Tag: summer

Art: Love It. You Gotta.


I’m sitting in my garden, swatting away the wasps (or rather, blowing on them gently so as not to irritate) and enjoying the cool morning breezes after a string of deadly-hot, gorgeously-summery days. And yes, I’m on the computer. But really, what better office than one that afford a view of an English garden and the sounds of chirping birds?

Like many, checking Twitter has become a regular part of my day. It’s actually become the norm, and one of my main sources of information. Whenever I’m curious about what is going on at an exact moment in time, anywhere across the globe, all I have to do is take a quick look at the “twizipper,” as I call it, and I’m updated with a myriad of bits and bites -everything from mundane, me-spouting techno-narcissists to breaking world events to opinions, causes, and links to nutty, inane videos. I’ve been very interested to read (and enjoy) the tweets of artist Damien Hirst. You may recall that Hirst is the artist famous for his exhibitions of animals suspended in formaldehyde. He is also the artist behind the diamond-encrusted skull, though I find his paintings the most beautiful. Reading his tweets -and the links leading to his most-hilarious, smart blog -I’ve begun the realize the fun that can be had with a medium like Twitter to share, communicate, connect, question, and contemplate. I really wonder what someone like Warhol would’ve made for it; his “15 minutes of fame” dictum seems to have shrunk to 140 characters.

Anyway, taking a look through Hirst’s blog again this morning, I was reminded why art -and artists -continue to inspire and inform the different aspects of my life. His stream-of-consciousness entry about art and its essential meaning -part truth, part seeking, all sarcasm -will, I am sure, seem different at night than it does in the morning light (by which I mean, more menacing and less airy -which is probably as he intended it). But there is also a definite spirit of playfulness with these entries -the M&Ms, the chewing gum, the bladder-related silliness. It’s as if he’s reducing the high-falutin’ ways art is thought of (capital “A” art -as in, “I am an Artist!” -come on, we all have a friend who’s pronounced or written those embarrassing words) while at the same time forced a re-think of what true art is, how we perceive it, how we interact with it, and what it means to us in daily life. This is, at least to me, the entire point of Hirst’s career.

Using your brain to make art is so last year!” he writes. Oh, Damien. You make me think, laugh, play, and look at the world -online and otherwise, inner and outer -in entirely new ways. Now I want to get my hands filthy in paint and conte. Think I’ll hold off on the skull-creating… at least for now.

Addendum: Damien Hirst enough actually re-tweeted the link to this posting yesterday. A squeak of joy erupted from the patio once I realized this. It was enough to scare the wasps off, however temporarily. Thank you, Mr. Hirst. Wow. Thank you.

Addendum #2: Damien isn’t Damien. Aaah, now it all makes sense. Don’t care. Still flattered.

Random Acts of Play

1. Speaking to an unmanned camera; I was filming an introduction to my latest video interview piece (on Awake and Sing, currently on at the Young Centre) and kept flubbing it. Thinking his presence might be throwing me, my sweet/awesome/brilliant cameraman/editor walked away to look out the window, leaving me to speak one-on-one with the lens. It worked.

2. Going or ice cream at La Paloma, one of Toronto’s best places for yummy, homemade gelato. It was a hot day, and it was perfect for a cone. I walked down the street, me and my chocolate hazelnut, enjoying the sights and the sunshine. Oh, simple joys.

3. Overhearing my neighbours’ nephews playing in their swimming pool as birds chirped. Remember when pools were such a big deal as a kid? Like, a really big deal? Yeah, me too.

4. Going for a bike ride and calling out to a raccoon perched carefully on a wooden fence, only to be greeted by five little raccoon faces. Now, I know they aren’t necessarily the most wanted creatures (especially now that Toronto has a strike involving city workers -who collect trash among other duties -on its hands), but it was just a dear little moment to have five little heads come popping up from the fence at my Doctress Doolittle moment.

5. I’m going to the Shaw Festival tomorrow. Seeing lots of comedies, which I love. Laughter = good.

Also?

My Goran Bregovic interview is posted
.

Zivalo!

Playing On The Patio


Here’s a collection of photos from a recent visit I made to one of my favourite patios in Toronto, The Drake Hotel‘s Sky Yard Patio.

Situated on the second floor overlooking the buzzy Queen Street West strip, the patio is taking on a ‘camp’ theme this year (camp as in cabins, not drag queens). I love the Drake generally because it’s gotten over being the “hipster” place (at least during the week -weekends it’s still invaded by wannabe-hipsters from the ‘burbs) and the service is really friendly. So, going with the Camp Drake theme, there’s a bear at the downstairs cafe (not real, duh) and they’ve hung up an old canoe for Sky Yarders sans cottages (like me) to gaze at. Servers wear neat-o “Camp Drake” stylized tees.

While it all sounds hokey, it isn’t. And the food -and wine selection -makes it a perfect place to wile away a late Friday afternoon, fooling with the camera, chatting with friends, celebrating wonderful new connections, and… playing. 🙂 Enjoy.

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