PHOTO – John Loper
<PHOTOS – Interior, Taryn Devereux, http://www.globetrottingtips.com & exterior, Benson Kua/Wikipedia>
Built in the style of West End British theatres, the Royal Alex seats 1500, has a proscenium stage and two balcony levels. Construction began in 1905 and was completed in 1907.
Downtown Councillor KRISTYN WONG-TAM believes Church Street needs some titivating up – in time for WorldPride/2014. Never at a loss for good ideas, she wants to brighten up the cityscape with colourful murals documenting the history of the neighbourhood, ground zero of Canada’s sexual liberation movement.
The idea doesn’t need city approval and comes at no expense to taxpayers. Property owners only have to offer their facades to make the dream come true.
Councillor Wong-Tam, in an Xtra magazine interview: “Church Street has this amazing history and a rich culture. But unless you live in the community, what is there to tell that story? I want to bring street art out of the laneways and alleys and put it prominently onto the buildings. There is no one neighbourhood in TORONTO that has embraced mural art. Not one.”
The idea for Church Street was hatched after Wong-Tam’s visit to the Mission District of SAN FRANCISCO. “I came back from that trip incredibly inspired, thinking this is where public art can go. The murals in San Francisco are very political. They show people of colour, all ages, all shapes. They speak to issues like worker rights, racial equality, migrant worker rights, deportation and self-determination. That stuff is powerful.” Is there a better role model than San Francisco?
Ms. Wong-Tam is looking for mural artists who’d like to get involved. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
WorldPride is an international event inaugurated in 2000. ROME was the first host, followed by JERUSALEM in 2006, then LONDON in 2012. And now TORONTO will be hosting from June 20-29 in 2014, http://www.pridetoronto.com
PHOTO – Sean420 at http://www.vitualtourist.com
Canada’s gift to screaming teens worldwide, JUSTIN BIEBER is about to become Executive Producer of an ABC television comedy based on his life. The setting should be STRATFORD, Ontario where the ‘Bieb’ grew up, but seeing that this is an American TV series, it could very well be Americanized.
Tickets for JUSTIN BIEBER’s July 25 & 26 shows in TORONTO were sold out in seconds this past week. Single seats disappeared too. As well, the Bieber Fan Club pre-sale sold out immediately. But . . . 3400 tickets suddenly appeared on a reseller’s site, priced as high as $3500.
A national treasure, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), known locally as the Mother Corp., has the largest music library in the country. Classical, jazz, hip hop, blues, aboriginal, soul, rock, pop, country, electronic, Radio 2, Radio 3 and Espace Musique – it’s there for the listening at http://music.cbc.ca/# It’s all free and non-commercial.
CBC Music is offering a classical holiday stream featuring carols, concertos and hits from the choral, vocal and instrumental repertoire. You can listen to the classical holiday stream 24/7 throughout the festive season.
CBC Radio is Canada’s public broadcaster, with transmitters and stations coast-to-coast-to-coast. CBC programs daily in English, French and several aboriginal languages, totally commercial-free on Radio 1, 2 and 3 – in six time zones.
The Cameron House, ‘This is Paradise’, http://www.thecameron.com
For those of us who don’t get out much . . . this facade at 542 Queen Street West has always been a mystery. What exactly lies within? Turns out, it’s the Bovine Sex Club, an internationally-renowned bar on the Queen Street West strip. The Bovine (or BSC) has found itself at the forefront of our city’s goth, punk, alternative and rockabilly music scenes. A haven for independent musicians and artists since day one, the Bovine is also known for being one of the first establishments to serve Jägermeister on tap.
<The 2012 Hallowe’en poster, Bovine Sex Club, 542 Queen Street West>
The Hotel Waverly opened in 1900, making it an elder among downtown TORONTO hotels in continuous operation. Adjacent to the Scott Mission and the Silver Dollar Room, the Waverly provides low rent accomodation in Spadina Avenue’s Chinatown. There’s evidence that James Earl Ray stayed at the Waverly while hiding out in TORONTO after shooting Martin Luther King, Jr. It was also the longtime home of poet Milton Acorn, several of whose works depicts life in the neighbourhood. In popular culture the hotel was the opening scene of the Elmore Leonard novel Killshot and was also featured in the film version.
The Silver Dollar Room at 486 Spadina, began as the Waverly’s cocktail lounge 50 years ago, and is now one of TORONTO’s top blues, punk, soul, bluegrass, indie, garage, folk venues. The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Downchild Blues Band and Blind Boys of Alabama are just three of the multitude of performers who’ve graced the Silver Dollar stage.
Bluegrass guitarist, Chris Coole: “I know it sounds cliché, but the Silver Dollar has got a lot of history. I love to play in an old bar that has a lot of atmosphere in it, that hasn’t been built in the last five years. At the Silver Dollar, the feeling is really there.”
“We slipped down the rabbit hole Friday night—and came out the other side marveling at choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s first-rate production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In its U.S. debut the National Ballet of Canada (with an assist from Britain’s Royal Ballet) staged five performances this past weekend at the Music Center. Balancing carefully executed choreography, theatrics, set design, and costuming with an original score, the company filled nearly three hours with nonstop spectacle, bringing to life the beloved and bizarre characters from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel. Fidgety White Rabbit? Check. Psychotic Queen of Hearts? Check. Wide-eyed Alice? Exceptional. Principal dancer Sonia Rodriguez tirelessly appeared onstage for most of the night, perfectly capturing the mix of playful innocence and bewilderment as she encountered one strange scene after another during her journey.” - Leilah Bernstein/Los Angeles Magazine, partial review