Cocktails, Wine and Food: A Fine Gourmet Mix at the 6ix!

–Lachman Balani

The 6ix, as Toronto is known, has come alive again for four glorious days at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The annual gourmet food and wine expo is back from Nov 22-25! Sip and savour your way through international gourmet cuisine, exotic delicacies, incredible wines, cutting-edge cocktails, stunning craft beers and so much more!

Many experts are in town to tell you all about how to be a connoisseur in manna and libations divine.

Jeremy Parsons, famed culinary mixologist, kicked off the event showing off his prowess in mixing cocktails. He gave the public a taste of his superb version of Canada’s famous “Caesar’s” made with vodka and Clamato juice and smoked in an infuser designed by him.

He then treated the attendees to an amazing sous-vide margarita, tequila blended with pineapple and other citrus fruits. All his impressive cocktails are in his new book “Invite: Cocktails, Canapés, Company! “

Following his incredible presentation, Christopher Waters, renowned wine connoisseur, wowed the crowd with four incredible wines. Starting off with a de jour rosé bubbly for the festive season, he continued with a white, then onto two reds, explaining the intricacies of the wines to the glowing and happy faces of the appreciative participants.

There are tutored tasting programs and complimentary cooking demonstrations by celebrity guests all day long. Continue reading “Cocktails, Wine and Food: A Fine Gourmet Mix at the 6ix!”

La La Way @ Las Vegas

Vegas! We were  here for a good time, not a long time!

We were on a tight schedule, and wanted maximum fun with minimum days! Vegas was our answer! Considered as the world’s most favourite destination for providing non-stop entertainment, we decided to visit this city during Thanksgiving. We discover that there’s plenty of action on the Strip, even for teetotaler and vegetarians like us!

Being  non smokers, Planet Hollywood was an ideal choice for our stay, as this Casino has a great air vent system, to extract the smoke.The casino also has a mall in it, which is perfect for this tourist town, and shoppers really enjoy it. Just like the other hotels in Vegas, PH has several pools, workout area, spa etc. In terms of location on the Strip, it is next to Paris, and a short walk to Caesars, New York  and Aria. The view from our window was awesome, all the way to the boundary of mountains with tall palm trees!

Any visit to Vegas is incomplete if you don’t watch at least one of the amazing shows that they city puts up! So what do we do? Watch a show:))

So an evening was devoted to watching ‘LOVE’ by Cirque Du Soleil at the Mirage. It was well worth it!

The landscape of ‘LOVE’ is inhabited by fictional characters plucked from the Beatles’ lyrics. Sgt. Pepper, a central figure, encounters many familiar faces, including Lucy in the SkyEleanor RigbyLady Madonna and Mr. Kite. In an exception to this stylistic choice, the “Here Comes the Sun” scene features a character resembling Krishna. Similarly, several scenes include mop-topped, dark-haired figures in black suits who resemble the Beatles. Continue reading “La La Way @ Las Vegas”

Anurag Choudhury becomes famous British graffiti artist Banksy in Toronto!

–By Nita Balani

There is no better way to welcome fall than spending an evening at the theatre. Becoming Banksy is running at the Redwood Theatre until October 14, 2018. This theatre is an ideal location for this avant garde fringe theatre script about an English tourist who visits Toronto and is mistakenly identified as none other than the famous British grafitti artist, Banksy.

The timing could not be better as Toronto just hosted one of the largest art exhibits of Banksy the past three months. The location is more than perfect as the Redwood Theatre (originally a vaudeville theatre) is one of the city’s oldest independent theatres built in 1914. It supports a diverse range of innovators in the creative fields including circus, theatre, art, and film.

Becoming Banksy is a delightful tale of Will Banks (Anurag Choudhury), an unemployed artist from London who is going through an emotional separation . His best friend and fellow street art artist Mark ( Daniel Pagett), suggests he needs to get away from the painful and highly emotionally charged atmosphere at home by taking a well-deserved break to visit Toronto. The plot then takes a comical twist as Will is caught up in a case of mistaken identity by the Toronto hotel receptionist, Caitlyn (Caitlin Driscoll), who thinks he is definitely the graffiti artist Banksy. When Mark finds out, he suggests they take advantage of this folly to sell a number of their paintings for a profit. Continue reading “Anurag Choudhury becomes famous British graffiti artist Banksy in Toronto!”

The Rip-Roaring Twenties Theatre Experience in a Modern Day Musical

–By Nita Balani

Theatre lovers, the modern day musical is back with A Moveable Feast: Paris in the ‘20s! This sold out performance is currently at the Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto. For those of you who like to see the unexpected, this is a marvel in the genre of musicals, seamlessly fusing theatre, music, art, literature and narrative documentary on stage. It is a complete theatrical experience never seen before as you relive the crazy years inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s namesake book about Paris. A Moveable Feast is a memoir by American author Ernest Hemingway about his years as a struggling young expatriate journalist and writer in Paris in the 1920s.

The experience begins with narration from Hemingway’s novel: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

The musical then progresses with images, sounds and snippets, and cameos of life in the 20s – its art, culture and music of the artists of the Lost Generation. The term was coined by Gertrude Stein and popularized by Ernest Hemingway for a group of artists (like Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne) and poets and writers (including T.S Eliot, Scott F. Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound) who left the United States to take part in the free-wheeling popular culture movement in Paris and London in the 1920s. Continue reading “The Rip-Roaring Twenties Theatre Experience in a Modern Day Musical”

Gold Burgers and Chinese Lanterns Bring the Shine to 140th CNE

By N. Balani

Over the top food creations are a major attraction at The Ex.  “Every year we have this little competition that goes on between the various chefs and concessions on site,” says the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE or The EX) CEO Virginia Ludy. “It never ceases to amaze me what they come up with.”

This year, after much deliberation, the big winner is the 24k gold-foil wrapped burger by Bacon Nation in the food building, which is fit for a King or Queen! Of course it comes with a hefty price tag at $100 for the larger version. If that does not suit your pocket then there is a smaller version at $24.95. Each is covered in edible 24-karat gold foil and is certainly a status symbol to be seen on social media delicately nibbling away at it!

Other food novelties include kimchi hotdogs and the very popular Big Pickle Tornado – a hotdog in a tortilla garnished with a pickle, cheese sauce and bacon. More intrepid foodies can go for the chocolate banana steakclair- a giant éclair stuffed with steak, banana, whipped cream, cheese and chocolate sauce.

The EX marks the beginning of the end of summer and is the quintessential outing for most Canadian families. It is all about the crowning creations of food, the rides and mid-way for the kids, the music concerts, the dog-show and craft stalls. Continue reading “Gold Burgers and Chinese Lanterns Bring the Shine to 140th CNE”

Muggles, Hogwarts and Quidditch -The Potted Potter Toronto Experience!

By N. Balani

The Potted Potter experience began way back in 2005 in England when Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner were asked to do a 5-minute street show style presentation on the first 5 Harry Potter books for fans waiting for the release of the sixth book at midnight.

They never imagined that more than a decade later they would still be performing an extended version of that magical show all over the world! This outstanding show has toured from England to Australia to Hong Kong to Dubai and now is in its fourth tour of Toronto and will go on to other cities in the USA.

This two-man parody on the world of Harry Potter will keep you rolling in laughter whether you are 6 or 66 or even the age of Lord Voldermort! The show involves a Harry Potter expert (James Percy) and a person who is definitely not a Potter expert (Brendan Murphy) trying to present a 70 minute summary of the entire 7 tomes of the Potter saga. To enjoy the slap-stick humour of this show you do not even have to know the difference between a HufflePuff and a horcrux or the names of all the creatures from the Book of Magical Creatures. The plot is simple and so is the stage set (low key wigs and hats), but the comedy is rich and a rare chance to see improvisation theatre at its very best. Continue reading “Muggles, Hogwarts and Quidditch -The Potted Potter Toronto Experience!”

CARABRAM 2018: Cultures, costumes, cuisines!

Carabram, Brampton’s Multicultural Festival has expanded. This year they included a central site at South Fletcher’s Sportsplex, to showcase additional cultures, music and food as well as an International Bazaar. In addition, The World of Food Pavilion was part of the central site as well an International Market Bazaar with artisans and commercial vendors from Arabia, Latin America, Pakistan, Hawaii, Ukraine and Nepal.

A small stage was set up to present music, dance and songs, as well as demonstrations including Ted Talk style presentation. The Main stage, beside World of Food, continued to showcase top entertainment from around the world.

Carabram, Canada’s oldest cultural festival was on July 13, 14, and 15 at eight venues across the city. In addition to the new South Fletcher’s site, there were pavilions located throughout the city. Canada returned to the UNIFOR Local 1285 Hall,

Caribbean and China were at Chris Gibson Recreation Centre. The rhythm of the islands, the pulsating beats of the drums and the steel band made the audiences sway to the reggae music and whine to the calypso singers. At the China Pavilion, entertainment   included Lion Dance , Kung Fu (Wushu), Qipao fashion show, GuZheng (Chinese Zither), Tai Chi and Taekwondo. Continue reading “CARABRAM 2018: Cultures, costumes, cuisines!”

Cirque de Solieil’s ‘Corteo’ Brings a New Kind of Circus to Town!

–By Nita Balani

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Corteo’ opened at The Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa for a limited engagement of six shows until Sunday June 24 and will be doing the Canadian tour with stops in Toronto (December), Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Vancouver, amongst other cities.

Thought to be inspired by the work ‘The Portrait of an Artist as a Clown (National Gallery of Canada)’, the production has enthralled 8 million people worldwide since its debut in 2005 and is now seen in a more contemporary version. It brings the circus world of tumblers, acrobats, jugglers, celestial creatures, and many more wondrous acts to life. Corteo, which means a joyous procession, is a festive parade by a clown, Mauro, who has passed on and is a celebration of his life and the people he left behind. The sets are simple yet spectacular to portray the celestial world and the one we live in as Mauro pictures his life and funeral taking place through various enthralling acts. The show depicts quiet, graceful angels taking care of Mauro and is juxtaposed with the humorous buffoonery of his friends and circus colleagues.

The spectacle is divided into several acts each of which display a different type of art or circus skill. It opens with the mastery of the acrobats on swinging chandeliers which is breathtakingly beautiful and unique. Continue reading “Cirque de Solieil’s ‘Corteo’ Brings a New Kind of Circus to Town!”

ART OF BANKSY HITS TORONTO OFF THE WALLS!

— by Nita Balani

Toronto’s art scene reached a height with The Art of Banksy hitting the circuit with its North American premiere right here in The 6ix. It is especially promising for Toronto’s art circle to have Banksy’s prized exhibits on display here in our city as it further cements our place on the art map. There are over 80 pieces on display all installed with perfect lighting and is the largest blockbuster Banksy exhibit ever.

Banksy of the U.K. needs no introduction to most art lovers and graffiti artists. He rose to popularity from his illegal street art on the walls and buildings all over London and the United Kingdom because his satirical commentary on the political and social environment hit home with the general public. He grew rapidly from graffiti artist to an internationally acclaimed personality because he spoke a universal truth that resonated across all borders and cultures. And yet nobody knows who he is. His real identity has never been revealed!

The Art of Banksy’s curator (and former manager/friend) Steven Lazarides and his dream Team – co-curator Chris Ford, Live Nation and Starvox Exhibits, have done an exceptional  job of presenting Banksy’s chefs d’oeuvre with a unique flair.

None of the art pieces on display have been pulled off the walls or streets. Continue reading “ART OF BANKSY HITS TORONTO OFF THE WALLS!”

Yoga, the discovery of your Self

By Rangarajan

The Sanskrit word ‘Yoga’ simply means ‘reunion’. Reunion implies an existing state of separation. You are separated from your real Self and blissfully unaware of it too! Ignorant of your Self, you identify with your body, mind and intellect and endlessly chase the world for happiness. Yoga is the search and pursuit of your real Self, culminating in Self-discovery, the native home of happiness.

Yoga is pursued fourfold. Hatha yoga, predominantly addressed to the body and vital pranas, ward off lethargy, indulgence and energy dissipation. It renders the body conducive to spiritual quest.

Karma yoga is dedicating actions to a higher ideal vis-a-vis working for a mundane, mechanical survival. Bhakti yoga relieves your mind from the self-inflicted bondage of attachment to stable identification and devotion. Jnana yoga shifts the direction of intellect from unending terrestrial concerns to transcendental enquiry upon the Self.

Since every human is composed of body, mind and intellect, the pursuit of the fourfold yoga, in proportion to individual constitution is indispensable for evolution. Due to its relative ease of demonstration, practise and immediate appeal to the body, postures and breathing in hata yoga, has hit worldwide eminence in no time. Continue reading “Yoga, the discovery of your Self”