Monthly Archive: September 2012

Shine on Harvest Moon

Nuit Blanche overnight was Toronto at its best: mild temperatures, the Harvest Moon shining down, and strangers talking to each other about the 150 projects by 500 artists. We started at lululemon in Yorkville where a DJ spun music for passersby who danced and admired an abstract work about the natural world by local artist Samuel Crowther. Next was Jeng Yi, a Japanese percussion group, at the Church of the Redeemer. The music was based on twelve animals, such as the rabbit, boar, and ox, represented on banners. In order to make the “playing of the animals” more difficult, they...

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Pshaw Festival

Over the weekend we attended the misnamed Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Of this year’s eleven productions, only two are by George Bernard Shaw: The Millionairess and Misalliance. As I recall, some years back, the Festival decided to expand beyond Shavian wit to include any play written during his lifetime, a vast period encompassing almost a century, from 1856 to 1950. I guess that was an understandable move. You can only sit through all four acts of Man and Superman once in your life. Still, Shaw did write more than 60 plays. You’d think that would be sufficient to fill a few...

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Plus ca change

During my life so far, media coverage of business has grown faster than everything else in the world. When I was named business editor of Maclean’s in 1978, stories about stock markets, real estate and the economy ran only in the financial press. Some CEOs were so naive they were startled to be quoted in my first book, The Moneyspinners, published in 1983, even though I had told them exactly what I was doing, came to their office, turned on my tape recorder, and asked questions. Today, money is the new porn. Entire television networks are devoted to market news with...

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The last impresario

The new documentary by Barry Avrich about Garth Drabinsky purports to explain what drove the impresario to the point of committing fraud and going to jail. Show Stopper opens today at the Toronto International Film Festival, so I haven’t yet seen it, but I already know his motivation to succeed. Garth contracted polio as a child and was left with a severe limp. The best line I ever heard about Garth was, “He caught polio as a boy and it was your fault.” I spent a lot of time with Garth over the years, particularly when I did a 5,000-word profile...

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Vive la difference

I was in a neighbourhood children’s clothing shop this week looking for a dress for my granddaughter. The only one I liked was so over the top that I thought it would make her look far older than she is. I said as much to the owner and within earshot of a female shopper. “Little girls grow up so quickly,” said the owner. “Not boys,” I said, “we stay stupid forever.” Both women laughed so hard I thought they were going to fall down. Finally, one of them managed to say, “You said it, not us.” This incident occurred the day...

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Damn the torpedos

The Newsroom, which just finished its first season on HBO, has been given a terrible drubbing by the critics. A typical tirade came from Emily Nussbaum in The New Yorker. She dismissed the show as nothing more than “clever people … admiring one another.” She goes on to say, “They sing arias of facts. They aim to remake television news … their outrage is so inflamed it amounts to a form of moral eczema – only it makes the viewer itch.” I’ve heard about getting diseases from door knobs or toilet seats, but this is the first time I learned...

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