Tag: CNN

Linkalicious

Fearless: Legendary photojournalist and cameraperson Margaret Moth has passed away at the age of 59. Moth was known for being gutsy and for leading her fellow crew into places other journalists feared to tread. As she explains in the video on the link page, she didn’t have a death wish, but rather, fiercely loved her life and her chosen profession. No kidding. Her jaw got blown off when she was covering the Bosnian War in 1992 and she had to have extensive facial and oral reconstruction. But off she went, back to work -work that took her to the West Bank, and into more dangerous situations. Moth’s dedication and passion are truly inspirational to me, and I’d imagine, to many others.

Paint It Orange: Artists in Detroit are painting derelict houses. Why? Well… why not? As well as bringing attention to the jaw-dropping economic disparity in Detroit, the work brings a kind of joie de vivre and creative, improvisatory to areas that badly need that kind of play. The spirit of openness is infectious too; as the artists explain, the projects lead to opportunities and area regrowth. Yes, artists can make a difference. Thanks to Good Magazine and Halogen TV for a truly good story.

Speaking of which: Bono attended the Pan African Media Conference last week in Nairobi. Yes, I know there’s a lot of strong opinions out there about his involvement in world issues and his passionate activism, but as a user named ewangu commented on this (Kenyan) post, “At least he is trying, he has the influence and resources…. someone has to!!!” I’ve always seen his efforts less as patronizing and meddling, and more humanistic and matched to the old white-flag-waver of yore (minus the mullet). Would North Americans (much less CNN) have paid attention to the Pan African Media Conference without his presence? Debate amongst yourselves.

Ring Ring: Teddy Ruge of Project Diaspora was in Austin, Texas last week, taking part in the Africa 3.0 conference at South by Southwest. In the video clip below, he says that “aid agencies do great job perpetuating the model of ‘Africa needs aid'”, echoing an argument made last year by Dambisa Moyo.

Ruge, who is critical of the One Laptop Per Child program, notes that “those of us in Diaspora are starting to wake up to the fact that we have the power to make a difference in Africa -by starting social entrepreneurship programs. Hopefully we can create a wave of change that can have Africans taking responsibility for Africa as opposed to looking to the West constantly for assistance. It’s time we started providing solutions for ourselves.” One of those solutions is via mobile technology, something software developer (and Appfrica CEO) Jonathan Gosier compellingly explores. As he writes, “Africa doesn’t default to the mobile device because they want to, they do it because it’s useful for them.”

Mali Cool: A exhibit by Malian photographer Malick Sidibe is on now through March 26th at the Bekris Gallery in San Francisco. Titled “Other Africa”, Sidibe’s shots capture a time in 1960s/70s Western Africa that, frankly, is dead cool-looking -full of gorgeous people dancing and having fun. It’s so far from the stereotypical image of Africa that North Americans are fed -which is important -but his work also shows an incredible eye for shape, form and detail. You can tell why his studio became a popular hangout for the beautiful people in the 70s too. I hope this show tours. I want to see these prints in-person.

Not useful but fun: Here’s an entertaining list of ten inspiring mash-ups/remixes/ re-envisionings compiled in the New York Times’ Arts Beat blog. I was particularly moved by the 3D version of Guernica set to the music of Manuel de Falla by artist Lena Gieseke; going behind, through, an around Picasso‘s figures is a surreal, if very immediate way to experience his work in a brave new way. I love the Obama/McCain Dance Off too (I wonder if the Health Care Vote hostilities could be resolved this way…). The Sinatra/B.I.G. mash-up beat-filled ode to New York is also affecting, not just for its balls-out bravado and macho swagger, but for the sad reminder that both its artists -so symbolic of the Big Apple in their own times -aren’t with us anymore.

Art+Trash Squared: Artist Justin Gignac takes on New York City in a whole different way. He takes inspiration from trash -literally. The enterprising artist sticks city garbage in a sealed plastic cube and then sells it (for $50 each, in case you want one). Recycling? Smarmy post-pop culture commentary? Opportunism? All of the above? As Web Urbanist notes, “It’s a little bit Andy Warhol, a little bit street-corner-junk-hawker and a whole lot of kitsch, but it’s clearly a hit – over 1,200 NYC Garbage cubes have been sold to buyers in 25 countries.” Everyone wants a bite of the Big Apple -no matter how much it might hurt the teeth.

My Anansi moment: I’m one of the many people part of the current round of the Review Crew, the online review site for publishing powerhouse House of Anansi. Yay! The chosen book is award-winning author Pascale Quiviger‘s hauntingly gorgeous The Breakwater House; it’s been months since I finished reading this slim book, and I’m still thinking about it. You know it’s good when…

Coming up this week: pieces on the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Hot Docs, and current theatre in Toronto, including Art, Oh What A Lovely War, and who knew grannie: a dub aria. I’ll also be posting about the delicious, inspiring links between Stratford, Ontario and the recent (and inspiring) food event, Terroir 4, that happened earlier this month. Oh, and tomorrow is World Water Day; to mark the occasion, I’m hoping to speak with Maude Barlow about a documentary she’s part of that airs this week on TVO. Whew! Hang loose, stay tuned, hang on, stay strong.

A Dublin Tale

There are many memories around St. Patrick’s Day for me.

I recall parties thrown by Irish friends, where the adults drank whiskey and us kids got milk with mint syrup. I remember more debauched celebrations in university that involved continual tar-and-malt-coloured libations through the day (and into night). In 2003, I met my mother at an Irish pub. She made the black remark that, “we’d better get good and drunk; there’s going to be a pile of dead people tomorrow.” The second Iraq war was on the cusp of starting; that sore festering pimple left the pallor of St. Pat’s particularly scarred, especially since pub patrons were taking sips between quick, nervous glances at the telly, as if CNN was the band-aid one could put on the bruised complexion of the world. Of course, my mother was right: three days later, we awakened to news of bombs, rockets, blood and screaming. And plenty of speeches and chest-thumping. Drinking didn’t make it that much better but the communal experience of being in a pub helped immeasurably.

St. Pat’s also has a personal dimension for me: today marks the day that, in 2007, I moved from a bittersweet, happy/sad life in Stratford, Ontario. I toasted my new circumstances that night, with dirty hands and sore arms, in a newly-painted room with a gleaming hardwood floor. The future was a huge question mark yawning forth with fangs and tongue flicking. Everything was new and old at the same time. “Woe to me,” I thought between bouts of self-pity, “if I wound up nothing but the undigested afterthought of a Beelzebub offering sin and redemption one foul swoop.” I still can’t figure out if I’m cud or steak, but one thing’s clear: that painful St. Pat’s made me stronger.

Before the fortifying challenges of adulthood however, I remember another St. Patrick’s Day. I was living in Dublin (yes, Ireland). I was in my early twenties, and my definitions of love, worth, security, friendship, play -hell, even art -had been turned upside down in the six months I’d been there. After weeks of gloom and wet, the dampness so keen it stained the walls of our ancient flat and made wearing three layers de rigeur, St. Pat’s was bright, sunny, and mild. Joyful crowds lined O’Connell Street: apple-cheeked grannies, sozzled students, North African immigrants, people from the numerous outlying suburbs, all enjoying a day off. Everyone was smiling, even the Gardai, in their uniforms, with buttons eye-searingly shiny casting rings of light along the cracked cement.

I’d stood on the thick concrete rail of the O’Connell Street Bridge weeks before, a friend holding a leg each, imploring me to “hurry up!” as I happily, manically snapped pictures of the buildings and houses cupping the Liffey like a cooing grey dove. Cold winds had whipped me to and fro, as hands gripped my ankles, then pant legs, and then the inevitable comment of “you’re insaaane!” floated through the rain-soaked air, chiming in harmony with the metallic ca-chunks of the camera lens. I’d gone to Dublin because, as a first-time move-out, I thought it would be easier to negotiate than the busy, buzzy shock of Gotham-like London; I was also in love with words, and had been intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually sustained by the likes of Yeats, Heaney, Joyce, Beckett, Behan and O’Casey for years. It’s no accident I wound up living mere blocks from the Dublin Writers Museum, the Gate Theatre -and the GPO.

As I stood that day in Dublin slowly inhaling the joy, the sunshine, and riotous celebration, there flashed a pang of sadness in my chest -that familiar, oh-so-Irish sense of doom, drama, and joy, melded together. I was already making plans to move to London. I didn’t know what the future held. I wasn’t even sure why I was leaving. And then I saw it: a float, featuring players from the popular television series Father Ted. I’d come to adore the show before I’d moved, thanks to PBS airings, and living in Dublin cemented my adoration. It was a ringing success in Ireland for simple reasons: the gentle mocking of the Church, the ironic winks to tradition, the celebration of community and friendship. Pauline McLynn, who played Mrs. Doyle, and Ardal O’Hanlon, who played Father Dougal, were on the float, and were greeted with manic waves and cheers. But their appearance was tinged with sadness: their co-star Dermot Morgan (who played the title role) had died very suddenly the previous year.

I came out of a darkened pub to blinding sunshine later that day, feeling overwhelmingly sad yet happily content, all at once.

“Moving?!” an Irish co-worker and friend had exclaimed, “you’re moving? Why??”

Bittersweet. Good and bad. Yin and yang. Stout and whiskey. That’s Ireland. That was my life there. And Dublin gave me the greatest St. Patrick’s day ever.


Father Ted – Lingerie

Yele


The tragedy in Haiti is unfolding moment by moment.

Anyone who learned of the massive earthquake the country suffered lastnight shared a visceral response; the tragedy is compounded by its location, with a country infused with a painful past that still pollutes the present.

One of the requirements of my position is to put aside the humanist gut-response and stick on my journalist’s hat. It isn’t always easy. But looking at the footage lastnight and into today, I am fascinated by the ways the earthquake has been reported. As darkness fell last evening, I was transfixed by television updates, though, this being 2010, I was online almost constantly as well. The internet was truly at the frontline of reporting, with people posting photos to Twitpic and the like, showing massive devastation. There were groups set up for families and plenty of links to aid organizations (see list, below). Outlets like CNN and CBC were using the very photos I’d already seen online in their news reports.


The nature of news reporting has changed -widened, expanded, and become far more immediate. Wyclef Jean understands this; his Twitter feed was providing constant information and updates on how to help -particularly through fast, easy, mobile means. It was heartening to see him get on 360 With Anderson Cooper so quickly. The question of a music/entertainment artist also being an activist has many people creasing foreheads and furrowing brows, but I don’t think anyone questions Wyclef’s commitment and dedication to making his homeland a better place. It’s the precise reason Yele Haiti exists.

Along with Yele, here are other ways to help:

Oxfam
Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
Samaritans Purse
Unicef

The Globe and Mail has a good resource page. It’s constantly being updated by a continual zipper of information, including phone numbers, stories, facts, and links, including a statement from Governor-General Michaëlle Jean, who, one presumes (hopes), will be using all the resources available to help her homeland. ONE has a very extensive list of links and statements from aid organizations. CBC also has a thorough list of facts, phone numbers, and ways Canadians can help.

History and politics always play into any aid effort, perhaps nowhere moreso than in Haiti, but let’s hope the online world mobilizes people to put those aside for now and focus on the healing.

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