No conspiracy, it was a scam plain and simple. Do the math. $400 worth of meat for $100. Get 20,000 people to buy in and you walk away with cool $2 Million. 20,000 might seem like a lot of people but in Toronto, that is 1% of the population. 1% of urban Toronto, less if you include the suburbs. Now I can’t say whether or not he got the money or the coupon sites, but either way people got screwed over big time.
Union station a complete wreck with a week to go. I walk through it on a regular basis and there is still lot of work to be done; there is still sections cordoned off. I was asked this morning by a tourist family how to enter the subway system. It was only 20 yards away! I was walking on the path between Bay Street and the side entrance when they stopped me. I explained how they would need to go to the front and down the stairs. Since the entrance closest to them required a pass or a token. I looked around and there was not a single way-finding tool to show people where to go. Not a good sign (pun intended).
Pachi the porcupine. Did you know this is the mascot for the 2015 Pan Am games in Toronto? I just found out today, a week before the start of the games.What the does a porcupine have to do with Toronto? A racoon would have been better mascot (and more common to the city).And what is with the whole rainbow motif? We get it, Toronto’s really gay. At least it is better than the ugly blob they initially went with.
Traffic is a clusterfuck of the first order. They have changed the HOV lanes to 3 or more people. It was barely used when it was 2 or more people. I know because some morning’s I would drive in with Zuimei and we could zip downtown in no time. Now you have two lanes of bumper to bumper and an entire lane sitting empty. Look at this photo from The Canadian press by Frank Gunn. That was the entire commute today for most people coming to work and trying to get home again!At work we had to fill in questionnaires about how we were going to help relieve traffic by a) taking public transit b) working from home c) taking vacation time d) carpooling. The overwhelming message to locals has been “Get out of Toronto!”
Most of the hotels are reporting numbers lower than last year. Admittedly the weather has been cool, but surely part of it is the lack of decent advertising and the mixed messaging to locals. If my family said they were thinking of coming I would be like, “Why? We’re told to stay away.” If you can’t convince the locals to get interested, how on earth are you going to convince a tourist?
Speaking of messages to locals, where is the advertising? I have not seen a single banner ad online, on any of the major local sites. No billboards, not much in the way of a push on the TTC. I think I saw a wrapped streetcar, but just one mind you. Bloor station is still wrapped in Madjack or some cider adverts.You would think someone would have coordinated an effort to welcome people into the city and ensure the busiest and most trafficked parts of transit had appropriate messaging. Like, “Hey, the games are on and here is how easy it is to go see them! Looking for the Aquatic center? Take the number two line to the end and take the Ellesmere bus” Or whatever. I’m sure some marketer could do something witty with it.
Speaking of signs, seen the cryptic venue signs? NPS. No, not Net Promoter Score, Nathan Phillips Square. (I only know that because I asked someone) PAF? No idea. Know what events are there? No clue. No one thought to have a little iconograph indicating what events are at each or perhaps the actual name under the acronym? Here is an example of what is current around the city:
Now the real kick in the crotch. This trainwreck apparently cost taxpayers $2.5 billion dollars. Now granted, we have some great buildings coming out of that. A stadium in Hamilton, a velodrome in Milton, an aquatic center in Scarborough. But those are not worth $2,500,000,000.Anytime I see some government project like this I always think, who’s getting rich off of this? Cause it ain’t Toronto.
Directed by David Weissman, this is the only documentary on my list. We Were Here chronicles the emergence of HIV and AIDS in San Francisco in the 80s. What makes this documentary so powerful to me is the way it shows the response within the gay community. It is told through archives and interviews with the men and women who survived.
As someone who grew up during the AIDS crisis, it had a huge influence on my own sexuality. Sex became a potential death sentence. If I was ten or fifteen years younger I could have very easily been caught up in this. The AIDS crisis shaped my views in a very powerful way.
“If you put a group of young men together and told them to have as much sex as they can, how much sex would they have? The answer is a lot of sex.”
There are some powerful moments recounted by the men who lived through it; from the initial postings by the local pharmacies warning of a “gay cancer” to the responses by food banks lead by lesbians.
It marks a moment in gay history as powerful and as important as the death of Harvey Milk and the Stonewall riots.
This was one of the first Chinese movies I had ever watched that belonged to the new Wuxia era of Chinese filmmaking. Since then there have been many others to great acclaim such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, or House of the Flying Daggers. However in my opinion Hero is still the best of this genre. I am sure someone has dubbed it in English but I prefer to watch it subtitled.
The cinematography in Hero is really second to none. Similar to the films of Peter Greenaway these films films are visual masterpieces. The martial arts in it is spectacular, however I am not really an aficionado of martial arts so I can’t say how it compares to other films.
I suppose another reason it is on my list of top movies is it was one of the first movies I watched it with my husband who at the time was my boyfriend.
Directed by Peter Greenaway I think this film holds a special place in my heart because it was the first Greenaway film I had seen. It was not surprising to me to learn that he that he studied as a painter before becoming a director. If you watch some of his other films: The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover, The Pillow Book, Nightwatching, they are all incredibly visual films which warrant multiple viewings to capture the totality of what is going on. Floating feathers, sparkling rockets, rockets, ripe fruits dripping with juice, the film is a Dutch still life brought to cinema.
Visuals don’t overshadow the plot either.
Its the story of a mother, daughter and granddaughter who all drown their philandering and boorish husbands with the duplicit help of the local coroner.
Madgett, the coroner is also a habitual game player who along with his son Smut make up the rules of various unusual games played by the characters.
Starting with a girl jumping rope and counting the stars; the film carries in the scenes and in the dialogue numbers from one to a hundred which keep popping up. I have seen the film several times, and never accounted for all of them, yet another game.
This is Myazaki’s magnum opus which brought him to the attention of Hollywood and the West. Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away might be better known here in North America but it’s Totoro that really captures Myazaki’s genius.
It is a deceptively simple story of two young girls who move with their father into the country to be near their ailing mother. Their country house is filled with Soot-sprites and Totoro and all sorts of benign spirits. After befriending these spirits they have all sort of magic adventures including a Chestshire Cat-bus. (Don’t ask just watch the film) We never find out what ailment the mother has, but it’s not really important either. The film is also very Japanese for example, there is a scene where the girls jump into the bath with their naked father, something not normally portrayed in the West.
The film embraces themes of wonder and childhood innocence. But there is a strong overtone of environmentalism and the importance of green space frequent in Myazaki’s films. To say nothing of the incredible craftsmanship and artistry in this film. The illustration and animation is amazing. While intended to be a kids movie it is a something most adults will enjoy as well.
5) Red Violin
This film is a contender for number one on my list for so many reasons, the plot, the music, the visual imagery. Most importantly it stars Samuel L. Jackson and he doesn’t say “fuck” once. (Can you imagine?)
Jackson plays an antiquities investigator who must find out about a collection of musical instruments found in the house of an old Chinese music teacher.
What makes this so appealing is the story wraps on itself numerous times telling of a red violin as passes through the centuries and the hands of many people.
The film takes place in modern day with the famous (or infamous) violin being up for auction. In the investigation to prove the piece’s providence we are taken back in time to when the violin is first made by Italian master Nicolo Bussotti for the birth of his first child. His wife is having the fortune of the baby told an old maid. And this the vehicle for the telling is set.
The story continues though time to an 18th century Austrian monastery, gypsies, a 19 century English Virtuoso, to China and the Cultural revolution and back to where we began, with a collection of musical instruments found in the house of an old music teacher.