Category Archives: Culture Shock

Birthday Presents

Eleven months ago — almost to the day! — I spent my 50th birthday on the set of one of my favorite TV shows, Killjoys, as Team Awesome Force powered through the fifth and last season. That season debuts tomorrow night (10 pm on Space!), so now I can finally run my set-visit piece in NOW.

No spoilers for the new season, because I’m not a monster. But I’ve seen the first three episodes, and they’re exactly what you want them to be.

And apologies to everyone else who was there, but who I wasn’t able to quote in the piece — Kelly McCormack, Sean Baek, Patrick Garrow, Tamsen McDonough, Rob Stewart, Alanna Bale, Beth Iley, Julian Doucet, Thom Allison and Gavin Fox — because of space restrictions. It was great to see you all. Keep ’em flying.

What am I doing for my birthday this year? Well, the day itself is still a haze, but the night before will be spent in a sacred state, watching Jaws at the Revue Cinema on the evening of Thursday, August 15th with my birthday buddy and fellow Friend of Bruce Paul Sun-Hyung Lee.

You remember how we bonded over the movie on his episode of the podcast, right? Well, this was inevitable. Come join us! It’ll be so much fun.

Courting Controversy

So there’s this movie, Unplanned, that’s opening in a handful of theatres across Canada this week. I haven’t seen it, because it hasn’t been screened for critics, but the producers have made sure everyone knows about it by ginning up a great big furor over how hard it was to get the movie released up here.

And now Cineplex and Landmark, the two Canadian chains, are under fire for screening it, when of course the real issue is the way Pure Flix gamed Canada’s politicians and faith-based audiences to increase awareness of their their picture.

I wrote about the situation for NOW yesterday, and as a result have been on something of a media tour ever since, appearing on CBC’s Here and Now yesterday afternoon and recording an episode of Global’s Wait, There’s More podcast that’ll be dropping later today. I’ll post the links when they’re live.

Oh, and in other news I wrote a thing about Fan Expo Canada’s  lineup announcement earlier this week. There’s a Kim’s Convenience panel, I think!

An Excellent Start

Rad’s off this week, so I’m on NOW’s #AfterMeToo beat until he gets back — which means I wrote this piece about a major funding announcement from the federal government for Mia Kirshner’s ROSA platform.

Set to launch in 2020, it’s designed to help employees in federally regulated workplaces access information and resources to cope with — and confront — harassment and sexual violence. It’s going to help a lot of people, and not just in the entertainment industry. Like I said, it’s an excellent start.

Perennial Features

We’re in the last third of the month, so it’s time once again for NOW’s monthly Netflix preview — any guesses which ones I wrote? It shouldn’t be that hard, really.

Also, if you’re in Toronto and find yourself craving barbecue, come on out to the Danforth Saturday night for the 10th annual Thrill of the Grill — I’ll be there in the evening as one of the celebrity judges for the grilled corn contest, because someone at NOW clearly thinks it’s funny.

In all honesty, I really do enjoy the event; it’s silly, sure, and I have no business being there, but it’s fun, and Sunnybrook’s Odette cancer centre gets a boost out of it. Plus I get corn!

If you can’t make it, keep an eye on my Twitter feed for images. That’ll be fun too.

Pride Reading

Open up this week’s NOW, and surprise: I’m in the books section! But it’s still on brand; I’m there talking to actor and activist Joanne Vannicola about their new memoir All We Knew But Couldn’t Say.

It’s an account of a harrowing childhood both inside and outside the Canadian film and television industry, and the slow, complicated evolution of Joanne’s queer, non-binary identity.

We talked for almost two hours; I had to condense it into a thousand words. I think it came out okay. Joanne’s happy with it, which is really all that matters.

News You Can Use

Jen Gunter has a TV show! Well, technically it’s a web series, Jensplaining, which drops on CBC’s Gem streaming service on August 23rd and offers Twitter’s favourite women’s health advocate the chance to push back on popular misinformation about a whole host of subjects.

Jen and I sat down last week to talk about the show, so it made sense that NOW run a little preview thing about it on the heels of the official announcement. So I wrote one!

I also realize I never posted links to my June film festival roundup or my Q&A with Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher last week, or to NOW’s roundup of the best new Netflix shows, which went up on Monday. I’ve been really busy with stuff. But here they are now, just to show you I care.

Obligations Both Weekly and Monthly

Cotton breathes better than Spandex,
is all I’m saying

This week’s NOW columns are live, and they’re a little more hyperbolic than usual.

In the screening spotlight: The Pendance Film Festival, which founder and director Robert Misovic is positioning as a rebellious challenger to TIFF and its feeder fests; he’s got some interesting movies, and I hope it works out for him. (I also hope the Regent is better insulated than it was the last time I went there in winter.)

And this week in Superhero Nonsense!, I finally get to explore what Nicole Maines’ presence brings to Supergirl now that the show has finally put her character front and center. (Are you watching Supergirl? You should be watching Supergirl.)

Also, it’s Netflix preview time! See if you can guess which blocks I contributed to NOW’s monthly look-ahead. It … shouldn’t be that hard.

All Art is Political

This week’s NOW rolls out our 2018 Readers’ Choice awards, and I contributed a handful of capsules here and there. I even wrote about a park!

And my web features are up, too: This week’s special screening spotlight falls on the Diaspora Film Festival’s Shahram Tabe,  whose story is as interesting as some of the films he’s programmed, while Superhero Nonsense! notices some interesting things happening in the DC television universe, as Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow have gotten political in very different ways.

So that’s nice.

Who’s She, Then?

So, yeah, there’s a new Doctor in town — or at least there was on Tuesday, when Jodie Whittaker came in for a quick round of press. I got to talk to her, she’s brilliant, and our conversation is up at NOW for you to enjoy.

I also dedicated this week’s Superhero Nonsense! to the return of Doctor Who, because how could I not? It’s totally a superhero show.

Oh, and check out our latest special screening spotlight, which features Adam Lopez of Toronto After Dark. That festival gets underway tonight with Issa Lopez’ very creepy Tigers Are Not Afraid, and you should think about going.