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"MIR" 2003 Obituary


MIRVISH o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-06-27 published
His calling was behind the scenes
By James McCREADY Special to The Globe and Mail Friday, June 27, 2003 - Page R9
Toronto -- Jimmy FULLER's first job in the theatre was playing Julius Caesar at the Royal Alex in Toronto. Odd for a teenage boy with no acting experience. But he played the post-Ides of March Julius Caesar, lying dead in a coffin on the stage, a part no actor wanted to perform.
His father was a business agent for the stage union the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, and he wangled the job for the boy. Jimmy FULLER went into his father's trade. He was a member of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees for 54 years and was president of Local 58 for 36 years, until just before his death on May 22 at the age of 82.
Jimmy FULLER worked as an electrician at Toronto's O'Keefe Centre for the opening performance of Camelot in 1960. He stayed there for more than 30 years, as chief electrician for the theatre, which in time changed its name to the Hummingbird Centre.
A union leader, he was also an entrepreneur. In 1976, he started his own company, Canadian Staging Projects, which rented stage equipment. It was successful, and he continued as president until the 1990s. During that time, he also worked in many productions and negotiated contracts with the likes of theatre owner Ed MIRVISH and impresario Garth DRABINSKY.
The 350 members of Local 58 work behind the scenes in live theatre in Toronto. They are the stagehands and electricians for everything from the Royal Alex to the Canadian National Exhibition. Jimmy FULLER was so enthusiastic about live theatre he would sometimes invest in the shows themselves. Some were small productions, but his most successful flutter was in the musical Cats.
James Charles FULLER was born in Toronto on October 31, 1920. He went to Runnymede Public School and then followed the family trade, qualifying as an electrician after studying at Western Tech high school. One of his first jobs, apart from playing the dead Julius Caesar, was at a movie theatre, the Runnymede Odeon, starting as an usher.
In 1941, he joined the army and when they discovered his stage talent he was put to work as part of the crew for the Army Show.
He was involved with staging productions, and the one he remembered in particular was with the Canadian comedy team, Wayne and Shuster
Just before the end of the war he was sent to British Columbia for more serious wartime work: wiring minesweepers, which were essentially wooden ships that used electrical signals to detect mines. He was back in Toronto just before the end of the war, working in his old trade as an electrician at the Odeon.
In 1950, he started J. Fuller Lighting Ltd., a freelance theatrical lighting business. It was around that time that he became a business agent for the Toronto Local 58 of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. At the end of that decade he became the head electrician for the O'Keefe Centre and stayed on there until But it wasn't as if that were his only job. Along with running his own company, he was running the union, negotiating contracts with local theatre owners, in particular the Mirvishes.
"Jimmy was labour and I was management. We fought one another tooth and nail for 30 years. We should have been the bitterest of enemies," Mr. MIRVISH said in a statement issued on Mr. FULLER's death. "We actually became the best of Friends."
He travelled with many shows, working with the Charlottetown Festival and the military Tattoo. He also worked closely with the Canadian Opera Company and was himself a fan of the opera.
Jimmy FULLER led a quiet home life and his family said that once he was home he never talked business. He leaves his wife, Eleanor, to whom he had been married for 58 years, and his daughter Susan.

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MIRVISH o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-04 published
A painter of real people
Toronto artist sought to get beneath a subject's veneer to achieve a 'luminous presence'
By Allison LAWLOR, Special to The Globe and Mail Thursday, December 4, 2003 - Page R11
'She'll paint you the way she wants," David MIRVISH, patron and art collector, once said of the Canadian portrait painter Lynn DONOGHUE.
"She's sensitive to mood," Mr. MIRVISH, who sat for Ms. DONOGHUE on several occasions, told The Financial Post Magazine in 1984. "She may catch you at a different angle, and not every subject feels that's the way they want to be seen. The important thing is whether it's a successful picture or not. You shouldn't expect to like a portrait."
But what you could expect if you were having your portrait painted by Ms. DONOGHUE is that you would at the very least enjoy the process. Sitting for the Toronto-based painter was like having tea with a lively, old friend.
"You were always chatting about this and that with Lynn," said Father Daniel DONOVAN, an art collector and professor of theology at St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto, who also sat for Ms. DONOGHUE. " She was always vibrant and alive."
Always seeking to get beyond a person's veneer, Ms. DONOGHUE enjoyed the process of trying to draw out her subjects. "She wanted people to [be] open and communicate with her," Father DONOVAN said.
Mr. DONOGHUE, considered one of the pre-eminent portrait painters in Canada, died last month in Toronto. She was 50.
"She made a huge impact [in the Canadian art world] and did so at a very young age," said Christian Cardell CORBET, founder of the Canadian Portrait Academy.
"She was at a stage... where she was just about to take off," Mr. CORBET said. "What she could have contributed was just cut short."
Ms. DONOGHUE started showing her work in 1973. Her early work caused a stir when some galleries refused to show her giant portraits of naked males. Since then she has had countless group shows and solo exhibitions. Her work can be found in the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Ontario Legislature, the National Museum of Botswana, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and several other private and public collections.
Ms. DONOGHUE, who was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1991, did both commissioned and non-commissioned portraits. One of her notable commissions was of John STOKES, the former speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Last year, Ms. DONOGHUE completed a portrait of Margaret ATWOOD that came was at once celebrated. After approaching the Canadian literary icon to paint her portrait, Ms. DONOGHUE set about to capture Ms. ATWOOD using bright oil colours. In the portrait, Ms. ATWOOD, sits with her legs crossed and looks out at the viewer wearing a vibrant, green shirt.
"She was not afraid of colour," Mr. CORBET said. "She would take it [paint] right from the tube."
Three years ago, Terrence HEATH, the former director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, wrote in BorderCrossings following an exhibition of Ms. DONOGHUE's work at a Toronto gallery: "Each painting... is a statement in colour. The figures are set in colour fields that tell you as much about the figure as the likeness and body position do. Most remarkable about these paintings is their sheer luminous presence."
"She created honest portraits" and "didn't follow much of a systematic approach to portraiture," Mr. CORBET said. "She allowed her spontaneity and intuition to come through."
Ms. DONOGHUE once said that her historic mentors, such as Frans Hals, conveyed in their portraits the feeling of people who are very alive. "Why do people know, when they look at a painting of mine, that it is a real person?" she told The Financial Post Magazine in 1984. It was one of her perpetual queries into the nature of portrait painting.
Lynn DONOGHUE was born on April 20, 1953, in the small community of Red Lake in northern Ontario, more than 500 kilometres from Thunder Bay. Her father Graham DONOGHUE was a mining engineer who moved his family about, including a spell in Newfoundland. Ms. DONOGHUE finished high school at H.B. Beal Secondary School in London, Ontario She graduated in 1972 with a special art diploma.
Having lived in England and New York as an artist, Toronto was home to Ms. DONOGHUE. She lived with her 14-year-old son Luca in a loft in a converted industrial building in the city's west end. Her loft doubled as her studio. In the cluttered space, some of her paintings hung on the walls and canvases were stacked next to the essentials required for daily living. Living off the sale of her paintings, Ms. DONOGHUE financially scrapped by month to month, her Friends said.
Described as vivacious and gregarious, she was "the life of the party." An active member of the arts community, she could regularly be seen at gallery openings and art shows around Toronto. Outside the art world, she was an active community member. Most recently she helped to organize events for Toronto's new mayor David MILLER during the municipal election. She also attended the Anglican Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, where a painting she had done of her son's baptism hung on the wall.
An exhibit of Ms. DONOGHUE's most recent major work is scheduled to open at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie, Ontario, in March. Called the The Last Supper, the large group piece, which Ms. DONOGHUE started in 2001, consists of 13 portraits encircling a central table piece, which is itself a triptych. The installation requires a total wall space of about 5 metres by 10 metres (16 feet by 34 feet).
Father DONOVAN well remembers how he first learned of the project. One day, he received a call from Ms. DONOGHUE asking if he would have lunch with her. She had an idea she wanted to talk to him about. The idea turned out to be the The Last Supper and Ms. DONOGHUE said she needed his help. After their lunch, she invited Father DONOVAN, along with several others, to dinner. While they were eating and drinking, she photographed them, capturing their mannerisms and expressions. From the photographs, she made a series of sketches which she then used to develop the large group piece.
"She loved what she was doing," Mr. CORBET said. "There was this inner drive that said 'go on.' "
Ms. DONOGHUE, an insulin-dependent diabetic, died on November 22 in a Toronto hospital, after suffering from an insulin reaction that led to a coma.
She leaves her parents Marjorie and Graham DONOGHUE, her son Luca LANGIANO and his father, Domenico LANGIANO and sister Barbara VAVALIDIS.

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MIRVISH o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-12 published
A sleeping tiger of baseball
Founded in 1914, the Asahi team made history. This year, largely because of the efforts of its catcher, the team made the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
By Tom HAWTHORN, Special to The Globe and Mail Friday, December 12, 2003 - Page R17
Victoria -- Ken KUTSUKAKE was a catcher for the storied Asahi baseball team of Vancouver, which disbanded when its Japanese-Canadian players were interned during the Second World War.
Mr. KUTSUKAKE, who has died in Toronto, aged 92, helped keep the team's memory alive over the years. He organized an Asahi reunion at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Don Mills, Ontario, in 1972, ending, if only temporarily, a diaspora of the diamond that had seen players sent to work camps, ghost towns, sugar-beet farms, and, in a handful of cases, Japan.
Earlier this year, the amateur club was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in Saint Marys, Ontario Mr. KUTSUKAKE attended the ceremonies in June, even taking part in a golf tournament.
The Asahi roster shortens with each passing season. Mr. KUTSUKAKE is the third player to die since the induction. He was predeceased by outfielder Bob HIGUCHI, 95, of Pickering, Ontario, and pitcher George YOSHINAKA, 81, of Lethbridge, Alberta. The Asahi are disappearing like runners left stranded at the end of an inning. Only six players and a team official are believed to still be alive, the lone survivors as the club approaches the 90th anniversary of its founding in 1914.
The Asahi drew their players from the Little Tokyo neighbourhood surrounding their home field at the Powell Street Grounds (today's Oppenheimer Park) in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. The Asahi were physically slight compared to their opponents, among whom were beefy longshoremen, so they depended on slick fielding, larcenous base running and hitting so precise that it was said they could bunt with a chopstick. They were nimble Davids competing against slugging Goliaths.
The team (asa for morning, hi for sun) sometimes won games in which they failed to record a hit. Their style of play, which came to be called Brain Ball, earned them a following among discerning Caucasian fans. In Little Tokyo, they were gods in woolen flannels.
"We were the toast of the town," Mr. KUTSUKAKE told me earlier this year. "To be an Asahi ballplayer meant lots to a lot of people."
It all ended so quickly. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, it was heard around the world. In British Columbia, all people of Japanese ancestry were ordered removed from the coast as enemy aliens. A neighbourhood team lost its neighbourhood and the Asahi never played again.
Kenneth Hisao KUTSUKAKE was born in Vancouver on May 25, 1911. The Asahi had deep roots in the community and he joined the club's youth team when he was 12 as a Clover (Go-gun). Blessed with a strong throwing arm even at that young age, he was taught to play the sport's toughest position. The neighbourhood boys gave him the sing-song nickname, "Catcha-Catcha- KUTSUKAKE."
He moved up the Asahi ranks over the years. From 9-to-5, Mr. KUTSUKAKE worked for a company making boxes. After work and on weekends and holidays, he could be found on the baseball diamond. Finally, in 1938, Mr. KUTSUKAKE became the starting catcher for the parent club.
Adept at blocking wild pitches, he was known for his throwing arm, a disincentive for rivals eager to mimic the Asahi on the base paths.
On September 18, 1941, he went 0-for-2 before being pulled for a pinch-hitter in his team's final at-bat in a 3-1 loss to a club sponsored by The Angelus, a hotel. It would be the Asahi's final game.
A few months later, his home was seized, as was his family's Powell Street rooming house.
In 1942, Mr. KUTSUKAKE was ordered by Canadian authorities to leave his birthplace for the crimes of his ancestry. On that terrible winter day, when he had to reduce 31 years of life to a single suitcase, Mr. KUTSUKAKE packed for an unknown life in a relocation camp. Alongside family photos, he placed his cleats, shin guards, catcher's mask, chest protector and his Asahi uniform.
For Mr. KUTSUKAKE, the equipment was a daily reminder that while authorities could seize his home, deny him his job, and compromise his freedom, no one could stop him from playing baseball.
He was sent to Kaslo on Kootenay Lake in the British Columbia Interior, where he was joined by Asahi pitcher Nag NISHIHARA. One of their first acts in the camp was to form a baseball team, an action that was also occurring in other ghost towns and internment camps.
(Mr. KUTSUKAKE's father, Tsugio, had complained when he was ordered to leave behind his wife and daughters. The senior Mr. KUTSUKAKE was instead sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in Angler, Ontario, where inmates wore dark uniforms with large circles on the back, a bull's-eye target for sharpshooters should any try to escape.) On Dominion Day, 1943, four teams of interned players met in a one-day showdown in Slocan City, British Columbia Lemon Creek beat New Denver 13-2 for the championship, while Slocan and Kaslo, featuring a battery of Mr. KUTSUKAKE and Mr. NISHIHARA, were eliminated earlier in the day. More than 500 spectators watched the tournament.
"Ahhh," said Mr. KUTSUKAKE, still sore about a loss 60 years earlier, "Lemon Creek had the most Asahi players. They should have won."
After the war ended, those of Japanese ancestry were forbidden from returning to the coast. Mr. KUTSUKAKE wound up in Montreal, where he played for the semi-professional Atwater team in 1947.
He moved to Toronto the following year, where he could be found behind the plate at Christie Pits. He also had great success as a coach and manager, winning a West Toronto minor championship with the Westerns midget team in 1950. He later won a city championship with the Bestway Nisei, a team comprised of the Canadian-born sons of Japanese immigrants.
In 1956, he managed Honest Ed's Nisei, a mixed-race team, to a senior city championship. A delighted Ed MIRVISH feted the players with a lavish banquet and presented each with a commemorative wrist watch.
Mr. KUTSUKAKE worked for many years at Iwata Travel in Toronto. Until recently, he volunteered at a seniors home, providing prepared Japanese lunches for residents.
Mr. KUTSUKAKE rejoiced in the belated recognition afforded his old team. He threw out a ceremonial opening pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game at SkyDome in May, 2002, and was deeply touched by induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
"Naturally, I'm honoured," he said. "It was a big surprise. I never expected such recognition."
Mr. KUTSUKAKE also appears in the recent National Film Board documentary Sleeping Tigers, which recounts the history of the Asahi team and its players. The photographs he saved during the evacuation have been displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum and included in Pat Adachi's 1992 book, Asahi: A Legend in Baseball.
Mr. KUTSUKAKE died in his sleep on November 22 at Toronto Grace Hospital, where he was attending his second wife, Rose, who has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. His wife of 50 years survives him, as do sisters Satoko and Eiko, both of Toronto. He was predeceased by brothers Sekio and Ray, an Asahi pitcher. A first marriage ended in divorce.

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