Life as Art & Curiousity

Saturday, July 23, 2011

East Coast Connected: Clean Energy

In early June I attended East Coast Connected's annual Atlantic Business Summit as a guest reporter. A day geared towards clean energy initiatives, it was enlightening to say the least. Industry experts covered all ends of the spectrum, from the electric car to Canadian wind power projects. Technology and research provide promise, but the dialogue and collective commitment of our country/policies is lacking. With recent threats against the Green Energy Act, it seems more important than ever to get educated on the potential of clean energy. For a more thorough detailing: Next-level Initiatives and The Negawatt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Two wavy red-haired mavens of the news world– the resemblance can not go without mention. To the left is April O'Neil, the resilient NYC reporter of the early 90's cult classic, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (Yes. Cult. Classic.) To the right, Rebekah Brooks– dubious lady and focal point of the recent British press phone-hacking debacle.

Both women with their own threads of fictitious. With the tight-lipped and seemingly stylized performance of Tuesday's Parliament hearing, I'd say Ms. Moore could borrow from April O'Neil beyond the locks and faded freckles. Sure, April is a cable television reporter and not the all-mighty overseer, but ethics and democracy are her baseline. She single-handedly befriended the Ninja Turtles (exclusive) and helped break NYC's biggest crime crunch of the moment. On her own watch, she goes out of her way for justice. To Rebekah Brooks– may life imitate art. Or something.

There is a look-a-like happening. And just for another kick..... a message.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


grunge |grənj|noungrime; dirt.(also grunge rock) a style of rock music characterized by a raucous guitar sound and lazy vocal delivery.• the fashion associated with this music, including loose, layered clothing and ripped jeans.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Karen O covers Zeppelin for Film

Karen O is collaborating with Trent Reznor for the upcoming 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' adaptation and it's a Zeppelin cover. Streamlined pulse and the signature snark do 'Immigrant Song' well. Perhaps a reason to finally give the 'Book with the Terrible Title' a go.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Ghost synth and the enigmatic stage the fundamentals of Toronto's newest darling, Austra. Receiving a ton of media buzz as of late, this is a fanship I'm jumping on. Theatrics and goth-pop sensibilities are lined with the classically trained– lead vocalist, Katie Stelmani, in opera and Maya Postepski in classical percussion. The band has been dubbed with the usual round of comparisons– The Knife and Zola Jesus to name a few, but sounds rise to a disposition all their own. It's worth noting that Halifax-born, Damian Taylor– techie guy to Bjork, whose repertoire also includes names like UNKLE, Arcade Fire and The Prodigy– has been a guiding force behind this new sound.

 Austra just recently performed in Toronto before embarking on an international tour, and I'm regretting not being more on top of things. (missed it) The above 20 minute snippet of the Toronto Standard's office-to-cave set and show says it all... 

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Antlers: Burst Apart

 An alloy of sifting psychedelics, The Antlers' new album, Burst Apart, has had me highjacked for the last week. It's the ideal follow-up to 2009's Hospice with a trip of new tracks to define post-rock. ('n roll) Instrumentals are textured and interchanging with airy, prolific themes as the constant. The band's ability to flow from subdued to the sharp and rifting demonstrates technical prowess that borders along poetic. Carefully pieced but seamlessly played, it's a collection for more than a few listens– the jazz-ingested Tip-Toe; hints of a 50's love song in Putting the Dog to Sleep; No Windows' stark vocals Burst Apart has an overall candour that works. The Antlers secure themselves as purveyors of the soundscape and otherworldly, and this release can only promise happy hazes for day'zz.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Playback: Beck

Beck Sessions– we all have 'em. And if you don't, well then maybe you should. Girls, he's more than a head of baby-blond locks with astute producing skills. He is a man of many suits, both figuratively and literally, and I find myself piecing through Beck's library more and more for a taste of something good. It is of spectrum and always a little bizarre.

Old stuff demonstrates a singular take on 90's stoner-grunge. Loser, Where it's At, Devil's Haircut are the hits, but oh, there is so much more. How this low-key speed-talker bridged his own eccentrics with popular culture without faltering is a mystery to me. Experimental blips, country twang, electro-robotic sorts, acoustic, melodic and cinematic backdrops are all threaded throughout the 20-ish years of music making.

Above– "Beercan", an oldie and a personal fave, is a fair anecdote for a Friday. So shake your boots and let it all get loose. (It's all about the instant lamp-trash 00:12 seconds in.)

Monday, April 18, 2011


As cute girls in maxi dresses grace the internet via Coachella coverage, Toronto composes itself after a few minor slips of snowfall. Fleeting, we'll say– yet balmy shots of summer aesthetic and sound make the work week a tough pill to swallow. It's been noted: the daily dose of sunshine is best found in ways other than a glaring desktop device.

The Osheaga line-up is a proper [Canadiana] fix, but until then there's a trail of live music to set stride. (As a new city dweller, the weight in selection is exciting.) The Lykki Li show at The Phoenix Theatre on May 22nd is one I'm leaning towards. In comparison to her debut with Youth Novels, the new album clings to darker moods and, at times, droning vocals. However, her explorations as an artist keep things interesting, as she sways from the quirky, experimental pop that seems to be rooting itself in the pop culture stream. (Little Boots, Oh Land, Robyn, etc.) At this point, Wounded Rhymes is respect without the thrills for me. A live performance and Lykki Li has my curiosity, still. The deal-maker? Montreal electra-pawp experimenter and songstress, Grimes, is slated to open the show. Coos and double accents, it's to be an evening of curious clatter a la femme.  Above– a bit of Grimes for me and for you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some East Coast Sentiment

  I circled the Halifax Farmers' Market this afternoon and slurped down a heavy dose of sentiment with my strawberry smoothie. Toronto-life has been a seed in my brain for some time now, but it's only within the last week that plans have properly formed. And here, in the light crowds of our city market, the notions of farewell came over quick. (A "see you later" in a less dramatic moment.)

 We all have times when thoughts and plans distract from living as present. I admit, the last few months I've lacked zeal for city-life mischief. My trip to the market was with a friend from out of town, a foodie, who made several points to ogle over the building's general savoir faire. It was a shake and wake at justttt the right time.

 Why so wonderful? Besides a jackpot of locally produced fare, the Seaport Farmers' Market is a front-seat in sustainable design. The living green wall is plush and with purpose– and requires a closer look. With a continuum of more subtle perks to brag about, our market is a clear demonstration Halifax's commitment to community development. It translates as collective good living and forward thinking, and it comes from the steady wave of local people and businesses. This is Halifax! Hoorah.

 For the remainder of the weekend, my visitor and I spent time cooking, eating, drinking, and visiting local spots. Oh, how I will miss little nooks like The Wooden Monkey, Morris East, and Heartwood Bakery & Cafe, with their unbeatable food and servers; stores like Port of Wines and Premier, who will sit you down for a 15 minute tutorial on the tricky business of organic wine; Lost and Found and Twisted Muse, where fashion is friendly. A trip into Pete's Frootique had my foodie friend in blisters– he stocked up with specialty salts and other appropriates. (I, on the other hand am no connoisseur, and therefore cannot divulge what makes such samplings wonderful.) The isles were something of a paradise for him, coming from Saint John where the food movement is less present. (Perhaps soon to be changed...)

And so I say so-long to our coastal commune. Halifax! Thank you for the delicious food, a closet full  of threads, and some lessons in good livin'. As I continue to explore, I hold it all close to the shirt.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Song of Choice

The Weeknd sampling Siouxsie Sioux and other drugs. Providing immediate pleasures, why not say yes and let go of the rest. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

King of Limbs

Where am I? Dipping into the latest soundscapes of Radiohead, of course. Glitched electronics amidst  classical tones and Thom's range makes me warm.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sunnies Spectacular

 Karen Walker mixes beat poet and femme fatale with her vintage-inspired sunnies. A shade of perfection, mmm.

The Scando Files: Oh Land and Other Gifts

Rainbow by Oh Land from Big Ugly Yellow Couch on Vimeo.

  They are the lands that keep on giving. Beyond burgeoning street-style and a bike culture to dream about, the Scandinavian countries deliver music of their own guise. When Bjork emerged in the early 90s as a solo artist (wafting and dreamlike) her sound and risks struck a nerve with a global audience.

   In recent years, artists like The Knife, Sigur Ros, Lykki Li, and Robyn have achieved huge success on the Western front. Stylistically varied and defined amongst themselves, there is a commonality to the Scando sound that's incredibly visceral. It is the power of giving pop music a soul; interlacing music and new methods with, perhaps, a more curious approach to both life and art. Sounds are provided with atmosphere to linger long after the song has played out.

  Oh Land is the latest wonder to trickle from across the pond. Singer/ song-writer, Nanna Øland Fabricius, builds herself with a sense of play, mixing boisterous moods and a gentility that works. From outskirts of Copenhagen, she's a trained ballet dancer raised by a family of creatives. An upbringing  both disciplined and free (Ok, I'm making assumptions, but its pretty likely), and such spirit translated into music is one to enjoy. And impossible not to crush on. Great selection of capes and apparel in general. For more about Oh Land, visit her website here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spring Reveal

Missoni means aging gracefully. Or maybe just ageless. Substance and style / fabric and form are forever more, as are these family ties.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quote of the Night

 We work in the dark — we do what we can — we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fashionably Late at Bishops Landing

Last Friday evening’s invitation came a little too conveniently. Tea, treats, and a shopping excursion? Now there’s a proper love triangle. Joining a few fellow bloggers at Bishop’s Landing‘s Fashionably Late event was the perfect opportunity to suss out the area and meet some new folks.

We started the evening at Café Ristretto for warm bevies and introductions. The shopping portion of the night consisted of $50 each and a secret santa draw. I chose the name of vibrant artist and personality, Shelagh Duffett. It became clear I was on the right track when every shop I hit, Shelagh meandered into shortly after. We both seemed to enjoy One Stop Wood Shop with its eclectic carvings and art. I selected 2 birch vases made from Hurricane Earl roughage as part of my gift, although the wooden cutting boards were tough to pass by. (Alas, Shelagh picked one up as her gift.) This spot wowed me with its extremely affordable items and charm.

Turbine was another lovely stop, with owner/designer Lisa Drader-Murphy serving up pink bubbly to her shoppers. Rich fabric and lots of lustre– nighttime’s relaxed lighting made it all the more enjoyable. Styles here seem both fun and refined, and well suited to the professional lady with an edge. Maybe thats me, as I am now the proud owner of Turbine’s signature belt, courtesy of Renée, the Fiesty Chef. (Thanks Renée!)

Visiting Frida Fine Jewelry was more about curiosity than a secret santa mission. Fresh from New Glasgow, this place is a hotbed of high end, exclusive designs. Distressed metals, stones, and polished silver pieces intermingled beautifully. “Cleopatra” style necklaces in all extravagance only complimented the tamer jewel selections. Lovely! But sorry Shelagh, a bit out of range for today. I spent the remainder of my cash at Bishop’s Cellar. The staff is always so assured and I consistently leave confident I’ve got a good drink. A nice medium bodied red did the trick.

For those still on the holiday hunt, there will be another Fashionably Late event this Friday, with late night hours. Bishop Landing’s holiday spirit is gracefully placed amongst specialty shops and fine dining. I left with a fabulous new accessory and a little extra holiday spirit!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lovers Lust

Shakuhachi: an Aussie label made of peek-a-boo cuts and a throne of wafting bodice. Further encouraging twirls and free thought. Betcha can't pick just one. A must for the romantics.