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March 2007
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June 2007

Sens and urban art

There was a great picture in today's Ottawa Citizen of a Ottawa Senators graff mural -done on the Tech wall here at Bronson and Slater. I haven't been down yet myself, but found this pic online.

(June 6 - here's my pic of the wall.)

I sent the following in to the Citizen, hopefully will it get into the letters section:

Re: May 31 - D01 - Picture of SENS mural

A great picture of a great SENS graffiti mural on the Tech Wall, one of Ottawa’s two legal walls. This is the same wall City Staff was proposing to cover over at the recent Graffiti Bylaw meeting, after their own focused research had supported their theory that legal walls do not work. After several impassioned presentations by local artists and youth supporters council and staff allowed a one year extension to the legal walls, but only if their measurements showed that these community canvases resulted in less illegal tagging in their vicinity. They did not seem interested in any arguments about the artistic and cultural benefits of a legal wall – benefits for not only youth but the community at large.

This graffiti piece colourfully demonstrates how the free expression of urban art is an important part of the culture of a city, and can contribute to the civic pride our mayor seeks to inspire – Ottawa’s “swagger”.

Festival-X - more info

I've an update to my previous post on Ottawa's photo festival this fall. The media launch is May 28th at La Petite Mort Gallery, 306 Cumberland, 4-5pm (by invitation), others welcome from 5-7.

Theme is "wide angle" - as in scope, not lens type. From black and white prints to conceptual installations, fine art to commercial, student to professional - the whole range.

I've attached the latest release here, it's a PDF file. Registration deadline is June 15th.

More support for legal graff walls

FYI - I sent the following to some councillors, city staff, and supporters.


I let some friends/supporters know of the recent Citizen editorial supporting legal graff walls – the following is a reply from Janna Van Hoof. She’s the founder and organizer for Style in Progress, a group that has been for several years successfully promoting graffiti and other elements of hip-hop culture in Toronto.

I have been working with her as one of my many contacts in researching and promoting legal graffiti as an creative part of a city’scultur.

It has been encouraging to see some support lately from city staff, council, and residents for legal walls as well as for exploring different solutions to controlling illegal graffiti.

I hope, with other local supporters, to continue this momentum and to tie together this summer:

·  CAVE’s resources and experiences (positive and negative) in Toronto

·  the Canada Dance Festival HipHop 360 June 19-23

·  the House of Paint Festival at the Dunbar bridge legal wall June 23

·  the new legal walls being built at the Orleans Sportsplex skateboard park (pilot project)

·  youth groups such as the new Orleans Youth Resource Centre (Sketch)

·  city staff and police initiatives

·  local merchants and BIA’s interested in area cleanups and graffiti mural programs

Feel free to contact me for more information

Mike Young

CAVE (Ottawa) coordinator –


Full article at


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Musings in the sun

I was downtown the other day - had taken a few Tech wall pics, visited the camera store my fav salesman had moved to, bought a slip-on case for my new Nikon P5000, and stopped at the Lieutenant's Pump to quench my thirst. I sat there in the sun watching the world go by, sipping a Keith's, and mused on semi-retirement. "Semi" meaning I often "do" more than when I was gainfully employed, but is it work? A common definition seems to be:

To exert oneself physically or mentally in order to do, make, or accomplish something

From that you'd think even I- sitting in the sun and wondering if my pension check came in yet- was working. But the assumption seems to be that it has to be a job, employment, someone (other than Canada Pension) has to be paying me. When we are in a full time job, it's a convenient label for people to use to pigeon-hole us - I work for Bell, I work for GM, I'm a broker, I'm a carpenter, whatever. Retirement often means the freedom to lose that specific focus, rather than being controlled by a structure for our 7.5 hours a day there is freedom to blur that focus and throttle back that drive. Which seems to annoy some - they expect people to have the same focus and drive in retirement. Set up a schedule, get down to "work", and master golf, or photography, or that shelf of books, or that home renovation. Doesn't bother me, some days I do get a lot done on a "to-do" list, some days the list gets re-written at the end of the day to be just "hang out and smell the flowers". Putting everything you ever wanted to do on a to-do list can be daunting at first, until you realize very few things on there are "have to do", most are up for grabs as to which you'd prefer to do, with the balance saved for your next re-incarnation.

I've thought of some labels to simplify things for others - Renaissance man, advocate of urban art, social activist, semi-retired gigolo - none are a complete fit. But they do provide a starting point, if anyone is so inclined. Maybe I can suggest my catholic tastes by saying I'm an Eclectic Circus, feel free to join me in the ring. Or take off, eh?

BTW- CBC Radio1 Sunday Morning just had a discussion on book reading, that there are clubs and celebrities and books telling us not only what to read but how to read it. It's apparantly no longer just enough to pick up a book and try it. And supposedly even harder to admit to someone that you tried a book, and couldn't get into it, or didn't like it. The other person often wants to "fix" you, implying the failure is because you're a little slow, or lazy, or didn't know the right way to approach the book. Rather than just let you move on to the next one in the huge pile of books we all seem to have acquired. I joined BookCrossing a few years ago - under the naive assumption that while I would acquire some books to read, I would give away far more from my bookshelves. Silly me. But I did meet some interesting people through the group, and did get some good books I would otherwise have missed. We meet monthly, exchange some books, and chat about not only the books but life in general. And commiserate with each other over the growing piles we all have labeled "to be read".