PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY.
Tables & Contents 22 Food Boss
12 ‘Til Dawn
46 Meet Jane
27 The Doctor Is In
10 Editor’s Letter
18 Shine Bright
50 Game On
38 King & Pretty Things
41 Dance Dance Dance
58 Night At The ROXXbury
33 In The Details
62 Sick Dope Fly
52 Got Moves?
25 The FULL Pint
44 We Bought A Zoo
No.06 PRODUCT Toronto
Printed monthly - issue 6 march 2013
Complimentary issues travel the city. To reserve your personal copy of PRODUCT, subscribe at www.producttoronto.com and get 12 issues delivered to your door.
Published by PRODUCT Toronto INC. 104-302 Carlaw Ave. Toronto, Ontario - M4M 3L1
www.producttoronto.com 416 . 364 . 5753 email@example.com
Kyle Kofsky Editor In Chief
Isabelle Savard Deputy Editor
Adam Hendrik Senior Writer
Alex Browne Director of Photography
Brian Sweigman Senior Writer
Alex Mathers Lead Designer
Iddie Fourka Senior Writer
Ana Opulencia Copy Editor
Lauren Cullen Senior Writer
Jonathan Broderick Lead Writer
Ronit Rubinstein Senior Writer
Melissa Allen Lead Writer
Olga Kwak Senior Writer
Cristina Arce Senior Photographer Chantal Ryanne Senior Photographer
Juan Cortorreal Account Manager
Isaac Zelunka Senior Photographer
Maxime Bellemare Account Manager
Mark Tym Senior Photographer
Karine Delage P.R. Director
Tara McWatters Senior Photographer
hair & makeup artists
Emily Anne Helsdon Emily O’Quinn Giovanna Minnena
Tim Luther Contributing Writer Thomas Lasko Contributing Writer Juan Mendez Director of Publicity Hayley Campbell Sports Director Adam Zivo Assistant Director
Glenda MacInnis Assistant Director
Jill Lerner Assistant Director
Joe Swallow Assistant Director
Kim Lum-Danson Assistant Director
Max Power Assistant Director
Paul Steward Assistant Director
Adaora Agu Senior Stylist
Aziz Vivant Senior Stylist Dean L.G. Ellis Senior Stylist
Sophie Jolin-Roch Senior Stylist
Laura Mackenzie Set Designer
Andrew Dubinsky Web Manager
D’Arcy Grewal Webmaster
top: Glenda Macinnis, Kyle Kofsky, Adam Zivo Bottom: kim Lum-Danson, Max Power, Joe Swallow
words: KYLE KOFSKY photos: Alex Browne location: Regent Park Aquatic Centre
t is better to dream and believe than to never feel faith. I am never ashamed of my beliefs, despite consistent hurdles. I would rather my convictions be falsified and denied than to have never existed. To live in a world without those convictions would be lazy and irresponsible of me.
My gift of the benefit of the doubt extends to a great deal of people, places and things. We put our faith in people every day, in different ways. Our unaltered faith is that our support system wonâ€™t scatter at the first real sign of honest life. I never question the certainties of my faiths; I know that my family, friends, and peers will deliver. They will come and assist in my execution of success, making sure I have my priorities straight and my head out of my ass. We are here to shed light and profile contemporaries with this faith, both in and of themselves and their aptitude. These products do not falter and flail at the trials that take our attention. They are alive. Making the right choices and identifying your worth ignite with your ability to believe. Donâ€™t just make a wish. Make a plan, execute it, and you will see that faith
DITOR â€™S LETTER
pay off. Your projection of belief will become an integral part of that payoff and will focus your energy in the right direction. Its execution will be played over and over in your head and always demand sacrifice. This is your pay day. Collect, cash, spend. Consider us your personal shopper. In issue 5 of PRODUCT, we talked about a favourite charity of mine. The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) is a community leader, putting efforts toward the research that will find a cure. We made some mistakes in our copy and would never want you to be misinformed. CANFAR was founded 25 years ago in 1987 and just recognized their anniversary last October. Its Have a Heart program began humbly as an annual concert in 1993. Right now you can head to canfar.com and get your tickets for the upcoming Our Future Without AIDS event being held on Saturday, April 27th. This event brings together an amazing collective of young professionals and philanthropists, celebrating Art, Culture and our cityâ€™s great effort in the fight against AIDS. My most sincere apologies to this great institution for our inaccuracies.
‘TIL DAW N
f you wonder if you should go after your wildest goals or settle for what’s comfortable, then meet Matt Dusk, who decided to take a chance on music rather than follow the safe path into the family business. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration as we did here at PRODUCT.
that got me into jazz,” Matt says. Chet Baker was a well-known American jazz singer and trumpet player in the mid-20th century. He was known for a clear, bright, tenor range and a stripped down style of playing. But he was also known for his tragic early death at the age of 59 from drugs and alcohol.
Singing his whole life, Matt found himself at a crossroads when he graduated from high school - study music or study business? Having worked regularly for his father’s successful packaging company, Matt assumed he’d one day take it over, so he chose to pursue a university degree in Economics. However, the universe had another plan, and he switched his major to music shortly thereafter. Matt had sung in the prestigious St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto as a child, training in complex harmonies for 11 years. Matt developed his passion for jazz through his education - a passion combined with youthful tenacity that had him playing as much as 20 nights a month at corporate events, weddings, and in legendary Toronto clubs such as Reservoir Lounge and Alleycatz Live Jazz Bar.
Dusk wanted to bring Chet’s songs to a new audience, but he still wanted to maintain his own style. Together with trumpeter, Arturo Sandoval, Dusk created an album that pays homage to the legendary Baker but also gives a big band revamp to such jazz standards as Embraceable You (which he sings duet with Emilie-Claire Barlow), That Old Feeling, and I Fall in Love Too Easily. Recreating the Chet Baker sound was a challenge for both Dusk and Sandoval, both of whom love their jazz to boom, but it was a challenge Dusk was eager to take on.
If you’re working this hard and gaining this much exposure, you’re bound to get noticed, and Matt did. He signed his first record deal just before he graduated university. He began recording his first album in London, England soon after. What followed were six albums (two of which are certified gold) and tours all over North America and Europe (including several years doing the circuit in Las Vegas). My Funny Valentine: The Chet Baker Songbook is Matt’s seventh album, released just before Valentine’s Day. When asked why he decided to record a collection of Chet Baker songs, he recalls discovering jazz for the first time, “Chet Baker was one of the first guys
Of course, no Chet Baker set list could be complete without the track, My Funny Valentine. “It’s like doing a Michael Jackson tribute record and not putting Thriller in,” Matt quips. He re-interprets the song as a soothing reassurance to his lover that everything’s going to be okay after her bad day. Fresh off the completion of this new album, Matt isn’t ready to slow down anytime soon. He plans to start recording early next year. Now a little bit older and a little bit wiser, we can expect from Matt what he loves most and what keeps his fans coming back for more - modern day, big vocal, toe-tapping jazz. words: Melissa Allen & Olga Kwak photos: Alex Browne Hair & MUA: Emily Anne Helsdon Stylist: SophiE Jolin-Roch
S h ine BRIGHT
rt as an idea is tricky to pin down. It is an expression of human imagination, but how can we qualify it as true or legitimate? The simple answer is emotion. Art has an amazing ability to identify what is true for all of us, pull it out of our tingling spines, and thrust it into a public realm where all may bear witness. As a writer, a painter, and a filmmaker, Cassandra Cronenberg prides herself on her work’s focus of “connecting [with] people.” Her art searches for a commonality and an emotional depth that we can all plug into.
Coming from an artistic family has presented a unique set of challenges for Cassandra Cronenberg. “I don’t think I resented it. I think I fought it [arts].” She even went as far as working under the pseudonym, Cassandra Hunter, for a few years. Cassandra says this move was beneficial for her and allowed her to “find out…this is who I am.” Much of the decision to return to creating under the name Cronenberg came from the arrival of Cassandra’s own children. She describes it as a “crisis point,” worrying about the challenges for her kids growing up with artist parents. Maintaining normalcy for her children is still a “difficult balance” for As an artist, Cassandra is most concerned Cassandra, but she believes it is best done with “art as a form of communication.” She from where she is now. emphasizes that art can be a “very healing” process for both audience and artist, al- Cassandra Cronenberg is using her art lowing both parties to discover themselves to tap into the push-and-pull that exists and “share in different ways.” In one of her among all of us. Her works take the time to upcoming projects, Between, Cassandra will explore the relationships we all share with work with Italian composer, Ivan Iusco, to the world and the people around us and paint a piece for each of the tracks he has allow the audience to consider new way of composed for the series. She explains that the thinking without feeling pressured into any exhibit will focus on the “experience the per- one conclusion. As a Torontonian, and as a son has between the painting and the song.” Canadian, Cassandra Cronenberg is one of Cassandra is also preparing to begin promo- our brightest stars. ting a new short film that she has just created. The film “touches on mental health and gender issues” - challenging topics which become more relevant to our city everyday. The film deals with these realities in a way that is subtle and allows its audience to consider a new perspective without feeling as though words: THomas Lasko anything has been forced upon them. Casphotos: Alex Browne sandra’s ability to create a relationship with Clothing: Gotstyle her audience allows her to encourage them to Hair & MUA: Michelle Silverstein participate in the experience.
t’s a dichotomy.” Chef Craig Harding sums up Campagnolo, the restaurant that he and his fiancée, Alexandra Hutchison, own and operate on Dundas Street in Toronto’s west end. Inspired by traditional homemade Italian food and charged with a fresh and modern energy, Campagnolo blends new and old to create something that is better than either.
their modern take on classical cuisine into an intimate and welcoming location in the heart of the downtown core. “Identity is important,” Craig explains. Keeping a small team allows Campagnolo to stay personal. The staff engages with the clientele. They get to know the sensibilities of their regulars and can make recommendations to ensure the highest levels of service.
The couple was inspired to create the unique dining experience in 2009. They both “like a real simple, rustic approach to dining.” Craig (who first began cooking because of his grandmother), along with Alexandra identified a trend that had begun to appear in Toronto. “Casual but really well done was sweeping the city,” Craig revealed. The two jumped on the opportunity and nestled
Campagnolo translates to “country bumpkin” in Italian, and Craig keeps a “farm to table” attitude towards the food. “Every day of the week you can find a farmer in Toronto.” He stresses the importance of having good suppliers, keeping things as local as possible, and staying seasonal. Harding’s relationships with Toronto’s local farmers and suppliers afford him the opportunities
to source food one just can’t find anywhere else. He has even come across some delicacies - most recently, the John Dory fish, in such demand that he is only able to offer it for one evening. Craig is constantly adding “modern” and “refined touches” to his rotating menu, “One minute you’ll get a dish that looks very beautiful and very delicate, and the next minute you’ll get a huge pot of polenta with a ragu with seven meats in it.”
things with food. This pushes the two to “maintain and evolve” at their own establishment. “Every few weeks, there’s a restaurant to go and visit,” Craig explains, “It forces you to step your game up.”
Effortlessly walking the line between modern and traditional, Campagnolo is more than a restaurant. It is a lavish night out and a cherished evening with friends old and new. It is exotic and surprising comfort Operating a restaurant in Toronto has been food. It is something one needs to experian exciting and challenging adventure for ence to understand, and it is one of the city’s the couple. They describe the city’s clientele great and unique gems. as “very adventitious and very well-versed in food.” They are also very aware that they words: Tim Luther are surrounded by a fierce set of competitors photos: Max Power trying to do their own dynamic and bold
The FULL PINT T
he truth is that I didn’t always love beer. I do now, but I didn’t always. I know a slew of people who would agree with my claim as it relates to one’s experience with beer, and even more people who would say that beer just isn’t for them. In fact, you might be one of those people. I take pleasure in saying that you are misguided. I take even more pleasure in introducing you to the woman who just might make you agree with me. She holds the title as Canada’s only Master Cicerone and her name is Mirella Amato. She is a self-described “Beer Geek” and has been hard at work providing beer education and consultancy through her company Beerology TM. Mirella’s passion for all things beer has allowed her to find comfort in the many intricate flavours of beer; and she is eager to share her knowledge with you.
“I just love beer!” Mirella says with enthusiasm as we occupy two stools at Bellwoods Brewery. Mirella basically made up her job. She spent six months talking to local breweries and found that many of them do not devote much time for outreach. She quickly got to work on getting to know the ins and outs of the industry by building upon her knowledge of everything from brewing to tastings and food pairings. Several courses later, Mirella holds one of only six Master Cicerones titles in all of North America and is also the only female who holds this title. “I always had an interest in beer even though many of my friends drink wine…I spoke to [local breweries] and became as educated as possible…I got them to trust my level of expertise and built a personal connection.”
With such amazing credentials on top of her already apparent fascination with beer, Mirella provides guided public and private tastings around the city, as well as staff training and food pairings for chefs and restaurants. “So many people think they don’t like beer.” There is more to the taste of beer than blonde, amber, and dark. Mirella acts as a facilitator in the understanding of the complexities of this social beverage. Through education, she helps people find their favourites based on their own personal tastes. When tasting a beer for the first time, Amato acknowledges the characteristics of beer like its chewiness, aroma, alcohol content, dimension, spice, and acidity – aspects that we don’t often consider. “There is a beer for everyone, and it’s important to explore and to be curious,” says Mirella with certainty.
As a pioneer of this profession, Mirella is constantly asking questions, thus creating a dialogue about the “art of beer appreciation.” Her own curiosity and engagement has even propelled her to write a book about beer which is scheduled to come out in 2014. Amato describes it as an “extension of her interest,” and it sounds like a promising read. Let us raise our pints to Mirella on her quest to properly acknowledge and advance the beer industry in Toronto.
words: Jonathan Broderick photos: Alex Browne Hosted By: Bellwoods Brewery
The D o c tor is in
ost of us probably have a preconceived notion of what a fashion show is like: an exclusive event where the glitterati watch impossibly tall and thin models stomp it out on the catwalk. But here in Toronto, one woman is working to change our concept of what a fashion week can be. Every April, Vanja Vasic and her Fashion Art Toronto team (or FAT, as it’s more commonly known) push the boundaries of what can be seen and done on a Toronto runway. Vasic founded FAT in 2005, while she was still a fashion design student at Ryerson. In her travels to Europe, she’d been exposed to more avant-garde fashion, an aesthetic that, at the time, didn’t really have much prominence in the Toronto scene. Vasic wanted to expose her hometown to more experimental work, and also create a platform for emerging local designers. But her fashion week was not going to be like all the others; Vasic wanted to “bring a little more fun to fashion, and a little less pretension.” FAT
Arts and Fashion Week would also incorporate photography, film, installation art and performance. By placing fashion shows in this context, Vasic makes an argument for fashion design as an art form, rather than simply a commercial venture. Since the beginning, it’s been crucial for Vasic that FAT reflect the diversity Toronto is so known for and proud of. “When I see a fashion show and it’s the same type of person that’s always consistently walking down the runway, it just becomes almost like a factory to me.” FAT’s catwalk features models of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, and also showcases diversity in body type, a major rarity in today’s fashion landscape. “The festival is called ‘FAT’… ‘Fat,’ at the time, was kind of a bad word. It’s almost like using a swear word in fashion.” But models of all types are welcome at FAT castings, where personality and high energy are encouraged. And while international models like Casey Legler and Andrej Pejic
have recently been covered extensively in the fashion press for their androgyny and gender-bending work, FAT has been exploring issue of gender and sexuality for years, with male models walking the catwalk in women’s clothing since the early days. FAT Arts and Fashion Week has a different theme every year, and this year’s is fashion therapy. Each night of programming will explore a different side of the psychology of fashion: drama, craving, crisis, escape, and euphoria. Can’t-miss events will include New-York based House of Diehl’s piece “Style War,” in which designers will battle onstage to create outfits in minutes, and an opening-night fashion show by Toronto’s own Workman Arts, a collaborative company of artists with mental illness and addiction. FAT Arts and Fashion Week runs April 23rd through 27th, and day and week passes are available to the public. Check out fashionarttoronto.ca for purchase details.
In the past eight years, FAT has grown from a two-day event to a full five nights, featuring hundreds of designers and artists, and welcoming thousands of guests. So what’s up next for Vasic? “Recently I’ve been really thinking about returning to design. I think that you need that creative outlet, that creative voice.” And she will continue to expand her annual fashion week, of course. Toronto’s fashion scene has grown edgier, more diverse, and more welcoming for it; whatever’s on the horizon for Vasic, the city’s fashion- and art-lovers will be watching. fat family present: arielle dileo, love in the afternoon, b.e. shields, carlos spellbound, calder ross, dystropolis by ng, dvaeva karina, wani by saki, david c. wigley, worth by david c. wigley, dylan uscher, dylaniym knits, dianna dinoble, faery lepidoptera, grant smyth, m by maddie cosmetics, jeremy hernandez, jennifer murtagh, katherine laird, myles sexton, robert war, tara o’connor & wallace playford
words: ronit rubinstein photos: Alex Browne hair & mua: giovanna minenna, liv luna, Michelle Silverstein & natalie shemuel accessories for vanja: armed, 69 vintage, gotstyle, myles sexton & starkers! corsetry
IN THE D E TA I L S
e’ve seen so many trends come and go in the fickle world of fashion. But over the past few decades, I’ve noticed a constant: denim. Whether it’s printed, acid washed, light, dark, torn, studded, cuffed, skinny, or boot cut – it has a special place in our closets, helping us transition from day to night with ease. With such commercial success, just about every retailer sells a denim pant but very few work with this fabric to create a really exceptional style and fit. Or so we thought, until PRODUCT was introduced to Outsider Denim - a company rooted in the classic tradition of denim wear with inspiration from effervescent decades past. With excitement, I was eager to chat with co-founder of Outsider Denim, Colin Cripps, to discuss music, denim, and how his company is carving out a niche within Toronto’s fashion scene, with a return to quality denim with a vintage flare. Colin was born and raised just outside of Toronto, in Hamilton, where he developed an interest in music at a young age. He was instantly enamored by the look, sound, and feel of rock and roll and decided to pursue a career as a guitarist. With great success as a record producer and as a performer, Colin has performed on some of North America’s best stages with internationally known talent. That is where Colin’s flare for music and fashion began to co-exist. Colin explains, “I’ve always been an avid vintage denim
collector and I used to wear a lot of LVC (Levis Vintage Collection). Because I toured a lot, I would look for stuff on the road. I started buying and collecting, but it became more and more difficult to find good pieces when vintage became more popular.” The rock and roll lifestyle and interest in denim helped him cultivate his own unique style while maintaining a fresh and contemporary aesthetic, which would later become the foundation of Outsider Denim. Colin and his associate, Antonio Teixeira, started Outsider Denim in 2008. Antonio also works in the music industry as a guitar amp manufacturer. So, the two were bound to cross paths. Colin describes Tony as more of a fashion guy, and that they share a similar aesthetic. After a conversation about the scarcity of great denim pieces, it was Tony who “planted the seed” to start their own denim company. “There was nothing too formal or strategic about starting our business. We thought that in the worst case scenario we would just make jeans for each other,” says Colin with a laugh, “We make stuff we want to wear.” Since 2008, the two have been hard at work with brand development, prototyping, and perfecting the cut of their denim. “We wanted a product that was very contemporary in fit with that vintage aesthetic that both
Tony [and I] are drawn to.” As their company became a reality, so did their branding. Colin suggests that the product and the brand began to inform one another. The name Outsider Denim spawned from the idea of being the “other” or “not mainstream” - terms that Colin acknowledges as a key selling factor of their brand. “It’s really about creating a lifestyle,” Colin explains. He admits that he and Tony have very little knowledge of the fashion industry or manufacturing, but insists that a quality product can sell itself, and that the whole process has been a great learning experience. “We spent almost two years learning and developing, but in 2010, we really got the business off of the ground and into stores.”
utsider Denim gets their fabric from the United States, but their apparel is made in Canada. Once they mastered the boot cut, they began to create prototypes for a straight fit. Both fit like they are tailored. Colin considers this feature as what makes their product contemporary and what showcases its quality. All of their clothing is made from salvage denim that is shrink-to-fit and comes in a dark blue wash. It is now sold in multiple stores in Toronto such as the Model Citizen, Philistine, and Simon Carter. Since perfecting the denim pant, Outsider Denim has expanded their line of products to include jackets and graphic t-shirts. “Our latest line of t-shirts has parlour cards on them. They look really cool because the people in them have similar looks to people [of] today.” Colin admits that he has been collecting these cards for quite some time and found that they were a perfect pairing for their line and brand representation. When asked where Colin sees the company going in the next few years, he states that they hope to have a greater retail presence in more stores across Canada and the United States while continuing to develop their clothing line. “We’re in the process of creating a new wash - black denim.” They have also added another member to their team who covers media and marketing. As Outsider Denim continues to gain popularity with their very nonchalant yet seductive cool factor, I predict that Outsider Denim is simply here to stay. With denim lovers and musicians rocking this brand, it would be wise to follow suit and get inside a pair of Outsider Denim.
words: Jonathan Broderick photos: Alex Browne Clothing: outisder Denim Hair & MUA: Nina MÜLLER, Jesse Young
k ing & prett y t h ings
Fashion Designers of America, the organizer of New York Fashion Week. A survey of his blog gives an indication of refined taste, which isn’t surprising considering Marcus’s experience. Starting in 2009, Marcus’s first fashion blog, A La Mode, didn’t specifically cover illustrations, though they were the posts that received most notice. Growing from a project focused on helping models with their photography, A La Mode eventually caught the attention of Dolce and Gabbana, who invited Marcus to contribute to their publication, Swide Magazine. Concurrently, Marcus became the fashion director of online retailer, Ukamaku. With his credibility established, he collaborated with legendary fashion blogger, Diane Pernet, for her A Shaded View of Fashion Film festival, curating an illustration exhibition. In late n any culture industry there is a care- 2012, he started Draw a Dot, now fully fully mediated relationship between dedicated to the art of illustration, while the people who expose work and those also beginning work for Fajo magazine. who create it. Artists need someone to sing their praises, and culture-peddlers need Marcus’s personality mirrors his role. He material to share. Much as these two groups says he likes to stay behind the scenes, rely on each other, they don’t naturally preferring to watch his artists grow rather come into contact with one another, at least than take the stage himself. “I always feel not at the right scale. There are too many that the artist should be in the front and I artists, and the elite circle of taste-makers is should be in the back to support them,” he small by necessity. To fix that problem, cer- says. There’s a trace of sentimentality in his tain individuals become connectors. They voice when he recounts seeing artists whom find talented artists and help put them in he’s helped expose reach some level of international prestige. contact with the bigger fish.
Marcus Kan is one of those connectors – a one-man hub in his niche. Through his blog, Draw a Dot, he curates material relating to fashion illustration, a relatively obscure and under-appreciated art form. The website, though new, has garnered a strong fan base already. Within months of its launch, it was lauded by the Council of
In deciding which artists to support, his criteria for material worth blogging is defined by freshness. The work needs to be something he hasn’t seen before, something with an edge to it. The approach makes sense; overly derivative material is endemic in creative industries. He specifically mentions Pinterest and its penchant for endless
self-recycling. Freshness is engrossing. As he puts it, “I want them to suck me in. If they cannot suck me in, I’m not going to talk about them.” For now, Marcus continues to grow Draw a Dot. What separates it from his previous projects, he says, is the cleanliness of its design. Being sparse with words lets the work he features speak for itself. The end goals are simple. The first is to give deserving artists exposure. The second is to inspire other artists. And the third is to locate new trends in fashion illustration. If his current trajectory keeps up, he might just end up as one of the very arbiters of taste to which he exposes his artists. words: Adam Zivo photos: Max Power Stylist: Adaora agu Hair & Mua: Emily Anne Helsdon, Jesse Young illustration: Roberto Sanchez
DaNcE DANCE dANCE
smeralda Enrique has more pizzazz in her left pinky than I could ever muster in my entire body. While I love to hit the dance floor, my overall look errs more on the side of Elaine Benes. Needless to say, I am no flamenco expert. Esmeralda Enrique, on the other hand, has been sharing her know-how with Toronto for over 30 years as the founding director of the Academy of Spanish Dance. I caught up with this powerhouse mover and shaker (no pun intended) and learned a thing or two about the dynamic world of flamenco. Located in the basement of Toronto’s hub for arts and culture (401 Richmond St.) is the Academy of Spanish Dance. The school currently boasts approximately 130 students, many of whom have been with Esmeralda since she first opened her door in 1982. The spacious studio also hosts the award-winning Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company, one of Canada’s foremost flamenco dance and music ensembles. Guest talents from Spain like Juan Ogalla, Manuel Betanzos, and Naike Ponce are just a sample of the stars Esmeralda has worked with. Her rockstar roster and legacy in the larger flamenco community insist that she is an important fixture in the city’s artistic landscape. For Esmeralda, dancing and flamenco combined is a passion project that has shaped her life’s history and continues to teach her something new every day. Flamenco begins with the premise that dancing is an emotional, full body expression that incorporates every single limb to tell a story through exceptional means. With each body part
doing something dissimilar (to a different time signature no less) do not be fooled by the passionate faces and fancy swirling skirts! Flamenco and classical Spanish dance are damn hard and considered two of the most difficult art forms to master. What makes flamenco such a juicy genre is that it represents some of the more challenging aspects to master within singing, guitar, and dancing. “There is a beautiful connection among the three,” explains Esmeralda, “and there are no words to describe this connection other than osmosis, electricity and intense energy. Not many other dance forms contain this raw energy and threeway communication”. In March, she will dance alongside company member, Paloma Cortés, in A Night in Madrid, accompanied by the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber choir at Trinity-St Paul’s Center. Also expect to be electrified by the world premiere of Portales, a show exploring the breadth of expression and possibility grounded in flamenco, at the Harbourfront Center’s Fleck Dance Theater. Portales (which means “doorways” in Spanish) is about the choices we make in life and the constant wondering of “what if”. As Esmeralda beautifully puts it, “we can never answer these questions but we can always wonder and dream. Flamenco provides a space to embrace, dream, and live our other expressions. To live out our ‘what ifs’. It is about looking inward and expressing what it is that we unearth.” words: lauren cullen photos: Paul Steward
words: Melissa Allen photos: Alex Browne Pictured: Seth Falk (Left), Delivis Niedzialek (Right)
WE BOUGHT A Z oo I
’ve always been in awe of people who have a special bond with animals, people who don’t hesitate to pet a random dog or feed a squirrel in the park. So, you can imagine how impressed I was when chatting with Seth Falk, owner of Hands On Exotics, a company that brings exotic animals to places and events, allowing guests to have the rewarding experience of interacting with them. Seth’s love of animals began early enough at two years old. His first pet was a cat named Peaches. Eventually, his roster of pets expanded to include a dog and rats, lots of finches, and lizards. He gained his first professional experiences in working with animals by taking training courses with zookeepers and working at African Lion Safari. About five years ago, Seth was working in nutrition, but he had a lot of exotic pets and loved bringing them to nursing homes on a volunteer basis to get his animals moving and also to stay connected to the community. The volunteering turned into his first paid gig, which led to more bookings. And
then Hands on Exotics was born, with Del (his first volunteer), eventually becoming a business partner as Hands On Exotics grew. When asked about his craziest Hands On Exotics experience, Seth describes a last minute gig they landed at a casino event in Niagara Falls. They were given a cage, which promptly broke down, allowing all of their dozen or so budgies to escape. It took a crane, a crane operator, and many hours to catch all of the birds. Hands On Exotics works with all types of events: corporate, schools, birthday parties, retirement homes, and more. “We bring a large assortment of animals (all of them exotic) to the event and we do our best to teach, educate, and also allow people to have a hands on experience.” Services start at $195 and include a variety of 10 to 12 animals, such as “reptiles, exotic birds, creepy crawlies, and furry animals from around the world.” They do hospital and nursing home visits. “We work with their budget because we’d rather be there than not be there,” says Seth.
Pictured: Cindy Doire, Andrea Ramolo
t was an accident that I experienced the custom sound, a low trill that twists amongst a feeling of sorrow and lust that poured from two guitars in rhythm like two flowers afloat on a river of fog. A slow shrill of violin growled on shore and on they went in peaceful bout. This was Scarlett Jane - a musical persona created by Cindy Doire and Andrea Ramolo. Jane was the beginning, the everywoman, and the simplicity behind the character. Scarlett took longer. After endless nights of texting back and forth (one wall between them, in their shared apartment) the sensual, vulnerable woman was born. “We came up with one woman’s name that we would embody as a duo….we sing in harmony and we write together. We are one female persona, and we named her Scarlett Jane,” said Andrea. With shows that range from two girls and two guitars to a full band, played from small intimate venues to sold-out shows in Europe, it’s a wonder that the pair maintain a soft heart. “We understand our sound, and feel solid in who we are and how we present ourselves as artists, from what we wear on stage at a show to how we address an interview, what our songs are about, where we travel, and who we do shows for,” Andrea explains. Cindy, who plays a mix of bass and guitar adds, “It wasn’t until the fall of 2011 that we became inspired by our duo sound, which was taking shape into exactly what we wanted, without struggle to hear our individual voices, and still having intricate little parts that were lifting and filled with energy.”
Scarlett Jane wrote their debut album, Stranger, in Mexico and finished it in a secluded cabin, free from internet and cell phone service, in northern Ontario. The detachment was good for their writing. “We force ourselves, and each other, to make the song as good as it can be. That’s why we are not sick of any of our songs.” explained Cindy. They both write the songs, and by the time a song is finished, they each have worked on it, but, “the best songs we have written on our album [are] the ones that we started and ended together. The songs are edited and reworked until it becomes a Scarlett Jane song,” said Cindy. Scarlett Jane played 27 shows in 33 days, while racing across Europe in a rented car, as part of a six-month tour where they performed over 100 shows in 2012. “We went away for almost six months, on tour, nonstop, and we really honed in on our individual craft, and how we play together,” Andrea reminisces. “We really have a rhythm. We connect musically. Our show got really tight really fast.” This summer they will tour Canada from east to west and will stop in mid-August to perform at one of its biggest folk festivals, The Edmonton Folk Festival. words: Adam Hendrik photos: Max Power Hair & MUA: Giovanna Minenna, Grant Butterworth Clothes: Rescue, 69 Vintage
GAM E ON
azy summer days by the lake. First loves and first kisses. New friends, and no parents as far as the eye can see. For those lucky enough, summer camp can be a formative and even life-changing experience. The chairs of the Intercamp Classic are working to make this an experience all Toronto kids can enjoy, even if their families may not be able to otherwise afford it. The annual event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars toward this goal, and this year’s fundraiser promises to be the biggest one yet. Intercamp—a sports competition between rival camps—is often the climactic event of the summer, with bragging rights and camp pride on the line. In 2010, Josh Howard (along with co-chairs Noah Sliwin and Spencer Hoffman) saw an opportunity to recreate the Intercamp experience in Toronto, and organized a charity softball tournament to benefit anti-malaria efforts in West Africa. Twenty teams made up of campers, staff and alumni of various Ontario camps participated. The event had served as an unofficial camp reunion for its attendees, so it seemed only fitting that the next year’s funds go toward making the camp experience available to more youth. Howard has had plenty of opportunity to witness firsthand the impact camp can have on a child’s life; he grew up attending Camp Walden in Bancroft, Ontario, and his family runs Muskoka’s Camp Tamarack. “Obviously you have the ability to make friends and make memories, but you can really learn lifelong skills. Things like confidence, perseverance, self-esteem, social skills that you really can’t get in many other places.”
Since 2011, the Intercamp Classic has been a major fundraiser for Kids in Camp, a charity that provides need-based subsidies for children attending overnight, day, or special needs camps in Ontario. Howard estimates that his event has sent about 150 underprivileged kids to camp thus far, and he hopes to double that number this year. A total of 1700 players, spectators and volunteers are expected to turn out this May for softball, handball and flag football at the Powerade Center in Brampton. Teams compete on the field and off, with winners named in each sport and also in funds raised. Howard and his team of co-chairs, who have been joined by Elissa Grossman and Jennie Howard, hope to raise $175,000 for Kids in Camp this year. This isn’t Grossman’s first rodeo; she met Josh Howard when the two worked on the charity event Jam 4 Israel, raising funds to open a summer camp for at-risk Ethiopian youth in Israel. Of the Intercamp Classic, she says, “People feel loyalty to their camp and they want to play for their camp. And at the same time, they really feel passionate about this cause, because they can relate to it. They went to camp, they had the amazing experience, and it’s really easy for them to say, ‘I want to be able to help a child, and give them that experience’” The 2013 Intercamp Classic Presented by Fred and Linda Waks takes place Sunday, May 5th. Register your camp’s team or donate at www.intercampclassic.com. words: Ronit Rubinstein photos: Alex Browne
G ot M OVES?
aving previously practiced Russian martial arts, my curiosity was piqued when I heard about Capoeira (kap-oo-air-uh). Initially, I didn’t know much about the world of this Afro-Brazilian art which encompasses dance, combat, music, and acrobatics. So, I was thrilled to visit the Axé Capoeira Studio, sit in on a class, and see the action for myself. There, students of various levels are led by the rhythmic trance of traditional Brazilian music by the experienced Professor (Paraiba) Marcos Martins. He leads each session of the Capoeira game with a basic step called Ginga (a move that Marcos later revealed is a workout in itself) leading beginners, in particular, to feel sore the next day. Capoeira isn’t done with an ulterior motive, like to become a working professional or stuntman, but for the pure energy and love of it. This art form requires a remarkable amount of focus and dedication that is truly inspiring. After the class, Marcos explained to me that many students train up to six times per week, and even in his personal practice, he teaches up to four daily sessions. The studio is always packed with students who linger after class to continue rolling off of their mats, dancing, throwing some punches, and even playing instruments like the berriboi, medio, and viola. “Music is a big part of it,” said Marcos, “as you advance in the practice, you learn the music and the instruments... you have the opponent’s message within the song, so if you’re not aware of it, you’re at a disadvantage.” It seems that this kind of all-inclusive, multidisciplinary approach keeps students wanting more. Capoeira is more than self-defence, it is a cultural experience meant to defy and challenge the body, not unlike breakdancing or Parkour. Brace yourself for both full immersion and high intensity when first starting Capoeira, as its continuous flow always adheres to the rhythmic feel of the music. One must also be prepared for discipline, as you can’t turn into a master overnight. Just like ballet, where you spend countless hours learning the basics like relevés or pliés, repetition is a must. Marcos gave a class speech on how it took him five years to perfect the backflip, and how he started this sport at the young age of 12. After observing the training, I can definitely assure readers that it is rewarding to excel in this exotic craft, especially when there is an encouraging community to guide you. Whether you decide to involve yourself in Capoeira to shed a few inches off your waist or to raise your self-confidence, being an active player in this musical game (jogo) may not only earn you a cord-belt, it may even further your determination and drive in your daily life. Marcos and studio manager Christine are both full of energy, passion, and knowledge of this martial art. And they are eager to share this experience with you.
words: Iddie Fourka photos: Alex Browne Athletes: Amanda Torres, AndrĂ‰ Ricardo Miotti, Christine Kouyoumjian, Cristina Reale, jafari moore, Marcelo Campos, Marcos Martins, Mike Soltysiak, nathaniel Pruitt, travis Winchester
nig h t at t h e ro x x bur y
hen it comes to fashion, Bonnie Yam is Canada’s bread and butter. As the designer and owner of ROXX jewelry, she utilizes a potent combination of innovation and business smarts: a rare skill set that has already earned her the 2011 Passion for Fashion Award (presented by Toronto’s Fashion Incubator and YES), editorial features in Flare Magazine, showings at Fashion Art Toronto, and the runways of Simon Chang and Pavoni. So, when Bonnie teamed up with PRODUCT, I was thrilled to interview a woman of such vast influence. In the end, our encounter exceeded my expectations. Bonnie arrived at the PRODUCT headquarters, punctual and chic, dressed in a fabulous fringe dress. She delicately laid out her latest designs on the coffee table - letting her crystal bracelets shimmer in the light. We were instantly blown away by her collection, especially a multi-functional necklace that has the ability to transform into earrings. Bonnie’s pieces are mesmerizing enough for Audrey Hepburn, with their natural, earthy materials contrasting with those man-made. In that moment, it was easy to imagine why ROXX often sells out throughout Toronto, in shops like Eleven and Made You Look. I curiously asked how she discovered her passion. “I was a graphic designer before,” she revealed, “but my interest in [accessories] was sparked from working at Bitter Sweet – it inspired me to create things to gift to friends and family.” She goes on to explain that it was only two years later that her hobby turned into a more serious affair, after her acceptance into the
Passion for Fashion program in collaboration with YES and Toronto’s Fashion Incubator. During this program, Bonnie was mentored by several industry experts and was “forced to write a business plan”. This, in turn, encouraged her to launch her first bridal line, which proved to be both well-received and extremely commercial. Bonnie, who is also a private piano teacher, has not only entered a Barbie contest (designing a doll dress, featured in Flare magazine for T.F.I’s 25th Anniversary) but has been hard at work to further expand her brand. ROXX now has two truly distinctive and one-of-a-kind collections, Crystal Clusters and La Principessa, both made from materials scouted from her travels to India and Egypt (where she camped out in the desert for month.) Bonnie’s abilities as a designer are both impressive and inspiring. There isn’t very much that Bonnie hasn’t done herself when it comes to the look of ROXX (she even designed her own website) and her hard work has paid off. I am eager to see her company flourish, for Bonnie is a true visionary - producing statement accessories that add sparkle to any outfit. Whether it’s that business suit or that vintage Dior gown, ROXX jewelry adds the finishing touch to your look.
words: Iddie Fourka photos: Tara Mcwatters Hair & MUA: Emily O’Quinn, Grant Butterworth, Margaret Mcintosh, Natalie Shemuel, Taylor Vigneux Set Design: Laura Mackenzie Clothes: Rescue Jewellery: Roxx
Pictured (Left To Right): Olyvia Little, Lily Ostos, Bonnie Yam, Star Martin, Stephanie Dubinsky, Andrea Kelly
S I CK DOPE F LY
rom the dark Montreal underground came the beginning of Scott Fordham’s hard-hitting career in choreography and dance, a career that keeps him inspired, and one that challenges. “The beauty of being inspired as an artist is that it comes from out of the blue, whether it be people-watching, sitting by water, or a song playing in the grocery store…you just have to take it and run with it…fast…because sometimes the idea escapes you…” In 2007, Scott moved to Toronto after his decision to turn dance into a career. Since then, he has worked with many recording artists including Janelle Monae, Deborah Cox, and Jully Black. His work has been televised on Global, Much Music, MTV, Fashion Television, and City TV.
“To me, the difference between choreography and dance, put simply, is with choreography you create and conceptualize movement in an attempt to tell a story or bring life to an idea. As a dancer, you use your body, your emotions, and training to breathe life into a choreographer’s ideas. Choreographers script the story. Dancers interpret and perform it.” On choreographers: “For a choreographer to be successful, it is important to stay in your lane. Broaden your lane, sure, but know what you have to offer and where you want to go. Do not try to be the next so-and-so
Dancers: Baby Cakes, Christina de la cruz, george absi, justin lopes, kyal rankine, scott fordham, tea haraga
because you have lost the race before the green flag appears. Lastly, do not create what people want to see, make them want to see more of what you have created.” On dancers: “To be taken seriously as a dancer in Toronto, like anywhere, you need to conduct yourself in a professional manner. There are so many talented dancers in this city that flock here from all over Canada, including myself (Montreal) that are hungry for work.” Scott is currently working on “LIMITLESS: ON FIRE,” which is a follow-up to his first major solo production, “LIMITLESS,” put on a year ago. He has cast 25 of Canada’s most exciting dancers to realize his 90-minute exhibition of dancehall, jazz, funk, and hip hop which will be hosted by Mojo Lounge, a new venue on Dundas St. West, on April 13th. “Down the road, on top of continuing to perform and being in front of the lens, I will be producing/directing/choreographing major spectacles, musicals even. I enjoy the commercial side of dance but nothing beats a live show and the immediate exchange between performer and audience. It’s magical!” words: Adam Hendrik photos: Alex Browne Location: Statler’s Lounge
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