"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

celebrity interviews

Check out my @VICE interview with #TIFF16 film director Alice Lowe

vice-prevenge

The Toronto International Film Festival was amazing this year, I saw so many films (as documented by this round-up I wrote for VICE last week), and the fest is always such an electric time to be on the streets of Toronto. Everything is alive.

Speaking of life, the film PREVENGE is about a pregnant woman whose fetus tells her to kill people. So OF COURSE I had to interview the director/writer/performer Alice Lowe. Check out what she had to tell me about women in the film industry and pregnancy stigmas over here on VICE.

Fun fact: I had first seen Alice Lowe in an episode of Sherlock (season 3 episode “Sign of Three“) and the whole time we were talking, her voice was just reminding me of one of her lines from Sherlock, “A GHOST, MR HOLMES!” and then a drunk Watson saying to her, “He’s clueing for looks.”

I am a gigantic nerd.

Check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my VICE essays and articles, and much more.

NewWEbSite!

 


Check out my latest article in YYZ Living Magazine!

Recently I interviewed visual artist Maskull Lasserre, and I sold the interview to YYZ Living Magazine. It’s in their latest summer issue, which you can read in full here. Or if you just want to check out my feature, click the above image to read!

Enjoy!


The Madonna Tour of New York

Among many of my things to-do whilst in New York, one of them was The Madonna Tour of New York. This isn’t something that is organized and run by official tour guides. This is something I fashioned myself using Google. I’ve always been really inspired by Madonna’s life. Her music, I can take it or leave it, but I find her struggle for success really inspiring. Unlike most celebrities today who are famous through nepotism or for nefarious acts, Madonna made her own life. She arrived in New York with no money, knowing next to no one, and was even sexually assaulted. She squatted in buildings and barely scraped by for 5 years in New York, until she finally got that record deal in the early 1980s. So I’m not particularly interested in the Madonna of now, more of the Madonna from the late 70s. Every year or so, I reread Andrew Morton’s biography about her (which I bought 10 years ago in a second-hand bookstore for $3) and it really gives me a kick in the pants to do more with my life. To be more ambitious and driven.

Anyway, Morton’s book is so detailed about the places and people in her life in the late 70s that I realized I could actually (probably) find these places and meet these people whilst there. So after scouring the book once more for precise details, I set about fashioning my own Madonna tour of New York… one that visited most of the places that were a part of her tapestry. I also contacted one very important person from her life at that time (more on that later…)

First stop, the synagogue in Queens.


In the late 70s, Madonna met the Gilroy brothers, Dan and Ed. They were musicians in a band and she was still a dancer at this point. She began a relationship with Dan and promptly moved in with him and Ed. Dan and Ed at the time were living in this above synagogue deep in the heart of Corona, Queens.

You can tell just by looking at it’s size and architecture that it was built sometime in the early 1900s and was converted into a house probably in the 1960s after falling into disrepair and disuse by the Jewish community.

Ed Gilroy and his wife still live in this synagogue actually, but weren’t there when I visited, so I left a lil’ hello note in their mailbox. When Andrew Morton visited this synagogue, Ed took him down to the basement where 30 years prior, Dan had taught Madonna how to play the drums. She had been a drummer in their band The Breakfast Club before becoming the guitarist…. and finally wanting to take the front position. Also, in the basement, are reel-to-reel recordings they made back then of Madonna singing and playing, of her chatting with Dan and Ed playfully …. it’s like a time machine back to the 70s and of her unfamous life, Morton wrote.

Standing here, I was imagining a young black-haired skinny Madonna, younger than I am now, bounding down these steps and heading for the subway to go into Manhattan, taking the exact same steps I had taken to get there by subway….. it was a pretty connecting and exciting thought.

Next stop …. The Russian Tea Room in Manhattan

When Madonna first arrived in New York in the late 70s and was still a dancer, her dancing instructor (Pearl Lang) worried about how thin she was and how she was getting by, so she got Madonna a job at The Russian Tea Room on 57th. Now from all the sources I have read, she was a “hat check” girl there in the late 70s before getting fired. But I walked inside the TRTR and asked the hostess, and she said Madonna was a “coat check” girl in the early 80s. So I’m not sure which is correct, but either way, the hostess confirmed that yes, Madonna worked there.

Next stop …. The Music Building on the shitty west side.

The Music Building is an infamous shitty building on 8th avenue in the shitty “Minnesota Strip” part of Manhattan that, in the early 80s, must have been 100x worse. Drugs, violence, crime, and then this towering inferno, floor after floor, of disgusting sweaty, smelly wannabe rock n’ roll superstars jamming all hours into the night, spilling out into the street.

This is also where Madonna recorded her first demos and met her first manager, Camille Barbone.

Madonna used to actually squat illegally in the music building and wash herself in the ladies loo. Fab Five Freddy once said that when he met Madonna, she smelled so bad and it seemed like she was the type to get around, hahaha. Anyway, I tried to go inside but the doors were locked (you need a fob key to get in) and I didn’t have an appointment (which you also need if you want to look around).

But I looked up and knew that inside one of those windows was the studio where Madonna and Steven Bray put the finishing touches on Everybody…

Next stop, 30 West 21st street, which now is a very gentrified and beautiful area, but 30 years ago it was …

…where Danceteria used to be. Danceteria was the club where Madonna passed her demo tape to Mark Kamins (the DJ there, and sometime A & R rep, who briefly became her boyfriend) who then passed it on to Seymour Stein, head of Sire Records, who was laid up in the hospital after heart surgery and told Kamins to bring Madonna to him in the ward. Danceteria is also where Madonna had her first live performance of Everybody, and where she recorded her very first music video (Everybody).

Next two stops were the former locations of Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s, where Madonna and her early band Emmy played some of their first gigs. Emmy was actually Madonna’s nickname when she was younger so the band adopted it as their name. I have found some of Emmy’s recordings online, and I think my favourite is “Little Boy Lost.” It’s very punk-influenced and Madonna’s voice is so pure in it. She strains to hit some notes, but that’s what I love about it, she’s putting so much heart into it. Now they’d auto-tune out all her strain, which really is a sad thing. On “Little Boy Lost” you get to hear her voice unfiltered by subsequent technique and lessons. She had a lovely voice then, now it kind of sucks. When the critics in the 80s called her voice like “Minnie Mouse on helium” I think that really struck a chord with her and she has since tried to lower her octave (listen how deep she goes on “Papa Don’t Preach.”). But I kind of miss her spritely, natural voice.

CBGBs only officially closed in 2006…. and I made my first ever NYC visit in 2007 so I missed it completely, but luckily the dude who took over the space and turned it into a shop kept most of the memorabillia around.

The walls were never painted over. This wall and space was almost right behind the former bar.

Now, as promised, here’s the story of the person I contacted …..

Through a lot of online digging and sleuthing, I found the mailing address of Dan Gilroy, Madonna’s former boyfriend (mentioned above in the synagogue section), and also the man who taught her how to play the drums and guitar…. and basically how to make music.

So I wrote him a hand-written letter a few weeks before I arrived in NYC, basically asking him if he would be okay meeting up with me for a cuppa and a chat.

I figured that by the time he got my snail-mail letter, I’d already be in NYC, so I gave him my email address as a reply method, and kept my fingers crossed.

Whilst in NYC, I received an email from him! He said he was now living in Texas (my letter had been forwarded to him there, so the mailing address I had found was technically wrong) so we couldn’t meet. I won’t include all of his letter here, for privacy reasons of course, but here are some select lines:

“… i enjoyed your letter. you’re a smart and upbeat writer. smarts and upbeatedness don’t get together all that often. ….
i really don’t get asked much about way back when (ed’s note, he means his time with madonna); i don’t mind when i am but unless something like the r&r hall of fame induction happens, where she made a nice personal reference to back then ( ed’s note: when she was inducted in the rock and roll hall of fame, she thanked him and ed gilroy), or the super bowl show and all the fanfare and attendant curiosity, it’s fairly here and now around here...
 
       …I’m guessing i don’t have to tell you to have a great and fun trip. keep that writing thing happening, Christine   -dan  “

He’s so kind!!! His letter was so generous and giving, he didn’t even have to write me back at all, so I was so grateful for his response. If that man wasn’t like 60 years old, I’d be all up in his grill.

So there you have it, that was my own personal Madonna tour of New York.

I would highly recommend it:)

Madonna once said that what you do in life, and how far you go, depends on how hungry you are.

I’m starving.


It’s a Twitter Miracle! Starring Eric McCormack & Christine Estima as herself

i should have known those two would be friends! ah LeVar, every time we interact, it gives me a lil tingle on the inside.

And this, my friends, is why you should all be on Twitter.

New York is such an amazing place. One where you can have lame Adrian Grenier hang times one week, and then amazing Eric McCormack hang times the next week.

Alright, I am officially celebrity-hang-timed-out. Leave me alone, famous people. NO PICTURES!

*CoughYeahRightNeverLeaveMeCough*


I hung out with Adrian Grenier last night and he is lame. The Full Story:

I am no stranger to meeting celebrities. When I was a music critic, I had to interview them constantly. And it is not unknown for one or two notable personalities to float amongst my social circle back in Toronto. So meeting celebs never fazes me. However, last night I had an experience which is probably on par with my worst celeb encounter ever  (the awful day of Jared Leto back in 2005 which you can read about here …. fuck I’ve been blogging for a long time). Last night I met Adrian Grenier who (unlike the celebs I know who are kind and gracious and giving) was incredibly lame and a boner-killer.

You heard it here first.

Adrian Grenier: When horses are this lame, they shoot ’em.

Me and my friend Sidonie* (*not her real name, obviously. Changed to protect her privacy) were walking down East Houston Street last night around 11pm when we turn a corner and come face to face with Adrian Grenier who flashes us his brilliant smile. I recognize him immediately. Sidonie does not. We keep walking a few paces, but I quickly turn on my heel and call out to him before he disappears around a corner, “I love Entourage!”

I have never seen an episode of Entourage in my life.

The only thing I’ve ever seen him in is that fantastically manufactured movie from the 90s with Melissa Joan Hart, and the subsequent Britney Spears music video that accompanied.

He motions me and Sidonie over, holds up a 6-pack of Buds, and says, “We’re going to drink these and celebrate 4th of July on a rooftop, wanna join us?”

I say back, “I ain’t gonna say no!”

 

He introduces us to his two friends with him, John and Noah. They all went to high school together, and they all live in New York, but for whatever reason, they never see each other. Probably because Grenier travels a lot for work. He said he was just in Michigan and before that Ohio. I am blown over by the glitz and glamour.

We walk back down Houston to the Red Square building. That’s exactly what it’s called. Sidonie and I had walked by it earlier and I had commented that, with a name like that, it must be like living in Communist Russia.

We get to the roof, and there’s a huge statue of Lenin up there. So yeah…. Russian.

Sidonie asks to use the loo, and by using such terminology, it makes Grenier comment that “his lady” is also British and he has had to get used to British-isms.

And that is the most he said all night. He is completely out of it, and, we later realize, absolutely stoned. John and Noah tell us about their night at some bar where a naked woman fed them cheese (that’s definitely a stoned story), and then they whip out a bong and each take a hit. Both Sidonie and I decline the bong, especially after all three of them cough and hack like it’s the strongest shit ever.

We start to talk about Canada, about living in New York, about travelling, about Asians (don’t ask), and we start to see some fireworks out in the distance from Brooklyn to which we oooh and ahhhh. Sidonie and I are driving the conversation forward each time, throwing our best gems at them all night, trying to get them to at least talk to us. John and Noah, bless ’em, were very obliging and entertaining.

Grenier is not. He doesn’t really engage us in conversation, apart from the odd remark. He can barely make eye contact. He plays a song from his phone so that we have background noise, but other than shifting from one foot to the other, really doesn’t say much. John and Noah do all the entertaining, and frankly, are more deserving of any fanfare  that Grenier garners.

It’s really windy on the roof, which I am enjoying after the sweltering day on the streets of Greenpoint photographing graffiti. But Grenier is totally not feeling it. He comments several times how he doesn’t like the wind because it’s messing his shaggy hair, nor does he like the roof because there is no seating up there. (It’s literally just a rooftop with a railing …. and Lenin).

So Sidonie, John, Noah and I push on with our conversation. We are laughing a lot and slowly getting to know these guys. They are teachers and playwrights, and occasionally direct shows for HBO with Grenier.  I’m actually beginning to forget Grenier is even there. But after 45 minutes of pleasantries and chatting amongst ourselves, Grenier suddenly opens his mouth to speak. We collectively hold our breath, waiting for the wisdom and gems to fall from his lips like rain, and wash down upon us in a shimmering glow of enlightenment:

“I want tacos.”

Thanks you, Obi Wan.

At that, we follow him back down to street level and walk across Houston and into Soho to a place called Taquiera on Orchard street. The place is rammed and we feel like a two groupie sheep following this hungry, stoned boy into a joint to satisfy his munchies.

It’s painfully obvious by this point that Grenier only invited us along in the first place because he wanted filler for his (pardon the pun) entourage.

Sidonie and I quickly decide this isn’t for us, and we walk over to him to say our goodbyes. We thank him for a lovely encounter (lie), and congratulate him on his success. He says he is currently making a movie right now but isn’t at liberty to say which one (that’s great, but no one asked). He makes mention that he would love to work with Natalie Portman one day (um. okay.) Sidonie then asks innocently if she can take a photo with him.

He replies, “I’d rather not because I’m really stoned.”

Cue eyeroll.

We each give him an insincere hug, then make a swift exit, leaving him and his stoner entourage to find some other brown-nosers for ego-inflation.

Back out on Houston, Sidonie and I just look at each like we need a defibrillator.

Maybe it’s because we’re Canadian… maybe it’s because we are accustomed to the celebs we know to be gracious and kind …. maybe it’s because it’s exciting New York …. for any/ all of these reasons, we were simply unmoved by the whole experience.  A great reminder that celebrities, like other humans, are just as prone to being uninteresting and boring as the rest of us.

An epiphany that is only to be found in a place like New York.


when christine ruled the blogs

i was interviewed recently, along with lauren, sofi, and kristen by writer-man, man’s man, man-about-town Nathaniel G Moore for a piece about toronto’s female bloggers. we talked about our methodologies, our goals, the interconnectedness of blogging with the social media circle jerk, and more. read the article on the Canada Arts Connect website (which i’ve been following for years) here.

i think it was apropos that mr moore titled the piece “When Women Blogged The Earth.”

for those who have been reading this blog for years, you’ll find that title strikingly similar to a little television show yours-truly was cast in a few years ago.

for new readers to this blog…. bet you didn’t see that coming.


beating of a million drums, the fire of a million guns, mother of a million sons: civilization

this week was Bike-To-Work Week, and as someone who regularly has bikegasms and cylejaculations, i was writing a bajillion essays and articles about it, many of which caused a serious amount of controversy.

the first was an essay i wrote about why i don’t wear bike helmets, even though i am afraid of being hurt in an accident, and it caused a bit of a clusterfuck (look at the comments!)

the second was an interview with james schwartz, who blogs at The Urban Country, who says that bike helmets actually scare people away from cycling altogether. he says he won’t wear a helmet until motorists and pedestrians do too. he was brilliant to interview, and if you look at the comments section, it really does raise some people’s ire.

***

my friend zach has posted the top 150 twitter influencers in toronto (according to Klout), and guess which lil lass made the top 150!

klout has never been immune to controversy, their ways of scoring influence, communication, interaction, and engagement are very arbitrary, and many people feel like they should be on that list, or higher in the ranks. the last time i checked my klout, maybe six months ago, it was much higher, like 64 or 65, but your score fluctuates with interaction. i think it’s pretty cool that in the 2+ years i’ve been on twitter, i’ve managed to leverage my crazy-ass-rantings into something that people actually pay attention to and read and want to follow. it’s pretty fun. but it’s also not something to put too much stock into. the argument that these klout scores create elitism and “stars” amongst a democratic platform like twitter is justified and has merit.

that being said, i’m kinda chuffed to have made the cut. brag brag brag, sorry (not sorry) i promise i won’t let this go to my head (not a guarantee).

when i posted this news on my facebook, i said ” I don’t know how much stock I should put into this, but this is pretty shits n’ giggles:)

then some asshole who i know peripherally decided to assert his holier-than-thou pedantic musings of my perceived hype-believin’. it’s fucking incredible how people go out of their way to make you feel inferior. here’s the exchange:

like seriously, what was the point of putting that remark on my wall? if you want to just sweep in and shit all over people’s parades, why don’t you find a bunch of emo hipsters with neurotic insecurities to shark-attack, because…

I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF MY AWESOMENESS.

for all his “i’m not snarky” protestations, his facebook status said otherwise, which read “shut the fuck up about your Top 150 klout”. but what really made me laugh was what a fucking hypocrite he was-  if you look at the comments on Zach’s original post, that same egomaniacal prima-donna who can only gain satisfaction from pointing out the shortcomings of others, was WHINING that he wasn’t included in the Top 150! i shit you not.

call me crazy, but not only does he have a chip on his shoulder, he wants to make sure other people feel shit about themselves for their recognition (albeit small & centralized recognition).

such a shame, ‘cos every time i had met with this guy in real life, he was totally cool, and seemed rather humble. once again, the internet allows for people’s true assholedom to emerge.

i went to Hip Hop Karaoke on friday, my first time there ever, although it’s a toronto institution. i can’t call myself a hip hop connoisseur, but luckily, it seemed like the crowd (save a few) had only a popular knowledge of hip hop, rather than an actual underground organic appreciation of it. no one sang any songs by artists i hadn’t heard before. and despite what 8-mile might tell you, the crowd was a varied demographic.

phil and i had been practicing our song for two weeks. TWO WEEKS PEOPLE, i was listening to it on a loop every morning while i dressed for work, on the commute, before i went to bed. i wanted to get this shit down. if you’re interested, this was the song we did. i did macy’s part (obvs), and phil did mos-def. that’s a lot of lyrics to learn.

the previous evening, phil and i had gone to a park and sang the song while people walked their dogs or ate on park benches.  the evening had long fallen into the velvet-black of night, and we were still getting our tongues tied in the nooks and corners of it. some things came easy, other aspects were tentative and a bit slippery (am i still talking about the song?)

anyway, we went on around 1:30am when it was mostly the true hip hop fans left. stage-performance awareness set in, and we KILLED IT. we fucking murdered that song! last name WIN, first name EPIC! all the notes and lyrics and timing that we had fumbled over before just somehow stepped in line.

diggs, who recorded it all on video for us, told me the next day that he was really impressed with my performance. he said something along the lines of “i’ve seen a lot of people go up there, and i work in music so i know talent, and you were phenomenal” which of course made me feel super chuffed with myself (even though repeating it here makes me seem self-absorbed, which i refuse to admit to, although i seem to have no problem admitting it to you people).

frankly, i was more excited for phil. when we rehearsed, he had some timing problems and missed a few cues, but once we performed it on stage, he OWNED that shit. he was confident, he was enjoying it, he let go, and his performance was inspired. it was totally hot to watch.

when we finished the song, i started jumping up and down, giddy as a school girl,  and we smashed into a hug.

hip hop karaoke, people.

you don’t know what you’re missing!

aw. bless.

the next day, we cycled the humber valley bike path, which i’d never done before. i was so used to the don valley river path, or the lakeshore path, it never occurred to me to check this one out. it’s pretty amazing. some parts are paved, other parts are pretty rough-hewn and dilapidated, but the scenery along the river is like something out of a henry david thoreau poem. the sun burned like brimstone on our backs, forcing popsicle breaks.

sweat burned my lips into a smile.

when you’re having a punch-drunk time, other people from your past can sense it. earlier this week, a person i had barely dated  text messaged me. when we were hanging a few months ago, he was sweet, warm, and most importantly, unpretentious. he took me out for my birthday, which was lovely.

that was followed by two weeks of radio silence. so i figured, okay, he’s gone off me for whatever reason, good thing it ended before anyone’s feelings got hurt.

then out of the blue, he texted me, gushing with compliments, and an invitation for another lunch date.

i was confused, but i agreed, figuring maybe the dude was just busy or not attuned to proper etiquette following a kiss (although, considering he’s 41 years old, he should know better).

so he takes me out for lunch again, and it’s all lovely and what not. but then at the end of the lunch, he says that classic guy cop-out.

“I just don’t have the time to give you the attention you deserve.”

YAWN.

ya, ‘cos i can’t read between those lines.

dude basically made it crystal clear that he wasn’t interested in dating me or anything further than that. so i wrote him off AGAIN.

Iwent on my NYC extravaganza, came back to begin work at my new position….and that was all two and a half months ago. i haven’t even given him a second thought since i wrote him off, because there was no point. that was a dead end.

on facebook, i noticed that he’s remounting his one-man cabaret again in a couple weeks.

and then this week, out of the blue, i get this text from him , “hey gorgeous lady! how the eff are ya? R u around? wanna have lunch next week?

OH LUCKY ME.

 am i allowed to roll over and thank my lucky stars now?! you’re not sending me mixed messages at all, i don’t find your behaviour confusing, and i don’t think you’re jerking me around either exclamation point.

forget the 10 weeks of radio silence, and the blatant i-don’t-want-to-date-you  sugar-coating. i don’t have a life, or a job, or other men interested in me at all. watch how fast i drop everything just to be in your good graces again. oh, and let’s not forget that your show is just a few weeks away….i mean, i don’t assume AT ALL that you’re merely contacting me so i’ll either blog or tweet about your show, and try to get more bums in seats. oh no! thought  never crossed my mind at all.

you had your chance. NO THANKS.

to quote amy winehouse, what kind of fuckery is this?

i found another sheppard fairey! this one is a different version of his andre the giant obey sticker, but i saw this one many times on the streets of alphabet city whilst in NYC, so i know it’s his. WIN.

last week i blogged about this deadboy poster i found on queen street near augusta. this morning i wake up to this email:

“Hello Christine, deadboy here…
Thank you for the very kind words about my work on Queen St. West! You understood exactly what I was trying to get across… And in answer to your questions, Yes and yes… But I won’t bore you with details. Love your blog!

I’m having my first solo show that runs from June 3-30.. I can send you more info if your interested.

Hope this letter finds you well…
Warm regards,
deadboy

www.wix.com/torontostreetart/deadboy
(still working on this site…)”

YES I MOST DEFINITELY AM INTERESTED! how exciting!

check out his site people, the dude is wicked talented. when i get more info about his solo show, my munchkin readers will be the first to know.

also included in last week’s blog post was my discovery of a series of Mayor Rob “Fordzilla” Ford wheatpaste’s around town. the first one i found had the fat-godzilla mayor eating a streetcar (in reference to our mayor trying to destroy our sustainable public transit). the next one had him eating a spraypaint can (in reference to his war on street art and graffiti). earlier this week, i was walking through kensington market, and what do i find?

Fordzilla is eating a bike, in reference to his hatred of cyclists, and his assertion that if you’re a cyclist and you get hit by a car, it’s your own damn fault. i love how someone wrote on this Fordzilla “300 lbs of fun!!” because seriously, if rob ford actually got his morbidly obese ass on a bike once in a while, maybe he wouldn’t be a stones-throw from death. i can’t believe this fat, leotarded, mentally-stunted fucktard is our mayor. someone else drew in his hand the CN Tower. maybe the next Fordzilla wheatpaste i find will have him eating our tower as well?

FORDZILLA artist dude, you are my new hero. SERIOUSLY, i said this last week, but you need to contact me, you are fricken brilliant. let’s be friends!

don’t mind if i do.


“It isn’t enough for your heart to break because everybody’s heart is broken now” – Allen Ginsberg

oh hai there! here i am!
but enough about me, tell me more about your single father.

*   *   *

check out my film review of the bang bang club (that’s what the actress said to the bishop), this is a poor-man’s Blood Diamond, but it’s still a timely and relevant film, seeing as how 2 war photographers were just killed in Libya. so watch for some context, but it should have been told from Kevin Carter’s POV, IMO. WTF. OMG. LOL. Smiley Face.

also, i interviewed mia donovan, who directed the documentary inside lara roxx which premiered at the hot docs festival, check out the article here


we found this in an alleyway just north of queen and dovercourt. i’ve found a few rob ford graffiti stencils before, i’d love to know who is behind them. they are clearly the offspring of stephen hawking, jesus, and gandalf….they are made of perfect jesus wizard sauce.


we found this in an alleyway just south of queen and dovercourt. that ol’ german jew would approve.

wait, what?


we find the best graffiti murals on our bikes.


biked to the distillery district and found cube works, a shop that sells things made out of rubix cubes….just like one of my fav street artists, Space Invader!


reg and i found a few bixi bikes docking stations mere hours after they launched in toronto (i wrote an article about Bixi Bikes, read me!). notice how half of the bikes are already gone? people love them! you know what this means – toronto requires further bicycle infrastructure, more bike lanes, and more civil rights for cyclists. yes, yes ya’ll, i’m a bike-nerd, WHAT OF IT?

she’s so cute.
when reg and i get together, it’s like pegasus has just mated with a unicorn, and we’re riding their super-hero offspring across the neon blue sky.

this piece is by Jerm IX

i had a really trippy thursday and friday. thursday night i went out to yuk yuks with a friend for some comedy after a particularly upsetting day when i had to visit a clinic for a stressful check-up. we were laughing and enjoying ourselves when he gets a message from a friend that’s gone out of town. friend is worried he left stuff burning in his apartment, so we go, keys in hand, to make sure the home fires aren’t burning (see what i did there?).

we help ourselves a bit to stuff that’s in the fridge, and i have half a homemade cookie, and some homemade chocolate.

30 minutes later, we’re walking up broadview to bloor, and i completely lose my shit. i start to get dizzy and really hot, i can’t walk properly or gain my focus. he sits me down a bench and my nervous system fails, and it feels like something is pressing down on my cerebral cortex. my brain is screaming at me to snap out of it, and to pull myself together, and to stop milking it. but my body won’t listen. i begin to BONK with the biggest braingasm and body-clusterfuck i’ve ever had the misfortune of experiencing. there was something wrong with that cookie and chocolate bar. i don’t know what exactly it is that i ate, but it’s definitely on my never-have-ingested-before-and-never-will-ingest-again list.


he has to run and get me some food because i am tripping and wigging out so hard that i’m paranoid at the voices i hear around me. time is slowing down and i can’t focus on what he’s saying. one minute he’s calmly stroking my back to get me to chill the fuck out, but that minute in my head lasts 45 minutes. he’s trying to talk to me as he leads me back to the house, but i can’t hear a thing he’s saying, my brain just won’t focus. bits of my life are not registering in my long-form memory (me so clever) and suddenly i’m passed out in some strangers abandoned bed, then a few hours later, i’m hovered over some strangers abandoned toilet regurgitating out my pretty-pink insides.

toilet water is splashing up into my face as life seeps out of me.

he puts me in a cab and i go home and vomit some more until Sitto (that’s ‘granny’ in arabic) starts talking in that high-pitched sad voice that means she’s upset and worried about me. i pass out and miss a day of work because my dizzy body has officially gastro-interitis’d me into oblivion.

seriously, who the fuck bakes sweets with ingredients that will put you out of commission for a full 24 hours?


mum stop reading my blog!!! happy mother’s day you snooping scavenger!

*   *   *

with the following photos…..um…….

you guys enjoy high-brow photographic fuckery, right?

we had brunch at aunties and uncles

then went to the beach

when i put my head on someone’s torso and can hear their pulse and their organs groan, i small part of me thinks i can hear their thoughts in there too.

just sayin’.

*  *  *

it was a particularly cold winter.


most of all someone said true love was dead and i’m bound to fall, bound to fall, for you

adventures in photoshop. i think i’m gonna get the hang of this. oh  ya, banner up top of this blog has been changed with some brilliance on my part. i’m becoming a total bitch.

last weekend i’m walking down queen west, i look up, and lo-and-behold it’s yet another pole sporting gregory alan elliot‘s turn of phrases and actual name attached to this street art.

i decided to take this as a cosmic sign from the universe. a while back, mr elliot tweeted me his phone number when he saw the cornucopia of his street art pictured on this blog, so after toeing this line (see what i did there+) of his in the sidewalk, i gave him a shout and we met up at Crafted by Te Aro on ossington.

and he was  . . . well . . . he was unlike anyone i’ve ever met before, and that’s not a lie.

without saying how i felt about him, i’ll just tell you what he said:

“i’m NDP in practice, but i always vote conservative.”

make your own judgements.

i concur


since then, it’s been a strange but amazing week. after leaving mr elliot in the ossington area to give away plants that were meant for me to hands of other homes, i looked up at the back of the street lights and poles along queen west (something i trained my eye to do after two weeks in NYC and Brooklyn, never wanting to miss a single piece of street art), and what do i find?

it’s old and it’s ripped, but it’s clearly my boy.


oh ya, that’s a sheppard fairey andre the giant “obey” sticker. proof that he’s been here, and deems our city worthy.


like the first time i ever saw this sticker in real life on houston street in manhattan, i got all giddy and starting jumping up and down.

just ignore me.

i don’t know who put up this really clever stencil on adelaide street near simcoe, but i drove by it first, turned the car around, wheels and hubcaps screeching like surgical tools along the pavement, pulled up in front, and took a bajillion shots.

EDIT!! just found out this is by fauxreel!

i love how the wheatpasted image incorporates the pipes facading the building. so clever. and looks like an old street art friend to the right was taken away. boo-urns.

phil and i found this outside st george station.

there is nothing greater than citizens commenting on the city in which they live through art.

oh and rob-ford-bashing, ya gotta give the drugs-of-joy.

early this week i went to the morning press screening of director morgan spurlock’s latest doc POM The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, which premiered here as part of the Hot Docs film fest, which i am covering as media. i wrote a health-framed film review of the film, which you can read here, and then, the holiest of holies happened -> i got to interview DA MAN morgan spurlock himself on the red carpet of the premiere which you can read here! the pres rep only gave me 5 minutes (which was then diminished to 4 mins) with mr spurlock, but he was totally gracious and generous with his responses, and gave many great soundbites.

i’ve been a freelance writer for all of my adult life, and i’ve interviewed a shitload of celebrities and notable personalities, but it never really gets old. the moment you become blazé about how cool the job is, you should leave it. i love being media. i really do.

and now i fancy mr spurlock. just sayin’

 watch me in this video by shawn preece hall interviewing morgan spurlock at the 3:10 mark!

some fuzzy blackberry-shots i took of mr spurlock on the red carpet as he inched his way toward me. here he’s being interviewed by CityTV.

now he’s being interviewed by CBC.

and NOW it’s the naked news, oddly, with clothes.

there’s shawn preece hall in the leather jacket. totally cool dude. he recognized me in the media line from twitter. i love it when that happens (which is rare. i have this complex where i believe no one actually knows my name or what i look like, so when people recognize me and actually know my name, it makes me a gonzo-blush)

anyway, watch the trailer for POM The Greatest Movie Ever Sold here:

i went to the Windsor Arms Hotel for high tea, in celebration of the Windsors tying the knot (see what i did there? anybody? Bueller?)

i wrote about it for The Gloss.

here’s some photos that didn’t make the final cut of the article

i won this book.

i’m not really bothering to read it. i mean, i got up early to watch them get married, but i’m over it now. fuck, even THEY are over it now, look.

drinks served.

hats given.

tea and crumpets.

see those two little pots of jam sitting next to the butter dish in the centre?

ya, those went straight into my purse.

i’m like a sloppy scavenger. i spent so many years broke, eating nothing but scraps and morsels, and that mentality never leaves you.

you can take the poor grifter outta the girl, but you can’t take the girl outta the poor grifter.

when you’re not looking, i’m eating the leftovers on your plate.

all the lovely ladies wore sunday dresses and strappy pumps. i showed up in my work clothes and Chuck Taylors.

above i said i’m turning into a bitch. replace “bitch” with “fuckface.”

something new has popped up this week out of seeming nothingness. for once, i don’t particularly want to say anything about it.

i had a dream in the middle of the week that a hand was reach under the covers of my bed to choke me. when i woke up, i was still suffocating, wrestling with the hand which was independent of any body. this dark, strong, floating hand was trying to kill me while i lay bare.

death by duvet.

the night before i dreamed i was being told by the new girlfriend of an old boyfriend to leave the metropolis, he would never love me that way again.

no one ever loves the same way twice.

back off, duchess of cambridge, wills is MINE.

(Photos: Becca Lemire)


>i just made a sex reference on live national television….class act all the way

>alright munchkins, seeing as how traffic on this blog has quadrupled in just one day from my 7-minute appearance on Richard & Judy today, and a lot of you are googling me now (and sending some really weird facebook messages….you men are sick piggies), i figure you’d like some behind-the-scenes photos.

for those of you who missed my appearance, it will go live tomorrow (august 19th, 2008) on this website and will available to download for free for a week. if you are reading this post after the link has expired, hopefully it’s up on youtube by then. i’ll try to get it up there myself.


EDIT: here is a direct link to the video of the episode. you need Windows Media Player or Real Player to watch it. fast forward to time indext 16:34 to see the start of my segment.

here’s my boy, manly alpha-male G-Range getting his make-up done. he’s so adorable, i just wanna pinch his cheeks all day long.

Ed texting everyone he knows to tune in.

Gemma calling everyone she knows to tune in.

G-Range on two fucking phones, calling everyone he knows to tune in.

it was the green room of phones.

the spread they laid out for us after the show wrapped.

gemma, yours truly, and ed schmoozing with Richard, the host of the show, afterwards. he was such a sweety, and is really excited to see our show.

yours truly, G-Range, and Gemma enjoying a cuddle.

going out for starfucks with fellow castmate Desrine after the show….she’s hot, innit!

also, here are some photos that were taken waaaay back in March of another get together a few of us had that i couldn’t blog about because we had to keep everything secretive until the show was officially announced.

naomi and barney were researchers on the show, and changed my life when they chose me to be on it. love your beautiful faces!

Gemma, stevie jones (yes, THE steve jones, relax now) and yours truly sucking down drinks.

Gem shying away from the camera….out of character for her, she’s a fucking camera hog! LOL.

smiling mistresses.

Ed and Gem deep in convo.

gemma couldn’t get herself off Ed’s lap….what a shocker.

me and etiquette-eddie.

ed and stevie deep in convo.

stevie just can’t keep his hands off me…..uh…yeah….that’s my story and i’m sticking to it.

—-

so the segment went by really quickly and before we knew it, it was over. we had so much to say and so much to talk about, but that’s the nature of live tv, i suppose. it’s funny how your adrenaline gets going beforehand, and you think about all the things you should say, and then suddenly you’re in it, and you wonder why you stressed so much about a quick little chat. richard and judy were lovely, i suggested to them off-camera that they rename the show Judy & Richard, which they thought was awesome. it’s the final week of their show, so being asked to go on has been a huge honour.

what was most exciting for the 4 of us was seeing, for the first time, edited clips of the show. we haven’t seen a single episode yet (we get to watch the first episode together next week at the premiere party), and so we had no idea how we looked, how we came across, or how we’ve been exploited edited into each show. and what struck me the most from watching those clips is how colourful it is! i forgot we were all dressed in such vibrant colours! and how blue the water was, how green the leaves were, how gold the sand was. i think we all come across and very strong and feisty, and i’m really proud of us.

the feedback i’ve gotten from my friends who watched this segment was that i was very poised and eloquent in my responses but still fun and high on energy.

thank fuck for that! the camera didn’t show my legs shacking and my knees knocking. not nervous, just my adrenaline sending me into freak-out-mode!

anyway, fanks to everyone who tuned in to support me and fanks to everyone who has found this blog since the show aired and showed an interest in what i do.

more updates to come!