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MY ARIZONA ADVENTURE (Pt. III) – a western ghost town & a cowboy shoot ’em up!

Just like in the movies, the real wild west has plenty of ghost towns and my hosts, AJ and Tom, took me to the Goldfields ghost town north of Phoenix.  It used to be a real working gold mine town back in the late 1800’s complete with mines, a saloon, general store, a prairie apothecary and bordello (a genuine whorehouse). We arrived in time to enjoy a train ride around the town, play in the shootin’ gallery and witness a noisy shoot-out with the local Sheriff and bad guys. So much fun and the views of the spectacular Superstitions rocks/mountains were breathtaking. 20190407_113004 20190407_124038 20190407_121441 IMG_7518I dropped in to the Siphon Draw Apothecary where lovely pharmacist/medicine woman Colleen (pictured below) created a beautiful refreshing & healing body spray for me using natural aloe and geranium oils.  www.siphondraw.com 20190407_132057AJ took some great pics of the saloon, the bordello and other buildings (below)…IMG_7529 IMG_7534 IMG_7563 IMG_7558…as I saved seats for the big showdown at the OK (for now) corral!

What a hoot! After this, we decided we needed to try our own hands at shootin’ so we headed to the shack out back and took up laser rifles…20190407_122435Didn’t feel much like the real thing but for 2 bucks, I ain’t complaining. Bang…bang bang. Gotcha, ya vermit!  AJ & Tom took a time-out at the big saloon and posed for me in front of the horses and the big mountains in the background.20190407_124152Next, we rode the choo choo train that circled the town, giving us a great view of all the buildings and mining activities.20190407_133136 20190407_135505

If you want to visit Goldfield ghost town for yourself and experience the excitement of the wild west, here’s all the info your need:  www.goldfieldghosttown.comIMG_7593Tomorrow…join me in Sedona (below) the new age capital of Arizona, where I experience a “vortex” and marvel at the rock formations and mesas, and the stunning beauty of the desert during the rare “super bloom”.20190408_121116

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My Arizona Adventure (Pt.II) – I visit Old Town & Western Heritage Museum

Saturday April 6th dawned bright and early for me…the sun streamed in my bedroom window (pictured below) by 6:30am and the birds were in full chorus! 20180406_165843Today was the day AJ was taking me shopping in Old Town, Scottsdale’s touristy section with all the souvenir shops and boutiques complete with wild west themed exteriors. Our first stop was the weekly farmers’ market – not your usual ramshackle clutch of stalls and tents, but a well laid out, clean and welcoming market with free samples, deelish healthy breakfast treats and tons of local produce. Everywhere you looked, there were flowers and happy smiling shoppers. 20180406_090834After indulging in a home-made quiche with honey drizzled over it (wow, so yummy) and downing cups of hot local coffee, we headed off to stroll the Old Town streets.  There’s a fabulous art gallery, home decor/accessories and artifacts called Bischoff’s Gallery that AJ wanted to show me so off we went, passing several stunning western sculptures…20180406_092133 20180406_092348 20180406_092455I found so many wonderful treasures inside Bischoff’s including this painted deerskin plus numerous kachina dolls20180406_094017 20180406_094026…and I picked up a couple of modestly priced carved wooden figurines – a coyote in full howl and a bunny rabbit, plus a string of tiny red glass chili peppers that are now hanging on my front door.  www.bischoffsgallery.com

More wanderings in and out of souvenir stores, picking up fridge magnets for friends as requested.20180406_092510 20180406_103518We came upon a stunning fountain with several galloping horses…20180406_110009It was getting just a wee bit hot so we ducked into the fab Berdena’s cafe where the staff prepared fresh squeezed orange juice for me and a tea for AJ. Friendly & welcoming staff made for a pleasant visit. www.berdenas.com20180406_111007 20180406_110704More schlepping around the streets before heading to the incredible Museum of the West where I was to find treasures from cowboy history, native American culture and some samples of the great western artist, Charles Russell.  I’ll let the photos do the talking…20180406_114636 20180406_115545 20180406_115615This next one is AJ’s favourite, as if you couldn’t tell!20180406_115641And these are two of mine….20180406_115655 20180406_115707They’re also heavy into pot…clay pots, that is…20180406_115738 20180406_115751 20180406_115811Lots of wild west memorabilia was on display…
20180406_120631 20180406_120656 20180406_12074820180406_121639 20180406_121730 20180406_121833 20180406_121928I was particularly drawn to the Charles Russell exhibition of his paintings and stories about the women in his life…20180406_120043 20180406_120027 20180406_115936And there were so many amazing bronzes of native Americans…just look at these regal warriors:20180406_120120 20180406_120152And of course I found my very own buffalo…Dances with Glenda!20180406_121022The museum has an outdoor courtyard filled with sculptures…20180406_121108 20180406_121147 …then back inside I discovered a tribute to John Wayne by his artist friend Harry Jackson near the gift shop:20180406_121409 20180406_121416The museum also had a “secret garden” of sculptures around back – look what I found there…20180406_123304 20180406_123441 20180406_123640Big thank you to Jeffrey in the gift store who pointed out some great western books to bring home as well as some cool cowboy fridge magnets (these ones are for me!). Learn more about Scottsdale’s Museum of the West by visiting their website: www.scottsdalemuseumwest.org

More Arizona Adventure stories coming from this lone ranger so stay tuned!20180406_133437

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MY ARIZONA ADVENTURE (Pt.I) – welcome to Camp Joy Ranch

It’s been 22 years since I took a vacation – working for one’s self means if you don’t work, you don’t make money so after all that nose-to-the-grindstone living, I finally accepted an invitation from old pal Anthony (AJ) Cavanagh with whom I worked at a local Toronto TV station back in 1999/2000, to visit him and his husband Tom on their ranch in Phoenix, AZ. If there is a heaven here on earth, Camp Joy Ranch must be it…or at least heaven-adjacent!

After coming in for the landing and seeing such a bleak landscape (below)…20190405_205210…I was surprised to learn that Arizona had recently experienced an unusual amount of rain and the desert was in “super bloom”  i.e. all the wildflowers and cacti were blossoming, bursting with colour and fragrance. After AJ picked me up it was pretty dark and as we drove thru the night about an hour or so out of the city, he explained that they have a law requiring street lights and commercial/retail lighting be turned off or down low in order to see the night sky. OMG…I have never seen such bright stars, the moon, all the constellations! But even more beautiful was the surroundings of Camp Joy Ranch when I woke up the next morning with the sun streaming through my bedroom window…20190407_07061220190406_10320520190406_10294420190406_102710The first thing I noticed, apart from the stunning vistas, was the sound of birds singing. Mourning doves coo’d, desert quails with their funny feathered top-knots warbled and the crows cawed high above as they rode the wind high above. I saw all sorts of birds including red cardinals, honeysuckers and humming birds (try taking a pic of them – impossible…LOL) as well as eagles and hawks, plus the bunnies came out to play every morning (below)20190409_091022After a great Aussie breakfast of toast & Vegemite, AJ saddled up the Prius and we headed out to Scottsdale for some serious shopping and touristy sight-seeing. I was so excited just like a little kid, knowing I was gonna be amazed and enthralled. My next blog post will show you what we saw so stay tuned.20190406_102808

SOFT LIGHT IN THE GLOAMING by Lori Ryerson for OFF THE BEATEN PATH April 2019 at URBAN GALLERY

LORI RYERSON’s solo show “OFF THE BEATEN PATH” runs thru April 27 at URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

Yesterday, Saturday April 13th, Urban Gallery’s artist of the month LORI RYERSON (pictured below) hosted a meet-the-artist event after her big launch reception last week. Lori Ryerson Photo Portrait 2018Those fans who couldn’t make it for the grand opening of her show “Off the Beaten Path” poured into the gallery and another photographic artwork was quickly sold…red dot firmly affixed to one of my personal favourites, “Tears of a Peacock” (below)20190413_150833Most of the photographs featured in Lori’s show illustrate the remoteness and emptiness of spaces in far off lands…Sea to Sky-393 SKYFIRE by Lori Ryerson for OFF THE BEATEN PATH April 2019 at URBAN GALLERY The House with the Red Roof-145My photography is usually the result of serendipity. I look for an alignment of things that convey a story, for the narrative in abandoned urban landscapes. I try to capture what silence looks like. These are the stories I tell through my lens. – Lori Ryerson, 2019

Here’s Lori to tell you about the show in her own words:

Lori enjoyed sharing her inspirations and travel stories with gallery visitors….20190413_123713…and Lori’s sister, Lisa, dropped in to wish her well with the show (below)20190413_144824…as did her fellow artists and friends20190413_152508Over the years, Lori has amassed a huge portfolio of photographs, many of which have been compiled into books that her fans appreciate and stand in line to purchase at her shows…20190319_133415 20190319_133545 20190319_133459Off the Beaten Path runs until April 27th at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto (just 1 blk E of Parliament). Gallery hours and directions: www.urbangallery.ca

If you’d like to learn more about the artist, follow her on social media or visit her website: www.focalocity.ca20190403_125949(0) 20190403_125915

 

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ARTIST HANNA KOSTANSKI PAINTS THE PAST & ILLUSTRATES THE BEAUTY OF ABANDONED BUILDINGS

I have the pleasure of introducing you to my new client, artist HANNA KOSTANSKI, whose work I first discovered in 2017 when she presented her solo show at Urban Gallery in Toronto (below)20170803_174822 20170803_173123She was born in Szczecin, Poland, and in the 80’s her family emigrated to Hamilton, Ontario, where she grew up and first discovered her love of painting. Hanna attended the Ontario College of Art & Design where she obtained her BFA in 2007. She still resides in Hamilton with her husband and two rescue dogs and a black cat who really runs the house! Hanna’s work can be found in dozens of private and public collections, including a hospital, several law offices and hotels in both Toronto and Hamilton.

Her most recent series of paintings are based on photographs found at the City of Toronto Public Archives. These images span several decades and show a nostalgic view of the city as it once was. They celebrate the past while showing the development of Toronto and the ways in which people helped shape it.  In contrast to Hanna’s previous collections which embody the loneliness of an environment in the absence of human touch, this series celebrates the vibrancy of people interacting with the streets and neighbourhoods.

Bay & Adelaide Streets circa 1940s

Bay & Adelaide Streets circa 1940s

I’ll let Hanna tell you herself about her passion for vintage views and recreating mid-century street scenes…

For over a decade, my work has been focused on the visible passage of time, experienced through the exploration and documentation of abandoned and decaying buildings in cities like Hamilton, Detroit and more recently, Toronto. I’ve always been fascinated with historical architecture, specifically how we interact with our buildings and structures, and what happens when that interaction ceases to exist. – Hanna Kostanski

It was wonderful visiting Hanna in her home studio, seeing where and how she works…20190329_121929 20190329_122119 20190329_121832… and discovering new works currently being undertaken (below)20190329_121841 20190329_125311We’re currently researching showcase opportunities at this year’s DOORS OPEN TORONTO, a weekend in May where the public can visit historic buildings and venues. Hanna’s brilliant painting of the Yonge & Dundas intersection, circa 1978, would be the perfect illustration of Toronto’s past so I’m busy pounding the pavements and visiting building management offices to secure a spot for this incredibly detailed view of the busiest spot in Toronto!Hanna Kostanski YONGE AND DUNDAS 1978 acrylic on boardHanna is also in high demand for commissioned work and she’s currently working on a number of pieces for birthday and retirement gifts so some very special paintings will soon be going to some equally special homes. If you would like to learn more about Hanna and get in touch for your own commissioned slice of the past, visit her website and follow her on social media: http://www.hannakostanski.com  Watch my social media (Fcbk, Twtr, IG) over the coming weeks for more video interviews with this talented artist.

A Parisian street scene, given the Kostanski touch!

A Parisian street scene, given the Kostanski touch!

The heavy industrial side of Hamilton, ON, also gets the Kostanski treatment

The heavy industrial side of Hamilton, ON, also gets the Kostanski treatment

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MR. HYDDE’S GROOVY GALLERY OPENING FOR “HAPPY TYME” SOLO SHOW

I discovered a great gallery on Spadina Ave (Toronto) last night when I attended the opening soiree for the fabulous Mr. Hydde‘s solo show titled “Happy Tyme”Coldstream Fine Art represents a number of exciting contemporary Canadian artists and I was thrilled to see Mr Hydde’s new works hanging in this space. His show runs util March 23rd so please scroll down and check the websites linked at bottom of this blog for info & gallery directions.20190228_185236Upon entering the 2nd floor gallery, I was amazed by the brightly coloured large, fanciful paintings, each of which intrigued with Mr. Hydde’s embedded text and imbued with his sense of humour and social commentary.20190228_185224 20190228_185127I managed to grab a quick Q&A video with the man himself….

I met up with some friends from the Toronto arts community including (below) Val Peter (L), Tanya Solonyka (C) and Michelle Dinelle (R) who were their to support our talented friend, Mr Hydde.20190228_191919I had my eye on this one, Flowerz (below) and decided to commit. Yes, that’s my red dot alongside. The eyes followed me around the gallery and kept drawing me back so….I just had to have it!20190228_191842I encourage you to visit Coldstream Fine Art and view Mr. Hydde’s work in person…see if any of the other eyes follow YOU around the gallery. Thank you for supporting local artists.20190228_185139 20190228_185159Coldstream Fine Art, 80 Spadina Ave, Ste. 208   www.coldstreamfineart.com/

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DISCOVERING NEW TALENT & OLD FRIENDS @ THIS YEAR’S “ARTIST PROJECT”

I spent the afternoon cruising the aisles of this year’s ARTIST PROJECT Contemporary Art Fair taking place this weekend in the Better Living Centre at Exhibition Place, Toronto. Thanks to Nancy Bennett for the comp ticket, I made a beeline for her booth #939 (I started at the back of the hall, saw her first, then worked back towards the front for an easy getaway!).

Here’s Nancy (at R), busy as always in her booth welcoming visitors including fellow artist Libby Sims (far L)…20190222_120005 20190222_120835 20190222_120928…really liked her latest piece (above) titled Ferry Trails, inspired by the chilly waters of Lake Ontario in front of her downtown condo, with all the wake trails from the harbour ferries. Check out more of Nancy’s work at: www.nancybennett.ca

Further along the aisles, I stopped to admire the gorgeous photographs of the white horses of the Carmargue (France) by Robert Postma (below)  See more of his herd at www.robertpostmaphotography.com20190222_114632Ilinca Ghibu (below) brought an early spring to Toronto with her beautiful & delicate florals. www.ilincaghibu.com20190222_113738Here’s the delightfully quirky Zoey Zoric who is showcasing her “hands” series this year.  www.zzfineart.com20190222_115432AreYouHereLast year, I purchased one of Mirek Bialy‘s stunning acrylic and copper works similar to those below, and this year he’s back with some new creations incorporating specially treated dried fruit & plants as well as pyramids.  www.mirekbialy.com20190222_121903 20190222_121950Mark Gleberzon was busy chatting with booth visitors so I shot around him so as not to interrupt…I’ve been a longtime fan of Mark’s work, his sense of humour and the way he tweaks our artsy-fartsy sensibilities.  Long live Barbie!  www.mjggallery.com 20190222_122124 20190222_122134Opposite Mark’s booth, I wandered over and introduced myself to west coast artist Sherri Rogers whose colourful cityscapes feature street artists’ work. www.sherrirogers.com 20190222_124832Another longtime fave of mine is Morgan Sheardown (below) who was busy chatting with visiting art students…he’s the perfect mentor as he’s achieved so much success thanks to his great marketing skills as well as artistic talents. www.morgansheardown.com20190222_130123Ellen Cameron is another accomplished equine photographic artist – just look at these gorgeous portraits, you can almost hear them whinnying! www.ellencameron.com20190222_130403 20190222_130416Victor Molev is adorable as well as talented…his unique surreal paintings bring out the childlike wonderment in all of us. He’s got an open house studio event March 16 (10am-5pm) in Richmond Hill so visit his website for details and to see more of his extraordinary work.  www.victor-molev.pixels.com 20190222_122338I made an instant new friend when I walked into Linda Simopoulos‘ booth.  Such a warm, open and talented individual and boy, does she have a story to tell. Anyway, I fell in love with the piece below (second photo) and I hope to welcome it to its new home soon! If you go to the show, tell her I sent you and do check out her website: www.lindasimopoulos.com 20190222_123726 20190222_123445Another new artist I discovered is Dalia Elcharbini whose work is more bling’d out than Cardi B!! Gold leaf adorns her large format portraits and if you look closely, you’ll marvel at the intricacy and sensitivity of her work. Tell her I sent you if you visit the show, and her website is: www.daliaelcharbini.com. (It may not be terribly PC to say so but she’s as cute as a button, too!).20190222_130827More fabulous photography, this time from Lori Ryerson (below) who has a solo show coming up in April at Urban Gallery (www.urbangallery.ca) in Toronto. Here Lori explores the beauty of remote locales such as these from Iceland.  For more information, www.focalocity.ca 20190222_140443My big discovery this year is Steven Hasegawa – this was his first time at the Artist Project but I’m sure it won’t be his last. This Japanese Canadian artist is inspired by the Samurai helmets and armour of ancient Japan, and his work really resonated with my own personal obsession with all things Japanese.  His large format colourful paintings are quite extraordinary and I hope to interview Steven for my arts blog, FlyontheGalleryWall.ca soon.  Visit his online gallery at: www.stevenhasegawa.art 20190222_143306 20190222_143324 20190222_143302Finally, what’s an art expo without a visit to the booth of Kate Taylor?! Kate has an exciting new project coming up – to learn more, visit www.Creative-Adventures.ca  In the meantime, you can view her work in person at the show or at: www.katetaylorstudio.com 20190222_14361320190222_143621Lots more to see and experience so I encourage you to visit The Artist Project 2019.
www.theartistproject.com
@ArtistProjectTO

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2019 CANADIAN INT’L AUTO SHOW OPENS TODAY IN TORONTO

Every February, my inner gear-head starts twitching with excitement – it’s time for the annual Canadian International Auto Show!  Yesterday’s Media Day offered intro’s to new manufacturers, new designs, new technology and teased us with gorgeous luxury vehicles few can afford…me included.

One of the first exhibits I visited was Ford where I made a beeline for the brand new Mustang Bullitt edition. Oh my, she was a beauty. One of my fave Steve McQueen movies was Bullitt and the stories about the fate of his original hunter green Mustang are legendary. I let my imagination run wild as I snapped away…20190214_102338 20190214_102422 20190214_102502 20190214_102440Ford also had a NASCAR vehicle on display (Joey Logano’s car) plus a life-sized Lego racer (below)20190214_102143 20190214_102634Check out the new Jaguar – what a stunner.20190214_103602 20190214_10351220190214_103619And Acura unveiled its latest model (below)20190214_103850New model unveilings are always exciting for the automotive journalists and this crowd was super excited to watch Cadillac present its new SUV (below)20190214_104026

Then over to the other side of the hall to see Maserati. My fave colour is blue so of course I had to snap this moment as the boys played with these bright shiny new toys!20190214_104948Now for the BIG trucks – so nice to feel so “petite” when standing alongside these beauties.20190214_105008 20190214_105529 20190214_111133 20190214_105047

There’s also a cool WWI/WWII display courtesy of www.TankMuseum.ca in the hallway of the South Bldg – definitely a must-see for the little soldier in all of us!20190214_102042

20190214_101930I always enjoy a stroll thru the vintage auto displays and this year’s exhibit didn’t disappoint – many were “cherry red” so it made for some great photo opps.20190214_120549 20190214_120638Back over to the North Bldg of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and in the basement, you’ll find the exotics – the ultimate prizes for all car lovers. Aston Martins, Lotus and Stingrays oh my!20190214_124641 20190214_12482720190214_124846Then I bumped into (literally) Brit car designer Mark Roberts of McLaren who kindly posed for a photo beside his creation, the McLaren Senna.    20190214_124336(0)Also located on the lower level of the North bldg is the Barrett Jackson collection of 60’s & 70’s muscle cars and they’re as sexy as all get-out! Don’t miss this display – if you’re like me and grew up in this era, fond memories will come flooding back…20190214_125139_001 20190214_125210 20190214_125223 20190214_125234 20190214_125312So if I’ve whetted your appetite for stunning autos, you have until Sunday Feb 24th to visit the annual exhibition of mega horse-power, style and technology. Tickets, directions and show info can be found at: www.autoshow.ca and if you have family members who prefer their driving to be stationary, there’s a big X-Box gaming area in the South bldg that should satisfy their needs/wants….20190214_120924…as well as other car-themed promotions…20190214_120814..and also a kiddie playland for the little ones. Have fun, drive carefully…20190214_103722

 

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2018 – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

2018 was an interesting year with clients from numerous business sectors coming on board and long-term clients Urban Gallery & Urban Source Catering creating some great events that I enjoyed promoting, and the delicious Thai restaurant, Isaan Der, serving up delicious plates for bloggers and celebrating their 1st anniversary. Recording artist, flautist and Canada’s leading international musical ambassador, Ron Korb, released his 20th solo album featuring Latin-themed original compositions that made it onto the nominations ballot for this year’s Grammy Awards.   A lot of less positive stuff happened over the past 12 months but I finally learnt to let it go so instead of dwelling on those who “forgot” to pay me for my services or just plain behaved badly, let’s take a look at some of the high points throughout Fordham PR’s year….

In January, Katica Visic, the Toronto promoter behind Cronnexion Concerts, brought the talented classical singer & flautist, Barbara Suhodolčan (below) from Croatia to entertain her legion of fans across the GTA. Barbara has a huge fan base in Europe and this was her first foray into the North American market. www.instagram.com/barbarasuhodolcan 20180103_110038In February, KulKat Entertainment Founder Kristina Kulikova and her partner Anton Azanov,along with Chantal Fry, Founder of Glisse on Ice Shows presented the Shiver Show at the Glenn Gould Theatre. Featuring dancers, skaters, aerialists, singers and gymnasts, the family-friendly show featured some spectacular entertainment, the likes of which Toronto had never seen before.  https://shiver-2.shivershow.ca/Kristina & Anton DSC_8046Sadly, February also brought a major loss for the publicity & promotions world – my dear friend and colleague Peter Ashworth of Ashworth & Associates passed away suddenly, leaving a huge hole in my heart as well as the local PR industry. Peter was always supportive of Fordham PR, assisting with media outreach when I couldn’t connect with certain journalists, and was kind to offer freebies to his events such as the annual Eat to the Beat breast cancer fundraiser (below) and the Toronto Home & Garden Show for which I blogged and undertook social media posting for him as a thank you. RIP, my friend.20161101_202703_001March ushered in Isaan Der’s 1st anniversary – the modestly sized Thai restaurant serves up authentic northern Thai dishes to their fans in The Junction, and beyond and after 1 year, owners Donald and chef Ko celebrated with their staff and local dignitaries and social media influencers. Since then, Isaan Der has added numerous food delivery services that have attracted even more customers to their yummy dishes. You MUST go try it sometime. www.isaander.com 20180313_181638In April, I attended the opening of local artist Al Runt’s jaw-dropping art show at #HashTag Gallery. Al and I go waaaay back to the 80’s when he became famous for his ground-breaking colourful murals across the exterior of Lee’s Palace.  www.instagram.com/alrunt20180412_190939 20180412_192355Throughout May, I helped publicize comedian Glen Foster’s radio show (with Lawrence Morgenstern) Hump Dump Live. Back in the 80’s when I ran Yuk Yuk’s Komedy Kabaret and it’s comedy agency, Funny Business, Glen and Lawrence were both in-demand stand-up comedians whom I booked across the country. They’re both still going strong and writing for themselves and others. www.thatcanadianguy.com   And Urban Gallery hosted their annual CONTACT Photography Festival showcase, featuring images of women at work which proved very popular.Head_shot_0089 (1) 011320180505_14250020180505_135110June is the start of Toronto’s big outdoor art shows and I attended several, gathering stories and photos for my new blog and online magazine Fly in the Gallery Wall. It’s also a big month for Urban Source Catering  [www.urbancatering.com] as they host numerous PRIDE events throughout the month.fly_on_wall_frame4 Grape & Burrata Crositini 3 Beet Cured Salmon on Cucumber 4July brought the annual Toronto Outdoor Art Show as well as a couple of days of playing hooky – I particularly enjoyed my visit to Port Hope with artist Nancy Bennett [www.nancybennett.ca] who took advantage of the sunshine and glistening Lake Ontario to sit down for some plein air painting. Urban Gallery hosted Wild in the City, a group show featuring four talented artist incl. Libby Sims (bottom image) [www.urbangallery.ca]20180717_13293720180707_134058August was hot, humid and hectic with promoting author and holistic family therapist Kristina Virro’s new book The Anxious Teen [www.fresh-insight.ca] strategizing flautist Ron Korb’s new album launch in the fall [www.ronkorb.com] and planning the September launch party for filmmaker/tv writer/director Caleb Olivieri’s webtv series, Unapology. [www.unapologytheseries.com]20180819_152749TorontoJazzCa-jpg (small)banner picSeptember is TIFF month – the Toronto Int’l Film Festival – which usually means I’m busy with incoming filmmakers and actors, hosting parties and promoting their films. This year, I pulled back and focused on working with young local producer/director/writer Caleb Olivieri whose webtv series, Unapology, told stories of the city and numerous families and individuals dealing with emotional and physical challenges. We hosted an official launch party for the series during TIFF to take advantage of the social media opportunities that allowed us to reach so many visiting media and personalities. Urban Gallery hosted another solo show this month, this time by Grace Dam who is a frequent exhibitor and popular with gallery visitors.

Caleb (R) with crew members

Caleb (R) with crew members

20180906_165424In October, Ron Korb produced a wonderful launch concert for his Latin-themed World Café album at Toronto’s Jazz Café. He was joined on stage by some of Canada’s premier musicians, several of whom had played on the album. The club was packed and Ron and his talented graphic designer/photographer wife, Jade, nearly ran out of CDs. And on the 27th, Kristina Virro appeared on CHCH Channel 11 (Hamilton) Morning Show Live to promote her book and she was a real hit with the viewers. I was also retained by an old friend and Flamingo Cabaret cast-mate (1979-80) Brian Kaulback to promote his 80th film appearance in the upcoming (April 2019) Shazam! Blockbuster movie. You might recognize Brian from his long-running stint as Const. Hodge in the hit TV series Murdoch Mysteries.20181017_21533920180927_071851

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November saw Ron’s World Café album not only make the nomination ballot for the Grammy Awards but also receive numerous accolades and chart-topping hits around the world. Ron did lots of media interviews including one with CIUT-FM’s Ken Stower – an advertising campaign was launched on this popular University of Toronto radio station whose listeners tune from across the globe!  Urban Gallery hosted Judith McKay’s solo show Hiraeth (below) featuring stunning abstract tree portraits.

Judith (L) w/family

Judith (L) w/family

LIVE THE WINDI’m normally thrilled to see the first snows of December but this year, Toronto has been spared the white frosty blanket…so far. Ron continued his media outreach with more interviews and an appearance on PBS TV when he guested on Canadian guitar legend Liona Boyd’s TV special.  We programmed a social media campaign for Thai restaurant client Isaan Der featuring the “12 Thai Dishes of Christmas”, a virtual “advent calendar” of delicious menu items for home delivery or in-house dining….see below20171101_145157As I close out 2018, I’ve been filing more stories for The Rider magazine, Ontario’s “voice of the horse” for whom I’d been writing an arts & entertainment column since the 90’s. Am also re-launching the Fly on the Gallery Wall eMagazine/blog which had been hacked a few months ago (damn those online vandals). Boxing Day was a big deal this year…it was my 65th birthday and although I now get out of bed each morning with a few more grunts and groans, I still feel about 35 years old between the ears…will I ever grow up? Hope not. Those little grey cells, as my favourite fictional detective Hercule Poirot would call his brain, are working just as fast and as efficiently as in my youth, although now I have a lifetime’s worth of experience & mileage from which to refer when making career or personal decisions, or offering advice to new clients. So bring it, 2019…do your worst and I’ll do my best.

With a little luck (and maybe a Lotto 649 win) I’ll be writing my 2019 year-in-review from my new office….
working on beach2

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ARTIST & ARTUSIASM GALLERY OWNER TANZINA AMIN SHOWCASES HER PAINTINGS IN “MY ECLECTIC POTPOURRI” SOLO SHOW

I had the pleasure of attending yesterday’s launch of artist and galley owner TANZINA AMIN‘s end-of-year solo show My Eclectic Potpourri at Artusiasm Gallery on St Clair Ave West in Toronto. What a riot of colour and energy welcomed me when I walked through the doors….so many vibrant colours and bold brush strokes!20181215_154334 20181215_154614Since first putting paint brush to canvas, Tanzina’s style has changed dramatically and she included several pieces from earlier years to illustrate her journey as an artist. Just look at these stunning classic landscapes…20181215_154429 20181215_154437And then came this abstract expressionist landscape….20181215_154629…and finally she blossomed into an exciting abstract portrait artist resulting in these commanding faces:20181215_154322Tanzina expresses her sense of humour freely with this super fun doggy portrait. Who wouldn’t want to be greeted by this happy face every day…let’s go walkies?20181215_154451(0)

Meet the artist:

Tanzina is a Bangladeshi-Canadian artist in Toronto. Art has always been her passion as well as her retreat from the demands of everyday life. Having graduated in Architecture, Tanzina is drawn towards visual composition and balance. She is fascinated and inspired by colourful ethnic cultures and traditions. She loves forms which are powerful in their simplicity and embrace an abstract style. 20170616_194138Until three years ago, Tanzina had never shown her art in public. She began drawing and sketching on her own as a teenager, and eventually took two years of formal training in traditional oil painting with a renowned Bangladeshi artist in the mid 1980s. Eventually she had no more time for art as she focused on her education, family and career. She started painting again after a 23+ year break and found herself moving away from realism and traditional styles. She began exploring abstract expressionism, including taking a few courses. As Tanzina continued to study and learn, she became more and more intrigued with the versatility of abstract art, and how it can evoke impulse in the viewer to find their own path to interpretation.

Tanzina teaches art and conducts workshops and paint parties. She loves to create fun and innovative art workshops such as expressionist style pet portraiture and self portraits. Besides her busy career, her art, and her teaching, Tanzina also co-owns Artusiasm Gallery with her husband and biggest fan Carlos Rodrigues (pictured below at an earlier show).18056993_1918219221797435_3490818180837130716_nTo Tanzina, painting is meditative, therapeutic and expressive. It helps her be in the moment. She is continually modifying her style and techniques to find new ways of expressing herself. She loves to explore the realms of colour, texture and form. Tanzina hopes her art makes a personal connection with the viewer. (courtesy of www.tanzina.ca)

I loved this particular series of glamorous ladies (below)…20181215_154538 …and was incredibly moved when Tanzina presented me with my favourite piece (the one on the left) as a thank you for support given to Artusiasm’s shows over the past couple of years. I so related to this lady in the picture, ignoring the fab party going on behind her, just gazing out across the ocean, wineglass in hand with thoughts of future adventures and romances (I’m sure). Thank you so much, Tanzina, I am extremely honoured.20181215_155818So if you’re looking for an inspiring and fun experience over the month of December, visit Artusiasm Gallery, 1684 St Clair Ave West, Toronto. For gallery hours and directions:  www.artusiasm.com  48361603_10155820581946881_4886027977877356544_n