Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Liberty Village Benchmark Inaugural Benches

The Benchmark program, introduced in my last blog, was initiated in 2005 with the unveiling of the first three benches themed onthe past, present and future of Liberty Village. The two which represent past and present are located near Lamport Stadium on Fraser near Liberty Street. They are benches B and C on the map. The one representing the future is on Liberty Street just around the corner from the other two and it is identified as bench A on the map.

Bench A is titled "Interval Bench" and it is the creation of Jess Perlitz who lives and works in Liberty Village. In the media reports I read it was said to be inspired by Marshall McLuhan. Featured with the bench is a set of "talking tubes" which sit on either side of the bench and are joined underground so that one can talk to the person on the other side of the bench through them. Certainly an interesting statement that two folks sitting side by side need an aparatus to talk to one another. Reminds me of the office sending an email to a guy sitting in the cubicle one over.

I wondered what particular Marshall McLuhanism inspired this artist. And since it is called the Interval Bench, I thought it somehow should relate to this McLuhanism:
Darkness is to space what silence is to sound, i.e., the interval.
But try as I may I cannot make sense of that McLuhan quote with this bench, so perhaps not. I looked a bit further at some other McLuhan quotes.

Does it relate to:
As technology advances, it reverses the characteristics of every situation again and again. The age of automation is going to be the age of 'do it yourself.'

or was it:
Art is anything you can get away with

( I hardly think so, this is not so outrageous, but I couldn't help but throw this into the mix.)

I think the quote regarding technology is the appropriate McLuhanism to relate to this work. The talking tubes are a primitive means of communication and yet this is supposed to represent the future. If you think about fibre optics communications technology it is as simple as these "talk tubes" and we use it to communicate with folks who often are not too far away.

The other thought I took away from this work is that although we sit side by side, our future selves may become so dependant upon technology for communication that we need devices to communicate with those who may be sitting on the bench just beside us.

What do you think?

To read the next blog in the Benchmark series go here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

la porte rouge: Nadia n' aime pas....

I snapped today's pictures while walking Bella today...

Firstly, my progress report on the weekend's effort toward the Novel Project. I am glad to report that I spent my weekend immersed in brainstorming and research. I learned a lot about what might be appropriate for my novel and what would perhaps not work as well. I got knee deep into understanding Dualism theories and how they might apply to the believability of the technical details of "The Idea". I was pleasantly surprised to find exactly what I was looking for to explain the how of what I want to write about.

So much for the rudimentary plot - I have it within grasp. I can let this percolate and work on it and the characters I will need to bring it to fruition over the next week or so.

In Nadia's post of last Tuesday la porte rouge: Nadia n' aime pas.... she started a game of n'aime pas/aime. When I last checked it there were 23 followers who left comments regarding n'aime pas and aime. Of course I spend a quick 4 minutes to compile an "off the top of my head list" and then left my entry:

Peggy n'aime pas:
. grumpy, stupid, ignorant, intolerant, rude or messy people

. razor stubble rubbing on my face while in passionate embrace

. the sound that is made when someone won't admit they need to blow their nose

. crumbs in the bed
. road rage outbursts

. blue cheese

. cheapskates (when it comes time to figure out the tip )

. one way friends (you call them - they never call you or anyone else)

Peggy aime:
. freshly laundered bed linens
. big hello hugs (or for a select few big kiss hellos)

. chocolate in all its forms

. hot summer nights
. happy, silly, funny or intense people

. long walks to anywhere
. eating in bed
. long conversations about stuff
. my dog Bella
. rice pudding
. Saturday morning coffee while lounging in bed

Do you care to play "n'aime pas/aime"? - leave it in a comment...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Liberty Village - Benchmark Explained

I have blogged about my neighbourhood many times before in my "Highways Blog", see here.
I have not really done a proper blog about the area I live in and what makes it so special. As an introduction to my new topic series of short blogs titled "Benchmark", I will first spend a few minutes giving you some info about Liberty Village and the LVBIA.

One way the City of Toronto improves the communities within its borders is by identifying and promoting "BIAs" and Business Improvement Area Associations. The objective is to revitalize local communities through partnerships with the City and local businesses who share geography. The City has now designated 68 local BIA areas and each have an association. Ours is the LVBIA. Almost all of the City's BIAs are focused on Retail Business Improvements, however ours is not since retail does not make up the bulk of the businesses in our village. We are unique in the city of Toronto in that way I think (corrections welcomed Toronto readers).

You can go to Wiki and read about Liberty Village, but better to go to the Liberty Village Business Improvement Area site which provides a wealth of information about the area, its history, the events planned and best yet, a bunch of historical photos of the buildings within our boundaries.

The LVBIA works hard to make our little triangle in the Downtown area of the City of Toronto distinctive, vibrant and a cohesive amalgam of the residents, artists and businesses who are located in the area. The businesses (463 in the LVBIA directory as of today) are and we desire to continue to be, a mix of artistic related and residence related services and commercial businesses which mix high tech (.com) and design commercial, etc. with decades old companies of various sorts. When one walks the neighbourhood you can't help but notice that the names of the companies, such as Sirius and Sony along with other firms related to arts and other creative callings which predominate.

Both residents and those employed by all the companies appreciate the efforts made with regard to our community by the LVBIA. In particular, :) we appreciate the annual "Give Me Liberty After Work Party, which is always on the 3rd Thursday in June (future blog).

As stated in the "Facts"' section in the LVBIA site:
As the first non-retail BIA in Canada, the LVBIA represents the more than 400 businesses and 5000 employees located in a campus-style community at King and Dufferin. Some of Toronto’s leading creative thinkers and companies in the high tech, arts, design, entertainment and media businesses are located in Liberty Village.
Liberty Village is actually a very small sliver of a triangle of land (.15 sq mile or .38 sq kilometer) located between a railway track on the south and on the north, both of which are heading to the train station just a couple of kilometers to the east in the heart of the downtown. For a Map of the area see here. There used to be a couple of very large industrial buildings on the east side of Liberty Village (the Inglis appliance manufacturer being the main one), which have been knocked down in the last few decades to build high density housing. There is a tract of very nice stacked townhouses to the most north easterly section of the village (these have really nice roof top gardens) and they have been here maybe 4 or 5 years. That left room for the numerous condominium apartments now planned or under construction. I think the plan calls for about 10 or 12 high rise buildings of which 2 have been built and occupied at present. You can bet your bottom dollar that these will be upscale and in keeping with the community. This new residential area might be a third of Liberty Village in size.

The rest of Liberty Village retains its early warehouse look as the buildings have been retained, some with artist live/work space, or condo residence lofts added, others have been converted into up scale commercial which house the creative businesses located in the area. Of course, given the gentrification of the area, we now have a wonderful selection of restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs in the area also.

One other business located in Liberty Village is worth mentioning. We have the large scale commercial bakery, Canada Bread, located in our Village and they sends the wonderful aroma of baking bread out to all us residents. I am happy when the wind blows from the south west. :)

That was a long introduction into the LVBIA's "Benchmark" program. One way the LVBIA keeps our area distinctive is by commissioning artist decorated public benches which are placed on our streets. Go here to find out the details of the program.

To read the next in the Benchmark Series go here.

In the coming blogs (in keeping with trying not to spend a lot of time blogging, but still keeping myself "out there" and connected with my blog readers), I will be presenting this bench art most of which is very interesting and makes a statement.

Each bench can be located on this map. They are numbered and I will note in each post which bench I am featuring. There are 15 benches, so with your kind indulgence, I will post them one in each of 15 blogs to come.

Incidentally, the LVBIA is commissioning 4 more art benches, so there will actually be 19 of these "Liberty Benchmark" blogs in the series at some point. If you are an artist who might consider submitting a proposal go here. The closing for submissions is July 20, 2009.

Listening to Roxanne Potvin singing "Its a Perfect Day". Really nice tune!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It is just like Christmas

I received the most wonderful parcel in the mail. You may recall that I was participating in a Blog Swap that Nadia had organized. (Go Here to see that post). Well, I received my parcel in the mail and I am so happy to meet (through her choice of items) this lovely bloggist!

Consequently, I am sitting here listening to the fantastic CD that Sheila who writes BlueGreenEyesYellowButterflies made for me. I am so thrilled, the music is wonderful and all music that I love and oddly enough, do not have. The items included are so pretty and I just don't know how to thank Sheila enough. I have the pretty box set on my bedside table with the rest of the contents tucked inside.

I will also share that there are some uncanny coincidences with this pairing of bloggists. When I went to her profile - In Another Lifetime - I was pleasantly surprised that two of her four Favourite Movies (#1 and #2) are on my all time top 10 list. The other two I surely must now rent and see. Also, in a comment she left me, Sheila mentioned that "Into the Mystic", which I blogged about a couple of times ago, is a favourite song of hers also. I bet that she and I have much more in common.

The post cards are so very pretty, and I am so very touched with the care and attention she put into her selections and her carefully worded and very kind note. Thank you Sheila for bringing me Christmas in June!

Meanwhile we have had our first dose of the really hot humid weather of summer. It is my favourite time of year. Give me heat over cold anytime, in fact figuring out a way to escape south each year is high on my list of things I need to do - but I digress.

My Progress on "The Project"

As you recall, I am now reviewing elements of characters and viewpoints. From character to story, from story to character, like bricks and mortar. Milieu, idea, character and event all need to be worked on together. Having thought about that a bit, I need to work out some of the specifics of plot and other technical details as I gather my characters and get to know them well. I will need time to sit and think and do some "what if'ing" on this. The coming weeks will need to be a "composting" time for hatching, evaluating and fleshing out ideas.

I chatted with my Montreal friend about some of the technical details regarding transitions and he had some alternate thoughts that I need to consider which would affect the plot and characterization. It was quite the discussion. Funny how people have entirely different ideas on how something should go. I will admit, I have a preconceived notion of what the theme should be and listening to someone tell me I should think about diverting 180 degrees was not what I was ready to entertain. But I will need to give it some thought. The central question is whether the technical detail central to the theme is so out there that it is beyond belief. I don't want to write anything that requires a belief in magic.

He did however agree that it was a most wonderful and exciting idea and no doubt allow me to produce a great novel. :)

This weekend I will sit on my balcony and dream about how things might develop for these alternate plot ideas to see which ones seem right and if any/all present the reader with something that won't fly. I think I will also try and sketch out for each of the alternates the main characters to see how they fit and what seems right and best to me.

I snapped this picture last Monday night. There were some gorgeous pink and grey skies and it made for spectacular daydreaming.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hot Summer Days

What is wrong with these pictures?

As I walked home on Monday they were filming along my walking route on King Street. They had fake snow spread around and the actors were dressed in coats, hats and mitts. You can see the girl on the right who is obviously dressed for a warm day and the actors who must have been very hot indeed with the mid 20's celcius temperatures.

Toronto is "Hollywood North" and there are a lot of film shoots here, particularly downtown. I have seen quite a few Toronto film shoots and with things that just don't belong, but are there because the film is actually supposed to set in a different time, location or millieu.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rock Your Gypsy Soul...

OK, first my progress report on my idea for NaNoWriMO. I have summaized the theme in 3 succinct sentences and considered some different treatments with respect to genre and have settled on what I think is the right approach. There will need to be at least 2 locations and I have those. I am now thinking over characters. Hero or Heroine or a dynamic duo? hmmm, that is to mull over this week. There will need to be probably 6 or 8 supporting characters, maybe more depending on the complications I cook up... Something else to think about this week - how many subplots can I manage to weave together in the novel? This is fun!

Ok, so that is too slim a post. Will add a song I listened to and ended up humming all day...

I like the cover of this song by James Otto which is currently playing on the local Adult Alternative station. I couldn't find a You Tube of him performing it and the ones of Colin James performing it is not the best sound - but it is not too bad.

I like the lyrics and the head space it puts me in and I hope you do too.

Into the Mystic

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic

Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home
And when that fog horn blows I want to hear it
I dont have to fear it

I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
Then magnificently we will float into the mystic
And when that fog horn blows you know I will be coming home
And when thst fog horn whistle blows I got to hear it
I dont have to fear it

I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will float into the mystic

Come on girl...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Summer Project - Planning for NaNoWriMo!

I need to carve some big chunks of time out of my calendar for my latest project.

To explain what NaNoWriMo is, I have to quote blogspot’s MerlotMom who said:

It's called NaNoWriMo. NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth.
For everyone else it's in November.
Crazy people, like me, get together online and spend the month of November killing themselves.
They lose touch with their families, forget to shower, drink too much coffee, eat too much junk, chew their nails to the quick, pull out their hair.
But they do it together.
And at the end of the nightmare they are rewarded with a first draft, albeit, most likely an awful one, of their novel.

The timing makes sense.
The weather is miserable in November.
The kids are in school.
It's before all the holidays.
But I rarely do things that make sense.
And I can't wait that long.

She continues to explain why she is writing her Novel in 30 days starting today

Please go here to read her full post…
(I don’t have her permission to quote her blog, so if asked I will need to remove the quote – Her words explained my expectation of the November novel writer’s life during that month so well that I wanted to share it with you without losing you to a “click”.)

I am not starting to write my novel today (or more precisely June 17th), like MerlotMom, otherwise I would need to carve a month out of my calendar – not just “some time”. What I am doing over this summer is the planning and research necessary so I can get my novel done when November this year rolls around. I am determined to write a novel in November and at least get across the finish line in this international writing effort.

I had set the goal for the month of June for coming up with “The Idea”. Every novel has to have the germ of an idea (a concept, thesis or motif) and without it nothing else can be done, a good one is essential. This week my idea arrived. Funny how these things happen. I wasn’t even thinking about my novel when I was walking to work this week and “the Idea” arrived. It just landed in my brain, right out of nowhere. Funny, the way it happened. I couldn’t listen to my usual CBC Radio 2 Morning Show because I discovered as I was leaving for work that it had somehow been left turned on and the battery was flat. So I did not listen to music on the way in and I had no diversion. My mind was in “free float”. Now I know how people feel when they say “it just came to me”. And it did. So now I can research and plan.

I am a planner, by personality and by profession. Actually, I work as an IT Project Manager really, but a large part of that job is planning – of course the part that pays is the role I play in making sure the plan actually comes to fruition, but my job is not the topic here. Suffice to say I will take a very disciplined approach to my novel writing activity to come. While the actual novel writing is in November, it is permissible to do all the pre-work you like prior to that date. There is lots to be done in advance to help ensure success.

Having got “The Idea”, I can now start sketching out the who, what, when and where which will be included and the actual items of crisis and resolution that will need to be dealt with in progressing to the ending. I also will need to do a fair bit of research because for the most part it will not be set in this country. There is a great deal to find out and map out before I can do chapter/scene summaries in Sept/Oct.

Because the idea is so GREAT, I am shivering with excitement just thinking about it. It will be so much fun to figure out how this is going to work. It is a rather large idea and radical concept so choosing the right path to present the idea is key. I was smiling all week as the potential of different scenarios played out in my mind.

Hence, I have a need to carve out a great deal of time in the next 2 months. Keep in mind that I have a demanding job, which at the moment is cooking on all burners (I billed 55 hours last week – so I don’t keep bankers hours!) and therefore my time is at a premium.

I have been thinking about how to find some time and there are some areas of my life that could be short cut a bit -ok – dust bunnies can wait, but aside from work and the daily chores of living, blogging, reading blogs and commenting on blogs has been the biggest consumer of my time.

I have decided to do the opposite of a “summer sabbatical”. I am going to do take a “NaNoWriMo planning sabbatical” from blogging. Well, not entirely. I will put out some brief entries when struck by the absolute necessity to stand on a soap box and wax lyrical to the world, but mostly I will just use my blog to post progress notes and to give anyone who might be following a snippet of information about what I am dreaming up – without revealing too much of “The Idea”. Well, at least not while it is just half baked. Maybe later as it develops. Of course, comments and encouragement will be most welcomed!

I will apologize in advance for not keeping up properly with my dear bloggist friends posts. I may well speed read one or two (I can do that on my iPhone at work whilst waiting for folks to arrive at meetings, LOL) as time permits, but there will be no long comment responses to thought provoking blogs (I can hear Fram sighing in relief) at least until the end of summer.

Please wish me well with this project. Next Sunday night I will publish a post to let you know how the first week went and what progress I have made.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Morning View

I have just ordered window coverings for my bedroom windows. I have 2 windows in my bedroom and initially I just installed some light blinds which cut the sun a bit, (they have pin holes in them to let some light through) to be used to keep out some of the heat during the hot sunny days. There really is not much of an issue about privacy, since there is limited view into my bedroom from the building beside me and absolutely no privacy from the south. For me, generally, the more light the better. Of course, those blinds were entirely inadequate at night to darken the room from the very bright city night lights.

The new window coverings will arrive in 2 weeks. I will miss waking up to a sunny room. I shall just have to get used to springing out of bed and pulling up the blinds first thing in the morning!

I have gotten used to the lights which shine in at night and the sheer blinds do allow me to wake up with the sun in the morning. I took these photos one morning this week when I woke up. It is a great view to wake up to. At this time of the year the sun comes up poking behind the office buildings and you can see it in this photo. In the winter, at its most southerly point, it rises majestically over the lake to the south-east.

I will admit though, during these long days it does wake me a bit early on the weekends and if I have a late night I have difficulty with a longer lie in. Therefore I decided to take the plunge and buy some room darkening blinds.

Today I did something I haven't done for a few years. I SLEPT IN UNTIL 10:45!!! Normally the sunny windows wake me up and I might add they wake me up in a way I appreciate. Gradually. It doesn't bother me that room is light, I have gotten used to it. None the less I normally don't sleep beyond 7 or so on a weekend, so today is a major departure from routine. It is a rainy, cloudy and dismal morning today - so perhaps the lack of sun coming in the window has something to do with it. Now I am concerned that in a darkened room I might have trouble waking up. We shall see. I may choose only to pull them when I expect to not to have to rise early the next day.

I did stay up rather late last night watching a movie - The Reader. Perhaps that was the reason I over slept. I will for sure need to blog about that as the movie was certainly thought provoking.

I have lots to do this weekend and so, will not probably get back to blogging until Sunday evening. I have some things peculating in my brain and so kind reader, if you will return at that point, I will announce my summer activity - and reasons for a change in my blogging schedule and my major goal for the fall!

I also thought I would share a picture I took of flowers I bought last night. They are plain old chrysanthemums - but 'made up' in rainbow colours. They use dye to obtain these distinctive colours. As I re-cut the stems before placing them in the vase of water I noted that the dye was pretty much squirting out of the stems! They are very colourful, even if they don't come by these colours naturally.

More Street Art

Sunday last, as I walked from Woofstock to the Harbourfront Luminato site, I came across this statue outside the Condo on Yonge Street and Lakeshore. I really liked it. Sitting outside a residential condo at the south end of the Financial district it seems so appropriate as the "Suits" will be heading in that direction, leaving the wife and child at home.

Unfortunately, I realized when I got home that I hadn't read the little inscription on the lower part of the base, so I don't know what the statue is called or who the artist is that created it. I will come back and update this blog later with that information, when I can get back down in that direction again.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Buttons and Bows

There is an area in downtown Toronto known as the Garment district. According to Wiki:
The Fashion District is the name given to the area of Downtown Toronto around the intersection of Spadina Avenue and King Street. The area is known for having stores that sell clothes straight from the manufacturers. The area derives its name from formerly being home to many clothing manufacturing businesses, but today relatively few have remained.
I have always known this area as the Garment, not Fashion district, but no matter. The interesting thing is that a larger area around Spadina near King was home to a quite a few clothing manufacturers. I know of one designer label which is still in the area, just below King and to the west of Spadina.

This statue is at Richmond and Spadina and it features the tools of the trade from times gone by in this area - A thimble and some buttons.

One other remnant of the times gone by in this area is the abundance of fabric shops along Queen St running west of Spadina, just one street north of this statue. I am sure that there would be at least 10 fabric shops and nearly the same number of shops specializing in buttons, ribbons and "findings".

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blog Swap

On Wednesday I packaged up a parcel to send to a bloggist in a distant country. Well, actually not that distant, but until it is received I need to keep the identity secret.

The idea is that a bunch of bloggers put their "names in a hat" and exchange mailed packages of stuff. So you make up the package with the prescribed contents and send to the assigned blogger. The organizer acts as the hat and draw and matches folks up and sends out instructions. After you send your package on its way you await until a package created for you by some other blogger arrives. Apparently, there are 40 of us participating in the swap.

When I saw in the blog of La Porte Rouge that she was organizing a swap, I immediately thought - What fun! I want in! So I signed up and now I have sent off my package and am patiently waiting for my surprise to arrive. Of course you will hear about it when it does!

We were told what to put in our packages. One item is a music CD which we had were supposed to make. OK, so I plead lack of time, so I did not carefully select 20 of my most favourite songs, instead I chose to send a CD of music by Greg Wyard, a musician who I have blogged about in the past. He is a Toronto musician who plays at a couple of different downtown bars during the week (one of which is in earshot of my balcony) and I try to get out to hear a set every few weeks.

The other items to be included were a couple of post cards - one of which was to be inscribed with our favourite saying and sincerely, I had difficulty with a "favourite saying". Instead I chose a saying which expressed a thought I liked - a Zen saying. So I wrote, "May all your bad circumstances arrive as friends along your path."

We were also to include a surprise. I added a package of orange cream toffee, a Canadian flag pin, a book about Toronto Neighbourhoods, which I had in on my bookshelf and a brochure from a Downtown Toronto Sightseeing company who do double decker tours and harbour boat cruises. The routes for both were described.

I hope my bloggist friend to be enjoys the items I chose to swap and maybe even decides to come to Toronto to visit at some point. We shall see as I will be watching her blog to see what she has to say! I guess it may take 3-4 days to arrive and I will be keeping an eye on her blog to hear that she has received the parcel.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Saturday Night Soccer

Saturday Night, after returning from my Luminato treking, I sat out on my balcony. The evening was warm and just perfect for sitting out while writing my blog. There was a Toronto FC soccer (or as you on the other side of the pond call it - football) evening game. The games are held in a stadium within view of my Condo and while the game is in progress, every goal is announced with a roar of applause that is clearly audible even inside my apartment. With binoculars, I can watch the players running around in mid field, although the goal posts are obscured from view.

Canada has not been a big soccer country. I guess that is a major understatement as I don't know that we have ever won any sort of an international competition ever. We are becoming better in this respect in recent years, but still and all there just is not the effort put into developing our younger players, unlike hockey which is an institution here from a very young age. I learned lots about why soccer has such an uphill battle in this respect from my Greek "X significant other", who was a pro soccer player.

In any event, our team, the Toronto FC, fills the stadium to capacity twice a week for their games and I get to watch all the soccer games from a distance. According to Wiki:
Toronto FC fans have helped make the club one of the MLS' most successful franchises having been profitable since its first year with regular sellouts and sold-out seasons tickets.

Find out more about Toronto FC here.

And so it was on Saturday night. The view was spectacular, and I snapped a few photos to share. The first is BMO Field, where our soccer games take place. You can see the full stadium as dusk decends. In the background you can see the Lake and a Tall Ship sailing by. The sky was wonderfully pink to the west. That reminded me of the saying:

Red sky at night,
Sailors delight.
Red sky in morning,
Sailors take warning.

As it turned out, the sky was blue and the day sunny when I woke on Sunday morning.

I am not sure why this is, but in the early evening the light from the west onto the Toronto Downtown Skyline creates the opportunity for tremendously post card like pictures. This one is no exception.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Interview with Leonard Cohen - This Man Knows About Love

This isn't the first time I have blogged about Leonard Cohen. (Go here to see my other posts), having said that, I must comment on an interview I listened to yesterday which was broadcast (into my ear buds) at the same time on CBC Radio 1 as I was trucking around Luminato. I have put on his "Live in London" DVD this morning while I write this blog and I am again reminded what a great artist he is. The interview made it clear to me that he is also a wise and sensitive man.

I wanted to present some of, what were for me, highlights of the interview.

On Love

He spent some time talking about love and the songs inspired by or written for women - of which there are many. He said (I paraphrase)

Love is the most challenging activity humans get into - Love - we have the sense that we can't live without love ... but the possibilities for humiliation and failure are ample... The heart is always softening or hardening, there is no jackpot, either you have the courage despite the significant defeats we accumulate over our lives- if we can continue and do not close down - then the possibilities are always there (for other loves to follow) ... women and men are at the core of each other - most men and women cherish some sort of dream of surrender - total love - sometimes experiencing defeat, sometimes acceptance and sometimes exaltation. It is the accumulation of defeats that is the inhibitor and those that are able not to close down are lucky. It is how we react when the love is lost that gives us the capacity to love again.

The last sentence is mine, but I think that is what he was getting at and left unsaid. That is why when we were young, maybe I only speak for the feminine side of the equation, we feel so devastated when love was lost or we just did not have anyone to love at a point in time in our lives. After time you realize you can recover from love lost and you can love again you are less shaken by its loss. I do not believe you can successfully seek out and find someone to love, I believe in fate and destiny on this one - however, you need to be open to it, not closed otherwise you will not be receptive to it when the seeds are planted.

I have learned to find joy in both solitude and also in the company of friends. I have a network of close friends which gives me the confidence to weather those years that I am without a "significant other". However that does not mean that I am alone out of choice or because I have given up and decided it is not for me... Just that I am happy and busy sufficiently that I don't think about such things - I am not frantically searching. Those in between time periods may be many years or as I approach old age even a decade or more, so it is important to cultivate an emotional self sufficiency as much as it is to establish a financial self sufficiency. I purposefully do that.

On "Forever More" Relationships

Does Leonard regret not having a life long partner? He responded to this question with a song in French - but it is clear he has no regrets... however, I suspect he is a bit wistful - as I am - that it wasn't to be. Perhaps my Montreal friend will help me here if he listens to the interview and tells me what the song means at 19:28 seconds into the interview.

Even though I do not count on having one, I still believe old age would be nicer if there were a "significant other" to share life's events with. The difference now is that I know that I can still be happy without a partner - it is just be a different sort of happiness, still with passion and love, even as I grow old I expect. However, I am no longer thinking in terms of someone I would be with "til death do us part".

On Dark Times

For someone who has written so many somber ballads, and who has suffered from clinical depression for extended periods of time, Leonard, in his mid 70s, has developed an extremely circumspect attitude. He is clearly happy with where he is in life and cognizant of where he has been on life's journey. At one point he was asked about "his darkest hour". His response was telling. He said, "Nothing comes to mind". He didn't think he ever had a "darkest hour", that one needed to put this in perspective; not compared with the suffering of others that goes on ... when you hear about people dodging bombs, having their nails pulled out in dungeons and starving...

Leonard - You Are My Man
The most striking thing about Leonard from this interview, aside from his astuteness and circumspect attitude, is that he is a most modest and humble person. I was also struck by his manner of speaking as it was so careful and respectful of those listening. When discussing the awards and accolades that Leonard has received over his lifetime, he responded that yes there had been an award or two and more importantly the critics have been kind, but that his work is really not a big seller.

At one point the interviewer, Jian Ghomeshi, comments that Leonard's house (the interview was at Leonard Cohen's home in Montreal), is a very modest home. Leonard's response was that he liked to live simply, but that wasn't a virtue. As I have said before, Leonard Cohen, you are my man.

The Leonard Cohen interview is available on You Tube as a CBC "Q TV Presentation". The interview is 40 minutes in length if you care to see it in its entirety.

As I listen to the Live in London DVD, I am reminded that the favourite part of this music DVD is not any of the songs - and they are all the best of the best of Cohen - it is the track where Leonard recites his poem "A Thousand Kisses Deep". This poem is in my opinion right up there with Suzanne. It speaks to me volumes and for those of us who have loved (I would presume most of us) and for those of us who are in love, whether requited or not or even if ill conceived, I am sure that it speaks to you as well.

If you are interested in podcasts of this and other Q interviews Go Here I think most of them are also available on You Tube as a Q TV Video.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Luminato Closing Weekend - Sunday

On Sunday morning, after a leisurely start to my day, I got off on my Luminato wanders with renewed enthusiasm. I was plotting out my route when I heard on the radio that Woofstock was also happening. It was being held in the St. Lawrence Market area, just east of the Financial District, so with a slight modification of my route, I was able to incorporate a visit to doggie-mania during the same outing. I had planned on taking Bella with me on this trek anyway - and what better fun than going to hang out with a few hundred dogs attached to their owners?

The first stop on my route was at the Exchange Tower at Bay and King. It is called the Exchange Tower because it is where the Toronto Stock Exchange is housed and there was an installation of art there I wanted to see. The piece is called Broken Arrow, a new work by Canada’s Germaine Koh in collaboration with Ian Verchere.There is a projector which somehow is set to display the names of detectable wireless communication devices on the wall in what was billed as an undulating mass of information. They also bring sound into the mix, by outputting what Luminato's literature describes as
a stream of Geiger-counter clicks or insect-like chirps for each device or frequency detected, creating layers of sometimes-cacophonous sound.

Unfortunately, I would have been better to visit this piece during the work week, when there would have been thousands of folks around with detectable devices. The Sunday noises were slow and quiet - hardly cacophonous and the display was a slow procession of just a few names.

Then it was on to Woofstock. It is North America's biggest doggie love in -- a celebration of all things doggie... and (I read this from their website) in past years over 140,000 folks showed up over the weekend with their dogs. You see me here with Bella in her dog carrier thingy. She might not look it, but is very comfortable slung over my hip with that device and it allows me to carry her without any fuss. She is a bit of a wimp - gets a bit claustropobic in crowds and begs to get up. This solves the problem. She does prefer to walk - just when we are in crowds is not so comfortable.

I will attest to the number of dogs present of every shape size and description.

I especially liked the beer garden which was dog friendly! After wandering around and seeing everything there was to see I treked off to Harbourfront to see what other Cirque du Soleil "encounters" I could observe.

I came across those creatures who yesterday were in the Au Naturel Pond. They were being silly ducks... kind of waddling around and making quacking sounds.

At one point they all tried to get into a phone booth and I think they did get about 6 or so into it.

I also came across some other creatures who were hanging burlap on a line like they were drying clothes. The burlap pieces were being given to children to paint on.

The Cirque du Soleil event was a interactive fun, reminiscent of an old time circus with these creatures just clowning around.

I wandered the length of Harbourfront and as I reached the westernmost point the sky looked pretty threatening. I decided to head home - both Bella and I were exhausted. It would have been nice to stay and see the finale when all the creatures got together to do what I assume would be the main show at 9:00 p.m., but Bella and I had been out in the sun all day and had walked a great deal.

As it turned out, it was a good decision. Sadly, it started to rain not long after I got home and the closing Cirque du Soleil event would have been rainy indeed!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Luminata Closing Weekend - Saturday

I set out late Saturday morning to do my Luminato Circuit. I had plotted a walking route from my house up to Yorkville Village by way of the Red Ball Project Installation on Queen St. West, then south on Yonge Street to the art installations at the Brookfield Place Galleria and then down to Harbourfront to see Cirque du Soleil. The route was really a big square which I guess was about 10 KM in distance in all. A nice stroll for a nice day such as we had. It was cloudy and threatening for just a few hours and then the sun came out and it was an extremely nice day.

My first stop was at the Red Ball Project. Really, it was the largest imaginable inflatable beach ball protruding from an alley into the street. Kind of amusing, particularly for the children who were trying to push it, quite unsuccessfully. I must say that one would be using the word art pretty loosely by my book for things such as this. However, I will go as far as saying that it is fun. My point is though that not everything which is fun should be considered art.

Then it was on to the Brazilian Guitar Marathon at Yorkville Village. Yorkville is just north of the very posh shopping district, comparable to New York's 5th Avenue or L.A.'s Rodeo Drive. The kind of folk who shop at these shops often head to Yorkville's bars and restaurants afterwards, so it is a good site for sightings of the rich and famous.

There was a great crowd gathered to listen to the music, but I managed to find a spot to sit and listen for an hour or so.

There was also a spray paint street artist who was doing a demo on the street - not on a wall but on a board set up on an easel.

Next, I came back south again on Yonge Street back down to the Financial District. There was some art installations I wanted to view at the Galleria at Brookfield place. One of them, Luminato Light Box was a building which was to house a different exhibit each day.

Today's installation was called Swan Song and it consisted of some grass and a few bull rushes in the corner and a recording of what I presume to be swans calling in song. I wasn't particularly impressed. This "art" wasn't even particularly fun - but I suppose some folks would appreciate the aesthetics of it, but that is just not me.

At the same location there was also another installation commissioned specifically for the space. It is called Long Wave and it was created by David Rokeby. I particulary liked this. It was very pleasing to the eye as you followed the lines of red balls as they arced around in a couple of very large circles along the long spacious galleria.

Lastly, I went down to our Harbourfront area. Harbourfront is just to the south of the Financial district. It is a unique mixed use residential area with a 10 acres of public space set aside for the Arts - entertainment and recreation of all sorts. It is about a 15 minute walk from my house and runs along the length of Lake Ontario at the centre point of Toronto.

Toronto Harbourfront on Wiki.
Toronto Harbourfront Web Site

The main attraction of the weekend is the Cirque Du Soleil Event. It was created specifically for Luminato for the Harbourfront site.

From the Luminata Website:
For our closing weekend, Canada’s international entertainment company Cirque du Soleil® presents a special free event created especially for Luminato. This event is an inquiry into the very essence of human civilization.

Beginning Friday night, two “communities” will form on the Toronto waterfront: one representing the natural world in which we have our instinctual roots and the urban community, the world we have constructed around ourselves. They’ll make their homes at opposite ends of the site, each in an environment antithetical to their respective world-view.

What will happen as the weekend unfolds and the two communities encounter and interact with each other? You’ll have to join in the festivities to find out – but expect to be amazed. Be sure to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience Luminato and Cirque du Soleil as never before!

My first Encounter was with this Creature from the colony on the west side of Harbourfront. There were quite a few different creatures ambling about. This one was the best. I must add, I was somewhat disappointed by the costumes. For the most part they seemed just stuff thrown together - not what I have come to expect from Cirque du Soleil.
At the Au Naturel Pond there were water creatures doing a show. It was hard to see because of the crowds and the fact that the water did not create a good stage. I took these photos by holding my camera above my head.

Next, I wandered over to the Music Garden area of Harbourfront. I will have to do a blog on that area of Harbourfront another time. It is a wonderful spot. In any event, there were some very odd things and "folk" hanging out over there. It had been set up to run sort of audience participation "interactions" or "encounters" throughout the afternoon.

I watched one such event which started as a sort of mime act where one guy was trying to play music and another guy was making it silly by interacting with the first guy and the audience. At some point the guy with the funny hat started playing piano, then a dancer came out and did some pretty funky acrobatic moves on top of the piano.

I snapped a few pics of the set area where the "interactions" were taking place.
There were two areas meant as stages, and they ran shows there about every couple of hours.
The sets were very odd, set up with things you might find in a house in the open area of the music garden.

This area had been set up as a bedroom, I presume. I was not able to catch the act being presented there. Perhaps I will be able to get back there tomorrow and see it.
I arrived as the act being presented in the area set up as the "living room" was underway. I couldn't get close enough to see what it was all about, but was able to snap this photo by holding my camera high.

Later, I found a spot with a bit of an aerial view and was able to watch for a bit. The piece I saw was more or less a clown bit, but of course Cirque du Soleil does not have the usual looking clowns. This was no exception.

I am assuming everything there was a prop for an "encounter". Not sure what they would have done with the following toilet like construction. I guess I have to go back tomorrow and hang around longer to see.
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