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Writer & Historian

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Musings

The Song Stays Sweet – A Prose Poem

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December 17, 2015
The Song Stays Sweet – A Prose Poem

  Muscle cars slink along Canal Street in their wheel skirts. Vroom, vroom. Radios on high bass shake the sidewalk passers-by. Big men wear big gold watches and smile their big gold teeth. Pushing and laughing and butting fists. Are they the murderers to be or just some mother’s little boys? Music along Royal...
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Dinosaurs and superheroes

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December 8, 2015
Dinosaurs and superheroes

Why does the male-dominated Hollywood film industry stop many women from advancing to the top echelons as film directors and studio heads? Columnist Maureen Dowd exposed the many reasons in the Nov. 22, 2015, New York Times Magazine cover story. The article comes on the heels of Patricia Arquette’s bold statement at last year’s...
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The 33 – A Film Review

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November 20, 2015
The 33 – A Film Review

I was bubbling over with questions after seeing The 33, a new film about the 2010 mining accident that buried 33 miners alive in Chile’s San Jose mine. But I was also concerned that the filmmakers had chosen Hollywood star power to tell this story of local courage and community resistance. We too seldom...
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Labour magazine reviews Joe Hill and Remembering Salt

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October 8, 2015
Labour magazine reviews Joe Hill and Remembering Salt

Our Times, Canada’s labour magazine, has included a two-page review essay on my films in its fall 2015 edition. Headlined “Rekindling Resistance,” writer Rachel E Beattie provides a wide-ranging assessment of the short films and concludes that the “triumphant note embedded in those stories” helps inspire action today and “remind labour activists of that spirit...
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Labour history novel – A Book Review

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August 26, 2015
Labour history novel – A Book Review

Mick Lowe, The Insatiable Maw: A Story of Eco-Resistance, Volume 2 of the Nickel Range Trilogy (Montreal: Baraka Books, 2015), 153 pages, paperback, $19.95 CDN.   On the heels of his first novel about Northern Ontario mine and smelter workers of the 1960s, journalist turned novelist Mick Lowe has released a thin second volume...
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Joe Hill Wins Again – A Film Update

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July 14, 2015
Joe Hill Wins Again – A Film Update

My short documentary Joe Hill’s Secret Canadian Hideout, released in 2014, won second prize at the Seattle MayWorks video contest this spring. “We appreciate your contribution to the advancement of worker culture,” said the Washington State Labor council in announcing the prize. In August, Joe Hill will be shown at the Oregon AFL-CIO summer...
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Buddy DeVito’s Celebration of Life

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May 31, 2015
Buddy DeVito’s Celebration of Life

On Sunday, May 24, 2015, we celebrated the life of Francesco Edward “Buddy” DeVito, a long-time family friend and later a personal friend of mine. Buddy had died about six months earlier on October 29, 2014, at age 94, but his widow Maureen Mitchell wanted to wait a while before spreading his ashes in...
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Joe Hill at Rossland Mountain Film Festival

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November 10, 2014
Joe Hill at Rossland Mountain Film Festival

Joe Hill’s Secret Canadian Hideout continues to appear at film festivals. On November 21, it will be shown at the Friday night gala for the Rossland Mountain Film Festival in Rossland, BC. It will also be shown as an official selection at the Canadian  Labour International Film Festival in Toronto on November 15.
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Sudbury’s union war – A Book Review

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November 10, 2014
Sudbury’s union war – A Book Review

Mick Lowe, The Raids: The Nickel Range Trilogy, Volume 1 (Montreal: Baraka Books, 2014), 294 pages, $19.95. News reporter turned novelist Mick Lowe has produced the first of a promised trilogy of labour history novels set in Northern Ontario that might be closer to truth than to fiction. As a long-time reporter in the...
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Salt of the Earth Local 890 decertified

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October 27, 2014
Salt of the Earth Local 890 decertified

To many labor historians and labor activists across North America, it was a heavy blow to learn that Local 890, the union that was the star of the historic 1950s blacklisted film Salt of the Earth, had voted to decertify in September. One PNLHA member, lamenting the passing of the historical local union, said...
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Books