Friday, July 30, 2010

On Display at the Art Gallery of Alberta

photo by Shawn Martin
There's no time like the present for a visit to the AGA (Art Gallery of Alberta).  The gallery is located near Sir Winston Churchill Square and is easily accessible by LRT.  There are some remarkable exhibits on display now!!

On the main floor of the Gallery are the exhibits "Fire" by Sandra Bromley (on display until August 2, 2010), PIRANESI’S PRISONS: Architecture of Mystery and Imagination (until November 7, 2010), and Reframing a Nation (until January 20, 2011) including art by The Group of Seven.  The family friendly exhibit of BMO: World of Creativity: Play on Architecture (until December 31, 2010) offers children, under their parents' supervision, to draw, construct and manipulate structures while learning.

The second floor exhibits include The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons and M.C.Escher: The Mathemagician.  Both on display until October 11, 2010.

The third floor features TIMELAND: 2010 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art including a myriad of timepieces, contemporary art, a sculpture of intestines, Rita McKeough's "Wilderment 2010" and David M.C. Miller's "White Fence at Night, 2010" among others.  Outdoors on the patio on this floor is a unique sculpture and seating to sit and enjoy a snack and drink and revel in the magic of it all.

I went last evening and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening soaking in a bit of culture.  Too soon, though, we were informed the doors would be closing!  We had spent almost three hours in the gallery and could have stayed MUCH longer!!

See also my post:  In the Gallery: The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons

In the Gallery - The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons

photo by Shawn Martin
Last night I visited the Art Gallery of Alberta to see the wondrous and much anticipated exhibit of The Art of Warner Brothers.  So fascinating.  I learned of "cel" animation where each frame was drawn by hand.  On one wall of the gallery is an enormous timeline depicting the history of Warner Brothers.  Did you know the first animated character featured in a Warner Brothers cartoon was Bosko created in 1929?  Warner Brothers Studio opened in 1918.  Here's a rough timeline of the magic of Warner cartoons:

1918 - Warner Brothers Studio opens
1929 - Warner Brothers Studio opens its animation division
1937 - Daffy Duck
1940 - Bugs Bunny
1942 - Tweety Bird and Henery Hawk
1945 - Yosemite Sam, Sylvester
1946 - Foghorn Leghorn - rooster (appeared in 28 cartoons)
1948 - Hippety Hopper - baby kangaroo in Hop, Look and Listen with Sylvester Sr and Jr
1949 - Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner
1950 - Pepe Le Pew - skunk in Odor-able Kitty
1953 - Speedy Gonzales (who started as a skinny rat)
1954 - Tasmanian Devil

Interesting tidbit:  Tweety was originally drawn in flesh-tone with large feet, wide eyes and baby-like proportions.  Later, due to censorship issues over the appearance of nudity, Tweety was changed to yellow with feathers.  A Gruesome Twosome (1945) was the last cartoon in which Tweety didn't have feathers.

All this and more folks!  Definitely an exhibit worth visiting.  Take your time while perusing this one.  There's a lot to see including cartoons playing in the lobby and on flat-screen televisions (2 of them) in the actual exhibit.

The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons

<font size="20">The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons</font> Art Gallery of Alberta

Monday, July 19, 2010

Street Performers Festival Entertains Edmontonians - Part V

Not only are there performers at the Street Performers Festival, there are hand-made jewellry shops, clothing kiosks, wares from other countries, an on-site glass blower with wares and a Psychic tent.
There was a greeting booth of sorts and this young man stood on the street wearing this sign.  Here he is talking to some police officers.  Earlier he received a hug and well wishes for a woman.  What's up with this?

Street Performers Festival Entertains Edmontonians - Part IV

What would a festival be without food?  This is one of our favorites.  Here you can purchase green onion cakes served with soya sauce and/or hot sauce.  Yum!  Other favorites included the home-made root beer, popcorn, deep-fried Mars bar, the fresh lemonade.  There's lots more set up in kiosks on the east side of Churchill Square.

Street Performers Festival Entertains Edmontonians - Part III

This member of the Silly People performed a yo-yo act.  Due to crowd density, it was difficult to get a good shot of his tricks.

Mr. Spin from Australia has many talents from juggling to hat tricks to juggling while on a unicycle.  And not just any unicycle.  This one is jagged.  See the photos.  He has the best laugh!!!

Circus Montreal from Quebec.  Entertainer who juggles, balances flaming objects as seen here and also taught some tricks of the trade in the "Be Your Own Busker" workshop.

Sharon Mahoney from British Columbia really played up the "who Canadians are" while dressed top to bottom in patriotic garb!  She enlisted the help of four men from the crowd.  Not my favourite performance, she did get the crowd going.

The festival wrapped it up Sunday, July 18.  Though we had a few rained out performances, it is estimated 230,000 people came out to see the performers.

Street Performers Festival Entertains Edmontonians - Part II

We visited Churchill Square earlier last week and, as per my previous blog, took in a few street performances.  By far this was my favourite.  "Betty Hoops" had an entertaining act of hula hooping. 

If It Was My Home - Visualizing the BP Oil Spill

If It Was My Home - Visualizing the BP Oil Spill

I was sent this link in an email. I'm sure it was a follow-up to a posting I placed on this blog earlier about the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This site, If It Was My Home, allows the visitor to enter their location to see the magnitude of the spill in comparison to their area.

Since my previous posting, BP has placed a cap that seems to have thwarted the flow of oil. Now the government of the US and BP are having "conversations" as to whether or not it will be necessary to remove the cap. BP has been given a one day reprieve allowing them to keep the cap shut tightly but must be constantly vigilant in monitoring for oil leaks in the sea bed. See this article for more:

Recently in the news, an accident in the Yellow Sea has Chinese authorities scurrying to contain yet another oil spill. An explosion at a Northeast China oil storage port has resulted in a large oil slick seeping into the port. Every effort is being made to contain the spill and prevent it from entering the Yellow Sea.

St. Lawrence Seaway, Canada, had a minor incident involving an oil spill which, at the present, seems to have been contained and disaster averted. A steamer carrying wheat had a reported incident which involved a puncture to a fuel tank resulting in a leak of 50-200 t0nnes of bunker fuel. It is the first ever oil spill incident in the St. Lawrence Seaway. The spill was contained and is currently being cleaned up. http://www.canadianunderwriter.can/issues/story.aspx?aid-100378850

Considering the catastrophic situation in the Gulf of Mexico, what is your opinion regarding off-shore drilling? Should oil drilling in the seas be permitted?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pine Lake: Ten Years Later - CityNews -

Pine Lake: Ten Years Later - CityNews -

Room With a View - Edmonton from 24 Floors Up

Letters to Juliet

The Italian city of Verona is the famous location of the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet. 

Every day thousands of lovelorn individuals, usually women, write to Juliet looking for advice.  The same Juliet as in Romeo and Juliet.  Though a fictional character, this city has monuments to her which allows the visitor, even if just briefly, to believe in her and to seek her advice.  Verona employs secretaries to reply to those letters providing they have return addresses.

This is the premise of the love story.  50 years earlier, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) wrote to Juliet distraught because she had a forbidden love that she let slip by.  Sophie, a fact checker and wanna be journalist, (Amanda Seyfried) is visiting Verona, the city of love and honeymooners, with her fiance Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal) as he zealously investigates possible suppliers for his new restaurant.  Victor is involved to the point of obsession so Sophie decides to explore the city's sites on her own.  She visits the famous wall where letter after letter is posted seeking advice of Juliet.  Curious, Sophie follows the secretary who collects the letters.  Through this association, Sophie discovers Claire's letter. 

Sophie takes on the role of temporary secretary and answers Claire's letter,  telling her that true love endures and encouraging her to find her Lorenzo.  Claire's grandson comes to Verona to meet the secretary who wrote her grandmother and confronts Sophie for foolishly encouraging the whimsical dreams of his grandmother.  Claire took her advice and when Sophie and Claire meet, Sophie knows there's a story in this.  Thus begins the journey of Claire, her grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan) and Sophie in the backseat, traversing across the Italian countryside to vineyards and quaint villages in search of Claire's beloved Lorenzo.

This is a heartwarming film written by one of Juliet's secretaries and her sister.  Bringing to the screen the true pursuit of love.  Will love prevail?  You`ll have to watch to find out.  Oh, and bring tissues.

Rated 4.5/5

See below article for background information on the real ``Letters to Juliet``. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Washington's Blog

Today I looked up the Blogs of Note and decided to look at Washington's Blog.  I don't always "follow" the Blogs of Note because often they don' t represent the same values I embrace but this blog is worthy of noting.  Check out this link to an eye-opening blog on the catastophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Because what happens in the world, does affect us!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Street Performers Entertain Edmontonians

The weather held perfectly and the crowds were large and enthusiastic during the Street Performers Festival Saturday.  Some of our favorite characters have returned including Mr. Spin (unicycle) (see YouTube video), The Silly People, and Circus Montreal.  We also took in a couple new acts:  The Hula Hoop Lady (sorry don`t have her actual name and she is not listed in the program) and Sharon Mahoney (Ms. Canada) who gave our son his 10 minutes of fame as one of four male assistants.

My daughter and I checked out the booths set up on the south and west perimeter of the square.  Wares included clothing, jewelry, traditional masks, African art, a Fortune Teller booth, and glass blowing.  Hopefully I have not missed any.  Following our afternoon of entertainment and shopping, we indulged in the homemade root beer, the green onion cakes with hot sauce, popcorn and deep fried Mars bars with whipped cream topping and chocolate drizzle (yes, it was as fantastic as it sounds), then decided to call it a day.  My husband and I have not had our "fill" so we plan to go again this week sometime before the show leaves July 18, 2010.

Street Performers Festival offers everyone a dose of laughter, a smile and a great time.  Where else can you go where your entire family can be entertained?  Make a donation to the performers if you can, but if you can't, shake their hand and tell them how much you appreciated their performance.  There's nothing like laughter with other like-minded citizens to cast away your worries and enjoy the good things of life, perhaps be a kid again.

Offering 150 shows daily, there's something for everyone.  Won't you join us at Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton.  Fun for all ages.

Mr. Spin Unicycle Act - Edmonton Street Performers Festival

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Eclipse - The Twilight Saga in Theatres

The much awaited third installment of the Twilight Saga is now in theatres! 

Grateful I had the forethought to purchase advance tickets, I wait inside the theatre with my daughter, son, and a friend amidst tween and teen girls, all excited to see this movie.  Clamoring, giggling, fanatic almost.  Guys just don't understand it, do they?  We're all hopeless romantics.  Sigh.  Bella has what girls dream of.  A dreamy guy who will fight to the death for her.  And another looker who is warm and furry and very protective.  Both profess their love.  But for Bella there is only one she wants to be with.  Forever........  What's not to get?

Eclipse continues the saga of Bella, her boyfriend Edward (vampire) and Jacob (werewolf).  Bella wants to spend eternity with Edward but Edward, the gallant gentleman that he is, doesn't want her to sacrifice what she has.  Jacob demands she not consider it.  He is there for her.  She doesn't have to change a thing.

Enter an army of vampires!   Du du du du.....  Who do you think might be leading them?  People are being slaughtered without regard everywhere.  It must be stopped.  Who will stop it?  Edward?  His family? Jacob and his pack?  The Volturi? ...

Ok, back home with my laptop, I must summarize the emotions of the evening.  The climatic cinematography.  The whole Bella/Edward/Jacob triangle.  Feelings escalate and yet somehow are not resolved.  Of course, there is one more film in this saga!  Keep hanging on fans!

My daughter thought more transition was needed between action scenarios.  She's right.  A lot gets missed when making a movie from a book.  My advice - don't read the book right before going to the movie.  Your expectations will not be fulfilled.  They rarely are.

The makeup still looks pasty, worse probably than New Moon where I thought there had been an improvement.  Action scenes are quite vivid and there are a lot of them.  Parents, please leave your young children with a babysitter.  The violence and romantic scenes are not appropriate.  What is the rating on this film anyway?  Oh, and one more suggestion:  supervise your children if you do bring them.  There is nothing worse than children running up and down the aisle to distract from the movie.

So aside from the aforementioned complaint, I really liked this movie.  I'd heard from other teens/tweens that they consider this the best one yet.  I wonder.....tears, laughter, love, suspense.  Yes, possibly it is the best one yet.

Rated 4.5/5. 

Twilight Eclipse Official Full Trailer (HD)

Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief on DVD

This film got my attention almost right from the start!  Out of the pages of Greek mythology, mystical creatures walk the earth, revealing themselves to mere mortals amid gloom and impending catastrophe  A dark, stewing cloud looms over earth.  And people are not whom they seem.  (should have been a dead give-away when the subtitute teacher introduces herself as such and then calls upon Percy immediately)

  Poseiden and Zeus meet atop the Empire State Building.  Zeus confronts Poseiden, blaming Poseiden's son for his missing lightning bolt.   A warning is issued.  Should the bolt not be returned within 14 days, war shall ensue among the Olympians with earth as their battlefield. 

Who is Poseiden's son?  Percy Jackson, that's who.  A teenage dyslexic boy with ADHD who is at odds with his life, his stepfather, himself.  How can this be? 
  When Percy is attacked on a field trip to the Museum of Metropolitan Art, his life takes on a new reality.  His friend Grover Underwood, identifies himself as his protector and reveals the truth.  Percy is a demigod, the son of a Greek God and a mortal. 

They, together with Percy's mother, go to Camp Half-Blood in an attempt to keep Percy safe.  Percy's mother is taken by a Minotaur outside the protected entrance to the camp, thus providing further motive for Percy to end this feud.  In camp, Percy is trained and learns of his powers and his relationship with water.  He befriends the daughter of Athena, Annabeth, and together the three of them take on this quest.  Four days after entering Camp Half-Blood, the three must go to Mount Olympus.  Zeus must know he does not have the lightning bolt!  Or does he?

Directed by Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter movies, the scenes of this movie tend to be a bit darker.  Well directed and acted, I enjoyed this movie as a refreshing change from the usual fare directed to the middle school/teenage audience.  However, I noted a lack of real emotion, especially fear, in the lead characters, especially in Percy's case when he faced Hades and numerous other creatures.  I mean, wouldn't you be afraid?  How do you defeat something like that?

I give this movie a 4/5.  PG13 rating is well-suited as younger children will find the mythological creatures quite frightening.  (Graphics were very good!)

The main characters of the cast are as follows: 

Logan Lerman ... Percy Jackson
Brandon T. Jackson ... Grover Underwood (the protector) 
Alexandra Daddario ... Annabeth
Jake Abel ... Luke
Sean Bean ... Zeus
Pierce Brosnan ... Mr. Brunner / Chiron
Steve Coogan ... Hades
Rosario Dawson ... Persephone

Now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief