With $2.4 billion invested in the Pan Am Games and a seemingly never-ending condo boom, 2015 changed the face of Toronto. There were some sad goodbyes, but also welcome changes to the city’s infrastructure.
Embrace Production’s Time Festival has proven again and again that it’s a cost-effective summer escape for Torontonians looking to get away but maybe don’t have the time to travel too far away?
For a mere $45 in advance ticket prices, kids looking to catch up with the pulse of the Pitchforkers and Stereogummers of the world were treated to a widely diverse group of artists like gangsta rapper Freddie “fuck da police” Gibbs, DJ Ryan “RyRy Bad Boy” Hemsworth, jazzaholic wannabe hip hop backup banders BadBadNotGood, feel good slacker rocker Mac DeMarco, and the explosive rave rap insanity of pikapikapika Die Antwoord.
Fort York’s dusty all purpose field’s been put to good use as things were kept simple with a single stage of power flanked in the sides and rear with a slew of local festival favourite food trucks and one magical merch booth.
I was offered an interview assignment with house music legend DJ MK for The Metro Canada. How could I say no??? Big wins for the House movement. Nary an EDM edit or mention. Metro editor team, I love you! And a weekend edition spot again!
American DJ Diplo created Major Lazer in 2009 as a cartoon alias in order to produce Caribbean-influenced music like reggae and dancehall that didn’t necessarily fit into his repertoire.
What began as a playful way to perform tunes under the guise of a mysterious Rastafarian freedom fighter from the future has spiraled into a full-fledged cartoon series of 10-minute segments, available in Canada on iTunes.
This wouldn’t be the first time music and cartoons have crossed over before. Here are a few memorable intersections.
Not since the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine has a cartoon band left such an impression on pop culture. Created by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and produced by Dan the Automator, the animated supergroup blends dub reggae, rock, rap and trip hop for an out of this world “feel good” experience. Artists like James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, Snoop Dogg and even Madonna have collaborated with virtual band members Murdoc and 2D, and there will likely be more high-profile adventures. Albarn has recently announced a new album, expected in 2016.
New Kids on the Block (1990)
They had all the right stuff for a cartoon series. A golden age of Saturday morning cartoons, pop stardom and legions of young female fans hungry for collectable binders, toys and trading cards. The short-lived series followed the band as they went about their lives escaping packs of fans and doing teenaged pop star things. While they didn’t voice their animated characters, Danny, Donnie, Jordan, Joey and Jonathan were featured on the show with behind-the-scenes interviews.
Record label owner and band manager Jerrica Benton inherited her deceased fathers holographic computer and used it to transform herself into Jem, frontwoman of the hair-metal-inspired Jem and the Holograms. Her high-tech earrings foreshadowed the wearable technology movement while the band taught the Saturday morning cartoon generation that music was magic through music videos. There was never a live-action Jem band, but a hotly anticipated live-action movie is in the works for October 2015, starring ’80s icon Molly Ringwald in a supporting role.
Josie and the Pussycats (1970-71)
Looking to jump on the bubblegum pop sensation and envious of The Archies’ smash hit “Sugar Sugar,” Hanna-Barbera Studios contacted the Riverdale gang’s creator Filmation to receive permission to create a spinoff series based around the less popular comic-book character Josie. The result was a series that fused concepts of The Archies with Scooby Doo-styled adventures to create a hipper, updated series based around touring 1970s rock band. The show broke ground with outspoken tambourinist Valerie, the first African-American character as a regular on a cartoon.
Canada’s British-accented dance-pop band (comprised of Canadian indie rockers Jay Levine and James Bryan McCollum of The Philosopher Kings) were inspired equally by the likes of the Beatles and late-’90s internet culture to create catchy feel-good singles, beginning with “Sucks to be You” in 1998. Cartoon music videos were focused on the stoic Simon and the lovelorn Milo on his quest to find a mate. Their breakout 2000 single “www.nevergetoveryou” sampled the catchy “uhoh!” sound effect from social network granddaddy ICQ, which can still be heard on some of Toronto’s Chinatown supermarket cash registers. Catch Prozzäk at a reunion show on July 18 at Atomic Lollipop, the “unique geek festival” at the Ontario Science Centre.
In 2001, the perpetually masked French house maestros hired their childhood hero, the prolific Japanese animator Leiji Matsumoto, to create a full-length musical sci-fi film to accompany their smash hit album Discovery. The project was titled Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem and segments from the film were released episodically as music videos chronicling the adventures of an oppressed blue-skinned race of aliens.
I was thrilled to share my music passionate music and techno geekery with Canada, in this review of Mutek 2015 that was printed in the Metro Canada, and ran nationally.
I worked on a project last month that gave a taste of Massive Attack origins. I think I know where they were looking for inspiration now. Wow. “Welcome to tonight’s Essential Mix on One FM. And now for something a little different, we head down to Bristol and hand the turntables over to Massive Attack! Standby.” Broadcasted on Sunday 11th December, 1994. How can this intro not give you chiiiiiiilllls?
Ennio Morricone – The Ecstasy Of Gold
Fu Schnickens – Breakdown
Jeru The Damaja – Statik
Public Enemy – Louder Than A Bomb
Main Source – Scratch And Kut ? ?
ESG – UFO (Instrumental)
Gang Starr – The ? Remains
Public Enemy – Yo! Bum Rush The Show
A Tribe Called Quest – God Lives Through
Many years ago I did a stock photography shoot. The images are still in circulation and pop up on billboards in Hawaii, Japanese, ads in The Metro, ESL textbooks or sites like Cracked.com, usually featuring me as some kind of “bad ass” “bully” or “aggressor” because I guess that’s how my photo is tagged in the massive Getty Images database. It’s kind of awesome. Here I am being used to illustrate a man getting his ass kicked in their “6 people who gained amazing skills form Brain Injuries (sic)”
Back in 2013, while Toronto was still under the terror of then mayor Rob Ford, I was approached by a publicist through email with a request to interview hoopylala wonderqueen, Gail Thackray (not “Britain’s most beguiling school girl “of the 80s…or is she??), medium, reiki healer and pet psychic. Apparently she’d been featured on Fox, NBC, CBS, Hallmark Channel, Good Morning San Diego, Today Show and then there’s little old me and my blog.
You ought to know that Gail is an advocate for a Philippino faith healer “John of God” who uses sleight of hand techniques to pull out animal guts from people’s bodies under the guise of “psychic surgery.”
And you should know, the purpose of this interview wasn’t entirely to troll or debunk this woman. I’m open minded, I meditate semi-regularly, I’ve had plenty of my own experience dabbling in the weird world of Toronto’s new age community, experienced a handful of my own “unexplained phenomena” and, I firmly believe that the power exists but is beholden by few. I don’t know if Gail is a complete fraud. But like many of her type, I do think she is strongly misguided and has fallen into the trap of using her shred of ability to turn a profit selling insanely overpriced spiritually infused bangles like this “rocket ship to the stars” a Siberian Blue Large Quartz Magician Stone with John of God Quartz Pyramid” ($777, and yes, it IS in stock!)
I was “lucky” enough to get a bit of a reading from Gail which I’ve included as well. Also be sure to read for her hilariously uninformed misinterpretation of the state of our then mayor.
Anywhoo, here we go.
I’m talking about manifesting, I wrote a book about bringing abundance into your life. It’s all inter-connected…. I’ll be telling people what to manifest in their lives. We ask the spirits to connect us, I ask people to put out what they want to manifest. Someone said they asked the spirit, and their mom, and her mom came through, who used to buy stocks, I asked for financial abundance…. Last time she was on the Internet at night she bought the wrong one by putting in the wrong code and she woke up the next morning with 26,000$.
We do a powerful room connection asking for spirits to come in to connect with them and give them what they want. People feel powerful results.
You pick up a lot of energy, but I’m more clairaudient, I get a lot of messages from people. You get gut feelings from people; you take on their energy. You’re very helpful as a perpetual medium, and after they talk to you for 5 minutes they feel great, but the next day, you feel blah, and out of sorts with lots of weird ailments. You tend to be that empathic caring person. You’re a natural born healer. People gravitate towards you.
Do you feel you’re manifesting success by always wearing pink clothing? Are there colours that attract success?
We vibrate with colours; it’s a subconscious thing we don’t realize. I wear a lot of gold when I do manifesting talks and gold vibrates manifestations. Pink is a fun love colour. I wear that for an interview about healing. People have this vision of what a healer should look like…. Someone spiritual, but I break the mold of that. I don’t want to be that granola eating hippy tie-dye type. Sometimes I get a bit of controversy. I like to dress up. I have a gold sequin dress for tonight and I think its important to know that it comes in all shapes and sizes and you don’t have to be ugly or dress a certain way to be spiritual. Looking good and feeling good and wearing bright colours gives you a certain vibration. Tonight its for manifesting joy, happiness and abundance. I want to give it a bit of pizzazz.
Yeah you can’t judge people on their clothing.
Some people think that having money is not spiritual thing. They think you’re supposed to be poor, and have hard lessons and do things the hard way. But really, we’re here to have a joyful spiritual experience with abundance in our lives. The things we want cost money and we’re here to experience things we want to have. We’re supposed to experience joy. The only reason we’re not is because we need to make life interesting. Life would be boring if it was all given to us. The trick is to get through difficulties without stressing about it. That’s where people get hung up. They get stuck in something they’re working on. It’s about energy around us. If we brought difficulty into our lives that we’re struggling with, we can reach into that energy field and dissolve it. We’re all here to have a joyful experience it’s spiritual to have money in our lives to do the things we want to do. We need to not feel selfish about having the money to do things we want to do.
I see what you’re saying but the Buddha would disagree. Attachment causes desire, desire keeps us in suffering.
There’s a difference between desiring to have money for the sake of putting it in a bank, or to show off to friends, or to have it to say I’m rich. There’s a difference between that and abundance, which is having the means to do things when you want to. To experience life and do things that makes you happy, and help other people in that process, to have the means to do run your life smoothly and easily without stress. Its not about having money to hold it and look better than other people but to have that feeling that you have enough and you’re always taken care of. It doesn’t always come in the form of money. When you ask for something like, I’d like to have that new car, or be able to travel, it’s not always that you need the money; you have to be open to the experience. It could come as a gift or come to you in another unusual way. I’m not saying, I want to take they strip so I have to make extra commission work, or I need to get a raise form my boss. That’s telling the universe that’s the only way to get it. You should say, I’d like to go on this trip … there are all kinds of ways things can come to you other than just a job. People might want to go with you. Do you teach people at manifesting? It seems like you do this.
Uh, sure, a bit.
I see you in the future, not doing seminars but helping people. Have you done any writing????
The book I’m talking about tonight is I actually feel like I didn’t write it, I feel like I cheated. Spirit wrote it. I was doing mediumship, and I was asking my guides one night, I’d read all these books about manifesting. My guides sat with me and said we’d work on it a piece at a time. One day on gratitude, another on manifesting. So I’d take notes and put them away. And then I came back to it a year later I was asked to speak about manifesting and I thought I’d have to go back to my old notes, and I found them on my computer, and there was this entire book. I don’t recall taking these notes and typing it into a book. I don’t know how it got there other than it was just channeled from spirit.
That’s why this book is so powerful if you believe it or not. If you don’t make the abundance you want to make, I’ll give you the money back for the book.
I believe in planting seeds of thought.
Also, I want to talk about the times when manifesting doesn’t work, or almost works. I want to talk about negative thought energy we hold onto, sometimes it comes in but then we push it away thinking we’re not good enough, no no no. I want to do an energy clearing tonight. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies in preventing ourselves from what we want. I want to talk about emotional and financial blocks.
Speaking of healing, are you familiar with our Mayor Rob Ford and his troubles? He’s in a bit of a downward spiral.
No I don’t know.
He’s in a downward spiral; it’s very traumatic for the city. Can he be healed?
Well, the thing is that sometimes things happen in our lives and we set up a difficult situation and we hold onto certain feelings. It could be shocking, even from an early life when we’re younger. We set up these energies. And something comes up with a similar vibration. And one thing piles on top of another until we’re so overwhelmed with all the layers around us that its hard to get out of it. In our lives, we pick up energies from around us. We can think about what are my triggers before you go to bed at night. What did my parents say or not do, but when I think about it now, it still irks me. And then you think about that girlfriend you had that hated you, and it still bugs you. If you do, that’s a trigger in your energy field. And probably the mayor is experiencing that.
Well he’s been caught smoking crack, he’s taken hits out on people. It’s very dark.
Yes, it’s coming to the forefront now. These major incidents are life-learning lessons, karma from another life. We go along fine and then something like this hits you. This was clearly karmic and meant to come out into the world. Often times, it’s not for really for that person, as a public person, it’s to help people around him, not just his life, family and everyone else.
The city is in crisis!
It affects everyone around; it’s a major karmic event that people have chosen to get involved with even if they’re not having the experience. A major event like that is a big test. It’s like having a health crisis. How are we going to deal with that? Maybe we have to set up that it will be resolved and release that cancer, or turn around and make something out of it, that’s a big test, but we have this invisible world around us, we have a connected divine source3 and spirits around that help. We’re all connected, health or emotional crises… we forget to ask. But the biggest thing to do in crisis is to sit and ask for help. The spirit won’t help unless we ask. You have to meditate and pray to god, the angels, whatever you believe in and say ‘I need help’ show me, direct me to trust. Then things start to open up and you are shown things. The mayor and all involved, just go back to divine and say hey, what can I do here? Please help me through this karmic issue. How do we get out of it, dissolve it and turn it around?
Well he said he was getting help, he’s trying and got a trainer but then it comes out that his trainer has been convicted of selling anabolic steroids. What is going on here??
One thing keeps compounding on another. He needs to go and ask for help! This is what happens. We get a problem and keep banging your head against the wall, like I’ll try this, I’ll try that, it’s a lot easier if you just ask for divine help. You still have to go through it but it makes it a lot easier if you have the divine light shining and showing you the way. You can’t do it yourself. It’s a lot harder. Its easier to say, I need some guidance here whether its emotional, physical or health. We can get help through all sorts of difficult situations.
I wanted to ask about your animal communicating.
I believe that once you tap into the spirit world, you open up. Once you tap in, you can be a stronger channel for healing. You can speak to loved ones on the other side, and you can talk to animals. It’s all the same thing. Animal communication is not different from being intuitive. When you start to open up, you can talk to animals. You already know when they want to go out, when something’s not quite right. They look at us differently, and we know. We just have a harder time hearing them back. We do it, but on a smaller level. They’re there to help us and it feels good having them around but it goes much deeper than that, to much levels that we’re not aware of.
How do we know when it’s time to have a new pet if one passes?
They think about death differently than we do. They just pass to another side of the veil but they’re still around us. They don’t see it as drastically as us. I actually see them coming back and reincarnating. You’re a dog person right?
No, I’m into cats. Never had a dog. Although I like dogs….
You’ve never had one when you were younger?
I see you with a dog, but it could be a cat… You’ve got one now that you had when you were younger. You’ve got one now that you look at and you go, oh, this one has a certain personality.
I don’t have any pets right now.
I don’t know, well maybe it’s the last one you had. Sometimes they come back into their life.
Well I did have a cat, and he disappeared for a whole season. Was it an alien abduction?
I think he got caught ton a fence he’s a very powerful cat, you’re very connected, from Egypt maybe. He’ll keep coming back to you in your life. You have a powerful connection. When it’s their time, and you’re like, I’m not sure its ready to be put to sleep but more often then not, they are ready to go. They hang around to keep the owner thorough it. Sometimes they’ll want you to bring another into your life for them to take over their role. Often when relatives pass over, they go to them. But they’re often around in spirit, we sense they’re at the bottom of the bed or we keep them around as arcana. The veil of the afterlife is very thin. Sometimes when they’re sleeping they’ll wander off to the other side and come back. They just feel for us, its not drastic for them. They want us to be ok and to have another animal. I’ll be reading animals this weekend too. I’ll do a workshop on how to teach people talk to them.
Oh cool, so do you hear their voices in your head?
Its like telepathic communication, like, what did you do last Valentines Day? You go back into your mind and think about the time you had, you can remember what you ate. You have the memory, sights and smells but all you can tell me is with words. An animal can give you that entire feeling. Lets say an animals favourite thing to do is to run on the beach with you, what I get is the feeling of the smell of the ocean, the feeling of running in the sand, the smell, the sounds. It’s the feelings. It’s almost like feeling a memory. It comes as a thought in your mind like a memory would come. Sometimes you might think it’s your own imagination. But when you try it, you might get an unusual feeling of eating a cucumber…. And then you remember your cat ATE a cucumber yesterday, you might just think you made it up, but you didn’t!
Do you ever hear a voice?
Some people will hear a voice, like a voice in the middle of the night calling your name. Usually it’s not a voice, it’s more like a thought. But those who are clairsentient will get stronger feelings of a dog being excited and the wagging of a tail, the cat looking at the birds outside the window, a feeling of what it’s like to watch those birds.
There used to be an interest in this indigo children/crystal children.
Yeah, I’m not really up on that….
True, names are not important but why do you think people are more open and aware now?
When we’re born we have all this knowledge of the universe, but then this veil comes over. Often kids are more psychic
Ok, so, this ditty by Santa Fe rapper X24 may be a little late to the hipster pontification party, and I can’t really see this jokey tune living anywhere other than on Youtube, but there’s still some fun wordplay going on with rhymes like “i’m so post modern, what’s a genre?” or “I can’t go out and grab some food without a Kafka novel and some attitude”