FROSH Week PHOTO eSSAy
RA RA VARSITY BLUES Why you always got to lose?! page 3
On page 4, check out the partay!
University of Toronto’s Independent Weekly
Vol. XXXII No. 2
September 10, 2009
TyleR iRVinG Students in Ottawa have won an early victory in their fight over discounted bus passes. At a meeting on September 1, student organizations persuaded the city’s transit committee to revisit a policy that would lower the age cap on discounted student bus passes to 28. The policy, proposed by Ottawa City Transpo, is deemed discriminatory by student groups. “The notion that graduate students finish their degrees before 28 is ill-founded,” said Gaétan Beaulière, External Commissioner of the University of Ottawa’s Graduate Student Association. “Seventy-seven percent of our doctoral students are over 28, and according to
Statistics Canada, Ph.D students finish their degree at age 33, on average. There is no reason why they should be treated differently.” The age cap was introduced in the city’s 2009 budget, and was ratified last December. When it took effect on July 1, students reacted in opposition. We Ride, a coalition to reverse the ban, was spearheaded by student associations from Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, as well as several smaller institutions. The coalition made the September 1 presentation to the city’s 8-member transit committee, resulting in a unanimous vote to raise the issue at the Continued on Page 3
Flat fees now in eﬀect
What does this newly implemented program mean for you? pg. 3
Chapter closes on Pages bookstore independent bookstore closes its doors after 30 years
CAilin SmART The last of the original Queen Street cool was extinguished last week as Pages, the iconic indie bookstore, closed its doors. It was a sad day for those who remembered a more “interesting time on Queen, before the Gaps and Club Monacos.”
These are the words of ringleader of Queen Street’s art scene and owner of Pages, Marc Glassman. He is as spirited as ever about Torontonian literature and art as he comments on his store’s incendiary thirtyyear run. “I didn’t care about making money,” he says. “Pages was pure in terms of motivation. There was no commercial calculation, and people were responsive to it.” Indeed they were. In fact, the police were particularily
responsive to a feminist art project, “Its’ a girl!” in 1984 by the art group the Woomers. The installment, involving red sanitary napkins in the Pages store window, landed Glassman in jail for defying censorship laws, which were altered in favour of artistic expression after the incident. When Pages wasn’t busy fighting the social zeitgeist, it was the host of many events. “I love putting on events,” Continued on Page 2
Students tend campus gardens TOm BUGAJSki At university, we expect to cultivate our minds, but not necessarily a vegetable garden. This is something U of T Campus Agricultural Projects (UTCAP) is trying to change. In the past year, they have initiated several agricultural projects, including vegetable gardens outside Hart House, Hart House Farm, on top of the Galbraith Building, and at the Scarborough campus. Their gardens grow a bounty of
produce, ranging from tomatoes and potatoes to melons and potatoes. Jason Qu, a fourth-year Environmental and Equity Studies major and coordinator of UTCAP, explains that it is about more than just growing a few fruits and veggies. “People want to know where their food comes from, they want to be connected to their food,” he says, “and the most direct way of doing that is Continued on Page 5
Ottawa students fight transit decision
The Shorts the campus Former U of T the world Samoa shifted gears student, Saad Khalid, 23, was sentenced to 14 years for his involvement in the infamous Toronto 18, a terrorist group that plotted to blow up three government buildings in the city in 2006.
on Monday when they switched from driving on the right side of the road to the left to align with neighbouring New Zealand. To ensure a smooth transition, the Church blessed the entire tiny Pacific island nation.
the local A week after a yak, four Ilamas, and a wallaby escaped from Toronto’s High Park Zoo, Torontoist was happy to report that the animals are all unharmed and back in their pens following an extravagant, midnight jaunt around the park.
the weird An Australian pizza delivery man held a four year old child hostage when the customer refused to pay for a late pizza. The stand-off ended when the mother raised her fist at the driver. Despite the incident, the delivery man gets to keep his job.
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Pages closes shop cont’d from page 1
Glassman says whole-heartedly. His interpretation of the word “event” transcends any one media. “I tailored them to what worked.” His book premieres were often accompanied by music, and he also hosted film events. As Glassman says, “Pages was more than a store.” Unfortunately, Pages’ years of success couldn’t save it from the effects of what Glassman calls “gentrification.” “[Rent] got too expensive,” he explains. “It’s no longer people, but corporations who can afford it.” Glassman is skeptical about relocating his brainchild. “I looked for a new location, but never found a space that was big enough to accommodate a bookshop and an event space.” Glassman looked in hip Leslieville and Parkdale, but nothing was suitable. “It wouldn’t have been Pages, ultimately. I’d rather close than compromise what Pages is.” Joining Glassman in Queen St. indie royalty is Kingi Carpenter, owner of the silk-screening boutique Peach Berserk. The store moved into 507 Queen West in 1993. Having lived in the area since her student days at OCAD, Carpenter also recalls a time when Queen St. east of Spadina wasn’t “just a shopping mall.” “It’s a real shame,” she says of Pages’ closing. “I remember I once needed a book and I couldn’t get it from Chapters, so I went to Pages and they had it. They had a great art reference section. Going in there, I felt overwhelmed. There were always so many wonderful choices.” As major retailers continue to swallow up the neighbourhood, Peach Berserk also faces difficulties. “It’s a drag that things that are beneficial to Toronto’s culture aren’t supported
by the city,” says Carpenter. “The government doesn’t make a distinction between cultural centres and generic chain stores. For them, it’s all just commercial. What used to be Edward’s Book Store on Queen is now a Crocs store. That’s so sad! There should be tax incentives for small businesses.” Charlie Huskein, whose son Jesse cut his teeth in the book trade working at Pages, is the owner of another destination for small-bookstore aficionados, This Ain’t the Rosedale Library, nestled in Kensington Market. “In many ways, we were in the same situation as Pages,” he admits. Despite similar challenges, the bookstore is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this week at Harbourfront. “Pages was in between two major intersections,” says Huskein. “We moved to Kensington because we found it charming. It is so diverse and countercultural. There is a great tolerance for creativity.” Kensington is also safe from drastically increasing leases. Huskein insists that one of the biggest challenges facing small book sellers is the major retailers’ ability to sell books at deep discounts, especially online. “It’s a denigration of culture,” he says. “If the price of gold were to drop, then the value of gold would drop. You can’t de-value culture this way.” Despite Pages’ closing, Glassman remains optimistic about the future of the Canadian literary trade. “We’ve done very well,” he says, “much better than film or theatre. There is fantastic support for literature, and the payoff is fabulous. There’s a real chance for young people going into publishing. The future is bright.”
Arts Editor Miki Sato
September 10, 2009
Abdi Aidid, Tomasz Bugajski, Dan Epstein, Tyler Irving, Alex Nursall, Abdul Rajab, Tim Ryan, Cailin Smart, Amina Stella, Amy Stupavsky, Mike Winters
firstname.lastname@example.org the newspaper 1 Spadina Crescent, Suite 245 Toronto, ON M5S 1A1 Editorial: 416-593-1552 email@example.com the newspaper is U of T’s independent weekly campus paper, published weekly by Planet Publications Inc., a non-profit corporation. All U of T community members, including students, staff and faculty, are encouraged to contribute to the newspaper.
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September 10, 2009
Flat fees are here Amina Stella For the past few months, U of T’s administration and student government have been butting heads over the flat fees issue. At a meeting in May, Governing Council endorsed a flat fee program in the Faculty of Arts and Science, as an alternative to the current per course charge. Scheduled to be eased in over the next three years, students taking three or four courses will pay the same tuition as those taking five. In an open letter to ASSU, last year’s ASSU President Colum Grove-White wrote that “there needs to be transparent and honest language in any proposal. The current proposal has dressed itself up in something that it is not. A new proposal needs to be explicit where additional resources are coming from.” The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) and the Arts and Science Students’ Union (ASSU) feel that the flat fees endorsement is simply a way for the university to generate money. “It is not in the best interests of student education,” said Gavin Nowlan, ASSU President.
“It makes the decision-making process for taking courses more complicated, with a course load that is bound to be either too high or to low because of the overshadowing flat fee cost.” Nowlan stated that the main point of contention was the elimination of choice. “It was done in such an underhanded way,” he said. “The faculty council barely voted this proposal in, winning by only 6 votes. It was a last minute proposal, the best thing they could come up with in response to the recession.” UTSU even launched a lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in an attempt to challenge the university’s decision-making process. Cheryl Misak, University of Toronto Vice-President and Provost, affirms that the university is on solid moral and financial ground in implementing the program. She believes that flat fees will benefit U of T and its students in the long run. “U of T lies at a disadvantage in comparison to other universities who do impose the fees,” she said. “Every faculty works towards giving students the best
possible education. Quality requires resources, and we want to be able to offer our students a first-rate education. Competitors all across the country have program fees. It enables them to put more resources into the academic structure with more funding to acquire better scholars and facilities. Program fees are very common, this is not an unusual or radical way of collecting student tuition.” In response to UTSU, Misak said, “student governments will always be in opposition to increased fees, but as Provost, my job is to ensure that ArtSci has stable funding. U of T receives less money from the Ontario government than the national average. With quality education comes additional expenses for researchers.” Misak denied that the decision was a recessionary measure. Misak also stressed that flat fees will keep students’ focus on their academics. “Course fees also encourage students to think of academics as a whole instead of partial. The five credit course load has been carefully planned out, and for a reason.” The Faculty of Arts and Science has already imposed flat fees only on this year’s batch of first year students. The Faculty has given ASSU and UTSU one
cont’d from page 1
next full council meeting. The committee’s chair, Bay councillor Alex Cullen, warned that undoing a budget motion is not easy. “When it rises to council next week, it will take 18 votes out of 24 to reverse that budget decision taken last year,” he said. “This is eight votes; I suggest you find 10 more.” Erik Halliwell, President of Carleton University’s Student Association, said that is exactly what they plan to do. “We’ve set up meetings with councillors to provide them with the new information that they didn’t have when this was first passed. We have also asked [the transit committee] to talk to some of their colleagues who may have voted against us the first time.” The monthly Ottawa student bus pass costs $65.25, compared to the regular fare of
$84.75. The savings add up to a total of $234 per year. In Toronto, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) does not offer a direct discount to college or university students. In 2003, a coalition of student associations from York, Ryerson, U of T, and others negotiated a deal to buy Metropasses in bulk from the TTC at a discounted rate. The discounted passes are then sold to students at each institution. The program is very popular. “We’re probably the TTC’s biggest customer,” said Tanya Speight, Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the University of Toronto Students’ Union. “During the school year, we buy 12,000 passes a month, which is about four percent of all the passes sold in Toronto.”
year to disprove the benefits of flat fees for students. Nowlan believes that the situation cannot be resolved until this first wave of students affected by flat fees realize the inconsistencies of the proposal. He stressed the importance of educating
students about the issue. ASSU included pamphlets in frosh kits and has scheduled a meeting with The Varsity to increase publicity and discuss the situation. A judicial review has been set for later in September to determine the next steps.
Hawks bruise the Blues
MOVE HAWKS, git out my way Montoya said, noting that holes in the Blues’ defensive line helped. “I don’t think it’s a very big deal how I performed today.” DeLaval’s assessment was less modest. “[Montoya] steamrolled us,” he said. “He was a handful, no doubt about it.” Despite what appeared to be a strong start, the Blues had difficulty gaining ground. Laurier’s pass rushers smothered 4th year QB Andrew Gillis, who completed just seven passes before being replaced by second-
stringer Jansen Shrubb. Gillis, who split time with pivot David Hamilton last season, attempted mostly short passes. 65 of his 97 passing yards were receptions by Blues’ sophomore Jonathan Wright, who had a strong outing considering the poor offensive showing. Difficulty establishing the run forced Gillis to stay deep for much of the first three quarters, an ill-advised strategy for a quarterback that stands just 5’10”. Gillis’ night was done
The Varsity Blues football team opened the season this past Labour Day with a 36 – 0 drubbing at the hands of the Laurier Golden Hawks. The loss comes on the heels of a disappointing showing in a pre-season tilt against Queen’s. A raucous 2,347-strong crowd packed Varsity Stadium to cheer on the Blues in their season opener. The crowd were treated to a noisy pre-game spectacle - snowbird jets zoomed overhead; the Engineers blasted their cannon and lapped their way out of the stadium through a cloud of smoke; the Lady Godiva band pumped out brassy songs. Crowd enthusiasm dwindled as the game unfolded, and reactions subdued as the Blues (0-1) showcased the same anemic offense that saw them win just three games in the past eight seasons. “We definitely lost the physical battle today,” said Blues’ head coach Greg DeLaval. “[Laurier] ate up the clock, kept our offense on the sidelines, and definitely established themselves. We couldn’t compete.” Hawks’ Michael Montoya was chief among DeLaval’s concerns. A Burlington native, the third year running back racked up 160 yards rushing and three touchdowns en route to the Hawks’ win. “Right off the bat we knew we were going to run the ball,”
Hawks player loses contact lense. Blues player pulverizes it. shortly after an errant pass was intercepted in the 3rd quarter. “We’ve got to try and find a way to run the football, whether it’s a running back, quarterback, or receiver,” said DeLaval. He continued, “We weren’t able to run the ball early in the game, so we went to the pass.”
The Blues will travel to Windsor this Saturday to take on the Lancers, who are coming off a narrow 17-14 victory over the York Lions. “Our team needs to play the best teams,” said DeLaval. “They’re another team that’s going to make us better.”
FROSH Week ‘09
I’m going to admit here that I didn’t know much about any of the performers before I got to the concert. Thankfully, the two guys behind me were more than happy to explain to the back of my head many interesting facts about Talib Kweli. These include his work with Mos Def (“WHOOOOOO MOS DEFFFF!”), that he takes too long to get onstage (“TALIB TALIB TALIB WHOOOOO!”), and that he probably doesn’t like ﬂat fees (“WHOOOOO SCREW FLAT FEES!”). I was feeling a touch dehydrated, so they were nice enough to shower me in a fair amount of spit as they discussed amongst each other. Thanks, incredibly loud obnoxious guys! Talib did put on a good show, though.
the inside Frosh week may be in the past But this photo essay will always last
September 10, 2009
by Alex nursall
The U of T Clubs Fair is truly the time to realize that U of T has almost every club imaginable. Pictured here is the UT Bhangra Club, a style of Pubjabi dance. Also represented at the fair was the Varsity Blues, the French Club, the Conservative and Liberal Party (located beside each other), Rational Capital Investment Fund, and Newfoundland Vegan Buddhist NDPs Studying Celtic Language and German. I signed up for their newsletter!
This guy from the ASSU booth at the Clubs Fair was absolutely coated in cotton candy. I asked him how things were going and his response was, “I hate cotton candy.” I guess the only consolation was that it matched his shirt.
Running with the Frosh University College takes their frosh out for a quick jaunt through the busy streets of downtown Toronto. Not pictured: frustrated motorists.
September 10, 2009
Campus tries hand at gardening cont’d from page 1
support for sustainable agricultural initiatives. UTCAP appeals to a wide variety of students. “This project just brings people together,” says Qu. “Everyday you meet someone new.” Volunteer Jon Pipitone, a graduate student of computer science, says, “I love to be in the garden and have my hands in the dirt. There’s enormous potential for us to supply the university with food.” And what about the vegetables themselves, how do they taste? “Great,” says Qu. “I cook
with them all the time. I was actually munching on some kale before our interview.” Students are welcome to pick a tomato or other vegetable as a snack on the way to classes. The produce is also used by Hot Yam!, a student-run, vegan lunch event held every Wednesday at the International Students’ Centre (ISC). The rest is donated to food banks. UTCAP hopes the project will change people’s relationships with what they eat. They are currently seeking funding for
more extensive projects, and hope to make U of T an example of sustainable urban agriculture. High food prices make it difficult for many families to access healthy food, and long supply chains have environmental costs. By bringing students closer to their food sources, UTCAP can make them more aware of the potential in urban agriculture to decrease these problems. For more info on UTCAP, contact uoftagriculture@gmail. com.
becomes more difficult. The Toronto Food Policy Council stresses the need for farmland in or near a city for long-term food security. Qu is convinced that growing our own food and “getting our hands dirty inform the discussions we have later.” He hopes it can lead to more
Hart House is now home to a vegetable garden.
by growing some of it yourself. We’re in a university setting, so this is one of the best ways for people to learn about the bigger food issues.” Those bigger issues are food security and sustainability. With population growth and urban sprawl, access to food
A.F. MORITZ INTERVIEW Tim Ryan interviews Griffin Poetry-Prize winner, A.F. Moritz
with files from diana wilson
This past summer, U of T professor A.F. Moritz was named the recipient of the 2009 Griffin Poetry Prize, Canada’s most prestigious poetry award, for his collection of poems, The Sentinel, which chronicles the night of an anxious watchman standing guard over an armed camp that has retired for the night. I had the pleasure of speaking with Moritz about his work and his career here in Canada. When you write a collection of poems like The Sentinel, do you feel like this is the one? Do you feel the critical acclaim coming? No, not at all. I think I try to make every book as good as I can and different. And just like with the individual poems so with the book, you feel as you write a sense of euphoria, always, yes this is really great, no one can be blind to the sublime virtue of this. But then I think with any work that anyone does, you go through a cycle of exaltation and depression, one day it’s really good, one day it isn’t as good. So that’s one thing, the emotion about the book itself. With regard to other books, I don’t have a sense even now, that it’s better than all the other books I’ve written. After all, this is a very prestigious and wellknown award but some of the other books have won big awards too, they didn’t get as much publicity, especially here in Canada. I try to do a good job on this book and I feel that it’s a good book but I would be hard pressed to say which of my books is the best, I wouldn’t automatically pick The Sentinel. In this book, a theme of the relationship between the poet and poem emerges. How great is the rift between the writer and the work? That’s a good question. You might notice that there is a poem called Thou Poem which is an argument where the poem reams out the poet, more or less, and at the end the poet has to say, “you were right, thanks for reminding me of what this is all about.” I feel that in being a writer or an artist, you are in dialogue with your art. If you produce something, it stimulates you to wonder about it and produce the next thing. You criticize your own work. Or of course you ought to being keeping up with what other people in your art and the other arts do. Like if you are a musician, you keep up with other musicians. But if you are a musician you should especially keep up with something like poetry. Poetry’s traditional relationship with music makes it extremely important to music and even a musician who doesn’t write for words, an instrumental musician, is going to be starving themselves if he doesn’t keep up with poetry and literature. And the same is true for a poet who
doesn’t pay attention to architecture and film. You are cutting off some of your oxygen. So, not only does your relationship with your own work cause a feedback but with other people’s work as well. And that’s just to talk about the feedback you get in the mode of confidence, but you’re always questioning the work too, what is poetry for? What position can it have in contemporary society? Why do I write it? For whom do I write it? What inspired you to separate their voices? To me that isn’t as much an inspiration as an investigation. It’s an observed phenomenon that the poem and the poet are a different thing. The critics have talked about this infinitum, using the idea of personae or masks obsessively during the 20th century and it still hasn’t ended. So even when the poet is writing a poem that seems to invite you to associate the eye of the poem very closely with William Butler Yeats, that poem is not creating the attitude of Yeats, which if you grabbed him by the throat and said, “do you absolutely agree with this?” He would say, “yes, for sure.” He would more likely say something like, “well, that’s how I was feeling at the moment.” So, the poem projects that moment, that aspect of his personality as almost a complete personality. So the poet might write a poem that has a political opinion quite different from his own for dramatic purposes. But in this respect, poetry isn’t different in that the poet is a schizophrenic who speaks in different voices, its something that shows us ourselves, how we think of ourselves as a unified personality. Yet in a given moment, under a given stimulation, we may act quite differently. Is poetry a solitary pursuit? It’s a solitary pursuit no doubt about it. One of the things needed to be an artist or to follow other types of pursuits, even the sciences, is the ability to sit and study and think and feel and look into himself, his entire network of his relationships, and his placeintheworld.Whenotherpeople are having the pleasure of going out to a show, or working in a group where they are never alone and they are constantly stimulated and have the aspects of a team, the researcher or the artist has to be content to be alone
and that has great rewards. And there’s a joy in it but there’s no use in saying it doesn’t have isolation and loneliness. So yes, it’s solitary. With that said, when you’re alone, you’re not alone because what you’re working on is self in society and if you didn’t learn your home language at your mother’s knee, and if you have been taught to write by Sister Mary in first grade, if you didn’t have people to write for and a reading and writing community, and beyond that the whole cultural community which we are all part of whether we don’t read ever, and just use the computer, whether we like poetry or scorn it, it all ripples out in waves and its all connected. And without that world you wouldn’t exist. So even when you are alone you are never alone. Although you were born in the U.S.A. and studied there, your career as a poet has been entirely in Canada. How has Canadian culture influenced your work? I’ve found in Canada an openness to the world and a openness to the past of English culture. In America, though there was, when I was a young person, certain writers who were trying hard to open America to foreign influences. And though I paid attention to them and was a part of that movement, in general, the country had a very centripetal concentration on its own culture and it still does to this day. It tends to create a lot of culture and blast it out. This is most evident in pop music and film, but it’s equally evident in poetry and literature. So when I came here, I found more of a looking to Europe and even Asia because of a weaker centripetal force, because of less absorption in Canadian culture. I was always a great lover of the British tradition, including Shakespeare, the 18th century, 19th century romantics and Victorians. When I did my doctorate, I did it on a Victorian poet Alfred Tennyson and his relationship to the great romantic poets of the early part of the 19th century. But in American poetry there is a great concentration upon what is the American difference. You won’t find many poets talking about their living relationship to the British tradition, to the deeper English tradition. So that’s something that felt at home to me here in Canada.
September 10, 2009
the science Tim Ryan reflects on an exciting advance in the fight against HIV As a medical researcher here at U of T, my impatience with finding impacting results can often become trying. During these times, research is a slow grind laced with dynamic hurdles, both small and big. The scope of many projects can be so narrow that at times, the “big picture” can become elusive. With that said, periodically strides will be made in one’s own research program, or internationally, which serve as reminders of why research is so vital to our societal progression. After 15 years of HIV/AIDS research, without as much as a shred of hope towards finding a vaccine, last week the journal Science published a ground-breaking paper offering what could be a crack in HIV’s viral armour. Using a tissue fixative called formaldehyde; researchers froze the HIV in the act of infecting human cells. During an infection event, an HIV molecule approaches the target cell and briefly exposes proteins in its viral protein shell, which are responsible for the binding to, and entering of the cell. These proteins are usually only exposed for a fraction of a second; however, by essentially freezing the HIV in its exposed state, researchers
were able to use laboratory mice to produce antibodies against these proteins. The antibodies were purified and proven to be effective against 24 of 25 HIV strains. How do we get from mouseproduced antibodies, to an effective vaccine for humans? The current human vaccine has two cell lines, one which produces the viral coating proteins, and one which produces proteins that act as door-stops. This keeps the viral coating protein in an open state, thus allowing the immune system access to the viral proteins responsible for infection. There is, however, a fundamental problem with this; in that introducing humans to these two cell lines will simply see the immune system clear the vaccinating cells out of the system. Thus, the viral proteins need to be isolated in the open state, and introduced to the human immune system, the next objective in the generation of an HIV vaccine. It may still be some time before a vaccine is realized, but this progress is the most exciting advancement in the battle against HIV that has been seen in recent years. And that makes the millions of man-hours and dollars worthwhile.
“The scope of many projects can be so narrow that at times, the “big picture” can become elusive.”
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September 10, 2009
Beyond tables and chairs Gord Peteran exhibit at UTAC
amy stupavsky An invigorating look at everyday objects awaits visitors to the U of T Art Centre (UTAC) this fall. UTAC is the only Canadian venue to feature Gord Peteran: Furniture Meets its Maker, a 22-work retrospective of North America’s leading conceptual
furniture maker and homegrown talent, Gord Peteran. Organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Chipstone Foundation, this is the first solo exhibition and catalogue fully documenting Peteran’s 25-year career. Dubbed “the master of interrogation of furniture,” Peteran’s works
defy classification. He calls them furnitural, a composite term he coined to express furniture as sculpture. Peteran has stated: “I would certainly call the objects I make furniture or furnitural, because I expect them to talk about all of the factors related to causing the space between us and our architecture. Because of the close proximity the domestic objects we arrange within those spaces are charged with the symptoms of life.” “He sees furniture and sculpture as interchangeable,” explained Maureen Smith, Business and Programs Coordinator at UTAC. “He describes the objects in our homes as symptomatic of who we are.” Crafted from a variety of materials, including reclaimed wood, bronze, leather, thread, and sticks, his pieces resemble furniture in appearance and function while subverting convention. Wrought with careful craftsmanship and folk-art whimsy, the objects retain some of their utilitarianism, but push the boundaries of furniture. Electric Chair, a tubular steel chair frame with a light bulb perched on the top, exudes this quirkiness. “It’s one of my favourite pieces,” said Matthew Brower, UTAC Curator. “Describing it becomes a one-liner, but there’s a real poignancy to it. There’s something more going on there. It’s not just a quick joke.”
It is this commentary on furniture as symbolic of the human condition that makes his art so engrossing in form and construction. “They are objects that we see all the time, but might not think about,” said Smith. “He calls us to think about what we live with daily and why they’re important to us.” If you find yourself confounded by some of the more esoteric pieces, the labels pick up where the objects leave off. Careful explanations tell of Peteran’s preoccupation with the relationship among maker, tools, and object. For example, Two Bracelets, essentially pencil sharpenings arranged in delicate coils, suggests wood manipulation and processes central to the construction of furniture. Furniture Meets its Maker is complemented by Recent Works, a supplement to the show and an exhibit unique to UTAC. “We’re trying to show the gamut of the art-
Celeb Stakeout A quick primer on stalking your favourite TIFF stars You may never have heard of Triage or Capitalism: A Love Affair, but you do know that Drew Barrymore, Michael Moore, Colin Farrell and Oprah Winfrey will be attending the 34th annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Starting on September 10, star-studded Canucks can expect nine full days of festivities. While most of us will not make the A-list to party with the stars, we can join in on the fun by lurking around Yorkville’s Sassafraz and One, well-established celebrity hotspots. Waiting outside Toronto’s ritzy hotels, such as The Four Seasons and The Park Hyatt, may get you a glance at a star, but be prepared to contend with mobs of fans. Last year, I snuck into the Four Seasons where the press was eagerly awaiting Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. As I mingled with the journalists and the clock ticked on, the crowds began to disperse and my excitement sank. Although
I missed a chance to fraternize with Brangelina, my brief adventure in celeb-spotting shows how quickly our city can transform from a second Hollywood to normalcy once again. If you would like to avoid a wild goose chase like mine, TIFF offers many opportunities to
see the stars up close, albeit not necessarily in person. Unlike industry-dominated Cannes, TIFF allows regular filmgoers to purchase tickets. Whether you are in it “for the love of film” or to catch a glimpse of dreamy Clooney, there is something for everyone!
ist’s ideas and techniques to get a full picture of his work,” said Smith. The exhibit is a departure from his earlier displays of what Brower calls “virtuoso craftsmanship”. “He’s become less concerned with furniture itself and more with how it comments on us,” said Brower. “He shows the relationship between furniture and the human.” Many of the works portray themes of violence and redemption, such as Halo For One, a bronze piece of wearable art that resembles a medieval torture device. “He’s trying to be honest,” said Brower, who has tried Halo on for size and can attest to its painfulness. “As a species, we’re not always nice. The halo is about our aspirations, the rest is about our actualities.” After a trip through Peteran’s art, you’ll never look at a chair the same way again. The exhibit runs through Dec. 5, 2009.
September 10, 2009