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What A Week.

leonard cohen

Hi friends.

I know it’s been a while. That’s because life has been absolutely insane these past few months. Lot of things have happened, mostly good – but of course, some incredibly bad.

Part of me has wanted to put the blog on complete hold until I can finish the never ending redesign (which is why I have been silent here for a while) but when someone like Trump is elected president, and then we find out Leonard Cohen died, it feels wrong to stay silent. This has always been where I come to vent, and today will be no different.

Obviously, I am not an American, but the reality is, Americans are our neighbours, and they’re also our brothers and sisters. They are not that different from us, despite how much we might protest otherwise and lay claim to superiority since we have Trudeau – a feminist – while they have Trump, a man who campaigned on pure hatred and vitriol toward everyone but white men.

A world under Trump is terrifying. Not because Trump is terrifying (he’s just a clown, nothing more than a power hungry entertainer with a great marketing team) but because if he is impeached (a likely possibility) an even worse monster – Pence – becomes President of the most powerful country in the world. I’d like to believe Trump isn’t nearly as racist or sexist or xenophobic as he campaigned himself to be, he just knew it would work on the people who are.

That said, in the face of the rampant increase in racism and sexism being displayed in full force since his win, it is up to us to do the right thing and protect the people who are now free targets to a once mostly silent majority of the population. Speak up if you see someone saying something hateful. Stand with the person being targeted. Being a bystander is never okay.

As Canadians, we also have a responsibility to not fall into the trap that has taken hold in France, England and America – the nationalist trap that fears the other. This is how devastating wars begin. This is why the violent tragedies that have happened recently have happened at all. Being afraid of refugees moving here is what convinces those vulnerable people to believe the rhetoric of dangerous groups and sign up for their ranks. With every nationalist win like Trump and Brexit, they only get stronger. Aaron Sorkin wrote that ISIS is having a party after Trump’s win, and that’s what strikes me the most about this whole nightmare. By being afraid and filled with hate, you are only making them stronger. This isn’t a solution to the problem, this is how you increase its power over you.

When America had Bush, we followed with Harper. Once they had Obama, we followed with Trudeau. We tend to follow their political ping pong party game pretty closely, and I hope and pray that this doesn’t happen again with our next election in three years. We cannot buy into this world of fear and hate. It only puts us at risk. When you hear a certain Conservative woman on the news spouting about Trump and how she hopes to follow in his footsteps here, tune that shit out. Turn the channel. Don’t write about her. Don’t give her press time. Please don’t validate any Canadians who campaign on hate, like the American media did by giving Trump non-stop press just because it was good for ratings.

We like to believe we are less racist and sexist here, but as we found out last Tuesday night, the silent majority might just be silent until it comes time to vote. Don’t take that for granted. Try your best to educate anyone around you who seems to support the Trump win. Do it without anger (if you can, I know this is incredibly hard for me). People only understand life through their own eyes, their own experiences, and that means your suburban relatives can’t always relate to your point of view. They haven’t experienced the diversity we embrace in cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. They only see the issues that affect them personally, and that is how they vote. Educating the people in your life about what it means to care for your neighbour is key. Educating them about what all this fear mongering nationalism does to strengthen terrorist groups is key. It might not work – people are inherently stubborn and self-interested, but you have to at least try.

In other news, I recently went to NYC for the first time in a DECADE! And it was as incredible as I remembered it to be. There was a time when I wanted nothing more than to leave Toronto for New York, and I think I had to stop visiting in order to truly embrace my city. Now that I adore Toronto and it has developed into an incredible place, I can resume my just as intense love for New York.

I went down there for a writing conference run by and for women, where I learned a ton. Screenwriting has been the most recent passion of mine, and I was able to attend a seminar led by Jenny Lumet, who wrote a film I truly love, Rachel Getting Married. I also got to wander around the MOMA, see the spot where Paul’s Boutique used to be, stay in Brooklyn, get drenched by a full day of rain, live on about 4 hours of sleep a night, eat the finest pizza $3 will ever buy you, tour Greenwich Village to indulge my Bob Dylan love, get lost on the vast subway system, meet a bunch of incredibly talented women writers, attend live tapings of The View and Dr Oz (because all the shows I wanted to see… Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah, Steven Colbert, SNL were sold out) and visit the 9/11 memorial. It was an incredibly packed 4 days.

Before that, I fulfilled one of my biggest music industry dreams – I was a Grand Juror for the Polaris Prize 2016 – which as you know by now went to Kaytranada’s 99.9% – a truly fantastic album that I never would have given a fair listen to were it not for the privilege of being on this incredible jury. It wasn’t the album that I was there to fight for (that would be Black Mountain’s fantastic IV) but I understand exactly why it won and I stand behind the choice.

One more great thing, I checked another big career goal off the list by having my first byline in Marie Claire (about a 90s film I love, The Craft), a publication I’ve always wanted to write for. Yes, my writing here has been sparse because I have an entirely new vision for this blog that has me stockpiling material, but also because I’ve been focused on freelance writing full-time, which is a non-stop hustle. With that point, I should make it clear that TTRO is not over, it is just on a semi-hiatus until I can turn it into something that represents me in my 30s instead of this old version of me in my 20s. I feel like when I post here I’m walking around in an old outfit that just looks silly on me now, so I’ve been holding back. But soon! An early 2017 launch is the goal, and things around here will be a lot more consistent (and hopefully very useful for you) come that time.

One last thing – by some strange and awesome twist of fate – after 7 years on Twitter I was finally able to get my name out from under someone sitting on the handle – so @lisa_TTRO is no longer. Now you can tweet me @lisalagace, which is the same as my Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Periscope names. Yay for consistency!

And finally, let me just say, one last time for the record, RIP Leonard. When I watched you perform live in 2009 it was one of those rare musical moments where I knew I was witnessing pure genius, a poet who understood our pain for us, made it somehow more tolerable.

“And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord Of Song, with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.”

 Lisa

TGIF – Cinecoup, Language Evolution and Music Sharing

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:

 

Lisa

Today’s Quote – The Best Part of Obama’s Victory Speech

Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

Lisa

My Favourite Whisky Rocks Submission

Hey guys! Here’s my latest guest post for AUX for the Whisky Rocks competition, in which I talk about my favourite entry.

After the entries went live for voting this week I spent some time going through the videos and listening to the different songs submitted, and there was definitely a band that instantly stuck out to me among the rest – ilvekyo.

The strange name immediately made me curious, and from the still alone I could tell this would be a video worth checking out as it looked to be a recording session rather than a live video. After going through countless entries I was getting tired, but as soon as I hit play on this song I was fully awake again and I knew I had found my first choice.

The video is great – love the focus on the strings on their instruments – but most importantly, they are incredibly talented. The song is catchy, I immediately found myself clapping along, and the lyrics and songwriting ability is the strongest I found among the various submissions. I love their vocal tone, the pacing, the verse is as strong as the chorus, and each instrument stands out on its own and adds something unique to the song. I played it at least 10 times more before moving on to the next video.

They remind me of some of my favourite slightly country tinged alternative bands like Wilco, but without being derivative at all. They would fit perfectly up there on stage with The Trews.

I wanted to learn more about them, and after googling, discovered someone else thinks they’re pretty great too.

Watch the video below and then go HERE to give them a vote – they deserve to be up on that stage. And remember you can vote once every 24 hours!

Lisa

Today’s Quote – Last Words

I haven’t felt right posting anything I was scheduled to post since Jack Layton passed away Monday morning, needing some time to process the massive loss and write about him before returning to the main focus of this blog. But, being the incredible guy he was, he left us with one last goodbye letter of inspiration, this line being the most important part we all need to strive for.

Lisa