Would You Care for Some Art with Your Shot?

On July 10, the morning of my second shot, I was listening to The Jam’s live album Dig the New Breed before heading downtown for my 2nd jab. I didn’t choose The Jam so much as it sought me out. Music does that. Thank you, music.

Mingus Music kept me company during the lockdown, for instance. Sue and Charles came over and made themselves at home, and I am glad they did. Thanks again, music.

Sue and Charles Mingus

Take the Last Train to Jabs-ville

Riding the train downtown for maybe the 4th time in 2 years is a trip. It seems like we’re all meeker now, afraid, riding reluctantly. Aside from the occasional dingbat. Of course, there is a Barbie made up like she’s going to The Club and wearing a plastic mask that looks like a cross between Jacques Plante’s facial adornments and Hannibal Lecter’s. Of course there is. Cockroaches and Princesses will be around to keep Keith Richards company in the post-apocalyptic world, my friends.

The Early Bird Gets the Art

I was intentionally early so I hobbled down to where the jabs were being administered (basically the Dome) from St. Andrew Subway Station. This allowed for a scenic and leisurely walk and I was able to take in some of the visual delights offered by Toronto’s Financial District.

Instead of music choosing me, it was Russell Jacques’s sculpture Pas de Trois that sought me out as I strolled by University and Wellington. Completed in 1984, Pas de Trois lunged out and grabbed me by the throat, insisting that I take in its beauty and magnificence, if only for a moment. And I’m glad it did, too.

Russell Jacques’s sculpture Pas de Trois, which can be seen at University and Wellington in Toronto.

I didn’t Google at the time, but the words “Pas de Trois” kinda looked like the word “Detroit” to me. That made perfect sense, since one of the big reasons for me to get vaccinated was so that I could cross the border and visit friends in Detroit. (Pas de Trois is actually a ballet term meaning “three dancers”.) Thank you, sculpture.

Cat Scratch Fever?

Music grabbed me again while I was going through 19 versions of Checkpoint Covid. This time it was Cat Stevens, soothing me with his classic Moonshadow. Yes indeed, nipped by “the Cat”. The lyrics were very apropos.

Yes, I’m being followed by a moonshadow
Moonshadow, moonshadow
Leaping and hopping on a moonshadow
Moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my legs
I won’t moan, and I won’t beg
Oh, if I ever lose my legs
Oh, if, I won’t have to walk no more

– Cat Stevens, throwing some moonshade on the situation
Isobel the cat (photo by Michelle Stonkus)

Face Masks Kill Comedy

The jab process itself is about what you would expect. If you are reading this, you likely know what I mean. If you don’t know, find out and get the jab.

What I do want to report though is that it is bloody hard to tell jokes with everyone in a mask. One of the people asked me if I was experiencing any symptoms on a list, things such as vomiting, feeling hot and sweaty…

Of course, I had to say “Only when I think of Justin Trudeau”, and of course I had to repeat it three times because we were both wearing masks.

The Great Escape

Upon exiting the convention centre after doing the jibby jabby, I walked down the ramp that connects the Dome to Front Street. I’ve been up and down it countless times before but never noticed the wavey structure before. I like it, I like it a lot. (It’s the Dodge Veg-o-matic of public art!).

It’s a billboard for the Aquarium, and it reminds me of the Oculus in NYC. In my mind, it represents waves, ebbs and flows, life, aquatic and otherwise.

The red and white eyesore of a grid across the street is the government’s propaganda building. In my mind, it represents confining, rigidity, unimaginative, restrictive, and boxed in, just to name a few.

The Aquarium wave/billboard at John and Front in Toronto.

King Street from John to Yonge

I walked north on John from the Dome King Street, and just stood there for a good while taking it all in. The fabulous restaurants to the west. Fabulous Queen Street and The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to the north. Fabulous The Princess of Wales Theatre to the east. Fabulous TIFF central right across the street. It was all Ab Fab!

Looking east along Toronto’s King Street from John Street.

This Yonge and King Urban Oasis Has Come a Long Way (Baby)!

I grew up in a small, very homogenous burb that was stuck in the ‘50s (and from what i gather, hasn’t changed). When I dreamed of Big Cities, this is the sort of thing I thunked of. There’s bits and pieces of those dreams in Toronto, and this urban oasis at Yonge and King is a fine example.

An urban oasis at Yonge and King in Toronto. with water fountains offering some excellent public art.

Oh well, as Sting advised many moons ago, “When the world is running down, you make the best of what is still around.”

The good people at Mirvish artfully remind us that things will return to normal soon.

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