Photos C/O Courtney Downman

Courtney Downman is a glass artist operating out of the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. Her work will be showcased at The Cotton Factory as part of the upcoming Work In Progress art exhibit. The exhibit will feature unfinished pieces from 13 artists. Downman says that much of her inspiration comes from the process of creation, which works well for an exhibit of partially finished work. 

“A lot of the time I’m inspired through the actual making process, which gives me new ideas as I’m creating,” said Downman. 

Downman’s work predominantly focuses on glass that has been carved down with a saw, meaning that the beginning of the piece looks drastically different from the end result.

“My first thought was to bring a piece that’s 60 per cent finished, because they look so different from when it starts as a complete bubble to where I cut it open and it becomes very jagged and you see the white from the saw lines, and then as I finish the last step it brings it all together. So, I was thinking of putting a piece out that’s just about halfway there to show the start to finish,” said Downman.

Glass art is experiencing a rise in popularity at the moment. This is in part thanks to the hit Netflix competition show Blown Away, where glass artists compete to create pieces that match a given theme in a short period of time. Due to the difficulty of working with glass quickly, each competitor was assigned assistants from Sheridan College. Downman was one of the assistants, and she says she’s noticed a positive impact from the show.

“I think overall the community was really happy with the way that it brought exposure; [for] a lot of local studios the show has generated searches for handmade glass. People have been reaching out in local ways, which is kind of neat,” said Downman. “It was really neat as well to work behind the scenes without actually having to compete in the contest.” While glass art has always been popular, having a Netflix show has given it a wider platform than ever before.

The Work In Progress exhibit is being held at The Cotton Factory, a place dedicated to creating a sense of community amongst artists. Downman says that this community is why participating in art exhibits is one of her favourite parts of being an artist.

“We spend so long working quietly, usually alone in our own studio, so it’s rare that we get a chance to show what we do in a way where we also get to socialize with other people that are like-minded. I love meeting the other artists at the shows because I find there’s always common ground to start with. I’ve had a lot of really cool friendships blossom out of doing different shows,” said Downman.

With 13 artists who are all specialized in different art mediums, there is sure to be something that interests you, whether that be glass, leather, paint or something else entirely. Artists will be standing by their work, so if you have any questions about their process, you can ask them right on the spot. If you find art that you love, they will also have completed works available for sale that you can take home with you.

Work In Progress will take place on Sunday Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. at the Cotton Factory (270 Sherman Ave. N.). Admission is free.


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Photo by Hannah Walters-Vida / Editor-In-Chief

By Sam Marchetti, Contributor

On Sept. 27, I saw something wonderful. In the 10 minute drive from my house to the Oakville GO station on Friday, I saw a class walking the streets with their teachers holding signs up. I saw a group of four high school students at a bus shelter farther down the road, brandishing large signs with phrases like “don’t be a fossil fool” and “I’m skipping lessons so I can teach you one”.

That morning, I made my way down to Queen’s Park in Toronto. I, unfortunately, could not stay for the climate march. But I chanted and stood with those near Queen’s Park station for as long as I could. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been concerned about climate change for years. Those who know me best know that I’ve given up hope more than once. It was incredible to know that I was standing with just a small proportion of the millions of people marching around the world. There have been climate strikes and marches before, I have even attended a few of them. Eventually, though, I always ended up feeling defeated. For once, it felt like this time was different. 

So, to all of you reading, let this time be different. Our climate emergency is no longer a problem that can be solved by our actions as individuals. We need the governments of the world to stand with us and to implement policies that will curb greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale and at an unprecedented rate. This isn’t an easy task, and it’s one that we certainly will not accomplish through one day of marching and striking in the streets. There are two things we need to do if we want these strikes to mean something.

First and foremost, we need to keep marching. The next time you hear about a climate protest, march, rally or strike, go to it. Don’t second-guess it, just do it. It doesn’t matter if there are another 500,000 people there and it doesn’t matter if there are just five. Most importantly, it doesn’t matter who you are. Whether or not you have contributed so far to this cause, we need you. We need your activism. We need to see you in the streets, to hear you in the media and to help keep our politicians watching us. Keep the momentum going and scream as loud as you can. 

The second thing is equally as important: you need to vote. Marching, screaming and getting our politicians to see what we want is meaningless unless we can hold them to it. If we don’t vote, they don’t have to listen to us. It is imperative that we show them that we have the power and that we will not allow them to sit idly while the Earth burns. Register to vote, right now (I’ll even give you the link - In October, show up to the polls. Don’t just make your voice heard, make it count

The marches on Sept. 27, 2019 were incredible. This wasn’t the first time I’ve felt that kind of hope, but I think this time it might not fail me. 

This is my plea to you. Let this time be different.

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Photos by Kyle West

By: Coby Zucker

Coming into the Ontario University Athletics playoffs as the fourth-ranked team in Canada puts a target on your back. Add to that a record-breaking six-year stretch where McMaster has taken home the Forsyth Cup for first place in the OUA playoffs, and you now know which team is the one to beat.

And yet, pressure is nothing new for head coach Dave Preston who has been leading the team since 2002.

“The way our program and the way I deal with [pressure] is that I don't think that there's anybody outside of our team room that expects more out of our program than us,” said coach Preston. “So I think when teams start to feel pressure, it's because the external expectations become greater than what the internal expectations can handle. There isn't anybody who expects more out of us than us. So pressure is not an issue.”

Playing on such a decorated team, it is safe to assume the Marauders have lofty expectations for themselves with none loftier than those of fifth-year hitter Andrew Richards, who will be playing in his fifth and final OUA playoffs this season. Richards welcomes the competition and the opportunity to leave it all on the floor.

“I definitely know teams want to beat us with our history of having the success that we've had in Ontario,” said Richards. “I'm sure it would be a sweet feeling for someone to try and knock us off but that motivates us even more to know that any time we play a team they're going to bring the best they have and they're going to be motivated to take us down. So it's something that we welcome almost. We want other teams to play their best, which in turn will make us play our best.”

One game into their playoff run, the Marauders’ opponents’ bests have not been good enough. The York University Lions certainly looked motivated this past Saturday coming into Burridge Gym taking the first set 25-27, but their momentum was quickly stifled.

The Marauders proceeded to take the next three sets (25-23, 25-15, 25-19) in a mirror of their last meeting with the Lions in the regular season. Next, it is onto Kingston to face the University of Windsor Lancers for the semi-finals on March 8.

♂️🏐 | RECAP

@MACMVB edged a tight second set and powered on from there, beating York in four sets to advance to the @ouasport Final Four for the ninth straight year. #GoMacGo


— McMaster Marauders (@McMasterSports) March 3, 2019

For the first time in seven years, McMaster will not be hosting the OUA Final Four due to formatting changes that no longer guarantee home court for the overall highest-seeded team. Continuing their seven-year streak will potentially require they face off in the finals against the Queen’s University Gaels, the only team against whom the Marauders have a losing record in the regular season, in Queen’s own gym.

“We've kind of adapted to this road warrior mentality where we'll go into anyone's gym and do our thing,” said Richards. “We sort of feel comfort in the sense of being uncomfortable, if that make sense? We want to sleep in hotels, we want to play in different gyms, we want to be in front of other fans. It's just the kind of identity our team's going to take on here in the playoffs.”


It remains to be seen how the Marauders will adapt to this wrinkle in their era of dominance. They certainly still have all the tools they need to succeed, including seasoned players, a veteran coach and an all-star-calibre player in Richards who, along with fellow fifth-years Connor Santoni and Jeffrey Driediger, is looking to put his final stamp on a McMaster legacy. The Marauders themselves are not lacking in confidence.

“I love the way our guys are playing right now,” said coach Preston. “I love our style. I think we probably have another level or two left in us to play at. But the way our guys play? The style we play? The passion that we play with? It's everything a coach could ask for.”

Competition remains tough as the Marauders head into their final weekend of the OUA post-season, with the Lancers, the Gaels and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues all looking to displace the reigning champions. It all goes down March 8 and 9 in Kingston.


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Photo C/O Matt Barnes

I fell in love with hip hop around 2013 when I listened to my first rap album, Drake’s Nothing Was the Same. To me, hip hop is an art of storytelling, rooted in struggle and triumph. It has its haters and it is not perfect, but it has also saved and changed countless lives.

In the tradition of the 1970s New York City DJs and MCs that founded the genre, the guardians of modern hip hop are innovative, creative and heartfelt. Anyone can pick up the mic and tell their stories. As fans, we just need to turn up the volume on game-changing artists.

Buddah Abusah is a Hamilton-born and raised creator spreading a message of peace and love. He began writing at the age of 11 and rapping seriously at the age of 16. Haviah Mighty is a Toronto-born, Brampton-raised musician who is also a member of the rap group The Sorority. She began rapping at the age of 12, combining her seven years of singing lessons with her newfound interest in hip hop.

I spoke separately to these two local rappers about their thoughts on hip hop. Both artists spoke about the importance of the genre not only because of the music, but because of the culture.

Is there a message that you like to convey with your music?

Buddah Abusah: My inner city message is letting all artists know that no matter where you're from, [as] long as you put your mind to it, you can be successful in your way. [I want to] show people [that if you] put your mind to it and indulge yourself properly, you can get yourself to that gold, platinum status [that] Canadians are doing more often now. Also… the message I want to give out is that all my music is to peace, love and equality. No matter what goes down, just treat it with peace and love because at the end of the day that's what everybody needs.

Haviah Mighty: I definitely like to pull from the rawest, truest points of my life to try to create the most effective message possible, which is usually the things that are most important to me. The narrative will always change based on the shifting of the energies around us and things that are happening. But I would definitely say… just being a Black female, I am political in nature. The hair that I have, the skin tone that I have, the gender that I am and what I chose to do for a career are to some people very oxymoronic. I think naturally just my look and my delivery and my vibe is a little bit of an empowering, stepping out of your element, believing in your true self kind of message before even opening my mouth. I don't think that's something I can really escape or run from and I'm actually very happy to naturally represents that. I feel that people around me resonate with that.

What’s the best part of the hip hop artist community?

BA: Best part is the growth. For me I love seeing individuals or an individual put their mind to something and watch it come into fruition. Right now I'm doing that with a couple people/groups. I've worked with some of them in the past and just watching them help the culture of [Hamilton] is the best part because I know this city will get there. Like everybody knows the city is growing. And it'll be interesting seeing Hamilton have their own culture and their own sound like how Toronto has their own sound. Hamilton is far enough where we see Toronto and we want to be like the [greater Toronto area] and be included like the GTA, but we still want our own.

HM: The best part of the hip hop community is the community. I think hip hop is very cultural and the community is very culture-based… [W]ithin hip hop in my experience, you can go to different venues and it's like these are people that you've grown up with because at the cultural level, you guys are so connected. It might be the same for punk music and rock and stuff [but] I'm not as embedded in those communities to know. I think for me it's the beautiful marriage between the sonic vibe of hip hop and then just like the community of hip hop and how different yet similar those two things are.

What’s next for you?

BA: I'm going to be releasing new material spring, summer time. I've just been working with other artists, doing some production, audio engineering. And other than that, I'm just taking my sweet, sweet time. I'm not trying to [give] you the exact same trap sound that you're always hearing on the radio or that your friends play. I'm here giving you something completely different. I'm giving you good vibes, I'm giving you vibes for strictly hippies… My goal with this is creating an entirety of a sound for the city.

HM: I have an album coming out. I'm hoping that this can really open up some interesting conversations. I'm really hoping that we can see some shifts in female hip hop and what we expect from being a female in hip hop and what we expect from I guess just the gender expectations. I would love to see some of those surpassed with some of the stuff I'm coming out with. But definitely just trying to contribute positively to the hip hop community and that hip hop culture and to tell good, impactful stories that can make some good change.


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Photos by Catherine Goce

On Feb 1, the Hamilton Student Mobilization Network, a local activist group, hosted a rally at Gore Park in downtown Hamilton to protest the government’s proposed changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program.

The event featured various speakers including Angie Perez, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees 3096, and Sandy Hudson, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto.

“Students have gone to strike for less,” HSMN organizers said at the event.

Following a brief performance from Mother Tareka, @sandela, one of the founders of @BLM_TO, and @SarahJama_, a Hamilton organizer, are up.

— The Silhouette (@theSilhouette) February 1, 2019

Beyond the issue of OSAP, various speakers advocated for completely free tuition. All stressed the need to support grassroots student activism.

The protest downtown followed a protest in the McMaster University Student Centre on Jan. 31, where the HSMN called out the McMaster Students Union for failing to advocate for the student body effectively.

Multiple musicians and poets were also featured at the two-hour long rally, performing pieces on the issues of capitalism and gentrification.

Hudson stresses the power of students, pointing to the success of Quebec student organizers.

— The Silhouette (@theSilhouette) February 1, 2019

“It is a strong sense of solidarity, a strong sense of agitation, and a strong sense of annoyance,” one protester said when asked why he attended the rally.

After an hour of speakers and performers, the protest took to marching on the streets, stopping traffic around the downtown area.

The HSMN was launched in the first few weeks following the government’s announcement on Jan 17.

The organization strives to equip activists to mobilize against shared struggles and is mostly run by students and workers from McMaster University and Mohawk College who had already been organizing separately.

“We started having conversations about what it would look like if we came together on campus across campuses across the city and really bolstered a more cohesive body of resistance,” a HSMN organizer and McMaster student said.

Though the rally was centred on the changes to OSAP, the HSMN is also focused on the adverse effects that cutting tuition and student fees will have.

The student organizer pointed out that McMaster is set to lose $22 million in funding next year, with no additional funding from the government to offset the loss.

“We are looking at suffering quality of education given that there will probably be increases of class sizes. We are looking at part-time staff, faculty associate professors being made vulnerable, anyone that really does not have security or stability of tenure or status in the organization,” they said.

“There are a lot of communities being affected by this, not just students on OSAP,” they added.

Nonetheless, changes to OSAP will not make it easier to afford tuition anyway, according to the student organizer.

“The tuition cuts are very misleading,” they said. “If you cannot afford the tuition even with it reduced, you are still taking out higher loans, which means higher debts, higher interest rates, and in the long run, it is going to cost more.”

The HSMN is also very concerned that the option for students to opt-out of certain student fees will jeopardize some student services.

“We need to really come together as a community and realize that services we do not use today we might need tomorrow. We need to support services for each other and recognize that student fees help build a stronger, healthier community,” the student organizer said.

For the HSMN, the rally represents only the first step in what they hope will be sustained student mobilization and advocacy.

“It represents an entry point for a lot of students to mobilize around these changes and we are going to be having a sustained campaign,” they said.

The HSMN has not released any other planned actions to the public at this point.


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Holiday travel plans can bring us together with family and loved ones. However, because winter weather in Canada can be extreme, it’s important to take a few precautions before you hit the road so you arrive safe and sound.

The York Regional Police, based just north of Toronto, have provided a few tips to help keep you safe on the roads.

Traveling in a winter wonderland

Weathering the conditions: Double-check the weather conditions before heading out. Weather can be severe and change quickly, so it’s extremely important to know the latest weather and traffic conditions, and to leave yourself plenty of time to arrive safely.

Get road-ready: Ensure your vehicle is prepared for the winter. Investing in winter tires is a good place to start. Top-up windshield fluids and antifreeze, ensure you have enough gas for every journey, and update your car’s emergency kit. Clear snow and ice from the windshield and mirrors, as well as from the top of the car and from wheel-wells to increase safety for other drivers.

Buckle up: Always wear your seatbelt, and make sure all of your passengers do too. While this may seem obvious as it's the law, it’s also the most important safety consideration no matter the road conditions.

Eyes on the road: Drive slowly and be aware of other motorists and road hazards. Winter roadways can feature big snow-removal vehicles and sand/salt-trucks, as well as distracted drivers and crosswalks full of pedestrians with arm-loads of gifts! Take the necessary precautions and make sure you’re always in control of your vehicle.

Arrive alive: The holidays are all about good times with family and friends. Don’t drink and drive.


Plan for the best, prepare for the worst

Icy roads, limited visibility, Top 40 Radio…lots of things can impact your time on the road this winter. If you are involved in a fender-bender this season, remember to contact local police immediately if your collision involves:


View original article from TD Insurance.


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Photos C/O Josh Taerk

Bridges Café is a hallowed McMaster destination for thoughtful conversation and inspiring performances. On Oct. 16, Toronto singer-songwriter Josh Taerk continued both of these traditions by bringing his musical storytelling into the space as part of the Coffee House Tour for his latest album, Beautiful Tragedy.

The tour will take Taerk and his band to university towns across North America where he’ll play stripped down versions of his rock-influenced music in campus coffeehouses. He was inspired to tour coffeehouses after playing shows at universities in the United Kingdom.

[spacer height="20px"]“Really it was a matter of getting in front of the right people…[U]niversity students really loved the music and they were getting behind [the] stories and they could connect with the things that I was saying and the experiences that I was presenting to them in the songs,” Taerk explained.

Taerk uses music as a communication tool. As a songwriter who writes from his own experiences, the connection to the stories in his songs is important. He wants his audiences to feel the full range of emotion that drives his songwriting and life itself.

There were a lot of experiences and emotions that were poured into Beautiful Tragedy as Taerk underwent changes in the three years since his debut, Here’s to Change.

“[D]uring that time it was… more of a self-discovery process than it was a musical discovery process… I learned so much more about the kind of artist that I wanted to be and the person that I wanted to be… The songs on that album and specifically the title track [were inspired by] that change of thought and that change of approach,” said Taerk.

One of the milestones from Taerk’s first to second album was his involvement in production. This provided him a chance to put forth his specific vision for three of Beautiful Tragedy’s tracks.

Like any new undertaking, this role came with challenges. Going from the perspective of an artist making music that he likes, Taerk found that the role of co-producer forced him to look at his songs collaboratively and feature multiple interpretations and skillsets.

Taerk also approached this album with the desire of paying his respects to the music that inspired him growing up. Some of his earliest memories consist of his parents playing their favourite records from artists like Hall & Oates and Bruce Springsteen. These musicians inspired him to start playing guitar.

“I'm a really big believer that everything happens for a reason…[T]he first guy that ever taught me how to play was more interested in teaching me the fundamentals of structuring chords before he taught me how to solo… I realized very quickly that in order for people to know what song I was playing… I would have to sing over it,” Taerk recalled.

“I started to write my own lyrics… [T]o to be able to take experiences that I was having and people very close to me were having and be able to put them into these little two, three minute stories and send them out into the world, it was just the best feeling in the world. And so I just knew that I had to keep doing it.”

By continuing to tell stories through music, Taerk has had the opportunity to travel to cities across the United Kingdom and North America. One of the stops still on his list is the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He would love to play the venue where Bruce Springsteen made a name for himself in his hometown as an homage to his father’s love of Springsteen.

For now, Taerk will keep writing, playing and singing in coffeehouses and bars across North America. Plugging himself into these various cities and cultures only fuels the creative and lyrical storytelling that Taerk produces.

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It was suddenly the day before April and I found myself broken down and tired. With exams around the corner, my savings trickling to their end and a general lack of motivation, I needed something to look forward to as I transgress the final stretch of the academic year. 

I began to imagine myself sipping yerba mate at a café in Buenos Aires, Argentina, strolling through the Jalan Surabaya Flea Market in Jakarta, Indonesia, or even getting lost in the painted alleyways of Chefchaouen, the Blue City of Morocco.  

But like many students, the commodity of time and money maintained my imagined travels as pieces of fiction. While I hope to fly away to faraway places in the nearby future, I still needed to find a way to get my fix of wanderlust for the summer. 

The answer I was looking for happened to be poster-sized and framed in a GO bus shelter. I’ve passed by the system map and disregarded it several hundred times before realizing all the travel opportunities it presents.  

From Hamilton, GO transit lines can take you as far north as Lake Simcoe, west towards the Waterloo region and east to Niagara Falls with dozens of stops in between each direction. Combined with each city’s independent transit systems, bike share programs and widespread Uber availability, the possibilities seemed endless. 

I compiled a list of 20 new places I could visit, almost all of them by public transit and made it my goal to explore each one by the end of the summer. The plan was simple, everything beyond determining the route to the destination had to be spontaneous. 

This meant I had to rely on my natural instincts and the advice of locals for directions to interesting spots and places to eat. I also had to learn to be comfortable with the idea of sometimes not knowing where I’m going and walking for hours on end. 

This was in stark contrast to how I was used to travelling in the past. I’m known for planning out meticulous details in hand-drawn itineraries, complete with time estimates, cost calculations, printed maps and screenshots of Instagram photos.  

In desperate need to experience things in a new way, I decided to approach my 20 destinations without building any prior expectations.  My list included places like Brampton, Burlington, Cambridge, St. Catharines, Waterloo and Kitchener, which are often overlooked cities for travel and entertainment. 

I believed that each place was waiting to reveal its charm to those willing to take the time to build an intimate relationship with their surroundings. No matter where I went, by slowing down and taking in every detail, it became possible to have an immersive and valuable experience. 

Travelling with this mindset completely changed my perspective and I learned there is so much more to the towns next door.

Suddenly Cambridge’s graffiti-painted alleyways became more than just a common trait of Ontario cityscapes. I discovered that the freshly-painted murals on walls of business establishments were part of a rare project where dozens of graffiti artists showed off their skills to their community earlier in June. 

A long day of walking through Vineland farms and Prudhommes Antique Market in search of sweet peaches and vintage finds ended with crashing at a random café in downtown St. Catharines. I quickly forgot about my aching bones as I lied down on a worn-out couch and listened intently to the atmosphere changing from a quiet coffee shop to a homey concert experience as a band rehearsed next door. 

A different couch, this time a little fancier and in a Parisian-inspired macaron shop in Brampton, became the setting of a new found appreciation for a friend. As I stirred sugar into my coffee, I realized that something else was brewing within us, the trip made my friend and I open up our hearts in ways we hadn’t before. 

Local travelling forged an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and nature. I hiked the beautiful trails of Don Mills, Milton and Tobermory with friends I hadn’t seen in years. The astonishing clear waters of Georgian Bay and meaningful conversations while driving back from the Bruce Peninsula are memories I hope to never forget. 

Sometimes the commute itself was an experience. I was stuck on a bus with a handful of passengers for two hours while returning to Hamilton from Burlington the night of the infamous May wind storm. A man who had just finished a shift at a steel plant became our unofficial tour guide as we drove at a maximum speed of 10 km/hr. 

He talked about the history of the buildings around us, shared stories of growing up in Hamilton and working as a rigger on oil platforms and mines between occasional sips from a bottle of Disaronno. He had been working for 22 days straight and the wind storm was testing his patience. 

I let a stranger be my guide through Greektown in Toronto. She greeted me with a dried lavender bouquet and basil seeds. We immediately clicked like long-time friends as she walked me around her neighbourhood garden, showed me photographs from her travels and taught me a few tips on how to live in a more ethical and environmentally conscious way. 

While in Kitchener I let hunger guide me through downtown, walking briskly from one street to the next, until the irresistible aroma of wood fired pizza stopped me dead in my tracks. I ordered a Quattro Fromaggi and patiently watched as David O’Leary from Bread Heads tossed my pizza into the fire. 

Mass consumption of pizza is a hallmark of my university experience, yet somehow I managed to develop a deeper connection to my slice when I learned that Bread Heads was a travelling pizzeria. Bread Heads and I have been travelling all summer long throughout Ontario. 

David took the time to sit with me and chat about pizza and life as a Celtic musician. While looking for a wood fired oven for his backyard he came across the idea of a mobile oven and realized it was a brilliant solution to combat drab festival food.    

In another sweet shop I met Buba, who kept telling me to dare to dream over and over again as she shared her story with me. Her young family fled Bosnia when the war broke out 25 years ago. She left her aspirations and the little café she owned to start her life over in Canada. 

After facing adversity, unpredictable change and constantly putting her children first, she decided to take her own advice and start Lola, a café and chocolate bar in Burlington named after her first grandchild. 

Buba thanked me for listening to her story even though I had accidentally trespassed into her closed café. She bid me farewell with another reminder to dare to dream as I made my way to visit her neighbour, Rayhoon Persian Eatery, in the 19th century inspired Village Square. 

I felt like a nomad as I peacefully enjoyed chai with a saffron rock candy. My attention would shift back and forth from the book I was reading to the father of the owner and self-proclaimed big boss. I watched on and learned as he taught his restaurant-goers how to traditionally eat their dishes and get the most out of the flavours. 

Perhaps it was my travel backpack or the messy journal I was writing in that gave me away as being from out of town, but the big boss refused to let me pay and wished me luck on my journey. I did not anticipate these moments of kindness and wisdom from strangers, but I’m thankful for how they’ve shaped my experience. 

I’ve left every destination with a content heart and excitement for the next trip. I’ve lost count of all the clock towers, bridges, historic buildings, museums, farmers’ market and bookstores I’ve visited in every single city, but each time I come across yet another bookstore I’m consumed by the thrill of discovering something new for the first time.

Sometimes I found nothing. I’ve even walked kilometres only to realize I’d hit a dead end. But even those moments were valuable as they presented me with the time for contemplation and reflection while I retraced my steps. 

While reflecting on these trips, I learned that we tend take where we live, go to school and work for granted. I was more often than not met with expressions of disbelief when I shared stories of travelling in my friends’ hometowns. 

We are surrounded by so many unique and diverse communities yet we rarely recognize them as places worthy of travel and exploration. I didn’t need a plane ticket to sip yerba mate or walk through bustling flea markets and painted alleyways, instead I created my own versions of those experiences by paying more attention to what the cities next door has to offer. 

By: Vanessa Polojac

Prepare to share a new psychedelic listening experience with Toronto alt-rock band Neon Wave as they prepare to release their second self-titled EP on Nov. 4.

The new project comes right behind their first EP which only dropped in September of this year.

Formed in Toronto in 2014, Neon Wave consists of three multitalented band members: Norm Maschke (guitar and vocals), Derek Monson (bass guitar, bass VI guitar, synthesizers and vocals), and Ryan Roantree (percussion).

All three musicians were apart of locally successful bands prior to forming Neon Wave (formally Of Hands & Teeth/ Whale Tooth/ Ten Kens).

Lead vocalist and guitarist Norm Maschke described the upcoming EP as a slow, psychedelic soundtrack. As in their previous work, the members of Neon Wave put personal experiences and new ways of life into the lyrics of their music.

“A lot of it is a personal perspective on things. The themes that we explore lyrically are about change and kind of questioning everything around you as well as yourself. We’re all in our early thirties…Once you get over that milestone there is a kind of self-realization moment and comes in different forms for everybody,” said Maschke.

The tracks "Night Rider" and "Royal" invite the listener to get lost in the music. The trance-like songs feature the brittle and gruff vocals from Maschke and Monson that create a somber and haunting atmosphere.

“Deer Hunter for me personally has been a big influence… I think for us it was not about imitating a sound. It was about seeing where our best assets are as a band and that took some time to figure out,” explained Maschke.

“We would play songs faster and they would kind of sound more rock n' roll and we didn’t really want to sound rock n’ roll like every other band. Influences are there but they are not as prominent.”

Even though only forming officially two years ago; the members of Neon Wave have been in the band cycle for over ten years. The music industry has changed a lot over the course of those years because of technology.

While evolving as musicians and people since the early 2000s; Neon Wave is trying to bring back a sound that they feel has been lost from the 90s.

“We live in a monoculture where everything sounds the same. It’s produced by the same people. There might be a different singer or musician but ultimately it’s still accomplishing the same goal and it’s like bubblegum, right? You pop it in your mouth and when you’re done you spit it out and move onto something else.”

Neon Wave’s Nov. 4 release will be an evolution for the act, with a slightly faster tempo in contrast to their heavy, slow-burning first project. Like their earlier project, the new EP is designed to be rich and cohesive, intended for long listening sessions.

“It should be an experience. You can put on a pair of headphones or put it on in the car when you are driving. That’s what it is intended for…it’s not just superficial pop or alternative music. We aim to add depth… and we just want people to enjoy it. It’s entertainment, it’s fun,” explained Maschke.

Neon Wave will be performing the new EP on Nov 4 at the Casbah alongside Bad Girls, Dizzy Spells, Beach Red and Jordan Koren.

By: Vanessa Polojac

Fresh off the release of their sophomore album, Moon Milk, L CON had a chance to stop by Hamilton to play a sold-out show at HAVN alongside Coszmos Quartette and EONS while promoting their new music across Canada.

The Silhouette sat down with the band tor talk about their LP, touring life and sexism within the music industry.

“L CON is a produced, fluctuating project which always has me and it’s just an umbrella for making things that I am interested in,” explained front woman Lisa Conway.

“The album has a lot of people on it. Right now, Andrew Collins is playing bass and bass synth with us and Jordan Howard is on guitar.”

For Conway, music has always been a part of her life.She has been the vocalist of bands such as The Owle Bird; but feels the most musically artistic through her latest project L CON.

“I have been making music for a really long time under a lot of different names. The Owle Bird was a specific group of people; Jordan actually played guitar in that band as well. It seemed like I needed a new start and it just sort of naturally evolved,” said Conway.

Since dropping her first LP, The Absence Of, with The Owle Bird in 2008, the music industry has changed, and so has Conway’s writing style.

The punk-rock sound of The Absence Of turned into synth and techno a cappella tracks in Moon Milk.

“I am always trying to make things that challenge me as a musician and as an artist. In the past I have been doing a lot of things with strings and voices without a lot of electronic elements with more acoustic elements… it’s all about staying inspired. I really am inspired by bands that are pushing the elements and are experimental,” explained Conway.

The lyrical inspiration for Moon Milk comes from a collection of 12 short stories written by Italo Calvino called Cosmicomics.

Each song on the album is based on and named for a story within the collection.

“I was doing a song writing residency in New Brunswick and it was the first residency that I [had] ever done. I was really nervous that I wouldn’t write any new songs and I was recently introduced to Calvino’s writing; he wrote really beautiful stories," reflected Conway.

"I thought it would be a interesting exercise to write a song for every story and the album took off from there.”

Conway also addressed the discrimination that female musicians still face in 2016. She explained with passion the struggles she faces with being a woman trying to break into the male dominated music industry.

“As a woman in the music industry a lot of people make assumptions about you and I found especially as a vocalist I get pegged as somebody who just sings; who doesn’t know anything about recording or production," said Conway.

"I think it is really important to be brave and feel they are talented… In bands it is a very white dude scene and in techno music as well. There is not a lot of women in the studio and that needs to change.”

Together with Andrew Collins, Conway created Moon Milk in her very own studio: Wildlife Sanctuary Sounds. Since then, the work has gotten recognition from The Ontario Arts Council and is now available to purchase online and in local record stores now.

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