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November 2009 volume 2 issue 9

www.futureale.com Facebook vs. Twitter Debate Ethnic Food hits the streets 500 days of summer Sean Jones Toronto Foothold The Science of Happiness

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arts.culture.living

“For thanksgiving weekend, I (Ashley Foley) set aside my papers, meetings and overbooked schedule to kayak with my brother for an hour. The lake was still sleeping until we shuddered it awake beneath our paddles. We both stopped, without speaking or signalling one another, in a small, deserted lake to take in the oranges, yellows and reds in fall beauty. At that moment, the wind stopped, the lake slept again and the earth stopped turning. That was just enough to get me through the chaotic schedule I had planned for the next few weeks. So whether you’re a CEO at a major company going through drastic cutbacks and changes, newly-weds working overtime to start a family or a student dealing with midterms, time is running fast. There will always be hundreds of reasons to say no; to order-in and stay home. Take time for yourself every once in a while, and say yes. Don’t worry: the meetings, papers and bills aren’t going anywhere. Of course things are tight and stressful but if you’re waiting until you have all the time in a stress-free world to have lunch with an old friend, you need to wake up and smell the reality-check coffee. “ “I (Rochelle Grabenheimer) absolutely agree with Ashley and I think it’s important to make the most of your time as well. Actually, as I’m writing this I have a million agenda items floating around in my head in perfect order, trying to figure out how long this piece will take me so I can get to other things. Something gets lost in that way of thinking and I think Ashley is right. You have to work hard but also stop and smell the roses. On that note, I’d like to say thank you and farewell to Ashley who will be spending her time in other successful gardens, no less! I’d also like to announce that I will be the new Editor-In-Chief and welcome any questions and comments you might have. Feel free to contact me at rochelle@futureale.com -- Rochelle Grabenheimer

FUTURÉALE

VOLUME 2 ISSUE 9

Editor in Chief

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Note From the Editor

Rochelle Grabenheimer

Associate Editors Russ Martin Edward landa Karen Lam Valerie lam

Managing Editor /Artistic D irector Zack Lovatt

Senior Editorial Designer Ravish Rawat

Junior Editorial Designers Alexia Trizna

Contributing Writers Leviana Coccia Ashley Foley Shazia Islam Andrew Rainnie Heather Butts J. Tyler Smith Michael Varrin

Webmaster

Heroymo Allen

Online Content Editor Shawn Shapiro

E xecutive D irector Omar Murji

Contact FutuRéale at: info@futureale.com www.futureale.com

ISSN 1916-3215

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FutuRéale Magazine is published by The Organic Press www.organicpress.ca FutuRéale Magazine is a proud member of the ONAMAP Network www.onamap.ca

©2009 ONAMAP Enterprises

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ARTS | CULTURE | LIVING

04 Souvlaki with a side of Bureaucracy Fiona Bramzell Ethic food hits the streets

05 The pursuit of Happiness—a cyclical riddle

Sandra Blawat Compares the concept of Happiness between the east and west

06 City to city in a TIFF

David Salvador Debate over Israeli government’s actions in Gaza invades the normally apolitical TIFF

08 Our dirty love story with communication Boris Bear Facebook vs. Twitter Debate

09 Zombieland

Andrew Rainnie Humans turning monsters

10 Surrogates

Andrew Rainnie Futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots

12 500 Days of Summer

Andrew Rainnie Romantic Comedy

14 Dan Liberatori and Protocol: A new sound in the Urban Mix Shazia Islam The Demise of Communication

16 An FC Foothold

Mike Varrin The attempt to popularize the world’s game in Canada

18 Sean Jones Peter Hare

Cover image: Photograph of Sean Jones by Rene Skrodzki


arts.culture.living

Souvlaki with a side of Bureaucracy?

WHAT DO THE WORDS ‘street food’ conjure up for you? For most, it is visions of locals and tourists, all enjoying the varied, flavourful and affordable fare representatives of the culture. Street food vendors are vital to many cities, not only as a way for visitors to sample the cuisine, but moreover to give the locals a way to make money and support their families. Now compare this with the City of Toronto’s vision of street food, known as the ‘Toronto A La Cart’ program. First approved by the city council in 2008, the pilot program was launched as a way to introduce ethnic food diversity to our city and provide diners with an alternative to the standard hot dogs sold on most downtown streets. As the Chair of Toronto’s Board of Health councillor John Fillion said at the time, the program was designed to ‘take street food to a new level’ and he hoped the experiment would be a way of ‘branding the city as a food destination’. To keep the excitement and momentum going, the city announced a competition would be held whereby prospective vendors would have their ethnic fare judged and, if deemed suitable, be permitted to join the program. Despite the fanfare, only nineteen vendors entered the competition, resulting in a dozen being chosen to set up shop at a number of city-approved destinations around town. Having passed the ‘taste test’, the selected vendors then had to come up with a capital to pay for the carts (all bearing the ‘A La Cart’ logo, maintaining Filion’s desired ‘uniform look’), and the annual location fee which ranged from $5,000-$15,000 depending on the spot.

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by Fiona Bramzell Fast forward to the present day. Already two vendors have gone out of business, forced out by bad locations and large overheads. As Greek food vendor Cathy Bonivento complained, she was killed by the bad location, so bad in fact that she said even her friends couldn’t find the cart, which was tucked away in a corner of the supposedly profitable Nathan Philips square. Not only this, but the food, which was as diverse as Jamaican, Indian, Thai and Korean, all garnered generally poor reviews by food critics and the public alike. Asked why, in his opinion, A La Cart is not living up to expectations, Toronto Star Restaurant critic Corey Mintz said ‘While Toronto is a safe place to live and eat due to its rigid laws, the downside to that, as we saw last summer, was having the flavour legislated out of an otherwise admirable project’. So what is the answer? Unfortunately, because of those ‘rigid laws’, the probability of Toronto ever having a vibrant street food culture is highly unlikely. Although the city is inviting other vendors to enrol in the project, it seems the amount of bureaucracy and red tape is simply not worth the time or trouble. And while we wait and see if the remaining A La Cart vendors manage to struggle through the winter, Torontonians and tourists seem happy to stay faithful to the tried and true All-American hot dog. Just don’t tell them exactly where the meat comes from...

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arts.culture.living

s s a c l e i r l s u r u n c i i i d P t y p p o e f a dle H c h T a by Sandra Blawat

ONE OF THE MOST mysterious and puzzling things to do in life is to find true happiness. For decades, Western civilization has looked upon material success as a common factor for happiness. Rather than measuring the society’s progress based upon happiness, it is measured by the success of material possession; Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, the science of happiness is being recognized more in and out of popular culture texts to bring awareness in the public eye about the faults of the American dream. The film Into the Wild, depicts the true story of a young college drop-out who travelled across America without any money. The film gives the audience a fresh perspective on happiness by stating that it is found in the love shared between friends. In another popular film, American Beauty, the characters fight the idea of an “American dream,” and venture to find their own happiness. In their irregular searches, they find that people around them make them the happiest. It shows that the American dream is a nightmare because underneath all the glamour, people aren’t satisfied. A similar film, The Beach, expresses a man’s need to escape the wrath of Western culture to find pleasure. What he finds is that happiness does exist, but one doesn’t need to leave their home to find it. Each of these films expresses the same relationship as the Framington Heart Study. The study found through examining various groups of people, that happiness is spread through good company. In a recent article from the New York Times, it says, “philosophers have suspected that behaviours are ‘contagious’...the language of contagion is a part of pop culture today” co-relating our happiness with those in our social circles. Thus “pursuing” happiness might be the first mistake towards having it. Focusing more on social groups, Charles Spearin, founder of Do Make Say Think, began the “Happiness Project.” It is a C.D

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that uses certain rhythms from conversations to create melodies that induce happiness. Spearin recorded conversations Torontonians had about happy memories and converted them into sound bites. But a less modern way of measuring happiness is through Gross National Happiness (GNH), developed in the country Bhutan. Bhutan is hidden away in the Himalayas and only recently has been granted the luxury of television and internet. For centuries it has recognized people’s happiness as more important that economic success, and so the country has barely developed while the Western World has flourished. Using happiness as a government policy has been a benefit because it forces the population to pursue pleasure in their lives, not materialism. Orville Schell, observer of Asian affairs, says “95 percent of [Bhutan] exchange students return home. By large you would have to say people are happy here.” Even after being exposed to Western culture, Bhutan students return home because their personal happiness is greater than the vast possibilities of wealth in North America and Europe. Schell says “gross national happiness is more important than gross national product because happiness takes precedence over economic prosperity in our national development process.” However, television and internet cafes are growing in Bhutan’s capital city Thimpu. Dago Beda, director of a television cable business in Bhutan, says, “when the T.V finally did arrive in June 1999, I really felt sorry. Gone are the days when we were so naive, when people just talked together, read… now we’ve entered a new world.” Technological advances may disrupt Bhutan’s peace and happiness, as the country sprints into a world surrounded by media much like our own. In a recent interview with a T.V personality Robin Esrock, he says “money buys freedom. And freedom, if enjoyed responsibly, equates happiness. ” In contrast a homeless man from Toronto says “money would

make me happier…I’d have food and a place to live.” It is interesting that in Western culture, those who are financially successful are happy, but those without money are not. Perhaps the western perspective on true happiness is skewed.

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arts.culture.living

arts.culture.living

by David Salvador THIS PAST SEPTEMBER, the Toronto

International Film Festival’s 2009 edition shone a spotlight on Tel Aviv in its inaugural City to City programme, a choice that drew protest from anti-Israeli activists. The controversy threatened to overcome discussion of the merits of the ten fine films in the sidebar along with a half dozen other compelling films from Israel, a few of which seemed to qualify for the CTC spotlight. Sadly, not that the protestors drew any distinction when calling for boycotts on all things Israel. As the co-director of TIFF and programmer of City to City, Cameron Bailey said in his opening letter on C2C that “the content and form of films does matter.” Indeed, Israeli filmmakers proved that they made films that matter. Far from being Israeli propaganda, these were films that were highly critical of the society delving into such topics as violence against women. Tel Aviv’s storied Bauhaus architecture is scarcely seen in these films, with a number of directors favouring mostly grim, confining spaces: hardly what one would call a tourist calling card for the country’s economic and cultural capital.

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While not in the City to City spotlight, two strong Israeli films picking up international awards were Lebanon and Ajami. An unforgettable condemnation on the horror of war, Lebanon was a visceral experience that resonates long after you’ve seen the film. Aside from the opening and closing shot of peaceful sunflower fields, viewers see the action taking place from within the claustrophobic confines of an Israeli military tank with four soldiers at the onset of the First Lebanon War, not all of whom will survive. Lebanon won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and Ajami won a Special Mention at the Cannes Film Festival. It has since also won the Best Picture Ophir, Israel’s equivalent of the Oscars. Ajami is co-directed by Scandar Copti, who has been variously described as “Palestinian” and an “Arab citizen of the Israeli state”. He also plays a thoroughly likeable character in the film as an ambitious Palestinian dating a Jewish woman. Since Ajami is the name of a neighbourhood in Jaffa, which is considered a part of Tel Aviv, it’s odd that city of Jaffa wasn’t a part of the C2C spotlight. Similar to Tel Aviv, it fits the bill as a city of

“contested ground” (in Bailey’s words) with its rivalries and mistrusts. None of the programmers were available for comment on this matter, though to put Jaffa on a par with Tel Aviv could have averted one criticism that all the Tel Aviv filmmakers were Israeli Jews. In Ajami, relationships between Muslims and Christian Arabs can run into problems of prejudice. Thematically, the undercurrent of crime is seen the strongest in Ajami and in the CTC film Kirot. While issues in Arab security get complicated and drug dealers prove violent in Ajami, if anything they’re outdone by the brutality of the Israeli sex slave traders in Kirot. The local casting of non-professionals and use of a handheld camera work give the film a raw energy and spontaneity. A fast-paced thriller, Kirot featured the Ukrainian actress Olga Kurylenko, also seen in the last James Bond film, and the Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb, two characters who share an undeniable chemistry. Kurylenko’s character is an abused prostitute while Tayeb’s is an abused wife. The scenes of mikvah, or women’s ritual bath, added a dreamy, mystical quality, although one had to question their choice of Eilat, a

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popular resort in the south, in their failed bid to escape violence. Phobias were a theme in two other fascinating films: Five Hours from Paris and Phobidilia. In the first film, a taxi car driver who dreams of visiting Paris suffers from his fear of flying. The Russian characters in Five Hours from Paris plan to immigrate to Canada, perhaps hinting at better opportunities. Phobidilia tells the story of a young man suffering from a severe form of agoraphobia, wishing never to exit his apartment to go outside. Some of the directors were alumni of Tel Aviv University’s film school like Russian Israeli director Leon Prudovsky (Five Hours from Paris). His student film Dark Night was played at the Tel Aviv Viewing Party held during TIFF at Moses Znaimer’s MZTV Museum of Television & Archives. Other student short films from Tel Aviv were played in Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas Square throughout TIFF. If anything, the so-called “Toronto Declaration” by anti-Israeli protestors helped boost attendance to the films under scrutiny. It will be interesting to see which city gets the spotlight in the 2010 City to City because the

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announcement will surely stir memories of the controversy in this year’s inaugural edition. With time, I think that Israeli films should get to be played on more screens. What about the small number of filmmakers or producers who pulled their films from TIFF screens in protest of City to City? They allege that their withdrawal wasn’t a boycott or “blacklisting” the Israeli filmmakers. John Greyson, the filmmaker who pulled his short film from TIFF was fully aware that Israel is the only country in the region that screens gay films, but it’s unlikely that his gesture will have Arab countries racing to embrace his brand of gay cinema. The truth is, it is unlikely that even a film like Jaffa that concludes on a hopefully note for the relationship between Arabs and Jews would not be shown in the Arab world. There is too much cultural boycott and antipathy for Israelis and Jews that would get in the way. Like the protestors, I also heard of the Israeli consulate’s Brand Israel, a campaign to portray Israel positively by highlighting contributions to art and technological advancements. TIFF was mentioned earlier in the summer but so was Luminato, and no protes-

tors appeared to attack a Yiddish musical in the latter festival. Saving children’s hearts in many countries luckily hasn’t been drawing condemnation either. The fact is that at least thirty countries are actively involved in branding projects to promote their international image. Even Canadian designer Bruce Mau got involved in a re-branding or “re-envisioning” of Guatemala. Celebrities who spoke against the protest in favour of cultural freedom included Natalie Portman, Sacha Baron Cohen and Lenny Kravitz. The first in its programme at TIFF, the City to City Tel Aviv spotlight has created more attention on the Israeli-Palestine dispute through the arts. As Cameron Bailey said in his introduction of this film at its world premiere at TIFF, “Let the films speak for themselves.”

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arts.culture.living

OUR DIRTY LOVE STORY

with

C OM MUNICATION

facebook bedroom secrets and more BODY LANGUAGE AND VOICE CONVERSATION are no longer the only

ways to communicate. Now they are the target of every massage communicated through a broad range of mediums. We have grown increasingly isolated by the same technologies that came to bring us closer (from Is Social Networking revolutionizing our Tribal Behavior/by Ray Williams, April 2009, National Post blog). It all started with the mobile phone and early days of the web. Where the cell phones were big and clunky machines, with giant antennas sticking out, using a laptop was reserved for the busy executives, and the internet was something that only programmers and scientists knew how to use. In those early days getting an email was something special. And all too quickly it turned our world into a mass frenzy of textalating instant massaging, where every tenth person among us is a technophile who is twittering what they do every minute, and updates their facebook status every other minute, and where over a third of Canadians use facebook (according to facebook user profile: Canada 2008 article by meaningoftheweb.com). Where there are claims that online social networking websites are the worse thing for relationships since the invention of call screening, and a facebook.com addiction is a known social disease. It all goes as far as in some circles asking for a girl’s number is passé, facebook or msn nick name first. Social networking websites revolutionized how we communicate for ever. They created new and exciting ways to communicate, but with a price. Through two separate interviews one with a communications specialist Stu Silverman, M.A, and another with business lawyer Behdad Hosseini, B.A., L.L.B, the sweaty benefits of our love affair with the new communication mediums, and the filthy costs associated with these, are revealed. • First let us meet the lovers: On one side of the bed, wearing layers of meaning, hidden costs and hidden values: are the communication mediums: instant

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massaging through the pc and the mobile phone, social networking websites, and online email applications. On the other side of the bed; according to Ray B. Williams in his National Post blog postings on Social Networks; standing naked, honest and yearning for meaningful social interaction, self esteem and recognition: are, us, the average north-Americans users of those communication mediums: the most tech savvy consumers in the world, the ones that had the pc, colored TV and mobile phone longer than anyone else. We have grown ever sophisticated in getting our desires, and ever creative in applying the tools that are available to us to get them. We absorb new technologies almost as fast they come out of the design stage. We are liberal in our thinking: for us technology has no age limit, the same social networking website are used by both the teenage girl and her single mom. We are social creatures; crave attention; proud of our identities, passions, desires, and love to show off. • The good that sucks us in and the evil to watch for: Social networks and mobile communications allow us to stay connected with an ever growing number of people worldwide with just a click of a button. Simply put it makes it so much easier and cheaper to reach friends and relatives across the globe. But facebook does a little more: it helps expand on our definition of communication by brining us various new types of online social networking. I refer here to its multitude of features: from the basic profile with pictures and a wall, to more advanced custom targeting of users through ad hoc applications, events and groups. From pokes to events to targeted marketing on facebook you can now let everyone know what you are up to. Although there are many successful websites and applications that do the same job as facebook’s features, like msn messenger, flicker.com and meetup.com facebook is the only one that brings all of them together in one place with your online identity.

by Boris Bear

This allowed individuals to organize at a level never seen before: to get help where its needed most, fast: like in the Pilipino flood disaster. Where according to September 28th , 2009 article Facebook, Twitter to the rescue in Philippine flood disaster by AFP on Canada. com, social networking helped in quickly raising funds, organizing volunteers and searching for missing people. This features also helped promote global entrepreneurship and connect individuals to employers. It brought a whole new era in self promotion: where international entrepreneurs who are based in one country and live in another, can now create & maintain professional relationships across several continents with an unimaginable ease. • This all sounds sweet but there are few hidden costs to individuals that any user should be aware of: First of all your privacy: as Mr. Silverman says “a commercial space, with ads being displayed everywhere”, and according to Mr Hosseini a public domain that has no room for privacy. Mr. Silverman further argues that “companies and other organizations are using social networks to engage in a conversation with their customers - and everyone benefits. Consumers can have their voices heard, and smart companies respond. They use the consumer feedback to improve their products and processes.” But part of facebook is that by signing in to it you are, de facto giving away for free, the rights to any and all the materials and information you post online, to be used by facebook as they please, according to Mr Hosseini. Meaning even though companies can ask you for you opinions, they can also get your private information and anything else you posted on facebook from facebook, without your permission. Be careful of what you post online. --rr

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arts.culture.living

Z O MB I E LA N D

by Andrew Rainnie

SUMMARY REVIEW

4 out of 5 stars H H H H I

A zombie filwm chewing its tongue firmly in its cheeky, this is the American Shaun Of The Dead. A must see for all zombie fans

I LOVE ZOMBIES, so while I wait idly for the adaptation of Max Brooks’ excellent World War Z to reach the screens, Zombieland is enough to whet my appetite. In the middle of a post-apocalyptic America ravaged by a virus that turns ordinary humans into lunging flesh-hungry monsters, is the neurotic geek Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg). He survives the zombie-infested lands by adhering to a list of self-made rules, but finds this increasingly difficult when he hooks up with fellow survivor Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a man who loves violence and destruction. Before long, they are joined by sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who are heading to a theme park in California, to enjoy what little of life they can. If there was an Oscar for Best Opening Credit Sequence, this would win hands down. It’s as if someone has fused Superbad and Shaun Of The Dead with a lot

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of stylish (and often hilarious) slow-mo shots. Then we are introduced to Columbus’ rules, which flicker on screen, such as Rule #1: Cardio, noting that “the fatties were the first to go.” After the initial opening and introductions, the film slumps for a period (possibly due to a severe lack of zombies while the characters are cooped up in a celebrity’s house). The third act, being set entirely in an amusement park (which is possibly a rip-off of the Wii hit House Of The Dead: Overkill’s Carny level – a game you simply must play – clown and all) almost makes up for the mid-film plateau. It’s that attitude that sets Zombieland aside from the many other Z films of late. It isn’t trying to be scary or gory (although it manages both with gusto) instead, the filmmakers are deliberately having fun with the idea. The inventiveness with which they dispose of zombies is truly something to applaud. Add to this the intuitive comic timing of

Director: Ruben Fleischer Writers: Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick

the cast, especially Eisenberg and Harrelson, although Stone and Breslin are just as talented comically, but do not appear in as much of the far too short 81 minutes. When the four are together, the end-ofthe-world banter mixed with ordinary conversation (“No! She’s only famous when she’s Hannah Montana! She’s only famous when she’s wearing the wig!”) adds an air of warmth and humanity to the film rather than have the characters talking about how to survive. This is surviving. And Bill Murray playing himself is beautiful. Just beautiful. Length and other issues aside, this joins The Hangover as one of the best laugh out loud comedies of 2009. With everyone involved both in front of and behind, ready to return for a sequel, this will hopefully not be our one and only visit to Zombieland. Mmmmm. Brains.

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arts.culture.living

THERE IS AN IRONIC symmetry emerg-

By: Andrew Rainnie

ing in the concept of people controlling other versions of themselves. Before the end of the year, James Cameron’s long awaited Avatar will show a human character controlling a human/alien hybrid body, his avatar. It was Cameron who also created the Terminator franchise. Ironic then, that Surrogates, a film where humans control a robotic avatar, is directed by Jonathan Mostow, the man who destroyed the Terminator franchise with the atrocious third instalment, shamelessly inserting a Terminator head as a joke. Very amusing. Chortle. So has Mostow improved since his last film? Yes, but only by a few degrees. While the writers have been true to the source material for the most part with regards to character and story (except for the ending, which instead is replaced here by Hollywood happy shine), the dark art of the comic has been changed here to bright, glowing world of model-perfect robots. This was apparently a necessity because of the special effects being used, which are to the film’s credit very well done, especially Willis’ younger robotic surrogates appearance compared to the old, grotty reality.

The story is relatively simple. Nearly all the world’s population use surrogates in their daily lives, save for small groups known as Dreads who are actively against the use of robotic avatars. However, when two surrogates are killed by a new weapon, their operators also die when the safety protocols do not kick in. Detective Tom Greer investigates the deaths, and discovers one of the operators was the son of Lionel Canter, the inventor of surrogacy. He is then sucked into a conspiracy that threatens all of mankind and the very concept of surrogacy. The plot itself is thin, with Greer linking plot points by intuition rather than actual detective work. Bruce Willis, perhaps trying to break a record for playing police officers in films, is able to carry the film, but the supporting cast, notably Rosamund Pike and Radha Mitchell, stuck for the most part in their surrogates, are robotic, and therefore an audience will have very little sympathy for them. This is not an excuse, as more robotic film characters have exuded empathy from an audience. Other actors, such as Ving Rhames and James Cromwell as criminally underused.

While the logic of the surrogate world remained intact in the comic book world, here it begins to unravel. In some scenes the characters demonstrate superhuman strength and speed, but yet at other times this seems to simply fail them. Also, by bringing the story forty years nearer to our present than the comic (2017 as opposed to the more believable 2054) it makes the concept of surrogacy all the more unbelievable, especially given the huge projections. As usual, there does not seem to be any thought beyond America—for example, what of the third world countries? Or how is surrogacy implemented? What are the laws surrounding surrogacy? Early on we discover a rather obese man has a petite female surrogate, and while characters react with shock, this idea of identity is never questioned or raised again. It is a film filled with great ideas and potential, that never comes close to being realized.

--at

SUMMARY REVIEW The interesting concept borne from the graphic novel or humans controlling surrogate robotic versions of themselves mutates into a substandard detective story. The robotic characters render any audience emotion inert, with only Bruce Willis standing out in an otherwise redundant cast.

Director: Jonathan Mostow Writers: Michael Ferris & John Brancato (screenplay), Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele (novel)

2 out of 5 stars H H I I I

10

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arts.culture.living

arts.culture.living

SUMMARY REVIEW In a genre saturated to the eyeballs with soppy, formulaic rom-coms, (500) Days Of Summer welcomingly smacks you in the face with its simple (yet complex) structure, its wit, and the way it hits so close to home about the very nature of relationships. 5 out of 5 stars H H H H H

Director: Marc Webb Writers: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

Rainnie By: Andrew

VERY FEW OF US will not have been

through what that main character of Tom Hanson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is forced to endure; a relationship with someone who, in the words of writer Neustadter on whose failed relationship the film is based, “returned his kisses but not his ardor.” It’s a hard thing, it’s a shitty thing, and nearly all of us suffer it, striving to discover the perfect one, the ideal version of love, glorified by Hollywood rom-coms and middle market pop songs. So it is to his credit that Neustadter, along with Weber, have managed to write a rom-com that refreshingly cuts to the very bone, and breaks all the rules of the genre. It is a script full of humour and wit, but never fake, set-up comedy, rather laughs are born from raw emotion and observation, from the characters attitudes and advice than from slapstick. The story is straightforward enough, a boy, Tom, meets a girl, Summer (the wide eyed Zooey Deschanel) and thus begins his 500 days of her in his life. The writers chose to flick back and forth through the 500 days of Tom and Summer’s ‘relationship,’ a bold move which pays off in its seemingly effortless execution from script to screen, under the watchful eyes of music video director Webb. Here he shows a deft hand at handling characters and comedy, following a similar path of Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze.

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Webb is helped along by a very able cast, pushed by its two strong likeable leads, Levitt (here redeeming himself from summer turkey G.I. Joe) and Deschanel (with previously mentioned wide, beautiful eyes), sharing a genuine, believable chemistry. There is good support from Geoffrey Arend and Matthew Gray Gubler as Tom’s best friends with opposite views and experiences of women, but it is young Chloe Moretz as Tom’s younger sister who steals every scene she is in. As well as featuring the best impromptu musical dance number since Amy Adams in Enchanted, one of the film’s strongest features is its soundtrack. As well as having an original score by Mychael Danna, on a roll from The Time Traveller’s Wife, there are great tracks from Regina Spektor, The Temper Trap, Deschanel’s own band She & Him, and I dare you not to leave the theatre singing Mumm-Ra’s “She’s Got You High.” The fresh feel of originality waivers towards the end, but this is a small quibble in an otherwise delightful film that manages to balance drama and comedy to create something both imaginative and authentic.

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arts.culture.living

Dan Liberatori & Pr otocal: A New

Sound in the Urban M ix

by: Shazia Islam

I LIKE POP/ROCK MUSIC, preferably to go in search of something new. Well, that’s youth, fresh out of their college dorms, who from the 80s. Although I have lent my ears to a plethora of music genres, nothing gets me going like Pat Benatar’s power-house vocals on “All Fired Up” or Cindi Lauper’s highpitched bellows on “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” or even Morrissey’s maudlin whining on The Smiths’ hit “The Boy with the Thorn in his Side”. The 80s signified a decade of mismatched fashion faux pas, replacement of real instruments for synthesized sounds, and an affinity for gravity-defying hairstyles, which all seemed pretty awesome to me, a style-challenged journalist myself. However, I am in a unique position as a writer, and am therefore, called upon to open my eyes and ears to the capricious soundscapes that add flavour and variety in this city, sounds that go far and beyond the 80s. Ok, enough with the comfort and predictability of the 80s. Time

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exactly what I found when I checked out Dan Liberatori and his band, Protocal, at Trane Studio. Trane Studio is known for featuring rising and established jazz artists in town, so I was expecting Protocal to fit right in with a crowd of jazz enthusiasts. The opening band of young jazz artists certainly gave us all an idea of what was to come following their performance. When Protocal started their opening number, I had to stop wolfing down my delicious custard dessert in order to figure out what I was actually hearing. There were some familiar sounds and some not-so-familiar sounds. A bit of rock mixed in with a bit of jazz, and then there was the funk element. Something funky had definitely trespassed into the realm of jazz. The trespassing was all instigated by a group of 20-something

were now transforming tradition into an innovative ear-pleasing creation that was danceable and just plain cool. Of course, Protocal, like many other up and coming bands, has their share of musical inf luences who inspired them to explore the rock and jazz genres they’ve managed to so effortlessly combine. Dan and his band mates are all graduates of the Humber College Music program, which takes a practical approach to music education. Each year, the college helps young musical hopefuls master their unique talents and develop their business acumen for a tough industry. Dan had a few words to share about his experience in the program. It was a fantastic experience all around. It’s a great place to meet tons of like-minded musicians, and study with some fantastic

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teachers. The workload is tremendous, but the program really does a great job of preparing musicians for work in the real world. The Humber experience taught me about everything, from playing the right notes to time management and stage etiquette, how to record a demo, how to handle a business contract, and much, much more. Dan did not hesitate to say that he would highly recommend the program to any budding musician. There are so many different programs offered at reputable colleges and universities across Canada, it is often a difficult decision for many talented youngsters. With the increasing cost of tuition, and the highly competitive nature of the music industry, making a good choice couldn’t be more pressing. But Dan can’t say enough about the program at Humber. I would absolutely recommend it. Humber College nowadays is offering both a diploma and a degree program with the option to focus your studies on composition, performance, or studio production. In reality, any student is bound to get their fair share of all three. If I had the time and money, I would without question return to Humber to do another four years. Indeed, music at Humber provides students with the know-how to take on the industry and to come that much closer to realizing their goals. Fame may only come to a very lucky few, but if talent can gain the knowledge and skills they need to survive the rigours of the business world from college, they just might be able to survive and support themselves as working musicians. Protocal was formed at the Humber campus when the students were asked to organize small recitals for their classmates as part of the “Solo Performance” course. The students were given the opportunity to select the repertoire, master it musically, contract and rehearse with a band, and then perform in front of their peers. I had done a recital in which I’d performed a song by Allan Holdsworth and another by a Toronto-based fusion band, The Code. Adam Caringi had heard about that recital, so he tracked me down and asked if I would be interested in performing on his recital, and doing some of the same material. Even in a school as musically diverse as Humber College, it’s rare to come

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across other mucicians who are big fans of Holdsworth and The Code. Incidentally, Allan Holdsworth has been named one of the greatest guitarists on the Top 100 list. He is one of the primary innovators of the rock/jazz guitar sound, and has remained a significant influence for many guitar-toting melody makers like Dan. After playing Adam’s recital, we decided that we should put our own band together, if we had any hopes of continuing to play this sort of material. Adam already knew Alex St. Kitts, and knew that he was a huge fan of this sort of music, so we brought him into the fold right away. We had a few rehearsals where we tried out some other musicians and started to pick some repertoire, and eventually we brought in Matt Giffin. As soon as we had our first rehearsal with him, it was clear that we’d found our line-up. Thus, a band is born, and with it, a new sound for Toronto audiences to taste and hopefully consume because the more need there is for innovative music, the more musicians like Protocal can flourish and develop their artistry. It’s most definitely not easy to make a living as a musician. Job opportunities can be scarce, the competition is fierce, and much like any business owner, you will sometimes have to fight to get paid. Fortunately, Toronto has a bustling music scene that makes for a lot of opportunities to get out and play, but only as long as the public goes out and supports live music! The songs that were played that night at Trane included some numbers written by the members themselves like “Jazz on the Dance floor” and “Sunset Over Birdland” by Alex St. Kitts, and “Got Mah Truck Back” by Dan. The musicality of these young people is aweinspiring. All of the little snippets and layers of sound, technical wizardry, and chemistry among the members fuse in a galactic conglomeration of genuine entertainment. No joke. These kids know their music, inside and out, from back to front, in and around all the corners. Their talent on stage could be attributed to both their raw passion for music and the Humber program, which fostered the growth of their vision as a band. Still, there’s no room for complacency here. The individual members continue to explore ways to improve their sound and produce music for the masses

to enjoy. The mastery of music is in the exploration, and like the exploration of the universe in all its vastness, it is never-ending. Although Protocal is still in the initial stages of releasing a full-length album, their primary goal for now is to continue writing new material and master the songs they have performed together. Look out for Protocal in a live music venue near you. For more information on Dan Liberatori and Protocal, please visit the following websites: • http://www.danliberatori.com • http://www.myspace.com/facemeltingprotocol For more information on the Humber Music programs, please visit the college website: • http://creativeandperformingarts.humber.ca

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AN AN FC FC FOOTHOLD FOOTHOLD rin by: Mike Var

THE COLD IS UNBEARABLE. Al-

most unbearable. What you would assume would be compounding our misery is the ice rain. The kind that, with the penetrating winds as an accomplice, is defying physics while hitting your numb face at a ninety degree angle. Did I mention we’re down by two goals to an expansion club in what is our first and long-awaited home game of our third season? Yet somehow we will not be disheartened. We will not let an inferior scoreline get us down. Quite the opposite as many of us are in fact still standing. We’ve been standing here defiantly since the beginning and

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have absolutely no plans of leaving, defeated or otherwise. We do it for Toronto Football Club. In many ways we are football, and like football, we are indomitable. “This is why I work. This is why I get up every morning. This club is now as much a part of me as anything,” says Canadian-born construction worker Dave Tiido, an inaugural season ticket holder in section 114 of the now legendary South End of BMO Field, home to TFC. “I know it’ll be the same years from now when I’m watching us beat a big name in football like Barcelona or Liverpool in the World Club Championships.

I love the world’s game just like everybody else in this world.” The world’s game is dubbed such because it is in fact exactly that. Like hardship, determination, strife, adversity, and perseverance, it can be found in every instance of humanity on this planet. Football is indisputably the most widespread competitive recreational activity around. Unlike most mainstream North American sports, it’s simple, straightforward, and natural. It is uncomplicated by its very nature and yet endlessly enthralling. None of the stage show required to entertain the majority of spectators from one of the other five major sports in North America is required on the soccer pitch. There will never be a need for a dashboard cam, a helmet cam, a halftime show, musical segways, shootouts, or annual rule changes to revitalize the interest of the spectator. In fact, one of the testaments to the sport’s universal appeal is that the rules have not been altered since their formalization in the midnineteenth century. In the 3 years it’s existed, Toronto FC has already entrenched itself in Canadian football culture. In Toronto in particular that culture was evident anytime major tournaments like the World Cup, the Euro Cup, or the Copa América came around. The raucous celebrations that erupted around the city with a demographically well-represented nation’s win in these tournaments have always been like celebrations of that particular culture as a whole, not just the victory itself. Football is very much a part of most people’s culture and like all things emblazoned with a particularly fierce passion, they couldn’t leave it behind. The passion football can evoke has not just reared for immigrants from the obviously rich footballing cultures like England, Italy, France, Portugal, or Brazil either. Whether contagious or just dormant, this passion has also entered or returned to the lives of almost all of the diverse originating

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Photos by: Elizabeth Martin nationalities that make up contemporary Canadians. Toronto FC being joined in North America’s top level of the sport, Major League Soccer (or simply the MLS), by the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2011 and possibly the Montreal Impact in the near future, both well-established clubs in the United Soccer Leagues with existing supporter groups, football-induced passion in Canada is certainly about to elevate to a whole new level instigated by that age old motivator: rivalry. Already competing with each other for the Canadian Club Championship and with it the right to represent Canada in the North American Champions League, the 3 biggest and best supported clubs in Canada are no strangers, and neither are their fans. The continental based, FIFA sanctioned Champions Leagues around the world allow the top teams from the top leagues in almost every nation on the planet to compete against each other for bragging rights and financial riches. The three Canadian clubs have developed an intense rivalry with each other that has seen some pretty hilarious jeers bandied between them through witty songs sung or large flags and banners displayed at their matches. Though often as intense as rivalries can present themselves in sports without largescale violence or other insidious incidents, a sign that the football culture is strong and enduring in this country is evident when they are put to the side to allow these fans to get behind the Canadian national teams together. With the abetment of Toronto FC and its various supporters groups like the Red Patch Boys and U-Sector, the group that Dave Tiido the devoted construction worker counts himself a legionary, the organization and mobilization of these groups for the common cause of the national team was facilitated by passionate fans with incredible leadership and organizational skills, clearly exhibited in the Canada vs. Jamaica World Cup qualifying match in Toronto last sum-

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mer. Where it used to be commonplace for a national team with a strong demographic segment to be better represented than the home one in Canada, the Reggae Boyz as they are known were greeted by rowdy voices and a red sea of true patriot love for football. In an unprecedented show of passion and support, Canadians were finally behind Canadian soccer. It’s been a trying season on the field for Toronto FC this year as they battle to the end to make the playoffs for the first time in the club’s short history, but once again it was a resounding success off. In speaking about recently being named “Brand of the

Year” by Strategy Magazine, TFC’s senior director of business operations Paul Beirne proudly boasted “We know we’re not a flash in the pan and we’re here for the long run.” He’s right, for with the burgeoning football culture standing on guard with their glowing hearts, we will continue to see the rise of the world’s game in Canada.

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Sean Jones

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Photograph by Rene Skrodzki

arts.culture.living

r a t s l a c o l a

Article By: Peter Hare Photograph by Rene Skrodzki

SEAN JONES IS AN ENTHUSIASTIC Canadian singer and songwriter born in Etobicoke, ON and now touring around the world. Sean’s music is memorable like eating a packet of pop rocks, and the analogy fits as the fusion of Pop and Rock music that Sean creates is unique and flavourful! Sean recently returned from a performance in Las Vegas, and was kind enough to share a few stories about his life, and his love for music. Sean, a former R&B/Soul enthusiast got started in the music industry 15 years ago. He worked with a band called In Essence, and he was a sensation. Sean and the band members

Sean & Iconic Yorkville Restauranteur Pierre Hamel

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had a close relationship until one day through a rough and rapid altercation with a member of the team, Sean’s entire life changed. All his experience with the performance and creation of soul and rock music was put on hold as he made the decision to leave the band and start a career on his own. The altercation had pushed Sean to a point which we have all experienced at some time in our lives. Sean would have decked this guy had it not been for his keen sense of direction, the one that said don’t do it or your career is gone… Sean quit the band and took with him his ideas and his passion for music

and went on a soul-searching expedition to the Blue Mountain Monastery. During his time at the monastery, Sean was able to contemplate life, love, music and more. He understood himself better and the realized his music for what it was. He felt it was necessary to make a few little changes, and so after his soul-seraching trip, he changed the flavour of his creative palette. Sean’s music became edgier, sexier, and even a bit rockier and he knew he had created something unique in the industry. Sean was motivated and determined to deliver his new music to people, and with a

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Photograph by Rene Skrodzki

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Photograph by Rene Skrodzki

new team backing him with great musical talent, he launched his career as a new Canadian Pop-Rock Sensation. Sean plays a few musical instruments, the trumpet and spoons on one end of the spectrum to the guitar on the other. He reads and writes music like a pro, well for the moment he reads like a pro. Writing (dots on lines as he calls them) may be one of those things to brush up on in the next couple of years, but those who have a gift, never lose the talent. At heart, Sean is your typical teenage boy who loves sports. Actually he’s a fan of most major league sports, though the first one he mentioned was basketball. Now if he’s as good at basketball as he is on the guitar, we have our next NBA all-star pro, but for now he’s Sean Jones. The fusion of pop and rock by Sean is so unique, he’s given it a nickname, hopefully it will catch on. So the next time you’re listening to his music, know that it’s called “a little S/J” for being the fusion of Sean + Pop & Rock. Sean has an interesting backup plan for his career if he were not to work in music at all. He would, (and this is not the first thing that pops into mind), open a massage therapy centre & physiotherapy clinic. Sean studied kinesiology so this would seem fitting. Sean has a reputation for giving back to the community through his music, and when we talked to him, he said it comes from his past experiences. Sean has had a great deal of experience working with “at-risk” youth, not only through his charitable ventures that include benefit concerts to support local community shelters and youth programs, but through his professional work as well. Sean spent years working with children who suffer from FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder), and this has come to shape him as a person as well. The ability to work with individuals who suffer from this kind of condition teaches you a lot about what to be thankful for, but also a lot about our social values as a community. Sean’s best advice to students who want to get into music as a career, which can in fact be applied to any career in general is love what you do. Truly love what you do, because even when we live in difficult economic times, if our work makes us happy, we will gain more from it than those who do not. Sean will be advancing his career going from music to acting, as he will soon be appearing in Sons 2 the Grave, a film to look forward to in 2010. To learn more about Sean Jones, please visit www.seanjonesmusic.net

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FutuRéale Magazine November 2009