Holly Rhiannon has had an affinity for the paranormal since she was a kid growing up in Winnipeg. She lived in a series of old homes, one of which her and her mother noticed had an unexplained window when seen from the outside.
“We realized that it was behind the closet,” she said in a phone interview, “so we had a party, and we had people guess what was going to be back there. And we broke down the back wall of this closet and revealed a whole secret room. It was very cool. And especially me as an eight year old, thought this is so exciting. We didn’t find anything like a corpse in there, which I think I was kind of hoping for. I was hoping for bones or treasure or something like that. It had an energy to it, and that third floor maintained that weird energy.”
Rhiannon also mentioned that her and her mother (her father was a “paranormal dampener”) frequently heard marbles rolling across the third floor from downstairs.
“We had someone come over once who was very in tune with the paranormal. And she told us that there was an old woman in a rocking chair who liked to sit in that room. And we also found out later on that there was a death of a young boy who we think may have been the one rolling the marbles around.”
When she arrived in Montreal six years ago, she went on the various ghost tours Haunted Montreal has to offer.
“I absolutely loved them. It was just right up my alley. And then during COVID, I started doing YouTube with my writing because I’m an author. And once I had that skill sort of under my belt, I thought this would be an amazing way to collaborate with Haunted Montreal.”
Rhiannon proposed a series of video ghost stories based on the company’s blogs to Haunted Montreal founder Donovan King. As anything officially released by the company needs to be bilingual, she enlisted her friend Marc Andre, known as Dr. Mab, to host the French videos.
The pair have started from the earliest blog entries (in 2015) and are working their way forward in time, but Rhiannon isn’t skipping ahead too much.
“I’m reading as I go because I’m one of those people who had gone through maybe the first few. And then I got a lot of the stories from the tours because I’ve been on all of them twice now, and I kind of didn’t want to spoil them at first because I know that some of the tour content is in the blogs as well. And now I’m actually coming across some of that…So I’m getting a chance to go through absolutely everything now, and it’s been really great.”
Another week, more great shows to see! Scroll down to see what’s on the menu for music in Montreal this week.
Thursday, October 10th: MEUTE
Does the phrase “techno marching band” intrigue you at all? I can’t really imagine how the answer could be no, but if your answer was yes go see MEUTE at the SAT this Thursday!
The band consists of eleven drummers and horn players from Hamburg, Germany who perform the role of a DJ but with their instruments. The result? A seamless blend of electronic music with live acoustic instruments.
Don’t miss this truly unique performance!
MEUTE will perform at the Société des Arts Technologiques, 1201 blvd Saint-Laurent, on October 10th, 2019 at 8PM. Tickets available through Electrostub.
Saturday, October 12th: Kero Kero Bonito
London indie pop band Kero Kero Bonito (KKB) will be performing this Saturday in Montreal. While there are a lot of indie pop bands out there, KKB is truly one that operates to the beat of their own drum, if the drum was accompanied by something along the lines of quirky British bubblegum pop.
For me, their music always seems to stir up something of a childlike wonder through its various layers of game-like sound effects and practically ‘lullaby-pop’ sound. Catch their show at the Fairmount this weekend.
Kero Kero Bonito play Fairmount Theatre, 5240 Avenue du Parc, this Saturday, October 12th, 2019 at 9PM. Get your tickets through evenko.
Sunday, October 13th: Kompromat
Vitalic and Rebeka Warrior (of Sexy Sushi, and Mansfield.TYA) have come together to form Kompromat and will be performing their first show in North America in Montreal on Sunday, October 12th as part of the 48th edition of the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma.
Their music is reminiscent of old-school Berlin techno but with a distinctive punk tone, with Warrior commanding the role of the voice, and Vitalic the machine. The product of their unique dynamic is a riveting electronic experience you won’t want to miss.
To top it all off there will also be a free screening of Blood Machines following the performance as part of the FNC experience.
Kompromat will perform at Agora du Coeur des Sciences, 3805 blvd Saint-Laurent,for the Festival du Nouveau Cinémaon October 13th, 2019 at 8:30PM. Tickets available through ticketpro.
Tuesday, October 15th: Charli XCX
If you’ve managed to get this far in your life without ever encountering 27 year old Myspace pop sensation Charli XCX, then I think it’s safe to say you probably just haven’t been paying enough attention, because her influence is everywhere.
Charli’s music confidently straddles the line of mainstream and experimental pop, drawing us in with her happy futuristic club-kid exterior and keeping us there with her refreshingly perceptive navigation of both the genre of pop and her role as an artist within it.
Catch her performance this Tuesday, October 15th at the Corona Theatre.
Charli XCX plays Corona Theatre, 2490 Notre Dame St. W, Tuesday, October 15 at 8pm. Tickets available through evenko.
Are you or your band playing a show in Montreal? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do our best to include you in an upcoming Shows This Week, but, of course, no promises.
Friday and Saturday this upcoming weekend (August 9th & 10th) will mark the sixth annual Île Soniq festival, which will be returning to its original site at Parc Jean-Drapeau. So grab your sunscreen, don’t forget to #stayhydrated, and get ready to dance like its your last chance, because this one might just knock you into September.
Now, if you’re anything like me, the hardest part of almost any festival is simply figuring out how to divvy up your precious time. But fret not, because I’m gonna fill you in on all the shows you’re not gonna want to miss this year (and you can find the full lineup below)!
This year’s Île Soniq lineup is choc-full international talent, sure, but for those of you that are interested in finding out what Montreal–a city that has been home to some of the world’s most promising artists–is bringing to the table this year (besides the festival itself, of course), look no further.
If you don’t know them already, Christian Srigley and Leighton James started off as a pop-punk band and are now an electronic dance music duo based out of Montreal.
Relaxjosh is a local Montreal DJ with a unique but evolving sound. Though he’s been DJing since 11, he released his first single, Famous, only last year.
Underher is a sensual electronica/techno act created by Kalden Bess. Genre? Music to have sex to.
Sam Lamar has been rapidly rising through the ranks of the bass music scene, and has shown no signs of stopping yet!
DJ and producer from the collective ‘Drôle d’oiseaux’, best known for his groovy funkytrap and of course his mystical beard!
Île Soniq didn’t book many female performers this year 😒 … But here are a couple baddies you should check out.
Sydanie is a Jamaican-Trinidadian Toronto-based queer rapper and supermom and she’s changing the game in the Toronto hip-hop scene.
Whipped Cream, aka Caroline Cecil, goes hard with her limitless and versatile bad-ass bass sound.
Nicole Moudaber is a Lebanese/British radio personality and techno DJ and producer. She’s also behind MOOD, her own record label and global party brand. She gets pretty wild on the dance floor, and doesn’t hold back when she’s turning tunes either.
Nora en Pure
Nora en Pure is a South-African/Swiss DJ known for her deep house and indie dance music. She’s also a core member of the Helvetic Nerds.
Some other personal faves…
Superduo Redman & Jayceeoh team up to zap you with 1000 volts of their own bass and hiphop fusion, bridging the gap between rap and electronic music.
Lick (the DJ)
Lick the DJ (ha-ha) is from San Francisco, specialising in fine techno, deep house, and tech house. His music is vivid and electrifying.
Ronin is a DJ, producer, and avocado-enthusiast. If you’re somehow not already amped when you show up to Ile Soniq, you will be after his set.
Dabin Lee grew up surrounded by music and it shows. The Toronto musician’s melodic electronic music will make you feel like you’re living the emotional climax of the movie of your life, wind in your hair and all.
Full Lineup & Tickets
Check out the rest of the lineup.To get your tickets if you haven’t already, or for more information check out the Île Soniq website, and I’ll see you all there!
ShazamFest, a unique outdoor annual summer festival, returns for its 14th edition, and this year with more whimsy than ever. It has perhaps the most eclectic diversity of performances to occur at a single festival.
ShazamFest features a diverse range of entertainment including, but not limited to: live music performances, circus acts, burlesque, dance, theatre, poetry, wrestling, skateboarding, and much more. The festival is set to take place from the 11th to the 14th of July (this weekend), and is to be hosted in the Eastern Townships, 90 minutes outside of Montréal at festival founder Ziv Przytyk’s organic family farm. Free roundtrip shuttle services from Montréal are available, as well as free on-site camping.
The festival is also particularly distinctive for its green initiatives, as part of its dedication to an eco-responsible and sustainable approach. ShazamFest is very encouraging of its zero-waste initiatives, having only produced 12 bags of garbage at its 13th edition last year and aiming to create even less this year by encouraging festival goers not to bring single-use bags, using only reusable or compostable dishware, providing unlimited free local source water, bringing in organic local food vendors, and numerous other eco-friendly features.
The headlining acts of ShazamFest XIV will be Afrikana Soul Sister, Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire, the Souljazz Orchestra, and Susie Arioli. A few additional must-see features include Matthew Silver, Ziv’s Sunset Show, Bibi Lolo BangBang the clown, a burlesque segment by Swell Sisters La PetiteFleur and Queeny Ives, and many more.
Here’s the full lineup:
That’s right, FTB is giving you a chance to win a pair of tickets ($125 value) to Shazamfest! Simply share this post on Facebook or Twitter, tag @forgetthebox and say Shazam!
We will draw a winner from the entrants and announce it Friday morning.
Ronny Chieng is one of the few comics to bring an Asian perspective to the Just for Laughs stage. He is playing the Just for Laughs festival as part of his Tone IssuesTour but you can also see him on The Daily Show and in Crazy Rich Asians, his first role in a major motion picture.
I had the chance to speak to Chieng over the phone. Being half-Asian myself, I know about the expectations Asian parents often have for their children so I asked if his family had different hopes for him career-wise. Chieng appreciated the question because one of his very first jokes at Just for Laughs addressed that.
He spoke of being sent to Australia to study law but he was a poor student. He became a comedian because he couldn’t get a job in law, and comedy ended up paying better. He even said that he didn’t tell his parents about his new career directly – they found out about it when he appeared in the local press in their home country, but they’re okay with his career choice now.
Since Chieng now works in America and a lot of his comedy is political, I asked him if he thinks Trump is good for comedy. He feels it’s fair to say that Trump is good for comedy.
“He’s bad for life, bad for the planet, and bad for the country, and bad for mental health everywhere. At The Daily Show we talk about him every day, so I’d be hard-pressed to say he’s not good for comedy. Would I want that? No, I would rather have someone else – he has more cons than pros for the comedy world.”
Though Chieng doesn’t like the Trump Administration, he doesn’t feel that comedians working in America should feel obligated to criticize it in their comedy.
Great stand-up, in his eyes, comes from really authentic points of view and pandering to trendy topics if you’re not personally passionate about them is not going to make for good comedy.
While comedians shouldn’t feel obligated to talk about it, he feels that everyone – comedian or not – has an obligation to say something if they feel that something isn’t right.
Chieng’s comedy centers a lot on being Asian in predominantly white countries so I asked if his work was more about dispelling stereotypes or just about laughter. At first he joked that it was about making money, but then said that he is about fighting stereotypes or at least give them a little more nuance.
“If there’s a stereotype, I would like to explain why that’s a stereotype and maybe take the stereotype to another level – explain the full story behind the stereotype or break the stereotype altogether if I feel a stereotype is unfair. I try to address it because I feel like no one is talking about it in society. I wanted someone to talk about it when I was growing up so that’s the kind of comedy I do. I hope I do the kind of comedy I wanted to see.”
While a lot of Chieng’s comedy is about lived experience, he does research on occasion to make sure he knows what he’s talking about. When it comes to his favourite topics in comedy, he said it’s mostly things that make him angry, saying he has an hour of such examples in his Just for Laughs show.
Crazy Rich Asians was Ronny Chieng’s first film role, so I couldn’t help asking him about it. Chieng loved doing the film because it was shot in Malaysia and Singapore, where he’s from, which allowed him to see family and friends during filming.
The film was considered ground-breaking because it supposedly opened the door for more Asian characters in film when Hollywood still didn’t think it was possible. While Chieng doesn’t consider the film to be the be-all and end-all of films featuring Asian characters, he thinks the fact it was so well-received is amazing.
“What the movie was really good at was not over-explaining Asian things and showing Asian characters as complete three-dimensional characters with complicated needs and wants. Some of them are good guys and some of them are bad guys, some of them are in between, they fall in love, they fall out of love, they have complicated lives. I thought that was very useful. I think it also established a baseline for Asian storytelling moving forward. I think there’s no context for Asian stories usually in the West, so a lot of movies can’t be made because there’s no baseline understanding so I feel like Crazy Rich Asians is a very good baseline story for Asian people in the West.”
There have been criticisms of Crazy Rich Asians as only showcasing paler-skinned Asians. For example, Filipinos like myself tend to be darker. Chieng sees the problem in the fact that in North America, Asian is considered a single voting block despite the diversity in Asian nationalities and cultures among the Asian diaspora.
“You got Koreans, you got Japanese, you got Burmese, you got Thai, you have Filipinos, you have Malaysians, you have Chinese people, not to mention Chinese Indonesians, Chinese Malaysians, Chinese people who live in Japan, Chinese people from different parts of China with all the different dialect groups. Then you have the same number of people Americanized… and each of those groups are very distinct cultures. To expect one movie to cover the entire diaspora of Asia is an unfair burden placed upon it by Western views of what Asia is,”
In terms of criticisms that the film only showcased wealthier Asians, Chieng considers the movie satirical and that it showcases the extreme wealth that’s in Asia right now because that’s how the West experiences Asia in 2019.
Ronny Chieng is playing Just for Laughs from July 23 to 25. Check him out.
Yes, winter is coming, but this spring, Canadians will be able to legally stream Game of Thrones without a cable subscription. Crave (formerly Crave TV), Bell Media’s Netflix competitor, just added an extended package that includes all HBO and Showtime content, including new episodes and a feature called On Air that allows you to watch shows from those networks as they air on TV before they show up in the on demand menu.
You have to get the basic Crave subscription at $9.95 a month and then add the extended package for another monthly $9.95, so $20 a month plus tax for HBO and Showtime, plus a bunch of recent movies (including what looks like all of last year’s Best Picture nominees), shows like Star Trek Discovery, and original content like Letterkenny. There’s even a very interesting back catalog with classic sitcoms like Cheers, but no Night Court…like c’mon, someone pick up Night Court, please.
It’s currently available on computers and mobile devices and will be available on Samsung Smnart TVs, Apple TV and other platforms as of November 15th. From the looks of it, it’s a better deal than Netflix.
While I’m clearly gleefully plugging this product, this article is not sponsored content, but rather rare editorial praise for Bell Media from a frequent critic. It looks like they have finally embraced the way a good chunk of the population consume TV and have stopped trying to push an old model on those who clearly don’t want it.
Even as HBO made all of their content available, with no strings attached, through their GO app in the US a few years ago, Bell, which owns the Canadian rights, refused to see the light. Sure, they made an app, too, called TMN GO, but you had to get a cable or satellite TV package first and then subscribe to HBO Canada on TV before you could pay the ten or so bucks for it.
So basically, in a lot of cases, the choice was pay over $100 a month on top of the cost of an internet connection to watch one show or risk getting an angry letter for illegally downloading it. Yes, HBO is much more than GOT, but that show’s the hook for people living in a post-cable world.
Bell was effectively ignoring a potentially huge market that they could easily get with no risk of losing the cable and satellite market they already have as a result. My friend’s parents who have been paying for a satellite package and HBO for years aren’t going to cut the cord just because the same content is now available in another format.
Meanwhile, people who don’t give Bell Media any money but still consume the content might be inclined to pay and go legit if presented with a reasonable offer and become customers Bell wouldn’t have any other way. Now, it looks like Bell Media has finally accepted and embraced that fact.
This will only help them promote original content, too, as it will now be running on the same platform as really popular shows. Come for Game of Thrones, stay for Letterkenny.
The future is an internet subscription and two to four streaming services. With the Crave expansion, Bell Media clearly wants a part of that future. Now if only they could add Night Court.
Today on the reality show that is the United States LIVE! Everyone’s favorite talk show mogul Oprah Winfrey is rumored to be in the presidential running for 2020. She denied wanting to run for office in the past, and Trump says he would beat her, but I think she should try!
Fuck racism and sexism, this women has a following like no other. If celebrity is what wins a presidency she has what it takes.
I am an anarchist at heart but lets play with the idea of overthrowing capitalism by actually getting someone in power who cares? A black female president? YES, oh fuuuck yes! A car for everyone! I couldn’t imagine what the squirmy Trumpets would do.
Maybe she would be the one to give homes not jails and food not bombs! Presidential book club? I don’t even think Trump CAN read! Let’s get some LGBTQ voices in there too. Ellen Degenaras should be her running mate or perhaps Rosie O’Donnell?
That would really piss off Trump. A lesbian and a black woman in office? YES! The world would be a better place. Meryl Streep has already endorsed Oprah, I was thrilled when she dressed up like Trump, definitely well done.
Michelle Obama or Dave Chapelle would be incredible running mates. Celebrity as power, politics as a popularity contest, I guess it’s a little better than just power for the sake of power, money hungry fools taking over the world and spilling blood without consequence.
Oh Oprah, let me count the ways I love thee. That Golden Globes speech was riveting, very much a presidential speech. You empower people of color and women everywhere to rise up.
The speech came up as the first song on my Spotify year in Feminism playlist. I felt like it could have been a women’s march feature. It was nice to see a celebrity use her voice for good.
People listen when famous people talk. With a single speech the world was crying. We need people to cry because they are inspired not because they are afraid of nuclear holocaust. Speak out for those little girls with little hope, let them know that they can rise above society’s bullshit expectations and glass ceilings.
Oprah is more than just giving out free cars and recommending books. She speaks out for causes that are important. I love the fact that she single handedly struck down the meat industry several times proclaiming she would never eat another burger! They even sued her, and LOST! Oprah also said once that she is waiting for all of the old racists to die, hoping it ends with that last generation of hate. Don’t we all girl. No more pussy grabbers. Just strong smart women! This gives me Hoprah.
My dad even supports Oprah 2020, could you imagine? He is a middle class white baby boomer, and he thinks that men have screwed it up for so long why not see what a woman can do? So many of his friends are blind Republicans but he speaks his own heart and I love him for that. I am also inspired to have my own voice regardless of what others believe.
It is so scary to think that all we need is to be popular to gain power, like real power, like change the world kind of shit. Soon it might be possible to go viral on YouTube and end up in the oval office.
I’m sure the world is laughing at the US, but they probably have been for years. Ronald Reagan was the first celebrity president, he blazed the way for this current crash and burn.
Sure there are things about career politicians that are important, checking accountability through their voting record, the ability to lead and be responsible. But so far it seems to be a long line of bullshit and broken promises. Forever corrupt.
We need someone who is prepared to make real change in this world or it is going to continue to crumble. Let’s stir things up with a powerful black woman. She may have risen to the top for different reasons than most presidents past, but I know that I would rather have her in charge than a lot of other fools.
Does she know how to save healthcare, protect and educate our youth, stop climate change, and end all of the racial distress in this world? Who knows, but she would definitely be a better “leader of the free world” than the cheeto faced hate monger we are stuck with now.
Everyone needs to care about this and VOTE. I want to burn it all down. Trump is the worst case scenario, he is born of the cesspool at the bottom of the internet with the jizz of a million trolls and some leftover data. He will attack all that is good until he is stopped.
I really hope we don’t have to wait the entire term, impeach and move on please.
Oprah 2020, let’s go girl, perhaps start now by buying Fox News? That be nice. K, thx.
* Featured image: Screengrab from Golden Globes/NBC
The Chilean refugees who arrived in Canada in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in Montreal, have been a community that has captivated me throughout the past two years. I was therefore ecstatic to have the opportunity to see The Refugee Hotel staged at The Segal Centre. Despite some awkward translation into English and a difficult script to work with, the play is an excellent one that I recommend – particularly after yesterday’s events in the USA.
These brave Chileans who came across the oceans were faced with two choices; the first being to trust that everything would be okay for them in Chile if they kept their heads down, stayed in line, and trusted that the military would “make Chile great again”. The second: to restart their entire lives in a country with a new language, new food, new music, and of course, the omnipresent “Canadian values” (still searching for a definition of those, other than the ability to properly cross-check someone).
Teesri Duniya Theatre’s production of The Refugee Hotel does its sincere best to answer these questions. The script draws from author-and-playwright Carmen Aguirre’s lived experience as the child of Chilean refugees growing up in 1970s Canada. It’s an impressive story made even more poignant by its autobiographical basis.
This is one of the reasons that it is so frustrating to review this play. Though the premise is admirable, Aguirre’s play shortchanges itself by trying to fit too many facets of the Chilean refugee story, and indeed, the story of human migration, into two short acts.
At the centre of the play are Jorge (Pablo Diconca) and Flaca (Gilda Monreal), a married couple who represent two sides of the resistance movement in Chile. Jorge is something of a milquetoast pacifist anarchist accountant, while his wife is a firebrand Marxist active in the MIR (the Revolutionary Leftist Movement).
Their two children escape with them to a hotel in Canada, where they meet other Chilean refugees subjected to inhuman torture in the Carabineros’ concentration camps. The rest of the play progresses at a slow pace as each rediscovers their humanity and intimacy, one-by-one in a frustratingly perfect way.
By “frustratingly perfect,” I mean that of course the mute girl is coaxed into to talking at the end of the second act, and she falls for the man who talks with her first, and of course they end the play with a freeze-frame photo motif. The play’s unfortunate dives into clichés keep it from developing serious critiques.
Jorge and Flaca’s struggle to be intimate once again despite the horrific sexual torture that the Carabineros inflicted upon her is a topic that is criminally underrepresented in works of art; and even less so is it approached sensitively. An exploration of that theme alone would have made for a powerful and moving production, but Aguirre’s insistence on shoehorning so many important themes into the play means that extraordinarily difficult trauma from torture is treated as nothing more than a plot point. For example, two suicide attempts that happen within two minutes of another are treated as comedic moments.
Moreover, I felt that the repeated flashbacks to scenes of torture in the Estadio Nacional de Chile are not used to explore the characters’ motivations and histories, but rather as punctuation marks for the drama as a whole.
The play is being performed at the Segal Centre, which bills itself as the heart of Montreal’s Anglophone theatre culture. This presents an interesting double-edged sword for the actors in that they are reading from a script originally written in Spanish, for an English-speaking audience in French Canada.
Certain recurring parts of the script (such as the nickname for Jorge, “Little-Big-Bear”) sound awkward in English where they would have made perfect sense in Spanish (“Osito Grande,” better understood as “Teddy Bear”). On a larger scale, the familiar words, particularly “desaparecido,” used to articulate the brutality of the Pinochet regime are lost in translation.
Furthermore, the play misses opportunity to develop a more nuanced comedic character in Bill O’Neill, the enthusiastic Québécois hippie who helps the guests at the Refugee Hotel find work. In the Spanish script, he speaks with comically poor but confident command over Spanish, but in this English adaptation, his dialogue sounds like a 19th-century caricature – “Army me take to stadium. Bad men take Bill!”
Other than awkward phrasing, this makes the characterization of Bill difficult for the audience, as he is repeatedly referred to (kindly) as “the only gringo who speaks Spanish.” In poor translation, Bill’s character shifts from that of a Canadian activist with a sincere wish to improve his Spanish and act in solidarity with Chilean refugees into a buffoon.
This is the part of reviewing that I do not enjoy. The story itself is captivating, and the curation behind the set design and music choices was phenomenal. I just wish that the story was more focused on one or two of these families, instead of a script that leaves several important facets of post-traumatic stress equally unexamined.
All of this is not to say that I did not find the play enjoyable and tastefully performed – in fact, the actors did a stellar job working with an awkward script, and the set direction was simple and elegant. I give a special commendation to the Set Designer, Diana Uribe, who placed the beds of the hotel at an upright 90º angle, which allowed the actors to remain part of the action, while staying true to the stage direction to lie supine.
The music choices, namely the major-key Victor Jara folk ballads that accompanied scenes of horrific torture in the Estadio Nacional may have been shocking to people unfamiliar with Chile’s musical history – but it seems a deliberate nod to the famous Cueca Sola spot produced by the Anti-Pinochet Campaign during the 1989 plebiscite made famous by Pablo Larraín’s 2012 film. This is made all the more poignant by the fact that Victor Jara was tortured to death in the Estadio Nacional, specifically targeted and brutally murdered for his popularity and beliefs.
Speaking with the actor who played Jorge, Pablo Diconca, I learned that many of the cast came into this production with the explicit goal of putting faces to the communities so left behind by history. Diconca is a Uruguayan-born Montrealer who has been an integral part of the local theatre scene since his arrival in Canada at 19:
“I can not ever forget the fact that I have an accent, and I will always have one. This has restricted me as an actor – I have played drug dealers, murderers, and taxi drivers more than I can count,” Pablo told me. “When I came to Canada, I refused these roles out of principle…but with time, I came to realize that acting is my passion, and that by being on stage, this is how one becomes involved in the local culture and community. One must put their heart into acting. It becomes easier when the script is [about] something you already have in your heart. I was invited to be a part of this cast, and I didn’t see how I could turn it down. This is a play that can help to open minds.”
Teesri Duniya’s Artistic Director and co-founder, Rahul Varma, explained to me that he chose to stage this play as a way of “challenging the notion that 9/11 of 2001 divided the world into pre-9/11 and post 9/11…there have been so many other 9/11s, such as the 9/11 of 1973.” Rahul is of course referring to the military coup in Chile that took place on September 11, 1973, where the Chilean Air Force bombed downtown Santiago and assassinated the democratically-elected head of state, Salvador Allende.
Rahul continued, referencing the current Syrian refugee crisis, “I thought that this play brings certain realities of the past and connects them to what is currently happening. The idea is to look into what has happened – why is it that refugees are coming to Canada? Why do people leave their homes elsewhere?”
According to their website, Teesri Duniya Theatre “is dedicated to producing, developing and presenting socially and politically relevant theatre, based on the cultural experiences of diverse communities.” They are an incredibly important part of Montreal’s Arts community and I am thrilled to see that they took it upon themselves to tell the story of an underrepresented and important part of Canada.
As we draw to the closing of this play’s run at the Segal Centre, as well as the dawning of an unprecedented dark cloud over North American immigration politics, it is important to remember the lessons left by Chilean-Canadians’ struggles in and out of their homeland. I salute Teesri Duniya Theatre, The Segal Centre, and the cast and crew of this production for shining a light on the challenges faced by refugees in a sensitive and responsible manner despite an unaccommodating script.
El pueblo unido jamás será vencido.
The Refugee Hotel is playing until Sunday at The Segal Centre (5170 ch. de la Côte-Ste-Catherine). Tickets available here.
The world has lost a true unbridled talent. Candye Kane was literally The Toughest Girl Alive!
Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Candye knew she was a lovely and genuine spirit. She was an amazing friend, mother, performer, and mentor. She spent her life running uphill in heels, there were topsy turvy tribulations, but she never succumb to the hard times.
Candye used her artistic talent and voice to fight for sex workers rights, to end violence against women, was part of the body and sex positive movements, and co-founded United by Music, an organization that mentored developmentally disabled musicians. She was also openly bisexual and championed LGBTQ rights and headlined many pride events worldwide.
In her over thirty year career, she traveled the world spreading love positive energy. Candye played between 200 -250 shows annually despite battling cancer. She is a Super Hero!
Upon her death she knew her popularity would again rise. We must remember her for the real talented activist that she was and celebrate her spectacular sunshine through the screen of sensationalized lies.
It is important to know her as more than just a sex object. Even years later gross dudes would recognize her tattoos and say lewd things to her. Have some respect!
Yes, Candye was a pinup model, she did play the piano with her breasts, and she was in pornographic magazines. She tucked away that part of her life and did not let it define her. She found success through hard work and touring.
She had a brain under all of that beauty and the voice of a true diva. Her music was her soul. She sang original songs about accepting your body and celebrating your social status.
She wanted to bring light to the women who came before her, some of which were forgotten in the male dominated industry. Big Maybelle, Big Mama Thorten, Bessie Smith, and Etta James were her main inspirations. Performers like Devil Doll, Imelda May, and The Horrorpops have a lot in common with the retro-inspired Rockabilly vibes that Candye personified during her tumultuous career.
Adversity causes the most profound art. Candye started life with her abusive mother, who taught her to shoplift. Then she became a mormon, only to be kicked out when she became pregnant at 17.
She then moved on to punk music, living with a Mexican Cholo gang, and adult entertainment. Her voluptuous body evolved and left her vulnerable. She used the short stint in the adult industry to support herself and her child. She did like to party, but was always a classy dame.
Candye’s son Evan was her drummer for many worldwide tours. Her son Tommy is also a musician. Evan and Laura Chavez performed with Candye in the play that was written about her called The Toughest Girl Alive (after Candye’s song Toughest Girl Alive from the album of the same name).
She raised her kids in San Diego and it was very important for her to be an effective parent. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but still kept on trucking. Her best friend and collaborator was Laura Chavez. They met while wearing the same shirt and eventually became artistic soul mates who toured constantly.
Laura was Candye’s best friend, amazing guitarist, co-song writer, and producer. She lived at the hospital and was by Candye’s side though out her many stints in many hospitals in the US and around the world. Laura was even there by her side when Candye passed away.
Candye’s physique changed as she got sick. The cancer took away her curves but did not eat away at her raw loveliness. She always embraced her big beautiful body and was actually self conscious during the transition.
Candye briefly studied to be an opera singer. She loved classic standards and punkabilly music equally. Her close friend, Marika remembered a beautiful moment where Candye was singing Dream a Little Dream and Honeysuckle Rose while getting ready for a show.
Candye is a true inspiration, she never gave up, performed through sickness, and probably would have been happiest if she had died on stage. I was always amazed that even through her pain and hard times she still held her head up high and wanted to march on to the next town. She shared herself with the world in such a way that her legend will live on forever in the hearts and future artistic performances of all who knew who she was.
Candye Kane shall sparkle in the collective memory of us all, she will live on in the hearts of her fans, friends, and all of the women she inspired to be themselves and take pride in their beautiful bodies. Award winning Delta Blues diva punkabilly swing superstar feminist icon super hero, you are now singing with the angels.
You inspired a generation of women to not give up, you didn’t allow yourself to be discredited or shot down, you rose up and showed the world that there was no room for self doubt. Thank you Miss Candye Kane, the world will not be the same without you.
Today I met a salsa dancing Peruvian clown. High wire trapeze and juggles. I’ve always wanted to run away with the circus, do something fun and be free. You really never know who a person is until you talk to them.
Then one of my Dreamlander friends stopped by wearing a bat onesie with big fluffy ears and played a half ass game off chess with me. We talked about a warehouse party we both attended, I was a glam leprechaun, and about having to create a scene versus joining into an established one.
My wanderlust is strong, my need to quench my quest for fun, for fantastical adventures and caravans of freaks. I want to roam, I want to be with someone who understands that life.
The clown I met today said he has had girlfriends but it was hard, like they didn’t really understand the circus life. The only thing I can’t approve of is being part of a circus that still uses animals, I can’t support that ever. It’s abuse and it is wrong.
There are plenty of awesome circuses that are animal free, which means all participants gave their consent. Animals cannot consent. I adore fire dancers, sword swallowing, aerial silk dancers, clowns, dirt bike tricks, and other human tricks. I want that ethical circus life.
I surround myself with performers. Everyone I live with is incredible and creative. I get home and lay on the couch with my cat , eating my dumpster grapes, surrounded by smoke and candlelight.
The door opens, cold rushing in, enveloping the living room with a bitter chill that cut right through my rainbow sweater, and then in walks in my roommate and her friends: a future male burlesque dancer named Chocolate Fantasy, the most beautiful Asian girl with all of the daddies, and a low key drag queen.
My best friend is a clown, think balloons full of blood. We even did a special performance on her birthday at the Cirque De La Lune where we re-created a scene from the 1920s silent clown movie He Who Gets Slapped. I really called in the clowns for that one. I had to go in to the venue to scrub blood off the walls, it was so worth it. What a magical night.
Juggalos are so easy to make fun of, but why? I bet the Gathering of the Juggalos is a blast. They do what they want and are ridiculous. I love anyone who isn’t afraid to wear makeup. If you ever get the chance please for the love of all that is good watch Tom Green at the Gathering of the Juggalos, it’s the funniest.
I had a clown hit on me once on OKcupid, he said he liked clown farts, is that a sex act?
My roommate met a clown on Tinder in New York City, but he didn’t come out as a clown at first. He tells his friends he is a party entertainer so they all think he is a stripper. Why so ashamed bro? That’s an awesome way to pay the bills.
Lucy and I literally had the same fantasy at the same time, painting faces! So jealous of that life, I would be the happiest clown ever, that’s what I am doing after I retire from burlesque.
I love performing so much, I always fall for musicians. I want to be with someone who’s voice makes me tingle, wiggle and writhe.
Once a burlesque couple guest performed- a dancer and a musician, so funny he even mimicked her number. I wanted that life so bad, conquer the world out of a giant bus run on vegetable oil that is set up so my three cats can come with us (don’t worry I will NEVER exploit them for the show). Maybe this pussy palace on wheels will have some solar panels and a garden on it, too.
I need a fearless artist, performer, comedian, quick witted, willing to make a fool of themselves, basically me. People all say opposites attract- fuck that I will never date a racist Trump voting bigot asshat- I only want like minded fools in my life. I am extreme so my opposite is also extreme.
I love in the movieThe Punk Singer. Kathleen Hanna talks about falling for her husband, Ad-Rock from The Beastie Boys. She is a feminist riot grrrl and he is in a bro rap group that objectifies women. They were idealistically opposite with their art, but both still artists, they met in the middle and he even stood up against violence towards women during an award acceptance speech.
It is important to have some differences, because that sparks great communication and conversation. Positive change and mutual inspiration. I need someone to take the lead and lead me to somewhere good and not dark. I know that light needs dark to look brighter, but two bright explosions together is also a spectacular site.
What about a photographer, a dancer, a poet, or even a clown? Sometimes the people you least expect could be incredible, perhaps your next soulmate, future tour parter, love of this moment.
It’s all we have, those spontaneous seconds where new ideas form, where people change you so profoundly they could not imagine. I want to collaborate with someone I have never met yet. I know people who run away and follow their dreams instantly without thought or premeditation. Planning is for those who don’t truly succeed.
It’s interesting to me that letting someone in just a little bit can take life into all kinds of crazy adventures. It feels like things are literally piling up on top of you- work, dishes, piles of clothes, health problems, family stuff, drama llamas, ect. and you need to escape or be trapped. I must spin a globe and go where it lands.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Andrea Dworkin’s death. On September 26th, 2015 she would have been 69 years old. Opening on September 17th and running until the 27th, Montreal Theatre company Waterworks will be presenting a world premier full staging performance of Aftermath.
Based on a text written by Andrea Dworkin after her drug-rape in Paris in 1999. Her life partner, well known author and activist John Stoltenberg, found the original document on her computer.
“…what I discovered was a 24,000-word autobiographical essay, composed in twelve impassioned sections, as powerful and beautifully written as anything Andrea ever wrote. It was searingly personal, fierce and irreverent, mordantly witty, emotionally raw. It was also clearly not a draft; it was finished, polished as if for publication.”
The piece was edited and cut in half to about 90 minutes and directed by Stoltenberg and Dworkin’s longtime friend and collaborator Adam Thorburn. It was performed as a staged reading in New York by Maria Silverman in May of 2014. “At each step in putting this theater project together, I have wished I could talk with Andrea about it. I would want to tell her how the words she showed no one are now reaching and affecting audiences in live performance,” Stoltenberg writes.
The Montreal production is being directed by Waterworks artistic directors Tracey Houston and Rob Langford and being performed by Montreal actor Helena Levitt as Dworkin.
We’ve heard of this type of story before, more recently with the Bill Cosby allegations and Jian Ghomeshi spectacle where the victim’s creditability was brought into question. “If she can’t remember everything, then maybe it didn’t happen.” It was so long ago, maybe she’s a little sketchy on the details” ad infinitum.
In the text, Dworkin refers to the drug Rohypnol and GBH. “This isn’t an aspirin in your drink. It’s not like getting drunk. It’s not like getting high. This is so easy for the boy. This is so simple for the boy. This is foolproof rape. The gang who can’t shoot straight can do this kind of rape. You can do this hundreds of times with virtually no chance of getting caught. I think how easy this evil is to do.” She goes on to describe how powerless one is to fight back from this kind of rape even after the fact, when there is no memory to report or very little if any evidence left behind.
Aftermath is a very passionate, personal account of Dworkin’s life, family, work and thought process that very few people not familiar with her writings have yet to see or be aware of. Stoltenberg explains, “[Dworkin’s] stirring writing ranges dramatically over many themes—her aspirations when she was young, her erotic and romantic relationships, the marriage in which she was battered, her understanding of the connection between Jews and women, her take on President Clinton’s behavior, her deep commitment to helping women, her critique of women who betray women. And the fact that Aftermath is acted means audiences get to hear an emotional dimensionality in Andrea’s voice that in life she shared only with me and her closest friends—trenchant and oracular, as the public knew her, but also tender, sardonic, sorrowful, vulnerable, funny.”
Rob Langford and Tracey Houston, founders of Montreal’s The Waterworks Company (Palace of the End, Gidion’s Knot, Glory Dazed), a troupe committed to staging the best of contemporary playwriting by women, found out about Aftermath last year from Stoltenberg’s Twitter feed, Langford contacted Stoltenberg, proposing to give Aftermath its first full staging here in Montreal.
Aftermath runs September 17th to 27th, 2015, at the Centre culturel Georges-Vanier, 2450 Workman, Little Burgundy, a couple of blocks northeast of the Atwater Market. METRO: Lionel- Groulx.
A special première takes place on September 17th at 8pm; the show runs over the next two weekends Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 4pm. Post-show talkbacks, with special guests, will take place throughout the first weekend.
Admission is $18 / $13 (buyer chooses price). Tickets are available, via Eventbrite, at waterworksmontreal.com, or at the door.
I had wondered just what Stephen Colbert would be able to do when he took over hosting The Late Show on CBS from David Letterman. His character, the narcissistic right-wing pundit, supposedly, was gone. His guestlist would become decidedly more A-List Hollywood and less quirky authors and really interesting, though not known, people.
He would become the classic network late-night host and do all the classic network late-night host stuff: monologues, celebrity interviews, funny (though kinda mainstream) bits, house band, musical guests. Well, that is exactly what he has done. Thing is, he is still Stephen Colbert, and the character isn’t entirely gone, just the faux right-wing parts.
That means CBS has given a man known for getting people to say things they wouldn’t say to anyone else access to the A-List. So far it has paid off, last night in a big way. Colbert was interviewing Elon Musk, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors as well as CEO and CTO of SpaceX. It’s the latter role mentioned that the two were talking about when Musk dropped the bomb, or rather, talked about dropping a few nuclear bombs…on Mars.
When Colbert asked him about ways to make Mars hospitable for colonization, Musk told him that there was a quick way and a slow way. Colbert pressed him for the quick way and got this response:
Of course, this clip is being shared. Colbert has found a way to adapt to the classic late night talk show format and still get the most interesting responses from at least some of his guests. Sure, you’ll have to deal with him being cheesy with the likes of George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson, but the payoff is clips like this one with Musk and some damn fine musical performances like this one by Kendrick Lamar.
(Also, kudos to CBS and Global here in Canada for not pulling national copyright on video clips that are meant to be shared wherever you happen to be watching them from.)
So, is The Late Show with Stephen Colbert the same as The Colbert Report? No. Not at all. It’s a mainstream talk show.
Does it have the same vibe and originality? So far, yes. And that has surprised me. Maybe letting Stephen Colbert take over network Late Night could be a good thing, a very good thing.
How is it that every time I want to check my Instagram and Facebook account, there is not one day that I don’t come across a Kanye West and Kim Kardashian article (a.k.a Kimye). Sure, Kanye is a rapper, a songwriter and a record producer; or as he calls himself a ‘creative genius’ (seriously?). But let’s be honest, he isn’t the greatest artist out there; and he certainly wouldn’t be the first person to come to mind when talking about performing at the closing ceremony of the Pan Am Games.
The Pan Am Games is a sporting event featuring summer sports where thousands of athletes participate in various competitions. Just like the Olympics, medals are handed out to the first, second and third place finishers. In addition, there is also an opening and a closing ceremony, which mark the beginning and ending of the event.
The games are currently being held in the City of Toronto and end this month on July 26. It was recently announced that Kanye West will be headlining the closing ceremonies, but not everyone is pleased with the latest news.
Since news broke that Kanye will be performing, an online petition calling for the singer to be replaced has caused quite a buzz on social media. There are now close to 50 000 signatures, and supporters are asking for the committee to drop West and choose a local artist, perhaps Drake or The Weeknd, who represents the City of Toronto.
It would only make sense to have a Canadian artist close out the games! Also scheduled to perform at the event are Pitbull and Serena Ryder (at least ONE of them is Canadian, eh?).
I am quite happy that there is actually something that is being done about this; that people’s opinions are actually being heard. The Pan Am Games have proven to be important for Torontonians and what better way to end them by featuring some homegrown talent. If you would like to take part and sign the petition, you can at change.org.
It looks like Donald Trump has gotten himself into some hot water, yet again! Since announcing his run for presidency, Trump has been flaunting his wealth and success non-stop on national television; but this isn’t the first time the multi-millionaire has hinted at a presidential run – the first one was back in 1987! This past Tuesday, the entrepreneur launched his campaign at his luxurious Trump Tower in New York City and all eyes were on him for a good 45 minutes. He described himself as the most successful person ever to run for office, and mentioned that even the Gucci store he owns is worth more than Mitt Romney (o….kay??). “I’m really rich,” he said as he looked at the crowd and added that his positive attitude is what America needs to make the country great again (o….kay?).
We all know the Donald is no stranger to controversy; from his feud with Rosie O’Donnell back in 2006, to his doubt over President Obama’s birthplace. (He actually asked him to release a copy of his birth certificate!) But the most recent one will have him running… period! During his speech, Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as criminals, drug-traffickers and rapists, which prompted Univision, an American Spanish television network, to pull the plug on the Miss USA pageant. How does this affect the Republican candidate you ask? Well, Donald Trump is the co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization and not only will the network not air the event, but they have decided to completely cut ties with Trump altogether.
After his comments went viral, a number of Latin celebrities took to the internet to express their anger, including actors Eugenio Derbez and Roslyn Sanchez who have both stepped down as hosts of the pageant. What was he thinking? Is he aware that half of the population living in the United States are Mexicans? What a great way to start your campaign!
Will Donald Trump ever be elected as president? I highly doubt it! After all of his foolish comments and bogus statements, he’s better off sticking to his day job. Just like his comb over, some things will never change.
Earlier this month, social media exploded when pop singer Ariana Grande posted an empowering essay she wrote about male and female double standards, following her highly publicized breakup from rapper Big Sean. She took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to talk about one of many examples of double standards, whether a woman is in a relationship or just dating someone. She says: “If a woman has sex, she’s a s**t. If a man has sex, he’s a stud, a boss, a king.”
In today’s world, it is unfortunate that society still looks down on women for a number of reasons. We are constantly being judged about our looks, being assertive, and the main one, having too many ‘sexual’ partners. If only I can count the number of times I’ve heard men referring to women as being loose because of how many guys they’ve been with or dated, but yet they want to marry a woman who has been untouched.
If we thought the same way that men think, we wouldn’t marry 90 percent of them in this world. If they’re allowed to have an active sex life, why aren’t we allowed to do the same?
Grande also mentions that she’s tired of living in a world where the girl is known as a guy’s property or possession. Why must we be seen as a prize or a trophy? So they can show us off and brag about us to their buddies?
Speaking from my own personal experience, that is just disrespectful. After her split from the famous rapper, the songstress was known to the media as Big Sean’s ex’ She responds to that by saying she does not belong to anyone but herself.
She’s focused on making good music and is having the best time of her life while being on tour. Did I happen to mention she’s only 21 years old?!
I’ve got to hand it to this girl! Being in the spotlight and having people watch your every move is tough as it is. Obviously fame comes with a price and public figures need to accept that, but not many have the courage to speak up.
Ariana did just that but in a more polite and mature way, and expressing her feelings through social media was a good way to go. She even got the support from fellow artists Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez who both tweeted about the topic.
If you ask me, I give this essay a well deserved A+.
In most places, there is always that ONE public figure that represents their hometown and never forgets where they came from. In Toronto, for instance, it is obvious that rapper Drake has put the city on the map. From rapping about his days growing up in the 416, to becoming the Global Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors (for crying out loud, give the man the key to the city already!).
For us Montrealers, a few names come to mind (Georges St-Pierre, the band Simple Plan), but if there is one person who has experienced stardom by working alongside Hollywood A-listers and is still able to stay grounded, it’s gotta be actor Jay Baruchel.
Although Jay was born in Ottawa, he grew up right here in Montreal, in the NDG area. Baruchel has worked with the likes of Clint Eastwood and Nicolas Cage, and has appeared in several films such as Million Dollar Baby, Knocked Up and This is the End. He currently stars in the sitcom Man Seeking Woman, a romantic comedy about a soft-spoken man who finds himself in awkward situations while looking for love.
The show is filmed in the city of Toronto, which is where Baruchel lives now. In a recent interview with the National Post, Jay explains why he moved to Toronto and how Quebec politics affected his decision.
In previous interviews, the actor has always said that he would never move to LA and live that ‘Hollywood’ lifestyle; it’s just not him. When asked why he had chosen Toronto over Montreal, the reason wasn’t only because of the filming of the show, but also because of Quebec’s political climate.
The last election was kind of like a wake up call for him. The separation of this province from the rest of the country is what he couldn’t deal with anymore.
As an Anglo-Montrealer myself, I can understand his point of view. Montreal is a great city; it’s very diverse and multicultural, especially since it is a city with a large population. But some of the issues can be really frustrating sometimes.
For instance, the language barrier in Montreal can be somewhat of a problem. Luckily I’m bilingual and speak both English and French, but when it comes down to my career path and my lifestyle, it’s all in English for me, just like it is for Baruchel.
He ends the interview by saying that, since he wants to be a filmmaker in Canada and most of his ideas are in English, it would make sense for him to be in Toronto; and it would be the same for me. After reading this interview, I realized I wasn’t the only person who thought that way.
Don’t get me wrong; I love this city and what it has to offer, but I feel like us Anglophones are excluded because of the fact that we speak English. Does anyone else feel the same way? Why can’t we just meet halfway instead of having to deal with this whole ‘Quebec becoming its own country’?
A lot has happened in the past twenty years and it seems as though Quebec’s separation is still a priority.