Friday, 19 May 2017

Farewell, Cornell




When i was 12,“ fell on black days” was my least favourite soundgarden single. It was too mellow for me (for a grunge song),and was in heavy rotation on muchmusic

. I was
Burned out on it over 20 yrs ago.
Now, its playing just after midnight on the day Chris Cornell took his own life, and i am quite moved,compelled to write.

The purpose of this post is threefold:

One

to celebrate a band i like

Two

to comment on recent reactions to celebrity death

Three

to voice my concerns on the ability of contemporary society to wrap its head around the real struggles of depression and suicidal ideation.

So....

Down on the upside came out when i was 15. It was summertime and i was doing all i could to master musical technology, lugging a bass amp to family cabins, plugging vcrs into tape decks, saving up for my first cd burner. Pretty noose rocked my world just as much as bullet with butterfly wings did the year before,i taped it off much asap, i loved every video for the singles off that album,picjed up any guitar magazine that offering transcriptions of the songs. I never saw them play live,but soundgarden still provided me with many real experiences.



When i was young, first exposed to music, videos and other forms of popular culture, i lacked or rather did not apply the critical eye, the perspective with which i now see the 90s.

Of course not. Every riff i heard,every image i saw was simply absorbed into the sponge of my mimetic mind. Impressions of youth.


Ok 

So

The primary reason why today there is an emerging culture of celebrity mourning: We currently have more names and facts about fampus people rattling around in our heads tjan at any previous point in time.

Nevermind the saints,royals,ancestors, protective spirits and local cults of old. Ignore the so called constellations of hollywoods old star system.

It is now, wired up and inspired to pursue each and every celeb obsession we can,after decades of north american cinema and literature and discography, that all previous canons of canonification are being buried beneath a deluge of information pertinant to the latest and ever quickly replaced engenues, hype acts,rock clowns, bad girls and boys whose units they wish we would shift. More celebrities equals more public deaths and more outpourings of grief sadness and other emoticons.

But when someone takes their own life,nobody knows what to say. RIP. Thanks for the tunes, the shows, the lyrics, the “backdrop to my adolescence”. What u will...

What shocked me about both cornells and robin williams’ suicides was that it seemed as though they had overcome their mental illness and strove thru depression to great accomplishment and success, established a comfortable,profitable career and reached a healthy and empowered middle age. I can only hope to do and share and work and travel so much by that pount in life. Im a little behind on the rock and movie-star trajectories of my life.

And yet... 

Chilling reminders that depression is a lifelong affliction, one with which i and many others will only ever learn to live in balance,not without and never completely free of. 

Maybe my life of simple culinary and cultural contribution is what saves me. Imagine having the legacy of a decades-long acting career, or the extra gravity of the superunknown weighing on your head along with  inevitable feelings of worthlessness and self-annihilation?

Gosh.

Our countrys current overdose crisis is being compared to the aids crises, really only a crisis and not simply a public health issue because it is one experienced by marginalised groups whose experience of life lies outside of and is terrifying for the mainstream conciousness to behold. I cant count on one hand the number of people i know even close friends to whom i would really feel comfortable describing my suicidal feelings.

It is a terrible burden to place on anyone,outside of artistic grounds,a poem, video, or piece of music that does more than parents and guidance counsellors to assure the traumatised, the neurotic, the anxious, the depressed and the psychotic that their frame of mind is not unique, that others feel the same way. A great track.on Superunknown is called “like suicide” ffs.

Solutions exist for people living in a world where a successful artist is still able to feel their life is worthless. But such solutions come at the price of bravery,great discomfort, and seemingly tireless persistance. If youre not ready to face your demons just yet, have no fear. Soon enough even the president wont have any other choice.

To quote mr Cornell

Sitting here like uninvited company
Wallowing in my own obscenity
Share a cigarette with negativity
Firing the pistol that shoots my holy pride
Leaning on the pedastal that holds my self denial
Standing here like wet ashes with exes in my eyes
I'm
Drawing flies

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Alicia Kathrine Hunt: Home










Tell me about the installation process. Was the hanging of Home conceived of specifically for the AGA gallery space?

I enjoy hanging installation work because the space the pieces occupy and the space around them is vital. Instead of allowing a clean amount of wallspace around each two-dimensional work for example, every part of the room is important to installation work, both the positive and negative space. My hanging process was rather fun. I had been working on a large number of new pieces in my attic studio space. I brought these pieces into the gallery space and played with different configurations on the floor before beginning to test things out by hanging. It really was a layered process, adding and taking away. One large piece from the beginning felt right at home off to the left, and so the rest of the pieces ended up answering the question... how did they all work together to create one alive space. 



Do the forms in Home relate to topographical maps, patchwork spaces, and the view of agricultural fields from a plane?

There is certainly a topographical element to this work. The mark making, dying, sewing all suggest topography, whether physical or pertaining to our internal landscapes. When this suggestion of mapmaking first appeared, it was not intentional, but it's certainly something that furthers the themes I am exploring. I had not thought of my work before as suggesting agricultural fields, but I like that! 

How does working with dirt and cloth engage your sense memory, and/or your instincts in a way painting doesn't?

Though I have always enjoyed the smoothness of paint and think I will continue to return to it from time to time, the mediums I used in Home feel more real in their physicality and tactility. Instead of using a brush to move paint, I interact with the fabric much more closely. The materials each carry their own weight and history. I like that my interaction with these mediums is perhaps more of continuing a story versus creating something entirely new.


What are some future goals, in your career/ life as an artist?
To encourage others to think critically, but perhaps more than that to dwell in experience a little more, to see more vividly through another language by the experience that art can give, and to encourage community building.  I would like to continue to have exhibitions from time to time as a means to share my work. I'd also like to pursue more collaborations with other visual artists, and other art forms. I am currently looking into artist residencies and masters of fine art programs.

 

What are some wishes for the Soo, things you'd like to see happening around here?

I've been delighted by the sense of community that is growing in this city, more focus on local food, I'd love to see this continue to grow.


Artist's statement prepared for the Exhibition:

This body of work surrounds themes of home, belonging, and displacement. Many of the pieces have a map-like, patchwork quality. The use of predominantly natural and salvaged materials represents concepts of place and community.

I start by gathering old pieces of fabric, cast off clothing, and other components like twine, and partially used spools of thread. This gleaning is part of the early process. I then interact with these gathered materials through applying beeswax, ink, graphite and colour. A phase of dying as well as tearing, reassembling, and stitching follows. The salvaged fabric has its own history, allowing the garments to speak of both human construction and presence.

Exploring place is significant to these pieces and informs the already topographical quality of my work. I have gathered rubbings in the Algoma region which imprints an element of the history, narrative, and presence that is within the earth onto the fabric. The times that I feel nearest to the earth consist of more than meeting a place strictly through my vision, but greatly through the tactility, sound, and presence within a place. There is a great oneness in the concepts of place and being.



There is tactility and malleability to both beeswax and hand stitching. Beeswax is a raw, alive substance, and has long been a sign of healing. The purpose of beeswax in the hive is to create a shelter for un-hatched eggs and for food. This beeswax has nurtured life and gives its own narrative of place to the work. The use of beeswax in encaustic painting is an ancient technique used to create early religious icons. The repeated marks found in the icons, hand stitching, and maps connect individuals to the land, other people and history.
The twine creates visual lines of connection as they cross one another and also speak of community. The strings encourage furthering these now permeable boundaries of the pieces.


These fabric works, that appear to breathe, seem vulnerable and fragile but in reality are quite sturdy. In this, there are elements of unity and strength that impart a comfort which is needed to develop a sense of home.
Throughout this series, it has been fascinating to hear stories of many people’s experiences and interpretation of what homeis. For some, it is very place based, and for others solely relationship based. It can be a current reality, and for others something longed for. 





Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Emily Sweet



Sam: 

How did you get involved with this summer's group show at Tantra Lounge?


Emily: 

I meet Tanzina, the curator of these monthly group showsat the Art For Animals Show. 
I really enjoyed her company and we stayed in touch!


Sam:

What kind of public speaking/ social justice work are you involved with/ interested in?

Emily:

I am very involved with social justice and public speaking. In the last two years I've done TV and print interviews with Goodlife Fitness, CTV, CP24, The Peel District School Board, Rogers TV, Global News and more. I speak about living with anxiety and chronic pain. I also speak about being the first person in Canada to have a self-trained service dog in school. I have pushed to have multiple policies changed, which has made it easier for Canadians with disabilities to access service dogs and know their rights.

Sam:


What informs or inspires your art?

Emily:

I love learning. I watch the news a lot so my art often alludes to social issues and change.




Sam:


What does living in Toronto mean to you as an artist?


Emily:

I love how welcoming and helpful all the artists are. It's an uplifting community. In a lot of professions people step on each other to get to the top. This is definitely not the case amongst the Toronto artists I've met. We all get genuine pleasure from helping each other; it's very refreshing!


Sam:

Have you ever created graphic novels or comic books?


Emily:

My comic art was published in the March, April and May 2016 Toronto Comic Jam Issues.





Sam:

Do you see anxiety and chronic pain as being invisible ailments in our society?


Emily:

Yes. I once was on a bus and this old man got furious at me because I wouldn't move from my seat. Usually I'd have no problem with that, but I was in a lot of pain and noticed there were a lot of other people that could move. I explained to him that I had chronic pain and was unable to stand. I even apologized. Finally someone else moved and everyone on the bus praised her. I felt horrible. I was singled out for being young, but age doesn't always matter. There are healthy elderly people and sick children. Why would I risk the public embarrassment of not giving my seat to that man if I didn't need to sit? 


Sam: 

How does anxiety relate to and inform art?


Emily:

I have been told that there is a lot of emotion in my work.
This is because I feel most creative when I'm emotional.
I use art as a form of release...





Sam: 

What are the characteristics of anxiety in the big city?


Emily:

I think it varies for each person. If one has social anxiety, it may be aggravated by the amount of people in a big city. There's not many places to chill in a park and be alone in cities when you're anxious. 
When I'm anxious, it helps for me to leave the house. I put headphones on and take my dog for a mindful walk. A mindful walk is where you focus on little details, like pretty windows on a house, to distract you from your anxiety. I also use binaural beats from YouTube.




Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Tributes and tributaries: Lillian Allen @ the AGO Oct 28th






A story of contacts with dub culture
> > > > > >
> > > > My father came home one day to discover me loudly recording a guitar track in my upstairs room of his prairie house by the railroad tracks. I was trying out something I'd learned from Glenn Branca by way of Sonic Youth, playing my strings in double unisons to a breakbeat I'd vocalised myself earlier, all this driven through my girlfriend's father's old stereo amp and onto the wide tape of an old reel to reel out of  which the voice of my dead great uncle Abe served as the scratched sample for this most peculiar and quite totally lost production of mine.
> >
> > I'd have to say that stumbling upon Glenn Gould's polyphonic radio plays and my time working with Dimitri Brunelle-Derome on his Garlic project were critical contacts with european angles on tasteful and textured dub productions. I called my experiments in my mid-twenties schizophonics and spirals, before I folded in on myself and began collaging with composition, seeking the spirals in hypnotic, pulsing partials. Their method seemed to involve  a lot of late night brooding and inspired madness. At any rate, I began smoking as soon as my apprenticeship started.
> > > >
> > > > > > A dub poet is sleeping on my couch, in a basement of the gorge view apartments, just past the inner harbour of victoria BC, dreaming of things that may happen at our show tonight. This will be the day that she first buys menthols, the only live performance by a band called garlic flavour, a singular gathering of the island's curious and unoccupied. The poet in question is klyde broox, and he is crashing at mine because of mcgilligan books, my granny's name, uncle's impetus, Aunt's job, a generation and sustenance of memories, stacks of books in boxes, a family gathering at McNally Robinson, the circuit of book releases, cafés, and open mics that brings klyde to Victoria, my losenge of solace on the western edge of turtle island, my three year's playpen. His Facebook presence is a treasure. The deftness of his lyricism, and the incise ostinato of his social conscience, hallmarks all of the dubs presence in Toronto throughout my lifetime.


> > > > >
> > > > > >memories of Lillian allen and the dub poets collective begin with being invited over for dinner an hour early, because my family is often quite late. I remember being surrounded by stylish, eloquent, laid-back blackness, an unfamiliar comfort, an urban delight. Maybe it was Clifton I heard there, reciting a piece pared into my own story now, jump high gazelle imagery and presence,  The page on the stage, political rage on page, poetry as a means to an ends.


> > > > > >
> > > > > I remember the house on Lauder out of which McGilligan books was run, with a basement full of books, stories of the underrepresented, of the Arab spring, of dub poetry, mommy-daddy, monday. A basement that held part of Lillian's archives: tapes, dats, and compacts discs spanning three decades of recording sessions, when she moved out of her home nearby, above the spring mount Creek that flows down bull to the Garrison. I remember Allen's Juno award winning albums: revolution tea party and conditions critical. They were part of my early afrocentric musical education, along with Gil Scott heron, and public enemy's Fear of a black planet. I had ambitions of making drum and bass versions of one track, but never made it past the demo stage.


> > > >
> > > > > > > I remember performing rub a dub style with Allen and the parachute club in 2008 at the luminato stage on the street outside of ocad. The drummer was Billy Bryans, who had produced Allen's two heavyweight eighties albums. I got to rap a verse on that song, even though I'm sure I missed every rehearsal. And in consulting video footage available on YouTube, it seems I also recited an italian rhyme amidst the performance of Rise Up. What a ham. I made it to soundcheck tho, chilled with Mischa and my vintage 80s vogues and chatelaine collection, culled from roadside recycling. The best things in life are always eventually free. "oh, look at this porn" he purred. After my turn on the mic, I pogo'd and danced backup to Lillians tune The Subversives, played tambourine and danced through the crowd in the street in a lime green dress shirt that Tia Brazda gave me. Exciting times.
> >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > After that I got to host a poetry night at Ellington's raggae café and record shop (rip) on st Clair for Allen's ocad writing class, goofed around with d'bi anitafrika. You see, I know now how lucky and how privileged I've been to
> > > > > > >spin round this circle
> > > > > > > For she is the canadian queen of dub, laying out politics in poetics, putting pages on the stage since back when queen west was rough warehouses and punk venues.
> >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > > In 2013 I was asked to join the online promo team for Allen's last release, Anxiety, and seized upon the opportunity to gain permission to remix her work, blending classic dub, mash K-pop and jazz piano, and spin my own beats and collage production styles in loose spirals around her accapellas. A collaboration fifteen years in the making.




> > > > > >
> > > > > > > Which brings us to today. Ann and Lil both moved out of the old hood where I first put foot to Toronto's Terra firma. They're international now, doing conferences and making speeches. Mcgilligan books is a memory, little Rose is grown and performing music of her own. And Lillians work is being recognized as part of the Tributes an tributaries exhibition at the AGO this month. She's curated four weeks of spoken word, and she'll be performing on October 28th. You got to be there.


> > > > > >


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Mack and Babak


>
> >
> > > >
> > > > > The Grecian unity of uninterrupted socio- dramatic space-time gives way to a Beckettesque post- modern wasteland of no TV, no bus fare, no cigarettes no beer money and no tips. Welcome to Nuit Blanche 2016, part three of this week's Sam and Peter show, we'll be here every  evening shift, straight through the black Moon, rosh hoshana, and of course the big art featival downtown. A queen street Nexus of beginning G's and endings. We made it into the Hideout ten minutes before extended last call, and had for about twenty minutes some pure dancefloor fun: Bix Lex, Gabi, and me, our belongings in a heap nearby, classic closing time. Kathleen spotted me on Wednesday night leaving work, and showed me a short vid of myself in a captain's hat singing Barret's Privateers with her bud in the line outside.
> > Things have been getting pretty precious of late as Peter and I spend night after night simultaneously dealing with the pressures of cranking out good food, the mental realms and scattered socio-economic, political, pedagogic and rather war torn, wayward ways of our nowaday world, as well as the worlds of workplace racism patrol, casual misogyny Friday (everyday?!), semantic breakdowns in the world outside the colourblind bubble, dashing in and out of the myths of our inherited false and broken culture, daily undoing the damage of decades of false teachings falling away like scales on the armour of an omnipresent, imaginary toad-god, as the hubbub of poor passionate parkdale lines up as a healthy heart-beat against weekend binges of drink dance and drama available everyday underneath the awnings, into the darkness, and down the bathroom steps of any after hours hang, bang, shame or blame. We have a lot to talk about. Like Mack, same thing. Only to be in such close quarters with her, (what a blessing, a woman in the kitchen!) and from the first so much energy (I say) on her part, that it took me a few tries even to look her directly in the eyes for more than a moment. back to Saturday night. Like eight years ago


> > > >
> > > > nuit Blanche 2007
> > > > Rating: silly
> > > > Street performance
with box full of cash
> > > > Highlight: driving to Kensington in a a convertible while listening to Stravinsky's Petruchka on a small portable tape deck.
> > > >
> > > > 2008
> > > > Rating: artsy
> > > M&B Yummy blob show:
> > > > Performances by We are French, retro radio, gusto basketcase the dust bunnies, and the Tandooris!
> > Highlight: marching by the Drake parading (as was our fashion at the time) a score strong, with battery fuelled boomboxe, microphones, drumsticks, and dino masques all plugged into the power of a full troupe of human artists moving as one group, recollecting their strength in being able to trust their feelings, fuelling the fires of sensation and creation that hold the only solution to terminal capitalism. nevermind Ennis, what about the meatballs? We lost them. I found em, one of my more useful superpowers.
> > >
> > > 2009
> > > Rating: awkward
> > Lowlight.
> > As happened to me when I first explicitly engaged my psychic abilities: Social spitting, community engagement and personal shame all play a part in the way ones mind is even capable of being extended into the world. So I mean I was gobsmacked in Victoria when the lady who so kindly left on my answering machine such words affirming that i did indeed have the luck of the black irish jew, also happened to know the ex of the man who recorded my previous album,  but naturally in Toronto's dense networks and considering the centralising effect of a public arts all day festival, such encounters, though disorienting, have to be taken as par for the course, like when Nora made a couple cortados for Feist. Or Peggy, for fucks sake.



As you may already know, there is a distubing trend towards unfrisk in the accessible swirls of people parades and festival atmosphere on city streets such as far quenn west year by year. In Victoria, they clean up the streets as soon a parade is done, erasing any chance that the lingering positive energy could affect the populace or environs. This mixtape, Monday, rocks. We (myself, BM Forster, Volet, Naomi, Mip, Eddie C, but mostly some qualicum kids revolted, resisted with public activity, traipsed in groups of 4-12 around the highly accessible downtown (a city where junkies and doctors live side by side, or jog, anyways) waving pampas grass, breathing non-proprietary air, and hip to the pompic hills. We weren't the blob. Who or what, were we dog even then? I walkways perceived the catalytic encounter, the opening scene in the big screen version, as being the meeting of green McGoey and Adam  plant, in film school yon etobicoke or something.
> > > > > I had been practicing martial arts on the streets of parkdale for a few days this weekend before a confrontation occurred. Ok, so I did twice scream REPENT! at the crowd out front of the Drake, but that wasnt technically a physical assault, nor in Parkdale proper.
> The last time I was in Mezzrows, a Fellini film was screening as I left. Now, jazz plays and my chef is on an educational tip. It has nothing to do with wheat, Peter is asserting at Malka's birthday party tonight. He explains that every egg we eat is a single-celled structure, that unwashed eggs are designed by nature to be impervious to harm. Your tummy is tired of processing glutens which are insufficiently broken down in mass produced baked goods, he iterates. I fluff up my afro in the bathroom. It's been a rough night on the nerves.


> > > > You send me files, and I am sharing an old picture of Nora and I from when we were chubby little imps, and I know that we were irresistible. Obvi that's where my story starts. But let us drop into the narrative. I'm fifth business, ideally. I play nineties schoolyard trivia games with Rachel and Collette, who were at the Skyline earlier. I believe they coaxed out of me that my sex object on Frasier was in fact, Lilith Crane. Madelyn and Jess and Malka are getting ready to hit the next spot. Paul Simon's Rhythm of the Saints, the south american-flavoured follow up to 1986s hugely successful, African- styled Graceland, is stumbling over the system. The track never really hits its groove until after the bridge. Come on.
> > > > unraveling Nuit Blanche after the Black Moon. Gosh. I have never really blazoned downtown for the big money events. I'm glad Bix and JPKK were at the Rebecca Belmore performance at the AGO, because I also think  it was important. Checknout Lillian Allen Oct 28. On my way back from helping Nic and Nora into their slick new digs, with an unplayable guitar and and a wand made of two violin bows (chillaxus), I work out my first trap rhyme in a few years. On the TTC, a young woman sitting next to me turns out to also be a violinist on her way to Nuit Blanche. She didn't know that Jimmy Page played his guitar with a bow. Her friends have been waiting to order a meal while she slept in. I remove the unwound strings from the guitar so that nobody pokes their eyes out. Stone Chillaxus. I practise my sixties patois when I am alone in the kitchen, walk from Dufferin home, and pass by the Skyline. By then I have got the lower strings tuned ostrich style, and with taps of the bow bounce out a battuto drone, straight gangster say the passer's-by, singing songs of the naive nineties, pausing outside work just long enough for Habi and Judd to spot me, past Malka and a friend to drop the bouzouki at home, couldn't put my wand down, it was a sword I practise swung along queen back east for my shift. hungover and anxious, dirty and disappointed. But...

> > Oh, what's this? it's the return of the Mack! I say, following through on a well established tradition of quoting out of date pop songs to describe the fleeting information overload of reality. Sam, give me a hug, Peter says. By Monday the scatterbrained cross references have woven their way into a familiar skein of synchronicity. The radio begins to respond to us, rather than vice versa. I walk back and forth circling the park with the Captain. Accelerating, despite the shortening days. The performative nature of public behaviour, starring yet another young creep in an altered state, two gals who could have easily whupped him, and creepo trying to tussle when I refuse to be ignored. Casual racism Thursday, casual misogyny Friday, and dropping honkey (henceforth to be referred to as the H bomb) with something approaching the frequency with which N bombs still drop.
> > > > At dawn, my bow broken, guitar gone, I wander through Trinity Bellwoods, promised park of lasers and late night art, a still, sepulchral sequence of empty white tents. I stumble, alone, separated from team Bix and unsure of my surroundings. I reel towards the Indie 88 tent, and nearly knock one of its moorings from the ground. Someone tells me to mellow out. The last texts I send on Saturday all begin with 'im lost'. Bix pulls a free uber out of our phones and whisks first Lex home, then Gabi and us back to the dollhouse.
Sanctuary!
> > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >




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 café, 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.