I first caught The Frames in Dublin on New Year's Eve, 1993, and then waited another thirteen years to rediscover them. I shudder to think of the countless Frames concerts and music I missed while living in Ireland during the nineties but better late than never, as they say.

So excited was I about the upcoming Frames show here on the 20th that I was sure the entire band would come down with Strep Throat or a freak late April snowstorm would hit Toronto, preventing their arrival. None of that happened and I'm happy to report that I saw The Frames, am crazy about The Frames and will most certainly be keeping better track of them from now on.

Below I've embedded youtube footage from Friday night's gig at The Phoenix. My sole complaint is that an hour and a half the show was much too short. When Glen Hansard explained at the outset that's all the time they'd have because it was an early gig, everyone booed with gusto. "I know, I think it's shit too," he said. He went on to complain that the venue had to get us all out before getting a second crowd in at twice the price. If I had the money I'd have no qualms about jetting over to Dublin to watch them play a longer set at Vicar Street at the end of May but as it stands I'll have to settle for some ardent CD listening.

Here's the setlist from the show and you can check out some terrific photos here.

Revelate, The Phoenix, April 20th, Toronto:

Star Star, The Phoenix, April 20th, Toronto:

Rent Day Blues & I Have The Moon (cover),
The Phoenix, April 20th, Toronto:

The next day it was on to an outstanding production of Tom Murphy's A Whistle In The Dark at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto's Distillery District. Sitting three rows from centre stage, watching the volatile Carney family lurch towards disaster, I can honestly say I'd never felt tenser watching live theatre. Painful truths are tough enough to deal with on the page but watching them unfold directly in front of you, and with a cast this talented and brave, well it's awe-inspiring and brutal. When Jonathan Goad, Allan Hawco et al. took their final bows they looked entirely spent. Impossible to imagine how they'd have a drop of energy left to pour into the evening performance. This is the best theatre I've seen in a long time and I imagine I'll be saying that for quite some time to come.
Finally, here's The Distillery District on an improbably warm April 21st, 2007:

When I spotted one of our students wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the above phrase around the office a few years ago I didn't think much of it. Recently The Gazette, the University of Western Ontario student newspaper, has forced me to re-examine the rationale behind the slogan. Their "spoof" issue, published at the end of March, treats sexual assault (something 1 in 6 Canadian women experience during their time at university) as a joke, derides homosexuality and even goes so far as to make threats against a member of the Women's Issues Network who had previously criticized the paper's misogyny, homophobia and racism.

Apparently many readers also had issues with their "Saugeen Stripper" edition last year and membership in The Facebook group Rapist Culture at the University of Western Ontario is rapidly expanding.

The Gazette's initial reaction to criticism and protests over this year's spoof issue was to say "get over yourself" and point towards more responsible examples of journalism they'd penned throughout the year. Doesn't mean you weren't glaringly wrong on this one I'm afraid, folks. As Craig Ashbourne (Students Opposed to Hatred On Campus) points out:

“Nowhere in the satire issue are white, heterosexual men targeted, except where it is implied as an insult that they are queer, and thus emasculated. The only groups targeted in this issue are those who are already marginalized on a campus that boasts a population that is stereotypically caucasian and privileged men and women. As a result this issue is simply yet another example of the more elite members of campus exerting their positions of power to generate hatred and prejudice.”

Interestingly, after all the negative press The Gazette has been garnering they seem to have changed their tune somewhat but an enormous amount of work remains to be done. Click here to read the Students Opposed to Hatred On Campus update on the situation.

If you feel that Western students deserve a paper that truly represents them, in all their diversity, why not contact the The Gazette Editor-in-Chief, Ian Van Den Hurk, email equity services at Western and incoming USC president Tom Stevenson.

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