It’s a widely held belief around these parts that sneakers on a wire have to do with marking the boundaries of gang territory or signifying the presence or availability of certain drugs.
sneakers on a wire
A pair of sneakers appeared the other day on a wire crossing 27th Street, about a block below Lakeshore. Do you see this kind of thing where you live? Anyone know the history or anything else about this odd activity?
This morning we launched the woodchopper whirligig into the skies above 27th Street.
Now let’s swing with Woody Herman with Bill Chase, performing The Woodchopper’s Ball. This tune was one of my father’s favourites. His friend Norm used to come over the house and they’d drink mediocre brandy and listen to jazz real loud and tell each other the old stories all over again.
Check out this article in The Star.
The existence of places like Kensington Market, places that don’t look like everywhere else, places that have some special identity in the City are Toronto treasures. But things are changing fast in Hogtown. Condo developments are going up so fast, there are areas of Toronto, areas I lived in for years, that I no longer even recognize. Will Kensington be able to survive box store development on its fringes? I worry that we’re homogenizing our downtown neighbourhoods to the detriment of the broader City. Will people flock to a new box store to save a few bucks or will they remain loyal to the small independent businesses that give Kensington its character? How would you feel about this if you lived there?
I have a soft spot for Kensington Market. I used to busk there on button accordion sometimes, right outside Tom’s Place. It was so much fun. I’d meet a great assortment of characters every time I played there. It’s changed quite a bit over the years, but still it has remained a unique pocket in the City. I sure hope this old neighbourhood is going to be OK.
Here’s a delightful video my friend Candy Minx shot in Kensington Market. That’s me playing the squeezebox…
And here’s another one…I’m playing a Newfoundland tune called The Star of Logy Bay. This video gives a bit of a taste of the atmosphere in the Market. It was early and still fairly quiet.
There are two Christie Antique Shows each year, in May and September. Calling it an antique show is maybe stretching things. It’s a show of stuff…everything from antiques to junk, located in a conservation area not far from Hamilton. It’s hard to buy junk these days, with all those “picker” shows on television. There’s plenty of interesting stuff for sale, but prices tend to be on the very high side. For instance, I was looking for oil cans for oil can banjos. There were lots there, priced from $30-$130. While if I bought one on eBay, I would have to pay for shipping, $30 seems mighty high and that was the low end. I tried to negotiate on cans and nobody seemed interested in dropping their prices at all. I guess there’s a market for old oil cans.
We did of course manage to fill up our car with stuff we didn’t need. This included a whirly-gig, a carved, painted bird, a bunch of large plastic letters (um, we needed those) and my find of the day, an old tenor banjo, which I’ll convert to a 5-string eventually, with a hand-carved neck….and more.
car full of junk (we needed this stuff, honest)
We had so much fun square dancing when we were at Merlefest, we really wanted to do some up here in Toronto as well. The first opportunity we found was a dance called the Hogtown Hoedown that took place tonight in a church hall in mid-town Toronto. It featured Jacque Adain calling and the Lonesome Ace Stringband playing. We went with our friends I & E, who we always enjoy spending time with.
At Merlefest, we did big circle country dancing and tonight it was old time square dancing. They’re similar in many respects and different in others. I’d say tonight’s dance was more difficult overall. There were times I had trouble following the caller, but fortunately I wasn’t alone and others were getting messed up as well. On other dances, we had an easier time of it. In all cases though, it was a lot of fun.
With Tuffy P at the Hogtown Hoedown
There were people there at various skill levels from duffers like us to really experienced dancers. Tuffy P shot this next bit of video – we sat out this dance.
I use a Blackberry at my job and when I have it with me it means I also have a camera with me. But I don’t have a personal supercomputercamerasmartphonedevice and I’m not really Jonesing to get one. If I had one and I carried it with me, the magical sight I just experienced would never have occurred, of that I’m certain. Even if I had a camera and I attempted to photograph it, I don’t think I could capture the breadth of the experience.
I was out with the dogs by the lake, at the south end of the water filtration plant, shivering because of the cold wind down by the lake. Looking over toward Port Credit, streamers blew across the sky. It darkened above me quite suddenly and the sleet that came down cut into my face. There was a chop on the lake and there must have been an emergence of thousands of those midges that have been swarming around the shore in clouds the last couple weeks. I couldn’t actually see any of the bugs. Instead, I watched hundreds of swallows swooping about just above the surface of the water, gorging themselves on the tiny insects. Looking from the yacht club harbour west along the lake, the birds were feeding as far as I could see.
What a spectacular sight!
Apparently, the planned obsolescence model practiced by the IT world has not reached all parts of the fair province of Ontario, and a reader with either a painfully slow computer or a painfully slow connection or maybe even both has complained it took him 8 minutes to pull up this blog. That will never do. So….cut back on the number of posts showing at a given time from 20 to 10. Hopefully that will help.
UPDATE: Apparently this blog is still loading slowly with the changes I made on a computer with a slow connection so I’ve tried a different theme to see if it makes any difference.
From the Merlefest 2013 site to Boone is about 30 miles, almost all uphill
The people who were running this stage coast were obviously Merlefest veterans.
Covered Wagon, Merlefest 2013