Sunday, April 26, 2015

Behind the Scenes

These are the hard-working men behind the scenes of Mississauga's revival. And they were all set in place by the city's last mayor, Hazel McCallion.

The question is of course if this is a real revival, which I think it has the makings of, or if it just adding infrastructure to accommodate the unmentionable: increased immigration.

I think it will in some way sort itself out. If the city revives itself in a true sense: higher quality buildings, a "luxury mall" as Square One is being structured, improved landscaping and surroundings with better parks and recreational areas, but above all a with a Canadian perspective, then it will attract for a longer term those that can afford to stay not just for quick real estate flips (buying and selling), but those who would stay to buy good homes for their families.

I am seeing more of the latter, which to my observations looks less Asian (Chinese and Indian) and more white (possibly those attracted from nearby cities, including Toronto).

Let's hope so.

The Jubilee Garden is full of magnolia trees.

The C-Cafe, which is adjacent to the Jubilee Garden, has two industrious chefs, cooking up their appetizing meals on a daily basis. Here is one, barely visible, preparing a dish.

I keep thinking they're brothers. "Cousins?" I asked, but not even that. "Then they must be from the same Welsh town," I joked. They looked Welsh to me.

These are the groundsmen preparing the area for a new addition in the Jubilee Garden: The Hazel Tree, in honor of the former (last) Mayor Hazel McCallion. What an apt recognition. A tough nut to crack! I asked them what they were working on, and it seems they were told only a few days ago the nature of the project. "I got the scoop!" I joked.

And Andrew Wickens, Parks Manager for the City of Mississauga, was in the garden discussing with other officials some details ont he tree, and the surrounding magnolia trees. He was kind enough to stand for a photograph.

He will be responsible for the Hazel Tree.

Hazel McCallion as mayor of Mississauga, sitting in a council session

Hazel McCallion on Mississauga's growth:
Growing up:
Growth is good, says Mississauga’s Hazel McCallion - within limits

Full article at: Toronto Star, Mar 27 2013
Facing pressure under Ontario’s Places to Grow Act to house more of the GTA’s population boom, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion is pushing back.

At city council Wednesday, McCallion said Mississauga has accepted the province’s mandated growth targets but will not accept decisions by the Ontario Municipal Board that allow developers to build beyond those targets. The spurt of highrise construction is hurting the city’s already overstretched infrastructure, she said.
“They can’t be playing around with our land use like they do,” McCallion said of the province and the OMB, which rules on municipal and planning disputes.

Council unanimously passed a motion asking that Ontario’s Planning Act be amended so developers cannot appeal city council decisions to the OMB, if the city’s official plan is in compliance with Ontario’s growth strategy. The strategy sets municipal density targets that aim to encourage cities to build up rather than out.

McCallion and other councillors said developers, seeing profits in building even higher, are simply going to the OMB whenever they want densities for projects increased. The OMB then uses the growth plan as the rationale for ruling in favour of the developers. The end result is often more lucrative for builders, but puts pressure on already overstretched municipal services.

For Mississauga’s motion to take effect, it would have to be endorsed by Queen’s Park.

Councillors cited a number of high-density projects in Mississauga over the past few years that residents and council, adhering to the city’s official plan, opposed. But developers eventually got their way at the OMB [Ontario Municipal Board], they said.

“I am really concerned about the increased densities … our (infrastructure) is not designed to take the climate change and the increased densities,” McCallion said.
She said the increased densities beyond what , Mar 27 2013has been planned will cost Peel Region “at least a billion dollars” to take care of the extra garbage alone.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Frakturs, Fotografs, Farmicia, Francois, Flames and Fighting Songs

Here is the packed schedule I had in Philadelphia and New York. Visit these places, if you can...

I already posted on my visit to the Longwood Gardens (but further down in this post, I post a photograph which was on view from the Spring Blooms competition).

The New York Public Library
Exhibition: Over Here: WWI and the Fight for the American Mind

Let's All Be Americans Now
Lyrics and words by Irwin Berlin

[Verse 1]
Peace has always been our pray'r,
Now there's trouble in the air,
War is talked of ev'rywhere,
Still in God we trust;

Now that war's declared,
We'll show we're prepared,
And if fight we must.
It's up to you! What will you do?

England or France may have your sympathy, over the sea,
But you'll agree That, now is the time, To fall in line,
You swore that you would so be true to your vow,
Let's all be Americans now. now.

[Verse 2]
Lincoln, Grant and Washington,
They were peaceful men, each one,
Still they took the sword and gun,
When real trouble came;
And I feel somehow, they are wond'ring now,
If we'll do the same.

[Repeat Chorus]

All this in the New York Public Library.


Longwood Gardens
Photographic Exhibition: Spring Blooms
From the Delaware Photographic Society's annual Wilmington International Exhibition of Photography

Ellis Underkoffer


Philadelphia Museum of Art
Exhibition: Drawn with Spirit: Pennsylvania German Fraktur from the Joan and Victor Johnson Collection

Pennsylvania German
Birth and Baptismal Certificate for Johannes Gass
Pen, ink and watercolor
12 3/4 x 15 1/2
Philadelphia Museum of Art

I got this postcard from the museum's shop. I couldn't find the exact piece on line, so what you see is my photograph (I don't have a scanner) of the postcard.

From what I can find out, the designer of this piece is known as Christian Beschler, the "Sussel Unicorn artist" according to this piece.
In 2007, Dr. Don Yoder identified the words gemacht von CB (made by CB) on two newly discovered "Sussel-Unicorn" taufscheine (birth and baptismal certificates).3 These initials belonged to the schoolmaster Christian Beschler,
His taufscheine are characterized by a bright orange or orange and yellow central rectangular area that contains the text adorned with compass stars and geometric designs. Whimsical unicorns and birds with manes eating berries, lions with faces, angels, hearts, half circles, compass stars, and pots of flowers fill the colorful documents. There seems to be an obsession to fill all available space. His religious text and drawing share these motifs.


Food and Tonics

15 S. 3rd Street
(Between Market and Chestnut Streets)

Here is the menu, but the lentil salad, with baked goat cheese, greens and sherry dressing is more than just a salad!


The Red Flame Diner

67 West 44th St
New York, NY 10036

Good diner food for a fair price. Here's the menu.


Plaza Hotel's Food Hall:
Francois Payard Patisserie

The Passion fruit (with a light chocolate) macaron, for $2.50, will take you down a few blocks.


I didn't make it to the Morgan, the Cloisters, Macy's or Bergdorf Goodman. But, so far, it looks like New York will stand for a while.

Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hurried Views

I had another whirlwind of a trip to Philadelphia (and New York) last week. I finally arrived at my destination in Philadelphia after a couple of incidents. This seems to be a regular occurence on my trips. The last time involved a Greyhound bus which took me to the wrong destination (see here, where I ended up in Cleveland on my way to Steubenville Ohio). And this time it was a Canada goose.

We got stuck in Mount Cobb, Pennsylvania after a north-migrating (returning to Canada, actually) Canada goose smashed into the windshield on the driver's side. We were ceremoniously escorted to the nearest Burger King, and about three hours later, a replacement bus took us to our final destination of Port Authority.

But the trip was a wonderful respite, and I wasn't going to let a couple of incidents spoil it. I managed to pack in, with the help of my friends, quite a schedule.

We visited Larry's grave in the beautiful St. Peter and St. Paul Cemetery in Springfield Pennsylvania, to commemorate the second year of his death. The statue behind me is St. Paul's. And I am standing under the oak tree, which I write about here.

Below, I've posted the various photographs I took over these five days.

On the Road through Ontario, New York State and Pennsylvania (and New Jersey for a bit)

At Buffalo

That is a small lake in the background, I tried to find out its name, but it was too small to find on my google map.

I finally could see the New York skyline in New Jersey. It was dark, and I would reach the city's bus terminal about an hour later. I would travel to Philadelphia the next morning.



Longwood Conservatory, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Glory-of-the-snow flowers blooming in a field at Longwood Gardens

Glory-of-the-snow are "one of the first harbingers of spring," according to this site. We were just about to leave the cold (and long, this year) winter and the snow as I got to Philadelphia, and this field of flowers showed us that spring is ahead.

Star Magnolia tree in bloom

Pierre Dupont Conservatory

DuPont built his home above the conservatory, and could see the plants from his bedroom window!


Homes near the area where I stayed, a couple of hours from Phildelphia


New York for a day

Marble floor at the New York Public Library

Portrait of James Lenox, founder of the Lenox Library of the NYPL

I should have got just a close-up of the portrait, but here is one in black and white of I think the same one.

View from the main entrance at the New York Public Library, with 41st Street

Plaque with Yeats Poem in the Library Way, on 41st Street between 5th and Park

Atlas at the Rockefeller

The reflection in the glass in the background is of Saint Patrick's Cathedral. It seems an apt metaphor for the seizure of the pagan, Roman god of by Christians.

I was so busy trying to get the Atlas image, that I didn't even notice the reflection.

As some kind of penance - inadverantly - I went to Saint Patrick's and lit a candle.

Lions at the Rockefeller Plaza" "Arms of England"
Frieze by Lee Lawrie

The 50th entrance to the British Empire building features three walking lions looking out towards the viewer from the building. Below is a row of red Tudor roses. [From this site]

Saint Francis of Assisi with birds at the Rockefeller Plaza
Frieze by Lee Lawrie

More on Lew Lawrie here.

All the Rockefeller friezes are here.

Manhattan Building

I took this somewhere mid-town (between 47th and 59th streets) on Madison or Fifth. I should have written down the street.

Plaza Hotel entrance

Pomona Statue and fountain by the Grand Army Plaza, next to the Plaza Hotel and by Central Park


Saint Patrick's Cathedral Stained Glass, with Mary

I asked a docent in the cathedral if he could show me any stained glass with Mary, since I didn't have much time.

I lit a candle under the stained glass as I left. The stained glass is near the door (it is the second one in at the right entry), and there are candles right underneath it.

Here is another where in my rush I neglected to take one of the full glass, and instead, I took the bottom half, where the intricate lace-like design caught my attention.

Saint Patrick's Stained Glass

Here is a photo of the full stained glass.

Several sites write that Henry Ely made the stained glass, which they title "Three Baptisms." But they don't reference that information. It is strangely hard to find information on the stained glass online, but here is something in Google Books, under the title: New York City: Vol 1, New York City Guide (page 345):
Forty-five of the seventy stained glass windows are from the studios of Nicholas Lorin at Chartres, and Henry Ely at Nantes. Rich in tone, some dark some of pastel lightness - and combined with elaborate tracery, they glow in the sunshine, but unfortunately, much of the detail in them is too delicate to be legible at a distance. They become simply patterns of red, yellow, green, blue and purple against the framework of the stone walls which, in the dusky night, takes on a tone of deepest gray.
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Divertissement Grec

Philippe Gaubert (1871-1941)
Divertissement Grec (1908)
Music for Two Flutes and Harp or Piano

I don't who the flautists in the above piece are (nor the accompanist), but I like this slower version better (here's a faster version). I think it gives "breathing space" for the faster trills.

Brief biography:
Gaubert Philippe (1879-1941) was born in Cahors (Lorraine, France) on the 5th of July, 1879. His father, a shoe maker and amateur clarinettist, gave him his first music lessons. When Philippe was seven the family moved to Paris, where Jules Taffanel, and a few years later Taffanel`s son Paul, became his flute teachers. At first he received private lessons, but since 1893 he studied at the Paris Conservatoire, receiving a First Prize the following year. His teachers for harmony and composition were Raoul Pugno, Xavier Leroux and Charles Lenepveu. In 1905 he received the 2nd Prix de Rome. In the meanwhile he had become the assistant conductor of the `Société des Concerts`, and after serving in the French army he was appointed principal conductor of the Opéra, as well as flute professor at the Conservatoire. After the Great War he built up a splendid career, particularly as a conductor specializing in contemporary music. Gaubert conducted many important premières, such as Albert Roussel`s opera `Padmâvati` (1923) and the ballet `Bacchus et Ariane` (1931), Gabriel Fauré`s `Masques et Bergamasques` (1919), and Henri Sauguet`s `La Chartreuse de Parme` (1939). Besides, many first performances of works by Pierné and Ibert were conducted by Gaubert. He also brought much Wagner and Berlioz, and presented a new interpretation of Monteverdi`s opera `Orfeo`. Gaubert toured all over Europe. The `Wagnervereeniging` invited him to Amsterdam, where in 1935 he conducted the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Paul Dukas` `Ariane et Barbebleu` at the Stadsschouwburg. [Source]

Here is the original sheet music, showing the option for piano or harp accompaniment (I've posted images below).


Photograph of Philippe Gaubert, from his early years

Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat