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More fun in Toronto parks

After being prevented from taking pictures of skaters in a public park, I love stories like this one in the Beach Metro News

Our local MP was invited to address an Earth Day crowd in a public park, but was barred from speaking. The event organizer saw the MP distributing his petition in support of reduced carbon emissions. What? On Earth Day? That’s political, not “neutral” as the organizer wanted.

No speaking for you, Mister Member of Parliament.

David Irvine at the Flying Pony until April 30

Mr Irvine, if you happen to find this entry, I apologize for reproducing some of your work without permission but I missed your opening on Saturday and didn’t get to ask. I’ll take them down if you want. I see the monster with guitar is sold already … the one called “Late For Band Practice”. Your tribute to “The Freaks” ensemble (bottom) struck me as one of those “you have to see it” things.

irvine-pony

David Irvine’s one man show features many of his trademark overpaintings of prints and “artworks” he finds at thrift stores and yard sales. There’s an ethic to his lampoons, however. If a work is actually a handmade rendering, he will never overpaint the other artist’s signature, even though he only abuses mass-run one-offs and paint-by-numbers efforts.

Go see them for yourself and enjoy the lighthearted, witty and whimsical fun. I loved the one of a very proper young lady playing the piano. Irvine touched in gigantic dead insects lying on the piano and floor. He’s a good painter, too.

Find out more and the location on the Flying Pony Facebook page.

Ingenuity fills Beach Hill hole

A condo 8 years in the planning is finally taking shape at Woodbine and Gerrard, a fairly busy intersection, especially at rush hour. The lot is tiny and oddly shaped, demanding considerable construction cleverness. I wondered how they’d ever get concrete poured without creating impossible traffic jams.

beach-hill-hole

I never dreamt that they’d drive the cement trucks THROUGH the neighbouring building, but that’s what they are doing. Trucks enter a parking tunnel from Woodbine, drive through a small parking lot and emerge at the edge of the new building site. Concrete is poured into giant buckets, hoisted by crane and delivered to waiting forms.

It must be an extra-costly way to build and construction stages that are usually completed simultaneously had to be done in sequence … slow, but it works.

Below are artist’s fantasies that have decorated the bizarre process of getting such a building built in Toronto. Number 3 is current.

artists-fantasies

Number 1 was revealed to locals at a public meeting back in early 2008. Objections were recorded, revisions made and Fantasy 2 resulted. I think the plan was for about 28 units at that point, and the property owner said he wanted the penthouse for himself … presumably for a view of the lake through a thicket of cellphone antennae atop the adjacent building. Neighbours were still unhappy about traffic issues and loss of privacy in their back yards.

Then nothing happened for a while, while the owner went through a dance with the Ontario Municipal Board, eventually getting his plan approved. OMB approval trumps any City objections, so suddenly the property was more valuable and the owner sold.

The new owner came to a neighbourhood meeting, making it clear that his presence was a goodwill gesture and that he did not have to answer any questions. He was pleasant and forthright, nevertheless, explaining that the first plans were never intended to be built and that he was about to create a new condo with more than 60 units. One of them will be under 500 square feet, I think. With the big increase in units, the project was economically viable. The original story was just something to get the ball rolling.

Apparently, once the OMB has approved a site, the owner is free to carve it up any way he wishes, as long as he does not significantly overstep the building footprint that has been approved. Those initial neighbourhood meetings were about castles in the air. Was I the only attendee who didn’t know that?

Rembrandt in astonishing detail

This is a close-up of one of Rembrandt’s famous self portraits, followed by a zoom enlargement of one eye. We can all examine the masterpieces of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum in more detail than we could by going there.

detail rembrandt-eye

Go try it for yourself. Check out Vermeer too, and some of the lesser known but still amazing masters of Dutch art.

yikesThe online collection now holds over 200,00 items and we can download them and use them as we wish! Want to make and sell T shirts or placemats or duvet covers emblazoned with art from the collection? Go for it. The museum invites you to use their materials on your own products, for free.

Not only that, you can organize and manipulate your own gallery with the Rijksstudio page.

Instructions show what we can do. Imagination paralyzed by so much choice? Be inspired by what other people have made.

I wish you better luck than I had

There’s a site that takes your birthday and plays the song that was Number One on the day you were born. That was 36,914,269 minutes ago for me, according to said site. I had to do a LOT of scrolling to get my year.

Unfortunately, my “hit” was a gaggingly corny rendition of Don’t Fence Me In by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters. Nothing to be thrilled about, but maybe I have an out. I’m sure the site is U.S. based and may be reporting inaccurately for Canada.

Credit for the find goes to the McPhail Comedy Network

Woodbine Park Pond today

swan-woodbine-park

I walked over to find out if the swans had returned in spite of the chilly weather. You see the answer. This would be the handsome male, on patrol, protecting the female. I think she is somewhere in the reeds, sitting on eggs.

Danica thinks it’s too early for egg-sitting and that the male may be waiting for the female to show up. Perhaps she’s away on an all-inclusive in Mexico. Anyway, things are shaping up and there should be a mating pair with cygnets to photograph soon.