Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Quickie

Tuesday 15 December, the annual "holiday quickie" party at the Gladstone!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

SummerWorks Festival

Those of you keen on performance art might want to check out the Performance Gallery at the Gladstone Hotel starting August 6th as part of this year's SummerWorks Festival. If performance art is not your cup of tea, SummerWorks has a long list of theatrical and musical offerings to tickle your fancy. A full schedule of events can be found at

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Open call for submissions for artists who are living and working in Canada to exhibit in San Francisco. The exhibition will showcase the work of 6 – 8 emerging Canadian multidisciplinary visual artists. This exhibition will be held at The Lab, an artist run centre located in San Francisco’s Mission district. This project is organized by Jason Gowans and Kevin Bertram. Download the submission guidelines.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bank on Art

Bank on Art, a project by Kelly McCray, will harness a functioning ATM screen for artists' projects. Project is set to launch 6 August 2009 but there's still time to submit! Check out for guidelines.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I love...

...ArtStars*. Absolutely fabulous.

Image: ArtStars* Facebook fan page

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Not having borrowing privileges for academic research is a major drag. Luckily, I've just discovered this amazing resource for critical texts online (and lessens the burden on my roommate's university library account). AAAARG.ORG hosts a large archive of scholarly texts, indexed in a long alphabetized list or cross-referenced in various thematic "issues". Access to the site is free; all you have to do is register.

Image: AAAARG.ORG's article index organized as a visual map, showing the connections between the texts. This map was created and posted by AAAARG user john one year ago.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

With deep regret

I regret not buying Dirty Projectors' new album today, but placating myself until tomorrow with an album preview on NPR online. It's available for free until June 9, the record's official release. This is totally worth 41 minutes of your time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Truculent typefaces

A very smart lady in Calgary just pointed out this equally smart poster designed by Lure Design waaaay down in Florida. Luckily, they ship to Canada, so you too can order your own copy to give to the appropriate repeat offender.

Acrimonious (and perhaps overzealous) campaigns against certain cringe-inducing typefaces have been ongoing for some time now, but for those desktop publishing enthusiasts who refuse to abandon such irresponsible design practices for their community newsletters and motivational PowerPoint presentations:

Check out Ban Comic Sans, and also this much more recent Wall Street Journal article on the backlash against this bubbly cartoon type.

Mark Simonson's tirade against Helvetica's backwater cousin Arial is here, and Michael Beirut's great essay, I Hate ITC Garamond is a great read. I've always enjoyed Beirut's contributions to Design Observer, if only for remarks such as:

The most distinctive element of the typeface is its enormous lower-case x-height. In theory this improves its legibilty, but only in the same way that dog poop's creamy consistency in theory should make it more edible.

For all the fontophiles out there, Jonathan Safran Foer's short story, About the Typefaces Not Used in This Edition, venerates the possibilities of type instead of suppressing them. Thanks to Nicole Burisch for pointing out the poster offer, and to another smart girl named Sarah Nasby for the short story link.

Image: Lure Design

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The above image is from the site, There is lots of minidonk action/non-action in their photo gallery--let's face it, they are pretty stoic animals. I especially liked this one; the kid is so earnest, and you have to give him credit for adding a bag of Doritos to give the little guy a sense of authenticity.

Link courtesy of York Lethbridge, one of Mercer's newest board members, who states that he is not an authority on minidonk husbandry, but I think everyone should be.


Summer officially arrived this weekend, which means Toronto will be animated by so much more than just garbage smell for the next few months. In fact, I had a great weekend, of which I will spare the details here but will certainly share in person for interested parties (mostly related to a discovery of a not-so-new bike trail and some tasty ice cream), but the concert I went to on Friday was fantastic. My friend Dan and I were to-to-totally excited to check out Think About Life, who were performing as part of the Over the Top Festival this weekend. I'm disappointed I missed out on the rest of the shows happening that night, especially the lineup at Sneaky Dee's (Hunter + Ulysses & the Siren, Cool Dad, and The Narrative). I shouldn't have missed Mecca Normal either. It's unfortunate that there was so many events overlapping each other, but kudos to Eric Warner and the other organizers for putting together an amazing line up of acts, thus reestablishing a commitment to indie music and maintaining an eclecticism that totally works.

Certainly, TAF didn't disappoint, logging in lots of sweat-triggering dance pop and playing lots of tracks from their new album Family. They emptied the floor for their encore, which was a good thing. Most of the crowd swarmed the stage, leaving the rest of us staring at a flailing spectacle. It was a great way to cap off the evening. Earlier that night, Edmonton-based opener Bayonets!!! was noteworthy, reminding me of L.A.-based punks The Mae Shi (a little online research reveals that they've played together). Bayonets!!! play with a different level of intensity, but they still rock hard. They played a super-short, tight set of hardcore ditties, each clocking in under the minute mark, but their onstage irreverence was great. Please come back to Toronto! Bookended by these two great performances was the big surprise of the evening: tUnE-YaRdS, aka Merrill Garbus, who commandeered the stage with her hair in a side ponytail. After walking on stage and issuing the order to "get over here", the still sparse crowd at Polish Combatants Hall readily complied. Equipped with a ukelele, a tamtam, a snare, a looping pedal, and perhaps some other equipment assembled at her feet that I couldn't see from my vantage point, she cast a spell on us from her first number. Sure, sure, the solo act with looping pedals and/or found sound recordings has been done before (Final Fantasy, The Blow, Ariel Pink, Mira Calix, etc.), but this phenomenal performer blew the crowd away. Tastemakers/tastebreakers Pitchfork have already reviewed her new album here, so check her out before you hear it at an American Apparel near you.

image from

I was remiss...

I have been a terrible blogger. I was away and then busy when I should have been blogging about things like Suzanne Nacha's show at Open Studio, Roula Parthenoui's show at YYZ, and this.

And now my time on the Mercer board is coming to an end, so this is my last post.
There will, of course, be more posts to come from the Mercer staff and board, but that's it for me.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Record Store Day!

Tomorrow, April 18th, is Record Store Day, the one special day that has been specifically designed just to make us buy stuff that I actually believe in.

Last year Dave celebrated this special day by posting a list of some excellent places to buy vinyl that were walking distance from our old location on Lisgar - now that we're up on Bloor I thought I'd add Soundscapes, Zoinks, and Sonic Boom to the list.

Both Soundscapes and Rotate This are having 10% off sales, and Sonic Boom will be having live bands play plus free give-aways for folks who bring non-perishables for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

There are also a bunch of Record Store Day exclusive releases from various labels, a preview of which can be found here on Pitchfork.

And if you'd like to do a bit of research on independent record stores and labels, you can watch a good documentary about Rough Trade here.

And last but not least, this is a pretty hilarious interview with Will Oldham talking about his newest release and his concern about the future of Touch and Go and the recording industry in general. Oh and he also calls Wes Anderson a "cancer".

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Free Super Stuff

The much anticipated Free Music Archive is up at last, and, as expected, it's pretty great.

And speaking of free great stuff, last night I had a sneak peak at the free lucky charms we'll be including in the bingo kit at our upcoming 3D Bingo extravaganza, and they are all so great and amazing, I am truly blown away. We'll post some photos of these most excellent charms made by truly rad Toronto artists soon, but for now please just take my word for it that you won't want to miss this event and all the free super stuff that will go along with it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

David Lynch

Though I respect the man, I'm generally not a huge fan of David Lynch films, but over the past couple of years I've become a huge fan of his internet presence.

There are his daily weather reports, his public service announcements, and his thoughts on iPhones, ideas, and yes, Twitter. (His twittering can be read here and includes gems like "Rocks are melting" and "Happy Saint Patrick's Day".)

All are gold.

Especially this.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ancient Chinese Secret at Superfuzz Audio/Electric Standard

This Friday night at 8pm Superfuzz Audio/Electric Standard is hosting a free in store show of Ancient Chinese Secret.

Superfuzz Audio/Electric Standard is a guitar/amp repair shop at 1261 Dundas, just East of Dovercourt, that has opened pretty recently and has already garnered a lot of attention for the excellent services it provides, the beautiful wood paneled interior - made from barn wood, the renovation/transformation of which can be watched here, here and here - and for hosting really great events. I missed their last show and hugely regret it. The band I Eat Kids played, cookies were served, and the generally consensus is that the show totally slayed, evidence of which can be viewed here and here.

So I'm pretty excited about this next show. I heard there will be snacks, refreshments, and twinkle lights.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rhizome Commission 2010

FreeWilliamsburg recently posted about the 2010 call for new commissions by Rhizome, the art and technology website, organization, etc.

Says Rhizome:
The goal of the Rhizome Commissions Program is to support emerging artists by providing grants for the creation of significant works of new media art. By new media art, we mean projects that creatively engage new and networked technologies to works that reflect on the impact of these tools and media in a variety of forms. Rhizome defines emerging artist as artists who exhibit great potential yet are not fully recognized within their field. Commissioned works can take the final form of online works, performance, video, installation or sound art. Projects can be made for the context of the gallery, the public, the web or networked devices.

We are now accepting applications. The deadline for submission is on midnight April 2, 2009.

In addition to alerting our attention to this excellent opportunity, FreeWilliamsburg also linked to this excellent article about the excellent Lucky Dragons, who were also recently featured here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A sad story of a banned shoe

A large bronze-coloured sculpture of a shoe, built by artist Laith al-Amiri and a group of children at an orphanage, was erected a week ago in Tikrit, Iraq, and ordered removed the next day. The artist and kids spent 15 days and around $5000 building the sculpture, which was on display in the orphanage complex and was made in of honor Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist currently in prison for throwing his shoe at George Bush during a press conference in December.

Video footage of the shoe sculpture and some very adorable and proud looking children can be viewed here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Craig Leonard and the mystery surrounding Grapefruit

As part of Craig Leonard's excellent show at Mercer - which will be up until February 21st - he has produced a poster project give away about the band DNA. The project is specifically concerned with their song "Grapefruit", which, evidently, was "recorded at an unknown studio in Canada, date unknown".

So Leonard is taking it upon himself to solve this mystery. From his poster we can learn that he has so far found out that "Robin Crutchfield says this was Toronto around 1980...Ikue Mori says she can't remember at all. Tim Wright can't be located. John Hamilton from The Diodes thinks the studio could've been either Queen Street's Cottingham Sound or Accusonic. Freddy at Accudub (formerly Accusonic) has no memory of the band. Tommy Atom might've engineered the track at Cottingham Sound, but he hasn't been found yet...."

Leonard's poster serves as both a history of this mystery, and also a request for help in solving it, as it concludes "LET'S FIGURE THIS OUT! WRITE ME: C.L., 5383 WAVERLY TERR., HALIFAX, B3H 1J1"

I think there are still posters available in the gallery to be taken away, (they were on a plinth in a pile under a grapefruit last time I checked), but if you can't make it to the show and know anything about any of this, please do get in touch with Craig at the above address.

And there is a nice piece about this project here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Inaugural Poem Remix

I didn't watch the inauguration, but from what I gather it sounds like Aretha Franklin's hat was a hit, and Elizabeth Alexander's Inaugural Poem really wasn't.

So last week on Kenny G's radio show he challenged his listeners to "Take her poem. Remix it, shred it, speed it up, slow it down, reconstruct it, deconstruct it, warp it, bend it, twist it, scream it, rock it, set it to noise, obliterate it." With the added note: "sincere recitations will be discarded."

The results of this challenge are all up now on the WFMU blog, and you can hear Kenny play them live today on his radio show from noon-3 pm.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What It Really Is

Opening tonight at Redbull 381 Projects is What It Really Is, a group show of sculptural works by Kristan Horton, Liz Magor,Kristi Malakoff , Jennifer Rose Schiarrino, and me. (Apologies for the blatant self-promotion, but I think you should come.)

The opening is from 6-9pm at 381 Queen West, which is above a shop in between Spadina and Peter. And yes, I believe there will be some free Redbull at the event.

More details here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Way I Are

Robert Fones, Leviathan #5, 2008, colour photograph laminated on aluminum

Opening this upcoming Wednesday at the Blackwood Gallery is THE WAY I ARE:

"In which slang is proposed as a means through which to consider elaborations and modulations of visual imagery and formal methods within various art practices."

January 21-March 1, 2009
curated by none other than Mercer's dear friend Katie Bethune-Leamen

The artists in this group exhibition are: Valerie Blass, Anthony Burnham, Robert Fones, Martin Golland, Jen Hutton, Kelly Jazvac, John Massey, Elizabeth McIntosh, Planningtorock and Tony Romano.

Opening Reception: Wednesday January 21, 6 - 9 pm. Artists in attendance.

I'm pretty excited to see how this show connects all these rad peeps with this.

Oh, and there is a free bus leaving the Gladstone Hotel at 6 pm, returning at 9 pm.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Some belated holiday news, etc:

Back in October I posted about an ad campaign by The Bay that seemed to be directly referencing, though not acknowledging, a project by my friend Biliana Velkova. Though The Bay seems to have remained silent about this, Biliana did a window installation in Vancouver over the Christmas holidays that referenced The Bay:

A Breathless Christmas, window installation at Jeffrey Boone Gallery,1 East Cordova Street unit 140, Vancouver, BC
December 4-January 7

A Breathless Christmas is a project loosely based on the Hudson Bay's Christmas campaign. Typical holiday advertising creates the perfect illusion, whether is spending time with family, acquiring desired goods or achieving social expectation of what the holidays should be. A Breathless Christmas takes this concept and applies to a non-existent storefront, in a closed gallery. While the posters promise "the perfect gift" and "free delivery" they are just a fa├žade, there is nothing behind the advertisement and behind the glass. The project is a continuation of the artist's research of marketing, appropriation and authorship issues. As advertising campaigns are borrowing from art concepts more frequently, the line between them becomes blurred.

I think that's a good response by Biliana to that situation, not to mention a lovely photo of her with snowflakes.

And in semi-related news - also relating to issues of appropriation and originality - the Kenneth Goldsmith and Craig Leonard shows opened at Mercer last night and are really excellent. The Goldsmith talk (and his incredibly dapper suit) drew a big crowd, and both artists were there for the opening, which was one of those rare events where people were actually talking about the much to read/explore/think about, in both galleries, and a great free poster project/give-away by Leonard by the front desk. So don't miss it!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Very exciting news:

This Friday night two new shows open at Mercer:

KENNETH GOLDSMITH, STREET POETS & VISIONARIES: SELECTIONS FROM THE UBUWEB COLLECTION - an exhibition of posters and ephemeral writings from the streets of New York City.

And CRAIG LEONARD: AMUSICOLOGY - A series of mini-installations, charting art/rock coincidences and convergences through mixed dosages of sculptural inquiry, archival impulse and audio experiment.

I am so looking forward to these shows, which run from January 09, 2009 - February 14, 2009. But even though the show will be up for a month, you should definitely try to make the opening because there will be a talk by UbuWeb founder Kenneth Goldsmith at 7PM preceding the opening reception at 8PM.

Just in case you haven't already heard of UbuWeb, it is a truly amazing on-line resource/treasure that you should check out immediately here.

And there is a pretty great interview with Goldsmith here.
(I so badly wish I could take his Un-Creative Writing class, where students are penalized for showing any signs of creativity or originality.)

More information about the show here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy Holidays and all of that....

Okay, so this has nothing to do with anything, really, but if you haven't already seen Arianna dancing to Beyonce, please watch.