Edmonton – For me, the early 90s meant brightly coloured shirts and more pop music that anyone could possibly need for one lifetime. But, halfway around the world, all hell was breaking loose. Last night I had the good fortune to check out the opener for the Global Vision Film Festival in Edmonton. Triage is about Dr. James Orbinski, who served with Medicines Sans Frontiers (Docs Without Borders, to my fellow anglophones) during the devastating famine in Somalia in 1992, the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, and the related refugee camps in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996. Orbinski travels from Toronto to these three locales of his past, relating stories of the things he had seen and the people he had met. Spliced into his narratives are video clips from the time and I must admit that I can’t get some of these terrible images out of my head. Maybe it’s best to not have one’s head in the sand though. Those who plead ignorance to the past are just as likely to repeat it as those who have forgotten. Put on your courage cap and see this doc.
Toronto – Last Wednesday brought Toronto a veritable soul queen in Sharon Jones.For those of you who are new to Sharon Jones, she is spear-heading a throwback to good old fashioned funk and R&B. Sharon was backed by her band the Dap-Kings, the house band from her label: Daptone Records.Seeing them live is the closest I can imagine to being in Harlem during the height of soul and funk in the 70’s.
The Dap-Kings are tight.Most notable for me was watching the bassist Bosco Mann get to work.He held everything down like nobody’s business and was clearly leading the charge.It didn’t surprise me to discover later that he is the mastermind behind large swathes of Sharon’s repertoire.In a world of synthesized music (much of which I enjoy), I must say that there’s something really clean and refreshing about listening to an old-school funk band.No crazy digitized effects, just straight up bare-bones amplification for the guitars, bass, drums, sweet brass, and of course the very impressive pipes of Mrs Jones.
But what review is complete without a comment about the venue?The answer of course is many.But I’ll talk about the Kool Haus anyway.Although I’ve never been a huge fan of the Kool Haus/Government, I do have a juicy little tidbit for all you keen concert going types. Yes, it’s hard to get to, and yes it’s a bit out of the way. Yes, you have to pay for parking, but there is parking on the street that’s free. Yes, those spots evaporate quickly. BUT, if you drive one street west and the drive north of the highway, there is a much higher chance you’ll find parking on the street and, it’s still only a 5 minute walk from the venue. Most people never think to park north of the Gardiner.
I do realize that broadcasting this little tip means that I’ll be less likely to park there myself next time. So don’t ever say I don’t do stuff for you people.
Toronto – The Global Visions Film Festival is a festival that has been running for 27 years in the city of Edmonton. It is strange that the festival has gone on for so long, since I lived in Edmonton for 17 years and did not even hear about this. I was probably too busy playing street hockey, going to Boston Pizza and watching 2 for 1 movies in giant theatre complexes to notice cultural events like this. However, like a fine wine, my tastes have gotten better with age and I now recognize the power of the documentary. So if you are in Edmonton, you should probably go.
So what is it you ask? well, here is an excerpt from the festival’s main page:
“The Global Visions Film Festival (GVFF) is an annual, one of a kind, Edmonton based festival which celebrates the work of passionate, accomplished documentarians from Canada and around the world.”
So yea, if you are in Edmonton, check out the GVFF this weekend.
It’s about something Chinese, so I automatically like it. It’s about an orphan with the HIV, the relatives that try to raise him and the problems that comes with it. I wonder if Ruby Yang is related to Chromewave’s Frank Yang, probably not, since there is about 200 million Yangs out there. This movie is paired with I for India, which sounds pretty interesting itself. China and India together, just like the Panic Manual.
This film was all the rage at Hot Docs this year, so I imagine a packed house to see this documentary about an English neurosurgeon who goes to Ukraine and does all kinds of crazy shit. Sounds like an episode of House…but it was a winner at Hot Docs and a few other festivals.
Football Undercover (2008, Ayat Najafi & David Assmann)
November 8th, 7:00 PM, Stanley A. Milner Library Theatre
A sports documentary about an Iranian female soccer team, and probably the only sports film that Dennis Quaid isn’t in these days. I am sure there were a lot of obstacles for this soccer team to put on a friendly, seeing how Iran isn’t the most forward thinking country on Earth. It is probably inspirational, and features soccer. Who wouldn’t want to watch that?
I usually let Wade take care of Canadian stuff but today I decided to write up a quick post about Ruby Coast, a great indie pop/rock band hailing from Ontario.
While sifting through the Panic Manual mailbag I came across an email about Ruby Coast describing them ‘a 5-piece jangly indie rock band from the suburbs of Toronto’. Well I likes me some jangle and do enjoy visiting Toronto suburbs (Brampton son, what?) so I proceeded to download promo EP and you know what? It is good fun.
Musically Ruby Coast have that distinct Canadian indie rock sound. By that I mean they sound like Tokyo Police Club complete with all members shouting at the same time during songs. What sets them apart is a more upbeat poppy sound and they ‘caw! caw!’ like a crow on the track titled ‘Brittle Bones’. The EP clocks in at a quick but fun 16 minutes and is sure to please indie pop and rock fans alike.
Their bio on the press release is pretty good. That and I’m too lazy to write one on my own:
It’s pretty certain that Aurora, Ontario’s Ruby Coast are every
guidance counsellor’s worst nightmare. On the day everyone was to
fill out their college apps in home room, Keith, Nathan, Mark and
Corey left theirs entirely blank – meanwhile, Justice’s simply read
“rock n’ roll”. Getting up every morning and getting dressed for work
was lacking appeal; days spent writing music in an old barn in
Toronto’s suburbs was a no-brainer. But the real problem from the
teacher’s perspective is that now they’re serving as an example to
their peers that life as a rock band is a legitimate option.
Ruby Coast are having their EP Release Party at Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto this Friday (Nov 7th). Be sure to check them out and instead of caw cawing along to Brittle Bones, I dare you to do this.