Feb1805_Sarahh.jpg

Yes, in my backyard please...

...and all along the street too.

The Toronto Public Space Committee, publisher of Spacing, is holding a benefit concert at the Bloor Cinema tonight in order to raise awarness, and funds, for the fight against the anti-postering bylaw.

Sarah Harmer, Bob Wiseman, Jason Collett (broken social scene), Andre Ethier (deadly snakes), Magali Meagher (the phonemes), Gentleman Reg and Andrew Whiteman (apostle of hustle) will be performing solo sets beginning at 8:30pm at the Bloor Cinema. Tickets are $14.00

So come out and help prevent Toronto from becoming another Oshawa.

Oshawa is certainly not known for its live music scene. Or its theatre scene. Or really for any kind of scene. In fact, it's not known for much beyond being the site of GM Factories and the home of Cuff The Duke.

A friend's band was playing at The Velvet Elvis in Oshawa and I thought I'd go around putting up posters in the downtown to help promote it. I ran into a couple of problems and concerns however.

The first was that most of the lamp posts downtown are barely 6 inches wide, and they're square, rather than round. This made it fairly difficult to read any posters featuring text on the outside edges of the poster since they would have to curve around the corner.

The other problem, which didn't affect me since I was taping the posters, rather than gluing, was that the surface of the post was a kind of deep corrugated texture. This made it nearly impossible to retain any legibility if one were to glue the poster onto the post. Although I suppose with all those deep grooves in it you could probably fit an 8.5" sheet of paper across the 6" surface.

The third problem was that none of the posts had any possibility of being stapled into. There were no wooden lamp posts, and no plastic collars as you sometimes see here in Toronto.

All of this could be acceptable under the banner of Keeping Downtown Clean and Respectable if there were any large bulletin board type posts on major street corners as you'll find on the University of Toronto campus, but of course there's none of that.

The end result is that downtown Oshawa is deserted. Empty storefronts pockmark the main strip. Restaurants come and go more often than patrons. Nothing is open late. And no mid-to-large profile bands ever seem to make it out there, to the fastest growing city in Canada.

Toronto will never be without concerts, art shows, or other cultural attractions, but if the only people allowed to promote such things are those able to pay for billboards, or subway ads, or television promotion then what will happen to home grown talent? They'll do just what they've done in Oshawa: They'll pack up and move to the next closest city that appreciates them, leaving their hometown to be dominated by mass produced cultural products.


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