Thursday, January 27, 2011

Come Up To My Room 2011

The Gladstone Hotel, the upcoming host of Graphic Details: Confessional Comics By Jewish Women, is getting ready for the opening of it's Annual Alternative Design Event: Come Up To My Room. The exhibition is about getting a glimpse of what goes on inside the heads of artists and designers. Limited only by their imagination, each participant has been assigned a room or public space at the Gladstone Hotel to redesign. This event, in it's 8th season, promises to be incredibly interesting and very visually stimulating. Admission is only $10 and the exhibition runs from Friday January 28 to Sunday January 30, with an opening reception on Saturday, January 29 from 7 - 10 PM!

Casandra Campbell

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New World Symphony Live Webcast

If going out on a cold winter day, paying for ticket, or living in a different city has ever inhibited you from seeing a great concert, this is for you.

The New World Symphony will be breaking in it's new concert hall as well as some new music at 7:00pm tonight, and the entire concert will streamed live on NPR. This is an orchestra that gave a start to many of the big names in classical music today, It's also conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, the conductor of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra I mentioned a couple weeks ago.

Listen to it over dinner!

Casandra Campbell

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Graphic Details: The Artists, Part 2

There are 24 days until the opening of Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women at the Gladstone Hotel. This travelling exhibition has received some great press - the links are available in this post - so I’m getting excited for its arrival. In the meantime, I’ve been reading up on some of the women who are a part of it. Here’s what I’ve learned about the women in this second installment.

Sarah Lightman
Lightman was born in London, England and is one the curators for Graphic Details. In addition to being an artist and curator, she is also a researcher and journalist, currently completing a PhD on autobiography in comics. Lightman’s comics document her life experiences, often focusing on her relationships and interactions with others. She is also the director of a comics forum called Laydeez do Comics. You can listen to a recent interview of Lightman by Cartoon County on the Mindless Ones website.

Corinne Pearlman
Pearlman, who works out of the United Kingdom, has been a regular contributor to the Jewish Quarterly since 2002. Her comic strips, Playing the Jewish Card, explore her identity as an assimilated Jew. Pearlman is also a partner in Comic Compnay, an organization that produces and distributes health information, and the coordinator for Cartoon County, the Sussex Cartoon and Comic Strip Artists Association. Pearlman has also created a cartoon about this exhibition where she explores the idea that Jews find confession appealing.

Racheli Rottner
Rottner was born in Netanya, Israel in 1882. Rottner has published art in a number of magazines, taught classes, and has even published her first graphic novel, The Other Side of the World. Her graphic novel is autobiographical, and tells the story of her time spent in Australia. A synopsis is available from The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature.

Ilana Zeffren
Zeffren, who works out of Israel, is the creator of Sipur Varod - Pink Story, an autobiographical story of the historical struggles of gays and lesbians in Israel. Zeffren also publishes a weekly comic strip that features her girlfriend and two talking cats in an Israeli magazine “Rishoomon”. They’re in Hebrew, but you can view the comics in her flickr photostream.

Michael Kaminer
Michael Kaminer, co-curator of Graphic Details - who is not a Jewish woman - is not one of the featured artists but he does talk about how this exhibit came to be in this interview with Jewish Women’s Archives. Check it out!

Watch for more information about our contributors to Graphic Details in the weeks to come and don’t forget to check out Michael Kaminer's Graphic Details blog!

Casandra Campbell

Monday, January 24, 2011

Art Battle X

On Tuesday night I got to experience my first art battle. I first heard about art battles a few weeks ago and explained the concept here. The evening turned out to a lot of fun and I walked away with a fabulous new painting for only $50. Drinks and cookies were available and beats were provided by holotape. Check out these photos to see what live, competitive painting looks like!

Round 1 is about half-way done.

Round 2 is done. (I bought the painting on the right.)

The final round.

The winning painting being paraded around the room.

The paintings from rounds 1 and 2 on display for bidding at the silent auction.

Casandra Campbell

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Graphic Details: The Artists, Part 1

In exactly one month, Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women will be opening at the Gladstone Hotel. This travelling exhibition has received some great press - the links are available in this post - so I’m getting excited for its arrival. In the meantime, I’ve been reading up on some of the women who are a part of it. I decided first to look at the contributors living in Canada. Here’s what I learned.

Bernice Eisenstein
Eisenstein was born in 1949 in Toronto. Both of her parents were Holocaust survivors who met in Auschwitz and later immigrated to Canada. Her graphic novel, I Was A Child of Holocaust Survivors, explores her experience growing up knowing her parents’ past and how it influenced the relationship she had with them. While Eisenstein’s career has been in illustrating, she uses both drawing and writing in her graphic novel to share her intimate thoughts as she comes to terms with her parents’ experiences and the Holocaust. There is a lovely interview with Eisenstein about I Was A Child of Holocaust Survivors on the Pan Macmillan website.

Sarah Lazarovic
Lazarovic was born in Montreal and currently lives in Toronto. Lazarovic describes herself as a cartoonist, illustrator, and filmmaker, and is currently working on her first graphic novel, a memoir about growing up in Florida. Lazarovic has made many animated films which have appeared on CBC television, and is the creator of The Montrose Portrait Gallery of Canada. She also draws cartoons for the Ottawa Citizen, the Toronto Star, the National Post. Check out her most recent Post submission.

Miriam Libicki
Libicki was born in 1981 in Columbus, Ohio, and now lives in Vancouver. Miriam moved to Israel when she was 17 to serve in the army. Her comic book called jobnik! details her experiences in the Israeli army and is available on her website. When she’s not putting together the latest issue of jobnik!, Libicki works as an illustrator, and even teaches courses on comic books. Listen to Libicki talk about her work in this podcast from The Association of Jewish Libraries.

Watch for more information about our contributors to Graphic Details in the weeks to come and don’t forget to check out the Graphic Details blog!

Casandra Campbell

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Music and YouTube

There's something cool going on with classical music and YouTube. Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has been an increasingly important tool for musicians everywhere. As a free video-sharing website, YouTube provides free promotion and a huge audience to anyone who has access to the Internet and a webcam. These days, that’s a lot of people. The benefits of Youtube have already proven to be a smashing success in popular culture - just look at pop sensation Justin Bieber, or the recent homeless-man-turned-Cleveland-Cavaliers-announcer, Ted Williams. Both got their start on YouTube.

Both Justin Bieber and Ted Williams also highlight one of the most important benefits of YouTube: its accessibility. It allows amateurs and professionals alike to promote themselves whether or not they have the support of a record label, a publicist, or, in the case of Ted Williams, a job.

Over the past couple of years, the YouTube phenomena has been catching on in the classical music world as it looks for new ways to be both relevant and efficient.

First, the most obvious way most of us musicians, and music organizations use YouTube: We post live performances. In October, the Koffler Centre of the Arts provided what turned out to be an amazing concert by Israeli jazz superstar Avishai Cohen, and one of the ways we promoted it ahead of time was by posting YouTube videos of Avishai performing on our Facebook event. These kinds of videos provide a preview or sneak peek of what an audience member can look forward to. Avishai no doubt uses the same videos we used to promote himself on a regular basis.

The second way the classical music world is starting to embrace YouTube is to put out informational videos about an upcoming concert or season. There is a great example of this here in Toronto from Sneak Peak Orchestra, who used evocative music and cheeky captions in this video to build excitement for their concert on November 6, 2010. Another notable promotional YouTube video was posted by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to inform and inspire viewers about it’s 75th season. Truly a collaborative effort, it features the music director, Zubin Mehta, as well as many of the IPO's principle players and upcoming soloists.

The third way in which musicians use YouTube is definitely the most exciting. Increasingly, YouTube is being used as a medium for innovative new projects that change the way classical music is being created. In 2009, YouTube and New World Symphony conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, collaborated to give young musicians the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall. This YouTube Symphony Orchestra was chosen based on audition tapes posted on YouTube and viewers' votes. Participation from all cultures was encouraged as musicians were given the choice to audition on any instrument, not just western orchestral instruments. In March 2011, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra will preform again--this time in Sydney Opera House with new members. The winners were announced this week, by the way, and at least two Toronto natives were among them. Get links to their audition tapes in this article from the Star.

In March of 2010, Eric Whitacre took the idea of a YouTube collaboration further by creating a virtual choir and posting its performance on YouTube. The recording was created by combining selected individual audition tapes sent in from all over the world. The result is stunning. It is likely that most of the individuals in the video have never met, yet they've worked together to create beautiful art with the help of technology and the Internet.

These intriguing videos are only a few examples of how classical music and YouTube have started working together. I'm looking forward to seeing where YouTube will take classical music next. Or where classical music take YouTube.

Casandra Campbell

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Graphic Details... coming soon!

Happy New Year!!

We have a fantastic season of events planned at the Koffler this winter and spring: exhibitions, Koffler Chamber Orchestra concerts, artist talks, programs for teens and families, the 2011 Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards, and so much more.

First up is the Koffler Gallery's latest off-site project:

Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women

February 17 to April 17, 2011
Koffler Gallery Off-Site at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St West

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, February 17, 2011, 7:30 – 10 PM | FREE

It's a groundbreaking touring exhibition of original drawings, full comic books and graphic novels from eighteen Canadian and international artists, providing the first in-depth look at a unique and prolific niche of graphic storytelling – Jewish women’s autobiographical comics.

The exhibition is originated and curated by Michael Kaminer and Sarah Lightman, and just finished a successful run at San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum. It received some great press from San Francisco media - here and here. The Canadian Press also ran a great article (Canada-wide!) announcing the exhibition - the Toronto Star picked it up among others. The Jewish Daily Forward out of New York City is the media sponsor of the show.

Join us on the opening weekend - February 17-21, Family Day weekend - for a packed schedule of events and programs associated with the opening of the exhibition. Full details will be up on our website soon!

And check out the Graphic Details blog:

Hope to see you at the exhibition!