PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE: DECEMBER 2015

Here is your monthly recap of happenings in music, art, social communications, and human rights issues as they take place in the GTA or impact our global consciousness. If you or your project would like to be featured, send me an e-mail!

MUSIC

December is a great month for music lovers. Not only are there tons of releases, but the holiday break (if you're lucky enough to get one) gives you just enough time to dig deep into new-found sounds, as well as plenty of opportunities to share them with others. In lieu of featuring a single artist, I made a short playlist of some of my favourite additions to the scene this month. “Cool Blue” comes all the way from the UK, though you'll be seeing a lot more of The Japanese House, AKA 19-year old Amber Bain, as she goes on an international tour with The 1975 next year. The tracks from Brooklyn's Wet, Jessie Hale Moore, and Chris McClenney are all new releases and a sign of great things to come next year for these acts. As for the tracks from Laser and Rhye, they are not brand-new but still a must for the list. I saw Laser this month opening for Rhye and they both played spectacular sets, despite the fact that Torontonian Mike Milosh of Rhye was in the midst of bronchitis. Enjoy the playlist above and keep your eyes and ears open for these artists when they come to town next year!

BRAINFOOD

My holiday break is dedicated to reading a novel I've been lusting after for almost a year now. After falling in love with Octavia Butler's science fiction masterpiece, Parable of the Sower, for a university course in Utopian fiction, I luckily came across another work of hers, Kindred, in STORE, a Hamilton pottery gallery also selling used books, prints, and jewellery. After Parable of the Sower, I was hooked on Butler's deeply intelligent and socially relevant stories. With diverse characters and imaginative, interconnected plot-lines, Butler's work carved out a long overdue place in science-fiction literature for women of colour. Butler was also unafraid to speak up about social injustices like racism, classism, and environmental abuse in not only her written work, but in public discussions as well. Check out her wise words about the genre of science fiction's capacity for social critique (especially feminist critique) in the interview below:

VISUALS

The past few years have seen a boom in both stylized outerwear and iconographic apparel. One of my favourite designers, Japan's Yohji Yamamoto, is a master of both. His classic pieces showcase a wit rarely seen on the runway but fit right in with the streetwear boom. Yamamoto's designs reflect a consciousness of day-to-day realities, whether they be gender dynamics, city life, or globalization. The results are fun, wearable, and notably androgynous staple pieces with a flair for unique details such as his printed statements in his Spring 2009 Menswear line. Check out "Don't Do That" and "Shall We?" below:

The current trend of DIY printed or patched jackets is, for me, reminiscent of Yamamoto's playful, understated designs. Such a simple detail as wording makes all the difference to classic outerwear pieces, as seen on UK brand Olive & Frank and California's Creature of Habit, as well as basically all over instagram's fashion DIY'ers. It looks like this trend is only picking up more speed, so keep an eye out in 2016 for more statement streetwear.