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Month: July 2008

TIFF 08 – The List… so far.

Ok, I’m ridiculously excited about this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.  We’ve got our tickets, we’ve booked our apartment, now all we have to do is wait (augh!) – the full film list won’t be available until August 19th and we won’t be scheduling until August 27th.  In the meantime, the Midnight Madness and Canada First! programmes have been announced and I’m starting to build my list.  Here are some Midnight flicks that I’m looking forward to:

JCVD – “The Muscles from Brussels is back!” – Starring Jean Claude Van Damme as himself, “JCVD tells the comeback story of a screen hero who has been on the receiving end of kicks that are getting harder and harder to take. “

The Burrowers – One of my favourite film experiences of TIFF 06 was JT Petty’s S&Man – and this year JT is back with what has been described as a creature feature wrapped inside a gritty western.

There’s a bunch of flicks I want to see from the Midnight Madness series – I’ll be sure to keep linking them up.  I’m really looking forward to spending some late nights at Ryerson this year.  As for the Canada First! programme, some flicks I’d like to check out:

Control Alt Delete is an unusually quirky romantic comedy set in 1999. When computer geek Lewis Henderson (Tyler Labine) is dumped by his longtime girlfriend, he becomes more and more obsessed with internet porn. After a while, the images lose their power over his libido and he begins a strange sexual relationship with the machine itself. As Lewis starts dating the new receptionist Jane (Sonja Bennett), he realizes he may not be the only one harbouring a dirty little secret.”


A wild and deranged comedy set in 1985 suburbia, Cooper’s Camera follows the disintegration of a truly dysfunctional family Christmas after the arrival of an estranged uncle. As everyone gets drunker and drunker, old conflicts and secrets are unearthed to hilarious effect. The story is told through the eyes of the youngest son Teddy, via the family’s newest Christmas present, a second-hand VHS camcorder. The film stars Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, Peter Keleghan and Mike Beaver and is written by Jason Jones and Mike Beaver.”

Most in Canada would agree our summers are short enough as it is… but with TIFF coming, I find myself wishing August would just hurry the hell up already!

TIFF 08 – Ticket Packages Purchased!

I just put our order in for our Toronto International Film Festival ticket packages!  We got 5 10-ticket packages (maximum flexibility) and I made a $250 donation to TIFFG to make sure our orders are among the first processed.  It is exciting times indeed.

Bluesfest – The Rest

A little late coming, but here’s the wrap-up post for Bluesfest.  The last couple of days were fun – my biggest regret is missing Saturday – by all accounts a highlight of the festival this year.  I had to work that night and couldn’t go.  Next year I swear I’m not missing a single night – I won’t book any DJ gigs during the run – and I’m taking the days off work too.

So Friday night was Metric – and they put on a wicked show.  I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to see them.  Earlier on I caught the end of Balkan Beat Box who seemed like they’d be fun – but I was still hunting for food, booze and people during their performance so not paying much attention.  The mainstage act was Great Big Sea – and there seemed to be a pretty big crowd out for them – we just caught a few minutes at the very end after Metric had wrapped up.  I’m just not so much into the Celtic music so much… sorry!

On Sunday I caught some of Sean Paul, who I didn’t care much for before, and didn’t care much for after – guess it’s just not my thing.  Caught Sam Roberts Band – who were good, but I was catching up with friends who’d just returned from a vacation and didn’t pay as much attention as I’d have liked (man, isn’t that the story of my Bluesfest…) though from what I caught they were quite good.

Donna Summer was the headliner for the evening closing out Bluesfest with what has become the traditional disco party Sunday.  She was great fun – put on a big bright performance with all the requisite backup dancers and costume changes and glitz and glam you’d expect from a disco diva.  She was pimping her new album pretty hard so there was lots of stuff I didn’t know – but she hit a number of fun classics too.

So that was Bluesfest for me: it’s all becoming a bit of a blur now.  There were lessons learned, festival friends made, and lots of great (if hazy) memories.  Can’t wait for next year!

Bluesfest – Days 5,6,7,8

Oh man, what a week… I’m so wrecked right now.  Been going out every night after Bluesfest and drinking until the wee hours, then getting up and dragging myself to work in the morning(ish).

So no time to write.  Or really do anything.  My poor dog is feeling neglected – we just celebrated an anniversary – I adopted her 11 years ago this week!  I’m gonna have to spend some serious time with her next week to make up…  My house is a mess – no time to clean – it’s getting pretty bad.  I’m sure my girlfriend is feeling a bit neglected too.  Or maybe she’s glad to have me out of the house and not bothering her.  Not sure – could go either way.

Anyway, been seeing lots of shows.  Here’s a quick rundown: on Monday I rushed down to catch The D’urbervilles at 6:00 – they were really great, but played a really short set – only 35 mins… so that was a bit disappointing.  Caught Matthew Good after – who was really great – I’ve never seen him live but been meaning to for a while.  The headliner for the night was James Taylor, who I wasn’t sure how much I was going to care about, and when he started out I was worried it was going to be a bit of a snorefest, but once the show got rolling I ended up really enjoying it.

Tuesday I caught The Most Serene Republic – who I’d never heard of before, but I bumped into some friends when I got there and one of them said they were good so we checked them out – and they didn’t disappoint.

The plan for the rest of the evening involved trying to catch three acts who were playing on three stages at the same time – Tokyo Police Club, Michael Franti & Spearhead and Stars.  We started at The Black Sheep Stage for Tokyo Police Club – who were great – and after a half hour we headed over to The Roots Stage for Michael Franti.

And holy cow – what an incredible show they put on – the crowd was so enthusiastic and Michael Franti had us all in the palm of his hand – everyone was jumping around and dancing and having a great time.  We quickly forgot about the rest of our plan and stayed at Roots for most of the performance.

We did eventually make it over to The River stage for the last two songs of Stars, who were great – but a much mellower performance and we kinda felt like we were missing out on the craziness back at Roots so as soon as Stars wrapped up we managed to rush back and catch another song of Franti who were going overtime.

Wednesday I arrived a little early and caught a bit of JW Jones Band while enjoying my dinner and a beverage and waiting for some of the gang to show up.  I met up with the gang over at The Black Sheep stage for Hayden who we enjoyed while sitting in the grass half-listening-half-chatting.

At 9:00 I really wanted to check out Kid Beyond inside the theatre in the war museum – but nobody else seemed all that interested so I went in by myself intending to just catch a half our or so and then head out for the 9:30 shows.  Kid B’s performance blew my mind – I ended up staying for the whole show – it was really an incredible experience and I was glad I made it out.

I caught up with everyone else over at The Roots stage for CALEXICO who were great – but the next highlight of the evening was a total surprise – one of our group had walked over to Black Sheep stage to use the bathrooms and texted the rest of us that the music was really good over there.  Sure enough, Grupo Fantasma were just about the most fun we’d had all week.  When they wrapped up at 11:00 the audience cheered and chanted their name for 10-15 minutes after.  You could tell they really regretted that they couldn’t do an encore – damn Ottawa City ByLaws!

Thursday night I found out that Kid Beyond was playing again at The River stage so I told everyone they should check him out.  Unfortunately his performance didn’t transfer well to the outdoor stage – it was a totally different feeling and kind of a bit disappointing.  Too bad – the indoor venue was just so much better for what he was doing.  The Black Crowes were the headliners and they just put on such an incredible show – only disappointment was that they didn’t play two of their biggest songs:  Hard To Handle and She Talks To Angels.  Thought they may have been saving them for an encore, but they played right till 11:00 and didn’t get to do one.  Oh well, the whole show rocked so the songs weren’t terribly missed – just noted.

Finally the weekend is here – no more having to get up for work the next day.  Tonight I’m really looking forward to Metric.  I can’t believe there’s only a few nights left – and I have to take Saturday off because of a stupid DJ gig… oh well – I’ll be out on Sunday for Disco night to send the week out with a bang.

TIFF 08 – Tix on sale!

Tickets have gone on sale today for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.  I really really really wanted to get my passes secured today but my damn paycheque has been delayed (DAMMIT) and I need to wait until that’s cleared up before blowing any cash.  So I wait with much anticipation…

Bluesfest – Days 2,3,4

Holy crap I’m tired.  and sore.  4 days of walking/standing/dancing is starting to take its toll.  Also the weather has been phenomenal, but the sun gets hard to take after a while.  Gotta remember to drink more water and less beer.  Less beer for sure – Bluesfest is not going to be good for my summer physique.

Highlights so far:  The Wailers last night were amazing.  Snoop Dogg was a blast.  Infected Mushroom definitely did not help with the noise complaint issues.  Ladytron was great (and loud) as well.  I wish I would have spent more time at Zappa, but they were on at the same time as Steely Dan and it was a tough decision so I just followed the crowd.

Spent most of Lucinda Williams’ set sitting near the merch tent and eating/drinking – but from what I caught, she seemed to put on a good show.

Caught a few songs towards the end of Les Breastfeeders set – great name – and they were definitely rocking.

Unfortunately Feist was kinda boring – I had heard good things about her live performances, but I suppose she’d do better in a more intimate environment.

Been trying to spend bits of time at the smaller stages watching bands I haven’t heard of just for the bluesville experience of it and have been having limited success – I keep getting caught up hanging out with friends and eating/drinking.  Gotta spend more time with the music!

Sadly missed:  I really wish I could have caught The Weakerthans who were on at the same time as The Wailers.  Also would have liked to see more of Widespread Panic – also on at the same time as The Wailers – though I did see their big finale which was impressive.

Lots of great stuff left to see – tonight I’m hoping to make it in time to catch The D’urbervilles, then the big acts are Matthew Good and James Taylor.

Will try to get pictures and vids up soon.

Bluesfest Day 4 – Schedule

Lots of stuff to see today:

5:00PM – Infected Mushroom – Rogers Stage
6:15PM – Snoop Dogg – Bank of America Stage
7:30PM – Primus – Rogers Stage
9:00PM – Widespread Panic – Bank of America Stage
9:00PM – The Wailers – Roots Stage
9:30PM – The Weakerthans – Black Sheep Stage

wow, busy day… too much overlap, and given my track record so far… not much hope of seeing all of this.  I’m really curious about The Wailers (think Bob Marley and…), but Widespread Panic is supposed to be amazing…  Snoop is going to be a madhouse for sure.

Bluesfest Day 3 – Schedule

Kind of a light schedule for me today considering this is the first Saturday – I’ll head down early though and do some exploring – of course the big act of the day is Steely Dan which I’m really looking forward to.  My schedule for now looks something like:

6:00PM – Ladytron – Rogers Stage
9:00PM – Zappa Plays Zappa – Roots Stage
9:30PM – Steely Dan – Bank of America Stage

I must admit I know nothing about the Six Shooters record label, but I’m intrigued by what’s happening at the Black Sheep Stage today so I’ll be heading over there to check things out for sure.