The Electric Pencil

Archive for the ‘Arts and Culture’ Category

Pierre Falardeau (December 28, 1946 – September 25, 2009)

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Pierre Falardeau died of cancer this morning. He was 62. The man who brought us Elvis Gratton, the short film based on Michèle Lalonde’s poem ‘Speak White’, and the ode to les Patriotes 15 février 1839 was never at a lack for words and provoked controversy over the years, particularly with comments about David Suzuki and the role of the “ethnic vote” in Quebec politics. But he also believed in the power of popular resistance and self determination, expressing admiration for Palestinians in their struggles as well. Whichever side of the Quebec sovereignty question you stand on, Quebec lost one of it’s icons today.

Falardeau on Tout le monde en parle (Oct. 2008)

Elvis Gratton – Canadien français québécois… whatever

UPDATE: Just got this in my email. A succinct tribute to Falardeau from the Calendrier Militant:

Voici notre hommage personnel à Pierre Falardeau

Le coeur de Pierre Falardeau vient de cesser de battre.

Une voix libre, forte, dénuée de l’hypocrisie de la langue de bois que nous impose la rectitude politique et les manuels de politesse et de bienséance de la bourgeoisie vient de se taire.

Contre vents et marées, il a toujours gardé l’intégrité de ses positions, pour une nation québécoise libre, française et progressiste. …

Son oeuvre cinématographique ne doit pas occulter son travail d’écriture.

Il disait lui-même “écrire comme un pamphlétaire du XVIIIe siècle, ce qui ne se fait plus”!

Dans notre société conformiste au concensus mou qui refuse les débats tranchés, il a eu raison de renouveler le genre.


Written by Tim McSorley

September 26, 2009 at 3:23 pm

From Manila to Palestine

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Campaign signs for the 2007 mid-term elections fly amidst improvised electricity wires in Tondo, Manila.

Campaign signs for the 2007 mid-term elections fly amidst improvised electricity wires in Tondo, Manila.

I have to be honest and say that while I have been aware for several years now of the situation facing Philipino immigrants to Canada – particularly those who come to work as migrant workers – I maintain very little knowledge of the history or current political situation in the Philippines itself.

That all changed a little when I had a chance to see a new exhibit at Sablo Kafé, On Movements in Manila, put on by Stefan Christoff (full disclosure: he’s a friend and colleague on several projects). Christoff visited the Philippines in 2007 as a journalist and election observer. The photos he took in and around the capital explore both the intense levels of poverty, but also the community organising and push-back that has developed. The exhibit is timed with a call from the Centre for Philippine Concerns in Montreal (which is co-sponsoring the exhibit) and the International Philippine Election Oberservation Team 2010 call for volunteers to help observe the upcoming 2010 presidential elections. The need for outside observers are clear. There are a large number of reports of military intimidation during the last election, which some believe will only increase this time around. Christoff wrote a two part series on the topic upon his return in 2007 as well. There are also reports of up to 1000 political killings of progressives and leftists in the country since 2001.

The exhibit runs at Sablo (50, St-Zotique East, corner Boul. St-Laurent) until the end of September, and while small is definitely worth seeing; while Christoff is more of a hobbyist photographer, the images in this exhibit are thought provoking and blend artistry while shedding light on violence, repression and movements against it.

I can also hardly mention Christoff without also reminding people that DAM, an incredible Palestinian hip hop ensemble, are coming to Montreal for the next installment of Artists Against Apratheid – the ninth if you can believe it. It’ll be going down on Sept. 28th at Café Campus (57 Prince Aurthur East). Also performing that night will be Montreal Iraqi-Canadian hiphopper the Narcicyst. To give you a little taste of what to expect, here’s Narcy’s latest video…
Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “The Narcicyst- P.H.A.T.W.A. (Official…“, posted with vodpod

Written by Tim McSorley

September 21, 2009 at 11:22 am

Music to get evicted to: L’Homme parle – La Crise

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Just came across this great tune and video, La Crise, by l’Homme parle, via Zik’n’Blog.

If you have time, I’ve pasted the rest after the jump… definitely worth the read!

UPDATE: The more I find out about this band the more I like. From their bio:

Enfants du métissage des cultures et du brassage des ethnies, « L’Homme parle » est le symbole d’une jeunesse unie contre les offensives capitalistes et contre toutes les formes d’oppression et de discrimination. Tout le monde est appelé à agir et à parler pour changer les choses au quotidien et aspirer à plus d’humanité. Le poing en l’air et le mic à la main, « L’Homme parle » des combats à mener et des causes perdues, des paradis artificiels et des pièges du monde moderne, des moments de bonheur et de l’amertume de la vie… et de l’amour qu’on néglige trop souvent.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Tim McSorley

September 8, 2009 at 12:15 am

Back from Caraquet and the Grand Tintamarre

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Been off for a little while, but getting back into the swing of things. Funny how even just a week offline can really push you back from all things blogging & tweeting.

At the Grand Tintamarre

At the Grand Tintamarre

I was away on a little road-trip to l’Île d’Orléans, Tadoussac (to see the whales, of course), and Caraquet, NB, for the August 15th Acadian celebrations. It’s the Fête nationale d’Acadie, and they know how to celebrate. Caraquet is a small town of 5,000 people in north-eastern New Brunswick on the shores of the Baie des chaleurs. It’s a beautiful spot, and the hub for Aug. 15th celebrations in the area. On a normal year, the populatin swells to some 10 to 15,000 people. With the Congrès Mondial Acadien in town this year though, 50,000 people filled the main street of Caraquet to celebrate together.

The highlight was definitely the Grand Tintamarre, which roughly translates as The Big Ruckus or Racket. It was in 1755 that thousands of Acadians were deported from their homes in the Bitish colony where Nova Scotia stands today. While thousands died or never returned, some snuck back in, to the area that is now New Brunswick; many more came back when the deportation was eventually lifted, also to settle in New Brunswick.

Since returning, Acadians vowed to never again be forgotten or dismissed, so at 6pm on August 15th they gather in their streets with pots, pans, whistles, horns, and anything else that can make noise, and make the largest ruckus you’ve probably ever heard – for an entire hour. There’s definitely no way you can ignore that noise, and even just experiencing it and the 15th of August celebrations – even once – you’ll never doubt that Acadians are there to stay.

There’s so much history there – and so little of it known outside of the area – that myself and my travel-mates, Philippe and Danielle, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to record parts for the show we co-host on CKUT, Le lendemain de la veille. The result was an hour-long special broadcast that we produced a couple weeks ago. You can listen to the final product (about and hour long) below:

PS – We also had the chance to see the awesome group 1755 in concert. A truly amazing party band – if you ever have the chance to see them live, don’t pass it up. You can hear some of their music and an interview with their fiddler in the clip above, or look them up on Youtube to get an idea of them live…

Written by Tim McSorley

August 31, 2009 at 5:08 pm


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Brilliant series of spoof motivatonal posters featuring Hunter S. Thompson over at

(via @geoperdis)

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Written by Tim McSorley

July 27, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Thursday/Jeudi: La fin du néandertal

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This Thursday at 8:30pm, Bruno Dubuc will be screening his latest film at Club Social in the Mile End (180 St-Viateur East). Three years in the making, La fin du néandertal is an exploration of Montreal city politics, activism, and the hope for a better city friendly to pedestrians, cyclists and all residents, and devoid of cars: a city that has moved outside of the age of the neanderthals. In particular, it follows both the municipal party Projet Montréal and the Maison Aurore Traffic Committee, a community organisation in the Plateau, as they both set out to change the city in their own way. I had a chance to interview Bruno at the end of June just before the premier screening of the film at Cinéma du Parc. Below you can listen to the unedited director’s cut. I haven’t had a chance to see the film yet, but in a year where we are in line for a heated municipal election – and a possibly strong turn out for Projet Montréal – the film is a must-see, based on the topic alone.

Ce jeudi, Bruno Dubuc présente son nouveau métrage La fin du néandertal au café Club Social dans le Mile End (180 St-Viateur est). Un exploration qui à durée trois année, ce film chronique les changements dans le militantisme urbaine à Montréal depuis 2006. Entre autre, ça suit le développement de deux organismes – le parti municipal Projet Montréal et le comité de circulation de la Maison d’Aurore, une organisme communautaire – qui s’engage à changer comment nous vivons ensemble en ville. J’ai eu la chance de parler avec Bruno en fin juin, juste avant la première de son film à Cinéma du Parc. Vous pouvez écouter ci-bas l’entrevue en entier. J’en ai pas encore eu la chance de visionner le film, mais j’en suis certain que dans cette année qui annonce des élections municipaux chauds cet hiver, c’est une film à voir.

Bruno Dubuc: La fin du néandertal/Le lendemain de la veille/25 juin 2009/19min23sec:

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Written by Tim McSorley

July 27, 2009 at 11:24 pm

I *heart* marching bands

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Especially anarchist marching bands.

I’m editing together a piece about Abousfian Abdelrazik’s return to Canada. In the meantime, here’s a short clip from that night and a shout out to the ever-awesome Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble:

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Written by Tim McSorley

June 29, 2009 at 11:34 pm