Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wakestock Washes up on Toronto Islands

By the time Saturday rolled around I was getting pretty anxious to get over to the islands to see what was in store for the Wakestock’s 10th anniversary jam. We learned the hard way that the ferry is probably the worst way to get to Centre Island (the water taxi was only 10 bucks) but my friends and I waded through the lineup and got aboard a ferry within an hour.

Over at Centre Island things were heating up and getting messy. Kids were already passing out and Bud Light cans littered the grass . All eyes, however, were on the ladies at the Miss Reef bikini contest. When the drool contest was over, the winner was declared, then it was time for the crowd to shake it too.

It was sweet to hear De La Soul drop some beats from back in tha day.

They mixed it up and cranked out the energy, working the crowd until we all had our hands in the air and were yelling back the lyrics.

At one point the show stopped as we all heard a loud chainsaw rip through a tree branch to make some room for motocross riders. It didn't go over well with De La Soul or their crowd, yelling ensued and the sawing stopped. Fortunately they did very little damage to the tree. This didn't stop TStar and TOist from overblowing it and making it seem as though a giant tree came crashing down. If you wanna talk tragedy, the lack of recycling for 40,000 fans drinking beer or bottled water and throwing butts in the lake was a major mistake.

After all that shouting we deserved a drink and found a little marina for a break. Behind the building, a few boys who I'm sure were wakeboarders were winding down with a game of volleyball while one dirty boy was rolling around in the dirt with a big smile on his face. My girlfriends swapped some words with the hotties and left them to sweat it off. About an hour later, as we sailed slowly through the western channel we saw the boys racing toward us. They mooned us and sped off.

Five seconds later, a police boat with sirens wailing slammed through the channel too. We watched the police chase them across the lake and I swear they never caught up. I love watching the police boats race through the lake and that was one chase I’ll never forget.

Sunday promised new beginnings and an excellent round up of athletes in the wakeskate, railslide and wakeboard tricks finals but my girls and I were suffering from exhaustion and didn’t make it there until late afternoon.

As the sun fell over the Islands I was torn between listening to Lupe Fiasco on the main stage and watching the top four wakeboard finalists compete in the Malibu Boats Expression Session.

I couldn't tear myself away from the tight competition though and stood screaming my ass off for Muskoka rider Rusty Malinoski in the final four. He nailed the tricks over and over showing incredible stamina, but it was Phillip Soven who impressed the judges with technical trick perfection. Andrew Atkinson (wakeboarder above) turned my head too. I loved watching these riders push the limits of the sport, trying all sorts of new combos including a shot at the first completed 1080 of the day.

About 40,000 people washed up on the Toronto Islands this past weekend for Wakestock's biggest and messiest event ever. I got my adrenalin fill and learned a bit about wakeskating as well. For those willing to give it a shot I can attest the water's warm now and if you get stuck on the island, like many of us did, you could always use one to paddle back to the city.

Thanks to to my ladies including Rachel Ford for shots two and five. Wanna read what people think about the tree branch controversy? Check out the comments on blogTO.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Evil Mermaids at the Toronto Islands

I spent an amazing weekend on the Toronto Islands at Wakestock's 10th anniversary blow out listening to hip hop and watching crazy wakeboarders pull stunts in the splash. Didn't dare take the Centre Island ferry with the crowds pouring out on Sunday night so my friends and I walked about 45 minutes to get the Ward Island ferry which we missed by 1 minute. After such a fun filled weekend all I wanted to do was take a nap on the beach (since we had another 45 minutes of waiting) but I was drawn to the glowing gold in the water. Felt like the sirens were beckoning me to come in and join them. I resisted but got some video of the evil mermaid's killer call.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Get Jacked at Wakestock this Weekend

Island residents be warned, Wakestock is back bigger and badder than ever. The event is celebrating ten adrenalin filled years and promises to be a huge blow out, mixing punk and hip hop culture under a banner of edgy board sport (and bikini) competitions.

There'll be no shortage of eye-candy - you can check out motocross, skateboard, wakeskate and of course wakeboard events. Last year I wasn't sure what to expect, I thought I'd be stuck in the stands miles from nowhere hoping for a glance of the action. Instead I was knee deep in warm water leaning on a rail while riders landed sick tricks right in front of my face. You've got to be able to appreciate what these kids can do.

Just as hype as the sport side is what's happening on stage all weekend. Wakestock seems to be pushing the Grammy angle, bringing big names to perform music at this summer's show. I'll be getting jacked on beats by De La Soul, Lupe Fiasco and Del The Funky Homosapien while taking a schoolin from punk pros Goldfinger and The Deftones.

With such a wicked mix of events on the island it's really as good as it gets for those of us in TO who love beach life. You can wander the island, watch the waves and get some sweet inspiration from athletes who've trucked in from all over the world just to show you what they do best. If that doesn't get you jacked maybe a dunk in the lake will do it for you.

Wakestock starts today, runs until Sunday. Ticket prices vary. Catch the ferry to Centre Island.

(photo Wakestock 01 by hotmshr)

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Toronto Ad Company Brings Home Cannes Prize

It's the first time in the history of the Cannes Lions Prize that an ad has taken home awards for both the Cyber and Film categories furthering convergence of these two mediums. I first saw Dove's Evolution ad on YouTube last fall and immediately added it to my favorites list, it's brilliant. Since it was uploaded it's been viewed over 3.5 million times, that's a huge audience that sought out the ad and gave it their 1 minute and 15 seconds.

The ad, produced by the Toronto office of advertising empire Ogilvy & Mather, continues to demonstrate the ideal of authenticity that the Dove brand is known for. I'm continually impressed at their use of media. Two summers ago Dove presented a photo exhibit featuring real and diverse women taken by well-known female photographers (Lieibovitz for example). In tandem they were working on a documentary with Toronto prodco Telefactory and broadcaster W Network called Beauty Quest. The documentary followed a female fashion photographer in Toronto as she confronted her own ideals of beauty.

At the end of the day we all want to feel good about ourselves and know there's more to it than buying the perfect product.

Monday, July 09, 2007

2007 Pug Awards - Winners & Losers

gardiner museum
Originally uploaded by wvs
Turns out my favourite Toronto building of 2006 was the same one everyone else voted for in the latest annual round up of the best and worst of Toronto architecture. I've always been a fan of modern design and architecture, so I'm very pleased the Gardiner Museum got top scores from the Pug Award panel and public. I'm also thrilled that I'm not the only one out there with a vision and desire for a city focusing its attention on modernity with some complexity, while also building up around playful public spaces.

One big loser in the competition was the Pug Award site itself, as is evident from the feedback on the blogTO entry I'd written called Who Cares About Architecture? It's functionality and design scored super-low among site visitors who were expecting something more from a competition that favours design and interactivity in the real world but couldn't live up to those virtues in a virtual one.

Since the Pug Award site was designed in a way which didn't allow me to link to the results page, and also doesn't keep results archives, I've decided to share some of the info here with you on fourONEsixSTYLE.

Here are the 22 buildings in the competition and their rank from Best to Worst as reported on the Pug Awards results site 2007:

The Gardiner Museum
One King West Condominiums
The Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building
Tip Top Lofts
The Federal Court Building
Home Condominiums
The Four Seasons Centre
Downtown's Next Address (DNA)
The Hudson Condominiums
One Six Nine Condominiums
Quad Lofts
Aquarius and Atlantis Condominiums
66 Portland Condominiums
The Carlyle Condominiums
The Ryerson School of Business
Jazz 1 Condominiums
North Beach Condominiums
Harbour View Estates Condominiums (C & D)
18 Yonge Condominiums
Zed Condominiums
Pinnacle Centre Tower One Condominiums
Be Bloor Condominiums