Blank canvas upon which to paint

by Mark Boscariol
(Windsor, On, Canada)

Despite the "too gray" people have to be reminded streetscape is the skeleton which needs to have flesh added too it. New plugs allow for led "twinkle" lighting on trees and light standards. New light standards can support colorful banners and flower planters. Its up to the residents and business to now add public art. My favorite idea is cladding grey cement "Bunker" style planters with colorful mosaic tile art by local artists. We need a "complete the Street" campaign (normally used for items like bike lanes) to add these elements

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Chimczuk and Baby House museums re-openings  “unknown”

Museum Windsor – in other words the rebranded umbrella term for theChimczuk Museum and Francois Baby House, almost a stone’s throw from one another downtown – remain closed at least until the end of the year. “Museum Windsor along with other Recreation & Culture facilities, at the direction of (city) council, will remain closed until December 31, 2020, with an unknown opening date,” says Cathy Masterson, Manager of Cultural Affairs for the city. The newer Chimczuk museum took over the first floor of the Art Gallery of Windsor building and the Francois Baby House on Pitt St. has been a longtime city historical museum. Meanwhile, the Art Gallery of Windsor, in the same Riverside Dr. building as the Chimczuk, re-opened earlier this month.  Why the different openings? “The Art Gallery of Windsor is a tenant of the city's and is operated through its own board of governors,” Masterson says.  “Their board would be responsible for determining their opening date.” - 10/28/20

Photo: City of Windsor

Local artist Denial's work to be featured on Detroit building

Windsor artist Denial aka Daniel Joseph Bombardier’s mural will be replicated on the lower part of an innovative building in Detroit’s Eastern Market. The four storey 40,000 sq. ft. Glass Mural building will eventually house retail and offices.  Netherlands-based architecture firm MVRDV will print colorful murals within a transparent façade around the building. “This project is unlike anything Detroit has ever seen,” Marvin Beatty, a partner with FIRM Real Estate, told The Detroit News. Denial’s work has been featured around the world. In Windsor, his murals are gloriously displayed in WIFF Alley, connecting University Ave. and Chatham St. – a shortcut between venues for those attending the Windsor International Film Festival. Bombardier describes himself as a pop and mural artist “whose aerosol and stencil art works critique contemporary politics, capitalism, consumerism and the human condition.” Bombardier’s art has been exhibited in New York, Chicago, Houston, Austin, New York, Toronto, Melbourne, Dubai, Miami and Vancouver. – 10/1/20

Photo: MVRDV

Online exhibit features images from the early months of the Covid-19 lockdown

Windsor-based Media City Film Festival has announced a new online exhibition space called Dark Dark Gallery. It’s inaugural show is Radical Acts of Care and is on view until Sept. 26. The exhibit offers a “multidisciplinary experience,” according to a release. It brings together moving image artworks, photography, drawing, performance, poetry, and activism, “all from an incredible roster of international artists.” Among offerings are Iranian poet and film director Forough Farrokhzad's The House is Black (1962), which was made while the director lived in a leper colony. As well, several items were made during the early months of the current coronavirus lockdown. These include multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker Cauleen Smith's COVID Manifesto (2020) and a series of artist audio talks. – 8/28/20

Detroit museum promises its patrons that it will do better

Detroit’s cutting-edge art museum, embroiled in scandal, wants visitors to know it is doing everything possible to rectify problems. The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) last month fired its executive director after a kind of uprising by scores of staff against Elysia Borowy-Reeder. An anonymous group called MOCAD Resistance in early July accused the director of creating a "a toxic work environment" characterized by "various racist micro-aggressions, mis-gendering, violent outbursts ... and tokenization of marginalized artists." Borowy-Reeder, who started at MOCAD in 2013, said in a statement that she regretted she had to learn about her termination via press release, "after an investigation I disagree with, and was not interviewed for." She also apologized for “any harm I caused.” The museum now pledges on its website to be “committed to taking every measure possible to ensure our employees, artists and the broader community enjoy a creative environment that is respectful and inclusive.” – 8/11/2020

Photo: MOCAD Detroit


48-Hr FlickFest "Lockdown" ed online, awards tomorrow 

For the first time the Mark Boscariol 48-Hour FlickFest is now online. Two weeks ago, 32 teams of filmmakers quickly hustled and made short films with a 48-hour deadline. It’s an annual tradition of Windsor’s very popular fall film festival though usually seen during the fest itself. As of noon today all films were available on the WIFF YouTube channel. Organizers urge the public to watch them before a virtual awards ceremony tomorrow at 8 pm, which can be watched on the WIFF Facebook page. – 6/18/20

It's sort of like Jane Austen selling shoes at the local mall

If you like Jane Austen, have ever worked in retail, perhaps have a love for shoes, you might love Windsor-based author Heidi L. M. Jacobs’s book Molly of the Mall: Literary Lass and Purveyor of Fine Footwear. The book just won the 2020 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. While Jacobs is now an English and History Librarian at the University of Windsor the book is focused on her home town of Edmonton and a job she had at the gargantuan West Edmonton Mall while a university student in the 1990s. Publisher NuWeest Press's website says the book is named for “one of literature’s least romantic protagonists, Moll Flanders.” With Jane Austen influences, blogger Kerry Clare of Pickle Me This says of Jacobs, “Honestly, she came out of nowhere, the novel about a woman who is obsessed with 19th century literature..…I loved this book.” – 6/9/20

Canadians win against director of cult classic film 'The Room'

A cult hit of a film, The Room, which has been shown at the Windsor International Film Festival, was the subject of a victorious lawsuit by a group of Canadian filmmakers who had made a documentary about it. The Room, directed by Tommy Wiseau, was made in 2003 and is considered so bad it’s good and won the hearts and minds of a subculture of fans, who laugh, shout out lines from memory and even, at pivotal moments, throw spoons at the screen. Ironically, the Ottawa documentary filmmakers thought they were honoring Wiseau by making their film, called Room Full of Spoons. But Wiseau wanted creative control of the movie and threatened legal action, getting a temporary injunction against the doc’s screening. However, last week Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Schabas ruled against Wiseau, saying his negotiations with the Canadian filmmakers were in “bad faith” and his behaviour “oppressive and outrageous.” The doc can now be shown at festivals and midnight screenings everywhere. – 5/13/20

New Detroit conductor sheltering in Toronto

Jader Bignamini, the Detroit symphony’s new conductor, is sheltering in Toronto during Covid-19. Bignamini, who replaced longtime maestro Leonard Slatkin, made his debut in January to great fanfare and has a six-year DSO contract.  The exuberant new music director decided to stay in Toronto because “it's a little safer here than Italy,” according to the Detroit Free Press. Bignamini was scheduled to make his Canadian Opera Company mainstage debut last month in Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida. His formal DSO appearance is expected in December with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. – 5/5/20

Photo: DSO

Jewish film festival now postponed

As might be expected, the city’s oldest film festival, scheduled each spring, has been postponed for 2020. The 18th edition of the Ruth and Bernard Friedman Windsor Jewish Film Festival has been put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak. Jay Katz, executive director of the Windsor Jewish Federation, said due to circumstances created by the pandemic, organizers don’t have a new date. “It’s not really possible to do much planning the way things are, Cineplex is closed, who knows what our horizon is,” he said. Devonshire Cineplex cinemas have traditionally been the site of the festival. Katz declined to announce any titles of the booked films because “that would ruin the suspense and we’ll make a big announcement when the time comes.” The festival shows 10 films over four days. It was scheduled to run Monday-Thursday April 27-30. The festival is the city’s oldest. By contrast the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF), held in autumn, last year celebrated its 15th anniversary. – 4/3/20</i>

Theatres announce COVID-19 policies