Category Archives: Uncategorized

Summer’s over, bring on the stress

My summer, while busy, turned out to be pretty blissful. I spent most of my time in Montreal, festival hopping and writing a lot for Tourism Montreal Buzz, with a few visits to the States and to my friends’ fabulous organic vegetable farm near Wakefield, Quebec. With so much going on, I still somehow didn’t feel much stress – maybe because of all the sun Montreal got this year and how much I managed to get out in it. But now it’s September. Back to regular programming, that general gearing up for action and anticipating more of it, making plans and possibly even following through with them. Stress seems to creep in with the north wind.

Thankfully I remembered the interview I’d done with Montreal-based psychiatrist, Universite de Montreal professor and director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress, Sonia Lupien. She talked to me about her new book Well Stressed: Manage
Stress Before It Turns Toxic, which looks into the science of stress, beyond the limitations of psychology and into the physiology behind how stress works in our bodies, specifically with regard to hormones. The book also addresses what the purpose of
stress is in our lives, when it is needed and when it isn’t, and how to alleviate it when necessary (not only does Dr. Lupien say deep breathing really works, but singing is even better!)

Our conversation aired on Free Radicals: Science, Culture and Connection on CKUT 90.3fm and ckut.ca on September 10, 2012 – listen to the podcast.

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Goodbye Hour, Hello World

Full moon at Igloofest January 2011

After two and a half years as Arts & Culture Editor at Hour weekly paper in Montreal, I find myself sitting here on my last day on the job, thinking about all the art shows, plays, dance, music, films, operas, readings, fundraisers, strip spelling bees, outdoor dance parties, festivals festival festivals and so much more that I’ve had the opportunity to write about. I also find myself thinking about how to, as a writer, keep covering such great happenings, how to help make them known, even if only in my little corner of the world. There are ways, many ways… I’ll be around.

Creation: The film, other films, and some art

 

Eija-Liisa Ahtila's The House

A still from Eija-Liisa Ahtila's quietly crazy The House

As this is the place of attempting to compile all things I do and some things I think, then why not finally start it off with the topic of creation.

Over the Christmas break, I spent a lot of time doing what felt like nothing, I mean, in comparison to the busyness of pre-holiday work and socializing and brain activity. Of course, I totally screwed myself over. Catching up on all the movies and tv I missed over the previous six months is not “nothing,” no matter how dumb they might be. They slow-burned and combined until they became one big movie about nothing less than death.

I yearned to get back to work, to go see and write about art and dance and weird performance art. Which I have done in the past few weeks. And it is all about death.

Maybe I was too happy in my early 20s. So now I’m obliged to do the armchair-philosophy existential shrug thing. Thinking it’ll be over by mid-February.

Not to say that I’m depressed or that all cultural and artistic output these days is depressing. No, a lot of what I’ve taken in recently has been inspiring and beautiful; this creation out of death. I don’t feel morose or dualistic, but everything has ultimately come down to an avoidance of death until it can’t be avoided, which isn’t sad, just very basic and a little boring. And absolutely true.

Take the new feature film Creation, for example, which I saw last week. Life and death, on grand and minor scales. I wrote about it here. As well as the multi-screen film art of Eija-Liisa Ahtila, which also travels its own paths through the question of not-existence.

In 2010, winter is rough and strange.

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