Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Midnight in Paris

I finally saw this charming movie over the weekend at the Revue. I am happy to see that Woody has returned to his stellar form - I haven't enjoyed a film of his really since Hannah and her sisters. Great cast too - with Owen Wilson embodying Gil - the sweet but tortured would be novelist who wants more than anything to experience Paris in the 20's - the Jazz Age - hobnobbing with the like of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Hemingway - his idol - played by a dishy newcomer (at least to me) Corey Stoll. Listening to Cole Porter try out "Let's Do It" on piano at a party..exhilarating. He also gets his novel read by Gertrude Stein - wonderfully portrayed by Kathy Bates - who picks up the latest Picasso for a mere $500.

Of course, this being Paris - there is l'amour in the form of Adriana - artists muse to the likes of Picasso and Modigliani - played by the divine Marion Cotilliard. A dilemma for Gil - stay and marry whiny and self centred Ines - played by Rachel McAdams or remain in a bygone era.

Adrien Brody is a delightful Dali or DA-LI! as he introduces himself and suffice to say time travelling Gil doesn't faze the existentialists at all...Man Ray and Bunuel included. Highly recommended - a beautiful billet doux to that enchanting city. A good reason for me to visit - sadly, I have never been!

It got me thinking about time travel..where would you choose to go in time? One period I would love to check out would be the heyday of bebop in New York - maybe late 40s early 50's - listening to soon to be legends like Miles and Dizzy and Bird, Lady Day...and on and on. I think there would be a vibrancy to that post war era as well. Some periods would be fascinating to get a peek at and then escape quickly like ancient Egypt, any period of English history - particularly Tudor and Medieval - provided one didn't get dropped into a war or execution.To meet Shakespeare or Elizabeth I or Keats, Shelley, Byron, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens. I think the golden age of Hollywood would be fun too. Also, many places before they had been colonized...lush, unspoiled oases.

I had the pleasure of watching "John Adams" recently - six hours of Paul Giamatti - who I adore - not to mention what a talented actor and chameleon he is - you should check it out if you hadn't already - fascinating history of the American Revolution. Laura Linney is marvelous as his devoted wife Abigail and Tom Wilkinson a treat as the genius and eccentric Benjamin Franklin. Our own Sara Polley plays their adult daughter Nellie.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Delicious baked goods for a good cause

Not much I can add here - it's a bake sale for goodness sake...and it raises money for a proposed subway campaign...yay! Also a chance to shop at Panacea - a great vegan store!  I will need to restrain myself!

What I'm reading....

We all need a good laugh every day and this is a surefire way to get them - I really miss Dave Barry's columns always good for a chuckle - this book delivers the laugh out loud in public, snorting and even guffawing....as he tackles everything from his daughter's dance recitals to advice to women on men and ponderings on celebrity, technology and even the perfect script a la "24"....a must read...

On a different wavelength is "The Atlas of Love" - set in Seattle the tale of 3 grad students who are the caretakers of a baby that one of the has - their romances, tests of friendship, a funeral, a wedding - really how they learn to negotiate life outside the ivory tower of academia. A wonderful book. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Music at the Market

One of the delights of summer farmer's markets is not only the incredible selection of fresh local produce but fresh local music - here is my niece Fran on cello as part of a trio in Trinity Bellwoods. Delightful!

I have also encountered postie Vera Colley at the Liberty Village Market - Vera has a great duo sometimes trio with her man Johnny called "Whoa, Nellie" - doing country and folk influenced tunes, particularly country swing - with Vera on accordian.

Last minute notice tonight - not a farmer's market but the lovely and talented Yvette Tollar with Dave Restivo - also lovely and talented at 401 Richmond - a "Summer Coffeehouse" concert series presented by Donald Quan - it starts around 8ish - it's also PWYC. It also features an actual grand piano!

Don't forget two wonderful singers at the Rex tomorrow - starting with Sophia Perlman for the early show and later Melissa Stylianou in town from New York.

On Friday, if you are in the Waterloo area - check out my friend Brenda Lewis and guitarist Margaret Stowe at the Seven Shores cafe on 8 Regina Street North, Unit 5.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day trip

Yesterday was getting out of the city for a fun day trip - headed out to Halton Hills with the end goal being a hike around Crawford Lake. It's so gorgeous right now with all the greenery...Our first stop was the Cheltenham Badlands - it's sort of a man made Badlands due to erosion from unsuccessful farming around the turn of the 20th century - you can still see some apple trees around the property...here's a photo.....

We then got waylaid - in a good way by a stop at Spirit Tree Cidery - we couldn't resist the roadside sign and the promise of not only cider but Wood Fired Oven bakery goodies - in fact we bought 3 loaves of bread - one of which was an Apple baguette - chewy and delicious plus some raw chocolate bars made in Georgetown - Giddy YoYo. There was a well stocked shop with lots of gourmet goodies including a take out area which had a variety of salads, cheeses and pies.

One of the plants on our walk...don't know what those blue berries are..


By the time we got to Crawford Lake the heat of the day had lessened a bit and in our travels on a trail up to the Lookout we spied some Turkey Vultures resting....

Afterwards it was off to dinner at the Naked Sprout in Burlington....this is the Tempeh Reuben


And this the pizza....


We also discovered a great spot near Georgetown called William's Mill - a collective of artists workshops and a gallery - glass, stone sculpture, fabric, paintings - a lovely spot...also a village named Terra Cotta - I see why people like to live out this way - it would be a great spot as an artist/artisan/writer...to get inspiration from...

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

I saw this amazing film over the weekend - in case you haven't heard of it - I encourage you to go - it's a documentary made by Werner Herzog about the Chauvet cave discovered in 1994 in France by a trio looking for cave spaces - and what a discovery...can you imagine coming across these paintings which had been sealed up for thousands of years?

A rockslide some centuries ago had covered the original entrance and the cavers sensing air currents from below found a small entrance in the rockface. Herzog and his crew were privileged to document this incredible find.  The images are breathtaking - so fresh and alive - but as others have commented it generates as many questions or more questions than answers. Who were these people and why did they leave behind these images - there is no evidence that they lived in the cave - perhaps merely using it for ceremony and spiritual purposes. There are a number of bones in the interior - cave bear and other mammals - the human evidence some hand prints on the walls.

You will be astounded at the artwork - how they position the drawings, the shadings, the suggestion of movement..the sheer beauty. I would in fact suggest that part of the reason the works were created were to please the observer...as they still do. One of the archaeologists in the film says he dreamed of lions for the 4 nights he was in the space - not in a scary way but tangible. Many involved in documenting the discovery say they felt a presence, as if they were being watched. I urge you to go and see this important film - you will be thinking about it for hours and days afterward.

Friday, August 5, 2011


I do like taking quizzes to see how smart I believe myself to be and also learn something when I don't get all the answers as well...:)

This fun and fast quiz courtesy of GPSmyCity.com - tests your knowledge of our fair city and if answer all ten correctly,  the opportunity of winning 3 free city walk iPhone apps to the burg of your choice...that's iPhone not food...but think of it as food for your cerebellum.

Email your answers to quiz@gpsmycity.com. Bonne Chance!

Toronto Fun Facts Quiz:

1. Within a 160 km radius of Toronto lives _____ of Canada's population.
A. Half
B. One third
C. One quarter

2. On what building can one find a giant neon weather station?
A. Canada Life Building
B. National Trust Tower
C. First Canadian Place

3. How many languages are estimated to be spoken throughout the city?
A. 50+
B. 100+
C. 200+

4. Which one of these movie stars was not born in the city of Toronto?
A. Christopher Plummer
B. Mia Kirshner
C. Jim Carrey

5. The CN Tower held its record of the world's tallest building for 34 years, until the Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower were built. It now remains the tallest free-standing structure in:
A. North America
B. the Americas
C. the Western Hemisphere

6. A serious ____ occurred in 1995. It was the worst day in Toronto history.
A. Subway crash
B. Fire
C. Storm

7. What do Bloor Street, Danforth Avenue and McCowan Road have in common?
A. They are all the same street
B. They run diagonal
C. They all run west-east

8. In 2006, City Hall told which group of people to leave and never come back?
A. Charlie's Angels
B. Guardian Angels
C. Black Angels

9. Which of these cities is not officially part of the Greater Toronto Area, but is still considered by some as "part of Toronto"?
A. Oakville
B. Hamilton
C. Pickering

10. Toronto has had many city-nicknames along the years. How was Toronto never called like?
A. Hogtown
B. the City that Sleeps
C. The Big Smoke

Back to our regularly scheduled jazz soon - I'm off to Azure tonight with my fellow chanteuses from Bill King's workshops. I'm excited about Melissa Stylianou's upcoming visit to the Rex on August 18th...more later. I will not be going to the Edmonton Folk Fest this year, malheureusement - however, I am going to Chicago in September..."sorry, but I can't take you" as Joe Williams sang...so possibilites galore for art, architecture, jazz and vegan food galore...please send me any recommendations. We're staying at the Inn of Chicago and flying Porter...a convenient stroll to the airport.

As of this week I am incorporating more raw foods into my diet  - trying to clean out the system - especially in summer since produce is so readily available....much to the garden groundhog's delights - yes, he visited our "salad bar" - lettuce, carrot tops and some kale - he doesn't seem to care for Swiss chard or tat soi though...

Here's one of the books I'm consulting for my raw food journey....