Jean Smith CV

Jean Smith


Author of two published novels, I Can Hear Me Fine (Get To The Point Editions, 1993) and The Ghost of Understanding (Arsenal Pulp Press, 1998).

Two-time recipient of Canada Council for the Arts awards as a professional writer of creative fiction (2000 and 2007) and a writing grant from the B.C. Arts Council (2001).

Singer in the literary rock duo Mecca Normal
“A two-person guerrilla campaign against apathy.”— Melody Maker (UK)

“…an unbending advocate of thoughtful indie culture for over two decades.”— San Francisco Chronicle

“Arguably the greatest rock band without a rhythm section ever, the duo of acid-voiced singer Jean Smith and guitar hero David Lester must be seen to be believed.” — Douglas Wolk

Artist in Residence

One month residency at Fountainhead in Miami, FL.

Recent Readings
– Vancouver — Railway Club, 2013
– San Francisco — LitQuake 2012, Radar Reading Series, main branch of the San Francisco Public Library
– Vancouver — CanZine West, 2012, W2

2011: Author and co-presenter of a touring adaption of David Lester’s graphic novel The Listener.

2010: Founder of The Black Dot Museum of Political Art. Launch and month-long art four-person exhibit — Political Artists From Vancouver — Northern All Ages Project, Olympia, Washington.

– Named one of the “Top 50 Writers in Vancouver” — Vancouver Magazine
– Named one of the “Top Ten People Who Matter” — San Francisco Weekly
– Featured in Rolling Stone as “a band to watch” along with Radiohead and Liz Phair
– “One of Canada’s best-kept secrets in the arts” — Globe and Mail

Fiction, poetry, interviews, reviews and articles
Magnet Magazine — online weekly (Volume 159, April 2012)
West Coast Line — book (2012), ten page fiction excerpt
Joyland — online (2011), fiction excerpt
The Art of Touring (Yeti Publishing) — book, creative non-fiction
Globe & Mail — newspaper
Raygun — magazine
Interrobang — book
Ong Ong — zine
MungBeing — online
Rolling Stone — magazine
Your Flesh — magazine
Gruesome Acts of Capitalism — book intro
Review of Contemporary Fiction (University of Illinois) — book
McSweeney’s — online
Thee Flat Bike — magazine
3 AM Magazine — online
The Rain (Vancouver) — newspaper
Sound Collector (New York) — newspaper
Nanomajority – online
New York Foundation of Art, The Current (fiction) spring 2004
Sub-Terrain, Vancouver
Re-sister, NYC
Village Voice, NYC
Georgia Straight, Vancouver
Broken Pencil, Toronto

Ritual in Contemporary Performance (Western Front Performance Art) 2005
Only A Beginning (Arsenal Pulp Press) 2004
Rendezvous Reading Room (Tenth Avenue Press) 2002
Exhibitions (Arsenal Pulp Press) 2000
Canadian Fiction (Quarry) 1999
Alt-Rock-A-Rama (Rolling Stone) 1996
Word Up (Key Porter) 1995
Sounding Off (Autonomedia) 1995 American Book Award Winner
The North (England) 1989

The Art of Touring (Yeti) published a story with paintings and DVD of live performance.
Ong Ong Press (Seattle) published a short story.
Thirty performances including The Vancouver Art Gallery and How Art and Music Can Change the World in classrooms and art galleries.

Interrobang?! Anthology on Music and Family (Decomposition) published a story.
Editor at Smarten Up! & Get To The Point Press, a publisher of fiction, political graphics and poetry including poverty rights activist Bud Osborn, whose book of poetry “Key To Kingdoms” won the City of Vancouver Award.

2003 – 2007:
Performance art segment at Vancouver’s Western Front
Co-curator of “Does It Help When You Close Your Eyes?” — a five-person art exhibit at Vancouver’s Word On The Street, 2003. Mecca Normal performances and workshop elements were presented.
Editor of “Gruesome Acts of Capitalism” by David Lester.
Art included in “Only a Beginning” (Arsenal Pulp Press) — anthology documenting over a quarter-century of grassroots activism.
Book and CD reviews written for Sound Collector (NYC), The Rain (Vancouver), and The Review of Contemporary Fiction (Normal, IL).
Short stories published online at McSweeney’s (“We Haven”) and 3AM (“Coral’s Cabins”).
New Media, spoken word performance collaboration with Linda Montano (Western Front, Vancouver).
“In January” (20:22) included in Art in the Air International Festival of Audio Art — a curated presentation of new media and sound (Struts Gallery, Sackville, New Brunswick).
Poem digitally archived by the Arts Council Poetry Library in London, England.

“How Art and Music Can Change the World” – classroom event with author and co-presenter with David Lester

Vancouver — Creative Writing Class at the University of British Columbia

Vancouver — Creative Writing Class at the University of British Columbia
Vancouver — World Peace Forum
Vancouver — BC Teachers for Global Peace and Education (PAGE)

Vancouver — Word on the Street
North York — Public Library
Ottawa — Public Library
Toronto — Type Books
Montreal — Casa del Popolo
Winnipeg — Mondragon
Vancouver — Creative Writing Class at the University of British Columbia

Vancouver — The Vinegar Factory
Vancouver — Windermere High School
Olympia — Evergreen State College
Salem, OR — Willamette University
San Francisco — Modern Times Bookstore
LA — CalArts
Durham, NC — Duke University
New York — Bluestockings Books
Philadelphia — Nexus Gallery
Holyoke, MA — Mount Holyoke College
Providence — Rhode Island School of Design
Boston — Megapolis Audio Festival
Toronto — Over the Top Festival

2002 – 2006
World Peace Forum, The Roundhouse Vancouver, BC, 2006
Richmond Art Gallery — Arts for Life keynote presentation to high school art students, Richmond, BC 2005
Word On The Street, Vancouver 2005
Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, Vancouver, BC 2004
Grand Forks Public Art Gallery, Grand Forks, BC 2004
Vernon Public Art Gallery, Vernon, BC 2004
David Thompson Cultural Centre, Nelson, BC 2004
Denman Island Community Hall, Denman Island, BC 2004
Bean Scene Coffee House, Kelowna, BC 2004
Burnaby Central High School, Burnaby, BC 2004
The Western Front, Vancouver, BC 2004
St. Vincent College (poetry class), La Trobe, PA, 2002
Chatham College (sound art class), Pittsburgh, PA, 2002
Balazo Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 2002
Flywheel Gallery, Easthampton, MA, 2002
IMC (Indie Media Center), Urbana, IL, 2002
Capitol Theater, Olympia, WA, 2002
The Smell, Los Angeles, CA, 2002
AK Press, Oakland, CA, 2002
Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL , 2002
Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA, 2002

Mecca Normal discography: Albums
The Observer (Kill Rock Stars) 2006
Janis Zeppelin (Smarten Up! Records) 2004
The Family Swan (Kill Rock Stars) 2002
Who Shot Elvis? (Matador) 1997
The Eagle And The Poodle (Matador) 1996
Sitting On Snaps (Matador) 1995
Flood Plain (K) 1993
Jarred Up (K) 1993
Dovetail (K) 1992
Water Cuts My Hands (Matador) 1991
Calico Kills The Cat (K) 1989
Mecca Normal (Smarten Up!) 1986

Jean Smith
Solo CD (Kill Rock Stars) 2000
Carboni Angel (spoken word 7”, Kill Rock Stars) 1992

2 Foot Flame discography (Jean Smith — vocals, lyrics & guitar):
Ultra Drowning (Matador) 1997
2 Foot Flame (Matador) 1995

Records Produced by Jean Smith:
Peter Jefferies “Elevator Madness” (Emperor Jones) 1996
Duane Crone “Give Me a Call” (Smarten Up!) 1996
Cub 7″ debut (Mint) 1992
Co-producer of all Mecca Normal and 2 Foot Flame releases (1986 2004)

Selected Music Performances, Literary Festivals and Solo Readings:
Under the Volcano (North Vancouver) 2009
Antimatter Film Festival (Victoria, BC) 2007
World Peace Forum (Vancouver) 2006
Xeno Gallery — “Inspired Agitators & the Pantomime Horse” opening reception, 2004
Placebo Reading Series (Vancouver), 2004
Interurban Gallery — “Drawing Resistance” touring art show, 2003
CMJ Music Marathon (New York) 2002
Word on The Street (Vancouver) 2002, 2003, 2004
Shawnigan Lake Writers Festival (Vancouver Island) 1998
Bumbershoot Festival (Seattle) 1998
Sechelt Writers Festival 1996
Talk With Tomorrow (New York) 1995 Special performance for German Futurists
Fast Forward Festival (Holland) 1994
CMJ panelist — Women In Rock
Yo-Yo-A-Go-Go Festival (Olympia) 1994, 1997
International Pop Underground Festival (Olympia) 1991
La Quena Festival (Vancouver) 1987
Ultimatum Poetry Festival (Montreal) 1987

Films: interviews and performances
The Shield Around the K — DVD (Secretly Canadian) 2004
I Wanna Be Adored (E Motion Films) 1998
The Shield Around The K documentary 1998
The Dogs (Much Music) 1995 solo reading
Harakiri (Germany) 1994 Mecca Normal performance
Terminal City Ricochet (E Motion Films) 1989 Design of opening credits

Television profiles:
Vicki Gabereau Show (VTV) performance and interview 1998
Much Music performances and features 1998 and 1993
Jane Whitney Show (NBC) “Women in Rock” 1993
BCTV News Hour feature on Mecca Normal 1993
Imprint (TV Ontario) reading “The Dogs” 1992

Select Radio Interviews and Performances:
BBC (England)
CBC (Ideas, Nightlines, Brave New Waves, North By Northwest)
Bavarian State Radio (Munich, Germany)
NPR (U.S.A.)
Austrian State Radio (Vienna)
College radio all over Canada, U.S., New Zealand, Australia and Europe.

Mecca Normal references published in:
Mix Tape edited by Thurston Moore
She’s A Rebel by Gillian Garr
On The Road To Nirvana by Gina Arnold
Spin’s Alternative Record Guide
Rock She Wrote edited by Evelyn McDonnell & Ann Powers
Vancouver Book by Chuck Davis
Trouser Press Record Guide of Music of the 90’s
The Graphic Art of David Carson
Women In Rock (Rolling Stone Press)

Select Music Reviews:
“Over 10 years, Mecca Normal have presented a consistent, evolving, and luminous challenge to the reigning social order.”— Rolling Stone (1996)

“When the mix is between brainy lyrics and a meaty beat, between mind and body, pleasure and awareness—that’s when Mecca Normal revs up. Like Odysseus, they have a clarity of vision that’s rare.” — Village Voice (New   York)

“Long before Bikini Kill, the Northwest band Mecca Normal was churning out shards of minimal noise (no bass or drums) with a confrontational edge, and would eventually end up influencing many of Olympia’s current female artists.”—Los Angeles Times

“Oh, what a lovely sparse sound”— NME (UK)

“Smith is damn near visionary”— San Francisco Weekly

“Mecca Normal has inspired a larger movement of feminists in their teens and early 20’s who call themselves Riot Grrrls.” — New York Times

“Smith is angry with an evil world.”— Der Spiegel (Germany)

“Without a doubt Who Shot Elvis? is my choice for best record of 1997.” — Lois Maffeo, The Stranger (Seattle)

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