Page 1

September 2011 Vol.4 Issue 9


arts . culture . living


Things You Didn’t Know About Dogs

Life of Logos

Wedding Bells

Art For Our Sakes

a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

Note From the Editor FUTURÉALE

Dear loyal readers, With summer drawing to a close, the thought of warm sweaters brings chills to our spines. We have to get ready to brave the cold. With the Fall season comes another exciting Red carpet run at TIFF and developments in the city that will have you hungry for delicious foods, ready to glam up for the hottest party, and be enthused about what’s to come. We are thrilled to present you with this month’s edition of Futureale. Expect stories of exciting events in the world of entertainment, a special edition of Flittering Pages with an insider on Canadian author Shilpi Gowda, and more! For next month’s Awareness edition we will take you outside of your comfort-zone, questioning many subtleties from the world’s oddities to why shark attacks are on the rise. May you be inspired and read on,

Editor in Chief Shawn Shapiro

Associate Editors-In Chief Anastasia Rokina and Jess Silver Online Content Editor Shawn Shapiro Executive Director Omar Murji Contact FutuRéale at: ISSN 1916-3215 FUTURÉALE FutuRéale Magazine is published by The Organic Press FutuRéale Magazine is a proud member of the ONAMAP Network © 2011 ONAMAP Enterprises

Masthead Publisher Omar Murji Editor in Chief Shawn Shapiro Associate Editor-in-Chief Anastasia Rokina Jess Silver Layout Artists Graeme Mollison Rav Rawat GH Interns: Sarah Doktor Olena Protsiv Melissa Doyle Editorial Interns Lindsay Romeo Olivia D’Orazio Brian McLellan Jess Morton Olga Shugurova Ilana Perry Contributing Writers Lindsay Romeo Jess Silver Kelly Kocsis Jess Morton Jack Moulder Jeremy Colangelo Marcus Pidek Ryan McHale Alicia Ward Craig Wilkins Kyle Kasino Anastasia Rokina



Table of Contents

a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

04 The Western Remakes Jess Morton 05 The Life of Logos Lindsay Romeo 06 Ten Things About Dogs Kelly Kocsis 08 TIFF Preview Jack Moulder 10 Art For Our Sakes Marcus Pidek 12 Bookselves & Fire Pits Jeremy Colangelo 14 The View from The Couch Ryan McHale 16 University & College How To Guide Alicia Ward 18 Flittering Pages Jess Silver 20 TIFF A LOOK Craig Wilkins 22 Wedding Bells Anastasia Rokina 26 The Big Smoke Kyle Kasino 27 Top 5 Movies for 2012 Maryam Gordpour



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

The Western Remakes Jess Morton


ollywood has done its share of remakes.

From The Thing (1982), to Funny Games (2007), and The Departed (2006) Hollywood directors and producers constantly take old concepts and rework them into new films for modern audiences. Lately Hollywood has taken on a completely different formula for remakes. This formula consists of taking widely successful foreign films and translating them into an English version for western audiences. From of the viewpoint of the foreign filmmakers Hollywood is essentially remaking the exact same films, and the question remains whether they’re worth watching. Just last year this new trend started with the remake of Let The Right One In (2008). The vampire-romance thriller is a Swedish film based on the novel by John Ajvide Lingvist. The story centres on twelve-year-old Oskar who is constantly bullied at school. In the middle of the night a young girl, Eli, the same age as Oskar moves in next door. As the two meet and Oskar falls in love with Eli, and he is able to find the strength to stand up for himself at school. With a string of murders occurring not long after Eli’s arrival it doesn’t take Oskar long to realize what Eli really is. The Hollywood remake titled Let Me In (2010) follows the same story line as the original. The names of the characters are changed from Oskar to Owen and from Eli to Abby. The Western version focuses more on violence and less on developing the characters and their relationships. By changing the focus this way the film’s plot is chronologically out of order compared to the original. This version also introduces a stereotypical detective that investigates the murders and tracks down Abby. If anything Let Me In will be an example of what the western remakes of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009) and Oldboy (2003) could be like. Both the original Swedish version and the upcoming Hollywood version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, are based on the novel by Stieg Larsson. In Sweden, all three of Larsson’s novels, also known as the Millennium Trilogy, were adapted into films staring Michael Nygvist and Noomi Rapace. The first novel focuses on journalist Mikael Blomvist. The head The Vanger Corporation hires Blomvist to solve the murder of a woman who disappeared forty years ago. Along the way he meets Lisbeth Salander, a hacker who helps him solve the mystery and uncover dark secrets buried in the past of the corporation. On the 21st of December the Western version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo will hit theatres. To deal with the negative stigma of an insanely recent remake Hollywood recruits David Fincher to direct. Fincher will help refute any skeptical audiences as his resume includes

directing Fight Club (1999), Se7en (1995), and most recently The Social Network (2010). The same music composer of The Social Network, Trent Reznor, also composed the music to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The film stars promising actors Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. Hollywood attempts to put its best foot forward with this excellent cast and crew. It is pleasing to know that even if the film is a remake, it’s a remake done right. The Western remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo will likely make a few changes to the plot to have a more Hollywood feel and accommodate its primary audience. The original versions of both Let The Right One In and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo have been hugely successful internationally. This is the reason Hollywood puts together the resources to remake these films. The next film that Hollywood is set to remake is one of the most notable foreign films to have been distributed internationally. Oldboy (2003) has won a number of awards including The Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes in 2004. I first stumbled on Oldboy last year while looking through TIFF’s The Essential 100 List. This list is the result of the top people behind TIFF coming together to find the essential one hundred films that audiences must watch. Oldboy is filmed and produced in South Korea. The story centres on Oh Dae-su a man kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years without explanation. Once he’s released he wakes up in an expensive suit with money and a cell phone in his pockets. Now Oh Dae-su only has five days to find answers for his imprisonment and exercise revenge on his captor. The western version of Oldboy will be directed by Spike Lee and has a release date for 2012. Despite the film still lacking a cast and no set filming date it is already building anticipation. Oldboy will be Hollywood’s most ambitious attempt at a remake to date. Will such a feat in Hollywood filmmaking live up to the hype? A Hollywood version of a film from Sweden or South Korea defeats the purpose of these foreign films being released Internationally. Both subtitled and English dub versions of the films are widely available for English-speaking audiences. The English dub version is especially accommodating for those who are distracted by subtitles. Distribution of foreign films gives Western audiences a chance to appreciate filmmaking outside of Hollywood. An exposure to a different approach to filmmaking gives western audiences a chance to experience diverse cultural views. While Hollywood will pull out all the stops to ensure the remake holds the highest quality, the originality of the film is still lost when it is recast and remodeled to suit the interests of current movie- goers.



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

The Life of Logos A look at the famous Starbucks logo: The Evolution Lindsay Romeo


Mermaids in Greek mythology would seduce mariners through ogos are significant as they demonstrate that song which would end in an unfortunate consequence to that sailor the company has an identity. A logo symbolizes an

image of the company, and it is an image that must be unique to that particular company. A successful logo is one that no longer needs the company’s name on it to remind consumers who they are. A recent example of this is the new Starbucks logo which no longer displays the word “Starbucks”.

who could not resist. The mermaid on the Starbucks logo ultimately represents the irresistible quality of Starbucks coffee that seduces you to passionately drink it. The unfortunate consequence that is involved with mermaids does not apply to the Starbucks logo. It is the seductiveness of mermaids that is connected to Starbucks coffee.

The Starbucks logo is an internationally iconic one; everyone knows it symbolizes the world’s best coffee. So, what is that creature on the Starbucks logo? It is a creature called a siren, which means half human/ half animal or fish. In the case of Starbucks it is a half woman/half fish, commonly known as a mermaid.

Also, it is interesting to note that the original Starbucks logo had the woman mermaid’s exposed breasts, and as time passed the newer logos had her breasts covered by her waving hair. So, there seems to be this trend away from sexuality in regards to coffee. It seems that Starbucks contemporarily wants to give off a more family oriented image.

To my surprise, there are different types of half human/half fish. Mermaids typically have the upper half of their body human and the lower half fish. The creature on the Starbucks logo is a two tailed mermaid. Her two tails are lifted up beside her face. This mermaid figure seems unclear on the most recent Starbucks logo because the majority of her tails are cropped out, but originally the mermaid creature was quite clear on the logo.

Just recently, since Starbucks was able to connect the image of the world’s best coffee to their two tailed mermaid effectively, as a result they no longer need to literally say “Starbucks” on their logo. This is Starbucks way of keeping their roots in tradition while introducing new aspects to get ready for the future.

The older Starbucks logo was brown and had the full body of the two-tailed mermaid exposed on the logo. The colour brown was meant to resemble a cigar label. Some say they changed the logo by cropping out the majority of the mermaid’s tails because the logo seemed sexualized, because it looked as if the mermaid was spreading open her tails as a symbol of sex. But this, along with others, is just an opinion. Although attempting to connect coffee with sex does seem to make sense for obvious reasons. The main reason for Starbucks transforming their logo from an overly exposed feminine mermaid figure to the covered up conservative mermaid that we are currently familiar with is because Starbucks has changed. Starbucks became very successful, and they needed a logo that would fit their success and be widely accepted in the corporate world. The new logo with most of the mermaid’s tails cropped out raises questions to consumers of what exactly those two objects on either side of the woman’s face are. The new logo is tidied up and stylized to fit the current times and trends.

The Starbucks logo is now conveying freedom by focusing more on the face of the women, it almost feels as if she is coming out of the logo, and this makes us feel closer to her. Since the world has changed since Starbucks was established, its time for Starbucks to change to, they want to go beyond just coffee. And they display this by eliminating the border around the mermaid on the logo. Although do not be misled, because Starbucks is and always will be the best provider of the greatest coffee in the world. In Starbucks keeping aspects from the original themes of their original logo, and introducing new current aspects they reinforce their main objective and that is to let consumers know that they have always had the best coffee, they do have the best coffee, and that they always will. Starbucks is able to keep its heritage but at the same time adapt to the current times and look to the future, and that is what makes Starbucks so successful. Starbucks is not only selling coffee, but they are also selling an experience. The newest logo of just the mermaid and no words or borders reinforces this new idea, that Starbucks has the best coffee but also achieves the best experience, and experience is something that cannot be kept in borders.



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

Top Ten Things You May Not Know About Dogs Kelly Kocsis


his article was supposed to be a top ten list of things you don’t know, but as I was editing, I realized that in this day and age with google and other search engines at our finger tips, most will know some or all of these facts already, but I bet many will find a surprising tidbit or two. So for those of you who recognize some of these obscure and not so obscure facts, I hope I refreshed your memory and for those that are new to these facts, I hope to enlighten you.


Dogs are direct descendants of wolves; it is believed that a few thousand years ago some wolves caught on to a sweet deal; food and shelter in exchange for security and helping out with the hunting. Over time these particular wolves evolved and over generations became the dogs we know today. Although wolves and dogs are very similar, it is very dangerous to try to tame a wolf. Just because they are related doesn’t mean anything. It’s like a domesticated cat vs. a lion. There is no real comparison and only the very naive would try to tame a lion. That being said, people have tried to cross breed wolves and certain breeds of dogs with mixed results due to the mix of domestic genes and that of the more primal ones.


It is said that when a dog howls, he is signalling someone’s death or soon-to-be-death; usually that of a member of its pact (its owners, the family). This idea is rather ancient and the howl itself was thought to be a dark omen of misfortune. In the moment of death it was thought that the dog would howl three times in a row and then stop, marking the moment the person died. Dogs are credited with also being gifted with “second sight” seeing ghosts, knowing when death is near, and in some cases even seeing fairies and gods. Anything and everything supernatural was said to be seen by dogs.


The first exploration of outer space was done not by man or a primate, but that of Laika, a Russian dog, in 1957, via the Soviet Space agency, paving the way for humans to eventual travel to the moon (and hopefully beyond). 40 years later we learnt that Latkia died shortly after being sent into orbit, a combination of stress, fear and overheating. Originally it was reported that she survived at least 4 days, before the ships transmitters failed. She did, however, serve to show that living organisms can survive a long time in weightlessness and paved the way for humans in space. That said, this experiment has sparked many anti-

animal protests since then.


It is a myth that dogs see in black and white; they indeed see in colour, that being said they are colour-blind. I know this is a contradiction but one hundred years ago some scientific tests were made to find out more about the color vision of dogs. But these tests weren’t that scientific as they thought and the researchers concluded only that color vision doesn’t play a part in the daily life of a dog. Dogs can see colors. Dogs not only see in shades of gray but also can see distinct colors contrary to what most people believe. A dog sees in 2 colors versus a human’s 3 (and a parrot’s 4), but perceives low light conditions better than humans.


There have been quite a few cases of children being raised by dogs; the children are usually the victims of extreme neglect and left to fend for themselves. The child becomes animal-like, taking on the traits of the animals that have “adopted” it. The former USSR seems to be where many of these cases happened; including Natasha Mikhailova: who was raised by dogs in isolation and surrounded by filth and extreme poverty. Oxana Malaya is another case, living in a kennel with dogs for about 6 years before she was found. These sadly are just two of the cases. While there are many cases and many of those remain suspect, it is easy enough to imagine a dog being the most likely to willingly “adopt” an abandoned child, each providing the other with comfort, warmth, protection, and food.


The Egyptian god Anubis is often depicted with the hybrid head of a dog and Jackal. The head resembling a Doberman, Anubis was the god of the dead and the afterlife. Cerberus was the name of the three headed dog that guarded the gates of the underworld, ruled by Hades. Dogs themselves as well as wolfs, jackals, coyotes and foxes are mentioned in many various cultures and legends. Since dogs and members of the canine family can be found almost everywhere it stands to reason that legends and stories wouldn’t exist about them.


The prairie dog is not an actual dog nor is it even a canine; it’s from the rodent family. The fox is most definitely in the canine family despite its more feline-like qualities. They are from a different branch, however, so while the wolf is the cousin of domesticated dogs, foxes are further down the line, more like a half sibling with a shared ancestor, somewhere along the evolutionary chain. Dogs, and indeed most of the canine family, can be found on practically every continent.



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g


It is a myth that dogs only eat grass when they are sick. Many scientists believe grass was once part of a dog’s normal diet when it was still wild. Eating small amounts was normal. In other words, they eat it because they like it, the vomiting is just an unfortunate side effect. Though one can never know for sure, maybe in some cases they do eat the grass because they feel sick…most likely as stated, they just like the taste.


All dogs, despite their breed or size, have 42 teeth and 321 bones. A dog’s heart beats at 120 beats per minute; that is 150% compared to the human heart rate at 80 beats per minute. Dogs sweat via the pads of their paws, which have sweat glands. They use their panting as a means of controlling their body temperature. A dog’s nose prints are as unique as a human’s finger prints and can be used to accurately identify them.


Dogs are mentioned 17 times in the King James Bible. Dogs are also mentioned half a dozen times (more or less, hard to count through all the stories, of which there are hundreds) in Aesop’s fables, the Ancient writer of old, who penned various moral stories most often using animals to tell them. Examples of what he wrote would be “the tortoise and the hare” or “the scorpion and the frog”. And that ends my top ten list, I hope I enlightened you a little, I know I enjoyed looking these facts up, I’ve always loved animals and been surrounded by dogs and cats as long as I can remember!



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

TIFF Preview Jack Moulder


t’s getting close to that time of year again, where Toronto goes to the movies, King and John becomes thoroughly impassable at all times of the day, and A-list celebrities can be spotted at your favourite local coffee haunt. That’s right; the Toronto International Film Festival is back!

Brief History of TIFF TIFF originated in 1976 as a much smaller festival known as ‘The Festival of Festivals’, and was held at the Windsor Arms Hotel. The festival attendance was much lower than it is currently, with 35,000 people in the audience, compared to 287,000 attendees at the 2009 festival. It was only in 1994 that the festival became known as the ‘Toronto International Film Festival’, and since then, TIFF has grown stronger, being regarded by many as at par with the Cannes, Berlin and Sundance festivals and as the premiere film festival in North America. TIFF is also seen as the beginning of the Oscar race, with the People’s Choice Award often highlighting films that will go on to great success at the Academy Awards, such as The King’s Speech and Slumdog Millionaire. 2010 saw TIFF move to its current home at the Bell Lightbox, located on the corner of King and John Street in the heart of the downtown Entertainment District. The theatre was opened on September 12, during the festival, and holds regular screenings, talks and exhibitions during the festival’s ‘off-season’. Whilst the Lightbox is seen as the hub of the festival, screenings are actually dotted around the city, ranging north to Bloor Street, and east to Church. From The Sky Down 2011 marks the first time that the Toronto International Film Festival has opened with a documentary, and the combination of director and subject make for a scintillating combination. Davis Guggenheim, director of the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth and music-documentary It Might Get Loud, is releasing his latest piece, From The Sky Down, at TIFF. The documentary is designed to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Achtung Baby by U2, arguably one of the biggest bands in the world. Guggenheim has stated that ‘In the terrain of rock bands – implosion or explosion is seemingly inevitable. U2 has defied the gravitational pull towards destruction, this band has endured and thrived. The movie From The Sky Down asks the question why’. A World Of Film This year, TIFF will feature over 45 world premieres throughout the Gala and Special Presentations programmes, with films originating from

all over the world, including Ireland, France, UK, China, Brazil, Austria, Germany and Australia. With 18 different film programmes being held through the festival, and almost 400 films being shown, chances are you will find a film to suit you. Certain programmes focus specifically on documentaries, kid’s films, world cinema, short films, up-and-coming directors and genre-twisters. Canadians Behind The Camera As TIFF is a Canadian festival, it makes sense that this will be the place to see upcoming Canadian films. Alongside the Canada First, Short Cuts Canada and Canada Open Vault programmes, which feature exclusively Canadian films, TIFF 2011 marks the premieres of new films from both Sarah Polley (Take This Waltz) and David Cronenberg (A Dangerous Method). Polley, a Toronto native, previously directed Away From Her, which premiered at TIFF in 2006, and went on to earn herself an Academy Award nomination for adapted screenplay for her efforts. Waltz stars Seth Rogen, Michelle Williams and Sarah Silverman, was filmed largely in Nova Scotia, and deals with a woman struggling to choose between two different types of love. Cronenberg’s entry, on the other hand, is set on the eve of the Second World War, and stars Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, and Keira Knightley as Sabina Spielrein, the woman who comes between the two famous psychiatrists. The Canada First programme features seven films from first-time Canadian directors, including documentaries, musicals, thrillers and short films. Short Cuts Canada focuses entirely on short films, including documentaries, animations and narrative films, and with almost fifty films on show here, there’s sure to be plenty to please. The Canada Open Vault programme focuses its attention on celebrating the history of Canadian cinema, and strives to restore and represent iconic Canadian films. This year, Hard Core Logo is the film of choice, directed by Bruce McDonald and originally released in 1996; Logo is a mockumentary that tells the story of the self-destruction of the punk rock music genre. The All-Important Gala Presentations The Gala Presentations at a film festival are where all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood is on show in full force. This year, as previously, Gala showings will be held at Roy Thompson Hall, about a block away from the Bell Lightbox, at King and Simcoe. The building is unmissable due to its sloping and curvilinear glass roof, and provides a stunning backdrop worthy of a world-class film festival. Gala presentations at TIFF include an address by the director and cast members before the showing of each film, and with names such as



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

Glenn Close, Luc Besson, Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and Madonna all due to be in attendance, these showings will bear the brunt of the media attention at the festival. Films showing include Albert Nobbs, an Irish period drama about a crossdressing woman, Moneyball, a biographical comedy/drama starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics, and The Ides of March, a George Clooney-helmed political drama which, as well as directing, Clooney produces and stars in. Alongside Clooney will be Ryan Gosling, Marissa Tomei and Paul Giamatti. The Meat Of The Festival Although the Gala screenings feature most of the glamour that is associated with film festivals such as Cannes or Venice, it is the Special Presentations, Real to Reel and Contemporary World Cinema programmes that will give festival goers the chance to see films from directors such as Roland Emmerich and Francis Ford Coppola before anyone else. Emmerich’s entry into the 2011 festival is titled Anonymous, and is sure to raise a few eyebrows. Based on the claim that Shakespeare didn’t write all of the plays attributed to him, Anonymous seeks to just who was the author. Starring David Thewlis, Rhys Ifans and Vanessa Redgrave, TIFF gives you the opportunity to see this potential blockbuster before its general release at the end of September. Coppola’s entry, meanwhile, entitled Twixt, stars Val Kilmer and Elle Fanning, and focuses on a writer investigating a murder mystery in a small town. Meanwhile, the Reel to Real programme, which concentrates on documentaries, includes the upcoming release by Morgan Spurlock, who follows fans to the San Diego Comic-Con, and Werner Herzog, whose documentary Into The Abyss interviews those affected by a triple homicide in the state of Texas. Also included are documentaries focusing on history, race, ecology, and sport, among others. Contemporary World Cinema does exactly what it says on the tin, bringing films from all over the world into the heart of downtown Toronto. Entries range from as far away as Australia, Romani and Brazil and from as close as the streets of Toronto itself. Whatever your taste in films, 2011 is sure to be another great year for the Toronto International Film Festival. It remains to be seen which films will generate the most Oscar buzz, and which will fade away, but we’ll be sure to let you know the outcome when we return for our TIFF review next month. For now, sit back, enjoy your movies, and if you do happen to spot George Clooney or Brad Pitt at your local coffee shop, try not to scream too loudly.



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

Art For Our Sakes

SHOW ME MORE!! Marcus Pidek

This is the second of two articles about seven wonderfully creative artists I met at The Toronto Outdoor Art Show at the festival that took place last July. You are

also looking at a photo of Yair Stern’s Mokume USB pendants and Heather Rathbun’s mechanistic, kinetic Adjustable Sprocket necklace, from August’s article on their work. They didn’t fit in last month’s issue and I’m happy to show them to you now. Let me introduce you to Annyen Lam, one our extroverts in the group. She showed medium sized framed pieces that seemed to fool the viewers into thinking the materials were all kinds of mediums - horse hair, thread - except what the really were – paper! But each work is a single sheet of paper with intricate cuttings by the hand of the artist that form intriguing designs and patterns which depend perhaps even more on the negative space than the solid and sometimes wistful shapes she creates. They draw the eye around and around, like a good design should. “I’m inspired by the movement of water traveling across the surface. The subject matter is involved in my own experience. The show went very well for me, I sold work. I love the chance to meet with the audience. Their reactions can be more visceral. I get a chance to engage. I never intended my paper creations to be something serious when I started. I’m happy with how it turned out – without pressure. I’m not one to do mediocre work, I always do my best.” “I started paper cutting by making cards for my friends. I used Japanese paper, it’s very thin. This strong paper allowed me to cut intricately, after I figured the composition. I went from gifts for friends to seeing paper as a different medium. The Japanese paper transforms our own outlook on shapes. Most people don’t believe my pieces are done by hand. It’s a very transparent process and yet people complicate their impression of the image because they don’t think it’s paper. One piece can take days to complete. Traditional paper cutting is always hand cut.” A multi talented artist, Annyen is involved in book art, stone lithographs, paper cutting, book binding and screen printing “I feel a visceral

attachment to art by hand on paper. I’m often fascinated by ideas which don’t easily settle in one medium. It takes time – a lot of experimentation. I can’t define an idea until I make it real in one medium or another.” “As an OCAD student, I was more excited about learning new things – it’s smart to keep the mind elastic. I loved the positive response in school, so many good moments.” Annyen hangs her designs in box frames, which have a space between the glass and the back. This emphasizes the three dimensional appearance of the paper creations because they hang away from the solid back. “People insist it’s something else. They overcomplicate the experience.” “I have a lot of trust in paper. The grain is not distinct. The blue piece is coloured from lithographic printing. The blended colour was



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

necklace cord. So why jewellery, Theresa? “I find it challenging. It tested my patience. It’s very precise, it requires a lot of skill. There’s always something new you can learn. I also learned textile techniques. This was my first jewellery show in Toronto and I won Honorable Mention for Student in Exhibition, for my booth.” Congratulations for your award, Theresa, and how is your future looking? “For now, I want to pursue fine hand made jewellery – unique, conceptual jewellery with a story. After OCAD I want to make one of a kind jewellery. I have a strong connection with conceptual jewellery because I like to provoke thoughts. I want to have a story behind everything. I hope to convey an ongoing story in several pieces.” How would you define what you do? “I incorporate all materials in my translation of a story into a wearable object. And I try to be unconventional.”

Theresa Duong is going into her fifth year in OCAD, her major studies are in jewellery and metalsmithing. Her photos are of the Portable Book Ring and the Shoulder Brace – the striking bi-coloured folded units on the closed

“Toronto fosters a good jewellery community – small and tight knit. I like that there are a lot of studios in Toronto. They have good facilities. But, maybe I’ll visit foreign lands, to expand my horizons.

Tiffany Lui is a quiet lady whom, I think, would rather let her designs speak for her. Her training is impressive. She’s an OCAD student grad from four years in jewellery and metal arts design. She studied with master silversmith Ross Morrow, who was interviewed for the March 2011 issue. And before that, three years with the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. She has a Bachelor of Design. “I like to fabricate and manipulate metal. I like taking a mallet to the metal and hammering it to create something different. It’s very physical. I love playing around with metal.” Her photos are of the polished Container Ring and the two piece, opened Holder of Sweetness. As a goldsmith from George Brown, I can tell you these two projects are intensely demanding of skill and patience. Difficult to produce while maintaining the correct proportions and symmetry. “I like to incorporate different materials. Also found materials, I like the idea of recycling, of doing my part. My thesis is about recycling, the movement and discipline.” “I’m moving to larger, body wearable pieces. One idea is a hand worked newspaper, laced with yarn to create a body piece. It’s more conceptual. I go back and forth to practical pieces that are permanent and wearable.” “I’m interested in creating very personable pieces, from fine jewellery to more conceptual – very one of a kind style. I like experimenting with different materials. I won’t work completely in metal – just metal is boring.” “And always keep in mind – keep doing what you love, and never give up.” Nice, Tiffany. Any comments can be sent directly to the writer at



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

Of Bookshelves and Fire Pits September is the Cruellest Month Jeremy Colangelo

September is here, summer is well behind us, and it is a frequent habit of challenging the well-established thinkers in debate now a new school year. The advent of a new semester can mean public and, through his wits, robbing them of their rhetorical pomp and several things, but for the attentive bibliophile it often signals the start of a new round of book bannings. They come every year – hundreds of times annually, according to the American Library Association. While governmental censorship is rare in Canada and the United States, it is very common for one or more “concerned parents” to demand the removal of certain books from school libraries and reading lists. For the concerned reader, the issue can be opaque at times – with many otherwise inscrutable and unrelated groups bickering with each other in both public and private. A quick history of the issue can thus be of use to anyone interested, and that is what I hope to provide.

Before I begin, I would like to give full disclosure: I have no sympathy with the censors or their goals, and I consider many of the books they attack to be unsullied masterpieces of English literature. As such, this article cannot be considered objective. For this, you have my humble and sincere apologies. Literary censorship stretches back to the earliest days literature itself. The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates provides one example. The Athenians found Socrates to be a dangerous mind. He made

puffery. The Athenians charged him with “corrupting the youth” and “disrespecting the gods” – and threatened the death penalty. Socrates replied that instead he should be honoured for his important work and provided with an official government pension. After the trial, he chose poison as his method of execution. Many eras and civilizations have kept lists of proscribed material, to avoid “corrupting the youth” or “offending the gods” – but also out of sheer political self-interest. The Roman historian Tacitus, for example, complains in his writing of the emperor Domitian executing biographers and burning their works because the emperor wanted the accomplishments recorded in those works ascribed to him. Another historic case of censorship includes the Portuguese, Spanish and Italian Inquisitions’ well known activities, which notably included the house-arrest of Galileo following the release of his scientific writings. It is the Inquisition’s activities which made the practice of book-burning iconic. Following the invention of the Gutenberg Press, book reproduction was still a difficult and laborious task. Even famous books would only have a limited print run. Prior to mechani-



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

cal reproduction, each book was rewritten by hand, often by monks working in monasteries. This gave the Church near total control over Europe’s literary output, and also made proscribed books extremely easy to destroy. Since a “bestseller” at the time would amount to only a dozen-or-so copies, it was quite possible to completely eliminate a “dangerous” text from the face of the Earth. The ideas within could be wiped away forever. Early-modern censorship was not limited to literary destruction, however, but also extended to moderating content. William Shakespeare would have been very familiar with his era’s state censorship practices. The censors rarely targeted violence (as Titus Andronicus shows) or overt sexuality (as pretty much every line he wrote attests), but instead focused religious impropriety. This practice has lead to some seemingly incongruous results: while Hamlet was able to ramble on about “country matters” as he pleased, seemingly innocuous words like “gadzooks” (deriving from “God’s hooks” – meaning the nails on Christ’s cross) were often cut. According to the scholar Michel Foucault, it is from this environment that the concept of the “author” arose. An author, at this time, being someone who was authorised to publish literature. Literary censorship had been present in North America since at least the first European settlements. As the early settlers lacked the sort of governmental bureaucracy needed for large-scale censorship, the bannings often took the form of local initiatives, peer pressure, and other such methods. The environment in Massachusetts, especially the Boston area, was particularly notable for this – so much so that the phrase “Banned in Boston” remains a byword for censorship today. It was in this region that the infamous Anthony Comstock gained influence, finding much support for his crusade in Boston and the surrounding region. In 1873 Anthony Comstock founded a group called The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. The group’s logo gives a succinct depiction of their philosophy, showing a man being jailed on one side and a pile of books in a fire on the other. The group sought to enforce its strict moral edicts on American society through litigation, public advocacy, and lobbying for new censorship laws. Not

surprisingly, the group received heavy backing from religious groups and listed “protecting the young” among its goals. Comstock and his group were quite opposed to publishing sexual material – even preventing the publication of anatomically correct textbooks meant for medical schools. The group also did their work with little sympathy for the writers and publishers – Comstock himself once bragging that his efforts had driven fifteen people to suicide. Before shutting down in 1950, the group attempted to censor several notable literary works – including that of Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, and James Joyce. The 1955 publication of Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl was an important turning point in the history of American literary censorship. The poem’s sexually explicit lines prompted the US Customs Office to confiscate a shipment of the book in 1957. The government then charged the publisher with obscenity, and took the case all the way to the US Supreme court. The decision, which held that Howl was a work of great literary importance which should not be subject to censor, essentially ended governmental literary censorship in the United States. In Canada, the turning point on this issue is the Constitution Act of 1982, which includes The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section two of which contains a clause guaranteeing the “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.” This section is, however, subject to the “reasonable limits” clause, which – to summarize a complicated issue very quickly – allows the government to violate certain rights when not doing so would cause more harm than good. In terms of speech regulation, the courts have determined that this limitation applies only to hate speech and obscenity. It was, however, not until the year 2000 that the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that it was a violation of section two for Canada Customs to unilaterally block the import of “obscene” material. Though the above account is incredibly brief and woefully incomplete, it should give an impression of where the issue has come so far. For as long as there have been books to burn, the censors have found their motivations

in most of the same places: protecting children, suppressing sexual material, suppressing criticism of religion, and suppressing criticism of the state. The last, in this article, has received the least attention of the four. This is a shame, as it is probably the most dangerous, but it is also the least applicable to the original topic: the censorship of literature in schools by concerned parents. It is now very difficult for a lone citizen to affect their crusade through the government. The courts in both Canada and the United States have made a Comstockian crusade nearly impossible. School districts, however, remain vulnerable – as the recent events in Missouri demonstrate. In September 2010, a Missouri resident and university professor named Wesley Scroggins published the article “Filthy books demeaning to Republic education” in his local newspaper. In it, he attacked the school district for including various novels in their high school English classes which he said should be “classified as soft pornography.” The most notable novel on this list, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, was railed on for its sexually explicit material and its treatment of religion. In July of 2011, the school district responded by removing Slaughterhouse Five (as well as other books that Scroggins complained about) from the reading list. Literary censorship continues, and does so for the same reasons as it always has. The scope has been reduced, but the effect is more insidious. Having read Slaughterhouse Five, I can affirm that it is an exceptional piece of writing and that Vonnegut was a master of his craft. Having also suffered through a high school English program, I can affirm that the current literary curriculum is bad enough already without the self-styled moral guardians swirling their dirty fingers through it. We need more good books in the curriculum, not less, and the censorship of good books only serves to leave students alienated from literature more so than they already are. Censorship, even against a single line of a single book, is an attack on literature as a whole, for it deprives tomorrow’s writers of the influence of their masters. It is depressing to think of all the brilliant books that have not been written because a few busybodies were afraid of sex.



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

The View from The Couch

A TV nerd examines the changing landscape in the digital age.

Ryan McHale It can be awkward when I get into a conversation about TV with somebody I’ve just met. Talking about shows can be a great icebreaker, but when they ask about other kinds of TV it can get weird. What about that hilarious commercial during 30 Rock last night—did you see it? The Leafs game was intense—did you watch it? Or the clincher, if we happen to be at my place around 6pm: The news is on—flick to CityTV. ...I don’t have television. I mean, I have a television. But cable? Nope. Satellite? Nuh-uh. Rabbit ears? Sorry. I’m among the growing number of viewers who obtains my programming in a different way; the way I want, thanks to DVDs, Netflix, and iTunes. I might be late seeing shows that have just aired, and I

may flee with my hands cupped over my ears if I hear you discussing last night’s Breaking Bad before I’ve watched it, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I choose what I watch and when I watch it, it’s not chosen for me. I’m less a couch potato than a connoisseur, sampling a tasting menu of the best serialized storytelling you’re likely to find anywhere. The irony of this article is not lost on me. Odds are if you’re the type of person interested in pouring over a few hundred words about the changing TV landscape, you probably already do what I do. You take control of what you watch. So the aim of this article is not to convert how you watch television, but rather examine what effect “on demand” culture has on both the broadcast networks and premium cable channels. If we’re talking about methods of delivery, that’s obviously the question, right? But what are those two things anyway?



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g Broadcast network television is the giant, but also a dinosaur. In 1937 the RCA Corporation began aggressively marketing their new electric television systems, serving prototypical live broadcasts from a handful of long extinct corporations and even several universities. In 1942 the number of TV sets in operation reached 5 000. By 1947 there were 44 000, and FCC licenses and regulations were just beginning to take shape. Over the next two years three new broadcasters made their first transmissions, and established the industry as we largely know today as NBC, CBS, and ABC. They are still among the most watched networks, reaching a combined 25 million viewers each night. Creatively, network television has been a contentious environment, and accessibility was its drawback. Advertisers did not want to be associated with unsavory content, and FCC watchdogs were quick to deem risqué material “unfit” for the viewing public en masse; drug use, nudity, sex, and violence for example. This has changed somewhat, but mainly in regards to violence. Multitudinous procedural police dramas have made a killing from… well, killing, but writers and creators must still tread softly for fear of interference or worse: cancellation. There is a limited range of stories being told. Should I watch yet another bunch of hip twenty-somethings complain about work and relationships? In the eighties and nineties, the sitcom was king, but now it’s played out. With the arguable exception of a few standouts, it’s a dying format. Instead, should I watch a team of gorgeous forensic investigators engage in dazzling heroics and use outlandish technology more closely resembling science fiction than modern police work? Or should I watch sexy doctors deal with being… uh, sexy doctors? While some procedural dramas have helped define their genres with stellar performances and writing—NYPD Blue and E.R. come to mind—their characters have become increasingly one-dimensional, and their science inauthentic. Network television is stagnating because nothing is new. Nothing is innovative. When you try to please everyone, you’ll impress no one. But by virtue of its prevalence, network TV is a large part of our culture, connecting us the same way our national and world history does. Our parents can remember when JFK was shot, or John Lennon. But who remembers when J.R. was shot on Dallas? What about Mr. Burns on The Simpsons? I know I can remem-

ber that. Fictional or not, history is history, and if it’s broadcast as widely as network television it can connect entire countries and continents, each flickering screen is another link in a chain of shared experience. I can discuss a show with strangers as if we had watched it together. As a kid I could begin a Simpsons’ quote at school and see it recognized and returned. I’m sure many of us can remember when Jerry and George were pitching their butler-centric sitcom to a fictionalized NBC executive on Seinfeld and he called it “water-cooler television”. I call it shared culture, and in the eighties and nineties it reached its zenith. Perfect Strangers could connect you with perfect strangers. Regardless of its seemingly antisocial nature, watching TV could make you feel a part of something massive. Premium cable was a different animal: Exclusive. It was a fancy club whose membership you could flaunt to your friends and family. “Oh, yeah, I subscribe to HBO and Showtime. Sure it’s expensive, but I can afford it, and the shows are just better”. Beginning in the early 70s as a pay-per-view service showing movies and sporting events, HBO exploded in 1975 when it became the first network to deliver its signal via satellite. Within ten years similar premium cable networks sprung up such as The Movie Channel, Cinemax, and Showtime, all largely serving cinema to the cinemaphiles. But original programming and made-for-payTV movies grew in circulation. Things took a leap forward in the late nineties when a landmark original series premiered on HBO. Oz was revolutionary in its tone and scope. As a full hour drama it was uninterrupted by advertisements and became the template for original cable content in following years. Oz reveled in cable’s various freedoms; loose FCC regulations, no advertisers to supplicate, and subscription based revenue. Oz explored content much more controversially and risqué than anything else on television. Racial tensions, homosexuality, male on male sexual assault, and even instances of male frontal nudity firmly asserted Oz’s place as radical fringe programming. The widening gulf between the sanitized and mundane stories on broadcast TV, and the at times controversial, philosophical, raunchy, or abysmally heartbreaking work on cable reinforced its exclusivity. The long time catchphrase “It’s not TV, it’s HBO” was particularly fitting. Oz was followed in 1999 by The Sopranos, lauded by The New York Times as “the greatest work of American popular culture of the last

quarter century”. Cable was the destination of the auteur and the playground of the immensely talented, welcoming some of the most distinguished creative minds in the industry’s history. But regardless of its impeccable quality and unrestricted content, you were probably the only one you knew who was watching. But that was over 10 years ago. These days, why can’t you engage in a community that loves the same cable show you do? Join a forum. Comment on a blog or even Tweet about it. That’s the arc of change the industry is experiencing right now. It’s not just about watching the same things as your neighbours or coworkers anymore. Now you can interact with the perfect stranger on the other side of the country, or continent, or even the planet. You can take part in a massive globalized culture, bonded by experiences much smaller and more obscure than ever. I can’t talk about the hockey game with my coworkers in the break room, but I can discuss the complexities of Mad Men’s Don Draper with a college student in Russia, or argue with a UK blogger about the morality of a meth dealer in Breaking Bad, interacting with a culture stretching further than broadcast networks could ever hope to. Network television’s ratings are falling, and cable viewership is on the rise because of things like DVD, iTunes, Hulu, and Netflix. So what’s next? When the 2007-08 WGA strike halted film and TV production, writer/director/nerd hero Joss Whedon independently financed a three part Internet musical with the help of friends and colleagues outside of the strictures of network TV. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was streamed for free for one week that July, and pulled in 2.5 million views. Shortly thereafter it was available as a paid download on iTunes, and DVDs were sold. Its total revenue isn’t public knowledge, but it’s been said to have more than retroactively paid the volunteer cast and crew, and covered all production costs. It made headlines even outside of the industry trade magazines, and won various accolades including Hugo and People’s Choice awards—all this without the assistance (read: interference) of a single executive, focus group, or advertiser. Though it was not the revolutionary powder keg of “made-to-stream” content Whedon had hoped for, it has nevertheless shown the way forward. It was before its time and rest assured that when TV historians look back at what conditions spurred the coming digital age of film and television distribution, artifacts like this will be of particular interest.



d n A y t i Univers College e d i u G How To Alicia Ward


tepping into any new situation can be a daunting task but few places hold as much possibility and stress as University and College.

These are the places of higher learning and drunken nights where an individual’s life truly takes shape. Do not let it confuse you. Here is a guide to help you get started and stay there.

a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g 2. Find Your Classes Finding your classes before the day they start is incredibly beneficial. It will cut down on stress levels on the first day by allowing you to get to your class on time and make a great first impression on your prof. Although many profs are lenient about lateness, it doesn’t hurt to arrive early and attentive. You will not miss any of the lesson.

3. Make a Friend in Every Class Although you may try to never be late it is almost guaranteed to happen. So make a friend. This friend does not have to be a best friend but someone who is dependable to come to class, take notes and would fill you in on anything you have missed. Be ready to reciprocate the favour

4. Do Not Be Afraid to Speak Up 1. Go to Orientation Week Orientation week, although filled with corny team building exercises lead by the most extroverted people you will ever meet, will be an enlightening experience. The most beneficial part you will not want to miss is the tour of the campus and your faculty. If you are lucky you will also receive a tour of your department allowing you to become familiar with where the majority of your studies will take place. During this tour you may meet other beginner students from your department who are taking some of the same classes as you. Figuring out a new place is always better with a companion. Try to find an orientation leader in your department or faculty who can answer specific questions. The senior students at your College and University at orientation week are open to questions you have about almost anything: what to bring to class, where to get books and materials, what bathrooms are the best and much more. Figuring out ahead where the essential eating and studying places are can save you time when you have a break between classes or are looking for the best cheap eats. Take notes on where the counsellors and academic advisors are. Your academic advisors are your best tool for helping you figure out your year to year schedule, filling in electives with prudent choices and helping you graduate on time. Universities and College’s will also have many resources for students including dental care, spiritual wellness and writing centres. Find out where these spots are located to ensure a smooth transition into your new school.

The more a prof sees and hears you the more they understand your thinking process and voice. A relationship with the prof helps when it comes to writing papers. The prof can put a face to a name and relate more to your work. Of course this only applies if they see you in a positive light. Also, do not be afraid about asking questions for clarification, it could be your saving grace and will keep you from falling asleep during philosophical discussions.

5. Figure Out Your Deadlines Deadlines apply as much to essays and exams as your personal life. Get a calendar, day timer or some type of organizer to keep you sane. Some student governments give out free day timers! Profs will hand out a course outline on the first day of classes. Take note of when things happen so you can start early and not have to lose sleep the night before something is due. Keep track of what needs to be read and completed. Also find out what you are interested in around campus and get out there. Auditions for dramatic productions, submissions for artwork in galleries and back to school deals all happen early while other opportunities happen later (such as applications for student government at the end of the year). Take some time on your universities website or with an experienced student who can help you organize your time table, making sure you can fit in student appreciation night at the local bar along with your academics.



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g 6. Join or Start a Club

9. Cheap Eats

A great way to network and meet friends is in a club. Every University and College has an abundance of clubs for every interest from video games to volunteerism. Get involved and engage with your school. Plus, clubs can look great on a resume or academic record, especially if you hold a leadership role.

Cheap food is the best find around campus since going to school and working can be difficult. Save money, feel full and study hard. However, do not think that all your body needs is 99 cent salty snacks to keep you going. Splurge on the smoothie or wrap every once in a while to avoid Freshman 15, also known as undesirable weight you gain because you have not figured out that gym memberships are often free or discounted for students!

A great club to become involved in is an undergraduate society. If your department has one, join. It might cost you some dollars but you will be able to meet people in your department allowing you to gain some friends and network. An undergraduate society will also organize special events throughout the year for you to attend, including bar nights, movie nights, dances and an end-of-the-year celebration. Undergraduate societies usually have a space for members to study, eat lunch and chat, making finding your own study space easier though you most likely will be less focused. The older students in the society may also be able to help you assimilate into the department in a positive way.

7. Join the School Media Most universities will have a newspaper, radio station, television station or all three. By getting involved you meet some of the coolest, most interesting people on campus. You also become tied to a number of great traditions involved with the school’s media and their adventures across campus. Becoming involved in the media can also open a lot of doors for meeting cool (probably almost famous) people, getting free stuff and pitching ideas for your own stories so you can do journalism that interests you. You can often even get free advertising for your own functions.

10. Student Deals It is a well known fact that University students are poor and businesses take pity on poor students by giving them discounted goods. Take advantage of the fact that deals can be found everywhere! Keep your Student ID on you so you can always prove you deserve your discount! Another great way to find deals is by snipping coupons. Coupons can be found in newspapers, magazines, flyers and online. Your University may have coupons to venues around campus in the day timers or newspaper. Check everywhere and hold on to them.

11. The Spring and Summer Semesters Spring and summer courses are great for earning credits, helping you jump ahead or allowing you to lessen your course load during the school year. A number of special topics are offered during the spring and summer so it’s a great way to step outside of your faculty and try a class that interests you. Spring and summer feature great weather and special opportunities that the fall and winter semester courses are not able to do. Spring and summer courses may also feature some of the best profs who do not teach the fall and winter semesters.

8. Do Not Over Commit You have a couple years to enjoy and explore your University or College so don’t think you have to do everything immediately. Take your time and don’t burn yourself out. Remember that most club leadership and student government positions are only valid for one year so you can alternate. It involves planning ahead but you’ll appreciate not being up to your neck in paperwork for your extracurriculars, which are just that “extra.” However, do not under commit. Hitting the balance is key. Do not wait until the end of the year to figure out you did not get involved in anything. Taking chances may be necessary.

12. Your University You are the one who is paying for your higher education and you chose the school. So you might as well appreciate the time you have at the institution. There are dance productions, sporting events, political rallies, talks, drama productions, cultural functions, art shows and so much more to be engaged in. If you are disappointed with your University, you have the power to start a movement. You are responsible for your time in University so make the most of it before you’re released into the real world.



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

Flittering Pages

Unfurling the secrets of what it takes to reach audiences the world over: Author Shilpi Somaya Gowda shares her story


Jess Silver


robability, a game of chance, a roll ing audiences the world over is a difficult task. Interestof a game die. One never knows what ingly, she did not even see this as a possibility for her

card he or she is dealt and how each day will pan out. Just as an actor can never predict the flow of the performance, a writer can’t be sure whether the word cocktail he or she stirred in their mind will tickle the taste buds of publishers and readers. First time author Shilpi Somaya Gowda recently spoke the truth about not knowing the power of her words. As reading has been a hobby of hers since the time of her youth, she remembers being taken by the works of talented writers. The MBA graduate contends that writing was not something she thought she could turn into a career. She always enjoyed writing as a creative pursuit. “Writing was one of those crazy-hair brain schemes that I had in the back of my mind the whole time”.

“I mainly loved to read as a child. I remember taking as many books out of the library as I was allowed when I was a child. I turned to writing at different times in my life as my favorite creative activity,” Ms. Gowda says. In determining the direction of the story of this first time author, I wanted to best understand where her inspiration stemmed from for the debut novel. Although she admits that she is new to the creative enterprise, she was not shy to speak of writing as a dream of hers that kindled for a long time. “At a certain point in my life I had the time and space for writing and so I decided that I was going to write a novel. I signed up for writing courses at a local university since I had not taken any courses in English or writing since high school, and decided to take Economics and business instead in university. After taking the classes I decided to finally write a novel which became Secret Daughter”, she says. Throughout the interview Ms. Gowda did not shy away from expressing certain hardships that she experienced during the writing process. It is through her openness and honesty that one is able to understand that reach-

work when the idea materialized.

Shilpi herself did not see Secret Daughter when it was first published in March 2010 becoming as big of a hit as it is today, both on a National and International level. The book did not receive accolades until Harper Collins saw its publishing potential. As was said in an article published by the Vancouver Sun, “Shilpi had one very simple goal, to produce a novel just to see if she could”. As an author who now has attenuated status and received acclaim greater than she could have envisioned, she spoke about loving the challenges that the act of writing presents and how it has made her appreciative of the difficulty. In her conveyance of the challenges that come with stepping into a new career different from the one she knew as a Marketing consult, Ms. Gowda spoke of the two types of understandings that she has developed as a writer. The notion of dividing conscious understanding from subconscious thought alighted itself as key to what her writing philosophy is. As a writer one is capable of extrapolating thoughts from the subconscious stories that are formulated by the mind at time of rest. When asked whether or not she thought about writing a story based on Indian culture she responded with saying, “I did not necessarily sit down and say that I am going to write a story steeped in Indian culture, but because that is my own personal background and culture that I am most familiar with, I think that is the creative landscape from which my ideas flow”. The story of Secret Daughter is rooted in themes of identity and the search for meaning both on a familial and cultural level. This search for Kavita and the child that she is forced to abandon to the Shanti (orphanage) is because of her husband’s demands for a son. For the


a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g ‘secret’ daughter whose name morphs from Usha to Asha, meaning hope, it is a quest for independence, for love, and for her soul. The protagonist echoes notions of the author as Shilpi Somaya Gowda became a searcher for her narrative voice. In the text this is apparent when Asha writes in a letter to her real mother, “I wish you were here to help me”, Asha writes. I don’t know where to begin. I don’t really know where I came from. Whenever I ask her she just gives me the same story- they picked me up from an orphanage in India, when I was a baby and brought me to California”(125). Asha is searching for truth in the same way that Shilpi was testing her luck with the pen. Both found luck in unchartered territory. It is Shilpi’s hope that the text creates a more socially aware landscape. In the way that Asha as a young teenager is fighting to understand the truth behind her real parents, when she finds out that in fact Kris and Somer adopted her, Ms. Gowda says that for her becoming a writer is about “writing that which is intriguing to me”. “It is about being taken away to a different place, being able to see things differently, and being able to ask the big questions of life.” There are many parallels in the text to the author’s life as she is not only grounded in her own personal narrative of the same background, but like Asha whose name represents hope- she has many hopes. She feels as though the wonder of literature is harbored in its power to transport us to extemporaneous realities. Through this type of transfiguration she says her hope is that “the story of Secret Daughter does that for some people.” In response to a question that addressed acceptance of different cultures and whether or not the novel as a medium can teach people a lot about differing backgrounds, she joked about how a recent reader of the novel booked a flight to India. “I hope she likes it.” Careful to say that the book was not meant to push any political or social agenda, Shilpi spoke about her intent as one designed to give readers a different experience. One that is outside of the reality that people live. She believes her job was done well if she could make the reader salivate at various cultural delicacies. She remained honest and grounded throughout the interview. When the matter of emulating a favorite author’s style in some way through her own work came up she openly said, “I think the novels that I appreciate the most are the ones that are so far removed from anything that I could write. Rohinton Mistry’s, A Fine Balance is an incredibly epic story, with so much detail and so I just sit in awe of the type of writing. It is not something that I could do or would even try to. I just think that it so different and complex, and I love it!” she said. She is always conscious of her recent entry into the field of writing and says that while one must find their voice and cultivate it, each writer must recognize their uniqueness and be able to step away to enjoy different works. Even though she admits that she has a lot to learn, she loves that about this career. Each text is like a new territory. Ms. Gowda has a broad understanding of the business aspect and knows how to market the value of one’s words. As she says, “there comes a time when you need to put on your business cap.” Because she is a business graduate with an MBA from Stanford University, she is well aware of the fact that a book is a marketable product. Having a grasp of the marketing world she is able to click into the business matters. Once her tapping away at the keys ceases she concerns herself with the matters of publishing and potential for profit. Underlyingly however, the deliverance and impact of the narrative is most crucial to her. She is eager to venture to broader heights. Her second novel in the works right now, explores the story of different cultures and countries from a new vantage point. It pays homage to a similar landscape that one saw in her first novel, but is told from a male perspective. This is because Shilpi always tests her own limits overstepping signs of fear. Bridging the gap of distance is not impossible as long as the story matters to whomever is reading it on the other side of the ocean. Time zones diminish once a common word is discovered, then all secrets are unlocked.



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

t a K O O L n A o F r C TIF Craig Wilkins

“Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly, ‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy; The way into my parlour is up a winding stair, And I’ve a many curious things to shew when you are there.” David Cronenberg’s new film, A Dangerous Method is set to be one of the center pieces of this years Toronto International Film Festival. For the rest of North America it will be released two short weeks later on September 30th. A movie about the relationship between Freud and Jung and the birth of psychoanalysis might not sound intriguing to the masses, but for cinephiles just knowing Cronenberg, the master of the intellectual horror film, is at the helm of it would be enough to build excitement. With Viggo Mortensen as Freud and Michael Fassbender as Jung and adding French bad boy Vincent Cassel as Freud’s unstable drug addicted protégé, and Keira Knightley as the mad Russian girl who comes between the great men and changes the course of psychoanalysis, perhaps this little impossible to categorize film just might find a large and appreciative audience. Finding an audience has always been hit or miss for Cronenberg. IMDB may call him “the Baron of blood” and “the king of venereal horror”, terms that would imply legions of fans, primarily teenage boy and midnight madness retrospectives. Both terms to me seem either misplaced, or simply outdated.

Movies like Rabid and Crash point to a sort of venereal infection that seem to drive the horror in his films. He reinforces the point when he talks about the beauty of disease, seeing the aids virus from the virus’s point of view, and being quoted as saying “my movies are body-conscious”. “The first fact of human existence is the human body.” Blood, the flesh, or new flesh as he likes to call it, and disease seem to be the driving factors in so many of his films. That surface respect, all too common when critiquing film, to me seems to miss the point. The Fly is a wonderful example of just how the surface body horror in Cronenberg’s work grabs our immediate attention but that it is the intellectual layering that truly drives his films horror. A favourite films from my childhood, I remembered the horrible Brundlefly, pieces of flesh falling off as man became beast, the nightmare inducing larvae birth sequence, and in a bit of cliché Canadiana, Jeff Goldblum puking on a package of sugared donuts and then slurping the whole thing up as a fly would. “Baron of blood”, “King of the Venereal horror film” and certainly body-conscious. But seeing the film many years later , watching it closely, without popcorn or a large drink and a group of friend distracting me, I noticed what I already knew. The Fly is a very cerebral horror film. Man does not merge with fly because of an accident of nature or design, but because the thought of his girlfriend running off to her ex leads to a bottle of wine and then a diminishing of capacity, and a moment of leaping before he looks. Later, while we are distracted by the creature effects and the building horror we fail to recognize that the horror is not being built



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

g r e b n e n

by the physical transition into the Brundlefly, but by the psychoanalytic transition from a human perception to an insect’s way of thinking. Even when Goldblum explains that she has to leave because he is beginning to think like an insect and insects don’t have politics, compassion or compromise, we are distracted by the horror of his medicine cabinet and the fear for her safety. But even the madness is just another of the curious things in his parlour that he has to show us. Ralph Fiennes in Spider mumbles and shuffles along. He wears layers and layers of clothing since clothing makes the man and the less man you are the more clothing you need to compensate. His journal is written in tiny cursive; words that resemble no language I have ever seen, but filled with such secrets he must hide it further and further beneath his room’s threadbare rug. As the story unfolds we watch as quirks become madness and madness leads to destruction. No blood is needed, no venereal horror necessary. But even this overt cerebral madness is not the root of Cronenberg’s horror. Closer, but there is still at least one step further up the winding stairs. What truly makes Cronenberg the master of the intellectual horror? Why do I find his movies so disturbing? So much so that during my first viewing of Crash I actually had to leave the theatre, slumped over in the lobby breathing deep and concentrating on not passing out or puking, or both. I’ll let Cronenberg explain, “I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontations. Films that confront aspects of your own life that are difficult to face.” According to a new director, Spider is a film about one man’s extreme madness. In it, Ralph Fiennes’ character changes the reality of his history to create a past, horrible as it is, that he can live with. When he finally comes face- to- face with the truth, when what we see as madness falls away and he’s left with reality, that is when he feels himself truly mad and in need of help.

Under Cronenberg’s direction this fantastical story draws us in, then holds a mirror up to every one brave enough to look, forcing us to admit that we all create our own little historical life revisions to keep our sanity intact. Holding a mirror to the audience is nothing new, but somehow Cronenberg seems to connect beyond the mere flesh and intellect to somewhere deeper, at least I have always felt that uncomfortable connection. Perhaps I have been too hasty to dismiss his comments about the body, the new flesh as the beginning. The more I think about it the more I believe it is only that critics tend to stop at this surface level that makes me want to dismiss and move on so quickly. Perhaps that by beginning with the blood and bone and new flesh and then moving beyond, to the intellect and wading through the muck that each of us carries in our grey matter, using that as the true core of his horror, and only then holding up the mirror, after I am engaged body and mind, completely open, that is why his movies affect me, and so many other so strongly. Dead Ringers, Spider, Rabid, Crash, History of Violence, The Fly, Videodome, these are truly horrifying movies each and every one of them. Almost sick, not because they come from a deranged mind or a corrupted fantasy, but because they are so matter- of fact- and from the world around us. And perhaps, at 68 years of age and after 45 years in the business, Cronenberg is about to give us his ultimate look at the horror that is living. After all, the thought that psychoanalysis can cure and make normal makes “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” look like a children’s fable. I’m shivering already. “Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast. He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den, Within his little parlour -- but she ne’er came out again!” Poem: The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

An Interview with Farah Murji


ewly wed Farah Murji shares her secrets and tips on planning a wedding. We get an insider look

at her wedding choices, some advice on colour scheming, and a taste of what it’s like to be married to the man of your dreams!

In your experience, what was the first step you took when organizing the wedding? (Example: Did you pick a location and work downhill from there? Or did you have a specific ceremony in mind and hunted for the right spot?) As we’ve all heard, organizing a wedding can be quite overwhelming, but I think what really helped us is that we knew generally the area we preferred for the reception, and we had a rough idea of how many people to expect. This made it a lot easier to at least nail down the main parts to the wedding. This way, we were spending time on looking for venues that suit where we wanted to be, and the ones that fit the number of attendees, instead of being disappointed that a hall does not have the right capacity for the number of guests, for example. Why did you decide to have the ceremony and reception both at different locations and on different days? Good question. We had thought a lot about this – since each event had so much prep and organization on its own, we thought it would be less stressful if we split the two up over the weekend. I don’t think I was any less exhausted than I would have been, but it certainly helped with



Wedding Bells a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

When it’s time to start planning! Anastasia Rokina The reception needs to have elements of romance, but also almost of performance, or spectacle. Guests are coming to celebrate the happy couple, but I think if they are also entertained and happy in the process, that is a big plus! We tried to include as many interactive games as possible, and have a range of MCs up at the front, to keep the crowd engaged and excited! We had some surprise items (such as the bridesmaids’ dance) and I think these made the whole event more exciting to be a part of. Why did you choose to make a video?

logistics and let us fit more into our weekend (photo taking, outfit changes, hair and makeup). Taking into consideration personal preferences and allergies, how do you decide which foods to present both at the ceremony and at the wedding? For the ceremony, since it wasn’t a very long event (about an hour roughly), we had some finger foods and snack items. We tried to stick with foods that both our families would enjoy and also were mainstream enough for all guests to appreciate as well. We also wanted to ensure the food was all nut-free. At the reception, we debated between French service and Buffet style; we thought each guest being served would be a nice touch to the evening, but in the end decided that the buffet would ultimately provide guests with the most flexibility regarding food choice and quantity – we definitely did not want to leave anyone with an unsatisfied appetite! What do you think is the most important asset in making a reception both enjoyable and romantic?

I always imagined my wedding to have narratives, or voices, of our friends… I think the people who have seen us grow over the years have such interesting stories to tell, and I thought it would be nice to honour them at the wedding. It helped strengthen some of our relationships during the filming as well; we had some really sweet answers on what they like best about us, or why we make a good couple…it was nice. What qualities do you look for when choosing a band to play at the reception? I was looking for a band that would be able to play a range of music, and wouldn’t mind if we mixed in some music from some CDs – this way, even though we had an English band, we actually were able to incorporate some Indian music as well, which ended up catering to our audience quite nicely. During your ceremony, both you and the groom wore a gown and suit upon entry and later changed into traditional Indian clothing. Why do you feel it was important to present yourself in both lights?

This was one of my favourite parts! I loved having two entrances!! But I think it was very symbolic of who we are and different parts of our identities. We have both grown up here in Canada, and really love Western formal attire, but at the same time, we wanted to share our connection to our South Asian roots as well. We thought, hey, why not do both? Both cultures have such beautiful formal clothing, and this way I got to wear both. Even at the wedding ceremony, most South Asian brides will wear a sari, but I really wanted to change it up and wear a white wedding dress… so I did J How do you choose centrepieces? What made you opt for chocolates rather than the common flower centrepiece? The centerpiece decision was a tough one. I didn’t want to stick to the common pattern of having centerpieces solely for the wedding day and be stuck with 40 identical décor pieces, or if I gave them away, wonder if people would really enjoy adopting one! When I was searching for ideas online, I came across one that combined the wedding bomboniere with a décor piece – what a lovely idea that saves table space and takes care of itself when the event is over! I think in some areas I was quite a practical bride! What can a wedding absolutely not do without? Hmm…that’s a tough one. I think this question really depends on the Bride/ Groom, but this is something the couple needs to sit down and figure out before they start planning. This is because often when planning, things get shuffled around and negotiated, and it would a shame if the one thing both partners wanted ended up not happening because they hadn’t decided



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

what would make them really happy! For us, we really wanted the wedding to be exciting and fun for the guests – for us, it couldn’t do without the entertainment and the games. What is the most stressful part to organize? The most timeconsuming? At different stages, a few things became stressful. First, the invitations were quite stressful to make sure we got them all out in time! It was staggered for us, because we had a lot of guests coming in from out of town and some that were hard to get a hold of (to collect mailing addresses). The other thing that became really stressful was the seating chart! It really required some math skills and wondering which guests would enjoy the company of each other without the seating being awkward. How do you pick a wedding photographer? This is important! I think meeting with a photographer and figuring out what his/her style is, is key. Also, are they organized? Always ask how soon you will be getting your pictures after the wedding… and get it in writing! Our photographer was great and we loved working with him – he was really understanding of our schedules, and really made sure we were comfortable with all the decisions regarding editing, props, and taking those key shots at the events. Why did you choose the color scheme that do you did? When I was planning the wedding, I read somewhere that it’s not a good idea to have the clothing be the same colour as the décor – apparently it makes the people blend in with the background and that ends up looking funny. So we picked the colour of our outfits first, and the bridal party since they were at the head table, then we picked colours that would complement and match them, without being too overpowering.

Would you rather splurge on the honeymoon or the reception? Why? I think a happy balance needs to be reached for this one – I think as long as both events are enjoyable ones, then there’s no need to overspend on either one – I think it’s easier to save on the honeymoon though, just because there are more options and luxuries that aren’t necessary whereas for the reception, sometimes things can just get expensive since it’s for a large crowd and quality becomes important. Is a bouquet important? I personally didn’t feel it was super important, but I did pick two – one of each day – the bouquet enhances the photos, so I think the colours you choose end up really impacting the pictures sometimes! But overall, this was one area I wasn’t too picky with! How long before the ceremony do you recommend a bride begins shopping for her wedding dress? Right away! I’m so glad I had my outfits taken care of early, since it gave me more freedom to help pick up outfits for the other members of the bridal party – the maids of honour (I had two, one for each day), bridesmaids, groomsmen, and of course, the groom! I also helped pick out outfits for my parents….so it definitely helped if mine were taken care of early! Last but not least, how does it feel to be the bride of the man whom you want to spend the rest of your life with? It’s great! The wedding was a wonderful experience… even through all the stress and crazy schedules we had, what really kept me going was that in the end, I get to be with the most incredible man I’ve ever met! We’re happy.



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g



Angry Guerilla Films Presents… The Big Smoke

a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

Kyle Kasino


n our last piece back in May I let everyone know the concept and ideas behind my directorial debut, ‘The Big Smoke’. Our team at Angry Guerilla Films

was gearing up for casting sessions with the goal of finally shooting in July. We scheduled two days in June and they were interesting, to say the least. We had a huge collection of independent artists come in from all over Toronto and give some very unique reads. It was a pleasure and an honor to sit in during those two days. However while we were able to cast some of the roles, specifically with some extremely talented female actors, we were ultimately unable to find our ‘leading man’. This stalled our production and set us back from our timeline as we could not move forward until we found the actor we needed. One who truly understood the character of Chase.

At that point we decided to bring in the big guns and hire Matthew Morgan of Morgan Casting. I can’t say enough about how professional and helpful Matthew has been as our casting director. He believed in the film and went out of his way to ensure he put together the best lineup possible. Thanks to him we just finished our latest session where he scheduled a slew of tremendously talented actors. I think we can safely say we are very close to finding the right person for this role. We are down to a select few, and will likely announce the chosen cast within the coming week as we lead up to our website launch. Casting is one of those things, as a director, over which you lose sleep at night. It’s so great because you meet so many talented people with a passion for cinema whose positive impact you can envision in your film or even future works. It’s incredibly frustrating at the same

time because you have this idea in your head for how the role needs to be played. You can try your best to explain but in the end it’s impossible for someone to be able to read your mind, especially without them having read the script in its entirety. So you find the best talents and you work with them; actors with the ability to be coached and take direction as they fully transform into the characters during rehearsals. Actors with enough fearlessness that they can take things, run with them and bring their own style to the words on the page. I believe we have finally found a wonderful mix of the two. As fun as it was, I won’t lie, I am extremely thankful that this process is nearing completion so we can get moving. As anyone in the industry will tell you, delays always tend to occur in the movie business, regardless of how hard you try and avoid them. We all knew that was a reality going in. Our goal for TIFF ’12, however, is concrete and we are still on schedule to make the submission deadline (although the noose has become a little tighter now). We plan to launch our website in September with cast and crew bios, alongside a standalone teaser trailer that will give everyone a further understanding of what ‘The Big Smoke’ is truly evolving into. Be sure to keep an eye out for us this year’s TIFF as well. Our team will be there promoting the film in the hopes of creating a buzz for next year. Some of the cast, along with myself, will be at several of the screenings. Check the Facebook page for dates and times and other updates at I will check back in October once we’ve launched our trailer. I will give a commentary on this year’s festival and go into how some of our cast has been working together once we start shooting in late September. As always, thanks for reading.



a r t s . c u l t u r e. l i v i n g

Top Five Films for 2012


Maryam Gordpour

ovies are ultimate dreams and this upcoming year there are five top movies everyone in every age group should run out and see.

Two re-makes that would bring two very different memories to mind are coming out on the same date: March 16th 2012. Heart-throb Johnny Depp will be replaced by the one and only Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street, and the Evil Queen in Snow White will be played by none other than Julia Roberts herself. We all grew up watching both classic films. Now we are in a different moment in our lives, and about to see the 2012 remake of our favourite childhood classics. I am crossing my fingers for great concluding thoughts on both films. With very popular titles; the shoes to fill are huge. The straight prediction of comedy is a big hint in this new re-make: 21 Jump Street, right when you hear “Jonah Hill”. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have a lot to work on if they want to beat the original 21 Jump Street, because of the vast audience it originally had. The only downside I can see in all this is not the fact that there is no Johnny Depp, but that 21 Jump Street was like the Degrassi of Toronto. And if it was to be re-made, there would just be a few corny jokes, and it would be a loss cause. Jonah Hill has noted that the plot is mostly about drugs and dealing with it in high school. Although the plot in detail is still under wrap, for updates Jonah Hill posts a lot of pictures on his Twitter about 21 Jump Street often, so stay tuned. Snow White is known worldwide, no matter what age you are. Snow White is one beautiful film that you will always remember. The evil queen is played by Julia Roberts and Snow White is played by Lily Collins the same young actress that played alongside Taylor Lautner, Paul Bettany and Sandra Bullock. There is a lot of speculation, since two different Snow White films are coming out in 2012. One which is the closest to the original story of Snow White, and then there is the other; Snow White and the Huntsman which stars Kristen Stewart as Snow White, and Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. This Snow White version seems more gloomy and modernized whereas the self titled Snow White seems more on the hopeful side. These four very different actresses are playing very similar roles. These movies we have hopeful notions of will either bring a big thumb up or a big thumb down in 2012. Actresses and actors of 2012 are all meshing quite interestingly into roles and films that are comedic and entertaining for viewers. Instead of realizing we are growing up every year, might as well look forward

February 2012

to new films every year. Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel and Uma Thurman gather themselves into a film called Playing the Field that is filled with comedy and drama, which you would guess when Gerard Butler is in the middle of two beautiful women. This film comes out March 9th 2012, and it is about a retired professional sports athlete Gerard Butler who becomes a washed down coach for his son’s soccer games. Resting our stereotypical thoughts, he finds out the truth about soccer moms. Gerard Butler has a unique charm on screen and in interviews. I highly doubt that there will be a downfall for 2012. Keep on waiting because the waiting game hasn’t even begun yet. The Five Year Engagement, sounds like something Jason Segel would write about. The title itself, without even seeing the trailer, brings out laughter. The prediction of a comedic film is of course the main reason why people watch Segel, and maybe because of his self directed and self written screenplay. 2012 seems to be filled with a lot of laughter, and at the end of the day, it’s better than the tears and glories of sorrow. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt have played in the film Gulliver’s Travels, and have had a very unusual chemistry. This chemistry may be concerning, but the viewers know nothing about the plot. The only thing that we know about the plot is that it is about a relationship on a roller coaster, which is self-explanatory given the title of the film. This film hits theatres April 27th 2012, so mark your calendars! Adam Sandler came in with a big bang this spring with the movie: Just Go With It, alongside his co-star Jennifer Aniston. Adam Sandler’s 2012 comedy will be out June 15th 2012, and as much as it sounds like a great distance away, viewers always know it’s worth the wait when Sandler’s on the screen! Adam Sandler plays alongside Andy Samberg from the Lonely Island band, and the duel already sounds pretty hilarious. It has been said that Adam Sandler plays the role of Andy Samberg’s father, and Samberg wants to get married to his girlfriend. But there seems to be huge disputes in doing this, given the cast in this film, the disputes are probably hilarious. Actors and actresses that are huge in comedy have come together to make great memories for us in 2012. There are some other suggestions below if you are not into the comedy realm, so mark your calendars and remember to patiently wait for theatre announcements. Cheers!

March 2012

June 2012

Star Wars: Phantom Menace

Scary Movie 5

Rock of Ages

Journey 2: Mysterious Island

The Cabin in the Woods

Madagascar 3

Ghost Riders: Spirit of Vengeance

House at the End of the Street

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter FUTURÉALE ARTS | CULTURE | LIVING















w. fu




C , S T R


al e.c







FutuRéale Magazine September 2011  

FutuRéale Magazine September 2011

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you