Decided to head out with my camera Saturday afternoon. Instead of wandering about aimlessly (as is my want) I thought I’d pick a theme. See if you can guess what is was.
Here are a few of the chosen ones.

80 Spadina Ave

80 Spadina Ave

80 Spadina Ave

80 Spadina Ave

80 Spadina Ave

80 Spadina Ave

Union Station

Brookfield Place

Brookfield Place

401 Richmond

401 Richmond

401 Richmond

401 Richmond

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Kim By Candlelight

March 29, 2010

I had every intention of hitting the road during Earth Hour, with camera in hand, to see what kind of vibe I could pick up through the darkness, but I didn’t make it out the door. We made sure to observe the occasion at home unplugged and with the lights out. This morning, I decided to click my way over to a couple of sites to find some sort of T.O. Earth Hour experience and discovered what I was looking for, here, at Daily Dose of Imagery. Why am I not surprised he captured the evening in the exact location I had hoped to check it out from – the great view of the city from Broadview Ave., north of Gerard. Make sure to scroll down to the second image and drag your cursor across from left to right.

I also went to a few other sites and read some comments, most of which were complaints. Check out these two comment excerpts from the Toronto Star:

Eco-friendly businesses need some way to signal customers that they are open when the lights are out. Stores that conserve power risk losing customers who think the place is closed.

Earth Hour is dramatic symbolism at the expense of the planet. Millions of batteries and paraffin wax (petroleum product) candles were consumed in the name of conserving energy and a collective feel-good group hug. Please stop this charade.

Hm… I’d hope most people would be able to figure out, during Earth Hour, that a shop with a candle (or whatever) flickering by the cash register was open. Kind of the opposite from having the doors thrown open all day with the heat or a/c billowing out. And, at 8:30 on a Saturday night, most stores are closed anyway. But that’s besides the point. Earth Hour, at least as far as I can see, is about connecting with other countries around the globe, all participating with a symbolic one hour gesture, to heighten the awareness the amount of energy that can be saved by flicking a few switches – off. I think it’s good to try drumming up a bit of, ahem, energy in people. It is up to each of us (no?) to take responsibility and if having a 60 minute global event can boost the moral to do so, what is the problem? Actually, there are probably many, such as, the cost to the city to publicize such an event and getting people to perform in the city square, etc. Not to mention – “Millions of batteries and paraffin wax (petroleum product) candles were consumed in the name of conserving energy“? Sigh… We need to figure out ways to roam through our days without so much unnecessary consumption. I don’t think anyone expects to walk around their homes or businesses, each and every hour, with their lights extinguished. But I don’t think it would hurt to turn to those lights off when you leave a room, either. Or, to douse a few lights in the empty office towers after every one has gone home. Or, closing your shop’s door on a hot day in the summer to conserve the power when the air conditioners pumping cool air onto the sidewalk. Or… or… or…. Isn’t that what EH is trying to do? Help us take note? I guess it’s possible to sit in the dark without turning any lights off. Apparently, the numbers weren’t as glowing as they were last year, in Toronto, with a two percent decrease in participation.

But, you don’t have to wait until next year to help boost those numbers. Practice makes perfect.

Sleep Interuptus

March 27, 2010

I’m hoping to go on a date with my cameras today since the sun is shining and the sky is clear. Only problem… I’m feeling a wee bit fuzzy. I had a bad case of sleep interuptus last night, a condition where one falls asleep without a problem but wakes up two hours later and is forced to watch, out of sheer boredom, in their blur of wide awake exhaustion, old episodes of The Biggest Loser and Bullet Express demonstrations (simultaneously) waiting for Without A Trace (which I do not normally watch but it’s better than most of the other programs on at the unreasonable hour) to start, silently praying to fall asleep before it begins (I didn’t), but instead staying up long enough to watch the entire (to be continued) episode of Law and Order (which I watch all the time and have a mild addiction to) that followed.

As a matter of fact, the night made even less sense and seemed to drone on even longer than that last sentence. It was just that kind of night.

I think I better get out of here.

I took a stroll through the Bata Shoe Museum, yesterday, located on Bloor St West at University Av., in Toronto. I had a pretty good time. I couldn’t help thinking that, maybe if my high school history teachers had taken me somewhere like this I might know a thing or two about what happened before 1970 – but alas, this was not the case. The museum was fairly quiet when I was there, (just as I like it) and it got my imagination rolling, something I rather enjoy. I found myself conjuring up the various scenarios of whose toes were wiggling in whatever pair my eyes had landed on.

My favourite area in the museum was up on the third floor at the On A Pedestal Exhibit, there until September 20, 2010. You can see a dimly shot example of a set of sixteenth century Venetian chopines in the first of the six shots above. How anyone could walk in those is beyond me, since I sometimes have problems negotiating the sidewalk in flats, but from what I read more than a few ladies took a tumble in those days. The pair I most wanted to slip into, however, were on the lower level in the aptly named All About Shoes room, the blue beauties from the ’30s (seen above on the left) with the black and white stripe along the opening. I’ve always been fond of the 30s fashion and was batting my lashes at these dolls. If I were a better documentarian I would have jotted the name of the designer down but I’ll have to get back to you on that.

If you’re interested in checking out the Bata Shoe Museum and you have a Toronto Public Library card (by far the most valuable card in my wallet) check out the library’s MAP program which can gain you access into a few point-of-interest venues around the city. Slip your feet into a part of comfy gallery (or museum) hoppers and be on your way.

Shine A Light…

March 25, 2010

Don’t forget. Saturday March 27th at 8:30 pm is Earth Hour, a time to flick those switches off (lights, television, oven, stove, computer yikes…) in order to illuminate an important situation.

So, have those candles handy and the acoustic guitar prepped for some unplugged entertainment.

There’s more than one way to shine!

Rain boots and tulips. Coming...

Looks like we might actually see some clear skies today, thank goodness, because for the last few days it’s been rain, rain and more rain. But despite a few questionable hair malfunctions it wasn’t all bad. Thought I’d laid down some of the fun things I like to do on a crappy day. Kinda like tip toeing through the tulips with your rain boots on.

Here’s list #7 and The Art of A Rainy Day:

  • This past Saturday, for example, ( a real crappy day here in Toronto) I found myself wandering the halls at 401 Richmond, at the corner of Richmond St W. and Spadina Ave. I love this building with its red brick exterior and creaky hardwood floors. What I love even more are the galleries inside. What better way to spend some time on a rainy day than wandering around creaky corridors? I started out at Wynick/Tuck Gallery (right next to Musideum where the most interesting music was filtering in from). I also visited A Space Gallery, The Red Head Gallery, Gallery 44, then slipped into the dangerous, dangerous place Swipe Books on Advertising and Design where I had to restrain myself from buying everything (or anything for that matter) in the store. The best stop I made that day was at the Prefix Gallery now showing works by Guido van der Werve. I found his three video exhibits transfixing and will definitely revisit before it closes although I’m not exactly sure when that is.The Prefix site doesn’t have much gallery information (they also publish a great magazine) but you can find their hours at the 401 Richmond tenant directory on the link above.
  • 80 Spadina Ave. (just north of King St W) is also a great place to run to on a rainy day because, like 401 Richmond, you can find shelter from the storm. The galleries I usually visit are here, here, here, or here. And, since you’re so close you can pull up your wellies and run a bit south across King St here to see what’s cooking. I’d recommend doing a bit of research first so you know what galleries you want to visit, otherwise you may find your wanderings to be a bit on the aimless (not to mention soggy) side.
  • The Textile Museum of Canada is another great rainy day (any day) stop. I visit the TMC often and am never disappointed. I spend my time there allowing myself to be woven into the fabric of different cultures, eras and artistic expressions.
  • Other wonderful rainy day hideaways include places like the AGO or ROM. Since I’m the kind of person who enjoys strolling through a gallery on her own (for the most part) and (although it might not be great business for the gallery itself) likes to have the space (or at least room) to myself, I prefer going to these bigger galleries during the week and not in the middle of a holiday time period like I did here. But you need to keep an open mind in these situations because yah never know how many hoppers you might run into.
  • If the gallery hopping (even with all those enticing puddles beckoning) isn’t your scene you can always try gazing through a different kind of frame. Grab a window seat at some cozy café and soak up a bit of life as art as you watch the passers-by on the puddly sidewalks, or cars as they splash through the rain drenched roads reflecting headlights, street lights and blinking traffic signals. My favourite café these days is a place called Broadview Espresso, just north of Danforth Ave. They make a mean macchiato. Mmmmm…..
  • Once, about ten years ago, when I living in my much adored studio apartment on Queen Street West (great space – horribly, disrespectful and loud neighbor. Argh), I remember watching a torrential rainfall (I also had an amazing view) as it pelted the park across the road. It was late at night. I was laying in my bed that sat quite high off the floor. The street light shone through my window. I looked down at my arm and gasped when I noticed the reflection of the rain while it smeared down the window pane and onto my bare skin. A light brown canvas with charcoal, steely grays, blues and whites sliding down its surface. It looked like an abstract painting in motion. Awesome… I say, any opportunity to view your own body as a work of art is one to seize. Rain or shine.
  • And don’t forget. A soon as the rain stops grab your camera. The colours are always so vibrant and rich having soaked up all that moisture like the best baguette and fine olive oil. Sop it up and enjoy.

Rain boots and Tulips. Going...

Happy Birthday Mr. S

March 22, 2010

Before I lay me down to sleep I must send out a warm Happy 80th Birthday wish to Stephen Sondheim. I hope he had an amazing day. Anyone who can write lyrics to a song that includes the line Once I was a Schleppa, Now I’m Miss Mazzeppa, from the song You Gotta Have a Gimmick in the musical Gypsy – which may not sound so fabulous out of context, but has to be one of my all-time favourite show tune (and I’ve heard quite a few) lines, has a special place in my heart. I don’t know all of the shows he’s written (there are many) but the one’s I do know, soar.

Here’s a clip from one of my all time faves. Check out them lyrics. Right on…

BTW, thanks MommyX for the head’s up.

Equality

March 20, 2010

Twice a year, today being one of them, September 23 the next, the earth leans neither away from nor towards the sun, making the day and night’s reign close to equal.

(No wonder I usually feel as if I’m tilting.)

But, you know what that means…

The days are getting longer.

Phew, we made it.

Happy First Day of Spring.

6) Up Against the Wall

March 19, 2010

It’s Friday. Almost another week in the bag without posting a list. For some reason, when I think about listing, my head goes blank and my heart starts pounding. Oh, and I start to sweat. I felt pretty disappointed with myself for not coming up with anything last week and I find it rather shocking at how listless I’ve been since I decided to jump on the bang wagon because I usually have about thirty of them on the go at any given time. I want to list. I’m a chronic lister for fuck’s sake so why is it so difficult for me to do this? Once again I must compare myself to the Warner Brother’s Michigan J Frog(around the 2 minute mark) , who as soon as he’s put into the spotlight, can only let out a feeble croak or two. Yeah, I thought of packing it in but the more I consider doing that, the more compelled I feel to try to make it work. I knew I might not be able to accomplish this once a week. But I really, really want to try. I figure the longer I work at it the less of a problem it will be.

I don’t want to be that person who runs away at the first (second or third) sign of a fluttering heart. What is the source of all that quivering anyway? Butterflies? Bats? Or the wings of my creativity on its attempts to find a way out? I’ve spent most of my life wrestling those wings against my side, let me tell you, (I’ve just tossed out a stack of old journals and can assure you its pattern I intend to break. Am breaking!) but its impossible for me to not spread them. I have to whether I like it or not. And I do like it. I believe a certain type of fluttering guides me (even though it can also scare me). It’s a sign of what excites me, what I long for, what I hope to achieve (however big or small) and that pulse fills my blood with life. I have pushed myself up again the wall in the past, my elbow jammed under my chin as my internal voice hisses, give it up sister. That side of me has always been stronger. Well, I’m about to start pushing back. I have been pushing back. This blog has been a part of that. A few months back only a handful of people had set their eyes on my photographs or read a word of what I’d written and this feels good (yikes). Even if at first my shoving back feels lame, weak or kind of dull in comparison… (compared to what? comparing is pointless) I have to push. I must get stronger. So here it is – list seven. It might be short but who’s counting?

A few things I push up against as I attempt to spread my wings:

  • My heart as it pounds out its warring rhythm when the internal struggle begins. I want to. You can’t. I have to. You’ll fail. Boom… Boom… Boom.
  • The oceanic whooshing inside my head drowning out all confidence, reason, willpower or course of action.
  • Comparing myself to others – using the very people, places and things that inspire me to convince me to run away.
  • That little voice inside my head (with the very big mouth) screaming you don’t have it, you can’t do it, don’t waste your time.
  • Determination. It’s so much easier to sit down and hide it then to run with it. NOT. The amount of energy we expend (and I know I’m not alone with this one) turning away from instead of moving towards is astounding. One source is dark, draining and scribbled while the other is light, uplifting and charged. We think it’s easier to stay sleeping but we’re wrong.
  • The old, musty and worn-out set of belief systems, that although may have served to protect me at some point… really need to leave me the fuck alone.
  • My thoughts. I think way too much about stuff I should doing instead of just doing them. Argh…
  • The only way to avoid spoiling the pristine and gorgeous ideas in my head is not to make them real. But really… what could ruin something more than allowing it to shrivel up and wither away?

Thinking about it, I have to admit, over the last few years I’ve definitely gotten stronger. Maybe I’ll bend down and pick up all those lists I’ve been dropping (or planned to). At the end of the year who knows what I’ll be holding.

Fencing

March 18, 2010

Yeah… This photo I took at The Beaches, the week before last, sort of sums things up. It was hazy that day, and although you can’t see it here the muted light against this fence had created some pretty solid shadows in the sand. It looked quite beautiful, actually, like drawing lines with shade. Also this snow fence was looking a little wobbly, seeming somewhat indecisive about whether it should maintain in an upright (as opposed to uptight?) posture or keel over onto the sand and take a nap.

Sound like anyone you know?

I’ve sure been straddling it lately (the fence people – get your minds out of the gutter), not exactly sure where or how I want to lean. I’ve got this gimungous writing project I’m trying to avoid (I sure use the word gimungous a lot) and need to start digging into once again, like now, but am afraid to start shoveling because… I’m not completely sure why. Other than the overwhelming, self-doubting, oye-vey-what-have-I-gotten-myself-into part. I’ve also been thinking about this blog and what I want to do with it (other than what I have been doing which is… ) and my work space. I’m in the midst of doing a bit of an inner room cleanse. Talk about fun… Nothing like shredding a few journals to cast a hazy light on things. I suppose I’ve been doing one of those back and forth battles with myself, my internal swords drawn. On guard, I say, when really all I want to do is drop it. The armour that is. It always seems to  get in the way.