Overture

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Anthony Wilson-Smith,Derek Chezzi,John DeMont February 12 2001
Overture

Overture

Anthony Wilson-Smith,Derek Chezzi,John DeMont February 12 2001

Overture

@macleans.ca

Anthony Wilson-Smith

Shanda Deziel

Over and Under Achievers

Toronto, or bust—or both!

Our exclusive news—weakly! Team Canada smokes up! Toronto’s world-class IOUs! Chapters books off! And Montreal’s Operation Re-Hab!

Team Tobacco: The PM’s Team Canada trade mission to China includes a group selling tobacco products. The Libs’ tough talk at home goes up in a puff of smoke abroad.

Chapters Inc: The publishing industry would be in better shape if more books had thriller plots like this takeover. But who’s the hero?

x) /The Montreal Canadiens: If they can skate as well on-ice as their new American owner did in some past financial dealings, they’ll be OK.

The City of Toronto: With a budget shortfall of $305 million, some say

it’s teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Maybe we could sell it to an American!

4^ Survivor //: It’s sooo 15 minutes ago. Better you should stick to those Gilligans Island reruns.

4^ The XFL: New football league bills itself as the rudest, crudest sports package around. Because there aren’t enough convicted felons in the NFL.

Later, Tobin-aior...

VThen Brian Tobin quit as New-

W foundland premier last fall to return to Ottawa as federal industry minister, it was presumed that his provincial Liberals would easily hold his constituency of The Straits-White Bay North. After all, the party has won in every election since Confederation in 1949, and its candidate, Ross Pilgrim, was Tobin’s former executive assistant.

But in a byelection last week, voters stunned the Liberals by electing a Progressive Conservative, Trevor Taylor, by 2,590 votes to Pilgrim’s 2,374. The Tories also appeared to win a second byelection in Ste. Barbe, a seat the Liberals had held since 1985. The first count showed Tory Wallace Young Jr. 23 votes ahead of the favoured Liberal, Joe Kennedy— although a recount may be held because of the closeness. So the question for local Liberals to consider: do voters miss Tobin too much—or not enough?

A good sex-planation

Eight teenage Toronto girls have given new meaning to the old term “little black book.” Instead of names and phone numbers of the best dates in town, the young women created a much more helpful tome—The Little Black Book: A Book on Healthy Sexuality Written by Grrrls for Grrrls. Emma Brown, Hilary Quigley, Suvi Siu, Chauntae Walls, Kristina Pellitier, Annie Grainger, Chi Nguyen and Rebecca Hodgson Dewitt met at St. Stephen’s Community House—which offers help of various

kinds to local residents in need. “Any sexuality books I’d seen weren’t that appealing,” says Siu, 16. “So it was fun to make our own.” They took two years to research, write and edit chapters on relationships, periods, sex, pregnancy, abortion, STDs, AIDS and sexual assault.

The girls say they weren’t embarrassed by their topic. In fact, they claim the biggest challenge was learning to work with one another. “At first, I felt like I had nothing in common with the other girls,” says Siu. “But everyone had the same thoughts.” Since September, nearly 3,000 copies have been given away, and the book has generated so much positive feedback that the community centre is negotiating with publishers to make the book available in stores across the country.

To order The Little Black Book, send $14 to St. Stephens Community House, 91 Bellevue Ave., Toronto, Ont. M5T2N8

If this sitcom’s lame, blame yourself

Tired of the same sitcom plots?

Head online to Suite 218 {imuw.suite218.com)—billed as “the worlds first interactive sitcom.” The creation of Craig LePan, 27, Bryan Jones, 28 and Kevin Shortt, 36, of Vancouver’s Vycast Entertainment, it puts the audience in the director’s chair. The series follows Clarence and Hagan, owners of a start-up Web design company, and Hagan’s girlfriend, Holly, an entrepreneur who claims the ability to read minds. Each episode is divided into three weekly seven-minute parts: after each segment, viewers vote as to what should happen next. On Mondays, co-writers Shortt and Matt Johnson, 25, script the next episode: it’s rehearsed, taped and edited by Friday, when it’s posted online. The 21-minute episode format is TV-friendly, in the hope that

a network might pick it up. “We were surprised,” says LePan, “to not find anything else like it.” Last summer, the producers let users vote on their favourite three actors: Tracy Trueman (Holly), Jason Benson

(Clarence) and Louis Chirillo

(Hagan). The first episode aired on Oct. 13, and the site now has more than two million hits a month.

Derek Chezzi

Overbites

“Public broadcasting is one of the most important remaining levers that a nation state has to communicate with itself... . Private [broadcasting], as we know it, is in the rapid process of disappearing. You can tell from the disorder in the private sector—the disorder of convergence and the multiplication of channels.”

-Author John Ralston Saul, husband of Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson, gives a speech in which he describes private broadcasters as “dinosaurs in panic mode”

“Television is still very much defined as a sports and entertainment arena, with news and information ... as the third primary focus. That’s what the audience wants. Is this guy saying simply that’s not good TV—or it’s not the television he wants to watch?” -Gerry Noble, chief executive of Global Communications Ltd., which includes the Global TV network, responds to Saul

High-school interactive

For those who won’t leave the past behind, there’s a Web site that brings back high-school years: www.classmates .com will, once a user has in name, e-mail address, high school and graduating year, provide a list of classmates who have also logged on—and any biographical information they have included. To reconnect with anyone on the list, there is a $45 fee to obtain e-mail addresses. The site covers high schools across Canada and the United States. Although 11 million people have signed up, that still represents only a fraction of potential registrants, since the site is open to anyone in North America who attended high school. For those who are curious, but not interested in reuniting, the downside is that anyone else who signed up gets access to your e-mail address—nerds and all. High-school confidential, it isn’t.

SINGLE MALT CANUCK

With its fiddle music, rolling highlands and Gaelic, Cape Breton can seem like a chunk of Scodand transported to the northeastern end of Nova Scotia. To that, Canada’s East Coast isle has added single malt whisky-making. About a decade ago, the late Bruce Jardine, a Cape Breton businessman, decided to bring whiskymaking equipment and expertise home from Scodand. The Glenora Distillery set out to turn the springfed waters of Maclellans Brook into North America’s first single malt whisky—that exclusive category reserved only for whiskies made from malted barley from a single distillery. Since the operation I is in Canada, the company s (owned by Halifax entre| preneur Lauchie Maclean I since Jardines death in 5 1999)—could not techni-

cally call the tipple “scotch.” Otherwise, says master distiller Ken Roberts, “we do everything just like they do.”

The end result? Connoisseurs call eight-year-old Glen Breton Rare Canadian Single Malt Whisky, which hit the market in November, a “rich yet smooth and subde dram” and “instant classic.” At $75 a botde, it’s “flying off the shelves,” says Neil Fortes, president of Wineworld, Glenora’s Ontario agent. He has been fielding requests for the Cape Breton single malt from as far away as Japan and Europe. (It won’t be available in Ontario until May.) The international market is also discovering Nova Scotia through finely designed single malt glasses crafted by the Irish-born crystal makers working at Halifax’s NovaScotian 1 Crystal. At $250 a pair, they’re being snapped up.

John DeMont