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Brainwashed and Brainfed

fst_cafeboulud2.jpgMy quick trip to Toronto was all about art and food, thanks to the city’s new¬†Four Seasons Hotel, which was filled with both. All of the hotel’s art was created by local Canadians, from the giant dandelions in the lobby to the gold-foil Artimals in the rooms. Then there was the Cafe Boulud restaurant, whose walls were covered with pop-icon pieces from a non-Canadian, and someone I’m about 95 percent sure is a¬†total hoax. I actually almost spewed my water all over my duck terrine when I realized that screen print of Charlie Chaplin over a spray-painted heart was the “artwork” of one Mr. Brainwash.¬†I had coincidentally just re-watched¬†Exit Through The Gift Shop¬†a few weeks earlier, and was sort of amazed that so many people haven’t quite caught on yet. Of course, who is to say what art is? At least there was no question the next day when I visited Frank Gehry’s Art Gallery of Ontario, which was not only a stunning architectural wonder, but also the exhibition space for the amazing Frida and Diego show. I’m still kicking myself for not buying the book. Oh, and I also fell in love with¬†Evan Penny’s sculptures. Can’t get enough of that uncanny valley! more»

Flying High

_dsc2891b.jpgI have what I like to call a “realistic fear” of heights, which means I’m mostly fine behind a railing at Hoover Dam and I’m even okay sky diving, provided I’ve got an expert strapped to my back. But when it comes to peering over the edge of a towering mountaintop, the very real possibility of falling to my death instills in me a terror that results in vertigo and paralysis. So it only made sense to agree to an amazing week of heli-hiking with¬†Canadian Mountain Holidays, where I climbed 9,000-foot-tall Mount Nimbus, tiptoed along taught cables over roaring rapids, and traversed mile-high swaying footbridges with many a missing step. Physically, I knew I was up to the challenge, but my mental limits were tested time and time again, and despite the¬†occasional¬†internal freak out, I became a regular mountain goat by the end of the week. Turns out, rappelling was the most relaxing part of the journey. more»