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October 12th, 2006


sundre
11:12 am - about time we started this up again
Pieces of April, written and directed by Peter Hedges.

With Canadian Thanksgiving just past, and American Thanksgiving next month, here is a movie for you.

News: Katie Holmes can act.

I know, I was surprised too. But this movie was good. Low budget, in fact as well as aesthetic. All about how the other daughter tries to make a holiday meal for her estranged family, when until now she's been using the oven as a shoe rack. A delightful cameo by Sean Hayes (Jack on Will and Grace) as a creepy neighbour obsessed with his dog.

The ending is picture perfect. This movie is no turkey.

What, I can't make the bad pun?

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Sars Wars: Bangkok Zombie Crisis (Khun krabii hiiroh), directed by Taweewat Wantha.

This one is for Halloween.

Dude. Seriously.

Think Shaun of the Dead made in Thailand. Still not quite right. Think parody, though. This movie knows how bad it is, and glories in it. So throw in a dose of Airplane and Snakes on a Plane for good measure, only without the planes. And still made in Thailand.

The deadly virus Sars 4 has made its way from Africa to Bangkok via a flying cockroach and a travel montage. Kidnapping, quarantine, zombified pets, explosions, noodles, references to film censors, nude heroism, a battery powered sword, a lady scientist with unexpected style, and an angry pregnant woman all ensue.

I cannot explain. I can only tell you that it is good.

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Hedwig and the Angry Inch, directed by John Cameron Mitchell.

A musical. No, a rock opera.

About a transexual rocker from Berlin on a quest for her other half. Hedwig is impossible and brilliant.

I think I need to get the soundtrack.

Origin of Love
Wig in a Box
Current Music: hedwig

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April 2nd, 2006


sundre
11:57 pm - so please understand
So, it's Sunday night in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It's the Juno Awards. Not really like the Grammys. Is Canadian, you see. Pamela Anderson (also Canadian) hosted the festivities and made snarky comments about the plight of the baby seals.

I saw many people downtown today lined up to get next to the red carpet, but came home and watched the whole thing on the TV instead. I did get to thinking about Canadian music. So, do you know any? Beyond Celine Dion and Anne Murray, I mean.

Okay, then. Let's try for a broader spectrum.

Metric | website | myspace

They do get around, these northern folk. Lovely, loud and miraculous. Joyfully agressive. Good lord, I love adjectives.

Great Big Sea | website | myspace

The good boys from Newfoundland sing the sea shanties we love. Traditional tunes mixed with newer material, and a boggling REM cover in there somewhere.

Sloan | website | myspace

I do live in Halifax now, so I have to mention some excellent Nova Scotian lads who most decidedly are not known for playing traditional music. Not so much with the fiddles as with the guitars. Canada rocks, and so does this lot.

Noah 23 | website | myspace

I did spend a couple years in Guelph, after all. Hip hop, could possibly be described as underground. The man has an ongoing fascination with biology. Smart words, good sound.

Tanya Tagaq | website | myspace

Traditional Inuit throat singing meets modern music sensibilities and makes something rich and strange. Very, very strange. Unspeakably good, though. Very creative breath.

Bedouin Soundclash | website | myspace

Lovely to look at, lovely to behold. Wait, that's the same thing. Notwithstanding their excellent taste in hats, they've got some sweet alt-reggae that soothes you something awesome. When the Night Hears My Song has been getting near-constant radio play up here, and I have yet to grow weary of it.
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March 28th, 2006


sundre
11:30 am
The Dictionary of Imaginary Places, by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi
ISBN 0-676-97198-9

A few years back I saw a review of this book in the newspaper, and it was the first thing that came to mind when my mom later asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I never thought there was a ghost of a possibility that it would actually appear, but she came through. I'd been in Calgary for university and she asked me the when I arrived back home in Whitehorse a week before the holiday. She continues to amaze me.

This book is a serious lust object for me. Sexy in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with sex, but with an overwhelming desire nonetheless. I mean, look at the title. Please, please look at the title and let it sink in for a moment.

The entries are written in a sort of visitor's guide style, with lovely line illustrations and maps interspersed throughout. There are certain restrictions, the most obvious of which is the complete absence of interplanetary locations. If a place is obviously on a planet other than Earth, it isn't in here. So, no Barsoom, no Mushroom Planet, no Vulcan. Somebody needs to make a companion volume, that's all I'm saying.

There's a healthy mix of the familiar and the obscure. I was looking for excerpts to entertaine and enthrall you, and got terribly distracted for a full hour. I need to get ready for work, yo.

The actual entries are somewhat longer than what follows. If you want a taste of a particular imaginary place, post a comment with your request and I'll give you an excerpt. If you want more than a taste, I'm going to have to insist that you find a copy of this book. It's for your own good.

CONCORDIA, the smallest country in Europe, found on very few maps. ... Concordia's position -- geographically, militarily and horticulturally -- is so hopeless that it acts as a magnet to every invader. It has gained independence at least four hundred times, so Concordians regard themselves as cumulatively the most independent people on earth: a different Independence day is celebrated every day of the year. The English have been there several times, on the pretext that Concordians are unfit to govern themselves; the French have followed the pretext that they are unfit to be governed by the English.

MEDICINE HAT (not to be confused with Medicine Hat, Alberta) a remote settlement in Canada, near the Saskatchewan River, home of blizzards and chinooks. The chief of the settlement is the so-called Head Spotter of the Weather Makers, who sits on a high stool in a high tower on a high hill. Travellers can address him with requests for good or bad weather but must bear in mind that the Head Spotter is sometimes inadvertently guilty of ugly mistakes.

WONDERLAND, a kindgdom under England, inhabited by a pack of cards and a few other creatures. ... Visitors are advised that any food or drink consumed in Wonderland may cause immediate growing of shrinking of the consumer and should therefore be taken with caution. Several places in Wonderland are worth a visit: the White Rabbit's dainty cottage; the Duchess' house with its spicy though somewhat neglected kitchen: and the Mad Hatter' outdoor tea-room, open all hours.


There are over a thousand other entries. Atlantis, Camelot, Oz, El Dorado, Earthsea, Stepford, Hogwarts, Narnia... Any requests?

Go harass your library. Or beg your mother.

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March 19th, 2006


sundre
02:36 pm - you should find where you belong
Good-bye Chunky Rice, by Craig Thompson.
ISBN 1-891830-09-0

I suppose I should really be writing about his more recent book, Blankets, but I've lent it to my roommate and will not interrupt her til she's done. I'm too thrilled that I got her to read something. And this one is also worth your time.

Besides, I can do that one later.

This is a graphic novella. The art is unspeakably gorgeous, black and white and painstaking, with strong and expressive lines. The story meanders between unspeakably cute and disturbing and profound.

And the main character is a talking turtle named Chunky Rice.

I'm hoping I haven't lost you, here.

Chunky Rice listens to Motown. His best friend is a mouse named Dandel. He's leaving home and travelling to the Kahootney Islands, and may never return. He's standing on the edge of a great adventure, but is leaving behind more than he expected to. The story is a tangled one, about love and friendship and farewell, and distance that grows without becoming absolute.

And I'm madly in love with it. So should you be.

Go harass your library.
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March 11th, 2006


sundre
11:34 pm - because ebullience is catching
Stuff we like. Stuff you should like too. Because we said so.

Perhaps a little more of an introduction is in order.

You know that person who has something they love so much that they just need to share? They have to tell you everything so that you'll understand just how in love they are. And maybe, just maybe, you'll fall in love with it too.

Hallo there, fellow denizens of the internets. I'm one of your hosts. I am a self-described book-addict and storiopath. I love good words, good films, good music. Heck, who doesn't?

We've set up this space to suggest some things you might like to try. Feel free to reciprocate in kind.

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