Bloggers weigh in on LOTR musical

For weeks, bloggers have been buzzing about the massive Lord of the Rings stage production, reported the Barrie Examiner March 15. Theatre critics, however, have been sitting on their hands, required by longstanding tradition to hold their opinions until opening night on March 23. The unique situation is yet another example of how the blogosphere is turning everyday folk into amateur journalists – who often beat professionals to the punch. “Lord of the Rings is obviously an extremely high-profile production,” said Shawn Kerwin, chair of the Department of Theatre at York. “The interest from bloggers is something that is inevitable.” Since early February, the $27-million production has been in previews, a period that allows actors, costume designers and production crews to tweak the show and work out any kinks before professional critics weigh in. “Theatres don’t want productions to be reviewed while they are in previews because they’re saying ‘We are just finding our feet in adding all the production elements and the audience and the actors together. We need some time to be able to find our feet before we officially open’,” explained Kerwin.

Peterborough to screen York professor’s anti-racism film for March 21

York film Professor Mitra Sen‘s film The Peace Tree will be shown on March 21 as part of local activities to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racism, reported The Peterborough Examiner March 16. The Community and Race Relations Committee of Peterborough is presenting the film. The 48-minute movie portrays the wishes of three girls – two Muslim and one Christian – who wish to observe each other’s celebrations, states a press release. “The girls succeed in teaching their parents the importance of sharing and celebrating diversity together and in the process they create a unique symbol – The Peace Tree, a tree that highlights the symbols from all cultures and faiths to reflect the beauty of diversity in unity,” it states. Sen is a teacher and graduate of York’s film production program.

Fine Arts graduate student learned dance despite suppression in Iran

In a story explaining how dancing by females is suppressed in Iran, the Toronto Star reported March 16 that York graduate student Ida Meftahi began dancing as a child in Iran and was a student of Iran’s most famous dancer, Farzaneh Kaboli, for eight years. She and her husband came to Toronto in 2000 and she quickly took up performing, teaching and research into Persian dance towards an MA from York’s Faculty of Fine Arts. “I was a very shy girl,” says Meftahi. “I’m still very shy, but not when I’m dancing.” This weekend at Harbourfront Centre, dance will be among the cultural offerings at “Under The Azure Dome,” a festival of Persian arts timed to coincide with Nowruz, the spring equinox celebration, the Star noted.

On air

  • Carl James, a professor in York’s Faculty of Education, spoke on CBC Radio’s Montreal Today program March 15 about a report that the Netherlands is forcing new immigrants to watch videos of gay men kissing to test their tolerance.
  • CFTO-TV (Toronto) broadcast a story about the recently released study on poverty by York Professor Anne-Marie Ambert March 15.