Monday, July 25, 2016

Wayhome Top 5

Weekly Update 2016-30: Instead of a weekly update this week, I wanted to write a simple Top Five of all of the acts I saw this weekend. Next week will follow up with a regular update on all the other amazing things I experienced at the festival.

5) Glass Animals

Let this amazing act be known as the only set for which I bothered to get to the rails. Something in my chest was telling me that I should. Anyway, what a great sweet little set, complete with a really cool drum skin and a pineapple that remained inexplicably onstage until the lead singer eventually threw it (gently and with warning) into the crowd.

Dean's friend Mitch is a cool media dude and took this rad selfie!

Good thing I was at the front because now you get to witness the single most excellent video selfie in the world.

Yep, what you just heard was a cover of "Love Lockdown" sung from directly behind the bun on my head. I was basically wedged between his legs. And - bonus: I uploaded “Gooey” in full to Youtube. There's an excellent guitar solo in the middle.

4) Savages
Just before Unknown Mortal Orchestra and after LCD Soundsystem on Friday was a London-based post-punk revival band called Savages. And oh boy, was this an intense time. I didn’t know ANYTHING about them until seeing them live, and I am so happy I did. Hereby chosen as the best discovery of my Wayhome. Watch the lead singer perform while kneeling over the crowd. Yeah they’re just like holding her calves in the air it’s really cool.

3) Unknown Mortal Orchestra
After seeing UMO last year at Lee’s Palace, I knew this was going to be a good time, and a perfect end to Friday for an hour long set at 1:00AM. It was wonderful. The sheer musicality of everyone in the backing band was only matched by the lead singer’s incredible stage presence. Watch a clip of “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”:

2) Patrick Watson
After I got all riled up from Savages (see above), I wandered over to check out a bit of Major Lazer before making the tough decision to break away from that to go to Patrick Watson’s decidedly more chilled out set. I made the right decision by a long long way. As I approached the stage, I was already in the right mindset and the music hadn’t even started yet. I was greeted by a delightful setup of bright edison-bulb style lighting.

I found my friends and we gradually drifted to front and center throughout the performance. The entire set was extremely mesmerizing. Check out this video of a guy playing a hacksaw solo!

I can’t really describe what happened to me during the set, but I know that I am a much, much bigger Patrick Watson fan now than I was before. And I already really liked his music.

Wait, I can describe one thing that happened to me. During the last song, I felt something furry on my back. I turned around to see a woman in a FULL BEAR SUIT gently moving past me to the front. No one minded. Because it was a DAMN BEAR.

A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

Selfie proof.

1) LCD Soundsystem
It’s no secret that I was extremely excited for this set. I have been listening to LCD since...I think I was 15? A bit late to the game, but nevertheless I had high expectations. They were shattered completely. This was just what everyone needed on a Friday night: a batshit insane crazy dance party. Check out the drop to "Dance Yourself Clean" and make your own judgement.

Other notes: I felt "Someone Great" through my bones.

"All My Friends" was really special too.

Stay tuned for more of my weird blogging on Wayhome (especially the amazing art this year)!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Julie Ruin, LED Music & Weird Books

Weekly Update 2016-29: Get your grrrl power on to the sounds of The Julie Ruin, how I might possibly get some LED rope lights to blink in time with said music, and then onto some excellent graphic novels that I came across by chance.

Music: Julie Ruin
I went to see the wonderful Kathleen Hanna and her current band play Lee's Palace last night. I loved her old band Le Tigre, and this current band fits the same bill with Hanna's deliciously unique singing style and feminist lyrics. She herself was also on point last evening, interspersing some truly extravagant dance moves with the occasional shimmy of pulling up her stockings under a sequined dress. The crowd was lucky enough to glimpse all the way up to Hanna's belly button on a number of occasions as she raunchily righted her underthings. No shame found here. Listen to the show closer and a personal favourite of mine:

In one fell swoop, I rescued my bike from being removed and taken away (possibly forever) by my landlord, found a new place to keep it, and managed to drag it all the way up two flights of stairs for safe-keeping this weekend. Between cycling for my legs and dragging my bike everywhere else with my arms, I'm hoping to become pretty well fit by the end of the biking season.

I also found out how dangerously easy it is to bike to the beach. Less than 20 minutes door-to-door. Living in the city is great in the summer, less so in the winter.

I also attended my second Spelling Bae at the Ossington Bar – at which I won SECOND PLACE! I'll never spell idiosyncrasy wrong again. It is also noteworthy that in the same day, I finally spent my Bang Bang stamp card – on a delicious hazelnut ice cream inside a cinnamon bun. Heaven.

Go to Wayhome! Seriously, there's no way I'm getting anything else done this week.

I do have a driving lesson tomorrow after work though, so I suppose my goal is to do that. After I speak to my instructor, I'd like to book a G test (since they have a month waiting period), so depending on what he says, I'll do that too.

This is being really ambitious, but I'd like to create another calendar like the March one for next week. If not by next week, then certainly the week after. I haven't really felt like I have been truly productive since about the time that calendar ended, so I'm hoping there's something there that I can draw upon.

Random Thought:
I was at a very cool party on Saturday night (more on that in the section below) and had a nice moment looking across the space between my friend's balcony and the balconies across the street. One in particular caught my eye: someone had set up some LED rope lights along their ceiling in weird spiral patterns, and the lights changed colour, seemingly at random. I would love to do something like that on my ceiling, and perhaps be able to control the lights with a vibration sensor. So the colour patterns seem random, but are actually controlled by my hand making movements against the sensor. I haven't fully fleshed out the idea yet, but it's something.

Inspiration: Books
This inspiration is three-fold. First of all, my sister made some excellent Bunz trades last week and has lent me some of her spoils to read.

The top one - Jimmy Corrigan The Smartest Kid On Earth - is incredibly sad and incredibly well drawn/written. The pacing, the way the book gently moves the reader to turn the book 90 degrees at certain points with only panel layout, the book is a wonder. I'm only twenty pages in, by the way.

The 13 Clocks is another mesmerizing one. It's a childrens' novel, only about 120 pages long, but the story and illustrations both are AMAZING.

I purposefully took pictures of text pages as well so that you can read some snippets and see how delicious the book truly is. And there's a foreword by Neil Gaiman!

Second, as I mentioned above, my friend had an excellent party this Saturday night. She had everyone bring books and records they didn't want anymore, and piled them on a table. Then, people could take anything they liked home and donate some money to a pot for charity. These are my spoils:

I am most excited for that retro Isaac Asimov book with the amazing cover. Makes me feel a bit trippy.

Third, all of this has actually encouraged me to start reading again and I have finished two books in the past two weeks! They were on the lighter side in terms of challenge, but it's better than nothing. I'm hoping that I can slow down on the television consumption (which I haven't really been keeping up with anyway) and keep up my habit of reading before bed. With all of this amazing new reading material, I don't really have much reason not to.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Toronto Artscapes

Since moving to Toronto, I have come across some of the city's Artscape buildings in one form or another and wondered how they came to be. Each of them is so interesting in both architecture and the events for which I visited, so I thought I would do a little background research.

From the Artscape website:
Artscape is a not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities.
Our work involves clustering creative people together in real estate projects that serve the needs of the arts and cultural community and advance multiple public policy objectives, private development interests, community and neighbourhood aspirations and philanthropic missions.
Artscape comprises Toronto Artscape Inc., Artscape Non-Profit Homes Inc. and Artscape Foundation. BC Artscape is an independent affiliate.
So they have their hands in lots of pies, but it's nice to see that they're generally in the business of helping people to be more creative, no matter what their standing is in life.

My first brush with Artscapes was at Daniels Spectrum during Doors Open just after it opened in 2012. A beautiful and functional community centre in Regent Park, I was amazed to see how the community around the building was also renovated to become a welcoming area for people to mingle and connect. There was also some kind of children's dance competition going on as we walked around, which made me smile. The building was already getting so much use that the organizers couldn't afford to stop the usual daily events of the centre so that people could come and see the building. And why should they!

Daniels Spectrum at night. Such a striking building!

Daniels Spectrum is Silver LEED certified and fully accessible. It's open to the community, and it is made for a variety of cultural uses. Within its walls you can find dancing, art-making, singing, music playing, learning, socializing, community building, mentoring, collaborating…there's something going on literally every day.

I had visited Artscape Wychwood Barns in a handful of occasions before, but I decided to visit last month after seeing an advertisement on Bunz that there would be free clothing repairs at the Saturday Market. I had some clothing (ironically from Bunz trades) that needed a bit of sew-magic, so I biked up to Wychwood Barns and truly marvelled at the farmer's market that they put on every week. The produce looked amazing, and there was so much to see. 

Beautiful little handmade sushi rolls.

Interesting wall collages in a room where kids were making arts and crafts.

This man serenaded me on the accordion! Scratch that off the ol' bucket list.

I love the aesthetic appeal of Wychwood Barns, especially the fact that you can still tell that it used to be a streetcar shed.

I had a delicious ginger smoothie (in a reusable glass bottle) and absorbed my surroundings while I waited for my clothing to be fixed. As I moseyed around, I met a wonderful man who sells hand-spun pottery in a corner of the indoor area. There was just so much to see!

Artscape Wychwood Barns operates on a self-sustaining model, without requiring ongoing operating subsidy after the initial capital investment. Tenants of Artscape Wychwood Barns pay affordable rents and contribute to the programming of the building and site. It's also Gold LEED certified and fully accessible.

I walked by this building by chance as I crossed Shaw Street to get to Trinity Bellwoods. I could tell right away that it used to be a high school. There was some interesting music coming from inside and lots of people around. I realized that that day, a Thursday, was the launch party for the Toronto Art Book Fair - which I planned to attend a couple of days later. When I came back, I was as excited to see the inside of the building as I was to buy some art books.

The view toward one of the staircases. This building has character in spades.

Someone was selling a potato clock that read "HELP". It tickled me.

The clocks on this wall all read 8:32 (AM or PM is unclear) - the time when the school stopped being a school. I am led to assume that these clocks were actually in the classrooms, and have been repurposed like many of the other displays.

There was art all over the walls and just some very interesting displays of all kinds. I honestly couldn't tell what was part of the fair and what was there all the time. Many of the displays pay homage to the building's original roots as a school, but certainly the hippest school I have ever seen. Everything has been painted a cool modern white, to allow the objects on the walls the opportunity to tell their story.

Many businesses rent spaces in the building full-time like the Bellwoods Academy of Music and the Coffee Pub, but there are lots of public spaces for artists to rent nightly or by the month. I would urge you to visit just to see what there is to see in the three magical storeys of the building itself. Quite a wonder.

Located on the hazy divider line between Hanlan's Point and Centreville on Toronto Island lies a gem of an artscape - Gibraltar Point. I must admit that while I did technically 'visit' the artscape a couple of weekends ago, I was in a tizzy riding my bike all over the island to try to see everything that there was to see. So I didn't stay long.

As soon as I got off the ferry, I saw a handwritten chalk sign on the sidewalk advertising a craft and art fair at Artscape Gibraltar Point, and I knew I was about to cross another one off my list.

This place also functions as an event/wedding venue, and is literally a dream.

When I go back to the island (because one visit is surely not enough), I'd really like to explore the venue a little more and see its beauty from a less blurry-as-I-bike-by view.

Artscape Gibraltar Point opened in 1999. Open year-round, this arts and cultural facility is housed in a former school surrounded by 46 acres of parkland. Over the years Artscape Gibraltar Point has hosted over 1,000 artists both local and international, who have taken advantage of the facility’s quiet and natural setting to focus on their practices and projects through short-term residencies and long-term studio rentals.

Having visited four artscapes, I only have eight more to go! Check out more of the ones I have yet to cross of my list here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

ConsciousThoughts, Marriage Licenses & Placeholders

Weekly Update 2016-28: This week brings some fresh new disco beats from Scotland, along with the true meaning of a marriage license, and some extremely cute placeholder images for profile photos.

Music: ConsciousThoughts
Always thirsty for more disco, I came across Chris Hawley's amazing music out of Glasgow. This is the most summery music I think I could find, full of bright beats and catchy riffs. It's a good thing I have a standing desk because that makes it much easier to dance along to music. I'll get my workout somehow!

This week, I caught some fish!

A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

I relax this weekend even though things were looking a bit down otherwise last week. But the weather is good and I've been doing my best to enjoy it. Biking has actually helped a lot, even though I had my first fall yesterday night! I actually consider it kind of an accomplishment, especially so since my bike chain came loose and I had to fix it on the fly. All a success!

I didn't get much done last week in the way of goals, this month is really busy socially. But I am going to try to sketch out some ideas for the projects in my Trello board on Saturday.

My friend is hosting a book swap party on Saturday night (with all extras going to charity) so I'd like to scrounge together some books to bring.

And lastly, I'm going to get back into driving practice, starting today. After a few rounds in my gracious friend's car, I'm going to book some lessons with my instructor from last year. I'd like to get my G license by the end of the summer (assuming it may take me two tries).

Random Thought:
My coworker took the morning off work today to get his marriage license at City Hall. As usually happens in my office, we had a hilarious chat about whether you have to pass a test to get your marriage license, and if it's graduated like drivers' licenses.

Alex / 10:52 AM
Did you pass the license test? Are marriage licenses graduated like driver’s licenses? So many questions. 
Matt / 10:53 AM  
haha I think we passed!
they should TOTALLY do graduated licenses though. and as you get older, they’d force you to retake the test every year :stuck_out_tongue: 
Lance / 10:56 AM  
“You’re being a tool, license revoked."I want THAT job 
Matt / 10:58 AM
“trust me, this is for your own good"
What a world we would live in if that were the way things worked.

Inspiration: Placeholders
I was looking for examples of placeholder images online and came across this cutie.
I love the utter simplicity of lines, and even moreso how they produce so much character even though they're simple. But the best part is that since they're placeholders, they're gender/race neutral and each one could really be anyone. I could easily imagine any of them as a caricature of me, just as you probably could.

These cuties were created by Alejandro Ramirez. Check out more of his illustration here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Spaceface, The New Beat & Ginger Ale & the Monowhales

Weekly Update 2016-27: The amazing psychedelic live show of Spaceface and Ginger Ale & the Monowhales, and the discovery of a workspace-slash-design agency situated in the basement of the building I live in.

Music: Spaceface
I met some wonderful people at a Flaming Lips show last summer who introduced me to lots of new great things. I never knew what a following Wayne Coyne and his band have, though I suppose with all their stage theatrics and glitter that I should have known. One of these wonderful people is Sally Shaar, the lead singer of a band called Ginger Ale and the Monowhales. I was lucky enough to see them play an excellent show last night, as they opened for a band called Spaceface.

Spaceface is fronted by Jake Ingalls who is also a guitarist in the Flaming Lips (no surprise there either), and the band is so awesome. It's kind of a mix of electronic music and psychedelic rock and I am digging it so hard. Check it out:

I also got a really cool poster that I want to frame and put up in the space corner of my apartment.

I finally released a new China Travels post last week, with only three more to go. I also had quite the weekend (probably enough for two weekends – since I'll be out of town next weekend anyway), chasing fireworks, eating sweetbreads (tasted like bacon), scaring ducks at high park, trying a vegan donut, biking around Toronto Island and seeing two amazing bands play.

A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

I was able to practice cycling standing up and with only one hand, both of which are going pretty well! I also created a Trello board for all of my ongoing projects, and I'd like to assign myself a day to start working on something.

I also finally bought a new iPhone. Just ripped the band-aid off and walked into an Apple Store (on a Saturday?!), so I consider that one to be the biggest accomplishment.

I'd like to release a new China Travels blog post this week, and get my iPhone set up. It'd be good to start working on my little exercise of making a data usage app as well. But mostly, as I am going fishing this weekend, my goal is to relax and enjoy the sun!

Random Thought: The New Beat
I've been out and about in my neighbourhood lately, and I've noticed that I've been recognizing the faces of people on the street. On the one hand, it's pretty cool since I'm starting to feel like a part of my community. On the other hand, I wonder if they're noticing me at all. It's also a bit creepy of me, I suppose. But I rarely forget a face.

That said, there is a storefront on my corner called The New Beat that I have been wondering about. Every Friday night, there are a bunch of creative-looking twenty-somethings hanging out on the stairs that lead down to whatever's down there, drinking beer and laughing. They seem like my kind of people. So I googled the name, and found out that they're a creative agency that makes all sorts of great stuff! From music videos for Yukon Blonde to commercials for Kevin O'Leary to menu designs for Insomnia and everything in between, I was so excited and surprised to find that all this is happening only three postal addresses away from my home.

Inspiration: Ginger Ale and the Monowhales
As I mentioned above, Sally Shaar is amazingly talented. I was so impressed, not only by the extreme amount of musical talent of everyone in the band, but also of their ability to get the crowd so hyped and into the show. Sally threw confetti from a cardboard box, sprayed us with silly string, called out to us through a megaphone, and passed out pool noodles for everyone to shake as they danced. It was quite an evening. I tried to remember to take some photos of the night as it progressed, but there was just too much going on. This is what I snapped:

And of Spaceface as well:

They even had a parachute with balloons! It was definitely one of the most entertaining shows I've been to in a while.