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March is Max Finder Month

artwork copyright Owl Magazine/Michael ChoComics get their day in the pages of March’s Owl Magazine and Max and Alison get the cover. Full points to illustrator-extraordinaire Michael Cho for whipping up a great full sized image of Canada’s favourite pre-teen detective duo.

Inside the covers is another Max Finder Mystery, this time featuring this year’s winner of the “I Want to Be in Max” contest. Congratulations to the winner and good luck solving The Case of the Elvis Prankster.

Can’t wait to pick up a copy of Owl from your local magazine store? You can always solve a Max Finder Mystery today and see what all the fuss is about.

[Cross-posted from main site]

Finding The Way Up

Pat Metheny Group The Way UpMy head’s down working on a new project and an impending deadline, but I couldn’t look at my Friday post about ‘going to’ Pat Metheny anymore. We went, it was amazing in a way that I can’t even describe because I know I won’t do justice to it – although Chandrasutra once again does an amazing job of it.

All I can say is that for the last month having The Way Up in my headphones has been an incredible journey. Listening to a single track, 68 minutes long at first seems like a daunting task, but after a few listens when you hear the recognizable final melody begin, you long for more. A sadness takes over as you realise that trip is almost over. Not even the thought of replaying it again can comfort the longing you have to be back somewhere in the middle of the experience that is The Way Up.

I don’t have much experience with jazz, but in the last few months I have heard a great deal of Pat Metheny and I am very happy to be discovering him at a time when he has created something so important to both music and our culture at large.

TWU is more than an album, it’s an answer to the dumbing down of our culture. It’s a response to the hyper-pace, sound-bite jingles that pass for music these days. This view comes from Pat Metheny himself and it’s refreshing to know that, as always happens in times of cultural crisis, there are artists out there creating works that openly smash the standard, refuse the norm, and challenge the audience. I encourage you all, jazz fans or not, to answer the challenge and give TWU a listen.

On a side note: Due to forces that I cannot name or hope to understand, Chandrasutra was able to arrange for us to meet Pat Metheny after the show! It was both an amazing experience and an honour to be able to personally thank him for blowing my mind. There were only a handful of other people in the room, so we had a chance to actually talk to Pat about the music, our cultural crisis and mind-blowing in general. It was an unbelievably perfect way to end a fantastic night.

Jazzin’ it up

Everyday I get literally thousands of emails asking me what I’m up to on the weekend (or is it for v1aGrra? I can never tell.) Anyway, at long last I’ll tell you: Myself and my lady are stepping out to see the Pat Metheny Group in concert.

I’m new to the whole PMG thing, but I like any musician who has worse hair than me. Seriously, PMG (and jazz guitar in general) can be a bit cheeseball and interstellar for me, but the latest album, The Way Up, is a refreshing response to the bite-sized, candy-coated, faux-angst crap that assaults my ears every time I make the mistake of going near a place that has the radio on (ie: every store/restaurant/cafe in town – why do restaurants/cafes/bars play the radio? And why do people sit there as they consume the food/drink they bought and listen to advertising? I don’t get it.)

Anyway, if you want the lowdown on Pat Metheny, I suggest you check out this great post by Chandrasutra and her excellent review of The Way Up.

See you on Monday, jazzyfriends.

Great Day for Environment(s)

Well, it’s finally here, after months of waiting the good news is finally official: the NHL Season is cancelled. The mental environment of thinking Canadians will continue to get a much needed boost with the absence of over-paid goons hogging the CBC airwaves from September to April.

Oh yeah, that other environment gets a boost today too. Go Team Earth!

Stripped Book Readings

I’ve been hunkered down meeting a deadline and being creative, so it’s been quiet around here. But I did run into Stripped Books over at Chase Sequence [via Morning Improv]. These comic strips appear on BookSlut regularly and offer a surreal, post-modern look at that glorious published author event: the book signing. My favourite is Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith reading to a gullible group of children (for the unwashed: they’re the creators of Stinky Cheeseman, Time Warp Trio and many other seminal works of children’s literature.)

Go. Read. Have fun.