Thursday, March 25, 2010

Brainwashed in San Francisco

So, it's been a long time coming, but I've finally found the time to write about my experience in San Francisco this past January. Although I could talk about the million reasons why I love this gloriously colourful city, specific to this blog would obviously be my visit to the Brain Wash Cafe, a thriving laundromat/cafe/indie music venue space located in the historic Mission District of San Fran.

Walking in mid-day on a Tuesday, the cafe was packed with late brunchers like myself, filling themselves on the cafe's excellent and filling breakfast menu, while others lounge
d in the adjacent laundromat, complete with pinball machines and other such fun leisurely instalments.

Obviously I was already excited to be in a space so similar to my own imaginings, but even without my romantic view of it, I was able to clearly discern some truly great business ideas going on in this space.

The most eye catching idea was their giant sign advertising their "happy hour" for laundry do-ers. As you can see, the concept tied in the laundromat to the cafe by offering a dollar off any purchase in th
e cafe from 4-7 if you did your laundry during that time. That "happy hour" also means cheap beers in the cafe, so you can get home from work, grab your laundry, and then grab a cold one, all in one place! Brilliant!

When talking to one of the many amazing and quirky staff members about our project back here in Toronto, she said to me "the most important thing to have when running a cafe like this one is to hire someone with oversized novelty glasses" (which she just happened to be wearing herself, and which I must admit did help make her seem more interesting :P)

Although they aren't integrating the solar power angle that we'd like to include, the Brain Wash Cafe still demonstrates the success of combining cafe, community, and laundry into one convenient space, and are certainly one of our inspirations moving forward!

You can now find their second location in Montreal! Woo hoo!

Obama Drama | US Health Care Bill Passes. I cry.

I was at the (sadly, non-solar-powered) laundromat last night when Barack Obama's Facebook post popped up in my news feed (Yeah, we're friends. No big deal.). When I realized that this meant the US health care bill had officially been passed, well... tears. Sniffling, choking and at least three actual tears.

Here's the scene: exhausted, confused, over-worked, me standing knee-deep in a pile of every one of my launder-able possessions. (Might I mention that at this point, I have been standing in a similar position for over half an hour, just bending and twisting to move my clothes and other sewings from one side of the pile to another in an effort to mathematically compile colour-appropriate loads? I feel this somehow justifies my ridiculous emotional explosion. I'm not sure how to justify the forty-five minute sorting spree.) I decide to take a well-deserved break and scan through the latest FB updates on the internet. On my PHONE. (Technology! I know you more advanced humans have enjoyed this for some time, but am new to the world of phones that think they're computers.)

Anyhow, as previously stated, tears ensue. The poor, lovely, sane woman patiently awaiting her drying in the corner is obviously praying that I were not standing between her and the door, her only escape route...

This is what I read:

To the untold millions who knocked on doors and made phone calls, who organized and mobilized out of a firm conviction that change in this country comes not from the top down, but from the bottom up: this moment is possible because of you.

So yes, my reaction may have been slightly dramatic and I may be posting this three days late, but this really is a monumental event and incredible progress for the land of the free. And I think I may speak for a lot of us when I say that it’s amazing to see some real change happening under the man we fell in love with in hopes of just that. The above image is a piece by our friend Justin Broadbent from the recent Creative Type II show at 52 McCaul (post coming soon). On why he chose “Barack Obama” as the text for his piece: “He was the nicest person I could think of.”

Indeed. I'm sure there are a few Americans who would agree.

Become friends with BO on FB here (run by Organizing for America). Just tell him I sent you. Read some initial coverage here (keeping it Canadian with CBC) and some recent updates here.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Buttermilk Sky Forecast - Accurate

Danielle Hession (pictured below) and I ventured over to the opening of White Cloud, Buttermillk Sky at Hotshot Gallery on Thursday night, and of course it was every bit as adorable as we expected. The collection of OCAD illustration students involved in the group show made for a whimsical little Thursday night adventure. Andrea Manica, (above with her work) whose work you may recognize from our September event at Arta Gallery did an amazing job pulling the show together, designing the poster and her work (close-up below) was a highlight. You can still see the show for the rest of the week at 181 Augusta Ave in Kensington Market. Eat a cupcake and kiss a baby. Then, do it. *Free wish with entry.

Cute! Things by Melissa Luk.

The Ted Gudlat & Eunice Luk corner.

My fashionably late and super talented date Danielle Hession.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Art! Wine! Cuteness!

Some of our very talented friends including the adorable Eunice Luk and charming and quirky Ted Gudlat (Ted, get a website!) are showing some of their very amazing work at Hot Shot Gallery starting today! I'm sure you're already convinced to by the enchantingly named White Cloud, Buttermilk Sky, but if some beverages and a gathering will further entice; view the wonders with wine in hand at the reception this Thursday, March 11th from 6pm til midnight or (and again) during business hours until March 21. Facebook event here. See you there!