Huffington Post Archive

I wrote for the Huffington Post Canadian blog, along with an editorial or two, until they discontinued the entire Canadian website in 2019. You can find my posts archived below:

A drawing by me, not of me 😉

A Nude Model’s Story of Humility and Joy

I was going to be an important and well-paid writer, see. The modelling thing, that was just to tide me over till the whole writing gig took off, because I knew that you could basically walk in off the street and get work taking your clothes off for artists. But in the end, I found I liked it so much that I never gave it up. I found that there are many advantages to modelling for artists, though none of them is what you’d expect.

Why We Can’t Make Pretty Art Anymore

Art is a kind of counter thread of truth to the glossy fictions of pop culture. Western society lost its moral certainty about a century ago and rightfully so. If artists are to confront truth, the truth is so often, so ugly.

Choreographer/Dancer Jeanguy Saintus Riché and Ayikodans: Dancing in the Dark

“The last three years have been difficult, especially the last two,” says Jeanguy Saintus, professional name of Haitian-born and internationally renowned choreographer, dancer and dance educator Jeanguy Saintus Riché,. “In 2010, it was a shock to everyone. We didn’t know what would happen.”

True to the Avant-Garde: Wadada Leo Smith

For acclaimed jazz composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, the avant-garde is much more than a genre in the art world; its imperative of experimentation has been the foundation of his artistic life. Named as one of three finalists for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in music, he was also a multiple nominee in the 2012 Jazz Journalists Association poll.

Photo by Anya Wassenberg

A White Canadian In Harlem

It’s impossible for me to be invisible in Harlem. I’m not just me; I stand for something. “They even come up here now,” a guy said to my face with disdain. I’m a they; some kind of collective face. I feel strangely protected in my conspicuousness, but that might be an illusion. But I’m not the only white woman in Harlem, of course.

Stories From Canada’s Afro-Caribbean Music Artists

Coming to Canada from across the globe represents a giant leap of faith in this country — a faith with sometimes shaky foundations. Newly-arrived African and Caribbean artists find themselves joining a growing yet largely unrecognized contingent of immigrant musicians trying to carve out a living.

Why I Watch Movies to Get My News

The arts offer a view across cultures and geography, and sometimes, seeing the “other” point of view can be startling; if you’re from Cambodia, what we call the Vietnam War is known as the American War. That’s what art will always have on corporate news.

Prosecutor Film Uncovers ICC Struggles

Law. No Order.
A documentary film screening and Q&A with Luis Moreno Ocampo, Stephen Lewis and filmmaker Barry Stevens.

Why I Hate World Music

The term ‘world music’ probably served some purpose in terms of cracking open the homogeneous North American market and introducing its listeners to something beyond their pop/rock/country/classical dogma, but why is it still used when all the peoples of the globe live everywhere?

I Paid The Price For Arriving Early To The Braless Revolution

I’d been teased mercilessly from about grade four or five on about the smallness of my breasts — good, honest B cups, but they were not the favoured size of my youth. So I came to a logical conclusion: I stopped wearing a bra. Why bother, if no one’s looking? I did mention I was naive.

Experimental Theatre is Back in the Spotlight

To say that the theatrical works of Young Jean Lee are thematically diverse is something of an understatement. They may tackle different issues, but what they do have in common is their origins: her work begins by putting herself into an uncomfortable situation and then writing/performing her way out of it. It’s a unique working process that has resulted in some of the most celebrated experimental theatre on the continent.

Dance = Life

All the arts are subjected to a kind of elitism that removes it entirely from the experience of the common man, and perhaps dance most of all. You are not a dancer. Your role as a loyal patron of the arts is to sit very still and very quiet in the dark as you watch others perform.

Canadian Playwright Brad Fraser on Keeping Things Interesting

Canadian playwright (screenwriter and director and producer) extraordinaire Brad Fraser has been lighting up Canada’s literary scene for many years. Outside of his stage projects, he shares his blunt take on politics and other hot topics in every month in his Fraser’s Edge column. Like the man himself, his columns are reasoned, outspoken, often witty, and never boring.

Take It From An Online Teacher: E-Learning Sets Ontario Kids Up To Fail

It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to education, and it’s particularly ill-suited for high-school kids.

Do Black Dance Companies Hit a Glass Ceiling?

It’s hard to understand a rationale for the lingering reluctance of mainstream society to truly embrace the work of people of colour as an essential element of its culture — not an exception, not as a special category forever locked in a time vault of supposed historical purity.

Musical Activism: Wake Up Madgascar

When most North Americans think of Madagascar, they think of the adorable animated creatures who inhabit the DreamWorks Madagascar film franchise. New York-based, Malagasy born singer Razia Said is hoping that she can attract at least a little of the interest in the film to the real Madagascar.

When I Turned 50 I Realized I Could Sing

I have a history of doing things out of sync with the rest of the world. I started nude modeling at age 34 (a whole story unto itself). I realized I could sing right about when I turned 50. An outside observer might have noticed that the signs were there.

Want Meaningful, Original Journalism? Then Start Paying For It

So, you want to complain that journalists won’t delve into worthy topics and look for story lines that others aren’t covering? Sorry, but if it’s not a trending topic, there’s no money to be made. If that’s what you want, then like anything else of value, you’ll just have to go back to paying for it.

Here’s Why I Broke Up With My Car, And You Should Too

Looking down now at cars from my seat on the bus, they seem like an outlandishly wasteful thing, all to get one person down the road.

The Renaissance of Aboriginal Culture

Is there a renaissance of Aboriginal culture in Canada? I only stepped off the beaten path of mainstream arts and culture a few years ago, so I had no context when I began to see that concept floating around in media releases over the last little while. Those who write media releases being overly fond of turning catchy phrases and declaring trends, I decided to ask around and let those who know tell the story.

The Woman Who Plays the Pipa

Borderlands: Wu Man and the Master Musicians of the Silk Route on the Smithsonian Folkways label is the 10th and final CD/DVD set in the award-winning “Music of Central Asia” series, co-produced with the Aga Khan Music Initiative. It follows the journey of musician Wu Man in finding the future of her instrument, the pipa, in its past

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Anya Wassenberg

Freelance writer & singer