One woman’s blind date with the city of Toronto

Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present inspires local theatre student

By Fabiola Carletti
Originally published by the Toronto Star

Allison Leadley spent a day sitting with strangers in a public art experiment she called “exhausting, intense, intimate, funny, touching and totally overwhelming.” (Courtesy Allison Leadley)

Allison Leadley, 25, dragged two folding chairs to a busy Toronto intersection — then sat down, swallowed her terror, and waited.

The often-shy university student was stationed at the corner of Spadina Ave. and Queen St. W., in early March. The plan was to carve a space for intimacy in a notoriously uninviting city.

Leadley, a Halifax native who normally works backstage, had committed to nearly eight hours of sitting without eating, drinking or speaking at four different intersections. Her inspiration came from the prolific performance artist Marina Abramovic, who had done the same at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

“At first people were going out of their way not to notice me,” said Leadley, a first-year PhD student of theatre and performance at the University of Toronto.

“I started to worry that no one would sit down and that this was going to be a long and really lonely day.”

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Has airplane noise increased in central Toronto?

By Fabiola Carletti
Previously published by Open File Toronto and t.o.night

By Paul’s Best Shots on Flickr (CC)

Many residents of neighbouring communities say they’re used to the rumble of airplane engines, and few look skyward when planes travel overhead. Realtors even list proximity to Pearson as a perk.

But the same aircraft noise has been turning heads in more central parts of Toronto.

Alice Kent, who lives near Bloor Street West and Christie Street, was in her backyard in late March when she noticed the roar from above. At first she dismissed it as an anomaly, but thought twice when she spotted a noise complaint poster in her area.

“Are you bothered by the recent increase in jet plane noise?” probed the flyer near Dupont Street and Ossington Avenue.

“Since Feb 9 planes going to Pearson airport now fly at a low altitude over the central city. If enough citizens complain, this policy can be changed.”

She took a picture of the call to action and posted it on Facebook.

“A few people reacted to my posting saying ‘Oh God, yeah, I feel like these things are flying into my house’,” says Kent. “Now the question is, are they actually flying lower, and if so, why? And if we all complain will it actually change anything?”

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