re: Bernardo Bertolucci's the Dreamers, recently reviewed by John Harkness (NOW, February 12-18).
Harkness acknowledges being in the presence of a great director and not a McDisney hack. But Harkness applies a cookie-cutter critique to Bertolucci's latest film. He remains in the literal when discussing the "outside world" or "parent-child arguments" and wanders all over the director's "oeuvre" and away from the subject at hand. Any English or film class could have offered a number of good symbolic interpretations - all more than the reviewer, since he misses the point. Note to film critics: don't include excerpts from classic film critiques. They simply make people wish they were reading real critiques.
We make money, so?
re: rock 'n' roll machine (now, February 12-18). Here is a re-calculation of the income made by the Emergenza Festival: 152 bands times $75, minus Kathedral rental, minus Reverb rental, minus Opera House rental times two, minus sound techs minus cashier.... I would say we wind up with a sum considerably lower than the $12,000 calculated by your writer. Yes, Emergenza makes money. Don't record companies, clubs, promoters and agencies make money? Isn't the music industry a money-making machine? The difference is that Emergenza's involvement with bands doesn't stop at one concert.
Participating bands have the opportunity of being featured on one of Emergenza's three annual compilation CDs, being chosen to participate in the B.E.S.T. Tour and playing at the acoustic festival in Paris.
Besides this, a set of drums, a set of amps, a complete wireless microphone system and custom made Music Man guitars are awarded to the best musicians.
There is no room in Emergenza for egos and musicians who are already hotter than a humid day in Toronto. We are not designed for bands with the mentality, "Oh yeah, the Kathedral, I played there last week." For the record, the exact number of bands signed in Emergenza's 12 years is 45.
North American Logistics and Communications, Emergenza
Hats off to Wanagas
hats (or fire helmets) off to don Wanagas! His article on the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association's woes at council (NOW, February 12-18) succinctly hits all the facts. After a protracted arbitration process coming out of amalgamation, firefighters spent four months at the table negotiating a contract that was already two years into its term. With a mandate directed by the outgoing council, we negotiated the deal, only to have Case Ootes and a handful of Mel's minions try to sandbag it at the last moment. Notwithstanding the antics at council, the deal passed.
I just want to say thanks to Don for taking the time to actually tell the facts in this story. Don was the only one who got to the heart of this story and he deserves our recognition. On behalf of Toronto's firefighters, thanks.
President, Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association
Police losing credibility
re fantino's freak show (now, February 12-18). This article should have been entitled Time Well Wasted And Money Ill Spent. These quasi-info meeting/police PR sessions do nothing for the community except regurgitate century-old marketing schemes and racist attitudes and incite exaggerated fears.
The Toronto police department are fear-mongers trying to justify their organization's budget boost. There needs to be transparency of information and justification of actions. Financial statements must be made available to the public if the police want to preserve any integrity at this point!
Name withheld by request
PM's unbelievable denials
talk about implausible deniabil ity. Paul Martin orchestrated the ouster of a sitting prime minister but was unaware of the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars involving key Liberals and their communication companies? Garfield John Marks
Red Deer, Alberta
Swallowing Sook-Yin's thing
re sarah liss's piece on sook-yin Lee (NOW, February 5-11). "Indie celeb?" "Indie artiste?" Not after a few years on Much and a current gig at the CBC. Try no talent. The indie thing you're still swallowing is called a gimmick. "Media icon?" Uh... how can you be a media icon and an indie anything at the same time? Oh, Christ. After all these years Sook-Yin still manages to get people to talk about a band that existed for 15 seconds, wasn't any good, and nobody cared about. "It was Lee's underground tips within that sea of sameness that first exposed me to cool grassroots labels." Oh, how charming! "Sea of sameness." Hey, NOW, are you hiring writers? You should be. Sharon Marchese
boxy is beautiful (now, february 5-11) is an ignorant article written by someone who is unable to conceptualize the real built artifact of Gehry's proposed Big Dumb Box. It is, in fact, very difficult to successfully render "dead dumb" forms like Gehry's proposed AGO renovations. It requires an acute subtlety of materials, texture and light, carefully controlled perspective views and a truly gifted sense of proportion, all of which seem to be generally lacking in Gehry's first schematic attempt. London's Tate Modern is a kind of a Big Dumb Box. But it's also a sublime architectural construction that's incomparably more beautiful than anything the Art Gallery unveiled last month (or any of the other local projects also mentioned).
NOW Magazine loves to print uniformed, politically motivated opinion pieces.
Is Gehry AGO's man?
as a toronto-based architect, i believe it is appropriate to be welcoming to the recent wave of celebrity architects. But wait. Is it possible that in the fervour to woo Frank Gehry, an unassailably important architect, the inclinations of a generous benefactor and a captivated client have been blind to the real question: is this the right architect for the job? In the life of a city, public buildings become part of our collective consciousness as well as our individual memories. The AGO was renovated only a decade ago in a way that added to the series of additions and renovations before it - and ran out of money before the competition-winning scheme was completed. Is it necessary now to wipe the slate clean? Christopher McCormack
Apple of my eye
re apple's getting greedy (now, February 12-18). Andrew Currie could not be more wrong . Firstly, the current default in OSX is the hated Microsoft.
Simply deleting this from the OSX applications folder solves that problem. One then places the browser of choice in the dock and opens it at will. I use both Safari and Netscape this way with no problems. New OSX users quite often misunderstand how easy and useful the dock is. I know I did, and I've had Apples since day one.
Not a case of greed, but perhaps more like confusion?
Anti-Semite, of course
uri avnery (now, february 12-18) and other writers, including Jewish writers of a similar vein whom your magazine loves to print, are just using sophistry and catch phrases to avoid the issue.
No, critics of Israel are not de-facto anti-Semites, and I would ask to be pointed to one serious commentator who indicates the converse.
However, one does not have to be anti-Semitic to be racist.
Hatred based on national origin is just as malevolent.
When Israelis are barred from employment in Europe because of their nationality, yes, that is racism. When Israel is banned from organizations such as the International Red Cross because the Red Star of David is not equal to a Red Cross or a Red Crescent, yes, that is racism.
When Israel is the only country in the world barred from a regional group at the UN, yes, that is racism. If you downplay acts such as these, what does that make you?
To a-hole: I need my wallet
to the assholes who stole my wallet at the Horsheshoe Tuesday, January 27.
All right, fine, you got a whack of cash, but could you at least have the decency to return my ID? You can drop my wallet in a mailbox. My ID is useless to you!
You cannot open any bank accounts or acquire a credit card. Even your underage girlfriends can't use my ID. I'm an old broad. You fuck with people's lives! I could have to wait six months to acquire new ID!
My wallet is burgundy with worn-out stickers on both sides.
If you think you have my wallet, please look me up in the phone book, or leave me a voice mail at 416-336-3134, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone who returns my wallet will of course be rewarded, no questions asked.
Name withheld by request