П is for Pussy Riot: thinking ahead to the next Russian Olympic Games

Pussy Riot’s commitment to social justice in the motherland is more than admirable. It perhaps merits a spot in Russia’s artistic canon.

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia closed today, and if you set aside the homophobia and generally strong-armed approach to governance by the host, one Vladimir Putin, these games were remarkable in just about every way.

The images of the opening ceremonies have lingered with me for the past couple of weeks. If you watched, you know that the creative team built their narrative around the highwater marks in the nation’s glorious history, honoring their accomplishments in the arts, literature, science and technology. Given Russia’s considerable heritage, the little girl’s interaction with Cyrillic alphabet primer, associating a historical moment with each letter, couldn’t help being an impressive reminder to the world of the nation’s rich cultural legacy. Continue reading

Sochi opening ceremony: when Goebbels and Reifenstahl met Cirque du Soleil

Alexander Putin may not be preparing to invade Europe, but he understands the value of spectacle in establishing a nation’s place in the world.

Sports_OlympicsThe Winter Olympics opening ceremonies in Sochi may have been the grandest show in history. It may also have been the grandest propaganda spectacle in history. It’s easy to get caught up in an artistic endeavor of that magnitude – I sat here with my jaw hanging open for a couple of hours – and the fluency with which President Putin’s creative department embedded a boldly geo-political program within some of the most breathtaking artistry we’ve ever seen. Continue reading

Nota Bene #107: Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

“I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” Who said it? Continue reading

Watching the Olympics

We had a great time watching the Olympics. I honestly have no memory whatsoever of paying any attention at all to what was going on in Turin four years ago—maybe we were travelling, maybe we just forgot. It was hard to not notice these Olympics here in the UK, given the relationship with Canada—everyone has some family that settled there, it seems, and there are a whole lot of Canadians who live in the UK. And, you know, hope springs eternal in curling. So after the disastrous start, we resolved to just put the Olympics on and leave them there, in support. Not that we’re huge fans. But winter Olympics area always a lot more fun than the summer ones. And then there’s the fact that watching them here in the UK is an outright pleasure.
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Nota Bene #105: The Illustrated Dick

“When all you are becomes defined as the amount of information traceable to you, what are we then? What have we become, in a world where there is no separation, no door, no filter beyond which we can say, ‘No. This is my personal space. Not yours. Here I am alone with my thoughts and free of any outside influence or control. This, you cannot have.’ I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out.” Who said it? Continue reading

Can we please do something about the goddamned moguls competition?

Okay, help me out here.

Last night I was watching the Men’s Moguls competition from Vancouver. Absolutely fantastic fun, lots of drama, the thrill of victory, apeshit Canadians, etc. But this particular event, probably moreso than anything this side of parkour, drives me bonkers. (No, figure skating and synchronized swimming aren’t sports. Anytime you can trigger controversy because your tutu is trimmed in fur, whatever you’re doing isn’t a sport. Period. Let’s move along.)

Here’s the problem.

What part of hurtling a zillion miles an hour down a double-black mogul field isn’t good enough for you? I mean, powder, skis, a steep mountain and a stopwatch – that sounds like a pretty good sport to me. Continue reading

Nota Bene #93: Linksgiving

Welcome to my home Continue reading