The Lady Gaga we fell in love with 10 years ago is back and better than ever. The icon who carved out an indelible brand persona has finally returned to her fans, her roots, her senses, and to her betrothed little monsters. She has reclaimed her trademark pedigree that made her the irrepressible image we all fell in love with. And she did it without any outside help or needless controversy.
The digital era, it was believed, would usher in a utopia for both musicians and the consumer. But in reality, artists - the people who build our nation's cultural foundation and much of the intellectual property we export - now struggle more than ever to earn a living. The creative middle class has virtually ceased to exist.
As a cultural presence that combined the sacred and profane, romance and cynicism, humanity and hopelessness for over five decades of towering songs, we all have our own Leonard Cohen entry point. Like fellow Canadian Neil Young, Cohen became a patron saint of the 90s alternative nation. There was the tribute album "I'm Your Fan" and placement of "Closing Time and, especially, "The Future" in the film "Natural Born Killers."
Is Vancouver a city without duende? For those unfamiliar with the term, a creative force evoked in the art of flamenco, I defer to Garcia Lorca -- the poet killed by right-wing Spanish civil war era assassins whose work seems ever more resonant in our time of vulgar demagogues and neo-liberal pretenders.
Canadian groups headed to America have two choices: Stump up $2000-$5000 in border fees and union dues and wait weeks for a permit, or go without and risk a two to five year personal ban from the US. Whether it's a one night show played for beer and beds or a full arena tour makes little difference to the costs and paperwork involved.
My name is Quinn Greene. I am mentally ill. My mother, Roxie. My father, Dave. My brother, Kane. We are all mentally ill. We are actor, entertainer, musician, writer. And we are anger, hoarding, anxiety and depression. But we are also working hard, fighting back, finding health and strength in each other, and we are full of hope.
I think that Grace VanderWaal is really special, and I would have preferred it if the big success could have been delayed a bit, so that she could have maintained her innocence for just a little while longer and enjoyed the rest of her childhood. And is Las Vegas the place that any decent parent wants their twelve-year-old hanging out in?
The Tragically Hip has heavily influenced Canadians ever since the band first broke the scene 30 years ago, and The Hip's music continues to influence Canadians of all ages to this day. Canadian music has become synonymous with The Tragically Hip. In addition to their music being adored across the country, each of their 14 studio albums is laced with lyrics that pay homage to Canada.
On the night of Friday, August 12th, at the Air Canada Centre, I saw one of my all-time favourite bands play for the last time ever. I warned my friend I would probably cry at the end of the show, but it only took the first song for my eyes to well up with tears. the feeling was very surreal, as the circumstances were not of your typical farewell tour.
While more fashionable bands have faded into musical footnotes, the Hip has enjoyed a 32-year career and domestic deification. But now the part of their name that has the most resonance as the Hip rocks its way across the nation one final time is "tragically." Not that you could tell from the surface euphoria onstage and in the stands as Gord Downie's incurable brain cancer took a backseat for a couple hours of communal rock catharsis during the band's 25-song concert at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
As Gord Downie closed the show with kisses to the cheeks of his bandmates and nods of gratitude to the 20,000 fans in Vancouver, the courage the lead singer displayed overwhelmed me. It saddened me, too. Downie, my cultural hero, is battling the same awful disease -- glioblastoma multiforme -- that took the life of my wife, Julia Pelish-Brijbassi, 137 days ago.
Can one summer go by without a mention of Woodstock? Not in my summer it doesn't. I grew up near the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair across the river on the Canadian side of the 1960s. In a perfect world, as August 1969 approached, I would have been holding a much prized $18 advance ticket to the Festival.
Depending on who you ask we either live in an age of rampant consumerism or endless choice -- the answer doesn't necessarily lie in the middle but both are true. The Internet has connected us personally, politically, socially and humanity's consumer nature has built a retail channel unlike any other before.