Richard III opens Hart House Theatre season
The dark side of the screen
the newspaper University of Toronto’s Independent Weekly
Talking sex awards with Sue
Vol. XXXIII N0. 2
September 16, 2010
contributions to sexual
Alcohol possible factor in Queen’s U frosh tragedy
Johanson awarded for
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Varsity Blues goalkeeper John Smits shows off his mean dance moves in the game against Queens on Saturday, Sept. 11. The Blues won 1-0.
Mayoral candidates share their transit visions
Candidates are putting forth their own transit plans, but Province says it’s sticking to Miller’s Transit City
In an effort to put a little more pulp in our paper, both petty and indecent, we present you with the scoundrelly deeds that kept campus cops busy over the past week.
JAMAIAS DACOSTA If you’re anything like me, you get frustrated very quickly during election season, trying to wade through political rhetoric to get to the true agendas of candidates. The Toronto 2010 Mayoral election is no exception. The headlines have been nothing short of sensational, and have included a colourful history of Rob Ford’s scandalous activities in the late 90s and his recent comments about immigration combined with Rocco Rossi’s idea for an underground extension of the Gardiner Expressway, making for the usual electoral circus. Of course, the big issue on the minds of many Torontonians is related to transit in all mediums: four wheels, two wheels, no wheels and public wheels. The platforms have been laid out on each candidate’s website. Here’s the gist: George Smitherman’s Integrated Transportation Plan includes free service for seniors on weekdays between 10am and 2pm, as well as a two phase plan spanning the next 10 years with major subway expansions. His plan for cyclists, however, is
Continued on page 3
On Tuesday morning, the Queen’s University students awoke to shocking news: a first-year engineering student had been found dead outside his dormitory. Cameron Lewis Bruce, 18, had just begun his stay at Victoria Hall, Queens’ largest dorm, celebrating frosh week with one of Canada’s most spirited engineering faculties. Kingston Police confirmed his death was the result of a fall from somewhere in the six-storey dormitory building. Early reports mention an open window and a Continued on page 2
September 11 Occurrence type: Mischief Location: Willcocks Street Details: Campus Police received a report flower pots tipped over on the street.
September 13 Occurrence type: Chemical spill Location: 1 Spadina Details: Campus police received a report of spilled acid. U of T engineers and Environmental Health and Safety were notified. All was in order.
September 7 Occurrence type: Mischief Location: Northrop Frye Details: Campus police investigated the report of a broken door glass. JAMES HEWITT
For many, the name Sue Johanson is synonymous with sexual education. Now the University of Toronto’s Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies is looking to pair her name with citizenship. An invitation-only reception will be held to present Sue Johanson with the 2010 Citizenship Award next Wednesday – an award established by the Bonham Centre in 2007 to acknowledge an individual or group that has made a considerable contribution to the development and instruction of issues surrounding sexual education in Canada. Says Brenda Crossman, Director of the Bonham Centre: “Sue Johanson embodies the essence of the Citizenship Award. Her groundbreaking work in sex education has created new space in the public sphere for open and engaged discussions of sex and sexuality.” Although she started her career as a registered nurse, working in the field of sexual education, Johanson first gained popularity as a sex educator and therapist in Toronto in 1984. Her two hour Q107 radio show, Sunday Night Sex Show, which ran for fourteen years, was dedicated to offering callers advice on sex and relationships. Within a year of the radio show’s inception, it was turned into a TV talk show of the same name on community access television. In 1996 it went national on the Women’s Television Network and by 2002, Oprah Winfrey caught wind of Johanson’s valuable advice and debuted Talk Sex with Sue Johanson on the Oxygen television network. It is highly likely that some of your sexual knowledge was obtained from one of Johanson’s shows, or from one of the many tributaries through which her expertise travels (read: friends, family, colleagues, neighbours,
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Continued from page 1 dangling bed sheet. Alcohol may have been a factor, but foul play has been ruled out. “This is very sad and troubling,” says Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs John Pierce. “We continue to work with police and await the official results of their investigation to get a clearer sense of what happened...We are going to determine what we can do to prevent something like this from happening again.” Hailing from Westport, Connecticut, Bruce was a star athlete, musician, and actor. Four years of swimming with his high-school team earned him the position of captain, and recognition as an academic All-American and a Staples Scholar Athletes. The Staples Players, Bruce’s hometown theatre troupe, recognized the tragedy with an online obituary. They describe him as “an
September 16, 2010
extremely well-liked young man who shared his musical talents with Players by playing trumpet in several of our pits.” TheQueensUniversityEngineering Society also posted a heartfelt message on their website, saying that Bruce was “actively engaged in our engineering frosh week and was held in the highest regards by his fellow frosh and FREC’s.” Although the intention is to have fun during frosh week, universities have tried to discourage alcoholfueled frosh parties. In the past, the Queen’s University Senate has acknowledged a growing desire among first-years to drink heavily, even at events where drinking is prohibited. This has become more of a problem since 2003 when, for the first time, students reached legal drinking age in first year. In his hometown of Westport, the local paper mourns the loss of
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a valued member of their community. An area music camp will set up a scholarship to honour Bruce and his high school is establishing a tuition grant in his name.
Cameron Lewis Bruce was described by those around him as an enthusiastic and involved student
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etc). Perhaps you were even one of her callers, seeking advice or clarification. Callers, listeners and viewers alike undoubtedly obtained relief as Johanson assuaged their fears of potential abnormality or broadened their awareness of boudoir behaviour. Though she has retired from radio and television, she continues to lecture at universities across Canada and the U.S. and remains active as a published author of numerous books on sexual education. In 2001, Johanson earned Canada’s highest honour, appointment to the Order of Canada – in recognition of her dedication to educating and informing the public about birth control and sexual health. The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies (SDS) offers an undergraduate program, a collaborative graduate program (M.A. and Ph.D.) and promotes research into sexuality, in addition to hosting academic and community events. The SDS program itself, created in 1998, has been established as one of the leading programs of its kind, serving to expand our understanding of sexual diversity and sexual practices in society: a fitting mate to recognize Ms. Sue Johanson.
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September 16, 2010
3 ing the message to voters that he believes investing in roadways is the key to the city’s transit issues. Sarah Thomson has an aggressive plan for bike lanes called Bike City, including upgraded intersections, building sharrows, and extending bike lanes on multiple main roadways. Thomson’s development plans also include a 10 year plan to expand the subway with funding
to put a “time out on construction of new bike lanes” and expedite expansion of bike paths through hydro corridors, ravines and other non roadways. Rob Ford has a similar approach favouring the development of recreational bike paths rather than
roadway bike lane expansions, with a stronger focus on public transit development. He promises to make TTC an essential service, although in addition to a subway expansion plan Ford plans to replace streetcars with buses. In his platform, Joe Pantalone states support for the bike pilot project, although he does not make specific commitments to bike lane
developments. Pantalone is, however, the only candidate to commit to the current Transit City plans, as put forth by Mayor Miller, which the province has stated they will follow through on. Rocco Rossi makes no mentions of cyclists whatsoever in his platform. Instead, he recently announced plans for an 8km underground extension from the Allan Expressway to the Gardiner, send-
George Smitherman Rocco Rossi
Mayoral race Continued from page 1
coming from a four point model with road tolls, subway construction open bidding, a municipal subway bond and the re-selling of expansion. In an effort to get some more clarity to the campaign platforms, we asked the candidates to elaborate on some of their commitments to voters. Here’s how our would-be mayors (or their spokespeople) responded:
Q: How will you best address the needs of voters for the future of the Toronto transit system? A: My expanded subway includes over 58 km of new subway lines [with] an Eglinton Crosstown line stretching from Kennedy to Pearson Airport; a downtown Relief Line running along Queen Street from Pape to Dundas West stations; completion of the Sheppard line to Scarborough Centre; an extension of the Bloor-Danforth line to Scarborough Centre and extension of both ends of the Yonge-University-Spadina line to Steeles.
Q: Your solution to the car vs. bike saga is ambitious and will certainly appeal to cyclists looking for political allies. How can one person’s budget include $30 million for painting lines on a road, while yours is only $5 million? Is your budget realistic or is the other budget overcompensating? A: The 5 million outlined in Bike City is specifically for curb painting, not all new bike lanes.
A: The first and most important step is to ensure the completion of Transit City - Toronto’s plan for 120km of high speed trains crisscrossing Toronto [which will] connect our more isolated neighbourhoods to the core of each other. This plan has already been approved by all three levels of government. Joe Pantalone will not allow the Provincial liberals to get cold feet.
Q: You say that you support the existing dedicated bike lane pilot, but do not elaborate on what your commitment is to expand on this project if you are elected. Can you be specific about your commitment to the bike lane pilot? A: Joe supported the creation of a separated bike lane on University Avenue. Though a pilot for this summer was voted down by Council, Joe voted for it, and when he is elected, will make sure the project is restored...And in addition to these projects, Joe strongly believes the Bike Plan must be completed and then expanded.
A: Toronto is not nearly as accessible as it should be simply because our current transit system has barely changed in the last few decades...My transportation plan has two phases and I am determined they meet their deadlines. Phase 1 Will be completed in time for the PanAm Games. Torontonians and Tourists will be able to take the TTC to York University; the Aquatic Centre at the Scarborough U of T campus; and the PanAm Village at the West Donlands and the Portlands; all of which are locations that are inaccessible by Toronto’s current transit system. Phase 2 will be completed by 2020. The Eglinton LRT will stretch from Kennedy Station to Weston Road where it will connect with the Air Link (from Union Station to Pearson Airport); the Bloor-Danforth subway line will run from Sherway Gardens across to Scarborough Town Centre; Sheppard West subway line will connect to the Yonge line; and a Finch LRT will pass through Humber College,Etobicoke General Hospital, Woodbine Centre and Woodbine Racetrack. Q: Your plans for TTC expansion sound great, however when looking at your plans for bikes, there seems to be a lack of commitment to cyclists. Your plan is to expand the recreational bike paths, and separate the very limited existing bike lanes from cars. Why do you feel it is not necessary to expand bike lanes for voters who rely on bicycles for transportation? A: Before building new bike lanes, it is important to create a plan that demonstrates pedestrian, motorist and cyclist compatibility. To do this, I want to bring public consultation to the forefront of the decision making to ensure the future Bike Lane network is one that is logical, accessible and functional. The immediate priority is to improve the conditions of existing bike lanes and increase safety by separating them from cars with curbs and to ensure the quality of our bike lane network is better than ever.
A: Mr Rossi calls for a closer relationship between Metrolinx...“I am committing to bringing Toronto into the 21st Century by adopting the regional Presto card system.” Implementation of the Presto Plus card would reduce costs, enhance revenues and provide Torontonians with the type of service enjoyed by citizens of other world-class urban centres.
Q: Your proposed plan for the expansion of the Allan to the Gardiner Expressway underground is causing quite a stir. The idea of tunneling through downtown Toronto seems audaciously ambitious, and some critics are saying that Toronto could be looking at billions of dollars spent on this project. The Boston “Big Dig” is known for the toll it took on citizens, not to mention costing $22 billion. Why should Torontonians dedicate such resources and energy towards an expansion for road traffic and not the expansion of the subway system? A: Rocco has proposed commissioning a study that will report on the “Toronto Tunnel” and allow us to assess the costs and benefits of such a major project...Toronto has the worst commute times in North America with the result that Torontonians spend more time waiting in traffic and less time with their families...The main issue is jump-starting Toronto’s economic growth and encouraging businesses to return to the downtown core. “...I want our kids to have a chance to live and work at good jobs in the city of Toronto.” Rossi believes that subways are essential. However, we cannot neglect other means by which Toronto travels, and other areas where travel is ineffective. A study of the possibility of a tunnel will bring us the specific answers we need to make this project a reality.
A: I will expand the subway system, first by completing the Bloor and Sheppard lines across Scarborough. This will give Scarborough residents access to real rapid transit, and make getting around Toronto much easier for hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, I will modernize the TTC with technology like smart payments systems to make it easier for commuters to use public transit in our city.
Q: Your plan to replace streetcars with buses sounds counter-intuitive. Buses cannot hold as many passengers as streetcars, which means you would have to put twice as many buses on the road as there are streetcars, thus causing more pollution and traffic, and racking up higher costs for fuel, as well as drivers’ salaries. Why do you feel this plan is more beneficial to voters than the plan for Transit City? A: Streetcars can have a slightly higher capacity than buses, but are rarely full. We can move the same amount of people with a similar number of buses. The Transit City plan calls for streetcar Rightof-Ways that will remove lanes of traffic from many of our busiest streets. Given that Toronto already has the worst gridlock in North America, removing lanes of traffic from busy streets makes any sense at all. Instead, I’ll put subways under the streets to move more people and help fight our serious gridlock problems.
All the interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.
September 16, 2010
Toronto loses its Hartt Cineforum closes after licensing violation
The Cineforum is dead. It joins the long list of things that many thought great and now recognize were exceptional but which the City of Toronto destroyed.
” AMY STUPAVSKY After over 40 years, the credits are rolling on Reg Hartt’s Cineforum. A self-styled film buff and champion of the underdog, Hartt created the Cineforum in 1968 as an alternative to conventional film studies, a salon in which people could watch films and exchange ideas. His unusual screenings and lectures attracted autodidacts and film lovers alike. He ran it out of his home, an easily recognizable fixture on Bathurst St,, with a neon sign and open door ushering patrons inside. The red neon sign is now absent, but the door remains open, hinting at the interior’s welcoming and convivial atmosphere. “I treat this place as a home,” Hartt explains. “I’m following the highest level of thinking and love, which is inviting
a stranger into my home as a brother or sister. Half of the city is my friend; the other half is waiting to be. The city has made it illegal for me to invite strangers into my home.” The Cineforum has been quashed by the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards department. On August 20, 2010, a representative of the department informed Hartt that if he did not cease his programming and shut the Cineforum down, he and his landlady would face legal consequences. Hartt chooses his battles carefully, and he has chosen to forego legal action. Hartt says he did not pursue the mat-
ter in court because wanted to avoid causing his elderly land-
lady stress and trauma. A complaint from a member of the public (who, according to Hartt, runs a local postering business) spurred the action from the city. Municipal Licensing and Standards considers Hartt’s Cineforum a business because he charges a fee for screenings and talks. Hartt says he is unwilling to go through the process of obtaining a business license because it would run counter to the principles of the Cineforum. “I don’t have to sell stuff here,” he says. “It kills what I’m doing.” This is not the first time that Hartt has had to contend with threats from the city. The Cineforum was forced to close its doors in the 1990s, but an influential group of city planners
helped in its resuscitation. “The Cineforum is dead,” Hartt wrote in an open letter to David Miller. “It joins the long list of things that many thought great and now recognize were exceptional but which the City of Toronto destroyed.” The city is losing the places that are so quintessentially Toronto, the brainchildren of passionate individuals who help to build the life of the city. The Cineforum joins bookstores Pages and This Ain’t The Rosedale Library in the graveyard of Toronto’s cultural institutions. Hartt expresses rage and frustration at his situation, but exhibits a philosophical outlook. He likens his situation to the plight of the underdog. “It comes back to Galileo against the Church,” he says, “If you don’t stand up and fight they get stronger, and they’re strong enough already. We know from repeated experience that tyrants gain in power because no one stands up and says, ‘no.’” At a time when TIFF dominates Toronto’s art scene and the city fetes films, it is ironic that the Cineforum has not received any support from the mainstream film community. Hartt believes it’s a case of apathy and willful deafness on the part of the majority. His screenings do not have mass appeal, but that’s the way he prefers it. “I can die this moment and I don’t have a single regret,” he says. Hartt reminisces about the people who walked into his life because of the Cineforum. He runs through a long list of sup-
September 16, 2010
porters, many influential people who saw the unique value in Hartt’s offerings, including Jane Jacobs. “I haven’t got a clue what I’m going to do next,” he quips, when I ask him about his plans for the future. Hartt affirms his commitment to the spirit of the Cineforum, and given his strong will and creativity, it’s only a matter
of time before he reinvents his project. He suggests that the Cineforum could be resurrected as a traveling assembly, taking place in different living rooms across Toronto. He seems pleased with this idea, and then says, smiling, “If we could embrace ideas the way we embrace cooking, we could make one hell of a stew.”
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Yukon Damov takes you through his fall listening picks with these two albums
James Blackshaw All is Falling
The Walkmen Lisbon With the identifiable wail and whine of their frontman, Hamilton Leithauser, and the jangly guitar-based songs that they’ve created for their last five albums, The Walkmen have kept true to form and produced an album not dissimilar from the rest of their catalogue. Whether this is to their credit -- having been linked in style to The Velvet Underground and, along with The National and Interpol, coming to symbolize in spirit the gritty urban energy of New York City -- maybe will also depend on if they ever make a truly great album, instead of the glimpses of brilliance they’ve provided so far. They’re instantly recognizable and comfortably enjoyable as a group to listen to, but it is this same comfort that too often gives way to dullness. The Walkmen have a fine template, but as they prove yet again with Lisbon, potential is a word too easily applied to it; it’s mostly about future tenses with The Walkmen. But possibily it’s also a template that doesn’t respond well to refinement because of its inherent volatility. Lisbon is a fine effort, it’s more refined and it’s worth a few spins, but it is not the album that will provide them with years’ worth of staying power. The production has been polished enough so that the vintage
instrumental equipment used sounds vintage but modern, like that way people dress these days. And the dejection and regret that spilled over in their previous album, You and Me, has been restrained so that its palatable. A title like “Woe is Me” might suggest otherwise, but tellingly the song casts off its gloomy beginnings and becomes buoyant by its end. But it’s that kind of desire for balance that also leaves one of the better tracks, “Angela Surf City,” without the raw energy that makes the single from their earlier years, “The Rat,” such a great track. More playful, lighter, exuberant, but maintain elements of gloom and sadness -- this was a fine balance to aim for, but it just missed. Maybe their next album will be the masterpiece that validates their otherwise slowly declining credibility.
Minimalism has a way of being viscerally evocative sometimes. And when it’s not evocative in this way, which requires an arbitrary personal response to the music, it can leave the listener in limbo -- numb, even. Folk styling, too, in its earthy and organic manner has a way of doing the same, except that it feels near instead of distant, as if it comes from the ground up through the feet instead of from the cosmos in through the head. Somehow master 12-string fingerpicking guitarist James Blackshaw fuses these two types of music to create an enchanting hybrid. On All Is Falling, Blackshaw has exchanged his acoustic guitar for an electric one and has incorporated strings (cellos, violins) so that his latest album has an even more expansive feel than his previous efforts, yet maintains his knack for reaching the emotions. In its circling and swirling variations on a small theme, Blackshaw’s music often attempts to envelop the listener as if it were a benign cloud. At times, however, “circling” becomes “too much repetition” and the cloud is not a benign cloud anymore, but rather a hypnotizing, grating smog. But this is a minor trifle. Usually Blackshaw creates broad, nuanced vistas of sound that are reminiscent of cinematic scores like Phillip Glass’s work.
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And though Blackshaw has expanded himself and his group even further on All Is Falling, he has not departed from his folk roots. They’re in the tones of his electric guitar and the gentle, drifting interweaving between strings strung and strings finger-picked. This strangely subdued restlessness is skewed, whacked out of its complacency towards the end of “Part 6” when vocals enter counting the beats, “1...2...3...4...etc.” It sounds completely out of place and it’s probably meant to have a dissonant effect, but it’s also a simply annoying experiment. There’s brilliant stretches in All Is Falling that feel like they’re reacting to parts of the album that seem far from brilliant. It’s an album that could pass as background music if it wasn’t worth such a close listen and if it wasn’t so grating intermittently.
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Richard III is a promising opener for Hart House Theatre’s new season work, a great stage, great people, great actors, but you’ve got to do what’s right for you as an actor.” But Sills is no stranger to the Hart House stage. Six years ago, he made his Hart House debut as Othello, in a production that Hutton directed. “It’s good to be back,” Sills says. “When I work here, I always feel like I’m being forced to look inside myself to find what these characters require. Playing Richard is definitely a challenge; anyone who says otherwise is ridiculous.” Hutton explains that the casting of Sills almost didn’t happen. “Initially I had cast a very talented student at UTM, and he wasn’t able to do it due to class obligations,” he says. “We went searching around for people who we’d worked with before. I loved working with Andre on Othello. He has the right amount of colour to his performance; he can scare the pants off you, he can be quite funny, he can go many places very strongly.” A black man of Guyanese parentage, Sills also stands out as the only non-Caucasian in the cast. Hutton’s not sure what the audience might make of that, but he doesn’t seem concerned. He says, “People can derive whatever they want from it...I think a modern audience can suspend their disbelief pretty easily, and love him because he’s so good.” And he does think the audience is going to love this Richard. “The character is so compelling and funny, and weirdly warm in some ways,” he says. “It punches you in the face when he starts killing people, but you can’t help but kinda love him and enjoy his villainy, as horrific as it gets.”
Jeremy Hutton thinks Richard III got a bum rap. Hutton, director of the Hart House Theatre’s season-opener Richard III, acknowledges that the events in William Shakespeare’s history play bear little resemblance to the King of England’s actual twoyear reign. “By most historical accounts he was a good king, but he was the victim of the biggest slander campaign in English history by the Tudors,” he says. “But Shakespeare lived in the time that he did, and he wrote the play people wanted him to write. As a result, we get this villain, and I don’t think we should shy away from that.” Similarly, Hutton and company aren’t afraid of playing up Richard’s deformity, even if there’s no historical evidence to support the claim that he was a hunchback. In the title role, Andre Sills lumbers unevenly around the stage, the left side of his body effectively ineffective. “It’s interesting to explore,” Hutton says. “How does he pick up a sword and go to battle? How does a man like that kneel, woo a woman, two, over the course of the show? The more obstacles we could place in his way, the more interesting it would be to watch him accomplish what he does.” Throughout the play, Richard confides in the audience as though they were co-conspirators to his crimes. This production takes that relationship one step further. Hutton aims to give the audience a front row seat inside Richard’s mind, by having characters appear fleetingly under spotlights amid Richard’s ramblings. He says, “When he thinks about people, they’re there. Richard can manipulate them, and walk among them.” The source material is one of Shakespeare’s longest, second only to Hamlet in verbosity. In this two-act production, some scenes have been shorn, and a few peripheral characters are gone altogether. “If anything, we’ve simplified some plot things by adding visual stuff to help it out, like the deaths of people who aren’t supposed to die on stage,” Hutton adds. They’ve also added mate-
rial. The production opens not with the famous ‘winter of our discontent’ soliloquy, but with the bloody final scenes of its dramatic predecessor, Henry VI, Part III. Hutton, an accomplished fight director, relished the opportunity to open the show
with a battle. On directing fights, he says, “you really get an integration of storytelling into the fighting. There’s no point in having violence for no reason without the story.” Andre Sills, a graduate of George Brown’s theatre program, had in recent years be-
come a fixture at the Stratford Festival, playing in four consecutive seasons. But last year, he decided to take a sabbatical from the repertory company to return to Toronto. “At Stratford, I felt I had to wait a long time to play the parts I wanted to play. It’s a nice place to
Richard III runs Wednesday through Saturday nights at the Hart House Theatre until October 2nd.
September 16, 2010
the campus comment
the newspaper asks: Did you have a good first week back?
Ginger, Chemical Physics A bit, but I’m looking forward to the point where I can start studying.
Stew, English I’m still in party mode! Whoo! Milkshake on my head! Whoooooo!
Katy, Slavic Languages I feel like my bonnet really held me back from truly enjoying the events.
Rob, Cinema Studies
Mary, Art History Um, I don’t, um, pay attention to this stuff but like, um, I’m going to go see the Dirty Projects later, um, does that like, count?
It gave me all these feelings and I don’t know how to handle them.