Sunday, February 24, 2008


Well, I think this is my favourite audience photo ever... they are hilarious... Look at the variety of reactions in this photo... shock, horror, denial, total delight...wouldn't it be great, occasionally, in theatre to get this kind of reaction from an audience.... Although, when I think about it, a couple of nights ago I saw a piece by Ian Mozden at the Rhubarb theatre festival here that was about castration, that probably saw me making some of those gestures...

The people in this photo are actually watching a film during an amateur porn festival. Yeesh! One doesn't want to think about what they're seeing! The story, if you want to read the details, is here

Friday, February 22, 2008

A first for everything

OK, my first political blog... has to be done...

copied from a very fine politics site

The Washington Post, has a story on today's front page under the concise headline, "The Anti-Lobbyist, Advised by Lobbyists"; about the undeniable conflict of McCain, the chest-beating reformer, being so undeniably close to lobbyists. The man who's absurdly proclaimed that "I’m the only one the special interests don’t give any money to" is surrounded by lobbyists.


The story involves quite a roll call:

-- "His campaign manager, Rick Davis, co-founded a lobbying firm whose clients have included Verizon and SBC Telecommunications."

-- "His chief political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., is chairman of one of Washington's lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JPMorgan and U.S. Airways."

-- "Senior advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon work for firms that have lobbied for Land O' Lakes, UST Public Affairs, Dell and Fannie Mae."

-- "McCain recently hired Mark Buse to be his Senate chief of staff. Buse led the Commerce Committee staff in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and was until last fall a lobbyist for ML Strategies, representing eBay, Goldman Sachs Group, Cablevision, Tenneco and Novartis Pharmaceuticals."

-- "McCain's top fundraising official is former congressman Tom Loeffler (R-Tex.), who heads a lobbying law firm called the Loeffler Group. He has counseled the Saudis as well as Southwest Airlines, AT&T, Toyota and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America."

McCain, of course, insists that he's incorruptible. During yesterday's press conference, he proclaimed “I’ve never done any favors for anybody — lobbyist or special interest group — that’s a clear, 24-year record.” Maybe he just keeps all those lobbyists around to test his fortitude.

and here's a compilation of McCain's ideas about the war... and how its never ever ever going to end until we have the kind of Iraqi govt and country that we, since we know best, need to have there...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Yes sir, that's my baby

Ow... my fingers hurt... the tips of my left hand are turning into peeling calluses and the fingernails on my right are wearing away quicker than I can grow them. I'm back practicing for hours every day, and this little instrument is being mean to my hands. I haven't spent this much time on an instrument for years,probably since I left music school. Its kind of incredibly frustrating and kind of incredibly calming... - the hours go by, its just you against the music and trying to achieve the sound that you can hear in your head and that you can't quite arrive at yet. Very clear cut thing to be doing. And a beautiful thing it is .. Mahogany, rosewood, abalone, spruce, flamed american maple... such lovely woods that it takes to make a good guitar...

Sunday, February 17, 2008


So... the snow didn't arrive, the temperature rose and now its raining and the sidewalks are little rivers of melting slush. Too bad for me... good for the Motorists. (as long as the watery roads and sidewalks don't freeze tonight... in which case we're all screwed...)

but, but


the city of Toronto, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to spend 21 million dollars in the next few days clearing the snow from the streets. Toronto Star story here..

21 million dollars!

Now I realize that all this snow piling up is an inconvenience... and probably an immense one for anyone elderly or handicapped and stuck at home. But the city isn't clearing the sidewalks ... they're clearing the roads, so people can park. When last I looked the streets were all relatively clear, and people were coping with a limited number of spots, or doing their own dirty work and clearing the road in front of their house.

If I can be selfish for a moment, think of what 20 million dollars would do if they could drop that into the arts funding for the city. It would totally transform the upcoming year for the arts in Toronto. Or daycare, or immigrant services, or name your target market for people who could use that money.

anyway... it pisses me off and I can't help wonder if its a lovely little cash grab by the city workers. Clear snow over 'family day' and get double time and a half. When I lived in Montreal the city would spend the winter clearing the streets with these huge convoys of trucks and flamethrowers. The snow would trail off, but in late march we'd get one more snowfall, usually of only a couple of inches - nothing when you'd spent five months living with several feet of snow. But the city would spring into action and every city worker would be on the job attacking those two inches. I found this totally confusing until it was explained to me that this was their last chance for overtime for the year, so whether the snow deserved it or not, it was going to get cleared....

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

For Drivers that is... personally I'm loving it. Toronto is experiencing the heaviest snowfall in years. The streets have about 4 feet of snow in huge piles between the sidewalk and streets. The temperatures are sitting around - 5 to - 12 so it's not going anywhere. And tonight there is another huge dump of snow promised with up to 20 centimeters coming down.

Now I'm sure Jane Jacobs is smiling from on high somewhere. I live in a neighbourhood where everything is within walking distance. Public transit gets me anywhere that I need to get to outside of the neighbourhood. I don't mean to be smug, but watching the news reports of the chaos every morning and night on the arterial Highway 401 as commuters and snow removal teams fight it out to beat the snow... well, sometimes you wonder what they were thinking as they hopped into the car and decided to drive to work...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Each Sunday we've been taking a day to explore. Odd thing about this city is how some people who live here don't have much excitement about it, and yet its filled with amazing neighbourhoods and history. I only really understand a city if I can walk around it (one of the reasons Tokyo was so hard to understand...) so each Sunday we point ourselves in a new direction... based on architecture, or food, or some literary or musical highpoint... Sunday we wandered over to the Danforth, which seemed like it might be a new and exotic territory, then the plan was to walk down to the Indian neighbourhood and then down through Leslieville to the Distillery District (an old brick distillery that's been preserved and is now home to Soulpepper Theatre Co.)

Well.... the Danforth wasn't quite as exotic neighbourhood as I'd thought... pleasant, lots of shops, Starbucks etc etc etc... and friggin' cold... soooooo friggin' cold... last week we had a foot of snow, then it got warm and it all started to melt, then it got reeeal cold, so it all froze back again.... so now the sidewalks are covered in an inch of ice... So we stumbled away from the dull Danforth a little soon down to Gerrard to search for Hot Curries and Chai, but we'd missed Little India and it was just too cold to search so we slipped our way down to Leslieville. And, happily, when we retreated into an 2nd hand store to escape the cold we found a very cool piece of furniture for our currently extraordinarily empty apartment....

Anyway...buoyed by that discovery we finally gave up on walking over the icefields (we felt morally justified...Lisa will spend the next two weeks in -30 C weather in a pair of snowboots) and sensibly hopped into a taxi and admired Queen St. East from the warm interior of an old cab and sped to the Distillery District, which was all they said... beautiful - reminded me of Scotland - and containing an Oyster bar...which we inhabited and warmed ourselves with BC Wine and East Coast Oysters...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sensible Footwear

I guess a good choice of footwear is really about the conditions at hand. Thank god for Canadian Tire Hardware Store... $35.00 and I'm outfitted with the right shoes for the slightly new conditions I'm facing - off of the hardwood floor of theatres across Japan and onto the foot of snow that we should be facing in the next few days.... I'm ready!!