Page 1

the newsmagazine University of Toronto’s Independent Monthly

Vol. II N0. 1


June 20, 2011



the opinion


June 20, 2011

Return to sender: Legislating postal workers back to the mailroom the newspaper and charities wrung their hands about grant cheques, but otherwise the public was unaffected, After less than two weeks of or perhaps just uninterested. rotating strikes Canada post There was a time when a employees arrived to work postal strike would cripple the #"! ,-./0 1! (#! '"0! (2.! 0##&/! national economy. Now with locked. They had been staging private courier companies and short term walkouts at vari- countless electronic options, ous postal service checkpoints Canada Post is no longer felt to throughout Canada. When the be an essential service. Because strikes moved to Toronto and of the public ambivalence toMontreal Canada Post manage- ward the strikes, many suspect ment got proactive and shut that Canada Post locked out down postal service nationwide. its employees in order to force Postal workers are still on back-to-work legislation. strike but legislation has been Even if this suspicion is actabled to force them back to curate, it is not wise. When work. bargaining talks break down, in Reactions to the strikes have this case over changes to pen3.."!4*5.0+!6#&!(2.!'&/(!7..89! sions for new hires, wages, and Canadian media debated the working conditions, a strike relevance of the post in the age raises the stakes. It puts presof email. Man-on-the-street in- sure on management to settle terviews with busy urbanites faster. But legislating a employrevealed that mail service to re- ees back to work means neither mote Canadian was inessential. side gets the terms they want. Small retailers were nervous When Mom intervenes, no one about their mail order business, gets to play with the ball. DIANA WILSON

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Contributors Dan Christensen, Yukon Damov, Natalie Rae Dubois, James Hewitt, Stephanie Kervin, Robin Reid-Moran Andrew Walt, Diana Wilson, Mike Winters

Business Manager Taylor Ramsay the newspaper 1 Spadina Crescent, Suite 245 Toronto, ON M5S 1A1 Editorial: 416-593-1552 the newspaper is U of T’s independent weekly paper, published by Planet Publications Inc., !"#"$%&#'(!)#&%#& (*#"+!! All U of T community members, including students, staff and faculty, are encouraged to contribute to the newspaper.

Worse is the accusation that back-to-work legislation undermines the employees right to strike. In its most idealistic form, this right is about demanding safe working conditions, fair living wages and reasonable job security. But the reality is messier. The negotiating parties are not only seeking to meet an objective standard for conditions and wages--government regulations take care of that. In reality, they are both seeking to get the better of the other party and at the same time, perversely, agree. Assuming that Canada Post is not in violation of government regulations regarding work / :.(19! 7 ;./! "0! 3.".'(/9! (2.! workers are striking in order to leverage their bargaining position. If we say that they are defending their right to strike, then we must mean that they are defending their right to bargain as powerfully as possible. Legislating workers back to their posts diminishes the worker’s bargaining power. But not in favour of the other side of the negotiating table. While the workers lose their trump card, they don’t lose it to their opponent. When employees are legislated back to work, both parties lose their independent bargaining power. The problem with this argument is that after legislation is passed, the employees are working without a collective agreement and the company is &./(#&*";! *(/! %&#'(! 4 &;*"+! <(! does seem as though one side, the owners, is gaining. The larger fear is that backto-work legislation will have long-term consequences for all Canadian unions. The more it seems acceptable that workers can be forced not to strike, the more it seems plausible that a right to strike is an outmoded idea, just a vestige of early industrialism. From the prospective of a growing number of Canadians, striking is about securing a minimum standard for workers, not ensuring a better life or a comfortable retirement. When we ask ourselves if this is a right worth defending in the long run, we have to ask ourselves how high or low we want that standard set.

the debate

June 20, 2011



THE PRO ROBIN REID-MORAN The Toronto Transit Commission is an advertising paradise. In recent years, riders have witnessed increased branding on stairs, buses, subway cars and even the inside of turnstiles that largely go unnoticed. Yet, corporate interests have not entirely ravaged this underground world of which so many partake. Tracks, station fronts, seats, and employee uniforms all remain untouched. Now, in an effort to exploit areas of uncovered ground, the city of Toronto has announced the possible sale of station naming rights, perhaps the most sacred of all TTC property. This would mean any number of brand names could come to precede or overtake the titles of our supposedly beloved stops. Is there anything loss in doing this? Are public ideals and selfsustaining efforts undercut by reaching !"# " # $% &"'()*# +,-*." %./# 0 %# . 1*2# this curiosity represents a dwindling image, a resignation to the plights of privatization for the TTC. The invasion of advertising and the reduction of the rider as a base, robotic consumer is largely the area of concern. The TTC is foremost a public domain in the minds of many and should protect the interests of its riders. Yet, is there any interest to begin with? It seems riders only perceive their surroundings subconsciously, not overly engaged by the images that pervade their daily commute. Observation suggests a desire to escape, not out of any real distaste, but rather disregard. Newspapers and idle gazes are the primary transcending portals of separa-

tion, yet suffer from the very grips of commerce that strangle each rider’s subterranean reality. If there were not advertisements, there would still be advertisements--on clothes worn, phones talked on and in the conversations of fellow riders. We are advertisements, and in this sense, we have truly accepted the unconquerable perils of external force. The question as to how much revenue this new initiative will generate is still open and results might be overwhelmingly uninspiring. After all, how lucrative can a station’s name truly be? Cash is cash, though, and the TTC needs it . Riders care less about what they see and more about what they pay. This is not to say that these efforts would heal the wounds of climbing fairs and less than favourable service, but it is a step toward renovation. Private sponsors could also recreate the aesthetic of their newly acquired asset by funding design and renovation that would certainly not be possible through public support. Are advertisements offensive? Yes, but we have learned to live with them. If relying on them is shameful, we should all be ashamed. The idea of getting off at a blatantly commercialized stop does seem less than charming, but the subway is not a charming environment. It is strictly mechanical. It is public, but not entirely and seems to become less and less each day. The TTC has already plunged into the spiraling descent of corporate consumption, and might as well embrace the complete overturn of its irrefutably dilapidated system through simply innocent means.

THE CON YUKON DAMOV 34*#5+"6# 7#3 % ," #+.#+,#'#&.8')#1*..2#'.# +.#"4*#3359#"4+.#+.#"4*#('.+8#&,',8+')#%*ality of our city and transit system. Most, but not all, of the responsibility for providing solutions to these problems lies with these two entities. There are many options and better alternatives to simply selling-off assets and naming rights. But the question ought not to be reduced to economics. Also at stake is the quality and nature of our public realm. Depending on the value of naming rights, selling them may turn out to a sound decision. Maybe fares will stay at their current price; maybe stations will be better maintained; maybe services will improve or not decrease. Until a decent estimate is presented, it is not known whether the revenue will help in any case. Considering that the entire advertising revenue provides $15 million for the TTC and the farebox provides $941.5 million, perhaps one can speculate that naming rights for ill-maintained stations will provide a negligible, although permanent, revenue stream. Something intangible is lost in selling the naming rights of a station. No longer is a station in an abstract way a space that is collectively ours, or mine, %# 6 !%.:# # ;.# +".# <*&,+,=# )'(*)2# >*# =+-*# the entire space only partly to a corporation, so that we’re walking in a place that is oddly ours and not-ours. It’s a compromise that creates a limbo. Obviously the corporation does not own the space, but perhaps neither do we, and such a blurring of private and public space suggests an inclination towards the private rather than the public. Implicitly we

would be drawn towards the consumer of our selves as well as the citizen perhaps without really realizing it, where before the consumer part of ourselves was clearly denoted when directed towards advertisements. Give the station completely to a corporation, if money is what is needed. Most importantly, the City and the TTC must continue to address its struc"!%')# &.8')# $% ()*1.2# 7# >4+84# 1 ."# of the responsibility lies with the provincial government. As has been better expressed before, uploading during the Harris years wreaked havoc on the 8+"6?.#',<#"4*#335?.#&.8')#."%!8"!%*:#34*# 335# ,8*#4'<#&7"6@$*%8*,"# 7#+".# $*%'"ing budget from the province, but now that subsidy has been greatly reduced, leaving it in the situation it is in. The province must absorb more of the TTC’s budget if, in the long term, the TTC can provide current, let alone, improved service. Selling of naming rights or anything else would be only a bandaid solution. Since the last election campaign, at )*'."2# A'6 %# B (# 0 %<# 4'.# (**,# 8 1mitted to a certain type of governance regarding the city’s economics. While referring to the city’s debt load and the taxation policies of his predecessor, Mayor David Miller, he has plainly expressed his preferred ideology as one of small governance and low taxation, placing himself in opposition to Mr. Miller. On such a platform was he elected and in some sense the debate over privatization was decided last fall. Despite the results, the debate must continue, his views must be challenged and criticized, especially because they are not in the best interests of the city.

the newsmagazine


June 20, 2011

The film

HOW MUCH ROOM DO WE HAVE FOR BAD MOVIES? DAN CHRISTENSEN Some would argue that if you still haven’t seen The Room, then you’ve missed out – this !"#"$%!&'!((")*$"+, -,"!&#./!" #!" #." (!!(.& #*" -%*&%0#*" 1%22*(" 1 (-(" #&" &,(" *(#!&3" #./" #" !#& 0 -#*" $#!&(01 (-(" #&" 4(!&5" 6&,(0" $78 (97(0!" $ 9,&" 4(" .-* .(/" to disagree, suggesting that The Room" !" &,(" /(). & 7." 7:" %..(-(!!#0;"8 (+ .93"#./";7%"#0(" *%-<;" &7" ,#8(" #87 /(/" !(( .9" &" &,%!":#05 =7+" -#." &+7" !7" !&#0<*;" 7117! .9" 8 (+!" 47&," 4(" *(9 & $#&(*;" ,(*/" #47%&" &,(" !#$(" )*$>" ?,#&" #0(" &,(!(" 8 (+(0!" !(( .9"&,#&" !"!7"/ ::(0(.&>"@7(!" &,(" -7.&078(0!;" * (" ." &,(" -7.&(.&3" #!" ." A(*" B 4!7.C!" The Passion of the Christ>" 60" !" &" ." &!" / :)-%*&" :70$#*" #1107#-," #./" &,(" .-*%! 7." 7:" %. .&(** 9 4*(" 1*7&" 17 .&!3" #!" ." @#8 /" D;.-,C!"Mulholland Drive> For the uninitiated, The Room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he Room"4%&"#*!7" &!"/ 0(-&703" 107/%-(03" +0 &(0" #./" ).#.- (03" #./" / !&0 4%&70R" #.;&, .9" &,#&" -#." 4(" !# /" #47%&" &, !" )*$" -#." -7.)/(.&*;" 4(" #&&0 4%&(/" &7" , $5"O73"0(&%0. .9"&7"7%0"K%(!& 7.":07$"4(:70(3"&,("-7.&078(0!;"!%007%./ .9"&,(")*$"/7(!.C&" !&($":07$"&,("-7.&(.&3":70$3"70" *(8(*"7:"-7$1* -#& 7."!1(- )-#**;3" #**" 7:" +, -," #0(" #!" 4*#./" #!" -7%*/"4(5"J,("1*7&" !"-7.-(0.(/" with your average love triangle !-(.#0 7" S$#." T" 9 0*:0 (./" T" 4(!&" :0 (./" U" 4(&0#;#*V3" #./" 1# .!"#0("&#<(."S4;"? !(#%"#./" &,("#%/ (.-(V"&7"-*#0 :;"&,("-(.&0#*" #-& 7.!" #./" 0(*#& 7.!, 1!" 7:"&,("$# ."-,#0#-&(0!5"S6.("7:""

JAMES HEWITT &,(" $7!&" /($#./ .9" /0 .< .9" 9#$(!" #!!7- #&(/" + &," &,(" )*$" ,#!";7%"/0 .<"(#-,"& $(";7%"#0(" 0($ ./(/3"4;"#.;"-,#0#-&(0"&,#&" A#0<" !"W7,..;C!"H4(!&":0 (./5IV X73"#.;"/(4#&("0(9#0/ .9"&,(" )*$C!" 8#*%(" !" 077&(/" !K%#0(*;" ." &!"K%#* &;5"J, !" !".7&"&7"!#;" that anyone would argue that it is a good movie, in the ordi.#0;" !(.!(5" Y&" !" -*(#0*;" #" &(0-

0 4*(" $78 (" 7." (8(0;" 17!! 4*(" :07.&" P" &,(" +0 & .93" / 0(-& .93" #-& .93" - .($#&790#1,;" #./" S(!1(- #**;V" &!" 17!&'107/%-& 7." (*($(.&!5 =7+(8(03" :#.!" 7:" &,(" )*$" would argue that all of these -7$17.(.&!",#8("4((."!7"1770*;"(Z(-%&(/"&,#&" &C!":%..;"'"&,#&" J,("[77$" !"H!7"4#/" &C!"977/5I" J, !" 1,(.7$(.7." !" .7&, .9"

.(+" +,(." &" -7$(!" &7" )*$!5" J,(" *7+'4%/9(&" -#$1 .(!!" 7:" \/" ?77/C!" :(#&%0(!" 17!!(!!(/" !%-," #" K%#* &;3" &7" +, -," J $" ]%0&7." 1# /" &0 4%&(" ." &,(" )*$" \/"?77/5 Still, it seems as if a love for !%-,")*$!",#!"1(#<(/" ."0(-(.&" ;(#0!5" ^ *$!" !%-," #!" _`abC!" Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 ,#8(" ,#/" #" !(-7./" * :(" + &,"

-* 1!"4( .9"171%*#0 2(/"7."c7%J%4("S;7%"$#;"4(":#$ * #0"+ &," &,(" HB#04#9(" @#;I" !-(.(V3" #./" _``FC!" Troll 2 had an entire /7-%$(.&#0;" 4#!(/" 7." &" *#!&" ;(#0" -#**(/" ](!&" ?70!&" A78 (3" 107/%-(/"4;"#."#-&70" ."&,(")*$5 Q"4%09(7. .9"!&;*("7:"-7$(/;" (8(." !(($!" &7" 4(" 4#!(/" 7." &,(" !#$(" .!& .-&!" &,#&" $#<(" 1(71*(" d7-<" &7" !-0((. .9!" 7:" &,(!(" )*$!3" #&&($1& .9" &7" $ &#&(" &,(" (#0.(!&';(&',700 4*(" .#&%0(" 7:" &,(" 107/%-& 7.!3" #!" -#." 4(" !((." ." &(*(8 ! 7." 10790#$!" !%-," #!" Q/%*&" O+ $C!" J $" #./" \0 -"Q+(!7$("O,7+3"B0(#&"W74e" #./" ]]fEC!" D77<" Q07%./" c7%5" 6.*;" &,(!(" 10790#$!" #0(" !(*:' -7.!- 7%!*;" 17703" :70" -7$(/ -" (::(-&5"Y."&,("-#!("7:"The Room, it seems as if all of the humour !&($!":07$"&,(":#-&"&,#&"&,(")*$" /7(!.C&" 0(#* 2(" &!" 7+." #0& !& -" 178(0&;5" ^ *$!" &,#&" #0(" 7.*;" < ./" 7:" 4#/" #0(.C&" (.&(0&# ..9P"&,(")*$"$%!&"4("&0%*;"4#/" &7"4("(.g7;#4*(5"Y:"#")*$" !"4#/" (.7%9,3" &"$ 9,&"g%!&"4(-7$("#" , &5 ?,#&" .!1 0(!" &,(" .&(0(!&" ." &,(!(")*$!"#.;+#;!>"Y!" &"#"< ./" 7:" !-,#/(.:0(%/(>" Q&" *(#!&" ." !7$(" 1#0&" &" $%!&" 4(5" 60" -7%*/" it relate to the average quality 7:")*$!"&,#&"#0("0(*(#!(/"&7/#;5" f .(1, *(!" + **" 7:&(." 4($7#." &,(" /(-* . .9" #0& !& -" 8#*%(" 7:" -7.&($170#0;" - .($#5" f7%*/" &" 4("&,#&"+(C8("4(-7$("!7"#--%!&7$(/" &7" $#09 .#**;" 4#/" $78(!"&,#&"+,(."+("#0("10(!(.&(/" + &," #" +70<" + &," &!" !,70&-7$.9!" ($1,#! 2(/" ." #" !;.(09 !& -" 7.!*#%9,&" 7:" .-7$1(&(.-(3" +("9# ."!7$(" 07. -"g7;"&,#&"#**" &,(" 9#04#9(" !" ).#**;" 4( .9" #-<.7+*(/9(/> h(0,#1!3" &7" &#<(" #" !7$(+,#&" ^0(%/ #." (Z1*#.#& 7.5" Y:" ;7%" #!<(/" J7$$;" ? !(#%3" !& **" 74* 8 7%!"&7"&,(":#-&"&,#&"(8(0;one is laughing at him, why The [77$" ,#!" 4((." !7" !%--(!!:%*3" ,(C/" 1074#4*;" !#;" &C!" 4(-#%!(" 7:" &,(" )*$C!" H+ &&;I" / #*79%(3" .7&" 4(-#%!(" &,(" )*$" !" .,(0(.&*;"4#/5"J,#&3"70",("$ 9,&"g%!&" dodge the question, as he did frequently at a Q&A after the J707.&7"!-0((. .9"7:"&,(")*$"#" -7%1*("7:"$7.&,!"#975"Y&"!(($!" that regardless of why we seem &7"*78("&,(!("#(!&,(& -"#47$ .#& 7.!3"&,(;"+ **"-7.& .%("&7"171ulate at least the fringes of our - .($#& -"-7.!- 7%!.(!!5 And if you haven’t seen The Room";(&3"/7.C&"+#!&("#.;"& $(5

the newsmagazine

June 20, 2011


The architecture

MAKING THE OLD NEW New structures bring U of T’s historic architecture into the 21st century

at the end of the existing structures. The architectural detailing and warm-toned material selections highlights the older architecture without copying it. Max Gluskin House, the home of The Department of Economics, is another interesting blend of old and new. A contemporary glazed addition peeks out from between a 1960 Georgian-revival style building and a Victorian mansion from 1889. The scale and simplicity of the addition, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects in 2008, does not overpower the historic architecture but playfully provides a counterpoint. Robarts Library is currently undergoing a contemporary facelift as well. The monumental building, loved and hated since its construction in the 1970s, is receiving interior upgrades as well as expansions into the former exterior terraces (which connect the main building to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library and the Faculty of Information pavilions). The renovations are being led by Diamond + Schmitt Architects, who have executed several exemplary buildings across campus (such as the Bahen Center for Information Technology and the Lash Miller

U of T’s facelifts are (mostly) true to their old facades. There /&"#*/17# 1"#"8/*6,"$#+9#1"4#/))-%-+1$#%+#+,)#:'-,)-10$#+1#;# of T’s campus, but here are some of the more interesting projects. Clockwise from top: Munk Centre for International Studies; Max Gluskin House on St. George; and Robarts Library, aka dear old Fort Book.



Toronto is in a perpetual identity crisis. It is a world-class city, but in true Canadian fashion it’s a bit too humble to proclaim itself as such. Toronto bemoans its lack of history and grandeur while the wrecking ball demolishes what little historic artifacts it has left. While Toronto compares itself to New York and London, much of its built heritage is disappearing. Is it any wonder that we’re confused about who we are and where we are going when we can’t see our past? There are a few pockets around the city where one can see some of Toronto’s excellent historic architecture. The St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood and Cabbagetown are two examples. The University of Toronto is another unique and notable specimen. With only !"#$%&'(%'&"$#)"*+,-$.")#+!"&# the course of its 154-year history, the campus has one of the best preservation track records in the city. Just because the University hasn’t dismantled its past doesn’t mean it’s stuck there. The campus has seen an incredible amount of change over the years, with enrollment continuously rising – and through the symbiosis of old and new, U of T has found a way to grow, adapt and expand as needed. In recent years, the campus has seen a wave of thoughtful additions and expansions to historic structures on site. These new buildings respectfully improve upon the existing structures while adding 21st century space to accommodate more students, faculty and programs. These changes are not just about adding square footage. Through new connections, such as ramps and corridors, accessibility and circulation have been improved. Besides enhancing outdoor spaces, landscape and lighting features improve the campus’ sustainability and increase safety. The Munk Center for International Studies is one example of a complementary update and addition to three historic buildings, once residences for men, built by Eden Smith & Sons in 1909. The new additions, by KPMB Architects in 2000, unite the three buildings with a cloister and additions between and



Chemical Laboratories/Davenport Chemical Research Building, two excellent projects that beautifully blend old and new).

Here, however, something has gone slightly awry. While the interior upgrades are simple, respectful and much needed,

the expansion into the terraced spaces feels wrong. The new exterior glazing for the enclosed terraced spaces makes no reference to the original glass detailing of Robarts whatsoever – a missed opportunity for a contemporary retake on the library’s architectural details. This lack of harmony - or even dialogue - between the old and the new could be excusable if -%# (&"/%")# /# $-01- (/1%# /*+'1%# of study space for students. However, the majority of the new interior space is occupied by display cases, with ‘study space’ relegated to the edges in an awkward bar and stool con0'&/%-+12#3.-,"#%."#*+%-!"$#%+# enclose these once stupendous outdoor spaces were honourable, the design forgets both students and the original architecture. With so much of Toronto’s historic architecture lost, it is not surprising that sometimes we get a little confused going forward. For the most part, this is not a problem for the University of Toronto. It knows where it came from, and it displays its past proudly, side by side with -%$#1"4#")- ("$2#5."#(/*6'$#-$# solidly building its bridge into the future.

the newsmagazine

June 20, 2011

For it is by self-forgetting that one finds The owner of the El Mocambo reveals what is truly to be gained from losing it all In the case of Abbas Jahangiri, or Mr. Abbas, this is especially true. The self-proclaimed #%&2!&+34-5)(-") (1+(6&*!/+ philanthropist shed his old life %#+.*-*4)-"+ 644! +-*/+"676&80+ and took on the arduous task of dedicating his life to those less fortunate. In 2001, Mr. Abbas acquired ownership of the Toronto music landmark, the El Mocambo, in a controversial bid that has SUZIE BALABUCH been rumoured to have been in the one million dollar range. Largely seen by the Toronto Leaving the El Mocambo music scene as an outsider and following what will surely 5%"-&)9)*'+.'6&!0+:&;+<==- + go down as one of the most originally planned to move a interesting interviews in this editor’s life, I clutched a little dance studio onto the premstatue of Mary in one hand (a ises, something he claims he received death threats over. gift from the subject), and a The curious story of Mr. Abbusiness card inscribed with bas’ acquisition of the legendthe prayer of St. Francis of Assisi in the other. “For it is by ary music venue is not the most !"#$#%&'!(()*'+(,-(+%*!+.*/ 01+ intriguing factor in this story of &!-/+%*!+%#+(,!+.*-"+")*! +%#+(,!+ loss and gain. In a moment of prayer, Mr. Abbas’ life changed prayer. forever.



“It was 2003, and I had to make some really serious decisions. Everything I wanted I achieved it. I had this calling inside me, and I kept wanting to do charity....I was in my %#.4!0+(,)*>)*'+(%+28 !"#0+3?+ achieved everything I wanted: lots of buildings, lots of staff, lots of companies. So what’s *!7(@+<*/+(,!*+?+ -)/0+A:->!+ 2%*!8+(%+')B!+(%+(,!+5%%&;C1+ It was then that Mr. Abbas started his organization, Serving Charity, which now boasts more than one hundred volunteers, and delivers food and coffee to Toronto’s homeless 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Like his personal heroes, Mother Teresa and John Paul II, Mr. Abbas left behind all the trappings of his well-to-do lifestyle, took a vow of poverty, choosing to live above the El Mo. “I got rid of my things, I sleep on the couch, I have no pay, for eight years now. Every )*'"!+/%""-&+'%! +(%+(,!+5%%&;1 Mr. Abbas also made an interesting business move involving his ownership of (,!+D"+:%4-2=%;+E!+!75"-)* 0+ 3<""+(,!+5&%.(+2-&')*+#&%2+(,!+ El Mocambo goes to Serving Charity, 100%. The staff gets 5-)/0+=6(+-""+(,!+5&%.(+2-&')*+ '%! +(,!&!;1 Having lost all the worldly comforts that most people .*/+)*/) 5!* -="!0+:&;+<==- + gained more time to devote to his many projects involved in Serving Charity. Along with the whole-hearted devotion to helping anyone in need, Mr. Abbas also developed a much stronger, and quite striking, relationship with God. In talking to the man, it does not take long to come to the topic of spirituality. Himself a Muslim, Mr. Abbas practices a passionate amalgam of religion in his everyday life, often referring to his idol, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. His face simply beams with reverence as he speaks of the woman who helped inspire him to leave his ")#!+%#+.*-*4)-"+4%2#%&(+-*/+ instead pledge himself to the poor. “Between all the religions, she understood the mean-

ing of God, and it was among (,!+5%%&! (+%#+(,!+5%%&;1+:&;+ Abbas peppers his speech not only with words of holy praise #%&+ -)*("8+.'6&! +")>!+:%(,!&+ Teresa, but for pretty much any other topic. It can be slightly 6* !((")*'+-(+.& (0+=6(+- +()2!+ goes on, the regular religious references in conversation become familiar and welcome. When asked about the relationship between his work for Serving Charity and the El Mocambo, the answers are decidedly less passionate. Mr. Abbas talks about the involvement of the arts in raising money for Serving Charity as one would about a former sig*).4-*(+%(,!&;+3?+6 !/+(%+,-B!+ that incredible love for the arts. I used to be a dancer, and I had two black belts. It was business then, business after business. But with the project now, I was lost, but now I’m found. I was =")*/0+*%F+?+ !!;1+G6 (+- +:&;+ <==- + -4&).4!/+-*/+"% (+2-H%&+ worldly possessions in his major life change, he seems to also have lost some of the love for the arts that many of his dissenters consider necessary for running such a famed musical establishment. Yet, despite all that is and has been said and observed about Mr. Abbas, his utter devotion to helping those who are most in need is unquestionable. The impression that one takes away from a conversation with the man is that he might not please everybody, but he sure is trying to help everybody. Even the opposing forces he has faced through his involvement with the El Mocambo are subject to his philosophy of always giving to charity. “I try to lead them [the artists] to char)(8;1+I%&+(,% !+F,%+/%+*%(+F-*(+ to abide by his life principles, Mr. Abbas sees them as simply not being able to understand. Paraphrasing the famous Mother Teresa, Mr. Abbas says, “A lot of people do great things, but there’s not that many peo5"!+F,%+/%+ 2-""+(,)*' ;1+J,-(+ can be achieved by one small -4&).4!+) +#%&+8%6+(%+ !!;+:&;+ Abbas, however, has already had quite the glimpse.

the newsmagazine

June 20, 2011


Purloined stories: the gain of art, the loss of truth ANDREW WALT As far as many might be concerned, art is little more than pretty pictures of pretty things. People often lead themselves through galleries and museums, soaking up the colour and atmosphere and appreciating the intricacies and details of it all, but rarely are they concerned with the context and motives of what they’re looking at. As long as it’s pretty, isn’t that good enough? The simple fact of the matter is that, far more often than not, art has an agenda. There’s more to the piece than a trite plaque, a fancy frame, and a meagre descriptive blurb. Those meticulously detailed portraits? Someone commissioned them and someone requested that the subject be depicted in a very '=&;-(;" $.5" )-0),<" -5&$,-H&5" 3$<!" Those heavily romanticized landscapes? Someone wants you to think that they’re claiming dominion over that territory. Those noble scenes of grand victory and conquest? Is war ever that simple and glamourous? Displayed until May 21 at the Doris McCarthy Gallery in UTSC, Pur-

Across 1. 1995 talking pig movie 5. Swiss mountain range 9. Common Latin verb 13. Countenance 17. Inaninmate matter monster 18. Onion relative 19. GUI image 20. Mobs 22. Linear nature 24. Nil

loined Stories aimed to have viewers look beyond the deceptive aesthetics of art and reexamine what any given work might be attempting to convey. Curated by Sandy Saad, a Masters of Visual Studies student at the St. George campus, each of the featured pieces adapts famous artworks as a statement meant to expose the hidden secrets of the original. “Purloined Stories is an exhibition that revisits the idea of image theft with a group of artists who highlight the fabrication of narratives throughout history by recreating existing historical masterpieces,” says Saad. “[The pieces] empha'-H&"1)&"(;1-*."*+"1)&"*@-0-.$,I"$.5" at times use the existing images for their own strategies, illustrating that the narrative is servile to power.” Unlike many other art exhibits which are stodgy strolls through the classics of centuries passed, Purloined Stories was fairly unique in that there’s a distinct sense of urgency in its purpose. In fact one feature, Liberty Lost (G20 Toronto) by Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, criticizes the repressive police presence in the city during the

25. Open, as a beer bottle 26. Common vaccine shot 27. Our star 28. Rome’s country 29. Spike or Ang 30. Gentle touch 33. Audition 36. Indicate by association 39. Grand ending 41. Towards the stern of

still fresh in the mind G20 summit by reworking Liberty Leading the People, created in 1830 by Eugene Delacroix. Not only is retooling older works for contemporary commentary common and ongoing, but practices of manipulating art and media for particular interests are also still happening to this day. On September 14 of last year, an Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram, was discovered to have published a photograph of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak preceding President Obama and other world leaders walking through the White House. As it turned out, the photograph was a fabrication of what originally showed President Obama in front, so manipulated by the Egyptian press to demonstrate Egypt’s leading role in the Mideast peace talks, as the editor-in-chief of the publishing paper later revealed. Quite appropriately, then, brushes and paints can be viewed as the archaic form of Photoshop and all of the software’s various connotations. David Buchan’s Always inserts a box of feminine hygiene products into the famous Portrait of

Josephine de Beauharnais, an 1805 painting by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon. The immediate result is that the viewer is struck by femininity in both its glorious and unglamourous aspects simultaneously, with an amusing bit of historical irony just below the surface. A riff on masculine naivety also seems to be played in Jakub Dolejš Tribune, which removes the male patrons from the 1770s *@-0-.$,I #)&" #@-J6.$" *+" K+(H- J<" L*)$.." 4*++$.<I" $.5" 3$')&'" *61" certain details. Thus the gallery in which wealthy men received an art education turns into a space where accounts of history are made cloudy, spurious, and inconsistent. The remaining still pieces, Adad Hannah’s The Raft of the Medusa (100 Mile House) and Kent Monkman’s Sunday in the Park, both have their own fascinating statements and contexts worth exploring, namely the trials of a suffering British Columbia community in the former and the juxtaposition of one piece free of humans with another full of them in the latter. Finally, there is also a 42 minute (,M"J<"N*"#H6"2<&.I O$@1)I"*."*+-

78. Sealed, as a closed door 80. “Without further ___...” 81. Acts 82. Choose 85. Gun club 87. Alias acronym 89. Enthusiastic exclamation (“___ wilikers, Batman!”) 90. Eggs 91. Silent 93. 9 Down’s second wife 95. Class of animal !"#$%&'"$"(')"*++"$",-.& 102. Incentives 106. Siesta 107. Hudson or James, for example 108. Breed of extinct /-0)1,&''"2&3"4&$,$.5" birds 109. Burdens 110. Post revolution goverment 112. London landmark 115. 24 hour period 116. Jewel 117. ___ Mission (Texas Revolution site) 121. Roman salutation 122. Get rid of 126. 1692 Witch Trials town 127. Toward the ocean 128. Gifts on February 14 131. Hydrogen fusion weapon 132. ___ pong; table tennis 60. __ chi (Chinese a ship 133. Handheld appliance 42. Flightboard informa- meditative movements) 134. Build a monument AC!"D.$%<"(') tion 135. Beholds 63. Google’s web browser 136. “Or ___...” (ultima45. White pool ball 66. Sicilian volcano 46. Robot tum) 48. Relating to holy Mus- 67. One of the macro137. Play divisions molecules lim text 138. Another word for 69. Christmas synonym 106 across 50. Dynasty ruler 72. Sheep sound 54. Ginger cookie 73. Compromise 56. Host Down 77. Sault __ Marie, 57. Chewing treat 1. Piece of a skeleton Ontario 58. Billboards 2. A once active candle

fer. Whereas the other artworks are appealing, idealized, and attractive products, Earth servers as an antithesis which makes no attempts to dress up the realities that inspired its creation. Even in drawing attention to the inherent ugliness of greed in the themes of conquest and colonialism in their originals, the other features are still pleasing and glamourized re-appropriations. Ho Tzu Nyen, however, demonstrates the deceptive, destructive and catastrophic results of such pursuits with no effort to mask its grimness. “I hope that this exhibition speaks to our nature as humans,” says Saad. “All of the famous works referenced are about times of revolution, change, or conquest, and all of 1)&'&" M*M&.1'" 3&@&" (;1-*.$,-H&5" in certain ways at the time. I think that says a lot about human nature $.5" 1)&" 5&'-@&" 1*" 16@." 1*" (;1-*." -." times of change or turbulence.” Much in the same way that art isn’t created in a vacuum, art shouldn’t be interpreted in a vacuum either. Purloined Stories was a fascinating event for its attempts to show how some familiar pictures may have been deceiving all along.

3. Chance upon 4. Internet currency 5. Gifts of food or money 6. Hawaiian souvenir 7. A dog or a bird, for example 8. Upper air 9. Famous theoretical physicist 10. Search high and low 11. Male whippersnapper 12. Chemical compound '6+(7 13. Whence an apple falls 14. Common slang contraction 15. “___-Cola” 16. List ending abbreviation 17. Stomach 21. Double agent 23. Regret 30. Loud noise 31. Common conjunction 32. Standard 34. Sturdy wood 35. ET’s ride 36. Frozen water 37. Mother 38. Vigour 39. ___ away; at a distance 40. Theme of this issue 42. Surround 43. Suit accessory 44. Highest card, in most cases 89!":6'-;"(,&"1<=& 49. Prayer ending 51. Sense of self 52. Pirate’s alcohol of choice 53. Greek character >>!"?@&(7&'"-.5-;$1-.0" from the side(s) of 58. Consumed 59. Genetic code AB!"?&."/6-5 63. “Survivor” network 64. Curt laugh 65. R-rated 66. Conjure

68. Famous fable writer 70. And the rest (abbr.) 71. Tennis redo 74. Mount where the gods watched Troy fall 75. Female deer 76. Golf peg 79. Group of three 83. Christmas or New Year’s 84. Lacquer and shellac compound 86. Two were dropped by Harry S. Truman 88. Gore and Yankovic 91. Bathing basin 92. Palindromic female name 94. Hard rockers “Queens of the ___ ___” 95. Bro’s counterpart 96. Motel 97. Dine 98. Health resort BEE!"F&;*@$1-G&"(') 101. Droop 103. Wet dirt 104. America 105. Law, in Spanish 110. Court clown 111. Referee 113. Sweet herb 114. Levels, as a score 116. Tonic water’s alcohol partner 117. Cremation creation 118. Science facilities 119. ___ vera (medicinal plant) 120. “The cake is a lie” or Rebecca Black, for example 122. Lairs 123. Singles 124. Religious branch BC>!"D6=&@,$1-G&"'6+(7 127. King Kong, for example 128. By means of 129. Circle segment 130. Parking venue ANDREW WALT

the backpage


June 20, 2011

the campus comment

the newspaper asked: what is the BEST. THING. you’ve ever found?

SAMANTHA, Classics, 3rd year “A slot machine on the street with $50 in them!”

DAVID, Life Sciences, 2nd year “A bag of coke on the train tracks at Dundas West. OBVIOUSLY I disposed of it.”

ANASTASIA, Neuroscience, 2nd year

NICK, Health Sciences, 2nd year

MO, Mathematics, 4th year

“A girl at Boston Pizza.”

“I found an old friend on campus from my primary school in China. It was such a coincidence to meet him in Toronto.”

REBECCA, English, 4th year “A cat, who later became my pet Timmy, in an abandoned farm. It really made me happy as a child.”


“I collect Pullip dolls and found a rare one on Kijiji for half the price it is actually worth.”

the comics

Newsmagazine Vol. 2, No. 1  

Newsmagazine Issue 1. The Newspaper, University of Toronto's Independent Weekly