John Lennon was murdered 38 years ago today. While we were in NYC last month, we stopped by the Dakota — where he lived & where he was shot, right in that archway — and Strawberry Fields in Central Park, where nearly 40 years after he died crowds still gather to pay their respects and take photos with the “Imagine” mosaic as a woman sits on a park bench nearby strumming Beatles tunes on her acoustic guitar. Still an emotional scene.
Planning to tweet a thread about Maggie Trudeau tonight for @thisiscanadiana, so I stopped by the El Mo today to check out the newly restored sign.
So much fun watching The Last Pogo Jumps Again in a theatre full of 1977 Toronto punks trashtalking the screen. And to see the old show posters in the lobby — including some for The Curse, who get a chapter in The Toronto Book of the Dead.
The High Line just announced they’re teaming up with The Bentway & similar parks in Chicago, Austin & Houston for a touring art exhibition called “New Monuments for New Cities”. It’ll include work by Life of a Craphead, who floated a replica of the statue of King Edward & his horse from Queen’s Park down the Don River last year. Checked out the High Line for the first time just a few weeks ago!
This is Federal Hall on Wall Street in NYC. This is the spot where Washington was sworn in. But it’s also where Toronto’s infamous rebel mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie, uncovered a sordid tale of American corruption. Mackenzie is best known for his failed rebellion, trying to overthrow British rule in Upper Canada. His army crushed, Mackenzie fled across the border into the US. It was a natural place to seek shelter: the American Revolution was his inspiration. Soon, Mackenzie was living in NYC, working here at Federal Hall—it was the Customs House for NYC back then. And it didn’t take him long to find trouble. Mackenzie had an instinct for digging up stories of corruption & a drive to bring them into the light of day. At the Customs House, he discovered a series of letters written by the old customs chief: Jesse Hoyt, who was still a prominent public figure. They were filled with evidence that Hoyt had embezzled $250,000. Mackenzie couldn’t resist. He quit his job as clerk and went into debt to publish the letters and publicize the corruption. He even signed away the right to make money from the book, determined to prove he wasn’t in it for personal profit. The book was an instant bestseller. After 50,000 copies were sold, the courts stepped in and shut down publication. But that just meant the price of used copies immediately doubled. And that was just the beginning. He was even hired to cover state politics for the New York Tribune. What he found there didn’t exactly restore his faith in American exceptionalism. 13. “I frankly confess,” Mackenzie wrote, “that had I passed 9 years in the United States before, instead of after, the outbreak of the Upper Canadian rebellion, I would have been the last man in America to engage in it.” In a few years, when Canada finally did become a democracy with Responsible Government, he was allowed to return home. Thanks to his moral crusades south of the border, he had so little money his supporters had to buy a house for him: what's now Mackenzie House. He returned to Toronto a changed man, advocating *peacefully* for reform, his dreams of revolution over. So I leave a dream for him here, where his mind began to change.
I bought a suitcase.
Friday night in Brooklyn — we stumbled across an all-ages disco-punk dance party at the Knitting Factory... which is somewhere I’ve wanted to go since hearing Ben Lee bootlegs recorded here in high school thanks to @laurie_m.
There’s a bar hidden on the other side of this phone booth. NYC is okay.
A dream for Jane Jacobs in Washington Square Park. She fought to save places like this in NYC from expressways before she fought to save places like the Annex and Chinatown in TO from expressways. #todreamsnyc #janejacobsdream
Brooklyn last night.