Sunday, November 25, 2012

The big smoke for a short while

Yep, back in Toronto - this time a total rush trip, entirely work related, and entirely unpleasant (well, maybe that's harsh - I do have dinner plans that should be fun one night)

In mores interesting news, saw The Punch Brothers at the lovely Chan Centre with the equally lovely L. last night. The openers were the Milk Carton Kids, a fantastic acoustic duo with the best quirky on-stage patter I've experienced in a while ("winning" is the word), followed by the amazing Punch Brothers. Holy Crap is my official statement for the night. Insane talent, and one of those nights where I didn't feel a need to send dagger eyes at audience members - you could hear a pin drop when the band played (and that included some beautiful, un-mic'd moments, including some mind boggling Bach on the mandolin by the amazing Chris Thile) So impressive. I'm usually not a big fan of bands doing covers, but they threw in a few (Kid A and Dead leaves and the dirty ground to name two) and the approach is so fresh and unique it makes the effort make sense. And they did the slightly discordant third movement of The Blind Leaving the Blind from their first album, which quite honestly made my night. It was one of those evenings where you look around, and realize how unbelievably lucky you are to be right where you are.

Unfortunately no videos ( not something easily pulled of at the Chan), but I will show you a snap of the tour t instead.

I will stop now - I'm writing this on my iPad in the back of a cab speeding along a bleak Toronto highway, and I'm now feeling kind of car sick...

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Crossing the border (and other lines?)

An interesting few days for sure.

First, something from the very VERY entertaining Patrick Watson, who put on a stellar show at the Centre last Thursday.  My video attempts? Less than stellar.  This is as good as it got, and my memory stick filled up half way through the song:

He was fabulous.

And the weekend? Well, the weekend was spent in Seattle with my regular partners in adventure.

Why were we there?

Um, to watch a film festival.  Not documentary, not foreign film...but ... um,

The Stranger and the Portland Mercury once again invite amateur filmmakers, porn stars, porn-star wannabes, hotties, kinksters, regular folks, and all other creative types to make short porn films—five minutes max—for HUMP!™ 2012. ... anything goes at HUMP!™ (Well, almost anything: No poop, no animals, no minors.)

Yep.  HUMP! The idea here is to let people be 'porn stars for the weekend' - all copies of the films are destroyed immediately after the fest, never to be seen again (unless the creators decide to release them, that is).  

And how did I end up there?  Firstly, my long term admiration for one of the main creators of this phenomenon, Dan Savage - a controversial figure for sure, but certainly someone who stands up, advocates for what he believes in, and does more good on this planet than most in terms of education and pointing out the many hypocrisies that exist in the world.  

So,..why else?  Well, it was a bit of a personal challenge I suppose.  I am not what would be considered a "consumer" of porn, though I support its existence completely, for a bunch of different reasons I won't bore you with. That being said, some lizardy part of my brain finds it (or some of it) more problematic.  I am bored (or creeped out) by the inherent over the top artificiality; I am bothered by what can be a nasty tone; and I have to admit some concern that the incredible ease of access makes it the primary way young people learn these days what sex is about - and porn is to sex what romantic comedies are to real life relationships.  It's fantasy, not a teaching tool - but how are the inexperienced supposed to know the difference?  And I know, I know - I am generalizing.  And trust me, I could go on and on about this topic and my mixed up thoughts.  Welcome to my brain.

Then there's HUMP! - for me and the girls, a flight of fancy and a chance to dig into what might happen when the 5-minute challenge outlined above meets creative brains.  And a chance to see what truly non-commercial porn would (or could) look like.  And what a fun and interesting night it was.

The ballot!
To start, the energy in the theatre was happy and buzzing - the doormen, who made it clear that cameras were NOT welcome, were decked out in intentionally campy, tight fitting soccer uniforms.  We spilled into the cinema, and were greeted by Dan Savage, who chatted about the festival for a bit, what the rules were, and that any heckling or disrespectful remarks from the audience would result in the offenders removal ("we want to see assholes on the screen, not in the audience").  And then a table full of Jack Daniels shots was carried out.  I believe city bylaw say that say that you can't consume alcohol while watching porn, so they offered it to us first - for $5/shot, which went to charity.  The flock of bodies (yes, mine too) moving down to the stage to grab a shot just added to the general craziness.  Very fun.  Really.

And then - the films.  I'm not going to say much about them, except that they were often funny, and often surprising.  They covered a real cross section of humanity, and they were almost universally well shot and edited - really quality little shorts, regardless of the subject matter.  The audience laughed, cringed, whooped and applauded.  Who knew porn could be  There were ballots, and voting (best humour, best kink, best sex, best overall). What it was, really, was a celebration of human sexuality in all (well, most of ) it's forms.  It was about acceptance, no matter what  body you are in (transgendered,  disabled, skinny, lumpy, name it), or what you like to do with that body.  And that was a delight to see.   And I wasn't creeped out (well, ok maybe once...).  Or bored.  Or bothered by the tone.

As we exited, pushing our ballots through the genital-orificed vote boxes, we were smiling.  And trying not to stare too closely at a couple walking in front of us that we had seen much, MUCH more of only a few minutes before.  Porn stars for the weekend, they were indeed.  And HUMP! has found some more converts.  We will be back next year, for sure.

A & her morning after eggs...
And, to clarify, I'm still not a consumer of porn.  Really...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lots to see, not much to say

I've been a culture glutton for the last week.  Really I should have so much to say - and if you were to talk to me in person, I do have so much to say...but I'm being a lazy blogger.  So - the highlights:

1.  Skyfall, the new James Bond.  Suprisingly great for an action film.  Daniel Craig and Judy Dench are fantastic.  Did I mention Daniel Craig?  Javier Bardem also brings a delightfully over the top villain to the screen.  Oh, and there's Daniel Craig...

2. Kidd Pivot's "The Tempest Replica" with my dance partner in crime A.  A beautiful piece, for sure - excellent creative staging of a well known classic.  That being said, I didn't find myself as connected to it as I have other dance works I've seen.  Trying to figure that one out - I think maybe I was too concerned about narrative to appreciate the choreography as much as I could have.  I think this is my problem more than the work's.  I'm a dance virgin, I still obsess about understanding that language, maybe the well known narrative component was too much for my rapidly aging brain to handle on top of that.

3. Robert Lepage's "The Far Side of the Moon" - twice in four days, with my Lepagian-frere, on his birthday no less.  Yes, we are both obsessed.  This is something I definitely did connect with - I've seen it three times now, and I'd see it again any time.  I've spoken about Lepage before and I really don't know what else there is to say - except that I wish I had one quarter of his creativity, and I will see ANYTHING he puts together.   And for those of you who don't have the ability to see the theatrical version of the story, it is well worth renting the DVD of the film version - very very different than the theatrical work, but no less worthwhile.

This week brings more cultural fun - and hopefully more energy to write about it...

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Sometimes I'm elsewhere...

Yes, if I'm not blogging you can find me here; more photos of Mags, Eddy and Lizzie, Chobe and my Halloween-ness await.

I should mention that Lizzie and Eddy are my pals' new babies - not sure they knew quite what they were letting themselves in for when they brought these two whirlwinds home - a whole lot of activity and laughs that's for sure. Adorable, both of them. Oh, and the kittens are pretty cute too ;)

In other news, finally saw PT Anderson's "the Master" - wow. Something that requires a second watch for sure. Insanely good performances all around. Joaquin Phoenix is unsettling at the best of times, but he is a man possessed in this. Amazing.  Beautifully shot as well, as you can see from the trailer below.

And speaking of amazing, off to see Robert Lepage (*artistic swoon*) in the super fantastic "Far side of the Moon" this week with another swooning Lepage fan.  I saw him perform this in Toronto about 12 years ago with a theatre-nut ex, and it changed my view of theatre forever.  No kidding.  Cannot WAIT.

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