Slice Night celebrates 20 years of talent

“They were, quite rightly, very proud of themselves”

This past year, the youth at Directions had the opportunity to showcase their many talents and to celebrate the twenty year anniversary of the street zines Slice/Another Slice.

“Megaphone magazine contacted me about an article they wanted to publish on the history of street magazines,” said Colin Ford, Director of Media Arts at Directions.

“While I was looking through them, I became curious about finding the oldest issue.” He did, eventually coming across a very plain cover that said “Xmas 92.” (see sidebar, About Slice/Another Slice).

During one of his weekly meetings with the youth, it was decided to create a 20th Anniversary paperback issue of Slice/Another Slice to celebrate the zines’ longevity. The youth went through the past issues and chose the best of both publications and created a two-part magazine. One end was Slice and the other end was Another Slice. The printing costs were covered by Electronic Arts (EA).

That was when it was decided to hold an event to celebrate its history and the youth talent that made it all possible.

A talent showcase was organized at Café Deux Soleils on Commercial Drive. Five youth performed including two hip hop groups, two spoken word performers, a guitarist and a singer/guitarist. There was youth art on display and three of which sold that evening. “There was a lot of youth walking on air after that,” says Colin. “They were, quite rightly, very proud of themselves.”

The event was a success on many levels for the youth. Many had never performed on stage before allowing them to break through a barrier and feel more comfortable with new challenges. The youth worked in close partnership with the staff at Directions, and the staff was able to help the youth overcome any obstacles or self-doubt that came up during the planning process.

And that confidence and sense of empowerment ultimately, was the goal of Slice Night. “It’s amazing how often those layers crack off from the street,” said Colin. “The youth don’t have to worry about street stuff, they’re able to work and explore and try new things whether it be spoken word or poetry and we support that.”

“One of the performers was very shy and withdrawn. He didn’t really know what he wanted to do. Slowly but surely he got involved in hip hop. Performing was a huge boost to this person; he did a great job, people applauded. No one can take that away from him.”

About Slice/Another Slice

Founded just over twenty years ago, Slice has a long and illustrious history. Wendy Wood, who was working at the Gathering Place at the time, would order in pizza (hence the name) and invite youth to contribute writing or artwork to what would eventually become the granddaddy of all street zines. It became so successful that Leonard Cohen read from an issue while on stage.

Eventually, it became a Directions project. It was decided to resurrect the zine online and to rename it Another Slice. “It gives youth a platform to express themselves and to show a larger audience what they can do,” says Colin.