Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hero of the Week and of Christmas

Ok, for all you early Christmas shoppers like me, it's never too early to think about this, but it is really directed at the more typical Christmas shopper. This documentary--half comedy, half tragedy--is about the madness of consumerism. I first read about this guy in Geez (magazine highlighted here previously) and learned that Rev. Billy is a satirist, a political lobbyist with a creative way of trying to get us to Stop Shopping. This film is not for the religiously conservative (although Christianity Today had some good things to say about it) but it does give one a kick in the pants about reducing xmas (and year long) insanity. I have brought up this topic in previous posts (See The Story of Stuff and Buy Less/Nothing Christmas), and I am going to use this film's and the Adbsuters' media awareness curricula in my classes this year. This is an excellent film. Try and see it whereever you can. (The site says Blockbuster carries it but it doesn't in Canada; I had to order it online from Amazon.ca). Produced by Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame, the main theme is the Shopocalypse. That should give you an idea of where the film is going. 100% recommended! Check out the trailer here.

St. Frigo by Jimmie Durham!

[Think about it....]

Art and Altruism

I was reading letters to the editor in a very mediocre and amateur (and thus unnamed) artists' magazine recently, which debated (again) whether art's duty is to document and raise the profile of the world's social, political, moral etc sins, or whether art was to be made gratia artis. Anyway, I came across an art project with social conscience, The Cradle Project, whose purpose is (to quote from their site) the following: "In Spring of 2008 one thousand cradles and cribs made by artisans from around the world will fill an abandoned warehouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We call this vision The Cradle Project.
The Cradle Project is a fundraising art installation designed to represent the plight of the estimated 48 million children who have been orphaned by disease and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.
Our Mission is to promote awareness and raise financial support to help feed, shelter, and educate these children."
En tout cas, you can see hundreds of the produced cradles so far here, but my favourite was one which, although entitled based on the womb, resembled a baptismal font. Perhaps the two are as one.

NOT Good News

from October 2001

Ed Arno, a major cartoon contributor to the New Yorker, died this week. The original article in the NYTimes said he died at 83 AND at 92, so that was a fitting comic exit. (Unfortunately, they have fixed the erratum).

Wacky!

Am I the last person on the planet to hear about this magazine? Ck out the online version of Mental Floss, which has all sorts of weird and not very important things inside. It might be your next guilty pleasure.

Penguin Design Awards

As usual, some of the best are the runners-up, but ck out the winners of the design awards at Penguin Books (UK) here.

snort!...or maybe not

copyright David Hayward 2009

Not the 24 Kiefer


Cool Architecture via the NY Times

'Wozocos' for seniors in Amsterdam...










Mirador in Madrid....










and the Silodam in Rotterdam

[click to enlarge a photo]

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008





Blog Recom

Ck out David Hayward's blog, nakedpastor. A self-described pastor trapped inside an artist's body and self-proclaimed subversive, he offers laughs alongside considered reflections. You can join his facebook via his blog.




Into TO?
Canadian Architect magazine reported that Heritage Toronto has a newly renovated
website. It's easy to navigate and has useful info and links. Co-sponsored by Spacing magazine.


Divas on Canvas

If you're in NY, NY and heading to the Met, check out this new exhibit of painter Francesco Clemente's paintings of eight opera divas, namely Diana Damrau, Natalie Dessay, Renée Fleming, Angela Gheorghiu, Susan Graham, Karita Mattila, Anna Netrebko, and Deborah Voigt.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sanctuary Song

[scroll to review, below]

And you think it's hard to keep 10.....




A very cool art project: artist Archie Rand has painted a huge mural illustrating all 613 of the Jewish mitzvot or commandments, a portion of which you can see on this blog and there is also an article about it in the New York Times. Kinda reminds me of William Kurelek's Matthew paintings, (now available in a film version through Broughton's on the Danforth).

Child's Play???

From one of David Barker's 87 websites (don't you ever sleep, man?) comes a fascinating video. Let us open our eyes to childsplay. It's easy to lose sight of the realities of our 'fun'.

Geeeeeezzz!


I am recommending Geez Magazine again, not only because it is F-U-N, but also because the current issue is about art. Ck out the leaders online and then subscribe!

More For Less Than 30s

If you are not into the traditional idea of worship at church, you might want to check out The Meeting House, a radical model for church associated with the Brethren in Christ. Pastor Bruxy Cavey leads groups via simulcasts in movie theatres, such as Silvercity, and challenges people to get involved in this new way of being a follower of Christ. Gotta love the image, anyway (above).

Mark 5:41

Talitha cum!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Today is Drawing Day!

Check out the info to this event on Facebook.

Sanctuary Song

Bass Alvin Crawford as James, soprano Xin Wang (centre) as Sydney and actor Sharmila Dey (right) as Penny in the world premiere production of Sanctuary Song by Abigail Richardson & Marjorie Chan, presented by Tapestry & Theatre Direct in partnership with Luminato, June 7 – 14, 2008 at the Berkeley Street Theatre, Downstairs. Photo Credit: John Lauener.

Okay. I have been called an ice queen, immovable, a WASP with a stiff upper lip. (None of these are true, btw; just ask my students). But last night's preview of Sanctuary Song by Tapestry New Opera Works was the first time I ever cried at the opera. In fact, I had to stop taking notes because I couldn't see through the tears. So fine, I am a sop. And this new opera is a hit.
This is the story of Sydney, an elephant reminiscing about her life on the cusp of a new one. As usual, Tapestry has employed innovation and this production, in association with Theatre Direct, uses dance and video to great effect. The choreography of the main character is done in a way that evokes the elephantine but does not parody it, which would detract from the story. The music, casting and costuming are also a propos, but I won't give that away--it's another nice subtlety I'll leave for you to discover. Perhaps most effective and often most poignant is the videography: sometimes creative, sometimes vintage circus footage, it echoes the libretto for the audience, and engages the younger audience members too.
Composed by Abigail Richardson and written by Marjorie Chan, this opera has grace and dignity, just like the animals it chronicles. It runs at the Berkeley Street Theatre during Luminato, from today until June 14th. Related documentary and background info is available through the websites of the real
Elephant Sanctuary, the NFB screening tomoorrow at 11am, and general asian elephant info. Tickets run from $15 to $70 (family pack) and school shows are available. While kid-friendly, I recommend this for ages 5+.

CONTACT over


Caught the last bits of the offerings of the month long CONTACT photography festival down at the Distillery this weekend. One particular artist we dug was Pamela Lostracco, working in photo/mixed media and the ever-fab resin! Very cool. That was at the Engine Gallery where I chatted with Steven Schwartz for a while. Also got excited about Chad Gerth's empty lots series at Corkin Gallery and multo, multo excitable about the half silver gelatin prints of one I previously recommended: Oosheen Harruthoonyan's The Uchronie Fragments at the Pikto Gallery. His stuff really rocks--see above. Also found a multi-media artist (video, computer, photography etc) willing to work with me on an art project for my students--thank you Micheline Parent!
Saw some pretty unremarkable photos this year too, however. Newsflash for organizers: big print does not equal art with vision! Hopefully they will go for quality over myriad venues next year, otherwise the integrity of the festival's quality is suspect. Ah well. I'll just have to drool over my catalogue for the next 11 months. As the kids at school say, *sigh*.

Saddest News EVER!!!


Oh, DAV-ey.....If you grew up in the Jurassic 60s and watched Saturday morning tv, you may well remember the stop animation characters in their eponymously named show, Davey and Goliath. Sadly, their creator, Dick Sutcliffe died this past week at 90. But thank God for him and the American Lutheran church for putting this show on the godless airwaves! I didn't get it at the time, but did always note the family's church attendance, especially the episode where the grandmother died at Easter. I am a proud owner of a Davey and Goliath Tshirt--they're available through Augsburg Fortress Press.

IMAGO Evening!

A wonderful Imago Evening will be held on June 12th at the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse. All you Christian artists, get over there! (Go on my behalf--I can't go that night!). For more info about the talent cum reception, go to the Facebook event info created by Roxanne. (Thanks, Roxanne!).

Penultimate Jazz Vespers

The second last Jazz Vespers for the season takes place next Sunday June 8th at 4:30 pm at CCDP. It will feature Jim Galloway on sax and Ian Bargh on piano. The final service will be on June 29 as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival--sure to be a bit more raucous than usual, so if you want to chill, don't miss the 8th!

Imaginative Subculture

Steampunk style was the topic of a recent Toronto Star article . Ck it out!