“Why aren’t there any readings happening?” asked Concordia student Ashley Opheim in the winter of 2012, “I want to have a reading with all the people my age.” And that’s exactly what she did. Now in its third incarnation, This Is Happening Whether You Like It Or Not, will be hosting an evening of literature and music on Sept. 27 at Silver Door.
Partnering with classmate and longtime friend, Guillaume Morissette, the two creative writing majors came up with the idea to host their own reading last winter.
“The first one was kind of impromptu in the sense that it was much more of an informal event in a friend of ours’ loft, and it kind of turned into a thing of its own volition,” said Morissette.
This is Happening has its roots in events that Morissette hosted in the backyard of his former residence. As a result of their plentiful backyard space, Morissette and his former roommates would organize various functions and one evening they decided to host a casual reading, inviting their friends to share their work, a sort of one-off reading that helped spawn the idea.
The name was invented by Opheim first as a joke because she was organizing the reading without having asked the people she planned on having read if they wanted to do it in the first place. However, the name also insinuates, Opheim explained, “that this is going to happen whether people come or not. Our interest isn’t really in getting tons of people out, it’s about creating a space for people to do these readings. Especially in the context of reading, its a name that makes such a strong claim. You’re so used to having readings that are very polite, like; well, if you want to come . . . you’re not obligated,” added Morissette, “so it’s kind of this flipping of the script on its head.”
Currently, Opheim and Morissette select readers based on people they know, writers whom they trust. However, with the increasing number of events, they are planning on casting a wider net and looking for people outside of their own cluster to read.
“Right now, we are showcasing a lot of Concordia people, but it would be interesting to showcase people from McGill, people that aren’t in school or don’t necessarily have a strong writer profile, but they have something to contribute,” said Morissette.
As their events become more formal and more planned, they are hoping to have a mix of both emerging and established writers so that people can have the opportunity to hear new voices and also go see someone they are already familiar with. For their Sept. 27 reading they will be featuring internet celebrity Steve Roggenbuck, who will also be broadcasting the reading live on his Spreecast page. Tune in at http://www.spreecast.com/events/jurassicpark3.
Entry is pay-what-you-can. The reading will start at 9 p.m. at Silver Door, 6502 Avenue du Parc.
Update: See live video from the event via Steve Roggenbuck on Spreecase: