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Showing posts from 2008

Merry Christmas!

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by good ol' Giotto

Happy Advent 4

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Happy Advent 3

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Happy Advent 2

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Three Chains and a Light Bulb

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Photo credit: Greg Henkenhaf – left to right – R.H. Thomson, David Ferry and Ryan Hollyman Do you think that a cell and three hostages could be good entertainment of a Saturday night? That's what Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, Frank McGuinness' play, is about and it is a tribute to the craft of Thomson, Ferry and Hollyman. The play is loosely based on a real story, but that's not what makes it successful. These three don't have costumes or sets or props to prop them up, as it were, for two hours: the energy and credibility have to come from them alone, and they are superb at it. It's the kind of piece you don't want to end (for your sake, not the characters'!). You can still catch the production, directed by Tegan Shohet, at the Berkeley (Upstairs) this week; see last week's posting for details or go to http://www.watchovermeshow.com/

Dr. Atomic

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I saw the Met Opera's HD broadcast of Dr. Atomic by composer John Adams and librettist Peter Sellars, and while I am already partial to modern opera, it was one of my favourite opera experiences to date. This is the story of JR Oppenheimer and his emotional response to his involvment with the Trinity test of the first atomic bomb in 1945. The music is out of this world and the libretto is so moving--from documentary sources as well as poetry, such as John Donne's. What might strike one as a potentially dry subject was incredibly poignant and hard-hitting simultaneously. Everything about the production was excellent, too: costumes, casting (esp Gerald Findley as the protagonist) and particularly the sets. The Met seems to do a lot of tiering in their opera sets, which I find appealing and flexible in interpretation. This was the encore presentation of the simulcast, but try and catch it in the future--exactly what modern opera should be!

Sasha Ivanochko

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Photo by Solomon Krueger
Dancemakers presents Sasha Ivanochko's world premiere solo The future memory of heartbreak junction this week from December 11 to 13th at 8pm at the Dancemakers Centre for Creation (Distillery's Cannery Bold 58 Ste 313). This dancer, teacher and choreographer created her own dance company, blackandblue dance projects in 2005, and is busy with projects and new commissions. You can catch this artist for $22/$18 by calling 416 367 1800 or at http://www.dancemakers.org/.

Happy Advent 1

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Do yourself and the world a favour: go to http://buynothingchristmas.org/



More Relevant than Ever

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Photo: Greg Henkenhaf This week sees the opening of Someone Who'll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuinness, starring (L to R) R.H. Thomson, David Ferry and Ryan Hollyman and directed by Tegan Shohet. Spanning the full emotional spectrum, this piece is about the relationship among three hostages in Lebanon. You can catch this illustrious cast from December 4th to 13th, Monday to Saturday at 8pm with an additional matinee on Saturday at 2pm. Tickets are $15/30 (PWYC Monday) via 416 368 3110 or via www.canstage.com. It runs at the Berkeley Street Theatre (Upstairs), 26 Berkeley St.. Ck out more about the play here.

True Love Lost and Found

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Photo: Isabel Gomez-Moriana Five minutes of hooting good operatic fun! If you didn't see its premiere screened by Tapestry New Opera, you can catch The Perfect Match on tv. Written by Krista Dalby and composed by Anthony Young, it originated in the 2006 Composer-Librettist Laboratory that has been touted here previously. This mini opera will be airing on an upcoming episode of "Bravo!FACT Presents" at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT, Sunday 30 November 2008 on Bravo!
The episode will be re-run at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT Friday 5 December on Bravo and many other stations and times across the country. Ck Tapestry New Opera's website for other listings.
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, (Michel Gondry, 2004), is surely cult film material if I ever saw one: move over Dark Side of the Rainow and RHPS! This is a quirky, clever movie along the lines of Being John Malkovich (1999) and I suspect you either love it or hate it. I, obviously, loved it or it wouldn't be posted here. (I do tend to politely not mention books, concerts etc that I didn't like). It's got a good cast, Kate Winslet finally sheds her Titanic/Rose role while taking up an American accent and blue hair, and Jim Carrey is his typical wonderful self. It is very easy to dismiss him if you think only of Pet Ventura or even Cable Guy (no links there....), but he is able to deliver some pretty touching performances. (One of my favourite films that I watch from a Christian perspective is The Truman Show, or even Simon Birch). I understand his personal life has shaped him artistically. ANYHOW, this is 128 minutes you won't feel are wasted. As long as you are…

Esprit Orchestra Season Opener

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Esprit Orchestra is Canada’s only orchestra devoted exclusively to performing new orchestral music and developing a legacy of Canadian orchestral music. Founded by composer/conductor Alex Pauk (above) in 1983, Esprit Orchestra is comprised of a core of 45 dedicated musicians with the special skills required to perform contemporary orchestral music. Esprit commissions and premieres new works each season. Their opening concert of the season, Inspired by Traditions, has been specially designed to appeal to listeners who might be new to them although there is much to appreciate by Esprit's regular audiences. The programme features pieces linked to earlier traditions in music and provides a jumping off point into new, more adventurous musical terrain. Alex Pauk will conduct the program which features pianist Andrew Burashko and violinist Marie Bérard, Concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.
Inspired by Traditions includes John Adams’ exhilarating Short Ride in a Fast Mach…

Hot Button or Thinking Man's Issue?

I'm likin' this website and its accompanying blog and facebook page more and more. Check out Art Lessons from God: Stuff You'll Never Discuss in Art Class! and in particular this page. The 5 Steps starts with this: 1) Ask yourself, “What’s the last artistic thing that I know for sure, without a doubt, that God directed me to complete?” They have an interesting thing going about Christian artists and whether they should do tatoo art on their facebook at the moment. I, of course, had to put in my two cents' worth...

for photographers and nostalgics

Here is a sentimental look at America's past through old photos done with the emerging Kodachrome. Just make sure you turn the volume down before hitting the link.
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Photo: Bruce Zinger / Amanda Pabyan, Frédéric Antoun, Curtis Sullivan, Lawrence Wiliford, Carla Huhtanen in Opera Atelier's production of The Abduction from the Seraglio Can you imagine the fun of traditional panto married to the music of Mozart and still in control of artistic integrity? Opera Atelier does not disappoint: they manage to present all this in The Abduction from the Seraglio, with four languages to boot! Last night's opening of this latest presentation by Opera Atelier was an interesting meld of genres. Certainly, audience members included people from different arts such as Robert Cooper, Veronica Tennant and Michael Maniaci (who returns to OA in April for The Coronation of Poppea!). Tenor Lawrence Wiliford stole the slapstick/physical comedy category with his Pedrillo, while bass Gustav Andreassen (Osmin) and bass-baritone Curtis Sullivan (Pasha Selim) were entertaining Turks in their own right. And, as usual, Carla Huhtanen played Blondie with a finesse that mak…

Eyegasm

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from cbc.ca/arts:
A renovation of the University of Toronto reading room has revealed architectural details hidden for almost a century.
Diamond and Schmitt Architects discovered carved wooden trusses, rafters and a dramatic glass skylight while renewing the heritage wing of the Gerstein Science Information Centre.
"No one at the university could remember the ceiling ever being exposed," said Gary McCluskie, a principal at the firm.
The ceiling was covered up during a renovation in the early 1900s when metal bracing was installed to support the trusses. McCluskie said he believes the bracing was covered up because it was considered unattractive.A false ceiling had covered the carvings and a skylight for many years. (Diamond and Schmitt)
In the redesign of the Gerstein Reading Room, architects integrated the bracing into their ceiling design, exposing the woodwork and skylight.
The ceiling was in remarkable condition despite being hidden for decades. The neo-gothic carved woodwork …

Gallery Recom

From Robert Hengeveld comes this announcement about Marcia Huyer's opening at DeLeon White gallery this coming Thursday, November 6th from 8-11pm. Check out both their websites for cool stuff going on.

Cool Branding

Check out my favourite theoblogger, David Barker and his new website! Ya even get a free poem every month! I'm 99.9999% certain he doesn't sleep (based on all the stuff he does on top of being a lawyer). Yay David!

Jesus costume gets child sent home from school

Friday, October 31, 2008 BY KATIE O'CONNELL

A Paramus, N.J. eighth-grader was sent home from school today and told to change out of his costume: They deemed Jesus Christ inappropriate.“We're a little stupified by this whole thing,” said the boy's mother, Kim Woinski.Jesus Christ was “one of the greatest men that ever lived," she added. "If he went as Abe Lincoln would they say he couldn't do that?"Alex Woinski, who already has shoulder-length brown hair, donned a long white robe with a red sash, a fake beard, sandals and a crown of thorns.“They would have let him wear the costume, but he had to get rid of the crown of thorns and the beard,” Woinski said.In order to do that, she said, Woinski had to leave work and pick her son up from West Brook Middle School so he could go home and shower.Woinski said other students who had inappropriate costumes were able to simply turn their shirts inside out or take off any offensive pieces. Superintendent James Montes…

Happily, Not an Amber Alert

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It's Opera Atelier season again......and it's Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio running November 8, 9, 11, 12, 14 and 15th at the Elgin at 7:30/ 3pm for the matinee on the 9th. This production features Frederic Antoun, Amanda Pabyan and Gustav Andreassen, includes one of my faves, Carla Huhtanen (thank you God) and of course is directed by Marshall Pynkoski and choreographed by Jeannette Lajeunesse-Zingg. German libretto will be surtexted. Tickets to this luscious event are a bargain $30 to $135, or $20 if you're a young'un, i.e. under 30. Go to their site or call TicketMaster at 416 872 5555. I can't wait!!!

An Open Invitation to Madonna

Hey, Madge, just wanted to invite you over for a drink and a natter. I hear you have comments about EQ. So do I. Let's talk. V.

Lux Mundi Call for Artists

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Banner by Jan Neal, ECVA Exhibitions Director Episcopal Church and Visual Arts is putting out a call for artists' submissions on the theme of the Light of the World or Lux Mundi, for us Latinists, as we approach the season expressing for that which is longed for, Advent. The deadline is November 1st. Go to the ECVA website for submission details. Previous exhibitions are online also.

De-Stress THEN go to Chill at Jazz Vespers

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Stressed out? CCDP is offering an evening with Dr. Helen Rosemary Meier, Staff Psychiatrist at the St. Joseph's Health Centre, on Wednesday October 29th from 7-9pm. She will discuss life transitions and relationship changes, including 'acceptance through understanding ' as a means to contributing to resilience. Refreshments will follow.
Then, once you've put your new skills into practice for a few days, go to Jazz Vespers on Sunday November 2nd at 4:30. This week features the Mark Eisenman Trio: Mark on piano, John Sumner on drums and Steve Wallace on bass.

It Hardly Needs Advertising But.....

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The 33rd Annual Book Sale at Trinity College, UofT
is coming up Friday October 24th to Tuesday October 28th (ck site for various hours and when admission is charged). 6 Hoskin Ave. 46 978.6750. A great event for those of us who are thin. Read: it's extremely crowded. However, you can get a year's worth of reading for under $50. If anyone sees a Lewis and Short Latin Dictionary (about 6 inches thick, regular retail price $400+) please save it for me!!!! I've been going to this sale for 10 years trying to get a used one. Fun times, fun times.

Get Stuffed!

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Zach enters his school cafeteria hungry, but quickly finds out that today is not just another day at school.
Get Stuffed is a comic opera about serious decisions. The production features vocalizing vegetables along with a big helping of other opinionated edible characters, all competing to influence Zach’s daily diet. A new Canadian opera for young audiences, Get Stuffed is co-produced by Tapestry and Words in Motion, and has been developed in association with The Canadian Diabetes Association. After preview performances in the GTA in fall 2008, the opera will tour Ontario beginning spring 2009. This new work focuses on encouraging youth to make wholesome dietary choices. Written for 5 singing actors and 2 musicians, Get Stuffed is intended for family audiences and touring to schools. Set in the school cafeteria, Get Stuffed promotes environmentally-friendly, healthy food choices inspired by the Canada Food Guide, with special prominence for fruits and vegetables grown in Ontario. The …

Art Exhibit and Panel at UofT

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Co-sponsored by Imago, TST is hosting Till We Have Faces: Art & Theology in Dialogue An Exploration of the Human Countenance and the Sacred.
Exhibition hours are October 27 to November 14th, Mon-Fri 9-5pm at the Toronto School of Theology, 47 Queen's Park Cres. E, with an opening reception on Nov 4th from 4 to 6pm. There is a panel discussion, The Face in Art, Theology and Science on that evening from 6:30-8pm at St. Mike's; then next day there is a public lecture, Till We Have Faces: The Human Face in the History of Western Art also at St. Mike's.

If you can't laugh at yourself, you shouldn't be blogging

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from our friends at www.despair.com

BTW

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No, I haven't become computer illiterate overnight, and yes, I know my Facebook link and pages have a blank photo--that's intentional. It is part of a Facebook movement to remove our faces as symbols of an oft-neglected/ignored artistic community in Canada. We return to self-promotion after the election! If you want to do the same, join the group Faceless for the arts and support our point.

Cool Beginnings

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A very eclectic and original sounding cd, In Last Night's Party Clothes, belongs to The Roaring Girl Cabaret, a cool group of musicians who have put together a debut album, although their experience is not new and it shines through. The interesting thing about this cd is that it has something for everyone, as they say; there are so many music influences in it that everyone is bound to find something to their taste on it (if not everything), and it's many elements makes the whole self-propelling. I keep playing it, trying to nail it down to a particular description, but perhaps my inability to isolate or pigeon-hole it is indicative of its charm. If I am sounding annoyingly vague, it's my fault, not the Roaring Girls'. If you're looking for something creative and freeing, check out this beaut. If I find a word or phrase worthy of ascription to the cd, I'll let you know.

More CDs for your Christmas List

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Yes, it's not too early to start your Christmas shopping--then you can enjoy Advent instead of rushing around like a mad fool. Two cds which I recommend, from the Dorian Sono Luminus label, are Sweet Desire, 17th century sonatas from Chatham Baroque, and Fire Beneath My Fingers, featuring lots of Vivaldi and some of his contemporaries, by Musica Pacifica Baroque Ensemble. Gorgeous stuff to enjoy as you go to sleep or upright!

Jazz Vespers

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This evening service continues on October 19th at 4:30pm with the Alex Dean Trio. More info about the venue, Christ Church Deer Park, is available here.

Mayor's Arts Awards

The winners of the 2008 Toronto Arts Council Foundation Awards will be announced Friday October 17th at the mayor's Arts Awards Lunch downtown. Nominees include the organization SKETCH (art programming for street youth), David Fallis and Richard Underhill. The Regent Park School of Music choir, with Jackie Richardson, will perform under the direction of Wayne Strongman, artistic director of Tapestry New Opera. You can learn more about these awards at www.torontoarts.org/awards.html.

Tapestry Presents Opera Briefs 8

September 26 & 27 at 8pm, and September 28 at 3pm, Tapestry presents its annual season opener, a string of 5-minute rough cut gems, fresh from the Composer-Librettist Laboratory. Many of the works, created in less than 24 hours in the LibLab, have astounding power, humour, pathos, and skill. Our accessible short operas continue to be seen and heard in a number of unusual places and these forays into non-traditional, non-operatic spaces, are an effective way to showcase our company, our methods and the talents of all of our collaborators:
Writers:
David Brock
Spy Denomme-Welch
Ken Gass
Andrew Moodie
Composers:
J. Scott Brubacher
Theresa Connors
Jack Perla
Justine F. Chen
Director:
Tom Diamond
Music Directors:
Christopher Foley
Jennifer Tung
and
Singers:
Scott Belluz
Carla Huhtanen
Keith Klassen
Lauren Phillips
Justin Welsh
TICKET PRICES: $10 students & arts workers / $20 adults / $25 door
VENUE: The Ernest Balmer Studio at Tapestry, Distillery District, 55 Mill St. Bldg. 58, Studio 316. BOX OFFICE 41…
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Imago Evening

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photography - Paul Thuysbaert Brit Jason Carter plays the harp guitar--click here to see a cool video if you don't know what I mean. Imago is hosting an evening of his performance along with actor Daniel Jones as the opener on Friday October 3rd, 7:30 pm in Toronto. Tickets are $10 at the door of 21 Shaftsbury Ave but seating is limited. For more info, email imago@rogers.com.
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Artist friend Phil Irish's website has some news about a studio tour for the next two weekends, Sept 27/28 and Oct 4/5. Why not combine the trip with the quintessential and requisite Canadian pastime, going for a drive to see the fall foliage?

Cool Job posting

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My friends at Geez magazine have a wicked part time position available. Click here for the details.

It Was CRAZY!

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Monday night's cd release party was eponymously successful! The evening at the Gladstone began with a screening of I Furiosi's video Piangerofrom Handel's Julius Caesar, which I love more and more with every viewing. The fab 4 played two sets, the second starting with one of my favourite pieces they perform, Sonata Decima a Tre by Dario Castello (c.1590-1644). The Vivaldi was engrossing, too. Signing on with Dorian-Sono Luminuswas a very smart move: they are obviously very committed to I Furiosi, and I'm convinced this label will catapult the ensemble into the proverbial household nomenclature. A great way to launch their 10th anniversary. Normally I eschew celebrity and aggrandizement, but if I sound like a swooning fan, I'm pretty damn close. Probably because this group of musicians, for all their leather shtick, strikes me as being fiercely true to their artistic vision and not selling out to gain increased sales. I think Dorian is working with their branding an…

FINAL REMINDER--DON'T MISS OUT

CD Launch Party for CRAZY
by I FURIOSI Baroque Ensemble
Gabrielle McLaughlin, soprano
Aisslinn Nosky, violin
Julia Wedman, violin
Felix Deak, violoncello
the disc features guests:
Lucas Harris, lute and theorbo
James Johnstone, harpsichord
Stephanie Martin, organ

Monday, September 15th, 2008
Gladstone Hotel Ballroom
1214 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario
Doors open 7:30pm
Live performance 8:30
Admission:
$17/$10 at door
$25 admission plus CD at door
CDs $15
Advance tickets available at Dorian.com
Come celebrate the launch of this superb new disc with the ensemble,
food, alcohol and recording executives!
CHECK OUT THE NEW VIDEO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRiLJWs9k0w
and the facebook page

Film Recom

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I saw an excellent film the other day: Household Saints (Nancy Savoca, 1993) with the dishy Vincent d'Onofrio and Tracey Ullman, who surprised me with her performance (I had previously only regarded her, perhaps erroneously, as a comic actress). Here is yet another film that totally missed my radar, and I suspect it was because it dealt with faith and, more specifically, religion. Looking at the promo still, I wonder if it also suffered misleading coverage because the photo and bi-line (coupled with Tracey Ullman's name) suggest that it is a comedy, which it most certainly is not. I would put it in the Ordet camp. While it had its light moments, the story became very intense and the climax was a bit of a shock. If you are into movies about the role and power of faith, check this out. I was very glad to have found it.

Calendar Reminders

Just a few reminders about events on my facebook Beautiful Feet group calendar(click at the bottom of it to enlarge the view) about stuff going on at my churchthis coming week. [A caveat: thanks to the New Facebook (argh), there have been glitches on the group page, so if you go there and it's pretty much blank, click refresh and you should actually get some info!!].
Wednesday is our first Faith and Film night of the season at 7pm with Cry the Beloved Country, with Mr. Velvet Voice, James Earl Jones (yay).
Sunday the 21st we have Jazz Vespers again, starting at 4:30pm, this week with Lorne Lofsky & Rob Piltch on guitars. As our webiste says: This evening service of music has a reflective reading, prayers for our city and the world, and a jazzy congregational hymn! It is one of our most popular services - with wonderful music, and with some of the finest jazz artists in Canada, coming to CCDP.
The next night, Monday September 22nd, is our second gathering of Beautiful Feet ~ Care …
"When the woes of life o'ertake me, hopes deceive and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me......
towering o'er the wrecks of time".

~John Bowring 1792-1872

CD Recom: CRAZY!

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Crazy, by my fave people in leather I Furiosi, is their new cd of baroque music. This is icing to the cake of their previous cd's Defiled is My (Middle) Name (2005)-- I don't know which I like better! Produced by Dorian Sono Luminus, this record does have a different sound to it, but what is consistent is the ensemble's ability to draw the listener in as much through the technology as they do in live performances; I'm pretty sure I've seen them perform the first piece, Sonata Decima a 3 by Dario Castello (1590-1644), and the recorded version just sucks you right in. I'm not a huge fan of the inclusion of pieces that diverge from the original genre, but Leonard Cohen's Suzanne really works here. I Furiosi do that successfully in concert, too. They have guest artists, including the wonderful Stephanie Martin on organ, and I must say that Gabrielle McLaughlin is one of the few soprani I like to hear. Normally I find them grating, but she has such a different q…

This Just In......

I've plugged Jason Hildebrand's Prodigal Trilogy film before and now he is doing a performance of his play "Blue Like Jazz" on the 7th Toronto Alliance Church for an Art and Soul Cafe. It is a pay-what-you-can event. 602 Queen St. W (Upstairs) - that is at Queen St. W & Bathurst on the North-West corner. It is above the Mac Fab...Sept. 7/08 doors open at 7 and performance begins at 730. This will be awesome. Go to his site for more details.

Two Flicks and a Book

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This week I have 2 1/2 recoms for you. The first, a video of Kirk Douglas' Lust for Life (Vincente Minelli, 1956) is a bit lame, I suppose, but you gotta love these old movies where he or Charlton Heston are pronouncing God's name Gad. It's the story of Vincent Van Gogh's life, with perhaps some added melodrama to the already real drama of it. Ok for a free movie from the library. A dvd I finally got to see is Who the *#)^&@ is Jackson Pollock? (Harry Moses, 2006) about a feisty (if nothing else) 73 tough-mouthed truck driver from the States who lands a Jackson Pollock for $5, inadvertently obviously. It is the documentary of her attempts to have it provenanced and examines the Art World, with capital letters. I won't tell you the conclusion of the film. All I will say is that it is impartial in some parts, and I laughed my head off at the end. Delightful, with a grain of salt. But for sure, go watch Ed Harris in Pollock (Harris, 2000). The book I want to flog …

CD Release Party!

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I'm very excited to be going to a cd release party next week, Friday September 12th for The Roaring Girl Cabaret's In Last Night's Party Clothes. Recommended to me by a well-versed music friend, these girls have a very eclectic style--check out their myspace to hear some clips. $20 will get you the cd and admission (or $10 admission only) for doors-open at 8pm at St. Stephen-in-the-Fields, 103 Bellevue Ave TO. Call 647 341 2923 for more info.

Cool Organ--and that's just outside the building!

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FUNtain by Steve Mann at the Ontario Science Centre Thanks to an anonymous donor, my daughter and I recently went to the Science Centre for the first time in yonks, and were pleasantly surprised, as they say. This place is really hopping with new stuff and updates galore, not the least of which is the inclusion of more art, including the above piece, plus Michael Awad's and David Rokeby's Cloud inside. We had a blast in the Communication area, and noted the updates in other sections. Unlike many interactive museums one takes anticipatory kids to, we found that all the exhibits we wanted to use were in working order which was helpful! I like the direction the centre has taken over the last decade or so. It was also nice to see the ravine still untouched. Great outing. Check out details here.

Chasing Francis

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Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale is a novel in the genre of wisdom literature that embraces my own life theme: pilgrimage. Ian Morgan Cron, an Anglican priest, has written this completely endearing and accessible story about the protagonist's (read: our) postmodern pilgrimage alongside the historic St. Francis. It is one of my favourite books this year. One of the most appealing aspects of this ride is that it is 100% non-preachy, yet illuminates history and issues for the reader. There is also an EXCELLENT study guide at the back for personal reflection or group discussion. I can't speak highly enough about this book, available through Navpress (2006). I have recommended that the Anglican Book Centre carry it.

Lilith is Fair

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Just wanted to highlight Maihyet Burton's store Lilith as it has changed location since I last mentioned it. This funky clothing (et. al.) store is now in Studio 103 of the Case Goods Building of the Distillery District, 55 Mill St. And Buttoons buttons are still being carried there!
She and partner Denis Taman Bradette also have a very funky thing going on with the Warmings Project, part artistic endeavour, part environmental/social activism which assumes a post apocalyptic language and visual reference for Ontario should our land be decimated by our climatic abuses. They express this creatively through their photography and imagined mythology. I'll let her blogs express it better: "The hope is to voice the urgency of climate change through the development of a body of work that interconnects art, design, sustainability, education & literature....On 150 acres of scarred, previously clearcut land in Hunta, 100km north of Timmins, they plan to develop a Refuge for the C…

Eyeballing Candy

Two interesting cds to recom this week--one a tv program from a few years ago, one a film.
Finally got around to watching 4 episodes of ART 21, a (largely) great series about contemporary art. The episodes I saw covered structure, memory, power and other themes, and I only nodded off during two artist segments. I got very excited about the cartoonish (apologies to the artist--adjective doesn't do it justice) figures of Laylah Ali, the macro video installations of Krysztof Wodiczko, Roni Horn's photos, Ellen Gallagher's films, Oliver Herring's photos and was blown away by the collages of Arturo Herrera. So cool!
Then I watched an Argentinian film called El Hijo de la Novia, or Son of the Bride (Juan Jose Campanella, 2001) starring Ricardo Darrin. In the interest of creating a spoiler, I won't say too much about it except that it has as its theme--yes, my favourite--redemption! Even the subtitles were well produced, so that the humour translated well culturally. I seem…

One Hot, One Not

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copyright V.Wells 2008
I don't normally trash exhibits or events, but I am going to give a definitive thumbs down to a show I saw at the newly renovated Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art across from the ROM. Object Factory runs until Sept 7th: I was looking forward to this showcase of industrial ceramic design and found it largely (a) boring and/or (b) dumb. I thought two pieces were funky and original. The rest failed the test. Dejected, I went back downstairs to the regular exhibit of contemporary ceramics, only to find more of the same: again, two decent pieces. And the award-winning (as per newspapers/magazines) new shop fell short, too. Yawn. I went to this show during a free-admission timeslot and felt gypped!
However, the good ol' COC did not let me down. More specifically the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. (I do dislike naming arts centres after sponsoring companies, but we'll let that go for the moment). Ian Ritchie gave a solid hour-long tour of the buil…

Two CD Recoms

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Good stuff coming out of the cd press! Friday September 12th at 8pm sees a cd release concert for Roaring Girl Cabaret (see next week's blog) and i Furiosi return with a new season on Saturday October 4th. Their new cd, Crazy, is predictably gorgeous; next Sunday I will provide more detailed impressions of this new record by my favourite baroque kids in leather.

Film Forum

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More info next week, but just a reminder that Windrider @ Wycliffe happens Sept 9-11 from 7-9:30pm. Registration info is available here.

God Techno

My friends at Sound Ministry announce a new event--next Saturday, August 31st at 8pm they are holding a social/mission training fundraiser with live music. The lineup so far includes David James Martinez, acoustic/soul/pop; Steven Mulcare, soul/gospel; and dj Spiritually Minded (cool music and visuals on the sites!). It takes place at 225 Winona Dr (St Clair and Oakwood).
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Tons of good films to recommend these days, of which the surprisingly most touching was My Architect, the story of Nathaniel Kahn's search for the truth about his father's life. Poignant and luscious architecturally, this film delivered. Another pleasant surprise was What the Bleep Do We Know?, surprising because it actually made the rudiments of quantum physics understandable to the layman. Normally I would run the other direction from discussions of either physics or philosophy, but with creative visuals and narrative most of the concepts are accessible. Of particular importance to the Christian was the topic of thoughts affecting 'inanimate' objects change their properties, such as the molecular shifts in the photographed water. Now, you can decide this is 'outlandish' and full of 'bizarre claims', or you can approach it with a sense of openminded wonder and mystery. It's not gospel, but it's food for thought. It stars Marlee Maitlin, too, a…

Not the Finale

While Joshua Allen's win on So You Think You Can Dance was well deserved, what really got me excited was the final quartet dance choreographed by Mia Michaels. Check it out on YouTube.

Power Plant Exhibit

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The Power Plant has some good art going at the moment entitled Not Quite How I Remember It runs til Sept 1 and until then admission is free. My faves were Nancy Davenport's Weekend Campus and her other constructed photographs. Several other visual and sound installations are there, including the intriguing hypothetical 1984 and Beyond by Gerard Byrne. Worth battling the crowds at Harbourfront.

Free Exhibit

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The Circus Comes to Town
This exhibition features vintage photographs, posters, artist prints, illustrated books, heralds and programs from the Special Collections at Toronto Public Library.
July 19 - October 5, 2008 Toronto Reference Library

Sometimes the Simplest Things are the Sweetest

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Where Seven Died, a ‘Shining Star’
"I tried to set up a memorial that meant something,” said Roy Holder, in front of his creation.
from the New York Times
By JASON GRANT
Published: August 3, 2008
[On] 50th Street near Second Avenue is a memorial that has been expanding for months, growing in complexity, size and emotional impact. In the wake of a crane collapse on 51st Street east of Second Avenue that killed seven people in March, a homeless man who lives on East 50th Street has built and maintained an intricate memorial.
This makeshift marker comes complete with a table and chairs, candles and blown-glass vases, and includes a sapling and tree branches painted white. Lovingly assembled, the display features a flowery yellow centerpiece, ceramic pots and a vivid piece of art painted on an eight-foot-high sheet of plywood.
Today, more than three months after he began assembling it, Roy Holder, the homeless man, still cleans and cares for his creation seven days a week.
“I tried to set u…