'Erica' has hefty hankerings. Not any specific Erica, mind you, just 'Erica' in general. The name means "complete ruler" and, truth be told, blogTO thinks 'Erica' is aiming just a touch too high. Don't get us wrong, it's a lovely name and all, but the Erica's we know are nowhere close to ruling anything. (No offense to the deluded name.)
'EGR', however, now that's a name that means business.
And so it's fitting that Erica Gosich Rose, a young urban artist whose vanilla-flavoured name seemed ill-suited to her jalapeno-laced output, decided to adopt the EGR moniker for her artworld pursuits. For while the Erica's of the world were experimenting with makeup and painting their faces, EGR (pronounced 'eager') was experimenting with aerosol cans and painting public walls and trains.
Dedicated fansites created by gushy admirers used to be the sole domain of musicians, porn stars, Hollywood starlets and their ilk. In short, a crowd that did not include usability experts and workaholic tech gurus; that is, not until Amber MacArthur came along.
You may know her as Citytv's new media specialist, filling you in on the latest in pop/tech culture and interactive trends every night. What you may not know, however, is that MacArthur's "just for fun" side projects include producing and hosting two other regular shows. There's commandN, a video podcast that covers technology trends online and offline; and net@nite, an audio podcast about web trends, with Leo Laporte. She also does business development for local design firm Arktyp. And did we mention that when the big boys (think: Globe and Mail, CBC, MTV et al) need a tech expert, they call on MacArthur?
The tech wiz claims on her website: "When I'm not working and surfing, I enjoy running, snowboarding, music recommendations engines, Malpeque oysters, and spontaneous road trips." blogTO suspects that MacArthur has never surfed, ran, snowboarded, used Pandora, eaten Malpeques, or taken a road trip. Frankly, with a schedule like hers, we wonder how she finds time to breathe.
Drew "I only go East for work or in airplanes" Lightfoot is a Parkdale boy through and through.
"It has far more character than most parts of the city, tons of great dive bars, great brunch spots, and most of my friends are on the west side," explains the director, who recently finished work on k-os' new music video. "I chose Parkdale for its bohemian roots...and Bacchus Roti."
Lightfoot, however, hasn't always been an East Coaster; his childhood years were spent just outside Vancouver--"on the fresh coast". While other children amused themselves with rounds of Red Rover and Kick the Can, this creatively inclined half-pint was fantasizing about automated Lego empires. While other little boys gave the standard "firefighter" and "policeman" replies to the million-dollar "What do you want to be when you grow up?" question, Lightfoot harboured no such ambitions: he had his sights set on becoming Billy Corrigan.
"You fucking terrify me" were the first words Kyle Maling heard when the then-aspiring publisher debuted his magazine idea to friends. Not exactly encouraging.
The year was 2003. The location was Vancouver. And the concept was Highrise: a magazine for the modern day Renaissance man, one that would cover the latest in contemporary living, style and design culture. It wasn't the concept itself, however, that had naysayers trying to dissuade Maling and business partner Dylan Crawshaw from giving publishing a go, it was their business strategy.
"[Our friends] had a point," Maling chuckles today. "We were going national right off the start with 35,000 copies and using extremely high quality paper, [while] being independent and self-financed. Sometimes, I look back and think, 'Wow. There is a fine line between taking a risk and being a complete fucking idiot.'"
October 2005. I had just arrived in Toronto and my head was still spinning. I had exhausted the area known as Kensington Market, and couldn't for the life of me find the actual market. (Pffft. Some name.) I had been mocked mercilessly for uttering "Spa-dee-na". I had been stared at for (gasp!) dancing at a concert. I had been dragged along to spots like Shmooze--I should have known better, the name says it all--where I soon learned that being a grody corporate rat is actually a fine art. Wannabes, take note: over the course of an hour, the true Bay Street Baller must hand out at least 20 business cards and order at least one bottle of Grey Goose. The latter task must be performed with faux nonchalance, and at an unnecessarily elevated volume (but of course!)
Needless to say, I was beginning to feel pretty darn sorry for myself. Then a matchmaker introduced me to Her and, suddenly, everything changed.
The first week, She steered me in the direction of a Resfest party featuring Blockhead. Twas bliss. The following week, Mark de Clive-Lowe rocked my world--with Bembe Segue, no less--something I would have otherwise missed had it not been for Her. The week after? I found myself twirling and whirling to Reuben Wu and Mira Aroyo of Ladytron, again tipped off by Miss Thang.
I was in heaven. Indeed, my saviour was none other than Denise Benson, one of Toronto's most trusted authorities on good music. The DJ, radio host, and journalist has been gigging, promoting, pushing, living, breathing and writing about the city's music scene for nearly two decades.
It's a bedraggled room, awash in various shades of brown, grey and old. Light seems reluctant to enter through the dingy, yellowing curtains, for fear of catching The Musties. The wallpaper is time-worn and peeling. Metal chairs, not unlike the kind found in elementary school cafeterias, are scattered haphazardly about. The lone, pitiful couch looks like it's gotten the daylights, and stuffing, beaten out of it.
But, in the corner, the one furthest from the entrance, lays treasure in all its shimmering, paperback glory. In a dozen-odd dollar store bins and baskets, hundreds of strokes-o'-geniuses, fanciful flights of inspiration and dreams of yesteryear find their home.
Independent media junkies, take note. Head-in-the-cloud dreamers, beware. Get ready to kiss your Sunday afternoons goodbye. This is the Toronto Zine Library.