The Kensington Market Festival of Lights marks its 25th anniversary December 21 with a dazzling celebration of the winter solstice. Residents and spectators join forces to light up the longest night of the year with a firey procession through Kensington Market. Organized by Red Pepper Spectacle Arts, the Festival of Lights is a highly participatory event where everyone is encouraged to dress up, make some noise and help light up the night.
In preparation for the event, Red Pepper holds a community craft workshop Saturday (December 13, 12 – 8 pm) at Steelworkers Hall (25 Cecil Street), where residents are invited to make lanterns that will be paraded through the market a week from Sunday ($10 recommended donation).
Festival photo by Solomon King
The most impressive thing about Snowfall, the new public art installation at Brookfield Place, isn’t its size and scope – 60 pieces ranging from 100 lbs to 3,000 lbs – it’s the fact that artists Brad Hindson and Mitchell F. Chan (below left) created it in their off hours while both working full time jobs, Hindson as an intern architect for Diamond Schmitt Architects, and Chan, as Education Coordinator for InterAccess gallery.
“This is what we do with ALL of our free time,” says Hindson. “Some people take cooking classes, some play hockey, we design and make public art.”
The pair has created many large scale art works both here and further afield during the five years they’ve been working together as Studio F Minus. They designed Windscape for the 2012 Luminato Festival hub, A Dream of Pastures at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in 2008, and Light Play at Dundas Square for Luminato 2008.
This year’s Brookfield Place display will grow over the coming years to include up to 300 smaller suspended “snowflakes” on the concourse level. Currently two lobby spaces at street level are adorned with Gust (below) and the giant Frost (left and above), a free-standing, interactive light sculpture that changes colour when touched.
“We’re riffing on the architectural motif in the Galleria,” explains Chan. “The design conversation begins here with this amazing Santiago Calatrava-designed building, it’s one of Toronto’s architectural gems. The Y shapes mimic the columns holding up the atrium.”
Michael James Burgess, left, first encountered 84 Charing Cross Road in a London dental office where he happened across a Readers’ Digest excerpt.
“When my appointment was finished I went back into the waiting room and finished the story,” he recalls. “Not long afterwards I was walking up Charing Cross Road and this dusty old bookshop, which had been closed, was suddenly alive with books again and the author was going to be there for a book signing. So I went in and got my copy signed.”
More than four decades later and a world away Burgess directs the theatrical version of the story, opening tonight at Fairview Library Theatre.
“It’s an intelligent play, it doesn’t talk down to people,” remarks Burgess. “The books that the characters mention will send you rushing to Google to look them up. It’s interesting, it’s challenging, it’s sentimental without being soft. And I just think it’s a very pleasant couple of hours in the theatre.”
INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair co-founders Rita Davies and John Calabro could hardly have found a better operational partner than Steven Levy, left. Nobody knows the consumer and trade show business better than Levy, the man who gave Canada the One of a Kind craft show and the Interior Design Show, to name just two.
And Levy has big ambitions for this week’s inaugural book event, November 13 – 16, dubbed INSPIRE!.
“Our long range objective is to be to books what TIFF is to film,” he says. “We want to bring more eyes to books, more sales to authors and publishers, whether they be established publishers or self-publishers.”
INSPIRE! launches Thursday with a big opening night party followed by three days of wall-to-wall programming featuring a dizzying slate of celebrity authors including Margaret Atwood, Maureen Jennings, Will Ferguson, Anne Rice, Jim Gaffigan and Sarah Richardson, to name just a few. There are readings, workshops and seminars, a kids’ stage, a culinary zone, a First Nations literary circle and loads more. INSPIRE! will be the largest gathering of authors and book lovers in Canada with more than 400 authors and over 200 exhibitors.
The European Union Film Festival unfurls the flag at the Royal Cinema (608 College St.) November 15 – 30 featuring the best in contemporary European cinema. For the 10th anniversary edition, the Euro fest features 28 movies from EU countries and all screenings are FREE! The 2014 lineup includes several Canadian premieres with appearances by directors and cast members. Seating is first come, first served so don’t be late. And while general admission is free, advance admission can be secured for $10.
An opening night reception is slated for the Mod Club (722 College Street) on Saturday, November 15 at 6 pm; tix are $25 and include guaranteed seating at the screening of Italy’s Allacciate Le Cinture (Fasten Your Seatbelts) at the Royal at 9 pm.