The Hamilton-based project Filipinas of HamONT is using interviews and surveys to find and connect the community

There are not enough spaces in Hamilton where BIPOC feel that they belong. BIPOC in the Steel City often feel disconnected from their heritage, their history and their community.

This is a problem that Anabelle Ragsag and Jessica Vinluan are hoping that folks in Hamilton with Filipino heritage will one day no longer have to face. They are helping to tackle the problem with their community-engaged project, Filipinas of HamONT.

Ragsag is an author and educator with a background in politics who immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 2009. Vinluan is a teacher, the founder of BIPOC youth organization Redefine Twenty and a second-generation Filipina-Canadian who was born and raised in Hamilton.

 

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With their different backgrounds, they have made their project Filipinas of HamONT for all Filipinas in the city of Hamilton, whether they were born and raised in the city, a naturalized citizen, a long-timer, a newcomer or just passing by as is the case for many students.

They have made their project Filipinas of HamONT for all Filipinas in the city of Hamilton, whether they were born and raised in the city, a naturalized citizen, a long-timer, a newcomer or just passing by as is the case for many students.

The pair met in early 2020 at a Reaching for Power workshop, an initiative that teaches BIPOC women and non-binary individuals how to make a positive change in their communities. After the workshop series ended, Ragsag and Vinluan began in June 2020 to think about creating a project for the Filipina community. In fall 2020, they received a microgrant for the project and began sharing it with the larger community in November.

The project initially consisted of a survey designed to map where Filipinas in Hamilton are located. The survey asks for participants’ demographic information including: their highest completed education level; the province in the Philippines that any member of their family is from; if they are working, the industry in which they are employed; and the effect that COVID-19 has had on their livelihood.

 

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The survey results will be shared to show where Filipinas in Hamilton are. As Filipinas began immigrating to Hamilton in the 1960s to build the health sector, Ragsag and Vinluan anticipated that many of the Filipinas that participate in their survey will work in this area. However, they began to find Filipinas outside of this sector when they decided to complement their survey with interviews with Hamilton-based Filipinas.

“[E]specially being born and raised in Hamilton, I didn't really think that I could see Filipinas in different spaces and I think to be able to see that . . . like, “oh, you're not just in the health sector, there's other avenues that maybe I can take if I see myself in them” . . . [The project is] validating that it's not just in the health sector, but like other aspects as well and other spaces that Filipinos are taking up,” said Vinluan.

"[The project is] validating that it's not just in the health sector, but like other aspects as well and other spaces that Filipinos are taking up," said Vinluan.

Ragsag and Vinluan have completed eight of the 10 interviews that they aimed to do. They shared the first interview on Nov. 13, 2020 and will continue to share them until March 2021. The interview series neatly exemplifies the intention behind the project: they want to share stories of leadership, empowerment and living between two cultures.

“I grew up and it was very white-dominated spaces. I think that, as a Filipina, I felt like I didn't belong in a lot of the spaces . . . I felt like I couldn't have these kinds of conversations around dual identity and things that I feel like I had difficulties navigating.  So, when Anabelle brought up the idea of starting Filipinas of HamONT through the YWCA project, I was so excited because I know there's a lot of these kinds of community collectives in Toronto . . . but I also feel like I don't belong because it's Toronto and I'm from Hamilton,” explained Vinluan.

Based on the feedback from some of their interviewees, Ragsag and Vinluan are working towards running online events that will enable them to continue the important conversations they began in the interviews. They are considering running a book club where they would read works by Filipino authors and hosting workshops on the history of the Philippines.

“I saw that a lot of second and multiple generations of those with Filipino roots have this thirst to know more about what it is like. What does it mean if I don't speak Filipino, if I don't speak Tagalog, am I still Filipino? Because of my teaching background . . . I thought that's something that I can do. That is something that I can contribute to the community,” said Ragsag.

“I saw that a lot of second and multiple generations of those with Filipino roots have this thirst to know more about what it is like. What does it mean if I don't speak Filipino, if I don't speak Tagalog, am I still Filipino?" said Ragsag.

However, in starting this project, Ragsag and Vinluan do not intend to take away from the work done by established Filipino organizations in Hamilton. They recognize the importance of churches, cultural gatherings, all-Filipino sports tournaments and student organizations such as the Filipino McMaster Student Association. They aim to work alongside these organizations to connect the Filipina community.

Despite the name, Ragsag and Vinluan are not completely closing the project to woman-identifying individuals. The project is intended to evolve with community needs.

“We see that our being here in Canada is rooted to that history of a feminized migration . . . So I think it started from there but at the same time, the project is an evolving one – it's not set in stone — and we are aware that identities are fluid, as well . . . the role of those who don't identify as male or female have been there in history but they [were] erased by colonization. That is one of the topics that we want to discuss: what is it in our history that was erased? Can we uncover them?” said Ragsag.

Ragsag and Vinluan hope that this project will enable them and other Hamilton-based Filipinas to continue learning more about their history and heritage. By having these conversations with their community and connecting with established organizations, the project will help ensure that every Filipina in Hamilton feels they belong.

Photos C/O Yvonne Lu, James Ramlal

By: Andrew Mrozowski

Stop. Take a second and look up from this article. You’ll most likely see everyone around you on some form of technology, be it on their phones, tablets or computers. We now live in a world where we are so heavily dependent on technology. According to Yvonne Lu, people should be more conscious about how technology affects their identity.

Originally starting off her undergraduate career in commerce, Lu realized her passion laid in a different faculty. Lu began working in marketing and communications but felt like something was missing. She decided to take on a double major between multimedia and theatre and film.

Now in her final year at McMaster, Lu decided to combine her two disciplines into one overall thesis, taking the form of an interactive multimedia installation and a physical performance called interFACE, as part of the School of the Arts Honours Performance Series.

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The concept for interFACE came to Lu over this past summer when she was employed by a music video company to be their social media coordinator. Although typically not very active on social media in her own life, Lu found herself getting jealous from the various platforms that she managed as there was an overall feeling that everyone was doing better than her.

“Although there definitely were positive and negative experiences, always being on social media and seeing that people younger than me were doing cooler things than I was, working with huge producers, big companies and getting more responsibility than I was… a lot of the times I felt jealous. It’s why I felt I was a step back, I understood why others were successful and a lot of it was trying to catch up with people,” explained Lu.

interFACE examines how young women interact with technology and how this oversaturation impacts their identity as they grow up. Stemming from a vignette of experiences, the multi-disciplinary art experience allows attendees to delve into the development of identity to look at similarities and differences between how we portray ourselves online versus in person.

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“The question to consider is whether or not social media and digital technology enables us to do more things, or if it consumes us and we are at the whim of the mass media,” explained Lu.

This form of installation is experimental as it features two parts. Viewers will first embark through an audio-visual capsule, which is an audio-sensory experience that saturates the audience in a world that Lu and her team have designed to convey the importance of why we should pay more attention to our own identities. Next viewers will be seated to enjoy the physical portion which expands on what they have observed in the audio-visual capsule.

“This is not something that you would see in traditional theatre. It’s not a narrative or linear piece. We are creating a visceral experience for both our collaborators and audience. We want them to feel that they are in the belly of the beast,” said Lu.

For the thesis student, what the audience takes away from the experience is the primary objective of this piece.

“There isn’t a specific message I want people to walk away with. It’s live theatre and it’s all about interpretation. For us, that’s kind of what I want audiences to walk away with. Questions of what they felt. It’s an emotional journey rather than a narrative,” said Lu.

Show times for interFACE will run on March 28 at 12:30 and 8 p.m. and on March 29 and March 30 at 12:30 and 7 p.m. at the Black Box Theatre in L.R. Wilson Hall. Admission is free.

 

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Photo C/O Women’s Adventure Film Tour

The Women’s Adventure Film Tour first premiered to a sold-out crowd in Sydney, Australia in May 2017. Since then, the film tour has left its home country and toured across Asia, Europe and North America. This spring, it is coming to Eastern Canada with a stop at Hamilton’s historic Playhouse Cinema on March 21.

The tour celebrates the extraordinary adventures of women by putting on a selection of short films. It is the result of a partnership between Australian company Adventure Film Tours and women-centred outdoors community She Went Wild. The Hamilton screening is open to all and will be two hours long with a short intermission. There will be also be raffle and door prizes offered.

Eastern Canada tour organizer, Benoit Brunet-Poirier got involved with the tour when he met Adventure Film Tours owner Toby Ryston-Pratt on a trip to Australia last year. At the time, Ryston-Pratt had been thinking about expanding to Canada. Brunet-Poirier discussed the opportunity with his partner Jamie Stewart and the two decided to take on the challenge of bringing the film tour home.

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Adventure is important for the couple, who met while rock-climbing. The tour also combines their respective industries as Brunet-Poirier works in the entertainment industry and Stewart works for an outdoors retailer.

By showing women-centred films, the tour is helping break down barriers in the outdoors industry. Brunet-Poirier noted that women are historically thought of as individuals to be protected and this series of short films challenges that notion.

“So I really like the idea of having a woman-focused film tour just because… although women are starting to be represented more in adventure stores and in the media and in film, I do think that there still is a misrepresentation or underrepresentation of women. And so this film tour is just putting… the spotlight on women,” Stewart said.

The couple did their first screening for the film tour in Ottawa last fall. They are taking the feedback from that event on the road by increasing the number of films in order to show a few shorter ones and playing well-received flicks.

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One such film, titled Finding the Line, follows professional skiers and sisters Anna and Nat Segal across Canada, France and the United States. While the film’s humour and thrilling 80 degree slopes make it an exciting watch, it is one of Stewart’s personal favourites because of its narratives of overcoming fear and sisterly bonding. It is these narratives that Stewart and Brunet-Poirier feel will resonate with audiences.

“We let go of some films that were focused on physical achievement to give room to films that are focused on the psychological or social achievement of other women. So there are films about BASE jumping and extreme sports, but there are also films that are more accessible,” said Brunet-Poirier.

In this way, the films should provide something that appeals to everyone, regardless of activity level or interest in extreme sports. The couple hopes that the pictures inspire audiences of all ages to attempt new things or take on a challenge that frightens them.

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Stewart and Brunet-Poirier also focused on ensuring that the films showcases diversity. From a film about an older, blind woman learning to swim for the first time to another about the challenges a lesbian couple faces in a mountain biking community when they open a pizza shop, the films capture a range of identities.

The films were selected from Adventure Films Tours’ global database. While the couple chose some films based in North America in order to be more local, their priority on diversity led them to select films from around the world.

“I am a Chinese woman here in Canada and… we really wanted to showcase diversity and acceptance of everyone… [T]hat's the root of our cause. [We] really try to reach as many people as we can and showing representation in adventure sports of all types of people,” said Stewart.

By centring the diversity of women, Women’s Adventure Film Tour pushes back against the perception of the outdoors community as male-dominated or predominantly white. The films aim to be a comprehensive show of the physical and mental strength of women.

 

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Cartoons have been on the rise lately. Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Gravity Falls and Over the Garden Wall have gained substantial followings in the past year, and this audience doesn’t look like it will be going anywhere any time soon. Sailor Moon got a reboot in commemoration of its 20th anniversary, and Digimon got a direct sequel. Tumblr has also witnessed the return of older cartoons, and bloggers are revisiting shows like Scooby-Doo, Danny Phantom and Totally Spies!. The curious thing, however, is that majority of the participants in this Cartoon Revolution are older than the target audience.

I’d thought of it as a byproduct of the Tumblr-hype. People on my dashboard like to reblog pretty gif sets, cartoons get pretty gif sets, so therefore these people reblog these gif sets. There was nothing wrong with being an adult and still liking “kid shows” — they have short episodes, and their entertainment value is its own category. Sometimes, it’s a casual attachment that you’ve retained from childhood. Sometimes, it’s just really good, as is the case with me and Avatar: The Last Airbender. That’s all.

My weekend at ComiCon begged me to mull this over once more.

I’ve barely gotten off the GO Bus last Saturday when I spot a pair of cosplayers huddled on one side of the terminal, fixing each other’s masks. Having gotten sucked into the hype of the show and found myself a fan three trial episodes later, I recognize the characters from Miraculous Ladybug. The show is primarily broadcast in French which made the vast contingent of its fans at this year’s ComicCon a surprise. Even more surprising to me was that these people, clearly avid fans, didn’t seem to be much younger than me, if at all.

Then again, I have been religiously watching the show every week since getting into it. The encounter with the cosplayers brings into mind a text conversation I’ve had with a friend weeks back, having just gotten into Miraculous Ladybug and confused over what we actually like about it. “Kids shows are so much nicer than ‘adult’ shows,” my friend had said. “Instead of saying that there is no good in anyone, it focuses on proving that there is. If that makes sense. The messages are always so much nicer.”

We concluded that the appeal, then, must be purely escapist.

This doesn’t explain the emotional attachment I witnessed at ComiCon. My first panel of the day belonged to the cast of Sailor Moon, and not having been attached to the show as a child, I was in there as an objective spectator. Many of my peers, however, some dressed up and others just looking excited to be there, are not. There was a crowd — groups of excited girls, whispering about favourite characters and talking fondly about their memories of the show’s original run. It wasn’t something I understood, perhaps because I had none of these memories to speak of, but they hadn’t been the only group to do this.

I stopped by as many merchandise booths as I can, and for each one, I experience almost repeats of the conversation between those Sailor Moon fans. A girl in the poster booth would excitedly point out having watched Digimon as a child, and gush about how much it meant to her. A boy at the T-shirt booth waves his newly bought Adventure Time shirt, talking about how the show makes him feel a child again. Most significantly, clustered around the food court were a number of families — parents indulging their kid’s interests, or parents sharing their own childhood interests with their children.

It was an odd sight, seeing adults happily telling their kids about the first comics that they read and the first shows they’ve ever watched. Somehow, though, it made me feel guilty for having been so quick to make assumptions on people’s interest in what we categorize as children’s shows.

What I learned from ComiCon is this: we never really forget the things we love as children. These superheroes are our first role models, and these fantasy worlds are often our first encounters with the beauty of fiction. There will always be emotional attachment to something, even if we deny it, because at one point we’ve wanted to be Spiderman or, like those girls, have been inspired by the kind of female character Sailor Jupiter is. We’re shaped by our childhood experiences, and that includes the things we watch. It’s a well-grounded emotional attachment, and that’s why, when shows like Digimon and Sailor Moon get reboots and sequels, people are more than happy to gob it all up.

Is it an escapist appeal? Sure. I like Miraculous Ladybug because its superhero world was something I’ve become attached to. That said, we need to stop equating escapism with inferiority to ‘more serious’ shows. Just because she’s watching a show about Parisian superheroes and he’s rewatching the older Justice League episodes doesn’t mean they’re any less than loyal Tarantino fans. At the end of the day, a lot of us are into media and pop culture for the entertainment and distraction factors, and if that means watching singing crystal gems to forget about life’s woes for ten minutes, then so be it.

The most important thing, however, is that today’s shows are sporting what we never really got in cartoons of the previous generation: diversity in characters, prominent strong female characters, and, like my friend pointed out, more positive messages.

If the future of the next generation can be built on this foundation, if these kids can grow up with these characters as their role models, then by all means, I’ll be more than happy to see Cartoon Revolution flourish.

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By: Joe Jodoin

Daredevil’s second season aims to answer what it means to be a hero, both literally and figuratively.

I didn’t know what to expect of Daredevil’s sophomore season for a couple reasons. Firstly, the showrunner of the first season left and was replaced by two new guys, and secondly because the show was now going to focus on two other Marvel anti-heroes, Punisher and Elektra.

Luckily, they kept mostly everything that was great about the first season, and fixed mant of the problems. They also keep the show squarely focused on Daredevil himself, while Punisher and Elektra turn out to be two of the most interesting supporting characters ever to be seen on TV.

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What I loved about Daredevil’s first season was its focus on character development, which lent one the ability to appreciate both the protagonist and antagonist’s points of view. As Ben Urich put it, “There are no heroes. No villains. Just people with different agendas.”

This quote has never been more accurate than in the second season, as one of the focuses of the season is Daredevil’s ideological clash with the Punisher. Despite both being on the “good” side, Punisher believes that killing the bad guys is the only way to take care of criminals permanently. Daredevil on the other hand believes people’s lives should be put in the hands of the justice system, and that killing is wrong, whether someone deserves it or not. Elektra serves to make this conflict of justice and morality even more complicated than it already is.

Jon Bernthal’s performance as the Punisher was something I was eagerly anticipating, since the last three actors to portray Punisher in the movies have been quite mediocre. Luckily, Bernthal absolutely blew me away. The fourth episode cements his contribution with what is possibly the best scene of the entire show in which he delivers a tear-jerking monologue that serves as the emotional core of the entire season.

Elodie Yung delivers an even better performance as the sexy but scary Elektra. Her character is completely sociopathic, but always finds a way into seducing Daredevil and convincing him to do what she wants. Elektra is so unhinged that it is impossible to take your eyes off her, as you’re always wondering what she’ll do next. This is a pretty big departure from the strong but silent Elektra from the comics, but is instrumental to making the show so enjoyable. The returning cast members from the first season are also great, and all serve important roles.

This season also tops off the first one in terms of violence and action, which does make the fights slightly less realistic, but more visceral and exciting. The shocking amount of gore can get cringe-worthy at times, but it’s a very nice change from the more kid-friendly movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The pacing problems are fixed now too, with there being more interesting subplots, and more interesting supporting characters. There is also much more of The Hand, an evil organization of ninjas that are a huge part of the Daredevil comic books, and serves to complicate Daredevil’s life even more. The show is like a revolving door of great dialogue, badass action, and surprising twists.

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One choice that I think prevented the season from reaching its full potential was the lack of an over-arching villain. I can name at least five antagonists in this season, but none of them were anywhere near as menacing or dangerous as the Kingpin from season one, or even Kilgrave from Jessica Jones. This made the season finale less epic than the first season’s, because even though the stakes were high, I was not interested in the bad guy Daredevil was fighting. This one complaint doesn’t matter too much though, as the entire season is still incredibly interesting and exciting.

While the first season left me satisfied, this season has made me eagerly anticipate the next season. I can’t wait to see the return of the Kingpin, and hopefully Bullseye.

In the same way that Game of Thrones is a masterclass in adapting books to screen, Daredevil is a masterclass in how to adapt comics to screen. If you’re a fan of good TV, then you will definitely love Daredevil.

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By: Hess Sahlollbey

Over the past week, the upcoming slate of adaptations based on DC Comics properties has been turbulent, to say the least.

For instance, Sandman, based on Neil Gaiman’s comic-book series lost Joseph Gordon-Levitt, one of the driving forces behind it, further curtailing the project. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Preacher, which is slated to debut this May with Seth Rogen as an executive producer and starring Dominic Cooper.

Hidden in all of this news was the fact that Scalped, also from DC, has been picked up for a pilot by WGN. While it’s not certain that it’ll become a series, I couldn’t help but revisit the comic-book series in anticipation.

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Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by R. M. Guéra, Scalped is a crime comic book series published by Vertigo Comics. Originally published in 2007, the series ended after 60 issues in 2012. Along the way, guest artists jumped on to elevate the ongoing quality of the series. Scalped has been collected into ten trade paperbacks and is also currently being collected as five deluxe hardcovers. So far, three of these books have been released with numbers four and five planned for April and August respectively.

The series, while fictional, is set in the present and is inspired by elements of Native American history.  Specifically, story elements are derived from the American Indian movement and the Red Power movement of the 1970’s. Set in South Dakota, Scalped focuses on the Oglala Lakota inhabitants of the fictional Prairie Rose Indian Reservation. Our main protagonist, Dashiell “Dash” Bad Horse ran away from the “Rez” 15 years ago in search of something better. Now he’s returned home to find that nothing much has changed save for a new casino and a once-proud people overcome by drugs and organized crime. While his motivation for returning to the reservation is unknown at first, he soon finds himself working for Chief Lincoln Red Crow as a member of the Tribal Police. Unfortunately for Dash, neither his mother nor his old friends are happy to see him return.  Little does anyone know that Dash’s real reason for returning is that he is actually an undercover FBI agent, tasked with taking down the corrupted officials.

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With a premise as unique as that, it’s easy to see why a television network would want to adapt the comic. This is a series that wasn’t afraid to explore some pretty dark themes. Some of those explored themes include rampant poverty, organized crime, drug addiction and alcoholism, local politics and the preservation of their cultural identity. This series was never afraid to shine a light on a neglected part of society that is rarely depicted in the mass media.

Adding a neo-western setting, the series breaks certain cultural molds and could easily be seen as a contemporary western à la Breaking Bad due to its overall aesthetic. Much like western films, the idea of progress always hangs on the horizon. In the case of Scalped however, it’s the delicate lack of progress and stagnation on the “Rez” that makes the characters so interesting. The characterization is thus the strongest force behind this story. It’s fascinating to see the evolution that these characters go through over the span of the story.  All of the characters feel organic and their problems and turmoil’s are captivating and depressing.   While Dash Bad Horse may have a dark and questionable moral compass, Scalped showed us just how far a hero can fall from grace and still have the reader rooting for them.

The level of realism in the series, combined with the depiction of Native American society easily makes Jason Aaron comparable to Honoré de Balzac. Adding to that, R.M. Guéra complements the series perfectly with his gritty, dirty art. While I didn’t enjoy it at first, it quickly grew on me as an acquired taste and was greatly elevated by the change of colorist from Lee Loughride to Giulia Brusco.

Casting for this series will be key, as Scalped will hopefully be a chance for Native American actors to get some prime time roles. Neither of Scalped’s creators are Indigenous and there has been some controversy in the past over how Indigenous people and their issues were depicted and treated over the course of the series. We can only aspire however that this project won’t turn out like Adam Sandler’s recent film The Ridiculous 6 where Native actors, actresses and a cultural advisor left the set in protest of the depiction of their culture. Here’s hoping that the TV adaptation will do this critically acclaimed comicbook series justice.

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By: Hess Sahlollbey

What’s old is new again, especially when it’s been 15 years since we last saw the DigiDestined. Digimon Adventure tri. is a six-part film series serving as a direct sequel to the first two television seasons of Digimon. The first of these films, Reunion, has been released in Japanese theatres. Outside of Japan though, the films have already been licensed and are being streamed online in episodic format by Crunchyroll.

Picking up five years after the first season, the DigiDestined are now seniors in high school. With graduation approaching, Tai struggles to grow up and come to terms that his group of friends is growing apart. Mimi lives in America, Joe is studying for college entrance exams and Matt has a band. Tai, however, has no plans aside from trying to see his friends as much as possible, both human and digimon. Tai’s guidance counsellor tells him that he needs to start thinking about his future but Tai yearns for the adventures and happiness he had in the past.

That’s when strange occurrences happen in Tokyo. Electronics malfunction, telecommunications systems stop working and wide-spread blackouts plague the city. This turmoil culminates with an evil digimon suddenly appearing and destroying the city. Tai’s partner digimon, Agumon, appears and the ensuing battle causes even more destruction. Having defeated the evil digimon, Tai realizes that giant monsters waging war in heavily populated cities are extremely dangerous and can result in casualties and collateral damage.

This time around it’s evident that the franchise is targeted at adults. The films explore the central theme of growing up and attempt to inject more realism into the franchise. Our protagonists are now on their way to adulthood, facing the same kind of existential crises everyone does at that age, while also trying to protect the world. The DigiDestined have to take more adult approaches to their problems than they could when they were kids. The collateral damage incurred by fighting digimon is so large that it leaves Tai seriously reconsidering whether he wants to be a hero. This, in turn, causes even more problems within his friend group. His friends and their digimon all look to him as their leader, yet Tai is unable to handle the gravity of their problems. His digimon, Agumon, attempts to comfort him, but Agumon only has the intelligence of a child and lacks direction. Much to his dismay, Tai is obligated to lead others.

Adding to the theme of growing up, the rest of the DigiDestined are facing the other coming of age issues that pertain to young adults. One of the predominant issues is the romantic attraction between certain members of the group. While it was hinted at in the first two seasons of Digimon, it’s now clear that Tai and Sora have feelings for one another. Add in Matt and there is a love triangle between the three with Sora conflicted and undecided. Izzy also has to come to terms with his crush on Mimi while T.K. and Kari continue to have unresolved feelings towards one another.

Building on another theme that started in the Digimon film, the eldest of the group, Joe, is starting to realize that the more effort he puts into his academics, the more he is distancing himself from his friends. No matter how much he studies, he can never score high enough to get accepted into a prestigious university and his digimon partner is sidelined. The repercussions of Joe’s constant absences and the conflict between helping his friends or studying is a captivating storyline.

In the end, everything comes full circle. If you grew up watching Digimon after school like I did, then you’ll definitely enjoy the chance to be reintroduced to some old friends as they now grow up and face real, relatable problems while also taking part in giant monster battles.

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In an era that has witnessed the steady rise of YouTube and its own brand of celebrities, it seemed only natural that literary web series adaptations would find their way into the vlogging sphere at some point.

Well known for their reimagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice into 2012’s Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Pemberley Digital has led this up and coming genre, lining up the ranks with the Emma adaptation Emma Approved, and Frankenstein MD. There is no shortage of alternatives outside Pemberley Digital, either. Some adaptations are definitely better than others, but there is nonetheless a series for almost every area of the literary spectrum. If Jane Austen isn’t quite your cup of tea, Anne Shirley is a seventeen-year-old vlogger in Green Gables Fables, and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre comes to vlogging life in The Autobiography of Jane Eyre. Whether you’re up for Edgar Allan Poe retold in A Tell Tale Vlog, or Peter Pan reimagined in The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy, YouTube has something for you.

Particularly popular for these web series adaptations, however, is the world of Shakespeare.

As someone who has at one point become too weary of Romeo and Juliet retellings and didn’t quite enjoy the web series Jules and Monty as much as I’d like to, I wasn’t too excited about discovering The Candle Wasters. The Candle Wasters is a team of four young women that produced a New Zealand-based adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing roughly a year ago, and if anything, I’m a little disappointed I didn’t find them sooner.

Their adaptation, Nothing Much To Do, is a reimagining told through three different YouTube channels — one for the modern Beatrice, one for the modern Benedick, and a third, more neutral vlog, to show parts of the story not present in Beatrice and Benedick’s stories. Beatrice (Harriett Stella) and Benedick (Jake McGregor) are high school students caught, to the dismay of their group of shared friends, in a heated rivalry that often gets in the way of the gang’s daily shenanigans. The bitter air between the two, however, makes way for a romantic storyline as the drama in the core of the story unfolds and they are forced to re-evaluate the dynamics of their peer group.

There’s more characters featured in this series than most adaptations, but instead of being scattered and overwhelming, Nothing Much To Do thankfully does not allow any characters, major or minor, to fall flat. The actors are convincing and lovable in each of their roles, and the chemistry between the two main characters rounds out a charming, well-developed cast. The larger number also allows the series to branch out from the typical bedroom-restricted monologues, and most episodes feature different filming locations and interactions with secondary characters.

The plot does take a while to pick up, but the modernized adaptation of the same storyline and at times even the exact same scenes from the original Shakespeare is refreshing and realistic enough that you can’t begrudge the slow pace of the first few episodes. Multiple elements of the original Shakespeare play are brilliantly present in the narrative, smoothly transitioned into the world of teenage woes and impressively far from being anachronistic. It’s obvious that The Candle Wasters have closely studied the material they’re working with, from clever allusions to specific lines in Much Ado About Nothing to cheeky references to other Shakespeare plays passed off as offhand remarks. Combined with an amazing cast and extremely well written dialogue, this easily makes Nothing Much To Do my new favourite literary adaptation on YouTube.

The Candle Wasters are currently working on Lovely Little Losers, an adaptation of Love’s Labour’s Lost serving as a sequel to Nothing Much To Do. They have recently launched a Kickstarter for Bright Summer Night, an adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and with what I’ve seen so far, I can vouch for the fact that this production crew is brilliant at what they do, and deserves all the support they can get.

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By: Trisha Gregorio/ANDY Writer

On April 8, 1990, Twin Peaks aired its pilot. In 1997 the episode made it to TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time, and by the early 2000s, the series has been consistently named one of the best television shows of all time. It wrapped up on June 10, 1991 with two seasons and a total of thirty episodes, followed by a movie called Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me in 1992.

Twin Peaks revolved around the murder of high school student Laura Palmer, whose death starts a chain sequence of events that becomes the catalyst for the show’s main storyline. As with many of director David Lynch’s works, the show does not adhere to norms of any particular genre. The show, all at once, contains supernatural factors and surrealist elements, underlined with both melodrama and humour. It achieved cult movie status over the years that followed its second season, and has become widely considered a television classic.

25 years later, co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost are bringing the series back for a new season. The sequel has been in the works for a year now, but budget issues have stalled production. Originally slated for a 2016 release, Dazed recently revealed that the third season has been pushed back to a 2017 broadcast on Showtime.

Eighteen episodes have been confirmed, all shot digitally, and will continue to be directed by Lynch and co-written with Frost. The creators have stressed that the new season is not a remake — rather, it will directly follow and allude to the events of the first two seasons, chronologically set 25 years after where the last episode left off.

“The story continues,” clarifies Frost. “The seeds of where we go were planted where we’ve been.”

Long-time fans are apprehensive about the changes the time skip would add to the classic small town setting the series is known for. Even more so, there’s much debate about who from the original cast is coming back after 25 years, and who’s done with the show for good.

So who’s in and who’s out? Nothing’s set in stone quite yet, but last week, along with the announcement of the pushed back release, Dazed also published a basic run-down of who’s in talks to return.

Unfortunately, many supporting actors have passed away since the end of the show’s last run. Catherine E. Coulson passed away earlier this year, and will not be reprising her role as the fan favourite Log Lady. Similarly, Jack Nance, who played her lumberjack husband Pete Martell, passed away in 1996.

Michael Ontkean, who played Sheriff Harry S. Truman and has discreetly avoided the limelight since, also declined the offer to return.

The good news, however, is that many crucial main actors are back to reprise their roles. Kyle MachLachan and Sheryl Lee are back as central characters Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer, respectively. Ray Wise and Grace Zabriskie are also set for return as Leland and Sarah Palmer, and Peggy Lipton returns to the Diner as series staple Norma Jennings. Other returning actors are Lara Flynn Boyle as Laura’s best friend, Sherilyn Fenn and Richard Beymer as the Hornes, Kimmy Robertson as secretary Lucy Moran, and Michael Horse as deputy Tommy “Hawk” Hill.

Additionally, aside from the series’ creators taking complete control of the follow-up season, composer Angelo Badalamenti is also set for return. A long time collaborator of Lynch, Badalementi is responsible for the signature Twin Peaks theme song, and will no doubt spin something new into the unsettling synth score the series is known for.

With roughly two years between today and the tentative release date, all that’s left to do is to wait. To fill the gap, creator Mark Frost revealed that a book called The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks will be published before the new season’s release, meant to cover the entirety of the time skip.

It might be set 25 years later and the storyline might be facing some contemporary changes, but the majority of the main cast and crew is looking to be the same quirky bunch that made Twink Peaks the television classic that it is.

Photo Credit: David Lynch

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By: Sarah O'Connor

1. The Book of Lost Things - John Connolly

This heart-wrenching novel follows David, a young boy in WWII England who is struggling with his mother’s death and his father’s remarriage. David turns to books to deal with the extreme changes in his life when suddenly the books begin whispering to him in his mother’s voice. As David follows the voice he ends up in the land of fairy-tales, only it is warped and much darker than anything Grimm could have written. As a television show the audience would get a chance to explore the macabre fairy-tale world that seems to “take” children as David searches to save his mother and restore his life to its original state. It would also be nice to see a show that’s set in the fairy-tale world that actually has some darkness to it (here’s looking at you Once Upon a Time).

2. The Millenium - Stieg Larsson

This popular book series has been made into a film twice, in Sweden the entire series was made into three movies but in North America only the first book made it to the big screen. This popular thriller mystery series featuring the fierce investigator Lisbeth Salander and once-famous journalist Mikael Blomkvist as they solve (and later become accused of) murders and disappearances actually did very well in the box-office, though much better in Sweden where the book series is set than it did in North America. Once again, a television series would have been a fantastic choice for the book series as it would have allowed a more detailed look at the cases Salander and Blomkvist were trying to solve as well as a deeper look into the protagonists (particularly Salander’s) dark pasts. The Millenium series could have been a grittier crime show that slowly got audiences into the darkness of the crimes instead of throwing it in their face as movies do.

3. The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

A must-read novel for any lovers of magic, The Night Circus focuses on the performers at the mysterious Le Cirque des Rêves which comes without warning and is only open at night. While the novel focuses on many aspects of the circus, including the group of people who made it and how it began, it also includes the story of Celia and Marco. A daughter and son of two rival magicians the two (who are children at the beginning of the novel) are prepared for a duel against one another when they reach adulthood, when they expectantly fall in love. The Night Circus is much more than just a romance and it would be the perfect book to adapt into a television show in order to see the different back stories that led Celia and Marco to the circus and how the circus has affected those who created it.

4. A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket

This popular books series about the three Baudelaire orphans who deal with one tragedy after another had a majority of fans disappointed with the movie adaption in 2004 that combined the first three books into one movie. The main complaints towards the movie stemmed from the fact that the movie was more comic and light- hearted than the dark themes of the book which held more of a dark edge (the books are definitely an acquired taste). Had the books been adapted as a television series, audiences could have had the chance to understand the Baudelaire orphans as individuals rather than as a group. As well there would have been more time to explore the mysterious past of the Baudelaire’s family and their numerous relatives (whom the orphans had never met before the deaths of their parents) which was only briefly hinted at in the movies (what was with that spyglass anyways?).

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