July 23rd 2015
The meeting point for this tour was on the banks of the Keating Channel where we were joined by our gracious emcees Michael Louis Johnson and Shamez Amlani. Kaile H. Glick provided spur-of-the moment works of literary art for people from her Spontaneous Prose Store. We were joined yet again by our friend John Cairnes with his bicycle sound system The Empress as well as the always delicious Be Good Gelato bicycle serving up cold treats.
This ride took us onto the picturesque Lower Don bike trail and as we followed the river north through the valley we arrived at the old Eastern Ave. bridge for our first stop, a contemporary dance piece choreographed and performed by Amanda Acorn and co-presented with Summerworks. This performance of multiform(s) featured dancers Meryem Alaoui, Ellen Furey, Jolyane Langlois, Ann Trépanier, and Kathia Wittenborn along with sound by Hoover Party. The work was based on relentless repetitions of simple gestures to build a hypnotic cycle of movements that contrasted the stark geometry of the old bridge on which we stood, while somehow echoing the car traffic that zipped by along the DVP.
From here we headed north along the path where we passed Michael Louis Johnson on his trumpet, echoing under the Dundas St. bridge, and Les Petits Nouveaux serving up some gypsy jazz from the Gerrard St. bridge, adding a little extra magic to our route along the river.
Our second stop was a large open meadow with shoulder-high wispy wildflowers that glowed brilliantly in the sunset. The work presented here was titled Diving Board, by Alex Beriault and performed with Adam Filek. The two performers stood naked on either end of a diving board just barely visible above the horizon line and balancing precariously, as the board flexed with tension. This powerful yet contemplative work came to a surprising end when both performers quietly fell backwards, completely disappearing into the meadow, not to be seen again with only the Bloor Viaduct looming in the distance.
The third piece was a performance of In Momentum by Xing Bang Fu with staging by Simon-Sylvain Lalonde, in the tradition of butoh dance, a form of Japanese dance that focuses on slow, controlled movements and is traditionally performed while covered with white body makeup. The deliberate movements of Xing’s body were accentuated by the still bridge under which he performed, while the surprisingly quick current of the river passed between audience and dancer.
We then headed to the final stop for our after party at Todmorden Mills. Many thanks to No. 9 who ran their Eco-Arts-Fest at this site and were kind enough to host us in their magical garden. At the after party we enjoyed wonderful musical performances by Les Petits Nouveaux who joined us again for some gypsy jazz followed by Most People, co-presented with Summerworks, who got the crowd dancing under the stars. We were treated to delicious food courtesy of Bunz, drinks courtesy of Kronenbourg and served up by our hospitable bartenders Billy and Imad.
This event was made possible by the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. Further contributions from Kronenbourg and Hoopdriver Bicycles, the Community Bicycle Network and Bike Pirates. Thanks to our programming partners Summerworks and No.9’s Eco-Arts-Fest, as well as our venue sponsor Evergreen Brick Works.
This of course would all be impossible without the help of our hardworking volunteers, our team of bike marshalls who continue to keep the event running safely, and our ticket team Leah, Owen and Jordyn. More thanks to Priam Thomas who documented the event for us, all images here are his handiwork.
Leaving the lush surroundings of our route in the Don Valley, we then headed along Bayview to our next stop at the Evergreen Brick Works. We biked straight into the Holcim Gallery alongside its kilns, leaving bikes scattered all over the old warehouse floor. In this dark space we saw a kinetic bicycle-powered projection titled A Dream of Pastures by Mitchell F. Chan and Brad Hindson of Studio F Minus. The work takes its cue from old images of galloping horses by Eadweard Muybridge and through a complex kinetic sculpture, projects shadows of moving horses onto the wall. The shadow of the participant powering this installation from a stationary bike, suddenly appears to be riding a ghostly steed.
Shamez Amlani, Michael Louis Johnson, Kaile H Glick, Amanda Acorn with Meryem Alaoui, Ellen Furey, Jolyane Langlois, Ann Trépanier and Kathia Wittenborn, Les Petits Nouveaux, Alex Beriault with Adam Filek, Xing Bang Fu with Simon-Sylvain Lalonde, Studio F Minus (Brad Hindson and Mitchell F. Chan), and Most People.