We’re proud to have a selection of very talented women singers and songwriters in City Sonic, but Divine Brown is unique amongst all genders and genres: surely the only artist we know who has performed with both the Backstreet Boys and Youssou N’dour. This Toronto-born, Juno Award-winning diva has topped charts singing R&B, soul and pop, but it’s her love for jazz that most surprised us, and why we took her back to the Rex to share it with all of you.
Archive for the ‘Charles Officer’ Category
Director: Charles Officer, 2009
As a kid, rapper Derek Christoff worshiped the first generation of Torontos hip-hop stars. But when he discovered the underground hip-hop party Planet Mars, he had an opportunity to become one of them. After winning his first live battle at a Planet Mars open mic at age 15, he was embraced for his exceptional talents and became part of the citys exploding hip-hop scene. D-Sisive was born. In the guise of his alter-ego Orville Knoblich, the Juno-nominated rapper takes us back to the site of Planet Mars in Kensington Market to recreate the old battlegrounds where he fought his way to the top. Featuring a cast of characters from the citys urban music community and some fierce freestyling on the streets of Kensington Market.
Charles Officer is the award-winning director of Nurse.Fighter.Boy as well as short films, and music documentaries. He has worked with K’naan, DJ Green Velvet and Bedouin Soundclash and was our top choice to bring the story Toronto’s underground hip-hop scene to life.
LL: Give us your “”elevator ride””" pitch: the concept for your film in three sentences or less.
CO: D-Sisive takes us back to the weekly underground hip-hop parties that started his career. It was called Planet Mars. In the late 90′s, the venue was called Lion’s Bar, but has now changed to Neu+tral.
LL: What surprising thing did you learn about D-Sisive on this shoot?
CO: D-Sisive is more than an MC. He’s a gifted and insightful storyteller.
LL: What was the most challenging thing about shooting this location?
CO: It was more of a story challenge, dealing with a venue that no longer exists as it used to. I couldn’t rely on locating video or audio archive. Determining how to use the space as it is today, to present a vibe from the past was challenging. We we’re lucky that the venue still feels underground.
LL: Do you have a hip-hop battle memory of your own?
CO: Me vs. my sister, Christine… Big Daddy Kane vs. Kool Moe Dee! I lost the battle, and it wasn’t Big Daddy’s fault.
As we learned shooting with the Barenaked Ladies about the defunct Ultrasound Showbar, making a film about a venue that no longer exists isn’t easy. Director Charles Officer combed old hip-hop haunts and the remnants of Planet Mars’ residencies, eventually settling at the Neu+tral basement club in Kensington Market. But stopping there would be too easy: D-Sisive’s film grew to include a crew of hip-hoppers and one mysterious ostrich…