Archive for the ‘ META ’ Category

SHOCK STOCK 2013! Or: How to lose weight and and spend money.

Last weekend SHOCK STOCK 2013 blew through London Ontario, giving horror/exploitation/cinemaphile fans a crazy weekend of guests, vendors, and movie screenings. During this event my partner and I volunteered to help run different portions of the weekend. I was schedule maker, door watcher, and general go-to guy for little problems, while Rin was Patricia Quinn’s handler for the weekend. Both of us also ran the Rocky Horror Picture Show screening with a friend of ours, Tyler Baptist behind Bad Monster Films from Saskatoon. Tyler was also the awesome talent behind the retrospective on Christina Lindberg’s career, which culminated in a Q & A with her and Lianne SpiderBaby on Saturday Night! It was a weekend of stress, non-eating,drinking copious amounts of intoxicants, and buying your favourite little gem before someone else gets it(Godzilla VHS). It’s worth it every time.

Full of SLEAZE!

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Here’s how I break the weekend down-

Friday-Vendor Day: This is when the people who really want something (and don’t care about price) come out, finding the rare gems and inside deals, with vendors frequently using this day to get their own shopping done. Also, Friday hosted the Short Shock Film Fest (Rin and I were actors in the short Very Horrendous Shit).

Saturday-THE DAY: Easily the busiest day of the weekend, movie screenings going on, every vendor fully stocked, this is the day to go if you want to be in a (or see) costume(s). It’s the most convention-like day, with everyone bustling to find their favourite VHS.

Sunday-Hangover Day: As GrimBrother Dave put it best ” The only thing keeping me going through this day is knowing everyone feels just as shitty as I do”. The main afterparty is always held on Saturday night so most of the guests/vendors/volunteers are dead on Sunday. It’s the day to make sure you finished any conversations started and get the contacts of your future friends/customers/lovers?

This event is one of my favourite things of the year (after Halloween and Burn The Kids [Canada Day] Fireworks) and it’s only getting larger. I really love this event because it was made as a big Fuck You to Hobbystar for destroying Fan Expo Toronto (read:raising ticket prices exorbitantly, making the horror line-up a shitshow, turning to brobro gaming).  Shock Stock is always about the fans, and always about the sleaze.

James and Jake continued to bring in world class guests this year, including:

-Christina Lindberg of “Thriller/They Call Her One Eye”, and “Anita The Swedish Nymphet” (first Canadian appearance)

-Naomi Grossman, “Pepper” from “American Horror Story”

-Joel Reed, director of “Bloodsucking Freaks”

Art Hindle and Cindy Hinds, from “The Brood”

Patricia Quinn. Magenta from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

the list goes on, hardcore models(male and female, don’t discriminate!), Horror production companies, indie filmmakers, the list goes on.

Some of my favourite memories from the weekend include seeing Hansel Hartleib open a certified Gold Record  professionally framed by Rin Vanderhaeghe, having Black Fawn Films owner Chad Archibald personally give me a limited Black Fawn bandana(because he saw me last year with their first bandana at Shock Stock), meeting and befriending Christina Lindberg’s cameraman for an upcoming Swedish Television full-length documentary(due out in about 2 years), and getting to talk with The Great Orbax (Monsters of Schlock) about preserving insects and various hard body mods.

Altogether I am happy that the weekend was a success and I had a great time. It was a lot of hard work but we’re all still here, so thank you to the guests, vendors,volunteers, patrons, and Jake & James for making this event even bigger and better than last year.

post.script.I think there might be a followup to this post later on next week(possibly just adding pictures to this post), but right now I’m studying nuclear decay and enzymatic reactions, so I think I’ll wait until after exams and make a post about my Record Store Day(It was today!) experience before posting about SHOCK STOCK again.

I am still alive

It just becomes harder each year, not to be mad, or angry, at this world. Afraid of leaving after trying to escape for so long, I feel this shock will only turn me towards more anger, more madness, more fear. The stars shine dimly, but while this waning moon has risen, the oblique lines stretching away from craters left me with more sombre images, clawing across the sludge-night sky.

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post/script. Is this a new era? I am unsure how to move forward with this account. Do I start a new wordpress page(linked to this still) for Meta and toy love, keeping all art and writing here, or should I start a Hrafn artist Enlcave page? School is taxing, getting ready to sell this place is a constant grind, more exams in two weeks, and last exams went well. Shock Stock is next weekend, zines are continuing at a plod, Transformers colour scheming for re-modding starts this week. So, let’s flip up this fucking switch and kick it into high gear. Let’s right these wrongs and burn up the wrong-doers. Let’s RESTART.

Quick Indie Media Update + New Formulation of a Custom Sticker Series

A few weeks ago I posted about a zine I ordered-The Keep, a horror and macabre themed zine filled with short stories/poetry about eerie nights in cemeteries and grisly crimes where no one suspects. Well, I got it in the mail yesterday! It’s an awesome project led by Torin Langen of Candle Flame Films, who puts forth his skills as co-author, editor, printer, illustrator, designer, everything else-and does a damned fine job for it being the first issue. This release has the feel of Are you Afraid of The Dark, a 90’s Canadian children show about a group of middle schoolers sneaking out after dark to tell stories of the paranormal(one of my favourite shows as a kid, staying up to watch it on YTV!). Be sure to Check out Torin & Zach of Candle Flame Films & REC Films at the 3rd Annual Shock Stock Horror Convention in London Ontario, April 12th-14th 2013. I’ll be posting more about this amazing event, as I’ve been involved some way/shape/or form for the last two convention(this one also).

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During that post I also previewed a forthcoming series, which I’m now ready to reveal more details about.  These images show a sticker series, which draws from cosmology, Buddhist meditations, and fictitious animals. I will be possibly pairing them with previously and future zines, as well as selling separately. Creating a base of zines will be my task over the next couple of months, but this project gives a bit of a creative outlet(not worrying necessarily about perfection, and more the flow of several converging patterns, quite relaxing actually). This is still while continuing school! More exams are scheduled for this coming week-so wish me luck, as I was sick the previous week and am now studying like mad to catch up.

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A red suitcase in one and your hand in the other.

Before I begin, please let me introduce myself.  I am Rin, and I am the partner of your regularly scheduled humble narrator Hrafn.  We have decided to create a joint post between both of our blogs as the event in question was most certainly,  a joint endeavour.

So, this adventure all started about two weeks ago.  A friend of ours told us about the upcoming Indie Media Fair.. an event that we had attended multiple times, but always managed to find out about the night before.  But not this year!  I was thrilled to get a half table (which by the end of the day turned into a full table, I would definitely want us to have next time the entire day).  So, that entire week and a half, we were busy.  Being an Indie Media Fair (emphasis on the media part), I wanted to work on the zines that I had started last year, plus some book binding.  I learned a new binding technique, which is still simple but I think a great step towards the types of books I want to make in the future.  I also used the event to show off Diana for the first time, and I got some wonderful feedback from a lot of different people.  Plus, even though we spent a bunch of money there supporting other artists and media makers, and had to pay for our table, we still made a profit!

But now that this event is over, and we had a good time, we are already looking forward to our next event.. it may be the Rag Bag Bazaar on Dundas Street in June.  I’m hoping to have some finished (and for sale) dolls by then.  Also, if we have included any of your stuff from Saturday and didn’t credit you, please let us know and we would be happy to include you.

I also included a photo I took today of all of our plants together.. normally they are spread all over the house but due to some house repairs and decorating, all the plants get to hang out together. So many!

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These breathes are sharp, but they contain the future(fruitful endeavours and continued learning).

Over the previous weekend I(Hrafn) had the pleasure of participating in the London Indie Media Fair jointly with Rin, organized in part by ArtFusion and The London Public Library. This was a day of many firsts for me-first zine self-published, first public artistic endavour, first public sale, first event in the black-all in all, an amazing day of firsts. I went to this event multiple years as a customer, so it was interesting being on the other side of the table.I found it really quite  awesome seeing so many different ages coming together supporting local culture, and the community giving back to their artists. One of my favourite events of the day was held by the London Ontario Media Arts Association – making your own 16MM film strip. I’m an avid analog film fan so this was the perfect activity for me. The LOMAA table had blank (and film strips) to: colour, scratch, cut, and re-tape together, AND the projector/separate to show your animation!Amazing finds were: Daisies And Bruises‘ Letter to My Younger Self- A quaint little zine that deals with teenage depression and learning to love life through it, Nicole Markham‘s Radio Riot-a very DIY feeling zine about culture/freedom/music and Chana Prana- a beautiful Indian Vegan recipe book based on her travels through India, a Fallen Love Records co-founder’s zine Wires- about a punker growing up while keeping old ties, Melissa Hall’s custom wooden painting pins, Grit uplifted-A local magazine featuring writings and art by those affected by homelessness, and EVAC‘s create your own pin service. Thanks to everyone who participated and supported this amazing community event, and thank you to all my followers and readers for their continued encouragement.

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This has been a joint, guest post with my lovely partner Rin.  This entry is cross posted on her blog, but she is also a writer and zine maker, and so please take the time to check it out!  Click here to go there.

The Thirteenth Day

While, yesterday might be a favourite of mine(language-wise),I don’t like the way the Language pieces turn out when in landscape format. I’ll try again maybe, but this should be the last for a little while.  Other news-I am elbows deep in textbooks and notes, 4 exams, let’s go! I’ve now completely knocked over our plant stand not once, but twice in the last 3 days(rising from computer table). We’ve had this set-up for a while, so all in all, not fun. Some days I have trouble writing, others it’s the visual aspect, but I continue to pump out the series, and this pleases me.

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Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make. Osheaga(Friday) and the Journey to get there. +PHOTOS

As previously stated I had travelled to the city Hub Montréal  for the OSHEAGA Arts and Music Festival which took place August 3rd-5th 2012. My space/time traveller partner Sweater Eyes and I had initially planned to go all three days but occurrences change in the flux of life.

My trip actually began Wednesday August 1st, 2012. I recall the panic a week before as my partner and I had not acquired transit to the Hub Toronto-our tickets to Montréal began the trip in this city, not our current dwellings in SW Ontario.

A relative had stepped in the last-minute with a much-needed point & shoot, as OSHEAGA had a strict policy of no SLR’s(all our cameras were film or digital SLR’s, Polaroids and completely worn out/destroyed digital point-&-shoots). Unfortunately the happiness was short-lived as the camera was forgotten at the residence(over 45 minutes away[and the trip was off to a late start]). As such we had to deal with a smaller megapixel count(under two megapixels) than the forgotten camera. As well, previously stated video features on the camera turned out to have no audio capabilities. This was a problem on the first day of OSHEAGA-later explained.

Our trip into Hub Toronto is a wreck of intercity driving and an hour-long slew of red lights. We reached our destination with much post-driving anxiety, The Pour House Irish Pub at 182 Dupont Ave. There we met with a longtime friend for catch-up (he’d been studying vigorously at U of T and pursuing greater life ambitions) and partook in an enjoyable meal consisting of drinks and sweet potato fries. After finishing our meeting we had to be off, as our bus out to Hub Montréal had been known to line-up quickly. Goodbyes and we were off for a three hour wait in the bus terminal.

THE ACTUAL TRIP BEGINS COMMENCING NOW.

Waiting for three hours, and we were still 11th/12th in line. We travelled with Greyhound, a mistake I always make, as certain companies in Canada have monopolies and outrageous prices holding  people back from serious bus & train travels across the various region.

The first bus pulls up ten minutes after its departure time, the best bus I’ve ever seen-free wi-fi, extended leg room, charging outlets, the works. Five minutes later another bus-the opposite end, a total wreck, cramped seating, hard rocky backs,terrible smells.
The bus operators begin separating passengers as those travelling to Montréal(the ultimate destination), and Ottawa(the intermediate stopover). The passengers going farther are a majority, but slight-think two passengers.

The bus going to Montréal is the shit-tier bus. This trip will take us from Hub Toronto to Hub Ottawa, to Hub Montréal, starting 12:50am(20 minutes late) & finishing 9:00am. So the bus we took was pretty treacherous, as the road north became progressively crack-filled.

About two hours outside of Toronto the bus travelling tandem begins to slow, so does our own. Pulling off to the side our driver exits the bus-with no explanation-for several minutes. After re-entering no explanation is given and we proceed on towards the intended 3:00am rest stop.

The rest stop invigorates us and before entering the bus we sing Sprawl II by The Arcade Fire. The city lay behind us, but its glow crept along our shadowy trail. No sleep and Hub Ottawa is upon us.

The layover is short and thankfully we leave Hub Ottawa on schedule. Before us lay two hours of nerve-wracking driving and sheer beauty. Through the final leg of our trip a thick sheet of fog blanketed our travel way. First creeping across fields, through the criss-cross of irrigation and natural ditches. Then-faster-it swarmed entire forested regions, easily become a wall of dark clouds over 50 feet tall.The bus continued on its usual speed but out the windows even trees beside the road had become wrapped in the grey-white velvety cloak.

Suddenly we burst above the soup, and from it came the rising sun, gleaming it’s rays across the surface of the St. Lawrence River. A sight I will never forget, even in my sleep-deprived memories-the fog would not penetrate that far yet. Blues and tumultuous greens clashed with the shattered oranges  now dancing their fingers across the seaway.

It is the morning of Thursday August 2nd, 2012. We enter Hub Montréal and graffiti covers every surface. An abandoned motel shows it’s hundreds of temporary occupants, all bright sharp lined tags, filling entire walls. We travel through the churches and sprawl, ending our journey at the bus terminal in Hub Montréal. It’s free wi-fi does not like to work on our two different internet-capable devices. Luckily the beautiful Quebec National Library greeted our exit from the bus terminal. We cross the street-which we immediately notice has a concrete barrier protecting cyclists from traffic. I use cycling as exercise, transit and recreation back home, so to see designated lanes is always a nice sight.

The Library interior is stunning, a massive multistory lobby, which descended into a children section/movie viewing area and an art gallery (now featuring an exhibit on Japanese Manga & Animé). A large, wide staircase emerged from the wall opposite entrance doors and marked its way upwards to the four stories above. We explore all the little alcoves, final emerging to the help desk which gives us both a free guest pass for the Library Computer Network. After 20 minutes of map searching we exit the beautiful archives and take the subways to our accommodations-a shared house with our apartment exiting to a second story balcony looking into a well-kept view of the mountains.

We leave our belongings and explore the area, finding out our residence is close to bakeries and some interesting geeky stores including Komico (a comic book shop which seemed to specialize in high quality miniseries collections and more adult themed issues, quite a nice atmosphere too!) and Gamers’ Vault  (a tabletop games store that holds  tournaments & free days for games such as HeroClix, WarMachine[very cool], Dungeons & Dragons, etc…). I suggest anyone check them out if they get the chance as both stores were friendly and bilingual.

After exploring the neighbourhood until dusk, we return to the apartment and settle in for an evening of music, drinks, good food(our house had a kitchen!), preparing for the next day, and resting on the balcony to look at the night sky.

Awakening to cicadas hissing we find the alarm. It’s the first day of OSHEAGA, Friday August 2nd, 2012. Preparing all our clothes the previous evening , we stumble out of bed, reeling from the first sleep in 48 hours. We force ourselves to the local eateries and prepare toward the core for the festival. As none of the opening bands we cared for, we decide to wait about an hour before going to the island, hoping thr initial crowds would sort themselves out. A good choice too, as when we reached the only subway line to Jean-Drapeau island there was still around 1200 people waiting to get on. I am not a slow person and so weaving through the crowd we emerged in the subway terminal itself. All the while I notice it getting hotter the deeper we go into the system of networking tunnels. A quick heat though, as the subway car only takes a few minutes to reach us. The ride under  St. Lawrence river is about seven minutes but feels longer(under the raging St. Lawrence), and we quickly exit the terminal to breathe fresh air.

We had decided that there weren’t enough bands that we wanted to see on the Saturday so when leaving the metro station we sold our tickets to the first person who gave us the price we initially paid. It was nice because then we could spend a day in Hub Montréal and relax.  During the sale I was swarmed by people looking for Friday tickets but shooed them all away, including a burly man who was willing to give me 300 dollars for one ticket.

Entering the festival is easy, a simple bag check and we’re through. The day is hazy here for a couple of hours, as Franz Ferdinand was the first band we wanted to see specifically and they started at 5:30. So we explored the festival, listening to music from all stages. Climbing the mobile bridge to reach the Green & Tree stages, we found beautiful views of Hub Montréal and cool forested areas free of crowds. We stopped off at the Electronic stage and danced around during Prison Garde and Mac 10 & Hyper MC. After that it was back over to the main stages as there was a pavilion featuring the new Chevy Spark in a visuals filled “car ride”. We wait for about 15 minutes until they explain how the legalities and process of the “experience” will work. It all checked out so Sweater Eyes and myself began.

First we were handed an i-Pad that would let you swivel the car around on its stand, then allowing for a light show to cover the car in several choices of covers, each peeling away blocky pixel by pixel. We are then told to enter the car and so begins the ride. The car moves slightly on its pad as the trip takes you through parts of Hub Montréal and into a digitized version of the trip across St.Lawrence River to the island. It looks like Tron. It was very bright and neon veins covered the surfaces, quite spiffy. The whole viewing lasts about three minutes and is well worth it. For helping make a festival video we are treated to entering the VIP lounge 30 feet above the ground for free drinks and snacks. So we head up the stairs into a nicely covered patio featuring fake sod and comfortable seating.

During our time on the VIP patio we listened to the group Radio Radio, as well as watching the pair Amadou & Mariam performing on the main stages. An amazing performance as they had a good level of harmonizing and I enjoy listening to the blues guitar. Franz Ferdinand is up next so we leave the patio and go to sit on the grassy hill, as we had decided that this would be our “festival show” to watch, relaxing cheerfully and singing to some old favourites. The band is stellar, performing with a great amount of energy even while dressed in long-sleeved pants and shirts(temperatures the first day were sweltering).
Next we had a little break until Florence and the Machine came on. Our plan was to go stand at the Stage Sigur Rós was playing(they performed immediately after Florence on the stage beside her). Our plan worked and as the crowds surged towards her we achieved a spot not 20 feet from the stage, in a position where we could still see Florence perform.

A few friends have told me if I ever had the opportunity, see Florence and the Machine live as they were a sight beyond all. I am definitely happy I heeded this advice and strongly suggest everyone do the same. Her voice was ethereal and she danced across the stage like a flowing spectre. Her stage presence was phenomenal and I loved every song-turning me into a fan for sure.

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Then came the main event for us. This was THE band we came to see on Friday. Sigur Rós. The hauntingly beautiful Icelandic post-rock quartet, and it was the most rewarding experience of my life. Hands down. The set-list-

1- Varúð

2- Ný Batterí

3- Sæglópur

4- Hoppípolla + Með Blódnasir

5- Olsen Olsen

6- Hafsól

7- Popplagið

It was spectacular, with songs from all over their careers. No other event will capture the sheer raw power and emotion conveyed in that short hour. Anything else I can say would do their set an injustice, as such I offer this link to the photolog that Sweater Eyes and myself recorded that evening here.

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After the most amazing thing I’ve experienced we still had bands to see. A very fast run over to the farthest possible stage to see MGMT perform. Remember the camera issue? I had recorded two songs by Sigur Rós and a new song by MGMT called Alien Conquest(or Alien Days, I’ve found it labelled under this also). Well, the camera we had? No audio, so our video for the first day was scrapped, but we only found this out after coming home. Nonetheless, we were able to see MGMT perform 5 songs which was more than we initially thought possible. A solid performance, easily a high of the weekend being able to see MGMT perform Siberian Breaks, Electric Feel,  The Handshake, and Congratulations, all being topped off with a new song.

The problem was that Sigur Rós had overlapped with MGMT by 45 minutes. Then, MGMT and Justice overlapped by another 30 minutes. All the bands that I wanted to see on the first day, nicely packed into a  two-hour bundle.  As MGMT finished their unreleased song we sped back to the main stages for Justice.

Dancing like madmen we careened towards the open fields, we jumped, kicked and twirled our way around the throbbing notes. They glowed, for around them lay dozens of oddly stacked speakers and amps, conjoined by a shining white cross in the center. We had run back through our fellow Osheagites and managed to see the final 6 songs, including Stress.

We left the festival to see that the Metro tunnels were clogged-possibly for hours. Not finding any maps to see what kind of trip getting off the island is, we walk. Yes, walk off the island, never do it, it is foolish and enduring. Walking to a smaller island we stride past several apartment complexes that resembled stacked cardboard boxes slightly pushed or pulled from their uniform wall. Some spaces were empty where a block should have been, and these were amazing to see as we left OSHEAGA. During our travels we had run out of water and were quite thirsty. Luckily there were two construction workers for the city filling a water tank from the closest fire hydrant. We asked if they can help fill our water bottles, they agree and are thanked mercilessly by us, but our journey doesn’t cease. After a two-hour walk covering between 7-10 kilometers, we arrived on the mainland and collapse. Do we use transit or a taxi? We decide taxi and it was the worst choice made in Montreal during our trip. The driver doesn’t know where our destination is or the neighbourhood it resides in. So he decides that entering a freeway with night construction going on is the best option. We enter the taxi at around 12:30 am, thinking we’ll be home by the coming hour and it would be a $25 trip. Not so, as we become stuck on the highway for almost 45 minutes. The ride has moved no more than 500 meters and we decide to find our own way off the highway.The highway we walked on had a ledge that could be traversed(a two meter gap, which fell to become a steep  several hundred foot tall hill) to reach a fence, this fence was broken and could be accessed but it entered a construction company lot and we didn’t want a trespassing charge in this city over getting home.

So we ran down the high way to the closest off ramp being reconstructed. As such, there was a dirt hill almost 300 feet that needed to be climbed down before even getting back to city streets. We descend to the city level and begin walking back to a street we don’t know, in a city we don’t know, at 1:30 in the morning. After walking 15 minutes we ask a taxi passing by where the nearest metro is, we are told it’s 15 minute walk. I think we looked completely lost and on the verge of crying because(despite our protests) this man drove us to the nearest Metro station free of charge, he told us it was on his way. This man saved us as we had no idea where we were until he helped us. We left the taxi to run for the Metro, only to see it closing. We had missed the last subway train of the night.

We leave the station and start walking, only to stop after five minutes. It will be too far and it is too late in a city that is alien to us. We catch another taxi and the driver knows exactly where to go, this man was getting a tip tonight. He had us back in our neighbourhood within 15 minutes, with a ride only costing $20 including tip. We arrive home around 2:30 am and promptly shower(we had a second skin of dirt & grime) before heading off to sleep.

“If we jump right it’s three feet, if not then we fall 30 feet down a hill. Deal?”-Osheaga is hell, and I came back from it.

During the previous week I was unavailable, an occurrence happened outside of my regional jurisdictions. As such, I felt the need several days ago to proceed along various transit routes to the North American Nexus of Montreal.(With my partner-in-crime Sweater Eyes)I moved towards the Music/Arts Festival known as Osheaga.  This journey had been several months in the making, including various internet deals for travel and accommodation-we had been told everything books extremely fast. As we found out, Montreal also had an animé/comic-con style convention the same weekend.

I am in the midst of re-arranging my life(sorting through post-secondary bureaucracy,finding meaningful employment, minimalizing belongings), as such I will be working on another(picture-filled) post about this arduous endeavour my partner and I travelled into. In the mean time, here is a quick teaser.

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Sigur Rós was the most beautiful experience I will ever have the pleasure of living through. We were lucky enough to see all of Florence and the Machine’s full set. Then running around to see MGMT perform four songs including a new one-Alien Conquest; then running back to main stage to see Justice performing the end of Stress and see five other songs. Amazingly awesome house to dance to for 20 minutes. Sunday was a mixture of superstorms and brief shine, Zola Jesus had her set cut after 2 songs, because Osheaga failed to plan for the rain adequately(this is their seventh year). Then seeing a multitude of bands including Santigold, Metric, The Asexuals, Austra, Franz Ferdinand, countless electronic sets, all in all pretty crazy. After being lost in Montreal, finding the best grilled cheese sandwich, exploring back-alley graffiti art galleries, sifting through meticulously stocked records shops, and running down a half built freeway off-ramp at 1:30am in the three days. With travel and unpleasant nonsense the adventure took place over five-and-one-half days. We’ll see about next year though.

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A short and concise rundown of the events. I will continue arranging various time fragments and memory allocation resources to bring another update in the foreseeable future have added photos of Sigur Rós taken during OSHEAGA. My post containing Saturday, Sunday, and the return home is very, very late but it is coming I promise-with PHOTOS this time!