October 20, 2011 | VOL. XCIII ISS. XIV
I swear it’s not porn SINCE 1918
UBC P4 Administration asks AMS to stop clubs from using UBC trademark
NO STAMP REQUIRED UBC’s school of music plays its way through history
EN GARDE! Fencing Club brings swordplay to UBC
BEATEN Miscreant takes his LeBeouf hate too far in bar brawl
2 | Page 2 | 10.20.2011
What’s on 20THU
This week, may we suggest...
One on one with the people who make UBC
Postcard from the Past: 12pm @ Music building
UBC Music is trying a new format for its concerts. Entitled Postcards from the Past, UBC’s Concert and Symphonic winds will be performing a number of works by Strauss, Bach and Holst. Other concerts will focus on music from Prague and the Americas. Admission is free.
They Go to Die: 4pm @ The Norm Theatre What are the roots of the HIV/TB pandemic, and what can Canada do about it? Yale epidemiologist Jonathan Smith presents video from his upcoming documentary and discusses human rights and global health innovation.
UBC’s master rock climber Neal Yonson Contributor
UBC Farm Harvest Festival: 9am-1pm @ The UBC Farm The 2011 growing season comes to an end. Stock up on fresh local veggies for canning, then get ready for five months of chard. Oh yes. Lots of chard.
Men’s Basketball v. Memorial: 4pm @ War Memorial Gym Basketball. Preseason. Sports. Yes!
ART >> Luis Camnitzer @ The Belikin Gallery Uruguayan conceptual artist Luis Camnitzer has been producing innovative works since 1966. Sometimes described as an “artist’s artist,” Camnitzer works in non-traditional mediums like wood, steel and text.
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THE UBYSSEY October 20, 2011, Volume XXXIII, Issue XII
Coordinating Editor Justin McElroy
Managing Editor, Print Jonny Wakefield firstname.lastname@example.org
Managing Editor, Web Arshy Mann email@example.com
News Editors Kalyeena Makortoff & Micki Cowan firstname.lastname@example.org
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Video Editor David Marino
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Senior Culture Writers Taylor Loren & Will Johnson
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Andrew Hood, Bryce Warnes, Catherine Guan, David Elop, Jon Chiang, Josh Curran, Will McDonald, Tara Martellaro, Virginie Menard, Scott MacDonald, Anna Zoria, Peter Wojnar, Tanner Bokor, Dominic Lai, Mark-Andre Gessaroli, Natlya Kautz, Kai Jacobson
JOSH CURRAN/ THE UBYSSEY
Bill Thompson is the boss at the Birdcoop climbing cave and a long-time cliff hanger.
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University of British Columbia. It is published every Monday and Thursday by The Ubyssey Publications Society. We are an autonomous, democratically run student organization, and all students are encouraged to participate. Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff. They are the expressed opinion of the staff, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Ubyssey Publications Society or the University of British Columbia. All editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey is the property of The Ubyssey Publications Society. Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced without the expressed, written permission of The Ubyssey Publications Society. The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press (CUP) and adheres to CUP’s guiding principles. Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please include your
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In a small, dusty corner of the Student Recreation Centre, people are hanging off walls adorned with an entire spectrum of brightly coloured tape. They move carefully, gripping and balancing on small pieces of plastic protruding from the walls. Welcome to the Birdcoop’s Climbing Cave. The cave is a facility for bouldering, a form of rockclimbing which doesn’t require high walls, harnesses or ropes. Climbers traverse short, technical sequences using only a limited number of foot and handholds anchored into the walls. Foam mats line the floor in case of falls. It’s a space for campus rock climbers to hone their technique, learn new tricks and just hang out, literally. The best-known face in the cave belongs to Dr Bill Thompson, the man charged with maintaining the facility. A lecturer with the Coordinated Science program by day, Bill spends his evenings working in the cave. While the Birdcoop pays him for a few hours of work each week, he estimates it takes “three times that much just volunteering, doing it. I like it. I’m having a good time.”
In 2004, Bill was teaching at UBC and climbing regularly at the cave with his son Zev, who was a student at the time. The person who had been maintaining the cave left unexpectedly, leaving no one in charge. Bill and his son, along with another student, volunteered to take care of it. Eventually the two students moved on, leaving Bill as the only one left to set new routes, wash equipment and organize climbing competitions. In the seven years since Bill started, he reflects, “we probably have evolved a bit towards having a greater variety of routes, more people setting routes and more routes total.” Although the climbing cave has a very small footprint—about 150 square feet—he aims to make the most of it. Despite the small space, there are usually 80-90 unique routes to choose from, serving all climbers from absolute beginners to skilled veterans. “If you just walk in here and have never seen it before, it’s kind of a real confusion of colours and tape all over the place and it takes a while to catch on,” he advised. However, when given the choice to reduce the number of routes to make navigation easier, climbers always opt to have more routes to choose from.
“A lot of the climbs in here are sort of inspired by the way climbing works in Squamish, which is granite,” said Bill. “One of the best compliments I’ve ever had in here was someone who said, ‘I love your gym, it almost feels like climbing outdoors.’” Bill is a UBC alumnus and has been climbing since he was a student, earning a PhD in ecology during the 1970s. The cave offers workshops for beginners, but he also recommends coming in a group with experienced climbers as a way to get started. To him, bouldering is more than just a way to get a workout. “The physical [aspect] is kind of obvious,” he said. “But the other side of it, climbing is very much puzzle solving. I think people that like to do crosswords, sudokus, things like that, it has some of that same appeal.” U
Bill Thompson You may know him from... The Birdcoop Climbing Gym Alumni in... Ecology Lectures in... Coordinated Science
Editors: Kalyeena Makortoff & Micki Cowan
Months after vicious attack, Rumana Monzur talks about her future Ana Komnenic Contributor
While Rumana Monzur lay in a hospital bed in India, recently blinded and maimed by her husband, her five-year-old daughter Anusheh sat beside her. Looking at an old picture of her mother, Anuseh sighed and repeated, “Naughty baba [father], naughty baba.” On June 5, 2011 in Bangladesh, Monzur’s now ex-husband attacked her, changing her life forever. In an exclusive interview with The Ubyssey, she explained how, after undergoing four surgeries in Canada,
doctors told her that she would never see again. There is hope that as research develops, her vision might be restored, but for now Monzur must focus on learning how to live with her disability. Monzur knows she wasn’t the only victim in this crime. She worries about her daughter, who witnessed the entire attack and afterwards told her, “Mama, I’m sorry I did not save you.” The media covered Monzur’s case extensively, catching the world’s attention as she is a UBC student and assistant professor at the University of Dakha. In fact, said Monzur, the
media ended up playing a critical role in her husband’s arrest. He is currently in jail awaiting trial. However, Monzur’s case is one of the few that reaches the public. Monzur explained that such violence occurs every day in her country and, as she can testify, it doesn’t only happen to uneducated, rural women. Monzur is optimistic that her daughter’s generation will live in a Bangladesh where women are better protected. She believes that for women to become more willing to leave abusive marriages, people’s perceptions of divorce need to change. There is a
strong stigma surrounding divorce in Bangladesh and women are often blamed for failed marriages. If the society becomes more accepting of divorce, Monzur believes women will be less likely to tolerate violent spouses: “I think that if this change comes, positive changes will happen.” She hopes that women will learn from her case. “I want them to be courageous,” she said. “I want them to make a lasting decision.” According to Randy Schmidt, acting director for UBC Public Affairs, the UBC community has so far raised $85,000 for Monzur’s medical costs
SUB to be a 24 hour hub during exams
and living expenses. Her mother, father and daughter live in Vancouver with her, supporting her as she tries to adapt to a new life. Talking about her plans to resume her master’s degree in political science, Monzur said that she must first learn how to use a computer without sight, along with complete training through the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. For now, Monzur will focus on learning how to live her new life and regain some degree of her former independence, but she is not under any impression that it will be easy. U TRANSIT >>
Bike share system expands
Marissa Ho Contributor
For those looking to escape the cramped libraries during exams, the SUB may soon be a safe haven. For the first time in 40 years, the AMS is looking into keeping the SUB open 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday, during the two week exam period. The current plan is to have the entire SUB open as a study space, and to keep Pi R Squared open until 3 or 4am and offer sandwiches from the AMS Catering kitchen, day-old Blue Chip cookies, Bernoulli’s bagels and—of course—coffee. “There’s some concerns about students’ wellness during exam period and staying up extended periods of time,” said AMS VP Administration Mike Silley. “However, I’m of the mind that if they’re going to do it anyway, at least provide a resource for them and hopefully have some healthy food as an alternative to McDonald’s.” AMS President Jeremy McElroy spoke on the current situation. “Unless you get to the SUB before midnight to grab a slice of pizza from Pi R, you’re kind of up the creek, unless you want to trek all the way to McDonald’s, and that’s not the most healthy establishment.” While Irving K. Barber is also open 24 hours during exams, there is not enough space there to accommodate the number of students that are up for late night study sessions. As Ike’s Cafe closes at 10pm, there is nowhere close for students to grab a cup of coffee.
Vancouver aims for a system similar to Montreal’s Bixi bikes.
Mehran Najafi Contributor
Pi R Squared will be the outlet for late night snacks and coffee to students cramming late at night in the SUB.
PHOTO COURTESY UBC
“Irving is packed,” said Business and Facilities Committee Chair Anne Kessler. “By midnight it is very hard to find a place to sit and study, so obviously we see [keeping the SUB open] as a student need.” “It’s so overused,” said Silley of Irving K Barber. “Students break into other buildings—the computer science building or the forestry building—when they’re not authorized to study there. And they’re actually getting kicked out by campus security with no place to study. They actually have to go off
campus to study, so even though there is this service that UBC has found a need for, there’s definitely more demand than what’s offered.” Extra expenses will cover overnight security guards, janitorial staff, over-time workers’ compensation and utilities costs, at an estimated $10-15,000. “The cost is not going to be very much for...the amount of benefit it will bring to students,” Kessler said. The money would come out of the student spaces fund that is included in the AMS fee we pay each
year ($15.75 for 2011), but students won’t be seeing a fee increase. While negotiations are still taking place, fourth-year commuter student Mitchell Thom sees the value in keeping the SUB open. “I think it’s a really useful idea. To be on campus and not have distractions like TV or parents, or whoever you live with. It’s nice to have a space that’s separate from all of that,” he said. U
$1 million for genomics research at UBC
UBC study: young families struggle to earn enough money
Concerns over Insite disproved in review
E@UBC to fund winning entrepreneurial idea
The Genomics Research Entrepreneurship to Accelerate Translation (GREAT) project at UBC has been chosen for funding through Genome Canada’s Entrepreneurship Education in Genomics (EEG) pilot program. GREAT will receive $1 million from EEG, which helps Canadian genomics researchers provide a comprehensive approach to entrepreneurship. “The EEG project will increase the researchers’ knowledge base to help them directly promote implementation of their project outputs,” said Alan Winter, president and CEO of Genome BC.
UBC researcher Paul Kershaw, from the College of Interdisciplinary Studies, has released a recent study that showed a marked increase in difficulty for young families to earn a living and support themselves. Kershaw’s study reports that young couples today are struggling more and more to balance earning enough money with spending time with their children. Despite a higher percentage of women in the workplace, the median income for an average family has only risen from $65,360 to $68,580 (which has been adjusted for inflation) since 1980.
In a September 2011 letter to John Hepburn, UBC’s Vice President Research & International, a group called Drug Free Australia raised concerns over a recent UBC study on Insite. The study showed a 35 per cent decrease in overdose deaths after the opening of Insite, North America’s only supervised injection facility. An independent review by a McGill professor has settled concerns over the UBC study. After reviewing the submission, Mark Wainberg, a professor of medicine at McGill and the appointed independent reviewer, said the allegations are without merit and not fact-based.
On October 20, five groups from the UBC community will pitch their ideas through the entrepreneurship@UBC Seed Accelerator fund, which UBC uses to invest in entrepreneurs. The five competitors have a chance at securing investments between $25,000 and $100,000 and are judged by a panel of experts and investors. The program seeks out early-stage business opportunities founded by UBC students, staff, faculty or recent alumni. E@UBC is a partnership between the British Columbia Innovation Council, UBC alumni and the university. U
—With files from Kalyeena Makortoff
Vancouver is looking at getting a bike share system—and UBC may play a big part in it. The city is hoping to be the fourth city in Canada to implement a bike share program, following Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. The programs in place are provided by BIXI, a Montreal-based bike share company. Carole Jolly, UBC’s director of Transportation Planning, said that more bikes at UBC are a good fit. “TransLink conducted a cycling suitability analysis and the conclusion of that study was that UBC has the highest cycling potential of any other area within the region,” she said. “We have lots of public realm in cycling infrastructures that have made the campus very safe and accessible for cycling,” she added. Last April, the City of Vancouver issued a request for expression of interest in its attempt to begin formulating a bike sharing system for the city. Given its relatively flat topography, high potential and distinct cycling culture, UBC is seen as a vital component. Jolly said that an early analysis has been done on what the system would look like at UBC. “Our early analysis indicates that the trial campus program would include 200 bicycles situated in about 20 different docking stations around campus, with the docking stations being at least 300 to 500 metres apart.” UBC will be involved at Vancouver city council meeting negotiations later this month, alongside the University Neighbourhoods Association and the AMS. Nancy Lee, a UBC student, welcomes the idea. “To be frank, I would kill for a bicycle right now,” Lee said before making a hike from the Anthropology and Sociology Building up to the MacMillan building in a matter of ten minutes. At the Board of Governors meeting, Jolly said the earliest implementation would be spring 2012. U
4 | News | 10.20.2011 CLUBS >>
Taking the “UBC” out of AMS club names University asks AMS to clearly associate new clubs with the student union
Kalyeena Makortoff News Editor
A new licensing agreement between the AMS and UBC is set to limit the way AMS clubs are named. “There was concern from the university’s side of student clubs bearing the name ‘UBC’ without any reference to the AMS, or the fact that they are an autonomous student club,” said AMS President Jeremy McElroy. “I’m not sure where this is coming from or why it’s suddenly an issue after nearly 100 years of our clubs calling themselves the ‘UBC’ club.” The university has said the change is meant to clearly communicate that clubs are run by the student society and not the university. “We’re fine with them identifying in affiliation with UBC but we want to make sure it’s done in a way that’s not confusing,” said Huber Lai, head of the Office of the University Counsel, UBC’s legal advising branch. “Students don’t look behind the name to figure out what the true structures are, so we just want to make sure that no one is confused and that everybody is clear that it is an AMS club made up of UBC students. “I think the AMS and the university both want to make sure that the clubs have a consistent way of presenting themselves so that people aren’t misled,” said Lai. But McElroy said the broader community is aware that all clubs are run by the student union and that it’s likely that UBC is trying to protect its reputation. “We theorized sort of about
where things could come from. Last year we constituted the [UBC] Hempology Club. They held a conference and brought in some controversial speakers,” McElroy explained. “UBC is very aware of is reputation and when a club is the “UBC (blank) Club,” there’s an idea, whether accurate or not, that it’s either approved by the university or supported in part by the university, which it is not,” McElroy said. But Lai said potential miscommunication about the university controlling AMS clubs is harmful for everyone. “[It’s] not good for the club, it’s not good for the AMS and it’s not good for the university, because people are then going to come to the university and say, ‘Well we don’t like what your club is doing, do something about it.’” In what must have been a sigh of relief for the AMS, the university will only be applying the naming restrictions to newly constituted clubs, leaving existing clubs to continue operating without name changes. “They recognize the history of a lot of the existing clubs and the administrative nightmare of going back and reconstituting every single club we have. So University Counsel’s suggestion was that [the changes are installed] for newly constituted clubs, and for clubs seeking name changes in the constitution,” said McElroy. As for new clubs, they will not be able to exclusively use “UBC” without having “AMS” in the name. If a calligraphy club were to be created, for example, it could choose to call itself the AMS Calligraphy Club of UBC, or the AMS Calligraphy Club, but not the UBC Calligraphy Club.
GEOFF LISTER PHOTO/THE UBYSSEY
While existing clubs will not be affected, the UBC Aqua Society said it might not be as recognizable if it were the AMS Aqua Society.
Brendan Andresen, store manager for the UBC Aqua Society, said it wouldn’t really matter if the UBC Aqua Society had to be the AMS Aqua Society, but said there are benefits for new clubs to use the UBC name. “The benefit with UBC is obviously it’s a lot more known than the AMS. When I tell people the AMS, unless they’re UBC students or affiliated with UBC, they don’t tend to know what the AMS means. So it’s nice for me, to attract people
to the UBC Aqua Society, because UBC has a bit more prestige in the name,” Andresen said. “It’s a little more clear for people but in the grand scheme of things, I don’t really think it makes that much of a difference.” “University Counsel and the AMS will be meeting in the next couple of weeks to hammer out the details and hope to have everything signed in a month,” said McElroy. In the meantime, the AMS is coming up with suggestions for
new club name formatting. “Our concern is that however it gets named, it’s done in an unconfusing, non-misleading fashion and I think the AMS has exactly the same desire, they don’t want clubs to be misconstrued as something that they’re not. And so they’re going to come up with ways that they think will work for students [and] work for the clubs. [They will] let us know what they are and there will not be any issue there,” said Lai. U
Liu: MP at 20 years old
GEOFF LISTER/THE UBYSSEY
Laurin Liu talks with students at a meet and greet in the AMS Art Gallery last Thursday.
Micki Cowan News Editor
Imagine waking up one morning with the realization that rather than prepping for your exam next week or attending class, you are going to Parliament Hill—and being paid $140,000 to do it. This is what happened to former McGill student, now member of parliament Laurin Liu, when she was elected by a landslide vote in a suburban Montreal riding for the NDP on May 2, 2011. “It’s been a radical life change,” said Liu when she visited UBC last week as part of her tour. The 20-year-old Liu was in her third year of a history and cultural studies degree at McGill when she was elected as the MP for Rivièredes-Mille-Îles. But there are some aspects of her new career which run congruent to her student lifestyle. “Some things haven’t changed: the all-nighters, the multi-tasking
and having a peer group are all things that haven’t changed.” Politics played a big part in her university experience. She was involved in student government, where she helped her student society’s VP External coordinate political campaigns and sat on the board of directors for the campus radio station at McGill, CKUT. “Politics has always been something that’s been part of my life, but on a more grassroots and local level.” To help the new MPs transition into their position, each was assigned a mentor from their party. Liu’s is Megan Leslie, an environment critic from Halifax. “I’m the deputy environment critic,” Liu said. “That’s something that was an interest for me before, which I can work as an MP as well.” Though she has a mentor to help her out, Liu is often working with people with a lot more experience. But Lui said it’s more than age that makes a good MP. “To a certain point it goes beyond age and you have to look at the work…sometimes you’ll see a younger MP doing a way better job than an older MP, and vice versa as well.” Liu is looking at eventually getting her degree, but said it’s too soon to say what she will do following her term as MP. “I definitely want to continue with politics, whether it be as a politician or in another role.” U
10.20.2011 | News | 5 NEW SUB >>
AMS eyes sustainable stairs for new SUB A new staircase generates energy with footsteps. But is it worth the price tag? Amy Schwenneker Contributor
The AMS is stepping towards sustainability in the new SUB design, but their proposal for a set of stairs that costs $30,000 is not an easy sell. The new SUB, slated for completion in September 2014, has a number of environmental gadgets. The “green” stairs in the new SUB would generate energy by people stepping on them—enough energy to power the staircase itself and an LED screen that shows the energy being used in the building. “As you step on it, the mechanical device underneath the step absorbs the energy that your body weight produces and translates that into energy,” said AMS VP Administration Mike Silley. The impressive price tag of $30,000 would not come from the budget for the new SUB, but from the Student Spaces Fund, a separate fund put aside for initiatives like this one. Silley supports the project and said the stairs would be a “neat focal point to have in the new SUB.” As for the price tag, “[It’s a] small price to pay to have something like this for the next 30 to 40 years.” But not all the executives are in agreement. Elin Tayyar, AMS VP Finance, opposes the project due to the cost of the stairs, among other things. “$30,000 is quite a bit of money. That’s about 75 cents a student. So
if you go to students and ask if they would be willing to pay 75 cents to go up a staircase that lights up if you’re stepping on it, a few hundred might agree, but I doubt the whole campus would be okay with that,” he said. But Silley said it goes beyond just the price tag. “I think that these stairs are based on trying to change people’s behaviour, making them aware of being sustainable, and that it
Its just $30,000 that we are taking away from being able to spend on other things Elin Tayyar VP Finance
would be a great model to have on campus as a centre of sustainability,” said Silley. “It acts as a place where people can see sustainability in action. “We will be having these hooked up to a giant display board displaying room by room how much energy is being used, water being used, heat, how much waste is being produced, building to building.” Rather than being a project of sustainability, Tayyar sees the stairs as more of an art project. “You can fund a lot of artists on campus for a lot less money and
PETER WOJNAR/THE UBYSSEY
AMS VP Administration Mike Silley tests out a proto-type of the stair design.
benefit the students more. “They’re selling it as a sustainability project, which it is not. You can’t possibly bring a guest [to the SUB] and say this is a sustainability project that generates energy,” said Tayyar. “It only generates enough energy to light itself up. So there’s zero
net benefit as far as sustainability issues are concerned.” The stairs may be a hard sell for some students as well. “The stairs light up, I mean, I wouldn’t really call that green. They don’t save the environment,” said Ashley Fowler, a second-year student.
“You don’t even need stairs to be lit up, we are just lighting the stairs up for our own amusement.” She also said that while she “likes the idea [and] it sounds cool, we should definitely be putting the money into things we need more. “The money is being spent in the wrong places.” U
Editor: Ginny Monaco
Music on the Mind working towards melodious campus
KAI JACOBSON/THE UBYSSEY
Reanna Buursma Contributor
COLE MURPHYT/THE UBYSSEY
The Postcard concert series will feature both the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concert Winds playing music specific to time and place.
UBC MUSIC >>
Past comes alive in Postcard series
Senior Culture Writer Sending a postcard from Prague will be a little easier this year thanks to UBC Bands. The Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concert Winds will be joining to create a new experience for the UBC music community. Dr Rob Taylor is the director of both ensembles and initiated the combination of both band performances into a new concert series, titled Postcards. “I was hoping to integrate the two bands and create a season around one central theme,” said Taylor, who said he combined the concerts “partly to expand the audience and partly to draw
attention to how well both of the bands play.” He described the event as a journey for the audience. “Instead of just going to a concert where there’s a mix of pieces, such as an overture, concerto, and then symphony, we are taking an idea and spinning out on it to make it a more cohesive experience for the audience,” said Taylor. Postcards derived its name from the thematic concept that each concert is related to a specific time or place. The series will begin this week with Postcard from the Past, featuring historical pieces that build on the idea of masterworks and traditions. The performance will include two suites composed by Gustav Holst.
In November, Postcard from Prague will feature Czech composers, along with a piece that depicts “the communist takeover of the city of Prague,” Taylor said. Postcard from the Podium, Postcard from the Jazz Age, and Postcard from the Americas will also be featured throughout the year. UBC Bands is comprised of two ensembles under the direction of Taylor, both of which are open to music majors and non-majors through open auditions at the beginning of each academic year. The School of Music will be offering all of the Postcards concerts online. Funded through grants from the UBC Faculty of Arts and the Teaching and Learning
Enhancement Fund, the streaming video project was created “to allow those who can’t make it to the concert to view live performances by numerous UBC ensembles,” said Taylor. While the performances allow students’ families from around the world to watch them perform, it also offers educational benefits to smaller communities. Added Taylor, “The intent is for students in music schools in the interior of BC and remote areas to be able to watch and participate in the concerts.” Postcard from the Past will be performed today at noon and Friday at 8pm in the Chan Centre for Performing Arts and online. All concerts are free and open to the public. U
Arts Briefs Nancy Hermiston honoured with Ruby Award Nancy Hermiston, director of Voice and Opera Divisions at UBC School of Music, was honoured with the Opera Canada (Ruby) Award in Toronto on October 5. Hermiston was also awarded the Dorothy Somerset Award in 2008 and the Killam Teaching Prize, awarded by UBC in 2009. Hermiston’s operatic career has taken her throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. She has held numerous appointments as voice teacher, and as stage director at the Meistersinger Konservatorium in Nürnberg, and the University of Toronto Opera and Performance Divisions, and she was appointed to the UBC faculty in 1995 as coordinator of the Voice and Opera Division. Established in 1999, the Opera Canada Awards celebrate excellence on the stage and behind the scenes by recognizing individual achievements in the field of opera on an annual basis.
Vancouver Opera holds contest to find extra for Romeo and Juliet Dying to be on stage? Vancouver Opera is holding a contest to find an extra for their production of Charles
Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. Aspiring actors can enter the contest by creating a Youtube video depicting an “over-the-top, operatically dramatic death scene,” and sending the video to Vancouver Opera. The winner, who will be chosen by a public vote, will appear in all four performances of the opera from November 26 through December 3 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The contest is currently in progress and ends October 28. The winner will be announced November 8.
UBC Improv and SFU Improv to meet in battle for comedic supremacy On November 8, UBC Improv will lock horns with SFU Improv in a clash of comedy. The Vancouver Improv Fight Club (VIFC) will see the two universities compete for the first annual Durden Cup at Cafe Deux Soleils in Vancouver. “Ever since the football game between UBC and SFU was cancelled, a lot of students have been looking for a venue to get drunk and make snide remarks at each other,” said Michael DeMaria, co-president of UBC Improv. UBC Improv, active since 1999, is comprised of UBC students. They perform at Scarfe twice a month.
COURTESY OF UBC IMPROV
UBC Improv will compete against SFU Improv for the first time in eight years.
Both SFU and UBC’s improv comedy teams are fierce rivals. VIFC producer Daniel Chai says the matchup between the two campuses is one of the strongest for the club. “UBCimprov and SFU Improv both have very large fan bases,” said Chai, adding “When you take the natural rivalry between the two universities and add in the chance to win the Durden Cup in the first meeting between the teams in over eight years, you know the improvisers are going to be giving it their all on the Cafe Deux Soleils stage.” The show starts at 8pm. Tickets are five dollars at the door.
New VAG exhibit to feature works from Audain Collection On October 29, Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa’s assembled works will be revealed for the first time at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The exhibit, titled Shore, Forest and Beyond: Art from the Audain Collection, displays nineteenth century masks by First Nations artists, a set of paintings by Emily Carr that span the entire length of her career, and contemporary works by internationally renowned Vancouver-based artists Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham, Ian Wallace and others. U
Of the sounds you would expect to hear in the SUB on a Friday afternoon, the whispers of a flute playing Johann Sebastian Bach would not be high on that list. On Friday, October 14, the third concert of the Music on the Mind series was held in the SUB art gallery. Music on the Mind is a new concert series at UBC that holds free performances in several uncommon venues around campus. Heather Beaty, founder of the project, has a focused goal for the new initiative: to get “old music into new spaces.” Beaty, a master’s student, is in her last year of studies at the School of Music. She was inspired by Music on Main and Musicfest Vancouver to create her own concert series on campus. “What I love about Music on Main specifically was the fact that they took new spaces and brought classical music in there,” Beaty said. She noticed that the audiences at these concerts were varied: “People who weren’t necessarily exposed to classical music before, were suddenly attracted to it because it wasn’t in your traditional venue.” Music on the Mind includes ten concerts in five different venues on campus, including the SUB, Koerner Library Plaza, and the Point Grill Restaurant. “UBC is filled with all these beautiful pockets, these beautiful outdoors spaces that you appreciate when you’re walking to class. They add to the rich texture of this university,” said Beaty. “Why not take over those spaces with art performance?” One particularly interesting location is the newly renovated Buchanan courtyard. On September 30, musicians performed within the public art sculpture, a location where nature meets art. Beaty spoke with the architects of the sculpture and was told that they “had performance in mind when they designed it.” Music on the Mind is designed to offer music students more opportunities to perform for their peers in unconventional settings. “A lot of the pressures of performances are automatically brought down. There’s no silence, there’s no lights in your face, there’s no tension of performance expectations anymore,” explained Beaty. “You’re on a sidewalk in front of people who may be just casually listening to you. The barrier between audience and performer is suddenly broken down.” The next performance in the Music on the Mind series is on November 4 at 10am at the Bean Around the World coffee shop. U
10.20.2011 | Culture
kris bertin flexes his creative muscle Martime writer to be featured in influential Vancouver literary journal
Will Johnson Senior Culture Writer
The first time Cara Woodruff picked up the short story “Is Alive and Can Move” by kris bertin, she knew she had found something special. “It drew me in right away with this raw, insane energy and this really unique voice,” she said. “I’m always looking for something that’s different, really distinct.” bertin is a fledgling writer from Halifax who published his first short story “Girl on the Fire Escape” in The Malahat Review last year. He entered “Is Alive and Can Move” in PRISM International’s annual fiction contest this summer. Woodruff, who is currently the journal’s fiction editor, was screening through over 250 entries when she came across it. “We get a lot of these stories that are solid, the writing is good, everything is polished, but they’re kind of boring,” she said. “They’re just safe.” “Is Alive and Can Move” is the story of an alcoholic janitor who works at a university. As he struggles to maintain his sobriety, he is horrified by what he sees. Or at least, by what he thinks he sees. The editorial board was enthusiastic about the piece, and were confident it deserved some recognition. But after narrowing the entries down to a ten piece shortlist and forwarding them to the contest’s judge, John K Samson of The Weakerthans, bertin’s piece came up empty-handed. That’s when the PRISM team decided to make an unusual move, slating bertin’s story for publication in the following issue. “Is Alive and Can Move” was published this month, and is on stands now. The Ubyssey spoke with bertin recently, to hear his thoughts now that “Is Alive and Can Move” has found a home. U: Tell me about the impetus behind “Is Alive and Can Move.” What were you trying to accomplish with the story? bertin: I wanted to make a story about someone who has all the odds against them. Buddy [the
protagonist] is an ex-con who’s trying desperately to hold onto a job and to stay clean, but even his body is trying to ruin things, even his mind is out to get him. I know men like that, and they aren’t stupid, they aren’t fuck-ups or lazy or any of the dismissive things people say about them; they’re dealing with something you don’t understand. That’s why I wanted it from Buddy’s point-of-view, so it isn’t another “a guy-I-knew” sort of story, which tends to be heavy on pathos. I think he comes off as a very smart, observant person who’s in a very bad situation and trying to make do. U: You’ve mentioned that you’re drawn to stories about working class people, and those who don’t normally get attention. Has your focus shifted at all? Can you expand on that idea? bertin: I mostly write about working class people because I’ve been one since before I was even an adult...It’s very difficult for me to write a character who is privileged and unaware of it. That said, I often will stop and ask myself if what I’m writing has to be this way. Does this have to be a Halifax story? Does the main character have to be male, white, etc.? When the answer is no, that’s when I re-evaluate things and the story changes. It’s hard to talk about this stuff, because it has everything to do with my personal prejudices and political class conflict stuff that’s ugly or unfair. I think the only reasonable thing to be said is about the narrative potential and dramatic value of these things. The so-rich-you-don’teven-work are immensely boring, unless their wealth is a plot device, like Scrooge McDuck. In Western fiction, stories about upper-class people typically fall into two categories: stories about bankers killing people with hammers because their lives are meaningless, and very boring stories about infidelity. U: I read something about a book deal on your blog. Can you tell me more about that? bertin: When I won the award for “Girl on the Fire Escape,” I got
INDIANA JOELTHE UBYSSEY
kris bertin writes stories about working class characters. bertin himself works at a bar to support his writing, and finds story ideas there.
sent a couple offers from headhunters who had seen or heard something about it, letters from a couple publishing houses and a big, greasy literary agency. I got the news while I was at work and I felt completely crazy and couldn’t focus on anything I was doing. In the end, I didn’t say yes or no to anybody. I didn’t feel good about making a decision and picking a team when I’ve had only one story on the stands. I was worried about settling for the first offer I get because I’ve wanted this for so long. I have a collection of short stories that’s ready to go. I’ll be finding a home for it sometime between now and when it’s very cold out. U: Tell me about the grant you got, and what you’re doing with it.
bertin: I got a Nova Scotia government grant to write a novel about a crummy bar. I am writing said book, and I’m aiming to be finished by spring. I’m going to use the grant to go stay with my genius brother and write while he’s at work, then beat him at chess when he gets home. It’ll be during periods of low traffic at the bar, when I’m not hurting any of my co-workers by going away for a while. U: Are you still working your day job? Can you describe it? How does that fit into/inform your process as a writer? bertin: I am. I work at Bearly’s House of Blues and Ribs...It’s a neighbourhood bar with every kind of person coming through there as a customer—international travelers and retirees and college kids and
Come for the free tickets, stay for the journalism
raving derelicts. Some of the most amazing blues acts in the country come through there, and I get to see them all. It’s a great place. It informs my writing because I get to see and hear some amazing things, and I really get a close-up look at some real human behavior—as human as it gets. And I hear stories, of course. One of my recent publications, “EVERYWHERE MONEY” [Riddle Fence #9], comes from a long conversation with a guy who used to be a phone-scammer in Montreal. Sometimes I hear something and it’s so amazing that I immediately write it down. My bedroom is filled with little pieces of paper with bizarre stuff written on them. U This interview has been edited and condensed. For the full transcript, visit ubyssey.ca/culture
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Editor: Drake Fenton
Volleyball team digging for gold The men’s team will be relying on their veteran players to win in the competitive Canada West Mike Dickson Staff Writer
The UBC men’s volleyball team finished a gauntlet of eight matches in eight days at Queen’s University’s Coast-to-Coast Classic on the weekend, the final tune-up before their regular season begins on October 28 on the road against the University of Regina. Boasting a veteran lineup of several returning fifth-year players and an infusion of new talent coming straight out of high school, head coach Richard Schick likes what he sees so far. “We’ve tried to work on the speed of our offence and how fast the ball is getting from the setters to our hitters, and that was evident this past weekend,” said Schick. “I think our speed to the outside was probably the fastest of anybody. Our defence was also strong, as I don’t think we were out-blocked in a single match.” The tournament at Queen’s, where the national championship will be hosted this year, was at the tail end of an eastern road trip for the Thunderbirds. They dropped consecutive matches in Halifax against Dalhousie University before crushing the University of New Brunswick with two straight set victories in Fredericton. In Kingston, UBC disposed of McMaster 3-1 in their first match before overcoming a two set deficit to beat the University of Calgary 3-2. The tables turned in their final match against the University of Alberta, as UBC led by two sets before eventually falling 3-2.
GEOFF LISTER/THE UBYSSEY
JON CHIANG/ THE UBYSSEY
The men’s volleyball team in action last season. UBC made it to nationals last year for the first time in 18 years.
A recent coach’s poll ranked UBC fifth in the nation, close on the heels of No. 2 Alberta and No. 4 Calgary. While they’re taking it one game at a time, the Thunderbirds are aiming to prove those rankings are just numbers. “With the improvement we’ve had over the last few years since breaking our 18-year absence from nationals, our goal is to host a playoff match in the final four at the nationals this year, a tournament
which has shown that anything can happen,” said Schick. Though they’ve lost CIS all-time digs leader and libero Blair Bann and setter Ryan Zwarich to graduation, fifth-years Yari Kozel, Tanner Kozak, Demijan Savija and Joe Cordonier have returned to lead the UBC attack. New recruits Milan Nikic of Calgary, Jarrid Ireland of Winnipeg and Alex Russell of Surrey give the team depth on the attack and provide some healthy
competition for playing time, which is nothing but good news for the Thunderbirds. “It’s an exciting group, and the new energy these young players bring has raised our level of competitiveness and our drive,” said Schick. “It gives us a lot of options in that if somebody goes down with an injury, these young guys can step in and contribute, which raises our level as a group and is positive thing for us heading into the season.” U
Students test their metal at UBC Fencing Club Kaan Eraslan Contributor
CHRIS BORCHERT/THE UBYSSEY
These people are not pirates or bee keepers. They are members of the UBC Fencing Club
On Monday and Thursday nights, if a UBC student takes a wrong turn on the second floor of the SUB, they may find themselves in the middle of a sword fight. This is no cause for panic; they’ve most likely walked into a UBC Fencing Club training session. That, or they walked into the men’s room at exactly the wrong time. Do not be fooled by popular sword-and-sandal movies. Fencing requires more than just swinging a pointy piece of steel and giving cheesy pre-battle speeches. Footwork, stamina, balance and strategy are necessary elements of dueling. UBC Fencing Club President Montserrat Arduz started fencing after watching matches on TV during the 2008 Summer Olympics. “You don’t necessarily have to be extremely strong; it’s not about strength. It’s about finding the right angles and points of attack so you don’t have to exert much force,” she said. There are three types of weapons used in fencing: foils, épées and sabres. Each weapon has different target points. For example, fencers dueling with foils are only allowed to attack the sternum, while épée wielders can attack the entire body. Matches reward fencers who attack moving forward, unless they are struck with a counter-attack. The UBC Fencing Club is open
for beginners with no fencing experience. Arduz said the club has a few competitive fencers and hosts four tournaments a year. Jessica Clayton, the Fencing Club’s secretary and a UBC student, is a competitive fencer who excels with the sabre. Last year, Clayton came in third at the provincial tournament, and she is currently ranked seventh in BC. “That’s all from a year of hard work,” said Clayton, who started fencing a little over a year ago. She trained at UBC and a facility in North Vancouver. Arduz said fencing used to be a varsity sport. After a series of varsity cuts, the UBC fencing team became open to the public as the UBC Fencing Club. Clayton and Arduz said they want fencing to become a varsity sport once again. “That would be ideal,” said Clayton. As a varsity team, UBC fencers would have funding for more equipment, extra coaches, larger training venues and intercollegiate competition. “Two days a week in kind of a cramped space with one coach—I mean, we would love to have more coaches but we can’t really afford it,” said Arduz. In its current condition, the UBC Fencing Club has everything a beginner needs. All equipment is provided by the club and students get to enjoy some of the lowest practice fees in Vancouver. U
Men’s soccer: UBC upset by Victoria The first-place UBC Thunderbirds men’s soccer team lost their first game of the season, losing 1-0 away to the University of Victoria Vikes on Sunday afternoon. The ‘Birds, who entered the game ranked number one in the CIS men’s soccer poll, let the game slip away from them in the 75th minute when Vikes rookie forward Cam Hundal scored his first ever CIS goal. The win propelled Victoria (6-2-2) into sole possession of second place in the Canada West and left UBC (6-1-3) with a tenuous one point lead at the top of the table. The first half of the game was a conservative affair, with neither team generating solid scoring chances. In the second half, the action heated up, and Victoria goalkeeper Daniel Kilpatrick was the difference maker. He made multiple sprawling saves to keep UBC off the scoresheet. With the ‘Birds scrambling to even the score in the final minutes, UBC’s midfielder Navid Mashinchi nearly spoiled Victoria’s upset bid. From a direct free kick, Mashinchi’s shot deflected off the post before Victoria’s defence cleared the ball from harm’s way. UBC faces the University of Alberta and the University of Saskatchewan next at Thunderbird Park. Men’s basketball: UBC wins exhibition tournament This past weekend, the UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball team won the 44th annual Naismith Classic, an exhibition basketball tournament hosted by the University of Waterloo. On Sunday afternoon, UBC won the tournament by defeating Queen’s University 66-61. The ‘Birds went a perfect 3-0 in the four-team round-robin tournament. UBC managed to edge past Queen’s by playing tough defence, holding them to 11 points in the third quarter. Throughout the entire game, the ‘Birds forced Queen’s to take hard shots, limiting them to 30 per cent shooting. Fifth-year UBC guard Nathan Yu led the ‘Birds with 14 points and drained 2 3-pointers. He was named the tournament’s MVP. U
10.20.2011 | Sports | 9 IN FOCUS >>
Janine Frazao tearing up the turf Colin Chia Contributor
Janine Frazao has put up some impressive numbers this season. The striker for the UBC Thunderbirds women’s soccer team has hit a rich vein of form recently, scoring eight goals in ten matches, making her the current leading goal scorer in the Canada West. However, this is not just one good series of performances. Over her three years at UBC, Frazao has shown a real instinct for putting the ball in the net and has consistently been a threat that other teams seek to contain. She was tied as UBC’s top scorer last season and has scored 26 goals in 42 CIS appearances, an impressive overall strike rate.
“It’s a hell of an accomplishment and she really deserves it.” Head coach Mark Rogers, on Frazao representing Canada at the Universiade Games
JOSH CURRAN/ THE UBYSSEY
Frazao has been a force on the women’s soccer team, leading the team with eight goals.
But she says that the credit needs to be given to her teammates first. “It’s just a representation of all of us working hard together. I’ve just been fortunate with everyone working just as hard for me to get the opportunities for all those goals,” Frazao said. The student from Port Moody
hopes her lethal finishing can help the team to a national championship. “Our team just keeps growing and growing, and this year we’ve put ourselves in a really good position,” she said. While some have noted the large number of rookies on the team this year, Frazao said they’re all just teammates working towards the same goals. “We all just work together as vets to keep them on the same level.” Frazao has a strong background in the sport. She was part of the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program in high school, which led to her playing for Team BC before joining the Thunderbirds. But she doesn’t yet know what her future path will be. “I’d obviously like to continue playing soccer somewhere, but to what extent and at what level I’m just not sure yet,” she said. This past summer, Frazao represented Canada at the World Universiade Games. UBC head coach Mark Rogers thinks that it’s a reflection of what she’s capable of. “It’s a hell of an accomplishment and she really deserves it. We’re talking about the highest level of amateur sport for a female athlete, and she’s right there.” Rogers also felt Frazao has the potential to fight for a national team spot in the future. “She’s quick, she’s very composed in front of the goal and she does a lot of hard work for the team. It’s too easy to say she’s just
an out-and-out goal scorer because she does work very hard to get herself into good goal scoring positions.” Frazao’s importance to UBC’s national championship ambitions is obvious. “It’s important we get her those opportunities going forward to score those goals, because she’s very good at taking those chances,” said Rogers. In addition to her impressive statistics, Rogers also thinks Frazao’s personal qualities are a positive influence on her teammates and an important part of what will make her an even better player. “She’s got an infectious personality and she’s a pleasure to coach. More often than not, she’s got a smile on her face, and I think that really translates into how she plays on the field. And I think she’s just going to keep getting better and better.” U
Number of goals scored by Frazao this year, tied for first in the conference
Career goals for Frazao in her three years with the Thunderbirds
Number of hat tricks Frazao has had with UBC
Editor: Brian Platt
Mental health at UBC is a structural problem Editor’s Notebook Jonny Wakefield
Another AMS project from the “sustainability” fund, to go with the $30,000 self-powered stairs.
LISSY PONCE & PETER WOJNAR/THE UBYSSEY
The Last Word Parting shots and snap judgments on today’s issues A revived member of the campus newspaper family If you picked up this paper from the black boxes near the main floor entrances of the SUB, you may have noticed a few empty spots in the bin. The names of former student publications stand like gravestones—The Underground, The Knoll, The Graduate and so on. These publications once provided a voice to the undergraduate societies and a number of other student groups. But one by one, the publications have folded—either by their own doing or because students have lost the drive or funding to produce a newspaper. Fortunately, one of them has come back from the dead. The 432, the Science Undergraduate Society paper, published its first issue in September. It is a welcome addition to the campus media scene. As much as some editors here like to portray themselves as ruthless, 19th-century capitalist press barons, we actually love seeing more voices on campus. Even though the 432 describes itself as a less-than-serious publication, campus society newspapers still fill an important niche. They can provide content that wouldn’t fit in a general interest paper. More importantly, they serve to open up the undergraduate societies—long criticized as insular bodies that throw parties for themselves with your student fees. Just having a newspaper can remind students that these societies exist, and in that way make them more relevant to those they serve. So welcome back, 432. Best of luck.
The university should help solve the helmet problem Aside from a few whack-jobs, everyone agrees that a city-wide bike share program in Vancouver would be great. According to the plans, UBC would be a full partner in this program. Imagine being able to rent out a bike whenever you needed to get across campus
quickly, and then dock it elsewhere on campus without having to return to your starting point. Imagine it. Seriously, do it right now. Imagine it. But did you include bike helmets in your conjured-up bike paradise? If you didn’t, your imagination broke the law. Helmets are the hardest part of bringing a bike share program to Vancouver. Bike share programs in Toronto and Montreal don’t face this difficulty because Ontario and Quebec only mandate helmets for those under 18. In BC, all cyclists must wear one. It isn’t easy to find solutions to this problem. Shared public helmets are impractical and unsanitary, so that’s out of the question. Normal people don’t want to walk around all day with a helmet under their arm, and helmets will likely be stolen if they’re left with the bike. Furthermore, a good helmet will run you around $40—not cheap for students on a tight budget. The only solution we can think of—not perfect, but the least bad—is for UBC to make helmets cheaply available on campus. Sell them at cost, without any retail markup. Heck, subsidize them and put the UBC logo on, if it makes the marketers happy. It’s ultimately to the benefit of everyone at the university if people can use bikes to get around instead of more costly forms of transport.
Gimmicks don’t have to be useless The AMS is considering installing stairs in the new SUB that will generate a tiny amount of power by walking on them. It would cost $30,000 to install—that’s a lot of money for a gimmick. An argument can be made that by funding a new initiative like this, the AMS is playing a part in encouraging new sustainability initiatives and helping make sure that research like the stair technology continues. So it’s not necessarily that we are opposed to the idea of the stairs. The problem is that sustainable ideas are
not going to seem attractive if the idea produces nothing tangible. The University of Regina currently showcases their investments in wind energy with a computer room completely powered by it. Contrast that to the suggestion by the AMS to use the energy generated to light a display screen talking about energy use in the building. This is just navel-gazing. Do something useful with the energy the stairs produce, so that people can see the benefits of investing in it. Whether it be a microwave, computers for students to use or anything that has an actual function, it would be a lot better than the current suggestion—a project that powers a sign to talk about itself.
Get mischievous with club names while you still can UBC’s recent move to have intellectual ownership over its acronym is understandable, but disappointing. It’s understandable because any large organization wants to make sure that anything carrying their name means they either control or get money out of it. But it’s disappointing because it will be another impediment to student-run clubs growing on campus. However, we have a solution to this that combines harmless fun with ticking off UBC—both worthy pursuits. Because this clause will be grandfathered in, all existing clubs and groups will be allowed to keep the UBC name free of charge. So, until then, you are free to create the UBC Student Leaders Club, the UBC Anti-Sustainability Club, the UBC Club for Democratically Opressed Students, the UBC Beaver Enthusiast Club…you name it, and so long as you do the bare minimum each year to stay a legal AMS club (or non-profit society, if you wish), you’ll be in the clear. The university has the right to manage how its name is used by other organizations. But students should work to make that task a litte harder. U
As you may have noticed, we’re in the middle of Thrive Week, the university’s latest initiative to promote mental well-being among students. That means that if you’re feeling down, you can attend a pancake breakfast and get tips on improving your mental state. If you feel things are hopeless, you can check out a number of motivational speakers. And if you’re so depressed that you’re finding it difficult to function, you can take a class on power walking. This isn’t to make light of mental health or belittle the steps the university is taking to address and de-stigmatize these issues. After all, students have higher rates of mental health ailments, such as stress and depression, than the general population. This is especially true of UBC students. In a 2009 survey by the National College Health Assessment, 36 per cent of UBC students said that in the past year they had felt “so depressed it was difficult to function.” 17 per cent had been diagnosed with depression. 45 per cent said they had felt things were hopeless. Each of those numbers is at least five points above the survey-wide average. Take a moment and think about that. You probably know people who have found themselves so sad that they have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. What’s terrifying is that many people won’t get the help they need. We’re always told
that our university days are supposed to be the most fun and exciting time of our lives. So when somebody feels like shit, it’s not surprising that they feel like the odd one out. Clearly, people who suffer from depression are not alone on university campuses. It’s important that UBC does outreach events like Thrive to show that mental health is an issue on university campuses. But it’s not a way of concretely addressing the problem that, on average, students here exhibit more depressive symptoms than their counterparts at other universities. For that, the university has to look at itself holistically—and that means taking into account the structural concerns that make this campus a more depressing place to go to school. The long commutes. The lack of campus housing and community. The services and programs that are largely invisible to students who don’t know how the university’s bureaucracy works. For example, what if UBC made a commitment to campus housing with the explicit purpose of promoting mental well-being? Giving students more time in their day to study, socialize and build supportive networks on campus—things that long commutes tend to destroy—would be a boon for mental health. It may seem far-fetched; UBC has about 1000 different priorities it claims to be giving its undivided attention to. But until the university addresses the mental health of its students as a structural problem, things are going to ge t worse before they get better. Pancakes and awareness can only go so far. U
A poignant circus Perspectives >> Conrad Copagna
At first glance, Vancouver’s incarnation of Occupy Wall Street looked more like the Love Parade than the Arab Spring. On Saturday, the crowd danced to breakbeat mash-ups, and someone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask with a sign hanging over his neck that said “bullshit” stood on top of the stairs of the Vancouver Art Gallery, dancing and waving a German flag. He was flanked on either side by stone lions the size of horses, with hearts taped over their eyes. The crowd was a haphazard mix of young and old. Many were college students or union representatives. For every family with children present, there was a bearded man ranting to a camera crew in a pirate hat, or a legion of completely silent people meditating in yogic postures. Mohawks were de rigueur, and even children held signs that said “Stephen Harper sucks” or “bullshit.” The full spectrum of Occupy Vancouver’s milieu was apparent during its crude but admirably democratic speaking process, where those who were willing to wait long enough got five minutes to speak their mind. One protestor explained the philosophy as he took the microphone: “Hi, my name is Kobe, and this is the talking stick of the people of Vancouver.” There were undoubtedly crazies in attendance. One woman claimed that she had been the victim of assassination plots by the Canadian
government, and that it had labeled her a manic depressive and a terrorist because only she knew the prophecies her father had passed down to her. Her voice echoed across the block, amplified by the sound system. But although some moments were bizarre, others were poignant. The crowd wept with one speaker over quotes from Gandhi and Martin Luther King. One high school student said, “Hi, I’m in 12th grade, and I’ve noticed a few things that are wrong,” then delivered a speech on the evils of high finance so vitriolic he was shaking by the end of it. The crowd was rapt, periodically giving jazz fingers in assent. This last speech was inspirational, but it was disappointing that the rally’s most lucid justification for itself came from an 18-year-old wearing a DC Shoes T-shirt. The atmosphere was otherwise dominated by pet causes and partying. Then again, do people really need to understand the finer points of the subprime mortgage crisis to know on a visceral level that something is wrong with the banking system? No, and ditto for climate change, wars in the Middle East or any of the other issues speakers riffed on. In fact, those speakers needed that guy dancing to funky house in a blue leisure suit. He gives them media exposure, and without that, demands mean nothing. The more politically savvy voices in the group may be arguing over what Occupy Wall Street is about, but that’s just part of democracy. When they eventually achieve consensus, the bigger the circus, the better. U
Pictures and words on your university experience
I fell in love with a Dawson City bartender I once eschewed the settled life. Then I realized it beats the hell out of loneliness Melodramatic Musings Will Johnson
I fell in love with a bartender in Dawson City this summer. It was a Sunday morning, and I stumbled into a small bar called the Midnight Sun Hotel. I was about to embark on a five hour trip back to Whitehorse, and I wanted to pass out while my friend drove. I figured a few beers would help my situation. The bartender was a cute little brunette wearing a Transformers T-shirt. When she handed me the first beer, I noticed the ohm symbol tattooed on her forearm. “That’s a cool tattoo,” I said. “Where’d you get it?” And sometimes it’s just that easy. Two months later, here I am— deliriously, stupidly, irresponsibly in love. And now I have to acknowledge my hypocrisy. Like many 20-somethings who think they know better than the generation before them, I have spent the better part of the last 10 years slagging on relationships. I even wrote a column praising promiscuity. I’ve watched as my friends paired up, got married and started producing babies. I told myself that wasn’t what I wanted. I told myself that monogamy was
old-fashioned, that these people were suckers to a decaying institution. I told myself they were rushing into things. I crowed proudly about my freedom as a bachelor and bragged about the solo life I was living. But let’s be honest here. Every time I went to a wedding, or got to the end of a party and had to walk home alone, I found myself battling that all too familiar emotion—loneliness. And of course, whether I wanted to acknowledge it or not, I was wondering when “she” would show up. “She” was a vague, ethereal presence nestled safely in my
What are you talking about, Will? Of course you have a type. You like short burnettes. Will’s mom
subconscious. I told myself I didn’t have any idea what I wanted in a partner. I even told myself I didn’t have a type. But one day my mom set me straight. “What are you talking about, Will? Of course you have a type.” “Okay, mom. If I have a type, what is it?” “You like short brunettes.” I was flabbergasted. My mom has a startling ability to know things about me that I don’t even realize. Mothers really are amazing creatures. Anyways, back to the bartender: the more I learned about her, the more I realized that I’d had a checklist all along. And this girl was hitting every box, one by one. It was like someone had designed her in a lab. And now I’m fucked. We’ve only known each other for a few months, but part of me wants to get on a plane to Las Vegas. All of a sudden I’m jogging and flossing regularly and trying to be responsible. I’m even starting to think about the future! Is this what growing up feels like? What happened to me? This girl may have me by the balls, but here’s what I’ve figured out: that’s not necessarily a bad thing. U Check out Will Johnson’s blog at www.goodwilljohnson. com or follow him on Twitter @ goodwilljohnson.
DAY 24: LEAVE SHIA ALONE, SHIRTLESS MA N O N GRANVILLE!
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INDIANA JOEL/ THE UBYSSEY
This is Will’s girlfriend. This drawing is going to earn him some serious girlfriend points.
12 | Games | 10.20.2011
(CUP) — Puzzles provided by BestCrosswords.com. Used with permission.
Across 1— Pillar 5— Wimp 9— Actress Anouk 14— “The Time Machine” race 15— Actor Estrada 16— Stylish 17— Denomination 18— New Orleans is The Big ____ 19— Feudal estate 20— Capital of Estonia 22— Divert 23— Facial expression used by Elvis Presley 24— Surmise 28— Crimson 34— Deficient in pigmentation 38— Coal scuttle 39— Consumer 40— Post 41— Christian festival 43— Don of talk radio 44— Russian fighter 47— Thespians 48— Magical incantation 51— Olds model 52— Extent 57— Israeli desert 61— Lee side 63— _ there yet? 64— Monogram ltr. 66— Work like _
67— Type of sanctum 68— The sacred scriptures of Hinduism 69— Travel on 70— Get to know 71— Farm females 72— 24 hour periods
Down 1— Nuisances 2— New York city 3— Plinth 4— Name 5— “Pure Guava” band 6— Pertaining to a rare element 7— Bro’s counterpart 8— What’s up 9— Capital of Eritrea 10— Muslim elder and prayer—leader 11— Hindu lawgiver 12— Archer of myth 13— French 101 verb 21— One of Chekhov’s Three Sisters 25— Slangy denial 26— To and _ 27— Make beloved 29— Usual 30— Finely powdered earth 31— Analogy words 32— Not e’en once 33— Blows it
34— Capital city of Western Samoa 35— Leg or arm 36— Make indistinct 37— Ingrid’s Casablanca role 42— Without _ in the world 45— Chemical ending 46— Needlefish 49— Bat abode 50— Fireball 53— Give merit 54— Gymnast Comaneci 55— Sleazy 56— Borders 57— Arrest 58— Fish—eating eagle 59— Actress Rowlands 60— Large jug or pitcher 62— Greek letters 64— “__ had it!” 65— Fresh SOLUTIONS
Published on Oct 19, 2011