Friday, May 29, 2009


A couple people brought up that I may not seem focused, that I may lack focus. One friend asked me what was causing me grief and what was causing me joy. Well, my joy is writing, drawing, making music, performing, doing stand-up, acting; and-of course- the important matterss of life experience, my awesome girlfriend, pals, and family. See? I am focused!!! But my grief is allergies, admin, rejection, trying to find an agent, trying to find a job. That must make people perceive me as unfocused. And it’s true it can take away the focus from my joys. So I need to get rid of those griefs so that the world can perceive me as focused! But it’s not that easy. Getting rid of the allergies takes time (I’m on shots), I need an agent so I can act (a joy) and get money (survival), I also need a day-job for survival and yet it keeps giving me rejection (further grief). Perhaps I should get an intern for the admin? Then people will perceive me as focused!
Unfortunately, I do need a job to get some income coming in for the short-term. Yes, I obviously have long-term aims to deal with my many varied and focused talents. I’m focused!
I am considering a job in the auto industry. This will give me money so that I can FOCUS on my varied talents and creative outputs. The Government has been giving the auto industry a lot of money and the Government is not even expecting anything in return! Not even cars! I am confused by this. Can someone explain this to me? I thought that the auto industry was a private industry that operated within the strict perimeters of Free Enterprise where if someone can’t compete they no longer exist in the marketplace. Henry Ford, the main automobile guy, was such a free enterpriser that he even believed in Eugenics along with many nasty philosophies regarding racial superiority. Getting money from the Government goes against everything that the auto industry is about. How can I get some of that money? I’ll even work for it!
It seems that there is a recession. For the longest time I thought it was a load of baloney but now it is actualized due to fear. People are operating out of fear. Stocks and bonds are silly intangible trifles but once people start believing the news, fear happens. And fear can be tangible. For example, I can’t get an agent for my acting here in Toronto. I have a good demo reel and have been in a couple features. I go through a lot of grief from their rejections (which is a cause of lack of focus). I am told that agents are not taking on anyone new and may even let some actors go due to fear.
For day jobs I have sent out over 90 resumes. I have even been to 3 resume experts to make my resume read good... er, I mean, read well.
I called an art careers place because, since I am an artist and entertainer, I should get a job in the arts, something related. The lady told me that it’s baaaad out there! Her job contract ends in two months and she’s worried. The lady at the art careers place is worried about her job and can’t give art careers advice because of it!
Another arts careers place told me that I have a good, solid resume.
they both told me that it isn't me, it's fear, it's the marketplace. But, dammit, it's hard not to take it personally sometimes! It can become like an obsession and combined with rejection one can start turning inward and see trouble-spots and start to wonder what is wrong with themselves!
When I went to my accountant he told me that eleven of his friends lost their jobs.
Many of my friends are worried about finding work.
My life savings are depleting and if something doesn’t happen I may need to take action.
When I told my doctor my problems, he asked me if I had feelings that I’d want to hurt myself or others. Hmmmm. I had never thought of that before, he gave me an idea! Something to focus on! I'd never take it to that limit but obviously people in desperate scenarios have, otherwise, why would he ask? He is a medical doctor after all.
I’m slumped.
I’m humbled.
I will do almost anything as a day job except for telemarketing. I lasted three and a half shifts at that telemarketing job. I was raising funds for The Opera. I thought I’d be able to get free tickets for my girlfriend and I. No. Turns out it was for the Boston Opera. Many Boston residents had no idea that I was calling from Toronto. I’d often interrupt their dinner. I hate that because I was now the guy I hate. Between mouthfuls of food they’d tell me that it’s a recession and that they couldn’t donate. I was given a scripted response to read for that particular excuse. It was all so very desperate, horribly desperate. I left mid-shift when I felt like a liar of omission by not letting on that I am in Toronto, etcetera. An unfulfilled dishonest days' pay.
I also will not bartend or work in a kitchen with severe and untreated alcoholics.
But, apart from that, I will do almost anything! (suck cock for food?)
I am ready, willing, and able! I am even talented and focused! And hard working!

‘I recently got a case worker who has me on the Wage Subsidy program. That’s where the employer only has to pay half the wage and the government pays the rest. Even with that in my court, my case worker has called all the places that I have applied to- over ninety- to no response.
I found out through a friend on the inside that after I applied to one job posting the boss had to decide which of his friends to hire. I was not the boss’ friend. They posted the job due to legalities. This has probably happened to me a lot.
I have had a few job interviews, some at places that I would enjoy! One was for quite a good record store! I collect and write about records, I make records! I am great with customers! I even enjoy filing. Our interview was good, it lasted an hour. We had a rapport.In the end, he hired a guy with a video production company to film their live in-store band concerts. I don’t have a video production company and I wasn’t about to lie to say that I did. The really good video store didn’t call me back after my job interview there, either. When she asked me if I know about foreign films, I told her that my copy of SALO: 120 days of Sodom didn’t play. I realize now that I think she suspected that it was a burned copy. Well, it was a rare bootleg that a pal got rid of when he bought the Criterion edition. I should have explained so that she wouldn’t have been so turned off that she didn’t even want my reference letters. Or maybe it was the mere fact that I was simply watching SALO that didn’t land me the job.Or maybe I am obsessively speculating about it when they could have hired someone with a video production company. Who knows?
Wonderland is an amusement park. For the mascot positions, they said that I'd have to trim my moustache!!! For the actor positions, I noticed that I was the oldest person auditioning. One girl in tights did a monologue from Children's Theatre involving such classic tropes as large mushrooms and fairy folk. She did a lot of very provocative bending and stretching as she talked in a cutesy Children's Theatre voice. She probably got the part. I did not.

One day I applied to nine Starbucks. I don’t really like Starbucks but it could be worse. I could apply at American Apparel but I do not want to have to show my tits to get a job. The Starbucks location for my first interview went rather well. They work on a two interview system. She called me the next day to tell me that they needed me for the Queen and John location. That I’d be “...a good fit.” This is a very bad location. It’s busy and filled with horrible people. It is also across the street from Much Music. They probably needed me because they have high staff turn over. I showed up there for my second interview and waited for 45 minutes. The place was cramped and messy and lousy with people. The manager was too busy to speak with me so the assistant manager conducted the interview. She was a nice, very young lady in her early 20s from the suburbs. She apologized profusely for making me wait so long. She also apologized for asking the same exact questions as the first interview. As an antidote, she decided to mix things up a bit and threw in one of her own questions.
“ are your two favourite movies.”
“Night Of the Hunter and Eyes Without A Face.”
When I told Don McKellar and the fellas at Suspect Video this story, they all thought it was a great answer because these are great films. Don makes movies and the people at Suspect really know their movies. It’s all about context. This gal is a young gal in the suburbs who is an assistant manager at Starbucks. I proceeded to tell her all about these movies because I love them so much. I went into the Eyes Without a Face Criterion DVD bonus feature which is a doc that was filmed at a French abbatoire where cows' throats get slit and steam rises.I have a problem with honesty: I’m an honest person. Open even. The editing device between my brain and my mouth does not work.
The biggest problem with the Starbucks interview is that I asked her if it had to be for that location. It was. I tried to explain to her that I play in bands and that I sometimes get interviewed on Much Music and not for a job but for air on the station! “They’re really nice. They come in all the time,” she said. “And we’re really nice!”
“I’m sure you all are but it’s not you, it’s me,” I replied.
She still could not grasp why this was so hard for me. That it wasn’t that it was destructive to my ego (not a bad thing) but that it might rip my self-respect to shreds giving extra foam on their lattes to people who have interviewed me as well as some visiting rock star friends. That working at this location would represent the crumbling of my rock ‘n’ roll dreams. When I first dropped off my resume, I saw Neko Case’s CD on sale at the front counter and I silently mused, “I wonder if Neko will let me use her name as a reference?” Starbucks does not want me to tell them that I would be embarrassed to work there. I wound up telling the assistant manager, “I’m not fussy! I’d work at any location but this one!” After my interview I bumped into Jay, the fella who filmed an interview with me that aired on Much Music a few months ago. Seeing him was a sign that working there would spiral me into a deep depression- as opposed to the mild depression that I am currently in. None of the other Starbucks locations ever called. I am mildly depressed over not finding a crummy, go-nowhere day job that has little/nothing to do with my highly focussed career goals!
I moved to Toronto from Vancouver late last year for a few reasons including building my career, rescuing it from bitterness and stagnation. Things were going great until a few months ago. I can’t go back to Vancouver because I know the recession is even worse there. People can’t find anything there! Last year I was out of work there and it was total hell! I really want to build my career. The rejection keeps hitting.
I do have my health, some great friends, an awesome girlfriend, my family, and a roof over my head. But absolutely everything in my life feels completely unfixed and uncertain.
A friend told me to keep whining with my blogs as he relates to it. A sustained barrage of whine. See, people, you are not alone!
It’s my birthday tomorrow. I will be 37. Today I am 36 years old. No wife, no kids, Peter friggin’ Pan. I am a responsible adult. No dependants. Thank God.
I look good.

Thoughts? Comments on this? Anything at all? Post it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This looks to be promising awesomey awesomeness this Thursday.... I have created a brand new issue of my self-help booklet Y2K Compatible and it's the best one yet! It is two issues in one! Issues 4 and 5 combined and it's much funnier than issue 3 and much nastier! It'll be launching tomorrow nite as part of the festivities! And I'll be doing some stand-up as well...I'm on early so show up by 7:30 for reals....
INFO: is an online place to buy art stuff. this is a party to let you know about it and mark it as officially on the interweb.

with DJ michael comeau

these fine people have their stuff for sale:

✒mark connery
✒robert dayton
✒wowee zonk crew (ginette lapalm, patrick kyle, chris kuzma)
✒andrew zukerman
✒peter kalyniuk
✒sarah butterill
✒jesjit gill
✒laura mcCoy
✒michael deforge
✒matt dunn
✒laura curley

and many more to be added soon.

these fine people will be do various things to entertain you that night

SR Palm (performance)

Robert Dayton (will tell some jokes)

Steph Davidson (will show off her Gifs)

Matt King (will do nice solo music thing)

Matt Dunn (will turn your brain with music)

Laura Curley (gonna read some poems!!)

ALSO , there will be stuff for sale by these people and some new new new stuff being made just for the party by:


and some zines on the wall for take-down reading.

Thursday, May 28, 2009
7:00pm - 11:00pm
jamie's area
193 augusta
Toronto, ON

Monday, May 25, 2009


hello art mag enthusiasts. Issue #3 is on stands and is thicker than any other before.
I have beeeeg innerview with Funnyman Neil Hamburger,we discuss art and teh (stands for: tickle entire house) recession and Joe Besser.

where to find H&C....

In Montreal- Drawn and Quarterly
Vancouver- Eugene Choo and Artspeak
Halifax- Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
Los Angeles- Ooga Booga
San Fran- Silverman Gallery
Brooklyn- Cinders Gallery
Toronto- Hunter and Cook (15 Ossington) Pages, Book City, This aint the Rosedale Library, Swipe, Type and lots of others

Thursday, May 14, 2009



I have so much exciting stuff to write about but no time as looking for work is a full-time job (that doesn't pay) and I am going to Montreal with my hotttt new bannnd!
If yer there friday night (early show- 9 PM, over by midnite) come say hello!
Press release and crazee nature style poster follows!

Friday, may 15th 9 PM
Bar St Laurent 2
5550 Boul st-Laurent, montreal
5 bux

WET DIRT is a four-piece band that plays hard rock with just enough roll to make it curdle, throw in some softer songs for the ladeez, and it makes every body feel good! A hook-laden sweaty slab of meat with a third eye fixed on you. SUPER DUPER MELODIES/GRIMY DISTORTION/BIG BOTTOM END/SNAKE CHARMING CHARISMA. Songs about invalids, redemption, hot beige, hot pink....
They reside in Toronto, Canada.
Line up: Robert Dayton (Canned Hamm, July Fourth Toilet, Hallmark): vocals, Robin Fry (Rozasia, The Miniature Pancakes Band, Permafrown): guitar, Tobey Black (The Gay, MAOW): drums, Simon McNally (Simon): bass.

Evan Symons is currently touring Canada in support of his new CD "Death and Other Subjects" on his "Step and a Half" label. For over 25 years, his confused artistic path has taken him on a variety of missions that have included off-time geek prog, folk and varying forms of electronic almost-pop. His show includes video and still projections of the Canadian landscape by Evan and Sheena Black.

Rivers And Mountains remain faceless as possible at all turns.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Comic Art Panel/Hunter and Cook

The Toronto Comic Art Festival is happening this weekend and it's a doozy!
I am on this panel:
Saturday, 12:30pm-1:30pm: Awesome Comix!

Join Frank Santoro, Robin McConnell, Dash Shaw, Dustin Harbin and Robert Dayton for a look at how mainstream comics of the silver and bronze age have a relevance and impact on modern alternative comics. The panel will explore the legacy of some of the more interesting "mainstream" work from the 70's through to the 90's.

Learning Centre 1
Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge)
More info:

I read 50 issues of Steve Gerber's Man Thing in preparation!
Also: Hunter and Cook Launch issue 3 tonite, Friday, 7-10 PM. 15 Ossington. I have a huge Neil Hamburger interview in this ish where we touch on art and entertainment in the recession. But it is also my WET DIRT bandmate Robin Fry's art show! I saw a sneak peek of both and they are both awesome!!!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Hi folks....

I am presented in the folio section of the latest issue of Broken Pencil magazine (issue 43). These are some of my Fantasy Beards.
I have to think about my next series. Are Fantasy Beards pure escapism and is that such a bad thing? I don't want to be all Synechdone, New York but I feel that I should strive for some sort of meaning. Hmmmm. Or is unhindered creative expression enough with the social commentary leaking out naturally? I did want the beards to be a less stereotypically masculine force, to have identity shifts be fluid and lucid and that ain't no bad thing!

Okay okay. Also I have a very long interview with Neil Hamburger in the latest issue of Hunter and Cook art magazine. We touch on the value of art and entertainment in a recession and lots more! It launches Friday, May 8th 7-12 PM at
M6J 2Y8
416 588 3500

The ish also features art by a collaborator from that July Fourth Toilet band I'm in: Shayne Ehman, and many others, and the launch is also for an art show by the guitarist from that WET DIRT band I'm in, Robin Fry.

The image here is for a night that just happened. I was slow on promo here but nice poster, huh? Sadly Sipreano was too injured to spin but Lorenz showed up and played some great stuff!(I didn't recognise most of it -one selection was Moon Gas by Dick Hyman) My playlist was: The Robert Tennison Troupe- My World Of Make Believe, side two of The Sunshine Bus, Joseph Geczy- Bananas, Earle Mankey- Mau Mau, David Seville- Camel Rock, Nichelle Nichols-Beyond Antares, Norman Merkel- Do It Today, Tom Tomson- Silent Night, P. Vert- Stickball, Peter Wyngarde- Rape, The Walker Brothers- The Electrician, Mimi Hetu- Maman, Ohio Express- Zig Zag, July Fourth Toilet- Menopause Rival, Raymond Scott- Little Miss Echo, Ralph Platt- The Birds Sing His Praise, Terry- Harvest Time, Love- Dream, The 18th Century Concepts- Have You seen Your Mother Baby Standing In The Shadows?, Wade Denning- Fun Sounds Of Christmas, Popeye- Help!Help! and I Had A Hamburger Dream, Lou Reed- the Bells, Nino Rota- La Dolce Vita, Theme From Rosemary's Baby, Sebastian Cabot- All I Really Wanna Do, Bonzo Dog Band- 11 Moustachioed Daughters, Baby Bones- Sticking Needles through Paper Doll Eyes, Phil Ochs- No More Songs, Happy Birthday Party songs (there were 2 birthdays in attendance), Robert Charlebois- Deux Femmes en or, Concept Commercials, Neil Hagerty- Some People Are Crazy, Bob Lind- I Just Let It take Me, Biff Rose- Angel tension, Alex Chilton- Liek Flies On Sherbert, Milan Kymlicka- Walking Girl, Tommy Roe- Moontalk, Buffy Sante-Marie- Not the Loving Kind, Rock Fantasy: Jack kass- Fantastic, The Four Seasons- The Night, Terece Trent Darby- This Side Of Love, Yma Sumac- Magenta Mountain, Moby Grape- Horse Out in the rain, Holy Modal Rounders- Rocky Road, Bobby Conn- Whores, Apollo 100- Hall of the Mountain King, Leonard Cohen- Death of a Ladies' Man, Telly Savalas- Rubberbands and Bits Of string, Walter Brennan- Moon Wanderer, Mystic Moods- Electric Music and the Summer People, Paul and Mary ritts- My Grandparents' attic, Tom Wilson- 1 AM, Harry Nilsson- Perfect Day...

I didn't know most of the crowd and a lot of them seemed very drunk which makes me wonder if I had turned anyone to these sounds, if it affected anyone, if there were much social power of music this time around...hmmmm.....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Gwyneth Paltrow

I remember reading a Vanity fair quote from Gwyneth Paltrow where she stated that she always knew she was destined for greatness. Eye of the beholder. Maybe it's because of her Hollywood parents? What is greatness? to act tepidly in some bland movies and marry the singer of a bland band? Hmm. Define success. Excuse me I have a brass ring to catch (I hate that side of me). People are dying!

I am fascinated with finding the balance of being truly inconsequential in the cosmic scheme of things while knowing full well that actions cause ripples that effect others.

Is electricity the binding force of the universe? Does the movie SeSevenEen speak to you? What does it say? Or did you just like it when Gwyneth Paltrow's head wound up in a box?

The Bumpy Path Of Entertainment/ Makin' It

HI THERE!!!!!!

I feel like writing, tonnes on my mind of late. What do you think, scant readers, should I ruin the art-flow of this blog with writing or can the two co-exist side-by-side without confusing prospective new-comers and money-handlers?

Since this blog bears my name, I must tell you that in my life's pathways sometimes I get the frustrating question of "What's your focus?" I'm not trying to confuse or confound. I am trying to deliver pure creative energy, self-expression, a way to let the demons out, with some form of intent, to communicate, perhaps provoke with emotion as well. I write, I make art, I perform, I sing, on and on and on. And through all of that I genuinely hope that something is communicated. I do my best to fully deliver on these goods. I am my own toughest critic and I try to make my works unique and to the best of my ability: I am seriously focused on that. I hope that with whatever opportunity that may come my way (or me to it since I am hustling a mad mother) that will be known but maybe they are confused and unsure. Hmm. What do you think? I am ready, willing, and able with lots to offer and I am perpetually honing, learning, and growing.

At this moment, things seem tentative, nothing is quite locked into place. Some people hype DIY (Do-It-Yourself) culture as a place of complete freedom and that can be true. Still, even while shackled to that phrase and free, I do my best to entertain and to make sure that what is produced is of high standards within an extremely limited budget and access to audience (Tho I can safely say that one of my backer-less acts reached far more people than some major label acts ever did).
And having no backers (except my audience) means things can sometimes feel like a free-fall. At this point if I can even just get at least one thing terra firma, it will make the rest easier. I am out there hustling constantly. Not just for a career but for a crummy day job to help me get by and provide stability while I try to continue doing what I am hopefully talented at. When I dropped off my application at Starbucks I saw Neko Case's CD sitting for sale by the counter and wondered, "Maybe Neko can write me a reference letter." It's weird! And humbling. I didn't want to work at the one across from Much Music as it'd be too much of a rock dream crumble, I tried to express that to the young job interviewer at that location and tell her that I've been interviewed on that TV station-not for a job, but as an entertainer to be aired across the nation- and have friends there but she didn't quite get it, I told her that I'd work at any Starbucks location but that one. "We're really nice so are the people from Much, they come in all the time." I know you all are but it's me, it's me. Maybe I'm not humble enough. As an entertainer I have a rather large and fragile ego but I'm learning. Since this was my second Starbucks interview and she was asking alot of the same questions as the interview before, to switch things up a bit she scrambled and asked me my two favourite movies. I quickly responded, "Eyes Without a Face and Night Of the Hunter." I laugh now. That may have been the wrong answer, maybe I'll try Dollarama again. I hope one of those acting agents takes me on, I dropped off packages to eight places on Monday, my demo reel looks good and I did star in a feature that is now out on DVD ("Male Fantasy", it'd be nice if they actually sent me a copy, see image) and that Manson Family movie I came out here to act in a few months back sure helped me with rent- real grateful for those opportunities! I'm not even sure where my writing can fit (and you may notice that alot of places don't even pay content providers, I'm talking blogs with a lot of corporate backing, I had one ask me to do something gratis and I declined saying that I had paying commitments-these assholes want to shaft writers when the people who provide the content are the engine that keeps them running, if someone wants your material for free remember to consider the source- I'm sure that they certainly don't accept advertising for free) I am told that in a new city it takes time. Man, I need to learn patience. I am a product of the neurotic western culture that I live in, I need little to live on but it is still so much more than most of the world: what passes for poor here is wealth elsewhere. Some folks have trouble getting their craft to any audience at all. Some folks have trouble finding food to eat. I recently saw a show of people with autism and Down Syndrome playing music with some Toronto musicians. it was like Jandek at times but in a well lit Community Centre environment. I don't need to elaborate that much on why this show was so important but I will say that I saw total support. To judge it on its' merits as a pure show, it was better than most of the tepid music shows out there and it had a strong unpredictable streak. And, yes, the environment was pleasantly joyous.

Forgive me, my girlfriend is out of town and I miss her, thankfully she's back in less than a week.

I started a band. It is my post-giving up band, my post-trying to make it band. Who am i kidding? Even if on the all-elusive label, there'd be no dough but I did want access to a wider audience, to continue creating without having to deal with the business end. Anyways, the urge to continue with song craft and energy and the live setting was too much! And I would like to tour and record (even tho I now have two good albums that remain unreleased due to zero interest and lack of cash). I miss it. So I started making music again with my first four-piece rock band WET DIRT. I still want to work hard on the writing and the art, that is verrrrry important.
The last couple of weeks have been filled with humbling rejection (that can plummet into self-pity which gets one NOWHERE)! I moved to a new city that, while still under the bland glass ceiling of Canada, is said by all to have plenty more opportunities than where I was tho it takes a while to get set up and there's that wacky recession thing as well that's causing all that swine flu (people get bummed by lack of employment and that makes them more vulnerable and open to disease).
I knew going in that I am in a city that has very little interesting to offer musically due to it being a music industry town- when music is so close to industry it can really taint it towards blandness and, thus, entertainment can be lost. But I saw two travelling shows that got me and many others out of a funk and entertained us supremely. Quintron and Miss Pussycat from New Orleans did a puppet and organ dance party show that felt so good, so right- they have braved floods (and their fans have raised funds after they lost so much), theft (someone broke into their van and stole their laptop during the show, Quintron speculates it was probably while he was right at the energetic crest of the set), their van being towed (the first two times they played Vancouver: 1995 and 2006) and evil border guards that make them wait for hours with nasty questions (there is a Canadian TV show called The Border that is supposed to be an unbiased look at the border but they never present how these guards treat touring music acts like drug, that would be too realistic for their unbiased show, nor would they mention how the real order censors what films and literature and art makes its' way into Canada: free country, my ass) to bring us this joy. Chain and the Gang, from all over the U.S., played us feel good raw rock and roll with consistently great songs that had heady political overtones, Ian Svevonius is such a charismatic performer and he has something to say. And it reminded me that there really is so little quality entertainment out there and if one can actually convey something as well, man, that's so important (under the all un-important umbrella of rock). People need to be entertained. And I need to challenge myself further creatively, I cannot create trifles trifles light as air!

But sometimes, even with some amazing support from some really wonderful friends, I feel like I have no flashlight to guide me on the best way to go.

So what's your focus?

And how's my driving?