Friday, 27 February 2015

The Duke of Burgundy: BDSM in Silk

If you like your erotica on the silky, luxurious side, with a soupcon of cerebral titillation, then allow me the pleasure of turning your head away from the recent, Fifty Shades of Grey, and towards the ultra-feminine kink of The Duke of Burgundy, and its credits to, not only  a Lingerie designer, but a perfume maker. Director, Peter Strickland (Barbarian Sound Studio) shows that he obviously understands that the brain is the biggest sex organ, and has chosen to involve all of our senses: we can't smell the perfume, but we can tailor it to our own specifications; we can't feel the lingerie, but we can imagine what it would be like wear something close to our body and made from the softest materials.

Who is the dominant  and who is the submissive in this amber-toned, distaff fantasy? Is it the mistress Cynthia (Sidsie Babett Knudsen) or her maid, Evelyn (Chiara D'Anna)? At the onset of the film, we see Evelyn riding her bicycle to Cynthia's home to do whatever chores has been assigned to her. If Cynthia is dissatisfied, Evelyn  is verbally abused and/or punished by Cynthia.

The dynamics of their relationship play out inside an aged villa in which time seems to have collapsed into an unknowable decade, set upon land where the trees whisper, brooks burble and the women exchange intellectual discourse about their mutual love of Lepidoptera ( don't  be mislead  by the film's title; the Duke is a butterfly), and negotiate sex and its rewards (a coffin or a human toilet)? The humour in the film is sometimes subtle, petulant, banal, and true to the characters and heir reality.

Combined with Strickland's eye for sound and beauty, Knudsen and D'Anna's chemistry and respective screen presence make this film more than a pretty panty-romp; their talents make us contemplate the shifting balance of power within any relationship that, over time,  will either strengthen it or lead to its demise. 

The  Duke of Burgundy
The Royal
608 College  Street
until March 17,2015

released in Canada by Mongrel Media

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

So I walk into The Beadery on Queen Street West and...

So I walk into The Beadery on Queen Street West and am immediately impressed with the feel of the place. With so much stock, I expected to feel hemmed in, but it's a longer venue than I expected, and even though I was the only one in the store, I could imagine it still being a negotiable space during prime time shopping hours. The interior is wonderfully laid out with colourful beads of various sizes and materials hanging on the walls and jewellers cabinets nicely spaced atop wooden floors. Bowls of beads practically beg your hands to hunt and peck.

Because of my sensitive ears, I was in need of some shepherd"s hooks to add to mixed metal earrings that I only wear once in a while. In the back half of the store was Claude (as I came to know) working on a piece of jewellery. When I told him what I was looking for he brought out his "high quality silver" wire and demonstrated how to make a hook. It seemed a simple task in his hands, but I don't have the patience to do it myself, so he made three pairs for me in no time flat. It was fascinating to watch him work. After I had paid for my purchase, and perused the handmade rings and other wares on display, I asked for a card and told Claude that I would recommend his place to friends plus do a social media shout out. To thank me, Claude, decided to make me a pair of earrings. "What's your favourite stone?" he asks. Caught off-guard by the unexpected offer, I asked him to select something for me. He chose pale watery pink beads, and within five minutes fashioned me a pair of dangling earrings in silver. Again, watching him work, I could immediately see that this was a man whose hands were imbued with years of experience and talent. (Little did Claude know that he was making a birthday gift for me!)

I've recommended The Beadery to my friends and have done the promised social media posts, but, as creative design is something I appreciate, I thought I would go beyond that and share my feelings with this blog post, especially since I will be going back soon. I've been thinking about a particular stone that would be the perfect way to update an old ring I haven't worn for years.

The Beadery offers private classes, repairs, custom designs, and gems from around the world. Walk in and have your own chat with Claude. I can't promise that he will make something for you, but you will definitely enjoy the service and the products on offer.

photo credit:
The Beadery
446 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 2A8

Claude Abbitan

Friday, 20 February 2015

Rap N' Roll February 27th!

Source/text by Dalton Higgins
What: Rap N' Roll: The Afro-Alternative Music Concert Series + Project  
Where: The Rivoli (334 Queen St West – Toronto, Canada)
When: Friday February 27, 2015
Time: 9:00 pm9pm
Damage: $10

Honestly, are you Torontonians tired of some of these predictable, empty, overly commercial musical playlists being thrust upon you, the ones that take pleasure in trafficking nauseating LCD (lowest common denominator) music that passes for "good" black/urban music, with its low musicianship and cheeseball lyrics...another example of some Machine doing its best to shill these hip hop / R&B-soul / African / reggae caricatures to society at large?
Then Rap N' Roll: The Afro-Alternative Music Project, a carefully calculated & curated music showcase might be for you! 
This “urban alternative” concert experience features the genre-bending electronic, punk, reggae, soul and nouveau-rap contributions of Young Paris (NYC), Bonjay, Junia T + Juice Money Collective, Phoenix Pagliacci, Bakers Club and DJ 8AM8II / Bambi with some very Special Guests – musical mavericks who are reshaping the urban music landscape.
Interested in that new D’Angelo? If yes, then we’ll be taking you to the Darker Side of Black with some more duppy Ghostface music. And though we are working on a Higher Ground, we still might have to spank you with some Frank (Ocean), while you puff on the Chronixx. It’s true, there’s no need to watch any TV on the Radio, while observing that low Flying Lotus. Sheeit, we’ve been jonesing + hungry for this, so it just might be that time to snack on some FKA Twigs, garnished with Theo Parrish, anchored by the bones of Grace Jones (while sincerely hoping you’re not allergic to Cody Chestnutt, like your kid or niece). But seriously, if you need a fix of some (rare) Jimi Hendrix, or some Janelle Monae today (or on Feb 27) peep the flyer and click the link (above). 

I was reviewing past coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and realized that as good as it is to use social media, I m...