Sunday, January 31, 2010

Portraits of a party

Locked under the flash-and-snap they pose, pull dance moves, cover faces and run away. Some vamp and vogue while others shake hands wildly, wide eyes shouting: no photos, please.

“Don’t take a picture of me smoking! I don’t smoke!” she begs after asking for a lighter. The it-girls know the drill, saunter at a distance. The host floats, the boy smokes, keeps best friend at bay.

Critics and creators converse together, buy beers and watch the patrons. The kitchen clutters, bathroom booms, a local drinks from the carton. We down more beer, shake between a dance and a loiter.

Our bottles empty, the crowd thins, cab home and start to edit.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shouting while we wait

We hadn’t taken to the streets before, mostly shrugged and wrote strongly worded e-mails. To protest seemed the old college experience, the professor’s glory years. But there we were, holding signs, emptying out our lungs. The smoke and mirrors had become too common; decided it was time to shout.

No answers until March about the Olympics, the budget, Afghan detainees? Not again, not on our watch, our dime: no. The second time the joke’s on us, we said, marched with the masses.

Though the chants won’t be answered, the footsteps were recorded. The street shut down, the cameras clicked, the local Internet was abuzz. The revolution was re-Tweeted, added to information from other cities. I fell asleep the student stereotype, woke with soar lungs.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The gangs of smaller cities

It's the spring of 1996 and Gary Doer is upset. In just 25 days, the city will have its heart ripped out. The Jets are on their way to Arizona.

But the boys in red, white, and blue aren't what's got the leader of the opposition upset. Not exactly. It's the dollars and cents of the on-ice equation that's beginning to make his blood boil.

Desperate to keep the franchise, premier Gary Filmon had signed an agreement five years earlier to run the Jets at an operating loss, to the tune of $5 million. By the time the team skipped town, losses had swelled to $43.5 million--a number kept secret until auditors arrived.

This, Doer says, is how the city's politics have worked for far too long: money slides from hand-to-pocket behind closed doors. Meanwhile, unemployment and child poverty is on the rise.

Like every good opposition leader, Doer has a plan to place blame. But there's not one man his sword is pointed at. In fact, there's a whole gang of them.

And so the rant begins: “No offence on the Deputy Speaker, who was never a part of the inner junta of City Hall, never head of the Gang Of 18--as my honourable friend the Minister of Finance was formerly in his past life."

"I still remember the cameras on that meeting in the Fort Garry Hotel, that the gang of 18 were meeting like the knights of the round table to decide the kind of spoils of the civic budget of that year."

Enter 18 king-makers, a cigar smoking, money hungry boys club who held the reigns to the city, and maybe never let go.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Patriots and blood

And then there were the men. To my complaint that the amount of time and concept that goes into a womens' collection so rarely goes into a line of menswear, a friend said to me: maybe the guys just don't care.

That may be true, as so many jeans and tees suggest, but for the few with the cash to buy high-minded design the options for the avant-garde are sadly slim.

Enter Dean and Dan Caten, two of Toronto's own, a team of bubbly brothers who sent blood splattered boys down the runway in Milan this week, ala another Canuck, Bruce La Bruce.

In between Adam Lambert looks like the wings belows; slick blazers, bow-ties, bondage black pants and chains, and another homage to home: two jerseys and a tee celebarting our national sport, hockey.

Satisfied someone (or some pair) has answered my complaint, I'll click on to see McQueen, D&G, Gamme Bleu. But first, another wish: that someone had had the inspiration and audacity to give these guys our Olympic line.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Paradise lost

With gay religions full of pomp and gold, And devils to adore for deities.. Of depth immeasurable.. But he, with his wonted pride Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears.

...this winters wrapped under jersey sheets, us two whisper passages out an open window.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Composition with the young things

The conversation started over tea and ended on the rocks. Secrets told and kept and admissions made were the excuse for late arrival, lack of appropriate attire. I was told to wear a primary hue but showed up all grey-and-black, just happy to have found them.

Peaking out of the black-out curtain sundown: a hostess in a floppy hat, a table of snacks, and a Persian rug to dance on. So we swung our legs to old eighties hits, found girls to drink tequila with, cracked the door to let the heat out.

Later with eyes adjusted there was less abstraction, a grid of wall flowers and attention grabbers. A happy birthday and a hug goodbye, we closed the night with clean black lines, colours mixed with nothing.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Nevermind the Augts

With the tick of the clock it was off to the old party spot that we’d thought we’d sworn off; time to eat dinner and feel older. Sparkling sequined dresses were stitched on at the very last minute and with drinks in hand we called two cabs and were out before others poured the first glass.

Table long and candles lit, we set down food and found places to sit. Out the fire escape we pulled long drags on cigarettes, exchanged pleasantries, shook hands and traded kisses. Bottles pulled from purses were sipped casually, as was beer from bottles and cans: there were but a few glasses in sight.

The room ballooned as time clicked closer and was thick with leather jackets and lipstick by the time our fictive ball dropped. We pulled each other’s bodies closer, slobbered sloppy kisses, took extra swigs of Jack and whispered nothing sweet into deaf ears. But before the usual mess began I called on a car, found a couch, and awoke much further into two thousand and ten.

The buck stops here. Or, rather, the break. Gone now are the days of parental basements and sisters' couches, reality TV and microwaveable meals. No more sleeping until almost noon or drinking through winter weeknights. It's back to class, to the slate, the clock, and the filled calendar.

I'll fill in the blanks of the interim tomorrow. Right now my stories are on.