Some Broadway Tips from The Globe and Mail – 1) Book your hotel through a site that monitors looking for deals. As dates get closer, Manhattan hotels often get less expensive. 2) Don’t book an expensive private PCR Test in advance (which is currently necessary to fly back to Canada if you’re staying more than 72 hours). There are free mobile testing units around Times Square. New York theatre casts, backstage crews and front-of-house staffs are often checked for their vaccination cards. A reminder that ‘Come From Away’, a continuous Canadian hit show on Broadway is coming back, and will reopen in Toronto as well on December 15th. Tickets in T.O. are selling well. These days we’re living in the best-of-times; worst-of-times situation right about now. <Photo above – TKTS BOOTHS> No doubt there’ll be real bargains here.
This morning, while reading, I found a lengthy story on The Big Orange. It says “Los Angeles County holds 10-million people; contains 80 cities; about 3 times the population of Connecticut; is spread out over 4,000-plus square miles; <Photo – City of Los Angeles, population of the City alone is 3,983,540> ; more cars than people overall; and there’s a whole lot more.
From the Paris Dispatch – ‘Europe’s New Cycling Capital, or a Pedestrian’s Nightmare?’ Politicians (as in Toronto) want to make cycling cities, but the Parisians aren’t following any rules, and street crossings can be risky. <The photo above> “On a recent afternoon, the Rue de Rivoli looked like this: cyclists blowing through red lights in two directions. Delivery bike riders fixating on their cell phones. Electric scooters careening across lanes, Jay walkers and nervous pedestrians scrambling as if in a video game. Paris (population 10-million) now ranks among the world’s top 10 cycling cities.” Copenhagen is the model Paris aspires to.
<Photo – the Bank District, Downtown Halifax> The “Industry” is in town, and making itself at home. . . . 2021 is predicted to be that city’s busiest movie business in years. Executive Director of ‘Screen Nova Scotia’, Laura Mackenzie said “I’d say probably between August and December of 2020, I was on the phone all day long with studios wondering what was happening in Nova Scotia,” The answer came from Ms. Mackenzie, who heard from all the large U.S. streaming services. Preparing to support major productions and series means dealing with visitors and their upcoming creations. In 2015 the Nova Scotia government cut the film tax credit, a 50-65% refundable corporate income tax credit for shows hiring provincial personnel. <Photo by The Toronto Star – The film above is the crew for a Halifax legal drama. Things look better these days with foreign service productions, and reliable N.S. money for labour, accommodations and locations. Ms. Mackenzie also said finding studio space for out-of-town productions needing interiors, it can be as challenging as finding available crews, and competing for warehouse space. There’s so much more that can be said, but this gives some idea of what’s happening in and around Nova Scotia’s capital city. As one who worked for about 40 years in television and was born in Nova Scotia, (that’s me, David Moore) I can happily say “Good luck Haligonians, and may this new achievement be a solid part of Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada.”
Blair McKeil has purchased Theodore, and will share the Maritimes with Ontario. Built in 2000 for a television series, the tug left Dayspring, Nova Scotia. and headed for Halifax and fame as a children’s TV star. Anyone who has visited the capital has no doubt seen Theo chugging up and down the Harbour and under the bridges. Former owner, Ambassadors Gray Line, received inquiries from Arizona and California, but the tug went to Mr. McKeil, who has Nova Scotia roots. His father and grandfather came from Pugwash and his maternal grandfather from Mabou, Cape Breton. HAMILTON’s children will soon be traveling onboard the one-and-only Theo Too. “We feel very fortunate to have Theodore,” said Mr. McKeil.
Like the rest of us,the Parisians are dealing with pandemic lockdowns. Their city – our city – is just making do with what’s available – and that’s far less than normal. But they’re trying and so are we. Having spent five solid months in Paris, I fell in love with it in the 1980’s, learning to speak and write in French, and always exploring. Above, the deserted Rue de Rivoli enduring a nationwide curfew, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., due to restrictions against spreading coronavirus in France, Credit: Reuters Photo/Gonzalo Fuentes Before Covid-19 arrived I was planning to fly back and see it all again – the museums, galleries, riding the buses and metro, some of the oldest theatres in the world, tiny cinemas and their festivals, the antique markets, year-round carousels, restaurants and patio dining, the parks and gardens, the people themselves, the hookers themselves greeting passersby – and the magnificent skies after a rain. Who wouldn’t go back? But it’s not all there right now.Saul Bellow, the American-Canadian writer <photo – Literary Arts> had this to say in 1983: “A gray sadness has settled over the city like a fog. Parisian gloom is not simply climatic. It is a spiritual force that acts not only on building materials, on walls and rooftops, but also on your character, your opinions and your judgement. It is a powerful astringent.” A powerful statement from Mr. Bellow.In my French class at the Eurocentre, some fellow students were hoping to avoid the “Parisian grisaille” (the gray skies) and fly south for the holidays. Some were seduced by Air France, whose advertising used the word “grisaille”, something to avoid if we could.For me, grisaille was only atmospheric – rain, wind and cold. But believe me, some days the sun did shine and then the city was splendid.I know Paris will be back, and I’ll be there to love it all over again.
<NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC & GETTY IMAGES> VENICE is a city that’s been sinking almost from the time it was built. It’s been named aqua alta, or high water, with good reason especially in November and December when seasonal winds drive strong tides up canals, through drains, and into the streets. Second only to 1966 when high tides reached levels of 6 feet, and in 2019 three-quarters of this one-of-a-kind city was submerged by powerful storms.<ABOVE – Wading through the flood waters – REUTERS>. Venetian leaders have been working on a plan since 2013 to save Venice. (MOSE MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico), the project, is a system of mobile gates meant to protect the city and lagoon from extreme tides. The gates were supposed to be finished by 2011, but some officials are predicting they won’t be done for another three years. Unfortunately, Mother Nature won’t wait.<ABOVE – St. Mark’s Basilica flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years, REUTERS><ABOVE – November 2019, a tipped boat. This year, 2020, three water buses sank, but tourists kept up their sightseeing as best they could. – REUTERS>
It’s like one of those Disney animations when a little owl travels to Rockefeller Center inside a giant Christmas tree. The workers, who’d be setting up the 75-foot-tall spruce discovered the traveler.Birds sometimes find their way into the tree on its way to New York., so each branch is always inspected before the tree is decorated. The Ravensbeard Wildlife Centre said the little one is actually an adult. They fittingly named the Northern saw-whet owl “Rockefeller”, one of the smallest in North America. Ravensbeard workers estimated the little guy hadn’t eaten for about three days as the giant tree made its way from Oneonta, New York to Manhattan. They served him up all the mice he could eat, along with plenty of fluids. Some day soon he’ll be released. ‘Rockefeller’ made CBC’s National News last night, and he’s all over the media. It’s a feel-good story at a time when we really need one. Happy Holiday, Rockefeller Center! <PHOTOS – Ravensbeard Wildlife Center>