Monday, March 31, 2014

Toy Theatre at Gladstone Ballroom

Bill and I went to the Toronto Storytelling Festival today to see our puppeteer friends, Mariella Bertelli and Mary Anne Cree perform as Toy Theatre.
We got to the Gladstone Hotel as a member of In The Kitchen was telling the story of The Gingerbread Man. Our storyteller lamented the Gingerbread Man climbing up on the fox's back, but reminded us, "He's only a cookie. What does he know?"
Next up were Mariella and Mary Anne, aka Toy Theatre, to perform Cinderella, or, The Tiny Shoe. 
When we meet Cinderella, she is the household slave of her ugly stepmother and two ugly stepsisters.
One ugly stepsister says, "Cinderella, make me a gown for the Ball and make it now!" 
 Cinderella says, "It would be my pleasure dear step-sister."
 Her mother and her stepsisters say, "Cinderella, we're off to the Ball in the beautiful gowns you made us. Too bad you can't go because you have nothing to wear."
 Cinderella says, "I wish I had something to wear to the Ball."
Cinderella's fairy godmother appears and says, "Cinderella, you will go to the Ball in a beautiful dress and in a magic coach."
Cinderella goes to the Ball in her magic coach.
 Her mother and sisters have arrived at the Ball and, oh my dear, are they making an impression!
 The Prince sees Cinderella at the Ball and wants to marry her.
At midnight, Cinderella, runs from the Ball, before her magic evaporates. The Prince runs after her but finds only one shoe. He travels across the kingdom looking for a girl whose foot will fit the shoe.
"Could the shoe fit you? Sorry, Sir. Of course not."
 The Prince finds Cinderella.
 The End. Thank you, Toy Theatre.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sadko Hadzihasanović at Paul Petro

Sadko Hadsihasanović's new show Young Romi opened at Paul Petro Contemporary Art on Friday night. Bill and I saw it yesterday afternoon.
The front room is full of new paintings: oil and pencil on masonite.
Most of them feature images of young Romi guys Hadzihasinovic met while sketching in Northern Serbia. He tells the story in his artist's statement
Don't miss the enormous watercolour at the foot of the stairs.
We found Sadko having lunch with Paul Petro in the small kitchen at the back of the gallery.
 We talked about the new work.
Paul brought out two small watercolours that were not in the show. 
Bill and I bought this one on the spot. 
Sadko walked us out and talked about the paintings in the front room. 
I commented on the sense of depth in this picture and Sadko said it was a trick he learned from Cézanne. For a feeling of depth have one strong horizontal line and one diagonal. 
The show is on until April 26th.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jane Siberry Posters of the 1980s

I met Jane Siberry in 1982 and immediatley offered to make concert posters for her. Siberry's partner, John Switzer, let me start with two of his wonderful photographs.

At that time in Toronto many bands were reacting to the emerging British postpunk and New Wave scene by designing fresh, original posters that were up on walls and hydro poles all over town. I collected these posters and was dying to show what I could do.

To get the type to appear over Switzer's photos I put white Letraset letters on a plastic sheet. Then I printed the posters on a Xerox copy machine. Letraset letters must be applied with great care, one at a time. It was very fussy but it was the only technology I had and the posters had to be made.

Jane would visit my apartment at Bathurst and Queen to preview new poster ideas. Trevor Hughes took this picture at the threshold.

Jane liked Hughes' photographs right away, and invited him to take pictures backstage at her concerts. Trevor caught this picture of (left to right) John Switzer, Siberry and myself looking at a box of his latest prints.

Jane's single, Mimi on the Beach, became a hit so I wanted a towel in the next poster. I put lettering on another plastic sheet and put the towel behind it. The copier did a nice job of picking up the texture.

Siberry produced this pin as publicity for her song, The Waitress. I pinned it to a napkin and put it on the copier. I shrank it down a few times and then enlarged the shrunken version to give the poster this rough quality.

I cut these letters out of a black sheet of construction paper.

Siberry thought the empty centre could use some text. Detail of the final poster.

Trevor Hughes took this picture of Siberry in the service alley behind my apartment on Manning Ave.

I also collaborated with illustrator William Kimber.

Kimber applied the golden squiggles to the edges of this nice Hughes portrait. He put a brush in my hand and gave me some of his maximum-chroma inks.

Kimber let me use the light table in his studio. It made working with Letraset much easier.

The white spots came from inside a three-holed punch.

Trevor did all his photography in his own darkroom. I put cut-out letters on one of his contact sheets. I copied it and inked out all the film sprocket holes with a black magic marker. I printed the posters from the inked-out version.

William Kimber made this scratchboard drawing based on another photograph by Trevor Hughes. The copy machine grabbed every detail. We incorporated the opening words to her new song, Seven Steps to the Wall.

This last photo by Trevor Hughes is of Jane and me in her basement studio. Thank you Trevor and thank you Jane for the fun times.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Joy of Mix-Tapes

2002: Bill and I start making playlists for our friends. I learn that a perfect CD sleeve is exactly 12 cm square.
 When I took this picture, from the front of a bus in Grimsby, Ontario, the driver asked to see it. Then he asked me to send it to him. "My supervisor has to see this."
I see we haven't made a new one in almost ten years. The new one is almost done.

For a few years I worked at Richview Library in Etobicoke. They had a great collection of Urdu and Hindi music CDs.
I enjoyed making covers for my favourites.
So much fun to pick the background and type colours with that eyedropper.