Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Hallowe[']en!

Why do people not put the apostrophe in that word anymore? I was brought up spelling it with the punctuation mark, but it seems like it's perfectly correctly to leave it out nowadays.

Speaking of punctuation and all things writing, I finished grading yesterday and the papers got handed back in class this evening. I wasn't there---was at home, asleep---so I missed the crestfallen faces.

I am feeling better today than I have been the past few days. I am not over this nasty cold yet, but at least I can function again. This afternoon I went to school for a quick lunch at Massey and then after dropping the papers off at the prof's office I headed to tutorial. In the first one, two students came. In the second, three! I guess now that the students know what goes on in tutorial and have handed in their first assignment, they didn't see the need to come. I feel slightly unloved, but not really: can't take these things personally. The next tutorials---they are optional---will be the week the students are working on their next assignment, so I expect more bodies then.

Since I skipped out on lecture, I was home by 5pm even after I did some grocery shopping. And what a difference this makes in my Tuesdays! For the past several weeks I've been getting home at 10pm or later after long days of teaching or meetings, class lecture, and Massey lecture. It was nice to have a few hours to decompress. I do need to get cracking on work, but the long nap was definitely in order.

The internet has ceased to entertain me (for today) so I think I'll go read. And then tomorrow I should get a paper proposal done and get back to my dissertation . . . .

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Indie Music 7.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, please do let me know.

This week the Hallowe'en themed events continue. And I can pretty much guarantee three great non-ghostly parties later on in the week (well, if you're me, you'll have a great time): Tom's birthday bash at the Boat on Thursday, and the shows at the Boat and Tiger Bar the next night. And if you're up for something on Hallowe'en night itself, Dee's is having a free all-"Ghost" show. I love it. Lots more options, of course.


RoflCopter, The Sweethearts of the Revolution, Billy the Kid @ Lee's Palace, $5

SHOELESS MONDAY featuring The Stereo Hoax @ 11:30, See Spot Run (Montreal) @ 10:30 & ‘Three Star Red’ @ 9:30. Horseshoe Tavern, no cover. See Spot Run!


HALLOWEEN ROCK’N'BURLESQUE feat. (Burlesque) Rani Rhinestone, Nestle Chocolate, Ginger Marquee & (Rock) Fire Hydrant, The Atomic Ravens @ The Boat, $5.

Everything All The Time, Peter Project, plus Everything All The Time DJ set @ Supermarket. 9 pm, $5

David Picco & Jetset Motel, The Northwest Division (Charlottetown) @ The Dakota (249 Ossington at Dundas), No cover.

The Edge 102.1 DAVE BOOKMAN’S NU MUSIC NITE: NXNE Kick Off! On the lineup are popular Toronto band DD/MM/YY @ 12:00, Purr @ 11:10, Casey Baker @ 10:20 & Calgary's The Dudes @ 9:30, Horseshoe Tavern, no cover.

Nick Fraser/Drumheller at Tranzac, 10 pm, pwyc. This is kinda different from my usual listings... "jazz/experimental."

Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 Tribute w/ PANTS & TIE, EUROPE IN COLOUR, WE TAKE LOVERS, LITTLE PROUD, OBVIOUSLY 5 BELIEVERS, ACTION MOB, KEY WITNESS, more @ The Silver Dollar Room, $5.

Or, for something different, try Ambient Ping All Hallow's Eve-Eve with Ghost of a Flea and MiMo at the Drake Underground, 8 pm, pwyc.


The Ghost is Dancing, w/ Proof of Ghosts, Ghostlight, Ghosthands, Ghost Television @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, free + cheap beer. How can this not be crazy-fun? Read an interview with the headliners here.

HALLOWEEN CRUISE @ The Boat, $5. (Not sure what this means . . . presumably a dance party.)


Mean Red Spiders, The Phoenix Lights Band @ Smiling Buddha, $5

This week's No Shame show at Tiger Bar features The Miles: Ferdinand-esque, frantic post-punk well-mannered youths, fresh out of high school and into your ears... THANK YOU!; Rouge: Yet another Guelph find! She-rock electronic-ettes dance you to death without wasting a breath; and Oscar Brown: Electro-Dance wizard escapes the Foxfire Forest to get you movin’. Doors open at 9pm, and it will cost you $5. Wanna check it out but don't know how to get to the venue? Ask me. This one should be a good dance party!

MMIICCHHAAEELL Michael Herring, Michael Daley, Nico Dann play Bob Dylan's entire The Times They Are a Changin' album) with Alex Lukashevsky @ the Central. 9:30pm, pwyc.

Local Alternative at the Horseshoe Tavern: Parker @ 12:00, Basia Lyjak @ 11:10, Chillin Room (Fredericton) @ 10:20, and Jet Black Stereo @ 9:30. $5.

RONLEY TEPER & THE LIPLINERS, LIZ & MAGALI (Phonemes), THE WEDNESDAY SMITH SHOW (Simon Patrick Rogers) at Tranzac, 10 pm, pwyc.

** Tom's 13th birthday, feat. a whole bunch of bands, including some of my favourites, who will play quick sets. This gets going at 9pm at The Boat, and will set you back $5. Who, you ask, is Tom? He's half The Gravity Wave's ridiculous/amazing live show---when his mom lets him perform, which is usually. He's also a singer-songwriter himself, and a nice kid to boot. How can this not be a great party?!


** Casual Sex Dance Party's 1st Anniversary show with Modernboys Moderngirls, Foxfire Forest, Beth in Battle Mode, and DJ Shit La Merde @ The Boat, $5. Yes!! This will be awesome, I have no doubt. I love Foxfire Forest and Shit la Merde, and last I heard MBMG they were good too.

** Easy Tiger 1 Year Anniversary with The Rural Alberta Advantage, The Wooden Sky, and more at Tiger Bar. Doors at 10pm, $5. Yes!! This will be even more awesome because I will (likely) be there.

Beekeepers Society (EP release party), Pelham 123 (farewell gig), Sara Kamin @ The Cameron House (408 Queen St. West, just past Spadina), 9 pm, $5.

* Jenny Owen Youngs @ Arbor Room, Hart House, 9 pm, free.


The Speaking Tongues, Terror Lake, Mississippi Grover at Clinton's Tavern, 9pm, $5.

* U of T's The Varsity newspaper presents Off the Record! featuring Uncut, The Coast, Germans, Now Yr Taken, & DJ Shit la Merde. This one gets started at 9:30pm at The Boat, and is free with your T-Card (or $5 without)! All proceeds will be donated to Journalists for Human Rights. Sounds like fun! I've seen two of the performers before, and can attest to their good-ness.

** Republic of Safety, with The Bicycles, More Or Les, Ohbijou @ North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge St., 8pm. This one's free---FREE!---but you gotta get a ticket. (VERY limited tickets available at North York Central, Toronto Reference, Cedarbrae, Lillian H. Smith and York Woods libraries.) Read a little more about it here.

The Slipper Orchestra, Ashkon, Maria, Paper Bird Crew, uLTRaGaLaPaGouS @ The Concord Café, 8pm, $6.

Tacoma Hellfarm Tragedy and Kat Burns at Tranzac, 9:30 pm, pwyc. This is more folky-country-indie stuff.

Weird Weather and Hamilton Trading Co. at The Boat, $5.

Or if you're up for some indie jazz, check out Wavelength 387 featuring Feuermusik, God's Gift to Yoda, The Cog & Drone + DJ Music is My Radar. This one's happening (as usual) at Sneaky Dee's. Doors at 9pm, pwyc.

Want to spend more money? See more listings here. And curious about where I get my listings? See the links to the right. Plus I also check facebook event listings and occasional come across things on myspace. (I sometimes steal text directly, without footnotes!)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Uggghhhhhhhhh, and complaining about students.

I've been really feeling quite rotten the past couple days. I think I might be slightly better just now . . . so let's hope that when I get up tomorrow, I'll be well enough to go to school without it causing me too much trouble, health-wise.

Other than being sick and feeling weak and feverish, I have papers to grade. But I'm on a bit of a roll now, and have only 6 left to do. I am really unimpressed with the quality of most of them. Geez. A few students have honestly tried and, whatever their success rate, at least they tried. But so many others I feel just rushed the thing off and this annoys me. And, although I realize I should chill out, I can't help but take sloppiness personally. If a student sometimes spells it "Mao" (correct) and sometimes "Moa" (INCORRECT), I am annoyed. And etc. The biggest problem, though, is just that students don't know how to make good, evidence-based, reasonable arguments in written form. And it really boggles my mind. I know when I was an undergrad my writing wasn't as good as it is now. But I learned how to write an essay in high school. So even if I misplaced a comma and messed up possessives and plurals, I still---for the most part---understood the function of paragraphs and proper essay flow. Most of these students do not. Since this is a third-year course, I don't have abundant sympathy for them. They have to start taking responsibility for themselves.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I was feeling pretty rotten on Saturday, but by nightfall was well enough to head out with FN and EH to the Embassy, a hipster bar in Kensington Market. We went to celebrate my birthday, and a whole bunch of people showed up. It was a great time, and thanks to everyone who came out! Now I know who my true friends are, eh ;-).

People kept insisting that I drink shots, and when I absolutely could not refuse, I did so. By the end of the night I'd ingested 6 of them plus half a pint of Weiss beer. I drank a whole lot of water too, though, so wasn't particularly drunk or ill. And I was fine today . . . except that I am sicker than ever. I can't blame going out for being sick: it's just day 4 of this cold, which means my nose is stuffed up and it's disgusting. Needless to say, I won't be heading out to see Woodhands tonight. Which is sad, but such is the state of things.

In other news, I still have 25 essays left to grade. Best get myself something to eat and then get on those ASAP.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I'm sick, I can't sleep, and I still haven't graded those damn papers. My whole body is aching and I don't like it. Boo. And all the drugs don't seem to be working, unless I'd be feeling worse without them.

So, Friday was mostly a bust. I got very little sleep Thursday night and then had to wake up early for a meeting of our student society. The meeting was good but the behaviour of a certain someone was rather shocking. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but who knew? However, I think some good things were said at the meeting, and we've now got a new blog. I hope it makes a positive difference in our community. Time will tell.

Oh, but there is some more good news: I am almost done putting together a semi-annual report for my dissertation committee. I decided to do this today, and it hasn't taken long, but I think it will be a useful document for my profs to have. I am telling them what I've been up to since April, giving them my chapter outline, discussing the chapter I'm working on now, and including a bibliography of secondary sources (to complement for bibliography of primary sources I sent them in April). Hopefully it will make them happy. If not, there's nothing I can do. Not until I've finished this chapter.

But now back to me and my woes. Ugh. Pain.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy bday to me!

I started really writing my dissertation during the small hours on Thursday. And . . . yay . . . but, also, now to need to get more books out of the library. D'oh! Such is to be expected.

I didn't do anything fancy to celebrate my birthday---I am now 28---but did go to a fabulous talk this afternoon in the department. The topic turned out to be really up my academic alley. Very interesting stuff. Afterwards, some of us adjourned to the house of a fellow grad student for wine and cheese and etc. I got to talk more about history and spend time with one of the nicest, sweetest dogs ever. EVER. So, that was excellent.

Later this evening, I met up with good friend JR, who is teaching at a liberal arts college in New York State. (He's in town for a conference.) It was great to see him. He bought me half a pint and a basket of fries at the Victory. Mmmm.

I still haven't marked those 30 papers yet. God damn. I really need to get on that. Soon.

Oh, and thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Work hard, party hard.

Today was a busy one for me, but I end it not feeling too tired, so it's all good.

The first meeting (for 2007-08) of the Graduate Education Council was this afternoon. I sit on this body as a graduate student rep for the humanities division. Not much happened, but I learned some good-to-know things about the university and graduate education matters.

After that I trotted off to lecture. I ended up only half paying attention to the prof, because---like last week---I found my mind wandering to my own dissertation while he was talking. Going to lecture is actually turning out to be really useful for me! I get bonus points with the prof and the students, I learn new things about the course I'm TAing, and I'm inspired to come up with good ideas about my own research. Good, good.

I made my way over to Robarts Library to pick up some needed books, running into a couple historians while there. (Outside the department, the library is the best place to find history grad students. Perhaps this is obvious.) I got what I came for, then had a quick---and enormous---dinner at Hart House. At which point it was time to dash off to Massey College for yet another lecture.

This time a fellow junior fellow was presenting her work on bubbles. (The ones in space that have stars inside them.) She did a great job explaining complicated things, and I think I managed to come away having learnt something about astrophysics.

When the lecture ended, and everything was put away, I found myself energetic enough to want to continue my day out. So I walked over to Sneaky Dee's for a show. LA's The Deadly Syndrome, playing their first show in Canada, was first, followed by new Toronto band Oh No Forest Fires---unfortunately named, perhaps, for playing a show with guys from LA right now, and the headliners, Oh No! Oh My! I enjoyed TDS's set. Good, creative musicianship and energy. I thought the drummer was especially fantastic, while the main singer has a great voice. (Or so it sounded to me, through my earplugs.) Oh No Forest Fires was fine. I was glad to see all the players rocking out this time, and as they play more shows they will only get better at connecting with the audience. Their music is interesting and complex, but I felt like it didn't always work. But then, what do I know? (Not a lot.) I will see them again for sure, and not only because I like the guys in the band. Seriously, they just started playing shows, and they perform like they've been together for ages. It's impressive.

I wasn't excited about Oh No! Oh My! Their recorded songs are fine, but there's nothing special about them, I don't find. I'd read in the blogosphere that they were some kind of next big thing in 2006, but my sense is that this didn't pan out. They have a second album out now, and as they are touring, I suppose it's doing ok. Once they started playing, though, it was soon clear to me that these guys are actually a good group. They completely drew me in, and I was moving along with everyone else in the by-now quite small crowd. (It was after midnight on a Tuesday, after all.) I thought they were just fantastic. Their music was a good mix of standard pop, indie rock, folky ballads, and the occasional edgier bits, performed enthusiastically but still with a "we're just regular guys" kind of vibe. Well done, guys.

Ok, now I'm really starting to feel like a poser since I really don't know anything about music. My point, finally, is this: the show was good, the last band surprised, and I came home with a charming bit of stage memorabilia (see photo below), and an Oh No! Oh My! t-shirt and CD. Not a cheap night, but still cheaper than Spoon, and I will remember this one much more fondly.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Of kings, puritans, and United Empire Loyalists.

My Dad is on a genealogy kick these days. (I think he is bored out in C'town.)

I don't suppose this is terribly unique, but it seems we can trace our family line back to Edward I, King of England. (I don't know if it's really possible to do this, but my dad is convinced it's all true.) By the 17th century, the family had moved to Massachusetts, so they were probably puritans. Later on, one son must have been a Loyalist: he moved himself to Nova Scotia, and the family stayed in the British colonies for several generations. My great great grandmother died in Cambridge, MA, and this is where my grandmother grew up. She and her husband (also an American) moved their young family to Ottawa after the Second World War. My dad was born soon after.

The other half of my dad's family (his father's) can trace its roots confidently back to the American colonies in the early eighteenth century. One relative was a general in the Civil War, while two others fought in the Revolutionary War under George Washington. Actually, there's a recent book about famous P's in American history. Kinda neat, if not particularly useful or telling.

My mother is French-Canadian. I don't know anything about her family, though they've probably been in the New World for quite some time.

But why am I thinking about this stuff?! Back to dissertation research . . . .

Indie Music 6.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, please do let me know.

There's lots to do! Goodness me. My head is exploding. Seriously. I am stunned by the variety of amazing indie(ish) music to be had in town for cheap this week. Keep reading for details. And let me know if you want to go with me to anything. Or if you think I should be spending more time on my dissertation.

And remember to bring earplugs, just in case.


Every Tuesday there's a free show at the Horseshoe Tavern, The Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite. This week's lineup is pretty great: Songs From A Room @ 12:00, The Zoobombs @ 11:10, The Disraelis @ 10:20, and Bella (Vancouver) @ 9:30. Wow. One last chance to catch the Zoobombs before they leave the country . . . and for free! At least according to

Up on College St., at Sneaky Dee's, for $7, you can go see Oh No! Oh My! (Austin, TX) with Oh No Forest Fires and The Deadly Syndrome (Los Angeles, CA). Doors open at 9pm. Wow. I am torn. Should I go to this and be a good friend, or blow it off to check out the Zoobombs??

And for a more low-key, more women-heavy evening, there's this: Katie Stelemanie, Isla Craig, and Carmen Elle. It's happening at The Boat from 9pm. $5.

Or head over to Queen and Bathurst to Bovine Sex Club for this show: The Heatskores, Maximum RNR, and Hot Little Rocket. 9 pm, $5.


Another night with two shows that I'm confident will be good (depending on your musical tastes), and two others that just might well be too. So many cheap options! The thing about Toronto, a scenester/actor/musician/bartender/etc. recently told me, is that some of the best shows happen on weeknights: musicians often work weekend nights at their "day jobs."

Three good bands: Llions, OPOPO, and Green GO @ The Boat, $5, 9pm. The Llions are lovely live. And I've heard good things about the others.

Another set of three good bands: Sneaky Dee's Free for All Wednesdays (i.e. no cover + cheap beer). Doors 9pm. Beth in Battle Mode, The I Spies, Ten Kens. Heck, it's free, and it should be a good time to boot!

Horseshoe Tavern offers up a night of "Local Alternative" music. This week it's Hoolie Snatch @12:00, Hawthorne @11:10, Shadows In Red @10:20, and The Wilderness @9:30. Cover is $4.00.

Or else you can take in Isla Craig and Muskox at Tranzac (Brunswick Ave., just south of Bloor), which will cost you whatever you care to pay.


Les Parallelions are having a video release party at the Boat, starting at 9pm, $5. Joining them will be The Rails, Department of Justice, and The Woolves.

Local Alternative at the Horseshoe Tavern: Mondays Fiction @12:00, A Thousand Cures @11:10, A Fourth World @10:20, and Perkins @9:30. $6.00

If you feel like dancing this night, Supermarket in Kensington Market is offering up Super Secret Thursdays with DJ Task (This is London), DJ Orly (from Step Ball Hustle) plus special guest. Doors open at 9:30pm, $5 cover.

Tiger Bar's No Shame (regular Thursday night indie show, 9pm, $5) features:
- Tune-Yards (Vermont) Merrill Garbus of 'Sister Suvi' is an amazon; an enormous woman with enormous vocals. She dominates with her tenor uke and looping pedal, percussion, and plenty of guts.
- Pink Eye (Detroit) Dark Improv from south of the border, unpredictable and savage.
- Huckleberry Friends (Toronto) Ominous art rock ensemble play haunting songs, built on layers of unaffected vocals, the slow heartbeat of heavy toms, wheezing organ and chilling expanses of space, mature and creepily timeless.
- Another band, TBA.

Baby Eagle, Shotgun Jimmie, and Construction and Destruction are stopping by Sneaky Dee's as part of their fall tour tonight starting at 9pm. Cover is $5.


Marienbad, The Gravity Wave, Foxes, and DJ Chili Palmer are bringing "electrodancefun" to the Boat. Doors 9pm, $5. The Gravity Wave is a phenomenon you should see.

The Diableros's CD release party (for "Aren't Ready for the Country") is happening at the Horseshoe, $8 cover. Set times are as follows: The Diableros @ 12:30, Young Rival @ 11:30, The People of Canada @ 10:30, and Church Of State @ 9:30.

I might have to head over to Sneaky Dee's if I feel like getting my groove on after taking in a serious lecture at Trinity College. DJ Shit la Merde, no cover before 11pm; $5 after. Dance!

Easy Tiger is a weekly dance party at Tiger Bar. It's good fun, and it costs $5. This ain't the entertainment district, and you might need to beware of hipsters. (But it's ok: they are harmless.) This week's band is Casper & The Cookies (Athens, GA). If you miss the band because you're running late, stay and dance until the wee hours to the Easy Tiger DJs.


There's some stuff happening. Mostly to do with Hallowe'en and costumes and such. But if you're not doing those, then there are two options, so far as I can make out. (1) Check out The Mark Inside at Sneaky Dee's. Cover is pwyc doors at 9pm. The other bands on the bill are Action Makes and The Postage Stamps. (2) Come by The Embassy in Kensington Market for a drink with me---I'm celebrating turning 28! I'll be there from 9:30pm or so, and might head over to the Boat after midnight. Happening there is the 3rd annual Goin' Steady Monster Mash, "Toronto's hottest dance party old fashion beat music - 40s/50s/60s."


Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Woodhands, and One Heart Many Hands are playing a show at Whippersnapper Gallery starting at 8 pm. Tickets are $10 online or $12 at the door. This one's highly recommended by Carl Wilson, the guy who does the Zoilus Toronto Gig Guide. I may have to check this one out, since I have serious love for Woodhands, men and group. They are just great. (The other guys playing are probably ok too.)

Cheaper and closer to campus is Wavelength 386 at Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc. This week the popular Sunday night music showcase features rockers Ontario Power Generation, Sightings (Brooklyn, NY), and Marienbad (if you missed them on Friday, or liked them so much you want to see them again) + DJ Pistol Pete.

On OPG's myspace page you can check out two videos of the Star Trek-themed medley the band performed at Tranzac a while back. It was amazing live! Blew everyone away. These guys know how to rock out. (But I admit to never having heard them play their own, non-ST songs . . . yet.)

And, finally, there's this happening at the Boat for $5, from 9pm: Northamorica, Tim Gilbertson (Edmonton), and The Dukes Of The Archipelago (Montreal). My sources say it's gonne be "gentleindierockandelectroroll."

I see writing in my future.

I actually got a lot of work done today. I haven't managed to start writing my first chapter yet, but it's coming. In all seriousness, I think I can start really writing this week. And because I've got all these notes (on books and articles, not on my archival materials) in some kind of order, the writing should happen without too much difficulty. I don't mean quickly, but I do mean without difficulty. I'll let you know. At the moment, I'm happy. (And nocturnal.)

Oh, except that I've got 30 student papers to grade. Poop.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'm sorry if my sassiness offends you.

Yes, I really am. Sometimes. Other times, I just think if you're offended you really should buck up. I don't intend to be mean---though I do intend to be sassy if I'm in the mood. However, I don't like that I hurt people's feelings on occasion. That sucks, and I feel badly about that. So I'm sorry. (Really, though, you should be able to take it. Unless I am actually being a jerk, in which case please tell me and I will properly apologize and try my best to act better in the future.)

Does all this make me sound like a loser? I think it might. Oh well.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A night of CD releases.

Last night I was to be found at the Horseshoe Tavern on Queen West for the Five Blank Pages's CD release party. And it was great fun! The music was awesome, and the crowd---for the most part---was good. I arrived solo and made small talk with some guy for a bit before heading up to the front of the stage to take in Infighter. I enjoyed the set, and was called out for my coolness for standing front and centre. Near the end of the set I spotted CG2 off to the side of the stage. After more than an hour at the place, finally someone I knew arrived. Once the set was done we ran into JF, EH, and MB just as they were arriving.

Next up was the FBP, celebrating the release of "Last Blush," their first full-length album. (Read a review of the new disc here.) For last night's show, the band played some of the songs from their new disc accompanied by friends on trumpet, cello, violin, and trombone. It was a nice touch. And everyone on stage and off---well, I could only see the people on either side of me in the front row---seemed happy.

The highlight of the night for friends EH and MB was the final act, Tin Bangs. These guys are great performers and put on an energetic show. (And, you know, it doesn't hurt that the singer is easy on the eyes.) EH for sure wants to see them again; they are playing at the Bovine next month. The band was also releasing a disc with a few songs on it, and had free EPs on hand to give out. I haven't had a listen yet, but I do like free stuff. Again, I was front and centre, and managed to avoid getting water spilled on me or being whacked by a guitar. ;-)

The night ended late---got home at quarter after three---but it was a fun evening out. I met some cool musician-type people, and got to hang out with a few others I'd met before. And I did my best to avoid drunkenness and embarrassment, and think I mostly succeeded.

Today FN and I are hosting a dinner party for a few friends. We've been cooking for hours already, so now it's time for a wee break. I think I need to eat more chocolate. I think in general I need to eat more chocolate. Yes.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Some complaints.

My life is feeling quite full as usual, and I'm still not getting much done. So, rather than bore you with the details of my days---though pub night last night was fun!---let me do something different (yet not different at all): complain.

1. A friend from out of town came and visited with her partner a while back. They stayed a night. I was happy to accommodate them, and provide them with clean sheets and towels. I like these people. But I would have liked for them to offer to pay for one of the following expenses I incurred while with them: dinner, breakfast, coffee. Maybe they do things differently in Europe. I feel every so slightly used by them, and this makes me grumpy when I remember it.

2. The Spoon concert was fine, and I had a good time. But I've had much better and more memorable times at $5 and pwyc shows at small venues where I didn't know the bands and knew very few people in the crowd. Maybe large-venue live shows just aren't my thing, but I am slightly disgruntled that I paid so much to see Spoon. It wasn't worth the expense. Not at all.

3. A friend of mine was mugged nearby the other day. And I was mugged a couple years ago nearby too. This makes me angry. What is wrong with people? I guess some of them are just assholes, as that guy on Torontoist likes to say.

4. My parents aren't having much luck selling their C'town house. And while it sits on the market, my dad and dog are out there, sans my mom, who is in Ottawa. I want the house to be sold soon so that the family will be reunited! My dad is fine, and Xena loves the beach, but still.

5. Why is there not enough time in my life to do things that everyone needs to do---grocery shop, prepare and eat food, sleep, do laundry---plus do school work, teach, do extra-curricular school stuff, and have a bit of a social life. I'm going to have to cut out social life if I can't get work done. Because seriously.

Ok, that's it for now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I am still feeling a bit winded by the blood test I had this afternoon. It really did a number on me. Good thing I didn't have any meetings or other commitments afterwards. I had to lie down for nearly an hour afterwards before I was feeling ok enough to walk out of the clinic. On my way home I stopped at Massey for a cookie and orange juice to regain some strength. Even now, I barely have enough energy to type! But I must get over this because I really want to get a conference paper proposal done before I go to bed.

Yesterday during the lecture for the class for which I am a TA, I was struck with inspiration. The professor said something about food and ideological indoctrination---he was talking about the coca-cola wars in post-WWII France---and my mind went "bingo!" I'm not sure I can be as direct as that about the American Red Cross's milk distribution program in Petrograd in the winter of 1917-1918, but I need to think and read more about this.

I also learned some things about machine translation of language last night at a lecture at Massey. Interesting stuff. It's quite incredible how much better automatic translation programs have become in just a few years. What Google spits out is actually not half-bad.

The Five Blank Pages CD release show on Friday at the Horseshoe Tavern has been getting a lot of (at least online) press, and today I noticed lots of posters around town advertising for the show. It should be a good party!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Indie Music 5.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, please do let me know.

There's lots of good, cheap stuff happening this week. I'm posting this a bit late for Tuesday night shows, but oh well. Busy day! Ack.

As for what I'm doing music-wise this week, I might go out Thursday. I will go out Friday. Let me know if you want to come with.


The Micronite Filters w/ Jon McKiel (from Halifax) and Oh No Forest Fires. This is Pitter Patter Nights #297 $5 @ The Boat, 158 Augusta. "indierockandbluesyroll." Oh No Forest Fires is a new band. They debuted a few weeks ago at Tiger Bar, and this will be their second show. They are louder and more exciting live than they are in their myspace demos. One of the main band members is Rajiv, the bass player from Five Blank Pages (see Friday's listing for more on that).

Walk over to the Silver Dollar Room on Spadina just north of College for The Zoobombs with opening acts Blood Ceremony and The Mark Inside. It'll cost you $10 to get it and take it all in. The Zoobombs' style is described by NOW Magazine as "funky psych blast." My friend CS offered up this: "japanese hard rock hip hop punk rock indy rock---they've got it all." Sounds pretty amazing, don't it?

And two free shows. Listings from Musicologist:
Wintersleep CD release w/ A Northern Chorus @ the Horseshoe, free.
Sarah Melody @ Mod Club (featuring an appearance by SNOW!), free.


I got nothing, but see the listings here. Or, ok, maybe you can check out Mohawk Lodge and Octoberman at the Boat. Actually, this looks like it will be a good show. I am pro-Pitter Patter Nights these days. This one is #298. 9pm, $5.


Mantler w/ Ben Gunning and The Thurstons. Pitter Patter Nights #299 @ The Boat, described as "soulfulrock." (This might mean "kinda boring," but that's just me being mean.) Doors 9pm, $5.

Nathan Lawr and the Minotaurs
CD release with Kate Maki and band plus Andy Swan @ Supermarket (268 Augusta, just south of College), Doors 9pm. I don't know what this one costs. I saw Nathan Lawr and the M's at Wavelength a couple Saturday's ago, and quite enjoyed the show. Low key but good. I will do this if I do anything Thursday night. See BlogTO's interview with Nathan here.

No Shame at Tiger Bar, 9pm, $5. Playing are Bells Clanging (Vancouver), Brigitte, and Tin Can Telephone Service Circus System Board. Doors at 9pm, $5.

Or go to the Arbour Room at Hart House for a free show by Spiral Beach.


I'm heading to the Horseshoe Tavern for a CD release, but otherwise I'd be at Tiger Bar to see Foxfire Forest---they are fun. After the band, stick around for a "Dance Party Extroadinaire." I recommend it.

What I'm doing promises to be a good party too. Five Blank Pages are celebrating the release of their album, "Last Blush" @ The Horseshoe (the north east corner of Queen & Spadina, on the north side of the street). On the lineup are Tin Bangs @ 12:30am, Five Blank Pages @ 11:30pm, Infighter @ 10:30pm, Elephant @ 9:30pm. Tickets are $8 at the door. You can pick up the album plus "brand new t-shirts, buttons and more!" For more on the band and this special show, check out the Toronto Independent Music Podcast #83, hosted by the band's bass player. And you can read another interview here. And even more is here.


I went to my first Pitter Patter Night show on Sunday, and it was great! Every night is different---sometimes quite different---but if you're interested in the music and are curious about this quirky venue, I'd definitely go check one of these out. I've never had a bad time at the Boat. Tonight is Pitter Patter's 3rd anniversary and show #300. Bands include Great Bloomers, The Rest, Camaromance. "epicatmosphericrock." As usual, I'm guessing doors at 9pm, $5.

Or head south and west and dance to DJs Shit la Merde (yes!) and Pammm at the Drake Underground. Doors at 11:30pm, $5 cover. I can't say anything about Pammm, but I am a fan of la Merde.


Wavelength 285 at Sneaky Dee's, pwyc, 10pm sounds like it could be alright. See more details on their website.

Or drop $10 at the Horseshoe Tavern for a "Punk Rock Extravaganza." On the bill are Fucked Up (playing "Year of the Pig"), The Tranzmitors (Vancouver), DD/MM/YYYY, Statues (Sudbury), and Castlemusic. Doors at 8pm.

I think I'll probably stay in, unless you convince me to go with you to something. Which could happen.

This is why I prefer the front.

My last post title referred to the fact that I almost always stand at the front, right in front of the performers, at indie shows. I really like seeing the music, watching the interactions among the band members, and being able to readily recognize them all when I see them in the crowd after their set. But last night I went to see Spoon at the Kool Haus, and, with several hundred people there, I ended up in the middle of the crowd. For the first act---the Pony's---our group was behind a bunch of drunken youngsters who were making out and grinding and generally being quite inappropriate. It was distracting and made me kinda angry. They totally weren't paying much attention to what was happening up on stage. For the main attraction, we moved to the other side of the warehouse, but this time I got stuck behind people who were smoking up! They were less annoying, but it was still unfortunate. One guy kept threatening to knock me and JH over. Bad luck.

Otherwise, the concert was just fine. I did my best to get into it, but, honestly, I've had way more fun at $5 shows where I didn't know any of the bands and wasn't with a whole lot of awesome friends like last night. I think I'll stick to cheap (but great!) entertainment for the next little while.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I always stand at the front.

Last night SM and another Masseyite and I were to be found at The Boat, one of my favourite spots for live music. I'd never gone to a Pitter Patter night before, so I felt I really must. And it was great! I quite enjoyed all four performances, especially Barons and Lengthy. I will see them again. There's more to say, but I've got other things to think about. So, the weekend was good, and busy, and tiring. And now I must get back to life.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My life, continued.

Thursday was another long, busy, exhausting day. But I did manage some time to hang out with DR and MS at the Buttery. It's always nice to have a conversation with historians I don't see too often.

Yesterday, as promised (to myself), I worked on my dissertation. At some point this weekend I need to come up with an idea for a paper topic, a paper I hope to present at a conference this summer. I've thought about it a little, but at some point I will have to sit down and get it done.

Last night I subwayed out to Davisville for dinner with lovely JS and AT. Excellent food, drink, and company.

Today: more dissertation. Yay! Tonight: EH's party!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Meetings and busyness.

Another very full day for me. I had wall-to-wall meetings, but just enough time for a quick take-away lunch in the early afternoon. It was tiring, but good. And, I voted in the provincial election! So I'm feeling like a useful member of society, the university, and the department.

This afternoon I attended my first meeting of the, um . . . Committee on Program Matters, an advisory body within the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). I sit on it as an elected graduate student member of the SGS's Graduate Education Council. The committee is made up of SGS people, professors and administrators of various kinds, and graduate students. We make no decisions, but our role is to consider significant program changes that come through SGS and provide feedback. It was an interesting experience. True to form, I of course had some things to say. Meetings are fun! Plus, you know, good cookies.

Afterward I joined the other conference organizers in the departmental common room. A group of grad students in history are planning for our graduate history symposium, which is coming up in February. Organizing tasks are eating up more time than I anticipated, but the work is more short-term than long-, and it's really interesting to be involved in this. Also, it's fun! I think we're all becoming excited about how things are shaping up, though of course it's still early.

The last meeting of the day was the departmental meeting. Although this one was devoted to the undergraduate curriculum for next year, I still felt it important to be there. I like to keep on top of what's happening in the department, and it's useful to put in face time with professors. It means that when and if I come calling on them to participate in the conference or other events, they might be more inclined than otherwise to be accommodating.

I've spent the last several hours working on various things, none of which have anything to do with my dissertation. But I figure it's good to do these things when I'm tired. Times when I'm less tired should be the times when I devote my energies to dissertating.

The friends who are supposedly flying in from California haven't called yet. I'm thinking our dinner plans are cancelled . . . .

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Indie Music 4.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, please do let me know.

If you're not cheap (like me), then some good ideas for music this week can be found here. But most of this stuff if more than I'm willing to pay on a regular basis. So it's all out. Well, then, what can one do this week?


Head over to the Boat in Kensington Market (158 Augusta, up the stairs) for Pitter Patter Nights #295. On are Vancouver's Better Friends than Lovers, Montreal's the Winks, Toronto's Numbers & Figures, and Silver Speakers. Wow, too bad I am meeting friends from out of town. Wait, I didn't mean it like that. You know what I mean.

See more here.


No Shame at Tiger Bar. Doors at 9pm, $5 cover. Bathurst at Lippincott, enter through the College St. Diner. Once again I have other plans, but would otherwise go to this. As I've said before (and will no doubt say again), I like Tiger Bar. Go, make new friends, drink cheap tall beer, and take it all in. Playing this week are Tropics, the Hoa Hoa's, Ruby Coast, and Arrows.


Head over to Teranga in Kensington Market (159 Augusta) at 10pm for We are Wolves, Put the Rifle Down, Huckleberry Friends, and DJ Daniel Vila. Seven bucks. This seems like it will be a good time. But I am not free.

At the Horseshoe Tavern on Queen West (just east of Spadina, on the north side of the street), you can, for $10, go see the Besnard Lakes and Young Galaxy. Both bands are from Montreal, so it's perhaps worth the extra expense ;-).

Bang the Party, a dance party at the Boat, is also happening today. DJs Gang of Two. Five dollars at the door. Go late or be brave and be among the first on the dance floor.


If you're curious and in the area, stop by Criminal Records (493 Queen West) at 3pm to hear Sunparlour Players. It's free. These guys are bizzare. Maybe in a good way, maybe in a bad way. I'm undecided. You will want to stomp your feet.

More dancing at the Boat, this time it's 60s funk and soul shindigs at Doin' It to Death. Presumably also $5.

I will be at a house party.


Wavelength at Sneaky Dee's is often a good bet. It's pay what you can, and drinks are not expensive. This week you can catch...
12am - Craft Economy - new Toronto new wave
11pm - Sleeping Kings of Iona - bleeping Buffalo electronics
10pm - Idle Tigers - vaudevilleian electronic Britonto pop

Or else Pitter Patter Nights #296 at the Boat, $5. The Details (from Winnipeg), Barons and Lengthy, Wildlife, and Malcolm Bauld. UPDATE: For more on the Winnipegers, see this interview on BlogTO.

So, if you've read this far, you know that I won't be going out, except maybe on Sunday. But I recommend that you do, and let me know all about it!

Touring, teaching, talking.

I know I spend a lot of time here complaining about my inability to find time to dissertate. And, well, here I go again.

Sunday was nice because travelling back to Toronto wasn't difficult. I helped some German tourists figure things out on the TTC---it's so confusing if you don't live here and use the system regularly---then spent a few hours helping my parents (on the internet, one of my specialties ;-) and catching up with friends. Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving with my family, I met up with YT and CLM for a late sushi dinner.

On Monday I spent most of the day reading for class, and waited for out-of-town friends to arrive. They finally got here at 8pm, and we went to dinner straightaway.

My friends stayed the night and then it was up early and out of the house again for breakfast and a few hours of me doing the tour-guide thing. I showed them a bit of the Annex, past the ROM, through campus, and then down to Chinatown and Kensington Market. I had a good time (despite the dreary weather); I hope they did too! I had to leave them at Moonbean Café to go teach in the afternoon. Did that, went well. And then I spent an hour with historians in the department before heading off to lecture. (I go to the lecture for the class for which I TA.) Afterwards, I spent a bit more time with a couple historians talking about life and school work. Then it was time to hit up the grocery store to get some food for the week. Got home at 8:30pm. Long day for me.

So, although not all days are of course like this, when I say that it can be hard to find time to dissertate, I do not lie! And tomorrow it's more appointments and meetings, followed by dinner with other out-of-town friends. Thursday's super busy too. But Friday I will dissertate.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

C'town adventures in pictures.

I am now safely back in Toronto. I had a nice time in Charlottetown with my dad and Xena, our dog. [To the left is a photo of my parents' house. Yes, it's bright yellow with dark blue trim. So cute.] Although I wasn't feeling the best, we still got up to some fun adventures. We walked all over the town, found foxes at my dad's golf course, picked apples in the country, strolled along a boardwalk and a windy beach, and spotted tourists just off an enormous cruise ship checking out "the birthplace of Confederation." Here are a whole bunch of photos, many of them featuring the best looking member of our family ;-).

Xena, barking at me to stop taking her photo and start petting her.The weather was gorgeous the first few days I was there. Here I am walking through a park on Thursday afternoon.We were entertained by this car, owned by Haha!
Government House, where the lieutenant governor for the island lives.We played in Victoria Park. Xena loves chasing after sticks.One of many lovely vantage points. The town is to the left.Later that day my dad and I drove over to his golf course to, um, look for foxes. And we found some. It's sad that a few of them are so tame that people can get up close to them. But I can't help being a little happy about it, because they are the cutest things ever. Ever. To wit:
On Friday we drove to the country to pick apples. But, more importantly, we met a nice dog at the orchard. His name is Wraith.And then to Brackley Beach. Xena went swimming. Her humans did not.On Saturday I wasn't feeling too well, but we did make it out to the University of Prince Edward Island---not much happening there---and then home to a yummy pre-Thanksgiving dinner. We ended the evening with "Ghostbusters." Such a good movie.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I'm writing this from the Charlottetown public library. There's no internet at my home, so this is just a short post to let you know everything's a-OK. Having a good time so far. Dad and dog are lovely, and the weather is fantastic. I'll be back in the big city on Sunday.

This is a photo I snapped when the plane was coming into Charlottetown. If not for trees, you could see my parents' house.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Indie Music 3.

This week I don't have much for ya. I'm heading out of town for a few days, and a couple of my regular websites aren't up (yet?). You can check Eye Weekly and Now Toronto's show listings later in the week for more. Here's what I've managed to come up with. I really recommend heading down to the Boat (158 Augusta in Kensington Market) Wednesday night if you can. Should be a great show. And if any of you happen to be in Montreal this week, then go enjoy Pop Montreal!


Pitter Patter Nights #293, $5, the Boat. Featuring Hamilton Trading Co. w/ The Schomberg Fair, and Ladyfingers. This should be a fantastic show! Too bad I'm not in town. I'd definitely be there if I was around. Keith Hamilton is a big deal in the indie scene; he does the bookings for Pitter Patter Nights, and is a member of several bands. I saw Ladyfingers on Sunday at Sneaky Dee's, and he was great! (I dropped $10 for his CD after his set.) See more about NY-based Ladyfingers here.


No Shame at Tiger Bar (College at Lippincott, enter through the College St. Diner and go down the stairs to the basement), doors 9pm, $5. Bring ear plugs. Tonight's bands include Bells Clanging (from Vancouver), Brigitte, and Tin Can Telephone Service Circus System Board.


If you want to go dancing, check out Goin' Down The Road, the "all can-con dance party" at the Boat, $5.

Or, for music, Torontoist recommends William the Conquerer's CD release party, 9:00 p.m at Club 279 (above the Hard Rock Cafe on Yonge). "Ten dollars gets you in and gives you a copy of the EP." More here. I haven't been to this venue before . . . sounds perhaps un-indie-ish.

Definitely more up my alley is this show: The Incidentals, a good local indie band, are playing tonight too. At Teranga, a restaurant/bar in Kensington, 159 Augusta. I like these guys. And they're playing in a Senegalese restaurant! Sounds like fun.


Another dance part at the Boat, Back to the Future: Part 2. Or check out Shake A Tail at Stone's Place on Queen West, a 60s-70s themed dance party that is tons of fun, I hear. And I'm sure there's all kinds more happening, but it'll be easier to find this information out later in the week.


Wavelength at Sneaky Dee's, 10pm, pay what you can. Their website's not up yet, but some internet trolling turned up this lineup: Spy Machine 16 (from Guelph), The Winks (from Montreal), The Doers (from Vancouver), + DJ Kelsey Grammer. Sounds like this will be a good show---I might go unless I'm exhausted from travelling back to Toronto. If you go, definitely bring ear plugs. It can get loud at Sneaky's.

Talked out.

I've had a busy day of sitting around, drinking and eating, and talking to people. None of this is related to my dissertation or anything, but it's all part of grad school. And I'm pretty tired out.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Wavelength 382.

Last night Masseyite SM and I checked out Wavelength 382 at Sneaky Dee's. Wavelength is a weekly, Sunday night indie music show at the College/Bathurst venue. I'd been once before---to see my friends we're scared and young Llions. This time I didn't know much about the featured bands.

After grabbing some pizza at Massimo's we showed up just in time for Ladyfingers, a one-man NY-based act. And, wow! Great stuff. The guy is quite the character. We went to talk to him after his set, and discovered that he's playing a few more shows in Toronto this week. I recommend seeing him at the Boat this Wednesday. His set alone is well worth the price of admission ($5). I even gave up $10 to buy his CD.

Next up was Elbow Beach Surf Club, a group from Guelph. They played more standard indie fare, and I enjoyed them. SM and I found my friend GK in the crowd after their set, so we chatted in the back until the next act came on. The night ended with Nathan Lawr and the Minotaurs, who were expectedly awesome. Their high energy folk rock with great instrumentation and a good on-stage vibe was a real treat to take in. After a couple shows some of the guys dancing alongside us in the front row grabbed their instruments (baritone sax, trumpet, trombone) and joined the band on stage. I will definitely plan on seeing this group again.

What a great evening!