Movies for When You’re Hungry

In Netflix’s Chef’s Table, each episode takes the viewer closer to the chef and his/her food, more often than not, at a high-end restaurant and the craftsmanship, the energy, the creativity, and the minutiae of high-end dining. Though I love the show and truly appreciate the borderline fanaticism of a chef shown in beautifully rendered sequences, there’s a gaping distance between the food — and the world around it and all its social and cultural implications — shown and the food prepared, shared, and eaten in my day to day life.

There is, in our current zeitgeist’s love of food, between the many screens and real life (an apparent redundancy that increasingly seem to be a necessary modifier in day to day conversations), a reductive tendency to exclude how the majority of society experiences food. Were it not for its sheer immensity in number, the ‘good life’ on view would be, to the viewer, a harmless exercise in suspension of disbelief. But as it were, it is a constancy. A state of life somewhere else lived by someone else; we can look on it but only with some ingenuity can we reach them as stuff of life continually intervene.

I can’t help but feeling that our relationship with food is becoming less of a communal language and more of an individualized consumer one — one that portrays and claims social and cultural status, rather than a form of communication.

Of course, good food is, after all, just good food. But when we pay too much attention to the five-dollar signed kitchens with whatever stars, the hermetic chef essentially removed from society, and the lighting on the next food photo, we forget the kitchens in which and the cooks for whom food is seamlessly integral to living. And it’s too beautiful a thing to forget. After all, the food you grow up on, the kitchens you come to love and understand do not require feats of ingenuity — they require time and patience of preparation, courtesy, and appreciation and gratitude for the miracle of a dish, of eating.

These movies tell us things about food and hunger that we often forget. No star chefs, no paintings on a plate; just living and eating.

Big Night

The Italian dish, timballo, is called timpano in Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott’s 1996 classic Big NightIt’s a regional term for the dish, prepared, in the movie, by Primo (Tony Shalhoub), the older of two brother restauranteurs behind the new Italian place, ‘Paradise,’ on New Jersey Shore. Primo cooks classic Italian food and scoffs at what we now call American-Italian (spaghetti smothered in Jersey Italian gravy with meatballs), while Secondo (Stanley Tucci), the more practical of the two, tries to convince the other, in a thick Italian accent, to make whatever the customer wants: “make it, make the pasta, make it, make it, make the pasta.” Business, of course, is not a-booming. Then comes the big night — they have a chance to cook for Louis Prima, the Italian-American singer. And for that night, timpano is on the menu. Initially, it is not the Mona Lisa of Italian dishes. But what constitutes a timpano is so visibly hearty that it is instantly understood to be celebratory. And there’re a lot of carbs and beauty in that.

Adrift in Tokyo

What is the last thing you’d eat on your way to turn yourself in at a police station for a crime you’ve come to regret? In Satoshi Miki’s Adrift in Tokyo (Tenten,2007), Aiichiro Fukuhara (Tomokazu Miura), a recently retired loan collector, makes a proposition to Fumiya Takemura (Joe Odagiri), a debilitated student in debt: take a walk with him through Tokyo for a cancelation of debt. So begins their walk through Tokyo. Aside from walking, they talk about their lives, spot lucky actors, fight an old watchmaker, and, most importantly for this article, eat. Not every food takes on meanings but the food choices Fukuhara and Fumiya make become increasingly fraught with meaning as they near the police station.

My Dinner with Andre

Louis Malle’s My Dinner with Andre has been loved, parodied, bashed, and talked about over and over again that it’s difficult to talk about it without feeling a bit self-conscious. But I truly enjoyed this movie for its abundance of ideas and generosity in anecdotes and conflicts, not to mention the two great actors, Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, who also wrote the wonderful script. Though the dinner is a fancy restaurant that serves the likes of cailles aux raisin, galuska, terrine de poisson, and bramborova polevka, the dinner consists less of the food than it does of the two men’s conversation: the conversation is so good, so enthralling, the ideas, the conflicts so of importance that the food becomes secondary.

The Lunchbox

The lives of a lonely widower, Saajan (Irrfan Khan), with a taste for good food and a young wife, Ila (Nimrat Kaur) looking to jazz up her marriage through her husband’s stomach meet through a mix up in dabbawala delivery system in Ritesh Batra‘s 2013 movie The LunchboxThe movie is concerned largely with ways in which serendipitous meetings reaffirm our strange and unknowable connections to others. But it is also about a cook and a diligent and grateful eater, each sending out signals to the other, one with dishes packed in tiffin lunch boxes, and the other by sharing the food and licking the boxes clean. The notes Saajan and Ila write each other speak plainly while the food and the empty tiffin box returned to Ila at the end of the day speak with certain emotional poignancy of a secret language.

Chungking Express

People are hungry in Wong Kar-wai’s Hong Kong. But they are not just hungry for food but also for human connections in a mega city. A character tries out a number of canned pineapples, another a daily dose of chef’s salad in the famed director’s 1994 classic Chungking Expressstarring Tony Leung, Brigitte Lin, Faye Wong, and Takeshi Kaneshiro. We sometimes wish that a simple meaningful act or a sequence of events surreptitiously happened on us will help us understand our lives better. Chungking Express is is the locus of such hopes and dreams in WKW’s metropolis.

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Toronto Gets New Dance Studio

From left to right: Aaron Aquino, Aaron Libfeld and Roy Urbanozo. Photo by Sveta Soloveva

Voted the best in Toronto, The Underground’s dance classes are getting a new three-storey studio with a rooftop skylight this summer.

In just about two months, the new Underground Dance Centre will take the space above Yuk Yuk’s comedy club at 224 Richmond St. West, which is only two doors down from the original. Compared to the 3,700 square feet old studio with two rooms, the new space will be around 8,500 square feet with four rooms, including a rooftop with glass windows, which all the teachers are excited about.

“This is the floor I’m going to fight for,” said hip hop teacher Aaron Aquino. “I just want a sunny roof and fresh air coming through.”

Right now, the demolitions are complete and the team is collecting quotes from different contractors and deciding on who will build the new studio, said studio manager Roy Urbanozo.

The Underground Dance Centre gets a rooftop skylight studio this summer. Photo by Sveta Soloveva

The price for a single class increases from $15 to $17 starting May 1st, according to twenty-eight-year owner Aaron Libfeld. He added that still “a competitive price” around the city comes with new values. They are doubling the number of classes from 120 to 240, adding more hours for the teachers, and hiring more dancers to teach new styles. The old studio will continue to operate and customers will be able to use their passes at both locations. 

“Everyone is excited to see the new schedule,” said Libfeld. “There’s going to be a lot more of the popular styles, such as hip hop, dancehall, heels, Beyonce… We gonna have more k-pop and disco theme.”

Libfeld grew up as a competitive dancer, who took ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and acro at Vlad’s Dance Centre in Richmond Hill. The first thing he is looking for when hiring teachers is their personality. Even though someone is the best dancer in the world and they come with a bad attitude, they are automatically disqualified,” he said.

Excellent dance experience, understanding of the style, and ability to teach are the other requirements.

Photo by Roy Urbanozo

Teachers are not the only ones who create the mood in the studio. There are 20 young volunteers, who help at the front desk and receive free classes in return. Urbanozo will hire about 20 more volunteers to create positive vibes and a loving atmosphere in the new studio. 

Another innovation, prerecorded classes by choreographers from New York and L.A. is coming to the old Underground in just about a week. It’s going to be a unique experience, different from a simple online class, said Libfeld. “Even though they are [following] prerecorded videos, they are in a dance studio, in a dance environment, with other people,” he said. “Online classes are kind of the Netflix, but we wanna be like the Cineplex.”

Technology and social media have been a huge part of The Underground since it opened in 2014. Libfeld, who holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and used to run a technology company at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), said he applied all those skills to run his dance studio.

It’s very focused on working on the idea, getting feedback on that and continually innovating it,” he said.

Photo by Roy Urbanozo

Videos of every class on its Instagram, which now has almost 80,000 followers, helped the studio attract most of the clients and won the title of the best dance classes in Toronto by blogTO and Yelp within the first six months of opening. The Underground hosted the space for celebrities like Nelly Furtado, who rehearsed at the studio twice during her visit to Toronto.

“It’s exciting to know that we are providing the great content and sharing our love of dance in the world,” said Libfeld.

Both, Libfeld and Urbanozo said they are happy to expand their business, but the new studio is not the end of their vision. They will keep working on the main concept: providing their customers with the best experience. “We do our best because we want them [the customers] to come back. We want them to feel exclusive,” said Urbanozo. “There’s still a lot to learn about the industry and how to treat our customers.”

“We’ll only stop when we have to stop,” said Libfeld. “We are obsessed with the customer experience. For us it’s the worst thing if anyone walks out unhappy. So we make sure that we only hire the best teachers, keep the beautiful facility with professional cleaners every single night. That creates the whole experience which I think is different than anyone else does.”

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Your 420 Playlist

Happy 420 Novella readers! We wanted to provide you with a chill play mix for the day that went beyond the reggae and pot cliche (not that reggae isn’t fantastic). The tracklist consists of everything from pop, indie and electronic. We hope you have a lovely time listening to these tunes and lighting one –or a few– up.

Rihanna -James Joint

People Under the Stairs – Acid Raindrops

Sharon Forrester – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore

Erykah Badu – On & On

Wilson Tanner – Sun Room

De Facto – Cordova

OutKast – Crumblin’ Erb

Sean Nicholas Savage – Propaganda

Aquarian Foundation – Mind Miniatures

Rhoda Scott – Molybdenum

Devendra Banhart – Seahorse

Space Dimension Controller – The Love Quadrant

Devin The Dude – Doobie Ashtray

The Novella team picks their fave trends for spring!

Fashion, like all forms of art, is about self-expression. It’s about taking colour, pattern, texture, shape, and style and making it all your own. This season saw some of the freshest and newest collections to date. Giving all of us here at Novella a reason to cheer over. There was no shortage of extremely wondering and eye-catching pieces. From beautiful coats to soft ruffles and baby pinks, our picks for best spring trends are sure to get yours and our spring wardrobes feeling as fresh as the springtime scenery that’s to come.

 

Chris Zaghi, Fashion Editor

Photos: L’Uomo Vogue | From L to R: Louis Vuitton, Angelos Frentzos, Juun. J

Berets

Berets are happening and they’re happening in a big way. They’ve been everywhere for spring/summer and fall/winter. Every designer under the sun, from Louis Vuitton to Christian Dior, gave the fashion world its take on the iconic Parisian staple. After having witnessed season after season of floppy hats and wide brim felt hats, the understated beret uses its touch of whimsical flair and elegance to add a special touch to casual looks, while giving more formal looks an ease of wear that only the french can pull off.

Shades of Icy Blue

My absolute favourite colour is slowly, but surely, making its way into a slew of designers collections this season. And with perfect timing too. Spring is the season of pastels. Light pinks and soft yellows dance with mints and orange sherbets in the most delicate dance. Spring is the season of floral blooms and all the colours that come with them. So it comes as no surprise that with the softness spring’s blooms come with their softest colours. At Angelos Frentzos, icy powder blues add a calming and luxe appeal to heavy streetwear looks. Giving the harshest of streetwear scrutinisers a reason to praise.

Extreme Trenches

The trench has been a rainy day springtime staple since its inception back in the 1800s, remaining unchained for centuries until today. The new trench now comes in whatever colour, shape, and style you can imagine (and desire) This season’s trend for extreme trenches came during Juun. J‘s fall collection. Where extreme duster lengths and avant-garde proportions are perfectly balanced with one another to create a modern yet classic silhouette that’s only sure to grow and evolve as time goes on.

Liat Neuman, Fashion Contributor

Bright colours

Super bright colours were playing a bold part in the capital fashion cities of the world, from Balenciaga to Celine and Phillip Lim, all brought a lot of energy to the runway, with a collection that contains all the shocking shades we can think of. There is no doubt that these rainbow colours bring your outfit to live – For me it’s much needed after all these gloomy days we were dealing with.

See-Through Garments

I am so fascinated over this big trend, that is also the most risqué one. See-through garments like tulle skirt and dresses, which were taken from the ballet world, has been seen in Dior, Rochas and Valentino and are very popular among the Londoner’s fashionistas. I adore the way it can blur the line between party outfit and a casual day look, evoking a romantic feeling blend with an edgy touch.

Ruffles

The ruffles continue to be a major hit this season and the bolder the better. I love how the ruffles creating a fierce statement. Well appreciated designers have included ruffles in a sophisticated way in their current collection, create unexpected layers, like ruffles with lace or with asymmetrical and voluminous pieces. The layer upon layers of this frilly fabric provides feminine flair to any springy look.

Natasha Grodzinski, Arts & Culture Contributor

Photos: Vogue Runway | From L to R: Tory Burch, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga.

Stripes on Stripes

In the past few seasons, we’ve occasionally seen a bit of pattern-on-paten action. While certain houses like Dolce & Gabbana still put out here combinations, the new buzz for Spring 2017 is about matching striped suits. I’m always interested in borrowing from menswear and a striped suit is a real classic. I love the idea of making it contemporary through feminine tailoring and fresh colour. Spring uniform? I think so.

Statement Tees

A good t-shirt has always gone a long way, but lately they’ve been at the forefront of trends. Aside from the slew of vintage band tees gracing almost every street style blog, multiple designers put out statement t-shirts, from Dior‘s feminism tees to the “No leather” number seen at Stella McCartney. In our current social and political climate, designers are taking notice of the importance of self-expression and individuality. If fashion is an introduction without words, a statement tee is an introduction and the opener of a debate.

Big Shoulders

I mean. I mean. I’m in love with the amount of 80s inspiration seen on the spring runways. As mentioned before, I like to borrow from the boys, and a good shoulder padding can cut such a crisp, strong look. (I’m thinking specifically of the looks in Working Girl.) Since I am somebody with naturally broad shoulders, I was often told to steer clear of added shoulder padding. But what if I went the other way, and drew a bit more attention to it? I’ll likely not be at the Balenciaga level, but I’m ready to play around with a padded jacket or two.

Drew Brown, Editor-in-Chief

Photo Credit: L to R: Wooyoungmi (Vogue Runway), Gucci loafer (GQ UK), Haider Ackerman (Vogue Runway)

Check Mate

Squares and checks were all over the runways this season. One of my favourite brands Wooyoungmi paired widowpane  checks of varying sizes together and gives men more options to play with other than the standard pinstripe staple. I will definitely be rocking this trend this spring.

Two-in-one Shoes

With the growing popularity of  Alessandro Michelle‘s new Gucci, the two-in-one shoes are a must-have this season. The fold down back feature flattens underneath your foot to make the shoe into a mule. You don’t have to have be rich to rock a pair. Zara‘s has more a more affordable pair for any budget.

A Touch of Pink

Pink is always one of my go to colors during the spring/summer season and it was spotted on many runways. From light pink at Haider Ackerman to dusty rose at Gucci, each designer offered many ways to add a burst of pink to your wardrobe. 

Claire Ball, Editorial Contributor

Photo Credit: L to R: DKNY (Vogue), Yeezy (Vogue), Rag & Bone (Vogue)

White dresses

I’m not usually one to wear white. It takes a special piece of clothing to make me want to be that risky. But I find this trend to be so enticing because it’s almost romantic in such a chill and casual way. Since I’m already a big fan of shirt dresses, I love that the right shape and hemline can turn a rather boring white dress into a spring essential.

Khaki

Thanks to the many designers that tackled the look on the runway, I have recently developed a new appreciation for the utilitarian look. I don’t have an explanation why, but thankfully I no longer associate khaki with my dad’s wardrobe.

New Athleisure

GIVE ME ALL THE ATHLEISURE! I am seriously obsessed with this trend (shocker). The welcoming of sweatshirts into the fashion world has now opened the door for all facets of sporting style to be acceptable (#blessed). I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy, and I grew up playing sports, so I L-O-V-E that all my casual athletic wear is chic now. Time to get in the game, it’s officially warm up season folks!

Breaking Barriers: Women in Photography

Mellow guitar chops, sounds of change clanging, and laughter: a Calgary’s Starbucks hasn’t changed its daily playlist, which satisfies those who escape their offices to find inspiration over a hot cup of coffee.

A photography intern Della Rollins was sipping her Americano and watching a woman flipping through the pages of a Calgary Herald. Rollins quit her public relations job before she went on a year-trip and she didn’t have to escape her office anymore. No more high heels and crazy hours, she thought, continuing to watch the woman.

Suddenly, the woman stopped flipping through and looked at a page with a man with a bike. Rollins heard her heartbeat: the photo was her first publication. This is amazing, she thought gazing around the shop. All these people looking at my picture!

Since then Rollins has been freelancing for the Globe and Male, National Post, and Maclean’s. Work, life, and travel were finally balanced. However, the dream job had its own challenges. Rollins realized it was not only precarious but also not women-friendly.

Photo by Sveta Soloveva

At Ryerson’s journalism conference on April 6th, Rollins and three other female photographers (Meredith Holbrook, Sarah Palmer, and Laurence Butet-Roch) discussed the key problems women face in photojournalism and gave some advices on surviving as a freelancer in Canada.

Last year World Press Photo conducted an online-survey of 1,991 photographers that showed that the field remains persistently male-dominated — 85% — despite recent photo-grads being more than 50% female. According to the News Photographers Associations of Canada (NPAC), only 12% of Canadian photojournalists are women.

“There is a lot of talented men,” said Rollins. “But women are winning awards like Photojournalist of the Year… They do brilliant work. So when you hiring, they should be on top of mind.”

There are not many networking opportunities for women in photojournalism, and, once they are are included, they tend to be assigned to cover exclusively women-oriented issues and events like the Women’s March.

Meanwhile, women’s voices are an integral part of diversity, said Butet-Roch, who has been photographing the indigenous Attawapiskat communities for seven years.

“Our journalism is just going to be better if we have more diverse voices,” she said. “Giving people the opportunity to report on what they want and not just assign the woman issue to a woman photographer or Indigenous issue to an Indigenous photographer. A woman Indigenous photographer being assigned a story on football would be wonderful.”

Freelancing is a job with no guarantees. But today, when the institutions primarily hire men, it seems to be the best career option for a female photojournalist.

“You have to really hustle,” said Holbrook, who has been photographing Palestinian Territories and Israel for The Jerusalem Post and working on different projects with National Geographic. “There are so many things you wanna do and other people won’t do. And you have to keep going and show people that you are still around, even if they are not answering. There are so many freelancers out there. You have to really show why you are different than anyone else.”

All the participants of the panel agreed on the positive sides of freelance jobs, such as choosing their schedule and subjects they are passionate about.

Butet-Roch, who used to be a stuff-photographer for four years in France, said she quit the job because she couldn’t get in-depth photography experience sitting “behind the desk.”

“There were […] stories that I felt I was missing out [on],” she said. “I wanted to be a freelancer and take time to actually get to know the story.”

Currently working on Virtual Aamjiwnaang, an interactive storytelling platform befitting Indigenous practices at Ryerson, Butet-Roch said that she is happy with her decision.

Rolliins, the contributing photo-editor at Maclean’s, said freelancing allows her to travel and work at her own pace. “Freelancing is a blessing that I didn’t expect,” she said.

The photographers shared some techniques that helped them to succeed in freelancing. One of the advices was building multiple skills in photography, videography, and writing “to have the door open” and be able to tell the story in different ways. However, it’s important to focus on one area.

“Have all kind of skills but specialize in one,” said Rollins who also writes. “They want you to do a little bit of everything. But if you are too spread out and not great in one thing, it’s hard to be hired for that one thing.”

A graduate from the Ryerson’s photography program, Palmer, who just got a grant for her project Drunk on Trump, suggested that freelancers keep their websites “light and clean,” featuring photos that represent only topics of their specialization.

Holbrook added that each photo should “speak to the audience” through its description. She also highlighted the importance of social media, saying that many photographers and organizations get connected to each other through Instagram. “It’s [Instagram] is a realistic way of branding yourself,” she said.

Having real photojournalism friends is effective for exchanging skills and, sometimes, equipment. “Find your small group of photo or journalism people who are constantly pushing you and teaching you,” said Rollins. One way to build that network is to attend photo conferences. One of them will be organized by News Photographers Association in the first week of May. All photographers will have a chance to review their work with photo editors from the Globe and Mail, National Post, and Maclean’s.

The discussion ended on a positive note inspiring freelance women photographers to keep following their passion. “As a photographer or journalist, you already have that type of skills that people are attracted to,” said Holbrook. “There’s something important, something that drives you into this area, so hopefully someone will pick up on that.”

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