Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chelsea Hotel

Librarians citywide must be noticing an uptick in requests for Leonard Cohen CDs. After seeing Chelsea Hotel at the Firehall Arts Centre on Friday night, I've certainly placed more than a few holds myself! My Cohen knowledge used to be (rather pathetically) limited to the much covered "Hallelujah," and "I Can't Forget" (the latter only because of a Pixies rendition). I'm excited to explore the rest of his oeuvre.

I'm guessing this will sound obvious to many people, but I just didn't realize how deeply sad, sexy and romantic Cohen's songs are. They're all the better when used brilliantly here to form an emotional and stunning-in-every-sense-of-the-word performance piece. The cast is amazingly multi-talented, and the set, costumes and props are gorgeously evocative of the words and music. 

It goes without saying that Chelsea Hotel is not to be missed by Cohen fans, but I'd bet any music lover would enjoy it immensely as we did. The play runs nightly until March 3, with Wednesday and weekend matinees. There are even three more talkback performances where you can share your questions and feedback with the cast. Tickets are reasonably priced, and the Firehall Arts Centre has no bad seats!

Monday, February 6, 2012


E and I needed a great place to celebrate the end of our extremely difficult and rather pointless month off wheat and most alcohol, otherwise known as January. I wasn't eating anywhere very interesting due to these restrictions, which partly explains my extended blogging absence. Also, my computer died. Enough with the excuses, and on to the food!

I have been wanting to check out Fray for a while now, so we resisted the doughy siren song of Nicli Antica for the time being and headed to parts relatively unknown.

Happily, (especially since I bought a social coupon for a later date), Fray was everything I hoped it would be. The zany kookiness has the faintest whiff of trying too hard, but I won't fault them for wanting to bring something new to the table, (pun intended). Our server was genuinely, heart-meltingly sweet, and everyone, customer and staff alike, seemed to be in similarly good spirits. The cozy space was buzzing with friendly energy.

The comfort food with an emphasis on local and organic ingredients was delicious, though E's mac and cheese (how could she resist?) lacked some flavour. Its perfectly soft creaminess almost made up for the blandness. My mushroom ravioli was heavenly, especially after the month of deprivation. We shared farmer's flatbread to start, and each reveled in our own slice of chocolate silk pie to wrap up a truly lovely Friday evening out.

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