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Michael Franti

Michael Franti loves arena tours: There are massive crowds to be won over, big stages to jump around on … and most importantly, NBA practice courts. When the singer/songwriter and his reggae/hip-hop/folk/rock band Spearhead opened for John Mayer on a North American tour this past winter, they would often coax their way into professional basketball facilities. “It would always be an off-day for the team,” he recalls, “so the coaches would come out and throw us balls, and we’d shoot and go through drills.”

Raise Your Glasses to 3D

It’s a Wednesday night, and northwest London’s Haverstock Arms is teeming with soccer fans. Large television screens, perched among eccentric bric-a-brac, show a north London derby match in English football’s Premier League between Tottenham Hotspur and their arch-rivals, Arsenal. As two young fans wearing oversized grey glasses stand up from their table to cheer the Spurs’ second goal, they spill their pints over themselves and their mates. Sheepishly, they blame the specs.

On the Town with Peter Bjorn and John

Anyone who has seen Peter Bjorn and John leap around onstage can attest to their energy. In person, the Swedish trio are much the same: When let loose in the Hockey Hall of Fame, on a Wednesday afternoon before a gig at the Phoenix, they take to its games like overgrown kids. That said, these indie-rockers are anything but jocks.

On the Town with Derek Trucks

“Man, that was like a slingshot!” Derek Trucks, world-renowned slide guitarist, praises the pitching motion of Toronto Blue Jays perennial all-star Roy Halladay, possessor of a mean slider.

T.J. Ford

It’s the first game of the Toronto Raptors’ season, and New Jersey Nets point guard Jason Kidd is dribbling the ball down the court, marshalling his charges for an assault on the Raptors’ basket Out of nowhere, his opposing number, T.J. Ford, brazenly rips the ball out of his hands and starts racing down the court The referee’s whistle blows.

Craig Davidson – The Fighter

“I want to hit a nerve so hard, it makes people want to beat the shit out of me.”

Craig Davidson – Rust and Bone

When critics and reviewers try to define our country’s literary and cultural identity, there are a few adjectives that never spring up. To wit: “shocking,” “lurid,” “bizarre,” “sensational,” and “visceral.” Craig Davidson’s fiction tends to be set in places such as St. Catharines or Welland, Ontario, but all of these terms can be favourably applied to his work. Like a gleeful bull in the china shop of staid and worthy Can Lit, Davidson is defining his own literary identity by shattering conventions.