Saturday, May 31, 2008

not exactly the Quest

it's spring in Toronto, which clearly makes people a little crazy...if you need proof, head on down to Grange Park to check out the Idiotarod. it's inspired by the Iditerod, the famous sled dog race in Alaska. except here, it's run in May, in the city, with shopping carts for sleds and people instead of dogs. i think it began in NYC (because so many things do), but here it is in Toronto, and since i covered the Yukon Quest & have a certain interest in sled dog races, i'm definitely heading on down to see this year's kick-off. here is some info & some great photos of previous races.

update: despite the rain, the race got off to a running start at Grange Park this afternoon...some minutes after 4pm (which was good for me, because i got there a little bit late). much like a sled dog race, there were some excited participants straining at their leashes...and some more lackadaisical types, dressed as zombies.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Toronto the Good

every time i get back to Toronto, ready to unpack & do some laundry, i discover a new well-organized event that's got to be checked out immediately, clean clothes or last night, instead of staying home with my luggage, i went off to Spacing Magazine's 4th annual "Toronto the Good" party, at my favourite Distillery party space, the Fermenting Cellar.
though mostly it was just a good party (incl. tasty salad bar, spacey backing tracks, beautiful postcards from the already-much-missed Ballenford Books), the space was also a great choice for its purported topic: does Toronto needs an urban centre, or, maybe more straight-forwardly, what's an urban centre for?
so...does Toronto need some kind of building that hosts events & exhibitions & collections about itself as a city--kind of like the Pavillion de l'Arsenal in Paris? i would say YES, absolutely. but if the Pavillion is anything to go by, the centre needs to be brilliantly-curated & accessible (in all the meanings of that term) or it will only interest a select few.

(nice roofbeams in the Fermenting space)

as in previous years, one far end wall was devoted to "the big map of Toronto" --unmarred by street names or park labels, just a plain map of the city with blue & yellow stickers available for people to sticker in their favourite secret place in the city, or the place which presents the greatest mystery to them. i didn't stay long enough for a complete survey, but around 9pm it sure looked like downtown had the most stickers, both blue & yellow. which i guess is no surprise.

the swamp

just back from a month on the road in Florida...

saw lots of alligators, stage-managed a show at the Orlando Fringe Festival, canoed in the Everglades, talked with a lot of interesting people about their homes, AND visited the houses of two great american writers who have written about their time in Paris...Ernest Hemingway & Jack Kerouac. more on each soon...