The Rebel Zone directed by Lorraine Segato, airing on Citytv Friday (November 30) at 8 pm.
when i meet ex-parachute club front lady Lorraine Segato in a College Street cafe to talk about her new documentary film, I see someone with star quality. She's full of confidence, direction and knowledge about both the larger issues and the smaller ones -- like how much foam it takes to make a good macchiato.Before storming T.O. with her funk/pop band, Segato was a filmmaker, having graduated from Sheridan College, and her visual art as much as her music has been imbued with her politics. Her new film, The Rebel Zone, is about the rise of the artist community on Queen West between 1975 and 85.
"The atmosphere in which the Queen West artist community flourished was not unlike today's," asserts Segato as she sips her correctly foamed drink. "The film is a small slice of a very large community, with a variety of talents working in many mediums, and it's my point of view on what I saw around me.
"In the mid-70s there were radical changes going on, and later in the 80s there was the Cold War, Reaganism, the fear of nuclear war, racial issues, South Africa, Nicaragua, issues of morality and abortion that really affected you not only as a person but also as an artist. Now we're revisiting them in the same way.
"The difference is that there was a rebelliousness and a fearlessness then, because in a way we felt like we had nothing to lose."
Released to coincide with the documentary, The Rebel Zone CD (see review, page 85) features a collection of Toronto bands also from that time, including Mary Margaret O'Hara, Jane Siberry, the Parachute Club, the Handsome Neds and Martha & the Muffins.
But hasn't Toronto always been small fry? Canadians are known for being unsupportive of their home-bred talent, and maybe that's why no great Canadian artistic movement has ever made waves abroad. Segato is trying to combat that apathy.
"There's a pride you'd find in artists and their communities in other parts of the world. They're not embarrassed about their culture like we sometimes are as Canadians," she says.
"Here, it's almost like being the middle child, stuck between many worlds with the influence of American pop culture and the roots of European culture, but I think our geography gives us a particular mindset and sensibility.
"The funny thing is that we do have a very defined sense of our culture, but we don't speak of it and we don't make it part of our cultural history. It's my desire with this particular film to break down those walls."