Tuesday, September 11, 2012

TIFF 2012 - The Hollywood Invasion of Toronto

There are a few major events in Toronto that you couldn't miss if you tried. The streetcars are doubled, the hotels are bursting with guests and whichever area happens to be the location for the event, braces itself for the onslought. Soaring high above most of the buildings around it is the TIFF Bell Lightbox at the intersection of King West and John Street, and anyone who's anyone has been through there this week for the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

From Kristen Stewart and Jennifer Lawrence partying at the Soho, to Snoop Lion and Elton John hosting major parties in the downtown core, the city is swarming with celebrities and their hangers-on, causing all of the Torontonians to adjust their own behavious accordingly – choosing a different coffee shop for the week, or taking a different route home from work to avoid the gridlock of limosines, cabs and luxury cars.  

Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, and Garrett Hedlund in "On the Road"
It was big news when the recently newsworthy when K-Stew decided to make her first public appearance since the Snow White scandall at the premier of “On the Road,” based on Jack Kerouac's famous novel by the same name (drool, by the way... I must see this as soon as possible.) If you're into the celebrity hunt or just love good cinema and want to get out to some of these events, I recommend you look up the Globe and Mail's coverage of all of the screenings, parties, galas and events on a daily basis. Their coverage can't be matched.

OH and dress your best if you're walking around downtown this week or you'll be sure to stand out! The clothes and accessories I've seen on King Street over the past few days has been impeccable.

Until next!

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.