Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Luxurious Beijing: Cours Et Pavillons

With material from a release:

Luxurious Beijing: Cours Et Pavillons
Old and new in perfect harmony, 21st-century boutique hotel in ancient hutong

You can get a taste of the splendor of China's past in a stunning 21st century renovation in Cours Et Pavillons. The exquisite boutique hotel just opened in 2015 in a meticulously renovated mansion in the old part of Beijing.
Cours Et Pavillons, main lobby
A traditional hutong (laneway) mansion is built around a garden courtyard, as is Cours Et Pavillons. The renovation is a true marriage of authentic Chinese culture and contemporary style, creating seven courtyard residences.Giving visitors a glimpse of ancient China, Cours et Pavillons is brimming with character and wrapped up with exceptional service. With just seven rooms across two traditional courtyards, the hotel has a truly exclusive ambience.
Cours Et Pavillons, superior room
Step through the gates and into a peaceful, private world. The grounds are temple-like, and the interiors dotted with antiques from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Expect everything from carved wooden furniture and traditional wall prints to designer décor and Jacuzzis in some suites. When it's time for dinner, there is a fine dining French restaurant on site where you can enjoy contemporary gastronomy in time-honoured surroundings. Round-the-clock butler service and attentive personnel provide upscale service.
Cours Et Pavillons, deluxe room
Wei Ja Hu Tong (also seen as Weija Hutong) is one of the older, traditional style lanes in Beijing, and it's an area that has seen its fortunes rise and fall over the decades. Nowadays, it's an up and coming area of the city, with the Zhangzizhong Lu subway stop on the No. 5 line nearby.
Cours Et Pavillons, restaurant
Close to Beijing's cultural gems, yet tucked away from the hustle and bustle, Cours et Pavillons is ideally positioned. Visit The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square for a glimpse into China’s past. Or travel to The Great Wall for the day to see this world-famous monument up close. A little closer to home, the hutong are the perfect place to experience Chinese communities first-hand.
Cours Et Pavillons, superior room
The Rooms
Cours Et Pavillons, open kitchen
Push back the door and you’ll find a beautiful blend of old and new. Wei Jia was once a cluster of hutong houses. Today, the traditional architecture has been infused with 21st-century style – from sumptuous beds to luxury bathroom products. Xi Guan takes the contemporary touches up a notch, with décor from Italian designers. To celebrate local culture and old customs, the hotel will bring incense to light your room.

The Food
At Cours et Pavillons, contemporary gastronomy is served in time-honoured surroundings. In Wei Jia Courtyard, chefs make use of fresh, seasonal ingredients and draw on classical French influences in an imaginative menu. It's haute cuisine steeped in local culture, served up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and afternoon tea, which comes highly recommended.

Cours Et Pavillons  
Address: 26 Wei Jia Hu Tong, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100007 北京东城区魏家胡同26号
Phone: +86 10 6406 9838 / 1-866-500-49

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

AGO to host first Canadian solo exhibition of modernist pioneer Florine Stettheimer in 2017

From a media release:

AGO to host first Canadian solo exhibition devoted to modernist pioneer Florine Stettheimer in 2017
Exhibition rediscovers a star of the 20th century modern art movement

TORONTO — Painter, poet, designer and feminist are only a few of the words that describe the multifaceted early 20th-century artist Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944). A singular figure in modern art in the United States, Stettheimer is critically revered but remains largely unknown to a wider public. Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry, organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), and the Jewish Museum, New York, will introduce Stettheimer’s extraordinary work to Canadian audiences for the first time when it opens in Toronto on Oct. 21, 2017.

Florine Stettheimer (American, 1871-1944). Heat, 1919. Oil on canvas, 50 x 36 1/2 in. (127.0 x 92.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum,

Showcasing over 50 paintings and drawings, in addition to ballet and opera costume and set designs, the exhibition offers a timely reconsideration of this important artist, placing her centrally in the modern dialogue between high and mass culture. Her paintings challenged New York’s artistic elite, fueled the vanguard of her time, and continue to influence contemporary artists working today.

Florine Stettheimer is organized by Georgiana Uhlyarik, Associate Curator, Canadian Art, AGO, and Stephen Brown, Neubauer Family Foundation Associate Curator, The Jewish Museum.

The Cathedrals of Broadway
by Florine Stettheimer
“This exhibition reveals Florine Stettheimer as an uncompromising artist whose unique perspective broadens our understanding of what it means to be modern in the early decades of the last century,” says Georgiana Uhlyarik. “With her inventive compositions and daring use of materials, she defied conventions and insisted on her very own, singularly articulated artistic vision, complete with personal references, affirming Stettheimer as one of the boldest and most imaginative artists of her time.” Stephen Brown adds, “The time is ripe for a reappraisal of Stettheimer’s artistic achievement and her distinctive role in modern art.”

The Cathedrals of Broadway by Florine Stettheimer, 1929, oil on canvas, 60.1 x 50.1 in. (152.7 x 127.3 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the center, New York City mayor Jimmy Walker throwing the first pitch of the baseball season.

Stettheimer was born in Rochester, New York, and studied at the Art Students League in Manhattan and then in Europe, where she encountered two profound influences: the Symbolist painters and poets, and, on the eve of World War I, the Ballets Russes. Returning to New York in 1914, she began hosting an exclusive salon with her sisters Carrie and Ettie and their mother Rosetta, attracting a who’s-who of modern artists including Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Stieglitz, Carl Van Vechten, Georgia O’Keeffe, Francis Picabia and many others.

The Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue
by Florine Stettheimer
Stettheimer was a sharp observer of New York life, capturing its frivolity and infectious energy in her vibrant canvases. She painted family portraits and events, her circle’s gatherings, and the urban and social landscape of Manhattan, in an astonishing series of works that mingle figures, fragmentary scenes, text, and passages of high-key color in shadowless tableaus. The exhibition features a number of striking self-portraits, including A Model, c. 1915, thought to be one of the first full-length nude self-portraits by a woman artist. Although Stettheimer's works appear at first playful and full of wonder, her body of work—which covers four decades—reveals a dedicated and exceptional artist who astutely commented on the rapidly transforming American culture.

The Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue by Florine Stettheimer, 1931, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 in. (152.4 x 127 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art

During her lifetime many critics praised Stettheimer and she was included in important group exhibitions in the United States and Europe. Stettheimer turned down every opportunity for public solo shows after 1916, chosing to premiere her paintings with the Society of Independent Artists or at her salon. Marcel Duchamp organized her posthumous retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1946, after which her sister Ettie began to place Stettheimer’s paintings in major public collections across the United States. Stettheimer’s first biography was published in 1963; and since then she has developed a following among artists, including Andy Warhol who called her “his favourite artist.” When Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry opens at the Jewish Museum in May 2017, it will mark the first major exhibition of her work in New York in more than 20 years.

The Cathedrals of Wall Street
by Florine Stettheimer
The exhibition is accompanied by a 168-page catalogue by Stephen Brown and Georgiana Uhlyarik. The book, published by The Jewish Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Yale University Press, arrives at shopAGO in fall 2017.

The Cathedrals of Wall Street by Florine Stettheimer, 1939, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 in. (152.4 x 127 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry is included in the price of general admission and is free to AGO members. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

Lead supporter: Terra Foundation for American Art

With a collection of more than 90,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’s masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. Visit to learn more.

Oct. 22, 2016 – Jan. 29, 2017: Mystical Landscapes
April 22 – July 30, 2017: Georgia O’Keeffe
Sept. 30, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018:  Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters
March 2018 – May 2018: Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

Friday, November 25, 2016

A marriage of coffee & art: LA MARZOCCO Presents in Toronto “ORIGIN” Fine Art Photography from Tanzania by JAKOB DE BOER From 24th November to December 1st 2016

From a media release:

A marriage of coffee & art:
Presents in Toronto Exhibit 
Fine Art Photography from Tanzania by
From 24th November to December 1st 2016 at
Bau-Xi Photo, Toronto 

La Marzocco, the Florentine world leader in professional espresso coffee machines, is organizing its latest edition of OUT OF THE BOX, from 24th November to December 1st 2016 at Bau-Xi Photo, Toronto.

TORONTO - At OUT OF THE BOX, the international community of the specialty coffee sector will encounter, through seminars and workshops, parallel cultural expressions as well, from visual arts to music.
Mother and Child - Jakob de Boer
ORIGIN, an exhibit with photos by renowned Canadian Photographer, JAKOB DE BOER, will be running 24th November to December 1st 2016 at Bau-Xi Photo, Toronto. De Boer, a Canadian artist, spent time last Spring at the SONGWA plantation, the seat of a non-profit endeavour in which La Marzocco participates. The Florentine company, for several years, has promoted the agricultural activity, education and socio-professional integration of the small African community, whose livelihoods depend on the cultivation of coffee. Coffee is the most commonly traded resource in the world, following oil, and it represents a primary source of income for those populations who reside along the equatorial belt.

Through JAKOB DE BOER’s artistic photos, the daily lives of the small community are revealed, where women are the protagonists in the cultivation and harvest. Influenced by artists such as Caravaggio and Vermeer, the photographer’s images narrate stories, invoke emotions and capture details that reveal the singularity and beauty of the setting, emphasizing the close relationship between man and nature.
Watering - Jakob de Boer

• Each of the 16 photos on display have been printed manually rather than digitally by prestigious Parisian studios.
• Black and white, exalted by silver tones, renders the African landscape and local personas especially evocative.

Songwa Planation, Tanzania by Jakob de Boer
Large photos, comparable to paintings from the Dutch school, where nature is celebrated by the play of light skillfully captured by the eye of the photographer, the eye not only being witness to, but a companion on a journey into the activities of the SONGWA plantation.

LA MARZOCCO exclusively presents:  
“ORIGIN”  Fine  Art Photography by JAKOB DE BOER     
From: 24th November to
December 1st, 2016 at Bau-Xi Photo, Toronto 
324 DUNDAS ST WEST 416 977 0400

*A percentage of the proceeds for the sale of the photos, now and into the future, will be donated to benefit the community in the immediate vicinity of the plantation.

London Out of the Box 2016:

CD Review: Electra Day - Quiet Hours (Independent - August 4, 2016)

CD Review:
Electra Day - Quiet Hours
(Independent - August 4, 2016)

Buy the CD

For lovers of folk music, this solo effort by Electra Day will please with poetic lyrics and a sense of musical invention. The Quiet Hours project is actually intended as a two-CD release, with the second part planned for 2017.

Electra Day is a traveler of the world who began writing songs more than a decade ago. An English lit grad, she began her travels right after university and they've taken her from the United States to Berlin to the Mohave Desert of southern California, the Gulf Islands off the coast of British Columbia, the High Sierra Desert of northern New Mexico and then to the Midwest of the US in Fairfield IA. The songs on this CD are informed by all of those experiences.

Electra has an expressive voice and it's her vocals, combined with a strong rhythmic pulse, that carries you through the tunes. Big Sky is a classic folk song that is brought to life by her open vocal approach, one that is emotive and vulnerable.

Musically, while it doesn't stray far from traditional folk canons stylistically, there are global influences peppered among the songs. In Falcon's Gaze, there are elements of Indian and Middle Eastern tonalities in the guitar, coupled with a minimalist approach suited to her whispery vocals. Not Against It Or For has a plaintive kind of melody set to poetic lyrics.

the music of the evening
starts a soft and low parade
fresh wind blowing stronger
brings the scent of coming rain
and against it or for
merges a little bit more

There's a lot of melodic variation between the songs. The lyrics are universal and mystical in nature, told from a personal point of view. Ferry Song is a strong track, a standout with its compelling story about roaming with the musical flavour of a sea shanty. The words often tell a story, as in Endlessly Rocking and Old Blind Couple. Endlessly Rocking is another strong track with a bit of a rock swing to it and a nod to "Bobby" Dylan.

I was born to some people
who were afraid of most things
I found my truth
in the bird's flapping wings
I went out of the cradle
endlessly rocking, 
endlessly rocking
and rolling along
ignorant child, she went out on her own.

Romance of the Stars offers a bit of a riff on the American song book with jazzy chord progressions. It's an interesting collection of songs from an accomplished folk performer.

Tracklisting: 1. Big Sky, 2. Falcon's Gaze, 3. Romance of the Stars, 4. Not Against It Or For, 5. From Boulder to Oblivia, 6. Ferry Song, 7. Endlessly Rocking, 8. October Nights, 9. Old Blind Couple


CD Review: Charity Ekeke - She (Independent - October 7, 2016)

With material from a media release:

CD Review:
Charity Ekeke - She
(Independent - October 7, 2016)

Check it out on Soundcloud

Having been a late starter in the world of music myself, I was interested to hear this CD from Nigerian-American singer songwriter Charity Ekeke.

As a child growing up in her native Nigeria, whenever Charity got money as a gift, she'd save it up to buy songbooks that included such popsters of the 1960s and 70s as The Beatles, immy Reeves, Nat King Cole, Cliff Richards, The Everly Brothers and Tom Jones. You can hear those influences in classic pop song structures and melodies.

The lyrics talk about issues affecting the people of the world today, in particular, women. Those words are combined with lush, multi-layered arrangements highlighted by retro hooks in the power pop vein. Don't Call Them is a sympathetic portrait of teenage mothers and sex workers, all wrapped up in a guitar driven pop-rock groove.

Charity's voice is a rich, warm alto, and really shines on dancey tracks like If The Roles Were Reversed, where the tone wraps around rhythm guitar and a syncopated rhythm section. It showcases her unique vocal style. Ditto She Bears, a track that spotlights her voice in a rhythmic setting. Talk To Me is a standout track, a song that asks its listener to stop texting and talk in a catchy dancehall-ish rhythm. Then there's a curiosity like These Times, a song with lyrics that extol the use of birth control pills. You Belong has a nice pop swing and a fluid guitar line that trips along. Vocally, she has a strong high end, not always as rich in the lower register.

My quibble is largely with the production end. It's a given that the vocalist and various instruments are playing in different rooms, sometimes on different occasions. But -- it's not supposed to sound like that. On a few of the tracks, there were moments when the vocals felt like they were almost singing a different song.
Charity Ekeke

Now based in the U.S., She is a labour of love that has been a long time coming, with a two decade hiatus in her musical career when the kids came first.

Website:, @ItsRealCharity, FB: charityekekemusic, Instagram: ItsRealCharity

1 - If the Roles Were Reversed
2 - Don't Call Them
3 - All I Know
4 - He Takes All My Breath Away
5 - Talk to Me
6 - Bloodline
7 - These Times
8 - You Belong
9 - Look At Me Now
10 - I'll Catch You If You Fall
11 - She Bears

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Christmas CD with a Difference: A Colorful Christmas

From a media release:

A Christmas CD with a Difference:
A Colorful Christmas

Buy the CD

A Colorful Christmas is a collection of Christmas songs, original and covers, in multiple genres by a diverse group of inspiring artists with different backgrounds breaking away from the suffocating categorization of the music industry. Includes internationally known bluesman Charlie Sayles, Tony Fazio, Scott Taylor, Richard Schletty, Greg Phillips, Subsidiarity, Braver Noise, Ken Wenzel, Andre Van Haren,  Jet and Chris Watling, Jane Kraemer and others.  Over a dozen originals and 7 traditional covers. Ranging from the festive to the devotional.

The video for Reindeer Romp N Roll has been accepted for screening at the Cinematic Arts Film Festival, Los Angeles this December (see below).

• Digital download for sale now on the Fetal Records Store. Includes supplement Christmas Everyday by Scott Taylor which is not on the Physical CD or the digital purchase from other distributers.

• Blues and R&B bundle includes supplement Christmas Everyday by Scott Taylor which is not on the Physical CD. Buy it here.

Track Listing:
Jolly Old St. Nick Feat Scott Taylor
O Come Emmanuel Feat Scott Taylor
A Christmas Blues by Charlie Sayles
Homeless Christmas by Subsidiarity
Christmas Spirit by Scott Taylor
It’s not the Present by Charlie Sayles
Blessed to See Christmas by Scott Taylor
The Christmas Way by Charlie Sayles
The First Noel Feat Scott Taylor

New Video - Builder of the House: Look At The Man

From a media release:

New Video
Builder of the House: Look At The Man
Off the bands forthcoming LP, Ornaments, which will be released early 2017

Indie folk pop duo Builder of the House premiered their new video on pro-LGBTQ site NewNowNext who noted "As the country gets ready for another Republican presidency, a song about an gender outlaw seems all the more rebellious."

Utilizing various strains of folk music Builder of the House welcome their listeners in from the cold digital world to enjoy a warm potpourri of all-embracing indie pop.

In 2011 Rob Cimitile moved to Portland, ME to recuperate from a rough breakup. There he reignited a relationship with his Martin guitar and began experimenting with his baritone voice which he left dormant for over three years, dismissing it when it failed to complement the grunge music he loved as a teen. But now, after soaking in some serious life experience and obtaining a Master’s degree in music composition, its warm tone felt just right when applied to a more diverse musical palate.

Earlier this year the band headed to Acadia Recording Company to work with engineer Todd Hutchisen on their first full length album, Ornaments. The detailed arrangements and production nuances were overseen by Cimitile who is prone to sweat the details in every aspect of the release. It is indeed a wonder such laid-back music comes from a self-described “obsessive brain” but the band’s productivity is a testament to their unwavering resolve. Ornaments already has a stellar music video to complement its release in “Look at the Man” which draws attention to gender identity issues while conjuring up the kindred vibes of Feist, Timber Timbre, Lumineers & Fleet Foxes.

Release Date Early 2017
via sonaBLAST! Records