Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Bill and I are amused and impressed by the library's Let books transform you this April ads from their Keep Toronto Reading campaign.
So we've been trying variations from our own home library.
And putting them up on the library's Facebook page.
Though I'm too shy to put this one up.
What do you think?
When we posted this one the library responded "Two heads are better than one!" Funny!
This is a fascinating novel with a great cover. Have you read Hemon? In a blurb on the back cover, British novelist Zadie Smith said Hemon's first novel "is alright I suppose if you appreciate multi-lingual genius types who learn the language in six months, write with great humour and style, and then get compared to Nabokov in the New York Times."
Is there a better portrait of Genet than this one?
I didn't realize Bill was making such effective use of the top of my head.
Bill slipped into a favourite blue shirt to match Mr Clemente.
This is my favourite portrait. Bill took two pictures of me and then photo-shopped them together. I love Mr Larkin's tiny head. Very Beetlejuice!

Monday, March 28, 2011

On the Couch

Bill was processing his book-portraits of me for the library's Facebook page this afternoon while I was enjoying this fabulous Picasso monograph on the couch.
It's written by Brigitte Léal and Marie-Laure Bernadac, formerly curators at the Musée Picasso in Paris. Now Leal is a curator at the Centre Pompidou and Bernadac is a curator at the Lourve. The third author, Christine Pilot, co-authored the catalogue raisonné of Picasso's sculptures. How cool is that? Their writing is consistently interesting.
I'm driven to look at Picasso's paintings from this period. Not sure why, but they've been driving me crazy with pleasure. "Woman in a Red Armchair" and "Woman Seated in a Red Armchair" are both from 1932. I love them.
Picasso was still seeing Dora Maar when he painted these gorgeous portraits of Marie-Thérèse Walter in 1937. I pulled Open Secret out of the bookcase, John Moyne and Coleman Barks' translation of Rumi [1999] and opened it to this astonishing Quatrain:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Harriet's Party

Harriet had a little party last weekend.
Bill and I always love being invited into her cozy sanctuary.
That's Harriet in the mirror. The painting of the church was done by her father. When Harriet saw it she immediately asked him for it. Bill and I like it a lot.
Harriet recently unearthed and edited these self portraits. She told me she did several of these a day during a period of intense activity. At the party I was drawn to look at them again and again.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Crows Nest Barber Shop

I've had my eye on this barber shop in Kensington Market for some time. I finally got my hair cut there today.
The Crows Nest Barber Shop is ultra cool, with very friendly barbers. But if you want a haircut be sure to make an appointment, because these guys are very busy.
I've never seen art magazines in a barber shop before. That's Wolfgang Tillmans, one of my favourite photographers on the cover of that magazine -- an excellent omen!
Here are two of the barbers at work. I was too shy to take proper portraits, even though the barbers were very approachable and encouraged me to take pictures. I love this shrine to a hair product called Layrite -- well, that name explains itself.
I left with a great longish crew cut. I will definitely be back.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Art Treasures

Bill and I left two stories out of our account of our art crawl last Saturday because we didn't have illustrations.
Type Books had some original, Leanne Shapton watercolours for sale for $10. We admired them, made as if to leave the shop, looked at each other and went back and bought this marvelous, puddled,  X.
We also dropped into Paul Petro Contemporary Art that Saturday and we loved the new show. We hadn't known the work of Toronto artist Sandy Plotnikoff. There was one small work that we loved and when I got home I called Paul but the work had sold. Paul told us Plotnikoff was doing two more pieces the same size and offered to call us when they were ready. Bill and I went to the gallery after hours last Friday night and brought home this little panel.
For his Petro show Plotnikoff was working with "holographic foils on cinefoil mounted on dibond". It can look quite icy from a distance. The picture bursts into colour as you walk toward it.
The colours change as you change your position.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Last Saturday on Queen Street West

Bill and I got off the Queen Street West streetcar at Dufferin last Saturday so we could walk back to Bathurst taking pictures and looking in art galleries. I wanted to see the new Dufferin extension that Bill had told me about. I didn't take a picture of the extension but the underpass on Queen St West stopped me in my tracks.
 Of course, construction sites so often look like art installations so it was the perfect place to begin our art crawl of Queen St West.
We like to eat at The Beaver if we are early enough to get a table. The staff are always so nice there. If there's a table you always get seated right away with a bottle of fresh Toronto tap water and your menu.
We always check out the Fly Gallery (a window for Art) at 1172 Queen Street West. We love the winter creature presently on display.
Katharine Mulherin had three wonderful shows. Here are some lovely new Roberta McNaughtons in Mulherin's window. We also loved her show of Ray Fenwick's small paintings on book covers, Mascots at 1086 Queen West.
 I've always been fascinated by this Tae Kwon Do mannequin with it's soft eyes and traces of past incarnations.
Bill loved this cactus and hand lettering at an old appliance store near Fennings Ave.
I was Kinnearing (taking photographs without holding the camera up to your eye) as we walked along Trinity Bellwoods Park . This was my fave.
We ordered a churrasquiera chicken at Inigo near Strachan Ave. We'd read about these free-range, grain-fed, birds from Quebec. We had to wait, because the latest set of chickens wasn't ready to come out of the oven. We killed 15 minutes at Type Books nearby. 

When we got back to Inigo we watched the roast chickens come out of the oven in a burst of steam. The chef, Carlos Hernandez, gave us a free serving of lovely pickled vegetables because we'd had to come back. He said, "I need to look after you."
The chicken we took home was utterly delicious, and so were the pickles, especially the onions.  We'll be back for dinner. We've decided we need to eat our way through their menu.