Monthly Archive: August 2015

Down the digital slope

Increasingly, movies are made with computer generated imagery (CGI). Robert Downey Jr. spends his studio life in front of a green-screen doing snappy one-liners while all the special effects are added later to Avengers and the like. Dialogue no longer matters; impossible action is all. As Hollywood’s best-paid actor he makes $US80 million a year. Next we’ll be watching Jimmy Stewart in the sequel to It’s a Wonderful Life made from a pastiche of his previous films using soupçons of CGI. Music, once difficult to reproduce on stage because of studio tinkering, has gone fully robotic. No longer is it just Auto-Tune software correcting...

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Ars longa, vita brevis

My all-time favourite small show is currently at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The exhibit called Into the Woods consists of two works – The Jack Pine and The West Wind – both by Tom Thomson. These are paintings that can accurately be described using that overworked word, iconic. There’s a large seat where two people can sit and admire for hours on end what to my mind are the best canvases ever produced by a Canadian artist. I successfully avoided looking closely at Michael Belmore’s Breadth, his version of a roadkill fawn, that lies nearby. Works of art can inspire and transport....

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The pursuit of possibilities

Some people say success in life is about inheriting good genes, getting an education, finding the right partner or just plain hard work. While all of those contain kernels of truth, life is nothing without possibilities. I attended a 100th birthday celebration today for Helen Oldham. Her son, Peter, was my friend while we were both growing up in Guelph. Helen and Bob Oldham’s home was always a warm and welcoming place for me where interesting and mind-expanding things happened. Bob operated a ham radio; I listened to him talk to people around the world. Today that’s a daily event; then it was dazzling...

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