Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Production

A jack-o-lantern drawn with chalk near Kensington Market

After friday I my "cold" resurfaced, this time different symptoms, stuffed up sinus, crap in the lungs, goop in the eyes, flipped sleep schedule. My friend Andrew blames my sickness on chemical trails mainly due to the fact that the symptoms are in greater numbers then when I was a kid and that I've been getting sick a lot. Personally I still think it's from over working and keeping odd hours.

After another weekend of burying myself under a ton of blankets, today the cold had gotten down to a point where it was just a reoccurring cough, maybe one every two hours or so. The big thing today was meeting my parents and Dave (cousin) for dinner. An appointment I almost forgot if it weren't for my calendar.

I forgot it was Halloween. Kate and Lisa, my two upstairs neighbours were on the porch giving candies out to the local ghouls. Mostly little tiny spider-men, angels, devils, ghosts, and cartoon characters being escorted by their parents.

I thought up some quick ideas for Halloween get ups if you're in a pinch (WARNING some bordering on lame)
  • duct tape a flashing red bike light to your right hand = instant runner from Logan's run

  • glue smarties to a pair of shorts and wearing them = Mr. Smartie pants (I can't take credit for this one)

  • grab your bathroom plunger = Mario, Luigi of Nintendo fame, or Roger Wilco from Space Quest (it's Halloween use your freakin' imagination)

After dinner with the parents we ending up on a street in Riverdale. My parents were blabbing about some kind of Halloween production going on the neighborhood. My cousin and I looked at each other and shrugged. The thought of some over zealous parent jumping out from behind a styrofoam tombstone came to mind. "Production value... yeah whatever". Dave thought the same thing.

As we walked up Howland toward the "big production" we started hearing amplified voices. Squinting into the distance I noticed a movie screen attached to one of the houses with video playing. Holy cow! It is a big production! There was a stage built in front of the house with people enacting some kind of play all dressed in costumes. Flood lights were attached to a tree across the street. There were even benches for small audience members on the sidewalk. We couldn't get to the stage as the street was packed with kids and adults alike.

The big production on some street in Riverdale.

As we managed to see the last five, ten minutes of the play and video extravaganza I managed to snap a few pictures. I'll have to make a note of going back next year. Supposedly this is an annual thing.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dating at the ROM

The highlight of my day would be to meet up with this girl. To bring you readers up to speed, for the last two weeks or so I've been emailing this girl. I'll refer to her as "the girl" to keep her identity secret as she likes her privacy. For those that know the girl please keep this to yourselves. Anyways, A few weeks ago I met this girl and we've kept in touch via email. We've both been busy. Me shooting fashion week and being sick and her being out of town for a while attending a wedding (not hers).

So as luck would have it, mine specifically, we made plans to meet up and today was the day. We ended up at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). To start off with it was her idea. In a lot of ways it's a great idea. You can casually look at things, talk, and in doing so get to know the other person. This is much better than going to see a movie as you don't really talk in a theatre and if you do you are shunned to the movie talker hell in a later life. It's the same hell that you go to when your cell phone goes off, a hell that's slightly better than the one you'd go to if you were to talk on your cell phone in the theatre while the movie is playing.

The big problem for me with the ROM is the fact that I never know how much time to spend looking at something. Am I looking at something too long or too little? Is the person with me getting bored while waiting for me to look at something? Are we even in an interesting section of the museum? Maybe spending time looking in the bat cave freaks them out.

Perhaps this uber-sensitiveness is a bit crazy but I've been around people like that... you could sense their boredom as you checked out stuff that interested you and in the end you couldn't really spend time looking at stuff to your satisfaction and keep the other person entertained long enough to not have them have their eyes glazing over. So for me the ROM was pretty intimating.

Surprisingly the date, can I call this a date, er... the meeting went rather well. I suppose I was just so into the girl that I didn't seem to notice the time being spent in front of anything or everything. Any objects we looked at or stood in front of seemed interesting in some odd way, they became a conversation piece. From the dinosaur skeletons on the main floor to some weird ass vase from the ming dynasty.

There was a point where we sat in a room with a lot of stuffed birds and just talked while watching kids open a drawer of bird poop, it was part of the exhibit. In the end I think it was her. There was definitely something about the girl because not once did I reach for my non-existent camera from my non-existent camera bag.

Yes, I left the camera bag and all the stuff inside it at home. This from a guy who's motto could be "Not from my cold dead hand..." or "If you see me without a camera then Hell's frozen over." or "If I don't have a camera some thing's wrong... the camera is busted or I am". It kind of gives you an idea how much I wanted to concentrate on the girl I suppose.

Come to think of it, I can't remember not having a camera on me since 2003, with the exception of being sick or my camera breaking that is. How crazy is that? When I fried the mother board on my camera all those years ago and had to bring my camera in for repairs, all month (before my replacement camera arrived from Ebay) I kept checking my bag to see if I lost something or where my non-existent Nikon 990 went to.

Kind of like when I forget my watch, another thing I rarely do, hence the perpetual white stripe around my un-tanned left wrist, every now and then I'll look at my bare arm for the time realizing the watch is at home on a table. Not having a camera on my person bugs me or bugged me until today. All because of a girl, well this one at least. In the end I can't say that's a bad thing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Baby and Borat

A month's worth of clean T-shirts

I woke up today with all lot of energy. So much so that I did about a month's worth of laundry, cleaned the dish pile that started growing out of the sink, and scrubbed the bathroom floor. All this and before 6 am! Even my cousin Dave would be surprised.

At around 8am I ended the cleaning streak and began my lounging around the apartment. At around 11am I got a call from David, an art department friend, saying that if I wanted to visit the hospital today would be good. His wife Zoe had a baby recently. After the phone call I fell asleep.

At around 3pm I woke up and rushed out the door to go St. Michael's the hospital with Zoe and David. Once there I was told to follow the "storks". wha? Did the hospital invest in animatronic ushers in the form of a few storks? Unfortunately no. Much to my disappointment the storks were large oval shaped stickers on the floor.

Baby markers

Upon entering the room I noticed "the kid" in a plastic tub. As I'm not a frequent visitor of hospitals this was news to me. I tried imagining what it would be like to sleep in a large plastic tub, would I stub my toe? Would I feel claustrophobic? Would I make funny faces on the plastic window like frame?

David and Zoe with the brand new baby

It's incredible how small and fragile looking babies are. Yet behind these little people are minds that are ready to suck all the information you have to share with them willingly or not so willingly. Speech, habits, and other mannerisms from you get absorbed through sheer osmosis. Kind of reminds me of some small alien life form ready to take on the world. I was thinking that just before David brought out a jumper with a space theme. Wow, that was creepy.

The kid's first jumper. Note the space theme. How cool is that?

I left the hospital on my way to meet up with Darryl. He had free tickets to a sneak preview screening of the Borat movie. The movie was funny but had really low production value. In the back of my mind I hoped that this would not be a trend in Hollywood, that is to make cheap movies on a grand scale. Kind of like the whole reality TV thing. In small doses okay, but I still need to see well written things every now and then.

Darryl with the Borat face on a stick.

Some of the free swag included Borat's head on a stick, a light blue Kazakhstan plastic cup, and a Borat with an American flag button. I'm not really sure what I'll use the button or cup for but the face on a stick has been getting some pretty good laughs.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pizza Craving

It's starting to look bleak outside.

Today I felt a bit better and looking into the refrigerator I realized that I had a craving for pizza. It might have been because yesterday I saw a coupon for some frozen pizza on sale. It's funny how that works. Again I trekked out to the local food store and this time came back with a double frozen set of deluxe frozen pizzas by McCain.

I baked the pizza and ate the whole thing in one sitting while watching "Clash by Night" (1952) on DVD. A film noir-ish story about a girl that moves back to her small town meets a simple guy who happens to be a fisherman with a crush on her. Of course there's all sorts of craziness that goes on to keep the story moving.

Cooked frozen Pizza

Monday, October 23, 2006

No camera day

Today I woke up at 6pm. Yes that's not a typo. Thanks to long hours photographing Toronto Fashion Week, the Pink Bedroom Party, and the North Bound Leather fashion show and all the little things in between my body had finally told me that I need some down time (ie. I got really sick). The answer? Sleep and lots of it. In fact pretty much all day Sunday and today I had managed to hibernate in my makeshift cocoon of blankets and pillows. I was comfy and warm and decided to stay where I was with my eyes peeking out every now and then.

I was freezing. Had the apartment lost it's heating over night? Was my bed replaced by a giant ice cube (in the shape of my bed)? If being in bed was this cold, how cold was it outside in the rest of the apartment? I was determined to stay in bed the rest of the night.

Until, that is, I realized I was out of food. D'oh! How can I be out of food? The fridge looked full when I looked at it in my dizzy state on Saturday night. My brain wasn' that out of it. Was it? I got up and opened the fridge door. Upon closer inspection I realized the fridge was full. Full of condiments!

Ketchup, Guk (that addictive Lick's sauce), mustard (honey, dijon, regular), assorted jams, peanut butter (whoops, just the container), garlic chili sauce, tabasco sauce (three bottles that were randomly distributed around the fridge), "Ass in space" chili sauce (a gift I had bought myself in New Orleans almost 10 years ago), red peppers, pickles, corn relish, basically everything to create that perfect hot dog or hamburger but no actual meat, hamburger patties or winers or sausages. Yes there were condiments up the wahzoo along with the odd candy stored from a few Christmas' or Halloweens of yesteryear. (anyone reading this please no candy canes for presents).

Oh my... and there was a container of yogurt that I don't even remember buying.

A few minutes later after extracting the container, handling it like a sample of toxic waste, I carefully made sure the lid didn't pop open. I was afraid the smell would permeate into the apartment spreading it's evil odor in nanoseconds. A triple bag wrap procedure followed by a dump into the kitchen garbage bag and finally out to the garbage can located outside was in order. It will sit and hopefully freeze until next week's pick up. I pity the Raccoon that tries opening that thing.

The trip outside was to a grocery store I don't usually frequent as it's a bit far away. I figured I could use the air and the No Frills located near me doesn't really have much in ways of selection. So off to Main and Danforth, A Sobey's, via streetcar.

It's a bit odd the food you buy when you're not feeling too great. I picked up some Brie to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I might be sick but that doesn't mean I have to eat cheap. Someone, I think it might have been Melissa, told me that dairy foods are bad when you have a cold as it promotes phlegm build up. Almost like I was doing the opposite of what was bing told to me I headed to the dairy section to buy some milk. For some reason I had a craving for cereal and as eating it out of the box doesn't really work for me I bought a small carton of milk.

$70 and 4 bags later I got back home to start making dinner. 9pm. Hmmm.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

North Bound Leather

The owners welcome and thank people for showing up over the last ten years.

Saturday. For the day I decided to take on the shape of a small ball and bury myself under covers until the last possible second then get up and go down to the Docks in the evening to shoot the North Bound Leather fashion show. The cold that I thought I'd get last night I got and it was kicking my ass.

I felt like crap. One part sore throat, one part headache, one big part tired achy body. Still, the photographer in me managed to drag my almost corpse like body out of bed and down to the Docks with an hour to spare before the actual show started. As a result I managed to get a pretty good shooting location right in front of the runway.

Domenic, a photographer wearing small black leather shorts, a guy I met durinf the shooting of fashion week asked why I wasn't wearing any leather. This was a fetish party after all and it was put on by a company that made leather garments, incredible leather garments. I looked down and said "What about my belt and boots? Do they count?". I got a "no" as an answer. Domenic didn't seem to realize just putting socks on for me was a task in itself never mind the whole leather thing thanks to the cold. He shrugged and wandered away to take some people pictures.

Compared to fashion week where the models just walk up and down the catwalk with glazed eyes (okay I'm exaggerating to make a point) this show was filled with attitude and as a result made for some pretty interesting, if not racy photos. Exaggerated body poses, glaring eyes, it was like shooting for a comic book.

The show itself started off with some pretty tame but very cool Matrixy type clothing and as the show progressed got a bit more racier. Bigger lights, larger productions, the inclusion of nipple rings and dildos, and throw in some bat-like wings. The finale was a half naked woman chained to a large X surrounded by demons, some with large dildos, with a vampire like singer in black vinyl and two female vampire back up singers. The girl on the X had her crotch eaten out, with fake blood dripping down her inner thighs, then was carried by the dildo demons along the stage for some kind of sacrificial performance.

By the time the show was over I was exhausted. The slight headache I woke up with had ballooned into crowbar-to-the-head proportions. I needed to get outside to get some air. More importantly I needed to get back home to bed. Darkness started swirling around my vision. The blackness started making things a bit difficult to see. I was starting to pass out. I sat down on the floor for a moment to let the feeling pass. I remember people wandering around me taking down the scaffolding for the video guys to make way for a dance floor.

It's times like this that the invention of a teleporter would be good. Just beam me back to bed and those warm blankets. My vision cleared and I picked myself off the floor and started to head out when I bumped into my editor, Juliet. She wanted me to stick around to take pictures of people at the party. There was that demanding tone in her voice or maybe that was how I perceived it as I was kind of out of it by then. I managed to talk her out of me shooting the people shots.

I told her I was sick and wanted, no, needed to go home. I guess she looked at me to see if I looked the part. Upon approval she herself started to escort me to the door. It took us forever to get me to the exit. On the way out I actually did take a couple of pictures. Guy with big hat, guy dressed up as a sailor, girl with boobs practically jumping out of her corset, girl in bone dress, the usual stuff one might see at a fetish party. Yes the photographer mode in me was still a GO.

Once outside I hailed a cab. I made it home in what seemed to be the longest cab ride ever. The amount on the meter proved otherwise. Looking at my watch only 10 minutes had past. Maybe the cab driver thought I might spew into the back seat.

Designer of the bat wings shown on stage.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pink Bedroom Party

A slide for the Pink Bedroom party projected 10 feet on the wall.

This whole week I've been fighting a dreaded cold that was introduced to me by a really sick projectionist (Bob) on the saturday of the Hard Liquor and Porn film fest. We were stuck in the tiny projection room together for a few hours. While he was hacking up a lung I tried to think that the germs would keep away from me while I worked the computer gear. No such luck. As the week progressed so did the cold.

I may not have gotten the cold from Bob. I could have picked it up any any number of places or people. Now that I think about it there were finger food sandwiches during fashion week. Maybe some sicko came into contact with a sandwich or touched a pop can. Who knows. The end result is the same.

Tonight I felt a pressure behind my left eye. Kind of like a headache thing but not quite. I wasn't sure what to make of it. Then that itchy throat thing starts up. By this point I knew that by the time I woke up the next day I'd be 100% sick. Great.

Still, I was told to take pictures at the Pink Bedroom Party. I was also told it would be fun and there would be food for the press. Well I can't argue with food and even though we were fed okay during fashion week, the tiny finger sized sandwiches and wraps were starting to get to me.

The party was conveniently located across the street at the Liberty Grand. That made the decision to go a bit easier. Plus there was food. I wondered over. By the time I got there people had already gotten their seats and were just starting to get fed. I raced around looking for Juliet my Juicy Stuff editor and found that I had gotten there before her. That was okay as I used the time to scope out the place to figure out where to drop off my camera gear that I'd been lugging around all day during fashion week.

There was a media floor but it didn't look like it was being used. I didn't want to leaave my laptop and monopod just sitting there by themselves so I lugged them back down stairs and stashed them next to the make shift operations area where the lighting and sound were being controlled from.

As I fiddled with backing up files and getting things packed up the key note speech started. A few companies were introduced with their people. I thought I heard a familiar name and looked toward the stage. "Is that Rita?" I thought to myself. It was at that moment that the giant projection changed to show a slide with Rita's name on it.

Rita Silvan talks to the audience.

Rita and I used to work together in the early 90s at a company that put on conferences. I had seen her maybe once or twice since then but fell out of touch as I changed my career into the exciting world of visual effects. It was nice to see her after all these years and she looked the same. A sophisticated, intellectual, woman with a kindness that sort of just oozes out of her. It figures that she's the editor of Elle canada. We didn't get to jab much as I got sucked away to take pictures of the event. Mental note: I'll have to try contacting her for lunch or something one of these days to catch up.

After all the big wigs finished their speech on thanking people on donating money to help wipe out breast cancer food was served. I initially decided not to eat and started taking a few shots of other people eating and enjoying themselves. A few minuted into this and I was asked by Patrick, another photographer, if I wanted to join him and some other press people at a table. My stomach took over whatever decision making my brain had and I sat down in front of a thick steak. The food was pretty amazing.

The price tag was $250.00 a seat. Well it is a charity function after all. After the dinner a small staged production of of girl on a bed ensued. She had some dream that involved dancing and showacasing the Jeanne Lottie purses. As a photographer I wasn't really sure what to shoot. The dancing was kind of all over the place and the lighting was terrible. On top of that I was a bit wiped out from the oncoming cold.

What's a Pink Bedroom Party without a bed and pink lighting?

Jeanne Lottie purses on display

Once the little purse performance was over Jack Soul hit the stage, bars were open for drinks and people started getting out of their seats to schmooze and dance. I found the people friendly and tried to get into some meaningful conversations with some pretty girls before getting dragged away by Juliet to shoot some famous type people. Such is the life of a photographer.

Jack Soul performs some jazzy tunes

The Pink Bedroom Motorola girls

A few people managed to leave with the Christmas tree-like table ornament. It was won as part of a lottery for each table. Kind of neat. It would have been neat to win one but then I thought where would I put it. I've already got enough stuff that sits around collecting dust. Eventually I decided it was time to go home and upon exiting the building I was handed a rather large gift bag filled with mainly hair product.

A cool Christmas tree.

Toronto L'Oreal Fashion Week Day Five

Project Fashion: Laura Kenzie

Friday, the last day of Toronto Fashion week. A bunch of catwalks were sandwiched back to back for Fanshawe College's aspiring designers. Project Fashion, showcased ten designers and their creations in a space of a mere two hours. The photo pit for the press was pretty empty during this time and allowed me to play around with variations on the camera a bit while moving into different locations.

There were some nice designs on show despite that these were collections from students. It's nice to see up and coming talent. The fact that the mainstream press wasn't there to shoot it is their loss.

Project Fashion: Rachel Bake

Project Fashion: Kristina McGill

Project Fashion: Jenn McKinley

Project Fashion: Marzena Wajda

Project Fashion: Harmony Nadjiwon

Project Fashion: Jackie Ridell

Project Fashion: Alison Bruder

Project Fashion: Ashley Davis

Project Fashion: Anglea Phung


Dyna Lyon

Slavka Plavsic


I think this was my favorite So(da)liscious outfit. The bottle caps are neat to look at. Maybe not very functional on a girl friend that you're trying to get close to. She might rub you the wrong way.

Christine Phillip

Pink Tartan

Pink Tartan was the only fashion collection I noticed with models wearing nerdy glasses. Although the actual clothing seemed pretty average there's something sexy about the whole glasses thing. The models with their posing skills made this line look quite good.

Doing some last minute work while the media area is being taken down.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Toronto L'Oreal Fashion Week Day Four

An interesting display of torsos

Today's great collections were from Izzy Camilleri and Charles and Ron. If I had a significant other I would totally get them something from one or both these lines provided that is they were into clothing. Are there any women out there that aren't even a little bit? That's almost like looking for a guy that's not into some kind of gadget.

Chicken wire + Designer = Dress

The Foxy originals display

The waiting room

Kavi Kavi

The Kavi Kavi show had a singer performing at the end of the runway while models walked their walk. This gave a memorable catwalk I thought. A catwalk should always have the fashion at the primary source of interest. The performance was not too flashy or draw attention away from the clothing so I thought it made a nice addition.


DC Clothing

The DC clothing models

Izzy's travel wear

More of Izzy's spring summer 2007 wear

Izzy Camilleri bows for the applauding crowd

A dress by Joeffer Caoc

Guards hold off people waiting for the next show

A really nice red dress by Charles and Ron

A stunning white gown

Charles and Ron