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Posts Tagged ‘young Polish Canadian professionals’

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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On July 1, Poland will assume the six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union.  

This is a VERY big deal for Poland which has come a long way since the gloomy days of life behind the iron curtain. It’s also a great testament to the ambitious nature of the Polish people.

To commemorate the occasion the country commissioned celebrated filmmaker Tomasz Bagiński and the Platige Image company to create a short animated film titled Europe in Dance.

The film which took nine months to complete is based on a waltz metaphor and the transformations to which Poland is inviting Europe. You can view the film here.

But perhaps a more vivid showcase of Poland’s aspirations exist in a video which was shot last week.

On June 21st, the residents of Poznan, released 8,000 Chinese lanterns into the sky to mark Midsummer Night. The event was accompanied by the soundtrack Chariots of Fire by Vangelis. The effort set a national record and organizers are already planning to beat the World Guinness Record next year.

Poland’s future seems to be a bright one. And a sky filled with flickering lanterns seems like the perfect metaphor.

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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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Anna Cyzon at the premiere of Textuality

Finding love in the digital age can get very complicated. With BlackBerrys, iPhones and Androids who really has the  time to have a meaningful face-to-face conversation. And maintaining all those relationships can be a full-time juggling act.

Enter Textuality – a romantic comedy about two people trying to get into a relationship while attempting to first get out of the multiple relationships they are managing through their BlackBerrys.

The film stars Sex and the City hunk Jason Lewis, Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack and Carly Pope (who you’ll recognize from the controversial indie hit Young People F’ucking.)   

It hit the screens a few weeks ago and is probably out on video if you care to check it out. And if you’ve already seen it – let us know what you thought.

Also making an appearance is singer Anna Cyzon (a former correspondent for CTV’s eTalk and a host for MTV Canada) who last year was the runner-up in the Polish pre-selections for the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest.

We asked Anna about her involvement in the film…

YouNxt: How did you become involved in the film?

Anna: My agent sent me the script. I initially read for the role of Dani (Carly Pope’s best friend in the film) but I was so busy with Eurovision that I didn’t have time to prep my lines, so…Erin it was!

YouNxt: Tell us a bit about your character.

Anna: Erin is the girl that breaks Jason Lewis’ heart in the film. They have this perfect relationship, he proposes, and then she ditches him at the altar. That pretty much sets up the whole film. After that he becomes a player and well…you’ll have to see the rest of the flick to find out what happens.

YouNxt: What did you learn by working with experienced actors like Eric McCormack, Jason Lewis and Carly Pope?

Anna: Acting is fun but it is not as easy as it seems. Experienced actors like Carly and Eric put a lot of time into their craft, and they really dig deep. I have a long way to go if film is something I want to do more of down the road.

YouNxt: So, is acting something you’d like to pursue in the future?

Anna: Definitely but not until I release a few records, win a couple of Grammys and tour the world once or twice. I’ve got a lot to get out of my system first. Music is my first passion and until I’m fully satisfied that I’ve reached my full potential in that realm, the acting will have to wait. But I’m sure I’ll dabble here and there if the right opportunity arises.

Sex and the City's Jason Lewis

YouNxt: Texting – a relationship maker or relationship killer?

Anna: People misread intention all the time. And it’s so easy to misinterpret tone. I think that when it comes to relationships, texting is like communication breakdown 101. I mean, I can’t count how many times I’ve argued with guys over text. It’s so amateur. Like why not just pick up the phone and call! I think we often hide behind text.

Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack with Carly Pope

YouNxt: What projects are you working on now?

Anna: Currently I’m focused on putting out my first record in Europe. In the meantime I’m back in the studio writing material for my second album. There’s a lot of work to do.

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A few days ago we descended on Toronto’s decadent Kultura restaurant to tape the latest edition of YouNxt’s Na Luzie segment.

Na Luzie (meaning Laid Back in Polish) is the Polish-Canadian television program airing on OMNI TV.

As per usual we chatted with host Anna Piszczkiewicz about cultural happenings in the city as well as about the cool achievements of up and comers.

You can check out the segment this Saturday on OMNI 1 starting at 7pm (with a repeat next Friday at 2pm)

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It’s almost that time of the month again…Forever Fridays at Fregata!

Join YouNxt and the Canada-Poland Chamber of Commerce as we host our monthly social/networking event at Fregata Nightclub in Mississauga (this is a monthly event happening on every last Friday of the month).

It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet ambitious people, make some valuable connections and just have a grand ol’ time.

Arrive for 7pm so as not to pay a cover and receive one drink ticket as well as hors d’œuvres.

Here  are some photos from last month’s event.

Hope to see you there tomorrow evening.

When: Friday, May 27th at 7pm

Where: Fregata Nightclub in Mississauga, 1900 Dundas St. East

Dress Code: Casual Chic

Price: FREE (if arrive by 7pm)

Visit our Facebook page for additional information.

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We’ve got our passes and our program guide and we’re ready to doc!

Hot Docs (the Canadian International Documentary Festival) kicks off tonight with POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold . This is the much talked about new film by director Morgan Spurlock (famous for his Oscar nominated Super Size Me doc in which he ate nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days)

There are nearly 200 documentaries from across the globe with topics as varied as Toronto’s diverse population.

It can be a little overwhelming trying to decide what to check out but that is also the fun part.

What makes festivals such as Hot Docs so great is that they are extremely social events. As you wait in line to pick up a program guide or to purchase tickets or grab a coffee, you naturally end up getting into a conversation about what’s on people’s “must see” radar.

Of course everyone has their opinions.

To make it a bit easier we’re including links to the TOP PICKS as selected by Toronto film writers:

Toronto Life Magazine

Now Magazine

EYE Weekly

and the Toronto Star

Among the Hot Docs selection are 4 Polish films (2 features and 2 shorts) and we’re thrilled to say that both feature films have made the Toronto Star’s TOP 10 Festival picks. They are:

Polish Poster for "At the Edge of Russia"

At the Edge of Russia (Dir. Michal Marczak)

Synopsis: Hundreds of miles from the nearest town or tree, a smooth-faced young recruit arrives at his Arctic post. Here, etched somewhere into the endless white, is a border. The boy, Aleksey, joins five men, together charged with the absurd task of patrolling the invisible border for invisible enemies.

Through a crisp and unblinking lens, we watch as the gruff old soldiers, each a refugee from civilization in his own way, initiate the boy into their rigorous daily life. It’s a cold, hard routine, the discipline broken only by the occasional vodka and sad song.

Polish director Michal Marczak has assembled a formidable cast of characters in this breathtaking debut, both delicate and bold. At the Edge of Russia is a metaphorical portrait of a crumbled empire whose diligent men still busy themselves tracing meaning in the infinite white. Hot Docs

SCREENINGS:
Sat, April 30 – 6:30pm, Cumberland 2
Tue, May 3 – 1:15 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
Fri, May 6 – 7pm, Cumberland 2

Phnom Penh Lullaby (Dir. Pawel Kloc)

Synopsis: Among the many films that will spark discussion and debate in this year’s Festival is this intimate portrayal of the dysfunctional, sometimes disturbing, relationship between an alcoholic woman and her Israeli partner living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

She wants to get married and go to Israel, but he wants a new life, love and acceptance. Living on the margins, earning money by telling tourists’ fortunes, this fraught couple is also raising two young daughters. Drugs, crime and prostitution form the backdrop of their daily existence.

With his first feature, Polish director Pawel Kloc has chosen risky material and a potentially problematic approach. Yet the result is a gripping, formidable character drama with a climax as compelling and heartbreaking as any film this year, non-fiction or not. Hot Docs

SCREENINGS:
Mon, May 2 – 9:45pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
Wed, May 4 – 4pm, Cumberland 2
Sun, May 8 – 5:45pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

We’ll be running a contest for Hot Docs tickets so tune back for details.

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