Monday, April 24, 2017

Step into the light with #FITC Toronto 2017

The Future of Innovation, Technology and Creativity is waiting to be explored at the downtown Hilton during the 16th annual event in Toronto. They ask if you want to be inspired, learn or experience some amazing technology and if the answer is yes, it is time to consider making FITC part of your future. This year's event is only on from Sunday, April 23 to Tuesday, April 25 but the three days are crammed with speakers that can tap your curiosity and bring direction to your creative path.

"FITC Toronto is a professional celebration of the best the world has to offer in design, digital development, media and innovation in creative technologies – three days and nights of presentations, parties, installations and performances that unite and transform the industry. The event explores the future of everything innovative, technical and creative to leave you informed, challenged and inspired. With hand-picked speakers from all over the world and from a variety of backgrounds; whether you’re after a highly focused experience, or your interests are more interdisciplinary, we’ve got you covered."

I watched Anouk Wipprecht (pictured at top) discuss "The Intersection of Fashion, Robotics and Technology" as she closed out the first day. Her fashions combine technology and science to create garments that are interactive works of art. One of her dresses - The Spider, aggressively guards the wearer's personal space, another is the Cocktail Dress which you can actually use to make gin and tonic cocktails. It was going to appear later that night at the fitc party. She likes to twist the mind as she re-imagines fashion in the 'age of Digitalisation'.

Anouk started learning fashion design because she thought it was cool and now seeks to gamify fashion to make it fun. She worked with Audi to make outfits that were badass incorporating parts of the car into the dress. Her unicorn headset comes with a camera and monitors the body and hopes to help children with ADHT. Some of her fashion uses CO2 laser printing. The powder 3d printing provides a flexible, rubbery material which can be sculpted as required.

More than 75 presenters cover such areas as coding, development, creativity, development, business, marketing and hardware. And like a record they joke there is an A and a B-side to this conference, but the B-side rocks as well and the bar was open. It was hard to beat the lineup of companies showing off at fitc including NASA JPL, Google, MIT and Mozilla among many others. This show is for creatives, technologists, executives and marketers.
Olaf making his presentation

I missed several fascinating sounding seminars such as "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Time-Travellers", "Everything I Know About Design Leadership I Learned Coaching Youth Baseball" and "New Tech X Old Tech" but took a dip in the pool when I attended "Master of None" by Olaf Blomerus in the B-Side. The award winning filmmaker discusses his journey into VFX & VR. Olaf talked about understanding what you don't know to learning something everyday, focused on items that provide at least on other benefit from just simply learning (the rule of two), it must help his mission to improve his craft as well. He finished with four sayings: Learn more to do more, do more to know more, know more to do less, do less to do well.

Day 2 has over 23 seminars like "Calling Voyager: Interface Design for NASA's Deep Space Network", "The Future of Motion Design" and "Beyond Reality: Shaping the Future of Immersive Projects". The final day has such gems as "Why Looking at Failure Leads to Success", "How We Built a Bot for FITC" and "Reinventing Normal". You get to pick out what you want to see so choose wisely grasshopper.
Besides the entertaining and informative seminars you can also spend time in the expo, check out some of the vendors, make some origami, solder some circuit boards and spend time in the recharge room, which comes with some individual tents.

Queen's Park Cherry Blossoms 2017

Peak bloom is on in the small strand of cherry trees at the Ontario legislature buildings on University Boulevard. Nestled in the south east corner of the building the trees are bursting with blossoms. These photos were taken Sunday, April 23, 2017.

See more blossoms after the jump.

Peak Blossoms at Robarts Library 2017

The University of Toronto building at Harbord and George Streets just west of Queen's Park has a pathway lined in cheery trees that are in peak bloom. See more blossoms around Toronto on my post here. These photos are from Sunday, April 23, 2017.

There are 70 Sakura trees, gifted from Japan, in the front square and many are full of the beautiful flowers that bring admirers to the downtown university property. The trees along Huron Street have yet to bloom.

See more U of T blossoms after the jump.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Toronto International Porn Festival Gala

Excitement is building at #tipf2017 as people start to fill the Great Hall for this year's award night. Stars, filmmakers and fans are at the historic theatre on wild Queen Street West to applaud the winners in several juicy categories. The gala caps off the four day Good For Her TIPFest which ran April 20-23, 2017. "Good For Her, Toronto’s premiere sexuality shop and workshop centre, proudly presents the Toronto International Porn Festival, a celebration of the diversity of bodies, desires, genders, and sexualities."
The 2017 international festival began with screenings at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on Bloor Street West on Thursday, April 20: 'The Best of the Last Decade' and Friday, April 21: 'Public, Provocative. Porn.' and 'The Kinkier Side of Lust'. Then on Saturday, April 22 some workshops, panel discussions along with a digital display of X VR porn were held at the Super Wonder Gallery on College Street. It is fun to check out your sexy side and take in some risque entertainment every now and then. The festival seeks to showcase fabulous alternatives and porn that is brave, educational, interesting and personal - and the creative people that produce the work.
Carlyle Jansen, producer of the festival and sex educator 

'April 23, 2017, 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm Great Hall. Mingle with your favorite performers and directors as they vie for awards at the historic Great Hall. With short clips of the year’s most impressive films and stimulating live entertainment, the festival finishes in style with a sexy gala like no other.'
TIPFest began in 2006 as the Feminist Porn Awards and was rebranded by Good For Her in 2016 to make the event more inclusive for all. The festival also recognizes Toronto for its importance to international film festivals and sex positivity.
MC and radio/tv celebrity Deb Pearce hosted the gala

Zyra after her burlesque performance
Mahogany Storm on the pole

Interspersed with the awards were several performances by Zyra Lee Vanity, Mahogany Storm and Irvin "Irv" Washington and Travoy "Tko" Deer.

See more photos of the show after the jump.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Cutlery Canopy at First Canadian Place

An Earth Week art installation hangs from the main lobby of First Canadian Place in downtown Toronto. It consists of over 20,000 pieces of used cutlery salvaged from the garbage and recycling bins of food courts hanging from a wooden construct tree.

Commissioned by Broofield Property Partners and displayed both at FCP and also the Exchange Tower on King Street West from April 17-28. The work is by Labspace Studio artists John Loerchner and Laura Mendes.

"Every year Canadians throw away three million tonnes of plastic waste. Only 10% of this waste is actually recycled; the rest is incinerated or ends up in landfills. Cutlery Canopy seeks to visualize our human impact on the environment and show that we are all connected and responsible to the earth." 

Earth Day is April 22, 2017. Go celebrate by planting a tree somewhere!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Toronto 420 Festival 2017

Rain is keeping the smoke clouds small even as thousands of people continue to squeeze into Yonge-Dundas Square on the famous reefer day of celebration.

"Toronto 420 will be held at Yonge-Dundas Square one last time ... Join us on Thursday, April 20th, 2017 from 12pm - 7pm for the final Toronto 420 Event at YDS! The event will be moving to a new location in 2018. Remember how great last year was? Well we're gonna do it again! Come and join us for another fantastic 420 celebration! There will be bands and speakers. This is an opportunity for people to get together and celebrate cannabis culture. T-shirts, literature, and information will be available at the event. "The Toronto 420 Comedy Festival is a free annual event, with a dynamic line up of speakers, bands, and performers. In addition to showcasing local talent, this festival puts into action the democratic principles cherished by Torontonians in a show of support of Toronto's cannabis culture." Kristyn Wong-Tam Councillor, Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

TIPF 2017 this week

Good for Her brings the Toronto International Porn Festival to town from April 20-23. The four day festival celebrates adult films that "empower, celebrate and offer a platform to discover progressive and positive porn". Samples of over 50 films with the best of the last 10 years and the best of 2016 to be shown at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Thursday and Friday. VR will be featured on Saturday and the festival will culminate with a sexy gala on Sunday at the Great Hall.

Film judging is based on 4 categories: quality, inclusiveness, the "it" factor and hotness. They look for viewing options for diverse audiences that reflect society on the screen.

“Porn is everywhere and yet so private in how we view it. It also generally portrays a very narrow picture of who is sexy and what sex looks like. We started this festival because it publicly affirms a much broader experience of sex and offers a much more inclusive and diverse representation of bodies, pleasures, sexualities and desires.” Says festival producer, Carlyle Jansen. “People also feel conflicted about watching porn, worried that their consumption contributes to an industry that oppresses women. The Festival offers multiple formal and informal opportunities to hear from performers themselves about what their work means to them and how consumers can support positive and empowering sex work environments.”
Virtual Reality (VR) Porn will be explored and there will be seminars and free panels with special guests on Saturday.

The Upcoming Toronto International Porn Festival events are:

The Best of the Last Decade: Toronto International Porn Festival Review.
Thursday April 20 9:30pm at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema 506 Bloor St W. Toronto

Friday April 21 7pm at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema 506 Bloor St W. Toronto

The Kinkier Side of Lust
Friday April 21 9:30pm at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema 506 Bloor St W. Toronto

Digital Play X - VR porn gallery, erotic shorts and talks
Saturday April 22 noon to 8pm at the Super Wonder Gallery 584 College St Toronto

Toronto International Porn Festival Awards Gala
Sunday April 23 7pm at the Great Hall 1087 Queen St W, Toronto
"Porn performers, directors, producers and fans dress in their sexiest best and mingle together as they savor short clips of the year’s most impressive award-winning films. Stimulating live entertainment is interspersed between the awards and the night is capped off with a celebratory dance party"

Monday, April 17, 2017

Niagara Falls Blossoms

High Park must wait a little longer for tree flowers but for the Niagara Falls area blossoms are already filling the fruit trees in the parks and orchards. Easter long weekend brought lots of the tourists into the area and the drive along wine and fruit farms is a perfect spring time pursuit.

Plus the big wheel is gone

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Toronto Cherry Blossom Watch 2017

Update: April 22, the blossoms are still a little shy. Some of the flowers have bloomed but the majority still wait to open up. Cars pour into the park and hundreds of people wander around the cherry trees enjoying the early stages of spring. Another couple of days is needed for peak bloom which is still pegged for April 23 to 26.
Peak bloom is currently at the University of Toronto library and the trees at Queen's Park. Trees on University Avenue and the trees in Exhibition Place and Osgoode Hall need a few more days.
And here are more of the High Park blossoms

Now? Not yet. Now? Not yet. This is what happens when the kids want to see cherry blossoms, which probably won't happen unless the blossoms were made out of candy floss. April showers bring May showers and we are definitely in the moist season. Centre point of the watch is the jewel in the crown - High Park but there are plenty of trees around the City including Exhibition Place, Old City Hall, Queen's Park, Osgoode Hall, the University of Toronto and the Toronto Islands and they should come alive with flowers in late April or early May. They kind of lean to early to mid-May but this year's mild March weather leaves the experts predicting April 23-26 as Peak Bloom. Blossoms are already out in the Niagara Falls area.

Queen's Park
University of Toronto 

See pictures of previous year's blossoms after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square