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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.
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It was Ramadan, May 1988, and I was even more spaced out than usual, subsisting on a strange student diet of fig cakes and arroz y garbanzo. After an afternoon at the Prado, I found myself wandering one evening near the palacio de deportes and magically happened upon a Leonard Cohen en concierto esta noche sign. But what would I do? How would I ever afford a ticket?
Vancouver International Flamenco Festival
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."
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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.
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Bob Dylan's recent win of the Nobel Prize in Literature has raised eyebrows and has come with mixed feelings within the literati community. There are persons who see the academy's decision to award Dylan this coveted prize as "misguided and questioned whether songwriting, however brilliant," deserves to be ranked at the same standard as literature.
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.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, I like the idea that the Nobel committee chose someone without contempt for Israel.
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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.
There's a sound in those old vinyls that we don't really get in other music forms, an old-school, comforting flavour that takes the listener back to a better, simpler time. That's where the band Melted Vinyl drew its first inspiration.
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She also wowed 20,000 country fans.
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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?
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The summer after grade 12, driving the family minivan, down Duckworth Street. "Boots or Hearts." Harbour Drive, back through Water and George Street, if it was early enough. "Pigeon Camera." Back up Portugal Cove Road, bouncing wildly over the Rennie's Mill River bridge. "Blow at High Dough."
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Today's ticket purchasing landscape is a classic example of how technology can disrupt business and create regulatory and ethical grey areas -- and decision-makers can't keep up with the disruption or implement solutions fast enough.
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Canadian country singer/songwriter Rod Black is no neophyte to the country music scene. Black was born in Winnipeg with country music in his veins where he grew up listening to classic country stars such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.
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Ruth Berhe is an unassuming 21-year-old Canadian from Edmonton, who started her career by crooning six-second clips on Vine. She sat down to chat about the thrill ride of going from relative anonymity, to being signed by Columbia Records and having one of the hottest songs on the charts.
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Push harder, run faster and feel that stretch.
Although we have a long way to go in the fight for equality, it's cities like Toronto who pave the way for acceptance and support of LGBT expression. This support is reflected in the long history of supporting queer music.
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Aboriginal Day Live, an annual celebration of Canada's National Aboriginal Day and the summer solstice, has been delighting audiences since 2007. The event features some of the most accomplished Aboriginal musicians, including award-winning and up-and-coming artists.
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An openly gay frontman, an Armenian violinist, a drummer, guitarists, poets, and composers -- Mashrou' Leila is either nothing like you'd expect of Lebanese musicians, or everything. And they're playing in Toronto for Pride this year.
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When it's showtime and we go live, we're ready to follow the master plan put together by our incredible production crew, but life doesn't always follow the exact plan... and sometimes that can lead to magical moments.
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A vote by Toronto's Economic Development Committee has sent Toronto staff off to study the potential addition of a night mayor into the city's cadre of public officials. This is just the latest in a series of decisions as Toronto endeavours to refine its image as a Music City and its interactions with actors in Toronto's internationally-recognized music scene.
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Moby describes this time in his life as "celebratory in the face of squalor" and on many levels that sentiment chimes through each chapter. Providing a private glimpse into his sexual escapades, celebrity encounters, struggles with sobriety and downright shenanigans, the book candidly and often comically details the party before the storm.
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Shake up your fitness routine with new songs and a new location!
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.
"Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House" revolved around the central role of the coffee house in the worlds of both 18th Century Leipzig and Damascus, uncovering cross-cultural influences between two cities which sit 3000 km. apart.
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The night of the performance is one that will be etched in my mind forever. As Amanda, you always dreamed of being on a big stage surrounded by lights and music. In the performance piece called "My Name is Amanda Todd," that is what happened.
Feel good sadness. Nostalgia music. Quintessentially Canadian. That's what the Tragically Hip was to us when we were in high school in the 90s. Gord Downie's voice was omnipresent, whether it was a bush party, a school dance, on the way to a buddy's cottage, or at the cottage having a few beers and sitting on the dock.