July 2022 Recap

The WP map does show my hits have come from  21 countries around the world. Canada takes top spot for a chance, thanks to the very popular ‘Buried’ post. Turkey in the top 10! Most popular post by far was Buried Moons Drums and Caramel https://topoet.ca/2022/07/26/buried-moons-drums-and-caramel/ – in fact it is my most popular post ever! Over 250 hits in July.  

Picture Perfect: 127 sections, about 179,000 words posted so far with approx 9,000 to be edited then posted. Much of July sections were fresh writing as I flesh out my notes from the rough draft. The same holds true for the coming sections too, but some of that will be tying up some loose ends, another melodramatic confrontation & Dan finally takes a vacation.

Watched ‘The Hunger’ from 1983. Catherine Deneuve is stunning, her performance is stellar, her look is breathtaking with incredible clothes, hair stylings & make up. Susan Sarandon is an incredibly stylish biologist scientist of some sort. Hr performance is solid. David Bowie is cast because he is David Bowie. His look is fine, his acting is unremarkable.

The director, Tony Scott, cut his teeth on music videos & the look of the film reflects that – every room has billowing curtains – I guess the vampires create their own gentle breeze, doves show up fluttering through every window, open or closed. No room has direct lighting, even the biology lab, everyone is in shadows, plus everyone is either smoking or lighting up a cigarette – even the scientists looking through microscopes. A truly fabulous movie that surpasses its cult reputation.

caterpillar munching parsley

Watched the captivating film Eijanaika or Why Not? (ええじゃないか), a 1981 Japanese film by director Shohei Imamura. An astonishing, colour filled epic set in the mid-1800’s. The carnival setting is compelling & the political subtext makes this more than a comedy. After nearly 3 hours I didn’t want it to end. Strong performances, stunning cinematography & excellent music. Highly recommended.

Finally read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum with W. W. Denslow illustrations. As a child I wasn’t much of a reader until I was about 10 & by then I felt I was too old for Oz, bides it was a girl’s book. I was inclined to Buddy & His Friends, advances to Tom Swift Jr., The Hardy Brothers. I don’t recall seeing the movie on TV until I moved to Toronto & saw it in colour. The book is a fun read, the Denslow illustrations great fun. The movie adaptation is brilliant is streamlining the too many plots in the book & making a few changes is the story line, in particular the movie ending – was it all a dream?

Coming up in August is the Stratford Festival production of The Miser.

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Weill Not So Vile

By Kurt Weill (1900 –1950) I have: stand-alones of Symphonies 1 & 2; Mahogonny/Seven Deadly Sins; Three Penny Opera (Konig Ensemble); Three Penny Opera (Lotte Lenya). As mp3: Ute Lemper: Sings Weill; Lotte Lenya: Sings Weill. As lp to CD transfer: Berlin to Broadway/Martha Schlamme sings Weill; Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill.

My first exposure to Weill was, like many, Bobby Darin’s Mac The Knife & that first line about the shark’s teeth gave the smooth sing a real bite. It is a decent translation of Bertold Brecht’s original German lyrics by Marc Blitzstein. Of course it was years before I knew it was a Weill/Brecht composition.

Over the years I have seen various productions of nearly all of the theatre pieces they created together. Also some that were reconstructions using songs from various plays. All haver a strong political message  & there is at least one standout song in each. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered Weill wrote music not for the stage! Symphonies, lieder etc. But it will be his theatre music he’ll be remembered for.

My first real purchase was the double lp Berlin to Broadway (since transferred to CD) that found remaindered when I lived in Cape Breton. This is a small ensemble show complex from Weill’s various other shows, told as a musical biography & sense is a sort of a biggest hits & it well worth tracking down. (not to be confused with some brass quartet release of the same title.)

One of the versions of The Three Penny features Weill’s muse Lotte Lenya. A great archival recording, the other is a more recent & is fine. Lotte’s set of his songs is excellent as well – her voice can be an acquired taste. Lemper’s set is fun cabaret & all the hits are there. Schlamme’s are more classical rather than cabaret.

The Symphonies are pleasant 20th century classical. No sense of his showtune work in them & if it weren’t for his theatre work they would be even less of a footnote than they are now. Did you know that Sullivan of Gilbert & Sullivan also wrote 24 operas, 11 major orchestral works, ten choral works and oratorios, two ballets & more? 

If you are unfamiliar Weill start with any compilation of his theatre work. 

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Can You Dance Summer

Can You Dance Summer

I was excited to see So You Think You Can Dance make a comeback & also that the show had revamped some of the old format that was becoming sort of predictable & stale. It did bring back host Cat Deeley with new judges: Stephen (tWitch) Boss, JoJo Siwa & Leah Remini. tWitch, a past alumni of the show along with Cat are links to the old days of the show. 

To be honest I underwhelmed by the new format, the current competitors, the new judges & the voting system. No longer is it America’s Favourite Dancer but the studio audience at the taping’s choice. Easier to comply votes from, what is it – 500 people? Than from all of the USA. Only one of the competitors has charisma – the Patrick Swayze clone.

Often the most dramatic thing on stage is Cat Deeley’s outfits – who dresses her in the dark? Some are laugh-out-loud messes & others are merely dismaying. The judges aren’t much better. Leah often needing safety pins to keep her cleavage from upstaging the dancers. JoJo, suffering from hideous costumes, often mistakes shouting for energy. Boss hold his own nicely between the two women but at times even he seems puzzled by what his fellow judges are wearing.

As for the dancing – none of the pieces or dancers seem to take joy in the act of dancing deep emotional storylines or jumpy hop-hop fidgeting. The Broadway & jazz routines were flat & forced – but trying to squeeze something into a 2 minute routine doesn’t really give time for anything to develop beyond an emotional pop. 

P.S. More AfroJazz & please bring back breakdancing. 

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Picture Perfect 128 

Picture Perfect 128

Dan shook his head as he looked at the wall calendar in his office at the Depot. It just over a year ago since he had first seen the Cold Canada episode that turned him life upside down. The Cold East success had other networks texting down his door to get him to sign on to do shows for them. He wasn’t interested.

Janis Hadley’s trial was to begin soon. She had refused all legal advice as her actions were the Lord’s intention. She accepted full responsibility for those actions & would accept her Saviour’s judgment as pronounced by the courts. 

In her statement to the investigators she claimed Cora Murchison was responsible for abducting & liberating the spirits of the children. She was an accomplice not a killer. There were no witnesses to to refute that claim. DNA testing established that Troy was not her son but did indicate that the was a Chamberlain but wasn’t definitive as to whether was the father of son that had fathered him.

Troy AuCoin statement was that his mother had killed Winston Chamberlain as he had been blackmailing her about Troy’s parentage & had threatened to go the police with his information about Cora Murchison. He also admitted his was idea to abduct Dan to protect the sacredness of the Convergence conjuration that Janis claimed was threatened.

In the silence of his office Dan ticked off the events in his head. What was he checking his calendar? Oh yes – to make sure this wasn’t his FairVista Lifend demo day. It wasn’t. Part of the business separation deal was that he continue with demos even though there was now a three year waiting list for their custom-made products. The company resisted increasing production to keep up with the demand that resulted from the Cold East exposure.

Dan lounged to himself at the number of knock-off that had surfaced on the market with names like Lifriend, Lifrind, Lifer, even Life End. One of the Lifrind cameras had been brought in to FairVista by an irate man who demanded it be replaced. When it pointed out to him that it wasn’t Lifend he was enraged. At the time Dan resisted telling the man he had paid $11,000 for a knock off probably worth about $11.00.

Before going down to the shop floor he couldn’t resist checking the numbers for Cold East, again. The show had debuted in Japan on the weekend, where it already had the largest share. What more could he ask for? Yet, the more attention the show got, the more attention he got, the more isolated he felt. His life had been subsumed by this unexpected success. No one wanted to talk about anything else. Even at the Lifend demos the questions invariably came to – is the type of camera you were using when those snakes attacked? 

The only relief he had was Jeremy Moxham, who had proved to be a sympathetic ear & diversion. When they met up for dinner they talked about things other than work. The first ‘date’ had been when Dan had called to tell him about Sanjay’s marriage to Sylvan Papoulias. Sylvan had called out of the blue to tell him. From what Dan gathered in that conversation Sanjay began ‘romancing’ hime that first week-end in Bobcaygeon.

…..

Home after work Dan was naked by the time he started up the stairs to take a shower. He looked around the house thinking, once again, perhaps it was time to sell it. The memories had seeped into the walls. IOf he wanted to move on that would be a good step to take. He’d considered remodelling but that wasn’t a fresh enough start. 

 He was half-way up the stairs when the doorbell rang. He stopped his undies off the floor & pulled them back on before answering. It was Jeremy.

“Sorry if I’m a bit early.”

“No problem. I was on my way to the shower.” Dan shut the door once Jeremy was inside.

“Aw, you didn’t have to dress down for me.” Jeremey laughed. “When did you get this done?” Jeremy asked looking at the tattoo on Dan’s arm.

“The Friday that Cold East debuted. I had to do something to honour what I’ve survived & this is what I chose to do.” Dan gently brushed the shoulder to wrist sleeve tattoo on his left arm. It tingled under his fingertips. “I was waiting for it to fully healed before showing it to anyone.”

“A tattoo is forever. At least one that size is. This is all of it I hope.”

“Why? You aren’t the one who has to live with it.” He put his shirt on. “You’re the first one to see it.”

“Let me show you something.” Jeremy undid his pants and pushed them below his knees.

“Whoa!” Dan said. “This is rather sudden.” It was the first time he’d seen Jeremy this close to naked.

“Look here, not there.” He held his bulge back and tugged up the right leg of his boxers.

There was a tattoo of a buxom woman in lacy undergarments. “Ashley’s mother, whose name shall go unmentioned. You think I enjoy … washing her boobs every time I take a shower.”

“I’ve seen swimsuit pics of you but that was never in them.”

“Make up or photo erase. Usually baggy shorts that go to my knees to keep it out of sight.” He pulled his pants back up.

“This isn’t the same. I needed some way to honour all him. Without those children I wouldn’t be here.” He hadn’t told Jeremey everything that happened in the confrontation with Janis. Only the RCMP knew. He hadn’t even given Cold East all the details.

“I get that but …”

“Why the snake?” The outline of Peter’s head & torso were partially filled in. Around him the tail of a snake was coiled across his stomach with the head of the white cobra on his biceps. The white popped off the indigo background. The red eyes were piercing and the tongue was shadowed to create a 3D effect. “It’s Silas. They both saved my life.”

“There’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you for months now.” Jeremy said after doing his pants up. He stood to face Dan. “Since I heard how you almost got killed by that mad woman.”

“I can’t tell you any more about that I have. It’s all Cold property now. Until I write a book about it.”

“I’ve heard all I need to know.”

“I’m listening.” Dan buttoned his shirt. “I’ve been blogging the progress. I’m amazed at the number of new followers I’ve gotten for it. I guess you weren’t one of them.”

“Dan shut up for a minute.”

“I was just thinking ….”

“I was just thinking we should get married!” Jeremy blurted. “I have …” he took a small, red velvet bag out his back pocket, “been carrying this around for too long.” He shook a ring out of it. “The thought you you dying … I love you.” He slipped the ring on Dan’s finger. The red gem sparkled in the light. It was surrounded with smaller white ones that reflected some of red. The band was a twined silver,

“Jeremy!” Dan turned his hand in the light. “I don’t know what to say. It’s just …”

“You don’t like it!”

“It’s not that.”

“What? You don’t love me? Don’t desire me? Dan, I can make you very comfortable.”

“You don’t have to sell yourself to me Jeremy. I’ve been though a lot and …. I’m not the marrying type. You know that. It was difficult enough getting out of my non-marriage with Sanjay.”

“You are afraid of commitment.” Jeremy said. “Plain and simple. That’s because the men you’ve met have disappointed you. I won’t.”

“If by commitment you mean sexual fidelity then you are asking for the unlikely, if not the impossible. I’m the one that disappointed them. If you are asking me to marry you to make your coming out, which you would have to do, legitimate in the eyes of the public then its not love but p.r. ”

“P.R?”

“Like … Elton John and David Furnish … the high-power, idealized, married, queer couple. You want another trophy partner like your ex-wife.”

“That’s not true.”

“You cared for Elizabeth, whose name should go unmentioned? Her, the top fashion model and you, sport celebrity of the decade.”

“I did love her, at first. After all she’s the mother of my child.”

“And what happened?”

“She was unfaithful to me.”

“My point exactly. You want an idealized picture to present the world. I’m not knocking that. It works for many but as I said – fidelity isn’t how I want to have my love in a relationship defined.”

“Then how do you want it defined?” Jeremy asked. “I want to know. Trust is crucial, that’s what relationships are built on. Isn’t it? What is it that you want? What would make you happy?”

“Who said I was unhappy as I am. Yes, I’m sad about Peter. I realized how much I cared for him when he died. I didn’t have to be committed to him to feel my heart breaking.”

“That’s exactly how I would have felt if you had died then.”

“So you want to get married to avoid feeling like that?” Dan asked. “I like you a lot Jeremy. For a rich dickhead you’re not such a dickhead. But you have that head buried in the sand.”

“And not up your ass like Peter’s was.”

“Good one but that was no secret. If he hadn’t died, if I said yes to marriage, that would still be no secret. Fuck this is so much like the argument Sanjay and I used to have. Marry me. Marry me. Turns out he wanted a marriage partnership to …. secure his business partnership. Now he’s marrying that business partner.”

“So there are some areas of trust that mean something to you.”

“If he had been sleeping around I wouldn’t have cared as much. But my Dad was always clear about business honesty.” What was he saying? His Dad lead two lives, how much of his own past could he trust. “Turns out he wasn’t so good about emotional honesty.”

“Say you’ll think about it.” Jeremy asked.

“I doubt if I’ll change my mind or mend ways that I don’t think to be mended.” Dan slipped the ring off. “Thank you for asking me though.” He gave it back to Jeremy.

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Bugs Bugs Bugs

I’m not an entomologist so if some of these aren’t insects buzz off 🙂 seen mostly around my garden.

ladybug on a morning glory leaf
slug or is that a snail without a shell
caterpillar munching parsley
ants ants ants
spotted beetle on a morning glory leaf
snail on a rail
bee burrowing into a white rose
snail collision
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Red Hot Revolting

Let’s face it the Red Hot Chilli Peppers made the most of their mix of their punk-funk, grunge, gender fuck & artfully tattooed look – which they back up with some great songs, dynamic musicianship & genre mashups. I have stand-alone cds Blood Sugar Sex Magic, & what hits. They come across as an updated version if Iggy Pop & the Stooges – what I’ve seen of them in ‘real’ life is consistent with their album image.

There are high energy covers of Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix along with original songs that are either festishy sex “Catholic Girls” or romantic & slightly sappy “Under The Bridge.” As much as I enjoy them & appreciate their political/sexual stances, these two cds were enough for me.

I remember first hearing the Revolting Cocks’s cover of Do Ya Think I’m Sexy at a smokey humid gay bar summer of 1993 in Montreal. It was fun, sort of comic & compelling dance music. The song itself is campy but the Cock’s version is sweaty, grinding sex challenge not the sassy brag that Rod Stewart gives it. I loved it & started a hunt to find out who did it. This was in the days before google & iTunes.

So when went to one of the local record stores there & started to asked, as best I could, in my limited French. I only had to mention the name of the song & the clerk knew exactly what I was looking for. They didn’t have the single in stock but did give me the name of the band. The Revolting Cocks. A name I didn’t have to write down.

Back in Toronto I tracked down the cd ‘Linger Fickin’ Good (1993). Turned out the Cocks are not a dance band but an American-Belgian industrial rock band! In the mold of Kill Dozer but not as metal. The cd is amazing with powerful samples, driving numbers & psychological depth. Gila Copter – wow. Great adult music but not for everyone

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Buried Moons Drums and Caramel 

Over the past year of so I’ve rediscovered some of my childhood treats at a local supermarket – things that Shopper’s never has on their shelves. I can’t say that I longed for them but trying them again after decades did bring back some sweet memories of growing up in Sydney.

I can remember buying the individual Half-Moon’s at Flubs (I think that’s what it was called) a family run corner store (St. Peters Rd at Ashby). Cellophane wrapped & merely a sugary cloud with nearly no texture or much flavour. There was also a chocolate version but Preferred the bland vanilla. The current version is smaller, has less cream filling & remains relatively flavourless.

I was allowed one a week & would usually buy it on my way home from school. It took less than a minute to eat but was totally satisfying. For some reason there has never been a 100% whole wheat version lol. Flubs also had home-made molasses candies I loved & super moist molasses cookies.  

Another one is Ah Caramel – the name of which I forgot until I saw a package on the shelf – these are smallish squares of cake with a ring of cream filled with caramel on top & all dipped in chocolate. They came in cello packs of two, so you could share one. Like the half-moons these are smaller than I recalled. Thanks to the chocolate & caramel they actually have flavour & though the chocolate shell is too thin to give it much of a texture.

Then there is the Drumstick – ice cream filled sugar cone dipped in chocolate & the top rolled in peanuts. In my day there was only one vanilla kind – now there is a range with chocolate, crushed oreo cookie, fillings but still dipped in chocolate & rolled in peanuts. I’ve tried them all but I prefer the traditional. Sadly another one that has been sized down but still large enough to satisfy.

Finally, one that I haven’t found is Buried Treasure – orange sherbet & vanilla ice cream on a plastic stick. As you ate the ice cream, a figure, your buried treasure, would appear on the stick. As I remember it actually tasted like orange! I wish I still had some of my treasures – I loved the circus lion. Buried Treasure is no longer available 😦 I guess it is not the sort of hand-held device to keep children amused.

What were your favorite childhood treats.

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Did anyone every send away for these gifts?

(Buried Treasure/Popcicle images sourced from internet)

Picture Perfect 127 

Picture Perfect 127

Dan was stunned to see Timothy Dunlop standing in the reception area of the QTel studios. He was wearing the too large cut-off jeans & torn tee-shirt with the cross-eyed Yoda on it with a shiny sheriff’s badge pinned on it. He dangled straw cowboy hat in his left hand.

“Timmy!” Dan exclaimed before he remembered QTel was filming re-enactments of some of the abductions. 

The boy pulled his hat on & reached out to shake Dan’s hand.

“Kevin Stone.” The boy said. “I know who you are. You’re Daniel James, right?”

“Ah … yes.” Dan stepped back. The face wasn’t quite Timmy’s.

“Must be a good to fool you.” Kevin giggled.

“You almost did.” He was tempted of apologize to this duplicate of Timmy for being so angry with him all these years for not writing him not knowing that the real Timmy was dead. He turned away before he started to cry.

“Weren’t you scared by all those snakes?” Kevin asked.

“Yes, but so much was happening at once I didn’t really have time to know how scared I was.”

“Yeah. I get that. Like when I audition I get so scared I don’t know I’ve done it till it’s over.”

“Kevin!” A woman came out of Baxter’s office. “I told you to stay put.”

“Mom! I was talking to Dan. The real Dan not someone pretending to be him.”

“Oh! Hello Mr. James. Lilly Stone.” She shook his hand. “Kevin’s mom. Come on now. Studio D is upstairs?” She asked Dan.

“Yes.” He was glad that he hadn’t run into his younger self. 

“Mr. James, Mr. Baxter will see you now.” The reception said to him.

“Dan.” Baxter came from behind his desk to welcome him into the room. “Seems like ages since I’ve seen you in person. You look rested.”

“Easy for you to say. You’re on the safe side of the camera.”

“You’re not the one facing that Inspector Warszawa of yours. The recording on your confrontation with … the snake princess is off-limits to us. How can we wrap up the series without that? Could you have a word with him?”

“I have. Your agreement with the task force was to give them access to everything we discovered.”

“We have.”

“It also says that anything of material interest would be subject to rules of evidence. In other words you can’t reveal that evidence until it is used in court.”

“As far I know the snake princess has confessed to everything.”

“Until a judge has heard the case nothing will be released. They don’t want her to get a lawyer to contest everything & force a retrial because we rushed the system.”

“That’s unfair. We got that confession.”

“We! You mean me. I wasn’t on your pay check when I got that call or when I …”

“Okay! Okay! Legal has briefed me on those details. It wasn’t our equipment. It wasn’t time included in our shooting schedule.”

“Thank of it as a Christmas Special next year once the series has been shown. The criminal proceedings will be over by then.”

“Christmas Special. Don’t be an idiot. A Halloween Special. Midnight in a creepy circus. I can see it now. Snakes wrapped around merry-go-round horses. Dan you are a genius.”

“Is that why you wanted to see me?”

“Well, no. You just met Kevin Stone.”

“Yes. Almost gave me a heart attack.”

“We’d like to shoot a promo bumper with the two of you. After all it was that picture of the two of you that started this for you.”

“Right.”

“Here’s my brainwave. You won’t have to do much anyway.”

“I’m listening.”

“We start with that photo & morph into the real two of you sitting on steps, you’ll age & he’ll stay the same age. You with me so far?”

“Yes. You get up off the steps & walk to the camera & as you do he disappears. We can use some of your previous voice-overs.”

“Sounds almost tasteful, Baxter. How long’ll this take?”

“An hour at most. We’re all set in …”

“Studio D.” Dan shook his head. “You knewI wouldn’t say no after seeing Timmy again. Right?”

“It was a chance I was willing to take. If you’d said no I was ready to sweeten the offer with this.” He handed Dan a cheque.

“Sold the show to another market?” Dan said.

“More than one.” Baxter grinned. “More than one.”

……

In Studio D they had built a mock up of the front steps of the Wickham Arms in front of a green screen. The background would be a blow up the actual photograph. 

The simple set up was done in three takes. He was given a black felt cowboy hat similar to the one in the photo. As he stood we was to remove the hat & drop it on the steps before he walked to the camera. Each time there was a different voice over from one of Dan’s previous work.

The final one started with him saying “For years I dreamed of getting a letter from Timmy. I never forgot him.” He started to tear up hearing himself admit that. After a brief silence the crew applauded.

“Brilliant work Dan.” The unit director said. 

“Thanks.”

“Wow Mr. Daniels.” Kevin came over to him. “How did you find that? I mean I can laugh on cue easy enough but crying is a bitch.”

“I guess you had to be there.” Dan wiped his eyes. “You forget I was there.” He ruffled Kevin’s hair the way Tommy used to do to him. “You were great too.”

“Thanks.”

Dan opted to walk from the QTel studios to the Photo Depot he was a bit dismayed to see the number of storefronts papered over, some with ‘For Lease’ signs, others with nothing but a clumsy ‘closed’ scrawled on the front window. A couple had been replaced by what Jill from the Carafe called ‘pot holes’ – weed dispensaries.

As he reached the Oil on Silver Gallery Cliff stepped out to greet him.

“Daniel James! is that actually you?” He joked. “Seems like years since I’ve last seen you.”

“I have been busy.” Daniel laughed.

“Yes I know. I’m so sorry about Peter. He was a … bright young man.”

“Thanks Cliff. I …” He wasn’t sure what to say. He was feeling the loss of two loves him life Timmy & Peter. “He’ll be missed. I hear business has been good for you.”

“Ah, yes. The photo exhibition I did for Patrice Yazdi sold out. I was amazed at how many people had wall space for photographs that large. I was almost shocked that people wanted the interiors of abandoned buildings taking up a wall too.”

“You hanging a new show soon.”

“Yes but not for a month or so. Until then I’ve brought some choice pieces out of storage to see if they’ll finally find better homes. Drop by soon.”

“I’d say ‘once things settle down’ but who knows when that’ll be. Take care.”

Dan started up the steps to the Depot when his cell rang. He glance at it & it was from an unknown caller but the number was familiar to him so he answered.

“Daniel James here.”

“Sylvan Papoulias here.” 

What could Sanjay’s boss, or where they finally business partners now. He hadn’t thought about Sanjay since he dropped his palimony suit.

“What can I do for you Mr. Papoulias?”

“It was urgent to speak to you. Sanjay would have but there remains a restraining order & didn’t want to go through a lawyer.”

Timmy. Peter. Now Sanjay?

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Leslieville Farmers Market

This market used to be at the Jonathan Ashbridge Park (which is undergoing ongoing work). It relocated to the Greenwood Park at Dundas E. I try to visit it at least once every summer to see what the latest fad in dog treats is lol. Lots of organic veggies, bread, wines, gluten free dog treats & the like. Gluten-free everything in fact, even things that never had it to begin with are touted as gluten-free. Where can I get something with extra-gluten lol?

step right this way

gluten-free cherries
no transfats macrame shell pendant
killer pretzels
zucchinis & grourds
aw shucks
gluten-free dill
blueberry jam: warning may contain sugar
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