Page 1

THE ARTIST VS URBAN OUTFITTERS

the newspaper

Since 1978

^

VOL XXXV Issue 3 • September 20, 2012

ALICIA NAUTA

The University of Toronto’s Independent Weekly

5

John Han “I can tell you it was fun, and I hope it was for them too,” said U of T Law Professor Anver Emon, speaking of his first undergraduate class in Islamic Law held last week. While Emon has taught a variety of audiences, ranging from graduate students to NATO lawyers, he has never had the responsibility--or pleasure-of teaching an undergraduate course at the University of Toronto. That is until now, thanks to the Undergraduate Course Development Fund, which allows for professors who teach mostly graduates to teach undergraduate courses. One of the people responsible for designing this project is Pro-

fessor Scott Mabury, who teaches Chemistry and is the Vice President of Operations. When interviewed, Mabury explained that the main objective of the Fund was to “make the most of our faculty complement [numbers], delivering upon the expectation that students will receive the best from the best.” Mabury described the University of Toronto as internationally renowned for its brilliant minds from all over the world. Yet most of these graduate professors spend their time researching, not teaching. For Mabury, the Fund will allow for the “unrealized capacity of non-teaching professors to be channeled directly into the undergraduate classrooms.”

Tuition up again Emily Meikle Tuition fees across the nation are rising at a pace almost four times the rate of inflation. Ontario students continue to pay higher tuition rates than the other provinces and more than twice as much as students in Quebec. While Ontario attributes this to the costs of higher enrolment, opponents of the increase remain unsatisfied.

According to a Statistics Canada report released on September 12, tuition fees across Canada increased by 4.3 per cent between 2011 and 2012 ,while inflation was only 1.3 per cent. These statistics were echoed in “Eduflation and the High Cost of Learning,” a report published by the left of centre think tank, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). “We call it eduflation,” said

FANG SU

New initiative takes graduate professors out of research and into the classroom Students receive the best from the best, benefitting graduate professors most

Grad professors may soon be teaching these undergrads. Originally, Provost Cheryl Misak approached Mabury with the idea and this spark exploded

with 34 undergraduate courses offered this year, ranging from

see page 3

THREE WAYS ONTARIO WANTS TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE

3

^

the briefs Rob Ford causes controversy in the Windy City

Rob Ford may be out of town but he hasn’t left the headlines. During a photo-op on a two-day business mission to Chicago, Mayor Ford asked a Toronto Star reporter if he would find him in bed with him that night. “Am I going to be sleeping with you tonight?” Ford asked The Star’s David Rider, jokingly. On his last radio show, Ford said the press is hounding him so much he could expect to find a reporter in his bed. Rider’s response: “I hope not.”

Not everybody loves Marineland

Questions over the living conditions of animals at Marineland have led Premier Dalton McGuinty to call for tougher animal welfare laws. Former Marineland staff claim that poor water and employee shortages at the Niagara Falls amusement park are to blame for chronic illnesses among sea mammals kept there and for the recent death of a baby beluga. “My sense is we’re going to have to do something, “ McGuinty announced, adding that the government will wait until the ongoing investigation of Marineland is over before reviewing animal care

see page 2


2

THE NEWS

September 20, 2012

U of T physicist casts doubt on founding principle of quantum mechanics

Change the textbooks! Research conducted at the University of Toronto has uncovered a flaw in Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, a founding principle of quantum mechanics and modern physics which states that it is impossible to measure something without affecting the result of the measurement. The research, headed by Professor Aephraim M. Steinberg and released in early September 2012, proves that making measurements does not necessarily disturb a quantum system to the extent suggested by

the principle. “I think it’ll have a big impact on the way we teach the uncertainty principle, the way we write our textbooks because a lot of what we say now is not strictly true,” said Steinberg in an interview with the newspaper. The way Heisenberg himself talked about the uncertainty principle was that one cannot measure the position and the momentum of an electron at the same time. This is because when one tries to figure out the exact position of an electron under the microscope, for example, the light bounc-

MISHA KOURZAKOV

Sigrid Roman

HART HOUSE HAIR PLACE Finest Cutting and Style Colour and Highlights

7 HART HOUSE CIRCLE MONDAY TO FRIDAY, 8:30 - 5:30 SATURDAY, 9:00 - 5:00 For Appointments Call: 416-978-2431

EXCELLENT WORK & REASONABLE RATES

the newspaper the newspaper is the University of Toronto’s independent weekly paper, published since 1978. VOL XXXV No. 3

Editor-in-Chief Cara Sabatini

Managing Editor Helene Goderis

News Editor Yukon Damov

Design Editor Samantha Chiusolo

Arts Editor Vanessa Purdy

Contributors

Photo Editor Bodi Bold Illustrations Editor Nick Ragetli Web Editor Joe Howell the newspaper 1 Spadina Crescent Suite 245 Toronto, ON M5S 1A1

Suzie Balabuch, Justin Beattie, Bodi Bold, Dan Christensen, Yukon Damov, Sebastian Greenholtz, John Han, Dylan Horby, Emily Meikle, Felicia Perricelli, Vanessa Purdy, Nick Ragetli, Sigrid Roman, Fang Su, Geoffrey Vendeville

Editorial: 416-593-1552 thenewspaper@gmail.com www.thenewspaper.ca

the newspaper is published by Planet Publications Inc., a nonprofit corporation. All U of T community members, including students, staff and faculty, are encouraged to contribute to the newspaper.

es off the electron, pushing it and therefore changing its momentum. Momentum is the product of mass and velocity, and because momentum is changed, so is velocity. For that reason, any measurement of position would by design change the velocity of the electron. Using a combination of ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ measurements of a photon’s polarization, Steinberg discovered that the uncertainty principle is not as precise as previously believed. Following the measurements, the photon’s polarization displayed less than half of the disturbance expected. “The amount of disturbance I need to add might not be very big where there was already uncertainty there to begin with,”

said Steinberg. Steinberg does not reject the belief that nature is uncertain. The question he aimed to answer when testing the uncertainty principle was whether making measurements adds to the preexisting uncertainty. The findings, professor Steinberg assured us, do not debunk the theory completely but do undermine the authority of the principle to an extent that warrants attention. “The real Heisenberg relationship is fine because it just says there has to be some uncertainty in the momentum; it doesn’t say that I have to produce it.” Besides making present textbooks obsolete, Steinberg argues that certain experiments which apply the Heisenberg formula might also be affected.

legislation.

It’s curtains for the Toronto Underground Cinema

As of last Sunday, the Toronto Underground is no more, leaving only one independent repertory cinema in the city (The Royal). One of the Underground’s co-managers announced in December that the theatre would be closing for financial reasons. The cinema bid farewell to the city with a double-bill screening of Night of the Comet and, fittingly, The Last Waltz. Geoffrey Vendeville

ADVERTISE HERE, REACH STUDENTS If you want to make the

most of your local business, contact our ad department ads@thenewspaper.ca


www.thenewspaper.ca

3

THE NEWS

Ontario gets ready to transform post-secondary education Three proposed changes you should know about

“I would argue we’re about to go through a decade-long transformation bigger than any we’ve had in nearly 50 years — to modernize our education system and spend smarter,” Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, told The Toronto Star in a recent interview. An increasing and changing demand for post-secondary education enrollment, rising costs, and rapidly evolving technology have forced the provincial government into reconsidering the post-secondary education structure. In June, the Murray’s ministry released a paper entitled Strengthening Ontario’s Centres of Creativity, Innovation, and Knowledge. Designed to spur discussion on forthcoming transformations to postsecondary education in Ontario, the final deadline approaches for proffering feedback from affected stakeholders: Sept. 30th. As the date draws near, two separate forums are being opened to discuss the paper and also to learn more about the issues at hand. On Monday, OISE can teach you about the issues at

from “Tuition” Erika Shaker, an author of the CCPA report. “Very deliberate decisions are being made by provincial governments to download more of the cost to students and their families. The actual amount of the increases happen to be so large that, in fact, they eclipse inflation and the average income for median families and certainly for low-income families.” Despite this condemnation of tuition hikes, the Ontario government maintains that the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is one of the most generous in the country. “The government is committed to making postsecondary education accessible on the basis of ability to learn, not ability to pay,” said Gyula Kovacs, Senior Media Relations and Issues Coordinator of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Because funding for Canadian post-secondary institutions is controlled at the provincial level, both tuition fees and the amount of revenue contributed by the government vary drastically across the country. “Different jurisdictions face

a free and public, all-day symposium including professors from U of T, York and other Ontario universities. On Tuesday, the U of T Students’ Union is hosting an Emergency Town Hall to garner student feedback. The Town Hall will help shape UTSU’s formal submission to the Ministry. So what are some of the drastic changes proposed? Here’s four you should consider: 1. Online University Not only will there be a push towards increased online courses, but the province is expected to establish an Ontario Online Institute capable of granting degrees and to compete with the likes of the University of Athabasca. As discussed in last week’s the newspaper debate, online education is still in its infancy as an innovation, accessible and flexible for the disabled or especially busy student, and can reduce costs by accommodating huge classes, but the drawback is a diluted learning experience due to lack of face-to-face contact amongst students and oneon-one with their teacher. There is also the question of an onlinedegree’s recognition. 2. Three-year degrees different post-secondary education challenges,” added Kovacs. “Since 2002-03, post-secondary education enrolment in Ontario has increased by 150,000 fulltime students, much more than in any other province. Ontario has supported the enrolment of new students through significant increases to operating grants to colleges and universities, capital investments and enhancements to student financial aid.” However, opponents of the increases remain unsatisfied. “Between 1979 and 2009, the proportion of university operating revenue provided by government sources dropped from 84 per cent to 65 per cent and the amount from tuition increased from 12 per cent to 35 per cent,” said Shaker. “Within that, provinces have made their own very different choices.” Ontario tuition fee increases are currently capped at a maximum annual rate of 4.3 per cent for the entering year of most college and undergraduate programs, 8 per cent for the entering year of graduate and highdemand university and college programs, and 4 per cent for all subsequent years of enrolment. Both the CCPA and the StatsCan reports indicate that

One of the more controversial elements of the proposal, threeyear bachelor’s degrees would not necessarily involve a condensed program, but rather a shift to year-round campuses with three full semesters and the opportunity for students to earn half their credits online. U of T abolished three-year degrees about a decade ago, partly because of the removal of Grade 13 in Ontario high-schools. The Ontario Confederation of Faculty Associations has expressed concerns that dropping Grade 13 has already forced universities into adjusting to first-years not quite prepared for university. They add that a three-year degree would diminish the “university experience.” 3. Transferrable credits So as to increase the efficiency of the credit transfer process and allow students more mobility across Ontario universities, the province is seeking to bring a certain level of standardization to first- and second-year courses. The province will establish learning outcome assessments in an attempt to ensure Ontario students finishing core courses will have a similar knowledge base. The issue here is quality the average Ontario student paid $7,513 last year. Tuition in Newfoundland and Labrador, which has been frozen since 2003-04, was only $2,861. In Quebec, in response to the massive student protests that took place over the last academic year, the newly elected Parti Quebecois have promised to scrap the tuition increases proposed by the Liberal government. As a result, Quebec tuition remains the second lowest in the country at $3,278. “It’s very inspiring seeing the folks in Quebec be able to come together to refute what’s going on,” said Abigail Cujoe, UTSU VP External Affairs. “It’s a very different context in Ontario compared to what’s happening in other provinces.” While the student movement in Ontario managed to procure a 30 per cent tuition rebate in 2011, many supporters of the movement claim that the Liberal party was deceptive in promising this rebate as it only applies to a select group of students. Although there have been several smaller protests recently, Ontario has yet to experience anything on the scale of the Quebec student movement.

NICK RAGETLI

Yukon Damov

control. Some of the recommendations could take effect before

the end of the year, according to Murray, but others may require legislation.

from “Grad professors”

professors “dumb down” their lectures for the Undergraduates, both Mabury and Emon answered no. “It’s not so much what year they are in but what background material they have,” Mabury said. He related it to teaching a foreign language and asked if it was dumbing down to teach what a verb is and how grammar works. Clearly not, he concluded. Emon echoed these words by saying he capitalizes on Undergraduate skill sets and prerequisite courses, which ensure a sophisticated conversation. The Fund is intended to be beneficial for both students and professors. In a phone interview with the newspaper, Professor Emon described his reasons for joining as a chance to “draw upon younger minds who are embedded in developing their own connections to the humanities,” and to engage with undergraduate students’ diverse academic backgrounds. Whether for a fervor to educate or a fervor to fund departments, the newly initiated Undergraduate Course Development Fund is set to expand into 60 courses within a few years. Emon looks forward to his continued participation: “It’s an important time for [Undergraduates] . . . in terms of their own intellectual development and their place in the world, and I’m delighted to be part of it.”

Law to Forestry to Public Health. A graduate department proposes a course, and after consultation with the Vice Dean, receives permission to teach it. Each course is monitored for a year or two and if no one enrols (there is a 20 student minimum), the course is cancelled. However, if the course becomes popular, more funding is given to that graduate department. The keyword here is funding. Mabury noted that Graduate departments have no access to Undergraduate funds. However, the University of Toronto does. If a program for undergraduates proposed by a Graduate department is approved, that faculty is rewarded with a sum of money for further research. This creates an initiative for Graduate professors to teach first-entry classes since it means the revenue of their department increases in proportion to the Graduate-proposed classes that are approved. While departments might run the risk of burdening their instructors, Mabury explains that “[Graduate] Professors have to rearrange teaching schedules but we are providing an outlet. Everything is purely voluntary, and the money certainly helps.” Mabury states the money in no way goes to the professor teaching to but the department they represent. When asked if Graduate


4

THE DEBATE

September 20, 2012

Government should get bigger, so we don’t What is the Canadian government’s role in regulating our diet? about the lack of availability. The government needs to invest in more programs that provide our students with a proper nutrition education, and create more resources that encourage and enable families to eat healthier. It is pretty obvious what needs to be done: the government needs to take control, keep a closer eye on food companies and get rid of those vending machines.

First off, these efforts are nothing new. We can draw on a past example with placing warning labels on cigarettes. The argument was that when the public is uninformed that what they consume could be dangerous, swift action must be taken. However, fast food works under a completely different set of circumstances. Unlike the cigarette industry, which used to enjoy endorsements from doctors, we’re now living in a generation obsessed with healthy eating and nutrition. The public is bombarded with countless nutritional studies, thousands of diets and magical weight-loss programs.

This all boils down to a basic point: The public is more informed than ever that fast food is unhealthy. The people Mayor Bloomberg is trying to help, shoving their faces into Baconators and guzzling 20oz soft drinks know it too. Displaying calorie contents at McDonalds will only satisfy people who obsess over everything they eat, and won’t curb people from consuming what they already know is unhealthy. The city telling people how much they can and cannot consume is simply offensive, not effective. It insinuates that we can’t take care of ourselves and require bureau-

PRO

^^

There’s no doubt that obesity is literally a huge problem in North America, but finding a solution has proven to be more challenging. Some government officials, notably New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, believe that stricter regulation will help curb the trend. In a story that has garnered international attention, New York’s Board of Health passed a ban on the sale of soft drinks over 20oz (600ml). Increased pressure has prompted restaurants and franchises (McDonalds in particular) to display calorie counts on all of their menus.

NICK RAGETLI

CON

Dylan Hornby

Big Brother won’t let anyone get any bigger. Last week, McDonalds locations south of the border began listing calorie counts on all its menu items. Recent US Supreme Court decision to uphold President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan included the mandate that restaurant chains with over 20 locations must post calorie info. Additionally, state governments are not taking the obesity issue lightly. New York City board of health decision to prohibit the sale of fountain sodas over 16 oz (473 ml). With over a third of American adults categorized as obese, the US is certainly the heavyweight champion, but Canada is not far behind. NICK RAGETLI

The hard truth is that most people need help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The government needs to increase their role in regulating our nutrition by restricting unhealthy products that corporations introduce to the market, and by controlling the types of food served in our schools. According to Statistics Canada, in 2007 to 2009, nearly a quarter of all Canadians could be categorized as obese. In 2004, 26 per cent of children between the ages of 2 and 17 could be categorized overweight or obese, compared with 15 per cent in 1979. If the government fails to be more vigilant over what money-hungry food companies put out on the market, who will protect us? Past government attempts to remedy this situation, such as introducing the food guide pyramid and mandating that

corporations label their products, are vital but not enough. Regulation should extend to the types of food available in school cafeterias. In my high school, my choices were limited to things such as French fries, hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza. Needless to say, I ended up bringing lunch boxes for three years in a row! While vegetarian options are much healthier than junk food, many students are not even aware of them, let alone think

^ ^

Sigrid Roman

crats to make the “tough” decisions instead. With obvious loopholes such as the government’s ability to enforce, and the many fast food joints that offer unlimited refills, this size ban will likely prove fruitless. One of the best solutions to obesity can be found through the fast food industry itself. As fast food continues to be demonized in popular culture, restaurants have been forced to come up with healthier food options. Not only does this improve the health of the general public, it creates a whole new health-conscious demographic interested in fast food. If this new consumer demand

continues to rise, we’ll see less of a need for wasteful government intervention. Instead we can let fast food giants compete for profit by selling tastier and healthier food on the free market, something that effectively benefits everyone.


www.thenewspaper.ca

5

THE INSIDE

ARTISTS, COPYRIGHT, AND URBAN OUTLAWS Copyright, copy wrong and the status of emerging artists in Canada

her consent, and requires no action on the part of the offender. What is even more concerning for Adams is that unlike the United States, where legislation mandates certain levels of compensation, Canada has no standardized awards for successful cases. When artists’ claims are successful, they often receive no more than they would have originally charged to legally license their work. Unsurprisingly, financial barriers faced by artists attempting to pursue a case of copyright infringement in court often prevent them from ever doing so. Adams notes that large companies, like Urban Outfitters, with their formidable financial resources are aware of this advantage. For large companies, appropriating work without consent proves to be a more cost effective business practice when compared to ethically licensing work from artists. While organizations like Access Copyright Canada offer advice and support to artists trying to protect their work, Adams concludes that, as it stands, the legislation simply isn’t there to lend the advantage, or even a level playing field, to individual artists. While Nauta took the opportunity to remind Urban Outfitters of her copyright and their past transgressions against other artists, she received only a cordial but evasive e-mail in reply. Should they choose to use her work without her consent, the advantage still belongs to them.

Justin Beattie Hipster clothing retailer, Urban Outfitters, has drawn attention from the US arts community for its recurring theft of jewelry designs and other artwork. Last week, the retailer’s unethical practices ventured into the Toronto arts community, and approached local Graphic Artist Alicia Nauta with an offer to retail her work. Featured over a year ago in the Village Voice, the clothing retailer manufactured one-toone reproductions of a series of pendants without any consultation from designer, Chicago artist Stevie Koerner. Along with a Navajo-themed liquor flask, this is just another example of unethically sourced products on Urban Outfitters’ shelves. On Tuesday, September 11, Urban Outfitters contacted Alicia Nauta, OCAD University graduate and resident artist of her Murdertides blog, offering to mass-produce three pieces of her artwork to be sold as wallart. This would seem like the big break she had been waiting for, a multinational company offering to license her work so it could be sold in stores across North America. But the offer was a pittance: one dollar out of the $24 price tag slated for the 600 reproductions Urban Outfitters planned to make. Naturally, she declined the offer. This is well out of line with what artists, even emerging ones, should expect to receive in compensation for licensing their work. If Nauta had awarded Urban Outfitters a full license, the company could to continue to reproduce her work indefinitely without offering any further financial compensation. Better than stealing, but not by much. What was even more troubling to Nauta was that the initial email from Urban Outfitters included three copies of her prints sourced from her Blog, obtained without her prior authorization. According to Kathryn Adams, a freelance illustrator and Business Practices instructor at Sheridan College and OCAD U, “That would be like walking into a shoe store, taking the shoes out of the store...wearing them home... then calling the store and saying...you know, I really like these shoes, so I’m going to give you ten bucks for them even though they’re marked in the store...at $200.” Adams noted that taking an artist’s work without asking is a common business practice

among many larger retailers. In Canada, the copyright for artistic work is automatically awarded to the creator, requiring no further action on the part of the artist. However, without any kind of regulated registration process, proving ownership of the art is difficult at best. Adams suggests registering work with the U.S. Copyright Office for a fee of about $50 per item as more secure proof of copyright should legal proceedings begin. While not an insignificant cost for emerging artists like Nauta, this is a small amount in comparison to the legal fees required for an artist to pursue a copyright claim in civil court, which can often amount to more than the artist would be awarded in settlement should the case eventually prove successful. Since these cases are dealt with in civil court, it is up to the artist to prove that it is indeed her image used without

Above: “There are too many shadows” screenprint by artist Alicia Nauta, pictured below.

Left:

>> Hear ye, hear ye. Find out more about this story, listen to the podcast online at thenewspaper.ca


6

THE ARTS

September 20, 2012

From disability to remarkability The Abilities Art Festival breaks barriers Vanessa Purdy Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” The same can be said for disability, and the Arts Abilities Festival will be making Torontonians see, starting this week. Abilities presents the work of artists with disabilities either visible or invisible. It was founded ten years ago by artist Sharon Wolfe, partially in response to a remark by a friend of hers. “Her friend, who had MS, commented, ‘We have Caribana and Pride and all these parades in Toronto, there ought to be a disability parade, we ought to celebrate this,’” relayed the festival’s Executive Director, Rina Fraticelli. Instead of a parade, the festival was developed and it has seen incredible growth since, with the addition of a media and children’s component as well. “It’s interesting because we’re a multidisciplinary festival, so it’s kind of hard to pigeonhole that way; plus Toronto is so rich in art that we

Work by festival artists Mike Monize & Natalia Isak. really have to open the gates as much as we can,” Fraticelli explained. “While Abilities is exceedingly successful within its sphere, it doesn’t really have profiles outside of it...it’s kind of one of those best-kept secrets.”

In honour of its tenth anniversary, Abilities is launching Canada’s first ever artist-in-residence position for a disabilityidentified artist. “Generally speaking, people don’t like to be called disabled because in a lot of cases the dis-

ability is in the way in which the society contextualizes it,” Fraticelli explained. “It’s like we learned with the women’s movement...we need to ensure that underrepresented groups get to represent themselves.” Abilities will be participat-

ing in this year’s Nuit Blanche. “We wanted to kind of take over a Queen streetcar and get the festival out of the closeted space where only people who know about it know about it, but the streetcar isn’t accessible,” Fraticelli recounts of their original Nuit Blanche plan. Instead, their installment is called “The Listening Post,” featuring site-specific audioplays told by eloquent storytellers, that cover a selection of topics from the toils of the original inpatients of CAMH to a drunken odyssey. It all comes down to art accessibility, and it works both ways. Said Fraticelli, “What we’re doing here is removing obstacles, both from preventing the artist from doing their work, and also those that impede the audience from getting to their work.” Abilities Arts Festival runs September 20th-October 11th. Visit abilitiesartsfestival.org for more information.

This hour has 60 minutes Vanessa Purdy If there’s one thing U of T students are known for, it’s probably not their love of laughter and relaxation. Current students Jacob Duarte-Spiel and Alexander Saxton have defied that stereotype, large-scale, with their monthly comedy show aptly titled One Hour Fun Hour. Held at the Crown and Tiger, One Hour has featured some of Toronto’s--and Canada’s--top comedic talent, with names like Scott Thompson and Dave Merheje gracing (or more likely, pacing) the stage. Coming up on its first anniversary, it appears that the show is becoming a staple on the standup scene, although that wasn’t always a certainty for its creators. “The first show was just a trial run to see if it would work; and it did, we packed the venue,” explained Duarte-Spiel to the newspaper earlier this week.

Since then, it’s been a good ride for the childhood friends. Duarte-Spiel and Saxton grew up with deep appreciation for comedy--Patton Oswalt, Paul F. Tompkins and Louis CK are among their favourites--and despite studying History and Immunology, respectively, they never lost their drive to make people laugh. One Hour is almost a way to help ensure other students don’t either. “You can never stop focusing on the youth element. There are always more people coming to university and that’s when people get interested in seeing live comedy; and they’ll be more likely to nurture that interest later in life,” DuarteSpiel explained. Saxton added, “It’s the the sweet nicotine of comedy.” “You can use it [comedy] for good or evil...we use it for evil, to make people spend their time in a basement surrounded by alcohol,” Duarte-Spiel clarified.

Although in a basement, One Hour isn’t the average Toronto stand-up show. “I think that because we don’t do this for a living it gives us a different perspective and different priorities,” said Duarte-Spiel. The complete show is available on iTunes in podcast form, a sure sign of its growing popularity and commitment to making itself appealing and accessible to the academic, not excluding the nerdy university crowd. “I think a lot of comics are nerds, and it’s nice for them to have an audience where they can talk about stuff people wouldn’t normally get,” mused Saxton. “You don’t have to explain who Peter Dinklage is to our audience.”

You can catch the next One Hour Fun Hour at 10pm this Saturday, venue TBA. Performers include U of T alumnus and recent Comedy Brawl finalist Diana Bailey. PWYC.

KELSEY MARTIN

U of T students take funny-making into their own hands


www.thenewspaper.ca

7

THE ARTS

Buy a smart phone just for a laugh Annual comedy festival returns to Toronto, gets a 21st century upgrade

about how the media deals with a phenomenon sometimes so that it’s almost like there is an emperor-wears-no Clothes type of atmosphere created.

Dan Christensen After a year without a Toronto festival, Just For Laughs makes its triumphant return to the city rechristened as JFL42. And along with the new name they’ve decided to make some changes. The most significant change to the festival, however, comes in the ways in which the performances are ticketed. You must have a Facebook account to purchase a ticket to the festival, as your pass and all reservations are associated with that account. Additionally, organizers have made it clear that smartphones are the preferred method of interacting with the festival, remarking on their website that “for the fullest festival experience, a smartphone is the way to go.” This helps them to enforce the non-transferrable nature of the passes. A single pass affords you access to every act over the eight days of the festival, but you can’t reserve seats for every show all at once. Depending on whether you buy the $99 or $149 pass, you are allotted four or eight credits respectively. You can use one credit to reserve a spot at a performance, but you get the credit back once the performance is complete so that you may use it to reserve a spot at another performance. The only exception to this rule is the festival headliner – Louis CK. Having rocketed to stardom with his FX show and near-annual standup specials, the organizers have recognized that his appearance will likely eclipse most of the other acts, and have guaranteed every pass-holder a seat at one of his four shows. However if all seats are taken for your show, you are still able to “show interest” in that performance via your online account, which puts you in a virtual waiting list for any seats that might become available. This also allows the organizers to move acts around to to larger or more intimate venues, depending on audience interest. No longer are the acts at the festival limited to just comedy. There will also be modern art exhibits and performances, documentary screenings, and

Do you know Louis personally? Did it have any effect on you? It’s not like we’re enemies. In the old days we were friends, but I wouldn’t consider us friends now. Some comedians assume that I was tight with Louis or you know, like I’m Judas. He is Jesus and they thought I was Judas. But I’d say I’m more like the Doubting Thomas.

A lot of times on stage I’ll be in the middle of a joke and I’ll realize “oh, I was supposed to put a punchline here.” I need to work on that. Note to self. Work on jokes offstage. -Andy Kindler even a poetry slam under the festival banner. As for the comedy itself, an effort has been made to make the slate of acts more attuned to alternative. Widely-recognized names from 2010’s festival such as Everybody Loves Raymond’s Brad Garrett, and Whose Line Is It Anyways’ Wayne Brady have been replaced by lesser known acts like beatboxer-cum-musical comedian Reggie Watts, the deadpan stand-up stylings of Todd Barry, or a taping of Chris Hardwick’s geek-culture oriented The Nerdist Podcast. In fact, Andy Kindler, a favourite at the Montreal festival for his annual roast-like State of the Industry address is hosting The Alternative Show, a line-up of just such rising talents whose fan base isn’t as well represented by the Nielsen TV ratings. He gave us some insights on his comedy, his address this year at the Montreal festival, and the festival headliner, Louis CK. Newspaper: People call your comedy very self-referential, I might describe you as self-conscious, or self-deprecating maybe. Andy: Yeah, all those qualities that you have chosen so far I would agree with. I think still reverential, I have incredible reverence for myself. The trick is: tell the joke, you comment

on how the joke did, then you blame the crowd for not getting the joke, and then you condescendingly explain what the joke meant, then you talk about how you’re feeling now that the joke has been told and the people haven’t liked it and you have mixed feelings about yourself, and goodnight, drive safe. Some comedians have a persona on stage that is really different from the way they are in real life. Would you say that’s true for you? Well, I would say there’s no difference. The only difference between my personality on stage and off stage is that on stage I know that I have to try and get through a joke. And yet, I’ll still belabour it. A lot of times on stage I’ll be in the middle of a joke and I’ll realize “oh, I was supposed to put a punchline here.” I need to work on that. Note to self. Work on jokes offstage. How long have you been doing the State of the Industry address that you do at Just For Laughs Montreal? I’ve been doing that speech since 1995. N: There was a ton of press about your comments about Louis CK because he’s a hugely successful comic right now. People are saying ‘Andy Kindler hates Louis

CK,’ ‘he’s out to destroy Louis CK.’ Do you think what you were saying was taken out of context? I did this speech, which I always do, and I did go after Louis CK in the speech. But a lot of times times when I do the speech I’ll go after people that we all agree are pretty horrible, so we all laugh. Like Jay Leno. But people really didn’t agree with me about Louis CK because he is, as you say, a beloved figure. The thing about the Louis stuff was that I had mixed feelings about it. It’s not that I don’t think Louis is talented and it’s not that what I was talking about was really all about Louis, it was more

Can you tell us a little about the current state of comedy and The Alternative Show that you’ll be hosting at this year’s festival? At Montreal [Just For Laughs] in 1997 or ‘98 I started this alternative show. Comedy in the early to late 90s was so homogenized and so a lot of comedians like me formed this other movement. But now it’s really exciting. The show I did in montreal this last year expanded to four nights and we never did anything [like that before]. I really do think this might be the best time period I’ve ever seen for stand-up there’s so many really funny people doing just so many different types of things. Check thenewspaper.ca for the full interview.


8

THE END

September 20, 2012

U of T scores high on international green cards Why is the University of Toronto thanking us for thinking? As proclaimed by posters plastered all over the university walls, your green thinking has helped UofT achieve a record 71.4 per cent diversion rate in 2011. This means that over 70 per cent of waste materials on the St. George Campus were recycled, and thus diverted from landfills. Will Warnica, Sustainability Commissioner for the University of Toronto Students’ Union, points to the almost universal placement of recycling bins wherever garbage cans appear on campus. Warnica adds, “many bins are also labelled with pictures of recyclable items to help students correctly sort their waste.” Beyond our recycling programmes, the University of Toronto boasts many sustainability successes over the years. The Strategic Plan for the University of Toronto Sustainability Office compiles reports from third party groups such as the Sustainable Endowment Institute’s Green Report Card. According to its website, the College Sustainability Report Card is “the only comparative evaluation of campus and endowment sustainability activities at

colleges and universities in the United States and in Canada.” U of T rates an A-, a comparable rating to most Ivy League schools, but below Brown and Yale. The report specifically commended the U of T’s dining halls on composting pre- and post-meal food scraps. The Facilities and Services department has worked to reduce the university’s carbon footprint for over 45 years. Starting from the 1964 switch from coal to gas boilers, improvements have been made in electrical savings, grounds keeping, recycling, and thermal and water savings. The University of Toronto has received several sustainability awards. In 2009 the Exam Centre became a LEED Gold Certification, an internationally-recognized designation for green design and construction. This year, U of T was named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers by Canada’s Top 100 Employers project for its commitment to sustainability. But we aren’t perfect. Will Warnica laments the limited places for organic waste disposal, which “would make a big difference to UofT’s waste diversion.” Plus, according to Warnica there are rumors of funding cuts to sustainability offices on UTM and UTSC campuses, and

If these garbage bins could talk. since “sustainability offices are crucial for promoting sustainability initiatives and ensuring appropriate policies are enacted” this indicates further weakness. An indication of the commitment University of Toronto students have towards sustainability comes from the number of clubs and student groups involved in greening UofT. The

Sustainability Office lists 15 different environmental student groups, from college environmental clubs, to the “Print Double Sided” club, promoting the use of double-sided printing to reduce paper waste. University of Toronto has a clear green streak running through students and faculty alike, and both sides work to make campus even greener. The

the campus comment

UTSU Sustainability Commission plans to lobby this year for more water fountains and promotion of campus agriculture. Compared to peer universities, U of T leads in greenhouse gas emission reduction, recycling, food service, and transportation. We may be a giant university but we don’t have a giant impact on the environment.

Sebastian Greenholtz

BODI BOLD

Sustainable practices on campus help reduce our carbon footprint

the newspaper asked: What’s something cool or interesting you found discarded, in the garbage, in the street or wherever?

2

ILEEA Psychology, 4th year “Well, last week my boss found a plastic spoon in the garbage. He picked it up and put it in the sink so we could wash and re-use it.”

KHATIJA Environmental Studies, 1st year “On the street, I found a children’s electronic toy that tells you facts about giraffes when you press the buttons!”

LOUIS Visual Arts, 2nd year “I found an awesome yellow wooden chair on the street in a pile of garbage. I brought it home to my room in Toronto, and eventually it came with me when I moved to Montreal.”

MICHAEL EEB Economics, 2nd year “I was walking around High Park the other day and I found a creepy stuffed elephant toy in a tree. I left it there.”

HAMMER Life Sciences, 1st year

FELICIA PERRICELLI

CASSANDRA Humanities, 1st year “I found a perfectly new-looking pair of running shoes on the street, and I wondered about who would’ve left them. They weren’t my size, so I left them.”

“I found a Barney costume and I wore it to halloween.”

Sept 20, 2012  

The September 20, 2012 issue of the University of Toronto's independent weekly.