Tag: Bridget Jones

Sexy Queen

The Valentine’s Day sillies are upon us once more. As a singleton who’s never really experienced the “romantic” connotations of the Hallmark Holiday, I take the whole thing in stride and tend to draw associations instead with the sticky-sweet days of childhood. Heart-shaped cookies and finger-staining candies, along with cut-outs and tacky cards -that’s Valentine’s Day to me.

There’s a tremendous pressure on female singletons, particularly in North America, where V-Day is taken quite seriously. (That, incidentally, is culturally interesting; I don’t recall the same kind of pressure when I lived in Dublin and London, but then, back then I romanticized everything, turning every day into a kind of maudlin V-Day fest, complete with sappy poetry, long dresses, and plenty of chest-heaving for so-close-so-far Byronic, tortured-artist-lovers. Oh, youth…) Year-round Valentine pressure is everywhere in popular culture: witness the phenomenons of Bridget Jones, Sex And the City, and any number of treacly pop hits.

Lastnight’s episode of 30 Rock featured a defensive Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) trying to find someone to give her a ride post an impending dental surgery. The snag? The surgery fell on Valentine’s Day. In the great tradition of ladies who doth protest too much, the indefatigable Liz huffed and puffed about in hilarious, if equally sad, fashion, loudly proclaiming her independence. Only later, deep in the throes of whirling post-surgery hallucinations, did she acknowledge that she wanted to be loved. It got me thinking: do women need Valentine’s Day to assert their desire for love and acceptance? Following that, do men need the pressure of what V-Day represents to show these things? It all feels deeply unfair -and stupid.

The Toronto-based Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair blends like childlike whimsy with a decidedly adult ethos. As its name implies, the fair is a celebration of sex, but not in that tawdry, vulgar way as paraded around so many so-called “professional” conferences. The fair, on since 2007 and founded by members of the excellent Come As You Are, is Canada‚Äôs only craft fair dedicated to romantic, sexual, and erotic expression, and features a variety of crafts -not just rude knitwear and dildos (though they’re presented too, if you’re interested). Books, buttons, jewellery, corsets, slippers and one cleverly-named change-purse feature as well.

Along with being a fun way of celebrating sexuality, the fair also serves as a great way of connecting people -including many single women, who come in nervous and sometimes shy, and leave, laughing. There’s no pressure for coupledom, and the whimsical, fun feel of the fair imbues a kind of fun, carnival-esque atmosphere. Also, the event nicely builds community through the sharing of artistic ability, something vitally important in the Queen Street West area (which is rapidly becoming a bourgeois hipster haven, eeek). If you’re in the neighbourhood tomorrow (February 13th), pop in the Gladstone Hotel anytime between 12 and 8pm. Single or coupled, I guarantee you’ll walk out with a smile.

Elementary

I’m currently in the process of compiling favourite moments from 2009; though not entirely finished, the list will include tidbits from the worlds of music, food, fashion, and art. They’ll be small, delicious morsels.

Typing of which, I’m also going to be posting my recipe for sugar plums shortly. Haven’t done much holiday baking? Want to impress the in-laws? Oven-allergic? These little balls of joy are for you.

First, however, Holmesian goodness:

As a teen, I voraciously read Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales of the British detective, and eschewed Basil Rathbone‘s dry, humourless interpretation for the utterly-excellent Jeremy Brett, who will, to my mind, always remain the quintessential Sherlock. Not even Robert Downey Jr. can compete -though truth be told, I don’t think he’s trying to. It seems as it director Guy Ritchie is more interested in using the aesthetic of Victorian London and combining it with a modern action-film sensibility, all filtered through a steampunk perspective. The only connection the film would seem to have the Conan Doyle originals is the title -and truly, that’s fine by me. If it inspires younger people to return to the original source material, so much is the better. They might even discover the beautiful British series featuring Brett. There’s room for all kinds of interpretations here. Why be stodgy?

The yucky-faces surely being made by Holmes purists over the new film reminds me of reactions to new interpretations in opera and theatre; heaven forbid they be done in anything but “traditional” mode! How boring. What a good way of killing creativity. Ugh. I’d think a captivating reinvention would make people more apt to go back to the source material. If the original art is strong enough -whether written, musical, dramatic, or otherwise -it can easily withstand re-envisioning. Remember Bridget Jones? Jane Austen is grinning from the great beyond. I have a feeling Arthur Conan Doyle is doing the same with the new Sherlock Holmes. If the aughties have taught us anything, it’s that re-imagining and reinterpreting art from the past is every bit as vital (and hard) as creating the original stuff. At the end of the day, it’s all elementary.

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