A SUPER MAN
LIFESTYLE | CULTURE | PEOPLE | TRENDS
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A SUPER MAN
LIFESTYLE | CULTURE | PEOPLE | TRENDS
2019-02-26 5:52 PM
On the cover: Tal Czudner: A Superman to his family, friends and community.
The DRIVE magazine is delivered direct to nearly 50,000 select homes and businesses throughout Windsor-Essex exclusively through Canada Post. Mail subscriptions available. Please email request to: firstname.lastname@example.org CANADA POST Delivery agreement no. 43497602. Printed in Canada. Owned and operated by the Landscape Effects Group of Companies. 1125 County Road #42 RR#1, Belle River ON, N0R1A0, 519.727.4769 All advertisement content to appear are subject to approval of the publisher and the publication assumes no responsibility for content included. We do not necessarily share the opinion or views of such advertising and assume no liability of this content or messaging.
EDUCATION DRIVE At the age of 24, Selina Gabriele is making education more accessible with speech-to-text software
WELCOME 6 Editor's letter TREND DRIVE 9 Rising Trends 11 Refresh your home for Spring SOCIAL DRIVE 14 A social and sustainable mission to give children a proper educationâ€”INpact Collective LIFE DRIVE 18 The rise and cost of distracted driving 22 Growing as artists at the Riverfront Theatre Company MUSIC DRIVE 37 The Tea Party: Windsor's biggest musical export returns PSYCH DRIVE 48 W hy does one person succeed and another fail? Optimism boot camp ART DRIVE 54 Shirley Williams paints herself out of a corner by moving to Windsor 58 We welcome Lucas Cabral, the new executive director at Artcite, and learn what's coming up this spring
FASHION DRIVE Talented, up-and-coming, fashion design graduate Jhon Rhoncal is invited to debut at Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo
30 PEOPLE DRIVE A superman in disguise, Tal Czudner is a hero in the community
A few months ago, I barricaded myself in a boardroom with copies of our past DRIVE magazine issues. I wanted to review each one since our rebrand in spring 2018, and capture what the overall read and image looked like at a glance. Our goal is to keep elevating the conversation in each piece, issue, and year. The one thing that stood out the most was the lengths of our features. We were nearing 4,000 words of copy, and that was a time commitment that was too much to ask from our readers. So, our team came together to create a logical but effective solution: shorter reads that allow for better impact, while still evoking emotions and thoughts. Our aim is for you to enjoy each issue while still soaking in all the great stories we love sharing with you, without disrupting your busy day-to-day life.
I am a junkie when it comes to ‘learning life lessons’ and while this is not new, I was present to the old adage: to allow change, you need to step back and be open-minded, and you will see a different picture. The results are always surprising. So much so, I found myself repeating the words “Oh really?” Both words came up on several occasions when exploring ideas on how to improve our 2019 publications, especially after our focus group results. I was so amused with the phrase that I chose to pass that on to you in this issue. It was unanimous: we all want to leave you also saying, “Oh really?” Tal Czudner is our issue feature, and we will explore his personal and work life. Our ‘wellness tips’ with Oh So Mona; our shocking distracted driving statistics; and our stories on the resurgence of the Tea Party, our soaring students, and Windsor’s booming art scene will surely all leave you saying “Oh really?” We look forward to your continued feedback at email@example.com Sabine Main, Editorial + Creative Director
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EMBRACE FUTURISM The world is celebrating technology that makes our lives easier and advances that are redefining our lives. Tech is reinventing itself and capturing our everyday. Unlike AI, which tends to cheapen our day-to-day life—think of all those times Amazon recommended a book to you or Netflix suggested a film or TV show—everyday futurism is about the automation revolution. From biometric modality of fingerprint technology to face recognition to robotic processing automation and e-sports, the world of tech is in the limelight, full of imagination and excitement, and we get to watch it unfold. Look around you—how much have you embraced the futurism of tech? 9
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Refresh your home for Spring Refresh
It’s that time of year where we all get the itch to press restart—you know, the second attempt after the new year. With organization and decluttering on our minds (thanks to the lovely Marie Kondo), I thought what better time to share my tips for ways to refresh and renew your home for spring!
I’m a firm believer that a tidy home results in a clear mind. I make it a habit to go through our things every season and donate, toss, or recycle any items we are not using. Take everything out of its spot and go through the items one by one, deciding what you use most and what has really just been collecting dust.
First, swap out all the winter-themed scents. The apple pie and bonfire candles get stored away for next year, and out come Organize the floral and fresh linen scents that make Once you have decluttered, the fun really us feel like warm weather is near. This year, begins. But before you go out and buy a ton I’m opting out of using candles and using of dividers and containers, measure drawer high-quality diffusers instead. openings and cupboard heights to make sure Add some greenery! Plants like the split- you maximize your storage potential. leaf philodendron actually do more than just look pretty. They are always working to actually detoxify the air in your home. Do you have any refresh rituals? Next, strip all the linens, slipcovers, and Share them along with what you’re doing to curtains, and take them for dry cleaning. It’s refresh and renew your home this spring by like jumping into fresh hotel bed sheets the tagging @thedrivemag. first night you check in.
Mona Elkadri is a lifestyle blogger with a fondness for everyday living and entertaining, from sweet recipes to home décor and DIY, and everything in between. ohsomona.com
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THE PROMISE OF EDUCATION
QUALITY BRANDS CRAFTED IN INDIA AND BROUGHT TO WINDSOR WITH A SOCIAL AND SUSTAINABLE MISSION TO GIVE CHILDREN A PROPER EDUCATION By Alley L. Biniarz | Photography: Syx Langemann
Back in October I celebrated my 25th birthday. My partner and I had decided earlier last year that we wouldn’t be doing gifts for the foreseeable future, unless it was an experience or if the gift had an environmental or social benefit attached. So I wasn’t expecting anything.
researcher and was living with a family of time—with low-income families in India, the three children and their mother in Bihar— family makes better money sending the child their father had passed away five years earlier right off to work. from alcoholism. “A lot of kids want to go to school—it’s not The children, Dylan noticed, weren’t like it is here,” says Dylan. “They have fun, attending school. hang out with friends, and are excited about Their language barrier prevented deep it. They know it’s a chance to live a good life. When I woke that birthday morning to see conversations—anything more than a ‘yes’ or That’s the reality with poverty; you’re only a pretty recycled bag waiting for me, I wanted ‘no’ question was out of reach—but Dylan had getting out if you have an education.” to stand my ground but my eyes glistened like to know why. Once he had the “why,” Dylan needed the those of a child’s on Christmas morning. Who “how.” How would he raise the funds to send doesn’t love gifts, after all? these kids to school? I caved. As I devoured the packaging I came to find a blue silk-blend scarf with flows of orange, purple, and a dancing elephant pattern to finish. I pressed the soft material to my face, amazed at the quality. Before I could protest, as if he could read my mind, my partner began telling me the story of the scarf. This was the first time I’d heard about INpact Collective. As it turned out, the scarf wasn’t just a gift for me—it was a gift for a child in India who wanted to attend school but whose family didn’t have the finances to send them. With the purchase of this scarf, they would receive necessary supplies and funding for after-school activities such as dance, sports, or arts. The social enterprise INpact saw an opportunity to bring sustainably-made goods from India right to Windsor. And as a promoter of sustainable gift-giving and social change, I knew that I had to meet the founder in charge of the program to hear his story. Dylan Verburg and I met at EPICentre at the University of Windsor, where he is currently part of the Venture Start program. This isn’t Dylan’s full-time gig though; he has a background in environmental engineering and is currently finishing his master’s degree. His engineering is what brought him to India in the first place. For three and a half months, Dylan worked on a sewage lake as a water treatment THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
That’s the reality with poverty; you’re only getting out if you have an education.
Walking through the streets of Bihar, Dylan noticed the stunning goods that came from the hands of Indian crafters: leather bags, shawls, scarves, and home décor. We mainly know India for their teas and spices but this was another world of product.
“I had to make sure that the products weren’t contributing to child labour. It doesn’t do any good to solve one problem by contributing to another,” says Dylan about his holistic approach to business. These crafters take their time weaving and making, and after seeing the “I wanted to help send them to school but heart that went into the product, Dylan knew I knew nothing about the Indian education he had to give his little dream a chance. system,” Dylan says. “I knew this was going The goods chosen by Dylan and Aditi are to be hard, but I really loved the little guys.” sustainably made, as India is very respectful In order to research, Dylan would need to of animals and agriculture. Over 50% of their converse with families. But there was still the population is vegetarian and animals are given trouble of language, and this is when Dylan a lot of value. All of the listed prices depend paired up with Aditi. on the time and material spent on the product, Aditi chooses to have no last name, even and Dylan ensures that everyone is paid a living though she’s from the top caste (Brahmins). wage to increase their quality of life. This is an uncommon practice, where she had These products have a double impact: with revoked the name to protest the caste system. funds going to the crafters and then back to Aditi is a creative writer with a masters the children. degree who can speak five languages and has With Dylan based here in Windsor connections with the Supreme Court of India. working on the admin side of business and Aditi uses her previous status as a way to help Aditi in Delhi finding brands to send over, others, and Dylan knew that Aditi could really the two provide direct sponsorship for get the idea moving in the right direction. children from two families to go to school, Dylan came to discover that his host family and they contribute to already established had had a scare where the eldest child was school programs such as Pehchaan, a volunalmost kidnapped on the way to school, and teer-based school that is active on weekends. out of fear, the parents kept him home. The The program works to boost children’s confiresult was probably going to be inevitable in 15
dence with extracurricular activities, all while teaching them literacy skills and basic writing. Another group they support, Navyug, is run by a woman named Rakhi and helps children to compete in the fast-developing market in India by teaching the kids coding and digital literacy. Recently, INpact funds went into donating bicycles to a school learning competition as a way to further the students’ love of learning. The private families that Dylan and Aditi sponsor are both ones who are close to their hearts. Dylan chose the initial family that he stayed with, especially once the kids lost their mother as well; Aditi wrote about the family she chose on the INpact blog.
Where Performance and Luxury Meet.
Aditi met Savitri: a mother who was working and still wasn’t able to make ends meet to send her kids to school. The children were being previously sponsored to attend school, but the funding was being cut off just as Aditi met Savitri, and Dylan and Aditi agreed that INpact would pick up where the funding left off. The two kids were enrolled in a private school and Dylan and Aditi decided it was best not to uproot them. With their father having left, the daughter was devastated, and her brother was already going through some bullying due to a major burn on his hand. INpact continued to sponsor dance lessons for the little girl and had connected the boy with a local artist to teach him to draw. Dylan has no background in business, so when he returned home from India he was working 80 hours to bring this—now his thesis project—and his engineering work together. Bringing this company to fruition is just a way for Dylan to use his free time constructively— he says he is still very much an engineer. “I’m a founder but this is more a way of giving back. This is a need that I couldn’t really ignore,” he says. This is what inspired the business name: INpact. The word “impact” is how you measure a social change. In this case, the capital IN stands for India. Dylan also says the “pact” symbolizes the promise he made to these children. To celebrate them, to build their confidence, and to help them to get the education they want and need. You can find and purchase INpact items on their website and help drive social change. https://www.facebook.com/INpactCollective/ @inpactcollective
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HANG UP ON 18
By Myles Shane
I have a few confessions I need to get off my chest. Confession #1. In the past I’ve driven while talking on my cell phone while texting. I’m not proud of it. Confession #2. I have driven while combing my hair in the rear-view mirror. Confession #3. I’ve been in the passenger seat while other drivers have spoken on their cell phones or were texting, and I said nothing about it. Not a word. The truth is, I’m the poster child for distracted driving. Heck, I’ve even had the phone on speaker while I was eating a burger in one hand and steering with one knee. Most drivers have probably been guilty of some form of distracted driving whether they admit it or not. As drivers we’ve become conditioned to talk on our phones, text, eat, turn up the music, find our favourite song, or even look at a video during a red light. As a society our behaviour needs to change. As of 2018, distracted driving is the number one risk on Canadian roads, contributing to 8 in 10 collisions. The definition of distracted driving isn’t simply talking on your phone or texting while driving. Rates.ca breaks down the various types of distractions drivers commit on a daily basis: 71% adjust the radio, 87% drink or eat, 60% look at and talk to passengers, 51% reach for something, 59% play the radio excessively loud, 51% talk on the phone with a hands-free device, 35% adjust GPS settings, 47% talk on their cell phones, 35% send text messages, 29% put on clothes, and 13% fix their hair and make-up.
recently released a report regarding high school students who text while driving. CAMH revealed that 33% of students in grades 10 to 12 indicated they have texted while driving at least once in the past year. As for students in grade 12, the number climbed to 46% who have texted while driving. Another study, this one by Public Health Ontario, found a similar trend in the number of teens who text and drive. The study found that 40.5% of teens sometimes read texts and 32.6% send texts while driving. About 6% almost always read texts, while 4% usually send texts while driving. About 1% always read and send texts while driving. Sergeant Betteridge of the Windsor Police department stated, “In 2017 our service had 787 charges of distracted driving. In 2018 we had 708 [which is a positive trend]. The most common infraction is cellphone use. We live in a digital age that is fast-paced. The strong message we need to tell people is you can’t be on your phone while driving. We’re trying to help people equate distracted driving with drinking and driving. We encourage the public to call the police if they see any distracted driving. People really need to put down their cellphones and think about if it’s really worth the risk.”
(@WindsorPolice). The show is called Anytime Anywhere. The series highlights all aspects of police service that the general public might not know about. The first episode focused on distracted driving and described a new method called Project Dialtone, which was aimed at catching people with a cellphone in one hand and the steering wheel in the other. According to Constable Drouillard, the operation involved “a van with tinted windows. We had traffic officers follow the van and there was an officer in the back seat of the van looking for individuals on their handheld devices. The officer in the van would snap a photo of a distracted driver, then call out the information to traffic enforcement officers driving behind. The officers would eventually pull the driver over and have a discussion with him/her. It’s a technique we’ll likely use again in the future, but not on a regular basis.”
Sergeant Betteridge also claimed police are trying to educate the public about distracted driving by setting up meetings at schools and talking to teens about the consequences of driving while on their phones. Betteridge listed three rules drivers can follow to avoid distracted driving: use your cellphone for emergency situations only if you are drowsy; pull off the road if you need to call someone The Windsor Police are trying different or text; limit the number of passengers as well techniques to end this ongoing crisis. Sergeant as the level of activity inside the car. Betteridge believes that over time distracted Whether you live in Windsor, Toronto, driving charges will become very infrequent. Saskatoon, or any other city across Canada, “Remember, back in the 1970s and 1980s a distracted driving is a serious problem. Given, lot of people wouldn’t wear seatbelts. Today the day may come when autonomous vehicles we rarely charge anyone for not wearing one. may rule the road and drivers can relax, but These laws can take time until they become until the future arrives we need to stay off our part of the social fabric.” devices for the safety of everyone on the road.
Still, texting while driving has become a serious concern, and evidence has shown that teens have become synonymous with texting About six months ago the Windsor Police To learn more about distracted driving go and driving. The Ontario-based Centre for decided to go online and establish a web series to www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/distractAddiction and Mental Health (CAMH) that can be accessed through their Twitter page, ed-driving-faq.shtml
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation indicates, as of January 1, 2019, Ontario will become one of the toughest provinces on distracted drivers: For a first conviction the driver receives a fine of up to $1,000, three demerit points, and a three-day driver’s licence suspension. A second conviction within five years results in a fine of up to $2,000, six demerit points, and a seven-day driver’s licence suspension. A third conviction within five years carries a fine of up to $3,000, six demerit points, and a 30-day driver’s licence suspension. D. THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
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Waiting for Saturday: RIVERFRONT THEATRE COMPANY WORKS TO FOSTER CONFIDENCE, COLLABORATION, AND CREATIVITY WITH DRAMA By Tita Kyrtsakas | Photography: Syx Langemann
“One more week. Just one more week. Just make it to Saturday. Just make it to Riverfront. There are only three more days to Saturday, and then you’re with your family. You’re with your people.” In the midst of a trying period in her life when she was in high school, Katina Visan would repeat the above phrase to herself constantly. Riverfront would be the beacon she looked to each week. “[Riverfront] helped keep me going when times got tough and I want that for other people. I want those kids who don’t have a safe space to have that safe space on Saturdays. It helps keeps them off the streets too.”
Riverfront Theatre Company is non-profit community theatre for young children and youth. Students pay a small annual fee to join and after grade 12, the students retire from the company, but can still volunteer in other aspects. Rehearsals are once a week on Saturdays at the Paulin Memorial Presbyterian Church from 9 to 4, and they rent out the Old Walkerville Theatre for their shows. This year, the company ran a festival called Under Pressure in November, which consisted of plays discussing bullying, and recently completed a Shakespeare Festival. Their next big show is their annual spring musical; this year, they’re performing Mary Poppins. I had the opportunity to direct two shows this year with the company, co-directing an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline with Visan. Visan is 24 years old and about to graduate from the University of Windsor with plans to teach French and English at the high school level. She started at Riverfront Theatre Company when she was 11 years old and she has no plans of leaving any time soon. In fact, in the next few years, when current executive director Kristina Garswood retires, Visan will step up and take her place. In the time she’s worked offstage as a videographer/photographer and now director, Visan’s discussions with parents have cemented the importance of her work with Riverfront. One parent told Visan that her son “never understood friendships and after being a part of Riverfront for a few years, he said, ‘Hey Mom, I finally get it. I finally have friends.’”
And there’s another reason why Riverfront itchy with excitement to talk theatre, dreams, is also special to Visan. and education. Both love reading and writing “That’s where I met my husband,” she laughs. and spending time with their friends, like most teens. Back in 2012, Riverfront staged an original For David, he knows working in theatre play called Princesses Aplenty. Visan had pulled and especially at Riverfront has shaped his ligaments in both her legs and was encourlove for working with children. “I want to aged to use a wheelchair to heal. But she was have an impact on kids in that way and teach determined to play the role as she originally them skills that are valuable, being able to imagined, with spunky full-body reactions and get in front of people to present and talk to physical comedic relief. them without shaking,” he says. “Anything can “Every day before the show I would take my happen on stage and that goes on in life too. meds so I could do it without too much pain, You have to roll with the punches. It’s been an and I had to take them with food, so Sabin awesome experience to have and I am going to [her husband] was the only one backstage with carry it for the rest of my life.” food. So I was like ‘Hey, can I have some of Samms has been with Riverfront since your fries?’ and he was like ‘Sure, you can have she was six. Now, in her eleventh year, she the rest!’ and I wobbled off on my crutches celebrates how theatre is an escape that helps with his fries.” her grow. “It’s like when you read. People read Her face is rosy recalling the memory. to go into a new universe, a new life, and to try Eventually the two started dating and when things you would never normally think about. Riverfront put on Princesses Aplenty again five You’re channelling another person’s feelings, years from the time they met, Sabin knew it emotions, different perspectives and you get was time to propose. to express those emotions through that. It’s “When they said happily ever after [at really really fun, interesting, and fascinating.” the end], one of the kids said, ‘Wait! There’s Ultimately, Riverfront has helped both
David and Samms build on personal goals, grow their abilities to work collaboratively, and offer an outlet to be unapologetically creative.
Riverfront Theatre continues to be about having a family outside of your home.
She sees the growth in students’ interpersonal and intrapersonal relations and that’s one of the reasons why she continues “to keep going for them.” The fact that the students also feel safe at Riverfront to explore who they are and what they can be in a supportive space one more!’ Two kids came to grab me and he is critical to their growth. When Visan acted for the company, she went on stage and it happened right there. Of was cast in Up the Down Staircase and the course I recorded my own proposal because director gave the actors full artistic freedom. I’m still the videographer. So I have the full “I decided to make [my character] this goth girl cast, all the kids’ reactions.” who was struggling through life and eventually she had to run away from school for her own mental sanity. To be able to portray through this character what I was going through internally that I couldn’t portray in my real life actually helped so much. That year was one of my best years.” THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
Samms sees the value of working with many different types of people. She says, “You grow together. I’m very opinionated and can be a perfectionist and I get anxious because I need to be perfect. But Riverfront has helped me be calm in these situations, which you have to be in plays because you’re all working together.” The two are also both passionate about criticism, knowing that receiving feedback is integral to their growth as artists. David explains, “I always seek out criticism because as much as I think [a scene] could be good, someone may see something else that is missing. It’s an intimate experience seeing how someone else’s brain sees a character or scene.” For those kids wanting to try theatre, or for parents unsure if they should put their child in a company, Visan asks to give drama a chance. “Hear out your kids, hear what they’re interested in. Try it out, and if they don’t like it, what do you lose?”
Julian David and Brooke Delaney Samms, both 17, are in their final year with the company. The two are entering the University of Windsor as Concurrent Education students, David in French and Samms in English. When I interview them both in one @RiverfrontTheatreCompany of the rehearsal rooms at the church, they are www.riverfronttheatrecompany.com
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Selina Gabriele describes her seven-year-old nephew, Tanner, as energetic, outgoing, and extroverted. “He really enjoys connecting with people and spending time with his family” says Gabriele. “My brother has a Rottweiler, and the dog and Tanner love playing together.” As Gabriele—a 24-year-old computer science graduate from the University of Windsor—tells me more about Tanner, I learn that he is one of the key inspirations behind her company AidaNote. AidaNote is a speech-to-text transcription tool that allows classroom lectures to be transcribed on a screen in real time. Imagine Netflix with the subtitles turned on but for live events instead of pre-recorded footage. While this sort of technology isn’t new, and we see it in products like iPhone’s speech-totext messaging, Gabriele’s approach to implementing it for real-time lectures is an innovation that could change classroom learning for the better. This product could help all students take better notes in class, but it is especially valuable to those who need unique accommodations in the classroom. “Tanner was born deaf,” Gabriele explains. “His grandma is his primary caregiver, and she’s worried about how schools are going to be able to accommodate for that and give him all the opportunities he should have.” With Tanner in mind, along with identifying her own struggles with taking good notes in class, Gabriele came up with a minimum viable product in just three days at the University of Waterloo in 2017 at Canada’s largest hackathon—Hack the North, where a thousand students are given 36 hours to create a unique computer-based project from scratch. The idea for speech-to-text came from a subproject sponsored by IBM that encour-
aged Hack the North attendees to create a the big picture of making classroom learning tool using IBM’s speech-to-text application accessible to everyone. In the fall of 2018, Gabriele brought on Stevan Ljuljdurovic as programming interface. Gabriele didn’t win the competition, and Chief Technology Officer at AidaNote. He though it would’ve been easy to give up on took over project management and hired the product after losing the challenge, she freelance programmers to develop the tool. decided to push forward with the idea. She quickly had interest from the University of Windsor’s Student Accessibility Services, who saw the value in what she was creating. Before deciding to invest more time in creating the product, she recalls making a list of reasons in her head of why her idea could fail but says, “I realized I have plenty of time to fail at things at this point in my life. If I try and I fail, at least I won’t regret not trying at all.”
Gabriele knew the path to entrepreneurship would be far from straightforward. But despite the setbacks, she has seen much success in the last year due to persistence and hard work. The company managed to raise a total of $27,000 by the end of 2018. The goal for the first half of 2019 is to test the product they’ve developed in focus groups. Later in the year, the team hopes to begin implementing this technology in University of Windsor classWith that in mind, in early 2018, Gabriele rooms and to collect feedback before scaling decided to create Edulux—a precursor to province-wide. AidaNote. She spent a majority of the year Her advice to founders considering entreperfecting the business model, while figuring preneurship but hesitating to make the move out how to get this sort of technology off the is to simply go for it. “If it feels right, then ground and adopted at universities across listen to your gut about that. Take calculated the province. Over the course of the year, risks and have the confidence in what you’re Gabriele faced many challenges—from losing working on. It’s a personal journey and everya co-founder to rebranding the company from one’s is a little bit different,” she says. She Edulux to AidaNote to practising business mentions that it was best for her to dive in pitches last-minute due to time and resource headfirst instead of tentatively dipping her toes constraints. She, however, never lost sight of into the waters of entrepreneurship.
CODING THE FUTURE
Though Gabriele initially invested full-time hours to get AidaNote off the ground, she is currently on the project part-time while working full-time as a consultant. If the focus groups and tests are successful, and they are able to implement this at more universities, Gabriele plans to come back to the team full time. “It’s hard to think about next steps too far in advance given the uncertainty of the project, but I’d love to work on it full-time again,” she says. “I really want to level the playing field when it comes to classroom learning.” aidanote.com @aidanote D.
A CONVERSATION WITH A WINDSOR-BASED TECH ENTREPRENEUR WHO IS MAKING EDUCATION MORE ACCESSIBLE By Anushree Dave | Photography: Syx Langemann
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Here We Grow Again
Back row:Tom, Lynn, Gabe and Tim Front row: Dennis and Bonnie
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It’s nearing springtime and it’s time to get growing again. Bonnie and her team have been busy making plans for a big expansion all winter long. As she contemplates the next moves for DS60 Roofing & Siding, she concedes that it is not every day that your clients are pleading with you to enter new markets. “We’ve had many of our property management, restoration, and insurance industry partners asking us to service their clients in the Chatham-Kent and London markets. Up to this year, I have felt our management team had their hands full with Windsor-Essex County; however, with a couple
of new additions to our staff, I feel really good about the opportunities presented to us!” Bonnie beams about the addition of Tom and Gabe to the existing team of Lynn, Tim, Frank, Wally, and Dennis. “These guys would make anyone proud with their hard work and honest approach.” She also promises a couple of new wrinkles on the marketing side of DS60, said with her easy smile and a wink. With that she’s off to get her tomato plants ready for what is sure to be a busy growing season. WIN ‘A FREE ROOF’CONTEST You could win a ‘A FREE ROOF’! Go online to DS60.ca for more details. Sponsored by DS60 Roofing & Siding
SUPER MANIN DISGUISE
He’s one of those guys who has a motor that never stops. He’s all about his family. He’s a huge fan of his family and they definitely take up the number one spot in his consideration for doing things.
As Tal Czudner took the stage in Halifax in October 2018 to accept his Club Manager of the Year award, no one was surprised that he was the winner. To know Czudner is to know a personality that’s larger than life, and a man who brings the same enthusiasm and undivided attention to everything he does, whether it’s to his job, volunteering at his children’s school, or playing tennis outside during an ice storm.
TAL CZUDNER TALKS LEGACIES, LIFELONG LEARNING, AND WINDSOR LIVING
The general manager of Essex Golf and Country Club, Czudner is also an espresso aficionado—if it’s not perfect, he’s not drinking it. He dances like no one is watching (even though he knows everyone is watching), hopping around the dance floor like a pogo stick on a trampoline. He wears such funny and unusual socks that everyone buys them for him. He has nicknames for each one of his friends. He’s contributed countless hours to his community, and will devote all of his attention to a single person who needs his help.
By Tita Kyrtsakas Photography: Syx Langemann
facilities. Czudner has been the GM at Essex since 2011, after having worked at Beach Grove Golf and Country Club as clubhouse manager for seven years.
After home and work, Czudner wants his members to think of Essex as that third place to go. “The club can be the place where you come to have a nice dinner, a round of golf, or hang out here and lounge, take your tablet, and read some reports,” he says. “As GM, I’ve tried different things to engage members. Our society has changed, so clubs need to change. You try to do things that engage children, engage grandparents, some of the things you do are very formal like wine dinners, but you also need silly fun things like date nights and Halloween parties.” Czudner even dresses up on occasion as Batman or Captain America “to surprise the kids at the club.”
Some may think of clubs as elitist or unattainable, but Czudner believes in a more He’s also the best husband, father, friend, positive definition. and colleague that you could hope to meet, “The old reputation is that clubs are stuffy a man with seemingly unending energy, and no fun because you have to get all dressed who makes you feel better by just being in up. I think there’s a component of that that his presence. we have to hang onto. It’s still a special place. Paul Morrell, the GM of the Ontario Clubs are a place where people who have Racquet Club, met Czudner through a worked hard maybe want to unwind a bit, and conference for the Canadian Society of Club enjoy some time with friends, have a bottle of Managers over 10 years ago, and they’ve been wine. We have to provide that.” friends ever since. While general managers are expected to “The first time I met him [was] in Winnipeg and despite it being ridiculously cold, he was wearing sandals,” Morrell laughs. “When I first met him his nickname was Sandals because he would always wear sandals with socks—the most ridiculous look ever. For a guy who can be so fashionable, he can also be so unfashionable. He’s got the dad look down really well.”
be the enthusiastic face of the club, Czudner still stands out among his peers. Morrell calls Czudner “one of the most stand-up people I know. He’s genuinely a nice guy, he’s not just putting on a show. [And] he’s one of those guys who has a motor that never stops. He’s all about his family. He’s a huge fan of his family and they definitely take up the number one spot in his consideration for doing things.”
Jeremey MacRae, chief operating officer at During the day, you’ll find him at Essex, handling all aspects of the club: golf, food Weston Golf and Country Club, has been one and beverage, finance, membership, and of Czudner’s best friends for over 20 years and THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
PEOPLE DRIVE and maybe they’ll end up becoming members. Windsor-Essex County is a nice retirement community. People are selling their homes in Toronto and Ottawa and Calgary and While community volunteerism was a moving to the area for reasonable real estate requirement for the nomination of Club and wonderful amenities including golf clubs.” It helps that Windsor is smaller compared Manager of the Year, Czudner didn’t start to volunteer to simply check off that box on the to bigger cities like Toronto and Vancouver, ballot. “I’ve been a big part of the community and that it’s in close proximity to Detroit, my entire life,” he says. He believes it’s his where sport and food options are plentiful. “obligation” to give back to the community. “There’s one degree of connection in Czudner volunteers on both of his children’s Windsor. Everyone’s connected. I like being school councils and at the Windsor Essex able to go to Zehrs and bump into people and County Cancer Centre Foundation, and say hello. I like the Windsor community, how he is chair of the Windsor Essex Economic we care for each other and prop each other up.” Development Corporation, “an organization Much of Czudner’s appeal at Essex Golf that helps bring groups and chief businesses and Country Club is that he treats the job into Essex County,” he clarifies. as a fun activity, and much like his commuCzudner wanted to serve as a chair because nity work, he applies a style of leadership that he’s “a big believer in Windsor-Essex County.” involves everyone, so no one at the club feels “Windsor-Essex County is such a small left out. It’s a style that works with all of his area. If someone new is moving to the area, I’d employees, regardless of their age or the length love to help them get settled in Essex County of time they’ve been there. marvels at Czudner’s energy level. “He is the Energizer Bunny times a thousand. His motor does not quit. It is always going and he’s full of life, full of energy, [and it’s] infectious.”
The Czudner family: Daniella, Alexandra, AnneBelle, Tal & Isaac.
“People want many different things,” he explains. “In terms of the younger employees, they want flexible schedules, a little bit of fun at work. Money is relevant but they want to work in an environment that is stimulating, where in the past the Baby Boomers are more interested in steady employment and a paycheque and a consistent work environment. As general manager, you need to be cognizant of all those different demographics to manage them and also provide a service to five different demographics. “A good club manager needs to be a chameleon on a daily basis,” he adds. “I work for thousands of members, each of whom often has strong opinions on topics, and I have to do what I can to manage the expectations and wants of those people. I’m Switzerland.” The goodwill that Czudner spread to everyone over years of his generous leadership style came back to him a couple of years into his position, when Czudner’s wife, Daniella, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. “At Essex, when the diagnosis came in, the club members
There’s one degree of connection in Windsor. Everyone’s connected. I like being able to go to Zehrs and bump into people and say hello.
were very supportive during that process and that is one of the wonderful things about Essex County. You go to the hospital and you’re going to see someone that you know there. It helps you with the battle.” It was an extremely difficult time for the Czudner family, including their children Alexandra (now 17 years old) and Isaac (now 15). “With any battle, and certainly with cancer, people can tackle them in different ways. Daniella and I believed that we had to listen to the doctors, fo llow the protocol to a T, and don’t give up,” he says. “Every single day during treatment, during chemo, we walked 5K. There were some days where she didn’t need any motivation and there were some days where I had to help her put her shoes on. That was one of the things we chose to do together to tackle this illness. She was very vocal about what she was doing. We wanted to dive in and fight as much as we can.” Daniella is a survivor and “just passed the five-year mark.” The couple has been married for 23 years. After the support the family received during Daniella’s treatment, Czudner and Daniella both give their time back to the community to support others diagnosed with cancer and believe in the importance of letting those around you support you during tough times, just as they’d celebrate with you during the good times. THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
PEOPLE DRIVE MacRae recalls a time when he needed to lose a lot of weight on his doctor’s orders, so he decided to start running. Czudner, already a seasoned runner, was right there beside him. “Tal was like, ‘I’ll run with you then.’ I’ll never forget that. He said, ‘There’s a simple rule. You walk, I walk. You run, I run.’ Here’s this guy who could have pulled off a 10K run and we’re running down by the waterfront on Riverside Drive and he says, ‘Listen, if you gotta stop and walk, I stop and walk with you.” MacRae ended up losing 100 pounds and running his first marathon, the Detroit International Marathon. He knows that Czudner’s role as a supportive friend was integral to his success. MacRae isn’t surprised by his friend’s undying energy. “If all of a sudden he said, to me, ‘Hey Jeremey, I’m going to swim across the frickin’ Atlantic Ocean,’ it wouldn’t surprise me,” he laughs. For Czudner and his family, giving back to the community is what makes where we live better. Spreading goodness creates positive ripple effects. “Somebody in our past contributed to what we have today,” says Czudner, “and it’s our obligation to continue to volunteer and contribute so that our children and our grandchildren have good hospitals, nice work environments, and good school boards. Wherever you choose to contribute, everyone has a role to contribute in some way.” Czudner believes you can start anywhere. “That might be to coach a baseball team, help at a local church, assist with city or county programs, work at the downtown mission.” Czudner encourages his children to give back also. Alexandra and Isaac are both involved in the WindsorEssex Community Foundation (a philanthropic network that reaches across Canada), while both are students at Holy Names High School, playing multiple sports, and achieving competitive grades. Alexandra moves to the University of Guelph in the fall to work towards becoming a veterinarian and Isaac wants to be involved in sports journalism. Czudner considers himself part of a different kind of family also, with the “fraternity of managers” of other clubs across Canada. “We don’t compete with one another. So if I’m looking for ideas for junior members or programs or food and beverage events, you can 34
reach out to 20 clubs all throughout Canada and you’ll get 20 responses back. We all help each other out,” he gushes. He doesn’t consider the competition of different clubs in Windsor-Essex either.
ship with members is so important to me personally. I work hard at developing and maintaining those relationships. You get to meet a lot of interesting people in the club business.”
When I put my head down, I can generally go right to sleep because I know I’ve worked hard, done some good things, I’ve helped some people, I made some people smile, and I’ve Czudner believes each person you interact probably worked in some exercise.” This may all sound easy, so I ask about fear “If you live in Tecumseh or St. Clair, you’re with can offer you something to learn. and the worry that comes along with taking risks. likely going to join Beach Grove. If you live “I think you can learn from everybody. out in Belle River, you’ll join Beach Grove or You can learn from the really successful “It’s very hard to take risks. It’s easy to stay Rochester Place. If you live in Lasalle, South doctor and you can learn from the 15-year- in the slow lane. But in life there are some Windsor, even Walkerville, you’re likely old dishwasher. Everyone has different experi- risks you have to take. Sometimes it’ll work to join Essex. But most of the time you’re ences and different perspectives.” out for you, other times it’ll be a learning asking help from people in London, Toronto, When it comes to success and achieving experience for you. I’m almost 50 and I still Ottawa, Vancouver.” your goals, passion is on the top of Czudner’s learn all the time.” Czudner sees those he works with, ranging list along with surrounding yourself with good people. Ultimately, he wants people to from club managers to members, people in his remember him as “one of the most positive community to family members and friends, as people” they’ve ever met. his mentors. “You need to have a lot of great relation“I’m either going to name zero people or I’m ships with your family and your friends, you going to name a hundred people. The relation- need to do the right thing, and have fun. THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
Near the end of our conversation, Czudner tells me about an assignment his Daniella gives to her students as an English teacher at Holy Names High School. “You have to put six words on your tombstone that describe you. I’ve got six words and two sentences: Do the right thing. Have fun.” D. 35
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WINDSOR’S RUNNING THROUGH THEIR VEINS THE TEA PARTY RETURNS TO THEIR HOME TOWN WITH A NEW SINGLE AND A MASSIVE CANADIAN TOUR
By Robert Thompson | Photography: David McDonald
For Jeff Martin, it is as clear as if it were yesterday. As a pre-teen in the late 1970s, Martin would listen to the radio stations that blared classic rock 24/7. The signals of the stations originated in Detroit Rock City, but they penetrated the mind of a kid listening to them on the other side of the river, and soon enough they began to inspire. His obsessions didn’t take long to develop—The Beatles, Zeppelin, The Stones. Soon he was venturing down to the local indie record store, scouring its racks for albums by B.B. King. Some go to university to learn their profession— Martin had his own unique School of Rock, one that
coloured his worldview, and his perspective on the music he’d make over the ensuing 30 years. “For the band, Detroit rock radio was massive for us,” says Martin from his home in Australia. “Being from Windsor at that time, you didn’t have the Internet or anything and we were pretty much as American as you could get for a Canadian city. To put it into perspective, when we started going to Toronto before we got signed, it was culture shock. The only Canadian band we knew was Rush.” Those radio stations, playing the classics, were key during the formative years of the three members who would go on to make up the Tea Party. “Growing up in the Detroit area, the rock radio stations were really good and there were four of them,” says bassist Stuart Chatwood. “In grade five I knew all of Zeppelin inside and out. By the time we were 17 and 18, [Led Zeppelin’s] ‘Kashmir’ was the greatest song of all time.” Nearly 30 years after they formed, and with the members now scattered all over—Martin in Australia, Chatwood in Vancouver, with drummer Jeff Burrows the solitary remaining Windsorite—the Tea Party continues to show those Windsor influences to the rest of Canada and the world. The band, which reconvened in 2011 after splitting for a few years, appears as vital and popular as ever and the new single, “Black River,” with its heavy guitar riff, has connected with listeners who still value the rock basics that only a power trio can supply. It follows the progression witnessed in The Ocean at the End, the band’s last album, which came out five years ago, and to support it, the Tea Party is heading out on one of its most expansive Canadian tours to date. Windsor—on April 18 at The Colosseum at Caesars—is just one of 35 shows the band will perform across Canada.
Stuart Chatwood—bass guitar and keyboard
When three high school friends from Sandwich Secondary School formed the Tea Party in 1990, they were connected to the prevailing sounds of the time—heavy guitar music was just reappearing, led by the likes of Nirvana and Soundgarden—but the band's interests in other influences, ranging from the blues to world music, set them apart. Not surprisingly, those touchpoints were developed out of the love the band’s members had for classic rock. “My interest in Indian music started when I was 10. I was a Beatles nut, but only the 38
Jeff Burrows— drummer and percussionist
early records,” Martin says. “When I was 11, my cousin, who was older and liked his extracurricular activities—know what I mean?—he turned me on to Sgt. Pepper’s and he bought it for my birthday. I heard ‘Within You, Without You,’ and I know this sounds really metaphysical, but suddenly I remembered everything. So, I bought anything that had a sitar on the cover. That influence really crept in.” By the time the band started gigging in Windsor—playing shows at the Coach and Horses, for instance—the group’s members realized the city had its own unique perspective on music. Maybe it was Windsor’s blue-collar background, but local music fans wanted an interesting mix that was a challenge for a young act. “They want you to be real—and not pretentious,” says Chatwood. “But on other levels, people want a show. It was tough sometimes.” The Tea Party would get pegged as a lot of things over the years. Martin would get compared, largely unfairly, to a modern-day Jim Morrison, and the band would get tagged as some sort of 1990s version of Led Zeppelin. Sure, Martin’s penchant for Les Paul guitars as well as his baritone singing voice made for an easy comparison, but the band was more than just some sort of pale imitation of late ’60s success stories.
The beauty of the Tea Party and the way we play the songs live, every tour we do, we’re different musicians because of the time we spend apart. And we’re all kind of wanting to impress one another with our new chops.
their sets. With that in mind, how does one avoid becoming yet another classic rock band milking the nostalgia of lost youth for a room full of aging fans? It is something Martin has given some thought to. They aren’t some oldies act, he explains, and in fact are more akin to the blues singers he grew up admiring. As those acts aged, their songs adapted with them, and that’s how Martin sees it for the Tea Party.
“It isn’t nostalgia,” he says. “The beauty “Zeppelin were heroes to us—and we’ve of the Tea Party and the way we play the never shied away from that,” Chatwood says. songs live, every tour we do, we’re different “But we didn’t want to imitate.” musicians because of the time we spend apart. Interestingly, in recent years guitar music And we’re all kind of wanting to impress one has made a comeback of sorts with the success another with our new chops. of bands like Greta Van Fleet, whose homage “Take a song like ‘The River,’” he says, to Led Zeppelin is more explicit than it ever pointing to one of the band’s most notable was for the Tea Party. Chatwood is quite singles off their 1993 album, Splendor Solis. positive about the Michigan band. “There are signposts in that song that we know “A lot of people say derogatory things—but our take is that it is just great that rock music is on the radio and young kids are getting into it and are excited by it,” he says. “I’m excited to see guitar music being popular again.” Not that the Tea Party ever hid their love of classic songs based on the premise of three instruments—guitar, bass, and drums— making the foundation of great music. After all, in early gigs their sets often concluded with a version of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever,” as if it had been played by Jimi Hendrix. Now the earliest part of their own back catalogue contains songs older than that Beatles classic was when it showed up in THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
we have to get to together and the same time. But in between those there’s a lot of space we can explore. That’s how we keep it fresh.” What’s the future hold for the Tea Party? Numerous new songs have been recorded, but neither Martin nor Chatwood are sure the current zeitgeist demands another album. Maybe putting a handful of songs together in an EP makes more sense, Chatwood says, especially considering the band’s catalogue now contains more than 120 tracks, which makes it difficult to work new material into the set. There’s a new single in the works—“So Careless”—part of an EP Martin compares to Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy in its eclecticism,
but after that the future isn’t certain. “You want to hit something that resonates with people,” Chatwood says. “Each night you’re only playing 15 or 16 songs, so the idea of writing 10 new ones for a new record and trying to fit them into a set would leave an audience wanting.” Martin concurs, but says he’s also looking forward to the next stage in the evolution of the Tea Party. He’s set up his new home in Australia with a studio and accommodations for the band members to come and stay for extended periods of time. “Tea Party Central,” Martin says, “where the boys can come and just live it.” Both Martin and Chatwood are dismissive of the notion that a rock band suddenly has to disappear as its members approach their fifties. After all, the members are now the same age Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were when the Tea Party opened for them in 1995. Plant’s recent work has proven a rock singer can have a creative second act, something Martin appreciates. “One of my philosophies is die young as late as possible,” Martin says. “I have to say I’ve lived a rock ’n’ roll life, but I feel physically and mentally that I’m 30 years old.” Like the blues acts that initially inspired him as a teenager, Martin sees no reason the band can’t continue to make its unique blend of Eastern-inspired rock for years to come. “The Tea Party has a decade of integrity ahead of us,” he says. “I look at it like that—10 years from now we’ll reassess.” He pauses, adding, “There’s still a lot to do.” D. 39
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FASHION DESIGNER JHON RONCAL SETS HIS SIGHTS ON THE CITY OF LIGHTS By Jennifer Schembri | Photography: Syx Langemann
Recently a talented, up-and-coming, fresh out of school fashion designer received the invitation of a lifetime: to make his international debut at Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo. An invitation he shockingly declined. That designer was Jhon Roncal. In his own defense, he says, “I didn’t have enough time, I wouldn’t have slept!” To be fair, Japan’s biggest fashion show was taking place less than three weeks after Vancouver Fashion Week, and to do both Roncal would have had to design an entirely new collection. Though Roncal may have said sayonara to Japan, he’s set his sights on a loftier destination. These days when the 20-year-old Philippines expat isn’t designing you can find him… actually, he’s always designing. For the last few months he’s spent every free moment waistdeep in bamboo and organic cotton. He’s immersed himself in Bloodmoon, a collection he will be presenting when he returns to Vancouver Fashion Week in just a few weeks’ time—a collection that, if good enough, just might take him to Paris. No pressure at all. It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, Roncal was the one almost getting kicked out of fashion shows, not the one on the cusp of presenting his second collection. “As teenagers, my friends and I would sneak into Toronto Fashion Week and get in trouble by security,” Roncal said. “I just wanted to be in the fashion scene and learn something from that experience. It was so incredible to see local designers who had made it big.” Roncal, who moved with his parents from the Philippines to Toronto in 2010, didn’t even begin to take fashion seriously until his last few years of high school. And it was a gaping hole in the industry that sparked his interest
FASHION DRIVE and made him seriously consider pursuing fashion as a career. “I hadn’t seen any clothing that didn’t focus on gender and I thought, maybe I can start a new perspective in fashion where there is no gender in garments.” According to Roncal, there should be no boundaries when making fashion. His own personal style is anything but low-key. Mixing techwear with streetwear, Roncal eschews the rules of fashion by wearing the unexpected: women’s wide-legged trousers and ’90s-era oversized blazers, accessorized with a Chanel brooch or a pair of vintage earrings. Does Roncal have anyone in particular in mind when designing? “A guy who is confident enough to put on a skirt and has a bunch of feminine pieces in his wardrobe. Or a girl who wears pants and a hoodie and couldn’t care less what people think of her. People who wear the things they love instead of that which society deems as appropriate.” In 2016, Roncal packed his bags and made the move to Windsor when he was accepted into the two-year Fashion Design Technician program at St. Clair College. From costume design and tailoring to pattern drafting and product development, Roncal embraced the school’s hands-on approach to teaching and was effusive with praise for his instructors as they were in return. “Jhon began to shine quite early,” said Elaine Chatwood, the program’s coordinator. “His first-year designs were some of the strongest in that group. He stood out from day one.” Though he took second place in the program’s year-end Atelier Fashion Show, his graduation collection inspired by corporate America, received accolades from his instructors and praise from the judges, including designer Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine and Project Runway Canada fame. When Chatwood was approached by a rep from Vancouver Fashion Week to nominate one graduate from the last three years to present a collection for Spring/Summer 2019, she didn’t hesitate. “Jhon’s background and knowledge of art and fashion, along with his ability to interpret high-level trends, was very impressive for a designer so young,” she said. “He was one of the most hardworking students we’ve had, and his work ethic was excellent.”
Photography by Arun Nevader
Roncal’s personality-rich clothes aren’t exactly ready-to-wear. His brand, Notre Décès – French for ‘Our Death’ (‘Mort’ “wasn’t bougie enough”), made its West Coast debut in the New Designer runway show with a collection inspired by his Filipino heritage. Titled ‘Maharlika,’ which means beautiful in Tagalog, the show illustrated his take on streetwear with an elevated twist: deconstructing formal wear into something “out of this world.” That translated into staunch-faced models who sauntered down the runway in a reconstructed blazer splattered in paint; a hole-punctured
sweater worn like a Miss America pageant sash; a poncho made with up-cycled and recycled denim jeans—it was a layer-lover’s paradise. Roncal spent three months working on the collection and constructed (or deconstructed) 32 pieces in total. A gender bending collection that challenged the constructs of traditional tailoring, his collection was definitely for the individual who wants to be noticed. And noticed it was.
he received that now-infamous summons from Abdourahman to present his collection at Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo as part of Global Fashion Collective. Instead, Roncal accepted his invitation to return to Vancouver as a sponsored designer for the next three seasons. And this time around, he’d do things a little differently. “I’ll be more prepared! I won’t be so nervous if I’m introduced to an editor from Vogue.”
“Jamal Abdourahman, the founder of And if his Bloodmoon collection is as good Vancouver Fashion Week, really liked my as his last, Roncal just might receive another collection and introduced me to a bunch of phone call from Abdourahman with an offer editors and buyers.” he can’t refuse: the opportunity to showcase But not just any old editors. “Elle Russia his collection at Paris Fashion Week. and Nylon magazine did features on the line At the time of this interview, Roncal is as did Hunger magazine. It was amazing but at running on no sleep, in full design mode the same time I was so nervous meeting these preparing for the fast-paced frenzy of higher-ups in the fashion industry,” Roncal Vancouver Fashion Week. He spends his days said. “I put my heart into this collection so working for a fabric supplier and his nights receiving this kind of recognition was very (and much of the early mornings) designing— important to me. And they saw my vision and one trench coat alone has taken him more I was just so happy to know that they liked it.” than 100 hours to make. But the relentless Just when the whirlwind of Fashion workload, long hours, and frantic deadlines Week had started to subside and Roncal are all worth it to Roncal. “This is all for Paris. was beginning to breathe normally again, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
I put my heart into this collection so receiving this kind of recognition was very important to me. And they saw my vision and I was just so happy to know that they liked it.
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SOCIAL DRIVE - FEATURE
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PTIMISM By Dr. Andrea Dinardo | Photography: Jurica Koleti
Have you ever wondered why some people reach their full potential while others remain unfulfilled? Why does one person succeed and another fail? What makes the difference between a success story and a she-had-somuch-potential story? Is one an active participant and the other a bystander in their own life?
TWINS FROM A TO Z
A young lady named Amy came to see me for consultation, concerned that her life wasn’t going according to plan. At 29 years old, she was living in her parents’ basement apartment, working as a server at a local bar, and adding daily to her ever-increasing debt load. What made the situation worse was the fact that her identical twin sister Zoey was living a radically different life from her own. Rising through the ranks as a communications specialist for an international automotive firm, Zoey was recently married with a child on the way.
twin sister to our next appointment—it was important that I heard the story unbiased, directly from both parties.
BELOW THE SURFACE
ATTRIBUTION THEORY AND PERCEPTION
What is critical in the field of psychology is to never treat the symptoms of a disorder in isolation. Instead, one must look below the surface to truly understand the source of the complaint. I asked Amy to invite her
Using Attribution Theory, I can tell a lot about someone by the way they interpret the events that happen in their lives, particularly the explanatory style they use in analyzing setbacks versus successes.
On the surface, Amy and Zoey had so much in common: identical twin sisters raised by middle-income working parents. They shared genes and environments and went to university, where both had been varsity athletes and honour-roll students. But on closer inspection, the twins were quite different in both disposition and outlook.
AMY THE PESSIMIST
The pessimist perceives failures as personal, permanent, and pervasive, and thus has difficulty moving beyond setbacks. They often get lost in a recurrent loop of negativity. In contrast, optimists see setbacks as universal to everyone, temporary in time, and limited to one or two areas of their lives. “The pessimist sees an obstacle in every opportunity; the optimist sees an opportunity in every obstacle.” There was no doubt that Amy was suffering because of her attributional style, and she agreed to life coaching with her sister Zoey along for the ride.
SESSION 1: ARE PROBLEMS PERSONAL OR UNIVERSAL?
With time, Amy had become quite narcissistic in the way she perceived her challenges, acting as if she was the only person in the world with difficulties. As such, I assigned her the task of documenting all setbacks her twin sister experiences in the course of a week. Checking in with Zoey daily, she had to encourage her sister to share everything happening in her life, especially hardships. By the end of the first week, Amy appreciated how similar the two were in life experiences—the main difference was how they handled their tribulations. As a result, she vowed to complain less and listen more in future conversations.
SESSION 2: ARE SETBACKS PERMANENT OR TEMPORARY?
Amy the pessimist: “My debt will last forever, Amy the pessimist: “I have bad luck. No one so why bother paying it off?” has as many problems as me.” Zoey the optimist: “My debt will be paid off Zoey the optimist: “Adversity is part of the eventually if I make a budget and stick to it.” universal, human experience.” No matter how short-lived a problem was, One of the first things I noticed with Amy was Amy imagined that each setback would last how often she gets stuck in the negatives. No forever, that the debt she accumulated would matter what angle from which she tells a story, never end. Zoey, meanwhile, described work her description of events always ends with struggles as strength-building opportunities, a downer. In contrast, her twin sister Zoey perceiving them as short-lived and necessary. spoke of challenges with heroic flare. Rather Amy’s belief that all problems are permanent than perceiving difficulties as roadblocks, she and never-ending had created learned helplessdescribed struggles as stepping stones and ness. She thought that no matter what she did, learning opportunities. nothing good would come of it. She felt ‘out of Assignment 1: Ask people about their control’ in almost every area of life, especially problems. Take notes. Listen! when it came to finances. THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
ZOEY THE OPTIMIST
Assignment 2: Become an active participant in your own life. Take ownership! Amy and Zoey agreed to meet with a loans specialist, who was an expert in both budgeting and student loans. It was important that Amy heard the same “it can be done” story from an independent, third party, underscoring that most problems are temporary. At the end of the meeting, a financial plan was in place for Amy. What made this plan especially solid was her twin’s confession that she also needed help curbing her vacation spending. Collectively, they became accountable to each other, strengthening a sisterly bond that had languished in recent years.
SESSION 3: ARE CHALLENGES PERVASIVE OR LIMITED? Amy the pessimist: “Every part of my job is miserable.” Zoey the optimist: “I love most parts of my job. Except for the long hours.” The final session addressed Amy’s tendency to generalize isolated struggles to everything, creating a kind of tunnel vision that blinded her to all that was good in her life. Amy’s sister also shared her list of challenges. But rather than floundering in her misfortunes, Zoey perceived them as isolated and limited. She accepted life as it was—dark clouds and all. Assignment 3: Intentionally look for the good in your life. Be grateful! 49
PSYCH DRIVE The goal for the last assignment was to open Amy’s eyes to all the positives in her life, especially during difficulty. For an entire week, her phone was programmed to chime randomly throughout the day, signalling her to write down three things that were going well, no matter how mundane. The results were promising: as time went on, Amy found herself sharing more ups than downs with family and friends. Optimism is a life strategy. Optimism is not simply a Pollyanna feel-good, pie-in-the-sky way of living—it is a concrete life strategy that moves people forward. It helps people focus on what’s within their control, making it easier to let go of setbacks and move on to what matters: life itself. Visit DrAndreaDinardo.com to learn more about her TEDx Talk and positive psychology workshops. Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The individuals depicted are fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons is purely coincidental. D.
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SHIRLEY WILLIAMS ALWAYS WANTED TO MAKE IT AS A FULL-TIME ARTIST. NEARLY 30 YEARS AFTER SCRAPPING HER DAY JOB AND TAKING A CHANCE ON WINDSOR, SHE’S SHOWN AND SOLD PIECES ACROSS NORTH AMERICA AND COMPOSED A ONE-OF-AKIND, RICHLY COLOURED LIFE. By Jesse Ziter | Photography: Syx Langemann
Shirley Williams painted herself out of a corner by moving to Windsor. A successful working artist, she’s shown across North America to international acclaim, including at the Art Gallery of Windsor and memorable exhibitions in Toronto; Dallas; Naples, Florida; and, at press time, San Francisco. Yet all of that art begins in a central Windsor studio that looks out on a ready-mix concrete supply yard.
Brush with success
Forget the aloof artist archetype: across a table, Williams immediately strikes you as resilient, adaptable, and affable. Outside the gallery world, she’s noteworthy for a pronounced entrepreneurial bent. Always friendly with local interior designers, Williams has secured a lucrative agreement with a publisher in Texas who puts her work in front of designer professionals and hotel decorators in the United States. Moreover, her personal website doubles as a full-featured e-commerce portal with a thousand-person mailing list. This is no accident: Williams studied marketing and business at university, after which time she built a successful career as a film producer in Toronto. In a sense, Williams carved out a career within the intersection of art and commerce, liaising between documentary filmmakers and financiers. Despite
ART DRIVE her degree, she now admits, “I kind of What does Windsor do well if not crossenjoyed being with the creative people border manufacturing logistics? more than the business people.” Whereas in Toronto she would After 20 years in the big smoke, burnt decamp to cottage country for inspiraout in the way that Toronto professional life tion, Williams now has what she needs reliably burns one out, Williams cashed out within a short drive. “I find the landscape her partnership and committed to working here very interesting,” she stresses. “The elsewhere as a full-time artist. She created horizon line is really important to me. The a list of criteria that her new home base flatness actually adds to it, because these would have to meet: it would have to be a interesting lines are unobstructed. You functional, vibrant urban centre with access see all these different layers and levels of to the United States, affordable real estate, landscape. The bulrushes. The colouration and a manageable pace of life. So, Windsor. of the landscape. The textures. You’ll see a In 1991, Williams purchased a derelict field against a band of trees against a band delicatessen on George Avenue and of clouds. It just does something to me.” converted the former storefront space into a small gallery. The rear of the building, minus a few walls, made a functional studio space; home was upstairs. While the city’s arts community was then neonatal at best, Williams survived for several years on walk-in traffic and word of mouth, working feverishly to refine her aesthetic and balance the books in turn. She put on small shows, built a modest mailing list, and eventually worked up the confidence to get her work in front of some important art world gatekeepers. “Windsor has always been very supportive of me, and right from the beginning I was able to make a living,” she recalls. Williams eventually graduated from that space, moved her retail business online, and purchased the permanent studio of her dreams, where she works now. Bathed in natural light, the airy, post-industrial space luxuriates across 1,800 square feet, its bright-white walls flecked with dozens of works in various stages of completion. In 2005, Williams rescued the workspace from receivership with her husband, who runs a commercial real estate company from one unit over. Previously used for automotive degreasing, the building sits just outside the shadow of the Windsor Assembly Plant.
In 2015, when she found herself without any professional representation at all, Williams retreated into self-advocacy and doubled down on her web presence as she worked to refine her new style. “I saw it as an opportunity in a weird way. When you’re a gallery artist, when something is selling, they want you to keep making it In her youth, Williams spent much of whether you want to make it or not.” In light of a changing, challenging art her time tracing that horizon line through backseat windows, watching Canada whir market, Williams will have to plan her into blurry long-exposure horizontal next move carefully, but what she won’t streaks. Her father was in the military, be doing is changing her current live-work arrangement. “If I don’t go to the studio, which meant they moved often.
Williams’ aesthetic sensibilities are similarly in motion. Her current work departs from the dramatic, abstract vistas with which she’s most often associated. The fact that Williams owns a studio and largely controls her own means of production allows her to indulge in a few exploratory risks. “I had a very strong style for 10 or 15 years, and I was getting tired of it,” she From this base, Williams can buy notes. “I’ve been in that research, experisupplies wholesale in Michigan, and she mental phase for a couple years, but it’s has a much easier time routing her paint- finally starting to settle, and that feels good.” ings to dealers and clients in the United A self-described book collector and States. If you think about it, it makes sense: cursive writing aficionado, Williams has THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
recently begun to create layered pieces that explore outmoded textual media through a certain historiographical lens. Some of her mixed-media works in progress incorporate reclaimed and recycled books, architectural drawings, clean right angles, and some judicious rotary sanding.
I feel as if my day has been lost,” says Williams, who typically puts about ten hours a day into her work. “It’s an inner drive. What happens along the way is just a blessing.” She looks around. “Even if I could never sell another painting, I’d still be in here every day.” To learn more about Shirley Williams and her work, consult shirleywilliamsart.com There, you’ll find regularly updated series of blogs and video studio diaries, as well as everything you’ll need to invite one of her works into your own home. D. 55
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Beth Anne Ternovan, Manager of Counselling & Employee Assistance Program Joyce Zuk, Executive Director
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Manny has been around since 1983, back when he was part of 55 unemployed guys who got hired to build gazebos for the Festival of Nations. When layoffs came, they got rid of everyone except for Manny. “Seven years later, the owner passed away and his wife sold me the company in 1990. The rest is history,” Manny says. This April, it will be 36 years of Manny working in this business. This past January, he bought the building, giving Manny more flexibility to bring his customers exactly what they need to make the most of their backyards. Windsor Tent and Awning would like to invite past customers and new customers to their 25th annual Open House to see their new products and enjoy some good old-fashioned BBQ, March 29 and 30 from 9 am to 4 pm. Sponsored by Windsor Tent & Awning
HOW SEVEN ARTISTS COLLABORATED WITH THE WINDSOR COMMUNITY TO CREATE ARTCITE’S NEXT EVOCATIVE EXHIBITION By Tita Kyrtsakas | Photography: Syx Langemann
What does the word “dwell” mean to you? For some, to dwell is an introspective act, to think about something for a static time. For others, a dwelling can be a space, a home and one’s relationship to that dwelling, whether mentally or physically. In the back office at Artcite, a Windsor gallery couched next to the Capitol Theatre, local artists Elaine Carr and Sasha Opeiko, alongside new executive director Lucas Cabral, smile at the possibilities in such a small word. Opeiko muses, “There’s a philosophical aspect to dwell on something, in terms of relationship to space, even the barriers between mental space and physical space.” Carr believes “in dwelling, the introspection, domestic, home. My work is more the bigger picture of dwelling and space and how we understand community and how dwelling forms.” Upcoming to Artcite’s gallery is the Dwelling Exhibition, where seven different Windsor artists—Carr, Opeiko, Collette Broeders, Susan Gold, A.G. Smith, Martin Stevens, and Thomas Provost—explore what this word means to them in their own chosen media. The group has worked on the concept for two years and even had a residency at Artcite in May 2018, where they came to work in-house on their versions of the theme of dwelling. The product of this work during the residency will be showcased in Artcite’s next exhibition, where viewers can walk through the space and explore the new art that was created in a collaborative space.
Lucas Cabral - Artcite Director THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
Cabral explains that the residency was an “opportunity for artists to make work in the public space, so the community can connect with the process.” Other artists and passersby were welcomed in to give the artists their opinions and to ask questions. “To incorporate the community in the project is an interesting touch.” 59
ART DRIVE Carr believes that a strength of this exhibition is that the artists are all at different stages of their careers. “A range of artists equals a range of perspectives.” Many artists work in isolation and rarely have the opportunity to share their opinions with each other. During the residency, the artists had the chance to connect with other artists and to comment on each other’s process. For Carr, the experience was particularly exhilarating because of the way it made her look at her own process with fresh eyes, asking herself questions she’d never before considered. Carr recalls, “I was working in the corner and did the installation and different people were coming in and out, and asked questions like, ‘Why did you use that material? Why didn’t you do thread or wire?’ It was good to be able to talk to people who are not actually making art all the time, who might be interested in art, who had that stimulating poke into your work. And then you say to yourself, ‘why am I using that or considering that?’ When I’m working in my own studio all the time, that kind of interaction doesn’t happen.” Cabral, who has just moved here from Oshawa, already had a vision for what his role would be as executive director after he researched the significance of the gallery’s place in the Windsor-Essex community. “To think of the future of the institution, I thought it was important to look back to the archives,” he says. “Artcite was established in 1982. It’s been around ever since. There is a long history of experimentation throughout this dynamic history. Community has always been part of Artcite. When Artcite was going through a hard time, it was community that kept it moving forward, and it’s going to be about continuing to build community around contemporary art.” Cabral comes from a background in arts administration positions. He worked at the McIntosh Gallery in London and the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. He is also an artist and curator, and uses whatever medium or “resolution that makes sense.” Growing up in Oshawa, he vividly recalls the school trips to the city’s Robert McLaughlin Gallery, a space where he was introduced to visual art while trying to create some of his own. Even then he was aware of how important the gallery space was to him, and had a sense of his place within it. Years later, when Cabral got the job as a Communications and Digital Media Lead at 60
Working On It Artcite residency projects—Spring 2018 Photography by Sasha Opeiko
the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Cabral’s mom found a piece of artwork that he had made there as a child. “The gallery has been there for 50 years and my story and also the story of every kid who went on a field trip there, every person who had a show here, every person who met their partner at a social event, it’s all unseen behind the bricks and mortar. It’s nice to bring those memories out, so they don’t get lost, so they don’t get forgotten.” Visiting art galleries is how we can reconnect with the explorative, dreamy child that still lives within us, but also connect how we view the world as adults now through art. A main hope for Cabral, Carr, and Opeiko is that people will throw away any sort of intimidation they feel when thinking about visiting an art gallery or museum. Carr laughs when she remembers a time when she visited New York at 19. She felt like she couldn’t walk into the art galleries in SoHo and face the sole, beautifully dressed receptionist at the desk. “It looked so church-like and you think how am I supposed to behave?” When she finally braved the risk years later, she realized how happy the receptionist was that she had taken the leap. Now, after encountering the receptiveness other people have to her work during the residency—after they themselves tentatively entered a space that may have felt off-limits to them at first— that open space seems even more important for conversation. “When the artist is in the gallery and working, everyone has a job, everyone does things with their hands and it takes this mystique away from it that what we’re doing is what everyone else does in their own way,” Carr explains. “In this space, we’re hoping that we can be in the gallery at different points and let people come in and give us the opportunity to talk to us about the work and listen to what we have to say.”
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“People think [art’s] complex,” says Opeiko, “but it’s very basic. Go and look.” You can explore the intricacies and offerings of the collective’s ranging perspectives of dwelling from March 22 to April 30. D. THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
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CIRQUE DE SOLEIL PRESENTS CORTEO, A MAGICAL SHOW ON THE INTRICATE BEAUTY OF A LIFE FULLY LIVED
By Tita Kyrtsakas | Photography: Zishan Ali & courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil
ART DRIVE Harvey Donnelly was seven years old when he saw his first Cirque du Soleil show with his mom. Wide-eyed and thrilled, he realized then that performing in Cirque would be an exciting career. Now, he is in his ninth year with the company and, at 27, he is just as excited as he was when he started. “It’s a passion. I was originally a trampolinist and was used to flying in the air. It was about transitioning from a gymnast to being an artist.” Donnelly comes from an arts-driven family: no one else is an acrobat, but they’re all actors. Of course being an acrobat is dangerous, but it’s also “adrenaline-fuelled,” Donnelly explains. When I interview Donnelly at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, a group of gymnasts are rehearsing on the stage, readjusting their wrist grips, chalking their hands, pulling themselves up on the high bar, and then flying through the air. As they each finish their set, they go again and again. Each time, they cheer each other on with a quick embrace or a pat on the back. Offstage, a group of jugglers are practising for their scenes, while Artistic Director Mark Shaub travels to different meetings with performers, journalists, and crew members. Cirque du Soleil began in Quebec in 1984 with a small group of 20 street performers. Today, the company has 4,000 employees across the globe, and employs 1,500 workers at the Montreal international headquarters alone. Currently, there are 19 different shows being performed worldwide and the company is still entirely Canadian-run. Corteo, which means “cortege” in Italian, is a joyous procession, and the show, written and directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca in 2005, is the first Cirque show that Shaub worked on. “Your first one, I think, always stays in your heart,” Shaub expresses. “It was kind of my baby and I was very thrilled when I was asked to go back for the last year of the Big Top tour because it was nice to have those bookends: see the show in the beginning and then, after 10 years of touring, see how it had grown and matured and gelled and gotten better.” Corteo began as a Big Top: the show was performed in a tent, which would take seven days to set up and three and a half days to tear down. In 2015, Shaub was hired to close the Big Top show and work as artistic THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM
director for Corteo as part of an arena tour that began touring in 2016. Now, the show takes only 12 hours of preparation and four hours of teardown. An artistic director “gets involved at the show near the end of creation,” Shaub explains. “Then they take the show on the road and maintain its artistic quality and allow the show to develop, grow, and mature at the same time as keeping it true to its initial intent.” “It was still the same show, but it was just so much richer and so much more textured and layered. When Cirque did decide to transform it into an arena show, I knew the challenges and knew it was a huge undertaking but I really wanted to be there to be part of that and to make sure we would do the best possible arena version of this show that’s close to a lot of people’s hearts.” As with other Cirque du Soleil shows, Corteo’s plot is a wistful dreamscape of music, acrobatics, and poetry. The character is both the protagonist and the viewer, telling a story while also experiencing the beauty of it. Corteo centres on Mauro, an aged actor on his deathbed, who begins “imagining, participating, and dreaming” about his funeral. “The show starts with a procession of his life going past his bed and he’s getting more and more involved in it and more into this life passing before him,” Straub explains. “As the show develops, it’s really not about his passing; it’s about his life, and a celebration of that life.” Corteo is not a morbid drama. Shaub promises, “It’s not at all about death, it’s about life. And it’s about celebrating that life. His life was a life spent in the circus, so it’s about all the characters he spent time with in the circus—the acrobats, the different situations he found himself in.” When it comes to traditional theatre, an audience may expect a thorough story line, but Cirque shows have developed a unique form of storytelling that is more about the spectacle. Shaub clarifies, “You can’t think of this as a play where there’s a script. It’s more abstract than telling a story. We’re doing it with music, movement, acrobatics, humour, everything combined together to create more of a spectacle than storytelling. We manage to tell a story and convey emotions rather than give you a story that you’ll remember. It’s more about the feelings, emotions, humour, the love that comes back from looking back at one’s life.” 65
ART DRIVE It’s not an easy decision to be part of an arena tour. “It’s worked out really well for me. It’s a physical job [and] a difficult lifestyle because we’re on the road. We have people who come and go for various reasons. Some leave for a while and then come back. Some people “A lot of times, at funerals, there are in [this tour of Corteo] were in the original 2005 moments where we take time to talk about all creation.” As I interview Shaub, I notice a string of that was good about somebody and the many things they did, and this show is no different.” flags hanging from the ceiling backstage. He Shaub believes everyone around the world can tells me they represent the home countries of the cast and crew—23 different flags. “Every relate to celebrating one’s life. Shaub comes from a contemporary combination working together,” he smiles. In the beginning, the performer cast as Mauro was Italian, and the current Mauro is Spanish. But the dialogue that is included in the story is mostly English, although sometimes lines are spoken in a variety of languages, which reflects the show’s universality.
about it. You have to work extremely hard to be as good as you possibly can be and then you have to put yourself out there,” Shaub explains. “Don’t believe that Cirque performers come from these far distant lands,” Donnelly says. “They all come from small towns and places like everyone else. You just have to dream big and be passionate about what you do and committed and one day you will find yourself on the stage,” Donnelly encourages.
Corteo currently employs 109 people who travel on the road together, as well as 200 people in each city who work the technical Donnelly tells me why he continues to be side of the show. a part of Cirque. “This line of work is what Shaub promises the arena tour is just I’m most proud of doing. You finish your work as intimate as the Big Top tour and that it’s and you feel so proud of what you’ve done. the “best version they’ve done.” Corteo will I also enjoy flying through the air. It feels immerse you in a story about a man at the end like yesterday I was looking up to the adults, of his life, choosing to focus on the people he’s watching them fly and perform these big tricks worked with, the memories he’s made, the love and thinking maybe one day that could be me. he fostered, and the beauty he gets to relish in And now that is me.” his final days.
dance background. He worked as a dancer in Montreal for 20 years. “It came time to think about doing something else with my body. Cirque is based in Montreal, so lots of people from the arts migrate to Cirque. They are a major employer with a lot of opportunities. I had known former dancers who ended up here and there was an opportunity in 2005. I had just had shoulder surgery, Corteo was already in creation, and they were looking for someone to Cirque is about magic, it’s about seeing life take it on the road. represented on stage through different stories “I somehow got interviewed and somehow expressed through bodies, costume, music, and got the job with no experience whatsoever. dedication. “If you’re doing something that can go into a circus, you have to be passionate Right place, right time.”
Immerse yourself in the power of Corteo, the show tours to the WFCU Centre from May 15 to 19. You can buy tickets @www.cirquedusoleil.com/canada/windsor/corteo/buy-tickets D.
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We want to leave you also saying, “Oh really?”.