Sad news about Ben Viccari

May 6th, 2010

Ben passed away this morning, peacefully, at 4:00 a.m. at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. He had been struggling with pneumonia for a couple of weeks. The condition turned out to be more than his 91 year old body could handle.

And so he’s gone, and the April issue was the last of the many monthly editions that Ben has been writing for more than a decade. The archives here reflect the output stored since we began to use WordPress. The first articles appeared online back in 1998.

For a more complete outline of Ben’s career, let me refer you to his Wikipedia page, here.

For my part, I would just like to say that I am going to miss my old friend, whom I didn’t meet until he was nearly 80 years of age. I’m grateful to have known him for as long as I did.

— Bill Andersen

Canscene, Vol 10, No 4, April, 2010

April 2nd, 2010

Compounding confusion

April 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — a recent poll suggested that Canadians, unlike persons in other countries, aren’t critical of foreign national citizens flocking here to settle.

Then comes last month’s exhaustive nationwide survey remind us of the growth of visible minorities. For heaven’s sake why, in all these years do we still cling to the term visible minorities? Sure, persons of Chinese, Sikh, Tamil and Vietnamese origins differ from each other, just as they do from the white majority but as we have learned do not particularly concern Canadians about their being here.

So why keep rubbing it in to them and to all of us that they are “visible” minorities and deliberaely single them out for attention as such?

And I’ll say it again

April 1st, 2010

Shame on CBC. Cable in the Toromto area carries Wheel of Fortune weekdays 7:00 to 7:30 am. Why is that this progam which we as taxpayers support with our funding to CBC, carries segments marked “for US residents only”? Why?

A Refugee Camp to visit four Canadian cities

April 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is to stage an extraordinary, free, educational event in Ottawa from May 13-16, 2010 at Confederation Park; Montreal from May 20-23 at Parc Jeanne-Mance; Toronto from May 27-30 at Christie Pits Park and Waterloo from June 3-6 at Waterloo Public Square. More »

GG’s Awards in the arts

April 1st, 2010

The winners of the 2010 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts were announced by the Canada Council for the Arts last month at the Cinémathèque québécoise in Montreal.

Haida sculptor Robert Davidson, filmmaker André Forcier, painter Rita Letendre, video artist Tom Sherman, photographer Gabor Szilasi and painter Claude Tousignant won the awards for artistic achievement. Glass sculptor Ione Thorkelsson won the Saidye Bronfman Award for excellence in fine crafts, while Terry Ryan received the Outstanding Contribution Award as long-time general manager of West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative in Cape Dorset, Nunavut and director of Dorset Fine Arts in Toronto.

Being Canadian

April 1st, 2010

Being Canadian
By Sandra Ghosh

Ms. Ghosh is a poet-novelist and is active in community affairs involving immigrants.

Listen, there must be a difference. It’s a question of identity. Hey, I know. People from the world over, every color, language, food, every ethnic fight imaginable. They are here and celebrated. It’s called multiculturalism and it’s uniquely ours, ours and ours alone. More »

Dynamic biopic goes to DVD June 1

April 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — World War I’s Baron Manfred von Richtofen, claiming 80 kills, has emerged as the ace of aces in a war that saw its romantic heroes in the air contrasted with the benighted, mud-bound foot soldiers, victims of brutal orders to go “over the top” to certain annihilation.

The Red Baron, a feature length film in English which recently played Canadian screens will be available in DVD sales and rental outlets on June 1 next. In spite of a lukewarm to hostile reception by film critics, the film merits serious consideration.

Over the years, The Red Baron has become a figure of humour as well as recognized as the gallant idealist who forbade his pilots to fire on survivors after a plane had been downed.

The Red Baron stars Matthias Schweighoefer who still under 30 years of age, has played a large number of roles in German films and in the Hollywood film Valkyrie; He has also added to his popularity in Germany as a host of special television events.

Here, we see von Richtofen during the last two years of his life, first as the aristocrat whose will to immortalize his squadron leads him imperiously to override his superiors. He paints his own plane red and his mens’ planes also carry distinguished markings, proclaiming tbeir membership in Richtofen’s Flying Circus. But gradually reaction sets in and Manfred von Richtofen flies into his final defeat a disillusioned man who questions the very motives for the start of the war.

Much of the film is made up of imaginary incidents and may be challenged but for me, the whole carried a fascination in a film about pride, prejudice and the very nature of war.

Noteworthy also are the digitally choreographed air batttles which stud the production


Reasons to be cheerful

April 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — Collection favourites and significant works never before displayed at McMaster are presented in Oil cloth lunch, and other reasons to be cheerful, the newest exhibition at the McMaster Museum of Art. The proposition of this exhibition is to examine how artists learn from the past and yet distance themselves from it in order to “advance” a visual language for themselves.

Oil Cloth Lunch by Tony Scherman

The exhibition’s starting point is Oil Cloth Lunch, a 1977 painting by Canadian artist Tony Scherman. In discussing this work, Scherman spoke of the historical “burden” of painting. In order to find a place for himself, and radically shift his painting language, he began using an encaustic medium and a flat overview pictorial space. Through that process he learned and later returned to painting’s history. In a similar vein, Eric Atkinson responded to the question why he began using sandpaper as a support in the mid-1940s, with, “Why not?” Instead of attempting to paint sand, it was his radical solution to a historical problem.

Gorbachev speaks out

April 1st, 2010

(Canscene) –25 years after his leadership of the dying USSR, when he announced his policy of peresroika, Mikhail Gorbachev has published a statement of concern, here reproduced thanks to E Poshta the blingual Ukrainian internet site.

“PERESTROIKA, the series of political and economic reforms I undertook in the Soviet Union in 1985, has been the subject of heated debate ever since. Today the controversy has taken on a new urgency — not just because of the 25th anniversary, but also because Russia is again facing the challenge of change. In moments like this, it is appropriate and necessary to look back…”

The full statement is available here.

The Last Word

April 1st, 2010

“Another fine mess,” as Mr Hardy remarked to Mr Laurel. Well deserving of the label is the OPP report virtually absolving all participants in the MSF computer scandal of any wrongdoing.

We are facing similar dithering wih the question of TTC chief Adam Giambrone. My own slogan for him is: Go along with Giambrone?

I wouldn’t trust him to run the Pony………Express!