Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wishing you a great holiday

It's upon us already, the holiday rush. I'm not complaining. I love parties, catching up with family and friends, and the overall warmth and good feelings that spread through year-end celebrations.

Last week, I went to Scratch Gallery's and Laluque Atelier's show openings, and was totally inspired by the talented artists' knitted shawls, hats, jewellery, hand-painted t-shirts, ceramics, fibre art and paintings. Great places to buy presents.

Pamela de St. Antoine, a friend who lives in Washington, and writes for the Mauritian newspaper, Week-End, sent me an article she wrote about the Broadway play, Mauritius. It's cool to have the island where I was born featured in a Broadway play even though the play is really more about Mauritius' valuable stamps. You can read Pamela's article here.

Doesn't it feel as if millions of things keep charging at us before we can relax and enjoy the holidays? Hope you're having fun and not letting the shopping madness get to you. Wishing you all a wonderful time with family and friends and all the best for 2008.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Contre vents, marées et étoiles

".. nul ne t'a fait évader et tu n'en es point responsable. Tu as construit ta paix à force d'aveugler de ciment, comme le font les termites, toutes les échappées vers la lumière. Tu t'es roulé en boule dans ta sécurité bourgeoise, tes routines, les rites étouffants de ta vie provinciale, tu as élevé cet humble rempart contre les vents et les marées et les étoiles. Tu ne veux point t'inquiéter des grands problèmes, tu as eu bien assez de mal à oublier ta condition d'homme."

Terre des hommes - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"... no one has helped you to escape, and you're not responsible for this. You found your own peace by blinding with cement every crevice that opened to the light, just like termites do. You rolled yourself into middle-class security, routines, the suffocating rites of provincial life, you set up a humble wall against winds, tides and stars. You don't want to think of larger problems, you find it hard enough to forget your condition."

I'm dedicating this translation to a friend who once quoted this passage to me because it described so well how he felt about his life. I could not comprehend why he let his talents go to waste, and tried to revive the artist in him. But I went about it with too much enthusiasm, and shook up too many things that were deeply buried for too long. He has withdrawn into his own world. Friendships are so fragile at times. It is especially sad for me to lose the connection with a friend who shared such similar artistic affinities. But I've learned to let things be because happiness is a constantly evolving state, and he made his choices accordingly, to find his own peace. I wish him the best.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A weekend at Judy's farm













We trekked, prowled through acres of farmland
past stretches of pasture, into the forest,
marvelled at the moss, and quartz, granite
scattered among fallen leaves, then went down
towards the lake, watched seagulls fly.
In the woodstove, flames crackled and danced,
I'm your man, Leonard claimed, so we pranced,
feet moved, arms stretched, hips followed,
minds roamed for comfort, dreams unfulfilled
resurfaced, stirred the rawness of untouched land.
The night was black but when we looked up,
stars glittered, sequins on a swath of velvet sky
in the distance, the eerie hoot of an owl,
a still silence, no neighbours, the city so far
a conditioned presence coated with fear.
I woke up to an orange glow by the window
the morning sun stroking the farm.
Cayotes howled, breaking the calm of dawn
but the light called, pulled me from bed,
and out in the cold I strolled.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Memories and losses

October has been a busy month. I've been painting silk scarves for stores for Christmas. It was wonderful to be in Montreal last weekend, to indulge in the joie de vivre of a city that makes fun a priority. Strolls through McGill's campus, and Vieux Montréal, delicous dinners around lively Rues St. Denis and Duluth, martinis at Maison du Jazz listening to Michelle Sweeney's soulful voice, and even late night dancing.

But on coming back, sad news: A friend's mother as well as a friend in his early fifties passed away. I was sad for my friend's mother but even sadder for the friend I knew as a teenager. Memories unfurled as if from a reel that had been long forgotten. He was kind, self-effacing, a good listener, always ready to help. I remember getting a ride from him on his mobilette, carefree, hair blowing in the wind, zipping towards the beach to meet our group of friends. After losing touch for a long time, I met him and his wife this year when I went to Mauritius. He was an accountant with a soft heart, unable to take money from friends he knew couldn't afford it. It's hard to accept that his life has been cut short so suddenly, to imagine his wife and children's searing loss.

"Le souvenir, c'est la présence invisible." Victor Hugo
Memory is an invisible presence













A lone seagull at Place des Arts, Montreal

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Friends

Isn't life beautiful? A few days ago, it was grey but when my friend Judy phoned, everything suddenly brightened. We walked down the damp street for a cappuccino at a café and on the way there, livened up the sidewalk discussing how we can deal with piranhas by shaking them roughly off our legs. And at Nuit Blanche on Saturday night, Suzanne and I joined the carefree atmosphere, meandered through crowded streets, a sense of adventure and wonder keeping us alert and hopping from alien crash site to haunted house. And for my show's opening reception, all these wonderful friends, so ready to share a good laugh, a kind thought. Friends are such great blessings.

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
Anais Nin

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Toronto Upstairs

An invitation from Sidespace Gallery for Toronto Upstairs, a show I'm also taking part in.

Photo & Writing © Schuster Gindin

September 20 – October 25, 2007

Opening Reception Thursday, Sept. 20, 7 – 9 pm

Up here along the Davenport ridge, our topography is unique. We are Toronto's upstairs.

Davenport Road was originally a pathway formed along the shoreline of Lake Iroquois which began to recede 12,000 years ago. Along this, the oldest pedestrian route in the city, several little-known staircases take us up to the residential neighbourhoods adjacent to St. Clair Ave. Climb the steps at Glenholme, Via Italia, Hillcrest Park, Earlscourt Park or Spadina. At the top, turn around and you can see across the whole downtown and city skyline, built on the ancient seabed, to Lake Ontario. These public access points along this high escarpment allow all of us to savour our location.

Our stairways link up and down in the city. They afford pedestrians a ceremonial sense of arrival as we surmount the steps, and of immersion as we descend.

In Toronto Upstairs, thirteen artists will explore the staircases leading up from Davenport Road as transitional space, and contemplate and express the upness of here.

1080 St. Clair Ave. W. www.sidespacegallery.com

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Feminine Mystique












Feminine Mystique

A study of women in watercolors, sketches and photographs
by Peggy Lampotang

September 27 to November 30, 2007

Join us for opening reception: Thursday, September 27, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Regal Heights Bistro, 1079 St. Clair Ave West at Lauder

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Paris
















We rented an apartment in Paris for a week. It was a few minutes walk from the Latin quarter and we hung out there a lot, in the cafés, bistros, bookstores, by the bouquinistes along La Seine. Paris is the kind of place where you can let your feet guide you and no matter where you are, history pulls you in. Here, in front of Victor Hugo's house, there, the hotel where Oscar Wilde died. You let yourself drift and a delicious surprise welcomes you at every corner. One day, as we strolled behind Notre Dame, we heard the plaintive notes of a saxophone. A band was setting up. A dark man with a Tati bag stopped, a grey-haired couple, holding hands, took tiny steps towards a bench, a young woman slowed down and wrapped her boyfriend's arm around her waist. They all silently moved closer. I leaned against a tree and watched the theatre of life unfold. A quiver of an eyebrow. A bent head. A humming. A tap of the feet. A caress. A sigh. The rhythm, at times fitful, at times melancholic, reached deep within the private drama of each spectator. The musicians felt the connection, and rode on its wave. That's what I love most about Paris, those little incidents of spontaneous connections.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The true voyage















Le véritable voyage de découverte ne consiste pas à chercher de nouveaux paysages, mais à avoir de nouveaux yeux.

Marcel Proust

The true voyage of discovery is not to seek new lands but to see with new eyes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Heaven and Earth

In your own bosom you bear your heaven and earth and all you behold; though it appears without, it is within.

William Blake

Thursday, July 05, 2007

So many things to do

So many things to do and so little time. At the insistence of Tony Bolla, a man dedicated to bringing his community together, I've written articles about art exhibitions and artists on mystclair.com, a website that Tony created to inform residents about events, restaurants, businesses, artists, etc. in their neighbourhood.

I wish I could stretch time, wish it were sort of elasticized. As an advocate of renewable energy, I volunteered in a committee that plans to install solar sculptures on a small stretch of St.Clair Ave. West. I'm still somewhat involved with WISE (West Toronto Initiative for Solar Energy). If you want to use solar energy to reduce your household's dependency on air-polluting, coal-fired plants, check this site. It's such a thrill to see communities eager to clean the earth. We are so bombarded with news of wars, terrorism, murders, incurable diseases, decadent greed etc., that the future seems doomed, eager to self-destruct. And I despair when problems are not dealt with at the roots but with the bureaucratic superficiality of let's-spend-a-few-millions-on-research to-confirm-what-the-problem-is, or let's-throw-a-pile-of-money-in-this-project-to-calm-people-down, or other inefficient initiatives geared towards political and financial gains rather than the well-being of people and the earth we live on. Fortunately, human nature comes with built-in optimism, and rather than dwell on the depressive state of things over which we're helpless, we do take steps to change things and make the world seem wonderful again. Finding time to dedicate to one's beliefs is the challenge.

I'm trying to stretch time while working on an exciting photo project, writing short stories, painting on paper rather than silk. But summer is clamouring for attention, from neighbourhood street party to rampant garden screaming to be tended, not to mention the lure of coffee breaks and lunches on sidewalk cafés with the sun winking through leafy greens. And, yes, the kids are out of school, and the gravitational pull of motherly love makes me feel like those rock debris that form a ring as they madly circle certain planets. And those are just a few reasons why I can't keep up with this blog.

Peonies from my garden. A great summer to all!


Monday, June 18, 2007

Trouver du nouveau

"Nous voulons, tant ce feu nous brûle le cerveau,
Plonger au fond du gouffre, Enfer ou Ciel, qu'importe?
Au fond de l'Inconnu pour trouver du nouveau!"

Les Fleurs du Mal - Charles Baudelaire

Such a fire burns our brain,
we want to plunge in an abyss,
who cares if it's heaven or hell,
in deep unknown to find the new.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Luminato

We took the Art Boat from Harbourfront to the Distillery District. In the middle of the lower deck, an artist was painting a dark landscape on a canvas larger than herself. There was a light breeze, enough to let your hair blow in the wind and feel carefree. A singer crooned Moon River. The woman in the photo mimed and coaxed us into dancing. When we docked. large shipping containers were lined on arid brown soil, against a backdrop of grey steel and asphalt. Upon closer inspection, each ribbed-metal container was the size of a small room, and displayed creative videos, sculptures with fluorescent lights, and other multimedia artwork. We crossed the highway, and walked under the bridge towards the Distillery. The huge brick buildings, where whiskey was distilled in the 1860's, have kept their ancient allure. History reverberates thoughout. It is almost palpable when the soles of your shoes adjust to the uneven contours of cobblestones, and you slow down as if moving back in time. A whiff of old Montreal. Jazz bands and singers, scattered around the site, filled the air with wistful melodies. The crowd milled about happily. It was fantastic to see creativity, in all its forms, accessible to a larger public. Food for the soul.

A friend had an extra ticket to see Gore Vidal interviewed by Adam Gopnik at the Elgin, so I tagged along. Toronto seems starved for culture during Luminato events. The line up to see this writer was so long that it wrapped around the block. Mr. Vidal was on a wheelchair but it didn't stop him from being his witty, perspicacious, arrogant yet self-deprecating, gossipy and opinionated self. It's interesting to hear him talk about U.S., his own country as being a liar that always acts in bad faith and hides behind a cloak of invisibility. And he calls Canada, Lady of the Snows ...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Quantum Healing

I'm reading Deepak Chopra's book about healing the body through the mind. It's really neat to speculate on the intricate power of the brain. I'm not the science oriented type, but somehow this book makes synapses and dendrites seem like little friendly guys roaming in one's head. I like his simple descriptions, like this one, "The material body is a river of atoms, the mind is a river of thought, and what holds them together is a river of intelligence." What Mr. Chopra is trying to prove, taking into consideration the fact that 2% of terminal cancer and aids patients have been able to defy science with miraculous, spontaneous remissions, is that we all have in us the power to cure our sickness, but we don't know how to access the intelligence which guides that power because science sees the mind and the body as separate when it comes to healing. I've been thinking a lot about the mind's healing power lately as I know so many people with cancer, some very close to me. I have a hard time believing that we can cure ourselves of cancer without medical intervention, by just empowering our intelligence to pass the right messages to our cells. But I do think that those who believe in the ability of the mind to heal are more empowered and positive in the way they deal with cancer. And who knows, maybe those positive vibes do stop the cancer from spreading further.
















Art Moderne at The Carlu, College Park


On a brighter note, Toronto is bustling with activity. Doors open was fun. Last weekend, Suzanne, Yolande and I felt like tourists in our own city. Suddenly the sculptural details at the top of College Park were more visible, and the limestone carvings on the Legislative Building at Queen's Park were precious works of art previously ignored. The Luminato Festival, a celebration of arts and creativity, covering everything from film, dance, music to literature, is on from June 1 -10.























Legislative Building, Queen's Park

Monday, May 21, 2007

Victoria day

Victoria day has zero meaning for me except that it's the long weekend to safely start planting - no more frost. The sun was shining through the weekend but then, it hardly touched my skin. I was in my studio writing or rather pretending to write because there are of course so many distractions, like having to cook and eat, and oh yes, I do have a family that needs me. But then from my window, these little bursts of fireworks, some really sad ones with little dots of light that fizzle in the air, and larger ones that splash away cheerfully and keep asking for attention, especially the ones that sprinkle a shower of colours against the black sky. Torontonians with even a dab of pyromania are going crazy as it's not illegal to light up the sky this weekend. And here I am, writing this blog, another excuse not to finish up my short stories. What's that saying again? Procrastination is the thief of time - I totally empathize. Thief, thief, thief, let me get down to work, find the perfect dialogue to bring life to this unsinpiring character who is blocking the flow of my story. By the way, did you hear about Contact , the photography festival that's all over Toronto this month ... I could go on and on ... here's the thief again. Okay, got to go.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

La parole humaine

"La parole humaine est comme un chaudron fêlé où nous battons les mélodies à faire danser les ours, quand on voudrait attendrir les étoiles."

Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

Human speech is like a cracked cauldron on which we drum rhythms that would make bears dance, when we'd rather romance the stars.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Virtual identity

Last night, we sat on the red velvet seats of old-fashioned Royal Alex to watch E-dentity. Fascinating slices of insight into the internet savvy generation. The whimsical visual effects (projection of computer images on a clear background so they seem to hover in the air, and even interact with the actors) adds to the show's impact in making us feel the insidious way the internet infiltrates every part of our lives. This show takes us into the complicated virtual world in which imagination fills the gaps and twists reality to satisfy basic needs for warmth, friendship, and even sex (ever heard of remote control touch with a computer device?). Very interesting ... It's a brilliant show from which we leave with millions of questions and a nagging feeling of having witnessed a phenomenon that's happening so fast and on such a global scale that we still can't grasp its repercussions.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Compensation

Compensation

For each ecstatic instant
We must an anguish pay
In keen and quivering ratio
To the ecstasy.

For each beloved hour
Sharp pittances of years,
Bitter contested farthings
And coffers heaped with tears

Poems - Emily Dickinson

Saturday, April 28, 2007

New York

New York during Easter weekend. A constant buzz along 5th and 6th Ave. Times Square is out of control. LED screens jump and flash from every corner. We walk and walk, away from the crowd. Hell's kitchen is an eclectic neighbourhood: boarded up windows filled with graffiti, nouveau chic restaurants and quirky ones where you can eat chicken quesadilla from old vinyl records, or sip your drink surrounded by rhinestone-studded crowns. Hotel rooms are ridiculously expensive. Food isn't cheap either but if you dig around, there are neat restaurants at reasonable prices, and there's this thing about two-for-one martinis you can't escape from. On the sidewalks, vendors peddle at dirt cheap prices, cashmere scarves, copies of Dolce & Gabbana bags, unnecessary accessories one can't afford at Saks. It's a city that thrives on people, intense, stimulating, a city for all.

The highlight at MoMA is a video installation by Pipilotti Rist, Swiss artist: A woman in a diaphanous pale blue dress and red shoes walks in slow motion along a street while a field of flowers is projected on the adjacent wall. A soft, plaintive music sets a sensual mood as she moves her legs and holds in her hands what looks like a stick with a flower-shaped tip. She smiles happily. Then she smashes the window of a car, clearly enjoying it, the naked release of emotions on her face kind of compelling. The complexity of human nature in full action. The video taunts us into looking at the moral dilemma within us, shattering our preconceptions. What line can we cross? This man looks on, thinking, wondering ...


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Islands have allure









© Paul Comarmond

My friend Paul Comarmond has been diligently working on his watercolours and will be showing them at Regal Heights Bistro, 1077 St Clair Avenue West, Toronto. Be ready to party on opening night, Tuesday, May 1st, 2007 from 6 pm.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

L'homme dans la nature

"Car enfin, qu'est-ce que l'homme dans la nature? Un néant à l'égard de l'infini, un tout à l'égard du néant, un milieu entre rien et tout."

Pensées - Blaise Pascal

After all, what is man in nature? Nothing when facing infinity, everything when facing nothing, the middle between everything and nothing.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lin Feng Mian




I want to share with you this site that my cousin Philip set up for our uncle Lin Feng Mian, an amazing artist whom I discovered in the last years, but much too late as he passed away in 1991. Being an artist myself, the immediate affinity I felt for his paintings was uncanny, as if I've known him forever, as if there's a little part of him in me somewhere that I just can't figure out yet. Through a few simple strokes of the brush he seems to magically evoke beauty, grace, sadness, peacefulness and a wide range of emotions, as you can see in these two paintings of his.




Images courtesy of Philip Lim, creator of Lin Feng Mian site

Monday, April 16, 2007

French, English: Pourquoi pas?

The article I wrote for the Globe (if you can't read it online, it's in my August 2005 blog posting) seems to have a life of its own. It's just been published in an educational book called Refining Reading writing-Essay Strategies for Canadian Students. My essay is in unit 4 under comparison and contrast and it's about how bilingualism can engender comprehension and tolerance between French and English Canadians. This subject tends to get passionate reactions: Praise for its inspiration but also negative comments from some Quebeckers and English Canadians from the West because of my mentioning the name Trudeau. I suppose it's a subject that leaves much to reflect upon, one of the reasons the article was chosen for this book. I'm thrilled about being published in an educational book, even though the momentary euphoria has subsided and I'm already back to work on my short stories.

C'est intéressant que cet article (vous pouvez le lire sur ce blog; août 2005 mais en anglais car je ne l'ai pas traduit en français) a déclenché des débats passionnés et parfois négatifs du côté des Québécois et des Canadiens anglophones de l'Ouest qui n'aiment pas Trudeau. Mais en revanche, beaucoup d'autres trouvent que l'article est une inspiration et ça leur donne envie d'être bilingue. L'article est tout simplement sur le biliguisme, comment ça peut aider à apprécier les différences entre les Canadiens anglais et français, et enfin, être plus tolérants l'un envers l'autre. C'est un sujet qui fait certainement réfléchir. Je suppose que c'est pourquoi on l'a choisi pour être publié dans ce livre. Je suis ravie d'avoir été publiée. Et maintenant que l'euphorie s'est déjà évaporée, il est temps de reprendre le travail sur mes nouvelles.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

L'amour

"La vie est un sommeil, l'amour en est le rêve,
Et vous auriez vécu si vous aviez aimé."

Poésies - Alfred de Musset

Life is a sleep in which love is the dream,
And you've lived if you have loved.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dance by Night

I'm participating in a fundraising for breast cancer and will dance on Saturday April 28th in support of relatives and friends who have fought or are fighting breast cancer.

If you want to support this cause, your money will go towards purchasing a digital mammography machine at Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre. Any small amount helps in improving the chances of women beating breast cancer.

Please don't feel obligated. I know how we're bombarded with requests for donations every day and it can be tiring because our $$$ can only go so far. But if you do feel like it ...

To donate online, please go on this site.

And if you want to be one of the participants and have fun dancing and raising money, please go on this site and click Register to Dance by Night.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Comics

A comic book's visual dimension is fascinating not only in the immediate gratification of its artwork, but also in the passionate intensity it brings out in the reader. When I was seven years old, my brothers introduced me to Blek, my first comic book superhero, a French trapper clad in tight pants, fur vest and raccoon hat. I lived in breathless suspense as he overpowered English soldiers with his bulging muscles and his expletives, "mille castors" (a thousand beavers) or "mille putois puants" (a thousand stinking skunks). I remember waiting impatiently for the next issue to arrive in the mail, eagerly flipping each page, listening to its crisp sound, inhaling with relief the smell of fresh print. But as I grew older, comics became a quick diversion rather than my main source of reading material.

I regained interest in the creative art form of comic books through Lovern Kindzierski, my sister-in-law's husband - yeah, we're all sort of connected within one or two degrees of separation these days. He is a passionate comic book lover who has transformed his obsession into professional excellence as a colorist and a comic book writer. He's worked on famous superheroes such as Tarzan and Conan, and is currently working on Code, a new African American superhero (finally a positive role model of different colour). Lovern is the one in red t-shirt, and of course he's from ... where else but Winnipeg, Canada's unpretentious creative hub. Cheers Pam. :)

Monday, March 26, 2007

WISE

Okay, I've sobered up a bit, got the languid tropical weather out of my bones. No residual taste of passion fruit or papaya in my mouth. Good old Toronto's minus 15 chill has slapped me awake. But haven't yet caught up with work or kept up with all the committees I'm involved with.

However, an important organizing committee from which I've slacked off lately is moving forward thanks to dedicated volunteers who have given many many hours of their time to put together a RFP (Request for proposal) to get the best deal possible from contractors to install solar panels in our neighbourhood. There are about 200 of us currently looking into pooling our purchasing power so we can contribute in protecting our environment and saving money by using solar-powered energy to produce electricity and/or to heat water in our houses.

If you're interested in this project, please check WISE (West Toronto Initiative for Solar Energy). We want to spread the word out so many other neighbourhoods can join us, not only in Toronto, but across Ontario, and hopefully the rest of Canada which has been slow compared to European countries like Germany to take an active role in reducing pollution and stopping the depletion of the earth's ozone layer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Trip to Mauritius

I'm back but operating in slow motion, recovering from jetlag and too much fun. It started with pounding waves from the tail end of a cyclone.













The weather calmed down but for me it was a continuous barrage of sensations rediscovering Mauritius, the island where I was born, and reconnectiing with relatives, friends, and the exotic landscape. With the awareness of a camera in hand, every corner I turned seemed to offer images for thought.

People are so approachable, warm, and friendly along the coastal villages. They live with so little and yet seem so content and happy. I wanted to feel the heart of the island through its fishermen, its children and the people who make it tick, and wished I could spend more time learning their way of life.













To appreciate the two extremes of the island fully, I spent a couple of days in the pampered environment of a luxury resort. However, it takes only a few days to indulge in such decadence: freshly cut flowers and champagne to welcome us, thick, fluffy bathrobes and towels, private pool, spa, gourmet buffet, tea served by villa master, etc. After the novelty wears off, it feels more like an artificial paradise, illusory, not in touch with the real world, but it's still an experience not to be missed, especially when snorkelling and discovering underwater wonders. And it's great to know that the island's economy is thriving from European tourists who flock to these amazing resorts that dot the island's coast.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Art Sites

I won't be writing for a few weeks, so here are some sites you may want to check:

To sieve through the deluge of internet info, I speed read, and try hard to concentrate on what's relevant to me, but sometimes I get caught into such a burst of inspiring work from art sites that I can't quit that easily. Some are there for the purpose of selling artwork, like Paul Comarmond's at Yessy and Charmaine Johnson Putnam's at Absolutearts .

Others are for sharing photos and art, like Philip Lim's gallery at Deviant Art and Mondo's gallery at Flickr . These thrive on a community atmosphere where members write to each other with clever or silly pseudonyms like Elle-est-mental, Waitingforgodot, Hotsauce, Blasphemedsoldier, Surlybratt, etc. Common interests give a feeling of connection and make it fun to exchange photos, writing, and thoughts with members who hail from countries as remote as Estonia and Tibet. Some artists' works, especially in Deviant, are awesome, while others are uninspiring but what a great learning opportunity for everybody! These sites have a way of snowballing and you wonder how much larger they can possibly grow - imagine over 30 million artwork/photos in one site only, and this is only a small fraction of what's availbale on the net.

I'm fascinated by these community sites' easy accessibility to people around the globe one would otherwise never meet unless one travelled extensively. Will virtual encounters replace the need to interact with real people? I personally believe the warmth of human touch is essential to life and cannot be replaced by a computer, but I'm intrigued by the ramifications of online socializing. Anyway, as if my plate isn't full enough, I've taken up the invitation to join and just became a Deviant with this photo gallery, a bit boring so far, but I know it will get much better over time with inspiration and feedback from Deviant artists.

Enjoy these galleries!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Depressing February






















There are so many celebrations in February other than Valentine's, namely Chinese New Year, and dance, music and theatre events for Black History month. But I've been sick and haven't gone out much in this freezing weather. There's some respite from this gloom though. Working in my studio isn't so bad. I get to watch snow flakes softly fall, covering the city in white. From the kitchen, I can see the neat shadows that the sun casts on the bright snow in our backyard.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's

















I was waiting for these two birds to get closer. You'd think they'd want to get warm and romantic on this cold day but they wouldn't budge. I guess they forgot it's Valentine's. Wishing you all a wonderful time with your loved ones, but really, why just today, why not every day of the year?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Introducing the book

To give a balance to the heavy philosophizing of Gibran, here's some silly humour which has its own brand of philosophy. Thanks Pam.

Introducing the book

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The innate self

Every human being is capable of counterfeit when it comes to his likes and dislikes, and of juggling with his ambitions and bartering his thoughts, but no man on earth is capable of counterfeit with regard to his loneliness or of juggling with or bartering his hunger and thirst. Nor is there a single human being with the ability to reshape his dreams, to exchange one image for another or to transfer his secrets from one place to another. Can what is frail and meagre in us sway the strong and mighty in us? Can the acquired self, earth-bound as it is, induce alteration and transformation in the innate self, which is of heaven?

Love letters - Kahlil Gibran


















Look up and fly into the sky

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Orpheus descending

Orpheus descending at the Royal Alex. This Orpheus is Val, a guitar-playing young Southern drifter to whom women are fatally attracted. He is the object of an older woman's desire, and when he finally realizes his love for her, she dies like Orpheus' beloved Eurydice. That's as far as the adaptation of the myth goes. Tennessee Williams' ability to portray people who don't fit into society hits as deeply as the way he analyzes the psyche of mature women, their insecurities, their need to express themselves, blossom, and love, reminding me of the powerful and desperate image of Blanche in A streetcar named desire. I left the theatre with my friends, thinking, not of handsome Val at all, but of passionate Lady Torrance, the feisty, married woman who falls for Val, thrives in her new-found love, shaking loose the constraints of her marriage. We all agreed that Seana Mckenna's performance as Lady, with Italian accent and all, was the best part of the show.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

About accidents, chances in life

"Pas même fatal cet accident puisque rien n’est écrit nul part, la vie seulement criblée des hazards de dernière minute, ces petits riens décisifs qui defient présages et prévisions et se rient de nos attentes."
La Petite Chartreuse - Pierre Péju

"That accident wasn't even fatal, because nothing is written anywhere, just life riddled with last minute chances, these little non-decisive situations which challenge speculation and forecasting, and laugh at us as we wait."

I'm quoting Pierre Péju here because of this continuous debate I have with my dear friend C regarding fate. Her belief in fate reminds me of Greek tragedies. That same helpless way that fate controls Oedipus' every action, no matter what he tries to do to stay away from the horrible predictions of the Oracle. Not that I'm 100% with Pierre Péju. I think part of our personality is written in our DNA, over which we have no control. This brings us to the never-ending nature versus nurture debate. Wouldn't it be easier to say it's 50/50 and end all debate there? Our genes and our environment determine equally who we are, and then the rest is within our control. The choices we make in life and the chances we are willing to take are not part of fate. But then, as my friend C would argue, these choices and chances are controlled by genetic predisposition. Vicious circle isn't it? That's why we haven't been able to find a common ground on this. That's when I throw in that genetics don't predict everything because we're surrounded by the last minute chances that Pierrre Péju is talking about, and these are not predetermined. Okay, that's enough debating for today. Early morning fog from my studio.

Illustration of debate: This view is one of the many chances offered to me. I chose to take this photo. Fate didn't determine this. Couldn't resist this, C. Please, don't get mad. We'll continue later. :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Reservoir Lounge

The Reservoir Lounge on a Saturday evening. Sophia Perlman and The Vipers perform for a packed house. I meet Sophia in front of the mirrors in the washroom. She's friendly, introduces herself and says she sings on Mondays usually, and she's putting on her sophisticated look for the Saturday crowd. Her voice is deep but there is a crispness to it, as if fine fibres of clear sounds are melding into a harmonious whole. On stage, her voice is even more impressive as she erupts into higher notes. She gives a rich lilt to Diamonds on the soles of her shoes.

My friends and I were greeted at the Reservoir door by a flirtatious Rod Stewart look-alike who asked for the cover charge first, then blew kisses. A waiter whose shoulders Suzanne found beautiful, served us tapas, pizza and wine. We danced on the few square feet available with a man nicknamed Mr. Transition by Yolande because of his hmm...interesting life story. Reservoir Lounge bubbles with warmth. Jazz, live music, has a way of doing that. But also, the place is so small that you bump into other people and have to talk to them whenever you take a few steps. I read that celebrities as disparate as Peter O'toole and Prince have been seen there. You can guess the varied range of music lovers. Girls, it was fun.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

In memory

In memory of my cousin who passed away a few days ago
I will always remember him as a fine dancer
he moved with such grace and natural rhythm
in the dance halls at family weddings
the only few times I usually met him
and danced with him last in May
I heard about his health and phoned
but his voice was low and weak
so he let the music speak
and held the phone
to the speakers
I listened silent
to the drumbeat
and wished he
could still
dance
but
it was
not
to
be
...
yet ...
maybe
he did dance
his way to heaven

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Orbit Room

Went to the Orbit Room on Tuesday night with a friend visiting from abroad. It was her last night in town. We arrived at 10 pm, and wondered whether we should stay. The club looked empty except for half a dozen people. We didn't have the energy to look for another place. And we thought, so what, maybe it's like that everywhere in the city on Tuesday night - good old hard-working Toronto already in bed.

It was awkward to watch a band larger than the audience. You wonder how they feel and whether they're watching you as much as you're watching them. However, by the time the first set was half-way through, the room was packed and nightlife in Toronto was alive and well. One of the musicians, with dreadlocks and a kind, friendly smile came to say hello to us, adding to the warm atmosphere of the place. A guest singer named Serena, blonde with a sweet angelic face, belted out Leonard Cohen's Sisters of Mercy with a Reggae Jazz beat - if you know what I mean - and you could feel her soulful voice going right through your guts. I'm relieved to know that the creative heart of Toronto is beating every night in this club and many others I still have to discover.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Back to writing

Bon, je recommence à écrire. C'est une de mes résolutions pour l'année 2007. Ecrire, écrire et écrire.

Back to blogging. Another year is gone. The phenomena of blogging, YouTube, and other forms of online mass communication is mind-boggling. It's all happening so fast I feel as if I'm part of an army of ants scrambling, typing away at the keyboard to keep up with the cornucopia of information and new experiences. One of which is discovering Peter Cincotti, a jazz singer/pianist that my friend Chris raved about. I'm now hooked on his romantic voice. Can't believe he's only 21 years old.

For photography Andrew's daily blog postings are truly inspiring. His composition and use of lighting, with focus on industrial sites, bring out the awesome beauty of what we would otherwise consider ordinary things. Am I biased because he's Teri's friend? I don't think so. See for yourself the results of his passion and dedication to photography.

Books I've read in the last months that are worth mentioning: Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden is the story of two Cree Indian friends, snipers for the Canadian army during World War I, Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb is about a white woman's Islamic faith. They both deal with cultural rifts, and a sense of isolation that I find very compelling.