BYOL: Ronnie’s Local 069

by Jodie James Elliott

Bring Your Own Lunch is a new series that visits bars and locals around the city that do not serve food. You are thereby welcome to bring your own.

IMG_0775It is an unattractive little shack in Kensington Market with an aluminum siding façade. Along its eastern, graffitied exterior is a phalanx of recycling and trash bins, stowed away in an inaccessible little courtyard and plastered in pigeon shit. Attached to its western exterior is a music store where, on Sunday afternoons from the sun-blasted patio, you can hear teenaged boys testing their repertoire of awkward riffs on electric guitars. An outsider may dismiss it at first glance as being a bit sketchy, and keep on walking. But this is because the outsider is unable to see what is actually taking place here, and what makes Ronnie’s special. It is more than just a bar popular among its staunch regulars, it is a successful example of a functioning social space. Continue reading

On Shawn Micallef’s Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto

by Jodie James Elliott

Stroll book coverToronto Proper is best entered via one of its two most cinematic orifices: the first, and my personal favorite, is from the west, along the Gardiner Expressway eastbound toward the Spadina exit; the second, and only slightly-less sublime, is from the east, southbound along the curving Don Valley Parkway, all the way to the bottom where it narrows into a funnel, pressurizing the flow of traffic and ejaculating onto the Gardiner westbound – also making its final approach on the Spadina exit. At the bottom of the Spadina exit, abandon your car here and start walking – in any direction – without looking back. Don’t worry, in less than ten minutes the City will take it away and you will henceforth be emancipated. I cannot recommend the best route for leaving the city, because I’ve never tried it. Continue reading


vanitasby Jodie James Elliott

Originally posted March 2013

The bumpy transition from street to parking lot is completely devoid of any attempt by hired contractor to merge the two planes seamlessly. Instead, there is a gap chopped out of the pre-existing curb only to be confronted by a newer, lower curb about two and a half inches high. In the centre of this entrance/gap, the municipal side of the awkward border dips just enough to compel water, and anything else that moves, into the direction of a storm drain, covered by a grate designed to keep anything wider than a bicycle tire from entering the city’s bowels. Continue reading

The 2013 Toronto Boat Show

Race Bannon

by Jodie James Elliott

Originally posted January 2013.

Published in Shackles and Cringles Sailing Magazine by The Canadian Albacore Association Spring 2013.

No one has ever called this the Toronto Sailing Show. It is the Toronto Boat Show. And if you are a sailor, you will have to navigate a city of towering bridge boats, shiny accoutrements and a fleet of disembodied outboard motors before happening upon the object of your affection. Unlike the rules of the water, the tradeshow rule for right-of-way favors powerboats. Sailing-related exhibits are pushed aside, hidden away as if their devotees are the acolytes of some esoteric cult. Well, it is true that sailing requires unique skills and knowledge of secret rituals. It has its own language. We prefer a challenge. Very well, I shall take the long way. Continue reading

Secret Heart – A Valentine’s for Adventurous (Food) Lovers

by Jodie James Elliott

Originally posted February 2013.

Elk heart

On the corner of College and Rusholme, stands a classic example of Toronto’s Victorian Commercial architecture – red bricks blackened by decades of sun exposure, columns in the Ionic order. Though most of its charming features were only discovered after Len Senater had taken over the former convenience store. Peeling back the layers of corrugated plastic signage, and cardboard, has revealed a space that a pub franchiser would envy – although such a person would likely gut the place and fill it with imitation walnut MDF wainscoting and framed portraits of late-19th-century nobodies. This is The Depanneur home to the Rusholme Park Supper Club, and inside, a small culinary troupe frantically puts together the final touches of a Valentine’s dinner called Secret Heart – A Valentine’s for Adventurous (Food) Lovers.

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Jodie James Elliott is a writer, critic, and curator with a Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Literature and Art History, and a Master’s Degree in Art History. He enjoys dining, drinking, sailing, strolling, and cycling.

Available to review your art, restaurant, book, dinner party, short film, or album (vinyl presses only).

Contact here.

Laura Moore – Kernel Memory


by Jodie James Elliott

Originally posted January 2013

Catalogue published by Stride Gallery, 2011

On my bookshelves, among the volumes of texts and novels, there continues to this day to be about a dozen or so VHS tapes. It seems they have always been there so I seldom notice their presence anymore but they still exist. Some, in their original cardboard boxes, are identifiable as popular films from the 1990s. Others can only be identified by the hand-written labels applied to their sides: July 1996, or Art Project: Chair. I have a vague memory of what these titles mean but since I no longer own a functioning VCR, there is no way for me to view them. Continue reading

Are You Alright? New Art from Britain

Jonathan Baldock, Pierrot, 2011

by Jodie James Elliott

Originally posted January 2013

Catalogue published by the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 2013

This group exhibition featuring a new generation of British artists diversely posits a schism between the Modern and Contemporary through the spectacle of redevelopment, urban shrines, sexuality, and celebrity culture. With allusions to the grotesquely beautiful and exploring the darker side of kitsch, Are You Alright? reveals a trend of disillusionment with contemporary British society. Continue reading