Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hot Times in the Big Smoke, Part 1

By now you have likely figured out that I was in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, and was able to visit with Megan, aka The Fashionable Bureaucrat.  It was a fun couple of days, taken up with the consumption of yummy food, the appreciation of some very cool art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and browsing (and in my case, shopping...) at the Toronto Vintage Clothing and Textile Show.

And here is Megan, generously braving the rain so I can get a photo.  We were on our way to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the exhibit,  Lost in The Memory Palace by Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller.  On our way, we ran into a woman who was a follower of Megan's blog!

We passed these neon-painted bicycles, part of The Good Bike Project,  where abandoned bicycles are  revamped by local artists and then locked to poles around the city.

In the entrance to the fourth floor galleries we stopped to take in Ai Weiwei's Snake Ceiling, one of the installations the Chinese artist made commemorating the more than 5,000 children who were killed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake because they were in poorly constructed schools.  The snake is constructed of 400 knapsacks of various sizes, representing school children of different ages.

I was very excited to see Lost in the Memory Palace, a mini retrospective of sound installations created by acclaimed Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller.   Janet Cardiff and I spent our childhoods in the same small farming community in Southwestern Ontario, and I have followed her career with pride, and enthusiasm.  Cardiff and her husband, Bures Miller, create works that use sound and voice to break down the distinctions between fiction and reality, and alter your perception of space and time.  The seven installations in the AGO show include The Killing Room (2007), The Muriel Lake Incident (1999), The Storm Room (2009), The Dark Pool (1995) Road Trip (2004), Opera for a Small Room (2005), and my long time favourite, 40 Part Motet.  

The Forty Part Motet, created in 2001, consists of 40 speakers that have been arranged in an oval in the Henry Moore Sculpture Gallery.  Each speaker represents a member of the Salisbury Cathedral Choir, who have been recorded performing "In Spem Alium" a sixteenth century choral piece composed by Thomas Tallis.  The forty voices were recorded separately, and depending on where you stand in the the room, you can hear one voice's contribution to the whole, or, you can stand in the centre, and be enveloped in a wave of glorious song.   I have experienced this piece in 5 different spaces and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

I hadn't noticed until then that Megan had a cat on her butt

A number of their installations can be somewhat unsettling for the viewer, but The Killing Machine, inspired by the artists' feelings about capital punishment, and Franz Kafka's short story, "In the Penal Colony", is downright sinister.  An open-sided box sits in the middle of a darkened room, containing a dentist chair, covered in a pink faux fur throw held down with straps and buckles.  Two robotic "arms" hover over the invisible prisoner, and a moving megaphone speaker circles menacingly.  The robotic arms are alarmingly human-like in their movements as they alternately examine, and stab their subject.  A revolving disco ball, coloured lights, televisions, and a soundtrack incorporating a melodramatic string arrangement and an electronic guitar being struck by a robotic wand complete the disturbing experience, which is all started when a viewer pushes a red button on a panel.  You can see a video of the installation here.

Suffice to say, their work challenges, entertains, moves, unsettles, baffles, and messes with your head, and that's why I love it.  If you have a chance to see any of their work at a gallery near you, go for it.  Megan and I also made a quick visit to the Patti Smith: Camera Solo exhibit, featuring photographs, personal momentos and a short film by the legendary artist and musician.  I admire her, and enjoy her music and writing, but was left rather cold by the exhibit.  Ah well, if we loved every piece of art we saw, how would we know when something really moved us?

Part 2, featuring the many stylish folk at the Toronto Vintage Show, coming up

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stuff to Keep Your Attention Until I Finish that Post about Toronto...

I have been trying to write a post about my weekend in Toronto for two weeks now, but life keeps interrupting and it has turned into somewhat of a sisyphean task (thanks to google for telling me how to spell that).  In the meantime, to keep you entertained (and following my blog) , I want to introduce you to three blogs that I have found that never fail to make me feel just a bit better, no matter how crappy the day.   I'm always the last one to the Internet party, so if you've already found these - good for you, and why didn't you tell me about them?

The first is The Bloggess, by Jenny Lawson.  I had mentioned in a post from December that I was reading her book "Let's Pretend This Never Happened", and I have since followed her blog for the hilarious craziness that is her, and her life.  How can you not love someone who has a collection of taxidermied mice wearing costumes, and a cat named Hunter S. Thomcat?  Her blog is also where I find the links to videos that I can't imagine I would ever have discovered otherwise.  Case in point:   Test your knowledge about sloths  The narrator's voice alone is enough to make you forget whatever you were pissed off about ten minutes ago.   Also, if I could dance like these guys, I would just travel the world and break into spontaneous dancing, EVERYWHERE!  I would also like to know if the guy with the ponytail is single, and how can I invite all of them to my next party?

Gratuitious cute puppy photo

This is Gobi, the French bulldog puppy I met in Toronto after leaving the Vintage Show.  I'm assuming he will grow into those ears.  His coat was like velvet and he would make an awesome pillow but I'm guessing he wouldn't be up for that.

Next blog (or more precisely, a Tumblr) may be easier to relate to if you have had kids, which I don't but I still find it enormously entertaining.  Any parent in the world could have probably created Reasons My Son is Crying,  kudos to this guy for finding the time between raising his two boys to do it.  The internet is a happier place (not for his son, unfortunately).

Lastly, a blog I just found yesterday called Humans of New York.   Great photos, witty captions and it's about the people of New York City, so I fell in love immediately, and managed to lose about an hour scrolling through it.   Even if you're not as enamoured with the Big Apple as I am, you will still find a photo on there that will move you, I promise.  Trust me, have I steered you wrong before?

Gratuitous Rat Photo

This is what I come home to every day - she's got weird feet and her teeth could use some Crest Whitening strips, but she's all mine

Hope you're having a good weekend - I've spent most of it at my computer

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Siberia Is Lovely This Time of Year

A quick outfit post from last Saturday, when it was cold, windy, and yes.....that is snow you see on the ground and making white streaks in the air.  My expression of displeasure is directed at Mother Nature.  It's April already, for heaven's sake.  To quote one of my favourite line of dialogue from the film Moonstruck - "Snap out of it!!"

That wind is effing cold!  I felt like I was dressed as an extra in the film version of War and Peace in leather, faux fur and embroidered jacket

Even my jewellery was fit for an empress

Hat - Manhattan Vintage Show
Faux fur capelet - The Sentimentalist
blue embroidered fur-trimmed jacket - The Sentimentalist
leather pants - Etsy
Lion Door knocker bracelet - Toronto Vintage Clothing Show
my favourite blue boots that you've seen lots of times

Spring, Spring, Where Art Thou Spring?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Missy/Ink Celebrates One Femininely Bad-Ass Year

The cover of Missy/Ink's most recent issue - (photo from Dana Brushette's Facebook page)

On April 15th, Missy/Ink, London's women-centric tattoo/pin-up magazine, hosted a party and fundraiser for Women's Community House at the Nite Owl to celebrate their one year anniversary. The magazine was started by talented pinup photographer, Dana Brushette and model/designer Bella Rouge, who wanted to provide a positive forum for women through the art of pin-up and tattoo culture.  I hoped there would be some stylish folks to photograph, and I was not disappointed.

Missy/Ink Associate Editor/Head of Photography, Dana Brushette, rocking leopard and a fab handbag

Editor in Chief/Head Designer Bella Rouge strikes a pose

I am seriously in awe of (and inspired by) her amazing hair

Bailey Northcott, graphic designer and photographer, gorgeous in black satin and lilac curls

This tantalizing trio of saucy dames prove that black is definitely not boring.  From left to right:  Leah Bradley, stylish/event coordinator for Missy/Ink, Dr. Carlen Costa, one of Canada's leading Sexologists and relationship experts,(and a guest speakers that evening), and Jagoda Hall, owner of Salon Cyan.

The majority of the guests were women, but there were a few guys enjoying the party (and the eye candy), including one gentleman sporting these fabulous two-tone shoes

Bead artist Tammy Brown (aka Mallory Knox) made the tie worn by her friend Joseph, a tattoo artist at Grafic Skin

The two women in the above photo came from Toronto for the party.   They sell vintage clothing and accessories on their etsy site

The couple that wears animal prints together, stays together (we hope)

Hamilton musician and burlesque performer Ginger St. James country/blues, treated the audience to a set of kickass country/blues, accompanying herself on her guitar.  Her sassy gun print dress and cool cowboy boots were the perfect match for her music.

I snapped this photo just before I headed home - what an adorable orange bob!

I did not try the Missy/Ink Cocktail, but I did indulge in a deep-fried mars bar (my first) and it was as deliciously decadent as I had hoped it would be.  With gorgeous dames sporting great style and cool ink, live music, some smart sex talk by Dr. Carlen Costa, and funds raised going to Women's Community House, it was a fun evening for a good cause. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I Do My Little Turn on the Catwalk

The marvelously talented Spygirl chose to add me in my polka dot blouse from my previous post to her Digital Catwalk, and I'm thrilled to bits to be in the company of the other bloggers whom her pen has immortalized...

Here is the sketch that Anne did of me- I don't know what she uses to do these sketches, but the detail in the blouse is amazing.  Here is the link to the post on her blog.

Friday, April 19, 2013

That 70's Show

I don't wear jeans very often, as I find them boring, but I have a couple of dark denim pairs that I wear to work.  The best way to offset some boring denim? How about this 1970's "pussy bow" blouse that I found on the sale rack at The Sentimentalist yesterday?  I chose to forgo the bow and instead do the traditional men's tie knot instead.  Yes, it's polyester, but it has RED, WHITE AND BLUE POLKA DOTS!!   It's easier to feel kinder towards wearing synthetic fabrics when it is a choice, and not because everything in your closet is made of polyester.
wide leg jeans - retail
polka dot blouse - The Sentimentalist
boots - Housing Works Thrift Store

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Unbound 2013 - Pretty in Pastels

Last Thursday I attended Unbound, the annual fashion show held at Museum London, presented by the graduating students from the Fashion Design program at Fanshawe College.  This is the third year I have been graciously allowed to photographed the show as "Media".  The Fashion Design program, which is highly respected in the fashion industry, celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year. 

I had just stepped in the door of Museum London, when I ran into a woman I know from one of our favourite stores, From Mars.  She has modelled in a couple of their fashion shows and always looks great whenever I see her.  Obviously, we have good taste as it turned out we were wearing the exact same dress that we had both purchased at From Mars.  I have never been in this situation before, but instead of the mortification that apparently one is supposed to feel when confronted with another woman at an event who is wearing the same dress as you, I thought it was pretty cool - we accessorized the dress in our own way (me with arm warmers and a crinoline, she with awesome boots, a little jacket and neck scarf) and we got her husband to document the moment.

So, enough about me, now on to the rest of the evening...

The Emcee of the show was Glen Baxter, host of CTV's In Fashion, seen here talking to the judges.

I took advantage of the time before the show started to shoot a few audience members whose style was runway-worthy.  The woman in the photo above is the owner of Studio H, the official hair sponsor of the show.  She rocked her disco-esque jumpsuit with a fab side ponytail.

This is the second guy I've seen in London who has successfully incorporated orange pants into an outfit - they look great with the different shades of blue.

Adding a pop of colour with a vintage necklace and colourful bangles

Jennifer Wright, a professor of fashion design at Fanshawe, stood out in her ribbon embellished tunic

leather, chains and spikes

The evening lineup featured the designs from nine graduating students from the program.  The students' work was reviewed by a panel of judges that included designer Franco Mirabelli and Erin O'Brien, the Marketing Editor at Flare Magazine.  The collections featured both daywear and eveningwear, in fitted, feminine shapes, soft colours, and lots of shine in both fabric and embellishment.   Overall, the clothing was very pretty and there were definitely echoes of the influence of shows like Mad Men, in the "lady-like" fitted, knee-length dresses.  The elegant up-dos on the models and minimal jewellery kept the focus on the designs.

First up was a collection of evening wear by Ashley Foster titled "Savage Flora" that featured the addition of petal shaped pieces of fabric on some of the dresses.

Tess Elizabeth Meehan's eveningwear collection incorporated soft fabrics with hard material detailing

another dress from Meehan's collection

Jessica Jurkowski's collection, which included the raspberry gown above, received two awards at the end of the evening

I liked the shape of this dress, which was also part of Jurkowski's award-winning collection

Ainsley Hoffman's daywear collection, titled "Fantasy Impression",  featured feminine silhouettes with accents of pleats and sheer fabric.  Hoffman was the recipient of the WGSN Platinum Award for Unbound Magazine - Best Collection

Becca Forsyth's collection of sleek daywear included flowy shapes mixed with sharp detailing in soft cottons and silks.  Forsyth's collection was one of three winners of the Flare Award for Best Collection

Kristen Jessica Daley's collection of daywear separates featured creamy colours and interesting textures

Julia Shore's collection, titled "Retrospect", included very feminine shapes with funky metal embellishments.  The designer was inspired by a "west coast vibe with a rock and roll edge".

Another of Shore's designs was a pretty mix of soft ruffled blouse and tailored shorts with lace overlay.  She was the only designer of the ones who showed in the evening that incorporated pattern into her collection.

I love the rich cranberry colour and button detail of these silk pants, which are part of a collection by Lacie George

 This fitted and elegant dress is part of Julia Cangemi's eveningwear collection.  Cangemi was one of the three recipients of the Flare Award for Best Collection.

This sherbet-coloured dress was also part of Cangemi's collection

On my way out I couldn't resist snapping a photo of the cupcake tower that had been set up for the post-show reception. I was able to resist the temptation to eat one.

Congratulations to the award winners, and best of luck to all of this year's graduating students!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Pleasure Principle, Part 2

This has been a rather crappy Spring so far, in terms of weather.  Cold, rain, snow, wind - we've had it all.  It's been a bit of a challenge to keep one's spirits up, when one is seriously sun-starved, but I decided to revisit the wise words of my departed friend Helen and find things that made me smile over the last week.  Turns out it wasn't so bad after all, and in fact, this past weekend was pretty frickin' awesome (more on that in a later post).

Ratty whiskas!

Yummy pig-shaped Maple Bacon cookies from London Edible Art at the Western Fair Farmers' Market

Enjoying a Carmen Miranda moment at The Sentimentalist on a rainy afternoon.  The necklace came home with me while the hoops stayed at the store. 

Wearing my $10 furry vintage coat with purple pants and scarf

Blogger Meet-up!!!  Megan, of The Fashionable Bureaucrat, and I met up this weekend in Toronto to take in some art and some vintage.  The photo above is of us at the Gadsden's Toronto Vintage Clothing Show.  Surprisingly, we had not discussed our outfits before hand, but managed to be perfectly coordinated, which proves that us 40+ bloggers have psychic powers.  More about what Megan and I got up to in a future post.   You can read Megan's report of our Saturday on her blog here.   I was wearing a dress purchased at The Manhattan Vintage show, hat from The Sentimentalist, Neosens ankle boots, and bakelite bangles graciously on loan from a friend.  I just loved Megan's specs print dress!