Meet a Maker: Mixed Media Artist Soledad Muñoz

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Soledad Muñoz likes living in the fringe. She doesn’t consider herself a Canadian, but she also doesn’t feel 100 per cent Chilean. She’s a knitter, a musician, a producer, a videographer, sculptor and one of the visual installation creators at Vancouver’s New Forms Festival.

Muñoz sat down for an interview with Guidebook a couple of days before the show on September 18 to talk about the visuals she’s working on, her girls-only record label and growing up as a child of exile.

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Zef in the West

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South African rap-ravers Die Antwoord are coming to Vancouver September 23, promoting their new record Donker Mag.

Ninja, formerly known as Waddy Jones, is very chill considering he’s the leader of a South African rap-rave band. In 2012 the performer and producer from Johannesburg told the New York Times he doesn’t even drink.

But anyone in their right mind would never use the word “chill” to describe the fast thumping and sexually-charged music of Die Antwoord, an international success made up of rapper Ninja, singer-rapper Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek.

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Health Cuts ‘Cruel and Unusual Treatment’

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This summer a federal judge ruled that millions of dollars in cuts to some refugee claimants’ health care amounted to “cruel and unusual treatment.” The cuts impact failed claimants as well as claimants from countries like Mexico and Israel that Canada’s government deems to be safe.

The court ruling also found no evidence that the cuts reduced refugee claims and costs, even though Ottawa claimed that the measure, which came into effect in 2012, would dissuade “bogus” refugee claimants from coming to Canada and save taxpayers $80 million over four years.

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Rain and Shine at Vancouver’s Folk Fest

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This year’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival included acts from Canada, the U.S., Australia, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Italy and Korea, to name a few. This is probably one of the most enjoyable things about Folk Fest—you get to discover bands you never knew existed (which can be a gamble given the $170 ticket price).

The first band I saw was Zimbabwe’s Makoomba on the main stage Friday afternoon. They were amazing, but there wasn’t much opportunity to dance because everyone was lounging around on their reserved space.

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Behind Bars

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Media coverage of immigration detention has increased significantly following the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez, a Mexican national who died in the custody of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) late last year. 42-year-old Vega was arrested in December 2013 for an unpaid bus ticket. She was then transferred to immigration authorities, and placed in a provincial prison pending deportation.

On Dec. 20 she hung herself in the bathroom of the Vancouver Airport detention center. But while Vega’s death is tragic and most likely the result of her detention and imminent deportation, she is just one of 80,000 migrants that have been detained during Stephen Harper’s administration—some of which have been in custody for 10 years.

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‘Indie Music’: A Canadian Definition Explained

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I’ve always had an issue with the term “indie music.”

Short for “independent,” it originally referred to any music not produced by a major commercial record label. But in recent decades, the definition has shifted away from addressing the type of distribution toward an aesthetic descriptor.

These days indie music is about a particular sound (acoustic guitars, handclaps, echoey vocals) and oftentimes an image (beards, animal names). The term is easily hyphenated: indie-rock, indie-pop, indie-folk, etc. In some ways the word stems from the older label “alternative music,” which we would still be using today if we were stuck in the 90s.

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Changing China: Vancouver’s documentary film festival DOXA

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China is currently undergoing one of the fastest transformations in history. As the country pushes to urbanize and grow its middle class, many are making the move to the city. The effects of both globalization and urbanization can be felt in even the most secluded rural villages.

You can see these shifts on the big screen during Vancouver’s premier documentary film festival, coming up on May 2, 2014. These documentaries, along with more films shot in China, make up this year’s DOXA’s Changing China genre.

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