It’s that time again…Following TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). Leafing through the booklet (shown above) there are too many films that I’m anxious to see. A Sampling:
ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch
Okay; not feel-good but necessary knowledge:
The latest masterful collaboration between Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky isn’t so much eye-opening as mind-blowing as it essays our unprecedented impact on the Earth to stunning effect. The staggering tableaux captured here are at once surreal and sobering, including monolithic machines hell-bent on terraforming their surroundings and potash mines that evoke a bad drug trip. This is filmmaking of the highest order that unfolds on a dizzying, almost inconceivable scale.
Bathtubs Over Broadway
MAD | Music/Art/Design (Because I LOVE Broadway Musicals)
Where did Chita Rivera, Martin Short and the late Florence Henderson (all present here) get their starts? In “industrial” musicals–musicals commissioned by corporate America from the 50s through the 80s to entertain employees and celebrate, say, bathroom fixtures or Fords… Dava Whisenant’s supremely entertaining film follows industrial musical obsessive Steve Young (a writer for David Letterman, who also appears) as he uncovers a hidden world. “Get ready to laugh, sing, cheer, and be dazzled.”—POV
In My Room (Israel)
Impact | VIFF Impact
Deeply intimate, unexpectedly moving and entirely of its moment, Ayelet Albenda’s documentary unfolds through footage culled from six teenagers’ self-produced YouTube videos. Make no mistake: these aren’t social media stars or influencers. They’re just average kids documenting their trials (including pregnancy and eating disorders) and trying to make some sense of them. The remarkably honest moments they share quickly coalesce into an involving study of the myriad iterations of adolescence.
I’ll be focusing on reviewing a bunch of diverse cinema during the festival.
A good friend of mine who lives part-time in Tokyo just texted me a photo where she was eating a goldfish at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Okay; it’s not a real goldfish (thank goodness) but a jelly dessert that’s part of a Goldfish Festival on until the end of September. So I had to research the festival because one of the many things I remember about the time I lived in Tokyo was that they have an abundance of not-your-norm festivals.
In Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868), in the days before the blissful arrival of air conditioning and electric fans, the residents of Tokyo had their own tried and tested ways of dealing with the hot summer weather. Traditionally, people would don lightweight yukata cotton robes and found that viewing images of goldfish had the mysterious effect of providing psychological relief from the summer heat.
The Eco Edo Nihonbashi is a festival themed on the cooling image of goldfish, which aims to replicate this marvelous placebo effect as it takes over the streets of downtown Tokyo from early July until late September. Festival-goers are invited to try for themselves some of the tactics used to keep cool by Tokyoites of yore as they scoop goldfish, dance among the fish at a night-time aquarium party, and munch on refreshing goldfish-themed summer treats.
Eco Edo will showcase the curious cooling properties of goldfish to the full, with an array of goldfish-themed attractions. All these forms of Edo-period wisdom can be enjoyed in a traditional Japanese festival atmosphere, with the surrounding streets decked out with the festival’s trademark enormous goldfish lanterns.
Goldfish Sweets & Bar Walk
New to this year’s festival, enjoy traditional Edo hospitality on a gourmet stroll through Nihonbashi and Ningyocho districts, where many bars, cafes and restaurants will be plying guests with goldfish-themed sweet treats and bar menus as well as locally-produced Japanese sake. Dishes on offer include colourful jelly in glass dishes designed to resemble goldfish in a goldfish bowl, and chilled oden (fish and vegetable hotpot) garnished with tiny carrot goldfish. Visitors can also claim special gifts in each area they visit and collect stamps to enter a lottery to win luxury prizes.
As part of the food and hospitality event, the Mandarin Oriental is also tempting festival-goers with several special offers:
Goldfish Bowl Desserts
Slurp on exquisite layered jelly desserts made to resemble goldfish swimming in a goldfish bowl – they’re almost too beautiful to eat! Where? Ground floor, the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo When? 7:30-20:00 (weekdays), 9:00-19:00 (weekends and public holidays) to 24th September.
Art speaks where words are unable to explain – Unknown
Diary of a Leitmotif
Leitmotifis a term originating from opera, where it referred to a recurring melody or that played along with a character or allusion to a theme (idea or situation) whenever one or the other appeared on stage. It derives from the German words for “leading” (leit) and “motive” (motif). But these are only words.
Last Thursday I attended the opening of Berlin based artist Deborah Wargon’s Diary of a Leitmotifat the Back Gallery Project on Vancouver’s East Side. A most intricate and thought-provoking display of lines, contemplations and vibrations. Made from elaborately cut paper works and presented like archived insects in entomological display drawers from the Natural History Museum, Berlin.
Our fellow friend & filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming curated this intriguing exhibition which runs until October 8th.
You know how a little dab will do you? Well a little spritz is even better. Perfume can be easily overdone to the point of turning people off with an overwhelming smell instead of a delicate but delightful scent.
We’ve all stood next to someone on an elevator who’s overdone it on the perfume front. The floor you’re waiting to get off on can’t come faster. For me having allergies, I can’t stop sneezing. If it’s cheap perfume even worse. So I suggest:
Take a clue from hairdresser and grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye, the series on Netflix.
He suggests the best way is to spray away from you, wait a second or two and walk right through it. This is best done without clothing. I’ve tried it. It words beautifully and is not overpowering. It leaves you with a more gentle fragrance. Don’t Delay. Try it soon.
Mixing Art with Fashion: There are Dresses and then there are DRESSES
Azzedine Alaïa, thefamous Tunisian-born couturier and shoe designer who passed away last November left a lasting legacy to the world of fashion.Je Suis Couturier, an exhibition of 41 dresses by Alaïa, will be a chance for the admiring fashion crowd to pay their respects. Especially since he never wanted a memorial.
With signature elegance and masterful cutting, Alaïa knew how to highlight the body’s curves like no other. Poignantly, the couturier himself selected the 60 pieces for inclusion.
In response to a couture career spanning 35 years, new and architectural pieces have been commissioned for the show, allowing artists and designers to pay tribute to a designer who was truly enamored with his craft.
“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” runs until October 7, 2018, at the Design Museum, London. www.designmuseum.org
“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir.
Getting ready to embrace some change
“Change is a great and horrible thing, and people love it or hate it at the same time. Without change, however, you just don’t move.” -Marc Jacobs
“I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question.” -Harun Yahya
Our habits, that is. Out with the bad, in with the beneficial.
Breaking free from destructive or just plain not good-for-you habit forming ways and embracing better ones are something we all struggle with, at least from time to time. Habits are; well they’re exactly that…same old, same old and hard to easily break away from. But of course not all habits are bad. But how often have we beaten ourselves up because once again we did it again…the hateful habit. The one we keep trying to change. We all have them.
Okay I’ll start first: ummm let’s see I’m only trying to break a few habits. Or rather keep on top of good habits.
I’m under the influence. I have friends who are vegan and gluten-free. So what I would normally order in a Japanese restaurant turned 180 degrees a few days ago. I ordered a sushi roll made out of soy bean paper (yes, I did) that contained asparagus, oshinko, red beets, yam, avocado, cucumber, spinach and shitake. Super healthy and tasted great. Didn’t think it would.
But when the server came around to ask will that be all? I broke down and asked for a tuna & wild salmon nigiri for dessert. Not because I needed it, because it didn’t feel normal for me to leave a decent Japanese restaurant and not order a few pieces of raw fish. I know that’s a weird and fairly tame example but still. It’s a habit of sorts. The veggie sushi was satisfying enough to have left it alone. That’s all I’m saying.
Other annoying behavior of non regularity to make better: changing my mindset of what is good and what is not, get me to the gym on time and more often, don’t forget to take my vitamins, start running again and stick with it. Join a Spanish speaking group. Read more. Dance more. The biggest one: reinforce the fact that other people’s stuff is not my stuff. I mean; don’t take on other people’s garbage. That is not only annoying but disparaging to the spirit. A good habit to break is to not let other people break your spirit.
Which brings me to this workshop put on by a friend which offers a personalized approach to managing your habits:
Come join us this September and learn how to establish new positive habits and tweak or re-write old, less-than-positive habits so you can get to work on what matters to you in your life. Register by August 31 to get early-bird pricing.
pilgrimme on Galiano Island is a foodie dining out discovery. It may be off the beaten path, but even so, it’s not easy to get a reservation. It has been voted in Canada’s 100 TOP Restaurants for good reason. I called a couple weeks in advance and was considered lucky to get a table for four during my recent stay on Galiano. And what a dining experience it turned out to be.
For years, Galiano remained a well-kept secret, its charms known mainly to the farmers and artisans who called it home. The cozy wood cabin previously existed as a much loved French restaurant for years before present owners Leanne Lalonde and Jesse McLeery put their name above the door. Leanne had previously worked for Rosewood’s King Pacific Lodge in the great bear rainforest where she first met Jesse.
Jesse made the inspiring journey to Denmark to spend the winter in the kitchen of Copenhagen’s acclaimed Noma, a two-Michelin-star restaurant . Returning west with new ideas and a reinforced vision, Jesse, with Leanne, opened pilgrimme working with the growers and artisans of Galiano Island. Everything is made fresh from scratch, locally sourced, farm-to-table, creatively plated and extremely tasty. Even the ceramics are made on the island. They have a nicely curated wine list too.
Here’s the thing that impressed me the most. The restaurant created an all vegan menu which was absolutely delicious because out of our group of four people, two and a half of us are vegan. I must admit that I had my reservations about that at first because I thought that vegan food would be less tasty but everything turned out to be surprisingly excellent. As good or better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant all year. And it made me change my mind-set. In a perfect world we would all be vegan and everything would be better off. Although I’m not quite ready to totally live up to that. I’m not perfect just yet.