A Toronto Transformation

Music

Gentlemen of the Road

Gentlemen of the Road Simcoe

Well, pets. I am happy to report I survived my first tent-sleeping, foot-stomping, sing-along-ing music festival.  And while I have no photographic evidence of the performances themselves, since I was informed by some overzealous security guards that I couldn’t bring my camera into the stage area as its detachable lens qualified it as a “professional” camera and therefore strangely verboten, I did manage to snap a few of the rest of the festivities to share with you.

I was in the best of company and the music was outstanding, and I’ve decided if i could steal anyone’s voice, it might have to be Jade Castrinos’.

I’m definitely glad I went, but I think I have confirmed my own suspicion that I’m not really a three nights in tent city with no shower music festival kind of gal. I love my comfy bed and my fridge and get fairly claustrophobic in crowds. Particularly crowds made up of people who think it’s all right to PEE ON MY FRIENDS in the middle of a concert and then, when they react by shouting, to tell my friends “Get out of my town!” Despite the pretty diverse age range of the crowd, I definitely found myself thinking, on multiple occasions: I’m too old for this. Although then we found the free rollerskating and escaped from the unrelenting sun and I cheered right up again.

Gentlemen of the Road mustache welcome sign

One of the coolest things about the weekend was how incredibly psyched this sleepy little town was to be hosting it. You couldn’t walk two feet without coming across a welcome sign or a moustache. Or in this case, both!

Manual Labour Coffee Trailer

I don’t think elated is too strong a word to describe our reaction to discovering that Manual Labour Coffee’s ridiculously adorable little trailer was in attendance after our first night of attempting to sleep through the 9 hour drunken singalong and flip cup game outside our tents.

Simcoe Farmer's Market

The on-site farmers market was a strange mix of delicious local produce….

blacklock longboards

…and really pretty skateboards.

Red Pets a horse in Simcoe

We met some animals (a baby cow licked my arm!)

Sheep shearing

I don’t think this guy was 100% on board with the direction his barber was taking if his incessant baa-ing was any indication. Or maybe he was just affronted by the concept of sitting on his sheep butt.

 

drying tobacco

We chatted with a woman who began working in the tobacco industry when she was 11 years old before posing with this “kill” of the stuff (not tie-dyed tea towels – my first guess)

tent city

Vamping in tent city like a champ

Fake train

Then we did a little of this.

Rollerbabes

You’d never know we’d never done this before…until we tried to move.

 

Mustache Tattoo

Sexism, Racism and Annoying Jewelry at the Opera

When I was little there were four cassettes awarded highest rotation on my Fisher Price tape recorder: The Little Mermaid, The Velveteen Rabbit narrated by Meryl Streep, Celine Dion’s The Colour of My Love, and Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

So it was with an eager nostalgia that I got dolled up and headed off to see the latter performed at the gorgeous Elgin theatre on Friday.

While no, “Colour of My Love,” Mozart’s music was as delightful as I remembered, and I wriggled happily in my seat as the orchestra launched into the familiar first act.

We were seated next to the most enthusiastic opera-goer imaginable. She was made entirely of binoculars, delighted, hearty  laughter and and “brava!s”. She almost made up for the woman behind us, who wore a bracelet that I’m pretty sure was made of twenty pounds of tiny tambourines, bells and scrap yard metal and flailed about almost constantly even after the woman beside her told her she was driving her insane. Haha. I actually sailed right on past irritation to giggling incredulously at the situation. It was pretty unreal.

Plus I was distracted by the marring of my childhood memories by the crazy amount of sexist and racist garbage being beautifully sung from the stage. I feel like the line “Men are strong where we are weak, they always think before they speak” sung by some ladies defiling an awesome manly temple with their lady feet may have been left out of my Mozart for kids cassette. Or maybe I was just too wee to be aware of it.

There was also a fair amount of uncomfortable shifting during scenes featuring the villainous antics of the “moor,” the princess’ jailor, who has problems controlling his lust and refraining from being just a general jerk.

In the end, the young white, boring couple of wimps whose highest aspiration is to get hitched and Sarastro, the sanctimonious, patriarchal male wizardly Freemason guy with the awesome name live happily ever after, while the evil moor and the Queen of the Night, a “proud” woman who dares to try to get back the magic powers Sarastro allegedly stole from her late husband before kidnapping her daughter for herself are cast into hell (or maybe just fall down some stairs, it wasn’t entirely clear) along with the queen’s lustful ladies in waiting.

And let that be a lesson to you all.

Apparently some productions tone down the racism and sexism for modern audiences, leaving out the skin colour of the evil jailor, for example, which I think I might be inclined to do if I were directing this particular show as I don’t think it actually furthers the story and it would still make sense without it, but others argue that the integrity of the opera would be ruined if these details were left out.

What do you guys think? Would you update a story like this or would you leave it as is and just hope that the audience is viewing with a critical eye? If you have children would you take them to see this show and if so, would you talk to them about the stereotypes and misogyny in it, or would you ignore it and just enjoy the music?

Earth Hour

Happy Friday, pets! It’s Earth Hour tomorrow. Will you be participating? I know a lot of people don’t see the point of turning off their lights for an hour, but I really like the reminder of the impact that such a painless action can have. I also like the reminder that it’s ok to not be “plugged in” all the time. I might just use the opportunity to connect with some pals in person and document the lack of city lights.

Will you observe Earth Hour this weekend?

“I Learned to Read the Map Before I Hit the Road”

I have yet another packed, busy weekend ahead (fortunately this time it’s mostly play and very little work) so I’m kicking it off with the  relentlessly cheerful and energetic “Inner Ninja” by Canadian artists Classified and  David Myles. Just try not to smile a little or add a bounce to your step while you listen to this.

One of the things I have on deck this weekend is a clothing swap with some of my stylish pals, so keep an eye out for photos next week!

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

(And an extra lovely birthday weekend, Alaina!)

A (mostly) Wonderful Weekend

tulips, hospital bracelets, Lady Gaga t-shirt

obligatory concert tee; Gaga earplugs; tulips from mom (who bought me so many I had to put these ones in my pasta jar); and two of the three hospital bracelets I sported this weekend.

Well. It was an eventful weekend in my little world.

As I may have mentioned here once or twice as well as to anyone in earshot for the past couple of weeks, I was scheduled to take my dad to see Lady Gaga and was just a little stoked about it.

Unfortunately my partial snow day Friday was wasted on a trip to the emergency room, because as I had not mentioned here or to almost anyone, over the past couple of weeks, I’d been having some unwelcome and familiar symptoms in my troublesome left leg, with a twinge or two of chest pain thrown in for good measure and my out-of-town hematologist recommended I get an ultrasound right away. I guess that’s what I get for bragging about my good fortune in the blood clot department. Heh.

The doctor I saw was concerned enough with the results to prescribe a type of blood thinner that has to be injected into my stomach once a day (not ideal for a fainting-prone needle-phobe, which I most definitely am) at least until he could have the hematologist there look at my results as it was not immediately clear whether I indeed have a new clot, or if the scans are just picking up the already diagnosed chronic DVT. He told me to return the next night at 8:00 for the next dose.

“OK, Will do,” I said automatically, always eager to be on good terms with anyone who might posess the power to keep me alive.

“Erm, only? Is there any way I could come in a little earlier? It’sjustI’msupposedtobegoingtoaLadyGagaconcertwithmydad” I squeaked like an over-caffeinated mouse, as my heart dropped at the thought of having to tell my dad I couldn’t go.

Fortunately the doctor (and in fact, everyone I encountered at Toronto General) was lovely and good-humoured and said he supposed since Lady Gaga hung in the balance, they could accommodate me a little earlier.

And so it was that we made a pit stop at emerg on the way to the concert. Me in the world’s shiniest superhero pants and jungle-print bustier and my dad, in jeans, a sharp blazer and, because he is the best, gold eyeliner.

I like to think that our somewhat outrageous appearance might have cheered up some of the people we passed in the hospital. Or at least distracted them from whatever they were there for.

We met Red and her dad at the concert and I honestly don’t know who had a better time, us or the dads. As the music started and Gaga took the stage (atop a unicorn, of course) I grabbed my dad’s arm and proclaimed my excitement for the scrillionth time that night. The music vibrated up through my feet and matched my pulse and I thought, well, whatever happens next, tonight, life is pretty damned good.

And now we wait.

Wish me luck!

Fundraising for Toronto’s Homeless Youth and going to Gaga

Guys, I am SO EXCITED for this weekend.

Today is Tokens for Change (by the way, if you want to make a donation to help homeless youth in Toronto but aren’t going to be in a TTC station, you may still do so by visiting their website). So keep your eyes peeled for talented young buskers and art installations in the stations and around the city (and for me!) I’ll be the one standing around with a donation jar, wishing she had bothered to develop some kind of busk-able skills at some point in her life.

And tomorrow, I will FINALLY be seeing LADY GAGA WITH MY DAD!!! He has been texting me incessantly with reminders of how many “sleeps” until the show. My dear friend Red is now also bringing her dad. It’s going to be an absolute weird little riot and I can not wait!

To Soothe the Savage Beast

It’s been a moody week with moody weather to match (14 degrees and rainy to a sunshiney blizzard in under 24 hours? Make up your mind and stop trying to pick me up and making me stumble like a drunkard in the wind, nature!)

Here are two songs that are just moody enough themselves not to grate on me this week. I love both of these women’s gorgeous full voices. I’ve been closing my eyes and rolling my shoulders along with them all week.

Thank God for a hilarious episode of New Girl, an MJ-themed barreworks class and a Friday night Winterlicious dinner to look forward to or the moodiness of the week might have skewed a little too far in the direction of general crankiness.

And hey! We made it through the work week AND the first month of the year. It’s practically spring now, right?

Clown

I am more than a little enamoured with Emeli Sande’s voice and her simple but often heartbreaking lyrics. I’ve had to ban both “Suitcase” and “Maybe” from my listening rotation since by breakup because, while beautiful, they are just a damned site to spot on for me right now. They’d make me cry forever and I’d never get anything done.

And, ok, “Clown” is also lovely and moving (and has strings!), but it’s been stuck in my head all week and I thought it was appropriately themed with my other post this week.

It also makes me want to choreograph and perform some angsty teenage modern/interperative dance. Ahem. Not that I’ve ever done that to an Evanescence song in highschool wearing a shredded denim skirt kind of thing. Annnnnyway…

Listen. Enjoy!

Happy weekend!

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