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Measuring Tape Girl Screening

Measuring Tape Girl Screening

We live in a day and age where we are all constantly bombarded by the media and our peers  when it comes to our self-image and self-esteem. Let’s be real… I don’t know anyone these days that has zero “self-doubt issues”.  So when an invitation from VOCAB Communications came along for a screening of Measuring Tape Girl during Culture Days hosted by our homie Casie Stewart, I just had to check it out!!

Measuring Tape Girl is a real examination of self-image and indecisiveness, it documents a young woman approaching her thirties who turns to social media in particular  posting on-line videos as a means of expressing her doubts and fears, thus creating her alter ego named ‘Measuring Tape Girl’.  Measuring Tape Girl decides its best for her to measure and criticize herself against others,  before anyone gets a chance to reject her, she does it herself.

After the screening the audience was treated to a little Q&A hosted by Casie Stewart, we chatted about the effects of social media on our body image, camera types, and social media do’s & don’ts… Casie even spoke about being one of the most influential female bloggers in the country. The ambitious director/writer Pasquale Marco Veltri and the star of the show Jessica Embro jumped in to chat ’bout how surprisingly easy it was to write this story despite being a man, movie locations, and even dropping hints on the next MTG project (hint: Girlsssss).

A couple special ladies popped up to introduce Windfall, a charity that  acquires new clothing and other personal need items and distributes them to a variety of social service agencies. Suitable Impressions  a facet of Windfall provides meaningful job-training placements and gives a full-day workshop for clients that takes job readiness to the final level by offering clothing, personal care items and first impression training for job seekers. Can we say amazing!!! It was a real treat to have everyone ’round on a rainy Sunday afternoon for something that made you feel so good!!

Please remember to support the cause… its the best thing we can do!!





Arabesque Dance 15th Anniversary Gala

Arabesque Dance  15th Anniversary Gala

Last week Arabesque Dance Company & Orchestra celebrated its 15th Anniversary, with an exquisite  “Best of Arabesque” – Black Tie Gala Event Arab Music, Arab Dance – a Bridge to the Arab Soul at the lovely Fleck Dance Theatre located at the Harbourfront Centre. For those who don’t know Arabesque Dance Company & Orchestra was established in 1996 by Yasmina Ramzy, a master and evolutionary choreographer in the art of Bellydancing. Yasmina’s career spans 30 years and has been quite an eventful one from performing around the around for the likes of Middle Eastern royalty and heads of state, after which she decided to found the Arabesque Dance Company and Orchestra, Arabesque Academy and the International Bellydance Conference of Canada (IBCC). The brilliance that is the Arabesque  wouldn’t be if  the collaboration between Yasmina and the knowledgeable musical director Bassam Bishara wasn’t so beautiful, over 60 choreographies and eight full scale productions later and the magic of Arabesque continues to be an amazing showcase of Middle Eastern dance and music.

The night began with a beautiful cocktail reception where guests sipped wine, munched on delicious hors d’oeuvres (the chicken skewers were a hit), treated to a wonderful photographic history of Arabesque Dance Company and Orchestra. And of course what would be a black tie gala without a silent auction… items such as: bellydancing classes, electronics, spa day, camping gear and a whole bunch of other goodies.

One of my favourite treats of the evening was the delightful hand-made beaded bracelets that you could buy for $20 and guess what… one lucky box had a gold bracelet!! It was the perfect little game to play, too bad I didn’t win.

The highlight of the night was right after cocktails… the full dance company and orchestra of 17 dance artists and 11 musicians performed a uniquely creative repertoire marking highlights of previous works.  The MC and founder of Nations United, Chaker Khazaal opened the show with great with charisma and  briefed the guest on Arabesque history and facts… the curtains lifted and magic filled the theatre. ”Audiences are always enriched when making the emotional connection with the timeless and profound Arab art which is Arabesque Dance Company & Orchestra,” says Yasmina Ramzy. ” The choreography is of the wall, I mean bellydancing on top of  drum and contorting your waist while balancing a shisha pipe!! Insane, I know.  Not to mention the deep and haunting acoustic music that had my heart beating and violin solo so intense it made my knees weak.  No wonder The Globe in Mail said “Arresting imagery…Seduces completely“. After catching my breath we were lucky enough to participate in an intimate Q&A session with the entire company.

What a wonderful night, I can’t wait to use my complimentary dance class!!




Top Picks: Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2011

Top Picks: Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2011

This “all-night contemporary art event” is one of my favourite times of the year. Let’s face it, this is pretty much the last time you’ll be able to go outside without a parka (unless inebriated) and one of the few times you’ll get to see art for free in this city. Our top tips:

1. Wear comfortable shoes (as in, slat, comfy; heels need not apply),

2. Resist the temptation to drink which makes the night all that much longer (and makes it hard to remember everything) and

3. Bring  a scarf (Hogtown gets pretty cold around 330 am).


There are tons of exhibits on for the night, specially curated for your viewing (and experiential) pleasure. We polled everyone here at PinkMafia, and here are some of our top options for the night:

1. The Happiness Project – The Hippie in us wants to check out Charles Spearin’s (Broken Social Scene) collection of orchestra sound recordings that are supposed to mimick happy thoughts. Apparently this dude is amazing or something. Should be top notch.

2. TIFF Bell Lightbox is having an orchestra playing video game music in one theatre (Chiptunes Orchestra) and in another they’re having an 80′s movies sing-along (Singin’ in the Dark) which gets a bit raunchy after midnight (ignore the picture of the kids in the link – they go away once their parents feel it’s past their bedtime).

3. If you want to have a chance to cheer on your favourite artist, hit up the AGO. They’re staging an The Other Painting Competition, in which Canadian artists have to out paint each othe rin a variety of live model and still life challenges. The winner (by audience vote) gets an exhibit at MOCCA.

4. The Distillery District is always good to hit up on this White Night, and this year it will not disappoint. The Futuristic Institute of Collective Happenings features a number of artists working together to create pieces inspired by Futurism. These will be housed in “The F.I.C.H.”, a museum set up just for these happenings.

5. Honey I’m Home is part of Ryerson’s amazing lineup where you can step into the roll of Danny Tanner from Full House or Bill Cosby from Cosby Show and play the dad from an 80s sitcom. This is dope on another level in our minds. Like you haven’t always wanted to be an 80s dad?

6. The Feast of Trimalchio is a somewhat complicated to explain exhibition, so click on the link to get a proper run down. It’s put on by a bunch of Russians (they go by AES + F) is an interesting video installation using an analogy to from Petronius’s Satyricon to create a cool hotel environment (again, read the overview on the NB site to understand what is going on here).

Pre – Blanche

Roller derby lovers unite – Boute Blanche is kicking ass with their pre-Blanche game, 5-11pm. This is a special double header: CN Power vs Hammer City Eh! Team and Smoke City Betties vs Hammer City Harlots. Check out the facebook for all the deets.

TIFF ’11 Round Up

TIFF ’11 Round Up

As fast as the A to Z- listers rained on our humble city is as fast as they and their all black suburbans dried up… When TIFF rolls into town each year everyone instantaneously becomes starstruck, rarely does anyone see a movie (myself included)… I mean who knew U2′s From the Sky would be the first documentary to ever open the festival.

As per usual parties galore kicked off the 10 days of star gazing, I managed to pop into the Alliance x Ben Sherman cocktail soiree at the Intercontinental Hotel for some pre-festival strategy talk and the most delicious cheese platter this side of Wisconsin.

I bumped into our homies from who were headed over to the #SecretTease event presented by NKPR & SKYYVodka, so naturally I joined. After complaining about standing in 5″ heels on the corner of King West for 15 minutes, out of nowhere came a troop of dancers that somewhat resembled the Raptor Dance Pack, as I was about to bail I spotted the crane from the corner of my eye and decided to hold my spot. Boy am I glad I did out of nowhere came an awesome hanging martini glass equipped with fireworks and filled with an acrobatic artist who swung on ribbons and bent through rings, can we say SKYY Stunt. After the mid-air stunts we were grounded we were ushered down the alley to the plush blue carpet to an outside tent soiree with delicious sushi and drinks courtesy of  SKYY Vodka.

The best part of TIFF we have to admit is the Gift Lounge for all the celebs and who who’s… I’m not sure why celebs need the gifts (God knows they can afford it) but I guess even celebs partake in the art of re-gifting. So with that said as much as I said “I wouldn’t be TIFFing” not even I can withstand the power of the Gift Lounge.

First stop on the circuit was the RealTVFilms Social Media Lodge presented by VOCAB Communications at F-stop, can we say great spot, live music and even better vibe. DJ in the middle Brennen Demelo hairstylist to the right and Inspire Cosmetics on the left , bar filled with Ketel One Vodka tables lined with cupcakes from Bite Me Bakery and chocolate delights courtesy of Chocola Chocola. Not to mention other amazing vendors like Treccani who turned leather into butter to make the most delightful shoes, the whimsical hat designers Banoo by MeSa, and Canada’s Mèreadesso skincare, along with Winx Eyelash Boutique… what more could a girl ask for.

Next stop was to the celeb HQ Hazelton Lanes for the B.A.D. PR Premier Gifting Lounge, hands down one of my fave locations for TIFF. The lounge was packed with vendors of every kind and they had a quirky media sponsor Minggy (they had candy nerds & life size jenga) but the main event was for the jewelry lovers… pearls galore with the most unique charm by Serenda, unique organic pieces from FRASH, and the exquisite Micalla known their luxurious Scandinavian design. Clothing vendors included the bad-ass lingerie and lounge wear by Dear Frankie ( the infinity scarf is to die for), awesome customs t-shirt design by Zero Edge and Ehliens and once again the Banoo by MeSa ladies were on hand and even let me rock some their custom designs. Hands down the best part for me was the lovely organic pillows by Soma (can you say heaven) and the memorable on site sketching provided by Wendy Ding. Most ingenious idea was to have an on-site Style Lounge fully stacked with  Greg May Hair Architects and Sean from Smashbox Cosmetics and our Pinkie as wardrobe stylist with designs from Jessica Biffi, Carlie Wong, and Fashion Crimes... can you say one stop shop. Biggest S/O to my number one client that weekend the ever sooo sweet Ainsley Kerr whom I was lucky enough to suit up for several TIFF occasions !!

I was floored when I received an invitation to the Swarovski Fashion Suite in the Four Seasons Hotel, I rushed over on the last day to take in the sparkle and shine that is Swarovski. As soon as I entered the room I didn’t want to move or talk too loudly in fear the crystal empire would come crashing down. My eyes darted back and forth with every angle reflection and refraction of  light, this is bling to the tenth degree. The pieces were simply breathtaking with superb craftsmanship and detail not to mention the amazing design concept and story behind each one. I mean who knew Swarovski was on the forefront of fashion; Nadja, the creative director and namesake to crystal empire is to take credit for this nouveau direction (if you ask me).  This ain’t your momma’s crystal figurines anymore. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it was to invited to share this experience and Michelle and Diana where such gracious host, who left me speechless by bestowing upon me the most divine gift ever (I had to fight the tears).

My gift lounge circuit wrapped up with the OG Leesa Bulter of The F-list and it Rock-it-Promotions Tastemakers Lounge, which has been a staple in gifting circuit and whom I was surprised made the move DT to the Intercontinental Hotel. Since I’m like family I got Leesa to take me ’round and show my the one-of-kind products selected for the lounge. We all know I’m a sucker for anything skincare so Okrapeptide was the perfect vendor for me all the benefits of botox without the needles and available at the pharmacy, can we say score. I was surprised to learn of a hidden gem out of Québec named Evatik they make the most spectacular eye-wear in baddest colours out there. Of course who can forget everyone’s fave Pandora, charming visitors on site with customized bracelets. Excitement kicked in when I saw the Mattel game board corner fully stacked with the new Angry Birds game and Uno Roboto (can you say big kid)!! John Frieda hair products and stylist where gracious enough to touch- up the do while I stuffed my face with President’s Choice: Black Label snacks (you heard it hear first)!! It was a shame I couldn’t find a pair of Mavi’s go over my rear end, but on the plus side my head will be warm and cozy thanks to Crown Cap. I would like to thank Cilque for providing the best TIFF recoup bedding,EVER!!

I was invited to attend the ReelWorld Film Festival 10th annual Indie Film Lounge reception at Empire in celebration of the Emerging 20 (E20) a select group of new film talent who are chosen based on their projects, potential and previous experience within the film industry. Founded by actress Tonya Lee Williams the cocktail reception is an excellent way for, the E20 participants network and mingle with industry insiders before their ReelPrep, Face2Face sessions, Case Studies and industry panels. Another amazing project doing great things for Arts on our home-front!!!

Some how I ended up at the SoHo Metropolitain for the Nicolas Cage flick Trespass after-party with my Dose partner in crime Miranda Furtado. Let’s just say they turned the lights on us!!

P.S. I would like to S/O all the wonderful people and events I got to experience this TIFF… and an extra special thank you to everyone for their wonderful gifts and treats!!! Dear I forget SKYY Vodka for being my official drink sponsor with the “Temptress’.

XOXO from the bottom of my Pink Heart,



video only better: the vitaminwater mini film challenge

video only better: the vitaminwater mini film challenge

making web videos for fun = an awesome hobby. making web videos for fun, prizes*, and glory? = an awesome hobby — only better.

you may have noticed by now that vitaminwater kind of loves film.

we adore hosting parties, taking photos and interviewing celebrities at festivals like cannes and tiff, but we’ve always thought it would be kind of cool to host a film festival of our own.

we don’t have the capacity to produce a world class film festival like the ones mentioned above since the bulk of our energy goes into, ya know, vitaminwater.

that said, we have a pretty bumping online community, and we know for a fact that a lot of you love film too. we’ve also noticed that some of you create your own films from time to time (that’s right, we’ve seen your youtube channels!)

hence, we decided to create the vitaminwater mini film challenge.

think creating a fun short that rewards you to the tune of $750 (plus bragging rights for days!) would make your summer “only better”?

here’s how to enter:

  1. create a 1-2 minute long web-based mini film to creatively show us how you enjoy vitaminwater.
  2. include within the video at least one image of a vitaminwater bottle (hand drawn is fine, if you’ve got the skills!)
  3. post your video to youtube, vimeo, your own blog or any other video hosting service you like to use.
  4. drop the link to your masterpiece in our comments section below. (full submission guidelines can be viewed here)

you have until august the 26th to enter. at that point, our panel of judges will select one winner and two semi-finalists, who will each receive a prize of $100.

to help inspire you, we’ll be posting a series of (hi-fi versions of) the type of video we’re looking for on our facebook page. you can see all 8 of them on our youtube channel now!

this 60 second spot by josh soskin, “treasure” is one of our favourites (and with good reason! who doesn’t love mermaids?).

feel free to get at us in the comment section with any questions, comments, or requests for steven speilberg’s phone number. we don’t have it (and wouldn’t be allowed to give it out even if we did), but appreciate that kind of moxie.

good luck!

* rules and regulations: no purchase necessary. open to legal residents of canada, excluding quebec, who are of the age of majoirty at the time of entry. prizes: one (1) grand prize of $750 cad and two (2) secondary prizes each consisting of $100.00 cdn. contest opens on 08/02/11 at 12:00:01 a.m. et and ends on 08/26/11 at 11:59:59 p.m. et. see full rules for all details. limit one (1) entry per person. for full official contest rules, judging criteria and prize description, visit

words by lauren

check out more over at the vitaminwater canada blog.

The Courvoisier Collective – a unique arts initiative

The Courvoisier Collective – a unique arts initiative

Just recently, Courvoisier announced an exciting new project aimed at helping those in the arts community.  This unique project entitled The Courvoisier Collective (#CVCollective), is helping to provide artists a space to display their works while also helping them to gain exposure for themselves and their work.

The project which began on June 6 with art submissions being accepted through the website  These submissions were put under two different categories:

(1) Billboard Showcase
(2) Gallery Award

Artists were asked to explore the theme of ‘Renewal’ in relation to the revolutionary role of art.  The theme can be addressed in two contexts:

(1) with respect to art’s capacity to revolutionize its own content and form
(2) art’s potential to challenge the status quo

Courvoisier has received several submissions from inspired artists intrigued by the unique opportunity to showcase their work around the city of Toronto. Three winning entries will be determined by a jury from the arts community and will appear on high-traffic urban billboards and PATH posters.  Below are the key dates to remember for the upcoming Courvoisier Collection, which can also be discussed via Twitter (#CVCollective).  Remember to go online and vote for your favorite pieces.

Key Dates:

July 15 – Deadline for ‘Gallery Award’ submission showcase at Gallery 1313. Selection is based on public and curator judging committee votes. The three ‘Billboard showcase’ winners will automatically be included in the gallery showcase.
July 15 – Online public voting opens up for ‘Gallery Award’ submissions.
August 1-28 – ‘Billboard showcase’ timeframe, with top three winning selections displayed on high-traffic urban Toronto billboards and PATH posters.
August 5 – Final day for public to cast votes on ‘Gallery Award’ submissions by visiting
August 5-8 – ‘Gallery Award’ winners selected for display at Gallery 1313
August 10 – Gallery Opening Event at Gallery 1313.
August 11 – September 4 – ‘Gallery Award’ Exhibition at Gallery 1313, located at 1313 Queen Street West.


Most Fun Ever…Luminato 2011

Most Fun Ever…Luminato 2011

Every year I look forward to the weather warming and our wonderful city coming to life… one of the best ways the T.O. comes together is the Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity. I’m sure we all know what I’m talking about it’s a spectacular 10 day multi-disciplinary celebration of theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, fashion, film, magic and more which takes over Toronto’s  public stages, streets, spaces.


All the buzz about Bollywood and the IIFA taking over T.O. I decided my first stop on the Luminato train would be TAJ  an emotional dance-theatre production from Lata Pada’s Sampradaya Dance Company, starring Bollywood’s Kabir Bedi and Canada’s Lisa Ray.

The Taj Mahal is one of the greatest wonders of the world, the epic story of emperor’s Shah Jahan devotion to his wife, Lata Pada’s artistic direction delivers the tale with a twist of dance and theatre. The simple yet beautiful costume and set design brings you to the splendor to Mughal dynasty. I found myself wanting a little more dance and excitement, but just then the words from the script written by playwright John Murrell awoke me with lines such as “the moon out ran the sun”. Little did I know these words would weave a tale of political strife, family turmoil and agony all directed under the eye of Tom Diamond. I must say this was a powerful commissioned piece for the festival that truly brought the grandeur of this wonder alive. (Photos courtesy of Divine Method Photography)



I walked in automatically my eyes had to squint to adjust to the dark dim underground the resembled a bunker if you ask me, as went down the stairs we were greeted by men dressed in full army fatigue armed with AKs, barking German shepherds. I swear, as I almost peed myself before I got to my sit. Once I regained my composer I was like this is where Necessary Angel Theatre Company is showing their modernized take on Jean Racine’s Andromaque, I was puzzled but not for long.

The key pieces of the post-war Troy myth are woven into this re-invention, Troy is replaced with Iraq where the war has ended and the empire is in turmoil. The story follows the ruler of the crumbled empire who lust after his slave, the recently widowed Andromache (who is updated to a Muslim woman) she shows him no sign of interest yet the ruler presses on… all this time having a wife I forgot to add. Imagine the mental anguish for the wife that witnesses her husband’s infatuation for his slave and now imagine being enslaved with constant demands of pleasing her master or face sacrificing the life of her son. A bit much I know, but when you strip it down you realize the characters soon find themselves in a dramatic tragedy showcasing real human passion full of  lust, and the desire for power which leads to inhuman atrocities fueled by their unrequited passion for one another. (Photos courtesy of Michael Cooper)


The minute I heard “Vodavil” was here for Luminato I knew it was a must, and for those who don’t know what I’m talking about its “vaudeville” describes a circuit of performers who traveled from city to city in 1890s until the 1930s- singing, dancing, pantomime, juggling, comedy and well magic.

The MC of the night so to speak was Mike Caveney who is known for his unique routines perfectly fitting to his dry comedic wit. He doesn’t tell jokes but you won’t stop laughing and his tricks are something amazing. (Like when he was spinning a cup of coffee on a wheel and throwing it in the air and catching it without spilling a drop… well there was one time the cup fell and broke.

Tina Lenert opened the night with her charming silent comedy filled with magic to give you an enchanting experience especially with “Maid in Heaven,” where a Debbie Downer, a frumpy cleaning lady is magically transformed and finds a new her with the aid of her trusty cleaning cart. I spotted Tina throughout the show with a few cameos but I (heart) her for going straight old school with the art of illusion using the rings and scarf for her second act.

Gaëtan Bloom is the man, he is truly gifted and is the master of absurd as they say and I see why.  He had me on the edge my seat like a five year old, he’s quite foremost a showman who brings his art to life. Before my eyes he cut the cable to the mic and attached again with a string… I know, you don’t believe. His closing card trick is probably hands down the best I’ve seen… he chopped up lettuce, grapefruit, orange and kiwi and threw it into box (weird I know). After he put his hand in the box and pulled out a single head of lettuce only to take off all the leaves and BAM there was the grapefruit, peeled the grapefruit BAM the orange, peeled the orange BAM the kiwi and then he cut the kiwi open to expose the card… insane, I know I saw with my own two eyes.

Ardan James is pretty awesome, an original mixed media performer who has knack for physical illusionist who loves to use ventriloquism to draw the audience in, but if you ask me with a smile and charm like that I was already hooked.

The Great Tomsoni and Company are simply hilarious… the onstage dialogue is filled with comedy, drama and good old fun and best of all they do the magic I LOVE. I mean real magic, the Great Tomsoni is a living legend and probably one of the few that Masters of magic we have left. Tomsoni performed the classics that we all love; pulling  millions of scarves, birds and other apparatuses… the best is when he pulled the bird from his sleeve and it flew in the air, AMAZING. This had to be the best fun I had in awhile, I was intrigued the entire show and laughed til my tummy ached… what more can you ask for.


BTW… we all know I couldn’t miss one of my fave fashion designers Denis Gagnon who teamed up with Lancôme to design a modern dress for based on the whimsical  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was stunning, as if you expected anything less.

As always Luminato NEVER disappoints and I thank them every year for enriching our beautiful city!!!


P.S. I got to checkout the National Ballet of Canada’s Alice Adventures in Wonderland, please click for the story.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

As we all know I consider myself  quite the arts aficionado, especially in our humble home The Great White North. Whether your an arts buff or merely someone who doesn’t inhabit the underside of a rock we all know The National Ballet of Canada. So of course when I got an invite to review the opening night of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts I graciously accepted.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is truly one of my favourite childhood tales, and I’m quite sure its responsible my off the rocker imagination. Anytime I hear a mention of an adaptation to my cherished story I’m automatically skeptical (just being honest), but I figured a co-production between The National Ballet of Canada and The Royal Ballet with a choreographer like Christopher Wheeldon you can’t go wrong.

I was pleasantly surprised when the curtains rose to a garden-party prologue complete with historical charm straight from the pages of Carroll’s book. It took a moment to sink in, but right then I knew I was on a journey back to my childhood, a time we all remember oooh too well. As my eyes grew wider I began to notice Wheeldon and Nicholas Wright (who wrote the scenario) decided hell with the with the traditional storyline, and opted for a brilliantly updated love-story with all the bells and whistles the Wonderland has to offer.

Zdenek Konvalina and Jillian Vanstone in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Zdenek Konvalina is perfect for the handsome young gardener Jack, and  first soloist Jillian Vanstone’s childlike disposition is fitting for Alice. As their young love blossoms Alice falls head over heels and tumbles down the rabbit hole, and can I say this fall started the ballet… Cleverly designed projection by Jon Driscoll and Gemma Carrington illuminates the stage with a black and white hypnotic swirl,  in the which makes rabbit hole s the projected special ef. Royal Ballet guest artist Steven McRae brought the Mad Hatter to life with his quirky tapping number, which was perfectly fitting for Carroll’s the outlandish character . Aleksandar Antonijevic as the White Rabbit (who would’ve thought), was the perfect off the wall companion to Alice as she discovered all her adventures in Wonderland.

Aleksandar Antonijevic in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

The real star of the show for me was veteran principal dancer Greta Hodgkinson as the Queen of Hearts the fire and intensity behind her performance was breathtaking I mean at some moments  (there was a lot of them) she just stole the whole damn show especially with her costumes. The pièce de résistance for me was the return of Rex Harrington as the King of Hearts, and boy did he have my heart pumping (don’t judge me).

Of course being fashion obsessed the real highlight for me was the set, costume and properties design by Bob Crowley first of I need to know how it’s humanly possible for one man to do all this design; much less execute it so well. I mean the Queen’s costume on its own was a show-stopper, her red heart-shaped capsule fully equipped with a set of stairs for her King to perch on (you have to see it). What I appreciated the most from Crowley is he made sure every image you associated with the story as a child was there in real life… I mean he even had the house of cards and they collapsed (genuis I know). Don’t get me wrong I heard a few groans about the design, being too elaborate and stealing the whole show, cry me a river it was spectacular.


Jillian Vanstone and Artists of the Ballet in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

The ballet’s orchestra did true justice to Joby Talbot’s music which provided the neccessary atmosphere and setting for this magicial tale, and his commissioned score was excellent with tinges of classical works that we all have grown to love.

Without a doubt this is one of my new favourites, its captivating, witty, imaginetive, quirky, and just plain delightful. It had a little bit of everything you could want in a ballet… well at least I want. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the perfect display of a new direction in ballet, gone are the day of the rigid pretentiousness many have come to dislike… instead ballet is back to being what it is an art- the true embodiment of the human spirit.



Let’s Work It Out-TV Carnage’s new workout video

Let’s Work It Out-TV Carnage’s new workout video

Our buddies over at TV Carnage just dropped a little gem into our laps: Let’s Work It Out, a raunchy “workout tape”.

Let’s Work It Out!!! <– watch the preview here

First let’s talk about the DVD case – the cover is a Ken and Barbie couple wearing enough bodysuits and spandex to put Richard Simmons to shame. Inside this case is a 10,000 dollar “Hell Bank Note”, a grey plastic bag in the chance one experiences “Motion Discomfort” during the video, and a TV Carnage postcard.

Let’s Work it Out includes all important parts to a proper fitness regimen:

Warming Up…

Working Out with A Friend…

Or A Few…

Exercising Your Face

Skin Care

and so much more!

The video has clips from (it seems) hundreds of tragic/amazing workout tapes of times past, some of them featuring Alyssa Milano, O.J Simpson,Lou Ferrigno, Cher and various male/female Jane Fonda look-a-likes. It also had a serious musical moment courtesy of Saved by The Bell.

The minutes long breathing-exercise montage was the perfect mix of awkward and hilarious.

“Let’s Work It Out” combines “rockin’” aerobics music, exercises you can do standing at your phone and copious amounts of nipples, damp bodies, perms and crotch shots (both male and female). Besides, anyone who promotes a shot of tequila during tennis and weight lifting with an eye patch is alright with me.

If you want to laugh,  dance and/or vomit “Let’s Work It Out!!” has the footage, music and barf receptacle for you.

Go to the TV Carnage website HERE to hook yourself up with this and other delicious merch.

We (heart) TV Carnage’s Pinky

Getting My Tats Removed

Getting My Tats Removed

After years of having a lovely heart tattoo on my hand, I decided to get it removed.

I heard a lot about laser removal. Good and bad. The good is that I heard it works, and that it’s really the only thing that’s really proven to work..The bad: apparently it hurts way more than the original tattoo and at $150 a session with six sessions minimum and four weeks in between each, it just seemed like a huge commitment. (Psst here’s a  Guide to HealthcareSchools that has a lot of good information for anyone wanting to learn more about the laser removal industry). But then I found Amber, who’s one of five people in Canada who is legally allowed to use Elimink, which is the process of tattooing this white liquid (Elimink) into the tattoo which removes it by bringing it to the surface.

First, take a look at this video on Elimink, then scroll down through the photos of my first session.

Here’s my tattoo before we started. Pretty black, pretty uh…let’s face it, jail.

And this is Amber who removed it.

Amber is a reconstructive tattoo artist. She tattoo’s scars and women who’ve had breasts reconstructed after surviving breast cancer and need their areola tattoo’d back on, or even eye liner and other permanent makeup. The needle that she used was much finer than a tattoo gun and the whole process was very very pleasant.

First she scratched in freezing solution so that I wouldn’t feel the tattooing (I know, ah-mazing right?).

Then she put the solution on and tattoo’d it into the heart over and over.

So after it was all said and done, I had this white gnarly scab for ten days and I wasn’t allowed to get it wet at all. The rules are: No soap. No Sun. No Water. For ten days. The scab is the seal that pulls the ink out (although when she was tattooing the solution in, you could see some of the ink coming out).

Here’s day 7. Gnarly right? Yeah, try not getting any water on it and washing your hands. This thing got me some lovely looks on the subway.

Day 14. It’s pretty much healed, but still a scar. I rub DermaRenu on it a minimum of 2 times a day which is supposed to prevent a scar. So far it’s working like gang busters (I’ve also been using it on pimple scars and it’s working there too, magical stuff).

Here’s where I’m at now. Little comparison. I figure 1-2 more times and that sucker will be gone for good.

If you want to know more about Elimink and Amber, you can reach out to her here:

Chroma : Opening Night @ The National Ballet of Canada – November 24, 2010

Chroma : Opening Night @ The National Ballet of Canada – November 24, 2010

Since announced early last year, I have been looking forward to the National Ballet of Canada’s presentation of Chroma.  When Joby Talbot put together an orchestral reworking of the music from the band The White Stripes for the album Aluminum, an idea was born.  The idea? British choreographer Wayne McGregor would put together an avante-garde ballet using said music.  The results: simply mind blowing.

Photo of Sarah Lamb and Frederico Bonellin of The Royal Ballet in Chroma
Photo by Johan Persson

Prior to opening night, first soloist Tanya Howard spoke to me about how excited she was to be apart of The National Ballet’s presentation of Chroma.  “It’s thrilling that we’re the only company that is having an opportunity (so far) to also present the show.  Wayne McGregor has been so hands on with all the dancers, becoming very involved and explaining the emotion or feeling he wanted.  I feel like this has been a really great collaboration.”

First Soloist Tanya Howard
Photo by Sian Richards

Running on the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts stage from November 24 through until November 28, 2010 – the show opened to a packed house including Wayne McGregor and Joby Talbot last night.  What a show!

Chroma has everything: precision, polish, detail, seduction and edge.  The show is strikingly asexual, with dancers wearing nude, pink and brown nightie like costumes.  The set was stark and white.  Very minimal.  Something I thought held up well against the White Stripes and Joby Talbot’s music but also spoke to architectural structure, which could also be found in the dancers movements.

Pairings between the dancers were done extremely well.  It was very beautiful to see the male dancers section to the song “Transit of Venus”.  To me, the underlining sexual tension in this dance was not only beautiful but mesmerizing and translated beautifully to the music.

For me, Chroma wasn’t so much about individually performances as it was about the translation of McGregor’s style.  As first soloist Tanya Howard told me, “Although the audience may know about ballet or not, they can connect.  The music is thrilling and electric and that takes you under.”  With the dancers diverse movements, the stereotypes of boring ballets are quickly erased.

Bitch Slap Art Exhibit. Opening Night

Bitch Slap Art Exhibit. Opening Night

Well what can I say? It was a one those evenings that you wanted to be apart of. An incredible space, filled with beautiful people and interesting and challenging art.

Set at the notorious Thrush Holmes Empire Gallery on Toronto’s West Queen West, Bitch Slap is one of those events that is truly helping to create the definition for Toronto’s contemporary art scene. Expertly curated by Mr. Derek Mainella, an incredibly brilliant and down to earth authority on what makes the Toronto tenderfoot tick.

A multidimensional show featuring solely female artists was the over arching theme. The work ranged from photography by the likes of Ms. Jessica Eaton and Ms. Danielle Greer to manipulated 3D graphics realized as intricately interactive lenticular prints by Ms. Tara Downs along with mixed media miracles by Ms. Jennifer Murphy. While certainly crowded with people, the art was chosen carefully and each piece had the chance to speak for itself without being overwhelmed by the others around it.

Bitch Slap was a hot bed of art passionistas- Gallery owners and designers mixed with dilettantes and students- it was intricately intimate yet incredibly inclusive. My mix and mingle was spent chatting with Toronto’s creative cognoscenti and the common page listed questions and concerns about the scarcity of projects like Bitch Slap and their necessity to further ignite and stoke the masterly and capable art folk of Toronto.

If you didn’t make the party last night, get down to Thrush and check this out! The Toronto art scene is a talented bunch, but they need our support! Mr. Mainella is a progressive when it comes to the conservativeness of our cities tastes. Whether you’re a scholar or enjoy Crayola, get out there and take a look. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to liking or perceiving art- its an emotional response that you’ll undoubtedly recognize and that’ll tell you whether or not its something you have to have!

Words: Michael Winston Smith
Photos: Joel Di Giacomo

Better Know a Local Artist: Dave Murray

Better Know a Local Artist: Dave Murray

When you walk around the city, what do you see? Often, Toronto’s barrage of flashing lights, TTC vehicles, and crack addicts are so overwhelming that we don’t take the time to stop and digest the sheer volume of information bombarding us at any given moment. The idea of reading the city is becoming an interesting phenomenon, and local artist Dave Murray may just be leading that charge to encourage Torontonians to really stop, look, and read.

For Murray, he’s the anomaly–he’s dedicated his life to the art of type and words. His maps paint an intricate picture of the city we know and love, divided up into the neighbourhoods we so adamantly defend for their unique culture, shops and people. For him, every neighbourhood has a story, and you can read it in the signage that surrounds us.

A recent Sheridan Illustration grad, Murray, 24 hails from Parkdale and has become intimately familiar with some of Toronto’s favourite neighbourhoods over the last year and a half working on his word cloud mapping project. Starting with Kensington Market, the project was immediately picked up by The National Post for its unique flair and view of the city. It isn’t so much about looking at the city for its neighbourhood boundaries, but rather, what the words and signage can teach us about place.

In the last year, his maps have grown to encompass Queen West & Parkdale, and the Ossington Strip–he’s currently working on Leslieville, and hopes to map the whole city in an intricate pattern of type. In fact, he’s recently revamped his original maps with fancy new screens and beautiful gold and brown ink.

A man true to his craft, Murray hand screens every print he makes. And he isn’t just in the market for word maps, his illustrative abilities are far ranging and creative to say the very least.

You can check out Dave Murray’s online shop here.



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