Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mad Violet

To Hugh's Room for dinner and concert featuring Toronto-based songwriting duo Madviolet , Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac, who have just returned from their third tour of Australia where they have been promoting their latest album Caravan.
"The relaxed, organic feel of Caravan points Madviolet in a fresh direction as a recording act, one that taps deeps into their musical roots and channels the energy of their live shows. “I think we’ve got a lot closer to the essence of Madviolet – nobody’s going to mistake us for another acoustic chick duo,” says Lisa with a laugh. Adds Brenley: “We’re developing our sound. We’re building audiences in different countries on different continents. We’re excited to see where things go next.” (view source)
I love their vocal harmonies and am amazed at how they both confidently change instruments (guitars, violin, banjo) for different numbers during the set.

Amazing Grace

Keele Street Christian Church's bible study group met at the movie theatre for a screening of Amazing Grace which tells the story of MP William Wilberforce and his campaign to abolish the British Empire's slave trade.
I am currently reading: Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild and couldn't help comparing the film's account to historical record.
I particularly enjoyed Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger (pictured here).
Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour is impressive in his screen debut as Olaudah Equiano: "A central figure in the abolitionist movement in Great Britain, Olaudah Equiano (c.1745–1797) wrote an eyewitness account of his life as a slave and of his work in the anti-slavery movement: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African. Though born in what is now Nigeria, Equiano was kidnapped and sold into slavery in childhood and taken as a slave to the New World. As a slave to a captain in the Royal Navy, and later to a Quaker merchant, he eventually earned the price of his own freedom by careful trading and saving. " N'Dour also collaborated on the film's soundtrack.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


To Elora where we view the famed gorge and take a walking tour of the town. By the river we discover derelict indusrial buildings and enjoy taking photos and conjecturing as to the history of the area.

We have lunch at the Desert Rose Cafe a funky vegetarian restaurant at 130 Metcalfe Street. I opt for a soup and half sandwich combo. Yummy cream of asparagus is the soup of the day and I order it with a tofu spread sandwich: "A delicious mixture of organic tofu, finely chopped celery, carrots, parsely, and a hint of garlic. It tastes like egg salad!"

Friday, April 20, 2007

Shakespeare in Canada

To the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre to view the Shakespeare - Made In Canada exhibit where the star attraction is the Sanders portrait purported to be the only one painted of the bard in his lifetime. It certainly is an enigmatic piece. Is it actually a portrait of William Shakespeare? The jury's still out on that one.
We tour the The Donald Forster Sculpture Park and enjoy taking photos of the diverse works. My favourites are two of Evan Penny's Pieces: Mask, 1989 bronze (pictured left) and Monad, 1989-1990 ciment fondu, steel (pictured right).
In the evening I go to my daughter's Tuesday worship group hosted by guitarist Isaac. I was not sure what to expect but felt welcomed and strangely at home sitting on a cushion on the floor with over twenty twenty-something-year-olds singing traditional hymns and modern worship songs by candle light. In a high-tech twist, words and guitar chords are displayed on laptops throughout the room which are linked by a wireless network so that they can be operated by the song leader.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Guelph via VIA

I take the subway to Union Station and line up to buy a one-way ticket to Guelph, a stop on the Toronto-Sarnia line. There are six employees behind three wickets but only one person is serving folk in the increasingly long queue. I'm wondering if I should have stuck with Greyhound, my usual mode of travel.

With my $24.38 ticket in hand, I go in search of coffee. We board promptly at 10:40 and depart on schedule at 10:55.

I've never been on this particular line and struggle at times to pin point where exactly in the city we are until I catch sight of a familiar bridge or other landmark.

It goes without saying that you've got more "personal space" on a VIA car than the on the "hound". You also get views of city and landscapes you don't get blatting along the 401. One can even purchase drinks and snacks on board, although when a fellow passenger pays $1.75 for a bottle of water, I'm glad I bought my coffee at Union Station.

After a brief stop at Brampton, we arrive at Guelph Station 7 minutes ahead of schedule.

I walk across the street from the station to meet my daughter at the Cornerstone Cafe. I'm sipping a ginormous cup of green tea when she arrives. We both opt for their signature vegan Cornerstone Club sandwich which I , once again, vow to replicate at home. Although the food is great the service could best be described as quirky. Read reviews here.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Rocky Horror Show at CanStage

To the Bluma Appel Theatre for the final show in our CanStage subscription. This stage adaptation of cult film, Rocky Horror Picture Show, stars Adam Brazier in the role of extraterrestrial transvestite Dr. Frank N. Furter.
Film screenings are notorious for their raucous level of audience participation. Some aspects of this (shout-outs, doing the time warp in the aisles, putting a newspaper over your head during the thunderstorm scene) are encouraged by CanStage, while others such as throwing confetti are not. (See full instructions here.)
We renewed our subscriptions for next season and luckily met up with Etobicoke School of the Arts alumnus David Lopez who occasionally steals the spotlight as a Phantom (He is also an understudy Frank-n-Furter and Riff-Raff ). I ask him to autograph my program. His stellar performance in last year's production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ garnered him a a Dora Award nomination for Best Actor.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007