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Jane Harris explores homelessness and poverty in Canada by examining family history

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On June 22, 2013 while the Old Man River was rising and the rain was pouring down, local author Jane Harris was embroiled in a storm of her own, fighting for her life as her second husband attempted to kill her.Jane Harris and her new book. Photo by Richard Amery
 But though Harris was rendered homeless for the second time in her life and suffering from severe brain injuries as a result of the attack, don’t call her a victim.
 Harris just released her book  “Finding Home In the Promised Land,” which not only chronicles her personal story of abuse at the hands of her second husband, but outlines her battles with the “poverty industry,” and explores how Canada handled the poor in the country’s formative years.


 “I hope this book will open up a discussion about homelessness and  poverty,” she said.
According to her media release “Finding Home in the Promised Land” is the result of Harris’s journey through the wilderness of social exile after a violent crime left her injured and tumbling down the social ladder toward homelessness — for the second time in her life — in 2013. Her Scottish great-great grandmother Barbara’s portrait opens the door into pre-Confederation Canada. Her own story lights our journey through 21st Century Canada.


“I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, though it really was a high price to pay,” she said.
Harris was at Chapters in Lethbridge, for a book signing, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
 Harris combines her own harrowing tale of homelessness and abuse at the hands of her ex husband, who had mental issues of his own to deal with while exploring how Canada has historically helped the poor in her new book “Finding Home in the Promised Land: A Personal History of Homelessness and Social Exile. On her journey, she also explores the life of her great great grandmother and her family immigrating to Canada from Scotland in pre-Confederation Canada.

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Lethbridge Entertainment Expo a lot of fun on first day

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The first day of the Lethbridge Entertainment Expo at the Enmax Centre, Saturday, Nov. 14 had a little something for everyone.

Glory Reimer and the Creepy Hollow Haunted House at the Lethbridge Entertainment Expo. Photo by Richard Amery
Actors Jason Mewes ( Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) and Lee Arenberg (Once Upon a Time, Pirates of the Caribbean)  plus Billy West (Futurama, Ren and Stimpy)  and Brendan Hunter (Dragonball, Lloyd the Conqueror) were doing panels, plus there were panels on making killer clown make up and foam armour.


Creepy Hollow Haunted House , who are now based in Warner set up a haunted house and were dressed in costumes including a dead cheerleader, witch and giant pumpkin for the day.


 There were a lot of people dressed for cosplay as a variety of superheroes, zombies, zombie hunters and iconic pop culture character and and or makeup wandering through the rows of vendors which really had something for everyone.There is even a video game station on the main floor.

There were plenty of comics, superheros, trinkets, video games, and knick knacks bearing every pop culture image you could imagine plus lots of books, and my favourite, obscure B movies.

 

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New CASA exhibits explore happiness and the end of the World with Sonis McAllister and Catherine Ross

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CASA curator Darcy Logan is pleased to welcome back old friends with two new art exhibits opening at CASA this weekend.

CASA curator Darcy Logan examines Catherine Ross' exhibit Impossible-Really. Photo by Richard Amery
Lethbridge artist Catherine Ross combines her love for her  daschund with her love for Mexico in her exhibit “Impossible-really.”


 It features 21 bronze castings of a daschund in various poses, frolicking in front of a looped film of Mazatlán waves.


“It’s a statement about her commitment to place. So  the ocean scenery is from Mazatlán, where she has a property and the dog is based on her dog who she used to take down there with her,” Logan said.


“ The dog has various expressions, so it is barking at the waves or running in to them,” Logan observed.


Matthew Holden aka Sonis McAllister returns to Lethbridge after extensively traveling the United States.


 He interviewed people from all walks of life about the end of the world and brings back fascinating relics of a country in turmoil.


“ The Survivors: An Archaeological Journey of People and Their Prosthetic Extensions of Joy From a Dying America” features video, photographs, printed dialogue and found items from all over the United States including an old gas pump, a pair of giant chicken legs and a confederate flag.


“I did a lot of trips to the United States from 2008-2010 when everybody was talking about the end of the world in 2010,” he said.


“ You probably won’t believe this, but I met a dwarf who dressed as a Viking who became my spiritual guru and advisor. He told me to go to America and talk to people about their thoughts about the end of the world,” he said.


  He talked to members of the Aryan Nation, Black Panthers and everybody in between including gang members and ordinary people.


“I wanted to find out why they thought the world was gong to end,” he said.
 In addition to  video, some including  McAllister’s  guru, there are photographs of his subjects accompanied by  transcriptions of his interviews with them.

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Jane Harris writes honest account of poverty and homelessness

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Lethbridge author Jane Harris is at Chapters in Lethbridge, from noon until 6  p.m. today (Saturday, Nov. 7,2015)  promoting her new book “ Finding Home In the Promised Land.Jane Harris is at Chapters talking about her new book. Photo by Richard Amery


 Harris combines her own harrowing tale of homelessness and abuse at the hands of her ex husband while exploring  how Canada has historically helped the poor in her new book “Finding Home in the promised land: A Personal History of Homelessness and Social Exile. On her journey, she also explores  the life of her great great grandmother and her family immigrating to Canada from Scotland in pre-Confederation Canada.


She covers a l9t of ground  in the 140 page book, plus extensive footnotes and bibliography, touching on her own family history, the history of poor houses and workhouses which gave  those down on their luck shelter  and work and helped them get back on  their feet and her first hand experience navigating the “ poverty industry” bureaucracy.


“I probably have enough information for four books,” she said, adding her publisher helped her trim down the manuscript to the 140 pages.
“I hope this book will open up a discussion about homelessness and  poverty,” she said.

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