The Show Must Go On

January 5, 2011 | Momentum Magazine 

“I don’t even remember sleeping last night,” says Brendt Barbur. That’s because on the September day when I managed to get him on the phone he’s running on two hours of sleep – caught between two overseas phone calls at 5:30 and 7:30 in the morning – and trying to deal with a problem in Korea, where his Bicycle Film Festival headed in October.

It’s one of 40 cities the festival hit in 2010, its 10th year. By the time it wrapped up, Barbur had circled the globe – he estimates that he was attending 75 percent of this year’s events. (He attended every event until 2008, when he didn’t go to an after after party.)

It’s a grueling schedule, and one that might be wearing him down: He told festival-goers in New York in June that 2010 was going to be BFF’s last year.

“It came after not sleeping for two weeks,” he says of the statement. “It’s a lot of work, and not what I want to do with my life.” Continue reading →

Fixed On Photography

November/December 2010 | Momentum Magazine | Download PDF

Matt Lingo was watching his friends at the skate park – he was sidelined by a head injury – when he picked up a camera and started taking their pictures. When sponsors started buying his work, he decided to make a career of it.

Seven years later, the San Diego-based photographer shoots mostly candid shots of strangers and cityscapes. Fixed-gear bikes, which he started riding two-and-a-half years ago, seemed like a natural progression in his career, and he now works regularly for cycling companies and fixed-gear magazines.

“I was always interested in documenting urban environments,” said Lingo, “and I saw bikes as a way that people can cut through the congestion and urban sprawl I was photographing. If you’re on a bike, all of a sudden it becomes an adventure; you’re having fun.”

His bicycle photography can be seen in the 2009 book This City Can’t Swallow Me. Lingo is at work on a second book: “It’s more about the people who make up the fixed-gear scene, than about the bikes.”

mattlingo.com

Chiefs ban genital cutting for girls under 18

April 19, 2009 | IRIN | Online here

Ceremonial knives owned by members of the women's Bondo society. Photo by Bryna Hallam/IRIN

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – In Sierra Leone village chiefs, community members and women who perform female genital cutting have signed an agreement stating that girls in northern Kambia district will not undergo genital mutilation – or ‘cutting’ – before age 18.

The number of girls being cut during the December 2008-January 2009 initiation season in Kambia dropped drastically, according to Finda Fraser, advocacy coordinator at local non-profit Advocacy Movement Network (AMNet), which runs a ‘Say No to Child Bondo’ campaign in the district.

Most Sierra Leonean girls – the World Health Organization estimates 94 percent – are initiated at puberty into ‘Bondo’, also known as the Sande Secret Society. As part of the rite, a woman known as a ‘sowei’ in the Mende language cuts the clitoris and prepares the girl for adulthood through singing, dancing and teaching domestic skills. For the initiation girls spend up to three months in the bush.

Anti-FGM/C campaigner John Marah, chairman of NaMEP, a network of Sierra Leone-based NGOs, told IRIN: “We are against just the cutting, not the training. You can still have a rite of passage. It’s just a change of mentality.” Continue reading →

The Art of Recycling Bikes

September/October 2010 | Momentum Magazine | Download PDF

The 13th puncture turned out to be a lucky one for Graham Bergh. As he prepared to replace the heavily patched inner tube, he wondered: “Okay, what do you do with this?”

Unable to bring himself to just throw it out, the recycling educator turned it into a cradle for his speakers.

“I just started tinkering with the material, talking to bike shops, finding out they throw away like a thousand tubes per shop,” Bergh said. “There are 4,000 shops in the US. I did the math: There were four million tubes no one was doing anything with.” Continue reading →

Convocation profile: Michael Fryer

June 2010 | The Ring | Online here

Michael Fryer

Michael Fryer

The dinnertime conversation in Michael Fryer’s house may have centred on science and math, but it was never dull.

His father, a high school physics teacher in Sechelt, BC, and his mother, who has a background in biology, focused on “fun science” and ideas, he says, with the family figuring out the number of trees in the world, or using vinegar to show that blackberries can be used as an indicator of pH.

“We were good at leaving all the boring stuff for school and just dealing with the fun stuff.” Continue reading →