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V. Wells August 2010

As We Approach Advent

[We often see the bastardized version circulating via email; it was added to erroneously.] The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary, Sunday, 12/18/05.
Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:
I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife.
Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are.
If this is what it means to be no longer young. It's not so bad.
Next confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of…

3 degrees

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4 degrees of separation

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check out Chiyoko Szlavnics' website. kinda cool.

I Was Handled

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Photo by Bruce Zinger The word handle comes from a source akin to the old Norse meaning to seize or to capture; without venturing too far into the world of bad puns, I certainly had that experience last night at Opera Atelier's Acis and Galatea. Running through November 7th, this English baroque opera by Handel is thoroughly charming. Co-artistic director Marshall Pynkoski somewhat downplayed the piece, reassuring the audience that despite its shorter duration, it had received the same rehearsal and production budgets as any of their offerings, but noted that it was simpler. Well, less is more, apparently. For example, the company had the collective smarts to use synecdoche: one feather in the hair to indicate that a dancer was a bird. Why does that suffice? Because members of the Opera Atelier Ballet can convey their role through their movement alone; they don't need a 'bird costume'. The one set and lack of costume changes for the principals hleps us focus on the narr…

My Semi-Annual Rant

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image from cbc.ca/arts
Everyone who knows and loves me knows my phobia of spelling and grammar mistakes. I made a typo in an email to my husband recently and it's been bothering me ever since. So, here, I take umbrage with a plaque on a newly unveiled statue of Emily Carr in Victoria that has flipping typos--yes, that's typos pluralized-- because someone missed a letter and hyphenating two words. The article expounds the virtues of spellchecking and asks why it wasn't caught there. I ask how the proof even got to the plaque-maker with the errors still extant: does no one read things before or after spellchecking? Does no one own/use a dictionary? I loved someone's online comment on the article: Don't be so harsh towards a country were English is a second language. [sic] Touché!

OMG I Have to go to Berlin

There's a VERY COOL positive image camera in Berlin that takes unique life size portraits in B&W! For €290 euros ($412 CAN) you can walk into this behemoth and have it produced in ten minutes. Check out the coolness here.

Does This Include Tourists?

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I just read about an illustrator in NYC named Jason Polan whose current project involves drawing every person in New York. While this is a fanciful project, I felt compelled to check out his blog. It has jots of everyone from deliverymen to Carol Spinney. Kinda fun, in idea anyway. Except I'm not in it; guess he took that week off.

Recom

Check out this writer's blog, Gillian Wallance...watch me edit. You can also take advantage of her emailed poem of the week. I like her voice and her interests.(Sort of like I like my friend David Barker's stuff on Nouspique, which you can only find on this hyperlink, as Blogger saw fit to remove my Permalink list.....). Just sayin'.

"The Big Night Out"

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iDSony Centre 50th Anniversary Premiere Engagement!continues October 2, 7, 8, 9, 2010 at 8 pm October 3, 2010 at 2 pm Tickets start at $35iD is co-created by Jeannot Painchaud, founder and artistic director of Montreal‟s acclaimed Cirque Éloize, and hip-hop choreographer Mourad Merzouki. Since it began in 1993, Cirque Éloize has enjoyed overwhelming success marked by rave reviews, numerous awards, and sold-out engagements around the world. The company has toured extensively to the world‟s most prestigious festivals and theatres including: Edinburgh International Festival, the Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles), Piccolo Teatro (Milan), Les Folies Bergère (Paris), Bunkamura Orchard Hall (Tokyo), Israel Festival Jerusalem, Hong Kong Festival, Sadler‟s Wells (London), Sydney Opera House, Barbican Theatre (London), Beiteddine Festival (Beirut), Chekhov International Theatre Festival (Moscow), International Cervantino Festival (Guanajuato) [text courtesy of KL Strategic Communications]
But let'…

Cirque Éloize's iD at Sony Centre on October 1!

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SONY CENTRE READIES FOR GRAND RE-OPENING OCTOBER 1ST



Finishing touches are being made as the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts prepares to unveil its thrilling new renovation as part of its 50th Anniversary Season celebrations on Friday, October 1st, 2010.



“It’s been an incredible undertaking”, said Dan Brambilla, CEO of The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts. “We’re eager to welcome Torontonians into the venue to see the exciting new technologies integrated with the magnificent architectural beauty of this historic building.”



From June 2008 to October 2010, more than 200 local trades people were employed to restore the elegance and grandeur of architect Peter Dickinson’s original O’Keefe Centre which opened on October 1st, 1960. Phase Two of the Centre’s three-part renovation begins in 2011 with the construction of the new permanent backstage facilities and the “L Tower”, a 57-story residential tower designed by Daniel Libeskind. Upon completion of the tower, the final phase of the r…

Opera Atelier Celebrates 25 Extraordinary Years

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Photo: Bruce Zinger / Juri Hiraoka and Thomas Macleay / Handel's Acis and Galatea / Photographed at The Soho Metropolitan Hotel
Opera Atelier celebrates its 25th
Anniversary Season with two new productions: one pays tribute to the company’s roots, the second points
to its ambitious plans for the future.
The season opens with OA’s first fully-staged production of Handel’s pastorale Acis and Galatea. Based
on Ovid’s tale of the water nymph Galatea and her doomed love for the Arcadian shepherd Acis, it is one
of Handel’s most popular creations. Tenor Thomas Macleay, who thrilled Toronto audiences with his
performance in last season’s Iphigénie en Tauride, will sing the title role of Acis partnered with Canadian
soprano Mireille Asselin, in her company debut as Galatea. They are joined by bass João Fernandes
who appears as the giant Polyphemus and tenor Lawrence Wiliford as the spirit Damon. Acis will also
feature Artists of Atelier Ballet, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber…

Recommended Even if You're NOT into Wrestling!

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Aside from When We Were Kings, I never thought I'd watch another fight film again (Raging Bull put me off), but I am glad I saw Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. I'll watch just about any film about redemption (towit: Magnolia....); if I'd known this had that theme, I'd have checked it out ages ago.
Randy the Ram reminded me of F. Murray Abraham's Salieri in Amadeus; the 'loser' in his world, living a life under the shadow of other greats. In this case, the Ram is living in a trailer park, playing nintendo with kids and doesn't even have a (cell) phone. 'Course, that could be due to the massive amount of drugs and steroids he has to buy to keep up his dubious title. The film highlights what we often forget about celebrity (even if it is minor celebrity): what looks like glory and fame often amounts to a hill of beans. Marisa Tomei's character laments her stereotype, saying that she is not a stripper (which she most certainly is) but rather a mom wh…

Exit Through the Gift Shop

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I saw and loved this film. All I can say is that I'm thinking of going to Mr. Brainwash's show in NYC....See the following review which says all I would wish to: New York Times



"LIKE"

If your eyes are still, you're dead.
~ David Hockney


Photography is the easiest medium in which to be competent, but it is probably the hardest one in which to develop an idiosyncratic personal vision.
~Chuck Close
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My Blueberry Nights (2007) is a quirky little film about finding love. As Dorothy says in Oz, ‘If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with!’ I was unfamiliar with director Kar Wai Wong prior to seeing this movie. Online reviews I read don’t do it justice: yes, the theme is a common one, and just because the character is independent does not mean she is like Amélie. I found Norah Jones’ and Jude Law’s characters substantial, but the two performances I found most wrenching were those of Natalie Portman and Rachel Weisz, playing two women who have lost love, or perhaps never really had it to begin with. Both are the victims of problems of the men in their lives: the former’s father is a serious gambler and the latter’s ex-husband is an alcoholic police officer. Both lose these relationships without resolving their sense of rejection. However, Wong’s stylistic …

00.061.1.06.009

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Baritone Peter McGillivray in rehearsal for Dark Star Requiem. Photo by Brian Mosoff.
Dark Star Requiem premiered at Luminato Friday night to an audience among whom you could hear a pin drop. This oratorio cum opera cum requiem was definitely dramatic, and most of that was accomplished through the libretto by Jill Battson and by the visual text projections. I disagree with the Star's John Terauds who wrote Saturday that it 'lacks visceral punch': I think this is where the connection lay. While the choice of words projected was very effective--such as long lists of HIV-related drugs and a real-time measurement of AIDS-related deaths every 14 seconds--some of the images were a bit long in presentation or short on the quick changes we are accustomed to in present media. The movements themselves were all that were needed to hold our thoughtful reflections.

While Koerner Hall is undoubtedly gorgeous--subdued, organic--I felt this important piece deserved a more appropriate venue…

FRIDAY and SATURDAY ONLY!

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This is the big weekend for Tapestry -- the world premiere of Dark Star Requiem! Text by Jill Battson, interviewed below. For more information go to Tapestry's site. Looking forward to this landmark piece!

from the latest ECVA exhibition

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Eucharist by Anne Wetzel

We've Reached 25,000 Hits! Euge!

Interview with librettist/poet Jill Battson

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photo credit: Edie Steiner
This week I interviewed Jill Battson, librettist for the new piece Dark Star Requiem, a world première from Tapestry New Opera & Luminato, the Toronto Festival of Arts & Creativity. It premières on June 11 & 12, 2010 at 8pm at The Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall. Tapestry describes it as ‘a dramatic oratorio on the history of HIV-AIDS in North America and Africa. In this marriage of content and form, poet Jill Battson and composer Andrew Staniland trace the twenty-five year history of AIDS from its origins to the present day. This evocative, poetic concert work interlaces such topics as ecology, myth, politics, and family. While this text includes fragments from the Latin Mass for the Dead, the overall perspective is humanistic rather than religious.’ Being a linguist, I looked forward to having a conversation with someone who loves the texture of language. We ended up discussing the production, the subject matter and opera in general.
Jill Batt…

a banksy bouquet

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a fave

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It's CONTACT Photography Festival time!

"Nobody can commit photography alone" ~ Marshall McLuhan

Interview with Daniel Libeskind....

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.....in the New York Times, that is: click here to read it.

OPERA ATELIER'S THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO

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Photo by Bruce Zinger / Artists Phillip Addis and Peggy Kriha Dye

Co-Artistic Directors Marshall Pynkoski and Jeanette Lajeunesse Zingg will doubtless garner their usual heaps of accolades with the upcoming The Marriage of Figaro. In case you've been in a coma for the last twenty years, Opera Atelier has been wowing international audiences with their technical accuracy and creative excellence in music, choreography, sets and designs of the 17th and 18th centuries' operas. This Mozart production pulls out all the stops with set design by Gerard Gauci, Martha Mann's costume design (above) and David Tallis returning with the Tafelmusik Orchestra.
I'm thrilled to see Carla Huhtanen again, a soprano with good comedic sense; joining her are baritone Olivier Laquerre in the lead male role, baritone Phillip Addis, soprano Peggy Kriha Dye, mezzo Wallis Giunta, and soprano Laura Pudwell. This commedia dell'arte was originally based on a text by Beaumarchais, just as Romeo and …

Luminato World Premiere

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Dark Star Requiem
A world premiere from Tapestry & Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts & CreativityText by Jill Battson / Composed by Andrew Staniland
June 11 & 12, 2010 at 8pmKoerner Hall, Royal Conservatory of Music


Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts & Creativity is partnering with Tapestry to co-produce the world premiere of Dark Star Requiem, the third production of Tapestry’s 2009-2010 subscription season, a dramatic oratorio on the history of HIV-AIDS in North America and Africa. In this marriage of content and form, poet Jill Battson and composer Andrew Staniland trace the twenty-five year history of AIDS from its origins to the present day. This evocative, poetic concert work interlaces such topics as ecology, myth, politics, and family. While this text includes fragments from the Latin Mass for the Dead, the overall perspective is humanistic rather than religious.
Tapestry is thrilled to once again be part of Luminato. Our relationship began in 2008 when the Festiv…

HAPPY EASTER!

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Ode to Dewitt Jones copyright V.Wells 08

Wisdom Literature

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untitled, copyright V.Wells 2010
I love wisdom literature, particularly Biblical stuff.
I also like the pseudo-secular, too; I've reviewedCormack MacCarthy's The Road here, and am going to see the film version today. Love those post-apocalyptic parables!
But lately, I have been focusing on Ecclesiastes, especially Chapter 7. Just about every line jumps out at me and smacks me in the face. And, going through an unwanted breakup at the moment, I am being forced to read these lines carefully and consider my circumstances. Towit:

Verse 3 Sorrow is better than laughter; For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
What doesn't kill you will make you stronger?? Yuck. Hate those lessons. But I know from experience that it's true, and ultimately good for my growth as a person.

Verse 8 The end of a thing is better than its beginning....
Certainly not what you believe at the end of a relationship! The beginning is the gasoline that lights a ripping path of joy. At the end, it ph…

" " from Chuck Close, one of my heros

… “photography is the easiest medium in which to be competent, it is probably the hardest to develop an idiosyncratic personal vision…It’s like pushing something heavy uphill. Photography’s not an easy medium; it is perhaps the hardest of them all.”
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FRIDAY, FEB 19th
at GALLERY 345
345 Sorauren, in Roncesvalles
8:00pm
admission $10/6 (students, artists etc)
Attila Fias and John Farah, pianos
improvisations and new compositions for two pianos
"The piano and electronics duo of Attila Fias and John Kameel Farah has been many years in the making, since they became friends at an Arts high school. Both went on to study at U of T - Attila studying jazz improvisation and John studying composition and classical performance. Both have gone on to etch out their own voices, but over 2 decades of jamming together and influencing each other, they have finally put their talents together to form the Fias-Farah Duo. The sound is not what you would expect from a straight-laced classical piano duo - rather they are combining their experience in jazz, free improvisation, modern classical, Hungarian and middle-eastern influences to form a wild yet musically tight cornucopia of sound."
Fias has recently released his first jazz trio CD "Stories&q…

Mozart at CCLIV

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The Marriage of Figaro
APRIL 24 - MAY 1, 2010

"...the work shines like new. Seldom has Mozart's Figaro seemed so fresh and its comedy so sublime."
— Christopher Hoile, Eye Weekly

Mozart’s commedia dell’arte inspired opera had its premiere in 1786 and was an instant success. Based on the shocking Beaumarchais play The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart’s racy tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness is a hilarious and subversive social commentary about a world on the brink of revolution. Opera Atelier is thrilled to unveil a brand new production for our 09/10 season, in which baritone Olivier Laquerre makes his role debut as the incorrigible Figaro. OA is pleased to announce the company debut of baritone Phillip Addis* and mezzo soprano Wallis Giunta*. The Marriage of Figaro also stars OA favourites Carla Huhtanen, Peggy Kriha Dye, Laura Pudwell, and Curtis Sullivan with Artists of Atelier Ballet, and the incomparable Tafelmusik Orchestra under the baton of condu…

Mozart @ CCLV

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Opera Atelier celebrates its 25th Anniversary Season with two new productions: one pays tribute to the company’s roots, the second points to its ambitious plans for the future.

The season opens with OA’s first fully-staged production of Handel’s pastorale Acis and Galatea. Based on Ovid’s tale of the water nymph Galatea and her doomed love for the Arcadian shepherd Acis, it is one of Handel’s most popular creations. Tenor Thomas Macleay, who thrilled Toronto audiences with his performance in last season’s Iphigénie en Tauride, will sing the title role of Acis partnered with Canadian soprano Mireille Asselin, in her company debut as Galatea. They are joined by bass João Fernandes who appears as the giant Polyphemus and tenor Laurence Wiliford as the spirit Damon. Acis will also feature Artists of Atelier Ballet, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir under the baton of David Fallis.

This production is directed by Marshall Pynkoski and choreographed by Jeannette Lajeunesse Zin…

Revitalizing Toronto’s Neighbourhoods through Culture-Led Collaborations

Through its website at www.neighbourhoodartsnetwork.org, the network provides a forum for discussion and information sharing, access to resources, tools, mentors, templates, and offers services and support. Best Buzz videos highlighting the best practices of five successful community-engaged art programs in Toronto neighbourhoods can be viewed on the website which also acts as an important resource for the general public to find out more about community-engaged art-making and its incredible contribution to neighbourhood revitalization.

Membership is free in 2010 and open to artists, individuals and organizations that develop, program or facilitate community-engaged arts such as libraries, community centres, social service providers, and business improvement associations. Membership benefits include access to members-only section of the website, bulletins, advance notice of events and special offers. Members are required to maintain a current profile and to actively participate in …

Ever Heard of NOOMA?

Thanks to my colleague for turning me onto the Nooma series of short film devotionals. Check out this one, entitled Rain. Good food for thought.

I also learned from him about Tangle, which he described as a Christian YouTube. Cool stuff.
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Testing the Buoyancy of Wisdom in the Face of Rising Waters (Detail) - Mixed media.
Tally - Slate tiles from leaking church roof.
Public Notice: Confessions all by Paul Roorda, copyright

Paul Roorda Communion of the Faint: Confessions and Complications a solo exhibition of new and recent work. at Redeemer University Art Gallery777 Garner Road East, Ancaster, Ontario.February 6 to March 22, 2010. Opening Reception: Saturday, February 6, 7:30 to 9:30 pm.Gallery Open: Monday to Saturday, 9:00 to midnight.Website: www.paulroorda.com Anxiously, we push forward in a search for understanding. Doubt is sewn into each certainty; complexity dissolves each simple truth. Everything is becoming something else. Each object transforms itself before our eyes as we turn it in our hands. Each idea resists permanence, just as it resists becoming obsolete.And each confession needs repeating, or forgetting.We dread and marvel at the shifting ground beneath our feetand search for a fixed point in an empty…

6 Fun Minutes

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