Anthony Wilson-Smith,Derek Chezzi August 21 2000


Anthony Wilson-Smith,Derek Chezzi August 21 2000

The reign of Kane

In this edition: Pregnant guys who feel your pain! Tory defectors who have no shame! NDPers who want someone to blame! And CTV's great new game!

Lorie Kane: Now that Canada's finest female golfer is an LPGA titlist, let's hope that’s par for her future course.

The Tories: Newspaper headline reports PCs “suffer mass exodus in Quebec.” Their good news: who knew they had so many members left to lose?

The NDP: They want the feds to stop a planned sale of Hollinger newspapers to Izzy and Leonard Asper and company. After all, what would life be without Conrad Black to pick on?

Joe Lieberman: Oldthink—being Jewish is a handicap to office. Newthink—being Jewish is an asset for office. Unanswered question—if that’s true, and Lieberman’s as good as Dems say, why isn’t he their choice for prez?

Sensitive guys: New book suggests men do feel pain during partners’ pregnancies. Or maybe it’s fatigue from finally helping with housework.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Canadian Edition: CTV spinoff of the hit American show draws 50,000 telephone applicants in one day. Now we know why BCE bought the network.

No Asper-sions...

Now that Izzy Asper has swallowed most of Conrad Blacks Canadian newspaper empire, the Winnipeg media mogul’s close-knit family is bound to come under closer scrutiny than ever. But outsiders watching for cracks to appear in the Asper clan’s solidarity may have a long wait. Son Leonard, 36, president and chief executive of Can West Global Communications Corp.—and Izzy’s apparent successor — revealed to Maclean's that a formal family “code of conduct” governs his actions and those of brother David, 41, and sister Gail, 40. Among the terms of this “very, very detailed” set of written rules: no talking publicly about family disagreements, and no jobs tor spouses in the family company. When it comes to Izzy's grandchildren (all still elementary schoolkids or younger), guidelines for what sort of qualifications they will need one day they want to get into Can West are already set down in black and white. Leonard swears by the rule book as a way of avoiding disputes, but puts more emphasis on warm relations among the three siblings. “If you have a jerk in your family,” he says, “there is no piece of paper that can stop that person from doing something mischievous and self-centered.” — John Geddes

Trend Watch

Everything old is cool again. The latest in trendy retro pastimes for celebrities and hipsters:

Scavenger Hunts: Everyone is angling for an invite to actor-screenwriter Todd Graff’s annual scavenger hunt. Those who have called upon their inner boy scout to search out clues and treasures in the City of Angels include actress Heather Graham, singer Fiona Apple, director Paul Thomas Anderson, and studio head Stacy Sher.

Scrabble: Board games never go out of fashion, but this perennial cottage favorite is currently riding a wave of cool. Mel Gibson plays it on movie sets, it was featured on an episode of Felicity, and in her new movie, The Wedding Planner, Jennifer Lopez competes in Scrabble tournaments. That’s 57 points for “Zeitgeist” (on a triple-word score). But don’t try this one with purists: it’s not in the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Bowling: Everyone is taking it to the alleys. The latest in funky footwear is Camper’s leather two-toned, bowling inspired shoes; Bowling Champ Barbie comes with her own ball; it’s the date destination of choice in recent films, Center Stage and Return To Me. And now that establishments have dimmed the lights, added strobes and pumped the music, kids are showing up for cosmic bowling and rock ’n’ bowl.

The CFL kicks!

After years of playing second fiddle to the NFL, officials at the CFL decided to uncover the truth on which game is better—or at least make sport of the fact Americans know little about Canadian football, with its different-sized ball, longer, wider field and fewer downs. The CFL’s Radical Roadtrip ad campaign includes a reporter conducting street interviews with Americans in an attempt to get candid answers to questions comparing the leagues. Some responses:

• On the fact the CFL allows teams 20 seconds to put the ball in play while the NFL allows 40 seconds: “They better have a lot smarter men on the field,” said one respondent.

In the CFL, there are 12 men on the field compared with 11 in the NFL: “I don’t think you can ever have too many men in tight pants,” said a woman.

Why does the NFL have four downs when CFL players only need three? Y'all are obviously better. Must be the long winters, maybe,” said a woman.

• In the CFL, there is no fair catch rule: “Could be kind of dangerous,” remarked a southerner. “Someone could get killed like that.” — John Intini

Tech Watch

Free-falling with Jennifer Lopez

Who do you call to portray the inside of the mind of a serial killer? First-time feature director Tarsem Singh headed for Toronto’s Toybox. That’s where a creative army of artists constructed a digital fantasy world for the Jennifer Lopez film The Cell. The effects studio had worked previously with director David Fincher on the Brad Pitt movie Fight Club—and Fincher recommended them. “The thing about L.A. is that no cold calls are going to get answered: it’s all relationships,” says Andrew Sykes, 48, one of the four founding partners of parent company Command Post & Transer Corp.

Singh needed a surreal look to take viewers into the mind of serial killer Carl Stargher (Vincent D’Onofrio). Toybox created 200 visual effect shots of nightmarish landscapes, including a scene in which Lopez is floating. Overall, the work occupies 55 minutes of the film’s 105 running time.

Toybox is one of five post-production divisions across Toronto and Vancouver, with a Los Angeles “storefront” under the Command Post umbrella. Sykes and partners lead the 300-person company from a 2,800 square meter digital effects studio spread over three floors of an eight-storey brownstone. It also boasts a pool table, shuffleboard, café and shower facilities. Beginning in 1986, the four partners and then seven employees began work in commercials before graduating to television series and music videos and, in the mid1990s, feature films. Credits include Lost in Space, Thomas and the Magic Railroad, and David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ. Now, they’re at work on New Line Cinema’s latest installment in the Friday the 13th film series—Jason X. In that film, all 99 minutes will be digitally manipulated. To meet the September deadline, artists are working around the clock on two 12-hour shifts. That’s when the on-site shower comes in handy.—Derek Chezzi


“Ishi had spent hours telling anthropologists about the afterlife and it was clear the body had to be whole. The whites had committed the ultimate violation.”

-Medical historian Nancy Rockafellar discusses the Smithsonian Institution’s return of the preserved brain of Ishi, the last member of California’s Yahi-Yana tribe, to a related tribe for burial next to his ashes. He died in 1916.


“The term ‘foreign devil’ no longer carries the theological significance it once did.”

-The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Commission dismisses a complaint by a viewer against the title of a Toronto TV cooking show called Gwai Lo, hosted by Caucasian Dan O’Connor. The term can I alternately be translated as I “foreign devil” or “white ghost.”