VANCOUVERITES: Seven Minutes With “Raincity Chronicles” Creator Lizzy Karp

Next week local creatives from across the city will gather to watch yet another series of Pecha Kucha presenters take the stage at the Vogue Theatre. The line-up this time (as always) is stellar. We’re super stoked to hear from the ladies of Victory Gardens and TJ from The Shop, and we’re also looking forward to hearing what Lizzy Karp has to say. We’re used to seeing Lizzy’s name around town a lot. It’s always tied to something pretty great, so we knew that we wanted to find out a little more about her. We could have waited until next week to catch her PK performance, but we didn’t. We tracked her down and asked her a few questions instead. What an awesome decision. What an awesome girl. Between planning Raincity Chronicles this Friday (sorry, it’s sold out), darting around town collecting books for A Good Book Drive and pulling together her PKN presentation, Lizzy took a few minutes to answer a few of our questions….

Three things about Fairview that make you want to live there I technically live in Fairview, but refer to it as South Shaughnessey when I want to feel fancy. It’s not one of Vancouver’s most celebrated ‘hoods, but I love my corner grocer Sunshine Market, long runs through Shaughnessey and the endearing architecture and logotypes of the apartment buildings.

Where did you grow up? Salt Lake City, Utah, aka the Beehive State.

Where did you go to school? The University of Toronto to sit in the Hart House library and read all the books.

Where was the last place you called home? Toronto aka “Tarana”

How long have you lived in Vancouver? I moved here the day Michael Jackson died, June 25, 2009. I’ve got a couple of years under my belt, and can (usually) get around without using Google maps.

What was your first Vancouver experience? Before I put down roots here, my boyfriend Pat and I came on a reconnaissance trip in January to get the feel of the city as I’d never been before. That was the wild and weird foggy weekend that covered the entire city in a thick blanket of clouds. We wandered down to the seawall in Stanley park and I couldn’t see the water, or the mountains, skyline, anything. So we danced and guzzled beer at Honey, followed by a hangover brunch at Bandidas the next morning, and in my foggy state was sold on the idea.

What was it about Vancouver that made you want to move here? My hometown is nestled in a gorgeous mountain range and after years living in Toronto I was drawn towards Vancouver’s proximity to nature and mysterious personality. I made the decision that I wanted to continue living in Canada, but was intrigued by the west. And like a fresh notebook or next chapter in a novel, it’s always invigorating to start something new.

The first album that made you love music? I grew up sounded by Motown and classic rock records, but Buddy Holly sparked my very first crush, musically and romantically. Any compilation of his hits I adored (and still do!).

Three of your favourite films? I’ll go for Man on Wire, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Clueless.

An under appreciated Vancouver event/person/feature that you think deserves a closer look? This city is filled with so many talented people that are not celebrated in the way they should be. But I’d have to pick Banquet Atelier and Workshop. Sarah Edmonds and Tammy Lawrence create gorgeous paper products that are produced and printed in Vancouver, yet the accolades they’ve received are mostly from out of town. I adore the work they do and hope you do, too.

Last art show that really blew you away? What Randy Grskovic is doing at the Good Luck Gallery is really wonderful for Vancouver, and I’ve been impressed by all of his shows (I especially adore Jessica Bell).

What is A Good Book Drive? Simply put, it is a book drive running through November that collects new copies of your favourite childhood books, sharing them with a new generation of readers in Vancouver. The idea for the drive was inspired by a story the Writer’s Exchange co-founder Sarah Maitland shared at Rain City Chronicles about the children she works with in East Vancouver. This year, the books are going to that amazing literacy organization, but A Good Book Drive is also about celebrating our personal stories and connections to the books that shaped us as adults. If you’d like to share a book or your story visit us at

Which book will you choose to donate and why? I’ll be giving many (I’m a huge fan of children’s books), but one I’m excited to share is Boy – Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl. It’s an amazing memoir of Dahl’s childhood, and you can see the real events and obsessions that shaped the stories he later wrote.

Raincity Chronicles (in short) is a story telling event that you put on in order to bring Vancouverites together to tell stories related to a given theme. This week the theme is Animal Instincts, can you give us a hint as to what sort of stories to expect? True tales of interactions with animals in our homes, in the wild, and the animals we become after a few drinks…

Why is storytelling so important? Joan Didion said it best: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live”. It’s the way we connect to our personal experience of the world, our memories, our culture and, most importantly, to each other.

Who is the most gifted story teller you’ve ever heard? Easily, my grandfather. With eighty-two years under your belt and an advertising career on Madison Avenue in the Mad Men era, you are bound to have a few gems.

You’re getting ready to do Pecha Kucha next week. Keeping to the PKN format, you will be presenting 20 photographs on a big screen and speaking to each of the images for 20 seconds each. That’s a pretty tight timeline. What story do you want to tell the PKN audience? It sounds a bit meta on paper, but the stories I grew up surrounded by, and how that shaped me to support others to share their own story.

Your favourite word? “Pal”

Your least favourite word? I love all words, but my eyes still trip over Canadian spellings. Even “favourite”.

Favourite way to get your hands dirty? I love to make things, but find it hard to dedicate the time to gather materials or know what to create. Thankfully Collage Collage exists, and I’ve spent some wonderful nights with good friends creating snowglobes, summer garlands and sock puppets – all under the guidance of the incredible Erin Boniferro.

Default drink/cocktail of choice? I’ve been crazy about palomas lately; the perfect bite of tequila and grapefruit is both delicious and dangerous.

Book you’re reading? Alice Munro’s collection Selected Stories

One thing you’d like to change about Vancouver? The elements that are driving out the young creative community (cough, prohibitive cost of living and creative spaces).

One thing about Salt Lake City that you would give to Vancouver if you could? High West Whiskey and the talk-to-anyone American attitude.

What about something from Toronto? Anything from T.O. that you’d like to see adopted here? Aside from countless things to eat and drink, if I could round up the creative class in Toronto that fuels the restaurant, bar and art scene and drop it in Vancouver, I know it would change the landscape in just a few years. I also hope Nuit Blanche is looking west; it’s a magical way to experience a city you think you know everything about.

Friday’s Raincity Chronicles is sold out (again). When will the next one go down and what will the theme be? Mark your calendars for January 25th at the Orpheum Annex. As for the theme, it’s going to be something related to the idea of escape….

Find out even more at The Vogue Theatre on Thursday, November 22, 7:30pm | Details

MORE LIZZY | twitter @thelizzypearl  | instagram lizzypearl | stories raincitychronicles


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