Friday, 17 December 2010

Special free night at Ottawa hotels (after you book 2-nights). Get to Know Canada!


Ottawa Tourism launches two new getaway packages that help you discover your Canada -- Book two nights and get the third night free!

Toronto, December 17, 2010—When it comes to Canadian history and culture, there is no city like Ottawa. Museums. Galleries. Theatre. Music. Festivals. The world’s largest skating rink. First class hotels. And, just in time for the holidays, Ottawa Tourism offers two new getaway packages that make discovering (or re-discovering) your Canadian identity an affordable and fun experience.

Participating Ottawa hotels are now offering Get to Know Your Canada and Taste of Canada packages. Both are two-night getaway packages, which offer a Third Night Free at participating hotels for visitors wanting to extend their stay in Ottawa one more day. The Third Night Free promotion is valid at participating hotels for bookings made until March 31, 2011—but the actual travel can take place anytime. Each package starts at $116 per night based on a 2-night stay for 2 adults.

GET TO KNOW YOUR CANADA … If you’re new to Canada or simply in need of a pleasant refresher course, this two-night Ottawa getaway package is the perfect choice. Immerse yourself in Canadian history, culture and achievement at national museums and galleries. Tour the Capital’s famous national sites and landmark attractions. And join in the celebration at seasonal festivals and national events all year round. It’s all about getting to know Canada—and doing it all in one quintessentially Canadian place! Book your two-night getaway package and extend your stay with a 3rd night free at participating hotels.

Taste of Canada
… Sample some of the best of Canada with this two-night getaway package in the Capital. If you’re into the great Canadian outdoors, just step outside your Ottawa hotel and go skating and skiing this winter and enjoy great golfing, cycling, running, hiking and water sports next summer. Your tastes tend more toward arts and culture? Ottawa’s got you covered with the country’s biggest lineup of national museums, galleries and performing arts. Want a taste of Canadian culinary excellence? Ottawa’s community of renowned chefs is happy to oblige. Come experience a taste of Canada, whatever your pleasure! Book your two-night getaway package and extend your stay with a 3rd night free at participating hotels.

Visitors wanting information or to reserve the Get To Know Your Canada and A Taste of Canada packages can visit www.ottawatourism.ca, a powerful website operated by Ottawa Tourism and supported by the region’s tourism industry.

There are many other packages available as well, including Hockey Night in the Capital, Rendezvous for Two, Family Discovery, and Cultural Odyssey.

Ottawa Tourism provides destination marketing, strategic direction and leadership in cooperation with members and partners in order to service the travel media and attract visitors, tours and conventions to Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region. Its vision is to build recognition of Ottawa as an outstanding four-season tourism destination.

Cutline: Cool hotel deals. Skaters on Ottawa's Rideau Canal. World's largest skating rink. Stock Footage.

# # #

For more information and Ottawa-area images, please contact:

Jantine Van Kregten
Chris Ryall

Public Relations
Ottawa Tourism
Jan 613-237-5150, ext. 116
Chris 416-861-1022 / 888-423-3995
media@ottawatourism.ca
chris@travelmarketingexperts.com

Blog-Vite to Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction Press Conference January 11th Friday 2011


The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation
request the honour of your presence at a news conference
to announce the finalists for the
2011 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction


Tuesday, January 11, 2011 • 10:00 a.m. sharp
Consort Bar • Main Level • Le Meridien King Edward Hotel
37 King Street East • Toronto, Ontario

Media contact: Stephen Weir & Associates:
Stephen Weir: 416-489-5868 or 416-801-3101 / stephen@stephenweir.com
Linda Crane: 905-257-6033 or 416-727-0112 / cranepr@cogeco.ca

Prize contact: June Dickenson: 647-477-6000 / junedickenson@cogeco.ca

Friday, 3 December 2010

Events and Shows at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection this winter

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Family Events and Show Listings at the McMichael in early 2011

February 13 Family Sunday Valentine’s Day
Celebrate the season of love and friendship by creating seasonal crafts,
engaging in a family performance by Washboard Hank and playing in the
discovery space.

February 21 Family Day
Family comes first at the McMichael. Drop in on February 21 to celebrate
Family Day and the opening of our new exhibitions. Take a family tour or
join a family silk screen workshop at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Participation for workshop will be on a fist come first serve basis, please
pick up tickets at the front desk.

March 13 Family Sunday
Illustration from Norman Rockwell to Michael Martchenko
Get a jump on March Break! Celebrate illustrations by Norman Rockwell and
meet one of Canada’s leading illustrators, Michael Martchenko, best known
for creating drawings that accompany author Robert Munch’s famous stories.
Create artwork based on the Norman Rockwell exhibition and illustrations by
Martchenko, and play in the discovery space.

March 15, 16, and 17 March Break Bonus Family Days
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Make art, play in the discovery space and watch live performances at 12:30
p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
On March 15, celebrate the life and joy of making music with Cosima Grunsky
and create Andy Warhol inspired art. On March 16, splash into some fun with
popular musical group, Splash’N Boots, and create artwork inspired by our
special exhibition, In Search of Norman Rockwell’s America. On March 17,
celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with traditional Irish music and crafts.

March 20 Discovery Days
End March Break with a bang! Touch artwork and objects from the McMichael’s collection, play in the discovery space, and take a family tour of the collection.

COMING 2011 EXHIBITIONS
Maria Chapdelaine
December 18, 2010 to February 27, 2011
Experience the world of Clarence Gagnon’s Maria Chapdelaine. Fifty-four of Gagnon’s original works will be exhibited in a chapterby- chapter sequence conforming to the narrative presented in the book written by Louis Hémon in the winter of 1912-13, depicting life in rural Quebec.

Marilyn Monroe - Two Shows
February 19 to May 15, 2011
In February 2011, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection will bring its visitors an unexpected and thought-provoking array of exhibitions, featuring contemporary art and pop culture with two exhibitions of works based on the woman who personified Hollywood glamour in the twentieth century: Marilyn Monroe. Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe (curated by Artoma, Hamburg, Germany and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC) and Marilyn in Canada (curated by McMichael Assistant Curator, Chris Finn, and organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection) will both be on display February 19 to May 15, 2011 at the Kleinburg gallery. A weekend of programs to celebrate the opening of the shows will take place Family Day long weekend, February 19 to 21,201.

George McLean: The Living Landscape
January 29 to May 22, 2011
George McLean has painted the landscape and animals around his home in Grey County, Ontario for over thirty years. Surveying the artist’s painting career, the exhibition draws in major works from private and public collections across North America and focuses on McLean’s prowess as an accomplished draughtsman and painter of the landscape. Although all of his paintings include an animal or bird, the artist takes great care to faithfully depict the dramatic light, colour and atmosphere of these wooded escarpment sites, not far from the shores of Georgian Bay.

George McLean: The Living Landscape has been organized and circulated by the Tom Thomson Art Gallery, Owen Sound. The exhibition George McLean: The Living Landscape is accompanied by a major publication consisting of almost 100 colour reproductions and curatorial texts that give McLean’s work its due attention and context in terms of contemporary Canadian painting. The book deepens the discourse around McLean’s practice, setting him apart from his wildlife art contemporaries as a painter of note. The book, by Andrew Duncan Harris and Virginia Eichhorn, is also entitled George McLean: The Living Landscape and is currently available in the McMichael Gallery Shop.

In Search of Norman Rockwell’s America

March 12 to April 25, 2011

Photojournalist Kevin Rivoli knows that the America painted by Norman Rockwell did, and still does, exist. He has spent the last twenty years documenting it. In Search of Norman Rockwell’s America juxtaposes Rockwell’s work with Rivoli’s photographs of spontaneously occurring moments of everyday life. These photographs are true to Rockwell’s form—storytelling in a single, spontaneous frame that captures and celebrates the ordinary. In Search of Norman Rockwell’s America was organized by Kevin and Michele Rivoli in collaboration with International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

ABOUT THE McMICHAEL CANADIAN ART COLLECTION

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of more than 5,500 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg, and is open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors/students and $30 for families. There is a $5 fee for parking. For more information about the gallery, visit www.mcmichael.com .

Stephen Weir
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
stephenweir@mcmichael.com or sweir5492@rogers.com
Toronto Office:
2482 Yonge Street, Unit 45032, Toronto, ONT.
CANADA. M4P 3E3
Tel: 416-489-5868 | Gallery office: 905-893-1121
www.mcmichael.com

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A year of Zombie Quotes - Day Three



QUOTABLE QUOTES FROM THE WALKING DEAD


On the third day of 2011 the zombie killer said:

"A Zombie isn't a dead person who's come back to life. It's someone who 's been infected with the plague of the 21st century - a terrible disease that leaves its victims irrationally violent and hateful, some insist evil. Zombiesm is carried in bodily fluids."
Flagstaff, Zombieland. Script by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick

A year of Zombie Quotes - Day Two


DAY ONE - QUOTABLE QUOTES FROM THE WALKING DEAD

On the second day of 2011 the zombie said: "BARBARA THEY ARE COMING TO GET YOU"
Night of the Living Dead

A year of Zombie Quotes - Day One


DAY ONE - QUOTABLE QUOTES FROM THE WALKING DEAD


On the first day of 2011 the zombie said: "BRAINS".
Zombie Walk Toronto
Marilyn Monroe Art Exhibition coming to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg,Ontario,Canada in February 2011


The gallery curates its own Marilyn in Canada exhibit, plus the internationally acclaimed touring exhibition, Life as a Legend, makes its final stop of a successful tour at the McMichael!

November 23, 2010 Kleinburg, ON – In February 2011, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection will bring its visitors an unexpected and thought-provoking array of exhibitions, featuring contemporary art and pop culture with two exhibitions of works based on the woman who personified Hollywood glamour in the twentieth century: Marilyn Monroe. Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe (curated by Artoma, Hamburg, Germany and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC) and Marilyn in Canada (curated by McMichael Assistant Curator, Chris Finn, and organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection) will both be on display February 19 to May 15, 2011 at the Kleinburg gallery. A weekend of programs to celebrate the opening of the shows will take place Family Day long weekend, February 19 to 21,201.
These exhibitions capture the making of a celebrity and the myth behind the woman the world knew as Marilyn Monroe. Nearly five decades after her death, Monroe remains undisputedly one of the most famous movie stars in the world. Her intriguing personality and the aura surrounding her tragic death continuously attracted many artists, who responded more acutely to the creation of a legend.
The internationally acclaimed touring exhibition, Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe, makes its final stop of a successful tour at the McMichael. The exhibition explores the incredibly diverse array of artistic responses to Marilyn’s image. An impressive grouping of paintings, photographs, and prints by world-renowned artists such as Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, and Eduardo Paolozzi, along with unforgettable snapshots by the most famous photographers of the day such as Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Bernard of Hollywood make this exhibition a true revelation for Monroe’s fans.
Curated especially for the McMichael, Marilyn in Canada provides an intriguing glimpse into Marylin’s experiences while filming in Canada as well as her popularity among Canadian artists. Works by artists such as Shelley Niro, John Vachon, and George S. Zimbel are some of the highlights of this unique Canadian-content based exhibition. Both shows demonstrate the broad range of artists who responded creatively to Marilyn’s life – from a constellation of great fashion photographers of her day to the champions of the Pop Art movement in North America to well known artists in Canadian contemporary art.
Monroe’s popularity has not waned even half a century after her death and her mystique is an inspiration in many genres as currently sMonroe’s popularity has not waned even half a century after her death and her mystique is an inspiration in many genres as currently several projects are in the works, or have just recently been released, which feature the iconic actress. Two feature films are in production: My Week with Marilyn starring Oscar® nominated actress Michelle Williams (2011 scheduled release date) and Blonde, starring another Oscar® nominated actress, Naomi Watts (2012 scheduled release date). A collection of writings by the Hollywood icon was released in October 2010, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The book, entitled Fragments, includes poems , letters, and other writings dating from Monroe’s teenage years to shortly before her death. In October 2008, the twenty-fifth anniversary issue of Vanity Fair featured Monroe on its cover and, once again, this month the actress graced its cover to promote the magazine’s worldwide exclusive feature article, “Marilyn and Her Monsters”.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITIONS

Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe


Born in Los Angeles, California in 1926, Norma Jeane Mortenson was baptized with her mother’s maiden name as Norma Jeane Baker. Like many girls who flocked to Hollywood with aspirations of becoming an actress, Norma Jeane visited the studio of Bruno Bernard (known as Bernard of Hollywood), asking him to make her look sexy. She was discovered during a government photo shoot at a munitions factory, and Bernard is credited with introducing Norma Jeane to Jimmy Hyde, the agent who helped her sign her first contract with Twentieth Century Fox. By the age of twenty, as she began her career in movies, she was renamed and recreated by the Hollywood studio as Marilyn Monroe.
The exhibition Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroeroe contains a selection of approximately 150 works by artists Andy Warhol, Allen Jones, Robert Indiana, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, Douglas Kirkland and many others. Having travelled in six countries in Europe prior to its American, and now Canadian tour, the exhibition’s primary appeal offers engaging interpretations of Marilyn, ranging from playful and intimate portraits to others that are bold, decorative, and even transformative. The subject of the artists’ work is nothing less than one of the most celebrated popular icons in history. With their images they capture the determination, innocence and vulnerability of Norma Jeane Baker, as well as the vibrant personality, femininity and sensuality that became Marilyn Monroe. The exhibition demonstrates that the longevity of her popularity stems, in part, from both the lessons (and myths) of her life and death as well as from the symbolic powers of her visual image.
The show challenges us to understand how and why these images have become part of our culture. Obviously beautiful, Marilyn was just one of many beautiful people in Hollywood. Perhaps the reason she remained so captivating was her life story: Monroe’s loveless childhood, her rise to stardom and equally spectacular slide, her unhappy affaThe show challenges us to understand how and why these images have become part of our culture. Obviously beautiful, Marilyn was just one of many beautiful people in Hollywood. Perhaps the reason she remained so captivating was her life story: Monroe’s loveless childhood, her rise to stardom and equally spectacular slide, her unhappy affairs and early death formed a necessary counterweight to the glamorous visuals. To most commentators, Monroe is a bundle of paradoxes. She’s sexual but innocent, that womanly body vying with that little-girl voice. She’s vulnerable but also driven and calculating in her pursuit of star status. Photographer Milton H. Greene, a glamour photographer who worked for Life, Look and Vogue and later became Monroe’s business partner, catches some of these contradictions in the so-called “Ballerina Sittings.”
The camera couldn’t get enough of Monroe. She was possibly the most photographed individual of the twentieth century. But her need for the camera was just as insatiable. That Marilyn Monroe is a carefully crafted persona as well as a legend is one of the show’s main themes – she herself said, “I’m an artificial product.” More than Monroe’s beauty and mystery is her story, emblematic of commodifying the individual. This is the interpretation in artist Andy Warhol’s famous, colourful images. He loved her whole essence, but wanted to show to the world, “Look, this is what we did to her.”
As Marilyn develops as a mature actress, she can be observed both behind the scenes and in the spotlight of high society, film and theatre. The most intimate and lasting images of Marilyn are taken in photograph sessions in the final months of her life. In her final magazine interview in 1962, she tells a reporter, “Please don’t make me a joke. End the interview with what I believe. I don’t mind making jokes, but I don’t want to look like one… I want to be an artist, an actress with integrity.”
Whether visitors to the exhibition lived during Marilyn’s lifetime or developed a fascination with her following her death, this exhibition offers an insight into the life of a woman who is firmly entrenched in North American and worldwide culture.

Marilyn in Canada

Marilyn Monroe’s iconic presence has been embraced by many cultures beyond her American birthplace. Her public image has served as a multifaceted symbolic muse representing a range of assigned roles and values providing inspiration for works created by a variety of artists who offer their ‘remembrances’ expressed through many artistic forms.
As an introductory and complementary component for the larger travelling show, Marilyn in Canada provides a Canadian connection to remembering and re-visioning this cultural figure. This exhibition includes works by John Vachon, George S. Zimbel and Shelley Niro.
George Zimbel, an American photographer who immigrated to Canada in 1971, participated in the original photo session with Marilyn Monroe that was staged in 1954 during the filming of The Seven Year Itch. Images from this filmed session have, through continuing appearance in reproductions, bolstered the iconic status of the actress while also inspiring artists to reinterpret this particular moment in popular culture history.
Canadian First Nations artist, Shelley Niro, has restaged her own version of this famous scene. Dressed in white with a fan blowing beneath her dress, the artist reveals the artifice behind the original pose. Her portrait as ‘Marilyn’ accompanied by images of family members emphasizes ideas of feminine beauty and notions of fame that have been embedded in media portrayals.
Marilyn in Canada features photographs, paintings, sculpture, and prints by artists who have inscribed Monroe’s public image with their own culturally-filtered interpretations which also serve as commentary on the influence of American popular culture in Canada.

ABOUT THE McMICHAEL CANADIAN ART COLLECTION

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of more than 5,500 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg, and is open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors/students and $30 for families. There is a $5 fee for parking. For more information about the gallery, visit www.mcmichael.com .

CUTLINES:

Top:
Bert Stern, “Here’s to you” from The Last Sitting, 1962/1978, C-Print, © Bert Stern; Middle
Milton H. Greene, Marilyn Monroe, New York City, “Ballerina Sitting,” 1954, Inkjet print, © Joshua Greene www.legendslicensing.com;
Bottom
John Vachon (1914–1975), Untitled (Marilyn with Mountie), 1953, photographic reprint, 61 x 51 cm, Courtesy of the Estate of John Vachon and Dover Publications Inc.

For photos and information contact

Stephen Weir
stephen@stephenweir.com
or leave a message on this blog

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Writing A Bride's Speech - Advice To Die For

Advice from a speech writer for the woman planning to speak at her wedding reception

Writers and Publicists often have had to write speeches as part of their every day job. Speech writing sounds so important, but, it really isn't much fun. It takes lotsa work and in the end you don't get any credit for a job well done. But, it pays well.
I learned my speech writing technique in the 80's from Art Schwartz, former captain of the HMCS Haida. He explained to me one day how he used to address the Admirals of the Queen's Canadian Navy.
"You tell them what you are going to tell them. Then tell them a joke. Quote somebody famous. Then tell them what you told them you were going to tell them. Then tell them another joke. Then tell them what they just heard in case they weren't listening. Then get off the stage."
Sound Advice. And it always works.
When you are writing a speech, the person you are writing it for will tell you what to say (either in person or through an assistant) and will give you copies of past speeches so you can see how the person likes to say it. What is harder is to make it flow and make it interesting (and not put audiences to sleep).
I received a note last week from a friend who was about to hold a wedding reception with her new husband. She wanted me to write a speech for her. Out-of-town guests (Sault St Marie) had to be acknowledged. Something witty had to be said about her work friends (she is a pharmacist) and she wanted to say something nice about her musician husband who was going to be performing a song he wrote about her.
I had to turn down the job (suspect there was no pay involved)and I had to decline an offer to dance with the bride (two left feet). But I did give her some pointers. If you are a bride thinking about what to say on that big day, feel free to borrow and revise this guideline.

ADVICE TO A BRIDE HAVING TO WRITE A SPEECH FOR HER RECEPTION

It is true, I don't dance. And now for the bad news. Don't really have any advice about your speech. I do write speeches, but, they take days. And I usually get told what to say.

So can't help you. But here are some tips from a professional that you can follow, make changes as you see fit:

* A lot has to do with the age and temperament of your audience. Obviously you would rather drink than talk, but this is really something that your guests are expecting. (I don't buy that you owe your husband because he wrote a song for you -- isn't that is his job? It would be like you filling a script for him and telling him he had to write a damn speech)
* I would keep it short. Really short. Keep it light. Really light. Keep it even shorter and lighter than that. Leave them begging for more.
* However, I think you should take a serious note at the get go and talk about your late mother and father right off the top.
* I think you have to acknowledge the Sault St Marie (you know, the town near the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald) contingent at the party. Tell your friends that if they see anyone in flannel to say hello because it is probably your relative.
* I think you have to make a few jokes about pharmacy with the usual dispensing jokes and tell all the women in the audience that you have good news, you have put Viagra in the punch. You know that sort of thing.
* Style suggestion: Last year I was approached by a Giller nominee to help promote her book. It was a bit of a thriller all based on hasty notes left by a stalker (book didn't win). Aside from her I think of you as the most literate writer of yellow sticky notes.
* I would approach your speech as a series of hasty notes. Stick 'em all over your dress, your arms, your head and the palm of your hand a la Sara Palin. While you are at the mike just randomly pull them off and read them. Any topic. Any order. Then if it sounds disjointed the audience is going to assume that you pulled the wrong sticky note off and not that you are slightly "touched" when it comes to writing speeches.
* Remember to say great things about your audience. Make them feel that they are at something special. Lie and tell them that Shinan Govani is in the audience. Read a few telegrams (they still send them for weddings) from Stephen Harper, the Pope annulling your Italian wedding because he couldn't read your handwriting, Spongebob and a job offer from Walmart's pharmacy (yes they do more than sell walls).
* I might read a brief sticky note in French in a tip of the hat to your blood lines (quote Marcel Marceau if your French is like mine)
* As for quoting other people, in speeches I usually give a quote from Seinfeld. Showing my years. Guess given your age and your crowd I would look for a bon mot from Jon Stewart or The Office. I remember that George Bush once told his audience "I hope you leave here and walk out and say, 'What did he say?'" - George W. Bush, Beaverton, Oregon,2004.
* Probably too biting but when you address your new husband you can remind him what Paris Hilton said: "Every woman should have four pets in her life. A mink in her closet, a jaguar in her garage, a tiger in her bed, and a jackass who pays for everything."

Anyway, no point in going on, I bet deep down inside you know what you want to say (but I like my yellow stickee idea ...) Final Advice: If the audience is really fidgety, lift up your dress and show them your wedding garter (If your husband is wearing his kilt it will work for him too).

Cutline:
Top: After a certain age you look at weddings and wonder why bother? why spend the money? why bother to buy a dress? why bother to wear white? However in this case, I think the effort was worth it. The bride wore red (with a splash of red) and her young best man was all heart when it came to hors d'oeuvres. Picture taken in a Toronto park in late October
Middle: Always tip your hat to out-of-towners. Mention something about their home town that shows you know what their life is all about. In this case the bride's family came in from Sault Ste. Marie. Their proximity to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald isn't probably their biggest claim to fame ... but it is funnier than mentioning that the city is the birthplace of the first youth police cadet group in Canada. And, it sure beats singing a line from a Boy Named Soo.
Bottom: President George Bush always kept them guessing when he gave a speech.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Just in time for November 11th



TIM COOK AND STEVE PAIKIN TALK ABOUT WORLD WAR 1 AND AFGANISTAN - NOW A TVO PODCAST

Linda Crane and I had Tim Cook (author of Madman and the Butcher, WW1 curator at the War Museum and Charles Taylor Prize winner) in studio with TVO Agenda host Steve Paikin - on Monday. Thoughtful,interesting and sometimes disturbing interview. Talked about the Great Wars in context with what is going on in Afganistan. 20-minute interview is posted on line at:
http://www.tvo.org/cfmx/tvoorg/theagenda/index.cfm?page_id=3

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

AGO rolls out the Royce for the Cadillac of art exhibitions

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PEDAL TO THE METAL FOR MEDIA PRE-PREVIEW OF:
Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts


Launching an Art exhibition is like posting a new website. If you don't get an audience in the first week or two, in all likelihood you are doomed to the curse of low numbers. If you hate to see a website die, you will absolutely loathe to see an art show tank at the box office. No attendance. No revenue. And,in these days of tight government money, no revenue means public rebuke, a tsunami of second guessing and staff lay-offs.
Long before the public knows about an upcoming blockbuster, we publicists are hard at work trying to make sure that never happens. That means getting the media up-to-speed about what is coming down the road. There are two goals for the early pumping of sunshine. We want to get advanced publicity so that our audience is already marking our show in their Blackberries, and secondly, we want to make sure that our media launch will be well attended.


PR is free ... sort of. An art gallery has to pay someone like me. The coffee and doughnuts don't come cheap (kidding), the press kits have to be produced and the curators have to take a break long enough to speak intelligently at the preview media launch.
It is almost always worth the effort. Common wisdom holds that a consumer is 4 times more likely to believe and be motivated by an article in print than if he or she saw an ad for the same event. People are even more motivated when they see moving images on television compared to 20-second paid spot.
A full page advertisement in a Toronto daily can cost $30,000. A well attended media preview can result in the equivalent of 20 full page advertisements! Not bad for a plate of stale doughnuts.
In pre-recession days, when the media was flush and the Internet was a bit player on the arts scene, a well attended media preview was a sure bet. Not anymore. Papers don't have space, television doesn't have spare cameras, and when was the last time a radio station (aside from the CBC) sent a real reporter to an art preview?
The Art Gallery of Ontario is ready to launch a MAJOR exhibition this month. Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, is a British created traveling exhibition that will appeal not only to the art world, but, Ontario's growing Indo-Canadian community. This is the first exhibition to comprehensively explore the opulent world of the maharajas and their unique culture of artistic patronage.
The AGO PR department is organizing a full scale mediapreview for early next week, but, in an effort to make sure that the media understands the "Bigness" of this exhibition, held a Media pre-preview today. This is something usually not done in Toronto, just because it is hard enough to get the media out once for a full scale press conference, let alone twice to a not-so-complete exhibition hall.
Although the galleries are still being prepared, the media was allowed in this morning to see THE major piece of the exhibition being installed. It was a tease - it put the media on notice that bigger and better things will be unveiled next week.
Gallery installers put down their tools long enough for the media, myself included, to take pictures and video of “ The Star of India”, an antique Rolls Royce Phantom II. This legendary 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II (pictured above) was custom-built for His Highness Thakore Sahib Dharmendrasinhji Lakhajiraj of Rajkot. The car is named after the famous 563 carat star sapphire “Star of India”.
According to Haema Sivanessan,AGO Special Project Assistant"the Star of India is almost the most famous Rolls Royce on the earth, second only to the original Rolls Royce Silver Ghost".
The bonnet and wings shown in the photo above, are made of polished aluminum and the rest of the body is of a saffron ochre finish, a tinge which is a symbol of purity in India. Visible on all doors and side windows is Rajkot’s state crest with an inscription meaning “an impartial ruler of men of all faiths.”
The car is on loan from an auction house and last I heard is up for sale for $13 million. I believe it is still roadworthy but because of its value is not driven
I am the mirror opposite of a car buff. I see the automobile as a tool, not a work of art. No matter, even I was impressed by the stately look of the Star of India. It is a statement of pure form and superior craftmanship. It was worth the trip to Dundas Street to attend a pre-preview!
How did the other media feel? Just about same as me. The pre-preview attracted a couple of TV crews and a gaggle of photographers and reporters, all who seemed genuinely impressed by the AGO's rolling stock.
The exhibition (sponsored in part by Scotiabank) opens to the public on November 20, 2010 and runs to April 3, 2011. Assuming that the pre-preview has done its job then you alreadly know that, don't you?
CUTLINES
Top: The Star of India - Blackberry photo of the 1934 Rolls Royce
Middle: Haema Sivanessan,AGO Special Project Assistant, is interviewed by the CBC beside the Star of India.
Bottom: The Patiala Necklace. Exhibit within the upcoming Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts

Thoughts on walking the chicken filled streets of Key West

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Watching the Americans - but not understanding what we see

IT is the Canadian thing. We - all of us Canadians - watch the US. We know all the states. We know all the shows. We know all the trends. But, we don't necessarily understand fully what we are seeing.
We spent a week in the Florida Keys. We dove. We saw plays. We toured art galleries. We could have gone to a Florida pig race, but, went for a nature walk near Marathon instead.
We saw a bumper sticker asking why if they call it Tourist Season, how come Conkers are allowed to shoot them (Conkers are the real Florida Key residents).
We also noticed but failed to comprehend why:
* No one in Key West talked about the hundreds of chickens that live in parks, on people's lawns and in culverts
* No one in Key West seemed to notice that many of the cruise ship tourists visiting the port are seriously obese and had trouble making it across an intersection before the light turned red!
* No one in the Keys seemed to know that the US is fighting in two Wars. No signs of encouragement, no fund raising drives, no flags at half-mast, no mention on the TV, radio or local newspapers
* No one talked about the Gulf Oil Spill
* No one talked about cruelty to cats (trained cats perform at the daily Sunset Busker festival along the Key West town dock)
* No one talked about how you can't buy Ding Dongs and Twinkies in any of Key West's food markets.
CUTLINE: An acquired taste - attending a Florida pig race. Photo by Dave Tollington

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

WW1 expert Dr Tim Cook in Toronto for one-day only




Just in time for REMEMBRANCE DAY
Great War historian and award-winning author,
TIM COOK is in Toronto Monday, November 8th to talk to media about the Great War and his new book, The Madman and The Butcher


The Sensational Wars of Sam Hughes and General Arthur Currie

Great War expert Tim Cook, winner of the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction for his last book, Shock Troops, returns to Canada's literary arena with a new book that addresses Canada's role in the First World War. The book explores the need to place blame for the terrible loss of life, our nation's discomfort with war heroes and a war of reputations that has raged on since the guns fell silent more than 90 years ago.
Cook's The Madman and The Butcher (Allan Lane Canada, Penguin Group (Canada) is a powerful double biography that intertwines the relationship of Sam Hughes, Canada's war minister during the first 2 ½ years of the First World War and the internationally renowned Arthur Currie, the Canadian Corp commander recognized as a brilliant general, morally brave with a keen eye on solving the challenges of trench warfare.
As the Great War historian at the Canadian War Museum, and author of two previous books about the First World War (At the Sharp End, Shock Troops) Tim Cook makes a timely and fascinating interview as he explores Canadian war history. The Madman and The Butcher follows exposes one of the most shocking and highly publicized libel trials in Canada history; covering controversy, personalities and egos, and the mistakes and decisions that shaped Canada's valiant efforts, defeats and in the end its brave victories of the Great War.

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Penguin Press Release About The Book
Publication Date: September 25,2010


Praise for Tim Cook’s National Bestseller AT THE SHARP END
“The mark of a good historian is finding new ways to tell a tale that we thought we knew, and Cook has that quality in spades.”—The Globe and Mail
THE MADMAN AND THE BUTCHER
The Sensational Wars of Sam Hughes and General Arthur Currie
TIM COOK

From the winner of the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction

Set against the backdrop of Canadians fighting in the Great War, based on newly uncovered sources and written by the country’s Great War expert, The Madman and the Butcher is an engaging narrative that explores questions of Canada’s role in the war, the need to find victims for the terrible blood loss, the nation’s discomfort with heroes, and the war of reputations that has raged on since the guns fell silent more than 90 years ago.
Sir Arthur Currie is Canada’s greatest battlefield general, having achieved international fame as Canadian Corps commander during the Great War. He was recognized by Canada’s allies as a brilliant general, morally brave, and with a keen eye for solving the challenges of trench warfare. But there were no bloodless victories on the battlefields of the Western Front, and even elite fighting forces like Currie’s Corps suffered horrendous casualties. Who was to blame for Canada’s 60,000 dead?
Sir Sam Hughes, Canada’s war minister during the first two and a half years of the conflict, was erratic, outspoken, and regarded by many as insane. Yet this madman was an expert on the war. He attacked Currie’s reputation in the war’s aftermath, accusing him of being a butcher. The Canadian general, after leading his forces for four years and suffering from what would now be recognized as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, could not fight back. Many Canadians believed that Arthur Currie was a callous murderer of his own men. Currie was forced to claw back his reputation, battle against a nefarious rumour campaign by Sam Hughes and others, and eventually fight one of the most shocking and highly publicized court cases in Canadian history.
Based on newly uncovered sources, The Madman and the Butcher is a powerful double biography of Sam Hughes and Arthur Currie and the story of one of the most shocking and highly publicized libel trials in Canadian history.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tim Cook is the Great War historian at the Canadian War Museum, as well as an adjunct professor at Carleton University. His books have won numerous awards, including the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction for Shock Troops. He lives in Ottawa with his family.

PRAISE FOR TIM COOK:
“Serving solders and military historians should consider themselves lucky to have Tim Cook, himself a war studies graduate and an accomplished military historian.”
—Canadian Army Journal

THE MADMAN AND THE BUTCHER by Tim Cook
Non-Fiction/ISBN: 9780670064038/ $36 / Hardcover / 400 pages

To arrange an in-person interview on Monday, Nov. 8th and receive a copy of the book, please contact:

Stephen Weir & Associates
Linda Crane 905-257-6033 c. 416-727-0112 cranepr@cogeco.ca
Stephen Weir 416-489-5868 c. 416-801-3101 stephen@stephenweir.com

Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Roadside Shark - Florida Keys' marketing answer to the Giant Gorillia


Fishers of Men
GIANT SHARKS TAKE BITE OUT OF TOURIST WALLETS
(OR SO THEY HOPE)

In the early days of PR and marketing one of the big bold milestone steps was the invention of the sandwich board. Put a huge advertising sign on the front and back of some hapless homeless man and have him stand around busy corners. Was a novel approach and it worked ... until every downtown store had their own walking signs. Message was lost in the crowd, and getting across the street was a chore.
Sandwich boards evolved. Clowns handing out flyers, fuzzy animal characters waving at the cars, life-sized robots in shop doors and windows. In the suburbs, merchants started thinking big. Inflatable Air Dancing Men, Giant, blow-up gorillas in the parking lots and blimps tethered to store ceilings.

The evolution of the signboard has made a science out attracting the attention of consumer. Unfortunately, the science of satisfying consumer demands has not. Just because a store has a great sign doesn't mean that once inside there are good prices, unique items for sale -- sometimes it is just the opposite.
In the Florida Keys, there is but one highway that runs from Key West at the southern tip of Florida, 140 miles north to Key Largo. It is a busy highway and vacationers are wont to barrel down Route 1 as fast as they can. Merchants, looking to slow down motorists and hopefully take bite out of their wallets have updated Giant Gorilla strategy with something befitting the Keys.
Just when I thought it was safe to drive the length of the Keys I spotted a number of over sized creatures of the deep, attached or parked in front of stores, from Mile Marker 1 right to 140.

I took these posted pictures (save for Betsy the Lobster which I linked from Sandwich Girls' Flickr account:http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandwichgirl/4236245532/) in October 2010 while driving the length of Route #1.

CUTLINES:
Top: Over sized Great White Shark head is a daily Kodak moment at the Key West Aquarium. When the cruise ships are in there is a feeding frenzy of photographers
Second from top: Fibreglass Hammerhead wears a tank, weight belt and goggles at Wahoo's seaside restaurant in Islamorada. Very successful in pulling in tourists (we ate there!).
Third from top:Hanging plastic shark at the Islamorada charter fishing dock reels them in (including my wife Maria Nenadovich - the model - and me - the photographer).
Second from bottom: Tilden's dive shop in Marathon has a giant fibreglass Angel Fish in its parking lot.
Bottom: Sandwich Girl's Betsy the Lobster. Fibreglass giant spiny lobster now in front of the Rain Barrel Artists Village in Islamorada. Statue is 30-foot-tall and 40-foot-long

LATE BREAKING PLASTIC SHARK NEWS FROM GEORGETOWN

Just returned from a dive writing trip to the Cayman Islands While in Georgetown (the capitol) taking a surface break, I chanced upon a fibreglass shark outfront of a downtown bar. Not sure how Mr. Jaws lost his right flipper (bite off by an even bigger drunk scuba diver?). Picture taken May 3, 2011

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Literary Circle - Bravo TV taping. Free. Giller Prize short list


Stephen Weir here
This is an invitation for late Friday afternoon. Tomorrow. Books. Giller. Bravo TV. Toronto.
The thing about most authors is that they are great writers but in person .... yawn. However, when you have a seasoned interviewer, like Seamus O'Regan, who can ask the hard question, suddenly an hour with five top authors becomes the high point of the week...!
Tomorrow afternoon, 5:30. Seamus O'Regan (Canada AM) will be interviewing the five short-listed Giller Prize authors.
I was at the last taping it was an unforgettable hour of literature (seriously). It is at the Masonic Temple (Yonge at Davenport). It is free but seating is limited. Email gillercircle@ctv.ca.
I will be there. Hope you can make it.
The 5 authors and their books are:
David Bergen THE MATTER WITH MORRIS, Phyllis Bruce Books/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
Alexander MacLeod for his short story collection LIGHT LIFTING, Biblioasis Sarah Selecky for her short story collection THIS CAKE IS FOR THE PARTY, Thomas Allen Publishers
Johanna Skibsrud for her novel THE SENTIMENTALISTS, Gaspereau Press Kathleen Winter for her novel ANNABEL, House of Anansi Press

A Night of Literary Non-Fiction




IAN BROWN to headline IFOA's REAL LIFE: A Night of Literary Non-Fiction

Friday, Oct. 29th at 8:00 p.m.
Lakeside Terrace, York Quay Centre at Harbourfront

Winner of The Charles Taylor Prize now Canada's most highly acclaimed non-fiction author


TORONTO, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - Multiple book award winner Ian Brown is the most successful literary non-fiction writer Canada has ever produced. In 2010, his book, The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Search for His Disabled Son (Random House Canada), swept all of the major non-fiction prizes in the country. In addition to winning the 2010 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, Brown's book won the B.C. National Book Award and the Trillium Book Award, and the accolades keep coming: the book is shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award, to be announced in November.

WHO:
Author Ian Brown, winner of the 2010 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, appears at Harbourfront's esteemed International Festival of Authors. Ian Brown joins fellow non-fiction writers Charles Foran, Charlotte Gray and poet Meaghan Strimas. Each will read from their most recent works. The evening is hosted by non-fiction author Larry Gaudet.

WHAT:
Ian Brown will read from his award-winning book The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Search for his Disabled Son.

Born with a genetic mutation so rare that perhaps 300 people around the world live with it, Ian Brown's son, at age twelve, weighs only 54 pounds, wears diapers, can't speak and needs to wear special cuffs on his arms so that he can't harm himself. "Sometimes watching him," Brown writes, "is like looking at the man in the moon - but you know there is actually no man there. But if Walker is so insubstantial, why does he feel so important? What is he trying to show me?" The author's journey takes him into deeply touching and troubling territory. "All I really want to know is what goes on inside his off-shaped head," he writes, "But every time I ask, he somehow persuades me to look into my own."

WHY:

This is the IFOA's signature Non-Fiction event. Charles Taylor Prize winner Ian Brown, Charles Taylor Prize Founder Noreen Taylor and Charles Taylor Foundation trustee, Dr. David Staines are available for interviews before and after the event.

WHEN: Friday, October 29, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Lakeside Terrace, York Quay Centre, Toronto

TICKETS: $18.00 Available online in advance. Seating is limited. www.readings.org

Previous Winners of the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction:
2000 Wayne Johnston for Baltimore's Mansion: A Memoir
2002 Carol Shields for Jane Austen
2004 Isabel Huggan for Belonging: Home Away from Home
2005 Charles Montgomery for The Last Heathen: Encounters with Ghosts and Ancestors in Melanesia
2006 J.B. MacKinnon for Dead Man in Paradise
2007 Rudy Wiebe for Of this Earth: A Mennonite Boyhood in the Boreal Forest
2008 Richard Gwyn for John A.: The Man Who Made Us
2009: Tim Cook for Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting the Great War, 1917-1918, Volume Two
2010: Ian Brown for The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Search for His Disabled Son

The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction is presented annually by the Charles Taylor Foundation with support in 2010 from its partners: AVFX, Ben McNally Books, BookTelevision and Bravo!, Canada Newswire, CTV, The Globe and Mail, Le Meridien King Edward Hotel, Quill & Quire publications, and Windfields Farm.

For more information about The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, and Ian Brown's award winning book, please follow links at www.thecharlestaylorprize.ca and follow on Twitter @taylorprize.

For further information:

Media are requested to confirm their attendance and/or interview requests with Stephen Weir & Associates:

Stephen Weir: 416-489-5868 cell: 416-801-3101 stephen@stephenweir.com
Linda Crane: 905-257-6033 cell: 416-727-0112 cranepr@cogeco.ca

Sunday, 24 October 2010

A nation of photographers and a nation of models



DYING TO BE IN THE PICTURE


Canadian master photographer Ed Burtynsky got it half right while speaking at a Contact Photography Festival event when he told the media that Canada has become a nation of photographers. Cell Phone cameras. Cheap high def video cams. The explosive rise of the digital camera. Twitter Vids. You Tubes. Facebook. Canadians are documentary every aspect of life in this country.
Burtynsky, a Ryerson Polytechnical Institute grad, is world famous for his landscape photographs, so he should be excused for not mentioning the other half of the equation. Canadian has become a nation of models!
For every person who carries a camera to a public event, there is an equal or greater number of people willing and waiting to poise for that Kodak Moment. During Scotiabank Caribana 2010, 600 media, most of them videographers and photographers, registered to be on the parade route.
While the parade marshals find the photographers annoying in the least and downright disruptive in the pejorative, the barely clad dancers didn't mind stopping the parade to constantly pose for pictures. Within days of the Parade over 3,300 YouTube videos (marked Caribana) had been posted and 24,000 pictures (marked Caribana) posted on Flickr. And Facebook? 100,000 jpgs and counting.
It is not just events where body beautiful rules. On Saturday October 23rd my photographer son Andrew and myself took our cameras to Trinity Bellwood Park where 6,000 peoples drenched themselves in fake blood and shuffled through the park and into the streets of Toronto in the annual Zombie Walk.
There were hundreds and hundreds of photographers following the moaning, stumbling rag tag parade. The zombies had worked hard on their make-up and wanted to be photographed. Ever had a corpse ask you to take her picture? I have.
The Zombie Walk has no sponsors (save beyond a Henry's Camera portrait booth), and no actual raison d'etre. But because of the growing Yin and the Yang between people's need to be seen and people's need to be camera carrying voyeurs there is no stomping on Toronto's undead parade.
CUTLINES
Top - Complete stranger asks Zombies to deadpan it for his camera. (But he still told them to say "Cheese")
Bottom - Andrew Weir's picture of the Zombie Parade - Trinity Bellwood Park.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

20th Annual Volunteer Autumn Art Sale at the McMichael

.

PRESS RELEASE
18 October 2010
For immediate release

20th Annual Volunteer Autumn Art Sale at the McMichael

KLEINBURG, October 18, 2010. – With the help of 50 well-known Canadian artists and the volunteers at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, October is artistically going out in a blaze of fun and colour. The McMichael Autumn Art Sale takes place October 22nd – 24th and is expected to attract thousands of art patrons to Kleinburg and the public gallery.
Presented by the McMichael Volunteer Committee, this sale is a major fundraiser for the gallery. For three days over 200 pieces of art and sculptures – all for sale – will fill the gallery’s spacious Grand Hall. Oil paintings. Fused Glass. Works on paper. Stone carvings. All of the works are one-of-a-kind, and all have been created by well known artists including: Cindy Praakel, Kenneth Kirsh, Florence Chik-Lau and Lynda Cunningham.
The McMichael Autumn Art Sale begins with the popular Opening Night Gala (6pm to 10pm) on Friday, October 22nd. The evening features complimentary Hors d’Oeuves, free admission, and free parking. The Autumn Art Sale continues on through Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The warm summer weather has delayed the arrival of the fall colour foliage. Organizers of Art Sale are predicting a spectacular burst of colour along Major Mackenzie Drive just in time for the Volunteer Art Show and Sale.
The McMichael Volunteer Committee is a dedicated team of McMichael members, from all walks of life, who share a passion for the arts and are committed to volunteerism. The group organizes events and raise funds, both to enhance the visitor experience and to support children’s education at the McMichael. To date the Committee has contributed over $250,000 to the gallery.

About the gallery

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. The McMichael is the only public gallery that collects and exhibits exclusively Canadian art. The permanent collection holds over 6,000 works including pieces by Inuit, First Nations and Group of Seven artists.
Friday night’s gala opening features free parking and admission to the gallery. For the rest of the weekend admission is as follows: Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $30 for families. There is a $5 fee for parking. The gallery is located on Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information about the gallery visit www.mcmichael.com.

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Media contact:

Stephen Weir, Publicist
(905) 893-1121 ext. 2528 Gallery
(416) 489-5868 Home Office
(416) 801-3101 Cell
sweir5492@rogers.com

Monday, 27 September 2010

Media Preview for the Ross King exhibition about the Group of Seven - the wait is over!!! Bobak too!


MEDIA PREVIEW
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2010
10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Exhibition explores the bold emergence of Modernism
through Canadian artists


BREAKING NEWS: ROSS KING'S BOOK, DEFIANT SPIRITS HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR THE BEST NON-FICTION AWARD BY THE WRITER'S TRUST - SEPT. 27, 2010. COME MEET THE AUTHOR ON THE 28th AT THE McMICHAEL

When: Thursday, September 30, 2010, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Where: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg (just north of the Major Mackenzie Drive, Islington Avenue intersection)

Why: Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven, organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and guest-curated by internationally renowned, Governor General’s Award-winning author Ross King. A Canadian citizen living near Oxford, England, King has probed the characters, personalities, and times of the Group of Seven to tell a compelling, new story of these enormously influential artists and dynamic period in Canadian history. The exhibition opens on October 2, 2010.

Who: Meet exhibition curator and author, Ross King; meet McMichael Chief Curator, Katerina Atanassova.

What: This fall, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection will feature an insightful exhibition about the Group of Seven. Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven explores the emergence of the modernist art movement within Canada. Although unfailingly controversial, modernism spread widely and rapidly as young artists who had studied in France returned to their homelands and began interpreting their own landscapes in the light of modern pictorial advances. In Canada, the most notable practitioners of this kind of modernist art – though by no means the only ones – would be the Group of Seven.

View over sixty works by the Group of Seven and other Canadian artists Paul Signac French, P.C. Sheppard, David Milne, Florence H. McGillivray, John Goodwin Lyman, R.S. Hewton, John Sloan Gordon, L.L. FitzGerald, William H. Clapp, Emily Carr, and Bertram Brooker.

The exhibition will be on at the McMichael from October 2, 2010 to January 30, 2011.

About the Gallery
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of more than 5,500 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors/students and $30 for families. There is a $5 fee for parking. For more information about the gallery, visit www.mcmichael.com.

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Please RSVP:
Stephen Weir, Publicist
Gallery: 905.893.1121 ext. 2529
Toronto Office: 416.489.5868
Cell: 416.801.3101
sweir@mcmichael.com

SECOND MEDIA PREVIEW SAME DAY



MEDIA PREVIEW
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2010
10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Exhibition expresses Canadian artist’s fascination with the human body and soul

When:
Thursday, September 30, 2010, 10:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Where: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg (just north of the intersection, Major Mackenzie Drive and Islington Avenue)

Why: Bruno Bobak: Love, Life and Death, developed by McMichael’s Assistant Curator, Collections, Sharona Adamowicz-Clements, highlights the figurative works (including a selection of portraits) that the East Coast-based artist produced between the early 1960s and 1980.

Love, Life and Death provides an in-depth look into the artist’s fascination with the body through a set of narratives that focus on human relations, the family, life cycle and a myriad of emotions from love, joy and tenderness to pain and despair.

Who: Meet the McMichael’s Assistant Curator, Collections, Sharona Adamowicz-Clements.

What: Bruno Bobak: Love, Life and Death exhibition runs September 18 to December 5, 2010, and offers a large selection of paintings and some works on paper from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

About the Gallery

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of more than 5,500 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors/students and $30 for families. There is a $5 fee for parking. For more information about the gallery, visit www.mcmichael.com.

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To RSVP, please contact:
Stephen Weir, Publicist
Gallery: 905.893.1121 ext. 2529
Toronto Office: 416.489.5868
Cell: 416.801.3101
sweir@mcmichael.com

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The bull (in designer Bvl Gari's sunglasses and smoking Cubans) has finally left the china store. Let the press launches begin



PUBLICISTS CELEBRATE THE END OF THE FILM FESTIVAL AND GET BACK TO WORK

The bull smoked Cuban, sported Bvl Gari's signature purple sun glasses, had tail hair done by England's Stuart Phillips and was followed by every single reporter, blogger, videographer, photographer and autograph seeker in the Free World. And now, finally with the Toronto International Film Festival out the door, the bull has stomped out of the shattered tea shop leaving local publicists to clean up the mess and try to get the PR machine back to normal.
While TIFF rolls through Toronto PR people in Ontario's Golden Horseshoe always have to stop and hold their breathe. Forget trying to get publicity if you aren't peddling movie stars, book-into-movie deals, directors, made-for-TV films and did we mention movie stars?
For two weeks in September the newsrooms are empty. Every reporter, photographer and videographer is out on the street working TIFF assignments. Doesn't matter what beat. Sports reporters find out which stars went to see the Blue Jays, Foodies file stories on what the Stars are eating, Business reporters talked about the economic impact, and, well you know the drill.
For publicists not working the TIFF beat it is a hard go. Doesn't matter how good/new/unique/fascinating your project, NO ONE will listen. ( I gave up and took a writing assignment and went shark diving in Nassau during the last week in TIFF).
Toronto's cultural attractions know about the black hole media draw of the bull in the china shop and for the most part postpone all PR events until after the TIFF. Good philosophy, except that the week following TIFF -- this week -- is almost as busy as it was during the actually Film Festival.
I have attended and/or been involved with 5 major PR activities this week ... and I write this Wednesday morning at 9am. The rest of the week looks equally busy!
What I have attended this week!
Nuit Blanche Camera in hand I covered the Monday morning outdoor Nuit Blanche News Conference. Scotiabank Nuit Blanche celebrated its past and kicked off its fifth year with the unveiling of Some Enchanted Evenings, a 5th Anniversary Retrospective Exhibition presented by Scotiabank featuring photos, videos and previously mounted works from the 2006-2009 editions of the free all-night contemporary art event.


As pressers go, this was a good one. Rita Davis (the city's director of culture), Mayor David Miller, and Scotiabank VP Duncan Hannay. There was some real news - Yonge Street will be closed down for Nuit Blanche, the TTC has a special $10 24-hour pass for up to 6 people per card and a lot of interesting sounding projects slated for October 2nd - 6.57pm to sunrise in downtown Toronto.
It is the unscripted events at a presser that often times get the biggest laugh. Press conference for Nuit Blanche held outside, just off King Street in front of the Scotiabank Plaza. Half-way through the presser a north wind blew street smells (think raw sewage) into the crowd. Mayor David Miller probably wondered why some people suddenly started holding their noses while he gave one of the most upbeat Nuit Blanche speeches ever given in the festivals 5-year history. A senior Scotiabank official standing beside me looked southward at the bank towers across the street. " Humph" she said, "count on the Royal Bank to try and stink up our moment in the sun!". Smell went away. The media got their stories and it was on to the next event.
The Ontario Science Centre, coming off a strong successful summer season with its Harry Potter Exhibition (no science, just Hollywood) previewed its newest large format Imax movie on Tuesday.

Legends of Flight, brought to you by Canadian director Stephen Low (of Titanica fame - first Imax movie about the Titanic). The posters make it look as though this is a movie about the historyof flight, but, it is actually a documentary about the struggles Boeing Corporation is having in bringing the new technology (no aluminum, just carbon fibre) 787 Dreamliner to market. As a former Litton Systems Canada PR person (they built nav systems for the military and commercial avionics industry) I was moved by the scenes of gliders, jet fighters and super-sized passenger planes appearing on screen.

If I have any criticism it is over Low's heavy use of CGI technology, it takes the joy out of enjoying a film when you realize the Harrier jets that are shown escorting a Cdn destroyer were created by CGI. Although the film's producer, Pietro L. Serapiglia, says that Boeing did not cover the costs of this 4-year long film project, they are going to love this 45-minute large format explanation as to why they are over 2-years behind on deliveries (800+ sold, 0 delivered). I would suspect that Boeing is less than pleased that the film compares the shape of the Dreamliner with the Albatross!
The Science Centre brought along Serapiglia and Captain Heather Ross to the Media Preview. Ross is a Canadian born Boeing test pilot. She flew 40 missions in the Gulf War, was a pilot for United Airlines and now is one of only a dozen or so people who have actually flown the Dreamliner. What is like to be at the controls of airplane that has 220ft wide bendable wings? "This is a great airplane from a pilot's perspective. IT is very comfortable, and because we can fly at lower altitudes (compared to traditional jumbo gets) there is not as much pilot fatigue."

What have I do so far this week?

* Ross King Media Alert. The Governor General Award winning author will be the star of my media preview to an art exhibition based on his book Defiant Spirits. The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven. Ross is the curator and the author! The preview is September 30th 10am to 12.15. McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Kleinburg. (drop me a note if you want to attend).
* Bruno Bobak: Love, Life and Death September 18 to December 5, 2010. Media launch on Sept 30th. Artist in Gallery on Sunday Oct. 3rd for member's opening (everyone welcome) Minister Chan to open show!
* CTV friends of broadcast journalist Karlene Nation asked me to send out a media alert for Wednesday evening. Which I have done (and you can see on this blog page). Karlene has taken a leave from CTV where she is Diversity Editor. She is running for city council in Trinity Spadina against another media person - councillor Adam Vaughan. The drink fest starts at 7pm but I suspect most of her colleagues will give it pass because the network doesn't like their employees messing in politics.
* Sent out Word on the Street invites to the media. The day-long outdoor book festival runs this Sunday at Queen's Park. Author Elizabeth Abbott will be there all afternoon (so will I)!

Coming Up:
Oregon State is holding a media launch for their winter tourism promotion. The Art Gallery of Ontario is opening a Goodman exhition and the Royal Ontario Museum has an event around its current Terracotta Warrior show. The Sony Theatre is reopening and on Saturday the Aviation Museum is free to the publics.
And for the rest of the week? Media interviews, dinner with a High Tech magazine (for my aerospace work) and followup to the Pan Am Diversity press conference held last week.
Cutlines:
Top: Small Stage. Big Show. Mayor David Miller, bank officials, artists and city workers try to find space on the small Nuit Blanche stage
Second from top: Rita Davis at the Nuit Blanche media launch
Third from Top: Two Harrier jets escorting a Canadian destroyer? Never happened. The jets were created through the magic of CGI. Film's maker says the destroyer is real!
Second from bottom: Captain Heather Ross and producer Pietro L. Serapiglia
Bottom: Cover shot of author Ross King's new book.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Karlene Nation running for Toronto City Council


Stephen Weir receives a request from CTV's Karlene Nation to circulate an invitation to a fund raising evening on Wednesday in Liberty Village


Hello Stephen Weir @ Scotiabank Caribana -- How are you? Karlene Nation here.


I would like to invite you (and the people on your media list) to attend my campaign fundraising Party at the Brazen Head Irish Pub in Liberty Village on Wednesday -- September 22nd. From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The Brazen Head is located at 165 East Liberty Street-- West of Strachan Avenue.Tel: 416-535-8787
It's going to be an awesome evening, lots of food and great friends to celebrate the occasion. I am running for the position of City Councillor in Ward 19 -- Trinity Spadina.
I'm really proud to have the opportunity to participate in the political process. I've taken a leave of absence from CTV to pursue my passion for politics.
I'm running on a platform of fiscal responsibility and improved services
to businesses and residents in Toronto. My policy statement will be on my election website which will be up and running today -- Monday.
electkarlenenation.com.
I need your help to run a successful campaign.
The City of Toronto will provide individuals with a generous tax rebate on your donations. You will receive a tax deductible receipt for all donations over $25.

If you donate $25 -- your tax rebate $18.75 -- Your cost - - $6.25
If you donate $50 -- your tax rebate is $37.50 -- your cost -- $12.50
If you donate $100 -- your tax rebate is $75.00 -- your cost -- 25.00
If you donate $300 -- your tax rebate is $225 -- your cost $75.00
Individuals can donate up to a maximum of $750.

I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday -- at the Brazen Head.
It's going to be a great evening. Thanks again for your support.

Karlene Nation
Candidate -- City Councillor
Ward 19 -- Trinity Spadina

Posted by:

Stephen Weir
Stephen Weir & Associates | stephen@stephenweir.com
or sweir5492@rogers.com
2482 Yonge Street, Unit 45032, Toronto, ONT.
CANADA. M4P 3E3
Tel: 416-489-5868
www.stephenweir.com

MEDIA PREVIEW THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2010 McMICHAEL GALLERY

MEDIA PREVIEW
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2010
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Exhibition explores the bold emergence of Modernism
through Canadian artists


When: Thursday, September 30, 2010, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Where: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg (just north of the Major Mackenzie Drive, Islington Avenue intersection)
Why: Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven, organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and guest-curated by internationally renowned, Governor General’s Award-winning author Ross King. A Canadian citizen living near Oxford, England, King has probed the characters, personalities, and times of the Group of Seven to tell a compelling, new story of these enormously influential artists and dynamic period in Canadian history. The exhibition opens on October 2, 2010.
Who: Meet exhibition curator and author, Ross King; meet McMichael Chief Curator, Katerina Atanassova.
What: This fall, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection will feature an insightful exhibition about the Group of Seven. Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven explores the emergence of the modernist art movement within Canada. Although unfailingly controversial, modernism spread widely and rapidly as young artists who had studied in France returned to their homelands and began interpreting their own landscapes in the light of modern pictorial advances. In Canada, the most notable practitioners of this kind of modernist art – though by no means the only ones – would be the Group of Seven.
View over sixty works by the Group of Seven and other Canadian artists Paul Signac French, P.C. Sheppard, David Milne, Florence H. McGillivray, John Goodwin Lyman, R.S. Hewton, John Sloan Gordon, L.L. FitzGerald, William H. Clapp, Emily Carr, and Bertram Brooker.
The exhibition will be on at the McMichael from October 2, 2010 to January 30, 2011.

Tom Thomson, (1877-1917)
Byng Inlet, Georgian Bay, 1914-1917
oil on canvas
71.5 x 76.3 cm
Purchase with the Assistance of Donors and Wintario
McMichael Canadian Art Collection

About the Gallery

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of more than 5,500 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors/students and $30 for families. There is a $5 fee for parking. For more information about the gallery, visit www.mcmichael.com.

- 30 -

Please RSVP:
Stephen Weir, Publicist
Gallery: 905.893.1121 ext. 2529
Toronto Office: 416.489.5868
Cell: 416.801.3101
sweir@mcmichael.com

Editors please note:
Ross King will be at the gallery this Friday, Saturday and Sunday,
September 24 to 26, 2010 and is available for interviews.

Friday, 10 September 2010

REVISED: Media Alert: Making the business of the Pan/Parapan American Games Diverse


OPPORTUNITIES FOR DIVERSITY-OWNED BUSINESSES WITH
TORONTO 2015 PAN/PARAPAN AMERICAN GAMES


Diversity Business Network Hosts “A World of Opportunity” Conference
Media Briefing/Q&A, Thursday, Sept. 17, 3.30 pm to 4.15
Ian Troop, CEO Toronto 2015, Business leaders, Minister Margarett Best and Olympian Ohenewa Akuffo


What: To prepare diversity owned businesses for the opportunities that the 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games represent, the Games Organizing Committee has partnered with the Diversity Business Network to host, “Diversity Business Conference | Pan Am 2015 – A World of Opportunity, presented by Centerplate”. Attendees will receive a road map of opportunities from the Games Organizing Committee and key partners."

Who: Speakers include Ian Troop, CEO Toronto 2015; John Campbell, CEO of Waterfront Toronto; Antonio de Santiago, Executive VP of Infrastructure Ontario; Howie Wong, General Counsel of Toronto Community Housing; Andrew Weir, VP Tourism Toronto and Courtney Betty. CEO of Diversity Business Network (www.enablediversity.com). Olympian Ohenewa Akuffo will be attending the event to inspire diversity business leaders to get involved with the games. Canada’s foremost female wrestler will be available for photographs during the Media Briefing along with the Olympic Torch.

Title Sponsor: Centerplate. Leading hospitality provider to North America's sports stadiums and convention centres (a committed supporter of community /diversity). Other sponsors include the Royal Bank, MNP and Telus.

Where: Westin Harbour Castle Hotel. Queens Quay, Toronto.

When: Media briefing: 3.30 to 3.45 pm ( the actual conference is from 1pm – 6pm). Media briefing includes an opportunity to interview the keynote speakers. Thursday September 16th.

How: Media are requested to register by email or contact Roberta Atkinson, Diversity Business Network, 501 Oakwood Ave, Toronto, Tel: 416-728-8097, roborta@enablediversity.com

For more information, media please contact: Craigg Slowly 647-775-6659
Stephen Weir stephen@stephenweir.com
416-801-3101

Mayoralty Candidate’s Diversity Debate


Mayoralty Candidate’s Diversity Debate
When: Saturday September 11, 2010 from 6:00 Pm to 8:00 PM
Where: The Ted Rogers School of Management @ Ryerson University
Location: 575 Bay St. (entrance at 55 Dundas St. W)
The Diversity Business Network in cooperation with Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute presents Toronto’s first Mayoral debate focusing on the candidates’ policies and plans for leveraging the diversity of Toronto for economic and social development. The focus of the debate is to explore how each candidates’ plans to build on current policies and to create new policies to promote an inclusive, thriving, global city.
In the past, Toronto City Council has adopted a series of resolutions and initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and eliminating discrimination. Considerable progress has been made but more remains to be done.

For more info Contact: Courtney Betty: 416-968-1181
www.enablediversity.com
and
www.ryerson.ca/diversity
Cutline: George Smitherman and journalist Ned Blair