Culture & Conversation

Bass Drum of Death hates you

A young Jack White once ironically asked an audience at a White Stripes concert if going to a rock and roll concert was the same as going to a museum. For my part, Ron Mueck has enthralled me, Dale Chihuly filled me with wonder, but the Bass Drum of Death show last Sunday at Casa del Popolo rocked me to the core.

Out-standing artifacts

If you’ve yet to hear of local performance artist Chun Hua Catherine (Cat) Dong, let me introduce you. Cat, originally from China, was schooled at Emily Carr and holds an MFA from Concordia. Her performances have spanned the globe—from Lithuania to Italy to Germany—and her work has been exhibited in North America, Europe and Asia.


Darkness abides

FILM: DARK LULLABIES. It is a search for answers as to how many German officers and administrators could contribute to the horrors of their jobs, while at home they were often pleasant, cultured family men with kind hearts.

The Seagull at Segal

Peter Hinton is an award winning playwright and director. From 2005-2012, he was Artistic Director of English Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa; prior to that he was an associate artist at The Stratford Festival for seven seasons and then more recently directed at the Shaw Festival. For the Segal Centre, he directed A Night in November by Marie Jones, Buried Child by Sam Shepard, and his own adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House. Peter was the 2012 English recipient of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Gascon/Thomas Award for significant achievement in Canadian Theatre, and in 2009, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. I met Peter in the lobby of the Segal Centre.


Passing as a white dude

Hours before heading on a Greyhound bus to New York City, my first trip to the US in almost 9 years, I expressed some concern about dealing with customs agents. My interactions with arrogant, large, refrigerator-like dudes with bulletproof vests has never been pleasant; what is it about buzz cuts that can induce such swagger?

Celtic tigers

Life’s A Breeze opened the 2014 season of my favourite film festival, Cinegael. Now in its 22nd year, it has shown a wonderful array of Irish related films…

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.