Lyu screws her crew
Something your piece on Soo Lyu (NOW, August 29-September 4) failed to mention is that the director totally screwed her crew on the set of Rub & Tug.
Not only did Lyu and producer/partner Edward Stanulis take months to pay the crew, but the set was horrendously disorganized, with many key members running off during shooting. If this is what indie filmmaking in Toronto is all about, it's no wonder many of us end up going to L.A.
Ben Whoop, Toronto
Hot on Ember
Sarah liss's recent rather dismissive review of Ember Swift's fabulous new CD (NOW, August 29-September 4) truly left me shaking my head.
To equate Ember with Ani DiFranco because they're both female guitarists and independent artists is altogether facile.
Painting them with a single brushstroke is as superficial as characterizing a Bill Evans recording as pretty much the same as one by Oscar Peterson: two men playing jazz instrumentals on piano -- ho-hum.
In either case you are doing both artists, and your readers (who are knowledgeable enough to have named Ember Toronto vocalist of the year in NOW's 2001 poll), a genuine disservice.
Gerry Lipnowski, Montreal
Susan g. cole's complaint about Lisa Moore's short-story collection, Open (NOW, August 29-September 4), is that "every scattershot short sentence is there to make an impression, not to drive the story forward."
If only more fiction were like that.
Wayne Jones, Toronto
I enjoyed the article by don wan- agas on the fascist takeover of our local democratically elected school board by the Nazis at Queen's Park (NOW, August 29-September 4).
But he failed to mention my local trustee, Bruce Davis, who is one of the 11 who kept their election promises and stood up for public education.
Although I am an admitted rabble-rouser and leftist and Bruce Davis is not, he deserves mention because he has consistently consulted with parents, myself included.
Etobicoke Parents for Public Education
GM foods are safe
I am going to comment on an assertion in Upfront even though I have been advised not to take that section too seriously. You note that a recent study finds no evidence that genetically modified food is dangerous to human health. But you add that there is no evidence it is safe either (NOW August 29-September 4).
Billions of people have been consuming GE food for many years, and no adverse effects have been noted. We can reasonably conclude from this experience that GE food is indeed safe.
Nonetheless, I agree with you that GE foods should be labelled as such.
There are still significant issues concerning the ways GE foods are used and the patent laws governing their use. But don't try to tell us that they're not safe. That's just silly.
David Palter, Toronto
Mad cow's pesticide link
Re what's the beef (now, august 22-28). Does it make sense that millions of people eat beef and only a handful get ill? Another theory regarding the cause of spongiform encephalopathies (aka mad cow disease and vCJD) involves organophosphate insecticides and high levels of manganese.
Organophosphate insecticides were mandated by the UK government in the early 1980s to combat warble fly infestations in cows. They are potent nerve poisons. Manganese is present at abnormally high concentrations in some mineral supplements, and can cause neurological problems when it displaces copper in brain proteins, a reaction accelerated by the organophosphates.
The most vocal proponent of this theory in both popular and scientific publications is Mark Purdey, who has noted that manganese is associated with many other clusters of spongiform encephalopathies in animals and humans.
Perhaps your magazine could ask health officials whether the brain of the recent Saskatchewan victim of mad cow has been tested for levels of manganese, other toxic metals and traces of organophosphate pesticides.
Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society
Don't call pot medicine
Rhe overwhelming amount of copy expressing compassion for the weed-demanding terminally ill that's crammed into NOW is truly touching.
But really, how stupid do you think people are? It's blatantly clear that the ill are being used by the pot lobby to achieve their objective of making it widely accessible for all. Sadly, on some level, it's working.
Ultimately, it's very difficult to argue with a magazine that's convinced tobacco is unhealthy because it's sold by greedy multinational capitalist pigs. And that with pot the negative effects diminish. Just don't call that crap a "medicine." That word is reserved for things that cure, not numb.
Brian Martinka, Toronto
My boycott dilemma
I agree with scott anderson's Fingering The Goods (NOW, August 22-28). I have tried to practise my own personal boycott of goods originating in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but here are some of the difficulties:
Palestinians themselves buy the same products. Why should I be more papist than the Pope? Many Palestinians make their livelihood working in the settlements. Why should I hurt them?
Many other countries are involved in immoral activities, usually on a much larger scale. Why should they be exempted from my boycott list?
And lastly, a couple of days ago the UN criticized Canada for its policy concerning its native people. Should I therefore boycott Canadian products and stop reading NOW?
Eli Cohen, Toronto
It is interesting to see the prominent role Denise Jones (Carnival Not To Remember, NOW, August 15-21) and M. Nourbese Philip (Diluting Caribana's Roots, NOW, August 15-21) are playing in the Caribana Cultural Committee's (CCC) efforts to reclaim the administration of Caribana.
Jones is correct in noting that this year's Toronto International Carnival did not "encompass the essence of Caribana as it has in previous years." This year's carnival was not crippled by mismanagement, as in the Caribana years. It was not tarnished by reports of infighting. Bills are being paid. Money will be accounted for. Reports will be submitted. Planning will continue.
And who did the bandleaders "accommodate," as Philip argues?
For the first time, a cultural band representing Guyana participated in the parade. The 2002 Trinidad Carnival King of the Bands made an appearance at the King and Queen Competition. The Love Movement, a Trinidadian choir, in Toronto for World Youth Day, was also featured at the King and Queen Competition.
Liberal cabinet minister Jean Augustine, who participated in the first Caribana parade in 1967, and consuls general from a number of Caribbean islands participated in this year's parade. How did the inclusion of these participants water down the Caribbean aspects of the carnival?
Do Denise Jones and M. Nourbese Philip think the CCC's traditions are worth preserving? I would think the CCC's tradition of mismanagement, infighting, out-of-control debt and mounting unpaid bills are not something they should be arguing for.
Toronto International Carnival 2002
When in Spain...
After reading twisted spain (now, August 15-21), I had to ask myself: How long will Jordan Mitchell last abroad? One of the main reasons for packing up and going abroad should be to experience life in another land just because it isn't like home.
Unfortunately for the author, with that experience come highs and lows -- just like life at home. It is unreasonable to expect that everything will be easy, and that you can get what you want when you want it. Open your mind to the experience, Jordan, and stop whining. You are in Spain, after all.
G. Jon, Toronto