Arts·Hi, Art

Your picks for the best CBC Arts stories of 2018

We asked, you answered. In this week's newsletter, revisit audience faves and the year's most popular stories.

We asked, you answered. In this week's newsletter, revisit audience faves and the year's most popular stories

Scene from Biidaaban: First Light. (NFB)

Hello! You're reading the CBC Arts newsletter, and if you like what you see, stick around! Sign up here, and every Sunday we'll send you a fresh email packed with art, culture and a metric truckload of eye candy, hand-picked by our small and mighty team. Here's what we've been talking about this week.

Hi, art lovers!

You're the best. Last Sunday we asked you what kind of "best of 2018" list you would put together, and we promised we'd share the results with you this week. So we're happy (and more than a little relieved) to say that you sent us emails and tweets and comments with your recos. Plus, we're seriously flattered that this list features nothing but CBC Arts links. And you know what they say about flattery: it'll get you in this newsletter.

On to your favourite stories of the year!

From Bev Walker of Vancouver Island, one of our O.G. "Hi, Art" subscribers:

"The most standout thing this past year for me was your article on Ola Volo and her murals. Hit a chord." (Watch it here.)

Another video about a B.C. artist, Susannah Montague, got top marks from newsletter reader Heather Alton. We spent some time with Susannah on Bowen Island, where she showed us how she's "collaborating" with sea creatures to produce delicate ceramics. See for yourself.

Remember this short doc about Ontario artist Calvin Nicholls? As long as it's been online, it's been blowing minds. Or at least that's the impression we get from all your comments. (Yes, that bear is really made out of paper.)

Here's one review from Crystal Grapes: "A beautiful, expressive and productive way to spend time. I can see how happy and proud he is of himself and of his creations. Lovely video! CBC Arts never fails to make me feel inspired."

Our dance series The Move generated plenty of love on social, too. The comments were rolling in all year, but Maya Annik Bedward singled out this episode in particular.

"I am forever moved by the dance of Nivedha Ramalingam!" she tweeted us. (Shoutout to series producer Lucius Dechausay!)

As for more recent stories, Alicia Elliott's year-end essay on 2018's Indigenous renaissance was featured in last week's newsletter, and readers Terry June Harnish and Chrystal Dawne want to make sure you caught it.

As Lauren writes on Facebook: "An amazing and timely read by Alicia Elliot. Take notice of the Indigeonus renaissance!"

And apparently we've been saving all your favourites for last. Here's one glowing endorsement from Breanna Mroczek on Twitter:

"I never expected I'd find my favourite read of 2018 on December 31, 2018."

That story? An epic tale of clashing egos, greed and the early internet: the oral history of the Hampsterdance.

And then there are the stories we just know you loved — thanks to the cold, hard data. What was the most-read article of 2018? This hot take on Bohemian Rhapsody, an open letter to the Freddie Mercury biopic's many fans from Queeries columnist Peter Knegt. And the most popular video? A look inside Biidaaban: First Light, a VR experience that imagines Toronto in the distant future.

As always, thank you. If you ever want to rave (or rant) about what you see on CBC Arts, you know how to reach us.

You've got to see this

(CBC Arts)

You'll never think of the Hampsterdance the same way again - Remember the Hampsterdance? Before you answer that question, you'll want to read this. From its origins in Nanaimo, B.C. through to business deals and pop hits (and pop feuds), there's an epic — and twisted — story behind this early meme that's never been told before. And if you always thought that "dedodedo" song was super annoying, just know that nobody's been more tormented by the Hampsterdance than the folks you're about to hear from.

(CBC Arts)

Got to keep on moving - Last week, Sara Porter wrote us an essay about what it's like being a dancer over 50. Read it here in case you missed it, because she shares plenty of personal insight on what the passage of time means to a dancer. As Sara puts it at one point in the story: "Dance is an art form that favours the young. Or used to." Traditional, ageist attitudes are changing, and the troupe you'll meet in this video is part of that revolution. Correspondent April Aliermo will take you inside practice with the senior dancers behind "Older & Reckless," a series by Toronto's Moonhorse Dance Theatre.

(CBC Arts)

The ABCs of art - Despite the title, this one's not an explainer video. (We have Art 101 for that.) Video producer March Mercanti came up with this highlight reel of some of our favourite art stories from 2018 and beyond.

Follow this artist


Laani Heinar (@laani_Heinar) - For January, our profile pic is all about winter cheer, and Laani Heinar is the Toronto illustrator who threw some snowy sparkle on our CBC gem. See it here, and follow Laani for more like this.

Got questions? Typo catches? Story ideas?

We're just an email away. Send us a note, and we'll do our best to get back to you.

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Until next week!


About the Author

Leah Collins is the Senior Writer at CBC Arts.