Saturday, April 20, 2019

SALES, Neon Type & Red Chef Revival

Weekly Update 2019-16: Sunny and sad music from Sales, the allure of a good, cheeky neon sign and a discovery of Aboriginal Canadian cuisine through all the senses.

Music: SALES
Say hello to a super-cute American guitar-based pop band from Orlando, Florida. SALES is Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih, accompanied on drums by Malcolm Martin. Morgan's slow, melancholic lyrics and interesting note-jumping take a strong forefront against background licks from Shih and a simple drum machine beat. Sad, yet sunny and perfect for Sundays.

Start anywhere. I started with the songs Talk A Lot and Big Sis.

I have officially begun my third semester at BrainStation, one class under my belt. With that hurdle over and done, I can now settle in, attempt to learn some new student names, and check out the briefs of students who've chosen to bring their own idea to their semester project.

Oh boy, did I ever plan the crap out of San Diego for my trip next week. I've got all the places I want to go in a mega Google Map, same goes for Los Angeles. In San Diego I plan to attend no fewer than three farmer's markets, an outdoor organ concert and a haunted cave, and expect to eat at least one Mexican meal per day. This will be my homage for being too chicken-shit to cross the border on a day trip to Tijuana. Next time!

This weekend brings quite a lot: Easter, Passover and my birthday. Yes, the beautiful opportunity to have a Friday night birthday has been somewhat thwarted, but it'll be nice to spend time with my family and force everyone to be together for some reason or another.

I have some time this weekend to start packing for my trip, along with some looking over of early student briefs for BrainStation. Thanks to my mom, I've been using a really helpful trip planning website called Tripsavvy that gives users a weather profile of each month in many major cities. There's a whole article on things to do in San Diego in April, for example, including average temperatures and weather patterns.

Even with the rain, I am still very excited for Saturday, when I'll be headed to the Gladstone Hotel for their annual plant-based art show Grow Op, as well as a clothing swap and repair cafe. Other than January's Come Up To My Room, this is my favourite Gladstone event.

Random Thought: Neon Type
This past weekend, I had the pleasure to visit a pop-up gallery filled with one of my favourite art forms: neon signs. Some old, some new, some reclaimed or remixed and therefore both old and new. I simply adore the moody glow of neon; there's something very specific about it that no other light source can provide in the same way.

This one is three different signs all composed by the artist into one new sign.

The DRUGS sign in the bottom corner used to hang on the Drake Hotel!

This translates to "This is Chinese".

The old Hard Rock sign from Dundas Square - they also had the huge guitar...

Chloe for scale.

Enjoying a cup of tea.

Especially when used as a medium for typography, I find neon especially effective. It lends itself to cursive well, and overall draws the eye's attention in a strong way without being too overbearing. You can (and should, but not for too long) stare straight into neon and almost see the charge running through it. It's delicate and powerful at the same time, and just plain looks cool.

In another life, I would have been a glass blower.

Inspiration: Red Chef Revival
The Hot Docs Cinema never ceases to amaze me in its thoughtful and provocative programming. Tonight my family attended a screening of a new docuseries called Red Chef Revival, documenting the processes and motivations of three Aboriginal Canadian chefs and pairing them with Aboriginal communities in the West coast to collaborate and cook dishes steeped in ancestral heritage.

Six Nations Chef and Top Chef finalist Rich Francis explored the Osoyoos reserve along the border of British Columbia and Washington State, noting the uncommon way the people of Osoyoos have managed to conserve their culture while also integrating into our society. He plans to open a restaurant in Saskatoon called Seventh Fire: Indigenous Cuisine. He is unapologetic about his need to conserve his own heritage, through his chosen method of modern cuisine.

Chopped Canada finalist Shane Chartrand didn’t discover his Enoch Cree heritage until his late 20s, taking a trip to Prince Rupert, British Columbia to cook alongside the elders and immigrants from Japan and China. His was a story of pain, loss and gain at the same time, made all the more intriguing through his encounter with residents of Prince Rupert to make fusion food that represents a multitude of cultures and heritage that all come from the soul.

Possibly even more amazing was the travel of Marie-Cecile Kakgoosh Nottaway-Wawatie, aka Cezin Nottaway, from her Quebec home to the Native reserve alongside Fort McMurray in Alberta. She is a self-described bush cook, specializing in creating cuisine from sources found no more than fifty feet away. Now, that's true local cooking. She uses her learned methods of hunting, gathering and preparing to front a catering business that promotes the (literal) fruits of her heritage.

Cezin and Rich were present at the screening, not only to answer questions in genuine and truly open ways, but also to prepare a very interesting three-course meal with cocktail pairing for the audience. I couldn't believe how well Hot Docs managed to pull off this event.

Check out the trailer for the docuseries:

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