Monday, June 30, 2014

You Got A Face With A View

We in Canada have a sort of long weekend because of Canada Day on July 1st, and those who planned ahead and were able to book the Monday off get a four day break.  I have had this week booked off as vacation time for quite a while, and have been looking forward to a chance to get some things done at home, and then be able to relax and listen to some great music at Sunfest, our Festival of World Music, this coming weekend.  I've been feeling much better the last couple of weeks, and have been trying to focus on positive things, and be grateful that most of the time, I lead a relatively drama free, interesting, and independent life.  There have been a number of things that made me smile this past week:

Flowers and Hair in Pretty Colours

I got my hair coloured last week, and to my delight, I  matched these Gerbera daisies on the front desk at work.

Gerberas are one of my favourite flowers - I love the rich colour variations and their big, open faces (of course flowers have faces).

A Talking Head

I saw David Byrne being interviewed by Ben Sisario, who writes about music for The New York Times at the Luminato Festival.  I have admired, and had a crush on, David Byrne since I first discovered his band, The Talking Heads, back in the 80's.  I still have most of their albums, on vinyl.  Byrne is articulate, thoughtful, and not afraid to express his opinion.  During the interview he  was very critical of music streaming websites, primarily because the streaming royalties that artists receive are minuscule, and being able to listen to the music of your choice, for free, discourages people from purchasing CDs or paying for downloads.  He stated that he believes that the days where musicians could actually make money from recorded music are past.  He talked a bit about his book, "How Music Works", which I found to be a fascinating read, and the musical he wrote about Imelda Marcos called Here Lies Love.

I sat in the front row and as there wasn't anything said, or posted, about not taking photos, I took a few, including one of Byrne's Converse.  I always thought he was one of the coolest men on the planet, and his footwear confirms that.

The other thing I learned from the interview was that David Byrne has the best laugh - a completely un-self-conscious, throw your head back, open-mouthed laugh.  Made me love him even more, if that was possible.

  My Bun

Fred (aka The Bun) has been through 4 weeks of antibiotics and seems to be doing fine - she's full of piss and vinegar and wants food ALL the time but I have to be careful - when she was weighed at the vet's office she was at the high end of her normal weight.  It sucks when you only weigh 25 ounces and you STILL have to watch what you eat!!

 A Day Out With A Good Friend


Heather and I spent part of Saturday together and managed to fit in a trip to the Western Fair Farmers' and Artisans' Market, Tacos at Rock Au Taco, a visit to a consignment store, and ice cream!
A day like that required a good outfit.....

I got these silk harem pants off the sale rack at From Mars a couple of years ago, and they are the most comfortable things to wear on a hot, sticky day.    I love this navy t-shirt with all the stitching detail - it makes me look like I have curves when I don't actually have any.

I finally found the right outfit with which to wear this funky necklace I found at a Housing Works Thrift Store in New York when I was there last fall.  It fills in the low neck of the t-shirt perfectly.

I loved the colours in this woman's dress and matching headscarf.  She makes and sells jewellery made of "Vegetable Ivory", or,  Tagua Nut, which is the dried seedpod of the Tagua Palm Tree.   Her business is called Mayoso Designs.

After we filled our faces with Tacos, we headed off to Style 360, a consignment store that neither of us had visited, but had been mentioned to me by many people.  We spent a good hour and a half browsing, and were impressed with the selection and quality, and with the personable staff.  I'll be showing off the skirts I purchased in future posts, and we will definitely be going back.  

I rarely eat ice cream, as it doesn't agree with my stomach, but I will indulge once or twice in the summer.  We found a small ice cream wagon and I had a scoop each of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and Mango.

Happy Canada Day!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hot Wheels

I was in Toronto on Father's Day to see a couple of Luminato events, and after getting some lunch I decided to go for a walk as it was such a gorgeous day.  I turned the corner onto Bloor Street and stumbled onto this....

I'm not a "car person" -  I don't own one, or have my driver's license.  I realize they come in handy for getting places not serviced by public transit, and can make a trip to the grocery store much less of an ordeal, but I believe that everyone is safer if I stay a pedestrian.  I did get my beginner's license when I was 16, but one in-car lesson with my father was enough to convince me that I wasn't ready to be a driver.  When I turned 40, I tried again, and even took in-class and in-car lessons.  I found that while I was able to drive a car,  I was so anxious every time I got behind the wheel, my phenomenally patient driving instructor gently suggested that I probably couldn't afford the number of lessons it would take to get me comfortable behind the wheel.

However, I can appreciate a beautiful car as an aesthetically pleasing object, and there were some very beautiful cars in this show.  There is no admission charge to wander up and down the red carpet on Bloor Street and check out the fancy wheels.

.....and some very fancy wheels they were: Ferraris, Porsches, Mustangs, Jaguars, Mercedes, Corvettes, Lamborghinis, BMW's and even a '007 Aston Martin

The sleek lines of this 1968 Jaguar made it one of my personal favourites.  I prefer cars made before 1960 just because of the lines, and all the chrome.  I don't know one engine from another, but I know what looks pretty!

It made this 1950 Jaguar MK V look downright clunky

left to right: 1958 MGA, a 1994 Morgan 8, and a 1950 Chevy pickup

A closer look at the Morgan

I was rather taken with this 1965 Mercedes, but I think it was because of the combination of the green exterior and gold leather interior

This 2006 McLaren SLR looked like something Batman would have as a second car

The street was packed with people squeezed together trying to get a look, and photos, of their favourite cars.  I felt sorry for the dogs that were there as I'm sure they were hot and bored.

Red was definitely the colour of the day

The Piece de Resistance - a row of red Ferraris (with a white one thrown in for contrast)

While the cars were the big draw for the majority of the people there, I was more excited by the opportunity to photograph this gentleman, whom I have seen strolling the streets of downtown Toronto before, but have never been able to get close enough for a photo.  I don't know what he wears in the winter, but anytime I've seen him during the summer he is dressed in head to toe white.

If you like fancy cars, you might want to put this show on your calendar for next June.  You can find more details on their website.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Nuit Blanche - Fire Play, Robots and Talking Skulls

Nuit Blanche ("White Night") is an annual, all-night, or night-time, arts festival that started in St. Petersburg, Russia.  I was lucky enough to be in Paris in May 2007 during their Nuit Blanche, and the museums stayed open until the wee hours of the morning offering free admission, concerts, and other special events.  I remember the thrill of strolling the streets of Paris at midnight, surrounded by other arts lovers, including families with children, and thinking how magical it all was.  Nuit Blanche has since been adopted by cities all over the world, and in 2010 even little old conservative London, Ontario adopted the tradition, in conjunction with the London Fringe Festival.  Unfortunately, our Nuit Blanche tends to be on a much smaller scale than those in larger cities like Toronto which has support from the city and corporate sponsors.  There's no financial support here for the one night event, so it is up to local artists and performers to put on a show using their own creativity and resources.

It was still light out when I got downtown, and this was the first thing I saw.  It seems that during Nuit Blanche, all the rules about playing with fire go out the window.  

The Arts Project was hosting "Visual Fringe" featuring the works of 25 local and area visual artists.  Above left is "Compartmentalize" by Cora Linden, and on the right is a metal sculpture by Jerry Vrabec.

Museum London, which is the largest public art gallery here in London, always has events scheduled during the evening including art-making sessions, films and music.  I preferred to stick to the street and discovered a new gallery space on Dundas Street called DNA artspace, where an installation created especially for Nuit Blanche by Canadian sculptor John McEwen was on view.

McEwen's installation was part of an exhibit titled "Beauty Beneath the Bone" which is part sculpture and part video.  McEwen is best known for his sculptures that depict Canadian wildlife, and the bear in the photo above is constructed of laser cut metal stars and other celestial shapes.  The bear could be seen from the street through the open doorway of the gallery and its glowing blue presence drew people in for a closer look.  McEwen's show continues at the DNA artspace until August 13th.

A new addition to Nuit Blanche this year was the Retro Electro Sideshow, the creation of Uber Cool Stuff in partnership with UnLondon and various other creative folks in town.  Billed as "a crazy collection of contraptions and contrivances constructed to engage, amaze, and amuse the milling masses", this sideshow took over the block on Dundas between Talbot and Ridout and delighted viewers with a mix of interactive old-school video games, robots and a carnival style sideshow.

Ringmaster and creator of Retro Electro Slideshow, Chris McInnis, owner of Uber Cool Stuff

The Time Cops roamed the streets questioning people as to the whereabouts of Space-Times' most wanted man, whose name I can't remember...

You could play ball with a robot...

Play a wall-projected game of Pong

Mingle with some shady-looking characters

Live out your Princess Leia fantasy

Get your fortune told by a disembodied skull.....  

When I asked the skull if my blog would bring me fame and fortune, she  (as it was apparently female) said that it already had, as she even knew about it, and she was from another dimension.  I then asked about the "fortune" part, but she didn't have any answers for that one.

There was some very cool fire play performed by (left) a sassy redhead whose name I didn't get, and (right) Chris Campbell (aka FenyxFyre).

Campbell got up close and personal with a couple of members of the audience

The Retro Electro Sideshow was a welcome addition to Nuit Blanche and I was impressed by the creativity and hard work that went into creating something that was enjoyed by all ages.  I can't wait to see what Mr. McInnis has up his sleeve for next year.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Takin' It To The Street

Saturday was the last day of the London Fringe Theatre Festival, it was also The Dundas Street Festival, and Nuit Blanche, which meant that Londoners got to play in the street from 10 am Saturday til 1:00 am on Sunday.  Fortunately, the weather was perfect for outdoor strolling.

I put on my best "Street Strolling Clothes"(as opposed to "Street Walking Clothes", which are completely different).  You can only wear the t-shirt when it's warm enough not to have to wear a jacket or sweater over it so you can see back and front.  
Corset T-shirt - Carousel Ink
Big Pants - thrifted
leather cuffs - Fairies Pyjamas, Housing Works thrift store
my new favourite shoes - purchased at From Mars

Three blocks of Dundas Street were closed to traffic so that pedestrians and cyclists could take over the street.  There were games to be played, food to be enjoyed, and cool stuff to be purchased.

Dear Thelma, Love Louise was the name of this adorable little trailer that was full of fun, inexpensive stuff.  I got three items, including a necklace and a small pin for a total of $6.  That's my kind of shopping!

Patti-Ann Sim-Fenech is the woman behind Dear Thelma, Love Louise.  She makes the stuff, and sells it out of her vintage "Glamper" (glamourized camper).  You can read more about her and her unconventional thrift store on wheels on her blog.

Across the street was a little booth full of the coolest little felt creatures called Uzzles, made by Kim Stark.  I wanted all of them, but settled on a little mouse/dog superhero critter complete with eye mask and cape.  You can see more of Kim's creatures on her blog.

You could play Scrabble on the street

some people played with hula hoops and some preferred disco dancing on stilts

There was some breakdancing

There was art for sale, and some being made on the spot

I loved these little paper mache "shakers", made by Phylis U'Ren.  The animals are cute, but the women's heads are amazing (especially the fab hair styles).  You can see more of her sculptures on her Facebook page.

I had a chat with this lovely young lady and her tiny canine companion, Mika

Kayla Gibbens, the sassy redhead in the photo above, made my pixel hair bow (and the one that Melanie won).  She finally has a Facebook Page for her business.

Kayla's pixelated version of Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. 

The woman in the elephant print dress above is Amy Kovac, who created the black and white animal-focussed art on the table in front of her.  She had made some of her drawings into necklaces and pins, and I purchased a fox necklace as a gift for a friend.  You can see more of her cool art here.

My next post features photos from the night-time antics during Nuit Blanche....stay tuned!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Sale of the Century....or Maybe Just This Year

So, if you're in London this coming weekend, you MUST come to this.....

Why?  Because there is going to be lots of great stuff at very reasonable prices.  Also, I need money and space, so you would really be helping me out.  Just look at some of the cool stuff that will be up for grabs....

 (L) Welsh tapestry cape (R) fur felt skirt with pink and gold metallic embroidery. Most clothing is size Medium but there's some small stuff, and some coats that fit large.  Come prepared to try stuff on!

Clockwise from top left:  Holga camera set; adjustable reversible skirt with removable bag;  flocked velvet jacket (sz S) ; Franco Sarto silver ankle boots (sz 10)

There will also be lots of great books and DVD sets of TV shows like Nurse Jackie, Veronica Mars, Battlestar Galactica and Dexter and a few household items.  My friend Sylvie, who is generously allowing me to have the sale at her place, since I don't have a driveway, will be selling some pieces of chalk-painted furniture.  There may even be treats.