Archive for June, 2009



YAY! Toronto is taking the lead on creativity and bringing the multi-dimensional world of the arts to our city with Luminato, a ten-day arts and creativity festival—fantastic!

Friday night was great, “The Girls and Their Buddy” at Massey Hall: Shawn Colvin, wonderful; Patty Griffin, amazing voice, so Nashville; Emmylou Harris, sweet and reserved; and then there’s Buddy Miller—go Buddy go! Together, they jammed in that old hall with great sound and made you feel like you were hanging out in their barn…a really nice laid-back introduction to the uniqueness of a festival where people want to share their passion and talent.

Next, on to the red carpet for the opening night “parties” at The National Ballet School. The outside of the building was transformed into an engaging visual art/media expression with constant images and messages 5 stories high! Lights, cameras, action—all inside…

The best was on the second floor, hosted by Armani. It was happening. Skipping the name dropping, everyone was happy to be involved with this very cool thing called Luminato. The parties had live, unique and diverse entertainment, late night snacks and tons of people all excited and talking about which event they were going to next, how great it is to have Toronto bringing such talent to the public largely for FREE…so many wonderful offerings, possibilities and OH NO I thought of taking a night off this week—now all I want to know is how do I get tickets for the sold-out Nederlands Dans Theater for Thursday?


Saturday night we joined The Children’s Crusade for the standing and OUTSTANDING performance in the converted old warehouse on Dufferin Street, including Fire Marshals haha, no kidding. It added to the excitement and expression of simply working with creativity in our city. It is a must see—with a wonderful mix of macabre, seedy and terrific acts. Oh did I mention it’s a musical, NOT like anything you’ve ever seen.


Sunday we enjoyed an appreciation brunch at the AGO with friends and those generous Luminaries: gracious founding supporters who helped transform the nothing-less-than-brilliant shared vision of Tony Gagliano and David Pecaut (founders) into reality. A wonderful investment in engaging the city with creativity, innovation and unique festival-only experiences—truly an important initiative for Toronto’s social, cultural and economic development. 

After lunch HA! Mesmerized we were, by the visual and audio works of Tony Oursler in Grange Park, on the corner of McCaul and Dundas and just inside the AGO, past the shop—FREE of charge. Yes, we spotted the RED BALL at Old City Hall which was fun, as hundreds of people snapped photos of family and friends standing beside the massive ball squished into the columns at the front door :-), but the real beauty was at BCE place! It’s brilliant, the “long wave” by David Rokeby—represented by Pari Nadimi Gallery.

Ahhhh, no rest this week: it’s the Tribute to Neil Young tomorrow night—and I’m still seeking tickets for Nederlands for Thusday. Friday, 5 O’Clock Bells; Saturday we’re off to enjoy the “very hot” interpretation and closing night performance of Carmen and a coolio/fresh after-party (tell you all about it next week), and Sunday—a special 25th Anniversary of Cirque Du Soleil event at Harbourfront—FREE.

How’s your week shaping up? See you at Luminato


Hey Boss, One Sugar or Two?

Interning, regardless of where you’re “placed,” is marred by a certain stigma.  Essentially you’re the coffee guy, the photocopier, the gofer. If you’re lucky, the other employees actually know your name.


My time at belladonna communications  has been nothing short of…well let’s say pretty darn awesome. Not only have I been fortunate enough to be given my own email address, desk, computer and extension number, but actually being called Hussein and not “Intern,” “You There” or “Kid” is actually quite liberating. Bosses take notice: we interns are simple folk. We appreciate the luxury of being treated like a human being, it gives us a sense of…belonging.


I have never recognized the intricacies and manpower required to launch a website, and the amount of time and effort that goes into designing a website is unbelievable. Not to mention the amount of paper used to create layouts, which are tacked up all over the wall, only to be ripped down, drawn on and thrown on the floor.  Yup, I said it, paper is involved in creating something digital (talk about irony). Who would’ve thought you go through tons of paper when creating a website? Not just any paper mind you, there are hundreds, no thousands, actually I would say there are at least 6 bagillion different combinations of paper stocks, weights, colours, and textures.


What I learned: White is out, off white is in, and recycled paper is the new cool. I experienced this first hand when we met with a paper representative from the U.S. Watching Angela and Sam’s faces during the meeting was like watching kids at Christmas. They smiled, they laughed, heck I think they even cried a little. They were overcome with joy, while I sat-in on the meeting trying to comprehend where this sense of euphoria came from. I guess either that it further emphasized their passion for quality work or that their lives are actually quite dull, but either way, thanks to that meeting, I can never look at paper the same way again. It’s actually quite disturbing.


I have to credit the belladonna team though. They are treating me like a human being and not a human coffee maker, plus they actually know my name…score!


So for now, I will go back to my research, my marketing magazines and my desk by the window…for an intern, I sure am living the good life.