Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Adrian Tenney: Badlands and beyond



> >
> > Sam: how do you approach songwriting and where do you find inspiration?
> >
> Adrian Chi Tenney: I approach writing lyrics and writing sounds differently. I try really hard to write lyrics that I can stand behind and sing over and over again-words that are meaningful to me. Ideally sharing something I think is important. But sometimes...sometimes...they flow out without me thinking too much about them. Funny that those are the ones people seem to respond to most--the ones I spend less time on. With writing sounds, I just try to please myself as best I can. There's no other way I can think to do it.
>
> > I find inspiration in observing the world, watching things happen that upset me, observing how people treat each other. The times when lyrics flow out more easily are when I'm just singing without thinking and singing about what I feel, or what I see.
> >
> >Sam: what is your approach to the looping pedal and how does it enhance your live sets?
>
> Adrian
> >
> > This pedal is my first pedal ever. I got it after the other three people in my band all moved away and I was trying to find ways to perform solo without feeling like I was lacking anything. My original intention with the pedal was to be able to play multiple guitar parts for my songs. But after experimenting with it a little bit I've discovered that looping my vocals is more fun, and way easier. I've always used layered vocal harmonies in my recordings.
>
> > As far as enhancing my live set, it can be easy to mess up looping guitar parts, and when that happens, it doesn't feel smooth, I have to laugh at myself and hope the audience finds it amusing rather than distracting or annoying. It's still pretty new to me. Just yesterday I started playing around with looping other sounds into it, I downloaded a clip off YouTube of an example of the Doppler Effect made by a siren and I want to try to loop that in when things get big and messy because I love hearing that sound; it kind of thrills me. I also recorded myself playing drums a bit and then played it back into the mic to loop a drum track for myself to sing over. I guess since it's just me out there, it's fun to try to make people forget that it's just me out there.


> >
> >Sam
> what styles of music and art do you express yourself in?
>
> Adrian
> >
> > Over the years, quite a few but I'm whittling it down now. I studied visual art at CalArts and Concordia, where did a lot of printmaking and watercolor painting. I did a regular comic strip in Razorcake Magazine called Bite the Cactus, and I made my own zines with comics. I played Balinese gamelan for about six years pretty intensively. I played drums in a few punk  bands and various instruments in various other short-lived bands. Participated in a experimental vocal group called Singing By Numbers. Performed as a robot a few times in a project called Dismicrowave. And I recorded some silly songs under the moniker Dank Williams...
> >
> > I like collaborating. I like playing music with people, and I really love performing music. While I was in Toronto last month I recorded some drum tracks for April Aliermo's new project which was really fun. I express myself in a lot of ways, but it feels really really really good to sing.
> >
> > Sam:
> how do the different mediums allow you to express different feelings or aesthetics?
> >
> Adrian
> > I like a lot of different kinds of music. Jazz, Blues, Soul, R&B, Old country music and old American folk music, Indonesian music, Haitian music, Mexican music especially, indie rock, and I even like listening to the radio for the super poppy predictable songs that are Top 40 hits! I like knowing what's popular. I don't always understand why it's popular, but sometimes it's surprising and uplifting. Like that song No - it's pretty great. Playing different styles satisfies different parts of me. Sometimes you want to dance, sometimes you want to cry, sometimes you want to wail, sometimes you want to pound on the drums and yell, sometimes you want to not have to wear earplugs and listen for overtones, sometimes you want to play an acoustic instrument, sometimes you want to play an electric instrument. I think I can express the same feeling with several different approaches. I don't think punk is reserved for anger and pop is reserved for dancing. I think it just changes with whatever mood you're in.
> >

> > Sam
> where have you travelled as Badlands and how did you find yourself at the Holy Oak?
>
> Adrian
> > Badlands did a west coast tour in 2015. Played San Francisco, Corvallis, Olympia, Vancouver, Portland and Davis. That was with my full band (Jade Thacker on drums/vocals, John Barlog on bass and Noah Wolf on lead guitar). Last September I came up to Toronto and played with April and Dan (of Hooded Fang/Phedre) on bass and drums (respectively) in Hamilton, Guelph, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto at Double Double Land. This year I came up to New York first and did a mini (reunion of sorts) tour with my original drummer Jade. We played Brooklyn, then Brattleboro, VT, then a cave show in Dorset VT. Then I came to Toronto, played at DDL again, then Montreal with Cousins, and Ottawa at The Record Centre (again with Cousins). April set up the Holy Oak show for us, which felt really special because I got to Meet S. Ayton (whom April had just met volunteering together at Girls Rock Camp, Yukon!!!) and James Irwin, who also played, was an old friend of mine (we met in Montreal in '04).
> >
> > Sam
> what do you see as the best means for an artist to have their music heard and work towards earning a living at least partly from their craft?
> >
>
> Adrian
> > One of the best ways to have your music heard is by having advocates. People (friends) share your music with their friends. That's been the best way I've been able to make connections in other cities. By setting up shows for touring musicians in the city where I live, there's a connection, and you can ask them to return the favor when you want to tour to where they live. I'm not great at social media sharing-though that's obviously a great way to share music. It always feels like the possibility of no one coming to your show is something I have to be ready for.
> > I don't know how anyone makes a living only off playing music. Best I can hope for is to not lose money doing this--to break even. Everyone I know who does this has another job, or other jobs, to make their living. You have to be upfront with promoters about what you can expect to be paid, and you might have to turn down shows sometimes. It really is work, and you need to value yourself doing that work. Even if it's the most fun job you have, you still need to think of it as a job or else it won't be sustainable. It's unlikely you'll be able to make a living off playing music. There are so many other aspects of the music world though, and one solution is to do a little bit of everything: teaching, performing, producing events (promoting shows), recording people, making videos, making posters or album covers or silkscreening t-shirts, whatever you're good at, I believe you can try to combine them all and be totally immersed in the music world and make a living that way.
> >
>


> > Sam
> what is life like in LA?
>
> Adrian
> > Life in LA is dry and dusty and hot and sunny. It took me a few years to feel at home here, and part of the appeal is that you are so close to the ocean, the desert, the mountains and the redwood forest. But like Toronto, LA is a Global City, so there's a lot of diversity, a lot of different cultures hanging out together and that's a wonderful part about it. It's also very spread out, geographically though, and it's really not one city, but a bunch of cities all next to each other. So "Los Angeles" is technically just downtown, and the small cities/large neighborhoods surrounding it. It's true that having a car can make or break your experience here. There is public transportation, but because of the sprawl, it's not them most convenient, affordable or comfortable option. But you totally get used to the driving. It's easy to forget though that it's more than just freeways, and the few years I rode a Vespa scooter around, I learned so much more than ever before or since about the city. I've actually become quite defensive about LA when I hear people talking shit, I feel offended. There's a lot of heart in this city. I see a lot of passion in people.
> >
> >
> > Sam
> what LA  bands and venues would you recommend?
> >
>
> Adrian
> > I played a show with the band XinXin a few weeks ago and they blew my mind. They are so talented, and so fun to watch, and also such sweet people. Jody is really good, they are sort of newish, a three-piece but super solid. Behavior is a band my little brother plays bass in, and they are heavy, dark and intense but also really musical-they've been called "arty in the best way" but I love watching them. And P22 is his other band that he plays guitar in with three other women that all just fucking tear it up. They named themselves after the famous LA mountain lion who crossed the 405 freeway to expand his range from the Santa Monica Mountains to Griffith Park. He is an inspiring animal for sure.
> >
> > Venues is always the question right? There's always too many bands, not enough venues. The diy spaces my friends ran (Dig In and the Wulf Den) are sadly long gone. Pehrspace just got shut down, as did the wulf. and The Smell is maybe getting kicked out. And with the massive wave of gentrification in areas like Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, Highland Park and Echo Park, there's a lot of hostility (rightly so in most cases I would say) towards art spaces. So I feel like everything is in flux right now and I have only a handful of spaces I contact for shows and a lot of them aren't in LA but surrounding cities.
> >
> > vlhs (diy warehouse)
> > The Continental Room (bar)
> > The Redwood Bar
> > Gal Palace (diy house/venue)
> > Ham and Eggs Tavern
> > Gnarburger Records (record store)
> >

> >
> > Sam
> how long have you been playing and writing for, and what were your inspirations?
>
> Adrian
> > I've been playing instruments since elementary school, but playing my own music for almost 15 years. My inspirations...definitely growing up in a household that encouraged playing music had a great impact on me. Both my brothers, and my mom play music and we've collaborated together at different times. I'm always inspired by energetic, emotive live performances. Lately I'm inspired by seeing musicians I can tell have practiced a lot but who are also just enjoying themselves...feeling themselves. That's like the best combo. I love seeing people who use the music as an outlet for pain and...get joy out of doing that. Because I think that's what I do too.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Links>

> > https://outinthedesert.bandcamp.com/
> > https://spokenest.bandcamp.com/
> > https://hotellarut.bandcamp.com/
> > https://cheetochamp.bandcamp.com/
> > http://www.records.thewulf.org/
> >
> >


subtle fragments at Propeller gallery


> > > > ----------------------------------
> > > > > > subtle fragments
> > > > > >
> > > > > > by the site of the old meteoric crater lake, under the unending skies that spread over the prairies and the western edge of the Canadian shield, Paul Reichert, long-distance birthday caller (he always called me Sambo) friend of my mother's family (he also said that Paul Simon was a fool for only making one album with Ladysmith Black Mambazo), a (wo)man of the woods who was also known as the Bear, passed away last week. My aunt Ann, Nora and I convened to commemorate over food and drinks at the Passenger, and I was spotted there by Helen Driefelds. We worked together at Hopgoods a couple summers ago. We exchange numbers, and a couple days later she invites me to the closing reception for a showing of her textile works at the new Propeller gallery, in a cluster of condos south of the Drake.
> > >
> > > >

> >
> > > > > > A jazz trio is playing in the open air on a square filled with gravel and lined with benches. There is food here , dips from Stasis and Culture City, for the launching of a new cafĂ©, OMG, seriously, that's what it's called, but I am drawn to the sweet treats, cashews, and cheeses of the gallery. It's hard to tell when food is free in condoland. People stand around like they're in charge of Lisgar Park.  A park with no grass and deep benches. The jazzers sound legit better from the middle of the square, tenor sax reverberating just like on TV in those old clubs. Just like live vinyl...


>
> > > > > > I stop sniping and smoke a cigarette. Running low. Good. That's ok. My own habits of creative chaos are running out of my control. As selective construction engages, self destruction's reach and appeal diminish. A guy named Maurice demands my attention for what seems like hours. His mother is a jazz pianist and he grills me on metrosexuality.
> > > > > > Alix Voz is featured in the south Propeller gallery, exhibiting three large and subtly effective abstract landscapes in pastel tones, painted onto wooden panels in the open air.




Also on display is a large montage made of dozens of postcards, collaged from photos of downtown Toronto, drawn and painted over and around in a convincing balance of colour and texture, hung amongst envelopes addressed to the artist, running almost the width of the wall on a mesh of wire. It looks messy from a distance, but almost every component of the piece catches the eye and bears notice.



 Voz herself is a stunning French (wo)man, who receives friends and gallery visitors in a striped green dress and elegant heels, explaining the meanings of home and place in the sources and choices behind her work.
> > > >


subtle fragments
> > >
 is on display in the north gallery, a collaboration between Driefelds and anahita azrahimi. Their works co-present extremely well, and share the space effectively. If Helen hadn't pointed out her own handiwork, I would have been flummoxed by the south wall, a seamless alternation of Driefelds' fabrics and azrahimi's small, framed collage works. One pairing of the two artist's works actually seems like a planned collaboration, though the pieces were completed severally, and only hung together.


> > >
> > > azrahimi has paid her dues collaging dense, layered works out of many fragments, and her current work is a delicate balance of line and form, built upon singular samples of traditional collage materials (fashion magazines) and examines, naturally enough, the textures of textiles, paired, as casually as can be managed, with a delicate, linear inkwork commentary. She is investigating the nature of implied physicality in veiled forms, and explains that these selections from her 'collage diet' series, or practise, were chosen from dozens, perhaps even hundreds of works, completed as part of a daily/ weekly collage ritual she began last fall.
> >
> > >
> > >
> > > Driefelds' installation of hanging fabrics, canvas works in which the same fabrics are used as stencils, and a few pieces of dense plexiglass, through which all the other elements can be perceived, is intended as an interactive, walk-around, find-your-own-perspective affair. Hand-woven strips of fabric trail from ceiling to floor and waver in the wind. Her friends are cool. I have to stroll home and prepare for a house concert. AJ is almost done his brunch shift at the Cadillac. Up the street, a sign points to the Northern Lights gallery. At Dufferin and Quenn, a man named Gregg Allan Mcgivern has set up his own art shop, in a greenish amphitheatre space beside the tracks. I have to hurry home to get ready for the salon. I catch Rory Lavelle's set at motel, chat up the bartender just long enough to realise we had the same grade 11 English teacher, ten years apart. Winnipeg is funny that way.




Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Sue Foerster, a life in drawing


(Jocelyn, 35 min study in oil and acrylic background)

Sam: How long have you been running live modeling sessions?
>
> Sue:     My passion for life drawing lead me to join a local art group in Richmond Hill and (I) started to assist Life drawing sessions in 2009.

 here is my profile page on group site  http://www.rhga.ca/sue-foerster-guerrero/
>
>        I have been running Life Drawing sessions from September 2010 to (the) present day, and managing-updating a blog since with regular class schedule updates
(http://openlifedrawing.blogspot.ca).
>
>           From September 2010 to March 2014, I held the position of Life Drawing Coordinator at The Richmond Hill Group of Artists, located at the Mill Pond Gallery. Then made the decision to go indie and open(ed) my own OpenStudio Life Drawing sessions at my home (in) April 2014.
>
> OpenStudio website includes studies of various models:
> >
http://pencilgallery.wix.com/openstudio

> > http://pencilgallery.wix.com/foerster-drawings (personal portfolio website by Sue Foerster. Includes: figurative drawings, paintings, portraits and sculpture)
>
(Melanie with socks, 30 minute repose study in oil)

> Sam:
>
> What's your favourite thing about live drawing sessions?
>
> Sue:

>     There is no better feeling for me than drawing from life, and capturing the human form, with pencil, charcoal and paint. (B)y nature, I love connecting with people, especially artists and models.
 As a group, we all inspire and encourage each other to move forward and take risks. Especially with my classes, I  (give) the participants free reign on what they'd like to do, no instruction (unless requested), and a stress free environment with good music. We generally like to begin our classes with 2 minute gesture poses.
>
> This allows each participant to break down the barriers of self doubt, and empowers a freedom of losing control, (a)llowing the process to naturally take over.
>
>  As the model transitions so quickly between the poses, you are compelled to decide on what you yourself would like to focus on from vignette or full body.
>
>  Living in the moment is liberating.
> More drawing with less critical thinking, to capture the movement in the amount of time you have. Each line of action and expression in proportion to your perspective to the models pose, without the use of an eraser.
 This is what I love most about Life Drawing.
>
> Sam:
>
> How would you describe the relationship between artist and model?
>
> Sue:
> This interpersonal relationship has evolved globally to internet sources such as on-line drawing courses (and) youtube demos. Some beginner artists feel better starting here, and are intimidated joining a group, even when all levels apply. It seems they want to avoid public humiliation in a social environment where they feel inferior and less competitive. I compete only with myself to get better, and even with practice, and putting in the time, there is always room for improvement.
>
>        There is an interrelationship going on between the artist and the model, physical and mental. In a sense it is like the model is holding a mirror into ourselves, which is hard to ignore. How we see and feel relies solely on our experiences and beliefs. From our stories we create our own reality, while observing others and non verbal body language within our surroundings. Interpreting the life we see and feel, using our senses and making it more real. From my own experience and talking with other artists, when the model feels pain or happiness, so does the artist. Posture and minute changes in facial expression(s) are undeniably noticeable.There seems to be an unspoken body language with the model and the artist.This I find affects the palette of the 20 min or 30 minute long pose.

 (Anthony, 30 minute repose study in oil)


> Sam:
>
> Do you see this relationship as being different now than in the past?
>
> In my opinion, in the past women were: painted predominantly by men, hired by wealthy patrons and the Church, shown as objects of affection, forbidden fruit, bashful, taught to be embarrassed of their nudity and vulnerability. It appears that nudity portrayed in the past versus now as an expression of muse, sexual, shock value, thought provoking, to get a reaction, good or bad, or to sell something like an advertisement. A walking billboard!
>
> The female body has become public property regarding cultural beliefs, that now she/he no longer feels the ownership. The general public thinks with their eyes and easily passes judgement on how someone looks as to how they are dressed or undressed
> >
> > Women must for humanity's sake own their bod(ies)!

> > Nursing babies in public is fundamental,biological.....normal.
>

Sam: Agreed. How do you feel the female figure has been policed throughout western art history?
>
> Sue: The female has been portrayed fashionably as a beautiful often desirable object, by male artists, in accordance with that particular time, depending on their religion and cultural beliefs and sign of the times, ethical and moral. Today women are made to look what the media claims to be close to perfection.
> > This is an illusion. A fantasy woman. An Avatar. Photoshop has replaced the airbrush to such an extent, that the proportions are more like a Barbie Doll.
 Real women want to see real women.
> >
> > All women have body issues, especially models.
> >
> > All women of all sizes are beautiful.

(Lidia, 30 minute repose study in oil on terra skin)
> >
> Sam:
>
> What's the best part of living in Toronto as an artist?
>
> Sue:
> There is a huge advantage living in Toronto.  We are leaders of multi-cultural events, with a huge diversity of small pocket communities living within our population, providing Music, Dance and Art and food for entire families to enjoy while embracing their culture. Toronto has wealth, lots of shops, jobs, a large art budget, and huge array of educational opportunities for young and old. Easy access with TTC.
>
> Sam:
>
> What's the worst part?
>
> Sue:
> Downtown Toronto is too: populated,  busy, stressful, far away, expensive to live, and has too many unfortunate people, affluence, materialism. Modern consumers maximize their freedom, with too many choices, dealing with higher expectations. The modern consumer is left feeling decreased satisfaction accumulating more and more stuff, paralyzed by decision making, and depressed. Consumers can search out original items, such as all kinds of art to suit your taste, furniture, electronics and computers, musical instruments, hobbyist supplies and more.
>
(Melanie, 25 minute repose study in oil)

> Sam:
> How do you feel the rest of Canada is affected by the concentration of so much cultural activity in the GTA?
>
> Sue:
>
> Toronto is like the  pulse of Canada with many cultural flavours, role model and leader, (it's) organic, embraces diversity, educates. Toronto has wealthy art budget enabling opportunity for art, music and film.
>
> Sam:
>
> What are the enduring influences upon your work? Other artists, the natural world, the human form?
>
> Sue:
> Observing the natural world and the human form are by far the the most influential. The answers are there, we only need to look at nature and all living things and appreciate it's wonder and beauty. I admire  Pinot, considered to be the modern master and Amico modern expressionist. Masters of the past I admire are Klimt, Van Gogh, Leonardo DaVinci, Salvador Dali,
> > As for drawing I admire Van Gogh, Leonardo, Escher, Aubrey Beardsley, William Morris and Nicolaides (whose book The Natural Way To Draw, inspires me).
> > Finding your own voice, originality, authenticity and style matters more to me, than perfection..


> >
> Sam.How do you see the opportunities for art to affect and alter the way people see themselves and their world nowadays?
>
> Sue:
>
> It is our duty to inspire children. The Next generation is to carry the torch of creativity, and humanity and most of all empathy.
> >


> > To nurture them with an Introspective approach and emotionally with encouragement. Perfection is only a direction.
> >
> > Art gives us hopefulness  to a future with less focus on materialism, and more on recycling.


> >
> > Visual stimulation inspiring boundless freedom to express with technology, for worthwhile causes to make our planet sustainable.
> >
> > Art is humanity. Art is human evolution. Art is consciousness. Art equals happiness.

 > The body thrives when the heart has a mission. quote from unknown artist
> >
> > Vulnerability comes from a place of strength....quote by me
> >
> > There is nothing in all the world more beautiful or significant of the laws of the Universe than the nude Human body......quote by Robert Henri

 (4 studies of 2 minute motion drawings of Barbie the ballerina: red conte on large craft paper)


Monday, 19 September 2016

A week of last waltzes


> >
> > The final weeks of Not My Dog have been  lovely and bittersweet, and the last few days have been exceptionally charged
> >
> >
> > Wednesday, Sept 14: the last open mic
> >
>
> There's a crew of old friends whom I haven't seen together in the same room in some years. Gillian, Warren, Damon, Russel, Chris, Adam, and Stoo Bye, who made an impassionate speech urging everyone present to spread the beautiful magic of this place everywhere we went, to dream of the Dog, to know that what we had and did here was rare and special. Along the back wall, the boys talked about the room's acoustics. Like the Motown sound. I meditated on metronomic drums for Quique Escamillia, managing not to do my Harpo Marx routine until the final downbeat.
> >

> > On Thursday afternoon, after a day shift at the diner, we gathered up a possee to move the nmd piano into its new home at the Skyline.
> >
>
>let's see, I first met Warren McGoey at McKenzie's open mic on a Saturday afternoon, across the street from high park.
I was there when We Are French played their first, unofficial show, with C. harrison on bass and Stu Bye on drums.
> That was in this same doggy bar about eight years ago. This is only the second time I've taken in a set by the current incarnation of the band, and as usually happens at We Are French performances of late, I am taken aback by the diehard fans amongst the audience, the community, who know EVERY SINGLE WORD to the songs Warren writes and sings. The only classic I could recognize was Join Me, which was a cathartic chant taken up by the capacity crowd.



I've always had a hard time controlling my impulse to dance and scream when listening to We Are French, and tonight I let go,
 playing tambourine like it had a hankering for spankering, dancing in the densely packed Dog as though I had the tiny floor to myself, which I usually do. Did. Jeez. MIP came up to take lead vocals on one tune.



At other times, bassist AJ used a power drill to create an additional layer of noise, and lead guitarist CHarrison screamed obscenities. The entire band is dressed as Vikings, in furs, horn, and blue facepaint. "Mischief" McGoey, ever the charismatic showman, incurrs the crowd to shout, amongst other things, WE ARE DOG!


I am quite sweaty and satisfyingly spent when the affair is called to a halt, and take to the street for a group debriefing, photo ops with Laura Stevenson, Damon and Darian of the Muckabouts, and Rob Sills, the man to whom the most dangerous drinking game I ever devised was dedicated.


> >
> > Hair of the Dog (above) also provided some lovely new wave dancing music and put up with my moxie for the tambourine.
> >
> > Friday @ 3030: Beams


> >
> > Another heavy hitter, alongside Stew and Warren,oone of the most prolific and powerful songwriters out of the old blob is Anna Mernieks, currently fronting a seven piece rock act known as Beams. The electric mandolin of Dave Hamilton clangs with chorus and flange like a rhythm guitar, his brother Keith handles vibraphone and musical saw, then hijacks the lead vocals for a crushing, high energy rendition of the Talking Head's 'psycho killer'


> >
> > Me and Allie Marshall were transported to our days as cheerleaders for the Papermakers, a hard hitting duo Anna once fronted with Katie Plant, we clown and stake squad space on the dance floor, boldly swinging arms and mixing mosh with ballroom steps to follow the choreography of Anna's wistful verses and joyous choruses. A newlywed couple comes up and is serenaded with an exceptionally beautiful number called 'you are an ocean'.



> >
> > Saturday: Julie Doiron and the Wrong Guys
> >


> > I find Nic and Nora in Christie Pitts around 8 pm, during Hooded Fang's set in the beer tent of the final Bloor Ossington Folk Festival. Didn't we see them play at steam whistle once? Nora asks me. I went on tour with these guys! Maggie says. There's a few people swaying at the side of the stage, a couple bopping like they mean it, but with nothing approaching the enthused abandon Beams inspired in me and Allie. Julie Doiron is up next and I am excited. Seeing her four years ago at the Garrison with members of the Cancerbats was a revelation in emotive intensity. Eamon McGrath's abstract leads billow and scythe through the swinging country grunge that Doiron is justly known for. Many dance and pogo, and I pull myself away with some difficulty. This is also the last weekend for BOFF, after six or seven years, a move back to Winnipeg, and you had me saved already!
> >




> > Wonder Woman finally takes me to the thrift stores around Parkdale. There's where u buy sheets and pillows, she points out. And that's where smokes are cheapest, and that's where u can get a winter jacket...
She takes me and Bix to a sale at the thrift store. She knows how to work the coupons. They try on many things and I find Nora a copy of Doiron's second album from 1997. The CD section at thrift ships can be dangerous for me as pretty much all music from the 90s has a comforting nostalgia for me by now.


>
> Nostalgia. Nine years of memories and open mics. Well, a few years off and on, as it is in any epic relationship. It wasn't until she was being toasted that I spotted Tanya, the original Queen of the Dog, cheek to cheek with Nicole in the crush of emotional regulars and curious first timers. Me and Russ fucked a lot of things up, she announces, but we did one thing right.

I ate both the feet of a roasted pig. I slam-danced and roared out one last freestyle, made one last new connection as the last last call rippled through the crowd. I left my phone at home and used senses to soak up the scene, that eclectic babble of activated social space, I changed shirts twice as they were claimed by curry and sweat. I was there and I was glad. That's all that I can say, but if you have any dreams you'd like to sell, or memories to share, email the Tinderbox and ungirdle your burden. dmzmgmt@gmail.com
> Subject line: Legends of the Dog
>
> What a weekend. Work begins anew, love returns again, and life is often about loss and what comes next?
> Salons.


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Green Girl EP release Sept 11@ burdock



> Sam: so, tell me about the new EP you're releasing.
> >
> > Bryn (Jennings, vox): It’s called Wilde.
> >
> > Jan Krouzil (drummer) History is made!
> >
> > Ben (VanBurskirk, guitarist): With an “e.”
>
> >
> > Bryn: With an “e.”
> >
> > Ben: And an “i.”
> >
> > Bryn: And an “i” also. There are two vowels... we recorded a couple of the songs (soon) after Jan and Suzanne started playing with us... kinda crazy but came out really well.
>
> >
> > Sam:
> > It did come out well, and aching of tasty shoegaze art rock of my personally preferred vintage, the Nasty Nineties, when all bassists played a grooving pulse, the culturally appropriate way to swing in the space between European folk and no wave futurism.
> >
> > Bryn ... it feels like a really cool time for us to be recording and putting some songs together.
> >
> > Ben: We’re capturing some fresh energy with some of the songs.
> >
> >Sam:
>
> What is the aura of punk? Is it the experience of otherness in high school, of pure countercultural self awareness? Is it to mosh, to be unpretentious? How can one be humble when Lou Reed, Yoko Ono, Glenn Branca and Kim Deal are your grandparents?
> >
> > Bryn: Ben and I knew each other when we were teenagers.
> >
> > Ben: So, when this is transcribed, you want it to say “Spice Girls and other (influences).” That’s what you’re saying, right?
> >
> > Bryn: I dunno, who else was big back then? Aqua? Does anyone remember Aqua?
> >
> > Ben: Vaguely.
> >
> > Bryn: I dunno, we were in junior high. It was a bleak time.
> >
> > Bryn: So I tracked him down, about 15 years after we had played together the first time, and he said yes! That’s how the band started . . .
> >
> > Jan: I guess I joined next. Bryn and I did a school program together and became friends and she invited me.
> >
> > Bryn: Jan was a fan first!
> >
> > Jan: Yes, I was a fan. I attended the show and then I ended up temporarily filling in for the drummer and then it just became permanent.
> >
> > Sam:
> > Going Going Gone, the EP's closer,
> > evokes live Portishead sans clutter or bloat, riffs on Granddad Lou...
> > But the music escapes many sinkholes of early punk, primarily through gender balance. Apollonian shatters of sound exist beside the intimate vulnerability of the Maenad's lullabye...
> >
> > Suzanne Alyssa Andrew_ plays bass and sings backup
>
> >
> > Bryn:  I was really determined to find a female bass player.
> >
> > Suzanne: And...it seemed pretty awesome. Then I was like “I don’t know about this.” But...you convinced me!
> >
> > Bryn: It was so stressful! I fell in love with Suzanne immediately, like the first email she wrote. I felt like I had conjured her up in my mind.
> >
> > And then when she was like “oh, I don’t know...", I had to really fight for her to come to a rehearsal.
> >
> > Ben: I didn’t even know about this!
> >
> > Suzanne: I was at work on the day of the first rehearsal and I was kinda nervous and I told my co-workers about it and they were like “you’re going to get ax murdered! You answered an ad from people you don’t know on Craigslist!”
> >
> > Bryn: And it was like, specifically “female bass player”
> >
> > Jan: Yes, come to the end of a long street!
> >
> > Bryn: Totally.
> >
> > Ben: Meet at the big white van.
> >
> > Jan: Big warehouse! Many rooms!
> >
> > Suzanne: I actually saw Bryn at the front door and I was like “aw, she’s cool.” And then it turned out she was in the band. It was a decent first practice.
> >
> > Bryn: I feel like the band really came together really quickly once Jan and Suzanne joined... this great moment where it’s like we're “a band” and yet everything is still really fresh and new.
> >
> > Suzanne: Yeah, we’re trying to keep it raw and real and not too polished.
> >
> > Bryn: Yes, we are all nodding enthusiastically.
> >
> > Ben: For us...this is a record of these four people playing music in a room together.
> >
> > Suzanne: And it’s going to be awesome!
> >
> >
> > Bryn: Pretty much all the songs we have, and definitely all the songs on the EP, are about this period in my life in my late teens, and about some specific people and yeah, they’re thematically connected.
> >
> > Ben: What is it about this time in your life that you felt the need to capture through art? Was it a very transformative time? Was it a very dark time?
> >
> > Bryn: I guess it was a very dark time. I think it’s a lot of things. I used to play in a bunch of bands and then I had this really shitty time for a while and I stopped playing music, and I think a lot if that stuff is really connected. And then it’s weird, because now like ten years later I’m writing all these songs about this shit and I think it just took me all that time to be able to process it in this way.
> >
> > Suzanne: I definitely think that usually there is about a ten-year lag time in terms of writing.You can look at it more objectively, like in a different light with more life experience behind you to actually understand it better.
>
> >
> >
> > Ben: Well...there was a period of time where I was in a bunch of bands and then I just stopped playing. Those bands broke up and I wasn’t really interested in making music again. I was playing occasionally with some bands in a non-serious fashion. It was when I lost my dad that I started The Dearly Bereft and that’s around the time that you came back to Toronto and I find myself, through that time, continuing into now, realizing how seriously I take this... and it makes me excited and I don’t take for granted that I get to play music with people and in front of people and all that stuff.  So, the right time for this project to come about because . . . I’m ready for it! I want it. I want to make music with good people.
> >
> > Jan: I guess I also stepped away from playing music with others for about ten years or so Coming back into the experience of playing in a band, there is definitely a new appreciation for playing with other people and making something together that I didn’t have playing in bands when I was sixteen or seventeen. Seems like we’re in the process of growing and creating all the time, so it’s a great experience right now.
> >
> > Suzanne: I would say, in terms of music... I always felt like, growing up with (my oldest brother) in the household, that I didn’t really have the license to play music because he was so fucking good, that I didn’t feel like I was ever going to be as good as him so there was no point. But it’s taken me a really really long time to overcome that and realize that if you have the passion for music and you just want to play, it doesn’t matter. If you want to play music you should and that’s the bottom line.
> >
> >
> > Sam: What would you play if you ran your own radio show?
> >
> > Bryn: Oh! I want to tell a story. Maybe everyone did this, but I went to bandcamp with this girl when we were like sixth grade to eighth grade, and we both played saxophone and we were best buds and she was the coolest—that was our game we would play, for hours. We would spend hours having our radio show. We’d play a song and we’d have banter between songs and we really stayed in character. We played all the hits of the mid to late 90s, like Spice Girls and others. It was the most fun and also so incredibly nerdy. We were so into it and took it so seriously. It was some pretty fun playacting as radio hosts.
> >
> > Suzanne: I like to be the iPhone DJ on a road trip. I’ll just curate a whole playlist on the fly of whatever’s on the particular iPhone I have in my hands of good driving music.
> >
> > Bryn: Not even your iPhone? You’ll do that on other people’s?
> >
> > Suzanne: Yeah. Whatever iPhone is there.
> >
> > Bryn: People are weird on road trips, they’re like “I want to play my music.” And it’s like, that’s way cooler. That’s the best. You’re like “I’ll take your music and make it awesome.”
> >
> > Suzanne: It’s super fun. Driving music has to have a certain beat... You don’t want to get too down in the car.
> >
> > Ben: I’ve always had a dream of owning a bar that no one comes to. It’s kinda dingy, and it only plays Tom Waits.
> >
> > Suzanne: I would go there.
> >
> > Ben: I’d go there a lot. I’d get my heart broken every week just so I could go to this bar.
> >
> > Jan: Reminds me of (the) bar from Firewalk With Me. The sad one.
> >
> > Ben: So that’s what you’d play on your radio station? The Twin Peaks soundtrack?
> >
> > Bryn: We’d play all the best music.
> >
> > Ben: You know what I’d play? I’d play random independent bands from Toronto. Because between Honey Beard and Selfoss...  I’m just like wow.
> >
> > Bryn: It’s tough because the scene is so big and diffuse right now you could never know all the amazing bands that are happening.
> >
> > Jan: Someone should create a website tracking Toronto bands
> >
> >
> > Suzanne: I would be doing so many cool things if I didn’t have to do paying work. I’d just play all the time.
> >
> Sam:>This all puts me in mind of a 2009 compilation i helped release called Spacerock One, featuring Abstract Random, Dream of Distance, Retro Radio
> and Ima Nim, perhaps a Sylvia Plath/Dilla mashup of mine as well. Heavy on the sapphic strands, discursive, chanty and relentless without need to recourse to any excessive tone of aggression or games of power. Could you call that one Blob ten? Wasn't there a Christmas album? Chris tells me there's lots still to come, the archives are physically intact, apparently you can't break a contract that was never written.
> >


First Thursday Sept 1st




>
> > >
> > > Backed by a wall of floating images, performance artist Jessica Karuhanga is finally performing art that I am attendantly witnessing. And all I can do is blog. The sound track is brilliantly lo-fi and unstructured, at least by european musical standards. Looped snippets of pop tunes and hype-fangled beats bounce over and over again, an entire wall of Baillie Hall is being projected upon with many Instagram feeds and videos, mostly of young black women enjoying their beauty, dancing, hash-tagged and propped for their efforts.


> > > Karuhanga spends about five minutes on each dance pose, playing games with her shadow and gradually moving across to centre stage as she does, enrapturing and enthralling the audience of about 100 savvy, tasteful first Thursday patrons. Lemme see if I can get a picture without being a jerk. I am well versed in busking, extroverted outbursts, public music, and my girlfriend says I can dance, but this is something else; dance as sculpture, as installation, as statement alongside evidence from pop culture, as soundscape, as social moment highlighted and even celebrated. It's important for me to circle the entire space, much like a party monster, to observe the waves of discomfort and boredom as the demands of the experience eject layers of participants like the outer skins of a supernova. Or sometimes just to find a better seat, view, angles for snapshots. How silly is it that all I want to do is blog and insta-post about this experience. I suppose I find it rather intense, and try to sublimate in my own ways.
> > >
> >


> > It's been over a week and I still don't know what to say about the Mykki Blanco show I saw last Thursday. It's becoming increasingly difficult to be enthused about my own or any other's rapping abilities when said skills are spun for the sake of posturing, gun and money fetishes, and the propagation of patriarchal notions in the name of black or urban advancement. And yet... When the dynamic performance attended by several hundred in a crowded marble atrium features a queer front(wo)man whose aggression and self-assertion is being thrown in the face of homophobia and gender normative claptrap, I can suspend my sense of unreality and accept that maybe the format can still empower the voices of the underprivileged and underrepresented, I can let my body accept the bumps and waves of trap beats and crunk flows, I can hang right behind the dj and feel good about the hype and finery expended on a first Thursday event, find some space to groove and vibe in the plush crush, hear a few new fave songs, believe in the classic punk rhetoric of fuck y'all imma do my thing, witness Mykki owning the crowd, stomping in and out of their midst, striding into the middle of the dancefloor, traipsing up railings and onto the DJ table with such powerful poise and projection, still full of beans after the time was told, reluctant to hand over the gathering's focus, still standing tall after doffing shawl, wig, and smashing vox for a solid set.



Ok, I decided what I want to say: I finally saw a guilt-free rap show. If your hip hop fix has been compromised of late, tune into this. It feels better because it is better.
> > Thanks Bix.


Saturday, 10 September 2016

Matt Crookshank: Violent Whimsey



Matt Crookshank, Violent Whimsey,
Sept 9- Oct 8 at General Hardware Contemporary
> >
> > There's a good crowd, lively chatter, and the smell of fresh paint. Mostly comprised of a series of large robust abstracts in vivid colours, Matt Crookshank is opening an exhibition that also includes smaller pieces of foil and paper, hung in a couple quiet corners of the walls of this Parkdale gallery.
> >
> > Living as I currently do across the street, I have been meaning to come into General Hardware for some weeks now, and am not disappointed by the spacious back room, almost invisible from the sidewalk, the patio full of genteel chill and cool talk, or even the bathroom facilities, private yet with a translucent wall which maintains one's sense of involvement in the party.
> >


> > Streetcars pass, people come and go, I sit writing on a window bench that I resolve to visit more often, and the stress of schlepping downtown or even up to Bloor for culture's sake  becomes irrelevant. Bourgeoisie has draped itself along Queen street west west, this is true. But the flip side to that coin is that said bourgeoisie must now interact with the local people and culture, if it has any eye to stability or sustainable growth.
>
> > > > Catt and dog are doing battle on the carpet. She teases him with toys and treats. Sit, she says. Good luck, I say. But she tames the beast and runs him through paces. Back to the bar and things are as usual bouncing. Sarah, Andrews, Marlon, and Derek are there, most of them playing, though still nobody dances with the abandon I deem necessary.


> > > >
> > > > Mother bades me to take care in the wilds of Parkdale. I tell her it's a neighborhood no different than Winnipeg's North Main strip, in places and at times a people zoo, where the animals and ambulances are safely separated from my workplace smoking zone by sturdy fence. A woman stands with a foot cast  perfectly balanced to her other, heeled, foot.
> > > >
> > > > I walked from Shepard to Queen's Quay yesterday, and I was hungry the whole ways. Past taverns and restaurants, I perceived the evolution of the mega city from a collection of towns and villages, through rural suburbs to big boxes and strip malls.
> > >

> > > After hours now, and I make a curry chicken pasta with corn, bok choy, and roasted beets because no pizza. Dazzle your mouth with the hippy shit and it will thank you. So will your wallet. I tried ignoring Trump, has he gone away yet? I tried napping while jets flew overhead. I beat my head against the wall an the bar when Mip reminded me. Also when Stu's dibs and I were interrupted by a lousy statement on racial groove. Sigh. It's a science, I should include it in these missives.
> > >
> > > Listened to the Police last night. And ok computer. And unplugged in new York. I had no phone and was left to pilfer my laptop for stimulation.  Perspective of twelve years makes Thom Yorke sound like the only constant in the waves of ravelled time, Sting's appropriation of punk and raggae seems so garishly, awkwardly indolent. Then it was on to vintage RnB and rap. The ignorance Riel perceived even as he said try and hear Nas and Jeru, I see it now. Less in the quest of the perfect performance, more in the art of channeling positive energy. Did I cross a line tonight? If you think so, know what side I stand on. All things are negotiable and we trust in you as well, the most reliable of things: dart, breath, pulse, phrase, tempo, rhythmic icthymus, mode, and overtone structures. Little besides remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, amidst out vines and frolics, magick and mirth making marble seem barren and bare, the lone and level sands of the octave disappear. Like they were never here. We composers call that an overture. You may call it bluster. But I do not bluff.
> > >
> > > My feet feel like pulled toffee and my thumb feels like I punched somebody. The phone missed me so much it tries to write for me, resists my choices, covets my voice. Jake Gyllenhall coaches me in sensitive flirts. Peter scolds and trains me. I am his hands. I make it back for last dance and last call. The Tinderbox is currently in a position to quadruple it's productivity and expand its reach by tens, if not dozens of readers. If you or someone you know is an artist, free thinker, or irrepressible dancer, please urge them to message me at dmzmgmt@gmail. The Snowbirds are gone, the Jets, Beckbirds and Starhawk are here to stay. Let's see what Wonder Woman demands tomorrow. Let's hear her out. Within her demands are the directives of her power. It's source, purpose, and full potentials. Move made, lesson learned.