I’m currently procrastinating most things into 2023, but there’s always space in the calendar for parties, burlesque, self care, and documentaries!

It’s pretty cool (and scary) stuff

Worlds of Ice is a film by Philippe Baylaucq, produced by the National Film Board of Canada in collaboration with the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. It’s a 360°, 35 minute immersion into exactly what it says it is: the power and fragility of ice. It was created with the intention of putting ice at the forefront of our environmental thoughts, and is intentionally being run at the same time as COP15.

Worlds of Ice runs until February 27 at Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, 4801 Pierre-de Coubertin Ave. For showtimes and tickets, please visit the planetarium’s website

Curves & Comedic Timing

While you stuff those stockings and fa all your las, Candyass Cabaret presents A(nother) Covid Christmas Special Xmas Show to really jingle your bells.

With the MC stylings of Monica Hamburg and Jimmy Phule, plus a lineup of talent including Velma Candyass herself, it’s the perfect salve for the seasonal blues. They’re promising “wacky contests with mediocre prizes”, which I love. Bet you end up horny and laughing at the same time.

MCs Monica Hamburg and Jimmy Phule (via Candyass Cabaret on Facebook)

Xmas Show Candyass Cabaret is at Café Cleopatra, 1230 boul Saint-Laurent, 2nd floor, on Friday, December 16, 9 pm all the deets are on the Facebook Event Page

‘Cuz classy’s overrated

This Wednesday Andrew Jamieson presents A Sleazy Christmas. It’s a multidisciplinary performance event, and a fundraiser for Ever After: The Revival!, but mostly it’ll be a helluva good time. The line-up’s got comedy, spoken word, burlesque, and music.

The party’s got a cash raffle with multiple prizes, plus karaoke after the show! I’ll be schmoozing and hawking raffle tickets for the aforementioned artsy cause and fab winnings, so blow off your office party and come say hi.

A Sleazy Christmas Party is at Le Basement, 3716 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest in the basement on Wednesday, December 21, 9pm. Info and tickets available through Eventbrite

We’re all broke & stressed, happy effin holidays

At a time when debt is soaring, the gifts aren’t even all bought yet, and you’re about to sit down with the family you intentionally avoid for 364 days a year, stress is high. Therapy’s too expensive and spa days are way out of the question, but I came across this free meditation class so maybe we can all chillax.

I’ve never heard of Sahaja Yoga, but they offer free events both locally and on zoom. There are loads of times and dates, and they have a sizable online community, though their online presence is a bit scattered. I haven’t tried it yet, but this is now on my to do list. Namaste.

Find out about and book the free online and in-person meditation

Featured Image from Worlds of Ice (NFB)

If you know of an event that you feel should be covered, please contact arts@forgetthebox.net or music@forgetthebox.net

No promises but we’ll do our best

The COVID-19 pandemic is still very much upon us, and with the Omicron variant spreading like wildfire, I think we can all agree that the Christmas holidays are going to suck this year. That said, no one wants to make things worse by getting slapped with a fine for violating public health rules, or thrown in jail for crimes that are painfully common during the season.

As per what’s become a bit of a Forget the Box holiday tradition, I’m here to help. This article is going to give a crash course on the new Quebec COVID-19 rules in effect as of today, as well as other tips for getting through the holidays in one piece. I’m not a doctor, or a psychologist, I’m just a law school grad who likes to research and help others.

First, let’s talk about the Omicron variant and why it’s driving case numbers up. It is a COVID-19 variant discovered in late November 2021. While research on the variant is ongoing, one thing is clear: it’s spreading fast, and is likely to overtake the Delta variant in the 89 countries it has been detected in, Canada-included.

The numbers in Quebec have gone from less than five hundred cases a day to nearly four thousand a day because of Omicron, and as a result the provincial government has imposed new health measures that started yesterday. Here’s a quick summary (the complete English version of the new rules is available for download on the Quebec government’s website):

As of yesterday, December 20, 2021, at 5pm, primary and secondary schools are closed until January 10, 2022 when in-person schooling is expected to resume for primary school students. Secondary schoolers will be doing remote learning when classes resume. Bars, taverns, gyms, movie theatres, spas and concert venues are closed until further notice. Restaurants are only allowed to operate at 50% capacity and limit their hours from 5 am to 10 pm.

As of when this is being written, religious services must operate at 50% capacity, attendees must remain seated and vaccine passports are required. Weddings and funerals can take place with a maximum of 50 people. For funerals those 50 can be on a rolling basis, meaning once 50 people have paid their respects, another 50 can replace them. If the wedding or funeral does not require a vaccine passport of its attendees, the maximum number allowed drops to 25 people.

For gatherings in private homes, be they with family or chosen family, the current legal limit is ten people, but the government said that may change. If the gathering is outdoors, that number increases to 20 people, but the cold weather will likely deter the latter.

Working from home is now required of all non-essential workers including civil servants. Failure to obey these rules can result in massive fines, and maybe even encounters with the police like the ones that went viral last holiday season.

The non-mandatory recommendations by the government include avoiding social contact. This can be especially hard on one’s mental health, as people always feel lonelier over the holidays when ads are promoting the merits of togetherness.

Try keeping the TV or Youtube or a podcast on to break the painful silence, and take the isolation as an opportunity to brush up on a skill, learn a new one, or take up a new solo hobby. Do not hesitate to seek help if you feel yourself slipping under the strain of new rules and the fear of getting sick, despite your attempts to cope.

Seeking help takes immense courage and you’re not weak if you do so. If you’re in a mental health crisis Call 811 and press two to speak to a social worker who can direct you to mental health services in your area or text 686868 to chat anonymously with a crisis worker for free 24/7.

As of today, rapid tests will be available free every 30 days in certain pharmacies throughout Quebec. In order to adhere to government rules regarding the lowered capacity of stores and other businesses, some chains like Jean Coutu are offering the rapid testing kits only by appointment.

One testing kit is good for up to five tests, and you should absolutely get one. The test is sensitive enough to pick up the infection marker of the virus even if you’re asymptomatic, so taking one right before a holiday gathering might be a good idea, but there’s a shortage of tests so use yours wisely.

Don’t bother with mistletoe this year; given the pandemic, that kind of random kissing is just silly.

When it comes to alcohol and cannabis, the chemicals that make family gatherings tolerable for so many, remember that driving while under the influence is a criminal offense that can result in fines and jail time. If intoxicated, crash with your host, accept a lift home, have someone call a taxi or an Uber for you, but if you’re female or female presenting, it is ill advised to ride the latter two alone, given the history of drivers taking advantage of women under the influence.

Last but not least, let’s talk about fireworks. They’re popular to set off on New Year’s Eve, but they are also extremely dangerous. Asian language news channels seldom censor the consequences of mismanaged fireworks, which show footage of protruding hand bones and fingers blown off.

In Montreal, fireworks must be handled by someone over the age of 18, and it is illegal to hold fireworks once the fuse is lit. It is also illegal to set off fireworks in windy conditions or in a location where they’ll fly over an audience; for more information check out of the City of Montreal’s website.

The holidays are once again being ruined by the pandemic, but with a few precautions, we can perhaps make them a little less awful. Stay safe, stay sane, wear a mask, and get vaccinated.

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, and Maligayang Pasko!

Featured Image by Joe Buckingham via WikiMedia Commons

Of all the industries hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the arts and tourism were among the hardest. For those that wanted to stay in the public eye, the name of the game has been “adapt or die”, and Haunted Montreal is no exception.

In the past they’ve conducted Ghost Walks and Haunted Pub Crawls led by an experienced actor and storyteller, who reveals the spookier aspects of Montreal history to crowds of eager attendees. Sadly, COVID restrictions and the COVIDiots driving up case numbers have put a temporary stop to in-person events, but thankfully Haunted Montreal didn’t give up, offering their latest virtual event, Christmas Ghost Stories: A Victorian Era Tradition during the holiday season and into January. I caught the December 27th show.

I should say right off the bat that I’m not going to go into too much detail re: the technical issues related to the event, simply because the host/actor/experienced storyteller hosting it was none other than FTB’s Editor-in-Chief, Jason C. McLean, MY editor. In short, there were technical issues re: shifting from the virtual slide show to the storytelling itself and his costume and delivery, but these will likely be ironed out for future events, and I’d prefer to start the New Year on my editor’s good side.

The stories themselves were great, a delightful and insightful look into not just Montreal’s haunted history, but the history of Quebec itself. I did not know prior to the event, for example, that telling ghost stories over the holidays is very much a Victorian tradition, nor did I know that there are so many spooky tales to be had around me. Even better was that the stories told were a delightful mix of French Canadian myth and legend, and tales with direct links to Montreal’s growth and development.

McLean started with a tale of a Repentigny man, a quintessential French Canadian ghost story blending aspects of rural Quebecois life with Catholic notions of sin and redemption.

The next was about a wealthy industrialist whose ghost allegedly haunts Mount Royal. Though the telling of this story could have been more succinct, the link between the story and actual monuments that can be visited drew many viewers in, with one asking where they could find it in the Q&A session that followed the event.

There was one tale that sounded more like a Darwin Award than a ghost story, but enjoyable nonetheless. McLean followed with another French Canadian tale, by far the scariest of all the ones told that night. Last but not least, he spoke of a building that continues to be haunted to this day despite thousands of annual visitors.

Though McLean could have left out a few “woo” sounds that nearly crossed the line from spooky into silly, the event was enjoyable over all.

If you enjoy quality storytelling with a little history thrown in, you need to check out more of Haunted Montreal’s virtual events. They are fun, fascinating, and different.

Christmas Ghost Stories: A Victorian Era Tradition runs in English and French with various storytellers until January 29. For tickets or more info, please visit hauntedmontreal.com

Quebec’s Red Zone restrictions, which currently cover Montreal and most of the province, will remain in effect until January 11th.

In a press conference today, Premier François Legault announced that his government is scrapping plans to allow gatherings of up to 10 people between December 24th and 27th. Originally proposed two weeks ago (and scheduled to run from the 21st to the 27th), this temporary reprieve of COVID-19 restrictions was coupled with a “moral contract” for those gathering to self-isolate for the week before and after the holidays.

Legault cited a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations as the reason for backtracking on the earlier plan. Hospitalizations have risen to over 700, with 1500 daily cases on Wednesday and 1400 on Thursday.

“If we continue in this direction,” he said, “hospitals will start to overflow. We have a limited number of nurses, and our nurses are very tired.”

Under the current Red Zone rules, people who live alone are allowed one guest.

While police will continue to issue fines, Legault says he is relying on people’s “sense of responsibility” to ensure that the rules are respected.

There may not be that much snow on the ground in Montreal today, but the city looked more Christmasey earlier this month. That’s when local country folk rock and roller Jesse Stone and some musician friends braved the cold on Mount Royal’s lookout to bring some holiday cheer to the people who were there and now, via video, the rest of us.

This pop-up show consisted of one song with one message: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. So what better time for us to share that message with you.


Although I like to think of myself as a pretentious film snob who despises the consumerism of Christmas, I do have a soft sport for Christmas movies; they are my guilty pleasure so to speak.

These movies are often put into the broad category of “Christmas movie” while I think that there are a variety of different “Christmas genres” depending on what you’re looking for.

First there are the classics. In this category there are those stories we have all come to know and love from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to It’s a Wonderful Life. All of these are Christmas staples and some of these stories have been around for over 100 years.

My favourite of this category would have to be Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol where we see the miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge visited by three ghosts to warn him of what is to come if he continues his greedy ways.

There have been several different versions of this story throughout the years from the classic 1938 version to the Flinstones version (which isn’t as bad as you might think). My personal favourite, however, is the 1984 version with George C. Scott as Scrooge (the actor who notably refused an Oscar he won for Best Actor in 1970).

The movie is almost like a theatre play with the whole cast giving grandiose and superb performances. Frank Finlay as Jacob Marley’s Ghost and Edward Woodward as the Ghost of Christmas Present are also notable.

Highlights from the film:

Another genre is the Christmas comedy which includes several modern classics. These are stories that have been created with the film. Some of my favourites include Scrooged with Bill Murray (a modern take on A Christmas Carol) and Elf. I think the undisputed Christmas comedy, however, remains the 1989 film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

First acquainted with the Griswolds in 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation, we now get to know the entire extended family. There’s Ccrazy Cousin Eddie, Clark’s dad, Clark Sr. and several other nutty family members.

This is a movie that I can never tire from. All the fantastically exaggerated performances make it too fun to watch. This family is so dysfunctional it can be hard to look away. Here is one very memorable scene, where Clark freaks out after seeing that he will not be getting that Christmas bonus he wanted:

There are other good ones too that I forgot like A Christmas Story! Don’t think I would have forgotten that classic.

Next, there are the animated films. There are the classic claymation ones like Santa Claus is Coming to Town or Frosty the Snowman. I do really enjoy those ones too. One however that truly stands out for its pure creativity is Tim Burton’s 1996 flick The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The story follows Jack Skellington, who is the “master of fright” and plans Halloweentown’s Halloween festivities every year. He is the best at his job but noticeably bored by the repetitiveness of it all and feels empty until he accidentally stumbles into Christmastown and decides to bring Christmas to Halloweentown.

This film just screams of imagination and is truly helped by the likes of Danny Elfman who plays multiple characters. The dark nature of this film will please both children and adults as they sit and enjoy the spooky yet jolly overtones of A Nightmare Before Christmas.

Next there are the action-Christmas movies. To be honest, I am not sure if many Christmas films fit in here. The only one I can really think of is the all-time 1988 classic, Die Hard. You may ask: “Is this really a Christmas movie?” Well it happens during a Christmas party… isn’t that enough?

The story follows John McClane (portrayed by Bruce Willis) as he attends his ex-wife’s Christmas party that eventually gets rudely interrupted by a rag-tag gang of German terrorists led by the evil Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman).

This film is a classic for any holiday occasion and is endlessly entertaining with a barrage of gunfights and explosions, and Alan Rickman’s accent to boot. It is the original action movie. I once got caught watching the first three Die Hards on Christmas Eve with a buddy of mine (best Christmas ever!).

Here is John McClane’s most quoted line from the film:

Lastly, the genre you’ve all been waiting for: those god-awful Christmas specials that should not have ever existed. By this I mean the likes of The Smurfs Christmas Special or He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special . But the crown jewel of terrible Christmas specials is probably the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. This a film that makes you exclaim: “What the f*** were they thinking.”

There’s everything from long periods of Wookies talking in incomprehensible gibberish to Wookie Porn (yes that’s a short part in the movie…) to Han Solo being a little bit too jolly, hugging everything he sees. And it goes on. This film is just ludicrous, it’s like a train wreck so terrible you just can’t look away and that’s why you should watch it.

Here is one scene to get you started:

Whichever Christmas genre you watch make sure to do it with your loved ones during this holiday season and watch the Star Wars Holiday Special at your own discretion.

Happy holidays!

I’m a painter and a shaker. I am a cat watching shadows on the wall. Turning 30 at the Rise of the Apocalypse, the lead singer of a non existent band, a legend in my own mind.

Today I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to do anything with myself. I had a literal snow day yesterday, the kind kids dream of. I could have wrote a blog or cleaned my room and did none of the above. It was a two robe kind of day, bitter diamond cutter nipple cold house shaking wind and bizarre thundersnow.

The first blog I ever wrote for Forget the Box was about the infamous Knife Storm. It cut Buffalo in half, dumping on the south and nothing where I was. My city is famous for being buried in snow.

At the time I was seeing this cute bearded artist and he go stuck on the other side of the snow wall and ended up shacking up with some girl for a week. That should have been it. Another week later he was arrested in my car with her in the passenger seat.

I have never been so pissed off. I have the worst judgement. I met him by a bonfire at a music festival.

I have never understood how to be romantic, how to pursue someone, how to play it cool but show interest. I am insane, eternally 14, clueless about so much and misinformed about the remainder.

I always seem to say the wrong things, I take it too far, push the joke waaay farther then necessary. Awkward sauce. I feel like I was a puzzle piece that was dropped on the floor and then put in the wrong box and donated to a thrift store. I never quite fit. My life is a puzzle with one piece missing.

My roommate started doing a 1000 piecer the other day. It was a winter wonderland Christmas scene. She diligently worked on it all week. Every damn piece looks the same to me, all the colors seem to blur together. It juuussst doesn’t fit.

Puzzles have always frustrated me, but I know now that I need to learn how to be more patient and Zen when it comes to stuff like that. Do the outside and work inwards. Start with the parts that are easy. When completed it is sweet satisfaction.

At one point I started to help her and was encouraged when some things fit, the puzzle was already at like 87% completion, none of which I had helped on until this point. I quickly lost interest and just wanted to go get a drink before our favorite dive bar closed at 4am. So I took the remaining pieces and just piled them on top of the empty spaces. Exclaiming that we were done and deserved a treat, we went on to the bar to celebrate.

I stood there in the bar, a vision in my yellow dress with matching neon yellow hair. At one point there was a tall sexy man on either side of me, it was glorious. One I had kissed recently and the other was someone I have quietly crushed on for a bit (one of those people that seems so far out of my league). He swooped in and kissed me on the mouth. We danced. I felt like the queen of the ball. How could I chose between these two?

I don’t know what I want, forever confused. I used to like people because they liked me, I now know that it takes more than that to grab my attention. Feast or famine though, I ended up running into the dark cold night alone, cuddling with my sweet furry kitties, sobbing over my insecurities.

It’s hard for me to juggle the attention of multiple people. I am not used to the attention of one, let alone several. I am hesitant about polyamory.

I used to only fall for gay men, never attracted to the status quo. I love artists, musicians, writers, creative people who know how to express themselves, most likely full of internal torture just like me. I used to only desire tall men, but then shortly realized that tall guys only seemed to be into the shortest littlest girls in the world. I mean yes, it is cute to see a tiny person with a giant, and everyone is attracted to those they are attracted to, unapolegetically true, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

I love humans of ALL shapes and sizes, all genders and preferences too.  I see the world differently than when I was a kid, but I am still a giant seeking love. That’s all I want.

My dad wanted to take me Christmas shopping. I could think of NO THING that I wanted, no physical thing, I am not the little brat who wants a Barbie car anymore. I don’t want electronics or diamonds. I asked for storage so I can get my room in order and art supplies.

What I really want is for people to stop being racist, I want people to stop throwing out food and start caring about the hungry, I want love to spread like fire, I want the oppression felt worldwide to end. I know I have privilege, but what can I do to use it for the good of all? Spread it out between us all. We distract ourselves with the pursuit of sex and the magic of the holidays.

I am Bah-humbugging out here! It makes me sick to think of all the greed this time of year, hoards of undereducated drones playing with cellphones and tablets. Get your hands dirty and learn about diversity.

We all look at the headlines (or lack there of) and post a sad emogi on Facebook, we do nothing to change the world. We know how many shopping days till Christmas but play dumb about Aleppo, or Standing Rock, or police taking blankets from the homeless.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who I have kissed or what I do to pass the time, the only thing that matters is compassion and living life to its full potential. It is easy to get wrapped up in yourself. Take the time to open your eyes and focus on the world at large. Give your energy to righteous causes, fight for those who need a hand, see beauty even when some pieces are missing.

Twas a cold, chilly Tuesday at the video store,
Not very different from any day before.
And what should be set on the “New” shelf with care,
But a new acquisition that would make us all stare.

Jingle all the Way 2?” we cried, with terror and shock
“They made a sequel to that holiday schlock?”
And not just any, did the cover decree,
But one that was made by the WWE.

And who would star in this affront to good taste?
Who had decided they could be so shamed, so debased?
Why who else, indeed, would star in this story
But Larry the Cable Guy, in all his -erm- “glory”.

Jingle all the Way 2 posterAnd friends, I have seen it, I have taken the leap,
If for no other reason than I like my thrills cheap.
I would watch this movie, I said to my friends,
From its horrid beginning to its miserable end.

Perhaps it was just to prove that I could,
Perhaps it was just because somebody should.
Like the climbers of Everest, with courage to spare
I would conquer this demon because it was there.

So what can I say, having watched the whole thing?
What impressions and insights did this movie bring?
For those hoping for insults, zingers and more,
The worst I can say is that this movie’s a bore.

There are movies so bad that they fill me with glee,
Like Frankenstein Island or Ninja Part 3.
And while this one is bad, and make no mistake,
A list of “worst ever”, it’s unlikely to make.

It isn’t The Room or even Troll 2,
This isn’t even Electric Boogaloo
Larry cavorts, pratfalls and muggs,
Outwitting the evil stepfather’s thugs.

A classic of the terrible this never will be,
Just something for the cheapie bin at HMV.
Not even bad enough to be a cult hit,
Too boring and dull to even be shit.

So next when you see this bland little flick,
Pass it over for a more noteworthy pic.
Something actually good, or amusingly crap,
One that won’t induce a two-hour nap.

Give yourself a break from all that last minute Christmas shopping and go see these shows this week!


Warhol Dervish @ La Sala Rossa

Warhol Dervish describe themselves as an unorthodox chamber collective that brings together many accomplished Montreal musicians, most of whose work can be described as experimental or operating on the fringes of music. Saturday’s performance will feature new and improvised music from Lukas Ligeti, Land of Kush‘s Sam Shalabi, and Vergil Sharkya’.

Doors are at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $12.

Holiday Hooligans Xmaz Party @ Maz Bar

Christmas band the Holiday Hooligans are putting on a show at Maz Bar (5617 Sherbrooke o.) to benefit in-house charity the Maz Christmas Basket Fund. In addition to live holiday-themed music, there will be a raffle with some prizes provided by 514 BMX, Chez Geeks, and comic book store Komico. You can also get your photo taken with Santa for a small fee. All proceeds from the raffle, photos, and the $5 cover charge will go towards the bar’s Christmas basket fund, which provides food baskets for the less fortunate during the holiday season.

The event starts at 9 p.m., $5 cover charge.

Maybe it’s just the egg nog talking, but this time of year sure makes me feel like snuggling up with someone beside a crackling yuletide fire. Tis the season to be naughty, especially when there are so many opportunities for indulging holiday horniness.

At the Christmas Party

The chance for office party romance is significantly higher when excessive amounts of alcohol are thrown into the mix and who doesn’t love drinking on the boss’ dime? A whopping 31% Brits fessed up to sleeping with a co-worker after the staff Christmas party, while a full half admitted they made a fool out of themselves.

Unleashed from the shackles of the workplace, these kinds of hook ups are inevitable; so if you’re going to do it, do it right. The night before the party, make a ‘yes or no’ list of all the eligible candidates. Do not bring that list to the party and do not depart from it, no matter how many glasses of champagne find their way to your lips.

No matter how tempting it may seem to spread your legs across your boss’ luscious mahogany desk, don’t do it in the office. There’s a much higher chance of getting busted (and fired faster than you can say “I Came Upon a Midnight Clear”) or having your escapades wind up on OfficePartySheananigans.com.

work christmas party hookup

At Your Parent’s House

Perhaps you’re bringing your sweetheart home for the holidays, subjecting them to a week on the lumpy pull-out couch and the tedium of trying to keep all your cousins and their respective families straight. When you do finally escape for a tender moment together, how do you make sure to keep it under wraps?

First off, do some sound tests together when your folks are out of the house. Stand in your room while you send him to theirs and make a few noises of varying decibel levels to see how far the sound travels. If the bed is too squeaky, try the floor. Make sure you have plenty of pillows on hand to muffle the squeals you just can’t hold in.

Bonus points if you sneak in a quickie under the tree when everyone else is nestled all snug in their beds. They get their vision of sugarplums and you get to let the scent of pine fulfill all your woodland winter fantasies. But be careful not to break any of the glass ornaments!

With Old Friends

Boxing Day is always, hands down, the best night out at the bar during the holidays.  You get to celebrate with everyone finally escaping from days of family and overeating. Former crushes and acquaintances you’d like to get to know better smile at you and before you know it, you’re necking in a corner like teenagers.

Hooking up in your hometown can be a liberating and fulfilling experience, especially when carried out correctly. The smaller the town, the faster the gossip travels – so watch out when hooking up with former flings or your high school best friend’s exes.

If you’re bringing them back to your place, make sure to clear all the embarrassing artifacts of your youth from your bedroom before going out. If you end up at their place, don’t overstay your welcome in the morning. We’re all a little too old for a morning walk of shame that involves slinking past someone’s parents so plan your exit route accordingly.

Picture credit: omega-level.net


I have a very active imagination, driving me to the depths of insanity where color patterns and psychedelic scenarios exist. I have come to this condition after years of abusing my brain and spending some time in various states of intoxication. For this special Christmas piece I would like to summon art to envisage the worst festive dinner with the most unbecoming, loathsome, and abhorrent artists imaginable as guests. These artists are by coincidence some of the most well-known, creative and well respected figures in art history. Suitable for a dinner party of any sort however… they are not, especially one that celebrates this time of benevolent behaviour. So welcome to my fantasy Christmas, bah, humbug!

The doorbell rings, two hours early, and it can only be our ever neurotically precise friend Joan Miró. He is dressed immaculately and as usual does not say anything as he enters the house. He has always been quiet like this, saying as little as possible. In fact he was so reluctant to answer any questions put to him that the Surrealists sentenced him to death with Max Ernst grabbing a piece of rope, while others grabbed Miró’s arms and put a noose around his neck, all the while the artist said not a word. Man Ray later depicted Miró with a rope that plays on the incident in the Paris studio. The poet Michel Leiris said after the Artist’s death in 1983: “The joke about the hanging could not have happened with anybody else. Miro really was afraid that they would hang him.”

Clement Greenberg wrote about Miro’s visit to America in 1947: “Those who had the opportunity to meet Miro while he was here saw a short, compact rather dapper man in a dark blue business suit. He has a neat round head with closely trimmed dark hair, pale skin, small, regular features, quick eyes and movements. He is slightly nervous and at the same time imperson

al in the company of strangers, and his conversation and manner are non-committal to an extreme. One asked oneself what could have brought this bourgeois to modern painting, the Left Bank, and Surrealism?”

However, now the rest of the guests have arrived, and everyone hurrah a “Pablo” when Picasso walks into the door and finds the first girl that takes his fancy. He nonchalantly takes a drink from the table and walks up to the girl saying what he had said to win over Marie-Thérèse: “Mademoiselle, you’ve got an interesting face. I’d like to paint your portrait. I am Picasso”. This move is not welcomed by our old friends Gustav Klimt and Paul Gauguin who were planning to make their own move and win the heart of the barley legal girl with promises of fame and fortune through modeling.

In one corner a schizophrenic and a manic depressive are arguing the relevance of reality. Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch, both drunk on absinthe, smoking god knows what, are talking about the importance of expressive brushstrokes and using prime colours to produce paintings that question the idea of reality and produce a new way of seeing the world. Even though they seem to concur on most points, especially the significance of German Expressionism, they have difficulty when it comes to the question of religion. Our friend Vincent believes in rapture and salvation, whilst Munch takes a dimmer apocalyptic take on life and cannot help talking about his own encounter with death, yet both artists agree that for a painter it is ill-advised to shoot one’s hand rather than cut an ear.

In the other corner our Marxist comrade Diego Rivera is arguing with the Nazi sympathizer Salvador Dali who openly supported Spain’s General Franco and even featured Hitler in one of his paintings causing the Surrealists to expel him from the group. Dali who claims now that he did it out of concern for his nation and that it has all been over-hyped by the media, is bested by Rivera who points to the commercial work Dali did in America advertising various products for the Capitalist cause. All the bickering comes to a halt as Caravaggio challenges Jacques-Louis David to a sword fight, fortunately I manage to stop the situation from getting out of hand by pointing out that the doorbell has started ringing and everyone calm down to see who’s at the door.

When I open the door I see a sulking Damien Hirst who complains about his invitation being lost in the mail. I smile shaking my head at the artist saying: “My dear Damien, I’m afraid you were not invited. Make sure you close the gate on your way out.”

Happy Holidays Everyone.

Here we are again: pushing through crowds to buy crap, squeezing in mandatory generosity and “quality time” with people we moved away from for clear and sometimes talk show worthy reasons, or locked into awkward, hopefully drunken, office parties where you can leave with an adequate amount of regret and sugar cookies. Still, people get tangled up in what we’re wishing each other, when if we are to be honest, we really expect food, presents, and paid vacation days stuffed with fa-la-la ’till we’re relieved for the regular schedule of a work week.

In an all too often gloomy, disjointed, illusion saturated existence, I say we take the opportunity of the “Holiday Season” to celebrate every dang moment. We need joy, and sometimes scheduling joy is like rem

embering to eat your fruits’n’veg, and then remembering that you really dig fruits’n’veg, and they make you feel like a super hero. Happiness is an essential nutrient. Here’s how to cram in the reasons to celebrate.

Chanukah (December 8-16)

You know, Jewish Christmas. Recently popularized as the 2-for deal Christmukkah, here’s the story as I know it: Biblical Dudes get stuck in a cave with only enough oil to burn their lamp for 1 day. The oil lasts for 8. Ta-da, Festival of Lights. I’m guessing these Biblical Dudes got out of the cave, or it wouldn’t be such a good story, but that’s not the point. The point is that this is a universally small miracle that deserves a holiday. How often have you had a surprise guest, didn’t think you had the means on hand and then produced a meal? How many times have you wondered how you’d make it to payday after a wonderful weekend of terrible decisions, and have? We’ve all had days, due to circumstance, or existential soup, when we wondered if tomorrow would come for us, if the sun would ever burn through fears, and it has. Tradition has you lighting candles every night, in a specific thing, in a specific way, with a specific prayer, but I suggest you take even 1 night to light 1 candle in honour of the small miracles that light our way.

I don’t usually go in for these month-day-year matchy-matchy things, and they’ve happened every year this millenium, but this is the last one this century. It’s got to be optimal for making wishes, but make it memorable in whatever way is truest to yourself. Whirlwind weddings are not advised, as venues are all sorts of booked up for the impossible-to-forget-so-what’s-your-excuse-punk, date.

My Birthday (December 18)
I feel we’re bonding, here. There is a strange intimacy created by you reading these words, and this is a significant birthday for me: if right now I ‘m “l’age du Christ”, I’ll soon become older than Jesus. Heavy stuff. Also, as a winter baby, I’ve struggled with party planning, joint birthday/Xmas gifts, and never having an ice cream cake for my celebration. Add to that the fact that you strike me as someone who likes a reason to celebrate, and the fact that we could all use as many good wishes as we can muster, I invite you to raise, light, decorate something, in my honour. Smile at a stranger. Wear an outfit you aren’t sure you can pull off, and wear it with your head held high. Drop me bday wishes (@McMoxy).

Apocalypse Night (December 20)
We’ve heard the hype. We’ve gotten over it. Still, I think it’s safe to say we harbour a morbid curiosity alongside a healthy of dose of anticipation for the biggest “I told you so! Suck it, Paranoia!” to be had yet this century. On the other hand, not since the Y2K scare have we had a chance to party like it’s 1999. Official dress for this holiday shall be PJs to the office, or better yet, PJs at home, after you call in pending demise and promptly declare it 5 o’clock somewhere. This would be the right holiday to tell people what you really think, pledge undying love to special someone, or passing strangers. Dance like no one’s watching and sing in the streets, because it’ll all be moot in a minute. Skip the dishes. Go to sleep and hope for the best.

Yule/Solstice/I-Told-You-So-The-World’s-Still-Here (December 21)
Yule was celebrated over the course of three nights in “midwinter”. It was much of what Christmas now is. For instance, bringing parts of evergreens indoors to coax back the spring morphed into what we do now for what seems like random reasons (which Wise Man brought spruce?). Visiting, singing, feasting, were all ways to warm the coldest nights and lighten the darkest season. Rock it. And once we’re past the 21st, the days do, by precious golden seconds, begin to lengthen. Blessed be, oh Blessed BE!

Christmas (December 25)
I grew up with a Christmas tree (and menorah), letters to Santa, along with the Spirit of the Season, and I think that goes for the majority. Christmas is as secularized as commercialized, and frankly, that invites more people to enjoy it, in one beautiful shared morning, like Whos scattered across Whoville, knowing that we are all singing. It is for giving, sharing, and remembering blessings. It is everything 80s TV taught me it was: at the last minute, there are hooves on the rooftop and even the cynics must believe. It’s magick and miracles. I love Christmas.

Kwanzaa (December 26-Jan 1)
An African American and “Pan-African” holiday, the core principles are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Personally, I think we should all get on board with those. They have candles, “libations”, and the whole week culminates in gift giving on New Year’s Day. It’s the whole package. My menorah might get a second run this season

So bring on the season and the snow. I wish Happy Everything, one by one, to one and all. May you celebrate often, safely, and always with your bells on.

The winter season is upon us, and snow has already started to fall from the sky, however not surprisingly it has again been milder than last year and not much ice has formed on the grounds yet.A warmer winter means bad news for our ever so considerate and uniquely well-mannered taxi drivers as people are more inclined to walk their way to various locations, while it means good news for dog owners like me who do not have to worry about winter shoes for our pets.

Winter is of course the season that sees more greeting cards being sold on the account of that merry imminent eve when young and old come together, whether religious or secular, to celebrate generosity and selflessness. For as long as we have had the existence of cards, we have had the need to supply images for the cards especially for holidays like Christmas, and over the years images on holiday cards have become an industry of their own with certain artists and graphic designers working exclusively on Christmas cards all year round.  

I would like to single out three images which I think would be ideal for Christmas cards, and considering the fact that I am a devout atheist, you can bet that I will not be picking works that are remotely chocolate boxy or religious in tone. So, if you were hoping for Thomas Kinkade like idealized winter scenes, I’m afraid I would have to disappoint you.

First painting is “Hunters in the Snow” by the Flemish Renaissance painter and printmaker Pieter Bruegel the Elder who is sometimes referred to as Peasant Bruegel because he depicted peasants lives predominantly. Painted in 1565 the work is also referred to as The Return of the Hunters as it portrays a group of hunters descending toward their village accompanied by their hunting dogs. The painting itself is monumental pieces of work which plays with the idea of civilization versus savagery. The hunters who kill and are violent by nature are returning to a place where there are no signs of primitive barbarism. Their hunt has been unsuccessful and they are tired, back bent, struggling to control their gait, resembling in many ways their dogs. At the same time down at the village there is modernism afoot. Children playing games and others ice skating with modern buildings surrounding them. The fire being lit at the left hand side might be referring to progress, and the crows resting on tree branches on the hunters’ side could be reinstating the idea of doomed activities men partake in. The right hand side of the painting where the village rests is more open and light, and the horizon takes the viewer deeper into the future where there is hope for improvement and better understanding.

The second work is “In the Woods” by the 19th century Canadian artist Tom Thomson who has been associated with the Group of Seven; however he was not a member of the group as he died before the group was formed, nevertheless his influence on Canadian art has been well documented. The painting in question was purchased by National Gallery of Canada in 1918 and it is truly a treasure worth seeing. The painting depicts woodland with trees blocking the way of any visitor and the viewer struggles to see beyond the obstruction. The snows on the grounds give the painting a chill factor which accompanied with the suffocating feeling one gets being denied access to proceed, makes one very aware of his or her position with respect to nature. Defenceless is a word which appropriately describes your feeling, yet there is hope and optimism presented by the sunlight which is allowed to peek through the tree branches. And there is the future to consider with the hint of mountains visible in the background, as if Thomson is saying don’t worry you will find a way through, however it might not be yet so patience is a virtue.

The final work I would like to bring to your attention is Le Moulin de la Galette Terrace and Observation Deck at the Moulin de Blute-Fin, Montmartre by Vincent Van Gogh painted in 1886. This painting represents what Van Gogh had been feeling before he embarked on his journey to Paris where he discovered a taste for colour and bold brushstrokes. This painting is Vincent prior to being bitten by Impressionism and Pointillism and has loneliness and alienation feeling to it. Vincent’s experience leading up to this point had been a very tragic one. He had spent his time observing poverty and abandonment of the underprivileged by the very society which was supposed to care for them. He saw himself as a prophet for the destitute, and his promise of salvation would come in the form of art. Yet, at this point he yearned for recognition and he detested the utter solitude gnawing at his insides.

In my view these three paintings would make wonderful card images for any art lover who is looking to enjoy something other than the usual over sentimentalized Christmas card. However if you think these works would be too sombre to send to your relatives and friend, I have here created an image which is so full of holiday cheer that I’m sure even your grandma would love, and it is free for all you Forget The Box readers to download and enjoy. However, I must state that even though I am permitting the private use of this image, the public copyrights belong to me and you should refrain from making an unscrupulous business venture out of this.

Why should ladies get to have all the tantalizing toys under the tree? Here are some suggestions to make this a red-hot Christmas for your man!

If he’s a nervous newbie:

Lubricant is your best friend when introducing any type of anal play or toys into the mix. Whereas water-based lubricants are the popular ones on the market, they don’t hold a candle to the smoothness of silicone-based lubricants.

Since silicone lube is not absorbed by the skin, it lasts much longer than their water-based counterparts. The major downside of silicone lube is that it cannot be used with silicone toys, since it has been known to dissolve the surface layer of the toys and can cause long-term disintegration. Another issue some have with silicone-based lubricants is that they stain the sheets.

A product that offers the smoothness of silicone without the stains is Boy Butter. The organic coconut oil-based cream lubricant outlasts its water-based and silicone-based competitors, while washing off with ease. Furthermore, it costs about a third as much as the leading brands of silicone lube. Be careful though as it is not compatible with latex condoms.

Boy Butter is available in a variety of formats including churn style, warming, (which, for the record, is electrifyingly hot) and slightly intimidating extreme, a numbing formula for more extreme penetration sessions.

If he’s a lad with luxurious tastes:

Long-time readers of my column will know of my fondness for Ina, my delightful vibrator from the Swedish company Lelo. (Here is an articles discussing Vibrator vs. Dildo) Since Lelo is one of the world’s leading designers of luxurious “intimate lifestyle products”, it shouldn’t come as much as a surprise that their men’s toys are equally as sleek and sophisticated as their women’s toys.

The forerunner is Billy, a “gentleman’s G-spot massager” who delivers an electrifying experience with near-silent vibrations. Ergonomically-designed to suit the male form, he features five different modes offering a variety of mild and earth-shaking sensations. Like all their toys, he is made from FDA-approved and phthalate-free silicone, and comes with a USB charger, delivering up to 4 hours of fun on a full 2-hour charge.

If you want to give him the gift the keeps on giving:

I know most of the men out there are thinking, “why can’t there be a machine that just does all the work for me?”

Billed as a “compact powerhouse of pleasure”, the Venus 2000 attempts to replicate the snapping pussy effect that drives guys wild. Manufactured by the company that brought us the Sybian, the female equivalent of a fucking machine,  the Venus 2000 is a hands-free masturbator with “controllable stroking action”. Simply insert your penis into the lubricated, flexible natural gum rubber liner, adjust the stroke length and speed and let Venus 2000 do the rest of the work!

You can watch a NSFW-ish video introduction here:

As you get ready to settle down and celebrate with your family, friends and loved ones, we here at Forget The Box would like to take the time to wish everyone involved with this project as well as all of our supporters, readers and friends the very best this holiday season.

This year, we’re giving you three Christmas presents:


First, JC Sunshine Saves X-Mas, a funny and touching special holiday episode from our original series, JC Sunshine. In it JC Sunshine goes in search of Santa Clause to battle Ol’ Jolly St. Nick for his neighbour Jenny’s love. Along the way he meets, the group SUNSHINE from Brooklyn who give him advice and steer him in the right direction. (more or less) It’s a classic holiday tale of love and togetherness mixed with some old school brawling, fisticuffs and green screen magic.



Second, we present to you Montreal rapper Chuggo’s festive rendition of Deck The Halls… Gangsta style.

Chuggo is one of the city’s up and coming rap artists, who some have compared to Montreal comedic genius Jon Lajoie. This video, Chuggo’s latest is hilarious and we know you’ll love it!



Lastly, our third present to all of you is Stephanie Laughlin’s Friday Film Review, where she looks back at one of her favorite holiday films, It’s A Wonderful Life. A classic that holds a warm place in many of our hearts.

Please feel free to re-gift and share with all your friends!

We’re going to take a much needed (one day) rest and be back with new content on December 26th. Expect an end of year, year-in-review before New Years, chronicling how we saw 2010, culminating in our annual New Year’s Eve retrospective.

So a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at ForgetTheBox to all of you!

I’m at the top of a motherfuckin’ tree!

Montreal Rapper extraordinaire Chuggo, brings us his unique brand of X-Mas cheer with this stunning new video! A really deep and insightful take on the classic, Deck The Halls. Notice the delicate use of composition,
lighting and pets.

Here is what the critics are saying:

“Was that supposed to be a Christmas video? I’ve seen some ugly things in my day but this is making my eyes bleed.” Susan Boyle (Winner Britain’s got talent)

“I want to be your friend!” – Mark Zuckerburg (part-time programmer)

“Oh! I’m so proud of you. I just wish you wouldn’t swear so much, and that you visited your baba more often.” – Chuggo’s mom

“Is that Jack Black?” — hairymouthnoise@youtube.com

This is definitely going to be a classic Christmas song for years to come! Enjoy, and Merry X mas from all of us at ForgetTheBox!