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Last Night

On Tuesday I wrote “Tonight’s The Night“, about my debut at Art Miami on Tuesday Dec. 4th. But last night was just as great (I began this post on Thursday, but the clock’s turned over now – blogging is like that). The team of young filmmakers that my wife and I are grandfathering hosted a fundraiser for Live Different, a local not-for-profit that helps people in need in Thailand, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The keys to your own home = dignity

The keys to your own home = dignity

The main event was an inspiring speech by Christal Earle, co-founder and chief spokesman for Live Different. She told the story of how she came to give her life to helping people, and how she works to galvanize young Canadians to pursue a different sort of future. In a post on our planning page, she wondered if life was less about getting and more about becoming. And I wonder: “Who would I like to become?”. One of the ideas that stood out in her talk was a wonderful answer to those who think we should just sit on our hands. “We can’t change everything”, she said, “but we can touch those we come into contact with, and we can give them something more important than aid. We can give them dignity”.

Crystal Earle, co-founder and spokesman for Live Different

Christal Earle, co-founder and spokesman for Live Different

The night was hosted at The Office, on John St. in downtown Toronto. We had so many volunteers it’s hard to list them all. There were the wonderful people at The Office – Ruben and Sun; the organizing group, also known as “us” – seven strong. We had two live acts, both of which donated their time. And there were gifts from corporations like Kronenberg, for our raffle. Those who came to hear Christal and see our teaser and slide show were more than generous. Together with our online donors, they brought us half way to our goal of 12, 500.



The night was filmed by students from the Toronto Film School, who also donated their time. We look forward to sharing some of that video in the months to come. Next up, we plan a kickstarter campaign to raise the budget for the movie we’re planning in Thailand in May of 2013. Not only will we be going with Live Different to help build a new life for kids who have been former victims of sex tourism and other forms of exploitation, but we also plan to document the process, and put cameras into the hands of the kids themselves. We’re incredibly excited at the prospect.

Kyle, Michelle & Damien, planning our next move

Kyle, Michelle & Damien, planning our next move

Meet Damien O’Neill, Michelle Groves and Kyle Workman, three recent Ryerson grads who want to use their talents for a greater good. This is us at the end of the night, planning our collective future.

My lovely wife getting into the karaoke with Kailey and Joanna

My lovely wife getting into the karaoke with Kailey and Joanna

And here’s the other half (not including myself): Joanna Goorevitch, Annette Frymer and Kailey Kaufman. Not planning for our collective future, but doing something equally important: living our collective present :)

At Last: Joanna's got soul

The end of the night: Joanna belts out “At Last”

If you’d feel that you’d like to help out, please help where ever you feel the need is greatest.

If you find yourself reading more about Live Different and you feel moved by what they do, and what we plan next May, you can donate at our donation page at

Tonight’s The Night

I’m incredibly excited about the opening of Art Miami, where my work will be seen by 55,000 top international curators, artists, dealers & buyers. The VIP Opening Night is slated to begin as I write this. My work is being presented in the Context Pavilion by Luky Cancio of Cancio Contemporary. The Context Pavillion is described, on Art Miami’s website, as an outgrowth of Art Miami that services “a select group of international art dealers by providing a platform, infrastructure and proven marketplace that engages and attracts qualified collectors to acquire the works of their artists who have achieved certain levels of critical acclaim and pricing for their works.”  !!!


                    Star Power

Star Power has an interesting history. When I was working at CBC, CTV was whipping us in the ratings. But that wasn’t enough. Ivan Fecan, formerly our boss, had “Canadian Idol” tapings held across Front Street, in the John Bassett Theatre. Not only were we losing to “that other network”, but we had to listen to the screaming of their rabid fans as we laboured into the dinner hour. It was summer, and I recall exiting the building on John Street, where the bad guys had also plastered gigantic ads for their other programming. It was ludicrous: John St. is a tiny street that gets little traffic, except when Blue Jays fans shuffle along to the (formerly known as) Skydome.  I took Star Power that night. That canvas, stretched across the top of a hideous power station, went on to do triple duty: It raked in good money from advertisers in a formerly dead space, it allowed CTV to taunt us even more, and tonight it makes its debut at Context Art Miami. My television wars are over now. Selling these will bury them.

Afro Jo

                    Miss Connect

Miss Connect, above, began life as Afro-Jo. Jo is my daughter’s name, and one of my favourite pieces of music is John Coltrane’s Afro Blue (Live at Birdland). It’s a portrait of my daughter checking out a photo in the Galleria of Brookside Place on Bay Street. When she stopped behind this portrait of a young African-American, I couldn’t resist. I then posed her behind several other photos, like this one of Putin. I call it JoJo Putinesca. Joanna’s patience soon ran out, but I got four shots out of her that day.


                    JoJo Putinesca

Luky has two more pieces, though I don’t know which will hang when (or if). “Sorry“, below, was taken in Calpe, Spain.  The “context” is a lot more urban that it looks: I was standing in the parking lot of a grocery store when I took it.



If you find yourself at Art Miami over the next few days, here’s a pass on me

Art Miami Comp

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