Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays!

with love,
Robin

Sunday, December 13, 2009

blogTO Post: Toronto Portraits in Review

I'm putting my blogTO column, 'The Toronto Portraits', aside for now because I'll be travelling abroad soon (more on that later). Don't fret though, I'll still be taking plenty of new, exciting photos and posting them here.

I've done 37 Toronto Portraits, which means 37 interviews and photoshoots over the past year and half or so of young, emerging artists in Toronto.

I've picked some of my favourites and included behind the scenes anecdotes; you can check them out here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

blogTO Post: What's going down with The Annex?


The Annex, my neighbourhood in Toronto for just under two decades, has been going under some big changes in the last few years. It's becoming a mini club district for 18-20 year old kids; it's being overrun with trashy bars, street meat and crime.

Am I being overly dramatic about the changes it's undergone? Possibly, I'm known for that. You can check it out here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Fog of Toronto

I took these a week ago on my way back after the Mike Ross photoshoot. Our fog isn't usually purple, but isn't it nicer this way? Double click to see the large versions.


Friday, November 27, 2009

blogTO Post: F--- The Internet

There's a hot new dance night going on at Clinton's Tavern in Toronto once a month called 'FUCKtheINTERNET'. They feature dance/pop/hip-hop from 1975-1995; it should be quite good. You can read more about it here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

blogTO Post: 'Toronto Portrait' of Mike Ross

This is Mike Ross; he's heading up a hot new musical at Soulpepper called 'The Civil Elegies'. It's based on a 1960's book of poetry by Dennis Lee about Toronto. You can read about him here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trash Talk: The Art of Other People's Garbage

I'm involved in an exhibit this Saturday at Labspace studio in Toronto (the corner of Pape and Queen) called 'Trash Talk'. Basically myself and three other artists dived into people's trash in The Annex this autumn to find items that tell stories about the people of the neighbourhood.

We found some pretty lascivious things; it's amazing what kind of legal documents people will leave on the curb without thinking of shredding them. Not that we're interested in invading people's privacy of course; all intimate details have been redacted.

We took the best three objects we found and conducted interviews with regular people, asking them for their take on the trash's significance. This is a show about the voyeurism of sorting through things that strangers have thrown away.

You'll have a chance to see the objects in person, listen to the interviews we conducted and make your own judgements about why these things were thrown away and by whom.

The show runs from Saturday, November 21st to December 21st. The opening night reception is on Saturday from 8AM to 1AM; the main exhibit is called 'Monosaic' and 'Trash Talk' is an extra installation. The facebook group for 'Trash Talk' is here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Bloor: a Documentary about a Toronto Landmark

'The Bloor', a documentary I directed with Peter Kuplowsky about the history of the Bloor Cinema in Toronto, is finally available online.

It won a couple of awards at film festivals, it got me an interview on CBC Radio with Matt Galloway; not bad considering Peter and I were teenagers when we made it.

Part 1


Part 2


Elizabeth Do at Now Magazine has just written a piece about the documentary; you can check that out here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Canadian Talent Farm

So this new website named Canadian Talent Farm invited me to join their roster of artists; it's an initiative to help Canadian artists get more exposure for their work. I think they found me on flickr.

I'm in the Toronto section, under photography; you can check it out here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

blogTO Post: Rendezvous With Madness

The Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival started this week and I got an interview with the creative director/founder. You can read it here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

'Diamond Rings' photoshoot and blogTO post

I met up with musician John O (lead singer of The D'Urbervilles) in Montreal to interview him about his solo project, Diamond Rings. We did a photoshoot afterwards in an industrial section of the city.

If you don't know about him yet, check out the article; he's a real talent. The photos turned out pretty well too...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

blogTO Post: Brides in Pop Montreal

Brides, Toronto-based experimental/pop/indie rockers, played a knockout show at Casa Del Popolo this year for Pop Montreal. You can read about them here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

blogTO Post: Pop Montreal's 'The Happiness Project'

My pal Helen and I went to check out 'The Happiness Project' at Pop Montreal yesterday. An installation piece curated by Toronto arts group Artist Bloc, I thought it was a unique and exciting way of touring a album. You can read about it here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

blogTO Post: 'Toronto Portrait' of Daniel Karasik

This is Daniel Karasik; he's a talented young playwright whose recent work has been staged in New York, Germany, and of course Toronto. You can read about him here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Super Nintendo Electro Pop Song

I've haven't updated my video game system since 1990's Super Nintendo. As far as I'm concerned it's all been downhill from there.

Recently as I was loading 'Super Mario World' something odd happened; the screen went blank and the system began playing an electro pop song (very Crystal Castles-esque.) I recorded it with my laptop for posterity sake.

Anyone want to remix this?

video

Sunday, September 20, 2009

blogTO post: 'The Zoo Story' hits Toronto parks

I wrote about a production of 'The Zoo Story' that traveled from park to park in Toronto, staging the play on real public benches. You can read more about it here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

blogTO Post: Documentary About Pages Bookstore

Pages Bookstore closed at the end of August, and the owner's daughter is producing a documentary about the Queen St. landmark. You can read about it here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

blogTO Post: Sodom at Christie Pits

Here's a new post with a political bent (which is pretty unusual for me.) I tracked down a couple Christie Pits poolhoppers and asked them what they think about the current late night swim laws in Toronto.

You can check it out here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

blogTO Post: 8 Girls Without Boyfriends

'8 Girls without Boyfriends' is a new play produced by Nobody's Business Theatre in Toronto. You can read 8 reasons to go out and see it this weekend here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

blogTO Post: 'Toronto Portrait' of Keith Hamilton

This is Keith Hamilton; he helped turn a Portuguese seafood restaurant called 'The Boat' into one of the hippest music venues in Toronto. You can read about him here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

blogTO Post: Closing of the Oxford Hotel

There's a house I visit sometimes to see live music; they host shows with traveling musicians in their backyard and kitchen. Everyone is moving out though, and the shows will end this week. It's the end of an era...

Read all about the closing of the Oxford Hotel here (with two interviews! I've outdone myself in journalistic prowess...)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My father's photography on 'Feature Shoot'

There's a pretty amusing blog post about my father, Liam Sharp, on 'FeatureShoot.com'. They interviewed him about a series of drag queen portraits he took in Toronto.

New Maze: Winter in Toronto

I made this one last winter; it's a good reminder of what a lack of UV rays and decent weather can do to the soul. This is about as dark and confessional as mazes get I imagine.

You can check out 'Winter in Toronto' and my other mazes on my flickr page here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My YouTube Favourites: Part 2

YouTube is kind of like a thrift store. You go back every week, scouring rack after rack of shoddy old videos...and every once in a while you find something incredible.

1. Leonard Nimoy's 'Ballad of Bilbo Baggins'
I've become a bit of Trekkie since the new movie came out. I've watched all the films, the entire original series and countless 'Voyager' clips on YouTube.

This is Leonard Nimoy, circa 1967, singing his heart out on television about his man-crush on Bilbo Baggins.

Yes, that Bilbo Baggins. From 'The Hobbit'.



2.
RetroBites: Keanu Reeves
Once upon a time Keanu Reeves was a struggling young actor trying to make a name for himself in Toronto.

Here he is in 1984, covering a Teddy Bear convention for CBC. I've got to "go down to the bears-only cafe and talk bearsness" with him in Los Angeles sometime.



3. Patsy Cline - Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray
The song is amazing. The singer is amazing. The tacky cafe set and titular burning cigarettes? They push the whole thing into sublime.



Check out Part 1 of my YouTube Favourites here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Photos: Costumes of the 'Jurassic Park' Shadowcast

Alex Woodside, director of the Fringe Festival's 2009 'Jurassic Park' shadowcast, asked me to do some publicity photos for his show. Hold on to your butts...



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We need extras for Bloor Cinema Feature on Friday, July 24th

It's back on!

We are filming a wild, illegal party scene at the Bloor Cinema this Friday (July 24th, 2009), and we want you to be there.

The feature film I'm directing is best described as a Christian sex comedy. It was produced in association with the Bloor and it will premiere there in early 2010.

We are looking for youthful looking people, ages 15-29. You should dress as hipster-esque as possible; American Apparel, Valu-Village, plaid shirts...tight fitting, solid coloured clothes are a plus. Please avoid wearing anything with a logo.

Call time is noon (aka 12pm); we aren't serving lunch but we will have coffee, fruit, bagels and stuff like that on set.

We will be going as late as 3pm but most of you will be wrapped before then.

Click here for the facebook event.

Update: The shoot went very well; my sincere thanks to everyone who came out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

blogTO Post: 'Toronto Portrait' of Alex Fischer

This is Alex Fischer, a 23-year-old abstract digital painter who's quickly gaining momentum in the Toronto art world. You can read about him here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Photos: Blue Velvet Band on the Marquee

'Anything that Moves', the band that accompanied songs live from our Fringe show Blue Velvet, played a set on the marquee of the Bloor not once but twice; opening and closing night. Here are some pictures!

Carmen Elle (solo singer/songwriter, guitar and vocals for Donlands & Mortimer)
• Johnny Spence (keyboards for
Donlands & Mortimer)
• Dorian Thornton (bassist for
Spiral Beach)
• Jo Fallak (lead singer of
Miss Scarlett)
Brandon Valdivia (drummer for Picastro)
• Katie Avery (violinist for
Beneath the Ice)
Ryan G. Hinds (performance artist about town)

(Through the window of the women's washroom)




Thursday, July 2, 2009

Silver Stage in Eye Weekly

The marvelous Chandler Levack wrote about Blue Velvet this week in Eye Weekly which is pretty exciting; they even printed a couple of my pictures (press shots for the shows.)

You can check out what she had to say here.

Update:
Eye Weekly has given the show a four star review!

"A real band adds an exciting element to the shadow-cast presentation of Blue Velvet: almost all the songs on the soundtrack are performed live. The cast employ a range of unusual props, including bubbles and a pogo stick, to reflect (invert?) the sexy bits. This steamy, silly exercise extends the life of the classic ’80s film with profundity and passion. As Jeffrey and Dorothy, Furey and Fallak are hot, and the rest of the cast — including the fun-to-watch Ryan Hinds — are fabulous."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

blogTO Post: Shuffle Demons go for a World Record

I wrote a post about the Shuffle Demons; a brass pop band famous for a song called 'Spadina Bus' in 1986.

They're still together (after 25 years) and they are trying to get 950 sax players rounded up this week to break a world record for the biggest sax ensemble.

You can read more about them here.

Bloor Cinema Maze: July Flyer

Hey y'all, I've been tied up with all this Fringe stuff for the past couple of weeks...it's only a few days away!

I did have the time to put together this maze/ad for Bloor paper though; if you solve it and send it in we'll give you two free tickets to any upcoming Bloor Cinema show.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blue Velvet Cast Photos

We've put up a facebook event page and a Silver Stage website now as the Fringe Festival gets rolling in two weeks.

I've done portraits of the cast and added them to the facebook event; we do have some attractive people involved so take a look if you get a chance (they were all photographed in the alley behind the Bloor Cinema.) This picture is of Jo Fallak, who plays mysterious 'Dorothy Vallens' in the show.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

blogTO Post: Owen Pallett Interview

I interviewed Owen Pallett this week about a show he's doing at Dundas Square for the Luminato/North by Northwest festivals in Toronto.

He's accompanying a 90-year-old German horror film with live music; similar to the way we'll be accompanying "Blue Velvet" with live music at the Bloor.

He even told me about working with Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) and Gus Van Sant (Milk) on new film scores.

You can check it out here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Grandfather's Portrait of John and Yoko

There's an exhibit going on in Montreal right now called 'Imagine'; it's about the 1969 'bed-in' that took place there. I saw a poster for it the other day in the window of a store and the image they chose caught my attention.

Ivor Sharp was shooting for Time Magazine when he took the photo; he hit it off with John (a fellow Englishmen) and was invited to do a private photo session with John and Yoko in their hotel room. There were thousands of pictures taken during the Montreal 'bed-in' but the intimacy of Ivor's made them stand out against the others.

Of course those 1969 portraits were only one part of a long, storied career for Ivor in this country; he eventually became the most sought after commercial photographer in Canada by the 1980's. He founded Capic, an association to protect photographer’s rights, which is still going strong today. Alas, in 1989, on the verge of selling his studio in downtown Toronto and moving to the countryside, he collapsed and died of a stroke. He was sixty-one years old.

No matter how well crafted his Coca-Cola billboards were however he'll always be remembered for that one picture. The one time he caught history by the neck for a quarter of a second.

The 'Imagine' exhibit is going on in Montreal until June 20th; admission is free.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Your first image of the Fringe Festival's 'Blue Velvet'...

Anthony Furey as Jeffrey Beaumont...Jo Fallak as Dorothy Vallens...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

blogTO Post: Fashion Tips close Pitter Patter Fest

Fashion Tips, "your new favourite band" (as their slogan goes) are a fantastic party rock group based in downtown Toronto.

I caught them last Sunday in Kensington Market as they closed the Pitter Patter Music Festival. You can read all about them (including a ridiculous interview in the back of a van) here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bloor Cinema Maze: June Flyer

The Bloor Cinema asked me to design a hot little maze for them to welcome the summer weather. You can find this little number on the back of their June flyer, out now in Toronto.

Pick one up on the street (available at the Bloor, the Reference Library, Future's Bakery, Sonic Boom, etc) or download it here, print it out and try it on your own.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

'Silver Stage' poster by Victoria Dobbs!

Here's a preview of the gorgeous, hand-crafted poster for the 'Silver Stage' series, designed by Victoria Dobbs.

My show Blue Velvet is going on at 9:30 on July 1st, 4th and 9th at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto. Mark your calendars!