A curious combination of live instrumentals and dude-and-his-laptop-ness, i am robot and proud has been quietly working the Toronto scene for five years. His latest album, Uphill City, was released in the fall on darla in Canada and & records in Japan, where he's been booking consistent gigs up and down the country. I caught his show at SuperDeluxe in Roppongi to snap some pictures, and caught up with him the next day at a live performance at Tower Records to talk about his work, his teamups, and inevitably video games.
You've been spending a fair amount of time over here recently. You toured Japan in October, and you're coming back to Tokyo in September with a new band. What are some of your favourite places to play here?
Shaw-han: The festival shows are always fun cause it's just a total experience. You're just one of 20 bands that are playing so it's kind of relaxed. The festival that we played last summer was in a nature area, it was close to Mount Fuji and we played in front of thousands and thousands of people. It was actually our first show of the tour and it was a new band. It was myself and a guy called Jeremy Strachan who plays with an avant guard jazz duo called Feuermusik in Toronto. And then Jim Guthrie who does his own solo stuff, he played guitar.
Wendo van Essen, one of the 40 Canadian artists whose work is sold at Wise Daughters, told me that bust economies are boom times for DIY crafts. Toronto crafting hotspots like The Knit Cafe and Wise Daughters are part of a budding DIY movement that's way bigger than gimp or friendship bracelets were. A surge in interest has meant that craft meetings, like the moose-head-trophy felt-sculpture-making workshop Wendo led at Wise Daughters last night, sell out.
360EXtENdED and Map a Week digitally remap our city in new and interesting ways. Now there's a third geotagging platform adding to our urban fervour in 2009: The ChangeEngine, where users will be able to show-and-tell neighbourhood issues like needed street repairs. On Monday night its creators tweeted an open call for user-contributed sample data. They've gotten nearly 100 submissions in a 24 hours period. The e-vangelists like Ryerson President Sheldon Levy, may be right... is Toronto becoming a hotspot for digital urbanism?
Clearly atheism ads on pubic transit are a contentious issue.
This one had a black marker taken to it:
But the Junction is changing fast, and its uncertain how much longer the building will maintain its holy designation. In December, a private inquiry was placed with Toronto building Division to see if the current zoning would allow a dance studio to set up in the building ("private" means the City doesn't have to tell you how they answered).
With a number of projects now behind her (Buttless Chaps, Radiogram, an "all girl improv thing called Cunt"), and new backup from in and around Canada's biggest city, Great Aunt Ida is busy assembling mellow demos for a fresh summer album that combines her new crew and her old one (whom I refer to as Great Great Aunt Ida).
Ida and I met at Tinto on Roncesvalles, where she will be playing solo tonight at Parkdale's monthly roundup of local storytellers. We talked about the west coast city we have both adopted, jobs for teenagers, her upcoming plans, Sudbury, and Armenian music.