Sunday, April 30, 2006
Friday, April 28, 2006
World Class, My *ss
What bothers me even more is that our airport has no rail link to downtown Toronto. If we want to continue saying that Toronto is a "World Class City" we've got to be able to put our money where our mouth is. A cab to my home in High Park, 20 minutes away, costs about $45, and the Go train to me is ridiculous. If you wanna hop on the train at the Dundas West platform you need to go down to Union station to buy a ticket (I've been told by their staff). To me it's really no wonder we didn't get the Olympics. It's a damn shame. If we can't sort out our own citizens' transportation issues how are we going to look to the rest of the world if they come visit? Certainly not world class. If it takes bringing in some European experts in transportation efficiency let's do it. Nobody wants Toronto to be the next LA. We complain car culture is killing us but there are still so few alternatives. Let's show the rest of the world we can do it, and earn the title "World Class".
Monday, April 24, 2006
Sweet Lulu Will Make You Smile
I left my car near Trinity park and walked by what used to be my favourite clothing store (public - now sadly been split into two news stores, neither of which get me very excited) and thought I'd just grab something to go.
No take out menus by the door, so I walked up to the kitchen area hoping they'd have something to replace my favourite lunchtime meal from Sonya's. Despite the "cafeteria" style this place was bright and cozy. Making me feel even more at home was the Fischerspooner track playing from the speakers. It was enough to convince me to get something even if they don't have ramen on the list...and they didn't. I ordered a meal-sized soup for $8.00. This better be good, I thought. "10 minutes" they told me. May as well stay and chill if I'm gonna get settled. My massive soup arrived and was so delish - pad thai noodles, thai yellow curry with lemongrass and basil. It was my own mix and match creation, of which I was quite proud. Felt as though I should pipe up and tell them ramen noodles are better for this kind of thing, since she'd conceeded pad thai noodles were the best for soups when I'd asked earlier. I figured it wasn't a big enough deal to stir it up, especially since the waitress had been so sweet and smiley and at that moment was happily singing along to the Brazilian Girls track "pussy, pussy, pussy, marijuana". Bizarre lyrics I know, but it's a feel good song and quite catchy. It kinda fit the laid-back atmosphere. After my tasty soup and a lunchtime relaxing in the this fun little boite I couldn't help but leave with a smile on my face too.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
These Docs are Hot
Hot Docs festival in Toronto has grown at a fantastic pace since its inception in 1993 and now it's attracting increased international attention too, as it well should. The documentaries I have seen at the festival over the past several years still resonate with me today. The premises are varied, I have seen well-captured docs that portray everything from a ship stranded by the Canadian government on the shores of Vancouver in the 1910s becuase of rascist attitudes, to a daring filmmaker who smuggled the first ever video message of the Dalai Lama into Tibet since he left the country decades ago. Powerful stuff, uncovered for eager eyes. Pick up your guide or go online, Hot Docs is not to be missed. Runs April 28 - May 7th in downtown Toronto.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Spring Time in Toronto
WWF website can climb the 1776 steps to the top, Torontonians and tourists alike. Before you react and say to yourself "No way!" just listen up for a minute. One blogger I found said that without any training or workouts it only took him 20 minutes.
That's nothing. Personally, I figure that since there are 70 steps to the top of my apartment door this can't be that hard, only 25 times more stairs, and as the ad in DOSE reports, that's all it takes to help in the fight against global warming.
That's one good reason. Another is the bragging rights. How many people can say they've climbed the world's tallest freestanding structure? Everyone will think you're nuts, but probably be a little jealous. Twenty minutes is all it takes: do your part for the environment and make yourself look good at the same time. Go on, take the stairs.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
A World In Black and White
Reprinted for film's world debut.
I'd been excited to see DAVE CHAPPELLE'S BLOCK PARTY at the Toronto International Film Festival and was bummed when I couldn't get tickets. So last night I took my chances and tried "rushing" the film. This means you must get in line quite early and hope there are free seats available when the flick starts. Best laid plans fell apart and I showed up with only 35 minutes to showtime and discovered about 100 people in line ahead of me at the Elgin Theatre. At least I could "star watch" I thought...but the elusive Chappelle and his entourage were a no show. I did snap this pic of genius director Michel Gondry on the way up the red carpet and eventually made my way in to the flick with my friends.
The synopsis on the TIFF site raised the question: "What do you do when your net worth tops 50 million dollars?" "Start with a party." Chappelle had just signed a 50 mil contract with Comedy Central so his idea, in this verite documentary, was to throw the kind of concert he always wanted to see. With hip hop connections like his the line-up was guarateed ghettofabulous: Kanye West, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, The Roots, Dead Prez, Jill Scott. As if that weren't enough to get your heart pumping, he adds THE FUGEES to the mix, reuniting after 8 long years, to the surprise to everyone at the Brooklyn Block Party. It was the most fun I've ever had at a movie and probably the only time I cried while I was dancing (standing at the back) when Lauryn Hill busted into a sweet and sultry version of Killing Me Softly. Wow.
Beyond the prep for the concert Dave made his usual jokes and pointed out some funny things about the hood in Brooklyn, where one school director welcomed him to the 'mixed school' where Black and Mexican kids played. Chappelle laughs, "this is what they call a mixed school?" The element of race was always present and I found it kind of sad that Chappelle always sees the world in black and white, though I thought it was inspiring when Wyclef spoke to the (almost all black) University marching band that were invited by Chappelle to open the party. "Don't ever blame anything on the white man...I came from Haiti and didn't speak a word of English, English was my third language and I've made a good life for myself." Take out the element of race and we can all relate to his thoughts - don't let anyone hold you back. As one black marching band student agreed..."Yeah, like Eminem said: You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, opportunity comes once in a lifetime."
Chappelle's had his opportunity, let's see what he does with it.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
A Page In History*
Reprinted for the film debut of The Notorious Bettie Page.
The Ryerson Theatre was a bad venue for last night's (Toronto International Film Festival) picture The Notorious Bettie Page though, ultimately, I did leave the theatre feeling like I'd seen and done something worthwhile. The well constructed movie depicted the historical icon and pin-up girl Bettie Page (played by Gretchen Mol) as an innocent and somewhat naive woman. I'd been unaware until reading the movie synopsis that Bettie's modelling career had led her to do some bondage photos with other female models, and that the issue had arose in the US supreme court in 1955, ultimately leading to a ban on the photos and their subsequent burning. Suppose in a way that Bettie was the original Madonna. 50 years later there's not much difference in how Western, and especially American, culture reacts to fetish and bondage images. Some of Madonna's videos won't see any airplay in this country either, understandably, since TV is seen by the masses, but there was still quite a coup over her "scandalous" images in the pictorial book SEX. Admitly, I thought her overly staged shots just made her look like a sad celebrity overindulging in her rauncyiness; with all respect, however, to a woman who knows how to push and play with society's morays.
Gretchen, who ran by me 3 times wearing fantastic heels the girls I was with were dying for, did a beautiful job as Bettie Page, the icon who loved her body and enjoyed showing it. At the end of the day however I felt the film didn't leave anything for me to take away, to ponder, except perhaps where a sense of shame comes from. Once people told Bettie what she was doing was wrong she began to feel ashamed of her "sins". She turned to God and dropped out of sight. Perhaps she just needed Madonna's "cojones", a better group of friends, and should have moved to Paris to live the good life with her shameless peers Anais Nin, Henry Miller and Josephine Baker in a place where nobody gave a damn about a naked nipple or some leather boots. *(Added note as at September 22) - Bettie Page wasn't coerced into dressing up in "special costumes" and reportedly admitted having fun playing dress-up. This blog in no way condones harm to others in any way or form. It does condone loosening up a little.)