The Dark Room
Coping with COVID: Call for Guests

Coping with COVID: Call for Guests

May 18, 2020

How are you coping with COVID-19? Is there a personal story, related to that, you'd like share--from dealing with isolation and loneliness to fears over the pandemic itself--that might help others amid this difficult time?

If so, Dr. Paul would love to talk with you about the possibility of being a guest on The Dark Room. He can be reached at paulsalvatori@sympatico.ca 

 

Episode #121 - Fourth Annual Maria Salvatori Mother’s Day Special: Exploring motherhood and the troubling practice of skin lightening with Professor Nikki Khanna

Episode #121 - Fourth Annual Maria Salvatori Mother’s Day Special: Exploring motherhood and the troubling practice of skin lightening with Professor Nikki Khanna

May 11, 2020

The idea that a mother's "love" made do more harm than good is certainly a difficult one, especially when that love reflects a prevalent cultural norms. 

Addressing this, Dr. Paul speaks with Professor Nikki Khanna (University of Virginia) about how mothers within the Asian-American community, as much of elsewhere in the non-Western world, influence or pressure their daughters to physically lighten their skin.

It's also one of the main themes in Professor Khanna's recent book, Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism, where she--and the voices of several Asian American female authors--illuminate the big business of skin lightening products and how, through propaganda-like imagery and advertising, it perpetuates the racist myth that the whiter you are, the more "value" you have as a person. 

Learn more about Professor Khanna here. You may also purchase Whiter here.

Special thanks to journalist and social justice advocate, Ayesha Khan, for her guidance in the preparation of this episode.

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #120 - Exploring the unsettling rise of “influencer” culture with Tatum Dooley

Episode #120 - Exploring the unsettling rise of “influencer” culture with Tatum Dooley

April 27, 2020

Have you been persuaded by an “influencer”? Do you really know?

Dr. Paul talks to Toronto-based journalist and art curator, Tatum Dooley, about the rise of influencers, namely popular individuals online selling what appears to be a “natural” or “ordinary” part of their lives, and how they are pairing—through agencies like Toronto’s #paid—to with trendy brands to strategically push their products.   

Bearing on the power of images and art, the discussion explores how ethical influencer marketing is and to what extent audiences can make informed choices as to whether to buy from them, thereby having the opportunity to resist the allure of advertising. 

Learn more about Tatum here.

You can also read her engaging pieces, discussed in this episode, on influencer culture at The Walrus (“We’ll All Be Social Media Sell Outs Soon”) and  Real Life (“Cost of Simplicity”).

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

 

 

Episode #119 - Anti-Gun Violence Advocate & Therapist - Rev. Sky Starr

Episode #119 - Anti-Gun Violence Advocate & Therapist - Rev. Sky Starr

November 14, 2019

As gun violence continues to rise in Toronto, many are divided as to what the “proper” response to ending it should be. For some, it’s a tough-on-crime approach that focuses on legally disciplining, as through incarceration, perpetrators of gun violence. For others, like Rev. Sky Starr, it involves being sensitive and responsive to the needs of communities, especially those directly affected by such violence.

In this episode, Dr. Paul Salvatori speaks with Rev. Sky about how she first became involved in compassionate efforts to end gun violence, her continuing work—within and beyond Toronto's Jane and Finch community—to help others heal in its traumatic aftermath and the role spirituality can play in governments better ensuring safe communities while respecting the rights and dignity of all.  

Learn more about Rev. Sky and Out of Bounds—the grief and trauma support group of which she’s both founder and executive director—here. Further info on the “Community Interfaith Remembrance” event, hosted by Out of Bounds and discussed by Rev. Sky in this episode, can be accessed there as well.  

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

 

Episode #118 - Former Ontario Premier & Social Justice Advocate - Kathleen Wynne

Episode #118 - Former Ontario Premier & Social Justice Advocate - Kathleen Wynne

September 20, 2019

Dr. Paul Salvatori speaks with former Ontario Premier and current provincial Member of Parliament, Kathleen Wynne, about how the progressive and social-minded politician entered politics, the activist outlook and philosophy that has guided her throughout her career and even the place of love in the often combative world of politics. As might be expected given the media attention it’s received, the discussion does not shy away from the controversial Ontario sex-ed curriculum Kathleen introduced while Premier. Shedding new light, Kathleen shares how the curriculum was first developed, how she handles the harsh pushback it still receives and, perhaps most importantly, the essential role it plays in the care and education of young people.

Thank you to Wendy Weston, Kathleen’s assistant, for helping coordinate this episode of The Dark Room.  

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Book Launch - Cathy Crowe’s “A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse”

Book Launch - Cathy Crowe’s “A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse”

August 28, 2019

Live talk and discussion with tireless homeless advocate, educator, writer and recipient of the Order of Canada, Cathy Crowe, about her recently published book, A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse. Hosted at Eastminister United Church (Toronto), Cathy reads from the book—providing a window into her beginnings as a social justice nurse—followed by an intriguing conversation, alongside Anna Willats, on the difficult challenges and rewards fighting homelessness in Canada.  

Special thanks to Another Story Bookshop for organizing the event. You can learn more about and purchase Cathy’s book here.   

The Dark Room Unscripted #5 - Anger: The Pain Behind Gun Violence Pt. 2

The Dark Room Unscripted #5 - Anger: The Pain Behind Gun Violence Pt. 2

August 28, 2019

Why it's important to understand the role anger, closely associated with pain, plays in fueling gun and other forms of violence, as well as the perpetrator's perspective--without endorsing or promoting it. Find "Sins of the Father: How Abuse at Home Led Me into the Criminal Underworld", Vito's story mentioned in the cast, here: https://bit.ly/2KFIvEf 

Episode #117 - Mixed-Media Artist - Carlo Polidoro Lopez

Episode #117 - Mixed-Media Artist - Carlo Polidoro Lopez

August 26, 2019

As the well-known proverb goes, “one man’s art is another one’s treasure”. This may aptly be applied to Montreal-based artist, Carlo Polidoro Lopez, whose daring work is literally made up with garbage, also characterizing its beauty and originality. 

Dr. Paul talks with Carlo, alongside his son, Alex, about his work and how it began in adult life rather than as a a “wonder child”. Defying traditional Western aesthetics, Carlo’s non-linear work—blending a smorgasbord of colour and texture—invites the viewer to rethink what it means to be creative. For Carlo this involves drawing from both his personal and collective past, as a multiethnic Canadian, while giving form to raw thoughts and feelings as they occur to him in the very process of making art.  

View Carlo’s most recent work on Instagram. You can also learn more about Carlo on his website.  

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

The Dark Room Unscripted #4 - Loving Our Way out of Loneliness

The Dark Room Unscripted #4 - Loving Our Way out of Loneliness

August 22, 2019

Recently, some have suggested a pill could be the solution to the "loneliness epidemic". Dr. Paul instead entertains how altruistic love, namely putting others before ourselves, might be the healthier and better solution. It might also prevent tragedies like the recent death of Carson Cremini, in British Columbia, from happening too. 

The Dark Room Unscripted #3 - Be Honest

The Dark Room Unscripted #3 - Be Honest

August 20, 2019

A recent story about why it's important to be honest in today's freelance or "gig" economy not only to be ethical in business but promote a more trusting, socially cohesive world. 

The Dark Room Unscripted #2 - Young Men and Violence

The Dark Room Unscripted #2 - Young Men and Violence

August 11, 2019

Why young men become violent when they feel they don't matter and how healthy bonding can prevent that, as well as what we--as a society--can do to be part of that patient and caring process. 

The Dark Room Unscripted - The Pain Behind Gun Violence

The Dark Room Unscripted - The Pain Behind Gun Violence

August 6, 2019

In the wake of a high number of shootings in Toronto this past long-weekend, as well as the mass shootings in the United States that took place during the same time, Dr. Paul Salvatori shares a brief word on the need to address the pain behind gun violence in order to better understand and end it, while encouraging respectful face-to-face dialogue (offline) as the means through which this can occur. 

This is the first episode of "The Dark Room Unscripted", featuring off-the-cuff reflections by Dr. Paul. In keeping with the topic of this episode, "Too Young for a Funeral"--a recent song by Dr. Paul (under the artist name "Salvatori")--follows the discussion. 

 

Episode #116 - Third Annual Maria Salvatori Mother’s Day Special: Alison Irons & Kelly Whetter (Anti-Gun Violence Advocates)

Episode #116 - Third Annual Maria Salvatori Mother’s Day Special: Alison Irons & Kelly Whetter (Anti-Gun Violence Advocates)

May 9, 2019

In honour of the Third Annual Maria Salvatori Mother's Day Special, Dr. Paul Salvatori talks with Alison Irons and Kelly Whetter. The two mothers courageously share their difficult journey of having each lost a child to gun violence and how that tragedy has motivated them, together and as individuals, to create a safer, less deadly world. Though words alone can never do justice to the pain of losing a child to gun violence, Alison and Kelly reveal that such pain does not automatically condemn one to despair. Rather, as Alison and Kelly's determination show, it can be transformed into remarkable strength, allowing one to support others in similar hardship while challenging us to rethink the conditions that bring about senseless killings. Learn more about Alison and Kelly's anti-gun violence advocacy and group, Communities for Zero Violence, here. You can also learn about Kelly's anti-gun violence foundation, Gabe's Read Balloon Foundation, here.

This episode is in memory of Alison's daughter, Lindsay Wilson, and Kelly's son, Gabriel Nikov, whose lives were cut all too short by gun violence.

Special thanks to anti-gun violence advocates, Louis March (Zero Gun Violence Movement) and Chris Glover (Toronto MPP), for helping make this episode possible.        

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #114 - Documenting Jordan Peterson: Patricia Marcoccia and Maziar Ghaderi

Episode #114 - Documenting Jordan Peterson: Patricia Marcoccia and Maziar Ghaderi

November 13, 2018

On the cusp of his rise to international popularity, controversial University of Toronto professor, Jordan Peterson, visited the The Dark Room. Illuminating as he was on a wide array of philosophical topics, some of which reveal a deeply troubling side to our humanity, there was no mention by him about an important documentary that was being about him at the time. 

Paul talks to Toronto filmmakers, Patricia Marcoccia and Maziar Ghaderi, about making that documentary, Shut Him Down: The Rise of Jordan Peterson, which premiered on CBC this month. The film present viewers with what life has been like for Peterson amid the major backlash he's received as a vocal opponent of political correctness, while also shining a light on his critics, especially the transgender community, who believe he is promoting hatred. Sensitive to differing points of view, the film shies away from being an apology or justification for either side. Rather, as Patricia and Maziar suggest, Shut Him Down invites viewers to thinking critically about the heated divisions along ideological lines Peterson's presence has created and, perhaps, a way of civilly resolving or managing them. 

Watch Shut Him Down (currently only available to stream in Canada) here. You can also learn more about and follow Patricia and Maziar's documentary work, via the follow site:

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #113 - Prison Reformer: Howard Sapers

Episode #113 - Prison Reformer: Howard Sapers

August 13, 2018

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

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

August 9, 2018

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

Episode #111 - Albert Koehl

July 28, 2018

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

Episode #110 - Louis March

July 16, 2018

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

Episode #109 - Dr. Brian Goldman

July 2, 2018

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)

Episode #108 - Brownie Points (Bonus Episode)

July 1, 2018

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