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Alan Hustak


By Alan Hustak on January 7, 2010


l. Ian MacDonald’s snapshot of history in the making

EX-CENTRIS RE-BRANDS: The Temple to Cinema on The Main becomes an Alternative Arts Centre

By Alan Hustak on January 7, 2010

Ten years after Ex-Centris opened as Montreal’s premier cinema art house, the $35-million complex on St. Lawrence Blvd is attempting to carve a new niche for itself as a multi media showcase for emerging  talent.

Too earnest - An historical perspective on the election

By Alan Hustak on November 4, 2009

Following a bizarre campaign, Gerald Tremblay won his third consecutive term Sunday, the first mayor to do so since Jean Drapeau in 1966. But the comparisons end there.  Drapeau won with 95.4 per cent of the popular vote. A majority of those who did vote on Sunday split their ticket. The Mayor lost some of his most experienced right hand men, notably his brother, Marcel Tremblay in Villeray-St. Michel- Park Extension, Michael Prescott in the Plateau Mont-Royal district as well as André Lavallée, in Rosemont, and Diane Lemieux, the star candidate earmarked to run Tremblay’s executive committee, who also went down to defeat in Ahunstic. 

Still a man to watch; Pierre Trudeau

By Alan Hustak on November 4, 2009

just_Watch_Me_resize.JPGHe infatuates us still. 

At least a dozen biographies about Pierre Elliott Trudeau have been written, none of them as satisfying as Just Watch Me, (Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 788 pp. $39.95) the second volume of John English’s dispassionate, intimate look at Canada’s most contradictory, perplexing and some say greatest Prime Minister.

Prud’homme retires

By Alan Hustak on October 1, 2009

Dignitaries from a number of Arab countries as well as Cuba and Russia attended a reception at Montreal City Hall Sept. 9 to honour the Dean of Canada’s parliamentarians, retiring senator Marcel Prud’homme. Prud’homme, who was described as the institutional memory on Parliament Hill  was first elected as a Liberal MP in 1963 and never lost an election before Brian Mulroney appointed him a senator 16 years ago...


A campaign of chaotic vanity « …le public est ennuyé par les politiques de la grande ville… »

By Alan Hustak on September 2, 2009

WedNit082709188Edit_resize.jpgGerald Tremblay is on the ropes.  The momentum is with his nemisis  Louise Harel.  What is shaping up is a municipal election campaign of chaotic vanity.  In the past few weeks so many candidates have been jockeying for position that  you need a program  to know  who they are and what they stand for.

Louise Harel and the art of newspeak

By Alan Hustak on August 6, 2009

When Louise Harel was still Quebec’s minister of municipal affairs, and promoting the borough system for Montreal, she envisioned the boroughs as  “little homelands.…What is important to understand,” she said back then, “ is that there are little bits of patrie throughout  Montreal, and the people are proud of it. That has helped me understand the feeling of identity in the suburbs. ''


By Alan Hustak on August 6, 2009

Siblin-authors-pic.jpgEric Siblin has a foot planted firmly in two musical worlds. A  film maker and widely travelled Montreal Free-lance journalist and documentary film maker  who cut his teeth as a newspaper pop-music critic,  Siblin, 48, has entered the so-called classical sphere with his first book by deconstructing  J.S. Bach’s cello suites. It is an extraordinary effort,  a free-wheeling literary riff about  the art of making music . Like travel writer Bruce Chatwin, Siblin condenses worlds into pages and leaves a reader hungry for more.  He became fascinated with the “dark moody tones’‘ of the cello suites nine years ago  after hearing them for the first time played at the Royal Conservatory of Music In Toronto .. “I had no reason to be there,” he writes,  … “but I might have been searching for something without knowing it. Top 40 tunes had overstayed their welcome in my auditory cortex, and the culture surrounding rock music had worn thin. I wanted music to occupy a central part in my life, but in a different way.” 

Tehran protestors in downtown Montreal.

By Alan Hustak on July 2, 2009


The Lure of Victorian Landscapes, the MMFA goes Green.

By Alan Hustak on July 2, 2009

Who would have imagined that so many fusty, gilt-edged landscapes that have been out of fashion for so long could be so resonant to our times?  Expanding Horizons, a terrific summer exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts combines painting and photographs of the North American wilderness done, for the most part,  in the last half of the 19th century. Taken together, these bucolic, dreamlike vistas have been restored to their rightful position as potent masterworks. Such an exhibition could hardly be more appropriate...

Is the $64 billion party over?

By Alan Hustak on May 28, 2009

It’s been four years since  Mayor Gérald Tremblay first sketched out his ambitious $64-billion plan to transform the face of Montreal. Armed with flow charts, maps and architectural renderings of ‘‘dream schemes,” Tremblay spoke to the Montreal Real Estate Board about the “Tremendous potential ahead.’’  He was going to tear up the Bonaventure Expressway, reclaim the waterfront, and in a partnership with private enterprise, develop 557,000 square metres of vacant lots downtown. At the time, the city was running a $400-million surplus and the Dominion Bond Rating Service assigned the city an A-Rating for its “spending prudence.”

The real, earnest life of Arnold Steinberg

By Alan Hustak on May 28, 2009

STEINBERG-bw.jpg“Life is real, life is earnest, and the grave is not the goal,” reads the caption in the 1954 McGill University Yearbook under Arnold Steinberg’s graduation photograph. Whatever life’s goal, as a commerce student at McGill five decades ago Steinberg never imagined that one day he would become the university’s 18th chancellor. 
In Jewish culture, 18 is considered a lucky number - representing as it does the numeric value of the word, Chai, which means Life and is also the 18th letter in the Hebrew alphabet. The irony that he will be sworn in as McGill’s 18th chancellor in November is not lost on Mr. Steinberg.  “On the day of the announcement I hadn’t even thought of it, to be perfectly honest,” he said in an interview.


By Alan Hustak on May 28, 2009

art-deco-logo.jpg10 WORLD CONGRESS opens in Montreal

Montreal isn’t the first city that comes to mind when you think of Art Deco, so Peter Sheridan, wasn’t sure what to expect when he arrived here  from Australia for the 10th World Congress on Art Deco. Sheridan, a Sydney, Australia, dentist who collects art deco radios is one of about 200 enthusiasts from 30 Art Deco societies around the world attending the week-long convention that opened Sunday. The get together was organized by Sandra Cohen-Rose, who 15 years ago wrote a book on the subject, Northern Deco; Art Deco in Montreal. 

Taste of the Nation’s Laurie Normand-Starr is gone

By Alan Hustak on May 6, 2009

LaurieNormand-Starr.jpgLaurie Normand-Starr, a community volunteer who died recently at her home in Westmount, threw lavish charitable fund-raising dinners where the rich were charged to feed the poor. 
Mrs. Normand-Starr spearheaded Taste of the Nation, the annual event which collected more than $2 million for three Montreal charities since the Montreal chapter was founded 16 years ago. The money raised by the event was divided among three charities:  Share the Warmth, the Pointe St. Charles community organization, Dans le Rue, and Oxfam-Quebec. 


By Alan Hustak on May 6, 2009

Mavis Gallant has spent a life time doing what many writers can only dream of – living in Paris and consistently crafting some of the finest short stories in the English language that have been published for six decades in the New Yorker. Reading Going Ashore, the thirty or so recently published short stories that Gallant wrote early in her remarkable career, not only demonstrates how durable her work has always been, but also serves as a reminder of just  how important  the art of the short story remains to those who make their living as writers.  In a digital age that threatens the survival of newspapers and mass circulation magazines, renders the novel impotent and makes biography almost irrelevant, the short story might be the last salvation for those who care about literate expression. 

Anchor turned author

By Alan Hustak on May 6, 2009

Former Pulse News anchorman Bill Haugland, who retired three years ago as one of Montreal’s most familiar and trusted  faces on television  will undoubtedly add to his considerable fan base with his first novel, Mobile 9.

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