Thursday, February 28, 2008

Brand New Day for the CBC

For the last year the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has been considering revisions to the Broadcast Act and to the CBC's mandate. Today the committee released it's recomendations which have been broadly applauded by CBC management.
Back in the dark days of the 2005 CBC Lockout I, along with many others, lobbied for serious changes to how the CBC operated and how it was funded. If today's recomendations were to be adopted in total not only would that battle be 95% complete but it would be the start of a new day for Canadian television, radio, film and new media.
Amoung the recommendations
  • That the CBC remain predominantly and distintively Canadian

  • That CBC Television's prime time (M-F 7-11 pm) be exclusively Canadian

  • That CBC increase the number of regional programs, including regional variety, drama, news, public affairs, and documentaries produced in the region and that some of this programming be scheduled in prime time.

  • That the CBC devote more programming to the arts (music, books, film, dance and theatre

  • That improvements be made in official language minority communities.

  • Film
  • That the CBC play an increased role in the devlopment, promotion and distribution of Canadian Feature Film

    New Media/Internet
  • That the CRTC enforce net neutrality

  • That the CBC coninue to make more programming available online.

  • That the CBC increase public access to it's archives

  • That it continue to persue new and innovative ways of connecting Canadians of all ages to their National Public Broadcaster.

  • That the broadcast act to include digital media and emerging technologies.

  • The CBC should be eligible for the CRTC's 'New Media Project Initiative.

  • Additional funding for New Media and HDTV

  • That any additions to the CBC's mandate be reflected in the CBC's parliamentary appropriations

  • That the 'one time' $60 million program development fund become a regular part of the CBC's budget

  • That the CBC be guaranteed access to the various existing public funding sources including the Canadian Television Fund

  • That in addition to the monies listed above that the CBC's annual budget be increased to $40 per capita, or roughly an additional 231 million dollars!

  • Advertising
  • That the CBC Reduce it's relative dependency on advertising revenues for television programs

  • The full 200 page report can be found here. I would urge everyone who cares about the CBC to write your MP and tell them to implement the full slate of recommendations as rapidly as possible (tomorrow would be nice) and while you're talking to them urge them to stop bill C-10 which would allow the Heritage and Justice ministers to decide what programs and films were and weren't made based on their own private definition of "appropriate" content!

    Conservatives Want to Be Your Mom

    According to a Globe and Mail article the Conservatives want to be able to withhold tax credits from programs that the Heritage Minister or the Justice Minister deem innapropriate.
    The proposed changes to the Income Tax Act would allow the Heritage Minister to deny tax credits to projects deemed offensive, effectively killing the productions. Representatives from Heritage and the Department of Justice will determine which shows or films pass the test.
    It seems, to say the least, ironic that the party that complains constantly about a bias against them in the media would want Ottawa politicians deciding which shows got made and which didn't. Wouldn't, according to their view, this make media bias much worse once another party came into government. At any rate I think it is completely inappropriate that any government should decide what is 'appropriate' programming. This government, whose trademarks are secrecy and sensorship seems especially ill equipped to make such decisions.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008

    Queen West Theatre Artists band together to aid

    Reprinted in it's entirity

    Queen West Theatre Artists band together to aid
    those displaced by the Queen West Fire

    Toronto On, - Factory Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, Roseneath Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille will be designating Friday February 29th as a benefit performance for people and businesses displaced by the tragic fire on Queen Street that occurred last Tuesday.Theatre Passe Muraille, with the support of Roseneath Theatre and ObsidianTheatre will host a benefit performance of the double bill Born Ready and Smokescreen on Friday February 29th at 8pm with all proceeds from the box office going to the fire relief.

    As well, Factory Theatre will host a benefit performance produced by Nightwood Theatre of a nanking winter on Friday February 29th at 8pm. Nightwood theatre will be donating $20 of every ticket sold to the fire relief and Factory Theatre will donate all proceeds from the bar and concession that evening to the cause as well as donate $1 of every ticket sold that evening to the fire relief.

    Any further donations to assist residents affected by the fire can be made to the Queen Street Fire Fund at all Scotiabank locations across the city.

    Queen West Benefit Performances:

    Born Ready and Smokescreen
    Date: Friday February 29th
    Performance Time: 8:00
    Ticket Prices: $15 - $30

    Location: Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Avenue one block north of Queen
    and one block east of Bathurst
    For tickets call: 416-504-7529 or visit

    a nanking winter
    Date: Friday February 29th
    Performance Time: 8:00pm
    Ticket Prices: $30
    Location: Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street @ Adelaide
    For Tickets call: 416 504-9971 or visit

    CRTC Tests 'the N word' (not that one)

    Perhaps it is because of recent critisism on issues around media consolidation but the CRTC is experimenting with the word 'No' when it comes to media companies trying to buy more media companies.

    According to the Hollywood Reporter
    "The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Tuesday that the Vancouver-based company may not buy CKIZ-FM in Vernon and CIGVFM in Penticton, both in British Columbia, as the transaction would give Pattison more than two English-language FM stations in the local media market.

    "If the Commission were to approve the applications, all of the nine commercial radio programming undertakings serving Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton ... would belong to two operators -- Pattison and Astral Media Radio," the CRTC said in its ruling. "A plurality of ownership in the private element is necessary in order to maximize the diversity of voices in the Canadian broadcasting system."

    Now if only they could go about saying 'no' retroactively a bit.

    Blue Jays Thriller

    I love this time of year.

    Why you ask? It's simple....


    The Blue Jays are in Florida, getting ready for the upcoming season. Their first exhibition game is this Thursday against Detroit.

    In honour of Spring Training, here's a video that was posted on Yahoo's MLB Blog. It's a unique preview of the 1984 Blue Jays. It features CityTV's Peter Gross.

    For the record, the Jays had a great season in '84. Unfortunately, the Detroit Tigers had a much, much, MUCH better season.

    Ode To The No-Trade Clause

    I'm trying really hard to figure out what could possibly be going through the mind of Mats Sundin.

    Let me see if I get this straight:

    - He does not want to waive his no-trade clause
    - He wants to stay in Toronto
    - He wants to be a Maple Leaf until he draws his last breath
    - He wants to win a cup in Toronto
    - He does not want to play for another team/contender

    Is he nuts? Seriously, what kind of Kool-Aid are they serving at the Air Canada Centre? Did somebody spike Mats Sundin's Gatorade?

    Sundin is huge value. The Leafs can trade him to a number of teams and get young quality talent in return. Best of all, Sundin can go to a contender and win a Stanley Cup.

    But he doesn't want that.

    Sundin would rather stay with the Leafs, who won't make the playoffs for at least a couple more seasons. He says he wants to be part of the 'journey to a championship' and refuses to be a 'rent-a-player.' Honestly, what's so wrong with being a 'rent-a-player?' David Cone didn't have a problem with it when he was traded to the Blue Jays late in the '92 season. Ditto for Ricky Henderson in '93.

    Sundin's loyalty must be applauded, but also questioned. One can make the strong argument that his loyalty will hurt the Maple Leafs in the long run. However, if that's what he wants to do, then we should accept it. Given his accomplishments, Leaf fans MUST RESPECT Sundin's decision.


    Mark my words. Come September, 2008, Mats Sundin will not be playing for the Maple Leafs.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Chart Attack gushes over the Blood Lines

    I've rarely read a more positive piece in ChartAttack than this one:
    Saskatoon melodic rock whippersnappers The Blood Lines have no time for your clock-killing shenanigans. While other bands lollygag and goof around, this bunch have racked up a resume in their less-than-two-year existence that would make veteran rockers green with envy. These accomplishments include a conquering set at indie-tastemaker festival CMJ in New York City, being hand-picked to open for The Dears, and stealing hearts in the People's Republic Of China.
    It goes on. The occasion is South By South West which will have no less than 6 Saskatchewan bands in attendance. Check out the full thing at

    Sabrina Jalees, Doug Funk and More in Toronto this Friday

    If you were at last months Eyes On Toronto then you know that Sabriana Jalees rocks - and if you are on her mailing list you know she can use the word 'lieu' (impressive for a non-lawyer.)

    If you happen to be in Toronto, available and sobre enough to find 2335 Yonge Street then you can come see her this Friday night at 10:45 for a live taping of Laugh Attack for XM Satellite Radio.

    Joining Sabriana for the event will be Doug Funk, Jason Laurans and Ben Miner.

    The event costs $12 and (according to the Absolute Comedy Website) you should make reservations.

    Oh, and if you weren't at Eyes on Toronto last month, and aren't on Sabrina's mailing list - it goes like this:

    Monday, February 25, 2008

    Screw the Oscars Anyway

    Sure it was great to see so many Canadians nominated but really, the Oscars are tired and predictable and tend to reward personal popularity and box office success more than anything. Overall it has all the excitement and drama of Feist being nominated for "Best New Artist" (a joke in itself) and then losing to Amy Winehouse (also not new) because she needs the encouragement so she can handle the regular trips to rehab.

    So - screw the Oscars anyway, our films are better and our stars spend less time in jail and jumping on sofas.

    Talkback 2008

    Presented by the First Weekend Club (
    TalkBack 2008, with Genie Nominated Filmmakers, Sunday March 2nd, at The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen West, 3pm to 4.30pm (with a reception to follow). Guests include Rob Stewart (Sharkwater) and Vic Sarin (Partition), hosted by Paul Gratton. An intimate Film Artists Salon, to celebrate the finest in Canadian filmmaking talent. $15.00, RSVP to

    Canadian Short Film Festival

    From the Canadian Filmmakers Festival and Bell - Comes the "Bell Video Award for Best Short." It would appear that there are only 3 films online now but the contest remains open until March 14. The rules read like this
    • Films must be Canadian Productions
    • Films should be no more than 10 minutes in total length.
    • Films that have been already submitted the Canadian Film Fest are ALSO eligible.
    • Please pay attention to our submission guidelines.
    • Film School submissions are welcome

    More info and short films to watch at

    Lift Workshops for March & Early April

    The Liason for Independent Filmmakers of Toronto ( presents monthly workshops for would be indie filmmakers.

    Fix your own Super 8 and 16mm projectors!
    Instructor: MARTIN HEATH
    Cost: Members $60, Non-Members $75
    * at Cinecycle, 129 Spadina Ave.

    Act from the child and do business from the adult!
    MONDAY MARCH 17, 6-10 PM
    Instructor: MICHELLE LATIMER
    Cost: Members $45, Non-Members $55

    An all-inclusive 'make a film' course - workshops, film and equipment!
    SATURDAY MARCH 22-SATURDAY MARCH 29 (various dates and times)
    Cost: Members $250, Non-Members $300

    A foundational workshop for aspiring camera operators and directors!
    SATURDAY APRIL 5, 10 am - 6 pm
    Instructor: Guy Godfree
    Cost: Members $50, Non-Members $60

    p.s. Now on DVD: Everything's Gone Green

    Really funny film, if you're local video store doesn't have it it's because they have no taste.

    Sunday, February 24, 2008

    Toronto the Good

    Toward the end of 2007 the Parkdale Food Bank came close to closing, this week the calls went out the help those who lost everything in the Queen Street fire.

    In the hope of faster response when these kinds of crisis happen I've created a new group on facebook called Toronto the Good the plan is for this to be a low traffic group - in other words fairly quiet most of the time, but when a situation arises where our fellow Torontonians need our help and support that word can get out quickly - to alot of people at once.

    If you are in or around T.O. and willing to help out when there is a need, please consider singing up and inviting friends.

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    After the Fire

    For those interested in what happens after the fire on Queen Street West there are several things going on. Of all the possible sources it was Tokyo Police Club who brought to my attention the fund set up by the city. You can donate to the victims of the fire (the people who lost everything) at any Scotiabank branch in Toronto.

    There are also (at least) two Facebook groups that have been set up. Rebuilding Queen Street West and Tribute to Queen Street West .

    The first, of what I'm sure will be many, events has been set up for this Sunday. Queen Street Relief will take place at The Annex Wreckroom
    794 Bathurst @ Bloor; upstairs Across from the Bathurst Subway Station from 4pm-7pm.
    WHAT: Kindly donate:
    clothing-inner and outer wear;house hold items-from kettles to towels ; cutlery to toiletries; toys; all ages and sizes;coffee,tea, mugs;pet supplies. Just think: what do you NEED to get through the day?

    BUSINESS DONATIONS: Please call Your local United Way.

    Monetary Donations: Call your local Scotiabank "Queen Street Fire Fund"
    .If you know of other events, groups etc., please let me know and I'll pass along the info.

    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    Obay - From The Makers Of 'WhyBecauseISaidSo'

    So I'm sitting on a York Region Transit bus (that's in Toronto by the way) and I notice these advertisements for a drug called Obay. I've also seen these ads in bus shelters.

    Apparently, Obay is medication that gets children to do what their parents want. The advertisements feature slogans such as "My son had his own ideas. Obay put a stop to that."

    Obviously, it's a parody and very good one at that. What I'd like to know is who's behind all this. Have you seen the ads? Any idea who's putting them up?

    To see some of the ads, click here.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    RVT: Rock Plaza Central with some muppets

    Nathan Lawr's Busy Winter

    Nathan Lawr has posted a bit to his Myspace blog about
  • Playing shows with Kate Maki

  • Working on a new Fembots Record

  • Writing radio theme songs for the CBC and

  • Working on a new record with Kate Maki and a "cool new band"

  • So if you wondered what people do all winter in Sudbury - now you know.

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Laura Barrett on Go

    Toronto's Feist of the kalimba, Laura Barrett is going to be on the CBC Radio program Go on Saturday morning. You can still get tickets by emailing or by visiting

    New Superfantastics EP Next Saturday

    Next Saturday night, February 23 at 10 pm (if you happen to be in Halifax) you can visit Gus' Pub and Grill (2605 Agricola Street) for the release of the new Superfantastics EP "Choose Your Destination", as an added bonus they will be joined by the Just Barelys and Doug Mason.

    If you can't be in Halifax this Saturday Night, keep an eye on the Superfantastics web site ( for information on ordering (or pre-ordering) the new EP.

    The EP will ONLY be available on Vinyl and in Digital format. It is 10 dollars for the vinyl EP and that comes with a digital download code so you can get the songs in MP3 format as well. You will also be able to order the songs in the (much less fun) MP3 only format - without the Vinyl for $8 through
    the Superfantastics - Tonight Tonite

    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Blogging the CBC and the Charter

    Awhile back when the CBC introduced it's new blogging policy I was one of the few people who still objected to it (compared to the old one). You see, even the new policy attempts to restrict the free speech of employees? What's wrong with that you ask? Just this: the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, CTV, City and other news organizations and especially the CBC (a crown corporation) do not enjoy freedom of the press. But the people who work for them do. That is to say that these organizations have the protection of freedom of the press only through their employees.

    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is very clear.
     2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

    a) freedom of conscience and religion;
    b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
    c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
    d) freedom of association.
    Freedom of "the press and other media of communication" is not granted to institutions but to individuals. Just as the CBC does not enjoy "freedom of religion" (management could not decide tomorrow that the CBC was a Jewish or Muslim organization and start acting accordingly) the CBC as an institution does not enjoy 'Freedom of the Press'. It is only the individuals who work for the CBC that have that freedom.

    When people sign up to work for the CBC, or any other institution, they do not give up or transfer their charter freedoms to that organization, so any attempt to curtail freedom of the press ( or other media of communication) for individuals is contrary to the charter.

    It is true that people who publicly publish material that violates non-disclosure agreements, gives away company secrets, or falls under libel or slander would be in some trouble, but other than that a free press is a free press.

    Having said all of that I am delighted that the whole 'blogging policy' thing appears to be over. Recently, new CBC President and CEO Hubert T. Lacroix began commenting on the long running and anonymous CBC management blog the TeaMakers which ultimately led to an appearance by both on the CBC Radio program and podcast Search Engine CBC. Mr. Lacroix essentially said that he didn't mind. That as long as commentary was responsible and constructive that it was welcomed.

    You can listen to a podcast of the Search Engine Canada program here

    Crossposted to

    Canadians Start to Discover the CBC

    The CBC conducted a poll recently to see how things were going. This was not to see how many were watching, but just to see who knew about the CBC's programs.
    It seems that, slowly, the message is getting though but slowly:
    As of Jan. 28th, one in three people polled had heard about four of the CBC's heavily promoted winter shows: "The Border," "JPod," "Sophie" and "MVP." All of the shows launched in early January.

    That hasn't yet translated into large numbers of Canadians tuning into the shows, however - only 10 per cent of those polled had actually seen "The Border," about an elite team of Canadian border-security officers. That's more viewers than the other shows had managed to attract among those surveyed.
    What I find scary about these numbers though is that it implies that less than one third of Canadians may have heard of other CBC Television and Radio programs. I still run into people fairly frequently for whom I have to explain 'what Radio 3 is.' If people don't know about the shows they obviously aren't watching or listening.

    Got Keys?: Established Bands looking for Keyboard players

    Vancouver's Said the Whale is looking for a keyboard player ("must have chops, and be able to tour your ass off"" and Toronto's the Diableros are looking for an organist. I hate posting email address' on a blog due to the spam factor but if you are interested or have a candidate for either get in touch with me here or here and I'll pass along the contact info.

    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    The New Diableros?

    Pete Carmichael announced on the Diableros Myspace blog that bass player Ian Worang, organist Matt Ruba and drummer Phoebe Lee are all departing the band, leaving only Pete and Ian Jackson from the original lineup.
    "Suffice to say that as we indie rockers get older, some of us have a shift in priorities. Devoting all your free time to a band, jumping from entry-level job to entry-level job, it just doesn't work anymore. I understand this and feel very sad about them leaving. I almost decided to pull the plug on the band, I know it will never be the same.

However, I still have the desire to move ahead... I have put too much work into it over the past few years to let it go. So the band will continue, but in a different form, to say the least. I am already working on it and I feel that in spite of the setback, this change will be for the best in the long run."
    This is sad news for Toronto, as we have also seen the end of Republic of Safety and Ninja High School in recent months.

    Tourwise this means that the band's planned appearances at SXSW are off. The last appearances of this incarnation of the Diableros will be
  • 22 Feb 2008 9:00 pm Zaphod Beeblebrox Ottawa, Ontario

  • 23 Feb 2008 9:00 pm Club Lambi Montreal, Quebec

  • 26 Feb 2008 9:00 pm Foundation Nite Club Barrie, Ontario

  • 27 Feb 2008 9:00 pm Starlight Waterloo, Ontario

  • 28 Feb 2008 9:00 pm Casbah Hamilton, Ontario

  • 29 Feb 2008 9:00 pm Salt Lounge London, Ontario

  • 1 Mar 2008 7:00 pm Mod Club Toronto, Ontario

  • But, as Pete mentioned, this is not the end of the Diableros - only a new chapter. Consider the return of the Diableros to be 'in the works.'

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Immaculate Machine Tour Dates (and Ladyhawk)

    Victoria's Immaculate Machine is headed back to Ontario and points east as a warmup in advance of their new album "Fables" which is hitting iTunes on May 29 and stores on June 12. They will be joined by Ladyhawk for the last 5 dates.

    Check them out at:
    March 5 in Waterloo, ON @ the Starlight Room
    March 6 in Toronto, ON @ the Horseshoe for CMW
    March 7 in Brantford, ON @ the Ford Plant
    March 9 in Peterborough, ON @ the Underdog
    March 11 in Quebec, QC @ Le Cercle
    March 12 in Sackville, NB @ the Pub
    March 13 in Saint John, NB @ Elwoods
    March 14 in Halifax, NS @ Seahorse
    March 15 in Charlottetown PEI @ TBA
    March 16 in Fredrickton, NB @ Capital Bar
    March 18 in London, ON @ Salt Lounge w/ Ladyhawk
    March 19 in Hamilton, ON @ Casbah w/Ladyhawk
    March 20 in Montreal @ Divan Orange
    March 21 in Ottawa @ Zaphod Beeblebrox
    March 22 in Toronto, ON @ the Horseshoe w/Ladyhawk

    Just as a refresher, Immaculate Machine sounds like this

    While Ladyhawk sounds more like

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    Human Rights Film Festival

    From February 28 to March 5 the Human Rights Watch will present the 5th Annual Human Rights Film Festival. The festival which is co-presented by Cinamatheque Ontario will run at Jackman Hall, at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Seven new films from six countres will be screened. From the festivals blog
    "The opening night film (preceded by a reception), Hana Makhmalbaf’s powerful Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame, is about a powerful little girl trying to go to school in rural Afghanistan. The festival continues with Ramin Bahrani’s Chop Shop, featuring a young boy surviving on the streets of Queens in New York City; Tahani Rached’s These Girls chronicles the lives of the rowdy and engaging street girls in Cairo as they try to live life to the fullest and Sam Lawlor and Lindsey Pollock’s We’ll Never Meet Childhood Again introduces us to “Ceausescu’s babies”, Romania’s HIV orphans and the heroic families who took them into their homes and their hearts.
    Alex Gibney’s powerful Taxi to the Dark Side is an indictment of the US use of torture in Iraq, Guantanamo and secret prisons in other nations. Osvalde Lewat-Hallade’s elegant and accomplished A Love During The War examines the effects of the widespread use of rape as a weapon during the Civil War in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Jawad Rhalib’s El Ejido, The Law of Profit explores the deplorable working and living conditions of the 80,000 Moroccan fruit and vegetable workers in the south of Spain."

    For more info visit the festival blog or the facebook event page

    Halifax Loses News

    My condolences to the city of Halifax. The Halifax Daily News shut down this week, rather suddenly, so suddenly in fact that many of the 92 employees who were let go apparently found out from other media outlets.

    According to Kelly Toughill at JSource:
    The Daily News has been the plucky underdog of Nova Scotia journalism since it was founded as a suburban weekly almost 30 years ago. It has gone through several owners and styles since then.

    Editor Jack Romanelli brought a new dedication to public policy journalism when he took over as head almost two years ago. The paper probed difficult issues such as racism, patronage and city planning that were sometimes ignored by its larger rival, the Chronicle Herald.

    King's Journalism Review has posted an online tribute to the News.

    The worse news for Halifax is that they are getting a 'Metro' instead. Toronto already has one and it's not so much a 'newspaper' as a few rewritten wire stories used as packaging for alot of ads. Even for free they occasionally have to send university kids into the street to try to push them into people's hands. It exists almost purely to kill trees.

    My advice to the suddenly unemployed journalists and photographers would be: Keep going. Register a domain (make sure it is viewable on Blackberries and cell phones), file for UI and keep doing what you do. Part of the reason for the decline of newspapers is the rise in online journalism. Although I cannot find the article at the moment even the editor of the New York Times has said that he doesn't know if there will be a print edition in 5 years and without the need to print your overhead goes way down. You obviously love journalism, you obviously want Halifax and though they may not buy papers, people still want news.

    Monday, February 11, 2008

    Film Funding 2.0

    Now that sites like and sellaband have begun in earnest to change the way music is bought, sold and financed it was only a matter of time before other media began to follow suit. It would appear that film is the next in line. First up is the Pocket Change Fund. Filmmakers Kris Booth and Ramona Barckert have written a screenplay for a film called "At Home By Myself ... With You" and are funding it with pocket change.

    Meanwhile according to the Times Online, Canadian filmmaker Casey Walker is funding his million dollar movie on $10 investments
    "For too long film has been a club that only the big boys and the rich boys are part of. Now the little old lady in Arkansas, too, is going to be able to see her name on the big screen."
    and if it works he help you with yours.
    "In an interview with Times Online, Mr Walker, 32, said: "I'm trying to change the process by which films are funded. When I prove that this model can be successful, I plan to open a larger, online studio, where investors can buy a stake in any film they choose, by genre."
    For more check out My Million Dollar Movie

    more from the Pocket Change Fund

    March 3: Eyes on Toronto with Trevor Boris, Major Maker and Kendra Francis

    Did you know that February is a very short month? It's true and that's why Eyes On Toronto is almost ready to go again. On March 3 Stephen and co will bring you the latest roster of world class performers from our world class city (really, we are, I swear!) So, here are the details:

    Date: Monday, March 3, 2008
    Time: 8:15pm - 11:15pm - all times "ish"
    Location:The Historic Gladstone Hotel
    Street: West Queen St West
    City/Town: Toronto

    For more details see (where you can also watch online in the event you really can't come) or the Facebook Event Page.

    DJ Matt Medley will be there along with this months guests:

    Winnipeg native Trevor Boris of NBC's Last Comic Standing, MuchMusic's Video On Trial and CTV's Comedy NOW. Trevor has also recently completed two television pilots and is a regular contributor to CBC's 'the Debaters' - amoung many, many, many other things.

    Toronto band Major Maker Who have been incredibly successful at getting airplay by getting their songs in other people's advertisements. From
    "It’s a well-known fact that bands, especially independents, have fewer traditional outlets for airtime, while emerging avenues are being navigated to varying degrees of success. The marriage between musicians and marketers is nothing new. In 1984, Michael Jackson had his hair singed in a pyro accident during the filming of a Pepsi ad that earned him millions (as well as a trip to the hospital). The major difference now? You don’t put famous music in ads — the ads make your music famous."

    Ryerson grad and Toronto Fashion designer Kendra Francis of Project Runway and Franke (920 Queen Street West).

    Joel Plaskett Cleans Up ECMAs

    I'll never understand why most Canadian Media outlets give extensive coverage to the Grammy Awards and hardly mention the East Coast Music Awards, even though they were on the same night. I suppose it has to do with the assumption in the media that Canadians aren't interested in Canadian artists unless they are succeeding in other countries. That may even be partially true, but if it is it is perpetuated in large part by the media who give extensive coverage to Canadians succeeding abroad and little to Canadians succeeding at home. In short, it's a self fulfilling prophecy. How can Canadians possibly get excited about things they don't know about?

    Now that I've finished the Micro Rant: Congratulations to the Joel Plaskett Emergency who won Best Video (for Fashionable People), Songwriter of the Year, Group Recording of the Year, Rock Recording of the Year and Recording of the Year for "Ashtray Rock".

    Aside from Plaskett's multiple wins George Canyon picked up the ECMA's 'Entertainer of the Year' award, Dave Gunning, the Rankin Family and Jamie sparks each won two awards and Stephanie Hardy won the 'Rising Star' award. Thom Swift won the award for Blues recording and the New Brunswick Youth orchestra won classical recording of the year. The Saddle River String Band took home top bluegrass artist, Nathan Wiley's "The City Destroyed Me" won Alternative Recording of the Year and the Country Recording of the Year went to the Divorcees.

    The CBC will air a condensed version of the ECMA's hosted by Stephen Page on March 2nd. You can read CBC Radio 3's Grant Lawrence's take on the ECMA's here and the full breakdown from the Canadian Press over there.

    Sunday, February 10, 2008

    Two Panel Discussion on Toronto

    Via Spacing: As part of the Toronto Public Library's One Book program, there will be two panel discussions next week on Toronto.
    Lost City: Can we preserve Toronto’s past while we build for the future?
    When: Monday, February 11th, 7 p.m.
    Where: St. Lawrence Hall, 157 King St. E
    Who: Former Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall, condo developer Brad J. Lamb, Toronto Star architecture critic Christopher Hume and Spacing Magazine publisher Matthew Blackett discuss the tension between preservation and development in today’s Toronto. Matt Galloway moderates.

    First Days: In a city founded on immigration, does the newcomer’s experience ever get easier?
    When: Wednesday, February 13th, 7 p.m.
    Where: Parkdale Branch, 1303 Queen St. W.
    Who: Authors Goran Simic, Shyam Selvadurai and Rabindranath Maharaj discuss the immigrant experience and recall their first days in Toronto. Mary Ito moderates.

    RVT: Dance Party of Newfoundland

    I was lucky enough to see Dance Party of Newfoundland at the last night. In a just world they'd have a sketch show already.

    Old Timey Law Talking

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    Free Downloads from the Burning Hell!

    Mathias Tom's the Burning Hell is the latest addition to's Podsafe Downloads. Feel free to give a listen and pass it around so others can do the same. You can find more from the Burning Hell at

    From I(heart)
    "Led by Mathias Kom, the band is a strange mix of gospel, folk-ish rock, gorgeous country and...well, whatever you'd call all that mixed with ukulele. It's certainly like very little else out there, and it's easy to see why weewerk loved Kom and his band enough to sign them and release their new album early in 2008. When that one comes out, the expectations created by Tick Tock guarantee that it'll get thrown on my stereo/iPod right away."

    Photo above by Angus MacPherson

    Saturday, February 09, 2008

    Passion vs. Spectacle

    I've started reading "Consolation" by Michael Redhill. It's far too early in the book to give you any kind of a review but I was struck by a line early in the book.
    "There's a difference between passion and spectacle Mom. This is spectacle."
    The speaker was talking about someone's behavior but I'm interested in the line for another reason.

    I've often struggled to explain to people why I'm interested in certain types of arts and media and not in others. Goethe's 3 questions have always been a good place to start.
    "Johann Wolfgang von Goethe directed that Three Questions be asked about any work of art. They must be answered in order.

    1. What was the artist trying to do?

    2. How well did he do it?

    3. Was it worth the doing?"
    But beyond that there is the question of passion vs. spectacle. Sometimes artists are able to effectively combine the two (ex: Live Hidden Cameras shows and Cirqu du Soliel), but given the choice of one or the other I'll take passion. What I mean is: I want to be able to feel the passion of the artist for their work. I do not want "art" created simply to make money, with all the feeling and emotion that a janitor puts into their work. With modern production equipment it is completely possible to create work that is clean and neat, pretty to look at, but ultimately empty.

    For example, while some of the performers may have passion, Canadian Idol is ultimately spectacle. Jerry Springer (and the rest of it's genre) along with virtually all 'reality television' is spectacle, Nickelback and Shania Twain are spectacle, virtually all American news (CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC etc.,) long ago sold their credibility for spectacle. I personally have no interest in spectacle, no matter how pretty.

    I think that is part of the reason that I gravitate toward the CBC and other public broadcasters, independent film, new media and music, etc., It is not simply a product meant to garner sales and profits. It is work that comes from the love of the performers. People who would like to make money with their art, but will not compromise their art for money.

    The Stephen Harper Tax (SHT)

    For almost a year now the mayors of Canada's municipalities, lead by Toronto Mayor David Miller have asked the federal government to devote one cent of the GST to Canadas cities. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has staunchly ignored the request and electing Stephen Dion won't help.

    Since this call first went out though Stephen Harper has indicated that the federal government does not need all of the GST, cutting it by 2 cents in 2 years. I don't know about any of you, but the 2 cent GST cut has affected me not at all. I don't remember, at any point, looking at a receipt and saying 'thank god for that GST cut.'

    So perhaps all we need is to rearrange the tax. I suggest that the provinces put in place a new 2% tax on goods and services. It would act as a local sales tax - with proceeds staying in the city, town, village or rural area where the purchase was made. It would then be up to local officials to decide how to spend the money.

    It was estimated when the one cent campaign was launched that getting one cent would raise $400 million for Toronto and 5 billion for municipalities across Canada. So, the two cent tax would be roughly double that.

    If the Federal Government doesn't need it, and no one has noticed the cut I think it would be an excellent way to get the 'one cent for cities' without federal support. No one likes to introduce a 'new tax' but this isn't really a new tax. It is an old tax reapplied to solve problems that the federal government has abdicated. Just to drive the point home I would suggest that it be permanently labeled the SHT or Stephen Harper Tax.

    New Woodhands April 1

    According to the band Woodhands new album "Heart Attack" will be available in Canada April 1st. You can get a preview of the new stuff on the Woodhands' Myspace page

    The video below is unofficial, it was created for Said the Gramaphone's Wonderful Video Contest by this person.

    Woodhands - Can't See Straight

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Laura Barrett Gets Baked

    Last night's Eyes on Toronto was the first time I've seen Laura Barrett live as a solo performer. As impressed as I've been with her recorded work, it still doesn't do justice to the real thing. If you get the chance go see her, she has a few Ontario dates coming up with Halifax's Superfantastics everyone, by this point, knows that I like Laura Barrett (and the Superfantastics if you're paying attention), the real reason for writing this is to mention that Laura is on the latest episode of Let's Get Baked with Matt and Dave, a podcast which has recently passed it's 100th Episode!

    Monday, February 04, 2008

    Kennedy & Kreydenweiss

    Jamie Kennedy is making me check my labels.

    Not ten minutes after speaking with the Toronto chef, I find myself making a cup of tea and looking at where the hell my "Duende" cuppa came from.

    But then Kennedy has that effect.

    A longtime advocate of organic growing, local sourcing, and biodynamic farming, Kennedy puts his practises where his beliefs are, and come February 8th, he'll be hosting an event at his Wine Bar to prove it.

    Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss is a French winery renowned not only for their lovely wines and spirits, but for their biodynamic farming practises -a natural approach that involves refraining from chemical pesticides and a respect for soil reconstitution based on seasonal treatments.

    Antoine Kreydenweiss, official spokesman for the winery, is travelling from Alsace for an evening of wine pairings and tastings, commencing at JK Wine Bar at 8pm. The night before (Thursday), he'll be at The Fine Wine Reserve for an evening of tasting and discussion.

    That the Kreydenweiss winery fits into Kennedy's overall vision of healthful, natural food in sync with nature is no surprise.

    Kennedy says he was concerned with local sourcing and organic food as far back as "the Palmerston days", a reference to the beloved restaurant he ran in the 1980s. That dedication, he says, " resulted in alliance of growers and users -whether they be consumers, regular citizens or chefs -to focus, foster & nurture relationships between growers and users in that field."

    The consumers at the wine bar, he explains are " eager to try anything we present.", noting that customers have become more conscious in their consumption practises.

    "There's a growing sense of trust about those kinds of direct relationships that weren't as important to people 10 or 15 years ago. It's taken other parts of society to recognize the way we're going is not good in a larger sense. People are more tuned into things like their carbon footprint, fossil fuels -things like that -and it's not limited to our sector of the economy, either. These are issues we've talked about for 20 years or more."

    Environmental awareness -from food production to wineries and beyond -is something Kennedy says goes past the merely fashionable.

    "It's here to stay, it's not a trend," he says passionately, "Yes, I do think there's a food culture developing -but part of that is identifying what's unique and what you do in that place."

    Because the nature of the wine bar is seasonal (its menu changes daily), there is what Kennedy calls "the anticipation of things becoming available according to season, and that in turn, is what becomes more important -because people -rightly so -should look forward to the taste of asparagus in spring, not settle for mediocre asparagus year round."

    The practise of seasonal, local, organic cultivation is one that has a natural extension to viniculture, too.

    "Guys like Kreydenweiss don't brag about it," he explains, noting that another biodynamic grower, Chapoutier, have an equally big winery in the Rhone, "It's time for these kinds of farming practises, and relying on chemical input year after year depletes organic matter, renders the soil dead. The plants can only respond to what you put in, rather than the soil regenerating its own material."

    So the question is, how can the average food-loving person respond?

    "Become more active," says Kennedy firmly, "Support local by buying it. The more people buy it, the less it'll cost."

    Sounds like a delicious recipe to me.

    For more information on the wine events, go to

    For information on Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss, go to

    For information on Jamie Kennedy, go to

    RVT: Caribou - She's the One

    You can also find video's of Caribou from Blogotheque's Take Away Show's series here

    Kaya Fraser: Free Download

    Formerly of Quebec and BC, London Ontario's Kaya Fraser is a name you should get to know if you don't already. From T'cha Dunlevy in the Montreal Gazette
    "Introducing Kaya Fraser, a former Montrealer currently living with her husband and her dog in London, Ont., where she is finishing a PhD in Canadian literature and somehow finding time to make music.
    Fraser's independently released seven-song EP Tremor and Slip is shockingly good. Her voice is intimate, arresting and mature; the songs are moving; and production is polished enough to sound professional without sacrificing authenticity.
    For quick reference, think Joni Mitchell or Sarah McLachlan. At such an early stage in her career, Fraser has the potential to one day hover in their midst."
    Kaya has added the title track to her new disc "Tremor and Slip" to the podsafe downloads.

    Sunday, February 03, 2008

    The Future of Television is Here: Just rearrange the furniture

    I've written about this before, but for anyone who may have missed it Miro (formerly called Democracy) is now on version 1.1. Miro bills itself as "Free and open-source, because media matters" and it does more for your computer than Tivo does for your television.

  • Plays video in Quicktime, WMV, MPEG, AVI, XVid and more

  • Provides free HD content

  • Allows you to subscribe to anything - Youtube channels, RSS Feeds, podcasts etc., etc., at last count there were 3,440 free channels with more coming online daily.

  • It will even allow you to download torrents so that you can subscribe to the shows that you watch on traditional television

  • This is how television is going to work in future, the only large remaining difference is that the monitor will be larger and in front of your couch.

    You can download Miro for free for Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Ubuntu and more at

    Montreal's New Film Factory

    Via Art Threat: Montreal's Main Film has launched The Film Factory:
    "... a year long program whereby Main Film provides the environment, the tools and training for artists to undertake artistic risks in the development, exploration, and experimentation of their own artistic practice of film as an art form.
    Main Film is an "artist-run centre for independent filmmmakers." A complete list of the rules, qualifications, equiptment and facilities available and application forms are available on their website at

    Rural Alberta Advantage - New Album + Eastern Tour

    According to their Myspace Blog the Rural Alberta Advantage is in "the final stages of completing our full length album" tentatively called "Hometowns" you can hear bits of it on Myspace, CBC Radio 3 (New Music Canada), Sonic Bids and the band's Website. They also have an tour (going east) scheduled. Currently it looks like this
    02-14 Waterloo, ON - Trepid House
    02-16 Kingston, ON - The Artel
    02-17 Ottawa, ON - Zaphod's
    02-19 Montreal, QC - Barfly
    02-20 Sackville, NB - Mount Allison
    02-21 Charlottetown, PE, Brennan's Pub
    02-22 Halifax, NS - Gus' Pub
    02-23 Moncton, NB - Manhattan

    The Return of Jim Dupree

    One of the earliest video podcasts in Canada was the wildly popular Jim Dupree: Enthusiast in which Jim Dupree would tell us about his enthusiam for things such as Gardening, Time Travel, Body Building and Anne of Green Gables. The comedy lay in the fact that, although enthusiastic, he actually didn't know much about his topics. Then about a year and a half ago Jim Dupree became less enthusiastic, the plug was pulled and everyone thought that was all. At some point in the recent past Jim Dupree has rediscovered his enthusiasm for enthusiasm and the show is back with a vengeance - 2 new episodes since Feb. 2 and two more due by Friday.

    Jim Dupree is once again in the CanCasts and, if you decide to watch it it sometimes looks like this:

    Friday, February 01, 2008

    RVT: Black Mountain - Set Us Free

    A black and white Super 8 music video by Lyndsay Sung for Black Mountain's 'Set Us Free.' Black Mountain has been added to Band Blogs Too along with the Pack A.D.

    Harper Muzzles Government Scientists

    Found through Bookninja: The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that the Harper Government has placed a gag order on scientists working for the Federal Government.
    "Environment Canada has "muzzled" its scientists, ordering them to refer all media queries to the federal government, where communications officers will help them respond with "approved lines."
    This would include government agencies such as "Environment Canada" and presumably "Health Canada". It means that although the taxpayers are footing the bill for these services, they are not allowed to speak to you directly, or through the press - instead you will be directed to someone in Harpers communications department and they will read you the "approved lines". It is a clear indication, one of many, that the Harper government does not like or trust the press, or the people of Canada.


    At one point, not so long ago, there was a video podcast called Cynically Tested, then it went away. Now it's back...kindof. From the Toronto Star comes word that the Cynically Tested folk are back but this time it's called Twixters:
    "a series of satirical episodes about life between adolescence and adulthood broadcast recently on Bite Television (Rogers Channel 322) and currently on the Web at and on Facebook, with a blog and additional content at"
    So, it's still sort of a video podcast - but it primarily exists on, Facebook, Myspace and YouTube. So, I don't have a proper feed to add it to the podcasts. They do however have a blog - so, I'm putting that in the blogs. Twixters looks something like this: