April 2013


FILMORES: A strip club marquee retrospective

Filmores Hotel, the notorious strip club along Dundas in downtown Toronto, has a new cringe-worthy message for their marquee letting patrons know that they’ll cover in the case that girlfriends or wives call.


Although thinking too much about any real marriage where a wife calls around to a nudie joint looking for her husband is enough to make you a touch ill, it is worth noting that Filmores has a long history of funny marquee messages.

Here is a roundup of some of the cheekier marquee messages archived online.










Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers for up to the minute coverage on strip club signage.




Image credits [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Women-friendly kickboxing club is ready to kick ass

Looking for a new way to kick butt and lose weight? MTKT Academy has opened a new location on the Danforth, and they are itching to get more women into training. Muay Thai Kickboxing, the latest trend in fitness, is a great way to improve both your mind and your aura. And that’s the way they planned it.

“We want to inspire people to make a lifestyle change,” MTKT owner and founder Warren Lee says. His academy helps teach a full healthy lifestyle, combining exercise, lifestyle and nutrition and free of negative influences such as smoking and drinking.

When designing his gym, Lee looked at what makes a successful restaurant: The most important thing is the environment, but the whole experience (environment, quality, price) is what keeps people coming back.

Lee purposely created a “non-judgemental” and “ego free” environment, aimed to empower women. The idea of a women-friendly club started after he took a women’s studies course in university, and because he feels women are loyal customers. Believing that the average gym is “too much testosterone and ego,” he wanted to create a good, clean location where people felt comfortable.

And they do. Classes are close-knit and attendees offer each other words of praise and encouragement throughout the training session.

Don’t worry if you aren’t super fit and spent 10 minutes figuring out how to pronounce muay thai. Lee’s classes are designed to accommodate fitness levels. On your first visit, Lee will find out your background, then place you according to your experience level.

Each class starts with a warm-up: skipping, core exercises, pushups, squats, pylometrics, etc. After warmup, participants are divided into several groups: Level 1 A, level 1 B, level 2, and level 3. If you are just starting out, you’ll join the level 1 A group, where an instructor will go over the basic moves with you. As you learn the moves and gain more confidence, you graduate to higher levels. Competitions are an option, but Lee says most people are more interested in the fitness and self-definition aspects.

Once in the groups, participants are taught technique geared to their specific skill set. Beginners are taught proper pad work and basic punches and kicking, allowing them to fight and protect themselves safely. “It’s fighting without fighting,” Lee says.

Above all else, MTKT stresses three main elements: A great workout, have fun and learn something.

“I’ve seen people come and transform both physically and mentally,” Lee says. “But they have to stick with it.”


Hot New Things: Grunge

Remember the ‘90s, when those wacky kids would buy an expensive pair of jeans, then immediately go home to tear massive holes in them? When wearing plaid didn’t mean you were a lumberjack? Well brace yourself, because grunge is back.


Carnaby Skirt


If you want to look feminine yet still follow the grunge style, this UNIF skirt offers you the best of both worlds. Classic grunge plaid with the accents to hammer down the point, yet also a classic miniskirt.

Available at Revolve Clothing.


Low Rise Denim Short

You don’t even have to cut the holes yourself. Perfect for when it gets hot. Or, where them loose over faux-leather leggings.

Available at Dynamite.


Triumph 1914 Black Mirage


Remember Docs? The ultimate in grunge footwear, they have evolved to offer some less clunky versions. Wear these and feel right at home in the grunge scene.

Available at Dr. Martens.


Belt Studded Leather

One of the major grunge styles is loose clothing cinched in by a kick-ass belt. And what’s more kick ass than studded leather?

Available at Dr. Martens.

Fighting against the rising McJob economy

They’re called McJobs: Low wage, low prestige positions with little chance for advancement and high turnover rates. Most often associated with the fast food industry, workers are at the whim of their managers when it comes to number of hours and time of shifts. Unions are strongly discouraged, and employees have been fired for attempting to organize them.

Today, for the second time, the McJob workers are fighting back. In New York City, several hundred fast food workers are striking, demanding higher wages and the right to form unions.

The first protest was held on November 29, 2012, and saw 200 workers from establishments such as Wendy’s, McDonald’s, KFC and Taco Bell holding an organized strike, with demonstrations held across the city. This time, they expect the turnout to be twice as high.

Although their issues are not necessarily identical to Canadians’ (we have higher minimum wage and our healthcare is covered by the government), the issue is still one that reverberates here. Many young Canadians, fresh in the workforce and clutching expensive diplomas, are cobbling together multiple McJobs at $10.25 an hour just to make rent. The fear: Is there really a way to move from the fast food world to the corporate world?

The world continues to change, with outsourcing pushing many manufacturing jobs overseas and the chasm between the haves and have-nots growing more pronounced. If today’s young workers don’t make a stand, their adult lives and the lives of the next generation may be very different from the one their parents experienced.

Are you ready to take a stand?


Dreams take flight for 92-year-old grandmother

If there is one word to describe 92-year-old grandmother Dorothy Ellis from Kansas, it would be remarkable.

The word daring also comes to mind. In August 2012, Ellis was sick. Only one week after her diagnosis she announced that she wanted to fly in a powered parachute.

Ellis’s granddaughter, Holly, described it in her February 23, 2013 blog as  “a cross between a lawn mower and chitty-chitty-Bang-Bang.”

Ellis’s dream of flying for the last time concerned her family, but not Ellis. Age was just a number in her mind. Holly was not only surprised to hear the news, but was worried for her grandmother. In her phone conversation, she said, “Gram you can’t be serious about riding in this flying death-trap.” Ellis replied, “Well, at my age, I figure I’m going to go one way or another.”

Her quest to live life to the fullest was to take her last final flight, and on September 18th she did just that. Ellis was flying high on life as her family watched her incredible moment flying over the horizon.

The family videotaped her inspirational journey, and the family chose the song “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” from the Wizard of Oz. As Holly said, “When you have a grandmother named Dorothy from Kansas, well, what other song is there?”

Ellis’s memory of flying over the rainbow lives on. She passed away on November 2, 2012.

Meeting the folks PART 2

When I first started dating Mr. Unexpected I told him flat out that he wouldn’t be meeting my mother because I do not introduce the boys I date to my mom, ever.

But after I met his parents my mom was pretty strict about the fact that she would be meeting Mr. Unexpected; and to be honest, for the first time ever I actually wanted her to meet a boyfriend.

I’ve always joked, in a self-deprecating and not entirely healthy way, that I was the girl you take home, not the girl you take home to mom. The relationships I’ve had over the past couple of years have been full of lust but never love, not really. And I hated the idea of introducing my mom to someone temporary because she isn’t temporary: she’s my favourite person in the world. You don’t introduce someone temporary to your favourite person.

So two days after I get back from Austin next week I’ll be sitting down to dinner with my mom, her lovely husband and my boyfriend. It’s kind of a big moment for me. I’m not sure I’m the marrying kind, I’m not interested in gushing over babies and I am terrible at sharing feelings; but this thing I’m doing, acknowledging that I’m with someone to my mom, this is something I can do.

There aren’t any Facebook milestones for people like me. I don’t have a relationship status and I’m not getting engaged any time soon, I’m just trying to accept intimacy into my life and they don’t give you a badge for being somewhat normal.

When I told Mr. Unexpected that my mom was coming to visit and that we’d all be going to dinner he said, “I knew I’d break you.” He knows me better than I do myself sometimes and he knew eventually that I’d come around. He knew that when I felt ready for the parental thing I would ask.

On top of meeting my mom Mr. Unexpected and I have plans to go away for a weekend and to spend Easter weekend with his family. I have to admit I kind of love the intimacy we have, even if that means embracing family dinners outside of the city and being introduced to family and friends as ‘the girlfriend.’

I couldn’t have guessed that we’d be here now. Going back I think about how all of this started at a chance meeting in a TIFF movie lineup when a friend brought me along because I was bored; I think about how in October I wasn’t even sure if he wanted to make it official; and finally I think about how in the past five months I’ve become a better person because of him.

I couldn’t have predicted any of this would happen but I’m happy and all those dark and twisty feelings are starting to fade away because when he’s around I can’t help but smile and laugh.


Meeting the folks

So it finally happened: I met the parents. It’s been years since I’ve had to meet the folks. The Big Ex didn’t want his family to meet me so they wouldn’t get too attached to me; in hindsight this should have concerned me. My lack of parental contact over the past seven years combined with my string of not-quite relationships left me unprepared and more than a little nervous when it came to meeting the boyfriend’s parents.

To his credit Mr. Unexpected made it as easy on me as possible. We didn’t meet his parents at a fancy restaurant or brunch where I would probably have had too many mimosas in an effort to get comfortable. We met them at Tim Horton’s at King and John, close to home and so simple I couldn’t help but feel like myself.

The key to meeting new people is always having a sense of comfort, but to have all the pressure taken off also shows how much Mr. Unexpected cares about me. He knew I wasn’t totally excited about the prospect of meeting his family, he knew I was nervous and he knew that my past would make this particular meeting fairly difficult for me, but he did his best to make it easy. When his mother sat down I was actually reminded of my own mom: she’s sweet with a slight sarcastic edge and a down-home vibe, which made the whole experience feel like coffee with an old friend rather than the boyfriend’s parents.

While I won’t readily admit to wanting to get married and I’m always going to put my career first, there is a small part of me that fantasizes about being with a man who has a family that I love. My own family has changed over the years and I miss the big Christmases, the Easter dinners and the fire alarm going off every Sunday when dinner inevitably burns and everyone argues over what kind of take out to order. I’ve never seen family as this perfect beautiful thing but I miss the messiness of it all. I miss hearing the same story for the four billionth time about how my uncle convinced my grandfather that the soap he was making was actually white fudge.

Part of being in a relationship is being a part of the family, and while at first I wasn’t sure about it I feel more sure than ever that I can be part of Mr. Unexpected’s life and not just the easy parts. When I signed up for the girlfriend thing I signed up for all of it and I’m just now realizing exactly what that means but— and I won’t tell him this—I really like it.

The only problem with meeting his folks is that I had to tell my mother and now she’s wondering when she gets to meet him. She lives in Ottawa. Maybe it’s time for a road trip.


Finding Nemo sequel announced: Finding Dory

Ten years after the film Finding Nemo swam into our hearts Disney/Pixar is announcing that our favourite fish will be returning for a sequel.

The sequel, to be called Finding Dory, will centre around the adventures of the amnesiac Blue Tang who helped find lost baby Nemo in the first movie. Ellen DeGeneres is set to reprise her voice role and director Andrew Stanton will also be returning to spearhead the sequel.

It’s a wonder that it took a fish as forgetful as Dory this long to get lost.

The film will take place roughly a year after the events of the first film and will feature many returning characters including Marlin and Nemo.

Unfortunately the film won’t be hitting theatres until November 25th, 2015, but the good news is that the movie is in production — and this gives fans plenty of time to get in line for opening weekend.

Spring ahead with time change

Spring is getting closer, you can feel it in the air. I even feel a boost of excitement by the few extra minutes of light at the end of the day. You’re exhilarated by the thought of early morning walks and, even though that precious hour gained four months ago is gone, summer is almost here.

Often the expectation of summer blooming outside the window the very next day is shattered by that lingering winter and a feeling of exhaustion instead of glee that can take some time to totally shed.

Overall, certain people may ‘suffer’ more than others.

Shift Workers – One of the biggest challenges for people who do shift work is getting enough sleep. The internal body clock, the circadian rhythm, is directly linked to daylight and darkness. Already being sensitive to time disruptions, they could surely find the time change adds to their troubles, as digestion and hormone balances could take longer to adjust.

Children – Often more sensitive to seasonal changes than adults, children may seem irritable and have more trouble getting to sleep. Sometimes the extra light may keep them up wanting more play time. In my experience, the best thing to do is to let them adjust to time and seasonal changes at their own pace, with some extra patience and hugs. Remember, you’re feeling it too. The more, you fight them, the longer it will take for them to sync up and get with the program.

Seniors – At the best of times, seniors can have issues with the time of day. “Is it lunch time, or dinner”? An extra hour lost or gained can lead them to experience a sense of confusion. In some cases, this can lead to harmful situations, if medications are missed or taken at the wrong time. If you are a caregiver, or involved with the daily well-being of a senior, be sure to keep extra close tabs on their schedules when the time change kicks in.

Go with the flow and realize you may be a little overtired. Manage your daily stress by avoiding major decision making when you can. Allow yourself extra time to travel, eat and lounge in bed (set two alarms for a couple of days). Don’t expect too much from yourself just because the morning light beckons. Drink more water, plan a relaxing evening and power nap when you can, as just a 20-minute nap can increase alertness and motor skills.

Happy spring!


Nancy Pelosi on empowering women

The 72-year-old Speaker of the House turned Minority House Leader is as much of a fixture in the landscape of American politics as the Lincoln Statue or the Washington Monument. Seeming to break barriers with everything she does (first female Minority Whip, first female Speaker of the House) it comes as no surprise that in her lifetime of devoted public service she has never shied away from promoting and empowering women in politics.

In a recent interview with Salon she explains that the biggest issue facing feminism today is the lack of women in politics.

“We need to have women in elected positions to make their voices heard and to get policy improved,” says Pelosi. “But the missing piece all along has been affordable quality childcare … If we’re going to unleash the intellect, the determination and courage of women, the clarity of thinking of women, onto the world, we need affordable quality childcare.”

The interview also touched on her thought about Malala, the Violence Against Women Act, and a few fun questions, like her love of chocolate and her favourite female heroine:

“I’d say Nancy Drew, because when I was a little girl I read those books, and it was always fascinating to me that her name was Nancy. I didn’t really know too many other Nancys except for my mother. And I can just see the books in the library and on the shelves in our home. Her moxie, her courage, and her curiosity were quite remarkable. It was quite remarkable when you think about it, that those books were written about a girl all that time ago. And they still have salience when I read them to my grandchildren.”

Join the conversation by Facebooking or tweeting at us to let us know who your favourite female heroine is.