Top 10 of 2014

Friends & fellow artists of Nik Beat perform a track at the launch for his Famous For Falling CD @ Amsterdam Bicycle Club

Seeing as I already took a bit of a peek out of my December hiatus with the Sleepy Beauty post last weekend – and as this is the last day of 2014 – thought I’d take another peek out to post my top 10 of 2014. Here it is, from a variety of disciplines, in alphabetical order:

Nik Beat: Famous For Falling CD/chapbook launch @ Amsterdam Bicycle Club
The De Chardin Project @ Theatre Passe Muraille
Elizabeth Rex (East Side Players) @ Papermill Theatre
I Hate Todd: The Moves Pt. 1 CD launch @ The Horseshoe Tavern
Lisa MacIntosh: ASK photography exhibit @ 3030 Dundas West
Memento Mori (Tracey Erin Smith/SoulO Theatre) @ Toronto Fringe
Mercury Fur (Seven Siblings Theatre Company) @ Unit 102 Theatre
Romeo and (Her) Juliet (Headstrong Collective/Urban Bard) @ Bloor Street United Church
Jessica Speziale: Shine CD launch @ The Duke Live
Trace (Theatre Gargantua/Vertical City) @ SummerWorks

Have a big fun and safe New Year’s Eve, all. See ya’s next year! xo

Laura L’Rock turns the dial up to 11 in new music vid Rock’s Not Dead

Hey kids!

Take a moment to rock out to Laura L’Rock’s latest music vid “Rock’s Not Dead” – featuring band members Don (owner and driver of the vintage hearse Bleeding Betty) and Dennis Colautti, Nelson Sobral (Melting Pot, Songwriters Circle of Jerks and Red Falcon White Lightning), High Heels Lo Fi, the late Nik Beat and yours truly, among other friends and supporters – a Klangfarbenmelodie Video Production, produced/directed/edited/colourist by David Hustler.

There’s a lovely dedication to Nik Beat at the end. The day of the video shoot was the last time many of us saw him.

Art meets poetry meets music @ Urban Gallery

A lovely, moving, entertaining and inspiring afternoon of art, poetry and music at Urban Gallery yesterday for the final day of Brenda Clew’s Poempaintings exhibit, and the Poet, Painter, Beggar, Thief poetry salon, hosted by artist/poet Jennifer Hosein. The poetry salon featured (in alphabetical order): Norman Allan (who I believe coined the name for the poetry salon), Nik Beat, Brenda Clews, Jennifer Hosein and Luciano Iacobelli, and some amazing open mic artists – all performing in front of one of Clews’ gorgeous, evocative paintings.

Here are some snaps I took from Poet, Painter, Beggar, Thief:

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Saturday = Artaday

Yesterday was a day of art and friends – “Artaday,” as my partner in creative crime Lizzie Violet coined it – as we attended two art exhibit openings and a very unique haunted house experience. Here are some highlights, as well as the details, of these events.

5 By 5 exhibit at the Gladstone Hotel Art Bar Gallery features five local artists, who have joined forces for a collaborative painting exhibit:

Jacques Albert uses a mostly subdued palette of earth tones, creating organic, flowing pieces featuring nature and figures that are both moving and haunting.

Brenda Clews combines text and figures using a vibrant primary palette for a series of electric works.

Jennifer Hosein’s beautiful paintings are sometimes disturbing, sometimes ethereal, and water colour-like in a striking use of blues and greens.

Anna Karoliina Koskinen’s works include some lovely snapshot moments of human and animal subjects, the images of people capturing a second’s worth of joy and pensiveness.

Greg Nordoff’s paintings have a sharp photographic quality to them, with images of mysterious, sexy women, as well as finely detailed architecture and portrait work.

5 By 5 – Brenda Clews performs some of her poetry.
5 By 5 – Lizzie & Laurie take in Jennifer Hosein’s work.
5 By 5 – Opening reception guests mingle, with Greg Nordoff’s work in the background.
5 By 5 – Guests chat, with Jacques Albert’s and Anna Karoliina Koskinen’s work in the background.

5 By 5 closes on October 26, so get on over to the Gladstone Art Bar Gallery.

Kill Joy’s Kastle – The tour waiting area aka “the Womb”
Kill Joy’s Kastle – The larger than life Goddess figure.
Kill Joy’s Kastle – The Carpet Muncha installation.
Kill Joy’s Kastle – The Hall of Straw Feminists (Liz Lemon & Margaret Thatcher).

Kill Joy’s Kastle at 303 Lansdowne Ave. is a scary fun haunted house trip into women’s studies, feminist thought and gender fluidity. Our tour guide Keith Ann McWoman, a prof at McMaster U., leads us through the space, which features thought-provoking, spooky and humourous images and installations. Totally destroys the stereotypes of joyless, humourless feminists and lesbians by giving these preconceived notions a good send-up. On until October 30 – 4 till 8 p.m. daily or by appointment. Take the alleyway on the south east side to get to the entrance.

Urban Federation of Artists at Gallery Catalyst is a remarkable, edgy and eclectic multi-artist show. Here are some artists that stood out for me:

Nik Beat’s work is a selection of darkly whimsical multi-media collage pieces, featuring images of pop culture and famous musicians.

Dr. Seuss – yes, that Dr. Seuss – unique drawing style is on display, and for sale, in numbered prints of illustrations from some of his most beloved books.

Tanja-Tiziana gorgeous black and white photographs combine nostalgia, memory and iconic architecture.

Urban Federation of Artists – Opening reception guests mingle & view the art at Gallery Catalyst.
Urban Federation of Artists – Lizzie Violet & artist Nik Beat.
Urban Federation of Artists – Nik Beat’s and Alice Zilerberg’s art on display, with pieces & prints available for purchase in the trays below
Urban Federation of Artists – A live model in full body paint stands in the front window.

Alice Zilerberg’s stunningly beautiful altered photographic images are where dream meets nightmare meets fairy tale.

What art has inspired you recently?

Passion & play @ Zelda’s The Beautiful & the Damned

What an incredible evening of poetry, spoken word, readings, music and friends at Zelda’s The Beautiful and the Damned last night!

The evening’s festivities were hosted by the very cool (and fellow recovering Irish Catholic) poet and radio personality Nik Beat (, who introduced the feature and open mic performers, and shared some of his own work. Nik has a book signing/talk for his collection of poems The Tyranny of Love – coming up on Friday, April 27 @ 6:30 p.m. at Origo Books (49 Lower Jarvis St., Toronto).

Nik Beat

Featured performers included writer/poet/editor/horror aficionado Lizzie Violet (, who read a selection of poems, giving us a great, eerie fun mix of horror, sex and haiku with frankness, art and wryness of wit (my fave is Chlamydia is Not a Flower!, about her mum’s avoidance of the sex talk – and which her mum has stuck on her fridge).



Lizzie Violet


Poet Helen Posno ( shared some beautiful, raw, lyrical pieces, including one recited as a monologue by actor Peter Lynch.

Helen Posno

Singer/songwriter/performer/Johnny Depp-lovin’ gal Kat Leonard ( made us laugh and cry with some tracks from her one-woman show A Depper Kind of Love, as well as her songwriter workshop piece F**K Cancer (to the tune of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah), incredibly moving lyrics that brought tears streaming down my face (and a few others in the audience as well). Kat also made excellent use of the onstage stripper pole. 🙂



Kat Leonard

In between the featured folks, Nik asked trivia questions about the dead celeb of the month: Joan of Arc (put together by co-organizer Diane) – and open mic folks came up to perform, including (thanks to Lizzie Violet, who also organized the event and put some great trivia prizes together, for sending this list, along with web co-ordinates, as available):

Tom Smarda
Susan Monroe
All this amazing talent – and it was great to hear so many local poets recite their work. Stand-outs among the open mic folks, for me, were Vanessa McGowan (Lucky) and Ellie Anderson, who both did intensely personal – and poignant, funny and kickass – autobiographical spoken word pieces; and Brandon Pitts, who read an excerpt from a novel, the title of which escapes me. I also can’t recall what Ellie called her piece, but I like to think of it as A Song of Ellie.
Also in attendance to support our gals Kat, Lizzie and Ellie was singer/songwriter Arlene Paculan, who is organizing and performing in the upcoming Wonder Women IV fundraising event for Red Door on Wednesday, April 25 at The Central (603 Markham St., Toronto). This event also features Lizzie Violet, Kat Leonard and Cathy Petch. Here’s Kat with Arlene:
The next edition of The Beautiful and the Damned is May 10.

In the meantime, I’ll be off to Alumnae Theatre tonight (with pals Kerri, Lizzie and Ty) to see the opening night of Così.