Friday, August 31, 2012

Display Solutions

I seem to collect a lot of lovely cards and postcards, most of which come from friends, some I just pick up in stores. Wanting a display solution for them, I got these cute little blackbirds-on-strings when I was in NY (they must be available online). I also found two round wire holders (years ago, can't remember where), cleverly designed to hold as many cards as I feel like cramming in. Now I can enjoy these lovely little works of art any time I want. Better than having them moulder away in a box.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Found It!

The hunt for the red bag continued. A week after I found the small, red leather Fossil bag, I returned to Winners and found a larger mustard-coloured Fossil bag. It came home with me as it matched the new pashmina perfectly (it's in the same photograph). Hey, I'm prepping for Fall!

Then, the following week I returned again to Winners and found another Fossil bag in the same style, slightly larger - RED! It came home with  me. $79 from $215. Nice. I have my red bag. NO MORE SHOPPING, BPG!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Food, Opera, Film... Life is Good

Volano Theatre creates some of Toronto's most intriguing pieces of theatre. And they're not afraid of opera. Handel's 1707 opera, Cor Fedele (The Faithful Heart), lay unperformend for years until a complete copy was found in 1960 in Germany. In 2000 it had its world premiere in London, and this production, by Volcano, is its first Canadian staging.

Volcano sets the love triangle at the heart (heh) of the story in the historic Gladstone, Toronto's best-known boutique hotel. As the audience, we witnessed the first meeting of the lovers in the hotel ballroom, as we sat watching them ordering drinks, having their luggage taken away, etc. We were like ghosts and they were the reality. And then, as they moved to different spaces in the hotel, we followed. Except we didn't stay together. Each of the three characters had a guide who would take part of the audience with them. So, while a scene was being played out in one part of the hotel, another part of the story was unfolding elsewhere. In the end, the audience was back in the original room, and we saw the denouement.

The English libretto was new, written for this production, which wasn't surprising as Handel didn't set the words "Heartless bitch!" to music (at least I'm pretty sure he didn't!) I enjoyed it all; the moving around the hotel felt more gimmicky than vital,but I hadn't been part of this sort of audience before. What captivated me mostly was the last part, back in the ballroom, with some sumptuous singing by Emily Atkinson and Tracy Smith Bessette. You can read more here. We preceded the performance with hearty appetizers in the Gladstone Bar (we were there coincidentally for their half-price appetizers which happen every Tuesday).

I went with a friend and my parents to see First Position (2011) at TIFF, a heart-warming documentary on the young people who enter a prestigious dance competition, the Youth America Grand Prix. If you care anything for ballet and dance in general this is a must-see. The dedication of the dancers and their parents (some scarier than others), is moving and enthralling. This was preceded by dinner at Fune. Hooray! I love those little boats.

And then there was lunch last week with a good friend, catching up on encouraging news for both of us (vertigo relief for me, and one day I'll talk more about it on my blog, when I can bring myself too). Mangia e Bevi's patio was the choice. It was a good one.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weekday Day-Tripping: Solo

Toronto boasts all sorts of charming centres an hour or two away, like most cities do. And like most city-bound romantics, I do like to take day trips. And I do like to go on about how pleasant it is to travel alone by train and how you meet such interesting people. On a last-minute, mid-week escape to Stratford, I ended up sitting next to someone I already knew, a composer/music critic/author, and, so again, I enjoyed great conversation as we rode the rails. He's not only come out with another book, but also a CD of his chamber music! Really impressive.

I had come to see Shakespeare's Cymbeline, and so I did... half of it. During the intermission I stepped outside, gazed up into the gorgeous summer's afternoon, and decided that I wouldn't be contained a moment longer. It was also playing at the Tom Patterson theatre, which is not my favourite, the seats being very utilitarian and uncomfortable, not like the other spaces that the Festival performs in. It's always a treat to visit Stratford, its Festival, and its shops. I had a few hours to go before I met a friend for dinner, and so... I walked, fed the ducks, and shopped the summer's day away.

Art on the Park is a gathering of artisans along Lake Victoria each Wednesday and on weekends during the Festival months. I was captivated by a glass pendant that seemed to contain a moving fireball, along with a ceramic bead pendant that looked like a cross-section of a lake, from water to silt, to sand. They both came home with me. And a return visit to Watson's Chelsea Bazaar (all four cats are still there!) ended with me buying two very small cups in which to enjoy my Mayan hot chocolate. I discovered that Molly Blooms (my favourite pub) has all-you-can eat fish and chips on Wednesday nights (golly, and it's good). By the time I boarded the train for the return journey (for which I sat again next to my composer friend), I felt spoiled and happy.

Did you know that young, mop-headed Bieber is a Stratfordian? Well, you do now!

Monday, August 27, 2012

I ate Pizza off my Chest

I ate pizza off my chest...

Not really, but I did catch up on, over a few days, a glut of what I suppose can be called guy films.

The Hangover (2009), Stepbrothers (2008) and Mama's Boy (2007), all, to one extent or another, had me laughing out loud. The scene in Stepbrothers where Dale (John C. Reilly) puts forth to his father, Robert (Richard Jenkins) the outlandish possibility of his new step-mother coming onto him, is worth the price of admission alone. Believe me on this one. These are great actors.

Dale: Suppose Nancy sees me coming out of the shower and decides to come on to me. I'm looking good, got a luscious v of hair going through my chest pubes down to my ball fro. She takes one look at me and goes " Oh my god, I've had the old bull now I want the young calf" and she grabs me by the weiner -

Dr. Robert Doback: Shut the fuck up!

And let me say, Bradley Cooper has the best eyes in the business.

I ate chocolate and cried...
Actually I didn't do this either, but I did a bit of drooling over the lads as I then proceeded to catch up on some chick flicks.

Ella Enchanted (2004), Becoming Jane (2007) and The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1996) took me by surprise. First of all, Becoming Jane was the first film I've seen Anne Hathaway in, and what a lovely, talented lass she is. Becoming Jane is beautifully shot, romantic, clever, and moving and the romantic interest is James MacAvoy, also in possession of beautiful eyes. I decided to catch up on Ella Enchanted too, in large part because of Mr. CuteyPie Hugh Dancy.

I remember avoiding seeing The Truth About Cats and Dogs when it was first released as I found it insupportable, after I'd seen some clips, that Janeane Garofalo was supposed to be so unattractive compared to Uma Thurman. They certainly made Garofalo look lovely. But of course, that's the point, as I discovered. It wasn't about how lovely she or Uma Thurman was, it was about their own twisted self-perceptions. I was amazed, only knowing Garofalo's caustic stand-up humour, at what a fine actress she is, and how very endearing. There was a moment at the end that took me by surprise. The hero, played by Ben Chaplin, has a line that is almost word-for-word something I have said or thought often. It's my explanation for why looks matter almost nothing to me anymore. And there he was, spouting that very thought.

"Look, you know how someone's appearance can change the longer you know them? How a really attractive person, if you don't like them, can become more and more ugly? Whereas someone you might not even have noticed, that you wouldn't look at more than once, if you love them, can become the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day-Tripping with the Parentals

This was a treat - a day trip with my parental units!

We visited Port Perry, about an hour and a half north east of Toronto, on the shores of the shallow Lake Scugog. We took a two-hour cruise (they actually had the Gilligan's Island theme music as background music!). We shopped, as the mainstreet is very conducive to this sort of behaviour. I bought a silver ring (I love the bobbles), and a single-wound beaded bracelet, which was about $12. Not much more than I would have spent to make it.

We came home through the sideroads in the low-afternoon light: magic hour.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Recent Photos: Hot to Not-So-Hot

Hot days had me laying on the roof.

Just laying there, you know, not doing anything except occasionally snapping a picture.

Nights are now cool enough to light the candles.

Recent Photos: Toronto

From the top: the ceiling at the Royal York Hotel; St. Lawrence Flea Market, which happens each Sunday, and is to be avoided unless I want to SPEND!; Cherry Beach; a favourite tower; a gas lantern outside St. Lawrence Hall on a blustery day near St. James Cathedral; a statue in Yorkville with a gesture I think we can all relate to.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Recent Photos: Food and Drink

I visited my parents for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics (they were part barmy, part brilliant, very British), for which my father served cucumber sandwiches and Prosecco... I seem to recall.


 Running into my neighbour, I swapped her an Ontario peach for an Ontario tomato.


I introduced someone to the joys of Soma's Mayan Drink of the Gods... a favourite on this blog.


 Charcuterie at Trattoria Nervosa, another blog favourite.


A barbeque at the home of the Armenians delivered the most incredibly tender ribs, followed by figs from an Armenan market, the tenderest, most succulent, sexy figs ever.

 For Diner en Blanc, I poached salmon in white wine and lemon, served with asparagus baked in phyllo and brushed (before baking) with melted butter, poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Also, a tomato salad of local heirlooms, and then crême fraiche mixed with lemon zest, juice and fresh dill. (No piccie survives of the keylime pie).

It wor` good, it wor.

Thursday, August 23, 2012