Friday, August 31, 2007

Free Online DIY workshops

While writing the last little bit about Casey McKinnon and Rudy Jahchan I was reminded of a PodCamp Toronto - where I took a few workshops with them. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can too. All (I think) of the workshops from Podcamp Toronto are still available through it's Wiki: Topics range from the general to the technical: podcasting, blogging, citizen journalism, how to build an audience and DIY everything.

I'm hoping, once the coming facelift for is finished to add a DIY resources section - so, if you have others please pass them along.

Fixing Internet Video

There are few people in Canada who I believe know more about online video than Montreal's Casey McKinnon and her partner in crime (and other things) Rudy Jahchan. Together they have made some of Canada's oldest and best known vLogs (video podcasts) including Kitkast, Galacticast and A Comic Book Orange .

Now Casey has begun contributing regularly to the Guardian (U.K.) on the present and future of internet video. Definitely worth your time!

Now: Give us credit
"While many people making web video don't expect to get paid for having their content broadcast on TV, they do expect recognition. Unfortunately, in contracts I've seen recently from major American broadcasters, these new programmes aren't even willing to credit the producers by name or by web address.
What's more, these contracts often contain exclusivity rights – so not only do they expect you to sign over your content royalty-free, but for a long period of time. And, thanks to the quiet insertion of a waiver of moral rights, the creators don't have any control over spin-offs based on their work."

Later: How do you beat YouTube?
"The sites should also be more customisable - in layout, look and player function as well as in license options. They should give creators the option to choose different licenses, whether it's a traditional "all rights reserved" copyright, or a Creative Commons option. And, if the company behind the site wants to use the videos anywhere else, the creator should be given the option to opt out or refuse., which acts as a free host and allows users to choose their own licenses and deals, practices this sort of community-based approach.
Instead of giving exclusive ad-revenue sharing opportunities to the most popular show creators, the ideal site should open it up to all original content creators - just as Revver has. It would also be beneficial to the sites to make the ads interactive (although too obtrusive and they annoy the audience). A recent web-based ad campaign by Juicy Fruit is a good example of this, where the banner ads were actually flash games built into the sites rather than a simple gigantic link.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Square Root of Margaret: CD, Party and Tour!

The Square Root of margaret will be kicking off our western tour of canada AND celebrating the upcoming release of our brand new cd on wednesday, sept.05 @ the horseshoe in toronto!

The Square Root of Margaret is kicking of their Western Tour of Canada, but first they will be having a CD Release Party for "Teragram Photeur" at the Horseshoe in Toronto on September 5 on with Madame Browne and the Hots. After the Sept. 5 show - they are off (see below).

06 Sep Eargasm Records, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
07 Sep The Apollo, Thunder Bay, ON
08 Sep The Cavern, Winnipeg, MB
10 Sep Broken City, Calgary, AB
12 Sep Voodoo’s Lounge, Penticton, BC
13 Sep Canmore Hotel, Canmore, AB
14 Sep Canmore Hotel, Canmore, AB
15 Sep Taste of Fernie Festival, Fernie, BC
17 Sep Duncan Garage Showroom, Duncan, BC
18 Sep Logan’s Pub, Victoria, BC
19 Sep The Railway Club, Vancouver, BC
22 Sep Ship & Anchor (Matinee @3pm)
23 Sep The Black Spot, Edmonton, BC
24 Sep The Slice, Lethbridge, AB
26 Sep The Academy Bar, Winnipeg, MB
27 Sep The Apollo, Thunder Bay, ON
28 Sep Loplop Lounge & Gallery, Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

rvt: Steve Singh - Wash My Hair

A home made stop motion video by Steve Signh for his song Wash My Hair, ore on Steve Singh at

Calgary and the League of Poets

Members of the League of Poets from Calgary (and surrounding areas) are being sought to participate in a series of readings. If you are in, or will be in, Calgary in 08 and would like to participate, please contact If you are not familiar with 'the League' read on:
The League of Canadian Poets, a non-profit arts service organization, is the national association of professional publishing and spoken word poets in Canada. Its purpose is to enhance the status of poets and nurture a professional poetic community to facilitate the teaching of Canadian poetry at all levels of education and to develop the audience for poetry by encouraging publication, performance and recognition of Canadian poetry nationally and internationally.

As well as providing members and the public with many benefits and services, the League speaks for poets on many issues such as freedom of expression, Public Lending Right, CanCopy, contract advice and grievance. We are actively involved with other arts and literary organizations in discussion with government bodies on matters that affect writers. Through our bimonthly newsletter, we keep members informed of matters both political and professional and provide a common voice for collective response to important issues.

Founded in 1966 by a group of five poets, the League now serves almost 600 members whose work reflects the regional and cultural diversity of this country.
For more info visit

iPod Moment Approaching for Television

Google's Vint Cerf "one of the founding fathers of the internet" has predicted the "iPod moment" for television in an article in the Telegraph.
In the same way that people now download their favourite music onto their iPod, he said that viewers would soon be downloading most of their favourite programmes onto their computers.
Personally I believe, or hope, that Mr. Cerf is talking about an escalation of what is already going on. Certainly many people already download programming. Already I've talked to a large number of people, primarily but not exclusively young, who don't really watch television (except for news and sports) any other way. That programming that is not offered by the producers/distributors is all being offered by someone, generally ad free and the networks, if they don't already offer programming for download, will have a hard time getting people to switch to the legal version with the ads.

The Late Fragment - an Interactive Film

Another film coming up at the TIFF that sounds interesting is "the Late Fragment". I say it sounds interesting because I haven't seen it, nor can I find a trailer for it. However:

"Late Fragment -- an interactive film" produced by the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab (CFC MEDIA LAB) in co-production with the National Film Board promises a
"multi-plot, non-linear and interactive narrative lets audiences discover the stories of three strangers. Faye (Krista Bridges), Kevin (Michael Healy) and Theo (Jeff Parrazo) are drawn together as participants in a restorative justice process, where victims and offenders share their stories. Emotionally broken from the violence they have experienced, they turn to the restorative justice process in hopes of finding wholeness, balance, forgiveness, redemption and a sense of safety. Three story lines interconnect, and this unique cinematic experience allows the viewer to “play” a creative and interactive role by weaving in and out of the film’s story lines – whenever they choose –by clicking the remote."
Tim at Blog T.O. apparently has caught the film.
"Late Fragment, which at its roots is a story about three strangers whose lives are fractured by thoughts and acts of seething violence, brings with it its own language about what an interactive film is and can be. There are 3 acts, 9 chapters, 3 endings, 139 scenes, 380 components, 10 loops and 10 rabbit holes. In one chapter alone, there are 3.26 billion story trajectories along which audiences can go. The full running time of the film is 168 minutes and the sneak peak I saw was about 40 minutes which means I have lots of unanswered questions and can't wait to see the final product when it debuts during this year's Toronto International Film Festival."

You can read more about it at UKULA, through the film's Facebook Group, or its website. There are screenings of the film coming up at the Camera Bar (1028 Queen West in Toronto) Monday, September 10th / 7pm, 9pm and 11pm Wednesday, September 12th / 7pm, 9pm 11pm Thursday, September 13th / 7pm, 9pm, 11pm (industry pass-holders only) "Late Fragment is screening at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. These are open, non-ticketed screenings and discussions, but you need to be 18 years or older to attend." Non-ticketed means

Monday, August 27, 2007

Tracy Fragments Screenings Announced

I've mentioned this film a few times already, but now you can actually go and see it. Bruce McDonald's film the Tracy Fragments (with a spectacular score by Broken Social Scene) will be making it's official North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. You will not be disappointed.

Public 1 - Wednesday Sept 12 - 9.45pm Scotiabank 3
Public 2 - Friday Sept 14 - Cumberland 3
Press & Industry 1 - Tuesday Sept 11 - Varsity 5
Press & Industry 2 - Thursday Sept 13 - Varsity VIP 2

Tickets are available now through the TIFF

See the new trailer at

Friday, August 24, 2007

Montebello: Who and Why?

I know this kind of stuff isn't the main thrust of, but there are serious issues raised by the Montebello incident so I hope you'll pardon the deviation.

Now that the Sûreté du Québec has admitted to having plants in the crowd, the real questions begin to arise. I know that the police deny that their undercover officers were there to instigate anything, but it is clear from the video that that is simply not true.

So, the question now becomes who wanted the protests to turn violent and why? Sadly the Harper Government has already said there will be no investigation. So we are left to speculate and guess. Who stood to benefit by violence at the summit? It surely was not the police themselves. They stood to potentially be injured in the violence. Why would they make their day that much harder?

There is at least one person who springs immediately to mind. Someone who would benefit by news images of a violent, rock throwing crowd and massive arrests: Stephen Harper himself. There is no doubt that Harper wanted to trivialize the protesters and the issues they raised.
"the rules for jellybean contents are different in Canada than in the United States," Harper explained.
"They have to maintain two separate inventories.
"Is the sovereignty of Canada going to fall apart if we standardize the jellybean? You know, I don't think so. Maybe Mr. Dion thinks so, but I don't think so."

Was that the news story we were supposed to see that night? Harper inside talking about jellybeans juxtaposed with images of a riot outside? I think it's increasingly clear that there needs to be an independent investigation into this matter. Based on the lies and deceit that have occurred over this issue so far without a investigation, and reasonable explanation I think that people would be safest to assume the worst.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quebec police admit they went undercover at Montebello protest

Well this clears that up. The Quebec police now admit to planting undercover officers amoung the protesters. The statement also says
"In no time did the police of the Sûreté du Québec act as instigators or commit criminal acts,"
It neglects to mention though, as shown on the video tape that the only reason the undercover officers did not 'act as instigators or commit criminal acts' is that they were prevented from doing so by peaceful protesters. I'm sure this won't be the last we hear, but now there must be a real investigation to determine who from Sûreté du Québec (or other agencies) had knowledge of this operation and who ordered it. Certainly those persons cannot be permitted to work in any area where public trust would be required.

RVT: Stars - Take Me To The Riot

I'm in this briefly - don't blink

The Star Notices The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra

If you've been reading this blog then you know about the Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra but, if you'd like a second opinion there is a great writeup in the Star today by John Terauds.
"These urban guerrillas lurk in the city's darker corners as they prepare each attack. Some are solo campaigns, but most rely on strength in numbers.The assaults are not deadly, but provocative. The missions are not destructive but creative. The damage is not to lives and buildings but to mainstream sensibilities."
If you'd like to check them out for yourself there is a "pay what you can" show tomorrow night at 10 p.m. at the Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Ave. , Toronto - details.

Montebello's Grassy Knoll?

This has been circulating for a few days now and it is really something that needs to be cleared up. The video below shows a confrontation between CEP President Dave Coles and 'protesters' accused of being police officers in Montebello Quebec.

The photo below adds weight to the theory that the 'protesters' were actually "agents provocateurs" sent by someone. It certainly appears to show that the 'protesters' accused of being police officers and the police officers themselves are wearing identical boots.

Additionally, a retired Ottawa police officer who was in charge of overseeing demonstrations at one time has weighed in with
"Well, if they weren't police, I think they might well have been working in the best interests of police."

Both the RCMP and the Surete du Quebec have completely denied that the people arrested were police officers or were working with police and in Parliament opposition leaders are calling for investigations.

But this should not be a complicated issue. One good journalist should be able to do the 'investigation' in a day or two. If these people were arrested, there should be an arrest report that says who they are. The only way the police could refuse to release those names would be if they were minors - and they quite obviously were not.

Now, it is also quite possible that they will say they were 'let off with a warning' or 'taken into custody and released' so there is no police report. This response, in any case, would be damning. If the police say that they took into custody protesters who had threatened violence at a summit attended by three national leaders and then released them without even getting their names it means one of two things. It means that they are lying or it means that they have committed an unforgivable sin in post 9/11 North America.

So, assuming that there is a police report, and the men's names are available it should be easy enough to find out who they are, where they came from, and why they were there. There are alot of good journalists in this country, get to work and if you are stonewalled report on that. The longer these questions remain unanswered the more damning it will be for the authorities involved.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What Is Indie: the Movie

For still more opinions on what Indie is check out Montreal director Dave Cool's documentary "What Is Indie" which you can now buy from for as little as 2.99. Preview is below.

What Is Indie II: More thoughts on what it means

To me "indie" has nothing to do with major labels, and nothing to do with money, although being "independent" often means less money. It is not about how you dress, who you work for, or where you like to hang out. It has nothing to do with being cool or hip, in fact being indie often means that you are far from cool or hip. Indie means just exactly what it says, it is about being independent, about being your own person and retaining your identity and integrity. You can be an 'indie' artist, or an 'indie' computer programmer, or an 'indie' accountant.

In the case of music it doesn't matter whether your label is big or small, what matters is the effect that label has on the artist. The Clash were a big label act, but I don't think Joe Strummer ever lost his independence. Henry Rollins does a television show, I don't think he's ever even been accused of selling out. If the music is still good, I'll keep listening. I don't care how much money they make. I don't care if the label is big or small.

There has been alot of talk lately that Polaris nominated artists Feist and the Arcade Fire aren't indie anymore. From what I can tell both have retained their integrity, they are still very much in control of their music, and doing their own thing their own way - so, still indie. Those that claim otherwise are simply not being realistic. Being successful and earning a living are not crimes. In the case of Leslie Feist, one of the creators of Arts & Crafts, having more money may well benefit Canadian independent music on the whole.

It is very 'cool' for young misguided, disengenuous would be hipsters to claim that anyone who makes enough money to quit their day job has 'sold out' but most of these are kids. Kids from middle class homes who will soon have (or already do have) jobs paying far more than most of the 'indie' artists who they insist should remain poor.

As I've said before, I like shows in small clubs, I like to buy the CD directly from the artists, but there will always be acts to fill the small clubs. There will always be new artists to find, and I do not begrudge a good artist their success, as long as the music is still good. I may not go to see their big stadium show, but that is a different question altogether.

Judge the artists you respect (in music, film, literature or anything else) on the quality, honesty, creativity and integrity of their work, not the size of their paycheque or who signs it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Learn to Rock With Bob

Hey Toronto, the multi-talented Bob Wiseman is looking for a few good (Piano) students. See info below.

the Lonely Hunters Arrive

Calgary has been in the news frequently in the last few years: oil, money, jobs, environmental issues, oil and money. Sadly the city has largely taken a back seat to Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto (and even Halifax, Winnipeg and Edmonton) when people talk about the revolution in Canadian Indie Music. The Lonely Hunters, the newest Canadian band to watch, just may change all of that. After a few mail mishaps I've finally obtained and heard in it's entirity the Lonely Hunters new CD 'the Chaste are Chased'.

Appropriately "Dome Tower" the first track on their new CD begins with the lines
"Yet There is light in the oil man's heart
yet there is pain
and a candle lit with furrowed brow
in the acid rain"
The 9 song disc "The Chaste are Chased" is throughly listenable throughout. It is both great in the background when you're talking with friends and not thinking about it much and at the same time complex and lyrically poetic enough that you can sit and contemplate it when you're alone and it's pouring from your MP3 Player.

I wish it were possible to introduce a new band without making comparisons to others, but it certainly seems the easiest and most straightforward way to do it. So: Think Belle and Sebastian with the garage band rawness of mid-80's Throwing Muses ("Fat Skier" era). Then throw in the odd bit of Wilco or Niko Case, even a bit of New Pornos - little dashes of alt. country but not enough to throw them into this category.

You can hear and download a few Lonely Hunters tracks at their MySpace you can also go ahead and order the whole CD there for a whopping 13.99.

More Changes in the Works

There are more changes coming down the pipe for - it will be a little while before everything is ready, but I'd like your input on one of the new sections that's on it's way. It's called the Arts Blogs and it will similar to the Band Blogs. Included will be arts organizations, publishers, galleries, production companies, co-ops and collectives, festivals etc., So, if you have suggestions for who should be included please pass them along. In order to be included they, obviously, need to have a blog somewhere with a feed (RSS/Atom etc).

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Zeke's Gallery, LibelChill and the CBC

Canada's libel laws may end up destroying free speech online. Here is a piece that the CBC did on the subject. For more info see

Home Again!

So, I'm back. I have lots of stuff to tell you about but it will take me a bit to get caught up. Thanks to Eric for posting alot while I was away and keeping things moving forward. More to follow shortly ...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Why We're Here

This is the best video game trailer I have ever seen.

Too bad there's no CFL video game.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Facebook Tally

Here is some information you can share at the dinner table, at a party, or when you are trying to impress the opposite/same sex.

Let's begin:

- There are 236 Facebook groups related to Stephen Harper. Some groups support the Prime Minister. Others are against him. My favourite group is, "Give Harper Time To Write His Book About Hockey."

- There are 13 groups related to Erik Bedard. Three of the 13 groups want Bedard to win the Cy Young award. He has a shot, but Josh Beckett and Roy Halladay are definitely in front of him.

- There are only two groups dedicated to Buck 65. That does not seem fair.

- There is a group related to the Arcade Fire with almost 2400 members.

- There is a group dedicated to Global's Leslie Roberts. It's called "Leslie Roberts is a DILF Fan Club." No, I am not kidding. Here's the group's description: "Leslie Roberts is a pimp, in the sexy sort of way.... I mean, just look at what his seed created!!! From his dashing good looks (emphasized by his sea-blue eyes), incredible sense of style (supplied by Global CanWest Media) to his poise and articulation on the news to even his 'silly laugh' and soulful voice singing "sexyback" by Justin Timberlake."

- There are no groups specifically for Olivia Chow. However, her husband is the subject of 64 groups.

- There is a group called "Friends of Relic From The Beachcombers." It has 85 members.

- The "Jenny Gear Fan Club" only has six members. Ouch.

- There are four groups dedicated to Danger Bay. One group wants the series remade.

- Finally, has a Facebook group. You should go join that.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Late Night Radio: Nightstream

I was disappointed when CBC decided to cancel Radio 3's weekend broadcasts on Radio 2. The R3 program was the only time I would even listen to Radio 2. But now, I've returned to Radio 2 for a program that is eclectic, diverse and peaceful.

The program is called Nightstream and it airs seven days a week, from 1-6am.

Nightstream offers a wide variety of music. It touches almost every single genre featured on Radio 2. One minute you're listening to a folk song; the next minute you're listening to a catchy tune with electronic beats.

If there is one thing that all the tracks on Nightstream have in common, it's that they all express a calm presence. Each song will allow the listener to relax, reflect and wind down after a long day. Personally, I enjoy listening to the program as I lie in bed, drifting in and out of consciousness.

Of course, the only downside is that Nightstream airs in the very early morning, when you're probably asleep. However, if you are up during the program's five-hour time slot, I highly recommend you to listen. You'll find that Nightstream is a great way to find peace in an otherwise hectic world.

For more information, visit Nightstream's website.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

RVT: Dark Rising Trailer

Here's the trailer for the Canadian horror/comedy, Dark Rising; starring (among others) Canadian pro-wrestler Christian Cage.

Friday, August 10, 2007

P.S. Put the Radio 3 Player on Your Site!!

One More Thing - The CBC Radio 3 Player is now Embeddable.
"Sure, the player may look the same, but it's what's new under the hood that counts. You can now add it to your Facebook, MySpace, or blog, and rig it to play your personal playlist, that of another user, all the songs on your favourite band's page, or even our web radio stream."

Visit Radio 3 for details!
Expect me to make full use of this after I'm back from Vacation. See you all next week

President Of Canada?!?!

From CanWest News Service:

U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama, already under fire from fellow Democratic candidates for his supposed inexperience and unguarded comments on American foreign policy issues, is raising eyebrows again after vowing to call "the president of Canada" if elected to the White House to begin renegotiating terms of the NAFTA trade deal.

The titular miscue came Tuesday night during a discussion of trade and labour issues at a Democratic debate in the Illinois senator's home base of Chicago.

"I would immediately call the president of Mexico, the president of Canada, to try to amend NAFTA, because I think that we can get labour agreements in that agreement right now," Obama said. "And it should reflect the basic principle that our trade agreements should not just be good for Wall Street; it should also be good for Main Street."

Oh dear.

I'd like to tell you that this is a rare occurrence, but unfortunately, this has happened before. Remember Jean Poutine?

Full article

Vacation Time!

I'm off for a week of not very much in cottage country. I'm still me though. I won't be completely disconnected. I have my cell (those of you who know the number, know the number). I can also still get messages through Facebook Mobile

And, I think, I've arranged to have dial up service while I'm there. I won't know for sure until I get there and try it and I won't be on very much (not much at all) I might still get an email if you send it.

I likely won't post while I'm away, though if I find a rainy day I might pipe in. In the mean time I hope that the other people on the blog will find some interesting things to say. See you in a week(ish).


RVT: You Say Party! We Say Die! - the Gap

More from "the Party" at

The Outfit at Lees

I don't know if I'll be able to make this show or not, but if I can't you should. Saturday, August 18th at Lees Palace, Sweet Things, Famous Lovers and the Sharp Tongues will be playing with, one of my favorite Toronto bands to see live the Outfit. Outfit shows are always fun, the energy level is high and they cram as much as they can into each set. You can hear a few of the tracks of their new EP on their MySpace.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

You Say Party! We Say Not Without a Visa!

Last October, You Say Party, We Say Die! Tried to cross the US border. They had applied for and been denied a visa because they were not making enough money. Such is the love of the Party for their fans that they tried to cross anyway and are now banned from the US.

The Band has posted a petition at asking that they be allowed to return and play for their fans in the US.

Regardless of which side of the border you live on - please sign the petition and

If you're in Canada write your MP and ask them to help smooth things over. If you don't have it handy you can find your MP using this:

If you're in the U.S. write your Congress person. The easy Congress person finder thingy is at .

I'll try to follow up on this when I return from vacation - in the mean time though - if you visit the You Say Party! We Say Die! MySpace you can hear their entire new album - even if you live in the U.S.

Toronto Star: Media Consolidation

Steve Anderson of has an interesting article in today's Toronto Star on the consolidation of media: "A few examples: CTVglobemedia has inhaled CHUM (with Rogers taking the spoils), Alliance Atlantis is on the brink of becoming a part of CanWest and Quebecor Media is poised to take over Osprey Media."

My personal feeling is that as long as net neutrality is maintained this problem is not as serious as it once might have been. Personally I get most of my media online, and 80-90% of it comes from independents and public broadcasters. However, as Steve points out
"Unfortunately, a high level of media consolidation also means that we are in danger of losing the open Internet in Canada and the ability to choose which websites we go to. For the most part the media conglomerates that dominate conventional media also dominate web traffic."
It is becoming increasingly clear that unless commercial media in Canada begins to act in the public interest, or at least make concessions to the public interest (on which their licenses are supposed to depend) that they will have to be brought to heel. The CRTC and Heritage committee have proven ineffective at exerting any control whatsoever - perhaps a targeted boycott of their advertisers would send a message?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Attn: Regina - Save a starving artist

If you're in Regina please read the following, help out if you can and/or pass this along if you can't:

The very talented Regina (starving) artist Nicole Ooms is in need of some assistance. She is looking for the following

  • A 2 bedroom place that allows dogs

  • ANY useable acrylic HOUSE PAINTS leftover or otherwise

  • Any canvas that you would like to give away (even if there is already something on it.

  • If you can help out, contact her through her Facebook account or leave a comment below.

    You can also see some of Nicole's work at

    the Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra: Nothing to Fear

    Way back in 1975, a local radio station in Cleveland booked Devo to open for Sun Ra as a joke, billing them as a Bad Company cover band. What the audience heard that Halloween night was nothing that they were expecting, nothing they had ever heard before and with no point of reference most of the audience left before Devo had finished their set. Devo, of course, has gone on to have a long career (32 years and counting) and are considered one of the most influential bands in recent history - contributing significantly to new wave, post punk, and electronica as well as being pioneers of modern music video they have been listed as influences on acts as diverse as Henry Rollins, Primus and Nine Inch Nails. But, again, the 1975 audience had no idea what they were seeing. (If all you know is "Whip It" you are missing a significant chapter in your music history.)

    I point out all of this because I was reminded of it last night. At a little venue called Mitzi's Sister on Queen West in Toronto, I saw the Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra. There were a few friends and fans there to see them, but those who didn't know what they were getting into largely reacted like a 1975 Cleveland audience. The bands sound is not familiar, it is not 'what is expected' (especially in a small, usually folk rock venue).

    It's not that Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra is completely alien, they certainly are not. For the last several years a variety of indie/alternative artists have been adding more depth to their music by using non-traditional instruments (at least for this type of music.) the Hidden Cameras, the Arcade Fire, and Do Make Say Think are just a few examples of bands that have added such things as violin, cello, horns, xylophone and accordion to the mix. Also notable is Final Fantasy's Polaris winning "He Poos Clouds" last year. So the direction is definitely there. But Pardale Revolutionary Orchestra has actually done away with the guitar altogether and replaced the usual pop vocals with an operatic soprano.

    In their own words:
    "Rejecting both the tainted, parasitic resources of high art and the equally insular, anti-intellectual pretentions of mainstream popular music, the Orchestra has adopted a third path: active contribution to a growing rejection of these desperately invalid musical standards."

    It has been suggested to me that there is an influence from such people as Phillip Glass and Godspeed You Black Emperor - which is certainly true. But it is an evolution of that school, not merely a member of it. Further potential was revealed in their poetry segment. Toronto poet and hip hop artist danejahras joined the band on stage for a reading which turned out to be the most compelling and original thing I've heard in hip-hop for a very long time.
    note: poets who are interested in performing with the band can contact them through their website

    If you are truly not afraid of experimentation, of new directions or of bands that are willing to try something new rather than follow the crowd I'd strongly encourage you to introduce yourself to the music and consider going to one of their upcoming shows at the Tranzac Club.

    Tuesday, August 07, 2007

    CBC Issues and Retracts Blogging Policy

    From Inside the CBC: the CBC on Friday issued a policy which proposed to give the corporation the right to approve the personal blogs of employees. Any CBC employee who wants to start a personal blog which “clearly associates them with CBC/Radio-Canada” now requires their supervisor’s permission, according to a new policy. The word policy was later changed to “guideline document". The guidelines met with immediate and heavy criticism. I can only imagine the response it might have recieved if it hadn't gone out at 5 O'Clock at the beginning of a long weelend. Today, the CBC issued a clarification stating that the document issued on Friday was only a proposed early draft. "..we may yet try to provide some additional policy about the do’s and don’t’s of blogging in the coming months. Some of the dialogue that followed your initial posting may well be useful background in that context."

    For more see Paul Gourbould's Whose Blog is it Anyway and this workaround which appeared less than 24 hours after the policy/guideline/early draft was first posted.

    Bicycles Back in the Studio

    The Bicycles are headed back into the studio to work on the follow up for "the Good, the Bad & the Cudly "starting next monday... we go into the studio for 10 days straight of pure recording bliss... so don't try to find us... we'll be locked up in a dimly lit room somewhere making some sweet sweet music... the new album is due out in early 08"

    They are also releasing a DVD Board game (??) on this Friday at the Tranzac 292 brunswck st, toronto, Ontario. With music, an interactive gaming session and apparently 'popcorn and candy'.

    Ohbijou Free Show @ Harbourfront Centre

    I'll be in cottage country glued to the deck this Friday, but if you're in Toronto head down to Harbourfront Centre at 8 pm for a free show by Ohbijou. I'm convinced they deliberately schedule these things for days when I'm out of town, but don't hold that against them - it's no reason to miss what promises to be an awesome FREE show.

    Hugh For President

    Hugh McGuire has thrown his hat into the ring for the CBC president job. He has some excellent points in his 6 point plan for the future of the CBC.
    1. Podcast everything audio (none of this “best-of” stuff), and put *all* CBC TV on Youtube (leave the ads in).
Do you want people to consume your stuff? Then let them.

    2. Allow all non-commercial stations to use your programming (maybe commercial, too)
I was struck, while in the US recently, that NPR radio shows pop up all over the radio dial on college stations. College stations here should be able to play CBC programs too. See above.

    3. Focus internal production on: News and Documentary
A public broadcaster sinks or swims on its news and documentary programming - at least that’s where it’s reputation lies. Stop trying to make dismal “entertainment” programming. It sucks. Just stop it. You are wasting money. (Mostly).

    4. Increase budget for external Canadian productions
On radio, much of the good stuff is done by external producers. I don’t know much about TV, but I bet you buying good Canadian-produced programming is a more efficient way of getting good stuff than trying to produce it yourself. And this does just as much to support Canadian culture etc as fat CBC production budgets would.

    5. Focus the CBC’s Internet strategy and hire more people who understand the Internet is getting better, but still isn’t good enough. See point 1. The focus should be: providing tons of good content online, and making it easy to find. Set up a conference with the world’s leading public broadcasters: BBC, Australian Broadcasting Corp, CBC, NPR …and try to figure out what best practices are. Share your experience.

    6. CBC Labs
Open content shows? Kids with cameras? Young producers showcase? CBC documentary contests? etc. CBC has done some good stuff here, but lets open it up more. “CBC Labs” with a mandate to “explore the evolving landscape of broadcasting in the Internet age.” Budget, oh, say, $2 million. RIP Zed & Radio3 … Oh, and: Put it all on the web.
    While he is definitely wrong about the R.I.P. for Radio 3 (R3 is actually doing everything right.) the plan beyond that has some very strong points. Sadly, being right and having good ideas are unlikely to be criteria that are important to the government. It, in fact, seems to be something that most bureaucracies are apprehensive about.

    Monday, August 06, 2007

    RVT, Gentleman Reg - Over My Head

    More on Gentleman Reg at

    Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra, Tuesday at Mitzi's Sister

    If you haven't been to Mitzi's Sister yet (1554 Queen St. West, Toronto) it's a nice, intimate venue with good, inexpensive food and some nice beers on tap. If you're about on Tuesday, come on out for the Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra.

    Friday, August 03, 2007

    Exposure Ep. 2 on Sunday!

    Just a friendly reminder that Exposure is on for Episode 2 Sunday at 11 p.m. If you watch you can see videos like this one

    But not that one exactly, for some reason the actual videos for Ep. 2 are already up (I think alot of people won't watch the show if they've already seen the videos. If you can't watch the show you can still go to the website, watch and rate videos and even - join the Yahoo group to talk to other viewers.

    Click to join cbcexposure

    RVT: Rick Mercer - Traditional Values

    Just for balance, to make sure that the other side is heard.

    RVT: Lesbians on Ecstasy on

    From Lesbians on Ecstasy's session - to see the rest go here

    Vancouver Theatre Fundraiser

    Passing this along for a friend: If you're in or about Vancouver or have an unlimited travel budget and were trying to think of something to do Monday night...

    "a fundraiser for fighting chance productions, come out and enjoy entertainment all night long for just $10.00. great food & lots of alcohol will be available for purchase too. come have dinner with us!

    "my other side" will focus on local performers "other" vocal/musical talents... so that means NO musical theatre! confirmed so far are shira elias, christopher king, kerry o'donovan, daniel pitout, bethany holtby, richard lam & jazz band 'the rub'. many more to follow, check back here frequently!

    admission is a mere $10 and includes a raffle ticket for tons of "performer friendly" prizes such as dance classes, audition prep time & tickets to shows!

    Monday, August 6, 2007 at 6:30pm
    The Alibi Room
    157 Alexander Street @ Main
    Vancouver, BC

    more info at

    If you heard about this fundraiser from this website, at the door please say that you are there to support "evenstar theatre", as it is a joint-fundraiser with Fighting Chance Productions. Thank you!

    Band Blogs Updated

    Yesterday I received an email from someone wondering if I'd like to include his blog in the site. I've gotten several of these lately and if I haven't gotten back to you it doesn't necessarily mean I'm not going to, it just means I haven't gotten to it yet. Anyway, I went to look at the particular blog in question and found some of the most vile, hate filled, anti-gay, propaganda I've seen in a long, long time. I won't give you the address because more traffic would only encourage him. I have maintained a policy on since the beginning that it will not, under any circumstances, be a platform for hatred, intolerance or any other form of evil. However, in a nod to the person who sent the email I have added Lesbians on Ecstasy (a.k.a. Lezzies on X) to the Band Blogs. No, this will not make him happy, but it will give him one more thing that doesn't affect him in any way to worry and complain about - and thereby make his empty life more full.

    While I was at it, I also added Kevin Drew, Young Galaxy, the Russian Futurists, Emily Haines, the World Provider, Saint Alvia Cartel, Jason Collett, Amy Millan, They Shoot Horses Don't They and the Choir Practice.

    Thursday, August 02, 2007

    What Is Indie?

    There is an article by Guy Dixon in Saturday's Globe and Mail called Life on the Road: What indie looks like now. It's all about Canadian indie bands and who is or isn't indie.

    Myself, personally, I don't like stadium concerts. I will never pay $100-200 to see ANY band from 100 yards away (or to simply watch them on the jumbotron screen.) I like small venues, I like small crowds, I like good beer - not watered down discount beer at import prices. I like to say hi to the band and buy the CD directly from them (assuming I liked them). That's just my taste though. I don't really care about labels, indie or otherwise. I find it sad that at the point in their career when a band actually starts to make enough money to quit their day job they are frequently accused of 'selling out' or 'not being indie anymore' and their original fan base abandons them - even if the music is just as good.

    So what do you think? What is indie? Does it really mean anything and if so, where do you draw the line?

    Vancouver: Said the Whale seeks keyboard/piano

    It's a good time to be a keyboard player in Canada's west. Yesterday it was Calgary's Lonely Hunters looking for a keyboard player today it's Vancouver's Said the Whale "It's time to fill out the sound with piano and keys. Anyone know of anyone?
    Looks and chops a must - NO BIG HAIR!"
    if you're in the Van area, hit em up or pass it on.

    RVT: Allison Crowe - Northern Lights

    For Northern Lights by Allison Crowe, David Cartier images. You can find more from Allison Crowe on her website or in's download section. You can find more from David Cartier on flickr.

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    Newest Essential Canadian Albums

    Now that I'm back from vacation I can share with everyone the new albums that need purchasing.

    1) The Con by Tegan and Sara
    This is the best album of their career thus far. These Canadian twins have grown in popularity with their previous release, So Jealous, and all eyes were on them before the album dropped. With the help of Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla, the girls have made an album seeped in emotional angst. It's not unlike a soap opera and that's a good thing. Note to self, don't piss off these girls because they'll write a song about it.

    2) What is Free to a Good Home by Emily Haines
    This companion EP to Knives Don't Have Your Back is in the same down-tempo tone, but since there are only six songs, it hits harder. Named after her father's poem, Haines exhibits her own poetry and puts one of his to music. The EP is simply beautiful and further solidifies Haine's range and capability.

    3)Sticking Fingers into Sockets by Los Campesinos!
    I know, I know this band isn't Canadian, but it's on Canada's most popular indie label, Arts & Crafts. This EP is six songs of pure fun and pop delight. I dare you not to dance during We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives.

    First For You, Motherf***er

    There are few people who can make swearing sound like poetry. Samuel L. Jackson is one such person.

    Every time he screams Motherf***er, it's like a song bird expressing his beautiful sound.

    It made me wonder - what if Samuel L. Jackson added his own zest to the tag lines of popular Canadian companies?

    Here are some of the results:

    - Sleep Country Canada: Why buy a motherf***ing mattress anywhere else?

    - Tim Horton's: Always motherf***ing fresh, always Tim motherf***ing Horton's.

    - Trust the motherf***ing Midas touch.

    - Canada Post: From any motherf***ing place to any motherf***er.

    - Zellers: Everything From 'A' to the last motherf***er in the alphabet.

    - Beauty at the motherf***ing Bay.

    - RBC Royal Bank: First for you, motherf***er.

    - CIBC. For what motherf***ing matters.

    - The Globe and Mail: Canada's motherf***ing National Newspaper

    - Harvey's makes your hamburger a beautiful motherf***er

    CBC Throwback - The National

    Here's one of the original openings to CBC's The National. This one dates back to the 1970's. It's short and to the point.

    Communications By Talking To People II: The End of Advertising

    In the first post on this topic I talked a big about 'friends vs. fans': "Fans may like a program, channel etc., but ultimately they know that if they switch the channel no one will know, or really care. Friends feel more of a sense of ownership. They feel some responsibility for the well being of the program and they feel that they are participants and part of a larger community - that their involvement and participation are important. Notice the groups I started on MySpace, Facebook etc., are called 'Friends of the CBC'." I think that I need to go a bit further into that because so few people really seem to grasp it, or they think that it's undoable.

    First of all I need to say that this will apply to virtually everyone, in virtually every business, not just the CBC and not just in media. Second, if you think it's undoable then chances are your business (whatever it is) is going to be undoable as well - at least if it relies on advertising or marketing. Advertising and marketing, in the sense we know them now, are sinking fast in terms of their effectiveness.

    Spend a day in a North American city and count the number of ads you see, be vigilant, there are probably several hundred you wouldn't normally notice - tv ads, radio ads, internet ads, newspaper and magazine ads, junk mail, telemarketing, billboards, buildings and sports venues named after companies, flyers nailed or taped to everything that will hold still, ads in the subway, on the streetcar, even in the bathroom, door to door salespeople, people handing out samples or trying to sign you up for things in the mall and grocery store, ads packed in the envelope with your bills ...

    Searching the phrase Advertising Losing Effectiveness on Google and you will get 1,640,000 results. Search the phrase Advertising Overload and you will get 1,850,000 results. Advertisers know this is happening, but rather than collectively cut back on advertising to try to make it more effective and make sure the message gets through, they are going into hyperdrive snapping up ad space anywhere they can find it and even willingly and knowingly breaking the law to try to grab a few eyeballs for a few seconds.

    Here are a few statistics from the advertising industry itself:

    From What's Your Brand Mantra:
    • 60% of consumers have a much more negative opinion of marketing and advertising now than a few years ago
    • 61% feel the amount of marketing and advertising is out of control
    • 65% feel constantly bombarded with too much marketing and advertising
    • 53% of consumers polled said that spam had turned them off to all forms of marketing and advertising
    • 36% of consumers polled said that the shopping experience is less enjoyable because of pressure to buy
    • 53% said that for the most part, marketing and advertising does not help them shop better.
    • 59% feel that most marketing and advertising has very little relevance to them
    • 64% are concerned about practices and motives of marketers and advertisers
    • 61% feel that marketers and advertisers don't treat consumers with respect
    • 65% think there should be more limits and regulations on marketing and advertising
    • 69% are interested in products and services that would help them skip or block marketing
    • 33% would be willing to have a slightly lower standard of living to live in a society without marketing and advertising

    and from BigResearch
    Recognizing that the customer is boss is a requirement for success in today's marketplace. Nowhere is this more apparent than in targeting consumers via advertising, especially since 92.5% of them say they are regularly or occasionally avoiding advertising, according to BIGresearch's latest Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM VIII). Over 15,000 consumers 18 years or older participated in the survey and for those who plan on making a purchase of a durable product, such as a car, computer, furniture, appliance, major home improvement or TV, the number is even higher for avoiding advertising at 93%.

    The BigResearch piece goes on to say that when asked consumers top methods of finding out about products were "Word of Mouth" and "Read Article on Product". Needless to say, it will raise the bar considerably on what is commercially viable when commercials are no longer commercially viable. This brings us back to my point. People now find out about new things - whether it be music, a web site, a television program or a blender, toaster or laptop not by advertising but by talking to their friends and doing their own research.

    So, for those of you who think building a base of friends is undoable, this is your new advertising. It can't be fake, it can't be bought. You actually have to get to know your customers/audience, you have to talk to them, listen to them and treat them with respect. You have to be open and honest and straightforward and you have to have a good product to begin with (advertising will no longer be able to move a mediocre product). Even with all of that, whatever your industry or niche with all of the different 'channels' out there and the internet tearing down international barriers, the competition for your 'friends' is going to be intense. Ultimately, if your friends don't speak highly of you to their friends, write nice things about you on the internet and bring new friends to your community, no one will ever hear about your great new product (even if it is in fact great).

    One of the things I love about Radio 3 is that they honestly seem to get this, but they are very nearly alone. There are a few companies that seem to be catching on, and some indie media people have always understood it, but the vast majority of media (big and small), and the vast majority of companies in every industry haven't got an inkling yet. A few are trying to buy 'friends' (which ultimately won't work either) and companies for years have been pushing 'loyalty programs' but these have become a product in and of themselves, with their own advertising. Not everyone has to really understand all of this though. People go out of business all the time, it won't be anything new.

    New Most Serene Republic Album Oct. 2

    From their blog

    On October 2, 2007 Arts & Crafts will release Population, the new studio album by The Most Serene Republic.

    The album was self-produced by the band in Toronto over the last year, and was inspired by the sprawling suburbs of their hometown of Milton, Ontario. Musically, they sound as grandiose as ever. On Population, they showcase their prog and jazz influence, while building on the unique sound they carved out with their Arts & Crafts debut, Underwater Cinematographer, which Exclaim! Magazine described as "raucous, arty pop structures and ambient noise with a lo-fi, wall-of-sound approach.

    The band spent two years touring the world with the likes of Broken Social Scene, Stars, Feist and The Strokes. And while they were filling rooms with their sprawling sound and youthful enthusiasm, TMSR also found time to record and release a tour-only EP entitled, Phages.

    TMSR will tour North America this fall. Dates to be announced soon.

    Get a free download of the song "Sherry And Her Butterfly Net" at

    1. Humble Peasants
    2. Compliance
    3. The Men Who Live Upstairs
    4. Present of Future End
    5. A Mix of Sun and Cloud
    6. Battle Hymn of the Republic
    7. Why So Looking Back
    8. Sherry and Her Butterfly Net
    9. Agenbite of Inwit
    10. Career in Shaping Clay
    11. Solipsism Millionaires
    12. Multiplication Desks
    13. Neurasthenia

    Hillside Photos

    If you'd like to see some great photos from Guelph's Hillside Festival visit Blog Guelph and just start scrolling.

    It begins: The internet eating into TV/Radio

    According to a CTV story Canadians spent more time online last year at the expense of conventional radio and tv. It should be pointed out that all of this ultimately won't matter. The best way to plan for the future, if you're in media, is to stop thinking of your tv, radio, telephone (including cell), and computer as seperate things - very soon they will not be. Each of these will perform all of the functions of the other with the only real difference being size and portability.

    It is great news though for independent media and independent artists. As long as net neutrality remains in place the line between 'big media' and small/independent media will blur. There will be nothing to stop someone from visiting your indie media site instead of CTV or Global. It will also kill geographic boundries. There will always be some demand for local stuff, but when people turn to look beyond their neighbourhood your little website/podcast/internet radio station in rural Saskatchewan is available to people in Toronto, Sydney, London, and Tokyo.

    It will be, in effect, a global free trade zone for art and ideas. When asked the question: If you could live in any era of history, which would it be? I've always answered - right now.