28 February 2011

passing judgment

ok, it's completely unfair of me to pass judgment on things that i did nothing to help, but it's how i'm made...

this year's nuit blanche was... well, it was socially wonderful. we ended up hooking up with everyone we would have wanted (except for one person who we apparently missed by a hair's breadth when we passed on an early breakfast in mile end). but in terms of letting us experience a wide variety of artistic possibilities, well, this year fell a little flat.

we chose to head to the plateau, rather than downtown, where we've headed the last couple of years. while there, we found some beautiful paintings and dioramas, backed by a lovely string quartet and piano playing very nyman-esque pieces for the huddled... almost masses. we also got to hear the tail end of a performance at monastirki on st-laurent and one at cagibi next door (once we'd waded our way through the hipster masses who were there to celebrate the fact that they'd located the one place in the neighbourhood still serving alcohol.

we moved on to gallerie circulaire a couple of blocks over, where visitors were invited to engrave their own album and then watch it printed to vinyl while they waited. this was undoubtedly the hit venue of the evening and, although we didn't decide to make a record, it was fascinating to watch, particularly listening to the awesome accompaniment of dj's tyg and ciemnosc.

and of course the oscars tonight were... mila kunis and scarlet johannson looked amazing. everyone else looked nice enough, but i'm really bored with seeing off-white/ black/ red at the academy awards. why am i leading with what fashions i enjoyed? because i figure it's the most interesting thing. seriously. the most surprising part of the oscars was finding out that they're still happy to kick david fincher in the round globular region south of the waist, which isn't a particularly happy revelation if you're a fan of cinema. sure, the social network wasn't his best film, but after shafting him for zodiac, where he was denied a chance to show down with "there will be blood" (the other best movie of the year, no matter what the records will say) and completely neglecting seven, which redefined how suspense/ horror films are made, you'd think they would at least pat him on the back by letting him have an award for best director. instead... well, instead david fincher has to be satisfied with having some unknown blogger talk about how awesome he truly is and how many directors were shunned by the academy awards in their heyday. i'm sincerely hoping that he takes the opportunity to give the middle finger salute to the hollywood establishment and go back to making the kind of pictures that made those of us with taste and brains love him to begin with.

ach. not the best way to start the week. but let's look on the positive side. for many of us, things are looking up for the next few days. well, except for those of us who are looking at a snow/ freezing rain storm tomorrow. for us, life is completely terrible. for everyone else, monday will mark a significant improvement.

25 February 2011

friday favourites 25.02.11

oh yes, it's friday, which means you're looking down the barrel of another weekend, you lucky sods! whether your plans are world domination or catching up on sleep or teaching your pets to play checkers, let's all take a deep breath and think about those things that have brought a smile to our lips in the last week. here are a few of my choices:


hungry ballerina :: she eats, she travels, she stands on her toes. this blog is absolutely adorable; matter-of-fact in its writing, but an utter fantasy in content. i challenge you to read it and not salivate. her restaurant reviews from far and wide are a delectable parade from the imaginations of some of the world's great chefs and from unknown little nooks. she thoughtfully includes snapshots of the various dishes enjoyed at each feast, in case you weren't jealous enough already.

there's a wonderful simplicity to the posts; they are recaps of the atmosphere, service and food enjoyed in these various locations, without a lot of the heavy terminology normally employed by career food critics. and one of my favourite things about this blog is the sense of camaraderie one gets from each meal. these are shared experiences, with multiple appetizers, main courses and desserts. it is not merely one woman's experience enjoying great food, but one woman's perspective on an event involving friends sharing a gratifying experience.

plus, since we've all doubtless seen endless promos for the 75lb waifs in black swan, isn't kind of pleasant to think of a ballerina eating all this food?

SEE MORE FAVOURITES, PLUS YOUR WEEKLY CAT PIC!- CLICK BELOW TO CONTINUE


24 February 2011

making faces :: bronzed babes and lily-white ladies

pale, pasty, fair, floury...
yes, there is still snow on the ground and despite that "first day of spring" event, march is a liar that frequently carries the most snow and the most wind of the year (making it quite possibly the most miserable month of the year), but we have at least cracked the coldest part of winter and sooner than later, we will want once more to start heading out of doors. (note: if you're in australia or anywhere else in the southern hemisphere, i realise that this is the opposite for you, but the temperature is such that you can basically live outdoors all the time, so maybe this applies to you too.) and bound up with the idea that we should start getting out of doors is the idea that we should only do so sporting a tan. of course, this is really only relevant for caucasians, whose pasty faces lose their radiance over the winter months, but even some with darker complexions are encouraged to tone up if the lack of sun has left them a little sallow.

kate as a youth (simulated)
when I was a kid, i used to run around in the sun all the time, generally with sunscreen so that i wouldn't end up getting dunked in butter by gentlefolk who mistook me for a lobster, and as long as i was thus protected, i'd turn a sort of golden brown in no time. then, i started to notice that all of the people i found really beautiful had very fair skin, skin like mine if i kept it out of the sun, it would stay a tone that i preferred. that was pretty much it for me and tanning. the sun and i have gone our separate ways. a few years back, i spent a week in mexico, where avoiding the sun was pretty much impossible. when i came back, people asked me if i'd spent the entire time indoors.

summer colouring cleverly disguised as "tan"
it's not that i don't develop any colour in the warmer seasons. an inspection of photos taken  reveals that my colour does deepen a bit and things that are now called "discolourations" or "age spots", once known as "freckles" start to appear. this despite the fact that i'm religious about putting on sunscreen every time i think i might have to go outdoors. and i'm fussy. no dollar store snake oil for me. i go for the full uva + uvb, physical (rather than chemical) sunscreen in spf 45 or higher because i want to know that my pallor is protected. being pale is nothing to be ashamed of. i'm waiting for the panic over the sun giving us all cancer to kick-start a revival of sun hats and parasols.


see more about the history of tanning & whitening and descriptions of the makeup i used in the two looks above!

where have all the blog posts gone?

if you're reading this on blogger, as opposed to on facebook (if you read these posts solely on facebook, this doesn't concern you and you can go about your life without reading further), you may have noticed that some of the historical posts- the ones on the first page, at least, have gotten a bit shorter. they're all still there, of course, but i have started adding page breaks on some of the longer posts, so they aren't quite so visually intimidating and so visitors to the site can browse quickly rather than becoming entangled in my...  loquaciousness.

i'm not going to go back and do this for the entire five and a half year history of the blog, i'm not that obsessive (not at the moment), but i figured i'd at least tidy up the front page to get things started. to view any post in its entirety, just click on the words "read more" at the end of the section on the front page. doing so will whisk you away to a space where you can enjoy the full post, with pictures, videos, links and whatever exciting goodies i can throw in there.

on another note, a good friend tells me that the band seefeel have reformed, which is nice, because they were quite a lovely band back in the day, but i'm hoping that this doesn't result in them hunting me across the earth, demanding their name back. the fact is, while they were languishing in self-imposed retirement, i've been using the name "more like space" for radio shows in two different cities, this blog, my space, facebook and a basically every public face i have (except my dj name, which is of even older vintage). in fact, if you google the phrase "more like space", this blog turns up second only to the wikipedia entry on the song. so there. nyah.

just kidding. i'm curious to see what they do after a long hiatus and i promise not to steal any more of their track titles for my personal gain. i've made my more like space bed and i'm comfortable here.

23 February 2011

what's all the racket?

just thought i'd share a few things that i'd been listening to lately. i have to say that i've sort of slipped off the new music bandwagon in recent days. every time i start to look around for new things, i find that i sort of get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things that are available. i'd need three lifetimes to get through just this month's new releases and new artists. and i have pretty specific tastes, so i can't imagine what it's like for people who have a more generalised interest. and aside from discovering new stuff, there's always the challenge of making a point to listen to things that i already have, but haven't pulled out in a while. that was sort of the theme of this past week.

herz juhning :: miasma
la vampires & zola jesus :: la vampires meets zola jesus (i just love the dubby combination here)
janitor :: receiving a flower on mother's day
nurse with wound :: automating vol.1 (side 2 is still one of the most uneasy things i've heard)
maybe mental :: lotuses on fire
strafe fur rebellion :: morr & lufthunger (an unjustly ignored band)
axolotl :: memory theatre
pimentola :: misantropolis
various artists :: fight
senking :: pong

feel free to share what music you've had on your stereo/ computer/ ipod/ 8-track lately.

21 February 2011

good for what ails you?

you can look but you can't touch
It's not surprising if you haven't heard of desoxyn. it's never prescribed as a first line medication to treat any ailments and even when it is used (it's not even approved for use in canada, so you'd have to get a prescription from another country), it's done under heavy monitoring and usually for extremely short periods of time. many doctors are suspicious of using it and the process for getting it is onerous even with a prescription. potential patients have to go through a thorough screening and if there is any history of problems with drugs or alcohol, you can pretty much kiss any chance of getting a prescription goodbye, no matter how suitable a candidate you might otherwise be. you cannot get a renewal on a prescription, ever- your doctor will need to fill out a form and sign every time you get another bottle. furthermore, pharmacists have their own special precautions they must take when dispensing it, even with a legitimate prescription, so you can pretty much expect to be treated like a criminal during the entire process. and at a price of nearly $600/g, it's one of the most expensive medications you can buy. the drug is so controversial, in fact, that its manufacturer, abbott laboratories, doesn't even mention it, much less provide detailed information on their web site.

20 February 2011

caveat emptor, caveat scriptor

i think that we've all done this at certain times: google your name and perhaps a key term related to an accomplishment of yours just to see what the internet is saying about you. i do it periodically, linking my name to various words, but most successfully with the title of my short story anthology, interference, or conversion, the film i've been involved with as a writer, producer and actress. (it would help if all the media coverage for conversion hadn't misspelled my name.) so the other day, i tried googling "kate macdonald interference". i'll just say that the results were a little surprising.

first of all, the book is on sale everywhere in the world (although sadly lacking in reviews), through channels i've never dreamt of. i knew that it was widely distributed through online networks, i guess i hadn't realised just how widely.

second, i was a little surprised to notice that many of these places list the book as being "in stock". as far as i was aware, copies were always ordered to ship, which gives them a long lead time, but means that no one holds any inventory. if i were willing to pay a few dollars extra (prices starting from $10.38cad on amazon, compared to $7.76usd plus shipping, which is what i have to pay if i want to order a copy through lulu), i could have copies of the book shipped to me faster from a retailer than i could from the online publisher i worked with. perplexing and more than a little annoying.

19 February 2011

music to our ears

as promised, i have an update on a couple of fronts:
dj kali + mr. dna

1. mr. dna's playlist from the queer post-punk night on thursday is now on line.

2. after appearances at various haunts around montreal, it looks like dj kali & mr. dna have found a longer-term home at cagibi. starting on wednesday march 2nd, we'll be filling your ears with prescription-strength aural goodness from 9 until midnight and we'll be there on the first wednesday of every month from there on in, assuming all goes well and we don't wreck the place.

given the venue, this isn't a "dance" event (we'll still be doing those from time to time as well), which gives us a lot of latitude in terms of what can be played, so expect some inclusions from previous play lists and a lot of things from the depths of our music collections that don't get to meet strangers often enough.

mark your musical calendars and we'll see you for "the caustic lounge" at cagibi on the 2nd!

18 February 2011

friday favourites 18.02.11

that's right! it's time for another edition of friday favourites, a time to appreciate the passing of another week and the things that have made it better. here's a few of the things that made it better for me:

the young turks :: sometimes, you don't want to go through the laborious process of explaining to someone why they're in the wrong. sometimes, arguments are just so facile that they don't deserve the dignity of an intelligent and well-crafted response. in those times, what you really want is to just point out the giant sinkholes in an argument and let the stupidity sing for itself. feel good people, because the young turks are there for you.

the award winning podcast and youtube channel have actually landed its host a regular gig on msnbc (i'm betting msnbc would love to get the viewership tyt get). it's a straight-up dismantling of the likes of fox news and the tea party, with a healthy smattering of commentary on those news stories that make those of us with brain cells occasionally beat our heads on tabletops. rather than refuting arguments through careful study and analysis, the hosts simply use common sense and caustic wit to draw attention to the predominance of general idiocy and speak for those who are supremely fed up with having to go through the motions of intelligent debate with people who think their great-grandfather kept pterodactyls as pets.

(i'd also like to thank them for helping me manage my shameful and growing addiction to watching clips of glenn beck on the internet. which is why i'm embedding a clip that's 18 months old, rather than a newer one...)



hey, if they ever need a token white chick to join their ranks, i am all over that.

dj kali @ queer post-punk 17.02.11

last night was sort of a barrel of unpredictability in many ways. it was really interesting seeing what people danced to, which was a combination of the extremely familiar and the surprisingly obscure. i ended up doing a lot longer than i'd ever intended, but it gave me the opportunity to do some things i hadn't tried before. many thanks to dj cry betty for organising the night, dj tyg for an awesome opening set, cabaret playhouse for having us, everyone who showed up and, of course, to mr. dna, who jumped in last minute to fill a void in the schedule. we'll have to do this again soon!

set 1

gary numan :: are friends electric?
human league :: almost medieval
wall of voodoo :: they don't want me
big black :: kerosene
fad gadget :: ricky's hand
martial canterel :: never wind
absolute body control :: never seen
??? :: ??? (ok, you got me, i grabbed a home-made compilation without a track list, logged the track number and i apparently got it wrong. i've just spent 15 minutes going through playlists and i still can't figure out what it was. i was told at the time that it was good. dang me.)
devo :: satisfaction
severed heads :: now an explosive new movie
spk :: metal field
portion control :: chew ya to bits
jonn foxx :: underpass (underpants!)

...mr. dna will be posting his playlist separately... Playlist is now up!

17 February 2011

making faces :: heroine

i linked in last week's friday favourites to a new collection from mac cosmetics with a wonder woman theme. one of the coolest things about mac is the imagination they show in their collections- rather than having generic seasonal collections, they build them around themes. those themes are sometimes evident more in the imagery that surrounds the product launch than in the products themselves, but it still does lend an air of fun to the proceedings. it also tends to draw in people like me, especially since, in the latter part of 2010, they had collections based on cats (cats don't wear makeup! they don't need it!), disney villains (i'm not a disney fan, but who doesn't want to be a villain sometimes?) and tartan (ah, my scottish heritage calls).

13 February 2011

one hand washes the other and stabs you in the back

it's bad enough that the crtc is in bed with big telecoms, backing their demands to limit internet usage for no logical reason (other than wanting to be able to bill canadian consumers more and put a choke hold on smaller competitors at the same time) but now it turns out they're both having a three-way with the cbc? send help.

the cbc is supposed to serve the public interest (then again, so is the crtc), although its role as a public watchdog isn't nearly so entrenched here as it is in countries such as sweden or holland. still, you'd like to think that they are at least dedicated to presenting a comprehensive and multifaceted debate on issues of importance to the canadian populace. but, as it turns out, they're a little reluctant.

11 February 2011

friday favourites 11.02.11

today's guest contributor
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^ that note comes to you courtesy of hecubus, our siamese, the home's tiniest resident, but usually its most vocal. i believe that's his way of saying that it's time for another edition of friday favourites, that sweet pause in the week where i take a few moments to think about what's made the past seven days better. 

clinique vétérinaire plateau mont-royal :: animal lovers know how difficult it can be to find a good vet. it's actually worse than finding a good doctor, because a lot of vets are just in the game to make money. i had a truly horrific experience with chats decarie (since closed), where the staff refused to give me straight answers to any of my questions, but kept insisting that i had to purchase more medications and services or i was a horrible pet owner. but that's over now, because, through an old friend of dom's, we found the cvpmr.

breathing easier, as are his parents
it's no accident that judith weissman and her staff are consistently selected as one of the top clinics in montreal. they're friendly, fluently bilingual, professional and, most importantly, they don't try to hard sell you on things you don't need. part of being a good vet is being able to set the "parents'" minds at ease. yes, your animal companions can get sick, but not every sickness is life-threatening. even chronic conditions are manageable and, as the staff there are more than willing to assure you, the most important component of maintaining an animal's good health is knowing when you really need to be worried.

our latest trip there came because our beloved little tuxedo-boy seth seemed to be having some respiratory difficulty this morning. a check-up and a quick x-ray later, we were reassured that this is likely a passing thing, there are no signs of a viral infection or obstruction in the lungs. there is the chance that he may, like his mom, have asthma. in which case we'll both have to make sure to keep our inhalers close by.

we left feeling relieved, cared for and respected. what more could you ask from a vet?


stephane @ videotron tech help :: a lot of people tell me that they have problems with videotron. i assume that they're not exaggerating, but i have to sort of shrug, because i've always been happy with their service. think about that: when was the last time you were actually happy- as opposed to "fine"- with the service provided by your phone, cable or internet company? it's just that, in my case, they're always easy to deal with and whenever i've had a problem, they've helped. (that includes fixing the wiring to my apartment that somehow got screwed up when bell tried to connect a phone line.)

but today, i'd like to give a particular thanks to stephane in the tech support department, who stayed solved a bizarre internet problem for us- something that may not even have related to equipment that videotron provided, in the end- even taking the time to research what might have been wrong and calling us back minutes later, rather than just sticking us on hold, like some other service providers i've dealt with.

fashion's promise :: yes, it's still freezing cold (worse this week than last, overall) and yes, there's still snow everywhere, so you'd be forgiven for getting lost in the darkness that is winter (particularly if you live in the middle of the u.s. these days), but every year around this time, the fashion world does us a solid and reminds us all that milder days are ahead. because february hails the arrival of spring collections. brighter colours and lighter fabrics start to sneak onto racks when we're not looking. sure, if you're me, you're likely to find more things that you like in the fall, but there's something nice about knowing that spring is puckering its soft coral-pink lips and blowing you a kiss. and one company has even chose to remind us that we have enough superhero in us to fight our way through the icy conditions for another few weeks.

this :: a painstaking recreation of joy division's performance of "transmission" on the show "something else". with playmobil. what more can i say?



¡la revolucion! :: is there really anything else to talk about? it's only two short weeks ago that i said i'd be watching events in egypt closely. at that point, demonstrations there were just starting to get full news coverage, but one had the sense that there was something major going on there. something that carried the force of public will. and indeed, just a few hours ago, hosni mubarak finally bowed to the will of the people and resigned.

despite the presence of provocateurs- and reports indicate that these were largely government supporters- protesters did not give in to the invitation to violence, the stuck to their guns by not sticking to guns and they got what they demanded. but there's a lot more going on. first, there's the fact that, by keeping protests peaceful and by acknowledging the wisdom of a provisional government to help bring stability, egyptians have also toppled a lot of western assumptions about arabs. and let us not forget that mubarak for years was a dictator who had the backing of the united states. egypt has effectively shown that the will of a people can bring even the world's great superpower to heel. (it helps that the world's great superpower has a bit more of a level head in charge at the moment.) and of course, there's the fact that this is the first revolution that made significant use of new media in building momentum. that's something that will be analysed for years to come.

it's worth noting that even the traditional media fared well in this. winning high praise from egyptian dissidents, major news networks stuck their necks out (and some almost got them broken) to show what was going on.

but, as obama said, this is all about the egyptian people. yes, there is lots of work to be done and yes, there will be continued problems to face. but it's pretty impossible not to love what's going on there tonight.

so what made your week? what's brought a smile to your lips? feel free to share.

this week, while i'll continue to watch events in egypt, i'll also be taking a bit of a breather and making sure my little black and white boy is ok. i won't lie, i got a real scare this morning, but now i just want to keep an eye on him and make sure that he continues to improve. plus, of course, i'll be concentrating on myself and my continuing job hunt. i've enjoyed the last couple of months' vacation, i won't lie, but i'm aware that it's time to put on my big girl pants and go back to the working world. know anyone in montreal who wants to hire a marketing professional with over a decade experience, great communication skills and organisational ability? wish me luck.

10 February 2011

making faces

i remember someone i used to work with commented on my eye makeup one time saying with a certain surprise that i always did it differently. i guess i understand the perspective, because some people- a majority, most likely- choose a particular look that they feel emphasises their best features, they've found a mask that represents them. personally, i change the mask i wear every day for the same reason i wear different clothes every day- because i generally feel differently every day. perhaps some day i'll discover a singular look that sums me up, but i generally find that there are just too many mes waiting to get out and play.

trust me- i'm understated
there are times when i'm forced to tweak my appearance. when i'm looking for work, or starting work, i cultivate a sort of muted, restrained look, the kind of thing that most people seem to associate with maturity and responsibility. and i generally keep that up until such time as i feel comfortable pushing the boundaries. (i don't think i'd last long in any place where i felt that the boundaries truly could not be pushed.) i think that everyone has that sort of persona that they drag out like an outfit reserved for special occasions. this is the face that makes me seem like a rational, trustworthy sort. i just usually have to wait a while for it to sink in that i am those things, no matter what i look like. it's a quiet version of me, but it has its purposes.

as i mentioned last week, there are certain associations with strong, red lips. so that's something that i crack out when i need or want to command attention. as a result, when wearing my bossy lips, i tend to leave everything else played down. no need to set up competing teams on your face. this is a very straightforward mask, no complexity to it. and no, it's not like i wear this only when i have to do a presentation, or yell at someone, or have an important meeting. but it helps.

is it hot in here?
of course, sometimes, it's more about the eyes. it's never been a mystery to me why dark-rimmed, smoky eyes came into fashion. it's actually an incredibly easy look to do (you can make it as complicated and layered as you like, but you can accomplish the effect with literally one dark colour smudged all around your eye) and because the contrast it creates with the whites of the eyes is wonderfully striking. personally, i have a variation on this that i keep as a mask for summer nights when i'm going out. it involves combining a lot of smudgy, dark, sparkly eye makeup with warm, shimmery colours over the rest of my face and lips. the idea is that, if it's hot and i'm going to be somewhere packed with people, i'm going to be glistening with sweat and my makeup is going to get messy anyway. i might as well look like i did that on purpose.

this is my happy face
conventional logic holds that you should choose to emphasise either eyes or lips but never both. i have the same respect for that little nugget as i do for other bits of lore that are accepted just because lots of people say them. yes, the fact is that it will look a little extreme, if for no other reason than it's not what people are used to seeing. but sometimes, extremity is what you want. sometimes, exaggeration sums up your mood. and aren't all masks on one level or another an exaggeration of some part of you?

really, i just rolled out of bed
even what looks natural can sometimes be carefully constructed. the entire advertising industry is built on this. we know, each of us, what we look like when we are completely unkempt, unadorned and there are people (how many people varies from one to another) who we allow to see us that way. really, this is another face we put on- the one that expresses ease and comfort. in my case, i don't think it's any more or less genuine than any of the other faces i have. it has its audience, like all the others. but of course, i always keep a natural-looking mask around as well, because you never know when it might come in handy.

many believe that masks imply a certain cowardice, that they are something behind which one hides. i'm sure that there are instances where that is the case. but i tend to takea more expressionist view. my various masks aren't things that are constructed, that i use as cover, but things that i draw (double entendre!) from inside that are small expressions of whatever part of me is at the forefront at that particular moment. so yes, what i look like can change, sometimes dramatically, from one moment to another. i just happen to think that all the mes i have deserve their time in the spotlight.

feel free to share descriptions and images of the yous you love to share as well.

i won't go through all the details, but i had help in creating the masks i'm modeling (plus many others) from mac cosmetics, nars, dior, guerlain, chanel, bobbi brown, lancome, armani and others...

how do you like me now?

09 February 2011

paging doctor jung

speak up, i didn't hear you
last night, i dreamt that i heard on the news that the canadian government was finally returning the severed portion of van gogh's ear to the netherlands. i was in toronto, about to go to a show with several british noise/ psych rock bands i wanted to see. this is part of a festival that will go on for a couple of days. on the first night, as we are going in, i'm separated from dom and end up wandering around the thick crowd on my own.

on the following day, i'm heading out of our hotel room when dom tells me that it was our friend richard johnson who gave the celebrated van gogh ear to the canadian government and that he had been given it originally by my grandmother. i'm shocked to hear this, but i pretend that i knew about it. i call my mother to tell her and she is shocked, so i continue to act as if my grandmother had told me about this.

not close by
then i go out for a while and meet my grandmother around the corner of yonge and bloor. we get in a cab and i ask him to take us to dundas st. unfortunately, he takes us to dundas in a far-flung area of town and i have to argue with him to get him to get as far back towards town as dundas and dovercourt.

the place where he lets us off has a school that's just getting out and there are kids everywhere. i seem to have a bunch of wet napkins in my hand.

my grandmother insists that it's not that far back to downtown, but i keep telling her that we need to find another cab. i try to ask her about the ear, but she doesn't seem to hear me.

07 February 2011

this is progress?

there's a story circulating in the media that you might have heard, but if not, i'll get you caught up on the details. basically, there is a certain gentleman, not an elected official himself, but well known within political circles and a big backer of the tea party movement. he's what you'd call an eligible bachelor- 40ish, good-looking, unmarried- and apparently in the run-up to the november mid-terms last year, he had a little romantic encounter with a female tea party activist while on a campaign run. she alleges that, while she was initially open to his advances, she later told him she did not want to have sex and that he then forced himself on her. in fact, he's been charged with sexual assault.

his friends and associates are up in arms, alleging a politically motivated smear campaign run by an assistant district attorney they say has an anti-male bias and a district attorney with a leftist agenda. they have made all sorts of claims about the man's accuser, claiming that she made up the story about refusing consent after the fact and that she may have been an "undercover agent" in a seamy political plot, bent on entrapping this man. they've even gone so far as to strip her of the anonymity normally accorded women who bring sexual assault charges, releasing her name and other details about her to the media.

let's for the moment set aside the question of the man's guilt or innocence. that is for a court to decide and the information is too vague and incomplete to allow us to render a decision. what i'd like you to think about is the behaviour of his friends and supporters. is circulating dubious stories about the accuser and publishing her identity a reasonable reaction? or does it seem like the same sort of vicious political attack they accuse his prosecutors of making? you should consider this question carefully, because a lot of liberal-minded, progressive, intelligent, articulate people seem to be having a problem with it.

ok, i fibbed a bit. the man isn't a tea party supporter. his name is julian assange and you've probably heard a lot about him in the last few months.

as i said, what concerns me is not his guilt or innocence. what does concern me, and what should concern a lot of people, is the ugly underbelly that is betrayed by the words and behaviour of his supporters. here are a couple of examples:

"The “charges” against Assange, made by two women – a “feminist” harridan who works as the “gender equity” officer at Uppsala University, and a sometime photographer and former Assange groupie with stalkerish tendencies – are quite murky."
-full article here

"Julian Assange is being harassed for slighting the feelings of two groupies who worshipped him before and after the alleged rapes and he's being hunted for something that's definitely not rape and not even a crime yet.
Something that probably didn't even happen as the girls are known to have made the whole thing up."
-full article here 

"Ms A appears at this stage to be a woman blinded by a burning desire for revenge on her cheating boyfriend"
-full article here

others have accused the accusers of doing a disservice to all rape victims by bringing what they term frivolous charges. and these aren't your tea-party dames- no less an authority than author naomi wolf  has condemned the women. (i'll even admit that i thought the whole interpol spectacle was pretty ridiculous on the surface, considering what else the agency is supposed to be dealing with.)

when the hell did the proponents of free thought get this vicious? did i miss a meeting? feminist harridan? groupie stalker? having comparatively recently laid the groundwork to overcome the prevailing belief that women can be raped only if they were virgins, it now seems that women are going to have to overcome a new belief that women can be raped only if the perpetrators are white, wealthy and republican.

none of this discourse has any bearing on assange's guilt. nor does it have particular bearing on the question of whether or not the prosecution was primarily politically motivated. it may well be that there is a conspiracy to silence julian assange (and, by extent, to bring about the downfall of wikileaks). the point is that there are other ways to discuss this without resorting to the sort of name-calling and smear tactics we claim to deplore.

these attacks don't say much of substance about the case or the conspiracy, but they do reveal something that supposedly progressive people would like to keep a secret: a lot of those who support democratisation, public empowerment and strict government accountability are still very much believers in powers they try to fight. as audre lourde said, "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house". abusive, derogatory, demeaning language has always been one of the master's greatest tools.

let julian assange's legal team attend to his woes with the swedish prosecutor's office and beyond. it's evident that the rest of us have bigger issues to deal with.

divisive ads

i've never been into american football. i'm not much of a sports fan in general, but even on my scale, football (a misnomer if ever there was one, since it features neither feet for most plays, nor something that meets the standard definition of a ball) falls just above basketball near the bottom of my list of things i'd like to watch.

time was, though, that i'd get a kick out of seeing the ads that aired each year. after all, thanks to apple (formerly apple computers), this became the place to showcase your company's awesome creative talents, with lengthy spots purchased at the cost of a poor nation's gdp. and i might add that seeing said advertisements took some talent if you weren't a fan. in the pre-internet age, you had to keep bouncing back, hoping to catch the ad breaks, or you'd be doomed to watching three-second outtakes on the eleven o'clock news.

it's been years since i tuned into what's been happening with those ads. i know that watching them, commenting on them and rating them has become a sort of cultural pass-time, as relevant to america as the game itself. (it's 1:30 in the morning, i don't know who won, if you needed further proof of my lack of enthusiasm for football.) the super bowl ads are still huge and flashy, i know, but they're cost-prohibitive to any but the largest corporations (which i'm not condemning- i think it's reasonable that the nfl should sell their advertising for as much as they can get) and furthermore, there are often more interesting ad campaigns being carried out on line.

there are often controversies about the ads, some of which have the power to create a real furor. then you have this year's apparent controversy about groupon (an online discount vendor) and the appropriateness of their ads. are they cheeky winks at charity advertising? or were they a crass attempt to flog a commercial product through mocking legitimate charities? there's no way that they didn't know these ads were going to piss some people off, but maybe that's part of the point. after all, groupon might be eager to build their profile in a hurry by any means, after a an alluring proposal went sour and their former suitor is rumoured to be plotting to destroy them if they can't have them.

the ads were created by no less a talent than christopher guest, who is certainly no stranger to deadpan humour.

so what's your opinion? too far? fair game? everyone else is speaking up, so why sit on the sidelines? (see what i did there?)

06 February 2011

dj kali @ kill me now 2011.02.05

a huge and heartfelt thanks to the amazing crowd who braved the snowstorm in search of a great time. i know that i had one!

absolute body control :: give me your hands
human league :: blind youth
severed heads :: dead eyes open
led er est :: port isabel
xeno & oaklander :: non senti
skinny puppy :: falling
coil :: heartworms
november novelet :: street of lost dreams
gary numan :: bombers
sleep chamber :: dominatrix
sanity plexus :: a boy can get scared
joy division :: walked in line
killing joke :: psssyche
perverse teens :: la baboute
tuxedomoon :: no tears
cabaret voltaire :: nag nag nag [r]
synapscape :: spill
the cramps :: faster pussycat [for tura satana- r.i.p.]
devo :: signal ready
pailhead :: don't stand in line
test department :: compulsion
iggy pop :: the passenger

this was supposed to be the end of my set, but due to some unforeseen difficulties, one of the djs was unable to go on, which meant... more dj kali!

cocteau twins :: wax and wane
the cure :: one hundred years
sisters of mercy :: floorshow
generentola :: la gata
the cramps :: garbageman
devo :: gut feeling
siouxsie & the banshees :: spellbound
1000 homo djs :: apathy

if you were there and enjoyed yourself (or if you feel like you missed out) please come and check out the queer post-punk night taking place at cabaret playhouse on thursday february 17th, as i'll be doing a set there as well.

04 February 2011

friday favourites 04.02.11

welcome to the second edition of friday favourites! ok, i have to admit that there was a lot about this week that i really didn't like. first, it was freezing cold. then there was snow. then, of course, there was the cabin fever that accompanies being trapped in your house by cold and snow. but perhaps i shouldn't complain. my current situation allows me to stay at home, rather than hauling myself out of doors in order to get to an office. and besides, when i think about it, it isn't that difficult to think of things that made the week better.

knowing i'm not the only one :: we've all had things go terribly wrong sending texts. sometimes, that is because we're not looking carefully at what we're sending. other times, it's because our smart phones think they're smarter than we are and they take it upon themselves to correct what we're doing. i once tried to send a text message to my sweetie saying "you are my whole world". unfortunately, i made a typo and sent "you ate my whole world" instead. fortunately, there are a growing number of web sites where we can all share our text message misfortunes. eventually, i think we'll all give up and go back to telex. just you wait and see.

the high arts
being back on camera :: those of you who've been reading my blogs about filming conversion will know that the process of making an entirely independent film was, shall we say, challenging. this week, i got my first chance in a year and a half to be in front of a camera again and was happily reminded that filming can be fun. the end product is still under wraps, but i'm sure it'll end up on you tube eventually. the important thing was, we had a good time. who knew that could happen?

you know it'll make you happy

the great enabler :: most men would rather pierce their scrotum with a rusty nail than accompany a lady while she's window shopping for lady things- clothes, shoes makeup, etc. but somehow, i lucked out. in fact, not only does my significant other like to come along, but he's actually got a phenomenal eye for what suits me. of course, he got the nickname "the great enabler" because he's also very good at helping me justify purchases to myself... sure i don't need another pair of shoes, or another dark lipstick, but isn't the point of life to feel good?




backlash against the crtc :: i can't remember the last time i had any positive thoughts about any decision made or policy set by canada's communications overlord. their work generally falls into two categories: either i could care less and think they're wasting tax money that's needed elsewhere, or i find them contemptibly stupid and myopic. their decision to cave into the wishes of telecommunications giants (notably bell) and greenlight across-the-board caps on internet usage most certainly falls into the latter.

i'm not sure who up there thought this would be a good idea, but one thing seems certain: whoever did made no effort to do any kind of independent research and chose instead to accept the telcos word as gospel. basically, their case is that the only people who need unlimited internet access are porn freaks, online gamers and people doing illegal downloads. who the heck would want to defend that demographic?

of course, the truth is that many, many, many people use the internet for other purposes and limiting that access would make canada a member of the technological third world. people are organising revolutions with these tools and the crtc thinks that the internet has no purpose beyond entertainment. their decision clearly shows that there is a desperate need to replace the existing bureaucrats with people who actually know what's going on with technology, rather than reading about it in the newspaper.

the good news is that a lot of people are getting angry and they're speaking up. your tax dollars hard at work, figuring out ways for large corporations to get more money from you. i'm happy to see that, for once, the people have a potential ally in the federal government. i may not agree with many of stephen harper's policies, but in this case, his government seems to get what the crtc does not: everything has changed.

so what's been making your week? what made you smile?

what i'll be watching this week :: well, as i suspected, i did spend much of the week watching what's been happening in egypt. i think we've all been immersed in the coverage and in doing a crash course in recent egyptian history (because, let's face it, most people's knowledge of the country stops with king tut). i think this will still be the situation to watch this week, but personally, i'll be focusing on the u.s. this is truly the first major incident where we'll see how much things have really changed vis-a-vis their willingness to let other countries handle their own affairs.

plus, of course, i'll be following the shenanigans of the crtc. i'm hopeful that, since this seems to be the one policy issue that all parties in parliament have agreed on since jean chretien left office, their decision will be overturned. if and when that happens, it will open a right can of worms, because the government really isn't supposed to go screwing around with decisions made by an arms length organisation. the fact is that this decision is so unbelievably stupid that the government is pretty much obliged to step in. and once that's done, they can't really step back out without questioning whether the time has come to scrap the crtc as a whole and start over. this will be a long, slow-burning story, but potentially huge.

and for those of you in the montreal area, don't forget i'll be dj'ing tomorrow at kill me now, an old school goth-alternative-industrial-new wave night at cabaret playhouse.

03 February 2011

the lips have it

what is it about red lips? spicy vermilion, bold crimson or deep, mysterious blood reds, they have all held a fascination for both men and women for hundreds of years. even in the twenty-first century, with thousands of colours available for women (and adventurous men) to pick from, reds from across the spectrum remain a statement. in fact, many women still shy away from them out of fear of looking shocking. and, given the reactions that some receive, maybe they have reason.

guerlain rouge g in rouge sensuel
the association of red with audacity, energy, even danger is an ancient one. the greeks and romans identified their god of war with the planet mars- the red planet. of course, red is also the colour of blood, linking it to the force of life as well. and of course, if you are a christian, or are raised in any area where the culture is predominantly coloured by christianity, red is also the colour of apples, the sweet forbidden fruit, the seed of all temptation.

there is also the fact that red lips are actually completely unnatural. if we were trying simply to emphasise the mouth's natural beauty, there are a whole range of hues that would be appropriate, depending on skintone, from light pinks to rich browns to plummy shades, but never red. in fact, the origins of using red tint on the lips actually came from the fact that it was unnatural. in the middle ages, european aristocracy distinguished themselves from the rough folk who toiled in the fields by cultivating a pale complexion and eventually, to further add to this distinction, women began to tint their lips red. of course, this did not look natural, but that was its charm: those who looked natural were those who had to spend their lives working outside. an unnatural appearance was the privilege of those who had their choice of when and how to interact with the natural world.

chanel rouge lacque in dragon
of course, as time went on, cosmetics became more widely available and rouged cheeks and bright lips became the hallmarks of low women, while those of breeding were encouraged to be demure, to avoid appearing to seek attention. thus was another dimension added to the history of red lips: the woman who wore them was held in contempt, but at the same time inspired fear, being both independent (in the case of higher class mistresses, at least) and sexual.

by the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the cultural ideal of feminine beauty had shifted. in europe and north america, the church frowned on the use of cosmetics and the fresh-faced "gibson girl" became the new icon. at the same time, a new class of women, also independent and often sexualised, became known for their dark red lips- entertainers.

the reason for the use of red lipstick in the theatre and early cinema was practical rather than political- red lips showed well under theatre lights and a dark lip colour was necessary to make lips more visible on film. of course, along with the screen ingenues, who were generally lit so that their heavy makeup was less obvious, a new woman was introduced to the popular imaginary: the vamp. emobodied best by a midwestern girl born theodosia goodman, the vamp was the polar opposite of the gibson girl. her eyes were ringed with kohl, rather than proper restrictive clothing, she wore robes that flowed as freely as her dark spirit. and her lips were dark, as dark as blood. the term "vamp" was obviously coined from vampire (another popular icon of the late nineteenth century), the damned creature who fed off the blood of innocents. the cinematic vamp, by contrast, drained life from formerly upstanding men by sucking the spirit from them, the allegory reflected in those deadly blood-stained lips.

this is who your mother warned you about

this was a naive time of absolute good and evil, distinguished visually as well as morally, but that came crashing to an end with the first world war. in the wake of such unbelievable carnage, past standards seemed at best quaint, at worst psychotically mislead. and with the crash landing of colonial values came a general questioning of all that had been parceled with them. (as a side note, i've always thought that the first world war was actually far more interesting and more important than the second. i encourage people to read up.)

not the girl next door
with the 1920s, the flapper arrived. she was youthful, independent, a bit wild, brimming with energy, utterly modern. she was a vivacious combination of the ingenue and the vamp- feminine but able to keep up with (or lead) the boys. her hair was cropped short and her lithe figure was frequently clothed only in a small sheath. and she wore makeup. her eyes and lips were darkened. in this case, her dark lips were a symbol of that other kind of danger- rebellion. these were the daughters who refused to do as their mothers had done, who insisted on experience more and staking a place for themselves in the world.

mac kissable lip colour in love peck
in the last century, both the position of women and the cosmetics industry have advanced beyond what the women of the early twentieth century would have dreamed possible, and yet, when we see a red mouth, there is still something in us that feels that ruffle of excitement, that faint thrill that the wearer is bold, daring, sexy and possibly just a little dangerous. for all our advancements, it is still a challenge, smiling beguilingly at us with bold lips.

for a scintillating read about icons of femininity from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, i recommend bram dijkstra's evil sisters.

01 February 2011

lone nuts

how many of you can remember, without checking, the name of the man accused of going on a shooting spree at an arizona safeway, killing six and wounding over a dozen more, including u.s. congresswoman gabrielle giffords? maybe the name of jared lee loughner was front of mind, but i'm willing to bet that most of you either had to think about it or couldn't quite remember. we're talking about something that was the lead story on north american news agencies only three weeks ago and it's already dropped from view. for how long was o.j. simpson haunting our televisions?

i guess the proper response to that question (aside from figuring out exactly how many days the case(s) of simpson led the evening newscast) is to say that his story dominated headlines because of his celebrity, yes, but really because of the length of the legal proceedings in which he was involved. of course, court proceedings have started against loughner. he has already made a court appearance, although he entered no plea. (his lawyer requested that the judge in the case enter a plea for him, which is by default "not guilty".) and loughner's name will be back in the news, although chances are that he will never command the attention of american (and certainly international) audiences the way that he did in the wake of his arrest.

in other words, we are not likely to find out a lot more about jared lee loughner than we already know, despite the massive impact that his crime had on the american psyche. after all, for a brief moment, i think there were people believing that one of sarah palin's own brood had escaped from the frozen north and done the shooting, or at the very least supplied the gun. before we all rushed to read jared's my space page and watch his bizarrely non-visual you tube videos, it did look like someone was taking palin's "don't retreat, reload" slogan very seriously.

but when loughner surfaced, you could almost hear the national exhalation- sighs of relief on the right, moans of frustration on the left. loughner was not a political activist, although he may well have thought of himself that way. he was not a fringe member of the tea party movement, which is what i dare say we all expected him to be. no, instead loughner was like a number of notable assassins and would-be assassins, the so-called lone nut, targeting his fears and delusions at an individual with no sense of what was taking place in the real world. once we knew that, there was no longer any point in paying attention. after all, people like that will do what they will do, no matter what environment they're put in.

even a cursory perusal of loughner's written work reveals that this man was seriously in need of medical help. his thoughts come out as something like what psychiatrists call "word salad"- an ungrammatical, nonsensical hodgepodge of words that the speaker/ author believes to be profound. it's considered a strong indicator of schizophrenia. i really have no doubt that doctors will concur that he suffers from a serious mental disorder, but does that mean he is automatically a land mine, internally rigged to go off when someone trips his circuitry?

to even attempt to answer that question in the positive is ridiculous. approximately 24 million people worldwide are schizophrenic and millions more are diagnosed with other delusional disorders. the vast majority of them do not exhibit the aggressiveness that we see in loughner. statistically, schizophrenics are vastly more likely to present a danger to themselves than to others. and predictors of violence in schizophrenics are almost exactly the same as those in the general populace:

- when the subject is poor
- when the subject has a substance abuse problem
- where patterns of violence have been established (in the individual or their environment)
- when medication is discontinued or not taken at all

the first three are true of everyone and the saddest part is that shizophrenic disorders are more likely to cause those conditions, because they impair one's ability to hold down work (or limit one to lower-paying jobs) and often hamper one's ability to form strong, positive lasting relationships with others, to say nothing of impairing the individual's ability to make sound decisions for themselves. on the brighter side, despite these odds, over 40% of the time that schizophrenics do receive treatment, the long-term prognosis is positive. only about a quarter of those who receive treatment see their condition worsen.

of course, in order for someone, someone like jared loughner, to have received treatment, he would have had to live in a society where mental disorders were seen like other medical conditions and not as a source of shame. he would have had to have ready access to information about the types of symptoms he was undoubtedly experiencing. neither of these is the case in north america (i don't want to imply that canada is ahead of the u.s. in this regard).

following that, of course, he would have required access to quality health care (something that many schizophrenics, being poor, do not have), meaning both drugs and therapy, and he would have required this over a long period of time- quite likely the rest of his life.

but of course, jared loughner didn't get any of those things. despite the fact that he'd had run-ins with police, despite the fact that his friends, family, coworkers and classmates knew that his behaviour was erratic and occasionally threatening, despite the internet forum posts and the you tube videos and the my space rants, jared loughner simply slipped further into his own mind, his thoughts imprisoning him in a giant feedback loop that grew increasingly distorted. and eventually, he got himself a gun.

giving guns to people whose reasoning is fundamentally unsound is like giving driver's permits to blind people. it is not a matter of their rights, but the fact that they lack the basic skills to use the tool responsibly. the difference between the lone psycho and the lone hero standing firm against the forces of evil- a quintessentially american image if ever there was one- is not present in the severely disordered mind. jared loughner believed that he was fighting a vast conspiracy to conceal the truth and control the populace. he believed he was the hero.

as an interesting side note, loughner's idea, however baffling his expression of it, that power-holders in society entrench their position through the manipulation of language- grammar, syntax, terminology- is hardly the sort of raving that the media would lead one to believe. most will remember that theory as central to orwell's 1984. no one is calling him a lunatic. buried in the convoluted miasma of paranoia and anger in loughner's mind, it is just possible that there were some intriguing ideas. we'll never know.

before we all forget about him and follow the new latest story to take over our headlines, we should perhaps reflect on the lone nuts. we comfort ourselves with the idea that they are rogue elements, beyond control, hermetically sealed and unaffected by anything that happens around them. we allow ourselves the relief of having to assume no responsibility by insisting that their violent outbursts are inevitable. thus does a murderous rampage against members of government become apolitical.

but this is not an apolitical case, and no amount of self-reassurance will make it so. this is a case about societal values. this is a case about access to information. this is a case about gun laws. and it is about health care. viewing our madmen as cultural anomalies makes us feel better, but it's ultimately a mass delusion.

new & notable

some of you may have noticed that i added links to a couple of new blogs last week. if not, let me introduce you:

f-squared media pixels: this is the blog of my partner in crime (and in other things) dominic marceau and features his thoughts and photography. check out his dramatic live photos of dive and absolute body control, as well as a set of profile pics done for yours truly.

hungry, smart and poor: well haven't we all been that way at some point or another? this is the new blog of longtime comrade martin rouge and is focused on helping people get the best chow for little cash outlay. trust this man, he's what you call an expert.
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