Author Archives: fordhampr

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WHAT AN EXCITING, RED HOT OPENING NIGHT FOR THE SHIVER SHOW IN TORONTO

Congratulations to the performers and in particular, artistic directors KRISTINA KULIKOVA, ANTON AZANOV and CHANTAL FRY-SALETTI on last night’s opening of THE SHIVER SHOW at the Glenn Gould Studio theatre in Toronto.  So many hours of rehearsal and sweat-equity have gone into this stunning blending of dance, figure skating, circus arts, music and operatic singing, as well as beautiful costuming, hair and make-up.20180209_200247The brainchild of Kulkat Entertainment’s Kristina Kulikova, the Shiver Show blends 7 different disciplines of dance with figure skating, aerial circus arts, a little burlesque, video and some very talented musicians into this unique theatrical experience that had the audience on their feet more than once throughout the show!

Prior to showtime, several of the performers were interviewed backstage by Fairchild TV – here’s Kristina, Anton, opera singer Dina Shikhman and Kristina’s talented sister Elena Kulikova (singer/painter) chatting with the news crew.20180209_181430 20180209_180152 20180209_175745 20180209_180913Out in the lobby, one of the charming ballerinas entertained the crowd prior to the show with a very unusual performance….move over Edward Scissorhands!

One of my favourite routines was this stunning flamenco dance, accompanied by Dina singing Carmen.

And to close the show, all the performers came out to take their bows to a standing ovation…bravo!

Afterwards, the dancers schmoozed with the excited audience and I was thrilled to accompany Toronto’s leading online influencer, MoVernie, introducing him to all the performers, starting with Kristina herself.20180209_211130 20180209_210855 20180209_185927 20180209_210817There are 2 more shows today, Saturday Feb 10th at 4pm and 7:30pm – so there’s still time to catch THE SHIVER SHOW. Info and tickets available at: www.ShiverShow.ca  or call 1-888-407-4520

Thank you for supporting Canadian talent…and if you’re looking for the perfect entertainment for your corporate event, festival or gala, please contact Kristina to see how she can customize a show just for you. You can reach her via the website.DSC_8046

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Move over Elsa & Anna, there’s a new ice queen in town!

Meet CHANTAL FRY, Founder of Glisse on Ice and now Director/Producer and skating choreographer for the upcoming SHIVER SHOW (Feb 9 & 10) at the Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto.ChantalThe Toronto-born professional figure skater and performance artist previously competed in North American and European championships – after completing four golds under Skate Canada, Chantal entered the performance world with Innovations on Ice. She then toured with Holiday on Ice in Europe, the Lido de Paris, and the Cirque du Miroir in Montreal.fire great stand no hatIn 2000, she combined her creative side with eight years of classical ballet, jazz and dramatic arts training to create Glisse on Ice.  The skating troop toured France and later relocated to Canada where they enjoyed success on a plastic ice surface, performing with Cirque du Soleil and many of Canada’s most prestigious venues. Chantal now brings Glisse on Ice to the Shiver Show where the skaters will collaborate with performers from 7 styles of dance, as well as music, burlesque and circus artistry. A show definitely not to be missed!

I recently sat down with Chantal and asked her about her work with Shiver Show and Glisse on Ice……

You must be really excited to be a part of the Shiver Show, bringing your unique ice skating ballet to theatre audiences – what are you most looking forward to?   We are so very excited to be apart of this unique and ambitious project with Kristina and Anton. I created Glisse on Ice to bring the art of skating to places you least expect and so this is an absolute perfect setting for our shows.  We’re really enjoying the process of learning from and collaborating with dancers.DSC_8046Have you enjoyed collaborating with Kristina and Anton (pictured below), directing and choreographing your various segments?  Their dance talent is exceptional, flawless even. Figure skaters have so much to learn from dancers; their discipline and execution of movement. It’s an honour to work with them and truly identify not just the differences in our performance styles but also to experience the process.Kristina & AntonYou trained with outstanding coaches Debbie Wilkes and Tommy Litz when you were actively competing – how important is a good coach for inspiration and career aspirations?  A good coach is one who truly understands the emotion behind the athlete. When they are able to channel the specific aspect of their students’ talent everyone gains form the result. Training with Tommy in Lake Placid every summer for six years taught me the importance of daily work and preparation. He recognized my passion for performance and the arts and put me in the Saturday night shows for tourists visiting the Olympic village. It was there that I realized there was a whole exciting show skating world. Debbie Wilkes, herself an Olympic champion, agreed with Tommy and in between her segments as a skating commentator for CTV, she produced a skating show. While I was still in high school she trusted me to go on tour across Canada performing as the lead skater in a Christmas show. I was hooked for life from that moment on. A good coach sees the hidden potential and provides the platform to reach your dreams and goals.fry02 (1)Your Glisse on Ice shows have been presented around the world and in public and corporate venues. What, so far, has been the most exciting or challenging event you’ve performed?  The Shiver Show is so new and ambitious that I would say it equals the time Glisse on Ice was invited by the Cirque du Soleil to present our unique concept at their annual Holiday party in Montreal. We collaborated with the artistic directors of Cirque and provided an unexpected evening for their staff who have seen and dreamt it all! It was such a huge honour my legs quivered for days! The elaborate white tulle and crystal dress I designed for that event has been the reason for countless bookings in the event industry. But there are so many to choose from. The Lido de Paris was probably my most gratifying show and touring with Holiday on Ice in Europe gave me such a great perspective that I stayed in France doing shows for 8 years then went on to create Glisse on Ice in Marseille.

[I frequently run into Chantal and the Glisse on Ice exhibitions at special events shows, like this one – below]

What do you hope the Shiver Show audiences experience with your beautiful “ice dancing” segments?   We strive to capture the sheer essence of the feeling skating brings, yet completely out of context and far from a rink. We hope that audiences will be surprised and enchanted to see skaters twirling about on stage in the midst of beautiful dancers.  The contrast between dancers and skaters is fascinating, very different yet linked. The Shiver Show embodies all these elements. DSC_7859And if someone wants to book Glisse on Ice, how do they contact you?   Our weblink offers detailed background, lots of pictures and contact info: www.glisseonice.com  and we’re also on Instagram @glisseonice so please follow us!  Our shows are perfect for corporate galas, weddings and festivals as we set/strike the ice rapidly to ensure great flow at events. The Glisse skaters are all wonderfully talented and have competed at a national level; they have also toured the world with Disney on Ice, Holiday on Ice and various other professional tours.  We have become the Glisse family, from the skaters to the all-female ice crew, costumes, sound, makeup…. and I am proud to be the appointed Glisse Maman!

You can come see Chantal and all the talented dance/skate artists in the SHIVER SHOW Friday evening Feb. 9th and Saturday Feb 10th. Details and tickets are available from:  www.shivershow.ca
Seniors discounts (20%) and Students can purchase tickets for 50% off for the Saturday matinee show.Shiver Show horizontal ePoster

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MEET WORLD CHAMPION BALLROOM & LATIN DANCER ANTON AZANOV, SHIVER SHOW’s CHOREOGRAPHER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Next month, the SHIVER SHOW takes the stage at the Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto (Feb 9 & 10) and I recently had the pleasure of chatting with the show’s Artistic Director and lead Choreographer ANTON AZANOV.

The handsome and talented  artist (pictured below) has a string of major accomplishments and brings all these to the Shiver Show along with co-producers Kristina Kulikova and Chantal Fry.180134_1818892201865_34434_nAnton, you’ve won multiple Latin and ballroom dance world championships – what was your most memorable win? Was it your first youth championship or the first one as an adult?  Definitely my most memorable accomplishment was winning the World Championship with my former partner in ten dance, which means across both the Latin & Ballroom dance programs.  This is something I had worked very hard towards my entire dance career and was blessed to achieve.dance 3You have dedicated much of your life (so far) to dance – long hours training and show rehearsals with lots of blood, sweat and tears! What have you had to sacrifice to reach the current point in your career?  Generally, I have no regrets in life as I am extremely happy with the direction my life has taken and I don’t think of anything as sacrifice.  A lot of the choices I made have brought me success but I am also thankful for those choices that did not, as they taught me many lessons for success in the future. We all sacrifice something, but when you have a goal, it doesn’t matter.dance 4 danceWere you born in Russia and did you do your training there?  I was born in Siberia, Russia, and initially began my training there. After several early success both my parents and I understood that in order to further my dance career, I had to relocate to Moscow where all the major clubs and trainers were. So at age 11, I moved to Moscow where all the current world champions trained.

You’re choreographing the upcoming Shiver Show in Toronto – are you enjoying working with the wide variety of performers in such a show?  Yes, it’s a great pleasure to work with incredibly talented performers and other choreographers including professional tap dancer Adam who has performed and choreographed for many Broadway shows, Ukrainian national & Canadian National Ballet ballerina Julia, authentic flamenco choreographer and performer Sofi whose family has been dancing flamenco for generations, Blackpool Dance finalist Dora, Canadian Pole Dance judge Elisabeth and others.   I feel very excited to be able to choreograph the Ballroom & Latin sections of the show while incorporating other dance elements.DSC_8046Are you also performing in the Shiver Show and if so, please tell us what style of dance you will personally present?  I will be presenting Ballroom & Latin. But it will not be what you’re used to seeing in dance competitions; we want to show the public that Ballroom dancing can be combined with elements of other genres such as lyrical, acrobatic, jazz and much more.

Anton with Kristina Kulikova

Anton with Kristina Kulikova

You’re currently a trainer and coach at Toronto’s Dance Life studio – what do you enjoy most about working with young dancers and emerging artists? What advice do you enjoy most sharing with your students?  I enjoy sharing my knowledge with the younger generation and inspiring them to follow their dance dreams, like I had the ability to follow mine.  I try to serve as an example that anything is possible when you focus and are ready to work hard.  The best advice that I’ve received as a dancer and would like to pass on is simply…Dance and be happy!

When you take your final bow at the Shiver Show, will you be thinking of your next project and if so, what is that?  To be completely honest, currently my focus is on the show and to inspire the audience with what we have created.  A more long term plan is to ideally take the show on tour in 2018 and 2019 and be able to offer the cast a chance to further share their talent and passion with the world.  We are excited for what is to come after the show, as it’s also adaptable to non-theater spacing and can be performed at festivals, events, on movie sets & much more!

Anton likes to dance off the stage as well!

Anton likes to dance off the stage as well!

And….do you have a website people can visit to learn more about you and your work?  I’m a simple guy [smiles].  Anyone is free to contact me through Facebook- you can find me as Anton Azanov – and I’m always happy to help in any way I can.  My contact details are of course also on the Shiver Website.

You can come see Anton and all the dancers and figure skaters (yes, there’s even ice skating) in the SHIVER SHOW Friday evening Feb. 9th and Saturday Feb 10th (matinee + evening show). Details and tickets are available from:  www.shivershow.ca

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CROATIAN SINGING SENSATION GREETED BY ENTHUSIASTIC CANADIAN FANS @ NEW YEAR’S GALA

Stunning young soprano Barbara Suhodolčan won lots of new Canadian/Croatian fans when she performed at the Holy Trinity Croatian Catholic Church in Oakville on New Year’s Eve. This marked Ms. Suhodolčan’s Canadian debut but thanks to the overwhelming response from the audience, local promoter Katica Visic of Cronnexion Entertainment is hoping to invite Barbara back to Canada later this year for a mini-tour in Southern Ontario and possibly beyond.  I had the opportunity of speaking with Barbara just before she flew back home to Croatia earlier this week and here’s what she had to say about her experience….

Barbara went on to tell me about upcoming shows, especially one about which she is very excited…

And she is especially proud of her mum and dad for their support and dedication to helping her career. Both accompanied her to Toronto, along with her piano accompanist and another musician.

She is totally delightful to chat with and is most definitely destined for fame in the very near future.  After the interview, Barbara and I had some fun taking photos in her hotel lobby where we found a great big Christmas tree still in tact.20180103_11002720180103_110033To learn more about this lovely, talented artist, you can follow her on Facebook & Instagram, or keep an eye on my blog for news of her (hopefully) return to Canada.  Here’s a recent video of her performing a Victor Herbert classic.

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2018 starts off with an exciting new dance/skate extravaganza: The SHIVER SHOW @ Glenn Gould Studio Feb 9 & 10

Happy new year and what better way to celebrate a new beginning than to attend an exciting new theatrical presentation that features 7 different genres of dance such as Ballet, Ballroom, Latin, Tap & Burlesque, elements of circus arts including Lyra & Pole performances, musical interludes with beautiful operatic vocalists and of course the magic of Figure Skating. Introducing….the SHIVER SHOW!DSC_8046DSC_7859 DSC_7972The brainchild of two outstanding Canadian women entertainment entrepreneurs, the Shiver Show started simultaneously and separately in the minds of KulKat Entertainment Founder Kristina Kulikova with her partner Anton Azanov, former World Ballroom & Latin Champion (picture below), and Chantal Fry, Founder of Glisse on Ice Shows.  Seeing each other’s work online, Chantal & Kristina decided to share their ideas about a grand theatrical presentation over coffee… and so Shiver Show was born. From a small joint project, the idea grew into this unique large scale production debuting next month in Toronto.Kristina & AntonI recently spoke with Kristina about the show and she graciously shared her thoughts on this this truly one of a kind production:

Kristina, where did the inspiration for Shiver Show come from?  It has always been a personal dream of mine to create a theater show that showcases the incredible performance talent that we have in this great city and give them the opportunity to truly shine- I can honestly say that the dancers themselves were the real inspiration. I wanted to create something unique, something eye catching and unexpected, which is where the chance meeting with Chantal came in at exactly the right time! Putting ice on the theater stage and incorporating over 7 genres of professional dance was the gem I was looking for. Finding the perfect venue and partnering with the incredibly creative and passionate Ballroom/Latin choreographer/performer and coach Anton Azanov fueled that idea and essentially made it a reality!D73_3436 D73_3373 IMG_0212hoopChantal Fry, the founder of Glisse on Ice, has created a spectacle on “artificial ice” for the show – how difficult is it to choreograph ballroom dance, flamenco, tap, aerial, pole & burlesque dance and integrate it with figure skating onto the restrictive stage of Glenn Gould Studio?  We all fell deeply in love with all of the elements Glenn Gould Studio had to offer including their sophisticated lobby and reception area, incredible acoustics, and most of all the non-traditional no-curtain seamless stage which allows the audience to feel closer to the performers and truly enveloped in the show. GGSFrom there – getting creative with best use of spacing was easy.  Led by inspiration and the 2 brilliant minds of Anton & Chantal (pictured below), we divided the stage essentially in half to give the required surface to both the dancers and skaters in order to showcase their skills. It took 3-4 iterations of different positioning to get the set up just right, and we are very excited for the final product!ChantalThe beautiful aspect to this show is also that each act showcased can be booked separately for various corporate functions, events, festivals, etc so aside from being a theatrical production, the acts are gorgeous on their own accord.   We have already received requests to perform the full show program at dance schools, theater schools and festivals, so it is definitely something that can be taken out of the theater setting and still look marvelous.D73_3409Requests for booking any of the talent involved in the show or separate acts, performances or demonstrations, can be arranged through me at KulKat Entertainment (for the dancers, circus arts & singers) www.kulkat.ca  or Chantal Fry of Glisse on Ice (for the figure skaters) www.glisseonice.comE6504577Show times: Fri & Sat Feb 9 & 10 @ 7:30pm (doors open 6:45pm) plus Sat. matinee @ 4pm (doors open 3:15pm)
For group discount on tickets, use promo code: SHIVERGROUP (for groups of 10+)
Full details and tickets:  www.shivershow.caGGS2

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CROATIAN CLASSICAL SINGER BARBARA Suhodolčan TO PERFORM @ NYE GALA IN THE GTA

Thanks to my friend and local musical promoter, Katica Visic, I’ve been introduced to the talented young classical singer and flutist from Croatia, Barbara Suhodolčan. Barbara (pictured below) is making a special guest appearance this coming New Year’s Eve, performing at the Holy Trinity Croatian Catholic Church in Oakville for an audience of Croatian Canadians. Barbara will be sharing the entertainment bill with her father, Rajko, a much-loved singer/celebrity known to Croatians around the world.   barbara s 2The multi-award winning, classically trained young singer made her debut in 2010 with the Croatian National Theatre in Varaždin as Hanna in Franz Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow, and has performed as a guest soloist with many Croatian and international orchestras including the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Tambura orchestra and Symphonic orchestra of HRT (Croatian Radio Television), Varaždin chamber orchestra, Croatian Military Symphonic Wind Orchestra, Nova Philharmonic Orchestra (Slovenia), Symphony Orchestra of Ravensburg (Germany), and Suzhou Symphony Orchestra (China). Barbara has appeared in concert at many international music festivals both as vocal soloist and as an accomplished  flutist, an instrument on which she excels.

In costume, as part of renowned renaissance ensemble 'Marco Polo' from Zagreb

In costume, as part of renowned renaissance ensemble ‘Marco Polo’ from Zagreb

Thanks again to Katica, I was able to conduct a brief online interview with the beautiful and talented artist, asking her questions about her career to date, her inspirations and aspirations for continued success. I will be sitting down for a video chat with Barbara and possibly her dad, too, just before the New Year’s concert.

Here is what Barbara shared with me….

You play flute as well as sing – can tell us a little about your music training?   My first contact with music was singing, it all started in children’s choir and music TV shows for kids. At the age of 8, I started my musical education as a flutist. Later, I continued with both singing and flute in high school, and then at the Zagreb Academy of Music where I got my Master’s Degree in opera last year.

What was your first professional performance and how excited were you to take the stage?  First professional performance was at age 16 when I made my debut in Croatian National Theatre as “Hanna” in Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow. I have to say that I got rid of stage fright long before that, because my dad encouraged me to do a lot of solo concerts and public appearances. He said it’s the only way to fight stage fright, and he was right. I was really excited on the day of the operetta’s premiere, I couldn’t sleep for a few days before and I couldn’t wait to perform on the stage! It all went pretty well; I was happy and overwhelmed the days after it!23472158_773097032875327_1211366736741281643_nYour father, Rajko, is a well-respected music professional – how has he influenced your career and future aspirations?   It’s all his fault! [laughs] I don’t know if I would ever be a professional musician if it wasn’t for him, and now I wouldn’t change it for the world! I think I’m blessed to be able to have such a wonderful job. My father taught me about all the cruelties and beauties this “music world” can bring. Although we’re not in the same music genre, he really knows a lot and was always very supportive and open minded about my ideas and aspirations.

Are there any classical (or other) music performers who have inspired you?  There are so many. I don’t want to name them individually, because my “inspirations” changed over the years of my musical development and personal maturation. In fact, I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes those who are not classical musicians have inspired me to do some things in classical music, and visa versa. I think one should be open to music of all genres.

 Are you looking forward to performing for a Canadian audience on New Year’s Eve? And is this your first visit to North America?   I can’t describe to you how excited and honored I feel to be singing for this special Canadian Croatian audience, bringing them a little piece of their homeland to Ontario. It’s going to be my first time visiting North America and Toronto – I know it’s going be great and I can’t wait.
36630850410_8dfc3daa1e_bTo date, what has been your most exciting (or surprising) performance around the world, and why?  It’s really hard for me to single out just one, but If I have to choose the most exciting one, that would definitely be this summer in China. I performed several concerts there, and what made it so special is the fact I was singing Mandarin songs in the Mandarin language, so it was quite an experience!

Are you planning any recordings in the near future that your fans around the world can purchase?  Actually I do. I haven’t recorded any albums yet but I have a few projects planned for 2018 and if everything goes well, at the end of the year I should have not just one, but two albums. I’m really looking forward to that.23472222_773095142875516_7660755816930456776_nWhat’s next for you – any big performances with symphony orchestras or other collaborations?  I have a big solo concert on January 26th that I’m currently working on with the Croatian Armed Forces Symphony Orchestra, and collaborating with other artists in two shows with the same orchestra earlier that same month. I also have a number of recitals planned, accompanied by an organist. But the big concert on January 26 will be something that hasn’t been presented to Croatian audiences before – a concert of greatest opera, operetta and musical numbers, jazz and pop songs. As I’ll be singing all of the numbers, we are practicing really hard now as we want it to be a spectacle.

You can follow Barbara on Instagram: www.instagram.com/barbarasuhodolcan

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Barbara, and just to tease Canadian audiences a little bit, here’s a music video from a recent recital:

For details & tickets to the NYE gala concert in Oakville, Ontario….

Svecani docek Nove 2018. godine
(Croatian New Year’s celebration)
Holy Trinity Croatian Catholic Church
2110 Trafalgar Road, Oakville, ONDoors open @ 6pm
Gourmet dinner, midnight buffet, bottle of champagne on each table
Tickets: $120 
For info & tkts, please contact: Leo 905-602-9178, Stjepan 416-436-1215 or Ivan 905-308-8038

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DONNA WISE TAKES US FOR “FLIGHTS OF FANCY” @ URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

I spent a second day surrounded by beautiful artwork, this time at URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen st East, Toronto) where accomplished painter DONNA WISE (pictured below) launched her solo show, FLIGHTS OF FANCY, which runs until Dec. 30th, 2017.  20171202_135335Amid the excitement of the launch, Donna shared with me the fact that a local (and very gracious) fashion designer, Annie Thompson, reached out to her with an offer to outfit her for the launch today so here’s Donna wearing one of Annie’s outfits also called “Flight of Fancy” which perfectly matches her paintings and style (www.anniethompson.ca). Here’s Donna describing her show and talking about her inspirations….

Here are a few of the pieces gracing the gallery walls…20171129_134921 20171129_135028 20171129_134821 20171129_13494320171129_135014 20171129_135039Fine arts blogger Mark Hasan of KQEK.com stopped by for an interview with the artist (below) then enjoyed viewing her work along with the crowd of friends and family who started filing in…20171202_142548 20171202_141704A friend and long-time collector of Donna’s (below L) put the first “red dot” of the day beside one of the stunning paintings, purchasing one of my personal favourites: this delicate image of what, to me, looks like a Japanese geisha. What do you think?20171202_142520Donna’s husband (below L) posed with another family friend in front of this giant pastel hued canvas…..
20171202_141618(0)…and here are more gallery guests enjoying Donna’s work and the fine catering courtesy of www.UrbanCatering.com20171202_140427 20171202_141647 20171202_140244 20171202_140253If you can’t make it down to the gallery in person, here’s a quick virtual trip around one section of the gallery…

Urban Gallery is located at 400 Queen St East, just E of Parliament, in Toronto. Visit the website for directions and gallery hours:  www.UrbanGallery.caUG-Logo-url

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STOCKYARDS GALLERY DELIVERS KNOCK-OUT SHOW WITH 3 EXCITING ARTISTS!

Last night I attended the opening reception for “East Meets West” at Stockyards Gallery owned and curated by my friend, Lola Livingston. She’s been presenting unique showcases for artists since opening a year ago and this time, she knocked it outta the ballpark.  Jean Paul Langlois, based in BC, has been charming the critics with his innovative neo-expressionist paintings incorporating images from 70’s cult films and pop culture, embellishing with bright, bold swathes of colour. I must admit I am in love with these works and only wish it wasn’t rent day yesterday as I would have grabbed my favourite (Gen’l Urko – below, left – from the original Planet of the Apes).20171201_19282520171201_200217 20171201_211946Jean Paul busied himself signing prints of his work for new fans (above). For 2 1/2hrs, gallery guests gathered around him, learning more about these exciting, vibrant paintings, the artist’s inspirations and techniques. Check out more of his work at www.jeanpaullanglois.ca20171201_195811Above, actors Bruno Verdoni (L) and Tatum Lee (R) discussed art and their upcoming film projects.

Al “Runt” Currie, who is well-known to Toronto audiences for his giant street murals on places like Lee’s Palace exterior, delivered a selection of 3D paintings (below) as well as a new series of glow-in-the-dark, black-light images…wow!   www.alrunt.com20171201_192831 20171201_192851_001 20171201_193007Recording artist and music historian Greg Godovitz (below L) was quite taken with Al’s work, posing here with the artist (2nd from L) and other friends/fans. Fingers-crossed we see some of Al’s work hanging in the legendary El Mocambo when it re-opens next spring.20171201_195828 The third artist, Darren Hyde, paints under the name Mr. Hydde and he delivered some extraordinary, detailed works of art that were reminiscent of my previous client, Johnny Deluna (Toronto’s king of pointillism-meets-surrealism). I really wanted to purchase the small orange painting (below, bottom) but friends beat me to it. Grrrrrrr…but I guess I can at least visit my painting..along with a second one they also purchased (the middle one with a big X)20171201_193552 20171201_215558Mr Hydde (above) seemed quite happy with the night’s activities, especially with all the sales!  You can find more of his work on his Facebook fan page: Facebook.com/MisterHydde

Congratulations to Lola and all three artists – there were so many sales last night I lost count of all the red dots (I think Al sold 6 or 7 pieces, a new record for Stockyards Gallery).  East Meets West runs until Jan. 2nd so I recommend you hurry down to Stockyards Gallery at 1611 Dupont Street, Toronto, to experience the art yourself.  www.stockyardsgallery.ca20171201_221336 20171201_221251 20171201_221300There was obviously an old time Hollywood movie fan there last night, buying up 2 of Jean Paul’s paintings showing Judy Garland and Desi Arnaz in costume for roles where each portrayed a native American (from Jean Paul’s “Fake Indians” series).

 

 

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CANADA’S FIRST LADY OF THE GUITAR HOSTS TORONTO CHRISTMAS CONCERT

Over the past 35yrs, I’ve had the honour of attending concerts by (and even actually working with) some of the great music icons – Marvin Gaye, Mel Torme, Rod Stewart, Yanni, 60’s legends Connie Francis & Paul Anka, country stars Reba McEntire, Vince Gill and Clint Black…even my teenage super-crush, The Monkees. This past Saturday night, thanks to an invitation from Grammy-nominated and int’l multiple award-winning Canadian flutist & composer, Ron Korb, I was front and centre for a rare concert by LIONA BOYD, songwriter and classical guitarist extraordinaire! 20171125_214912…and she was in fine form! Here’s Liona with her protege, singer & guitarist Andrew Dolson (above centre) and Ron Korb (right).
Held in the spectacular St. Paul’s Trinity concert hall (below), the Mississauga Children’s Choir opened the show with some beautiful festive songs. Liona is a patron of the choir and it was a lovely start to the night.20171125_18544620171125_193110Sadly, we were instructed not to take any photos during the show, but the 2 sets included some of Ms. Boyd’s greatest hits from previous albums including her Christmas album, A Winter Fantasy, as well as music from her most recent release, No Remedy for Love.winter No+Remedy+for+Love+ALBUM+coverShe was accompanied by Ron on several numbers; he also performed solos from his previous albums. Ron Korb is one of Canada’s pre-eminent recording artists and composers who travels the world playing with some of the greatest symphony orchestras, performing for royalty and international heads of state. To learn more about Ron and hear his music, please visit his website: www.ronkorb.com

As soon as the concert finished and the artists took their bows, the audience was permitted a photo session which, being in the front row, allowed me close-up access to Ms. Boyd and her fellow musicians. Bravo! This was followed by an autograph session where CDs and books were available for sale (great Christmas pressies for music lovers)…20171125_220328 20171125_220534 20171125_220715Earlier this fall, I reviewed Ms. Boyd’s latest memoir, also titled No Remedy for Love, for The Rider newspaper and below is an extract. A great read with lots of juicy stories about Liona’s exciting life on stage and her personal tragedies and triumphs off stage. I definitely recommend the book…not just for music lovers or fans, it is a fabulous story that takes us inside the world of showbiz.

NO REMEDY FOR LOVE
A memoir by Liona Boyd
Dundurn Press (248 pages) $35.00 hardcover
She released her first memoir, In My Own Key, in 1998 which thrilled fans and became a bestseller; now Canada’s classical guitar icon, LIONA BOYD, strikes all the right chords once again with her recently published 2nd memoir, No Remedy for Love. The “First Lady of the Guitar” shares her loves, both romantic and musical, and offers great insight into the heart and mind of a consummate artist. She has performed around the world, sold millions of albums, won five Juno awards, serenaded heads of state and, for eight years, dated Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
We follow the journey of Boyd’s reinvention of her career after a six year period when she couldn’t play guitar due to suffering with the painful Musician’s Focal Dystonia, and we feel her pain when she suffers a serious fall and is alone, screaming for help that she thinks will never come, and are intrigued by her stories of longtime pen-pal Prince Phillip, a friendship that has lasted over 30 years. Her anecdotes are peppered with the names of close personal celebrity friends without any pretension, and the book features charming photos of Liona with Gordon Lightfoot, Ronnie Hawkins, Julio Iglesias, Leonard Cohen, Dan Hill and Pierre Trudeau. At the back of the book, you’ll find selected lyrics to many of Liona’s songs as well as album titles and song listings of her most recent recordings. The perfect gift for the music lover and proud Canadian on your Christmas list!9781459739925 (1)To learn more about Liona Boyd, her tour schedule and music/book sales, please visit: www.lionaboyd.com

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JOIN ME FOR A VIRTUAL TOUR OF TORONTO’S ONE-OF-A-KIND CHRISTMAS SHOW

Thanks to Toronto jewellery designer Pamela Lauz’s kind invitation, I was able to enjoy today’s grand opening of the annual ONE-OF-A-KIND CHRISTMAS SHOW here in Toronto, featuring all sorts of treasures, hand-crafted foods & beverages, clothing, home accessories, fun kids stuff and gifts for everyone in the family including Fido and Fluffy! The show runs Nov.23 to Dec.3rd – check out www.oneofakindshow.com for details and directions. So…let’s visit Pamela’s booth first….

and here are some still photos of Pamela’s beautiful designs – www.PamelaLauz.com20171123_111241 20171123_111200Based in Hillier, ON, Fables, Fantasy & Fairy Tales (below) displayed some charming wee fairies (who doesn’t love fairies?!). www.fairys.com20171123_112342 20171123_112329 20171123_112335I then met this lovely young lady (below) selling divine candles courtesy of the www.vancouvercandleco.com  Available locally from Indigo’s, the yummy fragrances include a line dedicated to Toronto’s cool neighbourhoods. Personally, I think my Yorkville candle smelled a lot nicer than the Rosedale one…but I guess I’m a little biased. LOL! 20171123_112622 20171123_112631So many great Christmas gift ideas, like these below….20171123_112817 20171123_111835 20171123_112132…and who knew a tin can can become a fabulous musical instrument? Yes, here’s a musical interlude presented by www.rosbilt.com located in Stella, Ontario.

Are these cool or what? 20171123_113135And no One of a Kind Show would be complete without visiting artist Rob Croxford who always makes me smile.  www.robcroxford.com20171123_113241

Meet the super cute hand-stitched mohair teddies from UXBEARies. Oh my gosh, I wanted to bring every single one of them home with me. Judy & Jill Sword of Bracebridge craft them individually, adding in their wee personalities and accessories. Check out they Etsy online store: www.etsy.com/shop/uxbearies  Psst, Santa, please bring me a teddybear this year, okay?20171123_113646 20171123_113702 20171123_113655 20171123_113719Next….the cutie-pattootie baby & toddler fashions of Surfing Ninjas and toys and booties from Petit Remy. This talented duo of besties offer quality as well as groovy goodies for the littlest member of your family. Two of the nicest ladies ever!  www.SurfingNinjas.com  www.petitremy.com20171123_11415320171123_11425120171123_11425920171123_11432920171123_11433420171123_114405Ontario glassblowers www.tropicalicebergglass.com had everyone stopping in their tracks with these charming glass characters and stunning goblets and vases…20171123_114757 20171123_114649I ran into Wonder Woman working the booth for www.dreampowercostumes.com The fish-tale blankie for mermaids (and mermen) of all sizes were very popular and there was a little girl visiting the booth who dressed up as a fairy princess. I was tempted to buy a new set of fairy wings…my old ones are looking a bit moth-eaten.20171123_115115_001 20171123_115051 20171123_115230The guys from 50pesos food truck had THE BEST salsa. Stupid me forgot to go back and grab a tub of it at the end of my visit. Check their website for news of food truck locations:  www.50pesos.ca20171123_120532 20171123_120541Speaking of great food…I chatted with the ladies of Rustichella flavour-infused oils & vinegars. OMG…so yummy! You can check out their complete line of products handcrafted in Toronto here:  www.rustichella.ca20171123_121306Better still, here’s co-owner Julie to tell us all about her products…

Designer Sandy from www.pulpfunction.ca showed off her unique lights/art…check these out! Located in Thornhill, Sandy has a great online shop so do visit her website for more fun installations for home and office.20171123_123408 20171123_123444Alicja Confections…you had me at hello! This stunning booth designed like an art gallery displayed delicious premium chocolate bars incorporating all sorts of flavours. My favourite? The Valencia with orange peel and dark chocolate. But the packaging alone is so gorgeous, you might even forget about the chocolate inside….naaaah. Gobble gobble gobble! Sadly, they’re located in Ottawa but they will be accepting online orders soon. www.alicjaconfections.com (site is currently under construction)20171123_124057 20171123_124151 20171123_124217 20171123_124103Ooo, look – more sweeties for me…here are the delicious cookies and dessert sauces courtesy of www.EstherGould.com  No preservatives are used and let me tell you, the almond shortbreads were so tasty. I’m putting my order in now for my birthday (Dec. 26th). 20171123_12481920171123_12482420171123_125755Here’s  the queen bee herself Debbie Gray (below R) with her handsome “booth babe”! Debbie is the founder/beekeeper of www.HeritageBee.com Please do your best to save the bees by planting lots of spring flowers in your garden.20171123_130713Joining Debbie in the booth is our favourite tea-lady (above at left) from www.ClearviewTea.ca

New to the show this year is master carver Marc Degagne of Northwoods Carvings. I fell instantly in love with these wee birdies below. Check out Marc’s  stunning work at: www.northwoodscarvings.etsy.com 20171123_13140920171123_131505 20171123_131456Now here’s an artist with a unique point of view!  All the way from Vancouver, Denial Art (website under construction) showcased provocative digital imagery combined with lazer-cut 3D artworks. Freakin’ awesome!20171123_131943(0) 20171123_132015I found an exciting new (to me, anyway) artist – Jannet Haitas (below) whose encaustic & mixed-media paintings have a delicate yet powerful impact. Loved her use of raw wood framing as part of the art piece itself. Hope to see more of her work in Toronto galleries soon. www.jannethaitas.me20171123_134419 20171123_134244 20171123_134237And there’s no mistaking a Mark Gleberzon work of art, be it something you hang on your wall or place a gin-and-tonic on!  I love this mid-century modern “kidney” side table;  when I arrived in the booth, it had just been sold. 20171123_135418Congrats, Mark, and thanks for sharing your thoughts with me on video….

If you’re a dog lover (or have a cat ruling your home), you must drop in to the Rover Pet Boutique. Lots of elegant doggy fashions for your pampered pooch and blinged-out collars for Ms. Kitty! www.theroverboutique.com

So many booths – so little hours in my day, but here are some more great pics from my visit…and thanks to Fusion Art whose beautiful blue glass Christmas trees head up this blog. Glass-maker Nancy Legassicke is very talented – we need to get her a website!

20171123_115859 20171123_132646 20171123_135308 20171123_135054Happy holidays to all…and to all, a good show!