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MF GALAXY

MF GALAXY is a weekly podcast powered by four mighty engines: * Writers on writing: the craft and the business * Pop culture including TV, movies, graphic novels, and more * Progressive politics, activism, and social enterprise * Africentric change-makers, histories, cultures, art, and more! Mixing brand-new interviews with classic conversations (from my archive of 23 years in broadcasting) with famous and dynamic figures in the arts, Hollywood, and politics, MF GALAXY will take you to places you've never been before, and deliver fresh insights on the places you've been.
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Now displaying: September, 2015
Sep 28, 2015

Ann Vriend is a superb, independent songwriter-musician who’s toured the world and has created six albums including her most recent and critically-acclaimed release, For the People in the Mean Time. Her vocals are a fusion of Dolly Parton and Aretha Franklin, and her lyrical skill is a standout for her generation. She’s the winner of the 2013 Canadian “She’s the One” contest.

In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Ann Vriend discusses:

  • Her approach to the craft of songwriting, including the work of editing
  • The influence of Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen
  • The importance of endless effort and the ten thousand hour rule
  • Why pastry chefs don’t want you to eat the dough
  • Being true to one’s artistic vision, and
  • The true meaning of limitations

Throughout the show we’ll hear excerpts from the album For the People in the Mean Time, specifically “A Long Road,” “A Need So Wide,” “The Greatest Killer,” and “Wonder Why.”

I spoke with Ann Vriend in her home in the McCauley neighbourhood of Edmonton on September 20, 2015. You’ll hear ambient noise throughout our conversation, including at one point a dishwasher running, so I apologise for the below-average sound-quality of this episode. And now on MF Galaxy, my conversation with Ann Vriend.

Buy Ann Vriend’s singles and albums:

www.annvriend.com/music.html

To hear the full 80 minute, patrons-only extended edition of my conversation with Ann Vriend, visit the MF GALAXY Patreon link to become a sponsor for a dollar or more per week. By funding MF GALAXY, you get access to all extended editions of the show, plus video excerpts from selected interviews as they become available. This extended edition includes Ann Vriend discussing:

  • Business advice for musicians, including how to manage enthusiastic fans
  • The need for business education for musicians
  • The influence of learning French on her personal development
  • The effect on her outlook and songwriting of living in Edmonton’s McCauley neighbourhood,
  • Her reaction to her conservative upbringing, and her thoughts on art versus propaganda, and
  • The global African songwriters and novelists who’ve had the most powerful impact on her.
  • You’ll also hear an excerpt from her song, “Those Records.”

 

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Sep 21, 2015

Yves Engler is the author of eight books exploring injustice, Canadian-style. His latest is Canada in Africa: 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation. The book explores Canadian and proto-Canadian involvement in the European holocaust against Africa, support for apartheid in South Africa and Idi Amin’s coup in Uganda, support for overthrowing independence leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Patrice Lumumba of Congo, and destructive corporate exploitation across the continent today.

Yves Engler will be speaking at the University of Alberta in Edmonton on October 1st at 7 pm in room 158 of the Education South building (113 Street + 87 Avenue). In advance his talk, he spoke with me by Skype from his home in Montreal on September 15, 2015. Our conversation covered numerous topics including:

  • The exploitative and destructive role of Canada as a global mining superpower, especially across the African continent
  • The appropriate role, from Engler’s perspective, of natural resource development
  • The Canadian government’s manipulative domestic reasons to fund NGOs
  • What mining would look like in Canada if foreigners did to us what our companies do to them
  • Engler’s take on the “trade versus aid” debate, and
  • The twin sinister purposes of what people call “foreign aid.”

To put foreign aid into context, here are political representatives of Canada’s most important political, economic, and military ally. As quoted by Carol Off in her book Bitter Chocolate, US Senator Hubert Humphrey said:

"I have heard that people may become dependent on us for food.... If you are looking for a way to get people to lean on you and to be dependent on you, in terms of their cooperation with you, it seems to me that food dependence would be terrific."

US President John Kennedy said, “Foreign aid is a method by which the United States maintains a position of influence and control around the world.”

And US President Richard Nixon said, “Let us remember that the main purpose of aid is not to help other nations but to help ourselves.”

I’ll let Yves Engler explore how far from—or how close to—Canada is to those declarations of policy and morality.

We began by discussing the enormous political value of one Canada’s biggest lies about itself.

SPECIAL ONE-HOUR LONG EXTENDED EDITION BONUS CONTENT

To hear the nearly-hour-long, patrons-only extended edition of my conversation with Yves Engler, click on the Patreon link to become a sponsor for a dollar or more per week. By funding MF GALAXY, you get access to all extended editions of the show, plus video excerpts from selected interviews as they become available. This extended edition includes Engler discussing:

  • The truth about Canadian backing of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his role in the Rwandan genocide
  • Canadian General Romeo D’Allaire’s connection to Kagame’s RPF or Rwandan Patriotic Front, and
  • The illegal Canadian war of aggression to destroy Libya, in the face multiple attempts by the African Union to broker peace, and in explicit violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions 1970 + 1973.
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Sep 14, 2015

DeWayne Copeland is a new-media indie filmmaker who embodies the Marcus Garvey ethic of “do for self.” With co-creator and series writer-director Scott F Evans, Copeland and their agile team launched CV Nationin 2012, and have produced a first season of six episodes and a second season of four.

The CV in CV Nation means “costumed vigilantes,” because the show is about superheroes and villains fighting for dominance in a world in which paranormal powers are merely expensive but highly dangerous commodities.

The series is a breakthrough not only for its indie aesthetics and production, but because it’s largely about superheroes and villains of African descent. Copeland and Evans didn’t wait around for someone else to do what they and so many others had been craving for years—they just did it themselves.

DeWayne Copeland is a remarkable artist, and a down-to-earth human being. He’s a key speaker in the must-see documentary Brave New Soulsby Agent Carter screenwriter Brandon Easton. I met DeWayne Copeland at Eagle Con in May 2015 held at the campus of California State University at Los Angeles. We spoke at the Con’s final moments during the tear-down, so throughout you’ll hear the sounds of lifting, loading, and even lurching.

Our conversation ranged over many topics, including:

  • How to recruit skilled artists and technicians to collaborate on indie New Media projects
  • The Africentric impulse that got him moving on CV Nation
  • How he and co-creator Scott Evans found the money to make the seriesWhy they’re forbidden to sell DVDs of CV Nation
  • His long-term artistic and financial objectives as a filmmaker, and
  • His most exciting experience in making the show

But we began by discussing Copeland’s own personal origin story.

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Sep 7, 2015

A Lee Martinez has authored of ten acclaimed novels including Divine Misfortune, Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest,and Chasing the Moon. For his debut novel Gil’s All Fright Diner, he won the Alex Award, which is given to adult fiction that possesses special appeal to younger readers.

 

Martinez’s work mixes dynamic world-building with whimsical, hilarious, and touching storytelling. Martinez’s The Automatic Detectiveis one of my favourite books. It’s a noir crime thriller about a robot designed to destroy humanity, but he just doesn’t feel like it, so he drives a cab. But the work succeeds because it’s far more than just wacky—it’s got heart, and characters we can love.

 

In this episode of MF GALAXY, Martinez discusses:

 

  • The reasons why so many fans and teachers of so-called literary fictiondismiss the importance of plot
  • His approach to characterisationon the invention versus reflection spectrum
  • The skillset required for effective revision, and the dangers of excessive revision
  • What it’s like working with an editor
  • The Dallas Fortworth writers’ workshop he frequents and why he does
  • His approach to wordplay and literary style, including the creation of dialogue, and
  • The art of world-buildingvs. the excesses of “world-porn,”and the world-building approach Martinez used in the robot-noir novel The Automatic Detective

 

We began by discussing the craft of plotting and the dangers of hewing too closely to an outline.

 

To download the special PATRONS-ONLY edition of this episode with A Lee Martinez, visit MF GALAXY.org and click the Patreon link on the right. Sponsor the show for a dollar or more per episode and access all extended edition podcasts and bonus videos. In this extended episode, Martinez discusses his business advice for writers, and the real reason to attend book signings.

 

 

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