On my final day in Toronto last Sunday–after the NXNE festival had waned to a grateful, glorious end after 4 days of good times and memorable music–I spent the morning with my dear relatives Marcy and Abe Fish (pictured below with me, in a picture taken June 2012), eating brunch at their house, and then in the evening going to a gallery opening put on by some friends in the local music and art community.
For the latter, before I’d left NYC I wrote to Jenny Mecija, to let her know I would be in town. With her sister Casey, Jenny forms part of the chamber pop group, Ohbijou. Jenny replied and invited me to an opening on the Sunday night for an exhibit, My Father, Francis, the culmination of Casey’s Masters degree work at the University of Toronto, her subject being their father. I was eager to join Jenny and her family for the occasion, even before I learned that the gallery, in Toronto’s enviably authentic and still-bohemian Kensington Market neighborhood, was only a 10-minute walk from my hotel.
When I arrived I found a bright gallery space filled with warm evening light, a friendly crowd, and many useful steel and plastic objects and implements presented for viewing, all designed and fabricated by Mr. Mecija. I greeted Jenny and after a hug she explained that their father had over the years often worked odd shifts at the brewery where he was employed. With some free time, and access to found or discarded materials, he could freely repurpose them for projects of his own. The result is a fascinating collection of handsome and useful objects that concretize the elder Mecija’s affection for his family, and his desire that they have access to useful objects that will improve the quality of their daily lives.
Speaking of quality of life, the whole evening was put on in special fashion, with delicious food being served at the Filippino social hall Kapisaanan, a few doors down Augusta Street from the gallery, Videofag. During the evening I had enjoyable conversations with many people: Jenny, Casey, and guests: James Bunton, also a member of Ohbijou, and a record producer who worked on Loon Choir’s latest album; Heather Kirby, bassist in Ohbjou; Hannah Dyer, Casey’s companion, and the author of a perceptive essay (below) about being a daughter; Hannah’s sister, Monica, who works for the UN from Toronto, and is often in NYC; her companion, Drew, who works in alternative energy; Dina, Casey’s thesis advisor at University ot Toronto, who shared with me her impatience with people who actively disdain social media, refusing to see that for many people trying to forge ahead nowadays, creating and maintaining a socially networked presence is for them an imperative. In addition, a third Mecija sister was at the gallery with her childen, making this a proper three-generation affair.
I also met Francis, Casey’s father, and conmplimented him on his creative handiness. Mr. Mecija was cheerful the entire evening, and his wife, Casey and Jenny’s mom, was hospitable to everyone. Seeing my own relatives and then hanging at the gallery with the Mecija family was a great way to spend Father’s Day.