Saturday, February 27, 2016

Super Wonders

I haven't written any posts in a while about my explorations of the wonderful neighbourhoods surrounding the Noodle (my apartment). Lately in the bad weather, I have been taking to using Ossington station over Christie because they provide an exact same travel time to work, but Ossington allows me the better chance of a seat and more warmth.

Now that I am an Ossington regular, I am walking in the other direction on Bloor and noticing some very strange and excellent happenings. One absolute staple of my neighbourhood is certainly the Super Wonder Gallery, run by Christian Aldo. I have been mentally collecting a series of stories about my brushings with this establishment, and as they get weirder and weirder, I find I must put them to digital paper and share them with you.

But first, a short history. As per their website, The Super Wonder Gallery is a large art gallery that hosts giant and exciting group themed art exhibitions and events. This is a massive understatement.

Residing along my walking path to Ossington station, the first thing about it that caught my eye was the glittery lettering inside (pictured above) and outside the establishment. I remember thinking, "if this place is as loud and crazy as its curb appeal, I'm in." And it is.

The next time I walked by, there was an art show happening, but the place was more packed than any art gallery I had ever seen. There was a full four-piece band playing on a riser, complete with a full drum kit. Colour me impressed.

Fast forward to a little later. I was on my way to see Chrome Sparks at the Drake Underground, and I was a bit late so I was in a rush. I ran by the gallery, only to see (and hear) a crazy drumming circle happening. Everyone was facing an instructor and working really hard. It looked like the most exciting exercise class I had ever seen. There was a note on the door about drop-in classes but I was in a hurry and immediately regretted not stopping to take a picture of the sign.

I thought about this for a few days, but couldn't really find anything on the gallery's website since the drum class probably rented the space separately of the gallery's programming. I contacted the gallery on Facebook to ask about the drumming, but all they told me was to contact someone named Christian Aldo, and gave me his phone number. I thought this was a little suspect, but I called it anyway, since I really wanted to get to the bottom of this mystery. I called and left a message, but didn't hear back. 

Then, I was walking by on a particularly bumping Friday night, and decided to pop in and ask about some information regarding the drumming classes. Why not! The ladies working the door directed me to the very extravagant Mr. Aldo himself, wearing a brightly patterned blue suit with perfectly power-clashing orange shirt underneath. He also looked and acted like Quentin Tarantino, so I prepared myself for a very exuberant conversation with this man. He welcomed me into the gallery very warmly, even though several people were vying for his attention. I felt a bit out of place, and even moreso when he insisted I follow him into the basement of the gallery so he could fish out the phone number of the man who runs the drumming lessons.

At this point, I told myself, if you don't follow him, you're never going to find out about this drumming class. So I followed him. He took me past some very strange art in the mostly cement and derelict basement of the gallery, and into his office where he obtained the phone number. As I thanked him and told him I had to run to a birthday party (100% true), he offered for me to stay, have a glass of wine, and enjoy some art upstairs. Of course, I declined politely and got the heck out of there. I was not really looking forward to having my voicemails ignored by this man as well as Christian, and I luckily noticed that same sign from the drumming night behind the counter at the door. I quickly snapped a picture of it and instead of calling this man out of the blue, simply showed up for drumming class the next Sunday afternoon. The rest is history.

Every class has been more interesting and incredible than the last, especially so when we walked in on my third lesson and gazed around at all of the incredibly erotic art on the walls. There was going to be an erotic art show the following weekend, and so for two weeks in a row, we drummed along to the visuals of many a painted breast and penis. Our only witness was a naked female mannequin in the corner, who wasn't really paying attention anyway due to the dildo shoved up her butthole. I digress.

The week after that, we had to rearrange our formation due to a huge catwalk running down the length of the gallery. There had been a fashion show the night before.

Now, I make a point of looking (and sometimes walking) inside the gallery whenever I walk by. This week, there was an art show with a real, living man standing in a frame watching the passers-by. He smiled at me. 

Today, I heard some very loud music coming from the gallery around 3:00PM. I peered in, only to be beckoned inside (as usually happens when someone peers into the gallery during an...experience). This was something I can only describe as a love circle meditation dance party. I asked him what was going on, looking at all the people dancing to the DJ spinning some weird electronic/tribal music. He told me that they had been doing some meditation (which I heard as 'medication' at first), and now they were working their stuff out to some music. I really never know what I am going to find in this place. It amazes me.

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