ART, MUSIC, DESIGN & NEIGHBOURHOODS
letters from the editors
feature photographer: patrick estebar
thinking in the dark by cristina rizzuto
toronto: a misuided rant about its identity by timothy morrison culture feature: of a kind art feature: krystina plante gallery review: walnut studios - spring for art
music review: junior bob
literature feature: david innanen - where we meet on dundas
PHOTO GRAPHY FEATURE 4
Patrick Estebar - who sometimes operates under the guise of â€˜Patricioâ€™ - is a Toronto photographer hailing from the north end. He moved to the city from the Philippines back in 2006, and since then, his photography has served as an outlet for exploring and understanding the new Toronto landscape. Capturing familiar local spots through the lens of his Fuji Natura Classic, his Vivitar Ultrawide and Slim, and his Hassleblad 500cm, Patrick shows us the city from a fresh set of eyes. All photos in this issue are from Pat unless otherwise credited. Enjoy!
to our readers, I’ve always been fascinated with the seemingly organic process of extending ethnic residential enclaves. Toronto has grown up over the years, and effectively lost its Eurocentric attitude as distinct pockets of cultural hubs started to fill up its perimeter. As time ticked away, the settled area became cultivated to vaguely resemble the group’s point of origin. While not everyone in the hub may have descended from the identifying ethnicity, the environment has remained intact––a will continue to. We can go from Chinatown westbound to Roncesvalles––a notably Polish parish––and then East to Greektown. But in addition to ethnic extenders, we will see a variety of branding mechanisms, which eventually becomes the allencompassing identifier of the space. Furthermore the space will in turn signify the inhabitants. In a way, I guess we could call it stereotyping as per one’s locale. What a juxtaposition it would be to see a YUPie dressed to the nines turning the key to unlock the door to their apartment above Exile in Kensington Market? So please immerse yourself within this “city of neighbourhoods” wherein the truest nature of Toronto is its multiplicity. Best, Lindsey xx
Both space and place pervade and permeate our daily lives: the way we think, move and interact. Our built environment does more than just house us; it steers and guides us. Within a city, then, this notion is amplified in relation to communities: while we are all our own unique and free-thinking individuals, to an extent we collectively adapt ourselves to fit whatever nook or cranny of the city we call home. With this issue, we are looking at this impulse to adapt; we’re talking about neighbourhoods, and the way these affective environments shape us as individuals. We’re also paying special attention to one specific facet: creative output. As “makers” of some sort, whether its art, music, or writing: we are all using our practice as a communicative outlet, and the notion of home is something that we seem to talk a lot about. This issue is a dialogic exchange between fellow makers about the notion of location within the Toronto landscape. From The Beaches to Parkdale, from the waterfront to the north-end, you’ll find a myriad of little sub-sections, all uniquely characterized and distinct from one another; all breeding different types of artists. We’re excited to have you enter into this dialogue with us. Erika xx
Legacy by matthew walsh You see her perpetually spinning in her mother’s house, with a look so luminous she had to hang. When you see her walk the long halls in long black capes, a figure as cutting as Nosferatu--no. Up close, she’s small and dark. A period. You never seen her pissing on a streetlamp, but I heard she’s licked some gangster in an elevator. I’ve seen her getting licked. I’ve read her journal, she’s written “my, how the trees in Valmasque stand Stein-tall, under their stare I turn a color that would inspire a mango.” She’s feverish. See, she’s pausing before lines of women in poor, weeping green. Her hair’s blowing like crows in a fit wandering home from kissing the water. I saw her kissing the water.
illustration emmatacq tacq illustration / “urbane health banner” bybyemma
Come on, I heard she’s kept the dresser with the swing mirror. Now it’s her breath on the glass. And I heard her on the payphone. She said “in the chest are old photographs of many played out people, spiders have claimed them all”. I saw she had to borrow coins for the payphone. Oh come on, you can’t see her laid out on purple velour, adored or marred no matter how you pour your heart into it. You want to see her in the dark drunk on ghosts.
READERSâ€™ SUBMISSIONS Acryllic on card inspired by the city center of Berlin by Johnny Szabo
THINKING IN THE DARK by cristina rizzuto
There is only one star in this city tonight, but I know that there are more, somewhere, that I can’t see. Pollution has hidden them in the same way that pools of oil make the ocean look black. They’re visible in another world, a world in which society has not devoured the salt of the earth. The day dilated again. I count the hours in my head: 1, 5, 10, 17, 23. 24. I find myself wandering aimlessly after eating and drinking at a fancy restaurant that I cannot afford, alone, my thoughts in disarray, until I am under a sign that reads NO TRESPASSING. Do not trespass here. This is a place for lonely hearts. I hop over the fence. There’s something eerily comforting about being the only person in the world to know where you are at any given moment. A stray dog saunters past, giving me a curious, reassuring glance – who is this vacant creature on its porch? He plops down beside me, his warm heart absorbing the chill around mine. Non-human animals are the most pure, most honest of all animals. Being human gives us the ability to be conscience of, and analyze, the Self; it enables us to love and hate, equally, to be filled with altruism, yet overcome by greed. All of our problems stem from this dangerous identity. Anyway, the star is flickering strongly, a sign that it will die soon and experience Supernova. It will burn its brightest, pushing the limit; then burst brilliantly, spider-like tendrils of gas disappearing into the multi-layered folds of the universe, fading away in its most glorious moment. A church spire breaks through the deep purple sky. It is green and rusted from erosion, the crucifix at the top as decayed as what it symbolizes. Apartment windows fill with light like square stars close to earth flickering on and off, dark, distant shadows inside serving existence in suffocating safety, preparing to fade away. Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew, cover it with chocolate, and a miracle or two? I throw stones at the pavement as I sing, tears streaming down my face. The sky is looking at me – me, the only Me I have. It’s weird how things can be simultaneously terrifying and peaceful. The ocean. The sky. Love. Art. Solitude. I sit here and listen to the illusion of the world, and in between the music of soaring stars and passing cars, I begin to transcend to a place and a time that I thought only existed in forgotten dreams. There are snowy rivers and teardrop trees and purple clouds in the distance, and there is someone calling my name, someone I have heard before in my memories, in one of those fleeting moments of first-love happiness that never come again. I’m beginning to think that happiness is for the less imaginative. A leaf rustles on the pavement nearby, the wind carrying it like a drunken dreamer, sprawled on the ground writing prose that no one will read. It has a sullen countenance. It stops right in front of me before drifting and dancing off again, tip-toeing over the cobblestones. I want to catch it. Come back, I whisper, my voice wet, choking. It keeps circling me, calling my name. It’s waiting there, stoic, statuesque, almost not breathing. I stare, paralysed, for a full minute, unblinking, my face frozen, my eyes welling with wine-filled tears. This is all there is, I hear myself think. We fall apart, we fall in love, we fall. We get up. We love and suffer, and we are lucky to have loved and suffered so greatly. There is nothing else, and I want nothing else. The leaf moves an inch, scraping in hesitation with a gentle nudge from the wind. My lips start to numb. Images race through my mind in a blurred haze, a tromp l’oeil of all that came before, colours bursting forth and blending golden, crimson, green, past, present, future. A group of students laughing on the road snaps me out of my reverie, and I stand, shaking, in that daze between reality and dreams, half-terrified of the world around me. I’m not sure how I came to be here. By the time I reach the leaf, it begins to tiptoe away, shaking in laughter, rearing its curly edges back in a sad, tantalizing dance. Writer’s notes: It takes place in a vacant construction site on Bay St. that I can no longer remember It’s gone. due to wine. North of College, that I know. Early 2012. Originally written on scrap paper.
/tɵˈrɒntoʊ/ A Misguided Rant About Its Identity by timothy morrison Toronto––settled, established, incorporated, and amalgamated. Those are all a thing of the past. Even the tense. How do we move forward when we haven’t been assigned unrequited uniqueness or an identity to call our own? The more important question is who are we? We’re not the Windy City. We’re not even the Harbour City. Forever and always, we’ll simply be Toronto. There was a comment made regarding Toronto on NBC’s since retired Thursday night staple 30 Rock by the show’s token Canadian, Jake Baker. His observation was plain and simple, “Toronto is like New York, but without all the stuff.” At least New York is undeniably unique. The people, the landscape and the idea itself. It’s a product of pure industrialization with a geography completely leveled and gilded with concrete. It was the gateway to the American dream. Toronto on the other hand is omnipresent, a product of happy-go-lucky Canadians and once the home of the tallest freestanding structure in the world. But, that’s then and the once prominent ‘70s luster has faded. I know what you’re saying: we’re the most multicultural city in the world. But, that’s a little bit redundant now. Isn’t it? We’re presently in a time of mass diaspora and our title as the red-and-white, maple syrup drinking Babylon will eventually come to an end. We don’t really have any historical precedence to say where we came from either. Very little “ancient buildings” stand––I say ancient, because in the grand scheme of time, we’re fairly young. What structures we did have for the most part were sowed into parking lots and later sprouted into a sea of condos. Arguably we were the Parking-Lot City, which is now home to the Great Wall of Condominiums littered across the Harbour Front. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It doesn’t. Maybe we need a stereotype that’s fundamentally our own. We’re not just polite, apologetic, beaver breeding tradesmen–– we’re Torontonians. Every other segmentation of Canada has typecast groups and a sense of identity. We have cowboys in the West and left-leaning hippes over the Rockies. Fishermen in the East, whalers in the North and Quebecois in the province that wants to be evicted. We used to be brave, patriotic and stood for something. When the newly constitutionalized United States of America ransacked Toronto, née York, during the War of 1812. We stood up. We had a backbone and we weren’t going to be another star on that goddamned Star-Spangled Banner. Allied with Tecumseh, Redcoats and a relatively small militia from Upper Canada in one quick raid we marched into enemy territory and set Washington a blaze. We even burnt down the White House––not bad for a bunch of drunk, angry farmers. If that’s not what being a Torontonian is, I don’t know what is. We did
what was right to protect our home and our people. Ultimately, we were opportunists. As opportunists maybe we need to write our own history, practice self-righteous existentialism and layout our own destiny. In one optimistic thought, what makes Toronto unique? No, it’s not the sea of traffic on the Gardiner or the 401, nor is it the CN Tower. It’s the neighbourhoods and little pockets of people. They’re unpolished gems hidden amongst quartz. You can literally walk from one point in Toronto to another and experience Toronto in rose coloured glasses. Take TTC Route 506 for example. You can start at Main St. Station, ride it right into Roncesvalles and experience different villages that are fundamentally unique–East Chinatown, Little Italy, the Gaybourhood; etcetera. Sure, every city has boroughs, but ours aren’t necessarily boroughs––they’re neighbourhoods. It took me a while, but I’m finally grasping Toronto. To quote Archimedes, “eureka!” I’m not even a true Torontonian and I kind of get it. My father was born here, but I grew up amongst the splendor of century old Oak trees and the stomping grounds of William Lyon Mackenzie. So, what’s a suburban boy from the country supposed to know about Toronto? Barely anything. I’m still figuring out my footing. I used to be bewildered by the city’s landscape whenever I’d drive east on the Gardiner and into the city. I would crank my neck looking at buildings taller than trees and suffer through culture shock admiring all the people living their busy lives. I’ll still always have a bit of sonder and childlike amazement for Toronto even as it starts to feel more like home. I grew up wishing I lived in a country with a fascinating history. One with Kings and Queens, deep historical roots, and maybe even a Hellenic Army. I was really apathetic about being Canadian. But after living in Toronto, I’ve discovered myself and ‘am proud to be a Canadian and subsequently a Torontonian (Cue a Molson Canadian ad) and I will continue to. This is because of the people. I’ve met people from all walks of life. Many are worth keeping in my life, while others are just a fleeting memory. I’ve fallen in-and-out of love in Toronto and by the time I die I will have a catalogue of memories thanks to our fair city. We don’t need pyramids, nor do we need detraining limestone monoliths, but we do need each other. The people are what make the neighbourhoods and in the end the neighbourhoods are what make the city. That’s what makes Toronto unique. When you’re stuck in gridlock or loathing the group of people whose walking formation is landscaped, cherish those moments. Cherish your Toronto. I’m not particularly religious, but Mark 12:31 laid it out pretty well, “thou shalt love thy neighbo[u]r as thyself.” Put it into practice. In layman’s terms, love thy sleepy suburbs, thy ethnic villages and thy concrete slabs. For without them we would not have Toronto.
photography by storm luu and kyle turner
OF A KIND
On very sunny Saturday, I made my way over to Of A Kind between Rusholme and Gladstone on College Street to chat with Kyle Turner. Turner is one of four owners of the shop; the others behind this unique business are Robert Moseley, Storm Luu, and Tamara Salpeter. If you’ve ever moseyed into the place before, you will understand how in this issue specifically we’ve had to replace our regular “fashion feature” section to the broader category of “culture.” Of A Kind is neither strictly vintage clothing store nor video arcard nor music haven; it is actually very much a combination of the two with many other layers on top. And actually to term it as a “store” would not be accurate, as they have doubled off as a venue for a variety of talent. So next time you are on College, I would suggest you make a stop in and see for yourself that Of A Kind could be deemed as none other than the actual name it holds. (lindsey omelon) LO: When you first started conceptualizing the store along with the other 3 owners, was it always in the plan to hold shows here to support the community? KT: We actually had no business plan whatsoever. I was waiting for the streetcar and they had just finished the renovations here and with no idea at all as to what it could be, I just thought to myself that I should have this space for something. But my background as a musician, I guess, I kind of always wanted to have a venue. LO: How then did you also decide to bring in clothes as retail? KT: It was all just kind of natural. We all just started talking about our interests. But there was also that deciding factor – who would be apart of the larger idea? And then just through conversation it all arrived at what you see here. And it so far has never stopped growing. I look back at old photos from when we were first opening and compared to now, the store just looked so empty. And actually one of the partners I brought in, Tamara, I just called her up and was like “hey! You know a lot of bands! And I would love to have bands play here.” And then she became a part of the store. LO: So would you say that Tamara then is more responsible for reaching out to build the show listings? KT: Yeah, she and I do a lot of those. LO: Is it then also you two who largely build the music inventory available here as well?
KT: Well, it’s actually more Roband I who seek out the older stuff and then with newer music it would be all four of us who work on that so that we can branch out as much as possible. I mean, you don’t want to just have one person’s musical taste made available. LO: So what about noise complaints from all of your events? KT: Yes! LO: I mean, because, your kind of right in a residential area… KT: Actually right from Rusholme to Gladstone is residential for some weird reason. So it’s kind of a random place for businesses to be here. And the only noise complaints we ever get are from the people upstairs. So they suck. You can quote me on that. LO: So they just come right down every time there’s a bit of noise? KT: Nope. They just go straight to the landlords. And they’re young people! So it can be frustrating to get that kind of resistance from tenants who live above a store… LO: Hey, I live above a bar. And yeah, it can get annoying hearing their repetitive playlists through my floor. But I knew what I was getting myself into when moving there. KT: And at least you can make noise too, right? LO: Exactly!
photography by storm luu and kyle turner
KT: And Toronto especially, it’s kind of give and take depending on whatever neighbourhood you are in. And who lives directly below you or above you and how can you make it work. LO: If Of A Kind were a person, how would you describe him or her? KT: Probably as Stamos’ character Uncle Jesse from Full House. LO: Noway. You came up with that answer pretty quickly. Have you been asked this before? KT: No. It’s just as soon as you said, “how would you describe…” the first image that came to mind was Uncle Jesse! Because he’s awesome. And, I don’t know, because of his love for really niche vintage things and rock n’ roll and the true soul of music. Also, just his image. Like, I always remember the episodes when he’s describing the perfect PH balance in his hair. A little bit of mint, gotta balance the base! LO: So this all then is equivalent to Uncle Jesse? KT: Yeah, I would think so. But mixed also with the Fresh Prince. So if they could combine themselves as a person, that’s
who Of A Kind would be. LO: So then where would he live? KT: Where would they live? I can’t picture anywhere but Toronto. I’ve been to a lot of cities and then it gets to a certain point where I’m just like “I miss Toronto.” Just, I don’t know, Toronto just seems to have some sort of renaissance going on. It’s like you talk to anybody and they’re in a band, or they’re a painter. And I don’t know want to call it white noise because there is a lot of talent in Toronto. But it’s just a lot more competitive in the city to try and be heard and to try to get your sound or your vision or whatever it is that you have out there. LO: Very true! And unfortunately what eventually happens is people just stay close to what they know. KT: Yeah, and Toronto is definitely a city of neighbourhoods. You’ve got to know what the neighbourhood is all about. And everyone is really possessive in their neighbourhood. But at the same time, there’s this weird – like in this neighbourhood – this is where people live. This isn’t the club district, this is not the party district. So when we were bringing in the idea of events, we almost never get people from the neighbourhood; it’s always
people from other neighbourhoods. There’s a weird resistance. But I am sure that can be found in any neighbourhood like even in Kensington with people walking around and they see tourists and they just hate them for no reason at all. When really like, they couldn’t survive without other peoples’ interests. They’re also actually trying to start a BIA in the neighbourhood – a business association. LO: So, something like Dundas West? KT: Yeah! LO: It’s interesting you choosing this area, actually, because given the nature of the store one might think it would fit better in, say, Kensington, or something… KT: Yeah, there’s definitely a weird sort of juxtaposition. And we like that we kind of stand out here. LO: Now, I know you said you’re from Toronto. But what about everyone else? KT: Yeah, well I’m not born and raised here. But I would definitely say now that I am from here. Even as a kid, I’d be like “I’m going to live in Toronto! The biggest city in the universe!” LO: So I take it you are originally from a small town? KT: Yeah, and like, my dad would take me here on the VIA train and it would be these super special times when I was a kid. I would like, go to the Eaton Centre! LO: Do you ever see at all resistance between the owners in representing where they’re from in having a business in this area?
photography by storm luu and kyle turner
KT: Well, the thing is, we’re all sort of defying and defining it. But there’s a lot of people who live here that actually work in the industry like in music or in film. So there’s definitely a predominance of that sort of culture here anyway. So I would definitely say that, when I was looking around at other places the idea of just staying in the neighbourhood made much more sense because you want people to want to come here. And also, I lived here for about a year before this place opened up and I actually just wanted a place like this nearby for me particularly! LO: Bold business move then! Opening a place like this here! KT: Well, we’re not business people and what we’re creating is just a museum of things.
photography by krystina plante
Krystina Plante is an artist, printmaker and crafter – Toronto born and bred. We initially met when I was looking for fellow hoarders to participate in an exhibition on collecting, and I’ve been following her practice ever since. She’s a busy gal, balancing her artwork, her job, and transforming an old antique shop into what she hopes will become a gallery space/ storefront. However, we did find some time to meet up at a local Menchies, and over some fro-yo we discussed her work, the Toronto landscape from which her work is born from, and our mutual love for Squirrels. (erika balint) EB: So I don’t know a lot about you, except that you also like squirrels, and you also like hoarders. But other than that, if you could talk a bit about yourself… KP: Well, I’m from Toronto; I’ve always lived here. Obviously you know that I’m a printmaker, and I’ve been doing that for 9 years now. I first went to Central Technical school, just down the street – I need a four year art major there, so, I kinda got a leg up on the whole printmaking thing when I went to OCAD which was really great. EB: And you’re involved with book arts as well, right? I’d love to hear about what you’re working on now, and how you got into it. KP: Okay, well, book arts as a whole is something that is still relatively new to my practice, because I had George Walker in the print department – he’s amazing – he works at Firefly, he has his own publishing house, he has like a million jobs, I don’t know how he still teaches! So I had a book arts class with him, and, I just kinda fell in love with the practice, the fact that it’s a dying practice to make an actual handmade book – I think that’s also why I like printmaking: cause I like the traditional practices. I like to do things the hard way rather than the easy way. EB: So more process-based, then. KP: Yeah. EB: Although I feel like there’s been a resurgence recently, of book-making and book arts. KP: Yeah yeah, everything happens in waves. It all comes fullcircle. But yeah, I fell in love with the practice, I started making books, and then my thesis was coming up, so for my thesis I made 50 books with thousands of prints in them – it was all of the stuff that I hoarded and collected… and then that branched off into zine-making. I just like it because its fast, anybody can
do it, its accessible to everybody, they’re cheap to make and cheap to sell. I also like bookbinding – its something I get to do with my hands. EB: Yeah, also kind of craft based. And I’d like to know more about your printmaking as well – what you like to work with, what types of subject matter you engage with. KP: I work a lot for practical reasons with screen printing because its something that I can do at home, I don’t need a lot of equipment for it. As for lithography – which I love – I obviously don’t have a big press at home, or a limestone to print on, so, printmaking is one of those things where you need the space, or you need special equipment. And its kind of unfortunate because there’s not a lot of places in Toronto where people can rent studio space for printmaking, so it’s a little bit frustrating but I do what I can at home now. And then yeah, lithography and intaglio are the ones that I work the most in just because I like that you can get a very traditional look and you can also be so contemporary with it if you want to, with brush strokes and acid tinting the many things that you can use it for. I find printmaking so versatile – you can branch off into so many things. And the power of the multiple… obviously.
I just kinda fell in love with the practice, the fact that it’s a dying practice to make an actual handmade book – I think that’s also why I like printmaking: cause I like the traditional practices. I like to do things the hard way rather than the easy way. EB: Of course, if there’s one thing that art school has taught us! KP: Yeah! And I think another reason that I’m drawn to photography: rick indeo printmaking is that it’s process-based. You have to learn the // makeup: diana mejia // model process like a recipe, and if you don’t learn those steps you can’tstone claudia
photography by krystina plante
do it. So its very rewarding once you do master it. EB: And then the Neck of the Woods show – how did you get involved with that? KP: Tiffany Huta, who I had a class with, had this show coming up and just threw out her feelers to see if I was interested, and I was completely down for it. So it was the curator of that show who contacted me. EB: Cool! And what were some of the works like? I understand that it was all about the city and your location within the city and its influence on your work. KP: Yeah, it was about seeing a neighbourhood through the eyes of an artist. The work was very broad; I don’t think there were any two similar pieces. There were paintings, some video work, a little bit of installation. EB: And so, can you talk about your piece for that show? KP: Yeah, so I had one piece that I had made around 2010,
which is the lamp/clock titled Self Soothe. The intent of it was to soothe the anxiety that I have at night when I’m trying to fall asleep, like when your mind races. So the slight ticking of the clock, and the low light, I found soothing, and then the street maps relate to places I have lived: so home and comfort. I had that piece, and then the 5 Plexiglas boxes in the back, behind the plinth with the clock… each one has the same aerial map painted on its front, and inside is one souvenir that sums up my experience in each of those homes that I’ve lived in. EB: So what types of souvenirs? Maybe just tell me about one of them. KP: One is an industrial nail that’s about that high (motioning with hands), it’s from a railway. And that’s a railway from the house that I grew up in at Dufferin and Wilson, and I was having a lot of issues at home. So when I was living there, up until I moved out, I always wanted to escape. And so I’d go on long walks, and that was something that I found on one of those walks, just out wandering to get out of the house, away from all
the stress of being at home. It’s little things like that. That’s the only one that’s a kind of miserable interpretation! Another one is a tiny little troll, which was the only thing that I still have from the house that I grew up in when I was in kindergarten – the only thing, I don’t even know how it survived! Krystina went on to tell me about “souvenirism”: a term she coined during her thesis. She uses it to talk about the objects that she keeps and collects in order to keep track of memories. EB: Do you have any upcoming shows, or will you be selling your crafts anywhere? KP: Yeah, I have Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market, which are so much fun. And I do street vending for those. There’s also The Junction Flea – I’m hoping I’ll be selling at the next one. And then there are some craft events that I’m scheduled for later in the year, like Crafternoon Tea – those sorts of things. As far as shows, nothing so far, just cause I’ve been taking a bit of a breather. EB: But you’re still keeping busy! So now you live in the north end, and you stay with your boyfriend who lives at Dufferin and Bloor?
photography by krystina plante
KP: Yeah, so I’m kind of always commuting between the two. Split between the north end and downtown.
EB: And apart from the work and home dichotomy, do you have a favourite neighbourhood? Somewhere that you always like to return to?
EB: So where would you situate yourself right now primarily?
KP: Oh, hmm. I love the Annex, because I’ve spent so much time here, but I love College Street – Little Italy – its perfect on a summer evening to go for a walk, and there’s so many new places popping up. And the beaches. I always try to make a point to go down and I never go as much as I should. Just to be by the water. I grew up practically on the water, with boats, and I long for it. I wish I had a boat now so I just long for it! Living vicariously through other boaters.
KP: Probably downtown, I’m barely at home anymore sadly. I’m usually in the west end- its all the same little radius. EB: Do you ever feel kind of transient, always moving between the two locations? KP: Sometimes! I grew up along Wilson, and I feel like my home is up there but my practice is down here… because, what’s going on in the art world up there? EB: I honestly couldn’t say! KP: Exactly, not much. So its kind of like I’m split between the two. It’s my family that ties me up there, but then my work and my practice and my peers are all down here. EB: But then you also mostly make work from home. KP: Yeah, I’m just trying to make do with the space that I have. I’ll even print outside when its nice, or I’ll just push everything over in my room so that I can screen print.
EB: And do you have a favourite spot? Like some place comforting, or for whatever reason. KP: High Park would probably be number one; I love it. It can feel like you’re not even in the city, you can go hiking if you want, and I can go and collect my acorns. I pointed out that Krystina was basically stealing from the Squirrels. Luckily she informed me that she leaves food for them in return. I also learned that Squirrels bury so much food, they forget where 70% of it is. They are nature’s hoarders.
WALNUT STUDIOS by erika balint
Twice a year, the community of artists at Walnut Studios opens their doors to the public to share their work, and the space in which it is created. Toronto-based artist Ilene Sova is the woman behind the whole operation, managing the space whilst also teaching at OCAD and building on her own artistic practice. The event showcases painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, and fashion and jewelry design. It also shows work by Toronto’s little ones: the Blank Canvases arts program, accompanied by one of the most impressive spreads of candy and marshmallow cones that you’ve ever seen. The first half of the event is more casual and familyfriendly, but then after 7 the space reopens for its reception with drinks, a DJ, and a more social vibe. Spring For Art is an opportunity for the Toronto community to explore artists’ studio spaces, to see new work and interact with the artists, and to support them by purchasing the works. Many of these artists can also be found showing at Walnut Contemporary: a fairly new gallery space on Niagara, south of King. I visited their most recent open house event this May – for the first time – and really enjoyed being able to
leisurely wander through the many studios spaces, seeing finished works alongside work-in-progresses, and even catching a glimpse at the artists’ process. I really appreciated seeing the works within the environment in which they were created; it’s a very different experience from seeing them mounted on the while walls of a gallery space. Some of my favourites were: Sophie Williams with her delicate and intricate line drawings; Soyeon Cho’s organic, bodily installations; Steve Chmilar’s amazing drawings and paintings – with an illustrative quality that makes them look as though they’ve been torn from a storybook; and Chakman Chow – a very charming man who makes incredible jewelry. Walnut Studios and Walnut Contemporary together make their block on King West a lively and inspiring spot for artists and art-enthusiasts alike, holding regular events like this one to bridge the gap between art and the public. As the host of our very first issue launch party and a site for exciting local artwork, Walnut has become one of our favourite spots; I highly recommend making it out for their events.
photography by matthew brackett
JUNIOR BOB by lindsey omelon
Junior Bob is a new, experimental, instrumental duo playing within a genre that’s – well – difficult to pinpoint. With James Norris on drums and Bob Catford on guitar, the two create music that’s fresh, upbeat, and is as conducive to dancing around in a dimly lit room as it is to lounging on a patio with a beer in hand. Moving here from Windsor and taking up residence in Parkdale, the two are very quickly making their mark on the Toronto music scene. LO: First things first: can you please introduce yourself and what role you play in the band?
making it up as you go. So it begs me to ask the question: how do you write music as complex as yours?
JN: I am James Norris, I play percussion – drums – in the band Junior Bob. BC: And I am Bob Catford, I play guitar in Junior Bob.
JN: As far as it goes with me, I know Bob has some parts that are premeditated, but for the most part, when we’re structuring most of the music it’s pretty much on the fly.
LO: And what is the meaning of Junior Bob?
BC: Yeah, well I mean we do try really hard to keep themes together, and we try to establish motifs that we come back to.
JN: There is zero meaning to Junior Bob, umm, it’s just my name and Bob’s name together: my name’s James Robert – JR, and then Bob. LO: Your songs do not have lyrics but they still seem to move in the familiar structure of verses and choruses. Have you ever put words to your songs just for the heck of it? BC: Um, I have not, but I do most of the melodies. We’ve never really put words to the songs but our friend Kim did one time,. LO: Which song was that to? JN: That’s to Yeah Kate, You Like the Beach. Wait, no, it’s Hey Kate, You Like the Beach! BC: But yeah, I don’t know, it’s like the improvised ending. LO: And what does that song title even mean? JN: Kate? Kate is the embodiment of every woman in our lives. BC: Imagination really. That’s how we started. Like, while I agree with James – we have the same kind of interpretations, I guess every time that I think about something that has to do with our songs with Kate, I picture like, when you have those weird dreams, where you see a girl, and you know that you like her a lot, and she just like disappears in a second. And then the rest of the dream is kinda like a feeling that has no words.
JN: With specific songs, we’ll repeat other melodies and beats within the song, or later on in the album to tie it all together. LO: So Junior Bob’s would be an album that you listen to from beginning to end. JN: Well yeah the albums are consciously written as a whole. BC: Yeah, but the more we do it, it seems like it’s more and more like a performance piece. It’s kind of gymnastic; people are looking at how we’re exerting ourselves, and that makes them appreciate it on another level. Like, people know our videos better than they know our albums. LO: Both of you play in different bands – how are you able to distinctly set yourself apart from that band’s musicians – as with Bulletproof Tiger? BC: Well my other band was Ontario Plates, but now my other band is a technical death metal grindcore band so, I have no problem at all differentiating. But it’s harder for James because his other band is the same genre basically. JN: Yeah, I don’t try and trump anything in this band. The music that I play with Bulletproof Tiger is different from JB.
LO: A wet dream.
LO: So you were saying that Junior Bob is new, and you’re still in like, your infant stages, and you’re still branding yourself and defining yourself – how have you found that process so far?
JN: That’s Kate!
BC: It’s not always wet….
JN: Oh yeah. I 100% agree with Bob, it’s been very great. Like, the reception for Junior Bob has been way better than any band that I’ve ever been in – including Bulletproof Tiger.
LO: On the contrary however, it could seem as though there is no structure at all to your music and that you both are
BC: We’ve been really lucky too.
international city, and the people you’re meeting are there for a specific reason – usually because of their craft. So the people that we keep coming across and the people that need help from us to be here are, well connected I guess. So the amount of exposure that we’ve been getting from them and giving to them, that has really helped. Like, you mention our album cover. And the reason that it looks the way it does is because I found a photograph of me and my cousin, and someone had just taken a photo of him with flowers on his face and me covering my face with my arm – so me and James just did that. There wasn’t really any thought: we didn’t think it’d be like, cool to put flowers in front of our faces. LO: I wonder though, if your original bands from Windsor maybe didn’t have as quick of a response because they were from Windsor. But this is Toronto-bred. JN: I don’t know, Windsor knows Bob and Windsor knows me. Like, Toronto hasn’t really given Junior Bob or Bulletproof Tiger a lot of love. I won’t deny it. A lot of the people that love both bands are Windsorites still. And they love Junior Bob because they know me from Bulletproof and him from Ontario Plates, and we’re just trying to push it now on our own. BC: Still, we know that, for instance, the people in Chicago like us better than the people in Toronto do. We know that. Image by Nova Scotia fan created by early previewers and design accordingly
JN: People seem to be loving it, and the bands that we’ve been playing with seem to be really loving it. So until we play a show where the reception is bad, I’m gonna be on cloud nine. So, up to date, none of this has been bad for us. LO: Well, how would you define Junior Bob as a brand? JN: Uhh, Junior Bob is a two-piece, experimental… BC: I feel like the most important part is like, the freshness of it. I would love to actually meet a band who was trying to rip us off, or that we accidentally sounded like. But that’s why people are digging it, and that’s why people who know music are digging it – no one’s ever come up with it. JN: I just feel like we’re both very heard in this band. There’s no me – it’s either James or Bob and it very much is a band of equals. LO: Do you find that being here in Toronto has enabled your identity process? JN: Yes, 100%. BC: Mostly because I’ve really become aware of Toronto as an
JN: Oh yeah, and Junior Bob is an amazing thing because its one of the only things in my life that I feel so passionate about, and confident about. I work with Bob who is hands down, my favourite guitar player ever. Ive never worked with someone as fluently and as relentlessly as I have with Bob. And the music just comes out and its so easy to work with him. People seem to get that, and it translates in our writing style. It’s hands down my favourite thing. Quote me on it. LO: So you say you have a lot of love from Windsorites – but how would you compare Windsor to Toronto musically? JN: Towards our genre, and with many genres, Windsor is a lot more giving. They go to shows, they participate in the scene, they do all that. Toronto is more difficult only due to the fact that they’re not exposed to it. That’s not to say that the scene is any more lacking. People who come to our shows seem to love our shows, and want to come back again. BC: It’s always accidental. LO: If Junior Bob were a place of business here in Toronto then, what type would it be? Like a restaurant, a shop, a café…
BC: I think if it were a business, it would be like a space for all of the people that we work with like in syndicate operations – bands, our friends, our room mates, everyone that cares would have a say in what happened. It would be like, a gallery venue, and then also a living space. LO: What’s syndicate operations? BC: Well, next level syndicate is like basically our group of friends collaborating to just make good things happen for the people in Windsor and Toronto, we started branching into Montreal recently but – we’re not trying to affect change there… but, we put on shows, we record music, we film music, we view music, and we just try to bring good things. LO: And so, if you were actually to create this business, where in Toronto would it be located? BC: Um, definitely in the west end. Just because I mean, as soon as I moved to Toronto, I picked up on whatever synergy the west end is. JN: Yeah, I would think it would be in the west end. We all live in this area, we’re all familiar with this area, and we’re comfortable. BC: But there’s a reason for that, though. The more important part is why we’re all here. But I don’t know, I guess it snowballed from somewhere. I guess it’s maybe the factories down here, and the loft spaces, same thing happened in Brooklyn I guess. A space looks good, and its cheap, there are artists down there so more artists come and then, here we are.
Toronto [is] an international city, and the people you’re meeting are there for a specific reason usually because of their craft. LO: So, Which Toronto venue would be best for a band like yours to play at? JN: I would say, for me, I would love to play most at Horseshoe Tavern, and if not Horseshoe then Lee’s Palace. I feel like those areas would be most conducive for us to gain a little bit of fan fare. BC: But I mean, we play at this tea shop up on Bloor West called Good Times Bad Times, and it’s one of our buddies that runs it, and he bakes all the goods, he makes the tea, he’s got coffee, and he’s been letting us host there basically whenever we
want – just in the interest of getting good experimental music out there. And the tea shop has so far been my favourite venue, because you can only fit about 30 people into it, and everyone that’s there cares about being there. So that’s my favourite part, but like James said, venues like Lee’s Palace would be the best exposure. LO: If you could book the entire show - what would you dream line up be like? – with Junior Bob headlining, of course! JN: Obviously Delicate Steve. And Banned Books. BC: Yeah, Banned Books, our friends from Philadelphia. JN: And uh… The Dirty Projectors. BC: But my favourite band, the band I’d definitely put on, is Celestial Shore?, also from Brooklyn. By the way, quote me on this, Bob and I are both drunk. I am more drunk because I’ve been drinking all day. LO: What are any upcoming shows, tours, releases, etc that we should know about? BC: So, we have a show May 16th, at Good Times Bad Times Tea House with one of our friends, Paul Jacob, who does guitar, drums and vocals simultaneously. Then on May the 18th, James’ other band Bulletproof Tiger and Junior Bob will be hosting Hit Home and Buttons and Mindy from Boston, at the Central. And we have a split EP coming out with our friends Elos Arma – that’s gonna be coming out probably at the beginning of June. We have June the 3rd at Clinton’s with our friends Vegas Wonder Club, from Michigan. The drummer from Ontario Plates is involved in that band, and Elos Arma is playing that show too. bandcamp: http://www.juniorbob.bandcamp.com facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juniorbobbyband
She lives on College street, but we’re not meeting on College. The houses in the neighbourhood have triangle peaks, multiple colours, covered, in melted snow, they’re like houses on farms, in hidden towns, but here they’re all jammed together, surrounded by a city. We’re at Ezra’s Pound, there are triangles here too, in the logo, the windows painted black, framing a brick wall, outside, adults on their bicycles, going by. They bring coffee out to you on a silver tray, here, with a tiny glass of water, the barista with her bangs cut straight across, lipstick. I think she was a film major, this girl, bringing the coffee, she stared at my camera, once, said something about projecting onto white walls, recording it onto video, to transfer the footage cheaply, I smiled, lamely, didn’t know what to say, I don’t know, the conversation didn’t go any further. Lots of students sit here, usually, put together students, with nice coats, who are probably twenty-five, and have figured out life, with groomed hair, glasses. On weekends, it’s young lawyers who flood in, collared shirts with baby strollers, discussing their new houses, which they’re renovating, problems, wide-eyed, up since 8am. It’s 12, and Meagan’s dressed in a dress, her black coat, flushed face, white. I remember this black book of art images she had in school, it sat on her shelf, a poster, or something, for ‘ La Dolce Vita’, on her wall, she wanted to learn Italian, because she was going to go there, with a friend, I thought, ‘how can someone learn Italian,’, When she went, there were pictures of her in Italy, on Facebook, she came back with a story, an old man talking to her, saying, ‘ come back, my ginger, my beautiful ginger girl,’ ‘ come back,’. ( Now she’s staring at a man who walks in, she says she use to know him, from where she use to live) He’s tall, lean, but he’s changed his name, after disappearing for three years, to Montreal, to become an artist, dressed in a tight coat, with his hair to his face.( I think he’s pretending not to know me, she says, or see me (she’s annoyed)) When he leaves, I ask if they slept together, and she says, no, shakes her head, she shows me what he draws, the things he draws look
like covers from The New Yorker, I say, she denies this, strangely, for some reason. She use to make out with everyone, then, in school, almost the whole floor, a few different times, I’ve seen her breasts, they’ve just sort of slipped out when I’ve been in the room, strangely sitting there, the last time this happened, in a pool, I told my friend, Colin, and he said, oh god, Meagan has nice breasts... then, said, how once, they almost went home together. Colin really loved her roommate, though, then, her breasts use to come out too, flash, and then she would be sitting on the floor, laughing, with her legs showing. They use to get ‘so drunk’, words barely came out of their faces, in a threesome, together, I remember, the second week of school, it making me feel empty, these two girls I knew, this guy I didn’t really like, all having sex together, hearing about it, afterward, a different kind of strange than seeing breasts for a moment. We’d sit in their dorm room, on their 38
beds, talk about something, Vodka, mixed with juice from the cafeteria, now they no longer talk, I can’t follow the details of their fight, from a trip to New York, but I think one of them makes more money, isn’t as cultured, sleeps with less men, is an accountant, almost married, maybe, lives in a condo now, in Vancouver, Meagan lives here, in Toronto, her apartment up a steep set of stairs, above a storefront. In her place, there’s a strange extra room, with all this junk, a different roommate, her cat, black and orange, a bathroom that is white, and sort of dirty, too close to the living room, so if I come over, I have to take a shit at the Starbucks, across the street. She’s successful, I guess, she works in film now, sort of, a talent agent, she knows all these actors, sleeps with some of them, I think, all my friends are successful, when I think of Canadian films, I think of that movie ‘Chloe’ by Atom Egoyan. A scene is filmed on College street, in the Cafe Diplomatico, it seems like Atom wants to show off that they are in Toronto, in the Diplomatico, so they sit alone, with the whole place shown, in a sweeping shot, empty, everything evenly lit . Not like a Fellini film, a poster on the wall, where everything is in a dream, the only way to remember things. No breasts shown, in this production, our meeting almost done, our coffee empty, plans for brunch. Everyone goes to brunch here, it seems like, everyone is wet for brunch, in the city, brunch is god, Saving Grace, the place next door. People our age, younger, standing, waiting, outside in the cold to get in, I see some of these girls, boys, feel how many breasts were shown in line, in the way they smile, dressed for their sunday, waiting for their pancakes, or whatever it is, waiting for them. photography by david innanen / layout by crystal yeomans
what’s next? Issue05 isn’t just any issue: it marks FEMMELDEHYDE’s one-year anniversary. Yes, one whole year ago, Lindsey and Erika were sitting in Bellwoods park, conjuring this whole thing up on a pad of paper. So, accordingly, we thought it fitting to celebrate femmedom with an issue on Girl Power! That doesn’t mean we’re simply looking for ladies who make art: we want art that celebrates women – whatever that may mean to you. Stay tuned, submit, and see you in July!