Patrick Swayze is a Ghost

Patrick Swayze has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 57. (NYT)

I’m in Toronto And You’re Probably Not (or Greetings From TIFF!)

As you’re likely all painfully aware, the Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing, and everyone who is anyone is here. What? You weren’t aware that TIFF was happening? Get a clue! What’s that? You don’t care? Stop kidding yourself – of course you do!

At any rate I, your Prairie Dog cub reporter, am here to keep you abreast of all the hot-buttered, rubbernecking hubbub. Sort of. We weren’t actually furnished with a proper press pass… But they gave us rush line vouchers! Which is almost as good, only without the open bar. Oh well. We’re in it for the love of cinema, after all.

So what’s happened so far? Well, let’s see… As usual, there have been loads of good looking and/or famous people in attendance, but in terms of controversy, the big news happened over a week ago, when Canadian filmmaker John Greyson made a public announcement, pulling his short film “Covered” from the festival. This was in protest of TIFF’s inaugural City to City program, which is meant to celebrate a foreign city through its cinema – only this year TIFF decided to reach out to Tel Aviv, which has angered many in light of the all the blood Israel has on its hands, and the program’s de-facto exclusion of Palestinian filmmakers. Here is John Greyson’s letter to TIFF. And here is TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey’s response.

Greyson is not alone – many other high-profile film people and cultural critics have signed on in protest, and some have pointed out that the timing of the program dovetails too easily with Israel’s Brand Israel campaign. As a result, TIFF has been put on the hot seat, and has been accused of being part of the pro-Israeli propaganda machine. Which is embarrassing, but what can they really say at this point? They obviously had their reasons, and it’s a done deal.

Stay tuned for more TIFF excitement, including coverage of the premiere of George Ryga’s Hungry Hills, directed by Regina’s own Rob King!

Voices of Reason

Finally, some rational discussion on health care reform in the United States. (College Humour)

B.C. Government Tells Artists to "Suck It Up"

Damn you greedy artists. Damn you all to hell for stealing food out of the mouths of starving B.C. children. (Globe & Mail)

Six In The Morning

1 REMEMBER THAT E.I. REFORM WE WERE SUPPOSED TO GET THIS SUMMER? The Conservatives, under the threat of a non-confidence vote, finally table Employment Insurance changes (Globe And Mail). This is the program, you may recall, that the Liberals gutted the hell out of in the 1990s.

2 NOT THAT IT MATTERS Because the Tories are positioned for a non-confidence vote this Friday. (Canada.com)

3 HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which makes an adequate symbolic date to mark global capitalism's self-inflicted financial crisis. In New York, Obama makes a speech to remind everyone how he's basically doing fuck-all on this file, and how the banks are still insanely under-regulated. Probably because he' been too busy doing close to fuck-all on health care. (New York Times)

4 TOE REMOVAL I can't find a link to this story yet, but unless I was having a fever dream I'm sure I heard CBC's Brett Bradshaw this morning reporting on some poor woman who had a toe pulled off because she owed a drug debt. What the hell? I'll post a link when I find it. UPDATE: link here (CBC).

5 KISS TO SMOOCH SASKATOON I know this because the story is prominent on the front page onf the online Leader-Post. It is NOT prominent on the front page of the online Star-Phoenix--at least, not at the moment. Anyway, KISS--listened toteh album Dynasty Saturday night. Not a bad record actually. Disco-y!

6 RIDERS ANNIHILATE, EVISCERATE, DISCOMBOBULATE, EXSANGUINATE BOMBERS Ha ha haaa Winnipeg sure sucks. You already new this but you wanted to be reminded, admit it. Well, here's how they feel in Winnipeg: "doo-dee DOO-dah doo-dah doo-dah dummm". Tooo funny. (Winnipeg Free Press)