Every March, the TIFF Bell Lightbox hosts digiPlaySpace, an exhibition of kid-friendly interactive art. This year’s marquee installation is Forest, a co-creation of new-media artist Micah Elizabeth Scott and 26 students from Ryerson University’s new-media program. It’s a massive digital canvas made up of over 7,500 LEDs and controlled by software Scott developed herself. Young visitors interact with the piece by turning wooden spinners with their hands. “I designed something that wasn’t a screen,” Scott explains, “something that has a lot of real, tactile sense to it, and isn’t just fingers sliding against glass.” Here’s an annotated look at how it works.
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People with their arms crossed in front of things they’re against: a taxonomy of the Star’s favourite visual cliché
Two things are inevitable in a big city: constant change, and constant opposition to change.
Local media outlets have a tough time depicting the latter. How do you photograph local residents’ ill will toward the newest sources of perceived aggravation in their neighbourhoods? Some newspaper photographers have mastered an effective visual cliché for use in these situations: a picture of the aggrieved party standing strong, arms crossed, in front of the object of his or her ire (or the vacant locale it’s planned to occupy). No one is better at this bit of inventive visual grammar than our city’s own newspaper of record, the Toronto Star. Observe:
Last summer, Toronto was abuzz with news that the Waterboy himself, Adam Sandler, was shooting a film in and around our beautiful, characterless, can-pass-as-basically-anywhere downtown core. Even more exciting, for fans of a certain bosomy high-fantasy HBO series, was the presence of Sandler’s costar, Peter Dinklage.
Now, we all can witness the fruits of their labour. (Or, I guess, the promotional teaser for the fruits of their labour.) Which is to say, the trailer for the new Sandler/Dinklage joint, the shot-in-Toronto Pixels, was released on Tuesday. (It’s embedded above.) Here’s our second-by-second breakdown:
0:08: This is already the most boring kind of movie trailer. You know: the ones where they set it up like it’s going to be a serious drama only to reveal that it’s a stupid comedy? One of those. The premise is that, in 1982, mankind sent a time capsule into space in hopes of connecting with alien life. It included “examples of our life and culture.”
0:24—0:29: Examples of our shared cultural heritage circa 1982, apparently: a video of Ronald Reagan’s 1981 presidential Christmas speech, a Rubik’s cube, and footage of both Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.
0:30: Is this really how NASA would try to connect with alien life? Send a bunch of garbage into space, without any context, and hope they just innately make sense of it? You’d have to imagine there’s a potential for some kind of humungous, potentially world-shattering miscommunication, no?
Trawl through enough real estate listings and you’ll notice it: the interiors of a lot of different homes on the market all look pretty similar. (For anyone who has endured an endless condo hunt, these knockoff Eames chairs are probably a PTSD trigger.) Often, it’s more than just a similarity; the reason so many sale homes look identically furnished is that, sometimes, they are. Real estate agents often engage the services of professional stagers—interior-design pros who maintain vast libraries of attractive, lightweight furniture for temporary use in properties that need a little help appealing to potential buyers. That furniture is constantly in motion, flitting from condo tower to condo tower, sometimes alighting at storage facilities between jobs.
Brian Stirling and his wife, Joan, run Stirling Home Studio, a staging company with enough furniture in an Adelaide Street storage facility to outfit 30 properties at a time. Here’s how they approached a particularly challenging job: decorating the interior of an empty 1,700-square-foot, $950,000 unit at the Candy Factory Lofts.
1. Let the kids loose at the TIFF Bell Lightbox
Each March Break, the Lightbox hosts DigiPlaySpace, a wonderland of high-tech wizardry filled with dozens of immersive and interactive exhibits. The highlights this year include a mammoth interactive light installation made to resemble a forest; a 3-D virtual reality space-chase game called Headrush; a trippy (and vaguely creepy) animation activated by the viewer’s brainwaves; and a meet-and-greet with hitchBOT, the freeloading robot who just came back from a cross-country tour. To April 19. $10. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-8433, tiff.net.
The Property: This contemporary Stonegate family home has wood finishes and hardwood flooring across all its levels, including the finished basement. Many large windows add to its appeal.
City council approved mayor John Tory’s first budget on Wednesday evening, but not before reckoning with a classic Rob Ford sideshow. The former mayor and current Ward 2 councillor moved 31 motions on the budget—far more than any other councillor. Each one was an attempt to dismantle some small part of Tory’s spending plan, by doing things like reducing the amount of money the city spends on planting trees, eliminating security guards at libraries and cutting the mayor’s office budget. Like most of what Ford does politically, these proposals were mainly symbolic. He tabled them to create a fuss, probably with no expectation that any of them would become law. For the most part, they didn’t. City council voted 29 of them down. (Two minor ones—on the city’s grants program and its purchasing management—passed.)
Is the Union Pearson Express cushy enough to justify its $27 ticket price? What you’ll be shelling out for
If Metrolinx’s fancy new Union Pearson Express works as advertised upon its expected launch later this year, its trains will whisk passengers from Union Station directly to Pearson Airport in just 25 minutes. The biggest turn-off for most potential riders will be the price: each trip to or from the airport will cost Presto-using adults $19 (or $27.50 without Presto), making the line a luxury reserved for those who can afford to pay for the privilege of getting to their gates without ever setting foot on the 192 Airport Rocket. At a preview event on Monday, a few reporters became some of the first members of the public to take a ride on the UP Express. Were the new train cars and station platforms cushy enough to justify the premium price? Take a closer look at our annotated photos to find out.
Dear Urban Diplomat,
Every day on my commute along Eastern Avenue, this guy on an electric bike zooms past my car, sometimes in the bike lane, sometimes weaving between cars, sometimes popping up onto the sidewalk for a few metres before plonking back onto the street. It’s maddening. Short of gently nudging him with my bumper, what should I do?
—Driven to Despair, Cliffside Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
See the National Ballet’s biggest hit, catch Molly Parker onstage and eight more things to do this week
1. Revisit the National Ballet’s exhilarating Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Karen Kain’s supreme achievement in her tenure as the National Ballet’s artistic director was this extravagant full-length production from the superstar British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, originally staged in 2011. The ballet is a jewel-toned Victorian fantasy that blends classical romantic steps with futuristic multimedia installations—it never gets old. March 14 to 29. From $26. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595, national.ballet.ca.
The outspoken city councillor—and Toronto’s backup mayor—shares the 10 things he can’t live without
I’m a car guy. I used to have a Porsche 928 S4 and a BMW 328. Those days are gone (I’m a family man now), but I love driving alone in my Subaru Forester. I come into the city from North York every morning and watch the sun glint off the towers.