On August 12 and 13, Windsor ComiCon returns to CAESARS WINDSOR – Canada’s largest casino and hotel resort. Prepare for an incredible Pop Culture event featuring entertainment and comic celebrities, thousands of square feet of shopping, celebrity Q&A sessions, panels and workshops, community groups and much, much more. Windsor ComiCon will be the place to be to satisfy all your geek cravings and where you will find the new and vintage Comics, Action Figures, Sci-Fi, Anime, Manga, Gaming and Horror. Windsor ComiCon is an all-ages show.
Celebrity guests include Denise Crosby and Garrett Wang from Star Trek ! And for Star Wars fans, Billy Dee Williams from the original movie trilogy.
Check out the website for tickets and details: www.windsorcomiccon.com
Windsor ComiCon takes place at:
CAESARS WINDSOR in The Colosseum
377 Riverside Dr E
N9A 7H7 Canada
Show Date & Hours
Saturday: 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm
Free Parking is available at CAESARS WINDSOR.
When you are on a 10-day gay cruise in the Mediterranean, seeing a human sea anemone in the ship's swimming pool is not unusual. Imagine seeing this on a straight (boring) cruise! And check out the mermaids on the deck behind the pool.
Check out the Atlantis website for more great cruises coming up for 2018:
The world's most famous art festival is underway in Venice. Held every two years, the 57th Venice Biennale is spread throughout the city with literally hundreds of art exhibits and installations, both indoors and outdoors. An example of one of the most dramatic outdoor artworks is shown here: The Golden Tower, set up in the Campo San Vio, adjacent to Palazzo Cini. It is by the late James Lee Byars of Detroit, and will be on display until Nov. 26, 2017.
Byars envisioned “The Golden Tower” as a colossal beacon and oracle that would bridge heaven and earth and unify humanity – a contemporary monument surpassing the grandeur of the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The idea of “The Golden Tower” first began in 1974 and was developed with numerous conceptual studies throughout the artist’s career. The work was first exhibited in 1990 at the GegenwartEwigkeit exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin and later in 2004 at the posthumous retrospective Life, Love and Death at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt. Towering to a height of over 20 meters, “The Golden Tower” is the artist’s largest and most ambitious work. The Venice installation of “The Golden Tower” is the first to fully realize the artist’s intentions of presenting the sculpture in a public space.
At the Palazzo Cini is an exhibit created specifically for this venue: 10 photographs of collages by the 55-year-old Brazilian artist Vik Muniz. As the accompanying catalog states, they are "mostly imaginary views, capricci and landscapes chosen for the ambiguous and fascinating presence of ruins as survivals of civilizations." The exhibit is entitled Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins
The one shown here is based on the work of one of my two favourite painters, Caspar David Friedrich. It is entitled Temple of Juno in Agrigento. The title Afterglow, attached to each work, is meant to signify the dispersion of sunlight as the extreme act, radiance and reminiscence of civilization as a ruin.
A truly extraordinary collection, and as each work is composed of collage the closer you look, the more detail you will see, with many unexpected images that serve to create the entire view.
The Muniz exhibit runs until July 24, 2017.
The Palazzo Cini houses its own extraordinary collection. Do not make a trip to Venice without seeing it. Here is a direct link to their website:
The Golden Tower is on display by the Michael Werner Gallery. It is curated by Alberto Salvadori and made possible thanks to the generosity of Fondazione Giuliani, Rome. Visit the website: www.michaelwerner.com
Another article about art currently on display in Venice will be published soon, based on a special trip made by Sun News to the Venice Biennale in July 2017. Photos with this article copyright by Cliff Cunningham
A visit to Barcelona, Spain this summer is not complete without a visit to Batllo House and its evening music treat on the rooftop. A rotating sequence of artists are performing there every night until Oct. 1, 2017.
This is no ordinary venue, as Batllo House is the amongst the greatest tourist attractions in Barcelona. Batllo is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It was designed by the famed architect Antoni Gaudi between 1904 and 1906. The original building was magically transformed into the most unique house anywhere in the world. It is so outlandish that some find it disorienting; surely, a healthy appreciation of surrealism helps to take it all in. Even in 2017 it looks like a science fiction set, so imagine the impact it made more than a century ago!
To the right of the jazz and blues singer Monica Green performing when I was there (the lead photo) one can see a group of graceful chimneys, one of four tiled with the same glazed mosaics as the facade of the house.
I am printing below the direct link to tickets sales. The best option is the combo tour of the house, followed by the 8pm concert, so plan on arriving around 6pm. At 39 euros per person the combo is great way to spend an early evening in Spain's most popular city. The concert is termed "Magic Nights" and includes 2 drinks (no food), so plan on having a good dinner afterwards.
Photos with this article by Dr Cliff Cunningham
The Tony-award winner Jennifer Holliday was the star entertainer on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean last week. Not surprisingly, the Sun News was there!
Pictured here with Ms. Holliday are Dr. Cunningham (left) and Dr. Emanuele (right). This photo was taken on the Celebrity Constellation ship on July 11, 2017. Holliday entertained 2,000 passengers on the ship in two performances, during which time she reminisced about her career which spans more than 35 years. She won a Tony award in 1982 for her role on Broadway's Dreamgirls, and a Grammy award in 1983 for her single And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going.
Her appearance was courtesy of Atlantis, the best way to cruise the world. Check out their website for future trips: www.atlantisevents.com
Where The Boys Are was obvious this week: Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale, site of the Gay Men's Chorus of South Florida.
The performance on June 24, entitled Generation OUT, marked a significant evolution in the development of the Chorus. Music Director Harold Dioquino is now fully in command in a post he unexpectedly found himself in 2 years ago. Leaving the technical approach to music behind, Dioquino has successfully transformed the best regional chorus to world-class status. The Chorus was obviously really “into” the performance, not just going through the motions. This is now an audience-centered group that has achieved a unification of sound. "I didn't expect it to be so inventive," said a member of the audience. It works!
While audience opinion was divided on the value of having a professional comic start the show, a rendition of the unofficial Ft. Lauderdale theme song Where The Boys Are was a sure-fire way to get the audience fired up. A large screen showing Connie Francis helped set the tone for the concert, and when a young George Hamilton appeared on the screen guys whooped and hollered. The middle-aged singer of this classic song, Tony Walsh, shows that someone of any age can be looking for Where The Boys Are.
For the first time, vignettes were used at the beginning of several selections to amplify the message of the song. These 2-3 minute vignettes took several forms, including soliloquy, and they were uniformly touching and poignant. Some had a touch of sass too “”I'm gay so I'm good at telling people what's wrong with them!”
The first act included YMCA, which got the audience rocking. One audience member singled out the guy playing the 'Indian' character as having really good energy, and looking good too! This is Eric Strom, who also delivered a very fine opening vignette. Highlight of the first act was I Am What I Am with soloist Mun Wye Chng. It was forceful, personally provocative, and Broadway quality. Bridge Over Troubled Water ended the first act with a very unique arrangement that had a gospel touch to it.
Anything Goes was a good choice to launch Act Two, which featured a Dolly Parton song, Backwoods Barbie. The second act did not pack as much punch, perhaps because the songs were not so iconic, but kudos to soloist Steven Begert-Clark for his rendition of Not My Father's Son. Tackling an Adele song, Someone Like You, was brave. As one member of the audience put it, "If you've watched American Idol, anybody that attempts a song like that blows it. But they did a wonderful job on it. I was really impressed." The finale, Everybody Rejoice, from the Broadway musical The Wiz left everyone walking out of the Parker Playhouse feeling very uplifted.
We all missed Randy Washburn for his satirical humor and Scott Hindley, whose choreographer duties were ably taken over by Ron Hutchins. We look forward to seeing both of these valued members of the Chorus return soon.
Overall the performance offered a genuine musical production, a quality show that could be taken 'on the road' for many more people to enjoy.
A recent exhibit in Toronto showcased the extraordinary talent and humanistic wisdom of Johny Deluna. This Toronto-based artist gave me an exclusive interview, during which we concentrated on just two of his many thought-provoking canvases.
The Song to the Moon painting is inspired by a lovely song from the opera Rusalka, by Dvorak. It is shown here at the right of the lead photo, with Mr. DeLuna standing between it and another artwork.
“Everything I paint about is largely about human activity,” said DeLuna. “To me this woman hugs the Moon, she can't get enough of it. She almost wants to own it: she has 4 hands to pull the Moon, coaxing it down. But it's an exercise in futility, rather than enjoying it, whereas the cat has his own little Moon in the bowl and is very content. So it is a dichotomy between wanting to enjoy the Moon or possess it.”
I also asked him about Selling the Moon, depicted here. “Every insect, every bird, every tree that disappears: we don't see it directly but it's happening and it's happening so fast we have no way of knowing. We don't even know the stuff that's disappearing because it hasn't been discovered. I think the biggest mass extinction benefit would be for humans to go: everything else would survive quite well.”
DeLuna regards the painting “as a statement about people thoughtlessly doing something. These people have been told 'box up the Moon, and ship it to wherever'. There will be a hole in the sky but we'll patch it up, put a sticker on it. But people have to bear the consequences of ripping the Moon out of the sky. The elephant symbolizes but just humanity but every creature that is going to be affected by our careless, greedy behaviour.”
While his paintings cover a much wider range than the lunar motif, I have concentrated on these due to my own interest in astronomy and art. I recommend looking at his wider catalogue of paintings, each of which contains hidden delights.
On June 29 a bronze statue of Canada's World War II Prime Minister will be unveiled at Castle Kilbride, near Baden, Ontario. This will depict William Lyon Mackenzie King as a mature man, but for a look back into his youth a play currently being performed in Kitchener is the place to go.
The play, entitled Secret at Woodside, is the brainchild of Stephen W. Young. In an interview for Sun News, Young said he is fascinated by how King developed. “What changed him into a cold, calculating politician? He grew up in Kitchener (then Berlin) with Germans, Mennonites and other groups. His family took him to different churches, so that he had an appreciation for other cultures.” In an age when ethnic or religious groups often mixed only with their own kind, this gave the young King a perspective that “let him become the longest-serving Prime Minister in Canadian history.” He served more than 21 years in the top post.
The most sensational aspect of King's staid life (“He was married to the country,” said Young) were the seances he indulged in. This was never publicly known during his tenure as leader, but it all started in his youth. “A lot of people did seances in those days,” explained Young, referring to the late 19th century. King lived at Woodside in Kitchener from 1886 to 1893, which is where the play is set. The real Woodside is now a National Historic site which is open to the public on the rare occasion the government has enough money to open the doors.
A séance in the play is a key aspect of the plot, highlighting the bravura performance of Sonja-Ticknor-Malton as the fake medium Madame Zona. She plays the role in a totally over-the-top caricature of what we expect an eastern European medium to be, complete with accent, garb, crystal ball and dire warnings of the future. “Madame Zona has a flair for the dramatic,” deadpans Detective Dickson early in the play. (Several cast members play dual roles, but I won't confuse this brief review with the details).
Her nemesis in the play is the Berlin police detective just mentioned, played with suitable gravitas by Brian Otto. His initial investigation into the happenings at the King household uncover not one, but two secrets at Woodside. I won't offer any spoilers here!
The young King is convincingly played by Graeme Currie, who gets to speak some of the real words written by King about his early years. He is ably supported in his role by his two sisters and his Mother, played by Diana Barber. Popular legend is that King was totally dominated by his Mother, but playwright Young rightly places father King (played by John Hurwitz) as the person who ran the household.
The unlikely person of Homer Watson, the famous painter, is a recurring figure in the play. Played by Trevor Middleton, Watson sets the tone for the production as he discusses the link between “man, nature and the spiritual world.”
I could go on, but delving further would likely allow one of the secrets to leak out, and we all know how contentious leaks are these days! Suffice to say that Secret at Woodside is placed at the crossroads about King becoming the man of Canada's future. It is a welcome candle on Canada's 150th birthday cake.
Performances continue through June 18 at KWMP Arts Centre in Kitchener, near the corner of Lackner and Ottawa. Order online at: www.woodscribe.ca/secretatwoodside.html.
I recently attended a talk by Dr. Janna Levin, at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, where she presented a fine report on the background to the discovery of gravity waves.
Her book on the topic was published just before the discovery of gravity waves, so that momentous event is relegated to a brief Epilogue. While the timing was unfortunate, since the discovery was not made the central focus of the book, my concerns with the text go far deeper.
Since the book is geared to a general science audience, I expect virtually no member of the general science-interested public will have any personal knowledge of the scientists mentioned. It was my good fortune to have met most of the great scientists Levin includes in the book.
Thus I was shocked early on (page 29) to read this sentence regarding John Wheeler and Robert Oppenheimer. “Although Wheeler did not testify in the hearing in 1954 that would strip Oppenheimer of his security clearance (the notorious Edward Teller did), Wheeler was not entirely unsympathetic to the testimony or the decision.”
What is reader supposed to take away from this description of Edward Teller as notorious? Levin does not even tell the reader who Teller was. He was certainly no criminal, which is usually the sort of person who gets 'notorious' thrown at them. Teller, who I knew, was the father of the H-bomb and one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. I also knew Wheeler, who had a great influence on me.
I continued with my reading until page 64, when I read “polio-sabotaged astrophysicist, Philip Morrison.” I can only consider the one-liner descriptions of Teller and Morrison to be the crudest form of caricature I have ever read in a book of science. Morrison was a wonderful person, combining kindness and brilliance. To have his career encapsulated is such a politically incorrect way will be hurtful to his family and all who remember him. At least Teller gets a mention in the Index, Morrison does not. What does polio-sabotaged even mean? Would anyone dare say that about FDR? Their personal medical issues obviously did not prevent them from rising to the heights of eminence.
Since I could only force myself to skim read the remainder of the book, I cannot offer further comments.
Black Hole Blues (241 pages) is by Knopf.
In grateful memory:
Edward Teller (1908-2003)
Philip Morrison (1915-2005)
Seo Eun Kim, who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Toronto this year, was honoured with a gallery opening on June 1, 2017.
I interviewed her about the broad concept of the meaning of art, both in the eyes of the artist, and the eyes of the beholder. Her views are refreshing.
"A lot of artists are concerned with artists' statements. I understand that in the process of getting grants, you need to explain what you are doing. It's not unnatural, but it is backwards," she said.
She places the paintings first, the linguistics second. "It feels like you have done so much work to put it on canvas, it's a bit disappointing because you want people to take the responsibility to extract what he or she wants. You can have a dialogue without explicit input from the author. Discussing what reactions or receptions should be seems counter intuitive."
Sunny, as she is called, is a Korean-born artist who has given a lot of thought to what she terms "the linguistic articulation of painting." She laments that "I feel I'm the only one who missed the point."
As an expert on art, I can say her views are in fact quite correct. While they may not be politically correct, that ground can shift and she will come out the winner.
Her art can be viewed at Yumart Gallery, 401 Richmond Street West, Suite B20, Lower Concourse, Toronto.
Photos with this article copyright Dr. C. Cunningham