Salon Voltaire

Salon Voltaire

April 26, 2007 10:10 ET

"Intellectual Entertainment" Hits Toronto With Salon Voltaire

Attention Entertainment/Lifestyle and City Editors

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 26, 2007) - While pursuing doctoral studies at the London School of Economics, Salon Voltaire co-founder Jonathan Ezer noticed that intellectual events in London were relaxed and unpretentious. It reminded Ezer of his days in stand-up comedy, where a "buzz" pulsed through the audience. Returning to Toronto, Ezer and co-founder Colin Agur, a recent Master's graduate in international political economy, vowed to launch a new salon format in Toronto.

A year ago, at Jamie Kennedy's in the Gardiner Museum, Ezer and Agur launched Salon Voltaire as "intellectual entertainment" in a bi-weekly fall series in a comfortable setting that offered food and drink. On stage at Salon Voltaire, professors, activists, writers and artists held forth on topics ranging from Sharia law to the mysteries of sleep.

Now located in the historic Gladstone Hotel, Salon Voltaire speakers have argued that Toronto's downtown condominium builders need to rethink their buildings to accommodate families, and that conscious action in the West could increase affordability of prescription drugs and improve countless lives in the developing world. To achieve the Salon Voltaire mantra of "engage with ideas" all events offer a lively discussion, in which audience members are encouraged to question and challenge speakers.

Speakers Allan Hutchinson and Adam Vaughan provide the following accounts of Salon Voltaire. Hutchinson of Osgoode Hall Law School and a frequent commentator on Canadian legal issues observes, "Salon Voltaire is engaged, invigorating and plain fun -- Voltaire himself would be proud to be part of the programme and the audience." Adam Vaughan, Councillor for Trinity-Spadina says "Salon Voltaire generates penetrating ideas, surprising analysis and inspiring thought, and this is just from the audience!"

Comment cards reveal the audience's enthusiasm for Salon Voltaire: "Finally, someone knows how to make intellectualism fun." Another quips, "This is different than anything else - it's part public lecture, part talk show, part social event - all done in the style of a grassroots movement."

Salon Voltaire has ambitious plans for growth - to franchise the series to different cities: New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. In Toronto, the goal is to build a permanent home for Salon Voltaire offering a blend of speakers, idea gatherings and documentaries. The plan includes launching Salon Voltaire on cruises, and having people thinking big thoughts on specially designed Salon Voltaire furniture.

What: 2 hours of intellectual entertainment featuring two different speakers for 25-30 minutes each, with a 20 minute question-and-answer period following each speaker

Where: Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen W.

Time: Drinks 6:30 pm, Show 7:30 pm.

Tickets: $24. Four or more $16 ea.

For tickets: www.salon-voltaire.com

Next Shows:

Sunday April 29, 2007 Bruce Meyer, Professor, Author, "What makes a hero."

Allan Hutchinson, Osgoode Hall Law School: "If Plato had played football."

Wednesday May 16, 2007 Judy Singer, award-winning artist "The visual language of art, how to look at paintings."

Stephen Morris, Professor of Physics, "Why is the universe not boring, spontaneous pattern formation in nature."

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