Sunday, May 30, 2010

Doors Open Toronto 2010

What fun!

Woke up early Saturday morning and left around 9:30 hoping to get to our first stop, the Archives of Ontario, by 10 am. It was Hell and gone, at Steeles and Keele, we missed a turn, and got there a few minutes before 11 but it worked out as they had a tour starting at 11. The tour quide was so energetic and knowledgable, looked a bit like Alan Cummings in the movie Circle of Friends.

As we enter, we're greated by a wall with a sampling of photos and documents:

Moving along, we see a photograph found under floorboards from 1912. This was the world's largest photograph at the time, an 18-foot panoramic, and had two shots of Niagara Falls in winter and summer.

This place was really great, I'm glad we went.

As we headed back downtown I knew Toronto had a holocaust memorial and I've wanted to see it for a long time. When you Google "Toronto Holocaust Memorial" though you get this building. We pulled in there, the whole place was shut up tighter than a drum. Luckily this woman happened to be walking past, we asked her, and she advised where to go. The memorial is actually in a park on the south east corner of Bathurst and Sheppard.
Not bad, I'm glad I saw it.

From there it was off to Artworks Wychwood Barns, an old TTC streetcar storage building:

And is now a community greenhouse, amongst other things.
Love this baby pineapple!

Back on the way home with the car, a stopoff at Coach House Press, which used to be a Coach House, and I've always wondered how books were made. I know now. I also saw my friend Sasha there, whom I hadn't seen for a long while, so that was also nice.

Back to home to leave the car, then a quick walk over to the Canadian Music Centre.

This is a place which collects Canadian sheet music and consults with choirs on selections, licences music for Canadian composers, etc.
The guy giving the tour was I think the closest I came all weekend to someone I could actually see myself dating but I worry the constant fascination with classical music would put me off. Or maybe he gets enough of it at work and listens to disco at home???

Up on Sunday morning and we crossed the street to the National Ballet School only to find it was closed on Sunday.
From there a quick walk to the Arts and Letters club.
Now this place isn't something I would have picked but it did have some cool things, I met a friend there who works with the Archives, the stage and main room were quite nice:

The place is like a community centre for artists and writers. They have life drawing, lunches, skits, guest speakers. Could be something to look into when I retire.
From there a subway over to Campbell House museum:

I've walked past this place a million times but I've never gone in. Turns out it is the oldest brick building in Toronto.
Amazing interiors, notice the turquoise bath:

The bed seemed quite small for people that owned a mansion. The guide said they were terrified of drafts and used to draw the curtains on the bed at night. Stuffy!
This picture hung in the room and was sold to Europeans as a painting of Canadians hunting beavers. You can click on the photo to enlarge it. The guide pointed out it's not that accurate, as beavers don't actually live in condos.

The kitchen was really cool:

The guide said something which makes sense but I've never thought of before. They only turn on the oven like once or twice a week. You can't just make a batch of brownies and shove them in, when you turn on the oven you have to have prepared like 4 loaves of bread and then cakes and then cookies, it's an assembly line. You don't go to all the bother of turning it on unless you're really ready to cook.
This was the dry sink:

Plumbing had been invented 30 years before but was so expense only royalty could afford it.

The entrance way:

From there back home for the car and over to Inglenook Community School:

This is an alternative school with classes like "queer studies" and where all the students go out in the community and volunteer every Wednesday rather than go to school. It's only for grade 11 and 12's. The classrooms had couches. I love the idea that people who are true individuals can express themselves in a non-traditional setting and meeting the students and seeing the school was amazing.
As I left I saw this painting:

And asked if it was Rocky and Dr. Frankenfurter.

Monday, May 17, 2010


How I spent my Sunday....

All hand sewn.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Joke's on me

Last year when Toronto's gay theatre company, Buddies in Bad Times, announed an all lesbian season I complained to everyone who would listen. A part of my agrees that women have been under-represented in the past, and that perhaps this idea was not without merit, but the big part of me was just disappointed. It's not like I could just go to the OTHER gay theatre this year, there's only one!
So I went the entire year without seeing a play there. When they called and asked if I wanted to renew my season subscription I laughed and laughed and all the while sat tight waiting for the season to be over.
The season is over.
Yesterday Buddies announced their new season.
And in keeping with their stated mandate of "gender pairity" they are following up their lesbian season with the 2011 season in which all scripted plays are written by women! Good one.
The sole male performance is from Montreal's 2boyztv which 2 years ago put on the worst, most pretentious piece of crap I've ever seen. And this performance is a follow up to that.
Oh happy day!

I am torn. A part of me wants to write letters and condemn this PC attitude being taken too far, and now even the gay clubs are excluding my kind, and by that I mean men. But I also realize that I would be hung out to dry from my testicles by women who are twice the man I'll ever be.
So I think instead I'll just laugh it off, laugh and laugh.
And remove this theatre company from my radar.

Ha, ha, ha!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Seemed like a good idea at the time.....

Dear Bob Rae, MP, Toronto Centre

It seemed like a good idea at the time. A change in government, fiscal responsibility, Stephen Harper wearing sweaters....

I voted Conservative in the last election. There were promises of a new, moderate party, a coalition that would respect all sides. But in the last two days, all that has been lost.

The idea that in 2010 a coalition of men could stand up and decide the rights of women is disgusting. Where are the feminists, the men of conscience, the Canadian majority, who oppose limiting women's access to birth control?

And The Toronto Star saying 68% of people support not funding Toronto Pride, how do they think crowd control and garbage collection will be paid for during the city's largest tourism event of the year, complete with the economic windfall it provides?

I am not too big to admit I was wrong, and now I, and the civic minded people of Canada need your help to right this wrong.

I realize it's a big task but I, my friends and family, and all good-hearted citizens of this country support you.

Best of luck.

Adam Dunn

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The truth is out there

Went to see A Film Unfinished at Hot Docs last night. What is scaring me, and what I'm finding more and more, is a total disregard for the truth in our society.
This film contains within it a 60 minute unfinished film on life in the Warsaw ghetto, interspersed with information about the film and people's reactions to the film. While moving and a fantastic piece of WWII history, I questioned the narrative added over the film (the original film was silent).
The film is made in Isreal and funded by a Jewish organization which is fine but doesn't add to the impartiality of this as a "documentary". The film even contracted itself, at one point saying the women is fancy suits eating lunch was actors portarying propaganda, at another having a woman say that she remembers her mother in a similar outfit having high tea.
I'm not saying like in the Warsaw ghetto was a piece of cake, but the narrative was slanted and presented as fact. At one point, they used cutting room floor footage to show that the entire film was staged. For example, the have "Take one" with a woman walking into a meat shop, saying there were no meat shops. In "Take two" we see the same scene, with a cameraman sticking his head out of the butchery. This is explaine as definitive proof that the entire film is staged, and the woman in front of me starts shaking her head and saying "Wow, all lies!"
I question when someone is telling you something, their opinion, and your eyes are telling you something completley different, how you can choose to believe what you're told. Does no one look deeper?
Another perfect example of this is the recent blow-up over health curriculam changes in Ontario schools. The myths, what people were saying, far over-shadowed the facts. "Orgies in grade three" far outweighed the facts, presented here from the rejected curriculam:

Teacher: "Sometimes we are different in ways you cannot see - such as how we learn, what we think, and what we are able to do. Give me some examples of things that make each person unique."


Teacher: "How can you be a role model and show respect for differences in other people?"

Well burn down the house, that's pretty hot stuff!

The final example happened in my mom's small town of Minden, ON. There 200 people gathered to protest "Health Care Cuts". Which would be fine if any health care cuts were made.
Instead the government cut the cost of generic drugs by 50%. Well, call the law! Now instead of paying $50 for a prescription, I pay $25. Where's my placard? I'm ready to protest!
Once again, the media message, funded by the pharmacies, triumphs and the truth is found under foot of 200 people on a small town sidewalk.