Friday, August 24, 2012

Play Me I'm Yours: Sea Turtles and Piano Keys for Grenada

 This lovely piano for Grenada by the Toronto artist Donna Guerra, has seen some drama over the course of the Play Me I'm Yours Street Piano Exhibition. Due to noise complaints at it's original location in Trinity Bellwoods Park, and the backlash from citizens as a result, the piano was moved to the Sony Center (on loud, noisy Front Street where it wouldn't bother anybody.)

On the seat of the piano swims a sea turtle, shining from the glossy paint in brilliant colours.  I was thankful no one was playing this one at the time I happened to be there so i could capture this bit so clearly.  

The artist explains her piano and her inspiration for the work in this interview with the Toronto Star. 
"I chose to represent the country of my great grandfather's birth as literally and symbolically as possible." 
Specializing in paint on fabric as a medium for most of her work, Donna and I got along extremely well when we met at the Closing Reception.  Her advice to me as a young artist was to not stop being creative - ever - wise words from a woman with a career as vast and as respected as hers is. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Summerworks and Setting Sail at Sugar Beach

Busy couple of weeks in Toronto this August!  Lots of amazing arts events going on, always providing you with a multitude of ways to show your support for arts and culture in the city.

First off, all week Toronto's been bursting with happy theatre-ites excitedly participating in this year's Summerworks Festival.

My experience in the theatre world, working with several small theatres in wardrobe and costuming as well as my three year stint as Costume Designer/Creative Director Patricia Fell's assistant when I lived in Windsor, afforded me the opportunity to work with a Musical Theatre Program at a local College.  Since that time, I've had a soft spot for theatre, defending it when people say it's dead and making an effort to see and promote shows and the people behind the shows.

The Summerworks website team were remarkably organized and thorough with their coverage of the events throughout the week, offering several links to appropriate blogs as well posting about all of the events themselves via the Summerworks Blog.
Screenshots are awesome.

I thought, how very smart of this organization.  They had several bloggers on staff, going out seeing all of the shows and promoting them at the same time.  Then each of these bloggers posted about the countless events taking place over the course of the festival.  This project resulted in a full catalogue of all of the participating Summerworks performances -  an extremely helpful guide for any theatre lover who wants to keep an eye out for up in coming talent in Toronto. Well done, Summerworks.  Well done.

Finally I wanted to give a little shout out to the Toronto Port Authority for their wickedly successful second year of Sail In Cinema.  This wonderful idea involves a gigantic screen a few meters off of Sugar Beach showing nautical themed films on both sides of the screen.  The viewers are either sitting in their boats or on the boats provided by the Toronto Port Authority in the water, or they can choose to bring a blanket and sit on the beach.  Either way, this FREE event is a great way to bring people together with classic film, and Toronto's beautiful scenery.

Thanks for reading!!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Play Me I'm Yours: Musica de Chile - Hockey Center Meets Art

When we walked up to this piano for Chile outside the Air Canada Center in Maple Leaf Square, there was a woman playing sheet music and a man who we later found to be her spouse, filming her, walking around the piano.  It was lovely of them to allow us to photograph them.  

This piano, designed by Artist Gilda Monreal, is among the most colourful and provides the most obvious statement about social justice.  The legs of the seat and on the sides of the piano are fists, pointed collectively toward the sky with fierce defiance.  Monreal comments on Chile's place in the world and its constant struggle as a nation for peace and equality. 

The artist has been known throughout her extensive career in the art world for her devotion to social justice, specifically with regards to South American nations.  She is an actress, a writer, a visual artist, as well as Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the international Essencia Collective.  

Gilda Monreal was one of the artists chosen to represent a country with art on a piano for the Toronto Play Me I'm Yours Street Piano Exhibition this past July 2012.

Monday, August 13, 2012

History of Ancient Greek Theatre in Toronto: A Post Inspired by the Taste of the Danforth

This weekend of so many big events in Toronto has very unfortunately been interrupted by unstoppable pooring rain. One of these events happens to the the Taste of theDanforth Festival, one which is looked forward to by a great number of Torontonians for the wonderful variety of Greek food and entertainment. Due to the weather, many people will miss it this year, but I thought what better excuse to throw in a blog about my favorite most non-boring topic ever – history! And what will we be discussing today, class? The one and only Ancient Greek Theatre and some of the more modern interpretations of it.

Greek dramatic theatre dates back as early as 700 BC with the poet Homer's great epic tales The Odyssey and the Illiad. But true Greek dramatic theatre, as we know it today, and the basis for all stage craft following, started in Athens, with the authors Aristophanes, Euripedes and Sophocles.

Many theatre groups in Toronto have done their own takes on these famous plays and these are a few you might remember.

Sten Eirik Directed Clouds over TO, a take on Aristophanes' “The Clouds" for the Guild Festival Theatre this past July with rave reviews.

The infamous 2010 G20 events were tackled in ANTIGONE by the Soup Can Theatre for this year's 2012 Fringe Festival. Sophocles' tragedy which was originally based around the decision of a woman to bury with honour her two brothers, both killed in a senseless battle, fighting on opposing sides. Placing the drama in Toronto at a time when we can all remember brought crowds to this theatres stage.

ANTIGONE - Soup Can Theatre

Mirvish/Manitoba Theatre Centre's
- Medea

One interpretation received only negative reviews, Medea by Euripedes, taken on by the Mirvish/ Manitoba Theatre Center. The play centers around prejudice, jealousy and has a strong female protagonist. How could you screw that up?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Play Me I'm Yours: Guatemala Street Piano at the Old Courthouse

If you go down to the area around King and Church, you'll find a lot of really beautiful buildings and some wonderful little parks for the people of Toronto to enjoy.  One of these is the Old Courthouse Square Park on Court Street.   On top of a platform which sits no more than 2 feet tall at its lowest point, sat the piano, beside the book sculpture perched on the corner.  

The piano that we visited late one night after a day of piano hunting around the end of July, is the product of Toronto artist Oscar Patzan, born in Guatemala.  In my research of his work, I came across an advertisement for a solo exhibition show at Queen Gallery back in 2010 here in Toronto.  

Eloquently described: 
"His work fuses Guatemalan influence with Toronto's urban culture.  His work shows an aged / vintage feel that comes from a technique that explores all forms of media."

Having graduated from Sheridan College for Illustration, he has since studied Graphic Design at OCAD and continues to work and live in Toronto, Ontario.  

Patzan represented his home country of Guatemala in the recent 2012 Toronto Play Me I'm Yours exhibit here in Toronto for the promotion and celebration of the 2015 PanAm games.  

Thanks for reading, and check out my next post on some amazing, free entertainment and delicious Greek food at this weekend's Taste of the Danforth Festival!

Departure of an Eccentric: The Death of Fashion Legend Anna Piaggi

Quick little post about Anna Piaggi, one of my all time favorite fashion personalities with her many costumes and her enthusiasm toward the art of fashion and the people in the business.  

"Anna invents fashion." said Karl Lagerfeld upon publishing a sketch book of her creations.  She was known to have been a major inspiration and muse for many designers in the industry. 
Here are a few photographs of the woman who was never too shy to dress up for the cameras.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Donate for Art! : The Most Tangible and Easiest Way to Support the Arts Ever Created

I was shocked and appalled at my out-of-the-loop-ness with regards to the popularity of a new amazing way to support the arts by contributing a small (sometimes minuscule) amount toward a variety of projects, projected by artists of all media.  These DonateforArt sites have been tremendously successful, and for good reason.  Are you a person who would just looove to support the arts but WHO has the TIME in this crazy world we live in??  Well honey, this concept was made for you.  
Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub and PledgeMusic are a only a few examples of the most successful of these types of websites.  

How does it work?  You're an artist and you have an idea that you think is amazing, but like most artists - you can't fund it.  So you go on any one of these websites (some are music specific, such as PledgeMusic, but others like Indiegogo cover a wide variety of projects,) and you create a page.  There is some variation between sites at this point, but the general idea is: you tell you tale, you explain your business plan, or project idea and you set a goal.  Your goal is an amount of money that you will require for your project and you ask for amounts as small as $1 with rewards to the contributors at each level of donation.  

What ends up happening in those cases that are successful (and they claim that 70-90% of pages do recieve their goal amounts,) is that thousands to tens of thousands of people donate small $1-$5 amounts, and the goals as high as $25,000 and higher have been reached.  

And what's a couple dollars for you?  You art-loving, hard working, culture-supporting hipster?  Have one less soy latte and donate that five bucks to an artist who really needs it and who's dreams will only come true with your support.  

DO it!!  

Thanks for reading and check out this guy!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Who Loves Picasso??: Rare Works Presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario

This exhibit has been going on for months.  The Masterpieces of the Great Pablo Picasso's from the Musee Nationale de Paris have been on display at the AGO and features 147 of the paintings Picasso kept for himself.  

Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.” —Pablo Picasso (1881–1973)

The website for the Art Gallery of Ontario goes into great detail about the life and work of Picasso during the times when these paintings were created.  Their historical overview of Western Europe in the first half of the 20th century is not overly detailed, but concisely provides context to the viewer.  

It's almost like you're listening to a best-of album where all the songs were selected by the artist himself with no input from fans, critics or record companies.   These were Picasso's paintings for his own enjoyment, not meant for the eyes of the outside world.   This really is an exhibit you should check out before it's gone - it's a once in a lifetime experience - and it's only on until August 26th!!

Thanks for reading!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Toronto Arts Exploration and Gallery Hunting

Now that the Play Me I'm Yours Exhibit is finished, I want to move onto searching and exploring galleries and arts performances around the city of Toronto.  Don't be alarmed!  I still plan on posting about each of the artists involved in the project over the next few weeks - I'm just going to include a few non-piano posts in between.  K?

Let's talk about TorontoArtist.  TorontoArtist is an all inclusive, interdisciplinary, experimentative, creative umbrella organization for, but not limited to Toronto's variety of artists.  The Umbrella is a partner blog, designed to spread the word about the purpose of TorontoArtist, display the work of the group's growing membership and seek out and promote the work and events of the hundreds of thousands of artists in Toronto who are trying to get recognized.  

This is my mission - I will find, see, meet, experience and write about new artists, events, small businesses etc and you'll be the first to see.  

So stay tuned!  LOTS more to come.  

Thanks for reading!!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Play Me I'm Yours: Piano for the Bahamas at Union Station

A prime location!  Which among the artists was fortunate enough to get Union friggin' Station as the location for their piano?  The place where 200,000 Torontonians and tourists pass by every day was ultimately won by artist Ward Minnis, creator of the piano for the Bahamas.  

Bright blue and turquoise, the piano sits among the columns, a welcome bit of colour to the stone walls and the city scape surrounding Front Street.  

The artist, Ward Minnis is a professional graphic designer and fine artist born in the Bahamas.  Between the island and Canada, he's got loads of education and experience and offers a variety design and arts related services.

The Play Me I'm Yours project is unfortunately over now, but stay tuned for more information about the artists behind these works of art around Toronto.

Also stay tuned for my ongoing search for local galleries, new artists and arts and cultural events around Toronto.  

Bon soir,