Whilst in Freiburg, in the south of Germany, we cycled through narrow roads, small villages, green reserves, up mountains, through vineyards (as seen here), past villas, down S turns, and through the ancient city with a hotel that dates back to the 1200′s. Freiburg was pretty sweet.
STOP MAKING ME LAUGH, DAMMIT. it’s my kryptonite.
oh yeah, see the sumptuous ornate historical village behind us? YOO-ROPE, bitches.
I rented the vélibre, which is Paris’s Bixi bike, and cycled all around Paris trying to be a bit of a tourist, even though I’ve been coming to Paris for 7 years and have seen almost everything… Here I was trying to see things I hadn’t before. It’s always important to try and make the familiar strange. Weimar flanneur til the end.
Les follies bergere! D’ou viens tu bergere? Hahaha, kidding.
Ah, Pere Lachaise cemetery. I first came here in 2006 with a boy who is now a ghost looking for Jim Morrisons grave which we never found. I ended up finding him a year later when I came here with Sonja, but I never found Oscar Wilde’s or Edith Piaf’s grave, so that was my mission this time around. I wish I had found Wilde’s back in 2006, because since last year, they put it behind a barrier and wiped off all the lipstick kisses. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.
Outcasts always mourn
Walking around Pere Lachaise in the December chill was a haunted experience, if you will. In fact, as I searched for Wilde’s grave, I paused along the way to peer into the tombs of those fallen from 300 years ago…. How the ancient gravestones employed calligraphy that dates it. The faded inscriptions, the names of those once loved now forgotten, turned to dust… The stories of babies who are forever tiny, men who were murdered and their mothers inconsolable, obelisks to lost wives and fallen soldiers, monuments to passengers who fell out of the sky …. And I couldn’t deny it any longer. As the sky turned to dusk at the ungodly hour of 4pm, I caught the scent of death. I smelled death at every corner. She was like a sick reminder that no one gets out alive.
I have been to Dublin where Wilde is from, and they adore him there. Monuments to his glory, his most famous quotes engraved in marble, and his home now a museum. Dublin is a city if writers. Too bad they’re now consider our way of paying tribute (ie kissing the grave) “defacing.” Wilde would totally tell Ireland to sod off and let the ladies smooch his stone!
Being able to pause and reflect at Wilde’s foot for a long time on my own, I remembered my favourite quote of his: “She lives the poetry that she cannot write.” And I decided right then, amongst the putricine and cadaverine, to live and live and live. To live for all those who no longer have the luxury, and also for myself.
Because you’re gonna wanna hear this story.
I’m also fucking endearing.
I have done mountain biking twice before, once in Whistler and another in Cuzco, and each time I get stronger and more comfortable. Look at the views!
We also visited the temple Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep on the way down. Very lovely if somewhat a little too much gilt idolatry for my liking.
still, some of the frescoes, like this one, were pretty lovely and moving.
Tomorrow I’m off to Pai! The “SituAsian” adventure continues!
Oh and if anybody knows a guy named “ali” or “ally” from Glasgow Scotland who also did mountain biking today in Chiang mai and is travelling throughout Asia for a while, tell him I think he’s beautiful and pretty and I wanna hang.
So. So. Pretty.
Sometimes, walking is too slow, and the subway and taxis are too fast. So the best way to see a place whilst travelling is oftentimes the bike!
Of course, for me, I don’t just want to cycle in the city. Give me the boonies, the trails, the national parks, the jungles, and the swamps! And give it all to me in the middle of a monsoon! I’m tough as nails, I am!
found on north 5th near kent in williamsburg
on roebling in williamsburg
seriously, i’ve been photographing The Good Bike project for over a year now! And examples are still popping up all over the city. This pink one was on queen street east.
i wonder if this is doubling as a ‘ghost bike’ because it begs the viewer to remember someone who has passed.
the stickers of dedicated have worn off of this one … “For…we’ll” is all you get now.
check out my Good Bike project category for more examples.
Huron Street prefers cyclists.
this reminds me of all the amazing Stop sign art that i found in Brooklyn over the winter holidays.
speaking of brooklyn …. guess which gal is going back to NYC for more graffiti hunting at the end of June?
i’m there for two weeks, AND i’ve snagged myself tickets to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon! (Last year i went to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart). i’ll be staying in Queens, house-sitting for one of my girls while she’s off to a writing retreat, but apart from a few quick jaunts to Manhattan, I will be spending most of my time in BROOKLYN! cannot wait for all the amazing street art and graffiti i get to find!
this is literally the best part of my year, when i get to fuck off to Bushwick and disappear for hours down back alleyways and behind dumpsters looking for that which is ephemeral.
some girls buy stiletto shoes on fifth avenue….. and some girls buy second-hand Chucks for $3 and hang around abandoned buildings.
you know…. whatevs.
see you soon, new york!
the great thing about riding your bike around toronto is that you get to explore the nooks and crannies those stupid cars can’t squeeze into…. AND ya don’t hafta worry about parking. a couple weeks ago, i’m riding my bike through the annex and found this Listen Bird!
no where but up!
then i’m scooting south from the annex into parkdale and find this OTHER Listen Bird!
this Listen Bird looks like it’s a bit old, but it’s still awesome! it’s referencing out shiteous mayor rob ford.
Rob Ford once described himself as 330 lbs of fun….. lots of other street artists have poked fun at that…. and LB says he’s 330lbs of pure bullshit. last name WIN, first name EPIC.
I have a pretty cool collection of Listen Birds that i’ve found around toronto and montreal if you’re so inclined to click!
cycling weather is returning, and i’ve souped up my bike! it’s all ready to go, so seeing this stencil in the back alleys nears beaconsfield and argyle was pretty fortuitous. urban culture has always been tightly woven with bike culture. most graff artists i know get around via bike, and are huge cycling enthusiasts. i like it when they end up creating bike-art……er….. “bart.”
this particular red lady cycling was stencil’d 3 times in this particular area.
and here’s three, which is interesting because it seems to be incorporated (or part of) a stencil mural.
i dunno what that black thing to the left of her is supposed to be.
those are clearly building tenements.
there’s a yellow stencil of the cyclist just over to the far right …. like an echo.
and this was below the mural … “earth seed” with some sprouts. i have seen this handwriting in stencil form before. this person never stencils the same saying twice, but i see this calligraphy all over the place.
no clue who is behind it, but high fives and fist bumps nonetheless.
found this little wheatpaste dude at bloor west and concord.
cycling hipster with the kryptonite lock in his belt loop, holding up a peace sign.
a couple summers ago, i was house-sitting on college street for a former flame while he was in vancouver. it was a hot august, so i rode my bike everywhere, and it was glorious. i couldn’t count how many people on college rode their bikes with their kryptonite lock in their back pockets of their jeans shorts. it’s kind of a hipster rule of thumb. i love bike riding so much, i can’t wait until the weather gets somewhat decent so i can hope back on Auntie Elsie (that’s my bike’s name….my previous bike was named Bea Arthur…. old lady bike names FTW).
if you take a good look at the bike this wheatpaste dude is riding, it’s a city bike with no gears. while these bikes are pleasing to the eye, and lightweight, they are SHIT BIKES. i need gears! my bike is a 21 speed with shocks and err-thang. i need to go bombing uphill. fast fast fast! no-gear rustbucket hipster bikes are uber stylish but shit-rides.
can’t wait to get cycling! ACK!
i didn’t know her, but her death really affected me, and many in this city.
please, if you drive, remember to share the road and show respect for cyclists.
“they’re gonna be oh so jealous”
before i begin with the photojaculation of my epic trek through the jungle along the ancient inca trail to Machu Picchu, i invite you to watch this video of my hike, which tells the story in a short 120 seconds (with a Justin Bieber cameo added at the end)
now, as promised, the trek to Machu Picchu!
on the first of the four days, they picked me up from my hostel in Cuzco, and i was promptly introduced to the british blokes, ben, paddy, dom, and paul. Seeing as how i lived in the UK for years and years, i felt right at home with my blokes. i’ve always been more of a shit-kicker, competitive, active girl than i have been a girlie-girl, so hamming it up with the boys with quintessential british humour was right up my alley.
the bus dropped us off at the top of these mountains where we could begin downhill mountain biking! see how we’re in the clouds? and look at our gear! i’ve done downhill mountain biking before (whistler last year, where i wiped out twice so bad, i’m quite proud of my war wounds from that extravaganza) so i was aching to get back on the bike! we rode downhill for about 2 hours, traversing over 50 kilometres, and the more we descended, the more the weather changed from epic freezing hail in the clouds to suddenly TROPICAL.
Where we were in the Andes, it was a cornucopia of temperatures, terrain, and toughness.
i’m the type of biker where i always stand up (you’re not really supposed to sit while mountain biking, the shocks make it almost impossible to be in control while sitting), but i’m not so smooth on sharp turns. i need to make my turns wide, which is why “S” turns which are very zig-zaggy are the bane of my biker existence.
i was bombing ahead of the group, mostly keeping up front with the boys (while the lovely Irish lasses Jan, Audrey, Nicola, and Ciara stayed back in the rear), but when it came to the sharp S turns, i was basically riding my breaks.
this above pic was taken at our pitt-stop half way down the mountains. see how the weather suddenly drastically changed?
the terrain also became much more muddy, and we passed by a lot of construction, making the terrain even more dangerous. i hollered “hola muchachos!” to almost each set of construction workers that we passed. they all hollered back and waved. some of them whistled at me. i wasn’t exactly sure how they could tell i was a girl, i was wearing so much gear, and my head was completely covered by the full-face helmet.
i guess my hips don’t lie.
by the end of the downhill awesomeness, we were all covered in mud, soaked from all the puddles, and some of us had pretty good wipe-out stories (ciara’s peddle came off her bike, so she wiped out spectacularly).
monkey on a chain. NOT COOL.
our guide claimed that once the hikers moved on, the monkey was allowed off of the chain.
i call bullshit.
lil thing was frightened to shit, was gripping its stuffed toy and rocking back and forth out of sheer terror.
second day of the hike. i look like a neglected horse in this pic, so i have cleverly covered up my mug whilst editing this pic, but it’s proof of how high we were trekking into the Andes.
and my rack looks nice too.
i shit you not.
lots of the girls during this uphill hike, particularly Jan and Ciara, were shit-scared of heights, and had the hardest time climbing the very narrow path up into the mountains. i was loving every second of it, and as usual, was bombing ahead with the boys, even overtaking them on some sections (smokers never prosper). i hafta say, i love bragging that i really was one of the boys on this trek.
i didn’t go all that way just to pussy-out.
in truth, i can totally understand why the girls were hanging back, gripping the ledge, and crying their eyes out. the path really was narrow (all single file), and a very steep drop off the side. some sections were extremely slippery, or had loose rocks, and depending on where you stood, a stiff gust of wind would have taken you over the side.
we had to cross many pithy bridges as above. they were situated hundreds of feet above the air, were rickety, and not particularly sturdy after being exposed to all the elements.
damned if i didn’t love it.
this above bridge was somewhat more sturdy, but the violence of the rapids underneath and the wind made it sway and shake. you couldn’t exactly hold onto those railings, and the wooden boards shifted and snapped as we passed.
after climbing hundreds of feet up into the mountains, we had to climb back down again (which, as you can imagine, is much harder than going up. it’s less taxing on the lungs, but requires extreme precision of foot). we hiked along the sacred valley river, with spectacular views, as you can imagine.
the boys and i began to play a game to keep our minds and wits occupied – name as many bands as you can that begin with a given letter. We were on the letter “C” during this section. as each bloke dropped out, it ended up being between me and Ben. i’m pretty sure i won that round.
even though i was roughing it with the boys, i still needed some assistance now and then, which the boys were generously offering. sometimes, all i required was a hand to steady me, especially over the loose boulders or going down a slippery slope.
chivalry ain’t dead.
that’s Ben above. Jan lovingly nicknamed him “Sleazy B” and it just stuck. on our third day of hiking, after zip-lining (video of me zip-lining 500 feet in the air in the Andes is included in the compilation i made here), we hiked along the rail road to Aguas Calientes, which is base camps for Machu Picchu. some of the girls were destroyed after the arduous hike already, and decided to take the train there. so it was basically just me and boys hiking along for about 3 hours to our final rest stop. ben and dom and i had an incredible conversation, that ranged from our careers, to political activism, to capitalism, to agency and more. i think i enjoyed this section of the trek the best, because connecting on an intellectual level with people while also connecting through all the physical activity translated into an emotional connection. we all had been through so much together in such a short period of time. i loved these guys in this moment.
on the morning of the fourth day (at 4 AM!!!) , thus began the epic climb up to Machu Picchu. the ruins sit atop a mountain, and there’s the option of paying 8 soles for the bus (takes 5 minutes), or climb the mountain for free.
i chose the hard way, to climb.
because FUCK YOU, that’s why.
the fastest record ever set in climbing Machu Picchu was 39 minutes.
I did it in70 minutes. i was the first girl to the top (naturally), and even beat some of the guys up there.
my ass officially hated me afterwards, but as i made it past the gates, and overlooked Machu Picchu for the first time, i started welling up with emotion. i arrived early enough to see the sun rise over the ruins. actually in the video at the top, i edited out my crying-fit. but i have it on film. i may one day share that with people. (not bloody likely)
the interesting thing about the Inca construction is, the only thing that has eroded away over the centuries is the stray/hay rooftops, and the colour painted on them. All the structures still stand, basically untouched. and Peru is infamous for its earthquakes.
despite their penchant for performing human sacrifices on 12 year old virgins, those Incas were way ahead of their time.
they knew more about mathematics, engineering, and astronomy than the europeans did 200 years later.
the incan entrance into their walled city.
600 years ago, approximately 400-500 people lived at Machu Picchu, which is why they only allow that same number of people to visit the site each day. so if you’re going, plan ahead.
i’m so hip, it hurts.
i took way too many scenery photos that, were i to put them all here one by one, would render this blog post the longest scroll ever, so i’ve turned them into collages here for your viewing pleasure.
suffice it to say, the place contains more nature porn than national geographic.
a veritable colour feast
there’s a bird mid-flight behind me here!
after i posed for this, the hooks on my hiking boots became ensnared, and i fell on my ass.
genuine class, i am.
holy fuckballs, CURVES, eh?
i spent so many hours in the blazing sun (we’re above the clouds) writing in my journal all the thoughts and emotions i was feeling at the time. you don’t go to machu picchu to find yourself, because there’s no way you can be lost whilst there.
there’s another mountain that overlooks Machu Picchu, it’s called Huayna Picchu, it’s another 2700 feet up, and you have to pay extra to climb it, and book it well ahead of time. again, only 400 people are allowed to climb Huayna Picchu each day, 200 in the morning, and another 200 later in the morning. after that, it closes. i had booked the climb, but after already climbing Machu Picchu, my body was already rickety, wobbly, dehydrated, sore, and tired.
but fuck all that.
pain is temporary. regret is forever.
i fucking climbed that bitch.
again, i was the only girl to climb huayna picchu, and again, i beat some of the boys up there. it took me 39 minutes to reach the top.
this was probably the most difficult mountain i’ve ever climbed, it was such a steep climb up, i was swearing the entire climb “i better lose 20 motherfucking pounds by the end of this cunt-ass trip!” (i so did, by the way).
this was the view of Machu Picchu from the top of Huayna Picchu. remember how i said in my last post about Cuzco that the incas believed the Condor represented heaven? well if you look at the shape of Machu Picchu from above, it is actually in the shape of a condor.
wow, machu picchu really looks so far away from up there. like a dot. a little bit of harvested land.
at the top of Huayna Picchu, it’s not like you could roam around for a stroll. it literally was a rocky mountain top. it was either crawl along those boulders or fall off the side.
me at the top, overheating, tanning, huffing for air, but also filled with the joy of living.
i breathe in and am filled with the wonder of living.
life is something incredible that i don’t think i will ever understand, but it is finite, and incredibly short.
the world is too big to stay in one place your whole life. it offers you precious gifts in one place that you could never get in another.
don’t feel like you can’t travel because you are tied down or disadvantaged in some way.
when you look back on your life, many years from you, you won’t remember the nights where you went to bed early.
from L-R, Jan, Ben (aka Sleazy B), Paddy, Paul (aka The Great Skinzerelly), Hugo (our guide), moi, Dom, Audrey, Nicola, Ciara, and Jonno.
we all shared something wonderful in one little week, and i may never see them again. but we all share a secret that no one else does.
love yous guys.
of course, on the train ride from Aguas Calientes back to Cuzco, the multitude of Australians about had to do some planking.
MAY IT NEVER DIE.
* * *
so there you have it.
with my multitude of bad health diagnoses lately, i have been crossing off as many adventures and experiences from my bucket list as possible. these opportunities may never come again, and i am now acutely aware of my own mortality.
but i’m not letting anything dilute my happiness.
so many people believe that life is pain, and the horror of existence permeates every choice in life.
after this experience (and difficult period in my life), do i believe that?
the short answer to that is, no.
the long answer is FUCK NO.
if you haven’t yet checked out the Motorcycle-Diaries- trailer-esque video of me hiking along the ancient Inca Trail, through the Peruvian jungle, to Machu Picchu, do it now.
i’m fucking endearing in it.
before i can blog about the experience, i need to blog about the amazing graffiti and street art that i came across in Peru. Peruvian street artists and graffiti artists really are brilliant. they are, by and large, engaged in politics, inspired by injustices, but also motivated by matters of the heart. poetics sayings, emotional images, and fire-infused couplings of the two are to be found all over the country. i took more photos of the street art than i did of the Andes i was hiking through!
after flying 10 hours (with a stop over in El Salvador) from Toronto, i was exhausted and smellin’ like Eau De Czech, but ready to photograph the art populating the night.
“ivo justice” i wonder if ivo is a man undergoing a trial? or incarcerated? at first i thought this said “no justice.”
LIMA (near airport)
Peru just elected a new president, and i think that’s him
i like this photo more for the scenery that compliments the graffiti, than just the graffiti itself.
zona, i’m told, was peru’s most famous footie player.
near Chinatown in Lima. this fatty with the scowl on her face wouldn’t move, even when asked, so i could photograph the mural behind her. she kind of looks like the guy in the mural. turns out her presence adds something to the photo
an accidental photo i took while zooming in a moving taxi. turned out pretty cool.
MIRAFLORES (area of Lima)
definitely political, just can’t make out the writing.
pulso danza, or “dancing pulse” was everywhere in miraflores.
hell yeah fuck yeah
brilliant. take the existing brickwork, turn it into a piano.
“revolution. if not now, when?”
surprised this wasn’t in chinatown
so much going on here…
“mi luz” means “my light.”
on the left, she’s been made to look mad. on the right, she’s eating a dick.
i like this sticker, of a young cap’d boy holding a rifle. sounds like a revolution to me.
brilliant stencil of the outgoing president. the old president was named “alan” but by putting a G in front of his name, and adding “del robo” at the end, it turns into the saying “knight of thieves,” which i think is a play on the saying “prince of thieves.”
nicely done, Tink.
i wasn’t going to photograph this at first because it’s just advertising a pub (as you can see from the drink in one hand, and the fork in the other). that is, until i noticed it’s exposed, raging cock.
sell fresh crazy someplace else. we’re all stocked up here.
you look like you was talking to me.
gringos ruin everything.
this was along the pacific ocean boardwalk.
BARRANCO (area of Lima)
Barranco is a totally bo-ho po-mo district of Lima, fulla artists and brilliant stencils. it’s celebrating it’s 139th anniversary, and it has a very colonial, european feel to it, but also a counter-culture atmosphere on the streets.
this “no la cagues” was everywhere. it’s a picture of the newly-elected president. “no la cagues” means “don’t screw it up” or “don’t fuck it up.” good advice for any new president. looks like the artist responsible for this piece forgot the “u” in “cagues” and had to add it in manually later.
here it is again. i think at the top the “jbo!” is the name of the artist. not sure.
love this wheatpaste. smiling winking dude holding a molotov cocktail, and the caption says, “agitate! protest! resist! … every man for himself!”
interesting opinion. “vandalism does not equal freedom of expression.”
so many areas of Barranco were stencil’d with the words “rubias no!” which means “no blondes!” or perhaps even “Not blonde!”
that’s right. LEAGUE OF AWESOME BRUNETTES for the win.
“call your old lady” meaning, call your moms, yo.
scary but cool face, done by someone named “kobi”
there’s that sticker again from Miraflores!
CHORRILLOS (area of Lima)
charlie chaplin! when i lived in london england, i lived in Elephant & Castle, the area where charlie chaplin was born and raised, so i feel a connection to the little moustachio’d man.
theatre masks submerged.
“forgive me if i hurt you, i love you.”
this was actually printed on a poster advertising family wares. it makes me think that very few people actually speak english in peru, because they may not understand what that means!
this is probably my favourite piece from all of Peru. it’s just a dude hugging a fish. but it’s strikingly lovely.
or is he hugging a bird? i can’t tell. i love how highly stylized the strokes are. brilliant wheatpaste.
mural dedicated to a young woman who passed away.
in Cuzco, I found the street art limited to sayings of love. as you can see from the below collage.
for those of you who don’t speak Spanish, “te amo” means “i love you.” (i mean, i don’t speak Spanish, but even i know that.)
i’m not sure what this is in reference to, but i like how the corn husk almost has grenade-like qualities. looks like a propaganda pic.
hey authorities! look! in 1664 someone ENGRAVED stuff into the side of a church. WATER BLAST THAT OFF!
this translates to “it’s prohibited to urinate on penalty of death.” i don’t know if this is graffiti or actually placed by the government (is the death penalty in Peru?), but considering that’s the ancient Inca wall standing there, it wouldn’t surprise me either way.
it’s michael jackson wearing an Incan wooly cap.
raymi, your powers are boundless.
this is deffo a government mural. going back to urination, it must be a huge problem in Cuzco. the entire mural said that in order to keep Cuzco beautiful, please don’t piss on the ground. AS I TOOK THIS PHOTO, i looked to my left to find a man pissing against a pillar. how ironic.
as we hiked through the jungle along the Inca trail, near the small but lovely village of santa theresa (there’s hot springs there!), we came to a bridge that had some incredible graffiti on it.
i think this Garcia guy must be commissioned, but it’s intricate and beautiful stencil work.
look at that gorgeous woman.
* * *
that’s it for the Peruvian graffiti, my next blog post will be about my travelling adventure expedition through the jungle, along the Inca trail, to Machu Picchu.
in the meantime, here’s a preview.
i’ve been back in toronto for a week now, and i have been enduring the spectrum of emotions from utter despair to euphoric bliss. people from my past are haunting me, and yet people from my present are treating me like tiramisu.
i won’t go into detail here, but i had felt obligated to contact some people from my past that i haven’t spoken to in ages. out of everyone i spoke to, only ONE person was amazingly supportive, kind, generous, and reassured me that no matter what, we are good friends (the rest were, as expected, bitterly cold and reserved). i wanted to reach through the telephone line and hug this person until my arms fell off.
thanks so much for being so kind to me over the years, sometimes i feel like i don’t deserve it. you are one of the meaningful ones.
then i spent thanksgiving weekend hugging and snuggling in trinity bellwoods park in between delicious ice cream licks and bike-riding.
so all in all, i can’t complain. life should never be about half-emotions, half-ways, or half-living. either feel the extremes or feel nothing at all.
TIFF is coming up, and I’ve been invited to so many advanced press screenings that I’m debating whether or not I should throw myself face-first into the fest like I did last year. Last year was amazing, I reviewed the festival for FOUR different media outlets, including the CBC. I met some amazing people in the industry, attended some hoity-toity parties, saw a record-breaking 35 films (including The King’s Speech, where I knew from the press screening that it would win the Oscar), and feasted on the visual stimuli flashing through a darkened cinema. Static flicking off the beams of light.
So why the debate?
Mama’s got a book to write.
* * *
sneak with me as i disappear into the back alleys. keep your feet pedaling, the bike leaves no footprint. the night will swallow us like a python, opening its mouth, and then holding its breath.
all the kids in the ghetto call me Don chris estima.
gauzed in red, the colour tearing through my flesh, this painted city belongs to me.
we discover art.
and you will know i was once here
by the looks thrown over my shoulder.
Rob introduced me to Poser, who does these smooth rabbits all over town. Now you won’t be able to walk around without noticing them. I love how the rabbits are holding spraypaint cans whilst almost saying “Eyyyyhhhh, sup gurrrrrl.”
that single BlogTO tweet sent my blog traffic batshit crazy through the roof, kiboshing all previous records. fanks hombres!
hello new munchkin readers! enjoy my neurotic blogjaculation.
relax, i’m hilarious.
now shut up and show me your tweets.
rob takes a decent graffiti snap.
rob and i snuck around the back alleys for about four hours, well past midnight. darkness creeping in on secrets.
first obvious target: graffiti alley, then up the ossington alleys, then through kensington market. i think our next destination should be the rail path which runs through the junction. i know there’s some amazing shit there, my camera is gagging for it.
does anybody else think this looks like a concentration camp?
zejko? that sounds yugoslavian . . . maybe serbian or croatian or bosnian. i wonder who this guy is.
political figure? martyr? writer? philosopher? just some dude?
andy warhol just rolled his eyes.
ha, i love this little gas-can fucker.
oh hello mr elliott. we meet again.
i’m surprised to still see some of the Andrew posters around, they’re quite old (in terms of street art shelf life), so this was a rare find. however, considering the way Andrew died, tagging the poster with a mouthful of blood and a speech bubble with “liberal lies” is rather upsetting.
what kind of tagger writes “liberal lies” anyway? i’m sorry, is Andrew’s tragic story offensive to your conservative graffiti ethos? fuck off with that shit.
my last post detailed some Tokyo tags, and now we know who he is. Rob found him on facebook, so we have a face with a (fake)name now. Sup guy.
i also recently blogged about the posters and stickers that have gone up around queen and spadina, commemorating the kettling and brutality that occurred last year during the G20 summit. the stickers say “our civil rights were lost here.” the posters show sombre photos of the attrocities done against peaceful toronto civilians.
the “tokyo” is almost gone. i wish rob ford was rubbing away too.
this headless frowner reminds me of our unhappy hipster run-in while rob and i took a break at 416 Snack Bar. some loud hipsters with massive, square, black-framed specs, and nostrils brimming with white coke, shouted at me from across the table to smile.
i turned into them and gave a fatal grimmace.
coked-up hipster goes, “that’s the worst smile i’ve ever seen. why won’t you smile for me?”
to which i leaned in and coo’d, “I’m not going to be your monkey.”
and at that, his balls crawled back up inside his body.
from what i can gather here, someone stenciled “supreme” then someone with a spray can tagged it into “supremely stupid” but they spelled “stupid” wrong…. studpid? stucpid?
this freaked the shit out of me, because in the darkness of the alley, you couldn’t see all those details. you could see a bit of the face. my flash revealed the bleeding ghost.
some daytime shots from the back alleys in parkdale.
is that elvis presley or chris cornell?
when horses are this lame, they shoot ‘em.
hi c-saw, i will respond to that question with this.
good call, speaking of bikes …
i’ve got more THE GOOD BIKE finds!
a basket filled with a potted plant, untouched!
AND it’s bolted to the ground. you ain’t stealing this, fuckfaces.
the photo of me at the top of this post is of me taking this photo….
wow, that’s so meta.
and the moral is: the easiest way to make guys lose their shit is to have yours together
if you’ve been keeping your eyes open in toronto-the-good, you’ve probably noticed a few fluorescent bikes here and there. they’re part of an art project launched by some OCAD’ers, where they find abandoned bikes that are still locked up, and beautify them with different fluorescent colours, sometimes they even put a potted plant in the basket. anyhoo, i haven’t been able to pop a wheelie in this city without knocking over one of these bikes, they’re everywhere! i am so in love with the idea, as you can see from the above collage that i made which indicates each location i’ve found a bike so far. keep your eyes open, tdot.
to find out more about this project, visit the artists’ tumblr here.
text messages from august 4th
mr k: YOU make me want to do better things
me: that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me
mr k: it’s just you tell me about what you’ve done and i see this insane potential to do more and i think “holy crap man.. this girl is amazingly talented and has done so much!” it’s so awesome and inspiring….. to me you’re muse material because you create the drive for self improvement. Everything you’ve told me points that way. Whenever you tell me about how guys walk all over you, i actually think why?! someone like this is so worthwhile.
vicki vanilla sky
i am a bumble bee.
that’s what mr moore said about me the other day after we had dinner together at disgraceland. i’d never tried their vegan-friendly menu before. i like places that are west of ossington. the wester, the better. omg gurrrrrrrl you are soo west.
i wore a yellow top, black skort (remember skorts!), my yellow tube flops, and that ol’ buttercup yellow flower in my hair that i’ve been wearing since 2005… hence the bumble bee. my friend teresa describes that pill you have to take when you have a UTI as “the bumble bee pill” because it’s black and yellow as well.
i like it when things are named after flying killers.
someone in Kensington Market knows how to bang out the time-sensitive street art without flinching.
crying a gold tear.
i always thought winehouse would just keith richards her way through life. i was living in london when her second album back to black blew up, and she was in daily rags literally daily. remember when her and blake had that huge fight, and emerged on the street after the battle. he had massive nail scratches on his neck which he unsuccessfully tried to cover with a douchey scarf. …and she used to love traipsing around in those ballet slippers, which were bloodied now because she had injected the crack cocaine IN BETWEEN HER TOES.
living in london at that time, listening to her music as i ran through Southwark and Bermondsey, fisting Borough Market, kicking Tower Bridge, and owning the Elephant and Castle circus, amy is inextricably linked to that period in time. the pubs and punters screamed her songs, spilling out into the streets. her music got me through a horrible break-up at the time. made riding the DLR somewhat bearable.
amy, you should have been stronger than me.
on the corner of bloor and st. george
there’s only ONE law when it comes to graffiti and street art… you don’t fucking tag or go over someone else’s work. graffiti is all about ego, really. it’s about getting a kind of infamy for your art… when someone fucking tags your art, it’s the biggest form of disrespect.
hey “MER” don’t fucking disrespect. get your fucking tag off of the eyes.
shall we turn this into a new conga line, lisa?
i don’t think i could handle a constant state of pleasure until forever.
but i welcome the challenge.
* * *
i’ve blogged about Deadboy lots of times before, and he let me know recently that he’s hit the streets again. he’s launched an attack on the streets, and his provocative wheatpastes are in some of the best locations in the city. on top of that, they are powerful, they ask questions, they make you feel something.
here’s a cross-section of some of his work, with their locations. i invite you all to go on a scavenger hunt and find these pieces of art for yourself.
that’s the great thing about street art… it’s livable and democratic. you don’t need to be a glittering asshole who scrubs up to go to the gallery. you just need to enjoy investigating your own city.
free thought. free art.
probably the best piece of the lot, IMO.
the “fuck you stephen harper” wheatpaste is on queen west and augusta, across the street from Java House.
the “gun-toting toddler” is atop a construction overpass in kensington market, near baldwin and spadina.
right next to it, is this shaved-head kid with a rifle.
and the two make a second appearance on queen west and ryerson, just south of Theatre Passe Muraille.
this “my turn raccoon” which i already found in a kensington market alley is also on queen west and vanauley street.
do you see what i see on the abandoned blockbuster at queen and spadina?
* * *
a few months ago, i photographed this stencil saying in the exact same spot outside st george subway station, but it was promptly removed thereafter.
i was almost crushed by a tractor trailer the other day as i rode my bike through parkdale. he didn’t check his blind spot for me and starting turning. my bike crashed to the ground, and he kept going, his huge tires coming within inches of my body. he only stopped when other cars honked and flagged him down. i got up off the ground, shaking, and tried to smash his side window with blind rage. but i’m just a pipsqueak, really.
the flowers came off of my basket.
my leg is a bit bruised, and i have a few popped capillaries, but i’m fine.
cyclists need some peace of mind in this city. we deserve respect. i’m also a driver, and a pedestrian, so i know what it feels like to be all three. none of us own the road. we need to start sharing.
i’m fucking endearing.
pick up a (free) copy of the August issue of Exclaim, already on the streets nationwide, my film review of Beats, Rhymes, and Life: the travels of A Tribe Called Quest is published within….
microphone check, 1, 2, what is this?
i took a really long walk the other night. Sitto (that’s an arabic colloquialism for “granny”) passed her driving test, the woman is 89, and i don’t want her joyriding, so i hijacked the car, parked it on brunswick, north of bloor. then walked, and walked, and walked.
no headphones, no music. i just wanted to walk and listen to the streets. like a Weimar flâneur (flâneuse?). i ended up at queen and lansdowne in the heart of a hot parkdale. 5 kilometre walk under the gauze of an unforgiving night and an easy breeze.
Baudelaire originated the term “flâneur.” He also once said that “the sole pleasure in love lies in the knowledge that one is doing evil.”
there was a bench outside cafe taste so i sat there for a long time, watching people walk by with falafels in hand. on their bikes, ringing bells like summoning good fortune. girls in white messes.
i never go anywhere without paper and a pen. ideas strike and memories fail more often than not. i started jotting down small notes.
in the heat of the city at night is when i curate the jumble of my head.
as i’m writing, half a dozen sauced blokes tried their hand with me. at this age, i have learned that the best way to navigate unwanted attention is just to ignore it. also at this age, the attention i’m getting is from men easily ten years younger than me. a man with a belly elbowed his mate and said loud enough for me to hear, “she’s a brazillian beauty, no doubt she’s brazillian.”
ignoring gave way to disbelief when a twig of a kid said, “damn gurrrrrl, you is fine” or something along those lines, to which i snorted, “how old ARE you, 12?”
his friends laughed their ass off at him as his 12-year-old balls crawled back up inside his body. in actual fact, they probably hadn’t even dropped yet.
i think i heard him say something like “no i’m 18 with a big dick,” but that was inaudible over the sound of his embarrassment.
“just remember, you’re a girl, you’re not funny, smart, interesting, or any of those things…..if he asks you a question, don’t panic. he already thinks you’re an idiot.”
just because a woman is walking alone on the street doesn’t make her a street-walker.
in my head, i’m still a little girl, looking to adults to tell me how the world is.
i walked back to the car, another 5 kilometres. dundas west is a quiet portuguese strip that is kind of lovely, reminiscent of brooklyn, raw and untamed. men who look like all of my uncles and cousins said things to me in portuguese that i understood and made me hate them.
i think i’ll walk in another direction next time.
“Power to the people, we don’t want it, we want pleasure. And the TVs try to rape us, and I guess that they’re succeeding. Now we’re going to these meetings but we’re not doing any meeting. And we’re trying to be faithful but we’re cheating.
50 kilometres on my bike, dying from the heat, having to stop to take proper water breaks before my body capsized. vicki took me to the park lawn spit in etobicoke, and snapped this photo of me. i look weird, like i’m trying to swallow something. we sat on the rocks and could hear caribana music from across lake ontario, the water provides echoes. an ant bit my arm and i wailed.
she took me back to her place and made me a chickpea/rice/egg/onion salad mixup thingie with guacamole-lime dressing. she went to wash her hands, and by the time she came back, i had cleaned my plate.
you will find me from the trail of dead organs i leave behind.
one of my besties is going on holiday for 3 weeks, and i’m house-sitting for her whilst she’s gone. i house-sat for her earlier this year, i get to hang with “sid fishous” again. jerkface figgy who likes to freak me out, but i could never stay mad at him. the place is on st george & bernard, north of bloor….3 weeks in the annex during lovely august, with my bike and a penchant for writing down the thoughts that keep me trapped in my head.
my ears are like book-ends.