Study finds increase in repeat divorces

New Statistics Canada data has found that repeat divorces are on the rise, and have tripled during the past three decades, reported The Globe and Mail March 10. “We are a very individualistic society, and we value choice, we value romance, and we’ve become much less tolerant of anything that goes wrong,” said Anne-Marie Ambert, a sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts and one of Canada’s foremost specialists on marriage and divorce. “We are less willing to work at relationships. It’s much easier to break up a marriage than it used to be in the past.”

Ambert was also interviewed by CBC TV about the StatsCan report. In an item aired March 9 on “The National” and “Canada Now,” she said: “It’s a fact that people who have divorced the first time are getting a little older and they have the time to divorce a second time. There is a fairly high rate of remarriages, and remarriages are much less stable than first marriages.”

The Queen of Cocktails talks shop

“I don’t like beer,” says Christine Sismondo. “But I never met a cocktail I didn’t like.” Sismondo, 34, teaches humanities at York and has written a book about the meaning of life vis-a-vis cocktails, reported The Toronto Sun March 10. Mondo Cocktail: A Shaken and Stirred History is due out in October. She also has tended bar for 15 years, lately part-time at Lot 16 on Queen West. Sismondo is an expert in how cocktails mix with history and culture. Hemingway had his daiquiris and mojitos, Truman Capote his mint julep, Rockefeller his martinis. Lincoln worked for a bourbon distiller. What’s hot today? “Gin,” she said. “Vodka helped cocktails reclaim some of the market from wine 10 years ago, but people are tired of vodka.”

Artie Roth releases first album as band leader

Artie Roth is at the Senator Lounge through Sunday releasing his new indie album, Parallels, and leading his hotshot quintet, reported the Toronto Star March 10. It’s his debut album as a leader, although his work as sideman on more than 30 releases by the likes of saxist Richard Underhill, vocalist Melissa Stylianou, vibist Greg Runions and tenorman Bob Brough has been well received. This 75-minute album is impressive, its eight Roth-composed tracks bursting with insistent movement, shifting shapes and catchy tunes. Roth’s bass is everywhere, a dominant force deeply engaged in all the music. Toronto born and raised, as a teenager Roth spent time playing electric bass in rock bands. After studying piano and euphonium at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Roth attended York University, “where my teachers included Don Thompson and Al Henderson and they helped me get inside the genre of acoustic bass. Since I graduated in 1992, I’ve played with more than 30 bands…and now I’ve come full circle and teach bass at York.”

Director makes documentary of Gorbachev

The TV program is called “Turning Points of History”, but it’s also proved to be a good turning point in the career of filmmaker Fern Levitt. The Hamilton-born documentary maker is the director of Gorbachev’s Revolution shown on History Television, reported The Hamilton Spectator March 10. She earlier directed an episode on the 1957 integration of schools in Arkansas that featured an interview with former US president Bill Clinton and is just back from Prague where she interviewed former leader Vaclav Havel for a future episode on the 1989 Velvet Revolution that overthrew Soviet rule in the Czech Republic. Gorbachev’s Revolution looks at the impact President Mikhail Gorbachev had on the world during his six-year tenure as head of the Soviet Union. The film was named best historical documentary at the Houston Film Festival last year and features interviews with Gorbachev, former US president George Bush and Soviet leader Eduard Shevardnadze. Levitt, who graduated from York University with a BA in psychology in 1978, is an unabashed Gorbachev fan. “I think he is the greatest leader this world has ever had,” she said. “To come from that (repressive) environment and do what he did was amazing. I was completely caught up in Gorby-mania.”

On air

  • After a Toronto man threw his five-year-old daughter off an overpass, two York profs were interviewed March 9 about guidelines they have developed to help identify abusive spouses. Noreen Stuckless, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology in York’s Faculty of Arts, talked to CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” March 9. Desmond Ellis, professor emeritus of sociology and a senior scholar at York’s LaMarsh Research Centre on Violence & Conflict Resolution, talked to City-tv’s “CityPulse” and CP24-TV’s “Evening Newsflow.”