At the Gallery with Friends : First Thursdays

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Given that the name of this event is “First Thursdays” at the art gallery, there’s no getting around the fact that I’m posting these photos a bit late. But hey, better late than never, right?!

This party takes place on the first Thursday evening of every month (except August this year), when the AGO does things a little differently, offering drinks, food, music, DIY stations and performance art, alongside their collections of masterpieces.

Tickets are a hot item and it sells out quickly, but thanks to the advance planning by my friend Meghan, we got some. But then Meghan couldn’t make it, so we quickly found a taker for her ticket and Julie, Nyla, Pamela and I went. (But, of course, Meghan was missed.)

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^ Pamela, Julie, Nyla, me ^

This particular one (on July 2, 2015) was guest curated by Ombaasin, an Indigenous artist collective and the headlining musical performer was Polaris Music Prize–winning Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq.

But to be honest, we didn’t really get the benefit of this special feature because we just never seemed to be at the right place at the right time! This was on us, because we were taking our time, looking at art and talking. This was the first time that Pamela was meeting Julie and Nyla and they all seemed to get on well, which I loved seeing. We ended up enjoying each other’s company more than keeping our eyes on the schedule though. So when we got to the DIY station where guests were invited to make a leather bracelet, the last of the supplies had been used up on the people ahead of us. Then when we went to see some a painting being done live, the artist was cleaning his brushes as we arrived. And so on. It ended up being a bit comical actually, how we kept missing things by mere minutes.

We did catch one performance artist who was drawing on his foot with a ballpoint pen. I can’t claim to have understood it but it looked neat there amoungst the Henry Moore sculptures.

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Here’s the description of Francisco-Fernando Granados’ piece …

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And we did enjoy some of the food and drinks that were being served at areas (away from the art) scattered around the main floor of the gallery. The idea is to sample different flavours with small servings costing $5 each. My three friends tried an eggplant dish, but not being a fan of that particular vegetable, I went for some spicy macaroni and cheese instead. I also tried the scallops.

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We especially enjoyed seeing the solo exhibition of the work of Toronto artist, Stephen Andrews. It wasn’t associated with the First Thursday event, but he is a friend of Nyla’s so we made sure to see it. His show, POV (Point of View), described here, runs until August 30 if you’d like to check it out. It’s really good and is included in the regular admission cost at the AGO, which is free on Wednesday evenings.

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The exhibit had examples all his different styles, including art journals, pottery, and some abstract work like these ones and the one in the very top photo.

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For that top photo, as you can see, each of us stood in the very same place. Here’s an action shot of Julie, pointing out where Nyla was to stand …

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And here’s one taken by Nyla with her iphone while I posed for Julie who had my camera …

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That show was located on one of the upper floors of the gallery, where I took this picture of the skyline through the shade screens that covered the windows.

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I really liked this very colourful painting by Canadian artist Christi Belcourt

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We were on time and eager to see the concert that wrapped up the evening, but the hall was so crowded that we couldn’t find a spot with a good vantage point. So we listened for a while without being able to see the artist, but I think throat singing has a good portion of performance art to it and loses a bit of context when you can’t see it happening. So we called it a night. Well, Pamela and I called it a night, and Julie and Nyla went in search of some dessert.

Regardless of not getting to see and do the extras associated with this curated evening, we still had a lot of fun and look forward to checking out another of the First Thursday events at the art gallery.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you had a good weekend.
xo loulou

Posted in AGO - Art Gallery of Ontario, Art, Poetry and Theatre | 4 Comments

Exploring Toronto : Some Shops and Sights on Roncesvalles

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In my last post (here) I wrote about spending some time looking around a neighbourhood that we’ve never spent much time in before — Roncesvalles Village. I spoke mainly about some of the restaurants that we saw and tried out, so today, I’d like to share some photos of the other things we saw there, including some great shops located on Roncesvalles Avenue.

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I think you’ll agree that there is a lot of charm in all the old buildings along Roncesvalles Avenue, and in how the merchants and residents have kept them looking very much like they did when they were first built, back at the beginning of the 1900s. Well, I would guess that in some cases the buildings were indeed changed during the past one hundred years, but now have been “unmodernized” and brought back to look like they originally did. The new development we saw, which of course is necessary to keep any area thriving, fit in nicely too. All in all, the street has a very “stepping back in time” feel to it.

One of the most important buildings there, from a historic point of view, is the Revue Cinema. Having opened in 1912, it has been continuously used as a movie theatre to this day, except for the year or so, 2006 – 2007, when it lingered after having been sold. The new owners did not intend to maintain it as a theatre, but residents raised funds and volounteered in an effort to keep it going, and today it continues to keep a regular schedule screening movies. So, it holds the honour of being one of the longest continuously running movie theatres in Canada. (There is a story about it and some cool old photos of it here.)

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Nick and I really enjoyed poking around in this shop, called Scout. It is a gift giver’s paradise, filled with a wide assortment of bright and interesting things.

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When I say “gift giver” I include presents for oneself too! Another shop, just a few storefronts over, called Likely General, would also appeal to someone looking for something for a friend or for themself.

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In fact, Roncesvalles Avenue is lined with places to purchase lovely unique things. I bet it’s a very pretty place to visit around Christmastime, and I’m putting a trip there in December on my “must do” list.

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I loved the gorgeous handmade wooden things on offer in this little shop, Putneys Wooden Bits. Everything is made for salvaged wood from Toronto trees.

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As mentioned in my previous post, there was a Flea Market happening while we were there, with many tables bearing pretty handmade and vintage things. I found myself a nice vintage tea towel to add to my collection.

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Adding the colourful motif of the street were the abundant produce markets.

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Nick popped into one to get some lemons.

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With good reason, Roncesvalles is a popular part of the city to live in these days, and now I’ve seen for myself exactly why this is true.

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Thanks for joining me on this virtual visit to a lovely part of Toronto. If you live in the city, I hope you’ll head there to enjoy it in person.

xo loulou

Posted in Interesting Buildings, Streets of Toronto | 8 Comments