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McGill Reporter
April 17, 2003 - Volume 35 Number 14
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Dinner with the edible woman

Photo caption follows Margaret Atwood

Okay, technically the McGill Centre on Teaching and Research on Women (MCRTW) is supposed to honour someone with a McGill connection for their Person of the Year award. Margaret Atwood doesn't fit that criteria, but what the heck, it's their award and they'll give to whomever they want. Besides, the library does carry an awful lot of her books.

The distinguished author will be the guest of honour at a gala dinner at the Omni Hotel. Before they serve the roast lamb, there will be grilled Margaret -- the author has consented to be interviewed for the event by CBC's Eleanor Wachtel, host of Writers and Company. The discussion will be broadcast on CBC at a later date.

Booker Prize-winning authors and CBC celebrities not enough for you? The MCRTW has more: the dinner will also be graced with local thespians Gordon McCall of the Centaur Theatre, and Amy Price-Davis, star of a recent production of Proof.

"They're going to be doing a performance of some of her books, not really a reduction, but a reading," said MCTRW spokesperson Blossom Shaffer.

Sadly, that part is limited to those who are willing to put down $250 for the full dinner. The interview event is a mere $20.

Margaret@McGill, interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel, April 28 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm, Omni Hotel, 1050 Sherbrooke Street West. $20 per person, for interview only. More information: Cy-Thea Sand, 398-2006.

Music to your ears

Photo caption follows Eva Kozma, violin; Marc Elysée, violin; Rémi Pelletier, viola; Hannah Addario-Berry, cello
Photo: Claudio Calligaris

We had that nightmare again last night. You know, the one where we're on stage, standing in front of an audience, but when we open our mouths, nothing comes out and the people in the stands start to laugh…. Oh, the joys of performance anxiety.

Imagine yourself in that scenario, only you've spent the last four years of your life perfecting your musical craft. And your performance is being judged, and it is worth 100 percent of your final mark. That, Reporter readers, is what some 95 music students are going through right now and for the next few weeks of exam period. Sounds like pressure.

"They're performance majors so this is what they're gearing up to do," explained exam coordinator Jennifer Stephenson.

It's also good entertainment -- and not just for the sadists among us. The students work hard to present a show that's worth heading to Strathcona to see.

"It's a professional recital. They have to have a well-balanced program, it has to be musically sound. You have to think of how you plan your pieces, the order of the pieces, the stage setting, how you're dressed."

For Stephenson, the recitals are a scheduling and logistical nightmare, though she takes it in stride. In addition to booking space for the 95 students and their accompanists, she needs to worry about their instruments, too.

"They have to indicate if they have special needs -- like a harpsichord. In the case of final exams, it's usually done in one of the two recital halls, which are Pollack Hall or Redpath Hall. In some cases they're off campus for organ exams, if they need a particular organ in a church," she said.

Recitals are free to the public. Information on times and places can be found on the web at www.mcgill.ca/calendar or call 398-4547.

Finding the wily fossil

Illustration of fossil

Ahhh... the hunt. Who can resist the baying of the hounds, the thundering of the hooves as the chase leads on through the fields, over the hedges before finally culminating with the climax at the mouth of the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Tunnel?

If hunting is your bag, the Redpath Museum has just the thing for you. Minus the hounds, horses, hedges and live game. You might bag yourself a 450 million year old brachyiopod for the mantelpiece though.

On April 27, the Repath will be hosting a fossil hunt in Montreal. Franco Boreiro, a public educator at the Redpath, said the daylong event will start with a solid grounding in geology. First stop will be breakfast on Mount Royal, where the budding paleontologists will be examining an intrusion. How can you have an intrusion in a public park? Easy, when the park itself is the intrusion.

An intrusion, explains Boreiro, is a volcano that didn't quite make it.

"It's when the molten rock or magma starts making its way up. If it makes its way to the surface, it's a volcano. If it doesn't make it to the top it will solidifiy and cool down."

Erosion and glaciers wear away the surface layers, until you're left with Mount Royal. Students will look at different kinds of rock and evidence of glaciers before making their way to the river. This is where the real fun begins.

"In the afternoon we're going to Île Charron, near the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Tunnel. There we'll be looking for fossils in these big rocks, which are debris from the metro or tunnel construction."

These rocks are rich in fossils from the Ordovician era. That is, way before the dinosaurs, or even most vertebrates. You can take a trilobite home to Mom -- they're small, don't require any feeding and won't make a mess on the carpet.

"Everyone should be able to go home with their own fossil, but we don't guarantee it."

Meet at the Roddick Gates at 9:45 am, April 27. Cost is $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 8-16. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Bring a lunch and dress for the weather. Contact: Franco Boriero, 398-4086 ext. 4092.

Dumbbells not doughnuts

Photo of woman working out

You may feel that a regimen of pushing your computer mouse around interspersed with treks to Tim Horton's is exercise enough. You're wrong -- and the athletics centre wants to help you mend the error of your ways.

For a mere $15 you can sign up for lunch-hour classes in any number of fun physical activities —yoga, tennis, aqua fitness and walking. What's that I hear you say? Your lunch hour is when you sit in the sun, sipping a coffee? You can do better for yourself, says recreation and fitness assistant manager Jill Barker.

"The recommendations are for Canadians to exercise 30 minutes most days of the week. This will get you on your way there. It's also a great stress release, and most people are energized after they go. Also, you'll probably eat less because you'll have a little less time and you won't be on the terrace drinking that 600 calorie cappuccino with the whipped cream. And you'll save yourself a few bucks."

With the flexibility and variety of courses, you have no excuse not to dust off your New Year's resolutions.

"Most of the popular courses you can get in a fitness club you can get here for the noon hour. They're 45 minutes so people have time to come to the fitness complex or one of the satellite programs and still have time for a quick bite to eat or have a shower," said Barker.

If you're not a big fan of courses, and you feel a gym membership is too expensive, the athletics department has robbed you of those excuses, too.

"We want to attract more staff to use our facility. We have a great facility and we received a lot of comments that staff found it pricey, so we brought down our membership," said Barker. Now you can get a yearlong membership for $259, or pay $199 for eight months. Use of the new fitness centre is a bit extra, but the old weight room, track and pool are all available.

Registration starts Tuesday, April 22, at Client Services in G-20C in the McGill Sports Complex. Sign up early. The start date for all courses is the week of May 5. Courses run six weeks. See www.athletics.mcgill.ca or call 398-7011.

Addictions at night

Remember those commercials that would show an egg being fried while a voice-over intoned "this is your brain on drugs"? Did it give you cravings for bacon, too? Did you ever feel that perhaps a 15-second commercial spot might have failed in providing you with the biochemical context you needed for your drug-taking decisions?

The Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) is here to give you that information. Drug and alcohol addiction are serious problems, and the biology of addiction is a complicated field. The Neuro at Night lectures are designed to provide lay people with up-to-the-minute scientific insight on the field.

The lectures are given by Montreal scientists, said Diane Chea, senior development officer at the MNI.

The lecture on April 22, "Drugs, Alcohol and Your Brain" goes beyond frying eggs. The two speakers are Alain Dagher who uses advanced brain imaging techniques to examine the role of dopamine in the brain in drug addiction, and Christina Gianoulakis from Douglas Hospital, who will describe the impact of genetic and environmental factors, including stress, on alcohol abuse.

CBC radio host Shelley Pomerance will be the host for the evening. With only 15 minutes slated for the talk, and 45 for the question and answer session to follow, an experienced moderator is needed. They also provide context for the evening.

"She'll talk a bit about the topic in general and the impact of the problem Montreal and in Canada, as well as share some of her own thoughts," said Chea.

Drugs, Alcohol and Your Brain, Tuesday, April 22 at 7:30 pm Jeanne Timmins Amphitheatre, 3801 University Street at Pine Avenue West. The next Neuro at Night lectures are La Maladie d'Alzheimer: où en est notre médecine? On May 8 and Beating Lou Gehrig's disease: Tomorrow's ALS treatment and research on May 27. For information, call Sandra McPherson at 398-1902.

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