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Firdaus Kharas: Animating public service and social justice

Firdaus Kharas' The Three Amigos was a series of 20 short PSAs that stressed the value of condoms in the battle against AIDS.

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Morro and Jasp: Canada's clown sisters cook up comedy with edge

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Morro and Jasp (aka Heather Annis and Amy Lee) are two Toronto-based playwrights who, for the past year and a half, have been performing and developing the portrayal of two clown sisters in the throes of puberty, independent living and love.

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Why it's time to give 'While the Men Watch' a game misconduct

Infographic by Jaela Bernstien.

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"We recognize that it's not meant for everyone," co-host Lena Sutherland explains in an interview on CBC's The Current about her new controversial program While the Men Watch.

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Gore Vidal in Montreal

Summer is just around the corner in Montreal; springtime is here, and with it the annual literary gathering known as the Blue Metropolis Festival, which recently welcomed to its stage renowned author, essayist and liberal activist Gore Vidal to set the tone for the literary happenings to come.

As the octogenarian was wheeled on to the dais, he paused, as if to announce himself to the crowd, and was overcome by the appreciative applause from the 600-plus crowd.

Before the night was over he was labelled as "cantankerous" by one young student, held up as the greatest U.S. president they never had by another, and would thoroughly entertain, if not enlighten, the congregated mass, though a dozen or so walked out before his talk had concluded.

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Vision visible: Vancouver Art Gallery lays out manifestos for the city

Detail from WE: Vancouver at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Around last year's Superbowl, Dockers issued a "Man-ifesto" to promote its khaki line. "It's time to answer the call of manhood," Dockers insisted. "It's time to wear the pants." With safety razors seemingly having cornered the market on "revolution" in the west nowadays, perhaps it's no surprise that the most radical thing a middle-class man can do is buy a pair of beige trousers.

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Imagining Africa: El Anatsui brings his metal tapestries to ROM

Three Continents, 2009 by El Anatsui

Ghanaian sculptor Brahim El Anatsui's father was a master weaver who taught the tradition of strip-weaving Kente cloths to his sons. This textile technique has become a staple of El Anatsui's art: he amasses and refashions the debris from his community to create majestic, visual narratives that address his personal history and global issues like environmental sustainability. The North American premiere of his four-decade career retrospective When I Last Wrote to You About Africa is at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, having been extended to Feb. 27.

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Water on the Table: A film about our most wasted resource

Water droplets on leaves.

Will the global community define water as a human right, available to all, or as a commodity to be bought, sold, traded, and ultimately out of reach from the poorest people on this earth? Liz Marshall's documentary, Water on the Table, explores this question through a portrait of Maude Barlow and her tireless efforts to define water as a human right.

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Monsters: A film that shows the American Dream sinking into archetypal psychosis

A still from Monsters, by Gareth Edwards.

The word "monster" comes from the Latin monstrum, which refers to a warning or judgement that traumatically breaks into this world from the realm of the divine. It is in this sense that British director Gareth Edward's 2010 film Monsters is well-named.

In the tradition of movies like Gojira, Edwards uses a giant monster invasion as an allegory for serious real-world dangers. This allegory stands atop an ancient mythical subtext underlying all monster stories. If the allegory deserves interpretation, the subtext demands exegesis. Monsters is both a commentary on the violence inflicted by an imperial power on an impoverished nation and a depiction of the religious horror the violence unleashes upon the world.

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Who's Degenerate now?

Portrait of the Lawyer Hugo Simons by Otto Dix.

The Otto Dix exhibition at the Neue Galerie, New York, comes to Montreal's Museum of Fine Arts on September 24. Ça vaut la visite. Rouge Cabaret: Love, Death, the Terrifying and Beautiful World of Otto Dix is the first one-man exhibition of his work ever held in North America. 

It comes at a time when many of us are fearful of the new autocracy found today in our home and native land, at a time when unreported crime is rampaging unchecked, while the military want more money and youth thrown into Afghanistan.

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Citizen Marc: Narcissistic megalomaniac or selfless activist?

Photo: flickr/Cannabis Culture

In the venerable Canadian TV show Trailer Park Boys, Ricky points out the prevalence of marijuana in Canadian culture: "Everybody does [marijuana], all right? Carpenters, electricians, dishwashers, floor cleaners, lawyers, doctors, fucking politicians, CBC employees, principals, people who paint the lines on the fucking roads, get stoned, it'll be fun, get to work!" It's a part of Canadian identity that separates us from our southern neighbours and yet hypocritically remains prohibited.

Roger Evan Larry's new documentary Citizen Marc is at once a portrait of a singular figure of marijuana activism, Marc Emery, and a study of Canadianness more generally.

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