Friday, 8 June 2012

Fashion as Art: Exposed! (one night only at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection)

On the cover: The Group of Seven Fashion Designers Exhibit presents models wearing one-of-a-kind creations made especially for this event. Photo: Yuri Dojc  | Makeup: Glen E. Daniel, MAC | Model: Laura Vermeulen

The Group of Seven's New Clothes. The Fashion of Art
Gala drafts designers, Beker and Yuri Dojc to help out

Back in the early 70s, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute was Canada's incubator for the practical arts. Journalism, Radio. Television. Layout. Design. Fashion. Theatre. And, most importantly, Photography.
And while each discipline was taught in a different silo at the downtown Toronto campus, there was convergence at one place - The weekly Eyeopener newspaper.  I was self proclaimed poetry editor.  Christie Blatchford, Rosie DiManno, Paul Patterson, Dawna Lee Aprile and a host of others wrote amazing  news busting feature stories. It was the student paper in the country and it was the supreme  social moment for the volunteer writers, designers, illustrations and photographers of Rye High.
I can't remember anything I wrote, but I do remember the photographs.  They were outstanding. Cutting edge. No more so than  what came from the camera of Yuri Dojc.  He was our photo editor when I was at the Eyeopener.  Aside from trying to talk us all into posing in the nude, he didn't speak much English then, so, he made his camera do his talking for him.  His covers were works of art, clipped out and taped to the inside of lockers that lined the halls of the Quad.
I haven't seem him in a long long time.  The gallery at the end of my street that carried his art has closed. My Dojc cover clips have faded and curled but still have a treasured spot in my Ryerson trunk. He is still making great art. Yes, and some of that art involves nudes.
D’Arcy Moses sketch for Gal
 I was a little surprised when I volunteered to help with the promotion of a June 16th gala for the McMichael Canadian Art Collection to find out that Yuri has supplied images for the self-billed Spiritual Home Group of Seven. Well it turns out that  the Fashion as Art: Exposed! is a coming out fundraising Gala for the McMichael, and Yuri's photograph is gracing the evening's printed programme.  It is a new era in Kleinburg, and Dojc photography, pictured above is leading the charge.
Fashion as Art: Exposed! celebrates the fusion of art and fashion with some of Canada’s leading fashion designers, artists and celebrities, including a private viewing of the cutting edge Fashionality: Dress and Identity in Contemporary Canadian Art exhibition with noted curator and fashion theorist, Julia Pine
The event is proudly being hosted by internationally renowned fashion personality Jeanne Beker. This unique evening provides guests the perfect combination of thought-provoking art and unique Canadian fashion. “I am thrilled to participate and support this incredible celebration of two of my greatest passions, fashion and art. Innovative fashion trends and art techniques have, and will continue to evolve over the years, however, both mediums are timeless with respect to their influence and impact reflected and presented in every culture worldwide. This unique collaboration of exceptional Canadian talent is an Avant Garde symbiosis that will portray fashion as art in an entirely new perspective to contemplate and enjoy,” says Beker. Fashionistas, recognized industry crème de la crème, and art lovers alike will be treated to a glamorous, red carpet evening filled with innovative design, gourmet cuisine and fabulous music.   
D’Arcy Moses sketch for Gala

The “Group of Seven Fashion Designers” for the evening are; Joeffer Caoc, Comrags, Greta Constantine, David Dixon, Thien Le, Lucian Matis, and D’Arcy Moses.Two of Moses' sketches are printed above.
Art will prevail through every detail of the evening, including provocative décor, cuisine by Via Allegro and entertainment from DJ Bellosound and Dr. Draw, and a live body-painting art performance by Toronto artist, JessGo.  
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the unveiling of these incomparable, art-inspired, designer creations.   Media interested in covering this one-of-a-kind event should contact me asap at or at 416-489-5868.

The World's Richest Poetry Prize brings out the best (and table hoppers too))

L-R International winner. David Harsent, prize founder  Scott Griffin and the Canadian winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize  Ken Babstock  Photo Tom Sandler
 I swear I didn't know there was assigned seating 
Getting a polite bum's rush from Conrad Black's Table 6 at the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Bernard Gauthier (Bravo TV) and myself arrived early at last week's Griffin Poetry Prize Award dinner in Toronto.  The Distillery District hall doors had only been open for a few minutes.  We were one of the first to be welcomed by Scott and Krystyne Griffin, the founders and funders of  The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry. The Prize is the largest annual award for a single book of poetry in the world
I had trouble hearing our hosts because of the Mexican mariachi band that had just begun to tune up.  I am sure I would have heard all the details about the seating arrangements if I leaned a little closer in.
We entered the large exposed brick space that was once used for the fermentation of millions of gallons of liquor.   The room soon began to fill with everyone I have read in the past 10 years.  Michael Ondaatje. Margaret Atwood. Christopher Dwedney.  Richard Gwyn. There were TV stars. Journalists. And, former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.
More and more people poured into the space. It was an elbows-up cocktail hour. This was going to be a sold-out show. Bernard and I worried we would get separated and not be able to sit together when the dinner bell rang.
We decided to stake a claim at one of the round dining tables.  Number 6.  I placed my car keys and glass of beer on the table. Bernard put his notes and bag on a chair beside me. We went our different ways, promising to meet up when the dinner began.
The supper announcement was made and  I sat down at Table 6.  Soon I was joined by a man I had met at a Huffington Post party a week before. Recently released Conrad Black. He had out dressed me. He was joined by his wife Barbara Amiel, who I used to see when I helped out at Macleans 15-years ago.  Our table started to fill up. Murray Frum. An actress who's name I was told and promptly forgot. 
No one spoke to me.  One couple standing nearby glared. No Bernard.  I hung onto his seat as long as I could. 
But soon, the iron gaze behind me made it obvious that Table 6 was not an open seating spot. I gave up my chair (and Bernard’s too) to an annoyed elderly couple who seemed to know everyone at the table.
Not a bum's rush, but, I blushed none the same.  I grabbed Bernard's bag and made my escape.  We met up at the media table.  CBC. CP. Film makers. Photographer Tom Sandler.  They laughed at my story and one bun got tossed my way.  We had a good meal. A lot of laughs!
Seatmate Tom Sandler took the above picture of Scott Griffin with the winners of this year's Prize that was handed out when the 5-star meal ended. David Harsent's Night and Ken Babstock's Methodist Hatchet are the International and Canadian winners of the 2012 annual Griffin Poetry Prize. They each received $65,000 in prize money.
As we were leaving I handed Bernard back his bag. "Mon Ami" he said, "That is not my bag, where did you get it?"
It had been on the chair beside Lord Black.  I was going to return it to Table 6, but, you know, at the age 60, I try to only blush once a day.  I found one of the organizers, told her what had happened, gave her the satchel and very quickly disappeared into the night.