*TW: This episode includes discussion of sexual violence.* Today we talk Ducks, Kate Beaton’s celebrated graphic memoir — winner of Canada Reads, a New York Times Notable Book — about her two years working in the oil sands of Fort McMurray, where men outnumber women fifty to one. Harsh economic realities forced Beaton to leave her Cape Breton home for northern Alberta, where she found strange beauty in a desolate landscape, and human connection in the midst of sexual harassment, danger, and even violence. The book gorgeously and heartrendingly depicts a time, place and culture. For our discussion, we're joined by Marc Herman Lynch, author of the novel Arborescent (2020) and a cartoon enthusiast who grew up in Fort McMurray.
Join Naomi and Aaron of the Sweater Weather podcast for their deep-dive discussion of Ducks, the award-winning graphic memoir by Kate Beaton about life in the Alberta oil sands. They'll be joined by special guest Marc Herman Lynch, a literary scholar, comics enthusiast, and novelist.
This event takes place Sunday, April 23, in the Alexander Calhoun Salon at the Memorial Park Library in Calgary, Treaty 7 territory. Recording will begin shortly after 2 pm.
Reserve your free tickets at our Eventbrite page.
Saddle up your quarter horse and grab that flask of whiskey for this ride through the life and works of country music legend Ian Tyson. Born in Victoria, BC, in 1933, Tyson’s recording career spanned six decades, from his time in the Greenwich Village coffeehouse scene as one half of the folk duo Ian & Sylvia, to his years as a solo country artist working from his ranch in Longview, Alberta. With our guest Jeremy Klaszus, ghostwriter of Ian Tyson’s 2010 memoir The Long Trail: My Life in the West, we discuss Tyson’s love of horses, his tumultuous romances, and his fascination with the lore of the West. Ian Tyson died on his Longview ranch on December 29, 2022, at the age of 89. While we’re not exactly sure what a ‘real’ cowboy is, we all agree that Tyson was one of ‘em.
Join the audience for Sweater Weather Live! talks the life and music of country legend Ian Tyson. Our special guest will be Jeremy Klaszus, editor-in-chief of The Sprawl and ghostwriter of Ian Tyson's memoir The Long Trail: My Life in the West.
This event takes place Sunday, March 5 at 2 pm at the Memorial Park Library in Calgary on Treaty 7 territory. Reserve your free tickets at our Eventbrite page.
In 1908, thirty-four-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery published a novel set in the fictional Prince Edward Island town of Avonlea. Her heroine: a loveable and drama-prone red-headed orphan, adopted by an elderly brother and sister who turn out to need her as much as she needs them. The book is Anne of Green Gables, of course, a novel that made its author famous and helped turn PEI into an international tourist attraction. With our guest, writer and filmmaker Cheryl Foggo, we learn how much Maud’s life resembled Anne's, and how much it didn't—from scorned admirers to kindred spirits to bosom friends. Plus, we debate the age-old question: who does Anne love most, Diana or Gilbert? This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at the Memorial Park Library in Calgary on Treaty 7 territory.
In this audio documentary special, Aaron dives deep into the history of Nickelback, the most commercially successful and critically despised Canadian band of their generation. In the aughts when Nickelback dominated the air waves and sold out stadiums, bashing them publicly became a competitive sport for tastemakers and social media users. What spurred this unprecedented love/ hate relationship with Nickelback, and how did this band from Hanna, Alberta, find themselves at the centre of a cultural, class and political conflict?
Join Naomi and Aaron for this live recording of the Sweater Weather podcast as they discuss the enduring appeal of the classic novel Anne of Green Gables. They'll be joined by writer and documentary filmmaker Cheryl Foggo.
This event takes place Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 pm, in the downstairs meeting room of the Memorial Park Library in Calgary.
One fateful day in the winter of 1946, a little boy in the village of Sainte-Justine, Quebec, opened his Eaton’s package to find, instead of a coveted Montreal Canadiens jersey, the dreaded blue of the Toronto Maple Leafs. That despised hockey sweater was destined for literary, if not sports, fame.
That boy became author Roch Carrier, who has published some thirty books, run for political office, and headed numerous government agencies, including the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Library of Canada. But it was the NFB’s 1980 film adaptation The Sweater, lushly and wittily animated by Sheldon Cohen, that established Carrier’s reputation as a writer.
Joined by Montreal novelist and hockey enthusiast Maxime Raymond Bock—author most recently of Morel (2021)—Aaron and Naomi revisit Carrier’s story, which for a time graced Canada’s five-dollar bill. What’s been gained, lost and tweaked in translation? How does the tale reveal the tensions between Quebec and English Canada, as well as its author’s political sympathies? And why don’t parents ever understand your fashion choices?
You will remember her—singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan was born in Halifax, studied music from the age of four, started winning singing awards not much later, and was offered her first major record deal at seventeen. Throughout the nineties, she won a boatload of Grammys and Junos for her albums Solace, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and Surfacing, and she founded and headlined the all-female music festival Lilith Fair. In 2006, she starred in the SPCA’s iconic commercial that broke all our hearts and raised millions, and soon after founded a music school for under-served children.
Musician, actor and writer Kris Demeanor joins us for our first live show, in Calgary, where McLachlan proves a controversial figure, arousing every possible feeling, and making us “feel those feelings hard.” Some of us appreciate McLachlan more than others, but whether you’re a fan or not, surrender sweetly to our conversation about Canada’s mid-tempo ballad queen!
Join us Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022 for the first ever live recording of the Sweater Weather podcast, 7pm at The Rose and Crown Pub in Calgary!
Naomi and Aaron will delve into the life and music of singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan. And if you're not already swooning in the arms of an angel, we'll be joined in our discussion by musician, actor and writer Kris Demeanor.
In episode 28, we revisit the antics of shock comic Tom Green. In the early nineties, Green rose to local Ottawa fame with a rap album, a radio show, and a program on public-access television. In 1998, The Tom Green Show gained a national following on the Canadian Comedy Network, and in 1999 it jumped to the American big time on MTV. Green was the network’s golden/meat-covered boy, a box office success in the films Road Trip (2000) and Charlie’s Angels (2000)—before being waylaid by testicular cancer, a short-lived marriage to actress Drew Barrymore, and the critical lambasting of his directorial debut, Freddy Got Fingered (2001). How did Green develop his innovative comedic methods? Why have some parts of his shtick aged like a fine wine, and others like a dead moose? Did his family ever forgive him for that stunt with his grandmother and the dildos? Also, Naomi remembers Tom razzing her as a teen on the not-so-mean streets of downtown Ottawa.
Screenwriter Abdul Malik (Peace by Chocolate, CTV’s Transplant) joins us to talk about Atom Egoyan’s 1997 film, The Sweet Hereafter, one of Canada’s most celebrated movies and the pinnacle of the Toronto New Wave moment. We revisit the melancholic, majestic, and morally compromised town of Sam Dent, a fictional community in BC’s interior that has lost almost all its children to a school-bus crash. Ian Holm plays a carpet-bagging lawyer with his own emotional baggage, while Sarah Polley portrays a young girl who survives both the bus accident and her father’s abuse. In this stark winter landscape, we warm to Egoyan's elegant filmmaking but are left cold by his moralizing vision. Should The Sweet Hereafter still be celebrated 25 years later?
We've got one question for you, Sweater Wearers: Are You Afraid of the Dark? This Montreal-produced kids' horror series aired on YTV in Canada, on Nickelodeon in the US, and on networks around the world—including in Norway, where our special guest, poet Tasnuva Hayden, eagerly watched every Saturday night circa 1992. We light the proverbial campfire and toss some metaphorical magic powder on the flames before discussing some stand-out episodes. There's one about dead Aunt Dora, an elegant equestrian from the 1950s who possesses her 16-year-old niece and makes her speak with a mid-Atlantic accent; another about a clown named Zeebo with a dangerous cigar addiction who teaches a kid named Josh a thing or two about stealing other people's red foam noses. We admire the show for its adventurous teens sneaking off into the woods, lament the disturbing creeps lurking around every corner, and wonder what scares kids these days. It's "The Tale of the Twenty-Sixth Episode of Sweater Weather"—submitted for your approval!
Find out more about Tasnuva Hayden's poetry collection, An Orchid Astronomy (2022).
From high school improv with Seth Rogen in Vancouver, to a spot on the CBC classic This Hour Has 22 Minutes, to his Comedy Central series Nathan For You, Nathan Fielder’s comedic vision has expanded from silly, semi-cruel satire to mirror-funhouse meta-reality TV. We discuss his latest, the HBO docu-comedy The Rehearsal, and ask whether it’s "reality" and whether it's comedy, whether his methods are immoral or merely show us our own dark, TV-shaped hearts, and whether Fielder, a former magician, has just pulled off a brilliant sleight of hand.
Today we’re talking about the novel that named a generation. In 1991, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Vancouver author and visual artist Douglas Coupland became a sleeper hit, an objet d’art that no student living room could do without. How, exactly, did this awkwardly floppy book manage to capture the zeitgeist of twenty-somethings struggling to find meaning in the shadow of the Boomers? What were its influences and what cultural floodgates did it open? Is it a good novel? Also, Aaron remembers an unfortunate youthful encounter with Douglas Coupland at the Canadian embassy in Paris.
Isn't it ironic that we finally decided to cover this essential Canadian artist? Alanis Morissette was one of the most successful musicians of the 1990s, selling 33 million copies of her album Jagged Little Pill. We trace her career from child actor to international rock superstar to Instagram mom. We consider the mass appeal of her music, with its cathartic rage, ear-wormy melodies, and therapeutic confessions. What does Morissette's popularity say about Generation X and the older Millenials who make up her fan base, past and present? Wait a minute...how is any of this "ironic"?
Naomi and Aaron speedboat through the CBC family adventure show Danger Bay (1984-1990). We discuss the show's infinite animal menagerie, its 1980s environmentalism, and the protagonist, Dr. Grant Roberts, who is both a Professional-Class Hero and Dad of the Year. We also rehearse our favourite lines of dialogue from Danger Bay, including Doc Roberts shouting, "We need a lactating otter!"
Inspired by the recently released sixth season of The Kids in the Hall, Naomi and Aaron talk about this legendary sketch comedy show (1988-1995). We discuss the Kids' paths to becoming comic actors, and how the show was too dark for us to appreciate when we were kids ourselves. We breakdown some of their most notorious sketches, including Cabbage Head and the Chicken Lady, and pay special attention to their unfairly maligned feature film, Brain Candy (1996), which is actually very good! Finally, we consider the dangers of nostalgia and decide that we'll do it anyway.
Aaron and Naomi talk about the classic teen drama Degrassi Junior High (1987-1989) and its immediate sequel, Degrassi High (1989-1991). We discuss the show's fascinating production history, our vivid memories of watching it as kids, and the labour conditions for the actors. We also dig into the details of one of our favourite episodes, "The All Nighter," and even re-enact a scene. You won't want to miss Naomi's uncanny Melanie impression!
How Leonard Cohen's life and art was shaped by the Cold War. Plus, the political uses of his most famous song, "Hallelujah."
Sweater Weather is a podcast & live events series about Canadian arts & culture, co-hosted by Aaron Giovannone & Naomi K. Lewis.
Find the show on all major video, audio & social media platforms.
Join the audience for our next live recording of Sweater Weather at the Memorial Park Library in Calgary on Treaty 7 territory. Tickets are free.