2015 was quite a year. As we prepare to welcome in the next 365 days, it is time, once again, to take a look back at some of our favourite posts from the previous 365. We asked our contributors to suggest some of their top choices from their own contributions and those of their fellow FTB writers. Here are the results in no particular order:

Dumpster Diving Meets Haute Cuisine at the United Nations by Joshua Davidson (October 2) The title pretty much says it all. Is dumpster dived food really haute cuisine for the world’s diplomats? Yes, it was this year. Josh Davidson explains and talks about what this could mean for food sustainability.

Montreal Police are Out of Control by Jason C. McLean (December 20) After undercover SPVM officers hospitalize a protester for identifying them, Jason C. McLean argues that what many have known for a long time is now, once again, crystal clear for all to see: Montreal Police are out of control!

SPVM riot squad (photo Cem Ertekin)

Leurs Guerres, Nos Morts: Paris, Beirut, Syria and Beyond by Niall Clapham Ricardo (November 17) In the wake of a spate of terrorist attacks, Niall Ricardo looks at our differing reaction to the similar events and argues that we need to see who really benefits.

Girl Gush: The Joy of Female Ejaculation and Sleeping in the Wet Spot by Cat McCarthy (November 12) It’s a rather sticky subject, but sex columnist Cat McCarthy dives right into female ejaculation (conceptually, that is – and yes, all puns very much intended).

M For Montreal: The Celebration of a Musical Scene by Ford Donovan (November 25) Montreal has a vibrant local music scene. That much is clear. Ford Donovan takes a look at just how that shone through this year at the annual M for Montreal music festival.

Beyond the Veil: The Illegitimacy of the Niqab Ban by Samantha Gold (September 27) In the height of this year’s Canadian Federal Election campaign, the woman who fought for the right to wear her niqab at a citizenship ceremony finally gets to take the oath. Samantha Gold takes a look at the legal aspects of the ban itself.

If We Can’t Protest, Then the Terrorists Win! by Jason C. McLean (November 22) With protest marches banned at the Paris Climate Conference (or COP21) as a security measure, how do we protect our right to protest in a time of terror attacks? Jason C. McLean argues that we need to look to, of all people, George W. Bush.

The JFL Ethnic Show Comedians Talk Ethnic Comedy [AUDIO] by Cem Ertekin (July 13) Just what is Ethnic Comedy? Cem Ertekin asks that question of the comedians performing under the banner of the Just for Laughs Ethnic Show.

Are Supermarkets Slowly Coming Back Down to Earth? by Joshua Davidson (March 18) Food that is still edible discarded by supermarkets for cosmetic reasons? It happens all the time. However, as Josh Davidson notes, that trend may be changing.

PorchFest NDG: Ringing in the Summer Community-Style by Jason C. McLean (May 3) It may not be your typical Montreal music festival, but, then again, what’s typical in Montreal music? Looks like PorchFest NDG is here to stay!

PorchFest NDG (photo by Jesse Anger)
PorchFest NDG (photo by Jesse Anger)

Put It In Your Mouth: Oral Sex Reciprocation and Hair Down There by Cat McCarthy (October 8) FTB’s sex columnist Cat McCarthy took a look at many people’s favourite topic: oral sex. More importantly, though, she talks about the importance of reciprocation.

Why I’m Not Voting for Stephen Harper by Johnny Scott (August 16) A rather different take on the election. Not exactly fact-based, but, then again, most politics isn’t.

Orientation on Your First Day As A Pirate by Johnny Scott (September 22) First day on the job can be a tough experience. That doesn’t change if you’re a pirate.

UPDATE: Noted Misogynist Roosh V Welcomed Montreal-Style, with Beer in the Face by Jason C. McLean (August 9) So-called pickup artist Roosh V, a man who thinks rape should be legal on private property, didn’t get the Montreal reception he was expecting. It was the splash felt around the world!

Employment DOs and DON’Ts: Your Rights as an Employee in Quebec by Samantha Gold (October 23) In a tough economy, employees can’t forget about their rights. Samantha Gold takes a look at the legal aspects, rights and restrictions of employment in Quebec.

There are plenty more where these came from. Be on the lookout for new, original content beginning January 2nd, 2016 (we’re going to take tomorrow off)! Happy New Year’s from Forget the Box!



Osheaga 2014 Gogol Bordello © Bianca Lecompte

2015 has been off to quite a busy start, but before we get too involved, let’s take one final look back at 2014.

Every year we ask our contributors to vote on the favourite two posts they wrote and the two posts they liked most from all the other contributors on the site. Then, in a not-too-scientific manner, we turn that into this list.

In no particular order, these are the top posts of 2014 on FTB:

Standing in solidarity with Ferguson by Cem Ertekin, photos Gerry Lauzon

After the grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri erupted. In Montreal, the Black Students’ Network of McGill organized a vigil. Cem Ertekin was there to report and record audio and Gerry Lauzon took pictures (read the post).

Burlesque: A Naked Revolution You Can Do Too! by Cat McCarthy
Cat McCarthy on what burlesque has done for her and can do for you, too. For her, it’s a revolution of sexual liberation. (read the post).

Our first and (probably) last post about Jian Ghomeshi by Johnny Scott

We only published one post about Jian Ghomeshi this year: Johnny Scott’s satirical response to the overbearing presence of Ghomeshi images in his Facebook feed. The story is important, but do we really need to keep looking at his face? (read the post)

Electric Winter: an interview with Igloofest’s Nicolas Cournoyer by Bianca David

Did you know that Igloofest started out as a joke? Well, it did, and now it’s anything but. Find out about the fest’s origins and its future in Bianca David’s interview with founder Nicolas Cournoyer. (read the post)

Black Lives Matter - In Solidarity with Ferguson Montreal vigil (5)
From the solidarity vigil for Ferguson held in Montreal on November 25, 2014. Photo by Gerry Lauzon.


Solidarity with the enemy: When the oppressor wants to fight oppression by Jason C. McLean

When municipal workers took up the fight against austerity, Jason C. McLean wondered if it was possible to show solidarity with those who didn’t reciprocate. Also, would that even be a good thing? (read the post)

Channeling Energy with Brody Stevens @ OFF-JFL by Jerry Gabriel

This year, we covered Just for Laughs, OFF-JFL and Zoofest. One of the more, um, interesting performances we saw was by Brody Stevens (he had a cameo in The Hangover). Find out why it piqued our interest in this report by Jerry Gabriel. (read the post)

Ferguson – The Grand Hypocrisy: Legitimate violence, ideology and the American Dream by Niall Clapham Ricardo

How legitimate is a legal system that serves more to oppress than to protect? Niall Clapham Ricardo takes a look at the aftermath of the Ferguson Grand Jury. (read the post)

The rise of EDM at Osheaga by Jesse Anger

This year, we returned to Osheaga and Jesse Anger discovered that it was more electronic than ever. Find out why. (read the post)


From November 29, 2014 Refusons l’Austerité march in Montreal. Photo by Cem Ertekin.


Say no to victim blaming by Bree Rockbrand

When the Montreal taxi rape story broke, Bree Rockbrand searched for stories of similar cabbie assaults. What she found lead to this post about why we need to stop victim blaming. (read the post)

Cuddles and catpuccinos: How Montréal is setting the course for cat cafés in North America by Josh Davidson

CAAAAAATS! But seriously, there are cats, plenty of them, at Montreal’s two cat cafes, the first such places in North America. Josh Davidson reports. (read the post)

Snowpiercer is a Welcome Addition to the Current Dystopia Craze by Thomas O’Connor

With the dystopia genre going the way of vampires, Thomas O’Connor takes a look at Snowpiercer. Is this a film that can buck the trend? (read the post)

SPVM officers issue a ticket for a situation they created (AUDIO) by Jason C. McLean

Lindsay Rockbrand just wanted to lay down for a few minutes on a park bench, but the SPVM wouldn’t let that happen. Even though it was before 11pm, they managed to give her a ticket for being in a park after hours (read the post and listen to the interview)

Tinder, Tinder, On The Wall… by Jules

Jules decides to try out Tinder. Wonder what will make her swipe left? Find out. (read the post)

Igloofest 2014 7 © Bianca Lecompte
Igloofest 2014. Photo by Bianca Lecompte.


2014 in Review: Why Feminism Still Matters by Stephanie Laughlin

It’s not usual for a year-in-review piece to make it to the list of favourite posts, but Stephanie Laughlin’s look at the events of 2014 as a reason feminism is still needed bucks that trend. Find out why. (read the post)

Some Nasty Advice: The Nasty Show @ JFL by Hannah Besseau

We didn’t like everything at this year’s JFL. While Hannah Besseau enjoyed the Nasty Show overall, she does have some advice for next year. Will those planning it listen? (read the post)

Quebec election postponed until August: Marois by Jason C. McLean

Our April Fools posts usually catch a few people (usually those just waking up) off-guard, but in 2014 we really seemed to have hit a nerve. Maybe it’s because the scenario we jokingly proposed wasn’t all that inconceivable, given the climate. (read the post)

P6 is police collaboration and I refuse to participate in it by Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson argues why, under no circumstances, people organizing a protest should comply with municipal bylaw P6. It is collaboration, pure and simple. (read the post)

Osheaga Day 3: The Green stage rules them all [PHOTOS] by Bianca Lecompte

More Osheaga! This time, it’s the Green Stage and quite a few photos by Bianca Lecompte. (read the post, check out the pics)

Petrocultures 2014: Oil Energy or Canada’s Future by Sarah Ring, photos by Jay Manafest

This year, McGill held a conference on oil and Canada’s energy future. It welcomed people with sustainable solutions to our dependence on fossil fuel and Ezra Levant. FTB’s Sarah Ring and Jay Manafest were in attendance. (read the post)

#FantasiaFest Interview with Director Leigh Janiak of Honeymoon by Pamela Fillion

No, this isn’t just in here because it mentions Ygritte from Game of Thrones, but that helps. It’s actually a pretty cool interview by Pamela Filion with Leigh Janiak, Rose Leslie’s director in Honeymoon. (read the post)

Our collective struggle: Austerity and Spring 2015 by Cem Ertekin

This piece by Cem Ertekin is a prediction of what’s to come in the Quebec student movement (SPOILER ALERT: We’re in for another Maple Spring). It’s also a great primer for anyone wanting a rundown on just what austerity is and Quebec politics for the last few years. (read the post)

The curtain falls on 2014 and it’s time to look back on all of the great accomplishments, all of the great eye-watering moments, the laughs, the hilarious mix-ups, the lyrical fumbles, and feel-good moments with a happy ending attached to it. At least that’s what you usually see at end-of-year reviews that usually appear at this time of the year.

This post is not for the feeble hearted, if you’re trying to escape from the yucky austere murkiness of this past year, you will find no refuge here!

Because this past year was anything but joyous for hundreds of thousands, even, dare I say, millions of Canadians, of all walks of life, who saw the sharp knife of austerity cut into their savings, into their public services, into their communities, into their livelihoods.

2014 was yet another year that fed the relentless ascent of inequality within Canadian society. From the shores of British Columbia to the shores of Nova Scotia, governments were replaced and/or re-elected, but all were invested with the sordid straight-jacket of “fiscal responsibility.” Every single one, left, centre, and right took the oath of austerity under the threat of the Damocles’ sword of the financial markets. Here’s a little trans-Canadian journey along the straits of austerity in 2014.

By Cem Ertekin

In British Columbia the reinvigorated Liberal government of Christie Clark, victors of an electoral ‘fluke,’ promoted austerity in the province, within the first year of their new mandate.  Main stream media alluded to the “boringness” of the budget. In all honesty, it did have a pretty boring title: Balanced Budget 2014. But apart from that the Balanced Budget 2014 was in fact an exhilarating piece of legislation for all the austerity groupies, except for the Fraser Institute for obvious reasons. Although the BC budget went the extra mile, cutting funds from education to law enforcement, and gave way, on the other hand, hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to oil and gas tycoons, the Fraser Institute underlined that it wasn’t enough, austerity along their lines is only complete when all barriers to corporate and personal greed are destroyed. “Ambition,” as defined per the Fraser Institute dictionary, is a full out assault on collective ownership. The only thing that can be seen as ambitious is the transfer of public wealth into the hands of a few private entities, a process more commonly known as austerity.

In the Prairies, only Manitoba has resisted the wrath of austerity. That being said, Manitoba is far from being a success story. With the rise of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST), which has had a negative impact on the poorest of Manitobans. The economic situation of Indigenous communities in Manitoba, especially the plight of Indigenous children and women, is disastrous, as it is across Canada.

In Saskatchewan austerity is synonymous with prosperity, believe it or not, in the name of preserving the Saskatchewan Advantage. The Saskatchewan Advantage, as per the Wall administration, is nothing more, or nothing less, than handouts for the fracking lobby and austerity for the rest. In the lyrical fairytale of the Saskatchewan Advantage, austerity is the tempo, to which its raconteurs sing praises.

By Cem Ertekin

In Big Sky Country, the new Premier is all about the cuts. In 2013, Redford had already put the axe to the few relics of what seemed once to have been some sort of welfare net. The price of oil plummeting will be the perfect excuse for Jim Prentice to extend those cuts even further in the year to come. Is this the end of the Calgary School’s laboratory? Only time will tell.

In Ontario and Quebec, both Liberal governments were re-elected back to office in 2014 and not so surprisingly they both re-started their austerity measures and severe amputations. Quebec’s austerity budget was ushered through the national assembly with “rigour” and “responsibility.” When you thought things couldn’t get worse, we jumped from the frying pan into the freaking oven. There have been cuts across the board to healthcare and educational services, deep cuts to employment initiatives and to unemployment programs – a trend which was already initiated by the PQ, but especially aggravated by the Liberal administration. On the other hand, very “gracefully” and in a very “generous” manner, the Couillard administration offered more funds for First Nations education in return for unchecked access to the natural resources of Northern Quebec within the framework of Le Plan Nord. Neo-colonialism anyone?

In Ontario it seems as if austerity has frozen over, Ontario might have dodged the bullet of Tim Hudak’s slashing fetish, but didn’t get Wynne’s ‘Disneylandic utopia some had raved about. No increase in healthcare or educational services. A literal 0% rate of increase for the next two years at least in both those sectors, no plan to tackle the omen of having the highest tuition fees in Canada, a pitiful increase to the provincial minimum wage would has been frozen for years, a 1% increase across the board for social services and social programs… It’s the frigid kiss of austerity with a smile!


In the Maritimes, in the meanwhile, the emphasis was put on “deficit reduction” the politically correct synonym for austerity. In Nova Scotia the cuts put forward by the outgoing Dexter administration were not rolled back, they were solidified. The Liberal government continued their focus on balancing the budget on the backs of those most obviously in need.

After slashing the only librarian in Corner Brook, Newfoundland’s second biggest city, the Conservative government of Paul Davies continued their quest to slash taxes, while providing Newfoundland & Labrador with the best Health Care, Education and Social Services in the country, and, as the cherry on top, promised a return to a budget surplus in 2015-16, obviously these kinds of fairy tales have as for backdrop the Tory utopia of “No-government-is-good-government Land!”

In New Brunswick, Gallant and his Liberal administration have beaten the Conservative incumbents, and have sworn to impose a moratorium on fracking. That’s a very positive update, but we’ll have to wait and see. Will Galant have the courage to dispossess the Irving clan of their private domain, i.e. New Brunswick, or will he be deposed for trying?

In the Canadian North and for native communities throughout Canada, 2014 was just another year of excruciating violence. The federal government continued to deny Indigenous communities rightful justice when it comes to the more than 1200 missing or murdered Indigenous women and imposed colonialist type austerity on First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities throughout Canada. It has withheld funds for education from First Nations communities, because of their refusal to have the Federal Government impose a “White Man’s” education on them. Coming from the same government that offered the “historical” excuses for the residential schools system, I would call it hypocritical, but I think hypocritical doesn’t cut it! As if that wasn’t enough  the Conservative government  imposed some kind of Neo-Colonial management on First Nation communities through their Orwellian First Nations Transparency Act (FNTA), threatening to withhold funds once again if First Nation communities don’t accept to hand over their sovereignty to Ottawa.

It’s hypocritical, to say the least. Because while the Conservative government is bickering about “First Nations Transparency,” the record of Canadian dollars in Tax Heavens was shattered this year, at around 170$ billion. Canadian banks made yet another year of trailblazing profits. Unfortunately for them, it seems like its going to “cool down” a bit. *tears* Multinational Oil and Gas corporations this year cashed in an estimated $34 billion in direct and indirect subsidies from all levels of government. In even better news, the budget surplus which was crafted through the panoply of austerity measures, which has been the plight of so many working Canadian families has been handed to the richest 1% of Canadian families, through the Conservatives income splitting scheme. And while Canadian workers make less and less per hour in salary compared with the price of living, Canadian multinationals are sitting on 630 billion dollars. This is what the real face of austerity is. Austerity is highway robbery, the privatization of our common public wealth.  If it’s a question of “tightening one’s belt,” then we will ask who’s belt is to be tightened?

There’s one image that sums-up all of the 2014 cycle for me perfectly: the image of minister Aglukkaq reading a newspaper in the HOC while a debate was raging about the bitter Food Crisis, which pushed some of her constituents to dumpster dive to find some scraps of food. That image embodied perfectly the misery of Canadian politics in 2014.

A luta continua!

They say that a single photo is worth a thousand words, and 2014 has been a year of many photos!

To celebrate the new year, here’s a review of the old one through the lenses of FTB’s photographers.

Enjoy this beautiful gallery that will show to you 2014 in photos!

2014 in Photos2014 in Photos

Click on the photo above to open the gallery. Big thanks to Bianca Lecompte, Jesse Anger, Gerry Lauzon, Chris Zacchia, Melanie Renaud, and Bree Rockbrand for these brilliant photos. 

Here’s to hoping that we’ll have even greater photos in the brand new year of 2015!

The past year has been great for Montreal’s music scene, and by ‘great’ I mean absolute fucking insanity. It’s well-known that this city has a booming music scene but it’s astonishing how tough it can be to keep on top of it all. We tried to have as many of our dirty fingers in as many pies as possible to bring you everything the city has to offer.

Montreal is truly the city of festivals and no one stops going out just because the temperature drops. Igloofest weekends in January were some of the coldest of the year, but that didn’t stop our contributors Heidy Pinet and Naakita Feldman-Kiss from being there and having a good time.


The outdoor fun doesn’t stop there: the end of February brought us another successful edition of Montréal En Lumière, culminating as always with Nuit Blanche, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.

Misteur Valaire at CMW
Misteur Valaire at CMW

In March, Forget The Box was at Canadian Music Week, which takes place in Toronto. Heidy Pinet caught the M for Montreal showcase, representing some of the best in French-language artists from our own backyard: Misteur Valaire and Ponctuation. Stephanie Laughlin caught both sets by Ben Caplan and Stephanie Beatson had a chat with Mo Kenney.

As winter gave way to spring, festival season was really upon us. The Montreal Hip Hop Festival celebrated its second edition this year and truly established itself as a permanent fixture of the festival circuit.

Heidy Pinet is the authority at FTB when it comes to electronic music and she created a playlist as a preview to Mutek, which took place at the end of May.

June brought us the Montreal Folk Fest, held outside along the Lachine Canal and the stinking piss-fest that took over the small town of Montebello, also known as Rockfest.

At the end of June, some of us got to go away to Toronto to experience the mind-boggling craziness that is NXNE. We saw Quiet Company, D I A N A, Dan Deacon, Imaginary Cities, Smif-n-Wessun, The Julian Taylor Band, Coeur de Pirate, Moon King, Foxtrott, Whiskey Epiphany, Odonis Odonis, Joey Bada$$, Crhymes, Star & Micey, Frank Ryan, Willie Stratton & The Boarding Party, and Santiago X The Natural.

Santiago X The Natural at NXNE
Santiago X The Natural at NXNE

Those of us stuck in Montreal had plenty to do with the 10th anniversary of the Montreal Infringement Festival taking place. We interviewed Brooklyn natives Sunshine, who played a raucous set at Barfly; caught the Infringement Hip Hop Show, where our own Jay Manafest had some words to the wise; and braved the rain for the Dumpster Dive Art Drive.

Continuing our festival coverage, we saw the Stooges Brass Band at Festival International Nuits D’Afrique.

The beginning of August brought us the 15th anniversary of MEG, Montreal’s oldest electronic music festival. Festival founder Mustapha Terki spoke to us about the changing face of electronic music and the future of the festival.

Meanwhile, our Toronto contributor Stephanie Beatson found herself at the last ever edition of TO’s ALL CAPS! Island Festival, which featured performances by Hooded Fang and Shotgun Jimmie.

Heavy MTL crowd props

Here in Montreal, Heavy MTL offered two days of metal madness. The 5th edition of the festival offered new features like their live pro-wrestling event. They even managed to convert a self-proclaimed festival hater.

Taking place the same weekend as Heavy MTL was the second annual Passovah Summer Music Festival. The team over at Passovah are some of the hardest-working promoters of the local scene in the city and this year, they saw their festival double in size from last year’s. We spoke with Passovah founder Noah Bick about it.

The POP Montreal team put on another stellar festival at the end of September. We got the chance to see many of our top picks this year including Portugal. The Man, Bearmace, Crabe, and METZ.

New to the festival family, Psych Fest took place in October. Festival co-founder John W. Stuart told us how the festival came about.

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan at M for Montreal

Closing off festival season was M for Montreal in November with sets by Seoul, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Murray Lightburn, Born Ruffians and Mac DeMarco.

Although festivals took up our attention all year round, they were by no means the only things we covered in 2013. We also had the chance to interview some solid noisemakers. Many were part of the local scene including Melted Faces, Atsuko Chiba, How Sad, Braids, Canailles, Two-Year Carnival, the Emery Street Records crew, and the ladies of Hip Hop Karaoke Montreal. We also spoke to some notable out-of-towners including Indian Handcrafts, Crhymes, and Grammy-winning artist Carl Craig.

Rather than partaking in the slimiest of lazy journalistic traditions – the Best Albums of the Year list – I will point out that some fantastic releases have come out of the indie scene in Montreal and surrounding areas. In no particular order, here are some of the releases that have caught our attention this year:

Atsuko Chiba – Jinn

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – UZU

Seb Black – On Emery Street

Land of Kush – The Big Mango

Crabe – Mort de fraîche date

Saltland – I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us

Sunshine – Down & Up Blues

Groenland – The Chase

Ponctuation – 27 Club

No Bones – Belongings

Blood Ceremony – The Eldritch Dark

Well that wraps up the 2013 year in review for music here at Forget The Box. We’ll start it all over again in January.

The votes are in! Or rather, they were in a few weeks ago, but in this age of electronic voting you can never be too careful (ed’s note: heh heh, great excuse, that will work, pats self on back).

To select the top posts on FTB in 2012, we employed the following process:

1. Site contributors were asked to select their two favourite posts by themselves and their two favourite by other writers. Votes were tabulated and those posts garnering two or more were automatically in.

2. We all had a great time on New Year’s, then recovered for two days. Then many of us had to return to work and there was new content to get out. Then  it was another weekend. Then we realized that we hadn’t gotten the top posts of the year out yet and should probably get on it.

3. Site editors weighed in and fleshed out the list

4. The final choices were then rearranged in a completely different and somewhat random order so no one can figure out how many votes each post got and so we could present them in a way that gives this piece a good flow.

No matter what you think of our process, you have to admit it’s no dumber than the first past the post system or the electoral college.

Anyways, without further adieu, here are the top 24 posts of 2012 as selected by FTB contributors and editors:

cross mount royalCross Stolen from Mount Royal by Jason C. McLean  We’ve been running April Fool’s posts for a few years now, but this one really seemed to catch on and even fooled a few people (mostly people who don’t live in Montreal for obvious reasons). If you’re going to say something about me spoiling the surprise, well, you’re technically not supposed to tell an April Fool’s joke after noon on April 1st, if you do, then you’re the fool.

The Lies of Johnny Scott by Johnny Scott  Aaah, the things we’ll do and say for love, or more accurately, to get laid. Johnny Scott has told a few whoppers in his time to get some action and now honestly lays (forgive the pun) them out for us in all honesty.

The Chocolate Farmer and the End of the World by Rana Alrabi  While many were focused on how the ancient Mayans had supposedly claimed 2012 would be the end of the world, Rana Alrabi looked at a film about a Mayan chocolate farmer. For him, this truly is the end of the world that he knows.

Oreos show their true colors by Julian H. Ward  Julian H. Ward weighs in on the controversy surrounding Oreo’s pride cookie. Is Kraft commodifying Pride to sell a product? Does the right-wing protest against it have any teeth?

The Doomed Christmas Party by Taymaz Valley  If you decide to visit Taymaz Valley during the holidays, you’ll be in some pretty interesting company. At least that’s what his artistic hallucinations would have us believe.

Heidy Pinet summerIt Ain’t a Road Trip Without a Playlist by Heidy Pinet It’s been a busy year for Heidy Pinet, going to NXNE, DJing around the continent, not to mention here at home. She did manage to find time to let FTB readers know what she was listening to and we’re all grateful for that.

100th Nightly Student Demonstration by Emily Campbell  This year, FTB got back into video, video news reports to be precise. This piece by Emily Campbell takes the political pulse of the 100th nightly student demo just before the Quebec election.

Is Television finally better than the movies? by Stephanie Laughlin  Could it be that the small screen (well, not so small anymore, but you get the point) has finally outshone the silver screen in terms of quality? Self-described film buff Stephanie Laughlin admits this may actually be the case.

Blog on Blog: Late night texts from your cat By Jerry Gabriel  So Blog on Blog is a regular feature on the best blogs to go to for a particular topic. I wonder how long it will take before someone writes about cat blogs? Not that long, Jerry Gabriel got there right away.

Exploring The Art of Blowjobs With Camille Crimson by Jessica Klein Sex columnist Jessica Klein chats with self-proclaimed “geeky redhead blowjob expert” Camille Crimson. They talk about art and sensuality, two words rarely associated with the BJ.

Another Election – Another Assault on Gaza by Quiet Mike As rockets fell on Gaza, Quiet Mike reminded us that the last time this happened it was under very similar political circumstances. The election in the US had just happened and the election in Israel wasn’t that far off.

harper-nope Canada is not an accident by Taylor Noakes We asked Taylor Noakes to write about the new PQ government removing the Canadian flag from the National Assembly. Turns out he was more offended by the part of tradition that Pauline Marois did decide to stick with: swearing allegiance to a foreign monarch.

Summer Time in Montreal: Sleep is Boring by Emily Hoge Transplanted maritimer Emily Hoge takes in the Montreal music scene marathon-style. She takes in The Unsettlers, Major Lazer, Speakeasy Electroswing and above all, the city’s nightlife.

How to Open a Dialogue with Someone Against the Student Movement by Megan Dougherty During the height of the Maple Spring, Megan Dougherty took a step back from all the madness and urged red square-sporting readers to inform themselves before entering into a dialogue with someone on the other side of the fence.

The Lucasfilms purchase and why you shouldn’t panic by Thomas O’Connor  Yup, Leia’s a Disney Princess now, at least. Don’t sweat it, argues Thomas O’Connor, as he explains why the iconic franchise falling into the hands of the mouse empire may not be such a bad thing.

Canada in 2100: a milder Montreal, a dryer Vancouver, and a prairie-free Alberta by Erin Hale A look into the future, the future of our environment courtesy of Erin Hale. Complaining about winter? Your children and grandchildren won’t be so much.

If Harper is Statesman of the year then it must be 1984 by Jason C. McLean  Harper as statesman of the year? I point out that this nomination is less Orwellian than it is kinda lame.

Rumor: Wii U’s Total Bill of Materials Estimated at $180 Two words: Time Magazine. They sourced this post on FTB talking about rumoured costs of the Nintendo Wii. Sidenote, I no longer trust Time as a source.

Cabin in the Woods by Pamela Filion Who doesn’t like Joss Wheadon? Not sure, but I do know that Pamela Fillion surely does and she loves horror, too and this film has both.

Ponds and Meadows, Beers and Cookies: Elgin Skye By Stephanie Laughlin  FTB’s Stephanie Laughlin had a chance to chat with the always loveable, clever and talented singer/songwriter Elgin Skye while Chris Zacchia snapped photos of her in a meadow. Elgin’s influences, turns out, are not what you might expect.

400 students in the streets? Quebec’s students are winning by Ethan Cox Shortly after Bill 78 passed the student protests became a populist movement. Ethan Cox reports from the massive Montreal demonstration and also the numbers game played in the mainstream media when events like this happen.

vegan brownie ballsBliss Balance Brownie Balls By Maria Amore  It’s hard to pick the best post by Maria Amore, cause all of her vegan recipies are so damn tasty. So, we’re just going to go with the sweetest…who doesn’t like dessert?

Blue Monday & the agony of small talk by Dawn McSweeny  Dawn McSweeney waxes philosophical about the lack of meaningful conversations in the cold winter months. Something anyone living in a northern climate can relate to.

NXNE: The Bright Light Social Hour & Tupperware Remix Party by Cassie Doubleday This year, we covered North by Northeast for the first time. Ex-pat Haligonian and Montrealer now living in Toronto Cassie Doubleday was there for the whole event and in this post attends a tupperware remix party.



We always strive to offer a healthy mix of local, national and international content. In 2012, though, local Montreal and Quebec news took on international stature and importance due to one ongoing event: the Maple Spring.

The Quebec student movement is one of the most vocal youth movements in North America and student activists were also involved with groups participating in Occupy Montreal.

When the camps were dismantled, Quebec student protesters took the tenacity of the movement to their fight against Quebec premier Jean Charest’s tuition increase and hit the streets with passion. Their protests inspired activists around the world.

512x342xmay-22-montreal-protest-512x342.jpg.pagespeed.ic.hUxK4t0op2The red square became a symbol of resistance to austerity and movement leaders like Gabriel-Nadeau Dubois became household names. With the whole world watching Charest tried to shut the protest down with Bill 78. The law passed late afternoon on a Friday. On Saturday the SPVM showed its ugly side trying to enforce the unenforceable. By Tuesday, there were hundreds of thousands of people marching, many not even students, some even for the tuition increases but against this draconian law.

Then came the casseroles. People around the city started banging on pots and pans outside their homes every night at 8pm. This led to a unique form of community activism where neighbors gathered and then marched through the streets together. People started doing this in Toronto too, and even across Canada and North America. The marches continued, mostly festive, people even finding romance amidst the anarchy, though there were still some ugly incidents where peaceful protesters were kettled and arrested.

After a very tense Grand Prix weekend, things simmered down for the summer and after one final big night march and rally following the departure of Nadeau-Dubois as spokesperson for the CLASSE, things shifted to the upcoming Quebec election.

The students didn’t back anyone in particular, except for “not Charest” and their candidate won, or rather Charest lost both the premiership which he had held for over nine years and his home riding of Sherbrooke which he had represented both provincially and federally since 1984. Quebec Solidaire picked up a seat (doubling their number), the Coalition Avenir du Quebec (CAQ) did okay, but not as well as expected.

Pauline Marois became premier and her Parti Quebecois formed a minority government. Following the vote and subsequent election night assassination attempt on Marois, she did what she said she would and repealed both the tuition hikes and Law (formerly Bill 78).

Then it was Quebec politics as usual and all we heard about was language, lack of a Canadian flag in the national assembly and what one might expect from the PQ. We also heard about corruption, something people have gotten used to by now.

michael-applebaumThis time, though, the Charbonneau Commission claimed the political careers of longtime unopposed Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt and longtime opposed and criticized though never replaced Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay. Micheal Applebaum, Tremblay’s right-hand man, took his place by breaking ranks with his former Union Montreal party and positioning himself as somewhat of an outsider and a uniter and bridge builder, though some who had been dealing with him in his former borough of NDG may beg to differ (think superhospital plans).

While it took Montreal and Laval over a decade to get their mayors steeped in corruption allegations to grudgingly step aside, Toronto removed the much mocked Rob Ford on a technicality after only two and a half years in office. Torontonians, or more specifically residents of Toronto-Danforth decided to keep the late Jack Layton’s riding NDP orange by electing human rights lawyer and public intellectual Craig Scott.

At the federal level, New Democrats held quite a heated leadership race that started in late 2011 and culminated with the election of Thomas Mulcair in April. The Liberals also, well, they didn’t elect anyone, but we’re pretty sure who’s going to win their nomination.

Both parties spent most of their time trying to stop Stephen Harper’s conservatives from drastically changing Canada’s identity. Harper, on the other hand, was in a mood to pass sweeping bills in 2012.

With the Omnibus Crime Bill almost a done deal, he shifted his sights to the internet. Once SOPA and PIPA failed to pass in the states in January and therefore didn’t make any headway in Canada, the conservatives came up with Bill C-30, which attacked people’s Internet privacy.

In response to the outcry against this bill, public safety minister Vic Toews, probably trying to emulate George W. Bush, ended up having a Ted Stevens “internet’s a series of tubes” moment. He declared in Parliament that Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia “can either stand with us or with the child pornographers” and that was it.

512x384xvic-toews-cartoon-512x384.jpg.pagespeed.ic.u7BQT3xPDqJokes and memes ensued and a few people even tried to show Toews what invasion of privacy could be like if it happened to him. The bill was quietly shelved.

A backbench Conservative MP introduced a backdoor to banning abortion bill. It was defeated, but not without the minister responsible for the status of women voting for it and against the status of women’s reproductive rights.

Score one for the Internet and the right to choose. Unfortunately, Canada’s environment and native communities fared considerably worse in 2012 as Bill C-45 passed.

Those lakes that were protected? Unless they happen to be in a conservative riding, they’re not anymore. Native land? A whole lot easier for corporations to have their way with.

The silver lining? This bill has mobilized many communities with Idle No More’s feather looking like the red square of 2013.

His critics have always said that Harper can out-Bush Dubya. Maybe so, but even he couldn’t get more head-scratchingly regressive than some of the Republican presidential candidates thrown up for public digestion in 2012.

When they settled on Mitt Romney, the guy who would say anything to get elected and his Ayn Rand-loving devout Christian running mate it was clear, at least to progressives living outside of fortress America, that Obama was going to win.

Not so much hope and change this time, but more rationalism then we’ve seen from the States in a while. The socially progressive, fiscally middle of the road, very well-spoken mild mannered man with a bit of a thing for predator drones seemed like the logical choice.

Also, he’s the guy who didn’t want to cut FEMA and believes in climate change. Also he actually seemed to care and help out when millions were affected by Hurricane Sandy. After the election, the cleanup still continues.

Violence continued as well with mass-killings in elementary schools and movie theaters and the middle east is still as shit-storm.

The world didn’t end in 2012. Just maybe, though, we are at the end of a cycle.

Back in Quebec, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was convicted of encouraging people to break the law and sentenced to 100 hours of community service. He’ll appeal it on principle, though maybe arguing that he’s already put in well more than that could work, too.

No matter what, it’s a small price to pay for your place in history.


It was Montreal’s year to shine as this year as we had another momentous year in the art scene. Whether it was free or paid Forget The Box was on hand to get you all the coverage. This year we not only covered many of the mainstream festivals of the year, we also took in some interesting independent festivals and even some strange and “avant garde” artistic events too.


While January is probably not the best month to be caught dancing outside, it still didn’t stop Montrealers from cramming into the Old Port by the thousands to attend the outdoor electronic music event known as Igloofest.

In March we hit the road to the first Canadian music festival of the season. It seemed like the whole music scene was descending upon Toronto for Canadian Music Week. This was our second time attending the festival and every year it seems to get bigger – we always have a great time!

In June, intrepid reporter Cassie Doubleday went on a boat cruise during FTB’s coverage of North by Northeast. And there was, of course, the incredible Tupperware remix party. This was our second Toronto music festival, and boy did we enjoy covering our sister city’s festivals this year!

In early July, Montreal Electronic Groove (MEG) came and filled our ears with viseral electronic sounds and Music contributor Heidy Pinet covered for Forget The Box.

Back to school time meant the return of Pop Montreal, one of the biggest festivals for independent music in Canada. This year we checked out a few shows that blew our proverbial “socks off.” Emily Hoge and Pamela Fillion went out daily, reporting back from many of the venues around town.

In December,  Leonard Cohen , patron saint of Montreal, serenaded a hometown crowd with many of his passionate songs of love and hate. It was a dream come true for one FTB writer extraordinaire Dawn McSweeny who caught the whole mystical experience .

Visual Art

In the midst of the cold and the fury of February there is night when the city goes white and you may warm yourself over a cup of cocoa and rum while spectating free art till the wee hours of the morning….I am of course speaking of Nuit Blacnche. The night when we endure tundra-like conditions of Montreal in the middle of winter for the sake of art.

This year, our nuit blanche coverage included: Gracie Mitchell on all the happenings at Art Matters all around Concordia, Stephanie Laughlin at the monthly storytelling event Confabulation, and I had a chance to check out the freestyle drawings of En Masse  in mid-production and interview  the founder about the collective creative process. That evening there was so many things and do in the winter frost, even penguins were out and about at the biodome.

Taymaz Valley, an artist in his own right, joined the site this year as our visual arts critic, offering his thoughts on the arts and artistic movements every week. It’s not all gallery stuff, though.Who can forget his adventure through comic book art history at the  Montreal Comicon, through covering all the bases of geek genres he got to meet the Honorable Sir Patrick Stuart (he’s been knighted, right?).

2012 may also be the year of affordable art. This year Ker-Pow presented Blood Money 2—a party organized by artists Stef Eerie and Angus Philip Byers. This event was a solid community art show filled with the bar’s usual tattooed crowd.

Finally Montreal’s independent print media was thriving once again at this years expozine. In its 11th year,  it is Canada’s biggest zine fair with over 270 creative independent publications featuring a diverse lot of books, mags, comics, prints, toys and trinkets. Departing with a lot of merch is easy, finding storage space for your collectors’ items, that’s a whole other problem.


In April, we caught up with the Blood Ballet Cabaret doing their burlesque tribute to musicals and Glam Gam Productions’ Fairy Tale-laden Little Little Beau Peep show. Both troupes showed up again during the summer festival season. That wasn’t the only burlesque for us that month. Jessica Alley got transported back to the 8th Century BC when she checked out Arena Burlesque.

Glam Gam brought last year’s If Looks Could Kill…They Will to this year’s Montreal Fringe Festival in June, joining many other shows. Stephanie Laughlin and Robyn Dixon checked out as many shows as they could, even one about a Scottish drag queen you might know, named God.

In June, we also caught the activist-inspired Montreal Infringement Festival. Jason C. McLean covered a good chunk of the musical and theatrical happenings in the bars, parks, streets and even alleyways of the Plateau while Tariq Leeroburkhan attended the Smoke n’ Mirrors and theatre night at the Fresh Paint Gallery.

Early July, Emily Hoge joined the circus (Circus Festival, that is) for one night and caught Les 7 doigts de la main. Later that month and into August, our team checked out venerable Montreal comedy festival Just For Laughs for the first time and made a repeat visit to its edgier sister festival Zoofest. We saw, among others, the aforementioned Blood Ballet, DeAnne Smith, Amy Schumer and even had a chance to interview hardcore wrestling legend now standup comic Mick Foley.

As for what Stephanie Laughlin did this midsummer: there’s really nothing like watching Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre except for maybe sitting on a blanket watching Taming of the Shrew in Westmount Park. She kept classy and caught Guys and Dolls at the Segal Centre in the fall.


FTB film writers Thomas O’Connor and Pamela Filion were all over the festival circuit this year. From Fantasia to the Montreal 60 Second Film Fetsival or M-60 to The Montreal Israel Film Festival, they brought us reports on what they were able to catch from the wide variety they were able to choose from. Meanwhile Stephanie Laughlin wrote about CinemaSpace, showcasing independent film and video from all over Montreal. Thomas O’Connor also listed the best films of the year in his year-in-review piece.

Expect to see many more art show previews and reviews from Forget The Box is the upcoming year. This was 2012 and now it’s time to start it all over again.

Tabloid journalism and the internet have killed any semblance of privacy for celebrities. We devour every little detail of their lives, especially their sordid and deviant sexual behavior. Maybe we like it because we thrive on drama, or maybe because it makes us feel a bit better about our own sex lives. At any rate, 2012 was a banner year for sex scandals of all sorts from illicit tapes to irate masseurs.

Hulk Hogan Sex Tape

Deep down, pretty much everyone loves a good celebrity sex tape. Watching someone famous at their most intimate and vulnerable usually just reminds us of how human they are when we hear their banal sex talk or catch a glimpse of their awkward orgasm faces. It’s hard to say what the best part is about the grainy, black and white Hulk Hogan sex tape where he bangs a hot brunette named Heather Clem who happens to be the ex-wife of Hogan’s supposed best friend, Bubba the Love Sponge. Is it the thong tan lines, Hogan pausing to look at but ultimately not answer his ringing cell phone in the midst of it all or his Hulk of an erection.

Hogan claimed that he was completely secretly filmed without his permission, and even sued Gawker to the tune of $100 million for publishing an edited version of the tape, which they claim to have received from an anonymous source and refuse to take down.

John Travolta’s Never-Ending Gay Rumours

It was not a good year for John Travolva’s heterosexuality. First there were the allegations that he exposed his eight-inch member to a masseur during a private massage and proceeded to grope the masseur and offer a reverse massage with a happy ending. The whole ordeal ended with Travola allegedly proclaiming that “Hollywood is controlled by homosexual Jewish men who expect favors in return for sexual activity.” Travolta obviously denied the claim, rebutting that he was across the country when it happened.

Then the lawsuits and gay rumours just kept coming: his tendency to visit gay bathhouses, expose himself to cruise-ship employees and a six-year long affair in the 1980s with a former pilot.

Elmo Likes Young Boys

One of this year’s biggest sex scandals is brought to you by the letters E-L-M-O. Kevin Clash, the 52-year old puppeteer for Elmo, the little red Muppet that everyone loves on Sesame Street, was accused of having consensual sexual relationships with at least four different teenage boys.

After the first came forward, three more accusers surfaced seeking damages of between $75 000 and $5 million. One of the accusers, Cecil Singleton, claimed to have engaged in sexual activity with Clash on numerous occasions over a period of years that Singleton ended because he was uncomfortable with the age gap. The allegations have forced Clash to resign from his position on Sesame Street. “I am deeply sorry to be leaving,” said Clash in his parting statement, “and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.”