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May 31, 2013

OUTDOOR FILMS

Toronto in the summer is the absolute best. There is guaranteed to be a festival or an event happening every night of the week, or at least every weekend. Some of my favourites are movie screenings outdoors. Last night some friends and I grabbed a picnic blanket, some wine and watermelon and headed to Trinity Bellwoods for a free screening of Jurassic Park!! Yes, Jurassic Park in the Park. It was bliss.
There's just something so perfect about a huge crowd of strangers coming together in once shared experience. Everyone simultaneously laughing and applauding when Jeff Goldblum appeared on screen, or when Newman was eaten, was awesome. Amanda posted a Google calendar of some outdoor movies, so pencil them in! Not included yet however are films showing for Open Roof Festival. Every summer for the last four years I volunteer as a box office lady for Open Roof Festival which is all about beer, bands, local food and awesome flicks, so come say hello!

May 30, 2013

LATELY, IN FINDS

I can't help myself once I'm at a garage sale, an antique market, or if I spy a box of stuff on side of the road. Collecting things makes me happy and once I see something that speaks to me, it has to be mine. Here are some of the treasures I've found lately.

Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior: A compilation of questions and answers about etiquette, manners, etc. For example, Q: 'Is it permissible to scratch in public if you have a bad itch?' A: 'What would you do if Miss Manners said, "No"?' I'm a sucker for old books about women.

All Right, Everybody Off The Planet!: I'm also a sucker for quirky romance novels. The inscription on the back says, "Future Sex. What happens when an extraterrestrial made of plastic and passion meets a lusty, liberated earthling made of flesh and blood?' How could I not scoop this up for $1.

Mary Kay cassette tape: This baby was on the side of the road and I couldn't resist. The text on the front says 'Stories of Confidence, Commitment, Career; Discover something more with Mary Kay'. The tape is supposed to help you to start a Mary Kay business. Does anyone have a cassette player?

Venice Paintings: I fell in love with the pair of these and probably spent more money then I should have, but I was recently in Venice so I couldn't help myself.

Flowers: I came home one day to find this fallen beauty right on my doorstep. I intended to immediately press it, but a little shot glass of water helped it bloom. This baby is so potent and I'm loving the smell its giving my apartment.

LATELY, IN MOVIES

I've seen Boogie Nights a few times, but I've never really sat down and watched it. Until now that is. Marky Mark aka Dirk Diggler is so good, as is the rest of the cast. I just did a quick google search of the movie and all I'm finding is forums discussing the infamous end of the movie. Thanks Disney for finally making a film like Brave! I finally rewatched A Clockwork Orange last week. Finally because I was supposed to do this three years ago after I read the novel, also great! Woody Allen's To Rome With Love is of course amazing. And he's in it!! Will you please do a film set in Toronto? Thanks. I was really surprised with Save the Date, not that I thought it would be bad. I'm a sucker for relationship movies, what can I say. All of these movies are great, but The Tree is another story.  If a trailer makes you cry, see the movie as soon as possible. And cry is what I did, throughout the entire film. It's just... so beautiful.

Have you seen any good movies lately? Let me know!

May 26, 2013

QUEER NOISE SOLIDARITY AND A FRIDAY NIGHT WALK

On Friday night in Christie Pits, there was a performance presented by FADO called Queer Noise Solidarity. I've been having a lot of "wow that night/day was the best" + "I'm having such an amazing time right now" moments lately, and this was no exception. The night was filled with good neighbourhood walks, noise!, catch-up chats with my best Chantelle, and good food. Here's a peak of what went down.
1. This is the entrance to Bickford Park. I had never actually walked through this park before, only acknowledged it from afar by bike. Just like Christie Pits, the park is at the bottom of a hill. What a dreamy entrance. 2. Once you're inside its a perfect spot for a lazy afternoon. I only wish I had a pup to bring here.
3. The performance took place just beyond those trees. I sat on the hill close to Bloor for a while though, and right behind me there were Native Canadians having their own drum and smudging ceremony and it was incredible to listen to. 4. Queer Noise Solidarity! It was so incredible. A dozen drummers were conducted by Wednesday Lupypciw as the sun set. It's not often you sit amongst strangers and become a community listening to music in a park, so it was a really great experience. I wish I could play the drums. 
5. One of the reasons why Christie Pits is my favourite, that view. Feels like I've been mentioning this park so often lately. I'm glad its just down the street from me. Summer! 6. Here is the performance from the outside. I love watching people walk by the area and be so curious about what is going on. I love watching people dance. I loved looking up the hill and seeing people stop to have a look and take a picture. I loved the group of older men sitting in the bushes drinking and hanging out. I love the energy of community that was momentarily formed in those two hours. Ephemera in a public setting is something I'm so curious about.
7. The stretch of Bloor from Christie to Bathurst is my favourite. I love this theatre and hope that only the best intentions go into it when it is inevitably sold. If I could scoop up this baby myself I would. 8. Dear old, blurry, Honest Eds at night time. 

May 24, 2013

TORONTO: CITYPLACE

After our walk in the Toronto Music Garden, we decided to venture into a relatively new development area in the city called CityPlace. Toronto has had a huge condo boom in the last 10 years and this is one of those new neighbourhoods. I wish I was kidding when I said that this neighbourhood got its name from the major developer of the area Concord CityPlace. Everyone has an opinion about the condos in the city, myself included. To be honest, I always thought the new condos were tasteless and lacking community. I'm not against condos however, I just think there are some problems. I finally went into the area and was surprised by what I experienced in both a good and bad way.
1. I had no idea but the park that sits in this neighbourhood, called Canoe Landing Park, pays a huge respect to Terry Fox - that's a whole lot of respect for Canadian heritage. There are a bunch of photos that sit on whats called the Terry Fox Miracle Mile that relate to Terry. This is a photo shows an array of food Terry ate in diners during his cross-country run. In the background you can see how fun and innovative these condos are: a circle and a square design with a bridge! I'm not sorry.
2, 3. I've seen this park many times from the Gardiner Expressway and naturally being removed from it was a totally different experience from being within. From the highway it looks like a large, relatively quite green space. I always argued that it felt so removed from the streets and areas around it. Once I was inside of the park this was confirmed. It felt like it was strictly part of the amenities for the buildings that surround it. However I was pleasantly surprised by how great this park space actually is. I'm glad that there's a huge park with soccer fields and public art for the large influx of new residents, I just hope there are times when people from the "outside" are given a reason to go "inside".
4. Like I said, I've only ever seen this area as a drive-by on the highway. The view of the highway from within the park has quickly become one of my favourite views in the city. This lookout is practically at level with the highway and it sounds like an ocean. Oh hey look! There's the lake too. 5. This red canoe sits where the lookout is. Once you face north-west, you can see another slice of the ongoing condo boom. Practically any direction you look in the city you can probably count at least three to five cranes. I heard that Toronto is on par with Shanghai (I think?) in terms of the amount of cranes and construction!
6. This is the only bridge that connects this new neighbourhood to the north. I'm confused why a dull yellow was chosen as the colour. Maybe because it blends well with the rest of the colourless neighbourhood? I should also mention that once we walked from the park to this bridge past the entrances to the condos themselves, it felt like a gated community. More importantly, the entire area smelled like plastic. Crossing my fingers it wasn't the toxic VOCs coming off the new materials. 7, 8. Post-card worthy view, minus the fence. This is Toronto's major transportation corridor into the city, with the lovely CN Tower in the background.

Do you live in a city that has new neighbourhoods built from the ground up? Tell me moar!

May 23, 2013

NOISE ADVENTURE 2

This noise adventure actually happened back in April, but I've finally gotten around to writing a post about it. As I mentioned before, I'm apart of an artist residency this summer called the Noise Project. Our second get together consisted of a walking tour from the Allen Lambert Galleria in Brookfield Place (Calatrava < 3) into the PATH and finishing in the lobby of Union Station. Next we were to pick a space that spoke to us the most and come up with a hypothetical installation. I chose the tunnels within the PATH and you can read more about my installation idea here
Back then I didn't quite have an idea for my final installation, but I've come a long way and have recently developed and idea that relates back to this original concept. I'm curious about transitory experiences, thresholds, music and emotions within streetscapes. 
Muzak is used to relax and slow people down, to either get people to buy more or to divert their attention from an otherwise unpleasant space. What I find hilarious is noise used to do the exact opposite: to deter one from a space. Read my post to see the similarity between rodents and teens (not joking). I'm currently exploring music in public space as a means of grounding one to their surroundings and as a tool to create place, experience, and memory. Do any of you have a memory or experience that involves music in public space? Is there someone in your city that plays music on a street corner that makes you smile? Do let me know!

May 22, 2013

LATELY IN PHOTOS: MAY LONG WEEKEND

The past weekend was the first long weekend of the summer. Most people rush to leave the city and go up to their cottage. I had the best stay-cation here in Toronto. This is what I got up to:
1. Friday morning I met up with some friends to play basketball. I haven't played basketball in maybe, I don't know, close to 10 years? I was exhausted and out of breath mostly because I was laughing the entire time. I'm now so hyped on bball that I've started hustling my friends to play games of 21 with me.  After the morning game, I had so much energy that I went home, turned on my 80s playlist and tuned-up my bike. You know, an 80s montage. Sadly I do not have a photo, but here is a vine. 2. Then I did some home-improvements to my shower window, as I wrote about here
3. The weather was so perfect all weekend long. Here is the sunsetting over Christie Pits. 4. I was outside all weekend as well which meant lots of walks and bike rides around the city. I spy this beautiful peach rose door.
5, 6. On Saturday I went on another Noise Walk. The people apart of the Noise Project are so creative and inspiring. We visited the gallery where the exhibition is going to take place at the end of July and its huge! I'm starting to really develop my ideas and I'm so excited to share.
7. Hangouts and BBQs all weekend long at Kasia and Chad's house. Best. 8. Shout out to Chad though, he amazingly participated in basically a girls weekend complete with 80s dance parties, spontaneous yoga stretching, and OKCupid stalking. No guilt. 9. Sunday we hung out in the park all day, played badminton, drank beers, got tanned.
10. One of my favourite things to do is walk home when the bars are about to close. This weekend was quiet since everyone was out of town, but there was still a little buzz. I think most people were in backyards with beers as opposed to in bars. 11. Always fall asleep to movies. These three have been on loop for two weeks.

DECORATIVE WINDOW SCREENS

It's been a while, but I have another post up over at the Wanderer's Palace. Seeing as I live in a basement, my windows are so important. I have a spectacular set of windows in my shower, as I mentioned here, but they basically sit at ground level so privacy is an issue. This week I wrote about How to Use Decorative Window Screens. It's super easy, relatively affordable, and they come in a variety of options at your local hardware store. Here's a quick before and after:
Crazy difference right? Check out the post here!

May 15, 2013

CITY SNAPSHOT: AMALFI

Amalfi is just a short drive away from Sorrento, so my Nona and I took a day trip along the Amafli Coast to this glorious beach to lie in the sun and swim in the Mediterranean Sea. The drive was scary; the bus drives along the edge of a mountain and the roads are small and winding. Let me just say, if you can't handle heights do not sit by the window. The view was beautiful... when I wasn't closing my eyes in sheer terror. It was all worth it when we arrived to this slice of heaven:
1, 2. I stepped off the bus and saw this. My first thought was how is this real? 3, 4, 5. The bus drops you off towards the top of the town and you have to meander your way through tiny shop-lined streets to get to the beach. I only had one quest: get to ocean, order a cocktail, relax. 6. More cats!
7, 8, 9. I mean really. Swimming in the sea and having this view was definitely one of the more surreal moments in my life. So much colour, so much beauty. So many Italian men in speedos. 10, 11, 12. Renting one of these beach chairs and umbrellas was no more then 10 Euro a day. We sat next to a bunch of friends in their 20s who drive to this beach from the north of Italy for weekend getaways. I wish I could drive a few hours to get to this magical place too. 13, 14. The beauty continues. 15. Basically. Also, when you travel to Italy you must order a spritz! Nona and I drunk on spritz lying on a beach along the Amalfi Coast... only to break for a pizza. Life is but a dream..

See more posts about this trip:

For all the cities I've travelled to, go here.
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