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 In 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/ Sadly, 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.March 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 In 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/alrunt Throughout 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. June 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. July 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]August 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]September 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.
In 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.
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.
I’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 belowAs 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.