The Bovine Sex Club, in business since January/1991 – you can’t miss it

For those of us who don’t get out much . . . this facade at 542 Queen Street West has always been a mystery.  What exactly lies within?  Turns out, it’s the Bovine Sex Club, an internationally-renowned bar on the Queen Street West strip. The Bovine (or BSC) has found itself at the forefront of our city’s goth, punk, alternative and rockabilly music scenes.  A haven for independent musicians and artists since day one, the Bovine is also known for being one of the first establishments to serve Jägermeister on tap.
Bovine Sex Club, 542 Queen Street West>

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Transforming the Toronto Transit Commission – one “quick win” at a time

From ANDY BYFORD, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Transit Commission: “We are focused on what I call “quick wins” to show that we are serious about delivering better service.  Quick wins are improvements that can and should be made right now, often for little or no cost.

“The introduction of end-of-line litter picking, whereby in-service trains are cleared of garbage each return trip rather than only at night, has proved a hit with customers who have noticed a difference in the cleanliness of vehicles.

Trackside walls have been cleaned, washrooms refurbished and we are looking at ways to deliver cleaner streetcars and buses while they are on the road.

“Transit Control has stepped up the quantity and quality of information during disruptions, and we are speeding up installation of information screens at key locations to keep customers better informed.

“Next up is the introduction of debit and credit facilities at all Collector Booths across the subway by early next year so that Metropasses can be purchased more conveniently.”

Let’s give ANDY some credit: the subway system looks cleaner, brighter and in better shape than it has in years.  He and his team are on the right track.

Studio 212 closes. North America’s last outpost for radio drama goes ‘dark’.

Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end.  But they have.  The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is shutting down beautiful Studio 212 in TORONTO’s Broadcasting Centre.

The heyday for Canadian radio drama was from the 1930’s to 60’s, largely under the direction of ANDREW ALLAN, Supervisor of Radio Drama.  He’s especially well remembered for the Sunday night “CBC Stage” series, often done live.

<Andrew Allan in the radio control room/CBC Still Photo Collection>

Studio 212 takes us back to another era of radio, with its sections of concrete, tile and marble floors; a small kitchen with cups and plates to replicate at-home sounds, a “dead room” with no echoes, noisemakers, sirens and megaphones.
<CBC radio drama production, unidentified actors, City of Toronto Archives, ca1945-55>
Over the years, CBC has produced countless dramas, comedy shows, the classics, cops and robbers, love stories, war stories, science fiction, etc.  The final series from Studio 212, which has been running for several years now and is available on CD’s from the CBC Shop – “Afghanada” – focuses on Canada’s War in Afghanistan.Artifacts from Studio 212 will no doubt join others in the CBC Museum, ground floor of the Broadcast Centre, 250 Front Street West.  The main console will be reinstalled in the Glenn Gould concert studio, also in the Broadcast Centre.

The Yorkville Rock on Cumberland Street – downtown’s popular meeting place

The Yorkville Rock was purchased for $1500, from a Gravenhurst-area farmer.  It was cut into 120 pieces, each one carefully marked for reassembly, and shipped to the Big Smoke on flatbed trucks.  The granite rock was placed on a star-shaped, concrete platform, atop the Bloor-Danforth subway tunnel, on the edge of posh Yorkville.

Winter and summer, the Rock is one of TORONTO’s favourite hangouts.  There’s an adjacent subway station, Louis Vuitton around the corner, and all the glitz of Yorkville across the street.  Subway stop – BAY

Artist AARON LEIGHTON discovers “the fantastical hidden in the familiar”.

AARON LEIGHTON grew up on the Canadian prairies, but now makes his home in TORONTO.  He has created illustrations for a variety of advertising, publishing and corporate clients – including CBC television, Teletoon, the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Time Out NY, Chatelaine and Fortune.

His book, “Spirit City Toronto”, published in 2010 by Koyama Press, is unfortunately now out of print.  But you can probably find a copy in the library.  It “combines my interests in urban landscapes, travel and mythology, the images suggest that the magical and the mundane can indeed coexist in the most unlikely of places, if only we look closely enough.”

Aaron is now working on a new book about BERLIN.  Find out more about the artist and his work at hhttp:http://www.aaronleighton.comghton.com or http://www.aaronleighton.com/blog

SPIRITCITY1SPIRITCITY6SPIRITCITY5

My Saturday in New York City – October 27/2012 – lull before the storm.

This time last week I was in New York City shepherding two first-timers around.  They’d never been there before, so we covered a lot of territory – mostly on foot – from 50th Street to Wall Street; the Brooklyn Bridge to the High Line.  They absolutely loved it, just as I’ve loved it from my first visit as a teenager in 1959.  Last Saturday everything seemed so completely normal as we wandered around, but 24 hours later the world was turned upside down.  We were already back in Canada when New York and New Jersey faced off against Sandy’s fury.

The flooding and destruction is staggering.  The response from the population and government has been totally impressive.  If such a calamity should occur in Canada (earthquake, a tsunami, oil spill, rising tides, etc.), with the Canadian government’s penchant for cost-cutting everything that isn’t nailed down, do we have the where-with-all to respond as the US is doing?  I wonder.

<PHOTOS ABOVE from the NY Times website: South Ferry subway station/Lenny Pridatko; and Flooding of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel/Dave Jones>