Opening Notes

Opening Notes

You Scream, I Scream ...

BARBARA WICKENS March 3 1997
Opening Notes

Opening Notes

You Scream, I Scream ...

BARBARA WICKENS March 3 1997

Opening Notes

BARBARA WICKENS

You Scream, I Scream ...

Just what was Edvard Munch thinking when he painted The Scream? Critics howled when the Norwegian artist first exhibited the lurid canvas in Berlin in 1893. "It caused a huge scandal," says Michael ParkeTaylor, curator of a major Munch exhibit opening at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto this week. But the bleak, agonizing figure de picted in Munch's canvasand so alien to the natural istic imagery of the 19th century-resonates with meaning in the wired world of the 1990s. In recent years, The Scream has joined 7'!~1on? Lisa as

one of art history’s most reproduced icons. ‘The image has been used for every social and political agenda you can possibly think of, from feminism to the environment to politics,” notes Parke-Taylor. Just how deeply the image has penetrated popular culture is clear in the art gallery’s companion exhibit, which features editorial and humorous cartoons, posters, advertising material and an array of mugs, T-shirts, mouse-pads, inflatable dolls and even a beer bottle and night-light emblazoned with The Scream. Says Parke-Taylor: “It has become this image of modern man—totally stressed out and angst-ridden.”

A new plot is hatched on campus

For many university graduates, staying in touch with their alma mater means showing up at class reunions or mailing in a donation or two. But alumni at two U.S. schools have taken grave steps to maintain links—by reserving spots in cemeteries or vaults on campus. “We had a lot of alumni contacting us and asking couldn’t something be done, that they would like to be buried here,” says Frank Buhrman, director of public relations at Mount Saint Mary’s College and Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. Since its cemetery

opened two years ago, about half of the 100 available grave sites have been sold. “For many people,” says Buhrman, “this comes the closest to being the equivalent of the old family church cemetery.” At the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, alumni can pay about $1,900 to have their ashes stored in one of the 180 niches in a granite vault. Local lawyer Leigh Middleditch, 67, spearheaded the project. “I’m an alumnus who is very close to this university,” he explains. “I wanted to be as proximate as possible.”

They stand on guard

They have braved jeers, insults, even punches.

They have faced rain, snow and bitter cold. But after a year of defiantly flying the Canadian flag every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. on the steps of City Hall, three Quebec City-area residents are determined to continue a unique patriotic crusade. “We’re doing it for the country that we know and love,” says Raymond Carrier, 67, a retired army and coast guard aircraft mechanic. Like fellow demonstrators Jos Bilocq, 66, also an army veteran, and Pierre Roy, 59, a retired computer technician, Carrier remembers the anger he felt in June, 1990, when newly elected Quebec City Mayor Jean-Paul L’Allier ordered the Canadian flag removed from the central flagpole at City Hall in reprisal for the failure of the Meech Lake accord.

The three, who use a homemade collar they install on the poll, started flying the Canadian flag in February, 1996, after a local radio talk-show host taunted listeners by saying nobody in Quebec City cared enough about Canada to try to force the mayor to put the flag back. Despite the occasional altercation with hardline separatists (the most serious incident occurred last May, when Bilocq was punched in the face and knocked to the ground by a man who tried to tear down their flag), the men have not missed a day and say they are enjoying themselves. “We get some fresh air and a lot of encouragement from both city residents and tourists,” says Roy. They figure their best chance of seeing the Canadian flag flying officially once again at City Hall is if L’Allier is defeated in the next municipal elections, slated for November. “We’re hoping that the next mayor has more dignity and class,” says Bilocq. “If not, we’ll just keep coming back.”

Touched by her torching

Since it first ran in English at a small Montreal theatre in 1995, a Quebec musical about Joan of Arc has metamorphosed into a large-scale $4.5-million bilingual production. But according to producer Allan Sandler, the most difficult aspect of staging the revamped Jeanne la Pucelle was not having the 31 cast members alternate between English and French performances. Instead, the climactic scene where Jeanne, played by Montreal actor Judith Bérard, is burned at the stake posed technical problems up until the day before the Feb. 7 opening. Now, the illusion works so well that spectators seem to forget that it depicts real torture. “Audiences are applauding and they’re telling us,

‘Boy, that’s really good!’ ” says SanBérard and Simard: being burned at the stake dier. “The scene still gives me the

willies. I don’t want to applaud it, and I’m just wondering why they are applauding.” Not everyone is: the musical, which also stars former child singing star René Simard as King Charles VII, has been burned by mixed reviews. But whether that is enough to torch Sandler’s hopes of taking the show to Broadway this fall is still at stake.

The fat hits the fire in Ottawa

Heckling and name-calling have a long, if not honorable, history in the House of Commons. But last week, when Defence Minister Doug Young taunted Reform MP Deborah Grey by interjecting, “I would say that there is more than a slab of bacon talking there,” he went too far even for Ottawa. Grey, usually no shrinking violet when it comes to give-and-take in the House, was distraught. She is not the first female parliamentarian to be belittled for her size. In the 1960s, Liberal cabinet minister Judy LaMarsh was often ridiculed for her girth. Monique Bégin suffered a similar fate when she put on 60 lb. within six months of being named revenue minister in 1976. That prompted endless questions about when her baby was due. During her ill-fated 1993 federal election campaign, then-Progressive Conservative leader Kim Campbell tried— unsuccessfully—to deflect others’ comments by making jokes herself about the weight she had gained. Toronto author Terry Poulton, whose recently published book, No Fat Chicks, decries society’s scorn for larger women, says it is no accident that female MPs are more subject to jibes about their size than their male colleagues. “It is the one thing that zings right to the heart of most women’s insecurities,” says Poulton. “It undermines them from the outside.”

DIPLOMATIC

POUCH