Thursday, July 30, 2009


Movie time...or movie review/recommendation time. This film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and is it ever deserving. It's incredibly moving and beautiful, with deft touches of humour, a universal message and breathtaking scenery. Masahiro Motoki stars as Daigo Kobayashi a recently "dissolved" cellist in a struggling symphony orchestra in Tokyo. Feeling disheartened and inadequate to find a position elsewhere he returns to his hometown and looks for work, with his wife in tow. He gets more than he bargained for in answering a want ad...thinking it's a job in a travel agency since it uses the phrase "departures". Departures indeed but of a more permanent type... At first he struggles with the daunting task of the ritual preparation of bodies for the hereafter. His boss played by Tsutomu Yamazaki sees more in him than he does in himself - by the way this actor starred as the stoic Goro in one of my favourite movies ever " Tampopo" (A Japanese noodle western). Daigo is so embarassed by his new occupation he can't even bring himself to tell his wife...and of course when he does she flees back to the city. The camera marks the gorgeous passing of seasons, and Daigo's realization that not only does he have an affinity for his work, he also provides a most precious final memory and closure for the families left behind. There is sadness yes, but also commemoration and celebration of their time on earth. All of this leads up to a final and poignant need for his services. It of course brought up for me the loss of my mother last fall and some tears but ultimately a journey that everyone must go through, in the Japanese example it's a respectful, dignified and loving passage.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mad Men's fun!!

This is what I came up with from playing around on - the permutations are endless...choose your eye shape, body type, hair, clothes etc...just what an addicted one like me needs..
On that cool note....a little write up about the cool and smoky voiced Julie London...
I was put in mind of her recently by hearing "Cry Me a River"...there's a great version on You Tube - from Japanese TV I believe.
Many people know of this lovely actress from the TV series "Emergency" in which she starred as nurse Dixie McCall along with her husband songwriter Bobby Troup of "Route 66" fame. Can you believe she was married to Jack Webb - talk about opposites attracting..however, they did share a mutual love of jazz.
"Cry Me a River" was written by a high school classmate of hers...check out the videos on You Tube...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Food Inc. and other filling items

I know this will be kind of like preaching to the choir...but I'm going to see this documentary tonight. More later... Laura Fernandez was stunning last night - so talented, kind and gorgeous..."your basic nightmare" to quote "When Harry Met Sally" :)Check out the posting on Jazz FM. After much rain yesterday I'm sure the little plot at Garrison is now a jungle...plants will soon demand "Feed Me"... I'm reading a fascinating bio on Dean Martin - complete with ahem, colourful's called "Dino - Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams" by Nick Tosches. Can't wait to get to the Rat Pack stuff... On the agenda - potential sashay over to the Beaches on Sunday...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hello, Tokyo! that right? I am just excited that I got a hit from Japan! I understand Japanese are big jazz this is promising..I have been waiting for months!
I am planning on going to see "Departures" which I have heard wonderful things about - of course, it is Japanese and won Best Foreign Film Oscar.
How I long to go to the Land of the Rising Sun!! I think I may have been Japanese in a past life since I am fascinated by their culture - I read a great novel a while back , "The Last Concubine".
Tonight is the Positive Fabulous Women meetup at Southern Accent - Cajun food and good company... to Lula to hear Laura Fernandez then to Tequila Bookworm for William Carn...still seem to be on the Latin vibe...
I'm going to blog about both clubs...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mexican Food Day and Leslie Mendelson

So today.....perhaps being inspired by the Mexican celebration down at Harbourfront - a group dance lesson no less and big colourful skirts - I am making Bean Burritos, have made a refreshing Watermelon Gazpacho and a Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce - which I got from (it is completely delicious and addictive by the way...maybe it's the hemp? :). I am also going to make some guacamole to go with the burritos...ole.
Interesting how people are finding me on the internet. I got an email this morning from a gentleman - Andy Shaw at asking me to check out one of their clients - Leslie Mendelson. I did and I really, really like what I heard.
She is described as being in the tradition of Carole King and Carly Simon.
Her new release is called "Swan Feathers" and looks like she has some serious assistance in music making and producing. I have listened to the lovely "Rest of London", and two tunes I have watched/listened to on You Tube - "Hit the Spot" which has been downloaded quite a bit I understand and "I Know You Better than That"....I think big things are coming this talented singer/songwriter's way.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fabulous pampering at the Old Mill

Well, I must say I was very impressed with the service at the Old Mill Spa yesterday. The staff are very, very helpful and attentive from when you walk in the door. The atmosphere is incredibly relaxing with a private sitting area with comfy chairs, beverages, snacks and a well appointed change room with secure locker, showers and infrared sauna. I felt like a princess - can I be a princess AND a goddess? My therapist Kristina - not sure if I am spelling that correctly - gave me a wonderful massage and reflexology treatment. At several points she checked in with me to make sure the pressure was fine and I was okay. It was more than okay - I was in such bliss that I almost nodded off at one point (or may have snorted/snored). She told me that some people are not capable of relaxing AT ALL. That in fact "even if an angel came down from heaven to massage them - they could not relax"...sad... Because I didn't completely use up the generous gift certficate - I also consulted with Ashley - who is an expert on Jane Iredale makeup - Jane Iredale's make up is mineral based long before anyone else jumped on the bandwagon. I tried on powders and ended up with a concealer. After this wonderful nurturing experience I decided to continue the nurturing and head to Dufferin Grove Market. For those health minded among you this is an amazing organic market that happens every Thursday from 3 - 7 p.m. Well, actually even before 3 as customers (including me) were eager to purchase delicious fruits and vegetables. I got some lovely cherries, luscious raspberries, kale, collards, lettuce and because I'm a chocoholic a fudgy chocolate hemp cookie from ChocoSol and a "hemp butter cup"....both irresistible. I like buying their bars at 4 Life in Kensington. Tonight, I'm anticipating dinner at "Rawlicious" in the junction then off to see my neighbour, jazz fan and drummer Paul Fitterer at Sage West on College at Dovercourt. I hope to check out Whitney Barris finally at Statler's on Sunday. I am volunteering at the Festival of India tomorrow and hope to partake of some enticing Indian food - my favourite! Due to the strike instead of being on the Island it's near Captain John's on Lakeshore...

Monday, July 13, 2009

DanJam Orchestra

In case this doesn't get up on the Jazz FM blog in time...check out Dan Jamieson's group at Trane tonight..8 p.m. or Wednesday at 9:30 at The Rex...
Looking forward to it!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Is being anti-jazz the new thing?

It was brought to my attention that columnist Tabitha Southey in the "Globe and Mail" had some sort of ill informed rant about jazz funding in that august paper - slightly less so now with such inflammatory garbage. Recently a reviewer in the Montreal Gazette gave a particularly catty review of the Maria Schneider Orchestra which many felt was what's going on here? Is it the "I'm so cool that I'm anti jazz"? Southey was comparing funding to jazz festivals - which she feels is in excess of what is necessary - because she doesn't like this particular art form. Guess what? It's called a democracy. She goes on to lampoon (lamely) fashion choices of jazz patrons and compares it to the Pride Parade where there is much merriment and "inclusiveness" of all manner of people. Well, if you had done your research you would find jazz has been ground-breaking in the areas of inclusiveness - with black and white musicians performing together and individuals such as Artie Shaw way back in the 30's protesting the treatment of his then singer, Billie Holliday. Let me fight fire with fire and hazard a guess that maybe Ms. Southey had a not so positive relationship with a jazz lover? A woman scorned? Well, I for one am not going to miss her attendance at jazz events. I am however, saddened that the Globe and Mail who has had such a great jazz enthusiast and writer as Mark Miller has chosen to print this drivel.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Arts Funding and Fringe Fun

I am a little annoyed to find out how funding is doled out to arts groups in Canada...a good friend of mine and I are suspicious this has to do with politics...i.e. don't bother giving money to groups who won't vote for you.
Very Woodward and Bernstein - does that make my friend "Deep Throat" I wonder?
Check it out for yourself and be prepared to be outraged....for example $38,500 to the Edmonton Jazz Society..a pittance!
Hillside and Ottawa Folk - $60,000...sad...while some very small time and new organizations get the same amount...
On a happier note saw a great production, a one man show at the Fringe today " Jem Rolls - Leatest Flops". That's him in the photo (vancouverfringephotos - flickr creative commons). He describes himself as a "performance poet" which means there is no real job description, no boundaries...what a verbal hurricane . I couldn't believe what clever permutations and combinations he came up with.
Speaking of such things as tourists (hilarious) and being a "clanger" I think that's a British term for being socially maladroit. That poem included some of the best lines "I am the hedgerow clippers on the parasols of politeness...(think that's right) and also "I am the moles on your croquet lawn of niceness"!!
Then there was the lesson in British history - we won, we won, we won, we won, we won, we won - repeated rapidfire. I can't even put INTO words how he weaves and warps and wends...oh, I guess I just did.
Please go to his show!! I can't say enough about it..he's likely coming to a Fringe near you across our great land this summer. (He loves the fact he can do so many festivals in one country).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Danny Marks and then the Botos Brothers...

I have a fun evening at the Rex planned...with the very entertaining (host of Bluz FM on Saturday nights - Jazz FM 91.1) Danny Marks....Danny is talented, funny and knows possibly every popular song ever written...or just about. Then the 9:30 show - the incredible Botos brothers with brother Lajos, a wonderful singer joining Robi on piano and Frank on drums... You would think I would be tired of jazz after the extravaganza last week, wouldn't you..but no. I am taking a little breather from the station blog, though... Tomorrow I am going in search of something called "sfogliatelle" - ever since I saw these delectable items being made on my current TV show obsession - "Cake Boss". They are flaky pastries , resembling lobster tails with a dense cream inside...yum!! I'm going to haunt College Street..which would seem to be a good start.... A goddess has to look good and I'm now into the Joe Fresh makeup line - cheap - items less than $10. I love the "Poppy" lipgloss (an orange colour) that I bought last week in a rush at Loblaws. I want to try more of the line and do so at a more leisurely pace. So down to Queen's Quay for a suburban in urban shopping experience. I am busily transcribing a lengthy interview with a legendary jazz producer, that the velvet voiced Ross Porter has been working on...not that's it work listening to Mr. Porter's smoky bass. Gee, was that too obsequious? :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Spiders and Stigers

There are currently 27, count em - 27 spiders on the outside windows of the condo...I'm not sure what this means..Armageddon? Or perhaps a bumper crop of bugs...It's amazing when one or two set up shop but 27!
Completely unrelated but also begins with an "S" check out the review of Curtis Stigers at the Jazz Fest on the Jazz FM blog - hint: I liked him.
Here are some lovely flowers growing along Tecumseh, my street:
And of calendula going crazy in the garden plot as well as the garden itself.

Must support those tomato plants...yikes....

Tomorrow is the volunteer party for Jazz Fest....I'm taking a rest from jazz tonight....

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mon frere

My brother Colin waiting for the Boss Brass concert to begin...his first and last concert with them...they sounded great...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jumpin' Jamie

The incredible Jamie Cullum...before he shed layers....

And later when he moved out into the audience...I could have reached out and touched him...he was that close...the first shot is blurry because I was so excited...

Some of his band members....

I'm still flying! Check out my blog posting on Jazz FM...