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Showing posts from June, 2016

Canada Day 2016: The Pride of Canada Carousel #folkart

From a media release:

Canada Day 2016 - free rides, cotton candy & more
The Pride of Canada Carousel

After July 1, the Pride of Canada Carousel will be open seven days a week 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. - $2:00 a ride
162 Enterprise Blvd and Birchmount in Downtown Markham

TORONTO – The Pride of Canada Carousel, a 50-foot, one-of-a-kind merry-go-round featuring 44 rideable sculptures was unveiled at a private preview event, today, Tuesday June 28, 2016 in Downtown Markham. The Carousel will make its public debut at a free Canada Day celebration, noon to 5:00 p.m., Friday July 1 at 162 Enterprise and Birchmount in Downtown Markham.

Canada Day celebrants will take free fantastical rides on the sculpture characters including a beaver, a bumblebee, a massive moose, a mermaid, a Canadian Mountie and more, all made from repurposed materials forming ingenious works of art. In addition to free carousel rides, the Pride of Canada Carousel July 1 celebration will feature, free cotton candy, air brush…

Recently released: Eric Anders - Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders (Independent - March 30 2016)

Recently released:
Eric Anders - Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders
(Independent - March 30, 2016)

Buy the CD

This is a "Best Of' compilation from Eric Anders, a native of San Francisco. The songs are culled from several different releases - and it's a nice introduction to the work of this artist if you're not yet familiar - but there's a sense of cohesion and consistency to Eric's musical output that doesn't make it feel like a jumble sale of songs.

Eric's songs So Wrong was used in feature film, Man in the Chair and Big World Abide was used in the TV Show "Dirt," starring Courtney Cox.

It begins with the sombre Tethered to the Ground, a track that has a classic vibe in a folk vein. The pared down instrumentation and anthemic melody highlight Eric Anders' slightly raspy, romantically breathy tenor. His vocals have a sensitive sense of expression and a nice range that really carry the music.

A nice, crisp drum line adds impetus to th…

Scarborough Afro-Caribbean Festival August 20 & 21 2016

I'm an official "community partner" and looking forward to this fun event coming up in August:

Scarborough Afro-Caribbean Festival 
August 20 & 21, 2016
Albert Campbell Square

“Celebrating Our Diversity” at the Scarborough Afro-Carib Fest

Scarborough, Ontario – June 2016: It’s BACK!! It’s BIGGER!! It’s BETTER!! The 5th annual Scarborough Afro Carib-Fest taking place on August 20-21, 2016 offers exciting live musical performances, mouth-watering ethnic cuisine, a cultural fashion show, dance competitions, vendor exhibitions, marketplace, beer tent, drum and dance workshops, face painting, kid’s zone and much more!

"Celebrating Our Diversity" is the theme for this event for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the richness of the city’s diverse communities. Organized by the non-profit organization, Heritage Skills Development Centre (HSDC), with support from the Canadian Heritage and TD Bank, the event fosters pride and demonstrates the richness of the…

Afro Cuban Soundclash On Tour 2016: BATTLE OF SANTIAGO - Toronto June 25, US Dates July 7-9

From a media release:

On Tour:
BATTLE OF SANTIAGO - Fábrica de Ritmo (Rhythm Factory)

June 25, 2016 in Toronto as part of Luminato

US Tour Dates:
July 7 @ ArtsRoit, Burlington, VT
July 8 @ Rockwood Music Hall, NYC, NY (Fabrica de Ritmo – Live Electronic DJ set)
July 9 @ Joe Pub, NYC, NY 

There’s an epic soundclash taking place North of the Border. Toronto-based group the Battle of Santiago combines classic Afro-Cuban rhythms and vocals with a distinctly Canadian post-rock spirit and sensibility. The result is a wholly unique sound that tells a universal 21st Century story, transcending borders while staying rooted in one city’s immigrant experience.

“There are a couple of different Battles of Santiago’s to choose from,” explains the group’s founder Michael Owen. “There were a few in Cuba, mostly during the Spanish-American War, and there was even an infamous World Cup match in Chile that’s been given the name, too. So you can take your pick. We liked that ambiguity. It reflects how o…

Epic After Parties at Toronto Summer Music Festival 2016 July 22 & August 2

From a media release:

Toronto Summer Music Festival 2016 presents two epic after-parties! 
Long Winter at the Elgin - July 22 - TIX
Definitely Not The Proms - August 2 - TIX

More info

TORONTO…Toronto Summer Music launches two new after-party events during the 2016 festival:  Long Winter at the Elgin and Definitely Not The Proms.

Toronto Summer Music has partnered with Mike Haliechuk of Long Winter, the inter-arts festival, to create an epic after-opera event on July 22 starting at 10 PM.   Rumoured to be haunted, the lobbies of the historic Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres (189 Yonge Street) will be transformed by artists, musicians, and dancers for an eerily unforgettable, immersive, artistic experience.  Opera tickets purchased for The Rape of Lucretia include access to the Long Winter at the Elgin after-party.  Tickets to the after-party can be purchased separately online for $20.

On August 2 at 10 PM, Toronto Summer Music Festival hosts Definitely Not The Proms, an after-party featuri…

Existential musings at the Drake Hotel #Toronto

Existential musings at the Drake Hotel

It's been a while since I've slid my (vintage) designer-clad ass into a leatherette booth at the Drake Hotel.

While some of the decor elements may have changed and the demographic shifted - at least for tonight - but the artsy bent and high end energy are the same.

The mixologists are talented; this sherry/passion fruit concoction is possibly the most delicious cocktail I've ever had.

Down market seems to be in vogue these days as a design aesthetic. We are served little paper cups, with wooden forks to pick out the fragrant, spicy rice laced with salmon roe and fish along with veggies. It feels virtuous, somehow, albeit glutenous.

A DJ spins the tunes one into another and naturally, Purple Rain is on the list.

I'm watching the crowd of white scenesters groove, eat and drink to black music. Upstairs, they listen to hip hop as they chatter and take hors d'oeuvres, only to set them down again after a single bite.

These p…

#TravelSpain: Dalí, Shakespeare, Visconti in a Medieval Town - Exhibition at Gala Dalí Castle Púbol continues to Jan 6, 2017

With material from a media release:

Dalí, Shakespeare, Visconti
Gala Dalí Castle Púbol
Exhibition continues to Jan 6, 2017

Púbol is a small town in the municipality of La Pera, in the comarca of Baix Empordà, in the province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. A beautiful village with its medieval charms intact, it was home to Salvador Dalí and is now home to the castle where he lived. You can absorb the gorgeous Catalonian countryside as you take in an exhibition that looks at Dalí's ties to the world of theatre.

The Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí is presenting a temporary exhibition at Púbol Castle, officially opened in March and continuing until January 6, 2017. This year the temporary exhibition at Púbol is dedicated to Salvador Dalí’s involvement in the theatre production of Shakespeare’s As you like it directed by Luchino Visconti at the Teatro Eliseo in Rome in 1948.

Concept and content
With the Dalí, Shakespeare, Visconti exhibition, which delves into Salvador Dalí’s relatio…

Psychedelic Folk Funk Collective - Pilgrim Speakeasy New Release: Freak Deco (June 15, 2016)

With material from a media release:

Pilgrim Speakeasy...The World's Foremost Eclecto-Funk-World-Rock-Electro-Folk-Anomaly !
Freak Deco - June 15, 2016

Order the CD

I'm loving the psychadelic swing of this Brand Spanking New Pilgrim Speakeasy album for 2016. Freak Deco was in the making for 2 years and features the talents of many esteemed contributors from many countries, including stars of world music from Brazil, Senegal, UK, Columbia and Finland.

The new album features Finnish legend Sakari Kukko (Piirpauke, Youssou N'Dour) and Senegalese artist Meissa Njang (Orchestra Baobab) along with Brazilian vocalist Sara Elisa Alves and Columbian multi-instrumentalist Luis Fernando Godoy.
Europe'’s psychedelic folk funk collective known as Pilgrim Speakeasy are pointedly taking on interpersonal frustrations with their groove-heavy new single “Plan D.”  The darkly wry lyrics belie the energetic, genre bending world beat.  “Plan D” is the second single from Pilgrim Speakeasy’…

Recently released: Tod Hughes - Time Slow Down (Independent - May 8, 2016)

Recently released:
Tod Hughes - Time Slow Down
(Independent - May 8, 2016)

Buy the Album

Time Slow Down is the first full-length release from indie artist Tod Hughes. It's an upbeat collection of songs from a veteran of Calgary's music circuit.

Time Slow Down, the title track, is a rollicking song with a roots country energy. Tod has a storyteller's sensibility and the song features back up singers for a good vocal mix that matches the sunny vibe of the tune.

One of a Kind turns to a groovier rock mode with a melodic hook. The music has a nice sense of momentum that swings through various genres from country to roots to guitar rock, with a little fiddle thrown into the mix just for fun.

In the morning light
we smile at each other in a knowing way
there was magic in the attic by the light of the moon

but I'm feeling insecure now
do I go or stay
where do we go from here now...?

Each song is a story, a scenario, from the working man in the infectious rocker Coming Home To You to t…

#TravelGermany - Schwerin in July 2016: A Fairytale Castle, Aida and Gourmet Al Fresco Dining

With material from a media release:

Schwerin in July 2016:
A Fairytale Castle, Aida and Gourmet Al Fresco Dining

Schwerin, in the north of Germany on the Baltic Sea, is a bit of an off the beaten path destination for North American tourists. It's the city of seven lakes, green fields and the sandy shores of the Baltic Sea. With a population of only 100,000, Schwerin is Germany's smallest capital, seat of the Federal state Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
It enjoys a picture-perfect location among a series of lakes that reflect both the passing clouds in the northern sky and the city's most famous landmark, Schwerin Castle. It is a fitting landmark: light, airy, bright and welcoming – just like the city itself.

Records dating back as far as 965 AD show evidence of a castle built on a freshwater lake in what historians believe to be Schwerin. However, it was only after 1160 that the city was actually established and the castle rebuilt in the shape of the now eminen…

Tiger of Sweden presents SS17 Collection at London Collections: Men

From a media release:

Tiger of Sweden presents SS17 Collection
at London Collections: Men

LONDON, ENGLAND - In the late 17th century the world was transfixed by the Baroque opulence of the recently built palace of Versailles, and it was around this model that architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger based his designs for Sweden’s new royal palace, Kungliga Slottet.

An homage to the French royal seat, Kungliga Slottet was to be a heady mix of rigidly exuberant Baroque and florid Rococo curves. Built between 1700 and 1754, Tessin’s original plans did not come to pass as King Karl XII – the reigning monarch of the time – disliked many of the architect’s extraneous flourishes and made changes to the palace to make it more minimal.
Inspired by Kungliga Slottet’s transformation from decadent citadel into a temple to Scandinavian restraint, Tiger of Sweden’s Spring Summer ’17 collection consists of a tapestry of influences, ranging from the ornate to the understated.

A Baroque garden-inspired pri…

CD Release: Soukous Master Siama Matuzungidi Finds a New Stream of Musical Creativity on Rivers (June 10 2016)

From a media release:

Out Today (June 10, 2016)
The Congo Flows in Minneapolis: Soukous Master Siama Matuzungidi Finds a New Stream of Musical Creativity on Rivers

Download the CD - name your price

Siama Matuzungidi left home at 17, his guitar strapped to his back. Music has since carried him across Africa, from his home in rural Congo (then Zaire) to the capital Kinshasa, then to Uganda, and eventually to Nairobi, Kenya.

Along the way, he played with some of the biggest names in soukous, including Kanda Bongo Man, Sam Mangwana, Moni Mambo with Shika Shika, Lovy Longomba, Tshala Muana and Samba Mapangala with Virunga. As a prolific studio musician, Siama laid down a string of radio hits still enjoyed by soukous fans today, playing on more than a hundred singles. His own songs, tales of love, desire, and betrayal, feature his knack for catchy tunes and wry twists of humor.

Now based in the Twin Cities, Siama gathered together a diverse community of Minnesota-based master musicians from …

Wines of Italy - Vino d'Italia: Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri 2016

With material from a media release:

Wines of Italy - Vino d'Italia
Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri 2016

• Here's a guide to all the Tre Bicchieri winners

What could be more appetizing than a room full of Italian wines and foods to sample? Add the posh surroundings of the Liberty Grand complex at Exhibition Place, and the experience was nothing short of sublime.

3 Glasses is the top distinction awarded to some of Italy’s best wines by Gambero Rosso, an Italian journal that celebrates the hedonistic pursuit of food, wine & culture.

Every year in the Fall, Gambero Rosso announces their short-list of Tre Bicchieri winners (pronounced “tray bee-kee-AIR-ee”, which means “3 Glasses”). These are the wines that are judged as the best from a massive collection of 22,000 wine contenders from 2,400 Italian wineries. Taste testing 22,000 wines continues over a 6 month period.

This year just 421 wines earned the Tre Bicchieri distinction. That’s the top 2% of all wines taste-tested.

Luckily, I …

Art/Fashion/Celebrity: Tommy Hilfiger to sponsor & co-host the star-studded Serpentine Summer Party 2016

From a media release:

Tommy Hilfiger to sponsor & co-host the Serpentine Summer Party

The iconic American designer will co-host the Summer Party, a highlight of London’s annual social calendar, in support of the renowned Serpentine art galleries

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – Tommy Hilfiger, which is owned by PVH Corp. [NYSE: PVH], will sponsor the 2016 edition of the Serpentine Summer Party, taking place at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, London, on Thursday, July 6, 2016. The event will be co-hosted by Mr. Tommy Hilfiger alongside actress Salma Hayek, former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, entrepreneur Sir David Tang, architect David Adjaye, entrepreneur Matthew Freud, architect Bjarke Ingels, cricket administrator Lalit Modi, and Serpentine Director of Summer Programmes, Julia Peyton-Jones and Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist.

“Art has been one of my greatest sources of inspiration since the beginning of my career,” said Tommy Hilfige…

Jersey (New) Moves! Emerging Choreographers Friday June 17 2016

From a media release:

Jersey (New) Moves! Emerging Choreographers
Friday, June 17, 2016
Doors 7:30pm / Performance 8pm
Victoria Theater
Presented in Association with Dance New Jersey
Part of Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance


The second annual program showcasing New Jersey's best up-and-coming dancemakers! Accomplished mentors partner with four young choreographers from the Garden State to develop works that will be premiered at NJPAC.

This year's featured emerging choreographers are Ariel Grossman from Jersey City (mentored by Douglas Martin, Artistic Director of American Repertory Ballet); Kamille King from East Orange (mentored by Karen Love, Artistic Director of Umoja Dance Company); Kyle Marshall from Jersey City (mentored by Sylvia Waters, Artistic Director Emerita of Ailey II); and, Scott Willits of Jersey City (mentored by choreographer and tap dancer Maurice Chestnut).


#TravelAfrica - Zanzibar...So Much More Than The Beach

With material from a media release:

Zanzibar...So Much More Than The Beach
Matemwe Beach Guesthouse - Unguja Island
Aiyana Resort - Pemba Island

Can you take the dream beach vacation of a lifetime AND have a positive impact on the destination and its people? Sounds almost too ideal, but you can have it both ways at the Matemwe Beach Guesthouse and The Aiyana Beach Resort in Zanzibar.

About Zanzibar
Zanzibar, birthplace of Freddy Mercury, is actually an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, about 50km off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. It consists of two islands, Unguja, the capital - aka Zanzibar - and Pemba Island. A wonderful trip on its own, it's also an easy add-on to a trip to South Africa. Its population numbers just under 160,000 and the main island covers 2,461 km².

Hot Tip: The best time to travel is during the relatively cool spring - between June and September.

Zanzibar's past
It is believed that human civilization dates back about 20,000 years in the archi…