Word on the Street

Ben Bull shamelessly misappropriates Jason Leach's intrepid field work for another round-up of Hamilton happenings and Steeltown shenanigans.

By Ben Bull
Published September 15, 2005

This article has been updated.

(With files from Jason Leach, natch)

Word On The Street

Last issue, some of you may well have been asking, "Hey man - where's the Word on The Street?"

It's true; Jason did indeed forget to write it. Even though I asked him several times and he assured me he would, he, well, he screwed up. But that's OK. It's not the first time and hey - he's a busy guy!

Jason spends a lot of time playing those ridiculous bongos and growing his beard, and it's not like he owes me anything - right? Well, except for that lunch back in June, and that bar tab last May, and all those Infusions coffees, and, well - who's counting?! (Approximately $43 so far Jase - show me the money!)

So, here we go again! Welcome back to Hamilton's favourite distraction - the Word on The Street!

Well it looks like Raise the Hammer were not the only ones kicking back and slacking off this August. This issue's WOTS is a scaled down affair, but not to worry; this is promising to be a busy season ahead - so off we go!

Let's start with an old friend and fellow media hound - Crazy Dave Kuruc. What's this old scallywag up to these days?

Mixed Media in the Mix

Dave's opening up a new shop in downtown Hamilton! Mixed Media, at 174 James Street North, will specialize in printmaking and art supplies. Mixed Media will also house gallery space dedicated to local and printmaking art, and a unique gift shop featuring one-of-a-kind handmade items and greeting cards.

Also, in true "any excuse for a party" fashion, Dave is extending us all an invitation to his grand opening on Saturday September 17, from 7 - 10 pm. According to Dave, "Food, drinks and inspiring art will all be provided." Check out and pay Dave a visit today!

A Gallery of Galleries

On the subject of James Street, this emerging artists' hub continues to come alive. Downtown bureau Chief Jason Leach was wandering along between LIUNA Station and St. Joes the other day and counted the following galleries:

Add a new gallery on James St. South (Jason forgot to write down the name!) called Parker Pearce Gallery, and that makes twelve. We can now add Mixed Media to that list too! Sounds like a good day out to me. Jason has promised to write up a "gallery crawl" article very soon, to get us in the mood (don't forget to add some pubs in there Jase).

Sweetwater Location Goes Sour

Rumours are swirling around the old Sweetwater café on Dundurn South. First we heard it was going to be a funky Caribbean restaurant - we liked that - but now we hear it will be making way for, wait for it ... a dollar store. Say it ain't so!

While we at RTH support business endeavours of all kinds, we are disappointed that this old neighbourhood get-together has gone astray. We now have a beer store, liquor store, and dollar store in the same stretch of pavement [hey, no complaining about the nighbourhood liquor store! - Ed.].

Tightly woven clusters of like-for-like shops and services can be a recipe for little ghettos, which in turn can become even bigger ghettos. Look at Hess - what was once a fun stretch of folksy taverns is slowly becoming a haven for underage drinking. Mixed use is the key, folks.

What we need here in Hamilton is not necessarily less discount stores, pubs and massage parlours - we just need to spread them around a little more carefully. We also need to invest a whole hell of a lot more in our little meeting places ... OK, rant over! Hopefully something new will pop up along here soon.

Sightings & Happenings


OK, which of you still has not been to the AGH? Well - what the hell are you waiting for? Susie (the wifey) and me paid our inaugural visit last week and we were thoroughly impressed. We even managed to get a guided tour from one of the security guard/armed escorts.

The Tanenbaum collection on the second floor was particularly amazing, although we did have to walk past this weird dude who was squatting on a stool, staring at a sculpture ... what's with that? [He must have been a mime-in-training practicing his rendition of Rodin's Thinker - Ed.].

Anyway, word is that most of the main floor is being emptied to get ready for the upcoming Art you can Eat exhibition. Apparently, this will include a "Wall of jam" and a "giant gondola made from rice crispies," according to our anonymous source (who also told us that he might be temped to "eat the bloody thing" during one of his late shifts, but that's not to say that he's the security guard or anything, no, no .. we would never reveal our sauce, I mean source). But hey! Don't take it from me, get yourself down there today!

Still with the AGH, their popular Art Appreciation series now turns an eye to the AGH'S exquisite new collection of nineteenth-century art generously gifted to the AGH by Joey and Toby Tanenbaum. AGH's Curator of European Art, Dr. Patrick Shaw Cable, introduces the series with an in-Gallery talk profiling major nineteenth century art styles and periods of political intrigue that relate to these enticing artworks. Important regionally-based Museum Professionals and Art Historians succeed Dr. Cable in the following weeks with talks on styles and artists that are linked with the AGH exhibition Heaven and Earth Unveiled. All talks start at 5:30 pm and are held in the Community Lounge at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

That's it for this issue, folks! Be sure to stay tuned to RTH as things heat up here in the Hammer. You can be sure that as they do - we'll be all over it!

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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