More Late Night Art : Pneuma by Floria Sigismondi


In this recent post I wrote about our adventures at this year’s all night art show, Nuit Blanche, mentioning that one exhibit I especially wanted to see wasn’t working when we arrived to see it at 4:30 in the morning. Luckily though, this was one of the three pieces that had an extended showing, so we had another chance.

Pneuma by Floria Sigismondi was a seven minute video installation that used the sheet of water from a fountain as a screen, complete with a musical accompaniment.

Aside from really wanting to see this thing that sounded really neat, I also was drawn to it by the artist herself. Floria used to live in Toronto and while I never met her directly, there was a period of time that I used to go to some of the same parties that she went to. That was because my sister, who is a hair stylist, worked at the salon owned by a close friend of Floria’s. They used to host regular parties to which I was glad to tag along to with my sister. You can say I was somewhat in awe of this beautiful, impressive person, who at the time was on the brink of becoming the important artist she is today.

Her work includes photographing David Bowie with Tilda Swinton, and Jack White. And she has directed at least 55 music videos for the likes of Bowie, Pink, Katy Perry, Bjork, Justin Timberlake and many more. The one she did for Justin, “Mirrors”, won video of the year at the MTV Video Music Awards. Also, she wrote and directed the movie The Runaways about the all girl rock and roll band, with Kirsten Stewart and Dakota Fanning.

If you’d like to take a quick look at some of her photographs, you can find them on her site here.

[Aside, her friend and the person who owned the salon with the parties, Pamela Neal, is also a pretty big deal today as well, doing hair for people like Susan Sarandon. She did Adele’s hair for the video of “Hello”. And she did my hair for our wedding! I see her name listed in the credits for Pneuma, so she and Floria are still close. Clearly friends for life.]

So, long story short, I really wasn’t going to miss a chance to see Pneuma, which was showing in the fountain at Nathan Phillips Square.


^ Approaching from the west ^



^ “Death of the Sun” (that we did get to see during Nuit Blanche) was also one of the extended pieces. ^



^ The fountain in its “normal” state. ^





It was really neat to see. If you didn’t get a chance, there’s a good YouTube of the whole thing here.


We walked home through the grounds of Osgoode Hall, Toronto’s first law school.

Built in 1829, it is one of the city’s oldest buildings still standing. Back then, when Queen Street was called Lot Street, it was basically situated in a field. It is surrounded by a tall iron fence that has gates designed to keep cattle from roaming onto the grounds. (I wrote more about it and took pictures in daylight in this post.)





Thanks for reading,
xo loulou

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Posted in Art, Poetry and Theatre, Interesting Buildings | 5 Comments

At a Friend’s Book Launch Party


Our friend Nyla is a poet and her second full-length book, Stranger, came out last week. We went to the launch party, held at The Monarch Tavern in Little Italy. It was a join release with another Canadian poet, Robert Moore, whose book “Based on Actual Events” was also being presented.

The Monarch is one of Toronto’s oldest bars, having opened in 1927. It was lovely with its glimmering chandeliers and lush red velvet curtains — a perfect setting for poetry. True to the description on their site, “At night, the lights get turned down low and the room is transformed into a cool but totally casual cocktail lounge and event space, …” it was very dark in there.

So, I had to push the light on all of these pictures which is why they’re so grainy, but hey, badly lit pictures are better than none, right?!




We had the pleasure of hearing the poets read several of their creations. I’m not sure if it’s the norm for poetry readings but even they were pretty much in the dark up on stage. There were spotlights available but nobody called for them, so I assume it was intentional. It made for a very intimate feeling.




^ The artist (with a pretty hairdo), signing our copy of her book ^



^ Nyla with our mutual friend Julie, who is a writer as well, and by coincidence also has her second book of poems coming out this month. I first me Julie at the launch party for Nyla’s first book. ^



We sat with a couple of other mutual friends who were there, Siobhan and Chris …



One of Nyla’s poems was published by The New Yorker magazine, which is very exciting. Another writer I spoke to at the party said that this privilege is a dream of any poet. You can read it here – Resolve, if you’d like, and listen to a recording of Nyla reading it.


I’m happy to call this talented person my friend. It’s inspiring people like this in my life that keep me reaching to be better.

Thanks for reading,
xo loulou

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Posted in Art, Poetry and Theatre, Bars in Toronto | Tagged | 3 Comments