Saturday, July 30, 2016

JUST FOR LAUGHS part 1 - I am halfway through!

Jeff Goldblum at the piano Photo © Eric Myre, 2016
Nathan Lane
What a week-end! First I saw the Jeff Goldblum Gala with Patrick Haye, Godfrey, Russell Howard, Darrin Rose, Charlie Pickering, Elon GoldAdam Ferrara and Lynne Koplitz. M.Goldblum came out in his suave New York elegance and spoke with us about life and his new family. He seems quite smitten with his lovely young wife Emily who was present at the show. His style of acting where his dialogue appears to be 'thinking out loud' where we are privy to the working of his mind is part of what becomes outrageous musings or wicked observations about people and life. He played the piano and showed us his unique way of tap dancing with the one step he has learned. He invited public inter-action as he asked volunteers in the crowd to imitate. Those that dared were very happy and excited.

The next day, I was up early to soak up as much ComedyPro as I could! I love this part of the JFL festival because we get a chance to get close to the comics and all who are involved in bringing us comedy entertainment. I had a great day beginning with Greg Proops live podcast. In the audience were Brad Williams and George Wallace.

After laughing there, I ran to Kevin Hart's Laugh Out Loud Network. Comedian turned entrepreneur Kevin Hart described the concept of his new network devoted to comedy and we got the chance to see emerging comics presenting pitches for the shows they are developing.

Then I ran to see Living in Fictional Times: A Political Conversation with Lewis Black, Lewis Black is one of my favorite comedians in the world. I enjoy him because he researches his material and is right-on with his observations and reasoning of the material. Greg Proops was the moderator so you can imagine how much I loved this hour!

Lewis Black Photo © Felicia Michaels, 2016
I had an hour break before heading to the Nathan Lane Gala. One of my favorite performers with a comic sense that gets me. He told us that he got married with his partner of 18 years. There was a lot of humor surrounding basic human rights issue from the part of most the comedians: Alan Carr, Piff the Magic Dragon, Sean Emeny, Kathleen Madigan, Ron Josol, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, Mark Watson and Adam Hills. I loved the improvisation where Nathan Lane invites 2 audience members to do a rehearsal with him. It was about a scene that was 'cut out' of the recently acclaimed series American Crime Story: The People VS OJ Simpson. in which he plays one of OJ's lawyers, F. Lee Bailey.

The next day I was back at ComedyPro to listen to Andy Kindler's yearly State of the Industry address where he reviews what other comedians are doing and saying. I stayed to witness the annual Just For Laughs Awards Show presented by Air Canada.
Judd Apatow and Sebastian Maniscalco Photo © Felicia Michaels, 2016

The show was hosted by JB Smoove and the winners are: Alec Berg and Mike Judge for Comedy Writers of the year for the series Silicon Valley; Maria Bamford one of Stephen Colbert's favorite new comic- oh she is goooooooooooood, wins Breakout Comedy Star of the Year; Sebastian Maniscalco wins Stand-up Comedian of the Year, and he deserves it; Judd Apatow wins the Generation Award for his work that speaks to people of all generations; and Aziz Ansari wins Comedy Person of the Year.

There are a few more great shows ahead. Tonight I will be seeing Mega Stars of Comedy Gala.

More later!


Thursday, July 28, 2016

FANTASIA this week-end / en fin de semaine &+


This Felipe Rodriguez movie is based on the fact that there are '1000 drop houses at any given time'. In the US, Phoenix Arizona is the Kidnap Capital. Check this 2009 report. It is an excellent tension filled drama. The story is so outrageous you may find it hard to believe.


Mel Gibson, Link, makes a remarkable come-back in this action packed movie about an ex-con struggling with alcoholism while trying to save his daughter from gangs she became involved with. Erin Moriarty plays Lydia, his 17 year old daughter and William H. Macy plays Kirby is recovery sponsor. The movie is witty, gritty, right on in terms of timing, emotional tone and resolution of the drama. I LOVED IT and I loved Mel Gibson in it. He plays a passionate father who accepts the truth about his child and is willing to go all the way. The script is based on Peter Craig's novel of the same name. He worked with Andrea Berloff to adapt the book for the movie directed magnificently by Jean-François Richet.


Based on a legend that inspired many writers such as the Brothers Grimm, Robert Browning and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe this Korean movie is beautifully done. A father, Ryu Seung-ryong, and his son, Goo Seung-Hyeon are en route to Seoul to find a doctor for the child. They come upon a village where the father hopes to earn a few dollars to help with the treatments. What unfolds is the gruesome revelation of the villagers crimes.


Il y a 6 ans, le 22 août 2010, je me suis rendue au tapis rouge du film L'Arnacoeur mettant en vedette Romain Duris ( Jacques ) et réalisé par Pascal Chaumeil. J'avais tellement ri. Les deux sont réunis pour un nouveau film qui sera présenté en fin de semaine à FANTASIA et que j'ai vu en visionnement de presse. Un petit boulot raconte comment un gars d'usine devient un assassin professionel après que l'usine ferme ses portes. Ça riait dans la salle! Il faut écouter les subtilités du dialogues comme il faut car les blagues sont délicates et perverses. Example: Jacques vient de faire son premier meurtre. Il se dit: c'est dure commettre un meurtre, c'est dure pour les oreilles. À ne pas manqué!



An action film I enjoyed. Emma Roberts is Vee, a shy high school senior who is dared by her best friend to spice up her life. She becomes involved in an online game where the 'watchers' tell the players what to do. With every challenge accepted and won, the player earns money. She is paired with Ian, Dave Franco, and the chase is on! It is non-stop excitement with a disturbing look at a possible scenario involving our evolving dependency on technology and the equally evolving Artificial Intelligence smart-bots that track all the information we put on our cell phones and computers. Let me just say that at one point to save themselves they had to use a pay phone!


The latest Woody Allen movie looks at the 1940's Hollywood / New York Jewish involvement in the movies and in organized crime. Bobby, Jesse Eisenberg, lives in New York but his mother sends him to go work with her successful Hollywood Agent brother Phil Stern played by Steve Carell. Bobby falls in love with Vonnie, Kristen Stewart, who also happens to be Phil's mistress. The decor is sumptuous, the humor and the repartee flighty like champagne bubbles and some say the story lines reveal yet again Woody Allen's own pathos. It is enjoyable without any emotional panache.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

FANTASIA: Why Let Me Make You A Martyr gave me an aha moment

Some members of the cast were @ Fantasia for the special screening of Let Me Make You A Martyr - Gore Abrams, Niko Nicotera, Slaine, Sam Quertin Photo by Vincent Fréchette for Fantasia International Film Festival. Marylin Manson was absent due to health issues.

Some time ago I read the very moving novel Night by recently deceased Nobel Prize winning author and holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Here is a quote from an analysis of the book's first chapter:

One of the enduring questions that has tormented the Jews of Europe who survived the Holocaust is whether or not they might have been able to escape the Holocaust had they acted more wisely. A shrouded doom hangs behind every word in this first section of Night, in which Wiesel laments the typical human inability to acknowledge the depth of the cruelty of which humans are capable.

When Elie and his family arrive at Auschwitz the Nazis asked them to remove all their clothes and shoes. The young Elie, then 12, had mud covering his boots and somehow the soldiers did not notice the boy had kept them. I was hit with an insight that this was how God acted to assist Elie in the nightmarish episode of his life, a whisper from God that he was protected. I make this link to the holocaust because the movie shares similarities, much lighter of course in the movie than in the historical carnage, in terms of the degradation and cruelty people do to other humans.
 •  I expected to see an action film fraught with revenge killings in this movie written and directed by Corey Asraf and John Swab. I was excited by the involvement of Marilyn Manson because he is a master of visual language as well as being a gifted musician. I found instead a dreamlike recollection where the plot moves fluidly and symbolically between the past, the present and eternity. What stood out for me as the movie evolved was the underlying question about the relationship we have with a great mystery we have called God and if that mystery is a good and omnipotent creator WHY do so many horrific things happen to us: "If God is here, he is a #$@%! ..." says one character as his life is threatened. And then later Drew ( Niko Nicotera ) replies to a person that he once witnessed a tornado and its aftermath of chaos and destruction. And there in the midst of ruination stood a fawn and he told himself :"That is what God is!" And it hit me like thunderbolt because I intuitively thought the same thing about what God might be but could not express it! God, life, always springs back up, reborn amidst annihilation and horror.

The protagonists of the story, Drew Glass, Niko Nicotera,  and his June Bug, June Glass, Sam Quertin, are in love in the most depraved small American town: betrayal, drug addiction, child abuse, prostitution, and murder are the background of this hopeless affair. Like the quote above they wonder about how to escape the madness they have been trapped into by forces beyond their control. The acting is solid even if there are elements of confusion in the story line due to the back and forth of the story's time frame. But I got that this was not the essential message of this action / love-story film, and I didn't care because my aha moment put everything in perspective for me.

I hope you will get an aha moment from this film too.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

FANTASIA movies I have seen and suggestions / les films que j'ai vu et des suggestions

Hunt for the Wilderpeople TRAILER
Français en bleu 


I simply loved this movie about the quirkiness of life and what makes a family. The location of the film gives the movie a fantastic look with huge mountain tops, curving slopes and waterfalls. But the magic comes from the chemistry between Sam Neill, Hec, and Julian Dennisson, Ricky. Bella, Rima Te Wiata, wants to help Ricky, a thirteen year old boy nobody wants anymore. Bella and Hec, her grumpy husband, live in the woods. Through a series of improbable and unforeseeable events, Hec and Ricky have become the objects of a massive manhunt. I enjoyed the accents of the actors and their gentle offbeat humor. At one point, Ricky calls Hec a "molesterer". It is hilarious!

Alexandre Goyette aka King Dave Bande Annonce


King Dave était le film d'ouverture de Fantasia. Alexandre Goyette a eu un grand succès théâtral avec le scénario qu'il a composé et interprété. Il a discuté depuis plusieurs années avec Podz pour emmener son histoire à l'écran. De son côté Podz a introduit une technique cinématographique audacieuse pour soutenir l'élan performateur de Goyette.
Pour cela, je devais voir le film. Le pari stylistique de Podz est gagnant pour moi. J'ai aimé la présentation fluide du décor alors qu'on suit le monologue incessant de Dave. La performance d'Alexandre Goyette est impeccable: le personnage est dérangeant, fatiguant, inconscient de ses décisions, et très peu aimable, je voulais qu'il meure! Mais il représente, avec beaucoup de justesse, ce que plusieurs jeunes hommes vivent dans leurs efforts d'appartenir et de gagner leur vie. Le fait que Goyette est maintenant beaucoup plus âgé que le personnage est adressé à un moment donné quand il explique que son alter ego homme émerge dans les circonstances difficiles.


This movie is described as being one of the most disturbing film of the festival. It is Nicolas Pesce's first feature film. The image above that accompanies the movies description is actually one of the softest  ones. The film is in black and white so it augments the textures of the quiet countryside where we first meet Mother, Diana Agostini , and Young Francesca, Olivia Bond. They are Portuguese immigrants now living as farmers. Mother had been a doctor in the old country so she shares her medical expertise with her daughter. Suddenly a curly haired stranger approaches Young Francesca. Mother lets Charlie, Will Brill, in to use the washroom and the tragic descent into horror begins. Adult Francesca, Kika Magalhaes, is not socialized at all and has not evolved from her childhood trauma. The torture she inflicts on her victims come from a child's perspective where her naiveté is more culpable than an intrinsic cruelty. As the movie advances and your discomfort increases, you recognize the brilliance of presenting the movie in black and white.


THE THRONE                                                                                      
King Yeongjo of Joseon 

Based on the true story of King Yeongjo of Joseon  and his son  Crown Prince Sado, this elegant historical drama is tremendously sad. The rule of law in Korea at that time prohibited the execution of the Crown Prince for the multiple crimes he was accused of: wantonly killing innocent people and multiple rapes. It is not clear to historians if he was recognized as being mentally ill but with our modern understanding of mental illness it seems likely that he was a very disturbed young man. The movie tries to focus on the extreme decision by the King to convince his son to enter inside a rice chest where he would be starved to death on the doorstep of the royal palace. The film and cast won many awards for this beautiful movie. I included this painting of the King that is excellently portrayed by Kang-ho Song.


Fantasia CRAZY - SEXY!

Some pretty outlandishly sexy and funny movies to be seen this week-end:

The Greasy Strangler one night only, Friday July 22nd at 11:55 PM
Lazy Hazy Crazy three teenage girls in love with athletes but exchanging sex for money with older men, Sunday July 24th at 5:00 PM and Monday July 25th at 5:05 PM
À la recherche de l'Ultra-sex un soir seulement Dimanche le 24 juillet à 21:35 suivi d'une discussion avec Gérard Kikoïne


Sunday, July 17, 2016


Guillermo del Toro @ press conference July 15 2016 Fantasia Festival. Photo © Lena Ghio, 2016
Most of us know Guillermo del Toro because of the spectacular creatures he brings to life in his legendary movies. One of my favorites is the creature above right from the movie Pan's Labyrinth. I have never seen anything like this being and it blew my mind. As it turns out, del Toro writes, sculpts, paints, and repairs the monster figures he has created for his movies relentlessly.

We were very excited to exchange a words with the artist.

The first item to be discussed was how he felt when certain directors who did not understand his work actually massacred the movie. To my great surprise I found out that movie exects are not that keen on horror flicks, that they are denigrated by studio heads. I did a search and found that his project involving James Cameron and Tom Cruise, 'At The Mountains of Madness', an adaptation from the book of the same name written by H.P. Lovecraft, was dumped when It didn’t fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience.”a phrase used by Cari Fukunaga when one of his projects, It written by Stephen King, was rejected by big studios. I found it even more remarkable because around the world there is such discussion about Artificial Intelligence and this is one of the prime examples of what AI means in our time. The truth is that this model of AI doesn't take into account that humans can love something they would never have thought they would have loved. So we, the lovers of complex horror movies made with intelligence and creativity, are denied an original product because men with money and power listen to a robot! FASCINATING! 

The artist revealed his intense passion for his work and film making by supporting emerging film makers. He prefers to leave production up to them so he can focus on other elements of the movie. He told us every movie must be an object of love because it cost him a lot of time away from his family when he is involved in a project. He is an intriguing mix of pure intuition and will power applied to get pragmatic results from his extraordinary inspirations. He loves the monster who brings out his empathy for those of us who are outsiders. Although it was his first visit to Fantasia he confessed: «Fantasia is not about cache, prestige, it is about worship for the fantasy genre of cinema. Fantasia offers us a shrine where we come to worship.»  

I was curious about whether he grew up knowing his monsters. «As a boy, I was in a jar. I did not have many friends. I was very thin, I remedied that now. My shirt was well buttoned down. I would read horror books in English with a English/Spanish dictionary and that is how I taught myself English. I believed in my monsters. I grew up in Mexico and there it's not magical realism, it is real magic. I am not a normal person. I grew up feeling the alienation of the monster and I accept that I am a deranged creature. When I looked at horror movies with Frankenstein or the Gillman, I wanted the villagers or the scientists to die. I never wanted the creature to die.»

One of his favorite films by him is the recent success Pacific Rim. He is currently working on two very intriguing titles: The Shape of Water and Pinocchio, a version closer to the original The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi than recent milder versions of the fairy tale. Finally he told us of his excruciating pain when his projects were cancelled or abandoned. «It feels like a miscarriage, a bloody miscarriage with thick bloody placenta dripping pain.»

This coming August, an exhibition of del Toro's most famous creations will open in Los Angeles. There will be an exhibition catalog signing session @LACMA on July 29th for  the exhibition Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters.

This was just the first week-end. Sadly some great titles will not be seen in Montreal for another while including Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex. But follow the link to check out some upcoming titles. I will put on a list of some of my choices for this week soon.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Second Chance / Seconde Chance

Nicolaj Costner-Waldau (Games of Trones) and Ulrich Thomsen (Mortdecai - Banshee) are two detectives, Andreas and Simon,  in this drama that is surprising and tragic. Andreas appears to have the perfect life: a gorgeous wife, a beautiful baby boy and a great home. Simon is divorced, approaching retirement and drowning his sorrows in alcohol. One night, Andreas's son dies suddenly and the distraught father is swallowed up by a life-destroying course of action as his life goes from very bad to worse. The movie shows how good intentions and hasty judgement of others can take down a very wrong path. You will not see the denouement coming. This is a Susanne Bier film. She won an Academy Award for best Foreign Language Film in 2010 for the movie In a Better World.

Now on DVD, Pay-per-view and iTunes.


Nicolaj Costner-Waldau (Games of Trones) et Ulrich 
Thomsen (Mortdecai - Banshee) sont deux détectives, Andreas et Simon, dans cette étude de moeurs qui vous bouleversera. La vie d'Andreas à l'air idéale: une jolie femme, un beau petit garçon et une merveilleuse maison. Simon est divorcé, à l'approche de la retraite et il noie ses chagrins dans l'alcool. Un soir le fils d'Andreas meurt soudainement et le père ébranlé se fait avaler par une série d'actions qui vont détruire sa vie. Le film illustre comment les bonnes intentions et les jugements téméraires sur les autres peuvent mener sur une très mauvaise voie. Vous ne verrez pas venir le dénouement de cette histoire. Un film de Susanne Bier qui s'est méritée un Oscar en 2010.

Maintenant en DVD, VSD et iTunes.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Getting ready for Fantasia! / On se prépare pour Fantasia!

This year, the 20th anniversary of the Festival, Cinémathèque Québécoise presents a stunning exhibition of some of the posters, catalogs and other paraphernalia from past Festivals. / Pour souligner les 20 ans du Festival, la Cinémathèque Québécoise présente une exposition impressionnante d'affiches, de catalogues ainsi que tout un attirail des Festivals passés.

What an exciting and deranged collection of films to share in great fun with the unique audience of Montreal's 20th Fantasia Festival. There will be a lot happening and I will update regularly during the coming weeks.

This Friday July 15th Guillermo del Toro will receive a Cheval Noir Award and give a Master Class after the screening of Creature Designers: The Frankeinstein Complex. A very exciting opportunity!

Also in town to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and to present 2 films, Takashi Miike, who will be present for the screening of his 2 latest films: As the Gods will and Terraformars.

On Saturday the 16th meet Adam Nimoy director of the feature For the Love of Spock and son of Leonard Nimoy! It is a fascinating view from a son's perspective on one of television and cinema's most beloved character.

On the afternoon of Sunday the 17th you can see the chilling documentary Beware the Slenderman that follows the incredible story of two twelve year old girls who tried to murder one of their girlfriend to please the elusive mythical creature known as Slenderman.

There is a competition in all categories:  Meet the jury!


Quelle collection de films excitants et dérangeants à partager avec le public unique du Festival Fantasia de Montréal. Il y aura beaucoup d'action donc je ferai des mises à jour régulièrement durant les semianes à venir.

Le Festival ouvre avec le film de Podz King Dave écrit par Alexandre Goyette qui tient aussi le rôle principal. Vous pouvez visionner le film en présence de ceux-ci ce 14 juillet, suivez le lien. Je vous donnerai ma critique du film à la prochaine mise à jour.

Il y aura une belle rétrospective du cinéma québécois avec la portion du festival Fantastique Week-End du Cinéma Québécois du 28 au 31 juillet et dont voici quelques choix:

« Le réalisateur Larry Kent sera quant à lui présent lors de la projection du film Fleur Bleue / The Apprentice (1971), l’un des premiers films canadiens de fiction réellement bilingues, mettant notamment en vedette Steve Fiset, chanteur populaire et comédien disparu en novembre dernier et Susan Sarandon, dont c’était le deuxième rôle au cinéma. Le film sera précédé du moyen-métrage ON SAIT OÙ ENTRER, TONY, MAIS C'EST LES NOTES ! (1966), un documentaire délirant réalisé durant la tournée « REVUE YÉYÉ 65 » avec Tony Roman, les sœurs Gallant, Jenny Rock, Michèle Richard et Marthe Fleurant, qui sera présenté en présence de son réalisateur Claude Fournier.
Parmi les autres films proposés dans cette section, notons également une copie du film L'Apparition (1972) de Roger Cardinal, écrit et interprété par René Angelil et Pierre Labelle; une comédie rarissime des années 70, Tout Feu Tout Femme (1973) de Gilles Richer mettant en vedette Andrée Boucher, Réal Béland, Louis De Santis, Denis Drouin, Marc Gélinas, Guy L'Écuyer, Jean Lapointe, Raymond Lévesque, Danielle Ouimet et Gilles Pellerin, ainsi que la version restaurée du film Requiem pour un beau sans-coeur (1992), de Robert Morin avec Gildor Roy, présentée en association avec Éléphant : mémoire du cinéma québécois. »

Il y a une compétition dans toutes les catégories à suivre: Rencontrez les membres du jury!

Patricia Chica @ Fantasia Photos @ Lena Ghio, 2016
Une Première mondiale affichant
deux “Scream Queens” américaines
pour le nouveau film de Patricia Chica
Vendredi le 22 juillet 2016 à 21h35
Mercredi le 27 juillet à 15h00
au Théâtre de Sève de l’Université Concordia
en ouverture de KYAMACHI
 Friday, July 22nd, 2016 @ 9:35pm
Wednesday, July 27th @ 3:00pm
de Seve Theatre – Concordia University
Opening for KYAMACHI
-LENA GHIO                                                                                                                                         

JUST FOR LAUGHS latest news!

Jeff Goldblum in recent Interview article
Craig Mcdean
Karl Templer

Amazing actor Jeff Goldblum will host a gala this July 27th. This is a portion of the line-up of humor super-stars who will be in town:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, P.K. Subban, Seth Rogen, Aziz Ansari, Nathan Lane, Jeff Goldblum, Sebastian Maniscalco, Carrie Fisher, David Cross, Lewis Black, Jeff Ross presents Roast Battle, Howie Mandel, Russell Peters, Oh, Hello starring Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, Sarah Silverman, Hannibal Buress, Jeremy Hotz, Brian Regan, Maria Bamford, Gad Elmaleh, Jimmy Carr, Russell Howard, Iliza Shlesinger, Kathleen Madigan, Colin Mochrie, Asad Mecci, Brad Sherwood, Nikki Glaser, Jay Pharoah, Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart, George Wallace, Dan Harmon, Scott Aukerman, Paul F. Tompkins, Lauren Lapkus, Mark Watson, Russell Kane, Tiff Stevenson, Rachid Badouri, Dom Irrera, Godfrey, Jessica Kirson, Blake Griffin, Gina Brillon, Yannis Pappas, Mike Ward, Bobby Slayton, Brad Williams, Ralphie May, Tony Hale, Timothy Simons, David Mandel, Alan Carr, Tom Green, Janeane Garofalo, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Adam Hills, Andy Dick, Tommy Johnagin, Eugene Mirman, Nick Thune, Steve Rannazzisi, Scott Thompson, Kurt Metzger, Joe Mande, The Lucas Bros., Big Jay Oakerson, Barry Crimmins, Louie Anderson, Emo Philips, Piff The Magic Dragon, Beth Stelling, Michelle Wolf, Todd Barry, Greg Behrendt, Aparna Nancherla, Ryan Hamilton, Lil Rel Howery, Mike O’Brien, Ian Abramson, James Davis, Jermaine Fowler, Mark Normand, Tone Bell, Matt Braunger, Ari Shaffir, Andy Kindler, Anthony Atamanuik, Cameron Esposito, Daniel Sloss, Derek Seguin, Jackie Kashian, James Adomian, Josh Adam Meyers, Katherine Ryan, Finesse Mitchell, Corrine Fisher, Krystyna Hutchinson, Stuart Goldsmith, Barry Katz and more!

@ COMEDY PRO you can be present for the Just For Laughs Awards. Last year I was there to see Mike Myers receive a lifetime achievement award while sitting next to Dave Chappelle! With your COMEDY PRO all access pass you can experience this years Just For Laughs Awards:

Announcing Winners of the 2016
Just For Laughs Awards
Kevin Hart Presents LOL Live

And the lineup of the Mega Stars of Comedy Gala

Aziz Ansari: Comedy Person of the Year
Sebastian Maniscalco: Stand-Up Comedian of the Year
Maria Bamford: Breakout Comedy Star of the Year
Mike Judge and Alec Berg (Silicon Valley): Comedy Writers of the Year

There are excellent outside shows going on during the festival also with a lot of great food on the site, podcasts, and so much more!!!! CHECK IT OUT!

I will review as many events as I can in a timely manner. It would be FABULOUS if you could share your experience @ JFL with me right here!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

ZONE HOMA été 2016 19.07 > 27.08.2016

De gauche à droite: Florence Longpré, Grégory Beaudin et Jean-Sébastien Girard les portes-paroles de la 8e édition du festival. Photos © Lena Ghio, 2016
Jeudi passé, une soirée idéale à Montréal, le milieu des arts de la scène émergeant s'est regroupé à la Maison de la Culture Maisonneuve pour nous présenter la programmation de la 8e édition de Zone Homa, un festival qui présente au public des créations inédites en arts de la scène.

Les porte-paroles Florence Longpré, Grégory Beaudin et Jean-Sébastien Girard nous ont bien fait rire en introduisant la programmation éclectique. Voici quelques sugggestions:

• Ce 19 juillet: Géolocaliser l'amour: texte et mise en scène par Simon Boulerice avec Lucien Bergeron, Tommy Lavallée et Jocelyn Lebeau.
C'est l'histoire d'un jeune homme qui cherche l'âme soeur avec les applications Tinder et Grindr pour se perdre dans la ville en désarrois.

• Le 20 juillet: all the strings attached: spectacle de danse; chorégraphes et interprètes: Geneviève Bolla et Susan Polson 
La pièce explore les traces laissées par les mots.

• Le 21 juillet: Papier Glacé: un laboratoire scénique; mise en scène et scénographie: Marilyne Beauchamp et Étienne René-Contant; interprètes: Vincent Michaud et Lydia Sherknie; concepteur sonore et éclairage: Gaspard Philippe.

Les liens attachés vous mènent à la programmation complète. Ce qui est merveilleux c'est l'ambiance colorée et aisée créée par la Maison de la Culture Maisonneuve, et les prix abordables des événements. Il y a une belle terrasse d'aménagée avec parasols et petites tables, un bar à l'intérieur et surtout un accueil chaleureux!

Lors de la conférence, on nous a offert un succulent buffet. Je voulais prendre note du traiteur pour vous faire part de son nom. Cependant c'est une dame, Francine, la soeur de M. Pierre Larivière de la Maison de la Culture Maisonneuve, qui nous a préparé un goûté exceptionnel! MERCI!


Saturday, July 9, 2016

CCA: Architecture as Evidence / La preuve par l'Architecture > 11.09.2016

Left to right / gauche à droite: curators / commissaires: Robert Jan van Pelt, Donald McKay & Dr. Anne Bordeleau. At work, au travail. Photos © Lena Ghio, 2016

Français plus bas

“Architecture in action as an instrument of social and political life, challenges us to assess the public consequences of private actions at a more fundamental level.”

I find it inconceivable that some people still don't "believe" that the Holocaust really happened. The reason I find it inconceivable is that this monumental crime against humanity is not a "belief" system, it is a documented fact, photographed and filmed with surviving witnesses some of whom I have met like recently deceased Elie Wiesel. This summer the  CCACanadian Center for Architecture, presents an exhibition that is a part of this year's Venice Biennale for Architecture REPORTING FROM THE FRONT that looks at the probative value of architecture in a court of law.

The exhibition is sobering and chilling! The monochrome whiteness is a symbol of whitewashing the truth employed by the Nazis and Holocaust deniers who argue their positions by LYING!!!!! - text by Robert Jan van Pelt during David Irving trial. Robert Jan van Pelt wrote the compelling book The Case for Auschwitz : Evidence from the David Irving trial that is available at the CCA library with other fascinating books like The Evidence Room.


Je trouve cela inconcevable qu'il existe encore des gens qui ne "croient" pas que le Holocauste (la Shoah) soit vraiment arrivé. La raison que je trouve cela inconcevable est que ce crime monumental contre l'humanité n'est pas un système de "croyances", c'est un fait documenté, photographié et filmé avec des survivants comme témoins dont certains que j'ai rencontré tel le récemment défunt Elie Wiesel. Cet été le CCA, le Centre Canadien d'Architecture, présente une exposition qui est en lien avec la Biennale de Venise Architecture REPORTING FROM THE FRONT qui examine la valeur probative de l'architecture en cour de justice.

L'exposition est effrayante et donne à réfléchir! La blancheur monochrome est un symbole de l'expression blanchir la vérité ce qu'ont fait les nazis ainsi que les dénieurs de l'Holocauste
qui défendent leurs positions par le MENSONGE!!!!!


Friday, July 8, 2016

ALT Court: a unique party for Millennials presented by National Bank and Tennis Canada

From left to right: actresses at work filming a commercial: Penelope and Chloé getting to work on a live installation: print artists teaching guests how to print their own bags. Photos © Lena Ghio, 2016
The National Bank of Canada has been associated with Tennis Canada for many years already and many more to come. With this perspective in sight, Yann Jodoin, Senior Vice-President - Client Strategy, Marketing, and Branding at National Bank decided it was time to renew the institution's relationship with the strong group of emerging customers identified as millennials. Tuned into social media, having access to unlimited knowledge at their fingertip via smartphone, making and sharing videos of almost every life experience, millennials are a savvy bunch!

I took these images early in the evening to give you a sense of the setting @ Uniprix Stadium where the party was held and where the Montreal Rogers Cup will happen this July. Photos © Lena Ghio, 2016
Thursday July 7th, National Bank greeted more than 500 influencers from around the country to the ALT Court party. The elaborate event was organized by leading edge companies like SID LEE, BLVDVibrant Marketing, MASSIVart.

A shimmering crescent Moon lay in the background as a huge team of people all dressed in unique designer style took care of us.We also enjoyed free designer cocktails like the one being prepared for me here, La Volée,  with Pure Vodka and an exciting strawberry juice with Jalapeno combination. Photos © Lena Ghio, 2016
What I truly enjoyed was the impeccable fluid beat of DJ Ryan Hemsworth! It made me feel like I could fly! WHAT A TALENT!

Soon even the huge space was filled with an animated crowd. The party went on long into the night but a taxi service was offered for those who partied too much!



Copyright Lena Ghio, 2017 Add caption
Lena Ghio is a transdisciplinary artist with a passion for theoretical physics. 
I have been pondering the role of water in developing Artificial Intelligence because it fulfills the one thing that has eluded all companies working on it so far: intelligence capable of sentience instead of robotic programmed behavior. The difference between the two is an AI that accesses extra dimensions or an AI that functions like a vacuum cleaner, for example.
Then I realized that the AI would reflect who we are more than previously imagined. So far the robotic aspect is operating full throttle. You cannot google a thing without it popping up on all other exploration of the web. Weapons are working perfectly; drones can hit specific targets regardless of where on earth that target is, the same with medical nanotechnology. You get the gist of it. But that is not intelligence. It is recognition software at work. 
And here lies the extraordinary paradox about the future of AI. Do the major investors in its development truly want a sentient, profound intelligence capable of coming up with inspired new solutions, communication that has soul, depth and, dare I say, meaning to the user of the AI? Or is it happy to simply manipulate markets, military and medical devices for political and economic purposes?
So far the question is moot because any machine that is programmed and relies on these programs operates in a robotic bubble and that even if it is programmed to evolve within its system because that AI cannot access the wide range of information a human can, or that water appears to be able to do.
We are a long way off from integrating the apparent potential of water to AI because the interests of the investors on the one hand and the apparent outlandish concept that water is sentient on the other, not to mention the extreme competition to win the AI race that leads to misinformation from those who want the contracts, is slowing it down, if not eventually putting a stop to it.
To read about Lena Ghio's work on the language of water follow this link.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Le Goût des Merveilles

Bande Annonce

Le merveilleux film qui avait ravi les amateurs du Festival Cinémania récemment prendra l'affiche au Québec ce 8 juillet. Écrite et réalisée par Éric Besnard, cette comédie romantique tournée en Provence est totalement charmante. D'abord le décor, un verger de poire plein de fleurs, une maison champêtre en pierre et une campagne parsemée de coquelicots, est enivrant. Ensuite les personnages bien dessinés et vulnérables qui finiront par former une nouvelle famille sont attachants et inspirants. Virginie Efira et Pierre Lavernhe tiennent les premiers rôles de Louise et Pierre.


This summer / Cet été @ MAC

From left to right: a detail from Messenger, 1996; Dan Adler, Liz Magor and Lesley Johnstone taking us on a tour of the exhibition. / De gauche à droite: un détail de Messenger, 1996; Dan Adler, Liz Magor et Lesley Johnstone qui nous guident durant la visite de l'exposition. 
Photos © Lena Ghio, 2016
•Français en bleu

This summer you can see the intriguing sculptures from renowned Canadian artist Liz Magor at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art. The abundant nature of Magor's work demanded the collaboration of two curators: Lesley Johnstone, Curator and Head of Exhibitions and Education at the MAC and Dan Adler, Guest Curator and Professor at York University in Toronto. Indeed, when I walked into the exhibition, the first impression I got was associated with the immense work Production, 1980, an installation that is composed of approximately 2 500 hand made bricks laid out on the first wall. There is a chair that holds an antique brick press that the artist used to mold the bricks. I was taken aback by the textured details of each brick made from recycled newspapers. It made me think of a prison. The chair holding the press became an electric chair for a brief moment before I understood what I was looking at. Oddly, this piece is an apt metaphor for the creative process of the extraordinarily prolific artist who is constantly at odds with her anxiety about the contemporary human condition. I could easily imagine that her repetitive gestures while creating this work allowed her to reach a Zen like state.

You will see a large variety of artworks that use everyday material she found in her surroundings: empty bottles, cigarettes, pieces of food, old blankets, sculptures, on and on as she reweaves new tales from these cast out objects. One of my favorite pieces is Sowing Weeds in Lanes and Ditches, 1976. It is an intricate shelf filled with envelopes of dried herbs, seeds, pots, tools. I enjoyed its earthy tones and that it appeared from another era. The exhibition is a loosely constructed retrospective of over forty years of production. The decision was to assemble the pieces in an intuitive way to allow visitors to connect with their own insights. There is a comprehensive catalog that accompanies the show and it will help you remember and understand the hidden meaning of certain pieces.


Cet été vous pourrez voir les intrigantes sculptures de l'artiste Canadienne de renom Liz Magor au Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. La nature abondante de l'oeuvre de Magor a exigé la collaboration de deux commissaires: Lesley Johnstone, conservatrice et chef des expositions et de l'éducation au MAC et Dan Adler, conservateur invité et professeur agréé d'histoire moderne et contemporaine de l'art à l'Université York de Toronto. En effet, quand je suis entrée dans l'exposition, la première impression que j'ai eue associée à l'immense pièce  Production, 1980, une installation qui est composée d'approximativement  2 500 briques faites à la main et étalées sur le premier mur.  Il y a une chaise qui supporte la presse à brique dont s'est servi l'artiste pour mouler ces briques.  J'ai été déconcertée par les détails texturés de chaque brique produite avec du papier journal recyclé. Cela m'a fait penser à la prison. La chaise qui tenait la presse est devenue une chaise électrique pendant un bref moment avant que je saisisse ce que je regardais. Étrangement, cette pièce est une métaphore pertinente du processus créateur de l'artiste qui est en conflit constant avec son anxiété concernant la condition humaine contemporaine.  Je pouvais facilement imaginer que ses gestes répétitifs alors qu'elle créait cette oeuvre lui permettaientt d'atteindre un état Zen.

Vous verrez une large variété d'oeuvres d'art érigées à partir des matériaux du quotidien qu'elle a trouvé dans son environnement: bouteilles vides, cigarettes, morceaux de nourriture, vieilles couvertures, sculptures, sans arrêt alors qu'elle retisse des nouvelles narratives de ces objets rejetés. 
Une de mes oeuvres favorites est Sowing Weeds in Lanes and Ditches, 1976. C'est une étagère chargée d'enveloppes contenant des herbes sèches, des semences, des pots, des outils. J'ai apprécié ses tons de terre qui lui donnait l'allure d'appartenir à un autre temps. 

L'exposition est une rétrospective montée très librement avec un corpus produit en plus de quarante ans. La décision a été d'assembler les pièces de façon intuitive ce qui permettrait au visiteur de connecter avec sa propre perspicacité. Un catalogue compréhensif accompagne l'exposition et il vous aidera à vous souvenir et mieux comprendre les messages cachés de certaines pièces. 

Lizzie Fitch & Ryan Trecartin: Priority Infield detail/détail. Photos © Lena Ghio, 2016
•Français en bleu

Mark Lanctôt has curated this show that echoed last year's excellent Jon Rafman's show that he also curated. The big theme of both these exhibitions concerns an exploration of the way technology and the Internet have, and are still, reordering human subjectivity. Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin have been collaborating since 2000 and are already well-established artists. I was very intrigued by the clips I had seen of their work that appeared chaotic and aimless at first. I was astonished to realize that early on Ryan Trecartin began by asking himself the quintessential questions that every thinking human has addressed: Who are we? Where do we come from? Do we have free will? Where are we going? For me, this made the difference in how I approached what was presented to me throughout the exhibition or else it would be a banal manifestation of youthful belligerence. So I asked Mark Lanctôt to speak to me about that initial questioning by the filmmaker. I understood his answer as being that instead of answering the questions philosophically, the artists are battling through them with their work.

For me the work is not fun, it is not interesting per se, but it is promising. Current culture expects too much from young artists. Even if they have the Internet and so on, only time and life experience will deepen their work. The installation of the works divided into sculptural individual stages reminded me of a colosseum or a fair where many things are going on at once. However, the set up is intelligent and you will be able to comfortably experience each presentation.


Mark Lanctôt est le commissaire de cette exposition qui fait écho à l'excellente exposition de  Jon Rafman de l'année passée dont il a aussi été commissaire. Le grand thème de ces deux expositions concerne l'exploration des voies par lesquelles la technologie et Internet ont réordonné, et continue à réordonner, la subjectivité humaineLizzie Fitch et Ryan Trecartin collaborent depuis 2000 et sont déjà des artistes bien établis. J'étais très intriguée par les clips que j'avais vu de leur travail qui m'apparaissait chaotique et sans but au début.  J'ai été impressionnée d'apprendre que très tôt dans sa pratique Ryan Trecartin se posait les questions quintessentielles que chaque humain qui pense se pose: Qui sommes-nous? D'où venons-nous? Avons-nous un libre arbitre? Où allons-nous? Pour moi, cela a fait la différence dans mon approche face à ce qu'on me présentait comme exposition sinon cela m'aurait paru comme une manifestation banale de la belligérance de la jeunesse. J'ai donc demandé à Mark Lanctôt de me parler au sujet de ces questionnements initials de la part du cinéaste. J'ai interprété sa réplique dans le sens où les artistes, au lieu de tenter de répondre à ces questions par la philosophie, combattent avec celles-ci au travers leur travail.

Pour moi l'oeuvre n'est pas plaisante, ni intéressante comme telle, mais elle est prometteuse. La culture contemporaine attend trop de la part des jeunes artistes. Même s'ils ont Internet et tout, c'est seulement le temps et les expériences de la vie qui approfondiront leur travail. L'installation des oeuvres est divisée en théâtres sculpturaux qui me rappellent un colisé ou une foire où plusieurs choses se passent en même temps. Cependant, l'organisation est intelligente et vous pourrez vivre l'expérience de chaque présentation comfortablement.