Episode #113 - Prison Reformer: Howard Sapers

August 13, 2018
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Canada is often thought of as exemplar of democracy, where all are guaranteed humane treatment. But, as recent news coverage of the appalling abuse of its prison inmates suggests, this guarantee falls short all too often.

Dr. Paul talks to Howard Sapers, the Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform to the Ontario provincial government, about the proper function of the prison system in Canada (and elsewhere) and to what extent it actually ensures the human treatment of inmates. An advocate against the overuse of solitary confinement, Howard also discusses how such segregation does more harm than good, unnecessarily comprising both the mental and physical health of inmates. In doing so, Howard brings to light that, though prisons have an obligation to correct the offender, they must do so justly--without causing excessive suffering. Finally, Dr. Paul and Howard look at how well Canada provides mental health care to inmates, while not allowing certain offenders requiring specialized psychiatric and other medical treatment to languish behind bars.

Learn more about Howard, including his reports on correctional reform, here.

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #112 - Political Theatre Creators: Aida Keykhaii, Mohammed Yaghoubi and Sarah Marchand

August 9, 2018
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The mainstream media has made us largely accustomed to view entertainment as escapism, such as the countless reality TV shows, televised sports event and action-packed films that surround (and distract) us every day. But can the power of entertainment actually be harnessed to promote a better, fairer world?  

Dr. Paul talks with theatre creators Aida Keykhaii, Mohammed Yaghoubi and Sarah Marchand about how they came together to produce their latest play, Swim Team, focusing on the lives of three Iranian women bravely attempting--true to the production's title--form a swim team in post-revolutionary Iran, and the impact they'd like the play to have in ending women's oppression. Beyond sport itself, Swim Team illuminates the political challenges female athletes continue to face in Iran on account of having--as mandated by sexist law intended to preserve their "modesty" or "honour"--wear the hijab even during competition, as well as the lack of key governmental and other support for female athletics. Native to Iran themselves, Aida and Mohammed also share firsthand accounts of unfair censorship and misogyny that, unfortunately, is common place in Iran and how that has, on the one hand, challenged them as democratic artists and, on the other hand, motivated them further to develop theatrical works that expose injustice. 

Learn more about and purchase tickets to Swim Team, premiering in Toronto on Sunday, August 12, 2018, here.

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #111 - Albert Koehl

July 28, 2018
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With all the vehicles we have become accustomed to seeing on the road, it is easy to think it belongs to drivers alone. Such misguided entitlement underlies the perception that the cyclist is a nuisance, interfering with the natural flow of traffic.

Dr. Paul Salvatori talks with lawyer and cyclist advocate, Albert Koehl, about the ongoing tension between motorists and cyclists that arises from this and how it can overcome to better protect cyclists, all-too-often injured or killed in the process. Beyond the domain of cyclist rights, Albert illuminates the importance of overcoming this as an ethical issue, such that cyclists are first and foremost human beings whose lives should never be unnecessarily jeopardized, such as by motorists who, in spite, drive too close to cyclists. In contrast, Dr. Paul and Albert explore how cities, incorporating well-designed and maintained cyclist routes (e.g. designated bicycle paths), can offset cyclist harm, while facilitating pleasant and secure travel for cyclists and motorists alike. Ending on a lighter note, Albert shares how the outdoor point of view of the cyclist is fundamentally different and, arguably, more enjoyable than of the driver inside a vehicle.   

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Craft Service - Josie & Filomena Grossi

Episode #110 - Louis March

July 16, 2018
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It's not unusual to hear that "Toronto the Good" is no longer, as many perceive the city as having a high crime rate that makes it unsafe. This perception, however true, has been reinforced by the swell of gun violence in Toronto this year, sadly responsible for the death of 20 people so far.

Dr. Paul Salvatori talks with Toronto anti-gun violence advocate and founder of "Zero Gun Violence Movement", Louis March, about the worrying increase, already being compared to the city's notorious "Year of the Gun" (2005). Going beyond the typical headlines and sound bites that characterize much of the reportage of Toronto's gun violence, Louis and Dr. Paul explore its deeper sociological and psychological reasons, as well as constructive ways of remedying it.

Taking issue with misguided "narratives", often employed by politicians that oversimplify and condemn gun violence as the result of gang warfare, Louis is adamant about the need for diverse community stakeholders--from residents to policy makers--to create a new and more accurate narrative, sensitive to the hopelessness and despair that brings about gun violence. This is the first step to a compassionate and viable approach to help people, especially young men, escape lives where they feel forced to pick up the gun, lest they jeopardize their survival or "honour."   

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #109 - Dr. Brian Goldman

July 2, 2018
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Most of us appreciate receiving kindness. After all, it reminds us we matter. But actually showing kindness requires going beyond ourselves and that can be difficult.

Dr. Paul Salvatori talks to Dr. Brian Goldman, emergency room physician and radio host, about his recent book, The Power of Kindness: Why Empathy Is Essential in Everyday Life, and what—in the process of writing that book—he discovered it takes to be kind in an increasingly impersonal world. As Dr. Goldman illuminates, stress and other difficult pressures we face therein make it tempting not to be kind, such that we easily become selfish and fail, as it were, to put ourselves in the shoes of others. Nonetheless, the potential or capacity for kindness is inherent in us all and when we successfully manage to exercise it, we, and the world around us, is ultimately better for it.

Learn more about Dr. Brian Goldman, including his own podcast—White Coat, Black Art—on the hidden side of hospital life, here.

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #108 - Brownie Points (Bonus Episode)

July 1, 2018
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Dr. Paul Salvatori narrates a conversation between two friends, Kinza Ansari and Hibah Salaria, who attend the same Toronto high school. The pair candidly discuss the challenges they’ve had to face growing-up “brown”, namely South Asian, in Western society and the associated—and often unfair—expectations others have for them in terms of gender, race and family. Their conversation illuminates that, though each of us desires to be unique, “fitting-in” is central to a healthy sense of identity and belongingness. Without it, we don’t feel complete.

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CREDITS

Producers - Dr. Paul Salvatori & Kinza Ansari

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #107 - Flat Earth Vegan: Ryan Oats

June 25, 2018
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Centuries ago the Earth was believed to be flat. In fact, it was heresy to think otherwise. Throughout years of expedition and exploration we have since deemed the truth to be that there is a curvature to the planet which ultimately renders it spherical. This, along with the various imagery provided by space agencies such as NASA have conjured an unshakable notion that the Earth is indeed round. But what if the information we have all come to accept as truth was not entirely so? What if the world was indeed flat and the powers that be have merely led us to believe falsified information? According to “flat earth vegan” Ryan Oats, this is exactly what has been going on.

Jordan Randall speaks with Ryan Oats, a Flat Earth Theory activist, a vegan and musician. Citing Eric Dubay as one of his main sources, Oats describes the “flat earth” as just one of the many lies being perpetuated by world leaders.

Find out more about Eric Dubay here: http://www.ericdubay.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwgGxgY3Wff8dnz2fv65fHw

And be sure to check out Ryan Oats’ YouTube channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/ChromaKeyCriminals

Episode #106 - The Peterson Files: Debut

June 20, 2018
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In this debut of an exclusive audio series, "The Peterson Files", Dr. Paul Salvatori--producer of and interviewer on The Dark Room--explores important and at times controversial ideas of the well-known clinical psychologist and University of Toronto professor, Dr. Jordan B Peterson. Dr. Peterson was an impressive interview guest on The Dark Room almost two years ago, prior to the major swell in his international popularity with the release of his recent book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

Returning to key insights made by Dr. Peterson in the interview, Dr. Salvatori delves further into the philosophical truth they reveal and deserving greater attention than the interview (time wise) allowed, while suggesting their moral and practical value in guiding human behaviour. In the first of "The Peterson Files", Dr. Salvatori does so with respect to Dr. Peterson's views on freedom of speech and evil.

For more information on "The Peterson Files" and to send your feedback on the new series, contact Dr. Salvatori at paulsalvatori@sympatico.ca

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori & Peter Bull

Additional Content - Dr. Jordan B Peterson

Episode #105 - The Fellows: International Neurosurgeons

June 15, 2018
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The brain is a mystery, historically eluding learned scientists, philosophers and other great thinkers. Even today, it seems, doctors responsible for its care still haven't totally figured it out.  

Exploring this, Paul speaks with four young neurosurgeons from around the world. They are (left to right in episode photo): Miguel Marigil from Spain, Claire Karekezi from Rwanda, Carlos Valasquez from Honduras and Joao de Almedia from Brazil. The surgeons are also known as "fellows", short for the Toronto-based "fellowships" they are undertaking in their field of medicine and which are highly specialized mentorships. Together, they address the personal and professional challenges of being a neurosurgeon, the exceptional duty of care they have to their patients and cultural differences in the practice of medicine between their home country and Canada.  

Special thanks to Dr. Fred Gentili and his wife Gina for helping bring the participants, otherwise far apart geographically, of this rare and important episode together. Learn more about the University of Toronto neurosurgical program, in which Dr. Gentili and the fellows are involved, here.

Episode #104 - How Sex and Guns “Hook-Up”: Jooyoung Lee

June 6, 2018
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What does understanding those involved in online dating and gun violence have in common? Exploring the possibility of this unlikely connection, Paul talks to Jooyoung Lee, professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, about how "ethnography" allows us to enter the life-worlds of individuals and ultimately see things from their unique, though sometimes morally difficult, point of view.

 Drawing from his recent work on the mental and physical challenges of gunshot survivors, as well as the popular course he offers, "Sex in the 6ix", about Toronto's complicated (and at times dangerous) dating scene, Jooyoung illuminates that to truly know people, you must spend time with them. Their essence can never be captured from afar. Venturing outside of the classroom, as Jooyoung encourages his students, is necessary to do that.  

 Learn more about Jooyoung here

Episode #103 - Doing Photography the “Old” Way: Vincenzo Pietropaolo, Bob Lansdale and Clint Hryhorijiw

May 25, 2018
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The Dark Room Unofficial Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Special

Welcoming this year's Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, Paul talks with documentary photographer, Vincezo Pietropaolo, and Bob Lansdale and Clint Hryhorijiw of the Photographic Historical Society of Canada, about the fading art of pre-digital photography. Central to the discussion is whether the proliferation of cameras, namely the smartphone variety, is helping produce better or mediocre photography, as well as what overlooked advantages doing photography the "old" way (i.e. with a film camera) there are for both the photographer and their art. Moreover, the group explores the ethics of photography--not bound to any particular era--and the value and importance of respecting them, especially in documenting difficult social and other realities.

Episode #102 - Survivor of Early Childhood Sexual Abuse: Chris

May 21, 2018
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The content of this cast is upsetting. Listener discretion is advised.

Paul talks to "Chris", 31, a survivor of early childhood sexual abuse, primarily at the hands of his biological parents and in a seemingly ordinary, suburban community. In this difficult episode, Chris, for the first time publicly, speaks about what happened during the abuse, the immense challenge of both physically and psychologically escaping it and why, in the process, he has come to reject the idea of himself as a "victim." Rather contentiously, Chris is adamant that--no matter how bad your circumstances--the inability to achieve a desirable future ultimately amounts to personal failure.

Episode #101 - Mother’s Day Special 2018

May 13, 2018
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Dr. Paul Salvatori talks with a panel of insightful and courageous mothers-- Samra Zafar, Joanne Charmet and Michelle Alfano-- about the rewards and challenges of motherhood. The mothers share their lived experiences of strained familial relationships, balancing work and professional life and undying love for their children. Exploring areas often left out of mainstream discussion about Mother's Day, the roundtable brings to light difficult though praiseworthy aspects of motherhood, speaking to the strength required therein. Learn more about Samra at samrazafar.com and Michelle's powerful memoir, The Unfinished Dollhouse, about raising her transgender son here. Special thanks to the wonderful staff at the Toronto Public Library for sponsoring and helping make this roundtable possible.
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CREDITS
Producers - Dr. Paul Salvatori, Gina Fabiano, Angeline Pizzirusso
Co-Producer & Online Media Manager - Robyn Lewis
Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori
Sound Editor - Peter Bull
Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #100 - Season 2 Wrap-Up

April 2, 2018
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On this final episode of Season 2 of The Dark Room, Paul and Jordan talk about their experiences during the past year of podcasting, what emotions and feeling they were left with. The Dark Room will be returning for Season 3 later on in the year and to fill in the gap we will be debuting some of the new shows that we've been working on! We'd like to thank all of our listeners for your continued support! The show wouldn't be much without you guys! Be sure to visit www.thedarkroom.ca to keep up to date with our new projects as they are released!

Episode #99 - The Perils of Privilege: Phoebe Maltz Bovy

February 13, 2018
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Depending on who you ask, people will give you a different reply as to who is the most privileged in our society. But as of late, "privilege" itself is commonly used to refer to someone's unearned advantages, making it easy for them to overlook or be indifferent to the plight of the less fortunate.

Paul and Jordan talk to social critic and writer, Phoebe Maltz Bovy, about this understanding of "privilege" and whether it lends itself to properly addressing and ultimately eliminating social injustice, such as racism and sexism. She reveals how attacking people on the basis of their privilege, as when telling them it renders them ignorant, divides people and makes ending oppression more difficult. In Phoebe's view, both the privileged and non-privileged can, as allies, play a direct role in making the world a fairer place.

Learn more about Phoebe and her recent book, The Perils of "Privilege"here.

Episode #98 - Orlando Da Silva

January 30, 2018
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We often think of lawyers as embodying a warrior spirit, invulnerable to pain. Tough as nails, they, unlike the rest of us, do not “hurt” within.  

Paul talks to seasoned lawyer and award-winning mental health advocate, Orlando Da Silva, about what is more accurate: pervasive mental illness within the legal profession. While opening up about his own struggle with depression, Orlando reveals the normalized but dangerous pressures of the profession, such as continually sacrificing time with loved ones, and which sadly led him to attempt suicide. However, reflecting his personal strength and courage, Orlando remains committed to promoting better mental health among lawyers, concerned more about happiness than advancing their careers.

Learn more about Orlando here.

Episode #97 - Modern Whore: Andrea Werhun

January 8, 2018
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Prostitution is considered to be the "world's oldest profession", yet it remains taboo in many parts of the world. For some, however, it is life-affirming.  

Paul and Jordan talk to former escort, Andrea Werhun, and advocate for the differently abled, Paul Swartz, about the value and importance of sex work. Beyond the physical, Andrea and Paul reveal how such work provides clients with emotional and psychological fulfillment, central to a meaningful life and which may be otherwise wholly absent from the client's own. The group also discusses the continued struggle for the decriminalization of sex work in Canada, especially the unnecessary moral and religious barriers that hinder its progress.  

Learn more about Andrea, including her recently published book, Modern Whore: A Memoir, at modernwhore.com and Paul here. In addition to being a seasoned real estate agent, Paul is the subject of Short on Short, a documentary by co-hosts Paul and Jordan, on the difficulty of being a small statured man.

Episode #96 - Hip-Hop in the 6ix

January 2, 2018
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Long before the “6 God” Drake, Toronto has had a thriving hip-hop scene. Since the 1980s, early Toronto rappers such as Maestro Fresh Wes, Michie Mee and Kardinal Offishall, have been testimony to the city’s impressive talent and paved the way for other hip-hop artists to shine--locally and abroad.   

Exploring Toronto’s hip-hop scene, Paul and Jordan talk to a diverse and insightful group: emcees Mindbender and Leo Noir, DJ Mike Stoan and hip-hop scholar Ola Mohammed. The group candidly discuss what is unique and distinctive about Toronto hip-hop itself, how Drake--as one of the most accomplished rappers in recent memory--has significantly changed hip-hop in the city and barriers to success that exist for up-and-coming Toronto hip-hop artists.

Stay tuned early 2018 for "Memories of a Bender", an exclusive The Dark Room mini-series featuring stories about the underside of Toronto's hip-hop scene.

Episode #95 - A Mortician’s Tale: Gabby DaRienzo

December 13, 2017
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We are accustomed to viewing video games as unnecessarily violent, containing graphic depictions of death. Some, however, are spinning death in a new light. 

Paul and Jordan talk to video game developer, Gabby DaRienzo, about her recent creation, A Mortician's Tale. It is a video game that requires the player--as a funeral director--to both care for the business and emotional side of death, from preparing the bodies of the deceased to comforting the bereaved. Though seemingly dark, the game, Gabby shares, is deemed "death positive," helping people talk more openly and comfortably about death. 

Follow Gabby on Twitter @gabdar

Episode #94 - Imprisoned Innocence: Ken Klonsky & David McCallum

November 28, 2017
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Laws are in place to protect the innocent from being punished. But what happens when those entrusted to uphold them, do the opposite?

Paul and Jordan talk to David McCallum, imprisoned 29 years for a crime he did not commit, and Ken Klonsky, pivotal to his eventual release, about the events surrounding David's wrongful conviction and the unfair justice system responsible for it. Exploring how much has changed since, the four delve into important issues of race, false confessions, and the right to a fair trial. As David and Ken reveal, though wrongful convictions still persist, we--as concerned citizens--can help end them by holding governments legally accountable.

Learn more about David and Ken here.