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Nuit Blanche: It’s Okay to Bail Early

Posted by art On October - 8 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

Continuing in the fine tradition of years past, the MONDOarts department dispatched four writers to cover this year’s Nuit Blanche and their escapades during said event. Enjoy!

By Kerry Freek
Photos by Donna Endacott

Mm, coffee.

Mm, coffee.

Thank god for the coffee wheel at Hart House. While reminiscent of a medieval torture device, its operators graciously provided iced caffeinated treats for weary travellers, though for our little group, it gave a decent kickstart.

We essentially began our night here, just a few steps away from Cry School Yearbook. Thinking ahead, I’d booked an early appointment (more time to wear goth makeup), and it proved to be one of the best things we saw/did all night. What a pleasure to see one of the artist’s former professors beaming in white face makeup, blackened eyes, and a charming bowler hat. “This was great!” he said as he merrily continued his journey. Read the rest of this entry »

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Continuing in the fine tradition of years past, the MONDOarts department dispatched four writers to cover this year’s Nuit Blanche and their escapades during said event. Enjoy!

By Carolyn Tripp

In a city-wide evening of art installations and general mayhem, there’s bound to be differing opinions on the night’s overall success. One can run into terribly beautiful and just plain terrible art in a matter of minutes with an event as heavily saturated as Nuit Blanche.

Bearing this in mind, there were some excellent heavy-hitters this time around. I’m sad to say I didn’t have the time to line up for the carnival rides, the FASTWÜRMS tarot card readings, or even to hit the Liberty Village stretch. The evening’s overall worst crime seemed to be, however, that there was a bounty of formidable and publicly accessible ideas, but a disproportionate amount of effective results. Read the rest of this entry »

Nuit Blanche 008Continuing in the fine tradition of years past, the MONDOarts department dispatched four writers to cover this year’s Nuit Blanche and their escapades during said event. Enjoy!

By Helen Fylactou

5am: I am the portrait of the starving artist. At least, I have become the stereotype of one. I have stayed up to the wee hours of the night hoping to find inspiration. Hungry. Delusional. Exhausted. I sit at my desk sipping on coffee and hoping to find the words to describe Nuit Blanche. Along with what seemed like everyone in the GTA, I spent the night on very slow walking tour of Toronto and seeing free contemporary art exhibits.

With a total of 132 projects, seeing everything was a daunting mission.

rabbitI started my evening at Nathan Phillips Square, which consisted of thousands of people watching LCD lights spells different words. I stuck around to see “wind” and “womb,” not quite sure what to make of it. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: David Cross Does Toronto

Posted by art On October - 7 - 20091 COMMENT

crossBy Meagan Snyder

In I Drink for a Reason, David Cross’ new collection of essays/rants/beefs/lists/monologues/funnies/ideas-complete-and-otherwise, he notes that book tour appearances can be either “frightening and excruciating” chores, or “another in a rarely-ending series of ego-inflating exercises happily sponsored by Absolut Vodka,” depending on the author’s comfort with public speaking. Cross aligns himself with the latter, pointing out that he was “trained professionally at the Helmsdale Institute for Audience Ignoring,” making him uniquely qualified for such endeavours.

If Cross has any contempt for his audiences, he’s very, very good at hiding it. For someone who has become known for his ability to articulately and ruthlessly skewer all that is ridiculous in the world, Cross is incredibly appreciative of his fans, coming across as genuine in his gratitude as well as his enjoyment of his own job.

At an appearance at Indigo on Thursday night, Cross talked at length to every person who had waited for an hour in the bookstore’s tiny velvet-roped pen (he spoke for all of us when he pointed out how odd it was of Indigo to provide ten chairs, trap 40 more people in a cube behind them, then 50 more 20 feet away, and also mocked the store’s giant windows looking out onto the Eaton Centre — “look, Japanese people are taking pictures!”), and answered every Q in the Q & A portion of the event indulgently and enthusiastically. This included discussing the theoretically-upcoming Arrested Development movie, which Cross has said he is asked about every time he is approached, without fail. Read the rest of this entry »

Nuit Blanche: An anti-itinerary approach

Posted by art On October - 7 - 20091 COMMENT

Union 1Continuing in the fine tradition of years past, the MONDOarts department dispatched four writers to cover this year’s Nuit Blanche and their escapades during said event. Enjoy!

By Jessie Davis
Photos by Kevin Lynn

Our Nuit Blanche group stood divided; half wanted to follow THE PLAN – an itinerary detailing exactly where to be and when, with bike routes, little red points on the map and brief installation descriptions for further reading. The other half was on a more freestyle mission:  no plan, no time frame, no commitments. Just synchronicity and spiritually altering experiences. I was part of the latter.

From Queen, my group flowed north on Bay Street, where we met the itinerary half of our group in line to see Battle Royal in the bus terminal. The line stretched around the terminal onto Edward Street, and while it seemed to move quickly, our half of the group decided to keep moving in search of The Blinking Eyes of Everything at the Church of the Holy Trinity. In fact, this was what had inspired us to let our Nuit Blanche guide itself. A few of us had been discussing stroboscopic machines recently (also known as Dream Machines), and were really excited to get to see and hear one in real life, so soon after the seemingly-random conversation. Alas, this line wove back a few rows across the courtyard and my group just couldn’t sit still long enough to make it in there – even if there was the possibility of divinatory visions and hallucinations. Read the rest of this entry »

detectivecomics857Sandra’s Book of the Month

Detective Comics #857
Greg Rucka (w), J.H. Williams III (a), Dave Stewart (c). DC Comics.

When I was looking through my pile to decide what I was going to choose for the Book of the Month there was only one title that really stood out, and that was this month’s issue of Detective Comics. The thing about this series that really makes it outstanding is the beauty and the intricacy of the art. Williams and Stewart create some of the most dynamic and bold art that I’ve ever seen, in this or any other series. Williams’ pencil lines are detailed and add a great flow to the story, especially with the insane use of all those dynamic panels. Combined with Stewart’s painting style and use of colours it just makes me all giddy and happy to be reading.  There hasn’t been an issue in this four-part arc that hasn’t made me rave about the series, so it only seemed appropriate for this to be my pick for the month. — Sandra Yao Read the rest of this entry »

Review: CanStage’s Rock ‘n’ Roll

Posted by art On October - 5 - 2009ADD COMMENTS
Rock 'n' Roll

Shaun Smyth as Jan, John Kirkpatrick as Milan and Cyrus Lane as Ferdinand. Photo by Cylla Von Tiedeman.

Rock ‘n’ Roll
Canadian Stage
Company Written by Tom Stoppard
Directed by Donna Feore
Featuring Fiona Reid, Shaun Smyth, and Kenneth Welsh
Runs until October 24 at Bluma Appel Theatre

By Daina Valiulis

A story based on Czechoslovakia’s history from 1968 to 1990 and the country’s struggles against socialism, Rock ‘n’ Roll features Jan (Shaun Smyth), a rock music fanatic and protégé of British Marxist professor, Max (Kenneth Welsh). As socialism begins to crack during the spring of 1968 in Prague, Jan returns to his homeland and champions the radical Czech rock band The Plastic People of the Universe, as well as other writers, musicians, and artists who fight for the liberal cause, before the Soviets move back in to squash it. (Of course, it ultimately returns by 1990 when Czechoslovakia becomes a democratic country.)

Tom Stoppard’s inspiration for this piece rose from his fascination with Syd Barrett, former Pink Floyd frontman, ousted from the band in 1968 because he was a drug-addled mess. Barrett went into seclusion in Cambridge, cultivating his garden and riding his bike as he aged, turning from the “piper at the gates of dawn” (as Vanity Fair once called him) who appears to Esme (Alex Paston-Beesley/Fiona Reed) in a vision in the play, into a sad, tired old man named Roger (his real name). It is Barrett’s story that carries Rock ‘n’ Roll through all the complicated dialogue and discussion of political ideals and socialism, which, while interesting, challenging, and complex, was also a bit heavy-handed and complicated. Read the rest of this entry »

The Informant! Reviewed

Posted by film On October - 5 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

theinformantThe Informant!
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Warner Bros. Pictures, 2009

By Brian Last

Director Steven Soderbergh and Matt Damon team up for what seems like the umpteenth time for Soderbergh’s latest white-collar-crime drama/comedy. Mark Whitacre (Damon) is the vice president of ADM, a company that has developed a product called lysine. He takes it upon himself to tip off the Feds (Scott Bakula and Joel McHale) about a global price-fixing scandal that ADM has put themselves right in the middle of. What starts out as a simple tip-off turns into two-and-a-half years as their informant, living two lives and lying his face off.

We begin with what appears to be a man of strong convictions pursuing his earnest goal to do what is right. But this is in fact the story of a man who has let his greed take over. Whitacre builds up so many lies that they eventually collapse on him and he becomes public enemy #1. His ambitions to be president of the company blind him and lead to delusions about himself and where he is going in his life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Reviewed

Posted by film On October - 2 - 20091 COMMENT

badlieutenantBad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Directed by Werner Herzog
Edward R. Pressman Film / Millenium Films

By Rachel West

I love Nicolas Cage. If you’ve read my review of Knowing, you’ll remember that I am the one person who enjoyed Bangkok Dangerous, paid money to see Next, and will line up to see Kick-Ass in 2010. My love for Nicolas Cage doesn’t stem from his resume of work, because, let’s face it, he hasn’t been in a good movie since 2002’s Adaptation. I love Nicolas Cage because you never know what you’re going to get from him. He’s often over-the-top and crazy with his dead-eye gaze, spouting one liners in a halting manner, frequently while wielding a gun. Cage seems to perfect this persona in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans since it has all of that and more.

A remake in name only, Bad Lieutenant is a wild ride through the seedy underbelly of post-Katrina New Orleans, and Cage is our tour guide, steering us through crime, guns, drugs, and bad cops. Promoted to lieutenant for acts of bravery during Hurricane Katrina, Terrence (Cage) is seemingly a rather bad cop — he snorts cocaine on the job, steals from the seized inventory locker at the police station, takes sexual bribes, dates a prostitute, and deals drugs with thugs. All of this and yet you can’t help but like the guy and even empathize with him. As he and partner Stevie (Val Kilmer) investigate the drug related murders of a family of fresh immigrants, Terrence begins to spiral more deeply into his drug addiction. At a roadblock with suspects, Terrence begins to befriend them for financial gain to pay off his crippling gambling debts. Through a series of plot turns, Terrence has the chance to redeem himself and become one of the good guys, and the crux of the film hangs on his decision.

Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #22: September 30, 2009

Posted by Comics On October - 1 - 20093 COMMENTS

asm607Amazing Spider-Man #607
Joe Kelly (w), Mike McKone & Adriana Melo (p), Mckone, Lanning, Justice, Smith and Benes (i). Marvel Comics.

Is Peter Parker the new Matt Murdock? Because he’s bedding women like my favourite horned crime fighter. I like it — there should be more casual sex in mainstream comics. What I also like about this book is that the story arcs have unique sizes and shapes month-to-month. They generally allow stories to stay no longer than they are welcome and ensure a crisp pace (obviously the publishing schedule helps too). However, I think this story could have used a bit more breathing room. For a crime story, the mysteries get resolved with lightening speed and it damages the impact of the climax. But you get an appearance from a hilarious-looking, “classic” Fantastic Four villain who uses mathematical equations to fight Spider-Man, which makes this book worth the cover price. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 3.5 out of 5
Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5

Blackest Night: Titans #2
For a full review of Blackest Night: Titans #2 and Green Lantern #46, scroll down to our Crossover Corner. You won’t be sorry for long. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Posted by videogames On October - 1 - 2009ADD COMMENTS

Batman: Arkham Asylum (PC, PS3, XBox 360)
Eidos, 2009

By Brandon Grant

Batman: Arkham Asylum was released about a month ago at the amazing limited price of $38.83 in Canada.  I don’t know exactly why it was priced so low, there was a rumour about an early Best Buy flyer with a pricing error and Walmart catching on to price match it by advertising it on Xbox Live. For whatever reason it was I think anyone who bought this game on Tuesday came out on the winning side of this deal and let me tell you why.

Obviously, this is not the first Batman game ever, but it might surprise you that it’s also not the first Batman game to include the voices from the amazing animated series from the 90s. I will go out on a big fat sturdy limb and say that this is the best Batman game ever.  The team that made this game has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Batman universe and it is the perfect game to immerse yourself in that universe.  The combat is deliciously satisfying, the bat gadgets are cool, the riddles are fun, and the story is great.  Anything more is just going to be gushing but really I can’t think of a reason to dislike this game. However, you will hate this game if you own the last generation gaming system and you won’t ever be able to play this game. But really it isn’t the game that you hate, that’s your defense mechanism to avoid thinking of how little money you have.  If that is you I’ve just made you hate this game even more but maybe it will encourage you to scrape 200 bucks together and join all us happy folk in the modern gaming world. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer’s Body Reviewed

Posted by film On October - 1 - 20091 COMMENT

jennifersbodyJennifer’s Body
Directed by Karyn Kusama
20th Century Fox, 2009

By Sean Kelly

Jennifer’s Body is the follow-up film written by Diablo Cody after she won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Juno. Some debate may rage about whether or not this is an original film, but I’ll get to that later.

First, I’ll write the part of the review where I rant about how much I do not like Megan Fox. I am saying this because this fact may well have affected my overall enjoyment of the film. I want to reiterate my belief that Megan Fox is an over-sexualized piece of eye candy, who will probably never be treated seriously as an actress. However, that works to her favour in this film, since she plays… an over-sexualized piece of eye candy — who happens to eat those who are attracted to her.

Read the rest of this entry »

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