Pierrefonds-Roxboro is one of the three Montreal boroughs under state of emergency, but you certainly wouldn’t know it from walking on the dry and clean parts of Pierrefonds Boulevard, where even the buses still run on time. Nothing to indicate the multiple disastrous and somewhat surreal sights that await only a couple of blocks down: entire streets flooded, picturesque houses and vehicles immersed in eerily still water, piles of sandbags scattered like battle fortifications.

Everyday, residents stop by the disaster area, anxiously appraising the situation from their cars or going as far as their rain boots allow to check on their property. For some, it’s been weeks since the water started seeping into their houses, others are still warily surveying the changing levels of the river, praying it won’t reach their doorstep.

Early Tuesday evening, the first signs that the water has – ever so slightly – receded, elicited cautious relief in many of them. However, everyone knows that even if the weather remains stable, they are still in for a long wait before the river returns to its bed and they can start to assess the actual damages.

One man, who wishes to only be identified as a “directly affected citizen of Pierrefonds” stopped to take in the striking sight of a half-drowned mailbox, which despite being a few meters away from the Gouin Boulevard, now looks as if someone made the odd choice of planting it in the middle of a lake.

“Terrible, isn’t it?” he said, his expression grim. “Everything we do to Nature, you know, there comes a point when she can’t absorb it anymore and then she sends this back.” For him, Pierrefonds’ woes trace back to a far larger issue: climate change.

“It will be necessary for people to understand the gravity of the situation. And watching a little TV, you see it’s not only Canada and Quebec that are affected. There are many countries in the world that live through the same situation, and they don’t always have the resources we do.”

The water had thankfully not reached his house yet, but, despite the first timid signs of improvement, he remained anxious. “If it rains, even one more day, I’m directly threatened,” he explained. He bought a water pump during the week-end “just in case.”

A few streets away, Maria** and her adult son were looking for their canoe to go check on their property. Originally from Poland, she and her two children had bought a brand new house here, on Vaudeville Street, only five years ago. Their beloved home has been flooded since last Friday. Like many of their neighbours, they were woken up by the army at five AM and told they had to get out, and quickly.

They are currently living in a nearby hotel with the help of the Red Cross. Last time they checked, the water was up to their chests in the basement. To say the least, stress has taken its toll. “It’s panic attacks and sometimes, you can’t sleep at night,” confided the mother.

She was not alone to breathe a sigh of relief when she noticed the few inches of wet asphalt, indicating that the water had slightly withdrawn. Still, her worry was palpable. “I look at the water and I tremble,” she admitted.

Nonetheless, just like the mailbox-watcher, they were thinking of those even less fortunate than them.“You always have to think of those who have it worse than you,” Maria said. “There are a lot of elderly people living here,” her son added.

Civilians and officials

Police officers guard the flooded streets to make sure that no one has the bad idea of trying to pass through with their car, or the heartlessness to rob the deserted homes. The firefighters, the army and many volunteers are also present to lend a hand to whomever needs it.

“[The officers] are doing what they can, but they have a different point of view because it’s their job, you know; we’re their clients,” Maria’s son observed.

His mother agreed but sighed: “This tragedy, it’s not theirs inside and when you see two policemen laughing and talking, it’s hard to welcome them.” According to her, it’s the Red Cross that is their ultimate life-saver. They provided them with a hotel room, a meal allocation, and even some money to buy clothes.

Maria found one thing to be happy about in this ordeal: a new sense of solidarity in the community: “We became like a big family with the people on the street, because everybody helps each other and we are all in the same hotel. Before that, we didn’t know each other.”

Indeed, everywhere you looked, there was a little cluster of neighbours chatting, asking for news and offering help. One man was making the rounds with his own canoe to help other people around the flooded streets whenever they needed to get something from home or just to check that it’s still standing. One of the policemen asked him to go check up on one of the rare residents who was still inside his house: “He’s been there for a while, see if he needs anything.”

Still, Maria reflected with a sad smile, “We shouldn’t need to have a tragedy to be together.”

State of emergency prolonged

By Wednesday afternoon, the water had significantly receded in the Montreal area. However the level of the Saint-Lawrence remains worrying near Quebec City and the Mauricie region. Nobody is out of the woods yet, since various amounts of rain are expected all over the province during the next few days.

The state emergency which is meant to allow the municipalities to mobilize staff and resources more efficiently is still in place in several areas including in Laval and Montreal.

As of Wednesday night, there was a total of 3301 people evacuated and 4141 houses flooded throughout Quebec. 166 municipalities were still affected.

The government has promised to deploy all the necessary staff on the field as well as financial aid for the affected citizens. However, the people of Pierrefonds and other flooded municipalities will also need all the solidarity they can get, not only form their own communities, but from all of us.

* Photos by Mirna Djukic

**Probably not her real name. Due to the engaging and organic nature of the conversation, this detail was lost. If her or her son read this and would like us to correct the record, please contact forgetthebox@forgetthebox.net and we will update the article

On January 19th Montreal photographer Ana Jovmir debuted her ambitious new series What’s the Problem at Theatre St-Catherine. The series is comprised of photographs from a diverse group of individuals who each tell their own distinct story; I’m passionate. I’m angry. I’m ready for change.


With this series, Jovmir stepped away from her usual fashion and commercial photography work to create something much more intimate. Using friends and acquaintances as models, all the shoots were improvised.  “As they stepped in front of the lens, I asked them to tell me about the things that piss them off. Things they’d want to change in themselves or their environment. And we just went from there,” Jovmir said.

So what inspired Jovmir to create a photo series based on the idea that anger and disillusionment can lead to creativity and positive change? “Often our freedom of creation is restricted by the society that surrounds us,” Jovmir explained. ”This project is about making people think what’s important to them. I’m hoping it inspires people to act on the things that they care about in a positive way.”


The theme behind What’s the Problem is a noble but quite broad one. Therefore certain photos in the series work better than others. It’s not that any of the photos in the What’s the Problem series are bad. Rather two photos in particular stand out for both perfectly embodying the theme of the show, and their immediate emotional impact.

Erica doesn’t just stand out because of the model’s beauty. Rather it’s her charisma and self-confidence that gives the photo a sense of energy. “I know what I want and am NOT afraid to go out and get it,” the photo seems to say.

Rosemary meanwhile is the only two person photo in the series. Immediately upon viewing the photograph one can see it speaks the most to What’s the Problem is trying to express. With only their eyes visible, both models represent that youthful determination that caring for a cause can elicit real change. It’s easy to imagine these two models just returning from a student strike protest.

In reviewing the photos for this series, it’s clear to see that Ana is a talented photographer with a long career ahead of her. Let’s hope she continues to take on interesting personal projects as well for a long time to come.

What’s the Problem will be on display until March 13th at Théâtre Sainte-Catherine, 264 Rue Sainte-Catherine E.

For more information connect with Ana via her website, on Facebook or Tumblr

Photos by Ana Jovmir and Manikmati. Used with permission


Viktor Tatran opens the Photography exhibit Musée de la vie et de la mort this week at Théâtre Saint-James. This not to be missed show is on from June 2nd to 8th and features a series of provocative Erotic photography, artistic nudes as well as the artist’s powerful image series from Auschwitz, Germany.

The stark contrast between these subjects exemplifies the theme of the exhibit, where the viewer is tempted with seductive images of life in all it’s beauty and then reminded of our frail mortality by being confronted by images from the Holocaust.

Viktor tatran 2

Viktor Tatran is a former photojournalist who shot photos during the war in Afghanistan (1980-81) and then returned to pursue his career as a Fashion and Erotic photographer. This is Viktor Tatran’s first major international show, and as such he has invited three other photographers to present their work as part of this complete show. On display you will find the works of Thierry Quenette, MAXXX and Michel-Pierre Levy.

viktortatran_visuelautiliser_72dpiForget The Box is also happy to announce that we have a limited number of tickets for this event! To score a pair of tickets ($40 value) simply share this article on Facebook or Twitter or sign up to our email list (in the sidebar) and send and email to chris@forgetthebox.net letting me know.

Musée de la Vie et de la Mort de Viktor Tatran au profit de la Fondation SoFy, Don d’organes from June 2-8 at Théâtre St-James, 256 St-Jacques Ouest (purchase tickets)


The dearth of friendly, independent cafés in the Golden Square Mile has always surprised me. Though slow advances are afoot – first Kafeïn, then Myriade and most recently Humble Lion – this thriving, thoughtful, studious hub remains more or less the stronghold of Chain Coffee.

Throw in the proximity of cultural havens such as the Musée de Beaux-Arts and the corporate coffee epidemic seems even more puzzling.

That’s why I was delighted to happen upon Café Aunja, new inhabitant of now-defunct Galerie Mazarine on Sherbrooke St. W., just a block from the main entrance of said Musée. I stumbled on it by mistake the first time, charmed in off the cold street by colourful furniture and brick walls (Disclosure: I’m a sucker for both).

Cafe Aunja © Valeria BismarA cool café? I wondered breathlessly, in the midst of all these stuffy galleries? 

I couldn’t have known then that the juxtaposition was, well…not exactly intentional. According to co-owner Majid, Aunja was conceived as something of an extension of the Musée itself, a friendly “space for artists.”

“We thought about all the things we like to experience when we go to a café,” he mused, a skilled artisan himself. “Then we made it.”

So Saturdays are performance nights and space is allotted for artists to sell work. There’s the obligatory vintage sofa, shelf of dusty books and mismatched chairs—de rigeur for any artsy café.

But Aunja is no l’Éscalier—at least to my eye. There is a strong sense of authorship, a precise aesthetic, a sense that the space, perhaps more than the menu, is “curated” just for pontificating…or creating.

I like that. As a (sometime) writer, I’m definitely biased. But it’s my kind of place—with a vibe that might be described as a nearby blend of student-run Café X and chic Olivier Potier—in other words, equal part sketchbooks, hushed conversation and modest elegance.

Cafe Aunja © Valeria BismarSpeaking of curation—there’s more. A roundabout conversation about the décor (which also includes stacks of National Geographics, startling black-and-white portraits and even an “antique camera museum”) unearths the fact that even Aunja’s furniture is detail-driven .

“We made these tables by hand,” Majid says, grinning.

The co-owners of Aunja—a “circle of friends” in Majid’s words—were warm, welcoming and refreshingly forthcoming on every one of my visits. My questions (whether about tea, history, or the menu) were often met with modesty, bright smiles and generous anecdotes.

Hamed Masoumi, another part-owner (pictured below), received with delight one of my coffee companions’ memories of his travels in the owners’ native Iran. I later found out that Masoumi is also the photographer behind those exceptional wall portraits.

Majid chuckled at my sense of awe. “We made this countertop, too,” he said, tapping the rich mahogany espresso-counter.

Though Aunja specializes in teas, a small rotating menu of soups, salads and sandwiches are just enough to keep a creative type cocooned away from big, cold, traffic-laden Sherbrooke West.

And though I am not enough of a coffee aficionado to really rate it against giants like Myriade, Pikolo or the Humble Lion, my few forays into short espressos certainly seemed spot on.

So I leave you with this truism—which is especially à propos with the looming winter— a “cool café” is all about what you make of it.

Cafe Aunja © Valeria Bismar
Cafe Aunja © Valeria Bismar
Cafe Aunja © Valeria Bismar

Café Aunja is located at 1448 Sherbrooke West.

Photos by Valeria Bismar.

As of Thursday night, Citizen Vintage, (5330 St-Laurent) will be hosting the vernissage of the Snapshot Project for a few days.

The Snapshot Project was thought of last September by Cleo and Christyna, both new to Montreal. The girls figured this would be a great way to get acquainted with the city and to understand it better through the eyes of strangers with a disposable camera.

The girls applied for a grant with FASA (Fine Arts Student Association), bought 40 disposable cameras and dropped them off with instructions in over 25 locations around the Plateau, Outremont, Rosemont Petite-Patrie and Ville-Marie. Among the places hosting the cameras were Pikolo Espresso Bar, Lapin Presse, Flocon Espresso and many more. The instructions were very simple, pick up the camera, take a photo of whatever and wherever and then bring back the camera.

A month later, Christyna and Cleo picked up the cameras, they collected 31 cameras, very impressive number!

The result is 463 pictures which took 6 hours to install in the shop. The photos are displayed in a way to look like a constellation. The only editing that was done was removing the photos which were too dark or were double. Apart from that all the photos made the cut!

What a clever and simple idea! The result is very cool, the photos are very interesting, some are beautiful shots. Some people took the camera up the mountain or on top of buildings with awesome views of the city.

Disposable cameras are rarer and rarer these days, there were two at the vernissage for people to enjoy. I took a few shots and enjoyed turning the little wheel to be able to take the next shot. It was also refreshing not to be able to see my shot!

The photos will be taken down on Monday so go in this weekend and take a look!

If you miss out on the exhibition, don’t despair as the photos will soon be online, http://snapshotproject.tumblr.com/ , so keep an eye out for them in the future.

What can I say, I’m addicted to Instagram.

I’ll admit, when I discovered there was an Instagram-branded digital camera I bemoaned the death of Polaroid, but hey, who am I to tell the free-market what to do?

Personally, I like the filters and the way by which the filters are able to ameliorate otherwise low-quality digital photos, but I’m sure that will change too as the technology improves. Regardless, here are some of my favourite snap-shots of people and places in our fair city.

Tour KPMG (Place de la Cathedrale)
Tour KPMG (Place de la Cathedrale) – Montreal
St-Henri depanneur
St-Henri depanneur

The quintessential Montréal Dépanneur, commerce integrated directly into a residential plan, optimizing convenience while maintaining the link between vital small business and the neighbourhood that supports it. I read somewhere the estimate was that a single Montréal dépanneur typically serves a base of 1,000 regular customers, and as such, these small mom and pop operations tend to cater to specific local needs, not to mention offer some unique treats. One of the finest lunches to be had (on the cheap) in this city involves homemade soups and sandwiches sold by a lovely Polish lady in a dépanneur located at St-Marc and René-Lévesque.

Montreal World Trade Centre instagram
Montreal World Trade Centre

A hidden gem, the Centre du Commerce Mondiale de Montréal (located next to Square-Victoria and a component of the Réso underground city), this massive atrium was built over the former Ruelle des Fortifications and as such unites several heritage properties into a single complex. It was conceived of as a horizontal skyscraper, with the Intercontinental Hotel anchoring the base. The fountain at one end of the reflecting pool was built in France in the early 18th century and, along with a piece of the Berlin Wall also located here, were together with the complex, part of the city’s numerous 350th anniversary presents.

Windsor Station Place du Canada Montreal instagram
Windsor Station & 1250 Boul. René-Lévesque taken from the Place du Canada viaduct

An afterthought – both of these buildings have lost their anchor tenants. The tower was originally jointly owned by IBM and Marathon Realty, another 350th anniversary gift to the city from the private sector. It was built in competition with 1000 de la Gauchetiere West and though both are icons of the city’s post-modern architecture, both lack anchor tenants. Odd considering how beautiful both are, how centrally located they are. Windsor Station was the corporate head office of Canadian Pacific Railways until 1997 when they consolidated their operations in Calgary. Today I believe CSIS maintains an office there. I wonder if new residential developments in the area will have any effect on their future significance in the urban tapestry.

McGill College Montreal instagram
McGill College Avenue at Dusk from the PVM Belvedere

One of the better achievements of 1980s city-planning, Vincent Ponté’s re-design of McGill College Avenue. Plans to create a showcase street date back to before the Second World War, but didn’t come to fruition until the 1980s. Prior, it was a far narrower street, with much of the space above Boul. de Maisonneuve nothing but parking lots. Redevelopment began when the Capitol Theatre was torn down in the 1970s and replaced with the squat, ugly brown building off to the left (out of frame).

A more comprehensive plan came to fruition in the early 1980s that would ultimately lead to the development of several gleaming post-modern office towers and one of the city’s premier show streets. If I have one complaint, it’s that despite the large number of people who pass through here, work here etc, no one lives in this part of town. I can imagine it would be a rather fetching address. Sometimes I wonder why there isn’t a trend in this city to redevelop old office buildings (such as the aforementioned brown monstrosity) into condos. Seems like a natural evolution.

avenue du musee montreal instagram
Avenue du Musée

I like the gradual development of the Quartier des Musées and the new pavilion of the MMFA – this is progressing in the right direction. The city has a plan for economic stimulus in this area, as they want to increase the number of stable local high-end boutiques and galleries. It could use a café and a bistro and it would be wise for the city to help in the quartier’s branding if they were able to offer various incentives to help concentrate galleries in the area.

Also, while I’m a big fan of the outdoor sculptures, they’re overwhelming given how close they’re grouped together. Would it be so bad if they were spaced out a bit? Maybe the presence of art installations could be used to delineate the boundaries of the Quartier?

Montreal balcony instagram
We have beautiful balconies in this city…

A place where everyone can pass a long summer day thinking about tomorrow, pondering what could be. I think we’re lucky it’s considered an element of good design to include some type of balcony, front porch or rooftop terrace on urban residential construction here. In some places, it’s quite the rarity, considered old-fashioned. Odd no?

Place Ville Marie Montreal instagram
The Sun Life Building (1931), PVM 5 (1968) and PVM 1 (1962)

Olympic Stadium Montreal birds instagram

We’ve really got to figure out what to do with this place. How much longer do we let it slowly decompose?

This post originally appeared on TaylorNoakes.com

ohland montreal osheaga

Forget The Box loves to go out onto the streets of Montreal ‘n beyond and shoot photos of local shows and events. Over the course of the last year we’ve gotten some pretty good shots, so we wanted to collect a few of them for you all in one spot. Let us know in the comments below which ones are your favourites!

Jack Layton at the Election Rally in Montreal

The Montreal Fetish Weekend

The play Joe Louis: An American Love Story


The Montreal Slut Walk

Montreal Everything to do About Sex Convention

This one was just cute

Sherlock Homo and Twatson at Glam Gam’s Murder Mystery Burlesque show

The Montreal ComicCon

burlesque girl

Blood Ballet Cabaret

Occupy Montreal

Glam Gam’s Murder Mystery Burlesque show

Blood Ballet Cabaret

While out and about we covered quite a few awesome music shows as well. Here are a couple of our fondest memories from music performances!

Flaming Lips at Osheaga

balconies montrealThe Balconies at POP Montreal

ohland montreal osheagaOh Land @ Osheaga

Tokyo Police Club montreal osheagaTokyo Police Club at Osheaga

sheepdogs montrealSheepdogs at Osheaga

 Alcoholic faith mission @ CMWAlcoholic Faith Mission at Canadian Music Week

Sadies Sexsmith

The Sadies with Ron Sexsmith at Canadian Music Week

bran van 3000

Bran Van 3000 at M for Montreal

Michou montreal

The Drummer from Michou skateboarding down St. Hubert street after their gig at CFCF

Hope you like these picks and tell us which are your favorites in the comments below!

Photoshop has transformed both artistic and commercial photography, at times for the better and at times for the worse. Robert Laliberte’s stunning new exhibit ‘Transformations‘ is definite proof of the best that Photoshop can do to create intriguing, alluring images that make you want to examine them again and again.

As Laliberte told the Mirror earlier this month, “my point was to confuse the viewer as to how I created the images”. He used almost 70 different photographs to create the 21 pieces in the exhibit, which is showing at a sleek, contemporary gallery space in the Village called Galerie Dentaire.

The Montreal-based gay photographer got his start in the industry taking portraits for high-profile luminaries like Rene Levesque and Michel Tremblay, back when cameras still used film and photographers didn’t have the luxury of magically erasing blemishes or fusing multiple images together. His recent work features the epitome of the sculpted male aesthetic juxtaposed with scenes and objects of nature, creating what Laliberte calls “visual poems”.

In “Fleur Male”, the model is bent forward and grabbing his ankles in an incredible demonstration of intense focus and determination, resembling a classic yoga asana that takes years to achieve. Seemingly sprouting from the man’s rear is a sublime white lotus flower. Paired together, the man’s form resembles the vase that the flower calls home. It also speaks to a unity of masculine and feminine: the strength of the form with the fragility and delicate beauty of the flower.

Laliberte doesn’t employ nudity for its shock value. In fact, there was not a single cock shot in the bunch. His choice to flaunt the bare male form was two-fold: he wanted his photographs to be timeless, and to represent our most natural state as humans, the nakedness of birth and death.

One of the strongest images in the exhibit is “Equus” (pictured at top). It features a chiseled black male with a body to rival Adonis sporting a wire horse head, and gorgeously rendered in sepia-tone. I love the way Lalibete is able to convey power and strength without venturing into aggressiveness. The very delicate nature of the model’s posture and facial expression with eyes closed again evokes a certain degree of femininity, but without going overboard and venturing into satire or parody.

Many of the images in the exhibit feature models with closed eyes or faces turned away from the camera. In a sense, this helps the viewer to focus on the aesthetics of the form as opposed to the identity of the model. One notable exception to this is “Etat D’Ame”, which features a 3×3 grid of the same black and white head with different superimposed full color eyes.

Playing on the notion that the eyes are the windows to the soul, the subject’s soul is fragmented and depicted in varying forms including a black eye (the fighter), glittering drag make-up (the diva), crying a bloody tear (the sympathetic), and fully blacked out (censored, sleeping or perhaps death?)

Overall, I’d highly recommend Transformations, for the way it stirs up a range of emotions in the viewer and raises a number of questions about identity.

Robert Laliberte’s Transformation runs until August 9th, 2011

Galerie Dentaire, 1239 Amherst, (514) 523-5535


All photos in this article credited to Robert Laliberte – http://www.robertlaliberte.com/


Starting this Friday night at Galerie-Espace (4844 Blvd St Laurent), visual artist Steve Walls will be showcasing his photography work. Photos range from Montreal’s Glam Gam burlesque toupe, rave kids who make their own clothing to New Dandy’s and “the occasional mom turned tattooed blogging model queen.”

Steve Walls moved to Montreal after a decade of nomadic travels London, Singapore, Sydney, New York, Detroit, bits of Spain and Korea, even a spell in Vanuatu. I thought that I knew cities, but this one felt different, says Walls. “Montreal lives in the dusk and the dawn, in conversations that happen in the moments between light and dark. Yet it’s a city that’s built on the people that it rewards and recognizes the least.”

The exhibit, I Guess We’re Strange, celebrates the artists who are pushed to the fringes, the family that bonds them together, and the sense of doing things rather than saying.

Every person that I’ve met has been surrounded by a tight group of friends, equally committed to getting things done but more committed yet to each other,” says Walls. “This is a city of fringe theater, of low budget performances, of ‘let’s put on a show right here’ people who sacrifice a huge amount in pursuit of doing something interesting, challenging and fun – often helping out the marginalized as they do it.”

I Guess We’re Strange runs this Friday January, 28th until Tuesday, February 1st. Friday’s opening festivities begin at 6pm and go until 9:30pm. From Saturday to Tuesday, the exhibit will be open from 12pm until 8pm.

All of Steve Wall’s photographs and other original bits will be available for purchase, with proceeds being “pumped back into the fringe’.”

As well as owning some profound photography, you could also win some studio time with Walls.  “I’m hoping to have people participate by having them write something about their favourite shot and giving a free photo session to the most moving/entertaining/brutal/sycophantic offer.”

Come out and celebrate the artists that make Montreal such a creative mecca!

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 Café 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) Café 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!

Hugo Trottier’s Postcards From the Edge Series

In the middle of the night many of us shut our eyes, lose our thoughts and let go of the day. In the middle of the night when many of us are sleeping, dreaming and talking in our sleep, there are artists crafting pieces together that will ultimately change our perspectives, open our eyes and stimulate our senses.

Forget The Box would like to introduce Hugo Trottier’s second series, Postcards from the Edge. The series is a visual representation of how there is still beauty amidst the destruction in our industrialized world. It is where beauty meets the beast. There is a common theme amongst the photos in this series. If you pay attention you will notice the supermodels, you will notice the destruction… but do you notice the umbrellas?

When we examine umbrellas closely they seem so simple, so innocent, so protective. And they are. They are the shields that hide us from the rain, the cold hard rain that comes down and washes away the sadness that fills our lives. But, in this series, the umbrellas do not protect the beauty; rather they are simply an allusion to the precautions we must take in life. We all want a protector or do we?

We have seen destruction in this lifetime. We have seen hurt, poverty, black, white and gray. We have seen the sun, the colours and hippies. But, do we truly see what happens when your protector meets the darkness and what the mind can create in the late or early hours of a midnight sky? Hugo’s collection portrays the innocence of life, the werewolf in your bed and the rays of light that are sometimes forgotten in this busy world.

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Hugo’s first series with FTB is the 35th anniversary show Cabaret Cléopatre Grand Spectacle: 35 years of travesty and was held April 24, 2010. Hugo was invited by his friend Velma Candyass, the leader of the Montreal Burlesque Dance Troop, the Dead Dolls, to explore and photograph the event. The 35th anniversary show focused on creating awareness about the forced expropriation the Café may be facing due to the building of the new Hydro Québec offices. We’ve also been covering this story on FTB since June 2009.

Spending most of his night swinging from front to back stages, Hugo captured the intimate and controversial side of the performers. The burlesque artists performances centered on dramatic impersonations of blue collars workers in the City of Montreal.

The majority of the artists featured in the   show were performing in protest against the City and its private promoters. Hugo’s images are a testament to the devotion, talent and creativity of and to all of the hard blue collar workers in Montreal.

Enjoy this wonderful series. Check back next week for the premier of Hugo’s dark post-card series.

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