Medicine and music are not the most easily married pursuits, but CBC radio’s Mostly Music decided to give the odd coupling a go when audience surveys revealed that 10 per cent of their listeners are professional healers. The perfect subject for dissection turned out to be Ludwig van Beethoven, whose ailments will be analysed by British authority Edward Laskin and Music host Barclay McMillan on May 19. Along with auto-sclerosis which caused constant ringing, whistling, buzzing and, ultimately, deafness, Beethoven suffered from rheumatism, abscesses, hepatitis, dropsy and continual bowel trouble. Says McMillan: “The more romantic diseases like alcoholism and syphillis are what people often imagine caused his deafness and we are pleased to be able to put an end to that speculation.” He adds, however, that the master composer “was quite ugly and had blemished skin.”
The fates conspired at the Winnipeg Art Gallery last Tuesday night to provide a few moments of embarrassed silence, broken only by the occasional titter. The event was a reception held by Mr. and Mrs. H.C. (Bud) Wessman, mayor and first lady of Grand Forks, N.D., in town to say “thank you” for the friendship and tourism dollars of Winnipeggers. The much-touted door prize was a weekend for two in Grand Forks, all expenses paid with some shopping money and free liquor thrown in. Outgoing U.S.consul-general forWinnipeg, Michael Carpenter, wisecracked that if the winning couple didn’t care for a respectable family weekend they could choose a dirty weekend on army camp cots locked in a closet at Happy Harry’s Liquor Store, with no questions asked, provided they take the empties out on Monday morning. As luck would have it, the first names out of the hat were Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Axworthy. Alas, the employment and immigration minister hasn’t been living with his wife since Christmas, when he told her in a note that their ways must part. An Ottawa secretary has reportedly become his new companion. Axworthy, who wasn’t present, forfeited the prize.
No one is saying it’s a trend, but last week 500 paintings constituting the bulk of Vancouver artist Joy Long’s life work were sold for $500,000 to an unidentified Victoria man. The purchase bears the same identifying marks as last August’s near-total acquisition of the work of Vancouver artist Tony Onley, who earned $900,000 for his 800 watercolors, oils, collages and serigraphs in the minimalist landscape tradition. In a more sporting vein, Vancouver business partners John Teti and Mike Barnett teamed up to hire contemporary artist Leroy Neiman to paint hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky for $400,000. The painting will be unveiled in September during the Canada Cup tournament, and the owners plan to take turns hanging it in their homes for six months at a time.
The usual buzz from the Toronto advertising mill grew to a dull roar last November, when Vice-President and Creative Director Susan Kastner of Benton and Bowles Canada Ltd. was fired by company president Rupert Brendon. Kastner then charged Brendon and the company with slander and wrongful dismissal to the tune of $465,851.56. Her well-known family includes actor-brother Peter Kastner, sister-broadcaster Cathy and Emmy Award-winning TV producers mother Rose and brother John, but Susan has her own international reputation. In 1959 when she was a University of Toronto student, she made coast-to-coast news in Time magazine, on CBC’s Tabloid and NBC’s The Today Show—as a beatnik for rent, complete with leotard, guitar, a penchant for A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh and the self-inflicted title “disaffiliate.” In fact, Kastner was never rented, though under her “beat” name, Ries Karvanque, she and “manager” Gellellyn Ignatzio (who grew up to be a Maclean's national editor Alan Walker) garnered publicity from the prank along with talk-show fees and a sponsored trip to New York.
When the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev. Robert Runcie, was enthroned as “first among equals” in 1979, Bishop Walter Righter of Des Moines, Iowa, sent his diocese’s congratulations and a copy of The Hog Book. Righter felt the gift would interest the new leader of the Anglican Church, whose avocation is raising Berkshire pigs. Accompanying the porcine reading material was an invitation to visit Des Moines, and this week the archbishop will drop by on his six-city U.S. tour, which includes presiding over a meeting of Anglican primates from 28 countries in Washington, D.C. The archbishop will travel from Des Moines to nearby Ames where he will deliver a Eucharist, attend a picnic and receive a Berkshire pig for his farm outside Oxford. At his request, the archbishop will also visit a pig farm. Honored is C. Robert Brenton, who markets 8,000 porkers kept in confinement barns. “I guess we have the closest Episcopalian pigs around,” says Brenton, who is also president of Brenton Banks of Iowa. “Maybe next time he’ll come around and visit some money.”
Cure the Blues was supposed to be the horse to beat in this year’s Kentucky Derby, but he lost his position as the favorite after being beaten in two important pre-Derby races. Both times Cure the Blues was trounced by colts ridden by Jeff Fell, a native of Hamilton, Ont. Fell beat Cure the Blues in the Wood Memorial on Pleasant Colony and in the Gotham Mile on Proud Appeal. After Proud Appeal took the prestigious Blue Grass Stakes last week, Fell gave his horse the fast lane for the Derby. “Proud Appeal has to be the one everyone’s looking at,” he says. And Fell, who has ridden in the shadows of such great Canadian jockeys as the now-disabled Ron Turcotte, hopes a Derby victory will bring him a few roses too. “The recognition would be very nice,” says the soft-spoken jockey, adding cautiously, “Of course, the real object is to have the horse win.”
hat’s cutting them down to size!” remarked one openingnight guest at Saskatchewan sculptor Joe Fafard’s debut exhibition in Toronto. Fafard, well-known for his pintsized but deadly accurate ceramic portraits of common folk, had set his sights on the eastern elite. The list includes Margaret Atwood (“I admire her writing”), Farley Mowat (and dog) and Mordecai Richler (“because he subscribes to The Globe and Mail”). In addition to the other artsy types was the piece gallery owner Walter Moos excitedly called a “tour de force”—Fafard’s portrait of Jim Coutts, principal secretary to the prime minister. “Joe’s a friend of mine,” admits Coutts. Fafard concurs: “He collects art and he’s a western boy, too.” Although modest about his collection, Coutts does own “some prints” by Fafard. Most prized is his “bull box,” consisting of a painted clay box with a bull handle. Says Fafard: “I told him that I’d make it only if he promised to keep it in his office in Ottawa where he could collect all the bull he’d hear in a place like that.”
Thirty Ottawa physicians and pharmacists have formed a “hot line” with doctors in Poland to supply drugs that the country can no longer afford to buy. The group receives drug requests 24 hours a day and prescriptions can reach Poland within 48 hours. Operating on a two-year plan, organizer Dr. Rafael Wierzbicki says the group receives $5,000 a month from the Canadian Polish Congress to buy drugs. In addition, pharmaceutical manufacturers are being solicited for donations of the 59 most-needed drugs designated by Polish doctors and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa. Cardiovascular and anticancer drugs are high priorities. So far five drug manufacturers have contributed, but Wierzbicki has found some resistance from some pharmaceutical firms who don’t want to be “politically involved.” The first hot line order two weeks ago was for drugs required by a child dying of leukemia. SaysWierzbicki: “We are doing this for people in need and their pain or illness is hardly political.”
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