Fabulous exhibit of photo-fakery

In a review of The Fakes, an exhibition of photo-fakery at David Mirvish Books & Art, The Globe and Mail’s art reviewer Gary Michael Dault traced its York University origins. It was during the summer of 1991, when photographer Jeff Nolte was teaching at York University, that he happened to be hanging out in Barbara Dodge‘s studio class in art historical techniques, a class in which the students were expected to act as if it were, say, the year 1520, and grind their own pigments, prepare their own aged paper or linen supports, and proceed to paint like Leonardo or Raphael.

Excited by what he saw – and by the deep, authentic, hands-on kind of learning the class engendered – Nolte returned to his own students with his own version of this assignment. Their task was to choose a photograph they liked from the past 160 years of photographic history and “redo it or copy it in their own way.” The students responded with energy, inventiveness and wit – as have his subsequent students every year since. Now, for the Contact Festival of photography, Nolte has brought together this rich harvest of 15 years of inspired photo-fakery, each faked photo by a student paired with a reproduction of the original that inspired it.

Pianist captures spirit of Southam’s Rivers

Ann Southam, a composer in her mid-60s, has been quietly writing music in Toronto for decades now, without drawing too much attention to herself. But she made a big splash on Tuesday night at Toronto’s Music Gallery, thanks to pianist Christina Quilico-Petrowska, who dove into the first complete performance of Southam’s Rivers with rare intensity and commitment, reported The Globe and Mail reviewer May 5.

Composed between 1979 and 1981 – originally written as three separate suites, comprising 17 movements in total – Rivers is two hours long. For this recital, the movements of the three suites were intermingled to create one massive work, challenging to the performer and perhaps a little daunting to the listener. Lengthy piano works can die on their feet, and even an acknowledged masterpiece such as Bach’s Goldberg Variations can be dull in the wrong hands. But Rivers was in the right hands. Quilico-Petrowska knows this music – all million-or-so notes of it – backwards and forwards: She’s recorded the whole thing for a set of CDs co-produced by the CBC and the Canadian Music Centre, recently released on the Centrediscs label. More important, she knows how to draw forth all of the colour and expression that Southam has put in her score.

Researchers pinpoint early autism indicators

Infants who make little eye contact, have trouble smiling and aren’t very active may be showing signs of autism, Canadian researchers report in a small study that suggests autism could be spotted earlier than it is, reported the Calgary Herald May 6. If autistic behaviour can be spotted as early as 12 months, as the research indicates, it would enable doctors and parents to start therapy sooner. The study involved 150 infants who were at high risk of developing autism based on family history. The researchers were from various Canadian hospitals and universities, including the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, York University and the University of Toronto.

Ruling to be appealed on York president’s status

York University student Daniel Freeman-Maloy will appeal a recent Ontario Superior Court judgment that found York President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden is not a public official, according to his lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, reported The Globe and Mail May 6.

YWCA honours York dance grad

Robin Poitras, whose incredible dance and choreography has moved many, was visibly moved as she received the YWCA Women of Distinction’s Arts Award, reported Regina’s Leader-Post May 6. After completing her BFA (Special Honours) at York University in 1982, and continuing her dance training in Canada and abroad, Poitras (née Weins) returned to her hometown of Regina and co‑founded New Dance Horizons. Today she is the company’s artistic director, creating and performing a variety of multi‑disciplinary and community performance works. Her solo works have been presented across Canada and Europe. Her Pelican Project has introduced many children to dance, nature studies, aboriginal culture and costume design.

Hamilton Thunderbirds sign up twin York baseball players

New to the Hamilton Thunderbirds mound this season are the right-handed twin towers Steven and Michael Reiss, reported Hamilton News May 6. The Reiss brothers are six-foot four, 195 pound identical twins from Thornhill who were drafted and released by the Atlanta Braves. Both are members of the baseball team at York University, where they are administrative studies students.

York grad takes inventory of Hamilton’s 65 waterfalls

In a story about how the Hamilton Conservation Authority undertook the first official inventory of city waterfalls, The Hamilton Spectator reported May 6 that the HCA hired Nadeem Paracha, a civil engineer in Pakistan, who researched falls as power sources. His 2004 master’s degree at York University was in environmental studies. “I started with 44 waterfalls, but all the information was scattered, so I had to locate falls as accurately as possible,” said Paracha, who used a global positioning device to map falls and software to find five undiscovered falls.

Readers divided on Argo stadium pullout

In its “In Yer Face” column May 6, The Toronto Sun asked whether readers were angry that the Argos withdrew from building a new stadium at York:

  • Dennis Jones said no. “I am glad the Argos backed down on the York stadium. I would prefer a smaller outdoor venue, but one with high-volume public transit and the opportunity to draw a walk-up crowd. I realize the seating in the Rogers Centre is not ideal for football. Still, it has the central location, good access to transit and the potential for walk-up ticket sales.”
  • Dennis Chalmers said yes. “Up until now, I was really thrilled with the Argos owners. They brought stability to a franchise that was near death. Having a stadium specifically built for football, and being close to where I live was greatly appealing. The Rogers Centre was built for baseball. While the old SkyDome has its advantages (retractable roof, padded seats), it is not suitable for watching football. Call me old-fashioned, but a deal’s a deal. The Argos got shafted by the U of T. I guess they figure it’s okay in return to shaft York University and Canadian amateur sport.”

On air

  • David Wiesenthal, psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, said road-rage incidents like one that made headlines on Wednesday are rare and most can be traced to an overload of stress, reported CHUM-FM’s “News” May 5.