A Soldier’s Tale hybrid approach to a harsh wartime tale

Michael Greyeyes was never a soldier, but he’s done plenty of fighting, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 19. The Saskatchewan-born, National Ballet School-trained dancer turned actor has portrayed native warriors such as Crazy Horse and Tecumseh and, more recently, 20th-century soldiers. Greyeyes, 46, a Plains Cree from the Muskeg Lake First Nation, has even experienced the rigors of boot camp in toughening himself up for such roles. It’s one reason Greyeyes, a theatre professor at York University and founder/artistic director of Toronto’s Signal Theatre, is making soldiers the focus of the multidisciplinary company’s latest production, A Soldier’s Tale. Read full story.

Council wise to back contract
As Eugene Lang, a former finance official and now the BMO Visiting Fellow at the School of Public and International Affairs at York University, told CBC host Michael Enright recently, Canada has become a country where the discussion over taxes is one-sided, and focused on a “tax-cut jihad”. Even though Canada has reached a point where federal government involvement in the economy is at record lows – much lower than even the US – and when taxes are lower than they have been in the past half century, not a single credible federal party or major media outlet is willing to talk about the other side of the issue. But there is another side, reported the StarPhoenix Feb. 20. Read full story.

How Tata Motors gave a boost to some luxury nameplates
Tata Motors, the automotive arm of one of India’s biggest industrial conglomerates, recently bought its first-ever Super Bowl ad to show off Jaguar’s 2015 F-Type. The 60-second spot, which cost around $8 million just to air, cleverly plays on Jaguar’s heritage by featuring British-born actors Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong, who are noted for playing suave and sophisticated movie villains. Alan Middleton, a professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business, says the ad effectively positions Jaguar as a stylish alternative to details-oriented German luxury automakers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and the more value-oriented luxury brands owned by Japanese and Korean car companies. “If I said British engineering, how are you feeling? Not fantastic, I bet,” said Middleton in Maclean’s Feb. 17. “But if I say British style, that’s actually not too bad.” Read full story.

Fight and flight
“When I was about 20 I made the decision to quit pursuing a career doing the thing I’d been best at all my life,” wrote York University PhD candidate Melonie Fullick in University Affairs Feb. 19. “I knew I had to make a decision before I went too far down that track, narrowing my options to the point where it would be difficult to start something else, and investing a lot of time that could be better used elsewhere. . . . I’ve been thinking about this lately because I’ve finally had time to read through some of the many posts written by academics who’ve decided to leave academe. The genre’s been given the label ‘Quit Lit’, and as it’s expanded, several of the posts have garnered significant attention and provoked much debate about who gets to have a faculty career and why. So what is it about academe that demands these kinds of posts, as public declarations of intent?” Read full story.

York actor stars in ‘A Soldier’s Tale’
Jamie Maczko is one of three actors, along with numerous dancers, who will take to Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre for DanceWorks’ premiere of A Soldier’s Tale, reported the York Guardian Feb. 19. Choreographed and directed by Signal Theatre artistic director and York University Professor Michael Greyeyes, the production looks into the aftermath and costs of war – on the soldiers who wage it and their families – by telling the stories of two soldiers: one a Second World War veteran, the other a soldier in the Iraq war. Maczko, who studied acting at York University and had Greyeyes as a professor, said he received a call from his former teacher last June, asking if he’d be interested in joining the production. Read full story.

Study shows Filipino youths in Canada less likely to have university degree
Canadian Filipino youths are less likely to hold a degree than their peers in other immigrant groups, says a new Canadian study conducted by the York Centre for Asian Research. The study shows financial hardship is often a factor, reported CTV Winnipeg and others Feb. 19. Read full story.

Catholic school board hosts annual Black History conference
The Catholic school board will host its annual Black History Month conference tomorrow, reported the Brampton Guardian Feb. 19. . . . York University Professor Andrea Davis is scheduled to deliver a keynote address focusing on the changing meanings of Black presence in Canada, from slavery to post-1960s Caribbean and African immigrations. Read full story.

Jane-Finch youth use voices and art to inspire change
At a new art exhibit at York University, called If We Ruled the World, the walls do talk – with the voices of eight youth from Jane and Finch, who speak about their personal tragedies as they counter ’hood stereotypes, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 20. Read full story.

Margaret Fulton fought for women’s education
As a teacher, university president and leading advocate of women’s rights, Margaret Fulton once playfully called herself “a slightly radical feminist still proudly bearing the revolutionary spirit of my peace-loving, pioneering, prairie Protestant ancestors.” . . . In 1947, with the war over, her brothers returned to take up farming and Fulton took a teaching job at the Fort William Vocational School in Thunder Bay, Ont. Committed to lifelong learning, she eventually pursued her PhD at the University of Toronto, studying Thomas Carlyle’s public lectures. She was also don of a residence and taught part-time at York University, reported The Globe and Mail Feb. 19. Read full story.