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Sunday, February 28, 2010

On a wet, cold and rainy in New York City, we decided to take in the great indoors that only NYC can offer. Wandering through the galleries of the Guggenheim and taking in a late lunch at the Wright, the restaurant in the museum itself: freshly tossed greens, parsnip soup, grilled haddock, striped bass, green beans with almonds and brussel sprouts with bacon. So good and so fresh.
We then took in a broadway musical at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Angela Langsbury and Catherine Zeta Jones in Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. We had killer seats which were four rows from centre stage. It was a fabulous performance by all.
Then, it was off for a late dinner at Perilla restaurant. Winner of Top chef's first season, Chef Harold Dieterle, prepared some excellent dishes: braised pork belly, dungeness crab salad, sumptous grilled calamari, tea steamed duck breast and fried cod. What a great meal and great way to end our trip to NYC.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Canadian Girls own (and rock) the Podium!

I am so proud of our Canadian women at the Olympics in Vancouver. Yesterday was a particularly fine example: gold and silver medal won in women's 2-person Bobsled, silver in short track relay race, and a bronze in 5000m long-term speed skating. Clara Hughes's bronze in particular was impressive. She is the only athlete to have won multiple medals in both the summer (cycling) and Winter (speed skating) Olympics. Wow!

So then, why isn't she on the front page on every Newspaper in this country? Why is the result of the men's hockey game (Russia versus Canada) which was not even a semi-final or final game the headline.

The Canadian Olympic team sent more men (115) than women (91) to these games. Yet, the women have won 75% (11.5) of all medals at these Olympics which is up from the 67% of all medals at the Torino Olympics. The total medal haul for the Canadian women is set to increase again as they are likely to win gold in hockey tonight. In this hockey obsessed nation, the men's game seems to be more celebrated than the ladies. One sports commentator had uttered that if the men did not win the gold in hockey, the Olympics would be a failure for . Canada. What Poppycock and what an insult to the rest of the Canadian Olympic team!

Is this statistic of women winning more medals than the men reflective of gender equality in Canada? To be sure, Canadian girls are encouraged to take up every winter sport from figure skating to skiing to speed skating...and even hockey is socially acceptable for a girl to play in country. There was nearly equal funding for men and women on the Canadian Olympic team.

Even so, why are the Canadian women outperforming the men. Much has been made of the greater depth of field in men's sports compared to women's. In addition, the success of women in Olympic sports has not translated into commercial success. In fact, professional sports in North America is entirely dominated by men. It would seem the only place for women in sports to excel in (especially winter sports) are the Olympics. Yet on this world stage, the Canadian women do seem to shine serving as role models for women in this country and across the world.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How's this for co-ordination? My nail polish matches my new Kate Spade bag! It was a quick and fabulous two days at the Woodbury Commons. All the big names were here. La Perla, Coach, Prada, MaxMara, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Ann Taylor, etc. Great discounts to be found at a few stores for those who were prepared to search, be patient and carry the appropriate coupons.
Now, we have moved into rainy NYC to view the Guggenheim and have lunch at the Wright Room. Like the Bilbao, the building itself seemed to be as important as the collections it houses. The void (the spiral staircase centre) seems to be an attraction in itself for the crowds and performing artists. The impressionist, post-impressionist and mordern collections were carefully laid out in the galleries tucked into the corners on each level. The negative space of the void provides the negative space for the mind to reflect on the works at each level. A splendid afternoon activity!

Friday, February 19, 2010

What a week!

Never again will I complain about the winter blues. First, the week started with the opening of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. a week ago. Then, it was the start of the Chinese New Year. The year of tiger has always been treated with caution. I have an adopted aunt who was given away by her own family to my paternal grandmother to bring up because she was born in the year of the tiger. The alleged fear is that tigers bring bad luck to a family i.e. they consume i.e. kill other family members. Later, my grandmother regretted this decision as she blamed the birth of two grand-daughters in the year of the tiger (my sister and a cousin) on her own actions. The curse of superstition!

However, the year of the tiger started very well for Canada. Gold medals for both the men and women won on home soil in the Olympics which is first! Hurrah! For my mother, my friends Noel and Desi, and I, it was a very special night at the gorgeous Four Seasons Centre of the Performing Arts. The world's (and certainly mine) beloved opera, Carmen, was performanced with loving care by a gifted Antia Rachvelishvili in the lead role. Why do I love this opera? The power of the music, the boldness of the character and the brash sexuality of the production have always impressed me. The opera epitomizes all great passions of life: love, lust, passion, revenge, violence, sex, obsession and of course, great music.

Before Carmen, most operas were based on royalty, gods and respectable members of the establishment. Carmen (which is latin for song) is a rebel, a women of "loose morals", a gypsy, and a honest and unapologetic free spirit. Certainly, she is the most unlikely subject of a opera. It is hardly surprising to learn that in its first performance in front of a conservative Parisian audience in 1875 was a flop. The opera was denounced by critics. Most likely the establishment were somewhat afraid of what influence Carmen may have on their daughters and wives. Poor Bizet, the composer, is alleged to have died of a broken heart (heart attack) never to know the wild success the opera would become.

Don Jose (Bryan Hamel) and a few of the company's French needed some work but the voices of all the lead players were fantastic. Only Paul Gay's Escamillo (the toreador) did not hit meet these high standards. The orchestra was fabulous and there should be a special shout out to Rory Macdonald, the peppiest conductor that any of us had seen. In fact, the animation of this performance was somewhat of a distraction from the performance on stage. Bravo to the COC. Ole!

So, how do you top off such a great week....head off to NYC for some shopping and a night on Broadway!