Wednesday April 16, 2014


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Arts & Entertainment

Embracing the craziness of Kanye West

The 13th edition of the Whistler Film Festival kicks off Wednesday Culture Vulture
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Newsflash: Kanye West is a crazy person.

The examples of his mania are many, and stretch back a number of years. Of course, there was the “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” outburst on national TV (which for what it’s worth, isn’t the craziest opinion to have, but a Hurricane Katrina relief concert is probably not the best place to share it), numerous violent encounters with pushy paparazzi, and who could forget his instantly infamous temper tantrum at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards?

But it feels like ‘Ye has been spreading the insane on pretty thick in the last few weeks, even by his lofty standards. Amidst a fiasco of a North American tour that has seen numerous shows postponed or outright cancelled, it seems like Kanye has been courting controversy at every turn.

There was the Confederate Flag-emblazoned merch he’s been hawking at concerts, to the ridiculous video for Bound 2 featuring enough wild horses, flannel shirts and Kardashian cleavage to last a lifetime, to a six-minute vitriolic rant against Nike — the very same company that made one of the richest artists in music history even richer — for delaying the release of the latest in his line of Yeezy footwear. And, unsurprisingly, we’ve eaten it all up like a bunch of damn croissants served piping hot from a French-ass restaurant (one of my personal favourite Kanyeisms.) But we don’t just lap up the drama, we demean, we poke holes in the iconoclastic persona of a larger-than-life celebrity we helped to create.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not excusing some of Kanye’s peevish, attention-seeking behaviour, I just wonder why we constantly validate it. It doesn’t even bother me that so many people revel in the controversy, but why all the holier-than-thou handwringing from the media? Sure, scandalous celebrity headlines keep the lights on, but why not just cop to our utter fascination with high-profile trainwrecks as opposed to wagging our collective fingers? What’s even worse are the critics and TV personalities who denigrate Kanye’s behaviour behind his back, and then bow subserviently to his cult of celebrity when he’s in the same room (See: Jimmy Kimmel).

Maybe the constant criticism makes the guilt we feel obsessing over someone else’s failings a little easier to swallow, or maybe it’s sheer envy that another person has achieved a station in life that we all aspire to.

“I am not a role model” was famously coined by Charles Barkley in reference to high-profile athletes, but it could just as easily apply to music superstars of Kanye’s ilk. I’ve never understood why we’re so quick to thrust someone into a leadership position just because of their unrelated talents. Kanye, is, first and foremost, a musical genius. The rest of his pursuits, be they in business, fashion or impregnation of Armenian-American reality TV stars, are just window dressing. And let’s not forget that Kanye’s music can be just as polarizing, if not more so, than his extracurricular activities, and in the homogenized mainstream music industry of 2013, any work of art that can inspire that level of debate is more than welcome in my books.

It’s safe to say the part of ‘Ye that makes him a narcissistic, megalomaniacal asshole of the highest order is the same that has turned him into one of the most critically fawned musical minds of our generation. That’s reason enough right there to embrace Kanye in all his unhinged glory.

Let’s all sit back and enjoy the show.

The Whistler Film Festival turns 13

With its filmmaker-friendly reputation and prime positioning in the run-up to the Oscars, the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has evolved into one of Canada’s, and the world’s, must-attend movie events.

With over 84 films featured, a diverse lineup of domestic and international features and shorts, WFF is bigger and better than ever.

Check out Canadian icon Jason Priestley’s directorial debut, Cas & Dylan at the fest’s opening day on Wednesday (Dec. 4).

The festival runs until Sunday (Dec. 8). Visit www.whistlerfilmfestival.com for more.

Featurecast at the GLC

British nu-funk DJ and Shambhala veteran Featurecast heats up the dancefloor with Whistler favourites SkiiTour at the GLC Wednesday (Dec. 4) at 9:30 p.m.

The first 100 tickets are $100, the remaining go for $15, and are available at Showcase and the GLC.

Carving course at the SLCC

Learn the basics of traditional First Nations carving at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre Saturday (Dec. 7) with Lil’wat artist Jonathan Joe.

Joe will share his expertise to help you make your own eagle feather or canoe plaque, the perfect gift for the holiday season. During the seminar, which runs from 1 to 5 p.m., Joe wil share unique cultural and artistic knowledge.

Registration is $60, and includes all materials. Visit www.slcc.ca for more.


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