Culture & Conversation

The 30 year itch

At a 1992 meeting on the 1962 JFK assassination, which I attended, a BBC producer observed the significance of 30 years passage after tragic happenings. “Before 30 years” he said, “such events are current affairs. After that, they are only history.” So it was with the recent 50th anniversary of JFK. So it now appears with the mass gassing caused by the explosion at Bhopal, India. It was 30 years ago.

5 Songs: New Psych, Vol. 3

What will future generations think of the music from our era? I often ask myself this question as manufactured popular culture propels itself farther and farther from anything I could consider art. And yet, miles away from the lollypop glow of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, there are stratospheres of musical culture that continue to thrive. One of the supreme benefits of a population 7 billion strong is that a multiplicity of musical styles grows and flourishes in all the nooks and crannies. Welcome to my nook.


Boxing beauties

“Protect yourself at all times.” It’s 11:33 pm on Saturday, January 18th at Montreal’s Bell Centre, but for competitors Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute, what matters in that day is the last half hour.

Petit theatre biscuits

Often overlooked by Montreal theatre goers are the pleasant little “in” events that pop up here and there, now and then. Take for instance, these two late-January examples: 5 New Plays and A Few Acres of Snow.

I loves you, Porgy

It’s difficult to know how to respond to George Gerswhin’s opera Porgy and Bess. Should we be a bit offended by this condescending representation of African-Americans, or revel in those beautiful sounds that celebrate their musical gifts to the world: jazz, gospel and spirituals?

Seeing is believing

Every once in a while one is privileged to see a small one person show that is so good it revives one’s faith in the possibility of theatre and all of its magic. Me Myself and Eye was such a show. The writing is impeccable the performance heart breaking, funny and enlightening, and all of this happened in a tiny space; the mini Mainline theatre.

Slow awakening

There were moments in this play that were truly wonderful and transcendent. When Kristina Sandev enacts her girlish relationship with her father, her childlike moments on stage are stunning. Likewise, Deepali LIndblon, gives a magical performance as a young woman who has been sold into prostitution by her own mother.

Howling to be heard

“Back along the road again, I swear we’ve been here before,” laments Chelsea native Jake Watson on “Those Were the Days,” and for a moment there you almost believe him. I mean, let’s face it. The current landscape of alternative folk is getting rapidly overcrowded. While increasingly crossing over with more mainstream sounds, the overall feeling is that the scene is somewhat diluting itself. Yet before this popular subgenre eventually slows down, Montreal outfit Wind & the Wild make a damn good case at its sustainability with their eponymously-named sophomore effort.

Be mine

Her is the strangest confluence of films. On the one hand, it is a science fiction film that predicts the arrival of hyper-intelligent AI operating systems. On the other hand, it is a film that is paradoxically rooted in human emotions and the deeper core of our inner selves.

Other Side of The Falls

Craig Davidson’s third novel, the gritty Cataract City, deserves all the praise it has received since its release last summer, including a short-list nomination for the…

Unexploded ordinance

As I was leaving the theatre, my young companion said, “If you hadn’t told me that there was an explosion, I would never have known.” This is a play about the horrific 1984 Union Carbide chemical explosion in Bhopal, India. The deaths (2500 directly caused by the explosion and up to 8000 in the subsequent two weeks) and the lingering consequences of chemical exposure cannot even be imagined in this country. Exacerbated by Bhopal’s extreme poverty, it is also worth remembering for the callousness of the company that caused it.