Creeps who never go away
While I throughly enjoyed 2005 The Year In Quotes (NOW, December 29, 2005-January 4, 2006), I was shocked that your writers overlooked that veritable gold mine of weird and wacky statements, city councillor Rob Ford. He, Case Ootes, Doug Holyday and Giorgio Mammoliti regularly speak out on topics about which they have little knowledge and no insight. Perhaps next year you could consider an entire article on those four buffoons. Creeps like Rob Ford just never go away.
Eminence Front, it's a put-on
It's somewhat pleasing that you thought the city's avoidance of the Front Street folly was one of the highs of the year. But concise summaries can leave out both nuance and basics.
The majority of councillors are wrong in thinking that the road will help congestion in the west end, at least in a meaningful way. Congestion is only relieved through transit, but there's been no exploration of whether a transit solution to the congestion exists along Front.
Backing away from costly, dumb growth is worth celebrating, but it's not because there's been a real embracing of transit fixes by our politicians. We're just really broke. And if that's a high, then I don't need a beer, I need a six-pack.
Boring Social Scene
It seems in just about every issue you guys rave about Broken Social Scene, most recently calling their first full-length record a "classic" and their latest effort the third-best Toronto release of the year (NOW, December 29, 2005 - January 4, 2006). Well, you finally got me to listen to their new record, and you know what I think? It's just like their last "classic" record - noisy. I got bored with the messy barrage of sound by the third song. I hope the BSS members pick up the tab when you guys are out for dinner and drinks.
C.R.A.Z.Y. a cryin' shame
No thanks to NOW, i had my last cry in 2005, just before the new year! New Year's Eve is supposed to be fun, so, looking for a comedy, I read your movie reviews for a tip and chose C.R.A.Z.Y., the "highly likeable comedy- drama." There were three of us, and we all ended up crying. Something must be terribly wrong with your movie reviewer or with us.
Mike Smith's Ill at Peace (NOW, December 22-28) left a sour taste in my mouth. To my dismay, he did not focus on anything positive at all. He turned his article on peace into an article about race, gender and gun violence.
As a homosexual male, I know all too well the negative, violent forces in our city. Although I'm occasionally caught off guard, I continue to believe Toronto has peace within it.
I decided to put the article to the test and see if I could truly find peace downtown during the Christmas season. I had the entire day, so I took my time with everything I did, making an effort to send good vibes.
I was quite surprised and pleased by the response I received from complete strangers just for doing things most people would think insignificant, like holding a door for someone or giving someone a smile on the sidewalk instead of a grimace.
Practise what you peace
In your Peace issue with a dove on the cover, the lead article tells us we should "actively choose peace." One example: "peaceable business practices." That's on page 16. On page 19, you run an ad for PlayStation portable. The image from the game is of a U.S. Navy commando aiming his weapon directly at a grass-roofed hut. Someone's house. If you don't practise, don't preach.
Boxing Day madness
When I heard about the Boxing Day shooting on Yonge Street on the radio, I was shocked, but did not feel the total effect of the news until I saw the victim's picture on the Net. My heart is heavy, and my eyes fill with tears as I angrily ask, "Why?" America has the guns, not Canada. What's going on? That girl could have been my friend, my sister.
We must take action. So now, we the students have come together from U of T, York, Ryerson and McMaster to say no to violence. We have formed BLING, Bring Love In Not Guns, because we, the youth, have to stop this craziness.
Anyone can join by checking out our new website (www.bringloveinnotguns.com). This newly formed BLING committee would like youth to come out to the BLING summit on January 28. Help us make a statement against guns and violence.
SAC Vice President, Equity
University of Toronto
Anti-gun plans off target
I am appalled by the lack of definitive response from any of our political party leaders to the Boxing Day shooting in Toronto. Illegal guns are easy to find. Full-time, meaningful employment is not, and has gotten scarcer. Paul Martin's promise to outlaw handguns (NOW, December 15-21, 2005) and Stephen Harper's promise to revamp the gun registry completely miss the underlying issue.
Public Health Nurse, Toronto
Strategic vote no go
So you're wondering who to vote for. You want to vote for the NDP and you're even considering the Green party, but you don't want to throw your vote away. You want it to count. So you consider strategic voting.
Sure, the Liberals seem to have been far too liberal with public funds and appear to treat the treasury as their own private piggy bank. You don't want to reward them with your vote.
Sure, the Conservatives are scary and it would feel like voting for Bush to send your vote over to Harper's camp. You're still suspicious of them and don't want to give them your vote either.
What do you do? I'll tell you what you do: you actually vote for the NDP or the Green party, just like your conscience is telling you to. Why? Because throwing your vote to Harper or Martin artificially inflates their actual popularity. Strategic voting is a waste and steals votes away from the party that deserves them.
Our winter of waiting
For weeks I've been present at vigils and other events that bring together those concerned about the Christian Peacemaker Teams members currently detained in Iraq (NOW, December 8-14, 2005). James Loney is the only one I know, but Harmeet Sooden, Norman Kember and Tom Fox are also in my thoughts and prayers. This continues to be a hard time, but through coming together regularly, publicly and communally, the burden of hope and worry is shared.
There are moments when confidence fades away. There are times when hope soars, when something is said that evokes a warm and healing response. This winter is truly a time of waiting.
Santa, give TV guy a clue
Steven Davey criticizes A Charlie Brown Christmas for having a "heavy-handed Christian subtext" (NOW, December 15-21). Well, no shit, Captain Obvious. What gave it away? That Charlie Brown spends the whole time bummed out about the loss of the Christmas spirit? Or that Linus spells it out to everyone at the rehearsal of a Christmas pageant? Schulz and Co. weren't going for subtext, and they weren't sending mixed messages about what they were getting at. I hope Santa sends Davey a clue this year.
Producers misses beat
Trying to find a good way to enjoy Christmas Day, my friend and I, two Brazilian girls far away from our families, decided to go see The Producers (NOW, December 15-21, 2005). Hilarious! Uma Thurman's singing and dancing were really a surprise. And the Swedish accent. Very funny!
But what pissed us off was the fact that the movie shows the actors in Rio dancing to a kind of Latin American music that I didn't even recognize, saying they're enjoying samba music! What a mistake! This really offended us! One minute of research on the Internet is enough to figure out the difference between cha-cha-cha, rumba, merengue, salsa, samba and other types of Latin music. But instead, the film prefers to mix up everything with a happy, hot and strong rhythm.
Joyce Atgie and Tabata Luchessi
Brokeback Mountain is well acted, thoughtfully and sympathetically made and deserves to be seen by a wide audience (NOW, December 15-21, 2005). However, I do have a couple of problems with it.
First, much of the press surrounding the film, in particular the interviews with its male leads, has been highly homophobic. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, for all that they "commit" to their roles, have been doing an awful lot of moaning and groaning about how difficult it was to shoot the love scenes (even hinting that they needed alcohol to get through it), which does nothing to challenge homophobia.
Second, while the film is being sold as a kind of sweeping romance, it's actually a tragedy about how homophobia damages and destroys people's lives. The one who keeps his head down and his appetites in check makes himself miserable but lives. The one who sticks his neck out and strives to be happy gets killed. Straight people have been telling stories like this about queer people for decades.
Nonsense in the liner notes
A friend stumbled across your website recently and sent me a copy of Tim Perlich's interesting review of my album Soho Lounge Heat II (NOW, August 4-10, 2005).
"Nonsense" my sleeve notes may be, but had your writer chosen to study them a little more closely, he'd have better understood that, whilst I acknowledge having little in the way of useful info to impart on musical production and history, it was not for want of trying nor born of total disinterest.
Further, having been most aware of this shortcoming both on this disc and volume 1, I was at pains to invite any owner of either disc to share their greater knowledge of the history surrounding this uplifting music via EMI or direct to the producer. Perhaps, though, like this office, Perlich is ultimately far more interested in the music, which can be appreciated regardless of deficiencies in background info.
Happy new year! Yours faithfully,