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Archive for the ‘Fascinating People’ Category

After months of planning and collaborating, we’re excited to finally tell you about an exhibition we have put together along with the Polish Consulate in Toronto and the Film Museum in Łódź.

On September 1st, 2011 the cinematic world of Krzysztof Kieślowski (director of such masterpieces as Oscar nominated the Three Colours Trilogy, Decalogue and The Double Life of Véronique) is coming to Toronto.

Marking the 70th anniversary of his birth and the 15th anniversary of his death, the Film Museum in Łódź along with the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto and YouNxt proudly present the North American premiere of Kieślowski in Posters: The Films of Krzysztof Kieślowski in World Film Posters.

The collection consists of film posters from countries such as: Spain, Italy, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Poland. Its travelled the world and in September will debut in Canada during the Toronto International Film Festival.

On loan from the Film Museum in Łódź for a limited engagement in the epicenter of Toronto’s film festival action, the exhibition will be on display at the Steam Whistle Gallery from September 1-10 and subsequently at the Metro Hall Rotunda from September 12-17. Admission is free.

Anyone with an appreciation for stunning classic and retro movie posters is invited to view the exhibition and attend the opening reception on Wednesday, August 31 from 7pm – 11pm at Steam Whistle Gallery.

Complete details are available on our EVENTS PAGE

Hope to see you all at the OPENING RECEPTION!!!

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PHOTO: Gladstone Hotel

On Tuesday, July 26 (that would be today) Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel will host a fundraiser for an art instillation called THE HAPPINESS PROJECT: IN THE HOUSE.

The instillation is an extension of the music album The Happiness Project by Charles Spearin who plays for the famed indie collective Broken Social Scene.

Interested in learning about people’s definition of ‘happiness’ Charles interviewed his neighbours and then took their spoken words and wrote music to accompany their responses. The resulting compositions are moving, insightful, inspirational and they eared a Juno music award.

For The Happiness Project: In the House local artists are enlisted to interpret songs from the album and are challenged to weave their own experience of the songs, as well as their own definition of happiness, into the works.

Each artists’ installation becomes a unique expression which also includes an interactive element.

The exhibit has already been hosted in Montreal and Kingston to critical acclaim.

The Happiness Project : In the House presented by Artist Bloc and Apple Crisp Festival in Kingston, Canada in March of 2010.

The Happiness Project at POP Montreal

It will make its Toronto debut on October 1st, 2011 as part of Scotiabank‘s Nuit Blanche.

The project is curated by Artist Bloc, a Toronto artists collective which was co-founded by Agi Gutkowska.

With their Gladstone Hotel fundraiser, Artist Bloc is aiming to raise funds for the Toronto exhibition and promises that the night will be filled with live music by bands and DJs.

More information is available on the Artist Bloc website.

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Anja Rubik and Sasha Knezevic (not actual wedding photo)

Love is in the air!

This past weekend Polish bombshell/supermodel Anja Rubik married her model fiancé Sasha Knezevic.

Anja Rubik and Sasha Knezevic in Majorca PHOTO: Modelinia Blog

From the looks of it, it was a model wedding (too easy 🙂 ). The couple tied the knot on the Spanish island of Majorca.

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Sasha (a former professional basketball player for club Varese in Italy, was born in Serbia but raised in Vienna) and Anja (recently named the most in-demand model) fashion god Karl Lagerfeld’s go-to-girl, got engaged after seeing the opera Dance of the Vampires directed by Roman Polanski (I am guessing that they are big fans of True Blood).  

An emerging fashion power couple of sorts, the two are the creative brains behind the Austrian fashion and lifestyle mag 25 Magazine

Check out the two love birds in action on Polish morning show Dzien Dobry TVN ( Good Morning TVN. )

And here’s Sasha at a Quebec based fashion shoot for Canadian fashion house RW&CO. ft

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“No human community can exist without culture.”

This is the wisdom shared by Vaclav Havel.

Vaclav, a former playwright and elected first president of the Czech Republic, shared this bit of insight as part of the Wisdom project.

Wisdom is the work of 34 year old New York based photographer Andrew Zuckerman who completed the project in 2008.

Inspired by the idea that one of the greatest gifts a generation can give to the next is wisdom gained from experience, the project consists of a collection of 50 photographs/interviews that capture the wisdom of legendary leaders and visionaries, over the age of sixty-five, from the worlds of politics, science, sports and the arts.

Wisdom exists in the form of a book of portraits, a film and a travelling exhibition.

The latter (the exhibition’s Canadian premiere) is on display at Toronto’s elegant Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place) until August 5th, 2011.

Each copy of the book comes with a download code for a 60-minute film comprised of interviews from the project.

Among the global personalities featured are people such as Actor/Director (and all around Dirty Harry) Clint Eastwood, Diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger, first woman to become United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Actor Robert Redford.

There are also two notable characters as far as Poland and Canada are concerned. The first is Zbigniew Brzezinski, Warsaw born, McGill University educated, former United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.

The second, is world renowned architect Frank Gehry who was born in Toronto and hails from Polish Jewish ancestry.

Wisdom is an inspiring and rewarding exhibition. If you’re in need of a gust of in your sails make sure to check it out. Best of all, it’s free!

And if you’re looking to combine the show with a nice dinner – we recommend either Ki  (Modern Japanese) or the eclectic Marché which are just steps away.

Enjoy your dose of wisdom!

But before you dig in, check out this trailer for the film…

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Photo: Jensen Gifford

There is popular music and unforgettable music. O&AL belong in the latter category.

An acronym for Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, O&AL is a London, Ontario band fronted by singer/songwriter Olenka Krakus and members Sara Froese, Evan Brodie, Christian Hegele, Simon Larochette,  Jeff Moon and Kelly Wallraff.

Influenced by her Polish roots and Canadian upbringing, Olenka delivers songs that resonate with passion. The songs don’t just play for you, they speak to you. And many of them relate specifically to her Polish heritage, especially her memories of Communist Poland and the country’s folklore.

Olenka Krakus Photo: Rob Nelson

Supported by a mix of instruments such as the cello, violin, accordion, trumpet, saxophone, lap steel, mandolin and glockenspiel the music resonates with an eclectic mix of traditional Eastern European ballads and North American country and folk tunes.

It’s a sound reminiscent of Arcade Fire, Cat Power, Tom Waits and Gogol Bordello but which manages to exist entirely on its own.

When Olenka and her band recently played at Toronto’s Gladstone hotel (as part of the NXNE festival) the crowd gave them a rousing ovation. And rightfully so.

Here is a taste…

It’s the sort of music that you can listen to over and over again and with every listen it creates a deeper impression.

The band’s newest album And Now We Sing is packed with memorable songs. It’s really worth checking out.

"And Now We Sing" album cover by Patrick Schmidt

"Motel Blues" lyrics

The band is also set to play a string of shows later this summer and fall so, if you get an opportunity, make sure to go. The truly great thing about small concert gigs is that they are so intimate and the bands always give it all they’ve got.

In the meantime you can listen to some of the tunes online on the CBC Radio 3 website.

And have a look at this interview that we conducted with Olenka during her NXNE show.

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In Toronto, it seems that when one film festival ends another one begins. Then again, it is the city with the most film festivals in the world, so it’s natural.

Hard on the heels of the world-renowned Hot Docs documentary festival (in which Polish film At the Edge of Russia managed to snag the coveted HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist Award for its director Michal Marczak) comes the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival (WSFF).

With the motto “shorter is better” this festival showcases the greatest short films from around the globe.

Image from Robert Proch's short film The Gallery (Galeria)

Last year, the festival spotlighted Poland and had a special presentation of films from Warsaw animation powerhouse Platige Image.

This time around, there are four Polish films. They include:

Invisible Border (Niewidzialna Granica)

A Plain Landscape with a Cradle (Krajobraz Nizinny z Kolyska)

The Gallery (Galeria)

Three Mothers

Three Mothers directed by local filmmaker Rafal Sokolowski stars Canada’s rising star Kristin Booth (The Kennedys, Young People Fucking).

Rafal Sokolowski on the set of "Three Mothers"

The film, which plays at the Varsity Cinema on Wednesday June 1 at 1pm and Friday June 3 at 6:15 pm, has been programmed alongside Spike Jonze’s highly anticipated Scenes From the Suburbs.

Spike Jonze is the cinematic genius behind films such as Being John Malkovich and Where the Wild Things Are and has created some of the best music videos of all time – including the Beastie Boys Sabotage video and Fat Boy Slim’s Praise You.

Director Spike Jonze

In Scenes From the Suburbs, Spike collaborates with Canada’s Grammy Award winners Arcade Fire on a story about a slice of suburban life in wartime. Check out the trailer below.

Playing with Spike Jonze is a big score for Rafal as both screenings are sure to be well attended.

We’ll be running a contest for passes to each of the films so make sure to visit our Facebook page for more details.

Hope to see you at the movies!

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The official greeting ceremony of the President of the U.S. at Poland's Presidential Palace.

As noted recently in the New York Times, the United States might not have the same pizazz in the eyes of young Poles as compared to that of their parents, but when the “Leader of the Free World” pays you a visit you roll out the red carpet.

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama made a 24-hour visit to Poland as part of the final phase of his European tour.

He visited four countries over six days with his flying fortress, Air Force One, touching down in Warsaw on Friday evening.

He met with Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk. He discussed security and energy issues, met with leaders of Polish democracy, and, along with Poland’s President, co-hosted a dinner for leaders of Central and European states.

Obama called Poland a model for the world and praised the country for it’s peaceful and succesful transition to democracy after the fall of Communism in 1989.

He also confessed to a personal Polish link.

“If you come from Chicago and you haven’t become a little bit Polish, something’s wrong with you,” he joked.

President Obama greets young leaders at The Presidential Palace

President Barack Obama pays his respects while visiting the memorial to the victims of the Smolensk plane crash at Field Cathedral of the Polish Military in Warsaw, Poland, May 28, 2011

President Obama is greeted by Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski at the Presidential Palace.

President Barack Obama and President Bronislaw Komorowski review troops during the arrival ceremony in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.

Pres. Obama meets with Polish politicians, activists & Solidarity leaders to learn about Poland's experiences in a peaceful democratic transition.

Presidents Obama & Komorowski co-hosted a dinner for leaders of Central & Eastern European States.


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