Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
The Croquettes were a troupe of 13 actors and dancers who put on shows in Rio in the 70s and in their unforgettable performances, embodied a sexual and behavioral revolution taking place in Brazil at the time, all in the middle of a military dictatorship.
The movie is filled with priceless footage of these amazing people who aimed to be neither men nor women, while playing both. Their avant-guarde performances left a deep impression on artists who came after them, both in Brazil and abroad. Liza Minelli was so enthralled that she hung out with them when in Brazil and later she gave them their big break in Paris, when the press was ignoring them until she invited all her friends to go see their show.
Most amazingly, Josephine Baker also fell in love with them and asked that after she died, she wanted their show to take her spot at the Théâtre Bobino. Not too long after that, La Baker died on stage and her wish was honored.
Unfortunately, the Dzi Croquettes' influence and legacy is not well-known in Brazil outside the artistic demi-monde. Hopefully this documentary will change that and reinstate these pioneers in the Brazilian culture constellation where they belong.
The guys from Horse Meat Disco, the London disco party, were in Toronto Friday night with their blend of bear disco house. They just released their new mix album and, just like their live set, it’s full of classics and underground hidden gems.
These guys take their disco seriously and don’t mess around. But how to go wrong with a set containing “I Feel Love,” “Deeper and Deeper,” “Funkytown” and (one of my all-time favorites) “Use It Up And Wear It Out.”
Miss Margot opened for them with a solid-gold disco set and flawless makeup. She plays Monday nights at Sweaty Betty’s.
"Maurizio Cattelan's 'middle finger' arrived today in Milan's Piazza Affari, in front of the Italian stock exchange building. The public monument was donated to Milan but immediately refused by the city's administrators. It will be on view for only 10 days."
Friday, September 24, 2010
The 4th Brazilian Film Festival of Toronto kicked off last night with the biopic of Brazilian president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. The movie was directed by Fábio Barreto (who was in a coma earlier this year due to a car accident and had his skull's left side stored in his ribs) and is based on a book that follows Lula's trajectory from 1945 to 1980. It is one of the most expensive Brazilian movies ever made.
Little Lula (Felipe Falanga) and mother.
Despite it’s abrupt ending, the movie is captivating. At its heart, it's a story about the universally beloved underdog, a man from the people who, against enormous odds, becomes president of a nation. The movie doesn’t smack as much of propaganda as it does of historic officialism. It’s a little too didactic and does portray Lula as a flawless and charismatic hero.
Ironically, Lula, The Son Of Brazil was also chosen yesterday to be Brazil’s representative for the Oscars in 2011 and the choice has been criticized as being blatantly political. The selection is made, after all, by the Ministry of Culture...
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The St. Louis Arch grounds are getting a facelift. The winner of the design competition to reinvent the area around the monument has been chosen: landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates. Their design is based on ecological urbanism concepts and envisions "a new range of more intimate experiences, based primarily in landscape."
Their plan includes a cobblestone plaza on the Mississippi riverfront, an amphitheater, a bird sanctuary and a lid over Instate 70, a long overdue development in the area. Completion for the project should coincide with the Arch's 50th anniversary in October 2015.
MVVA's wasn't the most exciting design, though. That was from the Behnisch Team, who had some quite futuristic ideas -- maybe a little too hard to implement.
MVVA is also the firm working on the redevelopment of the Lower Don Lands area in Toronto. The New York firm specializes in reconstructing urban landscapes, and their design for the Don River Park "will transform an abandoned post-industrial site into a dynamic, year-round, re-naturalized public park." Groundbreaking for the Don River Park happened on September 8. The park is expected to open in late 2011 or early 2012.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Plakat is an exhibit of Polish movie posters, a tradition going as far back as 1957, when Poland was part of the communist bloc and the imagery of the movies of the world got reinterpreted by Polish graphic artists.
Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky is premiering a series of aerial photographs he took of the BP oil spill. The images are as shocking as they are incredibly beautiful. Burtynsky seems to be on a quest to find transcendence in our ugly human landscapes.
Gilbert Garcin is an 81-year-old former lamp maker in Marseille who started his photography career in his 60s. His black-and-white photocollages seem simple (there are no Photoshop tricks here, folks -- Mr. G. is old school), but they carry a lot of emotional impact. He usually casts himself and his wife as subjects of his pictures.
Speaking of photocollage, here’s a cool one by local artist Jennifer Murphy.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Every once in a while there comes a track that captures the zeitgeist and keeps spreading in the collective pop consciousness like an electronic pulse. Stereo Love – what a great name – is one of those songs. In 2009, Romanian musician Edward Maya released the track with vocals by Russian singer Vika Jigulina. The track exploded in Europe and reached top positions in the charts across the continent.
What really makes the track, of course, is the accordion part. That bit was taken from Bayatılar, an Azerbaijani song by Eldar Mansurov, who cried “plagiarism!” and ended listed as co-author of the international hit.
But this is not the end of this multi-cultural track's path. Stereo Love has just been released by Canadian singer Mia Martina in collaboration with Edward Maya. The Canadian version sounds slightly different from the original, but not by much… The video, shot in Toronto, makes the city look very cool. How did they do that?
(Here it goes, Ash.)
Thursday, September 16, 2010
This year's grand winner was this picture by American photographer Tom Lowe, a view of the Milky Way from the Sierra Nevada, framed by a bristlecone pine.