That’s a wrap

My work here is done. The purpose of this blog was to have fun and it’s not fun anymore. The park incident below is part of the reason. I turn 70 this month and it’s bad for me be exposed to too much absurdity.

Not to leave you hanging, I’ll finish the story I started in the post below. First, the email reply I received from Toronto 311 information service. I have redacted all identifying information except my own. Continue reading

Harassed in local park

Today, a young lady in a safety vest told me I needed a permit to photograph skaters in Greenwood Park. OK. I went into the recreation office to see about the permit. The R.F.A. (???) on duty said, “It’s complicated”. I would need to have every skater come in and sign. Uh huh.

It’s easier to accept the sign’s misspelling than its meaning. I’ll try to look into this nonsense.

Villa Toronto Union Station slides

In an earlier post, I said I’d put up a slide show of shots I took at the public art display in the train station. It starts outside so you can see the freshly cleaned columns. Slowly, the 3-year reno is coming to an end.

I don’t feel a need to say much about the individual pieces, they speak for themselves, or don’t. My photos need assistance though, because the materials are important and my pictures don’t show that. The totem, for example. Incredibly, it is made of thousands of pieces of paper, cut and stacked as if printed in layers.

I “helped” with a frame around the double wastebin, to let you know it is a sculpture. There was a similarly made full-size port-a-potty but I did not photograph it because two workmen on lunch break said it was the only piece that EVERYBODY snapped. The wastebin lids worked. Nothing inside. The port-a-potty was locked.

There were volunteers, all female and young, watching over the show in 4 hour shifts. I thought they would be art keeners, and perhaps they were, but they didn’t seem to know much art history … or at least names of major 20th century European artists.

In general, I think it’s a good idea to stick contemporary art out into public places where people have to wait and have time to ponder. There’s probably very little money for this sort of thing, but fewer pieces would have been OK, and maybe a single temporary wall to hang things on. I don’t think the cubicles were very successful.

Two Bills say Bye to Stollery’s

stollerys-billMy friend Bill and I were on Bloor for lunch today so went went to see what was left of Stollery’s at the corner of Yonge. The developer has been criticized for his haste to demolish the old clothing store, probably fearing that heritage lovers might hold up construction of his proposed tower. Indeed, that does seem to have been his motive. He sent in a weekend crew the minute he had his demolition permit, but only the interesting bits of carving are gone from the facade. There. Doesn’t look very heritage now, does it?

Danica and I agree that the building wasn’t worth preserving … nothing special. Developer Mizrahi probably didn’t need to act with offensive haste.

Bill and I went next store, where Stollery’s has set up temporarily to sell off the inventory. We found that prices have been reduced from extremely high to very steep. Nothing for us, thank you.


When I got home, Danica asked how construction was going on the other corner, at One Bloor East. Looks like they have quite a way to go.

YouTube: Watching it watch me

stupidA friend emailed a link to a beer commercial he saw on YouTube, wanting to share a laugh. I clicked it and YouTube now thinks I should watch every bit of adolescent hoohaw that has ever been uploaded.

I don’t care that Google and YouTube watch everything I watch, but their “Recommended For You” nonsense reveals the real problem with artificial intelligence. It’s stupid.

When Stephen Hawking warns us that thinking machines may take over and render the human species obsolete, I don’t worry that A.I. will outpace us with superior intellect. I could live with that. (Well, maybe not live … die, actually.)

The more obvious danger is that we will surrender too much control to idiotic digital know-it-alls that get everything wrong.

Art time at Union station

There are still a couple of days (ends Jan 23rd) to see the Villa Toronto installation of artworks. If you miss it, I’ll put up a slideshow soon, but here’s one for starters.
weighing-the-worldSculpture by Dane Mitchell

As you see, it’s in the “readymade” tradition of work by Marcel Duchamp. A little alteration was made to the scale, adding the label “WEIGHT OF THE WORLD” to the dial. Getting the world onto the scale was simple enough.

art-at-union-stationI snapped a photo of the white display cubicles built for the show. Not exactly lovely, but hey … budgets. This is a non-commercial reach-out to the public. More about it in this Star article.

OK, one more … A refreshing change from self-involved, often pompous and obscure “Artist’s Statements”.

Derek Sullivan has recreated Constantin Brancusi’s Endless Column, then plastered it with posters and dubbed it Endless Kiosk.