Archive for July, 2011
Tim Minchin, a thinking man's comic. (Image: Bob Knorpp)
After a few days perusing the many comedy venues available throughout the Festimania offerings, I’ve noticed a pattern emerging in the programming — at least among the English speaking events.
Tim Minchin, Louis CK, Kelly Carlin talking about her father George Carlin — the headliners at these events are not just known for comedy, but also for social commentary. And this insight gives one a much deeper insight into the richness of both the experience and the French Canadian culture of this fabulous city.
One thing you will quickly realize if you spend any amount of time in Montreal is that the citizenry are intense. They love with passion, they laugh with abandon and they flair into irritated rants at bikers riding on sidewalks. So it only makes sense that they would gravitate toward comedy with a distinct edge and bite.
Tim Minchin’s show was particularly true of this. Not only does he have a reputation for mocking unthinking devotion to religious fervor, but he unabashedly addressed the obvious anger that many Canadians feel toward the U.S. As an American sitting in the audience, I felt…
|There is Adventure on the Horizon!
I debated what to call this post. I toyed around with the idea of calling it, Eating Around. But there was more to it than just eating in a lot of different places. It was kind of a culinary adventure, so to speak. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t really all that adventurous, well not for me anyway. I’ll try eating just about anything once, maybe twice depending on whether or not I got the full gastronomical sensation the first time. (Some of these words make it look as if I’m getting paid by the letter.) I’m not like my children who consider mushrooms on their Pizza to be the worst possible hardship. I don’t even want to think about their reaction to Anchovies!
But on to the adventure…My family left for a visit to America, I was to follow a week later. So, I was on my own. When living in the same house and sharing space with my wife, I am required to follow certain rules and regulations, which…
Adam Hochschild’s 1998 best-selling book King Leopold’s Ghost
describes King Leopold II of Belgium’s 19th
century colony in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Leopold amassed a personal fortune by brutally enforcing a rubber production quota, ironically named the Congo Free State, on the indigenous people of the colony. Rubber was a rare and valuable commodity in Europe in Leopold’s day, and the failure of local people to meet his rubber quota by tapping an indigenous latex-producing vine (Landolphia owariensis
) often resulted in having their hands cut off by colonial guards.
By the time Leopold was deposed, the Brazilian rubber tree had taken over the global latex market, and the African gumvine was never cultivated commercially. But in tropical Africa the vine is still tapped for latex to make rubber bands and patch tires, balls, and shoes. More commonly, rural communities harvest the abundant fruits—known as eta—that the vine produces. Planting the eta vine in agroforestry systems and along property boundaries and village common areas could improve food security and income opportunities in impoverished Central and West African communities.
Eta grows wild in tropical Central and West Africa, as a vine in…
The Clique Restaurant on E. Jefferson Avenue in Detroit is one of those greasy spoon diners that locals know about and well, if you hang around long enough, someone will let you know about its diner cup of Joe, eggs, toast and hashbrowns. They also do a mean corned beef hash with green peppers and onions and around you while you sit and take in the calories and the butter, you can take in the autographs of Detroit’s movers and shakers.
Here’s a sample of the menu,
but to give you a summary, you can get a burger with melted cheese for a wopping $4.25 (no urban city center prices here), corned beef & swiss on rye and cold meatloaf, both for $5.00.
A Coney Island Hot Dog is only $4.25 and a grilled cheese sandwich is $2.95. Next time in Detroit….meander down to E. Jefferson Avenue for your midwest greasy spoon experience.
The Raffi bit was hysterically funny! (Image: Bob Knorpp)
Thanks to a random encounter from Renee Blodgett
in the hotel lobby, we got a tip about an amazing show that was part of the Zoofest, one of the eleven festivals going on in Montreal over these two Summer months.
The show was called “New Faces,” and it gave a voice to some of the newest and hottest comedians in North America. But one comedian shined for me in the event and that was Chris Witaske.
Admittedly, the comedy was not incredibly accessible. It was more one long inside joke that played upon various pop culture references that included everything from a child character waking up to relate his awesome Raffi concert experience (“He fucking opened with, mother fucking Baby Beluga!”) to his incredible riff on an MTV exec during the 1990s.
Showing his Chicago roots. (Image: Bob Knorpp)
For me, the inside joke comedy makes the laughter that much more exquisite. The fact that I know what they are talking about makes me feel special. And this was an act that was filled with this sort of humor.…
Jumping for joy in Manizales, Colombia
This post is a pictorial essay of our experiences in the magical country of Colombia. Colombia was our first South American country and we had an amazing action packed, cultural experience, even though we had a tad of a struggle getting there. This exercise of looking back helps me to appreciate all the wonderful experiences we’ve had in Colombia and recognizing that the Big Delay getting there was completely worth it! We hope you enjoy this photo essay:
Our first stop was in the beautiful Colonial city of Cartegena
. The historical walled city provides the perfect backdrop for a bold tale of allure, lust and adventure, leaving no doubt why the 80′s blockbuster Romancing the Stone was filmed there.
We strolled wide-eyed in the old city, soaking in the pastel facades covered by bright bougainvilleas, people dressed in brilliant white bustling between shops, and primal drum beat Afro-Caribbean music throbbing in the streets. Sucked into the city’s swirling energy, Miro and I spent several days exploring the streets of El Centro.
Horse drawn buggy in one of the many plazas in the old…
is in full swing this week. The Osheaga Music Festival is part of the umbrella group of events happening all week, with the bulk of the Osheaga line-up today through Sunday night. Below is a taste of what we’ll be seeing and covering in the next few days. On the main stage tonight is: Eminem • Timber Timbre • KiD CuDi • Broken Social Scene • Bran Van 3000 • The Knux • Charles Bradley • Lights • Glass Candy • Joseph Arthur • Sweet Thing • Uncle Bad Touch • Ana Tijoux • El Ten Eleven • The Rural Alberta Advantage • The Barr Brothers • Comic Strip • MC2 • Alaclair Ensemble • DJ Cosmo • Slim Jim.
Disclosure: The Montreal Festimania team has flown We Blog the World up to cover the event.
Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia never to have been occupied by a foreign power. As a result, Bangkok has served as its capital without interruption since 1767, when King Taksin established Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
(literally, “City of Angels”) on the banks of the Chao Phraya river following the capture of the Ayutthaya Kingdom by the Burmese.
In spite of its longstanding political sovereignty, contemporary Thailand’s economic growth is inextricably linked with its rapid integration with the rest of the world, in particular that of its capital. Oddly, Bangkok residents of all walks of life seem largely unaffected by the increasingly conspicuous contradictions between tradition and modernity, poverty and wealth and competing Western and Eastern influences — even when they present themselves in their daily lives.
The Golden Age
The Bangkok SkyTrain rises above a centuries-old Buddha image.
Relics of Bangkok’s Golden Age, a period of cultural and economic flourishing and prosperity, are strewn all over the city– to the point where it’s almost impossible to miss them. During my first visit to Bangkok in February 2010, I came upon several of them during an impromptu stroll through the residential neighborhood south of the…
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