Working for the weekend

For hundreds of artists, photographers, musicians, and filmmakers, this old adage is particularly relevant. All pursuing interests that are not as marketable as say, investment banking, most artsy twenty-somethings have to slag away their 9 to 5 at a job that will pay at least some of the bills.

But how does one balance a day job, and still find time to make art in the extra hours? According to actor and dancer Clayton Labbe, a Starbucks employee (a frequent day job for the creative kind) for six years, it’s not easy. “I try to go out and audition as much as I can,” he says, but is aware that he would have to get a great acting gig to pursue it full time.

With so many artistic individuals trying to supplement their income with a day job, it is important to find the best one. Known for overworking and underpaying their employees, most entry-level jobs will try hard to stiff you. Many swear by Starbucks, which has an above average starting wage of $9.50, and offers health benefits and stock options, as well as artistic grants. “Starbucks is one of the few places with the flexibility and scheduling that allows for rehearsals and auditions,” Labbe says. While he likes the job, he does tire of it. “No, I don’t think I would be happy making lattes for the rest of my life—I think I would kill myself,” he jokes.

Still, some jobs are more fun than others. Erin Fauteux, a saxophonist in U of T’s music faculty, clocks in regularly at the adult-oriented Misbehav’n on Queen St. W. When asked what drew her to the position, she quips, “I like sex!” But that’s not all. “I thought this would be an interesting experience, and it would really allow me to get more educated, and to help others achieve pleasure in their lives.” With an eclectic clientele to pass the hours she can’t spend on music, Fateux relates: “I often end up mediating couples in which one of them is really shy, or the other feels threatened by the size of our, ahem, products.”

But working at a sex shop isn’t all fun and dildos. While Fauteux would like to be a full time musician in the future, she doesn’t see much hope. Music jobs pay well, she says, but there aren’t enough of them. “If I had an eight-hour gig, I wouldn’t have to work [at Misbehav’n] for a week! But they are just a few hours in length.”

And difficult to find. Cellist and singer Hilary Gibson-Wood, who plays with the altrock band The Urban Symphony, also fills a full-time job in order to play music at night. Two years of day jobs, however, have earned her a pretty nice one: a position as a health researcher at the Center for Research of Inner City Health at Saint Michael’s Hospital. While Gibson-Wood reveals that unlike Labbe and Fauteux, she is paid well, she doesn’t see music as a viable option. “I don’t think I ever seriously considered a career as a musician on its own,” she admits.

For Labbe, Fauteux and Gibson-Wood, a career in the arts seems to be an increasing impossibility. If you do have the fortuity to find a job that pays the bills, it is unlikely that you can make a living. In 2001, Statistics Canada found that musicians and painters earn half the salary of the average Canadian worker, while actors make ten grand less than the annual average income of $31,000. And these are the supposed success stories.

A day job can offer temporary relief but can’t solve the problem of artist unemployment. The low wages frequently provided often leave workers without a solution. “If I am still working at Misbehav’n after graduation, I would have absolutely no chance of paying off the $40,000 I will owe the government for my student loans,” Fauteux says. And for Labbe, full time at Starbucks has left him “barely above the poverty level.”

The solution appears far off. While the arts remain under funded and the jobs are few and far between, day jobs seem the only answer. But there are ways improve the lifestyle of the aspiring artiste. “If there is anything I have learned in my many years of minimum wage service jobs, it is that appreciation is the greatest thing a boss can give to his or her employees, and it brings the greatest rewards,” says Fauteux.

And while all three remain busy, they still fight to find time for their artistic expression, says Gibson-Wood. “I’ve always hoped to keep music and creative endeavors in my life, whether it turns out to be a source of income or not.”

Alls well at Alchemy

All’s Well is one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays,” and as such, is seldom produced or studied in undergrad curricula. Alchemy Theatre made a bold move in choosing to produce it, which as it turns out, has paid off. Although long—three full hours—the production was engaging and energetic, not an easy feat for such a long show.

The central story focuses on the unrequited love that commoner Helen (Jennifer McNaughton) has for Bertram (Michael Rode), who has just inherited his father’s title as Count of Rossillion. Though she is a close confidant of Bertram’s mother, the Countess (Kat Lanteign), Bertram does not share her affection for the young woman.

When Bertram goes to the court of France, Helen follows him and cures the ailing King (Simon Michellepis) of his melancholy. As a reward, he delivers her in marriage to the lessthan- thrilled Bertram. From here, pandemonium ensues.

Bertram, under the influence of a knavish fellow named Parolles (Robert Rainville), decides to defect to the camp of the Duke of Florence (Denny Roy), who is at war with France. Helen follows him only to find that her beloved has been wooing a local Florentine woman, Diana (Amber Mills). Not to worry because the clever trick she pulls ensures that the King and Bertram are reunited, and that she ends up pregnant with his child!

Such a straightforward plot from the Bard is part of why the play is considered a “problem” in the canon. Still it provided ample opportunity for excellent performances.

Rode and McNaughton displayed an excellent lack of chemistry between the two. Rainville proved a goodly knave, particularly during the torture scene. Michellepis and Lanteign stole the show for the Shakespearean purists—one fully expected that they would break out in verse if one met them on the street. Lanteign, who trained at the Bristol Old Vic in the U.K., played up the proto-feminist themes that run throughout the show. A full cast of talented lords, ladies, and soldiers each complimented the ensemble performance.

As usual, Alchemy made excellent use of an unusual performance space, though the blocking was occasionally clumsy, keeping the performers onstage at all times proved an excellent idea from director Hume Baugh. The dance scenes could have been cut entirely without losing any sense of the mood of the show.

A word of caution: if you are not a Shakespeare purist, you will find this show TOO long, and TOO pure. Baugh did not cut so much as a single scene from the performance, the staging was classically influenced, and the costumes were period. Indeed, some inventiveness to accommodate the unusual performance space would have been interesting, but everything worked fine as it is. However, for those of us who enjoy seeing the bard unfiltered and uncut, this is an excellent show to see from Toronto’s urban Shakespeare company, and truly did end well.

All’s Well That Ends Well runs at Alchemy Theatre, 133 Tecumseth Street, until April 13. Discounted tickets for the underemployed (like you!)

A Scientific split

An ongoing feud between scientists lies beneath the surface of scientific discourse. Virtually all scientists have an opinion about it, and there are no easy answers. This far-reaching debate is the everlasting rivalry between the “hard sciences” and the “soft sciences.”

The distinction between hard and soft science is a fluid one. Many sciences don’t fit cleanly into one category or the other. Hard sciences usually refer to the more technical, quantitative disciplines like physics and chemistry, while soft sciences like psychology, ecology or paleontology use qualitative, observational or historical data. There are no official definitions for either term, as the titles are disputed as vigorously as their implications.

Soft sciences are often seen as inferior, their observational methods disparaged as weak and “wishy-washy.” This hierarchy of science is discussed more openly. Recently, doctors Michael Salter and Kathleen Boydell of the Hospital for Sick Children organized an interactive discussion about the respective strengths of the hard and soft sciences. Soft scientists were out in full force, complaining about the lack of respect and funding they receive.

The dominance of hard science isn’t just a perception, and it’s not merely an academic argument. Historically, when a debate about a physical phenomenon is supported by hard science on one side and soft science on the other, the hard scientific evidence has been taken as true. Although hard science is often right, all scientific evidence should be given as unbiased consideration as possible.

Take the example of Lord Kelvin. In 1862, he calculated the age of the Earth by measuring its rate of cooling. Since radioactivity hadn’t been discovered, he didn’t realize that the Earth’s core was continually generating heat. He therefore pegged the Earth’s age at between 20 and 400 million years, far younger than our current estimate of 4.5 billion years.

“He was wrong, but he was honestly wrong,” said Dr. Stephen Morris, a physicist at U of T. “There was a physical effect that was not taken into consideration.” Science, as a self-correcting field, is continually searching for ways to disprove itself. The problem is that Kelvin’s answer ignored the geological evidence, which showed that the Earth must have been much, much older. The mathematical evidence was favoured over the softer, observational evidence.

The problem with the hierarchy of science isn’t just a lack of accolades—the soft sciences also receive less funding. Over the past 10 years, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research awarded $3.4 billion to biomedical research (considered ‘hard’ in the medical field) and only $465 million to social, cultural, environmental, and population health studies.

Some would argue that the hard sciences are more important and therefore deserve more funding. Hard scientific disciplines are vital for continued understanding of the physical world. But is knowing the lifespan of distant stars more important, and more deserving of public money, than figuring out the evolution of species based on the fossil record? Many scientific questions can’t be answered by physical measurements and calculations. Questions about evolution, the environment and human psychology need softer approaches to gain a full understanding.

The soft sciences may be gaining ground, however.

“Soft sciences are becoming harder and harder,” explained Dr. Stephen Morris of U of T’s physics department.

Formerly soft sciences are becoming more technical, with powerful computers that manage data to account for variables in a way that has never been possible, said Dr. Ray Carlberg, also from the department of physics. “Biology, and some areas of psychology, now have a rigorous physical understanding of what’s going on,” he said.

The soft sciences are in some ways able to achieve a level of mathematical rigour equal to that found in the hard sciences.

But is this really a compliment? Many soft scientists don’t feel that a lack of mathematical rigour is the only thing stopping them from gaining the respect enjoyed by the hard sciences. They feel that soft sciences should be appreciated for what they are, and not be forced to use math to be accepted. Their methods and procedures should be given equal value to the statistical methods found on the “hard” side of the fence. Paleontology, for example, gives a unique insight into the process of evolution without any use of mathematics. Stephen Jay Gould, a noted paleontologist, wrote that paleontology “uses a different mode of explanation, rooted in the comparative and observational richness of [the] data.”

Physicist Luis Alvarez once said, “Paleontologists… are really not very good scientists. They’re more like stamp collectors.” Many hard scientists feel that although soft scientists may investigate relevant questions, their work isn’t “real science.” So what is real science? Science is a systematic organization of collected knowledge. It’s an examination of the world around us. For Dr. Morris, science is “whatever can withstand intense skeptical scrutiny.”

Soft sciences do fit within that definition. The theory of evolution, for example, is based mainly on soft science, and it has withstood all scientific (if not religious) scrutiny to date. Scientific pursuits should use the best methods available for answering their questions, whether hard or soft.

Because of the historical dominance of the hard sciences, it is less necessary to argue for their continued support. The lines between different types of science are blurred as they interact and complement each other: many scientists believe the distinction between “hard” and “soft” should and will slowly fade. “Most scientists have respect for other scientists,” said Dr Carlberg, adding, “In the end we’re all interested in ideas, which are neither hard nor soft.” This mutual respect will be necessary for the success of science in its ultimate goal, the search for knowledge.

Dirty projected

While many critics accuse indie rock bands of drawing on too many esoteric references, a few artists are turning to America’s new pop music, contemporary soul and R&B, for inspiration. It’s easy to be skeptical of white dudes trying to sound like Amerie, but when confronted with this music live this past Tuesday at Sneaky Dee’s, it’s hard not to feel that these guys might be on to something.

After an entertaining set by local electronic musician, Nif-D—one of these “indie R&B” bands—No Kids, took the stage. Three-quarters of defunct Vancouver band Piano, No Kids played pleasant pop ditties that would have been unremarkable if it weren’t for lead vocalist, Nick Krgovich.

Singing in falsetto with dead seriousness, Krgovich displayed a vocal ambition unusual for most. Although he occasionally came across like someone’s dad fronting a Mariah Carey cover band (Coke-bottle glasses, and a sweater vest didn’t help), Krgovich kept No Kids’ songs interesting.

As the half-hearted applause died at the end of No Kids set and the audience surged closer to the stage, it was clear that everyone in the packed venue was there to see the headliners, Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors.

Formerly a solo project of mastermind Dave Longstreth, The Dirty Projectors has morphed into a formidable live band, with guitarist Amber Coffman and bassist Angel Deradoorian providing backup harmonies for Longstreth’s melismatic singing.

While The Projectors clearly draw from urban music, evident in their vocal acrobatics and prominent bass lines, their success lies in how well they blend this infl uence with a variety of other genres to produce intriguing music that’s hard to classify.

Playing a mixture of newly written songs, tracks off their most recent album Rise Above (a re-imagining of Black Flag’s Damaged), in edition to older material, The Dirty Projectors demonstrated reasoning behind their stylistic quirks. Their voices were dramatically expressive, providing accessible points for the listener to grab on to, while the disorienting interplay between Longstreth’s and Coffman’s guitars drove the songs forward.

During a highlight of their set, a breakneck speed version of “Imagine It,“ a portion of the audience near the stage started to mosh. Perhaps that’s what these R&B infl uenced bands are after: soulful music you can mosh to.

Listen Up!

Editor’s Pick: Woodhands – Heart Attack (Paper Bag)

Until the release of Heart Attack, Paper Bag Records had been experiencing a drought of up-tempo, danceable releases. Here on their debut, Toronto duo Dan Werb (ex- Spitfires and Mayfl owers) and Paul Banwatt drop an album’s worth of body-rocking electro-pop that should elicit head-banging and pogo dance moves in clubs and bedrooms alike. Banwatt’s pulsating acoustic drums are layered with Werb’s dirty synth lines, but what makes Woodhands better than most are vocal parts that are perfectly fitted to maximize catchiness. To this end, highlights include the heartfelt lamentations of “I Can’t See Straight,” the sugar-sweet guest vocals on the sometimes- agro “Dancer,” and a pretty duet with fellow Paper-Bagger Laura Barrett on closer “Sailboats.” But by far the standout track on Heart Attack is the arresting fl oor-filler “I Wasn’t Made For Fighting,” which sounds like Chromeo getting jacked by punks behind the Sam’s at College and Augusta. —JORDAN BIMM

Rating:

Daniel Lanois – Here Is What Is (Red Floor Records)

This album features an interesting compilation of styles, and given it’s Lanois’ fourth album this decade, consider it a showcase of his versatility. The first half of the album is consistent in its supple, twang-like melodies in “Here Is What Is” and “Blue Bus.” While his vocals are monotonous, Lanois gets away with it. “This May Be My Last Time” juxtaposes previous songs with a gospel fl are. “I Like That” creates a sullen mood, where one will inevitably become entranced by its quirky instrumentals and soothing vocals. “Duo Glide” is similar; its nattering guitar solo seems endless and without climax, which causes one to slip into an inevitable vegetative state. The album is cool and calm, making it suitable company to a Sunday afternoon of lounging (and recovery). —Suzannah Moore

Rating:

The B52’s – Funplex (Astralwerks)

Neither a hit nor a miss, The B52’s are notorious for producing distorted, angular sound, reiterated in their most recent album, Funplex. The style is quirky, and may require an acquired taste and pre-existing loyalty. The band has been around for three decades, and their image is tiring: on the cover they look like your parents dressed up like characters from Beetlejuice. It’s ambiguous whether or not they’re trying to be farcical. Although they may not be trying to live up to “Love Shack,” this album barely moves in any direction. For a voice that has loaned itself to Iggy Pop’s “Candy,” Kate Pierson wastes a lot of her breath nattering without melody to a discordant sound. Fred Schneider sounds like an obnoxious Weird Al impersonator in their third track, “Eyes Wide Open.” Other than that, the two singers don’t sound much different than they did fifteen years ago.—SM

Rating:

The game plan

It’s a typical late-November morning, mercury on the thermometer heading south, many of us wishing we could make the same trip. Jessica Hiew is busy lacing up her cross-trainers. She puts her books down beside her to make sure she doesn’t forget them. A crumpled uniform hanging out of an old gym bag the only evidence of the double life she’s been leading.

She doesn’t have much time to think: she’s late for class, or is it practice? Lately it has all blurred into one. Without looking, she picks up her books with one swift movement and is out the door. Suddenly the cold hits her like an opposing point guard, but she fights through, weaving past a throng of slow moving students in front of her. It all seems very familiar; like she’s done it before. Heart pounding, she finally gets to class just as the professor walks in, cursing the weather. A wave of relief runs over her’ she’s made it, all the training has paid off.

For many student athletes, the challenges don’t stop once they step off the field. In the real world there are no timeouts or substitutions, and the game ceases to be five on five, but everyone for themselves. Jessica, a second-year guard on the University of Toronto women’s basketball team knows that when the final buzzer sounds, the real game begins.

Like any other undergrad pursuing a degree, she often finds herself walking a delicate tightrope between school and recreation, but trying to maintain that balance can be even more elusive: “It’s happened several times where I had a test, but I haven’t done much studying, and then you have to drag your butt to practice, and you’re thinking I could be using these extra three hours to study for the exam the next day,” says the physical education student.

Taking one for the team

Being a student athlete at one of Canada’s top academic institutions is a bit like leading a double life. Every athlete is required by the University to maintain full-time status in their programs (usually a minimum of three credits) in order to be eligible to play for a Varsity team. They also commit upwards of 15-20 hours a week to their sport, including two-hour daily practices, team meetings, video sessions, and weekend games, which can adversely affect their scores off the field.

“I remember in first year, my time management was an absolute mess,” recalls Mike Bialy, the captain of the men’s soccer team. “I thought ok: an hour to get to practice, two hours of practice and another hour to get home, and I’ll study after, which clearly never happens because you’re absolutely exhausted from training. By the time you get home there’s nothing you want to do except get some sleep.”

More than a game

For Michael, the dilemma is slightly more complex than a decision to choose school over sports. Getting good grades in University does not always guarantee you the career you want, especially when your dream is to have the best of both worlds: a career in athletics. Unlike Jessica Hiew, who plans to enter medical science or optometry, Michael wants to pursue what he’s known for most of his life: soccer.

“Basically I’m trying to do the whole professional athlete thing,” says the fifth-year political science student. “That’s pretty much going to be taking up most of my summer, then I’ll see where it goes from there.”

Winner of both the Ontario University and Canadian Interuniversity Sport MVP awards for soccer in recent years, Michael has already attracted interest from professional clubs in the United Soccer Leagues, and practiced with the Toronto FC of Major League Soccer. Still, most soccer players turn professional at a much younger age than the 23-yearold Bialy. American soccer prodigy Freddy Adu began playing for D.C. United of the MLS in 2004 at the age of 14, the same year Michael began plying his trade for U of T’s Varsity Blues:

“My chances might be hindered a little bit because I’m going so late. I’m 23 right now, and 23 is considered old. If I had gone when I was 18, I would have had better opportunity. Then again, I think I developed a lot playing for the program that U of T has.”

There is no tried-and-true path to becoming a professional athlete, no four-year program you can take. Oftentimes it takes as much dumb luck, stumbling into the right situation or opportunity, as it does skill. And so, it’s always important to have a backup plan, and that’s where the student part of the equation comes into play. Michael, who also minors in math and statistics at UTM, is keeping an open mind to career options outside of sports:

“I think I’d be able to [do a desk job], just for the fact that I wouldn’t stop playing soccer at least at the amateur level, for something to look forward to.” He has even considered entering accounting (his mother’s profession) but wants to see where soccer takes him first.

Globe trotters

Sports has taken a couple athletes on a strange and circuitous route. For Jessica Hiew, her love of basketball took her from her native Canberra, New South Wales, to Idaho State University on a basketball scholarship, then finally to the University of Toronto. Hiew was chosen most valuable player three times at Radford Highschool, but she was forced to seek opportunities abroad due to a lack of athletics in Australian universities.

U of T grad Safiya Muharuma, 28, can relate to the trans-national adventure. After completing teachers college at OISE in 2003, the former

defenseman with the Varsity Blues decided she wasn’t prepared to commit herself to that career for the next 30 years: “I wanted to do something closer to athletics than simply being a phys-ed teacher at a school” said the East York native.

Muharuma, who helped lead the 2000-2001 Blues squad to an undefeated 35-0 record, decided to prolong her hockey career by joining a professional women’s hockey team in Switzerland, an experience which she admits broadened her horizons, but also left her in a state of uncertainty: “Your path kind of opens up in forks in different directions. I think that’s what happened with me. If I hadn’t gone to Europe I wouldn’t have second-guessed becoming a teacher. But after I went there for 2 1/2 years I really thought about doing other stuff.”

Her story also shows that a career in professional sports is not always full of the glitz and glamour North Americans have come to associate. Sports doesn’t exactly pay the bills, in fact Muharuma never had a paycheque from her Swiss club, working at U of T sports camps in the summer just to fund her hockey dream. “I didn’t play hockey for the money,” says Muharuma, “I played because I love it,’’

Scoring off the field

In 2007, Canadian Universities, U of T in particular, finally started to step up to the plate to help fund student athletes, many of whom can’t work parttime throughout the year because of their intense training schedules. Last year the Faculty of Physical Education and Health gave out close to $250,000 in athletics-based awards, much of which is donated by alumni and friends of the faculty. There are currently 50 awards for athletics according to the FPEH awards handbook, ranging from basketball and hockey, to rowing, swimming, and fencing. All awards related to participation in Varsity sports fall under OUA and CIS regulations, which sets a limit of $3,500 per student, as roughly half of the 50 awards are for the maximum value (This year the deadline for awards applications is April 11.)

The big picture

Is it worth being a Varsity athlete in the long run? The majority answer in the affirmative, without a second thought.

“My best memories of my university experience will definitely all be basketball related. It’s pretty much been my life here,” says Hiew, who helped the women’s basketball team capture OUA silver this past season.

“Sports has definitely defined my university experience,” says Jessica Fitzgerald, 23, a wrestler who is pursuing a second-entry degree in pharmacy at U of T. “Being an athlete, that’s my label. You know, some people are sorority girls, or whatever, and I’m a student athlete, that’s what I do. I couldn’t imagine not competing while I’m at school.”

Considering the amount of hours most students’ waste procrastinating, , there is something noble in dedicating oneself to an ideal and pursuing it. The important thing for any student is just to find that balance: “It really helps you develop your time management skills [being a student and an athlete] because it forces you to stay on top of things, you can’t just waste time on other things” says Fitzgerald.

“I would say I was a better athlete than a student,” says Muharuma, recalling her experiences. “That’s going to be an honest answer, I was a good student, but I’d probably be a better student if I wasn’t an athlete, but then I wouldn’t have gotten to be an athlete, so it’s a catch 22. It’s worth it in the end.”

Bring back the glory Jays

It was just like old times for Blue Jays fans at the Jays’ home opener on Friday night, as a sold-out Rogers Centre watched Roberto Alomar’s name and number rise to the Level of Excellence in a pre-game ceremony to honour the former second baseman. The team donned vintage powder blue uniforms for the first “Flashback Friday” of the season, defeating the defending champion Boston Red Sox 6-3. A boisterous crowd showed enthusiasm not seen in years—two fans couldn’t even confine their excitement to the stands, jumping onto the field in a state of partial undress. The typically vocal contingent of Red Sox fans was smaller and quieter than usual as Jays fans made sure their team enjoyed a memorable welcome, saving their loudest ovations for Alomar while reminiscing about the Jays’ glory days, including Alomar’s famous home run off Dennis Eckersley in the 1992 ALCS.

If Jays fans seem a little stuck in the past, it’s understandable. Perennial third-place finishers in the ultracompetitive AL East, the team hasn’t played a postseason game since winning the World Series in 1993. While introducing Alomar and surprise honouree Paul Beeston, the long-time Jays executive, president and CEO Paul Godfrey received a hearty round of boos, a testament to the frustration of Toronto baseball fans. They were promised a more competitive team when the Jays received a substantial payroll boost a few years ago, but it hasn’t been enough to push them past their two divisional foes, the powerhouse Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

But there’s an optimism this season,one that hasn’t been seen in years. A homemade sign reading “This is our year” graced the 200-level outfield, a sentiment echoed by fans in the cheap seats who dissected the weaknesses of their AL competitors while watching starting pitcher Shaun Marcum, who enjoyed a breakout year in 2007, hold a potent Red Sox offence to only three hits in seven innings of work.

While it seems strange to put faith in a roster that is not substantially different from last season’s—the Jays added shortstop David Eckstein, swapped third basemen with St. Louis, acquired utility infielder Marco Scutaro and brought back Shannon Stewart— fans are hoping that their young arms continue to improve. As the bats that lay dormant in an injury-plagued 2007 wake up, the Blue Jays have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. If Toronto’s first few games against their chief rivals are any indication, there is reason for cautious optimism. Although the Jays dropped two of three games in New York, they outscored the Yankees 9-8 as the two losses were made by only one run. After winning the home opener, the Jays hammered the Red Sox 10-2 in their second meeting.

The Yankees could be vulnerable this year. They lost popular manager Joe Torre and their combination of young and inexperienced arms and past-their-prime pitchers could fall flat. And who knows what could happen with Hank Steinbrenner taking over from his father George as the new ringmaster of the Yankees circus, given the Steinbrenners’ penchant for bold, unpredictable, and sometimes questionable decisions. The Yankees’ offence could be strong enough to cover up any weaknesses, especially if they get another MVP season from Alex Rodriguez, but they may leave the door open enough for the Jays to squeak through.

Before fans speculate on who will be this year’s Eckersley and Alomar, the Jays will have to get past a number of talented teams. The BoSox have not done much to change their championship-winning roster, and that bodes well for them. Youngsters Jacoby Ellsbury and rookie of the year Dustin Pedroia will only get better, and with a stronglineup from top to bottom, Boston seems destined to win another divisional title. While that still leaves the AL wild card open, the Jays have to contend with the Yankees, two strong teams from the Central division in the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers, and the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the West. The Tigers are fresh off a blockbuster trade that brought them 24-year-old sensation Miguel Cabrera and starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis. The Angels signed well-rounded outfielder Torii Hunter. Cleveland and Seattle pack powerful one-two punches at the top of their rotations, with C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona leading the Indians and Erik Bédard and Felix Hernandez on the mound in Seattle.

The Jays, having lost set-up man Casey Janssen for the year due to injury, lack the depth to compete with their AL rivals. But while the Jays may still be a long shot to make the playoffs, the chances that Toronto could be singing “OK Blue Jays” in October are looking better than they have in years. If the Jays could at least stay in contention until September, and bring back some of the atmosphere from the days when Alomar patrolled the infield, that would be a step in the right direction.

Event listings for week of April 7

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ON-CAMPUS

$25 SPRING BIKE TUNE UP

Get a professional tune-up and help the Varsity Mountain Bike Team.

INSURGENT CITIZENSHIP IN AN ERA OF GLOBAL URBAN PERIPHERIES

Anthropology lecture with Prof. Holston of UC Berkeley.

  • Weds. April 9, 3-5pm. Free!

  • Anthopology Building, Room AP246 (19 Russell Street)

  • www.utoronto.ca/cdts

SEARS ONTARIO DRAMA FESTIVAL

Eleven plays produced and performed by Toronto high schoolers.

SACRED VISION, SACRED WORLD: A VEDIC VIEW ON ECOLOGY

Vegetarian feast, discussion, and meditation with Devamrita Swami.

FREE FRIDAY FILM: THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES

Brought to you by the Cinema Studies Student Union

U OF T SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Performing Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Liszt.

LIVING THE HIPLIFE

Film painting a musical portrait of street life in West Africa.

THE GREAT GATSBY AFFAIR PARTY

Presented by the English Students’ Union and BMO.

  • Fri. April 18, 8:30pm-1am. $10 in advance to World Literacy of Canada.

  • Hart House Debates Room (7 Hart House Circle)

  • http://esu.sa.utoronto.ca

FINDING RENTAL HOUSING FOR SEPTEMBER

Brought to you by Student Housing Service.

OFF CAMPUS

TORONTO ALTERNATIVE FASHION WEEK

Celebrating independent Toronto designers.

  • Weds. April 9 to Fri. April 11. $20.

  • Fermenting Cellar, Distillery District (55 Mill Street)

  • www.getfar.ca

SPROCKETS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FOR CHILDREN

It’s like TIFF, but with more butterflies and robots.

  • Sat. April 12 to Fri. April 18. $10.61 per film.

  • Various locations.

  • www.sprockets.ca

GOIN’ STEADY AT THE GLADSTONE

Dance to 50s and 60s music all night long.