ONTARIO SCENE: Opening today at the National Art Centre Ottawa

600 Artists. 90 Events. 12 Days. 

Oh my! Where does one start?! First let me say this. There is nothing boring about Ottawa. So let’s just put that “it’s the city that rolls up the sidewalks at night” myth to rest. Just when I think I might get a breather from events the Writers Festival ends by seguing this city into another festival celebrating the arts – The National Arts Centre’s Ontario Scene. “Imagine 600 Ontario artists, from all disciplines, performing in the national spotlight on the stages of Ottawa/Gatineau: that’s Ontario Scene.”

The biggest limiting factor to Ontario Scene is that my body only allows for me to be in one place at one time. I may have to settle for 300 Artists, 30-ish events and maybe 1 less day.

I have already clocked two events with back to back nights at Carleton University Art Gallery for the Opening and Artist Walk Thru of the current exhibit “Human Nature.” This show “presents fourteen contemporary Ontario artists whose works look at the state of the natural world and our impact on it.”

Images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Graffiti Boxman Project. Photo Flips BSC.
 Kwende Kefentse.Credit James Park Photography.

Gathering in Ottawa this week are many Mixed Bag Mag Toronto faves! Kaha:wi Dance Theatre led a large crowd through a Powwow Boot Camp at the NAC yesterday proving you can #IndigenizeYourExercise. Gadfly and Mustafa the Poet will be part of Hip Hop Playground this coming Saturday a MANIFESTO initiative that will be transplanted here for #OntarioScene and hosted by Ottawa based Kwende Kefentse (Memetic). Juno Nominee Jaffa Road will play with the always raucous and rowdy Lemon Bucket Orkestra tomorrow evening at St. Albans Church – an event sure to be a crowd pleaser!
Jaffa Road. Photo Steve Carty.
Neema Bickersteth in Century Song. John Lauener Photography.

A new project I am very excited to see is Century Song on tonight and tomorrow at The Gladstone.

Century Song is a live performance hybrid showcasing the extraordinary Canadian soprano NEEMA BICKERSTETH. A radical revisioning of the recital form from one of Canada’s most exciting theatre companies, it is part classical song, part dance, part projection, and entirely theatrical.” Find out more…

Digging Roots. Raven Kanatakta and Shoshona Kish. Photo Ratul Debnath.

DECLARATION is a great Ontario Scene initiative that will be running from April 29 to May 3.

“DECLARATION is a celebration of Indigenous peoples’ right to engage in the creation and evolution of arts and culture, as asserted in Article 11 of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Created by Toronto-based ARTICLE 11, DECLARATION is an immersive, live, sound and image installation and performance-creation lab. It offers the rare opportunity to witness established Indigenous artists mid-process as they take risks and explore new approaches and collaborations in a responsive, interdisciplinary environment.”

The artists involved:

Read more about the full DECLARATION programming here.
Jesse Wente.
Santee Smith. Image by Red Works. 

John Morris, NAC Executive Chef

Also, on the menu, literally, is food – the best of what Ontario has to offer in the culinary arts.
On Monday night:
le café presents a WINEMAKER’S DINNER that showcases and complements the delightful wines of Pelee Island, Canada’s oldest and most southerly wine region. For this special occasion, National Arts Centre Executive Chef JOHN MORRIS will prepare a sumptuous five-course menu with all-Ontario ingredients, and every course will be paired with the finest varietals that Pelee Island has to offer. Winemaster MARTIN JANZ, of Pelee Island Winery, will be in attendance.”
On Tuesday night:
“Experience the innovative and mouth-watering creations of more than a dozen top chefs from across the province as they vie for the $10,000 top prize in the ONTARIO CULINARY CHALLENGE. Each chef will prepare uniquely Ontario small plates, using a selection of 100% local and regional meats, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables. With the support of Wine Country Ontario, chefs will be partnered with Ontario wineries to produce the perfect food-wine pairings, which attendees can sample throughout the night. Rub elbows with chefs, sommeliers, and media, sample some of the province’s finest wines, and cast your vote to award the first-place prize for the very best of the best in Ontario’s culinary arts.”
Alright, time for a 2nd shot of espresso and I will be ready to go.
Full Ontario Scene Schedule here.
Follow along on twitter @Ontario_Scene & #OntarioScene.

 

 

 

 

SAVE THE DATE: Dance & Design on the Schedule this January in Toronto

Left image neck piece by Bin Dixon Ward provided by TO DO. See the necklace at TO DO’s Digital Promises Show. Right image Ritmo Flamenco provided by Dance Ontario.

JANUARY 9 – 19: JACK YOUR BODY (PART OF NEXT STAGE FESTIVAL 2014)

“Jack Your Body is a high-energy dance performance that pays homage to American street dance culture. The cast poses, struts, waacks and jacks their way through soul train, paradise garage and other iconic street dance scenarios. Issues of race, gender and social status come into focus during this dynamic dance piece that explores the evolution of underground social dances from the 70s-90s.” More info…

WHERE: Factory Mainspace on 125 Bathurst St, Toronto
HOW MUCH: $15, purchase tickets here
Follow on Facebook and twitter @Mixmixdance and join Facebook Event Page

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JANUARY 17 – 19: DANCEWEEKEND BY DANCE ONTARIO

“Dance Ontario’s Dance Weekend takes place annually at the Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront, and features an incredible line-up of dance artists over three days.” More info…

WHERE: Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W, Toronto. View map here.
HOW MUCH: All the dance you can handle for $10 a day or $25 for weekend pass!
Click here for Full Schedule

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JANUARY 20 – 26: TORONTO DESIGN OFFSITE FESTIVAL (aka TO DO)

“The Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO) is a not-for-profit, independent design festival happening annually at the end of January. TO DO’s aim is to provide exposure for local and national designers; to foster public understanding and knowledge of the practice of design; and to create an ongoing presence that promotes Canada’s creativity, drawing on great thinkers, practitioners, and educators to a deliver an innovative celebration of art and design.” More info…

WHERE: All over the Downtown core & beyond, view the full map here!
HOW MUCH: Unless specified most events are FREE!
Click here for Full Schedule

 

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JANUARY 23 – 26: COME UP TO MY ROOM (aka CUTMR as part of TO DO)

“Come up to My Room is the Gladstone Hotel’s annual alternative design event. CUTMR invites artists and designers to show us what goes on inside their heads. Coming together in dialogue and collaboration, participants are limited only by their imaginations, making CUTMR one of the most exciting shows in Toronto.” More info…

WHERE: The Gladstone Hotel,1214 Queen St. W, Toronto
HOW MUCH: $10 ($5 for students on January 24th)
Click here for Full Archive of Past CUTMR Events

 

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JANUARY 23 – 24: THE INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW

“The Interior Design Show is Canada’s premier showcase of new products, innovative designers and avant-garde concepts from North America and beyond. For one weekend each January, the city of Toronto is filled with industry superstars, cutting-edge emerging names, design-savvy consumers and top media outlets. And for 3.5 action-packed days, the Interior Design Show shapes the design world for the year to come.” Read more...

WHERE: Metro Toronto Convention Centre (North Building)
HOW MUCH: $19 per day advanced or $22 per day at the door
Click here for Full Schedule

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JANUARY THROUGH TO FEBRUARY: 100% TOBEUS – 100 DESIGNERS FOR 100 NEW TOY CARS

“TobeUs was born as a vent of a designer who became a father and could not stand the sight of his own children using toys for just a few hours and then destroying them or stopping looking at them.This is how the idea of TobeUs was born: toy cars made of wood, strong and sweet-scented, beautiful and clever because they are planned by skillful and passionate designers.” Read more…

WHERE: Design Exchange at 234 Bay St. View map here.
HOW MUCH: Adults $10, Students & Seniors $8

TO DO 2014 Promo Video from Toronto Design Offsite Festival on Vimeo.

MARCH BREAK: What is Happening Around Toronto for 21st Century Kids

Advertisement for kids exhibit at TIFF called DigiPlay Space saying it is an interactive adventure

“The future is in the hands of kids.”

Designed by Toronto talents Mason Studio & aftermodern.lab digiPlaySpace is “an interactive exhibition where kids will engage with emerging creative media technologies and innovative artistic experiences!” (cited www.tiff.net)

In its 2nd year, this popular event opened in time for March Break but will be running until April 21.

Find out more about the exhibit events on Tiff’s website.

Also check out 3 great upcoming workshops:

Spy Mystery Workshop Saturday March 23

Maker / Creater Workshop Saturday March 30

3D Printing Workshop Saturday April 6

Sounds like a lot of fun! Are adults allowed?

Also around town, March Break programming at Design Exchange, The Royal Ontario Museum and Art Gallery of Ontario.

HAPPY MARCH BREAK!

Children holding up eggs to camera showing the activities during March Break at Royal Ontario Museum

HAPPINESS: What’s Your Symbol?

screen capture of tumblr blog with bright yellow background also image of a man holding on to a piece of yellow paper

Spreading the Happy around.

If you missed Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Show at Design Exchange Toronto then you can catch some of the highlights on the show’s tumblr blog or on MIXED BAG MAG’s post on The Happy Show.

The exhibit is interactive and every few steps you come across an exercise, a video clip and some candy (yes, candy!). One of the exercises was to take a Sharpie pen and draw the symbol of your happiness on a sunny yellow sheet of paper.

This week on MIXED BAG MAG’s own tumblr blog we are sharing what people drew as their symbol of happiness.

www.mixedbagmag.tumblr.com

screen capture of tumblr blog with bright yellow background also image a yellow piece of paper with black writing reading happiness is a box waiting to be open

THE HAPPY SHOW: Last Weekend to View it at Toronto’s Design Exchange

What is happiness to you?

Is it the same as joy? Is happiness a series of contained moments? Or is it more like what Luminato’s Artistic Director Jorn Weisbrodt discovered from his 102 year old grandmother – that happiness is when we settle into our role in life and live it well creating a constant state of well being.

On Tuesday evening at the Design Exchange some of the talented and creative spirits in our city were gathered together to share what they know about happiness.

For Vanessa Eckstein and Marta Cutler of Blok Design it has something to do with being mothers. “You can’t find better inspiration than children” and they from that they were motivated to put their design talents to work creating children’s books.

“Lampyro’s publishing program invites renowned contemporary artists of international repute to show us their interpretation of transforming the ordinary into the extra-ordinary. We believe that by guiding children’s inherent curiosity through artists’ eyes, unconventional means of perception become familiar. This freedom to believe becomes a fundamental element of their world view, helping to shape the person they become.” (cited from www.editorialrm.com)


Caca Grande (Big Poop)
from blokdesign on Vimeo.

For artist and illustrator Gary Taxali “Happiness is about being silly.” Giving himself the permission to be just that has resulted in a successful career and international recognition. Around the world he is now known for his iconic work that speaks to his wonderful sense of absurdity. 

fun illustrations in retro comic style and headshot of man with glasses

And although with every speaker (interior designer Christine Ralphsarchitect Ralph Giannone, landscape architect Claude Cormier, architect Meg Graham) I happily shared some common ground it was with Armenian-Canadian actress / producer Arsinée Khanjian that I shared my bliss – rich French desserts, the deep Klein Blue skies of the Mediterranean, and the magical love story of Mary & Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. I must confess, that just like Arsinée, that since childhood I have been tearing up the moment Georg looks deep into Mary’s eyes and sings:

Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood I must have done something good

What makes me happy is that Rogers and Hammerstein inspired me to believe that love can arrive unexpectedly in the most difficult of times and in the most unusual ways.

The Happy Show is what came out of internationally renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister’s last sabbatical.

Stefan decided that every seventh year he would take a 365 day break to rest and play then see what bubbles up to the surface. This show is one of his creative bubbles.

“The Happy Show offers visitors the experience of walking into the designer’s mind as he attempts to increase his happiness via meditation, cognitive therapy, and mood-altering pharmaceuticals. “I am usually rather bored with definitions,” Sagmeister says. “Happiness, however, is just such a big subject that it might be worth a try to pin it down.” Centered around the designer’s ten-year exploration of happiness, this exhibition presents typographic investigations of a series of maxims, or rules to live by, originally culled from Sagmeister’s diary, manifested in a variety of imaginative and interactive forms.” (cited from www.dx.org)

After touring around The Happy Show with a friend I asked him if I could get a quote about it. Sure he said – “Quote, unquote this show makes me happy.”
Do you need any other reason to go?!

The Happy Show ends this Sunday, March 3.
More info on www.dx.org and as well as on Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art’s tumblr blog for the show.

Which gumball machine would you choose? My friend is actually happier than 5, he was just following the lead of the very happy toddler in front of him.

Outside our level of comfort we discover the magic inside of us.


What would you draw?


Canadians are doing ok!


Don’t forget to press the button at the end of the show and await further instructions…

This show comes with free candy.


Images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.