"I like colors and I like flowers, and I like head pieces with feathers coming off of them," says Nailah Lymus designer for Amirah Creations. Words that can come from any designer, or any woman. The thing that sets Lymus apart is that she is Muslim, and as both a woman and designer she creates looks that set to break the stereotypes of Muslim women only wearing black and covering up.
Many of the looks in her collection—which just saw the runways of New York Fashion Week—are geared toward women of different backgrounds and religions. I love that Lymus plays around with colours, shapes and styles to express femininity. And what about looks that are not modest enough for Muslim women? Lymus "Islamifies" them by putting on a jacket overtop bear shoulders or wearing hats over her hijab.
Fashion is truly an inspiring and fluid way of expression for anyone. Our clothing can help show who we are, and also break down preconceived social notions our backgrounds often carry.Posted by Vinnie Yuen | November 30, 2011 | Comments (0)
What do 'harder' and 'f***' have in common? In Pakistan, they are dirty words. On November 14, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) announced that mobile phone carriers would block text messages containing 'obscene' language beginning November 21; apparently, due to a high number of unsolicited texts containing illicit phrases and comments.
A PTA official told AFP that it has compiled a list of some 1600 words in English and Urdu, which is Pakistan's official language. 1100 of them are in English and range from the mild 'idiot' and 'barf' to the more harsh sexual vocabulary. Then, there is the downright strange 'flogging the dolphin'. I am not too sure what that means, but I could guess. The list is considered to be a work in progress, and PTA will continue to add words deemed inappropriate by their agency.
With more than 50 percent of its 175 million strong population using cellphones, it may be impossible to censor every text message without creating significant delays in the network. This delay may clog the network and may lead it to crash, if a hacker doesn't get to it first. Not to mention that cellphone users have already devised schemes to overcome the barriers such as typing the numbers that correspond with the letter. There is also a huge movement on Twitter challenging #PTABannedList.
Critics have raised questions about the legality of the list. According to the Guardian, while Pakistan's constitution guarantees freedom of speech, one regulator was told "mobile phone companies that such freedom was 'not unrestricted' under court rulings" and that the mobile carriers "had obligations under their licenses to prevent 'obnoxious communication'."
What is 'obnoxious communication'? In my opinion, if two consenting adults are sexting each other, they should have access to a colourful vocabulary. It is unlikely that a mobile phone customer will receive multiple offensive messages without advertising their phone number. It sounds like too many consumers are enjoying the sexual freedom that comes with a cell phone. Pakistan doesn't want to admit this; instead, they blame it on a lewd few and attempt to force people to conform to strict religious norms even in their private lives. If someone is kinky, let them be kinky and stay out of other citizens' personal communication.Posted by Kait Bolongaro | November 29, 2011 | Comments (0)
Zerlina Maxwell interviews Feministing Executive Editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay about her new book Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life.
Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Feministing.com Executive Editor, explains how feminism can help your dating life in her new book Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life.
It's a how-to manual for today's progressive woman by undoing the damage done by traditional dating advice and challenging gender expectations. The book also talks about how feminism does not conflict with romance, but actually helps our relationships through awareness and persistence.
In an interview with Colorlines.com, Mukhopadhyay explained the concepts behind her book. Women were blamed for declining relationships because up until this moment in history men generally did what they wanted while women had to compensate. Women were responsible for holding the family together, from fostering conversation at the dinner table to religious or cultural education. This is no longer necessarily the case.
What's really interesting are the comments on the topic. One reader said, "Dating advice from a feminist? No thanks!" Another reader said, "That's a laugh, traditional feminism, calls for equal rights, but the 'check is in the mail' when it comes to equal responsibility."
When a woman declares herself a feminist, people get uncomfortable (unless they too are a self-declared feminist). I once told colleagues I consider myself a feminist, and they told me they don't see me as one. They said they saw an activist woman holding up signs and protesting when they think of feminists.
But I don't fit into that image. I wouldn't describe myself as an activist and I've never been to a protest in my life. Instead, I exercise feminism in my life and relationship as much as I can.
Traditional dating advice points at the differences between men and women, not the similarities. I am a firm believer in bringing men and women closer together instead of further apart. We're a lot more alike than we think.
To me, feminism in relationships means speaking out about your concerns instead of hoping he'll guess them. It means allowing your partner to have moments of emotional weakness, but it also means calling them out when they're being unreasonable. It means not expecting to be spoiled rotten, but aiming to spoil each other. It means respecting each other as human beings, instead of saying to each other, "You're a man and you don't get me," or "You're a woman and you don't get me."
Vinnie Yuen is a Master of Journalism student at the University of British Columbia. She thinks feminism benefits both men and women.
After a report in August that accused Apple of having suppliers that harmed the environment, Apple met up with environmental groups to clarify what they were doing to address this issue.
Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), told the BBC's Chinese service that Apple has set goals and is working towards them. "They promised to increase assessment of environmental impact and management when they look for new suppliers in the future," Jun said.
Apple did not inform the IPE which suppliers it uses, but said that it would work to ensure that its partners are more environmentally-friendly. (Whether or not they will be successful, however, is another story.)
Carolyn Wu, Apple's Beijing-based spokeswoman, told the BBC that Apple performs regular inspections of its suppliers, with checks at 127 being completed last year. Wu went on further to say that it has its partners resolve violations within 90 days. "Apple is committed to driving the highest standards of social responsibility throughout our supply chain," Wu said.
"We require that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made."
Sounds like a rather thorough system, no?
So thorough that it makes you wonder how, even with its regular inspections of its suppliers, Apple still has suppliers that don't conform to environmental standards. (Unless these suppliers are like those restaurants that try to cover all potential health hazards when a food inspector is on his/her way.)
This is not the only issue I find with Wu's statements. If Apple's is so "commmitted to driving the highest standards of social responsibility throughout [their] supply chain" and require their suppliers to "treat workers with dignity and respect," then what does Apple make of the worker abuse that happens in companies like Foxconn?
To Apple's defense, "highest" is a subjective word, and from its dealings with the worker abuse cases surrounding Foxconn, perhaps Apple's solution is just ignorance. That, and the fact that requiring suppliers to "treat workers with dignity and respect" doesn't mean that Apple will ensure that its suppliers do that.
Don't you just love the things you can do with language? As Apple has demonstrated, loopholes, even to your own rules, can be convenient.
Brandon Woo is a happy high school student in Vancouver, BC. In working with Schema, he hopes to educate others about current events and learn more about the world around him too. If you have any suggestions about something that Brandon might want to write about, send him an email, and he'll get back to you.Posted by Brandon Woo | November 30, 2011 | Comments (0)
It's fair to say that Vancouverites have a great deal of civic and municipal pride, at least in the realm of sports; the Olympics, after all, were held here just over a year ago, and packed crowds smother every Canucks game both home and away. We also take pride in our green reputation and consistent top ranking as a global liveable city.
But how much does the average Vancouverite know about the city's history? How many people, for instance, know about the history of Vancouver's iconic neon signage, as with the smiling Buddha above? The Museum of Vancouver aims to improve civic-knowledge beyond the names of the Canucks roster, with its newly launched digital collections database.
With OpenMOV, Vancouverites far and away can access any of the museum's 62,000 items with 10,000 digital images. No longer will it be necessary to make the trip to the actual Museum itself; now the historical curiosity of citizens can be satisfied with a simple click of a mouse.
Of course, it is hoped by the curators of the Museum that the online collection will inspire people to visit the museum nonetheless, to see the items and photographs in person.
Please visit the website at museumofvancouver.ca for more information.
Ever been in a situation where you've thought "good intention, but bad outcome"? The UNHATE campaign seemed to have triggered that reaction. While I'm all for controversy and creating a bit of a stir, sometimes going too far is just that.
The UNHATE campaign was launched in collaboration with United Colors of Benetton who have a particular philosophy and are no strangers to stirring the pot. The intention is to have a world that is accepting of each other and that resorts to peaceful resolutions rather than violence and hatred. It features images of highly controversial political and religious figures sharing a kiss. This included figures locking-lips such as Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu. And no, they weren't playing spin the bottle. All images were digitally altered. In a press release, Benetton said "the central theme is the kiss, the most universal symbol of love, between world political and religious leaders". By them sharing a symbol of love, the group hoped that it would spark some hope and positive energy in a time of great conflict.
However, it seems that most reactions towards the campaign have been anything but love. People have been criticizing the ads, suggesting that they are taste-less and some even feel that it has incredibly offended their values and morals. For example, the Vatican criticized the digitally altered image of the Pope and an Egyptian Imam kissing on account of its "disrespectful nature". The Vatican's spokesperson said, "this shows a grave lack of respect for the Pope, an offence to the feelings of believers, a clear demonstration of how publicity can violate the basic rules of respect for people by attracting attention with provocation". Benetton responded with removing the ad and apologizing for any harm they may have caused.
The attempt to raise awareness and hope for a culture of acceptance and collaboration is great, but could we have not tried picturing them holding hands, sharing a laugh, singing together, playing "ring around the rosy", rather than people discussing how angry they were over the images' "disrespectful" nature, I think it would have provoked insightful conversations and creative brainstorming within smaller communities.
While I understand their motive and their intention with this campaign, it seems ironic that an UNHATE campaign only sparked a lot of hate.
Posted by Jocelyn Gan | November 23, 2011
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What better way to kick off Schema's new WTF Fridays series than Rebecca Black's new music video?
The premise? She's talking to a police officer behind some yellow tape about the boy she likes, a Justin Bieber look-alike. It's like, such a crime that he made her like him! We must inform the police immediately!
They hang out at an arcade. They go go-karting. They go mini-golfing. They go to an amusement park. "Fun, fun, think about fun, you know what it is!"
But the biggest WTF moment is when two Asian women dressed in colourful clothes (kind of like the Harajuku girls, I guess) play on stage.
Instead of respectfully listening to them play guitar, Rebecca Black says a big "eff you" to the artists by storming the stage and singing. Perhaps she wanted show a critical and symbolic representation of colonialism?
At the 2:56 mark, a dragon dance happens out of nowhere. Because, you know, Asians just love those dragon dances, especially when Rebecca Black is singing!
Vinnie Yuen is a Master of Journalism student at the University of British Columbia. She hates mint and chocolate together and realizes this makes her abnormal. Follow her @vinnieyuen.
I was a business kid. As part of the Commerce faculty at UBC, class after class and prof after prof told me I would graduate to make money and help any company I worked for make even more money. "But what about the people?" I thought.
Later, feeling the need to broaden my perspective, I took interest in Latin American studies, where the topics of poverty and foreign aid were often raised. But what if they become too dependent? The idea of "social enterprise" was rarely touched on in either faculty, but I knew there had to be ways to creatively meld the two.
Enter Basa Body. Founded by Troy Holmberg in 2007, the company came to life after Holmberg visited Mombasa, Kenya and came into contact with some wonderful, hard-working women. The women produced virgin coconut oil by hand and had created their own enterprise around this work, Coast Coconut Farms.
In order to help these women further develop their business, Holmberg created Basa Body, taking the name from the town where the women are from. Basa Body works with Coast Coconut Farms by purchasing their coconut oil for Basa products, as well as by providing the women with training on efficient harvesting, storage and shipping methods, entrepreneur skills and business investing, presumably information they wouldn't have access to in their small town.
Through this close partnership with Coast Coconut Farms, Basa Body can provide sustainable income and employment to the Mombasa women, who can in turn pull themselves out of poverty and eventually, in the words of my good friend Beyonce, "run the world". Go girls!
All this social responsibility is wonderful, but I can just hear my business profs now, asking, "But what about the product? Is it any good?" To be honest, I haven't been able to get my hands on any Basa Body, but Holmberg insists that "coconut oil happens to be the healthiest oil on the planet and makes for wonderful skin care products." Winter does make for some dry skin. Sounds like a pretty good stocking stuffer to me.
For more information, check out basabody.com.Posted by Kayo Homma-Komori | November 23, 2011 | Comments (0)
'Generation Squeeze,' 'Generation Boomerang,' and being 'over-educated and underemployed' are all descriptors of Gen Y and Millenials that have inspired the XYBOOM Conference on youth unemployment. Hosted by Vancouver-based advertising and marketing agency My Loud Speaker, XYBOOM brings together 300 business professionals and youth with experts from the X, Y and Baby Boomer generations in an effort to address the ongoing issue of youth unemployment and the related baby boomer exit.
"This conference is a response to the employment issues that I constantly see affecting not only my peers, but business owners, employers and individuals of all generations, says Tammy Tsang, 27-year old CEO of My Loud Speaker and XYBOOM Executive Director. "With XYBOOM, we're trying a new solution-based approach: giving value to what each generation has to offer, providing an open forum for dialogue and collaboration, and building bridges."
Planned and executed by a team comprised completely of all young Gen Y-ers, the XYBOOM Conference represents youth taking pertinent employment issues into their own hands by bringing together three generations to do so. Featured panelists include experts with diverse experiences and persepctives from all three generations, including Schema's founder, Alden Habacon, Director of Intercultural Understanding Strategy Development at UBC, Fiona Rayher of Gen Y Media Project, and Shaun Carpenter of Pinton Forrest & Madden.
The XYBOOM conference will be held on January 20th from 9-5pm at the Yaletown Roundhouse and is funded by the Government of Canada. This not-for-profit event also includes a live streaming feature for off-site youth participants, XYBOOM awards for businesses, case study reports on succession planning integration, and an art installation created by Gen Why Media Project. Industry professionals and youth can apply at xyboom.ca. Industry tickets are $150 while youth attend at no cost (fees are being subsidized by Service Canada).
My Loud Speaker is a four-year-old, Vancouver-based advertising and marketing agency that works with diverse organizations, operating on a philosophy of exceeding expectations with a simple, yet detailed and effective approach. With a young staff all under the age of 30, recruitment is a small but an integral aspect of the agency—while most employers want to retain employees, Tsang employs a certain percentage of staff she hopes will be recruited by clients for full-time employment.Posted by Jocelyn Gan | November 21, 2011 | Comments (0)
India is renowned for its extraordinary jewellery and handicrafts; too bad India is more than 10,000 kilometres away. Now there is a way to have a small piece of India shipped straight to Vancouver. MyMela (pronounced May-lah) is a social entrepreneurial start-up that connects Indian artisans with North American consumers via the Internet.
MyMela, which means festival in Hindi, aims to conserve traditional artisan methods, from embroidering to jewelry making, by selling them internationally. It provides artisans access to a sustainable e-commerce market, enabling them to make a steady income with their trade instead of being forced to abandon their cultural traditions to work odd jobs in the city to support their families.
Many of the artisans are women, who are finding new-found economic independence and contributing to their family incomes by selling their work. One of my favourite stories on the MyMela site is about the beautiful embroidery created by women in the Kutch area. For centuries, women have been embroidering for their dowries, and have passed their techniques down the generations. Each village and tribal group have their own unique stitching patterns, each weaving a rich tapestry of local history and traditions.
MyMela also finances the materials the artisans need to purchase to create their pieces through a micro lending scheme. Shoppers can lend money to artisans to help support their work. Any loan will be paid back, plus the lender gets a shopping credit towards any purchase on the website. Basically, it is kiva combined with a commercial incentive.
There are a wide variety of goodies available on the site: jewelry, purses, scarfs, rugs and household wares. While the products on MyMela are more expensive than those that are mass-produced, there are still some affordable products for the budget conscious shopper. My favourite is a brass cuff that has a design similar to fish scales for $14.95. Hopefully it will be under my Christmas tree in four weeks.
The Vancouver Sun published an article about recent research on online dating. The results? Many people lie and want someone of their own ethnicity.
Research shows that a hefty 81 per cent of people misrepresent their height, weight or age in their profiles. Fortunately, they're usually small lies, because eventually they might meet in person. Women described themselves to be 8.5 pounds thinner. Men only lied by about 2 pounds in weight, but round up half an inch in height.
Another surprising finding is that most online dating is not interracial—more than 80 percent of the contacts initiated by white members were to other white members. White Americans, apparently, want to date and contact other White Americans.
"We are nowhere near the post-racial age," Michael Rosenfeld, Stanford sociology professor, said. "I really expected there to be more interracial relationships for meeting online. And it wasn't true."
Other trends include women who want men that are tall and wealthy and men prefer women who are slightly underweight and aren't taller than them. Pretty harsh.
Although I've never dated online, I wonder what my profile would look like if I created one. These results don't necessarily make me want to make one, if I become single again. Online dating seems to enhance superficial assumptions instead of eroding them.
I feel like Facebook has already made everyone an "online" dater anyway. When I first met my boyfriend, my first instinct was to do a major Facebook profile snoop session. Who wrote on his wall? What links did he post? What kind of photos is he tagged in? What kind of women is he taking photos with?
Not going to lie, if I saw a photo of him groping a random girl at a club, I might've seriously hesitated. Fortunately, all I saw were a bunch of photos of him standing in front of planes. Pretty harmless right? I should've known then that he would attempt to take me to any plane-related event or museum known to mankind throughout our relationship.
But anyway, who are we kidding? Isn't all dating partially online now?
Vinnie Yuen is a Master of Journalism student at the University of British Columbia. She cannot live without noodles, Tim Hortons steeped tea, and her laptop. Follow her @vinnieyuen.
DIR: Liu Jian | 2009 | China | Mandarin with English Subtitles | 75 mins
Youth angst is a common theme in films. From 1950s Rebel Without a Cause to Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), American Beauty (1999) and countless others, dissent from society and place (often the suburbs) have been go-to themes in Hollywood. Following in this tradition, Chinese director Liu Jian gives us Piercing I, an animation about two disenfranchised youth in modern day China.
The film starts slowly, introducing the characters, the animation style, and location. Zhang is a recent college graduate who recently lost his job at a shoe factory to the economic recession. His prospects are bleak and he plans to go home to his family in the countryside but is kept in the city by a series of unforeseen events. The storyline quickly escalates to a Tarintino-esque conclusion.
In terms of the film's design, Liu Jian's animation style reflects the dark overtones of the film. The city is cold and the storyline unforgiving. The characters in the film are exhausted and frustrated with where they are in life and seek ways to break their daily grind. In Piercing I, these themes are filtered through a Chinese lens and give Western audiences an in-depth look into the everyday lives of Chinese youth.
Piercing I is screening at the Reel Asian International Film Festival.
Becky Wignall, the wickedly creative mastermind behind jewellery design company Swank, is at it again with a brand new collection that is sure to cause jewellery envy among your friends.
The collection is filled with fun, eye-catching, and bold pieces such as retro comic book style necklaces, plywood-stained hot rod and cat necklaces, and the Licha Libre range, which consists of Mexican wrestling mask earrings and necklaces.
My personal favourite are the Licha Libra earrings. The earrings are laser cut from Perspex and come in three different colours. If you want to flaunt your love of all things Mexican (Tequila anyone?), this piece is definitely for you!
So if you're looking to make a statement (and trust me, you will ) stop and look no further—swank-ify your wardrobe and you'll be the center of attention for all the right reasons.
Schema readers get 10% off your purchase! Enter the coupon code SCHEMAMAG when you checkout!
Posted by Jocelyn Gan | November 17, 2011
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A bleached blonde woman wearing the highest heals and the tightest outfit who aspires to open a club, another woman with various tattoos covering her body, multiple facial piercings and red streaks in her hair, her sister who wears a veil, a couple expecting a baby, a football coach, and a deputy chief sheriff. What do they all have in common? They're all American-Muslims.
All-American Muslims is a new reality show that premiered Sunday night, November 13th on TLC. The show features Muslims who live in the most Arab/Muslim densely populated city in America: Dearborn, Michigan. These are first, second, third generation Muslims who follow Islam but strongly relate to their American identity as well. Yes, it is possible.
As one of the show's participants, Mike Jaafar puts it, "I really am American. No ifs, ands or buts about it". The show follows five American-Muslim families who challenge the idea that Muslims are not being patriotic enough by illustrating how incredibly adamant they are about their American-hood. Looking at Shadia Amen for example, she has tattoos that cover various parts of her body, facial piercings, red streaks in her hair and worked at a country bar. She has a son from her previous marriage and is about to marry her Irish partner, Jeff. Shadia represents herself as a Muslim and recognizes how important it is to have it in her life and in her son's life.
This show has created a major buzz all over the internet sphere. There have been positive and negative reactions towards the show - the negative being that they feel this show sheds a negative light towards Islam. What this show offers is an exposure of Muslims rather than a representation. It showcases a diverse group of Muslims that have different personalities, styles, habits, attitudes and ideas. It's important that when we call for equal representation, we're not asking for positive representation. We want real exposure. With all the good, the bad, and the ugly.
While I've got my critiques of the show, it was refreshing to see an array of representations of Muslims on mainstream television. It didn't matter how many times I had to explain to people that being Muslim does not equate uniformity, but seeing it on a mainstream channel (which to some is a highly reliable source) I'm hoping would open a conversation. I think it's an opportunity to create a discussion and dialogue regarding this highly controversial topic.
Catch the next episode of All-American Muslim and get to talking. Real talking.
Every noticed that from mid-October to the beginning of January there is a constant stream of holidays and events where the main activity is usually cramming your mouth full of festive treats? I mean first there's Thanksgiving, then Halloween, then Christmas/Hannukah, New Year's, not to mention various Moon and Mid-Autumn festivals, Vaisakhi, and several Jewish High Holidays. When's a stomach gonna get a break? Well, I'm here to inform you that this week...it doesn't. BUT, at least this week you can feel great about stuffing your face because you'll be doing it for (mostly) good causes.
Image source: Take a Hike
Thursday, Nov. 17th, 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
First on the list of eating for a good cause: Take a Hike - Youth at Risk Foundation's Take a Bite night. Take a Hike is a charity that gives at-risk youth the chance to participate in outdoor activities and adventures. In exchange for a night of heavenly food prepared by local chefs (the resident chef at the Shangri-La's Market restaurant just to name one), Take a Hike is asking you to bring donation items of new or gently used hiking gear for their awesome cause. Sounds like a fair trade to me!
Image source: Amnesty International
Thursday, Nov. 17th to Sunday, Nov. 20th
SFU Harbour Centre
In partnership with the SFU School for International Studies, the 16h Annual Amnesty International Film Festival returns with an impressive array of thought-provoking films. From their website: "The films in this festival will take you to coltan mines deep in the earth below the DRC, onto the streets with the monks of Burma, and into the slums of South Africa. You will meet women's rights activists in the Nicaraguan jungle and survivors of the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay. And you will get a peek behind the scenes in North Korea, Russia, China, and several corporate boardrooms."
Eastside Culture Crawl
Image source: Eastside Culture Crawl
Friday, Nov. 18th to Sunday, Nov. 20th
Various Eastside locations
Not to be confused with the Heart of the City Festival, the Culture Crawl focuses solely on the marvelous visual arts coming out of East Van. Typically, an artist's studio is a private, nay, sacred space where the artist can think, and create, and brood, and wear black, and smoke cigarettes, and philosophize about life, the universe, and everything. Ok, so clearly I've never been to an artist's studio, but you get what I mean. This weekend you get an all-access pass to visit hundreds (yes, hundreds) of artists in their very own studios, doing their very own creative thing. And, like all my favourite things, it's absolutely FREE!
Image source: Nikkei Place
Saturday, Nov. 19th, and Sunday, Nov. 20th, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
So it's not quite as pious as a charity that helps at-risk youth, but supporting local crafters and bakers is a good cause in my books. The two day affair will be jam-packed with vendors flogging everything from jewelry to tea-cosies to Japanese sweets and home-baked goods. Don't you just love craft fair season?
Image source: Francouver
Saturday, Nov. 19th, 12:00 pm - 1:00 am
Hellenic Community Centre
Bad news: all tickets for the evening soiree are sold out. Good news: who cares? There is free admission during the day and french fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds as far as the eye can see! First we get our very own Dunn's Famous, and now this? I've always said Vancouver could use a little more of la Belle Province, and if that comes in the form of smoked meats and cheese curds, I certainly won't complain! Again, not the most charitable endeavour, but cut me some slack...it's poutine!
Image source: Vancouver Baker's Market
Sunday, November 20th, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre
OK. How did no one tell me about this before? Not only does Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre host a weekly Baker's Market with FREE admission, and, more importantly, FREE samples, but they also have an annual cupcake eating context? This can only be a good thing. You know you wanna get in on this:
Video source: Baker's Market
Better yet, all proceeds from the contest go to hot lunch programs at local inner city schools.
And, don't forget, this Saturday is Metro Vancouver's Civic Election, so GET OUT AND VOTE!Posted by Genie MacLeod | November 15, 2011 | Comments (0)
If your idea of a great holiday movie includes scenes of marijuana smoke, a claymation penis, and Santa being shot, then A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas makes for perfect entertainment.
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson is set a few years after Harold and Kumar have seen each other. Harold is living an affluent lifestyle with his wife Maria in the suburbs, while Kumar spends his days getting high and failing drug tests. A mysterious package links the two back together, a Christmas tree is set on fire, and they set off on their third adventure.
Full of raunchy scenes, politically incorrect jokes, and recreational drug use, the film is exactly what fans of the series want to see. As many of the scenes reference the first two films, some of the jokes are easier to understand if the viewer has seen the first two installments.
Having gained a large cult following through DVD sales from the first film, the writers seem to have an understanding and connection to what gags best appeal to their audience. The use of 3D throughout the movie was surprisingly effective, as clouds of smoke would drift towards the audience. The 3D was also impressive during the action scenes, which were well directed considering its genre as a stoner comedy flick.
However, what really makes the film a holiday movie worth watching is the use of John Cho and Kal Penn. As the only Asian and Indian actors that headline a feature comedy film, the writers make good use of the unique jokes available to them. Unlike in regular comedies, a vast array of cultural demographics receive comedic jabs from Harold and Kumar that are well-received from the audience. That special dynamic between Harold and Kumar is what makes the film worth its ticket price.
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas reminds viewers that the most important parts of the holiday season is to party a little, cherish family, and friends.
One of my favorite things about YouTube is the amount of crazy and bizarre videos that make you go "wtf is going on here?" and question all that you have come to know about life. Leave Britney Alone! anyone?
Needless to say when I first saw this video of a Chinese old-folks choir covering Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance", I was so confused as to what was happening. The first 30 seconds isn't anything out of the ordinary. But after that, the crazy starts to happen. The choir appears on stage in this Hollywood Squares-like contraption that looks to resemble a house of sorts while busting out "Bad Romance". Talk about an entrance!
I love their use of actions that accompany the song and a variety of props to shake things up and keep the viewer on their toes. And on top of it all, the choir adds a touch of flair when they incorporate a dialogue scene.
All jokes aside, you can tell that this group of retired senior citizens are having the time of their lives performing this song. And that warms my cold little heart. Whether or not you're a Lady Gaga fan, it's hard not to smile while watching this video. Mother Monster would be proud.Posted by Jocelyn Gan | November 14, 2011 | Comments (0)
It looks like Queen Latifah will have her own talk show. Again.
Last week, Sony Pictures Television announced that it will produce Latifah's yet-to-be-titled show alongside her company, Flavour Unit Entertainment, and Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Overbrook Entertainment. Overbrook Entertainment helped launched Latifah's career as an actress in 1991 in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Overbrook's cofounder Miguel Melendez told The Hollywood Reporter : "[Overbrook Entertainment] has known and admired Latifah for over 20 years: dating back to her music days, to her first television role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and years alter when she worked with Jada on the film Set it Off."
The past twenty years have been good to the Queen. From her humble beginnings as a rapper, she has become an actress, spokesperson for Cover Girl, producer, and an activist for full figured and African-American women. In a sense, returning to daytime TV, Latifah is returning to one of her earlier roles. Her first talk show, called The Queen Latifah Show, ran from 1999 until 2001 and was described as 'Dear Abby for the Hip- Hop Generation.' Latifah interviewed both celebrities and non-celebrities, and dispensed some advice to viewers. This new talk show is supposed to be in a similar style, with more focus on advice than famous guests, and is slated to start in the fall of 2013.
While I am glad that daytime television is finally featuring more faces of colour, I wonder why choose Queen Latifah? This choice seems like another recycled television idea coming on the heels of Oprah's daytime retirement. Latifah has already hosted a talk show, which clearly wasn't able to maintain high ratings ten years ago. If she couldn't connect well with viewers then, I have a feeling she will be even less popular with a new generation less familiar with her work.
I am also certain that Oprah's legion of diehard superfans will not be making the switch either—in the world of daytime TV, Oprah reigns supreme. It doesn't matter how funny or smart Latifah is, she will never be Oprah, and that comparison will always remain.
As a side note to TV executives: Can you please ditch the whole syndicated talk show? Everyone from Katie Couric to Tyra Banks is on daytime television, and it's getting old. Aren't there any creative people left in Hollywood? Or will this finally come after Paris Hilton and Britney Spears team up to give advice to wayward teens.
Imagine the bright lights, tall skyscrapers and throngs of people hustling through Seoul's central business district, a place where everything is go, go, go. Now, imagine amidst it all, a pocket of tranquility and relaxation, a place where you can shoot the breeze with your friends, take a break from work and eat your lunch, or bring the kids to let off some pent-up energy. I'm not quite sure that the combination of these activities would make for a very tranquil place, but you get the idea.
The ChonGae Sunken Stone Garden is an urban park that has been built around the Cheonggyecheon stream in Seoul, South Korea. ChonGae brings to mind the High Line in New York City, except that instead of being "high", the garden is "low", and instead of featuring plants and shrubs, ChoGae features water.
For 40 years, the Cheonggyecheon stream was covered by pavement and used as a road. But in the early 2000's, designer Mikyoung Kim was brought on to restore the river and transform it into a vibrant, dynamic urban space.
The stream is surrounded by a series of sloped stones that not only act as impromptu benches and allow you to get right up to the water, but also act as a water gauge, reflecting the changing water levels of the stream.
The success of this urban renewal project is evident, as the garden has become a popular outdoor venue for concerts, fashion shows, and festivals. But the ChonGae Sunken Stone Garden is not just a cool place to hang out; it has also made some important environmental contributions to the area. As a result of the restoration, water quality of the Cheonggyecheon stream has improved and the urban heat island effect that occurs in the district has been cooled.
If ever I make it to Seoul, the ChonGae Sunken Stone Garden will definitely be on my list. I love projects like this for the new life they breathe into urban cores, which are often places of work and no play. But what I would love even more than seeing the ChonGae garden in Seoul would be to see the ChonGae garden in Vancouver—or something similar.Posted by Kayo Homma-Komori | November 17, 2011 | Comments (0)
Music video by Drake performing Headlines. (C) 2011 Cash Money Records Inc.
Do you see greater racial divides in America compared to Canada? Drake seems to think so.
When asked how race and identity plays out in Canada, Drake said he sees a lot of segregation in the United States compared to Toronto:
Like when you go to LA and it's like, 'This area's Mexican, and this area's white.' That's crazy to me because in Toronto we have cultural areas—'OK, this is Little India, this is Chinatown, this is where there the Greek people are'—but it's not segregated. It's not like you can't go there and participate in the culture. So it's a bit different. I think Canada's very accepting.
Drake also said he identifies with a mixed race background instead of being just one race, and people embrace that. Drake referred to "the light-skinned complex" he confronts in America, in which people make identity assumptions based on his skin colour. Girls would notice he would talk to dark-skinned girls, and to that he says, "Why? I talk to any girl!"
I wouldn't say segregation is non-existent in Canada, but I've never spent a significant amount of time living in the United States to notice the difference. I do appreciate that people feel comfortable enough to participate in each other's culture, whether it's through restaurants and food or in ethnic festivals.
Have you experienced a significant difference between the U.S. and Canada when it comes to race?
There are 94 candidates on the ballot for this upcoming municipal election. I have to say that the lengthy list of names can make it quite daunting for Vancouverites to decide who to vote for, find out who's who and what they each stand for. I took a second to research one of the many candidates to gain a better sense of what they have to offer as a prospective City Councillor.
RJ Aquino is one of the 41 candidates seeking to fill one of ten City Council seats in this November 19th's municipal election. Born in the Philippines, RJ is currently an active member of the local Filipino community in Vancouver and works as one of the co-founders of Tulayan—an organization that aspires to help Filipino Vancouverites build positive cultural identity. By working directly with the members of this community, he recognizes the value in building rich cultural relationships though a grassroots approach - the same grassroots ideals that COPE represents.
RJ became increasingly more interested in civic engagement and politics after much encouragement from current Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore as they work together to serve the Filipino community. Having established personal connections in all the different municipal parties, he found that his own principles line up most closely with COPE. He believes that democracy should come from a grassroots membership support, where members' voices are heard by their representatives.
Julien Thomas is a young voter who agrees with COPE's stance on grassroots community-building. As a born and raised Vancouverite, SFU International student, and facilitator of Late Nite Art, he appreciates that COPE has a caucus where Vancouver residents can have a say in shaping the policies put forth by COPE councilors and commissioners. This, he believes, "is a unique avenue for true engagement with citizens". Julien also believes that it is beneficial for parties to work in coalition such as the way COPE and Vision Vancouver does, so that they can better represent the diversity of values among citizens.
Working in collaboration with Vision allows for a "strong, progressive presence in City Hall," RJ says. "We are distinct parties for a reason, but we do have many commonalities. When we differ, we do so respectfully." In order to continue creating positive cultural movement in the city, RJ believes that it is important to keep informing people on city politics. He says, "As soon as people start to know, they start to care, and caring transforms into action and that leads to change."
If you would like to find out more about RJ Aquino and COPE's platform you can visit rjaquino.ca or cope.bc.ca. Want to know more about the other candidates running in the upcoming civic election? Visit vancouver.ca/vote.
Check out our feature interview with RJ here!Posted by Jocelyn Gan | November 13, 2011 | Comments (0)
In recognizing the growing power of the Occupy movement, design firm McMillian + Furlow has created a visual identity to unify Occupy protests all over the globe.
Before the firm decided on a design, most Occupy protests had their own designs:
The problem with these individual logos, however, is that they may cause people to believe that the protests themselves are individual too.
McMillian + Furlow's single logo, on the other hand, has the potential to tie all these movements together, reminding the public that economic inequality is a global issue.
What I've noticed about McMillian + Furlow's logo is that, like wedding rings and Christmas wreaths, this logo is in the shape of a circle. And in the same way that wedding rings unite two people and Christmas wreaths unite family and friends, this logo will unite people too. It's both a contract and a statement.
Brandon Woo is a happy high school student in Vancouver, BC. In working with Schema, he hopes to educate others about current events and learn more about the world around him too.
Posted by Brandon Woo | November 17, 2011
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Living in Vancouver, I didn't think too much of the popular circle lenses and colored eye contact lenses culture until I moved to southern Maine where Asians and Southeast Asians were sparse and few in between. Blue and green eyes were no longer as coveted—they were the norm.
With the increase in market demand in Asia for different shades of hair color, fairer skin and lighter eye pigments, it is no surprise that the cosmetic surgery world has evolved alongside with the consumer demand.
Unlike the scientific community of World War II in Nazi concentration camps where those imprisoned were used for scientific projects to promote the genes for an Aryan race, today's scientific advancement is being pushed forward by a consumer demand for lighter eye pigments. How ironic!
Dr. Gregg Homer, a US doctor, is trying to pioneer a laser treatment that changes patients' eye color. How does it work? A computerized scanning system will take a picture of the iris, pinpointing out areas to treat. Once the process is finished, a laser is then fired, hitting each individual spot separately. This pattern continues several times over the course of 20 seconds so that the pigment on the surface of the iris is agitated.
According to BBC, "after the first week of treatment, the eye colour turns darker as the tissue changes its characteristics.Then the digestion process starts, and after a further one to three weeks the blueness appears. Since the pigment—called melanin—does not regenerate, the treatment is irreversible."
Other eye experts have expressed reservations: "The pigment is there for a reason. If the pigment is lost you can get problems such as glare or double vision," said Larry Benjamin, a consultant eye surgeon at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, in the UK."
The ethical questions behind allowing this irreversible practice to exist is a question that society should pose to regulators of medical ethics. The harms could greatly outweigh the benefits, especially since there have not yet been enough clinical trials. Additionally, the ramifications for culture and identity could become complicated.
In a few years, will this treatment be as common as laser eye surgery? After all, it only takes twenty seconds of your time to change your eye color permanently.
Posted by Michelle Pham | November 28, 2011 | Comments (0)
Photo credit: militaryphotos.net
Neither Canadians of "Oriental racial origin" nor Aboriginal People were called upon to perform compulsory military service, but many did so to prove their allegiance to Canada. Many WWII veterans, including those in the film Redress Remix, describe being treated as equals for the first time. Most Asians were sent behind enemy lines as Special Forces and as spies like Agent 50 (William Chong), never expecting to return alive.
From our Archive:
Today, November 11th, is Remembrance Day in Canada, all Commonwealth Countries and all countries where Canadians have sacrificed their lives (such as the Prime Minister Harper's wreath laying in South Korea).
It may in fact be the only annual Canadian ceremony—a yearly event where we pause to remember the soldiers and immense casualties suffered in the First World War, and all subsequent armed conflicts. Like all national holidays, however, it is up to the modern public to interpret and commemorate the day in the way they see fit. As you may have noticed, Canadians have been wearing their poppy for all of last week, as it is Veterans Week.
War, especially in Canada, is a touchy subject to discuss. As a nation prideful of its "peace-keeping" international policies, one which refused to send soldiers to Iraq at the request of our American neighbors, invocations of the horrors of the First and Second World Wars seem to conjure memories of a different world entirely from the one we are now used to. A world where war was not simply a far-flung escapade in the Middle East, a punchline that doomed George Bush's reputation and a quagmire that continues to plague Obama's, but a reality that every civilian in the world had to confront.
For many of today's youth, it is increasingly difficult to relate to the sacrifices that Canada's veterans made in the defense of our country and of other countries. Violence and war are prevalent in TV, movies and in video games. Meanwhile, the demographic makeup of Canada has changed drastically, with a growing proportion of immigrants and children of immigrants. At the time of the First World War, the majority of these immigrants were still residing in their native countries, and would not make their way to this country for a few decades yet.
For Asian Canadians and Aboriginal Peoples, however, Remembrance Day has a very special significance. Canada was a particularly racist place leading up to World War II. After an estimated 600 Chinese had sacrificed their lives in completing the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canadian Government in fear of the impact that the 17,000 unemployed Chinese would have on Canadian society imposed the Head Tax and later the Exclusion Act. First intended to deter Chinese from coming and staying in Canada, and then later barring Chinese from immigrating at all. By far, Canada's most racist policy and the ultimate disrespect to those who helped to unite the country in completing the CPR.
At the time of WWII, Japanese Canadians living in British Columbia were interned, their businesses, belongings and homes auctioned. Their lives changed forever. Most of them, never to return to British Columbia. Neither Chinese nor Japanese Canadians could freely own property in the privileged neighbourhoods of Kerrisdale or British Properties ... actually anywhere other than Chinatown and Japantown. Many "Orientals" completed university degrees, but were not able to work as doctors, lawyers or architects, because one had to be a Canadian citizen to practice these professions. Canadians of "Oriental racial origin" and Aboriginal Peoples did not have civic rights, they were not able to vote.
WWII also saw the most racist rhetoric in Canadian history. MP Ian MacKenzie famously stated,
It is the government's plan to get these people out of B.C. as fast as possible. It is my personal intention, as long as I remain in public life, to see they never come back here. Let our slogan be for British Columbia: 'No Japs from the Rockies to the seas.'
Can you imagine something so racist and xenophobic coming from a decorated Canadian?
So what changed? How is it that thousands of Asian immigrants, in "waves" in fact, have come to Canada, and now enjoy the right to vote, own property, practice professions and even hold public office?
Chinese, Japanese and Aboriginal Canadians served in WWII.
Proud Chinese Canadian soldiers (WW II) earning respect for all Canadians. From: uglychinesecanadian.com
Neither Canadians of "Oriental racial origin" nor Aboriginal People were not called upon to perform compulsory military service, but many did so to prove their allegiance to Canada. Many WWII veterans, including those in the film Redress Remix, describe being treated as equals for the first time. Most Asians were sent behind enemy lines as Special Forces and as spies like Agent 50 (William Chong), never expecting to return alive.
Their contribution, and for many, ultimate sacrifice, moved Canada. And in 1947 the Exclusion Act was repealed and Chinese Canadians received the right to vote. In 1949 Japanese Canadians were given the franchise and the legal restrictions used to control the movement of Japanese Canadians were removed. Aboriginal Canadians received the right to vote in 1960.
As we, 1.5-, second-, third-gens and beyond, enjoy our intercultural existence in Canada and pride as the world's beacon of multicultural success, let us remember the thousands of Canadian men and women who served and sacrificed their lives for the democracy and human rights we enjoy as Canadians today. Let us never forget their courage in fighting the racism and xenophobia that existed in Canada. Start by making it a point to learn the history of how Asian Canadians served in both World Wars.
In the spirit of Remembrance Day, listen to Vancouver-born Leonard Wong's account of serving in WWII at the thememoryproject.com.
Lest we forget.Posted by Alden | November 11, 2011 | Comments (0)
Growing up, many Asian-Americans can relate to the timeless credos of our immigrant parents; study hard, go to University, and get a stable job. Tony Hsieh's experience was no different, as his parents strongly encouraged him to attend law or medical school during his undergraduate studies at Harvard.
But rather than taking the conventional route to financial security, Hsieh, who graduated with a Computer Science major, decided to go into the high-risk field of entrepreneurship instead, founding the internet advertising network LinkExchange.
The rest, as they say, is history. Hsieh went on to sell LinkExchange to Microsoft for a whopping $265 million dollars. Not content to settle with his new-found wealth, Hsieh soon became interested in an online company called Zappos, which sold shoes through the Internet.
After becoming CEO of Zappos, Hsieh turned the company around 360 degrees—not unlike Steve Jobs and his resurrection of Apple—from a completely nonprofitable business into a billion-dollar entity. Amazon acquired Zappos two years ago for $1.5 billion dollars, a clear testament to its amazing growth under Hsieh's steady hand.
Hsieh wrote a book about his experiences entitled Delivering Happiness and it became an instant bestseller for several weeks. Recently, this astounding Asian-American success story was featured on the show 20/20 where he was interviewed and profiled as an incredible inspiration for all, who shunned the "conventional" route to success and used his intuitive understanding of business and indeed "happiness" to make his own way in the world.
Check out the insightful video below!Posted by Justin Ko | November 15, 2011 | Comments (0)
Tags: Asian American
In its fifteenth year, Canada's largest Asian film festival, Reel Asian, continues to be one of Toronto's pre-eminent fall festivals. Showcasing works from the Asian diaspora, the festival presents films and videos from East and Southeast Asian artists the world over. This year's events run from Nov. 8 to 13 in Toronto, with additional screenings on Nov. 18 and 19 in Richmond Hill.
Dir. Dave Boyle | USA 2011 | Goh Nakamura, Lynn Chen, Chadd Stoops
FEATURE PRESENTATION | SUN NOV 13 | 3:00 PM | THE ROYAL
Dave Boyle's quietly endearing Surrogate Valentine is something of a love letter to nomadic musicians. Filmed in black and white, the White on Rice director's third feature follows musician Goh Nakamura, playing himself, as he tours the West Coast. Hired to teach TV actor Danny Turner (Chadd Stoops) the basics of being a musician (i.e. knowing how to play an instrument), the unlikely pair sets off on an auspicious roadtrip.
Interestingly, Turner and Nakamura aren't the most likeable characters; in fact, it's hard to say if they even like each other all that much. While the former is a hyperactive man-child struggling to hang on to a fading television career, the pensive Nakamura keeps his guard up from both Turner and his fans. Worst of all, he's stuck in the friend zone with the one woman he has real feelings for.
Surrogate Valentine isn't the slapdash romantic comedy most of us are used to. Quiet and thoughtful, like its lead, Boyle says a lot with the bare minimum.
Shorts Presentation | WED NOV 9 | 8:45 PM | INNIS TOWN HALL
A 75-year-old grandfather stars in adult films. Two women are chased by a Pink Paper Bag Man. The wildest drummer you've ever seen. These are the stars of Trailblazers, a shorts presentation and toast to seniors going against the grain of what's expected of us as we age.
The five short films included in the program -Totte Mitsu and Let's Go To Russia, Satoru Yasuda's Granny's Rock, Chihiro Amemiya's Grandpa's Wet Dream, Mingu Kim's A Drummer's Passion and Shasha Nakhai's The Sugar Bowl - may be united by elderly subjects, but each one is zanier than the next.
The truly bizarre Totte Mitsu and Let's Go To Russia sees two old friends staging a camera theft and being chased by a mysterious Pink Paper Bag Man. Director Brian Lye explains his "spontaneous" film in a post-script: "These two films are about the love and energy of spontaneous creativity." Riddled with electronic sounds whirring about in the background as two women race around a park play-fighting, the short, like many of the films in the program, forces us to question our own perceptions of elders as solemn, quiet and often physically inactive in cinema.
What may be the strongest entry in the Trailblazers program, however, is Chihiro's Amemiya's Grandpa's Wet Dream. A provocative title secures the fate of this film about 75-year-old Shigeo Tokuda who has been acting in adult films for 15 years without telling his family. The juxtaposition of an elderly Japanese man pacing the aisles of a porn palace, and later acting in a film himself is jarring, if not a little unsettling. But Tokuda's determination to leave his mark on the world challenges any discomfort with his pastime, and endears us towards the man.Posted by Manori Ravindran | November 12, 2011 | Comments (0)
Lily Eng's filmography is the subject of the spotlight event, Lily Eng: Reel Asian Canadian Woman Warrior, on Thursday November 10th at the Reel Asian International Film Festival in Toronto.
Do you have any strange or interesting idiosyncrasies or a signature style to your work that makes it distinguishable from others?
My uniqueness lies in my abilities to think and move very quickly and having the ability to make fast decisions in performance situations. I personally find my intensity and emotionality rather exhilarating, and my distinctive sense of rhythm is very different from others. I have incorporated all these signature traits into my creative work and, in doing so, mark my personal style.
Do you have a muse or source of inspiration? e.g. Music, reading, walks on the beach, playing sports, people around you or in the media...etc
I have always found inspiration from really exceptional works of creative work be it film, dance, art, writing, music, medicine, science ... I am always on the lookout for uniqueness and originality, things that will challenge and enhance me as a human being and expand my concept of the world at large, as it allows me to grow, develop, and learn something new. I value challenges because they force me to turn inwards to question myself and my perceptions. Any great creative work should be able to do this because it takes you to places where you have never gone before.
Is there anything about your ethnicity or background that you believe has influenced your vision in making films or is perhaps attributable to your approach to filmmaking?
My Chinese background and strong martial arts foundation have definitely influenced my creative vision. Being able to work hard, having determined focus (at times, against all odds), not giving up easily, being highly honed and attentive to detail are some of my positive attributes.
Being a people-person and the ability to get along well others, having respect, trust, and being sensitive to team members and other artistic and technical professionals have made it easier for me and all the people I work with to implement my vision.
What style do you take more to through the process of making films? Are you more analytical and methodical (i.e. plan every stage and have it executed as such), or are you a more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of artist?
Interestingly, my strengths are all the above. While maintaining an intuitive, critical and analytical approach, I make at-the-moment performance and creative decisions. My high energy and endurance are additional attributes I am blessed with.
What is the best/worst thing about the film industry?
You'll be sure to confront your best, your worst, and all the in-between. The ability to handle strong emotions and work through them will surely come into play, especially in dealing with the feelings of rejection and lack-of-support.
You will need to have develop a strong faith in yourself, your vision, your work and your abilities, in the midst of constant challenges. In doing so, you will become a better person and artist.
What advice would you give prospective filmmakers out there?
Like life, there will be roadblocks and obstacles all along the way, be they artistic, financial, emotional, psychological, spiritual ... The work you do and put out has your stamp on it and it is a reflection of you, the human being. It will reflect back to you who you are at a particular moment in your life, demonstrate how far you have come, and where you need or want to go. It is a moving journey.
Don't lose sight of why you got into creative work, in the first place. Remember it, as this will see you through when you doubt yourself. Strive for a balanced, healthy, and holistic life. Remember to laugh.Posted by Genie MacLeod | November 9, 2011 | Comments (0)
And the beat don't stop. And it sure doesn't discriminate.
Decked out in colourful fabric taking the form of the veil, Poetic Pilgrimage has brought a whole other dynamic to the hip hop world. Sukina Abdul Noor and Muneera Rashida started this female hip hop duo in 2002 in Britain as another tool to express their creativity and their fight for social justice. This duet may have started in the United Kingdom, but their message has transcended any geographical boundaries as they rap about global political issues.
Hip Hop has a rich history of bringing a voice to marginalized communities around the world. Beats, rhymes and hooks were used as mechanisms for people living in rough situations to express their frustrations. Fusion of dub music, African music and jazz have created this hip hop culture where artists rapped about living in the hood, or struggling in the Bronx. Poetic Pilgrimage is no different—they rap about the struggles and the discrimination women face on a global level. Their song "Beautiful" is an example as they rap:
You're my daughter and you have my eyes but I pray you never have to live my life. Troubled child she was raped at the age of five had no time to be a child but a woman forced to fight Never told she was loved... And after 4 attempts to take her life, she sought refuge in a crack pipe, a black night, sold herself on that high.
Poetic Pilgrimage is another successful attempt at debunking any stereotypes surrounding Muslim women and the hip hop scene. They're not your often depicted oppressed Muslim women—rather they are independent females creating their own destinies. However, what's more interesting is that they are also not your mainstream hip hop female artists. No brightly coloured hair pieces, no rapping about breaking it down in the club or drinking till the morning, and they are definitely not in music videos shaking what their mama gave them. They are women that many others can relate to as they forefront real issues that others are struggling with.
Their fusion of their Muslim identity with hip hop has created a dominant presence in the industry and in the pop culture scene. While the mainstream hip hop culture may feature artists like Lil' Wayne or Nick Minaj, Poetic Pilgrimage is different, as they take a political and social stance while highlighting their Muslim identity.
So, go ahead and put on one of their tracks, bop your head along and immerse yourself in a poetic pilgrimage.
I don't know what it is about November, or maybe it's just this week, but there are all kinds of wonderful going on about town. And such a wide array of events and activities that I'm positive there will be something to please your palate. We have a lot to get through today, so let's get right to it!
Monday, Nov. 7th, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
UBC Robson Square
First up, we have a sure-to-be stellar panel discussion about, well, the title pretty much says it all. Featuring such bright lights as the Social Media Editor of the New York Times, a UBC Digital Media professor, founding editor of Openfile, and the director of CBC Radio 3.
Image source: Eatrip
Tuesday, nov. 8th, 7:00 pm
Next on the docket we have a lovely event that combines two of Schema's favourite things: delicious food, and movies about delicious food. Come for the documentary, stay for the sushi...and the chocolate, and the pizza, and the veggie platters...are you hungry yet?
Image source: JJ Lee
Tuesday, Nov. 8th, 7 pm
Chapters at Granville and Broadway
Also on Tuesday, if food isn't your thing (weirdo), there is an equally entertaining evening awaiting you at Chapters on Broadway and Granville. The ever stylish and charming JJ Lee will read from his new book, The Measure of a Man. This engaging trip down fashion and memory lane has just been nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-fiction (Congrats JJ!), so you won't want to miss out.
Image source: Circle Craft
Wednesday, Nov. 9th to Sunday, Nov. 13th
NEW Vancouver Convention Centre West
Halloween is great and all, but I always preferred the day after, when stores put all their costumes and pumpkin paraphernalia in the bargain bin. Not because I'm itching to get some discount cat ears, but because clearing out the Halloween junk means they're making room for all things Christmassy! I know, I know, November is way too soon to get excited about Christmas, but I just can't help myself, and nothing stokes my unnatural obsession quite like the annual Circle Craft Christmas Market. Lights, decorations, a 10 ft. tall Christmas tree and the intoxicating idea that the perfect gift is just around the corner. Only 23 more days until I can listen to Christmas music without sounding like a lunatic - wish me luck!
Image source: VisualNoiseType
Thursday, Nov. 10th, 9:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Ayden Art Gallery
While we're on the subject of fashion, local fashion house Lotus Eye is throwing a designer bash exhibiting South Asian trends in the current fashion scene. Add in an after party featuring the Bollywood- and Bhangra-tinged stylings of DJ Lajit, and you have no excuse not to be there.
Image source: Theatre UBC
Thursday, Nov. 10th to Saturday, Nov. 19th, 7:30 pm
Telus Studio, Chan Centre UBC
The Ivory Tower takes the stage and Shakespeare moves to the West Bank in PhD candidate Dana Lori Chalmers' doctoral research project Two Merchants. A contemporary spin on The Merchant of Venice, Chalmers' play takes on both antisemitism and Islamophobia and explores how theatre can be used to break down ideological barriers in society.
Image source: Media Democracy Days
Friday, Nov. 11th - Sunday, Nov. 13th
Now in its 10th year, Media Democracy Days will once again be bringing together scholars, activists, media, students, policy makers and more to spread the gospel of truly democratic media. Over three days MDD will highlight speakers like Sut Jhally and Judy Rebick, host film screenings, and offer interactive workshops as part of their excellent three step action plan: Know the Media. Be the Media. Change the Media.
Image source: Vancouver125
Dzunukwa - Beneath the Canopy & Through the Underworld
Sunday, Nov. 13th 7:30 pm
VPL Central Branch Promenade
Finally, to round out your week, and this week's post, what could be a better way to spend your Sunday than to spend it discovering mythical creatures hidden in the downtown library? VSO Composer-in-residence Scott Good and 'Namgis First Nation composer William Wasden Jr. have teamed up to create a mass choir and orchestra piece inspired by tales of the Dzunukwa - the wild woman of the woods who steals children but also brings wealth to communities.
There are also several ceremonies around the city in honour of Remembrance Day on November 11th.
Genie is an editorial assistant for Schema Magazine and self-appointed seeker-out of Schema-worthy events in Vancouver. She is a certified bookworm with a special fondness for Shakespeare and CanLit. You can follow her on Twitter @geniemakPosted by Genie MacLeod | November 6, 2011 | Comments (0)
This past weekend, my dad celebrated his birthday. As many of us tend to do on our "special day", he became particularly contemplative and philosophical, questioning things in his life and the world at large. Wait, what? Normal people don't do that? Oh yea, that's just my dad for you. Blame it on the Zen Buddhist upbringing.
In any case, he posed a question to me that caught me off-guard: Have technology and technological advancements really improved our lives, or have they created more problems and stress than we've ever had before? All I could think of was my technologically-advanced cellphone and laptop, connecting me to everyone and everything 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Breathe, Kayo, breathe.
But now I have a real answer for my dad.
A collection of innovative companies and charitable organizations are using technology to find ways to make clean water accessible to the 1.1 billion people across the developing world for whom the quest to find potable water is a daily struggle.
My personal favourite is Red Button Design's Midomo machine, as it not only addresses the problem of water purification, but also offers solutions for transport and funding. The designers took into consideration the distance an average person in Africa must travel to collect water (3.7 miles), and used this distance to their design advantage. As a person pushes the Midomo from the water source back to their home, the rotation of the wheels powers the internal filtration system, purifying the water to World Health Organization standards.
Red Button Design has also addressed the issue of funding, as technologies like the Midomo machine may not be affordable for those who need it most. They have created the Midomo bracelet, which sells for about $425. Purchase of the bracelet sends a Midomo to an African community, and through a serial number engraved on the bracelet, the bracelet owner can track the journey of the machine.
To check out more innovative solutions, visit mashable.com. These solutions would not be possible if not for technological advancements. I can now go back to my dad and say with confidence that technology is indeed our friend.Posted by Kayo Homma-Komori | November 10, 2011 | Comments (0)
Randall Okita's No Contract will be featured at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival on November 8 - 13 in Toronto.
Can you give us a quick synopsis of your featured film for this year's Reel Asian?
No Contract is a piece about trying to connect with other people. It's about constructions and how they influence the way we feel about each other.
Who did you idolize growing up? Whether it be film-related or not, and why?
Ok, this is top secret. Seriously. I really fought it for a long time, and I wouldn't have admitted it to anyone, especially myself when I was younger, but my parents are the people I look up to most. They have lived truly remarkable, inspiring lives. I am humbled when I think about the amount of innovation and resourcefulness that it must have taken to raise a family and deal with the extraordinary complications their lives presented to them. My father is a fixer, a builder; he works with his hands all the time, and my mother is the most spontaneous, present and joyful person you've ever met—totally creative.
The more fluent I get with my own deal—filmmaking, or life—the more obvious it becomes to me that I am trying to emulate their qualities. Just don't tell my teenage-self this! He would be mortified! I think for a lot of reasons we are used to looking outside our lives for heroes, to people that have achieved fame. It's an important idea to me that we can be our own heroes, and that I can celebrate the successes of my own family, culture, city and community, you know? It's making me look around a lot.
Do you have a signature or style to your work that makes it distinguishable from others'?
I try not to think too much about owning a particular style or voice or anything like that—it may be dangerous! I don't want to define anything from the outside in, you know? Plus, really, I don't know anything yet! I have to think about work, not myself! I'm early in my career. I'm still a puppy. Well, like a puppy, but not as cute. I'm like some kind of baby animal that isn't cute. I'm working hard to focus on and create projects that I really care about, that matter a great deal to me. I hope that if I focus very hard on making things that feel vital, really necessary for me to make, then I hope a voice, or whatever, will show itself, that makes sense, right?
What style do you take more to through the process of making this film? Are you more analytical and methodical (i.e. plan every stage and have it executed as such)? Or are you a more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of artist?
I love to over-prepare for a shoot. I love schedules that are color-coded and minute specific and flow charts and diagrams! I enjoy that side of my work - planning, thinking, measuring, drawing, storyboarding and researching. It's a great feeling when a project is moving forward, and you get to start imagining how the pieces will come alive and come together. One part of my job is to have a crystal clear idea of what we are going for and five ideas of how we can get it. Now don't get me wrong, the other part of my job is to have no hesitations in throwing that planning away if a better idea comes along that is dictated by the events of the day. It has to be fluid, and fun. The goal is to make a piece that results in a feeling, an emotion, and that is all that is important, not lists or schedules, but they can be useful in getting you there.
With this film, No Contract, it was a great combination of these two ideas. We had stunts and pyrotechnics on set, so there was a lot of meticulous planning that went into making sure things were safe. At the same time, there were a number of cameras shooting documentary style, with only light notes of what to cover, and people in the "audience" who had no idea what was going on, so there was a lot of discovery going on during the shoot.
What is the best/worst thing about the film industry?
The best and worst thing about all of this stuff is that when you are making something, there isn't a right answer. This is scary and exciting! If you are trying something new, nobody, anywhere, can tell you if it's going to work or not. So you have to balance the learning/taking advice from others with finding things out for yourself. There is such a big difference between learning technique and developing a voice. Many people will tell you that you're wrong when really what mean is that they disagree. This is a crucial difference.
What advice would you give prospective filmmakers out there?
Develop an appetite for canned tuna, wilted celery sticks, and tap water. Make work, not excuses. Be bold. Learn everything you can. Send me money.Posted by Vinnie Yuen | November 6, 2011 | Comments (0)
Producer of Muybridge's Strings, Michael Fukushima, tells us a bit about the film and the film-making process. Muybridge's Strings will play at the Toronto Reel Asian Festival.
Can you give us a quick synopsis of your featured film for this year's Reel Asian?
Muybridge's Strings is a story about the inexorable forward movement of time. It combines a small, but controversial piece of the life story of Eadweard Muybridge, the putative father of cinema and animation, with the story of a mother and child who embark on the eternal journey of growing up and growing away. I'm just the producer; the brilliantly gifted Koji Yamamura is the director.
Which aspect of your environment (i.e. where you were born/raised; your home life) had a significant impact on your perspectives - ultimately revealing itself in your work?
I had a peripatetic childhood. I was an "army brat" and so spent almost my entire first sixteen years in a new place each year. In locales all over the world. And I'm an only child. So that formative life experience trained me to quickly integrate into new situations and find friends and comfort zones. And it turned me into something of a cosmopolitan. It was a great way to appreciate the vastness of the world, but the commonalities that bind us as a species. That global/personal dichotomy has informed every part of my life and influences every decision I make as a producer, for sure.
Why of all the modes of storytelling, did you choose film to portray it? Where there any major challenges in bringing your story or idea to life?
After I failed in my first career aspiration of engineering, I realized I needed to do something I loved with a passion, or that encompassed as many of my disparate interests as possible. After a few months of wandering the proverbial wilderness, I landed on animation. A friend was studying animation and I'd always loved NFB and other animation films. I realized that animation filmmaking would feed my interests in filmmaking, in drawing, in dance, theatre, design and storytelling. Far more than live-action film, or any of those other interests individually. Now, almost thirty years after dipping my toes in animation, it's the only thing I've done professionally as an adult, and is the only thing I now know how to do. So, I have no options left but to make animation work for me.
What were your goal(s) in making this film? What kind of message(s) do you want to send to your viewers?
Wearing my producer hat for this question: I wanted to make the first international co-production for the NFB in animation with Japan. Despite our hundreds of animation films, the NFB had never made an animation film with a Japanese filmmaker. I'd been a fan of Koji's for a few years already, and shortly after his landmark film, Atamayama, was released I made him an offer which he took up with much enthusiasm and excitement. Later on, we got NHK involved, and this film is also the first animation co-production between the NFB and NHK. Firsts aren't always important, but sometimes they make all the difference in motivating the forces needed to get a film made.
What is the best/worst thing about the film industry?
The best thing is making films with truly passionate, committed and open-minded filmmakers. Like Koji Yamamura. The worst thing? Overcoming the lack of faith many "money people" have with creative people. That's always onerous and just a bit frustrating.
What advice would you give prospective filmmakers out there?
Get some rudimentary equipment and just make films. Make lots of them. Make them with whatever you've got, make them short, make them quickly and get them out into the world. Test single ideas in each film. Expect most of them to fail, which won't matter because you're making a film a month. The best way to learn how to stand is to fall down often. Think of these films as your sketchbook of creative ferment. But just make films. And get them out into the world.
In light of the Toronto Reel Asian Festival coming up on November 8 - 13, Schema Magazine brings you a quick profile on Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson, directors of the film The Sugar Bowl.
Can you give us a quick synopsis of your featured film for this year's Reel Asian?
A chorus of characters takes us through the rise and fall of an island in the Philippines and its sugarcane industry. Stunning images paint a portrait of a charming place struggling with its past and trying to move into the future.
How and when did you know you wanted to go into film?
Rich: When I saw Jurassic Park.
Shasha: When I met Rich.
Which aspect of your environment (i.e. where you were born/raised, your home life) had a significant impact on your perspectives -ultimately revealing itself in your work?
Shasha: I'm half Filipino and half Iranian, having grown up in Nigeria. I'm not sure exactly how that mumble jumble manifests itself into my films but the most obvious influencers are my Filipino heritage and having immigrated to Canada on my own. As a result of this background, Filipino stories and immigrant stories are those that have the most resonance with me.
Rich: I come from an extremely supportive family that recognized my artistic side early on and encouraged me to pursue it. Without that I would not have had the freedom to explore filmmaking. My first feature documentary, Happy Joe, explored the struggle most artists go through when they try to make their art a profession.
Why of all the modes of storytelling, did you choose film to portray it? Where there any major challenges in bringing your story or idea to life?
Shasha: I wanted to make a film instead of a TV documentary because film allows freedom and artistic expression. In a way, this project is sort of a rebellion from all the rules I was taught in journalism school. This story in particular is so complex and contentious that if I were to tackle this with a journalistic approach, 20 minutes would be extremely inadequate. My aim for this was to express a feeling, create a mood and strike an emotional chord rather than tell a historical or political story, and that's why I chose this format.
Rich: The main challenge I ran into was not having been to the island to experience it in the same way that Shasha had. Before the trip, I had to be able to work off her photos and stories to grasp the concept. Being able to see the similarities between the sugar crash in the Philippines and the downfall of some North American industries definitely helped.
What was your driving force, your passion and/or inspiration behind making this film? Does it represent or relate to a certain time in your personal life? If so, how?
Shasha: I was born in Bacolod City (on the island where the film takes place) and I lived there when I was 9 to 13 years old. I have very strong memories of my older brother playing airsoft in an abandoned sugar mill. The smell of decaying molasses, the overgrown train tracks, the personal effects left behind inside the mill - these were all things that stuck with me.
What were your goal(s) in making this film? What kind of message(s) do you want to send to your viewers?
Shasha: With this project I wanted to embody the haunted feeling I felt as a little girl exploring the abandoned mill. I wanted to express the feelings of loss and abandonment that were so commonplace on the island, while also exploring the larger issue of the island's connection to the outside world. I wanted to present a portrait of a place I hold very dear to me and share it with others.
I hope that viewers can come away with a piqued interest in the Philippines and in the island and a respect and admiration for the people of Negros and what they went through. I hope the audience draws the larger connections to globalization, colonialism and how our demand for a commodity can affect faraway places with real people.
Was the process of filmmaking always smooth-running? If not, what happened and how did you deal with it?
Shasha: We definitely found challenges in working with such a tiny crew. We all had day jobs and had to wear so many hats at once while planning the trip. Nicole our producer was also our PA, camera assistant, production manager and still photographer all in one! We definitely had quite a few last-minute panic-attacks too...
Rich: Media-managing in the field gave me a heart attack every day. Juggling many things at once was difficult combined with all the pressure of having such a limited time to capture everything. Amidst all the madness and last-minute crises, there were definitely a few things that were on our side. For one, the weather was amazing, the sun seemed to be hitting all the right spots from a shooting standpoint. Everyone we talked to was so open, hospitable and friendly.
If there was anything you could do differently on your next film, what would it be?
Rich: Hire a media manager.
Shasha: Get it fully funded so we can pay the crew what they're worth and not have to go into debt!Posted by Vinnie Yuen | November 5, 2011 | Comments (0)
Photo credit: Jezebel.com
Prepare for one of the most versatile of foods to take over the silver screen. Makes little sense? Keep reading!
Chinese animators have come up with an answer to Spongebob Squarepants—Tofu Boy. The feature length animated film is set to follow a Pinocchio-like storyline set in modern day Shanghai. Set for holiday 2013 release, the movie is hoping to break out into the international market.
Judging by looks, Tofu Boy already wins in my books—he's much cuter than Spongebob.
Photo credit: Jezebel.com
As a girl, there are certain times I would rather shop in stores with female staff. Ladies, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. For that matter, I'm sure guys also have times they would prefer to take shopping advice from other men. Imagine then not having a choice.
Women in Saudi Arabia have to buy lingerie and make-up from male sales staff. Because of strict segregation laws in the country, women have been forbidden from working in retail and using change rooms. This means that not only do they need to buy personal items from men, they would also need to ask these salesmen to literally 'size them up' and describe the fit of garments.
To me, imagining a guy describe the feel and fit of women's lingerie is simultaneously humourous and creepy, but I cannot imagine having to deal with this each time I go shopping. It is reported that Saudi Arabia is trying to move to a new system where women will be allowed to work in stores selling female garments and accessories. It will be interested to see how this progresses. In the meantime, I'm happy to have the option of shopping with diverse sales staff and being able to use change rooms.Posted by Vinnie Yuen | November 7, 2011 | Comments (0)
After skyrocketing to fame with his "Asian gangster" role in the smash comedy hit The Hangover, along with its even more bombastic sequel The Hangover 2, actor and former medical practitioner Ken Jeong might just be the most famous Asian-American today, not to mention one of the most outrageous comic actors of Hollywood.
Now, Jeong is taking a huge step forward in using his fame to earn more creative control over his projects. Not only will he be starring in a new romantic comedy called The Chung Factor, he will also be its co-producer, after Lionsgate studio purchased the rights to the script. Jeong will already be making history as one of the few Asian-American male romantic leads in a recent major film, the Harold and Kumar series notwithstanding.
Jeong will reportedly play a relationship coach, and after seeing his over-the-top acting in the Hangover films, one can only imagine what kind of "coaching" Jeong's character will have in mind.
More importantly however, his character will be trying to win back an ex-girlfriend, meaning that he won't be relegated to the stereotypically "passive" role that Asian male actors have often had to play in Hollywood.
Though the film has yet to start filming, it promises to be an intriguing addition to Jeong's budding body of cinematic work.Posted by Justin Ko | November 8, 2011 | Comments (0)
Here's a quick lesson:
It used to be paint-brush terms such as "extremist" and "jihadist" that were synonymous to someone relating to the Islamic faith. These terms were often accompanied by images of violence and anger, which became the dominant images associated with Muslims. Once the word "extremist" was mentioned, with the speed of light, an instant image of a Muslim was thought of. Soon enough, the marginalization of these groups was normalized as the rhetoric of "safety" and "security" was highlighted.
In September of 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper proposed that the biggest threat to Canada was "Islamicism". Yes—Islamicism. No need to look up a definition. It's not there. In the spirit of positive-thinking, while it may be flattering to have a new word created to describe an entire community, I think we'll pass on this one.
The "word" Islamicism proposes that these individuals harbour fundamental, violent and oppressive values which are applied through force. So what did popular media do? Take that term and slightly adjust it to "Islamist". Recently, this term has been used to describe people, a government, or an ideology. They weren't identified by their first name, party name or any other descriptions. Their entire presence was simplified to a term with negative connotations.
Unfortunately, the usage of these terms has attempted to undermine the Arab Spring that has been taking place for the past few months. I watched people fighting for equality and justice and then watched popular media covering the stories with an underlying assumption of "Islamists" taking over. Not only does this take away the courageous acts of the Arab and Muslim people, but it created a racialized look towards the revolutions.
They're no longer viewed as communities attempting to reform their unjust governments; instead they're represented as Muslims trying to enforce extremist Islamic rulings on the rest of the population. Headlines read "Islamist taking over" or "Islamist rulings threaten women" or my favourite, usually referred to how spicy the salsa is, "moderate-Islamist run for election". All of the above headlines suggest that Islamist is another word for terrorism, the difference is that this term specifically identifies that this form of radical ideology is Islamic. While Muslims thought they were fighting to end the term "extremist", the battle only became harder as another term has been added to the list.
If they ran out of terms to use, I can offer some: "strong", "revolutionizers", "organizers", "heroes", "people that inspired others to organize the mass "Occupy" movement taking place all over the world and who support the general cause for creating positive change for the marginalized people". You know, just take your pick.
Last week, American clothing retail giant, Urban Outfitters, removed the word 'Navajo' from their First Nations inspired clothing collection. After being embroiled in both legal and moral controversy for several weeks, the company decided it was better to rename the collection and pull certain items from circulation than face a barrage of legal suites. The first person to openly challenge the 'Navajo Collection' was blogger Sasha Houston Brown in 'An Open Letter to Urban Outfitters on Columbus Day.' However, it wasn't only First Nations people or interest groups that advocated for the line's removal; over 16,000 people signed a petition on change.org.
The petition was started by Tiffanie Wilson, a Native American herself, after seeing products promoted as 'First Nations inspired' and 'Navajo' on Urban Outfitters' US website. Many items featured First Nations-style prints, feathers, fringe, and suede, and only served to further stereotype First Nations people.
From tacky plastic dream catchers to hipster panties, it's hard to choose which piece is the worst offender. Then it occurred to me that Urban Outfitters isn't a liquor store, so why is it selling a 'Navajo Flask'? To insinuate the Navajo, and other First Nations people, are all alcoholics, and to dress like a true 'Indian' you need to carry a flask? That's enough to make me never step into an Urban Outfitters store ever again.
Despite this negative stereotyping, the biggest problem with this collection is its legality: Urban Outfitters used the word 'Navajo' and marketed the products as 'genuine'. Since 1990, it has been illegal in the United States to market any goods as authentic Native American products if they are not. Furthermore, the Navajo Nation owns the copyright to their name and is able to license it out to companies in exchange for a share of the profits. The Navajo Nation actually sent out a cease and desist order to Urban Outfitters, which was largely ignored until the public became involved.
So should it be prohibited to use prints or inspirations from different cultures in fashion? Absolutely not—but I think retailers need to be more sensitive about how they are portraying people of the culture they are claiming to represent. I personally love feather earrings, but why do they need to be called 'Navajo'? Just call them 'feather earrings'.Posted by Kait Bolongaro | November 1, 2011 | Comments (0)
You may be at work reading this right now, or maybe at school, on the bus, or lounging around the house in your pjs, but no matter where you are you're reading this on some sort of technological device. This week's This Week in Vancouver is all about how you can take that glowing rectangular screen in front of you, be it a laptop, an ipad, a smartphone, what have you, and make it a tool for social change. Turn those Angry Birds into angry words - actually, carefully thought out, well reasoned words would be preferable - and make something happen!
Image credit: Gen Why Media
Tuesday, Nov. 1st, 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Contemporary Arts Theatre, SFU Woodwards
Have you ever come across the site ParentsShouldn'tText? The gems of hilarity on that site alone are justification enough for Gen Why Media's second Bring Your Boomers event. Yes, Boomers struggling to comprehend technology that we young whippersnappers can navigate with our eyes closed always makes for a great punchline, but it also makes for a great panel discussion. Gen Why is bringing together activists, media personnel, and politicians representing three generations to talk about how we can support the causes we're passionate about at any age. Tickets are available through (what else?) a social networking site, but don't worry moms and dads, it's pretty straightforward!
Image credit: National Association of Asian American Professionals
Thursday, Nov. 3rd, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
SFU Segal Graduate School of Business
The National Association of Asian American Professionals Vancouver branch (oy, that's a mouthful!) is honouring individuals in our community who are leaders in the fields of art, media, culture, community, and more. The theme for this year's awards is Faces of Change: Sustaining Culture & Cultivating Community. And I hate to brag, but Schema's very own Alden Habacon, the fearless leader himself, has been nominated for an Arts & Media Leadership award. Hip hip hooray! Plus, world-renowned and homegrown architect Bing Thom gives the keynote.
Image credit: Museum of Vancouver
Thursday, Nov. 3rd to Sunday, November 27th
Museum of Vancouver
Speaking of Bing Thom...ok fine, speaking of architecture, the Canadian architects who are entrants in this year's Venice Biennale are giving Vancouverites a sneak preview of their submissions. Through videos and architectural models, the architects from across Canada will illustrate how migration and cultural memory affect design. Canada has long been called a "Nation of Immigrants," so I suppose it's about time this migrant nation got some stylish dwellings that are custom made to suit our perambulatory persona.
Image credit: UBC
Thursday, Nov. 3rd to Thursday, Nov. 17th
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC
This past year we've seen uprisings and social movements momentous enough to rival the worldwide student uprising of the 60s. Here in Canada, protests like the SlutWalk, the Occupy movement, and Arab Spring solidarity protests have made politicians, media, public figures, NGOs, and academics alike all sit up and take notice. Now UBC is gathering together those very same politicians, media, NGO and non-profit representatives, and academics to discuss the effect that diversity has on grassroots movements for social change. Can we stand united and divided at the same time? Have your say on Thursday.
Image credit: South Hill Community
Thursday, Nov. 3rd, 7:00 pm
Alice MacKay Room, VPL Central Branch
How well do you know your neighbours? Probably not as well as you'd think. South Hill Community wants to introduce you to your neighbourhood through storytelling. Now, I know I don't have to tell you more than that because you've already read about Schema's INSIDE STORIES contest, and you've already submitted your own story to South Hill for a chance to win tickets to Headlines Theatre's Us and Them. So head downtown to the VPL this Thursday, and hear your stories and the stories of your friends and neighbours being shared.
Image credit: Japanese Canadian National Museum
Wednesday, Nov. 2nd, 7 pm
Japanese Canadian National Museum
A year ago Canada's last WWI veteran died. In a short time the few remaining men and women who survived WWI will have passed away too. Though there will be no one to lay the wreath at this year's Remembrance day ceremony, it is important that we remember the men and women who sacrificed so much for us. Canadian Historical Society President Lyle Dick gives a lecture this Wednesday on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, and the Canadian Japanese War Memorial here in Vancouver, and how these memorials contribute to our collective memory of this dark time in human history.
Genie is an editorial assistant for Schema Magazine and self-appointed seeker-out of Schema-worthy events in Vancouver. She is a certified bookworm with a special fondness for Shakespeare and CanLit. You can follow her on Twitter @geniemakPosted by Genie MacLeod | November 1, 2011 | Comments (0)
Many a green designer and/or sustainable thinker have dedicated some capacity to solving the problem of those nasty, plastic water bottles. Indeed, there have been some extremely innovative solutions (solar bottle light, anyone?). But now it's time for the disposable chopstick to take centre stage. If you're a frequent patron of Asian restaurants, you've probably wondered what happens to all those wooden chopsticks after they've passed that last morsel of salmon sashimi into your mouth.
Korean designer Gyeongwan Koo has obviously pondered this problem as well—his solution being the To Be Nature Wooden Chopstick. Maybe not the most self-explanatory name, but the gist is that after using the chopsticks, you can plant them in the ground, after which they will begin to sprout greenery. The tip of the chopstick is made from a starch cap (similar to those used for pills) which contains a seed inside. When you plant the tip of the chopstick into the ground, the starch cap dissolves, the seed begins to grow, et voila! The "rebirth" (as Koo has named the process) has begun. The chopstick becomes the trellis for the plant. The other end of the chopstick contains a hole so that multiple chopsticks can be combined to support taller plants.
Koo's vision is that one day the whole world will be covered with little chopstick trees, which is not completely out of reach given the amount of disposable chopsticks that must be thrown away daily. To put it in the words of the designer himself, thanks to Koo's seemingly small contribution to sustainable design, now "your little concern will change the world".Posted by Kayo Homma-Komori | November 4, 2011 | Comments (0)
Known more for his one-hit wonders "Can't Touch This" and "Too Legit to Quit" than his business acumen or familiarity with online technology, MC Hammer is trying to re-invent himself as the founder of a new search engine, named WireDoo.com.
Although he is far from the first former hip-hop artist to dabble into entrepreneurship, as both Jay-Z and 50 Cent have converted their musical fame into lucrative and wholly unrelated corporate deals, MC Hammer is a curious choice to lead a competitor for powerhouses like Google.
According to Hammer, WireDoo.com, which is set to launch in December of this year, is a "deep search engine" which will include results for related topics, not just findings for the immediate keywords used in the query.
It remains to be seen if his launch will have any effect at all on Google and Microsoft's Bing hegemony over the search engine market; chances are, like Hammer's last endeavor to convince people to sell gold at lower than market value, it will be forgotten as rapidly as his hammer pants.Posted by Justin Ko | November 3, 2011 | Comments (0)
Photo credit: Chinese Progressive Association
It doesn't matter what your opinions are on the global Occupy movement. For these Chinese American youth and their families, poverty and hardship is real.
Members of the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco, California has come together to tell their stories in solidarity with the Occupy movement. Many of the posters refer to the American dream and the struggles of immigrants and their children have in trying to achieve that dream.
These stories remind me never to take things for granted, to appreciate and respect those trying their hardest to make ends meet and fight for a better future.
The above text reads: I have 2 kids. My husband is the only one working and he has 4 mouths to feed. He works about 24 hours a week. Life is hard. We even had issues paying the rent, because his boss was late in paying his wages. And we had to make the car payments on top of that. Once he found a food delivery job. After working that job for a few days, he was held up at gun point and had his wages stolen. We are the 99%.Posted by Vinnie Yuen | November 3, 2011 | Comments (0)
If you suspect that your iPhone-owning husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend is not telling the truth to you (shocker), and you can read Japanese, then perhaps Tokyo-based Manuscript's original "Kare Log" would have been right for you. If you just followed the below instructions before Manuscript toned down their app, you would have been well on your way to knowing your partner's every move. Think Big
Brother Spouse or Romantic Partner.
Regardless of how awesome this app was or may have been, it was also an invasion of privacy, and not too many
cheating partners liked it. And so, with McAffee blacklisting the app and Japan's communications ministry applying much pressure, Manuscript released a modified version of Kare Log that creates the opposite effect of its predecessor.
Whereas the original acted without your partner knowing, you now need your partner's consent to use Kare Log on their phone. That, and it only tells you where your partner is. Kare Log has become a location service for couples.
So instead of sending shivers down your spine thinking about your romantic partner stalking you, the application now brings lovers closer together (which may or may not still send shivers down your spine, depending on your perspective).
This goes on to make you wonder if Kare Log still has a purpose. After all, in our world of technology, can't you just call, text, or use telepathy? There's no reason to pay extra fees.Posted by Brandon Woo | November 2, 2011 | Comments (0)