Tag Archives: art
The dawn of art as an experience is upon us. With events like Nuit Blanche becoming a regular thing around the world, it should be no surprise that our museums are starting to take a hint, in an attempt to draw a younger, hipper crowd.
The Royal Ontario Museum seems to be one of the first to pick up on this idea, having started Friday Night Live last summer. I attended one of the first Fridays last June, and I will freely admit that was my first time ever actually stepping inside the ROM in my entire time living here. This highlights the fact that young people, who – like me – love art and culture, aren’t even visiting the museum semi-regularly. This is a problem that Friday Night Live seems intent on fixing.
Of course, it’s a bigger problem for a museum like the ROM, which, rather than art, exhibits artifacts – a much harder sell.
The initial appeal of the event is that it opens the museum later than its regular hours, until 11pm (but the actual exhibits close at 9:30pm – only an hour more than their regular Friday hours), and you can also drink, dance, eat delicious food and enjoy music in the main foyer.
My first attempt to review FNLrom was for their BIG Fashion night, but unfortunately the museum had reached capacity by the time I arrived and they refused to let anyone else in, even as people were leaving. This fact seemingly soured me on the night – there is a big problem when staff are told to refuse people entrance despite the venue being under capacity once patrons leave. I was surprised that even with a media pass, and even as I watched many people leave with no intent of returning, no way was I getting in. Why would you keep people out of an event when there is room? The laziness of this shocked me. People were waiting in line for a LONG time expecting to get in without being told otherwise, cash in hand, but that didn’t matter to the people controlling the doors.
I returned the following week for God Save The Queen night, where I finally got to check out the Big Fashion exhibit I was so excited to see. Sadly, there was really only four main dresses – though they were incredible works of art from Christian Dior, Vivian Tam, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen – and the exhibit itself was so poorly lit that you’d probably miss out on some of the exquisite detail if you don’t have 20/20 vision.
While the European exhibit was where the British theme came from, the night itself suffered from a lack of any real British focus. There were DJs playing a mix of tunes (yes, some from British artists but I guess I was expecting a purely BritPop/Invasion night), the food wasn’t on theme, and nothing about it really screamed “God Save The Queen.” With a name like that, I was expecting something, well, slightly more punk rock.
I appreciate that the night is more for the ‘club’ crowd, so being particularly thematic maybe isn’t their focus as much as having people drink and dance in a cool space, but I do see a lot of room for growth that could make the event more desirable to the non-club kids. For example, a night with such a glorious name could have had a Beatles or Rolling Stones cover band, food local to Britain, maybe a speciality drink on theme as well? Display or project their flag somewhere! Have a British Invasion dress code. It’s this kind of going all out that would make it the kind of night people remember for ages.
I realize it wouldn’t be easy to bring in a unique menu item for the night, but I’m sure there are some talented chefs in the city that could do it. The food is already excellent as is (this is their one advantage over AGO’s First Thursdays), and it appears they have some partners that they work with on a continual basis – but bringing in someone new for each theme would be memorable and impressive.
The final night of the season was themed Light, and unfortunately this was less impressive than the previous week. The only thing that seemed to tie into the theme was the projection of scribbles onto the wall, and the rotating coloured lights flashing onto the dinosaur skeleton in the main foyer.
What definitely saved it for me though, was the live music from Cai.ro, a local band that should be on your radar if they’re not already. Seeing a band play at the ROM with a drink in hand is definitely an experience I highly recommend, and their support of local live music thus far has been impressive. Cai.ro played a beautiful set, and even included a Radiohead cover that served to make my night (as did the tacos from Gourmet Gringos – gluten free – but be ready for a LONG wait).
The worst part about FNLrom is the pointless buying of ROM Bucks in order to purchase food or drinks. I see the advantage of this – the servers don’t have to deal with cash and change – but it adds another line up to a night filled with line ups. Line up to buy your bucks so you can line up to buy your drinks and line up again to buy your food. Half your night will be spent in a line up. Also, if you do not spend all of your ROM Bucks by the end of the season, they expire and you’ve just wasted your money. AGO First Thursdays avoids this and allows you to buy food and drinks with cash, and it makes for a lot less hassle and more time to explore the museum.
With all that said – big props to the people behind FNLrom – you have started a museum revolution that is bringing art (and artifacts) into the lives of people who would likely never step foot into a museum. With some tweaks, it could become one of the best nights this city has to offer.
This is so incredibly brilliant. I just watched it three times in a row and that number will double by the end of today. Neil Gaiman is an inspiration for anyone in any creative field, and this speech he gave to the 2012 University of the Arts graduating class is the speech I wish I had the pleasure of hearing on graduation day.
When things get tough, this is what you should do: make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Someone on the internet thinks what you are doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best. Make good art. Make it on the bad days, and make it on the good days too.
You get work however you get work, but people keep working in a freelance world because their work is good, and because they are easy to get along with, and because they deliver their work on time. And you don’t even need all three. Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. People will forgive the lateness of your work if it’s good and they like you. And you don’t have to be as good as everyone else if you’re on time, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.
Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way at making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for Heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
The week we all love is finally here. Come Wednesday the city of Toronto will be filled with bands playing until 4am (extended license at bars is one of the many things we love about our music festivals), films about music will take over the screens, awards will be given out to both budding and widely successful musicians, photos will be taken, interviews will be given, and lectures/advice/panels/business cards/promo cds of all kinds will be rampant at The Fairmont Royal York hotel. That’s right, Canadian Music Week has arrived.
Rather than have a set schedule this year I’m trying to leave things open and move from venue to venue depending on the level of awesome the bands are fulfilling. The whole point of these indie music fests is to find new music to love, so it’s best to see as much as you can and mix it up. That said, I still have some particulars I think are definitely worth checking out each day, so here goes:
WEDNESDAY MARCH 9th
Rock Series @ Cadillac Lounge: Featuring Melanie Morgan, Poor Young Things, Tongue ‘N Groove, The Polymorphines and Dirty Penny
19 + All wristbands accepted, doors at 8pm
I have to recommend this show as I had the pleasure of watching Poor Young Things live a few weeks back at the Horseshoe and felt as though I had stumbled upon something that could be truly great. These guys sound like they’ve been playing together for years and I have no doubt the will carve their niche in the music scene here if they keep at it. They are engaging and exciting live, with some of the strongest originals I’ve heard from a band so new to the Toronto music scene. If you like The Band, Led Zeppelin, Kings of Leon, Buffalo Springfield and alt country based rock in general this is the show to check out. They would fit in perfectly with bands like The Beauties who play an amazing set every Sunday at the Dakota Tavern. I can only hope the other bands will be just as strong.
Proud FM Presents Gentlemen Reg @ The Gladstone Hotel: Featuring Kevin Wong, Chris Velan, Rouge, Creature and Gentlemen Reg
19 + All wristbands accepted, doors at 7pm
Gentlemen Reg is well known and loved in the Toronto music scene, easily the best name playing Wednesday night. Shows at the Gladstone are always a good time and if you’re visiting Toronto from out of town it is a must see before you leave.
THURSDAY MARCH 10th
CHARTattack Showcase @ The Horseshoe Tavern: Featuring Modern Superstitions, Molly Rankin, Memphis, Still Life Still, Zeus, Rich Aucoin and The Wilderness
19+ All wristbands accepted, doors 8pm
This is a fantastic lineup and sure to be one of my favorites of the week. The Horseshoe is the perfect venue to see new bands, so it’s no surprise CHARTattack has their showcase here every night of the fest. Zeus is that band that is right on the edge of hitting it big so take advantage of this opportunity to see them with a bunch of great little bands before you have to pay inflated ticket prices for shitty venues like the Sound Academy.
102.1 The Edge and Blackberry Present U.S.S @ The Phoenix Concert Theatre: Featuring Misteur Valaire, MEDI and Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS)
19+ All wristbands accepted, doors 8pm
My friend Isabelle (@Isa_Gauthier on Twitter!) let me know about Misteur Valaire who are doing well up in Montreal. After Arcade Fire’s big year you can be sure there will be a strong showing from our French friends so this is worth checking out. If you miss this you can also see MV and MEDI Friday at The El Mocambo at 3pm at the M for Montreal showcase.
FRIDAY MARCH 11th
Sirius Secret Show @ The Mod Club: Featuring The Sadies with Bachman & Turner, Sammy Hagar Guest Appearance
19+, (Very) limited wristbands/passes accepted, tickets sold out, doors 7pm
I’ve no idea who the headliner will be yet (I’ll edit this post as soon as it is announced) but if they’re as good as the Sadies this will be a show worth showing up early for. And you will have to if you don’t already have tickets because when they say limited wristbands accepted, they really mean limited. If you want to get in, line up well before the line up starts.
UPDATE: The guests are Canadian legends of BTO fame (American Woman, anyone?) and on top of that, Sammy Hagar will also be performing. Don’t expect (m)any wristbands to get in.
J Mascis @ The Great Hall: Featuring James Vincent McMorrow, Kurt Vile and the Violators and J Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr. )
19+, Limited wristbands/passes accepted, doors 9pm
This will probably be the most noteworthy show of the whole week. J Mascis is a god in the indie music scene, beloved for his work in Dinosaur Jr. I had the chance to see him a few summers ago when he played with Broken Social Scene for their annual summer show at the Island, under the name ‘Broken Mascis Scene’ and it was one of the greatest concert experiences I’ve had. Last year BSS gave their stage to Pavement and many people abandoned ship when Pavement took over, which was a far cry from the love that happened when they played with J. Beyond that he has a stellar opener with Kurt Vile and the Violators (best band name ever? probably), Vile is fast earning his place among guitar legends. The lineup for this will start early, as of right now tickets are still available which is your best bet if you really want to see the show.
If you can’t get into either of those go see Deer Tick at the Opera House at 9pm, all wristbands accepted.
SATURDAY MARCH 12th
XM Satellite Radio Presents The Indie Awards @ The Canadian Room inside Royal York hotel: Featuring Desperate Union, Hannah Georgas, Bombay Bicycle Club, Hollerado, Shad, Janelle Monae
All ages, All wristbands accepted, doors 7pm
Refer to my previous post for my excitement about these awards. This is a must attend because the nominees this year are so good, I want to know who wins immediately. Of course the performers usually give a good clue to who will take home the glory, but there are a whole lot of categories in which none of these guys are nominated. I’m looking forward to seeing which winners show up and accept their awards.
CHARTattack Showcase @ The Horseshoe Tavern: Featuring KO, Inward Eye, Parlovr, Jakalope, Die Mannequin, Rah Rah and Wildlife
19+ All wristbands accepted, doors 8pm
Another CHARTattack showcase makes my list because frankly they know how to book a show. This is sure to be another great night at the Shoe, and the best venue to head to after the Indies if only to see Die Mannequin do their thing. I’m sure the other bands will give me something to write about as well. Looking forward to this one.
SUNDAY MARCH 13th
Will Currie + Friends @ The Gladstone Hotel: Featuring Gay and Will Currie & the Country French
19+ All wristbands accepted, doors 8pm
I was first introduced to the music of Will Currie & The Country French back at CMW 2008 when Sloan was putting on a Murderecords showcase. I came to see my loves Sloan, but was surprised with this incredible opening act. They all looked to be just out of high school but their sound was strong, unique and highly developed. I can only imagine what three years has done to make them even better. Really looking forward to see what direction they’ve taken. Go see this show for a great end to the week.
Who are you looking forward to seeing this year? Have I missed any must see shows? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add them in!
No not my room, get your mind out of the gutter.
The Queen West hot spot hotel known as the Gladstone houses the rooms I’m talking about. In their seventh year running, this alternative design show never fails to impress. This is the show where the curators give the artists and designers free reign on a particular room or space and the curator is not allowed to see the room until the event begins. That is the way art should be done. No boundaries or limitations, the creators free to express their vision exactly as they visualize it. This year included 11 rooms, 14 public space installations and over 50 designers. I thought all the installations were interesting but some definitely resonated with me more than others.
Here are some (low quality camera) pics of my favorites:
This was a room with video installations being projected onto the walls and floor, the images changed every minute or so.
Rose posing in front of part of the carnival game installation.
This room had an empty bed surrounded by lanterns hanging from a tree with cryptic displays inside them (the crappy camera actually worked well to add to the creepy effect of this installation).
The tub in the bathroom of the Jar room.
This was easily my favorite.
Shelves full of found items, and if you wanted anything you just traded in something of yours for it.
Notes were left with every item, some literally describing the item, some more poetic.
Rose found something she had been meaning to buy, and decided to trade for it.
The artist was happy she decided to participate.
This was the main part of the carnival display: a game of plinko!
This was part of the white room.
There was a room filled with anonymous quotes, which immediately made me happy.
By far the prettiest and most intricate room had a bed set up so onlookers could get the full effect.
Rose willingly jumped in to snap some pics.
As we were leaving I felt regret for not participating in the lost and found trade, and went back for a little plaid item I had spotted earlier.
In all its unwrapped glory:
It was a great event and one I always look forward to and highly recommend. My only advice is don’t make the mistake of going on party night when it is packed. People were cut off from coming in, and that is really annoying. It also makes it really hard to get around to see the different rooms comfortably when there are crowds of people just standing around drinking in the small space.
Anyhow, I look forward to more Gladstone art events in the future, and will be bringing them to the blog as always. And with a much better camera next time- I promise!