sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
It's hard getting into new music when you're old.

There's various reasons, cultural and perhaps biological, that make it harder to passionately love bands that you hear in your 30s and 40s as much as bands that you encountered in your teens and 20s. I do try to listen to new bands—and support them financially—as much as I can, but I often find that even when I fall in love with a new-to-me band, half the time it turns out they they've been around for 30 years and I'd just never heard of them. I just don't bond with new artists as much as I'd like to.

So when there is a band that's new and hits all of my musical buttons, I get evangelical. I'm gonna do that for a bit. About a year and a half ago, I clicked on a semi-random link (someone complaining about a thing) and accidentally heard a single from a Sudbury band called Murder Murder who described themselves as "bloodgrass" and played nothing but murder ballads.

How do I describe this band beyond that they're a phenomenally talented bluegrass band with a morbid streak as deep as a 19th gold vein on your rival's stake? If your favourite Nick Cave & the Bad Seed albums are Murder Ballads and Kicking Against the Pricks, you think Deadwood was criminally underrated, and you find goth-hipster-cowboy a compelling aesthetic, you will dig them.

One of the things about them is that after hearing all their stuff, I knew that they would be fantastic live. Of course, the main problem is that, in the short time I've been obsessed with them, they have played everywhere but Toronto. They have in the past, but they mainly seem to do folk festivals in towns I've never heard of. I mean, they're big in Sudbury, but that is a bit far to go for a gig.

They finally announced a Toronto show, the launch party for their third album. By the way, their publicity is terrible. It took some actual digging for me to find out things like "when" and "where" and "is this a thing that is happening for sure?" It appeared to only be advertised on FB, with no advance tickets, and some initial uncertainty as to where the venue was. But! Found all that out, dragged my mother, who does not like country music at all but enjoyed this almost as much as I did, and at last got to see them live.

I was nearly as excited for the opening act, based on the description alone. Manslaughter are an all-female collective outlaw band. I would love to link you to their stuff, but this was only their second gig. You can add them on Facebook, though, which has links to all the members' other projects.


They did not disappoint. They're a bit like Neko Case except that there are 4-6 of them (depending on the song/show) and I am in love. Their best song is called "Murder Murder" and is completely adorable and I just hope they release an album soon so that I can play it for you all.

Murder Murder, as predicted, were phenomenal. Intense, rowdy, punk as fuck, and just a joy to listen to. Their new album, which I am currently listening to, is as excellent as their last two. Beyond the novelty concept (which, don't get me wrong, I adore), they are just really, really musically talented. You should check them out so that I do not obsess alone.

murder murder
Crappy cell pictures are a Sabs concert tradition.

Anyway here's their latest single: And have two more for the road, just because they're two of my favourites and they played both last night.

ETA: Why is formatting in DW such bullshit? Can I not just embed videos and move on with my life?
sabotabby: (doctor who)
For your enjoyment and viewing pleasure, here are some Nazis punching other Nazis. We do not know why, or who filmed this, or why people think that filming vertical video in 2017 is an acceptable thing to do, but we can just sit back and enjoy it, right?

Here is some background on the Nazis involved: Ronny Cameron (the organizer of yesterday's pitiful LARP module), and Eric Brazau.

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (AK Hello Kitty/springheel_jack)
Thanks for all the birthday wishes. You guys know how to make a girl feel loved.

I bet you're curious as to what I did on my birthday. In fact, I bet you're wondering if I went to see Laibach and got a gang of friends together to reenact Rathergood's 2009 classic viral animation, "Fear the Kittens," dressed in cat masks and Soviet hats.

I bet you're wondering if I have video evidence that I did this.

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (day of the dead)
 photo 1511598_10152016273016720_1295264103_n_zps80140377.jpg
The above image is the only rational explanation for the otherwise premature death of Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus. I'm sure another cause of death will emerge, but this is the correct one. And also sums up why the world is a lesser place in his absence.

Here are some videos to remember him by.

Back when it was metal causing juvenile delinquency and not gangsta rap and Tipper Gore wanted to put warning labels on everything fun, here is GWAR on Joan Rivers talking about censorship.

GWAR covering "Carry On My Wayward Son."

Oderus reading "Goodnight Moon." NSFW.

ETA: [ profile] jvmatucha has an awesome GWAR story plus more videos, so hop on over there too.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (joe hill)
Let's fight for a four-hour day.

Also, this article, while US-centric, sums up my feelings about Labour Day better than most. Am I still going to the march? Yeah, but I'll be rolling my eyes a lot.

Obligatory Billy Bragg song (note that they don't play this kind of thing at the Labour Day march):


Jul. 30th, 2013 01:09 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (gunfight at carnegie hall)
Last Saturday, an 18-year-old boy named Sammy Yatim, brandishing a small knife, ordered everyone off a downtown streetcar. A crowd of cops surrounded the scene. After making no attempt to de-escalate the situation, the cops yelled at him to drop the knife, then shot him nine times. As he lay dying, they tasered him. At no point was anyone other than Sammy in danger—the streetcar was empty other than him.

Sammy, like most of us, wasn't an angel. It's suspected that he was having some sort of psychiatric episode, though he had no history of psychiatric illness. If this is the case, he wouldn't be the first mentally ill person to be gunned down by police. Nor would he be the first person of colour.

This killing, unlike most incidents of police brutality, has a twist: It was caught on video. You can watch it here (warning—the video depicts a teenager being murdered):

Bless surveillance from below—otherwise, these cops would get away scot-free like they normally do. Instead, the city's up in arms—there was a huge rally yesterday and another scheduled for August 13th. Even the usually kneejerk pro-cop Rosie DiManno voiced criticisms. Despite copious evasion and use of the passive voice on the part of police chief Bill Blair, one of the officers was suspended. (With pay, of course.)

Lest we get too hopeful that one of the thugs in blue will actually face consequences by gunning down a kid who was no threat to anyone other than himself, keep in mind that the SIU, which investigates incidents where cops kill or seriously injure civilians, is almost exclusively composed of former cops, and they protect their own. According to a Star investigation:

In its 20-year history, the SIU has conducted at least 3,400 investigations and laid criminal charges after only 95 of them, according to a Star analysis. The SIU does not track what happens to those it charges. But the Star has, and found only 16 officers have been convicted of a crime. Only three have seen the inside of a jail — as inmates.

The power and unearned respect that we afford cops in this culture is just staggering. They operate as a criminal gang here, armed and above the law—if I were a betting woman, I'd wager that none of these cops are going to face any real consequences for needlessly taking this young man's life. That there is any protest at all is heartening—a sign that there are at least some of us willing to demand justice and accountability. But I'm glumly cynical that there will ever come a day that cops are subject to the same rules as everyone else.

By the way, it is still legal to film police, despite what they'd have you think. I encourage everyone to do so when they witness abuses of police power. It's not much of a defence, but it's the only one we have.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (gother than fuck)
I regaled everyone at our Spirit of the Century game yesterday with this completely awesome song, and [ profile] the_axel suggested that I post it for the rest of you.

(Somewhere, in a slightly more awesome universe than ours, there is a stage production of Cabaret that also features Lydia Lunch as Sally Bowles and Nick Cave as Cliff Bradshaw.)
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (pinko pie)
Police launched a massive raid in the neighbourhood at the centre of the Rob Ford crack video scandal, arresting 43 people, of which the Honourable Wife-Beating, Drunk-Driving, Bird-Flipping, Crack-Smoking Mayor was, sadly, not one. The house featured in the crack video was one of the ones they raided. They seized 40 guns and $3 million in drugs, and missed the boat by calling it "Project Traveller" instead of "Operation Gravy Train."

Yet another stark example of how, if you're a young black guy involved in the drug trade and the police find out, you'll go to jail. If you're a white millionaire who becomes mayor, the police will help you cover your tracks. Oh yeah, Toronto police knew about the crack video for weeks before the Gawker story broke.

The laughable bumblefuck, meanwhile, claims ignorance because his cable was out. It's almost as if he doesn't carry around a little device capable of accessing the largest collection of information accumulated in human history. I hear these devices can also make phone calls, like to his buddies in the police department. (Note: If this device did exist, you should not use it while driving.)

That's law enforcement in Toronto for you.

Apropos of nothing but I didn't feel like making a separate post: If you're having a bad day, I suggest you watch this video of Turkish protesters singing "Do You Hear the People Sing?" Hell, even if you're having a good day, check it out 'cause it's awesome.

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (hellraiser kitty)
You'll never be able to relate to the rest of humanity.

This is exactly how it feels.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (day of the dead)
I've been spamming FB about this but I'm going to spam here too because it's important. Former Guatemalan dictator José Efraín Rios Montt was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 80 years in prison. Fucker's going to rot in jail, and if I'm wrong about the whole atheism thing, he's going to rot in hell before the sentence is up. I'd like to see him hanged from a lamp post but this is pretty great too.

Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing has provided excellent blow-by-blow coverage of the trial, so you can read that if you're interested in the details and why this verdict is so important for the indigenous people of Guatemala. If you have more time, you should also read I, Rigoberta Menchu.

Speaking of Rigoberta Menchu, here she is reacting to the verdict.

Two of my friends lived in Guatemala for a number of years and are re-tweeting play-by-plays from the courtroom. Apparently, there are cheering crowds, singing this song, which has for years been one of my favourite songs of all time:

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (harper = evil)
Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau is a wife-beating racist shitbag, and it seems to have caught up with him. Read this, then read this, and then enjoy the happy memory of that time Justin Trudeau punched him out. (Note: I also enjoy the thought of Trudeau getting punched, but Brazeau is more of a scumbag. Note also that this typifies my feelings about the Liberal and Conservative parties, respectively.)

While we're on the topic of people who shouldn't be in positions of authority, the LAPD has now totally lost its shit. If I'm following the story correctly, an ex-LAPD officer went nuts and killed a bunch of people after trying to whistleblow about corruption in the department. The LAPD reacted by shooting him just kidding, shooting two completely innocent people who looked nothing like him (as in they were Asian women and he is a black dude, but, you know, driving a car that looked a bit like his).

My pension plan is evil. :( I mean, I knew that, but this is really evil.

If you need a chaser after that, here's a video of the first Hello Kitty in space.

I also like this list of 25 things you don't have to justify to anyone. I disagree with #22, though—who you vote for affects other people, and if you vote for someone who, for example, wants to take some of my human rights away, I reserve the right to judge you for it. Otherwise, though, I think it's got a message many of us need to hear right now.

In other news, the snow is really coming down, isn't it? I am really enjoying my classes this semester and I hate the thought of losing a day of teaching, but—you know, if it's a snow day and I can hang around in my pyjamas all day watching The Wire and cuddling with my cats, that's okay too.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (yay)
McGuinty resigned! Hopefully this will be the ray of hope that will spark Ontario unions back into action. Wonder what spurred it: knowing that he'd eventually lose the fight over the unconstitutional Bill 115, the power plant scandal, or fear of having to fight all of the workers, all at once.

At any rate, this well may become a clusterfuck but tonight I'm celebrating over the resignation of a politician whose shortsighted policies have cost me money and health.

In the meantime, enjoy the Honourable Wife-Beater getting Gangnam Styled at a football game:

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (eat flaming death)
Apparently no one else watches quirky Canadian comedies about assholes, because no one bothered to inform me that Ken Finkleman has a new show. It's called Good God, and I'm about five episodes in and completely addicted.

See, years ago, I was into this TV show called The Newsroom (not that one everyone is watching now) and this other TV show called More Tears. Finkleman played the same character in both, a narcissistic, neurotic, womanizing TV executive named George Findlay. This one is about the same character, but you don't need to have watched the other shows. All you need to know is that he's a terrible person with decent politics.

So in Good God, George is dating the philanthropist daughter of a wealthy media baron who is in no way either Rupert Murdoch or Conrad Black. Her father offers him a job as head of FOX News North—er, Right News—and all of a sudden, George finds himself in the unenviable position of being the least awful person in the room. Right News is an uncomfortable alliance of Randroids, old-money aristocrats, fundamentalist Christians, and a few folks just in it for a quick buck. It's low-hanging fruit for satire, except that Finkleman is generally at his best when he's taking potshots at the left, so there's also some great bits with limousine liberals and, in one particularly lovely segment, historical materialist architects.

It's a bit The Office and a bit Colbert Report, but there's a uniquely Canadian angle in that right-wing populism doesn't translate well here. FOX News didn't exactly make it up here, after all. And even our equivalent, the Toronto SUN, occasionally does decide that the Honourable Wife Beater is just too crazy and extremist. So it's about the media and in particular the right-wing media, but it's also about the very strange political moment we're in where we are dipping our toes into politics that up until recently would be considered outright insane. It's a show for the Harper/Ford era and it's nearly as frightening as it is hilarious.

Also in it: Samantha Bee from The Daily Show and a guy I went to high school with.

Here's one of my favourite parts. The four on-air personalities have just been informed that they need to take a 25% pay cut, and they decide to band together and fight back against their employer—until someone points out that this is collective bargaining and they've just accidentally formed a union.

And here is Finkleman out of character being pretty damn cool (I hate Strombo but the interview is great):

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (march)
I am a bad, bad blogger.

Like the rest of the English-language media, I've been totally crap about blogging what's been happening in Québec, which is only the most politically significant event in the country right now. I mean, I've been re-linking to a bunch of things on Facebook, but that's not the same as getting the word out about what's been going on there, what those red squares are all about, and the massive violations of civil liberties that are taking place while the rest of Canada has a long nap.

Okay, so it all started with a student strike over tuition rates. Yes, Québec tuition rates are the lowest in the country. Entitled Boomers, forgetting all about their own advantages, say that Québec students are spoiled brats for wanting them to stay that way. I say, if your city has the lowest amount of homicides, does that mean you should raise that rate to be on par with the rest of the country? A post-secondary education is mandatory for any job above minimum wage (and increasingly required for minimum wage jobs), and tuition rates are a barrier that keeps lower-income people out. Period. Québec's low tuition rates have kept the province more egalitarian (that and universal daycare).

So it's not just any strike, but the largest in Canadian history. And it's been violent. By which I mean the cops have been gassing and shooting these kids. Several young people have lost eyes because the cops are aiming for their heads.

If that's not enough to hit all your rage buttons, the government just passed an emergency law, Bill 78, drastically restricting civil liberties, particularly around campuses. It initially defined a "riot" as a gathering of 10 or more people; that was later amended to 50, which still rules out some of your more exciting dance parties. There have been mass arrests and kettling, the same techniques that, two years after the G20 here, have been deemed illegal and immoral.

And yet the movement keeps growing. The students aren't discouraged, the protests keep getting bigger, and are drawing international support. Even—and you're going to love this one—the National Post is coming around:

“Entitlement.” We hear that word associated again and again with student protesters in Quebec. Usually, it’s preceded by the words, “sense of.”

“They think someone owes them a living,” disgruntled critics harrumph. “Wait until they get into the real world.”

Setting aside the fact that this intergenerational hectoring dates back to Socrates, let us ask: Who exactly is making the charge? Quebec has had low tuition rates for a half century. That means almost every living adult in the province, having already been afforded a plum goodie, is now wagging his finger at the first generation that will be asked to pay the tab. So who really is entitled here?

So that's why a lot of us are wearing red squares. This has become much more than disgruntled students not wanting to spend half their careers repaying a massive debt. This is about class, and wealth distribution, and equal opportunities for all.

And it's kind of amazing.

cut for video that autoplays )


May. 6th, 2012 12:04 am
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (iCom by starrypop)
Awesome show tonight: the premiere of Kids on TV's newest album/videos, Pantheon, at Harbourfront HATCH artists-in-residence series. I am going to make you all buy this album when it comes out in September because it is fantastic. I do love it when I can shamelessly plug my friends' music.

Here's their first single, "Bobby," about the secret love affair between Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. In addition to being catchy, this song also taught me something I didn't know about art history.

But anyway. Just wait until the Dazzler one comes out. And the cover of "Cloudbusting" by way of the Magnetic Fields. Incidentally, I didn't know what "Cloudbusting" was about before either, though I really should have.


Mar. 23rd, 2012 05:12 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (teh interwebs)
My LJ has been rather repetitive lately, all B5 and spinal tumours, so I thought I'd share some interesting, inspiring, and horrifying articles and posts that have caught my eye but that I've been too preoccupied to blog about.

Most of you have probably already read The White Saviour Industrial Complex, one of the many excellent critiques out there of Kony 2012.

In addition to the library workers out on strike (and inside city workers likely joining them soon), Air Canada workers staged a wildcat strike. For obvious reasons I can't join the solidarity actions, but if you can, you should. Also, this is one industry that I feel even the most right-wing, anti-union bigot ought to agree needs to be paid well. I mean, do you want the guy who helps land your plan to be overworked and underpaid?

The largest political protest in Canadian history happened yesterday, with 200,000 students, teachers, parents, union activists, and others striking against proposed tuition hikes. (That article's in French; the English-language press has been stupid about the whole thing. Here's an English article from the CBC, but it downplays the numbers and significance.

Via [ profile] symbioid, a heartbreaking article about the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Via [ profile] hano, Robert Bales is not the victim. (Robert Bales being the murderous scum who slaughtered 16 Afghan civilians, including children.)

Via [ profile] marlowe1: Hey, frum parents! Get your daughter a facelift or she'll never find a husband. I posted some pretty shocking links above but there's something about this one that is just a special kind of wrong.

Watch Bruce Schneier trounce the former head of the TSA in a debate about security.

signal-boosting a petition against forcing American ISPs to police downloads )

ETA: Because the above is pretty grim, watch this video about a blind stray dog living in a trash dump until she's rescued by nice people. It will make you cry but it has a happy ending, I promise.

sabotabby: (jetpack)
The show must go on and all that. No really. Getting far too engrossed in a television show is seriously the best thing for me right now.

(On the shorter side, because sitting sucks and being witty is harder when you're preoccupied with scary real life health bollocks.)

penultimate S3 post coming right up )

Two more episodes to go.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (she)
If you live anywhere near southern Ontario, you can't avoid the story of the van crash that killed eleven people near Stratford.

It was the kind of accident that isn't. The police are saying that the van driver, who ran a stop sign and shouldn't have had so many people in the vehicle, was at fault for the crash. I say that the real killer here is the vicious loophole in Canadian law that allows farmers to employ seasonal migrant labourers under conditions that Canadians with status wouldn't tolerate for a second. They are brought here—and have to pay for their trip—exposed to dangerous chemicals without proper protection or training, forced to work long hours for ridiculously low wages, and forbidden to organize or unionize. They live in dorms on the farms and their personal lives are up for scrutiny by the bosses. Here's a post about what it's like inside one of the vans. Protections enshrined in Canadian labour law do not apply to them. If they complain, they're blacklisted. They were put in the situation that got them killed by an unscrupulous agricultural lobby, a government that claims to be tough on immigration but is fully willing to exploit immigrants when it's to their own advantage, and a Canadian public that simply does not give a shit about the lives of migrant farmworkers.

The victims were mostly from Peru; one was from Nicaragua. Many were members of the same family. They came here because of the economic pressures we in the First World have brought to bear on Latin America, making a desperate choice to eke out the cruelest of livings.

Here are their names:

Jose Mercedes Valdiviezo-Taboada
Cesar Augusto Sanchez-Palacios
Enrique Arturo Leon
Corsino Jaramillo
Mario Abril
Oscar Compomanes-Corzo
Juan Castillo
Elvio Bravo-Suncion
Fernando Correa
David Armando Blancas Hernandez

Justicia 4 Migrant Workers has organized a day of action (I'm working so I can't go) and is calling for a coroner's inquest.

We owe it to their memories, and to their families, and to all other migrant labourers on Canadian farms to fight the ignorance and racism that perpetuates this exploitation.

And here's a song. This is not a new story.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (clean all the things)
I have been a busy [ profile] sabotabby this weekend.

I went to see Tomboyfriend's EP launch on Friday night, which was fabulous. It was also the premiere of [ profile] culpster's video for "Hot Divorcee":

Fitness and Vag Halen opened. Both of them were highly entertaining but I was especially into Vag Halen. As some of you may know, I have a serious weakness for hair metal. It's a guilty pleasure. If the same songs are covered by talented women, it's all the pleasure without the guilt.

I just returned from seeing Hercules, Handel's almost-opera. It was also really amazing. [ profile] minussmile and I had gallery seats for the first act (until we swiped better seats at intermission) so it was all bald spots and vowels. I've never been to Koerner Hall before and the acoustics are spectacular.

In between all of this activity, and school, I have been packing and painting all the things. I am pleased to announce that the first project in Operation Teal has been completed!

Another kind-of-guilty pleasure I have is for shabby chic. I don't like the all-white look (for me—I like it for other people, but I can't imagine living in it), but I like the distressed look with splashes of colour. The rooms in my new place are quite small, which means that my usual decorating method of bold, dark wall colours will not work. Accordingly, my furniture is going to be dramatic instead.

lots of furniture photos under the cut )

Finally, some people have requested a picture of the Black Coat of Swoop, so here I am in full-on winter gear: camwhoreage )

Okay, now off to bed—a bookshelf awaits in my kitchen for tomorrow morning.

Goth night

Dec. 3rd, 2011 10:51 am
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (how much hello kitty weighs)
Gothed out and went to see VNV Nation last night at the Phoenix. They're one of my favourite bands—as strange as it is, their music is what I listen to in the middle of depressive episodes to regain my cope—but I didn't actually expect it to be as amazing a show as it was.

Here's the only clip I managed to find. It has unfortunate audio, but you can get a sense of the rare phenomenon of a Toronto crowd going apeshit nuts and singing and dancing (for those of you who don't live here, this never happens, and it happened pretty much throughout the show):


sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)

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