Posted in Art, Music
Contributed by Christopher Jones
09/24 2014

Alec Dempster Gets Game

Alec Dempster is on a cultural mission to carry the folk music and art of Mexico as far afield as he can. This week Dempster bows two new projects: a concert tomorrow night (September 25) that blends his beloved jarocho music (indigenous to southern Veracruz) with the harp and maracas-driven joropo style from Colombia and Venezuela, and he’s launching a beautiful board game based on a traditional Mexican bingo called Loteria Jarocha.

The concert at Lula Lounge features Dempster’s Mexican folk group Café Con Pan augmented with Jorge Lopez and Yuri Pedraza, and with Colombian harpist Guillermo Arbeláez and Mexican singer Rosy Cervantes.

“It’s very happy, joyful music,” says Dempster. “I don’t think blending these two styles has been done before in Toronto. And it’s an early show from 7:30 – 9 pm, which can be good for some people.”


Posted in Art, Design
Contributed by Christopher Jones
09/18 2014

Art and Design Joust on King East

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.

Posted in Architecture, Festivals
Contributed by Christopher Jones
09/17 2014


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

Posted in Reading
Contributed by Christopher Jones
09/15 2014

Poetry Fest An Inspiring Afternoon

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).