Art Threat: Curating the North: Documentary Screening Ethics and Inuit Representation in (Festival) Cinema

Documentary festivals are certainly not immune to scandal and controversy, and this year’s RIDM, which took place in Montreal in November 2015, was no exception. Following on the heels of the festival’s public screenings of Dominic Gagnon’s film Of the North, Inuit artists like Tanya Tagaq and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril took to social media to express ...

Art Threat: Artist says Nope to Stephen Harper (again)

Four years ago, Bob Preston found himself in the same position as millions of Canadians: he desperately wanted to see prime minsiter Stephen Harper turfed from office. Influenced by Shepard Fairey’s iconic

Art Threat: Activist pasts, austere presents, queered futures: An interview with Emily Davidson

“Imagine a new relationship to every aspect of everything.” “Capitalism has fallen; Art must be redefined.” “You get to pick your gender when you come of age, but feel free to change your mind.” “Living together is still hard; Art makes it better.” These missives from the Inner City Artists’ Commune arrive to us from ...

Art Threat: Painting, Resisting, Giggling: An Interview with George Littlechild

I first stumbled upon George Littlechild’s art at the Comox Valley Art Gallery in my hometown of Courtenay, British Columbia. After reeling from the emotional turmoil and historical reopening, rapprochement and reordering rendered in his bold and colourful brush strokes and integration of collage through archives, I was delighted further to learn that Littlechild resided ...

Art Threat: P.INK takes heathcare to an unexpected place: the tattoo parlour

As a man with no tattoos, Noel Franus is an unlikely candidate as the founder of P.INK: an organization that connects breast cancer survivors with tattoo ideas and artists. But as anyone with a family member who is also a breast cancer survivor can attest, the urge to do something to help can be strong. ...

Art Threat: Allegheny, BC: transformative theatre that shirks corporate culture

With six internationally acclaimed albums and a well-received book of poetry to his name, Rodney DeCroo is turning his talents to the theatre. I met with Mr. DeCroo in Vancouver at a Commercial Drive café in late August and talked with him about his current project. Allegheny, BC, directed by Jane Heyman, is a musical ...

Art Threat: Friday Film Pick: Things are Different Now

Ryan Conrad recently pulled his film from the Frameline San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival because the festival, despite a robust budget and years of protest from filmmakers, audiences and activists, continues to accept money from the Israeli consulate. Conrad joins a growing list of artists who are taking a stand in the cultural commons, and reminding ...

Art Threat: Butch Dykes: A Herstory told in zines

At the recent Montreal Anarchist Bookfair, where another (better) world of incredibly inspiring, provocative and boundary-pushing art and media is on display each year, I stumbled upon Eloisa Aquino and her wares – a series of zines on awesome butch dykes, appropriately called The Life and Times of Butch Dykes. The teeny books are what ...

Art Threat: The Art & Money Project

It’s no secret that money rules our lives. I think what we’re now seeing is really the final and most ruthless stage of the integration of art and creativity into the capitalist market or, in other words, the final stages of art’s subordination to money. But I think that almost all other ways of justifying ...

Art Threat: Blood work: A conversation with the director of Blood Relative

One ongoing trend in documentary filmmaking involves privileged minority world saviours travelling to distant destitute lands in order to do good or capture the act of doing good on film. In films like FUCK FOR FOREST, playing at this year’s Hot Docs film festival, people from rich countries set out on wild adventures to help ...

Art Threat: Return to Gummo

Harmony Korine has been making headlines for his new pop-culture romp, Spring Breakers, with the usual fanfare and some reviewers decidedly giddy with the possibility of maybe “getting it” or maybe not. The film is apparently non-stop debauch and at least one critic has pointed out the work’s contribution to rape culture in the US, ...

Art Threat: Ideal, Think, Reality

The above video was uploaded a few months ago but started making the rounds in a viral way this weekend. Sunday food for thought.

Art Threat: The Documentary Download Dilemma

Much ink has been spilled and pixels punctuated regarding the ongoing controversial topic around the copyright, downloading, streaming and file sharing of creative content, yet there has been little discussion (outside of organizational listserves and at festival forums) of documentary cinema and file sharing. This may be in large part due to the fact that public discourse ...

Art Threat: A visit to Josh Keyes’ dystopian zoo

If Josh Keyes’ paintings don’t take a bit of your breath away, I suggest you visit an optometrist. Each one sits as a stand-alone diorama, a moment caught in a fictional time, with beautiful realistic paintings of animals in a world so strange that it is most likely caused by human error. While his work ...

Art Threat: Scrap America – Friday Film Pick & Interview: Scrappers

This week’s Friday Film Pick is the beautifully shot and tenderly rendered Scrappers, a documentary that quietly follows two Chicago residents as they eke out a living from the salvaging of metallic refuse. It’s not fist-in-the-air advocacy filmmaking for the downtrodden, but in its own way Scrappers gets under the skin, forcing a closer look ...

Art Threat: The art of roadkill – A conversation with artist Kate Puxley

Kate Puxley is a visual artist whose work has drawn attention to the Harper government’s damaging policies toward art and culture as well as our relationship with animals and the natural environment. Arresting, breathtaking, and inimitable, her drawings, paintings, installations, and most recently her taxidermy sculptures, are provocations and interventions in the social, political and ...

Art Threat: Russian LGBT Film Fest pushes ahead despite attacks – A conversation with the founder of the Side By Side Festival

It is an extreme act of bravery and commitment to put on a queer film festival in many parts of the world, where the cultural politics of film festivals play out in ugly and often violent manifestations of hatred and ignorance. Homophobia is rampant the world over, but in countries like Russia the fear and ...

Art Threat: Pioneer Ladies [of the Evening] – Photos of incarcerated women are transformed

An exhibition at PLATFORM Centre for Photographic + Digital Arts in Winnipeg is testing the sexualized and gendered boundaries of our Canadian history. Curator Dr. Laurie K. Bertram has taken archival mugshots of Western Canadian female sex trade workers, taken from the Winnipeg Police Museum Archive, and reworked them into a new commemorative landscape for ...

Art Threat: Humour: The most vicious way to attack someone – Artwork of illustrator Zina Saunders

When I found Zina Saunders’ [pronounced Zai-nah] animations on Mothers Jones a couple weeks ago I knew I’d have to ask her for a chat. We got on the phone last week and by the time I was off I was texting my friends that she was one of the best interviews I’d had. Firey, ...

Art Threat: Animals in the Hen House – Interview with Our Hen House executive director, Jasmin Singer

Back in January I posted an article highlighting a video about Sue Coe’s art that was produced by Our Hen House, a “Multimedia hub for people who want to change the world for animals.” Jasmin Singer, one of the founders of Our Hen House, immediately stood out as someone who was not only passionate about ...

Art Threat: Montreal North stand up – MC Ricardo Lamour-Blaise puts police and politicians on blast following the three-year anniversary of Fredy Villanueva’s death

When I told Vox Sambou of the Montreal hip-hop collective Nomadic Massive I had an interview lined up with Ricardo Lamour-Blaise his face lit up. “He’s very….” The Haitian emcee paused and silently did his best Tommie Smith impression lifting a black power fist like the African American sprinter atop the podium at the 1968 ...

Art Threat: Stealing to save the world – Kenk is a fascinating graphic novel about Toronto’s notorious bike thief

Creatively, the graphic novel Kenk is an astounding success in its unique form: it is a thick book of dark pages containing photocopied images from previously recorded video with smudgy typewriter text that captures audio and carries a loose narrative. As a devourer of political comics and graphic novels I’ve never seen anything comparable, and ...

Art Threat: One play at a time – Teesri Duniya Theatre challenges the status quo

Teesri Duniya Theatre was founded in 1981 as an alternative theatre in Montreal that set out to change the world, as Artistic Director Rahul Varma tells me, “one play at a time.” I ask Varma to describe the theatre in a few words and, pausing for a moment, he offers: “Powerful, personal and provocative.” Having ...

CalgaryLiberal: VSP’s Ten Rules for Liberal Debate

When I first joined the Liberals in ’08 I didn’t know what I was getting myself into–I didn’t know the culture, the debate customs, or many rules of order. I just wanted to contribute. I didn’t know how to deal with some of the things that came up. Many others probably either would give up ...

Art Threat: A left-leaning take on political portraits – Michael Caines’ depictions of US leaders are sincere yet ridiculous

Karl Rove is a baby. Or, at least the Karl Rove of Michael Caines’ art collection Perfect Happiness is. In one painting Rove’s bulbous forehead peeks out from under a bonnet, while a smiling Ronald Reagan, depicted in a blue frock and enormous hat, holds on to Rove’s tiny body like a proud mother. “I ...