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    Robert Mapplethorpe’s Unforgettable Photographs at Olga Korper Gallery

    olga korper gallery dundas street west east of roncesvalles toronto robert mapplethorpe photo exhibition

    I use the term "unforgettable" to describe Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs with intention, as I saw a collection of his work years ago during a high-school trip to New York, and remember them distinctly. It was a life changing experience for me, actually, and my passion for cameras and picture taking was borne.

    So, I was excited that a solo exhibition of his photographs was going on here in Toronto, as part of the Contact Photography Festival. Not only is the show -- called "Robert Mapplethorpe: The Outsiders" -- wonderful, the space it's hanging in, The Olga Korper Gallery, is pretty spectacular itself.

    The gallery is easy to get to, located just off Dundas Street West, east of Roncesvalles, at the end of a short avenue called Morrow. It's within part of a former factory built in the early 1900s, called "The Canadian Hanson and Van Winkle Company". As far as I can determine, they made supplies for the silver-plating of metals. Today, the small cluster of historic buildings are home to galleries and offices.

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    A Delicious Dinner at Touhenboku Ramen

    touhenboku japanese ramen restaurant toronto queen street west near university avenue

    Before my friend Andrea and I unexpectedly met Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, at an art gallery last week *, we went out for a meal that was so delicious that I just have to tell you about it. (* really we did, you can read about it here if you'd like!).

    Now, I've only ever had ramen in a restaurant three times before so I'm not much of a connoisseur, however Andrea once lived in Asia and is quite familiar with the dish -- including knowing how to eat it with some semblance of grace! -- and she confirmed my opinion, that the "Authentic Japanese Ramen" we had at Touhenboku, (261 Queen Street West, near Duncan Street), was indeed, delicious. To quote her, "A good bowl of ramen is determined by the flavour of the broth, and theirs was very good".

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    A Royal Encounter : Sarah, Duchess of York, at Onsite Gallery

    month of photography contact scotiabank photo festival toronto may 2019

    The month long Contact Photography Festival is on in Toronto, and I noticed that one of their primary exhibitions was going to be at Onsite Gallery. (That's the professional gallery operated by the Ontario College of Art and Design University, shortened to OCADU, which I previously wrote about it in this post.)

    I discovered that there was to be a free public reception for the opening of a solo show called "The Audible Language of Flowers" by lens-based artist T.M. Glass, whose work was described as a "recent series of images featuring blooms and vessels from unique gardens across the globe whose artworks".

    I asked my friend Andrea if she wanted to join me, and we made plans to combine the gallery reception with a casual early dinner. It was a Wednesday evening so we were expecting a relatively quiet night out.

    After dinner of ramen on Queen Street West, we walked down to the gallery on Richmond Street, where we were greeted at the door and told to go right in. We entered the busy but not overly crowded space. We got a glass of wine and I asked the server if the artist was there. She said that she was but didn't know where or what she looked like. The use of the pronoun "she" was when I first learned the artist was female as there was no indication of that in her name or what I'd seen online.

    I mention all this to emphasize the fact that we had no idea what the evening would bring, beyond a nice meal out and a look at some interesting art.

    We began looking around at the artworks.

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    Coffee Shop Date : At and Around Wallace Espresso on King Street West

    king street west toronto near niagara row of old houses

    Hello! I was happy to have coffee and a snack with Julie at a new independent coffee shop in my own beloved Niagara neighbourhood of Toronto.

    Wallace Espresso opened at 848 King Street West six month ago, in the middle of a strip of restored row houses located west of Bathurst near Niagara Street.

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    The Bay Queen Street Store : “Photo Backdrop Installation”

    me with butterflies

    I'd read about and seen some pictures taken on the 7th floor of Hudson's Bay Queen Street location, in an temporary installation called "The7TO - PopUp Exhibition".

    In a nutshell, they've taken part of their 7th floor and turned it into a space specifically meant for taking fun photographs. There are 8 different areas/backdrops, some that you physically get into and some that you stand in front of.

    They don't say, however, since you pass through it to get from the elevator to the store's bridal boutique, Kleinfeld, I imagine that the idea began as a way to enhance the experience of shopping for wedding and bridesmaids' dresses, but morphed into something that anyone would enjoy.

    And enjoy it they have -- the person I spoke to about it told me that, when it first went up, there were long line-ups and they had to put time limits on people.

    It was originally meant to be on for a few months during the winter/early spring but due to popularity, they extended its run until next Thursday, May 9th. It's open during store hours and is free of charge.

    It wasn't overly crowded when I went on Wednesday, and it was quite fun and interesting, so I encourage you to grab a friend and head on over. I was by myself which made taking good pictures a challenge as I'm terrible at taking selfies. I had my selfie-stick with me, but even so, I only got a few clear shots. Thankfully, a couple of people offered to take a picture for me, and I did the same for a few others.

    And, I was told that there were plans to replace it with a whole new set of backdrops in a second installation of its kind, which will open sometime in the summer! (I'll update this post when I get exact dates.)

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