‘Kids in the Hall’ pair met at York

Writer and York alumnus Paul Bellini (BA ‘82), a Timmins native best known for his work on the sketch-comedy television show, “Kids in the Hall”, recently stopped by during a family visit to reflect on his career so far and his future projects, wrote a columnist for the Timmins Daily Press Sept. 1. Bellini had no plans to become a comedy writer when he was younger, but after befriending Scott Thompson (BFA ‘82) – who would later became one of five players in the “Kids in the Hall” troupe – at York University in the late 1970s, Bellini’s future started to take shape.

The university dorm mates published a student newspaper, collaborated on a few student films and even played in a band together. “It was outrageous. We realized immediately we had very (similar senses of humour),” Bellini said. “First of all, we were both gay. We were in university, we were in the closet, so we didn’t even tell each other.” Neither Bellini or Thompson admitted their sexual orientation to each other until long after they both graduated from university and started mentioning gay bars they had visited separately in the 1980s. “We kind of knew because our comic sensibilities were outrageous in the same way.”

Bellini even became an occasional performer on “Kids in the Hall”, but said he was basically just standing in a frame, saying nothing, dressed with only a towel around his waist. The image, a veiled reference to his experience in bath houses, came about as the prize in a contest for faithful viewers whose names were drawn from a hat. Bellini found himself travelling to four winners’ houses while the show ran with a towel and a camera operator. He would appear at the winner’s front door wearing the towel and then leave. “I was surprised to find out that some people found the whole thing sexy,” Bellini said. “To this day people will come up to me and ask where my towel is, but I still don’t have a good answer.”

Planning student says Calgary’s making TO’s mistake

York student Andrea Kissendal says Calgary is following the same dangerous path as Toronto in handling its growing pains and the mayor shouldn’t deny it, wrote The Calgary Sun Sept. 1. “It’s quite embarrassing that Mayor David Bronconnier can minimize the violence problem in terms of tougher policing rather than to begin to start questioning why this option to choose violence exists in the first place,” said Kissendal, 34, who studies urban planning and policy at York. Each time she returns to Calgary from Toronto, said Kissendal, she sees troubling parallels between the two centres. “I’ve noticed the difference [in Calgary] – it’s not the same anymore, it’s very profound,” she said, adding rude drivers and disregard for the poor are increasing. “Economic prosperity means also dealing with marginalized communities.”

Raphael says Ontario’s health policies cause despair, disease

In a letter to the Toronto Star Sept. 1, Dennis Raphael, professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health, wrote: Someone should inform Minister of Health Promotion Jim Watson that the Ontarians most at risk for poor health are not those who own Blackberries but rather the citizens suffering under his government’s stubborn refusal to provide the Child Benefit to families on social assistance, those working at poverty-producing minimum wages and people unable to work and dependent upon miserly social assistance benefits that cause despair and disease. Of course it’s a lot easier – and less threatening to his government – to talk about exercise and obesity than it is about lousy public policy.