Bargain Bash! Uma Nota and Footprints in An Honest Farewell

Anyone who's lived in Toronto for some time knows about Honest Ed's. For decades of Toronto's history, the big, tacky store at Bathurst and Bloor was THE destination for cheap housewares, gaudy colour schemes and corny puns on hand-painted signs. ("Welcome, don't faint at our low prices, there's no place to lie down" and "Only the floors are crooked!" are just a couple of examples.)In a recent post, Judith Cohen, an ethnomusicologist, folk musician and longtime member of the Uma Nota community (she's also the mother of performing artist Tamar Ilana), remembers some of the things she'd find at her "corner store" of 33 years.

“Everything” included... VHS tapes (back in the day)! The lowest pharmacy fees. Toothpaste.  Photo albums at a fraction of camera store prices. Batteries. Coffee mugs. Kettles. Shower curtains. Socks. Kitchen clocks. Boots. Tinned sardines. Italian and Portuguese cooking oil. Light bulbs. Toys. When my daughter was little, I could outfit her for a summer for $20.Non-stick (sort of) frying pans. Bath towels, and beach towels with improbable designs. Blue jeans with only a few loose threads.  Sturdy fall jackets. Dubious Birkenstock sandal imitations. Plastic lawn chairs. Bookshelves. Picture frames. Knitting wool. Clothes drying racks. Garish skirts and blouses labeled, with insouciant mendaciousness, “Fashion.” Hanukkah candles and chocolate coins, and for Passover, kosher matzah, grape juice and candied fruit.

The store's fame owed much to the late Ed Mirvish himself, an outgoing and jovial character whose giant retail operation paved the way for the Mirvish theatre production empire and the beloved Mirvish Village area on Markham St. beside the store. The theatre productions will continue, but the village will meet its end when the store, long since sold off, is demolished, turned into condos and retail units by its new owners. (The famous giant illuminated sign is being relocated to the Mirvish Theatre in the Entertainment District, The Globe and Mail reports.)While the "the longest goodbye in retail history," which included sales of all those hand-painted signs and the last of many clearance items, finished up on Dec. 31, 2016, there's a final series of events taking place in the giant old building in the Annex, and we invite you to participate.Design by General EclecticIt's all happening as part of a four-day sendoff called An Honest Farewell, organized as part of the Toronto For Everyone "co-creating our city" initiative by The Centre for Social Innovation."We believe that Toronto can be the global model for inclusivity, community and social innovation," the Toronto For Everyone website explains. "Honest Ed’s may be closing its doors, but Ed’s legacy is his unique ability to foster community can carry on. For years, Ed opened his doors to immigrant families, hosted street parties and gave away free turkeys. Now it’s time for us to carry the torch through all of our city and community building initiatives, starting with TO4E this February 23-26, 2017."Honest Ed's get-down finale is called Bargain Bash (tickets here), happening on Saturday, February 25 starting at 9 p.m."Join us as we bring together some of the hottest dance parties in Toronto, all under one roof, for one truly epic Saturday night farewell extravaganza," T4EO invites. "Explore the newly empty rooms transformed, bask in palpable nostalgia and find yourself on one of three dance floors, participating in a night made for the history books."Featuring:

  • Footprints DJs Jason Palma and General Eclectic. Live Afro-Brazilian drumming performance by Maracatu Mar Aberto (presented by Uma Nota).
  • Electro Swing TO, Toronto's original speakeasy dance party, featuring resident DJs Medicineman & The Great Grantsby.
  • Hip hop, dancehall, soca, reggae, afrobeats and good music brought to you by Dre Ngozi and DJ Bambii.

This is a special one-off jam for the Bargain Bash festivities.Our groove affair goes down in the former Bad Boy space on Bathurst, and features the deep dance floor vinyl selections of Footprints DJs Jason Palma and General Eclectic with the polyrhythmic release of an Uma Nota live show, represented here with powerful Afro-Brazilian Maracatu rhythms and songs.[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSfsypAACdw[/embed]At Bargain Bash, we present Maracatu Mar Aberto, whose thundering bass drums and rich, layered percussion hold the rhythm for beautiful Afro-Brazilian songs. Performing as a special guest with the maracatu drummers is Brazilian vocalist and past Uma Nota featured artist Flávia Nascimento, an award-winning singer/songwriter living in Quebec and recording original Brazilian-Canadian music.

Foot Prints LIVE DJ Mix - April 27th, 2013 Part 1 by Footprints Toronto on Mixcloud

Meanwhile, with a shared belief that you can't know your future until you know your past, Footprints DJs Jason Palma and General Eclectic showcase their unique all-inclusive approach to DJing and crate-digging at the monthly, vinyl-heavy open format dance party. Steadily packed with soulful dancers for the past 14+ years, Footprints is where Palma and G.E. connect the dots between wide varieties of music, from Funk, Soul, Disco, Afrobeat, Latin and Brazilian to Dub, Reggae, Electro, House and Hip Hop.What else can you expect? How about custom visual projections by Pleasurecraft Studio, an opening drum and horn parade  into the space to honour the local community and history, and other surprises.Stay current on party updates with our Facebook event page and join us for Bargain Bash on February 25, along with Electroswing TO and Manifesto's High Power crew, and celebrate the official farewell party for Honest Ed's.

in/future Transformative Art Experience

in-future-ben-watt-meyer-fb-crop-photo-bryne-mclaughlin-1024x538in/future is totally awesome. The arts & music festival brings together a whole lot of beautiful ingredients for a truly innovative and art-inspiring experience. Here are three reasons to go for the final weekend.It’s at Ontario Place. For Torontonians (especially over-30 peeps), it is super nostalgic, and regardless, this ‘70s/’80s on-the-lake world of the future, park of revelry, even in its current abandoned state, is an inspiring setting. In last week’s NOW Magazine cover story on the festival, one of the festival programmers, Layne Hinton, said: "We're taking all our cues from the West Island and Ontario Place and its history. It's interesting because they built the space with all these futuristic ideas and utopian models, but they were also referencing something from the recent past. So we've been interested in that relationship, the play of time the site seems to hold." We are talking instant romance for those on an alternative-style date night. Art Spin, the wonder adventurists of Toronto, have curated some beautiful installations from various artists (you have to see it). Led by Hinton and Rui Pimenta, they teamed up with Small World Music Society, who have put together a wicked musical programme removed from commercial glitz, wholly diverse and eclectic and of the greatest musicianship. (It also helps our ego that many of the artists have in the past been presented by Uma Nota!) The fourth element for this art bending experience this Friday? Uma Nota presents three incredible Brazilian live acts and a roving DJ that take your after-work transformative art experience to the next level. Check out what’s on offer below. Oh yes, and we also must say that the best part is the crowd that comes out: Diverse, fun, and beautiful people who love adventure and artistic inspiration.Luísa MaitaA Sao Paulo cool kid whose music fuses downtempo electronica, a bit of Ceu’s vibes, some Vanessa da Mata flavour and a bunch of urban Cumbancha feels. She is one of the more accessible contemporary Brazilian artists, and while the US media like NPR have caught onto her, but she is still flying under the radar here in Canada. Her sound is kind of a soul vibe, some pop even, very urban and cool. Now Mag wrote: “Coaxing imagery from Brazil's inimitable culture, [Maita] expands on the traditions of classic samba with modern influences that include Feist and Cat Power.”Bruno CapinanBruno’s sound is maturing like mad. He is leaving us doing the groovy head-nod with his new directions. Our homeboy Jonathan Rothan had this to say about Bruno Capinan in a recent NOW magazine piece: “Singer/songwriter Bruno Capinan's personal, exploratory songs have an epic indie feel that matches his equally epic stage wear. He released Tudo Está Dito, his third album, in 2014, and has since performed and recorded in Brazil with Gilberto Gil's son Bem Gil. He [was] part of a "new music of Brazil" showcase at the Rio Olympics in August, and his next album arrives in the fall.” It’s coming out very soon and for that we are also excited.Maracatu Mar AbertoMar Aberto is our maracatu of choice in Toronto [albeit a little biased!]. This show features, direct from Brazil, Garnize from Tambores de Olokun and the lead vocals of Zeca Polina and Quebec based songstress Flavia Nascimento, Mar Aberto's show promises emotional upliftment and ecstatic performance translating directly to the dancers and audience.Over the last seven years, Mar Aberto has developed Toronto-bred Maracatu language -- creating a distinct Maracatu style that is rooted in a Toronto vibe (a band of bohemian agitators linked to different underground cultural events) while learning and respecting traditional maracatu nations, expanding from original school of influence, the venerable Maracatu Estrela Brilhante of Recife in Pernambuco, Brazil. garniDJ General Eclectic on the Boom BikeGroove with one of Canada's finest DJs, and resident Uma Nota selector, who will be performing live on his newly created Boom Bike! 1500watts of pure awesomeness all contained on a hand crafted specially built tricycle setup!boom-bike

Winter Nite

umanota_jan2014_facebook_2

Let’s cast out the cold and enliven the heart with the most diverse jam in Toronto. If you liked our summer Block Party, this is your party off the beaten path, in a new location, designed and specially made for our enjoyment pleasure. We originally were going to call this event 'Inside the Block, Party' because the location is wholly new and literally in the middle of an industrial block, wedged between two streets. Also, like the Block Party, it is totally set up by us, from sound, to decor design, to bar and food ... start to finish. This one will be the tropical jam inside a cold-ish winter nite.

Buy Tickets

The Responsables

Laying down the reggae, funk, and dirty grooves, this outfit brings the good vibes. With four part harmonies, a blend of reggae roots, a touch of Afrobeat, and some funky breaks, it's always a dance party.

Responsables

General Eclectic

Resident selector General Eclectic is renowned in the downtown core as the man who has styles upon styles. His crates go deep and when he is on the decks, the people only know how to dance. He is the man behind Footprints, Shin Dig and a number of other jams and of course, part of the original Uma Nota trifecta. He brings the tropical, the deep sound and has promised a wickedly original wicked set for this night.

general eclectic

K-Zar Dubwise

Co-founder of the roots reggae, dub and bass culture series Dub Connection and Rockers Arena, K-Zar is the embodiment of the original underground jam. One of the builders of Dub Connection’s formidable sound system, this selector brings a reggae sound to move the town, and will play the happiest set he has ever thrown down. All to make the people move their bodies to the lovers’ sound.

321351_537043116339323_2020477543_n

and special guests Maracatu Mar Aberto

Having recently killed it at the Promise/AlienInflux/BassGators New Year's Eve party, Maracatu Mar Aberto come back one more time to shake the foundations of the Uma Nota party. Expect emotional vibrancy and next level emotion as the drums take you on a party trip that plays with the spiritual. Damn ... welcome the Open Sea to the Winter Nite.

MMA-CarlosG.3

Plus:

Special shouts to: Clay & Paper Theatre

Venue: Geary Lane, 360 Geary Ave.

Geary Lane is the edgy side of a downtown that is lacking in spaces. Step out of the ordinary and into a liminal party, in a different area … destination location!

 umanota_jan2014_eflyer_3

Mar Aberto Christmas Classic

Mar Aberto Christmas ClassicMaracatu Mar Aberto & Uma Nota Culture present a stellar holiday party:The Mar Aberto Christmas ClassicBring your cheer and raise a glass to celebrate a time of renewal and another year gone by!Come early wine & dine, or come late party and dance. Or both.Everyone is welcome!featuringMaracatu Mar AbertoDance Migration CompanyLuanda JonesMar Aberto SoundSystemDJ General EclecticSpecial guest: Lady SonLula Lounge1585 Dundas Street WestThursday December 19th7:30 p.m.$10 at the door -- $35 with dinnerMore info on the Lula Lounge website here.Facebook event page here.Mar Aberto Christmas Classic

Lemon Bucket Orkestra's arrivals and departures

This fine troupe of musical rascals is Toronto's Lemon Bucket Orkestra.Lemon Bucket OrkestraBy now, you may have seen the video of them performing on board an aircraft that was delayed on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport a while ago. The viral video made international news on CNN, CBC News Network and other media outlets.Lemon Bucket is planning an airport reunion of a musical nature for this Thursday, May 31 at Pearson, this time in the arrivals area of Terminal 1. An acoustic concert the likes of which the facility may never have seen ...Lemon Bucket Orkestra's media release: airport homecoming concertHere's the video in case you missed it -- this one now has more than 200,000 views on YouTube:As 14-piece Balkan party bands go, Toronto has something very original with Lemon Bucket.  They call themselves Toronto's only "Balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk-super band," and it's true. The group was one of the founding acts of the Fedora Upside-Down Collective, which includes Uma Nota acts Maracatu Mar Aberto and Maria Bonita and the Band, among others. Fedora Upside-Down was also a community sponsor of the successful Block Party last Sunday in Kensington Market here in Toronto.Lemon Bucket raised a huge chunk of money this past spring by busking around Toronto. This was all  to pay for their travel to Romania, where they were invited to play in a festival and where they embarked on a tour (they chose to eschew grants and the like instead allowing "the people of Toronto" to decide whether the band went to Romania. It worked).When I spoke with founding Lemon Bucket and Fedora member Mark Marczyk for a recent CBC Radio story on the collective, he emphasized the busking roots as both true to his local band's and to the Ukrainian bands he joined up with when he first decided to make this music. Beyond an accessible to all form of performance, and the singing-for-one's-supper aspect, Marczyk said that music in unexpected places -- a core tenet for Fedora and especially Lemon Bucket -- gets people to take off the "blinders" of  Toronto city life:

"... [Lemon Bucket Orkestra's street performance] reminds people it's OK to stop and feel, to feel the world around you, it's OK to be surprised, to give in to spontaneity, not everything is according to plan, sometimes the most memorable experiences in your life are ones that happened by mistake."

Video diary entries from the tour are on the LBO website and on YouTube, all videos are by Fedora/Whippersnapper Gallery artist Josh Brandt.If you're free Thursday night to go make some music at Pearson International with Lemon Bucket and the Fedora crew, here is the info via the Facebook event:

On May 31st, 2012, we are returning from our Romanian tour on AC 877. The flight arrives at Pearson International at 7:25pm.Won't you be our sweethearts and come greet us at the airport? If you do, we promise we will give you all a big, long, musical kiss! Let's have an airport reunion (and celebrate it with a free acoustic show!)

You can also get more info on Fedora Upside-Down, the artists, groups and performers involved in the collective and more on the Fedora Upside-Down website.Welcome back, Lemon Bucket Orkestra!