Sports Notebook

OUA honours an MVP
The Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference named women’s basketball player Vanessa Richardson its athlete of the week for her efforts at last weekend’s OUA championships. In three games, the tournament’s most valuable player (MVP) scored 35 points and grabbed 33 rebounds, including an impressive double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds) in the 69-66 title game victory against Brock…Today the sixth-seeded Blues face defending champion third-seeded Regina at 1p.m. The winner advances to play the (2) Laval/(7) Brock winner in the semifinal round Saturday at 6 p.m. The CIS championship game will be shown live on TSN Sunday at 6 p.m.

Bonjour, my jumping friends

Women’s volleyball captured their second straight OUA championship with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-21) sweep of their cross-town rivals from Ryerson on Sunday night. Toronto’s Sara Pothaar was named the Final Four MVP. Katie Bickerton and Sadie Stewart were among six players named to the Final Four All-Star team. Today the fifth-seeded Blues travel to Quebec City to face the fourth-seeded Sherbrooke Vert et Or (QSSF champs) in a national quarterfinal at 1p.m. Should they advance, it will likely mean a date with top-seeded Calgary in the semifinals. The national gold medal game (4 p.m.) will be televised Saturday at 6 p.m. on TSN (tape delay).

!$!Madness!$!

The Varsity sports section is holding its own NCAA men’s basketball tournament pool to determine which U of T student will be the recipient of a $100 prize. No entry fee. In addition to winning cash, the lucky winner will have the chance to write an article (300-word maximum) answering the question “Why doesn’t Canada generate significant hype for its playoff basketball?” No article, no cash. One entry per student. Pick up entry forms starting from 10 a.m. Monday March 11 at 380 Huron street. Deadline for submission (with name, student number and contact information) is at noon on Thursday March 14.

Lights, camera, action!

The old Hart House Theatre, wacky short films and an enthusiastic audience: ingredients contributing to the excitement of Hart House Theatre’s first annual U of T Film Festival that took place this past weekend. The three-day event had glimpses of originality, creativity, and promise in films by U of T students and alumni.

Day One
The first night featured short films prepared by current Hart House Film Board members. Between Black + White was impressive in capturing the heartbreaking struggles of a young man and an old man, illustrated through a game of chess. Moving to a softer note, In Briefs, a comedic tale involving the returning of an ill-fitting Speedo, was nicely done. A humourous affair.

Ballet Dancer: Behind the Velvet Curtain touched the hearts and minds of the audience as it demonstrated the physical abuse, politics, artistic vs. athletic attributes and other downsides of being a ballerina. It was nice to see someone articulate the insane and ludicrous torture ballet brings upon the body. Two thumbs up!!

Finally, Tarantata was hideous, putting the entire audience to sleep for its 20-minute duration. Two words of wisdom: ACTING LESSONS!!

Awards were presented for Best First Film (Robots Don’t Wear Hats), Documentary (Ballet Dancer), Narrative (Present Tense), and Experimental (The Return). The judging was somewhat questionable. Many other patrons would have picked different winners for two of the categories. But then again, it’s a matter of opinion.

Day Two
The second night featured the best independent films made by students belonging to the U of T community. Rick Palidwor’s Good Night was superb for its timely comic relief, while his Handsurdity (the story of uncontrollable/psycho hands) was creative but poorly acted (the actor won an award for acting, figure that!).

The Ninja Who Shagged Me was ambitious as it tried to portray past Oriental martial art movies dubbed in English. As absurd as the film was, I must admit that it was a true satire, thus entertaining.

Capping the night, Dwight Stuff contrasted deep inner desires of materialism and asceticism. The idea was great but the execution was slow and for the most part boring.

Day Three
The final day of the festival featured three films by U of T graduates. Lee Broker’s Cornered was inspired by the atmosphere of College and Spadina, the characteristics of the neighbourhood, and its people (pretty Mafioso). It is an eloquent mafia flick that would surely remind you of Scorsese and Coppola, except the story is based in Toronto, with references to how things were in the past. What made the film so remarkable was its effort to address human elements such as choosing the right path in life, gambling addiction and other honest individual attributes.

Cornered was followed by a panel discussion in which Robert Crossman and Lee Broker revealed the inspiration and process of making the film. The movie has been sold to Lionsgate Film and will be aired on TMN, Movie Central, and other cable networks, so watch out.

The evening was transformed into a walk down memory lane for many audience members, who were thrilled to see the 1960s St. George campus in David Secter’s Winter Kept Us Warm, the first English-language Canadian feature film. What is more interesting, Winter Kept Us Warm is considered the first film in Canada to touch on gay issues in an intellectual manner.

The film is about friendship, jealousy, love, and betrayal between two U of T students, where writer/director David Secter articulately sets a homosexual scenario.

However, what may seem obvious now was not so transparent in the 60s, since the cast members admitted having no knowledge of the film’s gay subtext when it was filmed.

Winter Kept Us Warm was selected for the Cannes Film Festival and is considered a classic in the genre of guy films.

Acclaimed director David Cronenberg has said it inspired him to make movies. Therefore, it is fitting that the festival ended with Cronenberg’s first feature film, Stereo.

Overall, the U of T Film Festival was successful, as many people became aware of the U of T film community, launched by Secter in the 60s.

It is thriving today with a group of imaginative filmmakers, including Lee Broker, who continues to inspire, support, and guide novice student filmmakers every day.

Pro-life journalist speaks on campus

A controversial pro-life journalist was invited to campus earlier this week to tackle what pro-life students say is an all-too-common problem for them—the representation of anti-abortion activists in the media.

Michael Coren, a weekly columnist for the Toronto Sun, talk radio anchor and host of CTS’s TV Michael Coren Live, spoke before aproximately 75 people at an event organized by St. Mike’s and U of T group Students for Life.

“If I was talking about Don Cherry and hockey, there would have been two hundred people,” Coren joked at the start of his talk.

In addition to being Coren’s sister-in-law, Students for Life executive Elaine Barber invited Coren to speak because “he is respected by pro-choice and pro-life people, and we’ve heard that he’s great with young people.”

Fellow executive of St. Mike’s Students for Life David Elliot voiced concern about pro-life supporters being both underrepresented and misrepresented by the media.

“The media are always quick to separate terrorism from Islam, but rarely make the same distinction between violence committed by a select few from the pro-life movement as a whole,” said Elliot. “Our collective is comprised of Christians, Muslims, Jews and agnostics, and we are certainly not reflective of the Canadian Alliance or the Christian right.”

Despite his lecture’s title, “Abortion Bias in the Media,” Coren rarely referred to this subject, instead offering his audience various vignettes and personal anecdotes, such as the story of “Rose,” a poor Polish Jewish woman who was pregnant and made the difficult journey of emigrating from Poland to England at the turn of the twentieth century. She was advised to abort her child by one of her peers, but vehemently refused to do so. Coren then informed his audience that “Rose” was in fact his great-grandmother. “Thank you, grandma. For life,” he said.

Coren repeatedly stressed that “being pro-life is a whole package” and must include a commitment to a variety of social justice issues such as poverty, homelessness, unemployment and racism. He expressed sadness over Ontario premier candidate Jim Flaherty, “a man who is ‘pro-life’ who talks about arresting the homeless.” Coren also expressed his disdain at being stereotyped as part of the Christian right.

“I refuse to be identified with the right. It is not a left or right issue—it can be argued that being pro-life is revolutionary.”

During the question and answer period following his lecture, Coren was asked whether he changed his stance on abortion in cases of rape or if the mother’s life is in danger.

“I couldn’t look a woman in the eye after she had been raped and say she has to give birth,” he said, putting forward a view many pro-lifers would disagree with. “I realize, however, that this is a logical inconsistency.���

“Being pro-life is about being reasonable,” he added. “It’s not all or nothing, it’s saving lives when we can.”

First year Arts and Science student Ashley Deregil, who says she is pro-life, noted that she “thought it was interesting and important to come here and support our points of view, whether we believe they are right or wrong.”

Delegates from the campus Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered group (LGBTOUT) were not as impressed.

“LGBTOUT would like to express its disappointment in both the St. Mike’s and U of T Students for Life associations, who are not accepting and loving of all people, regardless of sexual orientation.” said Mark Riczu, LGBTOUT’s political action coordinator.

“It’s unfortunate that the love espoused by Coren does not include LGBTQ people,” he said, noting this is the second time Students for Life have presented speakers he says are “notoriously homophobic/transphobic.”

Riczu pointed to a recent article in the Sun in which Coren characterizes individuals who identify as transsexual as “some very sick people whose deep mental illness deserves our compassion and care.”

President of the U of T Students for Life Caroline Hudson reacted favourably to Coren’s lecture.

“He was enthusiastic, eloquent and responded wonderfully to questions.” Hudson disagreed on Coren’s position on abortion in the case of rape and asserted that abortion under any circumstance is wrong.

“The question of rape easily detracts from the issue as abortion in cases of rape account for less than one per cent of all abortions, although we certainly don’t disagree with his sentiment,” she said.

What the hell? Actually a good movie!!

This movie’s publicity people should be lined up and shot. After seeing the incredibly cheesy commercials, I expected a real crapfest. Worst movie of the millennium. Even worse than the 60s version directed by George Pal, starring Rod Taylor and Alan Young. At least that movie was good enough to become a cult film, worshipped by legions of creepy sci-fi geeks with sub-standard personal hygiene and plenty of free Friday nights to spend at the theatre.

No, this movie was gonna suck, I could tell. Even with the legacy hype surrounding it—director Simon Wells is the great-grandson of H.G. Wells, writer of the original novel The Time Machine—it looked like a sure flop.

But it was fuckin’ awesome. It was done right. This version of The Time Machine did justice to a novel written at the beginning of the twentieth century, using modern technology to create a sci-fi action thriller that people today can appreciate.

From casting to special effects, this movie had its shit together. Guy Pearce in the lead role was perfect. Considering the love story angle (which is just small enough to ignore for those who can’t bear another failed romance), it is a miracle that a pretty boy was not cast in Pearce’s place, to turn the sci-fi flick into a sappy, drama romance. A Ben Affleck-type actor could have killed this movie faster than the plague.

As for effects, the Morlocks (underground creatures straight from the pages of Wells’ novel) had a somewhat Lord of the Rings orcish quality, but they also had a creepy used-to-be-human aspect that made them adequately freaky.

The greatest assets of the movie by far are the travel scenes. They were incredible and surprisingly accurate. Pictures of ecological succession, industrialization and decay are the most impressive, but the overall impression is enough to make you suspend your disbelief of the possibility of time travel for an hour and a half.

Though the ending was a little weak, I didn’t leave the theatre annoyed. I was impressed. It rarely happens, but my stomach did not turn at the idea that a ticket to the movie I had just seen cost me $11.50. It was worth the outrageous cinema costs.

If this movie does not rake in a shitload of cash, I fully blame the publicity people and their hokey previews.

The finer moments of Canadian Music Week

People are always bitching that Toronto has no culture and is nothing but a Mecca for corporate claptrap. But what they don’t know is that Toronto has hosted the five-day Canadian Music Week (CMW) festival for 18 of its 19 years in existence. The festival has been dubbed “the single largest entertainment and broadcasting event in Canada.” February 27 to March 3 saw over 180 bands at 18 venues.

And the only question left: could our town measure up? Bloody right! Five days of rock, punk, thrash, emo, country, jazz, spoken word and everything in between. Being slightly musically biased, I spent my time checking out the Rock And Roll: Cheerleader, CJ Sleez and the STDs, Moneen, the Smugglers, Slutarded, Damn 13, Maximum RNB and the Exploders (plus so, so many more) in just in two magical nights.

Starting things off at the Tequila Lounge, I saw Toronto’s Cheerleader, whose most memorable RNR moment was kicking the mic stand in disgust and spitting at the audience, just because. If your definition of Rock And Roll is ceaseless assaults to your sense of well-being that leave you cowering in the corner with nothing but brutish noise ripping into your soul, then you just might like them. They play it old school, dirty and dangerous—just the way mom wished it wouldn’t be.

Up next was every guy’s favourite, another Toronto-based act—CJ Sleez and her darling STDs. Decked out in a leather demi-halter top with matching hot pants, CJ wheeled and dealed her pornographic version of Rock gone terribly right. Most memorable moments include watching her give a handjob to the mic stand and seeing her flail her thin tatted limbs about with feigned-femme rage. It’s too bad she cut the set short, as her gnawing vocals and repetitious “Get the fuck up here!” taunts were starting to warm the scarier ones in the crowd to get on stage with her.

Trekking through downtown, I made it down to the Rivoli, where Brampton’s Moneen was playing to a near-capacity room and an impressive line-up waiting outside, as well. This quartet calls their sound the “collaboration of melodic influence” and you can definitely hear it. The thunderous attack of thrashing guitars was in full effect as they mocked and terrorized the audience into submission while the deep bass lines rivetted and shook the innards like a cardiac arrest. All this over drums that punched through the electric noise and riled the patrons like a tribal summons, grounded in lyrics that were at turns highly humourous but always retained an introspective feel.

Memorable moments: witnessing the lead singer stalking around on stage in his U.S.A boxers and shorts slouched on his head. Finally finding comfort perched on a speaker, he lurches his body forward, reaches out to his mom and mockingly sings: “How many times have you seen me naked?” Embarrassed, his mother utters, “Too many times,” much to the amusement of all in attendance.

Last stop had me at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to see Vancouver’s Smugglers. I was met with smoke and a ringing fire alarm, the result of the pyrotechnics-laden Robin Black set and the ultimate foreshadowing of events.

I need to make a disclaimer: I don’t own a Smugglers album. However, I have a penchant for their live shows. They have the unique ability to channel energy, producing manic fits of spastic dancing and rebel yells that’d make Billy Idol look uncommitted. Their fans are as devout as they come, singing along with Grant and telling him how much they love him. If you don’t have a soft spot for the Smugglers, you obviously don’t have a heart. Period.

Memorable Smugglers moments include seeing Grant and the lads trade up their black sport jackets and rubber boots for white sports jackets and white 60’s Mod dress shoes—but who else but wacky West Coasters could get away with such a brazen attitude towards fashion? Never let anyone tell you Toronto doesn’t know how to put on a good show. If they do, they’ve never been courted by the Canadian Courtesan of Rock And Roll, otherwise known as CMW.

Local Native activist donates his artwork to U of T

Hoping to “inspire people with the beauty of native culture,” renowned photographer Danny Beaton recently donated a captivating series of pictures to be displayed in an Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) classroom.

The local artist and native activist wants the photographs to inspire people to defend the earth, humanity and spirituality, and hopes his donation will also tell students that “the old elders are still here if people need help or guidance into solving problems that this generation is facing.”

Student Eileen Antone is impressed.

“The photographs show a real connection to the aboriginal people and to the earth.”

On display in the Indigenous Education Network, housed in the Department of Adult Education, the works depict traditional native peoples from places including Labrador, Montana and New York.

Beaton was born in Ottawa in 1954 to Lois Clause, who had been in the Mohawk Institute, a residential school. He struggled with substance abuse from a very young age. When he was able to break free of his addiction at age 33, he began to look into his native culture.

“A lot of native people get addicted, a lot of native people suffer—probably because of culture shock. They’ve been affected by colonization and colonization has caused culture shock,” he reflected.

After being distressed with the way native people and the earth were being treated, he began to write letters in defence. “The more I talked about it and wrote about it, the more I got into the culture, the more I got into the problems,” Beaton said.

Beaton started to attend traditional councils and sacred circles. He was brought in by Chief Oren Lyons, an Onondaga traditional chief from the Iroquois and a strong spokesperson for the earth and human rights. “I met with all the spiritual leaders of North America,” Beaton remembered. This will be his twelfth year with them.

Beaton has since been filming native elders, as well as photographing them. Four of his films have been nationally broadcast. He explains that he’s “trying to inspire people to support traditional natives in supporting the earth and bring back people to a spiritual place.”

“A lot of people in the photos have gone now into the spirit world. I hope with photos and films that I can inspire people to speak out for the protection of earth and the need for society to return to spiritual values,” he said.

Students debate merit of $20,000 Optic party

A rave paid for with $20,000 of student money was an unparalleled success, according to everyone who attended. Unfortunately, “everyone who attended” added up to only 500 people.

That left 1,000 tickets unsold—and left some students wondering about the planning and utility of Student Administrative Council’s (SAC) Optic Biosphere.

“U of T students deserve better than this, for all the money that’s being spent, and all the effort that’s gone into this,” said third-year history student Noel Semple.

However, some, like third-year economics student and SAC director Matthew Curtis, loved the event.

“SAC is an invaluable institution on our campus, and I believe that this is such an important service that they can provide to us, who pay so much into this University of Toronto institution,” said Curtis. “I’m having a great time.”

SAC collects fees from and represents 33,000 full-time undergraduate students at U of T. According to SAC’s promotions commissioner, the high cost of the event comes from having to find a venue suitable for live music, food, alcohol, noise and capacity for more than 1,000. But the problems in finding such a venue, and the fact that only a small percentage of students participate, leave some wondering if SAC should just leave off-campus entertainment to private establishments around town.

“I’d like to see something, if it’s going to occur, that’s going to provide a solid value for U of T students, something that they can all enjoy and participate in collectively,” said Semple.

Marketing of the event was certainly a concern, given the low turnout, and while cost of admission was only $10, drinks and transportation added up.

“I’m holding a drink that cost me $7.50… I also paid 10 bucks to get in here,” said Curtis.

Another obstacle to student administration-held events is student apathy towards them. Curtis continues, “U of T has always had difficulty trying to get people involved. Hopefully, with the SAC elections coming up, we’re going to see…someone who can harness students, so that they can get involved, and feel that their student government really represents them.”

Debating civil disobedience

Civil disobedience—the refusal to comply with the law as a means of protest—has made its way through the Civil War, apartheid in South Africa, and the struggles of Gandhi. U of T students discussed what it means in this age on Saturday.

The Law Union of Ontario’s Annual Conference last weekend included a workshop to discuss issues of deep concern for activists and non-activists alike.

“There has to be a rethinking of how we mobilize,” said John Clarke from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. “Marches can’t be conducted in orderly fashion, and we don’t want to meet with the cops to discuss strategies. If we do it that way, we’re not getting anything done.”

Students and community members discussed whether civil disobedience should be violent or non-violent, and activists urged protesters to improve struggles on behalf of issues they deem important by thinking about strategy.

According to some of the speakers, protesters need to think out tactics, or methods of resistance, before leaping into demonstrations and direct action.

Whyman told attendees they should work on building struggles comprised of large numbers critical of how society operates. “We want to move from civil disobedience to social disobedience,” he said. He talked about “actually building a mass movement and building confidence in people to undermine the system that exists in our society.”

Clarke commented on how media slant affects public perception of protest. “There is a sense that we are some sort of isolated group that really doesn’t have much influence and are crazy, and essentially irrelevant in any situation,” explained Clarke.

Moderator Sam Babe, a U of T law school student, described the conference as an opportunity for people to bring social justice issues into their everyday lives. “What I was hoping for everyone to get out of this meeting was answers to questions we could pose to anyone, not just activists or those on the left, but bring awareness to the average person and myself as well.”

The panel also included Ray Bazowski, professor of political science; Len Desroches, activist, author and non-violence trainer; and Ann Hansen, former “Squamish 5” member and author.