Manic Monday

Friday, June 10, 2005

I am completely falling behind on the days... they're wizzing by at lightning speed. At this rate, I really will have to find a job, just to slow myself down.

Temple wakes me up at 9am to tell me we're on for coffee at 10:15. So, I meet her at the Concord Cafe at 10:45. Luckily us artsy types are homogenous with our disrespect for punctuality. The coffee here was supposed to be the best. I remember raving about it to friends when I lived in the area. Winnie and Fernando were always giving us the best of Italian-Ethiopian coffee in a cafe that stands almost completely bare: white walls, ceiling fans, doilies on the table, a pinball machine in the back, a tv mounted in the corner. It was so special to me then. Now, after my Euro experience, this coffee sucks. Still, Winnie is still the nicest.

Temple and I chew on deep thoughts. She's been living in Montreal for the last year and a half, and is getting ready to move back. One of the few people who can really sympathise with my stranger in a homeland sensation, Temple and I make unlikely friends. She's quite smiley, a bit folky, and very girl. She makes me darkly serious. Anyways, she tells me about her film with the heads popping out of boxes, and I tell her about my film with pigs shitting gold.

Later in the morning, I go for a walk in the old neighbourhood. Longo's, my vegetable market, has disappeared. As has the funky strange pet store I used to frequent for my Mountain Kitty Cat Litter. It's basically glued together sawdust where the glue is dissolved by cat pee and thus emits it's usual woody smell. But the house is still there. 533 Roxton Rd. The tree is maybe a little taller, the mailboxes have a bit more rust, but it's the same beautiful looking California beach house I spent 6 years living in. Besides the nostalgia for the space, am hit briefly with nostalgia for Yuri and I. But it passes quickly. Walk on.

I continue on Bloor and get into Korea town. One of my favourite pit stops is right about a block in. Tacos El Asador is this little Ecuadorean dive, with picnic tables inside and two TV screens in either corner, usually broadcasting some kind of Spanish soap opera or a football match. The place is great for cheap tortillas, burritos, horchata, and steamed tamales. All of it authentic and killer good. The chicken soup is the surprise on the menu. It's one bowl of chicken soup served with wedges of lime and two freshly toasted tortillas. But, on a Saturday morning after sick drinking, when you have the "wooden face," it's the steak plate you want. It's not listed on the menu. It's reserved for regulars.

Anyways, the restaurant opens at 12pm, and it's still too early to go in. So I walk on. Just before I hit the gruesome corner of Bathurst and Bloor, the hideous lights of Honest Ed's still scaring the bejesus out of me, I turn right and head south on Markham. My stomach is completely screaming at me now, and this time, I know exactly where I want to go.

Making a direct beeline down Markham, cutting a little way down on College, then make a right at the Mac's, which is now a Sam's, keep going about 200m, and look left. It's still there. The second best thing to Tacos El Asador is an empanada from Jumbo Empanadas. I jump in right before the lunch crowd hits. The empanadas are still cheap, $3.50 for a veggie/chicken/beef. I know what's best so I get the beef. It's stuffed full of stewed beef with raisins, egg and olives, and it's served with a watery spicy salsa whose lime bite kicks the beef into overdrive. That empanada is history in seconds.

Make my way home through the beating midday sun. The ground is almost white with heat. Toronto got hit with a heat wave the day I showed up, and it's never let up.

Monday afternoon, after a quick wash, I go up to see Annie and Alex. They have a gorgeous huge apartment, with tall ceilings, a separate space large enough to use as a studio, and a piano in the living room. I get a tall glass of ice water on arrival but I'm still sweating through my skirt. I get a gander at the new works Annie will be showing on Friday at Katherine Mulherin's Gallery. It's a new direction for her work, and it's really lovely. Pale collages, with forms barely seen within, made from backs of old posters. Alex plays the piano at one point... Ruby My Dear by T. Monk. We all have laughs over our dinosaur days at the Fresnoy, double dinners and Thierry's lionhead.

Then I drop down to see Tara at the Drake. I hate the Drake. I have no idea why I keep coming here except that it just seems to be the one patio where I can get into. There I see Jeremy Laing, who will be presenting his next menswear collection in Paris, Chris H., who will be working at the Drake for at least the next 10 years of his life, John M. who gives me his contemporary artist card and seems to sweat through his wavering smile, and Raz, who is still Raz. I meet Joey and Sandra, who are gorgeously cute together, and get quizzed on the Pineau des Charentes I'm drinking... I love my Pineau and it is the hour for apero.

A girl comes by and gawks at Joey's bike. She gushes. Sandra says it's for sale. How much is it? $350. That's $350 for a used bike. The bike used to be originally $1500. WTF!! So I pop out and around to see what it looks like. Now it looks like a normal cruiser. But once upon a time, it had beige wheels, and looked like a dutch-style bike. Unfortunately, only the seat continues to carry this theme. It's beige leather, with large flat stainless steel studs all along the rounded back. Gorgeous honey!

Finally get home... sweaty and Shelton calls. He wants to go out and drink. I say nooooo.... no more alcohol, please.... so he brings over a DVD. It's House of the Flying Daggers. Dreadfully romantic Chinese schmaltz. But OMG... Takeshi Kaneshiro is a god.