Friday, October 29, 2010

Maddin's Mythical Winnipeg

At Stella's cafe near his Osborne Village apartment, the self-deprecating Guy Maddin wears a wrinkled shirt and khaki pants, his hair is a mess. In between bites of what he deems "the best carrot cake in the city," the Winnipeg filmmaker speaks of his mythic childhood, being a university teacher, and his relationship with the city he cannot seem to escape.

In 1962, on the day that Marilyn Monroe died, the girlfriend of Maddin's eldest brother was killed in a car crash. His brother took his own life on her grave shortly thereafter. Maddin was 6 years old. He was told by his parents that his brother had died to be with the girl that he loved, and they were to be married in Heaven. Maddin remembers it sounded like a fairy-tale, too young to fully understand.

Maddin manages to make the tragedies, the comedies, and the trippy moments of his life sound mythical. He has incredible stories to tell, and he could go on for days telling them. He is an enchanting story-teller, each story more fascinating than the next. His career as a filmmaker blossomed as a result.

Maddin's unique signature style of film is very artistic; it mirrors early melodramas and silent films. He has written and directed 38 short and feature films, and is perhaps best known for My Winnipeg, a fantastical telling of his childhood. The film won Best Canadian Feature Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2007.

"If you look at his films, one would think that you were going to meet some effeminate fellow wearing a scarf with a questionable handshake," Jason Patric, an American actor starring in Maddin's latest film, Keyhole, said via phone. Keyhole is an auto-biographical tale, loosely based on Homer's The Odyssey. It stars Patric alongside Isabella Rossilini, and will be released in early 2011.

When he did meet Maddin, Patric was surprised at the range of Maddin's expertise that goes far beyond his catalogue of film knowledge and avant-garde visual sense. “He also has a love for sports. It's very rare that you can have a fans conversation about the Yankees that, in between beers, turns to German expressionist films. He is quite unique." Patric adds, "I just don't understand what he is still doing in Winnipeg."

Maddin has filmed all but one of his movies here in his hometown, and has an interesting relationship with the city. In Maddin’s narration of My Winnipeg, he says: "I need to get out of here, I must leave it now. After a lifetime of many botched attempts, this time I am leaving for good." Why then, years later, is he still here? Maddin seems incapable of straying too far from the city that he calls “a mother,” comparing it to an enabling parent.

Three years ago, after filming My Winnipeg, Maddin flirted with the idea of permanently moving to Toronto. He met with the dean of the film department at the University of Manitoba, where he had been teaching on and off for close to a decade. "I asked for (an obscene amount of money) to stay in Winnipeg, thinking he would never accept. To my chagrin, the dean didn't even blink," Maddin says.

And just like that, he'd condemned himself to the city he'd always dreamed of escaping.

He calls himself a "Winnipeg jet-setter": spending summers at his cabin in Gimli, autumns teaching in Winnipeg, and the rest of the year he splits his time between Toronto, where his daughter and grand daughter live, Los Angeles, New York and Paris.

Film students at the University of Manitoba are benefitting from Maddin's entrapment and have the opportunity to learn from one the most original filmmakers of our time. Maddin teaches two classes in the fall semester: Sex and Censorship on the Silver Screen, and Film Enchanté - Out of the Nursery into the Night, a course designed by Maddin himself. "Sometimes I wish I didn't have the job, but it's the greatest job ever, I have to keep telling myself that."

"When it is going well, it feels good, like maybe you're doing for some young people what my friend and former teacher George Toles did for me 30 years ago. Infecting them with the bug: curiosity and an avid enthusiasm for watching more," Maddin adds.

He did just that for Evan Johnson, a good friend and former student of Maddin's, "he's really funny as a professor. He doesn't need to put any effort into the class. You just get to sit and bask in his refined taste. Learning happens through osmosis." Johnson is Maddin's current writing collaborator, the duo are working on a series of short 1920-style short films.

Johnson doesn't seem to think Maddin is going anywhere, saying "he could never fully leave here. His art is mythologizing his childhood and this place.”

Maddin, however, remains hopeful, “I would like to film in New York or Paris. I don't know what I am waiting for, maybe I should just go do it already. I should do myself a favour and just do it already."

A Guy's Guy Caesar
-2oz vodka
-Motts clamato (extra spicy)
-3 dashes each of worchesterchire & tabasco
-celery salt
-salt & pepper

  • In a celery-salt rimmed glass, filled with ice, pour in vodka, clamato, the worcherterchire and toabasco
  • stir and top with s & p, garnish with olives.

"Good melodrama is the truth inhibited" - Guy Maddin

***photo from

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Full Moon

I don't think I have ever thought that Winnipeg is a cool city. A cold city, yes, but definitely not a cool one... It must have been a full moon last night, because the city was enchanting....

I spent the majority of my precious weekend hours working a journalism assignment. Me and a couple of gals, including my fellow CreComm-er Hannah, decided that we needed to squeeze in at least a few hours of fun before Monday morning crept up on us.

We didn't head out until after midnight, and we ended up at a movie wrap-party that was happening in a massive studio apartment in the on the top floor of an old character building in Winnipeg's Exchange District (just down the street from my school, it is fast becoming my favourite part of the city.) A DJ was spinning amazing music on vinyl records, we danced for hours on end under red blue and green lazers that were coming from all corners of the room. Epic.

Out on the fifth floor fire escape to get some air, the view of the city was enchanting, the full moon gleamed over the historic buildings of the sleeping city. It was trippy and beautiful.

here is the quick and easy recipe Taylor made cocktail to make in a pinch!

-pour Blueberry Vodka and RockStar energy drink into a random coffee cup. Try to get your hands on some ice, and add as many cubes as you can. Give it a quick stir with your pinky finger, et Voila! You are ready to dance the night away! Cheers!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Facebook Me!"

For my Public Relations class, I had to watch The Social Network (aka the Facebook story), starring Jesse Eisenburg, Justin Timberlake, and a smoking-hot Andrew Garfield. Have I mentioned how much I love CreComm?? lol.

The movie starts with Zuckerburg getting dumped by his girlfriend for being a pompous ass. A post break-up night of drunken blogging and programming begins a series of events that ends with Zuckerburg being the founder and CEO of the largest social-networking site ever, making him the youngest billionaire ever. The movie goes though the story of how he came to be, in 2 separate lawsuits against him, being sued for a total of over 600 million dollars. The movie ends with Zuckerburg having lost his best (and only true) friend, Eduardo Saverin, and hundreds of millions of dollars (although the total isn’t specified), sitting at his computer, awaiting the Facebook friend confirmation of the girl who broke his heart in the beginning.

Jesse Eisenburg did a great job of portraying Zuckerburg as a socially awkward computer genius. Aside from his billionaire-status, I didn’t know very much about the Zuckerburg story, and if I were to draw my conclusion solely from the movie, I would say he isn’t exactly the greatest guy. In the movie, he screws over Savourin, his best friend, pushing him out of the company he helped create. There is also never any confirmation of whether or not Facebook was actually Zuckerburg’s idea, or if he stole it from the Winklevoss twins, who initially hired him to create their Harvard-exclusive social networking site months before Facebook was released. The fact that he ended up having to pay them 65 million dollars tells me that he may just have.

I understand why his girlfriend broke-up with him in the first place, I would also go out on a limb and guess that she never did accept his fb friendship request either.

The real villain of the movie is Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and one-time President of Facebook played by Justin Timberlake, who does an incredible job of making us hate him, a difficult feat. The Social Network paints Parker as a smooth-talking, conniving, full-of-himself, greedy, party-animal. The movie also makes it seem as though it was Parker that convinced Zuckerburg to sucker-punch his bff and CFO, Eduardo Savourin.

When I got home from watching the movie, I checked my Facebook (obviously), and in the ad bar there was a link to this very interesting Vanity Fair article written about the normally very private Parker, where he gets to tell his side of the story.

I think that this movie is a great one that will go on to define our generation. With a superb cast, an amazing screen-play, and a fabulous soundtrack, it will surely get recognition come awards season as well.

I believe Facebook is already one of the primary modern-day communication tools that has changed the world as we know it, and it’s popularity will only grow as a result of The Social Network.

Cooler than a million $

1 ½ oz Baileys Liqueur

½ oz Frangelico

1oz Vanilla vodka

1 shot espresso

3 coffee beans (garnish)

-mix all ingredients (except coffee beans) in a shaker filled with ice.

-strain into a chilled martini glass

-finish w/coffee beans

Enjoy with friends!!

Friday, October 15, 2010



I love long weekends like this past Thanksgiving weekend where the Monday is the holiday,. Not only do you get a 3 day weekend, but then, a short 4-day week to follow. It’s been a short week, but I am already ready for some cocktails! Tonight is the first official social (for you non-Manitobans out there, that translates to fund-raising party) for CreComm students. The event has been talked about since the very first day of school, and I personally cannot wait to let loose with these people that I know so little about outside the classroom.

I am taking this opportunity to have my first Taylor-made cocktail party!! Before the social, I am having a party at my house where I will be making some cocktails from my wonderful blog!!! The Blue & White cosmo from Bday Blues and this Pineapple Express Margaraita!!! Hosting a party is always a little nerve-racking, today I have the fear that either no one will show up or that too many people will and my house will get trashed. Let's hope for a happy medium.

Pineapple Express

(recipe is very party friendly and makes one pitcher)

*1 1/2 cups white tequila

*1 cup triple sec

*2 cups lime juice (fresh squeezed, about 20 limes)

*2 cups pineapple juice

*pineapple slices for garnish

*Mix all ingredients into a pitcher half-full of ice.

*Pour into glasses filled with ice. Garnish with pineapple slices.

Ole! Have a great weekend bloggers!!

Monday, October 11, 2010


I am not exactly a poet and I know it. But a beautiful sunset just gets to me, and I

cannot help it. Enjoy my poem, and photos of some of my most favorite sunsets...

Sunset Messages

I look to the setting sun,

when I am lost and missing you.

A masterpiece painted from the sky,

just for me.

It's how you say "I love you too"

When life is seemingly hopeless,

and full of gray,

You give me a sky of warm ambers

dusted with sapphire clouds ,

Telling me that tomorrow is a new day.

When a foolish man

breaks my heart,

In a fiery crimson and violet sky,

You remind me,

This is a fresh start.

Away from home in a foreign land,

I know you are with me

When peeking out from the clouds

are rays from the sun,

Setting over the sea.

Skies rich with color,

brush-stroked clouds gray like stone.

In your sunset messages

you speak to me,

And I no longer feel alone.

Tequila Sunset

-2oz tequila

-1 tsp grenadine

-1/2 of a lime

-pineapple juice

-soda water

  • Fill a rocks glass with ice
  • Add tequila, grenadine and the juice from half a lime
  • Top off with pineapple juice and club soda and give it a quick stir

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

He says, she says.

Heya bloggers!!! I know it's been a whole week since my last confession,
forgive me, won't let that happen again.

It's official, CreComm has totally consumed my life. I thought that with not working I'd have all this time on my hands to do some of my favorite things that I haven't had the chance to lately; read a book for fun, write long-winded letters to my friends in all corners of the world, catch up on all the fantastic fall shows that I have waiting for me on pvr, to get some sleep.

Nope, I am in CreComm.

In this program, I am discovering what I can achieve under extreme pressure. I am challenged every day, and am forced to try things I never thought I would, like Twitter, and blogging :). I have never in life voted. I have little to no political interest, and here once again, CreComm has me doing something I never thought I would. I attended the Civic Election Mayoral candidates debate for CJOB radio held at Red River College's Princess street campus between Mayor Sam Katz and Judy Wasylycia-leis on Wednesday. I actually quite enjoyed it! Politics, who knew?

From the bits of knowledge on the subject that I have gathered in my journalism class, I had thought I would be all for Wasylycia-leis, the Opposition, who seems to have a detailed plan for how she will raise property taxes and put that $$ into crime prevention, rapid transit, and youth programs. None of these really affect me personally at the moment, but I can agree with them. I cannot help but admit there is also a bit of "support your fellow woman" in there as well.
Katz's plan on the other hand seemed like a grey area. He was great at skating around the fact that he doesn't have a platform. He is a smart, charming, well dressed man. A smooth talker that speaks with confidence and a dash of arrogance. He reminds me of persuasive men that have gotten the best of me in the past, but even so, I cannot help but like the guy. He seems to just ride on the fact that he did an okay job in his last 6 years as mayor, that he's brought Winnipeg sporting teams, cool concerts, and that we'll keep him on because he's good enough, and people are afraid of change. And in my opinion, I think he will win, although it may not be what is best for us.

At the best of times, the debate had me feeling inspired, as if just being there made me a part of something. Watching all the media there working in the jobs that I am now training to do was cool as well. At the worst of times, it felt like I was watching my parents fight and bicker, arguing about the same things over and over, beating a dead horse. During the breaks in the debate, the 2 candidates would exchange pleasantries, smile at one another, and I couldn't help but think of how much more interesting this whole thing would be if, secretly, the 2 candidates were having a scandalous love affair behind closed doors... Now there's a story!!

In my opinion, Sam Katz 'won' the debate. He called Wasylycia-leis "mom" twice. bahahaha! What a guy, our mayor!!

And here is a twist on a classic gin martini for our classy politicians out there.

Sex & Politics
-2oz Hendricks Gin
-dash dry vermouth
-2 cucumber slices

In a shaker full of ice, mix the gin & dry vermouth.
Shake it like you mean it!
Strain into a chilled martini glass
top with cucumber slices

*** Hendricks is a cucumber & rose Gin, and is critical in making this cocktail. The cucumber garnish brings out the flavour in the gin and makes this martini refreshing and much smoother than a classic gin martini.