JANE URQUHART PICKS UP THE BRUSH
A work by The Stonecarvers author Jane Urquhart was one of the most admired pieces of art at last night’s fund-raiser in Toronto for the Creative Works Studio. My friend Ron Kaplansky, co-host of the event at the storied Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, was gratified at the good turn-out and hectic bidding. Despite the recession.
This work went for more than $600 at the silent auction. The Studio, sponsored by St. Michael’s Hospital, provides a place where people dealing with severe mental illness can find refuge and comfort in creating their own art work.
Looking at Jane’s work last night reminded me of her fine 1997 novel, The Underpainter. Perhaps foreshadowing The Stonecarvers, it central character Austin Fraser is an American painter whose memoirs take the reader back to the first year of World War I, 1914.
WALRUS MAGAZINE MAKES AN APPEAL
My favorite magazine, The Walrus, says its advertising revenues “are down significantly.” It is appealing to readers for financial help.
The Walrus has just received 28 National Magazine Award nominations. Its been sweeping these honors ever since its founding a few years ago.
Addressing Canadian readers by email, editor John MacFarlane says Canada “needs The Walrus because we need a magazine about us, and about our place in the world.” He’s asking for renewals and new subscriptions, as well as donations to the magazine’s parent Walrus Foundation.
ROUGH TIMES FOR NEWSPAPERS
It’s perhaps ironic that The National Post, whose future is none too secure, is running a five-part series this week on the problems and future of the newspaper industry.
In today’s installment, Randy Boswell takes readers to the basement of Library and Archives Canada “devoted to storing hundreds of thousands of ethnic publications and small town communtiy newspapers — from distant, yellow-hued yesteryear to crisp-white yesterday, from familiar French and English typefaces to exotic Arabic and Chinese scripts.”
Boswell’s piece argues that nothing on the computer screen can ever touch the reality of words in ink that come to us every day via newspapers.
I agree, but the collapse of print advertising since the start of the recession (see The Walrus, above) is sucking the lifeblood out of daily newspapers. The havoc is even greater in the U.S. than in Canada. There, the three chief sources of newspaper advertising — car dealers, financial services. and real estate — have virtually disappeared. Want ads have gone to Craigslist and other web sites.
TURNER BOOK GETS STICKERED
The new Ottawa tell-all by former MP Garth Turner, Sheeple: Caucus Confidential in Stephen Harper’s Ottawa, is having a “clarification” sticker put on its inside front cover, thanks to a threatened law suit.
The book recounts the outspoken, blogger-loving Turner’s days as a Conservative MP before he defected to the Liberals. He was defeated in the 2007 election.
News agency Canadian Press threatened to sue over an allegation by Turner that it filed news of a standing ovation supposedly given Harper at a secret caucus meeting without bothering to verify the information.
Publisher Key Porter has agreed to paste a sticker in the book that offers a “clarification” of the comment. Booksellers have been told not to put the book on their shelves without the sticker.
Trade paper Quill and Quire says some bookstores have been selling the Turner opus without the sticker.