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Rodin Thinkers to the Rom: We think not, thank you   Print


Toronto Globe and Mail
October 20, 2001

The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto was hoping to host a big symposium on the French sculptor Auguste Rodin Nov. 6. But with less than three weeks to go, the response of would-be participants is less than overwhelming.

Last month the ROM mailed dozens of letters to Rodin scholars and buffs around the world, inviting them to the Ontario capital to weigh in on the legacy of the sculptor, using its current, controversial exhibition of Rodin plasters from Barrie, Ont.'s MacLaren Art Centre as the hook.

Thus far, only six individuals have reportedly confirmed their attendance. Organizers had hoped representatives of the Muséé Rodin in Paris, the executor of the Rodin estate and the institution that has been the most vociferous in trashing the ROM, would show. But earlier this month Jacques Vilain, director of the Musée, and Antoinette Romain, its curator of sculpture, gave them the big non.

Meanwhile, there are reports that institutions in South Korea, Japan and Vancouver are interested in taking the Rodin show after it closes in December, but so far nothing has been firmed up. One thing these places shouldn't take is the contents of the Rodin gift "shop" at the ROM. It consists largely of clunky plaster reproductions, most made in Mexico, of such Rodin hits as The Thinker ($125 for the small one) and Eternal Spring ($425 for the big one). Even one of the prime movers of the exhibition acknowledged last week that this stuff is "an embarrassment."

But who knows, maybe the MacLaren Art Centre, home of the 60 plasters, will someday make its own reproduction casts. The centre's director, William Moore, says he has no plans for this, but there's pretty much nothing to stop the MacLaren from doing so. Since Rodin died in 1917, there are no copyright concerns and, despite all the bleatings of the Musée Rodin, no impediments in terms of legal or moral rights. Rodins, rain down on us!

The events of Sept. 11 have seen musicians on both sides of the border rallying around the Stars and Stripes and the plight of Afghan civilians. We all know about the Concert for New York City tonight featuring Paul McCartney, the Who, the Goo Goo Dolls, Meg Ryan (?) and Jim Carrey, and then there's Music without Borders in Toronto's Air Canada Centre tomorrow.

But consider for a moment -- or 168 hours -- something called Canadian Musicians for Liberty. Starting at noon tomorrow at Touchdowns Bar and Grill in Mississauga, Ont., 500 musicians in 70 bands will attempt to play non-stop for seven days and thereby set one of those Guinness endurance records. CTV talkmeister Mike Bullard starts the thing off, and as the days roll on, Jeff Healey, the Downchild Blues Band, Paul James and Wild T, among others, will roll on and off the stage. Along the way they'll be raising money for Canadian Red Cross USA Relief.

Organizer Ted Watt says Touchdowns has room, at the best of time, for only 80 patrons, so a tent is going to be erected outside for the overflow. "If we get the weather, it's gonna be like Woodstock, man." (Note to Ted: the weather at Woodstock -- the first one, that is -- was terrible, man.) Another attendee at the event's start is going to be Hazel McCallion, for 23 years the mayor, non-stop, of Mississauga and, at 80, perhaps Canada's crustiest senior. There are reports she'll be doing her interpretation of James Brown's Hot Pants, but this remains to be seen. And heard.

We fell in love -- kind of -- with her, um, vocal stylings in 1992 in the first Wayne's World movie. Now we have a chance to fall in love with that side of Tia Carrere all over again Tuesday when she performs at Peter Gabriel: A Global Celebration, at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre.

Carrere, who spends a lot of time in Hogtown because this is where her TV series, Relic Hunter,is shot, will be singing two Peter Gabriel songs. Carrere is part of a coterie of musicians honouring Gabriel who is the focus of a World Leaders tribute Wednesday in Toronto. Gabriel is expected to sing at his tribute.

That other singer-songwriter in the World Leaders series, Joni Mitchell, was not expected to sing at her fete last night in Toronto. But that doesn't mean she can't or won't: Late Wednesday she paid a surprise visit, accompanied by her daughter, Kilauren Gibb, to Hugh's Room, a Toronto folk club, and sang a duet with her old pal, Eric Andersen. The tune was Andersen's classic Blue River, which she recorded with him almost 30 years ago.

A similar pairing happened earlier this month, again in Toronto, when Elton John showed up at a club performance by alt-country sensation Ryan Adams. John credits Adams on his new, critically acclaimed recording, Songs from the West Coast,for inspiring him to write better songs.

 

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