Day One In Canada
As Jeremy and I had gone to sleep at maybe 3am, it was not surprising that I woke up earlier than him at around 9am, but I'd soon come to find he functions nocturnally! When I woke up on the couch in the apartment it was extremely hot out as as i stepped onto the balcony to gauge the weather, the head and humidity hit me like some ethereal barometric wall! His mom had left for work before I woke and having no one to talk to, I showered and shaved my face, even trimming my mustache. I read O'Henry while I waited for Jeremy to wake in the afternoon, I got restless as I'm wont to do and I took one of his kitchen chairs onto the balcony to read in the fresh air. Within minutes of doing that the clouds broke into heavy and sudden rain!
Hunter & The Horses
When Jeremy woke up, he called his friend Hunter and she came to pick us up. She was a really sweet girl who was funny with a kind heart and down for adventure. She drove us out to her Grandmother's house where we escaped the heat in the basement and watched some of Bo Burnam's genius act "What." and also a ridiculous/insane Cartoon Network Adult Swim show "King Star King". Soon after we drove out into a countryside type place to her dad's house which was easily my dream house and was connected to a farm/stable that she worked at with award winning horses. We got to go into the stable and meet the horses and take pictures with them. One of them kept nudging me and making funny faces at me and it turned out he liked to have his gums massaged and so I did that! Overall visiting here was such a fun time and it was quiet and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip undoubtedly. Hunter and Jeremy and I walked around in the heat and through the woods and fields, after being sweaty and eaten up by clouds of greedy mosquitoes we gave up and decided to explore the barn a little, full of memorabilia and the smell of hay and a game that was like a table top version of shuffleboard! I had my second Tim Horton's experience when Hunter treated us to an IceCap (essentially a coffee slush) and a birthday cake doughnut that her and Jeremy were raving about. Sticking to the tour diet ethos, I ate it because it was offered to me and I didn't pay for it (dangerous rules by most other experience standards) and it was really tasty!
Karaoke In Canada
We bid Hunter farewell and headed down town in anticipating meeting some friends later on! I had Jeremy's skateboard in the trunk and I skated around for a while with Jeremy while he took some cool skate videos on his phone! We had plans to meet Kayla, Jesse and some other friends for a Karaoke night at a really awesome little bar and eatery called Villains that had all sorts of funny names for foods based on puns and amazing hand drawn portraits in frames all over the walls of all sorts of villains from Cruella De Vil and Elmer Fudd to Jason Vorhees and Kahn from Star Trek! I got to meet Billy and Estevan as well as see Kayla and Jesse again, as well as some other people. The Karaoke took forever and I ended up signing up for "The Widow" by The Mars Volta, which is about two octaves out of my range but I felt capricious and alive and unembarrassed. Esteban ended up being a great friend and I got to know Kayla, Jeremy and Jesse more, all of them funny and awesome in different ways. The bar was packed out and I sang the song worse than I'd hoped but not terribly and people loved it. I never really do Karaoke but it was liberating and fun to just go for it and not care or take myself seriously! Afterward we strolled around at 1am in the hot glowing streets and stopped at a place called Shawarma Palace and Estevan treated me, they were like Lebanese gyros and they were really tasty! I also got Guava nectar which was so fresh, walked home stickering the hell out of the town!
Writing, Skateboarding and an Open Mic!
Monday started relatively late, a more sedate, primarily indoor day. Again, to my surprise, it was humid and brutally hot outside! I contributed a lot of writing to these tour diaries throughout the afternoon, read a lot and also finished writing a new story-song called "A Midnight Pursuit" for my non-fiction story-rap album I've been working on. It is based on a story that Owen told me back when I was in Providence! Jon came over and brought his friend Gabby over as well, we rode around on bikes and skateboards to a place called Phog for an open mic! I got Shawarma AGAIN (definitely addicting) and Jeremy treated me to a Jones Soda, which I missed seeing and having and it brought me back to feeling like I was in my young skateboarding days when those were more available at skate parks and stores. My bottle cap read: "Your wit will lead you to a very interesting situation" and based on the beauty of the tour thus far, I already felt that it had! In Phog, I met Mel, Kail, Connor and Remy. They are all artistic and creative in some way and as a group they had a funny and connected and inviting vibe that inspired me! The hosts opened as cool drum and guitar/vocals duo that I rather enjoyed. Then Gabby and Remy performed a beautiful a capella song called "Settle Down", Gabby has an incredible voice that sounds like it should be coming out of an old vinyl record! Jon performed an original set under his rap moniker Sader (pronounced "Say Dur" like a 90s sassy teen girl, not "sadder with a D missing" like John Bobbit) that was pretty awesome despite having a few sound troubles.
The place was bustling and the crowd ebbed and flowed a lot! I performed Quality Vs. Quarantine, Work In Progress and "Build Here". It was a loud crowd despite there being a lot of attentive people and the drummer/host was off to the side looking at me during the song and then whispering to a friend and laughing and for one of few times I felt really disrespected and as though I was being intensely critiqued because it was so close to me so I sort of stopped mid song since it was screwing me up and openly addressed that I felt like he was doing me a disservice and it sucked because I respected him. I didn't like myself for it and it felt unprofessional but a lot of people actually sort of cheered me on. He was baffled and later I apologized, because my point wasn't to be confrontational or egotistical but just to be honest about my discomfort. I got another Jones soda whose cap read "Your self-confidence is warranted" which was funny to me after that on-stage mishap that occurred in Phog! I skated for a bit afterwards outside then we went back to Jeremy's apartment. I got the masters for the split EP from Michael Korb and they sounded really amazing, I'm very grateful to Michael Korb for his mastering abilities and patience, Ryan Stack did a great job recording and mixing it and Owen and I put a really nice collection of thoughts and sentiments together. Hearing it as a whole with the voicemail interludes was really a powerful experience. Went to sleep feeling accomplished and loved.
My first International Show ON CANADA DAY!
When I woke I was antsy and I didn't want to have another day where I didn't leave the apartment until late. I met Jeremy's mom a few hours into the day, she was really sweet and offered me food and whatever I'd like, we watched a mellow sort of sad parade go by from the balcony. I ended up leaving Jeremy a note and going out to find a cafe to sit and write in since I'd gotten an idea for a new song and started up on it. Turns out everything significant closes on Canada Day, go figure! Ended up going with Jeremy to a very cool fountain/plaza called Albert Weeks, beautiful place and I skated around. We drove with Hunter to get there and listened to Sadistik's "Ultraviolet" in the car, which is absurdly good!
Later on we got to the venue called Milk coffee bar where Jeremy, Jon and I were preparing for our sets. 20 or so of our friends showed up and everyone was fun and seemingly looking forward to it, the vibe there was very artsy and playful. I got a delicious coffee drink and got to know everyone a bit more. Jon "Sader" and I traded off sets and I made everyone pulled in really close to the stage where we were playing so it felt more connected. The night ended up being really long and fun, I performed 11 songs from every one of my previous projects and a few from unreleased projects and a poem and Jeremy played beats and Jon and I freestyled for at least 45 minutes trading off raps over all sorts of beats it was a blast and we rapped ourselves hoarse! During the sets some people walked into the bar and made it a point to stay and watch the set and it was really amazing to see people just come in off the street hearing live music especially indie rap and just support it, as that doesn't happen too often in my American experiences! Overall it was an amazing experience, everyone was really supportive and I sold a lot of CDs for Canadian monopoly money and lots of people wanted to be a part of the AllOne mailing list and such and there was such an amazing performance high in me, the level of connection between myself and everyone who was listening was outrageous. The mutual respect was sincere and the energy and attentiveness was really special, this show at Milk with Sader and Signols definitely ranks in among the Onederlust favorites! I was physically exhausted from the lack of sleep and the performing and walking and skateboarding and yet Jeremy and I stayed up for a while talking, and I ended up going to bed at 4am or so feeling so at home!
Wednesday 7/2/14 Canadian Excursions
I woke up around 10 am, not bad considering I went to sleep as late as I did though I still get an innate annoyance at myself when I wake up any time past 7 or so no matter when I went to sleep! Chrono-miserly I am! Jeremy had to be out of town for the day so Mel and Jon met with me and we meandered around some beautiful parks and saw some artworks, walking beneath tunnels flooded with lots of terrible but vibrant graffiti. We also walked along some train tracks and found huge Jurassic looking leaves! I really got to enjoy Mel and Jon's company and I felt like I was hanging out with friends whom I've known for years that I really just clicked with on the same wavelength! In addition to Jones soda, it also seems as though there are almost strictly all black squirrels in Canada, and we saw one with a white tail (it was not a skunk) and we saw a weird woodchuck looking thing as well by the water! While wandering we found crab apples in the woods and ate them! We threw away some garbage we found in an another wise rather clean environment along the water! There was a carnival in town (maybe it's always there...I don't know) and it overlooked the water on the River, it was beautiful at night as well as during the day, and I took a few pictures of that! We walked down a really artful alleyway and saw astounding graffiti murals and paintings all coating the surrounding buildings, Jon bumped into a friend of his so Mel and I admired and took pictures of the remarkable artwork!
"The Folk'n Rap Show" and I gave her my music that she said she planned to play on the show! The enthusiasm and helpfulness of people continues to befuddle me! While at Milk, I didn't have the money that I thought I would have to buy the coffee I ordered because the ATM didn't accept my card and then the barista Molly ended up buying the coffee for me. The kindness is too much for me (in a different way than the price of the coffee was)! We walked into a few stores and talked and traveled about and later I went to sleep at Jeremy's pretty early after watching some skate videos (including his dvd of Blind's "What If") with him. I kept finding myself looking up the towns I'd been to on the tour on youtube with the sub-search of "skateboarding" to see the locals skate all the obstacles and spots I'd been looking at! We had an early day since Jeremy had to leave at 8am the next day so I'd planned on hanging out with Estevan most of the day!
My Last Day In Canada (skateboarding, drum circles, and freestyling)
I hung with out with Estevan early in the morning. We went to 711 and got breakfast at Tim Hortons as well. He is very like me, very introspective, quick to succumb to the annals of his own byzantine mind. He was very taken by my music and my presence and theories as a person, and he shared with me a theory that his great grandmother had "there are 7 people like you in the world" which is rather interesting. I'd like to think there are more than that, but I suppose I can settle for 7! I met His grandma and his funny white cat "Cuddles". We ended up at the mall where we got popcorn on the way out at the movie theater! During our drives in the car he showed me some rappers, the best of them being a British fella named "LowKey". We went to this fun outdoor local skate park where I talked to some kids and played SKATE to warm up, which I actually won and it helped me relearn a bunch of tricks I didn't even think I could do!
We went to this place called Optimist park but it was too buggy throughout the overcast day! Eventually Estevan had to go home to get some rest and he dropped me off at a Burger King to wait for Jon to meet up with me. In the mean time, I used the gift card Owen's mom gave me to pick up a salad, a grilled chicken sandwich and a milk shake. Its so odd that I felt guilty and gross eating a grilled chicken sandwich and a salad when they're advertising triple cheeseburgers with bacon and onion rings on them with friends and drinks with an option for a LARGER order. Western culture is a weird place. Connor and Jon met met at burger king and we were going to "Sandwich Town" for a drum circle event!
The Bloomfield House
After a short bus ride and a walk, Connor, Jon and I arrived at this small little house/storefront in the midst of a neighborhood block. The subtext of the Bloomfield House sign describes it self as a "Community outreach, food share, free school, music and meditation center" It is run by a group of people, primarily a musician named T.J. We met Mo and hung out on a back porch of the house where Connor used a djembe to drop a beat and Jon, Mo and I freestyled exchanging turns where we all shone really well because the energy was immediately inviting and encouraging and no one was flexing or critical either. We ate ice pops and white chocolate Reeses' peanut butter cups in between the cypher being active! Mo is an incredible energy, he is unapologetic in his joviality and sincerity and we found ourselves connecting immediately excited over one another's similar rap ethics and poetic interests and freestyle abilities! I took a short video of Mo and Jon during the freestyle which you can view below! After that we went out front and met with 15 or so people and had an incredible drum circle for an hour or so where I sang a bit and rapped as well, and we all felt very connected and supported, and again I left that beautiful little place with a big group of friends and positive and invigorating interactions, with promises to return soon on another trip! T.J. gave us a ride back to Jeremy's house and Jon and him caught up and we all hung out.
We're parts of the puzzle, the bigger picture is incomplete without us,
We are the bigger picture, and without others we are incomplete as well.