Today I was interviewed on Montreal’s CJAD 800 talk radio about my reality tv experiences. You can listen in full by clicking the soundcloud above or clicking here
This blog always gets a lot of traffic this time of year because one of the tv shows in which I was cast, First Dates, always premieres a new season around this time. And then this old blog post of mine suddenly is getting a bajillion hits.
After the clusterfuck of death and rape threats died down, and I left the UK for good, I wrote about my experiences for VICE, in a piece which went viral around the world. Seeing as how the producers of First Dates had a duty of care but failed to care for my well-being and best interests, writing this piece seemed to me the quickest way to get to the truth.
This piece regularly makes the rounds every year, and host Natasha Hall of CJAD read it and invited me on for a quick chat. It was a joy to speak to her, her and her producer were lovely and I would gladly go back on if/when invited
Fanks for listening to the interview and for the support, munchkins.
As always, don’t forget to visit the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my interviews on TV, radio, and print!
This is my Sitto & Jiddo (granny & gramps in Arabic) mucking about on their front porch on Rue Berri in Montreal, circa 1948. Lebanese: lovers, not fighters. They took many snaps from that porch, and I’ve always kept them near and dear to me.
Recently, I was in Montreal for an extended period of time, so I thought I would find that old house just around the corner from the Jean Talon market. When I arrived, I found the house, although it has had extensive renovations over the years, and the new owner was a delightful old retired Vietnamese man who only spoke French. He invited me inside the house so I could take snaps and send them to my family. But while I was there, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a little Dear Photograph.
I’m not very good at it, things are a bit off-kilter, but still, the results are pretty cool.
That little pipsqueak on the staircase? That’s only my Mum!
Not bad, right? And the original photographs really are something. I like to think that the snowy landscape indicates things have frozen over and died since my family left the area. With us, blooms and blossoms grow. Ha ha.
Recently I was invited on a personal tour of Station 16 Gallery in Montreal. I’ve been friendly with its founder Carlo for about four years now, ever since I facilitated an introduction between him and a local street artist. So when I told him that I would be back in my old Montreal stomping grounds, he took a couple hours out of his busy day to show me around the ever-expanding gallery.
Station 16 is located on Boulevard St-Laurent in the heart of le plateau, where the gallery’s presence has boosted the community’s economy and sprouted new growth and development for local businesses. Montreal was hit hard by the economic downturn, and there are still many empty retail spaces around. So Station 16 partnered with the annual Mural Festival to reinvigorate interest in this historical and trendy area.
The goal of Station 16 is to feature and promote local urban artists as well as international favourites. The great thing I noticed when I entered the gallery was how busy it was. Most art galleries are usually very quiet, with one or two patrons an hour, and the receptionists’ shoes usually cost more than your entire annual salary. For many people, visiting art galleries is an intimidating and perhaps snobby-elite experience that feels alienating and ostracising. Not Station 16. Kids, teenagers, families, tourists, street art enthusiasts, art collectors, and dealers abounded the ground-level gallery. It’s a very inclusive and welcoming experience, with a no-pressure enviro, and fosters a sense of community. I think that encouraging everyday people in the process of appreciating, critiquing, and collecting pieces of art is a good thing, and removes the exclusivity that surrounds the art world.
Pure Maple Sizzurp piece by What Is Adam, like an Warhol-throwback!
Took me a moment to realize those are guns.
Olek, my beloved guerilla-knitting-yarn-bombing babe with a clever turn of phrase here. This is actually a silkscreen of her work, but it comes out very 3D! It looks like there’s actual yarn in there! I’ve photographed her in Montreal, NYC, and London!
Le Diamantaire! You can’t turn a single corner in Paris without running into his street diamonds. They’re prolific!
Now this is my kind of toilet. The entire walls are covered in What Is Adam pieces, and what’s that on the loo?
It’s my boyfriend HANKSY!
Enzo Sarto is one half of my NYC favourite Enzo & Nio!
This is the back of Carlo’s computer! I see WIA, Stikki Peaches, Enzo & Nio, Shepard Fairy…. “Never forget how awesome you are.”
How could I?
Station 16 is located at 3523 Boul St-Laurent in Montreal, within walking distance from metro stops Mont-Royal or Sherbrooke. If you go, tell them Chris says hi!
I had to return to Montreal a couple weeks ago because of a family emergency (sad). While there, I found myself going for long walks to get my thoughts together and to get some air. I stumbled upon this on one of my walks. I thought it was cute.
This was on Gaetan-Boucher between Payer and Grande-Allée in Ville St-Hubert (which, for those of you who don’t know, is located on the wrong side of the Cartier bridge).
Been in Montreal for a few days, I had to return very suddenly because of family stuff ( 😦 ), but all the posts you’ve been reading for the past week were scheduled to go live before I left. Anyway, this is the view of Montreal at night from Oratoire St Joseph.
Everyone knows I’m an atheist, but I had to visit Saint Nicks on de Castelnau because my great grandfather who came to canada from damascus in 1902 founded this church, so it’s a bit of a family thing. he also founded the first arabic-canadian newspaper in the country. dude was pretty ambitious.
my parents were also married here, and i was baptized here.
not that those two things mean anything, seeing as how my parents are divorced and there’s no such thing as “limbo.”
“The good will do good, and the evil will do evil, but if you want a good person to do evil things, you’ll need religion.” – Nobel Prize winning American physicist Steven Weinberg.
the raccoons on the mountain come right up to you for nibbles and snuggles.
i should at least be glad, despite the circumstances, that i’ve been able to return to montreal three times in one year.
I found this mural on St-Laurent near Ontario street in Montreal. Montreal has a long history of Olympic problems. We got the summer Olympics in 1976, but the Olympic stadium was only completed ELEVEN YEARS after the Olympics was OVER. In addition, Montreal residents are STILL PAYING TAXES to pay off the Olympics.
In 2010 Vancouver hosted the winter Olympics, and there were huge protests from First Nations groups, and rightly so, if you factor in the above mural’s statement.
Toronto had a bid for the 2008 summer Olympics, and in the end, it was between Toronto and Beijing. We all know Beijing hosted it. At the time the decision was made, I was bummed, considering China has massive human rights violations and pollution so dense, athletes found it hard to breathe. But hey, let them pay for their Olympics. I’m quite glad we haven’t had to deal with the shitstorm that is the Olympics. Kickbacks & bribery, corruption, mismanagement of public finances, totalitarian state laws imposed, infringements on freedom of speech and quality of life, not to mention cost of living…. the Olympics are just one grandiose clusterfuck.
Remember when I found Jack Nicholson’s The Shining face in Queens, New York at 5pointz earlier this year? Looks like the same artist who did those New York stencils also hit up Montreal at some point!
Although it looks like someone took a black sharpie and gave jack nicholson a muchacho moustache.
found in the alleys behind Mont-Royal near Christophe-Colombe.
I’ve photographed Rage5’s work before, see here.
found on an abandoned building near Avenue du Parc and Van Horne, Montreal
Made in Montreal
i found these in an alleyway off Van Horne near avenue du parc
From what I’ve been able to gather in online circles, Lily Luciole is a street artist from Paris. Parisians always feel quite at home in Montreal, and vice versa, so it makes sense that she would visit and do some work here.
In this wheatpaste that I found on Van Horne near St-Urbain, I can definitely confirm the blue wheatpaste on the left is hers, but I’m not convinced the digital-jesus-surrounded-by-rulers on the right is hers. It’s a different style.
Anyway, it was a lovely find!
Street artist Joel Richardson is a friend of this blog and one of my favourite Toronto artists. He’s travelled a lot and put his great stencils around the world, and I found a couple examples in the alleys off of Mont-Royal near St.Denis in the plateau of Montreal 🙂 Here we see his trademark Suitman + Bomb = Revenue stencil that I’ve found all over Toronto. He’s even put this up in Europe and the States as well 🙂
Check out my Joel Richardson category for more of his work that I’ve photographed.
concrete blocks where a tree once stood.
i found this stencil outside Brooklyn Café on Saint-Viateur near de Gaspé in Montreal.
in an unrelated note, today is 11 years since 9/11. i am choosing not to blog specifically about it because i still find it upsetting. i blogged about it last year, that should suffice.
be safe out there, munchkins.
Here are some random gems I found in the alleys of the plateau and Mile End. I wasn’t sure how to categorize them, so here they are in a jumble!
You know, in mathematics, randomness is a pattern.
Happy weekend, munchkins!
my nickname in university.
this translates to, “this here is the only flower that i have to give you.”
do you see that?
as i was wandering around montreal, i kept seeing this stencil’d word everywhere! look closer.
voilà. this was on st-laurent and saint-viateur.
there it is again! this was at st-laurent and bernard.
and i was all, wtf! Godin sounds like a familiar name, but i wasn’t sure why someone had stencil’d it all over the city.
then i wandered behind the Mont-Royal metro station and saw this stencil’d onto the brick wall, facing the park.
so i guess Gerald Godin wrote the poem Tango de Montreal in 1983
okay so here’s my translation of this poem, let’s see how i do..
7:30 in the morning the Montreal metro
is full of immigrants
this world wakes up so early.
the old heart of the city
therefore still beats
thanks to them.
this old worn heart of the city
with its spasms
its heart murmurs
and all its faults
and all the reasons in the world that it would
I think my translation isn’t too shabby, actually. If anyone out there speaks better french than me, lemme know if I’ve made any mistakes!
I’ve found Wax Head all over Toronto, and it appears the dude regularly hits up Montreal as well! Found his stuff err-where. I could barely contain MAHSEL’.
I actually have a huge stash of photos in my storage of Wax Head’s found all over Toronto that I STILL haven’t blogged yet. My backlog of graff and street art photos is a bit intimidating, because I don’t know if I’ll get through it all before I head off to Thailand and Cambodia in October. They’re just sitting in my photo-storage and yelling at me!
These were all found in the alleys that run up Boulevard St-Laurent, on the west side of the street.
Futur Lasor Now erected this intricate wheatpaste on Saint-Viateur and de Gaspé, but a quick glance at his blog and you see he’s recently gone down to Brooklyn and Manhattan to add his mark to the graff tapestry there.
Hey FLN! You should check out my New York City category, I blogged about all those pieces you found and I know the artists behind most of them!
Also, check out this short film I made about New York Street Art. It’s wicked cool.
Not sure who put these birds here in an alleyway near St-Laurent and Saint-Viateur in Montreal, but they are exceptionally well done and quite stirring.
in front of a wheatpaste of a calculator!
Found on St-Laurent.