Saturday, September 26, 2009

Koerner Hall tonight!

Very exciting...I am going to blog about the Chick Corea concert for Jazz FM. I have a lovely teal dress - very flapperesque I bought in Edmonton and haven't had the opportunity to wear yet. Maybe I will take a photo, although you should know I don't like having my picture taken... Julie McGregor has let me know there is a meetup scheduled for Lula tomorrow night - Tommy Ambrose is performing. Coming up on Monday night the monthly John McLeod's Rex Hotel Orchestra at 9:30 and this weekend is the Port Hope Jazz Festival with my boss, the wonderful Larry Green doing the emcee thing. Saw Harry Connick on "Oprah" this week - been there, done that....:) I think Ross did a much more interesting interview, frankly. Love the "O" anyway. Not to mention the Dr. "O" as in Oz... "Nuit Blanche" is coming up next Saturday and I was reading in the Star that there is an opportunity to be part of a volunteer choir - what the heck, maybe I will check that out.... P.S. Sorry if I have not responded to any comments...for some reason I thought I would get notification if comments were left...hopefully this has now been rectified... And I would love feedback!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jazz around Town

A few events happening, some of which I may actually make it to.... Margot Roi sings up a storm at the Gladstone's Melody Bar tonight starting at 7 p.m. with Mark Kieswetter and Jordan O'Connor. Russ Little, Pat Collins and Lorne Lofsky at the Old Mill's Homesmith Bar at 7:30. Alex Goodman Quintet at Tequila Bookworm around 9 ish. And for the next 2 nights at the Rex, the annual Coltrane tribute with Pat LaBarbera and Kirk McDonald sharing the sax duties. Right now I am having trouble with my gmail...grrr...Microsoft. Every time I see those Mac versus PC commercials and having had the use of my friend Richard's Mac briefly I am sorely tempted to switch.... We are busy preparing for the taping season of "Jazzology" and already have a few students scheduled. It should be another exciting year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Koerner Hall concert

My new calling card - received yesterday from VistaPrint. Very inexpensive -250 cards and a nice slim, silver case. Yes, I am excited to be going to the Chick Corea concert at the brand spanking new Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory - I'll post all about it on the Jazz FM Blog, bien sur. From what I've seen the new hall looks gorgeous - can't wait. Your goddess is feeling a little off today - perhaps it's the humidity/rain or the Saturn/Uranus opposition. Rather like one of those cute little hamsters on a wheel but not going anywhere. Too pity party? Enjoyed Oprah's "Mad Men" tribute - finally! Even if I can't see it - I have to be content with "Glee" and "Being Erica" - love Erin Karpluk! I think Michael Riley is hot - will there be some romantic tension there? I trust that being my resilient self I will be feeling better tomorrow and eager to hear Russ Little, Lorne Lofsky and Pat Collins at the Old Mill at 7:30 - Home Smith Bar. This trio is fab. I must say hello to Pat as I have been harassing him with emails about Mohawk's "Jazzology" contributions - i.e. students. Kudos to Dr. Oz for promoting a vegan diet on yesterday's show. He is having a "cowboy" go vegan for 28 days to turn his health around - diabetes and heart issues. You go Dr. Oz! (his wife is a vegetarian - thank you Mrs. Oz). Not only is he handsome and smart - he is also sensitive and topical.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Queen West Art Crawl

I knew things were off to a good start this morning when I heard Ross Porter's voice as I entered Gallery 533 on Portland at Richmond - he was on the radio not in the gallery. I heard a disembodied voice from upstairs - it was perhaps the gallery owner who came down to wish me "Good Morning" - bad journalist - should have gotten his name. He loves listening to the station he said.
In one of my strange non sequiturs, Ross Porter was in my dream last night too - I was preparing to go on a cruise with him and his lovely wife Denise...interesting.
Back to art - some very cool works in this gallery by artist James Fowler and the show is called Plain View. Two of my favourite works were featured on their postcard (at the top of the page) - apparently derived from Google Maps of San Francisco and New York with their respective bridges - and dissected into multicoloured cubes and shapes - you will have to see for yourself - . There were also several lovely Japanese prints in binders upstairs.
Over to Trinity Bellwoods Park and oodles of artists and artisans - bought some earrings...hello? You expected me to resist the siren call of sparkly jewellery, when you know I am part magpie? It was a perfect fall afternoon, sunny, cooler and smog free. I resisted the pull of Nadege's macaroons...I was really tempted, though. creates breathtaking glass works...should I call them windows or panels...out of salvaged glass and other objects.
Back onto Queen with half of my daily "allowance" gone and in to check out Nicholas Aoki's solo exhibition at Narwhal Art Projects and entitled " Goodnight Sweet, Hearts" - it's eerie and fairytale like...that's all I can say and it's worth checking out.
Galeria Lausberg and Harald Schmitz-Schmelzer's - "3D Colour" will blow you away. The artist uses resins which he mixes different colours and sometimes textures into, waits for each one to set and adds the next layer, as I understood it - I'm sure it's much more complicated than that - so you have these horizontal and sometimes vertical striped "blocks" which you can view from many angles. In one of his works - there is even an insect on the top. Check it out!
To top off the day, the very long and angst filled suburban drama - "Revolutionary Road". Great acting from Kate and Leo.
Photos from Canadian Art - their directory.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bergstrom Originals Fashion Show

I felt like Anna Wintour or at least Patsy and Edina of Ab Fab - with only a glass and a half of red wine, sweeties not the champers...
The fall fashion show was held in the Rouge Concept gallery a few doors away from Christina Bergstrom's shop at 750 Queen Street East (just east of Broadview). As usual, lots of gorgeous things in wonderful colours - bronzes, purples, greys, red - shimmery fabrics, dresses that can be worn as coats, shoulder shrugs..
There was also lots of interesting art including some very interesting ceramic works created with a number of animal figurines in various hues. Also the music was very funky/jazzy - so there's my jazz content. Did I mention there were delicious nibbles from LPK Culinary Groove - including vegan cupcakes and scrumptious chocolates from 'Ambiance Chocolat- all in the neighbourhood, sweetie darlings.
I have a few of Christina's pieces in my wardrobe which always get compliments - she is not afraid of colour and her shapes are wonderful and inventive. Time to save up and buy some more.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Since it is that time of year here in Toronto where celebrities invade I decided to check out a couple of the offerings... Yesterday it was "Precious" - rush line of course - for the Winter Garden theatre. Part of the joy of filmfest is of course chatting with people in line and discovering what they have seen and of course recommend. The line was at the corner of Queen and Yonge and fortunately in the shade....if I had been paying attention there were a couple of individuals who came up and offered to sell their tickets, or in one case give away (which is always what one hopes). Even though when we finally got in seating was fairly high up, the view was still good. The filmmaker Lee Daniels was on hand and was obviously overwhelmed by the support of audiences...especially those of us "lily white faces"....:) That's why I love Toronto and I'm sure the industry does too - doesn't matter if you're green, pink or blue....good storytelling reaches everyone. And what a story! By the time the credits rolled I think everyone had been put through the wringer. Pregnant (again) teen Clarisse "Precious" Jones lives with her nightmare of a mother, in a bleak, dark apartment in Harlem - subjected to daily physical, emotional and sexual abuse - will she grab the brass ring of alternative schooling at Each One, Teach One, and get to live out the fantasies she has in her active imagination? Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe is a revelation - with no prior acting experience except a junior high play. MO'nique, known for her comedy, is a knockout here as her monster mom - they're already talking Oscar....Great supporting cast including Lenny Kravitz and yes, Mariah Carey -deglammed and believable as a caring social worker. Chyna Lane, her Jamaican classmate was a hoot and had many of Jamaican background in the audience in stitches. Paula Patton is wonderful as her teacher Ms. Rain. Today was France's "Les Herbes Folles" which I believe translates into The Wild Grasses. It starts out really well as a mystery - a wallet is stolen, found and turned in - the knight in shining armour has more than a casual interest in the wallet's owner and complications ensue. I wish the teasing and tantalizing had been kept out somewhat longer because once the potential amours connect, things start to falter. Good performances and the ending is just bizarre. C'est la vie.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A moment of bliss

On my way home from the Food Fair today I took the usual stroll along the lake at Queen's Quay...the sun was setting with whispery thin clouds and a pink horizon. I stopped briefly to enjoy the end of a gorgeous weekend and parked myself on one of the new benches on the wave platform at the base of Spadina.
No this is not it...I just liked the photo...artistic license.
How tranquil to watch the ducks come in and circle, ever hopeful of free food, they made gentle vee wakes and paddled away with their orange feet. I find ducks and any bird really, described as drab, to be anything but...they have subtle gradations in the brown, intricate markings and even a hint of blue at the tip of their wings. Further out the Canada geese were patrolling and a huge flock of starlings kept landing and circling - a dense chirping crowd - settling briefly on the masts of a modern day sailing ship replica.
At the Fair, I ate too much, of course - so many food vendors and snacks - dangerous. I had a slice of vegan spinach pizza from Magic Oven - my favourite pizza place...a great (and spicy) combo place from Uddupi Palace, a cookie from Sweets from the add to the cookie from Terry Lynn Romero's cooking demo - she is a lot of fun...can't wait for her new cookbook on cookies coming out in November.
As promised I made my way to Sage West last night to hear Ailsa and Peter...lovely..I especially liked her "Born to be Blue" and "September in the Rain"...but really it's all great! I'll let you know when and where she performs next. Fellow vocalists Ilana Waldston, Julie McGregor and Whitney Barris Ross were on hand for support and encouragement.
I would like to mention Julie has a gig at Annex Live on Thursday with Norm Amadio - beautiful venue and good food and the lovely Julie. . Julie is also an artist so enjoy the artwork while you're there....
Ilana says she's planning another Dave Frishberg tribute in November - this time without the tornado warning and loss of electricity. I will let you know about that....and it will be all powerful, full wattage, cooking with gas....
Another shameless plug:
Jazz organizer extraordinaire Keita Hopkins has an event coming up at the Reservoir....with a blues orientation...check it out here...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Celebrity Brunch

Well, at least in veg circles - I was part of a group who met for brunch at Get Real on Ossington this a.m. Authors Brenda Davis - a guru of vegetarian/vegan nutrition, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (author of The Joy of Vegan Baking - which is on my kitchen counter) and Caroline Trapp - from!
The photos are a couple of our volunteer costume wearers getting into the spirit...
Today I am helping out at the cooking demo for Terry Hope Romero - co-author of "Veganomicon" among others and earlier I would like to catch Jae Steele whose cookbook "Get It Ripe" gets a lot of use, especially for cookies...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Posting is up on Harry....

Yes, I called it "Wild about Harry"..I couldn't resist - he even did that tune with the great Eubie Blake.
This is not Harry but rather my cat Ivy, Miss Whiskers, the foo foo kitty, know all the goofy names you give your cat. I took this photo because in a certain light two front white whiskers looked like tusks...I am the Walrus....
Now that I look at the photo she may appear more trendy!
With that little segue (I Am the Walrus) I have certainly been hearing a lot of Beatles tunes everywhere I go what with the new releases of their recordings in Mono and Stereo - I would prefer Mono myself since that is generally how I hear the world.
I'm baking cashew, macadamia and peanut butter cookies with dark chocolate chunks this afternoon on a whim...
I am also happy Bonnie Hunt is back with new shows - she had Elisabeth Moss on from "Mad Men"...she seemed really delightful and glowing.
I finished a great book recently called "Dante's War" - set in Italy during the Second World War with Dante and Angelina the lead characters - he goes off to War - near Malta and then Africa, she stays in her little village, holding her own - fascinating.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Harry Connick Jr.

Yes ladies he is charming and handsome..did I mention talented and funny? I'll let you know when my blog posting goes up on the Jazz FM website....

Ailsa McCreary at Sage West

It's been too long since I have heard my dear friend Ailsa sing. I have missed her dulcet tones.

Be sure to catch her at 9 p.m. this Saturday September 12th at this charming neighbourhood restaurant at College and Dovercourt.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

B3 Believer!

Can I get an "Amen"? At times it felt like a revival meeting at the Rex last night - sheerly from the energy level of the band.Playing to a small, but enthusiastic end of summer Labour Day audience, the Gale/Rodrigues Quartet was certainly a people pleaser. Ellington's "Play the Blues and Go" gave things a jumpstart.
Holding her own, a petite and barefoot Vanessa Rodrigues rocked the B3 - I can tell she was (briefly) a student of the great Dr. Lonnie Smith. Her "One Eyed Monster" was rollicking in the tradition of Horace Silver. She has a sure and soulful hand on those keys and pedals alternating between intense facial expressions and flat out delighted smiles exchanged with her band mates.
Everyone on stage was having a great time - it's been a long time since I've seen Edmonton's own Mike Rudd - way back to the Little Birds in fact and he brought his stellar guitar skills to the party. I noted on her website Ms. Rodrigues is also Edmonton born and raised, a multi-instrumentalist and dynamo.
The ever versatile Chris Gale was on hand with tenor and baritone saxes and a particularly meaty solo on his tune "Statement". Rounding out the band was Davide DiRenzo testifying on his drum kit - with sticks and vocally...:)All together a solid but not stolid unit.
Be sure to catch this very fun group tonight at the Rex and stick around for the jazz jam afterwards.By the way...I seem to be having trouble posting photos/images - no icon which hopefully will be resolved shortly....sorry. Mercury Retrograde?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Giddy about "Glee"

I simply must express how much I love this new series on Fox....the adventures of a high school (McKinley) glee club complete with archetypes - the jock, the nerd, the diva, the edgy girl.....

I am almost as excited about this as "Mad Men"...almost....however, I can get it through my regular cable. Now I have Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" going through my brain in a constant loop. Apparently there were a lot of downloads from itunes for the "Glee" version and original. Future episodes promise some Canadian music content a la Avril Lavigne.
There is already a couple of Canadians in the cast....

Jazz wise....a certain handsome crooner/movie/tv star is coming to Jazz FM - Harry Connick Jr. I met him at the station a couple of years back - this time he is doing a live to air interview with Ross Porter...hope to blog about this.

A couple of friends have journeyed to Detroit for their jazz fest this weekend - I am high and dry...temporarily skint as the Brits say. However there is lots of jazz right here in town...Don Menza is visiting at the Rex tonight, Vanessa Rodrigues and Chris Gale on Monday, Byung Gul Jung at Trane next Wednesday....etc. etc.

A new jazz arrival - born to Max and Maria Sennitt - Antonio. Congratulations!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and sky...

That was one of my mother's favourite poems that came to me on receiving photos from my dear talented friend Deborah Salfer... This lovely lady is called "Island Hottie"..and she certainly is....have I said before how much I love mermaids? She is a life-size wood creation bedecked with crystals...lovely! And next to her is.... A painting entitled "Mermaid Music"....I like to think it's jazz...:) Gorgeous I long to be near the sea...Lake Ontario is okay but my Moon in Cancer I think makes me pine for an ocean. Bought some more amazing bath and beauty products from TVAL on Queen Street - a soap called "Fresh Cut Grass" which is teal - one of my favourite colours and a bath melt called "Goddess Lakshmi" - scented with I spelling that correctly? I also finally broke down and ordered some business cards from Vistaprint...250 for only $8 shipping cost and a card holder...naturally they are a pink tone with....."Beatnik" apropos. My funk of last night seems to have lifted and I am back on my path...scented and spirited.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Japanese Connection

While on my way home today via the market in Trinity Bellwoods I came upon a group of young Japanese who were asking people their favourite spots in Toronto. They had drawn (with the help of passers-by) a makeshift map of T.O. on pizza I obliged with Kensington Market and pointed out the great veg restaurants there. I also of course drew in Jazz FM 91 in Liberty Village - or the general area south of Parkdale as best I could. How very inventive and a great way for them to meet people and practice their English - which was really great by the way. The young man I spoke to was named Yoki - I think. They are here for 11 months and I wish them lots of fun and adventure...maybe they will visit the station - I told them they should - they seemed very interested when I mentioned jazz - as I know Japanese are huge jazz fans. This whole experience restored my day as prior to this I was feeling a little bummed....Konichiwa.