Tag Archives: music

2012 in review

forlorn flapper

  • looking like a forlorn flapper
  • adjusting to the fact that all of my very close friends had moved away
  • enjoying the harsh cold québécois winter

recommended reading

  1. Instead of an interview with Xtra by Rae Spoon (Jan 3, 2012)
  2. They is me by Ivan Coyote (Jan 10, 2012)
  3. If the Clothes Fit: A Feminist Takes on Fashion by (January 17, 2012)
  4. Homai Vyarawalla, Pioneering Indian Photojournalist, Dies at 98 by Haresh Pandya (January 28, 2012)
  5. If the clothes fit by Arabelle Sicardi (January 31, 2012)




  • mastering the art of looking – and being – surly
  • went to a phenomenal exhibition on fashion in Québécois art, did a short radio report on it

recommended reading

  1. The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League by Lawrence Lai (February 2, 2012)
  2. Islamophobia in Canada: A Primer By Fathima Cader and Sumayya Kassamali (February 2, 2012)
  3. Honor Codes and Dress Codes by Sharday Mosurinjohn (February 10, 2012)
  4. Better Homes & Bloggers: Are lifestyle blogs a new way for women to compare themselves and come up short? by Holly Hilgenberg (February 18, 2012)
  5. When Anger is all I have and why anger is my feminist stand by Flavia Dozan (February 22, 2012)
  6. The Artists: Notes on a lost style of acting by (February 27, 2012)


none of dem (robyn) covered by austra


recommended reading


julia and iris


  • went out west for the very very first time to visit my best friend morgan
  • visited toronto!
  • celebrated james & rachel‘s wedding
  • aforementioned radio documentary was rebroadcast nationally! on one of my favourite shows!
  • read an awful lot, as proven below:

recommended reading:

  1. She Told Us So: Nafissatou Diallo and Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s New Case by Valerie Jean-Charles (April 3, 2012)
  2. Interview with Jenny Zhang at Chictopia (April 4, 2012)
  3. Trying to understand a tragedy by Mary Burnet (April 23, 2012)
  4. The Colour of the Student Movement – “Maîtres Chez Nous”  by Lee Way (April 23, 2012)
  5. The changing face of beauty: the rise of make-up for darker skin by Anita Bhagwandas (April 24, 2012)
  6. Carmen Miranda’s Ethnic Masquerade in The Gang’s All Here by ShienLee (Apr 25, 2012)
  7. Femme Post III on [real] Cuntext (April 26, 2012)
  8. Resistance is not violence: Putting property damage and economic disruption in perspective by Mona Luxion (April 28, 2012)




recommended reading

  1. Femme: In Praise of Higher Expectations by Zoe Whittall (May 5, 2012)
  2. What Fashion’s “Ethnic” Prints Are Really Called by (May 19, 2012)
  3. Women Are Heroes: A Global Portrait of Strength in Hardship by French Guerrilla Artist-Activist JR by (May 24, 2012)



justyne, jasmine, julia and myriam. best wedding party ever.

justyne, jasmine, julia and myriam. best wedding party ever.

  • chopped off my hair for the 1st time in ages, felt (and looked!) so good.
  • went to europe for the 1st time as an adult, since i lived there as a kid
  • met amazing people in pamplona, wasted hours in bookstores and art galleries and wandering along cobblestone streets
  • rented a scooter and rode along the atlantic coast in france…
  • headed back to canada in time to be a bridesmaid for the very first time, for my little sister jasmine!

recommended reading:

  1. Une autre raison de s’indigner by Sophie Le-Phat Ho, Kevin Lo, Faiz Abhuani, Amber Berson, Dominique Desjardins, Gwenaëlle Denis, Farha Najah (June 1, 2012)
  2. How To Be A Reverse-Racist: An Actual Step by Step List For Oppressing White People by A.D Song and Mia McKenzie (June 27, 2012)
  3. Life, death and the meaning of a wedding dress by Laura Snelgrove (June 15, 2012)


july 14


recommended reading

  1. Field Notes on Fashion and Occupy by (July 9, 2012)
  2. Turbans on the Runway: What does it mean for Sikhs? by Sonny Singh Brooklynwala (July 10, 2012)
  3. Be a fan, not a jerk at Untitled Teen Mag (July 17, 2012)
  4. Doing Femme: Fiona Apple by iris (July 16, 2012)
  5. Make up, my bane and saviour by Teresa (July 25, 2012)




  • celebrated my 5-year anniversary with simon
  • covered an election campaign as a journalist for the first time ever (was particularly amused by this story)
  • had a nice visit with carmelle
  • did not spend enough time in the sun, did not spend enough time outdoors
  • spent far too much time thinking about/working on election coverage
  • struggled with how to deal with that stress, and how my body was manifesting it…

recommended reading:

  1. How To Talk to People Who Are In Wheelchairs by Monica (August 2, 2012)
  2. Hate Crimes Always Have A Logic: On The Oak Creek Gurudwara Shootings by Harsha Walia (August 6, 2012)
  3. At Least Pussy Riot Won the West by Kriston Capps (August 16, 2012)
  4. Manic Pixie Dream Dissidents: How the World Misunderstands Pussy Riot by Sarah Kendzior (August 20, 2012)



  • went to visit my family in ottawa
  • thought i was going to have some time off, struggled with the ups and downs of being a freelancer
  • worked on some pitches and ideas

recommended reading

  1. «Nous sommes tous responsables» de l’attentat du Métropolis par Catherine Lalonde (8 septembre 2012)
  2. What can’t be published by Stacey May Fowles (September 14, 2012)
  3. Special Victims by (September 14, 2012)
  4. Accessibility to fashion and the visibility of bloggers by GraceLizaBetty (September 18, 2012)
  5. The Good Girls Revolt: The Untold Story of the 1970 Lawsuit That Changed the Modern Workplace by Maria Popova (September 19, 2012)
  6. Ariel Pink And Beta Male Misogyny by Joe Kennedy (September 24, 2012)
  7. I wrote this thing about Grimes’ “Genesis” and it never ran so here you go by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd (September 28, 2012)




  • got sick
  • went for a hike in the woods
  • thought/wrote a lot about feminism…

recommended reading

  1. What the Girls spat on Twitter tells us about feminism by Bim Adewunmi at The Guardian (October 8th, 2012)
  2. A problem that stubbornly refuses to budge by Reni Eddo-Lodge (October 8th, 2012)
  3. Bullying: It’s not just for kids (October 6, 2012) sidenote: this was also the most popular thing i shared on tumblr this year, with over 7000 notes
  4. Her Body Is Not Your Playground: Why the Photoshopped Frida Nudes Are Not Okay by Mia McKenzie (October 25, 2012)
  5. Trolls and the spaces created by trolling by Nora Loreto (October 24, 2012)
  6. Real Talk: Am I living radically? by Katie West (October 26th, 2012)



  • followed the american elections a bit too closely
  • went to the vintage clothing fair in ottawa with steph
  • spent some quality time with my sisters
  • started working on a big project…
  • took a week off and went on a mini road trip with simon

recommended reading:

  1. Die Antwoord’s revival of blackface does South Africa no favours by Adam Haupt (November 2, 2012)
  2. An Open Letter to the AGO About Frida Kahlo’s Unibrow by Sarah Mortimer at Shameless Magazine (November 6, 2012)
  3. An Unedited Rant About Looking Into Fatshion’s Navel by Natalie (November 11, 2012)
  4. Doing Antiracism Wrong at Jezebel at Postbourgie (November 12, 2012)
  5. Are we becoming cyborgs?




  • visited and interviewed my grandparents in valleyfield
  • caught up with karina
  • put together Threads: Fur, fabric and fashion in Quebec for CBC Radio
  • celebrated my 27th birthday!
  • got a really fucking good haircut, as pictured above

recommended reading:

  1. The Natives are restless: Wondering why? by âpihtawikosisân (December 11, 2012)
  2. For the last time, stop conflating violence & mental illness by (Dec 17, 2012)
  3. Foreign Tokens: The Blackamoor Brooch by Rama Musa (Dec 17, 2012)
  4. Parsing the online comments on #IdleNoMore: How Canadians are failing a tolerance test by David Newland (December 20, 2012)
  5. White Men are Not in Decline by Sarah Jane Glynn (December 20, 2012)


all in all, not too shabby!


Filed under currently, digital/online culture, links, personal, Uncategorized

why gwen stefani shouldn’t be your style icon

i originally published this on tumblr in response to a lot of gwen stefani love i’ve seen going around on my dashboard lately. i find it difficult to have engaging conversations on that platform, so i thought i’d repost it here.

gwen stefani in 1998

images not unlike this one circulate around tumblr and the web, often tagged as “inspiration” or “riot grrrl” and “hero.” tinged with a taste of nostalgia for the days of our youth, our budding critical thinking ways, and our need to look up to and admire someone who told people not to be shitty to her just because she was a girl.

i stumbled upon a gif of stefani singing in the “sunday morning” video, with the lyrics “sappy pathetic little me” in the caption. this is new radio posted it with this statement underneath:

I think the absolute best revenge on an ex-boyfriend is write songs about how he wronged you and then HE HAS TO PLAY THEM.

i had to chew on this for a second. yeah, i have to say that sounds like pretty sweet revenge. but… what about this situation? we’re talking about no doubt here, and the relationship between gwen and bassist tony kanal.

the thing is?

gwen stefani is kind of an asshole. i mean, what’s the worst thing tony kanal did? she’s the one who got famous, and he is always in the background (i mean he is the bassist and he is, from my recollection of teen magazines, shy and quiet). meanwhile, her stock kind of skyrockets. she profits from being an “it girl” in both the music and fashion industries, and ends up making bindis and saris popular for a hot minute in the 90s. i literally know nothing about their relationship/breakup other than the fact that it inspired the tragic kindgom record. am i wrong in wondering why she deserves “revenge?” correct me if i’m totally out of line here…

but you might be wondering… why do i think gwen stefani is an asshole?

let me count the ways. ananya mukherjea breaks it down in her essay indo-chic:

Somewhere around 1995, the band No Doubt, with its energetic, effervescent, cute lead-“just-a-girl” Gwen Stefani hit MTV (and North American hearts everywhere) hard. The story was this: the guitarist was this Indian-Californian boy named Tony Kanal and was the love of Gwen’s life for a few years until he dumped her (for being “too clingy”) just before the production of their mega-hit album, breaking her heart. Consequently, every song on the album is written about their break-up and her heart-break. She moved on, eventually, to that guy from Bush; but her sexual/ emotional brush with the East remained significant.

It was there in all these songs, in the interviews where she discussed her fallen relationship at length, and in the videos where she crooned at Tony (who remained silent throughout). Most visibly, it was there in her fashion— in her ever-present bindi and in the expensive sari’s she wrapped around her waist sarong-style, matched with a little bustier. No one ever talked about Tony being Indian (that would be strange and irrelevant, no?) or discussed the myriad complexities of inter-racial romance (again, a different story) or even articulated which subcontinent her fashion was borrowed from (but, why?)… her bindi and sari fabric were just quirky, “new,” and cute— like Gwen, herself. My much-maligned bindi looked attractive, it seemed, on Gwen’s racially different face; and the implicit message seemed to be that the dark and silent Tony had squandered his chance with this girl who featured fusion-sexy (white skin, American attitude, exotic style) so temptingly well.

there are countless other examples (let us not forget that fuckery around literally silencing asian women but using them as props with the harajuku girls) and i’ve definitely got other questions about no doubt (why were the black horn section players never seen as part of the band? why is it okay for a popular californian ska/rock/pop band to just jump from culture to culture to culture for musical and sartorial inspiration?) but in this case, this is the one that comes to mind.

i’m not gonna lie, gwen stefani was a big deal to me when i was a teenager. i blame it on the dearth of strong female musicians in the mainstream rock scene in the 90s – at least for a kid growing up on military bases and whose access to music severly limited. remember, we’re talking about the pre-internet days here. when i think back, i have a hard time remembering what it is i loved about her… i suppose she was one of the first people i saw mimicking style icons of the silent screen, and i loved that she was still boyish and tough while wearing makeup.

a screencap of no doubt lead singer gwen stefani with finger waved hair in the "don't speak" music video.

a screencap of no doubt lead singer gwen stefani with finger waved hair in the "don't speak" music video.

a screencap of gwen stefani in the "excuse me mister video," channeling cherubic silent film star lillian gish or mary pickford.

a screencap of gwen stefani in the "excuse me mister video," channeling cherubic silent film star lillian gish or mary pickford.

unsurprisingly, she was quickly de-throned when i discovered punk music and riot grrl… but still, in ‘96 she was super important to me. it wasn’t until she went solo/i got older that i started realizing how blatantly appropriative she was/is, and i still don’t feel like she’s been properly taken to task on it.

if this 90s revivalism shit keeps picks up any more steam, it looks like i’m going to have to be the one to do it.


Filed under fashion

grimes appreciation post

grimes album cover for visions

the first time i heard a grimes song, i’ll admit i was on the fence. i was browsing on the cbc radio 3 website ages ago and came across some of her demos… but i was compelled enough to press the “like” button, so now the internet tells me i’ve been a fan since january 2010. even in may 2011 i wasn’t quite sure.

but after seeing her perform in july, i was sold. she was a fantastic performer, and seeing her on stage helped me get a better sense of what i think she’s trying to do. i’ve got a lot of admiration for pop stars who will play with the abject. not to mention, what talent! i’ve seen many a more seasoned musician tackle that many looping pedals and beat machines and trip up (*cough* owen pallet *cough*) but boucher did not miss a beat. not to mention the fact that the crowd was kind of mostly a bunch of talkative dicks, and she still doled out a great set.

lately, her name and face is popping up everwhere. she’s getting a lot more mainstream attention, thanks to a tour with lykke li and signing with 4AD. well, that, and the fact that her new album is kind of incredible. it was being streamed for free on NPR, and made for perfect background music as i tackled reading a handful of interviews with her… and some of the questions just struck me as so assinine. and i loved the way she responds to them. read for yourself:

Pitchfork: I feel like there’s something patently feminine about the way Visions sounds.

Claire Boucher: I hope not. I don’t want to think it’s patently girly. Vocally it is, because that’s where my capabilities lie, and my influences as far as pop goes are female stars. But production-wise and instrumentally, my biggest influences are primarily men: Aphex Twin, the Dungeon Family, OutKast, that kind of shit.

I also feel like those [gender] lines are changing. A couple of years ago, it wasn’t nearly as OK for guys to like girly-sounding music. But all of a sudden a lot of my guys friends who would like have been really disdainful of female singers are way more accepting. My brothers’ friends are all basketball jock-bros, and they really like Lykke Li and Robyn.

part of me agrees with her, but mostly i hope she’s right. i really hope the days of people saying “i don’t like music made by chicks” can be the way of the past. why do we need to constantly remind music journalists, reviewers and fans that ‘woman’ is not a genre of music? can’t we talk about her music, the inherently nostalgic quality of such a young person’s music,  her creative ways of playing with her appearance on stage rather than whether or not she is “patently feminine?” what, because she has a high-pitched voice? fuck that.

photo cred: marie jane / ashley, claire wearing jewelry by morgan black and dress by renata morales

photo cred: marie jane / ashley, claire wearing jewelry by morgan black and dress by renata morales

aaaaand this brings me to my final point – i fucking love her style. she’s messy, surly, playful, and seems like someone i’d really like to hang out with and have a living room dance party with. for her press photos and magazine shoots, she’s worked with a lot of montreal designers including one of my favourites, renata morales (who is also known for working with regine chassagne of arcade fire).

claire boucher photographed by raphael ouellet

claire boucher photographed by raphael ouellet

here’s how she describes her own style, from an interview with out magazine:

You’re also a pretty snappy dresser. How would you describe your style?

Tank Girl or sci-fi punk. I’m always wearing skirts that I’d cut shorter and just don’t hem. I always wear combat boots at all times—that’s the basis of everything, the combat boots. I have this really sick trench coat from the Korean war that I always wear, but when I do photo shoots that not my clothes really its what they bring.

hey guys! surprise! photoshoots are the mainstream equivalent of playing dress-up. i love it when pop stars and actors pop the bubble of fantasy illusion that they look and dress how they do in photoshoots in their real lives. in the end, i recommend you check out her new album visions, and catch her live if you can.



Filed under currently, fashion, Uncategorized