6) Gimme Five

February 20, 2011

List 6 – Five films I’ve seen recently.

I Am Love – Very good as I mentioned before. Tilda Swinton rules, always has since I saw her in Female Perversions. And I my desire to go to Italy keeps getting stronger. Wouldn’t mind learning the language either but one trauma at a time.

The Son’s Room – Also take place in Italy. Another good flick.

Eat, Pray, Love. I didn’t mind the movie much to my surprise. I definitely preferred the book which I read about three years ago (loved it). I’m actually re-reading it… in French. Mange, Prie, Aime. This is more an exercise in accumulating vocabulaire and patience more than anything – but it is sinking in. I’ve been able to figure out quite a bit although I am only on page 23. But back to the flick. As much as I thought Julia Roberts would be miscast for the part she was fine. Not mind blowing – but fine. In the same sense, the film was fine. This is not a heavy hitting flick, nothing to knock your socks off. But it’s an okay rental (or borrow from the bibleotheque) and if you take it for what it is (one of those Hollywood remakes of a best seller) you probably won’t be too disappointed.

Precious What can I say? This IS a heavy hitter. Not an easy film to watch but do not be discouraged. Actually, this is the message. Life is not easy. Do not be discouraged. Instead of the cup of tea one might watch a movie like Eat, Pray, Love with, you definitely want a glass of wine, or maybe just a glass of water while watching this. That and a big BIG box of tissue. I could have cried all night after watching this movie. The performances were good all around. That red scarf reeled me in as soon as the movie started.

Le premiere jour du reste de ta vie. This French flim centres on the life of la famille  Duval and their relationship with each other over the span of about twenty years. Also stars Canadian, Marc-André Grondin who starred in C.R.A.Z.Y. one of my favourite films.

Although, at times, it can seem like a strain, I have to admit I prefer to look up.

Last week, during my date-for-one I took myself  to the Evergreen Brickworks. I had a great time strolling the through the paths and laneways with my camera, taking a few shots but deciding, once I got back home, that I need to go back soon in order to practice snapping in low light. It was quite overcast that day but I could still appreciate all the different textures of the place, the access to the outdoors with an area to warm up and (very important) washrooms not on-site. It might seem like a bit of an effort getting there for someone, like me, who doesn’t drive but the FREE shuttle bus service from the Broadview or Davisville subway stations makes using the it’s-too-difficult-to-get-there excuse a bit lame. I was drawn to The Works by an exhibit (which I’m sad to say ended in December 31) presented by no. 9. Four video installations mounted at the end of four long, dark, brick-walled tunnels – a surprisingly perfect venue for these interesting works. One of the many ways I hope to improve my blog this year is to actually check stuff out and let you know about it before it’s too late to see it for yourself. It is stuff like this exhibit you may have missed (sorry… ) and the Brickworks in general (not too late to stop by) that makes my heart beat with excitement over what this city has to offer. Not to say Toronto doesn’t have room for improvement but I’ll hit that topic on another day.

Here are a few more shots (I’ve already posted a couple over the last few of days) of what I saw that day. Kind of dark, I know – but still…

Don’t be afraid to grab your camera, your skates and/or a friend for your very own look-see.

Of course, now, this song has implanted itself in my head. Shake it down, down.

A shot of Dana Claxton's Waterspeek.

My shadow imposed on Dana's plea for fluidity.

So many interesting things to see.

As Luck Would Have It

December 17, 2010

I’ve been reading the book, Lies My Mother Told Me: A Memoir by Kaylie Jones, the daughter of James Jones, author of From Here To Eternity. It’s a good read in which Kaylie writes about growing up with alcoholic parents, especially her difficult and complex relationship with her mother. One day, on a bus in Manhattan, Kaylie notices this poem (as part of Poertry in Motion) placed above the windows along the space usually reserved for ads.  It was a poem written by Langston Hughes called Luck that goes like this:

Luck

Sometimes a crumb falls

From the tables of joy,

Sometimes a bone

Is flung.

 

To some people

Love is given,

To others

Only heaven.

Over the last few days, I’ve read this poem many times. I’m struck by how these few lines reveal such honesty, beauty and pain. So much like how life can be at times, for some of us more than others.

 

 

Musical Interlude

December 10, 2010

Take a few minutes off from the pre-Christmas hustle, grab a cup of something warm, a glass of red, whatever suits you. Pop in the ear buds or turn up the speakers and let Joni’s lovely voice lull you for 4 minutes 11… This is one of a handful of (kinda) Christmas songs I can actually stomach. Sorry, I was unable to find a version of this tune with Joni performing but just close your eyes and create your own version of a music video. It shouldn’t be too difficult, what with her always descriptive lyrics and enchanting voice.

Note to self: Get your skates sharpened.

Enjoy.

 

36) Book It

December 6, 2010

A friend of mine posted this list on Facebook recently and I couldn’t resist.

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

List 36 – Kim’s tick-offs of the BBC book list.

Bold are the ones I’ve read, Italics are the ones I’ve started but didn’t finish. The titles with the * after them are the books I hope to read sometime soon.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee*

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen

36  The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37  The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini*

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden*

40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez*

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan*

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel*

52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen*

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth*

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

76 The Inferno – Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry*

87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom*

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery*

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

How about you? How many have you read? If you want to share the books you’ve devoured, or recommend the ones I ought to, do so in the comments. If there are quite a few of them maybe just list the number(s).

Happy reading!

By the way…

If you want to post this in your Facebook notes, just follow the instructions – other than actually “tagging” me if we are not facebook friends.:

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES.• Bold those books (there’s now a tool to do this once you start a note) you’ve read in their entirety.• Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.

Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses! (Or not, after all reading is not a competition! I’m betting that we’re all well over 6 books, and I am curious to see the common ground.)

35) Imaginary Flop Day

November 27, 2010

A cold and dreary wind blows out my window.  If I could have my way I would stay in my jammas and spent the entire day inside.

List 35 – Things I’d do if I didn’t have to go to work today:

  • Have an all day film fest at the best venue in town… my couch.
  • Brew a pot of tea (peppermint, ginger, chai?), pull the covers up to my shoulders and dig into a great book. I’m itching to re-read The Year of Magical Thinking. I just saw the play at the Tarragon Theatre with the lovely and amazing Seanna McKenna.
  • Take a nice long, hot shower.
  • make a second coffee.
  • day dream.
  • Make a few long distance phone call/ figure out how to use Skype.
  • Grab a stack of New Yorker Magazines and dig in.
  • Pull out my knitting project from last year. This is a perfect day to get back into it – if I had the day off.
  • Give myself a luxuriant mini/pedi. A real splurge (for me) would be if someone else did it for me but that would entail leaving the house.
  • Do a bit of blog surfing on the net. I have to admit I love to do this but it can be a real time zapper and difficult to justify when I have so many other things to accomplish.
  • Hang out at TV5 MONDE in order to allow the french language to sink into my system. I try to hit this site about five days a week, usually on my lunch break, but it would be nice to spend more then twenty minutes in an attempt to hone my comprehension skills which, if I say so myself, needs a lot of sharpening.
  • Snuggle with B.
  • Snap my pod onto the Bose and listen to some music. Loud.
  • Order in.
  • Snooze.
  • Watch a few hours of bad television. A Flipping Out marathon maybe? Or, some not so bad… Like a few back to back episodes of Law and Order (only the original series even though it got canceled), Rescue Me (Dennis Leary. Enough said.), Sex and the City (the series – which I’ve seen a few times -not a huge fan of the films though.), The Larry Sanders Show (finally out on d.v.d. I need to get my hands on them!) Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, The Chris Isaak Show. I’d also love to check out a few I’ve never seen before like In Treatment and Entourage to name a couple.

Here’s a clip of Rescue Me to keep you warm. This clip could be construed as offensive to just about everyone and contains some foul language. It is not politically correct. The best way to watch a show like this is marvel at the writing (and all the hottie hots in the cast) and don’t take things too seriously.

What?!! I just looked out the window. I didn’t realize it was snowing…

And on that note I’m off to work.

Art for art’s sake

November 18, 2010

Click on an image if you would like to enlarge it.

Yesterday, it was actually more like art for my sake.  I sometimes feel a very strong desire to surround myself with some creative energy. So I took myself on a date to the Art Gallery of Ontario to allow myself hang with some hangers. I do find it difficult to stroll around the AGO without dropping my jaw at how beautifully Frank Gehry transformed that building into a work of art. Besides snapping a few of the AGO curves, I spent most of the three hours perusing the Julian Schnabel show hanging on the fifth level of the gallery and the At Work: Hesse, Goodwin, Martin exhibit on the floor below. Lots of interesting stuff to take in but after a couple of hours I like to call it a day. I usually go an hour beyond my mind’s absorption point because I feel as if I might miss something fabulous just around the corner (tell me about it). My mind get a bit gooey after a few hours of art-gazing which can defeat the purpose of rejuvenation. I must plan another rendez-vous avec moi toute suite.

And, speaking of art gazing, before hitting the AGO, I slipped in at the Ontario College of Art and Design to check out what was going on at the Whodunnit? Mystery Art Sale. This is a fund raiser the college does every year. You should check it out, just steer clear of the pieces I’m interested in.

Project Warmth

November 16, 2010

My morning walk just before sunrise.

I thought I would mention a fabulous cause I friend of mine started here in Toronto a few years ago called, Project Warmth. Project Warmth is “a Toronto-based grassroots initiative, that aims to help families in need by creating beautiful gift packages of gently-used children’s items.These lovely gift packages are then sent out to women in need just before the holiday season, a time that can leave those struggling to make ends meet feel the strain that much more. Click HERE to see a list of ideas if you’d like to lend a hand by making a donation or volunteering your time. Once again I’ve left this until the eleventh hour as the donation deadline is…  this Saturday, November 20th. Ugh, I apologize for leaving things so late. Rest assured the word pronto will be one I hope to use more often in the new year. But, please don’t let my tardiness stop or delay you. Take a a few minutes, now, to roam around your closets, or, shelves, or make a quick stop to the drugstore to purchase some reasonably priced products for baby or mom and let the giving begin. Check out Project Warmth’s website for drop off details or information on how to volunteer on November 26, 27, 28 or 30th.

What better way to kick off the holidays then by making some extra space on your shelves while spreading some kindness to someone in need. I can feel the warmth already.

Here comes the sun getting ready to warm things up a little.

 

A Little Perspective

October 24, 2010

 

World Press Photo 10 Exhibit

 

And, another perspective

 

 

And, another one...

 

I stumbled upon The World Press Photo 10 Exhibit at The Allan Lambert Galleria, in Brookfield Place, yesterday and managed to check out some of the winning photographs on display. I will definitely make my way back before it closes on October 28th to see the photos I had to skip due to lunch hour induced time limits. This is a very strong exhibition featuring photojournalistic photography in its many forms. I recommend checking it out, although, I warn you, some of the shots are difficult (very difficult) to digest. That being said, I feel it is important to bear witness to life outside our personal viewfinders (and possibly comfort zones) which is one of the reasons why an honest representation of daily living around the globe has such great significance. It really does put life into perspective, reminding us of many things including: how beautifully amazing life can be, how complicated and confusing it is at times and certainly how very fucked-up it can and, indeed, has become.

 

I think I will take this opportunity to rain a whole lot of Peace, Love, Good Health and Happiness aplenty to all. Also, a big shout out to all those folks who put themselves in risky situations to let us know what’s going on.

 

31) Blanche-ing…

October 5, 2010

In my french class yesterday a few people weighed in on how they felt about this year’s Nuit Blanche. Although the air and vibe in the ‘hood I was twirling in was cool that night, I have to say the responsive temp felt by my fellow classmates read more as lukewarm to tepid. I heard comments (in french of course) along the lines of, ” I was not impressed”, a shrug and “It was all right, however, the food in the area was great!” to “Why are kid so young wandering around DRUNK without their parents?” The streets were definitely jammed up but to me this spelled success since, I believe, one of Nuit Blanche’s mandates is to get people out of the house and “onto the city’s streets for an all-night exploration and celebration of contemporary art.” Generally speaking, some (not all!!!) of the contemporary art on display during Nuit Blanche can leave one feeling a bit empty. Or at least that is the way I have felt while viewing some of the NB’s city-wide exhibits. From my misty recollection, I believe I have wandered around les rues en ville pour Nuit Blanche, twice before. Last year’s highlight took place at Koerner Concert Hall where Bill performed along with numerous other musicians in a John Cage inspired musical swirl. But, other than that, it was a bit of a letdown. This year, however, I managed to enjoy most of what I saw. Read Murry (from The Toronto Star) Whyte’s take of the evening, here, I agree with most of what he said but keep in mind my NB experience was pretty much limited to some of Zone C. Kudos to Christof Migone who was the curator for the area. I had more hits than misses on Saturday night which from previuos experience is pretty amazing.

*for some reason I cannot “un-bold” the first half of this post without rewriting everything which clearly is not going to happen.

Erik Saitie's Vexation

The Endless Place

Arrivals/Departures

Later Than Night at the Drive-In

By the way, I was home by midnight, since I had to work the next day – argh. But, maybe that’s not a bad thing (the home by midnight part, not working on Sunday). Here are the exhibits I saw before I jumped on the all-night subway home.

List 31 – My Nuit Blanche in order of appearance:

*note: after spending way too much time linking all of these to their corresponding link at the Nuit Blanche website, I now realize it links them all to the same page. You’ll have to find the name in Zone C if you want to get more info. Sorry…

The Next Community

Erik Satie’s Vexations (1893) (My favourite.)

I Cried For You

The Endless Pace (Variation for 60 Dancers)

1850

Church Intent

Endgame (Coulrophobia)

Auto Lamp

Arrivals/Departures

The Big O

_scape with 6 and 7

And from Zone B (west)

Later Than Night at the Drive-In

List 31b – If I can give a few words of advice for those interested in next years all-night art crawl it would be this:

  • Consult the Nuit Blanche website or find a map or brochure and plan ahead. There’s nothing more annoying than wandering about aimlessly when there are over 100 exhibits and several “zones” to negotiate.
  • Give up any illusion of seeing all of them.
  • Two or three hours is a good limit if you want to keep things fresh(ish). In my opinion that goes for gallery hopping in general. After two hours the brain (or is it just mine?) starts to vibrate.
  • Dress for it. Layers people.
  • Bring you camera.
  • Don’t be afraid to go it alone. I was on a solo-crawl and I enjoyed it. You can visit whatever you fancy (or not)  and can stay as long as you want to without worrying what the other person. Don’t get me wrong, going with a pal can be fun, as well, but one is not such a lonely number when you are surround my hundreds of strangers.
  • If you’re employed at the kind of place where a Sunday shift is a possibility… book the day off.
  • Remember, as in most areas of life, what moves a person varies so it is always best to check things out for yourself and make you own assessment about it.