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Queen West Art Crawl

Is that your shoe? Follow skinny jeans westward (to the tune of "Follow the Yellow Brick Road")

Bored much?  Sad and depressed that you have to start wearing a jacket?  I feel your pain.  You know what will cheer you up?  It’s that time of year again for the 8th Annual Queen West Art Crawl.  I know ART can draw you out of your funk.  Best of all – it’s FREE!  Taking place from Friday, September 18 to Sunday, September 20, 2010 the QWAC is an annual event celebrating local artists and the community.  The theme for this year is ‘Intersections’ which means the art and installations will have a mash-up quality.  Remixes are always fun, non?

The QWAC centers around the Outdoor Show and Sale in Trinity-Bellwoods Park but there are many interesting happenings going on along Queen West West and deeper into Parkdale.  A curated list of things to check out:

  • Opening Night Gala at The Gladstone Hotel –  An Art Battle, two artists will compete in a timed paint off.  You be the judge. 
  • Outdoor Show & Sale – Over 250 local artists and food vendors will be setting up shop in the park.  A great way to interact with artists and decorate your living room.
  • Symposium Series – Set up in the park will be a number of artistic organizations and artist guest speakers talking on various subjects from creative process to local ‘stitch n’ bitch’ meet-ups.  
  • Walk the walk – Make sure to stop by the many galleries, cafes and shops lining Queen West; similar to Nuit Blanche (but not open all night) many are community partners and will likely have some special programming.

I encourage you to design your own art weekend and visit the Offficial Website for the Queen West Art Crawl.

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September 16, 2010   1 Comment

Adornment Chola-Style

Gwen's nod to Chola's of SoCal (Southern Cali (fornia)): "Shhhh, or i'm gonna pop you bi-atch." Love the use of double short form/acronym/bracket.

The other day as I was getting my long overdue pedi, I came across some ridiculously fun samples of nail art.  While the girl in the adjacent massage chair had requested the embellishment of her big toes with a crazytown pattern, I had a momentary tinge of ‘should I?‘  An internal debate raged on in my head (felt like an eternity, lasted only 30 seconds);  I ended up deferring this time around.  My resolution being that next time I have a party/social, I would choose something wild for my finger nails as a ‘conversation piece.’ Plus, who the heck’s gonna look at my toes?  Maybe the one closet foot fetishist in the room.  Dramatization:  I point at random things and hold my champagne flute at eye-level.  “Oh my nails are inspired by Modgliani’s Reclining Nude and I decided to go tribal ikat with my pinky fingers.”

The song that best matches these fingers is Notorious B.I.G.'s Hypnotize.

There’s a quality about Nail Art that is kind of borderline tacky-gangstah.  I won’t lie.  I kind of love it.  It reminds me of Chola style and hip hop.  What is a Chola, you ask?  I kid you not, an excerpt from The Urban Dictionary:  “Hardcore latina gangbangers. They usually have thin, arched, angry looking tattooed-on or penciled-on eyebrows, brown or dark red lip liner, ‘Monroe’, eyebrow and nose piercings, tats, Converse or Nikes, flannel shirts, lots of gold jewlrey (with their name and crosses), crunchy gelled or moussed hair either down or gelled in a high perfect ponytail either straight back or gelled in a design, and they go out with cholos… It is much more common to just look like a chola, and not act like a chola.”  And while I don’t necessarily recommend leaving the house in head-to-toe Chola (unless you want to be the latest Crip or Blood recuit), there are some fun styling homages that I do suggest.

Two-Finger Rings – Of late, there has been a huge influx of two or three finger rings.  I don’t think they are very comfortable but fashion has never been about comfort, has it?  The sensation feels like your fingers are crazy-glued together at the base.  I think the look is reminiscent of knuckle rings, used to pack a powerful punch and kick the crap out of someone in a fight.  These days you can find them emblazoned with your name (a la Carrie Bradshaw nameplate necklace)  or with dainty birds or flowers. 

LC's gold nameplate ring. Don't mess.

Mega-bling Gold – Chunky gold necklaces are pretty major.  I can’t get over the look which has been going strong for a few seasons now.  The necklace can be very street flashy when the gold link has a bit of toughness to it and is oversized almost to the point of parody.  When you wear one, you can refer to yourself as your street cred name.  ie. “Holla!  Miss X-tina in da house, papy cholo.”   

Editor’s Note:  I just read this post again and to answer the question lingering in your mind: “Yes, I am a lil’ bit loco (English translation – crazy) funny.  And I do talk a lot of smack (crazy-talk) in real life.”

Intense! Kenneth Jay Lane gold chunky link necklace.

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July 8, 2010   No Comments

DIY: Bejewelled Bib Necklaces

This bib ain't for babies.

This bib ain't for babies.

Kicking around the city, killing time waiting to meet friends, I sat in a hipster cafe and pasted a love collage of Bib Necklaces into my sketchbook.  Oh yes, LC goes mobile.  Bib necklaces are all the rage this season.  The term describes an ornate necklace which sits flat on your collar bone and is quite dramatic in diameter.  I think the most beautiful and interesting are ones with vintage elements (of course!) that mix romantic with tough and look less than perfecto.  There are a multitude of styles to suit your fancy – some have intricate beading and others with gauzy, chiffon rosettes mixed with oversized, semi-precious stones or bright rhinestones.  Ah-ma-zing right?

I think the Bib Necklace is a fun DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Project for a chill, fall afternoon.  Where to start, you ask? 

  • Get into the Groove – Get inspired by looking at magazines or Google-ing images online.  Draw out a rough sketch of how you want your necklace to look.  You are Art!
  • Shop for knick-knacks, lace, buttons, beads and notions –  Shopping for bits of this and that is crazytown fun. It’s like being on an episode of Project Runway.  In Toronto, check out the stretch of Queen West, west of Spadina.  There are tons of fabric and bead shops like Designer Fabrics, The Beadery and MacDonald Faber.  My designer friend J says MacDonald Faber is like ‘her sanctuary, it’s so organized.’  Organization is hottt. 
  • Get Crafty – Using tracing paper and a pencil, get a friend (or use a mirror) to draw out a half-moon shape you would like to fit nicely in proportion to your neck and collar bone.  Pin the shape you are happy with to a dark coloured felt and cut out.   
  • Martha Stewart Is My Mothah – Like any good collage, lay out your necklace pieces to see what combinations look pretty together.  Plug in your mini pink glue gun and start creating.  In the vein of also being a perfectionistah, sew a ribbon to each end of your felt bib necklace base to tie behind your neck.  For the fashion adventurous, use other materials such as leather cord or multichains.   
  • You’re a Hopeless Wreck – And if you’ve burnt the tips of your fingers on hot glue after hours of DIY attempts and you feel like all is lost like a Coldplay song, just log onto www.etsy.com for those expert, indie crafters who will sell you one of their gorgeous creations for a nominal fee.

Wow, you are soooo creative, I can’t even put it into words.  And next time someone showers your Bib Necklace with oodles of compliments, just say, “Why thank you.  It’s DIY baby.”

Charlotte Russe peacock feather bib necklace. Exotic!

Charlotte Russe peacock feather bib necklace. Exotic!

3.1 Phillip Lim Silk Necklace.  The Bib Necklace is over the top so pare it down with a simple tank as seen in Lucky.

3.1 Phillip Lim Silk Necklace. The Bib Necklace is over the top so pare it down with a simple tank as seen in Lucky.

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October 14, 2009   No Comments

Zombies Run Fast

This is an undead fun fact.  I know this is a weird post for the LC but admittedly it’s a boyish passion of mine, a love of the zombie genre.  When I was younger, I would always rent zombie movies – Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead…even the off-beat ones with Bruce Campbell.  I’ve seen them all (perhaps some parts with my face hidden behind a blanket).  Whenever we had a sleepover, there were steadfast rules to watching scary films 1) Start with scary, end with funny comedy 2) Walk upstairs to bedroom turning on lights one at a time to avoid darkness 3) Jump into bed to avoid monsters underneath.  These days, it’s hard to coerce friends into watching horrors.  The love trumps fear so I will even go as far as renting them while I’m home alone. Creepy huh?

Some educated learnings I’ve come to acquire should I ever face a zombie epidemic –  They have crazy eyes, they are ravenous for brains and no matter how hard you try, they will always outrun you, so find a good hiding spot.  Some of the more recent zombie films to watch are 28 Days Later and its follow up 28 Weeks Later.  Robert Rodriguez recently released Planet Terror which was quite campy for a zombie film.

If you want a taste of ghoulish fun, master zombie director George A. Romero is presenting Romero’s Survival of the Dead during TIFF’s Midnight Madness.  If zombies aren’t your thang, stay clear of Yonge-Dundas Square on September 12th.  In a tribute to the famed director, they are bringing back the hit interactive installation from Nuit Blanche Zombie Walk.

I have given this question much thoughtful consideration: “If a zombie was two seconds from eating my brain, what would I do?”  Hrmm, while I would be resistant at first, I would just let them eat my brain instead of running in fear.  Plus, I’ve been a vegetarian so long, it might be fun to be a carnivore again.  I could never get over the mental hurdle.  Pass the Worchester sauce.  (No pics for this post – scary factor censored for LC)

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September 2, 2009   1 Comment