Monday, August 31, 2015

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AHMED KNOWMADIC – NATIONAL CHAMPION SPOKEN WORD POET, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST, DYNAMITE BROTHER (MF GALAXY 041)


Stunning performer combines stand-up comedy & theatre background with socially conscious verse & community organising

Ahmed Knowmadic is an award-winning performance poet who—unlike most writers and performers—has been earning his living through his craft for the last three years by entertaining and enlightening people around the planet.

He’s performed for audiences in the thousands, and in March 2015 the British Council and the Norwich Writer Centre invited him to represent Canada during the International Literature Network conference.

Born in Mogadishu, Somali, in 1984, Ahmed migrated with his three older brothers and his mother to Italy during the collapse of the Somali state. Finding Italy inhospitable to his culture and religion, Ahmed and his family moved again—this time, to Canada.

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After a troubled stint in Ontario and an even more troubling trip back to Somalia, he returned to Canada to study theatre and comedy writing, and even performed for Second City and various open mic nights in Toronto.

Finally settling in the Big E in 2008, Ahmed integrated himself into the city’s poetry scene and brought all his life and artistic experience—including comedy—to his writing and performances. Joining with a group of like-minded young performance poets, together they founded the Breath in Poetry Collective which not only performs poetry, but provides artistic and even business mentorship.

In 2011, Ahmed became the spoken word champion at the nation-wide Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, and won the RISE award for community involvement in arts and culture. In 2013 he was Artist in Residence at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Seattle. He continues to excite and magnify E-Town’s poetry scene including by working with young people at conferences, in schools, and through various community organizations.

I recorded this episode’s conversation with Ahmed Knowmadic in October 2014 at Authorpalooza, a live talk-show author series I ran while I was writer in residence for the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta.

You’ll hear Ahmed perform his poem “Ignorance Infomercial,” and explain how other people’s rudeness forced him to make his text and performances as dynamic and engaging as possible. He’ll also discuss his experiences engaging the people of the Somali diaspora, including traditional elders and the delegates to a massive conference in the Somali capitol of North America. Finally, he’ll present his own advice for new poets, tell what drives him crazy about slam poetry, and reveal the danger of trying to please the audience. He begins by performing one of his most famous poems, “I Am Africa.”

To get all the bonus content, download the special EXTENDED EDITION of MF GALAXY, including a performance of one of Ahmed Knowmadic’s most powerful poems and an additional, never-before-aired interview, and the video of that interview! To download this extended edition of MF GALAXY, simply become a sponsor of theshow for a dollar or more per episode.

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“Innocence”




“Somali Pirates (Desperate Fishermen)”

“I Am Africa”

“Ignorance Infomercial”
 

Monday, August 24, 2015

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JENNIFER ABBOTT ON THE CORPORATION, THE DOCUMENTARY ON HOW PSYCHOPATHS HAVE TAKEN OVER THE WORLD, AND HOW TO STOP THEM (MF GALAXY 040)



Corporate crime wave on a global scale that corporate media doesn’t want you to know about

The Canadian feature The Corporation is one of the most acclaimed and electrifying documentaries in recent memory, which examines corporations as one of the most dangerous institutions on the planet.

Beginning with the legal principle in the United States and Canada that corporations are “persons,” the documentary then asks the question, “If they are persons, what kind of persons are they?”

According to the fourth Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, corporations as persons meet the definition of psychopaths, that is, people unable to experience remorse.
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Such a psychological defect turns such individuals into parasites and predators. A smaller number of them become killers. While the word psychopath and its one-time synonym sociopath have been replaced by the wordy phrase “Anti-Social Personality Disorder,” the meaning remains the same, and as the documentary explores, a potent and revealing way to explain and predict corporate behaviour, and perhaps to curtail and punish it.

In March 2004, Jennifer Abbott, one of The Corporation documentary’s directors, came to Edmonton to unveil her film which features interviews with major figures such as political analyst Noam Chomsky, documentarian Michael Moore, economist Milton Friedman, CEO Ray Anderson, journalist Naomi Klein, labour crusader Charlie Kernaghan, and commodities trader Carlton Brown, each of whom defends or attacks corporations.

During our conversation, we spoke of many of the film’s most dramatic moments, including the sequence depicting the attempt by the transnational corporation Bechtel to privatize the water supply of an entire country—including by making illegal the collection of rain water—and the inspiring revolt against that attack on national sovereignty and natural rights.

One aspect of the conversation you may find jarring is our eleven-year-old perspective on some events such as the illegal US invasion of Iraq, or political figures such as then-Prime Minister of Britain Tony Blair, then-President of the United States George W. Bush, and then-Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin.

Throughout the show, you’ll hear clips from the documentary. Go to MFGalaxy.org to see some clips. Visit The Corporation.com to purchase a DVD of the film, and to contribute to the film-makers’ crowdfunding effort to give the film for free to one thousand schools.

To hear the special extended edition of this episode of MF GALAXY with 20 bonus minutes of my conversation with Jennifer Abbott, become a patron of MF GALAXY.

The more you pledge, the larger your rewards, but as little as 25 cents per week gets you access to all the extended editions of the show. Remember: You can power this podcast. So do it.

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RICK GREEN, SKETCH COMEDY LEGEND + PEERLESS SFF LITERARY INTERVIEWER (MF GALAXY 039)




Co-founder of The Frantics, host of History Bites and Prisoners of Gravity, talks sketch comedy, TV production, and how Garry Shandling killed Four on the Floor


Rick Green is a legendary sketch comedy writer and actor and literary TV journalist. He co-founded the comedy troupe The Frantics with Dan Redican, Paul Chato, and Peter Wildman, and co-wrote and co-starred in their short-lived but superb TV show Four on the Floor. He also worked on The Red Green Show, The No Name Show, and All in Good Taste.
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While Green may be best known as the host of the science fiction and fantasy literary show Prisoners of Gravity and the history-media-satire History Bites, he’s received widespread acclaim for ADD & Loving It, a comedic-scientific look at Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder that The Globe & Mail called “brilliant.”

In today’s episode, I speak with Rick Green about:

  • The similarities between History Bites and The Daily Show 
  • The unproduced, but fully-written second season of Four on the Floor 
  • How Garry Shandling killed Four on the Floor 
  • The writing approach that was responsible for producing the superb quality of Four on the Floor 
  • The creative risks, and the remarkable creative success of Prisoners of Gravity, and how it helped create the Watchmen feature film, and 
  • The effect he’s had on thousands of people through his documentary on ADHD


This episode’s conversation is from sublevel 19 in the archives of the Grand Lodge of Imhotep. It’s never been aired before now. I spoke with Rick Green during the Pure Spec con at the Edmonton Convention Centre on October 04, 2009. We began by discussing the deeper purpose of History Bites. 

To purchase Frantics CDs and other merchandise, visit TheFrantics.com

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Happy Harbor offers every comic and manga and more you could possibly want and if they don’t have it in stock, the friendly staff will get it for you. Happy Harbor supports charities, schools and libraries, its own Artist in Residence, and even a scholarship. The store is family friendly, and the place where I buy all my comics and graphic novels, and where I have all my book launches. In short, it’s a great place.



If you’re in E-Town and shopping for comics, find Happy Harbor in the heart of downtown across from MacEwan University campus on 107th Street and 104th Avenue, and tell them heard about Happy Harbor on MF GALAXY.