Monday, June 29, 2009

Too cool.

These images
(featured on design*sponge) are just too awesome for words. I need to make more things. I mean, I want to.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Arts & Culture

I was lucky enough to spend the past two days at the Vancouver Arts Summit (thanks to my great summer job at the Alliance for Arts and Culture). The entire thing was fantastic, but yesterday was especially so.

I went to a super fantastic (super tense) panel discussion on "new media, new tools, new audiences". I've come to be pretty disenchanted with the term new media - to my mind there is no longer any such thing; it's not something separate from the way we live our every day lives. Everything we do is through "new" media -- plus what comes next? Do we get new new media when what we have now becomes old new media? Newer media? Terminology aside, the panel discussion was fascinating, due to the range of voices. At one end of the spectrum was Jerry Wasserman, who seems to have gotten into the internet out of necessity more than excitement, and still seems a little skeptical about the whole thing, and at the other was Kris Krug, who had more than enough enthusiasm about and faith in the digital world to get most attendees really excited about the possibilites that come along with expanding your online presence. I could really feel the tension between the two perspectives - the traditional media who don't trust the internet vs. the younger users/creators who seem to have integrated it into every part of their lives - but that tension made me feel so connected to my love for technology and media and newness, and the fact that at its core all media, new and old, is about connection and learning.

Weird fact: we all found out that Michael Jackson died because Kris was online during the session. The moderator had just asked the question, Where do you find information you trust online? and out of nowhere Kris said something like, Apparently Michael Jackson just died. I don't think I was the only one who thought it was some kind of test or demonstration, showing us that you can't trust everything you read. I then got two text messages in short succession both telling me the same thing. It was all a little surreal.

Today, to end the conference, the wonderful emcee (she had another word for herself, but I can't remember what it was... something french sounding), Vanessa Richards, closed by thanking everyone, and then she brought it back to MJ. She talked about how powerful it was to be a kid and see Michael with the Jackson Five showing her that children could sing and do it with passion and energy - that being a kid wasn't restricted to Sesame Street. She talked about how sad she was when Michael first went solo, and how lonely he must have been throughout his life. Then she sang his first solo hit, Ben, because she thought its message was one that should be recognized and embraced by the arts community. I wish I could post a video of her singing, because I had one of those wonderful moments where my vision shifted, and everything aside from the performer and the performance was totally gone. I was completely taken into that moment, which was a perfect end to two days of talk about arts; I got to get into that simple, profound, direct, moving, expansive experience that is the reason people make and see and do art. Since I can't post that, I will post Mr. Jackson, before it all came down around him, singing about connection.

p.s. As a result of this (the summit and the panel, not Michael Jackson's death), I can't stop thinking about this blog. Where it should go. What it should be.

p.p.s. I want to do and be everything. They tell me I can't.

p.p.p.s. I have always loved postscripts - even now that editing functions mean that I could actually insert the thought into the body of what I am writing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Depressing Italian Movies

Pacific Cinematheque is currently celebrating the Leading Ladies of Italian Cinema. I went to a double feature on Friday night. It was fantastic (and heartbreaking).

La Strada was absolutely devastating (said staring you straight in the eye), while Two Women was absolutely devastating (said while holding my hands to my heart and swooning).

La Strada 1954

Gelsomina is sold by her mother to an abusive circus strongman, Zampanò. Fun times. They roam around Italy, and he gets drunk and picks up other women. Gelsomina (a naive country girl) gets to see some of the things the world has to offer, but is unable to untether herself from Zampanò's company. This is among the most unrelentingly depressing films I have ever seen, with very little offered in the way of redemption or hope, but it is worth watching just for Giulietta Masina's performance as Gelsomina. She says little, but her expression changes from delight to despair and back again with such quickness, and such purity, that I could watch her forever.


Two Women (1960)

Two Women is beautiful - its black and white cinematography richly detailed and textured. Set in Italy during World War II, the story follows Cesira and Rosetta, a mother and her 13-year old daughter, as they take refuge from the bombing of Rome in the Italian countryside. I was completely brought into the time and place; in one scene the pair are walking down a country road when a fighter plane sends lines of bullets down towards them - I ducked.

The pace of the film is perfect, allowing relationships and characters to unfurl before tragic events in the last act level all of it. I felt cut in half when that point came, but still so connected to everything that was happening on screen. Sophia Loren plays Cesira, and this role won her the first ever Best Actress Academy Award for a non-English speaking performance. Loren is sultry, but eons away from a sex-pot charicature; she is strong, intense, vulnerable, smart, and warm. Two women is about the catastrophe that is war, but at a deeper level it is about becoming a woman, with everything that means.



Friday, June 12, 2009

I want to

I want to read all of the Pulitzer Prize winners (for Fiction). My top two favourite books are winners (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and Middlesex). New project - yay.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

So you think you can dance...

Spoiler ahead.

So You Think You Can Dance is my favourite show that is actually currently on TV.

Here is why:

I love these guys. They make my heart glad. I was so sad when Ryan didn't make it into the top 20. I'm hoping that he will be there next season - but Evan reminds me of Nathan Fillion a little, so that's good too.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Canadian Television - woo

If you need me, I will probably be ensconced in the cbc website watching the first season of Being Erica (warning, a video will start playing almost right away. It might be loud). I remember seeing ads for it a few months ago, and thinking that it looked vaguely funny, but recently a few people whose taste I trust have said good things about it. I woke up super early this morning and needed a way to pass the time, so I went online and watched the first episode. And then the second, and then the third.

The premise is slightly ridiculous (woman time travels to change the events in her life she regrets), but the show is really well done. The writing is quick and funny, and Erica (played by Erin Karpluk) is the same. She's 32, single (and searching), in a dead-end job (and quickly out of it), and she feels like a failure. I love the character because she never comes across as pathetic or desperate - she's just searching for her right path, with a lot of meandering (can I relate? Yes).

Canadian TV and movies often get a bad rap, and a lot of the time it's deserved; I hate to say it, but it's true. That said, there is some amazing stuff out there. If you live outside of the US and ever find yourself frustrated by the fact that the content on is not available in whatever country you live in, check out some of the Canadian (or wherever you live) TV websites. I still curse the skies (and NBC et al.) occasionally when I can't watch a particular clip that's been featured on a blog or somewhere like that, but it's nice to have an alternative.

Before the show aired, Being Erica did some kind of blog promo thing - so I am putting up one of the clips that is especially dear to my heart.


Email me at thenewisthetrue (at) gmail .com
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Toronto, Canada
I think I might be addicted to books. And noodles. I need the ocean. I want to know everything. Almost. I love love. And loving things. Like love. And like.