In Your Nature

We all have had that dream of doing what we love for the rest of our lives and making a living off of it.  98% of the time though, that dream may simmer down, because either it gets hard and we just can’t fathom the amount of effort it will take to get over the next obstacle or it gets comfortable and we forget all about it.  

So considering that at the moment I have more freedom in my schedule lately, 12 off-days were dropped around a fairly new annual event called Bestival, a 2-day music festival in Toronto, Ontario. Coincidentally, a good friend of mine was in the line-up and there was too much family there that I was more than overdue for catching up with.  I began by flying one-way into Montreal for just less than $500 with a layover in Toronto, and taking the bus straight into downtown for $10.  It typically takes roughly 45 min to an hour, and I got off at St Laurent, and walked several blocks east... as the murals began to grow and grow towards my cousin’s loft.  My cousin Emmanuelle has her own dance company with Elon Hoglund called Tentacle Tribe.  They met dancing for Cirque du Soleil for a couple years in Vegas, but after that came grant-writing, plenty of traveling and growing amongst the other shows they have performed in, to have what they have now.  In Toronto I would be meeting up with my friend Lee Krysinski, growing up with music being a large part of her life, and now playing all over the last 6 years with releases coming out August. I’ve been to Canada a couple times for the standard-dysfunctional-family gatherings, but Montreal has always stood out as a place of artistic expression and culture that I felt at home around.   I spent a day and a half wandering the streets down St. Dominique and Mont-Royal as Mural-Fest was being set up all over.  Plenty of intriguing restaurants and shops best found and experienced on bike, which are available all over the city for rental.

ALEX Article 003

June 2016

After the first part of my reunion in Montreal, I caught a 2 hour ride to Ottawa where then I proceeded to take a greyhound to Toronto (one way $67), and took about 5 hours through the countryside.  I stayed in western part of town with my cousin Melanie, 1 hour via public transport from Woodbine Park, where Bestival would be.  Before the festival I took a walk through town and experienced fermented cherries upon bourbon at The Passenger (highly recommended) and interior design shops every other door shadowing the underground pubs.  The area around Bestival was rather separated from the city, surrounded by a green park, with public transportation in tune with providing proper drop off just a couple blocks from the venue.  It was not as large as more well-known festivals, but gates still opened at noon with fresh openers checking out what’s new, and headliners closing out around 10pm. The theme was ‘Summer of Love’, and strung above the sea of people were flowers and flags leading towards three different stages; one being the usual huge-field-main-stage, another the standard techno covered-tent and an open feel-good-beats stage (called Bollywood), where my friend Lee Krysinski kicked off DJing.  After her set, we explored the rest of the venue catching Grimes, Daughter, Tame Impala, and The Cure, among many others.  

Leaving Bestival, we made our way down towards Ossington Strip and then to Dundas Street.  We struggled on deciding what to eat, there was so many multi-ethnic cafes and bars to choose from (never thought the day would come, nonetheless in Canada).  Finally we sat down at HawkerBar, an Indo-Malaysian-Singapore meshed cuisine, equipped with chili-infused cocktails. 

The few remaining days I had, appeared to be enough to walk through Little Portugal past some funky must-go-to bars such as The Red Light, Get Well (Arcade themed), La Cubana, and Street Car.  Passed through Kensington, to West Queen Street, lined with interior decor and vintage clothing inbetween the open-grocery markets and Jamaican cafes. 

As I left Eastern Canada, looking back on the time I had to catch up on with the friends and family that are working in the entertainment industry, has been a reminder of how bumpy the path naturally is, and the sacrifices that have to be made.  There’s more to just having a dream, to achieve it, and there’s less obstacles than it looks to be in the way; you have to want it, and accept that being open to the consequences also leaves room for vulnerability.  It’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to happen right away, but I’ve learned that there’s always going to be that struggle, whether it be financially or emotionally.  Business partners may not remain partners, and some concerts may have an empty audience... If all the bad weather can remain separated from ambition then possibly in time, I could accomplish my own aspirations of whether it be narrowed to traveling, photography or painting... or all 3.  Whether it makes barely enough or more than enough to live off of, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day...  so long as I can find myself in an uplifting community that empowers while building upon itself.  You are the company you keep... and if they seem far, why not meet them halfway?



-KLL