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“V IS FOR VARIETY” SHOWCASES CANADA’S FUNNIEST LADIES @ TORONTO’S BUDDIES IN BAD TIMES THEATRE

Thanks to funny ladies SHANNON McDONOUGH and MAGGIE CASSELLA for inviting me to their final V is for Variety show at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (Toronto) last Friday.  Their V shows will return in the fall but for this last laff-fest before their summer hiatus, the audience was treated to some insanely funny (i.e. f*cking hilarious!!) monologues from Shannon (below) and Maggie (lower pic)….11707424_10155686975205018_8005997095153765894_n maggie…..plus emotional and insightful observations on life presented by my old friend from 1980’s Yuk Yuk’s days, writer & producer of TV & film hits like Miss Congeniality, Family Ties, Desperate Housewives, KATIE FORD (below).  A lot of folks were sniffing and wiping eyes after Katie’s gentle reminder about finding beauty and joy in simple everyday things.KatieEngaging young singer and writer Jennifer Walls also shared a few songs accompanied by Chris Tusjiuchi on piano. Jennifer actually performed her own show, Amazing Women, in the theatre right after the V is For Variety show. Whew…that girl has energy to spare!
One of the show-stopping sketches performed by Shannon & Maggie was an updated version of the great 70’s TV show All in the Family, with Archie & Edith discussing their grandson Joey (below) that had the audience squirming with laughter and recognition of the underlying message of acceptance and love (an eerie premonition of what was to happen within 48hrs in Orlando?!).archie & edithMaggie and Katie recently formed a creative alliance, Ford Cassella Productions, that will be bringing us lots more laughs so I encourage you to follow them @FordCassella on Twitter and Facebook, plus Periscope and Instagram.

Thank you to all the entertainers for a fabulous evening of entertainment, and make sure you catch the next V is for Variety show when it relaunches in September.

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Just sit right back & you’ll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip…..

No, it wasn’t a three-hour tour with the Skipper and Gilligan, but I did feel like millionairess Lovey sitting aboard the luxury cruiser moored down at Toronto’s Harbourfront! Through fellow PR colleague Danielle Iversen, I was invited to the Matilyn Yacht Open House to learn about day trips, seasonal packages or, yes, a 3hr tour!

I was welcomed aboard by Capt. Greg Marlo who told me about www.TheYachtSolution.com a company that brokers/rents various luxury vessels around the Caribbean and the Mediterranean…and Lake Ontario.  He told me about the vacation rentals in the British Virgin Islands (ooo, I so wanna go there) where you live aboard one of their motor yachts or power catamarans with crew provided (or as a “bareboat” charter where you crew yourself). The provide fully catered meals or you can catch your own seafood dinner when you snorkel or scuba.

Hosting my visit was Matthew Cook, co-Founder of www.MatiLyn.com, a wedding and event services company (“life customized”) he runs with wife Catherine here in Toronto. They provide everything from stationery & digital invitations, e-photo albums, wedding decor, family crests and more. Here, let Matt tell you himself….

The boat is beautifully appointed for that special post-wedding trip with your new spouse, or for corporate cruises where you really need to impress that special client. Come below deck with me now to see the luxury appointments (even the bathroom is gorgeous!!)….20160609_124932 20160609_124941 20160609_124923 20160609_125055 20160609_12510520160609_124855So if you want a unique experience such as a visit to Niagara on the Lake or Prince Edward County for a ship-board wine tour, take a romantic full moon & champagne cruise, even mooring off Exhibition Place to watch the annual Toronto Air Show, I recommend you contact www.TheYachtSolution.com to reserve your yacht. And to make your event that much more special, let Matilyn create a special “coat of arms” for etching into your champagne flutes, wine glasses or beer steins. AND that special cushion to take home with you!20160609_125159

Ship ahoy, matey!

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TSE INTRODUCES MUZIK EVENT CENTRE’S INTERIOR RENO’S & POOLS WITH SEXY NETWORKING SOIREE

The folks at Toronto Special Events were kind enough to invite me to the industry networking event over at MUZIK ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE in Exhibition Grounds to unveil their multi-million dollar renovations, pool installations and their oh so delicious catering thanks to the tasty Food Dudes.20160608_17223620160608_174623 Accompanying me was hairstylist to the stars (and me!) Cathie D of “Cut, Do or Dye” in-home hair services and being kinda silly when we socialize, we spent a great deal of time playing with the Boomerang app on my phone posting silly videos on Instagram. How old am I? LOL20160608_173358The cavernous interior of Muzik was made very intimate and cosy thanks to some great drapery and huge table displays in the various seating areas (below)….20160608_173534…and the food service was non-stop, both pass around and buffet style. This lovely young lady (below) kept Cathie and me well-fed all night!20160608_192009 20160608_17461120160608_18273320160608_175816(0)20160608_172224DJ Tay James spun hot tunes all evening although they stuck him in the dark surrounded by giant potted palms. Trust me, he was cute! And he’s Justin Bieber’s official tour DJ. Wonder if he does weddings & bar mitzvahs, too?20160608_173856We were also treated to lots of lovely cocktails – I played it safe with my usual G&Ts (gin and tonic, for those non-Brits reading this). Think I was on my 3rd round when Cathie snapped this somewhat demented pic…20160608_17341720160608_173327I was thrilled to run into old friend Omar Leslie (below R), a charming young man who was one of my earliest blogging inspirations. He attended with friend Paul (L) who works in Special Events/PR industry.20160608_193217(0)Out back of the giant showroom (formerly the Horticultural Bldg at the CNE)  is a series of glamorous terraces and patios including turquoise pools for swimming, paddling or whatever people do in public in pools…oh my!!!!20160608_194602 20160608_194430 20160608_194530Also scattered around the Muzik terraces are a number of statues (above) that are part of Toronto’s public arts programme.
Back inside, we watched some great promo videos on the giant screens , then Cathie decided I needed “one more for the road” and hit up the bar for another G&T.20160608_18072420160608_180713Big thanks to everyone at Muzik, especially Amy Tomes who gave me the best directions and parking info earlier. Check out the website for their weekly entertainment and corporate events info. www.muzikclubs.com20160608_173356_001

A redhead and a blonde walk into a bar…..(add your own punchline here!)

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NATURAL LIVING WELLNESS CENTRE OPENS IN TORONTO with special appearance by GRAMMY-NOMINATED FLUTIST/COMPOSER RON KORB

I had the opportunity to attend the opening of the NATURAL LIVING WELLNESS CENTRE, Toronto’s newest pain management and natural wellness centre located at 200 Spadina Ave (between Queen W & Dundas W Streets). The Centre’s principal owner KEVIN HALL (pictured below L with massage therapist Andrew Foster RMT, ART, CST) invited his good friend and international award-winning recording artist RON KORB to come play for the guests so the flutist/composer obliged with excerpts from his brilliant Grammy-nominated album Asia Beauty.20160607_20085520160607_194526The Centre focuses on education as much as treatment, and aims to empower clients/patients with access to research, publications and seminars, and partners with allied organizations, doctors and other pain clinics across the country.  The beautifully appointed, loft-style offices offer 2,300 sq. feet of space dedicated to treatments, classes and consultation rooms, along with a well-stocked boutique carrying a wide variety of products for mind, body and spirit.20160607_191807 20160607_192037 20160607_192057But no smiling buddhas or incense sticks here – you’ll see clean urban design featuring exposed brick, dark wood floors, stylish lighting, elegant wall tiling and state-of-the-art equipment and fixtures. Services provided include: Chiropractic, RMT & Occupational therapy, music & art therapy, chronic pain support, cannabis education, hypnotherapy, integrative wellness services and products, group classes (yoga, nutrition, mindfulness) and guest speakers, plus a full teaching kitchen for those (like me!) who need a good kickstart to preparing & eating healthy food choices. Below, Kevin introduces everyone to the Centre and Ron’s performance….20160607_194223

….then I managed to wrangle Kevin’s very busy colleagues Lauri-Anne and Jessica (below L to R) into posing for a quick pic with Ron in between topping up the catering platters and greeting guests!20160607_192200Thank you to Ron for his invitation, and a big thanks to Kevin, Lauri-Anne and Jessica for your warm hospitality – I look forward to sharing your story as you grow the business. www.natural-livingcentre.com20160607_201219(0)

 

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Toronto singer DEENA performs live @ 70 DOWN in Yorkville, Toronto

The beautiful and talented DEENA entertained guests at Yorkville’s 70 DOWN resto-lounge this past Saturday evening, accompanied by JACK LENZ on keyboard and GRAHAM YOUNG on guitar.

Jack Lenz (with Deena, below) is a  multi-award winning composer who heads up Lenz Entertainment, a world-renowned film, television and music production company providing diversified creative services to the entertainment industry.  www.lenzent.com20160604_213430Graham Young (below) is a young musician currently exploring various genres including country, pop, jazz and rock. He sounds fabulous here with Jack and Deena.20160604_213443

Deena is a multi- talented recording artist who is also developing her acting and TV/film production chops. She can be seen in TV commercials and she frequently models for various advertising campaigns.  Based in Toronto, Deena has her sights set on a global music career that will allow her to promote arts & culture as well as share her philanthropic & humanitarian consciousness.  Deena has been performing since childhood and in 2015, honed her songwriting skills by collaborating on two original singles You’re Not Alone and Supernova with renowned industry professionals Derek Brin and Rupert Gayle.  http://projects.swiftweb.ca/deenatheartist.com/

One of my fave songs is Besame Mucho and I captured this quick video of Deena serenading us with her sexy rendition of the Latin classic.

Thank you, Deena, and BRAVO to you, Jack and Graham for a fabulous night of live entertainment.  We hope to see you back at 70 Down again real soon.

Check out all the live entertainment presented (Thurs-Sat) at 70 DOWN, 70 Yorkville Ave, Toronto  www.70down.ca20160524_184921(0)

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Take a walk with me thru the annual RIVERDALE ARTWALK in Toronto

Hosted annually by The Artists’ Network Board, the RIVERDALE ARTWALK takes place this weekend (June 4 & 5) at Jimmie Simpson Park on Queen St East. Each year, I love strolling through the tents and exhibits, meeting old friends and making new ones among the multi-disciplinary artists participating in this first of the year’s outdoor art shows. It was such a lovely sunny day today, I headed down to the show early so come and take a virtual stroll with me as I introduce you to some of the talented artists…..

First off, here’s Stephen Cooper who is a photographic artist specializing in vintage cars….or should I say the rusted skeletons of vintage autos.  www.wstephencooper.com20160604_120643 20160604_120646He turns dusty old heaps of metal into stunning works of art…here, let Steve tell you himself

I loved the cool, calm tones of Nicky Hindmarch‘s seascapes (below) www.nickyhindmarsh.com Her booth was perfect for taking a breather and sheltering from the hot sun beaming down on the park.20160604_121248 20160604_121253Kate Taylor has been a Facebook friend for a long time and I love seeing her new art each year. Look at these gorgeous vibrant pieces….  www.katetaylorstudio.com20160604_121441 20160604_121452I’m lucky to own an original Ian Busher work of art, so I was intrigued to see his new focus this year which is quite  different from what’s hanging on my wall. Love love love the bright colour blocking featured below. www.studiobusher.com20160604_121619 20160604_121526

The ladies of the Women’s Art Assoc. of Canada were a hoot…here’s a group of artists who really love their work! www.womensartofcanada.ca20160604_120826More fun sights…..20160604_120904 20160604_120445And here’s the fabulous artist/teacher Rea Kelly who is always pleased to welcome visitors… www.reakelly.com20160604_12494820160604_125009I discovered these powerful paintings by Mississauga artist Christopher Masoure  www.studiomazur.com20160604_121925…and I enjoyed meeting Morgan Jones www.morganjonesart.com whose work I had seen at ArtaGallery and included in an earlierr blog from The Distillery District (3rd pic)20160604_122004 20160604_12214220160522_164722(0)The charming and talented Gaya Kairos invited me in to her booth to cool off and enjoy the shade. It was her first time at the Artwalk so I asked her to share her thoughts on the experience.  www.art-gaya.com 

20160604_123951 20160604_123942Peter McLennan was a great new find for me.  His photographic artworks were masterpieces in minimalism and as I stood in his booth, I overheard so many ooo’s and aaah’s. Hope he sells ’em all! www.PeterMcLennan.com20160604_122509I think my biggest discover at this year’s show has to be Gordon Shadrach whose paintings of men’s shoes, socks and powerful portraits took my breath away. www.shadrachartworks.com 20160604_122711 20160604_122717 20160604_122725

I love Karola‘s paintings, esp. her charming chickens …..one day I hope to have one of her colourful roosters on my wall! www.Karola.ca 20160604_123245 20160604_123317Liz Menard invited me in to see her etchings (below) and I loved the delicate designs and colour palette she uses. www.lizmenard.ca 20160604_123623

If the weather holds up for tomorrow (Sunday June 5) I really recommend you visit the Riverdale Artwalk in person. Located at Jimmie Simpson Park @ Queen Street East & Booth Avenue, there is an indoor showroom, too, which I totally missed today so if it’s raining you can still enjoy more art. www.artistsnetwork.ca 20160604_125205

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Toronto artist KIRK SUTHERLAND opens “Synesthesia” show at URBAN GALLERY

One of us…one of us! When I spoke this evening with artist KIRK SUTHERLAND at the opening of his show at URBAN GALLERY, I realized we had a lot in common – synesthesia. Apart from being the name of his show that runs until July 2nd at the gallery, both Kirk and I share a gifts that are very similar: he sees colours emanating from objects and beings while I see music in shapes and forms. Both “abilities” are referred to as synesthesia. Here, let Kirk explain……

20160602_180720 20160602_182041Sutherland’s work is influenced by the Abstract Expressionist Movement, Post-Painterly Abstraction and Lyrical Abstraction. He is also influenced consciously and subconsciously by his surroundings as well as the formal elements of art and the materials with which he creates. The two predominant elements in Sutherland’s work hinge between his keen sense of colour, and his use of pictorial space.

I feel my creative process bridges and somewhat amalgamates both intuitive, and conscious realities. My paintings do not imitate life, but perhaps harness the energy and the essence of life. I find myself channeling to a higher energy or light, in which the medium, the action, and the paintbrush are collectively an umbilical between the soul, the essence and that of the material world.   Kirk Sutherland

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PRIDE Toronto’s Marc Lalonde dropped in to offer congrats to Kirk for opening his show during PRIDE month and was given a quick lesson in art appreciation by the artist (above) and shared some thoughts about this year’s celebrations…..(below)

Gallery director Calvin Hambrook posed with Marc in front of Kirk’s paintings (below)…20160602_182441….and below, gallery curator Allen Shugar (L) and Wayne Abell of Urban Source Catering (R) flank frequent gallery visitor Stephen.20160602_191012Also visiting Kirk was talented artist and musician Laura Nashman (below)20160602_185251(0)Laura has an equally talented doggy companion, Ito, the wise Pomeranian, who has his own book of wisdom coming out soon. Maybe a book signing at the gallery in the near future???

Lots more guests dropped by to wish Kirk luck with his show, including fellow artist Erik Chong and his wife, Jeannette (lower pic)20160602_181931 20160602_184055I caught Erik enjoying the blueberry-kabobs (!) at the refreshment table….gotcha, LOL!20160602_182825Thanks to Edwin of Snapd newspaper for capturing the evening’s activities…and me!20160602_182454 …… but I really have to work on my selfie skills, dontcha think?20160602_184218Congrats to Kirk on such a wonderful turnout tonight. I look forward to seeing lots of red dots alongside his paintings by the end of the show. For gallery hours and more details, visit www.urbangallery.ca

 

 

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URBAN GALLERY HOSTS IN MAGAZINE’S PRIDE TORONTO LAUNCH PARTY

IN Magazine is Toronto’s premier LGBT glossy magazine and last night, Publisher Patricia Salib and her colleagues hosted a party to help launch this year’s PRIDE Month (and introduce the office PRIDE Guide) at URBAN GALLERY, catered by sister-company URBAN SOURCE CATERING. And what a fun party it was, too.20160601_18212920160601_18084120160601_182608(0)Sponsored by TD Bank, guests posed at the photowall, including Gallery director Calvin Hambrook shown here (below L) with Patricia and TD’s Regional Mgr of LGBT Business Development, Al Ramsey20160601_183633The delicious hors d’oeuvres circulated constantly…..20160601_180054 20160601_180131…and they disappeared just as quickly!20160601_181141Here’s Maria Khan (below L), Mgr of Talent Acquisition Strategies at Scotiabank who brought her colleagues to support IN Magazine. They’re posed in front of the beautiful paintings by Kirk Sutherland who’s exhibiting at the gallery during PRIDE month – his opening night party is tonight so I’ll share more of Kirk’s work with you later.20160601_180800Also in attendance, M.A.C. Cosmetics representative Drew Bowden who cut such a dashing figure in the crowd, esp. alongside friend Sharon Deebrah of Toronto City Planning (lower pic)20160601_18182120160601_181846More fabulous guests and IN Magazine folks and speeches….20160601_18314720160601_18272620160601_185622Thanks to the hard-working gallery and catering staff, and to Kelly who worked the door, checking the guest list and greeting everyone with her charming smile!20160601_181601 20160601_185832

www.urbangallery.ca

www.urbancatering.com

www.inmagazine.ca

 

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URBAN SOURCE CATERING DELIVERS ANOTHER DELICIOUS MENU FOR INSIDEOUT FILM FEST-GOERS

Hosted at the exciting new venue, Artscape/Sandbox on Adelaide St West in downtown Toronto, URBAN SOURCE CATERING tickled guests’ tastebuds Tuesday night with another round of delicious hors d’oeuvres during the InsideOut Film Festival Centrepoint Reception.  As sponsor for many of the Festival’s swanky soirees, Urban Source Catering has created several different menus and here are just a few of the platters enjoyed by the guests on this night.

Filet of Beef Tenderloin

Filet of Beef Tenderloin

Shrimp Ceviche Spoons

Shrimp Ceviche Spoons

Prosciutto Parmesan Palmiers

Prosciutto Parmesan Palmiers

Vietnamese Rice Wraps

Vietnamese Rice Wraps

The fabulous and talented DJ Cozmic Cat (below) entertained the crowd of film industry insiders, media and sponsors…. www.djcozmic.com20160531_184423

And the guests certainly weren’t shy when it came to corralling the cater waiters with their trays of treats…20160531_190935 20160531_185621 20160531_190847

Several Urban staff members were able to grab some time in front of the green-screen photo booth presented by www.PhotoBot.ca  What a hoot! Here’s how the magic works: Cybèle and Wayne stand in front of the green screen, strike a pose, then click!20160531_191233… and now taa-daa, they’re in front of Priscilla Queen of the Desert!20160531191236381-SChef Lyndon (below L) got into the act with two of his staff….20160531_191804 20160531191759638-SNeedless to say, I got a bit loopy and “walked like an Egyptian”, too!20160531185308974-SRepresentatives from several Festival sponsors were there, including Accenture20160531_190628And here Urban’s Wayne and Cybèle showing off their best “Vanna” skills at the event w sign…20160531_190550(0)

Congratulations to all at Inside Out Film Festival for hosting another successful gathering, and to the staff at Urban Source Catering who continue to impress with their innovative selections, superb service and great humour!

www.urbancatering.com

www.insideout.ca

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URBAN SOURCE CATERING SCORES STANDING OVATION FROM TORONTO’s INSIDE OUT FILM FEST GOER’S

Another fabulous “pink” carpet event for Toronto’s annual INSIDE OUT FILM FESTIVAL this past Friday night, catered by those fabulous foodies at URBAN SOURCE CATERING [www.urbancatering.com] The delicious multitudes of hors d’oeuvres even starred in the local CBC TV newscast later that night!

Seafood Kokoda Spoons

Seafood Kokoda Spoons

Beef Tenderloin on Brioche

Beef Tenderloin on Brioche

Mediterranean Flatbread

Mediterranean Flatbread

Held at the Brainstorm Academy at King & Spadina, the guests enjoyed schmoozing with filmmakers & industry insiders, media and the Inside Out organizers who celebrated the Festival’s 26th year of showcasing films and supporting the LGBT community here and around the world. [ www.insideout.ca ].  Urban Catering has been a long-time sponsor of this prestigious event and has lots more Festival soirees to serve over the next week. 20160527_19114220160527_190149

Classic Crab Cakes

Classic Crab Cakes

20160527_190928Congratulations! to all at Inside Out, and to the Urban cater waiters and kitchen staff…..get a good night’s sleep and we’ll see you all back here tomorrow for another event.

Bacon & Sriracha Prawns

Bacon & Sriracha Prawns