Friday, 24 July 2009

Girl crushes and [left] film festivals

Girl Crush:
Suheir Hammad, poet, author, activist, recently an actress, owner of impeccable bone structure and person whose got me love dancing.

[left] Film Festivals:
Mark your calendars because on September 26th to October 2nd, the 2nd annual Toronto Palestine Film Festival (TPFF) will be taking place. Unlike the service at some of our fast food restaurants around the country, and the tiresome Hollywood stereotypes of A-rabs, these movies are GREAT. So come by to TPFF and enjoy awesome movies and Middle-Eastern hospitality, the right way.

Hany Abu-Assad released this short film (below) a few months ago. It is a segment in the Stories on Human Rights series. Hany is a director who has come a long way since the flop "Rana's Wedding" with the beautiful "Paradise Now". He contiues the great cinematography work from Paradise Now with this funny short film.

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Wednesday, 22 July 2009


I thought a cool way to interact with blog readers and Twitter followers would be to compile a few links brought to my attention from people I follow on Twitter. There's a lot of great stuff out there, so I picked through all those "OMG Sartorialist is coming to Toronto" tweets and I'm bringing you some of this week's best link tweets. All people have been sourced.

Paige posted an American Psycho inspired video by Miles Fischer for his cover of "This Must be the Place" by the Talking Heads. Check out the post here, and read Paige's blog here, keep it bougy.

As Seen on TV
University pal Brige gets Snuggie

In the news
Oppression continues as author and academic Ali Abunimah shares this tragic story

Social Media
Randy Matheson shares great links related to social media and the internet, this week, he shared one about how Facebook is the #1 tool to share links and asks you if you're surprised. Well, are you?

Fantastic Voyage
New friend and recently back in Canada from a month voyage to Italy, Majd shares this great photo on his flickr page

Not a Harley
Tasha brings the Chanel Motorcycle to our attention

Wes Anderson film lovers get another peak at "Mr. Fox" thanks to Jarod

Friday, 17 July 2009

Six months of Yuppie Activism

Sunday July 19th will mark the six month anniversary of the Yuppie Activist's inception. Six months of entertainment, of ideas, critiques, adventures, of hinting at my identity (oh if you know, you know) and so on. For those of you who weren't aware, this blog follows a pattern. The name in itself is an oxymoron, even the subtitle makes you wonder and therefore, I have made sure that posts follow this pattern most of the time, but if you weren't clever enough to get that, don't worry, it's not really obvious and what matters is you're still reading, even if you're leaving lame anonymous comments in an attempt to aggravate my opinionated self. For those of you who have been following since its debut, thanks. I'm happy to be receiving girl crush emails here and there and nice comments. Admirers are always good to stroke an already large ego, but seriously, if you take the time to write me, expect a response. For those of you who are new, bienvenue. You'll enjoy it here and if you don't laugh, check your sense of humour because there must be something seriously wrong with it.

Without further a due, to celebrate this six month "milestone" (in high school years), I've decided to put together a list of the posts with the most:
  1. My first post introduced you to the Yuppie Activist. You learn my eye colour, my education, my language skills, my sleeping habits and more.
  2. At various instances throughout this post, you learn I'm left wing, although I think the blog name gave that away. Here's how I plan to solve the Middle Eastern conflict for example.
  3. Furthermore, if you follow me on Twitter, you realize I'm always caught in the middle of public domestics (not domestic violence), so I created a tool that makes them even more public
  4. You've probably also noticed I like introducing you to talented people such as Stefania, Ashley, Daniela and Renata.
  5. Meeting these people makes the Yuppie wise behind her years, although she's 23, her mind is like 30, see here, here, and here.
  6. So wise in fact that I analyzed the entire immigration and university system to bring you this
  7. Wiseness comes in the form of resourceful amigos and good google search techniques. I took apart someone's attempt at presenting Barbie Ottawa neighbourhood edition
  8. Enough about being wise, because this is the most clever thing ever: The Simpsons. Since it's part of my life, I incorporated it into a post that teaches you how it can relate to yours
  9. The Yuppie, lover of truth and stereotypes, attempts to make you laugh all the time, however, some just can't appreciate it and hide behind a shield of anonymity when they hear the truth
  10. Yuppie is also a lover of finds, remember when I found the best resume? Okay created the best resume?
  11. Speaking of finding things, I found Finkelstein, Dershowitz and Chomsky's "Twitter feed"
  12. Finding and discovering...remember when I destroyed Toronto's shawarma?
  13. There's finding and creating, readers have followed my attempt at getting a coffee table book published, and this boy's making me famous
  14. On the topic of fame, I made this video viral, or so I like to believe
  15. Connoisseurship, in the form of music at LG Fashion Week
  16. The art of judging, taught by the Yuppie Activist
  17. Part time, I stalk, and I stalked my neighbours to get sweet photos for y'all
  18. Wrote a letter to Winter
  19. Use my friends' confessions as writing material as I revealed insights on women's sexual habits via text messages
  20. Conversed with models
  21. Showed you various ways you can play with Facebook (here, here, here, here and here)
  22. You know from reading this my favourite colour is not Lilac
  23. You also know how I ended up in Toronto
  24. Provided you with a look on my friendships, or just a look into how stupid a human can be
  25. I let you follow me through heartbreak, and through its reconstruction
  26. I showed you how to throw a really dope Hipster inspired Yard Sale
  27. And gave you the most honest look into how Middle-Eastern people like to do weddings.
Those are just some of my favourite posts, the archives are flooded with stuff you just might like, or not like. Whatever flows for you, okay? Keep reading, because I still plan to be here in another six months. Thank you for reading, thank you for participating, thank you for sharing this link.

Love love,

The Yuppie Activist

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Yard Sale, The Hipster Way

I’d like to start off by saying that Hipster’s* don’t have garage sales because they never live in houses with garages, only yards. However, sometimes, yard sales are also called "Vintage Sales".

Some things to note:
Do not expect to be greeted with a smile, merely a bangs push back, okay?
If you don't buy, you have no style.
All their friends will come and “hang out”, so you may think you’re inside an American Apparel, but without American Apparel prices.
Hipsters hate math, all prices jump by two or five. It’s easier that way.
If you didn't hear about it, you either a) don't read their blog, b) don't use Craigslist, or c) weren't one of the seven people tagged on the Facebook note. i.e. They don't actually want anyone but their friends to come to this thing because they don't like someone deemed unstylish buying their shit, it needs a good home, which is completely understandable.

Below is my illustrated Hipster Yard, Vintage, whatever sale.

Click image to view larger
*For lack of a better word

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Discoveries III

This edition features new and old.

Decor, art, illustrations:
Kitsuné Noir, a favourite website for a little while now, features awesome wallpapers for use on your desktop.

Toronto shopping:
Stefania visits R.A.D. a unique little shop on Dundas West that doesn't stand for something other than "radical".

In the art of baking:
The coolest cupcakes around

The most fashionable

In design:
Student winners of D&AD furniture awards

In the news:
Quite possibly the best headline I've seen in a long time for a news story.

Advertising and marketing:
Gillette's new site is awesome, the whole concept is absolutely fantastic. As a strong supporter of men without armpit hair, I'm glad Gillette finally got around to telling the boys that it's a faux pas. A mega faux pas. At least trim that stuff.

Political funnies:

Via Political Irony

If you've been contemplating getting one, here's more reasons to do so

Via City of Toccoa

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Secret thief

Hey you,
yeah you,
I just wanted to let you know that, um, well,

Even though we already do. Okay? See you around.
Thieves Like Us - Really Like to See You Again

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Weddings (Middle-Eastern Remix)

If you've ever had the honour of attending an Arab wedding, you know it's a treat, a meat market treat. Weddings are a time of showing off one's wealth, no matter how cheap the family is. Wealth is also displayed through their outfits, where their entire gold fortune is featured on their necks, arms and ears. Oh and did I mention the entire blue-red-green portion of the Christian Dior eye shadow set too? Weddings are also a time for the creativity to shine, with ideas copy pasted from other weddings in order to show their rendition of "pastiche." Your daughter had a wedding singer? Mine will have a band. Yours had a DJ? Mine will have the best in town. Yours had both? Okay now you're a show off. Weddings are also home to the best complaints from the older more “Elite” ladies. They complain profusely and compare their childrens' weddings to the one they are attending. The bride is always ugly, the groom can always be thinner, the food needs salt, the table setting too crowded, the seating arrangement preposterous, the guests dressed as if they are going grocery shopping (which they relate back to the village they come from), the cake hurts my eyes, and so on. Making a scene is necessary, because this is the time they can cause backlash in front of the entire community, and everyone knows Arabs don't like anything more than to hate on each other. It's like an Arab league meeting. Enjoy the Yuppie's guide to surviving a Middle-Eastern wedding.

Arab weddings are divided into areas. For single men and women (if you have not admitted to dating one of the boys or girls from the community you are considered single) goes this way: The women between the ages of 17-27 (they're marrying later these days, in Arab years) are on one table and the boys between the ages of 19-30 are on another. These tables are not visible to one another because they place mothers and grandmothers of single boys in full view of both tables for obvious reasons. Some weddings have included notepads and disposable cameras for easy go back to. Okay, I made that up, but really it’s not far off from the truth. Some things to take note of regarding the scoping technique at these weddings: if you are brave enough to get up and do the walk across the dance floor to greet the bride, you're giving them a full view for scoping, by more than one lady with ferocious eyes. Avoid all eye contact, they are trying to be discreet, let them think they are. Even if you are moderately attractive, but single, you're getting scouted, just like being at the bar Winston Churchill in Montreal. Everyone gets a shot. This is when the women accumulate their thoughts about your outfit, body type, family, status, etc and sum it up to see your candidacy for their son, nephew, etc. For example, the last wedding I attended, I made the mistake of wearing black tights with a black dress, a black headpiece, black shoes and red lipstick. I mainly wore tights to keep it conservative, that dress is pretty short, and all I had was black. I’m prime marriage age, I’m totally getting scoped. While walking over to congratulate the bride, I can feel the piercing eyes (no Hand of Fatima on me) probably saying the following: "she's so skinny, it's because she lives on her own that one, looks like a sexy widow at a funeral scoping for men. Shame. Her sister got married at that age you know, younger even, why aren't the offers coming in?" There are positive outlooks such as "well she's educated, speaks many languages, (including French that’s like 100 points for Eliteness), has a job, well traveled, comes from a good family, she's pale, not from this village and the girls think she is funny." Just also make sure not to get caught doing anything deemed “bad” in front of one of their kids, they are all rats and will use that information against you once their parents start comparing them to you.The bad, in our world, always outweighs the good. One thing you can be certain of, if your mom is not in attendance, your outfit choice will travel back to her. For example, here is what a future conversation with my mother would sound like regarding the "funeral" dress:
Mom: "Who died?"
Me: "No one did, why?"
Mom: "Why in the hell did you wear so much black? You know your aunt was embarrassed about your outfit choice? Couldn't you be more like your cousins? Such colour, femininity. Do you have to be so morbid?"
Me: "I don't conform to this crap. I can't wear green, I'm not tanned yet."
Mom: "Tan? Just like your sister. Except she does tan you burn. Keep the skin pale, they like pale. And what's this I hear your father telling me you cut your hair even shorter?"
Me: "I like it short, plus it grows back, then I cut it again."
Mom: "Like hell you will. And dye your hair, there's white in it."

Aftermath of “The Scope”:
If one of the moms, after checking you out cavity style is interested, she will go outside, smoke a Matinée Slim and discuss your various criteria with the other Elite ladies. The next day, she will phone your parents. Grandmothers usually have less shame and will literally walk up to you, give you wet kisses on the cheeks while attempting to ask you about your family that has long passed and also attempting to touch you in order to get a “feel”. This has happened to me before, except “feel” was more like “grab”. I am not kidding. It was uncomfortable as hell getting violated for this lady's grandson's purposes as my parents looked on helplessly attempting not to laugh. Anyway, let’s stick to the phone call: the girls parents, after analyzing their own criteria of said woman's available relative, which includes family, looks, health care history, delinquency pattern, friends list, facebook profile, university transcript, calls to other community members, will tell the woman they'll call her back after speaking to their daughter. The girl is informed. She thinks about it, knowing full well it’s a no because 9/10 he's kinda ugly and you know him from school as a hypocritical ladies man, a total Gino who can't do his eyebrows properly and tans too much, a loser who is balding and gossips too much, or you’re dating the other boy from the community but aren’t outing your relationship yet until he gets his engineering degree. The girl refuses, her parents ask 21 questions, then they realize she's right. Usually her dad suddenly remembers some 20 year old dirt on the family or realizes the guy is a total douche. Especially when eyebrows are involved.
Next wedding, same pattern. Vicious cycle, no escape until that giant rock is wrapped around your finger. University is only a 3-5 year excuse, their claws will grab you eventually. Scoping is one of the main reasons Elite Arab weddings are not segregated. How does the process happen otherwise? And how do we act more foreign if we segregate? We're no zealots!

The Girls who get offers:
Girls who get loads of offers are flattered and they try to act modestly but you totally know she keeps track of it in a handy document and likes to drop hints of these offers during convos with her girlfriends who say "inshallah" after the words "o3balik". Don't ever say that, you're totally desperate if you say that. No one likes that girl, and your mom will find out and yell at you for it.

Middle-Eastern Wedding Attire:
Arabs are usually conservative but at weddings this concept is thrown out the window. Shame doesn't have anything to do with your outfit, unless it is hideous. Remember to leave your wealth on your neck, the tackier your dress the better, and the best designer wins, even if the dress is super ugly, if the price tag is $800, which is like $300 more than Leila’s dress, you’re golden, even if Leila’s dress is nicer than yours.
Middle-Eastern men just love Gino attire. White shoes, belts, Mexx suits, flashy chemise colours are in full effect. Oh and three button suits are the staple of the older men with the Elite wife. There are exceptions, some of these men actually know how to dress, let’s not generalize.
When at an Arab wedding, you cannot escape the wrath of the older ladies for having a miscalculated wardrobe, white people are exempt because they think that "these weddings are the same as white ones." If you wear jeans or pants to a wedding, you're digging yourself a grave.
Ties: For Shia Muslims, men shouldn’t wear a tie, mega frowned upon, for Sunnis, or just general Arabs, wear one, you're more Western handsome that way.

Blame it on the non-alcohol:
There is no such thing as alcohol because it's already mental up in here. Do you need another excuse to tell my people to dress up and dance? Even church can be a fashion show.

Western tendencies, borrowing and etiquette:
My sister, who feels the need to deny that she goes to weddings and compares them to hers, is lying. She claims that many recent weddings have been copying aspects of hers, but then talks about how she didn't appreciate how much of a fiasco her wedding was. Someone needs to remind my sister that there isn't that much innovative stuff you can do with weddings. The head table is not new, it's Western. And God forbid if anyone decides to use the same slow song she danced to at her wedding. English music is completely forbidden, except the slow song can be English, although they'd much prefer Amr Diab or Ragheb Alama.
Anything Western, like speeches, is frowned upon, mainly because Arabs take them to a whole other level, like instead of two speeches, everyone in the family wants to talk so there’s 10-15.
Slide shows are usually no good, because sometimes they include photos of your parents and nothing stabs an Arab woman's heart more than what she used to look like.
As for amount of guests, the more, the better. It shows that you have a lot of friends and are powerful in the community. Usually, the bride and groom did not invite them, it's all the parents' doing.
Dates and Location: Be careful on the day of the week and month. Anything other than Saturday you're going to get cheap backlash. Avoid this at all costs, especially if you still have a few kids to marry off. Being branded cheap is worst than "slutty" in the community. Location is crucial. Make sure you do not choose a location where many people from the community have gotten married in the previous year. For example, a few years back, I attended four weddings at the same hotel in town. I was pissed, mainly for lack of originality and being at the same wedding four times with the difference being the bride and groom. Plus their veggie meal was horrible. And I'm open minded, imagine the others.
For the males: do not bring your girlfriend to the wedding. Even if your mother knows about her, DO NOT BRING HER. Especially if she is a skanky leather face, this makes your family look really really bad and the bride will not even get any attention because the gossipy community is focusing on the "ho" in the peach dress.
For the ladies, do not dance with your friend's cousin because "y'all grew up together and you're like siblings." The rest of the community does not see it that way. They're not THAT Western.
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