The Pains of Growing: Alessia Cara

Twenty-two year old Canadian artist, Alessia Cara, released her second album on November 30 titled The Pains of Growing.  

When listening to the album in its entirety, I tried listening for a pattern in the order of the songs. Although there are no evident patters, it was very easy to tell that all of her songs had to do with some of the experiences she had transitioning from adolescence to adulthood.

The overall message of the album is that we need to become aware of the pressure society puts on us to grow up so fast.  We are expected to have life figured out so young that we totally forget about taking advantage of our youth and making the best of it while it lasts.  Cara also touches upon the fact that we cannot expect ourselves to be happy all the time and that it is totally normal to experience several different emotions at that time in our lives. 

Another thing that I personally think really stands out about this album is that, it does not only touch upon the common things people experience during adolescence, but also the things people discover and begin to contemplate.  Cara touches upon self discovery, love, heartbreak, and politics.

Three songs that I really enjoy listening to and I feel are very impactful are “7 Days”, “Wherever I Live”, and “Nintendo Game”.  These songs encouraged me to reflect on the life I am currently living, and made me realize that everything I go through, positive or not, will make me a stronger person in the future.

Post by: Beatriz Pardal Costa

Travis Scott’s Astroworld: Wish You Were Here Tour

Travis Scott’s Astroworld: Wish You Were Here Tour in Scotiabank Arena was my first concert in Toronto and has been one of the best nights of my eighteen years of existence to say the least. From an insane stage set up consisting of two life sized roller coasters to knowing every single one of Travis’s song that he played live, this is surely an experience I’m taking with me to the grave. It was so much more than a concert to me, it was a sign that I am on the right path with all the confusion and homesickness that can make you question being in a university fifteen hours away from home.

For those of you who do not know, I am an international student that moved here from Philippines for university. I’m Indian by nationality but drew up in Philippines. Since it is a developing country, the amount of effort and resources that they put into leisurely events like concerts is rather minimal. The artists that would come to Manila were often Top 40’s artists like Katy Perry and Bruno Mars. Rappers do not even skim that area, the closest we had gotten to getting someone beyond pop artists was supposed to be The Weeknd in December 2018, which ended up getting cancelled due to “production requirement issues.”

Don’t get me wrong though, Philippines is an amazingly musical country and I have been to concerts there like the indie band, Bastille, and I have seen Martin Garrix twice but there is just not that much R&B and hip hop presence. Being a Disc Jockey (DJ) that is strongly into hip hop and Electronic Dance Music (EDM), I had often felt rather out of place there with all my rap music and EDM drops knowing that there was not much of an audience there for it besides my supportive friends.

Thus, Travis Scott’s concert gave me that clarity that I am in the right place seeing as majority of the crowd in Toronto’s arena were screaming every lyric to his songs no matter how fast the rap was. Personally, the concert felt like a walkthrough of the last five years of my life – the good nights with friends had been trademarked with iconic Travis songs such as Antidote and Goosebumps. His songs have also been a constant through bad phases seeing as his lyrics such as “for this life I cannot change” from Butterfly Effect have been there to remind me to keep pushing through no matter how much crazy stuff life throws at you. Other songs such as Pray 4 Love with The Weeknd stir conversation about global issues such as racism as Travis raps about how he is “tired of seein’ these black kids on the face of FOX and f*ck CNN, they don’t wanna see us win.”

What made me respect Travis Scott more as an artist was that every single aspect of his production was to add depth to his art rather than showcase a spectacle. Just as his actual album contains sound samples of roller coaster noises, the actual roller coaster’s acceleration sounds could be heard through the speakers which created a sensory experience of listening to the album. Additionally, his ad libs were so hauntingly catchy that they have been stuck in my head even a week after and I can hear them when I listen to his songs. 

Scott also sang one of his 2014 hits, Drugs You Should Try It, and began by explaining that he was aware that not many people in the audience would know this song but it was one of the songs that meant a lot to him during the dark periods of his life. The title encompasses the negative connotations of drugs being associated with rap, however the song is actually about Travis finding a girl that shows him life beyond that. Personally, this was one of the highlights of the concert as we got to see a different side of Travis. Just for this song, he actually put his mic on the mic stand which was a major contrast to his previous songs in which he was jumping around stage, organizing a mosh pit run-in or getting fans up stage to rap along stage with him and give them the experience of crowd surfing.

Seeing Travis live has been one of my dream since the last five years. I have talked about it so much which is probably why my parents were not pissed when I told them I spent $200 on the ticket. This concert deepened my respect for Travis Scott and his talent as he sounds amazing, if not better, live and his ability to control the crowd is breathtaking. What makes Travis unique in this age of female musicians using their sexuality as a means of branding themselves and males using dancers to keep their audiences hooked is the bareness of his stage production as the roller coasters are only there for about five out of the seventeen songs he plays live. Travis including the song Drugs You Should Try It depicts his authenticity to his art as this track is not available on Spotify or any other streaming platforms that pay artists and thus, his inclusion of it was simply for the artistic experience of it.

 

 

Post by: Vanshika Khanna

I continue to shape​

I continue to shape​​ — UofT Art Exhibit

I have conflicted feelings about modern art. On one hand, it interests me because it’s such a different style of art compared to what I make myself. On the other hand — I don’t understand it. So when I visited the ​I continue to shape exhibit at the University of Toronto Art Centre, I was ecstatic to find a thesis statement, a clear declaration of purpose, displayed in the first paragraph of the artist’s statement:

“History, like all stories, is told slant, subject to distortion by those with the power to represent it. … And yet, it seems that aesthetic practices bear a specific capacity to transform the sediment of history into something moving once again, to puncture what seems solid, to reflect the light.”

With a tentative grasp on the exhibit’s purpose, I began to see ​how​ each art piece aimed to “transform the sediment of history.” Though ​I continue to shape ​features a selection of modern art pieces from a variety of artists, using a variety of mediums, they all have one thing in common: each is a type of reworking of the past — an interruption of history. And by disrupting conventions of the past, these art pieces make history a conversation, something alive.

For instance, there is Joseph Tisiga’s ​Props for Reconciliation​, a series which sets characters from the ​Archie​ universe in representational tropes from Indigenous cultures. According to the artist statement, “If the comic-book characters appear too much at home, the Indigenous characters fade from the surface, displaying the destructive effects of what Archie and his friends, no doubt, imagine as only good-natured skill sharing and curiosity.” Then there is Mickalene Thomas’s ​Origin of the Universe I​, which configures Gustav Courbet’s ​L’Origine du monde​ with the image of a black woman. Most interesting to me, though, was Justine A. Chambers’ interactive scenography, a variety of cushions, tables, blankets, and structures that the gallery visitor can configure as they see fit. Written instructions tell the visitor to “allow your body to unfurl,” recognizing flesh as a way of understanding the bodies of the past.

Though varying in medium, these art pieces all have been created and curated for the same purpose: to acknowledge the distorted lens through which we view the past, and to shatter it. I highly encourage you to check out this exhibit before it closes this coming Saturday, December 8. Even if modern art isn’t your thing, you might, like me, find yourself looking past the veneer of what we consider history and seeing something that is vibrant, alive, and new.

Post by: Yvette Sin

The Best Rinks to Skate in Toronto this Winter

The end of the semester often brings stress, sickness, and snow- but something to make it better is skating! Whether you’ve never skated before, you’re a hockey enthusiast, or you’re a figure skater like I am, there’s always a great time to be had practicing your skating. Here are some rinks you might want to check out!

      

Nathan Phillips Square

Last Saturday, November 24th, was the opening day for Nathan Phillips Square! The cavalcade of lights, an annual event, was full of holiday festivities and a great way to kick off the season! Check it out and take some iconic photos in front of the Toronto sign. You can rent skates and helmets here.

Lake Devo

No list made for Ryerson students could be complete without a feature from right here on campus! Lake Devo, the intimate space between the campus store and IMA building, will be opening for the season soon! There is no anticipated date yet- but when you go, make sure to bring your own skates (and a helmet if needed!)

The Bentway

The Bentway, the figure-8 shaped skating trail located downtown underneath the gardiner expressway, will be opening this year on December 21st. They offer skate rentals and skate lessons, food and beverage vendors, spots to get warm, and wifi!

The Natrel Rink

The Natrel Rink, located right on the lake at Harbourfront, is open every day from 9am-10pm, weather permitting. Heated change rooms with lockers will get you out of the cold while you put your skates on, and they offer helmet and skate rentals.

Ontario Place

Last weekend was opening weekend for the arena at the newly renovated Ontario Place. This synthetic rink is open whatever the weather until 11pm! You can rent skates and helmets, and there is always a stunning view and rotation of DJs you don’t want to miss out on!

Hopefully you can find time during the busy end of the semester and take a break from exam studying to get out and skate!

Post by: Nicolina Moscati

Review: Burning

As we prepare for the greatest season of all time, we are all scrambling to get ready. No, I’m not talking about the Holidays, I am talking about Awards Season. All the film and TV lovers, are prepping by watching anything that could be potentially a nominee. On my quest to figure out the nominations this year, I decided to watch a few films that premiered and gained some buzz at TIFF 2018. Which lead me into exploring a South Korean mystery thriller called, Burning, directed by Lee Chong-dong.

Based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, the film follows a young man named Lee Jong-su who works whatever job he can to support himself. One day he runs into an old childhood friend whom he does not remember, Shin Hae-mi. As they start to hang out more together, the more he starts to fall for her and thinks about a future with her. When Hae-mi goes to Africa to find an adventure, she asks him to look after her cat for her while she is away. When she comes home he goes to pick her up in his truck however, she comes home with a mysterious man named Ben (played by Steven Yuen from The Walking Dead). Jong-Su is intimidated by this man as he lives a very posh life and drives a Porsche, which threatens his potential romantic relationship with Hae-mi. One day, Hae-mi disappears without a trace with her cell phone disconnected, her apartment is a wreck, and her cat is also missing. Something sinister and mysterious lies ahead.

The film has strong performances from the actors as they manage to portray the raw emotion and complexity of the human condition. It is a film that looks for the beauty in the ugly grey parts in life. Possibly the best part about the film is the major plot shift from a story about a love triangle into a mysterious thriller. Without skipping a beat, the film goes from making observations about the human condition and life to destroying any assumptions we made about the story and its characters. The hero of the story, the person the audience should root for cannot be trusted suddenly, as he could be an unreliable narrator. Suddenly truth and meaning are warped as we are distrustful of the characters and question whether what we saw happened the way it did.

For a mystery thriller, it was unconventionally long. Most thrillers are shorter just to keep the pace and suspense balanced out, but in this 2 ½ hour film, it felt very drawn out. In some moments I found myself waiting for something to happen. The film is called Burning on purpose because it is a slow burning dance of Jong-su emotions of love for Hae-mi, and jealousy and revenge for Ben. It is an intelligent and subtle way of storytelling; however, the pacing could be better.

Another thing to nitpick is the characterization of Hae-mi. The actress’ performance was stellar, and I wished she had more screen time, however, the character reminded me of the infamous film trope; the manic pixie dream girl. She’s pretty but also self-deprecating and has a lust for life. She immediately has sex with Jong-su a few minutes into the film and he even pleasures himself in her apartment when he goes to check up on her cat. She is a tool to teach the broodingly and tragic hero of the story to find embrace adventures and life’s mysteries.

Despite the pacing and the female character trope, the film is still beautifully crafted with its intelligent storytelling, trancelike cinematography, and gripping musical soundtrack. If you plan to bet on what will be nominated this awards seasons, look out for Burning.

Burning is currently playing at TIFF Bell Lightbox and university students get a discount, so make sure to bring your OneCard if you plan to see this film!

Post by: Jessi Law