I Feel Pretty. Oh. So. Pretty.

Photo credit: Mike Parker, 2015

Photo credit: Mike Parker, 2015

Where to start?

My friend Laurie lives in an artist’s co-op, and every once in a while she puts together these shows in their gallery space. It was at one of these I met Mike Parker, who went to the same high school as Laurie and I.

OK, got all that?

So I reach out to Mike on Facebook, and every now and again he puts something up, and I put something up. It seems we have similar political views.

Years go by.

Then, in August, he puts up this pretty cool pic, of a girl, nude, in a cardboard box.

She had braided hair, and you could see a couple of tattoos on her forearms. (I only mention the braids for layout purposes. 🙂 )

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HotDocs, Aaron Swartz and Cory Doctorow

Cory and me

My friend Mariann has been an avid promoter and attendee of Toronto’s HotDocs festival, lo these many years. So it was no surprise when she called to recruit me to be part of her entourage while attending said festival. I had, in fact, discussed one of this year’s selections with colleagues at my new place of employment (well, perhaps not so new any longer: I’ve been there about six months now; but more on that another time), and was keen to attend a screening of The Internet’s Own Boy: Aaron Swartz. But not just any screening: one of the several screenings was to feature a panel discussion with Cory Doctorow, Lawrence Lessig, Gabriella Coleman and the director, Brian Knappenberger.
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Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema: You Should Go!

I’m playing hooky today to attend the 12th edition of the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema. I’d come across this festival years ago through an acquaintance’s Facebook posting, and I promised myself that I’d attend the following year. That didn’t happen. In fact, it took another couple of years before I finally got off my duff and trekked out to K-W.

When Joseph Chen, the festival’s organizer and curator, saw me with my camera, he pressed me into service, asking me to shoot everything and everyone. So I became one of the volunteers supporting the event, and I’ve been back every year since. Continue reading

Remembrance Day at the Canadian Air and Space Museum

A few weeks ago I heard that the Canadian Air and Space Museum was embattled, under attack from its landlord, Parc Downsview Park.

David Soknacki, Chair of the Downsview Park Board of Directors has pulled every dirty trick in the book to evict the museum from its current home, the former de Havilland plant, where Tiger Moths and other gems of aviation history were first designed and built. Among his underhanded shenanigans, Soknacki has refused to recognize the historical and heritage significance of the building. Continue reading

Finally Beat the Rogers Quick Start Menu

In January, Rogers introduced a new feature to its cable TV subscribers: a Quick Start Menu. What’s on this menu? How can it help me? It doesn’t matter. The brain trust at Rogers decided to put the menu behind the “Guide” button, which normally brings up the Integrated Program Guide (IPG). If you actually want to see the IPG, you simply press the Guide button a second time. Convenient, no?

Immediately, a Facebook group was put up to entreat (read “browbeat”) Rogers into removing this intrusion into their customers’ workflow.

Rogers’ response? They gave us a way to switch the menu and guide around. So when you press the Guide button, you actually get the guide. But if you press it again, you get the menu. Marginally less annoying. Good job, whoever’s doing UX at Rogers.

You know, there are buttons on that remote which never get pressed. The B and C buttons for instance. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to put the menu behind those? Continue reading

Remix Manifesto a Must-See

RiP: A Remix ManifestoI’d heard about RiP: A Remix Manifesto on CBC’s very excellent Search Engine podcast a couple of weeks ago.  I’m not sure how it bubbled up (probably through Facebook), but I ended up going to see it at the Royal on opening night with Morty and Bebe.

WARNING: You will come out of this movie hating the Disney Corporation with the red-hot intensity of a thousand suns.  (You know… if you didn’t already.) Continue reading

Remembering Lupe

lupe_rodriguezLast night my friends Kali and David invited me to a memorial for Lupe Rodrigues, the CBC’s artist-at-large.  I’d heard Lupe reviewing art exhibits on CBC radio’s Here and Now program, hosted by Matt Galloway.

As it turned out, I had intersected with her a couple of other times, but hadn’t connected.  A few years ago, on my way to a play at the Canadian Stage, I had dinner at Hernando’s, and had admired the colourful paintings.  It turned out they were all by Lupe Rodrigues.

lupe2_05

Lupe, it turns out, was a regular at Kali’s very crowded parties. Not a surprise I hadn’t met her there: I’m usually happy to have met and chatted with 3 to 5 people in an evening. Kali’s friends are too interesting not to spend time with.

But Lupe was actually from David’s crowd. They’d both gone to Jarvis Collegiate; as had many of the musicians and artists who helped us celebrate her life and work.  Among them Victor Bateman, Jaron Freeman-Fox, Fergus Hambleton, Cindy Jones, Joanna Kidd, Kevin Laliberte, Amanda Martinez, Kathleen McDonnell, Don Rooke, Anjellica Scannura, Roger Scannura, Valeria Scannura, and John Sheard, the Music Director for the evening.

Our host was Matt Galloway, and speakers included Linda Rosendbaum, David Liss, Bianca Roberts, Lupe’s sons, Sebastian and Liam Cushing, and her husband, Danny Cushing.

Many of the people there had met in high school at Jarvis Collegiate, so it was a bit of a reunion for them.  I know that’s a powerful thing.  It both, reminds you of your youth, and the long road you’ve travelled.  There’s great joy in the thought that at least part of that road was travelled together.

Joss Whedon Does It Again!

What cool people I work with!  Today at 12:30, we gathered in the boardroom with our lunches.  Buddy Richard hooked up his MacBook Pro (oh!  How I’m missing Bender.  And it’s only the first day…) to the projector, and regaled us with the first episode of Joss Whedon’s latest effort: a micro-miniseries (3 episodes, 15 minutes apiece) entitled Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

It’s high camp, to be sure, and artfully showcases Harris’ impeccable comedic timing, as well as Whedon’s mastery of the genre. Continue reading

Russian Army Dancing to Run DMC – It’s Like That

Sitting in a bar with friends, a familiar tune comes on.  I’m trying to figure out what it is and where I know it from.  Then I remember: a video of the Russian Army, dancing, to Run DMC’s It’s Like That.  Loved it.

Sharing it with you here to keep my hand in at placing videos in WordPress posts.  It took me a while to figure it out.