Posted in Festivals
04/1 2011

Celebrating Community Arts Champs

crowdSMThe Allen Lambert Place Galleria at Brookfield Place was jumping yesterday evening as the Celebrate 27 Arts Fest hit the stage with music, dance and visual art to kick-off the 27-day community art celebration. B-boys Gadfly (below) were among the performers entertaining the sizeable audience between speeches from organizers. Celebrate 27 recognizes Article 27 of the universal declaration of human rights, which states, “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”

City Councillor Michael Thompson was on hand to introduce a roster of 12 community cultural champions, leaders nominated by their peers for their great work in keeping the arts humming in their own neighbourhoods. The champions are portrayed on a collection of limited-edition scarves and t-shirts being sold to raise revenue for community arts programs (for a list of champions visit the Celebrate 27 website and stay tuned to as we profile them in the weeks to come).

Two photo exhibits were installed in the Galleria for yesterday’s launch, one by photographer Michael Awad comparing Toronto and its sister city, Milan, Italy, and another by four young Toronto photographers who were mentored by Awad during the past year. For a complete run-down of Celebrate 27 events, visit the program’s website.


Posted in Downtown, Festivals
01/25 2011

Winterlicious: Fort York Food Fight

Chefs Ted Corrado and Scott Vivian
kicks off Friday (January 28) with two weeks of great restaurant deals right across the city and more than a dozen special events like Saturday’s cast iron chef competition at Fort York National Historic Site where local culinary stars Ted Corrado (C5 Restaurant), above left, and Scott Vivian (Beast), above right, battle for bragging rights and a $2,500 prize.

Both chefs maintain that the Fort York Food Fight will be a friendly competition but Vivian states his intention loud and clear when he says his goal is “to wipe the floor with Teddy Corrado!”

The Food Fight will be the highlight of an afternoon that features an interpretive tour of the historic site from a foodie perspective (1 – 2 pm), and two workshops: Eat Green Through the Seasons, exploring the ecological benefits of eating seasonally and Growing Food Indoors, highlighting alternative gardening. The chef contest runs from 3 – 5 pm.


Posted in Downtown, Festivals
01/23 2011

McLuhan Centenary Underway

McLuhan_logoAt the invitation of University of Toronto President David Naylor, a select group of artists, technology innovators and academics were treated to a preview of plans for the McLuhan 100 at grano Restaurant on Thursday, January 20.

This year marks the centenary of Marshall McLuhan’s birth on July 21, 1911. Worldwide, a tremendous range of activities are being planned to celebrate and honour the man and his ideas.

With Toronto under the focus of international gaze, the University of Toronto’s McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology, part of the Faculty of Information, along with the City of Toronto’s Economic Development & Culture Division, and Mozilla, have joined forces to celebrate McLuhan, his theories and his role in the emergence of our great international metropolis.

McLuhan, who died on December 31, 1980, was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar who worked at the intersection of culture and technology—the very foundation of Toronto’s mushrooming power in digital media. He did so in ways that only later became mainstream. READ MORE

Posted in Downtown, Festivals, Film
10/18 2010

imagineNATIVE: A World of Indigenous Expression

ImagiNATIVE programmer Michelle LatimerActress, filmmaker and programmer Michelle Latimer is a perfect spokesperson for the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, opening Wednesday. She’s articulate and enthusiastic and as the photo at left confirms, she’s also a whole lot of fun. Latimer and I met at A Space Gallery to chat about the festival and take in RE:counting coup, a group show curated by Cheryl L’Hirondelle for imagineNATIVE. Latimer posed for me beneath one of artist Lisa Reihana’s hairdryers, part of an installation called Colour of Sin: Headcase Version, 2005.

“We think that including contemporary art is important,” says Latimer, “because those are the artists who, in my opinion, are really pushing the boundaries for indigenous artists in this country.”

Now in its 11th year, imagineNATIVE is the world’s largest showcase of indigenous film and video work and the festival draws entries from First Nations communities around the world. Did you know that Nepal has more indigenous groups per capita than any other country? Or that Taiwan has a significant indigenous population, which also happens to be the subject of this year’s imagineNATIVE spotlight? READ MORE

Posted in Downtown, Festivals, Film
10/12 2010

Water Fight in Focus

Filmmaker Liz MarshallLocal filmmaker Liz Marshall, left, intentionally held back the cinematic debut of her documentary, Water on the Table, in the hope that it would be selected for Toronto’s annual Planet in Focus film festival, starting tomorrow. Better to be a big fish in a smaller pond, reasoned Marshall, than to get lost in the crowd at TIFF, Hot Docs or another major festival.

Given the high quality of her doc and its controversial subject – activist Maude Barlow’s fight to make water a human right – Marshall made a good strategic bet. Water on the Table is one of the marquee films showing at this year’s Planet in Focus, an 11-year old festival focused on videos and films about the environment.

Water has been on the table of Canadian public awareness since the trade of this natural resource surfaced as an issue in the 1988 Free Trade Agreement and again in the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. So contentious was the issue that Canada, Mexico and the United States signed a joint position statement clarifying that “Unless water, in any form, has entered into commerce and become a good or product, it is not covered by the provisions of any trade agreement, including the NAFTA. And nothing in the NAFTA would oblige any NAFTA Party to either exploit its water for commercial use, or to begin exporting water in any form.”

A number of provinces would love nothing more than to start profiting from the export of their seemingly abundant water resources, which would trigger NAFTA clauses and truly put water on the trade table. Enter “water warrior” Maude Barlow, head of the Council of Canadians and chair of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. READ MORE