What I Loved Week #3: Margaret Atwood, Portlandia, Tokyo Police Club, and In The Soil

What I Read

MaddaddamMaddAddam by Margaret Atwood. After rereading The Year of the Flood, and half of Oryx and Crake in preperation, I’m finally ready. I’m halfway through this gem, and it is living up to its prestige. Not only is this series an intricately told story with beautiful and hilarious tone, but it addresses political issues of today and the near future: genetic engineering, the downfall of the arts, government control, pharmaceutical dependency, and favouring vanity over health.  Margaret Atwood is an excellent candidate for a Nobel Prize for Literature, and I truly hope to see that happen soon.

What I Watched

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Check out my most recent review post on the movie. Or to sum up: From the excessively formal Gustave (who invents and performs convoluted poetry on the spot), to the funicular railway trolley, to the 3 second George Clooney cameo, Wes Anderson has outdone himself once again. It seems that everyone else agrees: this is Wes Anderson’s crowning achievement.

Portlandia. The absurdity of Arrested Development meets the snappiness of Saturday Night Live meets the satirical social commentary of The Onion. I can’t get enough of this show – the social criticisms are so on point, and the absurdity is hilarious.

What I Listened To

Tokyo Police Club’s new album Forcefield has been in my ears a lot lately. Ever since my teenage years when they released Champ, I’ve been drawn to TPC’s energy, unique guitar, post-pop style, and interesting lyrics. I finally got to see them play live last summer in St.Catharines, and surprised myself by still knowing every word to every song! Forcefield still has the same excitement and meaningful lyrics, but a bit of a new style. The album’s single, Hot Tonight, is much more typical “radio pop” than I’ve come to expect from TPC, but the rest of the album is closer to what I know and love. My favourites? Beaches, Argentina, and Toy Guns.

What I Attended

Al Borland BandSt.Catharines’ In The Soil Art Fest is a yearly “explosion of creativity” in downtown St.Catharines, celebrating the talent and diversity of Niagara artists. In The Soil 2014 featured musicians, visual art, video, comedy, installation pieces, performance art, and one very bizarre and creative Home Improvement parody band. I had the pleasure to not only attend the festival this year, but also to perform in it as Heidi The Tool Girl. Danny Fast and Adam Caranfa made up the Al Borland Band, using a combination of theatre performance, song, dance, and laugh track to answer the question: What have Tim and Al been up to since the cancellation of their show Tool Time. What resulted was a hilarious, entertaining, catchy, and ridiculous performance that I was honored to be a part of. This is a festival I hope to attend for many years to come.

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