Monthly Archives: February 2017

Ticket Giveaway: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s ‘New Creations Festival’: Tanya Tagaq (Saturday, March 4, 2017 – 8:00pm)


Inuit throat singer and artist Tanya Tagaq won the Polaris Prize for best Canadian album in 2014, for Animism. Those who thought she had then made her definitive artistic statement are in for a surprise.

Also in for a shock are those who thought international success, playing to major festivals and packed houses all over the world, would lead to a mellower sound, or a more laid back approach.

Tagaq follows up Animism with Retribution, an even more musically aggressive, more aggressively political, more challenging, more spine tingling, more powerful masterpiece.

The Inuit people live on the cutting edge of the climate emergency. As sea ice dwindles at astonishing rates, they are witnessing the death of the entire Arctic ecosystem, as the colonialist machine rolls on, mining newly uncovered areas for diamonds. And the Inuit know the truth about the contemporary natures of the crimes at the center of Canada’s identity. Tagaq herself is a survivor of Canada’s infamous genocidal Residential School System, something most Canadians would rather imagine as a dealt-with thing of the distant past.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s ‘New Creations Festival’ has snapped up Tanya Tagaq to highlight their ‘New Creations Festival’ with light in these dark winter months.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s ‘New Creations Festival’ program ranges from an imposing work for piano and orchestra by Jörg Widmann to the World Premières of works by the TSO’s RBC Affiliate Composer Jordan Pal and Tanya Tagaq, written with Christine Duncan and Jean Martin, with orchestrations by Christopher Mayo.

Thank you to our friends at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for gifting Thirty Four Flavours with a pair of tickets to the ‘New Creations Festival’: Tanya Tagaq (Saturday, March 4, 2017 – 8:00pm) performance!

What are the rules when entering the Thirty Four Flavours and Toronto Symphony Orchestra Ticket Giveaway?

Simple! Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook, Twitter, or email subscription to enter the draw. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet or email ( telling me you why you want to win the Symphony tickets.

Deadline for the Thirty Four Flavours and the ‘New Creations Festival’: Tanya Tagaq Ticket Giveaway is Monday February 27, 2017.

If you don’t win tickets, make sure you grab a NEW CREATIONS FESTIVAL PASS! See all 3 shows for only $30! Limited quantity.

Ticket Giveaway: Toronto’s Vintage Clothing Show & Antiques Market Return to Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place (Saturday September 30 – Sunday October 1, 2017)


With everything from retro streetwear and vintage Chanel handbags to architectural antiques and Madmen-era advertising posters, there is only one place for the ultimate selection of vintage clothing and classic antiques: the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show and the Toronto Antique & Vintage Market. Taking place Saturday, September 30 from 10am until 5pm and Sunday, October 1 from 10am until 4pm in the Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place, these two blockbuster shows under one roof will offer a world of rare finds.

“This is going to be another great year at the Show,” said Show Manager, Catherine Knoll. “Our most popular vendors are returning with a treasure trove of items. This includes authentic turn of the century garments from the Fashion History Museum to a full range of classic vintage wedding dresses from Dear Hazel May. And who wouldn’t be excited to see the return of Luxe Touch, home for some of the most exquisite vintage Designer handbags in the world.”

According to Knoll, the popularity of vintage clothing continues to grow and is not limited to one age group. “Vintage clothing shoppers love anything from the older eras right through to the 1980’s.” It also helps that the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show has a vast selection of clothing, accessories and jewelry at all price points.”

The antique market has its own unique appeal. “The Toronto Antique & Vintage Market attracts people who are looking for great decorator finds. More and more, I see modern décor that utilizes a single antique piece as the focal point for the room,” adds Knoll. “Shoppers looking for these types of pieces can save a lot of time as the participating vendors have sifted through mountains of antiques in order to source their stock.”

Toronto Vintage Clothing Show
As Canada’s largest sale of vintage clothing, avid collectors and casual browsers will find plenty to like. The show’s boutique-style booths allow for easy browsing and conversation with the vendors, and with thousands of vintage garments to choose from, it’s easy to spend the entire day trying things on. Whether it’s a sultry Kitten Skirt like Marilyn’s or a flirty little Bolero jacket like Audrey’s, if it was made between 1920 and 1990 – it will likely be on the show floor.

Toronto Antique & Vintage Market
Toronto’s urban vintage marketplace is filled with amazing antique, vintage and retro finds! The event features everything from laid back country furniture to bohemian-style décor – sure to make decorators hearts beat just a little bit faster! Country quilts, Manhattan glass, sixties era kitchen-ware, Atlantic folk art, 20thcentury lamps, silver accents, crazy kitsch, architectural antiques and classic designer jewellery are some other featured items.

Thank you to the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show – I have two pairs of tickets to giveaway.  Email me before September 27, 2017 and let me know what you want to buy at the show this year.  You will then have a chance to grab a pair of tickets!  Good luck!

Admission: $10
Discount pass available online at

Valentine Reads: “Son of a Trickster” By: Eden Robinson and “Number 11” By: Jonathan Coe


“Son of a Trickster” By: Eden Robinson

Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who’s often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he’s also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can’t rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)–and now she’s dead.

Jared can’t count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can’t rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family’s life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat…and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he’s the son of a trickster, that he isn’t human. Mind you, ravens speak to him–even when he’s not stoned.

You think you know Jared, but you don’t.


“Number 11” By: Jonathan Coe

The long-awaited sequel to The Winshaw Legacy, the novel that introduced American readers to one of Britain’s most exciting new writers–an acerbic, hilariously dark, and unflinching portrait of modern society.

The novel opens in the early aughts: two ten-year-olds, Alison and Rachel, have a frightening encounter with the “Mad Bird Woman” who lives down the road. As the narrative progresses through time, the novel envelops others who are connected to the girls: Alison’s mother, a has-been singer, competing on a hit reality TV show; Rachel’s university mentor confronting her late husband’s disastrously obsessive search for a German film he saw as a child; a young police constable investigating the seemingly accidental and unrelated deaths of two stand-up comedians; the ludicrously wealthy family who hire Rachel as a nanny–under whose immense London mansion Rachel will discover a dark and terrifying secret. Psychological insight, social commentary, vicious satire, and even surrealist horror are combined in this highly accomplished work to hold up a revealing, disquieting mirror to the world we live in today.

Get #ValentinesDay Ready with Sally Hansen!

This Valentine’s Day, big plans or no plans, #treatyourself to a pink hued mani. Why not pamper your girlfriends with a night in? At-home manis with pink hues from Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel Collection and yummy treats are just what they need to feel the love and make sure their nails are on point for their dates. We pinky promise!

Sally Hansen joined Sally Hansen Global Color Ambassador, Madeline Poole and her BFF, Sam Ushiro, on a Valentine’s day date at Magnolia Bakery to learn how to nail our #ValentinesNails.


Now it’s your turn! Get the V-day inspired nail look and how-to using delicious Miracle Gel pinks like Pinky Promise, Pink Tank, and Pink Up.

Share the love this #ValentinesDay using #Valentinesnails, #MiracleGel and @SallyHansenCA. Getting your nails social media ready has never been easier.


Step 1 Apply two coats of Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Pinky Promise.

Step 2 Using a striping  brush, paint the arches of a heart on each nail using Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Pink Up.

Step  3 Fill in the shape at the tip of the nail with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Pink Up.

Step  4 Repeat this process using Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Pink Tank a few millimeters below the first heart  shape.

Step  5 Apply one coat of Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat to all nails.


Review: The Canadian Opera Company presents ‘Götterdämmerung’ from Richard Wagner (February 8, 11, 14, 17 and 25, 2017)

The Canadian Opera Company enters the twilight of the gods with the revival of its acclaimed production of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung directed by Toronto-area resident Tim Albery. COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts his first Götterdämmerung, at the helm of the internationally acclaimed COC Orchestra and Chorus with a cast of generation-defining voices led by powerhouse American soprano Christine Goerke in her debut as Götterdämmerung’s Brünnhilde. Götterdämmerung is sung in German with English SURTITLESTM and runs for seven performances on February 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17 and 25, 2017.

Wagner’s Ring Cycle is commonly described as “the Everest of opera.” The largest work in the history of Western music, the Ring Cycle includes four operas: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. In the fourth instalment of Wagner’s heroic Ring, after poisoned drinks, mistaken identities and much deception, Brünnhilde and Siegfried are reunited in love and death as the worlds of both men and gods go up in flames only to rise again in an unforgettable affirmation of rebirth and renewal.

Götterdämmerung is the most epic of Wagner’s tetralogy with some of the most complex and riveting music in the operatic repertoire. Many famous passages make up the final instalment of Wagner’s monumental musical journey, including Siegfried’s “Funeral March,” an orchestral showcase offering a musical retrospective of the Ring itself, and Brünnhilde’s “Immolation” scene, an immensely powerful aria in which she restores order to the world and joins Siegfried on his burning pyre in an act of love.

Director Tim Albery’s vision for the COC’s conclusion of Wagner’s masterpiece has been proclaimed as “the most inventive of all” (New York Times). First presented by the COC in winter 2006, and then in fall 2006 as part of the company’s full Ring Cycle, this Götterdämmerung is “as stunning a feat of staging as [has been] seen in Toronto” (National Post), with critics singling out that “the great virtue of Albery’s production is the urgency and absolutely clarity of the storytelling” (Opera News), while also noting the presentation as a whole represents “the COC’s proudest hour” (Globe and Mail). Production designer Michael Levine’s compelling interpretation of Götterdämmerung moves the action forward to the contemporary corporate landscape of the mortals who now rule the world and brings the cycle to a commanding and dramatic close. The lighting design is by acclaimed designer David Finn, who won back-to-back Dora Awards for his work in Die Walküre’s 2015 revival and the 2016 remount of Siegfried. Choreography is by Patti Powell.


Few roles in opera are more unique or challenging than those of Götterdämmerung’s Siegfried and Brünnhilde. They are among the most demanding tenor and soprano roles in all of opera, requiring voices of steel and sensitivity alongside super-human stamina to deliver the opera’s awe-inspiring musical drama. Austrian tenor Andreas Schager is establishing himself as one world’s leading heroic tenors and makes his COC debut as Siegfried—a role for which he’s been proclaimed a “discovery” (The Arts Desk) and “a big star in the making” (The Independent). American soprano Christine Goerke is the most sought-after Brünnhilde in the world today, her performances heralded for how her “gleaming tones sliced through the glittering orchestra” (New York Times) and possess “everything a great Brunnhilde must have: dignity, stature, and a voice of molten gold” (Toronto Star) as well as delivering “a once-in-adecade experience” (Globe and Mail). Goerke returns to sing Götterdämmerung’s Brünnhilde for the first time, previously debuting each instalment of the character in the recent COC revivals of Die Walküre and Siegfried.

Internationally renowned German baritone Martin Gantner is Gunther, Siegfried’s rival. Estonian Ain Anger, “one of the great opera basses of our time” (The Guardian), makes his Canadian and role debut as Gunther’s half brother, Hagen. Canadian bass Robert Pomakov, “a talent to watch” (Washington Post), is Alberich, whose greed for the Rhinegold began this epic saga. COC Ensemble Studio graduate soprano Ileana Montalbetti, whose performance as Ellen Orford in the COC’s recent Peter Grimes was “in the realm of greatness” (Toronto Star), returns as Gutrune, Gunther’s sister and Siegfried’s bride.

As the three Norns, daughters of Erda the Earth Goddess who are spinning the rope of destiny, is a trio of new and familiar voices. American mezzo-soprano Lindsay Ammann (Schwertleite in 2015’s Die Walküre) is the First Norn; Scottish mezzo Karen Cargill makes her COC debut as the Second Norn; and soprano Ileana Montalbetti takes on a second role as the Third Norn.

In their COC mainstage debuts as water-nymph Rhinemaidens are two COC Ensemble Studio singers, soprano Danika Lorèn as Woglinde and mezzo-soprano Lauren Eberwein as Wellgunde. Mezzo-sopranos Lindsay Ammann and Karen Cargill are also heard as the Rhinemaiden Flosshilde and the Valkyrie Waltraute, respectively.

The COC performs Götterdämmerung at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The COC’s 16/17 season marks the 10th anniversary of the Four Seasons Centre, Canada’s first purpose-built opera house, which opened in fall 2006 and has been hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world.


Single tickets for Götterdämmerung range from $35 – $235 and box seats, when available, are $350. Tickets are now on sale, available online at, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.). For more information on specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, standing room, Opera Under 30 presented by TD Bank Group, student groups and rush seating, visit


If you were hoping for a restful opera experience, Götterdämmerung or ‘Twilight of The Gods’ is not it.  It is instead the most exquisite ‘heroic opera’ that will wrench your soul out of your body and hold it in front of your face until it is done with you (5 hours later).  Götterdämmerung is epic, soul destroying and will make you feel like you have run a marathon whilst sitting in your comfy seat at The Four Seasons for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

The light motif is dominant throughout the production of ‘Götterdämmerung’. Blinding office lights, red light district fare, darkness with one small light hanging above a table and a performer slightly off stage whose face is illuminated can be seen from afar as the audience’s attention is focused on another performer in front of the stage under a dimly lit light.  The theme of remorse, isolation and regret is connected to the light as it lingers behind Siegfried and Brünnhilde.  Its unsettling grimace is noted as it also blinds the audience above Hagen and Gunther as they hatch their devious plans.

In the first Act, the theme of little phrases of music provides the audience with small snacks to nibble on as they prepare for the far larger courses to come.  Moments when the curtain closed felt like a confessional where the audience was left to soak in the poetic sound emanating from the orchestra.  Poignant, verbose in its intent and yet alarming.

The bold chord changes when Brünnhilde is awoken like a Sleeping Beauty by Siegfried was opera gold.  The audience felt the fade and a kind of water music as it washed over our hero and heroine and then encouraged the audience to feel out their thoughts, words, camaraderie and impending doom on their own.

Indeed a slow evening of opera, ‘Götterdämmerung’ was in no rush to unfold.  Similar to that of a Snap Dragon as it patiently waited for its next prey.  COC Music Director Johannes Debus oozed that motif in his conductorship.  He was in command of every single detail that he executed to his orchestral team.  Deliberate, dynamic and spun in controlled threads of tension and a quick resolution.

Dramatic soprano, Christine Goerke, can detonate a bomb with her delivery of Brünnhilde.  Her Brünnhilde is quirky, but also a maven not to be messed with.  Goerke’s on stage presence will leave you with your mouth agape and wanting more when you are already being spoon fed the most delicious, decadent and resolute treats.  Goerke’s Brünnhilde will teach the audience that love is about resignation, self-sacrifice and redemption.   Her strength goes beyond the pop culture ‘Girl Power’ peace sign but envelopes the audience in her rage, determination and a reminder that she is her father’s daughter.

‘Götterdämmerung’ at the Canadian Opera Company with Goerke at its helm is a pure Turkish Delight with extra powder and rose essence.  Whereas, Austrian tenor Andreas Schager, dreamy Siegfried is the perfect Romeo to Brünnhilde’s testy Juliet.  The audience is reminded, as much as you may want to eat the dessert before your main meal – Schager will teach the importance of patience.  As the audience roots for Brünnhilde, they will also shake their heads in wonderment of Siegfried’s choices and ultimate downfall.

Martin Gantner as Gunther and Estonian Ain Anger as Hagen added the texture within ‘Götterdämmerung’.  Darkness, disdain, jealousy, anger – these characters take it up a notch and remind the audience not to get too comfortable.  The plot was about to get even more complicated and evil.

The COC Chorus was a wonderful pop up experience in giving the audience a break from the dramatic soliloquies from the main performers.  The audience was able to linger and rest as the chorus beefed up the lay of the land and demonstrated the amount of power it takes to sing over an orchestra.  Their athleticism as a collective demonstrated their quiet determination in amplifying the contempt, dread and horrors that make up ‘Götterdämmerung’.

The COC Orchestra summarizes Wagner’s ‘Götterdämmerung’s’ drama and deep discord.  The audience felt the energy and the havoc created on stage through the deep deluge of pain evoked by the musicians and performers.  Grandiose, devastating and a reveal to make use of every moment to the best of your ability.  A simple inspiration but also an easy one to forget.  Siegfried and Brünnhilde provide the gentle take away in that you may be surprised in what you discover about yourself at the end of the day or in years to come if you take that risk and push yourself that little bit harder in the moment.  If you made it through ‘Götterdämmerung’ unscathed, you can get through anything.



Review: ROM Friday Night Live (#FNLROM): Afro Fête celebrates Black History Month (Friday February 3, 2017)


New year and new jams at #FNLROM!  On Friday February 3, 2017 we celebrated Afro Fête as part of Black History Month with a jam-packed night of vibrant music, food and activations.  The evening featured live entertainment, DJs and special performances in the Museum’s stunning galleries.

The #FNLROM Afro Fête Performances did not disappoint with the likes of Exco Levi & High Priest.  Jamaican/Canadian musician Exco Levi paid tribute to the founders of reggae music with a modern twist of poetry and sound. This four-time Juno award winner has performed in multiple tours and reggae festivals around the world.

We also enjoyed Ammoye.  Rooted in the reggae music of her native Jamaica, Ammoye effortlessly glided from reggae and dancehall to gospel, soul and R&B. Over the years, Ammoye has been performing at events and festivals around the globe, and has shared the stage with Ziggy Marley, Freddie McGregor, Romain Virgo and Beenie Man.

The Afro Lounge was off the hook!  We ordered some West African street eats, grabbed a drink, and played a game of Ludo. Complete with a dressing room in the back, showcasing exclusive pieces from the Chinedesign summer collection inspired by the Museum’s current Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana exhibition.

Who Killed Colin Roach? We also explored the interconnections between race, justice and the state in this film by Isaac Julien.  Well worth a visit!

See you in the spring!


Afro Fête Tickets: $5 for ROM Members, $15 for Adults, and $13 for Students.

#FNLROM is a specially ticketed event for adults 19+.

For information and future tickets, visit