I'm going to take a couple of days off from the album inventory to pay insuffi- cient tribute to Brent Sclisizzi, a good friend who passed away last week at the age of 42. Like anyone who knew Brent but didn't know anything of his long-term health problems, I'm stunned that this could have happened. I met Brent 20+ years ago at university, where we were both enrolled in the University of Toronto's film studies programme. I think we maybe took two or three courses together, although the only one I specifically remember is the production course we took with Gino Matteo at St. Mike's. Brent served as cameraman on the two student films I made. One was shot inside the McGibbon Hotel, famous in my hometown of Georgetown because somebody was supposedly once murdered there, perfect for a would-be splatter film entitled Wild Christmas. For travelling shots, I pushed Brent around in a wheelchair. I'm not sure if he made any films himself for that course-- if so, I never saw them. We lost touch after graduation, but a few years later I ran into him at a rep screening somewhere around town, and within another few years we began getting together fairly regularly for films--once every month or two for the next decade, usually at the Cinematheque. Movies were the foundation of our friendship, but being almost exactly the same age, we also had a lot of the same stupid reference points from the '70s in common. When I looked through one of Brent's photo albums the other day, it was like looking at photos from my own life, right down to the old black-and-white novelty shot taken inside the Fantasy Island jail. His grade-school class photos may as well have been my own. Call it whatever you want--life experiences, psychic landscape--but looking through that album, it really hit home with me that we came from the same place. Brent's taste in films always fascinated and puzzled me. This is a simplification, but his enthusiasms basically carried him in three different directions. He loved a lot of foreign directors I either didn't care for (Fellini, Bunuel) or knew nothing about (he always named Raul Ruiz as his favorite director). There was also Saturday- matinee Brent--literally; he regularly went to the Cinematheque's Saturday afternoon screenings--who loved the Marx Brothers and film noir and Casino Royale (his favorite movie). Finally, the one tangent I could never figure out, he'd faithfully rush out and see the junkiest first-run fare imaginable. Dude, Where's My Car? is the first film I think of along those lines; seems we had a number of conversations where he tried to explain to me why I needed to see Dude, Where's My Car? My original idea was to incorporate commemoration of Brent right into the album inventory, but I've either already bypassed all his favourites--Jethro Tull, Genesis, Philip Glass--or don't own any of the more obscure ambient and 20th-century music he was passionate about. We had everything and nothing in common when it came to music. Last Christmas, I sat with Brent and his girlfriend Tara and excitedly played Danger Mouse's mash-up of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" and the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" for them. With a smile, as always, Brent suggested I might be too old to be listening to such things. It was so funny and good-natured the way he did so, it never even occurred to me to bring up Dude, Where's My Car? Brent worked for the CBC, where I attended an in-house memorial this afternoon. He obviously had had a huge effect on the people he worked with. The thing that kept com- ing up again and again from the different speakers was a view of Brent I share whole- heartedly: how even-tempered he was. In the twenty-plus years I've known him, I never saw so much as a flash of anger or sourness about anything. His calm was almost eerie, and I think one of the things that always amused him about me was all the whining and complaining I did. The most inspiring thing I heard this afternoon, though, was hear- ing one of his co-workers eulogize how Brent always took a week or two off in September to volunteer with the Toronto Film Festival.'s true that he always booked off work during the Festival, and it's also true that he voluntarily saw as many films as humanly possible during that time, but I think he's maybe been putting one over on his employers for years. Good show, Brent. paraethos (brent's website)

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