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Toronto’s Dancing Barista

Stop what you’re doing and watch Toronto’s Dancing Barista! There’s more to this story than just some fancy dance moves…

17-year-old Sam Forbes is a high school student with autism, who was deemed virtually ‘unemployable’. Chris Ali, a local Toronto Starbuck’s Manager met Sam at Camp Thrive and learned that Sam’s dream job was to become a barista. Chris hired Sam, and Sam has made quite a name for himself as the ‘dancing barista’, with over 799,000 views on youtube. The dance moves have actually helped Sam channel his movements and stay focused on the tasks he needs to complete while working. Even Ellen noticed Sam’s progress and invited both Sam and his boss Chris on the show.

Please watch and share!

Shout out to our very own Toronto Raptors for being there to support Sam.

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King Of The Dot: BLACKOUT6IX

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This weekend we witnessed the pinnacle event presented by King of the Dot, BLACKOUT6IX! The rap battle competition, born on the streets of Toronto, took over 99 Sudbury for 2 days to a crazy, hyped up crowd!

Heavy hitters like Dizaster and Iron Solomon took to the mic alongside new names in a strategic move by KOTD. Founder and Co-Host Organik explained that this year, they “wanted to focus on battlers who’ve worked hard and are hungry.” Match ups are kept secret and revealed to the crowd by a graphic rolodex throughout the night.

While the event brings together people of every walk of life, every demographic (s/o Tim from Wisconsin!) KOTD does not do business with just anyone or accept handouts. “Asking someone else to build a house you designed, doesn’t make sense” says Organik, so they’ve made a conscious decision to work with people and companies whose vision and values are in-line with their own. Their grassroots approach keeps them authentic and focussed on the art. Battler and Co-Host Bishop Brigante echoed the same thoughts saying, while pitches and partnerships are welcomed and considered, at the end of the day, “we’re trying to nurture a culture.”

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The event has provided a pivotal platform for battlers and the community; creating a space where lyrical creativity can be explored, celebrated and of course, critiqued. KOTD has been acknowledged by names like Jay Z, Drake and Eminem and continues to garner attention worldwide.

If you missed the event, you can still catch it via VOD from Feb 21-Mar 13.

Photos courtesy of King of the Dot and Zach MacPherson.

Posted by Samira

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Red Bull Music Academy Returns To Canada

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This Saturday, February 27th, our friends over at Red Bull Music Academy are hosting a live performance by Lunice at Velvet Underground as part of a four-stop Canadian tour, including Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. Lunice graduated from the Red Bull Music Academy in London in 2010 and has since worked on collaborations with Kanye West, Rockie Fresh, Angel Haze, and Le1f.

This year’s RBMA will take place in Montreal, after travelling the world from Berlin to Cape Town, New York, London, etc. This is especially exciting news, since RBMA hasn’t been in Canada since it’s Toronto edition back in 2007. The application process is now open to all music makers from Canada and the world for the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy.

Apply Here: redbullmusicacademy.com

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Rihanna drops her new video, or should we say two new videos for her hit single “Work” featuring Drake. The first video is directed by Toronto’s own Director X, with an authentic island vibe at the one and only Real Jerk restaurant. The second video is directed by Tim Erem, with a completely different feel and vibe, featuring just Rihanna and Drake alone in a room together. Let us know which one you like better?

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Something fresh and exciting is going on over at the CBC. A new show called Exhibitionists is exploring a wide spectrum of Canadian art, carving out a new segment of national identity. The show features artists within various disciplines who are doing something edgy, different or daring. We met up with Amanda Parris, Host of Exhibitionists, to tell us more.

She starts by explaining when art is equated with celebrity, status and entertainment, other unique/niched artists, often go unrecognized. ”There hasn’t been a national televised space for exploring artists who are doing things that might not necessarily be perceived as sexy to the mainstream but are emerging, avant-garde… they’ll never make it to the mainstream and don’t even want to but there should be a platform to share what they do.”

That is exactly what Exhibitionists does while instilling a sense of intrigue and Canadian pride. “I hope with the opening of this door, Canadians will watch, be inspired by it and feel proud.” Subjects are selected by a team of researchers or through e-mail pitches from artists or videographers who the CBC commission to produce mini docs. “Although Canada is not conventionally thought of as an artistic and creative country, maybe we should start to see ourselves that way.”

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Well before her time at the CBC, Amanda fell in love with the arts and community scene. Years ago, she served on staff at The Remix Project, an artistic incubator serving youth from under-served communities. Although she was the youngest and the only girl, she held her own. “That experience has been critical to my entire development. Remix opened the doors for me to recognize and understand so many artistic industries across Toronto. The connections I made have served me so well. I still feel to this day, it’s a family.”

So what exactly is it that drives this passion? “For me, art in general, engaging in it, creating it and being able to support other people in the creation of art, gives me life. It makes me excited! It’s where I find passion, it’s where I find inspiration, it’s where I find perspective.”

And like many young professionals she faced obstacles and rejections but says, it was all meant to unfold exactly how it has saying, “The universe works in mysterious ways. So many opportunities came up that I didn’t get for whatever reason but I think, I wasn’t supposed to get them because if I did, I wouldn’t be able to host Exhibitionists.”

You can catch Exhibitionists on CBC every Sunday at 4:30pm.

Watch: Season 1 Episode 17

Photos by Patrick Leung

Posted by Samira

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Covenant-House

Toronto’s Covenant House has launched their official “Guts + Glory” Challenge, in the hopes of offering new opportunities to kids through fundraising. Over 10,000 kids spend time living on the streets of Toronto each year. As Canada’s largest homeless youth agency, Covenant House Toronto changes lives by providing a 24/7 crisis shelter along with transitional housing on-site and in the community plus education, counselling, health care, employment assistance, and job training.

Our very own Tyrone Edwards along with Team Captain Ben Mulroney, Devon Soltendieck, Dylan McNiven, Kate McKenna, Lainey Lui are looking for your support. Their goal is $10,000 and they’re very close with over $7,700 raised so far. If you can, feel free to give back to the communities who need it most, especially our youth.

DONATE HERE

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“Water Carry Me Go” Exhibit

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February always brings about exciting events celebrating Black History Month and this year is no different. This week, we’re looking forward to an exceptional exhibit coming to The ROM and Harbourfront Centre called “Water Carry Me Go” produced and curated by Toronto-based Creative Director/Designer, Chinedu Ukabam.

He explains, “‘Water Carry Me Go’ is an expression in Nigeria which is to say, ‘If I’m lying let the water carry me away’—it’s a way of taking an oath… It’s also a wish that people make when they are migrating. They want the water to take them away to somewhere else and hopefully to a better place.”

The exhibit is stunning collection of garments by seven designers including Chinedu who has handpicked them from around the world: Carol Barreto (Brazil), Sindiso Khumalo (South Africa/UK), Ashley Alexis McFarlane (Canada), Nkwo Onwuka (Nigeria/UK), Gloria Wavamunno (Uganda) and Robert A. Young (Trinidad and Tobago). The show is an attempt at presenting fashion as not a commercial, mass produced product and instead, a means of telling stories and celebrating art. Each designer has created an avant-garde piece inspired by their own cultural and historical identities.

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“There is so much to be inspired by. As someone who loves patterns, it’s something that I’m constantly being influenced by and learning from… Remixing or “culture-clashing” is also a recurring theme.” From the bold colours, geometry to the ancestral reference, the designs personify pride and bring the beauty of African fashion design to the forefront.

People are encourage to take in this collaboration and open themselves to interpretation. “I want people to first and foremost, appreciate the art behind fashion. I want them to understand how much work goes into executing these highly developed concepts and trying to connect them to garments. Secondly, I hope it’s a way for people to learn about things they might not have known… If they are entertained, that’s great—if they are educated, that’s a bonus.”

Water Carry Me Go launches at The ROM’s Friday Night Live, Feb 5th at 8pm as a performance art piece with “live mannequins”. Afterwards, it will be installed as a permanent exhibit at the Harbourfront Centre from February 6-12.

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Photography by Jalani Morgan

Posted by Samira

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PIQUEd has officially launched! It’s a documentary series produced by PIQUE which focuses on 10 Toronto creatives. From music to fashion to art, the participants all embody a singular characteristic: dedication. Starting this week, they’ll be releasing one documentary every friday for 10 weeks. We talked to all the participants and got some insight into their world.

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Dustin Good + Mario Anzola, “Subtle Blend”
Subtle Blend has built a community around providing a stage for local live electronic acts and beat makers. The evenings are usually comprised of an eclectic mix of performers who bring out live gear and play all original music. The audience is able to experience live music-making and watch as artists explore and put themselves out in the open. Subtle Blend inspires audiences to open themselves to innovative local talent at the same time as inspiring artists to truly perform for their city and expose themselves to new creative situations. – Dustin Good

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The showcase has had a positive response because of the people I’ve met through it. Now in its second year, it works more as a collective effort and it is based on what the acts brings each night. I started doing lives sets and booking myself because I wanted to play more and meet other people to share a stage with. Now every month, we put together these shows and I get to work with truly talented and humble musicians and video artists that joined the showcase in the most organic and perfect way possible. They came up and said: ” what’s up,…”. – Mario Anzola

Photography by Patrick Leung

Posted by Samira

Previously: PIQUE: Tabban (aka Bonblivious)

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PIQUE: Tabban (Bonblivious)

PIQUEd has officially launched! It’s a documentary series produced by PIQUE which focuses on 10 Toronto creatives. From music to fashion to art, the participants all embody a singular characteristic: dedication. Starting this week, they’ll be releasing one documentary every friday for 10 weeks. We talked to all the participants and got some insight into their world.

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Tabban S., Bonblivious
I’m not really sure how to describe my art but I can say that it’s an extension of my personality. It’s not about discovering anything particular because your ‘style’ is already a part of you. It’s how you perceive the world and how you choose to communicate that visually. Once I stopped trying to draw like everyone else, I noticed a pattern in my mark making. My hands just kind of do their thing and I’m learning to really embrace that. There’s something so powerful in knowing that no one will ever draw like me, because no one will ever be like me.

Photography by Patrick Leung

Posted by Samira

Previously: PIQUE: Taha Photo #StreetSoul

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