Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Barbarian

Bringing the "people dressed as Canadian superheroes" file up to date:

Monday, January 26, 2009

David Mirvish Books Closing

The Star
Spacing Toronto

Globe Books

It is quite the news. When I first read about it and posted it to Sequential, I thought that the closing of Mirvish was long overdue, in the context of North American booksellers, and definitely in relation to the book market as constituted by the Book Depots, BMVs, and Chapters/Amazons of the world. No way to compete, despite the deep pockets of the owner. Sure Mirvish Village is a "village," but it's not exactly Guelph, a one (or two) bookstore town. There are tons of (chain) stores within fifteen minutes of Mirvish. Not to mention that the store seemed overstaffed and closed early (chains stay open to 9 or midnight --especially in populous/cosmopolitan areas of megacities). Hell, the Bookshelf in Guelph is open most nights to 8 and our Chapters to 10. (But lets not forget that Heather Reisman set up a $3 million/year fund to Israeli army vets.) Anyway, Mirvish is going online, where they have a very slim chance, based on financial backing, acumen, and customer loyalty, to make a go of it as a boutique/gateway site for moneyed art book buyers. Overall, it was a great space, offering a great service. Books you would never stumble across anywhere if you didn't know what to ask for. Booklaunches for Shary Boyle and other artists. Support for small presses like The Porcupine's Quill. I had many great experiences there and found some great books. Silver lining: maybe the Beguiling will move out of its cramped space across the street, if the rent is reasonable.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

NFB Reveals New Site

Canada's National Film Board, or NFB for short, has been producing movies, ranging from animated shorts to documentaries to full-length features, since forever. They gave finally got around to opening a youtube-style website where you can watch all their films. There are over 700 films currently uploaded, with more added daily.

Here are some highlights:

1978 cartoon about death and the afterlife by Ishu Patel

1939 film about unemployment in the Depression

women pilots in WWII by Jane Marsh

Norman McLaren's Le Merle, 1958

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Be Nice, Clear Your Ice!

Ben Wicks was a bestselling author, tv host, and cartoonist. But his most lasting contribution to Canadian culture, besides the Ben Wicks Pub in Cabbagetown, may be this awesome public service ad that has inspired millions of Canucks: