Category Archives: Uncategorized

20171123_141337

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!

9781459739239

RIP-ROARING TALES OF A LIFE SURROUNDED BY MUSIC AND DARING ADVENTURES!

SKINHEADS, FUR TRADERS and DJs
An adventure through the 1970s

Book launch party at The Rivoli on Queen West, Toronto, this coming Sunday Sept. 10 @ 8pm

When I heard that tv personality and music media insider Kim Clarke Champniss was writing his autobiography covering his childhood and teen years in England and his 70’s adventures in Canada, I knew I would be reading much about my own history…but with just a few geographical differences. I was born at the end of 1953, a few months before Kim came into the world, so we were both exposed to the same popular music of the Brits and American rock-and-roll in the mid to late 50’s. But while Kim experienced the whole mods’n’rockers evolution in person, I would only hear about it from far off Australia to where my parents had emigrated in ’59. Unfortunately my family would end up way out in the bush, cut off from any form of entertainment other than 4 radio stations and two television channels that only broadcast from 11am until 10pm. Kim, as he tells it in his book, was right there at ground zero in London for the changing social moods and music styles, going from bovver boys to The Beatles. So it was with a touch of envy that I turned the first page…..

Champniss writes like Jackson Pollack painted: bold colourful strokes with trickles of familiar music history, lobbing in droplets of names that suddenly come back to me – Régine, Slade, Lyons tearooms and Marc Bolan. Then once the reader arrives with Champniss in Canada’s far north, his descriptions of living and working for the Hudson’s Bay Co in the isolated, snow-bound Eskimo Point during the early 70’s will have you pulling a blanket up around your ears – so cold, so windy and wild you can almost feel the biting gusts of Arctic air whirl around you.

The pages turn easily as the reader follows Kim’s journey back to civilization (Winnipeg?) then several road trips across the States and through Canada, with the music of the time playing in your head: glam rock, Motown hits then disco. His brief 1975 return to England plugged Champniss into the emerging sounds of new pop and rock music along with an increased social and political awareness – these were also the days of random IRA bombings and economic unrest as the European Common Market developed. Upon returning to Canada, Champniss soon found his calling as a DJ, working in top nightclubs around Vancouver and he enthusiastically shares his memories of the dawn of the disco era.

Apparently, our lives had intersected in Perth, Western Australia, my childhood home and Kim’s home for a short time in the mid-70s while waiting for entrance into the University of Western Australia (my alma mater). He and his (by now) wife Lily even lived close to where my family had once resided, the beachside town of Cottesloe. But Oz didn’t work out as expected and they soon returned to Canada’s west coast where Kim immersed himself even more in the music scene.  Rock, pop and soul would be joined by punk and new wave, and reading through the artists’ names Champniss notes, the clubs, the cities that gave rise to the new music, gives readers of a certain age that warm feeling of remembrance that sends one off to the basement to pull out the old vinyl and dust off the ancient turntable.

This book definitely leaves the reader wanting more…and fortunately, there is a lot more as Champniss ends this story just before he heads to Toronto to join the new music and video tv station that we came to know as MuchMusic.SONY DSCNot only is this an autobiography with exciting adventures we can relive with the writer, it is a great music history lesson to be shared with younger readers. I first met Kim when he had arrived in Toronto from Vancouver whilst hanging out at renowned music publicist Richard Flohill’s apartment in Cabbagetown. I remember thinking what a bright, energetic young man Kim was, full of music trivia and fascinating stories of his many adventures around the world. I cannot wait for the next chapter when I know he’ll have some great tales to share.

 

SKINHEADS, FUR TRADERS and DJs
An adventure through the 1970s
Published by Dundurn Press
200 pages, 29 illustrations, black & white
Available in Paperback $23.99 ISBN: 9781459739239
Or  eBook $11.99  ISBN: 9781459739253

Kim Clarke Champniss (a.k.a. KCC) is an award-winning broadcaster who was a popular VJ on MuchMusic and special assignment reporter for The NewMusic. KCC is also the author of The Republic of Rock ’n’ Roll. He lives in Toronto.

ABOUT THE BOOK
A true story of an adventurous pop-loving teenager who, in the early 1970s, went from London’s discotheques to the Canadian sub-arctic to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company. His job? Buying furs and helping run the trading post in the settlement of Arviat (then known as Eskimo Point), Northwest Territories (population: 750).  That young man was Kim Clarke Champniss, who would later become a VJ on MuchMusic. His extraordinary adventures unfolded in a chain of On the Road experiences across Canada. His mind-boggling journey, from London, to the far Canadian North, to the spotlight, is the stuff of music and TV legends. Kim brings his incredible knowledge of music and pop culture and the history of disco music, weaving them into this wild story of his exciting and uniquely crazy 1970s.

IMG_6322_edited

TALKIN’ MUSIC WITH LAURA ROCK

Move over all you insipid little girls with guitars…here’s the real deal: hard rockin’ singer/songwriter LAURA ROCK is heading back into the studio to record her 3rd album in as many years.1011097_570786989681039_626053128_nI met this talented lady a few years ago when she was launching her first solo album of pedal-to-the-metal, hard-driving contemporary rock music and she won me over completely upon first listening…I got hooked on her ballsy songs. But this lady is not just your typical “rock chick”; Laura is all heart and can frequently be found mentoring and encouraging young emerging artists, sharing her stories of performing live in clubs of varying sizes, recording studio protocols to dealing with dodgy club owners. This lady has been there, done that, written the songs…and she’s happy to impart her knowledge and expertise with those just coming up through the ranks.

Earlier this summer, Laura performed to a packed house at Toronto’s Hard Rock Cafe, proving once again that Rock’s Not Dead…. which just so happens to be the name of her current album and lead single! As she heads back into the studio, I sat down with her and asked a few questions…..

IMG_2559Where were you raised and has that influenced your music or performance style?
I originate from Newfoundland..let me count the ways that my home town of St. John’s has influenced me both musically & performance style!  Musically, growing up I was blessed with some great folk-rockers along with many other genres.  Newfoundlanders are know for being friendly and outgoing. Our storytelling abilities and sense of humor shines through – in the way we speak and in my case, write lyrics and sing.  The term “front person” comes to mind.  People say that my Newfie hospitality and genuine love for what I do translates well to stage.

Who were your musical influences?
Hmm, that’s a hard one. Don’t make me choose!! I mean it’s massive, there are MANY. Areosmith! Areosmith!! Areosmith!!! Did I say Steven Tyler? LOL!! Can’t forget AC/DC & OMG! Can you say Sammy Hager? Also Tom Cochrane,Kim Mitchell, Colin James, The Guess Who, Nikki Sixx, Eddie Veder, Dave Matthews, Matthew Good, Jane’s Addiction, MatchBox Twenty/Rob Thomas, Heart, Lita Ford, Holly Woods, Sass Jordan, Melissa Etheridge, Biff Naked , Allanah Myles, Holly McNarland, Mae Moore. And I can’t not mention my fellow Newfs Kim Stockwood, Ron Hynes, Great Big Sea, plus Hey Rosetta, Belinda Metz, Buffy Ste Marie, Joni Mitchell, Ricki Lee Jones, Joan Osborne, Pink, Chantal Kreviazuk, Van Halen, But seriously I could go on and on and on and….1907491_851190768307325_4821469725654246649_nDo you play any instruments and how do you compose?
My instrument is my voice.  Regarding composing, well I can hack a guitar but I’m not all that great.  For the most part, I am a lyricist. It all comes to me in waves…it feels like it’s channeled from somewhere else, I swear! I often hear guitar riffs or drum beats in my head but I am absolutely blessed to work with a fantastic producer, Brian Gagnon, who helps interrupt my ideas.  Sometimes I go in with the lyrics and he creates the music – sometime I add some musical ideas or sometimes he has the music and my lyrics are created afterwards. Sometimes it’s a simultaneous process.

Who has been your guiding light in the industry?
Wow, good question.  I think I have always followed my own heart, but one “guiding light” in particular was the late great Nik Beat of CIUT’s Howl! radio show.  Nik’s incredible belief in me and my music lead me to L.A. and many other places. He introduced me to so many talented people in Toronto that I otherwise would never have known.

Remind me of your previous albums and the hit singles off each…and haven’t you won some pretty awesome awards, too?
My first album was called Law of Attraction, which was released in late 2011 and my current album, Rock’s Not Dead was released towards the end of 2014.LoA_front_cover_450x385I’m happy to say that my music is played on many internet stations across Canada, the US and the UK – as I say: “all the web’s a stage”.  Regarding awards, well, I’m proud to mention that I was nominated for 6 HMMA awards in L.A.  (Hollywood In Media Awards) which has resulted in some amazing opportunities and business introductions for me. I was nominated for the following songs:
November 2014 Lightning
July 2013 Law of Attraction
Mar 2013 98.5
Jan 2013 Get Your Rock On
July 2012 Blindsided
June 2012 Light My Fuse

You’ve played some pretty great venues over the past few years….
I’ve played many venues in Toronto as both a cover band artist and as a original project.  Sadly, a lot of clubs have shut down in this city but more recently I played the legendary El Mocambo before it was sold and closed, and in June we did our official CD Launch for Rocks Not Dead at the Hard Rock Cafe.IMG_2608Can you tease us with a little news about your next album?
I’m heading back into the studio to work on my third album but I’m still promoting Rock’s Not Dead which I sadly had to put on hold due to the death of my mother, father & best fiend all in a very short span of time last year. But you know what they say….what doesn’t kill you makes you write more music!   So this next album is about love, loss, and the key phrase…Bait & Switch! 11412264_1594586234156065_8810531013978382576_oYou spend a lot of time mentoring emerging young artists, sharing knowledge about the business of making music. For you, what is the most rewarding aspect of that?
The most rewarding aspect of that is simply watching them grow as an artist.  After speaking with them about several subjects, particularly “critical opinions” – as you know, we live in a society that always has something to say about whatever we do. I always like to let young artists know that there will always be a critical opinion and I offer ways on how to deal with it, how to protect your creative ego.  Once they overcome this, they soar….that’s the fun part to watch.

In a city the size of Toronto where there are a lot of performance stages, why aren’t we seeing more accessible multi-genre music stars rising from the ranks? In other words, how easy/hard is it for young performers to play on a main stage AND make money?
The music landscape has changed drastically – it’s not just localized to the city you live in.  With access to the web, you are your own record company, your own manager, and this is the concept I try to instill in to younger artists. You can make money in the music industry if you’re motivated enough to put in time and effort into your art.  The simple fact is, if you love what you do, there are going to be hurdles in the way and you will have to compromise, especially when it comes to the financial part of the business.  Having said that, I think no one should play for free…know you’re worth and stick to it.10457525_10152983333693098_7303762277621657028_nAny ideas how we, the fans, can help improve the music scene and support the artists?
You can do this simply by buying their music online or showing up at live venues. At the end of the day, the music business is a business and everyone needs to make a living.

So what’s in the future for Laura Rock?
Music is a way of life for me, it’s not a destination…I try to live in the moment for the most part, because I feel so good making music…it’s like heaven on earth.  But having said that, I do aspire to write for other artists or help/mentor those who need a little guidance.  I love films so having one of my songs in a movie soundtrack would be the biggest dream come true!bg_lrock_splash

You can learn more about Laura Rock, buy her music and keep up with news on her new album and upcoming shows by visiting: http://lrockmusic.com/