Monday, June 14, 2010

Mixed Pickles

[“Mixed Pickles” by Victoria Alexandrina Anderson-Pelham, Countess of Yarborough (English 1840–?) & Eva Macdonald (English 1846/50–?) from the Westmorland Album, 1864/70 Collage, watercolor & albumen prints]

H & I had another busy day yesterday that began at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) and ended with a celebration at Nathan Phillips Square with two friends and a crowd of my peeps.

The last time I went to the AGO was during the week it re-opened after the massive renovations. I remember waiting under newspapers in the pouring rain with a friend to check out what all the buzz was about. The lineups were long as you can imagine they would be when no admission is charged (a nice way to kick off the event!). I felt like I was in a different country that night as we entered the gorgeous new space. I experienced the same kind of thrill when I took H yesterday as we explored all of the beautiful rooms and halls which housed the amazing collections and exhibits. (Works included the likes of Degas, Chagall and Picasso.)

I have to admit, however, as a collector of ephemera and a lover of illustration, my favorite exhibit was the one titled, Playing with Pictures, which featured Victorian collage from more than 40 of the best albums selected. The pages displayed the witty sense of humour of the artists who juxtaposed photographs and illustrations that poked fun at the social classes and conventions of that time.

We stopped for pizza slices and ice cream before meeting up with friends at Dundas Square. A band was playing when we arrived, singing some very saucy lyrics which kept H giggling. We decided to head over to Nathan Phillips Square where a celebration was taking place honouring the independence of "my people".

I was amazed to see so many Titas, Titos, Lolos and Lolas in one place in downtown Toronto. There were all kinds of stalls set up selling treats such as ube cake, Adobo Cracker Nuts, pancit, skewers of sweet barbequed pork, Siopoa (complete with its distinctive pink dot), plastic cups filled with sago gulaman and cutchinta. There were also stands selling t-shirts emblazoned with declarations of patriotism but the best (read: wonderfully cheesiest) part of the whole event was the singing contest taking place on stage.

Winning-hopefuls belted out tunes from traditional Philippine ballads to rocking Elvis hits (complete with groin-thrusting...a bit disconcerting coming from a very agile 70 year-old Lolo). Always a crowd pleaser, Journey's Faithfully was met with loud applause and our little group began swaying from side-to-side. (I only wished that I had a lighter with me at the time.) We left as they were announcing the winners so we'll never know how "P-Elvis" fared.

Oh, I forgot to mention that we were also celebrating another special event at Nathan Phillips Square and that was V's birthday. I think the highlight for her was not the sampling of deep fried jackfruit or listening to the performances of eight year-olds who resemble fifty year-old jazz singers (weird) but rather, getting shat on by a pigeon. (J & I told her that this was good luck if it happened on your birthday. I think she believed us because it wasn't hard to coax her into buying a couple of lottery tickets...just in case.)

Happy Birthday to you, V. Wishing you a year full of love, happiness and adventures. xo

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