Tag Archives: Shawn Micallef

More Spacing walk vids

Here are some more videos from the walk with Shawn Micallef.

I’ll begin by posting Scaledown.ca video that Chris Holt edited and posted on Youtube. It’s Shawn Micallef discussing what we are about to set out and accomplish on the walk, along with his experience walking in Windsor and Toronto, and forming the Toronto Psychogeographic Society. Take notice that this bar is full of people, and almost no one is talking. Just eager listeners. More people who care about Windsor.

This first vid from the walk contains the flags and “torch” for the City of Windsor on Riverside Drive in front of The Hilton and Radisson Hotels. I never really noticed these flags…and I certainly didn’t notice the embarrassing fake paper-fire in the “torch”. Thanks Ryan Fields for pointing it out. This was recorded moments after being “barked” at by someone in the passenger seat of a car using a megaphone. Thanks Windsor.

Below, you can watch the play-by-play of the holiday display in the St. Clair Centre for the Arts. Also, there is a mirror mounted on the stop sign so that drivers leaving the St. Clair Centre for the Arts can see traffic racing up the street behind them. It acts as a rear-view mirror. But it was completely swiveled in the wrong direction, offering little or no help until we moved it back into position. It’s kind of off-putting to see a traffic aid so easily accessed and subject to tampering.

This video shows the CCTV camera mounted on The Windsor Star. There’s a need for a garbage can in this area, clearly. Michelle uses the audio recorder to get some sounds of garbage.

Stephen captures my excitement while looking at a “dressed up” ashtray on the street near The Windsor Star. Also, a stream of newspapers from other cities is available here, and I feel somewhat embarrassed for having not recognized these here before. There’s a city parking lot that I thought belonged to The Windsor Star exclusively, but is apparently for anyone. We encounter some broken glass (light bulb), more street garbage, a suitcase handle (I decided to spike – mimicking the traveler who broke their bag, and it was so cold, it shattered – oops), a dessert fork, and more. Most of this stuff was around the new bus station. Stephen also takes a closer look at Rogues gallery and the signs around it.

Behind Sir Cedric’s Fish and Chips, and the LCBO, there is a massive air conditioning unit…we think…and it seems a little big for anything in the area to be using. Anyone know what this is?

We find a hydro substation, not having known what it was…thinking it was a house of some kind. Ryan Fields recognized it though. Also, a beautiful house that I have never (ever) looked at, even though it is one of the nicest houses I’ve seen downtown. I also realized where the offices for Windsor Business Magazine are located. We also encounter some fliers that peak our interest. I then get ornery about the broken planters and public space defilement. swear a little too much, but it gets increasingly annoying to see these things being broken and then ignored. The costs associated with fixing these things is clearly irrelevant, or an afterthought for the people doing this damage.

The last video for today’s post is more discussion about the damage being done by snow plows in the parking lots downtown, specifically near the Art Gallery of Windsor. The broken public planters, placed strategically to block an old driveway, mixed with busted concrete makes for a sad image of these areas. Just a bit of a downer. If these objects don’t belong here, which ones do? I wonder.

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Recap of Spacing Walk

Could I have predicted the turnout? No. Did I hope for it and expect it? Yes.

The who’s who of the walk was beautiful. There were lots of strangers to Phog, and lots of well-known community figures prepared to spend an hour in the cold.

Shawn Micallef spoke briefly from the stage to a full building. No one spoke. No one whispered or interrupted. It was magnificent. He talked about his experience with walking in Toronto and what people could do during their walk to make it as enjoyable as possible.

My group consisted of a few random folks who were not yet in a group of their own. Ryan Fields, Stephen Hargreaves, Marissa Nowlan, and Michelle Wybenga.

We started out by heading west, and our random-walk-algorithm took us in a repeating spiral around the northwestern portion of downtown Windsor.

The best part of the walking event, for me, was actually prior to and after the walk. Seeing the faces of people who care was unparalleled for me. I got a few comments sent to me that evening and the next day telling me that it was the best night that some people had EVER experienced as a part of a Phog event. Matt Baker and Christine Arkell-Rideout were particularly pleased, which evokes a sense of pride for our creative-class community.

Elaine Weeks (Walkerville Publishing, Walkerville Times) was on-hand and eager, and she brought along Heather from a group called Windsor Essex Walks. Yet another joining of active city-loving Windsorites. Chris Holt brought his video camera to capture awesomeness, and Michael Johnson (google map man) came fresh off his successful Big Walk performance to participate in this great night by collecting audio and other stories.

The video below is of our first steps west out of Phog Lounge. Our algorithm was to travel west for three blocks, turn right, travel two blocks, turn right, travel one block, turn right…repeat. This is the beginning.

The video below this follows our group reading some clever graffiti (although terribly ugly), and then hearing Glen Campbell music being played through the outdoor speakers at the new bus station.

This video is of our group cutting through the Hilton/Radisson hotels because our algorithm had us getting stuck at these buildings. Stephen Hargreaves was gracious enough to tape everything, but he was very fond of zooming in…which means some blurriness until he decides to zoom back out. The first bit of the group getting into the building is a little shaky. After that, you see a defunct mall with 1980s and early 90s themed stores until we make our way back out onto Riverside Drive.

Coincidence

picture-43Not many weeks ago, with the Big Walk, I became aware of a guy from Windsor named Shawn Micallef. You see, I knew he existed beforehand, because I saw him regularly at Phog with some of my current patrons/friends.

What I did not know was that he was heavily involved in some amazing projects, including pshycogeography, Spacing Magazine (Associate Editor), and Murmur. Murmur being the most outstandingly wonderful story-telling concept I heard about when I was 20 or 21.

But Spacing magazine was something being tossed at me (conceptually) by several people. Some knew Shawn was involved, and others had no idea who Shawn was, but they knew Spacing Magazine. I was being referred to this magazine, because surely if I was interested in taking a crazy-long walk, I was a fan of the things this magazine stood for. Here’s what their website says:

“Public space is at the heart of democracy. It’s where people interact, teach, learn, participate, and protest.

But environmental degradation, commercial self-interest, and infrastructure neglect have come to dominate our cities’ streets. Fortunately, imaginative and passionate city-dwellers worldwide — and in Toronto in particular — appreciate the endless possibilities that cities can offer. They are resisting the co-option of their communities through random acts of beauty and intellect.

Inspired by these actions, we launched Spacing in December 2003 to cover the numerous political, cultural, and social issues affecting our lives in the public realm. We want the magazine to be an integral, independent, and unique voice that brings to life the joys and obstacles surrounding Toronto’s public spaces.

This city is a special place — we’re excited by its people and its neighbourhoods, its sidewalks and its graffiti. Spacing is here to help our readers understand and take ownership of Toronto’s urban landscape.”

Fast forward a bit, to when Chris Holt tells me that he has a pile of these magazines at his house.

“I can bring ’em to you if you want ’em,” he said. So I was totally revved about finally seeing this magazine, and secondarily, putting it out for my customers to consume at Phog. Maybe we get a little leakage from the pages of this magazine about CARING about your city and DOING things rather than harping, bitching, and whining. We’ll see in due time.

So I began reading the mags, but damn-near every article is fascinating, and I know it will take a while to get through these babies. I did, however find an article less than 6 hours after writing the blog post about the Downtown Mission and the possibility of them having their own organic garden on municipal land. (By the way, I got a ton of comments on this post form people who are musicians etc., who I know for their music primarily, but who are doing this VERY thing in other parts of the county…teaching food education through hands-on participation, an THEN donating food to food banks! Getting the word out there is amazing. The results of outreach can really open your eyes.)

The article I found in Spacing read like a question and answer, with the first question and answer giving me all the convincing I needed to decide whether it’s possible for The Downtown Mission to do this kind of project. Interview by Matthew Hague.

Nick Saul is the Executive Director of The Stop Community Food Centre, an organization in the Davenport West neighbourhood whose range of services include a food bank, workshops, and community kitchens…

Spacing: What are the opportunities that exist within the city to produce more locally grown, nutritious food?

Saul: I am a big believer that we should take every green space we have and turn it into food production. I think we should be growing food in our backyards, in our front yards, on our balconies. The Stop has an 8000-square-foot garden at Earlscourt Park where we grow about 3000 pounds of organic produce that comes back into our many programs, and it’s an exciting example of what you can do with green space in the city. Parks aren’t simply there to walk in and smell the flowers; you can actually turn some of that land into food production, and support our communities with healthy food.

Well holy crap.

Need I print more?