Made in Van: BC Memory Game

Noa Glow | May 2012

Photo: Jordan Bent

You know where you live is unforgettable; Barbara Adler wants you to prove it by playing the BC Memory Game.

Performing throughout British Columbia for the past decade, Barbara Adler visits a lot of cool places, promptly forgetting them as soon as she returns to Vancouver.

“Being on the road so much has resulted in a muddle of memories,” jokes Adler, a slam-poetry champ and former member of East Van folk band The Fugitives. “The BC Memory Game is my way of tackling this confusion head-on.”

Her concept is based on a kids’ card game called Memory. Whenever Adler visits a new town, she asks people there to join her for a story-sharing session, where they get a chance to teach her something memorable about where they live. She then shares her story with artist Jordan Bent, who creates a card to represent her memory.

She’s already got two towns, two stories and two memory cards in her virtual deck: Invermere and Hudson’s Hope. See the cards, listen to the stories and play along by submitting your own memories at thebcmemorygame.ca and badler.ca.

Adler’s next stop is Haidi Gwaii; she’s visiting as part of the BC Schizophrenia Society’s Reach Out program, which tours the province teaching youth about psychosis through music and poetry. While there, she plans to add a story about the Queen Charlottes to her BC Memory Game roster.

“I think it’ll be something about weather; I hear they get some pretty wild weather,” she says, adding that the stories she collects are “anything but tame.” (With talk of wolf pelts, mud pies and enemy cabbage on her blog, we believe her.)

Adler plans to spread the love for her home province further at the Winnipeg Theatre Fringe Festival this summer, where she’ll perform as part of glam-folk duo the International Tomorrow Society (internationaltomorrowsociety.com). From there, who knows? “The Memory Game may have to go national,” she says. “I’ve done enough travelling to forget a whole bunch of places across Canada, too!”