Royal pain in the ear
RE Your Best of Toronto issue (NOW, November 1-7). You say the Royal Cinema is the "best alternative to a monster multiplex" in Toronto.
Yes, the owners spent a shitload of money on acoustics and production hardware to do film work during the day, but when it comes to their choices of evening movies, they just don't connect very well to the street.
It's mostly arty/poncey stuff for those who think Inland Empire is actually a good movie. Also, their digital audio system is really harsh in the upper frequencies. Earplugs recommended.
Better movies can be seen and heard at the Bloor, Fox and Revue.
Thanks to Salima Pirani for profiling a Hummer driver who isn't all bad, El Mocambo owner Abbas Jahangiri, in the first annual Toronto's Outstanding People Awards (NOW, November, 1-7).
I use to live on Dunn Avenue and would curse out loud when a massive yellow Hummer was parked close to, or practically on, the sidewalk outside the Mother Teresa home. Why did this gas-guzzling, materialistic, eco-stabbing, offensive driver have to park on my street, in Parkdale of all places? I immediately assumed drug dealer.
I'm glad to learn I severely misjudged the driver. I'll think twice the next time I'm ready to rant about these offensive vehicles.
Island hopping mad
Have 40 years of Caribana not been enough to educate everyone in Toronto about West Indian culture? Please, NOW, I expect better from you. Reggae and calypso are completely different art forms, and it is an insult to all of the reggae and calypso artists in our city to combine them into one category for your Best Of Toronto issue. I guess they're both just music "from the islands," eh?
Comics let down
I'm a little disappointed by the serious lack of coverage in NOW of the recent 24-Hour Comic Jam (www.24hourcomics.com).
This year there were more than 1,200 artists at simultaneous happenings around the world (87 different cities, 18 different countries). Canada had six events nationwide, including one here at the Burrow Art Centre in Mirvish Village.
Considering the incredible scale and cultural significance of this successful non-commercial event, I would have thought NOW might have something to say.
Your magazine has great coverage of current music and movies. But how about little more coverage for comic artists and other under-represented art forms?
I really don't want to have to rely on the mainstream press!
It was just a matter of time until critics of the Island Airport used some minor problems on Bombardier's Q400 series to justify grounding Porter Airlines or calling for a safety review (NOW, November 1-7).
Toronto is lucky to have this airport. It's a vital piece of the city's infrastructure, and city politicians should be doing everything they can to enhance the operation as Toronto tries to compete economically on the world stage.
Opposition to the airport is a bit irrational. I didn't hear people calling for shutting down Air France or Pearson after a plane ran off the runway there two years ago.
Andrew van Velzen
Q is for quality
The Toronto-built Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft is the safest and most reliable in the world today. Its record speaks for itself. There are more than 150 Q400 aircraft in operation among 22 operators around the globe. The fleet has logged over 1 million flying hours and 1.2 million takeoff and landing cycles. Aviation is the most regulated industry in the world, and for good reason.
I am appalled at the despicable display of political opportunism by Councillor Adam Vaughan and federal MP Olivia Chow in calling for the grounding of Porter Airlines Q400s.
Politicians have a responsibility to seek out the facts and report them accordingly, and must not engage in fear-mongering as a tool to win over support on issues.
That's simply dishonest.
President, CAW Local 112
Cyborgs policing the TTC
RE TTC's security breach (NOW, November 1-7). Just because New York and L.A. have fewer than the 12,000 cameras proposed for the TTC doesn't mean that 12,000 is too many; maybe those U.S. cities have too few.
True, cameras do little to deter crime. But they can be useful in solving it.
Even without surveillance cameras, it is possible for your fellow passengers or passersby to film you with their sneaky camera phones.
Being in a public place auto-matically limits the privacy you can enjoy. Such is life.
It is true that these systems are fraught with technical difficulties. However, they are still the best available.
Someday, undercover cyborgs whose perfectly normal-looking left eyes will actually be high-resolution cameras will record everything, producing a permanent record that can be used in court to convict criminals. Until then we must make do.
TTC focuses on the positive
Obviously, a surveillance system upgrade within the TTC will have little effect on the day-to-day crime that affects us all.
The staff hours involved in piecing together video footage and tracking down a petty criminal make them impractical for many reasons.
But $18 million dollars is nothing to pay for saving an abducted child, reuniting an Alzheimer's patient with loved ones or thwarting the terrorists in our midst.
I'm a strong privacy advocate, but this type of framework has been a long time coming.
The trouble with Tracey
When I read Barrett Hooper's critique of The Tracey Fragments (NOW, November 1-7), I felt it was time to write.
Time and time again I have read "reviews" by your writers about films, specifically Canadian films, that read more like spite than considered criticism.
While I'm sure Hooper got quite giddy writing in such a crazy, odd, highly symbolic way to cleverly respond to Tracey's multi-framing, it was possibly the worst way to portray the fragmented world of Bruce McDonald's film or the character of Tracey herself.
It is a hectic, jarring experience that is quite the opposite of the stalled method of writing that Hooper attempted. He made it very clear that he did not in fact understand the film or its unique way of storytelling.
I'm terribly sorry that Hooper wasn't accepted to the Ryerson film program, or whatever caused him to hate Canadian films so much.
Gareth C. Scales
Coke's coffee takes beaning
I'd like to express my thanks to NOW for revealing the truth about the closing of Coke's Far Coast (NOW, November 1-7).
I worked at FC for over a year and was one of the top-performing managers at the store, and now I am literally left on the street wondering how I'm going to pay for rent and tuition.
But I did get a T-shirt, the one that was part of the uniform.
Coke's marketing team was busy blowing insane amounts of money on useless, ineffective in-store marketing campaigns that attracted virtually no attention. It was kind of funny to watch.
A week after the closure was announced, an exec came in to show off the store to her friend.
As she was leaving she said to me, "The store looks so busy. Looks like business is really picking up!"
Klein Marx the spot
RE As Klein is to Marx (NOW, November 1-7). What an honour it must be for Naomi Klein to be called "a pulped-up" Karl Marx by letter-writer David Maharaj.
Bringing real Marx (not Marxist) theory to life through thoughtful analysis of social and economic issues that plague is a calling of the highest order.
For those of you who understand my comment, I am merely expressing your thoughts. For those of you who don't, please read Marx with an open mind and read some thoughtful essays about him. You will get him.