Monday, July 31, 2006

Tervetuluo Suomi! (day 1)

Oh, what a long day it's been. Bear with me till I get use to this Finnish keyboard!

After locking myself out momentarily, and doing shots of Whiskey in Terminal 3, I was on my way to Helsinki. While in the duty free, I ran into two Finns I knew. One was an actress named Märrit and the other one was a glass blower I met at the Finnish indepedence day celebrations named Mirvi. It is a small world.

My friend Daniel came to pick me up at the airport which was nice. He gave me a long drink (booze with Gin) en route to Porvoo, Finland. Oh yeah, the flight was OK except Finnair served some kind of Ginger Chicken that looked like kitty cat.

After a nap, Daniel and I grabbed a sauna which was great. It was a little wet, but dry heat as well. Afterwards, we sat with our beers out in the middle of a field, just wearing bathrobes. Then we did grillaus (bbq) that his wife Milana made which was awesome. For the evening, we drank booze and played pool on their huge pool table which came from Sweden. Now, this is the life!

No pictures to show you today, but I'm sure you can imagine.

Time to go. It's been a long day. Jetlag is a weird thing however.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Getting ready for this trip today started out kind of quiet. Me sippin coffee at my place watching CBC NEWSWORLD (Honestly, I watch it all the time).

Then Cat and I did a b-line towards St. Lawrence Market. We also did an "all you can eat" breakfast at Golden Griddle (the shittier version of DENNY'S for Canada, mod interesting to see trannies at the College Street location at 3am!), then did a quick run to grab some kebabs. Then I continued running.

I got trip stuff together blah blah blah. But something almost happened today that made me cry.

I went to the HOUSE OF LORDS to get my haircut. As I told the dude (a French guy with cool hair), "Make me look like I just served time in Iraq with American Troops". That he did, but he accidently shaved off my chin strap! (that gotee that runs along my jaw line). This is the first time without one in 5 years.

Going on the bus along St Clair, I would see various guys with it. I felt empty. So, it looks like there will be awhile with NO pics in Finland, or no shaving (more of the latter).

If he wasn't such a nice guy, I would have had him fired.

Anyhow, tomorrow it's off to Finland. Now I'm starting to feel prepared for it. There's still tons of work to do, but when you're on the plane, you can only drink Vodka (I'm taking FINNAIR).


Friday, July 28, 2006

I got it (the passport, not life silly)

Today I get to interrupt my day at work to go pick up my passport from the Russian Consulate. SMACK DAB in the middle of my day. Does it ever end?

Yesterday I had to deal with that plus also quickly meet up with my folks for some business. We also did a quick jaunt to the Pacific Mall and some Mongolian Grill (which Minna hadn't tried before). Dinner was good but Mom was making an interesting observation that I've worked myself into the ground and she said "You BETTER relax this trip", which is true.

But already I have some great plans off the bat. Daniel is coming to pick me up after my direct Toronto/Helsinki flight. We're going to his house in Espoo, where I'm going to take a quick nap and in the evening it's "grillaus"! "Grillaus" is pretty much a variation of a BBQ which will include lots of Long Drink (a canned booze which tastes like gin and fresca), and some good times. Ihana!

Someone also rang my number. I'm thinkin it was a booty call... That I slept through!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fun and Games with the Russian Federation Passport Office

With my papers finally arriving, I dart off to the Russian Passport office, thinking that I pay my STEEP $210 for entry into Russia.

The entry into the building is from swanky Bloor and Bay (not too far from the Finnish Consulate). It's interesting going into a room with one man behind plexiglass (who sends you next door and speaks no English) to a room full of disgruntled travellers from both Russia and Canada.

After waiting hours, the "gentleman" said that the documents were incorrect and I had to contact my host again. BLOODY NOSY as far as what I'm doing. But whatever...

I can barely keep my eyes open while I type. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

VIDEOCLIPE OF THE WEEK - Blero - "Pa Pritur"


At my PO Box sits my papers for my papers to visit Russia! Igor's visit to the Ovir office seemed much quicker than me actually being able to pick up the bloody papers! Even being sent from Finland! The cool thing however is that there is an Consulate office here in Toronto for the Russian Federation, which is much better than me sending my Visa to Montreal (which was the case years ago).

This week the trip is sinking in. Paska, I haven't packed at all, but made a nod in the right direction having picked up a better toothpaste than the one I had at home.

ANY-HOOOO, Here's my video pick for the week. BLERO from what I know (and heard) is an Albanian born artist living in Sweden. One friend in Kosovo called him the "Alba R&B King", which I'm not too keen on. This track is more solid pop than his album that came out a year or so ago (which sold out from North American distributors in no-time).

This performance is from the "Top 3 Fest" in Albania which had some great talent. It's not the best quality, but the song has played in my head for the week, therefore.....

Enjoy BLERO and "Pa Pritur", Circa March 2006!

Monday, July 24, 2006


I thought I would throw in this much better marquee shot of TRAILER TRASH 2 at the Royal before I forget and also say, one week to go before I bounce out of maple syrup country to the land of the flowing vodka. Whowee.

Tomorrow I'll have an appearance up as well by Albanian/Swedish R&B king "Blero". Great performance.

Time for me to look for a SHUFFLE (see next article)

Do the Ipod Shuffle!

The weekend is done! And it flew by and I got about 20% of what I wanted accomplished.

Friday I ran to my PO Box hoping my papers were in for my Home Stay in Russia. In case you didn't know, you have to apply for a visa in order to enter Russia, and it's actually quite annoying paperwork. It wasn't there. Walking up Yonge Street looking at a mix of wife beater tops, horror movie DVDs, and ballcaps, my neighbour calls to see if we were going to watch her home movies (which we did while the Police came around to deal with a reported break in). The 8mm projector was on stand by while it seemed the cop was making a move on the neighbour (which will remain anonymous).

While the rain sprinkled down on Saturday morning, I thought my friend who well call "M" would be around on time. It would have been great to leave for my folks BBQ and picnic at 9.... He got to my place at 3. With my folks packing up their days festivities, we go to the sketchy DIXIE VALUE FLEA MARKET. You can get a Choclair CD for $2! Back home to another meeting where "M" calls at 12:45 at night. Duh, I happened to be sleeping.... like him that morning we were suppose to bounce to the Canadian shield.

Zack rings me up on Sunday morning. I'm to do my 3rd appearance on the TV show "Style By Jury". Greg calls after I get out of the shower to tell me that he's ready as well (along with Zack) to appear on the Number #1 show for the W network. I rattle on with the other people that are there, with two women involved within the cosmetics industry.

As far as how the production went down, I'm not really saying anything, but I'll use Zack's quote after we left to go out in the lobby.... (to me), "Dion.... Kinder Egg? You're just dirty. DIRTY!!!"

Off from there where I went downtown to look for an IPOD SHUFFLE with the money received for commenting on the ladies. No such luck. But can the day end quietly? Nope, how about a meeting regarding a music video, coffee later on that evening with a friend here from Japan, and to talk to my pal Stephe at 89.5 CIUT to see talk to him between his radio gig but he's much too busy. No worries as I get to talk to some ROYAL CINEMA alumni as we talk "the good old days".

By 12 AM, I return home. Still without an Ipod shuffle.

...and how was your weekend?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The $10 Hasselhoff

This bruised mark on my neck from some drunken 26 year old is finally gone. Doing my yard sale on the weekend, in my Spurs jersey, unshaven with a "yellowish bruised area" on my neck, it must have looked like I fit into the hood. Charming.

I got the deal of the decade yesterday on 2 DVD boxed sets. I got season 2 of KNIGHT RIDER with David Hasselhoff, and 1/2 of Season 3 of LOST IN SPACE for the low low price of $10, brand new, each boxed set! With my upcoming trip and spending some train time, it might be nice to take my personal DVD player and catch up on some tv, and the Hoff is worth $10.

Speaking of the trip, I'm still not packed or planned really as much as I should be. It's been busy trying to iron out the rest of the booking for HUNKA JUNK 4, along with dealing with truckloads of stuff here.

And yesterday while taking the bus into work, I thought the weirdest thing... "Wow, I haven't been on TV for a week!" (that's pretty funny). But alas, STYLE BY JURY calls up and asks me to be part of the panel (this time the nicer "after makeover" panel). Their compensation to appear is money well needed for the upcoming trip. Funny.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

VIDCLIPE OF THE WEEK - Praf In Ochi "Peste Sufletul Meu"

Whoa! Another day in a row! Well, actually I finally got some sleep last night. For days, I've been running on 4 hours sleep and last night I finally got some. But there's something weird I have the ability to do now at my tender age.... sleep on the TTC. As long as I have something to rest my head on, I can nod-off half way through my ride. It's kind of a creepy thought in a way, but you gotta catch the "z's" when you can.

I'm still planning my European trip but got a "knock" in my bank account from the fine a-holes at BELL. Considering I don't even use my home phone anymore, I'm not sure exactly how the rates have got so high. Anyhow, I'm still trying to iron our details of my trip now that I'm not loaded down with a million commitments. It looks like the secured screening is in Tampere on the 18th. Not only will it be fun to expose the fine folks of Tampere my "odd" film collection, but Hannele and I can sit in the "Granny Cafe" and talk about life and relax.

So, I promised you a taste of a fav group of mine or video from around the world. I reviewed PRAF IN OCHI from Romania in an issue of KONFLIKT IN THE KINO and I still think that it's one of the best albums that I got for 2004/2005. "Peste Sufletu Meu" kind of means "In My Soul" or something to that effect. At first I didn't like the video, but the last 30 seconds are visually stunning. Anyhow, hope you enjoy one of my fav Romanian bands.... PRAF IN OCHI!

PS: This cut of the track is different than the one that made their album, and I've done the call out. I'll either put out or pay up for their complete MTV ROMANIA concert.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The theatre Sleeps Tonight - My final screening at the Royal Cinema

Upper Right: Before TT2, the audience grooves to new music videos from Russia (Photo Courtesy: Greg Woods)
Bottom: Lining up for TT2 (Photo Courtesy: Greg Woods)

I kind of knew awhile about the whole FESTIVAL CINEMAS thing closing and now reflecting over it in the last while, it's interesting. In the new issue of KITK (#16) I kind of reflect more on the closing of these theatres. But I guess my blog entry is to remember what happened on the last time I would ever do a screening for FESTIVAL CINEMAS.

My last CONFLICT ARCHIVE screening at the Royal, after over 5 years of subjecting Torontonians in this location my trashy tastes, was DION CONFLICT: TRAILER TRASH 2. For those who don't know, it's a collection of movie trailers for some good and not so good films. But hell, what's good anyhow? My pal Mihai helps me edit the reels upon reels of film from my collection. Sometimes, there's an order, but I also like to just throw in something random, sight unseen... Because we can! In total, there was over 40+ trailers for films with titles such as "Let me Die a Woman!" or "Trap for Seven Spies", interspliced with some local ad for shag carpeting for some long lost business in Michigan or Florida (??).

Always before a screening, we would have the same ritual. Tim (who would book my screenings for FESTIVAL) and his wife Brenda and I would do dinner at Sneeky's. We would also rope some other friends together not only for dinner, but to help fold the latest issue of KONFLIKT IN THE KINO while muching on cheese nachos. I usually bounce out early to go grab prizes, sort out music at the theatre, and talk with other cinematic partners in crime working the candy counter.

THANK YOU FOR SMOKING wraps up and we fix it that I'm able to do something that we talked about forever, but NOW got around to doing. Showing some NEW cool Russian music videos with DTS sound!

So, the box office opens and for the first time, I don't work the door giving out raffle tickets. I sneek into the theatre to watch an Irakli music video. What's particularily interesting for my last show is the constant amount of the audience taking photos or video with digital cameras, camera phones, video cameras, etc. At one point, I called over the house manager to check it out. It was a really interesting site. This was the final screening for some people for going to the Royal and I know a lot of people just wanted to grab pics from/of the theatre. That theatre gave me lots of memories and hope it was the same for others.

On with the show. I give my usual pitch and told the story about how the CONFLICT ARCHIVES came to be in this location. Blah blah blah, then on with TT2. Besides a couple wrongly placed trailers (my screenings have usually had some form of technical problem). Some of the trailers in the first half were great. I really now want to see "Carmen" and track down a copy of "Charles and Lucie"!!!

The intermission I give away prizes. Normally afterwards, I plug our next screening at the Royal but this was it. Going throught the motley bunch of films I showed, the memories flooded back regarding my time presenting films at the Royal. It was because of the CONFLICT ARCHIVES, it put me in contact with some great people. My friends Greg and Tim who I cherish both were because of these screenings. I remembered almost destroying the screen during a "pop guzzling contest" for SURF II, or the sound going TOTALLY out for the Rev Al Sharpeton 3-D feature, "Run for Cover" (which I gave the Canadian premier to). Many good memories. I got pretty choked up and told the audience, "I've enjoyed sharing this time with you" said a quick goodbye, then we did the final reel.

It's weeks later and Colin tells me yesterday about some retro 70's 16mm reels he bought. He also says "I guess I'm missing the Royal" and I am as well.

As I get ready to embark on tanking my HUNKA JUNK film fest to Finland, I still think about those great wacky screenings that we would do at the Royal. The Royal for me was kind of like a f--k friend. But eventually, one day, they get married. And then it's just you.

There were so many people to thank that night however in regards to the CONFLICT ARCHIVES at the Royal. MANY MANY PEOPLE helped out in some way of getting the word out about (what I think) was the best kept cinematic secret in Toronto.

They say the Royal will open again and there's gossip about it. I'll wait to see what it is. But in the meantime, all you people clickin and videotaping that night! I'd love to archive whatever stills or video you have from our final festival cinemas screening. You can contact me here.... and we can take it from there!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Okay Okay, so I've been HORRIBLE in writing in my blog but it's been bloody busy lately. Here's what's been going on
- TELEVISION TELEVISION - I appear on Toronto's number one morning show, "Breakfast Television" one week to promote Trailer Trash, then a Canadian game show the next
- Organizing my new film vault
- My day job
- A trip to Finland, a tour in Finland, papers for entry into Russia.

But enough of all that crap. Thanks to Colin who showed me how to YOU TUBE into my blog, therefore I thought I would try to share when I can a vid each week of one of my fav bands from around the world.

Here we have Finland's "Ultra Bra" with "Viiliviini". I hadn't seen this video before until recently, but love the fact that this was recorded off JYRKI, Finland's RIP Much franchise. The track was released as a single before ULTRA BRA's last album. It all stars out looking like a typical Finn evening at the cottage (Even with "grillaus"!), but look out!

I'll write more updating the blog with final pics from my last FESTIVAL CINEMAS screening and some other pictures of the final days of FESTIVAL CINEMAS.