Folking things up made for summer’s bright spot
Music: The Vancouver Folk Festival 2018
We celebrate the summer that was with a fond look back at what proved to be the highlight of Vancouver's smokiest season ever: A fully reinvented Folk Music Festival featuring acts that rocked, rattled and rolled young and old alike.
By Rod Mickleburgh
The line-up was skimpier than past years. Sunday clashed with the final of a riveting, month-long World Cup and the sun was hot enough to boil a monkey’s bum, but once again, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival cast its magic over me and thousands of other attendees with its annual mix of good vibes, a setting to die for and outstanding music. Even at my increasingly creaky and cranky advanced age, I found myself dancing, most notably at a wonderful, spirited workshop jam session involving Little Miss Higgins, Les Poules à Collin and Petunia & the Vipers. Thankfully, there were no cameras in sight, and the young people politely refrained from giggling.
There were other highlights:
Juliet, Naked strips romance down to nagging self-doubt
Movie review: Juliet, Naked
Director Jesse Peretz brings alt-rock authenticity to Nick Hornby’s story of a singer-songwriter who fell off the map, only to be rediscovered by the long-suffering partner of an obsessive fan. Ethan Hawke and Chris O’Dowd offer pure performance, but it’s Rose Byrne’s quiet navigation of personal desire that redeems the ego-fest.
Gord Downie’s Courage
Tribute: Gord Downie
Gord Downie Tragically Dead at 53, but the Hip's tune Courage will endure through The Sweet Hereafter, as will the frontman's legacy for compassion
By Katherine Monk
(October 18, 2017) — The song is stuck in my head. No doubt, there are others stuck in a similar loop of Gord Downie lyrics as they process the loss of the Tragically Hip’s iconic frontman today.
According to the band’s website, Downie passed away last night surrounded by friends and family. He was 53.
Downie succumbed to the brain cancer we learned about last year, after his oncologist held a news conference releasing the terminal diagnosis. Ever since, we’ve been waiting to hear the worst. And ever since, the words to the song Courage have been churning through my head.
Yet, it’s not Downie’s voice I hear — though his gut-clenching vocals are familiar enough to be conjured at will. I hear the whisper of Sarah Polley’s soft soprano from The Sweet Hereafter.
Patti Cake$ Bakes Familiar But Tasty Formula
Movie Review: Patti Cake$
Geremy Jasper cooks up Hollywood's sweetest formula in his debut feature about a young woman from New Jersey who craves to make it big in the rap game
Song to Song falls flat
Movie Review: Song to Song
Terrence Malick probes the nature of intimacy through a portrait of Austin's music scene, but the existential maestro fails to find the right notes in this hollow solo
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 ...
David Bowie’s Top Ten movies
Tribute: David Bowie
As the world mourns the loss of an icon who changed pop music, let's not forget David Bowie's impressive, and sometimes abysmal, body of work on the big screen because it was all part of a greater performance
By Katherine Monk
VANCOUVER - The I-5 was a ribbon of wet blackness that emerged, intermittently, with each croaking swipe of the wipers. It was going to be a long drive from Vancouver to Tacoma, and in late October rain without someone to talk to, it was going to feel even longer.
No one wanted to see Bowie with me. Not this tour, at any rate. My partner was a former music promoter. After a lifetime of walking around with a headset and a deck of laminates around her neck, she had no desire to be a plus-one in press seats.
Besides, it was the Outside tour. A 1995 conceptual opera featuring Nine Inch Nails and Bowie playing the character of Nathan Adler, a man who judges the worthiness of art in a post-apocalyptic future, the Outside tour proved ...
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 ...
Pop Culture Decoder: Christmas Music
Christmas music is more maligned than soul patches; Misty Harris jumps to its defence
By Misty Harris
Every holiday season, the masses profess their hatred of Christmas music with a level of zeal normally reserved for discussions about politics, refugees, or Starbucks cup designs. As with hearing police sirens in a song on your car radio, the genre has a way of unsettling even the most mild-mannered of folks.
I, however, am not one of the masses. Call me punk rock but I LOVE Christmas music – so much, in fact, that it’s virtually the only thing I listen to between mid-November and Boxing Day. Cut me and I’ll bleed tinsel.
Why, you ask? Allow me to decode.
* Happiness: Admittedly, most holiday tunes lack complexity in terms of lyrics, melody and variety of plant life. But like Hugh Hefner bedding women in their 20s, Christmas music isn’t there to impress so much as to belabour a point: Fa la la la la (la la la la)! Surrendering to its unshakable optimism ...