Sunday, October 22, 2006


My Crokinole board has been recovered... Let the games begin! I've got two ziploc bags full of specialty buttons - or discs, if you prefer - in classic black and tan as well as festive green and red, courtesy of top-competitor and three time World Champion, Joe Fulop (who, as luck would have it, just happens to pal around with my Uncle Dave)! There is some discrepancy over the origins of the game, though it is rumoured that the first board was made by a Mennonite sign painter from Ontario, in 1876. The game shares similarities with curling or shuffleboard but the board is reduced to a much smaller size. Players (two or four - singles vs. doubles) flick buttons across the board, toward the centre 20-point goal, referred to as the "doogie", while aiming also at hitting their opponent's buttons into the ditch. While the rules may sound simple, crokinole savvy requires patience, concentration, and a tough fingernail. I found that, though I had recently watched a brilliant documentary on the game and picked up pointers from Canada's best, I was sadly out of practice... Crokinole, directed by brothers Joshua and Jonathan Steckley, follows the world's top players, board-makers and enthusiasts as they prepare for the World Championship, held annually in Tavistock, (a small South Western Ontario town that bustles but once a year). The film is quirky and clever, and will probably have you searching for your own board (Mr. Crokinole has a monopoly on the industry; his beautiful collection of antique boards are available for purchase online). The Tavistock tournament rolls around in June, so get your flicker finger ready!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Stars, Deaths and Disasters

Andy Warhol/Supernova: Stars, Deaths and Disasters, 1962-1964, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, closes October 22. Avoid long line-ups and crowds. Skip it all together. I had been planning on going to this show for weeks and I finally scraped together the $15 (student rate, though technically I have graduated - don't tell) only to be sadly disappointed. Shows at the AGO have taken a nose-dive recently - small collections crammed into tiny rooms, blocked off cubicle-style and packed to the gills. Perhaps timing is to blame; the gallery is currently under major reconstruction and only a fraction of the space is open to the public. Of the six or seven accessible rooms, two were gift shops and one a cafe. Project Transformation Commercialization? Andy Warhol would have approved, I guess... No doubt he would have been chuffed, too, by the droves of art appreciators keenly tuned into David Cronenberg's portable audio guide. Cronenberg's commentary was interesting (as were Dennis Hopper's anecdotes), though due to over-crowding it was impossible to pause long enough before each piece to listen to the entire recording. Rather than allocating separate screening rooms for the films that were included in the show (as has been the case in past shows), these were projected instead on the walls and exhibited alongside Warhol's prints. While aesthetically the result was pleasing, crowding was again problematic. On an up note, the self-portrait gallery (boasting my mom Jeans' mug) was well worth the price of admission and the tiresome Henry Moore display has been revamped with Julian Opie stripper stick-figures. There's also a neat Opie installation at the corner of Bloor and Jarvis, in front of the Rogers building (cllick on the link for details).
A Related Aside
After a post summer school anti-reading campaign (that Contemporary British Fiction course really did me in) I ploughed through Widow Basquiat, Jennifer Clement's collection of poetic vignettes chronicling the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat's muse Suzanne Mallouk. Scenes overlap footage from Downtown 81 (which documents the 1980s New York art/music scenes, stars Basquiat and features appearances by fellow MUDD Club scenesters John Lurie, Esther Balint, Debbie Harry and others) and Julian Schnabel's revision Basquiat. Clement's literary adaptation is beautifully executed.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

This Weekend Reviewed (Part II)

Super Scrabble!
Double the letters, double the fun!
(double the time to play the game - that's two hours)
I won.

H / J
begs 13 boxed 30
xu us es 30 writs 47
yo ow 44 me ag mat 5 6
cob oy bow 70 wag wit 69
cobs revs 92 * 69
warner 112 diner 87
finch 164 fined 113
unhem* ef mi 205 SLIMIER ess 186
with hide 239 putter 214
deface 285 fairly 238
defacer looter 314 zits sputter 286
PANAMAS bows 397 * 286
fizzy 447 omen op en ma na 324
pots 471 equated 368
head 503 TRACTORS 478
bebop 533 en bo nomad 510
wide if en 556 heady eye 540
gout go us 576 tatter 561
frail 596 top of pi 589
molded 620 hoes 627
home 638 tooth 651
tux up xu 709 cams 684
jag ag 735 icing 720
neat an ta 750 gnaw 734
qat 774 an en ray 752
deck es 798 knelt 760
jar aw rif 839 urn 775
bod den 859 gore re 781
menus on 868 hider 792
* 868 lo 795
860 803

Monday, October 09, 2006

This Weekend Reviewed (Part I)

New shoes - chartreuse ballet biking slippers with pale pink elastic ribbons, $39.99 from Winners on Bloor Street, featured on my feet at Dupont Subway Station.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Library Low Down (part I)

Saint James Town Branch
As a visiting member of the public (a.k.a. "patron") you may wish to avoid the after-school rush. Teens, pre-teens, kids and tots flood the branch between 3pm and closing (see TPL hours). Looking for Mary Kate and Ashley paperbacks? The spinners are overflowing with them! Floor to ceiling windows offer a handsome view of Sherbourne and Wellesley - my birthplace (though the hospital has since been torn down). Take a study-break and shoot some hoops at the adjoining community centre or stop by The Baker's Dozen for a cup of joe (I recommend the instant vanilla cappuccino paired with a rice crispy square). Staff are warm and welcoming and the branch boasts a high tech self-checkout system (one of only two system-wide - see also Malvern Branch).

I'll have a falafel with hot sauce, a side order of babaganoush and a seltzer, please.

*That's a line from my all time favourite movie, Party Girl
(and the reason I love falafels and public libraries!)

"Sassy, savvy and definitely clued-in!"
That just about sums me up! Welcome to post number one. I signed up only to leave a comment on my friend, Luis' page, but this could be fun! Stay tuned...