Tag : Toronto

Projecto Italia: The Night


So the night came! Wednesday the 26th, it was a nice bright day and I had the chance to throw a reception displaying my photography. It was a wonderful time to show photos from my latest collection and to have a bit fun while at it. The current collection, Projecto Italia focuses on the historical and everyday life of Italy, as its citizen weave in and out of monuments everyday which have lasted, standing tall for centuries, bearing witness to the endless cycle of societies come and go within Italy.

However, you can’t stay still, hence I am working on my new exhibit, Projecto Toronto!

Nevertheless, it was a great reason to get together, toast, sell a few pieces of art and make a lot of new friends, not to mention chat with a few old faces I had not seen in a while.

Project Italia: A Photography Reception

Mario Munoz was our live entertainment and wowed the crowd with his classical guitar. His music resonated well, not only with the energy of the event but also acoustically. The man knows his strings. Expect to see him again in one of my future events and thank you, Reggie and Emilie for the help with the photography and earnest video. I have always been really bad at keeping records of things like this for myself due to some silly notion of modesty, which can at times such as this, be nothing but detrimental.

Being able to share my work is a pleasure and I am very thankful to all of you who came out to support and shared a drink with me.

Ravine Zen

Recently, I had been waiting for some surgery. True, it is not the one thing one usually waits for and although not fatal it does mean going to a hospital and getting mildly cut open. Not 1960’s style where they would cut you like a roast. No, in fact quite the opposite. Very minor. In at 7:30am and out by noon. Is it serious? Somewhat.

Either way, since it is still a bit stressful, I found myself taking a long stroll by my hood’s parks. You know, to think, relax and get my mind off needles and doctors. I took my camera and simply try to let nature speak to me. Since it is still quite cold outside, it really didn’t tell me much except perhaps to get my ass indoors.

However before that desire got to strong, i decided to externalize the zen vibe I was trying to achieve internally. So I walked to the creek at the bottom of the park and simply sat on one of the rocks and let a few minutes pass me by. Nothing happened, except for the streaming sound of the water from a nearby waterfall.

Then, deciding to take my zen in to my own hands, I fished a rock from the cold creek and tossed it as far as I could without tripping. I snapped this shot right before it hit the water. Yes, it reminded me of what I was trying to achieve.

A few days later, I am writing this as I am on painkillers. “Ouch.” Damn… they haven’t kicked in yet.

Photo was taken, with a Nikon D700, 50mm @ 1.8f

TTC STRIKE: Walking Nirvana

So Last Friday came. I was out running one of my events at the Raq N’ Waq on Queen Street near Bathurst. Everything was going well, the weather was warm and cooperating, people were friendly, conversing and the drinks had flowing freely. I had even managed to get a few free from our nice brunette waitress for our group. Still don’t know why though. Then at 11:45pm, my friend Kristina text messages me “Hi. Don’t know if you know, the TTC is going on strike at midnight. You may want to let your members know.” Damn.

I passed on the bad news. As fate would have it almost everyone lived downtown. Phew. Well except for two of us. A member, Reggie lived in Scarborough, I lived near High Park. Both quite far for walking, specially after midnight. As such Reggie paid and made a quick dash, in the hopes of catching a lingering street car or a snaring a cab before the frenzy home began. As the organizer, I am always one of the last ones to leave any event so I stayed until everyone was ready, that was at around 1:15am.

Once outside, most managed to squeeze into taxis. I unfortunately was heading the other way. Thought of catching a taxi –each one I saw however was bursting with passengers– so much of that idea. So I decide to walk… at least part of the way. “It would be good for me,” I sold the idea to myself, ignoring the fact I could just as easily get mugged too.

After deciding on a safe route, backtracking Queen towards Bathurst, then north until Bloor and then west until Dundas West seemed like the better way. As you can imagine, Bathurst was surprisingly busy with cars and people cursing the TTC as they did the same thing I was doing: Getting home. Needless to say, the animosity was quite palatable. It tasted like burnt BBQ chicken.

You will be surprised what comes into your mind when you are walking by yourself for a few hours. Recently I have started looking for a job. ‘Did I say everything I could in those last three cover letters? Was I straight forward enough? When will they call?’ Then once that fades, you start thinking about more meaningful things. ‘Is that where I want my career to go? I don’t want to end up like those people who work for a company for eighteen years, look like zombies and are only going through the motions until quittin’ time!’ By the time a got to Bloor St. existential questions started creeping up and questioning a lot of life decisions. ‘Why am I not married yet? Are you sure?’

Existential questions after only two drinks? Impossible. I thought it silly. It wasn’t the alcohol, that’s for sure.

Then again, it could just be that I had the time and place to think. After all, It was beautiful night. Serene.

As I begun rushing west, I began feeling quite lonely as most people stayed near the beehive that’s the Annex in order to catch speeding cabs. I called another friend, Matty who was surprising awake and gave me much needed company for almost forty five minutes before succumbing to her illness: She had the flu and she just went off to bed. Nothing serious! She told me about her week, her trials and tribulations. I was very lucky to have her to chat. When the streets are almost deserted, having someone speaking to you through a phone gives the feeling of walking through an ocean with one long line tethered to the outside world. Funny. Whenever you feel alone is great to just listen to someone who really wants to share her mind with you. In the end, it felt like I had walked for only thirty five minutes. In reality it was almost an hour and half.

Made it home at about 3:00am. My feet hurt, badly, my heels in particular. Kids, don’t ever walk with dress shoes for two hours straight. Is that how women feel after a night with high heels? I felt sorry for female social standards and the obliged footwear. The silly things that come into your mind when you walk for a few hours. I made some choices regarding the jobs I would apply to in the future. I also had a quick reminder of just who my real friends are. The ones who will text message in the middle of the night, warning you about something just because they know out and about. Or who will keep you company at 2:00m, even though they are sick just because they do not want you to walk all alone. Including some realizations of the direction I want my life to go and the fact that I decided to kill myself a little by buying some McDonald’s near my place at that unholy hour.

But you know that, hurting feet aside, I think we should all do these more often. Take the long way. You never know the things you might think of when you make the time.
I am sure I will be one of the few to say this, but thanks TTC for your last minute strike.
Just don’t do it too often.

Adventures Of An Organizer (Part III)

Last Friday, February 29th a milestone was crossed: My group’s 100th event came to pass! As some of you know I run two social groups, one for people between 23 and 35, while the other focuses in people between 25 and 40. Yes, they do overlap, and they are both social and quite the pleasure to organize, and no, they are not dating groups. Both are quite interesting however, as the dynamic can be rather different at times. The “younger” group as I call it, the To23-35 Social Club tends to be more party and dancing oriented, while the “older” one has a more dinner & lounge vibe to it.

So which group was it that turn 100 events old? Why the TO23-35 Social Club! I had been thinking about this event and it importance of it for a while. Few groups in have reached this far and can proudly say our group is one of the largest (11th in Toronto out of hundreds) and one of the the best rated by its members. So at first, I thought of doing some Biblical, End-of-Days-carnival-of-the-senses affair but… in the end I opted to do something a little more low-key.

You see, I have never been the clubber type. Sure, I love to dance, but I dislike the whole line-up, cover, coat check, meat-market vibe and at times ridiculous prices for a bottle of beer. I am looking at you, sub-posh-wannabe Club V in Yorkille, charging a blasphemous $8 for a miserable 341ml bottle of Stella! Let’s see how long you last with such ridiculousness!

Although quite often we end up at a club as the girls in the group just love to dance, so we usually start off at a lounge only to end up at a club dancing the night away –or until they kick us out, whichever comes first. So, if we do end up going to a club the rare, odd time, I don’t mind it.

Anyway, back to the 100th event, I decide on The Rivoli, a quaint hot spot on Queen Street West. Known for its concerts in its back stage, its eclectic restaurant and pool hall on the second floor. Oh, and they have a small spartan lounge bar area which they try to sell as the ‘Sky Bar.’ Pressumably because aside a few chairs the place has nothing in it but air. Silly marketing.

The event itself was great! The vibe was great! The weather was downright miserable and as such only about 66 people showed up. However, as you know, it is the company that makes all the difference. And it did. So many new faces that it got hard to remember everyone’s name.

It was great to see so many people having socializing and having fun. Playing some serious pool and I am sure, some flirting. What can you do? Can’t stop it, right? In fact, quite a few people over the years have hooked up thanks to the group. That has to be worth a sizable chunk of good karma, I am sure of it. No reincarnating as an earthworm for me!

At the end of the night, when everyone was gone and there were only a few of us left. Yes, we practically closed the place –again– I have to say that it has all been quite worth it. Have met some interesting people and even got a few great friends out of the enterprise. You know, you aught to come out too, see what all the fuzz is about. You never know!