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Showing posts from September, 2018

World Animal Protection List of Over 200 Elephant-Friendly Travel Companies

From a media release: World Animal Protection Over 200 elephant-friendly travel companies Travel companies worldwide commit to stop elephant rides and shows • Support The Companies On The List A campaign by World Animal Protection to end the cruel abuse of elephants in the tourist entertainment industry has secured the help of over 200 travel companies who have committed to stop selling elephant rides and shows to their customers. From the organization's announcement:  We have been engaging with tour operators around the world, revealing the cruelty that goes on behind the scenes at venues where tourists ride elephants and see shows where elephants are forced to perform. To date, 214 travel companies around the world have agreed that elephant rides and shows are cruel and must end. The travel companies, include The Travel Corporation and its family of 30 brands (Lion World Travel, Trafalgar, Contiki & Uniworld) as well as TUI Benelux and Thomas Cook Northern Europe

New York City Restaurant News: West Village Stalwart Cafe Loup Re-Opens Tonight

New York City Restaurant News: Café Loup Re-opens in the West Village to the delight of all Café Loup, a classic French bistro that was a mainstay of New York City's West Village scene since 1977, reopens tonight to the relief of booze loving literary types throughout the city. The bistro on Thirteenth Street near Sixth Avenue hit the headlines earlier in September 2018 when it closed abruptly. A notice posted on the door declared that it had been "SEIZED" by the the New York State Department of Taxes and Finance for unpaid taxes. Word spread quickly among NYC's tight restaurant and literary crowd, along with a chorus of dismay . Many of the city's publishing elite went public with their regrets, including Sam Sifton of The New York Times, and luminaries Fran Lebowitz and Susan Sontag. Café Loup survived through the decades by providing a reliable menu of bistro favourites like - naturally - French onion soup with gruyère, pâté, escargots, and moules mar

TIFF18 Scrapbook

#tiff18 memories #TIFF2018, we hardly knew ye. It seems like barely two weeks ago that I picked up my media ID and it was off to the races. (It actually was two weeks ago, lol.) Here are the pics, the schedule, and the pieces I wrote for the Toronto International Film Festival 2018. TIFF takes over King Street Day 1 - pick up press pass - cocktail party at Le Milagro hosted by the Toronto Film Critics Association TIFF Street Theatre - gossip with other journos Day 2 - brunch with the TIFF people - lovely, lovely people TIFF CEO Piers Handling says good-bye to the media (he's stepping down) Day 3 - screening - Fig Tree The media herd heading for a screening at the Scotiabank Place Cinemas - screening - Lionheart - cocktail party with Documentary Directors Varda Filmmaker's Lounge - gossip - meet Naziha Arebi - decide to add Freedom Fields to the list - interview with Ng'endo Mukii Day 4 - screening - Freedom Fields - screening

Alt Rock Single: Elza - Swayed from the album Nothing's Wrong (Independent/November 2 2018)

Alt Rock Single: Elza - Swayed from the album Nothing's Wrong (Independent/November 2. 2018) • Stream the single • Buy it on bandcamp Swayed, the new single by Elza, comes in advance of her debut full length release, Nothing's Wrong, slated to drop on November 2, 2018. Her EP, Glories, came out in 2014. The song is striking and original, with a strong and hypnotic rhythmic pulse and a chorus that sticks in your head. She never swayed...Elza's vocals hover above a thick tapestry of guitar rock. "As a solo artist I write, compose, arrange and produce all my music. I spent over 2 years working on this album alone, carefully crafting all the arrangements." Russian-born Elza moved to Israel at age 15, where she discovered her musical side singing and playing guitar. She trained at classical piano, along with studying audio engineering and sound design, and says she's inspired by 90s alternative rock. Elza relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia, where s

#tiff18 review/interview: Freedom Fields - Directed by Naziha Arebi

#tiff18 review/interview: Freedom Fields Directed by Naziha Arebi "We've lived many beginnings." So says Fadwa, one of the young women featured in Naziha Arebi's documentary Freedom Fields. It's that ability to keep picking up the pieces to keep going that is highlighted in the movie, which got its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2018. Ever wondered what's been going on in Libya since its "liberation" at the hands of Western jet fighter pilots? British-Libyan director Naziha Arebi's documentary fills in the gaps with her film that looks at the trials and triumphs of a group of women determined to play football - soccer for us North Americans - for their country. Making the movie proved to be just as much a labour of love and perseverance as the making of the women's football team. Naziha shot the footage over a four year period between 2012 and 2016. In the beginning, there are dizzying street

Get ready for the return of Chicago House: Matt Warren - Music Is My Life (Wake Up! Music/Oct 15, 2018)

Get ready for the return of Chicago House: Matt Warren - Music Is My Life (Wake Up! Music/Oct 15, 2018) • Stream/Download Are you ready for Nu-House? Matt Warren is one of the pioneers of Chicago House, and he's making a return to the spotlight with his new album set to drop October 15, 2018. You'll find your dancing shoes grooving to beats influenced by the last few decades of electronic dance music, from the days of disco to 90s radio pop. Matt has been a DJ for forty years, and a producer since 1984, when he released his debut single Rock The Nation. He cofounded Sunset Records in 1985, which released several house classics, leaving to found AKA Dance Music on his own in 1987. The first single that AKA Dance Music released was Bang The Box, which sold over 50,000 copies in the US and is seen by many as the first hard house track. Since the end of AKA Dance Music, Matt Warren continued to DJ all over the world, and produce new music and remix tracks by some of the

#tiff18 review: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Illuminates the British Black Experience in Farming

#tiff18 review: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's Farming World Premiere At the World Premiere of Farming at the Toronto International Film Festival, actor turned director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje confessed that it had taken him 14 years to bring the story - his own life story - to the screen. In its unflinching portrayal of a life marred by racial and cultural dislocation and a loss of identity, we can only be glad that he persevered. Farming, the movie, isn't the pastoral tale you are probably imagining. The term, incredibly, refers to the practice of Nigerian parents fostering their children to white British parents - a practice that was fairly common in the 1960s. With the best intentions of providing a better life for their kids than they could as struggling immigrants, those children were thrown into a society that looked down on its colonial roots, with often tragic results. In the movie, Adewale plays his own father, Femi, with Nollywood star Genevieve Nnaji taking the

Surfer Rock Redux: Laura Paragano - Strange Curses (Independent/September 17, 2018)

Surfer Rock Redux: Laura Paragano - Strange Curses (Independent/September 17, 2018) • Stream/Download the Album A mouth from Jersey and a soul from California. That's the tagline for San Francisco based artist Laura Paragano. Strange Curses is her first full-length release, coming after the two-song EP The Tiny Telephone Sessions (April 2018). That surfer rock soul is out in full force on Out for a Surf (natch) with vocals that tip the hat to the richly tremolo'd legacy of Roy Orbison. There's a tough girl credo to I'm Fine, sung with a bittersweet bravado. Laura has the perfect voice for the genre, strident yet expressive, with an edge of melancholy that adds to the intepretation of the songs she's penned. They cover the oft-charted territory of love and loss with a catchy retro groove and golden guitar lines from Linden Evans. ""Strange Curses" is a literal record of myself. Although I only started writing the songs for the album two ye

Pure #Nollywood: Lionheart, Directed by Genevieve Nnaji

#tiff18 review: Lionheart Directed by Genevieve Nnaji Nollywood star Genevieve Nnaji steps behind the camera for her directorial debut, Lionheart, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2018. Genevieve Nnaji in Lionheart - image courtesy of TIFF Lionheart is a bus company working the southeast of Nigeria, a seemingly successful company that is vying for a new state BRT contract. But, when the company head and patriarch, played by Nollywood veteran Pete Edochie, falls ill, that facade begins to crumble. Genevieve plays Adaeze, the good daughter. She's clearly Dad's favourite employee - serious, dedicated, and disciplined. So she's all the more surprised and disappointed when dear old Dad names his seemingly sketchy brother Godswill - played with comic relish by Nkem Owoh - to take his place. Nkem Owoh & Genevieve Nnaji in Lionheart - image courtesy of TIFF Then, Adaeze discovers that the company has run out of cash and can&

Chill/Downtempo Release: ivoryHaus - ivoryHAUS (Independent/September 14, 2018)

With material from a media release: Chill/Downtempo Release: ivoryHaus - ivoryHAUS (Independent/September 14, 2018) • Stream it on Spotify • Buy it on Bandcamp "I wanted to make an album of chill/downtempo music, so this release was largely inspired by things that mellow me out: hiking, stargazing, and the ocean. Sonically, glitched pianos, analog synthesizers, and hip hop rhythms guide you through the record." - ivoryHAUS ivoryHAUS is the alter-ego of Noa Spott, a Philadelphia based multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. A full-time musician, Noa balances his commercial endeavors by composing and recording adventurous solo projects as ivoryHAUS. The eponymous album is his debut full-length release. It's no surprise to find Noa's favourite classical composer is Debussy, with his deceptively simple melodies, and the combination of dissonance and harmony. He studied recording technology in college, which give shim the tools to cre

Recently Released RnB: B. Mills - The Life & Times of an Eternal Optimist (Independent/August 31, 2018)

Recently Released: B. Mills - The Life & Times of an Eternal Optimist (Independent/August 31, 2018) • Stream it on Spotify Singer/songwriter/producer B. Mills brings a diverse set of influences— ranging from D.C.'s legendary Backyard Band, to Radiohead, Marvin Gaye, and Kendrick Lamar - to The Life & Times of an Eternal Optimist, his recent release. "Every song on this project embodies a sense of urgency in the pursuit of dreams, love, and happiness. Our common thread as people becomes unwoven at times -- by race, religion, gender, sexuality, economics, and politics. We all are in the struggle to survive these conditions -- more concerned with our individual needs, and less concerned about the group. Sometimes we begin to tie the thread back together -- with rallies, marches, protests, concerts, etc. However, the wheel we're on was built by division, not unification -- and it continues to spin round and round. Yet, no matter how dark it gets, there's alw

Electronic R&B: Tropic - Bittersweet (Independent/July 23 2018)

Electronic R&B Tropic - Bittersweet (Independent/July 23 2018) • Check it out on Soundcloud • Stream it on Spotify Brooklyn, New York based produce Phuse and singer Jo-B Sebastian got together to craft some earworm tracks under the name Tropic. The collaboration brings together the best of electronic dance music and smooth R&B vocals with a nice sense of variation. Inventive beats and a range of styles give the EP a lot of replay value. Bittersweet, the title track, has a fluid R&B version with an impressive vocal performance, and an electronicized redux version that downplays the vocals and adds a slow and sexy beat with a fat sound. Vocals and the beats share centre stage without either giving up ground. Nostalgia is a dance song full of rhythmic complexities, overlaid with classic R&B vocal gymnastics. Breathe Again has a hypnotic pulse, with more than a nod to the classic dance tracks of the 1990s in its musical inspiration. Over You is electronica with