Tuesday, August 23, 2005

"Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory." - Oscar WIlde

...this is true, and always arrives to remind me of its eternal truth. Nothing is so useless and yet so hard to exist without than music.

Hello; Stephen here...

Late one Friday afternoon Sally and I; unable to obtain a room at Riverside Music wandered down Pillette Ave. to the riverfront park to run over some ideas for our slightly impromptu performance at phog Saturday, August 13th as Part of 'Art & Music #2'. We sat under a tree away from the many people who picnicked and walked the river's edge, as not to disturb them with the plunking of my oud and the tic, ta, tak of Sally's darabuka. Though through our practicing young children, mostly Muslim ran over and sat cross legged on the ground in front of us, smiled nervously and politely clapped when we'd stop to talk about a piece of music. Shortly there after the parents (mostly mothers) wandered over, initially I think to collect their respective children. Though when they arrived I watched them stop sit with their children and watch as if something important was happening. I felt inadequate, I never felt so much like a white boy with an oud in my life, regardless no one seemed to notice or at least bother. Perhaps it was the oud, perhaps it was Sally, though born in Iran and raised in the U.A.E. she dressed very western; in a tank top and tight jeans, but I realized what it was. It was the music. A old woman awash in emotion spoke to us in Arabic and Sally replied she would look at me and then talk to Sally this went on for quite some time, words I can't understand though spilling with emotion until in English; "Thank You." Later Sally told me the woman wanted us to know that our practicing reminded her of "...home, before everything became so bad." Shortly after Sally told me the woman was from Afghanistan, and I was reminded of Ensemble Kabul and their escape from Taliban rule to live on 'tour' for the love of music.


...next on behind the music dark days fall on Yellow Wood when Steve Gibb's massive pedal board crushes 20 audiance members at a show in Halifax, NS. Ryan Fields responds by joinging 16 new bands.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Long Time No Post

"There are worse ways to spend money, like crack cocaine," my friend Dan said, "and you can spend you time worse, like doing crack cocaine." If you agree with this sentiment, keep reading.

Most of this e-mail will consist of photo-essay-like bits and pieces.
Thursday, Phog held a play called SexLass which was put on by Suitcase in Point, an outfit out of St. Catherines. The show was incredible. It held all attendees eyes throughout the entire performance. The girls were amazing, the play was funny as hell, truly funny, and the production was first rate.

I also scored a shot of this girl walking by the window with her golf-shirt-happy friends. Yes, their damned collars were flipped up. An out-of-town band once called the look "Chachi". Well, she was on course to hit the booty bars on Ouellette and this photo is the actual moment where her soul decided to take a mulligan on the night. I imagine they met up the next day while her arms were wrapped around the hotel toilet bowl.

This next image os of Nadja and Dan posing for a shot they would consider for their album cover...if they recorded music, and if they wanted to sell zero of them.

Kelly Hoppe (Mr. Chill) brought his band by (The Chillionaires) for a steamy, busy evening Friday night. It was remarkable how many different faces came in during the night...most of them welcome.

Sasha and Sheila were spending their second-last night in Windsor, and many of their closest frinds came out and kept them company. This shot shows Sasha in the foreground left, with George giving his only photo-face..."Yeah, I play keys...and harmonica."

John Doherty had a couple of Strongbows and decided to kiss Chris Mangin of all people. This is the delicious result of that encounter. Shafted vs. Betrayed. Unlike this image of Neil Helmer in full garb, kilt, tie and all! This is style at its greatest at Phog. Awesome vs. Awesome.

Ryan Fields caught me shooting before he went onstage to perform ahead of the jD Project. Ryan was in usual form, setting up the night as no one else can. jD and the gang played to an attentive crowd that were also treated to an art show full of androgenous imagery provided by Suzie Woodward. It was a full weekend to say the least.

Sunday, Phog housed Yellow from Sydney, Nova Scotia and Apparatus from Windsor. The Yellow tour bus had a wicked paint job on the front, which I shot from inside the bar. They parked close to the wall. It was my only choice.

Sunday's day was the time for silliness though. Dave came in early to say hello, and he caught me as I was about to throw out several sheets of temporary tattoos. "What are you doing with them?" Dave asks when I told him I wanted them gone. "I'll take 'em all now."
So, Carrie helped us carry out the task of applying all of them to Dave's back. As you can see, he doesn't care much for cold water.

Keep in touch for many more updates.
By the way, hello to the Yellow Wood boys who are on tour out east right now. They'll be back in two weeks. Have a great time, and show them what Windsor music is all about.

This is just something fun. Catwoman being groped by Jack Skullington. She's obviously unimpressed. It's the face I make when people make fun of my laugh.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Nemesis Phog Blog

The day began with my neighbour's pesky cat laying in the garden, looking at me like I took a crap on his newly planted tree. I didn't. He did though, the little rat, and he was just chillin' in the cedar chips saying, "What's up bud? Sweet bed over here. Oh, and thanks for that tree I can crap on. Sweet move. Oh, hey, yeah, you're in my sun." Useless animal.

I had an instant brightening of the day when an odd couple strolled into the bar and said, "Have you seen anyone wearing a helmet? We're supposed to meet him here." I could only reply, "No helmet yet." I was thinking, "I hope I never do." So now I'm worried some nut is on his way to meet these two, and what am I supposed to do with him when he shows up? The couple leaves, and ten minutes later, Mr. George Rizok comes through the door with Mike Edwards. He's sporting this Magneto helmet which is padded on the inside, and almost comfortable! I love it! I tell him he should find anough people to play a friendly game of flag football just so he can wear it. As an added bonus, George had a new comic for me from a store he and Edwards co-own called Rogues Gallery. The comic is called Y: The Last Man. I'm told it's pretty sweet. I was very happy to pay for it. By the way, this lovely Magneto helmet George is wearing is apparently for sale at Rogues Gallery, so if you want to look this cool, you'll have to go there to get it.

I tried it on too.
And to end the night off, I made some t-shirts in the back room, but only a few. These lovely characters are leaving Windsor (AGAIN) to go somewhere else far and foreign, and they were interested in having a Phog shirt to wear while away. I'm told I will be sent photos of this shirt being worn in front of ancient temples and in places of worldy significance. Frank and I will finally have a chance to travel.

In the very short time I've had to get to know you, I know I will miss you. And I speak for Frank and my other Phog regulars that you've met, "Will will miss you!"

Monday, August 08, 2005

Phog Blog meets SUNDAY

This just about sums up the excitement of the night. Not to say that we didn't enjoy ourselves, but Frank's creativity with the sign was as edgy as it got.

Frank also got excited about the idea of winning a jackpot at the casino. Everyone was less enthralled with the idea of licking all of the one-arm bandit handles.

Scotty and Richelle were great company this evening, sharing stories of jobs and general interests. For instance, Scotty bought an unbelievable record player from a store that I consider to be run by a total whack-job (Unnamed) and Richelle collects Jesus artifacts such as piggy banks and imagery. She knows that her hair blends in far too well with her peacock feather earrings, but that's what makes them work so well!

Lastly, one of our regulars told us about a gift he had received from a friend that she had found in her grandmother's hope chest. This hope chest was collecting stuff from the time of 1930s Germany. Lo and Behold, the towel was white with a lovely pink fringe, but wait! What the hell are those symbols? That's right, they're swastikas! How crazy is this? This is as disturbing as it gets. Not something to "frame and put on the mantle" but more like something to be very afraid of. The proximity of this towel to any person immediately puts them at a thousand times greater a chance of getting hit by lightning, or being drowned in flies.
Keep this stuff out of here! Bring us old videos of your favourite cartoons or something! Jem and the Holograms, we're against it, but we'd prefer that to this towel any day.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Phog Blog tips hat to D-Town Rock

Well, they crushed all of us.
The High Strung were stars this Saturday night in Windsor, which left a pile of people impressed. It's not the easiest thing, serving drinks while bouncing to music you usually listen to on the stereo while it's being blasted live.
A number of people were impressed with the show these boys put on, standing with grins and gins, mouth agape, watching women dance in front of the rumbling band.
The music wasn't for everyone, but even those who aren't a fan of the genre appreciated the incredible effort these guys squeeze out each time they play.

A nice inside piece of info involves the Josh (guitar and lead vocals) trying to get Ted, the Greek parking attendant to recognize his friends when they pulled in. "OK, there's going to be a stunning blonde, absolutely gorgeous, incredible, and she'll be with a girl wearing almost nothing, very little. Also, there's going to be a Filipino boy with them. They'll be in a Volkswagan Bug, you know the bug?" Josh said carefully, looking for confirmation of absorbed information. Ted just nodded and pointed his glowing orange baton saying, "They're coming here? They tell me who they are?" Josh looked at me and said, "Oh yeah, and when you open up the trunk there's a severed hand, and it'll wave at you," hoping to see if Ted's reply would change, which it didn't. "They tell me who they are?" It was worth a good laugh.

We are looking forward to The High Strung's new album coming out in September (27th). We're going to try to have them back sometime near Thanksgiving before they disappear on tour for another forever. A nice CD release party for the High Strung should be outstanding. Be forewarned.

This is what Sean thinks of Gus and Sergio's job in the back of the building (pulling the shelves down). He also gives me this look when I tell him that I dont think today is Bob Seger day. He retorts with, "Be a man today."

And lastly, I figured I'd take it upon myself to uncover the identity of the only other guest blogger we've had so far, trailer park Paul. This is an image I shot of Darren, Paul and myself a week or so ago. Frank would have taken it if he wasn't busy saying, "Noodles." Maybe he wouldn't have done it then either. He's not exactly a media swinger, but he can grow a goatee like nobody's business.

Talk Soon.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

D-Town Anticipation for Windsor Music Lovers

Falconhawk and The Floor dusted off the shelves on local music Thursday, and made sure to put out doilies for The High Strung who are going to clobber us tomorrow. As for tonight, there was a gambit of faces passing through, but not really sticking around. Frank came back from his days off and was in rare form. He was wearing the elusive solid bronze Phog belt buckle too! (Adam Fox loves the Phog buckle as proof above shows)He was slinging hard-to-digest quotes all over the joint. This kind of thing always turns out to be contagious, and it caused a chain reaction of troubling proportions. Let me sum it up with one word, "TeleChubbies". Ah, thank you very much.

Our CBC friend Dan came in with some other media savvy folks, who took in the early evening silliness. Nice group. Hope they join us after the Tigers/Indians game tomorrow. They were wondering what to expect from downtown Detroit. I was the voice of reason, which told them to enjoy it while the sun is up, but to keep to known areas after dark. The same goes for anyone in their own house. If you go rooting around in your spare bedroom in the middle of the night, you're sure to stub your toe...or get mowed down in a drive-by shooting. So I explained to them that Detroit workers and patrons ditch the city and run for the hills when work is done or when the show/game is over. It's kinda like Windsor downtown patrons and how they only come for festivals such a Bluesfest, and run for the outskirts of town when the Coors Light and free drugs run out.

For everyone who knows how much I love band posters, I have finally been receiving some from responsible bands. I've had discussions about this before, with many band members who think I'm a stickler for posters. I have no problem getting one single, effortless poster, which I will copy at my cost to promote the show. That's fine. I just cannot reiterate how important those things are, considering that the response to people looking for a good show is limited during the summer months, especially with other shows happening in other places. Thanks to the bands who've been on top of things. Much appreciated.

So yeah, Jomomma cancelled on us tonight. Unavoidable circumstances. The stage stood empty, and we got excited about the Detroiters coming to play tomorrow, August 6th.

Now that I have this picture series available, I am going to indulge. Allow me to quickly describe what happened in front of our window a week or so ago. Check out this handsome fella in the #2 shirt, which was lovingly called "The Deuce", was with his mother (right) and father (driving the beast that they would load up with rubbish that mom is directing backward). The whole thing could have been glossed over. Boring almost, except for the outfits. Well, they get parked and then start to get their gameplan together (as you should with any heavy lifting) and the next picture ensues.The crazy son takes a swipe at mom's hat and when it doesn't fall off, she turns around and play fights with him. He then follows up a minute later with a rag swipe (seen above){Nice photo timing, I must say} and he whips her softly in the head. So she turns around and starts walloping her goofy Duece of a son. It just seemed so sweet to see the puppy dog nibbling at the momma dog's heels for no reason. It was like having a little bit of Deliverance on my doorstep without having to squeal like a pig.

That's where I'll leave it. Cheers

Friday, August 05, 2005

phan of phog

Just wanted to give a big thumbs up to the show last nite (Thursday) at Phog, good times indeed. Falconhawk started things off with a bang, Kara on lead vocals entertained with her unique energy and keyboarding skills, Steve on bass was rock-solid, and Dave on drums kept things moving along with some very catchy tunes--all without aid of guitars! They were indeed very phan-worthy (sorry, inside joke!) The evening continued along this vein with The Floor's brand of post-punk wall of sound whose highlight may have been the brilliant merging of The Archies "Sugar Sugar" with Echo and the Bunnymen's "Lips Like Sugar"! Very effing cool!

Tonite should be slightly more laid-back with Jomomma (from T.O.), just so we can gear up for the big show on Saturday nite--The High Strung, from good ole Detroit--prepare for craziness! Well that's about all I have for now, but fasten your seatbelts because it's shaping up to be a phoggy weekend for real! I will have to sign this one as...


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Shelve Demolition

Tonight was slower for a change. Abby was sent home early, which she was happy about because her boyfriend, John, became an uncle tonight. Christian is his new 9+ pound nephew.
Earlier in the day I (Tom) was eager to make a dent in the organization of the bar which meant hauling some stuff to the garbage.
Gus Morin and his friend Sergio came in near 10PM to the call of need for a hand taking some garbage shelving down in the back room. Sorry Dave, Cliff, or Mark, but those shelves in that back room were the most awful, goof-rigged pieces of trash I've seen in a while. The shelves were doors turned sideways, hammered into cement, hammered into each other, screwed into shelf brackets, duct taped, and held together with prayer.
The shelves are long gone, and so is the lack of space in the back room. The chance of properly holding new silkscreened shirts is high, since I received a mobile clothing rack from a friend, Mike Pavlov.
So, Gus and Sergio were balking at the destruction methods I had in mind, which were to unscrew and take the shelves apart. Gus and Sergio started pulling and yanking at the shelf like a zombie trying to break into the house in the Michael Jackson video Thriller. Once they got a hammer, they went to town with prying it off of the wall and down to the ground. "Do you have a crowbar?" Gus asked. "We could use a crowbar!" Gus repeated over and over throughout the affair.
The event was crowned nicely while we hauled the garbage to the bins behind Victoria Park Place. Gus said, "Thank God for these bins eh?! Which was followed by, "Thank you Canada. A place where you just throw things in these bins and they magically just, go away!"
I love Gus' ability to wrap things up neatly.
Thanks guys.
For all of you folks wanting new t-shirts, they will now be on display in the back room, which will only be available if you ask to see what's new.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Sneak Preview of this month's Ad

Matt Rideout is one of the kindest people I've ever met, but when he makes faces like this and mocks the pirate from The Simpsons saying, "Yaaarrr, I'm not attractive!" he looks like a roughian. This was the face he made when I asked him to take a picture with his new cigarette case. That's what you get when you're 20 and you have a beard in the summer. Your face ends up in an ad.
Thanks Matt!

The First Phog Blog

Decided to actually begin one of these. I figure that there are more than enough people interested in all things Phoggy even if they aren't close enough to attend the bar so many have enjoyed.
My name is Tom, and I am a co-owner of the popular music spot Phog Lounge in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. With my business partner, Frank, and I working together, we are home to some of the best musical acts Canada has to offer, along with a strong supporting cast from the U.S. and even overseas.
I guess what I hope to accomplish with this blog is to inform people of the things going on at Phog, with the sometimes unsaid appreciation of patrons, friends, bands, and other people trying to help a cultural and artistic scene thrive. We have the most incredible, mostly respectful clientele imaginable. With a prized clientele like them, they need to be mentioned from time to time, and this is where I'll be able to do it.
Also, it'll be a space where I'll be able to vent on other things that come to mind, outside of the bar itself. Be prepared.
We have a website that can be accessed for any number of things such as listings and archived info, which is www.phoglounge.com