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‘Spirit of MuchMusic’ nonetheless alive at doc premiere with former VJs in attendance | Globalnews.ca Specific Instances

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Whereas the celebration died years in the past at MuchMusic’s broadcast centre on the nook of Queen and John streets in Toronto, the screening of a brand new documentary on Friday proved nostalgia for the nation’s music station continues to be very a lot alive.

Hundreds of individuals filed into Roy Thomson Corridor, only some blocks away from A lot’s former headquarters, to catch the Canadian premiere of 299 Queen Avenue West, a feature-length have a look at the legacy of the TV channel.

Becoming a member of the gang had been a few of A lot’s most well-known video jockeys, higher generally known as VJs, together with Rick Campanelli, Erica Ehm, Sook-Yin Lee and Electrical Circus host Monika Deol.

Lots of them had been surprised by the passion round their reunion.

“That is surreal,” Campanelli, identified to viewers as “Rick the Temp,” mentioned from the pink carpet as he surveyed the gang exterior the venue.

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“I didn’t anticipate it to be like this, however behind my thoughts, I type of hoped,” he added.

Invoice Welychka, who labored as a VJ on the station all through a lot of the Nineteen Nineties, discovered himself puzzled as he mirrored on his former job.

“I had no thought the fascination with A lot was nonetheless there in spite of everything these years,” he admitted.

Filmmaker Sean Menard was much less stunned than the VJs on the thundering reception. The Hamilton native spent about six years making 299 Queen Avenue West and mortgaged his home to afford the time to dig by way of the archives.

He’s assured the passion felt for A lot at Toronto’s screening will likely be replicated throughout nation when he takes the film on a Canada-wide roadshow subsequent month.

The MuchMusic Expertise Tour pairs a screening of the film with a dialog between Menard and choose VJs, who will take questions from the viewers and share recollections.

The MuchMusic tour crosses the nation with 12 stops that embody Montreal (Oct. 17), Halifax (Oct. 25), Calgary (Nov. 1), Vancouver (Nov. 24) and Winnipeg (Nov. 27).

Packed to the brim with archival footage, the two-hour documentary retraces MuchMusic’s origin story, beginning round its inception on Aug. 31, 1984.

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MuchMusic launched as an unpolished 24-hour music video channel created by Toronto media visionary Moses Znaimer and a crew of inexperienced however inventive younger folks.

This was three years after MTV launched in the USA, and the idea of a music video station was not new, but the appear and feel of Canada’s model was a lot completely different, partly as a result of there was no rule ebook.

“We had been youngsters within the trunk of the automotive stepping into the drive-in, that’s the way it form of felt,” former VJ Steve Anthony recalled exterior the premiere.

The documentary collects the VJ’s recollections and presents them solely in voiceover because the origin story of MuchMusic performs out by way of footage of the period.

Michael Williams recollects his transfer from Cleveland to Canada the place his do-it-all mindset ultimately led to the creation of the Rap Metropolis program, whereas Erica Ehm retells how she was upgraded from a receptionist to a TV character with no expertise.

“They gave me the chance to sink or swim, and I actually sank at the start, however they didn’t kick me out,” she says within the movie.

299 Queen Avenue West makes pit stops at a few of MuchMusic’s most revolutionary concepts, from the annual Christmas tree toss to Fight des Clips, the 1-900 viewer-voted music video present.

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It additionally captures a number of the channel’s greatest moments, together with when the realm across the street-level studio was shut right down to accommodate rabid followers of the Backstreet Boys for the boy band’s look on Intimate & Interactive.

Electrical Circus, an in-studio dwell dance membership program, is offered as a responsible pleasure that Canadians couldn’t deny.

“No person needed to confess they watched it,” host Monika Deol says within the documentary.

“And I used to be like, if no one is watching this present, how does all people know who I’m?”

In a dwell panel dialog after the Toronto premiere, Deol returned to defending Electrical Circus, which was usually ridiculed on the time. She credited the dancers for being the lifeblood of this system.

Denise Donlon, who climbed the ranks from VJ to common supervisor at MuchMusic, informed of a memorable encounter with David Bowie at one version of the MuchMusic Video Awards.

“I heard him say, ‘This place is chaos,’” she mentioned in a faux British accent. “‘It appears to be run by kids.’”

Whereas the documentary is a fulsome account of MuchMusic’s historical past, some matters are neglected, together with the channel’s oft-forgotten affect exterior of Canada.

There’s no point out of how the MuchOnDemand program, pushed by viewers’ music video requests, helped encourage MTV’s Complete Request Dwell or the A lot channel’s mid-Nineteen Nineties iteration south of the border referred to as MuchMusic USA.

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Sook-Yin Lee mentioned although time has handed, she believes MuchMusic’s affect stays embedded within the Toronto.

Not too long ago, she walked by the previous headquarters  — now house to Bell Media’s workplaces — and noticed just a few “wayward younger folks” snapping photographs in opposition to the constructing’s facade.

“That nook could be very completely different now: it’s rather more company; it’s very a lot the antithesis of dwell rock ‘n’ roll … (however) there nonetheless resides a bit little bit of vitality.”

“That spirit of MuchMusic,” she added. “It doesn’t ever go away.”

299 Queen Avenue West will premiere on Bell Media’s Crave streaming service in December.

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