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O’s Clothes 8 Cannon Street East
Relish 6 Cannon Street East
Time for another Crossover post! I ventured back downtown with my friend Seema of This Must Be The Place to do some more exploring. First we returned to where we had our first meet up - AppleBerry Cafe. Owner Opal Osiol was lovely enough to invite us back to sample items off their new menu, and after our first visit, you didn’t have to ask us twice! Opal whipped up quite the spread and we had ourselves a feast. Seema and I even had the same favourites - the BBQ chicken, dumplings, and mashed potatoes. And for dessert - the ginger coconut drops were so good. Thanks again, Opal!
We needed to have a stretch after our meal, so Seema and I strolled through the Gore Park Promenade on our way over to James North. We just narrowly missed a presentation on reptiles, but we did see someone fashioning some balloon animals! It was beautiful day for a walk around the downtown core.
Walking down James North, we had a mission to hit a couple shops on Cannon - O’s Clothes and Relish. I had not yet heard of the former, and as we rounded the corner, some hip hop beats were blasting and I saw the gold logo in the window of a mustachioed gentleman, complete with a top hat and monocle, and I knew O’s Clothes was going to be a much hipper joint than I was expecting!
The men’s clothing shop was just opened a couple of months ago by Oliver Knutton. If the beats bumping in and outside the shop weren’t indication enough, it was clear that Oliver loves music, and he spoke of originally wanting to open a record store before deciding on clothing. After chatting with him about the shop, we learned that he goes out of his way to carry brands that other local shops don’t carry, and from all over the globe. These include Dave O’Connor (Hamilton), Megadestroyer (Vancouver), Arbor (California), Insight (Australia), Fjallraven (Sweden) and many more.
There are also items in there for ladies to rock - Seema and I were eyeing some super soft hoodies and some pretty scarves by local designer Rebecca Duyzer, who has exclusive pieces at O’s, along with another local designer, Kyle Stewart. Another big draw, of course, were all the funky sunglasses!
Thanks to Seema for the photo
Oliver has also immersed himself in Hamilton’s ever-growing online community and is active on Twitter. You can also find him over on my latest addiction, Instagram, at osclothesk. Along with posting photos of his latest goods in the shop, you can find other photos he takes around town. I couldn’t resist Instagramming one of the black and white photos up on one of the walls - pictured below.
We had a great time chatting with Oliver and from there, it was over next door to Relish, a much different shop.
I had popped into Relish before, both times during Art Crawls, and it’s always a pleasant shop to visit. The lime green storefront alone is so eye-catching, how could you not stop in? I always comment on the colourful paper flowers in the window - you can buy these at the downtown Farmers’ Market. So pretty. It’s important to remember the side streets along James North when Art Crawling - you will miss some gems if you don’t.
Right away when entering the shop, there is so much to see, I never know where to look. Relish is full of trinkets, pieces of home decor, furniture, artwork, accessories, and clothing. Not to mention the space itself is lovely - the aquamarine walls and that silver ceiling! The boutique opened in April 2011 and carries a mixture of vintage and new pieces. You can also purchase items online though Relish Vintage on Etsy.
Seema and I didn’t get the chance to chat with owner Katherine, but from her description on Relish’s website, her “weakness for beautiful things” is evident in everything she stocks in the gorgeous boutique. There is also a strong focus on Canadian-made items. It must be so much fun choosing which pieces to stock, and hard to resist taking them all home.
From there, it was over to Mulberry for some much-need coffees - iced ones, at that. I had a great time again with Seema exploring the city. More adventures to come!
Read Seema’s posts about the day on This Must Be The Place in Part One and Part Two.
Seema inside Relish
James Street North Art Crawl
Art Crawl gets bigger and better every month! The warmer months are the most fun for Art Crawl, and everyone was out and about, taking full advantage of the hot summer night. I also realized this was our second Crawl this year that fell on the superstitious Friday the 13th (the last one being in April) and thirteen is proving lucky.
First I have to mention my pre-Crawl stop during the day to Green Smoothie Bar. I heard about GSB through Carly, who knows owner Joe Acardi. I got to meet manager Danielle Height and her sister Melissa who were behind the counter creating the smoothies (and who remember us from our YEP boat adventure last summer.) I zeroed in on the Pineapple Banana for my first Green Smoothie experience. After choosing a flavour, you can select one “kick” or three, depending on what you’re in the mood for. Many people opt for an energy boost! I chose the Maca, after the girls explained something about back in the day, warriors would take it for strength. They also mentioned it’s a libido-enhancer, and that never hurts, now does it? With all kinds of kicks to choose from, like coconut, matcha, wheatgrass, cocoa, flax seed, and more, I know I’ll be back to experiment with some different combos. Danielle and Melissa are super friendly and take the time to explain the benefits of each smoothie while they are whipping it up in a very high-tech blender. I enjoyed my chat with them and taking in the modern, bright green and white space. It’s definitely a spot I’ll be stopping by again when strolling along James North.
After a brief flicker of a thunderstorm between my time on James and heading home, the evening cleared up and I set back out to meet Avi at Art Crawl. Although we didn’t get to pop into too many locations this time around, we were on a mission to hit specific spots. Before meeting up, Avi hit up Tourism Hamilton to check out the mouth-watering Beanermunky chocolate display, and I checked out the newly opened Art Gallery of Hamilton Design Annex, right next to CBC Hamilton. The space is absolutely gorgeous and I loved admiring all the artwork and pieces that would look great in the home. I recognized the work of Andy DeCola on the walls, which we saw on display at Mulberry’s De Facto back at March’s Art Crawl. I also got to meet Lindsay, another Twitter friend, who was working away during the busy Crawl. James North is the perfect spot for the AGH to open their new space, and their main location is still on our to-do list!
Andy DeCola’s work at the Design Annex
From there, it was over to CBC Hamilton to check out their photo booth and speaker’s corner. Arriving early, I got to sort through the props, and with Roger Gillespie’s help, opted for some giant pink glasses. I got to be the first to test out the booth, and when Avi arrived, we put on a few more accessories and filmed a little promo for The Playlist 1.0 – coming up on July 28th! Watch the video and check out their writeup about our show. Thanks to Roger and the folks at CBC for having us be part of this month’s Art Crawl activities, and for the shout out the next day!
Next door to CBC, the girls from Sweet Ice Snow Cones were set up, right next to some acrobats! That’s right, acrobats! This is why I love Art Crawl. Fittingly, the Sweet Ice commercial was playing on loop at CBC, and the video and my entry about it were featured on CBC’s digital round up the next day. And thank you, Linds, for the cute Sweet Ice buttons!
We also made it down the street to check out the new salon, The Ten Spot. The chain has a couple of salons in Toronto, with this being the first in Hamilton. It seems like a great fit for the street and I’ve been seeing tweets from happy customers after getting their mani-pedis! We spoke with Janet and Kathleen and got a nice tour of the salon. I was eyeing all of those gorgeous nail polish colours, thinking about how indecisive Avi and I would be about choosing just one!
Photos courtesy of CBC Hamilton
Then it was time for the main event we came for – Dr. Disc’s 21st anniversary festivities! The concert series Raise the Roof kicked off with The Great Machine, The Dirty Nil, New Hands, and The Rest. We unfortunately missed the first band, and came partway through Dirty Nil’s. I was excited to finally see them play. Avi has known those guys for a while, her brother being friends with them. They were just as wild and crazy as I expected, with birthday boy Luke coming down from the roof at one point and continuing to belt out a song, acapella, when there was some technical difficulties with the sound. Those boys go hard! I like to think I made a good first impression, yelling a Happy Birthday to Luke later on as he whipped by, hanging out the passenger seat of a car.
We were then joined by friends Vanessa and Sarah, and we moved up closer to the building to get a prime spot for New Hands. What can I say that I haven’t already about this band? I love these guys; they impress me every single time. Seeing them up on the roof made me think of their recent Southern Souls video, a rite of passage for any artist, which they filmed on the very top of Dr. Disc. The heights would have made me slightly nervous, but all the bands were total pros.
The Dirty Nil
After a quick sprint down to Mulberry, where lovely artwork by Clarence A. Porter was featured in De Facto, we hurried back to Dr. Disc for The Rest. I can’t say enough about this band, either. They are amazing! The seven-piece filled out the rooftop space and Adam’s voice soared, carrying through the air and down the street. It was a treat to be able to see them play again so soon. They are simply the best (better than all the rest?) Their band name lends itself to a good pun. But I mean that! One of the best bands in the City, for me!
The night raged on with me, Sarah, and Vanessa hitting Casbah Lounge for the official Dr. Disc Birthday after party. The fellas of San Sebastian were holding it down on the decks and spinning the best selection of tunes. I may have requested some Soul Decision. I love those guys; it’s always a party when they’re involved. We arrived fashionably early, which is how we roll, and the rest of the bands (pun intended, again) soon joined in. We had an absolute blast and can’t wait for another night like that one.
Yet another fantastic Art Crawl and Friday the 13th for the books!
Dr. Disc 20 Wilson Street
Radius 151 James Street South
We’re getting revved up for our first event, The Playlist 1.0, a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton. We’re three weeks away – who’s coming?! Get your tickets now at This Ain’t Hollywood and Dr. Disc. We’re so excited for it! Avishka and I have been busy scheduling Rendezvous with some of our featured acts (Canadian Winter, New Hands, The Ascot Royals, The Dinner Belles, and DJ sets by John Smith of Young Rival) and gearing up for what is sure to be a fun night.
For part of our promo, good friend to the Tour, Mark Furukawa, Dr. Disc himself, let us have the record store’s window display for a few weeks to decorate for the event. Mark gave us free reign with the window – it was time to get festive!
That morning, I grabbed some dollar store goodies – pink and white balloons and rainbow streamers, and set out downtown. I took a quick detour to Radius for a much-needed jolt of coffee and to finally check out the new coffee shop. I love the bright green entrance that showcases a lovely art piece by another friend to the Tour, Steph Seagram, and the interior of the café is beautifully decorated as well. It’s more towards the Starbucks style of coffee shop, with the servers in uniform aprons and even using the Tall, Grande, Venti size names. All of the treats look delicious! I was eyeing the flan, but I went for a bit more appropriate morning snack, a lemon poppyseed muffin and iced coffee. But who am I kidding, it’s me; it’s never too early for dessert. I can see why Radius is a new favourite café and lounge for people nearby. I like the James South and Augusta area and would like to investigate that neighbourhood some more.
Sidenote: I would highly recommend walking around with a balloon pump, string, balloons, and streamers. It makes you feel like you’re ready to thrown down and party at a moment’s notice, or even start your own impromptu flash mob. I quite enjoyed it.
Getting to Dr. Disc, I helped Mark take down the previous display, which was all about The Rest (and what a spectacular CD release week they just had!) and got to business planning out the display. I decided on a row of our bright pink and black posters (thanks again to Darlene MacNeil for the fabulous design) and as I was taping them up, Tim Potocic of Sonic Unyon strolled by the window and we waved hello. Later on, we saw a tweet from them including a picture of our window display, which we didn’t even see them take. Sneaky!
I just finished taping up the row of posters when Avi arrived to help with the balloons and streamers. The roll of streamer paper changed colour as the roll went on, and it worked out perfectly that the length of the window stretched through the colours pink, red, and yellow – all three colours are in the poster. Then we got to work blowing up the pink and white balloons, planning to alternate them above the row of posters.
As we were creating our display, our friend Krystal happened to stop by Dr. Disc to pick up some tickets to The Playlist 1.0! How serendipitous that we happened to be there, working away on the display. I believe she bought our first bunch of tickets. Tweet us @ihearthamilton when you get yours, and we’ll retweet!
Live tweeting our progress, a tweet came in from Dave Kuric at Mixed Media, who happened to have a pack of pink balloons and offered them to us. I ran down the street to grab them and found that they were just the perfect shade of pink we needed. They were a bit darker than the ones I had, so they really made our display pop (pun intended!) Thanks again, Dave!
On my way back to Dr. Disc, I had to stop by CBC Hamilton to say hello to Roger Gillespie, Conrad Collaco, and Adam Carter, who was also busy working away. I stayed for a chat with Roger and we talked about The Playlist 1.0 and the upcoming Art Crawl, and did a little brainstorming.
Back at Dr. Disc, as if we didn’t have enough run-ins with friends, who should stop in but Lou Molinaro of This Ain’t Hollywood to pick up some records. We’re thrilled to have booked one of Hamilton’s premiere venues for the event so it was great to see Lou and for him to see our display in progress.
And one more friend stopped by, artist Samille Janelle, creator of the artists’ zine PAGED, which is sold at Dr. Disc, among other stores. It was lovely to see yet another friendly face!
I couldn’t get over how the fun task turned into a day of interaction with the community. A day where we were promoting an event that, for us, encompasses the sense of community we’ve found in Hamilton, ended up doing just that, in itself!
Hamilton Pride 2012
Yet another event we can cross off the Check List – I had always wanted to attend a Pride celebration! It meant a lot to me to attend and show my support for the community. I had searched around for information on Hamilton Pride last summer, but it didn’t seem like there was much happening. This year, The Well: LGBTQ Community Wellness Centre of Hamilton took over the organization of Pride and went all out with events all month long to celebrate. There were events such as a trans-only social, youth craft night, workshops, a poetry slam, and of course the main celebration – the Hamilton Pride Festival.
Avi and I met up with good friend and Honourary Tour Member Jamie, at 11am at City Hall for a rally. We were happy to see so many colourful supporters out on this gorgeous day. We kept cool in the shade and listened to the heartfelt and encouraging speeches, including an appearance by Mayor Bob Bratina, who lent his support.
CBC Hamilton 118 James Street North
For this tour stop, Avi and I were completely on the same wavelength once again. We had planned to wear nautical-inspired outfits because we were hitting up the Leander Boat Club later that night to see The Dinner Belles (you know we love our themes), so it wasn’t a surprise to us when we both showed up in nautical stripes, but the matching denim jackets and EXACT same boots were unexpected! With matching Tour buttons to accessorize, it was guaranteed that people knew we were on Tour duty when they saw us coming.
The street was bustling, as usual on Art Crawl evenings, and we beelined straight for the grand opening of CBC Hamilton’s headquarters. Upon entering, there was so much going on, we didn’t know where to look! Characteristically, we were first drawn to the display of cupcakes, created by Cupcake Diner, and couldn’t resist sampling one each. I went for the Red Velvet, and Avi went with the Chocolate. Delish, as always! We may have dropped a few crumbs. Oops! We tend to leave an impression wherever we go. We joked that we’d be leaving a trail of cupcake crumbs down James North so people could track our whereabouts throughout the Crawl.
The CBC Hamilton space itself is really vibrant, fresh, and inviting. We like the splashes of colour here and there, the local artwork on display, the brick walls, and we even admired the unique grey, patterned ceiling. There was even a DJ, Donna Lovejoy, spinning some tunes to score the grand affair. The low, evening sunlight poured through the giant glass windows and illuminated the colourful space with disco ball-type spots of light scattered along the walls. After taking in the energy of the room, we said hello to producer Conrad Collaco, who I had recently met and got to chat with as CBC Hamilton were prepping for their launch. Conrad gave us a tour around the space, pointing out the staff’s different work spaces, and introducing us to a couple more members of the CBC Hamilton team.
Doors Open Hamilton
It was time for the 10th annual Doors Open Hamilton! We narrowly missed it last year, having just begun our Tour that month and catching wind of the event too late. With many of the featured landmarks on our to-do list, I was happy to get to check out the event this year, on the gorgeous day that it was. I made it to two locations – the newly restored Lister Block and 270 Sherman.