Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Bruce Peninsula

Ontario has a place where it looks like the Bahamas, only the water is not very warm.

Where Lake Huron meets the Georgian Bay, there is a narrow strip of land with a jagged coastal line made of limestone bluffs, where the native forest is still pretty much intact.

At the tip of the peninsula there are two national parks side by side -- the Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five Marine Park, a mostly underwater national park. These shallow waters contain dozens of wrecked ships, now an attraction below and above the water.

Tobermory, a much-beloved town by divers, sailors and Indian tourists, is the main hub in the area. A sleepy boating town by the lake, it is sometimes shrouded by fog when the cool air form the bay meets the warmer continental air.

Flowerpot Island is a 20 minute boat ride from Tobermory. The name of the island refers to the two rock sea stacks standing on the eastern shoreline.

The day we were there, an alert was given about a black bear in the island. They usually stay in more isolated islands, but can swim great distances when they sniff a trash can. Unfortunately, we didn't see any bears, only snakes. And there were plenty more amazing and surreal sights to be seen.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mother and child

Great movie I can't stop thinking about. Naomi Watts and Annette Bening never disappoint. And great direction by Gabriel García Márquez's son.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My new favorite image(s)

This weekend, the Distillery took some double takes at brides taking wedding pictures.

We are funny that way

The annual queer comedy festival in Toronto brought some hilarity and reality to Buddies this weekend. Organizer Maggie Cassella brings great talent to the event and it benefits a great cause.

Here's some shots of the Lea DeLaria -- amazing voice and great timing as usual.

Is she turning into Elton John?

Closing night attraction was no other than Scott Thompson, arguably the biggest gay comic in Canada. But those who were expecting just jokes got a great deal more. Scott's new show is brutally honest and personal, with lots of moments when you don't know whether to laugh or cringe. And what a fascinating life! A courageous move from a guy with a penchant for hitting his highs and lows at the same time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The most successful Norwegian band of all times played its farewell tour in Toronto on Monday. After 25 years together, the guys are breaking up. Even though they never recaptured the popularity they had in the 80s, A-ha produced quality pop and their work is among the best that decade produced.

The Ending On A High Note tour brings back many hits from my billboard. For some reason, A-ha was insanely popular in Brazil in the 80s and still draws quite huge crowds there. In North America they have a moderate but strong following and the fans in Toronto waited 24 years to see them live again.

The show had the precise measure of nostalgia and celebration. Vocalist Morten Harket hit all those high notes underscored by very cool imagery on the screen behind the band. Overall, a great concert. Too bad it was the last.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My new favorite image

Hot Docs 2010

Two movies in particular caught my eye at this year’s Hot Docs, Toronto’s documentary film festival. They were two of the five Brazilian documentaries presented at the festival.

The first was Secrets of the Tribe, about how the Yanomami tribe was “discovered” by a group of anthropologists and then royally screwed when said anthropologists started to seriously mess things up with their presence, influence and sexual shenanigans. Fascinating subject that could be even more engaging with tighter editing.

The other was Beyond Ipanema, an overview of international Brazilian music that goes from Carmen Miranda to Garotas Suecas at full speed without ever letting the beat drop. Director Guto Barra provides a much needed source of information about the influence of the Brazilian sound in places other than Brazil. Smartly edited, competently researched and lyrically inspired.

Aberfoyle Junction

In a little town west of Toronto, in the middle of literally nowhere, there is a place where old streetcars still run and miniature cities thrive.

This is Aberfoyle Junction, a hand-made model railway that depicts Southern Ontario in the 50s. The attention to detail is incredible and many of the buildings are replicas of real ones.

But the highlight for me were the scenes of everyday life that you can catch by looking a little closer. You can even see inside the lighted passenger trains that rush by, and every corner has a little surprise.

The nights are rather short in this town, but they produce great views.

Soon it's morning again and the fun resumes at Aberfoyle Junction.

Right down the road, in Milton, the Halton County Radial Railway keeps streetcars from eras gone by still running every twenty minutes. A trip back in time, if there ever was one.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My new favorite image

Clap your hands

Sia does it again. Another amazingly creative and loopy video for another catchy new song:

This is what happens next

Daniel MacIvor latest play disappoints on many levels. Not so much a play but a series of stand-up monologues held together by a threadbare fictionalized autobiographical narrative, nothing really happens next.

MacIvor turns on the self-referential spotlight and indulges in his maniacal delivery of border-line clichéd characters: the gay guy, the bitchy cougar, the annoying kid, the alcoholic dad. He throws in as many random references as he can (Schopenhauer, The Little Mermaid, John Denver) but the whole thing never takes off, what with all its stops and starts and despite MacIvor’s determination to shoehorn a happy ending and misdirect the audience with a little bit of fake snow. Overall, it failed to deliver emotional depth and more than a few self-deprecating guffaws.

Freedom Festival

Toronto is “the Mecca of freedom.” This and other cries for social liberty were heard at the 3rd Freedom Festival in Toronto, a gathering of marijuana smokers and supporters at Queen’s Park.

The weather helped the large turnout (30,000 people, according to the official site) and the crowd was mostly under 30. I guess after 30, tokers puff at home.

The police kept its distance and I was reminded again how different it is to live in Canada.

Unfortunately, there are always those who never feel they’re high enough.