Archive for October 4th, 2009

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We Get By With A Little Help From Yo-Yo Ma

October 4, 2009

Our leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, turned up at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa Saturday night. It was a surprise to the audience at the gala event; Harper is not known to be a fan of the arts, and his presence at this sort of event is unexpected. You know what else is unexpected? This:

Politics aside, and musical taste aside, I just think it’s cool that he did this. Harper is known for maintaining strict control over his public image and message, and he does not like to look like anything other than a stately leader. When this happens, he is quick to make sure we Canadians get a different message.

The famous photo of him in a black leather cowboy vest and hat was the last time anyone saw him dressed like a member of the Village People. The shot of him sternly shaking his son’s hand on the first day of school made people question his approach to parenting, and led to a long list of photos of him being really dadly. And that shot someone snapped a couple of years back of Steve’s big belly led to not only a Harper weight-loss effort, but an encouragement to his caucus to cut the fat from their waistlines.

So I was surprised and happy to see him up there on stage, singing badly, unashamed and smiling, just a guy having some fun. It was a good reminder that he isn’t a robot after all. Just because he’s been accused of being against funding and supporting the arts doesn’t mean he has to get up on stage and prove he’s a rockin’ guy. Not at all.

Kind of cool that he had Yo-Yo Ma on stage with him, though.

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Black October 4: The X-Files, Home

October 4, 2009

No, it isn’t a horror movie. It’s an episode of a TV show. But I have it on DVD, so it counts.

Home is one of the long-running X-Files series’ most controversial episodes. I know that Canadian broadcasters chose to never show it again once it originally aired, but if I think back, that was announced before it came out, so it might have been marketing. It worked on me. My X-fascination was tapering off by the time this episode aired, but I was interested in watching it. I knew I wanted to see The X-Files slither back to its horror roots after the alien mythology had dominated for so long.

And did it slither back? Oh, yeah.

Watching it again, it’s surprising how lighthearted parts of the episode are. The sheriff is named Andy Taylor and his deputy is Barney, and Mulder wastes no time in pointing this out. There are all kinds of goofy little moments, which is good, because the true horror of what is going on highlights the need for the occasional smile.

This is a kidnap story. Mulder and Scully take a break from chasing aliens and fighting conspiracies to investigate a vanishing in a small prairie town called Home. There, they hear about a strange family named Peacock, three inbred, disfigured hermit brothers from a long line of hermits. They live in a ramshackle old house on a ramshackle old farm. And there’s something under the bed.

When Mulder and Scully sneak into the Peacock house to investigate, they find evidence of a legacy of despair, and a person whose appearance on screen — less than a minute — is one of the most haunting, terrifying scenes in broadcast television history.

Without spoiling, I can tell you that the episode ends with a hint of even more horror to come. This aired around Halloween, if I recall correctly, and is an excellent example of the multifaceted success The X-Files could achieve when everything came together. Monster of the week, conspiracy, aliens … fans know X-Files episodes by the easy label that can be applied to them. Very few are pure horror, and this one is the best of those.

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Worst Music Video Ever Of The Week: Get In My Car

October 4, 2009

David Hasselhoff: “I need some ideas for my next music video.”

Director: “Why would you make a music video?”

David Hasselhoff: “Uh, because I’m a major famous rock star in a lot of places where the plug-ins look funny.”

Director: “Sure, okay. Any ideas?”

David Hasselhoff: “I would like to appear in a music video that makes me look like a creepy stalker, or maybe a guy who likes to pick up hookers.”

Director: “I’d better hear the song first.”

David Hasselhoff: “No problem, duderino!”

Director: “I quit.”

David Hasselhoff: “You can’t quit. We have a contract.”

Director: “I don’t care about some contract. I have bigger worries … I might have to pour bleach into my ears.”

David Hasselhoff: “If you want something done right, do it yourself. And if you can’t, you hire a couple of teenagers to make it, and then go find some hookers.”

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