Fanning the flames
Although it's hard to recall when Montreal's dramatic indie darlings the Arcade Fire didn't have a massive hype cloud floating over their heads, once upon a time they were a secret known only to hip Internet-message-board scenesters who saw their shows at Sneaky Dee's and the Rivoli. NOW caught wind of the band long before their David Bowie-approved debut came out and championed them with premonitions like They'd better play a bigger venue next time they're in town you don't want to miss this shit!
Actor and eco-activist Woody Harrelson was stoked to pen the cover story for our Organic Issue. In it, he railed against planet-polluting corporations, ineffectual politicians, the importance of living an organically aware lifestyle and why Toronto is his favourite city.
The Beast Im referring to the highly subsidized, tax-breaked industries that perform a daily rape of Mother Earth (timber, petroleum, mining, nuclear) has a stranglehold on our politicians, our economy and our food. Eating organic is a powerful tool for those who care to fight back. Its voting with your dollar
Everybody says they're going to go down to L.A., make a million dollars and then come back and build a cool Canadian film industry. But then they go down and make a million dollars and don't come back. Luckily for me, I didn't make any money. So I came back and developed morals. - Rob Stefaniuk, writer/director and star of Phil The Alien, on making Canadian comedy
In Canada we're supposed to be this melting pot. I feel like we're all in a pot, but there's no heat on right now. I'm a carrot and you're a tomato, and we're just floating. We have it good in Canada, but there's still racism here. - Jamal Abdul Narcel of Euphrates
The city would rather spend $6 million to put a shield around the Bloor Viaduct to stop me from killing myself than build housing.- a homeless man sleeping in front of City Hall
Fear not and relax. - Councillor Olivia Chow on the proposed dedicated streetcar lane on St. Clair
There are millions of people who sing and dance badly, but very few sing and dance badly as well as William Hung. - Rob Thompson, pop culture professor at Syracuse University
People aren't going to get out of their cars to use bicycles. - Car-happy Councillor Case Ootes
We're going to do a film called Look Who's Talking Apocalypse Now, the story of one baby's journey up the Mekong Delta. - Shaun Of The Dead's Simon Pegg
"Green Day suffers from trying very hard to live up to the Avril-ized face of radio and emulate the bands they paved the way for in the early 90s." - about American Idiot
"This shiny 66-centimetre hunk of alpine green plastic is so inspiring it brings tears to our eyes. There is hope for our trash-amassing culture yet. - about the green bin, the best thing to come out of City Hall in years
"The world needs a new Fatboy Slim album like Ashlee Simpson needs black hair dye." - about Fatboy Slim's Palookaville
"This is an aptly titled record. Some exec must have noticed that nobody's paying any attention to Manson any more and got panicky that he'll be forgotten altogether. Whatever." - about Marilyn Manson: Lest We Forget-Greatest Hits
"Last time one of the ladies from Broken went solo (Leslie Feist), she abandoned Toronto for Paris, turned into Sade and now serves as Galliano's fashion muse, eating fresh baguettes and skipping around the Louvre all day and occasionally teasing the T-dot with a show. That won't happen once Haines's new album comes out, will it?" - about Emily Haines of Metric going solo
"It occurs to me that once directors achieve a certain level of success sustained over a period of years, they turn to the ancient world for a reason. They've reached a point where they're no longer really sure how life is lived in the modern world." - about Oliver Stone's Alexander
"The MC, best-known as one-third of 90s iPod faves Digable Planets, has a tone and pitch similar to a soft bar of soap sliding across a naked back." - about Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets
"Part rallying cry for sleepy suburban malcontents, part elegiac recherche du temps perdu, the magnificent debut LP from this year's underdog success story resonates with shimmering street-light waltzes and mercurial hymns of hope. Children, wake up." - about the Arcade Fire's Funeral LP
"In 2003 many people watched The Passion Of The Christ as a documentary and Fahrenheit 9/11 as fiction. You could argue, but you couldn't persuade. - about truth, fiction and the future of film
Hell, the man could repeatedly strum the same chord on a ukulele for 45 minutes and you'd still come out of the show going, "Man, Blurton fucking nailed that shit." - about Ian Blurton
Top 10 albums
The Arcade Fire Funeral
Jean Grae This Week
The Go! Team Thunder, Lightning, Strike
Feist Let It Die
Elliott Smith From A Basement On The Hill
Xiu Xiu Fabulous Muscles
Sufjan Stevens Seven Swans
Stars Set Yourself On Fire
Mos Def The New Danger
Sarah Harmer All Of Our Names
Top 10 movies
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Shaun Of The Dead
in this year
The Supreme Court of Canada upholds a law letting parents spank their kids within "reasonable limits."
The U.S. finally admits there was no indication that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Ooops.
After he slags French-speakers and Europeans, the CBC decides to run Don Cherry's Coach's Corner with a delay.
Toronto nurse Andrea Williams sues the federal and provincial governments for $600 million after she contracted SARS.
Bombs explode on Madrid's subway during rush hour, killing 190 people.
The One Tonne Challenge greenhouse gas reduction project is introduced but proves too difficult for Canada, or that's what the Conservatives figure when they scrap it.
Abu Ghraib prison abuses are exposed. The U.S. military doesn't think naked Iraqi pyramids are good PR and finds a scapegoat in Lynndie England.
Montreal's Michael Hendricks and René Leboeuf wed, Quebec's first legal gay marriage.
Oldsmobile is retired (just like a good chunk of its drivers).
Fifty-two million people, many of them home alone, tune into the final episode of some show called Friends.
RIP: Ronald Reagan.
Saddam Hussein is found hiding in a dirty sand hole. America tastelessly parades the deposed dictator as he's processed and cleaned.
Cecilia Zhang's murderer, Min Chen, is caught after a nine-month manhunt. The Chinese student originally kidnapped Zhang for a $25,000 ransom.
Chechen terrorists take more than 1,200 people hostage in a school in Beslan, Russia. After Russian forces storm the school, the death toll hits 344, including 186 children. Hundreds more are injured.
CBC airs The Greatest Canadian series, inspired by the BBC's Great Britons show. Tommy Douglas wins, beating out Trudeau, Terry Fox, David Suzuki and Don Cherry.
Yasser Arafat dies without seeing his dream of Palestinian independence realized.
A disgraced Colin Powell, having spent a lot of time peddling Bush's Iraq War, resigns as secretary of state.
Ken Jennings finally loses on Jeopardy, ending a 74-game winning streak.