Category Archives: Diary

Story Mobs on The National

In this day and age of internet domination in our lives, there is still certain sense of accomplishment for ‘being on TV’.  Last night, the Story Mobs Project we’ve been participating in was featured on CBC’s The National Only In Canada” segment.

I’ve screen captured the segment, which you can watch below.  I’m the ‘giant’ on stilts, my son is the boy on stilts, and my daughter is one of the lovely small ‘Kate’ characters.

I was also included in a photo story by NOW Magazine, and the first picture I found of the event was on Sago Sago‘s instagram feed.  More photos of the day can be found at Stephanie Mclellan‘s facebook page.

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Jillian Jiggs Storymob

Group shot of some of the great kids and their great costumes for the Storymob.

Group shot of some of the great kids and their great costumes for the Storymob.

Yesterday we participated in a StoryMob.  What’s that you ask?orangePirate_sm-150x150

“StoryMobs are where great kids’ books meet flash mobs with a dash of Mardi Gras thrown in.  A story mob is inspired by an exceptional children’s book and allows for participation in a variety of ways. These may include costumes & props, copies of the book, simple choreography, musical instruments and vocal parts.”

I learned of it through our love of Fancy Pants Kids, whose Mompreneur Gretel Meyer Odell is one of the organizers of the StoryMobs in Toronto.  We were eager to participate and lucky the timing worked out for us so we could enjoy this family friendly theatre-esque event in Toronto.

Jillian Jiggs Cover

Jillian Jiggs Cover

Yesterday‘s book was Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman, which was a great choice due to all the dressing up that the characters in the book do, along with the refrain: “Jillian, Jillian, Jillian Jiggs, it looks like your room has been lived in by pigs!”.

I really wish I could have gotten video of the experience itself, but when you’re in the middle of it, as a reader (of two lines I was :-D) and costume changer of the kids, I wasn’t able too.  Hopefully down the road a video will be released of it from some of the many other participants so you can see what it is like in true flash mob style.  The passers-by who were walking the closed down Queen St for the Beaches Jazz Festival seemed to enjoy the street theatre they happened upon.

Thanks to children’s book store Ella Minnow for being a back-drop and anchor for the event.

The Children's Bookstore we were performing in front of. Get it "LMNO".

The Children’s Bookstore we were performing in front of. Get it “LMNO”.

Their window display for the Storymob.

Their window display for the Storymob.

If you’re keen to try this out yourself, they will be organizing two more this summer here in Toronto.   And yeah, why not start your own local one where ever you might be?

Update: More photos on the ‘official flickr‘, and Stephanie Mclellan’s  blog (you have to go fullscreen to see them all) and facebook (if you can handle the gif formated images).

On the trail of a provocative image — “Mimesis in the Louvre”

I came across the above image posted at Babes at the Museum, and they were requesting to identify the people in the photo as of February 2012.  I decided to go on a bit of a hunt.

My conclusion is that the photo is the work of Charlotte Duberry, Nessa Norich, Jessica Hinds,  and Marina Lazzarotto and is an outtake shot during the rehearsal of commissioned performances at the Louvre, in front of Regnault’s The Three Graces (“Les Trois Grâces”)  on a Tuesday sometime in 2010.  An applicable title is “Mimesis in the Louvre”.Three Graces

Now to document some of my search for those curious.

TinEyeLogo_WordMarkI started out using TinEye, as if it was an ‘official’ photo it was  good chance it would be registered over there (and I was curious if it would trigger on the painting in the background).  It returned 12 images, best guess being this post, but nothing official.   I found a post over at blended.fr that claimed the photo was part of lingerie company La fille d’O‘s advertising but couldn’t find anything corroborating that.  I found a blog post by Jim Harris over at Huffington Post about Facebook’s censorship of the image (what is art, vs what is porn? and many nice things said about the image), but again, no source information.

Next up was using Google Image Search.  This led me to the trove that is tumblr.  Its best guess was a post by Mr. Harris Tweed which he named “The Four Graces”, but then I was determined to try to find the first occurrence of the picture online.  Via this line of inquiry I found a nice article here asking where the line between classical beauty is and just plain sexy.  Using the date searches, leading back to the beginning of May 2011, I narrowed it down to this post at contraindicaciones which was the first I found listing some names of the participants: “Nessa Norich, Jessica Hinds, Charlotte Duberry, Marina Lazzarotto, Sofia Senna” (also this post at Girls Who Like Porno).   The earliest dated post I found was Feb 18, 2011 at murdermetonymy‘s tumblr, but again no source.  Having some names in hand, and the location known due to the background image (though many attributed it to Rubens or Rapheal instead of Regnault, and one even named it as the Graces from Botticelli’s Primavera) I tried to confirm things.

9212562_origI found a website for Nessa Norich which listed in her ‘Devised Works’ section a project called “The Three Graces”.  There are images of a dance performed by three women in front of the painting.  It is still difficult to confirm the faces of the participants though.  Over on Marina Benitez Lazzarotto’s resume she too lists a theatre performance at the Louvre, so this connected four of the names I found from the other sites to the image’s location.

Finally I emailed my suspicions and received confirmation from Ms Benitez Lazzarotto that it was in fact a photo taken on her camera after hours while they were rehearsing for their respective shows.

Four women showing their bums in front of Regnault's Three Graces painting at the Louvre

“The girls in the photo from left to right are:  Charlotte Dubery, Nessa Norich, Jessica Hinds and me.  The picture was taken with my camera which i put on a timer.  It was taken on a tuesday when the museum was closed and the three girls and i were rehearsing for Les Nocturnes du Louvre.” – Marina

So, there is a brief history of this meme.

And keeping it all current, if you like the talent Marina showed in creating this image, perhaps you’ll want to help her out making a movie?  Crowdsource her over at IndieGoGo for her film project FLASH.

Remembering Mr. George Duckett

Today marks the one year ‘death day’ of my friend Mr. George Duckett (1930-2012).  I’d like to share with you a letter I wrote to his kind widow this past winter after I had learned of his passing.

Dear Mrs. Duckett,

My name is Chris Nolan.  You don’t know me, but I knew your husband from the Douglas Snow swimming pool.  I was very sorry to learn of his passing, and wanted to tell you I’ll miss him.

For the past six years I’ve been taking my children to the pre-school swim Wednesday mornings, which is the same time as the senior swim.  Mr. Duckett’s regular locker was across the aisle from ours, and we would chat as we were getting changed (the kids take a long time to get ready, and he was no speed demon himself).  I used to look forward to his stories he’d tell: of his youth near the coast, of his time working on boats, his travels around Australia, his siblings back home, your trip to Hawaii when your kids were small, your grand kids both near and far, and many more.   The elf and Santa craft he made for the kids one Christmas still sit on a shelf in their bedroom keeping watch over them.

I regret not making an effort to keep in touch when he took his break from swimming last year for his hip surgery, and then during the summer the senior swim doesn’t run, and then Douglas Snow was closed for renovations in the fall, only to re-open last month.   Some of the other gentlemen asked after him, and I tried to tell myself he just didn’t know the pool had reopened yet, but I finally braced myself and looked online only to learn of his death this past summer.

I didn’t want to reopen any wounds by sending such belated condolences, but I did want to tell you of our time together, and that I’ll be keeping “Papa Duck”‘s memory alive with my kids too.

If you are the operator of a motor vehicle, please remember it is a powerful machine that requires vigilance.

Hyper Realistic Sculpture

Today I was introduced to the realm of ‘Hyper Realistic Sculpture’.  Demilked recently shared a new sculpture by Ron Mueck, which led me to look at a bunch of his previous works.  Doing that led me to the human-animal hybrids of Patricia Piccinini, which reminded me of some of the characters in Jeff Lemire‘s Sweet Tooth.  I’ve since looked at a bunch of other works by artists such as Evan Penny, Carole A. Feuerman and more.  If you have some time, browse around some of this work, and if you are lucky enough find some on exhibit near you.

What is still sticking with me about the Ron Mueck work, is the different scales.  He has very large ones, and very small ones too.  Wow.  To see more of the way he works, check out the site of photographer Gautier Deblonde who works with the artist in documenting his process and his installations.

Scale of the Universe and Powers of 10 resources

The concept of the scale of the universe has come up multiple times with my kids, and our friends, so I thought I’d put together a few links and resources we’ve used.

There is the ‘classic’ video (film-strip style) from the Eames Office, Powers of Ten and now with its accompanying website.

There is the superb flash animation: Scale of the Universe 2 by Cary Huang and Michael Huang (the (at the time) 14-year-old htwins).  [Hmmm… embedding it doesn’t work, sorry]

There is The Known Universe by American Museum of Natural History, which you can interact with via their Digital Universe 3D Atlas software (powered by Partiview) and presented by one of the makers at TED (Carter Emmart).

If you want to just think about really big numbers too, check out Numberphile‘s video of Googols and Googolplexs.

Peregrine Falcon chased a Canadian Goose

Wanted to share a sighting of the peregrines at Mel Lastman Square today.  One of them was chasing a canadian goose through the air down the middle of the square!  It was wild.  He chased him east, then down south around to North York Blvd between the Transamerica building and the board of education building.  The bird appeared a minute or two later again so I suspect they didn’t capture it, but it was fancy to see.

My kids and I watched for 30 minutes or so, and one bird perched on the lights on the north side of the transamerica building (third pillar over, and on the right), and was joined by the other after 10 minutes or so, 5 pot lights away.  Another 10 minutes or so passed and the first bird climbed along the ledge, and then squeezed behind a light and I never saw it come out from that spot.  Made me wonder if a nest might be back there?