Happy May long weekend. Officially this is a celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday. I'm not sure why that is significant anymore, but there is a famous story about how Queen Victoria once proclaimed that women ought to be exempted from Britain's homosexuality laws because she didn't believe lesbians could exist. Obviously it would have been better if she had just outlawed the laws altogether, but I guess back in the mid-1800s people had to take what they could get.
Speaking of taking it, Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert has a famous penis piercing named after him (or maybe his grandson who shared the same name). The "Prince Albert" piercing was apparently invented to help a well-endowed royal tie his junk to his leg in order to fit the era's tight-pants trends. It's unknown whether such a princely endowment may, or may not, have played a role in Queen Vicky's utter disbelief that a woman would ever bed down with another woman, but a lot of people think we should do away with the monarchy altogether. I say keep 'em, you can't make this stuff up and they are also probably the biggest tourism draw England has.
None of this has anything to do with movies, of course, Victoria Day weekend in Whistler is notorious for attracting a sort of urban invasion of troublemakers and lately the community is fighting back with GO Fest, a killer outdoors-oriented fest that includes some pretty worthwhile film screenings.
Presented by the Whistler Film Festival, the Adventure Film Series features eight screenings of six films at Millennium Place on May 16 and 17. Kicking things off, Sunshine Superman is about the roots and early days of BASE jumping, with tons of epic archival footage and a focus on Carl Boenish, the pioneer of what might be the most extreme sport (some bonkers footage in here too).
The Search For Freedom we touched on last week and I mistakenly identified Jon Long, the director of the film, as a rock climbing legend who penned the concept for Cliffhanger. My mistake, I was thinking of John (with an 'h') Long. Jon (no 'h') is a kickass film director with tons of IMAX experience who was also part of RAP Films, the seminal crew that produced badass Canadian ski flicks like Into the Snow Zone back in the early 1990s. This Jon Long is awesome and the film will be amazing — no doubt about that. Jon will also be in attendance to put an end to this once and for all.
Dog Days of Winter tells the story of the birth of freestyle skiing in 1970s America. Ski lovers should check this out and then compare these hotdoggin' early days with the version of freestyle we remember from the late 1990s, when it was totally devoid of excitement and had been sucked to a dry husk of its former self by the good ol' Eurocentric Federation International du Ski, a.k.a. FIS. Those dark days spawned new school freeriding, but now the FIS has their shit-vampire teeth in that too. The good news is you can ask freeskiing godfather Mike Douglas what it all means. He's introducing this one.
Antarctica: A Year On Ice kicks off Sunday's screenings and looks like a pretty kick-ass examination of what life is like for people living in one of the most isolated spots on the planet, and what is at risk if we can't figure out a way to take care of the planet.
The Old the Young & The Sea is a fun look at an array of characters from European surf culture that is most likely going to inspire you to pack the van and go. And to finish off the series local legend Brandon Semenuk's Rad Company will make its Whistler premiere with two showings Sunday night. Watching Brandon and crew push the limits of biking, filming and all-around radness. Lots of local talent involved with this one and bike season is officially on.
Not part of GO Fest, but worth seeing, and on the other end of the spectrum The Mask You Live In is a documentary examining how our culture's stalled-out definition of masculinity is harmful for young boys, men, and ultimately society at large.
Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsome (Miss Representation), this one has a lot of insight to give on how we raise our kids and conduct ourselves as adults. Best watched as a conversation starter, this one plays at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20 at the Whistler Secondary School.
CFL all-star and Wellmen Project founder Shea Emry will also be on hand to get the conversation going and give a presentation.
Mad Max: Fury Road opens at the Village 8 but it is too awesome to talk about so we'll get to that next week. Happy May Long.