Young Paris is a NYC-based rapper and rising voice in the world of fashion. Having recently singed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, we Montrealers are lucky enough to catch him in action this Saturday, October 22nd with No Kliche, as part of the Red Bull Music Academy.

Here is an interview I conducted with Young Paris, discussing his roots, inspiration, and connections to Montreal:

I’m curious about your relationship to music as a child, as you were growing up. Did you learn instruments or sing in groups? Or was music something you came to later on.

My parents were world renown performers so you could imagine music was always around us growing up. From as long as I could remember, I’ve been playing the djembe and dancing. Music to our family has always been second nature and till this day we still perform together.

You draw from so many different areas in your image, your music, and your live show. It’s clear you are inspired by vibrancy and individuality in all its uniqueness. Are there some non-musicians that really shape your aesthetic approach to your image, your music, and the creative process in general?

Yes, I’m inspired by the fashion and the art world as well. I went to college for Fine Arts and my mother was a play writer as well, so I try to translate those references in my art. Artists / Designers like Alexander McQueen, Basquiat, Nick Cave, and Yinka Shonibare, for example, are artists I’ve been super inspired by.

Congo has a much-celebrated history of dance music, some of which comes out in your music – but is there a Congolese rap tradition you feel connected to?

No, my rap history comes from growing up in NY!

What is your musical community like in NYC?

NY has a vibrant range of musicians. In my circle, I know some of the dopest underground and notable artists but I try to stay in my lane. There aren’t many artists creating my type of music and Afrobeats generally is just becoming very popular in the states.

I would love to hear your thoughts on how art can help bridge the gap between cultural traditions without getting sucked into the mainstream media machine of mass representation and stereotyping. You seem to be navigating it very well – but have there been some major challenges? Is Jay-Z someone who understands your vision?

Social media is a great way to see raw talent and I’m always excited for what the people I’m following are coming up with daily. I think the bridge has been created, but it’s important to respect certain symbols and traditions.

Sacred art, for example, is so accessible now I think it’s up to the curators to translate their inspiration with caution and take time to do their research before shining light on the beauty and talents of these artists. For me and my situation at Roc Nation, I have complete creative control and they are open minded to my ideas.

Any plans for a fashion line?

Potentially 😉 but i will be collaborating with brands as a creative director.

Have you been to Montreal before?

Yes i lived here for nearly 2 years.

Also! You can win a free ticket to see Young Paris this Saturday if you answer this question correctly:

Q: What is the name of his new mixtape?

Email your answer to contactdjazia@gmail.com, and see you at the show.

Young Paris plays ThÊâtre Fairmount, 5240, Avenue du Parc, Saturday, October 22nd, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:00pm). If you don’t win tickets, they are $12 and available through the box office.

Last Thursday night, I went to Le Belmont to check out three up-and-coming American acts who were respectively each making their Montreal Debut.

For most of us who live in Montreal, a trip to the 514 doesn’t really seem like a big deal. However, as a Canadian who has spent extensive time living south of the border, Montreal holds a compelling cultural position in the collective mind’s eye of the American populace (I refer specifically to Americans who give somewhat-of-a-shit about Canada).

Indeed, for our friends to the south, Montreal is practically Europe. While some of the stereotypes hold up– the dominant language is French, the culture is eclectic, there are (some) cobblestone streets– the vision of Montreal that captures the attention of both American tourists and artists alike exists almost entirely in the minds of those who visit.

Mac Demarco, who has his indie rock roots in Montreal, even commented on this relative cultural phenomenon on his 2012 track European Vegas, in which he croons, “Nothing’s quite the same as European Vegas.” Just two years later, Demarco traded in his Mile End apartment for real estate in New York City– evidently for Canadian artists like Mac, Montreal had lost its lustre.

Though artists leave Canada every year for fiscally greener pastures in the States, Montreal continues to draw talent in from all corners of the continent. As an undisputed musical hub, our city is a crucial tour stop for rising artists trying to push their sound to a wider audience.
Thursday night at Le Belmont, then, was yet another example of a collection of American artists making their musical pilgrimage north.

Sofi TukkerThe first opener, Sofi Tukker, is a New York-based electronic duo, whose relatively brief musical career (they’ve officially been playing together for less than a year) gained some serious traction after their song Drinkee was featured in a recent Apple Watch advertisement. On Thursday night, the duo indeed played Drinkee as well as a setlist full of equally danceable electronic tracks. Next up, were Los-Angeles locals Cardiknox— an upbeat electro-pop quintet that sounded like a musical cross between Chvrches and Charlie XCX.

The headliners of the evening, another New York-based electronic pop act, were The Knocks. The duo, which consists of Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “J-Patt” Patterson, are probably best known for electro-pop delights like Classic and Comfortable. These tracks, polished and radio-ready as they were when I streamed them online, didn’t quite do sonic justice to the duo’s capabilities of putting on an extremely high-energy, and surprisingly soulful, live performance.

And it’s in this live environment where The Knocks seem to feel the most comfortable and also the most excited about their craft. After the first couple of opening songs to (quite literally) get the crowd moving, lead vocalist Patterson quipped, “If you’re in the back, come to the front. If you’re in the front, you better go insane.” Not only did Patterson’s sentiment increase audience participation, it also highlighted the band’s personal valuation of the importance of putting on a good live show.

Without a doubt, The Knocks will be well-received the next time they return to Montreal. Although they probably won’t be uprooting from their home base in New York anytime soon, the sense of artistic community in Montreal is palpable even for those who are visiting and performing for the first time.

The Knocks 3

Some local acts might simply claim that Montreal’s allure for so many artists is a direct result of the cheap rent and the low cost of living. But I’d like to think that Montreal’s cultural draw is the result of more nuanced aspects than, as one Cardinox fan put it, “a great food scene.”

Indeed, Montreal’s musical and artistic networks run vast and deep– oftentimes across national boundaries. While it’s difficult to map out why Montreal is consistently viewed as a cultural hotbed for so many up-and-coming artists, it is safe to say that we’ll continue to be greeted by many talented, young artists seeking a certain “je ne sais quoi” for the foreseeable future.

* Photos by Ford Donovan

Last month, Harper’s commissioned something unusual.

Unusual in the context of our tight-pursed digital world. Less unusual, perhaps, in the heady (nearly bygone?) literary indulgence from which the magazine sprung.

Harper’s, based in New York City, flew a British writer across the Atlantic and, once in The Big Apple, covered her sprawling tab at New York’s most elite restaurants. Then they cut her a cheque—and seeming carte blanche—to fill up their pages with any ensuing adventures.

The piece seemed preordained by the magazine’s weighty masthead to be free-flowing and diaristic, spared the publication’s usual tight oversight.

New York food writers and bloggers generally hated it.

Now true, the whole endeavour was slightly un-Harper’s like. But the diaristic style wasn’t an error or oversight. Nor was the writing bad. It was good. At times, fabulous. So what’s the problem, you ask? Well this very fault line, more and more, is where the gap between between food culture, food writing and the reader is being drawn.

It would be hard to pick four more towering foodie temples to visit: Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, Chef’s Table and Masa. It should be noted that Harper’s is neither food publication or news magazine. It doesn’t cover a regular “beat”, much less have a restaurant review section.

Who knows its mandate in 2015? Though broadly-speaking, Harper’s is still about excess: liberal reflection, the pleasure of the text.

…[Per Se] is not a restaurant, although it looks like one. It may even think it is one. It is a cult. It was created in 2004 by Thomas Keller of The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. He is always called Chef Keller, and for some reason when I think of him I imagine him traveling the world and meeting international tennis players. But I do not need to meet him; I am eating inside his head.

Now I’m a long-time follower of people like Keller, a junkie of chef culture and resto innovation through and through. I’m the kind of guy who would waste hard-earned money on these nutty places.

Animal Farm may be a metaphor for the anxieties of those who dine at Through Itself: they are hungry, but only for status; loveless, for what love could there be when a waiter must stand with his feet exactly six inches apart … Through Itself is such a preposterous restaurant, I wonder if a whole civilization has gone mad and it has been sent as an omen to tell us of the end of the world — not in word, as is usual, but in salad.

What’s more, smug, foreign food critics are nothing new to this scene.

Nor am I sure that the human body is meant to digest, at one sitting, many kinds of over-laundered fish and meat…

Yet at every turn of phrase like this from Gold, I only dove in further. The thing is, it didn’t matter what my food sensibilities told me: this was crisp, fantastical, entertaining, and ultimately — like all good satire —based on more than a small grain of truth.

If knee-jerk reactions are to be expected from locals and overwrought foodies, they are worrisome when they come from food writers. Why? Because the stark opposite emerged from another specific group: a global collection of folk that may or may not have cared about famous chefs, or even heard of these places.

I can only unify this mass as readers — the targets, after all, of a magazine article. It would seem that readers’  conception of Gold’s essay was different. They perceived it as writing.

And they’d be justified. Let’s leave aside the premise itself: that the magazine doesn’t even do reviews, that the writer was flown in to a city brimming with food critics for an expository feature.

Readers got it, knew that they — along with 99.9% of the world — knew they’d likely never set foot in these uber-elite places, or even necessarily have the desire to. — and that was the whole point all along.

Readers did not require “disclaimers” of satire or elitism.

Yet things continued to split apart. Both sides soon christened Gold’s piece as “an evisceration.”

Fair enough. Yet thanks to the highly-evolved logic of Twitter, the label just wasn’t reductionist enough. Sure enough, as the narrative changed, Gold’s piece became something slightly more vulgarized: a “takedown.”

The thing with “takedowns,” it seems, is once defined, they require “takedowns of takedowns,” each step further distancing readers from any literary agency of their own.

Only one more reductive t word could possibly be invoked, could possibly paint a starker picture of what’s been going on for years now, a sheer widening gap between “food writing” and essay. It happened:

Now food is no exception. These things happen all the time. Social media dumbs things down, to no one’s surprise, I know…

Yet to me, this particular saga is exemplary for three reasons: the sheer spectacle of it all, the big players of food criticism involved, and the fact that it highlights the tense space opening up between foodies, writers and food writers.

The trend seems to be that dry, cutting, whimsical, food writing should never even edge on brutal or fabulous — it must never go too far off the edge.

It’s ironic that food writing started from the edges, with fantastical, metaphorical essays that touched upon food coming from somewhere else.

One level head reigned. Pete Wells, New York Times critic  himself—tasked with hallmark reviews of these joints over the years—might have captured it best: between diaristic and satirical, Gold was for him not just any writer, she was the foreigner turning heads by flirting at the precipice of food criticism.

All this to say that I learned three things:

  1. We’re drawn to New York misadventures just as we’re drawn to the ire of Parisians: their hunger to take down their own is outweighed only by their ferocity at defending outsiders from doing the same.
  2. Harper’s still exists. I should probably check it out more often.
  3. “Food writers” gotta chill.

Back when I first started raising this drama, someone pointed me an old Harper’s essay. Turns out, in 1996, they paid Neil Foster Wallace to write about the cruise industry.

I read it.

Suffice it to say that if such a thing came out today, cruise line bloggers (if they exist) would dissect it with glee. Industry experts and travel writers would doubtless be next at the gate.

For in the piece, NFW is out of his element — uncomfortably so — and one teeters with him as he lurches along in search of his point. It’s as if his grip on the topic might disintegrate at any moment.

Here’s the thing: it is a glorious and riveting essay.

So if there’s a lesson for us food writers, bloggers and commentators, maybe it’s simply to take a deep breath. If those of us who care most about the topic keep strangling it, food’s life within language won’t fully thrive.

New York’s Village Voice put on an excellent free concert called the 4 knots festival last weekend and I was lucky enough to catch a bunch of the events while on vacation in the Empire State.

Held at the bottom pier of the island, located near the heart of the Manhattan financial district by the harbor, the festival displayed many up and coming bands from New York, and a few legends.

I was really looking forward to seeing a few bands in particular, particularly Doldrums, the Crocodiles and Archer of Loaf, who I haven’t seen since the nineties. However, waking up early enough on a Saturday while on vacation in New York was a little too difficult. Montreal’s own Doldrums started at 1 pm…which  unfortunately is too early for a late night drinker like myself. Well at least I’m honest about it!

Seriously, one of the problems with New York free shows is they start start way, way too early.

Come on festival people! But honestly, this will teach me to leave early next time I find a bar with a mini golf course that has a Pabst Blue Ribbon windmill on the 3rd hole.

I was, after all, on vacation in New York City. So it was great to hear about fun things to do on a shoestring budget.

And there was a good chance if I could get up early enough I’d make it to see The Crocodiles, a band I’ve wanted to see in concert for a long time.

 

As the crowd was waiting patiently for The Crocodiles, the beach balls came out.

I suppose promoters think this will keep crowds mind off frying in the heat while waiting for a band to play. (The delay turned out to be due to a fire behind the stage next to a docked boat. The NYPD and FDNY were called to the scene. And the fire was duly put out.)

I don’t know who thinks this is adequate entertainment, but let me tell you, every time a beach ball hits my head by accident, I regret not bringing a pin or a very sharp knife or a jagged edged sword or a chainsaw or anything that will cut thought the cheap plastic. Then I could imagine us engaged in some kind of ritualistic burning, watching the pieces of plastic incinerate right before my eyes. Beautiful.

The Crocodiles, after a half hour delay, got their shit together. Bringing their lovely grungy west coast surf sound starting with their uber grunge pop track Mirrors and later brought on the hits like Sunday. Songs like I Wanna Kill You brought the left side of the crowd into an ecstatic mosh pit frenzy.

Brooklyn’s own The Drums played the second set to a rambunctious local mob excited for their unique rendition of fun new york electro pop.

Archers of Loaf, who are recently back on tour after a 12 year hiatus, played a few shows last year after having their back catalog remastered and re-released on Merge Records. It was great to see the boys together again playing all their great hits from the nineties and some new tunes from a soon to be released album.

In the absence of a good Montreal weekly since the Mirror’s death, it was very cool to see the Village Voice thriving in New York, being one of the most read free papers around the world. Even their photographers got into the mood, body-surfing while taking hot shots.

Once known as the Siren music festival, it was renamed 4 knots and moved to the seaport harbor. Since then it has turned into one of the largest free outdoor shows in New York. It’s great to see a city that has such a flourishing free weekly paper able to put on such a spectacular show.

Now if Montreal could only have a free English language weekly…oh well.


At five in the morning on October 14, my Montreal based roommate Kamee Abrahamian (producer of the Blood Ballet Cabaret) and my native New York self crawled out of bed to head to Wall Street. We heard that chaos was going to go down before the sun even came up. We thought we would witness some arrests and be part of the fight for whatever these protests are about.

Everyone says it: it is unclear what the actual mission is at Occupy Wall Street. What is meant to come of it? To some, the protesters are seen as a bunch of unemployed young hippies. To others, these kids represent a growing, world-wide revolution.

 

As I walked alongside the protesters, I got handed a mushy apple from a smiling middle aged Indian man in a food line and slapped some high fives along the way. When I got into the heart of the park, I noticed the diversity of age and racial background. The one thing they all had in common? Backpacks. There were people beating on tin drums and couples cuddling under sleeping bags on the concrete. Photographers and press were relentless.

The so-called people express their disapproval in how things work — vague, but there seems to have been momentum. Since a New York Times article two weeks ago wrote about the protests being useless without a precise cause, now there are specific requests written for improving the fields of education, food, economy and unemployment (still vague but getting somewhere!).

An ‘issue’ with our generation is that there are so many causes worth fighting for. It feels like a heavy commitment to just choose one. After my experience today, I believe the protests are an excellent starting place; a gathering place to cultivate direction and purpose out of this flustered passion, one that is triggered from the chaos of the world. There is a looming responsibility to be a part of the solution and this morning I witnessed the gusto and commitment our generation has to offer.

The communication strategy used in initiating the march was highly effective. There is no leader and no microphones or megaphones allowed, however this doesn’t stop mass messages from spreading. One person screams, and everyone in the vicinity scream the message back to those in the distance. Word echo waves sweep across thousands—a speech becomes more experiential when we have no technology to facilitate. The glowing aftermath of rippling words is truly felt in Zuccoti Park; I felt chills of a revolution as a young lady in a hijab and torn jeans shouts with a confident smile “we will march!” There was a cultural cauldron of people. Old hippies in leather jackets; young, scruffy hipsters; adolescent boys with oily hair wearing grungy sweatshirts; even some of my friends from liberal arts college were there- sporadically placed, suit and tie or t-shirt clad excitement.

I joined the march and made it to the front of the line where a girl yelled, “can we have someone who isn’t a white male up here?” She looks at me and says, “lock arms! Join us! Come on!” A young lady with a buzz cut and a backpack larger than her torso was walking in front of us, encouraging the front line to walk slowly so the thousand or so behind us could keep up. Her entitlement to command the group was impressive, she reminded me of a police officer. I asked if she was responsible for organizing this march or is she just a natural leader. In a quick and aggressive tone she replied, “there are no leaders here.” I said, “I mean you, are a leader, a leader at heart.” She did not smile, nor acknowledge my existence.

A sixty-something year old lady in a baggy t-shirt and cargo pants stood on a bench holding a hand written sign towards the passing protesters: WE ALL KNOW WHERE THE REAL DIRT IS. People seemed to be cheering her on, so I asked Kamee, who was snapping away with two cameras, what dirt she was referring to. “Go ask her”, she said, so I did. She responded eagerly in a southern accent, “those corporate heads say we are dirty but we cleaned the street with natural green cleaner. I’ve never seen sidewalks so shiny in my life!” The protesters managed to boot Bloomberg’s attempt to evict them due to complaints of dirty behavior in Zucotti Park.

The general public perception is that these people don’t even know what they are protesting, but it cannot be denied that some kind of change is needed. Clearly something isn’t working. Society looks nothing like the one I read out of Plato in my freshman year philosophy class.

We cannot toss aside the ability of all these people to gather and camp out on the streets (jobless or not), to march in the wee hours of the morning, to lock arms and scream with a collective heart, ” Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” Like the mission statement of an imagined business plan, clarity and specificity will become more clear to those who are not ready or not willing to recognize it just yet (just google it!).

The slow pace of Friday morning’s march personifies the development of a simmering, multifaceted revolution of our generation. Just as it takes time for laws to be passed in any political environment, the process of change will materialize with more of these protests and conscious gatherings. The ‘people’ will fuse imagination with their skill sets and resources to optimize the manifestation of positive change. The occupation is already spreading throughout the world, including Montreal. If you sense the need for change, then you’re a part of the occupation too. The details will emerge with time.

* photos by Kamee Abrahamian, you can see all the images on Facebook

BREAKING NEWS: New York City is under occupation and has been for a few days.

You’d think that would be breaking news, wouldn’t you? Even if it’s not the whole city, just the financial quarter. And even if it’s not an invading army, but people upset with the way their own country is running things (in this case, the economy). After all, domestic upheaval in Egypt and people occupying a public square in Bahrain was headline news all around the world just a few months ago, wasn’t it?

Come to think of it, the lack of media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protest is just like the Arab Spring. State controlled media completely blocked the protesters’ side of the story in the Middle East and Africa just as corporate (pretty much the state in the West) controlled media is shutting up about what’s currently unfolding in Lower Manhattan.

In both cases, social media took the lead in getting the news out. In the case of the NYC action, it started on Twitter, or rather was started on Twitter by Adbusters Magazine. Now, before you say manufactured protest, I think Adbusters starting this one has a lot more credibility than, say, Fox News starting the Tea Party.

For #OccupyWallStreet, there is even a live video stream that’s been running since the beginning of the occupation. It was re-running footage when I checked it out last night, footage of a general meeting where a group of people called the People’s Microphone used their voices to amplify what speakers were saying.

It also re-ran footage of the NYPD arresting people seemingly at random, and on the flimsiest of grounds. They even cited an anti-mask law from the 1800s and arrested people for chalking on the street. While this is a peaceful protest and even speaker Roseanne Barr called for the crowd not to fight the cops and try to bring them onside, it looks like the cops have other plans, roughing up protesters to chants of “shame” and “the whole world is watching.”

And the whole world is watching, just not through American (or Canadian, for that matter) mainstream media. While things have started to change in the last couple of days with Keith Olberman and even Stephen Colbert making mention of the protest, the majority of the new found coverage has focused on downplaying the numbers and the significance of this event.

In Egypt, the government shut down the internet to stifle the usefulness of Twitter and Facebook to the protesters. While that hasn’t happened here, there were unconfirmed reports of posts mentioning Occupy Wall Street simply not showing up in people’s Facebook feeds as they should.

Whether or not the powers behind Wall Street who own our media, including social media, decide to exercise their authority and censor the web has yet to be seen. Whether or not this protest continues to grow has also yet to be seen.

Right now, it looks like it very well might. There are solidarity actions springing up around the world, including one in Montreal tomorrow (Friday) afternoon in front of the World Trade Centre (yes, we have one of those). Meanwhile, people from other American states and other countries (and continents) are headed to Manhattan to keep this action going.

It has almost all the elements that made up the Arab Spring: a tyrannical authority (the economic tyranny of Wall Street in this case), mainstream media censorship and people who have no plan on leaving getting their message out and communicating via social media, in a grassroots person-to-person fashion and any way they can. Whether or not those elements will lead to the sort of upheaval that is needed is yet to be seen.

For now, all I can say is that New York City is under occupation. Let’s hope it lasts. Viva la occupation!

Watch the live video stream: http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution

Info on the Montreal sattelite protest is available on Facebook

Photos: adbusters.org, blogs.flickr.net

Irene versus the St-Laurent Street Fair in Montreal

As the remnants of Tropical Storm Irene pounded Montreal this past Sunday, I hunkered down in my apartment. Listening to the winds blow and the rain fall, I thought to myself: “I should really close the living room window, my roommate’s XBox is getting wet.”

If you were expecting my rainy day thoughts to be something more profound or at the very least profound-ish sounding and dealing with the nature of nature and its relationship to our very unnatural culture, well, that’s not the case here. And why should it be?

Yeah, I had been outside earlier in the day. I had felt slightly stronger-than-usual winds press up against me as I ran some errands. I witnessed the closest thing my neighbourhood got to destruction: near desolation at the St-Laurent Street Fair which had been buzzing with people the day earlier. I had my interesting and relevant pic to post to Facebook (of the aforementioned desolate street fair) and I heard the   complaints from people as they entered my apartment. I had had my fill of Irene.

Apparently, New York City had had their fill as well, and it wasn’t anything close to the catastrophe the media had been predicting. Just a smattering of downed trees, power outages and a bit of flooding. When I turned on the news, I discovered that there were some downed trees and power outages in Montreal as well. That sucked, but I was fine and I fell asleep.

The next morning, I learned on Democracy Now that things weren’t so pretty in Vermont, a state known for its natural beauty almost as much as it’s known for progressive politics. There was massive flooding. There were power outages everywhere. Historic covered bridges that had survived the previous great storm of 1927 simply got swept away by the waters.

This wasn’t a story on the larger corporate media outlets until Monday evening. In fact, coverage of the aftermath of the storm’s very real and still lasting effects seems to have dwindled. Instead we get stories about Michele Bachmann saying that Irene was God’s way of telling the US congress to get the economy in order.

Now I’m all for stories that expose some of the Republican contenders for president as the nutjobs that they are (she later claimed her statement was a joke, kind of like her campaign for president), but I think a better thing to cover would be the ongoing mass protest in front of the White House against the Keystone XL pipeline that’s supposed to transport tar sands oil from Alberta to the US.

Don’t get me wrong, the media has mentioned the protest, celebrities going to the slammer will do that. But pretty much all of the coverage has dealt with the close to 600 arrests and not the issue at hand. It is also not being linked at all to coverage of Irene. As far as I can tell, only independent media like the aforementioned Democracy Now mentioned the two in the same breath.

While there have been huge storms and hurricanes before, this one seems a little different. The destruction in northern areas seems considerably more rough and widespread to the point that it’s easy to wonder just how much affect a changing climate had on it.

While it may be easy to wonder and speculate a link between climate change and Irene, I don’t think many will. Just as the storm’s destruction is happening, for many of us, myself included, elsewhere. Very close to home in some cases, but still elsewhere.

Climate change is also happening elsewhere and unless something affects us directly and in a major way, there’s a strong chance that we may ignore it and go about what we’re doing. If it was like that for me last Sunday, it can be like that for you, too, not to mention for politicians and those in a position to directly do something about the situation.

Unless we start realizing that elsewhere could be here very soon and thinking about what we can do right now, things will get worse outside. Until then, we’ll just close the window. At least the Xbox won’t get wet.

Moving to Montreal was a life changing experience for the better. I have discovered so many things here that I might not have, had I stayed in NYC, and I have fallen in love with them. The terraces, the fresh bread, biking, the cheese curds (!?!) are all things that, while they may have been available in NY, I never took advantage of- perhaps because they weren’t a part of the culture. Allowing local culture to dictate one’s behaviour is almost always a good idea, but as I found out this morning, culture clash can happen in the unlikeliest of places.

There are people who travel, not to experience where they’ve gone but to say where they been. You know, the “Ugly Americans”. Those who cannot for the life of them understand why the waiter in Paris will not speak English, nor why the Egyptian woman cringes as they yell at her to be understood. On the other hand, when traveling, as a rule, I try to avoid things that I can get at home. Notice I said try: I’ve had McDonald’s in the UK, a Coke in South America and Corn Pops in Canada. Corn Pops has been a weakness since childhood. Corn Pops is therapy in a box. Better than sex (that is, if your not having sex anyway). Oh my Corn Pops, WHAT THE HELL HAVE THEY DONE TO YOU, EH!!!

I bought a box of Pops as a reward for mailing a letter I’d been sitting on for a while (it was an important letter, I don’t often reward myself for accomplishing the banal!). I noticed immediately that the shape was different, more like Kix or Cocoa Puffs than the puffed exaggerated corn shape I am used to, but the colour was right so I poured the milk. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. Well, yes you can, and you should; and if it looks wrong – it probably is. And it was. It tasted like… like… maple.

I know that Canada is kinda into this maple theme it has going. There’s maple flavoured everything- sausage, pasta, ice cream, soda. There are more Maple streets and lanes and boulevards and apartments than you can swing a dead cat at (add to that the French “ĂŠrable” in Quebec). There’s the hockey team, and the flag and… jaysus, weren’t they busy enough with all the other maple stuff to leave my cereal alone!

I don’t mean to sound like one of “those” Americans, but there is a reason McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are available throughout the world and why people gravitate to them- because their familiarity is comforting. That’s why, when you go to Italy, the Cokes don’t taste like espresso or, in Vietnam, like fish. A Coke is a Coke wherever you are!

If you go to the Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta (which I have), you can sample different Coca-Cola products from all over the world (which I have…*burrrrp*), like papaya soda and grass soda (yes, it tastes like a bubbly lawn). They make other products to reflect the tastes of the local culture. Therefore, CORN POPS SHOULD TASTE LIKE CORN POPS WHEREVER THEY ARE SOLD! Or, and I’m giving Canada this idea for free as a compromise, there should be Maple Pops (Éclats d’Érable, pour mes homies QuĂŠbecois).

So if you want to make Cricket Pops in South East Asia or Borscht Pops in Eastern Europe or effing Maple Pops in Canada- GO AHEAD! But when you offer a national product internationally, it should taste like home! Now I know how the Irish feel when they drink Guinness in North America.

I’m breakfast cereal jaded, and that is just sad.

Image by Foxy

Foxy hates flowers but LOVES her new ring!

Flowers, if given the chance, would leap to their death to escape a worse fate at my hands. But at my house, they are not even given the option of suicide because my cat will eat them and, as if chastising me for breaking the “no flower” rule, he will throw them up in places where I am sure to step in it and curse the person who gave them to me for encouraging the cat.

Historically, the giving of flowers has had many meanings. Red carnations, for example mean “my heart aches for you” and white means “I am still available”. Snapdragons stand for deception and orchids for seduction. To me they all stand for  vomit – brown, chunky, in the carpet, vomit.

Having not been raised by Fagin on the mean streets of London, I am fully aware of the proper response to the offering of flowers-  oh wow, oh they’re beauuuuuutiful, thank you; and I believe I execute this convincingly. But please take note, this is the subtext:  Oh, damn, now I have to carry these around all night then find a place to dump them where you won’t notice so I don’t have to take them home for the cat to eat and then throw up in my bed.

Awesome.

Even in situations when the cat won’t get to them, in my office for example, by the time I remember I left them on the desk, the office has taken on the stench of death.

The last time I remember actually being happy about getting flowers was when my mom greeted me after my first ballet recital with a huge bouquet. I felt like a prima ballerina and the flowers the accolades befitting one. There is a picture of me smelling them – possibly the last time I did that with any relish – because at eight years old the only thing I was responsible for cleaning was myself, and I’m sure I did a half-assed job at that as well.

I know this mindset seems ungrateful and downright Grinch-like, but if you had to pry dried puke off your floor the morning after each time someone brought you a flower you’d stop thinking of it as a gift too.

But I’ve also had romantic gestures that made me feel so good that I thought, “this must be how a guy feels when he gets a blowjob without having to reciprocate!”

My top five:

5) a 1980s Burger King t-shirt

4) a mixtape

3) an orange and some Lucky Charms from his pockets when I stayed in my dorm room mourning a friend

2) an empty box wrapped in the comics page (he didn’t have any money)

1) a mango

That’s right – a mango. Sometimes the sweetest thing a person could give you is a nice piece of fruit that says, “We haven’t known each other very long, but in the short time I’ve known you I’ve grown to care deeply about your vitamin deficiency”.

I’m Tania Fox and I am 50% ungrateful douchebag/50% gooey girl.

Photo by: Foxy

Is it over already? Twelve months down and we’re (officially) into the second decade of the 21st century. With just four more years to go until we get those flying cars we were promised (holding you to this one, Mr. Zemeckis), it’s probably a good time to sit back and nurse that hangover (if you’ve still got one three days later, that is) and reflect on the year that was.

While we can’t tell you how 2010 was for you, we can say that for us here at FTB it was a helluva year. Think about it, a year ago we had just started out with a handful of regular writers, some political and arts coverage and big ambitions. Now, we have over 500 posts and eleven regular columns covering everything from sex to the environment to things Laurence doesn’t like.

We’ve also started covering a good portion of the independent music and arts scenes in Montreal and recently Brooklyn, New York, including artists you might not have heard of and festivals you probably have. Meanwhile our sports coverage which began with our unconventional Olympic coverage (the games and the protests) has continued in the form of an unabashedly pro-Habs hockey blog.

We’ve covered major events like the G20 with reports from the protests and the detention center and analysis of what the talking heads were doing behind the barricades. We’ve also continued our coverage of local stories like the ongoing saga of CafĂŠ Cleopatre versus the city.

Some things have stayed the same, though, like our commitment to unconventional coverage and coverage of the unconventional and our year-old tradition of asking our writers for their favourite posts from the past year by themselves and by other writers on the site then compiling them somewhat informally into a list of ten.

So without any further adieu and in no particular order, here’s our fifteen favourite posts of the year:

Oh No! Theodore was in my living room: In what is probably the most unconventional post of our POP Montreal coverage, Cassie Doubleday reviews an unofficial living room show by Fredericton, New Brunswick based seven piece Oh No Theodore! as part of an after-hours put on by FTB. In this report, we find out that living room shows are quite the norm out east.

Macs, iPods, iPads, iPhones iRefuse to Conform: In what is probably our most controversial post of the year (among the can’t take a joke set), Mike Gwilliam takes a break from talking about video games to rail against all things Mac and in particular their marketing strategy and obsessed Mac users.

Ignorance is bliss: The non-story about the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ is Quiet Mike’s springboard into this analysis of the ignorance of a large portion of the American electorate and the sad state that leaves the country.

Game 6: Hockey Night in Hipster County: This post from the Montreal Canadiens’ improbable playoff run chronicles Jaroslav Halak’s astounding 53 saves as the Habs force a game 7 with Washington (which they will go on to win) and shows hockey blogger Cindy Lopez very pleased to admit that her predictions were wrong as she takes in the game at the (at the time dry) CafĂŠ Romolo.

Mo’ Mustaches, Mo’ Money The ‘stache is sexy: Sex columnist Jessica Klein takes a look at the Movember phenomenon and urges women to sleep with a guy sporting a ‘stache. Just doin’ her part, I guess.

This is what democracy looks like?: Ally Henderson brings us a harrowing tale of being detained illegally for no apparent reason while she peacefully protested the G20 Summit in Toronto. A tale unfortunately too common during the event.

Rich Aucoin interviewed by FTB’s Cassie Doubleday: In the first of many video interviews with musicians to come, We Heart Music columnist goes one on one with the originator of funcore and fellow Haligonian Rich Aucoin. The two talk about Rich’s music, his charity and much more.

Oh Canada: FUBAR: While she reviews films from all around the world, Stephanie Laughlin definitely has a fondness for Canadian cinema. In fact, she devoted the entire month of July to covering it. Included among this plethora of Canadiana was her review of recent indie darling Fubar, the first one, which we published shortly before the sequel came out.

The whiteness of being green: In this post from late August, columnist Mel Lefebvre takes the time to reflect on why the environmental movement of which she is a part seems sometimes to be the exclusive domain of white people.

Tuesday Night in Williamsburg: This is the first report on the Brooklyn, New York music scene pubished a few months before we got a Brooklyn correspondent and written as part music review, part travel piece from the point of view of Montrealer Jason C. McLean, part of the FTB team that went down to NYC to shoot an episode of JC Sunshine and meet the locals.

JC Sunshine Ep 306: Who Killed Ricardo?: This is by far the most unique JC Sunshine episode and some say the best so far. It’s entirely narrative format and film noir style (black and white detective story for the uninformed). While it works very well on its own, there will be some story elements you might not catch if you haven’t seen the preceding episodes. So if you have the time, we recommend starting a few episodes back if not at the beginning of season 3…or just jump in and enjoy the ride!

From Montreal to Hell in an Oldsmobile: No news is good news. And this rant contains no news whatsoever. It contains Olds. If that doesn’t give you an idea if what to expect in this somewhat disjointed odyssey of a rant by Laurence Tenenbaum, or if it does, read on.

“If we amplify everything we hear nothing!” Jon Stewart tells the 250 000 who gathered at Washington DC’s National Mall Saturday: Steve Ferrara makes the trek from Brooklyn to Washington, DC and brings us this report from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colert’s Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the National Mall.

The Silicone Diaries: An intimate encounter with a silicone goddess: Theatre and arts writer Jessica Alley takes us into the world of Canadian transsexual icon Nina Arsenault as she reviews her new play currently on tour.

Postcards from the edge: In this series of images from his Carte Blance column, photographer Hugo Trottier examines ideas that come to us in the middle of the night.

Well, that’s how we saw 2010 here on FTB. We’ve got big plans for 2011 (not as big as flying cars, but way more in your face), so keep checking back and a very happy New Year to everyone from all of us at Forget The Box!

Photo by Steve Ferrara

Journeymen get ready for the real experience. Multitudes is the kind of band that makes the listener loosen their grasp on reality. Their music transcends genre and is best described as transformative. Bending time and space, a song could start psychedelic and dancey. Then it can turn to free jazz, climax as hardcore and settle into a sophisticated noise.

I have always had a strong fondness for three piece bands.   A player can stretch out without having to worry about stepping on another player’s turf. This comes with a big responsibility though as each instrument is quite exposed. What makes Multitudes a great trio are their simplicity to approach, the passion they play with and the virtuosity each player brings to the stage. I really admire that drummer Alex Lambert is front and center in Multitudes’ stage set up. He is right where a lead singer would traditionally go. Lambert has rightfully earned that spot as he is a lead drummer in the band. Lambert is an animal, very versed in the trick of making odd meters feel like they are still in four. At times he is delicate, meticulously caressing the under hi-hat cymbal with a stick for example. Other times Lambert’s sticks appear as two fiercely glowing blurs shining across all four drums and two cymbals at the same time! The entire time his demeanor is calm and meditative. Bassist Brian House plays a great bass line in the parts of the songs where he sees fit to. At other times, his bass screams unforgivingly with the aid of guitar pedals, creating a magnificent array of soundscapes and explosions. Guitarist Pat Foley has great tone. I especially like it when he plays melodies with some sort of octave effect on.   His chord voicing choice is unique and multi-emotional.

Photo by Steve Ferrar

I first saw Multitudes by chance at a loft party in Greenpoint’s Good Yoga. This warm, spacious and well kept performance space was a great place to see Multitudes. There were so many people I could hardly walk through. All around the band there were about half a dozen old fashioned (1980’s) TV’s showing computer distorted images of the performance appeared on their screens as the show went on. It was the perfect effect for Multitudes. I next caught them perform at Death By Audio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The band played great and debuted five new songs. Foley used a slide towards the end of the night creating smoky, drunken like melodies I really enjoyed. These were backed by massively full chords on bass. Death by Audio, on the other hand, is a horribly dilapidated, corner cut club. Despite its makeshift “DIY” vibe, it is devoid of the dive charm of NYC legendary clubs like CBGB. When people said CBGB was a total shit hole it was with a certain nostalgic charm. I personally have many fond memories of the club with no bathroom doors. I felt no such charm at Death By Audio, though I have to say the staff was very nice.

Multitudes released their first record, Ontogeny earlier this year. I briefly sat down with Brian House who told me they plan to go into the studio this winter to record the five songs they debuted at Death By Audio along with seven more to make a 12 song record. The new record, slated for release in Spring 2011, will feature short form songs with more of the band’s punk tendencies compared to the more conceptual Ontogeny. House also hinted at a tentative plan for the band to leave New York for a bit this winter and share their highly original sound with some other cities. Please check out multitudesband.com for tour updates as well as info on their upcoming 2nd studio release.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

The first thing I heard from the Brooklyn based band Ben Franklin was their record, Optimist. The recording has a great sound. It is no shitty demo. There are big sounding drums, present vocals, and each instrument sits in its own clear spot in the overall mix. On the other hand Optimist isn’t over produced like 95% of the major releases today. The songs are catchy and clever post-punk with a taste of indie-rock. They make me think of bands like Cake, Weezer (Blue and Pinkerton only), Cursive, and Sunny Day Real Estate. After hearing Optimist, I knew I had to go to a show and see if the band live stood up to the recording.

I saw Ben Franklin at 11pm on a Wednesday at Bruar Falls, one of Williamsburg’s not so underground, hip spots. The club was packed. It took about four songs for the band to get warm, but once they got it they were on fire. Their vocal harmonies are well planned and spot on. I find the riff based sections of their songs to be where the band thrives. Billy Gray is not only the main vocalist but also the lead guitarist. His modesty on stage is dichotomous to his masochistic style songwriting. While speaking to the crowd he comes off as vulnerable and sincere. Bassist Eddie Garza does most of the talking for the night. His banter between songs is too long for me, though he does a great job of playing, singing and dancing during the songs. He is the designated fun guy in the band.

The lyrics are cynical and sarcastic with a touch of anger. Their fans connect with these emotions and have the uninhibited desire to party that is inherent to rock music. What I mean to say is: the crowd freaked out.
The song, Drink to Forget, was the turning point of the night. The audience members knew the song by heart. While singing along, they really started to move.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

As the night went on more drinks were consumed both on stage and off. I think I caught a glimpse of a flask
in Billy’s hand at one point. All this partying and the music led to a great and wonderful thing, STAGE DIVING
AND CROWD SURFING! It came on like a storm. First there was moshing. Then the momentum grew and some people were being lifted quickly here and there. Next thing I knew, it became like an underground VFW show
in 1991. A small girl got up on stage and just jumped. The audience caught her and carried her around. That was it.   Now it was “okay” for every dude to get up on stage and jump. The more people freaked out, the harder the band played. The harder the band played, the more the floor shook. At the end of the night all the instruments and people fell to the ground. As the band left a massacred stage Eddie picked up a mic and suggested a list
of priorities yelling, “Really, smoke weed and buy our shit!” He dropped the mic with a thud and the band walked off to greet fans.

Check Ben Franklin out at wearebenfranklin.com where you can “buy their shit,” Optimist, for free or name your price. They are currently finishing up the mixes of a new 7″ to be released on Killing Horse Records in January. It will be called Urgency.

http://www.marriedtothesea.com/062307/local-music-rules.gifWe’re going Loco. I’m already pretty loco, but, that’s not the point. We Heart Music is going local and under the radar. Starting November 17th, 2010 and ending December 17th, 2010 (my birthday!), we’re going to be doing a special month-long edition dedicated to local and under the radar artists in Montreal and Brooklyn. Let’s get Loco!

Let’s get Loco! is about focusing our eyes to see what’s right in front us (3D picture included) innovative and unique local music. We want to give those deserving, hardworking Montreal and Brooklyn based artists the exposure and press they need. We’re going to be giving you the down-low about what’s going on in your backyard bars, the neighbourhoods you should be visiting for great music, and bands you may have overlooked due to the influx of big names and big game.

I bet you have a lot of questions. Well, this isn’t just about vegetables and farmers (I hope you’re a little wiser than that assumption about “local”). First question: why am I doing this and why should you care? Because… copious amounts of bands pass through our cities every week and this can be overwhelming, leaving you playing a guessing game of eanie-meanie-minie-moe (what a time killer). Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great method for picking a show, but we’re here to help. Plus, pointing isn’t very polite.

http://www.graphicdirt.com/tag/brooklyn/

Second question: why Brooklyn? Well, other than being a super fucking cool place and centre of hip, up-and-coming bands,
we had a new writer join our We Heart Music team. Steve Ferrara, a Brooklyn based musician, offered to give his time and ears
to our section to help promote his neighbourhood scene. We also want you to know what’s up down below (…wait, that sounds bad).

So, let’s get to the goods…

To get you, I and our Facebook friends excited, we’re going to kick-off this special month-long edition with M for Montreal. M for Montreal is celebrating its fifth birthday as the foundation of the alternative music movement in Montreal and beyond. This festival has caught the attention of various critics all over the world. Artists such as Patrick Watson, Malajube and CÅ“ur de Pirate, have all benefited from M for Montreal. It’s always been a known fact that Montreal is the culture and arts hub of Canada (and Brooklyn is our brother who always had the best table manners). So, it was just a matter of time that a festival, such as M for Montreal, came along. And it was also just a matter of time a great Brooklyn writer joined our team to give you the dish on their scene.

Because I like to make things easy for you, here’s the complete M for Montreal line-up.

If you hard-pressed to figure out which bands you really want to see because of lack of funds or time, here’s what I would suggest: Valleys, Random Recipe and Pascale Picard. Awhhh shit, I’m trying to expand our minds. I hope you’re willing to leave your snowsuit behind and jump outside your comfort zone (exposure is one of the best forms of self-education darling…).

On the other side of the table (or across the border) here’s some of the bands you‘ll be getting to know:

…and that’s just what we’ve got in pen.

In the coming days you can expect: artist profiles, M for Montreal   and Brooklyn show reviews, and listings of artists, venues and places to get cheap drinks. We want you to have the social life you deserve (all while warming your heart with music). Oh yes, and it’ll help you be the hot child in the city (hot child in the city/ hot child in the city/ runnin’ wild and lookin’ pretty).

Oh…it doesn’t end there dear readers. What if you’re an artist and you need some sweet, interesting and fun coverage? Well my friend, open your email, put Steve or my email address in (location dependent) and get at us via this crazy thing called the in-ter-net….

Get @ me: cassie@forgetthebox.net
Get @ Steve: steveferrara@gmail.com

We want your help, because the only way this will benefit our local artists (and your rent) is if you play true-telephone and pass the word along to your friends or bands you know. SPREAD THE WORD and let’s all get loco!

Cool beans. Stay in-tune and see you soon.

This guy is now the mayor of Canada’s largest city:

To quote Jon Stewart talking about late Alaska senator Ted Stevens being third in line for the presidency: “No joke here, just thought you should know.”

Yup, that’s right, the Tea Party has come to power in Toronto. With the election of Limbaugh-esque (and not just for his appearance) loudmouth Rob Ford as the city’s mayor, Toronto has turned a page, actually a few pages, back in its evolution.

If you thought his call to lynch the homeless was shocking, his thoughts on the rights of cyclists:

or immigration:

aren’t much better. Neither are his actual policies. He has very loudly proclaimed plans to curb the power of unions, privatize sanitation services and support tax breaks for the Bay Street clique while breaking the backs of those who work for them.

The fact that someone so entrenched in pro-financial elite, ultra right-wing ideology who doesn’t get that alternatives to the private car are the way of the future could actually come to power in a supposedly progressive city is sad. It’s also not all that surprising.

While my instant reaction was to think that recent G-20 police state antics on the part of the Toronto cops scared all the lefties away from going out to vote, I realized that this electoral disaster had been brewing for a while.

You see, Toronto is no Montreal (Gerald Tremblay’s no peach himself, but at least he gives lip service to some good ideas). While Canada’s former largest city clearly has its own personality and style (European flair mixed with American culture), Toronto has always tried to be American, like a New York of the north, only about ten years behind the times.

They haven’t strayed from that course. Seriously. If you’re thinking that this election means that hogtown gave up its Big Apple aspirations to become Atlanta with snow, take a look at some of NYC’s recent political history.

While always maintaining its progressive sorta lefty cool on the national stage, New York has gone in a very different political direction locally. Bush never had a chance in the five boroughs, but Giuliani and then Bloomberg did, transforming what was once a great city filled with new ideas and liberated people into a middle-America friendly, pro-corporate police state that doesn’t like dancing.

This at least gives hope that NYC’s Canadian copycat won’t suddenly turn pro-Harper. I feel there is still just as much chance that the cons will get a single MP elected in the 416 as there is that Rob Ford will bike down to the homeless shelter and offer some poor immigrant down on his luck a sandwich and a place to sleep in his guest room.

Unfortunately, on a local level, Toronto is now saddled with a bigger embarrassment than the Maple Leafs. One can only hope that they break their American addiction as soon as possible and tell Ford to have his tea party somewhere else.

What makes New York City great is that it’s a melting pot of nationalities, races and religions. Where ever you come from in this world you can be sure there is a community waiting for you there. That’s why it incenses me that certain conservatives along with a majority of New Yorkers themselves oppose the building of mosque, given Manhattan’s cultural diversity.

The location is what the majority of people seem to have a problem with.   Being only two blocks away from the heart of the 9/11 terrorist attacks (the terrorist attackers of course being Muslim), some people believe it’s too close for comfort.   As Sarah Palin said “it’s like a slap in the face”.   Of course, I disagree with the half-term governor.

The Mosque Near Ground Zero is Not “At” Ground Zero

The hundred million dollar mosque in question that seems to have stirred up so much anger and controversy is scheduled to be built about two blocks away from ground zero and not in fact on ground zero as many people are being led to believe.

The 13-story Islamic center to be built at 45 51 Park Place can hardly be called a “mosque” as it will contain a Muslim prayer room, 500-seat auditorium, theater, performing arts center, fitness center, swimming pool, basketball court, childcare services, art exhibitions, bookstore, a culinary school and a food court.   It will be more of a YMCA than a house of worship.

Some people call the building of this Islamic Center offensive because the terrorists that committed the horrendous crimes did so in the name of Islam.   They seem to forget that they were religious fundamentalists: they do EVERYTHING in the name of Islam, their religion masks any true motives they might have.

Opposition for the mosque doesn’t surprise me when it comes from people like Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich; they will always put their own faith first.   When I hear the same sort of rhetoric coming from organizations like the Anti-Defamation League, an institute I normally trust and support, I must admit I get a bit miffed.

People at the ADL apparently don’t support the NYC mosque because “we wouldn’t be allowed to build a church near Mecca” in Saudi Arabia.   Correct me if I’m wrong, but Mecca is the holiest of sites in all of Islam.   Are they trying to say that ground zero is the Mecca of Christianity?   Even if New York City was the birth place of Christ, Saudi Arabia does not have the religious freedoms that the United States is supposed to have.

New York City Mosque Protesters

The resistance to the Islamic Center clearly stems from a prejudice or general hatred of Muslims.   I’m not a religious man, but I bet if those terrorists had been Christian fundamentalists there would have been no opposition to anyone building a church there on Park Place.

Since people normally hate what they fear and are afraid of what they don’t understand, in this case of Islam, I find that building a cultural center is a great idea.   It will help bring understanding and people of all faiths closer together making New York City even greater as a result.

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. “
Aldo Leopold

If human and wildlife justice systems were the same, your whole community would be annihilated if you were hit by a car.  Ridiculous, isn’t it?  Well that is exactly what happened to 400 Canadian Geese in Brooklyn last July.

The excuse for the mass killings was that a flock of Branta canadensis was sucked into an airliner’s jet engines that crashed in the Hudson River.   Everyone on the flight survived.

The geese were gassed under the cloak of night after New York o.k’d the removal of geese within an 11 km radius of the airport.

Too bad for the geese and surrounding environment that the 400 goners were well outside this zoning regulation, more than 14 km away.   They were tossed in a landfill, causing an outcry from conservationists and goose meat lovers.

Although this cull was  unnecessary  for the stated  reason  of airline security, it pleased residents who claimed that the bird was becoming a nuisance.

Many of the complaints against the geese are symptomatic of a spoiled human population. They’re noisy, messy and can be  aggressive, so therefore, they no longer deserve to live.

Wildlife management is a curious thing.   Sometimes, culling is the best way to promote a healthy ecosystem.

Canadian geese were in severe decline a few decades ago, but have since rebounded to support a healthy population of goose hunters.   These killings, however, have no base in sound management since non-lethal methods of removal can be used.

Although the cull appears nonsensical and absurd, the Forest Lakes Community Association supports the killings, stating that they are “potentially deadly” birds.

Oregon, New Jersey and New York are among some of the U.S states enacting a cull on Canadian geese.   In Canada, Nova Scotia is culling Canadian geese to prevent a population outbreak that may cause crop damage, but has not as of yet.

The culls are going to continue as long as it is the most economical method for controlling wildlife.   The thing about this type of control is that a new, potentially more pervasive nuisance species will take the Canadian goose’s place.

In a world where we continually remove natural habitat, why do we punish the wildlife that adapt best to our urban surroundings?