This film festival is something I look forward to attending and blogging about every year. The lineup has always been excellent and it’s nice to sit with and bump into the same familiar faces. No doubt this time is going to be different. The familiarity of sharing a cinematic experience with a crowd is on hold for now and we’ll all be happy when things return to normal and we’re able to sit together again. So until then…
British Columbia’s biggest annual celebration of cinema is just around the corner.
From Noon on September 24 to October 7th, film lovers province-wide will enjoy over 100 feature films and events showcasing exciting, groundbreaking and provocative cinema and creators from around the globe.
You’ll be able to watch this year’s stellar line-up from the comfort of your home via VIFF Connect, VIFF’s new online streaming platform. For the first time, audiences across BC can watch VIFF curated cinema and viewers around the world can tune into our Talks and Conferences.
Let me introduce you to extremely talented Canadian visual artist Kris Friesen. Everybody has a story. He can paint yours.
The header today is the finished mural at the Greek restaurant Koutouki in the 124 Street neighborhood of Edmonton. It depicts a colorful streetscape of busy life in restaurants and cafes in Athens. By Kris Friesen.
I first met Kris about 15 years ago when my husband and I commissioned him to paint a wall on part of our outdoor courtyard after seeing his work on the outside of a gelato shop on Commercial Drive in Vancouver.
Our friend Jackie was anxious to take us to this new place for the best gelato in the city, but as good as it was we were more mesmerized by the lifelike Italian scene depicted on one whole side of the building. The attention to detail was amazing. Actually, it was the best mural we’d seen to date and it got us thinking about how we could incorporate something personal to our own outdoor space. So I got in touch with the shop owner who let Kris know we were interested. Unfortunately the shop along with the mural is no longer there.
We had some ideas, Kris painted a story board and voila, our idea came to life. A bit Santa Fe, a bit Wine Country and some water and mountains off to the distance. And of course, an expanse of sky. When we sat out there we felt like we had a special view of everything we like. And it was after that that we wondered why on earth we hadn’t asked him to paint another wall. We pondered that idea for several years. Then we decided to move on it.
However by then Kris had unfortunately for us, moved to Edmonton and we dressed up the blank wall with a wall hanging and later on a mirror with plants in front. We felt it needed something. Fast forward to this past summer when I found Kris’s website and sent him an e-mail not even sure he’d remember me. Surprisingly he did. By this time he had moved to Duncan, B.C. – at least it was a lot closer. I told him my husband had passed away and that we had been talking for years about wanting to get him back to do some more art. Luckily for me, Kris was Vancouver bound for several days just recently so we discussed the wall. I thought Spring would be a perfect time to start however Kris was going traveling for a while and not sure exactly when he’d be back. Since the weather was good and considering how well the other mural held up over the years, I decided to go ahead.
I wanted the older mural to be extended around the corner and a few other things added to the much smaller blank wall area; which would have not been in the original plan.
The work in progress:
Mural Mural on the Wall – I’m very happy with the finished result. He even put another protective coating on the first mural which had held up very well and re-painted a few things on the upstairs deck. Oh yeah; he also painted some rocks, sagebrush, flowers, gekkos and butterflies on the upstairs deck. Looks great.
Here’s a small sampling of his other diverse original works of art. Kris not only paints murals. He started with that, however now he paints on canvas and panels mostly.
Hidden Paradise is the very appropriate tour name given by the Palm Springs Historical Society to refer to The Mesa; an eclectic and beautifully secluded hillside neighborhood. I took all of these photos two days ago, on the last day of the tour for this season. It was a hot one….and I’m not referring to just the tour.
I was invited to go on this relatively new tour, not being aware of how incredibly close in proximity The Mesa is to where I reside. I’m really happy I chose this walking tour from several the society offers because it’s another hidden jewel that I’m told many locals don’t even know about. Even though some of the homes you can see from a distance, you may not know how to get there.
As they say on their website it is truly a slice of paradise. The amazing variety of architecture ranges from the romantic Spanish Colonial Revival of the 1920’s to today’s dramatic contemporary styles. Even one original mid-century modern home that stands out.
With a glamorous past it has long been home to the Hollywood elite (Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Cher, Joseph Cotten, Henry Mancini, *Johnny Mercer, Jack Warner of Warner Brothers Studios, among others). Many have been celebrities from the World of Music – singers, composers, lyricists and musicians. Even the cartoonist Lee Holley, known for Denis the Menace and comic strip Bugs Bunny who passed away in his home here just last year. Our guide told us that he was so friendly he’d give away some of his original cartoon drawings.
There are many vacation rentals here now too. One home had no outside windows at all in the front to keep passersby from peering inside. But I’m telling you; never judge a house from the outside.
Unless you’re lucky enough to get an invite to one of Barry Manilow’s fundraising shindigs, you can see his home and that of his friend Suzanne Somers from the outside only. However the area itself which is larger than it appears is striking just to walk around and see the gorgeous gardens. In fact, it was really more of a garden/landscape tour than home tour – walking around for 2 hours+.
A crown jewel of desert architecture, Ship of the Desert, is located here. Designer TrinaTurk (love her clothes) resides here. I’ve seen this home from afar many times. I know a few people who’ve been to a cocktail party inside (there are no hallways) during Modernism week. They referred to Turk as a lovely and gracious host.
Michael, our patient tour guide was very knowledgeable about the homes and the people who lived/lives here and entertained us with some anecdotes and juicy gossip.
I highly recommend one of the walking tours (only $20) when visiting or even living in Palm Springs.
Other tours the Historical Society offers are Golden Era (Hollywood Homes of Old Las Palmas), Inns, Architecture and Glamour,The Tennis Club (Celebrity Haven), Rat Pack Playground (and Frank Sinatra’s Neighborhood in the Movie Colony), among Private Tours (Architecture gems and Palm Springs Highlights).
*Johnny Mercer wrote 1,500 songs and won 4 oscars. He’s probably most famous for writing Moon Riverfor Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Also the Days of Wine and Roses,Autumn Leaves, etc. He was a big fan of Barry Manilow and near the end of his life he donated all of his songs to Manilow.
It’s that time of year again….Palm Springs hosts it’s 14th annual signature event featuring midcentury modern architecture, interior, and landscape design, art and vintage culture from February 14-24, 2019.
Join us for modernist tours, talks, shows, exhibits, films, parties, and much much more.
A good painter looks for solutions. A great painter looks for problems – Fernando Botero.
A fascinating behind-the-scenes profile of Columbian artist Fernando Botero. The North American premiere of “Botero” at the 30th Palm Springs International Film Festival was one of the most compelling documentaries I’ve seen in a long time. The figurative painter and sculptor is known as the world’s most recognized living artist – although someone I knew very little about and was curious to find out more.
For starters, many people only know him from his illustrious paintings of distorted fat ladies. Well…turns out he’s much more well rounded (pun intended) than that. He does not only people but landscapes, animals, fruit and sculptures.
Botero’s style is familiar in the same manner that other famous artists are, no matter what they paint. Picasso, Warhol, Monet, Pollock….their style is always identifiable. Botero’s colorful whimsical work with a touch of satire tends to appeal to the masses.
I was blown away by Botero’s body of work including enormous sculptures which grace some of the world’s major landmarks and institutions. You don’t have to like everything, however you can’t help but admire and respect it. Not all art critics understand the thought process behind the artist. Some get it, some don’t. It’s pretty simple. A great artist makes you feel because there’s a story behind every piece of art whether it’s abstract or otherwise. It’s not just brush strokes.
For instance, Botero did a series of paintings of a young boy – boy is sitting atop a wooden horse, dressed up as an officer. We learn the young boy was Botero’s son, struck by a truck early on in life and died instantly. This was Botero’s way of honouring his boy. For a long while the young boy is all he painted. It must have been torturous for him to do so. But we look at the painting not knowing the story behind it and feel what we feel .
Director Don Millar who was here in person for a Q&A afterwards delves not only into the psyche of what makes Botero tick, he also interviews Botero’s daughter and two sons. You see the love and respect they have for their father. They are clearly family people, educated and articulate.
On display: many works by Botero are on display at the Botero Museum in the center of Bogotá, Columbia.
Botero also very generously donated ALL of his private paintings, drawings and sculpures (including works he owned by Picasso, Monet and more) to the Museo de Antioquia in Medellin, his hometown in Columbia. He now spends most of his time in Italy but the donation in Columbia is a positive way to take the focus off of a city which conjures up images of drug cartels, gangsters and kidnappers. The collection is the largest of his work anywhere to date.
I look forward to this time of the year. It always starts off with a bang. The bang being fireworks for New Year’s Eve and after a day or so of recuperation (depending of course on how much partying I do)…..my favorite way to start the year is by viewing & reviewing a bunch of great films at the Palm Springs International Film Festival; one of the largest film festivals in North America. It’s always an exciting time to be in Palm Springs.
On Thursday, January 3, the annual Film Awards Gala will kick off the festival at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The gala honours the best achievements of the film year by a celebrated list of talents.
The screening portion of the festival will run Friday, January 4 through Monday, January 14.
The Festival welcomes over 135,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. Produced by the Palm Springs International Film Society, the Festival offers 12 days of events and film screenings featuring over 200 films from 78 countries.
I don’t present myself as a movie critic or pretend to be one. I only attend the films and documentaries that interest me personally and blog about it for this website. So I am obviously hoping to “like” everything I see and am aware that what I like, you may not. I’m looking to be entertained and learn something new. And I feel privileged to be given media passes to premieres and special events.
It’s been a while since I’ve had some serious Style Inspirationbut this goes beyond. This is global fashion culture. I’m talking about the first Canadian exhibition devoted to the work of Guo Pei, China’s preeminent couturière, and the first fashion exhibition ever presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery. In collaboration with SCAD FASH MUSEUM OF FASHION + FILM. On until January 20, 2019. Simply Superb!
Featuring more than forty complete looks from Pei’s most iconic runway shows from 2006 to 2017. Theatrical, extravagant (no kidding) creations combining contemporary aesthetics, production methods and materials with ancient tradition, evoking Chinese history and mythology in her technique with fabric selection and imagery. These photos do not do her justice.
If you get the chance I highly recommend checking it out. To date it is definitely the most magnificent display I’ve ever come across in fashion.
The world is a stage but the play is badly cast – Oscar Wilde
Poet and Playwright Oscar Wilde is famous for many reasons. I’m most familiar with his whimsical satire of Victorian society The Importance of Being Earnest – a classic about love, deception and mistaken identity. A great character study… perfectly cast.
And I saw his lipstick covered tomb at the renowned Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France.
Other than that, I learned a lot more when viewing the special presentation of THE HAPPY PRINCEat the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) yesterday.
No man is rich enough to buy back his past – Oscar Wilde
Actor Rupert Everett gives a simply remarkable performance as Wilde. He also impressively wrote and directed this powerfully empathetic account of the last years of the legendary Irish writer.
A short synopsis:
After spending two years in prison for his homosexuality—”gross indecency” was the official conviction—Wilde exiled himself to Paris, where he continued his self-destructive lifestyle while living in penury. Buoyed only by occasional contact with old friends Reggie Turner (Colin Firth) and Robbie Ross (Edwin Thomas), and with his wife (Emily Watson) and two sons far away, he’s a desperately lonely man who assuages his pain with alcohol, drugs and a succession of young men. Everett was born to play Wilde, and his open, deeply felt film both honours his idol and conveys the essence of a man who, deprived of the things that make life worth living, maintained his ironic sense of humour until the end.
I can resist everything except temptation – Oscar Wilde
The other day I wrote briefly about the importance of using ART in all its various forms (to view, read or listen to) as a healing tool for managing grief. Here’s one of the best remarkable examples of a great art piece created out of tragedy to commemorate a terrible time in history:
Probably Picasso’s most famous work, Guernica is certainly his most powerful political statement, painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi’s devastating casual bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
Guernica shows the tragedies of war and suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace.
On completion, Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world’s attention.
Another reason why ART is so important in recovery.
Omar Ortiz – born in Guadalajara, Mexico (1977) where he still resides.
His paintings are surreal. His work is characterized as minimalistic – described as hyperrealism where the human body is predominate, done in oil with texture-filled backgrounds. He has also worked with pastels, charcoal, watercolor, acrylics, and airbrushing.
Omar describes his work:
“Since I started painting I have always tried to represent things as real as I can. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes not, but it’s a fact that it is very difficult for me to do the opposite. I really enjoy the challenge of reproducing skin tones under natural light and the nuances that it gives us, particularly in bright conditions. I like to keep simplicity in my pieces since I believe that excess make us poorer rather than rich.”
Art moves us. Everyone should be in agreement with this. While we may not all agree on liking a specific piece enough to want to hang it in our home, we can admire the work for what it is and the dedication involved in bringing something to life and/or giving us something to ponder. Everyone can visualize something different in abstract, but in realism everyone sees the same – it’s like looking in the mirror (technically speaking).