A veteran photojournalist on the Toronto arts and entertainment scene, Julian Bynoe is a Toronto-based cartoonist, artist and arts blogger. From 1996 to 2014, he was the arts/entertainment editor for the street publication The Outreach Connection, and has had articles featured in Realms Magazine, among others.

EDITION #45 - WEEK OF JUNE 1-7, 2015

Funkmeisters lead jazz fest freebies

The 2015 Toronto Jazz Festival pulls out all the stops for free concerts featuring both funk legends Morris Day and The Time (left) and Toronto’s very own pranksters The Shuffle Demons (right).

Music Preview

The Toronto Downtown Jazz Society announces the lineup of free performances from their Festival Hub at Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West) to the Distillery District (55 Mill Street) for June 18 to 29, starting with the opening weekend (June 19-21) of Music Mania of local and international talents, including a instrumental “petting zoo” put on by the Regent Park School of Music June 21 involving performances and hands-on demos with the community brass, woodwind and steel pan bands.

Opening on June 19 is legendary funk/soul band George Clinton and his Parliament/Funkadelic band, preceded by Morris Day & The Time, famous for their turn in the 1980s cult classic rock opera Purple Rain; out to perform their hits “Cool,” “The Bird,” “Fishnet,” “Jerk Out” and “Jungle Love,” with New Orleans funk group Dumpstaphunk as the opening act with members descended from the first family of New Orleans soul the Nevilles, bringing out their blend of rock, funk, gospel and blues.

Also at the Festival Hub that weekend will have boogie-woogie master Tyler Yarema & His Rhythm and the Shuffle Demons (both June 20), the Toronto Mass Choir and Jivebombers (both June 21), plus the Lunchtime Series starting at 12:30 p.m. with Jim Galloway’s Wee Big Band directed by Martin Loomer, filling in for the late Galloway (June 22), Patricia Cano (June 23), Ian McDougall 12-tet (June 24) and Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra featuring Ingrid Jensen (June 25) and the 6:30 p.m. After Work Series on the satellite Outdoor Stage features the multi-instrumentalist Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School (June 23), African soul group Ikebe Shakedown (June 24), Hilario Duran and Ignacio Berroa – Afro-Cuban Jazz & Beyond (June 25) to the June 27 Youth Jazz Day festivities at 2 p.m. with the York University Jazz Orchestra, JAZZ FM 91 Youth Big Band and the Victor Vrankulj Quintet.

Not to be left out or missed are the offshoot areas Shops at Don Mills (1090 Don Mills Road) that will host the likes of Grooveyard (June 18, 7 p.m.), 1950s hard-bop tribute Cookers Quintet (June 22, 6 p.m.) and Chuck Johnson’s Big Bad Blues Band (June 26, 7 p.m.) and the Distillery District June 17 to 27 with the folksy Boxcar Boys (June 17, 6 p.m.), Norman Marshall Villeneuve’s Jazz Message (June 21, 12 p.m.) and Club Django Toronto (June 27, 2 p.m.), among many other acts.

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For more information, visit torontojazz.com.

Decaying Beauties and Original Grrl Rockers

CONTACT Photography Festival 2015 Reviews

Part 2 of a 2-part series

Giulio Muratori: Abandoned

Pekota Design, 2989 Dundas Street West

Muratoni takes us on a tour of Italy most of us wouldn’t consider too much and gives a honest depiction of beauty in decay for Abandoned in three provinces of abandoned building structures with littered debris and broken-out window panes for “Theatre Stairs,” the expressiveness found in “Untitled (Zaccherificio)” of a graffiti-targeted sugar factory and “Elevator” has a more modernist approach what with all that broken glass and peeling paint flakes scattered around its doorway, but “Paghi” remains his best one in the series where one graffitist makes best usage of the space provided of a lotus hand gesture.

Tatiana Salinikova: Paris Through the Eyes

Agora Café, 3015 Dundas Street West

Although a classically-trained dancer in her native Russia, Tatiana Salinikova aims for a sense of nostalgia through her camera lens of photos of the City of Lights where she gives a silvery sheen to the Arc de Triomphe for “Arch” is highly sharp and detailed right next to the motion blurriness of “Yellow Night” of a passer-by trudging along a rain-soaked Parisian backstreet adds a sense of foreboding mystery with its ochre filter.

For a more traditional outlook, “Louvre Ride” of cyclists peddling on the promenade of the famed art gallery near the glass pyramids where a stab of sunlight pierces opens the beginning of a sunset in its onset; the intricacies of the Eiffel Tower’s girders (“Eiffel”) to the traditions of old Paris lingering of a chained-up bicycle to a gateway railing (“La Violette”) makes this for a nice slice of the French capital for hopeless travelling romantics.

Louis Au: Buddhism in Nepal

Kingsway Chiropractic, 3021 Dundas Street West

Very much in the news of late with two major earthquakes in one month alone, expat Louis Au’s photos from a 2013 visit is shown on archival Giclee where one can see giant prayer wheels being given vibrant spins between a worshipper (“Worship”), approaching clouds on the horizon over a temple (“Boudhanath”) to the best one amongst the exhibit goes to “Butter Lamps,” where the incandescent glow of candlelight glows against the bronze and copper bowls nearby sticks in your mind after seeing it.

Robert Mapplethorpe: Flesh + Stone

Olga Korper Gallery, 17 Morrow Avenue

Body politics still remains the forte from the iconic 1980s photographer in this series of the human form from statues and real-life figures for Flesh + Stone from his favourite muse Lisa Lyon in either body paints, dried cracking mud slips or the usual nude to make the connection to the themes involved.

Aesthetically interesting to the eye, the usual homoerotica runs rampant (“Milton Moore,” “Ken Moody,” “Thomas”) along with race and gender (“Jill Chapman and Ken Moody”), other subjects come to play with Grecian- and Roman-era statues, be it a black background posed behind one of Spartacus or an alabaster white Antinous partially draped in a carpet.

The space of natural and artificial light of the Olga Korper Gallery space is always ideal for Mapplethorpe’s work, especially when the odd celebrity portrait (“Paloma Picasso”) shows up to give said subject a simplicity yet sophistication to the character or dramatis to another muse (“Barry”) who adds pensive atmosphere to his gestures whilst bathed in some descending light about him that’s so humanistic.

Zineb Sedira: The Death of a Journey V

Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery South Façade, 231 Queen’s Quay West

To September 7; 24/7

Taken off the coast of Nouadhibou, Mauritania in 2003, Franco-Algerian artist Zineb Sedira captures the gorgeous sadness of a rusting derelict, the United Malika, which was en route to a illegal ship’s graveyard to be dismantled for salvage scraps, still remains there as a double-edged sword on the local ecosystem of leaking toxic fuel into the Atlantic and as a contributing as a artificial reef to the sea life.

Also the photo points out, for all its brownish reds and dark shadows against a strip of azure sea and whitish skyline fighting the blue; of the crossroads between Africa and Europe, as another double-edged sword as the location of this photo is a entrepot for those looking to flee to a better life in the European Union versus those wanting to escape from whatever they left behind there or themselves.

It’s a decent location to post this 5x0.9-metre mural near the water’s edge at Harbourfront’s Power Plant Gallery, literally just a stone’s throw away and nor is its meaning lost with so many ships and boats within the vicinity.

Darren Rigo: a funny thing

Bill Boyle Artport, 235 Queen’s Quay West

To June 14; Daily 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Trying to put the connection between humans and the environment, Darren Rigo adds a eccentric twist around a funny thing in a series of works from his first Polaroid of a couple of tree stumps as chopping blocks for wood (instant irony) to his current portfolio that range from a oddball Christmas tree with a human limb as a stump planted somewhere on a tropical shoreline, a pipe-smoking pine in a boreal forest, a cleverly camouflaged man in his floral shirt and shorts and self-portrait with a box camera into a gilded mirror hanging in the forest.

The most whimsical is a series of thirteen photos near the ceiling aligned into a elliptical arch with a crescent moon and two stars in various phases like a smiley face figure in the sky. Who says photography always has to be so serious?

Vanley Burke: Watchers, Seekers, Keepers: Images of Diaspora from Black Britain

BAND Gallery, 1 Lansdowne Avenue, 2nd Floor

Marking a half-century of documenting his adopted British home, noted photographer Vanley Burke’s first-ever Canadian exhibit of his works Watchers, Seekers, Keepers: Images of Diaspora from Black Britain gives a glimpse of the so-called “Windswept Generation” of West Indian and African migrants that came to rebuild metropole England after World War II and the generations that followed, plus a few new photos showing his progression of other topics strikes itself as most descriptive in tone and subject.

Falling on the vintage black and white, life and culture does not escape from Burke’s eye around London in the 1970s and ‘80s, even on something innocent from kids being kids around riding on bumper cars (“Dodgems, Handsworth Park, 1973”), the symbolic attribute of boys ranging from tween to early adulthood still clinging to one last grab onto childhood (“Young Men on See-Saw, Handsworth Park, 1984”) and the political throng of African-Britons celebrating themselves (“African Liberation Day, Handsworth Park, 1977”).

He also manages to do a postscript of those who decided to retire to their birthplaces as one elderly couple is shown in a then-and-now scenario (“Mrs. Walker’s Salon, Handsworth Park, 1978”) of her former profession to their home in Ocho Rios, Jamaica in 2011 with a sense of pride of photos of their children and grandchildren still residing in England adorning their walls and of living there for so many years.

Recent photos relate to Africa on many themes like a dirt-coated hand gently cradling a photo of a missing (?) young boy (“Refugee, Gambia, 2010”) to the exhibit’s only two colour works, “Untitled (Barbershop), Gambia, 2007”) of a boy getting a haircut while draped in a American flag, not seen as any disrespect but mainly as a makeshift resource as one does in a open-air venture and the impressive 2015 collage “Council of Voices” of all of works done like a jigsaw puzzle in sepia tones to sum up his fifty years of photography done on Durotan print.

The only downer of Watchers is a looping documentary screening of the 1986 John Akomfrah film Handsworth Songs that mixes a bit of Burke’s best known pics along with archival footage from the 1960s and ‘70s hasn’t really aged well with its tinny sound and static viewing from time to time, but still is interesting to watch a rare look at Malcolm X’s first visit to Britain and racial riots of the period, when it’s possible.

Group Exhibition: Women in Rock

Analogue Gallery, 673 Queen Street West

To June 14; Tuesday-Saturday 12-7 p.m., Sunday 1-5 p.m.

Toronto’s only gallery dedicated to rock photography Analogue comes out with a very strong group exhibit on the (un)sung heroines that helped shape the popular music landscape for Women in Rock of a kaleidoscope of genres from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alumni to should be (or will be) candidates from various shutterbugs willing to get up close and personal with them.

While some of the best known have been seen as hardcore onstage, the photographer manage to get their human sides – and often good sides – most of the time like with Edie Steiner getting Patti Smith in a demure, if relaxed pose; Nina Simone looking very majestic courtesy of Barrie Wentzell; Terry Spencer’s ominous portrait of Marianne Faithfull lazily smoking a cigarette as a dark figure looms from behind; a money shot of Ella Fitzgerald drenched in sweat during a performance at a 1965 concert in Newport by Francine Windham to a coquettish Debbie Harry in a white t-shirt, cut-off shorts and sunglasses from Steiner.

British post-punk legend Siouxie Sioux gets an unguarded backstage moment shot from Steven Severn of a 1982 Swedish concert with the Banshees shows the lead singer looking bereft in a mesh top and whatever feeling she’s feeling etched on her face very well; David Corio gets a more directive and assertive attitude from a Salt-n-Pepa concert taken at New York’s Radio City Music Hall in 1994; a lot of Madonna taken by Torontonians Patrick Harbron from her 1983 bubblegum pop princess phase at Maple Leaf Gardens to Neal Preston getting her punky feminist side by 1994.

Lucia Gracia manages to shoot avant-pop queen Björk in one of her more outlandish outfits and glitter in her don’t-give-a-damn persona on her originality and the late Amy Winehouse during her rise to stardom at the 2008 Gladstonbury Festival in the same fashion of punk meets glam; some more vintage shots of Joni Mitchell, Linda Rondstadt, Diana Ross and Janis Joplin in their heydays and one in particular that stands out, is Corio’s interesting composition of The Fugees with Lauryn Hill’s hands gesturing towards the camera reading a half-welcoming, half-defiant manner while a bored-looking Wyclef Jean right behind her looks on. Don’t miss some of these rarities.

Myoung Ho Lee: Tree

Allan Lambert Brookfield Galleria, 181 Bay Street

Six 18x13-metre canvas photos of solitary trees with a backdrop canvas makes for Myoung Ho Lee from South Korea’s Tree series is meant to heighten each tree’s form and characteristics against mostly desolate environs that has a survivor aspect to them.

Although I can’t help but wonder if these are all just natural settings or Photoshopped, at least the meaning of the project does hold some thought on turning a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional one and since flora are usually a hardy species at times even if sometimes they were a bit hard to absorb to make believable for the most part.

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Most venues are FREE and some exhibits are continuing after CONTACT’s run; please check for venues, times and dates. For information, call 416-539-9595 or visit scotiabankcontactphoto.com.