Panelists Samantha Gold, Cem Ertekin and Jerry Gabriel discuss the Ghomeshi trials, recent terror attacks around the world and Netflix’s new actions regarding VPNs and Proxy Servers. Cem also gives us a McGill Update. Plus the Community Calendar and Predictions!
Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau
Production Assistant: Enzo Sabbagha
Psymposia and the CSSDP are presenting Psychedelic Stories & 920 Psilocybin Mushroom Day. It’s actually a two day gathering, which seeks to engender awareness about the medicinal properties of the Psilocybin Mushroom. By providing a space for sharing stories and for exploring and discussing new research on psychedelics the organizers hope to give a balanced view of what Psilocybin Mushrooms offer in terms of spirituality and healing. The itinerary looks fresh, educational and gully at the same time. I spoke with Gonzo Nieto, one of the curators of the event.
J: Tell me briefly about your curatorial aesthetic and what you hope to accomplish with the event…
G: With the event, we’re hoping to bring attention to the medicinal and spiritual effects and the healing potential of psilocybin mushrooms, as well as to address and push back against the stigma that surrounds the mushroom and its use.
J: And as far as aesthetic is concerned?
G: Our lineup for the 920 Psilocybin Mushroom Day is curated not only to educate about psilocybin mushrooms, but also to reflect the underlying message and meaning of the experience itself. The mushroom carries a message of wholeness, of movement toward our full human potential, so alongside presentations on psilocybin research we have a breathwork session, a yoga class, and a presentation on dream hacking.
W3rd, right!?! This event is gonna bang hard, I even heard Hamilton Morris from VICE might show up. The space is dope. The panels and talks are both academic and shamanistic. The vendors are talented af and, well, I’ll be there. Na’mean. Come through, get your photo taken, learn something. Hit me up, I’ll be outside during “Terrence McKenna Happy Hour” for sure…
For over eight weeks, photographer Robert Van Waarden travelled from Hardisty Alberta to Saint-John New Brunswick in order to talk with and photograph residents living along the projected path of TransCanada’s EnergyEast pipeline. He has chronicled his many stops and is now in the process of curating his images and short films for an upcoming travelling exhibit that will revisit the communities he visited along the pipeline’s route.
While travelling the country by car, he has witnessed first-hand the generosity and hospitality of countless Canadians. Van Waarden has been able to discuss at length with those who will bear the brunt of the risk if ever the pipeline is built, and says that the main concerns residents have with the project is water safety, spills and climate change. These are legitimate concerns. Gaspé is fighting Petrolia over regulations that would protect the town’s drinking water from harm caused by hydraulic fracturing while in Alberta, the lakes surrounding the oil sands are being polluted at an alarming rate.
TransCanada’s EnergyEast pipeline is slated to cross the Nipigon River which flows into Lake Superior, the world’s largest fresh-water lake that millions of Canadians and Americans rely on for drinking water. Van Waarden interviewed Keith Hobbs, mayor of Thunder Bay and Chair of the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities, an opponent of the EnergyEast pipeline.
Despite environmental concerns, some see the pipeline as a positive economic force that will create jobs and stimulate Canada’s economy. Some figures seem to back them up: in the last year, nine out of ten new jobs in Canada were created in Alberta, and while countries across the globe still struggle to reboot their economy, Canada’s export markets has become an engine of growth.
Some people are ready to take on the immediate environmental risk to their community (let alone the global reach of tar-sands pollution) for the promise of some direct or trickle-down economic gain. It’s unfortunate that people are being put in this situation and that the discussion is constrained to tar-sand jobs vs. no jobs when in fact, green energy initiatives have the potential to create even more jobs , stimulate technological innovation and sustainable growth with less risk for both people and the environment.
Van Waarden also met with First Nations people who have opened their homes and hearts and shared their experience among them Kanesetake Grand Chief Serge Simon who discussed his community’s oppositions to the pipeline.
If First Nations have often been sidelined when it comes to natural resources development and extraction, the recent Supreme Court decision in favour of the Tsilhqot’in in British Columbia will no doubt shake things up a bit. Van Waarden says that the “First Nations could stop this pipeline and that they are taking it seriously. From what I have seen and heard they are going to be a force to reckon with.”
“We live in a beautiful country and there is an incredible amount of land and people that would be impacted by this pipeline. There are many strong voices and opinions in this country and the common thread throughout is that Canadians and First Nations are questioning the direction we are headed. It has been an honour to listen to and photograph so many diverse individuals and communities”
Our fair city is just a little bit more colourful than it was since the second edition of Mural Festival took place last month. Local and international artists painted 20 new murals along the Main. The festival started under the rain but thankfully the sun came out just in time, allowing the artists to work on their walls. Some artists kept painting despite the rain such as RONE, from Australia, who finished up his mural on St-Dominique just as the rain stopped.
A few of the walls from last year’s Mural were repainted but most of them were done on brand new walls adding even more art to the city. Kevin Ledo’s breathtaking wall of a woman from the Hupa Tribe, inspired from a photo by Edward Curtis, is of a significant contribution to this year’s festival.
This year Mural introduced Le Market, a pop up shop in the Parc du Portugal, where festival goers could shop local to live music all weekend. Also new this year, in collaboration with ExCentris Cinema, screenings of street art or graffiti related movies. Patrick O’Connor’s Making A Name and Freights were two of the nine documentaries screened the first one focusing on Montreal’s graffiti scene and the second on graffiti traveling on freight trains. A wonderful initiative to educate on this underground culture.
Every day, the Block Party entertained the masses with live music in the parking lot behind Station 16. Kashink’s impressive, massive and colorful mural in the same parking lot is just a preview of her exhibition at Station 16 which runs until July 3. Walking around felt like being on a treasure hunt because Mural’s not just about paintings along building walls. In the spirit of street arts, Peter Schmittson decorated our streets with sculptures, Mathieu Connery painted our sidewalks, Labrona gave more colors to doors along The Main, Garbage Beauty beautified with calligraphy discarded items found on the curb. Finally, be on the lookout for hundreds of diamonds installed on walls all over the city by Le Diamantaire.
It’s now time for a walk around with the camera or your phone to spot all these treasures. Don’t forget some murals are on Clark, on St-Dominique and one at the corner of St-Urbain and Guilbault.
I ended up at Untitled Sam Mullins Project at the Montreal Fringe because I’m an idiot—this, I promise, is not a disclaimer.
The fact is I ended up at Sam Mullins because my Interweb Googleplexing abilities rather failed me in the moment, and while I thought I was in the right place for Johnny Legdick, I somehow ended up at Untitled Sam Mullins Project, and with a friend along for the ride to boot. And with my friend’s ticket already paid for, and Johnny Legdick already, oh, 25 minutes in and 15 minutes away down the road (at TSC, not Mainline, I’ve now learned), we decided to proceed as planned and feign no faux-pas. And we didn’t regret it.
Sam Mullins is, my friend tells me: curly haired, sweet, a plucker of her similarly panic-attack-y heartstrings, and full of nice muscles. My friend says Sam Mullins is hot. I say Sam Mullins tells a mean story, or four, and delivers them in an honest, straightforward, audience-connected way.
Sam Mullins, at least to this Google-for-Dummies simpleton, is refreshing. Where I’ve come to expect costume work, sketchiness and stand-up antics from one man/woman shows (sometimes with tremendous success, sometimes with tremendous barf), Sam Mullins is just a guy, with some muscles, telling some stories about himself.
Whether it be about that dress he wore to school, the hometown hockey glory he ruined, the time his father saved Josh Hamilton’s career, or his panic attacks and the road he’s gone down to overcome it all, on stage—Sam Mullins is just, seemingly, quaintly, himself, and the sound writing instincts he’s trying out for us, unburdening himself one well-crafted story at a time. There’s some nipping and tucking ahead, but that’s kinda the whole point.
In any case, there’s nothing overly clever to say here. Just cats instead of marriage is indeed a brilliant idea. He’ll explain it to you; have no fear.
In his Frankie award-winning show The Quitter, Al Lafrance brings the audience through his bumpy trip on the road to happiness. Spoiler alert; donuts, mix tapes and small town Quebec are all part of the journey that lead this former General manager of the Montreal Fringe Festival to where he is today.
For a man who describes himself as grumpy, Lafrance can be pretty darn charming. Even before he began speaking during his last performance, the packed crowd at Montreal Improv erupted with applause. LaFrance is a man who loves the Montreal Fringe, and the Montreal Fringe clearly loves him back.
The show is a mix between stand-up comedy and storytelling. Other Fringe performers used intricate props and amusing imagery to help grab the audience’s attention and did it well. Lafrance meanwhile commands just as much attention roaming around the stage for an hour with nothing but confidence and a box of donuts he left for everyone on the way in. He can get away with that largely because it’s hard not to respect Lafrance’s no bullshit approach to reflecting on his life: I’m not perfect, mistakes have been made. Thankfully some of them have been amusing enough for me to share and make you laugh.
The journey may have been silly at times, heartbreaking in others. But the lesson LaFrance has learned is something that everybody can appreciate: sometimes quitting doesn’t mean failing. Sometimes you need to make mistakes in life so that you can end up where you’re supposed to be. While Fringe shows can at times have an air of self-importance to them, it was a pleasure for this reviewer to end her Fringe 2014 experience on such an upbeat note.
The Quitter has completed its run at the Montreal Fringe Festival. Make sure to check out LaFrance’s website Bloody Underrated for information on his cross-Canada Fringe tour.
The following is a review for a show you will never see.
The setting? A Victorian-era drawing room. The characters? Two English gentleman. The story? Well my darlings that changes every time as Bandolier of Dreams is a hilarious hour of improv from Matt Goldberg and Mike Hughes- aka two members of the long-running comedy troupeUncalled For.
At the story telling shows I’ve seen this year’s Montreal Fringe festival, I’ve come to have great respect for the talent it takes to keep an audience engrossed in your story. Improv I feel like takes it up a notch. Not only do you have to keep an audience entertained, but you’re under the added pressure of making it all up as you go along (and in this show all while speaking in an English accent!). I assume Goldberg and Hughes set out very loose parameters of where they want the story to go and have fun props like tea trays, wine bottles and telephones to keep the show moving along.
Needless to say, Goldberg and Hughes hit it out of the park. The two have an easy and obvious chemistry that comes from their years working together, and are professionals in the art of improvisation. There were times when Goldberg came close to breaking character and bursting out laughing but honestly, it only added to the silly atmosphere. As their Fringe profile declares, you come to this show for the “comedy experience”, not serious theatre.
I had even greater respect for the difficulties of creating witty banter on the spot when yours truly got called up onstage in an audience cameo role. I caught on to some of the tricks of improv; your actors will feed you ideas you can build on by asking questions or open ended statements. I came up with much more amusing things I could have said on the metro ride home then I did on stage, but it was a fun experience none the less. (Oh and that wine they drink onstage folks is definitely real so thanks for the drink guys!) Remember to give a wink to Hughes during the show and who knows, maybe you’ll end up a star of Bandolier of Dreams as well.
Bandolier of Dreams plays at Theatre Sainte Catherine until June 22nd.
I’ve never been to a wake, but I can safely say hosting one in a bar, a most Irish affectation, I am told, may come with a certain set of unfortunate but hilarious outcomes. It’s an old cliché that death rituals are about the living—a show of elegy, narcissus eulogies. Sermo Scomber Theatre’s In Memoriam is no different. It hinges on the ridiculousness of the fact and basks in it’s messy, lively tastelessness.
A shuffling cast of fluid, multi-talented women (and one gent, too), all of Cheddar Fandango’s eulogizers take turns refilling their swizzle-stick drinks, throwing back shots at the bar and telling all of us what cheddar meant to them. As you might assume, things turn to retribution and over-sharing as everyone gets more and more liquored up. Shouts across the room are exchanged, expediently. And in turn, we get a realer, more hilarious portrait of Cheddar, as well as of the people who populated her life.
Whether it’s her three singing sisters—the kind one, the estranged one, the white and not-so-nice one—her best friend, who met her when she walked in on her screwing her husband in Berlin, the pal who wants his cashmere back, the friend who aims to, corset and all, make it yet another performance, and the random dame/crasher who no one seems to know, and who’s full of checkout aisle slam poems, everyone at Cheddar’s bar-side wake takes part in making it what Cheddar’s life seems to have been at its best: a performance.
Complete with reaper/dead-Cheddar tap-dance interludes, original songs and a crowd pleasing rendition of “Amazing Grace,” In Memoriam doesn’t disappoint, even if it’s got one too many Tom Waits songs in the background. Wakes are kinda tacky, so it’s alright; indulgences have their time and place.
See it at the Wiggle Room tonight as part of the Montreal Fringe festival; pay your respects, if you’ve got any.
Australian story teller Jon Bennett returns to the Montreal Fringe with his new one-man show Story Whore. Looking at the titles of Bennett’s previous Fringe shows (Pretending Things are a Cock and Fire in The Meth Lab) is a quick way to prepare yourself for what you can expect this time ‘round. Some of its silly, some of its serious, thankfully all of it’s entertaining.
Bennett’s past shows have included stories of his ultra-religious father and meth dealing brother. Now that he’s run out of interesting stories to share of other people, what’s a story teller to do? Inspired by a Montreal (or likely whatever city you catch the show in) airport security guard who questions whether he knows what love is, Bennett guides the audience on an epic journey through the soaring highs and dramatic lows of his romantic relationships.
A quick look at Bennett’s website demonstrates that story telling is perhaps his life’s greatest passion. I missed his past Fringe shows, but it’s clear Bennett has worked hard at crafting an anecdote just right. Whether it’s deciding which exact moment to use voice inflections, or incorporating real and re-imagined items from his life, it’s all part of a goal to gain your sympathy and trust.
As an audience member you know you’re being manipulated. While the real names of people in the stories have been obviously changed, you can’t help but wonder how one would feel knowing Bennett was traveling around the world sharing personal details of your relationship. Or how much of these stories are exaggerated, or even true.
But Bennett is such a good performer you never cling to those feelings for long. It’s much more fun to just go along for the ride. Because seriously, when else in your life will you see a man in his thirties run around in a dress while recounting a sad childhood memory?
We’re nearing beer o’clock. More specifically, we’re nearing the most highly-anticipated 60 hour stretch of conspicuous beer consumption of the year. It’s called the Mondial de la Bière.
Unlike your average worknight, where access to Porto Alegre or Farnham microbrews can be tricky to say the least, a quick métro ride will suffice to sample over 500 types of malted bev between June 11th and 15th.
570 is a big flashy number, kids, but here’s what I’m most excited about.
Over half those beers are making their Mondial premiere. Given the fact that each brewer generally wants to showcase as much product as possible every year, this is a big deal.
What does this mean? 269 beers that you’ve likely never tried before.
Where to start? From Noir et Blanc’s Abyss’ale to DDC’s rhubarb & grapefruit stout to a new 8% sparkling cider from McKeown, the newbie carte is vast. Some on the list have already premiered around town, such as Brutopia’s Dreadnought or McAuslan’s Double IPA. But that should not stop you from tasting a drab or two and learning more about how they make their beers–if only to make more informed decisions in the future.
Eat while you drink
While you may think that the only food you’re interested in is barley or wheat, you must recall that beer tasting goes smoother (and longer) if puncutated with just the right amount (and type) of nourishment
For the first time, I’m very happy to see the Mondial assuming some serious gastronomical duties. Whereas previous iterations have featured a smattering of stands with small nibbles, this year features 15 full-out food kiosques and an entire slate of tutorials on cooking with beer.
So to that end—and possibly because, well, beer drinkers are such sturdy types—you’ll find stalls with deer smoked-meat (on panini) seal’s loins and even wild boar hamburgers. If yours is a fragile stomach, don’t worry, there’s plenty of traditional stuff like pretzels, sausages and meatballs.
How bout them apples?
500 varieties of malted bev can be rather overwhelming. But gluten doesn’t rule the day here. At the Mondial, “bière” is a loose term, and you’ll also find over 50 different ciders, meads, and other fruit-based options.
So save up your loonies this weekend ($1 gets you a drink ticket; most drinks cost 2-4 tickets). Next weeken will be a hoppin’. (Sorry)
Keep an eye out for our recap of the Mondial’s gastronomical offerings, as well as a Top 10 new alcoholic “découvertes”, right here in Food & Drunk!
When the title and subject matter of Lars von Trier’s latest film were announced, they surely piqued the interest of fans of the controversial director’s work. Known for putting female characters through brutal torment on screen as well as explicit sexual imagery (epitomized by the self-clitoridectomy in his last film Antichrist), it seemed that nymphomania would be a natural fit for him.
While those familiar elements are definitely at play in Nyphomaniac, released a few weeks ago in two parts, von Trier also interweaves a wild and poetic story rich in metaphoric associations and well-timed interjections. Charlotte Gainsbourg stars as Joe, the titular self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, who narrates her life story to an old, charming bachelor named Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) who takes her in after finding her badly beaten in an alley.
She starts off in her formative years, detailing some of the experiences that lead down the path of deviant sexual behavior, including a competition with a friend on a train ride to see who could have more sexual partners. Joe wins the bag of chocolate sweets they were competing for by convincing a married man to accept sloppy train car head, giving you a sense of von Trier’s darkly comic sense of humor that balances the film’s more depressing scenes. She falls in love, she loses love and as her number of sexual partners exponentially increases, her life spins out of control to the point where she no longer derives pleasure, or any feeling at all, from the act by which she defines her identity.
Von Trier alleviates some of the story’s tension with a pseudo-documentary style of quick cuts of vintage-looking stock images and videos of subjects relating to the narrative. It also helps that Seligman has an encyclopedic knowledge of a wide array of topics, and his non-judgemental nature aids in drawing gorgeous allusions, like three different sexual partners completing a person on different levels, much the way three notes come together to form a chord. Sexual desire and the hunting of someone to fulfill it is also compared fly fishing and the Fibonacci sequence, which also plays a role in film’s devastating climactic scene.
It wouldn’t be a movie about nymphomania without some graphic sexual content. There are a few instances of very realistic looking oral sex and one scene that includes penetration that was performed by pornographic body doubles and digitally spliced into the scene in post-production. There is also a fair amount of full front nudity, both male and female, including a highly entertaining nearly two minute long montage of penises of all shapes, sizes and colors.
With a film chock full of sexual content, von Trier goes out of his way to illustrate that Joe’s desires are often being enacted because of a compulsion. In many of the film’s earlier scenes as a younger girl, Joe’s vapid and downright bored facial expression is akin to a person picking dirt out from under their fingernails while riding on the metro. Even later in her story when she is no longer able to reach orgasm and seeks out sadomasochistic solutions to her problem, she does so by abandoning her young child at home alone. Her overwhelming desire to satisfy her urges was worth more to her than anything else. She may have gotten an orgasm worth losing her family over, but she never forgives herself for it.
After trying to fight her nature, she comes to embraces it, loudly and proudly at a sex addict support group meeting. She profoundly tears each member of the group to shred for their triggers and lack of impulse control and chooses to declare herself a nymphomaniac rather than a sex addict. Whether or not Joe finds salvation and redemption at the film’s close may be up for dispute, but ultimately von Trier gives us a very excellent study of a salacious character at her most honest and vulnerable.
Last March, I heard the film Making A Name, a documentary on Montreal’s graffiti scene, was screening at the FIFA Festival and got tickets right away. I was lucky because it was the only screening of the movie and it sold out quickly.
Patrick O’Connor, the man behind this amazing project, started photographing the Montreal graffiti scene back in 1995. In 2004, he got his first video camera and started documenting Montreal’s graffiti sub-culture using the contacts he got as a writer back in the 90s. I recently got the chance to meet up with Patrick and talk about his past projects and his new film Freights, which premiers tomorrow at FIFA.
Why did you decide to create Making A Name?
I was planning on making a global documentary originally. I traveled in Europe, visited 15 cities in 10 countries, and got a lot of footage. Then Pablo Aravena came out with the documentary Next: A Primer On Urban Painting in 2005, which is probably one of the first global documentaries. After reflection and discussion with David Boots, a very good friend, I decided to do the project on a smaller scale and focus on Montreal.
How long did it take to make the movie? What was the biggest challenge?
It took almost ten years to make Making A Name. The action shots of the movie were mostly filmed between 2004 and 2008; some interviews were done around 2007-2008, but most of them were done between 2008 and 2012. The biggest challenge was to feel stuck in between some writers fighting for different reasons; some people gave me a bit of a hard time but it all worked out. Most of the writers knew me already so they trusted me.
How did you react when FIFA decided to screen your movie?
I did screenings of rough cuts in smaller venues such as bars for a few years before that, which although also had amazing turnouts overflowed with people, with getting into FIFA I felt it validated me as a filmmaker for the first time.
What did you think of the night of the premiere? The Cinquième Salle at Place des Arts was sold out with a very vocal crowd.
I was totally expecting the audience to be loud. A lot of the writers smuggled some booze in and were more vocal than others. The street artists got booed by some writers, as some are hardcore purists and don’t like their work. It was a fun time.
Will Making A Name be released in theatres? Has it been in other festivals?
Making A Name along with bonus material will most likely be released on Youtube and limited DVD copies as well eventually. It did screen in Toronto in a theatre and that went well. I did the movie more for the experience, to learn and now I know more about making documentaries.
How would you define the Montreal graffiti scene? What has changed over the years?
There is a lot less graffiti in the metro, there used to be tags on every step of the escalators back in the days. There are a lot of new writers in the streets, but the game itself is the same. A bunch of the older writers are still around, some who still do illegal work while others mainly legal. There was a lot more political graffiti here around the time I started documenting it in 1995.
Do you have a favorite writer?
Scan is my favorite for his overall style and the amount of work he has done since he started around ‘96 in NDG alleyways. He is very consistent in his quality of letters and styles whether it’s a tag, a throw up, or a mural.
What is next?
Freights, my new documentary on graffiti on freight trains in North America, mostly Canada, as it helped save time and money. I traveled across Canada from Victoria to Halifax to meet and interview writers. A lot of the B role (of passing trains) shots were shot in Saint-Henri, as it’s one of the busiest train lines in this city with names from a wide range of provinces and states. It is a look in a specific subculture of graffiti.
Freights will be premiering on Friday, March 21st at 9 p.m, and the second screening is on Sunday, March 23rd at 6:30 p.m. Get your ticket on FIFA’s website.
Drawing, as a fundamental medium in both the arts and sciences, is a rich topic for exploration. Very few of us have gone our entire adult lives without being asked to draw out our ideas, stick figures and all. A Priori, an exhibition held at the VAV Gallery, is showcasing the works of 12 artists that have investigated the important relationship between drawing and communicating knowledge. The aim of the exhibition is to showcase work created during the Concordia University course “Drawing and Knowledge” taught by professor Patrick Traer.
The exhibition will also provide the public with a chance to meditate on what drawing means to them. Tremé Manning-Cere, one of the participating artists in the exhibition, explained their goals: “We hope that after visiting the exhibition the viewer has gained new knowledge, either on a topic they were unfamiliar with, or on how drawing as a medium, can hugely vary and has the power to portray great information, ideas, narratives and histories.”
Each artist has chosen a particular subject to communicate through the medium, ranging from gun laws to anatomy. “Much like the diverse experiences and ideas that each artist is trying to document and express, their representations are fluid and each uniquely individualistic”, added Tremé. The exhibition gives equal space to both traditional forms of drawing and broader conceptualizations, such as using makeup to create marks on a face.
The place of the artist themselves in drawing is questioned in some of the pieces that have used mechanized objects, such as a mousetrap, to create marks. One of these mark-making machines will be running during the exhibition, giving the viewer a chance to experience the performance of drawing and mark making.
What place does drawing have in today’s image-saturated world? Make your own interpretations by visiting the exhibition February 3 – February 14. A Vernissage will be held February 4 from 6- 9pm, as well as a Finissage on the 14th from 6- 9pm, each with a different set of artists present to talk about their works. For more information, visit their Facebook event page.
I have this guy friend who I met a few years ago. We don’t hang out a lot, but go out together maybe once or twice a month. He’s been in a relationship with the same woman for about 10 years and as far as I can tell has never cheated on her. So basically, he’s a good guy.
Often when we’re hanging out he makes a lot of comments about how good I look, calls me his girl, compliments my lips, my butt…you get the point. He basically verbally hits on me A LOT. And the other weird part of this is, although I’ve known this guys for a few years, I’ve never met his girlfriend. That’s weird, right?
So last time we hung out we had a bit (ok a lot) too much to drink and we kissed. It didn’t go any further than that and we both agreed that he should go home right away. Since then I’ve been answering his texts less and, while we’ve run into each other at parties from time to time, we haven’t hung out alone at all.
You are a victim of a friendzone relationship gone wrong. His reaction was predictable. He visibly is attracted to you and about to go 50 shades of fucking C-R-A-Z-Y for you. There are two reasons a guy friend with a girlfriend wants to hang out twice a month with a fine lady like you: either he’s trying to do the mambo jambo with you or he likes to cultivate the possibility of doing the mambo jambo with you. Why do you think he never introduced you to his girlfriend ? Every sane man knows that it’s never a good idea to introduce his girlfriend to a hot lady friend. Face it, you’re the one that got away and should stay away or at least not hang out alone with him or drink alone with him or do any activity alone with him to avoid further relapse.
Love Hip Hop Karaoke? Want to win some free stuff? Well you’ve come to the right place! ForgetTheBox has teamed up with the fine folks of HHK Montreal to give you the chance to win a swag pack that includes two tickets to the next HHK event, a large, black, men’s WESC hoodie and a sweet pair of yellow WESC earbuds. To enter, tell us your favorite moment in hip hop history in the comments of our Facebook post and ‘Like’ HHK Montreal’s Facebook page. Our favorite answer wins. For details about the event you can check out the HHK website or go to the event page. Good luck!
The door to my hostel was shut, the streets were empty like the opening scene of 28 Days Later and I had no clean water or food. I would go to a country with a forced curfew.
I happened to be stuck in the Bolivia’s constitutional capital, Sucre, during its first national census in 11 years. If caught outside I could have faced a 1500 Bolivianosfine ($214 CAN) or even jail time.
So obviously I went outside to check it out.
300 Bolivians were detained by police for violating the curfew and 1927 arrests were made against people who were riding in vehicles without a permit. Fortunately for me, I was simply told by the platoon of police to head back to my hostel.
On Wednesday night, the Bolivian government called the census a “success,” despite reports of a lack of ballots, conflicts over boundaries, the disorientation of the canvassers and the forced return of residents to their communities. Some people with holiday homes argued with the government of their inability to be in two residences at once. Most spectacularly, pollsters in the northern province of Beni were kidnapped over boundary disputes.
Nevertheless, the results of the estimated $50 million census will be extremely crucial to Bolivia’s political and economic future. It will help determine the population (estimated at 11 million), what languages are still spoken, living conditions, education, health status, income, and basic/unmet needs; all important statistics for designing public policies.
At the top of the list will be to pull Bolivia out of it’s infamous reputation as South America’s poorest country – something not dissimilar to other resource-rich countries that suffer from what is often dubbed as “the resource curse.”
Unlike in Canada or the United States, Bolivia has no effective postal system to distribute census forms. Instead, 35 000 policemen and 200 000 hired canvassers had to scale the country’s sky-scraping mountains, dense tropical forests and desert-like plains personally asking every one of the estimated 11 million citizens about their language, material possessions, level of education, household details etc. Even tourists and foreigners were asked one-by-one to fill out the questionnaire from their hostel or temporary residence without being asked to present their passports.
Left off the questionnaire was the option to define oneself as a “mestizo” or mixed race. Deciding on one could be particularly difficult for the estimated 40 ethnic groups listed on the census.
“This would be like dividing Bolivia,” said the country’s charismatic indigenous leader Evo Morales.
Since coming into power in 2005, Morales has made sweeping changes to the political climate in Bolivia. A self-proclaimed socialist, the former union leader for a coca-growers union has advocated strongly for indigenous rights and political autonomy. He has re-initiated the teaching of indigenous languages in schools and attempted to limit the transition towards English.
When speaking with people around La Paz, the de-facto capital, I have been told that Bolivians are more confident in calling themselves indigenous now that one of their own is in power – especially among those of Aymara and Quechua decent who are Morales’ strongest supporters.
Internationally, Morales is a leader considered to be part of a political leftwards shift in South America over the past decade – akin with the governments in Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil and Peru. He is also quite hostile towards the US “imperialists” and strongly opposed to their anti-narcotics policies.
However, I have also been told that Morales’ support has begun to shift since being re-elected decisively with 64% of the vote in 2009. His unsuccessful bid to cut government fuel subsidies caused protests and forced him to withdraw from the plan in 2010. Also, his eccentric personality and sometimes unfiltered public speaking has gotten the charismatic leader into hot water. At the 2010 World Summit on Climate Change in Cochabamba, Morales made a speech that implied that eating chicken causes men to go gay. And just this year, Morales asked American actor Sean Penn to be his international ambassador on the decriminalization of coca leaves. No lie.
Morales is up for re-election in 2014, but only if he calls a referendum according to the Leader of the Opposition party Juan del Granado – Article 168 stipulates that a leader may only rule for one successful term. However, Morales argues that his first term was incomplete and thus is entitled to one more term. Time will tell. Until then, there still is two years of Morales’ rule, which should be enough to draft new policies due to the results of the census.