It is magnificent! The new Fort York Visitor Centre — years in the dreaming, years in the making — is here at last. Opening to the public for the first time Saturday and Sunday as part of the Fort’s On Common Ground festival, the award-winning Visitor Centre gives the National Historic Site a front door for the first time. The centre adds 24,000 square feet of exhibition and event space and becomes a nexus for the 43-acre Fort York site. Selected by a jury and the public in late 2009, the winning design by Patkau Architects Inc. and Kearns Mancini Architects was built with private and public funding from all three levels of government.
On Common Ground is a festival that animates the Fort and the Visitor Centre September 20-21 with culturally diverse music, dance, theatre, craft-making, kidzone, community village and local food. Artists include Kaeja Dance, Charles Pachter’s “1812: The Art of War” Series, Autrorickshaw, Dusk Dances, Toronto Mass Choir, Red Pepper Spectacle Arts, Drumhand, Maracatu Mar Alberto, Tio Chorinho, Dhol Circle, and many others. See website for complete lineup.
Photo by Shane Gerard
The King East Design District (KEDD) gets an arty shot in the arm Saturday when 15 eye-popping art installations touch down along the strip between Church and Parliament streets.
Dubbed 3d Parti Contemporary Design Festival, the one day event turns King Street East into a larger than life public art gallery. Pictured left is the exterior of Klaus — chair graffiti conceived by Vanessa Eckstein for Blok Design and executed by Pascal Paquette — where Toronto’s own Thrush Holmes delivers a massive 10’x 10’ installation set to become a permanent public art display. Artist Justin Broadbent has created a bold graphic welcome mat demonstrating the visual vibrancy of the neighbourhood and at studio b, Zeidler Partnership Architects prepares to charge the street like a herd of elephants; artist/illustrator Gary Taxali inserts a pyramid of dynamic stacked lasered cubes at DOM on Berkeley Street and, piquing curiosity, Fugitive Glue’s bold mirrored cube plays with light and optical illusion at Suite 22.
At Calligaris, RAW’s life-sized arch of chairs will immerse pedestrians, transforming a stroll down the street into a sensory experience. Further down King Street at Kiosk, DesignAgency’s collaboration with artist Tommy Matejka and international luminaries Saty + Pratha delivers a video installation that invites neighbours and strangers to share a stream of consciousness through mixed-mediums. Collaborating with the crew of artists, Mangia & Bevi’s curated pizzas will offer delicious, edible art in the street.
The 3d Parti Contemporary Design Festival is up on Saturday, September 20, only from 11 am – 7 pm. 3d Parti is free but attendees are invited to make a donation with all proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area.
Saturday’s youth-focused East End Poetry Festival was an inspiring tour de force despite threatening skies that pushed the entertainment indoors at Children’s Peace Theatre. Pictured above are some of the poets who made the day such a stellar success: from left (back row) are Ida Sophia, Bidhan Berma, Ray Abergas (all BAM Youth Slam team), Dwayne Morgan, Toronto Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke, Kate Marshall Flaherty and, in front, Patrick de Belen (BAM).
R.I.S.E. Poetry‘s Randell Adjei, on stage above, kicked things off with a short but powerful set before yielding the stage to members of the 2014 BAM Youth Slam team. All the young poets brought the house down with spoken word performances that cut to the emotional bone. Award-winning poet/author Rosemary Sullivan rounded out the slate, and the Poet Laureate wrapped it all up with forceful readings from his recent Illicit Sonnets and the brand new Traverse (below).
He’s not performing at Saturday’s East End Poetry Festival but Patrick Walters, left, is connected to the event in several ways. He was the featured poet at last night’s BAM Youth Poetry Slam where he slayed the young audience, and he got his non-slam start at Randell Adjei’s RISE Poetry in Scarborough. He also performs at Dwayne Morgan’s Up From the Roots poetry slams and he’ll be competing with the Roots team at next month’s Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Victoria, B.C.
Walters is just 21 but he’s been writing and performing since he was 14: “There aren’t any formal slams back home in St. Kitts,” he explains. “When I came here I immediately took to the idea of slamming, to the notion of poetry as competition. I started off at the Drake with Toronto Poetry Slam and then I went to Up From the Roots where I feel really comfortable, it’s like a family there. Patrick de Belen, who organizes the BAM Slam, is on the Roots team this year.”
Walters writes about myriad topics but with a determination to come at his subjects from a new direction.
“I try to write about the things people might be afraid to talk about,” he says. “I try to give voice to people who might not be able to express how they feel. I don’t really write love poems but If I do I have to come at it from a different angle because there are so many awesome love poems out there already, I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel.”
The Bare Bones & Upfront singer/songwriter series is back for another great season of Thursday night concerts at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. This week’s season opener features Bryan Potvin from Northern Pikes (left) and Kevin Kane from Grapes of Wrath playing alone and together.
“I envy the audience, honestly,” says Kane.
“If you’re a certain vintage of music fan this is going to be right up your alley,” adds Potvin, “you’re going to hear a lot of music you’ll recognize.”
Although their careers happened around the same time and on similar trajectories, Kane and Potvin didn’t meet and become pals until fairly recently, despite the fact that they live about three blocks apart in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. We chatted on a little Juliet balcony overlooking the back garden at Kevin’s place.
Thursday’s audience will see a well-rehearsed show since Potvin and Kane played a string of intimate dates together in B.C. earlier this summer and they’re talking about swings through the Prairies and the Maritimes later this year.