Monday, February 28, 2005


if you want to come to the opening on thursday at 8pm at buddies then hit me with an email:

phallus of learning

i forgot to tell yvonne that the HPS offices in Pittsburgh that I will be visiting are in the 10th floor of the "cathedral of learning", the gigantic phallus in the middle of the U Pitt campus with themed classrooms that she told me about when she went to a conference there. I'll definitely have to make a replica.

Up and Running

Morning everyone,

I missed the meeting on Friday, it was my brother's birthday.
I also missed the Raspberry Reich--I hope one of you saw it sometime this weekend.

Question: Are we taking inspiration from our own environment, ie the city around us... or, any building anywhere?

Sunday, February 27, 2005

tv discussions

we didn't get to this at our last meeting but maybe we should discuss on-line what we need for the l.a. peeps. and i would suggest a little manifesto as well based on some of our blog discussions. i am willing to do some of the compiling of our ideas/game plan to make it coherent and clever.

let the games begin.

working in theater

so based on a couple of super-short conversations i've had with some baggies, i've included you guys in a grant i'm writing about an upcoming show. at this point, these are simply ideas - no committment is required. i talk about soft city cause that's the only think i know about. let me know if this is okay. it's going to the tac and the oac - where we get stable funding and to the cananda council where we are trying to get stable funding. let me know if any of this is problematic.

The Encyclopedia of Us – workshop

The Encyclopedia of Us is a new work and a cross-country collaboration between Mammalian Diving Reflex and Vancouver’s Theatre Replacement, a new company formed by former Boca Del Lupo members Maiko Bae Yamamoto and Jaime Long. In January 2005 Darren went to Vancouver to collaborate with Theatre Replacement on their inaugural show, The Empty Orchestra, serving as co-writer and director of the piece. During rehearsals The Encyclopedia of Us was conceived.

The Encyclopedia of Us will combine the interests of both companies, utilizing Mammalian Diving Reflex’s obsession with text-based idea-driven works, and Theatre Replacement’s dedication to a physical vocabulary and developing material in rehearsal. With Mammalian Diving Reflex, we usually have at least a first draft of the script before we enter rehearsal, while Theatre Replacement begins with improvisation, working on their feet to find characters and circumstances, and only later sitting down to hammer out text where required. With The Encyclopedia of Us we will challenge both companies by combining these processes, spending time as a group in rehearsal at our laptops, as well as jamming on our feet.

At this point the details of the piece remain vague but the parameters strict. Traveling through the alphabet we will share with the audience small details of our lives that explore the theme of friendship, the mechanics of friendship, what it means to be friends, the lifeline of friendships and the challenges to friendships. Building on the more recent relational approach in Mammalian Diving Reflex’s work, we will use ourselves and our lives as material, creating a gently interactive piece that attempts to bring the possibility of friendship into the theatre.

The Encyclopedia of Us will begin its creation process with a two-week workshop at Toronto's Theatre Centre as part of Mammalian Diving Reflex's annual residency. Theatre Replacement, (Maiko , Jaime, Vancouver director and broadcaster Adrienne Wong, and actor Hazel Venzon) will come here to work with Darren, Naomi and videographer Jon Sasaki to amass the base material for the show.

Discussions have begun with Toronto craft collective Benevolent Arts Guild (BAG) to possibly use their work as a set, in particular their current project Soft City, a replica of a city made from felt and other soft materials. BAG members include Darren, Yvonne Ng, Jason Van Horne (from the City Beautification Ensemble) Rose Bianchinni and Catherine Stinson.

In preparation for our workshop a year from now, Mammalian Diving Reflex and Theatre Replacement have set up a Yahoo Discussion Group and have begun to toss ideas back and forth across the country. A workshop in the fall of 2006 will be hosted by Theatre Replacement in Vancouver, with the goal of premieres in both Toronto and Vancouver in the spring of 2007.

Friday, February 25, 2005


just a quick note: I don't have to project at vazaleen anymore, so I don't have to leave early, but I might still go later on, and others are still encouraged to come too. However, I'm now more drawn to my original plan of going to see Bruce LaBruce's Raspberry Reich at MOCCA tonight, with speakers and party, etc. I can't make it to either of the screenings tomorrow night, so I'm torn. It starts at 8 though, so that would be cutting the craft pretty short.
here's a review

Thursday, February 24, 2005

mental processing

Darn. I just wrote a comment and it didn't go through. So again:

I can't even remember what it was that I proposed to do (on the TV show)... what did I mean by "mental processing" I wonder? Anyway, well, maybe it could be just like "research" or something... finding drawings and important architectural facts and features about the particular building that I'm constructing and figuring out how it could translate onto the soft building. Or if it's an imaginary building, working out the concept and plans (kind of like the equivalent of architectural sketches or something).

The other thing I wanted to mention was that I saw a Mike Kelley exhibit in Berlin that consisted of various stuffed creatures accompanied by large-scale "realistic" drawings of them. The creatures were really cute, while the drawings were quite grotesque. Anyway, the pieces were looking at this idea of "displaced empathy," the empathy that people feel for stuffed animals (but not for their 2D reproductions... like there is some different kind investment in the materiality of the stuffed body or something). One of the creatures, for example, is locked inside a little black coffin with a tiny window. It makes you feel bad and want to set it free. I don't know too much else about the work, but I just found it very interesting. It somehow relates to my relationship to 3D buildings (both soft and hard), and to cute things in general (like the way it pains me when I see people squish in the faces of their stuffed animals).

a question from the underbelly of the cbc

hi kids,
still editing here. everyone else has gone home and only the hum of computers to keep me company. i wish you were all here to cheer me on as i battle technology and edit little slivers of voices. i could really use a bit of upbagging right now.

but i claimed there was a question and here it is: are we going to be printing tomorrow? if so, i would need to pick up some more linoleuom stuff from the art supply mecca. i can do that but i have to come back here tomorrow to finish. although at this point maybe i should curl up under a cubicle.

if someone else wants to volunteer to pick it up, the best place is aboveground on mccaul cause they got the soft stuff. its up in the printmaking section. its white. not dark brown like the harder stuff. if no printing will happen then i guess its a non-issue.

across from right now is this odd glass building with people walking around and shiny cars placed helter-skelter. it looks like an odd human version of an ant colony.


on the agenda

i'm going to have to leave early, because i have to project films at vazaleen and have to be there before 10. so i guess i should leave around 9. you should all come too, but maybe a bit later on. after the band, there will be double dutch skipping on stage! and nirm will be there for her pre-birthday party.

somebody (i.e. me?) has to get something together soon to send to the tv people. so we should discuss that at the meeting. in particular, i think we need something more tangible for yvonne to demo. the "mental processing" stage probably won't make much sense to the average crafter. perhaps an alternate hand-sewing construction phase? perhaps the velcro and city planning stage?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Inebriated bagging?

should booze and other substances be introduced to our meetings? my vote is yes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

MEAN CITY: an upbag field trip?

Want to check this out? It opens March 5th.

MEAN CITY: From Architecture to Design: How Toronto Went Boom!


The two World Wars had a tremendous impact in transforming Canada into a confident and robust industrial nation. With that came a building boom and an artistic explosion that gave young entrepreneurs, designers, artists and architects opportunities to dream big, bold and modern.

MEAN CITY celebrates this great boom in architecture and industrial design (1945-1975), with emphasis on the work of John B. Parkin Associates: works that include the Sun Life Building, Yonge Subway and Terminal One at the Toronto International Airport.

Also, MEAN CITY takes a closer look at the CNE's distinctive cluster of modern buildings. Beginning in 1947 with the new Grandstand Stadium and culminating in the Better Living Centre in 1962, young architects like Richard Fisher, George Robb and Peter Dickinson were given the opportunity to execute '50s fantastic and futuristic buildings. The Don Mills housing project is featured in MEAN CITY. Urban planner Macklin Hancock was hired right out of Harvard by E.P. Taylor to develop the rolling hills of North Toronto. Talented architects like Douglas H. Lee, John C. Parkin, Henry Fliess, James A. Murray, Harry B. Kohl and Peter Dickinson created housing, factories, schools, churches, libraries and parks for the unique community.

MEAN CITY also pays tribute to the industrial design of the postwar years. The exhibition highlights the accomplishments of A.V. Roe Canada. They built Orenda engines, the Avro Arrow and the Avro Jetliner; the latter, designed by James C. Floyd, was the first commercial jetliner in North America.

MEAN CITY is the most ambitious exhibition presented by Dominion Modern, and is accompanied by a full-colour exhibtion catalogue, available for $20. Dominion Modern: Museum of Modern Architecture and Design is located at 59 College Street in Toronto and is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 12pm to 6pm or by appointment by calling (416) 825-6489. The exhibition coincides with the current show at the CCA in Montreal - The 60s: Montréal Thinks Big and the Museum of Civilization show in Ottawa Cool 60s Design. For more information, please contact Elissa Pane at (416) 967-4815 or

Friday, February 18, 2005

for sure meeting friday feb 25th

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Hi baggies

Hallo from Berlin! Can you believe I'm checking up on UPBAG even while I'm away... Just wanted to report that Berlin is wonderful. The architects here must be crazy; you would not believe some of the buildings (both insanely beautiful and creative and extrordinarily ugly and prison-like) that are all over the place here. Will post pictures when I get back.

Hope everything is going well. Please email me your mailing addresses and I will send postcards! Bagfuls of love,


Tuesday, February 15, 2005


for inviting me, catherine. i'll do my best to behave. in fact, if i actually participate it will be a miracle. but i'll try.

Monday, February 14, 2005

new meeting day

friday. feb 25th. 6:30 rose's house. uppppppbag!

Sunday, February 13, 2005


i've been invited to join this blog. not sure by who. are you sure you want my opinion on these matters?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

a proposed change

since it is the birthday of a miss molly on the 22nd and she is having a little party that day. i propose we change the date. or we could meet even earlier in the day and all head to birthday festivities after.

i know jason and i were invited and we're two of the crucial baggers. and yvonne is a roommate. and catherine. well she is the official side kick so shes gotta come.


my trip to the dollerama

i love the esoteric debate.

but in other more crafty matters i took a shopping trip to my neighborhood dollar-store-mecca and picked up a few things and would be delighted to get more if needed

here's what they got:
flowers etc: a huge assortment of very strange fake vegetation. mostly guady flower type things but some of a certain surreal quality that i enjoy. also, they have dried flowers and j.v.h. will be glad to hear i picked up some gems that look much like the triffids. and also i got some sheet moss.

felt: four for a buck. but only small pieces. when i was there they had only these colours: green, black, red and white.

pipe cleaners: didn't get any but y mentioned using them for our structural concerns

velcro stuff: in strips and dots. i picked up a pack of strips.

string, yarn and glue of various varieties

many strange plastic animals, both current and pre-historic as well as army soldier dudes (if we wanted people)

but no stuffing unfortunately. let me know if you want me to pick up more stuff. and i will for sure have more stuff for lino printing next week.

over and out


i just opened up the constantines CD i bought last night at wavelength and the booklet thingy has this crazy picture of a bunch of bendy skyscrapers growing up from a field of cars, and inside, the lyrics are written alongside a picture of a highway that might be the gardiner expressway.

(also, i'm testing whether this will get e-mailed to all of us. i think i set the blog up to do that.)

let's use the blog more!

apocalyptic city and felt cars

jason wrote:

personally i'm happy building a pre, post or post-post apocalyptic city. but a city devoid of people doesn't necessarily mean that it's cold and dead, in fact teeming with the wild growth of nature it could be far more lovable... and maybe some humans have survived whatever-has-happened and remain tenants. but if we are going to show a city after it has begun to renaturalize should we start thinking about crumbling, vine covered structures?

also look at rem koolhas's 'delirious new york', also from the 70's, it investigates the mythos, visions and aspirations of the big apple outside of it's concrete existence ...and as visual inspiration it's pretty good too, there are drawings of many wonderfully sassy architectural ideas, plus a depiction of the chrysler building in bed (represented as manhattan island) with the empire state building, complete with deflated goodyear blimp condom. tee-hee! i'll see if i can get my hands on this book by the 22nd.

on the topic of the autos, little felt cars would be nice, but they're gonna have to be small! about the size of your baby toe, so i guess they'd be pretty simple... we could decorate them with puffy paint bumpers and headlights and such.

the soft city

yvonne wrote:

i like the idea of making everything, including the cars rather than buying them. i think lino stuffed cars would be cute. i don't know if my way of thinking about the project works with the unpopulated city/ everyone is dead concept. i kind of see the 'soft city' as opposed to the lifeless ie. cold, rational, rigid city; instead of the hard buildings, it's like the city that you can hug, live among, dream in/about, etc. my initial thinking about soft cities came from a book called Soft City written in the 1970s (by my classmate's dad!) which is considered a pretty seminal early work in this whole cities discourse. Here is a quote from it which captures the essence of Raban's idea really well (and seems to fit with our project so perfectly!):

"For better or worse, [the city] invites you to remake it, to consolidate it into a shape you can live in. You, too. Decide who you are, and the city will again assume a fixed form around you. Decide what it is, and your own identity will be revealed, like a map fixed by triangulation. Cities, unlike villages and small towns, are plastic by nature. We mould them in our images: they, in their turn, shape us by the resistance they offer when we try to impose our own personal form on them. In this sense, it seems to me that the living city is an art, and we need the vocabulary of art, of style, to describe the peculiar relation between man and material that exists in the continual creative play of urban living. The city as we imagine it, the soft city of illusion, myth, aspiration, nightmare, is as real, maybe more real, than the hard city one can locate in maps and statistics, in monographs on urban sociology and demography and architecture"

Friday, February 11, 2005

next meeting

howdy cupcakes,
next meeting, the house of rose. food colour: red. time: 6:30 p.m. ideas: grand
motivation: through the roof. participants: adorable questions: can't seem to add my own user name?

inspiration: all you baby


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

meeting minutes

tonight we started our construction projects. yvonne has a skeleton TD centre made, rose has almost finished a brownstone, catherine is letting first canadian place dry, and jason did a lot of "research" on the festival building. perhaps his stuffed building will be ready by the brick and mortar building's grand opening.
We made extensive use of for our research.

Before getting down to business, we feasted on pizza and no-name mac 'n cheese. During dinner we decided that we all should have matching haircuts, modeled after Jason's new do. We also discussed shortening the group's name to just Benevolent Arts Guild, or BAG for short.

meeting adjourned!

and welcome home to darren!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

over-zealous organizing

hey guys,

we now have a guild e-mail address that forwards to us all. perhaps not that useful, since it's not too hard to e-mail 3 people at once, but perhaps down the line it might become useful. I don't want to mention the address here so that we won't get attacked by spammers, so let's just say it starts with "theguild" and then has the same domain as my e-mail. get it?

i also invited us all to become members of the blog so that we can login as ourselves and all the posts won't be signed by the upper parkdale benevolent arts guild. it could get confusing.

so, once jason has checked his schedule, let's set up meeting #2!!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

on the way home from upbag headquarters

i found two jesus glass candle holders. i saw a bunch of gesse in a small park feasting. probably on their way to warmer climates. i saw the word beautiful written in the snow and filled in with green sparkles. a tiny little boy running away from his family. and his slightly bigger brother calling to him with concern. and a woman on her way to feed birds with many bread crumbs in a bag

I can't quite figure out how to make our pictures appear across in a single row. Cat?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

guildy pleasures

Welcome to the virtual treehouse of the Upper Parkdale Benevolent Arts Guild.

We held our inaugural meeting tonight at Yvonne and Jason's over pesto pizza, shrimp chips, hot popcorn, and koala cookies. We discussed our application to the DIY Network craft show, and the projects that we would propose. We decided that we would make little creatures into pins and colour-coded corsages. We also decided that we should make stuffed buildings.

We took pictures of ourselves wearing prototypes of the creature brooches. Soon to be posted on this here blog.

Meeting adjourned.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?