Category Archives: Vacation
We had the good fortune of being in Toronto during the Toronto Fringe Festival. Several shows piqued my interest. The horror fan in me was tempted to Ask Lovecraft for advice. The comedy lover wanted to find out what would happen when/if Margaret Flatwood ever showed up.
Instead, we opted for What Mama Said About Down There and Andy Warhol Presents: Valerie.
What Mama Said About Down There is a one woman show performed by Sia Amma about what mothers tell their daughters about that mysterious place guarded by strong, unyielding granny panties (if you are a good girl).
From a Jewish woman recounting her hygiene journey (t’is funny) to a young African girl eager to go through a community ritual to become a woman (t’is dramatic), Sia Amma plays a wide range of characters and transformed into them easily with only a chair, a scarf and her fabulous dress for props.
In addition to being a playwright and a singer, Sia Amma is the CEO of Global Women Intact, “a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, dedicated to eliminating female circumcision and genital mutilation customs in Africa through education.” She uses her performances (solo and with The Voice of Africa) to raise money for GWI.
It was a great show.
And now, for something completely different…
Here’s the premise behind Andy Warhol Presents: Valerie – it’s 1968 and Andy Warhol is throwing a party in honor of his friend (protege? lover?) Valerie Solanas. When Andy offends her, the girly dress comes off, the combat boots go on and the party really gets started.
What was unique about this performance was that there was no stage–audience members are actually party guest and intermingle freely with each other and the cast. There was a snack table (Doritos for everyone!) and we played a variety of party games while waiting for the woman of the hour to arrive. At one point, Andy gave me a kiss (of the Hershey’s variety).
When an angry Valerie launched into her SCUM Manifesto, a few men got their feather’s ruffled…eh, whatever. History repeated itself–Valerie shot Andy. This time around, I was on hand to take a picture:
Fail Better Theatre will bring Andy Warhol Presents: Valerie to other festivals. I hope a performance in the US is on the horizon.
It turns out that I can still Ask Lovecraft a question or browse through those he’s already answered on Youtube. On this channel, the “celebrated and dead author HP Lovecraft offers his advice on such diverse topics as love, finance, cooking, and personal hygiene.” He’s been asked about everything from Miskatonic University to the Wu-Tang Clan.
Here’s HP’s advice for handling criticism:
We didn’t know it ahead of time but our Toronto visit coincided with Summerlicious – a two week special promotion where participating restaurants have discounted, prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus. (not including drinks, gratuity, etc)
In other words–cheap eats!
Okay, not really that cheap, but I digress. We tried three Summerlicious restaurants…
From our table, we had a close up view of Ganesha’s behind. This was not a good omen. The best parts of the meal were the very beginning (sun-dried tomato goat cheese stuffed whole wheat bread) and the end (strawberry kulfi in a chocolate cup).
Luma is located in the Tiff Bell Lightbox – where we saw the Queer Outlaw Exhibit. Dinner here was a very nice. I started with a fantastic soup–chilled cucumber and coconut soup (with Jonah crab, chili mint crème fraîche and toasted coconut).
My main dish was spiced roasted chicken supreme (with collard greens, birch-baked beans, cheddar biscuit and red-eye gravy). The chicken itself was great. Say no the the cheddar biscuit. NO. Everything else was okay… I didn’t take a photo but I’ll try to paint a picture for you. Imagine an empty plate. Now, put three or four tablespoons of Bush’s baked beans with chunks of maple flavored bacon on it. Toss a couple of pieces of wilted collard greens on top of it. The chicken goes on top of the greens and pour the pan drippins from the chicken on top.
For dessert: ontario stilton with niagara plum compote and spiced oat crumble. I have to give Luma props for including an after dinner treat that wasn’t sugar overload. How did I eat it? Take a forkful of the savory stilton (blue cheese) dip it in the tart plum compote and then roll it in the slightly sweetened crumble. I smile just thinking about it.
The Shore Club was awesome.
Short Rib Agnolotti (Stilton, Shiitake Mushrooms, Leeks, Red Wine Jus) – this was basically rib dumplings filled with tasty goodness. The grilled New York Striploin with sweet pepper chimichurri was tender and flavorful. I originally turned down dessert (sigh, no sorbet or cake for me) and would have been fine with that. Our waiter showed up with a bowl full of berries for me–even though it wasn’t part of the Summerlicious menu.
Martina started with the grilled calamari and had the pan seared atlantic salmon with citrus passion fruit emulsion. Everything was good and we paid a 2nd visit to the Shore Club.
Also had good experience at two non-Summerlicious restaurants:
Chez Cora – which is an Ihop like restaurant chain. Think crepes and fresh fruit instead of pancakes and sausage.
Yuzu No Hana – M was extremely pleased with the sushi here.