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Skull and Enneagram

I met Kevin the other night by beckoning to him from across the room so I could have a closer look at his tattooed arm.

I was surprised to learn that Kevin's sleeve was done by Yann at Glamort who is well known for his sketchy line art, evoking Tim Burton images of Voodoo Girl. But what intrigued me the most what the super fine line negative drawing of an enneagram. What is a enneagram? I asked. A nine pointed geometric figure was the short answer.  The longer answer involves the ennegram of (9) personality types. I took a online test and turned out to be a peacemaker.
Yes love! No war!


Snow and Mona Sharma

Head down, tuque, scarf, mitts, down jacket, hood, big boots.
We are now (sort of) ready to trudge into the depths of Quebec winter.  If you have read my previous posts on snow here and here, you can come to the safe conclusion that I am not a huge fan of winter and cold.
But alas, here we are again in the -20celcius department, onward we go!

While I was trying my best to tuck my head into my neck, two glowing blue portholes caught my eye.

Despite the cold, I felt compelled to examine articule's beckoning window installation. As I pressed my cold nose to the glass this is what I saw:

What I was looking at was a seascape of soft sculptures by Mona Sharma.  This dreamy yet brooding scene was fitting for a cold dark night.

Pleased to have stumbled on some art amidst the blustering weather, I walked away visually satiated and my nose just a little bit colder.


Bill Cunningham New York

Today we have another documentary that centers around the New York Times.  This film follows Bill Cunningham, an 80ish year-old bicycle riding photographer for the New York Times' street fashion oriented "On the Street" column (and video version with Cunningham's awesome commentary!) and the society event oriented "Evening Hours" column.
Throughout the film I was wowed by Cunningham's staunch moral and work ethics, his passion, positive energy, and endless knowledge of references.

Here's a couple of gems in Cunningham's words:

"Damn you New Yorkers-so extravagant and wasteful."
"To be honest and straight in New York is like Don Quixote fighting windmills."

But despite his moments of expression of disdain, what he clearly embraces is the beauty, the imagery and the self-expression that can be transmitted through fashion-often exclaiming with unfiltered enthusiasm when something catches his eye.

While I don't want to give away too much-you'll have to see the film for yourself-I'll leave you with this insightful interview with the director Richard Press.


Matryoshka Dolls

Tis the season for gift-giving guides online, in magazines and beyond. What to get for your mom, your dad, your super cool BFF, your babysitter, the hostess gifts, your dog, the woodsman etc.  These are all usually conveniently attached to links for where to buy-should you be online shopping.
I'd like to give my version of this guidance trend, with another trend in design, the matryoshka doll.

I saw these dolls at my friend Andrew's place, his girlfriend's sister had picked up this lovely set of nesting dolls in Russia. Apparently these get updated when a new president comes along.  In case you weren't sure, from left to right is: Putin, Yeltsin, Gorbachev, Stalin and Lenin.  There's an Animal Farm reference here somewhere....

But on with the gift giving!
How about some art? Society6 has more images than you can sift through! A quick search of "nesting dolls"gave plenty of options.

My personal pick is Ariel Wilson's Haida Nesting dolls.  Native to British Columbia and Alaska, the Haida's imagery was popularly depicted with the use of Nike shoes by artist Brian Jungen.

This is the DrinkUP Babushka bedside carafe-her head becomes the drinking cup!  While I gave you a UK based link, I just saw this little lady at Zone (among with many other Matryoshka related items.)

For those who want a luxurious yet unobtrusive set of dolls, might I suggest the Maison Martin Margiela Russian Nesting Doll Set?

But at the end of the day, the real gift I'd like to suggest is right here.

Happy holidays!


Pearls Before Swine

This past weekend my favourite jeweler Pearls Before Swine had an atelier sale of handmade silver jewelery.  I have been a long time fan and am always excited to add a new piece to my collection.  I will now fantasize about this piece for awhile, thank you very much.

Also at this intimate sale was handmade natural soaps by Carriage 44, delicious soaps (with great design!) made with shea butter and essential oils.  I picked up a couple for my mom, I think she'll love the lavender one.

While we're on the topic of Pearls Before Swine, I'd like to take this moment to share the comic strip of the same name by Stephan Pastis.  This is a clipping I've kept since 2009 that resonated with me for it's optimism/pessimism of what art can bring to the world.  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments if you like!

Cease Holiday Flea Market - Fresh Paint Gallery

"Better late than never," I said to Sterling Downey, the brains behinds the Under Pressure Fresh Paint pop-up gallery, as I walked into the space for the first time since it's opening in August of this year.  The gallery's semi-dilapidated charm was playing host to the multidisciplinary Arab Winter exhibit and the Cease Holiday Flea Market.  Scroll down, I'd like to share some art for sale with you.

Our favouritre art collective En Masse was representing with some prints documenting their awesome contribution to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Big Bang exhibit.

Other eye-catching prints at the sale were the graphic imagery (and jewelry!) by Curse of the Multiples, illustrations by Regimental Oneton, and vintage style pop art by Antoine Tavaglione. I did not leave empty-handed, as I picked up one of Antoine's prints for my flat-I will concentrate more on Christmas shopping soon enough...


One of Everything for the Boys

Good theatre, I hate to say this: is hard to come by.
I was relieved to say within the first five minutes of SideMart Theatrical Grocery's production of Whiteman's Whiskey Comedy Revue: One of Everything for the Boys, that this was awesome theatre!
They sing! They dance! They sure can act! And golly jeez they write their own material!
Created as a jazzy revue to entertain troops in a fictional land, the play is full of tongue in cheek witticisms including blatant sexism and racism of the days gone by- SideMart hits the nail on the head with just the right tone and balance of the faux-pas of yore.
Already critical darlings in the media, try to catch them while you can in small intimate venues like MainLine Theatre before they step up to the Centaur next spring, so you can say "Oh SideMart? I knew them back in the day!"


Without Limbs

Just another day at the office, as a model grabs a quick cat-nap during lunch on a shoot.  With her head and limbs obscured from view it called to mind several images in fashion, photography and art of seemingly missing or phantom limbs.

Above are images from the very first issue of AnOther Magazine,  published fall 2001 (I swear I'm not a pack rat!) shot by Richard Burbridge and styled by Sabina Schreder.  Now upon viewing the nude bodies I'd like to point you towards some photography sans limbs.  Follow me please.

This is the work of Bill Durgin a photographer whose work is composed of the distortion of the human body and of still lives (cephalopods and flowers-stunning!) or the combination of both.  The contortion of the bodies creates a disturbing effect as we search for their phantom limbs.  While we are on the topic of still lives, let us scroll down to the most famous pepper ever photographed.

Here we have Edward Weston's Pepper No.30, 1930, which has has a striking resemblance to a limbless nude body.  Weston is considered one of the most important photographers of the 20th century beginning his career in the early 1900s, he became known his detailed images, whether he was shooting still lives, nudes or landscapes.


Le Cycle de La Boucherie

The same evening I met Tiger and Fox, I also met Vincent who casually mentioned he was a dancer in works choreographed by Dave St-Pierre.  Given St-Pierre's noteriety I decided there was no time like the present to finally see one of his works, le Cycle de la boucherie at La Chapelle. Above is one of the promotional stills by Anna Van Kooij which is quite descriptive of the content of the work. Designed to get a reaction from the audience the work features plenty of nudity, humiliation, ketchup, fake, blood and masturbation.  There were as many striking tableaux and imagery as much as there were squirmish moments.  Among our group opinions were split-I leaned more towards the positive, happy to see a piece of dance theater that gets the synapses going.

This piece brought back an old debate from art school: by critiquing/making a commentary or a point of contention on a certain topic within the medium this critique exists in-does one perpetuate this idea, therefore feed into it?


souk @ sak - again!

The 8th edition of the souk @ sat has come and gone. Although I admired many glorious accessories, clothes, home furnishings and design objects galore (like Norweigan Wood by Angie Johnson, above) I was unfortunately not even one step closer to finding my mom a Christmas present.  Am I going to get Mooka soaps again? Stay tuned...I still have the Cease Holiday flea market to peruse.

One of my favourite images of the day: the bathroom signs at the sat. They are great!


Dance This Way

This crazy GIF that I pieced together via an online animation tool, is composed of several stills of a group choreography at Circuit-Est's Bal moderne de noël.  I walked into the evening in the middle of this and it got me thinking of the existence of group choreography outside of a stage/show context. A Thriller flash mob anyone?

My apologies for the mediocre screen capture of the infamous Filipino dance prison.  This is a video I saw a couple of years ago and couldn't believe it was true, but yes, those are inmates performing the choreography to Micheal Jackson's Thriller

The above still is the opening title to the comedic performance art group Improv Everywhere's Food Court Musical. In the video sixteen undercover "agents" begin to sing and dance among unsuspecting mall diners- hilarity then ensues. I have been a lover of musical film and theater since pretty much forever and always have to nod empathetically whenever someone explains their disdain for the musical genre saying: "I totally understand that it's unrealistic to spontaneously sing and dance part of a narrative."  But thanks to these guys, they have almost made my musical fantasies into a reality.


Snow and Colour

Will this be the snow that actually stays? I certainly hope not.  If we can keep going snow-less for awhile I will be most pleased.  While today was quite grey outside, (and probably will be for the next few months) I was on a shoot getting my vitamin D from some spring colours.

Wow, is that bright enough? I promise I did not change the saturation of this image.  Shazam! Instant pick-me up. Not surprisingly there is lots of brights for spring 2012 in fashion, nicely summed up in this Refinery29 slideshow.  Care to wager a guess as to what Pantone has named their colour of the year for 2012? Give up? Why it's Tangerine Tango, a rich orange hue that brings to mind a Montreal landmark: the Orange Julep! It's your year to shine!


Page One: Inside the New York Times

Above is a still inside the offices of the New York Times from the documentary Page One: Inside the New York Times.  The film follows several editors and journalists during a period of the fallout and bankruptcy of many municipal papers throughout the US, questioning the survival of print journalism as the founding pillars of reliable hard news.

The film took place over a period when the WikiLeaks released the Iraq war logs, when Comcast took over NBC/Universal and the release of the iPad.  There is no shortage of material to weave an interesting tale. While there are several members of staff that carry the story, the journalist David Carr provided the film with a character we can attach ourselves to, with his wit and sometimes scathing commentary.
In a segment where Carr interviews the founders of Vice Magazine/*  on their collaboration with CNN, one of the founders claims that they are covering Liberian cannibalism while the Times is covering surfing. To which Carr replies:

"Just a second, time out...Before you ever went there, we've had reporters there reporting on genocide after genocide and just because you put on a fucking safari helmet and looked at some poop, doesn't give you the right to insult what we do-so continue, continue."

There are many more of these colourful commentaries, I'd love to write them all down, but...

*note* doesn't seem to exist anymore and is redirected to the video section of the main site.


Smart Design Mart - Souk @ Sat (and more)

You know its almost the holidays when the art and design markets are upon us.  This year was the third edition of the Smart Design Mart, a cornucopia of all things crafty, design-y, artsy, fashion, vintage and more! Oh and local! Above from left is the colourful creature design by Tyson Bodnarchuk.  Look closely and the letter pillows spell out his name-how subliminal! In the center we have leathery and and hairy jewelry by LaLaYeah. And if you'll look above to your right, this fine bicycle is sporting a leather wine rack by Nuevo.  Next summer that's how I'll be bringing my wine to the picnics!

So if you didn't find that perfect present for your mom, might I suggest the souk @ sat?  From the 8th-11th of December, this market is in it's eighth edition after a hiatus last year due to renovations at the sat. The souk will feature a whole slew of local designers, art and fashion-makers to tickle your fancy, so you can stuff your stocking for yourself and your loved ones.

Oh, did you want some more?

Lucky for you Montreal contains the highest concentration of artists in Canada. Then I shall mention the Holiday Puces Pop Craft & DIY Fair by the fine folks of POP Montreal, the CEASE Art Collective holds their Holiday Flea Market, and of course the granddaddy of them all the Salon des Métiers D'art, which has way more to sell than you can handle- and be sure to sample the locally produced Québec ice wines!

Did I miss any? Let me know!


Helmut Newton

I was fortunate to see one retrospective of Helmut Newton's work at the Barbican in 2001, which grouped many of his iconic images including a roomful of his "Big Nude" series, which are in fact "big" at heights of around 8 feet tall!

After a long while I was pleased to finally see the 1989 documentary Helmut Newton: Frames From the Edge. Above is a still where Newton is instructing the model to pose with a roasted pig.  Audacious, funny and definitely frank are words to describe Newton as he reveals himself in an intimate portrait.

Here are little gems of a quote in the section that discusses the photographing of wealthy women:

June Newton: "...he loves the idea of these idle ladies, as he calls them, that have nothing to do, but just waiting to have something to do."

An unidentified woman on being photographed by Newton: "...he put me in a black velvet evening cap- uh cape-leaning on a telephone pole and behind me was an oil well pumping-ah it wasn't even my oil well!"

A little trivia here: Newton's "Sumo" book was the biggest and most expensive book production of the 20th century-so claims the publisher.  I saw one well preserved copy in someone's home perched on it's Phillippe Starck book stand. As there was a pair of white gloves placed on top of the book, I decided to leave the book alone.



Kale! How I love thee!
I'd like to thank my mom for that day you introduced me to kale (sauteed with sausage, might I add, cochon!) This awesome green has become my go-to veggie for any and all cooking inspiration.

Here is my super simple easy-breezy kale salad recipe:
-a super awesome olive oil (I have one flavored with fennel seeds at home, deeeelish!)
-chili flakes
-redstar nutritional yeast (for extra tastiness and B12 for the vegans among us)


I like cooking it as well because it retains crunchiness, as opposed to spinach which can get borderline mushy.  The very entertaining Debbie Wong's Wok and Gong does an easy saute of dark greens and kale.
And while we're at it, I found a blog ALL ABOUT KALE, it's called 365 Days of Kale- high fives indeed. Bonne appetit!

I found through 365 Days of Kale, a small t-shirt business in Vermont called Eat More Kale.  They are currently being sued by a large chicken company who's slogan is "eat mor chikin" for the use of their intellectual property.   Read about the petition against corporate bullying.


Escarpment School

While I'm an unashamed fan of Hollywood filmmaking (something you should never admit out loud in film school), I like to give my cinematic brain a bit of a workout with some experimental film.  I seem to have a 50/50 success rate with this type of fimmaking, in the most diametrical sense.  Where on one hand I am thrilled, rejuvenated and leave the cinema with all cylinders firing; then on the other hand, I am completely frustrated, cranky, and/or falling asleep.  So I approached the part three screening of 16mm films of the "Escarpment School" series curated by Brett Kashmere at the Segal Centre with a bit of trepidation.

I am pleased to say that there were many films that kept my eyes wide open.  A particular favorite was Sweetblood by Steve Sanguedolce (get it? fantastic name!), his 1993 short film using collages of family photographs, voice over and contrasting subtitling to create a vivid memoir.

One film that surprised me was Mike Hoolboom's White Museum. His 1986 film consisted of thirty-two minutes of clear leader! Upon reading that in the program, I predicted that I would be out like a light as soon as the film started.  But instead we were treated to Hoolboom's voice-over narration of witticisms and critique on cinema.  Here is a little except:

    "Has everyone had a chance to introduce themselves to one another? Or is this one of those movie houses where you're supposed to pretend you can't see anyone but the people you came with? Maybe for the people who came late maybe we could have the lights turned on for a minute, just to have a look around, just to see who's here. Could the projectionist please turn the lights on for a second? "

And yes, the projectionist turned the lights up momentarily. It was great.



Yves Laroche Galerie D'Art hosted a Safewalls exhibit of the original works and prints of the new Cirque du Soleil poster art project.  The artists selected for the project hail from the broadly termed movement of "lowbrow art," which has its relations to street art, grafitti art, outsider art , diy art and surrealism (or pop surrealism if you like).  Whew! Did I cover all my bases?

I was very pleased to have almost pressed my nose up against the Ron English and Travis Louie pieces (his black and white Zarkana poster is above) and to gawk on their insane technique!  Merci beaucoup!  Now I would like to do the same to a Chuck Close please.