Tag Archives: movies
Anita is a look back at what the exact moment where sexual harassment became a valid work problem that is taken seriously. Prior to Anita Hill infamously speaking out against the sexual harassment she endured working for Clarence Thomas, this kind of treatment was tolerated by women (and men) because they didn’t know they had any other option. She gave us all a voice and right to speak up without the risk of losing our jobs.
I was so young when she did this for feminism that I didn’t even realize I have her to thank for the times where I’ve felt uncomfortable at work and been able to do something about it. The beauty of this film is that it is educating my generation and those women younger than me on what she did for us, and how different the world was just 20 years ago. How acceptable that kind of workplace abuse was. I feel so incredibly lucky to have been born in the time of history that I was.
It was startling to watch her give her testimony facing a large panel of old white men, as they interrogated her and accused her of man hating, revenge, bitterness and lying. They tried to tear her apart because she was honest, and yet she remained calm and poised throughout the entire process. I have no idea how she did it. She deserves a medal from every woman. As if it wasn’t bad enough that she suffered through his harassment the first time, they put her up there and did everything they could to humiliate her in front of the entire world, making her relive every minute detail.
And of course, in the end, they didn’t even care about her testimony. Thomas made it into a racial issue (which is such crap considering she shares his race) and nothing ever happened to him. He took his seat on the Supreme Court and she had to move to another state to avoid all the death threats and harassment she endured after it was over. That in itself is depressing, but the film makes it very clear that what she did is an act of heroism that will be remembered for generations to come.
Thank you Anita.
Kathleen Hanna is another fascinating, inspiring woman to my generation. As much as I could never really get into the whole riot grrrl scene because of my aversion to vocals that involve screaming, I have incredible respect for its place in the third wave of feminism that sparked because of the injustices faced by women like Anita Hill at the time.
While I never really enjoyed Bikini Kill’s sound, I did like Le Tigre to some degree, but I was never quite interested enough to dig into their story. This film definitely made me realize what I was missing out on, and how incredible Kathleen was (and still is).
She is exactly the kind of person I aspire to be – and I have been living by her manifesto, despite not being particularly aware, of it all along. Her “ALL GIRLS TO THE FRONT” mentality at shows is literally the best concept in music history, ever. EVERY BAND SHOULD DO THIS. The way they explained it in the film made me so happy, because men don’t seem to realize that they make such a hostile environment for women at shows – or they do realize and they just don’t care. The last thing I want to deal with is getting head butted by moshers (this has happened to me) because I’m at the front trying to actually see the band. If the male population were kind enough to do that shit in the back, and stand back so that women who are generally at least 5 inches shorter, could actually see the stage – the concert going experience would be oh so wonderful for everyone.
I wish I could have went to a Bikini Kill show just to be a part of a concert where there was a priority put on women actually being comfortable/having a stage sight-line.
The look into her health issues and the decision to end Le Tigre was also insightful. Lyme disease is something most people (myself included) certainly don’t understand, and it went a long way to explaining how dreadful the disease can be – especially when it makes a singer lose control of her most precious asset – her voice. I also loved when she talked about meeting Adam Horovitz and feeling conflicted about dating someone who sang such sexist songs in those early Beastie Boys days, and how you don’t choose who you fall in love with.
If you are at all interested in 90s music culture, feminism, riot grrrls or just want to see a doc about a groundbreaking artist, make it a point to see The Punk Singer.
I’ll admit I was fairly uninterested in the whole Pussy Riot thing. I heard about it non stop to the point where I just decided to tune it out. Again, not being all that into the riot grrrl scene, I just didn’t pay much attention. When I hear Peaches is involved in something I kind of lose interest, as it always tends to feel like a spectacle.
Of course, seeing Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer made me feel foolish for not paying attention. It is scary to me that this kind of church meets state environment still exists in what looks like a modern part of the world. They were doing nothing more than what Kathleen Hanna and the riot bands did 20 years ago, but they are in jail for it!
The best part of Hot Docs is that it shocks me into remembering just how lucky I am to be living where I do, in the age that I do. After watching the injustice these girls are going through, I am thanking my lucky stars that I do not live in Russia. It literally boggles my mind that things could still be so backwards in a developed country – but religion makes people act in very strange (ungodly) ways.
Can you imagine being sent to jail for 2 YEARS for just barely starting to sing a ‘punk rock’ song in a church? It’s absurd. I agree that it was crossing a line since so many people were offended by it, and they could have maybe banned them from the church for life or something – but putting them in jail away from their babies for years because they created art in public? Insane.
The film gives these women faces, families, and history – which is something you don’t get through our exploitative news. Watching their parents talk about how they were as kids, and how they grew into feminist artists trying to move their part of the world forward in the same way that Kathleen Hanna did, makes it a must see. It’s also inspiring to hear them talk during sentencing – the fearlessness these women have for the message they are trying to spread of equality for all women is so powerful. I know that when they get out they will continue to create positive change and hopefully help move Russia into the current decade.
Happy Friday, peeps! This is a long TGIF to make up for last week, so prepare yourself. I’m spending today (and the next 10 days) in theaters for Hot Docs, maybe I’ll see some of you there? If not, I really hope to see you tomorrow night for the Long Distance Movie party! Check the sidebar and event page for more information. The Top 15 vote is on!
With that said, here’s a ton of great reads to keep you occupied all weekend:
- FAT Art & Fashion Week combines clothes, music, film and performance - I’ve been checking this out all week and it’s AMAZING. Can’t wait to get my review posts up, truly an inspired event.
- Chan Marshall Of Cat Power Tells The Story Of Her Style Evolution - While I don’t particularly care for her current short bleached hair and military style, her classic style has always been a big influence on me. Love her so much.
- The Best Streaming Music Services You Aren’t Using (But Should).
- Digital music: Can streaming save music sales?
- 12 Music Jobs That Can Pay Six Figures - Not everyone is struggling to eat in the music world, but you have to be really really good at these jobs to get anywhere near those six figures.
- Last Shop Standing: Whatever Happened to Record Shops?
- Bands Abusing Kickstarter Are Exploiting Fans - Surprised? I’m not.
- What’s the story on the radio payola scandal of the 1950s? A lot of people seem to be somehow unaware that payola still exists and is actually considered the norm, this article is a fascinating read into the original scandal.
- Music Can Help Premature Babies Develop, Says New Study. Music really is the best cure.
- Installations Of New And Emerging Music From T.O. On The 19th Day Of Every Month - So this is actually a link to something new I’m doing. Once a month I’ll be curating a mix of 7 Toronto based artists for a new website called BANDxCITY, that highlights the local music happening in cities around the world. It’s a great resource for discovering the next big thing happening outside our own little music scene.
- Record Stories.
- That time when Record Store Day was everyday. I believe that day will return again!
- Record Your Own Vinyl Record at Jack White’s Third Man on Record Store Day. How cool is this? Toronto had quite an awesome RSD, but Nashville definitely wins because of this. Jack White rules.
- Twitter Goes To Good Morning America To Confirm Twitter #Music, Aiming Straight For The Mainstream.
- Twitter Music Is a Discovery Powerhouse for Your iPhone.
- Graphic designer Storm Thorgerson, made famous by his Pink Floyd album covers, dies at age 69. This guy created some of the most beloved and memorable album artwork of all time, RIP.
- The Pitchfork Guide To Summer Festivals 2013. Two Montreal festivals – no Toronto mentions. People of Toronto, we need to put our city on the festival map.
- The New Résumé: It’s 140 Characters. How do you guys feel about this? My twitter presence has been a key factor in my blogs growth, in jobs I’ve been hired for, and in countless opportunities that have come my way. I definitely think it’s vital in today’s world if you want to leverage yourself in any field - but especially in music.
- Canadian Filmmaking: Rose Lagace on Long Distance Movie. My sister talks about her inspiration for the film and how she decided to get involved with this epic Cinecoup competition.
- What Happens If You Text Your Parents Pretending To Be A Drug Dealer? This is absolutely hilarious. I almost considered doing it to my mom, but she literally just learned how to text – and she has a serious issue with any drug use to the point that it really gets her going, so for fear of making her incredibly upset I decided against it.
- Modern Etiquette: Social Media Do’s & Don’ts. An epic post definitely worth reading for those new and not so new to it.
- America is raising a generation of interns. I always feel conflicted about these articles. Internships have been a part of the career growth process for a very long time now, and even when the recession is long gone they will remain. My internships are the reason I figured out a career path in the first place and I think there is great value in getting a peek into an interesting company and making those big connections right out of school. The worst part about this article is the comments section – a bunch of 50 year old men going on and on about how everyone should get engineering degrees because that’s where the job demand is, and shitting all over humanities and arts degrees. No one should get a degree in something they don’t love just because there is job demand – you just have to be prepared to work harder and make sacrifices early on until you become the best at whatever career path you choose. Having a lot of money while working a job you hate is the easiest way to live a shitty, boring, regretful live.
- A brief history of Toronto’s first cocktail lounge.
- Vinyl record sales have hit their highest point since 1997 !!! And it’s only gonna keep growing every year.
- How to Listen to Music: A Vintage Guide to the 7 Essential Skills.
- Deconstructing: 10 Years Of The White Stripes Elephant And Exploding Hearts Guitar Romantic.
- Danny Devito’s Coachella Tweets Are The Best Coachella Tweets. He says it all, truly.
- 10 Venues That Shaped Toronto’s Live Music Scene.
- How To Diagnose What’s Making You Chronically Late.
- Stevie Nicks’ Home Is For Sale, Boasts Very Unusual Feature. Nude pool? That’s just a pool with nude people in it…
- Boston bombing aftermath: How you can help. I don’t want to dwell on the awfulness that happened in Boston last week, it’s tragic for so many reasons I won’t even get into, but I’m glad it came to a swift conclusion.
- CNN Has A New Host For The Summer. And His Name Is George. It’s so rare that America actually picks up on the wealth of incredible talent we have here, that this news really shocked me. He definitely deserves the wider audience and I can’t wait to see this new show.
- Train Yourself to Fall Asleep Faster.
- 31 Reasons Birth Control Exists. Heh.
- Finally, I found this hilarious when I first watched it – but when you think of how many people are at Coachella, and how few interviews they actually show compared to how many people they must have tried this on – it’s not actually all that surprising that they found 5 douches in that crowd that would lie on TV.
Come Thursday, another Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is upon us for 11 days, and I couldn’t be more excited to be covering it. Documentary film is the most reliable format for great filmmaking, in my opinion, because real stories always resonate – even if the camera work and production value are poor – the aspect of humanity being portrayed is almost always palpable.
With that said, Hot Docs has asked me to give you guys tickets to some of the films I am most excited to see. I have a pair of tickets to giveaway to the first screenings of both The Exhibition and When I Walk.
It is no secret that I have a very strong interest in crime stories. I’m obsessive about shows like Dateline, 48 Hours, Dexter, Breaking Bad and Criminal Minds. The Exhibition blends that interest with my true passion for arts, creativity and artists who aren’t afraid to break the rules – making this one of my top picks for this years festival.
It looks at the largest serial murder case in Canadian history – that of Robert Pickton and his pig farm back in 2007 – and an artist, Pamela Masik, who created paintings based around the faces of the 69 missing women police revealed at the time. Masik created gruesome portraits of the women – meant to highlight a racist and sexist society that let such violence against women take place for so long. But of course, using real victims for your art is going to piss a lot of people off, and for it, she faced a shitstorm of criticism that forced her to cancel the exhibition of this massive collection of work.
Win tickets to see it on Saturday April 27th at 9:30pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
When I Walk is the personal story of director Jason DeSilva and his diagnosis and subsequent battle with a severe form of multiple sclerosis at just 25 years old. As a filmmaker he was used to a life of travelling the world and creating. The disease, as it quickly stole his ability to walk, took this from him.
I watched my aunt live with multiple sclerosis for the first 10 years of my life – visiting her at the hospital every weekend with my dad – watching her turn into a skeleton until she finally passed away. It created within me a fear of hospitals that remains to this day. Not because of her – she was incredible despite all the pain, lighting up with joy anytime we were in the room – but because she was stuck there in this bland place surrounded by a rotating sea of geriatrics on their death bed – young and alive but unable to live – a true nightmare for someone as fun as she was (a rebellious Beatles fanatic and a mod, I wish I could have known her once I was older as I obviously got a lot of my personality from her).
MS is a terrible, incurable disease that strikes a very large portion of Canadians because of our cold climate – and while things are a lot more hopeful now than they were back when my aunt was diagnosed – there is still a lot more that can be done. Films like this have the potential to educate and humanize something that is very hard to understand unless you have experienced it. A cure is within reach.
Win tickets to the Friday April 26th screening at 9:30pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
To win, leave a comment with the name of the film you are interested in seeing (or both, if you’re interested in both), using an email address I can contact you at where it asks for your email address (do not put your email in the body of the comment).
You can also enter by becoming a Facebook fan and commenting on my status about this giveaway with the film you would like to see.
Both winners will be chosen and notified on Wednesday morning either via their email address or on Facebook, depending on method of entry.
Damn, this week ended on a sad note. The news that Roger passed away was quite devastating to me. He easily had the biggest hand in shaping my early love for film, art, writing, and criticism. My life would look a lot different had my sister and I not stayed up past 1am when we were still in grade school just to watch him and Siskel talk about movies. It made us into young, obsessive movie buffs, and provided a passion for media that has become the center of our lives ever since.
He was the kind of critic and writer anyone in my position dreams of being – fearless, witty, and captivatingly honest. I am so thankful I got to briefly meet him before a TIFF screening a few years back – while he couldn’t speak, he said more through the kindness and appreciation in his eyes than any ‘celeb’ I’ve ever exchanged words with.
While a few of the links below are about him, there are so many more I didn’t include. If you want to read some truly brilliant writing (not just about movies) go through his blog in recent years, an archive of incredible wisdom and insight.
- Roger Ebert New York Times memorial 1942-2013.
- I Do Not Fear Death - Roger wrote this in 2011, and it is incredibly comforting to read today.
- Women are better than men – another great article from Roger Ebert’s journal.
- Roger Ebert’s last words on his “leave of presence” just a couple days ago. He sounded so optimistic and full of plans as usual. I hope everything he wrote about here still comes to fruition, and I’m sure it will, because his wife is amazing.
- Peter Kormos dead at age 60. Another huge loss, as I grew up proud to be NDP because of this man. My hometown, Welland, is as working class as it gets – if you’ve ever seen the documentary Roger And Me about Flint, Michigan – that’s what Welland is like. A dying factory town that no one gives a shit about – but he did. He was a passionate speaker and he always stood for what was right, even if his party didn’t. He was the guy who literally fought for the little guy – a true rarity in politics. He is irreplaceable.
- Lollapalooza’s 2013 lineup – looks pretty good, what do you guys think?
- Are music critics pointless? Heh.
- Tweets, streams, phones make noise in the music world.
- An interesting post from Slagging Off, on the problems with FACTOR grants – and there are definitely some big problems – but these criticisms aren’t all valid (the fact that bands close to the FACTOR office get funded is insanely arbitrary). A knowledgeable friend, Stefan Babcock, pointed out some facts that counter what is being said here, that are worthy of sharing: “FACTOR does fund people outside this “inner circle”. I have anonymously written numerous successful grants for bands outside of this “circle”. Many of my friends outside this “circle” have also written strong applications and have received grants. Here’s what it comes down to. If your music is great but you can’t write a marketing plan and don’t have a manager or label to do it for you, you’re fucked. Why? Because you’re one of those awesome musicians who suck at business and therefore run their bands into the ground. If you can’t write a decent marketing plan, and you don’t have a manager / label to write one for you, hire someone who can. Perhaps most importantly, labels like A&C actually don’t get very much direct FACTOR funding. In fact, they are ineligible for the government funded FACTOR pool because they are already successful. Their ARTISTS get money for touring, showcasing etc. And if you think Snowblink or Zeus or Still Life Still don’t need tour support because they’re signed to A&C, you’re delusional. Most of these artists can barely survive. The FACTOR money that labels like A&C actually DO access themselves are in fact private funds.”
- Here’s the thing: another great Alec Baldwin interview, this time with the incredib(ly funny) Kristen Wiig.
- Rock’s Greatest Pranks, Hoaxes, And Outright Lies - since it was April Fools this week.
- Do You Create Anything Or Just Criticize Others? “When you try to create, there will be those who try to destroy and that’s your first sign you’re doing something right.”
- How to attract people you can count on — in life, love & business.
- The Four Horsemen of the Relationship Apocalypse Having dealt with some unnecessary friend drama recently, it’s definitely important to avoid these four things at all costs if you care about any kind of relationship in your life. Stonewalling is pretty much the worst/pettiest thing people do to each other.
- 18 Principles for highly creative living.
- 24 Texts You Don’t Want To Get From Your Parents. LOL.
- 22 things happy people do differently. Love this.
- Top 10 Girl Code Rules because sometimes we forget.
- It’s depressing that Saks Fifth Avenue can charge $527 for a cotton maxi skirt. Anyone know where I can find something similar for under $50?
- Finally, watch this adorable/hilarious video of outtakes from the 80s filming of Siskel and Ebert, it makes me ridiculously happy:
Hello! This is a very late TGIF because I’ve been busy hustlin for this Cinecoup entry that I would truly madly deeply love for you to go add to your watchlist, rate (hopefully positively – 10s make you my new BFF) and leave a nice comment.
If this film gets made I will be music supervising it – so you guys will be able to submit your songs to me for a film with a million dollar budget – meaning people will actually see it! As you are well aware – Canadian films take up less than 20% of Canadian cinema screens – truly a tragedy but not a surprise considering the lack of support there is for filmmakers outside Quebec. Cinecoup is doing a brilliant thing with this completely social media driven project.
Anyway, more on that in a full post at a later date – but for now – PLEASE go click on that link above and vote! You can help a Canadian film made by a team of WOMEN (another glaring rarity in film only highlighted by the fact that their entry is the only female team) actually get made. It goes without saying that women are the strongest and most active users of social media – so lets do this.
OH and FYI – all my mixtapes now have streams so go spend some time listening to the mixes (I’m having issues keeping the download link up because record labels are still stupid oldschool – if you have any suggestions for platforms that will solve this problem let me know). The monthly mix will be back in March now that I have a working computer again!
Now for the links:
- Ottawa Blues Fest lineup is out, and it’s pretty solid. I don’t like Ottawa enough to spend 10 days there but I’m thinking of heading there for a few key bands. Are you going?
- Japandroids beat out Nickelback in Canucks entrance theme contest. Thank god. At least hockey fans have good taste in music!
- Do you fit these bizarre musical stereotypes? This thing is so random and inaccurate, but it’s still funny.
- This is an incredible resource for music festivals.
- Six reasons it’s so hard to buy concert tickets. And this is why I mostly stick to local shows. Support your scene, don’t support ticketmaster or scalpers.
- Digital music report of 2013. This is absolutely fascinating.
- Music sharing declined 17% in 2012. This is great news for musicians – less free downloading – more buying. Of course this is also because of subscription services like Rdio. We don’t need to download anymore because we can actually access all the music we want for the price of a CD a month. I love technology.
- How human language could have evolved from the birdsong. Whoa.
- Copy this “Oscar- ready” approach to boost your social media star power. It’s so very true that after the Oscars last Sunday, everyone wants to be Jennifer Lawrence’s best friend, and everyone hates Anne Hathaway. I have felt this way for a very long time, and that article explains why. Jennifer has always came off as the most genuine REAL endearing human on the planet, there is not a damn thing about her that feels fake – Anne on the other hand has screamed pageant fake since she started making princess movies. No doubt she can act, but saying “It came true!” when you win an Oscar 10/10 people predicted you were going to win is as fucking gross and as fake as it gets.
- Budweiser sued for watering down beer. Is anyone surprised? This probably should have happened a long time ago.
- Finally, watch this INCREDIBLE video about social media in 2013. I am so excited for the Digital Media Summit during CMW: