Thursday, February 24, 2011

What to do in Toronto this weekend

There are two exciting events happening in Toronto this weekend, and fortunately, they don’t conflict!

The first event is the Yemen Blues North American debut Tour on Saturday Night - presented by the Ashkenaz Festival. This unique musical group has a style that combines traditional Yemen melodies with jazz, blues and funk to create a sound unlike any other.

When: Saturday, February 26 at 8:30 PM
Where:The Mod Club, 722 College St.
Tickets: $25 in advance (416.979.9901), $30 at the door

Tickets and info are here:

For an even better deal, Koffler members can get two tickets for $40! If you’re not yet a member, sign up ASAP to save on tickets. Memberships start at only $36 and include a ton of benefits!

The second event this weekend is a reading by Charles Foran from his new book, Mordecai: The Life and Times.

Foran, who was born and raised in Toronto, has had a prolific writing career so it’s no surprise that Mordecai: The Life and Times has received rave reviews. When writing it, Foran was given access to previously restricted material, and he later had the book looked over by Florence, Mordecai Richler’s widow.

When: Sunday, February 27 at 7:00pm
Where: The Curtain Club in Richmond Hill
Tickets: $15 (905.773.3434)

Casandra Campbell

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Graphic Details - Opens tonight at the Gladstone!

Wow, it’s finally here! Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women opens tonight from 7:30 to 10 PM at the Gladstone Hotel! This traveling exhibition has received some great press - the links are available in this post - so I’m excited it’s almost here. In the meantime, I’ve been reading up on some of the women who are a part of it. Here’s what I’ve learned about the women in this final installment.

Diane Noomin
Diane Noomin was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1947. Noomin was an early contributor to Wimmen’s Comix, and helped create the first edition of Twisted Sister Comics--an anthology of women cartoonists she still edits. Noomin has also published a number of books, been nominated for Harvey and Eisner Awards, received the Ink Pen Award, and curated several exhibits. Noomin is probably best know for her character, DiDi Glitz, a hilarious suburban mother trying vainly to revamp her life.

Sharon Rudahl
Sharon Rudahl, born in 1947, now lives in Hollywood. She has been in graphic art since the 1970s and, like Noomin, helped create Wimmen’s Comix. She is well known for Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman (2007), though it’s not her most confessional work. Rudahl’s sequences, Two Timer and Star Sapphire, and her own comic, Adventures of Crystal Night (1980) draw more on her own personal experiences.

Laurie Sandell
Laurie Sandell, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, spent many years travelling and working as a writer before creating her first graphic memoir, The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir (2009). This memoir was first written as a piece for Esquire in 2003 before it became a book. Sandell has also written for Glamour , GQ, and InStyle--to name a few--and her cartoons have appeared in Glamour, New York, and the Wall Street Journal.

Ariel Schrag
Ariel Schrag, who works out Los Angeles and New York, also has an established career as a writer. She is the author of several autobiographical graphic novels titled, Awkward and Definition, Potential, and Likewise. One of the memoirs, Potential, is being developed into a film. Schrag is also currently a writer for the HBO series How to Make it in America. Schrag has even put on live performances of her comics with slides, a musical soundtrack, and Schrag reading the voices!

Lauren Weinstein, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, is a woman of many talents. She is not only a cartoonist, but also a cartooning teacher, and a rock singer in a band called Flaming Fire. Weinstein’s first solo comic, Inside Vineyard, was published in 2003. Since then she has published Girl Stories (2006), and Goddess of War (2008). Weinstein has received an Ignatz Award for “Promising New Talent” in 2004, and her work has appeared in publications such as Glamour, The New York Times, and McSweeney’s.

I hope to see you tonight at the Gladstone Hotel and don’t forget to check out Michael Kaminer's Graphic Details blog!

Casandra Campbell

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Cabaret-Chanson at Alliance Française

You have probably heard of Mitch Smolkin before. He was the artistic director for the Ashkenaz Festival from 2001-2006, he is a beautiful performer of Yiddish music, and he is currently an artistic associate with the Harbourfront Centre. What you may not know is that he can also sing chanson.

On Friday evening, Smolkin will be collaborating with Sophie Perceval and Denis Schingh for an evening of Pillow Songs, or Chansons sur l’oreiller, at Toronto’s Alliance Française. For this performance, the gallery will turn into a bedroom and the singers will explore intensity and emotion through music.

I’ve attended the Chanson-Cabaret series at Alliance Française before. The stage is low and the room is small and packed, but it makes for a wonderfully intimate performance. The level of talent is high, and so is the energy of the audience. Pillow Songs might be the perfect theme for this series.

Pillow Songs @ Alliance Française
24 Spadina Road, 7:30pm
Admission: $12 (free for AFT members!)

Casandra Campbell

Friday, February 4, 2011

Envision - join our new Membership Program!

The Koffler just launched our brand new Membership Program! It's called Envision and we really think you should join ;)

Why? Tons of great reasons:

- fabulous discounts on Koffler classes for you and your family
- special members' prices for our ticketed events
- “face time” with artists, musicians, writers and other luminaries at private receptions
- art connoisseurship classes in artists’ studios and other unique places
- invitations to pre and post opening receptions and other events
- complimentary tickets to exciting Koffler public programs

Need more reasons? How about the MIX Card - every member gets one, regardless of level - it gives you 10-20% (sometimes more) off dozens of local businesses and restaurants. Look whose signed up so far:

Aboveground Art Suppliers |
Day & Night Woodworking
DeSerres |
Pottery Supply House | 
Tuckers |
Canadian Art Magazine |
Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company |
Olga Korper Gallery |
Petroff Gallery |
TNT The New Trend |
Fireflow Yoga |
Fix Me Accessible Acupuncture & Shiatsu |
Metaphysique |
Caplansky's Deli |
L.A.B. Restaurant |

Check back regularly as we are adding new vendors to the MIX Program everyday.

So... join Envision & support arts, culture and the Koffler... we'll even be offering our blog readers some special deals - so watch for it!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Henry Waks' promise fulfilled

This is a wonderful story written by Leigh Brown on UJA Federation of Greater Toronto's blog on the Waks family's generosity towards the Koffler Centre of the Arts.

The Sylvia Dzialoszynski Waks Rotunda - named in memory of the family's matriach who passed away in 2009 - will be one of the signature spaces in the new Koffler Centre of the Arts. What a beautiful way to honour a wife, a mother and a lover of the arts and Jewish culture! Read the full post here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Google Art Project

Famous works of art, located all over the world, have just become a lot more accessible. Seventeen of the world’s most prestigious art museums can now be explored by anyone, from almost anywhere in the world, for free.

Google Art Project doesn’t just show photos of paintings and other works of art, it provides a truly interactive experience. It uses Street View technology so not only can users view the artwork, but they can literally navigate through the museum as if they with there--without all the walking, of course! Once users do focus in on a piece an art, they have an advantage over museum visitors. From their computer they are able to zoom in on a work, view other works by the same artist, and even watch related YouTube content. Lastly, like so many new and successful technologies, Google Art Project allows users to customize their experience. Users can choose their favourite pieces and create their own collection. In their collection they are able to add comments, and even share the whole thing with friends and family.

An even more exciting possibility are the pedagogical applications of the project. Art teachers could create collections relevant to their lesson plan and send a copy to all of their students. They could include their notes on the works, allow students to comment and discuss online, and it could be accessed by everyone from home or the library without all the photocopying.

I spent some time in Italy this summer and was lucky enough to tour Florence’s Uffizi Gallery in person; however, if you haven’t been to the Uffizi, you can now see a close-up of Carvaggio’s Sacrifice of Isaac. If you haven’t been to Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza like me, you can now view the paint-strokes in Degas’s Swaying Dancer. And if despite living a few hours away you haven’t gotten to Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada you can even get a close-up of all the figures in Wertinger’s Summer.

On a similar note, Israel’s Holocaust museum in Yad Vashem, recently worked with Google to create an online archive of some of their collection. Much like Google Art Project, this archive has made thousands of photos and documents a lot more accessible. It’s possible that in the future Yad Vashem’s entire museum could be available online in the same way.

Casandra Campbell

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Graphic Details: The Artists, Part 3

In a about 2 weeks Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women will be opening at the Gladstone Hotel. This traveling exhibition has received some great press - the links are available in this post - so I’m getting excited for its arrival. In the meantime, I’ve been reading up on some of the women who are a part of it. Here’s what I’ve learned about the women in this third installment.

Vanessa Davis
Davis, born in West Palm Beach, Florida, is now living in Santa Rosa, California. Though she is young, Davis has already published two books: Spaniel Rage in 2005, and Make Me A Woman in 2010. Make Me A Woman, is like looking into Davis’s diary as she tells intimate stories from her youth .Check out this preview from Drawn and Quarterly and you will definitely laugh out loud! In addition to her own publications, Davis has also done work for The New York Times, Dissent Magazine, and Tablet Magazine, to name a few.

Sarah Gideon
Gideon, who works out of Brooklyn, New York, is best know for her graphic novel, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less. It was initially a self-published Zine Gideon created after going on a Birthright trip to Israel. There is a great interview about the new expanded version in Comics Alliance. Gideon was a contributor to Syncopated: An Anthology of Nonfiction Picto-Essays, and I Saw You...Comics Inspired by Real-Life Missed Connections. Gideon has also won an Ignatz Award for Promising New Talent in 2008.

Miriam Katin
Katin, who was born in Hungary during WWII and later immigrated to Israel, now lives in the United States. She has been a graphic artist for many years but only published her first graphic novel--a Holocaust autobiography called We Are On Our Own--in 2006. You can preview the book on her website. Prior to publishing her book, Miriam served as a graphic artist in the Israel Defense Forces, and worked as a background designer for MTV Animation and Disney Studio.

Miss Lasko-Gross
Lasko-Gross, currently working in New York, is best know for her semi-autobiographical graphic novels, Escape from “Special(2007), and A Mess of Everything (2009). She is a graduate of the Pratt Institute where she began her career by editing the school’s comic book, Star Fish. Lasko-Gross also wrote her own comic series called AIM from 1993-2001, and has contributed to many others including the latest issue of House of Twelve.

Watch for more information about the contributors to Graphic Details in the weeks to come and don’t forget to check out Michael Kaminer's Graphic Details blog!

Casandra Campbell