Monday, 31 October 2011

garbage stage!

Yesterday was the last day of Car Free Sundays at Kensington Market. We didn't get there in the thick of the activity but when we did arrive later in the evening, there were still bands performing at the Garbage Stage and tons of people were out in Halloween attire. It was a totally groovy acid flashback for me!!!

Garbage Stage??? Yes!! Picture a back alley that you wouldn't dare to walk down for starters. First you enter through a frayed curtain, donations kindly accepted for the musicians btw!! You still can't quite see where it is you are going but you can see shiny lights ahead and hear the music. Your eyes adjust and you come in to a courtyard/garage area. The garage is the bar/lounge/dance floor that is also painted so you can play Twister and at the end of the alley is the Garbage Stage.

In the back corner of the alley/stage is a massive metal sculpture that holds up the one corner of a tarp roof. There are 3 sides of you-name-it-they-nailed-it-up to surround the stage and hold up the rest of the "roof"! Attached to these walls are every found object you can imagine. It is reuse and recycle at its best!!! Hilarious!!!

And the party was happening!! Music, light show, costumes, dancing, hula hoops twirling, amazing grafiti and spectacular vibe with a heady aroma of je ne sais quoi. I've been trying to find some pics of the night but none so far. I suggest a road trip when the event begins again in the spring! During the day, musicians perform throughout the market area and all the shops and restaurants are open. People watching is top drawer.

Car Free London, think what you can grow up to be!!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

...silence is golden....

as per Facebook post, yes, I hooted, I hollered and shouted over loud music and then tried to rehearse the next Monday, I totally lost my voice and it was sore too, not just hoarse. I have gargled, sipped and sucked on some pretty disgusting concoctions!! Seriously freaked out as show is(was) Nov 26.

Last few days in a nutshell, NO talking for 2 days, nearly damn impossible! Went to rehearsal Tuesday night but knew I was not going to sing. As a group it was decided that we will not be comfortably ready for Nov 26 and we had lost our original venue due to closure. Everyone's rent is going up and many small (i.e. cheaper performance spaces) are moving or closing. So, I can rest my voice a bit longer. Some of the flamencas have a vocal coach I plan to check out. I have a cante class tonight so I am going to sing a bit and see how it goes. Wish me luck!

I am now going to admit defeat...I told myself I would not drive my car downtown for Tuesday rehearsals(8:30-10pm)until the snow fell. I can park near the studio for $5 after 6pm, it costs me $3 each way for subway, we went over time last night so I missed my connecting bus and didn't get home till after midnite in the RAIN...nope, I'm done with that!

sittin' in the morning sun...

Well, not morning's 1:30 pm and I just got up. Uh huh, yes I did, I did some serious sleeping in! Had to get outside asap as it is 16 glorious degrees. Last night was Fedora Upside Down...picture this...Ukrainian Cultural Centre (old community hall from a time when they knew how to build a room with a stage, good acoustics and huge dance floor). Fifteen klezmer/gypsy/jazz/flamenco bands sharing each others musicians, an artists collective turning the place in to a mountain meadow...seriously, a grove of trees, and mountains big and small (imagine tarp teepees), extraordinary food for $5 a heaping plate, alcohol, tubas and accordions galore.

Lots of parents of the musicians and neighbours of the community centre came out and it was so fun watching people really dance and sing along to all the songs. You know, if guys would just figure out that knowing how to foxtrot, jive and maybe even polka is very attractive...I'm just sayin' can't take your eyes off an older gentlemen gliding across the floor with his partner in a delicate embrace. Sigh:)))

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Rubén Olmo. Tranquilo Alboroto

flamenco frenzy begins today!!

Today was the first day of classes for the Toronto International Flamenco Festival.  Check out the website to see all the events  I am taking only the cante (singing) course....too out of shape to handle the dancing at the level that is taught when a teacher comes from Spain (sadly).  Thursday night  the workshop ends with a performance by Ruben Olmos & Company.  I will continue with 3 classes plus a rehearsal throughout the week as well.

On Saturday, local flamencos will be performing as part of a crazy gypsy night at the Ukrainian Club (9 bands, 50 musicians, 2 stages).  Check out for some toe-tapping-can't-sit-still music!

Compania Jose Porcel perform at Roy Thomson Hall Monday, October 17.   Maria Mezcle arrives for cante and guitar workshops Oct 30-Nov 1 followed by a performance (her company, not the students!) on Nov 5.   Diego El  Cigalo presents Cigalo & Tango Nov 4 at Koerner Hall (Royal Conservatory--gorgeous venue btw)  And then, another workshop starts Nov 10....Madre de Dios.....I need to win the lottery!!!

Full-on flamenco immersion!!! Ollleeeeee!!!

Friday, 14 October 2011

places and people I won't forget...

Sequential blog entries, bah, who needs 'em....jumping back to 2 weeks ago now.

When you are in downtown TO, you might notice flyers posted everywhere about movies you can go see at a place called Cineforum.  I'd seen them for years and was intrigued by movie titles and lectures/ discussions but I never got myself there.  A few weeks ago I was invited by a friend to join her for a film.  When I arrived at the address she gave me, I was at Cineforum and was meeting Reg Hartt.

Reg lives in a narrow, old Victorian on Bathurst near College and runs a small theatre out of his house.  The living room and dining room have been "converted" into the theatre space and also acts as his work area.  There is a bank of electronics that would make any film/music techie drool.  As a matter of fact, while we were arriving, he filmed us on his front porch chatting and then showed us ourselves in 3D.  The camera looked like a typical tiny digital and the 3D glasses were battery powered in super geeky frames (sans bandaid on the nose piece).  If I were a techie I would have remembered ALL the stuff he said about them.  They weren't the cardboard ones you get at the theatres for sure!!  So, basically, there are about 20 rolling office chairs in a very tiny space and you take a seat and enjoy.  We brought snacks etc and had a great time chatting before and after the film.

Reg is one committed film buff and one smart cookie too. You know, the ones that make you wish you were smarter or at least more articulate and you weren't standing there feeling like English is suddenly not your first language.  It doesn't feel like a  put-down, you just know this man has a brain and an intense passion about what he does and thinks and feels.

I will gladly go back to check out Cineforum again sometime and if you want to see what kinds of movies I  am talking about check out his schedule at  It was cool.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

the autumn leaves....

I am a fan of autumn...don't get me wrong, spring is big on my list too as I loathe winter. But, fall has a gorgeousness about it that is all about nature in it's natural state.  It's not about the shrubs and bulbs and perennials planted in a yard.

I was driving back to Toronto on the 401 and was thrilled repeatedly by groves of trees out in fields that were breathtakingly beautiful.  I know, gorgeousness on the 401, who knew!  I missed taking the Greyhound actually (for a minute anyways) as I could have taken in the views for longer.  They were picture perfect.  The reds of fall this year are being held up by the lowly sumac.  Maples have not gone to the ruby tones in great numbers this fall but have stalled at glorious shades of orange and gold.  The sun was shining and I was speeding and all was good on the road.

Basically, what I am saying is, get out and check out those fall colours.  I can't imagine how beautiful it would be to be on a country road if the 401 was so awesome.  (Speeding not recommended)

Tell me, how many of you started humming a song when you read the title??  Let's play Don't Forget the Lyrics!!  the autumn leaves _______________, the autumn leaves of __________.  Bonus points for singer, composer, was it from a movie??  And you are seriously dating yourself!!!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

lost a week!

will get back to last week later but right now all I can say is, I am soaked!!!

I choose to not drive my car as often as possible and that has been a HUGE change for me.  I am totally OK with riding the rocket but I cannot get my head around preparing for the weather.  I have never worried about rain as I just had to run from my car to a building but now....not so much. Tonight was my wet Waterloo.

What is lacking in my weather preparation arsenal?  Well, I loathe using an umbrella.  I don't want to carry one and then not use it and the one I do have is big with an over-the-shoulder strap for carrying which I love, but I have almost impaled a few fellow transit travellers. I find the little tiny fold up ones either so small you might as well not have one or you can't get them to close when you are done with them and, finally, I just like to have my hands free.  I usually have a million other things I am carrying so an umbrella is just a royal pain.

What I prefer is a raincoat made out of real raincoat fabric WITH a hood.  Do you know how unusual it is to find a stylish rain coat with a hood???  Unusual.  Why? Doesn't the idea of a hood on a coat that is meant to keep you dry in the rain seem logical?

I found one I loved, loved, loved BUT it was $200....sorry, I'd rather buy an iPod.  So, that leaves buying an umbrella. After tonight I am breaking down.  Tomorrow I shop.

Any advice you car-less people?  I salute you for having endured too many downpours to mention!!  I admire you for keeping your feet on the ground and money in your pocket by not buying a car.  Did you know that some people/families spend more dollars on the cost of a car(s) i.e own/lease, insurance etc. than on rent or mortgage??   Now that's a blogworthy rant!  Some other time, need a cup of tea and a towel to dry my hair stat!!!