Ivan Viripaev’s ‘Illusions,’ a delightful dark comedy

On Friday night, I saw the play, Illusions, a dark comedy from the contemporary Russian playwright, Ivan Viripaev, at the new Streetcar Crowsnest Theatre in Toronto’s east end. In Illusions, four performers, who are two married couples in real life, narrate the stories of two elderly married couples who have been long-time friends. Weaving back and forth in non-linear style, each of them tells the tale of their intertwining friendships – and love.

The original work was translated into English. The performers, all dressed in basic black/white, speak to the audience one after the other, from a minimalistic stage with nothing more than some chairs (and a curious use of the theatre’s street level window).

The opening monologue is a story of an aged Albert, who is on his deathbed. What follows are monologues that build upon and untangle the stories – and illusions – of passion and death, loyalty and betrayal, truth and fiction, hope and despair. Some of them are humorous, others are rather somber.

Full cast

The cast includes: Brett Donahue, Gemini award-winner Laurence Dauphinais, Marie-Ève Perron and Andrew Shaver, who is also the artistic director along with Paul Flicker.


Brett Donahue, Laurence Dauphinais 

The award-winning playwright, Ivan Viripaev’s theatre works include Dreamworks (2011), Illusions (2011), Comedy (2010), Delhi Dance (2009), July (2006), amongst many others. His work is also seen on screen.

Illusions from SideMart Illusions - Marie-Ève Perron - photo credit Fraser Elsdon

Marie-Ève Perron 

Illusions is presented by award-winning theatre company SideMart, whose productions include Morris Panych’s Gordon, Mark Doherty’s Trad, and SideMart’s original musical Haunted Hillbilly. Illusions runs through to May 7, 2017. For more information, visit the website.

Shannon Skinner is a Toronto-based, award-winning television and radio show host, international speaker, author and creator of ExtraordinaryWomenTV.com. For information on her speaking engagements and interviews, visit: www.ShannonSkinner.com and www.ExtrarodinaryWomenTV.com. Tweet to her at @Shannon_Skinner.

* Photos courtesy of SideMart Theatre CompanySideMart and photographer Fraser Elsdon


The Women’s March I didn’t attend (but wish I had)

Women's March

Something interesting happened this weekend. Millions of women and men around the globe got together for the biggest, most peaceful protest in U.S. history, and said, “I have value. Listen to me.” The issues ranged, primarily from protesting President Donald Trump, to women’s and overall human rights, to climate change.

I would have loved to attend the Toronto event, if it wasn’t for a nagging cold and the fact that, as an introvert, I dislike large crowds. I would have loved to be there in solidarity with women who felt a deep need or desire to “show up” for what they believed was right. No matter, I feel my voice can be expressed in different forms – like the written word.

It was a remarkable event in history. And as I suspect, this won’t be the last because in the age of social media, mobilization of the masses is easier than ever, and there are plenty of people around the world who have something to say.

For my Canadians friends, if you are interested in finding out when the next women’s march is, there is a group organizing it. Check out their website here.

*  Photo credit: Business Insider.


Tonight on Shannon Skinner Live: anti-aging secrets with beauty expert Vian Sharef

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TORONTO, June 16, 2015 — Tonight on Shannon Skinner Live radio show, host Shannon speaks with beauty expert and owner of Toronto-based Dermedix Laser Clinic, Vian Sharef, about beauty and anti-aging secrets. Tune-in to VoiceAmerica Women at 7pm EST/ 4PM Pacific.

Vian photoVian Sharef, owner, Dermedix Laser Clinic

Shannon Skinner Live is a weekly radio show that uncovers the stories and solutions to living an extraordinary life and making this world a better place. It features interviews with experts, visionaries and activists, and more.

About Vian Sharef:

Vian Sharef is a single mother, beauty expert and the founder and owner of Dermedix Laser Clinic, based in Toronto. Born and raised in Iraq, Vian came to Canada as a teenager with her family, after living in a refugee camp for 3 years in Turkey. She would eventually achieve a successful career in the financial services industry  – and get married. Later, in 2008, life would have its challenges again. Vian lost her father, job and her marriage disintegrated within 6 months, and, as a single mother to a young daughter, she made the decision to go back to school to study medical aesthetics. Today, she is a successful businesswoman and has helped thousands of women and girls look and feel their best.

About Shannon Skinner:

Shannon Skinner is a Canadian television talk show host, speaker and writer. In 2010, she launched Shannon Skinner’s Extraordinary Women TV, the first of its kind, as a live web TV show, and later developed it into an broadcast television show and online platform that is the ultimate online life-guidance resource for women. She is the author of the Whispering Heart: Your Inner Guide to Creativity; and she writes on a range of topics, including creativity, inspiration, feminine leadership, change and travel.


Falling in love with India

Enjoyed a great night last night of celebrating the food and culture of India, at an event hosted by India Tourism, Vasco Travel, a Toronto-based travel company in the Indian inbound tourism market, Air Canada, and Canadian Travel Services, at the Novotel hotel in Toronto.

There are many reasons to fall in love with India. I love Indian cuisine (it’s my favourite) and it is the most colourful country in the world. According to the stats, around the world, 1 in 6 people is Indian. There are approximately 122 languages in India, and it is a country filled with vibrant culture and enormous opportunity.

girls dancing

Lovely girls performing a little Bollywood dancing. Plus we enjoyed some fabulous fusion music.

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Guest of honour, Consul General of India, Mr. Akhilesh Mishra, speaking about his passion for India – and his # 1 love – his wife (so sweet), who was in attendance.

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Consul General of India, Mr. Mishra, doing a symbolic lighting ceremony, along with his beautiful wife, Mrs. Mishra.

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The evening was also celebrating the launch of Air Canada’s new non-stop “Dreamliner” flight from Toronto to Delhi, India, starting this November 2015.

I can’t wait to discover more reasons to fall in love with India!

Shannon Skinner is an award-winning inspirational speaker, writer, and host and producer of the television and online series www.ExtraordinaryWomenTV.com.


Season 3, episode 5 of Extraordinary Women TV airs tonight on Rogers TV

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner

 

 

TORONTO, Nov. 25, 2014 – Season 3, episode five of Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner airs tonight featuring on-location interviews with Toronto’s iconic art entrepreneur, Jane Corkin, founder/director, Corkin Gallery; and Fay Athari, founder/director, Arta Gallery. Both guests share insights into the business of art. The show airs tonight at 7pm ET on Rogers TV Cable 10/63 in Toronto/Scarborough.

The show aims to empower women get their dreams into action by providing the tips and tools from some of today’s most extraordinary women. This season, Shannon goes on-location around the city of Toronto to speak with women from a range of pursuits about their passions and challenges — and how they overcome them.

Jane Corkin shoot

Now in its third season on Rogers TV, the television series began as a live web TV talk show for women in Canada, and has grown into an inspirational, relevant and informative resource for women who want to follow their hearts and dreams, and live extraordinary lives. In January 2013, the show began airing on Rogers TV in Toronto/Scarborough, with 46 episodes being produced and aired over the first two seasons. The show has also aired in several other Rogers’ Ontario markets. And last season featured the “Woman to Watch” regular segment.

Shannon’s guests are women from all walks of life and industries, including: arts and entertainment, business, charities, media, sports, experts – and more. Some past notable guests include: entrepreneur Debbie Travis; actress Mariel Hemingway; singers Jully Black and Sarah Slean; philanthropist, The Hon. Margaret McCain; dean of law faculty at the U of T, Mayo Moran; fashion designer and Canadian icon, Linda Lundstrom; president/CEO, ROM, Janet Carding; Rebecca MacDonald, founder, Just Energy; actress Sarena Parmar; Plan Canada’s president/CEO, Rosemary McCarney; among many others.

Nearly 300 episodes have been posted and archived on the web for public access since its inception in September 2010, when it began as a live web TV series, and 52 episodes have been produced to-date for Rogers TV. Extraordinary Women TV is produced and owned by Shannon Skinner and Comfy Chair Productions Inc., and is filmed in Toronto.

Rogers TV Toronto’s full scheduling information: click here.

* photo courtesy of Corkin Gallery


Guest line-up for season premiere of Extraordinary Women TV

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner

 

 

TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2014 – The guest-line up has been announced for the season premiere of Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner , which airs tonight at 7pm ET on Rogers TV Cable 10/63 in Toronto/Scarborough. In this first episode, host Shannon Skinner goes on location to the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, filmed this summer, where she speaks to a range of Toronto-based artists including: Jenn Goodwin, dancer and programmer for Nuit Blanche; Lindsay Zier-Vogel, Love Lettering Campaign artist; Kate Taylor, visual artist and Vice Chair of the Artists’ Network; Karen Taylor; Ness Lee, best known for her sumo-inspired illustrations; Sarah Gaby-Trotz; and jewelry designer, Lisa Ridout.

“This season, I wanted to highlight a number of artists because they make our world an interesting place and they yet are so often overlooked,” says Shannon Skinner, the show’s host and producer. “These women are extraordinary because they are brave enough to not only follow their dreams, but to share their art with the world, which requires courage.”

The show aims to empower women get their dreams into action by providing the tips and tools from today’s most extraordinary women. This season, Shannon goes on-location around the city of Toronto to speak with women from a range of pursuits about their passions and challenges — and how they overcome them.

Now in its third season, the television series began as a live web TV talk show for women in Canada, and has grown into an inspirational, relevant and informative resource for women who want to follow their hearts and dreams, and live extraordinary lives. In January 2013, the show began airing on Rogers TV in Toronto/Scarborough, with 46 episodes being produced and aired over the first two seasons. The show has also aired in several other Rogers’ Ontario markets. And last season featured the “Woman to Watch” regular segment.

Shannon’s guests are women from all walks of life and industries, including: arts and entertainment, business, charities, media, sports, experts – and more. Some past notable guests include: entrepreneur Debbie Travis; singers Jully Black and Sarah Slean; philanthropist, The Hon. Margaret McCain; dean of law faculty at the U of T, Mayo Moran; fashion designer and Canadian icon, Linda Lundstrom; president/CEO, ROM, Janet Carding; Rebecca MacDonald, founder, Just Energy; actress Sarena Parmar; Plan Canada’s president/CEO, Rosemary McCarney; among many others.

Sponsors to acknowledge include: The Private World of Mary Tripi; Jordane Cosmetics; Deborah Krymuza (makeup design); Your Global VA; Fresh Florals; Makara Jewelry; 69 Vintage Clothing Company; and Shannon Skinner Media.

Nearly 300 episodes have been posted and archived on the web for public access since its inception in September 2010, when it began as a live web TV series. Extraordinary Women TV is produced and owned by Shannon Skinner and Comfy Chair Productions Inc., and is filmed in Toronto.

Rogers TV Toronto’s full scheduling information: click here.


New season premiere of Extraordinary Women TV on Rogers TV

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner

 

 

TORONTO, Oct. 21, 2014 – The new season premiere of Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner launches on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 7pm ET on Rogers TV Cable 10/63 in Toronto/Scarborough.

The show aims to empower women get their dreams into action by providing the tips and tools from today’s most extraordinary women. This season, Shannon goes on-location around the city of Toronto to speak with women from a range of pursuits about their passions and challenges — and how they overcome them. Guest line-up is to be announced.

“This season, we have a big focus on artists, as well as women in sports, health advocates and visionaries,” says Shannon Skinner, the show’s creator, producer and host. “These women are brave because they are following their hearts, and we all can learn something from them, even if it’s a dose of inspiration.”

Now in its third season, the television series began as a live web TV talk show for women in Canada, and has grown into an inspirational, relevant and informative resource for women who want to follow their hearts and dreams, and live extraordinary lives. In January 2013, the show began airing on Rogers TV in Toronto/Scarborough, with 46 episodes being produced and aired over the first two seasons. The show has also aired in several other Rogers’ Ontario markets. And last season featured the “Woman to Watch” regular segment.

Shannon’s guests are women from all walks of life and industries, including: arts and entertainment, business, charities, media, sports, experts – and more. Some past notable guests include: entrepreneur Debbie Travis; singers Jully Black and Sarah Slean; philanthropist, The Hon. Margaret McCain; dean of law faculty at the U of T, Mayo Moran; fashion designer and Canadian icon, Linda Lundstrom; president/CEO, ROM, Janet Carding; Rebecca MacDonald, founder, Just Energy; actress Sarena Parmar; Plan Canada’s president/CEO, Rosemary McCarney; among many others.

Nearly 300 episodes have been posted and archived on the web for public access since its inception in September 2010, when it began as a live web TV series. Extraordinary Women TV is produced and owned by Shannon Skinner and Comfy Chair Productions Inc., and is filmed in Toronto.

Rogers TV Toronto’s full scheduling information: click here.


REVIEW: Parlour: a cozy lounge for intimate conversation and great food

IMG_0387SHANNON’S TRAVEL BAG: Travel Tips for Women

Shannon Skinner reviews one of Toronto’s most stylish and elegant lounges: Parlour. Shannon experienced the new holiday season’s dinner-sharing menu.

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If you want to gather a few of your girlfriends for a “girl’s night out” in Toronto and are looking for an intimate place where you can hear each other speak, and at the same time enjoy atmosphere, good food and a glass of wine, Parlour just might hold the answer.

I recently had the opportunity to attend an industry tasting event at Parlour as the venue rolled out its new season dinner-sharing menu.  Located in Toronto’s trendy entertainment district, Parlour (also known as Parlour 270, for its location on Adelaide St. W.) is a stylish lounge where intimacy, elegance and cozy conversation rules.

IMG_9739Parlour opened two years ago and was decorated by owners (and brothers) Gregory and Luke Vitale. It quickly established itself as an “oasis of sophisticated entertainment.”  The brothers were later joined by partner, chef Frank Ghanavati, a capable culinary expert who is originally from Istanbul and has worked his culinary magic in establishments around the world

From the special tasting menu, I enjoyed some delicious vegetarian “meatballs,” comprising of a variety of vegetables spiced-up in a tomato-based sauce; as well as quinoa canoes that were Belgian endive filled with marinated vegetables and quinoa; and tasty flatbread with tomato and oyster and cremini mushrooms. For carnivores, the tasting menu also offered “real” meatballs, steak tartare or chicken empanadas, which, based on the other guests seated next to me who were thoroughly enjoying their food, the dishes looked like they were delicious. There were also signature cocktails to taste: options of a Pink Parlour Martini (vodka with sourpuss and lychee liqueurs and grape juice), which was delightful; and also Spiced Old-Fashioned bourbon with spiced syrup (it seemed to be a popular choice, though I don’t drink bourbon).

“We wanted our menu to celebrate the romance of a laid-back meal as the heart of the entertainment district pulses and moves with frenetic energy just outside,” says Gregory Vitale, co-owner, Parlour. “Bring a friend, or come alone and make a new one. That is the Parlour spirit.”

For the full menu, check the website.

Parlour will give you the feeling of being back in era of the “speakeasy.” Built in 1895, the 19th century building is filled with character and charm, and happens to be one of a few  row town homes that survived Toronto’s great fire of 1904.

About proprietors Luke and Gregory Vitale: Other celebrated venues from proprietors Luke and Gregory Vitale, include Potato Blues Supper Club and Honey Supper Lounge.

About Chef Frank Ghanavati: Turkish native Chef Frank Ghanavati studied at George Brown College, and after completing a prestigious apprenticeship at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel, continued his global culinary education at Alta Societa in Italy, Nega Culinary School in Thailand, CESSA Universidad in Mexico and Sunrise Global Chef Academy in Singapore. Frank has honed his skills in high profile kitchens around the world, including the Shangri-la Hotel in Singapore, Hilton Hotels in Mexico City and Burnaby B.C., and The Royal Bank of Canada Executive Dining Room in Toronto.

DETAILS:

Restaurant/lounge: Parlour

Location: 270 Adelaide St. West, Toronto (at John) / Parlour: www.parlour270.com (check out the Gallery room for fabulous photos)

Ambiance: elegant, cozy, inviting and not too loud.

Decor: 19th century-influenced style based on easyspeaks of its era. Feels warm and cozy. Lots of candlelight. Nicely done.

Service: Friendly.

Hours: The kitchen is open Wednesday to Friday from 5:30pm to 11pm and Saturday/Sunday 6:30pm to Midnight.

Women traveling solo-friendly: yes.

Shannon’s Rating (of 4 stars): ★★★★

photo credit: Max Jamali

jewelry: Nicola Smith, Makara Jewelry

Shannon’s Travel Bag: Travel Tips for Women is an occasional article series of reviews, tips and inspiration for women travelers.
Shannon is also the Executive Producer and Talk Show Host of the television series, Extraordinary Women TV.

copyright © Shannon Skinner


Thank you Canadian Tire for welcoming my dog

After a few weeks of settling into our new home, a work-live loft in Toronto’s east end, I’m finally adjusting to this environment. Bob, my sheepdog, is more comfortable now and, thanks to a citronella collar, his separation anxiety-ridden barking whilst I’m away is slowing weaning.

IMG_0160

During this time of transition, I’ve been taking Bob with me wherever I am able because of his separation anxiety. Through this journey, I have discovered what stores allow dogs, and those that do not. For instance, on one sunny Friday afternoon, we went shopping for items for my new home, and for my business, and I could not leave Bob home because of his separation anxiety – I had to take him with me. We went to Ikea and got kicked out (by a rude employee, at that) because apparently they don’t allow dogs due to having food in the store (we hadn’t noticed the sign on the door, apparently). Then we were booted out of Home Depot, where they once allowed dogs, because they allegedly once had an “incident.”

So, we headed to Canadian Tire on the Lakeshore. There, at the front door, is a big refreshing sign: “Pets are Welcome.” And they surely do because the store greeter gave Bob some much-appreciated doggie cookies. Ahhh…now my dog and I (plus my mother) are happy — and I’m content to shop.

After our pleasant Canadian Tire experience, we headed to the shops in Beaches;  I like to support local business owners. In Toronto’s Beaches neighborhood, where I lived for many years, which is one of the biggest hoods for dogs, many of the stores along Queen Street welcome our furry friends — but some do not. So we pop into the wonderful Mendocino outlet, which has become a favourite shop of mine because Bob can come with me, and there I made a purchase. Other retailers that welcomed my dog included Walking on a Cloud and Corso shoes stores, where I have purchased shoes. But for the others that did not allow me to shop with my dog, like Posh boutique (again, we were told dogs weren’t allowed because of “an incident”), I was not willing to tie-up my dog and leave him alone outside in order to shop there – so bottomline, no purchase there.

Toronto is home to some 250,000 dogs (2007 stats). That means a good percentage of the population owns at least one dog. Dogs are everywhere. It’s time more retailers and other businesses wake up to the 21st century and truly recognize their customers’ lifestyles and needs.

It’s about consumer choice. And through this experience I realized how much power there is in that choice. When I can bring my dog with me, it makes my life easier and therefore I am more willing and able to spend my hard-earned money. At the end of the day, where possible, I will choose to spend my money where my beloved doggie is welcomed.

No hard feelings.

 


Special guests appearing March 11 on Extraordinary Women TV on Rogers TV

Guest-line up for March 11 episode of Extraordinary Women TV on Rogers TV
Kym Geddes, news director, NewsTalk 1010; and Trey Anthony, actor/producer

TORONTO, March 11, 2013 – Tune-in to Rogers TV Cable 10 & 63 in Toronto/Scarborough tonight at 7:30pmET for another episode of Extraordinary Women TV when host Shannon Skinner speaks with special guests Kym Geddes, news director, NewsTalk 1010 radio in Toronto; and Trey Anthony, star/creator, ‘da Kink in My Hair.

Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner is the first-of-its-kind web TV talk show that is an inspirational, relevant and informative resource for women who want to follow their hearts and dreams. In January 2013, the show also began airing on Rogers TV Cable 10 & 63 in Toronto/Scarborough Monday nights at 7:30pmET, with repeats throughout the week.

Shannon’s guests are successful women from all walks of life – many high-profile — from Toronto and across Canada, from a range of industries, including: arts and entertainment, business, finance, charities, eco, media, experts – and more. Some notable guests include: singers/songwriters Suzie McNeil, Sarah Slean and Amy Sky; media personality/relationship expert Jen Kirsch; journalist/author Jan Wong; businesswomen Rebecca MacDonald (Just Energy) and Kelsey Ramsden (Belvedere Place Development); actresses Sarena Parmar, Lisa Berry; Plan Canada’s Rosemary McCarney; former Chatelaine editor Rona Maynard; among many others.

More than 180 one-on-one interviews have been conducted and archived since its inception in September 2010.

Rogers TV’s full scheduling information: www.rogerstv.com/ExtraordinaryWomenTV

– 30 –

For information, contact:

Shannon Skinner
Producer/Host, Extraordinary Women TV
416-576-8809 (cell)
shannon@skinnerpublicity.com
www.ExtraordinaryWomenTV.com


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