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Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Hills Hit List

In Entertainment on April 25, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Lauren’s become a best-selling author, Whitney’s switched cities and reality shows, Heidi’s boobs have quadrupled in size and Audrina is still looking for a Justin Bobby replacement. A lot’s changed since we first met the Hills girls six seasons ago and the time has finally come to bid the drama farewell. Next Tuesday marks the premiere of the show’s final season and while only half the original cast members remain, you can bet it’s gonna be a doozy.

I recently settled in with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s for the ultimate Hills marathon, reuniting with the ghosts of seasons past. Remember when Lauren still dressed like a Laguna Beach bum? Or when Heidi still looked human? Here’s some memorable Hills moments long forgotten.

Heidi crashes the Young Hollywood party
Before the girls were on the guestlists for Hollywood’s hottest parties, they were crashing them. It’s the first episode of the series and while Teen Vogue intern Lauren is faced with the daunting task of ensuring no one sits on some chairs at the Young Hollywood party, troublemaker Heidi and sidekick Audrina are busy trying to sneak in. Once inside, fights ensue between Heidi and then-boyfriend Jordan and the unthinkable happens – the gang sits on the forbidden chairs. We all knew at this moment that Heidi was bad news but sadly, it would take Lauren another couple of seasons to figure it out.

Jen Bunney the backstabber
Remember the Bunster? Lauren decides to throw her friend since third grade a 21st birthday party, even buying her a diamond bracelet for the occasion. Bunney then breaks the number one girl rule and hooks up with Brody, Lauren’s ex, after being egged on by Heidi. Confronting Bunney about how all her friends are turning against her, Lauren begins the first of many mascara-streaked bawls to come.

Meet “Justin Bobby”
We learned soon enough that the Hills girls love their bad boys – Lauren had Jason, Heidi had Spencer, and Audrina had the equally bad (and much greasier) Justin Bobby.

The Mr. Bobby we first met back in season 3 was much different from the Johnny Depp look-a-like we know today – belching in public, sporting dirty dreads, and kissing redhead club-goers behind Audrina’s back. After discovering that Justin is eager to change his name to Bobby, Lo has her most shining moment in Hills history, penning the nickname “Justin Bobby.” It stuck – unlike his rocky relationship with Audrina.

The infamous “you know what you did!”
The biggest (and best) showdown in Hills history came after rumours began surfacing of a Lauren and Jason sex tape. Believed culprits Spencer and Heidi show up to Hollywood hotspot Les Deux where Lauren happens to be and naturally, all hell breaks loose. Heidi decides to confront Lauren about missing her housewarming party and plays dumb as Lauren screams “you know what you did!” Both go their separate ways and proceed to bitch about what just went down. Cue official end to the Heidi and Lauren friendship.

Spencer and Heidi get “married”
Well into their famewhore status, the two lovebirds take off to Mexico and decide to elope in a Patron-induced stupor after Spencer confesses: “I’m madly obsessed with you. It’s pretty apparent in the fact that I haven’t left your side in pretty much two-and-a-half years. I pretty much keep you from the whole world.” I certainly hope it was the tequila shots and not this chilling line that wooed Heidi into exchanging vows. While we all crossed our fingers that this wouldn’t go beyond a fake Cabo wedding, they would eventually make it official back home.

Stephanie teaches us what NOT to do in a job interview
Spencer’s younger sister never seemed like the brightest gal of the bunch but all was confirmed when she sat down with Kelly Cutrone for the most awkward interview ever.

After unknowingly confessing to wanting the job for the sake of her own handbag career, Stephanie further makes a fool of herself by lying about understanding French, staring blankly as Kelly starts a conversation en français. She would get the job thanks to a little help from her pal Lauren but to no surprise, her time with People’s Revolution would be very short-lived.

Rounding out the top 10:
– Whitney falls on live TV while modeling Oscar gowns
– Spencer and Brody go clubbing with some Playboy bunnies…and get caught
– Lauren finally goes to Paris and attends the super fancy Crillon Ball
– Heidi and Lauren hug it out at Lauren’s b-day yacht party

* Published on April 23, 2010 at She Does The City

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From rough sketch to masterpiece

In Arts, Education on April 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Fresh fruit to start the day off right at Sketch. Photo Credit: Haley Cullingham.

The outside of Sketch is a lot like the people you find within its walls – a little rough around the edges at first glance, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find something inspirational. Housed inside a drab warehouse at King West and Portland, the organization uses art to create opportunities and a community for the approximately 650 homeless and street-involved 15-29 year-olds that come through its doors every year.

Though over half of Sketch’s visitors come from history of drugs and unstable living, each finds a unique motivation here. Some venture into Sketch to attend an art class or use one of the many creative facilities while others are simply looking for a hot meal and place to relax. Whatever the reason, no one asks for life stories.

From the moment the doorbell begins to chime mid-morning, the 6,000 square-foot space is transformed into a bustle of activity and conversation. Early arrivals migrate to the kitchen to chat, filling their mugs with coffee and nibbling at the fruit platter as they skim through the grocery bags strewn across the counter. Though it’s still early, the small crowd is eager to see what’s for lunch – as much a creative activity as anything else here, allowing someone new each day to create and prepare a menu item with the assistance of cooks and volunteers.

Hard at work…

Once everyone has perked up (and caught up), they assume their positions along the long wooden tables surrounding the kitchen. Perched upon mismatched stools with preferred tool in hand, they go to work… occasionally glancing around at the plastered walls. A source of inspiration for many, the colourful pieces stretch from floor to ceiling – a definite contrast to the grey clouds peaking in through the skylight.

In one corner, a silkscreen image is pressed against a t-shirt. In another, a blank canvas reveals the first strokes of what will become a portrait. Though they’ll eventually find their place among the hundreds that came before them, each stands out in their process; a representation of past struggles and future accomplishments.

Sketch’s 2008 annual report showed over 23 participants received bursaries and support for post secondary education while the organization raised over $21,000 worth of art sales, commissions and youth honoraria. Numbers continue to rise with visitors as word on the street spreads.

“It’s very youth-directed,” says Bhavana Kapal, Kitchens Facilitator and Future Options Coordinator. “That’s what drives programming – it’s from the bottom up, which I love.” Though she admits her job does require conflict skills, it’s a small trade-off for the large number of success stories she contributes to.

Tales of success…

In the computer a room, a small group is busy searching for jobs and checking their online profiles. Ozzy Ascenzo, one of the many model citizens of Sketch now acting as a volunteer, sits among them. He first heard of the centre from other youth on the streets and has nothing but praise for the place that helped get his life back in order. “There’s no similar youth centre directly involved with art,” he says. “It’s like a black hole – it sucks you in!”

At 29 years old, Ozzy will be moving on from Sketch soon but is determined to continue the art activism he started here. After his two Pit Bull dogs were shot during an altercation with police a few years ago when he found himself on the wrong side of gun violence, Ozzy was determined to show Toronto that the breed’s violence is a product of their owners. He pulls up a Facebook photo of his new Pit Bull cross’s recent litter of puppies followed by some of his artwork inspired by his dogs. Through designing T-shirts, he hopes to reverse Toronto’s ban on the breed and show others that like him, they just need a little love and respect to turn things around.

Sitting next to Ozzy, Frodo is busy adding music to his iPod, sporting his signature bright oversized orange jacket, ungroomed moustache and giant headphones. He began frequenting Sketch after he and his friends moved from their digs under the Don Valley Parkway to a downtown shelter. There, he heard about the centre and soon fell head over heels for it.

“I absolutely love Sketch, it motivates me,” he says, grabbing a few of his signature maze drawings from a backpack, proudly displaying his hours of dedication. Frodo has become one of the more successful artists at the centre, participating in Nuit Blanche the past two years and selling his drawings on the street.

It’s success stories like Ozzy and Frodo that add colour to Sketch, making it more than just an art community. Bellies are fed, opportunities are given, and judgments are left at the door. You’ll find no starving artists here.