Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Here comes the snow again

NY NY Mural to Joe

Geez, talk about a slow news week. I'm finding the urge to hibernate alternates with thoughts of my blood cholesterol (to say nothing of Polonium 210) - Have I got enough fat to hide out for the winter?
Either way, I'm hoping to mark the 4th Anniversary of Jow Strummer's passing with a wee memorial art piece in a local music and book shop's window. No pay, only glory for doin it. Meantime, the need to sleep is in no way assuaged by money I get for slouching into work. I wanna nap all day - there ain't enough coffeee in this town.

But it's a good sleep, y'know?

More soon.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nova Embers amid the ashes

I meant to upload a few more image of St John the Devine's physical charm,
but later overtook sooner on the Jersey Turnpike. No follow ups about the head
of the Washington sculpture (of which I don't have any images, sorry) being returned.
It would be just one more thing the stone masons will have to replace.
Regarding the first photo: The height of the cathedrals' nave is roughly 54 feet.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What's in THIS room?

Oh my, where does the day go? No use sitting on laurels you don't even have.
The leaves would likely be as brown and drowned in the soggy and chilled climate
we have enjoyed these last few days. Somehow the lack of sunlight is offset
by baked root vegetables and a new season of dark ales and honeyed lagers.
Ah, Double Diamond, the right of return is mine.
I've been helping my better half with serigraphy (silk screening) for her hand-made paper project, and it's been kind of wearying, but so satisfying to find my art-schooling's not going to pot. I shan't say I'm a good instructor, but I think I'm not bad, either. I seem to know enough to be of help. Money well spent, if it helps the sweetness make some art she'll enjoy and develop further.
Oh, the timer's going.

A nice find of the wife's, the noisy device is a mini-toaster replica, complete with toast on the way out. Hell of a ringer on it.
The plus side is that the turnip and squash casserole's not burnt, but likely perfect. MMMmmm, folic acid and beta carotenic goodness.

Enjoy with a good beer, I say.

To pick up about screen printing:

The wife prints at Popfuel - you can find out more at (Right near the Dufferin Street Jog) is a great wee shop to work at. Use that as the URL, if you want to know more about screening your own imagery. I'll be signing up to do some work for the TLRclub (

A few more shots from the Kitchener outing, for your edification.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kitsch In Der Witch

Oh, boy. Or Girl.
KW was a hoot, pardon the old-school slang. We spent the best light out on the train lines of Industrial Kitchener, found it very soft access, likely because no one else bothers to do this kind of work. Well- except Ed Burtynsky, whom we all admire for various reasons (Go and see "Manufactured Landscapes", already! - music score by Dan Driscoll, which is very sweet news).
Well, having tried the freshest beer on the planet, I can recommend the Lion's Pub for that at the very least. Eggs Benny also a good deal fresher than one might hope for at $5 a serving. Finally got tired of Tim Horton's coffee (why do I even hope?) -
see the pic of Tino with the cameras (napkin box is standing in for his while it's being loaded) at our first Horton's stop.
There was a lot of walking about on a cold and clammy day (yes, the knee just loved that, but the cough medicine was working fine - DM in gel caps, oh yes).
At our ages we got escorted by police (who were very surprised we weren't vandals) from the last shoot location. That was a bit amusing, they were the reverse of worried, but wondered why we'd come from Toronto just to poke around building sites.

Because they're there, that's why. More pics soon, Shouts out to the TLRClub Blog (also with Eblogger!)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bring Me the Head of George Washington...

..or at least, take it back to St.John the Devine?

Sheesh, one of the nicest places to contemplate the state of the world in all on New York, and somebody's got to mess it up further (there was big a fire back in 2001, it's being slowly restored). Possibly the greatest monument to Gothic architecture in North America, I found a chance to sit quietly in its glory my first day in town.
It's just a few blocks from where I stayed - I am glad to have been there. Here's one of my pics:

K-W on the radar - come in, K-W

Tomorrow I'll be visiting Kitchener- formerly known as (New) Berlin, Ontario. I guess they changed that after WW1. We're too late for Oktoberfest and a little late for Rememberance day - we're going to snoop around with our old Twin Lens Reflex Cameras and see what's shaking in the way of picturesque POV. go to
tlrclub.blogspot to sww what we've done in the past.
I'll also take the Lil'Fuji along, so some of the shots will appear sooner on this site.


"It's not enough to live...

You have to have something to live for"

Edward James Olmos and the rest of the cast of BG have been keeping me from this page.
Yes, that's kind of ridiculous, but I finally watched the 4 hour pilot/miniseries from 2 years back. Plus the second viewing with commentary by the executive writer/producer team, who satisfy my interest in production choices, as well as the usual trial by fire for the actors, not one of whom sticks at anything in the script.
(Editorial revision Dec 3rd (EDREV): To "stick" at anything is archaic usage, but the negative implies a compliment, that the person in question perseveres and overcomes challenges. "He who hesitates, is lost" - is an expression concerning those who get stuck - not that there isn't a great deal of hesitation on BSG. But then, they _are_ lost. In the case of the actors and production crew, the final result bears few scars (heh) betraying the travails of getting the show to air with a weekly hour of _gesamtkunst_ or "total work of art", which TV is actually capable of, much as film and opera).

What can I say? The best show after 9/11, after reciprocal invasion of Afghanistan and a paranoid's wet dream war on Iraq, that somehow tackles the ethics of everything we are as a society, is a re-visioned telling of a campy sci fi show from the 70's.
But there's no camp left, perhaps the one concession to the "death of irony" that accompanied the dust clouds over Manhattan. The goal of human dignity in the face of disaster is the unspoken ethic that brings me back to the story. Serious, but with a grim smile.

More later,


Thursday, November 09, 2006

You can't fire me, I quit!

He was always about dignity. And the integrity of (Insert concept here).
Some samples of his integrity:
Do we have any idea what his corporate exit strategy is?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Holding our breath: Anyone vote?

Credit: James Callis, as my favorite corrupt politician since the Vichy Regime.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Rattled by the Chains of NYC

I was immediately struck by the state of bikes left on the streets of New York.

It became almost startling to see anything remotely new locked up (Toronto's still not so bad as we think). I'd never really noticed the patina of frame-battering, hand-painting worn off, premature aging, the bare metal a blend of buff and rust.
I noted most bikes were dressed with the usual heavy chain I've only sold a few of here in Toronto, the New York Chain, AKA Fahgetabouddit, from Kryptonite. It's kind of chilling to see a frame in the process- or at the end- of being skeletonized. A certain ruthlessness of the urban ecology, if you will, prevails.
Hell, those big chains are a crippling weight; the medium duty chain and padlock I'd brought for my bike was a just tyke, but it must have worked. Long enough, in my case. The Ghost Bike, as he is now dubbed, came back from NYC with quite a few miles added for his working after-life. We'll be seeing more of him in the days to come. For now, here are some of the cycle slaves of New York.

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More to come,my dear velocipedians.
Be sweet to your machines.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Democracy soaked in BioDiesel - got fire?

Ah, the city of the future. It will be lovely when it's finished.
But you never finish, unless there's a disaster.

Photo by D.W. is of installed artwork by Jason Van Horne, 2005.
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So Global Warming no longer has to go in open quotes. Yay.
Thanks to Tony Blair's sudden desire for a wiser legacy, we have the (disgraced) leader of the Euro country with the highest autombobile use per capita, despite the best attempts of the French to ruin their landscape. Mr. Blair announced the hiring of Al Gore - which sounds like a punchline to a joke I didn't hear the start of. Perhaps Tipper can have a word or two with those ASBO Hooligans (, or have parental warnings printed on hoodies?

Speaking of Leaders, I received a question about a metaphor: the answer is that for David Miller, he may or may not survive the election in a political sense. As for Edi Rama, he is trying to attain the highest office in Albania, which ratchets up the danger he may find himself in, given the resistance to anyone who, like Rama, has spoken and moved against corrupt practices, sexism, and holding onto Soviet bureaucracy. In short, he stands a good chance of being assassinated. I admire Mr. Rama for many things - personal courage is just another, but I wish both men the best of fortunes, as both this city and Albania need more effective means to take charge of their respective courses.

The Typically Twin-Headed Eagle (Albanian Flag Pictured), found on so many Euro Flags. Surely there's no evolutionary advantage - maybe it's a metaphor.

Albania's population, last time I read figures, was roughly similar to that of the GTA (with a plus or minus of 750,000) alone, and we have much greater ethnic diversity to account for in our demographic. By account, I mean be responsible for and to the citizens, without unwarranted discriminations made in the protection of human rights.
Albania is trying to get to a stage we might take for granted - I think we'd be beyond shocked at the idea of a political assassination here. I certainly hope so. I respect Mr. Miller's patience over his first term at confronting unmotivated counsellors on dragging their feet or favoring lobbyism over transparent practices.
In the matter of driving more nails into the coffin of backroom deals and lobbyists with undue influence (And how are you today, Mr.Domi?), I hope for greater results.
To summarize his time so far poses the inevitable comparison with the most embarrassing figure ever to hold the office, his immediate predecessor, Mel Lastman. Perhaps I felt the embarrassment too keenly, but the dignity and intelligence that Miller consistently applies to his daily conduct has erased much of the unintentionally comic about the Mayor's office. I think that any person who thinks and acts with a conscience for the diverse constituency he or she serves is owed a fair hearing, but I also give the benefit of the doubt to people who have shown opportunistic habits.
That said, I cannot see any way which mayoral contender Jane Pitfield can improve or even match his people skills, respect for process and fairness and lastly, vision that grows Toronto as a cultural playground for citzens and visitors alike. I have looked openly at her platform, and find nothing to recommend her over the incumbent.

I think the greater number will quietly confirm Mayor Miller, this time hopefully equipping him with more co-operative members of city council. In the Parkdale/High Park, we've already had federal and provincial shake-ups - they seem to indicate a progressive and sustainable grasp of city living by the local electorate. Again, one hopes it's a sign of what's next, I'm looking very hard at the council candidates, as should everyone who bothers to vote. Think voting doesn't matter? Try facing the basic dispossession of those who can't vote for lack of fixed address, mental health or incarceration. Still think voting isn't an aspect of priviledge and responsibility?

Votes are like snowflakes - you ignore their weight at your peril
like litter - you discard it and mar the sidewalk
like friends - you discount individuals worth and harm the group.

Votes bloody well matter, otherwise no-one would try to rig an election.
No-one would lie to gain votes.
You could use crayon, fill in any name, vote for Ronald McDonald for school trustee.

Votes are tiny, yes. So's sand. So's rain. Is this metaphor belaboured yet? I spoke with someone today who posed as jaded, politically disenegaged, you might say. So part of my tone definitely speaks to that issue. If you're voting, good. None of us should be thanked for doing the very least expected of us, but it's good to acknowledge common ground with each other, like wanting clean air or a clean election. The election costs the same whether you vote or not, they always print more ballots than are used. That's tax money, non? C'est tous notre argent!

Your Vote. You own it.

My Ballot. It's vital that I feel invested in Democracy as an artist.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Proposed Site For Non-Event

There are two things I wish for: One, that I can recover my little Ricoh TLR (pictured in Nostalgia Vision) - and the second, that this city gets a mayor and city council who don't get in each other's way as a matter of course. Okay, that's tied up with two other layers of government and gets very dry as subject matter goes.

News: We're not getting the world's fair in 2015 (Thanks for nothing)...and the petty Toronto Island airport is here to stay, useless as it is. I think the waterfront should belong to the city, given how little the administrative body that tells citizens to mind their own business (!?) about what they get up to. For such a small board, the TWRC are pretty well-paid, and I would prize a trusted auditor to open their books to assess how the federal funds are spent. Oh ye Gods this is tedious, but the waterfront Corp. is odious. I can appreciate the current mayor's frustration and applaud his persistence in battling the interference they pose to the lakeshore's actual rehabilitation.

Architects' drawings don't make for cleaner water or beaches.
Albania's capital has a mayor I think should be invited over here - he made Tirana more beautiful than it has ever been, fought corruption and imported ideas with the tiniest budget known to a European country. Here's a twin salute, To Mayor David Miller and Mayor Edi Rama (see If they survive the respective elections they're facing (and for Rama this is not a metaphor), they each receive a mandate to take charge of a bizarre set of challenges, most of which involve cutting strings and creating ties to sustainable growth and citizen ownership of issues.

Right, time tp nip off to the post office. My knee's better, so I might even hop a bit. I got off light with the virus, apparently. It's dwindled - Yay!


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

El Galleria Dow Chemical presente:

I don't have much to say about this work. The space on Bedford was a hipster mall with computers strewn about the foyer, a dark, friendly cafe that didn't smell like fresh coffee (never a good sign, but maybe the liquor was better) and at the entrance, this (pictured) little installation. No credits, but then that goes for the mural behind the bench, which I knew my wife would find adorable (she did). The best art I saw on my trip wasn't isolated to museums, and it may not pass muster, but it added so much to the night.

Wandering proves to be a reliable method. During the day I took this^ shot of the L train intersection with Bedford, from which I found it an easy ride out to Carriage House Paper supply and studio @Guernsey (A shout out to Shannon, who makes the place work). Picked up (oof, heavy!) an order for the wife and walked back west with the TLR at the ready. Brooklyn is not really set up for tourists, which I appreciated a lot while walking. If I didn't love my 'hood so much, I might have felt envy - but I know Williamsburg has its challenges.
Those TLR shots will come later, along with what I hope will be great representations of the Empire State (You tourist, you) Building. At this point I'd like to mention: a courier bag doesn't look at all like a backpack, and makes putting the camera away very easy when you don't feel like waving it about; also I should say "Thank you" to Tino for the loan. Alles es gut mit der kamera, klar? Anyway, lots going on with that tree, ne? I think the mirror is to help you avoid being whacked by sidewalk riders when you come out with your pizza slice (Hey, you want I should hit'im with my BMX?)
Oh yeah, the mural/graffiti:

I suppose the benefit of living locally is, you stand a chance of knowing the creator of these pieces. Then again, maybe they're unbearable, or snogged your boyfriend and lied about it. The advantage of finding them in a gallery or museum? They're labelled, and you don't have to know the personal habits of the artist responsible for something you like. I probably think about this too much since I was on a trip full of (much) younger folk, very few of whom will stand a statistical chance in hell of making art that anyone likes enough to support them... (sigh)...

Movie to watch: Manufactured Landscapes, a doc on Photog Ed Burtynsky and the scarification of earth versus industrial culture. If you know his work, it's a new way to see it. If you go to Indigo, you can spend $100 to find out what his coffee table book is like. Or just get to a cinema that's showing it, right?
Or click this link:

Well, I'm home today to give the knee a chance to heal. Felt like a Zombie at the studio, but could't face eating the brains of my co-workers. Mmm, brains...I think some little NY virus wants to make a home in my sinuses, but the return of sleep has deflated any hopes of that. So sad.

I go now. More work to do.