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 Fengmian

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


"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


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. :)