Friday, June 28, 2013

A Great Day With the Best Dad

Father's Day was so much fun. We started off the morning with croissants, tea and coffee in L'Espresso Bar Mercurio, a blog favourite, which now has a vintage Fiat 500 right inside the front entrance.

Then we headed to the Bata Shoe Museum as my dad had never been there. Amazing items! There was a beautiful exhibition of Matteo Brogi's photographs of people and their shoes, some famous, some not, only photographed from their knees down, often in their place of work.

Then onto the displays. The earliest shoe was in fact a reproduction (there are very few of those in the museum). This was the shoe of the Ötzi man (c 3300 BC). The description read: "The sole of this replica shoe, like the original, is made of bearskin, the upper is of deerskin and the internal 'cage' is of twined linden bark. The shoe is padded with grass for insulation. During field tests, it was found that the shoe was comfortable, did not give the wearer blisters and was effective in temperatures of -5 to -10 degrees C." That shoe is seen below, top row, middle. To the right of it is a (Chinese I think) overshoe that was worn to stomp down the snow around a dwelling. It came right up the leg, almost like wearing a straw barrel.

The bottom image illustrates Dutch "klompen" which sounds even more endearing than "clogs." The three shown were worn by a woman from Marken in the 19th century. From left to right: her intricately carved wedding clogs, her decoratively painted clogs for church, and her somber clogs for funerals.

There were other amazing examples of shoes through history and the excellent displays told us somethings we already knew, that the evolution of sumptuous high heels were to indicate that the wearer was wealthy and had no need to work physically; and some things we didn't, such as the fact that reptile skin became popular during the World War II years because it wasn't a material that was affected by war-time needs or rationing.

Then it was celebrity shoe time! Here are some of my favourites: Top row from left to right: shoes worn by Marilyn Monroe (red), Elizabeth Taylor (silver), Judy Garland (in The Harvey Girls), James Stewart, and - on the far right - Queen Victoria's dancing shoes. They were tiny! In the bottom row there are the ballet slippers of Dame Margot Fonteyn (Nureyev's were beside hers and his were remarkably small) and the simplest shoes of all, a pair of plastic flipflops belonging to the current Dalai Lama. And yes, photography is allowed, but not flash.

Last time I was on Bloor at Bay we ran into a pot protest. This time the road was closed down for the Yorkville Exotic Car Show. Niiiiiice. Among the Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Porsches, there was a stunning red Bentley convertible (middle row) which had us both drooling.

We made our way through the crowds for lunch at Lee Chen (still a blog favourite) and then to the Varsity to see Much Ado About Nothing (2012, below). Filmed in black and white over 12 days in director Joss Whedon's own California home, I suspect this film will be either loved or hated. Purists might bristle. I didn't. The setting is entirely contemporary and the language suffers only a little from editing and the casual way in which it is spoken. But that very natural delivery is part of the charm and proof that Shakespeare is timeless, relevant and magical. The very goofyness of the Hero plot is not important. The intent and the emotions are beautifully put forward. The actors are attractive but believeable. The comedy is very downplayed, and the imagery is ravishing, leaving me in a dreamy state.

All in all, a great day. But none of it inspires my gratitude more than the man who inspired the day. Thanks, Pop, for being the very best! I love you very much.

Still below from Much Ado About Nothing.

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