Archive for the 'Culture' Category

Cananda: Toronto, Ontario: Come from Away Will Blow You Away

Friday, June 14th, 2019

How would your town (population of only about 10,000) handle it if 38 planes with 6,579 passengers landed on your doorstep unexpectedly? In Newfoundland, they have a local expression about visitors – they call them “the come from aways” – so that’s how the hit Broadway Show Come From Away got its name.

David Hein and Irene Sakoff, Canadian husband and wife librettists and composer-lyricists, took the thousands of stories of passengers and residents on that infamous day, September 11, 2001, when those jets landed in Gander Newfoundland, and turned them into a heartwarming award-winning Broadway musical.

The 90-minute show is drawn from real people’s experiences in Gander on Sept. 11 and on the subsequent days, and  turned them into 12  composite characters: American Airlines Captain Beverley Bass – the first woman captain in the airline’s history, gays, an anxious passenger worried about a missing relative, a man ignored because he looked Mid-Eastern, Southerners, Northerners and foreigners,  These terrified passengers are set down by frightening unexpected circumstances in an unfamiliar land, and are forced to depend on the kindness of strangers.

One can’t even imagine the needs of so many people, besides language, religious and cultural barriers on top of it. Cultures clash and nerves run high, but uneasiness turned into trust when the Newfoundlanders came through with untold hospitality, opening their hearts, their homes, their schools and their stores. When a volunteer went to round up supplies at the town pharmacy, the manager simply said “Take whatever you need off the shelves”.

The dozen in the cast are marvelous, and they somehow 3-D print themselves into a community of people. It’s truly an ensemble, all equally acting and singing their hearts out. To me the superlatives have to go to the set designer, as I’ve never seen chairs star in a show before. Bob Verini of Variety wrote, “passengers and officials…, shuffling set designer Beowulf Boritt’s furniture pieces into a range of evocative public and private spaces”.

Come From Away is now the longest-running Canadian musical in Broadway history. Producer Corey Brunish said, “It’s about how people respond to tragedy.” It shows, he said, that “there’s hope in the world, there’s hope for us as a human race.” “I can’t imagine a musical we need more right now”, Entertainment reported.

Now that eighteen years have passed, you can google the story and learn that the gratitude grew into enduring friendships, and how the passengers paid it forward.

Come From Away is “celebration best of humankind, and an uplifting piece of art for all our times” said The Daily Beast. Go see it and uplift your life.

Location: Elgin Winter Garden Theatre
Address: 189 Yonge St, Toronto, ON
Dates: til September 29, 2019
www.mirvish.com

 

 

Canada: Toronto, Ontario – Casa Loma, Toronto

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Sir Henry Pellatt, a Canadian stockbroker and entrepreneur built this full-sized castle in Toronto around 1913. It has secret passageways, breathtaking views and elaborately decorated rooms. Unfortunately financial miscalculations caused him to have to leave his “castle on the hill” and he died in poverty.

 

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Canada: Toronto, Ontario – Ceiling Domes in Casa Loma

Monday, June 10th, 2019

The home of Sir Henry Pellatt was one of the first in America to have recessed lighting installed in the domes of some rooms creating glowing ceilings.


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Canada: Toronto, Ontario – Casa Loma, Toronto

Monday, June 10th, 2019

The famous Oak Room of the splendid Edwardian era home of Sir Henry Pellatt. The finished panels fruit, flowers, ribbons and birds took 3 years to carve and were so exquisite that in 1913 when they arrived they were first exhibited in Montreal’s Musee des Beaux Arts before being installed in Casa Loma. 

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Italy, Florence: Florence Through a Window

Monday, April 29th, 2019

So many artistic vistas in Florence.

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France, Paris: Approaching the Opera de Paris

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

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Heading down the Boulevard des Capuchines toward the Opera de Paris is still one of those OMG moments. It is way grander than you imagined.

 

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France, Paris: Gustave Eiffel’s Tower

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

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Gustave Eiffel had an apartment in the tower to entertain guests. And you too can be wined and dined there. There are 2 restaurants and then a champagne bar at the top. We totally enjoyed our entire dining and viewing experience at Alain Ducasse’s Jules Verne, which garnered one Michelin star. Though a set menu, it allows tourists to experience a “starred” moment in this famous city with less than sky high prices (but still expensive). Starting May 2019, it will be managed by three-star chef  Frédéric Anton. Guess we’ll have to go again!

 

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France, Paris: Crowning of Napoleon

Monday, January 14th, 2019

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In the Louvre, one of the largest paintings at 33 ft. x 22 ft. was unsurprisingly commissioned by Napoleon himself of his 1804 coronation. His official court painter Jacques-Louis David, created a Facebook of French politicians, Napoleon’s family and, of course a selfie of the painter himself.

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France, Paris: Paris Opera Charles Garnier Sculpture

Monday, January 14th, 2019

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This monument on the side of the Opera de Paris is dedicated to its architect, Charles Garnier. We loved the idea of putting the seating plan front and center.

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France, Paris: Opera de Paris

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

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World over it’s known as the Opera de Paris however it does have a real name, the Palais Garnier named for its architect, Charles Garnier, and was built from 1861 to 1875. It became even more famous because of Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and, especially because of the later adaptations in films and the popular 1986 Broadway musical. It is as much a symbol of Paris as Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, or the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.

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