Here's some of my stock pick(s)
ASTI (US) — Solar
AGU — Agricultural
CUM — Copper
CRESY (Argentina) — Agricultural
BAA — Mining
LMA — Mining
PPX — Thermal
HDY (US) — Oil
VRX — Pharmaceuticals
UEC (US) — Uranium
TKO — Mining
Most are under $10.
PPX, is currently trying to be bought up by another company. Hopefully that wont fall through.
Vibrant Montreal brings new Canadian rock sound to world scenes
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 (EST)
Montreal, the Canadian city known for its fierce winters, has become an international hotspot for a new wave of indie bands.
The Montreal band "Arcade Fire" during a performance
© AFP/GettyImages/File Kevin Winter
PARIS (AFP) - Led by trailblazers Arcade Fire, guitar-wielding groups have been touring overseas, winning fans and have everyone wondering about the secret of the city’s sudden success.
Alongside the rock scene, electronic acts such as DJ Champion, Kid Koala and Tiga have made "based in Montreal" a fashionable stamp of quality.
In the process, the image of Canadian music, once dominated by pop crooners Bryan Adams and Celine Dion, has been redefined.
"Montreal is an extremely cosmopolitan and open city," said homegrown singer Pierre Lapointe, giving his reasons for the new vibrancy.
"We couldn’t care less about origins. What we look for is good music and interesting ways of doing things," he added during a stop in Paris.
Montreal is home to about two million people, making it the biggest city in the French-speaking eastern province of Quebec.
Music journalist and commentator for Canadian cable channel MusiquePlus, Nicolas Tittley, puts the vitality of the guitar scene down to North American influences.
The Montreal band "Arcade Fire" during a performance
© AFP/GettyImages/File Kevin Winter
"Rock, country, blues, folk. Basically, all the music movements linked to North America are not foreign for 'les Montrealais'," he said in an interview.
Indie rockers Arcade Fire have sold a million albums worldwide, according to their record label, and fellow groups Wolf Parade, The Bell Orchestre, Patrick Watson, Stars, The Besnard Lakes or The Dears are following in their footsteps.
The francophone movement includes Ariane Moffatt, Karkwa, Ghislain Poirier, Les Trois Accords and Malajube.
Malajube is threatening to cross the language divide and break into English-speaking markets after the group’s new album "Trompe-l'oeil" won plaudits from US reviewers.
Although Montreal is a majority francophone city, most people can speak (and sing in) both languages and the city is also home to a large, well-integrated ethnic population.
"The openness that we have in Montreal is quite unique," said Laurent Saulnier, programmer for the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Francofolies de Montreal event.
"Few cities in the world have access to so many sorts of music from everywhere: France, USA, Europe, South America, or Africa."
The cross-over of influences and culture is also seen in the music collaborations.
Pierre Lapointe, The Dears, Les Trois Accords and Loco Locass, a rap group similar to the Beastie Boys, make guest appearances on the Malajube’s album.
Critics snipe that the hype will not last, but for the moment at least, a new, fresh face has been put on Canadian music overseas. ©AFP
DURING the 2000 presidential campaign, the candidate from Texas fielded a question from Canada: “Prime Minister Jean Poutine said you look like the man who should lead the free world into the 21st century. What do you think about that?”
When George W. Bush pledged to “work closely together” with Mr. Poutine, Montrealers fell off their chairs laughing. It wasn’t so much that the Canadian leader was, in fact, Jean Chrétien, but that the “reporter” — Rick Mercer, a television comedian — had invoked the city’s emblematic, problematic, comedic junk food dish: poutine.
A gloppy, caloric layering of French fries, fresh cheese curds (a byproduct of Cheddar making) and gravy, poutine goes deep into the Quebequois psyche. Somehow, Quebec’s rural roots, its split identity (Acadian farmers or Gallic gourmets?) and its earthy sense of humor are all embodied by its unofficial dish.
This may be one reason that until now poutine has not traveled well. True, it was on the menu for years at Shopsin’s, the quirky West Village restaurant that closed this year, but so was nearly every other known foodstuff. But recently, it has materialized in a handful of cities across the United States. In New York City, it is on the menu at three highly divergent establishments, and this time it shows signs of taking hold.
Andy Bennett, the chef at the Inn LW12 in the meatpacking district, recalled his reaction on being told (by the Canadian faction of the inn’s owners) that poutine must be served. “I said, you’ve got to be kidding me. Then I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get away from it.”
Mr. Bennett, however, was converted. “You have to embrace these things,” he said. “Now it’s our biggest selling item by a long stretch.”
“I think it’s going to be across the city soon,” he said. “It’s going to stick without a doubt.”
Mr. Bennett’s choice of words was apt. Poutine is an extreme stick-to-your-ribs concoction, whose name is said to derive from Quebequois slang. According to the dominant creation myth, in 1957 a restaurateur named Fernand Lachance, when asked by a customer to combine fries and cheese curds, said it would make “une maudite poutine” — an unholy mess. (And this was pre-gravy. Another restaurateur, Jean-Paul Roy of Le Roy Jucep, claims to have first served fries with gravy and curds in 1964.)
Since Mr. Lachance’s death three years ago, poutine’s de facto spokesman has been Bob Rutledge, creator of the Web site MontrealPoutine.com. Mr. Rutledge, a professor of astrophysics at McGill University specializing in neutron stars, black holes and gamma ray bursts, first heard of poutine on moving to Montreal in 2004. He was instantly smitten.
“When I started asking about it, I got one of two responses,” he said. “It was either: ‘Oh here’s my favorite poutine place; you must go...’, or else it was: ‘Oh my God, why do you want to eat that stuff?’ It’s a veritable food phenomenon; half the people are embarrassed it exists.”
Siobhan O’Connor, a journalist who moved to New York from Montreal five years ago, has a different view. “The only people who don’t like poutine are people on a diet,” she said. “It’s the first thing you want when you go back, a real late-night post-drinking thing.”
Ms. O’Connor recently sampled the new batch of New York poutines. The classic version at Sheep Station, an Australian gastropub on the western edge of Park Slope, initially struck her as too dry. But, on discovering that the Quebequois chef, Martine Lafond, had secreted further curds and gravy under crisp, hot fries, she warmed to it, declaring the gravy authentically peppery, salty and meaty, and the curds as fresh as could be expected so far from home.
At Pommes Frites, an East Village storefront that traffics in Belgian fries but now has a sideline in their Canadian cousins, neither the rubbery, yellowish curds nor the lukewarm, flavorless sauce met with Ms. O’Connor’s approval. But Mr. Bennett’s four varieties at the Inn LW12 did, despite distinctly unorthodox stylings.
“I’d come back here just for this,” she declared of the plate with five-spice gravy and chewy strips of pork belly, though she found the Stilton cheese in the rich, toothsome braised beef with red wine version to be overload and the herby marinara sauce on the tomato version — called Italienne back home — disappointing. Though somewhat overshadowed by its glitzy sisters, the classic, too, more than passed muster.
Ms. O’Connor explained that poutine really belonged to the French speakers — her Irish-Montrealer mother, for instance, had never tried it — until “around 2000, when people started messing with it: green peppercorns, Gruyère, truffle oil...”
According to Professor Rutledge, variations on the theme are fine. “They strike me as creative and interesting so I give bonus points,” he said. He is, however, from Southern California. The average Montrealer seems to be more of a purist.
The chef Martin Picard, one of Montreal’s most high-profile culinary figures, embraces poutine at his restaurant Au Pied de Cochon. “That dish becomes an international passport,” he declared. “It’s not haute gastronomie, but it permits Quebec to get more interest from the rest of the world.”
Mr. Picard said he occasionally offers classic poutine as a “clin d’oeil” — a wink — to Quebequois cuisine, but his version with foie gras is what everyone remembers. For this, the regular poutine sauce — a thick, highly seasoned chicken velouté, which Mr. Picard enhances with pork stock — is enriched by foie gras and egg yolks. The dish is crowned with a four-ounce slab of seared goose liver.
Whether Montreal’s embarrassing but adored junk food does take root in New York, it may never attain the status it achieved earlier this year when the CBC revealed the results of a viewer poll on the greatest Canadian inventions of all time. Granted, poutine came in only at No. 10. But it beat, among other things, the electron microscope, the BlackBerry, the paint roller and the caulking gun, lacrosse, plexiglass, radio voice transmission and basketball.
Montreal fest maverick
Serge Losique conquers Montreal scene
By SHANE DANIELSEN
Claude Miller's "Un Secret," starring Cecile de France and Patrick Bruel
In an increasingly corporate fest milieu, Serge Losique is a maverick. Pugnacious, unpredictable, the 76-year-old Montreal World Film Festival chief has for over three decades run his event as a personal fiefdom, as shuttered and inscrutable as the court of Tamburlaine.
He's also a survivor, having seen off a recent challenge that would have sunk many a less determined adversary. Launched amid great fanfare in February 2005, the New Montreal FilmFest quickly signed a high-profile director (former Berlin and Venice topper Moritz de Hadeln) and boasted coin from Canada's major government film offices. It was, its backers claimed, the breath of fresh air the Montreal film scene badly needed.
But in fact, the newcomer proved one of the fest world's more conspicuous train wrecks.
The omens were not good: Both the fest's staff and its board were castigated by de Hadeln in the Canuck press just days before opening night -- but the reality proved far worse, with few (and flummoxed) guests, an empty red carpet and most films unspooling to near-empty houses. "It was," one attendee commented, "like watching the Lusitania go down. For 11 days."
From across town, you could practically hear Losique's sigh of satisfaction. Sure enough, after that first, disastrous edition, the plug was pulled. Bloodied, but defiantly unbowed, the veteran fest celebrated its 30th anniversary last August.
However, the very creation of a rival fest signaled other, more serious concerns -- specifically, a deepening feud between Losique (who runs his event as a private company, even owning its principal venue, the Imperial Theater) and his chief funders, Canadian government bodies Telefilm Canada and Sodec, the Quebec film agency.
Both claimed disenchantment with Losique's autocratic managerial style and "lack of accountability" to the local film community. In electing to side with the NMFF, they expected his event to fold. Instead, the tyro event went under, leaving both bodies with oeuf on their faces.
"The problems we encountered in the last two years with Telefilm Canada and Sodec are due to the fact that they are judge and jury," Losique reports. "Sooner or later, this approach to culture has to change."
Losique has challenged the status quo before: "We raised these questions (just) as we raised questions about the rules of FIAPF (the Intl. Federation of Film Producers Assn.). We quit them. Now FIAPF is better, with new rules, and we are a member again." In the same way, he says, the relationship with Telefilm Canada is "becoming more normal." His lawsuit against them has quietly been dropped: "We're not yet kissing each other, but we are talking to each other."
Still, Telefilm has not committed to reup its funding: a spokesman would say only that MWFF was still "under evaluation." Sodec, however, has returned to the fold, announcing in June that Losique's event would be once again among the eight Quebec film fests to share its annual C$800,000 ($750,000) pot.
For many attendees, the chief virtue of the World Film Fest -- and the reason for its enduring importance on the fest landscape -- is the sheer unpredictability of its programming. Where Toronto, true to its origins as the Festival of Festivals, essentially culls a greatest-hits lineup from Berlin, Cannes and Venice, the Montreal slate comprises many off-the-radar pics from across the globe.
Last year saw entries from 76 countries; this time, filmmakers from Chad to the U.S. will compete on equal terms for the Grand Prix of the Americas, the event's major award. Many of these will be world premieres. As such, it's a distinct change from the homogenous, shopping-list selections of most fest selections.
Or as Losique puts it: "Our goal is to find the best films from as many countries as possible. We are not looking for 'names,' because even great names can produce bad films. In some festivals, you see the parade of stars and starlets offered by the marketing junket machine of Hollywood. We are not here to please dubious merchants, but to display the gems of the film industry."
Still, he admits to a growing sense of dejection: "The emotional mystery of cinema is disappearing. Today you can buy any film on DVD on the same shelves with cat and dog food. Films d'auteur are gradually dying at the box office, and that's a danger for a quality film festival and also for cinema in general." The only way forward, he believes, is to retain a sense of perspective: "If you're too big, it's not good for cinema and discoveries. If you are too small, you do not exist for the media and sponsors. A festival should not be so big that you cannot even appreciate the films. Some middle road must be found."
Montreal: Affordable Winter Base for Families
The blackboard menu is in French and all around the little cafe, people are chattering in French, nibbling on croissants and sipping cafe au lait. But we're a lot closer to home than Paris.
Welcome to Montreal, just a scant hour-long flight or a 370-mile drive from New York, or an hour's drive from the border of Vermont. Most everyone, it seems, speaks English, as well as French, so there's no need for my 16-year-old daughter, Melanie, to practice her French, she says happily.
Another plus: Though there are no bargains here for Americans anymore now that the Canadian "loonie" is about the same value as a U.S. dollar, at least we can soak up the foreign ambiance without spending so much in Europe where the dollar is so weak against the Euro. Especially this time of year, you can find hotel rooms starting at $135 a night (http://www.findyourmontreal.com).
Mel and I have come to Montreal for a mother-daughter weekend getaway and a look at McGill University, one of four in this oh-so-cosmopolitan city, which visitors can't help but love. Even our taxi drivers wax eloquent about their city - the restaurants! (There are more than 6,000 offering everything from French to Ethiopian to Montreal's famous bagels.) The museums! (There are more than 30. Visit http://www.museemontreal.org for the Montreal Museums Pass.) The theater, dance companies and festivals that go on all year! (There are more than 90, including the popular la Fete des Neiges de Montreal in January.) The shopping! (Simons, http://www.simons.ca, on Montreal's famous Ste-Catherine Street, we discover, is a good bet for young fashionistas on a budget. Such a clean city! So many parks; there are 1,009 of them and scores of green spaces.
Let's not forget the 21-mile Underground Pedestrian Network that connects everything from metro stations to restaurants to skating rinks, office buildings, hospitals, libraries and nearly 1,000 retail shops.
With ski areas just an hour away, I think, Montreal would prove a good, affordable winter base for families whose members aren't equally passionate about the slopes.
Mel and I are ensconced in one of the city's many boutique hotels, the 59-room HotelXIX Siecle (http://www.hotelxixsiecle.com), which was built in a 19th-century bank building just a short walk from the historic cobble-stoned streets of the Old Port on the St. Lawrence River where this city began. And I love that breakfast is included.
I promise Mel if she goes with me to the Pointe-a-Calliere, the Montreal museum of Archeology and History that tells the story of this city from its first Native-American settlers - our next stop will be Ste-Catherine Street where she can shop till she drops at street level and at the three interconnected malls underground.
She liked the museum more than she expected - thanks to the terrific multimedia show and its excellent introduction to Montreal, from the first North Americans to the arrival of French settlers in 1642 and then later, the British. The museum is actually built atop authentic archeological remains, enabling visitors to take an underground archeological tour. Models set in the floor reveal how Place Royale evolved through the centuries and the exhibits include displays of artifacts found here, including dice, crockery, old combs and beer caps. Virtual historic figures also pop up to chat about their era. Even kids who hate museums can't help but be intrigued - and leave with a much better understanding of the cultures that have melded to make this city what it is today.
Last modified: October 07. 2007 9:33AM