Here’s a great stocking stuffer…or should I say festive playlist download for the music fans on your Christmas gift list. Check out Laura Rock‘s At Christmas Time song, now available for download from iTunes (for only 99c)
Last night, FIFE HOUSE presented their annual “Spotlight” concert and fundraising gala (produced by Michael Rubinoff) at the Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto and their guests of honour were the incomparable ANDREA McCARDLE (Broadway’s original Annie) with the equally amazing musical genius SETH RUDETSKY. They chatted about Andrea’s incredible career in musical theatre and Seth accompanied her on piano as she belted out hit after hit. Wow!
My friends at URBANSOURCE CATERING presented platters of the most delicious, scrumptious hors d’oeuvres throughout the pre-concert reception, ferried by an army of friendly servers who kept the goodies coming!Calvin Hambrook, Urban’s Catering & Events Manager, ensured everything went smoothly and he enjoyed schmoozing with the guests, many of whom are long-time clients of Urban. Below, here’s Calvin (l) with Fife Hosue’s Dir. of Development & Communications David Currah (r). Apart from the amazing concert, there was also a fabulous silent auction featuring tons of donated prizes including a framed photo (titled “Quietude” 20” x 30” photoprint on Dibond) by Urban Gallery’s own Kaspara Albertsen, perfect for the festive season….here’s just a few of them:
Even some of Urban Gallery‘s artists donated paintings to the auction including Joan Andal Romano whose show opens next weekend. Below – “Life is Art” (from her Alice Series) 18” x 24” mixed media on canvas…and Nancy Jane Price (below), whose work was on show this past September at Urban Gallery (her donated painting is titled “Together 24” X 24” Acrylic on canvas)Also featured were paintings courtesy of previous Urban exhibitors Janna Kroupko and Brenda Clews (pictured below with Calvin) – her donated artwork was titled “A Spring God” 24″ x 30″ oil on canvas (lower pic) It was truly a great turnout for this event benefiting Fife House whichprovides secure, supportive, affordable housing to people living with HIV/AIDS in the Greater Toronto Area.
Here are a few more gala pics – see if you can spot anyone you know in the crowd……and more of the great Urban staff …Check out the UrbanSource Catering website for catering ideas for your own swanky soiree: www.urbancatering.com
Thank you to everyone involved for making the FIFE HOUSE “SPOTLIGHT” CONCERT & FUNDRAISING GALA such a success.
What an unexpected pleasure to receive a last-minute invitation to join contemporary artist Linda Langerak last night at the super cool Super Wonder Gallery at 876 Bloor St West, Toronto. The gallery was hosting a show inspired by Rorschach, featuring multiple local artists’ work incorporating the Rorschach inkblot concept and Linda was one of the participating artists (below) with three distinct pieces on show. lankyratcreations.comWhat an explosion of colour! I was blown away by the number of pieces cleverly curated by Daniel Anaka, also an artist himself…and very cuddly, too! (see below)
Photo courtesy Linda Langerak
Below are a few of my fave works that really stood out, and I encourage you all to drop in to see the show yourself – Rorschach runs until Friday Nov. 27th.I must admit there were two pieces that really resonated with me….what do you think of these?
Relianece by Freya Kazemi
Bull Painting 1 by Thelia Shelton. Photo courtesy Linda Langerak
I ran into artist Kris Hamilton who has recently moved to Toronto to pursue her painting career and I loved the two pieces she showed me here..Linda intro’d me to several of her fellow artists whose work also hung on the walls -here’s the handsome and talented Paul Dolgov….And below, here’s the fabulous Gaya Kairos….Meet Michelle Dinelle (below) all colour coordinated with her art…And here’s the super suave Ricardo Silva…So come take a virtual walk thru the gallery with me and enjoy more stunning works…
I caught Linda snapping away, capturing some of her friends’ works….Big THANK YOU to gallery owners Christian Aldo (artist & event booking) and Kevin Bushman (operations/bookings) for hosting such a grand event and supporting local Canadian artists. Super Wonder Gallery is also available for event bookings (live entertainment shows, corporate events, private parties) and is fully licensed so check out their website for details. www.superwondergallery.com
It may have been a dull overcast day in Toronto yesterday but inside Dead Dog Records, 1209 Bloor West, the lights were bright and the music was blasting out “Rock’s Not Dead” by local rock singer/songwriter LAURA ROCK (known as L’Rock to her friends and fans) who dropped in for an in-store promotional visit in support of her current CD, Rock’s Not Dead. http://www.lrockmusic.com/Below, the Newfie-born now Toronto-based Laura was joined by bandmates Les (rhythm guitar) at left and Bleeding Betty (bass) far right with Dead Dog’s Stephen in grey DDR t-shirt.Between 2-4pm, a number of Laura’s friends and fans showed up (below) to support CD sales and buy the super cool Dead Dog Records t-shirts!Work with me people….make the duck face! I’ve been watching way to much America’s Next Top Model…LOLEven celebrities showed up @ Dead Dog Records…here’s my old friend Gemini and 3x Cdn Comedy Award winner George West below with Laura. George and I go waaaaay back to the late 80’s when he was part of a brilliant comedy duo, Al & George, and has since gone on to a successful solo music, writing and acting career. http://georgewesterholm.ca/ In between meetin’ and greetin’ fans, Laura and the band browsed the bins, unearthing all sorts of musical treasures……and I loved the t-shirt rack and lots of other pop-culture merch.
But even tho the store was rockin’, work still had to get done….BIG THANKS to Stephen, Maesy and Kristie of Dead Dog Records for having us in their store. If you love music, esp. vinyl, they can find anything you want or desire. Drop in, spend an hour going thru the racks and bins and I guarantee you will find something you didn’t know you wanted but just had to have! Their website is launching soon but you can follow them here: https://www.facebook.com/deaddogrecordsto
Last night, I over-indulged in some of Toronto’s yummiest food and beverages, thanks to a last-minute invitation from KJ Mullins, publisher of www.newz4u.net. The event was Evening at the Market (hosted at the St. Lawrence Market) to benefit Food Share (foodshare.net) a non-profit organization that works with communities and schools here in Toronto to deliver healthy food and food education.
All the market vendors shared samples of their products with the crowds of eager foodies and I was thrilled to sample my favourite peameal bacon sandwiches from Paddington’s and Portuguese custard tarts from another fave store (lower 2 pics)
I always visit Peter’s Natural Health Foods (below) to buy my raw redskin peanuts – the only place in town I can find them.I enjoyed meeting the folks at Urban Fresh Produce, a brand new store in the Market. OMG, their samples were soooo deelish.And the salmon hors d’oeuvres across the aisle were tasty, too.So many fabulous treats, thank goodness I wore my stretchy pants…LOL!KJ and I found the ladies from Baci chocolates and spent a very long time taste-testing!!…followed by a nice shot of espresso, which meant I was up watching TV infomercials late into the wee small hours…yaaaawn!KJ just had to have one more dessert so we visited the lovely lady downstairs with the yummy macaroons.
Stonemill Bakehouse (below) offered so many different pastry and bread samples, it was hard to choose…Earlier in the evening, it was easy to belly up to the oyster bar at Seafront Fish Market (below), but by the time we left (around 9:30pm), the aisles were jam packed and I couldn’t even back up enough to take a picture. Glad I snapped this one before the hordes of foodies arrived!Thanks to the folks at the St. Lawrence Market for a fantastic event, and to all the friendly volunteers from Food Share who managed the soiree with elegant aplomb!
As the Irish Rovers used to sing…wasn’t that a party? Last night friends, family and fans of comic magician GLENN OTTAWAY gathered at the Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles in Toronto to raise funds and awareness of Glenn’s encounter with a known scam artist who swindled him out of his life savings in a fraudulent theatre deal. On stage, well-known comedians, magicians and even a pair of mentalists celebrated Glenn’s career and encouraged the audience to dig deep to help Glenn and his depleted bank account. Thanks to comedian/magician Matt Disero, who created the one-night only comedy concert, some of the country’s top headliners volunteered their time and talent, so here’s a brief pictorial account of The Rocky Horror: It’s a Wonderful Life Anyway show.When I arrived at the Revue Theatre, I first ran into the adorable and funny Mini Holmes (below) who was making some last-minute tweaks to her set.Matt took the stage to greet everyone (below) and share a few thoughts about the evening’s meaning and to thank all the acts who came out to support Glenn, and even showed a groovy videotaped message from Canadian music legend, the one and only Gowan, a longtime friend of Glenn’s, then introduced the night’s MC, Mike Bullard.As usual Mike Bullard (below) was brilliant, acerbic and swift to pounce on hecklers and the poor unfortunate man, Kyle, in the front row who became the night’s comedy punching bag!First up was Mike Carbone. I used to book Mike (below) back in the 80’s and always loved his king-of-cool delivery whether he was performing to business crowds, hipsters or in biker bars. Then next up was the amazing and baffling mentalist duo, The Evasons, who confounded the audience, including our man Kyle, (below) with Tessa’s psychic gifts while Jeff sought out the volunteers. They fooled me, that’s for sure.Then Mike brought up another brilliant and baffling sleight of hand artist, David Peck (below)Make way for Mini Holmes and her maxi comedy set…she nailed her set and had us all laughing our asses off! Next up , the dapper and dandy Brian Roberts whose suit hid a multitude of magical mysteries!Brian was followed by Richard Forget (below) who again picked poor Kyle to play along with a card trick that involved some awe-inspiring deck choreography.Young comic sleight of hand artist James Alan (below) took the stage and had us all enthralled with his “dance of the red thimbles”…how did he do that?Then it was time for us to welcome That Canadian Guy…Glen Foster (below). Glen and Glenn has been working together since the 80’s – I frequently booked them into Yuk Yuk’s and for road gigs way back then so last night was a real Glen, Glenn and Glenda kinda night..LOL!Mike then brought the man of the hour up on stage……ladies and gentlemen…Glenn Ottaway. Huge ovation, laughter and quite a few tears! Glenn shared more of his story with us and thanked everyone who helped put the night together as well as the performers. He then presented Matt Disero with a special gift for being the captain of that evening’s ship and we could all see how moved Matt was. Bravo, Mr. Disero, you did good. As the generous folks of The Revue Theatre gently herded us all out afterwards (they had a 9:30 film to show), there were lots of hugs and smiles and I grabbed a few more pics like this one below with “Magic” Mike Segal (left) and Gordon Precious (right).Here’s Mike again with Gordon and Bob Taylor (far right) and a young lady fan of Glenn’s. That Ottaway guy is a real chick magnet!!FYI: Gordon and Bob are both past presidents of the Toronto ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Below, James Alan waves goodbye from backstage…what a charming young performer.Glenn bids farewell to his fans and thanks everyone for coming out.You can follow Glenn here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/glenn.ottaway
as well as all the wonderful entertainers who made The Rocky Horror such a success.
One of the most fun galleries to visit in Toronto is the LUMAS GALLERIES located in the space that was previously the Four Season’s Hotel in Yorkville (159 Yorkville Ave). They carry some of the coolest photographic art ranging from giant wall-size digital photos down to miniature size framed photos suitable for the tiniest of loft spaces. Photographers featured include legends such as Damien Hirst, Man Ray and Edward Steichen whose portrait of silent movie queen Gloria Swanson (below) has been a part of my own art collection since the late 70’s, as well as architectural, landscape and figurative photographers like Erich Lessing, Sven Fennema, Louise Dahl-Wolfe,Daniel Reiter …and many others.I received a call from the gallery last week congratulating me on winning a $50 gift certificate in their first monthly draw, so today I went to collect my prize from the lovely Yoli, art consultant and gallery goddess (below left)Thank you so much to Lumas for my prize, I will be back a little later to choose something pretty as a Christmas gift to myself! I also met Gallery Director, Claire, who kindly allowed me to interview her and Yoli so I could share the story of the Lumas Galleries with you…
I encourage you to drop in and say hello to Yoli & Claire, and spend some time viewing the ever-changing artwork on their walls displayed in various themed rooms so you can see how cool your home would look with a Lumas photo on your own walls (below are a few examples).
Earlier this morning, I took music client, Laura Rock (a.k.a. L’Rock) down to the SiriusXM radio studios in Liberty Village to chat with the fabulous Christine Bentley and Sharon Caddy, hosts of What She Saidradio show. http://www.whatshesaidradio.com/Laura’s philosophy about the music industry is “all the web’s a stage and music is a way of life…not a destination”. Her willingness to encourage other artists has been recognized throughout the industry and acknowledged on many social media platforms. She believes the “point of power is the present view. Whatever you’re willing to conceive and believe is what will come to you. It’s The Law of the Attraction”.
The Newfie-born, Toronto-based singer/songwriter shared her views on the current state of the music industry, in particular rock music, with What She Said’s listeners, resulting in an animated, fun and thoughtful 15 minutes of insider expertise and opinions. She also brought in t-shirts and CDs for the hosts (Kate Wheeler is the 3rd host) who showed their enthusiasm for free clothes…especially Christine (below)If you want to hear what L’Rock’s music is all about, visit her website http://www.lrockmusic.com/or better still, if you’re in Toronto, come down to Dead Dog Records, 1209 Bloor West (at Lansdown) on Saturday Nov. 14th 2-4pm to meet Laura in person, pick up her CD Rock’s Not Dead and some t-shirts, and hang out with her band and the big loud promo truck parked outside the store playing all her tunes.You can also listen to Laura’s interview via the What She Said website http://www.whatshesaidradio.com/
URBANSOURCE CATERING is really ending their 30th anniversary year on a high, catering last night’s special VIP reception and screening of the new James Bond flick, “Spectre”, hosted by the British Consulate at College Park in downtown Toronto as part of their “12 Days of Great” promotional campaign.With menu selections such as 00Salmon, License to Grill, Casino Rouelles, Golden Eye mini potatoes, The Spy Who Loved Meat and (my favourite) Thunderballs, the tasty hors d’oeuvres were devoured with enthusiasm by the guests.Desserts were, of course, Goldfingers! Sweet meringue fingers with cream filling. YummmmmUrban’s Catering & Events Consultant, Jean-Marc (below) ensured the guests were never without a glass of wine…….and the folks over at the Belvedere Vodka station (below) were shaking, stirring and smiling as they prepared Mr. Bond’s favourite martinis.There were lots of British-made products on show, including this awesome Norton motorcycle, another of 007’s getaway vehicles of choice. As the event progressed, the velvet rope came down and we were able to get up close and personal with the bike and I was able to capture my own reflection in the shiny tank (2nd pic).
Meet some of the guests…including the fabulous Hilary Farr of “Love It or List It” tv series (3rd pic, ctr) and a lovely lady accompanied by her corgi purse – Her Maj would be proud!The food kept coming and Urban’s cater waiters worked their trays off!
I, too, made a “great” impression on the night and played at soldiers, posing in a Coldstream Guard cardboard cut-out…but I was a bit too short to pass muster (or the head hole was too high)….LOL!
I met a lovely “Bond girl” – one of the Consulate staff who could easily fit 007’s requirements!And look who else was there – the absolutely fabulous TV hosts Colin & Justin !As the party ended, Consul General Kevin McGurgan (below) thanked all the guests & sponsors then encouraged us all to head over to the AMC cinema for the special advance screening of 007’s latest thrilling adventure, Spectre.Thanks to UrbanSource Catering, the catering sponsor, for inviting me to both the party and the exciting screening….yes, Spectre is a must-see for all Bond fans! Enjoy my quickee event video (below)