Life is strange and unpredictable. You never know what’s coming for ya. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. A few months ago, you’ll remember I was interviewed and photographed for a Toronto Life feature , which itself was a lot of fun. Well, more people saw that interview than I bargained for.
I was contacted by the good folks over at TFO 24.7, the Franco-Ontarian TV station here in Canada. They noticed that I speak French, and that many of my love letters are in French, and they asked if they could come over and film me for a Valentine’s Day segment.
They came over and interviewed me for 5 hours. The finished TV segment is less than 4 minutes, it’s a lot of work that goes into making a mere 4 minutes! They filmed me in my bedroom here in Toronto, which I have decorated with the letters, old photographs, antique furniture and typewriters, and then they filmed me at an antique shop and a café.
I really like the way this came out. The music they use is super sweet and it makes my 9 x 15 bedroom look much larger than it actually is! I’m also a little embarrassed, just because this is my bedroom and I’m inviting all of you strangers into my tiny little corner of the world, but hey…. I WOULD DOOOOO ANYTHING FOR LOVVVVVVVE. Har har.
I think this is my favourite shot in the entire segment.
Anyway, watch the entire segment below! It’s in French, of course, but you will probably still get the gist of it even if you don’t speak French. Enjoy! Savourez-le!
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.
Check out my latest essay in VICE, all about the scary shit you can find when you Google your family. I remember Kevin Bacon once said in an interview that when you Google yourself, it’s called Google-bating (like masturbating but with Google). Yeah.
See, this is the problem with newspapers putting their archives online. This was a total mindfuck for me. Family secrets! ARABIC FAMILY SECRETS!
Click here or click the above image to read the essay.
You may have noticed this blog is missing from navigation tabs above. I used to have “about me,” “media coverage,” and “writing portfolio” tabs up in the header. If you want to see all the splendiforous things I’ve done, you’ll now have to visit…
There you’ll find an IMPROVED “About Me,” a FANCY-SCHMANCY “Writing Portfolio,” and a SUPER SWAG “Media Coverage.”
Don’t forget to update your links.
Fanks for reading, munchkins.
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!