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Montgolfiere Weekly

An exploration of culture in its many forms

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by Carolyn Brown

Under the spell of Malcolm Lowry

by Carolyn Brown

Day of the Dead — when the boundary between the land of the living and that of the dead becomes porous — could not be stamped out of Mexican culture by Spanish missionaries and was instead uneasily grafted onto All Souls’ Day. Over the succeeding four centuries, its primordial appeal has never flagged. “We Mexicans have a weird relationship with death,” explained one of my students as we drove by a cemetery festooned with marigolds and tables of offerings — ofrendas — for the festival. “We laugh at it, and we hate it.” Continue reading “Under the spell of Malcolm Lowry”

Ookpik – cliché Canadiana or entrée to Inuit culture?

By Carolyn Brown

In a harmonic convergence of craft beer and nostalgia, I ordered an Ookpik on Kijiji, and it arrived Feb. 1, still in its original box. I had had one when I was young, as did many children in Canada and the US, but I fear that long-lost Ookpik ended its days in landfill.

The Ookpik came along just as Canada was becoming cool — culturally, I mean. Continue reading “Ookpik – cliché Canadiana or entrée to Inuit culture?”

Soundtrack for a century: Philip Glass and the modern world

By Carolyn Brown

In Philip Glass’s tenth symphony, the insistent trumpeting of the high tones and the sombre knelling of the low tones conjure scenes from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis or Alex Grasshof’s Future Shock. The whirlwind acceleration of technology, the unease of globalization, cultures and cities swept away by violence — Glass’s music gives sonic form to the twentieth century. Continue reading “Soundtrack for a century: Philip Glass and the modern world”

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