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For the past 26 years, The Word On The Street has been renowned for the quality and diversity of its event programming. See the lineup of incredible Canadian literary talent at the 27th festival on September 25, 2016.
Sure, we’re a literary festival, but we like to watch our fair share of the boob tube, as well. If you share similar interests, and relish the chance to hear two whip-smart culture writers peer into the cathode ray, join John Semley and Soraya Roberts as they discuss their new books that chronicle and dissect two cult favourites: Canadian sketch show The Kids in the Hall and coming-of-age drama My So-Called Life.
My So-Called Life lasted only 19 episodes from 1994 to 1995, but in that time it earned many devoted viewers. MSCL’s realistic representation of adolescence on TV was groundbreaking; without Angela Chase there would be no Buffy or Felicity, Rory Gilmore or Veronica Mars.
The series’ broadcast coincided with the arrival of third-wave feminism, the first feminist movement to make teen voices a priority, and 15-year-old Angela became their small-screen spokesperson. From her perspective, MSCL explored gender, identity, sexuality, race, class, body image, and other issues vital to the third wave.
To this day, passionate fans dissect everything from what Rickie Vasquez did for gay representation to what Jordan Catalano did for leaning, and Soraya Roberts makes an invaluable contribution to that conversation with In My Humble Opinion.
Soraya Roberts still feels like a teenager even though she’s, like, old. She worked as an entertainment editor from 2005 to 2011 and is now a full-time writer. She has contributed long-form culture articles to Hazlitt, Harper’s, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. She also appears in the anthology Secret Loves of Geek Girls (Bedside Press, 2015) and is currently working on a memoir about journalism. She lives in Toronto.
This is a book about the Kids in the Hall — the legendary Canadian sketch comedy troupe formed in Toronto in 1984 and best known for the innovative, hilarious, zeitgeist-capturing sketch show The Kids in the Hall — told by the people who were there, namely the Kids themselves. John Semley’s thoroughly researched book is rich with interviews with Dave Foley, Mark McKinney, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, and Scott Thompson, as well as Lorne Michaels and comedians speaking to the Kids’ legacy: Janeane Garofalo, Tim Heidecker, Nathan Fielder, and others. It also turns a critic’s eye on that legacy, making a strong case for the massive influence the Kids have exerted, both on alternative comedy and on pop culture more broadly.
John Semley is a writer living in Toronto. His work has appeared in The Believer, The New York Times Magazine, Salon, Esquire, The A.V. Club, The Walrus, Reader’s Digest, and a whole bunch of other magazines, newspapers, and websites. He is a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, and the Toronto Star.