Concert Review: Hurray For The Riff Raff, April 19, Opera House

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One of the first things I noticed when entering the Opera House for Thursday night’s Waxahatchee/Hurray For The Riff Raff/Bedouine show was the giant “WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER” banner up on the stage. That phrase was also printed on t-shirts available at Hurray For The Riff Raff’s merch table and it’s definitely a message many can relate to – yes, the world’s definitely a mess right now, but we are all in this thing together, so let’s all try to work to makes things better somehow.

That message could be seen clearly in Hurray For The Riff Raff’s passionate, political performance and in many of the songs the band played on this night, from “Rican Beach” to “Nothing’s Gonna Change That Girl” (introduced by singer Alynda Segarra as being about “the divine feminine energy that lives within every being”) to “Kids Who’ll Die,” a new song inspired by a Langston Hughes poem. The most powerful and memorable moment of the night, however, came right at the end of their set with the song “Pa’lante” (meaning, “go forward”) which Segarra introduced with the following words: “Pa’lante, my friends. Power to the people. We are Hurray For The Riff Raff.”

As our world becomes more and more fucked up (though hopefully not totally fucked), Alynda Segarra continues to speak out on important issues through her music and to try and effect change through her art. Phil Ochs once said (in a line which the Manic Street Preachers recently referenced in promoting their latest album Resistance Is Futile) that “In such ugly times the only true protest is beauty” – Hurray For The Riff Raff would seem to embody that way of thinking.

Hot Docs Preview: Anote’s Ark (2018, Matthieu Rytz)

Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs | Leave a comment

Anote’s Ark is a beautifully shot documentary about the effect of rising sea levels on the South Pacific island of Kiribati. Situated in the Pacific near the equator, Kiribati is a nation that comprises of numerous atolls and islands. These islands are only a few meters above sea levels are currently in danger of being wiped off the face of the Earth with rising sea levels and change in weather patterns.

The film primarily follows two individuals – the president of Kiribati and a mother. While the president furiously travels the globe seeking a solution to his island’s problems, the mother has to evaluate things on a much more personal level, assessing how to care for her family as her home gets continually flooded. Not really mentioned in the film are the economical factors that would drive citizens to travel abroad for work.

The film is a stark reminder of the natural powers of the Earth and provides great insight into how climate change can greatly affect people in other areas of the world instead of just being a minor nuisance.

Check it out.

Wed, May 2 @ 10:15 AM TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Fri, May 4 @ 1:00 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

More info here

Hot Docs Preview: People’s Republic of Desire (2018, Hao Wu)

Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs | Leave a comment

Eerily similar to what you would think was a Black Mirror episode, The Republic of Desire is an interesting and ultimately depressing look at the world of live streaming in China.

In China, live streaming has become extremely popular, and much like youtube stars, the promise of fame and fortune has driven a lot of individuals to great measures to attain popularity online. The film follows the a few of these online celebrities as they attempt to win an annual competition that promises fame and reward. We also follow other players in the world of live streaming, including the fans and the people behind agencies that promote the personalities.

Without getting too much in the movie, it is pretty clear that desire is a strong theme in the movie – there is desire for fame, desire for money, desire for recognition, desire for friends and a desire for identity. Everyone in this film is in the search of something and it brings to the forefront just how disconnected we have become from each other as we become more connected on the internet.

There is a lot going on in this film to digest and it makes you wonder where we are heading as a society. Check it out.

Sat, Apr 28 @ 9:00 PM Hart House Theatre
Mon, Apr 30 @ 3:00 PM Scotiabank Theatre 4
Sat, May 5 @ 6:15 PM Revue Cinema

Click here for more info

Hot Docs Preview: The Cleaners (2018, Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck)

Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs | Leave a comment

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The Cleaners is an astonishing, terrifying and disturbing look at the hidden side of the internet. While we celebrate the fact we are able to share our thoughts and content to anyone and everyone across the globe, we learn there’s always a catch.

On the internet, most of us are content with sharing memes, random life updates and curated pictures of our lunches. However there is a small section of society who want to share more nefarious things. TPropaganda, acts of violence and nudity are among the nastier things on the internet and throughout this film, we realized that’s just peeling back the top layer. This content doesn’t often reach the masses, so the question is … so who moderates them?

The Cleaners is a film about the people who moderate our content. Based out of a non descript office in Manila and working as third party contractors for our tech giants, the people we meet really do look like they have seen it all.

The film brings us insight into the lives of these people but also dives into many other topics including right free speech, corporate and government responsibilities on the web and also contract work in poor countries. It is a very well rounded and slick film that brings forth a ton of information without exercising judgement and leaves a lot of food for thought. It’s not a very happy topic as one would imagine but it’s definitely one that should be looked at.

Highly recommended

Wednesday May 2nd @ Scotiabank: 2:45 pm
Friday May 4th @ Revue: 9 pm

For more information, go to this page