Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Busy weekend

I spent most of Saturday at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which wound up being not quite what I was expecting. The first Festival, two years ago, consisted of a lot of excellent panels, readings, multimedia presentations, etc. It was a tightly run show, too: I remember thinking, "Wow, this is a really well-organized festival." At this year's festival, the events were ludicrously disorganized; readings started late or (on at least two occasions) not at all, the Comics Jam mural never happened, there was confusion about admission prices, the box of day-pass wristbands was not found until the middle of the afternoon. One of the performances that actually went ahead turned out to be a novelty musical act that was only tenuously connected with comics, and was just unendurably bad -- what was entertaining was standing outside the venue and watching audience members escape one by one, with sheepish looks on their faces. However, this year there was a massive exhibitor tent, where all the local and visiting artists had tables set up. Right from the beginning of the day it was crammed with people, meeting, schmoozing, buying, selling and trading. So it's not that the Festival sucked this year; it's just that it was all about the tent. I only wish I'd figured this out earlier and spent more time in the tent.

I did get to visit with m@b in the tent. He was sitting behind his table when I walked over, but then he stood up. He explained that he'd been taking a "sitting break," but that he feels it's important to stand up at these things, because then you look more alert and welcoming and people are more likely to want to come over to your table. I bought a copy of his book, which he was selling for half price (I've now already read the whole thing & highly recommend it). Then I wandered back to the Victory, where I ran into Marlena and Jesse. Jesse said, "Oh, you went to Matt's table. Was he standing up?"

On Sunday, I met up with Chrystl Rijkeboer, an artist visiting from the Netherlands. She had been staying in Ottawa; she has some work in a group show in the Gatineau which was curated by my mom. Now she's preparing a solo show at offthemapgallery, which will open on Saturday.

Doors Open was on, and we explored the participating buildings on Queen West: Camera, the Great Hall, and the Gladstone Hotel, which is preparing for a grand re-opening soon, following a massive renovation in which all the individual rooms have been redecorated by artists. The best thing about the Gladstone was the suite with the turret. There's a living room with a kitchenette, and curving stairs leading up to the tower room, with its 360-degree view:

Railway bridge

I totally want to live there.

It was a good day for walking around Toronto with a visitor, as the city was really showing off. At Trinity Bellwoods Park, we saw a film shoot in progress. This production was considerably lower budget than the one I saw on Friday. Zombies!


A bit farther west, we encountered a Guerilla Gardening planting in progress:

Guerilla gardening 1

You, too, can be a Guerilla Gardener, if you like -- check out their website. "Without permit or license, we plant seeds and seedlings in all those neglected corners of public space. Join us as we vandalise the city with nature!"

Chrystl was so much fun to hang out with. I foolishly didn't get a photo of her, but maybe on Saturday. Her photos from Sunday are here.


Anonymous ward said...

your picture from the turret is sublime ...

12:00 a.m., June 03, 2005  

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