Daniel Lanois: The duality of culture

Daniel Lanois: The duality of culture

“It’s an old friend, given to me by an old friend,” says Daniel Lanois, referring to a vintage Gibson acoustic guitar resting neck-down on a mid-century sofa in the billiards room of his Lynd Ave. recording studio. The guitar was a gift from Emmylou Harris, and as we talk, he picks it up and strums random chords, occasionally breaking out into songs from his first album, Acadie . We’re drinking an Old Pal cocktail, a…

Read More

Karen Black: Still sexy after all these years

Karen Black: Still sexy after all these years

This article originally appeared in the Toronto Star on July 26, 2009. ’70s movie icon brings new cabaret show to the Gladstone Karen Black’s voice still sounds as vibrant as it did when she sang to Jack Nicholson in 1970’s Five Easy Pieces; her soft tremolo as fresh as when she hosted Saturday Night Live in 1976. Reclining on a leather sofa in the art gallery at the Gladstone Hotel, she sings a few breathy…

Read More

YTV celebrates 25 years

YTV celebrates 25 years

John Candy introduced Canada’s first station devoted to children’s programming. — When John Candy hosted YTV’s inaugural broadcast on Sept. 1, 1988, he started off with bad news. “There are gonna be certain shows you’ll never see on YTV. For example, Financial Week in Review. They won’t be showing it,” said the late actor. That certainly wasn’t kids’ stuff. In the early days of specialty programming, YTV, celebrating 25 years on the air this weekend,…

Read More

You Can’t Do That on Television helped launch Nickelodeon

You Can’t Do That on Television helped launch Nickelodeon

Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age looks at the cutting edge CJOH show and its effect on the U.S. network. — Imagine a TV show where kids are executed by South American firing squads, held captive in Nazi dungeons, fed rat burgers and forced to endure a drunken father’s not-so-sober wisdom. Top that off with buckets of green slime dumped on their heads whenever they said, “I don’t know.” You could never do…

Read More

Ken Taylor: The right man at the right time

Ken Taylor: The right man at the right time

This article originally appeared in Canadian Fabric Magazine, Vol. 1, published January, 2014. On November 4, 1979, during the Iranian Revolution, a group of students stormed the American embassy in Tehran, holding 52 people hostage for 444 days. Unbeknownst to the revolutionaries, six American citizens working in a nearby consulate escaped, seeking refuge in two houses under the protection of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor. The event was heavily fictionalized in Argo, Ben Affleck’s Best Picture Award-winning…

Read More

John Waters: Film-maker, bad-taste monger

John Waters: Film-maker, bad-taste monger

Baltimore native John Waters, 65, with his trademark pencil-thin mustache, put a face to transgressive, shocking cinema in the 1970s when his film Pink Flamingos attracted a cult following at midnight screenings. Mainstream success followed in the 1980s with Hairspray. Now curating art and film programs and hoping to produce his latest film, the children’s Christmas adventure Fruitcake – his first since 2004’s A Dirty Shame – Mr. Waters recently released his sixth book, Role…

Read More

Craft bitters spice up Toronto’s cocktail scene

Craft bitters spice up Toronto’s cocktail scene

Bitters, those spiced and flavoured digestifs, have regained their place as an essential bar ingredient, with unique craft versions adding a twist to the cocktail scene. Once limited to a bottle of Angostura’s, set aside like neglected Tabasco sauce, cocktail bitters have regained their place as an essential bar ingredient. The renaissance can be tasted locally in an explosion of craft bitters and homemade concoctions offered in Toronto’s cocktail scene. “Bitters are the salt and…

Read More

Ontario gin makers seek changes to antiquated laws

Ontario gin makers seek changes to antiquated laws

Gin making in Europe under threat because of a juniper fungus, but Ontario producers doing just fine. Gin is in trouble. A spirit of gloomy mythology — once considered the ‘mother’s ruin’ — the BBC reported last week that European gin producers are under attack from a fungus destroying juniper crops across the continent. The berry, native to North America, is an essential ingredient in what was Queen Victoria’s favourite spirit, but Ontario’s two gin…

Read More

Absinthe: Un-clouding the myths of the green fairy

Absinthe: Un-clouding the myths of the green fairy

Absinthe, an anise-flavoured cousin of gin, was once thought hallucinogenic. Sorry, it isn’t, but it is available again, a classic spirit enjoying a deserved renaissance. It’s the newest old spirit. Absinthe, the opalescent, anise-flavoured elixir, intemperate muse of 19th century writers like Oscar Wilde and Paul Verlaine, was banned nearly 100 years ago over its alleged hallucinogenic properties. Legal once again, and available at the LCBO, the “green fairy” of the Belle Époque still struggles…

Read More

Vermouth: Sweet or dry, LCBO’s narrow selection makes some aficionados bitter

Vermouth: Sweet or dry, LCBO’s narrow selection makes some aficionados bitter

Vermouth is the bestselling aperitif on LCBO shelves. And the ‘pretty abysmal’ selection is about to get better. An ad for Martini & Rossi vermouth appearing in a July 1963 issue of Playboy Magazine asks: “What makes a Manhattan? Not more or less vermouth — but a really fine vermouth.” Vermouth, an aromatic wine infused with brandy and various botanicals, was popular at the height of 1960s cocktail culture and is currently the bestselling aperitif…

Read More
1 2 3 4 7