Double Andrews

duff-twist

Andrew Horne of the Flying Pony Gallery/Café, introduced me to Andrew Duff, one of the artists in the Pony group show that opened last night. Turns out, Mr Duff is also the energizing force behind Bowmore School’s annual Make It Fair.

window-shotPhoto by Danica

The Pony was its usual rocking self for the combo show opening and winter party. Andrew said the other day that he got his wife Sheila to start coming in on Saturdays, to up the beauty of the place. Sheila was there, helping to serve the crowds and being pulchritudinous.

The Pony remains my favourite place for coffee, but the Lazy Daisy down the street was packed, too.

Let’s go: This could be great

Look who we came across at the Gerrard Street Winter Party … they were drumming up an audience for a pantomime production of Robin Hood in the Legion Hall on Coxwell.

santa-and-outlawYou know which one is Santa. The outlaw is “Gerrard Coxwell” or so he says.

Danica and I have been to Ross Petty’s annual pantomime and had a ton of fun. This one is within walking distance and tickets cost a heck of a lot less … $25 or $35. December 15 – 24. Check out the website.

robin-and-marionRobin and Marion are professionals who promise a great show.

Here’s the thing. The company would love to make this an annual tradition, so a solid turnout is important. Imagine, if this takes off and goes for years, we can say we saw the very first performance.

Beach Hill Bake-O-Rama: 2016

This year, instead of funding neighbourhood events and prizes for best bakers, proceeds are going to the Out of the Cold program. Would altruism bring out as many contributions and customers as other years? Yes!

marietta-fox-bake-o-rama

BHNA leaders were setting up when I arrived with Danica’s ginger crinkles. Marietta Fox didn’t mind my taking a photo. Plenty of product had already arrived and there was a lot more by the time Danica and I returned to buy our treats.

There are some damned good bakers around here! I bet a lot of money was raised.

NEW: Blue Crow Gallery

The Bazaar on Gerrard Street East has a welcome new attraction. Jodi Wheeler is opening up the Blue Crow Gallery and filling it with high calibre paintings, sculptures, textiles, pottery and jewellery.

blue-crow-facade

My first thought when I stepped into the big, wide space was “Wow!” This place is really going to be an asset to an already exciting street.

blue-crow-danica-jodi

Jodi’s enthusiasm is infectious and one her many plans is to make the gallery an inviting, not intimidating place to visit. It already feels that way.  Drop in and see for yourself. I think the official Day One will be Wednesday. Tonight was just a doors open evening for the Bazaar Winter Street Party.

1610 Gerrard Street East, north side, near Coxwell [MAP]

Two Colombo notes

First a note of congratulations to McMaster University for acquiring and archiving John Robert Colombo’s literary papers. Sixty-five boxes of material were picked up from JRC’s home this week.

colombo-papers-700

In addition to Colombo’s literary data, future generations will find those boxes full of fascinating documentation about Toronto’s mid-20th century art scene.

Which brings me to the second note, this one of thanks. JRC lent me a DVD about Toronto’s Bohemian Embassy, the legendary coffeehouse. Don Cullen started it in 1960 when there was really no place for poets, artists and musicians to cut their teeth. [Publicity PDF]

The documentary is too long and suffers from gimmicky editing novelties, but the content is so much better than its container, it is well worth watching. We get an honest picture of humble, but vital beginnings and a chance to learn something important. Artists and their audiences need incubators like the Bohemian Embassy.

Today, I am aware of a multitude of cultural “hubs” in the city, but I’m not sure they aren’t more like silos, competing for attention and funding. Because it was all there was, the Bohemian Embassy became a concentration point. That, and unjudgemental encouragement by enthusiastic spirits like Don Cullen makes things happen.

cullen-jrc

The DVD properly recognizes John Robert Colombo’s organizational and conceptual contribution to “Embassy” life . He continues to contribute, appearing in several documentary segments to share anecdotes and insights into the Embassy’s zeitgeist.

When and if the documentary ceases to earn anyone any money, as might be the case right now, I think it would be great to release it into the wild, for free downloading, so that more people can appreciate what the Bohemian Embassy was and why it still matters.

Pamela Mingo’s studio today

Sandy Zwyer alerted me to an open studio show being held this weekend, so I walked over to Jones Avenue for a look.

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Pamela Mingo greeted me at the door and showed me into her spacious studio, its walls lined with a remarkable output of small acrylic paint/collages. You can view them here.

I asked about the subjects of her pieces. “Everybody I know,” she said. She knows them quite well, I’d say. The faces are expressive, each in a different way, but all very alive and individual. A few of the faces are invented, others are critters. There’s a squirrel called “Fleavia”. The memorial portrait of Sandy’s Peepadeep was there, too.

Each original painting is priced at $300 and commissioned pieces are possible at the same price. Ms Mingo likes to work fast and freely (obviously, considering her output in 3 short months). Hey, you might even get one done in time for Christmas. My idea, not hers.

You could contact Pamela Mingo through her Facebook page or through contact information on her website, here.

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