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Exit Through The Gift Shop-Banksy

Exit Through The Gift Shop-Banksy

By Friday, the new Banksy Doc, Exit Through The Gift Shop, will be playing everywehre in North America except Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. Here in Toronto, it’s playing at the Yonge and Dundas AMC only, which is really strange. You’d think it would be at the Bloor or the Cumberland, or any theatre known for playing docs, art film and a film fest honors.

I’ve only been to the AMC once and I was completely overwhelmed by the Floridian mall feel. 4 stories up to the entrance and you’re finally in. Well sorta, you still have to get past the concession stand mistress who served me a glass of water in a paper cup with no lid and made no apologies for being such a total dink.

The movie is better than you think. And even though the trailer quite literally tells you by way of Banksy’s Sally Jesse voice over, that it’s about the guy who made the documentary more than the graffiti artists themselves, it’s still totally flooring once you realize it is quite literally about him.

Theirry Guetta, a French man living in Los Angeles is so compelling as the subject that he had me hanging on every awkward word from start to finish. He’s everything you want in an artist and a joke: eccentricity, awkwardness, and a what-the-fuck moment accompanied by a punch line.

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If you’re into street art and the artists that make it, they’re all in this movie. Banksy, Space Invader, and Shepard Fairey, most noted for the “Andre the Giant has a posse” stickers that later turned into the Obey symbol and of course the Obama “Hope” poster.

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If you, like me, grew up in the early nineties on skate videos, ironed khaki’s, Beasties Boys, De La, and the  Chili’s when they were still badass, then you watched graf movies, perfected you tag in class in and dated ’nuff boys who were always dragging you out to be the lookout. If any of this rings a bell, you’ll like the movie.

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Not for nothing, but I dreamed I was secretly postering the city with gorgeous, yet slightly political art last night after seeing it. Even though it’s about a joke a hack and a crazy man, it still managed to inspire me to do more than just comment on the art around me.



Richard Kern: Boob Inspector

Richard Kern: Boob Inspector

Richard Kern, photographer, filmmaker and quintessential New Yorker, is having a renewed moment. A former collaborator with ‘80s contemporaries Lydia Lunch, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Sonic Youth and artist Lucy McKenzie, Kern has rehabilitated his youth audience caché through his equally “barely legal” work. As the cool eye of an on-trend soft pornographic storm, it seems like Kern, along with fellow photographer Terry Richardson, has been canonized as the new Pope of Pussy by the narcissistic hipsters of 2010. With his obsessive catalogue of nudie girl pics, it seems only natural that his work might find a fan base in the Vice-conscious minds of jaded, party-oriented 20-somethings – after all, nobody loves to be objectified more than that demographic. Still, the obvious question remains: is his work art or is it pornography? Although Kern often shoots for porno magazines, he also shows in galleries – including an upcoming retrospective at Studio here in Toronto.

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Above: The stage name of Throbbing Gristle‘s Cosey Fanni Tutti, a friend and inspiration to a younger Kern, phonetically translates as “something for everyone” in Italian. NO SHIT, SHERLOCK! Awesome music + awesome hotness equals insane bonertime, hence her stint in various porno magazines.

Curator Rafi Ghanaghounian claims that Kern, who is paradoxically a family man with a 10-year old son, has little to no interest in the “art vs. porn” argument. Yet, how can someone who almost exclusively photographs young, nude girls have no position on that age-old issue? Can he be that bored of the female form that it’s become devoid of eroticism? In a 2004 interview with artist and curator Matthew Higgs, Kern asserts that his work relates more to issues of power and complicity – that is, the complicity of subject to exhibit, and that of the photographer to act as voyeur. However, since Kern always has his models sign release forms, it’s clear that the power struggle is ultimately one-sided.

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Above: Kern’s signature hipster-friendly softcore.

So really, what is his deal? I intend to find out – and about as intimately as I possibly can.

As a side attraction to the retrospective, Studio Gallery is holding an open call for girls to be photographed by Mr. Kern. I apply. He apparently accepts. I am short-listed to be one of his models, which means that I must meet with him in person and flash him my tits. I’m not much for prudery – really, life is too short for either pride or shame – so I book an appointment. It doesn’t help in the “Kern is not a pervert” side of things that the curator tells me not to come in with a “pussy mohawk” because “Richard doesn’t like that.” Still, I’m pretty determined to get a read on the inscrutable artist, so we meet.

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Above: My headshot submission to Richard Kern, aka my passport photo. Yes, I sent it *exactly* as shown.

Kern is more professional than I would have imagined. Of course, the expectation of someone who looks at tits through a lens everyday is that they might ooze creepiness – if not overtly, than at least in some intangible fashion. However, he seems protective, ensuring that the Fashion Television camera crews that were on hand earlier, as well as the curator’s peeping eyes, are out of the room. He asks me to remove my shirt in the same coolly sexless fashion that my male gynecologist asks me to spread my legs – that is, without a hint of prurient interest or verbiage that could ever be construed as vulgar by even the most OTT backwoods Christian zealot. It seems like the right thing to do so I do it. He immediately hands me my discarded bra so that I can put it on straight away after we’re done – pretty considerate, I think. Proceeding to take out his point-and-shoot digital camera, Kern asks me if I’m nervous.

“Not really.” He’s actually that good at assuaging my distrust that I truly don’t mind.

After a couple of standard, albeit topless, photos, he remarks that I might be too skinny for him. Duh.

“Yeah, I assumed that would be the issue. I look pretty stupid – like a bobblehead.”

“What?”

… Nevermind. I replace my shirt and he more or less ushers me out the door.

“We’ll let you know.”

At this point, it’s pretty clear that my meagre slices of tit lack the star power he might be looking for, but I don’t feel negatively judged. If anything, I feel like I’ve just had my annual check-up at the doctor and been told that “they’ll get back to me” if anything comes up in the results. Well apparently my boobs, like my pap smears, are pretty unremarkable. Life goes on.

So is he a pervert? I still can’t really say; all I know is that I don’t feel violated. Still, the exhibition is yet to open and the myriad young party girls yet to attend … but whether or not that’s more Kern’s interest or the lascivious curator’s is, in my mind, undecided at this point.

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KERN: A Retrospective Exhibition Featuring the Photography and Films of Richard Kern runs from May 1st to May 30th at Studio Gallery (294 College St., Toronto, ON).

Malibu By U: Draw Your Own Boobs & Guns

Malibu By U: Draw Your Own Boobs & Guns

Despite the fact that it gets its name from the wrong side of Mexico, Malibu Rum hails from Barbados and stinks of straight-up leisure (plus 21% alcohol). Like so many morning-after Facebook photos, each bottle is a testament to all of your best and most rampantly drunken Caribbean memories, such as:

  • Barfing into a steel drum;
  • Barfing through a ghost pirate;
  • Barfing a mélange of rum and jerk chicken onto a voodoo priest named Shango-Shango Motumbe at a Bob Marley festival.

Fortunately, Malibu has come up with a way for you to crudely document all of these precious moments through its newest venture, Malibu By U. Like a Dunny filled with booze, each limited edition, customizable bottle comes with four markers for you to scrawl dudes’ phone numbers with and/or draw funny pictures of cocks – right onto the container!

Malibu By U in the works.

Above: Drawing inspiration through marginally tropical-themed items: miscellaneous brand coconut chocolate bars, pineapple soda, banana-flavoured milk, Barack Obama-flavoured cola – plus a tiki mug in which to mix all of them to your stomach’s discontent.

As both an illustrator and a drunk, I decided to take my bottle out for a spin on the streets of T.O. to see what kind of reaction I could get. First, the decoration: as a Pink Mafia blogger, the most obvious motifs had to be the elegant double-whammy of boobs and guns.

The finished masterwork.

Above: My masterful artwork has elevated this mere bottle into an object worthy of being buried with my corpse. Happy grave digging, alcoholics of the future!

ENJOYMENT.

Above: It’s easy to enjoy phallic objects on their own, but the added benefit of drunk-making contents and a bunch of markers pretty much nullifies any need I might have ever had for men.

After such a perfect (and apparently personally erotic) execution, it’s time to suit up and take Malibu by Diana outdoors.

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Above: Posing for various photos with my new best friend Senor Malibu, looking handsome in his G.I. Joe finery.

Unexpectedly, my waving around a gigantic bottle of alcohol early on a Saturday morning seemed to garner attention. Observe:

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Above: Because it’s neither yoga, Sex and the City or Joe Fresh, these suburban moms seemed initially unimpressed, albeit mildly curious.

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Above: Luckily, these generically handsome young men were far more receptive. Malibu: a hot tip for picking up inoffensive dudes (and their ‘hot tips’)!

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Above: Although his body language might say ‘wary’,  even our furry friends in the animal kingdom are inevitably drawn to the liquid sunshine liquor that is Malibu. Later we got trashed on the stuff and spent the next three days eating Purina nachos in the basement of his mom’s dog house.

Wow, what a ride! Like me, you too can have zany adventures with alcohol by heading down to your local LCBO and customizing your own Malibu By U. Of course, whatever you do will never be as incomparably zany as this appearance by Leonard Nimoy on the 1967 variety show Malibu U.

Spring Break: Young Hearts, Run Free

Spring Break: Young Hearts, Run Free

In celebration of Spring Break we’d like to bring you an actual, one-way conversation from someone enjoying their spring break. Ah young love.

10:33PM: This bar f**kin blows.

11:46PM: Get here nooow. This is torture

11:55PM: !!!

2:52AM: Goin home with Him

2:52AM: Told him no banging

2:52AM: He is completely straight edge

2:52AM: Never been drunk.

2:53AM: And owns a condo

2:53AM: And wants to be a cop.

2:53AM: He he.

2:54AM: And he takes cooking classes.

3:35AM: He’s a f**king dick.

3:35AM: Hate him.

3:44AM: I think I’m moving to vaginas

3:44AM: Like

3:44AM: Jesus

3:44AM: F***ing

3:44AM: Christ

3:46AM: He’s a dog.

4:01AM: F**k.

4:01AM: I just lost my passport.

Long Live Spring Break!!!

No Drama Mama

No Drama Mama

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Lately, I’ve been completely obsessed with the drama that is the “Wendy Williams Show.” Formerly a radio talk show host, with a face to match, Williams ventured into television in 2008. Her style of interview is brash and fearless, which is why I love her. Williams appears to be uneducated but that hasn’t stopped her from achieving tremendous success.  Once Oprah and Tyra have retired their shows, Williams will undoubtedly be the queen of daytime talk. (It should be noted that this woman has also managed to single-handedly resuscitate the “Friends” catchphrase “How you doing?” Impressive.) It’s got me thinking a lot about how people clearly don’t need to be smart in order to be accomplished. It’s all about making the right decisions.

My friend actor Rukiya Bernard is pregnant and currently spending a bit of time watching daytime talk shows. I told her I wanted to do a column about my obsession with Williams. She told me she wanted to talk about drama. I told her we could combine the two. Here’s how it turned out:

Me: So what do you think of Ms. Williams?

Rukiya Bernard: The first show I saw of hers, she was so ill-prepared. She had Andy Dick on. During the interview, she tells him she loved him on “Just Shoot Me” and he’s like “Wow, you did your research. I was only on one episode.” Then he figured out that she thought he was David Spade. And that shit made it to air.

Me: Do you think that was strategic?

RB: Maybe, I mean it’s just Andy Dick. He’s like a C- or D- list actor. It’s just hard for me to stomach.

Me: At first I thought it was just a C-list star interviewing C- to Z- list stars. But she has some pretty big names.

RB: Yeah, that Andy Dick episode had Regina King and Snoop Dog. Those are pretty big names.

Me: I think the people going on her show are very aware of her demographic, which to me seems like a young and possibly uneducated audience. And that’s based on her commercials, which are all for community colleges with catchphrases like “It’s never too late!” and “If they can do it, so can you!” That’s what fascinates me. [Williams] is clearly uneducated and if she did get an education, it was at the school of hard knocks.

RB: Who knows, maybe it’s a persona she’s putting on to appeal to her demographic or heaven forbid, maybe it’s just her. She’s appealing to a certain demographic, which isn’t the same as Oprah’s.

Me: She seems like one of those women who love to listen to gossip and bullshit and has an opinion on everything.

RB: And creates gossip. She would invite people on her radio show and call people out on shit.

Me: That’s what I admire about her. Interviewing is an art and PR people shit all over that. They sit in on the interview and monitor what’s being talked about. Whereas with Wendy Williams, you know what you’re getting into. And that’s hard to achieve.

RB: I don’t know if it’s my cup of tea. She just wants to provoke a reaction. I don’t think she’s terribly respectful to her audience or her guests.

Me: Maybe she has a different way of showing respect.

RB: Go on.

Me: She’s very forthcoming. She thinks that by giving you her opinion, she’s respecting you. If she’s taking the time to be all up in your face, that’s her showing respect. I totally relate to that!

RB: (Gives me a puzzled look.) Um…

For the full article, click here.

By: Elianna Lev for the Vancouver Observer

I am the last person who interviewed JD Salinger

I am the last person who interviewed JD Salinger

Salinger is dead. He mattered most to people like me – young American men, who recommend books to girls they want to impress. But he was a master, whose passing everyone should mourn. He changed the poetry of American short stories – the rhythm of everything we read. He invented italics and emphasis. He ruled dialogue and detail.

He was, for the last forty years, a recluse. We know little about his work since he went into open hiding. The hope I have – and I am sure thousands of others also – is that he really did continue to write and that we will one day, soon, see what he’s been creating.

My advice for everyone: read Catcher in the Rye again. Read his short stories. Read Franny and Zooey. These books change you more than any other fiction I know. This sounds silly, pretentious – and I am sure will draw scoffs and loathing. But trust me – I am no Salinger absolutist. His work isn’t perfect. I hate much of it, most of the time. But there’s something in it – magic – and it is powerful. It is sad, and wonderful and huge.

Just after my dad died, last summer, I began writing to JD Salinger. I am not sure if this was misplaced longing for the mysterious artist man in my life I had just lost, or some striking new ambition which I knew I needed to chase. But it sure felt like destiny. For weeks, I tortured over how to write the first letter. I had hundreds of drafts and ideas. And nothing felt like anything he’d want to read.

Ultimately I came up with a crazy idea. Anyone who reads JD’s work knows he’s into little girls. This is undeniable. (Up for debate is whether this desire is sexual, or simply envy and adoration of innocence. That the young women he displays so affectionately – seductively – are icons of his longing for things lost).

I became consumed with this idea, and I convinced myself the only way to reach him was to exploit Salinger’s dark side.

I began writing him love letters under guise of a young Italian-American girl named Valentina. Raven haired, tall and clumsy, precocious. She was the archetype Salinger Doll. To him, I sent her love, her wonder, her guessing games.

“Dear Mr. Salinger – thank you for your lovely letter. I have told my mother about my penpal and she is very curious about you. I shall never tell her the stupendous truth of course – it would not seem right to give you away. Not just yet, anyway. [...] By the way, I was curious the other night: What exactly is a banafish? [...]”

And months later, this last fall, I received a letter from Salinger and his legal handlers. A stamped-envelope from a Manhattan legal firm, addressed to my Valentina. An invitation to come visit him in Cornish, N.H. His home, “to meet each other and chat.”

I don’t want to spend much more words here, or time. I am presently producing the documentary of my trip to meet Salinger. I brought with me two cameras, a 1st edition Catcher in the Rye and a friend of mine – a 20-something Jewish girl, who was tall and petite enough to pass as the Valentina, and I met the man who no one else could in nearly half a decade.

I want to say simply that I feel awful for the deceit, that I have no feelings of pride or happiness about my conquest. And I fear with a tender, submerged heart, that as Salinger faded away this morning, the last words escaping from his broken-hearted lips were whispers. “Valentina. Valentina.”

R.I.P

Tobin Dalrymple

Follow the rest of the Salinger/Valentina story, here or on Twitter.

Ron Jeremy’s secret: Kiss, Pull, Squeeze

Ron Jeremy’s secret: Kiss, Pull, Squeeze

Pop quiz: You’re a young lady, at a hotel party, enjoying some beers. Ron Jeremy saunters up to you, grey-black mane dangling like a greasy mop at his shoulders…he caresses your little hand between his two beefy paws and requests, like a gentleman, if he can go down on you. What do you say? TOO LATE. He already made you explode like a chinese water fountain. Just from being there. Just with those two stoney eyes locked into your own, in those two seconds between “Hello” and “I’m Ron.”

How does he do it? Men have always wondered how this super-average guy managed to get a Guinness World Record for doing the most porn stars, ever. It’s a mystery. Correction. It used to be. But I discovered the secret.

And that’s about the best – or only –  insight I got out of the Hedgehog, during the worst interview I ever did. It’s not all my fault though – one of the guys at Street Carnage, this guy,  fucked me and told me to ask Ron about the concept of ‘the Other’…and to tell him some guy said hi. Which I did. I didn’t realize it was all part of some elaborate plot to make me look like an idiot.

The only thing you’ll find interesting is at the end, when Ron gives away that secret to making girls explode in two seconds without taking their pants off.

I just want to say: Ron Jeremy was an alright guy. He played the harmonica really, really well, and he was insanely horny all night long. Which is crazy because you’d think he’d be sick of it by now.

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Ron wears crocs

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Nuit Blanche 2009 Roundup

Nuit Blanche 2009 Roundup

Didn’t make it out to Nuit Blanche this year? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our take on what sucked, and what was awesome.

Melania Fedyna:
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Nuit Blanche: Night of billions of people shuffling the streets with no particular destination. I could barely keep it on the side-walk, yet alone navigate a map as to where an exhibit was supposed to be. Confusion surfaced as various characters on the street made me question “Art installation or CAMH escapee”? Hitting up Wrongbar turned out to be a safe bet, feeling at home among drunk, dancing zombies. Post-3am, the streets were still littered with after-partiers. I found myself at a legit 90s rave outside of OCAD, dj on the back of a pick-up Uhaul and disco lights included. Art installation or substance-fueled fun? Art installation, of course! Oh, Nuit. Thanks for another 7am bedtime. Until next year…

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Credit for Wrongbar photos: Smile n pose.

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Michael Joseph Ianni:
This wasn’t Easter kids. This was one fucking gigantic bunny that hovered in the Eaton Centre in part of Nuit Blanche. At first glance I thought bunny was holding something violent like a knife, but it was just a carrot. Nevertheless, it was sort of Donnie Darko scary. I get it! I huge metallic-coloured bunny. Next, my friend, and I dodged security as we biked throughout the mall. When else would you ever get the chance to? What a trip down the rabbit hole! Done.

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The following photos come courtesy of Morad Affifi, with Heineken goes Behind the Night – they lead groups through Zone C – Urban Disaster/Catastrophe/Survival Action to go behind the scenes as artists and culture mavens share their insights on Scotiabank Nuit Blanche.

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Chantel Bedward:

Hey my party peeps. Soo it’s cold as hell outside for the first week of October. But that sure didn’t dampen the spirits of the kool kids and T.O. art elite. I don’t even know where to begin, I ask myself really WTF is Nuit Blanche. Don’t get me wrong I know what there tryna to do. But they are kinda missing the mark if you ask me.
Like first there are sooo many freaking artist, exhibitis, pieces, displays of art if you will…. Really it’s just way tooo much to comprehend and process. My biggest piss off of the nite was the TTC. they push the all nite pass special edition for Nuit Blanche… FYI it was just the regular day pass. Only to have the crappiest service ever… Ummm how bout the whole nite there wasn’t a streetcar in site and if there was any to be found everyone was smushed in like sardines in a can. My advice next time you want to attract everyone to all nite transit have the manpower and transit power to do so. I was soo peeved I actually inquired bout a refund cause I happened to walk more than I used the damn thing.

Ok, sorry bout the rant, the nite wasn’t a total blow I got to checkout my cousin Ashley Mackenzie-Barnes of SIXAWHI and their Mas Hysteria project. It was pretty fly with UV light illuminating wire neon figures bustin’ out in a full carnival swing. My other personal fave was the vodka pool and the lite up pop cans in Trinity Bellwoods Park… And how could I forget the graffiti @ AGO and the huge 4 letter display @ city hall (I thought it was totally overrated) but it’s just me. Here’s my suggestion for next year instead of having a shit load of crappy projects and exhibits all over the city. How bout we take the time to scale back the project a bit and only maybe have a handful of mindblowin and thought provoking art.

Pink Mafia tips to Nuit Blanche 2009

Pink Mafia tips to Nuit Blanche 2009

It’s that time of the year, folks – Nuit Blanche is back for another sleepless night! We care about you over here at Pink Mafia, so we thought we’d make you a guide on how to make the most out of that night.

TIPS:

- Plan ahead. There might be two really cool installations going on around the same time, but check first how far they are from each other. Follow a route, so you’re not wandering around aimlessly and miss out on all the cool shit.

- Bring water! Whether you’re biking, walking or TTCing for Nuit Blanche, you need to stay hydrated. Of course, bring alcohol with you too (vodka in plastic bottles is where it’s at). On that same note, don’t get too drunk early on. It might be fun at first, but passing out at 11pm is super lame.

- Choose yer company wisely! If you wanna go full out and spend the night wandering, don’t bring those friends who will feel like going home a couple of hours into the festivities. Also, not all your friends will want to do the same things you want to do.

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- Find some spots to rest up at. If you’re hungry late at night, Sneaky Dee’s (College/Bathurst) or Lakeview Lunch (Ossington/Dundas) are good spots. Also, from 12am to 6am, Fynn’s of Temple Bar (King/Brant) will be offering complimentary hot chocolate and coffee.

PINK MAFIA’S PICKS:

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Battle Royal
Shaun El C. Leonardo – New York City, USA

Inspired by Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man, 20 men will enter Toronto’s original bus depot with lingering art-deco design and step into a 17’ steel cage. Shaun El Conquistador Leonardo (artist and trained fighter) along with 19 of Canada’s elite pro-wrestlers will fight blindfolded until only one man is left standing.

The match is an intense, theatrical recreation of the book’s opening scene also entitled Battle Royal. Occupying a space between literary representation, wrestling spectacle and art performance, Battle Royal is an unscripted event harkening back to the actual fight to-the-end bouts African Americans were encouraged to enter for prize winnings during post-slavery American South; while manifesting the artist’s own personal fear of societal invisibility.

Beginning at 7pm members of the audience are invited to be blindfolded and escorted into the cage where they will have the opportunity to feel the intimidation and potential of aggression Battle Royal encompasses. Gradually, as the night reaches its peak, professional wrestlers will be introduced to the ring, initiating the action while the artist, Shaun El C. Leonardo, seeks to withstand the pain, embarrassment and discomfort of struggling in front of eyes without having sight himself.

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Monopoly with Real Money, 2009
IAIN BAXTER – Windsor, Canada

Money becomes a conceptual and tactile medium as Toronto celebrities play the iconic real estate board game throughout the night at the TSX. This timely restaging of the artist’s 1973 event draws an eerie connection between the 1970s era-defining recession and today’s market meltdown. Monopoly, patented during the Great Depression, gains new relevance with every boom-and-bust cycle. Does it provide an escape from the grim reality of stock-market crashes and factory layoffs, or offer a training ground for the next generation of would-be entrepreneurs? See how unlikely combinations of artists, musicians, journalists, authors, media personalities, and (yes!) financiers and developers vie for prize properties in an uncertain investment climate — all played in cold, hard cash.

PhotoSecret
Rob Gee – Toronto, Canada

We all have a secret that’s been tugging away at our heart’s strings for as long as we can remember. We often wish we could tell someone – anyone – to ease the heartache. What if you could share your secret, anonymously, with the world? How great would it feel to put it down after all these years?

Embracing “the exhibitionist in all of us”, PhotoSecret is an interactive exhibit that encourages visitors to anonymously txt a secret with their mobile phone. The more adventurous can take their photo at one of the custom photo booths. The crowd will come alive when photo and secret are randomly paired and displayed above the city for all to see.

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Body Language
Kayla Harris – Vancouver, Canada
Rasso Bruckert – Germany
Belinda Mason-Lovering – Australia

Body Language is a photography exhibit artfully depicting themes of intimacy, sensuality, sexuality and disability. It’s a frank and realistic exploration of sexuality and people with disabilities. Acclaimed works from Germany, Australia and Canada reflect the diversity of experiences of disability, and within that, the diversity of lives and desires, an acknowledgement that disability is just one part of a life experience.

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Vodka Pool
Dan Mihaltianu – Berlin, Germany

As viewers gather around a reflecting pool of alcohol situated on the pristine floor of the atrium, they can ponder the volatile and symbolic qualities of 80-proof vodka. Liquor and liquidity bear more than passing associations to banks and money. Intoxicating, like the euphoria of riches; evaporating, like the vanishing of investments during economic downturns; alchemical, like the transformation of use value into exchange value. In black markets and other underground economies, the connections are even more literal. During wars and totalitarian regimes, such as Nicolae Ceausescu’s dictatorship in alcohol serves as both an escape and a home-brewed currency for procuring essential goods and services.”

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Gladstone Hotel – The sheVISIONS Collective
A.R.R.R.T (Artistically, Recycling, Reusing, Reclaiming, Twilight) The Evolution of The Human Spirit
Suzi Horton – Toronto, Canada
Dean Ifill – Toronto, Canada
Bruno Billio – Toronto, Canada
Kayt Lucas – Toronto, Canada
Natasha Gordon – Toronto, Canada
Jonah Hart – Toronto, Canada
Debbie Wilson – Toronto, Canada
Emma Noakes – Guelph, Canada

This contemporary art piece focuses on Light and is supported by a combination of sound, movement, and visual and costume design. The piece begins with Light: 3D visual projections are eased on to the west façade of the Gladstone Hotel, enhanced by sounds from both nature and industry. Then, the first performer climbs out of a lit window and begins to move, suspended high above the audience. In total, four aerial performers represent the journey from amoeba to human form. They perform in succession, each presenting a 20 minute act. The complete installation has a running time of 1 hour and 40 minutes. There is a 20 minute intermission in between performances.

BICITYCLE (Bike City)
Kyohei Sakaguchi – Tokyo, Japan

Interactive Mobile Installation

BICITYCLE (Bike-city) is a project about mobile life. Sakaguchi is inspired by the lifestyle, innovation and survival skills of homeless people in Japan. His research focuses on two concepts; mobility and recycling. The houses of the homeless are easy to dismantle and remake because people are forced to move their houses. They separate the infrastructures: water, gas, toilet, and electricity. The houses are made from the scraps of the city, as they understand the materials of urban waste are natural resources. Sakaguchi undertakes this concept further through incorporating used bicycles as a survival action for the city.

For Nuit Blanche, the artist will create 11 mobile housing units, each attached to a bicycle. The audience can interact and relocate the works within the area.

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Gabriel Graham, 1977

Gabriel Graham has designed an igloo made out of TVs! This is all part of the Nuit Blanche closing party, and looks like it’ll be great.

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Zombie Party at Wrongbar

We’re throwing this party, and it’s going to be fucking rad. Always a good place to end your night, Wrongbar! You can get in free if you’re dressed the part, and there’s also make up artists on site.

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Also, if you’re too cool to take part in the Nuit Blanche festivities, how about going to Les Rues des Refusés, the anti-Nuit Blanche art festival that takes place at the same time. Without a doubt, their events won’t be as crowded as the official festivities, and you might see some really original installations. This year, they’re teaming up with Newmindspace to organize the Nuit Blanche Renegade Parade.

Absolut Fail Party, Absolut Win Art

Absolut Fail Party, Absolut Win Art

We did an interview with our pal Justin Broadbent a minute ago about the pop up art installation he did for Absolut vodka. The show was yesterday in the abandoned platform under Bay Subway Station.

We popped by to see the art during the day and it was gorgeous.

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Justin’s one of those stupidly talented people that you can’t help but adore. The fact that he also looks like Brad Pitt from Benjamin Button doesn’t hurt either.

DSCN3236So from what we can figure, Absolut wanted to do an art thing but also a party, cause everyone makes their splash with a party these days. Heaven forbid you just have art. Who would come? Who would care? And frankly, the best thing to do when you’re raging out is to drink, so makes sense right?

What was good? The vending machine filled with sealed love letters blew us away. We got one but waited till we got home to open it. It made the whole thing even more breathtaking: “This week, let’s leave our phones at home and go out for dinner”. Lady bones right there.

3820480975_c06992a8aa The subway idea was pretty dope, we have to admit. Wandering through cars filled with plants or red-lit with glass beads a danglin’ was so romantic.

What sucked? Kinda a lot actually. Maybe we’re just picky cause we throw such great parties, but two massive fails happened: 1. because it was under the public station, the lineup barely moved as partygoers were escorted in one by one at times, and others in threes. Also, even with 12 people working lists and door, no one seemed to have our bloggers on any of them. 2. Charging for drinks at your corporate invite-only party is just plain gauche. Smirnoff did it at their fail of a party too. If you’re not gonna let anyone in, make this big hoopla by flying in Steve Aoki, and then charge us for drinks, dude, you should be straight smacked. It’s cheap, recession or not.

On the plus, Elise Von Kulmiz, our fearless photog got in and took some good snaps.

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Verdict: Art saves the day

RIP: John Hughes

RIP: John Hughes

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John Hughes died on August 6, 2009 in New York of a heart attack while walking his dog. He was 59 years old.

As the oldest member of this lady-gang, Pink Mafia, it’s my duty to tell you just how much this man truly affected my youth.

First, Pretty In Pink. When people talk about epic moments in film, they’re talking about Duckie lip synching Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness” to Andi at the record store while she waits in vein for Blaine, her crush from the richer side of the tracks who appears at the very last second to take her on a date.

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Pretty In Pink made me want to make my own clothes and work in a record shop and respect the Annie Potts like women in my life.

Hughes Music Trivia: “If You Leave” is actually by Psychedelic Furs, OMD did a cover in the studio and they chose it as the lead song for the movie. Burn!

In Sixteen Candles, I fell in love with Jake Ryan, who has yet to be replaced by any real life boyfriend as the ultimate hottie. Even if he wore those high wasted bermuda pants and was all bruding in tight gym shorts.

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Gawd, when he says, “Make a wish” and she replies, “it’s already come true”. There isn’t a girl on the planet who can resist it.

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Hughes Music Trivia: Sixteen Candles was named after the Stray Cats song.

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Enter Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I went to Chicago with my grade seven class and all I wanted to do was go to the Art Institute of Chicago and see what Ferris and Sloan and Cameron saw. My crush on Cameron Frye was so heavy that at one point, I’d even convinced myself that Alan Ruck (the actor that played him) and I would be together one day. This is at 13 years old (as a side note, he’s old enough to be my dad).

Hughes Music Trivia: John Hughes was a huge Beatles fan and often had his characters sing Beatles songs in his movies, “Birthday” by the geek in Sixteen Candles, “Love” by Duckie in Pretty In Pink, but “Twist And Shout” in this one, hit it out of the park.

Even though Weird Science came out before, I was too young to watch it at the time, so it wasn’t until years later that I finally saw it. Kelly Lebrock cemented her total babe status in this movie. Incidentally, it was also the first time I fell for the geek on film which lead to a long string of geek boyfriends for pretty much the rest of my life. I would still shower with Wyatt in a heartbeat, and he could wear a snow suit for all I care.

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weird-science_lHughes Music Trivia: Well it’s not really music, but the part where Anthony Michael Hall goes to the bar with Kelly LeBrock and gets wasted begat the whole joint-smoking scene in The Breakfast Club.

Some Kind Of Wonderful was the movie that made me think the girl with the dyke haircut could still get the guy in the end. I saw it when I was a kid and didn’t think much of it, but by high school, I was basically Watts. Still am. I love Mary Stuart Masterson’s portrayal of the tough girl who didn’t fit in with the other girls. Felt boyish and awkward and was hopelessly in love with her best friend Eric Stoltz, who in the end, finally notice the shit out of her.

Just check this opening scene and tell me you’re not 100% head over heels:

Finally, The Breakfast Club. Every girl wants to be either Molly Ringwald or Ally Sheedy because of this movie. In university I wrote poetry for Ally Sheedy. My, “I would go gay for her” feelings have never ceased.

By the time Judd Nelson pounded his fist into the air in the closing scene, while Simple Minds, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” began playing in the background, I was sold like a cheap piece of real estate.

I couldn’t wait to get to high school for “strong lips”, “a black corvette and a pink guy”, “you two donkey dicks couldn’t get laid in a morgue” , “This is 1987, don’t you know that a woman can be whatever she wants to be?–I know, my mom’s a plumber”, and…”life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.

Hughes left Hollywood after John Candy’s death, saying that “Hollywood killed his friend”. He left for his kids, but he continued to write (ummm Maid in Manhattan anyone?). Truth be told, he left us a long time ago.

And like anyone who grew up in the 80s, I pinned and stewed and hoped that he’d come back. Because we need him now more than ever. And he’s gone.

We lost an international treasure yesterday people. And no amount of Mean Girls or Donnie Darko’s will ever replace him. He was the voice of a generation, without being to trite about it.

He was the creator of all my teenage dreams and his movies were the evidence that I was not alone.

RIP John Hughes, you will be missed.

xo AVF

Justin Broadbent: Absolut

Justin Broadbent: Absolut

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“IN AN ABSOLUT WORLD OPPORTUNITIES ALWAYS POP UP”. Justin Broadbent was asked by Absolut to create an installation about that phrase for an exhibit on August 13, 2009 in a secret location, for now. To do this, Justin may use many forms of art; to create the elusion of the phrase. “Justin’s vision is an example of how these opportunities will pop up where least expected.” You can now send him ideas “Messages In A Bottle” giving him inspiration and your ideas. www.justinbroadbent.com/absolut/bottle.html

His work consists of graphic design such as posters, web design, branding, CD design, photography, music video direction, installation and more. From being a Ryerson New Media graduate, he has grown in being a successful Canadian artist. He’s worked with many artists such as Shad, Drangonette, Metric, worked with Rob Dyer (Skate4Cancer) and many more. With working with these artists, he has been nominated for two Much Music Video Awards in 2009. Follow Justin’s blog updates www.justinbroadbent.com/absolut and check out his work;

www.justinbroadbent.com

http://www.jbtakeme.com

http://www.giftedthoughts.com

http://www.hotdoggarbage.com

Follow him on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justinbroadbent

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Interview with Justin:

Q. First off, I’ve gotten to take a look at your website and it’s amazing. You have everything to do with the arts such as photography, branding, printmaking, posters and etc. How did you get involved with all of that?

A. Thank you! : ) Well, I’d have to say from a young age, my parents always wanted me to express my creativity. In high school, I starting taking classes like photography or design. I had a really shit computer, and sooner on my friends in bands started asking me to make CD covers for them for free. One thing led to another, my friends band got signed and Sony was paying me to design CD covers. The photography was a decision I made for myself. From seeing Andy Warhol and other artists, it got me inspired. I took a few portraits in University and one thing led to another where I was working with bands. Funny thing is, I’m not really a trained photographer, so it’s kind of cool I get to do all this stuff.

Q. How do you describe your photographic style?

A. Like the under side of the table. Honest and raw. I like the flash simple look, and the vintage-used look.

Q. You’ve worked with any artists and people such as Shad, a lot of Skate4Cancer with Rob Dyer, Dragonette and many more. How did you get working with these people?

A. For Skate4Cancer, Rob contacted me through a friend he was looking to do a website and he explained to me the charity and I got really interested. We’ve become good friends out of it. Dragonette, I believe a girl from Ryerson knew a band member and they contacted me and I worked with them for a bit. Shad, he’s amazing. We’re best friends.

Q. I’ve noticed you traveled to many places. I’m very jealous! You’ve traveled to India, Paris, London, New Zealand, and Spain. What did you get out of traveling to those places? Did you get attached to any of the countries?

A. Oh yes, I loved India. I just love traveling. Whether it’s to up north or to another country. It’s important to travel. Spain was really nice. All the places I’ve been to, I’ve got something out of going there.

Q. Let’s Talk about Absolut. You were asked by Absolut to create an installation about the phrase “IN AN ABSOLUT WORLD OPPORTUNITIES ALWAYS POP UP”. How did you get involved with this?

A. Absolut was looking to work with a young, up-and-coming artist on an installation in Canada.  I’m all over the map when it comes to making things, so I guess I fit the bill for being able to interpret this concept into an installation.

Q. This installation will be shown in an exhibit. When does this exhibit take place?

A. The exhibit (which is just one day / night) will pop in Toronto on Aug 13 2009.  The location is being kept secret right now.  :)

Q. What would be your process and method of thinking in creating this installation? Do you have any ideas yet?

A. I’m interpreting opportunity.  Where it comes from, how it fits with this space…  etc.  Opportunity is about a moment. It is a favourable combination of circumstances, in time, generally involving people, generally in a positive light. The idea of opportunity spontaneously “popping up” eliminates the idea of “creating opportunity” (a common notion of our current world). Opportunity popping up assumes more-so to be about chance, surprise, luck, and the unexpected.

I can’t tell you much about the actual ideas, but generally that’s the direction I’m thinking in.  It’ll be multi-media, interactive, weird, funny, good.  :)

Q. Absolut is a very well known company. In doing this installation, do you think it will open doors for you in towards future work?

A. I suppose.  It’s not my focus right now.  I’m happy to be working with Absolut on this project more than anything.  What ever comes of it will great.  I’m looking up.

Q. Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows…

A. I like Fleetwood mac.  Haha.

Q. Do you believe artistic creativity is innate, or can be developed through life experiences?

A. Creativity is just the ability to see beneath the surface.  It’s about problem solving and keeping your eyes open.  For some people, that comes very naturally.  I travel, and that is one important way for me to strengthen my creativity.  To look at things I’ve never seen, or never thought of in that light.  Eyes open.  Always.  Open Eyes.  Open Heart.

Q. What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the field?

A.  Always output your best. Have an arsenal of ideas always in the back of your mind. And take breaks.

Q. Do you feel Toronto Artist don’t get as much credit as they should?

A. Yeah maybe a bit.  I think Canadian artists (all facets) don’t get as much credit as they deserve.  Some of the bands I’ve been fortunate to work with are my favourite bands and they are “indie” Canadian bands (Shad, The Wooden Sky).  I like Toronto, it feels clever and energetic.  I see good things coming.  :)

Marvin the 30lbs LOBSTER!!

Marvin the 30lbs LOBSTER!!

Since the weather is soooo WONDERFUL outside (its a joke, T.O. hasn’t seen summer thus far), I figured my PEEPS could use a wee-bit of CHEERIN’ up!!! I came across a rather bizarre news story late last week, but didn’t think anything much of it!! To be honest it wasn’t anything more than a CATCHY status on CRACKBOOK. But after multiple viewings of this clip… I said “This is just TOO much, my PEEPS gotta catch this one.”  MARVIN the LOBSTER was caught off the coast of Freeport, Nova Scotia. Unlike, average lobsters that are caught IN the trap… Marvin surfaced on TOP of the trap. WTF, you may be thinking… NOT, if you weigh 31 pounds and are over three feet long. Ya heard correct 31 pounds, and the best part is he’s the same size as the fisherman’s 4 year old daughter. Marvin’s crusher claw alone, is over a foot and a half long, but get this they say good ol’ Marv is about 60 years old. OMG!!! how could I forget he could feed around 15 people… but before you rush off to grab the melted butter, they say he’s too tough and stringy to eat!!! So on the brightside Marvin get’s spared from the dinner plate, and gets his 15 minutes of FAME. What I love the most is after making all his scheduled appearances Marvin gets to go back home!!! All I can say “PROUD TO BE CANADIAN, EH!!

Click here for the full newsclip!

http://www.globaltv.com/globaltv/national/video/index.html?releasePID=Ntg4IBKPzn0hhos27R75KuvxLIK5ehyT

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