Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Songs - RIP Gladys Horton 1945-2011

Gladys Horton was the original lead singer and co-founder of The Marvelettes, the pioneering girl group who gave Motown it's first #1 Billboard pop hit in 1961 with the single "Please Mr. Postman." The Marvelettes were instrumental in putting Motown on the map, paving the way for all-female vocal groups like The Supremes, The Ronettes, and Martha and the Vandellas. Horton passed away earlier this week at the age of 65 (not 66, as some sources have reported) from complications due to a stroke she suffered last year. In honour of this marvellous Marvelette, this week's sunday song's is dedicated to Gladys Horton and her sassy, upbeat vocals.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

H*A*S*H tag

Okay, so shit's getting awfully serious these days; first it was the protests in Albania (which I take particular interest in after spending 6 months there in 2010), then Tunisia, Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen and Egypt. Oh, EgyptAfter being glued to Twitter and Al Jazeera English witnessing a televised revolution (with a short break halfway through the day for a job interview), I needed a bit of levity. So late last night when the #HipsterSitcoms hashtag appeared on Twitter, it was exactly what I needed to end the day on a lighter note. Paste Magazine posted some of their favourites here, but I wanted to share some of my faves, and the ones I came up with because, well, because it's my blog and I'll show off how clever I am if I want to, isn't that what blogs are for? :P

I came up with these:

Love, American Apparel Style
The Essex Green Acres
Hangin' With Matthew Robert Cooper
Mary Thurston Moore
All in the Akron/Family
Graphic Designing Women
Only Fools and Band of Horses
Welcome Back, Tumblr
The Facts of This American Life
Father Knows Best Coast
30 Yacht Rock
Barney Miller High Life
(Hooking Up With) Perfect Strangers 

Some of my favourites from others:

The Bonny Prince Billy of Bel-Air (Holy Mountain)
Ambivalent About You (theleanover)
Friends...With Benefits (Crutnutcracker)
Jeers (lizzwinstead)
I Honestly Can't See Myself Married With Children (DonStahl)
Big Beard Theory (Notgiamatti)
Parker Lewis Can't get a Job (DJRotaryRachel)
Curb Your Ennui (talabi)

These were too easy:

Arrested Development
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Bored To Death

Did you come up with any? Once you start, it's hard to stop.

Oh, and you can follow me on Twitter here

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Take 5

1. Listening to Round Midnight, Bobby McFerrin & Chick Corea, it's weird and wonderful what that man can do with his voice.
2. Love this sweet teacup set by illustrator Esther Horchner SO HARD.
3. Watched Blue Valentine the other night. Recommended if you think the Gosling is your long lost soul mate, and/or you feel like reliving all of your failed relationships and past heartbreak in one evening. photo
The ballad of the Sad Cafe
4. Reading The Ballad of The Sad Cafe, by Carson McCullers.

5. Totally craving maple bacon kettle corn right now.

Greenberg: Spoiler Alert, He's a Sociopath!

Rebekah and I just watched Greenberg. Countdown for MASSIVE eye-roll commencing in 5...4...3...

Gah, what the goddamn fuck is with these navel-gazing movies about totally abusive, socially demented fuckwads? The kind of "socially awkward" (read sociopathic), dorky guys who know a lot about one particular topic (music, movies, video games) and then rub their abnormal, inconsequential knowledge in the face of everyone they meet but that is mainly to distract from the fact that their soul is a giant abyss of broken glass.

The guy who bullies to make his victim a 'better' person. The guy who does awful, mean things for a laugh although more often than not is the only one laughing, things like, throw a group mascot into a camp fire FOR NO REASON or throwing a gutter tomato (it is exactly what it sounds like, a tomato that was in the gutter) at their friend/roommate pointblank and being disappointed when it doesn't explode, merely hurts.

The guy who shits on everyone else's dreams and aspirations because, he does not have any. The fucked up guy who will sleep with someone out of the blue without any explanation (like, actually out of the blue -- in the middle of the night, under the cloak of darkness) and then be a complete asshole about it immediately after. Oh shit, my reality is mixing with the movie!

Why on earth would Noah Baumbach make a film romanticizing such a depraved type of character? The only explanation I can think of is that he himself is that depraved type of character. If it was simply a case of knowing someone like Greenberg then there would be no glamourizing his awful behaviour. I lived with that kind of guy for two years and, eight months later, my scars are barely beginning to heal. He destroyed my self-worth, my faith in me, my dreams. He was condescending and cruel and if I were to ever dedicate any sort of screenplay or novel to a character like him (not bloody likely), it would be only to dole out the gravest misfortunes in a 'you get what you give' kind of way. 

So, Greenberg... Here we have a beautiful, talented and secure woman, Florence, who meets this twisted robot, Roger Greenberg, who is the brother of her boss (she is his personal assistant). Roger just got out of the hospital (mental breakdown of some sort, not an epic beat-down). The two meet, she likes him (as open-minded, compassionate women are wont to do); he wants to bang her, maybe, but he definitely wants to get back together with Jennifer Jason Leigh, whom he broke up with fifteen years prior to this steaming pile. She doesn't want anything really to do with him and so Roger is back to Florence. They almost hook up, but, he berates her. They get together, but, he berates her. She almost gets away, but, she falls prey to the mating call of the tyrannical bully. Good times! The abusive dickweed gets the girl! Hurray! Throughout the movie he alienates everyone in his life by being treating them viciously. There is not a charming or decent or kind bone in his body. This is just one more 'misunderstood' jerk from the land of Larry David.   

There should be a place, a barren island in the middle of the ocean, where these turds can be abandoned to roam free like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. A place where the only people they can hurt are each other except they wouldn't hurt each other because they are emotionally dead. And their lovely family members, partners, children, friends (and roommates, ahem) can heal and rejoice to live in a world where they are not on a constant emotional roller-coaster. Their self-esteem will strengthen without the daily, hourly insults, belittling, mocking digs and the world will be a better place; the sun will shine all day, every day; birds will come and sit on your outstretched hand with a song just for you; and puppies and kittens will never get any less adorable.

In short here is my official rating for the movie: 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Take 5

1. Watching Party Down
2. Reading A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, by Mary Wollstonecraft 
3. I want to go to Caño Cristales, South AmericaPhoto: Fredy Gómez
4. J'aime this print by Andrei D. Robu

5. This song is all I need to get by. So Very Hard To Go, Tower of Power.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Bachelorette took too many mushrooms and fell in love with a computer."

So says her MySpace page, and as hard as I tried, I couldn't come up with a description that fit Bachelorette's daydreamy electronic music any better than that.

Chek out a young Ian McShane (!) in this video, which is made up of clips from the British sci-fi series Space 1999.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Inspiration: Doors

Bruxelles art nouveau (Belgique), rue de Belle Vue / Bellevue straat
By Marie-Hélène Cingal

the selby

House of Turquoise

this is glamorous



smoke and sassafrass

miss louise 

I Remember When Dinosaurs Roamed the Earth

Depressing/hilarious conversation in class the other day:

Kid in my Aboriginal Studies class who spends the summers on reserves doing missionary work (!) -- I need a projector for my presentation because I have a power-point.

Long suffering, but patient TA -- You should have given me notice because we don't have one here now.

(Pointing to the overhead projector in the corner) Annoying girl who says stuff like, "I'm a real Torontonian, like, I grew up down-town"and "I studied Native literature last year in grade 12; I've, like, read Joseph Boyden"-- Isn't that one?

TA: No.

Other hipster Christian missionary (seriously, what is up with all the missionaries in my Aboriginal Studies class? How do they not feel awkward when we discuss the cataclysmic effect that the missionaries had on First Nations? Um, cultural genocide, yo!) -- No, that's a super old-school magnifier.

Other student young enough to be my daughter -- Haha, yeah, the one you could draw on and stuff!

Me (in my head) -- Old? When I was in school that was all we used! Wah, wah.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nabokovvvvvvvvvvvv!!!!!! by Alex Snider

Today, I embark on a journey that will culminate with me becoming the preeminent Nabokovian scholar. That being, I begin my course on my long-dead (*come on Zombie-apocalypse*) boyfriend. Oh, can you even imagine having Vladimir for a boyfriend? He'd be the one that you'd try and impress by being all serious and smart and never fart in front of.

Been there, bought the nerdiest t-shirt ever. A side-note, this picture was ridiculously hard to take with my computer without making my breasts look like watermelons hence the terrible, half-shimmy, "who's your daddy" pose/face.

But, I digress... As you can see I am a little enamoured with the greatest writer of all time; his prose has actually brought me to tears; he is the kind of author in who's novels you would write in the margins, underlining ferociously because while you had never perceived the world that way but now that image, that thought is branded in your mind and you will never be the same. John Updike described his writing as such: "Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, ecstatically", which incidentally also describes how I feel reading his prose; for reals, I get goose-bumps.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Rebel's Manifesto


"This culture, this habit, of eliminationist rhetoric is not happening in a vacuum. It's happening in a culture of widely-available guns (thanks to conservative policies), of underfunded and unavailable medical care, especially mental health care (thanks to conservative policies), of a widespread belief that government is the enemy of the people (thanks to conservative rhetoric), and of millions of increasingly desperate people (thanks to an economy totally fucked by conservative governance).

The shooting in Tucson was not an anomaly. It was an inevitability.

And as long as we continue to play this foolish game of "both sides are just as bad," and rely on trusty old ablism to dismiss Jared Lee Loughner as a crackpot—dutifully ignoring that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators; carefully pretending that the existence of people with mental illness who are potentially dangerous somehow absolves us of responsibility for violent rhetoric, as opposed to serving to underline precisely why it's irresponsible—it will be inevitable again.

Let's get this straight: This shit doesn't happen in a void. It happens in a culture rife with violent political rhetoric, and it's time for conservatives to pull up their goddamn bootstraps and get to work doing the hard business of self-reflection. 

This is one problem the invisible hand of the market can't fix for them—unless, perhaps, it's holding a mirror."

via Melissa McEwan.  
Go over to Shakesville to read the complete post.  It's worth it.

Teena Marie, 1956-2010

I'm sitting in the living room with my Poppa.  I'm on my computer,  he's watching The View.  Whoopi mentions the recent passing of R&B legend Teena Marie, so my ears perk up.   I'm a fan, and her death was a tragic loss, but I don’t expect my grandparents to know who she was, which is why I’m so confused when Poppa calls Nanny into the room...
Poppa: “Margaret, come here for a sec!”
Nanny: “What is it, what do you want?”
Poppa:  “What was the name of that singer you liked?  The one who had her own show? The one who was gay? With the raspy voice?”
Nanny: “Who?”
Poppa: “What was the name of that show.. Beyond, something?”
Nanny: “Beyond Reason?  Beyond...”
Me: “Do you mean Melissa Etheridge?  That wasn’t-”
Poppa: “Yeah, yeah. She looks like the woman who just died.”
Nanny: “Beyond Belief.”*
Me: “Wait, Melissa Etheridge had a TV show?”
Nanny: “Who died?”
Poppa: “That singer, Tina Louise.”
Me: “No, not-”
Nanny: “Oh, she was getting on...”
Poppa: “She was only 53.”
Me:“No, it was Teena Ma-”
Nanny: “No, she was older than that... she was on that old show...”
Poppa: “Gilligan’s...
Me: “No, Tina Louise didn’t die,  it was Teena Marie.”
Nanny: “ Gilligan’s Island.”
Poppa: “Oh? Who’s that, what did she do?
Nanny: “Who?”
Me: “She was a singer.”
Poppa: “Oh.”
Nanny: “Don’t call me in here again!”
Poppa: (to me) “You’ll be old one day too, you know.”

Yeah, so that's the kind of conversation that happens several times a day.  I've got dozens more where that came from...

But seriously, Teena Marie was an enormously talented singer, songwriter, and producer, and we lost her far too soon.  

*The TV show in question, which I was not familiar with, was in fact called Beyond Chance.  It starred Melissa Etheridge and ran from 1999-2002 on Lifetime. Yeah, I had to do some Googling to find that out.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Songs - Blame it on the Bossa Nova Edition

It's friggin' cold and we're knee-deep in snow here (even deeper for some: I tried to take my parents' shih-tsu out for a walk yesterday, but she was literally in over her head) So, when faced with choosing a song for today, I knew I wanted something that put my body on a sandy beach and my head in the clouds. It had to be Bossa Nova. But just one video wasn't enough to put me in the mood, and besides, I really couldn't decide. I'm starting off with smooth classics from the likes of Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, followed by some more politically charged folk songs from Gilberto Gil and Zelia Barbosa, and rounding it out with some contemporary offerings from Cibelle and Toronto's Maylee Todd. Finally, a seriously steamy track from Seu Jorge & Almaz.  That last one really did the trick.  I hope this warms you up, enjoy!

Astrud Gilberto - Meditation

Gilberto Gil - Expresso 2222

Zelia Barbosa - Funeral do Lavrador

Cibelle - Green Grass

Maylee Todd - Summer Sounds

Seu Jorge & Almaz - Everybody Loves the Sunshine

Not to Harp on About Feminism or Anything But... by Alex Snider

Have you ever had something, an idea, an opinion, a cause, anything, that was really important to you and you wanted to tell lots of people about it so they could understand you a little better? And, has that something, whatever it may be, affected your life? How about the lives of people you love? Or people that are in really horrible situations and need extra support because they're busy struggling to just survive? What about those who haven't been born yet, your future children, nieces, nephews?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Really, Colbert? Really? by Alex Snider

Oh man, how disappointing is it when someone, in this huge world filled with jerks, you admire lets you down? Take for instance, last night on the Colbert Report, when Stephen Colbert talked about Obama endorsing the United Nations' Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People  (ok, horrifyingly enough, the declaration is from 2007). 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Portraits of Women, 1974-1977.

Jackie Burroughs, Actress

The University of Saskatchewan archives are home to a fascinating collection of portraits by photographer John Reeves.  Commissioned by Lorraine Monk in 1975 for the International Year of the Woman, the photos document Canadian women of achievement from various walks of life.  While the arts, authors, and performance galleries are fun to browse for all of the familiar faces they contain (including the lovely Jackie Burroughs, above, who passed away recently and was a familiar face in our neighbourhood, as well), I also enjoy looking through the portraits of judges, scientists, clairvoyants, and manicurists in the other "less glamourous"  galleries.  These women look at the camera like they would an old friend, about to share their deepest secrets.  Some are humorous, others haunting, but all have the power to entrance and capture the imagination.

Constance Nozzolio, Scientist

Vicky Crowe, Craft Manufacturer and Retailer
Karen Kain, Ballerina
Beryl Fox,  Documentary Film Maker
Buffy Sainte-Marie, Singer
Dorothy Wyatt, Mayor
Margaret Laurence, Writer
Joan Fox, Film Historian

 All photos courtesy of John Reeves and The University of Saskatchewan Archives.