Monday, May 31, 2010
The balcony floats on the tree tops, spit and hit the park. Pack bags with blankets and books; take the elevator towards the trunks. Cross traffic into endless grasses, pass the elderly playing slow sports: bocce and chess.
Pick a spot along the pond, break out bread and cheese; make sausage jokes. Spy on hairy men in speedos and play with strangers’ dogs. Bikes bring beer and friendly faces, pink shirts carry green fruits.
The sun beats on reddened skin until the clouds close the day. On to dates and drives and bars and boys, we part in different directions. Head towards the suburbs and learn to love the bomb.
The bus pulls in as the sky is breaking dawn. Pull on backpack straps, head North, then East, and North again; walk towards park lights. The phone is out, the host up, the door opens.
It’s back to bed until our alarm arrives: we all drive to get coffee. The afternoon brings Scrabble, the evening BBQ and beers. We make fast friends, share sausage and hamburger.
The night falls on the back yard, we change clothes, hail cabs, head to the Old Port. With one look at the line up and have the cab swing back and direct the driver towards a friendlier bouncer. We’re waved in and dance until dizziness begins.
On the walk home the streets are full of light and madness. Mutter to myself: this town doesn’t sleep like mine. Enjoy it.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I used to wake up to the sound of Erica Peck rummaging through her closet. Back then she was starring in We Will Rock You and living in a two-bedroom apartment with my ex. By night Peck was Scaramouche, a vampy vixen on a mission to save rock and roll.
Her daylight persona wasn’t so different: Peck is always on stage. Before leaving the apartment she’d tease her hair up two inches, slap on bright bitch-red lipstick, and slip on platform heels.
She has the wardrobe to work it. As Peck puts it, “My style is a blend of the cheeky side of vintage, big hair, big shoes, and things that sparkle in the night.”
You no longer need to sleep with one of her friends to peak into her closet. Peck has set up shop on Etsy, selling selected vintage goods in an online-boutique she’s calling Wild Thing Vintage.
She says the shop will sell a mix of ‘50s and ‘60s glamour alongside ‘80s shoulder-padded treasures. Peck promises it won’t be standard vintage. “My favorite pieces to sell are the ultra-out there, one-of-a-kind treasures,” she says. “When those things find homes it's awesome, because I know whoever bought it is just as happy to find it as I was.”
Most of the pieces, she says, also won’t break the bank. “My price range must be affordable. I'd like to make enough profit for it to be worth my while, but right now, I'm working on getting a clientele that will return again,” she says. “I love vintage clothing on the bodies of people out in the sun, not sitting on hangers waiting for the person with no budget to come along.”
When she’s not busy filling Drew Barrymore’s old role as Julia in the Mississauga production of the Wedding Singer, Peck says she’s available to swap goods-for-cash on Queen St. That is, at least until she heads off to P.E.I. this fall to play Penny in Hairspray.
So Ms. Peck, sometime before then: I’d like to snag those slick gold gaga glasses.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
A few weeks ago I got to play creative director at a fashion shoot. The set of photos, shot by major babe The David Pike, will run alongside a profile of recent Rye-high fashion grad Amanda Lew Kee in the June issue of Futuréale. Posted here is a peak.
Lew Kee, who was recently named assistant designer for Ashley Rowe, presented an all-black collection at this year’s Mass Exodus in stark contrast of the show’s light spring theme, In Bloom. Her snug sheer-meets-shine tights and spiked biker jackets demanded attention and attention was received.
The looks will be displayed in the Holt’s windows this June and featured in the September issue of Flare. On May 31 Lew Kee will present her full collection alongside a short film at the Great Hall, not far from the Queen West haunts she can often be found at, all blue-lipstick and torn up dresses.
More styled than stylist I was truthfully all but unqualified to curate looks. Lew Kee arrived with armfuls of garments and bags of spikes strung into accessories. She laid it all out, looked at me, and said she had seen the clothes all year and grown tired of styling them herself. It was my turn to play.
We’d each brought a muse: she her brand face Nadine McAdam and I the lovely Carli Rothman (who I spend endless hours writing love letters to.) The two patiently stepped out of one outfit and into the next, held still as we clamped backside fabric to fit, and moved as Dave and I shouted out long-winded directions.
After several hundred flashes, four looks, and one group photo the clothes were zipped back into their bags for later use.
We called it a wrap.
Friday, May 21, 2010
On messy nights it’s customary to wake to the camera and flip through, re-counting misadventure. And on very messy nights those photos reveal only one thing: you were lucky to have been behind the camera lens and not in front of it.
To Mr. Rob Reed: thanks for making faces for my flash. Sorry for trying to pick fights all night (and thanks for not kicking my ass.)
Monday, May 17, 2010
Over the brick ground went curtains never put up in apartments, ones left in boxes near rods bought but not bothered with. On top those books never read, denim we once fit into, gifts discarded.
The shade lifted and as the sun hit the streets so did the footsteps of strangers. One by one our old purchases became items with new owners. Offers to barter were handed off from one seller to another; we shrugged shoulders and conceded to low-ballers.
Friends wandered in and out, were elected for beer runs, asked for change, handed donations. The BBQ was pulled out, lit up, filled with burgers. A case cracked and money split, we cut our losses.
Into boxes on the street sent the picked-over and left behind: our silent offer. Went home sunburned, with cash in the front pocket.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
It rains on the first day of the hunt. No bother, we say, hit the concrete with one umbrella, no map. The buzz had begun a few days earlier, word was Banksy had been in town.
The proof was sketched across town on buildings and in back alleys, markings of a graffiti artist gone mainstream. There’s a film to promote, so we wondered if it was all a stunt to cause a film-frenzy, but the local experts say the works are real and the papers believe them.
A black and white blur Jamie saw through the window of a cab turns out to be nothing more than a street-side tag by a local author. One down. We walk up and into Chinatown, tramp through back alleys until we find the Rat.
It looks just like the photo we saw of it on the web, but we grin and snap another. Simulacrum. Then its down the Rogers Centre, where we walk in circles and find nothing.
The next day I meet Hali to search through Trinity Bellwoods. We walk the park’s perimeter; see nothing. Strike two runs into a patio, we give up and grab a beer.
After our failure, of course, the blogosphere gives up on the code of ethics its been holding on to in the morning and Torontoist publishes each art pieces location.
It’s up now, the hunt is over: time to head out and find them.
Post script paper calls
A little post script from my Viral Vegetation project: just when I thought it was time to bring out the dinner mints, the Star called. They read my food article on Rabble and asked if I'd write a news piece for their paper. On the cover of tomorrow's living section, and on the web today, here she is: Using the web to find a foodie near you.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
The student showcase season ends with the art kids. By now the class of twenty-ten has attended film showings, doc screenings, and fashion shows; read articles and zines. All spring long our peers have been putting their best work on the table, asking us to gather.
It’s been brilliant and inspired, clichéd and tossed together. OCAD was no exception. Upstairs designers showed solutions on bound booklet pages. There were simple shoes made from rubber and laced together to prevent impoverished feet from disease. Potted plants that grow indoors with the help of LED lights and bicycles to pack into thin boxes and ship to African families. Products for people, tailored to our lives.
Drop down a floor or two and find pictorials: paintings and photos on the walls. From fashion magazines Winnie Truong sourced images to draw, then on faces penciled in endless strands of hair. Winnipeg’s Evin Collis re-imagined the myth of how our west was won, mixed prairie history with daily life. And Sam Catalfamo slowed down the teenage beating heart, filmed young flesh plunging into unknown waters.
It’s into those unknown waters now we’ll have to go. With all and art over, we’ll soon slip signed and stamped papers under our arms and rush out into the world.
And as middle-aged man on the brink of breakdown once told me: this is what happens next.
What Abi sees for the Scarborough suburbs
How the west was won (better photos here)
Winnie, one of my favourites in the show
Saturday, May 08, 2010
I was a bit out of place. We were at the Gumball, surrounded by luxury cars. The proud and wealthy behind the wheel of Mercedes, Morgans, BMWs, Bentleys: Corvettes and other compensation. I wasn’t sure what we were looking at.
Derek is a car guy. I’m a lifestyle guy. Luxury made those worlds collide, but Derek actually wanted to see cars. I was hunting celebrity. But I missed Xzibit, heard no mention of the Hoff, saw no important daughters or Middle Eastern princes.
At one point I lent a pen so someone from The Wire could sign a book, but that was about it. One ink stain and a sea of pretty, shining autos. I snapped pictures until sunset, when the photos became stained with steely flash.
Still not a car guy, I slipped out of the crowded street and walked all the way home.