Michael Joplin remembers a happy Janis
Interview: Michael Joplin
Though Janis Joplin's surviving siblings don't occupy huge amounts of screen time, Michael and Laura Joplin's presence brings a new dimension to Amy Berg's new documentary, Janis: Little Girl Blue, premiering tonight on PBS
Art Bergmann plays The Apostate
Music: Interview with Art Bergmann
The former Vancouver punk icon says his joints are sore, his back aches and his neck breaks, but the release of his first new LP in a decade proves Art Bergmann is more than a survivor, he's close to folk hero
By Katherine Monk
For the first few minutes, we talk about sciatica, arthritis, spinal surgery and who’s dead. That's just what happens when you're over 50 and you haven't spoken to someone in 20 years. Even if that someone is Art Bergmann – the iconic face of Canadian punk rock turned apostate. Make that “The Apostate,” because after an extended recording hiatus that witnessed the release of just one EP and a lost recordings collection over the course of a decade, Bergmann has a new LP, The Apostate, what he calls his “response to living in the west." Bouncing from Vancouver to a small parcel of Albertan landscape situated near “the beige town of Airdrie,” Bergmann started a new life with his wife Sherri a decade ...
Horns of a dilemma
Movies: A trumpet player's take on two new brassy biopics
Searching for a proper trumpet movie proves problematic when Hollywood insists on blowing all the false notes in a bid to cook up drama and romantic heroes
by Charles Gordon
Trumpet players hardly every get to have movies made about them — unlike, say, ninjas. As luck would have it, there are two big ones out at the same time, Born to Be Blue, a fictionalized version of Chet Baker’s life, and Miles Ahead, a drama about Miles Davis. As a trumpet player, woefully amateur but serious about it, I have to say that the real star of Born to Be Blue is not Ethan Hawke, the Hollywood star, who plays Chet, but Kevin Turcotte, the Toronto trumpet player, who plays the music of Chet on the soundtrack. More on that later. In the jokes that are made about musicians (drummers who slow down, guitarists who play out of tune, unemployable trombonists) the stereotype of the trumpet players is the arrogant show-off. The trumpet ...
Truth Forced Stars to See the Light
People: Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen on I Saw the Light
The good lord was willing and the creek didn't rise, but taking on the challenge of playing Hank Williams, the American icon who gave a nation its own lonesome sound, gave Tom Hiddleston and co-star Elizabeth Olsen a fresh lesson in authenticity
By Katherine Monk
TORONTO – “Last time I checked, I wasn’t born in Asgard,” says Tom Hiddleston. Indeed, the English actor was born in Westminster, the central chunk of London, a far cry from the celestial birthplace of Norse gods such as Odin, Thor and Loki, the latter representing Hiddleston’s ticket to the Hollywood big-time. In 2011, Hiddleston played the bitter little brother to Chris Hemsworth’s Thor in the continuing Marvel franchise, bringing true gravitas and drama to the comic book universe and causing a gravitational bend to the spotlight’s beam. Hiddleston went toe-to-toe with Anthony Hopkins and Robert Downey Jr. in Thor, but that same year ...
Rod Mickleburgh’s Cool Yule Top Ten
Music: Christmas Carols
A devout atheist reveals an unrepentant penchant for Christmas carols, and offers a list of top yule tunes, as well as a few nasty disasters from the past
By Rod Mickleburgh
A confirmed atheist from birth, I nevertheless fell under the spell of Christmas carols early on in my twisted, hippie life. I well remember a time when, in the days leading to Christmas, CBC Radio would broadcast the singing of carols every morning from the Timothy Eaton’s Store in Toronto. And this was no professional choir. The singers were the shoppers, and whoever else showed up to carol at 8.30 a.m., when the half-hour live broadcast began. Complete with coughing, the grave, echo-y announcements of the next carol, the audible rustling of the carol sheets and finally, the glorious sound of all those voices raised on high, it was an indelible part of my “child’s Christmas in Newmarket”. I can tell you they never did Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the ...
Review: Peaches pushes the body politic
The performance artist, composer and electronic musician hit the stage accompanied by dancing labia then took a walk over the crowd encased in a gigantic condom
By Katherine Monk
October 6, 2015, VANCOUVER, BC -- Katy Perry has dancing sharks. Peaches has dancing labia. There’s a good argument to be made for the merits of each mascot sidekick – an uncoordinated shark made Perry’s Super Bowl performance a viral sensation, and Peaches plushy vulvas have brought the Toronto-raised, Berlin-based performance artist international acclaim as a gender activist with a sense of humor. But even without the shock value of gigantic stuffed genitalia prancing around the stage, there’s a clear difference in showmanship and intent that makes a Peaches show more than a night of entertainment. The woman born Merrill Beth Nisker is able to straddle disparate worlds through her weird mise-en-scene that uses the tricks of arena rock theatrics while mocking their phallocentric ...