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In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 8: Deficits, drugs and death

The big issue of the week in Canada, where we worry about these things for some reason, was deficits. The new Liberal government, which promised to run a $10 billion deficit to boost the economy, is instead going to be about $30 billion in the hole. Here in the People’s Republic of Alberta, the provincial […] . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 8: Deficits, drugs and death

In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 3: The slow death of the daily newspaper

And so, the era of competitive newspapers in Canada has come to an end. This week, the wretched Postmedia group consolidated the newsrooms in four cities where they own both papers, including Edmonton. The Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun — once bitter foes whose rivalry benefited Edmonton — are now together in one newsroom, […] . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 3: The slow death of the daily newspaper

In This Corner: Stuff happens, week 8: Alberta election assured; Harper spins terrorism

It’s gloom and doom in Alberta these days, what with falling oil prices and all. Time to tighten the belts, Premier Jim Prentice says, because we’re going to be billions of dollars short in the ol’ piggy bank. Hmmm…. so how come the government is predicting a $465-million surplus for the end of the fiscal year March 31st? Yes, a surplus. Seems that this Tory government is every bit as incompetent at predicting revenue as the other Tory governments. With a surplus in the cards, it will be that much more difficult for Prentice to justify calling an election. But (Read more…)

In This Corner: Stuff Happens, Week 2. Target misses the mark, Roxy razed.

The big story of the week in Canada was the departure, with its tail between its legs, of U.S. retail giant Target.

The purveyor of so-called ‘cheap chic’ clothing is a big hit in the U.S., but its venture into Canada was a disaster of New Coke proportions. Empty shelves, so-so prices, and the store’s unfortunate colour scheme had Canadians saying, ‘This is just Zellers without that weird Zellers smell’. I was entirely unimpressed by Target in my few ventures into the store. A co-worker told me of going into Target to buy some groceries, and finding (Read more…)

LeDaro: Rob Ford Goes to Hollywood

 Rob Ford is gone Hollywood and is also going to the Oscars, he is quite the actor and his performance deserves an Oscar. He has been a train-wreck as a  mayor but very entertaining. Ford does love the attention – even if it is for drug use and crass behaviour. He must have enjoyed the limo ride he got from late night host Jimmy Kimmel. It will be worth watching him on Jimmy Kimmel’s show tonight.

It looks he is more well-known in U.S than Canada.

In This Corner: The Oscars: Look no further, here are the winners …

Like millions of other Canadians, I will watch the Academy Awards on Sunday, and like millions of other Canadians, four hours later I will hate myself for watching it. So, for those of you who don’t want to watch it, but want to know the winners, here they are …

Director: Easy one. Nine of the last 10 winners of the Directors Guild Award have won the directing Oscar. This year, Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) won. Ergo, it’s Alfonso. Only other possible winner is Steve McQueen, both for 12 Years A Slave and for having a cool name.

Supporting actress: This (Read more…)

Art Threat: Bowling for Columbine turns ten

Editor’s note: Art Threat has launched a cultural archaeological project that involves digging up previously published but now inaccessible film reviews and cultural musings from Montreal-based writer and teacher Matthew Hays. We’re calling it The Hays Files, and to get things rolling, we’re republishing a review Hays wrote of Bowling for Columbine when the documentary first shook up the cultural and political scene ten years ago. Each article will be prefaced with a short contemporary intro from Hays. Enjoy!

I won’t ever forget meeting Michael Moore. I had interviewed him by phone but this was the first in-person interview, (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Argo: American propaganda wins best picture at the Oscars

The Hollywood-White House embrace was front and center when Michelle Obama was beamed into the Oscars, military personnel behind her, to announce the best picture pick. Surprise, surprise… Argo, replete with revisionist pro-American propaganda, was the Oscar winner.

The Hollywoodization of entertainment is bad enough, what’s worse is Hollywood-as-political-tool. Argo is loaded with a cargo of make-believe and half-truth. It is less about historical veracity and more about finding a way to celebrate an American action-story featuring Affleck as CIA hero Tony Mendez, with political messaging and patriotic cliches not far beneath the surface of the action.

Ben Affleck’s

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Art Threat: Low-class Oscars leave the ladies booing

To this day the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my career was stand in front of a group of 300 university students in my role as president of an student newspaper organization – my peers at the time – and explain to them that they needed to rise above sexist (or racist, or homophobic) jokes. My hands have never been so damp and my heart beat so fast I thought I might faint. The incident had been triggered by a joke newspaper distributed at a student journalism conference – innocent enough. Except that throughout the day (Read more…)

Politics and Entertainment: Why a completely unremarkable film called Argo won the Oscar

How ironically fitting that Michelle Obama announced the Oscar for the winning picture. Argo is a putative “true” story from the not too distant U.S. past – a past to which American viewers can easily relate – a feel good story of American perseverance, ingenuity, courage, an inspiring version of U. S. exceptionalism resulting in a bloodless American victory with only, according to the script but not Ken Taylor, a smidgen of help from Canadians. Such an uplifting image was far more appealing to mean-age 63 Academy voters.   Does Argo deserve the Oscar? Depends on what “deserves” means.  For (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Why a completely unremarkable film called Argo won the Oscar

The Scott Ross: The Awe Of Oscar

Nothing seems more of a waste of time and money than the Oscars. Last night for over three hours millions of people, statistics of which show 7-9% of them unemployed and most of the others barely scraping by in menial labour, watched wealthy celebrities in designer dresses get out of limos, walk down red carpets, pose for photographs, describe how glorious and important their work is, and collect gold statues.

Of the whole night of opulence, there was one scene far more important to any criticism that one could lob at the 84th Academy Awards, one picture put the whole

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A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: And the Winner Is…

Me! Because I got to watch the Oscars last night with the 2 most amazing kids in the universe. H stayed up for the first half. (And had trouble getting out of bed this morning. It required several loud Uh Oh’s on my part and “your nose has grown to the size of a pumpkin. There are fairies dancing on it.”) M went to bed at the very end. (And wanted to know why it’s called the Oscars if it’s the Academy Awards.)

I actually had seen several of the movies this time around and M had watched

. . . → Read More: A Novelist’s Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: And the Winner Is…