Ann-Marie out to lunch
Canada's high priestess of fiction, Ann-Marie MacDonald, weaves a fascinating tale about what happened at her front door (NOW, September 25-October 1). But as a journalist, I'm more interested in the facts, so I'm writing to set the record straight.
Ms. MacDonald suggests I may have "lucked out" in winding up on her porch with a courier driver. Alternately, she says, perhaps I planned the whole thing. She even says the Globe called to ask permission to use her name.
Boy, is she out to lunch. My story in the Globe and Mail was about a day in his life, not hers.
The truth is, Ms. MacDonald called the CBC (which sent her the package) to protest an invasion of privacy. Her complaint endangered both the courier's job and the courier company's account with the CBC.
For that reason, and that reason alone, my editor and I decided to pull her name.
The next time Ms. MacDonald wants to blur fiction and fact, I suggest she stick to her novels.
Jan Wong, Globe and Mail, Toronto
Embracing the Mitt
while the majority of the press coverage surrounding the release of Stink Mitt's Scratch 'N' Sniff debut album has been nothing short of enthusiastically frenzied, NOW dares to be different (NOW, September 25-October 1). It's not that you gave it a terrible review - I just think you missed the importance of this group. But the comments about the record's production and overall sound simply pissed me off, because the record in fact sounds huge! With their debut record already being declared "groundbreaking," a "revolution in music," "killer" and "brash," I would have figured NOW to have embraced the Mitt, too.
As the first label to release a Peaches record, I think I know what I'm talking about. Curiously, in wonder.
Teenage USA recordings, Toronto
Yankee go homophobic
re scaring gays straight (now, September 25-October 1). I don't know what makes me hotter under the collar - the fact that these right-wing bastards are spewing their homophobic hatred or the fact they're all American. Has that giant behemoth to the south of us learned nothing from 9/11 about how the rest of the world isn't particularly interested in its right-wing Bible-thumping policies and how we're quite happy to conduct our lives as sovereign nations, as we see fit, whether it pleases the U.S. or not? Ian McCrea, Toronto
the call to vote for the liberals in next week's election is a big mistake. There are several incumbent NDP candidates running in the GTA, all of whom have long records of distinguished public service, have been centrally involved in fighting the Tory government and are in fact the best bet to defeat the Tories in their respective ridings. We should have no illusions about what a Liberal government will bring to Ontario. Look at British Columbia under Gordon Campbell, who's slashing social spending at a pace that would make even Mike Harris blush, or Quebec under Jean Charest. Not to mention the federal Liberal government, which has presided over the biggest cuts to social spending in Canadian history.
There should be no question about how to vote in this election. There is only one party running that's not bound hand and foot to Bay Street, and that is the NDP.
Giles Hodge, Toronto
How low will Tories go?
i just received trinity-spadina Progressive Conservative party candidate Helena Guergis's brochure in my mailbox, entitled Warning! Your Values Aren't Nellie Pedro's Priorities. I have to tell you that it is the most offensive and insulting piece of political campaign material I have ever had delivered to my door. It consists of nothing more than blatant negative advertising.
It actually states that Pedro will "do nothing to keep criminals, terrorists and war criminals out" of Ontario. I'm not even voting for Nellie Pedro and I'm insulted. How pathetic.
Malcolm Rogge, Toronto
CBC Green with shame
every where in ontario except in the Oakville riding, eligible Ontarians can vote for the Green Party of Ontario. It's the first time in decades that the electorate has a new political party to vote for. This fact deserves acclaim, but the Consortium of Broadcasters still denied the GP leader a chance to participate in the televised leaders debate.
The CBC has a mandate to serve the public interest. Shame on the CBC for participating in that debate.
Simon Luisi, Toronto
re music's over for fat's (septem ber 25-October 1). As the W-site developer for Roger Ellis (www.geocities. com/rogerellismusic), I found the NOW article by Robert Priest interesting and informative. Roger has performed at Fat Albert's a number of times over the years. The search begins for another Fat Albert's. Ken O, Toronto
Who's fooling whom?
re starmakers' (sic) foolish fund ing (NOW, September 25-October 1). While it is most certainly the role of the press to raise issues and critique institutions, the results can be misleading when this is attempted without the proper context. The Radio Starmaker Fund is a creation of Canada's private radio broadcasters, designed to provide additional funds for marketing, promotion and tour enhancement for artists who have established a track record. When artists receive Radio Starmaker Fund money, it's an acknowledgement that they've demonstrated some success in their field, that someone believes in their efforts enough to make the initial investment and that the Radio Starmaker Fund board of directors (including some of the most experienced music and broadcast industry experts around) finds them worthy of additional investment.
All three of the talented artists you mention in your piece are signed to independent record labels. It's news to nobody that the music industry's in turmoil, and many independent labels have been hit particularly hard. The additional funds that the Radio Starmaker Fund provides to market both independent and major-label artists can make the difference between financial success or failure, for both the labels and the artists.
Catharine Saxberg, Executive Director Radio Starmaker Fund, Toronto
how does this roll off your tongue? Sex workers "another group of women, no doubt with father issues, stuck in tights, to hop around for distracted beer-swilling fans, at best pathetic and probably offensive" (NOW, September 25-October 1). What the Toronto Roadrunners Crowd Motivation Dance Team are into looks pretty mild compared with the objectification you fuckers push every single week in the back pages. Brian Foley, Toronto
i do not know where the writer of the Reservoir Dogs article, Glenn Sumi, went to school or learned how to write a review, but maybe he needs to brush up his skills (NOW, September 18-24). He was supposed to review a show, not compare it with a movie or script or cinematographer. As a critic, I believe you should become part of the moment when reviewing a show, whether it be onstage or onscreen. I have never taken a course in journalism, or ever written a review, but this review was weak. What was forgotten was that every dark cloud has a silver lining, and you must give praise where it is due. The acting of Jack Grinhaus as Mr. Pink was superb, as well as the performance by Stephen Lima as the unfortunate cop - not to forget Mark Walker as Uncle Joe Cabot. The set was also designed very well. The hanging of the bathroom was extremely clever. David Wahiche, Toronto
Tree advocate out on limb
thank you for drawing attention to the decline in our urban forest (NOW, September 18-24). But you didn't connect all the dots, which lead directly to our tree advocate, Councillor Joe Pantalone. Cars are tree killers, sometimes directly, but often indirectly (salt, soil compaction, space demands, exhaust, ozone depletion, etc).
We can't find $500,000 for watering, but Pantalone has been a main promoter of dumb growth. Our tree advocate has been a road pusher. I'm hoping he finds a drought at the polls.
Hamish Wilson, Toronto
i have been reading now almost from its inception in the back room of Grossman's Tavern, where the idea of the magazine was born 23 years ago. I'm very disappointed that every year and every time your writers do a piece on "cheap," "free," "no cover charge" anything that is good, Grossman's Tavern is always left out!
When you first started the Best Of, we were voted the most popular blues club in the city. We are still the best blues club and never have a cover charge. An injustice has been done.
Musicians who have travelled the world tell us our burgers are the best.
We're also one of the last remaining family-owned bars in the city and are known throughout the world. Has anyone done a story on that yet?
Our alumni include Downchild Blues Band, Jeff Healey, Amanda Marshall, Alannah Myles, Rebecca Jenkins, Jane Siberry, Jani Lauzon - the list goes on and on. Do people care?
Amy Louie, Grossman's Tavern, Toronto
Murder for the open-minded
i read the awful review elizabeth Bromstein gave the Black Dahlia Murder (NOW, August 28-September 3). Funny, she must not have paid close attention to the CD. The group has not two singers, but one who can travel to the top and bottom of the musical scale. She thought the CD was a joke. Well, I thought her review was a joke. That in mind, I believe I will never visit your site again or take any advice from your staff. Please stop reviewing music, because you may ruin it for someone with an open mind. Clay Calkins, Toronto
Just plain scrambled
some weeks ago, your food editor reviewed the Beaver Café (NOW, August 21-27). I have tried in vain to phone your food editor, but he hasn't answered my calls. This Beaver Café was not at all the way he reviewed it. The eggs were just plain scrambled, not steamed. There was hardly any ham on the plate. The accompanying baguette was in fact two small pieces of burnt bread. The wait was 45 minutes. There were no coffee refills. Your reviews are usually right on target. This one was not. Irma S. Reffes, Toronto
Cops save my six-string
i make my living playing music around town and the planet. I play the guitar. Specifically, a Les Paul Standard, which was stolen from a club on Bathurst in the middle of the night. Glad the rent was paid. Did respect get pilfered from underneath our noses along the way? I don't mind so much that one of my possessions was stolen, because tools of the trade can be found if need be. The problem is that one gets attached to a guitar or an instrument. It becomes a part of you, an outlet for expression. That's what sucks the most. Someone ripped off my little buddy.
Six months and two new guitars later, the phone rings at 8 am. Am I dreaming? The words "We've recovered your guitar" echo as I drive to 41 Division to visit the pawn squad. These guys have been keeping a watchful eye out for six months, and I can't believe what I'm seeing. It's my Les Paul.
I've noticed the police generally get a bad rap when things go wrong. So I'd like to give praise where it's due, to Detective Constable Anthony Loton at 41 Division major crime unit, I say thank you.
Damian Arokium, Toronto
Resorting to prejudice
it's always irked me that in order to enjoy the decent arts sections urban weeklies provide, we also have to put up with a predictable leftist stance that is clichéd, blindly dogmatic and reactionary. In the past decade or so the cool cause célèbre of the left has been the anti-Israel crusade, and weeklies have dutifully given their readers a regular dose. In NOW's case, however, that's led to a wholesale criticism of everything Jewish. In my nine months in Toronto I've been astounded at the number of articles the magazine has run that are overtly negative toward North American Jews, with nary a positive piece to provide balance.
Why do NOW's editors treat the Jewish community differently than every other minority group? Methinks it's because many Jews have managed to become part of the establishment, and this magazine desperately wants to be considered anti-establishment, even if it means resorting to the same prejudice it claims to abhor.
Ilan Saragosti, Toronto