Categories
Arts

Catch Me If You Can doesn’t take off

The production hits more lows than highs despite a tremendous effort from the ensemble

There’s only so much a talented and dedicated cast can do with a sinking ship. The Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society’s amateur production of Catch Me If You Can: The Musical is proof that all the enthusiasm in the world can’t disguise a boring piece of theatre.

While lead actor Brandon Schwartz is a trained jazz singer with a voice comparable to a young Josh Groban, the show’s music, written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, isn’t quite toe-tapping.

Based on the 2002 Dreamworks film of the same name, Catch Me If You Can follows the true story of a young con artist of the 1960s, named Frank Abagnale Jr., who manages to impersonate a pilot, doctor and lawyer all before his 19th birthday. While the film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, is fast-paced and charming, the musical adaptation relies too heavily on corny jokes, meta self-awareness and extended jazzy dance routines better suited to a Broadway stage than a black box theatre.

Running long at two hours and 45 minutes, the dialogue and space between songs seemed to drag on and on. The ensemble of just over a dozen extremely dedicated dancers should be commended for their sustained energy and use of the small space in the Segal Centre’s intimate studio.

Brandon Schwartz stars as Frank Abagnale in an underwhelming musical adaptation at the Segal Centre

The chorus clearly spent many hours rehearsing many complicated choreographies created by Alexia Gourd that ultimately worked to their credit.

Actor Mike Melino, who played avid FBI detective Carl Hanratty, was a highlight. Melino’s gruff manners, thick moustache and steadfast commitment to his performance deserve special note. His lead songs, “Don’t Break The Rules” and “Little Boy Be A Man,” were a refreshing break from the often-repetitive melodies and routines.

Matthew McKeown and Marieve Guerin, who played Frank’s father and mother respectively, also deserve credit for lending their substantial talent to the production.

Despite the disappointing elements of the show, the production quality was surprisingly good. Many of the costumes were painstakingly handmade and what the space lacked in elaborate scenery, it made up for in the presence and playing of the live band.

While the story of Catch Me If You Can is light and fun, the musical fails in its presentation of any emotional depth. While Schwartz’s acting is partially responsible, the musical’s original reception on Broadway, closing after only 170 regular performances in 2011, says perhaps more.

Ultimately, the musical numbers, especially those given to female characters, fail to amaze and the choppy narration by Frank, paired with the self-aware framework of the show, seems like lazy writing more than anything else.

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Arts

Players’ Theatre takes on exploration of existence

Six Characters in Search of an Author balances the highly intellectual with the stylish

Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author is an extremely self-aware meta-theatrical drama whose success relies heavily upon the calibre of several key actors.

The complex cerebral drama, being staged at the McGill Players’ Theatre Nov. 12-15 and 19-22, explores the relationship between authors and art, players and characters.

Written in 1921, this pre-absurdist play uses the “play within a play” structure to blend the real with the imagined in a way that makes us question our own perception of reality.

Player’s Theatre interpretation of Pirandello’s original play uses limited décor elements and creative shadow and light play.

The rough plot involves actors and technicians at a theatre company who are interrupted in the middle of a rehearsal by the entrance of six strange people, claiming to be unfinished characters. The visitors insist on staging their own dramatic narrative and plead with the director to help them realize their story.

This blended family, lead by a patriarch who is filled with remorse and has a tendency to wax philosophical, is set apart from the others by their ‘20s-era fashion, commedia dell’arte-inspired masks and ghostly blue lips.

The Father, played by Nicholas LePage, alternates driving the action forward and going on seemingly endless tangents of existential thought. LePage shines bright in this role, doing a superb job of holding the play’s illogical and verbose fabric together.

Mal Cleary, as the character of the Director, in turn balances the Father’s preaching monologues with his energetic performance and practical, somewhat skeptical approach to the unusual situation.

As the six characters relive their dramatic tale onstage, the actors from the rehearsal become spectators, taking places in the audience and engaging in the action less and less.

While the leads are given plenty of opportunities to show off their acting chops, the script doesn’t allow for much development of the supporting cast who ultimately fade into the background.

The staging is simple and makes use of four large screens that are lit from behind with colourful LEDs to allow for innovative shadow play and easy change of scenery.

While this use of lighting is very creative, the overall design leaves something to be desired. Much of the action takes place in low lighting to the point where key exchanges happen in semi-darkness, while other areas of the stage are needlessly bright.

The play delves into several key questions concerning the creation of art and theatre, the role of actors and the ownership of performance. The intellectual nature of the show may not be suited to every audience’s tastes, but for fans of Pirandello or those interested in existential philosophy, Six Characters in Search of an Author makes for a truly thought-provoking presentation.

Six Characters in Search of an Author runs at the Players’ Theatre Nov. 19 to 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets for students are $6, and $10 for adults. For more information, visit playerstheatre.ca.

Categories
News

ASFA asks for per credit fee levy increase

November by-elections to fill VP Academic & Loyola, VP External positions

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations will be asking students to increase its per credit fee levy by 0.38 cents as of winter 2015.

At a special council meeting held Oct. 23, ASFA voted to put the question to a referendum during a by-election to be held Nov. 25-27.

This proposed increase was put forward by ASFA’s Financial Committee in order to offset the increased expenditures of the federation on services and Member Association budgets.

ASFA represents almost 15,000 undergraduate students and currently receives a fee levy of $1.22 per credit. While it represents the most students of any other faculty association, with the Commerce and Administration Student Association coming closest at just over 7,000, it receives the smallest levy. CASA receives $2.35, the Engineering and Computer Science Association receives $2.00 and the Fine Arts Student Alliance, representing only 3,700 students, gets $1.35.

This year, ASFA has budgeted a deficit of $61,690—an increase from last fiscal year’s $57,977 deficit. The federation cites financial restructuring, increase of costs and additional services as the reason for the budget imbalance.

While ASFA is not in a position where it is unable to continue its operations, the federation’s bylaws state that the year-end cash balance must be $150,000 or more.

The referendum question, approved by ASFA reads as follows: “Do you agree to increase ASFA’s per credit fee levy by $0.38 to a total of $1.60 per credit, effective starting in the winter 2015 semester (January 2015)?”

In addition to voting on the fee levy increase question, the by-election will also see the vacant positions of VP External and VP Academic & Loyola filled.

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News

Concordia welcomes new chancellor

Alumnus Jonathan Wener to take on position in the new year

Sir George Williams University alumnus Jonathan Wener will be stepping into the role of university chancellor as of Jan. 1, 2015.

Wener, who graduated in 1971, has been involved with Concordia for many years and served on the Board of Governors from 1995 to 2012.

Concordia President Alan Shepard said that after all Wener’s contributions, he is sure to be a good fit for this position.

“One of the things you want in a chancellor is someone who really understands the place, loves it, respects it and wants to promote it,” said Shepard.

As CEO of Canderel, a real estate development firm, Wener also lent his expertise to Concordia’s Real Estate Planning Committee for 16 years.

“Many of the advancements to SGW campus came about while he was in that role,” said Shepard. “He had a real passion for it and an ability to help us get things done.”

As a graduate and an active community member, Shepard points to parallels between the incoming chancellor and current Concordia students.

“He’s really smart, ambitious, he works hard,” said Shepard. “He’s got big ambitions, not only for himself but for the institution.”

Wener has been occupying the role of deputy chancellor since 2012, under L. Jacques Ménard.

According to Shepard, the chancellor is in part a ceremonial position, tasked with “getting the good name and good work of the university out.”

As a representative of the university, the chancellor attends university functions, participates in lobbying and fundraising initiatives, and offers advice to the president.

Among Wener’s other qualifications, he is responsible for creating the annual Défi Canderel fundraiser, which has raised over $9 million for cancer research over the last 25 years.

Categories
Arts

Get swept away by Nabucco’s beauty

The production of Verdi’s opera is visually appealing and packed with talent

Jealousy, madness, a bloody battle, a desperate grab for power and a love triangle drive the action of Nabucco, one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most celebrated operas. There’s no shortage of drama, nor of talent, in the upcoming production to be staged at the Montreal Opera the last week of September.

Nabucco is an Italian opera based on biblical stories from the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Daniel, and follows the struggle between warring Babylonians and Ancient Hebrews. The Babylonian king, Nabucco, begins the action by invading Hebrew territory to retrieve his daughter Fenema who is being held prisoner.

Over the course of the four acts, it becomes clear that Fenema has fallen for an Israelite named Ismaele and has converted to Judaism. Things are further complicated by the presence of Fenema’s sister, Abigaille, who is power hungry and jealous.

Director Leigh Holman has been involved with two previous productions of Nabucco, at the Opera Philadelphia and at the Florida Grand Opera in Miami. She explains that while she comes to this production as an old hand, that in no way lessens the excitement of the project.

“Even though some of the bones are the same, we always create a new show every time,” she says.

While the opera is technically set in biblical times, Holman explains that this production includes a second time period, and plays into historical elements from the time in which it was written, when Italy was under the control of Austrian forces.

“The concept of the show is that it’s the premiere of Nabucco at La Scala in 1842,” she says. “The show itself… is about Babylonians coming into Jerusalem and taking Hebrews back as slaves, so we can see the sort of parallel.”

The title role of the show is played by Italian baritone Paolo Gavanelli, who has incredible stage presence and does a beautiful job of anchoring the action onstage, which can sometimes appear chaotic.

Opposite him, Russian-born soprano Tatiana Melnychenko does an admirable job portraying the villainous and complex Abigaille.

The production, which runs two and a half hours, is visually appealing and features lavish costumes and intricately painted scenery.

While live surtitling is incorporated into the performance on screens above the stage, the action can get a little confusing so brushing up on the plot ahead of time is a safe bet.

Though opera may not be the most popular pastime among university-age students, Holman feels it has something very valuable to offer viewers. “I always say that if you can’t put something into words, or if the emotion is so big that you can’t express it in speech, you can do it with music,” she says. “In an opera like this where the drama is so intense, only music can make that drama rise to the surface.”

Nabucco will be playing at Place des Arts, Salle Wilfrid Pelletier Sept. 20, 23, 25 & 27 at 7:30 p.m. with tickets being priced as low as $20. For more information, visit operademontreal.com.

Categories
Arts

Black box performance — fourth wall not included

Everyone knows the story of Peter Pan. It is the story of a boy from Neverland who wouldn’t, or couldn’t, grow up. While many are familiar with Peter Pan, or rather they know the 1953 Disney adaptation, this simplified version of the story is a far cry from J.M. Barrie’s original play and the novel that followed.

The limited space created in typical black box theatre presentations allows J.M. Barrie to direct the play from the audience’s seats. Press photo

The McGill Players’ Theatre production of Peter Pan is an homage to Barrie’s narrative and the themes, both dark and light, which are ever-present in this whimsical story.

The action begins in the nursery of Wendy, John and Michael Darling who embark with Peter on an adventure they won’t soon forget. Along the way they encounter the lost boys, a mischievous fairy named Tinkerbell and the nefarious pirate, Captain Jas Hook.

The first thing you will notice upon entering Players’ black box theatre is the man sitting in the front row on the corner. He wears a red velvet smoking jacket and introduces himself to all who pass by as Barrie. He is of course playing the role of the playwright and he does so with the grace and youthful enthusiasm for which the man himself was famous.

Mark Weissfelner, who plays Barrie as well as operating a set of bells signifying Tinkerbell, is a delight to watch. His dialogue comes largely from the script’s extensive stage directions as well as blocks of text that are pulled from the novelization of Peter Pan.

Director Kelly Richmond was responsible for compiling the additional narration as well as including several elements found within later adaptations of the play.

“The play text, the script itself, is intended for children. And then you have the stage directions and the novel, which are very adult and […] are communicating a lot about mortality and sexuality,” explained Richmond. “So that was the goal with this production — to take those elements and put them into the dialogue.”

Continuing with the theatrical tradition of casting Pan as a woman, Becca Pearl plays the part exquisitely. Her portrayal of the timeless boy is effortless, ethereal and poignant.

With Pearl representing the forces of light and youthful innocence, Maka Ngwenya is just as potent in her portrayal of the black-hearted Hook.

Ngwenya, who also plays the matriarch of the Darling family, brings a fresh face and presence to the much-storied character.

The design of the production reflects the whimsical nature of the show while sticking to the basic constraints of a black box space.

“I really like black box because I think it really encourages suspension of disbelief and this idea of letting go and stepping back and saying ‘this is my imagination, let me project into it.’ So that’s sort of why we went for something more minimal,” said Richmond.

The play is at times funny, painful and joyous, as the themes in this classic coming-of-age story intertwine to create something truly magical.

Peter Pan runs from Feb. 26 – March 1. Tickets are $6 for students. They can be reserved online at ssmu.mcgill.ca/players/reservations.

 

Categories
News

Justin Trudeau fills D.B. Clarke

Today in 2014, why is it so important to make sure that your voice is heard in politics? This is the question that Liberal party leader,Justin Trudeau, posed to the 300-plus students who gathered to hear him speak at Concordia’s D.B. Clarke Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 6.

Photo by Keith Race

The event was organized as part of a campus tour where Trudeau spoke at McGill University, Université de Montréal and Concordia all in one day.

His message was one of youth voter empowerment, in an attempt to combat the “tremendous amount of cynicism surrounding politics.”

“Getting young people to choose to vote and to get involved isn’t just about getting a few more people who are unlikely to vote for Mr. Harper to the ballot box. That’s just a pleasant bi-product,” he said. “What it really is about is changing the nature of conversations that happen in Ottawa and in government.”

According to Elections Canada, in the 2011 federal election, the estimated percentage of 18 to 24-year-olds who showed up to the polls is 38. While Trudeau was there as a representative of the Liberal Party of Canada, he refrained from expressly encouraging people to vote for him. Instead, he called for students to research different parties and find one that would best represent their beliefs.

During a question period following the speech, Trudeau was asked about his position on Quebec Premiere Pauline Marois’ secular charter.

“I had the good luck of being able to sit down with Mme Marois, the very day that the newspapers were leaked information on what would be the [charter of values] and I told her straight out, that I thought that it was a very unhelpful direction to be taking — to try and make people choose between their religious beliefs and their jobs.”

He went on to say that the charter would only lead to “divisiveness and polarization” and that “it does us all a disservice when a politician chooses personal electoral gain over service to the society that entrusted her with power.”

Trudeau was also asked about his views on the environment and comments he made in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline at the Calgary Petroleum Club.

“The one thing that I have been consistent on,” began Trudeau, “Whether I’m speaking to the Sierra club, or the Petroleum club, is that we need to figure out how to make what is good for the economy and what’s good for the environment go together.”

While Trudeau took a few shots at the Harper government’s environmental track record, he did not go into detail about his own platform on the topic.

Cameron Ahmad, president of the Quebec chapter of Young Liberals of Canada, said after the event concluded that he was inspired by the student turnout.

“Whenever there’s a room full of young people that, like us, want to discuss politics and get involved and just hear about the ideas of a major lead, that’s hugely inspiring to us. It means we aren’t alone,” he said. “It means that there are other people out there who are interested and that youth aren’t apathetic.”

Categories
Music

Mik Brown finds her voice on her debut album Miss Mik

In a world plastered with inspirational posters and where pseudo-individuality is broadcast from every Facebook page, it’s refreshing to find someone who legitimately believes in making sacrifices in order to follow their dreams. Mik Brown is such a person.

Press photo

Brown grew up in a family of academics and graduated from Berkeley University with a degree in cognitive science. With a bright and no doubt lucrative future ahead, she decided to give it up to pursue her passion for music and try to make it big in Los Angeles.

A year later, Brown was invited to perform at the Grammy’s after-party and is working on the release of her first album, titled Miss Mik.

“I’ve always been an artist at heart,” said Brown. “For me it was really about finding the strength and the confidence to really break away from the norm and really pursue what was in my heart.”

Her words may sound cliché, but Brown is the real deal. Having always been drawn to art and poetry, it took a while before she was able to find her voice.

“I always wished I could sing and, you know, I don’t have a typical singer’s voice, so I didn’t really feel like that was an option,” she said. “As my poetry progressed and I started to think — you know, I can really rap.”

Brown’s single, “Let’s Werk,” is a dancey hip-hop track with about 100,000 views on VEVO. She describes her music as a combination of various elements including pop, rap, and dance.

“I like to listen to music that makes me feel good. I like upbeat music,” she explained. “That’s why a lot of the songs on my album are dance-inspired tracks because I really like something that’s going to get me going.”

Miss Mik is set to be released in late February or early March and will feature a little bit of everything.

“So you have your fun dance music and some things [that are] a little harder. My next single, “Respect” is like that. It’s kind of rock with some heavy guitars and more in your face.”

Brown compares her journey towards stardom to a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle, “You gotta start with the corners of whatever pieces look like they fit together and just build from there,” she said.

Having moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music, Brown feels that “it’s really inspiring to be able to make a mark in a big city. The other thing about L.A., it has so much to offer in terms of the history and the possibilities. You can pretty much do anything here. It’s a little bit surreal, but very exciting.”

She says that in order to make it big in this industry, it requires “a combination of preparation and opportunity and tenacity. You have to be prepared and you have to keep putting yourself out there. And if you do that, then eventually opportunities will come.”

Most of all, Brown finds satisfaction in performing her music live. “Getting to that point where I’m able to bring it to the people and share with them this whole process of creation. It’s really when I get to deliver everything, and that’s the most rewarding part for me.”

Brown is also intent on using her art and status to speak out on issues that are important to her. She recently performed at the No Bull Music Showcase, an event that seeks to raise awareness about bullying.

“I think that my message is really empowering and really positive and so it’s an honour to be able to represent an [organization] like this with my music,” she said. “Especially because, I think a lot of artists growing up were like nerds or introverts and misunderstood, and did get bullied, and for us to have surpassed that and be the ones who are looked up to now… it’s really important for us to speak out and to give people who are coming up faith.”

As for what the future holds, Brown hopes to keep gaining momentum and doing what she loves.

“I really feel like the sky’s the limit.”

Categories
Arts

Spin the record for the bride and groom

The Drowsy Chaperone began as a spoof on classic musicals of the 1920s, written by three friends for presentation at the bachelor party of another friend. Since its creation in 1997, it went on to premiere on Broadway and won several Tony awards. This season, The Drowsy Chaperone opens at McGill’s Moyse Hall, produced by the university’s Arts Undergraduate Theatre Society (AUTS).

Photo by Marilla Steuter-Martin

The musical, which consists of a play-within-a-play structure centres on Woman-in-Chair, a woman who, in an attempt to drive the blues away, decides to play the recording of her favourite musical, The Drowsy Chaperone. In doing so, the musical, set in the 1920’s, comes to life in her living room, where she guides the audience through the cast of stereotyped over-acted characters, calamitous spit-takes and campy plot developments.

The action focuses around the bride-to-be, Janet Van der Graaf, and her soon-to-be husband Robert Martin. Janet’s former vaudeville producer employs two gangsters to try and break the pair up, who in turn enlist the help of the irresistible ladies man, Adolpho, to seduce the bride. Add Janet’s alcoholic confidant, The Drowsy Chaperone, to the mix and a series of comic misunderstandings threaten to leave the upcoming nuptials at a standstill.

The show, written by Bob Martin and Don McKellar with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, highlights the outdated style of old-school musical theatre while simultaneously paying homage to it.

Director Fiona Ross, a recent McGill graduate, was doing research on possible shows when she stumbled upon this one.

“It’s Canadian, there’s lots of strong women characters in it which is something that’s really important to me, and it ended up that we had a whole bunch of really talented women audition, so I was like, ‘let’s just cast all these women’,” she said.

The show features a cast of 19, with women playing the vast majority of the male and female roles. Ross went on to explain that from the beginning, “I really wanted Man-in-Chair to be played by a woman … mostly because of my own politics and wanting the one character with any substance to be a woman.”

While some of the cross-casting proves humorous and charming, such as with the earnest bridegroom, Robert, played by Natalie Aspinall, and Chelsea Wellman as the seductive Adolpho, some roles were not so well suited. Overall the abundance of female actors prancing around in tight-fitting tweed suits was a bit aesthetically jarring.

Vanessa Hutinec, who played the title character of the Drowsy Chaperone, was excellent, and performed her number “As We Stumble Along” beautifully. She and several other members of the supporting cast managed to do quite a bit with the limited stage-time and dialogue they were given in the script. Not all the female leads attained the same level of quality however, with some of the most important characters falling short in their performances.

Sadly, as with many amateur productions, the show was plagued by microphone and sound problems, which found actors either drowned out by the live band or overly loud during scenes.

The Drowsy Chaperone is a difficult show in that it relies upon an execution of subtle comedy and critique, while speaking directly to theatre-lovers about their most-beloved topic — theatre itself. The AUTS production is a great assembly of young talented voices and actors, but ultimately lacks a directorial oversight that would pull the whole thing together.

And yet, as the narrator states at the end of the play, “I know it’s not a perfect show. The spit-take scene is lame and the monkey motif is laboured, but it does what a musical is supposed to do. It takes you to another world. And it gives you a little tune to carry with you in your head … for when you’re feeling blue.”

Despite the show’s shortcomings, this simple statement captures a truth about people who love theatre, and why they keep coming back, and that in itself is something worth waiting around for.

The Drowsy Chaperone runs at the Moyse Hall until Feb.1. Student tickets are $15.

Photo by Marilla Steuter-Martin

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News

Queer Concordia hosts Dr. Alan Shepard

Photo by Marilla Steuter-Martin

“The first time I went anywhere as a gay person…it was 1984. I was 22-years-old and I was going to my first meeting at the Lesbian and Gay Student Union at the University of Virginia. I was absolutely terrified.”

At a talk organized by Queer Concordia on Tuesday, Jan. 14, Concordia President Alan Shepard reflected on his experiences being openly gay in life and in academia.

“Flash-forward about five years after that – with many adventures in between – I was the president of the Lesbian and Gay Student Union, which if you told me in 1984, it would have seemed as far-fetched as emigrating to Quebec and becoming university president,” said Shepard.

He began his speech, directed at an assembly of approximately 50 students and community members, by joking about being one of the few openly gay presidents in Canada. Shepard then recounted a series of personal stories, some light-hearted, some poignant. He spoke candidly about his early life growing up in a small town in the Midwestern United States, his coming-out process and his role as a parent.

“If you had said to me at 23, ‘Will you have kids? Will you have a partner of a long time? Will you have financial stability? Will you have professional recognition and success’? All those things that, to various degrees, people want, I would have been pretty discouraged,” he said.

The talk was very well received, with organizers and attendees praising Shepard’s openness and candour.

“I was positively surprised how personal he was with us,” said Marie-Lisa Porten, events coordinator at Queer Concordia. “It’s one thing to be out, it’s another thing to talk to students about ‘this is how I met my partner and we adopted two kids’.”

After the talk, Shepard stayed to speak with students and receive feedback.

“I feel Concordia is a very accepting community,” said Jade Legault, a board member at Queer Concordia. “Having you as president is very empowering.”

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Student Life

The race is on: On your mark, get set, hunt!

“We had to do a video of a smoked meat sandwich singing ‘My Heart Will Go On’,” said Linnea Mulholland.

This fourth year Concordia linguistics student doesn’t have a penchant for performing meat; in fact, she is a two-time champion of the Impossible Montreal scavenger hunt.

The Hunny Badgers have a tea-time in the pool as one of their challenges

Impossible Montreal is a city-wide scavenger hunt that tests a team’s ability to create, decode, navigate, fast-talk and work together. Now in its third year, the hunt boasts 140 participants on 13 different teams; roughly double the amount of people from last year.

This year’s scavenger hunt list included points for penning a short piece of erotic fanfiction about PK Subban and Michel Therrien, building an Arcade Fire cardboard diorama, and dressing up as the cast from a brand new Wes Anderson movie.

Event organizer Vinny François is a director at Montreal Improv and has run the hunt for three years now. Impossible Montreal was inspired by the University of Chicago scavenger hunt that François researched online.

His favourite part of running the event is the crazy things teams are able to come up with: “It’s nice to see people’s hidden talents … in the videos people make, their creativity comes alive.”

According to François, the goal of Impossible Montreal is a good old-fashioned good time.

“What I hope people get out of it is that they have a good time with their friends and maybe learn something about their city,” he said.

A veteran of Impossible Montreal, Mulholland and her team, The Hunny Badgers, have first hand experience dealing with the challenges posed to hunters. Throughout the past three editions of the hunt, people have talked their way onto the ice at the Bell Centre, given hipster walking tours of Atwater Market, recreated the infamous Rob Ford crack video and pretty much gone above and beyond for scavenger hunting glory.

“The whole team gave it their all,” she said. “From passing out while giving blood to working their connections to get a photo with the mayor and an employee of the Canadian Space Agency.”

Over 43 hours, teams compete to check off as many items on the list as possible, which for most means a mad, highly caffeinated dash around the city from one location to the next.

“We had to work really hard and run on less sleep and more coffee, but with a full team of twelve we were able to get a lot done,” said Mulholland.

After being crowned scavenger hunt champions Sunday night, the Hunny Badgers are already looking forward to next year.

“We’re all really excited for next year,” she said, “because with more teams that have experience, the competition will be even more intense.”

Registration for the annual Impossible Montreal scavenger hunt is $10 per person and any proceeds from the event are donated to Doctors Without Borders.

 

Press photos

  

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News

Two Concordia unions reach agreements-in-principle

The Concordia University Library Employees’ Union (CULEU) and the Concordia University Union of Support Staff – Technical Sector (CUUSS-TS) both reached agreements-in-principle with the university during collective bargaining last week.

CULEU and CUSS-TS have been without a collective agreement for more than four years.

The CUSS-TS came to an agreement in principle Sept. 5, which was only tentative and had to be ratified by the union members before it could be made official. On Sept. 11, with a vote of 99 per cent, the new contract was adopted. At a General Assembly on Sept. 12, the CULEU voted to accept the new agreement, with 97 per cent in favour.

The agreements, which expire May 2015, include wage increases of 10 per cent over six years and dental and vision insurance coverage for members.

According to university spokesperson Chris Mota, the next step in the process will be to have it approved by the Concordia Board of Governors.

“Both parties will sign the agreements together and after that signing, we will post the agreements,” she explained.

CULEU President Irene Fernandez explained that while she and the members are relieved to have negotiations settled, the process was often frustrating.

“I can’t jump up and down and yell hooray,” she said. “This has been a long haul […]There’s so much that was discussed and negotiated that just went out the window.”

Fernandez went on to say that she hopes bargaining relations at Concordia will improve and that the remaining 12 unions still in negotiations will soon come to a conclusion. Among these unions still without contract are The Concordia University Support Staff Union and the Concordia University Professional Employees Union, who are still in negotiations to renew collective agreements.

“We hope other unions who have not yet to come to an agreement will do so and that we bring a little peace to Concordia,” she said.

 

 

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