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Showing posts from April, 2008

Hot Doc Diary Day 4

There are 3 million people in the Greater Toronto Area. There are 2 million AIDS orphans in Uganda. Get the picture? The subject matter is a serious one, but Christa Graff's documentary, Memory Books, uncovers an empowering organization called NACWOLA (National Community of Women Living with AIDS). It was through NACWOLA that HIV+ women began writing down their stories. As one mother says, if they don't tell the children how wonderful they are while they are alive, who will be there to do it when they are gone? The Memory Books are a project that mothers and children work on together. In the photo (top left) Betty, who cannot read or write, dictates a story to her son and daughter, Lucy.

Dennis (left) reads from the memory book his mother wrote with him and his sister Chrissie. Dennis is only now understanding the importance of the book in reminding him of his mother, her life, his birth and how much she loved him. Through writing the book, the children also remember th…

Hot Docs Diary Day 3

My day at the movies started with Anna Magnani, Anthony Quinn and Tony Franciosa in Wild is the Wind at Cinematheque Ontario. "I love you!.. I keel you!" Director, George Cukor really knew how to work a melodrama! After la Magnani, it was off to the ROM to see Victoire Terminus (dir. Renaud Barret and Florentde la Tullaye), a documentary about female boxers in Kinshasa set against the backdrop of the 2006 elections in the Congo. The film was very good at depicting the deplorable social and economic conditions of the city, and in explaining why the women choose to box rather than become prostitutes. The women are fascinating to watch and listen to as is their trainer and promoter (a civil servant who has not been paid in months!). There trainer is a man inspired by Muhammad Ali, and the women train in the same stadium where Ali knocked out Foreman in 1974. On the whole, though, the film could have been tightened up by dropping a few scenes at the beginning of the film. …

Hot Docs Diary: Day 2

After an enjoyable interview with Finlay Pretsell of the Scottish Documentary Institute (check out the results of their Bridging the Gap initiative, My Mother's Daughter, I Shot the Mayor and The Unbearable Whiteness of Being), I headed off to Hot Docs. A stop at Greg's Ice Cream (Spadina/Bloor) for some sweet ginger-flavoured coolness and then...
Bond. James Bond. Same name different lifestyle. While super spy 007 is known for beating up bad guys, loving the ladies and sipping martinis in evening clothes, projectionist James Bond (he was born and named before Dr. No) is known for his work as a projectionist. Make that unknown since, as one projectionist points out in Behind the Glass (dir. Gabriel Rhodes) the audience only notices you when things go wrong. "Unknown" James Bond (see b/w photo) and his ilk have a passion for film that sometimes borders on obsession, but when you hear them speak you can't help but be impacted by their dedication to making yo…

donna g's Hot Docs Diary

Icelandic artist, Ásmundur Ásmundsson
deconstructing the Pepsi Challenge in the documentary STEYPA
Next Screening: Sun, April 20th, 5:00 pm, Innis Town Hall

Is this "art"?

What is Art? This is the question directors, Markús Thór Andrésson and Ragnheidur Gestsdóttir posed to several Icelandic artists in the documentary, STEYPA (concrete). After the screening at the Royale Cinema tonight (April 18th), Andrésson admitted that the artists couldn't really answer the question, so he just showed them doing what they do--working at their respective arts. Andrésson also confessed that as a curator, he made the film so that his mother would understand his job as a curator.

I don't always understand abstract or performance art, but I'm always fascinated by it, and think about the works long after I have seen them. The documentary STEYPA is the same. Some artists I understood, some I didn't, but I enjoyed meeting them in this film and I appreciated the…

Thank You Donors and Volunteers!

Well, CIUT's Spring Friends of 89.5 Campaign is over and thanks to donations from the arts-loving public, The More the Merrier is still on the air. I'd like to thank the volunteers who donated their time in support of the show--and me (I was very under the weather with a cold).

My hearfelt thanks to:
Heidy and David for answering the phonesSistah Lois aka Afrikan Princess for co-hosting the broadcast and carrying the show when my voice gave out half way throughMichael C. for bringing the warm sounds of his guitar into the studioKirk Cooper, independent publicist and Festival consultant, for sharing his passion for the artsMarylou (she knows why)
You can catch Sistah and Michael performing at the City of Hamilton approved Hemp Festival on Saturday, April 20th.

Donate to The More the Merrier and You could WIN!

Make a donation to The More the Merrier on Sat. April 12th, 1-2pm and you could win the show prize package (see below). One lucky winner will be selected. To pledge on line go to or call in on Saturday: 416-946-7800. Good Luck!

1-Year Subscription to Canadian Art Magazine (courtesy of Canadian Art)1-Year Subscription to Toronto Life (courtesy of Toronto Life Magazine)A pair of tickets to the Salsa Africa concert, Sat. May 10th at the Lula Lounge (courtesy of"Tina Turner Live in Amsterdam" (anonymous donor)CD--Melanie Durrant's "Where I'm Goin" (anonymous donor)

We Are More Than Just Business and War: The Arts Matter

Artistic institutions and endeavours are "all things which civilization has a right to be proud of and should sustain, not just business and the ability to make war," says Anton Kuerti. Kuerti was my first guest on March 29th. He is a celebrated Beethoven pianist and composer and is the Artistic Director of Mooredale Concerts. On March 12th he was selected for the Governor General's Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award which he views as "an honour for the artistic community."

He is by no means satisfied with the level of arts funding in Canada, and urges individuals to pressure government to be more generous. In Europe, where there is more of a tradition of government funding for the arts Kuerti says that "it is taken as a matter of course that cities which have any pride whatsoever are going to have orchestras, operas, concerts, art museums, libraries..."

He dispells the myth that the arts do not contribute to the economy by pointing out that for e…