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Teresa Toten Talks Growing Up and Fitting In, Piece by Piece

Teresa Toten is a young adult author best known for her Blonde books—Better than Blonde, Me and the Blondes, and the upcoming Beyond Blonde. Her books may be about those who win the inclusion jackpot—ah, to be young, blonde, and beautiful—but she was surprised to discover that it wasn’t those girls coming to her book launches, reading her books, and being touched by her stories. It was girls who felt like outsiders, who felt like they never belonged. Girls, like Teresa, who weren’t born in Canada. (Teresa was born in Zagreb, Croatia.) This experience inspired her latest project, an anthology about growing up and fitting in, Piece by Piece: Stories About Fitting into Canada. Books about growing up and fitting in are published every day. But this book, like the contributors in it, is different.
Small Print will launch Piece by Piece on Sunday afternoon with a performance mash-up, bringing together contributors from the book, and kids with their own stories to tell, for what should be some unforgettable performance pieces.
Teresa spoke with [email protected] over the phone about the book and Sunday’s launch.

Catch the Last Performance of This Prohibition-Era Piece of Toronto History

Location, location, location. The where and when of a play informs so much of the how, who, and why. These two shows, both closing this weekend, are deeply rooted in their settings, and the tension and drama differ deeply due to the companies’ association (or lack thereof) to their imagined places. One is set half-way […]

This Space-Age Public Art Piece Reveals St. Lawrence Market’s Past

BY: Paul Raff LOCATION: 55 Front Street East INSTALLATION: 2014 It’s anyone’s guess what the two-toned, green glass orb affixed on a tripod is. Could it be a floor lamp or structube straight from an IKEA warehouse? Perhaps it’s a spaceship, an energy source to power it, or even an alien robot dispatched to rove […]

Extra, Extra: Canada’s Wonderland Takes You to New Heights, More Names Revealed in Ashley Madison Hack, and We Are All Lying Pieces of Shit, Apparently

Every weekday’s end, we collect just about everything you ought to care about or ought not to miss. Hang tight! Canada’s Wonderland has announced two new rides for the 2016 summer season. Skyhawk, the first ride of its kind in North America, will allow riders to take control of their own cockpit and maneuver through […]

Get a Piece of Transit History at the TTC’s New Online Store

On July 7, the TTC opened an online store, which offers a small selection of TTC swag. This is notable for two reasons. One: This is its first foray into internet sales since getting back into the branded merchandise game last year. And two: unlike previous attempts to hawk TTC-themed wares, this looks as if […]

U Can: Create Your Masterpiece

Have you already lost steam on that project you swore you’d start or finish in 2014? The Toronto Public Library’s U Can: Create Your Masterpiece can help you get motivated again. This moderated discussion will cover how to accomplish goals, find opportunities, and dodge obstacles along the way.

Pieces of Me

The old adage “appearances can be deceiving” rings true in Promise Productions’ new musical, Pieces of Me. Though Pamela and Parker seem to have a perfect marriage, trouble brews just below the surface. Parker works to solidify a happy future with his wife, not knowing that Pamela is restless, and harbouring a secret that could […]

A Very RARE Piece of Theatre

RARE Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane) January 28 to March 2, various times and dates $15 to $30 “It’s them telling the world what they want the world to know,” says Canadian playwright Judith Thompson in a video documenting the rehearsal process for RARE, a play she directed and co-created […]

Conversation Pieces: Totem Poles

Toronto is home to a cornucopia of public art. Some of the pieces acknowledge an individual’s greatness or are inspired by their surroundings; others are installed when developers want to exceed the height or density for which their building is zoned—the public art is a trade-off for being allowed a site-specific change in the rules. […]

Conversation Pieces: Eminent Poets

Toronto is home to a cornucopia of public art. Some of the pieces acknowledge an individual’s greatness or are inspired by their surroundings; others are installed when developers want to exceed the height or density for which their building is zoned—the public art is a trade-off for being allowed a site-specific change in the rules. […]

Conversation Pieces: Greek Gods

A whole pantheon of Greek gods are installed on the CNE grounds; you can find them southeast of the Horticultural Building. Above, Pan, the party animal who’s got Bacchus’ back and knows all the pretty nymphs, is relaxing and digging his pipes. Poseidon has his own instrument, a conch shell, with which to summon the Kraken. Regular ocean sounds can be very relaxing but the sort of winds and waves the conch summons are far more daunting auditory experiences.

Conversation Pieces: Moose

Mel Lastman’s Moose in the City project invited artists to paint for the public, and also encouraged sponsors to pay artists to compose heavily branded moose for them. Most of the moose were simply made up like paper dolls, in different outfits. Look: it’s a moose mailman! Others were just collaged paintings forced into the shape of a moose. At least four had a “moosaic” pun in their name. While limitations can force a creative person into new artistic territory, Lastman’s moose were more like a corporate-sponsored colour-by-number, akin to a publicly funded music album with commercial jingles every other track—and they all had to be played on the ukulele. People responded by stealing the moose’s antlers and sometimes scuffing up the paint job. The moose themselves were eventually auctioned off; many of their new owners repainted them in their own favourite costumes. Does that mean there was a lack of respect for the original artwork? Or that the art was so fun it encouraged interactivity?

Conversation Pieces: Seats

Normally a sofa is inviting, but this one is an exploration of contradictions. First off, it’s in fancy Yorkville which, while it doesn’t cost you anything to walk around, isn’t necessarily the most inviting. Second, it’s hidden, tucked away in a condo property’s inner courtyard (38 Avenue Road, to be precise), visible mostly when you’re crossing the intersection and should be watching the road instead of the art. It’s like an officially sanctioned secret swing. Third, it’s hard. While couch says “sit on me!” everything else about the situation says “don’t!”

Conversation Pieces: Telling Time

Sundials are technically out of date, but there are still several of them around the city. Located at Elm and McCaul, this one was installed to mark the opening of the Michener Institute. It’s an interesting comment on the perseverance of time, despite our changing ways of counting it.

Conversation Pieces: Keys

Toronto is home to a cornucopia of public art. Some of the pieces acknowledge an individual’s greatness or are inspired by their surroundings; others are installed when developers want to exceed the height or density for which their building is zoned—the public art is a trade-off for being allowed a site-specific change in the rules. In each installment of Conversation Pieces we’ll look at several artworks devoted to the same theme, and consider what makes public art succeed or fail.
Today: keys.

Conversation Pieces: Dragons

Toronto is home to a cornucopia of public art. Some of the pieces acknowledge an individual’s greatness or are inspired by their surroundings; others are installed when developers want to exceed the height or density for which their building is zoned—the public art is a trade-off for being allowed a site-specific change in the rules. […]

Conversation Pieces: Atlas

Toronto is home to a cornucopia of public art. Some of the pieces acknowledge an individual’s greatness or are inspired by their surroundings; others are installed when developers want to exceed the height or density for which their building is zoned—the public art is a trade-off for being allowed a site-specific change in the rules. […]