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

ex boyfriend

Listen to “Spray It, Don’t Say It” – my latest Spoken Word performance

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A couple weeks ago I performed a Spoken Word piece at The Spoke, a live storytelling event here in Toronto, which I blogged about here. The organizers recorded the audio of my piece for their podcast, and you can now listen to it here below! It deals with street art, graffiti, heartbeats, heartbreak, mourning, healing, hope…all the good stuff. Enjoy!

My Soundcloud also has other audio clips from some of my previous Spoken Word performances, so please check it out!

brows

Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more on my Spoken Word performances, my published articles, essays, short stories, and more!

 


Check out my latest @VICE essay: #ByeFelipe

vicebyefelipe

 

Click on the above image or click here to read my latest essay in VICE about a douchecanoe that I knew for only 2 hours TWELVE YEARS AGO and wouldn’t piss off, so I lost my shit on him. It’s probably my greatest #ByeFelipe triumph.

This serves as a reminder, ladies, when a Yoko Brono uses the term “spinster,” it actually opens up a rift in the Space-Time Continuum to 1915.

So if you’ll excuse me, I need to jump in my autogyro and head to Constantinople to meet with the King of Siam. Hope he’s not a Bolshevik!

And dudes, here’s your takeaway: if you don’t want to be written about, you should have behaved better.

Check out my VICE category for all of my other essays that have been published in VICE.

Enjoy!

And remember to check out the all-new ChristineEstima dot com! It’s where you’ll find all of my published works!

NewWEbSite!


Because Fuck You, That’s Why


Back in January, I performed at The Moth storyslam in Brooklyn, New York City in front of 400 people. The theme of the night was ‘Cravings’ so I spoke for 5 minutes about being heartbroken, homeless, and hustlin’ on the streets of Europe. It’s basically the conclusion to this spoken word piece I performed at Spark London in the UK back in 2013. I got a standing-O from this crowd, and people were approaching me afterward to give me high-fives and fist-bumps. The crowd was so kind. As I’ve said before, I’ve developed a taste for Spoken Word and live-storytelling, so expect more from me on this front.

My life has been pretty strange over the past two years, but I’ll tell you one thing, it’s never fucking boring.

Live a life less ordinary, munchkins. There are no rules to this thing. Go out and make it yours.

Fanks for watching.


Why I’m not in Germany anymore…

After my last post where I mentioned being homeless and a waif, I got quite a few private messages from you, my munchkins. It’s been about four months now, and I haven’t really talked about why I’m not in Germany anymore. In fact, most of my friends didn’t even know I had left until weeks (and for some, months) after the fact.

Truth be told, I couldn’t talk about it.

I figured the only kind of catharsis I could afford was to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and tell my story. So I did that a few weeks ago at Spark London, a live storytelling event in London. All the stories are true and told without notes. So, the above video is my true story.

I posted this on Facebook the day after the event, and the outpouring of comments and private messages from people on there was so supportive and heartwarming to affirming. Here’s a cross section:

-“I just watched the video. Then wept.”

-“your video really moved me. i watched it three times and it made me cry. you are such a brave woman.”

-“I watched your video. it was artful and cathartic…you are honest, and blunt as hell. and have fire and i like it.”

-“I’ve watched your video a couple of times and it really moved me. You are wonderful and brave…You have a lovely soul, which was visible when you bared it. Xx”

-“I just watched your video and while I knew so much of that I’m sitting on a bus, bawling.”

-“OH MY goodness. I just watched this piece you performed and it made me cry. I bet tons of people have said that. I don’t have the words to express how much empathy, anger, compassion, sadness and love that I feel for you but also for everyone who has gone through something like this – it’s so universal….just watched it again and now I’m in tears AGAIN..”

-“It may not be much of a concillation, but you are a brilliant storyteller, and we’re all very lucky to be able to hear your stories.”

-“Just wanted to say that killed me and I’m bawling at 9:45 on a Wednesday. You’re a gift to art.”

-“Oh, sniffles, your video is amazing. I don’t know how you told your story with an even voice. You’re incredible.”

-“That was amazingly profound. I am Verklempt.”

-“you are a good one, Estima.”

-“good for you for recognizing a situation that was wrong for you. Many wouldn’t have the strength to leave.”

-“your video shook me and awoke a memory in me I thought I’d long ago purged. I’m ok knowing there’s still peace to come.”

I feel like a digital age Blanche Dubois, in that, I’ve always depended on the kindness of random internet followers;)

I’m okay now. I’ve been okay since I did this event. It’s like I let it go. I’ve moved on and I’m so happy now. My life is so charmed and wonderful, and I’ll never let someone make me feel anything less than wonderful again.

And besides, I’m living here!

So I can’t officially complain.

Anyway, the lesson herein is this:

Live a life that you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, find the strength to start over again.


The Farewell Love Letter from August 20th, 1945

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Yesterday, at the Jeu De Balle flea market in Brussels, I bought this love letter for €1. It was written August 20th, 1945 from an unnamed man to an unnamed woman. It was written in French but I will do my best to translate it here. This reminds me of a letter I once had to write.

“20/8/45

My love,

I love you so much that it is necessary to tell you that again and right now. It’s 11:30 am, maybe you are thinking a lot about me right now — I don’t know. But I feel your love around me like a protection and a caress. Forgive me my love for not loving you more, but I still have a heart very much broken. I still feel quite often alone and abandoned, very close to hopelessness and craziness. I very much need your softness, your warmth, your presence. You should treat me a bit like a sickness. I still suffer a lot, without end and I very much need that you don’t switch on me too much. Now, you are to me peace and calm; near you, I can finally calm my nerves. I pray that one day you will be complete happiness to me.

It’s when I take you in my arms and kiss you that I feel so much happiness and that the world could turn around me without destroying my happiness.

Forgive me for stealing your life and for giving you worry. I hate myself sometimes for the bad stuff I have done involuntarily to you, for the worries and the pains I have given you, but I can’t do anything about it, it’s stronger than me. I would like so much to change and become more normal, I want so much to be worthy of you.

I detest all the moments in my life where you weren’t there, and that I am now in exile from you.

Goodbye, my dear.”

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The original French:

“20/8/45

Mon Amour,

Je t’aime tellement qu’il faut que je te le dire encore et tout de suite. Il est 11,30h. Peut-être pense-tu tellement à moi maintenant — je ne sais pas. Mais je sens ton amour autour de moi comme une protection et une caresse. pardonne-moi mon amour de ne pas t’aimer plus, mais j’ai encoure le coeur tellement déchiré. Je me sens encore si souvent seul et abandonné, tout pret du désespoir et de la folie. J’ai tellement besoin de ta douceur, de ta chaleur, de ta présence, il faut me traiter un peu comme un malade. Je souffre encore trop et sans arrèt et j’ai tellement besoin que l’on ne me bascule pas-trop. Maintenant, tu es pour moi, la paix et le calme; près de toi, je puis enfin une reposer détendre mes nerfs. Je prie pour qu’un jour, tu sois pour moi le bonheur complet.

C’est quand je te tiens dans mes bras et que je t’embrasse que je me sens tellement heureux que le monde pourrait rouler autour de moi sans détruire mon bonheur.

Pardonne-moi de te voler ta vie et de te donner du souci. Je me hais parfois pour le mal que je te fais involontairement, pour les soucis et les peines que je te donne, mais je ne peux faire autrement, c’est plus fort que moi. Je voudrais tellement changer et devenir plus normal, je vourdrais tellement devenir digne de toi.

Je deteste tous les moments de ma vie où tu n’a pas été et que j’ai passé en exil de toi.

Au revoir, Chérie.”

I’m going to keep this letter safe.


When I leave, it will be the last you’ll ever see of me

Walking along the ancient city walls in Maastricht

The Selexyz Bookstore in Maastricht, which is a converted church. Fitting, seeing as how A) books are more useful than churches and B) churches used to ban books and burn them.

The view from my loft in Amsterdam


Gloria Swanson at the Foam museum in Amsterdam


More stuff on the walls at Foam in Amsterdam.


In a garage in Ghent.


She was displayed for no reason on Rue des Tanneurs, Brussels.


Penthouse flat I’ve been housesitting for 3 weeks, built in the 1920s. Oh what a tough life this is.


Especially when I’m forced to watch the sun set over Brussels.


A chateau hidden in a forest in La Hulpe.


The garden of the chateau in La Hulpe.


See me?


Jere snapped a pic of me riding off into the sunset, as it were.

Stupid cherubs and cupids (photo by Jere).


I went to a talk and reading of fellow-Torontonian Margaret Atwood at Flagey. She named-dropped Canada so much. The Arrogant Worms. North West Territories. The CBC. The Axe-Throwing League of Toronto.


Oh and I got to ask her a question from the balcony. I felt pretty sweet.


Cook & Book store in Woluwe. There are books on the ceiling. THE CEILING!


Oh what a feeling! When we’re reading on the ceiling!


And so many places to sip a cuppa whilst reading 🙂


Of course this was on the ceiling.


In Halles St. Gery, I stumbled upon a free symphony orchestra performance that had set up inside.


I went to the Jeu de Balle flea market and came back with 15 love letters between a man named Kenneth and a woman named Nathalie.


This one says, “je t’écris pour te dire que tu as été, que tu es, que tu seras la femme la plus belle, la plus douce, la plus importante  de ma vie.”

AWWW!


Speaking of letters …. when I’m sad, my friends send me gifts and letters of encouragement in the mail. My friends could beat up your friends. First, I found this in my mail box.

Then this.


And finally this.

I have a great support team.


And when I don’t have my friends, I can always rely on a snugglecat for a kiss.


My Brussels photo shoot

IMG_2300Last week in Place Jeu de Balle, a photographer asked me if I would pose for some pictures. I said okay, naturally, seeing as how I’ve done that lotsa times before. We took a whole bunch of shots as the sun set over the normally crowded marché aux puces, and I think this is the best of the lot. Everyone on Facebook seems to agree. One of my friends said, “it’s not just ‘hot!’ or whatever, it is a really nice picture that looks like you, and when I think of you in my remembery, this is what you look like. You look smart, confident, well dressed (creative, based on the ensemble). Yes. C’est toi, cherie.”

Your life is in shambles, but somehow you find a way to get dressed in the morning. Even though you run back under the covers ten times, eventually your dignity wins out over your depression. You decide that happiness is not a house you might build one day. It has got to be a choice. So you put on your favourite cowboy boots that he always hated, swath on the chocolate-black mascara, and you fucking pull yourself together. Now is the time for guts and guile.

And voilà: a damned fine photograph.

 

 


where the wild things are

my skin burns. and cauterizes. just when i thought i could unfist myself from your talons, they scourge through my flesh. you sear me like Brimstone. asphyxiate through smoke and mirrors. my pores weep red at night, yet you tongue every drop at dawn.

i blink out stars, invited by your fists,
but i will never resume our sinful trysts.


hang in there, baby

i took this photo in early Autumn 2007 on Park Street in Bristol. It is a Banksy original. It has since been vandalised a few times with paint bombs and is being restored.

I went to Bristol because I was living in London at the time, had just broken up with a douchebag, and had this all-consuming need to travel every single weekend. Luckily, England is a pretty pint-sized country in terms of landmass, so I could visit cities all the way on the other side of the country, and it would only take a couple hours roundtrip. Tops.

I blogged about my trip to Bristol at the time, read the archive post here. As you’ll see from reading it, I actually didn’t know this was a Banksy as I snapped this photo. I thought it was clever, and probably commissioned by some art gallery. But the image of a lover hanging on for life, and the blending of two artistic styles….it kinda did the trick for me.

Bless those Brits.

I do this thing after I go through a breakup where the need to travel is like a scab I need to pick. It gnaws and chews at my ligaments and nerve endings. Teeth grate. Passport starts hissing. Airport calling!


kosovo memories

we fought so much.

screaming matches in public.

and then made up in the back of taxi cabs.


best in show

i originally found her back in May when i was walking down the queen street west with someone who is now a ghost. i photographed her and asked, “did you love someone? did you lose someone?”

the answer to both was yes.

in a twist that i never saw coming, a month later, my answer to both turned out to be yes, as well.

now to have her hovering over my bed, looking down on me as the warm undertow of sleep drags me under, i feel for once like i can hold onto something intangible until it bleeds through my fists.

deadboy says he wanted me to have it because i was the first person to take notice of his work, and acknowledge its beauty. i unwrapped it in a quiet café on college street and swallowed hard, feet dug in, i will not blubber like an idiot, i will not blubber like an idiot.

i walked in the rain, holding her against my chest, alone but in a city of millions. i wanted to talk to her, but i knew at once that she couldn’t hear me.

not yet anyway.

and that if i shouted, my voice would be amplified.


“a dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.” -mae west


oscar wilde and sarah bernhardt


graffiti and street art from the streets of Peru

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!

CENTRAL LIMA 

street art, lima

 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.


samesies.


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.


see!


and another


and again!


hell yeah fuck yeah


brilliant. take the existing brickwork, turn it into a piano.


“revolution. if not now, when?”


tv


stallion


surprised this wasn’t in chinatown


so much going on here…


monopoly dude…


albert einstein….


“mi luz” means “my light.”
aw.


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.


aw.


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.”
aw.


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.


devil tree.


mural dedicated to a young woman who passed away.

CUZCO
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.)


interesting


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.


graffiti plants

SANTA THERESA

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.

ek2NMB on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

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.


the more i know people, the more i love the smiths


i leave today! Via Rail is putting me on the cross-canada train from Toronto to Vancouver (with a brief stop in Jasper, Alberta) to blog, vlog, and live-tweet the train experience, and upon arrival in Vancouver, I will be speaking on a panel for the Social Media Week conference. The panel is “Brands, Agencies, and Influencers” and we’re discussing how to build personal brands, the relationship between brands and bloggers, and the ethics therein. if you’re gonna be in Vancouver on September 19th, register to hear a sistah speak here!

most of you know that i’m a huge travel junkie, so being able to explore my own country as much as i’ve explored others is a huge opportunity, one that i couldn’t pass on. it takes a bigger woman than me to refuse such a generous offer.

i’ve travelled the european rail networks extensively, and i swear by them because they’re fast, they’re efficient, and they’re inexpensive. i’ve always been a critic of our canadian rail system, so this experience is the opportune time to prove me wrong.

time to whip out my backpack and load it up with travel essentials. tell me, what does one wear to a panel discussion? business casual? i have my pencil skirts and blouses buried somewhere.

more importantly, what does one wear on a train for three days? Via Rail has set me up in the swanky sleeper touring class cabin, where i will apparently get my own shower, and my meals prepared by a kickass chef. i get my own cabin as well, NO SHARESIES!

when i rode the rails in europe, I always had to settle for the 4 bed or 6 bed couchettes shared with complete strangers who snored, had screaming children, or yipped out the window at every train platform we crossed.

one time, when travelling for over 24 hours from lisbon to budapest (it’s a fricken lonnnnnng train ride, with stopovers in paris and vienna), there were no couchettes left, and i had to sit upright in a compartment with 4 others all night. it was THE WORST.

in india, you didn’t even get a separate compartment. you just slept right out in the open, no curtains, no privacy, and everything at risk of being stolen.

anyway, ADVENTURE TALLY HO!

see ya on the west coast, suckas.

*   *   *

speaking of Social Media and influence, I tweeted this on the 10th anniversary 9/11:

as you can see, it was RT’d by more than 100 people, which actually happens quite a lot on my end, but that number was probably increased when it was RT’d by my main man:

now i finally know what celebrity tweeters have to endure.  some people were INCENSED by those nine little words. amazing how one little pacifist sentiment can incite so much furor. some of the messages i received in response to that tweet were ripped right out of Team America, surely. most of them were xenophobic and racist comments directed toward arabs and muslims, i might add. twitter really is the only refuge for the scoundrels.

hey everybody! got an opinion? you should post it on twitter.

PEOPLE WILL SHIT THEMSELVES.

I worked at the CN Tower during 9/11. I quit shortly thereafter, as did everyone else. I don’t just mean employees, I also mean guests and customers. Towers became taboo.

“Hi Christine,

Let me introduce myself…i’ll go by the name stikki peaches…its my street artist name!
I was sent your link from a friend of mine which knows about my work, and i just wanted to say thanks for the appreciation, exposure and love for what i do, and what other artists do. I’m the ” What if Art ruled the World? ” guy. 🙂 
Unlike a lot of street artists…i like to raise a question, universally, and throw it out there, and its been quite funny, cool, interesting to see and hear what ppl think, either on the web ( blogs ) or with ppl i may meet when actually wheatpasting one of my stencils. I try to keep a really low profile, but sometimes where i chose to lay my art down, isn’t actually the most secluded places. I guess it makes it more exciting. Anyhow, again a big thank you, and if you’re ever in the St-Laurent area again, check out Bernard street, i got a couple of pieces put up around the alleys there too. Little Italy as well.
 A la prochain…Take care.
With luv…SP.
( This message may self destruct in 3….2…1…ok maybe it won’t but whatever…) “

i’ve been blogging about Deadboy‘s street art and graffiti for months and months now, and we talk often.

guess who i finally met?

YES YES YA’LL.

Deadboy had informed me a few weeks ago that he had been asked to participate in the street art showcase  which drops in toronto on september 24th, and the official media announcement was last week at City Hall, so i went to support the man in the mask.

 i actually didn’t realize he was the one in the mask until he waved at me and came over to say hi. seeing as how we’ve never met before, and i have no clue what he looks like, i just assumed he was someone else. as he got closer, i looked at his mask and was like WAAAAAIT A MINUTE, that’s the mask used in his street art!

anyway, we spoke for about an hour, and the press conference was actually super interesting. turns out the Street Art Showcase has received invitations from Bristol (banky’s hometown) and 5Pointz in Queens!

imma be out of town on the 24th (going to Peru!), but you should definitely check out the showcase. follow them on twitter for updates. support Deadboy, tell him Estima sent ya.

speaking of City Hall….

..and another one…

see what i did there?

lol.

interesting viewpoint.

do i think that graffiti and street art is vandalism?

the short answer to that is no.

the long answer is FUCK NO.

another brilliant and colourful Spud bomb, right across the street from MuchMusic.

CHRISSY MAD! CHRISSY SMASH!

i’ve not blogged about the Good Bike project lately, because there are just soooo many bikes to cover, and i see so many of them, i doubt i could ever photograph them all before they’re busted or ripped up. but this one on queen and spadina caught my eye because it had a name on it.

the Good Bike project ladies put Jane Jacob‘s name on another bike, so i’m wondering if Isabella Angel is an activist like Jacobs?

site specific work is the most ingenious work.

i love the idea that someone saw that sewer hole with the pylons and envisioned something else for it, something that is clever and provocative and colourful.

*   *   *

speaking of colourful, i was invited to the Diet Coke TIFF fest this year.

i went last year, and as you can see from my blog post at the time, it was a much smaller affair, just our little twitter crew. we all fit into 2 limos at the time. now the Toronto twitter crew has grown so much such that the attendance was easily over 500.

i didn’t bring my camera but raymi‘s photographer colleague made up for that.

there’s ameet off to the left. we met last year when he used to date a friend of mine, but we kind of run in the same circles, so we bump into each other from time to time.

this looks inappropriate.

raymi says she looks like sharon stone in this pic.

and i look like rachel weisz.

our movie would be box office poison.

my friend paul wrote a round-up of the night’s events for The Grid, and decided to link up one of my tweets about the night in the article (go to 10:30pm, and the hyperlinked “REALLY” in brackets at the end of the paragraph).

i stand by my love of veggie poutine, dammit.

and hey, i write for The Grid too, ya know.

Estelle was brilliant, and i managed to elbow my way to the front.

she’s so gorgeous.

and her shoes were fierce, miss thang.

reg and i were made into flipbooks. watch this video until the very end, where i vent my frustation in caption-form.

*   *  *


i meandered by a venue last night that i shouldn’t have. i saw the scooter and took off running.
go away. please go away.


all the girls standing in the line for the bathroom

that was the name of the first short story i ever had professionally published. I blogged about it when it happened way back in 2005… that paycheque paid rent that month. i took the above photo in october of last year during my war child challenge campaign, and this was an outtake that was never published, so i thought i’d have fun with it. the blending of two creative projects.

even though i miss house-sitting, i won’t miss that building being the only one in sight for miles in every direction.

found in the alleys behind the drake hotel. i thought Spud already was the mayor.

look closer.

the background of Ford’s stupid monkey face says “Spud 4 Mayor” over and over.

I love Spud’s work, he’s one of the greatest Toronto street artists who eludes everyone. Gregory Allan Elliot told me that some of the dudes in Kensington market know who he is and can put me in contact. His work is everywhere and has been around for years. His Ford-sperms and Ford-faces made it into my The Grid article that was published a few weeks ago. And he always seems to score the greatest walls and locations. The rooftops of Queen and Spadina have all been Spud bombed. One says “SpudR” not sure what the R is for, but hey, we know it’s him because of his style and imagery.

here are some old Spud photos that i’ve taken but have never published. this one above was found in the Ossington-Humbert alleyway (I spend most of my days in alleys, seriously). He took over an entire garage front, and even copyrighted it in the bottom right corner.

this is just a spudbomb sticker, but i love it.

when i grow up, i’m going to bovine university.

this is a moo point.

you know, it’s like a cow’s opinion. it doesn’t matter. it’s moo.

i published a photo of this exact same piece a few months ago, but it was someone else’s photo. thought i’d go back and take my own, for copyright/ownership purposes.

i have another photograph of a piece that was put up in graffiti alley, it’s the exact same rob ford face, but instead of “piss here” it just says “ass.”

hhaha! this is in the alley behind dovercourt and queen. the “work in progress” has always been there, but like the new writing to the left indicates, it has been a work in progress for EONS. C’mon son. GET IT TOGETHER.

do you see what i see?

so fucking cool. this was on abell street behind the wreckage of construction.

i love the unused/abandoned storefronts along queen west.

speaking of Gregory Allan Elliot….see what he did here? He took a black marker to the movie poster for Colombiana… so fucking clever, sir. Yes, I know it’s him because the gun is now shooting his “heart/love” symbol.

the night, with garin, outside the drake hotel, where the woman with the typewriter sat on the sidewalk and tapped poems for passers-by. it sounded like morse-code.

headlines the day after Canada went into a state of mourning…

i was walking along Bloor and this guy was just sitting there holding this while fondling his smartphone.

fanks for letting me take your picture, guy.

it’s the fat-lip twins!

my wifey is so nom-nom-nom.

as i spoke about before, Ford Canada is lending me a car for this Labour Day long weekend (Ford Canada recognizes exceptional awesomeness, clearly) , so I’m going on a roadtrip! I’m going back to the place of my birth, Montreal, to hang with my gay boyfriend, my old school mates, to practice mon français (maudit enfant chienne), and wander about to see what’s cool around the plateau since i left at the age of 12.

frankly, after all that i’ve been going through lately, this opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time.

hopefully i’ll find some amazing Montreal graffiti, and see some great Montreal theatre!

if you have any graffiti/theatre leads, please send them my way. or if you’re throwing a hipster douchebag party event clusterfuck that kyboshes other attempts, let a sistah know.

bloggin will resume next week.

à  la prochaine, mes ti-choufleurs!


love is a poverty you couldn’t sell

you will learn to survive me.

you send me messages of support, and i feel, for the first time, like i can hold onto something for as long as i want.

but the noose buried in my rib-cage has started hissing. friction keeps tightening it around my guts. it hangs my bone marrow.

bathurst and dundas

bathurst and bloor

toronto has very few cobblestone streets left. the streetcars and the old brick façades in the west end hint at footprints long since filled in with liquids. then you walk through parkdale with your brother from another mother and spot the capsule, evoking fob watches and quellazaires.

parkdale keeps her secrets in the diamond grit.

the language the city uses to control the streets of the annex can be translated.

near Bay street and Elm, they were shooting an episode of Covert Affairs as i walked past. the supervising police officer, schleppin’ on the corner, paced over this find without even realizing it.

or maybe he did, and was trying to wear it down with the soles of his shoes (for obvious reasons).

either way, i squeezed next to him to capture this… what do you call this?…perhaps, concrete art?

street art by nature has a short shelf life, but if it’s blasted into the concrete of the quiet sidewalks that we never look up from after a traumatizing week, the aim might be to keep it around a while longer.

now you won’t be able to stop seeing them. this was Bay near College.

Bay near College. this was an exciting find, because i had heard of the “post no bills” stencil making the rounds, but i didn’t know it was here in toronto.

you MUST have seen this Kill Facebook colourjob at Queen and Spadina.

social media encourages apathy.

so what?

dude riding his bike backwards. he was heading right for me when i snapped this shot. as he passed, i said, “nicely done!” and he flashed me his pearly whites. i giggled like a tween.

in trinity bellwoods park.

when i discovered this, i said to michael and mel, “if i had could shag any animal, i’d choose an owl, because no matter which position you took it from, you could always get eye contact.”

AWK.

WARD.

things around here will get back to normal at some point, guys.

soon.

a fingers-crossed promise.

bear with me.

i’m inching toward something that, once, was rain, but became fragrant and light.


my next girl will be nothing like my ex girl; i made mistakes back then, i’ll never do it again

nicely done, deadboy

*  *  *

EDIT!!

guess who just sold the above photo, along with many other of my Rob Ford graffiti photos, to The Grid! I love adding “photographer” to my growing portfolio. Check out the spread here, munckins!

*  *  *

sometimes i share the emails i get here, sometimes not, but this one came with the tacit authority to share, and it’s rather lovely, so why not.

Hello!

My goodness! I’ve just spent the past three hours reading through your blog and I’m still not finished. Now I see you’re on Twitter, as well. Where do you find the time?

I “stumbled upon” your blog while browsing something totally unrelated (don’t know how Google always manage to do that) and I was so intrigued (yes, it was because of a photo of you) that I decided to peruse through it. Very entertaining, indeed. Informative at times… even inspiring (the bit about eating healthy). There’s so much material to cover that I doubt I will get to it all.
Portuguese and Lebanese, eh? I see it now. Beautiful combination. You kinda got that Nelly Furtado-Kim Kardashian thing going on, eh (Apologies if you can’t stand those two!).

Another thing from your blog which stood out in my mind is the part about how you would fill in the blank to end the sentence on the picture you saw at the hipster house party. I thought your response was brilliant. Deep with a dash of humour. I wonder how many people actually got it? I also made note of the part where you blogged about traveling to NYC because of a love interest but things didn’t go well and you were left crying on the steps of Union Square? I assume figuratively and not literally because, His loss, I assure you!

Anyway, it’s been fun reading. All the best to ya!
-“AWspicious”

fanks mate. for the record, i didn’t travel to NYC last summer for the guy, but i’ve known him for years and he’s always good for givin’r, so he just factored in to the trip. he’s in a relationship right now, so when i went to NYC earlier this year, i didn’t bother contacting him. if i did, the response would be silence. but if i’m being honest, he was probably one of the greatest longstanding affairs i’ve ever had.

technically, that’s not saying much.

and fanks for the “his loss” bit . . . it’s not his loss just yet, but give me some time, and it will be.

Banksy’s latest, in response to the News Of The World phone hacking scandal.

last week, i collaged about “the good bike” project here in toronto, which has been getting so much attention not just around town, over the pond in the UK, the guardian has even taken notice of our Mayoral clusterfuck.

anyway, here’s another find. this is the first blue one i’ve found, it was on bloor near dovercourt. i want to find the green “jane jacobs” one, anyone know where that’s located? i know it’s on Albany, but where?

i still need a name for my new bike (since my old bike Bea Arthur was totaled by a raging syphilis-cyclist, i hope she dies of a rectum rash), but i’m leaning toward calling it Aunty Edna. old lady names for bikes=boom goes the dynamite.

this is the mural at luna cafe on dovercourt and argyle. i always ride Aunty Edna past this lovely converted grocers, and i adore how they have kept some of the grocer’s painted adverts on the window. gives it such a great feel. people who live in and around argyle street are so lucky. i want to live there, the area kiboshes the annex.

text messages from august 10th:

mr k: your mind shines as brightly as your eyes do.

me: how is it you always know just what to say?

mr k: i just kinda adore you so it’s natural… everything about you just feels so organic. you blow my mind.

at  the Ali Baba falafel place on bloor street with nate, a delightfully schizo’d woman heard me say that i was portuguese, so she came over and said that i was a beautiful portu-geezer, and proceeded to kiss my head about 16 or 17 times. i actually don’t think i processed what she was doing. i kind of tuned out, not even realizing it was awkward or weird. i let her kiss my hair, and stared at a point on the street outside the window.

it felt like everything and anything, except like what it was.

this photo was taken last year at the TedxTO afterparty, but i was only recently tagged in it on facebook. i don’t at all remember taking this shot, or frankly, who the dudes in it are. Reg, any clues?

i’m such a glad-hander.

i’ve blogged about fauxreel twice before, but this old piece of his from 2009 that went up in our fair city still gives me pause.

i was at a funeral once.  as is expected, it was a very sombre, melancholy event. it was a hot july day, and the church had left the windows open for ventilation. as family members came forward to give their speeches, a car outside on the street was blasting its crap music (as most low rider douchebags who drag The Danforth are known to do). unfortunately, it was this song. the fucking car was stopped at a really long red-light outside, and because all the church windows were open, the song invaded the ceremony. we were trying to have this respectful, reflexive, and downright sad experience to mourn the loss of life…

…and instead, we were paralyzed with a case of the giggles. everyone had their hands over their mouths, unsure of whether to choke back tears, or choke on our cackles.

horribly hilarious, i was uncontrollably laughing at a funeral.

that’s what going to Moth-Up the other day was like.

someone walked by me, pretending not to see me. But seeing as how i’m an adult, i made the courteous move to say hello. i had forgotten that we weren’t talking … and now i remember why.

in hindsight, i probably should have checked the FB event page to see who would be at Moth Up so i could have avoided it altogether, but i have completely given up stalking on FB. if people didn’t show up in my FB newsfeed, i’d never know what others are up to. i absotively posulutely refuse to look at anybody’s profile but my own. i have extended this ban from FB to twitter, and even some blogs. … mostly, because i couldn’t give a shit.

luckily, i was with someone worthy of my attention. we giggled like conspirators well into the night, actually leaving the event early for more one-on-one.

we bounded out the door, taking the steps two at a time, and disappeared into the velvet black of midnight…  i didn’t bother to take notice of what i left behind.

life is right in any case.

and my heart is open as the sky.

“your mind shines as brightly as your eyes do.”


black pearl athena

last week, i was flattered with tickets to see Spent at the Young Centre for Performing Arts in the distillery district. many of you know i am a huge theatre fag and try to see as many plays as possible, and i’m always willing to blog and tweet about the gems.

Spent, written and performed by Adam Paolozza and Ravi Jain, is a lampoon of the 2008 economic crisis, told through physical comedy (basically the style is clown, without the red noses or stupid Bozo facepaint). it was a ravishing, funny,vibrant, joyous romp through what many considered a polyp on the colon of ecoomics and finance. Paolozza ad Jain have created a rock ’em sock ’em satire of the discourse we use when dealing with money, making several analogies to religion, and how dollar signs can be confused with crucifixes. they do all that in a mere 80 minutes, with energy to spare.

it’s the coolest fricken play you’ll see this summer in toronto before it hits the edinburgh fringe fest. all the details you need is here (and tickets are cheap, people). get thee to a playhouse.

(#Tweetgasm photos courtesy of Photojunkie.ca)

i actually didn’t notice Reg was copping a feel here. i thought we were just squishing our puppies together.

woah. her face = sex.

was shocked to see paul. i’ve only ever seen him out once before, way back in february for GenYTO during social media week. i’m walking up to the gladstone, then outta nowhere, i see him on the sidewalk, and i’m like, “wait, what?” took me a moment to actually process it. i would have walked right by him if he hadn’t turned at the sound of my heels clicking along the pavement. paul’s twitter bio says that he “believes shoes tell everything about a woman.”

“so what do my heels tell you about me?” i asked.

paul opened his mouth to answer, but i cut him off:

“on second thought, don’t tell me.”

that’s probably for the best.

yaw took these iPhone shots of me. here i’m wearing dave‘s specs, looking like an angry librarian.

this caption should be “I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO WORK IN A LIBRARY!! IF ONLY I COULD READ!!!!!”

now i’m wearing Yaw’s top gun aviators, pulling a duckface, adored by myspace-alien-face-peace-sign-model-mayhems everywhere.

jessica‘s housewarming party. sweaty and rained on, but…..

…i still managed to finger-dance and pull a bride of chucky mug.

testing testing is this thing on?

i was stopped at a red light near college and lansdowne, looked in my side mirror, and nearly lost my heart in the rails and moving blues.

went to Rule Britannia at Clinton’s with andrew, which was rather disappointing. kept playing stupid top 40 british hits from the 80s that are overplayed and not really crowd pleasers. i only heard one Arctic Monkeys song and one Klaxons song, the rest were fucking come-on-eileen, twist-and-shout, i’m-feeling-supersonic-give-me-gin-and-tonic, rio-grande BOLLOCKS. yawn.

this was the night before amy winehouse died. they didn’t play a single one of her tunes.

i remember the first time i heard of the Forever 27 club. it was actually a decade ago now, the summer of 2001, when i was working at the CN Tower. i was one of the bitches operating the elevators. “and now we’re moving at 15 miles per hour, this is the tallest free standing tower in the world, it takes 58 seconds to get to the top, blah blah fucking blah.” this dude that i worked with at the towering inferno was having a houseparty, i think his name was michael, but it could have been colin or william (i’m showing my age here, aren’t i?). on the wall of his sherbourne apartment was this poster that said Forever 27 and it had the usual suspects on it. i didn’t get what it meant until i asked, but for some reason, the image of the poster burned into my brain.  i had the biggest crush on that michael-colin-william dude too. i had held a houseparty earlier in the year, which he attended, and this was back when i had no reservations about drinking, so i shitfacedly swung my legs onto his lap, and basically made a plastered fool of myself, which he seemed to like, because he came back the next day to hang with me, using the pithy excuse of “i left something at yours” which he totally didn’t, he just wanted to do what Reg was doing in the above photo. i didn’t let him.

suffice it to say, when i quit that shit McJob, i never heard or saw him again.

after a 50 kilometre bike ride to the downtown core (good god i love biking and my bike, i’m such a shitkicker), i met up with nate and we basically spent sunday together. iced coffees at Crafted, dinner at Lakeview, drinks at Sweaty Betty’s.

he pointed out the above Devil Rob Ford street art to me, which i may have just walked by if he hadn’t pointed it out. it looks like the same style as these rob-ford-spermatozoa‘s i found a little while back. Who is behind this wheatpaste? it’s on the corner of ossington and humbert. if you know, please tell me!

“my soul is a death rattle,” i recently told nate.

tie a noose around my neck and pull, and pull, and pull.

the Nus doth protest too much.

why we should lose our virginity, from Submarine.

i’ll never tell which reason i chose.

i keep having these ferbile dreams. i wake up disoriented, and the feeling lingers all day, agate colours punctuating my eyes, splitting them from my brain.  i had to walk through the city under a baseball cap and huge sunglasses, head down like i’d lost my dog, hiding the face, for fear that someone would recognize me from the dream, as if the players were about, dreaming the same things, our subconscious minds linked in perfumes.

chasing her around the table, in a movie. wearing a t-shirt and jeans, and the credits roll.


my soul is a death rattle.


can i make it better with the lights turned on?

...in paradise?

this video was made at Lindsey Kelk’s book launch, and they interviewed me (along with Val Stachurski and Erin Bury, among others) about dating.

vicki blogged about this, a tofu dish to beat out all other tofuckery attempts.

i guess The Toronto Star felt my tweeting was newsworthy.

this was the day i nearly passed out from dehydration. 38 degrees celsius in toronto, but with the humidex, it feels like 50 (reminding me of my time in india), and people still are keeping their babies and dogs locked up in the car. i sat on the benches outside of Hibiscus for an hour, trying to pull my shit together, and garner enough energy to stand. people walked by in fluorescent colours, and i was about to fall on my knees without the pleasure of praying.

i tweeted the above when i finally stood up, and wandered around trying to find a convenience store. i refuse to go to the one at the corner of augusta and college, because that schmuck behind the counter always eyes me up like i’m a five-finger-discounter, when all i want is a popsicle. so i wandered like a flaneur, until i found myself on ossington, sitting on the patio of iDeal coffee, looking at people ride by on their bicycles.

i nearly capsized.

my nose was stinging, my chin collapsing, but i didn’t cry.

*   *   *

you’ll remember a while back when i blogged about finding this beautiful piece of street art by deadboy, and because of that blog post, him and i kind of struck up a correspondence. well he recently let me know that some of his new work is up, and sent me on a scavenger hunt to find them…

deaboy’s clever raccoon is up in kensington market, go for a scour of the alleyways there, you’ll find his scrawlings, and some other vibrant work.

i think many people are afraid of venturing alone in alleyways. i’ve been doing it alone during the day and at night, and lately, i’m feeling safer in the alleys than out in the street. even the crooks and thieves are afraid of the alleys, no one runs behind the tall, shadowed walls anymore. except the artists.

this is very The Shadow-esque. who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? hahaha, what a shit movie.

dude is swallowing what flows from the gas pump.

don’t we all.

see the bird above the tim hortons? i’ve seen that bird before, it was up near the bathurst street theatre during the fringe festival, but didn’t get a chance to photograph it. is it still there?

this reminds me of some graffiti that  i found in bosnia-herzegovina when i was there in 2008….in the city of mostar

sometimes toronto has the same amount of decay and destruction to it, and we haven’t even been in a war.

someone has copied shepard fairey’s Obey style

i’m working on it….

i’m not sure exactly from this stencil who this cigar smoking guy is supposed to be. i’m assuming he’s a politician or political figure of some sort.

whoever he is, the street artist behind him has sprayed him all over kensington market.

here he is again…

…and again!

hey street artist behind this stencil! contact me! i wanna hear about your work. let’s be friennnnnnnnnnnds. oh i see a heart underneath the stencil. gee, i wonder who that is….

this Busk guy with Groucho Marx’s face is everywhere. i photographed him once before, but he’s all over the city, if you know to keep your eyes up.

that’s the thing about street art: once you’ve trained yourself, as i have, to keep your eyes up instead of down at the sidewalk, you won’t be able to NOT notice them anymore. you’ll realize that it’s everywhere, and there’s always new spots, new corners, new walls, new lamp posts, new targets. i think it’s only a matter of time before i start stirring the wheatpaste in the pot, grab a long-handled broom, and beat the street sometime past 3am with subterfuge burning underneath the hood of my eyes.

i agree with this statement.

like rose tombstones.

it’s the syntax that lying.

night.

day.

i ran into someone the other evening in the distillery district which gave me reason to pause.

at first, i wasn’t sure that it was him. so i kept walking out the door into the brimstone temperatures of the bricks.

then i stopped, paused, turned around on my heel, and marched right back up to him in the air-conned lobby.

it had been months since i’d seen him, well before my spring NYClusterfuck. he had texted  me last month, but i froze up upon receiving it, not knowing how to respond, so i remained silent.

we chatted pleasantly like god was stuck in our throats. With the mutual circles we run in, it’s a safe wager that he could continually be within striking distance.

very tricky.

what a clever juxtaposition.

those fucking kids.

all i see is hope.

*   *   *

what urge will save us, now that sex won't?
maybe i have said something that was wrong.