DIY: Cork Board (Literally)

DIY: Cork Board (Literally)

The unemployed life has blessed me with tons of spare time to do things I usually don’t have the time to do, such as, find a home for the garbage bag full of wine corks I’ve had in my room for the past two years.

Yes, you heard me. I have a full garbage bag full of wine corks. I guess you could say my parents like to drink vino. You may think I’m joking but I’m serious, I am a screw top kind of girl!

My mom has been collecting wine corks for as long as I can remember. She loves to craft (just like me!) so she collects the corks in hopes of putting them to use in some creative way. She made a really cool cork wreath about ten years ago that still hangs in our kitchen.

The other day I decided to finally put them to use and made my very own cork board out of them! The finished product is looks so cool (as you can see above). How did I do this you ask? A few simple steps:

1) Collect a mass of wine corks.
2) Buy a regular bulletin board. Luckily, I already had one on hand.
3) Plug in your hot glue gun.
4) Glue the corks onto the board. I opted to give mine a bit of a different border.

Mine is hung up in my room I think it looks great.

Now all I have to do is figure out what I’m going to do with the half-filled garbage full of corks I’m left with…

Advertisements

My Response to Gary Turk’s “Look Up” Video

The latest in viral videos is a poetic response to the irritating and anti-social world that we’ve created through our constant use of technology.

“Look Up” by Gary Turk comments on how society’s obsession with being connected to others via social media actually results in us being more alone than ever. Personally, I completely agree with what he is saying. With our heads constantly down looking at a screen, we’re missing out on amazing things that are going on around us. This has stuck out like a sore thumb to me on two occasions recently:

1) I took the GO Train into Toronto with my dad a few weeks ago during rush hour in the morning and I couldn’t help but notice that EVERY SINGLE PERSON was looking at a smartphone or tablet, my dad and myself included. No one was speaking and the train was completely crammed with people. It was totally surreal to me, yet in that moment there was nothing I wanted to do while I sat on that train other than look through my own iPhone.

2) Last night I went to see The 1975 at the Kool Haus in Toronto. The instant they came on about half of the audience put their phones up in the air to take a picture. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally acceptable to take pictures, but holding your phone up during an entire show is not only irritating to those around you but it totally takes away from the live music environment. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine when concert-goers don’t immerse themselves in the moment and instead spend their time recording it.

With all of this said, I love my iPhone and I love documenting my experiences to remember later. I guess my argument is that there’s a difference between documenting memories and having the entire memory saved for later.

Anyway, Turk’s video is extremely powerful so it doesn’t surprise me that it has been so widely shared. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch for yourself!

The Graduate

Look at me, mom!

Grad Photo

(try to disregard the watermarks)

Just a few months ago I stumbled across my Grade 8 graduation photo and I couldn’t believe how different I looked (let’s just say, I wear a lot less makeup now). Now, I’m staring at a photo that captures another particular time in my life.

As my undergrad comes to a close I’ve become more and more aware of the amazing environment I have been immersed in over the past four years. So much has happened that it is impossible to put into words how this time has been. There are just way too many adjectives!

All I know is that in a few years and even a few decades, I’ll be looking at this picture and thinking about all the amazing things I’ve gone through – good and bad – during my University years, and that’s pretty freakin’ exciting to me.

Review: Stilyagi

I absolutely adore this film.

Your eyes will need some serious adjusting after enduring just over two hours of a screen splashed with so much colour and life, you’d think a gumball machine exploded. Stilyagi hits the musical genre right on the nose with its Hairspray-esque look, feel and sound. The place is Russia. The year is 1955. The people are hipsters, giving a big “screw you” to the washed-out Soviets trying to suck the fun out of life. Valeriy Todorovsky’s film Stilyagi is a love story of two people, from two separate worlds whose values govern them to be apart – sound familiar? Enter the world of Mels, who after falling in love with a hipster named Polza, is determined to win her affection and in the process of doing so converts from his socialist mentality into a hipster.

I can honestly say I’ve never been more enthralled while watching a foreign film. Perhaps it was the film’s evidently Western premise or rather the unbelievably captivating cinematography. Yes, the subtitles are there for you to follow along, but it is somewhat impossible to simply stare at the bottom of the screen when so much colour and beauty is peeling your eyes away. Todorovsky’s creativity with angles and shots juxtapose the film with the quirky hipsters featured in it. It’s as if the language barrier is broken because the visuals lead you through the story. This is especially true in the musical numbers that pop up throughout the film. The songs are sung in Russian, yet the tunes are so catchy and the camera is so on beat with the choreography that I can guarantee you’ll find your head bobbing along. When Mels surprises Polly on stage with a song and his saxophone, heck, I was humming the tune for days! I had no idea what the words were of course, but I couldn’t help but be taken in by the music. Films like Stilyagi reinforce by belief that music truly is a universal language. The combination of reading English subtitles, hearing Russian lyrics, and bouncing to the beat, uses so many senses at once it is hard not to become completely immersed. You feel like it speaks to you individually – even only for a few minutes.

I find it ironic that while watching the film I felt like I was being educated on Russia, yet the premise of it was that the characters were denying this culture in an attempt to immerse themselves in a different one, an American one, or what they thought it was at the time. It takes place entirely in Russia yet it’s based on an infatuation with another place. I thought that was a twisted yet interesting concept, that is, to idolize and internalize a place the majority of them have never been. To fulfill their fantasy they create their own space of freedom and safety within another. You’ll meet Fred, who is the one character who does make this dream a reality. Fred jumps at the opportunity to go work in America and when he returns to Russia, he informs Mels that American life doesn’t look anything like what the hipsters think. How shocking would it be to find out your perception was so wrong? I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s just say the ending will tug at your heartstrings.

You should watch Stilyagi because it’s a striking and solemn story of human perception, deception and solidarity. It is a clear illustration that film is the heart of visual language, and it breaks any barrier believed to exist in foreign film. This film will make you excited about the diversity it has to offer in just one experience, and it will certainly make you realize that who you are, where you’re from and what you want to be has endless possibilities.

There are essentially no trailers with English subtitles, so you’ll have to sit through the Russian one, but I assure you it won’t even matter!

 

Interpret This: A Digital Media Experience

This semester my fourth year Film & Media production class had the opportunity to do a group project together. You heard me, an entire class doing a group project together. Alas, the 24 of us got to brainstorm ideas, implement a plan, and host an event displaying our work.

The idea we decided upon used the popular social platform Vine as a means of expressing how we “interpret” certain constraints.

Each student had to make 24 Vines.
Each Vine had to correlate with a predetermined group of 24 words.
Each word had to correlate with an hour of the day.

workspace

We were broken up into various teams (creative, marketing, video and web) to make our vision come to life. The end result was pretty cool. We held an event at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on campus where people could come and view our website which hosted everyone’s Vines in a number of ways.

You can check out the full experience yourself at www.interpretthis.ca.

A documentary highlighting the process from beginning to end is currently in the works. I’ll be sure to post it on here once it’s finished! In the meantime, check out a segment Queen’s TV did on Interpret This:

Review: Third World Canada

Learning about conflict around the world can give you a strange feeling. At first you’re shocked and wonder how you didn’t know about it earlier. Then what runs through your head is what should be done about it. Finally, the saddest part is that so few people will actually use this knowledge and act upon the situation.

Andrée Cazabon can consider herself a part of a small population that is informed about the Aboriginal Communities located in Northern Ontario. As a director, her objective is to teach the people of Canada about the reputed ‘other’ people of Canada. Andrée’s film Third World Canada tells the story of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) and the people living there whose hardships and poverty go unnoticed by the rest of the country. The documentary particularly focuses on the lives of eight children whose father, stepfather and mother sequentially committed suicide. The film attempts to break the barriers put up between Aboriginal people and white supremacy, offset stereotypes and most importantly give the people of KI a voice.

It sucks to come to terms with that fact that you can be so naïve to something so close to home. I am a Canadian, and more specifically an Ontarian, and yet I had no idea that a third of my province consists of remote, impoverished Aboriginal communities. Watching Third World Canada made me feel sad, bad and uninformed, but most of all it made me feel grateful. Grateful that my parents love me, grateful for the house and lifestyle I have grown up in, grateful to go to school, eat healthy meals and do things that every child should be entitled to in their life. I’m don’t know if feeling grateful after watching this film makes me selfish, but that is really what went through my mind as a viewer.

This kind of film is why I love watching documentaries. Directors make it their duty and goal to find a topic that people are uninformed or misinformed about, and make the truth known. They bring you the facts in hopes that it will make an impact on your life. When a film does do this, as a viewer, you never forget it.

Third World Canada

Review: Burma VJ

I don’t know about you, but what I love the most about watching documentaries is the incredibly realistic images broadcast across the screen. In Burma VJ, the documentary footage is absolutely incredible, but is overshadowed by the staged images put in place to advance the narrative.

 Burma VJ was secretly filmed by a group of people documenting the riots based around the Saffron Revolution happening in Burma during 2007. They used cameras that were easy to hide in hopes that they would not be caught, imprisoned, or killed. They manage to capture astounding images of how the people of Burma were living and treated during the Revolution. All the footage was smuggled overseas and shown on worldwide news channels with the intention that people would find out what was going on in Burma, and maybe do something to help.

As I already mentioned, I think that the powerful footage was negatively counteracted by the ‘inserted’ images used throughout the film. Perhaps it was only me, but I found it quite obvious when what I was seeing on screen was not an original image. This is probably because their original footage was incredibly shaky do to circumstances in which they were capturing the images. The majority of the documentary featured Monks, who were initially introduced to the audience through a shot of them marching down a street in a line. This initial image was staged, and for some reason that took away from the images of the Monks that were to follow.

I’m not saying the images used in Burma VJ were not impactful because of this — they absolutely were. My only argument is that for me personally, it took away from the realness of the documentary.

On a side note, for the majority of the film I couldn’t help but appreciate that fact that I live in a place where something like this doesn’t happen. The Saffron Revolution was at its peak only 6 years ago, which to me is a very scary thought.

I think the staged scenes got to me because they were juxtaposed to such powerful images. Try to look past the add-ins when watching the documentary, because it is definitely one that needs to be seen.