by Maria de Cardenas

Julia Frey is Vikalinka, the famous food blogger who gets the world drooling with her pictures and recipes every day.

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Cherry and Chocolate Scones.

"I was born and raised in Russia. I have since lived in the United States, Canada, Philippines and England and have done much traveling.  My cooking and eating style are naturally influenced by many cultures. My food choices reflect who I am and what I love. I don’t cook recipes from all over the world because I want to appear cross-cultural or trendy. I love fusion cuisine which often happens in the Vikalinka kitchen," Julia explains to zeeBigBang. 

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Blueberry and Limoncello Cheese Crepes.

All her life Julia has been surrounded by women who loved to cook and knew how to do it well. “Both of my grandmothers and my mother were excellent cooks and always involved me in the process. It was usually our quality time together because my mom worked and cooking together after work was our hang-out time,” she says.

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by Mariya Guzova

“I love dance because you can say things you can’t with your words. I’ve never been able to truly express some things vocally and you’re able to really accomplish that through the movement. It’s beautiful, and it requires a lot of skill and athleticism. But above all it’s the emotion that will always drive us and keep people coming back to dance. That’s what we want to celebrate here. That’s what we want people to feel,” explains Jay Hirabayshi, co-founder and executive director of the Vancouver International Dance Festivala celebration of dance that takes place annually in March.

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Guangdong Modern Dance Compay in Voice After New. Photo by Li Jianyang.

A highlight from this year’s festival is a dance piece with combined improvisation, composition, and piano. Performed by Yui Kawaguchi and Aki Takase from Germany, Cadenza – Die Stadt im Klavier V was first created five years ago. The piece blends the jazzy piano with large movement to portray the sounds and vibes of cities.

zeeBigBang spoke with Hirabayshi, who co-founded the event with his wife Barbara Bourget. They said they wanted to bring the world of dance to Vancouver and to help expand the dance troupe, Koroko Dance, which they were running together. Both Jay and Barbara are classically trained dancers who have performed in endless pieces over the years.

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Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi in a portrait for their work Sunyata / Photo Peter Eastwood. 

“We saw a lot of potential to bring the international stage to Vancouver and wanted to expand the culture of the city. By having such great and internationally renowned dancers, we’re able to truly experience the beauty of dance, and see performances we would never otherwise see,” says Hirabayshi.

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Goh Ballet. Photo by David Cooper.

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by Peggy Geddes

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection was the first art institution in Canada to collect aboriginal art and is a leader in the acquisition and exhibition of works by the Inuit and First Nations people of Canada among its 13 galleries.

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Cabin belonging to Group of Seven Artist, Tom Thomson.

Located in Kleinburg, Ontario, the McMichael, as it’s commonly called, is the spiritual home of the Canadian Group of Seven artists. It also develops or hosts five to 12 temporary or special exhibitions a year.

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Savage Beauty by Karine Giboulo from the Small Strange World Exhibit

Most of the permanent collection galleries feature works by artists Tom Thomson and his contemporaries Emily Carr and David Milne. zeebigbang interviewed McMichael’s curator, Sharona Adamowicz-Clements to find out more. “Art is selected from our permanent and archival collections as well as the most significant and comprehensive collection of Cape Dorset-Inuit art that is on a long-term loan at the gallery from the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative,” said Sharona. In total, there are approx. 6000 artworks with an additional archival collection.

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Woodland Waterfall by Kim Dorland - oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas over panel

In 1965, gallery founders Signe and Robert McMichael donated to Ontario their art collection of almost 200 pieces as well as their homestead, which they called tapawingo, meaning a place of joy.

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By Maria de Cardenas

The second annual Foundry Music and Arts opened its doors in Toronto on March 14th to all electronic music lovers.

This four-week festival is filling 99 Sudbury Street with the digital sound of international and local producers and DJ’s such as Four TetShigetoPurity RingBlue Hawaii and Carl Craig

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Four Tet. Foundry Festival Toronto. 99 Sudbury St.

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Four Tet. Foundry Festival Toronto. 99 Sudbury St. 

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By Maria de Cardenas

Kyle Clements is a Toronto-based Canadian artist well-known for his vibrant and colorful acrylic paintings. His landscapes are a mixture of the pristine northern outdoors and the overwhelming buzz of the city. This combination is featured in his ‘Urban Landscapes’ exhibition showing until March 29th in the Navillus Gallery, in Toronto.

“I was originally born and raised on a small town up North and when I moved to the city there was so much staff everywhere, lights and noises that I really wanted to capture that feeling of that energy,” he explains.

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#1316 Acrylic on Canvas. 38” x 32”. Kyle Clements.

“I’ve never thought I will get used to it, but after two or three months living here I just fell in love with it. It is amazing to be able to walk just anywhere” he says.

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Winter 3. Acrylic on Canvas. Kyle Clements.

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by Mariya Guzova

Robert Stephen, a first soloist at the National Ballet of Canada, can be seen in the role of the jester in the classic ballet, Swan Lake choreographed by James Kudelka.  “This is a really special production for the male dancers in the company. The ballet normally has a lot of focus on the female performers, but our choreographer really wanted to feature the men and give them a lot of real dancing to do,” explains Robert.  

Evan McKie and Svetlana Lunkina with Artists of the Ballet in Swan Lake. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.

Robert Stephen. Photo by Sian Richards.

“Classical ballet is as challenging for me as it is rewarding,” explains Robert. “I find I’m often my own worst critic and the daily expectation you put on yourself can be very high. But there is just something about being on stage and performing. It’s such a rush to be a part of something so beautiful. It’s honestly like a drug to me.”

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by Mariya Guzova

You may not know his name, but you have probably seen his face.

Bryan Saunders’ drug induced self portrait series recently took the internet by storm. The bold artistic experiment had Saunders consuming a new drug everyday and drawing himself under the influence.

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100 mg Seroquel

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Morphine IV (dosage unknown)

Saunders is no stranger to risky, innovative, and avant-garde creativity. He has drawn a self-portrait of himself everyday since 1995. This march marks his 19th anniversary of the practice, having drawn just under 7000 self portraits.

“Every day my brain and central nervous system processes an unyielding amount of phenomena. Any of these phenomena coming in have the ability to change my brain chemistry and how I perceive things in the world around me as well as the physical and mental world inside of me. Through the process of existence my metabolism, health, heart rate, chemistry, thoughts, feelings, behaviors and beliefs etc. are subject to often mild but sometimes drastic changes too. Therefore, to me personally, there is no one correct or standard ‘personal’ way of interpreting the world, so I choose myself as the vessel that captures this because I am the medium by which all of this is processed or filtered through in the first place. But that’s just me,” explains Saunders.

Placing himself as the subject, Bryan has created a vast variety of artistic works.

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by Maria de Cardenas

Round Venue in Toronto’s Kensington Market opened its doors one more time to Costume Life Drawing at Toons on Tap, under Acid Animation Company’s direction.

zeeBigBang celebrated with Toons on Tap the second anniversary to the theme of Captain Hook.


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Sion Irwin-Childs as Captain Hook at Round Venue for Toons on Tap.

Following their passion for drawing and their addiction to animation, Canadian artists, Jeremy Carderelli and Lauri Lewis created Costume Gestured Drawing through their own company Acid Animation. For the past two years, they have been organizing different events, each with a new living cartoon character. “We think about what kind of character that would lend themselves to some great storytelling poses,” explains Jeremy.

They also work with photographer Jeffrey Danyleyko, who is part of every session, event and concert they organize.

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Toons on Tap model for Iron Pencil Competition. Photo by Jeffrey Danyleyko.

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Poetry is a literary art form seldom seen as modern, competitive, or alive. But that is exactly what the Toronto Poetry Slam is doing for the poetic community across Canada.

Electric Jon at the 2011 Toronto Poetry Slam.

The Toronto Poetry Slam (TPS) is a twice-monthly spoken word competition held at the Drake Hotel in Toronto. Participants compete to join the TPS team that will go on to compete in international and national poetry competitions.

David Silverberg, managing editor at Digital Journal, founded TPS in 2003. “I always loved spoken word and poetry while I was growing up and I just thought it was lacking and hard to come by in the underground community. So I started the slam to get people on the stage, and talking, and performing for everyone’s enjoyment,” explains David.

Shoolie at the TPS competition.

Each slam has 12 participants, who have three minutes to perform their piece for the judges. At the end, three finalists are chosen to move on to the semi finals. “We’ve had all kinds of people participate. Professional writers who are established and known, and we’ve had your average college kid who likes to write poetry in their free time.”

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Toronto is now in the midst of one its most beloved festivals. Winterlicious is offering up some of Toronto’s best and most diverse culinary treats.

imageChicken Cordon Bleu at Biff’s Bistro

imageRyo Ozawa, Executive Chef for EDO Restaurants preps a selection of sizzling mains available during Winterlicious.

The winter and summer “licious” festivals were created in 2003 by the City of Toronto, as an initiative to promote the culturally diverse culinary scene in Toronto, pump up the local restaurant economy, to bring people together to explore the city and to celebrate great food.

imageChef’s choice of Omakase sushi or Omakase vegetable sushi, available on EDO’s Winterlicious menu.

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Ortomisto Pizza from Piola Famosi per la pizza.

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