Tag Archives: CBC

Ep. #296: Christopher Ward

Christopher Ward is a songwriter and author who currently splits his time between Los Angeles and Toronto. Renowned for writing the hit single “Black Velvet” by Allanah Myles, Ward bears the distinction of being one of the first ever Canadian on-air video jockeys (VJ) when MuchMusic launched on August 31, 1984. The network went on to alter the course of live broadcasting and music media for decades and Ward was an active participant in its early, heady, experimental, and chaotic days. He’s chronicled the experience in a compelling new oral history book called Is This Live? Inside the Wild Early Years of MuchMusic The Nation’s Music Station, which features commentary from musicians, hosts, producers, crew members, and many other firsthand witnesses to the weirdness. Is This Live? was published this past fall by Random House Canada and Christopher and I recently met at his publisher’s office in downtown Toronto to discuss how MuchMusic got started, how and why it became beloved and influential, its rawness and prescience for interactive content and social media, his book, and more. Sponsored by the Bookshelf, Pizza Trokadero, and Planet Bean Coffee.

Related links: christopherward.ca much.com/is-this-live vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #269: Baroness von Sketch Show

Baroness von Sketch Show is a very funny sketch comedy TV program that airs on CBC. This edgy yet grounded show is written by and stars four very talented and hilarious human beings: Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne, and Jennifer Whalen. They’re just wrapping up their first season on CBC with the finale airing on Tuesday July 19 at 9:30 PM ET and you catch up on past episodes and sketches at cbc.ca/baroness. I recently met up with Carolyn, Meredith, Aurora, and Jennifer at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto to chat about a roll call, Aurora’s action figure name, capes and tools, superhero skills, meeting and working at the Gladstone in Toronto, Junction Triangular or West Bender, different Canadian cities, getting to know Baroness von Sketch and where it came from, better origin stories, the Patton Oswalt George Lucas/prequel bit, spending a chunk of time talking about the Justice League, parenting and childhood nostalgia, questions about robbers, nerd lines, 20 years to BVS, TVO Kids is awesome and is often spearheaded by edgy, Canadian comedians, writing for kids’ cartoons, Odd Squad, local comedy coverage by Canadian publications, brain drain, eh, Canada’s confidence complex, America is much weirder than us, community support, people like Jon Dore who maintain their roots in Canadian comedy, the Mars One sketch Dore’s improv, beards, David Letterman’s beard, positive and negative feedback, a male shipwreck, the Fuck, Marry, Kill sketch, making your parents uncomfortable with your comedy, the fart lighting sketch, my wife, trying to describe the show and its shorter vignettes, relatable and grounded sketch, rich details, learning at Second City, Smack the Pony, The Muppet Show, 9 to 5, Monty Python, The Kids in the Hall, Amy Schumer, The Office UK, Not the Nine O’Clock News, SCTV, Superjail!, Rick and Morty, parameters and working with CBC, not a bucket of jizz, Seinfeld and saying things without actually saying it, an all-female sketch comedy show, perceptions of political undercurrents, a feminist recruitment tool, being women working in comedy, political correctness and privilege, all the stuff have white man have done, the strange responsibility of having to explain what it’s like to be a woman, just wanting to talk about the work, we’re not post-gender, comedy control, the future of BVS and oh the places you can watch the show on Tuesdays at 9:30 PM ET and Sundays at 9:00 PM ET on CBC, BVS hasn’t done it live, the Book Club sketch, and then we said good-bye.

Related links: cbc.ca/baroness vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #152: Kevin “Sipreano” Howes & Duke Redbird

Kevin “Sipreano” Howes and Duke Redbird are both involved in a lovely and vital new compilation called Native North America (Vol. 1) – Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985, which is out now via Light in the Attic Records. Exhaustively researched curated by Howes, the triple LP/double CD features rare and scarce music made by the likes of Redbird, Willie Dunn, Sugluk, Willie Thrasher, Sikumlut, and many more figures from all across Canada. Earlier this week, Howes, Redbird, and I met in Toronto for a conversation about this project and here, we discuss things like the pool table that Duke painted, growing up in Richmond Hill Ontario with a killer record collection, getting into punk and hip-hop, sample-based culture and the roots of music, Bob Marley’s ska and early reggae records, Ty the record seller in Vancouver’s Red Barn Flea Market, truly underground Canadian music, becoming a music journalist and going on the road to hunt for cool records with Birdapres, discovering records by Alexsis Utatnaq, WIllie Dunn, and other Canadian indigenous artists, when CBC would document regional artists and press vinyl for internal use, musical investigation, Facebook and the internet are known as “the great radio” by some Inuit artists, tracking down Tayara Papigatuk from Sugluk via a local radio station, the rare interviews that contextualize Native North America (Vol. 1), people should pay for this compilation man, learning more about the roots of Canada and its brutal past, struggle, pain, joy, and punk rock, the ‘moment’ of heightened awareness for Native culture and issues, timelessness, Duke joins us, there’s been very little improvement in the social fabric of First Nations and the Canadian government, a guaranteed annual income among law-abiding citizens that’s similar to what prisoners receive, free market democracy, electronic re-tribalization via social media, wearable technologies, Me & U and the future is now, self-preservation and romance versus power and money, why indigenous culture doesn’t seem to experience the same civil rights progressive acceptance as that of other cultures and lifestyles, either or and why, agrarian cultures, commerce and greed, poetry and music, hanging out with Bruce Cockburn and Joni Mitchell in Toronto, why Native North America is hugely important for Aboriginal culture, this music is rare and somewhat uncollected, artistic resurrections, working for love, anthologizing Willie Dunn’s music and films, there’s more material out there, showcasing American artists in volume two, the song “Silver River” by Shingoose featuring the poetry of Duke Redbird, which was inspired by Redbird’s Yorkville flatmate Joni Mitchell, being around when Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLachlan, and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee were hanging around Yorkville, writing a poem about an afternoon spent with Leonard Cohen and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and then it’s to the future.

Related links: lightintheattic.net vishkhanna.com

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