Gary Numan occupies an unique space within pop culture. The electronic music pioneer made his biggest dent on the mainstream back at the dawn of the ’80s with the synth-driven single “Cars.” It was a worldwide hit that topped singles charts here in Canada and his native UK, and remains the song by which most people known him, if they know him at all.
But a long fallow period followed Gary Numan’s early ’80s peak, one that arguably ended only with the dawn of the millennium, when he shifted musical gears to make darker, more industrial work. It was a move, cynics might say, designed to capitalize on revitalized interest in his work thanks in part to Nine Inch Nails main man Trent Reznor’s loud fandom. (Reznor has recorded a cover of Numan’s 1979 single “Metal,” and, in recent years, has brought his hero on stage with NIN to perform it and other of his songs live.)
But it is hard to believe it was nostalgia alone that allowed Numan, on tour to support his new album Savage, to sell out Toronto’s Opera House. Granted, many of the fans packed in front of the stage this past Friday night suffered from male pattern baldness (an observation made from the venue’s busy top balcony), indicating the age of their own fandom. But a significant proportion of the Numanoids in attendance were of both genders and were obviously born long after both ‘Cars’ and the ’80s. And while recent Numan tours have seen him milk nostaglia’s teat, performing early albums Telekon, The Pleasure Principle, and Replicas in their entirety, Numan here chose a set list that cannily balanced his recent catalogue with the classics.
Zama, the long-anticipated return of Argentinian director-extraordinaire Lucrecia Martel, is an astonishing work of colonial examination and technical perfectionism.
Toronto: September 13, 2017
No matter how terrible things may seem, music has the potential to make everything feel better. Those of us feeling disillusioned by the current state of the world received a massive dose of optimism last night at the Bovine Sex Club.
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INVSN will be playing the Bovine in Toronto on Wednesday, September 13. Tickets are FREE!
If you were into punk in the 1990s, you’ll remember Refused. If you were into punk at the turn of the millennium, you’ll also remember The (International) Noise Conspiracy. Singer Dennis Lyxzén is the common element in both of those exceptional bands. Not content to rest on his laurels, he’s now part of another Swedish punk collective called INVSN.
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Jenna Bass’s latest film, High Fantasy, is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of South Africa’s multi-cultural youth. Appearing as a sort of homemade travelogue, High Fantasy is filmed as if collected from a group of friends’ various iPhones and then officially edited together afterwards.
Day four of Fan Expo Canada 2017 starts with an early rise and shine, a cold shower, a healthy breakfast, and a cup (or two) of coffee. Grab your backpack – we’re heading out the door for our last, but still busy, day at the Metropolitan Convention Centre.
It’s a long weekend here in Toronto, and that means today you’ll see lots of kids saddling up next to their favourite cosplay superhero or Pikachu for a chance at a photograph. School starts next week, and you can be sure that tales of #FXC17 will echo through the locker-clad hallways.
There’s always one-more-thing to get, isn’t there? So, as you pick your brain for that last item of fancy, here are the things Biff Bam Pop! thinks you should be checking out between the Sunday hours of 10 AM to 5 PM…
Artist John Bolton has had a long and storied career in comic books and sequential art. He made the jump from working in English magazines such as Warrior, to burgeoning American periodicals like Epic Illustrated, in the early 1980’s. He’s been working in and around the mainstream comic book industry ever since, as comfortable drawing superheroes as much as he is painting fairies, vampires and demons.
Drawn to the genres of fantasy and horror as both an illustrator and painter, Bolton has worked alongside some of the greatest writing names the comic book industry has known, including Chris Claremont on Marada The She Wolf and Black Dragon, both for publisher Epic Comics. With Neil Gaiman in The Books of Magic for DC Comics, he created the look of the reluctant boy-wizard, Timothy Hunter, based on his eldest son. His acclaimed graphic novel series, Shame, alongside writer Lovern Kindzierski, is where Bolton’s efforts most currently dwell, with the first three acts being recently complied into a single hardcover volume.
There’s a sense of wonder, amazement, power, and sexuality inherent in Bolton’s work, combined alongside an overt menace that makes a viewer full of trepidation. Even when his sense of horror is not manifest, nothing is ever as it seems in Bolton’s completed visual offerings.
On the eve of an infrequent visit to Toronto via the 2017 edition of Fan Expo Canada, JP Fallavollita caught up with John Bolton in an exclusive interview via email, and asked him about his process, his female-driven subject matter, and his recent work on Shame.
Let’s run through your pre-game checklist:
- A hardy breakfast and lunch
- Comfortable shoes
- A backpack
- A visit to the cash machine
- Your list of pop-culture themed heart’s desires
If you haven’t got those five items checked off yet, what are you waiting for? This is Day 1! You plan to make it through to Day 2, don’t you???
Follow us down pop culture lane! Biff Bam Pop! is making it’s way to the Metropolitan Toronto Convention Centre and, between the hours of 4 PM and 9 PM today, there are a number of things to do and see…and tips you need to know.
Let’s not dally another minute…here we go!
With the gut-bursting pop culture excitement of this coming long weekend, I’m wondering if we can’t add a third season into the mix, even if it is a relatively short one! Canada’s largest and most anticipated pop culture experience that ranges from comic books to movies and television to anime to gaming to toys…and so much more… is finally back!
Fan Expo Canada 2017 is here!
After waiting through twelve months of winter and construction, the most eye-popping weekend of the year begins on Thursday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and runs through Sunday afternoon. And, of course, Biff Bam Pop! will be there!
Here, then, is our prelude to all the sights, sounds, symposiums, breakout sessions, photo-ops and merchandise you need to experience over the coming four days…
With an expectation of over 129,000 people in attendance this year, make sure you hydrate, wear comfy shoes, and follow us around the pop culture floor of Fan Expo Canada 2017!