Sunday, 15 July 2018

Canadian Caribbean Photographic Arts Collective's first group showing


The Canadian Caribbean Photographic Arts Collective (CCPAC) presents its first major exhibit, Beyond The Carnival, to be held in the rotunda at the Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Drive, Scarborough. The exhibit featuring the works of 9 photographers will run from July 24th to August 7th, 2018 and can be viewed between 9 am and 9 pm daily.
The presentation is described as “an artistic expression of Caribbean experience through our lenses.” As photographers and historians, the CCPAC intention is to archive the history of the Canadian Caribbean experience.
“This exhibition is all about archiving the history of the Canadian Caribbean experience,” explains Anthony Berot, the founder of the Canadian Caribbean Photographic Art Collective.  “We have an amazing story that is unique to people of the Caribbean who now call Canada home.  As photographers and historians it is an experience we want to share! We have named the exhibit Beyond the Carnival, because, while most of us take pictures of spectacular Carnival events, some of us also capture photos in places and have experiences many people have not.  It is this presentation which is unique to CCPAC. ”
The Canadian Caribbean Photographic Arts Collective invites you to the opening reception on July 24th at 7.00 pm. in the rotunda at the Scarborough Civic Centre.  This reception is sponsored by Festival Management Committee FMC.
The photographers whose works are featured are Benjamin Alunyo, David Lewis, Gilbert Medina, Horace Thorne, Ian Grant , Jenny Baboolal, Peter Faure, Maq Seally and Anthony Berot.
Kindly RSVP Anthony Berot,
The media is invited to cover the opening reception.
July 24, 2018 7:00 pm
For further information
Stephen Weir

Monday, 18 June 2018

Panel Discussion: What pop culture’s current science fiction obsession

Using the POPnology exhibition as a springboard, an expert panel examines what  pop culture’s current science fiction obsession – Black Panther, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, Black Mirror – tells us about society’s hopes, fears and desires about the future. 


Madeline Ashby, science fiction writer and futurist
Trevor Haldenby, speculative designer and futurist
James Hobson (The Hacksmith), engineer and prototype designer
Sharon Lewis, director and actor
Marc Saltzman, technology expert and moderator

Thought-provoking discussion & debate
+ interactive & informative exhibition
Don't miss out on this two-for-one evening!
Wednesday, June 20
6:00 p.m. - 10 p.m. | POPnology open
7:00 p.m. | Auditorium open
7:30 p.m. | Great Conversations
RSVP to Andrea Mus by June 19.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Icelandic group gets Canucks dancing in their skivvies

FM Belfast Teaches Canadians How To Run Around In Underwear When It Is 20 Below.

 Singer Lóa Hjálmtýsdottir in a mound of ribbons
By Stephen Weir written for my Huffington Post blog
Two men in front tried the impossible, putting on their pants while stumbling to the exit. There was  an urgency – it was 2 am and we were being herded out the concert doors into a normal Icelandic night. Black. Windy. Sub-Zero temperature.
It didn’t take a detective to figure out that the laundry droppers were Canadians – the Roots labels gave ‘em away.  Not that anyone in the crowded Reykjavik art gallery cared about their lack of trous.
Blame the lack of clothes on the band that 600 of us had just seen. It was FM Belfast, one of Canada’s most favoured Icelandic bands. The veteran electro-pop group closed out the Airwaves music festival concert with a group participation song called Underwear.
 Lóa Hjálmtýsdottir - photo by sweir
FM Belfast has been performing for a dozen years.  They are always the premiere Icelandic act at the world famous annual Airwaves fete except on rare years when Bjork, Of Monsters and Men, or Sigor Ros take to the stage. 
What is unique about FM Belfast is that their fan base is larger in Canada, Northern US and Europe than it is in their homeland.  If you experience snow and seasonal affective disorder every winter then you will get FM Belfast.  They inspire you to dance and sing as they complain about the boredom of winter.
“We're running down the street in our underwear
We're running up the hill, it's over there
We're running down the street in our underwear
We're running up the hill, it's over there
Cause nothing ever happens here”

Underwear is an anthem for foreigners who travel to Iceland every November to be a part of the mash-up of Icelandic, American, British and Canadian groups performing non-stop for five days. When FM Belfast sings about breaking the boredom of long winters by dancing sans jeans, confetti and streamers are fired over the crowd. The six band members (and some in the audience) strip down and energetically lead everyone in a jump-up Viking dance.
“ ‘Let's have fun trying to make it through another winter’ is a good description of an Icelander (and what we sing about),” explains singer, composer and band co-founder Lóa Hjálmtýsdottir.  “The weather has some impact, we don't have grand winters, just long ones that are more dark than cold”.
FM Belfast getting down to their BVDs
The band has produced four albums all in English and that are designed to engage listeners in singing loudly and dancing with reckless abandon.  It works, their following on YouTube is larger than the population of Iceland!
“In 2006 or 2007 we were playing for a group of (Canadian) foreign exchange students in a small club in Reykjavik. They were very animated and took to the dance-floor and went insane. It was so much fun and when we realised that this was a possibility, we decided to aim for this and try to make people forget themselves for an hour or so.”
Canadians identify with their songs even though they are written to describe Iceland’s human condition.  Take for example their song “American” which describes how Icelanders are ready to learn to act like Americans but aren’t going to let themselves be assimilated  -- they sing that they aren’t afraid to taste the fist of an American!
Another big favourite is a long chant called I Don’t Want To Go to Sleep Either, which is performed at late night, early morning gigs.  My fav? Tropical.  It’s their dream of moving to the Caribbean and joining a band with your pet monkey Pedro on keyboards!
“Our lyrics don't have an underlying common theme, they are about everything and nothing. Sometimes it is just about being cold or watching television but sometimes it’s about something serious like losing a friend,” she explained.
FM Belfast Photo Pit
“ We've always performed and written lyrics in English. We don't switch back. To me it's because English is a very good language for pop lyrics and I like feeling like a visitor when I'm writing song lyrics, “ continued Lóa.
The number of Canadians who have seen FM Belfast live is limited to the thousand who attend the annual pop music festival in Reykjavik.  Yes they have played in Gimli, Manitoba (home to a small Icelandic community) but the band can’t afford a US tour.  They are considering a Canada  tour but so far that is all it is.
“We all have other projects as well but the poorhouse is constantly looming over us, we don't have rich families or money saved in the bank. It's a high price to pay but I consider spending your life and precious time doing something you don't like is an even higher price.”

BTW – FM Belfast is very much an Arctic version of the Grateful Dead.  People come and go into the band line-up depending on schedules and the demands of their other careers.  Lóa Hjálmtýsdottir is also a graphic artist and author.  Árni Rúnar, the other band founder, is a DJ and composes for the movies. Most interesting is singer/dancer Egill Eyjolfsson who has been a diplomat and is an economist who cuts trade agreements for Iceland. He is currently based in Europe and flies home for band gigs!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Sutherland House Publishing Launches In Toronto. Porcupine's Quill too

Author and Former Editor Of Canada’s Most Respected

Author and Editor Kenneth Whyte launches a new publishing company today. The Sutherland House will specialize in literary non-fiction. Mr. Whyte is the former president of Rogers Publishing Inc., Canada’s largest magazine company, as well as former editor-in-chief of Saturday Night magazine, editor-in-chief and publisher of Maclean’s, and the founding editor of the National Post. His latest book, Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times, was a finalist for the 2017 American National Book Critics Circle Awards.
The new Toronto-based company will begin producing books early in 2019. Four projects are already signed up, including: We, The Meeple, an examination of culture, history, society and relationships through the medium of board games by former Walrus editor Jonathan Kay and board game expert Jonathan Moriarity; and Perfect City, a guided tour of the world’s great cities by the noted urban strategist, Joe Berridge.
In tandem with its creation, the new company has acquired the venerable firm, Porcupine’s Quill Inc. Founded in 1974 by the distinguished printer and publisher Tim Inkster, Porcupine’s Quill uses 20th-century offset printing technology to create quality literature with the look and feel of 19th-century letterpress products. It will continue to operate in Erin, Ontario with Mr. Inkster and his partner, Elke, at its helm. 
Porcupine’s Quill will be an imprint of Sutherland House and Mr. Whyte will be its contributing editor. Mr. Inkster will be a contributing editor to Sutherland House. Porcupine’s Quill has published Jane Urquhart, Russell Smith, Andrew Pyper, Elizabeth Hay, P.K. Page, Don Coles, and Margaret Avison among many other outstanding writers.
The new publishing firm has established a website As of today The Sutherland House is accepting submissions of book proposals and manuscripts from writers
and agents. 
For photographs, company logo, interviews and additional information on
this release, please contact:
Stephen Weir Public Relations. Toronto. Phone 416-489-5868, 

Pictured above - Ken Whyte

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Media Alert - Sikh Heritage Month

Media Preview
Spring Art Exhibitions Preview at PAMA in Celebration of Sikh Heritage Month
BRAMPTON, ON (March 29, 2017) – The Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA), the Sikh Heritage Foundation invite you to a preview of the upcoming art exhibitions on Friday, April 6 at 10:30 am in celebration of Sikh Heritage Month. Admission will be free all month long, sponsored by the Sikh Foundation of Canada.
Interview Opportunities at PAMA - Friday, April 6, 10:30 a.m.
  • PAMA Manager, Marty Brent
  • PAMA Interim Senior Curator, Sharona Adamowicz-Clements will be available to talk about the new Spring art gallery exhibitions
  • Sikh Foundation of Canada representative
  • Artists from the Sikh Heritage Month Community exhibit in PAMA’s tunnel gallery
  • Sikh Heritage Month Committee Spokespeople will be on-hand to talk about weekend programming details around downtown Brampton
Light refreshments will be provided
Exhibitions on at PAMA
Sikh Heritage Month in Downtown Brampton
April 1 – April 30, 2018
Sikh Heritage Month at PAMA provides everyone with an opportunity to learn about Sikh and Canadian culture and history through art, history, performances and workshops.
Opening Event at Brampton City Hall: March 31 from 6 – 10 p.m.
Closing Event at Brampton City Hall: April 28 from 6 – 10 p.m.
Visit to see the full schedule of programming planned in downtown Brampton
 PAMA is a place to explore and learn about Peel Region’s culture and heritage, as well as use conversation, questions and stories to help make new and fascinating connections to the surrounding community. Throughout the year, PAMA offers a variety of workshops and programs for all ages, families and adults. With so many different programs to choose from, PAMA has something for everyone. Operated by the Region of Peel, PAMA is located at 9 Wellington St. Brampton. Visit to learn more.
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Erin Fernandes
Marketing Co-ordinator
Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives
905-791-4055, ext. 7596
Stephen Weir
Stephen Weir and Associates
Tel: 416-489-5868 | cell: 416-801-3101 twitter: sweirsweir