In what has to be one of the most fascinating must-watch pieces of television produced in the last little while, John Oliver interviews Edward Snowden in Russia for his HBO show Last Week Tonight and they end up talking dick pics. While that may seem like a waste to speak of something so trivial, it’s actually an attempt to contextualize the NSA spying program in a way that the “average” person who doesn’t know or care about the Snowden story can relate to, showing why they should be afraid of a wide-sweeping surveillance state.

This is actually part of a hilarious/informative (what has become the hallmark of Oliver’s show) segment on the upcoming renewal of the US Patriot Act. If you have the time, you should really watch the whole segment (33 mins), which you can below. But you can also skip ahead to the Snowden interview. it starts at 13:40

We invite you to check out the new video from original Canadian artist Amber out of Toronto. She also happens to be an FTB contributor. The song, Grave Robber, is from her new album Tall Tales, which you can listen to or download via her Bandcamp page.

The video, directed by Devon Stewart, was shot in Hamilton. It features some fun though creepy imagery (with a title like Grave Robber, how could it not), silhouettes, a complicated man and a very danceable tune courtesy of Amber. Enjoy!

A girl with faded blue hair (and about an inch of dirty blonde roots [mental note: that’s a great name for an autobiography “Dirty Blonde Roots: The Diary of a Burlesque Dancer”]), sits naked on her bed, smoking a bong. Three purring cats are asleep at her feet. Hot tears pouring down her calm face as a red vinyl special edition Billie Holiday record plays, “Someday we’ll meet and you’ll dry all my tears, then whisper sweet things in my ear.” Every word is the pain of every woman – no, every human. We all have felt unrequited love. It is defined as one sided and not reciprocated love.

“FUCK UNREQUITED LOVE!”

This was the first line in a very powerful poem of that name by the incredible poet Ben Brindise. Here’s a video recording of it:

A good cry is like a good poop, dumping out that negativity and darkness, the unnecessary evil, those extra and unusable bits of life. The tears fell from my ducts, picking up bits of makeup as they traveled down the curves of my face and breasts. Flushing out the eyes and making everything feel so much cleaner. I have never even smoked a cigarette, and I feel like it would hit the spot after this kind of catharsis.

I always try to smile (though my heart is breaking – great song). I was once dumped for being too happy. He said “I feel like I’m dating a cartoon character, it’s unnatural to be as happy as you are!” Say whaaaaat?! That’s a fucking flaw?! My smile is my power, but so are my tears. The balance between those two things is everything.

I’m single but not alone. I’m not going to rant about every sonogram and wedding announcement, because honestly I’m not mad. Yay for mutual love, and people who are in love with love and their lives – it’s beautiful. I’m not jealous, it’s not the life I chose to lead at the moment, but it’s not a bad way to be. Valentine’s Day is approaching so all of the commercials are geared toward lovers – don’t buy in and don’t let it bring you down bro. It’s going to be ok! And if you cry don’t think you are weak, take it in stride and know that everything is how it is supposed to be. Who knows what today will bring?!

Featured image made by Amanda Jedraszczak.

Here’s the newest episode of the Jules & Lara show. This time, they’re making pasta – from scratch. That’s really commendable, honestly, so kudos J&L. And, to make it even better, they do it the proper ‘Italian’ way. Watch the video to see what we mean.

Also, Jules & Lara have recently launched a Kickstart project, which you can find here. They need the money to get themselves better equipments to make even better videos! Be a part of history, people.

 

Some celebrities reach a certain point in financial and career security that they can actually say what they think and not have to deal with the consequences. Jerry Seinfeld is now one of those people.

Last week, he received the CILO Award, an advertising award. In his acceptance speech, he thanked his agent, the companies he shilled for, and his wife, but then what he said was so honest and remarkable that if anyone else would have said it, their career would either be over or go down the Russell Brand route.

But this is Jerry Seinfeld, a man who can completely dissect the people in the room, call them what they are and still get applause and still be Jerry Seinfeld.

Watch and enjoy:

Since its inaugural edition in 2004, the Infringement Festival has offered Montreal audiences something unique. In a sea of big-name and medium to large budget events distinguished primarily by the art form they present, the Infringement has always opted for a different model.

With little to no budget and a team of strictly volunteer organizers (full disclosure: this year I’m one of those organizers as well as a performing artist and co-founder of the event), the Infringement presents acts from a variety of genres. There’s music, all types of music, theatre, visual arts, spoken word, video, guerrilla street performance, comedy, art in alleyways and much more.

The common thread? This is boundary-pushing, frequently activist and political art that challenges the concept of art as a commodity. Instead, it’s a labour of love.

The Infringement is not a stepping stone to the mainstream, rather a challenge to it (though, to be honest, some former infringers have gone on to mainstream success). Whether it’s a play in a bathroom challenging transphobia or a band who just wants to play a show and not have to go through red tape, there’s always a message.

This year is no different. The overall theme is Make Some Noise, a challenge to recent noise fines in the Plateau.

What is different this year is the length. The Infringement is focusing all the activity over five days and nights, call it an intensive dose of authentic culture.

Opening Night

The fest kicks off tonight (Wednesday) with the second-annual Recital Fractal hosted by Louis Royer at Labo de la Taverne Jarry on Jarry East. Expect an evening of French spoken-word and music. I attended the first one at last year’s Infringement and was impressed by the multiple talented artists crammed into just a few hours.

dumpster dive art drive
The Dumpster Dive Art Drive vernissage in 2012, this event is back again this year!

Thursday: The metro, dumpsters, dinner and open mic

There’s more music Thursday afternoon in George Vanier Metro. Yes, the Infringement is doing a show in the metro, busker-style. The event features Rebecca Anne Banks, Mr Saad and Richard Lahmy.

Thursday night the Infringement is in two parts of town, first in the Plateau for the Dumpster Dive Art Drive, always one of my favourite Infringement events. With art made from found objects and a vernissage with wine in a brown paper bag, how can you go wrong. If there ever was a challenge to the commodified model of art, this is it.

Next is the Infringement Feast. It’s a dinner celebrating both Infringement conceptualizer Donovan King’s birthday and ten years of the festival at first-time Infringement venue Caverne Grecque on Prince Arthur.

After dinner, the fest heads downtown, western downtown to be precise. Le Bull Pub near Atwater is the home of Jay Manafest and Eric Chevrier’s weekly open mic show Mic Check. This week, the mic is open to all Infringers.

Friday: Rock & Candyass

On Friday, the Infringement returns to familiar surroundings with a rockin’ night at the Barfly and the monthly Candyass Beach Party Cabaret at Cafe Cleopatre. Cleo is the venerable burlesque, drag and fetish performance venue with a strip club on the first floor that fought the city’s gentrification efforts and won. Candyass Cabaret is a sexy burlesque show that challenges stereotypes. A perfect Infringement match if you ask me .

The lineup at Barfly, in true Infringement fashion, is a medley of musical styles. There’s the sweet meaningful folk of Richard Lahmy and the wild, melodic punk of Crazy Knows Crazy, both Infringement veterans. We also get the trippy rock of Realms of Bliss and the experimentation of the extract, both Infringement newcomers.

crazy-knows-crazy
Crazy Knows Crazy performing at the 2013 Infringement, they’re back this year (photo: Hannah Hampton)

Saturday and Sunday: Infringement intensive in Old Montreal

In another first this year, the Infringement is going to Old Montreal. Le P’tit Cabaret on St-Paul is a multi-purpose performance space with a mission: to bring locals back to the tourist-dominated cobblestone streets of the old city. The Infringement is happy to oblige with shows on Saturday and Sunday.

Quite a few shows, that is. While there are two events on the weekend that take place elsewhere: the Candyass and King Red Light Walking Tour that starts in front of the now closed (sigh) Bar Midway on Sunday and the art exhibit at Usine 106U on Roy Street East which is running for the duration of the fest, the rest of the Infringement action is at Le P’tit Cabaret.

Melissa Campbell and Cat McCarthy of the Buffalo Infringement Festival (the largest fest in the Infringement circuit) will be performing The Painted Dress, an  interactive live painting, all day both Saturday and Sunday on the stage of the P’tit Cabaret’s first room. This is also where McCarthy’s Kitty Porn will be displayed. Yes, it’s an art exhibit featuring collages of hardcore pornography mixed with cute kittens.

McCarthy will also perform as part of the Buffalo Burlesque Collective on the main stage of Le P’tit Cabaret both nights (and will also be part of Friday’s Candyass Cabaret). This stage will also showcase performances as diverse as King’s Critical Report from the World Fringe Congress, Seven No-Name Comedians Doing Comedy, Infringement film screenings, a public reading of John Faithful Hamer’s Blue Notes and the Infringement Spoken Word Show hosted by Laurence Tenenbaum.

Le P’tit Cabaret will also be home to quite a bit of Infringement music including the second edition of the Infringement Hip Hop Show, this time featuring socially conscious rappers Jay Manafest, Nikolai Kush and Drop D and the always intensely entertaining PsynLangWage.

There will also be funk, jazz, rock, a bit of country and more in the form of Look, a fang!, Mona Lissa & The Brink, The Voodoo Shango ExperienceThis is not [sic] (full disclosure, I’m in this band, also, we rock!), Von Dalia, Richard Lahmy (his third show in the fest), Busker & Josephine and Jazzotopes.

You may want to note that I mentioned the acts at P’tit Cabaret in no particular order. That’s because the best way to experience the Infringement as a journey of discovery, an artistic scavenger hunt, if you will. Just know that there will be something to enjoy on Saturday and Sunday from three in the afternoon until the wee hours of the next morning and head out.

Of course, you could just consult the schedule at infringemontreal.org, but that’s kinda cheating, don’t you think?

The 2014 Montreal Infringement Festival runs June 18-22

The list of really strange bedfellows lining up against the Quebec Secularism Charter (formerly known as the Charter of Quebec Values) keeps growing. The Jewish General Hospital, QPIRG Concordia and even Harley Davidson have opposed this piece of legislation each in their own way, among other groups and now Anonymous has joined them.

The hacker collective has released a video in French criticizing Pauline Marois for acting just like most of the other major world governments, removing liberties and using distractions like the Charter to make people forget about the real economic and social problems facing our society. At the end, they call for her to step down or she will become their next target. Not sure what type of justice they have in mind for her (hacked websites, release of documents) but they have been successful in the past.

Regardless, Marois’ ability to get groups as varied as this together in opposition to a piece of legislation shows that she may well be a great rassembleuse after all.

Following a weekend where two female Russian athletes kissed on the podium and a Swedish high jumper painted her fingernails the colours of the rainbow flag (she has since been forced to repaint them), both seemingly protesting Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” law (though one of the relay kissers has since denied it), a new video has surfaced, well, actually, it has resurfaced. This video of a flying dildo interrupting a Russian press conference was originally posted in 2008, so it can’t be seen as a protest against the new law, just maybe against the climate that led to the draconian bill in the first place.

Still, it could be a good indication of the kind of guerilla protest to come in Russia leading up to the Sochi games. Regardless, it’s gutsy and funny to watch:

JC Sunshine thinks his neighbour Jenny is dating Santa Claus and goes out looking for Ole St. Nick in hopes of having some “stern words” with him. Along the way, he meets many interesting people, discovers the true spirit of Christmas and celebrates with Rex, Ricardo and many special guests. Stay tuned until the end for a special Christmas time rendition of the song “Why do you only do me when you’re Drunk” by the band Sunshine from Brooklyn

Watch to discover the bizarre cast of characters that make up JC Sunshine’s world. The Santa Vs JC Sunshine Fight sequence in the middle is hilarious!

Starring: Jason C. McLean, Jerry Gabriel, Steve Ferrara, Crawford Forbes, Amy Santos, Steven Ferrara, Tj Pallas & Guests

Directed by: Chris Zacchia

Edited by: Eric Padam

Produced by: ForgetTheBox Media

Directed By: Chris Zacchia

Audio Blood afternoon soiree

Audio Blood afternoon soiree

Forgetthebox.net and Audio Blood collaborated to bring you a delightful musical afternoon at Divan Orange at this year’s POP Montreal featuring Lakes of Canada, Gabrielle Papillon & The Mighty Oak, Revelstoke, Cai.ro, Sandman Viper Command, Amos The Transparent, Dinosaur Bones, and Paper Lions.

If you missed it… too bad for you!

Actually we’re pretty nice, and so we’ve put together a little video recap of the afternoon. Enjoy!

 

Video: Chris Zacchia

Editing: Emily Campbell

bear hug

CLASSE held a rally that included performances by Quebec artists speaking out against tuition increase last week. The evening featured speeches on issues from democracy to feminism within the student movement and was highlighted by the final speech by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois on behalf of CLASSE after his resignation. The student association intends to motivate students for a huge demonstration on August 22nd. Classe remains unaffiliated from any political party, but intends to influence their power from the streets despite who is elected. Interviews with Dan Bigras and Jeremie Bedard-Wien financial secretary of CLASSE.

Journalist and Editor: Emily Campbell, Videographer: Chris Zacchia