Monday, November 9, 2015

The destruction of many Points Gray albums

When I get an idea or get immersed in the act of creation I feel a rush of excitement, especially when sharing is involved, be it collaboration or even reaching out to people (which can also be a form of collaboration). Making art can be so spiritual, so divine, a curious lifting to get outside of or higher than oneself.  In 1999 I suggested to Dan Bejar that it’d be neat to do some psychedelic folk cuz no one else was doing it and we deeply loved Skip Spence and Holy Modal Rounders and on and on, even Smiley Smile and Henske/Yester fit the bill for us as weighty influences. I had all these intense, heavy gut-wrenching lyrics that I wanted to get out (even though I had a sense of humour about them),  so the project would be acid downer folk. Julian Lawrence came along for the ride to add some great musical flourishes as well. The creative process came about so easily, it was incredible. We recorded an album at Method, being 'folky music' it took no time even with the curious effects that we wanted to add, and I started pitching it to numerous labels of varying sizes. No bites. 

A couple or three years after our recording psychedelic folk went through a revival however labels said that we were ‘good but weird’ (as labels would tell me oh so often about oh so many things) …too weird for the psychedelic folk revival even. I don't go into a project thinking, "Let's make this weird so that there will be no audience." I usually regard the audience highly, that audiences want something different that speaks to them about the human (and beyond) experience, that they aren't zombies (are zombies still popular?)...I have mixed feelings about the word 'weird.' When I'd find, say, an old horror comic book called 'Weird' I am interested and intrigued because it probably won't be 'boring' but when the word is placed on me disparagingly I sometimes consider the source and think that maybe they want 'boring' or 'safe.' Is it really so simple? Does 'safe' sell?

Also we weren’t technically ‘active’ (one show only in 1999 and that's it) no bites…hey, the music industry is dying, labels want bands that are going to tour, that's the reality. But still I’ve pitched a lot of stuff over the years, I get things done and try to make it good (I do not want to add to the forgettable dung-heap, I may as well just be working in an office instead of creating boring work that has no depth -by the way, I am writing this in an office) but no bites. Finally in 2013 I decided to do it myself …yet again.  Always DIY, DIY has sucked me dry, I've done it so much and I don't want to do it again, I've tried and I've tried and I can't make it alone, I hit the ceiling of my own reach. Soooo crowd-sourcing! Crowd-sourcing is a bit embarrassing, even when one treats it like a pre-order the infrastructure of crowd-sourcing platforms set it up to seem like begging ("Won't you please help so and so to make their dream a reality?") With the crowd-sourcing I basically made the money back, though reviews were few if any, next to none (the industry has changed so much, now one has to hire a publicist to get any ink)…Couldn't I have just put it online to get lost in the hallowed halls of the internet? I am a record collector and clearly I am attached to the physical object. Is it really more real, more legit, because it is a record? Isn't manufacturing a  record somewhat wasteful? Attachment can be a killer. Maybe that's what's at issue here, maybe that is the source of these very long-term frustrations: attachment. Certainly letting go of things is healthy. My next therapy appointment is in three weeks, I'll keep you posted.

I got my MFA (Masters of Fine Arts, the air of legitimacy) this year and left the hallowed halls to yet again pitch and hustle to the response of silence and/or rejection. Waves of frustration hit me again. I was back in Toronto in a house with fleas and a few housemates including a shirtless noodle slurper (which terrified me from bringing dates over), perhaps mercifully it wasn’t long before we were 'renovicted' (as a blessing in the midst of my jobless perpetual wall hitting the land-lord let us live rent free for the final months). When it came time to leave I had to move so many heavy records including the unsold copies of the Points Gray LP. The perils of a record collector become known come moving day.

How to make the physical album be as precious as it sounds? How to try to tear down these walls that block me (I am not blocked creatively -I must assure and be grateful for that, it is a blockage in getting it to the people and I am grateful for the people, I am grateful for the people that I care about, I am grateful when I reach and impact people) that may be outside of my control? How to let go of attachments? How to heft around less albums and downsize? Destroy 100 copies. But first I wanted to trade some copies to anyone who was interested in the days leading up to the destruction for the small sum of dark chocolate and the odd subway token. This felt more like a magick ritual and much less selfish. People that I did not know seemed genuinely excited to get a record. I am unsure how they feel now that they have listened to it. I destroyed the albums myself in the back alley of my new home. Perhaps doing it alone made it seem truly more 'self-important' in that the importance was minimized (yet here I am writing about it and sharing the experience) while texting close pals like Kevin Howes, who wrote the liner notes, and texted back images of one of his own record destroying moments. Then, as a method of cleansing, I burnt some sage (apparently sage actually does cleanse, not just spiritually but physically, too) and threw them in the recycle bin. That this is such an emotionally heavy album where some of the songs were pretty perfect for Halloween, which had just passed, made it all seem right. I well and truly hope that it was a positive act and I can move forward with my current and future projects. There's still a few copies out there by the way, it isn't so 'diiiiire' you can order it here:

Enjoy the photos! 

                      burning sage

                     buh bye

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Canadian Romantic at Jason Mclean art opening: London Ontario Saturday Nov 7, Michael Gibson Gallery

Friends, after taking part in the delightful Guelph launch at eBar of Publication Studios Guelph's book  “The Ecstasy and the Void: An Introduction to the Occult of Mulagi” ( the world’s first compendium of the apocryphal lore and mystery surrounding the Serbian folk-hero, Mulagi. Sayings, fragments of stories, and unearthed poems have been brought to life in twenty-four original artworks by twenty-four original artists from across the globe ...including me) where The Canadian Romantic hosted and even ran a confessional booth (so many dark secrets), The Canadian Romantic is now jet setting to briefly perform in London, Ontario, birthplace of the concept of 'cosmic consciousness' (Richard Bucke, 1871) for my long-time friend and collaborator Jason Mclean's art opening of new drawings "Son of a Salesman." If you haven't seen Jason's work you should, colourful magickal text subconscious imagery springing forth making humourous connections....
Saturday, 8 pm, Nov 7, Michael Gibson Gallery, London, Ontario

Friday, October 16, 2015

Canadian Election Poll Results

 Timely election coverage... 
Canadian Election Poll Results
By Robert Dayton
The latest election poll results project that Stephen Harper is in the lead, according to a polling firm run by The Harper Government, with the less comfortable seats going to the other parties to scramble and fight over. However, a recent, more independent (and much more independently minded) poll suggests that Gnah The Conqueror, an eight foot warrior composed of factory outlet carpet samples, is in the lead due to the public being drawn into his combination of fear and cuddliness. That was five minutes ago. Gnah The Conqueror has just fallen slightly in the polls, but don’t worry, he is not in physical pain thanks to his well insulated body. Now a shiny set of keys has quietly nudged up as the preference to run Canada, a country composed of three syllables. I am trying to grab the shiny set of keys for investigative purposes. Just when I get close, the shiny set of keys gets pulled away at the last second. And that’s what it is down to with these predictions: seconds. And even thirds for the more politically hungry.

Where does this election data come from? Many a small child has asked that question while precariously perched on their surrogate Mother’s knee. The projected data is selected from a range of sources including reading tea leaves –switching to decaf in the evening as otherwise they’d be up all night thinking about candidates- as well as select supermarket produce section bump-ins which prove that shoppers unfairly prefer the candidate with the most teeth. Random calculations are made using lots of stuff (ie. time travel scenarios). This data is then professionally analyzed as ‘deeply troubled’ and sent to Vince in Shipping who winks, says “I’m rubber stamping it!” and proceeds to ignore it. Strategic voter sites then use the data with the largest font possible declaring, “STAY INFORMED!”

Update: currently a large soft serve ice cream cone has overtaken the shiny set of keys in the polls. This could change at any moment with the ice cream melting down my arm and summer becoming but a distant memory. Oh wait. Hold that. Thanks. We are receiving conclusive data that over-rides all other data like a monster truck crushing a long row of cars. The victor will be ‘white guy.’ It’s always ‘white guy.’

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Canadian Romantic with live musical backing by Marker Starling opening for Hank LP release, plus: Pussybasket at Videofag

LIVE! In Kitchener and Waterloo. The new HANK album is a stunner (link to a track below that features me looking like I am the singer but I am not the singer ha ha, I am not in HANK)....

As well, The Canadian Romantic will be performing as part of the final Pussy Basket at the great Videofag venue in Toronto on October 13th at 7 PM. "Join Emcee Jenna Syde for the (possible) death of Videofag's bi-anal PussyBasket Spoken Word Cabaret. With Halloween on the horizon, this installment will have an undead chill to it. Children of the night include Marcy Rogers, Lizzie Violet, The Canadian romantic with Lynn Crosbie to kiss the series closed. Brock Hessel will be read from an exquisite corpse he has assembled from the words of all those poets and performers who've made PussyBasket runneth-over over the years. This event is made possible by The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Website finally up!

Oh hi! My website is finally up, check it out, take a look, maybe now my life makes more sense to the uninitiated multitudes:

Monday, April 27, 2015

MFA art show!!!! Phewwww

University of Waterloo Fine Arts Presents
Robert Dayton
Outta This World

May 7–30, 2015
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 7 from 5:00–8:00 pm
Performance by New Horizzzons at 7:00 pm

Outta This World is comprised of drawing, video, music, performance and installation elements. This body of work is an outcome of my thinking about the concept of the nation-state, in this case Canada, and the way that it imposes specific identities on its’ citizens. Using strategies of humour, abject beauty, social engagement and ritual, my work proposes alternate possibilities of Canada through a difficult, yet ultimately beneficial process of de-repression. The artists would like to thank: Joy of Flowers, Princess Cinema, Bang-On, and The Yeti Cafe.

The artist will also be available in-gallery as his alter-ego Support from 12-3 on the following dates: May14, 16, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 30
Robert Dayton is a multidisciplinary artist whose work aims to dissolve repression and create a sense of wonder. He is an MFA candidate at the University of Waterloo and received a BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. As The Canadian Romantic he has performed all over North America, most recently as part of Ann Magnuson's One-Hour Bacchanal a mini-carnival in the spirit of Mike Kelley at MOCA in Los Angeles. His collaborative performance and recording projects include Canned Hamm, July Fourth Toilet, and New Horizzzons. His drawings and writings have appeared in numerous publications, including Nog A Dod: Canadian Psychedoolia and The Canadian Romantic book published by Pitt Projects, Vancouver.  He is the recipient of a Keith and Win Shantz Fellowship and has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council. www.robertdayton.comOutta This World is comprised of drawing, video, music, performance and installation elements. This body of work is an outcome of my thinking about the concept of the nation-state, in this case Canada, and the way that it imposes specific identities on its? citizens. Using strategies of humour, abject beauty, social engagement and ritual, my work proposes alternate possibilities of Canada through a difficult, yet ultimately beneficial process of de-repression. The artists would like to thank: Joy of Flowers, Princess Cinema, Bang-On, and The Yeti Cafe.
MFA Preview
Jennifer Akkermans
Marianne Burlew
Veronica Murawski
Anna Van Milligan

MFA Preview is a survey exhibition showcasing recent works in various media by first year candidates in the UW MFA program. Presented in context with MFA Thesis, this one-stop exhibition provides a public preview of recently completed projects.  

Please join us in celebrating the thesis exhibitions by these promising emerging artists.
Exhibitions are free and open to the public.

University of Waterloo Art Gallery
East Campus Hall 1239
Gallery: 519.888.4567 ext. 33575
Fine Arts: 519.888.4567 ext. 36923

Tuesday to Saturday
12:00-5:00 pm
Or by appointment

Ivan Jurakic, Director / Curator
519.888.4567 ext. 36741

263 Phillip Street, Waterloo, ON
Located in East Campus Hall on Phillip Street off University Avenue West, behind University Plaza
Use South entrance to ECH across from Engineering 6

Limited meter parking is available behind ECH
Visitor Parking is available in Lot E6, E5 or Lot B after 3:45 pm

University of Waterloo Art Gallery
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1


Image: Robert Dayton, Support #1, 2014. Photo: Brian Limoyo.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

MFA/Toronto home search/karaoke/NEW HORIZZZONS

Oh hi, I am in the final month of grad school right now for my MFA, my show 'OUTTA THIS WORLD' opens Thursday May 7th at UWAG...hopefully my website will be more 'proper' before then with the apropos bells whistles pomp circumstance
In the meanwhile I am looking for a home for my well behaved cat Tommy and I in Toronto on June 1st if you know of anything. This sense of search has led me to host karaoke this Sunday night at The Beaver (1192 Queen Street West, Toronto) and call it 'I NEED A PLACE TO LIVE' KARAOKE. Starts at ten Pm and it will be lots of fun! The preceding night my act NEW HORIZZZONS is playing a show at Smiling Buddha...our first show of 2015... look at this lovely poster designed by Jona...