Have you ever thought to yourself: what would happen if I mixed one of the worst disasters in human history with an anthropomorphic rapping dog and shoddy animation? Well fret not because Titanic: The Legend Goes On… answers your question in every sense of the word!

The cockamamie project was conceived by Italian director Camillo Teti. Not much is known about him but his other well-known films (if you can call them that) include Bye Bye Vietnam and College Girl Goes on Vacation.  Don’t those titles just scream brilliance?

This movie is so unbelievable that many people even question its existence. But don’t worry, lucky for you it indeed exists.

To start let’s look at the tagline for this movie: “A full-length animated feature, based on the legend of the Titanic.” Ah yes, the LEGEND of the Titanic. All those deaths, that giant sinking ship, all a made-up story. A good start. I don’t want to start off this review giving you a biased opinion and all but it’s kind of difficult not to.

So the movie begins with our female protagonist, Angelica, rowing in a lifeboat, behind her the sinking RMS Titanic. Yes, from the start we all already know how the movie will end. That is some stellar storytelling. We are then led into Angelica’s flashback, where the real film begins (rendering the opening sequence kind of useless).

Next, we are  met with Angelica (in the real opening scene?) with her stepmother and two evil stepsisters…Sound familiar? This movie is just a heaping pile of recycled Disney stories. In fact, every character in this movie seems to be a rip-off of another Disney character: Cinderella, the mice from An American Tail, Cruella DeVille.

It’s as if this director thought: How about I take a bunch of Disney cartoon characters and put them on the Titanic. Genius. There is also a musical troupe of racially insensitive Mexican mice. A necessary addition to any film about a tragic human disaster.

Anyways, the movie has something to do with Angelica’s locket being stolen and her trying to find it, I guess. As the film moves forward we are met with her creepy American Psycho-esque love interest, William, who, after their first encounter, finds it okay to aggressively rub Angelica’s hand. And from that moment on, they are in love…like ten minutes into the film.

There are so many different subplots going on at once it’s hard to keep track of who the characters are and what the movie is actually about. Sometimes there are stories that start to develop in one scene and then nothing follows from it or we never see the characters again.

The pinnacle awful movie moment in the film however is most probably the scene with the aforementioned rapping dog (shown below for your viewing pleasure). Why is there a rapping dog on the Titanic? Who the hell knows. Maybe there weren’t enough talking animals. Unfortunately though, this pooch only makes one appearance in the film so clap along with those poorly animated spaghetti fingers for as long as you can.

I mean, this movie is so bad that there is actually  a thread on IMDB for the film called: “Say something positive about this movie.” Some of the positive things include: “This movie has united people in how horrible it is” and “Camilo Teti hasn’t made anything since 2007, that’s positive.”

BUT WAIT! Don’t be sad if you haven’t gotten your fill of animated Titanic movies. There are two other ones directed by another Italian director. Yes that’s right, not just one but TWO. Both include, a giant octopus who tries to put the Titanic back together again. Why Italy? Why?

An actual scene from one of the other animated Titanic films.

You won’t actually get the full experience of this film until you see it, but I assure you it’ll make you wish the Titanic would hit the iceberg sooner.

Feature image courtesy of  Camilo Teti

Forget the Box and Indie Montreal are proud to present the exclusive Canadian video premier of Psychocide’s Mr Suit.

This four-piece, originally from Brooklyn and now based on Montreal, offer a catchy blend of rock, punk and metal. They will be premiering a new album, Alcohol & Bad Decisions, March 2nd and a related comic book later this spring.

Each song on the album focuses on a different fictional character and the first up, in this new video, is Mr Suit. The band will be officially launching it tomorrow (Saturday, February 18th) at Barfly, 4062A Boul St-Laurent with Young Critters and Call Me Steve, but we have an exclusive first watch.

Enjoy:

This week we’ve got an exclusive video launch with Psychocide to preview and some great bands to take a look at. So if you’ve managed to dig yourself out from under all the snow then we’ve got a few suggestions for some shows to check out this weekend.

Psychocide + Young Critters + Call Me Steve

On Saturday Barfly will be hosting an evening of “punk n’ roll” featuring Psychocide, who will also be using this event to celebrate the release of their new video for the track Mr. Suit. On a completely related note: FTB, in conjunction with IndieMontreal, has secured the rights to the exclusive video premier tomorrow (Friday). So be sure to come back and check that out!

Also set to take the stage on Saturday will be Young Critters and Call Me Steve making this a full evening of music for a highly reasonable price of only five bucks. They’re selling tickets in advance so you might want to get right on that considering Barfly isn’t the biggest of venues and this show is guaranteed to draw some attention.

Psychocide, Young Critters and Call Me Steve play Barfly, 4062A boul. Saint-Laurent, Saturday, February 18th, 8:00pm (Doors at 7:00), $5 in advance through box office or $8 at the door.

 

Elephant Stone + Walrus + Wizaard

With four albums under their belt, Montreal based Elephant Stone have really hit their stride fusing traditional Indian music with pschedelic rock and pop. The results can be seen on their numerous releases and most recently on their album Ship of Fools which came out in 2016.

They’re really worth a listen and if you like what you hear then you’re in luck because they’re playing at Théâtre Fairmount this Saturday accompanied by Walrus and Wizaard. Both these acts are a perfect fit for an evening psych rock. If that’s your thing then we’ll see you there!

Elephant Stone, Walrus and Wizaard play Théâtre Fairmount, 5240 Avenue du Parc, Saturday, February 18th, 8:30pm (Doors at 7:30), $15 in advance through box office or $20 at the door.

 

SonReal + Clairmont The Second

SonReal is returning to Montreal. The Vancouver-based hip hop artist is currently on the No Warm Up Tour in support of his EP The Name.

After playing the Fairmount last September, the Can I Get A Witness artist is heading to La Sala Rossa. He will be joined by Toronto-based artist and producer Clairmont the Second. There is also a VIP option for people interested in meeting SonReal and getting a pre-show warmup concert.

Greenland Productions and Evenko present SonReal with Clairmont the Second at La Sala Rossa, 4848 Boulevard St-Laurent, Tuesday, February 21st, 9:30pm (doors at 8:30pm), $20 in advance, $23.75 at the door ($65 VIP tickets).

* Featured image courtesy of Psychcide

* Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at music@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Welcome to a special Valentine’s Week edition where I will attempt to tie all the shows we’re previewing to the theme of Love despite there being no real link. Before you ask, I am well aware that Valentine’s Day has no real meaning to a lot of people and “Valentine’s Week” certainly isn’t a thing. We’re just having a little fun with a theme so read on!

Benefit Concert for the Syria Crisis Appeal

If you’re looking for good music for a good cause then head over to La Vitrola on Saturday night where Sorry GirlsBo Welland, Tinycastles, Blessings and Trouble Star will be playing a concert to raise funds to benefit the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Syria Crisis Appeal. There is no official cover charge although they do suggest a donation of $10, which is incredibly reasonable considering you’re getting to see five bands.

So for those of you who want to take this opportunity to show some love to your fellow humans this would be a perfect event for you.

Sorry Girls, Bo Welland, Tinycastles, Blessings and Trouble Star play La Vitrola, 4662 boul. Saint-Laurent, Saturday, February 11th, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:30), $10 (suggested).

 

Kinder Morgan Resistance Benefit

Another event this week that will be sending love (and a donation) to a good cause will be taking place on Tuesday at Casa Del Popolo where both musicians and visual artist will be participating in a fundraiser for the T’sleil Waututh, Squamish, and Coldwater Nations legal defense fund. The musicians on tap will be Frankie Teardrop, devo B. with Seb Cowanëoz and Also Also Also while a collection of local artists will be selling their works and donating the proceeds.

The organizers are suggesting a $10 donation but promise all will be welcome regardless of their financial situation. If you want to know more about this cause you should check out the event page for further details.

Frankie Teardrop, devo B. with Seb Cowan, ëoz and Also Also Also play Casa Del Popolo, 4848 boul. Saint-Laurent, Tuesday, February 14th, 8:30pm (Doors at 7:30), $10 (suggested).

 

Andy Black + William Control + Palaye Royale

For anyone looking for more of a Gothic Valentine’s Day you can check out former Black Veil Brides frontman Andy Black (a.k.a Andy Biersack) who released his first solo album last May and is currently on tour in support. Heavily inspired by 80’s synth, Black has departed musically from the glam metal of BVB while still keeping the visual aesthetic the band was well known for.

Joining him on this current tour will be William Control and Palaye Royale who both sonically and visually make sense as opening acts. The venue chosen for this event, the Théâtre Corona, is also the perfect backdrop for the evening. Everything about this show seems very coherent and not to be missed if it’s your type of thing.

Andy Black, William Control and Palaye Royale play Théâtre Corona, 2490 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Tuesday, February 14th, 7:30pm (Doors at 6:30), $32.50 ($36.00 at the Door), tickets through box office.

Metalian + Parasytes + Saccage + Endform

Tonight the Fattal Lofts are unsurprisingly hosting a punk/metal show featuring Metalian, Parasytes, Saccage and Endform. There’s really not much that needs to be said about this one, it starts late, ends late and is sure to be loud and crazy.

Now how to tie this to the theme… ah yes, if you love a good mosh pit and a reasonably priced show this is the Valentine’s week event for you! (Ok this last one was a real stretch, I promise next week’s preview won’t have a mandatory theme)

Metalian, Parasytes, Saccage and Endform play Fattal, Friday February 10th, 10:30pm (Doors at 10), $5.

* Featured image of Andy Black via YouTube

* Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at music@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Happy February everyone! If winter’s getting you down then we have a few show suggestions that might warm you up.

Drive-By Truckers

Nothing gets the blood boiling more nowadays than thinking about politics. For those with a political bent we suggest you head over to Théâtre Corona on Tuesday and check out Southern Rock band Drive-By Truckers who’ve been touring and releasing albums for over twenty years without ever backing down from calling it the way they see it.

Their latest album American Band, their most politically charged to date, was released last September before any votes had even been cast in the U.S election. Listening to it now, some of the tracks seem almost prophetic in their outlook and even more relevant then when they were originally released.

Drive-By Truckers play Théâtre Corona, 2490 Notre-Dame West, Tuesday, February 7th, 8:00pm (Doors at 7:00), $37 in advance through box office, $42 at the door.

 

Rock Around the Clock with The Black Moon Boys

On Saturday night the good people of  Jive Studios are hosting a 50s dance party over at La Sala Rossa. On hand to provide the live entertainment will be Montreal based rockabilly band The Black Moon Boys who are a ready to get everyone jumpin’ and jivin’.

What’s more, if you’re interested but not the best dancer they’re offering two courses (rockabilly jive at 8:30pm or boogie-woogie at 9:00pm) to help you get some moves. This is certainly one fun way to get the blood flowing and keep warm on a cold winter night.

The Black Moon Boys play La Sala Rossa, 4848 boul. Saint-Laurent, Saturday, February 4th, 8:00pm, $15 at the door.

 

Priests + Snail Mail + Fred Thomas

Monday night head down to Casa del Popolo to catch Washington, DC-based punk band Priests. With a very 90s riot grrrl sound, you`re sure to sweat away some of that winter cold.

Baltimore`s Snail Mail and Montreal-based rocker Fred Thomas will open. $1 off every ticket sold will go to the Plus 1 Foundation which aims to raise awareness of the educational challenges faced by communities.

Priests with Snail Mail and Fred Thomas play Casa del Popolo, 4873 boul. Saint-Laurent, Monday, February 6th, 9:30pm, $16 at the door

* Featured image of Drive-By Truckers via NPR

* Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at music@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Don Hertzfeldt is mostly known for his animated short comedy Rejected, a collection of surrealist cartoons aimed at critiquing our consumer society but also to get a good laugh. The short was nominated for an Oscar in 2000. I first discovered Hertzfeldt in the seventh grade randomly coming upon one of his shorts on YouTube:  Ah, L’Amour, a hilariously cynical look at love.

He has not really widely been known for having a serious side because of the fame that he received from this short. Yet he boasts several insightful films like The Meaning of Life and Lily and Jim.  None however in my opinion have been as insightful as It’s Such a Beautiful Day (though I still have yet to see his most recent film World of Tomorrow).

It’s Such a Beautiful Day was actually released separately, first as two short films that came about two years after each other (Everything Will Be OK and I am So Proud of You); the last part, the titular It’s Such a Beautiful Day was added in for the full hour-long film. Despite the separate releases, all three parts seem to flow seamlessly together as though this was always the way it had been.

The film follows stick figure Bill as he struggles with several strange experiences as the omniscient narrator guides us through Bill’s usually mundane existence.

At the beginning, Bill’s life is fairly normal and the film progresses quite normally as well. As the film goes on, however, it begins to become more and more distorted in sync with how Bill views the world. We begin to see bizarre visions, characters with hooks for hands, distorted or deformed faces, etc. The dialogue from the narrator also starts to become more difficult to understand as we begin to see what is actually happening to Bill.

Everything about this movie is unique. From its pacing to its visuals, to its music, it stands out.  In 62 minutes, Hertzfeldt explores themes that some movies try to dissect in three hours. It speaks of things we have all maybe thought of in passing before but have not often explored, such as mortality and the passing of time.

In one of my favorite scenes Bill explains how one of his co-workers sees time based off a physics textbook he once read:

“The passing of time is just an illusion because all of eternity is all happening at once. The past never vanishes away and the future has already happened. All of history is fixed and laid out like an infinite landscape of simultaneous events that we simply happen to travel through in one direction.”

It is these sorts of absurdisms that make the film what it is. It may for some be hard to sit through but do sit through it, it is very worth it.

In It’s Such a Beautiful Day, Hetzfeldt is able to make us feel more for a simplistic stick figure than most films can makes us feel for or relate to actual human beings. The film is more than just a film. It’s an exploration of the nature of human existence and it doesn’t only make us feel but leaves us vulnerable with a lot to think about, about how we live our lives and why we live our lives.

The film can be found on Vimeo, or in parts on YouTube but I recommend watching the full version.

Feature photo courtesy of Don Hertzfeldt

For a while, I had been avoiding comedies, seldom watching them, and often opting for hard-hitting dramas. Perusing through Netflix, however, I came across this one film in the foreign language section, Wild Tales, an Argentinian flick from 2015. I decided to give it a shot and was not disappointed; this was indeed what I needed to start enjoying comedies again.

Wild Tales is unlike any other comedy film as of late bridging together slapstick and black comedy along with important social commentary. It is a film that is evidently being told with great cynicism for Argentinian society after decades of corruption and government incompetence, something many Argentinians can relate to.

It is made up of six vignettes, each more ludicrous than the last. Flight passengers learn they have something in common. A waitress serves food to a notorious gangster from her hometown. A road rage incident gone horribly wrong. A man brought to the mental brink after an unwanted parking fee. A criminal cover-up after a hit and run. A bride and groom have a falling out at their wedding. All of these tales have one central theme: revenge. And it gets served up adequately in each respective story.

 

In director Damian Szifron’s portmanteau of revenge, he finds the surreal in the mundane: in the road rage story a luxury car becomes a deathtrap and in the final wedding story social etiquette is spun on its head. All stories could realistically happen and that’s what makes them all the crazier.

All but one vignette, the cover-up story, stands out as a little more serious than the others but Szifron again does not disappoint and raises the bar to a ridiculous level with the final story about a bourgeois Jewish wedding.

There is a somewhat Quentin Tarantino-esque feel to the film throughout, especially in the third story about road rage, arguably the most violent story but also the most fun and tense one in my opinion.

 

The film has been called one of the most important films to have come out of Argentina in recent years as well as the most successful Argentinian film to have ever been made. It received a ten-minute standing ovation at the 2014 Cannes film festival and has, since its creation, had rave reviews. Which makes me wonder how I had never heard of it until now.

Do yourself a favour, get on your tv or computer and watch this little hidden Netflix gem, it’ll have you laughing, gasping and horrified all at once. Sounds like quite the Saturday night if I do say so myself.

(watch it on Netflix)

Feature image courtesy of Warner Sogefilms

I am an artist, I have been involved with and gone to a lot of art openings. It takes a lot of tedious work to curate and hang, to prepare, to get everything ready for public consumption.

The artist bares it all, it is terrifying, even if you are confident in your work. It is the culmination of months or years of dedication to your subject matter, it is who you are. One does not make art: you give birth to art.

Art openings are supposed to be a celebration of investigation, of the audience questioning and discerning for themselves. Usually they involve looking at art, some contemplation, maybe a paragraph on the wall to read, and oh yeah, wine, lots of wine and frivolity.

Recently I went to several openings, and noticed that I was being just another shitty hipster. I was drinking and laughing while a powerful black woman was literally hanging by her hair. I was white privilege incarnate, I was wrong.

The realization that I was part of the problem forever changed my attitude towards the current state of the art world, and made me look inside myself. Admitting you are wrong is only a small step.

Art is about expression, it is connection, it is the artist figuring out a way into the viewer’s soul. It is a shared experience, it is the extreme beauty and abject darkness made into “stuff” for us to be affected by. Art is what we feel, it is the heartbeat of the universe.

Art does not lie, it doesn’t know how. Are we just afraid of reality? Have I been so bound in my own small world that I did not know I was being just like every other asshole who didn’t pay attention? Apathy is evil.

My friend bared her soul, she spoke of a black woman’s relationship to her hair, and how a Eurocentric society has pressured her and her family to be forever. They conformed to survive, and were forced to abandon their culture and natural state of being to fit in with those who oppressed them, people who look just like me.

I do not want to be the oppressor, but it was happening. It was not until her boyfriend said “finale” that I finally went into the room, I finally listened. Standing in shame in front of her opus. What kind of woman lets another woman suffer alone?

Art is not just another opportunity to jerk ourselves off or flaunt our coolness. Go to an art opening to be with the art, respect the artist by giving your full attention.

The snacks are there but they are not everything. Yea, vegan cat shaped pizzas are fun, and sometimes art is fun, but other times it is serious.

The complimentary wine doesn’t mean stop looking, it doesn’t mean stop noticing or questioning. Art is not an excuse for social fuckery. Get drunk with ideas.

We are lost, using art for social gain instead of intellectual growth. You must actually show up to make a difference, be present in your community and pay attention to the world at large.

YES, it matters that atrocities are happening all over the world (and right here) while we sit here and complain about nonsense. Art is a record of that suffering, it is a shared feeling, we are transported to a moment or a dream when we view art. Ir is more than just looking, it should be a full all encompassing experience.

A look at my own art made me realize that even though I try to be woke to the evils of the world I still generalize, I still only touch the tip of being political. Art is direct action! Who am I fighting for?

I am not using this opportunity to say something. I need to stop making pretty things and start making change. We are on the verge of an apocalypse and we must actively be there for each other.

Use your power to give voices to the voiceless, a platform to stand on. Never objectify another’s experience by misrepresenting them or speaking for them.

I want this to be a public apology to every artist and subject I have ever disrespected. I promise to pay closer attention and think critically about the art I encounter and make from here on out. I will no longer shuffle off in ignorance, I will be there in silent solidarity. I will give you center stage. I will learn what you are teaching and immerse myself in your ideas.

Art is bigger than us, it is immortal, a record of the current (soon to be past) or already gone. Make art everyday, live it, and become it. Take this time to be present with me and let’s change the world.

 

 

 

Although I like to think of myself as a pretentious film snob who despises the consumerism of Christmas, I do have a soft sport for Christmas movies; they are my guilty pleasure so to speak.

These movies are often put into the broad category of “Christmas movie” while I think that there are a variety of different “Christmas genres” depending on what you’re looking for.

First there are the classics. In this category there are those stories we have all come to know and love from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to It’s a Wonderful Life. All of these are Christmas staples and some of these stories have been around for over 100 years.

My favourite of this category would have to be Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol where we see the miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge visited by three ghosts to warn him of what is to come if he continues his greedy ways.

There have been several different versions of this story throughout the years from the classic 1938 version to the Flinstones version (which isn’t as bad as you might think). My personal favourite, however, is the 1984 version with George C. Scott as Scrooge (the actor who notably refused an Oscar he won for Best Actor in 1970).

The movie is almost like a theatre play with the whole cast giving grandiose and superb performances. Frank Finlay as Jacob Marley’s Ghost and Edward Woodward as the Ghost of Christmas Present are also notable.

Highlights from the film:

Another genre is the Christmas comedy which includes several modern classics. These are stories that have been created with the film. Some of my favourites include Scrooged with Bill Murray (a modern take on A Christmas Carol) and Elf. I think the undisputed Christmas comedy, however, remains the 1989 film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

First acquainted with the Griswolds in 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation, we now get to know the entire extended family. There’s Ccrazy Cousin Eddie, Clark’s dad, Clark Sr. and several other nutty family members.

This is a movie that I can never tire from. All the fantastically exaggerated performances make it too fun to watch. This family is so dysfunctional it can be hard to look away. Here is one very memorable scene, where Clark freaks out after seeing that he will not be getting that Christmas bonus he wanted:

There are other good ones too that I forgot like A Christmas Story! Don’t think I would have forgotten that classic.

Next, there are the animated films. There are the classic claymation ones like Santa Claus is Coming to Town or Frosty the Snowman. I do really enjoy those ones too. One however that truly stands out for its pure creativity is Tim Burton’s 1996 flick The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The story follows Jack Skellington, who is the “master of fright” and plans Halloweentown’s Halloween festivities every year. He is the best at his job but noticeably bored by the repetitiveness of it all and feels empty until he accidentally stumbles into Christmastown and decides to bring Christmas to Halloweentown.

This film just screams of imagination and is truly helped by the likes of Danny Elfman who plays multiple characters. The dark nature of this film will please both children and adults as they sit and enjoy the spooky yet jolly overtones of A Nightmare Before Christmas.

Next there are the action-Christmas movies. To be honest, I am not sure if many Christmas films fit in here. The only one I can really think of is the all-time 1988 classic, Die Hard. You may ask: “Is this really a Christmas movie?” Well it happens during a Christmas party… isn’t that enough?

The story follows John McClane (portrayed by Bruce Willis) as he attends his ex-wife’s Christmas party that eventually gets rudely interrupted by a rag-tag gang of German terrorists led by the evil Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman).

This film is a classic for any holiday occasion and is endlessly entertaining with a barrage of gunfights and explosions, and Alan Rickman’s accent to boot. It is the original action movie. I once got caught watching the first three Die Hards on Christmas Eve with a buddy of mine (best Christmas ever!).

Here is John McClane’s most quoted line from the film:

Lastly, the genre you’ve all been waiting for: those god-awful Christmas specials that should not have ever existed. By this I mean the likes of The Smurfs Christmas Special or He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special . But the crown jewel of terrible Christmas specials is probably the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. This a film that makes you exclaim: “What the f*** were they thinking.”

There’s everything from long periods of Wookies talking in incomprehensible gibberish to Wookie Porn (yes that’s a short part in the movie…) to Han Solo being a little bit too jolly, hugging everything he sees. And it goes on. This film is just ludicrous, it’s like a train wreck so terrible you just can’t look away and that’s why you should watch it.

Here is one scene to get you started:

Whichever Christmas genre you watch make sure to do it with your loved ones during this holiday season and watch the Star Wars Holiday Special at your own discretion.

Happy holidays!

Well it looks like we’ll be having our first real series of cold nights this winter which also marks the time of year where many of Montreal’s inhabitants go into hibernation. No I’m not talking about all the squirrels, I’m making reference to those of you who use “it’s too cold out” as an excuse to get out of doing things.

Well don’t! There’s tons to do, so tell your roommate you’ll be wearing the long johns this weekend because you’ve got some shows to go to!

Hommage to Leonard Cohen – God is Alive, Magic is Afoot

The title pretty much sums it up. Everyone has their own way of grieving, remembering and paying tribute to someone and it’s no surprise that Montreal’s music community would do so with a concert.

Pop Montreal has put together a staggering list of artists who will be taking to the stage tonight at the Rialto to do their best to say goodbye not only to a great man and musician but also a member of their community.

All proceeds will be going back to the community in the form of a donation to Le Chainon which seems fitting for the mood of the evening. Now here’s a full concert’s worth of songs because picking just one track isn’t really possible.

Hommage to Leonard Cohen plays Théâtre Rialto, 5723 Avenue du Parc, Thursday, December 15th, 8:00pm (Doors at 6:30), $25, tickets through Pop Montreal.

 

A Tribe Called Red

Head over to the Théâtre Corona tonight and you can catch a trio of DJs (Bear Witness, DJ NDN and 2oolman) who combined form the group A Tribe Called Red. The best way of describing their style is that it’s a mix of various elements of hip hop, dance music and traditional First Nations music.

If you’re unfamiliar with the group this might be the point where you start scratching your head saying “that seems really interesting but what exactly would that sound like?” Well here’s the both catchy and powerful track Stadium Pow Wow which should help answer that question.

 A Tribe Called Red plays Théâtre Corona, 2490 Notre-Dame West, Thursday, December 15th, 8:00pm (Doors at 7:00), $32, tickets through box office.

 

Basin Fest Montreal

This annual festival is quite unique in that it isn’t centered on a specific style of music but rather the collection of artists who use Basin Street Studios as their home base. Located in Griffintown, this home away from home for many artists is an important part of the Montreal music community and it’s a great idea to get out once a year to celebrate it.

We’re not going to preview every band that’s playing but we can refer you to the Basin Fest 2016 playlist which has some killer tracks by some of our city’s best indie artists. So head down to Pirhana Bar this Saturday and check out an event that has the most randomly awesome list of co-sponsors: two radio stations (CJLO and CKUT), Frite Alors and Jägermeister. Yum!

 Basin Fest plays Piranha Bar, 680 Ste-Catherine Ouest, Saturday, December 17th, 7:00pm, $15.

Wander Years + Paper Beat Scissors

Casa Del Popolo will be hosting two wonderfully talented acts this Saturday in the form of Wander Years and Paper Beat Scissors who both have the ability to captivate audiences with beautifully powerful songs that evoke an array of emotions.

As usual, it’s best to let the music do the talking so here’s a track that should stir your emotions. I guess this doesn’t apply to our Vulcan readers but the rest of you should get it.

Wander Years and Paper Beat Scissors play Casa Del Popolo, 4873 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Saturday, December 17th, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:00), $8.00 ($10.00 at the door) available through blueskiesturnblack

* Featured image: ATribeCalledRed.com

* Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at music@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

I thought today would be quite fitting to review this classic film seeing as its main star, Kirk Douglas turns 100. Douglas had many great films but it is inarguable that his most memorable is in fact Spartacus, released in 1960 by Universal and directed by the legendary and controversial Stanley Kubrick.

The film is not solely notable for its quality but also for the political circumstances surrounding it. The film’s screenplay was written by Dalton Trumbo, a brilliant writer but also a noted communist and labour activist (the screenplay was also based off the novel that was based off the real Third Servile Revolt led by Spartacus written by Howard Fast, also a member of the American Communist Party).

Before 1947, Trumbo was one of the most sought-after writers in Hollywood but once he was put on trial by HUAC (the House Un-American Activities Committee) he became a pariah in Hollywood and started writing under various pseudonyms. Using a writer like him during McCarthy era America could pose several risks for Douglas, but he used him anyways.

Writing under the pseudonym Sam Jackson, Trumbo completed the film and delivered to Douglas a terrific screenplay. Back on the set, Douglas had fired the original director, Anthony Mann, replacing him with Stanley Kubrick, a notably adversarial and cold director.

Infuriated by Kubrick’s constant rewrites of the script, Trumbo promptly quit. In a courageous gesture, Douglas knew the only way to get him to return was to give Trumbo on-screen credit. Trumbo accepted and returned, knowing this would end the Hollywood blacklist that forced him and many other Hollywood writers into the shadows.

The movie did just that when it was released and attended by President Kennedy himself, who crossed the picket line of right-wing groups protesting the movie to go see it, effectively ending the blacklist. This story is immortalized by the 2015 film Trumbo, with Bryan Cranston playing Trumbo, I highly reccomend it; future movie review perhaps?

The film follows our title character, Spartacus (Douglas) and his slave revolt against the Roman empire in the first century BC. After having biting a guard, Spartacus is tied to a rock at the mine he works at and is sentenced to lay there until his death. Spotted by slimy Roman businessman Lanista Lentulus Batiatus (portrayed by Peter Ustinov), he is purchased and taken to Capua be trained in the art of killing to become a gladiator.

The story truly takes a turn when while fighting in the arena in front of Crassus (portrayed by Laurence Olivier), a sociopath Roman senator who is aiming to rise the ranks in Rome and become its dictator, Draba, a fellow gladiator and slave, decides to spare Spartacus upon having the opportunity to kill him and attacks Crassus instead. Draba is then killed by a guard and Crassus.

This brutal killing and disregard of human life prompts Spartacus to start his slave revolt against the massive Roman empire and the corrupt senators that are behind it.

For a 1960s film, the ending is very unconventional (Spolier!). Spartacus is left to be crucified after having been identified, denied victory with only the hope from Varinia (a slave and Spartacus’ love interest in the story) that his ideas will survive in the lives of his newborn son and fellow soldiers.

Throughout the picture, we can see glimpses of Trumbo and Fast’s ideologies. For one, there is the idea of Spartacus as the “people’s hero” and more notably, the famed “I am Spartacus” scene. During the McCarthy communist witch hunts both Fast and Trumbo refused to out their fellow communist comrades and this scene comes as an ode to that and a jab to those who so dogmatically ran the HUAC.

The film itself is relatively political as I have outlined and the first time I watched Spartacus it went way over my head. It was made in a tumultuous time of still rampant anti-communist rhetoric and a budding civil rights movement. In that context, the film’s social commentary is strong, latching onto concepts of slavery as a criticism of the treatment of African Americans.

Other than the politics surrounding the film, which I have abundantly touched upon, this film also mixes style with its substance with superb acting, set design and some meticulously choreographed fight scenes (all culminating with the climactic defeat of the slave army).

Despite some small flaws (like the length, which makes for poor pacing at times) and some undeveloped subplots, Spartacus is a film worth watching not only because of its aesthetic but also because of its themes and the history that surrounds it. That is the stuff of Hollywood legends. So to commemorate Mr. Douglas’ 100th birthday, I recommend you sit back and slap on this epic classic.

 

Feature Image courtesy of Univseral

So you may have seen that Time Magazine named Donald Trump its 2016 Person of the Year. This announcement was greeted with vocal condemnation and almost equally as vocal reminders that this isn’t an endorsement but rather an acknowledgement of the cultural and political impact Trump had in the US and around the world.

Given the fact that Time was going primarily on mainstream media narrative, Trump winning makes perfect sense. He did dominate the news coverage in 2016. If you have a problem with the result, then you should have a problem with the way the corporate media filter operates.

Instead of complaining, though, let’s simply take away that filter and see what we get. Forget the Box is going to name its own Person of the Year for 2016!

Like Time, we’re looking for the individual or group of connected individuals that had the biggest impact on our culture in the past year. Unlike Time, we’re not limiting our view of cultural impact to what is represented in the mainstream press. Social and indie media play just as big a role in our decision.

We’re giving everyone a chance to vote and are starting with some likely choices. As we’re based in Montreal, some are local and Canadian. We’ve also included Trump as a choice to be fair. If your choice is not on the list, simply state it in the comments below and we’ll add it to the options.

We do reserve the right to reject suggestions. We also reserve the right to make an editorial decision and give Person of the Year to someone other than the top vote getter, while still acknowledging who got the most votes. We probably won’t do that, but we will if the winner is Harambe (I mean, seriously, internet).

Anyways, here’s the poll, you have a week to vote. Then we’ll proudly announce FTB’s 2016 Person of the Year:

Who should be FTB's Person of the Year?

  • The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (42%, 13 Votes)
  • Bernie Sanders (26%, 8 Votes)
  • Gord Downie (10%, 3 Votes)
  • Donald Trump (6%, 2 Votes)
  • Anarchopanda (6%, 2 Votes)
  • Black Lives Matter (6%, 2 Votes)
  • Amy Goodman (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Nigel Farage (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Barack Obama (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Yoshua Bengio (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Hillary Clinton (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jeremy Corbyn (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Denis Coderre (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Justin Trudeau (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 31

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Welcome back to Friday Film Review. Alright so it isn’t Friday but from here on out I will aim to have these film reviews on a weekly basis every Friday for your weekend viewing pleasure.

For my first review, I’ve chosen the film Network from 1976 directed by Sidney Lumet and brilliantly penned by Paddy Chayefsky. I have chosen the film mostly because of it’s extreme relevance to today and this past American election. It is about a madman who, perpetuated by the media to boost ratings, rants about the current troubles of the times without filter on live television. Sound familiar?

Howard Beale (portrayed by Peter Finch) is an aging newsman from the fictional television network UBS, who is going through a mental breakdown. Recently widowed and about to lose his job due to sagging ratings, Beale goes on television still drunk from the night before and announces that he will blow his brains out on live television in a week’s time.

During Beale’s final days on air, he delivers a series of on-air monologues mostly about the “BS” nature of existence and hypocrisies of American society all culminating in his messianic exclamation; “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Upon seeing this, Diana (portrayed by Faye Dunaway), the heartless, cold and calculated executive from UBS’ programming department decides that they should keep Howard on air and exploit his prophetic visions, dubbing him a “mad prophet denouncing the hypocrisies of our time” at the behest of his friend Max (portrayed by William Holden), the head of the news department. Hesitant at first, the devious and equally cold corporate hatchet man Frank (portrayed by Robert Duvall) agrees to Diane’s proposal, seeing that it will boost ratings.

This all comes to a standstill, when Beale catches the eye of CCA president (the board that governs UBS) Arthur Jensen (portrayed by Ned Beatty), when he reveals and ultimately ruins a deal between the CCA and a Saudi Arabian conglomerate. Upon discovering this, Jensen invites Beale to his ominous boardroom and gives to Beale one of the best and most thunderous monologues of film history and all in his second and final appearance in the film.

At the end of the monologue Beale asks why he is the one to deliver this message. Jensen’s reply? “Because you’re on television dummy.”

Beale leaves with Jensen’s bleak message that essentially nothing matters but the almighty dollar and to accept the current state of corporatocracy. Preaching, Jensen’s depressing message puts Beale into a ratings slump once again, not liking the “new” madman, the network decides to dispose of him in a way that is truly appropriate for outrageous television.

If we look more closely into this film, we can posit that a lot of what Chayefsky wrote has come true. Corporate structures own more media outlets than they ever have before and the mad prophet archetype built up by the media speaking of corporate good existing with Trump didn’t start with him. It also exists with people like Glenn Beck and is even further perpeutated on social media by people like the rabid and overly-emotional Alex Jones of Infowars. In this, Chayefsky’s writing was way beyond its time.

The film is a swath of thoughtful and powerful monologues given by equally powerful actors with interesting stories and themes, to boot. I didn’t touch on a lot them here but there is also powerful commentary on the convergence of politics and the media with communist leader Laureen Hobbs meeting with Diana to create a series to exploit the ultra-leftist Ecumenical Liberation Front, led by the Great Ahmed Khan, to boost ratings. Their relationship begins with this memorable introduction:

There is also the relationship between Max and Diana, revealing Diana as the result of a generation that has grown up on television. In their final scene Max describes her as “television incarnate.”

In short, Network is a clever (at times too clever) and excellently written film and it’s not hard to see why it won four Oscars with performances as amazing as Peter Finch’s and Faye Dunnaway’s. The sharp, satirical wit of Chayefsky really comes out with this flick. If you want to stay in and treat yourself to a dark satire on the hypocrisies of our time look no further than this well-aged cinematic magnum opus.

Featured image courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer and United Artists

Well December is upon us and you know what that means… you guessed it, metal bands raising money for Christmas charities! We’ve also got some great local and Canadian artists coming to town and for those who are into creating music, there’s a really awesome workshop taking place on Friday you should know about.

Let’s get started shall we…

MTLHC Christmas Benefit Party

Friday night,  bands from Montreal’s punk and metal communities will be coming together with Northern Sound Records to put on a show where the “profits will go into buying toys for the kids.” Bands on the bill include Harriers, Nuke, Gazm, Boundaries, Kennedy and Front Commun.

They’re also accepting canned goods at the event, if you bring a can then the cover charge is ten instead of fifteen bucks. Either way your contributions to this event will be going to a good cause. Also let’s not forget there’s six bands starting early and ending late who will be ready to give you a kick ass show!

MTLHC Christmas Benefit Party plays La Vitrola 4602 Boulevard St-Laurent, Friday, December 2nd, 7:30pm (Doors at 7:00), $15, (or $10 with a canned good).

Abigail Lapell + Dana Sipos

There’s no excuse if you miss Toronto based singer/songwriter Abigail Lapell who is in town this week for back to back shows, Thursday at Bad Lunch and Friday at Le Cagibi (where she will be joined by another great Canadian folk artist Dana Sipos). So take your pick for which night works best and come on down!

Rooted in traditional folk music,  Abigail’s sound still speaks to the modern world with a new an unique spin on the genre while still respecting the music’s roots. Early in 2017, Abigail will be coming out with a new ten song album entitled Hide Nor Hare so these shows will feature some fresh tracks that should get you excited for this upcoming release.

 Abigail Lapell and Dana Sipos play Le Cagibi, 5490 Boulevard St-Laurent, Friday, December 2nd, 8:00pm.

 

Chronolith + Wolk  + Ricardo the Fabulous

Everyone’s favourite dive Barfly will putting on an evening of metal music promoted by Grimey MTL this Saturday featuring Chronolith, Wolk and Ricardo the Fabulous. With the cover charge for this show being only five bucks and with Barfly’s well known “lowest prices on the Main” drink menu, this is certainly the most student friendly event of the weekend.

(I’d just like to put a disclaimer, Barfly doesn’t actually go around saying they have the lowest prices. Like don’t go in asking for a price match policy with some special you found at Bifteck just because someone on the internet said they had the lowest prices).

 Chronolith, Wolk and Ricardo the Fabulous play Barfly 4062a Boulevard St-Laurent, Saturday, December 3rd, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:30), $5, at the door only.

 

RAC Workshop with Steve Baughman + Mauricio Iragorri

The last “show” this week isn’t for music fans but instead a great opportunity for people creating music to meet and learn from two of the best mixing and mastering experts in the field today. Recording Arts Canada will be hosting an event here in Montreal on Friday where you can meet Steve Baughman and Mauricio Iragorri and learn their tricks of the trade.

In order to attend you need to sign up and we’ve been warned that space is very limited so you might want to get on it right away! There’s also a session on Saturday in Toronto for those living in or travelling to that area.

* Featured image of Chronolith via Facebook

* Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at music@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

November’s Candyass Cabaret was special one, for sure. Glad I made it. If you missed it, you missed a great show, but you can still catch the next one (more on that later).

It was the Montreal burlesque show’s 50th edition. With a new show, a new lineup and rotating hosts the third Friday of every month, the Candyass crew has been quite busy.

Emcee Ryan G. Hinds
Emcee Ryan G. Hinds

Their anniversary show at Cafe Cleopatre (where else) featured performers who have been part of it since the beginning such as show founder Velma Candyass, Roxy Hardon, Diane Labelle and Nat King Pole. They were joined by performers who became part of the Candyass Club along the way like Jacy Lafontaine, Damiana Dolce, Lili Lolipop and Pyrometheus. There were also visiting guests from Buffalo, New York’s Stripteasers Burlesque: Cat Sinclair (aka FTB columnist Cat McCarthy), Juicy Lucy and Fifi Laflea.

The Buffalo trio, wearing Pussy Riot masks and carrying protest signs, reminded everyone that burlesque performance and the very act of removing (most of) your clothing on stage for the sake of art is much more than sexy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite hot, especially when done by these performers, but it’s also a political act.

This, of course, was the first Candyass Cabaret since the Trump victory south of the border. Emcee Ryan G. Hinds also briefly mentioned the political climate the show was being performed in, but kept the evening squarely focused on the theme of the night, which was musical theatre.

He even sang a few tunes himself: Coming Up Roses from Gypsy and You’ll Be Back from Hamilton. All part of his main job, keeping the audience entertained and happy during acts like a good emcee should.

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(l-r) Velma Candyass and Roxy Hardon (photo Argaive)

On a personal note, Hinds was quite generous with the questions when he called audience members up to the stage to answer musical theatre trivia. I placed third (having placed first in the audience dance contest at the previous Candyass Cabaret). Full disclosure: The Music Man is NOT my favourite musical, I was in it in high school and it’s the first one that popped into my head when asked. I’m actually partial to Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Wicked.

Speaking of singing (as we were before that little diversion), the vocal highlight of the evening has got to be Roxy Hardon’s rendition of Nowadays from Chicago. Deceptively soft at first, then revealing the true power of the tune.

Of course, this led to her being joined on stage by Velma Candyass, who had already performed earlier, for a raucous final…wait, Roxy and Velma? Chicago? Oh now I get it, only took me 50 shows.

It only took Pyrometheus a few moments to get down and dirty with his chimney sweeping brush to the tune of Chim Chim Cheree. Yes, the song from Mary Poppins. Instead of the film version, though, he opted for a lesser known but quite interesting Duke Ellington rendition. Bonus points for not using the Dick Van Dyke version and setting up so many obvious puns.

jacy-lafontaine-candyass-cabaret
Jacy Lafontaine

Then there was Jacy Lafontaine dancing to a song from Sweeny Todd. Making a musical about a murderous barber sexy is not an easy feat, but she pulled it off flawlessly.

Lili Lolipop had everyone Singing in the Rain. No need to bring your umbrella, she brought her own! And Sondheim wasn’t left out as Diane Labelle danced to Tintinnabula from A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers isn’t from a musical per se, but, as Hinds pointed out in his introduction, the moment Barbara Streisand is involved, it counts. Nat King Pole in the role of Neil Diamond and Damiana Dolce as Streisand offered a very funny and even sweet modern take this classic love duet.

There was also cake!

Sounds like a great show, right? Sad you missed it? You should be…but fret not, dear reader. FTB is giving you a chance to win a pair of tickets to the next one!

To participate, just sign up for the FTB E-mail Newsletter list right here. We’ll send you a digest of some of our best content each week and also, on Monday, December 12th, we’ll send our subscribers info on how to enter for the draw (so you should sign up by then).

The show is on Friday, December 16th at Cafe Cleopatre, 1230 boul St-Laurent, 2nd floor, Doors 9pm, Show 10pm. This one has a holiday theme and features Diane Labelle, Nat King Pole, Damiana Dolce, Roxie Hardon, Mary Sisuei & Golem de Lave, Lili Lolipop & more! Plus Classy Claire is back with a tasty selection of rumballs.

Even if you don’t win the tickets, trust me, it’s worth your while to check it out. Only $10 at the door!

* All photos by Denis-André Desjardins except where otherwise noted

Forget The Box’s weekly Arts Calendar is back for its last November edition. Take a look at these excellent events if you’re looking for fun and inexpensive things to check out!

As always; if you’re interested in going to one of these events and want to cover it for us, send a message  or leave a comment below.

Beaux Dégâts #45 – Tap Water Jam MTL + Ella Grave showcase

Beaux Dégâts is a time-honoured Montreal tradition that combines improvisation in musical and fine arts to create a unique organic event space. From their Facebook page:

“Beaux Dégâts tries to make a parallel between the reality of street artists and the Fine Arts. It is here to bring back what has been ignored for too long by art institutions and return to the street artist’s reality: the importance of community, sharing, accessibility and uniqueness.

For two hours, six teams of artists will improvise 8ft X 8ft murals on different themes given on the night. Each team will have to research and find visual references to create a production in front of public. All mediums except spray cans are allowed. During the evening, the public will vote for it’s favorite mural using their empty Pabst beer cans. The team that will collect the most cans will win the right to paint over the other artists work if they wish.”

Beaux Dégâts #45: Live Improvised Painting and Music – Wednesday, Nov 30, Foufounes Electriques, 8pm-1am. Entrance: 5$

The Crossing presented by Cinema Politica Concordia

Cinema Politica is a media arts, non-profit network of community and campus locals that screen independent political film and video by Canadian and international artists throughout Canada and abroad. It is volunteer-run and all screenings are by donation.

 

The film that Cinema Politica is screening this Monday, The Crossing, “takes us along on one of the most dangerous journeys of our time with a group of Syrians fleeing war and persecution, crossing a sea, two continents and five countries, searching for a home to rekindle the greatest thing they have lost – Hope.”

The Crossing screening @ Cinema Politica Concordia, 1455 de Maisonneuve Boulevard W, Room H-110, Monday, 7pm. Entrance by Donation

50/50 presented at Mainline Theatre

50/50 is a novel concept; a half-scripted, half-improvised live comedy show! This show was a major hit at Just For Laughs 2016 and will not be back for four months – definitely catch this if you can at the Mainline Theatre.

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Coming off a sellout show at OFF-JFL/Zoofest this past July, 50/50 returns with a new cast blending talented actors and hilarious comedians. In each of the show’s nine scenes, a prepared actor who has learned lines off a real script is paired with an improviser who has no prior knowledge of what the actor has rehearsed.

50/50 @ Mainline Theatre, 3997 boul St-Laurent. Wednesday, November 30th, 8pm. $15 (students/seniors/QDF Members $12)

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at arts@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!