Missed Q in Hamilton last night? Listen to "Q In The Hammer" in its entirety here:
Steeltown Jian Ghomeshi fans, your day has come.
A live version of Q, his award-winning arts and culture show, will be recorded right here in Hamilton. Ghomeshi will gab with guests in front of an audience at Mohawk College's McIntyre Performing Arts Centre on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Appropriately, the lineup is Hamilton heavy. Ghomeshi will chat with blues singer Rita Chiarelli, playwright and provocateur Sky Gilbert, world-renowned geneticist and McMaster professor Hendrik Poinar and B-movie fixture John Migliore.
If that doesn't have you screaming "oskee wee wee," a live set from the hometrown heroes the Arkells might change your tune.
The show has been long-since sold out, but don't fret. You can stream the event live on this page. The show will also be rebroadcast on Friday's edition of Q with Jian Ghomeshi, which airs at 10 a.m ET on CBC Radio One.
Q and A contest
Ealier in January, the CBC held a contest to give away tickets for the Hamilton show. We turned the tables on Ghomeshi, asking listeners to send in their questions to ask the Q host. The winners, whose queries he answered, won admission to Thursday's shindig.
Here are the winning queries, as well as Ghomeshi's ever-thoughtful responses:
Val Gravelle asked: How does Jian's experiences as a musician influence his approach to interviewing?
Here's what Jian has to say: "I feel not just being a musician, but a performer, and touring for many years has allowed me to have an empathy for artists that come in, and to understand what it's like to be an interviewee. In fact, a lot of my do's and don't's as an interviewer come from what I didn't like or thought was effective when I was being interviewed.
Also, I did a lot of improv in theatre and in Moxy Früvous. Being prepared in a live situation to spontaneously react and interact has been real helpful during this gig. I love live. Both in terms of understanding my interviewees and the performance aspect of hosting the show, I've benefitted from my years as an artist."
Brent vanStaalduinen asked: How do you balance making guests comfortable and/or excited to be on Q, with having to dig into at times uncomfortable subject matter?
Without gushing or acting in fan-like behaviour, I feel it's important to telegraph to a guest early on that the interview is going to be serious, in depth, and respectful. I also try to joke early on so the guest knows that's allowed. This ain't warheads in North Korea. This is just a couple people chatting.
But then, I truly think — for most interviewees — they ultimately appreciate the more difficult, probing questions. It's suggesting to them they're worthy of this kind of question line and are going to be able to handle it. A lot of interviewees are sick of being on their own message and speaking in soundbites, and end up revelling in the opportunity to have to answer more challenging queries."
Russ Boychuk asked: How do we know it's not Shaun Majumder answering the questions dressed as Jian again?
You don't. This is Shaun Majumder. The only problem is I'm sitting at Jian's computer and it's hard for me to reach the keyboard because I'm so short. I'm at least 4 feet shorter than Jian. I'm really more like a child. And my little fingers have trouble with these big keys. I don't know how Jian does it, but I'm trying my best. Please watch "Majumder Manor". Signed, 'Jian.'"
Peter Jakubiak asked: Is Jian able to turn off his interviewer's mind when not on air? Is he always interviewing people even in his personal life?
Ha. Thoughtful question, Peter. It can be a liability. I have been in more than one social situation with another person where I have unwittingly slipped into interviewer mode. It is, as you might imagine, not the best way to foster intimacy. Although, to spin it in a more positive light, it does show interest and curiosity! I try my best to "turn off" the interviewer mode in my personal life, but I am generally interested in people. And given that the roots of a successful interview also come from an intuitive sense and a desire to discover, I cannot shut those qualities off like a tap. In short, if you dare to hang out with me you might be in for a line of questioning. But in a friendly-but-critical probing manner, of course.
Kathie Stonehouse asked: Have you ever interviewed a celebrity you thought you knew a lot about but been surprised by some of their answers? If so, who was it and what did they say that surprised or intrigued you?
Thanks for this question, Kathie. It's always a difficult line to walk in terms of managing expectations of guests that may come in for a feature interview. I want to be fair, balanced, and unaffected by someone's reputation or my own hopes. This gets more complicated when it is a person that I have admired or idolized.
I generally try to subdue any fandom when I'm doing feature interviews (I never ask for autographs or gush. I try to maintain an even disposition in order to shoot for journalistic objectivity), but it is impossible to divorce myself from pre-conceived ideas about famous folks that I may have seen on screen or in the limelight since I was a kid.
To wit, it can be daunting knowing that my dreams may be crushed if the person does not live up to hopes. This has happened on a few occasions. I remember a particularly horrible interview with a disinterested Harrison Ford that changed my opinion of him forever. No longer was Han Solo my favourite old Star Wars character after that. Similarly, it was so dispiriting to have one of my comic heroes, Chris Rock, be a less than compelling interview subject.
On the other hand, one can be surprised when mistakenly bringing low expectations to a subject as well. Jennifer Love Hewitt had been sold to me as a "lightweight" with little to say and ended up being very gratifyingly real and self-aware.
Of course, the best case scenario is when someone meets all of one's hopes, desires and expectations. Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Bjork, Gord Downie and Toni Morrison (to name a few) would fall into this category. Love them.
Jim Dunn asked: Have you interviewed someone who had beliefs or done things you find morally repugnant, and how did you handle it?
Thanks for the question, Jim. Good one.
While Q is a curatorial show and we generally program people/stories that we believe in and want to bring exposure to (we've rarely if ever, say, booked a musical act if we are not enthusiastic about), we sometimes book major personalities or thinkers who are not necessarily in line with my beliefs. For example, FOX anchor Bill O'Reilly has a tremendous following, an interesting story, and a best-selling troika of books to go along with his big ratings. He is an interesting person for us to have on Q and one that many in our audience were eager to hear go up against me in an interview.
This is an interesting example because I think Bill and I may have little in common when it comes to politics and ideology but that doesn't mean I'd shy away from speaking to him. Quite the contrary. I see myself as a representative of the audience that has questions about him. I also want to conduct a critical (thinking) interview. I believe I can move beyond my own beliefs in an interview like that and try to understand the person and challenge him/her like I would any other.
On the other hand, when you say "morally repugnant", I have not yet interviewed, say, a serial killer, and I'm not sure how I would handle it. But I generally believe the audience is smart and does not need a lot of hand-holding to understand the dynamics of an interview. The media often fails to give the audience enough credit.
Robyn Knickle asked: If you could give one piece of advice to a kid bummed about growing up in the 'burbs, what would it be?
Assuming YOU are that kid, Robyn? You are not alone. The 'burbs can be soul-destroying in their homogeneity but that kind of setting is a good place to figure out what makes you different and to celebrate it. The most important part is to fight the notion that you have to conform or be complacent to fit in (in the immortal words of RUSH: "conform or be cast out!").
You will make it out. You will be alive. You will even have a tender fondness for some of the experiences the 'burbs offered you. Enjoy it while you can. But feel free to blast The Clash to undermine some of the creepy quietness from time to time. Cheers.