This week, a conversation with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, and outspoken public intellectual Chris Hedges on his latest book Days of Destruction Days of Revolt (co-authored with Joe Sacco) and his life spent fighting for political and social justice.
This week! An interview with host of CBC’s Definitely Not The Opera, and all around Canadian renaissance woman, Sook-Yin Lee. From her tumultuous childhood in Vancouver, and early interest in the arts, to her days as a Much Music VJ, and her work with film and acting.
In the interview, Sook-Yin Lee also speaks about the experience playing the role of Olivia Chow in Jack, the CBC biopic of the late Jack Layton, leader of the federal NDP.
Founder of True North Records and icon of the Canadian music industry Bernie Finkelstein has just published an exciting memoir of his life and times in the music business. It’s called True North: A Life in the Music Business, and it is brimming with fascinating stories and interesting insights into the early days of the Canadian music industry, when, with no laws to promote Canadian content, there was hardly an industry to speak off.
I sat down with Bernie to discuss his checkered youth, his beginnings as a producer, the Toronto Yorkville scene of the 1960s (which was a creative breeding ground for some of the most famous musicians of the era including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell), and his life spent celebrating and fighting for homegrown Canadian musical and cultural talent.
To find out more, and to purchase a copy of his memoir, you can head to www.berniefinkelstein.com
Well it can almost be hard to believe it now, but before “Gravy Train” Rob Ford took the helm at city hall, Toronto had a decidedly different mayor in David Miller. One who spearheaded many transit and environmental initiatves while he was in office.
So this week on The Public a full hour conversation with former mayor of Toronto David Miller – on growing up with his single mom in England and Ontario, his days as a student at both the University of Toronto and Harvard, his jump into politics and time at city hall, as well as his ongoing work on finding ways to make our cities truly sustainable for the future.
This week a conversation with writer, journalist and University of Toronto Professor of Philosophy Mark Kingwell. We had a wide ranging conversation, and over the course of the hour Mark shares his thoughts and insights on topics including solitude, the importance of the intrinsic, the state of Canadian democracy, as well about some of the early influences that shaped him as he was growing up and which opened his eyes to the worlds of literature and philosophy.
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 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.
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.
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.
Without 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.
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.
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/
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.