Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Orange You Glad You Can Tel Aviv From a Fig?

Nuffin like a beautiful day at the beach with your lover... Except a delightful evening, perhaps?

29th December, 2015 (Montreal) As part of our calendar series we went looking for cities around the world that have famous stadiums. Meet Tel Aviv.

Macabai Tel Aviv (please see here) play at Bloomfield Stadium--some of which is shown at bottom right corner of the illustration above. What's great about Bloomfield Stadium is that it came from Montreal (Please see here).

OK OK OK, it didn't "come" from Canada, but the funds to construct it were from the Bloomfield Family in Montreal.

I can't imagine a better way to donate family money than to build a football stadium in the Motherland.

Really, can there be a better example of philanthropic behaviour?

The headland in the foreground is the section of town the call Jaffa. It's an historic district that might have been named after an orange... I mean, some say that the fruit we call Oranges are only called Oranges because most of the first traders hung out in Belgium in a town called Orange. Now, so what came first, the fruit? The Colour? Or the town? Turns out, the Town of Orange in Belgium doesn't exist, that William of Orange, although a major Belgian, got his name from the town called Orange in Provence, which somehow got lost in the mix. Then people began thinking it meant the same thing as the fruit but this was before the internet... Then we started calling them round juicy things that came from there "Oranges" and then when we started seeing that colour on teevee and in crayon packets we had a handy word for it: Orange. So meanwhile Jaffa Oranges are named after a fruit that is named after a town that gives it's name to a colour. And no! Macabai Tel Aviv play in Blue and Yellow, so there is no connection whatsoever (please see here).

Israelis are laughing at me now, coz they think I don't realize Jaffa and Tel Aviv are separate, but look how close they are. There have been people leading civilized lives in Jaffa for almost four millennia. I cannot imagine what on earth they did with themselves before the Bloomfield Family came to the rescue.

Some say there is no rhyme for the word "Orange" while  Teevee Game Show hosts the world over have been catching contestants out on this one for years, but it's ridiculous--my Jewish Uncle Avi used to say the word "Oranges, Smoranges..." all the time... beats the boring old "Apples and Oranges" phrase hands down, yeah?

TRAVELLERS ADVISORY:  Do NOT open this webpage if you are ever visiting in the Holy Land. Puns are punishable in Israel, and have been banned, in something to do with "Geo-Political Complexities and National Security" but I would say this wasn't a pun. It might be kinda pun-ish, but not full on, ya know?

Peace in the Middle East? As long as you got tickets to the match, what's the worry?

Meanwhile, please like our facebook page: (please see here).

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Toronto The Good just Got Even Better

Is it Chicago? Is it New York? Is it Montreal? Is it really the Centre of the Universe?

24th December, 2015 (Montreal) About forty years ago, the financial centre of Canada moved up the St-Lawrence from Montreal to nest in New Old York on Lake Ontario, a city most refer to as Toronto. There is a vowel shift happening at the same time. Linguists and dialect experts have noticed and agree--from Toronto to Chicago the midwest Great Lakes districts are changing the way they talk by shifting their vowels so that it sounds like "Tree-anna" and "Sher-Cah-gah" when they used to say "Tronno" and "Shu-cargo."

Aside: Funny how Toronto media-types talk of aspirations to be a New York of Canada when it is much better suited to being the Chicago of Canada. And this is no put-down. Chicago beats NYC on almost all counts. Oh I love NYC and Manhattan has more buildings than I can put my eyeballs on and yeah yeah yeah we all know people who "Just got back from New York" or are "heading to New York" because travellers to New York cannot resist telling everybody about it, like it drapes them in some New York Mystique that we can all praise them for.

And what is it that most people love and like about NYC? Pretty much anything anybody ever told me I could point to Chicago and say, they got it too. Without the claustrophobia. (They even got their name from NYC! The "Windy City" is not coz it is "Windy" but because NYC Mobsters considered the crews from Chicago to be "Windy" as in full of air, according to National Geographic.)

Toronto began reaching for the sky in the Mid Sixties with Miesian International School designs for Toronto Dominion Bank. Cousins of the Seagram Building, they are classic black minimalist monoliths that still hold the same brutal charm. Then by the 90s Toronto turned to navel-gazing and got all full-of-itself with a Baseball Team that wins the World Series and some major assumptions of it being a "World City." Montreal was in the economic stagnation pond still, so the contrast was more compelling.

 This whole self-reflecting of "Are we a World Class City or Not?" was a giveaway of its lack of confidence.

A World Class city just goes about their day, not worrying how many times their name appears in the international press or erecting banal monuments to help it stick out more. Sure, they like to look at themselves in the mirror, but mostly to complain about their warts, not drum their chest in bravado.

So then comes the meaningless cliche that Toronto is the most "multi-ethnic" community in North America. This has no meaning. All a city needs is ONE person from each of the 204 FIFA World Cup Nations to move to their town and it is now as diverse as it could ever be. Ninety-nine percent of the population could be Patagonian, it is still as diverse as Toronto may or may not be. Imagine you have a bag of jelly beans, with every colour represented. And I have a bag of jelly beans with every colour represented. Our bag of jelly beans is as diverse as each others despite mine being mostly of PINK beans and yours being mostly of GREEN beans.

But it is kinda true--Toronto does have a wonderful cosmopolitan fabric and it is worth promoting this fact. But calling it the 'most diverse' place is sorta wasting people's time, because let's face it, there are three major ethnic sub-cultures that dominate the city and to pretend that is not so, would be navigating blindly. Vancouver has the same deal--people from all over the world. But, equally, three major ethnic sub-cultures that work in such a nature that to deny their political clout or cultural influence is a remarkable oversight.

So  no oversight here in the aerial the view of Toronto that includes their football team Toronto FC (please see here) and their stadium BMO field. BMO is a word that kinda means "Used to be Bank of Montreal but we moved the headquarters to New Old York." The waterfront along Lake Ontario is getting more developed. Right now it is a vast empty urban blank to have the mind boggling that a "World Class City" might have such unused space right in the middle. I hate to hear the arguments as to how they are going to develop it. Right now it makes my drawing look very lazy.

And this picture is a validation of why I invented my own cities. Real cities are never complete. There is always a tooth missing, a cavity to be filled... a clean up in process. Almost every drawing of a real city I have done is out of date within a year.

So, do I like Toronto?

Some of my fave times have been had in this city. But that doesn't mean I love the place. I wish the centre was more distinct, and that the suburban sprawl had not been allowed to replicate and the subway wasn't so, um... clean. I think that Yonge Street in the 70s and 80s had a West 42nd Street feel that is missing today. But so too, it is missing on West 42nd Street, right?

What's missing, are the people from Toronto who are currently visiting right here right now, in Montreal.

I have to say, two couples from Toronto, provided me the highlight of my summer.

 Quick Storytime: they had just pulled into town... Jays caps and other stuff on their heads.

Got out of their car looking up at the high rises and their whereabouts, not quite spellbound, but obviously taking in their first impressions. And that's when it hit me: I was one of their first impressions! Judging by their car, and clothing and posture and attitude, and look... they were alpha-middle class go-getters, not exactly show offs but the men in the couples were fronting it large, the type who would want to outdo you, ya know? But, then they clocked me on my bike, waiting at the light. This GAZE... I know from having been brought up in a tourist resort--it is the look tourists give the "natives" when they first get off the plane... a gaze as if they are registering a feel for the place. As kids, we would ACT UP and give it large coz we were needing attention. Today, I just waited at the light, covered in paint, coming from my mural I had been painting, laden down with gear and other ammunition.

The guys looked at me like I was a specimen. Like I was an example of something. It was unmistakable. And what was important to me, was that their look of judgment towards me was not one of derision, but one of wonder. I mean this! They were looking at me like I was a tiger in the zoo, something to be feared, as if I had unknown powers, and they, as onlookers were not participants, so did not know what to make of me.

I remember these same quizzical looks from the tourists visiting the Island upon which I spent my youth--ending in respectful distance for an unknown equal after failing to size me up.

They made my day, like tourists in New York who ask me directions mistaking me for a local, make my day, the way they "checked me out," like I'm some "real old-school Montrealer" they wouldn't see in Toronto. And they were right. I always shower before going down the road.

It was all the graffiti on my helmet that arrested them.

Which is why I loved how their mayor became WORLD FAMOUS while The Art Gallery of Ontario can't catch fire and get an ambulance on standby. I have always adored Naomi Klein and said the same about Jane Jacobs so there must be something to it, yeah? At the parties I've attended there, people talk about their career and the property they own more so than the people I meet in Montreal, but hey, we don't have jobs nor own property so there is no way to start that discussion here. Least they have a very handy airport right at the end of the downtown dock where you can catch a plane to Chicago and New York or Montreal, which, really, makes it the best city in North America.

Every city has a peer pressure. In Montreal it is to look like you spent no effort on your brilliant appearance, speak two languages, and have a winter getaway plan hatched, or a summer sabbatical sorted out. In Toronto it seems more likely that you gotta have a place to own and a means to own it in order to get into the fold. Rents are exorbitant and commutes are long so the kinda car you drive also comes up as a topic. In Montreal, the only people I know who drive, also rob banks.

From an architectural standpoint--there are very few areas that have particularities to unite them. Little Italy and Parkdale are quaint, but many parts of Toronto have streets with eight different styles all next to one another. That might be your thing, so don't let me stop you. I once took a tour of the SkyDome back in 91... I kept interrupting the tour guide with questions. She was thoroughly annoyed by me and banned me from talking until the end. So I wish I could tell you more about the Stadium...

...At the time of completion it was part of the push to have Toronto be mentioned a lot in the International Conversation and it worked. I really dig this stadium despite it's lack of any necessary beauty. But you gotta remember it was built in an era of domed-stadium fetish mania before the Old-School Aesthetic reemerged and so we are stuck with this massive bar of soap amid the upturned gang planks of the Financial District. At Olympia & York, presiding Reichman Brothers had just blown the bank in London on what would be the Fire Sale of the Century.

As for living in this place... Well, I'd have to fall in love with somebody, have them move there, and make me wanna stay with em for that to happen. But to visit, it never disappointed me. My fave evening ended after an all-night afterhours party spilled out... we the stragglers clumped together heading down College Street or some place... A bagel shop let all fifteen or so of us in, even though the bagelry hadn't officially opened yet, so we had a private breakfast to ourselves with FREE COFFEE because he couldn't be bothered to charge us. We sat inside as the sun came up before I caught my train to, um, Ok ok ok,  Montreal. No complaints, either way.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cairo Was a Ponzi Scheme

If some bearded guy tells you to follow him to the Promised Land, ask questions. The last Exodus turned into a bit of a fiasco.

22nd December, 2015 (Montreal) OK so it's around the time of the Solstice which gets archaeologists all excited coz they talk about all these ancient cultures that also knew that today was the longest night-shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere which somehow taps into some Ancient Wisdom Vibes and gets everybody excited. Fact is, the days will now get longer and that is a happy thing.

So for about a cuppla thousand years before Moses took his tribe to Israel there were a bunch of dynasties on the Nile running a racket of grain distribution which required slavery and a system of writing down all the accounting information. The calculator they used was a slab and the accounting department ended up being a massive tomb. We didn't know what any of their writing meant when we 'discovered' it and so in the West all sorts of falsely ascribed stuff was made up about what the Egyptians were going on about. In fact, the entire mythology behind Tarot Cards for divination is derived from what some dood thought the hieroglyphs were purportedly saying. So we now have an entire youth culture hooked on Tarot Cards and believing all sorts of bollocks based on some guy who wanted to sell books about Tarot Cards based on his imagination.

Now all this is true but it doesn't mean you are wasting your time going to Cairo.

Here is the Zamalek area of the city. It is on an island, like Paris, New York, Montreal and Stockholm. An Island City is the perfect place to found a civilization. Some regard Cairo as the New York of the Arab world, but I like to think it more as the Paris of the Desert with better croissants. Then others come along and say, "Neh--it's more like Montreal" except replace the cold with heat. And so the arguments continue... but one thing we know for sure--there is no archaeological evidence of the Technicolour Dream Coat having been used by Joseph to dance the night away. That was a bunch of made-up bollocks. Also the Burning Bush at Mt. Sinai? No evidence. An entire Ethno-cultural legacy spanning four millenia founded on a 'story'... sound familiar?
We do know that at exactly the same time as The Exodus, the entire Bronze Age Civilization across the Mediterranean collapsed as the invasion of the Sea Peoples ripped the cities to bits, some to never recover again. You can blame frogs from the sky, death of everybody's first born son, or the parting of the great Red Haircut... but most historians agree... It was time to split the scene coz the granaries had no more food and eunuchs-a-gotta eat, bro.

This is what we do know.

The rest? OK I'm a writer too, I couldn't resist a fib or two.

This was to be included in the 2016 Stadium Art Movement Calendar. News of which is still forthcoming from the publisher.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mumbai Joins Stadium Art Movement World Tour for 2016

16th Decemeber, 2015 (Montreal) Mmmmmmmmm...

....So I am at this party and there's this bloke from Mumbai.

(He duzzint know my sister was born there when my parents lived there or that half my mates are Indo-Canadian or that I studied the history of Mumbai Architecture in detention as a kid)

Basically his way of contributing to the party was to wow us with stories of Mumbai. And we were wowed.

Basically (going by composite reports) it's like New York City: the peninsula is exact size-ish as Manhattan.
Then you throw in London: coz ya know, wickets and cricket.
Then add Sao Paulo for endless hi-rises unplanned yesterday.
Then throw in Rio coz of beaches and favelas and hot monsoon street party fiestas with hot rhythms organized by criminalized gangsters there for your “safety”...
Then bung in Hollywood coz Bollywood, yeah?
Then Chuck in a heavy rail transport network from Tokyo...
Then imagine Paris coz the traffic and similar attitude to expatriates taking pics of the Beaux Arts Palisades.
Then throw in some Detroit-style political crime wave.
Some Stockholm waterfront.
A Copenhagen “liberalism”.
Then add some Moscow style posh place terrorist threat...
Then sprinkle a bit of coriander for a Bhang Lassi you find in East Vancouver (if you know where to hide)...
Then throw in some Victorian dialect that now constitutes the world's biggest English subset to take us back to Paddington Station and the Golden Age of Steam...
Then throw in Berlin coz the art scene.
Then throw in San Francisco coz it's the upside-down version of it on a map and coz hippie clothes and western interest in Ancient scriptures that need smoking equipment in order to “get”.
Then throw in more criminalized activities coz this guy from Mumbai was emphasizing the DANGER of the place and frankly, kinda over-selling the script coz I am now impressed any of my family survived. It's more dangerous than Caracas and has more food fights than Mexico City and more words for “cop” than Canadians have for “cold”...
And so yeah I'm really feeling it off this dood at the party, blowing us away with how tame Montreal is compared to this violent jungle of opportunity and iniquity amongst paradise and polluted paradox that he called home...

When all of a sudden one of my Indo-Canadian mates arrived.

Mumbai guy starts going off about Mumbai again, kicking up how crazy and unpredictable the place is and not all chill and easy like here. And my mate says,

“Oh, I lived in Mumbai.”

And Mumbai guy says, Oh wow, where?

And my mate tells him. (Some place name only a Mumbaisian would know…)
Mumbai this Mumbai that... It wouldn't end. I was so proud of my mate Alok finally saying yeah yeah big fucking deal I lived with my uncle in his back shop between two shacks where the cops shoot stray dogs at night for practice. We ate well.

And Mumbai guy falls off his chair sayin: “No way. That's the most DANGEROUS part of all Mumbai.”

And I'm like, so. We're done with Mumbai, yeah?

(Yer never done with Mumbai)

...I rolled that story out to prove I have once had a social life.

Hi-Rises are the order of the day while beach food vendors sell you a fry-up on the beach. What else do you want from life?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

San Francisco Has its Faults But Maybe They Are Truly Underground?

16th December, 2015 (Montreal)

I was in San Francisco in 1979... sitting on the steps in South Beach with my family. We were surrounded by wackos banging drums and dancing. I was ten years old at most.

I wanted to join them and live with them and become them.

My dad said I would have to wait till I was older.

That time came and went. Actually it never went. I still dance in public on the terraces at the football or in clubs or fests... I once had a HIGH SCHOOL colleague come up to me and say "My goodness, in 30 years, you haven't changed a bit!"

But this isn't fair. Old people who love to dance still love to dance. The thing is, now that old people who don't like to dance are old enough to not have to dance, they make all us people who like to dance SEEM YOUNG. Not wanting to dance is like going bald too early. Eventually you 'grow' into the look. But really, it just proves half those young people dancing are only there for one thing, and it ain't to dance, teehee.

Go to San Francisco when you are ten and dance in public to beggars and buskers and hobos and bandits and you will find yourself in very little need of material belongings in this lifetime.

Worked for me!

"Ridicule is, and  has always been... nothing to fear."-- Adam Ant.

In tribute to the dance, here is the city everybody loves to love. Too bad it ain't affordable to beggars, buskers, hobos and bandits... but nothing ever has been.

 San Francisco is the most densely populated city in USA after NYC. In fact, it always kinda reminded me of NYC, the way it is isolated on a presque-ile as the French might say.

First we start with a bit of a composition sketch to figure out the placement...

Then... in ONE TAKE... freehand we go to town... Say hello to the Giants next time you are in town. The old Candlestick Park has since been torn down and now you can sail into The Bay on your yacht and watch from the cockpit.

(Headline quote from BA Robertson's 1980 Classic "Kool in the Kaftan, Love and Peace Man")

Which is highly recommended to view while reading this blog:


Send all arguments to stadiumartmovement@gmail.com

Monday, December 14, 2015

LOVE ME says the roof on New City Gas as Patrimoine Montreal teams up with the Stadium Art Movement

14th December, 2015 (Montreal) In August Stadium Art Movement was invited to participate in Heritage Fest put on by Patrimoine Montreal (please see here).

This group is dedicated to the love and preservation of the darlings of Montreal Architecture. There really is not a more endearing group of people we could work with based on our joint appreciation of buildings.

The Fest was centred around New City Gas, a complex of three delightful Victorian era industrial buildings in the Griffintown District of Montreal's southside-- an area undergoing intense transition. New City Gas has a nightclub in one of the buildings that calls itself, New City Gas. So many people now think of the night club and forget the historical fact that the entire complex was one of Canada's first utility companies called New City Gas.

The idea was to perform live painting during the festivities. An aerial view of Griffintown seemed the most obvious thing to give to people. There is so much new development that within a week the picture was out-of-date. Never in the last two decades has Montreal seen this many cranes and foundation builders.

The Fest spanned three days. Friday night painting in the dark meant nobody could see my mistakes.

Day 2 was spent under the rail lines  as passing trains geared into Bonaventure... in the back loading area of New City Gas surrounded by Industrial Revolution era artifacts... in the sunshine. There couldn't be better conditions.

Day 2 close-up

Day 2 close up... more trees added.

Day 3 the artist in pic in order to show scale of the piece.

If you look closely, "Love Me" appears on the roof of one of the converted utility stations that make up New City Gas.

Perhaps this shot of the top floor of one of the buildings might convince you why Patrimoine Montreal chose this venue for Heritage Fest.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

New Montreal Mural with Corner Perspective takes over Garment District in the Foodie Industrial Complex north of HWY 40

13th December, 2105 (Montreal) It has been another busy year at the Stadium Art Movement.

Here are some selections that have yet to be documented. The sad news is that much of the data for the last year has been lost due to circumstances beyond our control. Recovery operations are still ongoing so keep coming back as more turns up.

Most of this year has been spent in the field away from communication links and access to dissemination equipment so please excuse the absence.

Montreal-Ville Mont-Royal from above HWY 40 looking south along Boulevard Acadie towards Outremont, Le Plateau-Montreal and the city centre. Park Ex is in the foreground.

Created for Agatex, in Ville St-Laurent.

The District north of the "40" is primarily garment factories converted to food distro centres... The tall building next to the rail lines is the 'Aristocrat'-- an old hotel now pock-marked and full of artists and musicians and the far-from-noble, working the frontlines to bring you all the next big thing.

Hwy 40 cuts a swathe atop Park Ex, Acadie Boulevard delineates Ville-Mont Royal, while Hwy 15 meets in a delta in bottom right.

Marche Centrale at the corner of the 40 and 15 is possibly the busiest intersection in Montreal.

Mural is designed to account for two planes at right-angles so the optimum viewing aspect is in the next pic.

Here the mural nears completion. Rockland Shopping Centre makes for an architectural crisis of function and identity that punctuates the leafy-privilege of VMR while underlining the fiasco that represents such a contrast in wealth, living space and density of two disparate populations separated by Acadie.

Parc Jarry with the Stade Pharmaprix. Famous Hydro Quebec Telecom Relay tower finally treated with the delicate appreciation its creator surely intended.

Close-up of Park Ex *(in progress)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Stadium Art Movement Calendar Preview

09th December, 2015 (Montreal)

Stadium Art Movement Calendars will be available this year.

Last year was a private reserve collectors year but this year we have special editions doing the rounds through Infopresse in Montreal.

More news will be forthcoming.

For now, here is a pic of Montreal. Eleven more to come...

Molson Stadium in the Milton-Parc/McGill Ghetto of Montreal
You are looking at one of the most important stadiums in the world. The NFL, the CFL, the PAC10, whatever... none of these letters would mean anything were it not for a game between Harvard and McGill back in the 1800s when they tried to merge a mishmash of styles and codes so that the two teams could compete under the same rules. OK OK OK many of the rules we see today in Canadian and American Football were added many years later after that first game, but as purists we have to stick to the roots, and the roots of the modern North American game are right here in the Island Mountain City.

This view is as if hovering above the Plateau district looking down into the next: an architect's delight of inner city apartment blocks, turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts terraced blocks, International Pseudo-Gothic Universitarian One Design, Modernist and Brutalist and Art Deco melded into the Golden Mile that we now just call the "Ghetto." The people who run the University hate that we use this name, and I have even tried my bit to help in the efforts to kill off this vernacular by telling people that the people who run the University hate that we use this name for the district, but it hasn't really helped. Perhaps the University could try telling everybody how much they love we use this word "Ghetto." It won't change the fact that the entire district is taken over by students living in suspiciously-higher-than-average rental space willing to pay for the convenience. The other people who live in this district who aren't even students? A study in and of themselves. More needs to be done. That's what Sociology does to us. Turns us into the same people we want to then become subject matter. What a waste of time. No wonder buildings last longer than most professors.

I have spent nights asleep in houses full of students, got up with them and joined the morning rhythm of the streets streaming with scholars on their way to class, and led to feel part of this energy, even though I was no more than a guest. It is a fascinating place. Because they are all bunched together, we Montrealers can have fun pointing fingers and rolling our eyeballs at the mention of the student body as if it were one monolith, that drinks and pukes and screams and shouts and screws up against the wall and then goes home at the end of spring to leave a mountain of discarded furniture and other junk to popularize a sub-genre of magazine article called "McGill Ghetto Student Garbage Photos" pretty-much every year in all citywide publications, such is the spectacle.

But I have no shame in saying that I love this place and my only wish is that rents were lower and the tropes more varied and numerous in type. I have great memories of running down the slopes from Mont Royal in the rain, just in time to dry off and catch a flick at the Cinema... and emerge with the stars out and life vibrating around me to the sounds of the night.

The McGill Ghetto is one of the most densely populated urban districts in North America that combines the scholarly atmosphere of Upper West Side Manhattan with a Hyde Park Corner scale of Magnitude one might find in London, but with a gritty iced wind you'd expect from Chicago in winter. In summer, looking down from the mountain onto the circuits of lights above the din and smoke of the streets, could have you thinking of Mulholland Drive and the view across Los Angeles.