HUDSON’S BAY LIGHTS UP QUEEN ST. FOR THE HOLIDAYS – BUT I MISS THE XMAS ANIMATION

<PHOTOS ABOVE – this year’s windows in 2018>

<PHOTOS ABOVE – the same (animated) windows in 2014>

Just my opinion – before 2015 the Simpson’s/Hudson’s Bay animated windows on Queen Street West were pretty much non-commercial. They were just fun. Kids and adults both loved them. Since then, the same windows have become much more politically correct and adult-oriented, colourful but kind of boring.

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THE FIRST PHASE OF DANIELS WATERFRONT CITY OF THE ARTS IS NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS

  <130 QQE (130 Queens Quay East), Daniels Waterfront, image by ProjectEnd>

After roughly three and a half years of construction one major space, LAUNCHPAD, has opened its doors. Housed on the fourth floor of City of the Arts, Launchpad offers 30,000 ft² of co-working space for artists, creators and designers.<Artscape Daniels Launchpad floorplan, image – Artscape Daniels Launchpad>

Included in the Launchpad floor plan – meeting and performance spaces; room for workshops end entrepreneurship programs; a modular lighting grid that can be altered for theatrical lighting and props; a digital media lab; sound recording facilities; photography studio; a cycloramic wall which doubles as a green screen; two edit suites; and a 947 ft² VFX control room with a 24-channel analog mixing board.<Green screen space at Artscape Daniels Launchpad>

DANIELS’ City of the Arts is a mixed-use etail/office/institutional/residential complex being constructed on Queens Quay at Lower Jarvis Street on TORONTO’s Waterfront.

BACK WHERE IT BELONGS – THE EL MOCAMBO TAVERN SIGN RETURNS TO SPADINA AVENUE

Absent for two years from the north end of Spadina Avenue at College Street, the El Mocambo neon sign is back. The original, damaged beyond repair, has been replaced by a new identical version in both shape and size.

PRIDE SIGNS in Cambridge, Ontario made the replica, which will light up on Thursday night, November 15th.

The building itself will reopen sometime in the future. But El Mocambo Records & Merchandise will continue at 464 Spadina.

<PHOTO ABOVE – HARLTON EMPIRE – @HarltonEmpire><PHOTO ABOVE – the original El Mocambo sign>

<PHOTO – two years ago the marquee told the public the palm tree sign would return “better and greener” than ever.><PHOTO ABOVE – the illuminated sign in September/2014>

<PHOTO ABOVE – the El Mocambo on July 25/2012 when it was TORONTO’s #1 rock music venue.  History might repeat itself.>

FRIGHTENING & FASCINATING – THE AGO EXHIBIT “ANTHROPOCENE” IS ON UNTIL JANUARY 6/2019

A collaboration among award-winning photographer Edward Burtynsky & filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier is a must-see exhibition at TORONTO’s Art Gallery of Ontario. Without haranguing or lecturing viewers, ‘Anthropocene’ shows the exploitation of our planet by industrialization and extraction on a giant scale. <IMAGE ABOVE – Kevin Walsh/Earth Magazine.org>

The images themselves make it clear what humankind has been up to for decades. They’re a wakeup call to the destruction caused by our species’ dominance, thus far anyway.<COAL MINE #1, North Rhine, Westphalia, GERMANY, 2015, © Edward Burtynsky, Flowers Gallery, London/Nicholas Metivier Gallery, TORONTO>

“I have always been concerned with showing how we affect the Earth in a big way. To this end, I seek out and photograph large-scale systems that leave lasting marks.” – from ‘Life in the Anthropocene’ by Edward Burtynsky<Elephant Tusk Burn, Nairobi National Park, Kenya, film still, Anthropocene Films Inc. © 2018>

“How to convey, despite our brevity as a species, the magnitude of our impact? Anthropocene in a scientific and geological sense means that we are now everywhere, all the time, and even in the rocks—those dense, mysterious receptacles of the planet’s history.” – from ‘Our Embedded Signal’ by Jennifer Baichwal.<Dandora Landfill #3, Plastics Recycling, Nairobi, Kenya 2016. This photo is in simultaneous exhibits at the AGO & the National Gallery of Canada; © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, TORONTO>

“It’s hard not to marvel at the engineering ingenuity of the massive industrial sites we filmed, and equally hard to ignore the devastation they represent.” – from the essay Evidence by Nicholas de Pencier.<Uralkali Potash Mine #2, Berezniki, RUSSIA, 2017, © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of Flowers Gallery, London/ Nicholas Metivier Gallery, TORONTO><Carrara Marble Quarries, Cava di Canalgrande #2, Carrara, Italy, 2016. Mural, © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of the artist and Nicholas Metivier Gallery, TORONTO>The Art Gallery of Ontario-produced catalogue, Anthropocene, is available at shopAGO for $29.95; along with the 224-page Anthropocene art book published by Steidl.

THE AGO PLANS TO BUY CANADA’S FIRST PERMANENT YAYOI KUSAMA ‘INFINITY ROOM’ FOR $2,000,000

The AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) has the first million in the bank, and is looking to crowdfund the second between now and December 1st.Why spend so much on one art installation? This past spring YAYOI KUSAMA’s touring exhibition was a hit, attracting 165,000 patrons, long lineups and unprecedented demand for tickets. Each visitor was allowed only 20 seconds to take in the mirrored rooms, then was moved on allowing others to have a peek.“KUSAMA transcends nationality. She’s more than just a Japanese artist, she’s a global one,” said STEPHAN JOST, director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario. “My thought is, if this is successful, we should do (crowdfunding for) a Canadian artist as well.”<Phalli’s Field, one of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Rooms; PHOTO – Tanja Tiziana>

There are currently 18 museums around the world with Kusama rooms.The Toronto Star wonders if “TORONTO won’t be stuck with the artistic pop art equivalent of a Cabbage Patch Doll”.

In 1966 LUCAS SAMARAS unveiled ‘Room #2’, one of the earliest art installations that viewers could enter and experience mirrored infinity <PHOTO BELOW>. The original can be found about 85 miles from TORONTO in BUFFALO, New York. It’s in the permanent collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and has always been on display whenever I visited.Everything old is new again.

TORONTO’S NEW MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART IS NOW OPEN ON STERLING ROAD

STERLING ROAD was once home to industry, and to some degree it still is. The smell of chocolate permeates the air as Nestle’s chocolate plant – home of Smarties, Kit Kat and Aero bars – is still going full tilt.

As urbanist JANE JACOBS once put it, “old buildings need new ideas”. Several of those new ideas are blossoming in this gentrifying semi-industrial neighbourhood, sandwiched between Little Italy and the Junction.

One major change on Sterling Road is the arrival of TORONTO’s brand new Museum of Contemporary Art, occupying five floors in the former Tower Automotive Building.

New museums aren’t so easy to come by these days, and MOCA’s move here involved a certain risk – which hopefully will soon pay off.

The first major exhibition entitled “BELIEVE”, features commissioned pieces from 16 artists who make use of a variety of media.

FLOOR ONE is always free to the public. It includes Forno Cultura café (not yet open), the Art Metropole bookstore & the Invitation Project, a series of site-responsive installations.

ADMISSION PRICES – Adults $10; Seniors (65+) $5; Students with ID (18+) $5; Under 18 FREE

OPENING HOURS – Monday (including holidays), Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm . . . Friday 10 am to 9 pm . . . and CLOSED on Tuesdays.

To reach MOCA by subway & streetcar, take the subway to COLLEGE STATION, then transfer to the westbound #506 streetcar, which passes through several neighbourhoods to STERLING ROAD.  The trip along College Street takes about 30-40 minutes.

Then follow the sign.