x Preditah, ‘On My Mind.’

WHICH BOOKSHELF PROGRAMMING ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Probably starting up ‘Fierce’ – our LGBTQ2+ night with DJs M’Damn D & Orangadang. Folks were being harassed at other bars and weren’t feeling safe. They needed a place to come dance and do their thing, so we started up ‘Fierce’ in May 2015, and haven’t looked back. It’s the busiest monthly night at eBar.

FAVOURITE ARTIST AND FAVOURITE AUTHOR AT THE MOMENT?

I’m currently obsessed with IAMDDB from Manchester. For authors, Eva Crocker from St. John’s is my new favourite. Her collection of short stories, ‘Barrelling Forward,’ is amazing.