In the May 1989 issue of SPIN, born-again Christian evangelist Bob Larson followed the band Slayer on tour and presented his account in an article called “Desperately Seeking Satan.” By the end, Larson determined that Slayer’s “root of evil” was “rock’n'roll stardom” and that their “act of iniquity” was not with Satan, but with the “Billboard charts and T-shirt sales.” Still, he prayed that “both their eternal and artistic souls” would be saved.
Almost 25 years later, musician and filmmaker Justin Ludwig decided to follow two bands from perhaps an even more mystifying and misunderstood genre of music: Christian hardcore. As Ludwig explains in the beginning of the documentary, hardcore music helped him to break free from the shackles of organized religion and the oppression of conformist thinking.
If ChristCORE were a fictional Hollywood story, it’s easy to imagine that by the end, Ludwig will recant and become a born-again Christian. But, this is real life, or at least the documentary film version.
Regardless of your gender, I Declare War will take you back to your childhood fantasies. The film opens with children playing a war game and the rules are quickly established. These two teams are deep in the woods playing Capture The Flag, but things change when some soldiers decide to take their lives in their own hands and defy their Generals.
During the film we are sucked into their world, becoming one of them, a solider. Hiding, crawling, always on the defense, and feeling like part of the squad. Waiting for the attack and watching your friends’ backs in hopes the enemy is not lurking behind you and trying to flank your troops. This is the level of realism I Declare War presents and it holds up until the end credits roll.
Photo © Gail Byrek
For documentaries that chronicle a certain scene, be it music, theater, film, or another art form, the question many might ask is why? Is the documentary supposed to shed light on a misunderstood or little-known series of events? Is the documentary trying to cast the people and events in a flattering or unflattering light? Or, as some might speculate, is the documentary just a forum for those involved to pat themselves on the back and say, “I was there”? For The Last Pogo Jumps Again, the answer to all of these questions is yes, but it’s a qualified assent.
You’ve probably heard of Canadian Music Week, but did you know that films are part of the festivities? Much like South by Southwest and North by Northeast, where there is music, there are films. If you have music, films will come (or something like that).
This year marks the sixth annual CMW Film Fest (as it’s called ’round these parts). It takes place over three days, from March 21 – 23. Conveniently, all movies will be screened at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on King Street West in Toronto.
I’ll be reviewing every film in the festival over the next week or so, but in the meantime, here’s some short previews of what to expect.
Andrea Subissati and Paul Corupe
For hardcore genre fans in the Toronto area, last year’s The Black Museum was a dream come true: an interactive lecture series on horror and cult films that didn’t require waking up early or writing papers.
Luckily, curators Paul Corupe and Andrea Subissati are presenting another season of The Black Museum, and this time, it’s personal! (Not really, but I couldn’t resist that joke.) Season Two will feature five more lectures on genre themes that will be both fun and educational.
Photo © Annabel Mehran because I wouldn’t have been able to snap a photo of the band live without a ladder.
February 6, 2013
I’m a bit of a Ty Segall n00b, having only become a fan with the release of 2011′s Slaughterhouse, so this was my first chance to see him live. Like Segall’s music, the show was a bit of a sprawling, riotous orgy, with three opening acts.
By Emily Carney
Toronto’s Hayden Desser released one of my favorite indie rock albums in 1996, Everything I Long For. It has aged remarkably well, given that it was produced in the mid-1990s (let’s face it; music did have a specific sound then, even though we didn’t realize it at the time). It occupied a prominent place in my CD collection (remember CDs?), next to Sebadoh’s III and Pavement’s Wowee Zowee. I’ve lost track of Hayden over the years, but just caught up with his music by listening to his newest release, Us Alone. It’s like saying hello to an old friend who has gotten older and might be having a slight nervous breakdown, but I mean that in the best possible way.
Tracks like “Instructions” and “Just Give Me a Name” are moody and slow, very much in tune with some of Hayden’s 1996 tracks. The more uptempo tracks, including “Rainy Saturday” and “Blurry Nights” have a Neil Young-esque quality to them—lots of guitar effects, plaintive vocals, and slightly country-ish flourishes. This album is not a radical departure for Hayden by any means; it’s more like a whisper in the dark than a sonic boom.
That being said, it’s recommended listening. It has a “sweet and low” quality, similar to Yo La Tengo. It’s perfect listening for the party after the party, where you’re drunk, emotionally overwhelmed and exhausted.
As some things get older, some things stay the same—while it seems Desser is in a happy relationship, he’s still a bit mournful. Adulthood does that to you.
2/6: Kingston, ON @ The Grad Club
2/7: Guelph, ON @ Cooperators Hall SOLD OUT
2/8: Hamilton, ON @ The Dundas Valley Montessori School SOLD OUT
2/9: Avening, ON @ Avening Community Centre SOLD OUT
2/13: New York City, NY @ Mercury Lounge*
2/20: Toronto, ON @ The Dakota Tavern SOLD OUT
2/21: Toronto, ON @ The Cameron House SOLD OUT
2/22: Toronto, ON @ Rivoli* SOLD OUT
3/7: Wakefield, QC @ Blacksheep Inn*
3/8: Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa*
3/13: Austin, TX @ SXSW
3/17: Denver, CO @ Hi Dive*
3/20: Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern*
3/21: Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge*
3/23: Vancouver, BC @ The Rio Theatre*
3/24: Nelson, BC @ The Royal on Baker*
3/26: Edmonton, AB @ The Royal Alberta Museum Theatre*
3/27: Calgary, AB @ Festival Hall*
3/28: Saskatoon, SK @ The Bassment*
3/30: Winnipeg, MB @ West End Cultural Centre*
4/3: Chicago, IL @ Schubas*
6/8: Toronto, ON @ Arts & Crafts 10th Anniversary Field Trip
* with special guest Lou Canon
By Melissa B.
There are few movies I love more than Bruce McDonald’s 1996 Hard Core Logo. It’s a rock mockumentary about an obscure Canadian punk band who reunite for one last tour, hoping to recapture what fleeting fame they once had. When it came out in the States, it was advertised as a movie in the vein of This Is Spinal Tap. While it is occasionally hilarious, it has a dark, seamy underbelly. It’s not a feel good movie.
Hard Core Logo’s two stars, Hugh Dillon and Callum Keith Rennie, share an electric chemistry. Their scenes together don’t feel like acting. Dillon hadn’t acted a great deal before Hard Core Logo, and what he doesn’t have in technical “acting” skill, he makes up for in sheer magnetism. His character, Joe Dick, is by turns funny, malevolent, pathetic, and always fascinating. He is a mostly charming manipulator.
One of the finest actors around, Callum Keith Rennie is his icy cool counterpart. Rennie’s Billy Tallent is a gifted guitar player, just about to break through with another band after years of paying his dues slogging with bands like HCL. He reluctantly rejoins his comrades for a last tour, with an eye to the end, where he’ll join with indie sweethearts Jenifur.
As much as I love genre fiction, I’ll admit that most mainstream genre movies and TV shows are fairly sexist. Even if they don’t obviously reinforce stereotypes or display misogynist behavior, the violence enacted against women is often in higher proportion to what their male counterparts must endure. Enter Lost Girl, a Canadian-produced TV show whose title might seem to indicate more of the same, but which is a delightful and welcome entry into the world of genre television.
Lost Girl was created by a woman (Michelle Lovretta) and many of the episodes are written and directed by women. In addition, the gender makeup of the principal cast is half female and half male. The main character, Bo (Anna Silk) is a succubus who is trying to find her way in the world of the Fae (also known as fairy folk) while not committing to either the Light Fae or Dark Fae.
New this week on Popshifter: Danny is not very fond of the film 360, out now on home video; Chelsea is over the moon about the new Big Dipper album, Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet (and shares their new video for “Robert Pollard”); Lisa voices unpopular opinions about It’s A Wonderful Life; Cait raves about the new white vinyl 7″ from Concrete Blonde; I express admiration and frustration for Take This Waltz; and Elizabeth talks about Community, Disney, Netflix & Verizon in a new installment of “TV Is Dead, Long Live TV.”