Saturday, September 27, 2008


At the time of this writing, Paul Newman died today at the age of 83. Another icon out the window. First George Carlin, now Newman. Not quite as disappointing a passage; the man was 83 and working right up to the end.

While Carlin was an artist that had some direct influence on my life, like the way he approached comedy, the fact that someone from the "counter culture" could succeed in the mainstream, Newman was simply an actor I admired. There was something of the anti-hero about him, a contrast to the John Wayne character I grew up with (and I love John Wayne) and that was very appealing to me as I grew up in the sixties. Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler was one of his iconic characters and although I think this is a good movie it is not one of my personal favorites, I actually the sequel, Color of Money, much more. Paul Newman as Hud, was perhaps his first role that really jumped out as something different.

Here was this big star, this gorgeous leading man with a great sense of humour and brother, Hud was a bad, bad man. Rebellious to the point of being anti social. Anti social to the point of being pathological. Newman held nothing back from this portrayal; one moment Hud was charming and entertainingly bad boyish and the next moment just plain mean. Hud the movie is not a breezy entertainment, it is, in parts a tough movie and Newman's performance holds it together, he is just compelling.

A good movie to illustrate the "against the grain" that Newman brings to a movie is Harper.
Harper is a private eye movie from the 60's based on the Lew Archer series of novels. These are pretty solid, straight ahead stories but Newman brings this great "what the fuck attitude" to the role, like he had this great smirk almost hidden that derided the entire private eye structure and it worked perfectly for the time. He was equally good in the sequel, The Drowning Pool where he would just throw away lines with this incredible nonchalance. At one point, Harper tells a cop that his day rate is 500 bucks. "That's good money" says the cop and Newman replies with this little shrug "Not if you work 5 days a year"

Whereas the two Harper movies showed Newman's kick the establishment side, Hombre puts him back in Hud mode. Newman made a lot of good westerns, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a classic, but Hombre may be my favorite.

A straight forward western suspense tale about a stagecoach full of people being held hostage by a bad guy, Newman's performance gives it some extra weight. His character, half Apache half white, is a man entirely disassociated from mainstream culture. He's turned his back on the white world and really doesn't give a rat's ass about what happens to his white companions. He is the perfect anti hero here, a reluctant hero who takes a leadership role quite against his will.

But let's face it, there really is one home run, define the rest of it, Paul Newman anti hero counter culture stance. And I am talking about not only my favorite Newman movie but one of my top ten movies of all time. Cool Hand Luke.

This is it, isn't it? One of the most iconic movies of the 60's that still stands up today. Good Ole Luke, a guy who ends up on a chain gain for the cutting the tops off of parking meters and ends up being shot inside a rainy church in the deep south. Luke is cool. Cool to the point of personal retreat. Luke may have been the first slacker, except he was way smarter and took better care of his body. There is some Hud here, the man not in touch with his feelings and some of Harper, the bad boy smirk too cool to care. I have watched the movie at least a dozen times, and I never tire of it. I am bound to quote this movie at any time, for no particular reason. "Luke, nobody can eat 50 eggs" is one of my faves and it just pops out apparently out of context but for me, it just means: Fuck, do it, even if you know you don't have a hope in Hell of succeeding, just do it.

Some of my favorite later Newman movies works more for his intelligence, maybe, than that rebel 'tube.

Nobody's Fool from 1992 is a great movie because it tells a simple story without a lot of drama and Newman's character is his bad boy at the end maybe; the man who had spent a great deal of his live alienating everyone around and ends up on the verge of being alone ... but he doesn't want to be alone and he struggles with how he can regain those connections with his family.

This movie Twilight from 1998 puts Newman back in private eye mode. This is Harper, older, more beat up, almost burned out .. and even more cynical. This is Nobody's Fool with a gun in his hand but instead of seeing redemption, he sees good people doing bad stuff for some pretty shallow reasons. Great hard boiled stuff. The final scene between Newman and James Garner is as low keyed and suspenseful as you'd ever want to get.

Then we have Road to Perdition. Newman in a small role here, and one where he is as about as stripped down and cold and cynical as any he ever played.

I love the scene in this movie between Newman and Tom Hanks, where they are playing the piano together; in just those few seconds we learn everything we need to know about the relationship between these two men, and I think most of that silent telling comes from Newman.

There are a lot of other great Newman movies of course, including The Sting and The Verdict but I just wanted to concentrate on these few that touched something in me. If Newman had only made Cool Hand Luke he would still be one of my favorite actors. The fact that he made so many more means that even though he has passed, he will be hanging around in our minds for a long time to come.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Well, not SPAM as in electronic junk mail, or Spam as in the luncheon meat .. well, yes Spam, sort of but not really .... ok it was actually Spamalot, the stage musical base on Monty Python's Holy Grail. This past weekend we saw the show with my brother Ed and his partner Eartha.

This was a belated birthday celebration for Ed and it has some special signficance for the two of us. See, Ed was actually born during the Dark Ages and ... oh, that was just uncalled for. No, it was called for but I was the one calling .. so that makes it just plain mean.

At one point, when I was still living at home, Ed had his own place right around the corner; he had a TV, we did not .. or he got more channels ... at rate he could access television shows I could not. One day Ed came flying around the corner, yanked me out my of my chair and dragged me to his house, yelling "You have to see this" Indeed, I did.

What I saw was something that, quite literally, would change my life forever. Deceased parrots, fatal jokes, a man called Two Sheds, mountain climbers rapelling up a sidewalk and a song about Spam ... it was Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Ed and I became devotees of the series and soon became able to quote entire episodes word for word. And often did. Including accents. People loved that. No, they really did, people often begged for more .............................. ok, so I used to smoke pot, what's your point?

For me, it would only get better. That was with the release of Monty Python's Holy Grail. To this day, without a shadow of a doubt or moment of hesitation, I consider this one of the funniest movies I have seen, if not the funniest. I love history, I love the myth of Arthur and this movie totally destroyed both of those .. as well as music and gender and heroisim and even movies themselves. One of the first times I literally laughed till I cried. I quickly became adept at quoting almost the entire movie at will. And did. An thrilled the masses, moving them to adore me .......................... ok, I did acid too, leave me alone.

So all of this means that we learned the musical stage version of the movie ... Spamalot .. was returning to Toronto, we knew we absolutley had to see it. It was being staged at the Canon theatre, which seems to bear an eerie resemblence to the Pantages theatre where we saw Phantom of the Opera, the Lion King and most recently We Will Rock You.

To say that I enjoyed the play is an understatement. Half way through the first act I was laughing so hard my face hurt. If I was an American perhaps I would be considering litigation. The play definitely used the movie as its base, stealing dialouge and scenes directly from it, but it was pretty wide open, poking a lot of fun at Broadway and musicals in general. There is one scene with Lancelot and the Lady of the Lake where they sing a love duet ("This is the song that goes like this") and come out in a little boat, a chandelier hanging over them, al la Phantom .. the fact that we were in the Pantages was hilarious.

We got to hear a couple of Pythons. Before the play started we heard the voice of Eric Idle saying "Feel free to use your cell phones during this performance but please be aware that there are several heavily armed knights about and if they hear you, you will be impaled" Later on, when Arthur and his men recieve his quest, the voice of God was played by John Cleese ... well, duh, that is type casting. I think John Cleese may be the funniest human ever to live. John Cleese just walks into a scene and I break down in laughter.

I will spare you having me recite the entire play but trust me, you would be thoroughly entertained and thrilled to no end ............................ ok, I still drink, stop bugging me about it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


This is going to be the last post, with video and pics, from our two days at the Canadian National Exhibition at the end of August. Day one of the Ex was primarily taken up with the Air Show and the Jump Jet performance by Cirque Orange.

Those two events pretty much took up an entire day and there were still a lot of Ex activities to indulge in, like hunting for stuffies and stuffing our faces ... hmm, a stuff theme. Oh yeh, and there was beer. I know ... Collette and I attending an event that featured beer. Shocking, I know.

Unfortunately, we were not the only people with that idea. The weekend we went to the Ex happened to be, weather wise, the best weekend of the summer; unfortunately, it was the LAST weekend of the summer. So we went to the Ex. And every person in Toronto went to the Ex. And all their relatives went, and all their barbers went, and everyone who had ever heard of the Ex went ... there were a lot of freaking people at the Ex.

So off we go on our stuffie hunt ... stuffies would be stuffed animal, bagged and displayed in Collette's classroom. We basically have two methods of obtaining stuffies. One is the Birthday Game, where you put money down on a month of the year, toss a ball and whatever date comes up, there's your winner. So this is a case of blind luck, though in Collette's hands it becomes a game of deliberate skill. Hence this lovely terrapin that we carried around the Ex all day and hauled home on the bus.

Our other game is the water gun game, where you shoot a stream of water into a clown's mouth and the first one to pop a balloon wins. The main skill here is my ability to intimidate a bunch of 10 year olds in order to win a stuffed Nemo or something.

Besides stalking stuffies and seeing how many pogo's and tiny donuts and beer we could shove down our throats, there were a couple of other shows we wanted to see. One was a rodeo, apparently the first time a rodeo has been at the CNE in something like 50 years. These were participants from the Ontario area, competing for standings that they would carry to the big rodeo that happens at the Royal Winter Fair.

I haven't seen a live rodeo since I lived in Calgary (it had to be live because television was yet to be invented) and Collette had never been to one. It was pretty entertaining; barrel racing, team and individual calf roping, a bullwhip expert, bronc riding and .. my favorite .. bull riding.

They had a "rodeo clown" who was supposed to be funny and was .. kind of .. and the bullfighters who were there to protect the cowboys. I will give the clown credit though, during the bull riding, he popped himself into a barrel out where these thousand bulls were blasting around and that is a risk that, in my opinion, is best viewed from the cheap seats.

Now let's talk about the guy with the bullwhip. He performed stunts with an eight foot long bullwhip, including slicing up a newspaper held up by his wife .. in front of her face. This is when you want to make sure that the relationship is secure.

So this dude was tough. Not because he could pluck out your eye with his whip from ten feet away, but because of those white boots. Brother, you hang around rodeo cowboys while wearing boots, you are double tough.

Another married act we saw was this husband and wife escape artist team. Well, she was the escape artist, he was a magician of sorts. The main feature of the show was the water torture escape, one of many that Houdini made famous. You know, chain somebody up, toss em in a tube of water, and watch them escape.

The duo claims that this lady is one of the few women in the world who does this stunt and the only person of any gender, who performs the entire escape in full view of the audience. They brought an audience member up and she cuffed the performer around her ankles, her wrists and her waist ..... in Vegas you'd pay a lot to do that to a girl. Besides the shackles, there were something like four locks on the lid.

While she was submerged you could see her working with her straight lock picks; there was no illusion how she was escaping, it was more her skill, and the fact that there was no external oxygen source, she held her breath for the whole time. While she was underwater she was working pretty hard, picking the locks, putting her feet up on the glass to get at her ankles, reaching up to the lid .. she was in the water for almost two minutes and forty seconds. Pretty impressive.

So that was our visits to the Ex. Video is here. Shot with the Samsung palmcorder, a sort of highlight from the rodeo and Krissy's entire escape, unedited.

CNE: Rodeo & Escape from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

Monday, September 15, 2008


So I am continuing the coverage of Collette and mine's summer. Hmm, it was a busy one. This post is going back to Buskerfest. A very busy day indeed as you can see by the videos I've already posted. I could easily cull another video out of the day and perhaps I will, perhaps I won't, these things are left up to the Fates, the tides of the ocean, the will of the transcendental spirits ... and when I roll my ass out of bed.

This video features a performance by the Toronto Aerial Ballet. This is your basic cirque de soleil style troupe with its own spin on things. This group combined canned music, backscreen video projection, live music, dance and an aerial performance. Apparently there is some kind of story/commentary behind it, I'll let you be the judge.

This was the last performance we saw that day and you can probably tell from the video. My angle was not the greatest. I should have found some high angle but I just had to sit. I had been on my feet all day including about 30 minutes perched on the edges of a wooden planter to get shots over the heads of the crowd. So we got to the aerial dance site early and plopped our butts down in front of the stage.

The angle I got put a stage light right in the lens most of the time but when I focused on the aerial performers, I think it looks pretty good. There was a fair amount of variety in the show with rings, ropes, ribbons and fabric used like an aerial cocoon.

Besides the aerial performers, there was dancing as well. You will see a bit of a female doing a solo dance but this has been edited; really, "modern" dance is something beyond my ken, I get the point of free movement but there is only so much rolling around on the stage I can take. Except . . .

... two women rolling around stage is something else all together. That's all we need to say about that, just watch the video.

So this video was shot with the XL1. It is longer than a lot of the videos I've posted, a simple performance vid cut down from around twenty minutes. Again, not the perfect angle but you get what you paid for don't you. If you haven't, check out the Jump Jet video from Cirque Orange in a previous post. Two drastically different "aerial" performances.

Toronto Aerial Dance from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

Friday, September 12, 2008


This is a slight edit on the orginial post, the new material is about ten paragraphs down, where I talk about Audie Murphy.

Who are you? OK, that gets the Pete Townshead reference out of the way. But it does touch on the topic of this post. Who are you? Why are you here? How did you get here? And no, none of these are philosophical questions of universal import, this blog is not that sophisticated. No, this is a much more insular post. Take those questions and apply them to this post: Who are you? Why are you here? How did you get here?

I have a couple of tools on this site that allows me to keep track of certain stats: How many people have visited in a day, what their locales are, even how they came to the site, how they were referred. Nobody panic: I have no way to find anybody's address, IP provider, personal e-mail etc. Well, even if I did, I would have no idea how to use such tools or any inclination to do so. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I respect other people's privacy to a fault; translation, I don't care to know you all that well. OK, so that is a bit disingenuous. I am very curious about who visits the site and why.

A lot of the people who read this blog are folks that Collette and I actually know, our friends and a lot of members of our two big crazy families. That is called a kind of captive audience and I am glad to have them. I also have regular readers from the online community that has developed around Screw Bronze . Collette and I are proud to be part of that particular community and I am happy when any of Elizabeth's readers visit here.

The Hairy Edge has been around long enough that the search engines are beginning to reference it. And that is very entertaining for me. I get a lot of people searching "hairy" Fair enough, that is right in the title of the blog. But some of the hairy things they search for ... well, this is the sexnet, I mean internet, after all. Hairy women. Apparently "Hairy Mary" is quite the popular young woman ... and no, I did not visit Hairy Mary, there are certain things I just do not need to see. I don't know why, but most of the "erotic" hairy searches are coming from the middle east. I have no idea why. It is just what Sitemeter shows me.

Then we have hairy searches you can lump into a sexual category from another perspective: Hairy men seeking other hairy men. Bears, specifically. This has nothing to do with the big furry critters that prowl along Springhaven Lodge .. ok, maybe it does, I don't ask what people's preferences may be.

"Old hairy mothers" was another search ... that I do not need to see either. There apparently is a band called The Hairy Edge .... really? I don't know what this phrase means to be honest, but I would not have associated music with it. There is a Hairy Edge Productions ... and it is not mine. There is an irony. I have a production company, my blog is called The Hairy Edge and my company is called something else.

Then there are the folks out there searching for answers about their hair growth. Fair enough. I have mentioned this in a few posts, I just hope no one was expecting answers cause really, let's face it, there are no answers on this site.

Dog parks are another big search; again, not surprising, I've written about dog parks several times. My post on dog park etiquette gets big responses. I wish I got more hits from the Toronto area because dog owners are still not picking up their dog poop and still walking away with Hayley's toys.

People out there are searching for Jeff Healy which pleases my heart because I will be a Jeff fan for life and although the man is gone, his music needs to be supported for a long time to come.

And Audie Murphy. My man Audie I have had serveral hits searching for Audie, one as recently as a full day after I originally filed this post. I have had several hits for Audie from the UK, which I find interesting. I think of Audie as an Amercian icon, mostly for his war exploits and today, to a far lesser degree, for his work in movies.

Some of the searches surprised me as they were connecting things that I may have mentioned only briefly in the blog. Like the old Raquel Welch western Hannie Caulder. Take a look at this post I wrote comparing the movies The Brave One and Death wish, you have to look pretty hard to see the Hannie Caulder reference but it is in there. The fact that somebody was searching for the movie, however, did inspire me to buy the movie on eBay. No, I haven't watched it yet. Like a lot of movies/books/music I enjoyed in my youth, I have a nagging suspicion that the actual product may not live up to the memory.

My post on whether or not I am disabled got a huge response, most of it thanks to a reference Elizabeth made at Screw Bronze. I am still getting hits from this search parameter which should be not too surprising, people are still disabled, and people still need to know how and why the world is viewing them in this context.

Besides search hits, the other thing my online tools show me is who is visiting, at least in terms of regions. Again, I can often match locales to people I know; Kingston area is my family, Parry Sound is Collette's family, Victoria is Elizabeth, Regina is Neal and a certain UK location is going to be Gaina.

But I have some regular visitors who I can not easily identify. I have a very dedicated regular reader from Mountain View, California ... who are you? Where do I know you from? I love the fact you are a regular but as always, my question would be ... why?? I have some regular viewers from Los Angeles and a couple more from the UK who I cannot identify. And Quebec. I'm big in Quebec .... perhaps not the same as the Tom Waits song "I'm Big in Japan" but there you go.

Obviously, I like knowing that people are actually reading this thing. Not an absolute requirement for me, I almost exclusively write just to appease the voices in my head. But hey, I am glad you are all out there. If you would care to drop a comment or even an email every now and then, that would be awesome. If you comment I will almost always try to respond, if only to thank you for commenting. I have no problem with anonymous comments, it is just nice to know that you are actually out there.

Incidently: I have a new gadget at the bottom of the post, called Following. Not sure I totally understand it but I guess it is a kind of way for you to suscribe and for me to follow you ... wow, that sounds really creepy but it is nothing of the sort. So the gadge allowed me to title this feature and of course, I called it Edge Heads. Are you an Edge Head? Do you think that is the most annoying thing you've ever read? Well .... I will accept that comment too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Yes, this is a sort of flashback post, to our visit to the Canadian National Exhibition a couple of weeks ago. All the excitement about Collette's walk shifted my focus, of course, but there was at least one more video and pics from the Ex that I wanted to share.

An aerial outfit called Cirque Orange performed a closing show for the last weekend of the Ex. We saw the show twice. As far as I know, this is a local troupe, at least they have performed around town a few times this summer.

We've seen a few of these aerial shows, of course, and we enjoy them, but this one is a little different. Don't know if I've ever seen jumpsuited characters performing a dance with metal grinders before. Or trampoline artists tumbling while said jumpsuiters blast fire under their feet. Or twirl flaming bars of steel.

However, these characters were not the stars of the show. The stars were, in human, form, a remarkable female aerialist and her incredible "flying machine".

The plane was this amazing prop, hoisted up on a giant crane, capable of turning, of spitting fire out of its engines, of showering down sparks and of setting its own props "on fire"

At one point they hoisted the plane a good fifty feet up into the air. That is when our young lady came out to play.

She danced on the plane, she swung on her trapeze, and she flipped around on a pair of bungees ... she really was quite good.

The video below was shot with my Samsung palmcorder and I'm standing on a sign, so it is shaky and the quality is not the greatest, but it will give you an idea about the show. Right at the end, she launches off the plane on her bungies and does this tumbling run that seems to go on forever. You can hear me say "there is something wrong with that girl" So enjoy.

CNE: Jump Jet from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


She did it! Two days, 60 K, and she is back home in surprisingly good spirits. More rain today, sometimes coming down quite hard but Collette, Billie and Thelma all made it through. Collette got up before dawn this morning (and I mean before the dawn of time, it was that early) and went back up to Downsview Parc where Billie and Thelma had spent the night in tent city.

The setup in the Parc was pretty amazing, including full food setups, massages, stretching booths, and a huge party last night. The organization of the entire race was pretty impressive, with lots of stations along the way providing food and drink, the girls really didn't need to take anything with them.

I was only able to go to one Cheering Station today but I decided to completely cheese out and get Miss Hayley involved.

The above picture is how you humiliate a border collie in one easy lesson. But she was quite the hit at the cheering station. As the walkers went by I would say "Hayley, cheer" or "Hayley, say thank you" and she would bark. The secret was this little hand signal we have for barking that I can disguise pretty well so people don't even notice it.

As always, there was a lot of community support and a dizzying display of walkers' self-expression.

Collette had no idea that was I going to be at this cheering station, let alone have Miss Hayley with me, let alone have her dressed up ... well, sort of. Miss Hayley is vocal, that is why it is easy to get her to "talk". But generally her bark is not the high pitched yelp of most border collies, it is a fairly deep, definite bark .. expect when a member of her pack is there to be greeted. Her pack consists of Collette and myself and some very special people who have been in her life like Billie, our nephew Jeff who lives in our basement, his parents Dennis and Kay, some of the regulars from our dog park. When Hayley saw Collette she did a little wiggle dance and put on a crying display that had all the female walkers saying "Awwwwwwwwww!!"

So the ladies continued on and the weather turned pretty bad, with some very cold rain coming down. Collette had packed some longer pants but Billie had only her shorts and t shirt. Luckily, Collette had also thought to bring some rain ponchos ... what a good aunt eh?

So the five thousand walkers wended their way through the rainy city down to Exhibition Place where the whole thing had started Saturday morning. Collette told me that the entrance to the hall was handled beautifully: First the walkers who were cancer survivors, then the event staff then all the walkers who had managed to finish the event. Collette told me she had, for a time, walked with a woman who was doing the walk for the second time ... she is 95. And she finished.

Here are the weekend warriors, still smiling after this amazing achievement, to say that I am proud of all them is a total understatement, especially my lovely wife, who set out to do something that she had never done before .. and did it well.

The final total of money raised by the 5,000 walkers is reported to be 13 million dollars.

So I cut a little video. All of the footage is from Day One.

Walk For The Cure from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

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