From Sweden With Love – Styling from Prince to 007

Josefine, sat in a cafe with her laptop open, talking on Skype.
She spoke in Swedish. How did I know? I had been to Sweden many time, had friends living there, flown to Stockholm with American Airlines, connecting through Chicago.

Chicago is where Prince began a series of Chicago concerts Sept. 24 at the United Center in support of Van Jones’ Rebuild the Dream organization.

Rebuild the Dream offers entrepreneurs tools that individuals and communities can use to create a fairer economic future for all.

As Josefine spoke into her headset, I felt I was watching a scene from the film Girl Who Played with Fire directed by Daniel Alfredson and, starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist. So I decided to leave. As I walked out of the coffee shop, I paused, and thought. I could walk over to Magpie fashion down the street, see what they where making for Prince, or Andy Allo, as both where heading off to Australia for the Welcome 2 Australia Tour, or I could go back and, wait till she finished her Skype call. I went back in.

When Josefine had gotten off the phone I said to her “so where in Sweden are you from?”, she was stunned,  and yet pleasantly surprised. We became friends.

Josefine who is a student, mathematician, cook, astrologer, and model.

During the summer Josefine was in Sweden visiting family, and I sent her an email. I was going to be helping the Toronto International Film Festival, with their first fund-raising gala.

The gala was based on a James Bond 007 theme (as it was James Bonds 007 50th anniversary), and called ‘Night That Never Ends’.  Having been asked to be the Chair of VIP talent I wanted her to meet with the organizers to be one of the Bond girls.

When Josefine returned from Sweden, she met with the organizers, went to a fitting for the Bond girls.  Josefine was not selected to be a Bond girl.  She was selected to be the girl of Magpie fashion.

When Josefine went in for her fitting,  everyone at Magpie were busy getting outfits ready for Prince, those that he has been rocking on-stage in Chicago.

As the festival opened Josefine sitting at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Toronto wearing Magpie, posed for a photograph with a Jarrell guitar.  The girl from Sweden, linked to Prince and Andy Allo not with a thread or fabric, but also a guitar. She had gone, from a coffee shop, to the red-carpet wearing Magpie with one-degree of separation between Prince, Andy Allo and herself.

Magic is real and dreams come true. Now let’s  rock Chicago.

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How The King of Funk – Prince! Got Fashion in Toronto !

Prince was in town in Toronto. I needed to see him live. I had never seen him perform live. Each time an opportunity came up I could not make it. I was on my bicycle, needing a desperate fix of caffeine. It was Thanksgiving weekend in the United States and everyone who I knew who could get me to the show was on holidays. I was not about to disturb anyone over Prince, Welcome2Canada, not when they are with families. I know how big Thanksgiving is in the United States, hell, one of my director friends Gurinder Chadha discovered at the Toronto International Film Festival years ago even made a film about it, Thanksgiving Weekend. I was just gonna go with the flow. An Idea, thumped into my brain as if Thor himself had hammered it in. My neural senses went on full alert. No I was not going to go to Clafouti to get my cafe first. I was going to go see two ladies, at Magpie fashion and she what they had that Prince or Andy Allo could rock on stage. I had my weapon of choice that would allow me to distribute my findings to the world. I had my iPhone. My office.

Walking into Magpie, the energy flowing through me was at new heights. I was playing what Mark Zuckerberg calls the hacking game. You are constantly evolving your plan, your path, as things emerge, you adjust, you experiment.

Cathy and Angela, partners, owners and designers of Magpie on Toronto’s Queen Street West, were busy doing what they do, designing and stitching. Both dressed in black, looked at me and Angela with her high energy greeted me with, “hello Timothy”, while Cathy calmly smiled her way of saying hello. I explained to the girls I was on a mission and I had this idea why don’t they give a shout-out to Prince, show him a few things that he or Andy Allo could wear, I am headed over to Air Canada building, and perhaps I can show it to him, (if I run into him), nevertheless I was going to YouTube it. Quickly the girls assembled a rolling rack, and I was recording the result you can watch here.

Having beamed the video onto YouTube while having my coffee, it was time to get back on the bike and negotiate the streets of Toronto, pot holes, tram tracks, taxi’s and within a matter of time I was at Air Canada Center at the security entrance. I chatted with a few security people various people came to talk to me, but no one really could help. A car pulled up. It was at this time the security told me if anyone could help me it was that man. That man was Sammy Wong.
Sammy Wong and and I talked he looked at a few emails that I had sent to some people in Los Angeles, that had come back with a respond, ‘on holidays will not be picking up emails’. I explained to Sammy, that I was not going to call anyone on the cell phone on a long weekend.
In the conversation finding out that Sammy had been a photographer on tour with the Rolling Stones, I knew the Rolling Stones, and Sammy said “what do you need”, “tickets”, I told him. Sammy took my business card, took out his iPhone, started tapping the keys on his screen, looked at me and said, “they will be at the will call window”. I was going to see my first live performance of Prince in my hometown to which I had returned from Los Angeles, knowing virtually no-one. The show, seven encores later, was out of this world.

A day later, I was again riding my bike having stopped for a coffee at another cafe. My cell phone rang, it was the girls of Magpie (correction it was Angela), “Prince’s assistant called she told us he saw your video, and wants us to send clothes to him in Montreal for the show”, “You’re screwing with me right?”, I said. Angela let me know it was for real. I jumped on my bike and raced over.

Arriving at the Magpie, (magical kingdom) as I like to call it, Angela gave me the number of Prince’s, assistant to call. Angela had already told Prince’s assistant about me, and how I know various bands. I called, and Prince’s assistant and I spoke, no this was no prank, it was real, she told me Prince saw the video, and if I could bring up some cloths to Montreal for Prince, and Andy Allo, she gave me the information where to take them, we exchanged contact information. I was going to personally transport them for Prince.

After the Montreal show, I was sitting with friends at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, bar drinking wine, Prince, Andy Allo, and his assistant were off to the after-party jamming session. The iPhone sitting on the bar, rang, I apologized to my friends, told them I was working. The voice on the other end was that of Prince’s assistant, “Tim, can you text me the telephone number of your designer friends, Prince loves everything, he wants to call them personally”.

This my friends is a story of magic, of going with the flow, of the hacking game of experimentation that through social media with social interaction can lead to potentially, unleashing the forces that create magic in this world.

Angela and Cathy of Magpie, ended up designing for Andy Allo, who now is out performing in Chicago her ‘Superconductor’album produced by Prince as well as the King himself, the master of funk, Prince.

These are the things that happen in life that makes it all worthwhile.

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‘Superconductor’ Andy Allo’s Magic Could Have Been At TIFF2012

So…. last weekend I hung out my friend Prince and he introduced me to the beautiful songbird, Andy Allo. I had the honor of hearing songs from her new album “Superconductor” produced by Prince. After 8 bars of the first song, “People Pleaser” which features the legendary Maceo Parker and my New Orleans brother Trombone Shorty, I realized I had stopped breathing for a minute.(laughing) That track was so funky my neck hurt afterwards from bobbing so hard.As I listened to more songs it began to hit me that I could not take this home and I began to beg for an advance copy.(laughing)Nothing worked so I have to wait like everyone else. Andy’s songwriting is refreshing and so needed in music. Her voice sweet, sultry with an edge. Vocally she does just enough gently gliding through melodies and her lyrics say it all. Her heart is all over her guitar. I can hear where Prince enhanced what’s already there.This collaboration is divine. The musicianship on this project reminds me why I fell in love with music. September 20th “Superconductor

-Ledisi Anibade Young

I consider myself very fortunate to be blessed by the magical powers of the universe that bestow upon me the talents of so many, especially but not limited to music. Music, those notes, riffs and lyrics that blend like a fine  rich tapestry in tone.

To watch Andy Allo play that guitar on stage with Prince in the Welcome to Canada tour was altogether one of the highlights of 2011. The magic was ever present on stage.

Prince and Andy Allo had some of their cloth’s designed by my designer friends in Toronto and Magpie located in the vortex of magic on Queen Street West. Andy Allo herself came in one day and cleaned out the story before retiring to the sanctuary of the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Andy Allo did not tour with Price on his Welcome to Australia Tour as she was working on her album. So what did I do? I picked up the phone called her attorney in Los Angeles and invited Andy Allo to Toronto to come and play a gig to help some of my friends who run a wonderful organization called Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF. All I can say what, (Oh yes baby, what an album launch that would have been) as the world of media and entertainment converges and changes the cultural landscape of the city of Toronto.

But alas the dates don’t work, but still if I was her manager I’d say give the world a tease in Toronto,  Andy Allo, but then again I am not her manager, no the man who produced her album has a lot of say in this and he is the master of music, the legendary Prince.

My man Prince reflect on this my brother you lived here you know it well, a song a tune can change so much and turn the lives of so many.  There is still time to come, you are invited.

Change the world through the creative power of imagination and talent of music and film.

Peace my brother and sister.

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Joy Okafo – Model – Tokyo to Cairo

I was on a mission to track down Joy Okafo, who also reminded me a great deal of Andy Allo the super cool guitar chick who rock the stage for the master of funk Prince.

At America’s Next Top Model Live, I did run into Joy who had just finished for the day and was on her way out but she was gracious enough to give me the time to find out a little bit more about her.

If there was a photo-shoot to do in Cairo, Egypt then I would pick Joy Okafo to shoot in some very cool spots I know around Cairo. Joy Okafo in the land that started fashion and makeup by the ladies of style of fashion from Nefertiti to Cleopatra, now that would be fun.

While I could tell you that Joy, has a great smile, or what Joy like’s on her pizza and that she would be a cool person just to hang with, there is nothing better then letting Joy tell it in her own word’s.

Here is the discovery of Joy Okafo.

So here is the very cool model who is with Sutherland Model, from Toronto, a Canadian, Joy Okafo.

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The Magic that led to the music of In Medias Res

The Beatles said it. The Magical Mystery Tour, is waiting to take me away, or in my case it has taken me away.

Having left fans of the The Hunger Games by Lions Gate Entertainment founded in Vancouver, I walked into Magpie fashion only to discover two amazing ladies one of them being Karen the owner of a Vancouver based record label FU:M File Under: Music.

Magpie is the magical kingdom where anything is possible and any given time. After all the design for Canada’s Got Talent judge, Prince, Andy Allo, Lara St. John, Jessica Mitchell. It was Magpie that dressed the lady that discovered Lady Gaga my friend Wendy Starland and Chris Clemence of the band Rapscallions.

One thing you do if you’ve lived in New York or Los Angles is network. The internet is great but a face to face the adventure of discovery can not happen unless you are out and about and hitting the road that leads to adventure and discovery.

Karen and her friend where busy looking at designs new jackets, dresses but Karen took the time being the lady of discovery herself to take a call from Chris Clemence from Los Angeles, as well as tell me about her label that she started and In Medias Res.

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Formed over a decade ago, Vancouver-based In Medias Res have risen from a fledgling act full of potential to one of the most lauded indie-rock bands in the city, whose recent release has them poised to reach new heights. Three years ago, after touring extensively, selling out multiple pressings of their Intimacy EP and debut album Of What Was, and establishing a passionate fan base across the country, the band went back into the studio. Re-teaming with esteemed local producer Jonathan Anderson (Aidan Knight, Stablio), the quartet intended to best their previous effort, which had been met with glowing reviews and sales of over 2000 copies. But then life intervened. Rumors spread of the band’s demise as the album was slow in coming; meanwhile, the band rewrote, rerecorded, and remixed. In the assured hands of Dave Carswell and John Collins (The New Pornographers, Destroyer, Tegan and Sara) the album finally found its form: It Was Warm and Sunny When We First Set Out, a new release by In Medias Res.

Check this tune ‘Tonight I Am New’ I just loved it, it’s been dancing in my head. Discover the great talent and creative power of those who make dreams come true and who believe that magic is real

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Mouthful of Lana Del Rey at Magpie

There is no other person who has come out of nowhere in the last 6 months become famous and then have a sandwich named after her. While Lana Del Rey is from Lake Placid, New York, it was not New York that came up with the sandwich. London had Lana Del Rey front and center at Mulberry and it was in the United Kingdom that the sandwich was invented, it was not London that came up with the idea.

Thanks to social media, the idea emerged from Twitter a suggestion from Ireland and taken up by me to make it happen. It’s what American’s do, make things happen while others dream. In Canada it’s a small percentage who can act like American’s and among the few so far I have encountered are Magpie Fashion always ready to move and try new things, and Clafouti Toronto.

Magpie fashion which has been busy designing for Canada’s Got Talent judge Measha Brueggergosman also designs from time to time for Prince the King of Funk who once lived in Toronto. Magpie was back designing for Prince and invited a few people over to try some wine from South Australia, called Ass Kisser provided by Cottonwood Wine and the now famous mouthful sandwich created by Clafouti Lana Del Rey.

Canadian singer, songwriter was on-hand to try it as well while also getting fitted for her upcoming show. Have a look.

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