Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES,RAE CORELLI August 17 1998

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES,RAE CORELLI August 17 1998

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES

Virtually married

Summer is the season of wedding fever. And while most couples still opt for a traditional religious service and sitdown dinner, others go for more adventurous nuptials involving hot-air balloons or bungee jumping. But Alan Knecht and gOgO BegOnia have got them beat. The Toronto twosome, both 36, have organized the world’s first wedding using specialized video and virtual-reality technology—the vows and the rabbi will be real, but everything else will be faked.

“Ever since I started working with virtual reality, I’ve wanted a virtual wedding,” says BegOnia, who does media relations at Vivid Group, a company that produces virtual-reality products, and whose real name (which is on the wedding invitation along with gOgO BegOnia) is Carrie Silverman. “Alan wasn’t as enthusiastic—he was worried what his parents would think.”

The Aug. 13 Toronto wedding will take place in front of a camera that will capture the couple’s live image and place them in 16 computer-generated virtual worlds—four for each season—all adapted from Group of Seven paintings. “We wanted Canadian artists who painted nature scenes,” explains BegOnia, “and they have the most comprehensive collection of all seasons.” Invited guests will watch the computer-enhanced event on a video screen, while virtual guests can view a live broadcast over the Internet (www. ten. net/wedding). Planning an event that couldn’t take place in reality—the couple will appear in autumn and winter scenes, flowers will bloom with the bride in spring, and the groom will break a virtual glass in the summer—took four months to orchestrate. However, once K’necht, an Internet consultant, has kissed his bride, the blessed event will become more traditional, with only real guests invited to the rest of the evening. “The DJ will be funky,” says BegOnia, “but the rest of the night will be pretty conservative.”

Defusing history

The Vimy Canadian Ridge, France, War Memorial is a potential Park powat der keg. The site honoring one of Canada’s greatest military achievements will be explored by a team of British explosives experts this week following the discovery and detonation of an active Second World War mine with the destructive force of the bomb that destroyed Oklahoma’s Alfred P. Murrah federal building in 1995. More than 10,000 Canadian soldiers were killed or injured during the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge. The battlefield is now a 100-hectare memorial park granted to Canada by the French government in 1922. About 500,000 tourists and Canadian veterans visit annually, oblivious to what could, literally, be a minefield.

Discovered in February, the British mine was buried near a series of tunnels that remain open to the public. ‘With the exception of the deteriorating detonator, the mine was in good shape,” says team member Lt.-Col Mike Watkins. While the experts continue their search, the commemorative division of Veterans Affairs Canada will keep the park open, but will cordon off dangerous areas. “We weren’t aware that these mines were there,” says Charlottetown-based co-ordinator David Panton. “Now that we know, we will investigate the area for others.”

EMPORIUM

Percentage of 490 regular food-bank users in Montreal, surveyed by a McGill University lecturer, who have a postsecondary school education: 41

Percentage of women responding to a recent Flare magazine survey who said they would consider having plastic surgery as they aged: 50

According to the Dally Mirror, the Queen Mum is the oldest British monarch since 1700:

Queen Mum, 98;

Queen Mary (1867-1953) 85; Queen Victoria (18191901)81; George III (17381820)81

The first black man to win a Victoria Cross, awarded to soldiers for gallant service: William Hall, of Horton Bluff, N.S. While serving in the Royal Navy, he helped put down the Indian Mutiny of 1857 in Lucknow, India.

Source: The Great Canadian Trivia Book 2

GOLDFARB POLL

With its warm weather and long weekends, summer is the season for do-it-yourself projects. But the more complex and labor-intensive the task, the less likely Canadians are to undertake a job themselves. By percentage of adults:

Chore Do-it-yourself Pay someone No answer else Gardening/lawn 76 18 maintenance General household repairs 70 14 16 Painting the house 68 15 17 Build a patio/deck 40 24 36 DATA COLLECTED MARCH, 1998 Goldfarh Consultants Limited

DOUBLE TAKE

Sam Etcheverry

He had a sniper’s eye and an arm like a cannon, and he helped make the 1950s the Golden Age of Canadian football. A 22-yearold from the University of Denver, Sam Etcheverry arrived in Montreal in 1952 to quarterback the Alouettes. For nine seasons, he and receiver Harold (Prince Hal) Patterson

trashed records and intimidated opponents, taking the Als to the Grey Cup three times (although they never won it). In 1956, Etcheverry, by then known as the Rifle, set a singleseason passing record of 4,723 yards, completing 276 of 446 attempts. That same year, he also set a record that survives in the CFL for the longest completed pass—109 yards. Today, at 68, Etcheverry is still active in the investment business in Montreal, where he has lived for most of his adult life. “Everybody’s always asking: ‘When are you going to retire?’ but I would have a difficult time doing that,” he says in the southwestern drawl of his native New Mexico. “I’m a hyperactive guy.”

There is evidence of that in his career. Between 1961 and 1963, he played briefly in the NFL with St. Louis and San Francisco. “But my arm had gone,” he recalls. “I’d hurt it in my last year in Montreal and I should have had it operated on, but I didn’t.” In 1962, Etcheverry got a broker’s licence and worked in St. Louis. By 1965, he was back in Montreal working for a U.S.based investment firm.

A father of four, Etcheverry loves his job and relishes a superstar’s memories.

“That 109 yards,” says an interviewer. “That was a hell of a pass.”

“No,” says the Rifle. “That was a hell of a catch.”

RAE CORELLI

POP MOVIES

A ringside murder

Snake Eyes, a new thriller produced and directed by Brian De Palma, focuses on old friends Rick Santoro (Nicolas Cage), an Atlantic City cop, and Kevin Dunne (Gary Sinise), head of security for the secretary of defence. When they attend a boxing match and the secretary is assassinated during the first round, the two join forces to catch the murderer.

Top movies in Canada, ranked according to box-office receipts during the seven days that ended on Aug. 6. (In brackets: numbers of screens/weeks showing.) COPYRIGHT ENTERTAINMENT DATA INC.

1. Saving Private Ryan (155/2) ..............$2,613,340 2. There's Something About Mary (200/4)$l,587,100 3. The Negotiator (183/2) ......................$1,567,400 4. Armageddon (205/6)................................$1,284,580 5. The Mask of Zorro (165/3)..................$1,247,970 6. Ever After (94/1)................................$1,198,420 7. The Parent Trap (148/2)......................$1,045,730 8. Lethal Weapon 4 (144/4) ......................$986,960 9Baseketball (127/1)..............................$457,510 io. Disturbing Behavior 799/27....................$418,780