Culture & Conversation

Targeting the CBC

First a confession: I happen to like classical music. I suppose this puts me among the elite who feel betrayed by an evident dumbing-down of CBC programming over the years. A clear example of this came a few years ago with the elimination of most classical music programming from Radio 2 and Espace Musique and its replacement by what critics sneeringly dismiss (and what marketers happily embrace) as “adult contemporary.”


Cirque du darkness

A man and a woman putter on a dark stage dressed like Mad Max at Gallipoli. Two spots aimed at the audience means we don’t so much watch them as squint and look away. A guy in front of me tries to mask the spot with his hands. He moves about and sighs loudly and I think he’s going to walk out of the show only five minutes in. But the music shifts from period tinkling to industrial scraping, the man strips the woman naked, and they chant a raw duo of shouted slogans. It never gets easier to watch, but the guy in front of me stays.

Say Hello to Uncle Charlie

A few months ago, I wrote a review for Kim Jee-Woon’s The Last Stand which was less than complimentary. For all its bluster, the film was a rather weak entry for Jee-Woon into North American cinema. Happily, Park Chan-Wook’s Stoker breaks that trend and reveals itself a wonderfully off-beat and deliciously sinister success. If you didn’t get a chance to see Stoker in theatres, I am here to tell you to check it out now that it is on DVD.

S is for Super!

If you can still get tickets for Circa’s new show S at Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, I suggest you do so. Part of Montréal Completement Cirque, this performance was jam-packed with style, charm and humour; interesting enough for the aficionado, accessible enough for the neophyte. I was quite smitten with this Australian troupe and I’m going to tell you several reasons why.

Presumed innocent

Often portrayed as the era of innocence, the 1950s brought North Americans post-war prosperity, suburban life and the nuclear family, with its clearly defined gender roles. The medium of the day—television—served up squeaky clean characters like June Cleaver, the mother and wife on television’s Leave It To Beaver, a role model to legions of housewives. But as most viewers were aware, made-for-television families had little in common with those living in small towns like Stony River, the setting and title of Tricia Dower’s novel.

Montreal trailblazers reinvent circus

Le voyage d’hiver by Québec’s new Nord Nord Est collective is a remarkable triumph of unbounded creation. Inspired by Franz Schubert’s Winterreise (literally, a winter voyage), the production masterfully pulls from a wide array of artistic domains to craft a work of full performance art, unburdened by the traditional lines that keep one from blurring with another.