UTSG: Hart House Global Commons Climate Crisis Stories

Climate Change in Focus: Sharing Stories from the Frontlines

The Hart House Global Commons is your opportunity to connect in real-time with students participating in-person and virtually from international partner universities, to engage in dialogue and action around the climate crisis. Students participating directly from Colombia, Canada, France, South Africa, and the U.S.A. will connect for truly global discussions on one of the most pressing issues of our time—the climate crisis.

In many places, the disruptive threats of climate change have arrived. Addressing and living with climate change requires a serious transformation of society and of our relationships to each other and to the world around us – and we have work to do. Please join us for an opportunity to share stories from the front lines as we hear from students around the globe about how they are experiencing and responding to the climate crisis. Share your story, listen and learn.

Guest Speakers
Dr. Lorena Pasquini, Moderator
Wendy Phillips, Opening

Learn more:
https://harthouse.ca/events/global-commons-fall-2019/

UTSG: Traditional Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner

Join us in Hart House’s magnificent Great Hall for a Traditional Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner. Prepared by Chef Marco Tucci, this traditional feast will feature turkey with all the trimmings, a variety of local side dishes, a vegetarian entree, and sweets to show off autumn’s bounty.

Get your tickets early as this event always sells out. Presented by Hart House, the Centre for International Experience, and First Nations House – University of Toronto.

Our Traditional Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner is sponsored by #UofT affinity partners Manulife, MBNA Canada, and TD Insurance. For preferred rates and advantages available to the U of T community, go to https://bit.ly/34yue3L

Theatre review: Hart House’s The Rocky Horror Show

A timeless classic hits one of Toronto's favourite stages

Theatre review: Hart House’s <em>The Rocky Horror Show</em>

She brushed past me, wearing half a black sparkly bra and half a gold glitter dress. She was clearly wearing a wig — impossibly thick, black, and curly — and when I looked at her heels, my feet ached for her. She would be going on stage any minute, but right now, she was walking down the aisles, laughing with the crowd before the sold-out performance.

Welcome to The Rocky Horror Show.

Nowadays, in a world of RuPauls, the idea of men in drag seems like just another Friday night binge. But when The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a cult-classic musical by Richard O’Brien, was released in 1973, the sight of Dr. Frank-N-Furter declaring himself to be a “sweet transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania” would have been enough to make more than a few jaws drop in theatres.

The story follows the chaste and clean-cut couple of Brad and Janet as they get engaged, then stranded when their car breaks down in a storm. They go to Frank-N-Furter’s castle, where they’re greeted by other Transylvanians who pull the couple into their web of sexuality and debauchery.

There’s a lot of lingerie. And fishnets. And platform heels. And in Jennifer Walls’ Hart House production — just in case the original costumes weren’t camp enough for you — the lingerie glows in the dark too.

Minutes before the show began, I became acutely aware of how out-of-place I was and how much I wished I had a feather boa. Though most of the audience dressed normally, I paid most attention to those who followed the show’s website’s suggestion to “dress to impress” and partake in the spectacle.

The woman to my left wore black Mary Jane high heels with rainbow-striped knee-high socks. The girl two seats to the right of me had on fingerless leather gloves. I was wearing a black cardigan and jeans.

I felt like such a Janet.

From the first number “Science Fiction/Double Feature” alone, it was clear that Walls didn’t limit her actors’ space. Rather, she told them to use the whole auditorium as their stage. She made clever use of the background actors called the “phantoms,” who filled the aisles and cheered to the song, riling up the crowd. They were one of my favourite parts of the show. I could call them transformative, but that would be an understatement.

As the subtly manic Brad, played by Will Mackenzie, proposed to a frustratingly clueless Janet, played by Katie Miller, the phantoms hovered behind the cutout church prop, jumping out with jazz hands.

In a sense, they were the set itself. Arms became windshield wipers. Bodies became doors. Thighs became the holster for a particularly bold penis-shaped water gun — don’t ask, you have to see it for yourself.

The Rocky Horror Show is acclaimed for its blatant disregard for anything within the sphere of ‘normal.’ Normal is drab. Normal is a word that deserves a sparkly silver stiletto to the head. But Walls didn’t just lean into the insanity of the storyline; she threw herself in, full-force.

Strobe lights showed off the glow-in-the-dark lingerie. When Frank-N-Furter, played by Chris Tsujiuchi, spoke, phantoms collapsed to the ground and shook in ecstasy. We found out that Brad wore strawberry boxers.

However, my biggest dissatisfaction is that, greedily, I wanted more.

Tsujiuchi embodied the nonchalant confidence of Frank-N-Furter exceptionally well, but there were moments where I wish he drew out the audacious snap of his character more. He tended to stay in the realm of dry humour, but that left an unsatisfied craving for the uninhibited sexuality and boldness of Frank-N-Furter. I wanted more self-indulgent vivacity, more of a saunter in his performance.

The show was strongest when it did what it does best: shatter the fourth wall in a self-aware fashion. And it did so glamorously.

As Columbia, played brilliantly by Becka Jay, went manic in a tap-dance frenzy during “Time Warp,” she screamed, “Look at me! Are you not entertained?”

Some questions you don’t need answered.

In true Rocky fashion, audience members were also encouraged to yell at the stage. I had never seen anything like it. During the storm, Janet yelled to Brad, “I’m coming with you!”

Somebody from the audience yelled back, “For the first time in your life!”

Sure, I could also dive into some of the deeper themes of the show here. The oppression and reclamation of sexuality, like when Brad and Janet took off more clothing as the show went on, until Janet ended in a bra and underwear and Brad stunned us in a sheer pink robe.

Or maybe I could talk about the celebration of being the other, of being unique, irreverent, and from Transylvania. But out of all the running gags, the one that’s the hardest to forget, the one that had the most spunk, was all the penises.

Props, of course. But nonetheless, it was like The Stag Shop was a silent partner. Dildos encircled the top of the control panel that built Rocky. Laser guns had mushroom tips. Because at the end of the day, yes, this was a ‘very professional production.’ The actors were all exceptionally trained, nobody missed a beat in comedic timing, and the dances were all snappily choreographed. But behind all of that, this was sheer, unadulterated entertainment at its core. And everybody on stage made sure you knew it.

Out of everything though, my favourite memory remains when the show ended and the cast all took their bows to a standing ovation. But as if our absurd campy experience wasn’t enough, the next thing we knew Tsujiuchi was asking us if we wanted to do the Time Warp again, and who were we to say no?

So the music queued up and we danced, albeit awkwardly with a limited range of movement, but together. I laughed with every pelvic thrust, every jump to the left, every step to the right. And even when we stepped out of the theatre into the cool, quiet night, I was still grinning like an idiot.

Because at the end of the day, you can say whatever you want about The Rocky Horror Show. But you can’t say that it wasn’t pure fucking fun.

UTSG: The Blanket Exercise

Want to stand in solidarity with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples? The Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history we were rarely taught. **PLEASE REGISTER by emailing your RSVP to multi.faith@utoronto.ca

In support of the University of Toronto‘s commitment to live into the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s recommendation for education on Canadian-Indigenous History as one of the steps to reconciliation, the Blanket Exercise covers 500 years of history in a one and a half hour workshop. Located in the East Common Room at Hart House. Please join us!

Stay posted on Multi-Faith Centre events by joining their Facebook Group: http://facebook.com/groups/multifaithuoft #UofT

UTSG: Hart House Review: Centennial Issue Launch

Hart House Review: Centennial Issue Launch
September 12 @ 7-10 pm
East Common Room, Hart House
Please join us for the launch of the Hart Hause Review. There will be books, there will be readings, there will be snacks and a cash bar. Admission is free. We look forward to seeing you there!
 
For more information, see our Facebook page.

UTSG: Carillon Recital

Carillonneur Tin-Shi Tam plays the 51 bells of the historic Soldiers’ Tower war memorial, located beside Hart House at the University of Toronto.

Tam is the official carillonneur at Iowa State University, where she is also a professor of music. She is in demand internationally as a carillon artist and composer.

Outdoor seating will be provided for this free concert.

The Memorial Room inside the Soldiers’ Tower will be open to visitors after the recital. If you have trouble with stairs please contact us in advance so we can make your visit as accessible as possible.

Contact the Soldiers’ Tower via Facebook at www.facebook.com/soldierstower

Phone the Soldiers’ Tower at (416) 978-3485

Email the Soldiers’ Tower at soldiers.tower@utoronto.ca

UTSG: Hart House Singers presents: JOURNEYS – Songs of Travel and Discovery

Join us as we present arrangements of popular and classical works about the journey through life. Works are by James Taylor, Paul Simon, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and more.

Conrad Gold, piano; David Arnot-Johnston, conductor.

UTSU to donate $100,000 to Hart House to improve accessibility

Incoming UTSU Board strikes finance, ad-hoc mental health committees

UTSU to donate $100,000 to Hart House to improve accessibility

Representatives from the outgoing University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) Board of Directors voted on April 28 to donate $100,000 from its Accessibility Resources Fund to Hart House. The donation aims to make it easier for people with disabilities to access the building.

The grant will contribute to the construction of a universal washroom at Hart House, which would be designed to minimize boundaries and restrictions for occupants with disabilities.  

The outgoing Board also voted to approve the UTSU’s 20192024 Strategic Plan, with changes, following criticism of the plan by directors in a previous Board meeting on April 4.

The intention of the plan is to provide a clear long-term direction and vision for the union, as well as improve continuity of key initiatives between each turnover of directors and executives.

UTSU President Joshua Bowman, who assumed the presidency following the end of the outgoing Board’s meeting, explained in an email to The Varsity the notable changes to the plan since the previous Board meeting.

The first was to recommend that the UTSU’s communications will “strive to comply with AODA [Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act] regulations.”

The second was to recommend that UTSU representatives view decision-makers as “partners”, rather than “representatives.”

“This is an important alteration,” wrote Bowman, “as the title of ally implicitly states that decision-makers would be working in our best interest, which is not always true especially given recent events.”

The third change was to highlight campus groups — including clubs, student societies, and levy groups — as a focus for the UTSU to foster relationships and to strengthen relations and engagement with students.

Incoming Board strikes ad-hoc mental health committee, finance committee

The incoming Board of Directors for 201920 held its first meeting, shortly after the last outgoing board meeting on the same day.

The new Board struck an ad-hoc mental health committee, which Bowman explained would meet and discuss “solutions that we see from our own individual lived experiences, and the communities that we come from.”

Long-term goals of the committee are to gather responses from U of T students through surveys; interact with various student societies, divisional faculties, and equity-seeking communities; and ultimately submit a report to U of T’s Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health.

Academic Director of Humanities Keenan Krause; Faculty of Dentistry Director Lucia Santos; University College Director Lina Maragha; Director of Applied Sciences and Engineering Jeremy Sharapov; and Victoria College Director Thomas Siddall were elected by the Board to serve on the mental health committee.

The Board also struck its Finance Committee, which will oversee the union’s budget and finances.

The directors on the committee are Academic Director of Mathematical and Physical Sciences Michael Morris; St. Michael’s College Director Neeharika Hemrajani; Director of Applied Science and Engineering Harrison Chan; Woodsworth College Director Andrea Chiappetta; and Professional Faculties at-large Directors Katharina Vrolijik and Hasma Habibiy.