Month: March 2013

Toronto Filmmaker Sean Wainsteim: Finding Refuge in Stories

Filmmaker Sean Wainsteim

Filmmaker Sean Wainsteim

Sean Wainsteim is a Toronto based filmmaker who also happens to be the creative mind behind some of the most imaginative and interesting music videos to come out of Canada in the past few years for bands from Hey Rosetta! and Toyko Police Club to Hannah Georgas

I talked to Sean about the creative process, the power of a good fable and the importance of producing art that rings true.

For all of Sean Wainsteims creative work you can check him out at  www.seanwainsteim.com but to get a small taste here’s a wonderfully short film he recently directed called Lost For Words

Lindsay Zier-Vogel on “Love Lettering” and Folk Musician Jeremy Fisher

Lindsay Zeir-Vogal of The Love Lettering Project

Lindsay Zeir-Vogal of The Love Lettering Project

Lindsay Zier-Vogel is the creator of the very heart-warming community art initiative The Love Lettering Project.

The project is now in its 8th year, and for much of it, she alone undertook this mission to spread love. She would write love poems about the things big and small she most appreciated and enjoyed about Toronto,  seal these handcrafted poems in airmail envelopes, and then place them anonymously around the city to be discovered by strangers.

This year she decided to expanded the project, and encourage other to also express their love for Toronto. So all summer long she’s been setting up booths around the city and inviting passers by to stop, take a minute to reflect about those things that they most love and appreciate about about the city, and write their own notes of affection.

 

Folk Musician Jeremy Fisher

Folk Musician Jeremy Fisher

Also on this show, Juno nominated folk musician Jeremy Fisher joined me to discuss his brand new (and wonderfully catchy) fifth album Mint Juleps.

It was such a pleasure to talk to Jeremy since even aside from his musical talents he is an impressively creative and adventurous person. To just give you one example, he’s biked across Canada touring and performing along the way on no less than three occasions.

He is also quite the talented film and video artist. He started out experimenting making stop-animation music videos for his own songs (such as this video for his hit song Cigarette). But soon he found himself enjoying the process so much that he now creates music videos for other artists such as Imaginary Cities and Hannah Georgas.

Here is a video of Jeremy performing an acoustic version of his song Built To Last off of Mint Juleps.

Linda McQuaig on “The Trouble With Billionaires” and Early Influences

 

Linda McQuaig

Journalist Linda McQuaig has been writing and speaking out about issues of economic and societal inequality ever since she first started working as a reporter in the 70s.

She has authored nine books on matters of politics and economics. And although these aren’t normally thought of as the most compelling subjects for a good book, thankfully for us her writing  more like a true-life detective story than an academic paper.

TheTrouble With BillionairesWithout oversimplifying or glossing over important details, she spells the practical, but largely opaque ways, in which the political and economic interests of the wealthy are able to shape government policy in their favour- in everything from the tax code, to business regulations.

In her most recent book The Trouble With Billionaires she details in compelling form some of the negative social and economic consequences of a highly unequal distribution of wealth. I sat down with Linda in her Toronto home to discuss The Trouble with Billionaires, her life as a journalist, and some of her early political influences.

 

 

Jonathan Goldstein of Wiretap & This American Life on Verbosity, Sweaty Hands, and Escaping The Self

CBC Radio’s Wiretap has long been one of my absolute favourite radio programs and podcasts. It combines fictive, humourous, and reflective elements, and the end result is a show that is thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking.

Wiretap with Jonathan Goldstein

Wiretap with Jonathan Goldstein

The show is hosted and produced by Jonathan Goldstein, who also produces pieces as a contributing editor for This American Life (he also worked at TAL as a full time producer from 2000-2002).

But interestingly Jonathan didn’t originally set out to be in radio – his main creative passion for most of his life has been writing and he has published several books, most recently I’ll Seize the Day Tomorrow.

I sat down with Jonathan to ask him about his life as a writer, his journey in public radio and the advantages and drawbacks of looking at life with an outsiders perspective.

Wiretap is currently in its 9th season, and if you haven’t already been won over, I highly recommend you check it out. You can find out more about the show and subscribe to the podcast at http://www.cbc.ca/wiretap/

Jonathan Goldstein, writer and host of CBC Radio's Wiretap

Jonathan Goldstein, writer and host of CBC Radio’s Wiretap

Remember, for the entire archive of our interviews subscribe to our podcast or visit us in iTunes

Public Intellectual John Ralston Saul on Citizenship and Democracy and “The Unconscious Civilization”

John Ralston Saul is perhaps Canada’s best known public intellectual. He is the author of many groundbreaking works on matters of society and politics from On Equilibrium to Voltaire’s Bastards, and the book version of his 1995 CBC Massey Lecture The Unconscious Civilization received the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction.

Canadian writer and political thinker John Ralston Saul

Canadian writer and political thinker John Ralston Saul

In this episode of The Public, a full hour conversation with John Ralston Saul, on corporatism, reclaiming a sense of citizenship and his early days as a writer.

To hear other episodes of The Public, subscribe to the podcast or visit us in iTunes

Filmmaker Daniel Cross & on Arts Funding in Canada and Toronto Star Columnist Rick Salutin on Democracy, Citizenship and Obama

Filmmaker Daniel Cross Rick Salutin

Episode two of The Public!

This week award-winning Canadian filmmaker Daniel Cross on the recent culture cuts by the federal government and what it means for the future of documentary filmmaking in Canada, and in the second half of the program, writer, playwright, and Toronto Star Columnist Rick Salutin shares his thoughts on democratic renewal and talks about some of his formative experiences growing up in Toronto.

Activist and Feminist Judy Rebick: On Occupy, Historic Social Movements, and Becoming A Radical

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Activist, author, and media commentator Judy Rebick

For the very first episode of The Public, a full hour interview with writer, political commentator and Q media panel member Judy Rebick.

Judy has been one of the leading progressive voices in Canada for years. She has been involved with many issues from social justice and labour rights to woman’s rights.  She also is the founder of Rabble.ca, the progressive online news magazine.

She has recently published an ebook called Occupy This!  which looks at the Occupy movement in a historical perspective.  I spoke to Judy speaks about Occupy, the Quebec student protest movement, the state of democracy in Canada, as well as about her early transformative years traveling around the world from India to Iran, and how she started getting involved in political action.

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Her new e-book Occupy This is available from Penguin Canada here.

To get each new episode, subscribe to The Public’s podcast or visit us in iTunes