Wednesday, August 22, 2007

All together now

I was at the Silver Dollar last night to see Saskatoon's Cracker Cats and local band Entire Cities. I suck at concert photography -- I'm no Carrie Musgrave -- but I had to get a picture of Entire Cities, because they have a girl playing a singing saw. I am enamoured of the singing saw, it is like a low-fi theremin.

Entire Cities @ the Silver Dollar

I approve of these Toronto bands where there are like 10 people on stage and half of them are playing kazoos or washboards or electric xylophones or God knows what. It looks like so much fun! I'd like to join one. I can't sing or play an instrument, but I could bang a walnut against an oatmeal box, or something. Also I could jump up and down a lot.

(That pic is looking awfully small to me, so here's a bigger version.)


Sunday, August 19, 2007


Comeback, originally uploaded by squiddity of toronto.

A bumper sticker owned by Steve Venright (my co-host on the Scream nature walk), made by his friend Phil Milsyein.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I have the only copy of Therefore Repent! with a squid in it

Went to the launch last night of Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam's new graphic novel, Therefore Repent!. It's about an oddball Canadian couple adrift in a post-Rapture Chicago where everyone is developing magical powers, dogs speak in the voices of the dead, and a merciless angel militia is roving around and mowing people down with assault weapons. Look what Jim & Sal wrote in my copy:

Bonus squid

Hee! Pick up your own copy at TCAF this weekend.

Speaking of militias, I was stumbling home sometime well after 1 am (following many beers with Comics Jam people) when, across the street from my building, my way was obstructed (as frequently happens around here) by a film shoot. This new Incredible Hulk movie has basically taken over my neighbourhood; apparently if I paid attention I might see Ed Norton wandering around dressed like a pizza delivery boy, though I doubt I'd recognize Ed Norton if I tripped over him. What I saw last night was dozens of people milling about on the lawn, with a lot of huge lights and trucks and trailers and whatnot. When I tried to walk around it all, a perky blonde with a clipboard said, "Could you wait just a moment? We're about to roll," and then someone somewhere yelled "ROLL," and a number of tanks, as well as a platoon of American soldiers in battle fatigues and camo facepaint, stormed up from College Street and laid siege to the front entrance of the Koffler Student Centre. So, you heard it from me: Incredible Hulk has tanks and soldiers in it. I'm guessing no squids or gay angels, though.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Another walk, and a late-night book craving satisfied

Last Thursday night we gathered at Old Mill station and walked northwest. I'd seen bits of the Kingsway before, but this was the first time I'd walked through and really experienced the bizarre ostentation of the neighbourhood: the blocks and blocks of massive faux-Tudor mansions. We went down a staircase through some trees, to the edge of the Humber River. There was a gravel path, pale in the darkness, that ran alongside the river, and the six of us walked along it for at least half an hour without speaking, listening to the steady trill of crickets and the rush of the water. The moonless sky was ribbed with clouds that glowed in the light of the city.

As the walk wound down, and our psychogeography group passed through Bloor West Village on the way to the subway station, I was possessed by a desire to go home and read the short stories of Haruki Murakami. I noticed that the Chapters on Bloor was just closing up. Hmm. If it's 11:00 on a Thursday night in Toronto, and you really want a copy of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, where do you go?

The public libraries are all closed by 8:30, and the stacks at Robarts also close at 11. Book City? I got off at Bathurst Station and walked over to find it closed as well. BMV? Open, and there was a copy of the Murakami book, remaindered! Furthermore, they were playing vol. 1 of 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields over the sound system.

Two staff guys were re-stocking the section near where I was standing, and one of them called out to the other, "Okay, Margaret Laurence is completely out of control." That made me giggle quietly for about ten minutes. That Margaret Laurence! You can't take her anywhere!

It was too dark down by the Humber to take any photos. However, at BMV, among the dollar books on the bargain/used table, I found this awesome drawing of an eagle:


With text on the flip side:

How can it be


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It takes a steady hand

The elusive arm bone

A couple of things I learned at the launch of new books by Stef Lenk and Shannon Gerard at the Gladstone last night: "Operation" is a surprisingly engrossing spectator sport when you play on a gameboard the size of a large door. Also, Stef Lenk is the unidentified woman with the awesome tattoo I saw at Scream. Another Toronto mystery solved!

Trying for the ovaries

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Barefoot psychogeography

Another day on the Island. From the Ward's Island ferry landing, I made my way to St. Andrew-by-the-Lake Church, where Hilary was helping set up the Sound Travels installation. I put up some signs outside the church and listened awhile to the murmur of secrets from Lori Beckstead and David Rose's "The Whispering Tree," but did not tell it any secrets of my own.

The Whispering Tree

From there I walked to Hanlan's Point, took my sandals off and picked my way across the hot sand, through the throngs of people, till I found an encampment of psychogeographers, lounging under rented beach umbrellas. "We were just thinking of going for a walk," said Shawn, "want to come?"

Down the shore

We set off down the shoreline, clad only in our swimwear. Shawn wanted to show us a firepit he knew of, surrounded by rocks, which last year had been only a stretch of beach away. So much of the beach has eroded recently, however, that we had to climb up from the rocky shore and take a detour across the grass. We did make it to the firepit, and back.

Some of us plunged into the lake for a cheerfully inept round of water frisbee. The boats that Shawn was complaining about on Spacing last week were back in full force, about a dozen of them anchored right up in the swimming area, pumping out loud music. One big yacht in particular had three large stereo speakers on top of it, pointed at the beach and blaring deafening techno. Shawn waded out to it and yelled at its passengers, "PLEASE TURN DOWN YOUR MUSIC. EVERYONE ON THE BEACH HATES YOU AND THINKS YOU ARE ASSHOLES," and they actually turned the music down, and Shawn came back looking immensely pleased with himself.

The Sound Travels festival is next weekend on the Island -- August 10-12. Go for the installations, soundwalks, etc., then head over to Hanlan's Point for a swim! More photos from Sunday here.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Hidden Kensington

Al and Shawn

We were standing around in Bellevue Square Park taking photos of the memorial statue of Al Waxman, when Jamie looked at the preview window on his camera and said, "The statue has redeye. How is that possible?" We examined the statue more closely and saw that someone had stuck red gummi bears in its eye sockets. This picture above cracks me up. Al looks like an evil zombie about to leap on me and eat my brains, while Shawn is all, "Whoa, hey, easy there, big fella."

When yesterday's Psychogeography walk struck out from Grange Park in the direction of Kensington Market, I figured it would be pleasant but devoid of surprises. I mean, I've been shopping for groceries and drinking pints on patios in Kensington for twelve years. I'm there practically every day. What could we possibly encounter that I hadn't seen before? To my amazement: plenty.

The discoveries began when we went up onto the roof of the parking garage, something I'd never thought to do. From here we could see the sukkah behind Anshei Minsk synagogue. I'd had no idea that it was there, nor even what it was; Jonathan helpfully explained it to me.

Todd led us down not one but two back alleys that forked into other back alleys and led, ultimately, to beautiful, architecturally-interesting new houses, hidden deep in the greenery behind Kensington's shops. Also, in plain sight on the roof of a house on Dundas there is a tiny handmade model of the CN Tower which I had never noticed before.

It was a hot, thick summer night, the weather driving people out of stuffy apartments and bedrooms and into public spaces. In the park in Kensington, a crowd of teenagers sat and lay about on the grass under the trees; one girl played an acoustic guitar, another had two cats on leashes. The city had declared a heat alert and so the swimming pool just south of Dundas at Bathurst was open till one; at ten it was full of splashing kids and old people. In the adjoining park, hipster couples, retired people and immigrant families with small children wandered through the dark in the dreamlike heat, or sat on blankets or benches.

We walked on, south. We found the beer garden at Factory Theatre & learned that Summerworks is just beginning. We roamed the condo-filled area south of King, and Shawn pointed out, as a spot of historical interest, the building that Owen Pallett's boyfriend was living in when Owen wrote "This Lamb Sells Condos." We saw a skunk, which luckily was wholly unconcerned with us.

A few more photos, mostly dark & grainy, unfortunately.

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Free boyfriend parking

boy bench, originally uploaded by squiddity of toronto.

Outside the newish little clothing boutique on Augusta, between Urban Herbivore and La Palette.