Elliott Brood usher in a new era of in-stores begins at Sonic Boom. (Wagstaffe)
Sonic Boom is back, baby. In style.
Toronto’s enduring late night record shop unveiled its new in-store stage for a release night date with local sons Elliott Brood. The noir country gents were the right hosts to christen the new Boom space inside Honest Ed’s old east entrance. Charming. Modest. Imperfect but in control. For an audience of fans, friends, girlfriends and at least one Barenaked Lady, the band pulled from all across its catalogue. Points, boys. So nice, too, to hear so much of their latest longplayer, and first for Paper Bag Records, Days Into Years on the day of its release (on ivory white vinyl for collectors).
This time, the tableau extends beyond the burn of prairie thirst and loves lost and traded. Indeed, the desires still run hot. The pervading melancholies penetrate arguably deeper. Parts of the album draw from fresh visits to Juno Beach and Étaples Military Cemetary in France – spots forever branded with the scars and memories of World War I’s ghosts. Let the buoyant single “Northern Air” carry you awhile. The others will linger after its gone.
Leads Mark Sasso and Casey Laforet shared great chemistry. A few good stories. A few forgettable ones. Some hard-earned smiles. It’s been three years since Elliott Brood last shook our walls with new sounds. Seeing them play this material in this space, so nicely-renovated, made the songs satisfy that much more.
Two speeches. Same day. Same place. Same issue. How different were they?
Mahmoud Abbas had the whole world watching. Maybe not the whole world. This isn’t a royal wedding in London, after all, and Hanan Mikhail Ashrawi is no Pippa Middleton. But last week saw another historic moment for the Palestinian people as the President of the Palestinian National Authority submitted a request for UN membership. His speech to the General Assembly focused almost entirely on Israeli discrimination of the Palestinians and their right to independence. It drew a standing ovation from a large number of delegates. Later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to the podium and delivered a diatribe against terrorism and apathy, saying the Palestinians were not ready for independence and scolding most of the world for not committing to peace (without a hint of irony).
Abbas could have used Netanyahu’s speech writer. And his PR person as well. For while Abbas (justifiably) vented at length about the injustices heaped on his people, Netanyahu reminded the Assembly (and world) that we are all Israelis defending ourselves. And while Abbas took the world into the Palestinian Territories to highlight Israeli violations, Netanyahu took Israel around the world highlighting the common struggle against Islamic terrorism.
Abbas blamed Israel. Netanyahu blamed the world. A brilliant PR strategy (though not new at all). We’ll see how it plays out over the next few weeks.
The new Total Recall hasn’t been shy about shooting in Toronto
I have seen the future and it is a smoldering hovercopter smashed into the St. James church grounds. Driving around downtown the other day I stumbled upon the apocalypse burning behind St. Michael’s hospital. The sky was a hyperreal green hue. This being 2011, the revolution was, of course, being recorded.
Len Wiseman’s remake of 1990′s “Total Recall” is the splashiest production Toronto has hosted in years. It made quite a stir when it slowed traffic on Lakeshore. Gowns and gams left Wellington looking glamorous when the cast lit up the new Ritz-Carlton for a little black-tie action. And now the centre of the city’s under siege.
I’ll be curious to see this when it hits theatres next August. Colin Farrell’s a must-see these days and Wiseman did fare well with the last installment of the “Die Hard” franchise. But the original TR is a tough act to follow. More on Farrell in this space soon. For now, enjoy afewmorephotos from the futureset. Sadly, lads, no Biel or Beckinsale shots here. If this talk of the redux has you pining for the original, well, we can remember it for you wholesale:
This is not an internet connection speed test. Click on it for yourself.
The website Reputation.com bills itself as “the online reputation management leader.”
This is, apparently, someone’s job. Someone’s vision. I learn Oprah has endorsed it. Right.
See, I’m a pretty analog guy. I embrace OK Computer. But it’s partly out of fear. Still, maybe there’s something out there I’m naive to. Something got to Brett, Tiger and Weiner, after all. Alright, TRON – you’re on.
“We didn’t find much negative content about you on the web currently, but that could easily change at any time.” Fear sell! Not a bad trick. Even if they are usually more subtly-veiled.
Got to love these titles. “We didn’t find many people with your name online – any negative content will likely be associated with you.” Geez. This thing’s like your depressive aunt who compliments that new fall jacket… because it makes you look less fat. Bitch.
These names are not made up. Teenagersstill drive everything. And, yes, especially the internet, old boy. “Very few people are searching your name each month – build your online presence to attract more attention.” That’s right. Forget what Google Analytics says. Just feel terrible. Until…behold: a solution! Arf.
Look, a lot of people make mistakes, big and small, online. We might.
But does it really take this much time and effort (not to mention the $129-699/yr expense)
to do the right thing?
Groomsmen don’t come with legs like this. They don’t make you laugh this hard, either.
Think of the funniest people in your life.
Your friends. Your unfathomable family members. Your partner.
Who are they? I thought I knew. Turns out, it’s easier to pinpoint who isn’t.
It’s not your old bass player. Not your kid brother. And definitely not your college roommate.
If you’re a man the funniest person in your life is probably a woman.
The one you most like laughing with.
And the person you do it with most often.
Don’t get me wrong. Tosh and CK are great. Conan sure used to be.
But they’re not funny the way funny girls are.
Not like the women of “Bridesmaids.”
Annie and Lillian are best friends. They’re played by Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, two Saturday Night Live talents with pasts that reach back to their improv days with the Groundlings. They are friends. It makes their chemistry easy, their laughs carefree and the hurt they’re capable of inflicting upon each other incalculably deeper. Like it is with your friends.
The pleasures of this film, and there many, are too rich to be teased here. But know you will feel great chemistry between, and solidarity with, a great many women. You will laugh and your stomach will undulate freely. And you’ll feel hurt sometimes, too, just as though you were one of them. The way you have in all the best Judd Apatow films.
Ah, right. Blink and you’ll miss his name is in the credits hidden in plain sight against the lovely Milwaukee scenics that establish the action. But you’ll sense that familiar presence. We’re made to care about these characters the way we cared about Steve Carell’s virginal nice guy; we want their love requited like and Michael and Jonah’s in “Superbad.” And so on. But the women belong front and centre. The film is theirs to lift or drown and rarely does it do less than soar. Credit the script, co-written by Wiig and another Groundlings cohort Annie Mumolo (who turns up on a plane in a key scene) and credit Wiig’s undeniable presence. She’s the star this movie needs. One her generation’s been waiting for.
She’s the funniest part of a very funny movie, delivering the performance all the others are built on while making sure those around her get the material to shine just as brightly.
I have a story about the first time I saw Wiig on television. She wasn’t yet a repertory member of the SNL cast but had joined the show as a featured player. She was only in a couple of skits but they stood apart from an otherwise forgettable program. It wasn’t long before she’d established herself as one of the best parts of the show. She still is.
Another mark of all the great talents: they surround themselves with great talents. “Bridesmaids” has an entire wedding party of them. Casting is a million-dollar science in multi-character laffers like this and each player here is on the money. Rose Byrne again surprises us with her sly comic timing, ensuring every note is as chilling as her curves are lethal. “In Get Him To The Greek,” she was a laugh riot in a circus of loud performances. Here that magnetism turns sinister and we remain transfixed. She invites us to despise her and, in spite of ourselves, we comply. Rudolph and Wendi McLendon-Covey (Groundling) earn some of the film’s biggest laughs. Matt Lucas and Rebel Wilson are perfectly ridiculous. And Melissa McCarthy (her, too) gives warmth and feeling to a character that could’ve easily been one low(brow) note. Instead, she’s the friend we all hope to find. The kind we know we need.
On the boys’ side: John Hamm truly plays one, aping with commitment and vigour while Chris O’Dowd shows men be both stupid and trustworthy, capable of hurting and being hurt. Think about that the next time you watch a Kate Hudson comedy. Or, conversely, what purpose women serve in Adam Sandler’s comedies. Within the bounds of genre, the way “Bridesmaids” treats the opposite sex is an achievement.
“Bridesmaids” will undoubtedly be hailed as a something of a watershed achievement in comedy. And rightfully so. It’s a female-driven ensemble that happily subverts an appreciably bizarre female ritual that many men are happy not to understand. It’s also just a great comedy.
It’s sometimes said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever. It’s true. Especially when she makes you laugh.
A final note. Veteran actor Jill Clayburgh died of leukemia last November before the film was released. She is just right as Wiig’s mother. We worry about her the way we know she fears for her daughter. She will be missed.
Kristen Wiig – Annie
Maya Rudolph – Lillian
Rose Byrne – Helen Harris
Melissa McCarthy – Megan
Wendi McLendon-Covey – Rita
Ellie Kamper – Becca
Jon Hamm – Ted
Craig O’Dowd – Nathan Rhodes
Matt Lucas – Gil
Rebel Wilson – Brynn
Jill Clayburgh – Annie’s Mom
Directed by Paul Feig
Written by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig
Running Time: 124 Minutes
With September and that great season of renewal upon us – new classes, TV shows, fall colours, TIFF(!) – Richard & Martin are joining the twenty-first century and getting onto the Twitter. Oh, autumn. What can’t you do?
Effective NOW you can track our movements over there. We’ll get a feed on the main page soon. Or something. By now you know the handle. So follow freely, little lambs.
“In all my work I try to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, showing and wearing art, and not just a functional and devoid of content or commercial tool. With my work I intend to show that fashion can certainly have an added value to the world, that it is timeless and that its consumption can be less important then its beginning. Wearing clothing can create a very exciting and imperative form of self-expression.” ~Iris Van Herpen
Van Herpen collaborated with architect Isaie Bloch and MGX on this collection.
“Form follows function’ is not a slogan with which I concur. On the contrary, I find that forms complement and change the body and thus the emotion. Movement, so essential to and in the body, is just as important in my work. By bringing form, structure and materials together in a new manner, I try to suggest and realize optimal tension and movement.” ~Iris Van Herpen