The New York Philharmonic playing in Beijing
Arts Lighter News

Mahler Symphony Gets An Unwelcome Addition

When you go to hear live classical music, it’s usually quite a formal occasion.

The audience is respectful of the musicians.

Usually people even clap only at certain times. That’s so the beauty of the music isn’t interrupted.

The New York Philharmonic is a very famous classical music orchestra.

So you can imagine what people in the audience were thinking when, right in the middle of the soft and beautiful ending of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 – someone’s cell phone started ringing.

Ellen DeGeneres and her Mascot
Arts Entertainment Lighter

Mascot Creator Helps Ellen DeGeneres Be In Two Places At Once

In one episode of her popular talk show, Ellen DeGeneres bemoaned the fact that she couldn’t be in two places at once.

Lots of people wanted her at events, but her schedule was packed.

John Kernaghan was listening to her show that day.

He’s a Toronto-based mascot maker. His company, Hogtown Mascots, makes life-sized puppets that are used as “mascots” for companies and sports teams.

He decided to make it possible for the entertainer to be in two places at once.

John created a giant mascot costume that looked just like Ellen DeGeneres. And then he sent it to her.

Obliteration Room; art by Yayoi Kusama, Image used with permission from Stuart Addelsee
Arts News

White Room + Children + Dots = Art!

What do you get when you start with a white room and then give thousands of children coloured dot stickers?

That is exactly what artist Yayoi Kusama wanted to find out.

She painted a room in the Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art completely white.

The walls, floor and ceiling were white. The piano was white. The couch, TV and seats were white. Even a fern was painted white.

And then she invited thousands of children inside.

Polynesian Cultural Centre
Arts Entertainment

Throw Spears, Sing, Dance At Polynesian Culture Centre

You may have seen pictures of Hawaii on postcards, with its beautiful beaches, lush gardens and fascinating volcanoes.

But the Hawaiian islands are also rich in history and culture.

On the north shore of Hawaii’s island of Oahu you’ll find the Polynesian Culture Centre. There, each group of Hawaiian islands is represented in the form of a mini-village from that particular island chain.

Ryerson quidditch team; image:
Arts Lighter Sports

Quidditch Tournament In Ottawa This Weekend

The Ryerson University quidditch team is going to a tournament in Ottawa this weekend.

You heard right – the Ryerson quidditch team.

You may remember quidditch as the game Harry Potter and his friends play in the popular series of books by J. K. Rowling.

She invented the game, just as she invented Harry Potter’s world.

Fans of Harry Potter in England, the United States, Canada and other countries have created a “muggle”* version of the game.

One Ryerson player says it’s kind of a mish-mash of rugby, flag football, basketball and hide-and-seek all rolled into one great game.

Players don’t fly, of course, but they do have to run on the field with brooms between their legs. Not only is that difficult, but it can make the game a bit rough.

Arts Kids

Grade-One Students In Canada Getting “Gifts”

This month, every child in Grade one in Canada will receive a free book.

That will be every grade-one child, including those who are home-schooled, or in any school in the country, private or public, French-speaking or English-speaking.

The book giveaway is the product of a partnership between TD (the bank) and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC).

The bank pays more than $1-million to have 500,000 books printed and sent out to grade-one students across the country. This is the program’s eleventh year.

This year the books the kids will get is Gifts (Cadeaux, translated into French), by author Jo Ellen Bogart and plasticine artist Barbara Reid.

Arts Lighter

Artist Only Draws In His Sleep

Lee Hadwin is a talented artist. He has drawn sketches of horses, celebrities, and beautiful landscapes. He only draws in black and white. Oh, and there is one other thing. Hadwin only draws in his sleep.

Ever since he was about four years old, he has been waking up to discover detailed drawings beside his bed.

But he doesn’t remember ever having done the drawings.

When he is awake, Hadwin says he can’t draw at all. In fact, he has no interest in art. During the day, he works as a nurse.

When he was young, Hadwin, who now lives in London, England, used to cover his walls and tables with his sketches.

In his teens, the drawings became more detailed and intricate.

roberta bondar walk of fame 2011
Arts Entertainment

Canadians Inducted Into Walk Of Fame

Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar is one of the latest Canadians who will join Canada’s Walk of Fame.

The Walk of Fame is, literally, a set of sidewalk tiles with the names of famous Canadians set into them.

It’s along King Street and Simcoe Street in downtown Toronto.

But much more importantly, the Walk of Fame is a symbol for excellence.

Each sidewalk tile represents someone Canadians value highly for their artistry, intelligence, innovation or service to our country.

They are people who have somehow influenced Canada in the areas of: music, film, television, sports, science, innovation, literature, theatre or the visual arts.

Arts Entertainment Kids Technology

Pottermore Revealed… Sort Of

Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has finally revealed some of what will have on it.

But it will be a bit difficult to understand exactly what will be on the new website until it’s fully up and running and that won’t be until October for most people.

One million lucky Harry Potter fans will be able to test the Pottermore site in a sneak preview starting on July 31, Harry’s birthday.

In a YouTube announcement and during a media conference in London, England, Rowling revealed that Pottermore will:

•Include more information and “back story” on some of the Harry Potter characters including Professor McGonagall (her childhood, ministry career, early heartbreak and her long friendship with Dumbledore), and how Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon met (at work, apparently).

•Include more than 18,000 words about Harry Potter and the characters, written by Rowling.

•Include a Pottermore shop where you can buy Harry Potter ebooks (digital books).

Flash mob toronto 2011 luminato; image: blogTO, Joanna Kam
Arts Lighter

Toronto Flash Mob Hugging, High-Fiving

A “flash mob” happens when a group of seemingly random strangers suddenly start dancing, singing or moving in exactly the same way.

For instance, a group of people in a mall may suddenly all start dancing to a Lady Gaga song, doing all the same moves.

The rest of the people in the mall, who are not part of the flash mob, get treated to a surprise show.

When the show is over, the people who were in the flash mob just walk away, as though nothing had happened.

There was a flash mob in Toronto on Sunday.