The Little Big Challenge: TRU’s Inexpert International Hockey Team

Participatory feature story where I share how a group of international and exchange students at Thompson Rivers University learned the most Canadian thing you can learn: how to play hockey.

We could barely balance standing on our skates: some of us had never skated before, and many of us didn’t know how to stop. For us, ice hockey was an exotic game. Even though we were familiar with other forms of hockey – roller or field – they were not the most popular sports in our home countries, not like it is in Canada.

The activity was organized by the International Students Activity Program (ISAP) of TRU World at Thompson Rivers University, and it had a group of international and exchange students, inexperienced or novices at ice hockey, getting together to try out the game.

“We know what we have to offer,” said Jilian Folk, ISAP coordinator since October 2012. “You can go out there and explore different things you may not feel comfortable doing on your own. I don’t know if you would go out there and rent hockey equipment, find someone to coach you… so I think this activity is a really good opportunity for you guys.”

As an exchange student at TRU from Barcelona (Spain), I am often asked about Barça, my hometown soccer team, but I never cared much about soccer. Indeed, I’m not interested in sports, but for me, as for many students who signed up, this activity was a good chance to get deeply involved in a game that is rooted in the Canadian culture.

“Hockey dominates Canadian culture. It’s not that every Canadian loves hockey but it is something that connects us, much like football (soccer) is in Spain,” said Craig Engleson, manager of activities and events at TRU World. “Not every Spanish person loves soccer, but there is a common language, memories that are involved with that… It’s the same with hockey here. It’s common.”

This was the second year ISAP organized the winter semester activity.

Our little big challenge was to play a brief friendly game during the intermission, after the second period in the match between the Kamloops Blazers and the Vancouver Giants on Feb. 27 at the Interior Savings Centre (Kamloops), in front of more than 5,000 people. To learn how to play, we had three training sessions – Feb 12, 19 and 22 – at which we learned the basic rules of the game, what a puck is and how to control it.

This is the story of us, inexpert hockey players trying to do our best just for the fun of it. Continue reading “The Little Big Challenge: TRU’s Inexpert International Hockey Team”

TRU Actors Workshop is ‘starving’

Review of the play Curse of the Starving Class, written by the American playwright and actor Sam Shepard in 1978 and performed by students of the Theatre program at Thompson Rivers University (TRU).

Playwright and actor Sam Shepard wrote the play Curse of the Starving Class in 1978 but in the words of Wesley Eccleston, a professor with the TRU theatre arts program, it is still relevant because “families still struggle with the (same) challenges.” Eccleston directs the production, which starts Feb. 28 at the Actors Workshop Theatre in Old Main.

The characters are part of the Tate family, a dysfunctional American family where the dad, Weston (Michael Hogg), spends long periods away from home and comes back drunk and aggressive while son, Wesley (Justin Hall), pees on the floor of the kitchen, daughter Emma (Allison Clow) plans her escape and mother Ella (Alley Barton) wonders how to work it out and go to Europe.

“These characters are starving for the things they think will make them happy,” Eccleston said.

Continue reading “TRU Actors Workshop is ‘starving’”

Vincent Moon c’est Creative Commons!

Profile of the independent filmmaker from Paris, the original creator of La Blogothèque’s Concert à Emporter (Take Away Shows).

Mathieu Saura, better known as Vincent Moon, is one of the greatest and more respected filmmakers you can find, nowadays, licensing his work under Creative Commons, allowing its use and remix for derivate works. His work is available for free on Internet, he is a nomade artist building an audience on social media and keeping his projects alive by donations (crowdfunding).

Early on his career – not using Creative Commons, yet – he became known adapting filmmaking style ‘cinema verité’ to document bands playing one or few songs off the stage, on acoustic, in streets, parks, flats… anywhere. This music video subgenre, that was known as ‘Concert à Emporter’, or Take Away Shows, started in La Blogothèque. The list of bands Moon’s lenses captured includes: Arcade Fire, Phoenix, REM, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, St. Vincent or Bon Iver.

Continue reading “Vincent Moon c’est Creative Commons!”

VICE: The Hipster Media Empire

The business model of VICE Media Inc., from its foundation in 1994 to its expansion, in late 2013, through partnerships with Viacom and more.

Looking for a definition to hipsters, this is roughly what you’ll get: “Hipsters are hard to define”. Urban Dictionary gives, nonetheless, a fairly precise definition:

“Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.”

Further, the definition includes: “Hipsters reject the culturally ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers”. Mainstream media products are usually rejected by this sub-culture, too, and hipsters were seeking for media products that appeal to their interests. That is how hipsters found VICE and VICE editors found a fleet of needy consumers worldwide.

VICE's timeline
What is VICE? Screenshot from the SlideShare presentation (full presentation bellow).

In 2008, The Observer interviewed Shane Smith, VICE‘s co-founder, about the story of the magazine: “We wanted to be the first international voice for the universality of youth sub-culture,” Smith said. Continue reading “VICE: The Hipster Media Empire”

“Tu, tu, tothom!”

An study on TV-show ‘Alguna Pregunta Mès?’ (APM?), Joana Brabo’s phonetic poem “Tu, tu, tothom” and the phenomenon as a viral meme.

What in this paper will be considered a meme, it was not originally considered a meme in the media and social context from where it was developed, in Catalonia (Spain). However, the Catalan phonetic poem Tu, tu, tothom and its landing into mass media and popular culture through television, Internet and social media, meets the characteristics Richard Dawkins described for memes in 1976 book “The Selfish Gene”.

This meme belongs to a different media and social context, which the reader may not be familiar with, so, before start describing it, I should briefly introduce its main actors Continue reading ““Tu, tu, tothom!””

Locarno brings Latin sound to TRU

Review of the Live at TRU! show that the Latin music band Locarno brought from Vancouver to Thompson Rivers University (TRU).

A cold winter day provided a great opportunity for people to head inside the TRU Alumni Theatre for the first Live at TRU! performance of the new year.

From Vancouver, Tom Landa, front man of multi-Juno nominee The Paperboys, was introduced to the TRU campus and Kamloops audience with his side project, Locarno on Jan. 17.

Locarno is his new band, started about two years ago.

“We played a lot on the festivals season, all around Canada and in short tours like this weekend,” Landa said. The recent short tour included shows in Ashcroft on Jan. 18, and Kelowna on Jan. 19.

Continue reading “Locarno brings Latin sound to TRU”

Thought provoking Wave

Movie review of the German sociopolitical thriller Die Welle (2008), shown at a movie night organised by TRU Intercultural Council to discuss acceptance in social groups, unity, conformity, bullying and the chances of a dictatorship in first world societies.

German movie Die Welle (The Wave) was shown on campus at the TRU Intercultural Council’s second monthly event, held Wednesday, Nov. 21, at the Alumni Theatre in the Clock Tower.  Approximately 50 students and some faculty left studying for midterms and assignments aside to enjoy an evening of film and discussion with free popcorn and drinks.

The Intercultural Council, which aims to integrate domestic, international and aboriginal students into the university culture, organized a movie night after an on campus DJ event last month.

“We wanted to do something that would be interesting, thought provoking, entertaining and [with] a cultural relevance,” said Andrew Dalgleish, a TRU student and member of the Intercultural Council.

Continue reading “Thought provoking Wave”