How To Start a Conspiracy Theory

Al continues to dig into the mystery surrounding the fact that the tear gas canisters used around the Brazilian embassy in Honduras this week were stamped as property of the Peruvian National Police.

The explanation out of Lima is that the tear gas had been ordered from Combined Systems Inc, but the order has been canceled, so Combined Systems must have shipped the tear gas they never delivered to Peru to Honduras instead, without changing the markings on the canisters.

Combined Systems Inc. happens to be part of the Carlyle Group, the private equity firm Michael Moore took a run at in Fahrenheit 9/11.

Presumably this means Micheletti is the pawn of the Bush family mob, while Zelaya is part of the Obama/Chavez/Castro wing of the Communist International. And down the rabbit hole we go!

We Love You So

20 days until magic happens.

Normally, with movies like this, I have a great deal of dread that it will actually suck, my childhood will be raped etc etc etc.

I have no dread about Where the Wild Things Are. I am absolutely confident that magic will happen in three weeks.

Serenely confident, even.

Misanthropy Makes Me Laugh

So Wednesday night I'm up in my beloved old St Clair West 'hood hanging out at the new apartment of one of my bestest of friends (which also happens to be my old apartment).

It being a nice night and all, I decide to walk home. Down Bathurst, through the Annex, trundling along Bloor past the Fox and Fiddle where Pete Rock used to host karaoke... oh, and hello, they still have karaoke.

Oh, and hello, it's hosted by Morgan, one of Pete's regulars at his weekend gig down the street from me. And it's her first night as host, so random moral support is more than welcome. Crap. So much for me getting home at a decent hour.

Thing is though, it turns out Morgan is no longer a Pete Rock regular. When he found out she'd taken the gig at the St. George Fox (a place that had fired him months ago so they could hire cheaper hosts) he banned her from his show.


One of the cool things about karaoke in this city is the community that supports it. Some people are loyal to specific hosts, some (like me) are whores and get around. Some hosts see other hosts as colleagues (Jason, Richie, Steve-O, Carson) and some, uhh, don't.

Actually "some" is a bit of an exaggeration. Pete's pretty much the only one I know.

Silly boy.

Damn You, Trailer People

Quit making me cry.

And IMAX? C'mon now, that's just cruel. I'm gonna spend more on Kleenex than I will on the ticket.

What You'll Miss Tonight

Jason Rolland's got a new Monday night, at the Last Toby's, which I feel compelled to check out.

Toby's used to be a Toronto institution, a fairly solid burger joint chain (sit down, not take-out) with a dog for a mascot and a number of downtown locations. I still remember the day I went in to the Yonge & Bloor location and discovered to my horror that they'd changed their fries. It was all downhill from there, to the point that the Last Toby's (College, just east of Bathurst) would be unrecognizable to a time traveling Torontonian dropped into 2009 from 1992.

Still, I have enough trouble turning down karaoke as it is. Karaoke + nostalgia potential is pretty much a slam dunk to get me out.

Zelaya Goes Home

Al has a great blow-by-blow of today's events in Honduras. Especially noteworthy is how disorganized and ineffectual Micheletti's response has been. For instance:

5:21 p.m.: Coup "president" Micheletti just spoke on a "cadena nacional" (in which all TV, radio and cable stations are required to broadcast his message). He confirmed that Zelaya is in the country, insisted that the June 28 coup was "legal," said Zelaya will have to face charges against him, insisted that the country is in complete calm (if so, then why the military curfew?), attacked the government of Brazil for protecting Zelaya in its Embassy, and told everyone that the National Police and the National Army are behind him. He ended with shouts of "Viva Honduras" to a small group of coup functionaries. He sounds frightened, but is digging in his heels.

Upon the termination of his broadcast, a woman on Radio Globo mocked him mercilessly, saying "no one owes obedience to an order by a de facto regime," and noted that the curfew was called just ten minutes before it took effect, leaving millions of Hondurans to have to get home from work but without enough time to do it. "Nobody is obeying the order," she said. "Nor should they."

It's just a matter of time before Zelaya regains power. And hopefully with as small a body count as possible, although Micheletti is just stupid and desperate enough to do something dangerous as he feels control slipping through his fingers.

Melting Away in the Summer Heat

Last week, when I was busy with the film fest and not paying a whole lot of attention to the kerfuffle over exactly how many teabaggers showed up in Washington on the 12th, I mocked the notion that millions of people had shown up, but was willing to concede that the number had been in the hundreds of thousands.

CJ says I'm gullible:

I also have quite a bit of experience with very large crowds — as a touring musician with Al Jarreau, Stanley Clarke and George Duke, I played in front of many very large audiences. The largest was probably the first “Rock in Rio” festival (we shared the stage with Queen, Rod Stewart, and others), which had about 250,000 to 300,000 attendees. From all the pictures and video I saw, the tea party was nowhere near the size of that crowd.

What You Missed Last Night

(I've decided to post more about my karaoke misadventures, in between political babble and belated film reviews. You've been warned...)

Fun times at the Rivoli last night, despite the lack of a huge turnout. I got roundly scolded by Rhett for ignoring him and MAR at the Bad Lieutenant screening at the Elgin, despite the fact that I said hello to Todd sitting in the row in front of them. Ulp.

I also pulled off the rare Elvis double (Presley and Costello), while random cutie from Vancouver showed up and blew everyone away with a repertoire ranging from Aerosmith to Alicia Keys. Allie has an awesomely raspy, very slightly Billie Holiday-ish quality to her voice that allows her to get away with stuff mere mortals shouldn't be able to get away. She says she's coming back to Toronto in a few weeks. She better!

The newly repatriated Sass was a no-show however. Quelle dommage.

TIFF Top 10

This was in many ways an odd festival. 2009 was well above average in terms of quality - there were only two films I saw over the 10 days I would classify as 'bad', with everything else being at least OK or better - but heading into the final day nothing had really blown me away. There were no little hidden gems I stumbled into at random, no films that shook my view of what a movie could be.

None, that is, until my second-last film of the festival, and the two-and-a-half-hour celluloid trip that is Enter the Void. Gaspar Noe could justifiably retire from directing, since there's no conceivable way he could possibly top it. I mean, where do you go after you've deconstructed and rebuilt cinema from the ground up?

Anyway, here's my top 10:

1 - Enter the Void
2 - A Serious Man
3 - Whip It
4 - Micmacs
5 - Daybreakers
6 - Antichrist
7 - The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
8 - Hipsters
9 - Waking Sleeping Beauty
10 - An Education

Yes, I still have to finish my reviews on half of those. Sigh.