THE MURALS OF SKEY LANE, DUNDAS ST. W. AT DOVERCOURT RD. BRIGHTEN A WET & WINDY DAY

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THE FAST-PACED 2019 ACADEMY AWARDS TELECAST PROVED THAT A HOST ISN’T NECESSARILY NECESSARY

Dramatic photo of the night (in the Los Angeles Times), as RAMI MALEK wins the lead actor award for his portrayal of Queen front-man FREDDIE MERCURY in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’,

CANADA came away with two Oscars – one went to Domee Shi for ‘Best Animated Short’. The Pixar production – ‘BAO’ – is about a Chinese-Canadian woman and a ‘bao’, a little dumpling that springs miraculously to life. The eight-minute film is set in TORONTO and features many of the city’s landmarks.

“I’m an only child, so I’ve always been that overprotected little dumpling for my whole life,” Ms. Shi said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press. She shared the win with producer Becky Neiman-Cobb.

A second Oscar went to Canadian sound engineer PAUL MASSEY, alongside Tim Cavagin and John Casali in the best sound mixing category for their work on ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. It was the eighth Oscar nomination for Massey, who lived in TORONTO for 13 years before moving to Los Angeles.

THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PLANS A ‘GATEWAY’ ADDITION TO DOWNTOWN’S CULTURAL CORRIDOR

It’s under consideration by U of T’s governance, and it could replace the former McLaughlin Planetarium, closed in 1995 <PHOTO ABOVE>, at 90 Queen’s Park.

The architects are Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who were behind New York City’s High Line & the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. New York-based, the firm is now working with TORONTO’s architectsAlliance, and heritage consultants ERA Architects.

The University’s president MERIC GERTLER is impressed by the design. “This stunning architectural landmark will provide an invaluable opportunity to create a meeting space for scholars, and the wider city around us,” he told U of T Magazine.

The project will be home to a wide-ranging number of academic units – the School of Cities, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, the Institute of Islamic Studies, the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies and the Archaeology Centre. It will also provide facilities for the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Music.

Among the building’s showpieces is a recital hall, with a large window looking out on the Toronto skyline. Above the hall – there’ll be a 400-seat event space with similar skyline views. A café will be opened on the ground floor and the designers will include a multi-storey atrium leading up to the recital hall.

<Renderings by bloomimages, courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro>

For more details – https://www.utoronto.ca/news/new-u-t-building-create-cultural-and-intellectual-gateway-between-university-and-city

NETFLIX ARRIVES IN TORONTO’S PORTLANDS – RENTS STUDIO SPACE & PLANS A PRODUCTION HUB

From the NETFLIX MEDIA CENTER, February 20/2019 – “At CINESPACE Studios, Netflix will lease four sound stages, along with office and support space totaling approximately 164,000 square feet. At PINEWOOD TORONTO Studios, Netflix will also lease four sound stages and adjacent office space comprising a total footprint of approximately 84,580 square feet.”

“Both sites will support upcoming Netflix series and films, including the horror anthology series Guillermo del Toro Presents Ten After Midnight, the film Let It Snow and others, which will provide production jobs for up to 1,850 Canadians per year.”

“NETFLIX has produced many series and films in Canada starting in 2012 with the horror series Hemlock Grove (Toronto), and including Christmas Inheritance (Northern Ontario); The Holiday Calendar (Northern Ontario), In The Tall Grass (multiple locations in Ontario); Shadow of the Moon (Toronto), Polar (Toronto); I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (Ottawa) and The Christmas Chronicles (Toronto).

“Current series filming in Canada include V-Wars (Northern Ontario) and October Faction (Toronto).”

Other Canadian cities that have benefited greatly from NETFLIX – Vancouver (extra greatly) & the province of British Columbia, Winnipeg, Calgary and Montreal. The company has worked with Canadian production partners to co-produce series for global audiences including Anne with an E (CBC), Travelers (Showcase), Frontier (Discovery Canada) and the limited series Alias Grace (CBC).”

‘FOR THE RECORD’ IS A MIXED MEDIA EXHIBITION ON THE EMERGENCE OF TORONTO’S HIP HOP SCENE

The TD Gallery in TORONTO’s Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, in partnership with the Northside Hip Hop Archive & the Toronto Star Archive, is exhibiting ‘For The Record’ until April 28/2019. The installation features photographs, record covers, music industry awards, graffiti art, several listening stations and videos, highlighting the early days of hip hop in this city.

<ABOVE – independent small record labels that supported hip hop artists in the 1990’s. Many were responsible for ushering in a second generation, enriching the already talented pool in town.>

<DJ Ron Nelson was the host of CKLN radio’s ‘Fantastic Voyage’, which almost single-handedly brought rap and funk to the TORONTO airwaves. He’s standing in front of Yonge Street’s Rio Cinema with a stack of vinyl; April 4/1985>

<‘Whole lotta breakin’ going on’, 1984. Nigel “Sugar Pop” Walters, an 18-year-old student at Earl Haig Collegiate, shows off his scissor kick during a headstand. A few days after this photo was taken by the Toronto Star, “Breakdance ’84”, TORONTO’s first ever high school street dance show was held at Riverdale CollegiatePhoto – Tony Bock>

<JC of Sunshine Soundcrew on the turntables at the Concert Hall, Yonge at Davenport Road, in 1983 for Run DMC’s first concert in TORONTO. Photo by Alistair John, aka Rollin’ Rush>

<“Naaah, dis kid can’t be from Canada?!!”, Maestro Fresh-Wes, Lefrak-Moelis Records, 1994>

<Men at Work: The Circuit Breakers – Kevin Matthew, Howard Lee and Chris Braithwaite, August 14/1984; photo by Brian Pikell>

Connected with the exhibition – 1) guided Tours, Tuesdays at 2 pm; 2) a panel discussion with journalists and magazine publishers on April 16th, 6:30 to 7:30 pm; and 3) six listening stations playing radio show recordings. It’s all free!

SOUNDS WORTHY . . . BUT IS IT REALLY? ONTARIO GOV’T’S PLAN FOR TORONTO’S PUBLIC TRANSIT

Cutting through Premier DOUG FORD’S hyperbole, the provincial government’s plan for the TORONTO Transit Commission (TTC) might work. Its ace seems to be money, and the province’s ability to cut through red tape when it comes to the subway’s expansion in the Greater Toronto/Hamilton Area (GTHA).

The plan, presented at Queen’s Park, says Ontario would take over the building and maintenance of the present & future subway; TTC would deal with day-to-day operations; TTC would continue to run the streetcars and buses and keep fare box revenues; a push would be made to integrate the TTC with GO and regional transit systems; the province & city would agree on the dollar value of the present subway system and the maintenance price tag.

According to the Toronto Star, the two sides are negotiating the subway’s value. It seems to be worth about $9-billion, with maintenance and upgrade of tunnels, signals and track amounting to $5.6-billion. This suggests, according to the Star, there’d be a one-time net gain of $3.4-billion for the city.

In a report published by the TTC in January/2019, the subway network and stations would need an estimated $22-billion in capital investment over the next 15 years. This wouldn’t include expansion projects, such as the downtown relief line.

This could be a ‘spider and the fly’ type story. “I think we’re being suckered,” said city councillor JOSH MATLOW, the only councillor who voted against talks with the province.