MutliDisciplinary artist Cathy Gordon has been working with her team (Sochi Fried, Candice Irwin and Sean Robertson-Palmer) on an installation for Passe Muraille completely about our neighbours. Entitled “Welcome to the Neighbourhood”, they are out meeting people, hearing what makes the area special, talking about the 2010 fire on Queen West, and gathering pictures and impressions. The full installation will feature all of our willing neighbours in a video and picture installation at the Street Fest on September 15th and in our lobby for the rest of the fall. Below are some snapshots (real and virtual) of their time in Alexandra Park, Queen West and West Queen West this past week.
THURSDAY AUGUST 30th – Testing The Waters
Today, Sean, Candice & I headed out onto the streets to see who we could rope into our project. Success! Starting with Sean’s idea of getting a long overhead shot of Bathurst, we tried CB2 only to find the angle all wrong. Then we went to the Queen West Health Centre & completely lucked out when we met Rose. She took up to the staff lounge on the third floor where we had free-range of the wrap around balcony that faced onto Bathurst across from Richmond. As we each filmed from our own perspective, Rose and I bonded over our stories of the 2003 Blackout when all power went down for 24 hours along the Northeast coast. This led to Rose signing up as our first interviewee for next week. In addition, Rose was willing to connect us with some of their clients who, as homeless individuals, have a unique perspective on this area.
Next, we scoped out hub14’s fire escape to get more overhead footage, as well as some street shots. While Sean & Candice were busy working, I followed a pigeon for almost 8 minutes (!!) just walking around the entire block… a mini walking-tour led by a bird. It reminded me of a 19th century flâneur who walked his pet turtle through the streets on leash in an effort to challenge the busy-pace of the city, take-in more details of his surroundings, and emphasize himself as a man of leisure. Of course that pigeon walked much faster than any turtle, but he (she?) drew my attention to small details of that stretch of Markham St. that I had failed to notice despite working in the area for many years.
After that, we met Jamil at the Markham & Queen corner store where we bought a gift for Super Queen’s Market cashier whose was celebrating his last day today. Jamil has so many stories it’s hard to know where to begin.
Our first wave of the day… you’ll understand what that means later… was from the cashier who could not resist after we presented him with a orange Frisbee to take with him to university.
Ciao for now,
Cathy, Candice & Sean
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 4- Pink Nails and Parks
Split into teams of two, Sean & Candice headed east while Sochi and Cathy headed west. We asked people how long they had been in the area and what they seen had changed during that time and if the fire had impacted them. Mike (from Cosmos Records) describes how fortunate they were to have been spared by the fire, while their immediate neighbours were not so lucky. After heading up to the community centre (Scadding Court) and Alexander Park, Sean & Candice, realized that the rain had kept most people indoors. We hope to capture footage of the kickball games, the skateboarding, the tai chi groups and other activities that usually crowd the park on a busy day.
Sochi & Cathy immediately ran into a new neighbour just moving in on Wolseley Ave. He happened to have been born around Bathurst & Robinson but just moving back into the neighbourhood from BC. He has known TPM all his life as it is just 2 years older than him. After that, we went to several bars & shops finding future participants. We managed to capture the pink nailed cashier at Chatelet cleaning a glass bowl: perfectly ordinary action to add to our montage of daily life.
We now have a good list of interviews lined up but are still looking for more… email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy, Candice, Sean & Sochi
Thursday August 6th- Food and Music
Candice headed West today and wandered through the residential streets. She stopped at Hide on Dundas and met one of the owners, Sandra. Sandra and her sister own the store together and her sister makes hand crafted leather belts and bags. They were interested to have us come back and film her sister in her workshop at the back of the store. Very cool! Lastly she ran into Franco at his garden. He gave her a bag full of fresh peppers and tomatoes and invited her back next week to have homemade espresso.
Sean wandered to the park to get footage of the skateboarders in action. It was a beautiful day, so the skate park was packed! Afterwards while walking along Dundas, Sean met Sef, who has lived in the neighborhood for three years. Sef was willing to answer a few ‘yes/no’ questions and gave us a wave…thanks Sef! A little further east on Dundas was a gentleman named Turi playing music. Turi also lived in the neighborhood, and was gave Sean a few answers to ‘yes/no’ questions. Turi also gave us a wave, as he was off to write a test for the LLBO…good luck Turi! Turi was open to meeting up again though, so perhaps a longer interview will come out of it.
Sochi headed out the doors of Theatre Passe Muraille to run into two gentlemen on a smoke break at the office space across the street. After they generously waved for her, she continued on her way stopping at various businesses along Queen West and setting up potential interview dates for tomorrow. She then made her way up to Alexandra park where she found many people willing to wave for her who were interested in Theatre Passe Muraille and the street festival. She captured footage of squirrels, a man feeding pigeons, the community garden and children at play. She had to pack it in as her memory card became full, but until not after she had some fascinating conversations with three visiting Australian guys who were backpacking their way across Canada.