Sunday, 15 December 2019


The only distraction to my mind these days, by which I mean the past 2 weeks, is the occasional consideration of whether it is myself who has gone insane, or whether it is Chef Sensei. For days now he has said nothing to me but Long shot! Quicksilver! Magick! etc. Burgers were burnt, fries over-blanched.  I daresay I have of necessity become the short order cook and master of the food dojo Chef Sensei always saw in me, by virtue of his dropping all pretence of communication in favour of my spiritual enlightenment. And still he  persists. All day, everyday, variations on the exact ordering of: Magick, spiral, bishop, quicksilver, longs


I've determined at least that these are all names of characters from Marvel comics. Basic research has also confirmed that all of these characters are capable of or associated with some kind of teleportation, astral projection, or interdimensional/time travel within the canon Marver multiverse.

I lie awake for hours every night before sleep takes hold, waiting in anticipation of the hypnogogic aura, going over the names in my mind, reciting them aloud in various combinations. To no end. Chef Sensei, for all of the jarring nonsense he insists on talking, seems patient with my progress. Later, I would come to understand that this was because of the thc in my fatty cells. At around this point, about a month since I swore off weed in acceptance of Chef's insistance that it was necessary for the full clarity of my third eye, the flow of the thc built up in my bodily tissues would begin to reverse itself, releasing into my sleeping and waking mind, preparing me for the final stage of my training.

My dreams in this time were of lurid colours and wild scenes. The intensity and importance of events I witnessed in dreams seemed significantly heightened, the memories of them I could carry over in my waking life more vivid. The very understanding of what I was experiencing nightly had me shook. I was changing and changed by the lives I led on Other sides, as I watched myself grow old and die, watched loved ones die and be reborn, as I watched all of history and of my own life and current initiation playing out in joycian witt, as I danced with witches and smoked iboga in the libraries of Harry Potter university, as Roald Dahl's Willie Wonka and I faced off against technicolour ninjas to save my family. The exercises in dream memory retention and lucid dream-hopping which my chef sensei had beaten into my reflexes were paying off large. I dreamt I was the Nightcrawler, Kurt Wagner, bampfing from one world to the next in Quantum Leaps. I knew that without smoking, I would have to rely on my training in order to dreamfast the connection between realms during the moments of hypnogogic ingress. I was ready to recite the names in order. As the aura overtook me, as the world around me dissolved in swirls of optic noise, I spake:

doctor strange long shot quicksilver spiral cable bishop scarlet which zero magick destiny gateway forge

And that's how I came to you, here in Parkdale.

Friday, 13 December 2019

the formula revealed

Everyday I awake with the tight vice of anxiety clenched around my heart. What will today bring? The first thoughts to drift into consciousness fill me with dread. I can barely eat, my pants are falling off of my waist, calories leach out of me in flop sweat as I anticipate the trials and abuse awaiting me at the Land Circle.

Chef sensei talks about death a lot. When he gets on a tear about philosophy, he always prefaces it with an old chestnut about Socrates preparing for death. He laughs at our culture's aversion to and avoidance of discussing death. He insists on pushing his body and his mind to their limits on a regular basis so that he is constantly aware of the immanence of death, the inevitability of death, encourages me towards an acceptance of death.

The real joke, he says, is not that you people try and separate life from death, to live life out from under its shadow, but that death is still considered to be the ultimate mystery, the final enlightenment...

Here he trailed off, nodding slightly and staring upwards at nothing in particular.

What do you mean, Chef Sensei?

A full ten seconds passed before I had his focus again.

Haha! Impetuous fool. Death is no mystery. It is the end of life, the majestic sleep. Can you not think of any part of your life that has taught you how to die bravely and properly?

Heartache, perhaps? I ventured.

At this, Chef Sensei belly laughed heartily for several minutes before smacking me upside the head.

Try again! Think of Nastradamus....

..."I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death"?

Precisely. Perhaps death's cousin has something to teach you. Perhaps Somnia Hypnogogis has been trying to send you a message every night of your life, hmmmm

This, for the chef-S, was a rather upfront statement. Death, interdimensional travel, hypnogogic "go-ing to" sleep states.... He was laying out his plans for me in a far clearer way than how he had trained me to flip eggs, or manage prepping during service. And just as I was starting to think I could wrap my mind around what he had in store, Chef Sensei at that moment stopped speaking to me in prose English, and for the coming weeks would only repeat the following words, in various (though not, as I would ultimately discover, random) orderings:














Thursday, 5 December 2019

Saturday service at the Hypnogogue

Chef sensei is in fine form today. Excruciatingly hungover, obsessed with his own fading youth and the moral edification of all employees at the land circle food dojo, he drops pearls of wisdom like they were confetti, asserts methods of work flow improvement that have only just crossed his mind as though they were time honoured traditions. Speaking to him I feel like novice Neo in the first matrix film, my ignorance matched only by my awe and complete respect. I am told to keep everything in the kitchen within 3 steps reach and 7 breaths contemplation. I ask him many questions when he is in this state. There is much I would know that he does not share unbidden. But on our 4th or 5th smoke break, as the dinner rush settles into a steady trickle of business, (Just enough to fuck up the fung shui of food prep, as he would say) the tenor and urgency of his advice shifts towards a differing tonal palate. Perhaps he is sobering up. Perhaps he has given up on my foolish ways. But it strikes me, as he  explains the plot of Enders Game in great detail for the third time this week, that there is a lesson for me here, somewhere in between the lines. And moments before I leave hope and return to my deep fryer, he turns his glazed, tired eyes my way and begins:

The world you see around you is like a shadow of the reality you exist in. The history you know, the stories you beleive about the past of your country, our city, of Parkside itself, is like a bad joke, accepted only as truth because it is the last thing anyone can remember being told. We speak of miracles and magic as though they were fairy tale metaphors, foggy dew through which our foremothers saw the natural world. When the truth you should be holding closest to yourself as you cower in wait of sleep is that miracles and magic are the very tools with, the raw materials from which all you see was forged and made real.

Chef sensei, what does this have to do with Enders Game?

Ha! A game indeed. From the flickering dust that you chase for your daily sustenance, to the folly of those who would think themselves mighty for keeping you in thrall, all of this is as a game played by ants on 2 square meters of land in the midst of a mighty jungle which is the fullness of our universe and the true limits of our perception. You have mastered the basic skills of prep, cleaning, service and brunch. It is time to prepare you for interdimensional travel.

Yes, chef sensei!

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

South Roncie Blues, revisited

Take a look at a picture of the intersection of queen king and roncessvalles from decades ago.

Nevermind burrito brothers or the two giant posters for jack ryan or whatever this corner essentially looks the same as it has for about a century. So what has changed?

Parkdale, eastern end and urban hub of parkside proper an whole,

so mad to imagine dozen years past, the timeslot and sledge, distance and direction travelled by yours truly, erstwhile woo- and narrate- or, with aid of little but Dufferins bus and allweather walks, not forgetting the boombox, up and down the delicate ways of these parts. Lets try to remember the curves of the so called garrison creek from springmount down to bellwoods, now shunted a few clicks east. Lets never forget our first night by the water, the bouquet you collected, snapshot of you in Sunnyside's dawning light, all moxie and matryoshka, in a Grange Shoppe, your likeness transcribed into my music notebook, somehow actually doing sweet visage justice, beyond my usual fauviste caricatures of Amicos patrons, passersbye. Tho that was where eye first caught sight of u.

Nono, lets stay the course.

Obfuscate while we're young.

Its not too late.

Was it back in the flatlands, on the first day of school, back when I was young and brilliant, sweetly naive?

Was it in Kensington, in the rain at the Boathouse, after one of my worst performances ever, that night someone stole your jacket and I tried to start stealing your heart?

Or way out west, at a cafe near the sight of my greatest art heist, never undertaken, photobombing au Magritte despite myself?

Or was it in yet another kitchen, just a rimshot from Massey hall, twigs in my hair, you at least lusting to link our lanky limbs? I just wanted to stay sober, not be alone. No idea what open field I was walking onto....

or was it at that taco party?


In a dream, maybe. All those dreams in between one world and another, in between death and a life you know you have to leave the same way you came to. I held your hands and tried to memorise your face, even as the home we shared began to disappear.


Still up and down, these dimensions etched clearer to a prairie boys inner ear than to those of this hilly Gotham, slope and grade. Is there, perhaps, no up or down in the town where Kitt's Catwoman dwells?

Or can every intersection in Parkside and beyond be defined by its  lakeward lurch? Could you close your eyes and be dropped on Sorauren, at Abell, down Dunn and simply know, sense without sight where you are on this laughable grid? Do angelic angles reveal thru themselves how every feather has its place on the breath of gods? Does a sliver describe the tree from which comes the fallen log?


Friday, 15 November 2019

well comeback

Stories for you.


For you

of course


cuz I'm in love


So smitten, still

Obsessed, even.

Every word that I could possibly pitch at you, with hope of cracking a chuckle, in desperate aim of bettering my status or faking my fortune in them eyes, trying to communicate some bevy of ultimately meaningless, albeit entertaining ideals, but only one practical conceit: that I simply desire to make you smile, laugh, relax; that I speak to charm your ears, allay your fears, altho these spells are spun in public, they are not meant for everyone, 


only for you, my dearest darling,

unkept unspoilt unknown.

Patronising muses in old greek getup, bicameral spirits held in thrall for the beautiful and bold to breakdown, schoolyard games for millenials, watch me stake and shake it now, dusting off all those closeted bones, reporting to the world after weeks alone, freestyles flung thru the seasons without a  microphone, (no gear up here quite clear not near my dear) sans chute, cutepute, or too many of those interpersonal struts and supports either, with no retorts, contortions of self or structure, no other goals, a verbal eruption.

What I'm trying to say, if I'm saying anything, is welcome back to the blog. The tinderbox is due to be set alight, the net is ready for some of this fresh shit, raw and uncut like I'm serving it up, me kenning can-dour, unseeming, all-seeing, and u all quiet, deserving, like you'd never be silently satisfied, like I could never do in person, like the hollywood version, Rene Ricard, like endless sapphic devotees chasing eternity in weightless breadth, 12 steps whose repetitions describe the parameters of a yard, small mouth noises, resounding in signifyance just like every tragic death, pronounced afresh in iambic stretch besides: when I speak, no one believes me. When I write  it down, ppl know its true.

So here's to you, my brilliant unknown. To your trials and triumphs, your blood and bone, your kin, kith, kinder, twine. Here's to the rest of yours and mine. To all of your joys that may never be, to your sorrows inescapable, to your razor mind and childish needs, will and deeds, your throng and clique, your club and blob. That's who and how, but what? And where?

the west side of a human hive,

I walk along st Clair,

down Dufferin, Bloor,

Swansea and shore, 

the borders of what comes to me called Parkside, and there's a story.

But, nevermind, milove

Much more to come:

the spring and fall 

of Sammy D et al.

Sitting out rounds, living out of bounds, laying about to stand up tall

The tiki is my dojo now.

Farewell chef sensei,

hello barefaced youth.

Cu l8tr DD, 

Henlo dada. 

Saturday, 19 January 2019

a Sun Sun rising

Heart Lake Road runs through Brampton/Caledon,
almost halfway to Orangeville.
By tonight it will be a foot deep with snow,
far cry from the slush and soot of
downtown's westside social scene in the Big City.
Yet, here in this rolling paradise of foggy fields,
one of Toronto's most brilliant and exciting creative personalities
has taken root in the fertile soil tilled by the 88 Days of Fortune collective
currently known as Fortune Bookings and Heart Lake Records (who release the music of Yasmine, Witch Prophet and Above Top Secret),
Francesca "Sun Sun" Nocera; composer, creator, designer, performer.
Tonight, Jan. 19th (730 doors 8pm show),
as part of the Emergents II series,
at the Music Gallery's new 918 Bathurst performance space,
followed by April (of Hooded Fang and Phedre) Aliermo's equally anticipated Artemis of Colour 
(itself a multimedia set featuring "audio-responsive visuals
by Sahar Homami, performed "live" by Kat Estacio.);
Sun Sun presents a new and immersive piece for electronics,
projected visuals, and echoing voice,
offering a deeper gaze into the sound of the producer behind the music of Above Top Secret and Abstract Random,
into the visions of bold, dancing lines and colours that shimmer through and swirl about the video clips and live stage shows
that Sun Sun has contributed to over the years,
to the handmade clothing Nocera produces as sunsuncreative,
the Cosmic Cards divination deck she's designed, the countless beats and drawings, sessions and collaborations.
Echoes of the Queen West scene of the 80s, in which, punk, dub, and pop acts lived side by side,
Words spoken on the stage and the page,
of intersectional unity and community,
of musicians who could not or would not separate practice from politics, performance from art.
Echoes of womxn's voices, looping.

All this to say fuck the snow, if you're not going to a bday party or playing a gig yourself tonight, do yourself a favour and get tickets
(online at
a classy date night move and a steal at 12$ 

Culture, like brunch, birthdays, and other weekend get-togethers, persists despite the weather.
There is too much at stake, and too much happening these days, a fresh, healthy wave of talent rolls across the city, from Scarborough, Vaughan, and Eglington,
all the way down to the shores of Leslieville, Porter, and Parkdale.
A new generation of musical heavyweights, working to make the Toronto scene ever more representative 
of the strengths and beauties, the diversity and dignity
of the people of the city we live in.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Tigerwing at Smiling Buddha Dec 17

So for the show tonight, whats your setup like?

I’m always adding and taking away elements to the live shows.  I think there’s sometimes pressure to make it look like I’m actually doing something more on stage but fuck that, if I’m spending all my waking hours 
(and sometimes dreaming hours) on this music, I’m going to push buttons and perform it how I want and don’t need to hold an instrument to communicate that.
When I do add a new piece of gear it doesn’t last long.  I’ve had drum machines, synths, various pedals and it either gets "misplaced" by Via Rail or I lose interest after a few shows.  I prefer to have my whole set up fit in two bags.  That includes the flood lights I bring to every show because sad bar lighting isn't always the most inspiring or flattering.

Upcoming shows: 
Dec 10 at handlebar
Dec. 17 at Smiling Buddha

Recent recording and collaborations

I’ve mostly been working on writing/producing a lot and making music that I actually wanna listen to and perform for people because there can be such a difference.  Before I felt like I was almost making tracks as art pieces, more poetic, which is great-music can and should offer that too, but I felt a disconnect between what I want to listen to and what I was actually outputting.  I liked the idea of the music more than the music itself and reconciling that is an ongoing process.
Collaborations-  I haven’t had many this year/ been about some necessary tunnel vision.  I’ve been looking to do a lot of visual collabs with photography or video lately; there are a handful of video treatments I’ve been mulling over for unreleased tracks that I would ideally bring other people in on to enrichen that creative process.  

Bands/music youre excited about

First of all, there will always be so much great music coming out of the city- notably, A l l i e’s new album, “Nightshade” is really special.  She made an album where you don’t want to skip any of the songs?!  And there’s more to discover with each listen.  Total magic. 

A lot of UK artists have been grabbing my attention; there’s Miink who only have one track released- “Who Are You”.  It’s probably my favourite thing I’ve heard all fall and I keep checking back to see if they’ve put out more but the mystery and the wait is even more exciting.
I just heard Col3trane’s new tape and was totally blown away. Been on repeat.  Also Coucou Chloe. She has that sexy ugly noise thing happening which I am ALL about.

Food/beverages you’re excited about

I’ve been hitting the canned Moscow mules pretty hard all fall, which is funny because I don’t even like the real thing.…lately I can’t find them at any LCBO’s though and I’ve had multiple staff be like want me to call some other stores to see?  
That feels a little extra so I haven’t taken them up on the offer.

How toronto feels this fall/winter

It finally feels appropriately cold for faux fur and dramatic layering so I'm okay with it.  Winter is such a rich time for making art because it's always dark and there's less reason to go out and be social which means you can kind of stay in an uninterrupted dream state.  It also means less FOMO when you want to stay in and work on shit because who can blame you for that when it's negative double digits and it takes twice as long to get anywhere.  Like, see ya in May.

How has moving/life changed/affected tour music making in the past year?

Like a lot of Toronto residents, I’m on my like third home in three months and am finally getting to the point where it’s like …maybe I can unpack these boxes and chill out for a bit?
I spent the past two years feeling pretty isolated and consumed by grad school and it really wore me down so I’m honestly just getting back on my feet in every sense- especially with music.  
That intense academic experience was rewarding in some ways and I’ll always have that side to me but by the end of the two years I lost all concept of why I was doing everything and forgot that any of this was supposed to be fun.  So I’m ISO fun while also being more of a hermit than I’ve ever been because I’m excited by what I’m working on.

 photos by Gabrielle Smith