August 2008

T-Shirt City

Sean printed up some Mex-I-Can shirts last week. We took a couple to the restaurant and three of our servers immediately stripped out of their T’s so they could sport the testers.
Check it:

Wouldn’t you drop your top to get this bad boy on asap? You can pick these up in any one of a rainbow of colour options, in ladies sizes small through large. This red one is a small, the medium isn’t much bigger, and the large is only slightly bigger than that. You can get them for guys in more standard sizes small through extra large. Men’s large is exactly this awesome:

Just read that expression -so hip it hurts him to wear!
Mens and ladies T’s cost $20. If you’re looking for something a little less cotton, a little more collar; something more couture than casual? Here’s the (awesomely alliterative) answer to your wardrobe woes:

Let’s move in on that design:

Bet you didn’t think you could buy this kind of cool, am I right? WRONG! For just 25 bones, you too could be kicking around your kitchen like this:

You can pick one up at Downtown Bike Hounds bike shop and gallery–located at 6 Cannon Street, right at the corner of James North–starting at the end of September.

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Fancy this -I was just invited to exhibit at the Westitalia festival this September, so if downtown Hamilton is too far for you to go…well then…you’re lazy. But if it’s really too far for you, I will come as far as Westdale.
Vendors Alley is located on King Street West, near Marion, and is open Saturday the 13th (10am-dusk) and Sunday the 14th (12-5pm).
I’m sharing a space with local artist Katy Leask, who will be selling framed originals, prints and cards. Katy does black-and-white and colour drawings in pen and ink and they’re awesome so you should get in on the ground floor before she’s too big for you to afford.

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Makers Market

I know this is perhaps a little far in advance but I am going to be at the Hamilton Makers Market on Saturday, September 6th from 10am-3pm.
This is the market held at Ferguson Station, on Ferguson Street between King and Main. There are a whole whack of excellent vendors selling jewelery, art, purses, fun knitted toys and locally grown fruits and veggies.
I’m working on a few smaller paintings of Hamilton-area buildings, but I should also have prints of some of my bigger paintings, packages of postcards, etc.
In the meantime, you can still buy paintings, posters and cards at Mixed Media on James North.

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Thanks to everyone who came out last night despite the threat of thunderstorm and the lure of summer vacation.
Special thanks to Mex-I-Can for providing three pounds of tongue-heaven-tortilla-deliciousness, Aaron Goldstein, Cam Malcolm, Mike Ventimiglia and Bryce Clark for playing a sweet all-night set (you can see them again, Sunday August 10, at Hamilton’s Festival of Friends), and Dave Kuruc and Teresa Devries for having me at Mixed Media this month.
Also, this is exciting -the staff at Mex-I-Can paid me a visit at the end of the night and liked my painting of the restaurant so much that Sean is in the process of screening the image on to T-shirts for potential sale at everyone’s favourite Mex-taurant! Yay! I love that place!
Here are a few pictures including one I found on the Skyscraper Page. This first one was taken by Flar. The rest can be found here.

Aaron Goldstein and the Espanola band

Jeremy Fisher and Popular Priced Electricians

A bunch o’ paintings

Youngest art appreciator present, wearing some moccasins I made him

More paintings…

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Downtown, Dine Alone, and a New Disc

Published in HMag : November 2008

All roads lead to Jackson Square. Just ask The Arkells.

“It’s kind of an amazing place,” says keyboardist Dan Griffin. “Jackson is the centre of the city and, for better or worse, [The Arkells] have a lot to do with that area. Whenever we end up down there, there’s always a story to tell.” Those stories are the inspiration behind many of the songs on Jackson Square, the Arkells’ first full-length release, named for the divey downtown shopping centre. For example, the band’s first single, anti-work anthem, Oh, the Boss is Coming! is based, in part, on lead guitarist, Mike DeAngelis’ experience working at a Jackson call centre. Abigail is a love story set in the mall’s former HMV outlet. Heart of the City is similarly located in downtown Hamilton.

Fans of the band might recognize a few of the songs on Jackson Square from Deadlines, an EP that was released on Quarry Records back when The Arkells were Charlemagne (a name they dropped after signing with Toronto’s Dine Alone Records last year). Six of the twelve songs on Jackson Square are repeats. “It’s good to see them the way they are now though,” Griffin says. “There are completely different arrangements that evolved out of years of playing the songs live.”

Re-recordings of songs like Tragic Flaw, Champagne Socialist, and Blueprint prove a polish that wasn’t there on Deadlines, a disc that was released in January 2007. New songs include John Lennon, a super catchy ode to summer, and The Ballad of Hugo Chavez, a bright, bouncy song that, despite its dark subject matter, begs for a sing-along.

Lead singer Max Kerman’s vocals, inconsistent and somehow flatter on the Charlemagne EP, are strong and controlled on Jackson, showing a greater range that does justice to his lyrics. Arrangements are solid, thick, fuller and more realized than they were pre-Arkells, resulting in an album that is tight, upbeat, optimistic and unpretentious. Jackson Square is a throwback to the kind of good-timey rock-and-roll that’s almost been replaced by scarves, skinny jeans and rock’s recent who-can-care-the-least attitude.

As far as The Arkells are concerned, Dine Alone deserves some of the credit for this. Kerman has said there are few Canadian indie labels that could provide The Arkells with the kind of support and resources that Dine Alone has, and Griffin agrees. “For us, the only problem with working for a label was that we wanted to find some people who were as excited about the music as we were,” Griffin says. “We wanted to find people who had the same goals.” Thanks to the hard work of Dine Alone staff, 2008 has been a landmark productive year for The Arkells. In addition to releasing Jackson Square in October, the band recently shot a video for their first single Oh, the Boss is Coming! with the help of a Factor video grant. They also set out on yet their third Canadian tour. Since May 2008, the band has toured with Burlington’s Saint Alvia Cartel and blues heavyweights, The Black Crowes. This fall, they share the stage with well-matched east coasters, Matt Mays and El Torpedo.

If you missed them when they played the Casbah last week, you’ll have to head to Quebec to catch them before December. Otherwise, check their website for upcoming local dates. All roads back lead to Hamilton sooner or later.

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