Friday, November 30, 2007

RVT: In Session With the Blood Lines

If you are lucky enough to get Country Canada, the Blood Lines will be on Sessions next Wednesday, December 5th at 6, 10, and midnight ET

Breaking Links: Friday, November 30

Bookninja on the American TV writers strike:
"I just want TV back on so more of the people I dislike will stay in at night at leave the coffee shops and pubs empty for me."

Exclaim! has an interview with Hidden Camera Joel Gibb:
"People don’t like Bavarians in Berlin, which is why I kind of liked wearing the lederhosen. "

Spacing has a good summary of the tragic developments in Queen West.
"Despite the best intentions of the city, I’m afraid I have a feeling of impending doom about all of this. The attempts to retain spaces for artists and affordable housing are honest and well intentioned. The result, however, will necessarily be the replacement of a vibrant, incidental place which harboured a vibrant culture, with a designed, manufactured place which will be home to a designed, manufactured culture."

VoCA's Top 5 are up
"Every *SECOND FRIDAY* VoCA will introduce our 'TOP FIVE' - five Canadian artists whose exceptionally well-made, well-conceived and original work we've recently featured, and recommend to art collectors."

Natalia Yanchak on Morrisey, NME and Cultural identity.
"Dear NME: Have you been to Quebec lately (Pop Montreal doesn’t count)? Have you heard about Bill 101, which since the late 70’s has sought to empower a forced French identity and culture on anyone who wants to live here? "

According to Fox, long known for their objectivity, Canadian beer drinkers are a threat to the planet thanks Radio 3
"The problem is that the beer fridges are mostly decades-old machines that began their second careers as beverage dispensers when Canadians upgraded to more energy-efficient models to store whatever Canadians eat besides doughnuts and poutine."

Radio 3 has a Tour Diary from the Barmitzvah Brothers
"...Brother Jenny Mitchell will cut your hair for free in exchange for a story. So far she's got 100 stories ..."

The RCMP has seized a computerat the CBC's offices in Winnipeg, though why it was seized remains a mystery.
""We did have an interest in a computer at that location, which is why we went there," Karpish said. She said the CBC is not being investigated by the RCMP. She would not say whether an employee is being investigated."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

RVT: the Bicycles and the 500th post

Two Really Important things here..ok neither is really important but still...

1) The Bicycles have a new album coming and in case you didn't read about it in the last post: Radio 3 has an interview here.

2) This is the 500th post on this I tried to come up with something more anniversary like to say but then I didn't. Maybe when we get to 1,000??

Dontcha love the Bicycles though??

Breaking Links: Thursday, November 29

David Akin is collecting articles on water and the looming crisis' that surround it.
"A typical Westerner consumes, directly and through thirsty products like food, about a hundred times their own weight in water every day. That is why some of the great rivers of the world, such as the Nile, Indus, Yellow River and Colorado, no longer reach the sea in any appreciable volume. All their water is taken..."

Via Art Threat: Pivot Journal (An Interdisciplinary Graduate Journal of Visual Culture) Call for Submissions:
"We are constantly building - we build up, we build in, we build out. We build objects, communities, revolutions, relationships, movements, networks and theories. We build ourselves. With the theme of BUILD, this edition of Pivot will explore and critique how and why we build.

To build can be work or play, a hobby or a natural instinct. It can signal an idealistic concept or a concrete action. "Build" can be something evolving, malleable, and volitional and at the same time trigger the process of entrenchment of things fabricated, stifling and problematic. In a climate of apocalyptic projections, "build" becomes about progress, contemporary modernity and an inherent desire to move forward and take the next step. As an action, it is always present in one form or another - propelling us through our lives, visibly and invisibly."

CBC Radio 3 has an update on the Bicycles soon to be new album.
"Matt: We intentionally wanted to have new sounds - whereas before on a certain song we would've used strings, now we use crazy synths. We got really into less-remembered albums like T-Rex's Futuristic Dragon and the Beach Boys' Love You."

Spiral Beach is having a sleep over this saturday and you're invited.
"the all-ages show has no curfew - fans are encouraged to bring tents, sleeping bags and pillows, and a pancake breakfast is to be served in the morning. Billed as "full-on extravaganza," the experience includes a night of video projections, circus acts and glowing visuals in addition to an eclectic list of bands, headlined by Spiral Beach, who float in at midnight. Strap in, then, it's going to be a weird one. B.W."

EMI is reportedly about to dump the RIAA: Apparently repeatedly suing your best customers isn't good for business after all.
"According to figures seen by Reuters, each of the Big Four contributes approximately $132.3 million to fund the operations of the IFPI, RIAA, and other national recording industry trade groups. That money is used in part to fund the industry's antipiracy efforts—including the close to 30,000 file-sharing lawsuits filed by the record labels in the US alone."

Via Spacing the ROM is apparently trying to get rid of the hot dog ventors near the museum because they are messing up the view.
"It reinforces perceptions of snobbery and elitism that come with opening an empty starchitect-designed building and charging $20 a pop for people to simply walk through its spaces. Though the museum has filled up a bit more since June, it’s still largely empty, possibly in part — I’ve been told by sources in the know — because its pricey rooms are not adequate to maintaining delicate archival materials."

Galacticasting Call

Rudy Wants to Can Haz New Hawt Costars: In case you hadn't heard Casey McKinnon has left Galaticast. This may seem to you, as it did to me at first, like the Canadian vlogging equivalent of the Kennedy Assassination but, since everyone is still alive and doing well (as far as I know) - maybe it wasn't quite that bad.

At any rate, Rudy is looking for a new cast for next season.

From Rudy:

With Casey leaving, its time to find a new acting troupe to participate in GALACTICAST. Not much is required; 5 hours of your time once a week, a wee bit of the self promotion, but otherwise its fun, funny, and ... funtastic?

So if you guys no anyone in the Montreal area who would like to be appear in an episode please reach out to them and me.

Likewise, if anyone wants to sugar-momma the show, contact me. We've built this with little to no budget. Imagine what we can accomplish with a few thousand dollars.

If you're interested (and if being in Montreal alot isn't a problem for you), contact Rudy through the Galaticast Website

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

RVT: Henri Faberge & The Adorables Cover Raffi

They were mentioned a couple of times today durning Grant Lawrence's show on CBC Radio 3, though not quite in this context: Here are Henri Faberge & The Adorables doing a Raffi cover. No moshing.

Breaking Links: Wednesday, November 28

Via Michael Geist: The Globe and Mail on why the problem with 'illegal downloading' is the entertainment industry and not the pirates.
"The history of media innovation for the last hundred years is essentially a history of gadgets that have been considered at one time or another to be "pirate" technologies. Time after time, these technologies have been opposed by the status quo and embraced by consumers. In each case the consumers have won, and in each case the more efficient and convenient distribution of media has been a financial boon to the industry as a whole."

From Spacing Toronto: News that the voice of the London Tube (Emma Clarke) has been fired for posting fake announcements on her website.
"You’ve got the microphone. It’s a Monday morning. There are hundreds of bored commuters listening. The temptation is simply too much…"

Fround through the Radio 3 Blog: Canoe's 6 Steps to fix the music biz
"6. Stop Sucking
Ask kids who their favourite acts are right now. Then throw away those lists and ask for their favourite acts of all time. Virtually every one will mention Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Beatles, AC/DC, Nirvana, The Who or Black Sabbath. Why? Because those bands made great music. Great music is timeless. What you make is product. People don't want product; they want great music. So stop investing in every flash-in-the-pan trend and start investing in the next immortal band."

From the Montreal City Weblog Bob Gainly is now saying that the official report on death at sea of his daughter last year is a cover up. the CBC's Fifth Estate will report on it this evening.
"She was the adventurous daughter of Canadian hockey icon Bob Gainey and when Laura Gainey was swept overboard from the deck of the tall ship, the Picton Castle, last year it was reported as a tragic accident.

But, Gillian Findlay and a fifth estate team have investigated and found that there are disturbing questions about the safety conditions on the ship and about two conflicting reports about what happened the night Laura was swept into the Atlantic Ocean."

Broken Social Scene and the Stars will both contribute to At the Barricades, volume I
"At the Barricades: Volume 1 is the first in a three volume series produced for Lake Ontario Waterkeeper by Chris Brown. The album reflects the efforts of a group of artists committed to the fight for clean water. They are joining Waterkeeper at the grassroots, where we are working to break down the barricades of economic influence and political clout that currently impede fair, democratic environmental decision-making."

the CBC's Canada Reads has announced the year's contenders.
"An astronaut will defend a book about a 19th-century man obsessed with a glacier and a hip-hop poet will vouch for a book set in a dystopian Toronto of the future in the 2008 edition of CBC Radio One's Canada Reads."

If you're in Vancouver, would like to see Apostle of Hustle for free and know how to send a text message this might be your lucky day!
"Any AOH fan can see the band play for free at the Centre for Digital Media - all you have to do is text message "ApostleofHustle" to 66937 (spells Mozes). The first 30 people to send a text will receive a message back from Mozes explaining where they can pick up the tickets. "

From Michael Geist:
"Industry Minister Jim Prentice has just announced that the government will put in place measures as part of the forthcoming spectrum auction to encourage greater competition within the Canadian wireless market.  Prentice acknowledged that Canadian wireless pricing is too high, particularly for data.  Accordingly, they will set aside a significant chunk of spectrum - nearly 40 percent of the auction - solely for new entrants and mandate tower sharing. "
So, more competition for Bell and Rogers which can only be a good thing. Also, this is a reiteration of the idea that the public airwaves are still the public airwaves and public service requirements can still be placed upon those that lease them.

Parkdale Deserves Food Too

There are alot of poor people in the Parkdale area of Toronto. There are also alot of people who are right on the edge - people who are getting by but who could be in serious trouble if they had a bad month. There is also alot of money in West Toronto so it is completely unacceptable that the Parkdale Food Bank should face closure - especially when all they need is $33,000 a year in operating expenses.

I'm talking to a few people about how to fix it and (believe me) I'll mention it here in the mean time there is a Facebook group you can join or get in touch with me here or here.

..Stay Tuned

Blood Lines Head for Alberta:

From Maygen:
December 14: Edmonton's Velvet Underground (I really hope we have time to go to Cafe Mosaic during the day. That place is fantastic.)

December 15: Calgary's Marquee Room (Can someone point me in the direction of a decedent but vegetarian-friendly place for brunch? One that will please me AND my 6'4'' bandmates?)

If you know of such a veggie friendly brunch place in Calgary, please leave it in the comments.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

RVT: Eyes on Toronto Highlights

You know that Eyes on Toronto thing I keep talking about? Here is a small taste of why I keep talking about it. If you haven't been out yet it should be on your to do list for 08.

Breaking Links: Tuesday, November 27

From the Radio 3 blog comes news that, if you're in Toronto, you too can have a very Fucked Up Christmas!
"On December 15, the Toronto punk band is hosting a "special holiday event" at Sonic Boom Records to benefit the Toronto Food Bank, as well as George Herman House, a transitional housing program for women living with mental health issues.

The show will feature a special F*cked Up set that includes "David Christmas", the first single from the David Comes to Life LP, as well as Christmas covers, musical guests, and "a very special holiday vocalist." You can also have your picture taken with a yet-to-be-revealed "Santa.""

From Art Threat : what's better than Wal-Mart at Christmas time? Only one thing really:
"Walmartopia, the Off-Broadway musical that targets the happy yellow face, has been playing in NYC since the end of September. As the good reviews keep coming in on this political comedy for the stage, I wonder, will it take off? This is a challenge to any theatre directors out there - bring the Big Box farce off Off-Broadway, way off, to other cities and towns. This topic is way more universal than Miss Saigon, so lets see some franchising! 

Senator Colin Kenny, chair of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defense has called for a moratorium on RCMP taser use.
"A moratorium on Taser use by the RCMP should be imposed until everyone is assured that officers issued the weapons are properly trained"

Iceland is now the best place to live according to the United Nations.
"Rich free-market countries dominate the top places, with Iceland, Norway, Australia, Canada and Ireland the first five but the United States slipping to 12th place from eighth last year in the U.N. Human Development Index."

New bill to address native land claims put forward. The bill is co-authored by Phil Fontaine, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (who obviously supports it):
""I'm confident this will work because it's our process as well," said Fontaine, who was joined by Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl in Ottawa for the announcement. Fontaine added that if the bill becomes law, it has the potential "to revolutionize the claims process.""

Ontario premeire Daulton McGuinty has decided it's time to target poverty in Toronto. Mayor David Miller sounds like he might have some suggestions for where McGuinty should start.
"Long-standing federal government rules make it more difficult for workers to qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) in Toronto than most other Canadian cities – even booming Calgary.
Only 22 per cent of unemployed workers in Toronto qualify for EI, compared with 36 per cent in Montreal and 26 per cent in Calgary.
That means unemployed workers in Toronto are more likely to be pushed onto welfare – which is partly funded by the city – than workers in other cities."

Hug Your Brain With Comedy

If you live in Toronto and have a brain there is something you should know about. In this particular case I don't mean 'Are you smarter than a 5th grader' - I mean if it literally. Brainsgiving is the um... brain child of Amanda Terfloth who was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour at age 17. For the full story go here.

Brainsgiving is literally a celebration of the brain itself and now, it is a fundraiser
In August 2007, it dawned on Amanda that the best way to celebrate Brainsgiving would be to hold a fundraiser for the same Neurotrauma centre that changed her quality of life and saved the lives of so many others. Not the wine and cheese soiree sort, she spread word amongst her comedic brethren and solicited help to build a four foot brain out of unlikely household items. The INAUGURAL BRAINSGIVING FUNDRAISER was born.

So, on Monday, December 3rd at 7:15pm at Revival, (783 College Street at Shaw in Toronto) there is going to be a fundraiser for the St. Michael's Foundation. It will be hosted by Stephen Eyes, and will feature performances from Fraser Young, Jillian Thomas, Levi MacDougall, Darrin Rose and others.

So, if you have a brain and want to show it some love or, if you don't have a brain but think they're pretty neat visit and/or for details.

eternal hydra

Lest you think mythology is some vague laborious thing you vaguely recall from grade 9, involving monsters and snakeheads an gods hurling thunderbolts from the sky... well, me too.

How many times did I go through the Greek and Roman pantheons, trying to keep the names, functions, and connections straight?

But the success of the recent film Beowulf proves that myths are eternally popular.

The tales of gods and goddesses, heroes, demons, maidens and monsters still have a power, and I've found, increase in meaning as the years pass.

As noted mythologian Joseph Campbell once wrote, "myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life."

Anton Piatigorsky understands this.

Soulpepper Theatre Company's current playwright-in-residence has chosen to name his play, Eternal Hydra, after the Greek mythological figure of the fearsome creature Hercules had to kill as part of his twelve tasks; for every head poor Herc chopped off, two grew back.

The play is being presented by Crow's Theatre November 26th to December 1st at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

"The story is about a novel that's been lost and then rediscovered," he explains, "and the novel is called Eternal Hydra. There's a myth in it paralleling the myth of Hercules killing the Hydra, but it's meant as a loose analogy for all of humanity."

Piatigorsky's fictional author, Carbunkle, uses the Hydra myth for his own purposes, but as a wider metaphor, he sees the work as "very much about appropriation. The act of Hercules cutting off and capturing the head is an analogy for what the writer does in the course of writing it. It becomes about the appropriation of voice and stealing stories."

Originally premiered at the Stratford Festival's Studio theatre, the play has since evolved into a two-act piece.

"It was initially commissioned as a one-act, and I wrote a version I was happy with, but in that process, I saw ways of expanding it into a full length show. Some of the things I wanted to say and explore couldn't be done in a one-act. It's taken a bunch of years, but now there is a real story that was missing in the Stratford production. It works much better as a narrative now."

Taking his cue from historical novels as well as his own upbringing in Washington, D.C., Piatigorsky says Eternal Hydra is "explicitely about issues of race."

"While I was growing up, everything was about race, in a way that here, there has always been a charged vibe of French and English tensions. In the States, everything's about race... there's that problem, that history, and it carries over into everything."

His work is also meta-dramatical in the sense of bringing awareness to an audience who themselves bring a variance of realities into the theatre.

"I think a lot of people in my generation really like those meta-theatrical stories... there's something true about the experience," he explains, "You can't live in a city like Toronto without being aware there are so many different kinds of people having such radically different experiences, and you can't talk about your experiences or what Toronto is in a meaningful way. The only way that you can really explore those things is by referencing other people's stories and layering them."

For all the rampant decapitation -physical and literal -contained in Eternal Hydra, Piatigorsky's biggest battle thus far has been bringing a sense of emotionality to the work.

"As a writer, that's been my biggest battle," he says with a knowing smile, "I came to it from not from ideas, because I always felt very emotional and hearty about it. But a lot of times what I imagined is the heart of the play makes sense in my head, but doesn't translate, so figuring out how to walk that line has been a long process for me."

So what will audiences take away from Eternal Hydra? Perhaps a burning urge to dig out their old Edith Hamilton volumes? Or rent Clash of the Titans?

"I hope it hinges on feeling several things at once... breaking open any sense of morality, of right and wrong."

He pauses.

"Ultimately, it's a very clear, very specific and very simple explanation of complexity. That's what it's about."

Sounds like a myth to me.

Eternal Hydra runs at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre November 26th to December 1st; for more information, go to

Monday, November 26, 2007

Breaking Links, Monday November 26

News emerges that the RCMP recently changed it's policy to allow multiple taser hits just as the UN rules that Tasers violate the UN Convention on Torture.
“Use of the electronic stun devices by police has been marked with a sudden rise in deaths - including four men in the United States and two in Canada within the last week."

The rate of child poverty in Canada is the same as it was in 1989 according to Campaign 2000.
"Some of the measures they propose include:
• Raising the minimum wage Canada-wide to $10 per hour.
• Increasing federal work tax credits to $2,400 per year.
• Investing federal dollars in social housing.
• Raising the National Child Benefit Supplement to create a full child benefit for low income families of $5,100 per child per year."

According to the Toronto Star child poverty is especially pronounced in Toronto where approximately 93,000 households with children are below the poverty line.
"Since 2000, Toronto's median family income after taxes and transfers of $41,100, the midpoint for all households raising children 17 and under, has remained relatively stagnant and is now $10,000 lower than the rest of Canada and almost $20,000 less than the rest of the GTA, the report says."

Not surprisingly, Toronto's rise in poverty has been accompanied by (and increased by) an explosion in 'Payday Loan' stores There are currently 317, up from 39 in 1995.
"The report cites the growing number of payday loan stores – which offer short-term, unsecured loans at annual interest rates ranging from 300 to 1,000 per cent – as one of the key warning signs many in the city are becoming poorer and urges the Ontario government to regulate the industry and set an interest rate cap and limits on fees."

Canadian television is about to go commercial free as TiVo arrives in early December (in all provinces except Quebec.)
"The TiVo set-top device, which allows viewers to record shows and skip commercials, will be available across Canada — except in Quebec — through Best Buy, Future Shop, The Brick and London Drug stores for $199. Device owners also need to subscribe to the TiVo service, which has a monthly subscription price of $12.95, with discounts available on long-term contracts."

It looks like the US may decide to stay in Iraq forever.
"BAGHDAD — Iraq's government, seeking protection against foreign threats and internal coups, will offer the U.S. a long-term troop presence in Iraq in return for U.S. security guarantees as part of a strategic partnership, two Iraqi officials said Monday."

The Shadow Collective Makes It's Debut Tonight

The Shadow Collective is "a newly-formed collaboration of photographers, all based in the Toronto area, with the aim of bringing together images of a similar theme. Each photographer brings to the table a passion for exploration and a love of photography. " The collective makes its debut tonight (Monday, Nov. 26, 2007 from 7 to 11 p.m.) with a show at the Charlotte Room in Toronto (The Charlotte Room is at 19 Charlotte Street, near Adelaide and Spadina map).

The show features work from Toni Wallachy, Robert Dyke, Tammy Hoy, Olena Sullivan, Tim Neesam, Rick Harris, Sean Galbraith, Jacqueline Blackman and Paul Krohn. Subject matter will range from rusted motorized vehicles to abandoned buildings – a plethora of scenes encountered on urban excursions.

The Shadow Collective's new website can be found at

Sunday, November 25, 2007

CFL On CBC: 1952 - 2007

The conclusion of today's Grey Cup will signal the end of the CFL's 55-year relationship with our public broadcaster. Personally, it's a real shame that the league will no longer be part of CBC's broadcast schedule. However, I don't blame the CFL for giving exclusive rights to TSN. It's hard turning down $65 million.

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star has written a great article about the Grey Cup and its history on television.


RVT: Levi MacDougall

This just in: Levi MacDougall will be joining Bob Wiseman, Actor Joe Dinicol and Artists Michael Toke and Jessica Rose at this Monday's Eyes on Toronto!

Breaking Links: Sunday, November 25

Another death from "non-lethal force in B.C.
"On Monday, police used pepper spray, a taser and their batons on the Chilliwack, B.C., resident, who reportedly was acting erratically in a Chilliwack rental store."

Info on Kensington Pedestrian Sundays and Spacing's Green Issue
"Once a month, from May through September, people flood the streets of Kensington Market during Pedestrian Sundays. All this merry-making is done in the spirit of community over commuting, an ongoing testament to how much closing down roads to cars opens up neighbourhoods to people."

Hugh McGuire on the changing relationship between advertising and content
"Traditionally, publishers (eg TV stations and Newspapers) courted advertisers to get their business. This meant that content producers worked for the advertisers - with all sorts of implications for what kind of content was allowed.
Now, it seems to me - on parts of the web at least - that advertisers will increasingly have to do the courting, and it’s the content-makers and publishers who will decide what sorts of things they want their content (writing, music, movies) to help sell."

According to the Defense Department, Native lands in Canada may be covered with abandoned explosives.
"A Defence Department list cites 25 reserves potentially laden with discarded explosives, ranging from Second World War-era bombs to anti-tank mortars and even torpedoes."

A group of marine scientists in Oslo is calling for a 2-3 billion dollar study of threats to our oceans.
"A better network of satellites, tsunami monitors, drifting robotic probes or electronic tags on fish within a decade could also help lessen the impact of natural disasters, pollution or damaging algal blooms, they said."

Grey Cup RVT - Trooper

In honour of the 95th Grey Cup

1997 - Edmonton - Toronto Argonauts vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders

The half-time show featuring Trooper.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Grey Cup RVT - Rocket Ismail

In honour of the 95th Grey Cup.

1991 - Winnipeg - Toronto Argonauts vs. Calgary Stampeders

This was the first Grey Cup match I ever watched. I was 8-years-old and decked out in Argo gear. Unfortunately, the '91 final has faded from my memory. However, I do remember this particular play.

RVT: Fido Trailer

Fido the story of a boy and his zombie is now out on DVD, because it is a Canadian film you may have to buy a copy if you want to see it.

Breaking LInks: Saturday, November 24

Australia has elected a new PM who promises to move the country in a different direction.
"Labor Party head Kevin Rudd's pledges on global warming and Iraq move Australia sharply away from policies that had made Mr. Howard one of U.S. President George W. Bush's staunchest allies."

This means that it will probably be Canada and Canada alone opposing any real action on climate change amoung Commonwealth countries.
""It's Canada and Australia on one side and everybody else on the other," he said. Fifty-two countries are in Kampala to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and at the end of the three days a declaration on climate change is expected."

Krief has posted an update about a new album which he says should be ready in march and:
"ps. We're gonna name the band something for the next record.. we're down to several options, and we'll be making the decision soon enough."

Radio 3 and Cuff the Duke will be at HMV (333 Yonge Street) in Toronto on Wednesday
"To celebrate the release of CBC Radio 3 Sessions: Volume 3, we'll be doing it old-school. Cuff The Duke will perform, I'll be hanging out and chatting with folks, and you'll have a chance to win a SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO! On top of all of that, we'll be recording the show!"

Two weeks into the writers strike in the US American Networks have started eyeing CanCon
"“They can't do reality and reruns forever, and they only have so many movies in the can,” says Jennings. “So they're looking around. ReGenesis is on the desk of three networks, and I had a call this week from one of the Big Three presidents,” she adds, referring to the chiefs of NBC, ABC and CBS. “Whether it amounts to anything, who knows? These calls may – or may not – have happened regardless of the strike, but let's just say it pushes [available Canadian programming] up the pile.”"

Friday, November 23, 2007

RVT: Arcade Fire and U2 cover Joy Division

Here's 3 minutes and 10 seconds of music education for you. The Arcade Fire on stage with U2 in Montreal doing a cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart"

Breaking Links: Friday, November 23

Via Hugh McGuire: Some of John Udell's thoughts on cities and the creative class
"It was fascinating to see how these cities are now thinking explicitly about competing — in terms of their housing, transportation, safety, culture, and IT enablement — to attract the creative class. Success produces a compound benefit, because the creative class is an engine of prosperity. Not only does it spend money, it also germinates new businesses. And those tend to be just the kinds of businesses that appeal to the creative class, so it can become a virtuous cycle.
Is it elitist to focus on the needs of the creative class? I don’t think so. Every citizen cares about housing, transportation, safety, culture, and IT enablement. If cities do better in those areas in order to attract the creative class, everybody wins."
So are Canadian cities thinking this way? Montreal might be. Toronto surely is not - not at the civic government level anyway.

This would be hard to miss if you have been following the news at all, but Stephen Harper's Republicans continue to be anti-Ontario. Their new 'reform' measure would give (relatively conservative) Alberta and BC additional seats in Parliament to account for their growing populations but would not do the same for Ontario. The same article linked to above also states that the Federal Government is shortchanging new Canadians who settle in Ontario
"Citizenship and Immigration Minister Michael Chan said the Conservatives were over $100 million behind on payments, which go to agencies that help new immigrants settle in Ontario, not to the provincial government."
CBC's Marketplace on ISP speeds, chances are you are paying for more than you're getting - Especially if your internet is coming from Bell.

Andrea Carson at View on Canadian Art (VoCA) takes a stab at defining greatness.
"We have long believed that great art stems from an investigation, by the artist, into those deep and universally experienced emotions for which there are no words. The visual artist, effectively, creates through imagery what is impossible to express another way. "

From the blog "Are You Gonna Eat That?" an ode to Chocolate Stout:
"The beer pours out deep black with a frothy head. It’s thick and tastes like dark chocolate with an aftertaste of dark roasted coffee. Quite nice. It’s got a kick too with an alcohol content of 10.6 per cent."
And with that and some Montreal Bagels...Have a good weekend everyone! =)

Radiohead And You

Radiohead, aside from being an always evolving band musically and now venturing into the business aspects of the industry, have helped bring the seldom used pay what you can method for online sales up for debate yet again. And it looks like their take on it went rather swimmingly...

Here is the link to the Wired Blog post.

A good read on its own.

As musicians going after the ultimate in the rock star lifestyle, we constantly should ask ourselves, "Why go major label?" Radiohead's "stunt" is proof, successfully showing what can be done by taking a couple of good risks.

Today the world is open to all...even if the real sales numbers are half, even a quarter of the estimates, it cost very little to put it together in comparison. So by all accounts, they did very well for themselves. Note well that there has been a lot of work leading up to this so called pay off but never-the-less, there is a lesson to be learned.

By using the model, build your fan base then offer them something fresh and of value, they proved a pay what you want digital album could be successfully released without the marketing machines that are the major labels...if every serious band out there could replicate even 1% of their estimated totals, there would be a much more healthy environment for the fans, artists and businesses that revolved around the music industry.

Like everything in life, there is more to it than meets the eye but the essence is there. Those that take risks have a chance at making it. This is one more avenue to explore since it will be some time before a standard is adopted by the majors and progress grinds down once again. Until then, go on and give it away.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

how it works

Humans love stories -the telling, the sharing, the hearing.

We love a ripping good yarn, a big cry, a good laugh, the drama of the rising action, and the denoument of the resolution. Stories are what bind us, connect us, and sometimes, heal us.

Daniel McIvor's latest play How It Works, now on at the Tarragon, reminds us of the importance of stories in our human lives. We need to tell ourselves, and others, stories, and by so doing, resolve our past, confront our present, and prepare our future.

The story of the play itself begins innocuously enough, with a spare set and a couple awkwardly meeting for the first time.

It's interesting to note how the initial-couple-after-online-flirting scenario is becoming such a common feature of modern storytelling; I clearly recall author Elyse Friedman's reading of such an encounter (with a decidedly different, and nastier edge) from her new book, Long Story Short, at last month's International Festival of Authors. The fact the online world is so common to our shared experience, and is so naturally incorporated into the telling of stories, says something about the ways in which 21st century humans are now choosing to relate, and share our stories -in the virtual world, as opposed to the real one, which is considerably more perilous, if fascinating, to navigate.

No matter. The meeting between Al, a divorced dad, and Christine, a drug store cashier, is full of charm, wit, and nice touches of tenderness. This gentle touch carries through in the scenes between Al and his daughter, Brooke; it's another generation, another story. Through Brooke's memory, the audience is witness to her father's own story of romance with her mother, the now-neurotic Christine, who seems pulled between wanting to help her daughter & hiding from her -and thus life itself.

Christine, however, is willing to confront Brooke, to "take her on", as she puts it, and so, for one weekend, the two are holed up in Al's apartment, where the troubled teen is forced to face her demons, and to share her story with a woman who understands more of life, pain, and attachment then she lets on. It's this cathartic act that changes both of them, and the direction of their lives, laying the foundation of renewal in relationships and life choices.

While much of How It Works could've swerved into the mawkishly sentimental, I was happy it stayed firmly planted in the ugly realities and awkward emotions it evoked. As the various characters' stories are enacted and told, we, the audience, are being treated to another layer of a story we, ourselves, may have stories relating to, in one way or another. Families are full of such tales, and more often than not, are unwilling to share those tales, unless, of course, there is a special occasion, or a tragedy.

Performances in How It Works are uniformly strong, with Tom Barnett's Al an interesting mix of a man seeking hope in the future while despairing of his present. Bethany Jillard, as Brooke, is compelling in her vulnerability and stubborn addiction, as she swings between hurt child, angry daughter, and emerging woman. Fiona Highet, as her mother, Christine, is fascinating to watch for her transformations. We see her in the present, as a high-maintenance woman seeking validation from her daughter about her looks, nosing into her ex's business and running away from the problems she knows she must face. Then, in flashback, we see her as a ditzy, fun blonde, giggling at her future-husband's jokes and staggering along in a first-date haze.

Even more fascinating, the scenes between she and her Al's present girlfriend, Christine. Caroline Gillis delivers a truly standout performance that sits at the heart of How It Works. Her opening monologue, about the role of stories in her life, and her scenes with both mother Christine and daughter Brooke, reveal a woman emotionally and mentally far beyond the simpleton confines of a small-town Maritimer she often puts herself across as.

How It Works is neither simple, nor does it resort to tragic poses or saccharine moments to be sincere.

It tells the audience a story -how it works, as it were. And really, it does. Very well.

How It Works runs at the Tarragon Theatre until December 16th; for more information, go to

RVT: You Make Me Tall by Gentleman Reg

Gentleman Reg: Just back from Europe where he opened for the Stars and Broken Social Scene has photos from the tour.. (Just so you know he was one of last months guests at last months Eyes on Toronto.

Here is a video for You Make Me Tall by Victoria Cheong

Breaking Links: Thursday, November 22

Freaking is the new 'can I buy you a drink?' - from the Globe and Mail
"...a growing body of research has found that sexually explicit styles of dancing do not lead to casual sex. To those who study human sexuality, modern dance club culture is actually more indicative of an evolution in courtship."

Another non-lethal taser death. In Nova Scotia this time.

Canadian Peter Raymout is in the running for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar - from the Vancouver Sun
"Raymont was recognized for A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman, a look at the life of the Chilean writer who was forced into exile after Augusto Pinochet's military coup."

Whistler festival focuses on Canadian film - from the Vancouver Sun
" fully enjoy this alpine adventure, you have to have a love of Canadian film in all its eclectic wonder. That is really what is at the heart of this festival. There are stories about whales, about Somalian immigrants to Canada, about homeless girls and dominatrixes and about the wonders of growing old in Quebec. Canadian films, which tend to get buried in other big festivals, are the crowning jewels of this festival.

Halton's Catholic School Board has pulled a series of books for being 'anti-God' it is not apparently the books that are 'anti-God' though the author has stated in interviews that he is an athiest. -
"(The complaint) came out of interviews that Philip Pullman had done, where he stated that he is an atheist and that he supports that," said Scott Millard, the board's manager of library services.
"Since we are an educational institution, we want to be able to evaluate the material; we want to make sure we have the best material for students."

Adbusters on the new book What Is Canada For by Michael Byers
The first thing to understand is that Mr. Harper is an economist, so he thinks that economics are of paramount importance. And I’m pretty sure that he buys Grant’s thesis, and that there’s not really much we can do to avoid it because we are so dependent on the US economically. So the question for Mr. Harper would be how to manage dependency. I really don’t think that he’s capable of believing that Canada can chart an independent course. Add to that the fact that ideologically he is essentially an American Republican, he wouldn’t see a whole lot of downside to going along with the policy decisions of the Bush administration. For him, it’s a convenient default position.

Via Inside the CBC new sites are up for the CBC's new winter shows: the Border, jpod, Sophie and MVP

Eyes on Toronto Returns Monday

Just a reminder to those of you fortunate enough to be in Toronto. Eyes on Toronto will be back at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom this Monday with special guests Bob Wiseman , Actor Joe Dinicol and Artists Michael Toke and Jessica Rose.

I made it to last months show and it is better, funnier and more interesting than ANY of the late night talk shows. Want proof? All of the talk shows you watch on TV give out free tickets. This one charges 10 bucks and still fills the room. If you can't be there in person (which I really highly recommend) you can watch it via the web. Each show is streamed live as it happens. Check out or for details.

Richard Stursberg: God of the CBC

I am far from alone in my past critisizm of some of Richard Stursbergs decisions as the CBC's VP for English Television. However, today's announcement that the Board of Directors has approved "“the formal integration of CBC Radio and CBC Television, which is effective immediately. The integrated services, including, will be led by Richard Stursberg, Executive Vice-President, English Services.” Changes the equation somewhat. (At the very least it fully explains the quick departure of Jane Chalmers.)

Hopefully we will see a CBC Television that is more like CBC Radio. In any case, now Stursberg is rid of Chalmers, and Tony Burnham and Slawko Klymkiw, Sue Gardner and many others. He has seized control of all of the CBC's English Language services the phrase "Be careful what you wish for..." suddenly springs to mind.

From today forward the fate and performance of the CBC belongs to Stursberg alone. He will no longer be able to blame subordinates, or his predecessors or managers of other departments. It is all his and the success or failure of CBC Television, CBC Radio 1, 2 and 3, and or the success or failure of any part of any of those services belongs to him. He has no competition left and most of the high level decision makers under him are his own picks so anything and everything that happens on English CBC (on any platform) from today forward falls squarely between the margins of Richard Stursberg's resume. Even the appointment of Montreal businessman Hubert Lacroix as the new President of the corp will scarcely make a difference one way or the other.

It does not make me more optimistic about where things are going but it certainly makes the math alot easier.

Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Fulan Gong

"Edit Nov 25, 07: This video was pulled from YouTube because of a copyright claim by Canamedia. If anyone finds the unedited version elsewhere please let me know."

This documentary has caused quite a stir, not necessarily because of it's content but because of the CBC. The CBC (Canadian broadcaster for the 2008 Beijing Olympics) pulled the doc to rework parts of it. While the CBC denies that pressure from China was the cause, no one denies there was pressure from China.

  • CBC denies it bowed to China because of the Olympics over documentary - Canadian Press, Nov. 20

  • CBC softpedals China's 'cult of evil' - Toronto Sun, November 20

  • CBC pulls Falun Gong documentary - Globe and Mail, November 8

  • CBC yanks doc after pressure from Chinese embassy - National Post, November 7

  • more ...

  • But - from Fulan Gong and YouTube here is the original, unedited version in 6 Parts

    Part 1

    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5
    Part 6

    Thanks Ouimet

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    RVT: The Dears - White's Only Party

    Breaking Links: Wednesday, November 21

    The End of America Alternet interview with Naomi Wolf (Thanks CBC Radio 3)

    Canadian records an album every week for a year via Chart

    Sign out of Facebook before making online purchases. An article from the Globe and Mail about Facebook's new tracking and consumer reaction.

    CBC Television has presented it's Winter schedule. You can watch Video of that Presentation Here and find out what they have in store.

    The Dears have new stuff on the way and while anyone in their right mind is automatically excited about that, the fact that the Dears themselves seem really and I'm mean really, really excited about it makes the waiting almost too hard.

    Sears is suing Ryerson because they want more publicity fin exchange for their donation. Personally I don't even want to know the facts. The thought of a multi-billion dollar American corporation suing a university over something like this means that Sears joins the Gap on the list of places I won't be shopping in the foreseeable future.

    Via Hugh McGuire in more ways than one: "a project of the National Arts Centre, and (a site run by the Department of Canadian Heritage)" It's a pretty comprehensive listing of all of the podcasts in Canada (by topic) as well as a "how to" guide for people who want to make podcasts, or people who want to listen to podcasts but don't understand how.

    Blood Lines Updates

    This band seriously never, ever stops moving. It seems like just a couple of weeks ago that they were taking home the Western Canadian Music Award for Best Rock Album - was just a couple of weeks ago. They've just announced that they will be attending this year's SXSW: Rumour has it they may even have some new material by then. Now if I can just get them to commit to this year's NXNE (hint, hint...hello?).

    Moving on...if you don't want to wait until March, or just don't want to go to Texas, they are playing a New Years show in Saskatoon:
    Event Info
    Name: The Blood Lines + Volcanoless + You = New Year's Eve in Saskatoon
    Tagline: It's the end of the year... the end of the year... It's the end of the year... the end of the year...
    Host: The Blood Lines love me!!
    Type: Music/Arts - Concert
    Time and Place
    Start Time: Monday, December 31, 2007 at 10:00pm
    End Time: Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 3:30am
    Location: Amigos Cantina
    Street: 632 10th St.E
    City/Town: Saskatoon, SK
    Now, if you're not going to Texas or Saskatoon, wait - I still have stuff for you!

  • First: The Blood Lines want your ideas - for merch, tour stops , whatever - if you have an idea for the Blood Lines, operators are standing by!

  • Second: You can still vote for Maygen every day until November 29 or more than once a day if you do it from different computers) in the "Sexiest Canadian Musician" category at the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards.

  • Third: This is just getting started and barely makes the list at all right now, but: In response to the Blood Lines Facebook group The Blood Lines Love Me I've created a google group called "I Love The Blood Lines More". The advantage of Google Groups being it doesn't matter if you have a Facebook account, a Myspace account, neither or long as you have an email address. So, if you'd like to help build that please go ahead and jump aboard.

  • Finally - Go Take This Quiz and find out Which member of the Blood Lines you are most like.

    Which member of The Blood Lines are you?
    Your Result: You are a Maygen.

    Energetic and outgoing, you jump at the chance to explore. You think a lot of yourself and some may think you selfish, but it is often other people who really make you tick.

    You are a Barrett.
    You are a Paul.
    You are an S.J..
    Which member of The Blood Lines are you?
    Quizzes for MySpace
  • Where art thou bohemian Queen West?

    A couple of weeks ago I read an article about the closing of Spin Gallery (by Queen and Dovercourt) and will be taken over by the bar below The Social. These gallery closings have sparked much controversy and debate on this side of the city, especially with the two condo developments, one ironically named Bohemian Embassy. Sadly, there won't be much left that's "bohemian" on this strip as it becomes more upscale. One of these condo developments is also demolishing the building on Abell Street which houses numerous artists' studios. A couple of months ago I noticed a big gap between a couple of buildings near the Gladstone Hotel. What was once there was a car wash station and I remember an event happening there during Nuit Blanche in 2006. Now it's a big void waiting to be filled. I'm curious as to the Mr. Sub, the 24-7 convenience store, and the Country Site will be the subsequent victims? When I heard that these condo developments were happening, I was appalled and I don't even live near that area. The new buildings themselves won't exactly fit in with the characteristics of the street (so I hear) and critics keep throwing around that these developments further gentrify the strip and I couldn't agree more.
    The city keeps boasting about its artists and how its important we support them. Well I think it missed the mark when it allowed these developments to happen!! Although the Ontario Municipal Board also played a major role in allowing this to proceed.
    But I'm curious what other people think of these recent developments? Do you like what's going on with Queen Street?

    Ugly Sunday

    It was an ugly Sunday for Toronto's sports teams.

    The Argos lost the East Division final. Next week's Grey Cup - which will take place at the Rogers Centre - will feature Winnipeg battling Saskatchewan. The Blue Bombers aren't even a true East Division team. They're only in the East because Ottawa folded. When there is a team in the Nation's Capital, Winnipeg moves back to the West.

    I don't know what was worse: seeing the offense sputter, or watching Damon Allen on the sidelines, eating his guts out.

    Regardless, no Argos = no Gery Cup sellout. Thank God For Riders' fans. Toronto is not a football town. It's sad, but true. And to think, some people want an NFL franchise. The NFL in Toronto would be a complete disaster. Not just for the NFL, but also for the CFL.

    On top of that, the Raptors lost to Golden State. I'm having a tough time trying to figure them out. They're a "Jekyll and Hyde" team. You never know what team will show up on the court. No consistency = no success. Let's hope this is only temporary.

    The Marlies were defeated by Rockford. Unfortunately, no one in Toronto cares about the Marlies. Do I even need to bring up the disastrous 2007 AHL All-Star game?

    At least Toronto's Dwayne De Rosario had a nice Sunday.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    RVT: Kids on TV: In Every Dream A Heartache

    As a matter of fact yes it is a Roxy Music cover. Thanks for playing. More Kids on TV at

    End Pedestrian Hunting in Toronto

    Once upon a time, Toronto Motorists stopped at crosswalks. I don't mean the normal intersections, I mean the yellow lights that hang above the street and blink when someone presses a button. Some motorists still stop at these, but more and more often I find that they don't. I don't think alot of motorists pay any attention to them. Lately even cyclists (who should know better) don't seem to stop at these semi intersections. In the last month I have seen both motorists and cyclists simply swerve around a crossing guard at a crosswalk.

    Sadly, given the sharp drop-off in courtesy, basic etiquite and hell..just plain old obeying the law on Toronto streets and given that since the start of 2006 43 pedestrians have been killed by cars in Toronto I think it's time for the city to replace all of the yellow flashing lights with proper red-yellow-green traffic signals.

    "But", the question will soon be asked, "won't this make traffic in Toronto even slower". Yes, it most certainly will and, by the way, there should be speed bumps on every residential street as well.

    Breaking Links: Tuesday, November 20

    Breaking Links

    Hugh McGuire on Google Books vs. the Open Content Alliance and why many research libraries are choosing the latter. has a review of and an interview with Ohbijou from their Lee's Palace show.

    From Amber MacArthur a new US site invites you to review your neighbours.

    The Globe and Mail's Stephen Cole on Citizen Duane and the plight of Canadian film.

    From Wired via Radio 3 Greenpeace co-founder goes pro-nuclear.

    A Minke Whale has been found in the Amazon 1,600 km from any ocan.

    New Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra CD

    Yesterday, Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip dropped by with a copy of the brand new Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra disc "Truth in the Dark. For those of you not familiar I have written quite a bit about Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra before, their sound is largely their own (some influences though are mentioned in the article linked to above.) There are times when you would say it is classical, and times you would say it's cabaret but after a full show (or a full listening to the new CD) you would have to agree that it's neither. It is definitely an alternative to alternative but not mainstream in any way. If that's something you'd like (even once in awhile) you might want to check out the CD release party this Friday.

    Friday November 23
    @ the Tranzac Main Hall (292 Brunswick Ave.)
    $10 / $15 with CD


    Music by The Silt (Ryan Driver, Doug Tielli, and Marcus Quinn)
    Aerial Dance by Camille Greenstein
    And "Much More!"

    Samples of the Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra's new CD can be found at or

    Harper Almost Ready to Apply for Statehood

    Stephen Harper's Republicans (or whatever) have introduced a bill requiring mandatory jail time for drug offenses. Just because such policies have completely failed to accomplish anything in the U.S. and have resulted in the highest incarceration rates in modern history (including China at any point in its history and apartheid South Africa) is no reason why we shouldn't waste billions of dollars watching them fail in Canada too.

    Monday, November 19, 2007

    Dawn of Garbage

    As many of you know, for the last few months I've been helping with Garbage! The Revolution Begins At Home (on the promotions/social media side). For anyone who doesn't know: It's a film about a North York family that keeps all of their garbage for three months to demonstrate the waste output of an average household. Beyond the trash the doc gets into wastewater, household toxins and other things that leave our homes to have a direct impact on the environment.

    With so many people frustrated with the inactivity of government and industry on the environment I think it's important and timely that someone asked "What's the environmental policy at your house." It is something too many people don't think about, don't fully understand and can have an impact on immediately.

    The film, officially, premieres tonight and to celebrate writer/director Andrew Nisker had appearances this morning on the CBC's Metro Morning, City TV's Breakfast Television and we got a nice write up in today's Toronto Star. If you want to see the film, you won't find it in theatres, but you can get a list of upcoming screenings here.

    Sunday, November 18, 2007

    Translators Not Tasers

    Murder is a harsh word, but that's exactly what this video shows. An RCMP officer asks, before they've even arrived and assessed the situation if he can taser the polish tourist and is told that he can. The man does not appear in any way to be threatening or hostile toward the RCMP officers, he is in fact moving away from them (and unarmed) when he is assaulted. I didn't really want to use the M. word, but after watching the video several times there simply isn't another word that fits. Had this been a Canadian national arriving in Poland (or Mexico, or the US) Canada would be in an uproar and no one would be using any word other than murder.

    The RCMP is not wholly responsible - someone at the foreign arrivals area of the Vancouver airport should have been able to find a translator - either the airport or Canada Customs should have been able to resolve the situation before it got to this point. Certainly Vancouver airport officials and Canada customs are guilty of negligence at the very least. But that does not excuse the RCMP. Because of this incident tasers should immediately be banned nationwide, for all officers (and civilians) in all situations. Amnesty International has has already called for such a ban worldwide.

    Short of an outright ban, with 17 deaths attributed to them so far in Canada, they can no longer be considered "non-lethal" - a taser attack should bear the same scrutiny as shooting a 'suspect'. In any case reviews should be undertaken to insure that adequate translators are available at any crossing point into Canada.

    Short of a taser ban and improved translation services it would probably be best for foreign nationals (at least any who don't speak English) to stear clear of Vancouver for the foreseeable future. Including, sadly, 2010.

    Young Conservatives Against the Environment

    More Bob TV: (from Bob Wiseman)

    Toronto Star on the Future of the CBC

    An excellent assessment of the present state and potential future of our National public broadcaster. Obviously I couldn't agree more.

    We believe the CBC must be given the resources to tell Canadian stories through drama, humour, news and current events. And we believe it must be given increased and steady long-term funding at levels high enough to produce programs of excellence that Canadians will watch.
    Our view is shared by many people, but not everyone agrees. That's why the people who claim they are friends of the CBC must speak up now. Instead of simply attacking the CBC for its shortcomings – and there are many – supporters of the public broadcaster must outline and champion their own realistic long-term vision for the service.
    Clearly, the CBC must change, or it will face a death by a thousand small cuts. And it cannot do everything called for under its current mandate. One thing is obvious, though, and it is that a vibrant public broadcaster is an essential part of Canada's cultural mosaic.

    Saturday, November 17, 2007

    Some Bob TV For You

    Thanks to Mr. Bob Wiseman (aka my oldest daughters new piano teacher!) You can now download portable copies of his new music video (with Leslie Feist) at Who_Am_I(Feist&Bob_Wiseman).mp4 and some live footage from his recent tour of Europe at (with Feist on drums).

    For a great variety of Bob related things, check out Bob

    Public Broadcasting?

    The question comes up frequently enough: "What does this site have to do with public broadcasting? I mean sure, there is a list of public broadcasters, but other than that..."

    First I'll start with the Wikipedia definition:
    "Public broadcasting is a form of public service broadcasting (PSB) intended to serve the diverse needs of the viewing or listening public. Except for the United States, it has traditionally been the dominant form of broadcasting in much of the world."
    For generations this has meant television and radio broadcasting, the CBC in Canada, PBS in the U.S., BBC in Britain, ABC in Australia, etc., but the internet is broadening both the definition and the possibilities of public broadcasting. Anyone with a computer, an internet connection and a little basic knowledge can now make their voice heard around the world. So the shift is on from 'broadcasting for the public' to 'broadcasting by and for the public' - hopefully with some help and cooperation from the older, more traditional public broadcasters. Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa has some interesting thoughts in this area.

    Regardless of what traditional broadcasters do, the shift is on. Even Time Magazine sat up and took notice, proclaiming "You" the person of the year
    "...for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.

    So, public broadcasting's definition must be changed to broadcasting for OR by the public.

    I should also add that broadcasting "for" the public is different from broadcasting for advertisers. Most of what you see on television is broadcasting for advertisers - that is, the advertisers are the customer, you are the product. Commercial broadcasters use programming to lure you to their airwaves and then sell the eyes and ears they have gathered to advertisers. This throws us into a gray area: Can public broadcasters do commercial broadcasting? Obviously they can and do. If you watch "the Simpsons" on the CBC you are not the customer. Commercial broadcasters do public (or public service) broadcasting? They can, and they used to. US programs like 20/20 and 60 minutes used to be primarily a public service (before nearly every journalistic organization in the United States sold their credibility and went after more cash). But I think most people know the difference between commercial and public broadcasting when they see or hear it.

    So this site is "for" the public - to share, spread and disseminate ideas, and to promote Canadian arts and culture. As you will note if you have a look around, there is no advertising, that makes you the one and only customer.

    Care to Test the Odds?

    Personally, I'm not much of a "gamer' I just never seem to find the time for them, but John Gushue has drawn my attention to a game developed by the UNHCR. The UNHCR is the agency that deals with refugees and the game "Against All Odds" invites you to virtually experience the life of a refugee:
    The Web Facts of Against All Odds are designed to provide more information about the activities in the online game. Each section contains fact sheets, profiles, videos, or other interesting links about refugees.

    War and Conflict
    War and violence are all too present in our world today. This section contains information about the rights that all people, including refugees, have. There are links to information about the numbers of refugees and who protects them. This section contains profiles of people who fled their homes because they faced political persecution

    Not everyone who leaves their country is a refugee. This section contains information about who is considered a refugee and descriptions of the different options they have for finding a safe haven. There are links to profiles of people who are trying to find a new home in a new country. It also has profiles of famous people you may not have known were refugees.

    A New Life
    Life in the US can be very different from the countries that refugees come from. This section contains information about what the US does to help refugees make the transition. It also contains information about the true origins of things you use in your daily life. The profiles in this section describe how refugees try to transition to their new life in a new country.

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    RVT: The Men Who Live Upstairs

    I have some catching up to do, I know, but quickly because I'm in it - a new video from the Most Serene Republic

    Important Note: When I say "in it" - breifly, near the beginning, from behind but in profile! don't blink - pretty sure Hollywood will be calling any second. = ) Oh, and despite my appearance, it's still pretty good!

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007


    My friend, Maayan, is presenting her first solo exhibition at York University's Eleanor Winters Art Gallery.

    Titled "Mortal," the exhibition
    deals with various themes such as grief, femininity, eating disorders and body image, popular culture and the media.

    Be sure to check it out. Support your local artists.

    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    spirits, sufis, soulpepper

    When the last dervish quietly walked offstage at Roy Thomson Hall Friday night, a cool silence decended for a moment before the applause began.

    The sema was over, the whirling had stopped, time to go back outside to mundane reality.

    Beautiful as the Sufi religious ceremony was, my companion turned to me and wondered aloud if it wouldn't have been more spiritual of us to go see soul singer Jully Black, who had been singing at the Mod Club that same night.

    I mean, does the Profound always have to be accompanied by such poe-faced joyless solemnity? Is the spiritual always so serious?

    I turned this question around in my mind seeing Blithe Spirit lastnight.

    The final play of Soulpepper's 2007 season, it positively brims with laughter and joy. Believe me, your face will start to hurt from smiling -and that's a good kind of hurt, particularly these days.

    Noel Coward has always been thought of as a souffle-light sort of playwright -the guy with the velvet robe and cigarette holder, martini in hand, writing witty plays about smartly-dressed people who natter away about nothing in particular.

    And yet, I thought, it takes a deft hand to take an essentially unpleasant situation (intrusions of the past on present situations) and make it... funny.

    CBC Radio's Mary Hynes explored the idea of God having a sense of humour in an interview with Rumi interpreter Coleman Barks earlier this year. Barks had said that laughter was how God expressed his humour, that through the joyful, shared expression of laughing, God expresses delight with his creation.

    In light of this, it's fascinating to see a company like Soulpepper -who, in nearing a decade old, have been more noted for producing tragedies than comedies -choose to end their ninth season with Noel Coward, and flavour much of their tenth with comedy too.

    Says something about the power of laughter, I'd wager.

    Morris Panych's brilliant production has definitely kept the laughs of Blithe Spirit intact, but has wisely chosen not to soften the nasty edges either.

    Coward's play centers around the mayhem created in the lives of Charles and Ruth Condomine, when the ghost of Charles' first wife, Elvira, is inadvertently summoned by Madame Arcati during a seance designed to provide writing material for Charles' latest novel.

    Issues of jealousy, possessiveness, trust, deceit, identity and responsibility are all cleverly woven into the text, and Panych has no problems in bringing out these themes through deft timing, pitch-perfect performances, and a brilliantly gorgeous design scheme.

    While the world of the Condomines is staid in shades of black, white, and grey, Elvira enters from the spirit world as some kind of blazing she-demon, complete with fiery red bob & glammy orange-red outfit to match. It's clear that, while ethereal, she aims to set Charles' thin veneer of marital bliss alight with her wicked observations & hot temper.

    Fiona Reid, who I remember being so lovable onstage in Hay Fever years ago, here delivers a perfect performance that seamlessly blends elements of pathos and comedy; her Ruth is both cloyingly conventional and yet endearingly sympathetic.

    As her rival, Brenda Robins delivers a deliciously bitchy performance that has elements of imperious haughtiness & saucy sensuality; she might be behind some awful actions (both in life and death), but you can't help but like her. Mannered and yet modern at the same time, her Elvira is the sort of woman you want to swap cocktail recipes and dish on men with.

    As Charles, Joseph Ziegler moves from obedient to dithering to cruel to sympathetic, all the while alternating between outrage and embarassment over his apparent willing emasculation at the hands of what he sees as two Gorgons (both redheads, no less) out to turn him to stone. And he makes it funny all the while. Wow.

    Nancy Palk's Madame Arcati is all bulgy-eyed drama & flailing limbs; in a role that could easily be mugged and mannered, Palk is all sincere dedication and passion. When she flips out a leg at awakening, or skips across the stage to turn on the record player, it fits with the character, and is believable, in every sense.

    So, too, the perfect marriage of physical and mental is perfectly realized in Melody A. Johnson's hilarious performance as Edith, the maid with the spider walk who is weaving more than polite manners.

    Amidst the laughs, however, it wasn't hard to see the sharp nasty edges of marital woe which Panych has wisely allowed to sit in a sort of uncomfortable, if insightful, juxtaposition with the more comedic elements. He trusts his actors, and the text, to let the moments speak for themselves. And speak they do.

    This production of Blithe Spirit underlines the notion that whatever you don't deal with in your past will always come back to haunt you, manifest itself in different ways, and keep reappearing, until you deal with it. Talk about your karmic whirling.

    The problem -and the comedy, Coward suggests -is that people being people, keep perpetuating their own cow poop by running away from the responsibility, drowning themselves with drink, movies, art, affairs, the occult, politics... take your pick.

    It's ridiculous, it's hilarious, and it's true.

    Like dervishes whirling in their circles, the power of comedy suggests the comedy of the cyclical, divine in its own right -and whether it's Dante and his rings of hell, Wilde's witty repartee, or Coward's making the past the present and the present the past, there is a divine force at work that brings people together under the umbrella of human experience.

    As Rumi wrote, "the core of the seen and unseen universe smiles, but... smiles come best from those who weep."

    Blithe Spirit runs at The Young Centre until December 15.
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