Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 208 – Let’s Begin With Bees

(Photograph by Ken Duret) http://kenduret.com/

This show is the first in a series of soundscapes and interviews conducted during the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium this year.

On my way to view the sound installations at the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium  on a hot humid night in August,  I found myself in conversation with a man named  John Board.  Now you may know who John Board is, but I didn’t.  If you can look him up on IMDB, you’ll see he’s been working in the film industry, primarily as an assistant director,  for more than 40 years.  Among the many films he’s worked are  Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers and other  David Cronenberg movies.    In 2010 John was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.   An advocate of homeopathy, he recently started using bees as part of his cancer treatement.  Last spring (2012), he won a $1000 prize from pUNK Films to document his story.    In this spontaneous interview with me, he tells me more.

Links:

The Hollywood Survival Kit

pUNK Films.ca Feature Film Challenge

John Board on IMDB

Me, The Bees and Cancer

Homeopathy World Community

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Delights of the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium Aug 16 Concert

It’s hard to decide which piece I loved most on the evening of August 16.  It was the second concert night of the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium hosted by New Adventures in Sound Art.  The theatre at the Wychwood Barns on Christie Street, where the concert was held, holds a maximum of about a hundred audience members.   So with some seventy-five of us seated, it was a respectable showing even when you include the artists and their friends and family.  I looked around the concert venue and heavy black media space curtains surrounded the walls.   Such curtains contain the sound within the room and keep noises out as well.  The concert-goers faced the stage and some of us were along the curtained wall. Placed around the seating were no less than eight speakers.  This placement of speakers guaranteed a surround-sound experience.  Perhaps it would have been more immersive for me if I had sat somewhere in the middle facing the stage, but instead I sat on the periphery against one of the walls of curtain and directly to the right of one of these speakers.  Keeping my eyes open during the performances sometimes put me at a distinct disadvantage.  It was often better to listen to the nuances of the sounds without the benefit of any visual cues.

This concert had six pieces.  The most breathtaking of these for me was the last piece : MiND Live:  Live Coding Audiovisual Performance. The group performing consisted of five collaborators, a screen on which live-coding was projected in real time, laptops, and performers in various parts of the room including on the stage.    Beautiful vocalizations by Meaghan Niewland were manipulated as were additional sounds and visuals by the other performance artists.  There was a lovely hypnotic but controlled flavour to this performance.   Another interesting piece was Michael Pound’s Opening.   Through the use of sensors,  pre-recorded sounds and music, (an accordion was prominently featured),  Michael beautifully mutated the sounds of the accordion with the palms of his hands.  With his hands above the sensors, waving and dipping up and down and across, it looked like he was making music out of thin air.   It was a lovely irony since that’s what sound is – vibrations moving through the air.   Dracnoids, Joshua Keeling’s interpretation of a meteor shower he experienced, features a soprano saxophone and a bassoon.  I’ve never heard a sax that sounded like a guitar nor a bassoon that boomed like a foghorn, but those were some of the impressions I had of the sonic transformations that Keeling and the musicians left me with.   It would be fair to say that I was also mesmerized by the other three pieces: A Trace of Finches, with it’s field recordings of Nova Scotian woods, First Life, a mixed media performance of string quartet, live audio processing, narration and animation of organic compounds, and finally Windows Left Open, with its sound experimentation using electric guitar, acoustic guitar, cello and contrabass.

Things I Think Are Weird Today

Empty Bentley Waiting for Mother and Daughter Toronto Davenport Avenue

It’s September 6 and

1. My four o’clocks have germinated again.

2. Some of the trees in the neighbourhood have re-blossomed.

3. The first morning of school was warmer than the first morning of school usually is.

4. A mother and daughter  pair with matching bleach blond perms, were on their way to a TIFF gala in a Bentley convertible.  There were blokes in caps riding in Benz’s.  (We were in a fancy traffic jam).

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 207 – “Old is Just a State of Mind” – The Virtual Yooper (2012)

Ottawa - Canada's Captial - Parliament Hill

Ottawa – Canada’s Captial – Parliament Hill

On the occasion and eve of the final Podcasters Across Borders conference, I,  Mike, Shane, Adam, and Rick do a content walk from Ottawa’s Elgin Hotel to Parliament Hill and back again.  We try to get into trouble but it doesn’t work.   We do talk about things that could get people into trouble, though.   I talk to some tourists.  Shane waxes philosophical about personal  happiness and the end of humanity.    We consider the War of 1812, its 200th anniversary, and the origin of how Ottawa became the capital of Canada.   We get a more than a little meta about podcasting and Adam Curry.   Finally, we pay verbal tribute to the last PAB conference.  Join us for the walk, the talk, and the beauty of Ottawa, Canada:

Listen up:

https://ninjaradio.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/207hotfrmoldisastateofmind.mp3

or Download HotFRM 207 (67MB 35m30s)

PAB 2012 Signed by Mark Blevis on the Pink Canoe

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 206 – “Youth Has No Age” – Pablo Picasso

Picasso’s Boy with a Pipe sold for $104 Million in 2004

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or Download :  HotFRM 206 (70mb)

“Art is a lie that makes us realize truth” – Pablo Picasso.

So, here we are four avid art gallery goers, who don’t really like Picasso’s work and never have.  Wait.  Make that 3 1/2 because, to be fair, Special K, though not a huge fan, appreciates his work.   From my point of view he was simply an accident of really good promotion and the sheer volume of work he produced meant that he had to have some hits in contrast to misses.  He reminds of Madonna.  Less on art side but great business sense.  Like Madonna, he had a knack for making money.  These are what these kinds of celebrities should be known for in history:  knowing how to bring in the cash.  In case my opinion isn’t clear,   I consider Picasso quite overrated.

Now many would completely disagree with me, especially given the history of his career.  Sure.  Go ahead. You can.  In June, Special K and I went to see an Art Gallery of Ontario lecture specifically on Picasso and the art market.  Elizabeth Gorayeb and Molly Ott Ambler , vice-presidents from the art auction house Sotheby’s in New York, had some great information to share with us. You can listen to the  entire  lecture at :

http://www.ago.net/picasso-and-the-art-market

Mentioned:  Cecil Beaton, Francoise GilotBoy with a Pipe, Edvard Munch, Kandinsky, Stendhal Syndrome, Rothko,  Antiques Road Show.

Man with a Guitar – Picasso

“Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” – Robert Francis Kennedy

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And in case you wondered:  This episode is my 7th year anniversary show.

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 205 – RadioActivity

Artscape at Wychwood Barns Where NAISA’s home is

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205HotFRM (60Mb)

For the last eleven years New Adventures in Sound Art has conducted what has been known as a Radio Without Boundaries art symposium.   This year the name was advertised as the Trans X Transmission Art Symposium.  This symposium was part of the Deep Wireless festival of radio and transmission art that was held throughout May this year.   I have for the last several years wanted to attend and this year I was able to.  I wasn’t sure what to expect – but I found that it increased my interest and appetite for sound experimentation.

From the program here is the abstract from Darren Copeland’s opening remarks:

“Rooted in the earliest experiments with radio, Transmission Art has continued to flourish with experiments with wireless communications technology over the past 100 years. The 21st Century is not excluded from this experimentation as artists have ventured into exploring a variety of mobile based platforms and more lesser known forms of transmission such as VLF (very low frequency transmitters). The terrain of transmission art is dynamic and fluid, always open to redefinition.   With NAISA being a sound art organization, we ask the question: What new sound art experiences are possible in the transmission and mobile media platforms?“

Darren Copeland is the founding Artistic Director of New Adventures in Sound Art and a Canadian sound artist.

For today’s show I recorded one of the last sessions of the weekend, this one led by Victoria Fenner.  It was  broadcast live during the symposium, but this is my version of it from my Zoom H2 and binaural mics tightly secured in my ears;  complete with rustling, coughs,  laughter, and one or two minor factual errors – and by that I mean to let you know up front that It wasn’t Hector that screamed twice during his performance,  it was  James just in case that’s not clear.   So here is  what ended up being the spur of the moment panel discussion led by Victoria, with the ad-hoc studio shared with Ninja, Galen, Jim, Tom and Hethre.  Also mentioned:  Twitter, Soundcloud, iTunes, FM, Community Radio, Citizen Journalism – Other Links:

http://www.naisa.ca/deepwireless/

http://free103point9.org/about

http://nplusonemag.com/

http://islandsofresistance.ca/

Listen to the show:

205HotFRM (60Mb)

Victoria Fenner at Work

“life don’t clickety clack down a straight line track It come together and it come apart” – Ferron (Ain’t Life a Brook)

Just because I give it three stars out of five does not mean I didn’t love it. It was the concepts I loved, not the writing. Because it’s an academic book, it was slow going and plodding. Like all works written by some academics, the sentences can be dense and full of meaning that require multiple reads of the same sentence or paragraph. I hate having to look up words like liminal, preliminal, hegemony, deconstructionism, and postmodernism. It makes my head hurt. But look them up I did, if only to try to get inside the mind of Judith Halberstam, the author.

Here is what I think she is saying and it’s wonderfully trailblazing and original. In no particular order: First, she suggests that the queer way of life establishes an entirely unique, reasonable and freeing alternative to the tyranny of the heteronormative (look that one up) timeline of the mandatory passages that the heterosexual lifestyle requires: birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, marriage, career, children, grandchildren, old age, and finally death with all the attendant obligations, constraints, and rituals. An alter-normative life imposes no such constraints. Adolescence can last as long as you want. The ushering in of the age of child rearing doesn’t have to happen until you are good and ready or never. That’s the queer time part.

Next, (well not quite next but I am going to talk about it next), she shows how the queer subculture, the ways we define ourselves in terms of music, dress, film, all forms of art and style, including the way we express ourselves in general, define the particular way that we construct the space and place, psychically and physically, around us. They are as real as the heteronormative popular culture that no one of us can escape. But the success of our art is not defined by conventional fame, celebrity, and money. She uses the world of transgenderism, genderqueerism, drag king shows, dyke slam poetry, and dyke rock to prove that point. These types of expression and lives could serve to represent an undefined and full of possibility midpoint between a threshold and the establishment of new rituals in our culture. A state where definition and space is undefined and being redefined.

Lastly she pays homage to the queers of the mid 20th century and lesbian folk artists of the 70s who paved the way for the freedoms of expressions and rights (at least in some states and Canada) that queers enjoy today. Using the musicians Cris Williamson and Ferron as examples, she engendered in me a new appreciation for their music that I already love so much.

The clod that I am,  I’m sure I have missed the finer subtleties of her arguments. But what I did get out of the book completely captivated and fascinated me.

Here are some choice quotes from the book that I particularly enjoyed:

“…we create longevity as the most desirable future, applaud the pursuit of long life (under any circumstances), and pathologize modes of living that show little or no concern for longevity.”

“…formulaic responses to time and temporal logics produce emotional and even physical responses to different kinds of time…people feel guilty about leisure, frustrated by waiting, satisfied by punctuality, and so on.”

“…time has become a perpetual present, and space has flattened out in the face of creeping globalization.”

“…the transgender body has emerged as futurity itself, a kind of heroic fulfillment of postmodern promises of gender flexibility.”

“…Brandon [Teena]’s death…[is]…evidence of a continuing campaign of violence against queers despite the increasing respectability of some portions of the gay and lesbian community.”

“…the brutality that visited Brandon [Teena]…[was]…also a violence linked to a bourgeois investment in the economy of authenticity.”

“Entertainment…is the name we give to the fantasies of difference that erupt on the screen only to give way to the reproduction of sameness.”

“…gender functions as a ‘copy with no original’.”

“…queer subcultures offer us an opportunity to redefine the binary of adolescence and adulthood…”

“Queer youth sets up younger gays and lesbians not as the inheritors and benefactors of several decades of queer activism but rather as victims of homophobia who need ‘outreach’ programs and support groups…[There is] an emphasis that arises out of an overreliance on the youth/adulthood binary…[that]…encourages young queers to think about the present and future while ignoring the past.”

“The radical styles crafted in queer punk bands, slam poetry events, and drag king boy bands…model other modes of being and becoming that scramble our understandings of place, time, development, action and transformation.”

“Ferron…understands herself to be engaged in a collective project that is rewarded not by capital or visibility…but by an affective connection with those people who will eventually be the vessels of memory for all she now forgets.”

What’s a Rebel to Do?

Well – this is a drag:   Podshow/Mevio removed all my audio files from episodes 198 down.  I’ll be uploading them and re-pointing them to this site over the next few weeks.  So stay tuned while I repatriate my shows.  In the meantime go have a look at   http://soniccourse2012.wordpress.com/ where I’ve posted some audio from my sonic city sound course at AGO in April.   And come by soon for audio I recorded during the NAISA Transmission arts symposium the weekend of May 26/27.

Until then…have yourself a rebellious week.

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 204 – Disruption, Activism and Technology

Syria Crisis Graphic

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Or Download:  HotFRM 204 (100mb)

At Podcamp Toronto 2012, Heather Leson led a session called Dispatches of Disruption. The description of the session was advertised like this: “Every day someone uses the power of the Internet to change their world. What does it mean to be a disrupter? an innovator? a volunteer? What lessons can you activate at home? at work? I’ll share some examples of disruption aimed at corruption, elections, violence, potholes, agriculture, burgers, #futurewewant, and emergency response.”

She talks to us about how the world is using new media and new technology for social change, action and activism.

I’ll admit that many of the tools, techniques and ideas were new to me. Before this year’s podcamp, I had no idea what a crisis map was let alone how to use one. I hope that what you get from this audio is new to you too. 

Links:  Heather works at Ushahidi

Nikola Danaylov

Ramble with Russel

What is Crisis Mapping?

Ping-Pong can be a force for change

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Or Download:  HotFRM 204 (100mb)

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 203 – The Hunter Gatherer Caveman Diet Rules

Copyright : http://www.flickr.com/photos/photopia/with/6796758098/ Some rights reserved by HiMY SYeD / photopia

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Or Download HotFRM 203 (46mb)

Podcamp is more than a way for podcast hobbyists to get together once a year and talk about how we are podfading. Although, we did that too. It was also about social media, networking, how to use social media and other internet community tools to make a difference be it artistically or politically. That’s what podcamp is for me. All the different ways people are using the internet and social media to make a point, or make money. I must admit, the monetizing bit somewhat escapes me. Maybe because I am not making any money doing it.

To set the stage, for this show, it’s Saturday, podcamp toronto at Ryerson University, late February. We’re at the end of a full day of half hour sessions. A group of us are sitting off to the side after the last session, just chatting about the caveman diet, running, meditation and one woman’s father’s book called Dancing in the Mirror, self described inspirations of peace and joy. Oh yes did I mention the caveman diet?

People in the podcast community in attendance:  Bill DeysScarborough Dude, Bob Goyetche, Valerie,  Diets mentioned:  The Paleo, Caveman, Hunter Gatherer.   Podcasts mentioned: Dancing in the Mirror  Surround Sound Sites Mentioned: Holophonics

Listen :

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 202 – It’s So Fruity on My Tongue

Sabba's Hookah (Photo by Ninja)

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The Hookah is a single or multi-stemmed device for smoking tobacco. The smoke is passed through a water basin before inhalation. And the smoke is inhaled through a long hose, a slender flexible tube that allows the smoke to be drawn for a distance, cooling down before inhalation. In the Arab world, it is used as part of the culture and tradition. Social smoking is done at parties and at cafes. Last week Special K and I visited Sabba and Burt and we were treated to the relaxing ritual of hookah smoking. Sabba bought her hookah on a trip to Egypt years ago and decided to share the experience with us. Shisha is the tobacco smoked in a hookah. It is a very moist and sticky tobacco that has been soaked in honey or molasses. There are a variety of shisha flavors including apple, plum, coconut, mango, mint, and strawberry. I’m not sure what kind we had, but it was definitely a fruit flavoured shisha. It was a pinkish red colour that Burt mistook for mashed cranberry when he first saw it. According to tobaccofreeu.org, it doesn’t matter what you smoke in a hookah, it is just as dangerous as cigarette smoke. Hookahs generate smoke in different ways: cigarette smoke is generated by burning tobacco, while hookah smoke is produced by heating tobacco in a bowl using charcoal. The end product is the same—smoke, containing carcinogens. Oh well. It doesn’t matter, we had great fun.   Listen to the soundscape of the wonderful time Special K and I had smoking a hookah for the first time.

(Sources: Wikipedia and tobaccofreeu.org)

Listen to HotFRM 202

or download: Hotfrm 202 (44mb)

Announcement

Just like Auntie Vera Charles, Mevio.com is no longer allowing me to use their site for podcasting hosting.  My account has been suspended.  I knew this day would come and that’s why several months ago I purchased space on the wordpress site and started to post the show directly here.   It’s the second time in six years that I have lost my podcasting host.  It also messes with my iTunes feed, that now stops at episode 201.   So until I find a new host and recreate my iTunes entry, I’ll continue to post here.



Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 201 – Snow Globe Musical Mashup

An Anne Keenan Higgins Stocking Hook – (Photo by Ninja)

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Today I give you a Ninja original Snow Globe Christmas Mashup with ambient household white noise including the refrigerator.

Reindeer in Tutu with Santa (Photo by Ninja)

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 200 – A Trip to the Museum of Gender Archaeology

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Every year, Toronto participates in an all night festival of art known as Nuit Blanche, so named because it colloquilally means “all-nighter” in French,  but literally means “white night”. It’s a sunset to sunrise event on the first Saturday of October. There is so much to see all over the city, and it is by design impossible to see everything. The most popular events seem to be the ones that use lots of light shows and sound. For example, many exhibits feature projections against walls and buildings. One exhibit that was a hit was the tennis point played over and over all night long called The Tie-break. It was a re-enactment of the legendary fourth set tie-break from the 1980 Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles Finals between Björn Borg and John McEnroe. That would have been something to watch. But we limited ourselves to one area of only a few of many possible events that night.

First we dropped by the Museum of Gender Archaeology that eventually led us into the GendRPhone booths. I’ll admit, apart from the gender changer, commonly used for electronic connections, and the display of so-called ancient bathroom signs for male and female, most of the meaning of the items in the small collection were lost on me. And Ninja is all about exploring the nuances of gender. I get that it was meant to represent a future bygone world of gender dualilty and it was a great start, but it simply wasn’t enough for me. I love shock factor in art (I just revelled in the outrage caused by the kissing of the pope and the imam), and I wasn’t shocked, merely amused. If that is what the artist was after, then it that sense, it did succeed. The installation invites us however to re-imagine our gender. On the gendRphone, you can select the sex and gender of a potential lover and hear their words of love. In the words of Marshall McLuhan, “When you are on the phone, you have no body”.  Just a disembodied voice. I love that concept. It’s full of possibility. Not sure that the installation piqued my imagination though. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood.

My favourite installation was the sound and poetry presented by a local group called New Adventures in Sound Art.  Go figure. I loved the beat and words that went with it. You’ll hear some of that. The last two installations we went to were light and sound shows. The first was called Night Light Travels and the second was another installation by the NAISA (New Adventures in Sound Art), called Sonic Spaces (The Kinetics of Sound). Both used feedback mechanisms and other triggers to change sound and in some cases light in real time. A Markov chain is a mathematical system that undergoes transitions from one state to another, between a finite or countable number of possible states. The next state depends only on the current state and not on the sequence of events that preceded it. This kind of “memorylessness” is called the Markov property. Markov chains have many applications as statistical models of real-world processes and Shawn Pinchbeck uses them to evolve the sound in Sonic Spaces. He also used Vocoder (Voice encoder) technology and theory to change what we hear in the installation.

Have a listen and see if any of this art is your cup of tea.   

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 199 – I Want My Therapeutic Seal

This past summer,  Special K, Dragon, Fly and I went to Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Civilization.  The highlight of the visit was the exhibit called Japan: Tradition.  Innovation.  The exhibit showcased Japan’s achievements in design.   I wanted to take home everything I saw, including a robotic seal intended for elder care.

Links:  Japan: Tradition and Innovation at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Therapeutic Seal, Museum of Civilization


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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 198 – Filling Up and Spilling Over

mmm…doesn’t that look refreshing?


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Are you a lesbian? Have you ever been a lesbian? Well Holly Near was. Singer, songwriter and activist, she was a lesbian-feminist in the heady, crazy days of early gay and women’s liberation. In the 70s she sang with the prolific and talented ladies of Olivia Records; with the likes of Cris Williamson , Meg Christian, and Teresa Trull.  Olivia Records eventually stopped producing lesbian-feminist music and morphed into a cruise line and travel company. Oh and Holly Near herself morphed into a heterosexual.

Today’s show is about the Olivia Travel company. During a recent trip to Ottawa, we had the pleasure of dinner with some friends of our travel companions who live there. Talk turned to what it was like to holiday in a resort exclusively for women. Also mentioned, in case you don’t know her, is the comic Karen Williams who has worked as a comedy writer, host of In the Life, and featured in the documentary We’re Funny That Way. Marga Gomez, as part of the resort entertainment, was also on the trip. Other Musicians Mentioned: Carole Pope, Kevin Staples.  Other Artists Mentioned: General Idea, A.A.Bronson.  Lezebrities Mentioned: Rosie O’Donnell

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 197 – Water is the Only Thing That Matters or Watermageddon

That’s How Much Water We Have to Use for 7 Billion People

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On Canada Day this year, July 1st, Special K and I went to Royal Ontario Museum, the ROM to view three separate exhibits. The first is on water, what it is, what it means to us, what it means to everything on the planet and how little of it there actually is. The second was an exhibit of Edward Burtynsky’s photography. A well known local and international photographer, the exhibit showcased some of his more stunning and beautiful pieces. I try to describe his photography as I move through the display. See what you think. The last exhibit is a display of Bollywood showcards and I try to get you interested in the delights and promise of the most popular cinema art form in the world.  Important Links:

The Big Picture Science Podcast

http://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/default.asp?lang=en&n=300688DC-1

How Much Usable Water? Really?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_distribution_on_Earth

http://www.allaboutwater.org/water-facts.html

Listen to the show:

Hotfrm 197 (35mb)


This Just In: Science Explains Evil – The Media Says So

In the aftermath of the horror that took place in Norway recently, the headline on the Globe and Mail print version today reads:  Can Science Really Explain Evil?   Doesn’t that seem just a bit sarcastic to you?  It did to me.  Let’s have a look at that statement – shall we?   First of all the statement belies an underlying assumption about science, in this case, as an authority that makes you sit up and ask challengingly, “Yeah? Can they?”  Note that I did not write it. I wrote they. That is because here is another assumption:  That science represents the collective opinion of a group of people rather than a system of knowledge.  Now let’s imagine that I am ultra-religious.  Or even a little bit religious. Or even religious in a tiny way ; in a way that has been unexamined, say the type of faith you have in a belief that you have never bothered to question. Like Christmas: good; Ramadan: makes me feel funny and uncomfortable.  In this case the belief is:  There is a group of people called scientists that arrogantly believe they can solve the mystery of life, the universe and everything (to turn a phrase).  Oh and by the way these stuck up geeks think I caused global warming.   This ingrained belief in the truth of what a scientist really is leads me to the next question I then ask myself:  If science can’t explain evil, what can?  What is the next choice?  Oh!  Maybe faith?  Maybe religion?  It doesn’t matter. The question is the hook that makes you buy the paper.   If you’re a skeptic like me, the last thing you want to do is fork out the coin.  Instead I went to the internet version and read the associated article.  Nowhere in the article is there any implication or certainty that science has the answer to this pseudo-authoritative question.  I’ll repeat it again – just in case you forgot : Can Science Really Explain Evil?  Who said science ever has explained evil?   There is only discussion of neuroscience and psychology.   In fact one of the more banal statements that is made in the article is that the scientist, who is representing the complexity of this question, reveals that empathy is on a spectrum and that “[t]he spectrum approach reminds us that none of us are angels and none of [us] is the devil [sic] …”  Well.  Thank you so much for that gem of wisdom. Now I understand everything.   You may be wondering as I did, why there is no mention of that other discipline that explores the problems of our day known as philosophy.   Oh, but there is.  It is explained that the scientist’s “…investigations are more practical than philosophical”.   It seems to me – call me a little out of it – that neuroscience and psychology, being rather young disciplines, ought not to have been called upon as the only route to explain the question of acts as disturbing and vile as the recent events in Norway.   Using philosophy is wanting because, well, it’s difficult to distill and present the difficult concepts to a layperson – especially when, as a writer, you are trying to make deadline to keep the paper afloat in these times of yellow journalism.  And anyway – philosophy is way beyond what most of us can handle in the age of quick sounds-bites and headlines delivered to our already overflowing inboxes.

Was the media ever anything more than yellow journalism?   That’s a good question to ask too.  And mostly I want all of us to ask a lot of questions.

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 196 – Pride 2011 – An Interview…or Two

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Dina Paige explains SIS (Photo by Ninja)

At 1:20am on the morning of Saturday June 28, 1969, police entered a Mafia run gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. It is still located at 51 and 53 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village New York. The police had raided the establishment countless times before to take their payoffs. It appears that the combination of delays getting patrol wagons to the site, police mis-communications, and undoubtedly, a growing sense of frustration with the constant raids, a riot broke out on the street, amid crys of “Gay Power”, against the police. Michael Fader, quoted by David Carter in the book Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution, explained:

We all had a collective feeling like we’d had enough of this kind of shit. It wasn’t anything tangible anybody said to anyone else, it was just kind of like everything over the years had come to a head on that one particular night in the one particular place, and it was not an organized demonstration…. Everyone in the crowd felt that we were never going to go back. It was like the last straw. It was time to reclaim something that had always been taken from us…. All kinds of people, all different reasons, but mostly it was total outrage, anger, sorrow, everything combined, and everything just kind of ran its course. It was the police who were doing most of the destruction. We were really trying to get back in and break free. And we felt that we had freedom at last, or freedom to at least show that we demanded freedom. We weren’t going to be walking meekly in the night and letting them shove us around—it’s like standing your ground for the first time and in a really strong way, and that’s what caught the police by surprise. There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we’re going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren’t going to go away. And we didn’t.   (source: Wikipedia)

This period in American history also coincided with other civil and social movements of the time, including the African-American civil rights movement, the counterculture of the 1960s and the anti-war movement. The riots lasted for the next six days. It stands as a marker and pivotal moment when the gay liberation movement in North America came of age. Since that year, the last weekend of June has been a weekend of choice for Gay Pride parades, the world over. During the 1970s, Toronto had over the years various events to mark gay pride, but in 1981, after the Toronto bathhouse raids by police where 306 men were arrested, Lesbian and Gay Pride day was incorporated and Toronto’s first official celebration occurred on Sunday June 28.

This year the parade – known simply in Toronto now as “Pride” or the “Pride Parade” was held on July 3 during the Canada Day and American July 4th long weekend. The first year since 1981 that Pride Day wasn’t held on the last Sunday of June was in 2010 when the G20 summit literally closed down the Toronto core during the last week of June. Now it seems that between the city and the Pride Committee, the decision stands to hold it on the long weekend in July, a move that barely conceals the money making, tourism, and commercial nature of the week long Pride festivities.

I am not alone in feeling this way among Toronto queers, but we all don’t feel that way either as CP tells me in today’s show recorded during the pride weekend this year. I should apologize to CP because she might actually wished I referred to her as SP. So…sorry about that SP. D’oh. In today’s show I also talk to Dina Paige, a woman who has created the S.I.S. or the Sexuality Identification System. Using different categories, I can chart my level of femaleness, maleness or gender ambiguity that show where on the gender spectrum I define myself. I spend a few minutes talking to her about that. Enjoy the show.   
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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 195 – Savage Beauty and a Bit of Gershwin

A Typical McQueen Creation

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Special K follows the fashion world, so it made sense that she didn’t want to miss the late designer Alexander McQueen’s retrospective Savage Beauty. It was showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art during our New York trip. I’m normally not so keen on fashion, so I didn’t expect to be blown away by the exhibit. On Feb 11 2010, McQueen tragically killed himself in his London flat at the age of 40, just days after his mother’s death. He was known for his runway spectacles, outrageous edgy performance art meant to compliment his fashion creations and make a statement. I didn’t even know any of this about him when I followed Special K and Dragon into the first gallery. Despite the crushing crowd, straining to get a glimpse of his works adorning mannequins and on display platforms, I lingered over what I realized were oddly compelling works of art. I couldn’t believe that anyone would collect razor clam shells, strip them, varnish them and then drape them over a woman’s body or make a leather suit with bleached denim attached and taxidermy crocodile heads. I think the pieces that intrigued me the most were his monstrous lobster claw shoes and the endless variety of masks, some playful, some nightmarish, adorning the mannequins’ heads. To me, it is brilliant, ironic, and a little mischievous that these pieces are even called fashion. Instead, each garment tells a story and makes a point, sometimes terrible as illustrated by his collection called Highland Rape. 

Besides seeing this exhibit, we also took Dragon and Fly through Central Park and through an photographic exhibit by the Korean artist Ahae. Walking through the Vanderbilt Hall in the Grand Central Terminal, we saw but a small sample of the many photographs he took over the course of two years from one window where he lives and works in Korea.

And what trip to New York would be complete without a pianist in Washington Square Park playing Gershwin’s iconic Gotham tune Rhapsody in Blue?

Washing Square Park Rhapsody

Playing Gershwin in Washington Square Park (Photo by Ninja)

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 194 – New York is Just Like Toronto With More Stuff

NYC Ground Zero May 6 2011 (Photo by Special K)

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I haven’t posted a show in two months. I have some good reasons for that. For one thing I’ve been working hard and enjoying my new day job. I’ve also been spending time working on another new project http://threegratitudes.ninja-radio.com/. Every day I think of three things in my life to be grateful for and share them on the site. You would think that coming up with three things to be thankful for every day would be dead easy. It’s not. There is so much tragedy and negative things happening in the world and in my life every day, that to take delight, pleasure and gratitude in small and simple things around me can be tricky. Especially on a day to day basis when much of our days also take the form of eat, work, sleep, repeat. But I am persevering in this. I have seven months to go and then I’ll end the project. Until then, you can join me if you want in the project in various ways. You can email me at hotfrm@gmail.com with your gratitudes or comment on the site. Either way your gratitudes will make it to the project.

A New Concept in Fast Food (Photo by Ninja)

This month Special K and I took our friends Dragon and Fly to New York. Fly had never been there and it had been many years since Dragon had. In today’s segment, we visit an interesting restaurant for breakfast called 4Food – the purpose of which is to de-junk fast food. We run into many French tourists. The aim that day was to visit to Ground Zero the day after Obama visited on May 5, 2011. Surprisingly we were stopped by a journalist who interviewed us for Swiss Public Radio about 9/11. Bit of a switch for Ninja.  We also find out that there is a huge French community in New York. We talk about the movie Winter’s Bone and a class of humanity that are sometimes, but not often, represented in movies. Other movies discussed: Pulp Fiction, Deliverance, The Fly.  Food mentioned:  Pressed rice patties. Television Shows referred to:  Modern Family.  Broadcasters mentioned:  Swiss Public Radio, The CBC.

Links:  http://midtownlunch.com/   http://www.facebook.com/4food?sk=notes

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 193 – Nonsense, Lunacy, and a Little Cello Music

Leo Zhang – Cellist

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Meshugoss : me·shu·gaas or mish·e·gaas or mish·e·goss (msh-gäs) n. Slang Crazy or senseless activity or behavior; craziness.

Narishkeit:  nar-ish-kite (a nar is a fool) n. Slang Nonsense; foolishness.  “An artist, you want to be? Never mind this narishkeit! Better you should go to college and get a real job!”

Another Saturday morning at the Market and we cover lots of ground.   Subjects of import discussed:  Family Day, Bad Driving, Gender bias ascribed to bad driving, Canada Goose Jackets – everyone is wearing them, the Apple iTouch new killer app – the flashlight, Ninja proves she looks terrible in hats, the saddest music in the worldLeo Zhang – A cellist plays for us in the background (well at least I think so), How to fix a deviated septum, Flash Flicker Photography Group, Flash mobs.

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 192 – Peak Oil, Global Warming and General Armageddon

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“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” – Albert Einstein

What do Canadians do while they are waiting for the end of the world?  Watch hockey of course.  But that doesn’t stop Ninja from engaging her father and nephew in a lively discussion about impending global catastrophe.  But before we get to that, Ninja shares expert information about climate change,  how petroleum is processed, and what is required to support life here and elsewhere in the universe.   Ninja is hoping to soon make the three and half year trip to Jupiter’s moon Europa where scientists think life could exist in our solar system.

Famous people featured: Linda Hunt, Albert Einstein, Steven Hawking, Martin Gardner.    Moons and planets mentioned: Earth, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Io, Europa, Mercury. Places on earth mentioned:  Stratford Ontario, China, Shanghai.

Europa - One of 63 Moons of Jupiter

Europa may be mankind’s only hope.

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 191 – Moving Objects With Only My Mind

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Last fall, Special K and I took a short trip to Chicago.   We covered a lot of ground during our five day stay there.   We visited our usual museums and restaurants.  Special K took me on a tour of the Gold Coast, one of the more interesting architectural areas of the city.

Former Playboy Mansion in Chicago (circa 1960)

I was duly impressed by the city. I also took some time out on Sunday to visit Madge Weinstein of Yeast Radio and Eat This Hot Show fame.   But the most delightful moment for me was when I watched and then played a game of Mindball at the Chicago Museum of Science and Technology where I moved an object with only my mind.  It was thrilling.

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Collaboration?! Me?!

I normally run my own show.  It’s safer that way, and possibly more polite.  Then there is only one person to blame when the mission goes wrong.   But here I’ve gone ahead and done a collaborative thing with George Motoc.   You can find his blog at  Canadian Immigrant Song.  I researched and wrote the text for one of his podcasts.  You can find it at  The Rolling Stone 500.

Download the show (22 MB): RS500496

 

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 190 – Because I Have a Voice

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A Million Things I'd Like to Say

The movie ‘The King’s Speech’ is based on the book written by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy. Mark Logue is the grandson of Lionel Logue, the titular man who saved that monarchy. Special K argues that in fact it was the Queen Mother, Elizabeth, wife of King George VI, known to his family and intimates as Bertie, who really saved the monarchy.  Lionel Logue was the speech therapist known for enabling King George VI, a lifelong stutterer, to speak confidently, sincerely and as a leader during a time in history when the British Empire needed that leadership most: the dawn and period of World War II. Lionel Logue, in wikipedia, is described as being distinctive in his therapeutic method that emphasized humour, patience and superhuman sympathy.

And this is in great part what makes this movie enduring art in its depth and emotional complexity. Geoffry Rush’s performance completely embodies these three qualities. There is no other way, the movie, convinces us, that he could have helped the king otherwise. A normally mild-mannered man, the film portrays King George VI, played exquisitely and poignantly by Colin Firth, as someone who could erupt in frustrated rage when provoked to face the disability that could make or break royal credibility.  For all the remoteness royality seems to the otherwise common man, this film attempts to show the humanity in all of us through Bertie and the heartwarming affection between him, his wife, the Queen Mother, his daughters Elizabeth and Margaret and his lifelong bond with his speech therapist.

Links:  Lionel Logue George VI Stuttering is Cool The King’s Speech

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 189 – PodCursing Meetup


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Vachon Cakes Associated with Quebecois

When the Scarborough Dude shows up, you can bet that the conversation will not be safe for work and the podcaster meetup in December was no exception.  We start out discussing C words, the W and T word, J word, D word and F word. We then effortlessly move onto the discussion of violence – domestic and workplace.  Talking out of my ass, I refer to bill 184, but what I really meant was bill 168. This bill came into affect on June 15 2010 and amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act specifically with respect to violence and harassment in the workplace. Bill 184 is an act to amend the floral emblem act – not remotely related to workplace harassment or violence. I for one come away less closer than I expected to a working definition of psychological versus physical violence.

So you are forewarned. Don’t play it full blast at your cube or within ear’s reach of your mother or nana.

Political issues discussed: Nanny State, Treason, The FLQ crisis, Pierre LaPorte, and Julian Assange.   Fictional heros mentioned: Lisbeth Salander. Deserts mentioned in a pejorative way : May West, the uniquely Canadian fluffy cake snack, not the film and entertainment sex symbol of the early 20th century.


Podcasters present:  ValerieThe Dude, The Dude Again with Brent, Closet Geek (Brent)


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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 188 – Coffee with Tyffanie

Beer Chicken

On a lazy rainy Sunday afternoon in November, Ninja calls Tyffanie Morgan (of Breakfast With Tyffanie). She hails from Kingston, Canada, has been a host of the Kingston’s Gender Bender community radio show, and speaks from time to time on social media.

While Ninja sips her delicious coffee, they discuss the subtleties of cooking beer can chicken on the grill, gardening, yard vermin, gender bending, musicals, queer politics, have the requisite meta-talk about podcasting, social media and Podcasters across Borders. There may or may not spoilers in this show about Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. She didn’t specify which kind of beer she used for her chicken. Broadway Shows mentioned: Hair, Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Classic Canadian Plays mentioned: Hosanna. Canadian small towns mentioned: Picton. Iconic Gay Music mentioned: Madonna, ABBA, Disco Podcamps mentioned: Podcasters Across Borders, Podcamp Toronto

Other Links

http://www.wordreference.com/fren/cuirette

http://www.rabble.ca/

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Hosanna by Michel Tremblay

Tyffanie's Podcast (when she posts)

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Things I Want to Do. Now.

  1. Scan all the family photos I’ve got from 1900 to now.  Takes about 10 minutes per photo.
  2. Scan all my own photos of my life, friends, and lovers from the age of 15 to now.
  3. Read my wired magazines
  4. Read the articles I’ve printed
  5. Hot Yoga
  6. See Tim Burton Exhibition
  7. Analyse why I liked Scott Pilgrim Against the World so much.
  8. Get My Hair Cut
  9. Put together the movie of our last trip for someone’s viewing pleasure.
  10. Read the National Geographic issue October 2010
  11. Clean up the basement
  12. Sand and shine some rocks with my dremelling kit
  13. Watch Fight Club
  14. Create a DVD of documentaries for my father
  15. Paint the bathroom
  16. Watch Fringe Season 2
  17. Finances
  18. Get a new stopper for the bathroom sink
  19. Read the mountain of books by my bed
  20. Solve the next Sudoku in my One Sudoku a Day calendar.  Current puzzle:  Feb 28,  2007.
  21. Convert all my VHS tapes to avi
  22. Take Tai Chi
  23. Read Life of Pi
  24. Finish Atlas Shrugged
  25. Read The Lost Symbol
  26. Find old copies of Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine
  27. Read The Girl Who Played with Fire. And then. Immediately after – The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.
  28. Start my Christmas shopping.
  29. Do the Mona Lisa puzzle with Special K.  Spread out on the dining room table. Before our dinner party.
  30. Loose weight.  (Are you calling me fat?!)
  31. Take it up a notch.
  32. Take it down a notch.