Monday, November 29, 2010

Things to do in Toronto when you're poor

So okay, the title's misleading, because I will not be discussing things to do in Toronto when you're poor. That's all sizzle, and I will be providing no steak. I also have no clear idea of where I'm gonna go with this, so it may get a little meandery. Let's get the important stuff out of the way first.

Lego Advent Calendar day 24: When it all makes sense.

When did Santa drive a train? Maybe it's a European thing.
The 24th came packed with a larger than average baggy, which contained Santa [clothed, this time. What a gentleman.] and the engine of the tiny little train he's carrying his comically oversized toys in. It's nice. It's... final. Although I'm not sure what to do with more than one Santa figure.

That's about all of the toy talk for today. Another hot update: I don't know how many of the 2 of you reading still happen to have outstanding OSAP loans, but I got a letter today and the nice people in the government said "You know what, Will? We like you. Let's forget about a bit of your bill." I didn't know this was an option, but hell! I'll take it. It was a pleasant surprise, I'll tell you that much. Oh hey! I just saw a segue, and I'm gonna take it. Right after this unrelated thing:

From behind the snowy bank, Naked Santa launches his surprise assault.

So I just said "I didn't know," and SPEAKING of not knowing, you know what's worse than not knowing stuff? Not knowing you don't know it and going on about it anyways. Which brings me around to my suggestion for something to do in Toronto if you're too poor to get into TIFF.

Dree emails me a few days back and says, "Hey. There's a thing on Saturday at the NFB building." The NFB building, in case you didn't know, is where the NFB is headquartered in Toronto. It also has a lovely lobby where you can go in and sit and watch whatever NFB stuff you want for free. There's a world of videos available to you. It's like YouTube if you replaced the videos of idiots with videos of... well, this, I guess.

Which I clearly got off of YouTube. Either way, the chairs are comfortable.

Anyway, I'm not going to talk about that [but if you're poor, and are in Toronto, it's a good way to learn about disenfranchised youth in Manitoba, or, you know, whatever.] No, the reason we went was for the WildSound Film Festival, the festival where YOU are the star. I'd send you to the website, but I don't want to support this organization more than I have to.

Let me say this: it was one of the most singularly embarrassing spectacles I've been involved in in quite some time. The theory behind the show is admirable, I'll admit. The intention is to show some shorts, and then engage the audience in a discussion about them. "Moderation" it was called. Fine and good, and far be it for me to besmirch the encouragement of intellectual discussion about film. But I can say this: I took film in school, and I've gone through years of classes where this sort of stuff was done, supposedly by educated people, and it was even then largely unbearable. Students, if they have nothing to actually add, at least have read proper 'respected' film analysis and should in some way be aware of what a good point might be, and may be able to frame their ideas accordingly. The crowd at WildSound, which was about 50% confused people, 30% blowhards, and 20% hobos, had none of this. And to top it off, it was 'moderated' by a guy who by his own admission "Didn't care about, like, lenses or whatever" and hadn't seen the shorts he was showing. How can you be the curator of a festival without seeing the shorts? Did you just pull them out of your butt?

Well, we watched them, and maybe he did. They were about 50% complete suck. But they're shorts, they tend to do that. A short is a tough thing, and in my estimation they miss the mark more often than not [but the ones that hit are fantastic, which there were 2. Patience]. But to show a crappy video and then badger a roomful of meatheads into getting all philosophical about it is just cruel and unusual. At least have the conversation moderated by someone who knows what the hell they're talking about.

However! Two of the shorts were great. I recommend trying to see them if you can. One, Miracle Fish, is [or was] apparently nominated for the Oscar. The other good one, FARD, was awesome. Here's a clip. Your mind should be sitting down.

You can see the whole thing here, but it's in French without the subtitles we were treated to, so you may miss some of the more overt Orwellianisms. It's still fun to watch, though.

So yes. In closing, the WildSound festival was a train wreck. An awkward, cringing mess that set my jerkish inclination all a-tizzy. I should be nicer to the average person, I know. They're trying, really. But goodness, people are idiots. But I am too, because you know I'm gonna go to the next festival.

And I will leave you with this:

There can be only ONE!!

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