From 7 p.m. till sunrise, Toronto celebrated arts, culture and entertainment all night long.
Here are some images and impressions from the evening. Janis and I missed Dr. Draw at the Rivoli, as he was running late and we had friends to meet, but we did see a group of dancers and a pair of musicians out on the front patio stage.
After the Rivoli, we met up with Lizzie and Leah at Shanghai Cowgirl for a late dinner before heading out into the downtown core, where we saw several art installations, including some work at City Hall, Nathan Phillips Square.
We made our way north, through the UofT campus and stopped by the Bata Shoe Museum, where we saw this neat sound wave drawing that wrapped around the entire room.
From there, we took the subway and streetcar up to Artscape Wychwood Barns – Barn #2, where we saw a solo performance of a section of Fifty Monologues – Ghosts, a collection of female monologues from Shakespeare by actor Rebecca Singh. This was part of Theatre Local’s Small Audiences program – inside the smallest theatre space in the city: http://theatrelocal.org/category/works/small-audiences/
After a coffee and snack break, we went back into the space to see Lizzie’s horror poetry set, The Undead Night. Reading three of the zombie series pieces (attack, transformation and pursuit), as well as pieces about other undead creatures, like “Corpse Flower,” and the darkly comic “My Mother Thinks I’m A Serial Killer,” Lizzie’s work is raw, visceral and sometimes disturbing, yet beautifully written – and even sometimes funny.
After that, we were done and made our ways home. To bed. I’d made it till 4 a.m. and by the time I schlepped home on the all-night TTC service, it was 5:15 a.m.
A great evening of art and friends, with lots of walking. And coffee. If you ever get a chance to venture out for Nuit Blanche – do. There’s lots to see and places to go – some more crowded than others – and it’s a great adventure.
Some very big fun times at Pride this year, chickens. And as I enjoy a day off to recover – so to speak, since I’m hanging with a friend this aft. – thought I’d take a moment to reflect and share some fun moments from the past weekend.
Friday night was Chic Productions Carnival women’s Pride dance at the Palais Royale. Always love going to that space and the Pride dance always sells out there – so the place is full of women (with us single gals tagged with glow-in-the-dark bracelets before they let us loose in the wild – optional). I met up with my friend Ty, her gf Liz and their friend Cathy, and bumped into a bunch of folks throughout the evening – some of whom I hadn’t seen in ages and some I usually bump into at the Pride dance.
With entertainment by Zero Gravity Circus, a lovely woman on stilts greeted folks at the entrance and performers dazzled at various points in the evening: ribbon gymnastic dancers, silk acrobats and fire jugglers – all while the music was playing and women were dancing their butts off. The patio is especially lovely, with a gorgeous cool breeze wafting and the lake so close by and beautifully calm.
Saturday, I met up with my good pal Lizzie Violet to go see the Dyke March. It was frickin’ hot out there, but we managed to catch some shade on the west side of Yonge, a bit south of Wellesley and had a comfortable viewing spot for the festivities. We met up with Kat Leonard and Leah Walker at Lizzie’s place early evening for a fabulous picnic dinner – Lizzie’s birthday present to me – with tons of tasty vegan salads (yes, I said tasty – good food is good food!), wine and her amazing birthday cupcakes. And we watched about half a dozen episodes of Sex and the City, three of which featured Samantha’s brief relationship with a woman (played by the stunningly beautiful Sonia Braga). Another great evening with friends – and an amazing finish to my month of birthday.
Sunday – and I’ll be brief ‘cuz I have a bunch of photos I want to share – I met up with Lizzie, Kat and Leah again, along with pals Janis, Brandon, Laurie and Adrienne, to see Lizzie perform in the Beautiful and the Damned (B&D) readings at the Paul Kane Parkette (the Clean, Sober and Proud Stage). Poets/spoken word artists included: Duncan Armstrong, David Bateman, Philip Cairns, DM Moore and Lizzie Violet. Since Zelda’s is now closed after sustaining a fire, the next B&D event will be at Glad Day bookstore on July 19. After taking a break indoors at Spirits pub for an early dinner and a pint, we returned to that stage for an evening of music with Iman Wain, Rex Baunsit, Arlene Paculan and Meghan Morrison. Amazingly talented folks sharing their art. So. Much. Fun.
One of my favourite moments during my weekend stay in Ottawa was attending the Governor General’s Foot Guards (GGFG) Annual Ceremonial Review (ACR) with my friend Lesley and her son Chris at the Cartier Square Drill Hall.
Three battalions marched into the hall, followed by a flag ceremony (which included my pal Chris, aka Private Wallace) and inspection by Reviewing Officer, Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel J.L. Adams, CMM, CD. We were treated to some demos as well: emergency field response to an injured cadet and the GGFG drill team (including Private Wallace), which was really sharp. This group is tight and a prime example of the excellence that the GGFG strives for. Awards and promotions were handed out, and several cadets aged out (19 is “retirement” age for cadets); Private Chris Wallace had been promoted to Corporal earlier in the week and will be replacing his single stripe with a double stripe soon. Check out the GGFG Facebook public page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2435384671/ And here’s their Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2784ggfg/sets/
When I was about seven, I asked my mum where babies came from. Mum having been a nurse and all, plus me being the oldest of four kids, I knew we came out of her belly (and even had the opportunity to listen in with her stethoscope when she was pregnant with my sibs) – plus, duh, that baby bump is pretty hard to miss, especially on a woman as tiny as my mum. But I wanted to know how the heck they got in there. During our initial chat, she gave me this whole spiel about the flower which, while very interesting from a botanical perspective – and even quite poetic and lyrical – was confusing as all hell.
For about a year, I thought I was a Chrysanthemum. So I went back and asked her how all that flower stuff worked with people – only to be shocked and appalled at what people did to make babies. He puts what where?!
Here’s the book she used – complete with illustrated diagrams – good for a laugh, especially when my British friend Cecilia reads it aloud: The Story of Life by Ellis W. Whiting.
While trying to come up with the headline for today’s post, I realized that all the stuff I have to tell you about involves dancing in some way, shape or form.
Friday night: Chic Productions’ annual spring women’s dance at the Palais Royale (http://www.palaisroyale.ca/): Spice Up Your Spring, featuring DJ Roxanne and Spice Girls tribute band WANNABE (http://www.facebook.com/WannabeSGT). Big, big fun in a beautiful, historic venue. DJ Roxanne spun a nice mix of slow and fast songs, from Bieber and Michael to a two-pack of Adele ballads to dance music of all flavours. WANNABE was gorgeous – performing a set of fave Spice Girls tunes, then hanging out with the folks afterwards. Nice work, ladies!
Saturday night was my pal Kerri’s 50th birthday at The Sultan’s Tent (http://www.thesultanstent.com/). It’s one of those places in Toronto I’ve heard so many good things about, but never been – and what a beautiful restaurant venue! You are literally transported to another place in this opulent Moroccan restaurant. The four-course dinner menu is delicious (I had the olives and maftoul to start, braised lamb for my main and the Moroccan treats for dessert, along with a lovely Long Flats Shiraz with dinner and mint tea to finish). And the best part – aside from the decor – was the belly dancing.
After dinner, we went downstairs to Berber Lounge (http://www.berberlounge.ca/) for a final round of drinks. Again, gorgeous space – and we had a quiet corner section near the bar, so we were able to chat and relax as we continued the celebration. A great evening of friends, food and fun.
This afternoon, I went to see Damsels in Distress, a witty, charming and insightful film by writer/director Whit Stillman. A fine young cast – and I love the smart, Austenesque dialogue from our group of college gals out to civilize the barbaric hordes of frat boys, as well as look after students who are depressed and suicidal. And the most powerful weapon in their arsenal is – you guessed it – dance. Tap dancing, and the creation of a new ballroom dance craze, are featured as the gang ventures to rise above the daily stresses of campus life and romance. Smart, quirky fun, with an excellent cast and a gorgeous campus. Check it out:
All in all, a big fun weekend. And now, on to some Sunday night t.v.