Dinner and Art with Meghan

In addition to having compatible mindsets in general, my friend Meghan and I share an interest in visual art. That being so, almost all of our get-togethers include checking out some sort of art exhibit or show. Oh, and there’s also usually some food and drink involved too!

Our recent outing began with us meeting at one of her favourite restaurants — Pero, on Bloor West near Ossington. They serve Eritrean-Ethiopian cuisine, which typically involves a savory stew served over-top and alongside large crepe-like things called “injera”. The food is eaten with your hands, using the injera to scoop it up.

Pero is clearly arranged with the comfort of their customers in mind, with a couple of areas perfect for lounging, as well as standard tables. Since our six o’clock dinner was a relatively early for a Friday evening, we got to choose what looked to us like the best seat in the house — a table within a tent, moodily lit by a lovely chandelier and candles, and whatever light seeps through the large adjacent window.

The friendly server suggested we share a mixed platter, so we took her up on that. Not only was it delicious, it was fun to eat too!

We were so cozy ensconced there in our tent that we almost didn’t want to make our next move. The incessant cold drizzle that fell beyond the window did little to motivate us.

Evenutally, we rinsed our fingers in the flower-strewn bowl of warm water that was offered for that purpose, said our goodbyes to the very welcoming staff, and set out on the 20 minute walk westward, that took us to the contemporary art gallery, Mercer Union.

We were there to attend the opening reception for a show called “A Magical Substance Flows Into Me”, by Berlin based artist Jumana Manna.

The exhibit included a feature-length film that depicts the varied musical traditions of the multitude of communities living in and around Jerusalem.

Sat upon a set-up of carpet covered boxes in the middle of a large room, the audience watched the beautifully shot movie on a large screen in the corner. Unfortunately, this being a reception with drinks and such, people were understandably talking throughout, so we couldn’t hear a single word of it, and didn’t really understand what was going on. But, as previously mentioned, it’s a beautiful looking movie which piqued our interest. We hope to get back to the gallery to watch it in full another time.

In a second room, there was this shelf holding a series of plaster sculptures, some shaped like body parts. According to Manna “Listening collapses the division of self and other, or of singular and plural, or inside and outside. This idea of the body as a medium and as a place of resonance has been something that has followed me throughout the making of these works. The sculptures are vessels, similar to our bodies, that may be filled with fluids, air or sound; sound is taking place in space but is also spreading within us.” [Quote taken from Mercer Union’s description.]

Thanks for checking out my blog. It being Easter weekend, I believe that tomorrow is a holiday for many, so I hope you have a good one!

xo loulou

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Double the Goodness : Two Friends Read Their Poetry

I had the pleasure of hearing my two poet friends read their own creations on Thursday evening, when Julie and Nyla took the floor of Knife/Fork/Book at Rick’s Cafe in Kensington Market.

Sure, you can read and enjoy a poem on your own, but nothing beats hearing the words spoken, phrased precisely as they were imagined, by the writer themselves. So, no degree of dismal weather was going to keep me away from this event, although the persistent drizzle and sleet that fell from the moment I left my door to the moment I got home, tried its best to deter me. I’m really glad that I braved the elements because the presentation was wonderful, and not only because I’m particularly partial to these two specific poets (although I am!). These two are included amoungst Canada’s top poetic voices.

The venue was a unique one, in that Toronto’s only bookshop that is dedicated solely to poetry is located right within a cafe — Knife/Fork/Book, curated and run by a very friendly man named Kirby, occupies the front section of the cozy and charmingly decorated Rick’s Cafe.

^ Kirby and Julie ^

While I’ve become a tea drinker at home over the past year or so, trying to remember to brew myself a daily pot for the health benefits, I can’t recall ever having ordered tea in a restaurant or cafe before. Coffee is my favourite drink and I never miss a chance to have a well prepared cup when it’s an option, but this evening seemed to call for tea instead. And now, after having tasted the cup of Cream of Earl Grey, “full leaf Orange Pekoe from Dimbula, Sri Lanka has been blended with vanilla and oil of bergamot“, that I had at Rick’s, supplied by the Toronto company Genuine Tea, my opinion on ordering tea when out may have changed. I had it with a drop of milk and a sprinkling of sugar and it was delicious.

The reading took place in the cafe’s seating area towards the back, by the light of a cool vintage lamp.

^ Julie ^

^ Nyla ^

Knife/Fork/Book hosts poetry readings on a regular basis, with something going on several times a week. Check their schedule here, and catch a verse or two yourself sometime, or simply drop by this welcoming environment to select a book. While you’re there, say hello to Kirby. You might not be able to avoid doing so actually, as this joyful and friendly person will probably say hello to you first.

Thanks for visiting,
xo loulou

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