Music 11 results

Michael Joplin remembers a happy Janis

Interview: Michael Joplin Though Janis Joplin's surviving siblings don't occupy huge amounts of screen time, Michael and Laura Joplin's presence brings a new dimension to Amy Berg's new documentary, Janis: Little Girl Blue, premiering tonight on PBS

Art Bergmann plays The Apostate

Music: Interview with Art Bergmann The former Vancouver punk icon says his joints are sore, his back aches and his neck breaks, but the release of his first new LP in a decade proves Art Bergmann is more than a survivor, he's close to folk hero By Katherine Monk For the first few minutes, we talk about sciatica, arthritis, spinal surgery and who’s dead. That's just what happens when you're over 50 and you haven't spoken to someone in 20 years. Even if that someone is Art Bergmann – the iconic face of Canadian punk rock turned apostate. Make that “The Apostate,” because after an extended recording hiatus that witnessed the release of just one EP and a lost recordings collection over the course of a decade, Bergmann has a new LP, The Apostate, what he calls his “response to living in the west." Bouncing from Vancouver to a small parcel of Albertan landscape situated near “the beige town of Airdrie,” Bergmann started a new life with his wife Sherri a decade ...

David Bowie’s Top Ten movies

Tribute: David Bowie As the world mourns the loss of an icon who changed pop music, let's not forget David Bowie's impressive, and sometimes abysmal, body of work on the big screen because it was all part of a greater performance By Katherine Monk VANCOUVER - The I-5 was a ribbon of wet blackness that emerged, intermittently, with each croaking swipe of the wipers. It was going to be a long drive from Vancouver to Tacoma, and in late October rain without someone to talk to, it was going to feel even longer. No one wanted to see Bowie with me. Not this tour, at any rate. My partner was a former music promoter. After a lifetime of walking around with a headset and a deck of laminates around her neck, she had no desire to be a plus-one in press seats. Besides, it was the Outside tour. A 1995 conceptual opera featuring Nine Inch Nails and Bowie playing the character of Nathan Adler, a man who judges the worthiness of art in a post-apocalyptic future, the Outside tour proved ...

Rod Mickleburgh’s Cool Yule Top Ten

Music: Christmas Carols A devout atheist reveals an unrepentant penchant for Christmas carols, and offers a list of top yule tunes, as well as a few nasty disasters from the past By Rod Mickleburgh A confirmed atheist from birth, I nevertheless fell under the spell of Christmas carols early on in my twisted, hippie life. I well remember a time when, in the days leading to Christmas, CBC Radio would broadcast the singing of carols every morning from the Timothy Eaton’s Store in Toronto. And this was no professional choir. The singers were the shoppers, and whoever else showed up to carol at 8.30 a.m., when the half-hour live broadcast began. Complete with coughing, the grave, echo-y announcements of the next carol, the audible rustling of the carol sheets and finally, the glorious sound of all those voices raised on high, it was an indelible part of my “child’s Christmas in Newmarket”. I can tell you they never did Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the ...

Pop Culture Decoder: Christmas Music

Christmas music is more maligned than soul patches; Misty Harris jumps to its defence By Misty Harris Every holiday season, the masses profess their hatred of Christmas music with a level of zeal normally reserved for discussions about politics, refugees, or Starbucks cup designs. As with hearing police sirens in a song on your car radio, the genre has a way of unsettling even the most mild-mannered of folks. I, however, am not one of the masses. Call me punk rock but I LOVE Christmas music – so much, in fact, that it’s virtually the only thing I listen to between mid-November and Boxing Day. Cut me and I’ll bleed tinsel. Why, you ask? Allow me to decode. * Happiness: Admittedly, most holiday tunes lack complexity in terms of lyrics, melody and variety of plant life. But like Hugh Hefner bedding women in their 20s, Christmas music isn’t there to impress so much as to belabour a point: Fa la la la la (la la la la)! Surrendering to its unshakable optimism ...

Adios, Buena Vista Social Club

The venerated Cuban act made famous by Ry Cooder's chart-topping recording are on their final tour, but even as octogenarians, the surviving legends send chills through the nervous system By Rod Mickleburgh It was a magical night, mixed with a heavy dose of poignancy, as the vaunted Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club made its final appearance in Vancouver. There will be no more tours. Many of the aging Cuban music stars we got to know and love from Ry Cooder’s venture to Havana in the 1990’s are no longer with us. Only five Buena Vista originals are left, and one of them, the incomparable diva Omara Portuondo, will soon be 85. She could barely walk onto the stage at the Chan Centre. As soon as the music started up, however, her fountain of youth kicked in, transfixing us still with the haunting power of her voice and an aching ability to caress the lyrics. Spanish really is the loving tongue. For most of her short set, we were on our feet, showering her with the adulation ...

Review: Peaches pushes the body politic

The performance artist, composer and electronic musician hit the stage accompanied by dancing labia then took a walk over the crowd encased in a gigantic condom By Katherine Monk October 6, 2015, VANCOUVER, BC -- Katy Perry has dancing sharks. Peaches has dancing labia. There’s a good argument to be made for the merits of each mascot sidekick – an uncoordinated shark made Perry’s Super Bowl performance a viral sensation, and Peaches plushy vulvas have brought the Toronto-raised, Berlin-based performance artist international acclaim as a gender activist with a sense of humor. But even without the shock value of gigantic stuffed genitalia prancing around the stage, there’s a clear difference in showmanship and intent that makes a Peaches show more than a night of entertainment. The woman born Merrill Beth Nisker is able to straddle disparate worlds through her weird mise-en-scene that uses the tricks of arena rock theatrics while mocking their phallocentric ...

It’s not jazz camp ’til I cry

Sleep deprivation and the democratization of the arts Charley Gordon finds his groove at jazz camp but suffers whiplash on re-entry into the real world, where the noise isn't always joyful and the pros are competing for gigs with the wide-eyed amateurs By Charley Gordon LAC MCDONALD, Quebec -- It’s about two hours before the final concert is to begin at the jazz camp. I’ve finished warming up in one of a dozen cabins set in the woods beside Lac McDonald in the Laurentians. I step out and hesitate on the step. There’s a light breeze and but music is everywhere, floating on it. From every cabin comes music — an accidental meshing of saxophones, pianos, guitars, basses, voices, each playing something different yet somehow blending into a complicated melody that has a simple theme: nothing matters but music and all’s right with the world.   This particular jazz camp, run by an organization called Ottawa JazzWorks (disclosure:I’m a former board member), ...
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Amy Winehouse documentary delivers shivers

Asif Kapadia allows his camera to become an emotional confessional to his subjects in the profoundly moving Amy, a documentary portrait of another musical luminary prematurely darkened by a deep love deficit

Rod Mickleburgh toasts Canada Day with a sonic brewski, eh?

Crank up the Clairtone and celebrate Canada's birthday with a selection of songs curated by a discerning music lover indulging his many shades of plaid By Rod Mickleburgh Well, hello there, Canada. Another birthday, eh? Dominion Day is my favourite holiday of the year, a time for us all to set aside those petty differences over just about everything the you-know-who gang does in Ottawa, and celebrate being Canadian. My Canada includes a Prime Minister who loves hockey and gets excited about finding Franklin’s ships up north. It doesn’t include an ugly monument to “victims of communism” beside the Supreme Court of Canada, nor a massive Mother Canada statue scarring Cape Breton’s beautiful Highlands National Park, nor…(fill in 50 blanks here)….but never mind. Happy Dominion Day! What’s that? It’s now called Canada Day, you say? Pity! I usually celebrate Canada Day with a list of good old songs that best exemplify the spirit, history, beauty and character of this ...