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

TIFF

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!

 

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MERRY CHRIST(ine esti)MAS: 2015 Year In Review

The essence of drama is conflict. I had a lot of both in the past few years, but 2015 was oddly light and serene. I hustled my ass off, pulled every string, worked and LIVED, and received very little flack from the universe. 2015 was THE YEAR.

I started the year in New York City where I was housesitting. On a chance invite from a friend, I attended a Moth Storytelling event. I had been listening to the Moth podcast for years, and this was a story-slam event, meaning I could put my name in a hat and possibly be called up on stage. I threw my hat in the ring, decided what I would say while I was waiting in line to get into the venue, and wouldn’t you know it….

SPOKEN WORD

Live Storytelling and Spoken Word means a lot to me and I continued to do it back home in Toronto at Raconteurs:

Storytelling is an extension of writing to me. It feeds my need to tell stories and also to be a ham. I also discovered that working out ideas on stage proved excellent for cultivating written story ideas. 2015 was also the year of–

Chris Writes All The Things

Editors this year were like, “Hey Chris, do you want to publish stuff? HERE, HAVE ALL THE PUBLICATIONS YOU LIKE.”

It was like payback for many years of only publishing maybe one or two pieces every 6 months.

Of course, this wasn’t by fluke. I busted my ass, I submitted and submitted and submitted, and got rejection after rejection, but my acceptance rate kind of skyrocketed this year. I actually found myself in the odd position SEVERAL TIMES this year where I had to reject one publication because another had already bought my piece. I was selling pieces so quick, in some instances, I had to turn people down! I ALMOST sent them the lame boilerplate rejections they had sent me for years, but nahhhhhhh.

SELLING STORIES

 

The first piece I sold this year was actually an academic essay which I sold to Palaver Journal based out of a southern University. I finished my Masters Degree ten years ago, but I can still flex my chops when I need to.

Then I sold my first piece to VICE, which was really exciting because I had been reading them since 1998 and am a huge fan, so it was great to see my pieces go across the VICE network and do really well.


vicecanada

Then I sold them another piece
vicesecond1

And then another
vicethird

And then a bajillion more…
fhritpheader

I found out one of my short stories made the long-list for the prestigious CBC Canada Writes Creative Nonfiction Prize, and they profiled me on the CBC website!
IMG_7218 cbc canada writes

Then I sold a short story to GRAIN when they wanted to buy another story of mine, but I had to turn them down because another journal had already bought it, so they asked for anything else I had, and snapped up this piece right away!
grain1

And then I cold-pitched METRO News Canada and they printed my piece in the centrefold:
metro

And then EVENT published one of my Nonfiction stories in this issue:
event

My bio is a BOSS-ASS BITCH
event2 (2)

Then I sold a travel writing piece to VERGE Magazine:
vergesnippet

And just a couple weeks ago, another one of my serious essays about sexual harassment and the experience of reporting it to the police was published by my old friends at AufBau:

And this isn’t even all of my publications! Just a cross-section! I also sold three more stories whose publication dates are imminent, like TOUTE SUITE, dropping in a few weeks soon! So expect to read more from me in the new year!

Speaking of HouseSitting

This year, I did back…

…to back

…to back

…to back

…to back

…to back housesitting gigs.

These pictures aren’t even all of them. In total in 2015 I did ELEVEN housesits in 12 months. Considering that 4 of them lasted more than a month, and one of them lasted almost 3 months, that’s a lot of housesitting with snugglecats and dogs and not having to pay rent.

Last name Win, first name Epic.

And it’s not over yet. I’ve been housesitting for years and years now, so why stop in 2016. Starting in January, I will be housesitting in VIENNA!!

I haven’t been to Vienna since that first European clusterfuck trip in 2005 (here are some posts about that trip…. gosh this blog is old). I was last in Austria in 2012 for my Eurail Extravaganza, but I missed out on Vienna, so I’m super excited to spend a lot of time there this Winter.

I want to to everything Viennese, like eating strudel served by Michael Haneke on a harpsichord.

I’ll also be swinging through London, Prague, and Amsterdam, so the great tapestry of adventures I’m trying to build can continue!

Hey, You Never Know

One of my main mantra’s of 2015 was “Ask and you shall receive.” In the past I’ve refrained from asking for what I wanted because I assumed the answer would be no, or, more likely, I felt pretentious for even asking. Like, who the fuck are you Christine? You got some balls asking for that.  That changed this year, when I realized that the worst thing that could happen was they’d say No. And if that’s the worst-case-scenario, it’s pretty surmountable. So with that in mind, I figured no-guts-no-glory. I’m a writer, so my income is limited (obvi). The amount of funds I can allocate to quality of life (movies, music, theatre, concerts, performances, dance, festivals, etc) is extremely limited. So what did I do when I wanted to go to an event but couldn’t afford it?

I asked for free tickets.

And I got them.

BOOM.

This year, just because I asked, I gained free entry to the following:

Once: The Musical
-National Ballet of Canada performance of Sleeping Beauty
Deadmouse: The Musical 
Basquiat exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario
-secret alt-J concert
-the Stars of the Lid concert at the Unsound Festival
Joel Plaskett Emergency concert
Bettroffenheit theatrical play
-several Toronto International Film Festival movies, including
Homesick,
Disorder/Maryland,
Bang Gang,
Summertime,
Son of Saul.

If It Ain’t Broke…

Everyone knows I’m a huge flea market person (and this year I joined the super secret but now highly coveted collective of BUNZ Trading) so this year I procured a lot of fantastic antiques at bargain prices, and sometimes, for a few tokens or a bottle of wine.

I already had a typewriter, but I still went ahead and got myself a second one. Because reasons.


My two bee-yoots, side-by-side

And then I got a rotary phone. It’s a necessity in the modern world.

And then I finally hooked up speakers to my record player, so I went on a vinyl-buying binge, and got some gems like Duke Ellington (click the little volume button in the bottom right of the vid to listen!):

and the master Django Reinhard!

With these new gadgets, I am now able to open a sassy new office… in 1979.

Speaking of Music


I went to some kick-ass concerts this year. In years past I had grown a bit tiresome of concerts (I had been a music critic for about 5 years and now I have a touch of tinnitus…) but, I guess… YOLO

This year saw me at:

-Kiasmos
-alt-J
-Chilly Gonzales
-Stars of the Lid
-Hauschka
-Joel Plaskett Emergency

alt-J!!

alt-J!

I want to stuff Kiasmos into a bong and smoke them.

 

And, my, the new music I discovered this year!

FAV SINGLES OF 2015 include:

-“Emotion” by BORNS

-“Carry On” by Coeur de Pirate
-“Landfill” by Daughter

-all tracks by Tycho
-“All Clear” by Aidan Knight
-“Let it go” by Saint Saviour

-“Black to Gold” by Dear Rouge
-“Them” by Nils Frahm

-“Pretty Pimpin” by Kurt Vile

And the Oscar Goes To…


I saw a lot of films this year, and even reviewed some during TIFF for VICE. Here are the ones that haunted me long after the credits rolled:

-VICTORIA

-The Daughter

-Son of Saul

-Homesick

-CitizenFour

-Disorder/Maryland

As you can see from this list, I am not really a mainstream/Hollywood/wide-release film person. I prefer indie cinema, the ones that make the festival circuit. They usually have no money behind them and therefore can take more risks or tell stories we don’t normally see. So you can take your Chris Nolan/JJ Abrahms/Michael Bay clusterfuck and order it on DVD. Yawn.

Get Busy Livin’

As I said, I started the year in New York (housesitting). I also traveled to my hometown of Montreal (housesitting), and just recently I went to Miami (housesitting). But I really wanted to exercise my passport, so I bounced down to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize for a Mayan Adventure!

I made a short film about my experiences, I figured it was more fun than posting a bunch of touristy photos. I call it GET RICH OR DIE MAYAN. Enjoy!

To thine own selfie be true

I’ll end this post with the one thing everyone really wants to see:
BEST SELFIES OF 2015


I don’t really post selfies anymore, but I do take them from time to time. Here are the ones I took and never posted!

Remember, you only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

Happy New Year 2016, munchkins.

SEE YOU IN VIENNA!

Check Out My official website

Don’t forget to visit ChristineEstima.com for more!


Shame, starring Michael Fassbender


i went to the morning press screening for Shame yesterday, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. i tried to review this film during TIFF but all the international press packed the house and there was no room for me in the lightbox. boo.

anyway, i’ve been a huge Michael Fassbender fan since i first reviewed him in the small independent british film Fish Tank.

and this film is a perfect example as to why i’m such a huge fan.

Michael Fassbender gives me a Michael FassBoner.

i’m glad carey mulligan is getting more adult roles as well. i remember when she was just a giggling piece of flotsum in Pride & Prejudice, in the background to Keira Knightley. then suddenly, Keira Knightley was in Carey’s background in Never Let Me Go.

of course, i can’t give you my full review here (there’s a moratorium on pre-release reviews), but when my review is published, i’ll link it here, ‘natch.

suffice it to say, you will want to see this film when it is released in December. i’m predicting Oscars. it’s sicko-brooding-mesmerizing-depravity-undertones-beautiful-cocksure-tinted-symphonic-fuckery that will WOW you until your wow-er is sore.


As If I Am Not There

Last year at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, I reviewed the film As If I Am Not There. Click on the above image to read my review.

As I say in the review, after watching it, I wasn’t able to stop thinking about it. That was over a year ago now.

For some reason, the DVD is only available for purchase in Ireland (it’s an Irish film and Irish co-production) and they can’t ship overseas. So recently I downloaded the torrent online.

I can’t stress the magnitude of  force this film exacts on your heart. While watching it (and even long after the credits have rolled), you sit there feeling as if someone has just taken a butter knife to your heart, and scraped out the inside until it is left raw, seething, and rigid to the touch.

I feel like I have been through what the character Samira has been through. I have never been brutally assaulted, I have never been interned at a concentration camp, nor have I ever been through a war (although I have been to Bosnia-Herzegovina and other warzones). But this isn’t about the specifics of war, rather about much larger behaviours that affect women.

At any moment we can be the punching bags for aggression, or the object of desires. And we’re struggling to understand the difference.

Watch the film.


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.


have love, will travel; if you need loving, oh baby, i’ll travel

this is the first of many more TIFF film reviews to come. Sigh, bring on the festival clusterfuck! Every year I say I won’t do TIFF again, and every year I cave. I just love movies too much, and reviewing them! Being a freelance film critic always wins out over sense and reason. I’ve been covering TIFF for donkey’s years, but I’ve been a patron for a lot longer.

Actually, guess where I was the morning of September 11, 2001?

It was the really crap film Century Hotel, I only wanted to see it because I was a huge OLP fan at the time, and Raine Maida acted in the film (badly). The screening started at 8:45am. After the 90 minutes of pure oblivion, I walked out of the screening, which took place at the ROM, and called mum to say I was headed back to university for my classes.

She told me what had gone down.

I don’t think I understood the full gravity of the situation over the phone.

So I flippantly giggled.

And that’s all I want to say about that.


montreal graffitigasm time!

this was on boulevard st laurent, i think he’s holding a quill, but he’s wielding it like a weapon.

the pen is mightier than the sword, indeed.

this “world of shit” tag was everywhere.

this was off of avenue Duluth, and the following were a series of wheatpastes on the same wall. they blew me away.

the tag on them says “what if art ruled the world?” and  i found similar wheatpastes by the same artists all around the plateau.

i LOVE wheatpastes, i think they are the probably among the best kinds of street art you can do. stencils, and sculpture are also among that group.

when pigs fly!

these two colourful spraypaint murals were across the street from the wheatpastes.

i don’t remember my visual mythology well, but phil said this was Thor.

oh phil, thmile when you thay that.

ha!

hahahah!! for those of you who don’t speak french, this translates to ‘the duchess of my balls.”

now now, don’t get teste.

this was buried deep an alleyway that had zero illumination, so my flash was the only way i could make out the details.

i just liked the face with the hands. his arm is like a branch i’d like to swing on.

this was purposefully placed (probably by the owners of the house) on St.Denis.

i wonder if this guy actually climbed the street light?

phil and i found this while cycling along the canal off of vieux montreal. it’s like looking in a mirror, non?

she’s SO me.

i think the tag says “dayo” and i saw that tag a lot. anyone know who “dayo” is?

i was never a separatiste, but i appreciate the sentiment.

all of the abandoned buildings along the canal are perfect graffiti spots. as our bikes approached this building, i squealed and screeched to a halt on the grass, nearly knocking myself over.

close up! i’m assuming this was done by someone named ezar. i like the mathematical symbol before his name. i learned math in french, so that symbol will always mean “donc” to me. in english, i guess you could call it “therefore.”

donc ezar, this piece looks like a memorial to someone you loved. or someone you lost. or both.

either way, nicely done.

emotions are apathetic.

this was placed on Rue Jarry, on a wall that i think belonged to a dépanneur.

i’d like to think this is a comment on what you can find in a dep.

this was in the mile end area, and i got really excited, because i’ve seen this work in toronto before!

here it is again!!

le snob. le sigh. le tired. le mew. le meow.

i think this wheatpaste is by the same “what if art ruled the world?” wheatpaster guy. it’s the same theme and style.

awww, raccoon looks snuggley. i like how this piece has the painted frame. like it’s gallery work but buried in an alley next to a construction site.

curb your enthusi-gasm.

here he is again, the “what if art ruled the world?” guy.

this “teenage hookers” was spraypainted on the sidewalk in mile end, not far from casa del popolo

we went to the Belmont, and they projected this onto the wall.

i love the word ‘scrotum.’ it’s hard to weave that word into everyday sentences. it should be a ubiquitous word, like fuck or shit.

this was in an alleyway near sherbrooke and de maisonneuve. the fleur-de-lis on the corners of the portrait make me think this dude was a quebecois political figure.

same alley.

now for some street culture in between the street art! we went to mont royal for the Tam Tams! it’s a drumming circle, similar to the one held at trinity bellwoods, except this seems to be a festival where vendours can sell things as well.

i’ve always wanted to play a djembe, but who can afford them?

i’m sorry, but i am an extremely talented photographer.

case in point!

ps, krista, that girl looks like you!

the whole weekend, i kept repeating the same dyslexic-freudian-slip in my mind:

“i freak spench and english!”

also just like in trinity bellwoods, there are tightrope walkers at the Tam Tams. this one guy was so talented, he went there and back without falling, even though it was super windy.

omfguy. i don’t know whether to sleep with him, or stuff him into a bong and smoke him.

moment of clarity, scene of beauty, mind of chrome, skin translucent.

back to graffiti!

it’s also a long way down.

you just love me for my money. ADMIT IT.

clearly commissioned, but beautiful nonetheless

for what? zee germans?

“drunk asshole construction” was actually tagged all over the plateau. either someone isn’t happy with all of the development in the area, or that’s actually his name.

i don’t know who these two guys are, but i love this stencil. it’s full of heart. stencils are great, because they force you to pay attention to the negative space, and they take a lot of prep work:) this was in an alley off of avenue Duluth, right before it pissed with rain.

woah, hello.

i don’t understand the message, but the visuals are incredible.

have Spud, will travel.

fromage.

this piece was brilliant. it’s carefully drawn, almost like dot-matrix design, then cut into stickers, and carefully placed.

it’s the kind of scene you’d find on a church window mosaic. absolutely genius.

massive wheatpaste on the Studio de la SOCIETE CANADIENNE D’OPERETTE building on rue st. denis.

this building is famous for having other wheatpastes put in this spot.

spot a familiar image?

this was written on a church that was under construction. it translates to “a house of slaves, at least.” although, you could translate it to also say “a house of lesser slaves.

someone has gone over the original tag to make it say, ‘une maisoner de se espérée en moins.” which kind of makes sense, and translates to “a home to hope less for oneself.

when it comes to religious institutions, i am forced to agree.

stop procrastinating!

i have so many TIFF film reviews to write (and more to see!), but instead, i’m making googley eyes at you.

priorities: check.

ps: i’m fucking endearing in this video.


and you’re draped on him while you’re staring at me

Oh don't give me that look

I can finally announce some exciting news that I’ve been keeping a lid on for WEEKS now. I am an invited panellist for the upcoming Social Media Week Conference in Vancouver! I will be discussing influence, building my personal online brand, and the influence of my social media initiatives whilst on the road. The talk is fostered by Via Rail, and they are putting me on the cross-Canada train from Toronto to Vancouver, where I will blog and live-tweet while zooming through our country’s beautiful Rockies, plains, forests, and lakes. My travel junkie virus is acting up just thinking about it!

If you’re going to the conference, or will be in Vancouver from September 19 to 23, register here to attend the event.

I’ll be hanging around for a few days after the panel, so if you’re about in Van.City and want to destroy the city in hockey-fuelled riots (I kid, I kid), you know where to find me!

More details on my panel discussion can be found here.

my follow-up post will be all about Montreal graffiti. swearsies.

so for now, just indulge me.

montreal is a city rich with my family history.

my maternal family emigrated there from lebanon at the turn of the 20th century. my paternal family emigrated there from portugal around 60 years ago. almost every street, park, market, village, or mountain is stained with the faces of my family.

the look of the houses, the wrought-iron stairwells that spiral down rue berri, the distinct joual accent, the crumble and fall of the streets in disrepair, the dépanneurs hip-jointing each corner like bolts…. as if my childhood was slapping me around, waking me up.

i was remembering that dream, of that other life i used to live. i thought i had imagined it.

it had been almost 20 years since i had seen an old friend from elementary school.

we reconnected at café névé on rue rachel, and i actually remembered his mannerisms and facial expressions.

it had been so long since i had seen him, i was beginning to believe i had made him up in my head.

growing up in quebec, we  were bred (like the rest of canada) to hate toronto. then when i moved to toronto at the age of 12, i found myself converted. toronto=awesome. but perhaps because i missed out on montrealer teenage rebellion and discovery, i never developed a strong connection to the city.

minus the years that i lived abroad, i’ve spent the majority of my adult life in toronto which has a vibe and culture all its own. i love it and will always fight its corner

but now, i’m entertaining a return to montreal.

even on the Métro, bouncing about as the trains’ rubber tires rolled us from station to station, i felt somewhere familiar. somewhere that i really belonged. i fought hard to carve my name with toronto’s pen knife. but there’s enough skin left on this gal to carve another.

maybe i never wanted to return to montreal because of all the painful memories.

but that’s a blog post for another day.

philip and i have known each other for donkey’s years, we did our Masters degrees together. he likes to brag that i knew him when he was “straight.”

aw pumpkin, you were foolin’ no one.

duluth alley kids

these kids were playing jump rope in an alley off of Duluth.

zero photo-editing here. if this were black and white, this could pass for a turn-of-the-century snap.

Montreal=keepers and purveyors of vintage cool.

the de Maisonneuve cross.

my grandfather, great grandfather (et.al.) are buried up there on Mont Royal.

there’s probably no space to add me into the family plot. they’ll have to bury me sideways.

we cycled through parc jarry, and then cheered on a gay softball tournament.

40 years ago, my mother worked for the Expos in parc jarry.

phil is such a blessed character. when he laughs, his body ricochets joy. blade-worthy sharp intelligence, and loves to jaunt.

he’s also my saviour when it comes to killing spiders.

from the moment I rolled into montreal on boulevard réné levesque and gave a street kid at a red light a twoonie, my french kicked in with a throttle. for the past few years, i have maintained my french daily by switching my facebooktwitter, emails, and my blackberry to french. it forces me to practice, and it paid off. i only stumbled a bit over my conjugation (fuck you subjonctif! il faut que tu fasse un bise sur mon trou de cul).

this tex mex dinner was had on a patio in marché jean talon, which i haven’t been to since i was eight or nine years old.

my Sitto used to take me every weekend with my great aunts, and although i don’t remember much, i do remember Sitto giving me a quarter to drop into the cup of a disabled man who was selling pencils. i also remember the caged animals next to the fruit stands. they don’t sell caged animals there anymore.

he’s so fierce.

piggy backs: a billion three-year-olds can’t be wrong.

getting tanked in the graffiti alleys. we bring the party.

if you missed it in my last post, here’s the video that i made of my Montreal extravaganza.

i’m fucking endearing.

*   *   *

Once again, I’m reviewing films for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, so if you see me around the festival circuit, or in the cinemas furiously scribbling, don’t hesitate to say hi.

If you mistake me for my doppleganger Rachel Weisz, don’t feel bad. Happens all the livelong day.

see what i mean?

Hey Rachel, if you’re in town for the fest, let a sistah know. Let’s walk the red carpets together and freak the shit outta the paps.


Relax, I’m Hilarious

TIFF is coming up, and I’ve been invited to so many advanced press screenings that I’m debating whether or not I should throw myself face-first into the fest like I did last year. Last year was amazing, I reviewed the festival for FOUR different media outlets, including the CBC. I met some amazing people in the industry, attended some hoity-toity parties, saw a record-breaking 35 films (including The King’s Speech, where I knew from the press screening that it would win the Oscar), and feasted on the visual stimuli flashing through a darkened cinema. Static flicking off the beams of light.

So why the debate?

Mama’s got a book to write.

*   *   *

sneak with me as i disappear into the back alleys. keep your feet pedaling, the bike leaves no footprint. the night will swallow us like a python, opening its mouth, and then holding its breath.

all the kids in the ghetto call me Don chris estima.

gauzed in red, the colour tearing through my flesh,  this painted city belongs to me.

we discover art.

and colour

and you will know i was once here

by the looks thrown over my shoulder.

Rob introduced me to Poser, who does these smooth rabbits all over town. Now you won’t be able to walk around without noticing them. I love how the rabbits are holding spraypaint cans whilst almost saying “Eyyyyhhhh, sup gurrrrrl.”

word.

speaking of Deadboy, my last post (which detailed his new Rob & Doug Ford as Tweedledee/Tweedledum wheatpastes all around the city) got some love from BlogTO

 

 that single BlogTO tweet sent my blog traffic batshit crazy through the roof, kiboshing all previous records. fanks hombres!

hello new munchkin readers! enjoy my neurotic blogjaculation.

relax, i’m hilarious.

now shut up and show me your tweets.

rob takes a decent graffiti snap.

rob and i snuck around the back alleys for about four hours, well past midnight. darkness creeping in on secrets.

first obvious target: graffiti alley, then up the ossington alleys, then through kensington market. i think our next destination should be the rail path which runs through the junction. i know there’s some amazing shit there, my camera is gagging for it.

does anybody else think this looks like a concentration camp?

zejko? that sounds yugoslavian . . .  maybe serbian or croatian or bosnian. i wonder who this guy is.

political figure? martyr? writer? philosopher? just some dude?

andy warhol just rolled his eyes.

ha, i love this little gas-can fucker.

oh hello mr elliott. we meet again.

i’m surprised to still see some of the Andrew posters around, they’re quite old (in terms of street art shelf life), so this was a rare find. however, considering the way Andrew died, tagging the poster with a mouthful of blood and a speech bubble with “liberal lies” is rather upsetting.

what kind of tagger writes “liberal lies” anyway? i’m sorry, is Andrew’s tragic story offensive to your conservative graffiti ethos? fuck off with that shit.

my last post detailed some Tokyo tags, and now we know who he is. Rob found him on facebook, so we have a face with a (fake)name now. Sup guy.

i also recently blogged about the posters and stickers that have gone up around queen and spadina, commemorating the kettling and brutality that occurred last year during the G20 summit. the stickers say “our civil rights were lost here.” the posters show sombre photos of  the attrocities done against peaceful toronto civilians.

the “tokyo” is almost gone. i wish rob ford was rubbing away too.

this headless frowner reminds me of our unhappy hipster run-in while rob and i took a break at 416 Snack Bar. some loud hipsters with massive, square, black-framed specs, and nostrils brimming with white coke, shouted at me from across the table to smile.

i turned into them and gave a fatal grimmace.

coked-up hipster goes, “that’s the worst smile i’ve ever seen. why won’t you smile for me?”

to which i leaned in and coo’d, “I’m not going to be your monkey.”

and at that, his balls crawled back up inside his body.

from what i can gather here, someone stenciled “supreme” then someone with a spray can tagged it into “supremely stupid” but they spelled “stupid” wrong…. studpid? stucpid?

this freaked the shit out of me, because in the darkness of the alley, you couldn’t see all those details. you could see a bit of the face. my flash revealed the bleeding ghost.

some daytime shots from the back alleys in parkdale.


reminds me of some graffiti seen in the background during the film Children Of Men…. “last one to die, please turn out the light.”

is that elvis presley or chris cornell?

when horses are this lame, they shoot ’em.

hi c-saw, i will respond to that question with this.

good call, speaking of bikes …

i’ve got more THE GOOD BIKE finds!

a basket filled with a potted plant, untouched!

AND it’s bolted to the ground. you ain’t stealing this, fuckfaces.

the photo of me at the top of this post is of me taking this photo….

wow, that’s so meta.

and the moral is: the easiest way to make guys lose their shit is to have yours together