Wednesday 27 April 2011

Posted for a friend and great artist - 3-day show in historic J.E.H./Thoreau MacDonald House

McMichael Canadian Art Collection educator, Elaine Hoffman opens new show May12th for 3-days only at J.E.H./Thoreau MacDonald House

Colour at Work will be taking place May 12-15, 2011, at the J.E.H./Thoreau MacDonald House, 121 Centre Street, Thornhill, ON.

Twenty-five paintings and drawing will be on display at the historic house once occupied by a member of the Group of Seven. Using abstract compositions, the works show Hoffman’s continuing exploration of the evocative quality of colour. Suggestion and inference are vital components in the paintings and drawings of Elaine Hoffman. Using visual language she creates vignettes that evoke emotions and sensations we all experience: frustration, anger, contentment and hope, to name a few.
Toronto artist, Elaine Hoffman says, “The process of creating paintings is very seductive for me. Using bold shapes and saturated colours, I feel a strong impulse to capture illusive emotions. Colour becomes an entry point for narrative.
Working in an art gallery created a tension in that I was always tempted to bolt up to my garret and dedicate my life to painting, but the reality of daily living interfered. Once my career path was established and home responsibilities lessened, I was able to process experiences and focus my creative energy.”
"Elaine's non-objective paintings are emotional and powerful. A bold juxtaposition of colours and shapes excite and move the viewer,” says Lila Lewis Irving, artist and instructor.
Hoffman studied visual art at York University and University of Guelph. She also studied Interior Design at Niagara College. Hoffman has taken numerous courses to enrich her art practice and is currently enrolled in, Visual & Creative Arts Diploma, at Fleming College. Since 1997, Hoffman has been involved in art education at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection where she currently is the Manager of Education.
MacDonald House is named after James Edward Hervey MacDonald, an original member of the Group of Seven painters and his son Thoreau. JEH MacDonald purchased the property in 1916 and it was here that he pained his famous canvas, “The Tangled Garden”, March 1916, which now hangs at the National Gallery in Ottawa.
Show hours: Thursday and Friday, 5:00- 9:00 pm, Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. For more information about the show contact Elaine Hoffman, (416) 768-8438.

Media inquiries:

Bobbi Greenberg 905 780 8191
Amy Trachter 416 970 8438

Friday 22 April 2011

GraceKennedy accepts 2010 Sponsor of the Year Award

Scotiabank Caribana and Grace Kennedy Foods were tops in 2010

GraceKennedy Foods working with Scotiabank Caribana was recognized earlier this year as Ontario’s 2010 Sponsor of the Year. This Achievement Award is presented annually by Festival Events Ontario.
GraceKennedy Foods, the makers of Caribbean style foods and juices, sponsored Scotiabank Caribana's first Tropical Rhythms. Tropical Rhythms is an all-day event filled with an exciting combination of Caribbean delicacies, live music, beautiful costumes and a Marketplace. It was held on August 1st at Ontario Place during the annual Caribana festival. The prize announcement was made in early March at a Festival Events Ontario Conference held in Markham.
Grace Food’s presented the 1st annual "Tropical Rhythms” Caribbean Food Festival as part of the 2010 Scotiabank Caribana Festival on August 1, 2010 at the Island Lime inside Ontario Place.
Working with GraceKennedy, the festival provided a dazzling array of fun activities, entertainment and excitement for the entire family. Thousands enjoyed exotic cuisine prepared by gourmet Caribbean chefs. Jamaican style Jerk Chicken, Roti from Trinidad and Tobago and Grace coconut water were some of the most popular items at Tropical Rhythms.

Cut line: Pictured above On April 19th festival marketing director Petronilla Marchan presents the award to GraceKennedy's president Lucky Lankage at the company's Richmond Hill headquarters.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Reporters billboard while students recite poetry in Toronto commercial logo-free theatre contest


Nowadays-even members of the media have become walking billboards. So it is refreshing to attend a media event where the organizers have shied away from decorating the stage, the walls and the furniture with the logos of commercial sponsors.
At a recently held first-ever Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie recitation contest here in Toronto, I noticed that the event was refreshingly commercial logo-free. As seen in the photograph above the dozen high school students who competed for $10,000 in prize money, stood in front of a backdrop that showed only the name of the event. No banks, pizza companies or newspaper tags appear behind the students.
I had on my photographer's toque that night and decided that in the spirit of this no-promo evening that I would try to take only logo-free shots. When you have a room full of photographers, publicists and journalists, it is hard to not capture glimpses of some sort of logo, be it on clothing, or books or even writing instruments. This is a group of people whose daily wardrobe is very dependent on corporate largess.
I took the above photo of one of the event's organizers - poet and journalist Damien Rogers - being interviewed by a TV reporter. I approached the pair from the back mildly blurring the background (of any potential corporate symbol).
Upon posting the pictures on my Flickr account I realized even from the back it is indeed a Herculean task to avoid billboarding. Pictured below: I zoomed in on the camera totting videographer. Horrors. I spied that the cameraman's jacket sported a discrete but obvious CTV logo. Talk about rings around the collar.
Pictured at top are the high school students who competed in the Poetry In Voice competed. With his back to the camera is Albert Schultz, the evening's MC. The contest is the brainchild of Scott Griffin, the founder of the world's richest annual poetry prize - the Griffin Poetry Prize.
The grand winner was Grade 12 student Jonathan Welstead (5th from the left). The winning Toronto student attends Upper Canada College. He received $5,000 and his school's library will get $2,500 of which $500 is earmarked for the purchase of poetry books.
Second and Third place winners - North York's Anna Jiang and Sudbury's Spencer Slaney - and their schools' libraries shared in $2,500 prize money.

Friday 8 April 2011

thanks to climate change? Inuit drawing flies

Reviews - Toronto Star came out early, so did Canadian Art Magazine. The Globe came to the event and wrote late. Rest of the world, CBC, CTV, Global and even Aboriginal TV gave the media preview a pass.
"Even though a number of key media didn't make it this morning," said XXX XXX. "We fully expect them (main stream media)to cover this show in the near future."
Exhibition is:

Art Gallery of Ontario is finding out something that the McMichael Canadian Art Collection has known for years - Inuit Art is a hard-sell with the media.

After years at the McMichael learned that the general public might say they like the art form, that doesn't mean they will actually pay to see an exhibition of Inuit art no matter how big or how good it is.

Remember. took KA picture at her 80th birthday party. 15 years ago I held a media preview featuring

Inuit Modern: The Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection opens at the AGO

Opening today, a sprawling retrospective on the transformation of Inuit art in the 20th century, with 175 works seen as a response to destabilizing transition from a traditional lifestyle to a more perilous “modern” one. $11 to $19.50. Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648.

I have worked on the publicity programmes for a number of Inuit Art Shows. Even took pictures of Pootlang on her 80th birthday
Over at Scotiabank Contact another artist is showing her work
Funniest story? But telling too? Cormrant. Good cormant tastes like shit!

Thursday 7 April 2011

The Ed Show opens at ROM

Landscape photography exhibition. OIL. Sponsored by Scotiabank Canada. Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky is one of the chosen few. The 56-year old photographer, unlike most of his peer group, is receiving the praise he deserves in his own lifetime. So exactingly perfect are his landscape photographs that the Royal Ontario Museum, best known for dinosaurs and mummies, is breaking from its mandate to present his world traveling one-man show.
"Oil", his 53-image exhibition is so hot that Toronto's media worked hard to see who could write about it first! On the heels of a wave of international media recognition including a double-page spread in the Sunday New York Times the Toronto Star's Murray Whyte got there first.
His favourable review/feature hit the streets just hours before the rest of the media were ushered into the ROM's 4th floor Roloff Beny Gallery. It was a media preview to see this country's most respected large-format landscape photographer.
Television cameras, print journalists, bloggers and even radio stations came out to tour the exhibition. So in demand for interviews, the above picture of Ed Burtynsky and Scotiabank's archivist Jane Nokes was a quickie snap sandwiched in between a CBC National TV interview and a chat with the Globe and Mail.
Edward Burtynsky: Oil is presented by the Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and Scotiabank Group. The exhibition details how nature is negatively transformed by an oil driven world economy.
Burtynsky follows a bouncing ball made of oil, from the ground (including Canada's oil sands) to surface based refineries. His cameras travel down highways, across oceans and finally end up at the homes of our dirty little secrets - the garbage dumps of the world.
But even while he is photographing horrific refuse sites, Burtynsky is always the consummate landscape artist. He takes a grand panoramic view when photographing spent objects of commerce, be they tires, drive-in restaurants or mothballed engines of war.
In the photograph above he and Nokes stand in front of a photograph where mothballed B-52s, parked in an Arizona desert, have become the landscape. This is a graveyard where US warplanes (capable of carrying nuclear weapons) are put on a desert runway to allow highflying satellites to confirm that they never will fly again. Burtynsky uses his long lens to show the staggering number of gas guzzling warplanes now on the post Cold War SALT scrap heap.
Days after Oil opened to the public; another Toronto institution recognized Burtynsky. On April 14th the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) and BMO Financial Group announced that it would present Edward Burtynsky with the biannual MOCCA Award . This $20,000 award honours a Canadian active in the field of visual arts for innovation, accomplishment or contribution over time, or for a specific project that has national or international significance.
BTW - the 56-year old Canadian photographer is a Ryerson graduate. His first year at Ryerson was my last. We shared one class. He doesn't remember me. Sigh.
Above and Below:
Scotiabank Archivist Jane Nokes and photographer Ed Burtynsky attend the Royal Ontario Museum's media preview for the exhibition Edward Burtynsky: Oil. The exhibition is presented by the Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and Scotiabank Group.

Take no prisoners. Students compete for big money in Toronto Poetry Recitation Finals. Tuesday night.

2011 Recitation Finals will be held at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts
WHO: Twelve high school students; Judges Karine Glorieux, Robert Lalonde, Diana Leblanc, Dennis Lee, Karen Solie, and Élise Turcotte; Remarks by Scott and Krystyne Griffin; Emcee Albert Schultz; Live music.
WHAT: Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie is a bilingual poetry recitation contest for Canadian high school students.
WHY: See student winners from 12 Ontario high schools compete for $10,000 in prize money and school stipends by reciting poems from memory at the finals for this pilot program.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, beginning at 7 pm.
WHERE: Young Centre for the Performing Arts
Distillery District, 55 Mill Street, Toronto, Canada.
HOW: Tickets are free for students and $10 for adults. Click here for details.


Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie is a bilingual poetry recitation contest for Canadian high school students. The contest uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level. Students advance to school-wide competitions and the school champion from each of the twelve Ontario schools participating in the pilot program will compete for $10,000 in prize money on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in Downtown Toronto. The competition will expand in 2012 to include all of Ontario and Quebec, and branch out to schools across the country in 2013.
$10,000 in prize money will be awarded as follows:
1st Prize: $5,000 to the student
$2,500 to the student's school library, $500 earmarked for poetry books
2nd Prize: $1,000 to the student
$500 to the student's school library for poetry books
3rd Prize: $500 to the student
$500 to the student's school library for poetry books

Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie (PIV/LVP) is the latest initiative by Scott Griffin, who is also the Chairman and founder of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry along with Trustees Margaret Atwood, Carolyn Forché, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson and David Young. By funding the Griffin Poetry Prize, the world's largest prize for a first edition single collection of poetry written in English, The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry aims to spark the public's imagination and raise awareness of the crucial role poetry plays in our cultural life, a mission shared by Poetry In Voice.

Stephen Weir
Stephen Weir & Associates |
2482 Yonge Street, Unit 45032, Toronto, ONT.
Tel: 416-489-5868 | Fax: 416-488-6518

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Swag worth more than it costs to attend Sway Magazine Launch in support of Prostrate Cancer Canada

Free Drinks. A year's subscription to Sway Magazine, world-class entertainment and a chance to help Prostrate Cancer Canada.

April 13th (my birthday) at the Embassy Night Club
117 Peter Street Toronto
Featuring:Liberty Silver, Solitar (Silver), Mac Graham, Trix, Divine Brown and special guests!
Cost: $20 Cash (but you get complimentary cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a subscription to Sway).
RSVP to my friend Kim Graham (or to me at and I will pass it along to Kim)