Balling up Blue Man
I was appalled by Kevin Temple's overly simplistic piece on Blue Man Group and their labour dispute with Canadian chapters of IATSE (NOW, June 9-15). Temple failed to demonstrate any benefit - or calculable difference, for that matter - to employees that would arise from the insertion of IATSE's politics into the Blue Man's approach to managing their labour pool.
On the contrary, Temple provided evidence that Blue Man tend to treat their employees better than the average union. Because a deal with IATSE is "expected" simply should not enter the equation.
Just because an artist-owned corporation is globally successful doesn't mean it should be chastised for its success by the arts community. Can David-become-Goliath not be an artist as well?
No Frills overkill
Regarding Sherel Purcell's no Frills' Shoplifting Racket (NOW, June 9-15). I am writing to express my shock and horror. How dare a store fine an almost innocent customer for an unintentional act of hunger-driven stupidity?
I mean, all of us do really dumb things, but should we be held accountable when our brains shut off? I mean, absent-mindedness is quirkily charming, don't you think? Small children do things like that and everyone thinks it's cute. Why can't Purcell be allowed to be childlike, too, even if she is essentially breaking the law?
Do these hideous businesses think that Canadians should actually be held accountable for their actions? This can only lead to a society of adults who behave like adults rather than adorably irresponsible and impetuous little kids.
The author of this piece needs to drop the denial and take responsibility for her actions. If someone absent-mindedly lifted one or two choice sentences from Purcell's article and proceeded to make money from her work without giving a smidge of profit or recognition, how would she feel? Theft is theft. You get the picture - I hope.
Get the greedy bastards
RE No Frills' shoplifting racket. Interesting article. I certainly learned something. I'm glad Sherel Purcell was able to obtain at least a small measure of justice. We all have to learn to speak out against these greedy bastards.
Karla a sex fiend, no demon
RE Chasing a killer story (NOW, June 9-15). The hysterical loathing and schadenfreude directed at Karla Homolka says more unflattering things about Canadians than it says about Homolka.
Like Michael Jackson, she is being demonized and persecuted not for what she has done but for being different. Karla personally killed no one. Her sexual proclivities are her own business. The after-the-fact restrictions imposed on her are nothing but vengeful attempts by dim-witted Crown prosecutors to punish her for making fools of them.
Her crime is her superior intelligence. She does what she wants when she wants, which takes more courage than screaming invective at her.
Smog alert: ditch car ads
It was nice to see two items about smog in your last issue (NOW, June 9-15). Maybe next time when Nissan wants a full-page ad on page 9 you'll say no. And then you can say no to GM-Chevrolet when they try to book a full-page ad on page 19. It goes without saying that Mazda will have trouble finding ad space at the bottom of page 92. As for the car giveaways by Walkman on page 16 and Z103.5 on page 73, well, they know the "alternative press" won't support them, so they won't even bother trying. In fact, NOW is doing such a kick-ass job of promoting transportation alternatives, I'm surprised there are any cars left to advertise.
Depression for non-believers
Sheila Gostick's prescription for fighting mood disorders (NOW, June 9-15) included nature, music, organic food, critical thinking and self-love. All very helpful, but how about spirituality, inside or outside organized religion? Meditation or prayer is a remarkable tool for clearing one's mind and might address at least some of the exponential growth in depression that I suspect is directly correlated to the growth of atheism/agnosticism in the West. It's pretty depressing to believe in nothing.
Want love? Be love
RE Jesse Trautmann's Is It Weirder To Believe In Love Than In The Easter Bunny? (NOW, June 9-15).
Love obviously comes in many flavours: parents' love for their child, people's love for their dog or cat or even their plants; friends' love for one another.
What Trautmann is questioning is romantic love, which I think is an illusion. When you add great sex to this stew, romantic love becomes even more delusional. You have great sex with someone and believe even more strongly that you're in love, but sex is really about hormones.
I invite Trautmann to become a loving person, to be love. He will then attract people who are drawn to his heart and soul, and not to what he looks like or how good he is in bed.
Bollywood for white people
RE Bollywood blow-up (NOW, june 2-8). Fashion Cares organizers asked me to DJ this year at their fundraising event for HIV/AIDS. As a Bollywood DJ, I thought it fitting that they asked me to be part of Bollywood Cowboy.
At the event, I saw no other South Asians, but lots of white Canadians wearing South Asian exotica. White women wore dread-head wigs and white go-go dancers awkwardly moved to the Bollywood beats I played. I thought of switching to music they might feel more comfortable with, but then I decided, if you want Bollywood this year, I'll give you six hours straight of filmy tunes. The dancers tried. Some left their podiums, others swayed unenthusiastically to the pounding rhythms. They seemed to want all the trimmings of South Asia but little of the real thing.
I saw very few, if any, South Asian vendors or organizers. The evening was closer to Halloween.
Belly dancers, hula-hoop entertainers, contortionists and harem girls performed for the crowd. While they presented well-choreographed and tight performances, I wondered what this hodgepodge of cultural themes had to do with Bollywood, or South Asian-ness for that matter.
Later, I saw the main event, hosted by Pamela Anderson. Performers sported bindis, costumes of South Asian gold-bordered silk, body henna and tattoos.
Part of me should be happy, right? I thought, if Fashion Cares wanted brown people to participate in its Bollywood theme, then why not have most of the performances by them?
Believe White Stripes hype
Tim Perlich's review of the White Stripes' Get Behind Me Satan (NOW, June 2-8) misses the point completely. Perhaps he got caught up in the fanzines' talks about the Jack White-Renée whoever dalliance. I'll grant that Perlich persuaded me he did have the disc on his CD player on one occasion.
I'm not a fan who jumps on the bandwagon of the latest cool. I'm in my 50s and grew up with the Beatles, Stones, Dylan and Hendrix. Get Behind Me Satan is a brilliant musical journey through American country music, blues, rockabilly and pop. Its stark beauty lies in its simplicity: it's seamlessly blended together and essentially expressed through a set of cymbals, one-note piano finger playing and (mostly) Jack White's plaintive vocal yearnings and call-and- response with "relative" Meg.
In a way, it's like a rough-cut demo of a fictitious lost Grateful Dead record without the guitars and bass. Tim, how about listening to the CD one more time?
Checkpoint this out
Letter writer Howard English of the UJA Federation is no doubt correct when he states that by calling rest stops "checkpoints," organizers of the recent Walk With Israel never intended to reference the military checkpoints restricting people's movements in occupied Palestine (NOW, June 9-15).
But that's what springs to mind for anyone who's not ignorant (deliberately or otherwise) about the nature of those checkpoints.
In any event, march organizers calling the stops checkpoints seems profoundly tacky.
Non-political? I don't think so.
If a tree falls on Royal York
I appreciated your item about Ben Paskus (NOW, June 2-8), and your pointing out that Horner Avenue should by rights have a bike lane. The local councillor, Mark Grimes, is not one to take proactive steps to bring in the needed bike lanes, and you're right to aim a boot his way.
But Don Wanagas, in his article about bike lanes on Royal York (NOW, June 2-8) and his kissy-face interview with Adam Giambrone, is another issue.
The expert councillors turned to for advice on the subject of whether or not trees would have to be cut down to make room for the bike lanes was unable to say if those trees would be saved or not by the road width that was agreed upon. In other words, it really was not a case of cyclists versus tree-huggers.
The ratepayers association that Councillor Peter Milquetoast (sorry, that's Milczyn) kowtowed to on this issue is led by a rather familiar character: none other than Mike Harris's former pot-scrubber, bootblack and official thug Guy Giorno. The same ratepayers group apparently insisted that the sidewalks remain at 120 centimetres instead of the 150-centimetre standard. Call Mr. Milquetoast. Ask him about that.
And finally, why was there even a question of taking out trees? Royal York in this section has four lanes. Why not take a few centimetres from each car lane to make room for the bike lane?