Tag Archives: Toronto

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12YR OLD TORONTO SINGER HAS BRIGHT FUTURE!

What a wonderful surprise to discover local talent, esp. when it’s a 12yr old with great presence and a very supportive family. While enjoying a nice iced latte this past Sunday at Zaza’s coffee shop in Toronto’s Yorkville village, I watched as Chiara Petrozza set up her sound equipment with the help of her family and proceed to entertain the customers and passers-by with her mature tone and pitch-perfect voice.

I spoke with her mother, Silvia, who told me Chiara is now studying ukulele as well as continuing vocal lessons (which she’s studied for the past 6 years). The youngster from Vaughan is also learning songwriting and continues to record studio demos so she’s on her way with a laser-like focus on her future career. Having the guts to perform in front of strangers at that age is just wow, I mean WOW! She even tackled a Leonard Cohen classic which impressed everyone within earshot…here’s a brief taste:

You can follow Chiara on her Instagram account @chiara._p8  and if you’d like to catch her in person, she’ll be performing again at Zaza’s on Friday Sept. 11 around 6:30pm (Cumberland St, just E of Avenue Rd). Come watch/listen so you can tell people you knew her when….
Bravo, kid, keep challenging yourself and don’t let anyone distract you from your dreams. Keep performing anywhere and everywhere – you just never know who’s gonna see/hear you.Chiara 1

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URBAN GALLERY HOSTS CENTENNIAL COLLEGE’s ANNUAL STUDENT SHOWCASE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Each year, Toronto’s Urban Gallery hosts Centennial College Studio Arts program’s 1st year students exhibition and with the current Covid-19 crisis hitting all the galleries and public art installation locations so hard, Urban decided to upload a Facebook “gallery” show for the students (follow them on Facebook.com/UrbanGalleryTO)  The works are hung on the gallery walls for anyone wishing a private viewing – contact them via www.UrbanGallery.cagallery gallery3Thanks to Lisa Binnie, MFA, FAS Program Coordinator and Professor in the Fine Arts Studio & Photography Programs, the students were able to organize this year’s show so that their works can be showcased online, building support for their future careers.  Metamorphosis is the theme of this year’s Fine Arts Studio student exhibition, and it will change the way you look at art!  Metamorphosis is not only the theme, but also describes the transformation these emerging artists will experience during the Centennial College fine art program, and continue throughout their lives. Below is a selection of the works on show (installation runs until March 28) so please visit the gallery’s Facebook page frequently to view the various paintings and multi-media works uploaded daily.RavenMaducdoc-Facade-2020 gallery5 CarreraChung_Coda-2020 copy LuZhang-Glow-2020 gallery6 gallery10 ChristaBellewang_Saprophyte-2020

Urban Gallery is located at 400 Queen Street East in downtown Toronto, and is one of the city’s leading independent galleries offering artists catered opening and “meet the artist” receptions. If you have any questions or if you’d like booking information, please contact gallery director, Calvin Hambrook, at info@urbangallery.ca  Until social distancing or self-isolation concludes, Urban Gallery will continue running online gallery events for your safety and convenience.AnneKim_YouAreMore-2020 MYMYMY_Acceptance-OldSkin-2020 AleksandraRodneva-ThereStillWillBeLife-2020 RobertStephenson_Decisions-2020 SidiaAtabales-Schnitzler-Grandma-2020 WeijiaSu_HeartRebirth-2020 YuJunOh-MyInnerSide-2020Thank you for supporting Canada’s emerging artists!

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EXQUISITE EXHIBITION OF KABUKI & NOH FANS @ JAPAN FOUNDATION

As many of you know, I’m a huge fan lover and am never caught without my own beautifully designed fan to keep cool. My prized fan possession is one that Canada’s Grammy-nominated flutist, Ron Korb, brought back for me from Hiroshima where he performed at a memorial concert. It was so beautiful, covered with tiny origami cranes, that I had it framed (below).20200110_154553I couldn’t believe that I forgot to attend the spectacular exhibition of theatrical fans from Japan’s Noh and Kabuki theatre worlds at Toronto’s Japan Foundation located at 1 Bloor East (Royal Bank bldg) but after a reminder email, I dashed in today for a visit and boy, am I happy I did. Fans Onstage closes tomorrow Saturday Jan 11 so hurry hurry hurry!  Admission to the Foundation’s gallery is FREE.20200110_121738 20200110_121843 20200110_121804To quote the information found on their website:  Japan’s association with fans can be traced back to the Nara period (8th century) with the cypress fans made of wooden hinged strips, followed by the invention of paper folded fans in the Heian period (9th century).  As early as the late 10th century the paper folded fans, which differed from flat unfoldable fans, were exported from Japan to the Korean peninsula and China as luxury imports.  In the West, in ancient Egypt and Greece, there were records of folded fans, but the tradition of using fans died out during the Middle Ages.  Whereas in the East the new technique of making fans – the application of paper on both sides of the fan ribs – was brought from China to Japan at the beginning of the Muromachi period (early 14th century).  This new method of manufacture revolutionized the production and export of fans.  Through Portuguese and Dutch traders folding fans were spread out from Japan to the global market and other cultures.20200110_122019 20200110_122028 20200110_121724Paper folded fans have been widely used in people’s daily lives in Japan, but also in the ceremonies of religions and politics, and particularly most effectively in the performing arts.

Noh theatre, which originated in the 15th century, uses fans in the same symbolic way as its masks.  Noh actors are aiming on stage for some kind of unification of their souls with the spiritual being they find in the masks and fans.  Therefore, the treatment of the objects is as rigid as the actors’ own bodies in order to achieve internal energy flow.  The faces are covered by masks and the hands are often invisible, covered by the costume.  One can see the fans as the replacement of hands, but the performers keep their wrists immobile to create concentrated, abstract movements.  On the contrary, in Kabuki theatre – founded in the early 17th century – the actors’ wrists and arms are freely moving their fans.  In Kabuki, the external effects are established by fans, reflecting commoners’ aesthetics.  This is the opposite of the Noh theatre aesthetic which reflects Samurai warriors’ philosophy.  In Kabuki dance, performers turn their fans from front to back quickly, or create swaying waves, maneuvering their fans with their arms and wrists.  They even toss fans into the air and catch them.20200110_12210920200110_12210120200110_122138The difference of the internal versus external use of fans in Noh and Kabuki is physically evident in the proportion of the fans.  Noh theatre fans have a silhouette almost like an upside-down equilateral triangle, whereas Kabuki fans are wider horizontally.  In spite of these physical differences, one thing is common: they are all beautifully handcrafted.  In both Noh and Kabuki, fans are far beyond decoration or props.  They are the handheld splendours which can conjure universal imagery in the theatrical experience.20200110_12215620200110_122204For directions and times, visit the Japan Foundation’s website: www.jftor.org and remember – only 1 day left to see these magnificent works of art.20200110_122545

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FRENCH POP ARTIST VIKKA CELEBRATES 1st CANADIAN SOLO SHOW AT TORONTO’S URBAN GALLERY

Although he was suffering a little jet-lag, French artist VIKKA came straight from the airport and walked through the doors of Urban Gallery last night to see his latest art project hanging on the walls…and it all looked great!20191205_161952 20191205_162024 20191205_180037The multi-disciplinary self-taught artist is showcasing his pop-art paintings, sculptures and photography in his first ever Canadian month-long solo show titled “In Memory of Witold and Max” – a visual tribute to his beloved grandfathers, both of whom were talented artists, too. He was joined by his sister, Bénédicte, who also assisted with translations, when necessary.20191205_170331

His colourful, surreal street art style canvases attracted a lot of attention last night and visitors marveled at the details and intricacies of each painting – you can stand there for half an hour and still discover new little embedded characters and features! 20191205_175951(0) 20191205_18000520191205_161937 20191205_162045There are a trio of paintings dedicated to 3 of his art heroes, Warhol, Basquiat (pictured above) and Haring; here the artists talks about these pieces, mostly in French but his passion transcends language!

Gallery Director Calvin Hambrook (below L) and Curator Allen Shugar (below R) were thrilled with the artwork which was shipped direct from France and only arrived earlier this week.20191205_172138In Memory of Witold & Max runs in Toronto now until December 28th – for directions and gallery hours, visit: www.UrbanGallery.ca  and to learn more about Vikka’s work, follow him on IG @vikkaartist20191205_180037 20191205_162127

 

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Author Geordie Telfer marks 100yr anniversary of disappearance of Toronto theatre impresario Ambrose Small

Last night, December 2nd, author Geordie Telfer hosted a special reading of Hogtown Empire to mark the 100 year anniversary of the disappearance of Ambrose Small, the subject of his recently published book. Hogtown Empire Cover-v4The event took place at the prestigious One King West Hotel & Condos in downtown Toronto which was one of the very last places Ambrose was sighted on that fateful night in 1919. Held in the lower level Vault, once a secure storage for The Dominion Bank’s cash – now a party space, guests filed in greeted by welcome glasses of bubbly and lots of yummy treats.20191202_180511 (2)aThe performance started with an intro by Bruce Bell, Toronto’s leading historian who also wrote the forward for Geordie’s book. Bruce (pictured below) set the stage which his description of the city’s social make-up back then.20191202_194011 (2)Geordie then read multiple excerpts from Hogtown Empire, adding many humorous asides and sharing his thoughts on Canada’s longest running cold-case. He also treated the audience to a number of musical interludes featuring his original songs about Ambrose’s  upper crust society wife, his giant mustache and even a ditty about his famous racehorse.20191202_194335 (2)a 20191202_200627 (2)aThe audience included several local celebrities (Brian Kaulback from Murdoch Mysteries tv series and most recently, the movie Shazam!) …

Brian Kaulback (L) with Bruce Bell (C) and Brian's lady friend Linda (R)

Brian Kaulback (L) with Bruce Bell (C) and Brian’s lady friend Linda (R)

…and descendants of one of the key real-life characters in the book.  Also in the house was psychic medium Gaby who offered her impressions via channeled spirits about the place itself and about the possible “resting place” of Ambrose himself.  Geordie then personally signed copies of Hogtown Empire for his guests who posed with facsimiles of that giant moostache!!20191202_203540 (3)a20191202_205308 (3) b20191202_204220Psychic medium Gaby brought her handsome ex-pro baseball player hubby, Gabriel, who enjoyed the evening of mystery (below)20191202_203714 (2)…and even the One King West bar staff got into the spirit of the event (below)20191202_205938 (2)aMany of the guests stayed behind for even more photo opps with the author…20191202_211641(2)If you would like to learn more about the mysterious disappearance of Toronto’s millionaire theatre mogul and Geordie’s book, please visit the website: www.hogtownempire.com  You can subscribe to Geordie’s social media and listen to podcasts featuring interviews with Torontonians who have links to the impresario himself. You can also purchase your own copy (soft-cover or eBook) via Amazon.

Big thanks to One King West for providing such a unique space (www.onekingwest.com) and to Gaby’s colleague, Lynda, who offered tarot readings to many of the guests.

 

 

 

 

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RIDIN’ THE RAILS WITH CANADIAN DAYTRIPPERS!

Yesterday, the sun was shining bright as I joined up with the folks from Canadian Daytrippers to enjoy a railway trip along the York-Durham scene railroad. As the coach wound it’s way thru country roads, the passengers were lively and full of anticipation…

It only took about an hour to reach the rail-head in Uxbridge where we were set to depart for a 2hr trip with a 3-course luncheon served in vintage Pullman coaches.20191023_131122 20191023_13115220191023_160828There were several vintage trains and carriages on show in the rail yard (above) – who doesn’t LOVE trains??
We were soon off and running after a very careful boarding of those passengers with physical challenges. The railway station offers a special hoist for wheelchairs and walkers so everybody was able to enjoy the trip. We were greeted by the friendly staff who came around ensuring that our menu choices were confirmed – steak or salmon…mmm, yummy.20191023_142051Then off we rolled, gently winding our way throughout the York-Durham region countryside. Sadly, the sun disappeared behind a bank of clouds so the fall colours did not “pop” and the scenery took on a somewhat grey pall. But the company was animated and full of good humour, swapping travel tales, family histories, embarrassing situations and silly stories – nobody seemed to mind the unfortunate lack of scintillating scenery.  But when I checked out my photos later, I noticed that many of my pics took on an almost Impressionist-like feel…see what I mean:20191023_144744 20191023_144419 20191023_144827 20191023_145135As we chowed down, I noticed one of the passengers who REALLY enjoyed her lunch..20191023_145207More lovely countryside views on the home-bound leg of the trip, and as we pulled back into the Uxbridge station, we went past the legendary Ontario Northland carriages..20191023_15104320191023_161106All good things must come to an end so we alighted with laughter, smiles….. and several satisfied burps!20191023_161421Big thank you to all the railway staff, and especially our charming (and very patient) tour guide, Debbie, from Canadian Daytrippers (below).20191023_163019If you’d like to learn more about Toronto day trips with this groovy group that caters to seniors/zoomers, visit their website at: www.canadiandaytrippers.com. They offer evening group trips to theatre festivals, Niagara Falls events and unique experiential trips to the country…like this train journey, or the Muskoka Lake cruise I wrote about last month. See you on the bus!!

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AUTHOR GEORDIE TELFER LAUNCHES “HOGTOWN EMPIRE” BOOK ABOUT NOTORIOUS 100YR OLD TORONTO COLD-CASE MYSTERY

Big CONGRATULATIONS to local author GEORDIE TELFER on his packed-house book launch last night held at Toronto’s Dominion Pub & Kitchen.  He entertained his guests with selected readings, music and original songs that told the tale of the disappearance of Toronto theatre mogul & millionaire, Ambrose Small (pictured below), who led a life of dodgy dealings and showbiz shenanigans.AS_Composite“Hogtown Empire” is a tale of money, deception and betrayal with a cast of captains of industry, socialites and would-be con artists. It’s the culmination of several years of research, interviews and scouring official police and news archival records, much of which led Geordie in different directions complete with red herrings and false starts.Hogtown Empire Cover-v4Here is an exciting true-crime adventure story. Ambrose Small and his wife, Theresa, were wealthy entertainment impresarios who owned a prominent chain of theatres in southern Ontario. On December 2, 1919, the Smalls banked a cheque for $1-million, a down-payment on the sale of their theatrical empire. That night, as dusk fell, Ambrose disappeared into the darkness and was never seen again. What happened? Was he murdered? Did he disappear of his own volition? No body was ever found and, as far as anyone can tell, he took none of his money with him. RipleyStyleSummaryAmbrose left behind his wife, his mistress, and his frustrated secretary. The case prompted an international man-hunt that spanned the globe and had renowned psychics of the day hearing voices and seeing visions. There were lurid rumours of infidelity and accounts of suspicious activities by Small’s enemies….so many enemies. The subject of films and TV shows, Canada’s longest running cold-case remains unsolved after 100 years.  20191022_213146 20191022_222941 20191022_223108 20191022_222849 20191022_222931Ambrose Small was famous for his HUGE handlebar mustache so we made sure all the guests had their very own moo-stash on a stick…which worked well for the sing-along during the “Ambrose Small’s Mustache” song. It also provided lots of laughs at the photo wall, too!20191022_223539 20191022_22424020191022_225152If you would like more information about this fascinating real-life unsolved mystery and to purchase a copy of Geordie’s book ($24.95), visit the official website: www.HogtownEmpire.com  The book is also available from Amazon.com or .ca   Geordie also hosts regular Hogtown Empire podcasts, also found on the website.20191022_203116And thanks to the Dominion Pub & Kitchen for the great service, deelish food and frosty drinks. Check them out in person: www.fabrestaurants.ca/restaurant/dominion

 

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WELCOME TO TORONTO’S FALL “THE BABY SHOW”- EVERYTHING FOR EVERY LITTLE PERSON!

Well wasn’t that a fun time?! Not having kids of my own, I’ve never been around little people for any length of time but today I had a blast with lots of mummies, daddies and adorable tots at The Baby Show currently hosted in the Enercare Centre (Hall B) at Exhibition Place, Toronto. The show runs throughout this weekend – 1 more day left Sunday Oct. 6 – so hurry on down for all sorts of freebies, samples, information on baby’s health, food, furniture, fashions and lots of booths promoting support services for new mums and dads, too. Here’s the show’s Founder Sandy Pedrogao to tell you all about it…

Along with hundreds of families, I wandered around the aisles, meeting some of the vendors and learning so much about 21st century parenthood versus how my mum & dad raised me in the 50’s & 60’s…give the kid a cardboard box, some string and a wooden spoon and voila…there’s your toys, Glenda…haa haa!

Loved these folks (below) from www.babynimbus.com who offer cute onesies and other fun things with doodles and pics from local artists. 20191005_145434I then met the charming couple (pictured below) operating www.thebabymamabox.com a monthly subscription box offering all sorts of samples and goodies delivered to your door. Boxes are customized for various age groups and also offer boxes just for mama herself. Products are hand-picked and mama tested so you’re sure to get the best.20191005_135656Here’s talented baker Walaa Alwan of Fantasy Cookies (yummm) who creates all sorts of delicious and oh-so-pretty cookies for special occasions like baby showers, christenings, baby’s 1st birthday…even engagement parties and wedding favours (get a head start on growing your family)  www.fantasycookieco.com20191005_141259(0) 20191005_141310Just along the aisle from Walaa, I ran into the crafty lady who knits & crochets cute critters for cute kids under the name www.monimon.ca  They are soooo adorable and it reminded me of toys my mum used to knit for my sister and me back in the 60’s – I still have a little penguin she made me….aaaaaw.20191005_141407www.mondobebe.com (below) offered a very elegant booth with luxury furniture and accessories for the most discerning babes. They have stores in Quebec and one a little closer in Mississauga.20191005_135953The Baby Brands Gift Club was a hive of activity as they gave out all sorts of treats, samples and informative brochures and magazines to show attendees. As you can see by the photo below, they were very popular!  Check out all the brand name products they offer at www.babybrandsgiftclub.ca 20191005_141524So I was thrilled (and surprised) that all the wee ones were quiet and I witnessed very few tantrums or crying. I guess the babies picked up on the vibe that this show was just for them! There were samples and contests for parents and lots of booths offering comfortable changing facilities as well as peaceful feeding areas curtained off to provide privacy and calmness.20191005_141138 20191005_145541 20191005_145206Congratulations to Sandy and her publicist Jakki for a successful showcase of all things baby! Follow them on Fcbk: TheBabyShowToronto  as well as Instagram: @TheBabyShows. Watch for announcements for their Spring show here in Toronto.logo

VOLUPTUOUS by Nicolas Pearson oil and twine on Canvas 60 x 36 2010 copy

URBAN GALLERY HOSTS NICOLAS PEARSON’S SOLO SHOW “IMAGINARY NONSENSE” FOR MONTH OF JULY, 2019

The first thing you notice when entering Urban Gallery this month is the riot of colour! Big, bold and full of energy, each canvas offers stunning graphics, mixed media and just simply….joy. Local artist NICOLAS PEARSON delivers an exciting solo show in Imaginary Nonsense: A kaleidoscopic journey of abstraction through painting which runs through July 31st at Toronto’s leading non-commission gallery located at 400 Queen Street East…and it’s well air-conditioned for those who find the heat and humidity unbearable (like this writer). Here’s Nicolas to tell you about his art and his inspirations….

My work is primarily abstract oil and acrylic paintings. I produce my work in a subconscious manner where I start with an idea and jump into the painting, changing my vision as I go through the process as inspiration hits me. Inspiration comes from my fascination for the natural world and random mundane items I encounter in my daily life that enthuse me. Anything can be a visual stimulant and can be incorporated in my art, the idea that anything and everything can become art gives me motivation. I started this fascination when I experimented with mixed media collage using everyday buttons off a dress shirt or jacket. These items, which would normally just form a practical purpose, are now being used to create an artistic expression. I also use twine, cheesecloth and impasto painting techniques to create texture and areas of interest in my work. – Nicolas Pearson

Born and raised in Toronto Canada, Nicolas attended the McMichael Art Gallery summer camp for art where he would later work for a few years. He studied fine art and art history at the University of Toronto’s joint program with Sheridan Collage, graduating in summer 2012. During university, he also participated in a summer study abroad program for Modern Art History, with a focus on Italian Art in Siena, Italy, in 2010.  He was also involved in several group shows including the Chancellors Exhibition at the University of Toronto 3 years in a row, and a one-day pop-up show at the Gladstone Hotel.

Today, his latest works were admired by gallery visitors and friends…20190713_14180720190713_141652 20190713_141917 20190713_142012Here is the artist with gallery curator Allen Shugar (below), and gallery owner Calvin Hambrook (lower)20190713_14193620190713_141640(0)..and sharing the camera with one of his energy-filled paintings (below)20190713_134946Here are some exquisite close-ups/details from some of his work….20190713_131155 20190713_131202 20190713_142156 20190713_142335The show runs throughout the month of July, closing on the 31st, with another opportunity to meet the artist on Sat. July 27th (2-4pm) so we hope you will join us to celebrate this talented Canadian artist.  Space is limited so kindly RSVP to: info@urbangallery.ca20190713_144330

Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East (just E of Parliament)
www.UrbanGallery.ca

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AUTHOR GEORDIE TELFER TACKLES CANADA’S 100YR HISTORIC COLD-CASE CRIME WITH NEW BOOK, HOGTOWN EMPIRE!

I’d like to introduce you to my newest client, author GEORDIE TELFER and I’m excited to put all my publicity skills into marketing and promoting his thrilling new book, HOGTOWN EMPIRE, due for release later in the fall, just in time for seasonal gift-giving. Geordie explores all the urban myths and mysteries surrounding the infamous disappearance of Toronto theatre impresario Ambrose Small 100 years ago after he completed a million dollar transaction for the sale of his  theatre and opera house properties…and then disappeared into the chilly night, never to be seen again.thumbnail BanksMillionVanishes_Jan51920 copyGeordie is a seasoned writer with numerous books on various subjects published by the same publishing house as my own NASCAR & Formula One books, Folklore Books, so it was synchronistic when I received his email asking for promotional assistance with his new book – but I’ll let him tell you about his literary background in his own words…

Found on Amazon.ca, some of Geordie’s previous books include…th (7) th (3) th (1) thWith a forward by Toronto’s official historian and respected author Bruce Bell, Hogtown Empire will launch on Oct. 22nd at The Dominion on Queen St East in Toronto, so watch Fordham PR’s social media for news and invitations.65623916_426252168022775_7484804073259008000_nThen on the actual date of the 100th anniversary of Small’s disappearance (December 2nd) Geordie will be hosting a VIP reception in the Vault lounge in the basement of 1 King West Hotel & Condos – the original location of The Dominion Bank where Ambrose Small conducted his final business transaction.  20190610_201111 20190610_200721The original bank vault is still there (see title photo) and as you can see, it has a mighty big and impenetrable door!

For more news on this tantalizing true-crime book, visit the official website: www.HogtownEmpire.comambrose_small WhatHappenedMystery copy