Live stream shopping: What is it, and which industries are leveraging this platform?

Nowadays, it has become possible for brands to launch and showcase their products to millions of customers from different parts of the world. They have to utilize smart devices with proper lighting, and in minutes, products are sold out. Many celebrities who launch their products in different countries now don’t even have to travel in their luxury jets. All they have to do is sit comfortably and hold their event.

For instance, many Hollywood celebrities that launch their cosmetics line in different countries don’t necessarily travel there. All they do is put on some nice clothes, place their iPhones in front of them where there are live viewers, and boom; products are sold out in minutes.

For the readers of this blog, if you are confused about why your friends always ditch you when you are interested in going for a product launch at a fancy store, let me introduce you to live stream shopping.

This is how far marketing has come, which is all due to digitization. Brands can showcase their products 360-degree on a digital platform to a live audience and communicate with them simultaneously.

You can buy products directly from a live video stream. It is called Live stream shopping, and if you are already involved in this kind of purchasing, you are in for an exhilarating ride.

Live stream shopping or Live stream e-commerce combines live video content with two-way communication between buyers and sellers. It allows for the opportunity for viewers to buy or save advertised goods without leaving their houses. With live-stream shopping, brands provide a phygital shopping experience to their customers. There is reduced consideration time, more involvement of the customer, higher sales, etc., which are mainly a few advantages of Livestream shopping for businesses. In addition, customers get to view the product live through their devices and make purchases simultaneously from their convenience.

Read More: How phygital customer experience is breaking the barriers between brands and customers?

Which industries are leveraging live stream shopping?
Not a single soul would have predicted how important online shopping, precisely live streaming, would become since this last year of the pandemic. Many brands, both the big and small ones, started getting affected. They started figuring out ways to interact with their customers, existing and newcomers. Soon, they realized that live streaming was the answer.

Some brands are already utilizing this platform since before the pandemic hit, while some have recently started utilizing it. Let’s take a look at a few industries that are using this platform and greatly benefiting from it:

Retail sector
The retail industry has already been using this platform for a very long time for its growth. The fashion and beauty businesses were among the first to embrace Livestream shopping to get an effective phygital customer experience. They get to view the products live & in 360-degree. They can also have two-way communication with the representatives and immediately make their purchases.

Livestream shopping can lower barriers between the brand and at-home customers in ways other commerce experiences can’t. In addition, at-home consumers can benefit from virtual try-on sessions & live demos, making it easy to purchase.

From Amazon to Gucci, many retailers and brands provide phygital customer experiences through new streaming formats to offer an expanding range of beauty items, clothes, gadgets, etc. In addition, their live events are held on social media channels and the businesses’ websites.

Offering a live product demo to consumers can be frequently instructive, amusing, and enlightening. These product demos assist customers in visualizing items, comprehending selling characteristics, and ask questions in real-time. But, most significantly, customers can make purchases while watching the live feed.

Revenues from e-retail are expected to reach around 5.4 trillion USD by 2022 as online shopping has become one of the most famous online activities worldwide. (Source)

Automobile sector
The automobile sector is a new entrant into live stream shopping considering the high price of automobiles. Typically consumers buy cars by visiting a brick and mortar showroom where they test drive the vehicle of their choice. However, by leveraging phygital retailing and live stream shopping, the brands can communicate with consumers on a real-time basis, give them a 360-degrees view and answer their queries so that consumers take less time to buy and the sale is closed.

Sports Industry
The growing demand for online sports events is driving this market on an unprecedented scale across the world. With ever improvements in the broadband speed at a cheaper cost, the availability of smartphones and telecasting of sports events on a digital platform has transformed this industry. Now viewers can watch events on their TV sets, mobile phones, or laptops. In addition, the direct telecast of events by leagues, sports clubs through digital media has transformed the market. It has offered options for the viewers to view such events across any internet-enabled smart device.

Consumer goods sector
We live in a world where shopping can be done with just a click from the comforts of our home. The pandemic has reinforced online buying due to social distancing, and now the percentage of online buyers is increasing at a phenomenal rate. Now, the buying pattern of consumers has also changed for healthier products and immunity boosters.

It is the best opportunity for brands to communicate with consumers through social media, where the audience is also encouraged to participate. As a result, it promotes greater customer engagement and improves brand awareness.

Consumer durables sector
FMCD products having a longer shelf life include white goods, automobiles, and a host of household goods. The pandemic has offered brands an opportunity to leverage the digital platform with AR and VR-enabled 360-degree views of products, giving the consumers a near physical feel before buying.

Live stream shopping can also be deployed on a brands’ platform or a 3rd party platform where a live demo of products is done on a real-time basis. It allows consumers to be a part of a live demo. They can interact with the presenter regarding product features or their correct usage and put the selected product in the shopping cart for future buying.

Read More: Diving into the future of Phygital: Physical + Digital

Takeaways
The pandemic has changed our lifestyle and the rules of business. Live stream shopping is an effective marketing strategy for boosting the brands’ bottom line of revenue generation. It offers product demos on a real-time scale with the active participation of consumers. Besides, it also enables brands to get valuable data depending on interaction with consumers to fine-tune their strategy. As a result, it increases the possibilities of closing sales and maximizing revenue.

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What is the significance of the balalaika in Russia?

Have you ever seen the Balalaika? One can’t resist the urge to be hit with puzzlement on first experiencing the small instrument, generally containing two to four strings. It’s anything but a relative of the lute. Instead, it is most likely an instrument that belongs to Arabic origin. It was created in the eighteenth century from the dombra or domra, a round-bodied since a long time ago necked three-stringed lute played in Russia and Central Asia. You will find the Balalaika in six sizes, from piccolo to twofold bass. You will find a flat back and a three-sided table that shapes the worried neck in appearance. A little round strong opening is situated in the narrow finish of the midsection. They are mostly culled with the fingers, albeit metal strings are additionally culled with a leather plectrum.

Are you looking for an instrument from Russian crafts? Then, discover the history of Balalaika.

Origins Of The Balalaika
The Balalaika is considered the symbol of Russian culture. But there is no exact proof of the origin of this instrument. It was first documented in a Russian document in 1688. In that first written version, it was stated that the origin of this musical instrument is Turkish. The word comes from Turkish, which means child. The clarification for this name would come from the way that playing this instrument made it conceivable to quiet unsettled kids.

It can be quite possible because Russia was under the administration of the Mongol-Tatar yoke. Mongol victors brought into Russia far off predecessors of the Balalaika during the intrusions of the 12 century. In another variant, it is also assumed that the name Balalaika is related to the style of play utilized.

Some hypotheses say that the instrument slipped from the domra, an instrument from the East Slavs. In the Caucasus, comparable instruments, for example, the Mongolian Topshur, utilized in Kalmykia, and the Panduri utilized in Georgia, are played. It is additionally like the Kazakh dombra, which is equipped with two strings.

The disappearance of the Domra

At the end of the 17th century, the popular dorma started disappearing because of the increasing popularity of the Balalaika, which is a long-handled and two-string instrument. The center of the eighteenth century was the hour of the Balalaika’s victory. It was available in various sizes and shapes as per the skill and ability of the craftsman. It is said that the first shape of Balalaika was round. And with the growing time, it turned into a shovel shape. And in the current time, we can see it in the form of the triangle. Oh well, we as a whole have seen ordinarily how splendid achievement and ubiquity transformed into practically complete insensibility. The equivalent occurred with Balalaika. Interest step by step disappeared, and until the nineteenth century, we had heard nothing about this instrument.

The Modern Balalaika

Until the present time, Balalaika has gone through not many changes, less in the form of construction and designing, however in its quality. The current experts have expanded the fret range and accomplished an all the more remarkable sound in the Balalaika. Normally the designing of the Balalaika is done with quilted maple, and the front part that is the deck is designed with Spruce, and the neck of the product is crafted with ebony. The capability level of the current Balalaika has developed amazingly. Their virtuosity is astonishing. Balalaika is played with Folk, just as Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. Also, sometimes you can find this in the most surprising melodic troupes, including jazz.

At the current time, Balalaika has entered the area of well-known music. The beginning started with the splendid Mikhail Rozhkov, who remembered popular melodies and film music for his program. Also, the young individuals are utilizing the electro-Balalaika. Individuals who initially heard Balalaika, either from a stage performance or personally face to face, turned into its reliable fans. This is because the sound of Balalaika is very amazing and peaceful.

Perfect Russian Gift For A Musician

Looking to buy some mesmerizing gift for your musician friend? Now you have an idea about the Balalaika so why not offer a good musical instrument to your friend. If you are essentially searching for a little trinket at the cost of a couple of euros, you can choose balalaika-formed enhancements from The Russian Treasures. You will find different sizes and colourful Balalaika at our store. All our products are handcrafted. You will feel happy to use it as gift material for your loved ones. It will definitely appeal to music lovers.

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What is Diabetic Nephropathy?

Diabetic nephropathy is a long-term kidney disease that can affect people with diabetes. It is also known as Diabetic Kidney Disease (DKD). It happens when a person’s kidneys are damaged by elevated blood glucose levels.

Diabetic nephropathy is a leading cause of chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The kidneys in ESRD are no longer able to satisfy the demands of everyday life. Kidney failure can occur as a result of ESRD, which can be life-threatening.

What are the risk factors of Diabetic Nephropathy?

The risk factors for diabetic nephropathy incorporate smoking, comorbidities and is more prevalent in people who are more than 62-65 years old. An individual with diabetic nephropathy may not experience any symptoms in the early stages. Changes in blood pressure and fluid equilibrium in the body, on the other hand, may already be present. Waste products can accumulate in the blood over time, causing symptoms.

Swollen feet and ankles, darker urine, shortness of breath are some of the symptoms presented in the later stages. Depending on a low glomerular filtration rate, (GFR), which also represents the percentage of successful kidney function, a doctor may divide kidney disease into stages, which range from stage 1 to 5.

Certain blood tests along with urine tests are advised to attain a diagnosis for diabetic nephropathy. Urine analysis and correct recording of the history of supine or erect blood pressure must be done. Albumin is also measured as the earliest clinically detectable evidence of the said condition.

The first step in treating diabetic nephropathy is to monitor and manage diabetes, as well as high blood pressure if necessary (hypertension). Kidney disease and other complications may be avoided or delayed with proper blood sugar and hypertension treatment. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) can help to lower blood pressure, protect kidney function, and prevent further damage.

What is Diabetic Nephropathy Market Size?

The increase in market size is a direct consequence of an increase in prevalent cases of diabetes, thereby a rise in the number of cases of Diabetic Kidney Disease. In addition to this, increase in R&D activity, awareness programs for diabetes and kidney-related issues in the 7MM.

The prevalence of diabetes worldwide has extended epidemic magnitudes and is expected to affect millions of people in the upcoming years. 34.2 million people in the United States have diabetes in 2018, accounting for 10.5% of the total population. Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the United States and other Western societies. It is also one of the most significant long-term complications in terms of morbidity and mortality for individual patients with diabetes.

Also, Read Diabetic Nephropathy Market Report

What is Diabetic Nephropathy Treatment?

Treatment of patients with diabetic nephropathy can be divided into four major areas: cardiovascular risk reduction, glycemic control, blood pressure control, and inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Recommendations for therapy include targeting a hemoglobin A1c concentration < 7% and blood pressure < 140/90 mm Hg with therapy anchored around the use of a RAS-blocking agent. The single best evidence-based therapy for diabetic nephropathy is therapy with a RAS-blocking medication. The first step in treating diabetic nephropathy is to treat and control diabetes and, if needed, high blood pressure (hypertension). With good management of blood sugar and hypertension, one can prevent or delay kidney dysfunction and other complications.

To control high blood pressure, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) are used. Using both of these together is not advised because of increased side effects. However, recently, additional blockade of the renin-angiotensin system with mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRAs) has been shown to reduce albuminuria in short-term studies in patients with DM and micro- or macroalbuminuria treated with ACE-Is or ARB.

What are the Diabetic Nephropathy Medications?

To manage high blood sugar, several medications have been shown to help in people with diabetic nephropathy. Studies support the goal of an average hemoglobin A1C of less than 7%. In addition to this, cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins are used to treat high cholesterol and reduce protein in the urine.

Medications that help manage calcium phosphate balance are important in maintaining healthy bones. Apart from this, medications that often reduce the level of the protein albumin in the urine and improve kidney function are used to control protein in the urine.

If the disease progresses to kidney failure (end-stage kidney disease), the doctor will help the patient transition to care focused on either replacing the function of the kidneys or making the patient more comfortable. Options include Kidney dialysis, Transplant, and Symptom management.

Despite available treatment options, current management of Diabetic Nephropathy still leaves a substantial residual risk for kidney disease progression, morbidity, and mortality. Recent advances in the understanding of disease pathophysiology have opened up new avenues of treatment.

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Diaper Bags for Christmas – A Great Present for an Expectant Woman

The holidays are just around the corner once again and most people have started to do their Christmas shopping or at least attempted to begin a Christmas gift list. If you have started your own list and are caught in a jam thinking of unique gifts for the special people in your life, we’re here to make a suggestion that may help. If you have friends or relatives who are expecting a baby, why not give them a diaper bag for Christmas?

Every new parent would need a diaper bag to carry the baby’s stuff around whenever they travel so this would certainly be a gift that they will appreciate. You don’t even have to worry about whether or not they already have a diaper bag because parents can use more than one of these very practical accessories.

What Makes Diaper Bags Such Great Gifts?

Aside from the fact that they are very useful, diaper bags are ideal presents to a pregnant woman or even an expectant couple for several reasons. First of all, you don’t need to know the recipient’s sizes, which can be a problem if you are giving away things like clothing, hats, or even socks.

It also doesn’t matter if you don’t know the person’s style preferences. Sure, diaper bags do come in different styles but seriously, who would have very specific preferences when it comes to diaper bag designs? If you trust that you have a good nose for style and fashion, it’s likely that you will be able to pick a bag that the recipient will like as well.

Whether it is wrapped in a box or placed inside a festive paper bag, this will certainly be a huge gift, and everyone loves getting huge gifts so that alone would be a plus. But what’s really nice about giving these for Christmas is that they are quite affordable, considering their usefulness. If you have a lot of pregnant friends, you may even be able to save a considerable amount if you buy in wholesale and give them all the same bag.

I know if I am pregnant on Christmas day, I would certainly like getting a nice baby bag as a gift. Some of the brands that you should consider are Perry Mackin, JP Lizzy, Amy Michele, and Bumble Bags. These brands offer many stylish designs and many of them are available for less than $100 each.

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Life Presents Obstacles, None Which God Can’t Remove

Boy, life is a bummer sometimes. Things seem to be running smoothly, and then all of a sudden, they aren’t! Disappointments, tragedies, and little annoyances all of a sudden arise and set you off. While you are a Christian, still you wonder what is going on! You work so hard to follow God and obey His commandments, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to be working out in your favor. Now you are at a crossroads. You can give it all up and decide to go your own way without God or you can continue to believe, have faith, and trust God.

I know, I’ve been there and it isn’t always easy; but the closer I am to God, trusting Him, I now see challenges. God says He loves me. He will supply all my needs and will take care of me. (Read Matthew 6:25-34.) He will bless me for doing His will, so I continue to trust Him because I want to see what He has for me no matter how long it takes. It is like waiting for that one Christmas present… the one that surprises me in the most profound way!

I keep being reminded of Job. If you haven’t read about this remarkable man in the Bible, please immerse yourself in his story. It will definitely give you a dose of courage to continue through the quagmire of your life’s happenings. It will encourage you to keep persevering.

To persevere, focus on God and not your problem. Remember God’s promises by reading them in the Bible. God will use people and circumstances to achieve the best for you. At this time patience is necessary, because our timing is not God’s timing. God has a big plan for you and is getting everything organized to make it happen.

During this process, it is important to maintain a good attitude. Why? It will allow you to enjoy many wonderful things, big or small during this exasperating time. It will lighten your burden so that you can enjoy classmates, co-workers, family, and whomever else gets into your path. We must, as hard as it may be, be content in our situation. (Philippians 4:11)

It is time to grow and learn from your experiences. As our life unfolds before us, sad, lonely, exasperating as it may be, don’t go down into the hole with these feelings. Acknowledge your feelings, and ask God to help you rise above them. Focus on better times, happy feelings, and get up and get busy with productive work. Accomplish something that will be beneficial to others or yourself, but DON’T sink into the hole with your emotions. Take Charge! Trust God! What you want may not be the best for you, but thank goodness that omnipotent God does know what the best is for you.

God created you. You are His child; He is your heavenly Father. He loves you so much. He gave you an instruction book to help you through your earthly life; it is the Bible. He wants the best for you!
Reading God’s Mind, His Thoughts for Every Life Situation is a wonderful book to keep handy when you need a spiritual uplifting or need a problem resolved. Book clubs, Bible study groups, and families will find this book engenders stimulating conversations. There are “Study Guide Questions for Discussion” at the back of the book.

If you need to earn extra money for your church or organization, take advantage of receiving Reading God’s Mind free. You can view the details at my website, [http://booksblessings.com], Fundraiser.

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Benefits That the DEWALT DCD760KL Cordless Iron Drill Presents Its Users

Iron drills are important tools for home improvement. They can drill holes in the walls where one would like to install things like paintings, picture frames and more. Without the drill, there is no way one can attempt to decorate his home. There is also no way that he can install flat screen television sets, for example, against walls. This is where the DEWALT DCD760KL cordless iron drill comes in.

There are many other iron drills that can come close to this particular drill. But because of its many good features, there are many more who would prefer this drill to others. What are the reasons why many prefer the DEWALT DCD760KL? There are many reasons, many benefits that one can get from this particular drill such as:

Comfort. One can be more comfortable with using the cordless iron drills like this because he can’t be bothered by the drill anymore while he works using this. It makes use of lithium batteries that are rechargeable so battery life is better and longer and one does not have to worry about where else to get a battery for the cordless iron drill.

Speed that is easily adjustable. The speed in which you would like to drill a part of your home with can be controlled when you are using the DEWALT DCD760KL. You can make drilling work faster by adjusting the speed, in which this cordless iron drill does the job so. With this, you can go very fast or you can opt for something slower that you can be sure of as well.

Flexibility. Added to the speed of the drill that is easy to adjust, this can also be a very flexible. It can drill holes on any surface you may need to do so. This is the reason for the existence of the 17 clutch settings. It is up to you how you would like to use this drill—whatever surface you choose to use this in or at what speed you’d like to use this with. You can definitely get the job done efficiently with this particular cordless iron drill.
The cordless iron drill is easy to use. It is also sleek in terms of design and color. This is definitely one tool that you cannot do away with especially when you are fond of fixing household things on your days off from work for example.

Because the DEWALT DCD760KL is cordless, it is easy to bring anywhere with you. This is one good tool that many carpenters and such cannot do without. If you don’t have this yet then you might have to start searching for where you can get this. The cordless drill might be costly however it is one of the best drills there is in the market. It certainly is one of those that are the easiest to use at home, in the office and everywhere else this may seem useful too.

If you want the best of many drills in the market then you definitely should check this particular drill. The cordless drill is hard to miss everywhere, including hardware stores because they are quite popular to many who have used them in the past and some, even in the present.

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A Pointy Presentation of Laser Pointers

Laser is the abbreviation of Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. In other words, it is an optical apparatus that generates a powerful ray of light. A laser pointer uses a beam of light for highlighting something important by projecting a tiny spot of colored light right onto it.

There are low-powered lasers which in some jurisdictions are not allowed to exceed 5 milliwatts (mW). Then there are higher-powered laser pointers which are green and blue. These project a visible beam by scattering dust particles or water droplets along the path of that beam. Users of these types of lasers must wear special secure glasses to protect their eyes.

These higher-powered and higher-frequency lasers produce a ray of light that can be seen even in clean air because of Rayleigh scattering of air molecules. It takes its name from Lord Rayleigh, the British physicist, and refers to the dispersion of any electromagnetic radiation or light. This optical phenomenon occurs when light passes through the transparent liquids and solids, but it is mostly seen in gases. The best example for this occurrence is the scattering of sunlight in the atmosphere which sets off the diffusion of sky radiation and in turn allows us to see the sky as blue and the sun as yellow.

Laser pointers started out as red or orange back in the 1980s. Today, they are the simplest known forms of laser pointers as they are simply battery-operated laser diodes. They are more durable with easier transmission. They have also shrunk in size and are more affordable.

Then there are the blue-violet and green lasers which first appeared in 2000. They are more complicated than the red lasers but they’re just as easy-to-use and just as reliable. The green lasers are currently the most popular type. They are cheaper than the blue and yellow lasers, but more powerful than the red ones. They are considered an efficient light source. Green lasers can be used – among many other uses – for amateur astronomy to point out stars and even neighboring planets.

Laser pointers have numerous uses. For example, they can enhance the accuracy of specific distances. This is done by utilizing them into other practical tools as infrared thermometers, laser levels, etc. They are also used in educational and business presentations to point out information when the lesson or speech is being given.

These pointers have also made a big impact on the entertainment world. Whether you are watching a show, dancing at a club, hosting a party, or enjoying a concert, you can be sure you will find some sort of laser being used in some way or another.

No matter what form, shape or application these laser pointers are utilized for, users must remember that they can cause a degree of potential harm to nearby objects and people. If aimed at the eye, they can cause disturbances to vision; some temporary and some permanent. Low-powered laser pointers may not be as seriously damaging, but they can cause major annoyances.

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Experiencing the Past in the Present Bacolod: 3 Heritage Sites to Visit

Every city has stories to tell, and its richest tales are usually those that speak of its origins and the significant historical events that have shaped its people’s culture. Bacolod City is no exception, and visiting its interesting heritage sites will reveal to you a place with a fascinating past and rich culture that goes far beyond fun festivities in October or scrumptious local cuisines. When you’re in the area, don’t miss visiting these three heritage sites that will open up the doors to Bacolod’s past so you can gain insights into its culture and history, and help you better understand its present.

1. Mariano Ramos Ancestral House
Built in the 1930s using architectural techniques that combine Tuscan and Castilian influences, the Mariano Ramos Ancestral House was the ancestral home of the first appointed El Presidente del Municipal of Bacolod, Don Mariano Ramos. Consisting of three storeys including an octagonal tower room also known as the mirador, it was the second tallest structure in the city during its time. The panoramic and full city view that the tower offered made this ancestral home the first choice of the Imperial Japanese Army commanding officers when they established their base in the province of Negros during World War II. It was the house from where Gen. Takaeishi Kono directed over 20,000 Japanese occupation troops and eight airfields in the province during the war. Today this ancestral home remains located on its place along Burgos Street, standing as a significant historical site in the city.

2. Dizon-Ramos Museum
Constructed in the 1950s, the Dizon-Ramos Museum was the ancestral home of prominent earlier Negrenses Raymundo L. Dizon and Hermelinda V. Ramos. The architecture of the home showcases a mix of modern and neo-classic touches, and its exhibits give visitors an idea of how upper-middle class families lived in Bacolod during the after-war period. It houses immense collections of glassware, ceramics and religious ornaments collected by the Dizon-Ramos clan, as well as pictorial reproductions that capture the rich history of Bacolod for modern visitors to see.

3. Negros Museum
More than just a typical museum collecting antiques and artworks, the Negros Museum is unique in that it focuses more on showcasing stories about the local residents of Negros Occidental. Also known by the name “The Sugar Museum”, it highlights significant historical events which made the province of Negros famous as “The Sugarbowl of the Philippines.” The museum houses several galleries that include one featuring Nicolas Loney, a prominent figure in Negrense history who pioneered the creation of the sugar enterprise and industry.

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Presenting: Toronto’s WinterCity Festival – Culinary Treats, Arts and Entertainment

There is no doubt that Canada is a northern country and that our winters here in Toronto can sometimes be a little harsh. But that’s no reason to hold anyone back from getting out there and enjoying the city to the fullest.

To ease the winter blues, the City of Toronto has developed a series of special events dedicated to bringing the city to life in the middle of winter. The WinterCity Festival is a city-wide celebration of Toronto’s culinary offerings (the popular Winterlicious restaurant promotion), a wide variety of free entertainment events and a showcase of Toronto’s vibrant arts scene, featuring live music, dance, theatre, spectacle shows, rink-side concerts and even aerial acrobatic performances. Throw in a number of child-friendly events, and WinterCity has something for everyone in the family.

I had a chance to talk to Grant Ramsey from the City of Toronto who is one of the key people behind WinterCity and he is providing a much more detailed overview of all the special events, artistic and culinary treats on offer.

1. Please give us an overview of Toronto’s WinterCity Festival. When did it come into being? When and where is it held?

This year will be the fourth WinterCity held. Prior to the name change, it was called WinterFest, which took place on one weekend. Since expanding the festival, it now runs for two-weeks and is held primarily at Nathan Phillips Square from, Jan. 27 to Feb. 9

2. Please tell us more about the “Wild on Winter Series”.

The Wild on Winter Series (WOW!) combines some of the best performances in Toronto. Two large outdoor spectacle shows, “Walk the Plank” and “Il Corso”, which take place on Saturday and Sundays of both weekends, feature some of the best pyrotechnic, special effects and sound displays in North America. Other WOW! Series performers include, stellar Canadian talent presenting the best in dance and live music all at Nathan Phillips Square.

3. Please tell us more about the “Warm-up Series”? Where does it take place, what events does it include?

The Warm up series offers great discounted events at some of Toronto’s hottest destinations. For those who just can’t brave the cold, The Warm Up Series offer excellent interactive entertainment at The Toronto Eaton Centre and other venues around the city.

Toronto Eaton Centre Schedule:
- Spin Cycle
Monday, January 30: 12:30 & 5:30 pm
The international vaudevillian duo of Greg Tarlin and Kristi Heath combine their talents as award-winning circus performers, Second City comedy veterans and skilled writers to engage, amaze and entertain with skills that include juggling, unicycling, stilt dancing and more.

- The Silk Road Acrobats
Three Man Acrobats & Hula Hoop Act
Tuesday, January 31: 12:30 & 5:30 pm
This performance combines the grace, delicacy and poise of the Chinese acrobatic tradition with the power and athleticism of Russian acrobatics. Three professional acrobats perform multiple towers, falls and strength poses along with an up-beat performance using a multiple hoop apparatus.

- The Silk Road Acrobats
Seven Man Acrobats & The Female Contortion Duo
Wednesday, February 1: 12:30 & 5:30 pm
Professional acrobats perform an amazing group demonstration of strength, coordination, group dynamic and impeccable timing. While balancing delicate vases on their hands and feet, the acrobatic female duo perform graceful contortions and remarkable poses, creating an effect that is truly enchanting.

- High Strung Aerial Acrobats “Dy-no-mite”
Thursday, February 2 & Saturday, February 4, 12:30 & 5:30 pm
A two-woman high energy aerial show with a sassy disco flair. Performed to hits from the 70s, like Disco Inferno, Ring My Bell and Macho Man, the show features aerial straps, a swinging ladder and trapeze. Throw in some audience participation, acrobatics and a kick-ball change or two, and you have a spectacle like no other.

- High Strung Aerial Acrobats “Impressed”
Friday, February 3 & Sunday, February 5:
12:30 & 5:30 pm
Witness aerial dance artistry, superior and surprising manipulations, and skills that seem to defy gravity. Wonder and marvel as these two breathtaking airborne lovelies perform startling acrobatic feats.
Events & Shows hosted by some of Toronto’s top attractions

Don’t miss this series of special WinterCity events at Toronto’s top urban destinations. For more details, contact each attraction directly.

4. Please tell us about the WinterCity Weekend SeeSaw at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People.

WinterCity Weekend SeeSaw at Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People
Meet four ordinary kids coping with the ups and downs of their lives. Paige, the popular yet insecure girl. Adam the tough bully who is also a budding artist, shy Josh who learns magic tricks in order to become invisible and Charla the new girl who wants to be everybody’s friend. (recommended for ages 9-12)

Saturday, January 28 & Sunday, January 29, 2 pm
Kids and adults WinterCity price just $12 each.
Regular price $15-20 each
165 Front Street East
416-862-2222
http://www.lktyp.ca

6. You also have an event planned that involves “Franklin the Turtle”, “Elliot Moose” and the CN Tower. Please tell us more about that.

Franklin the Turtle, Elliot Moose & friends visit the CN Tower
Join Franklin the Turtle, Elliot Moose and their author friends, Elizabeth MacLeod, Irene Luxbacher and Aubrey Davis, at the CN Tower. Enjoy winter crafts, no-bake chocolate recipes, storytelling and more.

This fun filled event is included with your special CN Tower coupon admission of 3 people for $30

Saturday, January 28 & Sunday, January 29
11 am – 4 pm
3 people for $30
301 Front Street West
416-868-6937
For full details on this event please visit, http://www.cntower.ca

6. You also offer special free skating events, beer tastings, a big band event, discounted opera events and theatre performances, please provide an overview of those.

DJ Skating Night @ Harbourfront
Slide down to Harbourfront’s beautiful rink and skate to music including house, progressive and breaks with DJs Phantasm, Simon Jain and Tommy Gunners!

Free hot chocolate! Skate rentals, sharpening, lockers, snacks and drinks all available.

Friday, February 3, 2006
8-11 pm
FREE
235 Queens Quay West, South of York Quay Centre
416-973-4000
http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com

A Bite before Twilight
Under 30? Join the Canadian Opera Company for a feast of traditional Bavarian fare at the exciting Bier Markt Esplanade and a quick update of “the story so far” before gorging on the dramatic final installment of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle – The Twilight of the Gods (Götterdämmerung). Meet other young opera lovers and fortify yourselves with beer and worst, fine food and good cheer in preparation for the experience of a lifetime.

Saturday, February 4, 2006
$60 for opera ticket and meal (includes taxes and gratuity)
4 pm dinner
Bier Markt
58 The Esplanade
http://www.thebiermarkt.com

6 pm performance of Götterdämmerung
Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts
1 Front St. E.
http://www.coc.ca
To order tickets, call: Ticketmaster at 416-872-2262

A Return to the Golden Era of Swing at Casa Loma
Dance the night away in one of Toronto’s most beautiful rooms with the Toronto All-Star Big Band. Resembling a Mediterranean Courtyard, Casa Loma’s The Conservatory is a spectacular setting with its gleaming brass doors, opulent marble and 30-foot stained glass dome. One of the most exciting bands around, the 17-piece Toronto All-Star Big Band, “cooks” with its powerful tributes to the heady hits of the 1930s and 40s. It’s like watching Goodman, Dorsey, and Miller live.

Saturday, February 4, 2006
8:00 pm
$25.00 per person (includes G.S.T. and finger foods)
Tickets available on-line at http://www.casaloma.org
One Austin Terrace
416-923-1171
http://www.casaloma.org

Letters from Lehrer
CanStage offers a 20% discount to the February 9th performance of Letters from Lehrer – written and performed by Richard Greenblatt featuring the words and music of Tom Lehrer.

There will be a Satirical Lyric Writing workshop for the closet songwriter. This pre-show workshop will run from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, followed by the performance at 8 pm.

Thursday, February 9, 2006
6:30 pm to 7:30 pm (workshop)
8 pm (performance)
20% discount on regular priced tickets
Regular price range: $26 to $51
Berkeley Theatre
26 Berkeley Street
Box Office: 416-368-3110
http://www.canstage.com

Coupons for discounted rates are available by visiting: http://wx.toronto.ca/inter/se/coupons.nsf/coupons?openform where they can be printed.

7. Please tell us about “Winterlicious”, Toronto’s winter restaurant promotion.

The phenomenally successful restaurant promotion Winterlicious, presented by American Express, returns to Toronto January 27 – February 9, 2006. The fourth annual Winterlicious is part of the WinterCity Festival, an award-winning 14 day city-wide celebration of Toronto’s culture, creativity and cuisine.

More than 120 participating restaurants will offer a special three-course prix fixe menu where patrons can sample the establishment’s tasty fare at fantastic price points. Prix fixe menu price categories are $15 or $20 for Lunch and $25 or $35 for Dinner. Prices are per person, plus taxes and gratuity. Beverages are additional.
In addition to the hugely popular prix fixe menus, 10 establishments will be offering unusual food-related events. These culinary experiences allow guests to savour delectable meals followed by dancing, unique tours and other rare experiences. To obtain details on the Winterlicious Culinary Experiences, the public can visit http://www.toronto.ca.

In past years Torontonians and tourists alike have enthusiastically celebrated Toronto’s diverse and innovative cuisine with delicious menus available at restaurants city-wide. Winterlicious 2005 sold more that 183,000 meals over the 14 days – an increase of 67% from the previous year and resulting in an estimated $6.4 million in economic activity.

8. Please tell us about the family entertainment offered in the American Express Cool Ice Lounge, including ice sculptures, carving demonstrations and live entertainment.

The third annual WinterCity Festival, the City of Toronto’s city-wide celebration of the world’s coolest winter city, presents the most fun one family can have with 200,000 pounds of ice at temperatures below -5 C — the American Express Cool Ice Lounge.

Created by Custom Ice Art and managed by the Liberty Entertainment Group, The American Express Cool Ice Lounge is Toronto’s first ice lounge ideal for the whole family.

During the day, stroll through the Ice Lounge enjoying contemporary ice sculptures, carving demonstrations and live entertainment. Stop for a beverage and snack at the ice bar and relax on the frosty furniture. Catch ice carving demonstrations twice a day at 2 & 5 pm on January 28 & 29 and February 4 & 5, 2006.

By night, this venue is transformed into a frozen night club venue complete with icy seating, an ice bar, and Toronto DJ’s spinning the latest tunes.

During the day, the American Express Cool Ice Lounge will include live family entertainment, including:

The Magical Comedy of Stephen Elvay
Sunday, January 29 & Saturday, February 4 at 12 noon & 6 p.m.
Witty, engaging and supremely entertaining, Elvay is one of Canada’s funniest and most popular entertainers. His fast paced and visual extravaganza of comedy and magic is expertly interlaced to provoke mystery and laughter.

Flying Debris Show
Saturday, January 28 & Sunday, January 29 at 1:30 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.
Kansas, USA native Richard Holmgren brings his hilarious comedy, amazing magic and unmatched juggling skills to the WinterCity festival. You’ll be amazed by the wide variety of objects flying through the air during his show.

Flyin’ Bob
Saturday, February 4 & Sunday, February 5 at 1:30 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.
This one man three ring circus from Red Deer, Alberta has been entertaining audiences across Canada and around the world for the last seventeen years. Flyin’ Bob’s action packed show showcases his own brand of physical and verbal comedy, energetic juggling, spectacular balancing, and audience participation.

Scot Free Daredevil Stunt Show
Saturday, January 28 & Sunday, February 5 at 12 noon & 6 p.m.
One of Toronto’s favourite performers! Check out this skillful mix of character comedy, exciting daredevil stunts, sharp improvised wit and audience interaction. Fun for all ages, come see if this daredevil gets off … Scot Free!!

9. Please tell us about “Soup’s On!” – a special event offering cooking demonstrations and soup tastings.

“Soup’s On!,” presented by Liberty Tax Services, offers cooking demonstrations and soup tastings from Toronto’s top chefs matched with live performances from some of Toronto’s most diverse bands.

The world of soup is vast and sophisticated. There are thick soups such as bouillabaisse that nearly cross the line from soup to stew, thin clear consommés, and everything in-between. Nearly all cultures have their own soup specialties: hearty Russian borscht, garlicky Spanish gazpacho, and Pot-au-Feu, a French clear soup made from boiled beef and vegetables.

Featuring soups from Spain to China and Jamaica to Greece, the “Soup’s On” pavilion will have something for everyone. Hosted by food enthusiast Marty Galin, chefs from Toronto-area restaurants will provide live cooking demonstrations in a heated pavilion on Nathan Phillips Square with the public able to taste-test the results while listening to music from the themed country.

10. Please tell us about the “Tower of Light” performance.

Toronto’s 14 day city-wide celebration, the WinterCity Festival, presented by the American Express Philanthropic Program, presents the North American premiere of The Tower of Light, a large-scale outdoor production blending fireworks and fire sculptures, music, lighting, special effects and spectacular visual images. The production is performed January 27, 28 and 29 at
7 p.m. outdoors at Nathan Phillips Square.

Framed by the silhouette of Toronto’s City Hall, this 30-minute production features a 15m tower of light and a carefully orchestrated outdoor performance of vibrant special effects and atmospheric music. Buckets of fire rise up into the sky as the lighthouse pulses with flares. Fireworks erupt from every level as the performers dance beneath the silver rain. The show comes to a dramatic close with a spectacular fireworks finale.

Walk the Plank is widely recognized as one of the UK’s leading producers of innovative shows and magical spectacles. The company was established by John Wassell and Liz Pugh, its current management team, in 1991. Site-specific shows and fireworks have been a feature of the company’s work since the beginning, but this area of work has expanded and developed over recent years. In 2001 Walk the Plank undertook its first international work with shows in Singapore and Portugal.
The Tower of Light has been performed at the Singapore Arts Festival, Greenwich and Docklands International Festival and Stockton International Riverside Festival.
10. Please tell us about “Il Corso”, a 60-minute open-air theatre spectacle.

11. Please tell us about “Il Corso” performance, based on a book by Pablo Neruda.

WinterCity presents the North American premiere of Il Corso, a 60-minute open air theatre spectacle featuring actors, acrobats and musicians from Germany’s Theatre Pan-Optikum. The production is performed February 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. outdoors at Nathan Phillips Square.

Il Corso will take place all over Nathan Phillips Square as the venue is transformed into a stage. Individual spectators will continually change their positions as they are caught up in the movement and, ultimately, even become part of the performance. Featuring a wall of fire, dancers on 10 ft. sway poles and huge metal structures including a human propeller, the production combines dramatic movement, installations, music, text, huge expressive images and pyrotechnics.

Il Corso tells the story of a human being in search of fulfillment and happiness and is based on “The Book of Questions” by Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda. The 74 short poems contained in the book are structured as two-line verses raising 316 puzzling questions. Many of Neruda’s questions are ones children sometimes pose such as “Where do shadows disappear to?” and “Why are leaves green?” These questions often expose the fact that adults cannot explain everything they claim to know. As Neruda says, “What we know is so small and what we assume so great.”

In 2001, the “Kunstfest Weimar” art festival opened with Il Corso. In 2002, Il Corso was chosen from 80 invited open air productions and awarded 1st prize at the street theatre festival in Holzminden, after which Il Corso played 27 times in Germany and the Netherlands. Il Corso is currently the most played open air production in Europe.

10. What about the “Winter Moves” dance performances?

As part of the WOW! (Wild on Winter) Series, The WinterCity Festival presents Winter Moves – dance performances from four of Canada’s top contemporary dance companies. Performances take place outside at Nathan Phillips Square on Festival weekends. Participating companies include:

o Company Blonde – Company Blonde has a unique and vital presence in the independent dance scene in Canada. Since it’s inception in 1999, Company Blonde has been dedicated to creating dance works that are accessible to a vast audience of all ages blending comedy and theatre with classical modern dance. Company Blonde will perform:

o Awright, Awright, Awright! — Clad in bright 70′s style one-piece snowsuits this highly energetic piece was designed for the outdoors but has found its way onto many small stages. The dancers (Monica Dottor, Michelle Debrouwer, Jennifer Helland, Sunny Horvath and Nicole Rush) arrive in a car, music blaring, put out a few plastic palm trees and dance with all their heart to the pop music of Outkast. It is nearly impossible to resist shakin’ it along side them. Awright, Awright, Awright! premiered at the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival in March 2004 and has been performed many times since, at schools, on stages indoor and out and always in snowsuits.

o Binder Twine — This hilarious Wild West piece features outlaws, saloon girls, line dancers, tumble weed and baked beans! Featuring dancers Monica Dottor, Michelle Debrouwer, Jennifer Helland, Sunny Horvath and Nicole Rush Binder Twine premiered at the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival in April 2005 and was performed at the T.O Twang Festival at Harbourfront in August 2005.

o CORPUS — Founded in 1997, CORPUS is devoted to creating original work for broad audiences including children. Led by Sylvie Bouchard and David Danzon, CORPUS is known for its precise and surrealist humour, the company combines contemporary dance and physical theatre. CORPUS will perform:

o Les moutons (The Sheep) — Les moutons is a humorous “live installation” where reality meets fantasy. Meet Julie, Marie-Louise, Bernadette and Cesar, three healthy young sheep and an old ram. The Shepherd is here too, talking you through a carefully studied overview of sheep behavior.

o Tina Fushell / Choreographer / Dancer — Born and raised in St. John’s, Nfld., Tina Fushell studied at the Quinte Ballet School and the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. In 2002 Tina co-founded Ambitious Enterprises (AE) with Kate Franklin and Samm Higgison, producing the “At the Wrecking Ball” series, a now yearly event which has garnered much praise for the young company and ushered in a new generation of choreographers and collaborators from various disciplines. Tina Fushell will present:

o sTOries — sTOries is performed to live jazz music. This contemporary dance piece is inspired by Torontonians stories about Winter. The highly physical sTOries features a trio of dancers (Tina Fushell, Anisa Tejpar and Kate Franklin) dressed for Winter in full wool skirts, blazers and boots.

o Larchaud Dance Project is known for their strength-testing choreography and gravity defying movement and are certain to captivate, provoke, and entertain all audiences. Larchaud Dance Project’s upcoming June 2006 production is based on the world and culture of videogames. Each piece in the show is based on a world/level of the game, albeit a jungle, a labyrinth, underwater, etc. At the WinterCity Festival, Larchaud Dance Projects will present:

o Ice World — Of all the levels of a videogame the ice world proves to be the greatest challenge. Not only must the players overcome the treacherous conditions of their environment, but they must conquer the evil Queen and her Henchman. It is she who controls this world, and in her defeat, they may progress onto the next level.

11. Toronto’s WinterCity Festival will also feature a number of live music performances. Please tell us about those.

The WinterCity Festival, presented by the American Express Philanthropic Program, the award-winning 14 day city-wide celebration of Toronto’s culture, creativity and cuisine, will feature two weekends of FREE live music and DJ’s on an outdoor stage at Nathan Phillips Square as part of the WOW! (Wild On Winter) series. The WinterCity Festival takes place January 27 – February 9, 2006.

Friday Jan. 27

Opening Concert

Les Batinses, 7:30 p.m.

This young sextet plays world music with a Québécois slant. They embrace music from anywhere and everywhere to marry old-style folk and roots ballads with funk-driven acoustics.

Saturday Jan. 28

Sizzling Hot! Latin Dance Music

DJ Billy Bryans, 12 noon

Get on the ice and move! DJ Billy Bryans drops the latest in Latin music, reggaeton, salsa and the hottest timba cuts directly from Havana.

Chiva featuring Brownman, 12:30 p.m.

Toronto’s Chiva fuses seductive Colombian rhythms with funk grooves and urban hip-hop beats against a Latin-jazz backdrop.

Latin Roots Orchestra, 2 p.m.

With a nod to the golden age of Latin music, this Toronto group blends the hottest sounds of classic salsa with the latest hip-shaking Latin grooves guaranteed to burn up the dance floor.

Tumbao Inc., 3:30 p.m.

One of Toronto’s newest Latin orchestras, Tumbao Inc. offers catchy lyrics and memorable melodies combined with powerful percussive beats in merengue music and electronica.

Brownman & CRUZAO featuring Fito Blanko, 5 p.m.

Led by multi-award-winning trumpeter Brownman, CRUZAO mixes authentic Latin rhythms, jazz harmonies and modern urban grooves. CRUZAO is joined by special guest Fito Blanko, Toronto’s rising star of reggaeton.

Ricky Franco, 6:30 p.m.

Talented singer/songwriter/composer, Ricky Franco delivers slick vocals layered over powerful Salsa Descargas with a soulful edge and the popular dance rhythms of Bachata.

Between sets, DJ’s will spin. Following the final band, DJ’s will spin club music outside until 11 p.m.

Sunday Jan. 29

Cool Blues

Ndidi Onukwulu, 12:30 p.m.

A new voice in Toronto’s blues community, singer/songwriter Ndidi Onukwulu was born in BC and grew up listening to a variety of music including Nigerian juju. Set for release early in 2006, her eclectic debut album defies labels.

Tyler Yarema, 2 p.m.

Originally from Thunder Bay, Toronto pianist-vocalist Tyler Yarema dishes up high-energy boogie-woogie complemented by a smooth, fiery vocal delivery.

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Another Reason to Dump All World Religions in the Present Period

We see in the world culture clashes and even wars fought over religions and religious literature with vengeance. But why? If all these religions are so old and we humans knew so little back then, wouldn’t ya say it is time to upgrade the human species a tad and well ditch all religion in the present period so we can maintain a steady clip of forward progression in the human race into the next period. I am serious.

Why not just get rid of all of it. Silly humans wake up, you are killing each other over some old wives tales and folklore which they made up to control your ancestors. Those people who made it all up are all dead now, you don’t have to follow all that piddly dribble any longer? Wake up and take a gander outside the cave. It is way to stuff in there with all the flickering lights, fog and smoke.

As we watch the massive slaughter of entire third world countries over a belief in a good, witch doctor, voodoo doll or even various factions of Islam itself, doesn’t it seem rather odd, that so many religions have been the previous fiber holding people together? Why are we even allowing such disruptive thought in the world? Why do we allow people to kill their neighbors over something that was written by men to control other men 3000 years ago? Consider this in 2006.

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