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November-December 2021

High School Musical lied to me

A youthful obsession with High School Musical leads to not knowing the truth about North American schools

Zeahaa Rehman

In the summer of 2008, I became obsessed with High School Musical. My family and I were “visiting” my paternal uncle in Canada at the time. I say “visit,” because it was more of a two-month trial for my parents to gauge whether or not they wanted to immigrate here from Lahore, Pakistan. During the […] More »
November-December 2021

The new and not-so-improved Naughty Aughties

Reboots and reunions are re-envisioning early 2000s TV, but the changes they’re making are disappointingly surface-level

Joelle Kidd

Every week, when I was a teenager, I used to squirrel my hand-me-down laptop away to my bedroom and scour the internet’s sketchy streaming sites for the latest episode of Gossip Girl. (I couldn’t watch it on the family TV—after all, it was, per its marketing, “every parent’s nightmare.”) From quippy dialogue, to attempts at […] More »
November-December 2021

Oops! … we did it again

Many are caught up in her legal battles and conservatorship, but more people should be paying attention to Britney Spears’s music

Sydney Urbanek

“Sometimes people’s … personal life becomes bigger than their work,” says pop star Britney Spears at one point during Framing Britney Spears, the New York Times-produced documentary released in February 2021. Though the complaint backgrounds a montage of Spears being chased around by paparazzi in the late 2000s, it may as well have been issued […] More »
November-December 2021

Pop culture is political

From our November-December 2021 editor's note

Tara-Michelle Ziniuk

  Things I have been involved with in my life include anti-gentrification activism, a sex worker arts festival, protesting a youth superjail, harm reduction work, community radio, a feminist bookstore, and independent publishing. I’ve also watched 11 years of The Bachelor franchise, likely more than that of The Hills and related shows, and could draw […] More »
July-August 2021

An independent alternative

The Sprawl offers Albertans a progressive perspective

Sydney Hildebrandt

Jason Kenney, the United Conservative Party (UCP) premier of Alberta, is the best thing to happen to The Sprawl, says Jeremy Klaszus, the publication’s editor-in-chief. Under Kenney’s leadership, the UCP’s approach to controversial issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate action has divided Albertans. Polarization is especially evident between rural and urban residents. Individuals […] More »
July-August 2021

Broadcasting books

Glass Bookshop Radio amplifies marginalized voices

Michaela Stephen

The magic of a bookstore arises not only from books and stories, but from community and conversation. Glass Bookshop Radio, the new podcast from Edmonton’s Glass Bookshop, founded by Jason Purcell and Matthew Stepanic, celebrates its first year this fall. Purcell, Stepanic, and podcast producer and co-host, Makda Mulatu, have built their working relationship on […] More »
July-August 2021

True crime as a love language

A mother and son bond over sensational stories

JP Larocque

The other night, my mother sent my partner Jason a text message. It was an innocuous check-in—warm greetings, a few updates on quarantine life, and a request for some items from our next grocery run. But sandwiched between the mundane details of life and the odd joke was an itemized list of true crime documentaries. […] More »
March-April 2021

In pursuit of Muslim representation

My dream of becoming Hollywood’s first hijabi talk-show host

Aishah Ashraf

Growing up in a traditional first-generation Muslim-Canadian family, I constantly struggled to determine what career I wanted to pursue. For years, I faced the dilemma of whether to satisfy the vision my parents had created for me or to go out on a limb and pursue my own interests of joining the entertainment industry, ultimately […] More »
March-April 2021

Making space for pain

A new era of pop stars are rejecting resilience

Rosie Long Decter

Pop singer Halsey begins her 2020 album, Manic, with a quote from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: “I’m just a fucked up girl who’s looking for my own peace of mind.” It’s hard to imagine Katy Perry or even Lady Gaga starting a record the same way 10 years ago, but in today’s music […] More »
March-April 2020

Lacking representation

South Asian representation on screen is not as sparse as it once was; but what does representation mean if it isn’t any good?

Rachna Raj Kaur

In North America, many Hollywood stars of Indian descent are household names: Mindy Kaling, Priyanka Chopra, Kumail Nanjiani, Hasan Minhaj, and Scarborough native Lilly Singh. According to YouTubers Colin and Samir, Hollywood has realized that Indians—in North America and India—have the buying power to demand representation on screen. I think we’ve always known this, but […] More »
March-April 2020

Why you hate cops but love Brooklyn Nine-Nine

You have to admit, the show has an unlikely following

Niko Stratis

As a child born in the early 1980s and raised by 1990s media, TV taught me one thing: cops are not to be trusted. While we are sold the idea of a hard-working and noble institution of policing through the lens of NYPD Blue, Cops, or even Homicide: Life on the Street, the news taught […] More »