Five Movies Relevant to Our Times

You may think that we’re living in some bizarre, unprecedented times these days. You may think that nobody could have possibly predicted this. Well, turns out some movies did predict it! Here are five movies that may have predicted the future:

1) Idiocracy: After being put into a coma for five hundred years, Joe (Luke Wilson) and Rita (Maya Rudolph), awaken unexpectedly to find that the United States is now a bizarre, anti-intellectual corporate-controlled nightmare, and Joe is made into Secretary of the Interior when an IQ test marks him as the smartest man in the country. This movie may have not made much of an impact when it was released in 2005, but now its themes of anti-intellectualism and commercialism feel a little too close to home.

2) The Stepford Wives (the 1975 version): Fun fact: part of this movie was shot in my hometown of Norwalk, Connecticut! Most people probably know the plot: A young family moves into a wealthy suburb and the wife, Joanna (Katharine Ross), discovers a sinister side to the ever-smiling, pretty, docile wives and their creepy husbands. The themes of conformity and female suppression unfortunately feel quite prescient today. Also, those sexy robots…

3) Ex Machina: Speaking of sexy robots! Of course, I know there’s a lot more going on this creepy sci-fi thriller with the excellent cast of Domnhall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Oscar Isaac, but it’s hard not to see past the whole “misogynistic, powerful man creates robot women to exploit and play with”, and the other curious question of whether we can trust robots at all, especially when they seem to be so good at manipulating us.

4) The Post: Corrupt president? Check. President attempting to undermine free speech and the media? Check. Presidential administration attempting to cover up a massive scandal? Check. If you ever feel like the whole Russia scandal is giving you some serious Nixon vibes, head on over to watch The Post (which, in all fairness was only just released and was definitely written with Drumpf in mind), where Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep take you back to a time when the government was trying to delegitimize The Washington Post and The New York Times. Thank god that’s over!

5) Snowpiercer: Okay, maybe this one is a bit of a stretch, because I don’t actually think that we’re all going to end up on a train moving aimlessly for all time, but there are so many important questions and themes raised by this movie, and they’re way too relevant to ignore. From the question of how the rich may be profiting of revolutions (see that Dodge ad from the Superbowl of the infamous Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad), to the devastating consequences of global warming, this stunning, creepy thriller is a must-watch in 2018.

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Novella’s Art Guide February 2018

Untitled by Yannick Anton. Showing at “Of Ourselves” this month.

Our art guide rarely has a unifying theme. Normally, we trowel through the galleries in town to find what looks the most promising and relay it here, but for February, for Black History Month, we have compiled a list of solo and group art exhibitions and festivals solely featuring Black artists. We invite you to take note of these events, as a member of the Black Community an ally, to further your understanding and education on their perspectives.

BLACK ART AND LIBERATION: A PANEL DISCUSSION (FEBRUARY 16TH)

Our first pick is not a show but a panel, taking place on the 16th of February. While we’re always about appreciating art through individual viewing, we also need to showcase an event such as this, where art, identity and inclusion intersect beautifully. The panel features four Black artists: Dainty Smith, Ekow Nimako, Samson Brown and Rania El Mugammar. Each artist will discuss how they build inclusion and liberate themselves within their respective mediums.

Find more information here.

MICHAEL CHAMBERS (JANURARY 25TH — MARCH 18TH)

At BAND, their aim is to present works by Black artists, both in Canada and from around the world and connect them to a large audience. This month, their gallery will host a retrospective this month for acclaimed photographer Michael Chambers. Curated by Pamela Edmonds, the show will feature Chamber’s stunning photographs of nude bodies, which touch on themes of sexuality, desire, diaspora and belonging.

Find more information here.

HERE WE ARE: BLACK CANADIAN CONTEMPORARY ART (JANUARY 27TH — APRIL 22ND)

Beginning in January, the Royal Ontario Museum has put on a new show featuring the works of nine contemporary Canadian Black artist. Artists featured in the exhibition include Sandra Brewster, Michèle Pearson Clarke, Chantal Gibson, Sylvia D. Hamilton, Bushra Junaid, Charmaine Lurch, Esmaa Mohamoud, Dawit L. Petros and Gordon Sadrach. Each artists works in multi media, so the installations will vary from sculpture to painting to film, but each will evoke powerful images of the presence and history of Black people in Canada.

Find more information here.

OF OURSELVES (FEBRUARY 1ST — FEBRUARY 24TH)

The Gladstone Hotel’s February exhibition features works by Toronto-based photographers Yannick Anton, Curtiss Randolph, Nathalia Allen and Neva Wireko. The over-arching theme of the show is Black identity as it was described by writer W.E.B. DuBois, describing the Black person as having two selves: their true self and the one forced on them by the outside world. The artists engage with this concept in their own ways, creating portrayals of Black identity from the perspective of the portrayed.

Find more information here.

TORONTO BLACK FILM FESTIVAL (February 14th — 19th)

Film, in and of itself, is a  visual art form. Though it is far more commercialized than other media and collaborative by nature, it is visual storytelling with the ability to initiate debate and evoke emotion. While we don’t normally put film festivals in our guides, this month we’re making an exception for a festival that needs to be written about. Now in its fifth year, the Toronto Black Film Festival (or TBFF) aims to showcase some of the best Black films from around the world and act as a platform for independent Black filmmakers. The festival has everything from full-length documentaries and narratives, to shorts, to animated films, so there will be something of interest to even the most dubious of viewers.

Find more information here.

Ones to Watch For in 2018

 

 

Tim Presley — best known as front man of psychedelic rock bands Darker My Love and White Fence—is an institution in the California tradition and a passionate champion of local L.A. talent. Back in 2012, Presley started his own label, Birth Records, for the sole purpose of producing the music of folksinger Jessica Pratt. Since then, Birth Records has been home to a select few — most recently, The Mad Walls. “The moment I heard [The Mad Wall’s] title track ‘Somewhere Anywhere’,” says Presley, “I thought I had unearthed a rarity, an old bootleg or new music from a lost group.” To Tim’s surprise, this was a living, breathing band; it was “draped-static-dim-seed-Los-Angeles-music, a flame that gets passed on down and through the avenues. Designed to be found.”

Led by Christopher Mercado, The Mad Walls started out in 2016. August 2017 saw the release of their first ever EP, Somewhere Anywhere, while their debut music video came out just this month. At this point The Mad Walls are in their musical youth, far from the mainstream, below Pitchfork’s radar, unbeknownst to college radio stations. I look forward to seeing what comes of the band in the upcoming year. With Presley’s guidance and support, I believe we can expect to see some creative work. — Rachel, Contributor 

Dayna Tortorici is not really a new talent — she’s been up and coming in the shifting pile of writers of political analysis, essays, and cultural commentary since 2011 when she joined the illustrious n+1 magazine. She’s an editor at n+1 now. But even now, she doesn’t get the readership her nuanced and brilliant essays deserve (or the readership that I think she deserves, despite signs that nobody reads anything longer than 5 sentences anymore). She recently asked in the magazine’s latest “The Intellectual Situation” section, “Who in a showdown would accept the subjugation of women as a necessary political concession? Who would make peace with patriarchy if it meant a nominal win, or defend the accused for the sake of stability?” This as a contemporary spin on Dorothy Thompson’s 1941 piece in Harper’s, “Who Goes Nazi”. Many went Nazi. Many would accept the concession. Needless to say, we can use more of Tortorici’s essays in the coming days when more will reveal their tropism toward nominal wins and artificial stability. — Hoon, Managing Editor

London R&B singer Bassette’s voice is as raw and soulful as Erykah Badu’s or that of the late Amy Winehouse. The soul singer has an intense, quiet vulnerability in the way she sings. I’m sure we will hear a lot more from her in 2018 on this side of the pond. Check out her latest single Bermuda produced by Joe Hertz. — Drew Brown, Editor-in-Chief

Photographed by @theresbianca, Source: Refinery29

Dani Roche is my latest Instagram “find” – she however, is not so new to the online creative scene. Based in Toronto, she is the creative director and owner of Kastor & Pollux, a creative production agency. She recently launched Biannual, a genderless outerwear label and let’s just say I’ve added every piece to my wishlist. In 2017, Roche was recognized by Vogue, Refinery29, HYPEBAE and Coveteur to name a few. In many of her interviews, she’s expressed that comfort, confidence and a good thrifted piece are key to her unique personal style — she’s not just another fashion blogger, she’s a businesswoman. As a twenty-something creative myself, I am always looking for some inspiration so I will be keeping an eye out for Roche’s upcoming projects (and vibrant Instagram feed) in 2018. — Jana, Contributor 

Natasha Oakley is my number one business woman/influencer at the moment. From Australia, this young woman has been really famous on Instagram. Not only a pretty face (and body), Natasha is also the co-founder of two famous brands. A Bikini A day which is a beach, beauty and fitness brand and Monday Swimwear an exclusive bikini brand. – both own with her best friend Devin Brugman. This blond girl is close to perfection as she always looks beautiful (and natural) but also talented in everything she is doing. If you are looking for a beauty/fitness guru this year… go for Natasha Oakley! Aurore Evee – Fashion Contributor

To All The Predatory Men Who Wore Time’s Up Pins

Between Christmas and New Year’s I started watching a show on Netflix with my family called Turn: Washington’s Spies. That has nothing to do with what I want to talk about in this article except that I think the opening line of the theme song is quite relevant: “There’s snakes in the garden”

If you saw the Golden Globes on Sunday, you might have been impressed by the huge show of solidarity for women, whether it was almost every star dressed in black and/or sporting a Time’s Up pin, the many stars who brought activists with them as their dates, a monologue all about #metoo from host Seth Meyers (with a little help), Natalie Portman’s sharp quip announcing the “all-male nominees for Best Director”, or even Debra Messing directly calling out E! for paying former anchor Catt Sadler far less than her male cohost.

Debra Messing calling E! out

And yet, it seems like there are some snakes in the garden. For a start, a great deal of attention has been given to the hypocrisy of James Franco sporting a pin and claiming support for the movement, despite his own numerous allegations of sexual misconduct (at least five women so far), which he, in a tense interview with Stephen Colbert, merely described as inaccurate, and when Seth Meyers later asked him about allegations from Ally Sheedy, Franco said he did not reach out to her at all. Even if you believe Franco, there’s still the fact that just a few years ago he was caught trying to pick up a 17-year-old girl in Scotland, when he was about 36. Franco’s lackluster attempt to explain all this is perfectly summarized by this Reductress article: He believes women, just not the ones accusing him.

A lot of attention also went to Justin Timberlake sporting a Time’s Up pin, even though he is currently starring in a Woody Allen film. In case you forgot, Woody Allen allegedly molested his daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was seven years old. And hey, even if you think it’s not true, he still is the guy who, in her personal and professional life, is really, really obsessed with teenage girls, especially the ones who date older men (like his wife/ex-stepdaughter, who was 19 when they wed).

Oh, and need I remind you that Emma Stone and Steve Carrell also wore black, and starred in Woody Allen films recently? And, have praised him up and down? Or what about Jude Law and Zoe Kravitz apparently supporting the movement despite being set to star in Fantastic Beats: The Crimes of Grindelwald with Johnny “alleged wife-abuser” Depp?

I don’t want to take away from the awesomeness of the night, or suggest that Hollywood isn’t starting to take all this a little more seriously. But if we’re actually going to do something about abuse and harassment of women, we cannot leave anyone behind, whether they were victimized last week or 20 years ago, by Harvey Weinstein or by Woody Allen.

For a start, it’s encouraging that so many actresses maintained enough self-awareness to understand their own incredibly privileged positions, and brought activists as dates who want to better the lives of women of color, of working class women, and of undocumented women. And the fact that Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers even asked James Franco about the allegations is quite telling because, let’s be real, even last year it would have been unheard of to do so. The time for being polite is over. The time for ignoring some women over others is over. The time for letting some predators slip by because they’re “artistic” or whatever is over. Time is up, and not just for Weinstein. For Woody Allen. For James Franco. For Johnny Depp. For Bryan Singer. For Christian Slater. For Bill Murray. For all the men whose names we don’t even know yet. Enough.

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Novella’s January Art Guide 2018

August Morning by Kazuo Nakamura. Image Source.

And just like that, it’s a new year.

We can’t tell you what this year will bring — if it will be easier or harder than the last, if all of our problems will magically be solved, or if anyone will find love.

What we can do is show you a good place to start your year off with a new crop of Toronto art exhibitions. This month we have a variety of shows, rather a mixed-bag of mediums and artists, but all promising the peace and thoughtfulness that inherently come with time spent with art.

WAX & WANE (JANUARY 3RD — 27TH)

Painting with wax is an old technique, so old that the first example of it we can find is from the 1st century BCE. Since then, popularity with the art form has ebbed and flowed, with different interpretations popping up. It returns again in 2018 with a new crop of artists inspired by the medium’s capacity to create incredible colour and dimension. This group show at Twist Gallery has artists pushing boundaries with the medium and finding modernity in an old technique.

Find more information here.

VARIATION AND AUTONOMY: THE PRINTS BY CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE PAINTERS (JANUARY 10TH — MARCH 29TH)

This show at the Japan Foundation is both an art exhibition and a history lesson. Here we see examples of printmaking by painters, which gained popularity among young Japanese artists in the 1970s and expanded on contemporary art. The exhibition looks at the history of the medium, back from its origins, post-WWII, and onwards. It also features works from what they consider to be “supporting players” in the movement as a way to showcase printmaking as an autonomous art form and re-examine its history.

Find more information here.

THE SUNSHINE EATERS (JANURY 10TH — APRIL 15TH)

Onsite Gallery’s newest exhibition brings more than a dozen artists together in an exploration of using nature to combat global crises. The show is about creating hope through plants, flowers, and trees, looking at old powers to find new meanings. Curated by Lisa Deanne Smith, the exhibition will include works by Nick Cave, Alanis Obomsawin, and Brian Jungen, to name a few. An exhibition like this is something everyone needs right now: a bit of positivity, a bit of nature.

Find more information here.

KAZUO NAKAMURA  (JANUARY 13TH — FEBRUARY 3RD)

The Christopher Cutts Gallery will be putting on this exhibition featuring work from the famous Japanese-Canadian artist known for his abstract paintings and sculptures. Nakamura’s paintings are simple in design but stunningly beautiful, often tied to Nakamura’s interest in science and mathematics. Overall, their effect is calming, the blues and greens he so often turns to creating a wave of quiet contemplation.

Find more information here.

COME UP TO MY ROOM (JANUARY 18TH — 21ST)

This year marks the 15th iteration of the Gladstone Hotel’s immersive art exhibition. Come Up to my Room will take over all four floors of the hotel during its limited run, offering a truly unique gallery experience. The exhibition itself acts as a conversation between artist, art, and viewers, and provides a challenge for the participating artists to produce works for such an unusual space. The list of participating artists this year is a hefty one, but curators Jana Macalik and Christophe Jivraj with Lukas Toane have put together a promising roster.

Find more information here.