Monday, November 30, 2009

Autumn light, Autumn colours


As November comes to an end and the weather gets colder, trees lose most of their leaves and snow is a real possibility, it's my last chance to share the last colours and lights of Autumn.

This first set of photos is from a walk we took in and around Toronto University, a fantastic place to go and enjoy a bit of urban nature, with all the yellows, oranges and reds we needed amidst both traditional and modern architecture (and, on top of that, we stumbled upon a sale of old books at Harry-Potteresque building, brilliant!). 



This second set is from the last sunny day where you could have gone out in just a T-shirt.  Granted, it was about 9 degrees, BUT that included the wind-chill factor, and the days had been rather gray and rainy, so when the sun came out in all it's glory and the temperature was really quite high for the season, all of Toronto took to the streets, parks, and the harbourfront (where we went) and simply basked in the warm suns rays, strolled, and were simply happy.   And we had a small surprise too:  at the Harboufront Centre there was a Mexican Day of the Dead festival, where we found traditional Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead) and calaveritas de azúcar (sugar skulls!).   Awesome!


So, I guess it will soon be time to start posting about snow and cold weather but, in the meantime, it was a nice, sunny, red Autumn, as it should.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sunlight

sunlight shines over the water surface


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

TRIBE (Northbound Leather's Fetish Party in Toronto)

Warning:  may contain nudity and mature themes
 


October 24th we went to a party we had been expecting for quite a while:  "TRIBE", one of North America's largest fetish parties, organised by Northbound Leather.

What was required to be able to attend?  A payment of 40 dollars.  Fetish attire (which, in essence, can be almost anything, as long as it's extreme or provocative).  And a disposition to have fun and party (otherwise, what would be the point of attending, right?).  And that would be all.   And that was the magic of it:  just about anyone with a reasonably open mind could go and have a good time.  You didn't have to belong to the leather community.  Nor to the BDSM one.  Nor to any in particular (though, of course, it didn't hurt if you did, of course).  That is, you could be just your average person with a taste for a bit of quirky fun.  What at some point could have been the (underground) domain of a (maybe hard to find) group of initiated was there, open to anyone who was willing, and openly advertised through posters on numerous corners of Toronto:  subversiveness gone commercial, some might complain, but I'd just say subversiveness at the reach of everyone (which is, in many ways, even more subversive).

4000 people partied in leather, latex, kilts, masks, corsets, piercings and partial nudity, enjoying a few hours of being extravagant, and witnessed a performance that portrayed some sort of ritual initiation where a fully naked individual was progressively bedecked with different fetish paraphernalia and subjected by a host of diverse and wild characters, belonging to different "fetish tribes".   Truely something you don't watch everyday.








This is one very open city.  Will be looking forward to next year's party!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Displacement

a touching dance performance on migration





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Glögg and raffle ticket

Glögg and raffle ticket for a trip to Sweden at Harbourfront's Swedish Christmas Fest




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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

autumn


Mid October I decided it was high time to go and enjoy nature and, hopefully, see some traditional autumn-red trees. And we headed to High Park. Just outside the city but within easy reach by tram, Toronto's largest park (1.62 km2) has trails, ponds, areas in a completely natural state, wild-life (there are even signs about looking out for coyotes) and a lake-shore. Just what I needed.

The moment we arrived and walked up the path to the entrance we were already taken away by the colours of the leaves: red, orange, bright yellow... it was a clear (though cold) day and the sun shone bright, lighting the leaves beautifully.   The path we followed took us down some steps to the lake-shore, where we enjoyed the sun and watched the reeds and the ducks for a while.   We walked past tall trees, bright flowers brimming with bees and butterflies, past greens, reds, yellows, more water... At the top of the main hill we saw an orange flower by a rock.  The petals were semi-translucent and faced the sunlight at such an angle, and the rock and ground provided such a background, that it looked almost a fluorescent flower.  You couldn't have set it up better yourself.

We saw squirrels, ducks, a couple of swans that had us all watching attentively for the precious few moments when they extended their huge wings... a beehive high up amongst the reddest of leaves... We exited the park through a trail that passed through a rich, dense tract of forest; and to think that there was a subway station just a couple of blocks away!



And, just a week later, when walking to the subway, we couldn't help taking out our iPhones to take pictures of the trees and flowers near Thomson Hall, especially knowing that, sooner or later, the cold and wind would finish them off.



The colours of Autumn.   Of a cool, sunny Autumn.   Cool.     

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

chocolate, brunches, dance and more dance!



In keeping with my multi-thematic posts, this one is about two different pleasures (eating and dance) in two different ways.

- Chocolate at the Distillery District

About a month ago it was the Distillery's turn for a visit.  Packed with Victorian era industrial architecture (it was a distillery, after all), this big area is now a historic and entertainment district, offering very pleasant walks and, amongst its cafés and restaurants, a haven for chocolate lovers:  Soma.   I had read raving reviews about the place, but I hadn't paid attention to its location, so when we came across it, it was a complete surprise and, of course, I had to go in.   And get a sizable supply of delicious chocolate of all types.  And have a mug of fantastic dark chocolate with Madagascar vanilla, chili, orange peel... with water, not milk.   What a sinful concoction.   Loved it.


- Vegan brunch at Fresh

Next day, and in keeping with the pampering of taste buds of the day before, we went for brunch to my favourite place in Toronto:  Fresh.   Why is it my favourite brunch place?  because it's vegan and has the "bestest" whole-grain banana-nut pancakes with rich, thick unprocessed dark maple syrup, delicious scrambled tofu and out-of-this-world grilled vegan sausage, AND the meanest  dark chocolate-banana-espresso-mint shake.   Yum.


- Dance at Fleck Dance Theatre (on the Harbourfront)

The week after, it was time for dance.  First, the artistic expression of dance:  we had bought tickets for a whole season of dance events, and a performance by ProArteDanza was the first one.   And you know me, I love dance.  So I was happy.   I can't say much about the technical or artistic merits of the performance, as I'm no connoisseur, but then again, I watch dance because I derive a very intimate pleasure from it's being performed, so.   Shame no photos were allowed inside.



- Dance at Fly

And, like vegan brunch following chocolate at Soma, a night at Fly, the most famous gay night-club in Toronto, followed the performance of ProArteDanza.   I had mentioned the club before.  It's where Queer as Folk (the US version) used to film its night-club scenes and, quite honestly, we had a blast and danced until we could no more.   Not as artistic as the dance performance, but probably every bit as liberating for me.



Chocolate and dance.  Delicious.