Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Thursday book launch involves Mom, Pop and Daughter. Cynthia Reyes' Twigs in My Hair

TWIGS IN MY HAIR - It’s a Family Affair

Award-winning journalist and author Cynthia Reyes launches her new memoir Twigs in My Hair and the latest addition to her bestselling series of children’s book Myrtle Makes a New Friend.
The launch takes place THURSDAY October 10, at 6 p.m. at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre at 770 Bathurst Street. Ms. Reyes will be joined by co-author Lauren Reyes-Grange and Twigs in My Hair photographer Hamlin Grange.
This unusual book launch brings together a family of outstanding writers and storytellers. Cynthia and Hamlin are former award-winning journalists. Their daughter Lauren is the co-author of Myrtle Makes a New Friend, the third book in the children’s series. Twigs in My Hair Myrtle Makes a New Friend, is Cynthia’s third memoir. Her previous two memoirs are critically acclaimed bestsellers. This time she explores her lifelong passion for gardens and nature and the surprising relationships and events that ensue. Twigs is a humorous and profoundly personal story and a unique twist of the memoir genre which is complemented by photographs by Hamlin.
The Myrtle story, which teaches children about friendship and encourages them to “love their shell”, was written 28 years ago but the first book was published in 2017 to delight of children and parents around the world. The Myrtle character was written by Cynthia for her nearly 5-year-old daughter Lauren.
In Twigs, readers will meet a variety of interesting creatures, both animal and human, some competing for gardening produce or gardening glory. Cynthia’s love for growing things swings from reverence to mania. But there is also a deeply emotional side to this story about what happens when a passionate gardener can no longer do what she loves.
Itah Sadu and Miguel San Vincente, owners of A Different Booklist, will host the event, which will include readings and a book signing.

About the Authors:

Cynthia Reyes is the author of the bestselling books A Good Home, An Honest House and newly released, Twigs in My Hair. In addition, her previous children’s illustrated Myrtle the Purple Turtle books have been bestsellers and have received excellent reviews. Cynthia is a former journalist, producer-director and executive producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She won national and international awards and acclaim for her work, including The Children’s Broadcast Institute Award, The Trailblazer Award and The Crystal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film and Television. In 2016, her book, An Honest House, won the Diamond Award for book of the year, while the country of her birth, Jamaica, inducted Cynthia into the Order of Distinction, Commander Rank, in recognition of her work in Canadian and international journalism.
Lauren Reyes-Grange learned about Myrtle the Purple Turtle from her mother who told her stories when she was a child. Soon to be a mother herself, Lauren has begun reading the Myrtle books to her unborn daughter. She has collaborated with Cynthia on the second and third books in the Myrtle series and will continue to make up Myrtle stores for her daughter and all the children who love and embrace the Myrtle books around the world. Lauren is a Social Media Strategist and blogger in Toronto.
Hamlin Grange is a former journalist and broadcaster. His photographs appear in Twigs in My Hair. Over a number of years, Hamlin has been both the gardener and the photographer of the gardens we meet in the book. When not gardening, Hamlin is a diversity and inclusion strategist. He has worked with national and international clients in a wide range of sectors including film, theatre, television, post-secondary institutions, social services, government agencies and law enforcement.

For more information about either book, please visit https://cynthiasreyes.com/ or contact MaryAnn Isbister at 416-932-8284.

Monday, 7 October 2019

The Late George Paginton to get the solo show he has always deserved. Brampton. October 10

The Big Show

Brampton, ON (October 4, 2019) Explore the vast beauty of Canada through the art of one of Ontario’s rediscovered painters, George Paginton – a contemporary of the Group of Seven. This large-scale retrospective exhibition kicks-off its cross Canada tour at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) in historic downtown Brampton on October 10. The show runs to February 9, 2020 with interactive programming throughout and accompanied by a beautiful hard cover publication about the artist available for purchase in the PAMA store for $40. 

Media Preview Opportunities:
  1. Book an appointment Wednesday, Oct. 9 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) to have an exclusive Curator walk-through.
  2. Or, be our guest for the VIP (invitation only) Opening Reception on Thursday, Oct. 10 from 7 – 9 p.m. Contact Erin Fernandes at erin.fernandes@peelregion.ca or call 416-312-3425.
George Paginton, a lesser known Canadian landscape painter who was a peer of members of the Group of Seven, was determined to document the wonder of nature from coast-to-coast. A prolific yet very private artist, Paginton created over 1,500 oil paintings, the majority of which were never exhibited or sold commercially. George Paginton: Painting a Nation marks the introduction of his work which spanned over 70 years. 
“The opportunity to create new Canadian art history is thrilling,” notes PAMA Senior Curator of Art Darrin Martens. 
“Paginton pursued his private passion of capturing the essence of the Canadian landscape with a sense of purpose,” says co-curator Sharona Adamowicz-Clements.
 Inline image
Left: George Paginton, Canadian (1901-1988), Caledon, Ontario, 1940, Oil on canvas board, 21.75 x 27 cm @Collection of Tony Paginton and Roswita Busskamp, 2018. Right: George Paginton, Canadian (1901- 1988), Self portrait, c. 1974, Oil on canvas board, 50.75 x 40.5 cm, @Collection of Tony Paginton and Roswita Busskamp, 2018.

The exhibition and publication are supported by the 
Government of Canada Museums Assistance Program with special thanks to our exhibit sponsors.

“What a pleasure to represent Paginton’s work at WallFiction.com and to work with the artist’s family and such enthusiastic and knowledgeable curators at PAMA,” says Kelly Juhasz, owner of Wall Fiction. “Supporting this exhibition helps fill gaps in Canadian art history and highlights the beauty of a Canadian place and moment captured through plein air art.
Programming Highlights
❖ Curator Talk: Sunday, October 27, 2019 | 2 p.m.❖ Seniors Studio: Monday, November 4 | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.❖ Family Sunday FUNday: Sunday, November 17 | 1 – 4 p.m.❖ PAMA Paints, Landscape Workshop: Thursday, December 5, 2019 | 6:30 p.m. ❖ Panel Discussion: Thursday, February 6, 2020 | 7 p.m.
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 Street, East in Brampton. Visit pama.peelregion.ca to learn more.
Media Contact:
Erin Fernandes
Marketing Coordinator PAMA
D: 905-791-4055, ext. 7596 M: 416-312-3425 Erin.fernandes@peelregion.ca

Issued on behalf of PAMA by:
Stephen Weir & Associates | stephen@stephenweir.com 
109 Castlefield Avenue, Toronto, ON
Tel: 416-489-5868 | cell: 416-801-3101 
www.stephenweir.com twitter: sweirsweir 

Monday, 26 August 2019

Press Conference about social inclusion for Black Canadians. Tuesday 2pm Bathurst south of Bloor

Parliamentary Secretary Vaughan will make an announcement in the Different Book List Tuesday at 2pm on supporting diversity across Canada
Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Member of Parliament for Spadina–Fort York, will make an announcement about how the Government of Canada is advancing diversity and taking positive action to ensure social inclusion for Black Canadians.
The announcement is being made on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
A photo opportunity and media availability will follow the announcement.
Please note that all details are subject to change. All times are local.
DATE: Tuesday, August 27, 2019
TIME: 2:00 p.m.
PLACE A Different Booklist
779 Bathurst Street
Toronto, Ontario
FOR INFORMATION (media only):
Valérie Glazer
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
"Issued on behalf of A Different Booklist by Stephen Weir stephen@stephenweir.com 416-801-3101"

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Rattlesnakes will open Caribbean Tales Film Festival - this afternoon's Caribbean Camera this morning:


Grab your popcorn. CTFF About to Open. Annual Filmfest has Snakes on the Brain for Gala Night

By Stephen Weir

When the Caribbean Tales Film Festival (CTFF) opens in a couple weeks, the first film of the annual flickfest will have the audience thinking they have snakes on the brain when the theatre lights come back on.  Rattlesnakes is a full- length feature that has rattlers not just in the personalities of the principal actors but literally on camera too. 
The Canadian debut takes place September 4th, right on College Street in Toronto’s Little Italy.  The film will be feted at the festival’s early evening 2019 kick-off and street party, followed by an 8pm VIP filled screening across the street at the Royal Cinema!
This is probably going to be the first movie an audience will ever see where they will see the names of three snakes in the final credits! Slash and Strike don’t get much screen time or any lines to speak, but they do rattle audiences when the hiss and shake their tails at a key point in the flick. The third snake, Delilah was a snake stand-in, whose best scenes were probably shed by the movie’s editor!
The film is adapted from a stage play penned by red-hot UK author and playwright Graham Ronald Farrow. Julius Amedume, the film’s Ghanaian-British director worked with Farrow to come up with a tight 85-minute story.  Rattlesnakes received its World Premier at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles earlier this year and snapped up the Audience Award for Best Movie.
“ The movie is at one level close to the original British play,” Haitian-French-American actor and producer Jimmy Jean-Louis told the Caribbean Camera. “I am not white; in the movie I am kidnapped by three business men who are.  In the original play everyone is white and the kidnappers are regulars Joes, one is a plumber. We have changed that and it makes a significant difference (in the nuance of the story)”

Pictured Right: Jimmy Jean-Louis and Christian Oliver

It is being called a neo-noir thriller, where nothing, except the rattlesnake, is exactly what it seems. Jean-Louis plays a New Age guru, or, is he a sex therapist bedding the unhappy wives of the kidnappers in a swank Santa Barbara retreat?
Fast paced, the film opens with the three cuckolded husbands digging a grave for the therapist. They are enraged after a private eye shows them damning pictures of what sort of therapy Jean-Louis delivers to their unhappy wives (which they are paying for). They have agreed amongst themselves to break into the California love nest and teach the guru a lesson he probably isn’t going to survive!
The therapist is bound and beaten with a knuckle-breaking hammer. And, before the torture ends, the kidnappers rip open his fly to see if their wives might have been attracted to him because of the size of his penis!
“We never mention colour,” continues Jean-Louis. “ It’s the unspoken word in the room, but it is an issues which the movie really hangs on. IT really divides how audiences interpret Rattlesnakes.” According to the movie’s director and star, husbands and wives can have many different interpretations on what is all really about and who exactly the real bad people are in the film.
Even though his hands and feed are tied the therapist does gets his licks in telling each of the kidnappers how flawed their marriages really are and how they are to blame.  It is a masterful performance by a Caribbean actor who hasn’t had much exposure in Canada.
The once homeless actor is best known for his role as "the Haitian" on the NBC television series Heroes and now has a starring role on the television show Claws.

Pictured left: Jimmy Jean-Louis and Kathleen McCellan

“I have worked on films in three Canadian cities: Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. I do know the country’s big cities,” said Jean-Louis. “This time though I will get a good chance to explore Toronto. I will be up with you for 8-days around the Festival.”
“Love the idea of the CTFF,” he continued. “I am going to take part in their Incubator programme.  I want to pitch my next movie, it is also written by Julius Amedume.  It is a feature length Psychological Horror Thriller, that will be shot in my country of origin, Haiti.”
The film is called Mother Water and is fictional film, based on the African Caribbean folk tale/ mythology of what some of you might know as Mami Wata,” he said. “ Mami Wata is a half-human, half-fish like deity, that comes from the sea to dwell on land in human form, often to detrimental effect, depending on who she interacts with or what she wants.”

--> -->

Friday, 16 August 2019

Sunday afternoon talk by famous Haida artist / graphic novelist Yahgulanaas

For Immediate Release: Rare Ontario Appearance at PAMA by Artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
  Brampton, ON (August 16, 2019) Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) is pleased to welcome award-winning, British Columbia-based artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas on Sunday, August 18 from 2 – 3 p.m.to discuss his epic graphic work, RED: A Haida Manga, currently on display in the exhibition For A Social Cause.  This talk is included in the price of general admission. Pre-registration is required.
Image credit: Farah Nosh

About the Artist
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is an award-winning visual contemporary artist, author and professional speaker. His work has been seen in public spaces, museums, galleries and private collections across the globe. Institutional collections include the British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum and Vancouver Art Gallery. His large sculptural works are part of the public art collection of the Vancouver International Airport, City of Vancouver, City of Kamloops and University of British Columbia. Yahgulanaas's publications include national bestsellers Flight of the Hummingbirdhttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=mny0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1553653726 and RED, a Haida Mangahttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=mny0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=155365353X. When not writing or producing art, Yahgulanaas pulls from his 20 years of political experience in the Council of the Haida Nation and travels the world speaking to businesses, institutions and communities about social justice, community building, communication and change management. His most recent talks include the American Museum of Natural History and TEDxVancouver.

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Canadian b. 1954, RED, 2008, Watercolour, ink on paper, 168 cm x 381 cm, Private collection of Michael and Inna O'Brian. © Michael Nicholl Yahgulanaas, 2019. Brm
His work RED: A Haida Manga on view now at PAMA was first manifested in 2008 as a large-scale, six-tiered band of 18 panels each, across a nearly three-and-a-half-meter-long composite of hand-painted watercolour and ink drawings. The drawings were reproduced in a scripted graphic novel of the same name in 2009.
The work follows the life of an orphaned young boy named Red and his sister Jaada who live in the peaceful village of Kiokaathli on a secluded island in the Pacific Ocean off the West Coast of British Columbia. Their idyllic existence is cut short when a band of raiders attack the village, abduct Jaada and successfully escape without a trace.  Separated from his sister, Red grows up alone to become a leader of his community all the while consumed by rage and vengeance. When he unexpectedly stumbles upon the chance of rescuing Jaada, he will do anything and stop at nothing to bring her back home without thinking about the recourse of his action. In the process Red kills an innocent man and eventually ends his own life.
This action-packed tragedy combines traditional Pacific Northwest Coast Haida imagery and oral narrative with Manga (popular contemporary graphics found in Japanese comics and cartooning) to create a unique hybrid style that has come to define the work of its artist-author.  Yahgulanaas’ distinct brand is an integrated culmination of his studies of the artistic methods of his ancestors and Asian influences including the teaching he received from Chinese brush painter Cai Ben Kwon.  Learn more about this dynamic work on view now at PAMA. 

Issued by Stephen Weir - stephen@stephenweir.com 416-489-5868
on behalf of PAMA

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Emancipation Day Proclaimation Demanded by Freedom Train Conductor

Look Down The Track Senators – Wanda’s Emancipation Train Is Heading For Ottawa.
By Stephen Weir

Wanda Thomas Bernard at the mike Union Station
Stand back  honourable members of the Senate. The Emancipation Train is heading to Ottawa and Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard is going to blow her conductor’s whistle until Canada’s Upper House listens to the voices of the Caribbean and African American communities.
Dr. Bernard championed a bill proclaiming August 1st Emancipation Day in Canada. Even though the legislation was passed by the Liberal Government and made it through two readings in the Senate, it failed to come up for the final vote before the Senate recessed.  The bill will not be brought back for a third and final reading.
At last Wednesday’s Freedom Train Ride in Toronto, the Nova Scotia senator said she is not going to give up.  Speaking to a crowd of close to 1,000 people inside TTC ‘s Union Station she told them  “I am 66 years old and I don’t have to retire (from the Senate) until I am 75. We will not give up anytime soon!”

 At Right: Libations - Aina-Nia Ayo'dele
For the seventh year in a row there was a special midnight subway train that took hundreds of people from Union Station to the Sheppard West Station. The symbolic special train left the station on July 31st and arrived at Sheppard just after midnight to celebrate the August 1st Emancipation Day.
“This year waour seventh annual Freedom Train ride,” said organizer Itah Sadu.  “ It was an incredible journey and experience! This was second year that the Honourable Wanda Thomas Bernard, has joined us, but this was her first time as our honourary conductor. She had the whistle and gave the call to board the train.”
Train Arrives at Sheppard

Also taking part in the Freedom Train ceremonies  were poet George Elliott Clarke, City Councillor Michael Thompson and community organizer Adisa S. Oji. Councillor Thompson brought greetings and a plaque on behalf of the city and Mr. Oji was presented with the Community Resilience Award. 
Last week’s train ride marked two important things.  The Underground Railroad which brought former slaves to Canada in the 19th century and the 185th anniversary of Emancipation Day on August 1, when the British Empire abolished slavery in 1834.  
The Senator hopes that she will be back next August 1st with an official Federal Government signed Emancipation Day proclamation!

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Underground Railroad leaves the station tonight at 11.30 AM Union Station Toronto

When the Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard – Senator from Nova Scotia (East Preston) blows the whistle as Conductor - over one thousand people will take a ride on Toronto’s Underground Freedom Train, leaving Union subway station in celebration of Emancipation Day on July 31st.
July 31, 2019 ... The Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard – Senator from Nova Scotia (East Preston), recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia, and a highly regarded social worker, educator, researcher, community activist and social change advocate, is getting ready to blow her whistle and yell “All Aboard the Freedom Train” as Toronto gets set to mark Emancipation Day. For the seventh year in a row there will be a special midnight TTC train that will take hundreds of people to the Sheppard West Station on July 31st to celebrate the August 1st date.
 Inline image2018 kick-off of Underground RR ride
It all begins July 31st at 10:45pm at Toronto’s Union subway station. “We will be boarding the Underground Freedom Train at 11:30pm and travelling straight to Sheppard West subway station (previously Downsview station), arriving there at 12:15am on August 1st,” explained organizer Itah Sadu. “The date is internationally acclaimed as Emancipation Day”.
“This year’s seventh annual Freedom Train ride will be an incredible journey and experience about the Underground Railroad and the history of Emancipation Day”. Opening ceremonies will begin at 10:45pm at Union subway station and half-an-hour later Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard, our honourary conductor, will give the call to board the train.”
Inline imageThe Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard
People will gather by the Brookfield Rotunda TTC entrance on the main floor of Union Station. Last year over 1,000 people took the train to Sheppard West Station to recognize the brave people who travelled the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada and then celebrate Emancipation Day.
 As people board the train there will be drumming, spoken word and songs will be sung, along with a tribute to the resilience of the many who travelled along the Underground Railway, seeking freedom in Canada. During the ride there will be a moment of silence called over the train’s intercom.
Notables confirmed to participate during the Freedom Train Ride include:
George Elliott Clarke -  Canadian poet, playwright and literary critic who served as the Poet Laureate of Toronto from 2012 to 2015 and as the 2016-2017 Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate
Michael Thompson - City Councilor and Toronto Deputy Mayor
Tiki Mercury Clarke – One of the all-time greatest Canadian jazz artists
Adisa S. Oji – recipient of the Community Resilience award
Also in attendance will be special guests from Buffalo and Albany in New York and also the Toronto African Drumming Collective.
Everyone is welcome to join us on this Underground Freedom Train Ride to celebrate Emancipation Day. People will need a regular TTC ticket for admission and come prepared for being part of a very unique subway ride. Seventh annual Underground Freedom Train Ride t-shirts are available for purchase at A Different Booklist store, prior to the ride. Further information - available at A Different Booklist 416-538-0889 or by following on twitter @FreedomTrainTOR.
 Media wishing to take the midnight ride on July 31st, welcome to cover but please let me know to assure your crew spots on subway
Inline image TTC volunteers drive the train

Stephen Weir & Associates | stephen@stephenweir.com
109 Castlefield Avenue, Toronto, ON
Tel: 416-489-5868 | cell: 416-801-3101
www.stephenweir.com twitter: sweirsweir