R is for aRt

Haircuts and curios at Coxwell and Danforth.

I should really stop posting photos like this, shouldn’t I, Sheelah? Even when a big, handsome, blue sign letter is only $55 and still has its wiring to light up, who has room for such a thing.

Creative Cuts shop at 696 Coxwell Avenue. 416-466-1958

Picasso: Morrisseau of the South?

Today’s walk took me past the East York Civic Centre, where there used to be several works of art hanging in the hallways. I saw only one, now, high up and out of reach.

Spirits and Figures, 1977, by Norval Morrisseau

An accompanying donor plaque identifies Norval Morrisseau (1932 – 2007) as a “Picasso of the North”, which strikes me as the kind of well-meaning nonsense we are trying to grow out of.

Outside the civic centre, I noticed an arrow being shot into the back of a wheelchair user. The sign needed doctoring, which I have provided.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.


Your Royko Recipe for January, 2019

This soup is so full of vegetables that a bowl with a piece of bread makes a complete meal.
Makes 4 quarts
Food & Wine, Nov. 1991, Page 150. Credit: Diane Darrow.

1/2 lb. dried pinto beans
2 tbl. olive oil1/4 lb. finely chopped lean slab bacon
1/4 lb. finely chopped salt pork
2 tbl. finely chopped garlic
2 tbl. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tbl. basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/8 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. shredded Savoy cabbage
1/2 lb. coarsely chopped Swiss chard
1 medium halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick leek-white part only
1 rib sliced crosswise 3/8-inch thick celery
4 coarsely chopped canned Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 lb. peeled, cut into 1/2-inch diced potatoes
1 medium sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick carrot
1 medium halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise 1/2-inch thick zucchini
2 tsp. salt
Simple freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Place beans in a large saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 1 hour before using. Drain and rinse well.

In a large stockpot, warm the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the bacon and salt pork, and cook until the fat is rendered (7 to 8 minutes). Add the garlic, parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in the cabbage, Swiss chard, leek and celery. Cover and cook until soft (about 5 minutes).

Stir in the drained beans, tomatoes and 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and carrot, cover and cook until tender (about 30 minutes). Stir in the zucchini and salt and cook for 15 minutes longer. (The soup will keep for up to a week covered and refrigerated. Reheat before serving.) Serve in bowls with a sprinkling of Parmesan and black pepper.

A lovely Sunday afternoon

I bungled my attempt to attend the reception at the Gerrard Art Space Drawing Show yesterday … by forgetting that yesterday was Saturday. It’s a hazard of retired life. Days do not come with labels.

GAS founder Joanne Filletti kindly understood and said that a less crowded day would be easier for art viewing. Danica and I went over today. It’s a good show, lots of variety and work by Gas members and non-members. Carole Milon, Olga Philip, Joanne Filletti, Marsha Wineman and Dana Green have all been subjects of earlier posts. Above, I am looking at Nancy Oakes drawings. We hadn’t seen her work before and we both liked it.

Prices are affordable enough to put original art within most peoples’ reach. Some are framed, ready to hang, others ready to frame to taste.

After the Drawing Show, we went next door and listened to R. Shelley sing and play acoustic guitar while we had coffee. Bonus: Artist Fred Franzen was already there with a friend. Best wishes for the New Year all around. Is this a good neighbourhood, or what?

What now?

Building permits on this long-empty space describe the Project Development as “Other”. It was supposed to open last October as a 2,000+ seat live music venue. So now what’s happening?

1661 Queen Street East, between Coxwell and Kingston Road.

This rather unattractive strip of street was installed when the old horse racing track was demolished. I don’t know if it can be “enlivened” with music, but it sure could use some English Ivy.

An off-track betting venue called “Champions” is a vestige of racetrack days.

These blocks looked worse when the horse stadium turned its back to Queen Street. Here’s the stadium as we remember it, on the left side of the photo.

I used to see line-ups of losers waiting for the streetcar and a few winners hailing cabs.

I still can’t believe that, when the city gave the racetrack over to developers, it didn’t make them put them utility lines underground, at least along these blocks. What a wasted opportunity.

Utility pole and wires still there. Inset: A classic pose

I laughed when I noticed the inset detail … that long-suffering pose called “Watching for a streetcar to come”.

Holy ghost of Elwy Yost!

Elwy was the biggest movie buff ever, host of TV’s Saturday Night at the Movies.

The Hollywood Canteen is now playing on Danforth East, near Woodbine. The shop has been around since 1984, including a long stint in Mirvish Village. Now it’s our turn to have North America’s largest collection of movie books and memorabilia. in our neighbourhood.

Danica discovers a marvellous refugee from defunct Mirvish Village

The place is absolutely packed with books, many rare and signed, and all related to the silver screen. There are fabulous movie posters, both original and reproduction, and vintage postcards, too. It’s movie buff heaven.

This is only the front of the shop. There’s more in the back. 1841 Danforth (south side)

For Peter B. to find

From Peter’s bench when he walks around Ashbridge’s Bay

If Peter weren’t sunning his toes in southern seas he would be looking at this view on a morning walk. I decided to walk over on his behalf yesterday afternoon. There was ice in the water and around the shoreline, thin as glass,

Another view, with icy edges

Peter and Louise are away on a cruise, indifferent to my belief that skipping winter is cheating.

Have you done any painting yet, Louise? Any to show?

Stay-at-homes, on ice

The march to post-literacy

My friend Patrick alerts me to MasterCard’s plan to join the likes of Apple and Nike in using logos without letters.

Like it or not, it’s true that most of our communication is done with sound or images, not writing. We are post-literate.

The consequences are worth pondering. Media carrying our messages are too elaborate and complex for unmoderated use between individuals, especially poor ones. Literacy could be dangerous.

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