is need of a video montage!
Expert Menders of Hot Pants Since 2003.
is need of a video montage!
I've always been fascinated by the hipster. The modern day hippie come yuppie that yearns for unique experiences whether real or contrived. Zany coffee shops and off-beat bars are the habitat of choice. Their mating habits are incomprehensible and consciously complicated. A challenge once perfect for a farm kid like me seeking to experience life.
The decay of Detroit is well documented. From burned out mansions to abandoned luxury hotels, the City is portrayed as the endpoint of our culture; a fallen empire based on the automobile and heavy industry. I don't even bother to take pictures anymore.
My Winnipeg is a beautiful movie. While the storytelling is occasionally awkward, the subject matter is profound and the story universal. This 'docu-fantasia' follows Guy Maddin's obsession with escape from small-town Winnipeg - and ultimately why he can't. As such, it had the possibility to descend into nostalgic pap, but it doesn't, and that's what makes it so wonderful. It's a journey into the meaning of place through myth. A surreal love letter to my Winnipeg, warts and all.
A myth is a sacred narrative, a blending of the real and unreal to inform thoughts and values. In effect, a common metaphor. What Maddin understands is that fact is irrelevant as long as it helps us understand how history makes us who we are and more importantly what we can aspire to. He spins myth as poetry - and in the process realizes that this mythic pull of home makes Winnipeg the only home he can ever have.
Winnipeg is legendary for its self-deprecating spirit. At the middle of the middle of the North American continent, the immense distances and frozen landscapes make for a hardened frontier mentality that breeds a curious mix of disdain and fierce pride of what it is.
Contrast this with Toronto.
Toronto is a city which is no longer comfortable with itself. It has destroyed any semblance of myth in a drive to erase and rebuild anew socially and culturally. It has no foundation to build from, no understanding of what it was to determine what it is and perhaps what it could be. There is no overriding public interest. The results of this annihilation has even manifested itself physically.
Architecture in Toronto has achieved hipness in the civic mindset as of late. In a city disdainful of reference points, this social and cultural rootlessness has manifested itself in the 'icon'. Each new project seeks to capture this resignation and arbitrarily recreate the City in its image. Couching themselves in the laudable goal of intensification, developers are exploiting this disdain with interventions without any notion of context. This town has determined that there is no fabric to build upon, only a blank slate on which to project a brave new world. Rather than explore a uniquely Toronto-style, the fundamentals of the international style are alive and well in Toronto; the break with the past is complete. Tellingly, even the limited historical preservation is based solely on architectural merit.
Without myth and common metaphors, all that is left is cynicism. As Toronto guts itself of its former past, the locals are getting restless. While previous generations saw a break with tradition through an optimistic lens, a city without a rooted soul in this age is a City adrift. Passing cynicism is undermining the civic spirit and by extension civic engagement. Few people profess a love affair with Toronto - and the script in support does seems more like blatant boosterism than genuine adoration.
The Toronto of 1908 is fundamentally different than the Toronto of 2008. Methodist Rome has morphed into Multicultural City and that is a good thing. What is worrisome is the amnesia of the past. Cities are intricately layered and in that lies their beauty. Generations and generations of lives, work, hopes and dreams (real or imagined) provide a foundation from what to aspire to. While neither cool nor hip, that's who we are. Treating it as outdated and inconsequential is the real civic tragedy.
Something Guy Maddin completely understands.
Some days I wish there was the time to pontificate like there once was. Take this latest sack of excrement from my favourite moron:
Urban Morphology Online Journals. 1997-2001
Who would have thought the Star would debase itself with such insensitive drivel:
As predicted right here on the Velvy back in January 2005, Mr. Randy Hillier - professed savior of all Rural Ontario - is indeed running for provincial office. While we predicted the riding of Ottawa West-Nepean back then, Mr. Hillier has instead set his glorious eyes on the newly formed Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington. A hodgepodge of locales consisting mainly of commie Lanark County and its progressively minded environs.
The SCRCA has announced the 2007 installment of the great Sydenham River Canoe Race as Sunday, April 22nd.
The venerable Fraser-Hickson is closing January 31st. After 121 years of service to the working-class neighbourhoods of NDG, this privately endowed public library - the first public library in Montreal - is broke. Primarily volunteer-run and community based, a three-year municipal funding agreement dried up in October leaving the mainly Anglo facility in the position of depleting its endowment by $54,000 a month. To stop the haemorrhaging, the Board immediately put the facility up for sale.
While researching a trip to New York this weekend, I came across this. Equally applicable to Toronto.
It has been a raucous year for the Auld League. From reprehensible imports to ‘suspended’ franchises, 2006 has understatedly been an undistinguished season. My Tabbies posted one of the worst campaigns in memory, an excruciatingly drawn-out exercise only tempered by the Boatmen’s self-ruination in the Eastern Final.
Christopher Moore - 1867: How the Fathers Made A Deal, p.251
With better things to do these past two weeks, my re-entrance into civilized society was highlighted with the news that Garth Turner was inexplicably sacked. Amid the rampant censuring of the Reformed Reform Party command-control machine (interpreted as 'party discipline' by some), Garth Turner often served as the lone constituent voice in a party which has taken perversion of parliamentary democracy to consistently new extremes.
Thomas Jefferson - Notes on the State of Virginia, p.164-165
I'd considered a 'First 100-esque' diatribe. Yet on the heel of 'Red Friday', I ask Bev... where's the abortion debate... the Wheat Board showdown... senate reform? In effect, the burning issues of 'thirteen unlucky years of appaling pillage' that brought us this minority government in the first place.