Monday, June 5, 2023

IncluCity fest returns to Toronto, bigger than ever

 by Allan Tong

The ICFF is back, or shall I say the Lavazza IncluCity Festival, organized by the ICFF? Once Toronto's Italian film fest, IncluCity has rebranded in recent years into a multicultural (and multi-disciplinarian) visual arts festival. The core remains Italian films, but IncluCity has expanded its tent to include even Jewish and Chinese cinema, not to mention painting, opera, fashion and this year horror films. All in all, IncluCity will screen more than 50 feature films drawn from 26 countries.

From June 27 to July 22, the center of IncluCity will be the Distillery District with screenings taking place in oversize, plush seats beneath the stars (rain or shine) on this historic district's cobblestone avenue. It is, without a doubt, the most gorgeous setting to watch a film. 

There's a lot to unpack with IncluCity 2023, and here are the highlights:

Friday, April 14, 2023

The Artist Project returns to Toronto

Ross Bonfanti's Concreatures
Story & photos by Allan Tong
The Artist Project returned to Toronto's CNE Grounds at the Better Living Centre after a long pandemic hiatus. The show, which runs through Sunday, April 16, is a buffet of visual arts mostly paintings, but this year adding a welcome twist of mixed media and even a fashion show. Thursday saw the traditional opening night party, complete with food and drinks for sale. The party is always fun, allowing visitors to wander the hundreds of art booths with a wine or beer in hand, but there was less of both in previous years (though normal in this post-Covid world given the labour shortage.) Still, the addition of mixed media was a smart addition that I hope continues in future editions. Some art that caught our eye:
Ryan Bock's Ode To Duchamp
 Shawn Alex Thompson
Gina D'Aloisio's Deep Breaths
Phil Carriere
Options were mostly mediocre junk food, but there was a decent booth offering salads and charcuterie hidden in a corner, unfortunately, that impressed a local chef.
Kelly McCray's Tower of Banned Books
Ross Bonfanti's Concreatures
Ross Bonfanti's Concreatures

Friday, January 20, 2023

IDS returns to Toronto with a bash

Christina Sideris

Toronto's Interior Design Show returns to January's cultural calendars after a hiatus (for obvious reasons) and following last year's IDS taking place in April right after lockdown. It felt great for IDS to be back, launching last night with their traditional opening party and running through Sunday, January 22 in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre's south building. Yesterday, saw the start of trade days full of speakers waxing about all things beautiful yet functional in the home. Though home sales are slumping, Canadians will continue to renovate their houses, condos and apartments, so the industry outlook is positive for 2023.

Thursday's opening soiree saw some booth, such as Miele's, pouring wine and champagne to invite visitors to inspect kitchen spaces, living rooms sets and luxury showers. There were at least three food stations scattered throughout the hockey-arena-sized space. The most popular offered vegetarian Chinese noodles (it's the Year of the Rabbit on Sunday), though another supplied just chips. There was more food in previous years, some noted, though the crowds of the chicly dressed and fashionably groomed adored the atmosphere, particularly around the Caesarstone stage where a DJ spun beats.

Trade Days continue today (Friday) at 4:30 pm with a keynote at the Caesarstone stage about designing the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, featuring Jordan Bennett, Shirley Blumberg of KPMB, Omar Gandhi of Omar Gandhi Architect in a conversation moderated by Elizabeth Pagliacolo of AZURE Magazine.

Saturday from 11:00 am to noon sees Mexican designer Fernando Laposse focus on global warming and the loss of biodiversity. He will explain how to use materials like corn leaves and loofah to build more sustainable spaces. Other panels took place throughoput the weekend, including speakers Kelly Reynolds and Chad Falkenberg from Falken Reynolds of Vancouver), Daej Hamilton of Toronto's Daej Designs, Toronto) and Treana Peake Founder of OBAKKI who will also speak about sustainability.

Tickets are available from $19-25 here. A reminder that IDS takes place in the *south* building of MTCC.




Guild Design Gallery


Puppy Stools (yes, dogs) by Hojeong Ji


Seedlip: not everything poured last night was alcohol

Welcome back!