FORDO AND BIEBS: letting the world know we’re here

FORDBIEBER1TORONTO Mayor ROB FORD is being sued by his sister’s ex-boyfriend, who alleges the mayor conspired to have him beaten up in jail to prevent (Ford’s) “unsavoury habits”  (i.e. crack smoking & boozing) becoming publicly known.


Fresh from a run-in with Miami Beach police, Canada’s JUSTIN BIEBER was booked by TORONTO police last night in connection with an alleged assault on a limo driver back in December.  His scheduled court appearance is March 10.


Remembering Pete Seeger, who passed away January 27, age 94

PETE SEEGER1<PETE SEEGER at the Folk Dream Concert, Massey Hall, TORONTO, 1997, QMI Agency>  PETE SEEGER’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, said his grandfather died after spending six days in New York’s Presbyterian Hospital. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at around 9.30pm surrounded by family members.  Right up to his death he was active and robust.  “He was chopping wood 10 days ago.”


After 20 years of studying, planning and building, TORONTO’s air-rail link is on track for completion in 2015, in time for the Pan-American Games.  The UP Express will travel the 26 kilometres in 25 minutes from Union Station to Pearson International Airport, with two stops along the way.


Every 15 minutes one of 18 ‘clean diesel’ trains, built by Sumitomo of Japan, will leave the airport and downtown terminals.  From Union Station, the trains will follow the Kitchener GO line to Goreway Road, then branch off onto an elevated guideway parallel to Highway 409.  At its highest point, the Express will be 8 storeys above the ground – offering a panoramic view of suburbs and city.



The province of Ontario and its agency, Metrolinx, is managing the $465-million project.


BURLEY1   <PHOTO ABOVE – the implosion of buildings 65 and 69 at Kodak Park, ROCHESTER, New York, ROBERT BURLEYFor some time now, photographer ROBERT BURLEY has recorded the demise of film manufacturing and industrial darkrooms in many parts of the world.  His exhibition – “Robert Burley: The Disappearance of Darkness”, fresh from the National Gallery in Ottawa, was recently on the walls at the Ryerson Image Centre.<PHOTO ABOVE – the huge Kodak Heights complex in the west end of TORONTO, closed and demolished in 2005.  In the 1970’s, employment here reached a peak of 3,000, which dwindled eventually to 800.>PAUL SIMON’s song “Kodachrome” became an international hit in the 1970’s. . . . . .Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing GroupWhen I think back on all the crap I learned in high school
It’s a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn’t hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wallKodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s
a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome awayIf you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together
for one night
I know they’d never match
my sweet imagination
Everything looks worse
in black and white



Vancouver artist and sculptor DOUGLAS COUPLAND has a growing presence in TORONTO.  Until now his best known work was the Red Canoe, a downtown landmark facing the Gardiner Expressway.  In the same neighbourhood, his display of giant coloured fishing bobbers mark the entrance to Canoe Landing Park.


Now Mr. Coupland has created “Four Seasons” at Emerald City, a master-planned high and low rise community in North York.  Eleven towers illustrate Canada’s four seasons in pencil crayon colours and varied heights of 24 to 60 feet.




The Bad Old Days on New York’s 42nd Street – photographs by Mitch O’Connell

You’d never recognize the place today.  New York City’s Movieland, 42nd Street, has been cleansed – Disneyfied, gentrified, purified, glamourized, call it what you will.  The seediness is all gone.Chicago artist, MITCH O’CONNELL at“Way back in the late 80s, right before 42nd Street was swept clean and purified by Disney goodness, you could still enjoy New York in all its noisy, colourful, rude and vivid glory.  “I wish I had taken 1000 more photos (and gone back at night) of the amazing buildings and people that could only be found there, but at least I got a handful of snapshots of the long gone cool decaying seediness of that bustling stretch of real estate.”


CLAYMATION3CUPPA COFFEE STUDIO has animated TORONTO’s topsy-turvy Chief Magistrate and his ragtag circus.  President and Executive Producer ADAM SHAHEEN says the video “is about a guy who never ceases to amaze us all.  He keeps coming back and keeps surviving — and keeps wanting to survive. It’s a short film about the mayor finding himself in weird and cartoony predicaments but always surviving.  We decided not to focus on the negative side because it’s sort of ‘been there, done that’ by other people,” he explained. “We’ve stayed away from the stuff that’s been well-recorded. We wanted to stay away from ‘the fat guy who smoked crack’ and tell the circus story.”


CUPPA COFFEE STUDIO, the largest full-service stop-motion facility in the world, has been in business for 20 years.  They produce on average 3 new television series per year and are now developing several feature films.  CUPPA COFFEE has a newly expanded 2D flash department, and a brand new top-quality sound recording and mix studio at 53 Ontario Street.


To see the video, go to

An enduring link between the Sundance Film Festival & the Toronto Int’l Film Festival


Hands across the border: 25-30 veterans of the Toronto International Film Festival pay airfare, food and sometimes lodging, and head annually to PARK CITY, Utah for ‘winter camp’ (aka the famed Sundance Film Festival).  The love of movies, camaraderie, atmosphere and parties keep them volunteering year after year.  WHITNEY CHANEY, Sundance’s manager of the volunteer program: “They’re the theatre managers.  If the programmer isn’t there, they’re also introducing the Q & A’s.  They’re running all the behind-the-scenes and they’re the leaders of the teams there.  It’s their house and their work.”  Sundance Director JOHN COOPER: “I know all about them.  I love them.  They’re very organized.  It’s an interesting world, this thing of film festivals, and it’s hard to learn.  Anybody who comes seasoned is a diamond for me, so I rely on them.”  PIERS HANDLING, Toronto International Film Festival’s CEO and director says “we are proud of these team members who are at the top of their field, whose talent is recognized and who travel to share their skills and experiences.”