Archive for January, 2010

An apt title

Friday, January 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — My friend, the late great film maker Ralph Foster who was loaned to Australia to help organize that country’s national film board, once remarked to me on Boxing Day “and so begins National Cold Turkey and Hangover Week” Bless you, Ralph!

Outcasts: a Love Story

Friday, January 1st, 2010

By Susan Papp
Dundurn Press,
301 pages, $29.99

(Canscene) — Coinciding with the premiere screening of her OMNI financed documentary, Outcasts: a Love Story,
Susan Papp’s book details the moving story of the love of Gentile Tibor Schroeder for Jewish Hedy Weisz.

It is also a tribute to love on many other levels: brother for brother, friend for friend and Carpathian Hungarians for their country, taken from them first by Czechoslovakia after World War I, then by Nazi Germany, then Soviet Russia and finally by Ukraine. The principal figures in this book remain outcasts from their true home.

It goes without saying that a 300 page book can hold much more information than a 60-minute documentary and wisely, the director, married to Bela (Bill) Aykler, Tibor’s younger half brother has adhered to the main story in the film. But in the book we find much detail accentuating the background to the story. (more…)

Lalita Krishna scores with film on diabetes.

Friday, January 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — Scheduled for New Year screening to OMNI viewers is the documentary I Have a Little Sugar, written and directed by Lalita Krishna. This cutting edge profile of diabetes is a no-holds-barred look a the threat diabetes types 1 and II pose to Canadians.

The film, 100 percent funded by OMNI Independent Producers’ Initiative, begins at the museum-home of Dr. Frederick Banting in London Ontario, where visitors are seen being introduced to the dramatic breakthrough Banting made one night in n 1921, He was in 1923, along with colleague Professor John Macleod of the University of Toronto. to become Canada’s first Nobel Prize winner.

The narrative moves forward introducing us to a number of Canadians with Type !! diabetes. (more…)

Public idols: the difference is passion.

Friday, January 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — While I wish the lady no ill, I lament the overboard idolization of singer Susan Boyle both sides of the Atlantic. To me she is a singer with excellent pitch but totally misdirected ability in putting over her numbers.

Take Cry Me a Fiver from her latest album. She just stands there singing what is a song of passion as though she were entertaining in a parlour.

Then take Michael Bublé’s version of the same song in his latest album. His impassioned demand for revenge is backed by sombre chords right out of grand opera and the effect is magic.

Watch out Canada, don’t let’s allow our awareness and appreciation of Michael, one of the freshest voices in world pop, erode away from this truly iconic Canadian. You can catch Cry Me a River on YouTube…. or here, on Vimeo.


Friday, January 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — At a reception last year, I ran into an old broadcasting friend from CTV, now long retired. We talked about Dave Duval, the best weatherman ever to grace Canadian TV screens who had just officially bowed off our screens.

We mutually shed a tear and expressed heavy criticism at the introduction of Tom Brown as the new weatherman. With all the hand and facial mannerisms of an operatic divo this self-indulgent ham “performs” his way through weathercasts and last month also was seen emceeing the building of toy mountains at prominent malls, hotel lobbies schools and other public places….. Grrrr!

No amount of histrionics can ever replace the presence of Dave Duval who had exactly the right balance between performing and informing. But now theatrics has taken over.

Frank Ferragine as guest gardening expert on CityTV

For my money, the most balanced current Ontario weatherman is CityTV’s Frank Ferragine. His crisp, no-nonsense delivery is sometimes larded with welcome bytes on gardening on which he is also the TV station’s expert.


Human Rights assailed by the creeping right

Friday, January 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — December 10 marked the 61st anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is ominous that the observance still upsets so many right wing Canadians

For instance part ot Tim Hudak’s recent and successful campaign to lead Ontario’s Progressive Conservative opposition was a promise if elected premier, to disband Ontario’s Human Rights Commission. This echoes former Reform Party leader Preston Manning who stated publicly in my presence that if elected Prime Minister he’d rescind the Multiculturalism Act and if necessary deconstruct Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

And what about the Wildrose Alliance Party? Evidence that Harper’s Conservatives are being challenged in their own territory because they’re too far left.

On guard, Canadians!

“Murder works,” says CJFE Awardee.

Friday, January 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — at the annual awards dinner of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression in December, honoree, author Terry Gould received his award with a trenchant address, from which these these words are excerpted:

…there is little doubt that in many countries, murder works. It is the ultimate form of press censorship, eliminating the immediate problem and often intimidating others into silence.

It works best when it occurs with impunity, and in the most murderous places for journalists, impunity reigns. Impunity scars the lives of innocent people, and it scars the lives of journalists who fight that impunity.

And yet, they keep at their work with the full knowledge that their nations are ruled by murderous thugs who live by the principle of organized crime.


Russ Columbo: an American tragedy

Friday, January 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — Ruggiero Eugenio di Rodolpho Columbo, publicly known as singer – violinist Russ Columbo met an untimely accidental death from the misfiring of an antique pistol.

At 26, Columbo was heading into a career that would have seen him neck and neck with Bing and also, like Crosby beginning to show some flair as an actor.

To get some of the Columbo flavour, try conjuring up a YouTube excerpt from Walter Winchell’s film Broadway Thru a Keyhole and take it from there through other examples of Columbo’s velvety delivery.

The Last Word

Friday, January 1st, 2010

(Canscene) — The following is excepted from an editorial in the Toronto Star published Boxing Day, December 27, 2000 and with permission we re-publish with pride.

Canada’s international reputation took a drubbing this year, with many Canadians professing themselves embarrassed by their nation’s conduct.

A disappointing performance at the Copenhagen conference had Mayor David Miller and legions of climate change activists singling out this country as a villain. Many Canadians also cringed over the federal government’s blatant obstruction on the issue of prisoner torture in Afghanistan. And, earlier in the year, animal rights activists worldwide were outraged when Governor General Michalle Jean cut and ate a piece of raw heart from a freshly slaughtered seal.

2009 might well be remembered as Canada’s year of living with bad publicity. Some balance is in order. (more…)