Monday, December 14, 2009


by Erkuden Sakana, Company Secretary:
City of Craft is over and done with, marking the Misanthrope Specialty Co.'s last show of the year.

(photo courtesy of tara.bursey)

Congratulations are in order to the organizers of this fine event. Though the Company speaks only from its own perspective, the show, now in its third consecutive year was a roaring success. No small feat in such dubious economic times.

* * *

In tangentially related news, the Misanthrope Specialty Co. sold out of the last of its wildly popular Holy Fucking Shit greeting cards at City of Craft.

(all 100 cards, scooped up by a frenzied public)

There is no shortage of woodgrain enthusiasts out there; or within the Company, for that matter. Infact woodgrain, both real and faux, has had something of a resurgence in craft and design circles in recent years. Some of the Company's favourite merchandise and most successful merchandise has involved the perfect union of two of its chief loves in the form of woodgrain labeling tape. Unfortunately, the Dymo corporation hasn't produced this stuff since 1973.

(detail from one of the Company's best-selling greeting cards)

The Misanthrope Specialty Co. has managed to maintain it's stock of labeling tape these past ten years by raiding the dusty stationary section of various small office supply and drug stores throughout its members' travels across the North America, but the discontinued rolls of woodgrain are ever more scarce. The aforementioned woodgrain trend, coupled with the scrapbooking craze, has also done much to accelerate the depletion of the increasingly coveted tape.

(1970 magazine ad for Dymo label tape)

Now the day many of the Misanthropes had long been dreading is upon us. The Company stockroom is down to its final roll of 3/8" Dymo woodgrain, with no current leads on any replenishment. But all is not yet lost.

(prototypes for the Company-made woodgrain tape,
in a variety of colours

The Chief Engineer and Minister of Acquisitions have been diligently working in anticipation of this problem. Sunday's meeting saw the timely unveiling of their prototypes for the Company's own line of woodgrain embossing tape. There is still some fine-tuning to be done, but the results are encouraging.

Needless to say, there was much rejoicing.

* * *

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


by Heywood McGillicuddy, Chairman:
The Company has received a number of inquiries as to whether or not its pieces for the Home & Away (& In-Between) group show are for sale.

The short answer is yes. However, because it our members' explicit wish not to pay the Cream Tangerine Gallery Cafe its 30% commission, any persons wishing to purchase any of the displayed items are invited to circumvent the cafe by contacting the Company directly.

While it is accepted practice to for a gallery to take a percentage of the sales, it has recently come to the Company's attention that the Cream Tangerine Cafe has already been paid for the use of the space for the exhibition by City of Craft as part of its 2009 installation programming. The Misanthrope Specialty Co. cannot abide this greedy double dipping by a business that is already benefiting from the show's promotion -- not to mention the drink sales from the opening reception and from the thousands of people who come to shop at City of Craft's main event.

The Company can speak only for itself, but regards this attempt to chisel an additional fee from the artists the cafe is supposedly sponsoring, at an event someone else is paying por no less, as an insult to all involved. We also wish to make clear that our gripe is directly with the cafe, and does not reflect our opinion of either the City of Craft organizers, or the show's hard-working curator.
* * *

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


by Erkuden Sakai, Company Secretary:
The Company is pleased to announce its participation in the third annual City of Craft spectacular. It's a two-day show this year.

(show poster by Amy Borkwood)
Citizens of Toronto are well advised to do their holiday shopping here, and take part in the numerous free workshops. A measly two dollars gets you through the doors. That's less than the price of a decent cup of coffee.
* * *

Monday, December 7, 2009


by Erkuden Sakai, Company Secretary:

(doodled by Becky Johnson)
Another Sunday meeting dedicated mainly to replenishing the Company's inventory of greeting and message cards. City of Craft is just around the corner and what was only two weeks ago believed to be a hearty stockpile of goods has dwindled down to nearly nothing due to another sudden boost in demand.
Align Center

(photo by Erkuden Sakana)
Though a preliminary skimming of the Internet has yet to yield a concrete answers, such overwhelming swells in popularity can usually be attributed to being favourably mentioned in some broadly read weblog. Until this mystery is solved, the Company sends its sincere thanks blindly into the ether.

(photo by Cottonwood Fields)

The downside of this the cards' success, ofcourse, is that the am mount of time spent making them is encroaching ever more into the time formerly spent on the Company's sundry other projects. It's a blessing which by small increments is becoming a problem, and a topic which will no doubt be tackled at next week's gathering. The Misanthrope Specialty Co., after all, considers itself to be more than a purveyor of handmade greeting cards.
* * *

Monday, November 30, 2009


by Erkuden Sakai, Company Secretary:
The Misanthrope Specialty Co. cordially invites the public to the opening reception for the Home and Away (and In-Between) group show. Friday November 4th, in the Cream Tangerine Gallery Café at the Great Hall.
(show logo by Gillian Wilson )
The process of selecting which pieces to submit to the show turned out to be a surprisingly contentious one , as the Company, brimming with the seething cocktail of it's constituents' multifarious objectives, principles and opinions found itself mired in the pitfalls of democracy.

("Saint Joseph" by the members of the Company)
With nearly half the Company opposed to a public exhibition in the first place, and the narrow majority divided among itself, votes were deadlocked on a number of possible submissions. Indeed, of the dozens of proposed submissions, it now seems almost miraculous that four pieces managed to garner enough votes to make it into the show. But this is just the sort of internal conflict that the Misanthrope Specialty Co. lives for.
* * *
Home and Away (and In-Bewteen) runs from December 3 to the 13th, and features work by Lizz Aston, Fiona Bailey, Amy Borkwood, Leah Buckareff, Marta Chudolinska, Heather Fagan, Meags Fitzgerald, Sara Guindon, Genevieve Jodouin, Serena McCarroll and Tyler Brett, Laure McGregor, jen Spinner, Gillian Wilson and others.
* * *

Sunday, November 22, 2009


by Erkuden Sakai, Company Secretary:
It's no secret that the Company prefers to exhibit its work at its invitational Clubhouse events. Its membership is largely comprised of secretive and exlusionists curmudgeons, loathe to have just anybody come sully their work with their dirty eyeballs and platitudes.

(photo by Lydia Caulpepper)
This week, however, the Company voted, by squeakingly narrow margin, in favour of airing some of it's dirty linens in public.

It isn't easy to turn down Tara Bursey -- Toronto's ubiquitous liaison between the ofttimes parallel worlds of Art vs. craft. She is curating the upcoming "Home and Away (and In-Between)" group show as part of City of Craft 2009's installation programming, and has invited the Misanthrope Specialty Co. to participate.
("This Town Will One Day Drink Us Dry"
by the Misanthrope Specialty Co.)

Although the Company has not yet voted on which pieces it will be submitting to the show, it's a safe bet that atleast a couple of small motel stationary drawings will be worked in, as per Ms. Bursey's request.
* * *
In other news, the first batch of rushes for the Company's yet untitled film in progress are back from the processing lab.

(A scanned sampling the first 16mm footage shot by the Company)
After weeks of waiting with bated breath, the members of the Misanthrope Specialty Co. finally huddled in a darkened Bunker to evaluate the budding fruits of their labour. The results were promising.

It is with renewed vigor that the men and women of now hit the streets to shoot more scenes for what Cotton confidently predicts will be "an instant classic."

* * *

Thursday, November 19, 2009


by Heywood McGillicuddy, Chairman:
Yes, my friends, the rumours you've heard wispered on the streets of la métropole are perfectly true. The Misanthrope Specialty Co. has infact wormed its sticky way into the Belgo building.

(photo by Erkuden Sakana)
The Company now counts Maison Kasini among it's bedfellows. And though it's far too early to divulge plans for the future, the fair citizens of Montéal can in the meantime find an assortment of our message cards and open run prints on the shelves of Kasini's ArtShop.
* * *

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


by Erkuden Sakai, Company Secretary:
Montréal is a wonderful place to eat terrible foods. Always on the Company agenda when in Montréal are poutine and smoked meat sandwiches.

(photo by Reverend Aitor)
If one's whirlwind weekend doesn't allow time for both, then one can be easily be consoled with the best of both worlds with La Banqise's "poutine obelix." It's poutine with sheds of smoked meat mixed right in. There is no shortage of opinion as to who makes the best poutine in town, but Company consensus leans towards La Banquise. It's open 24 hours.

If sampling these two signature dishes separately, however, be forewarned that , though widely available, not all smoked meat is created equal.

Shwartz's is the unequivocal institution for those seeking the legendary sandwich. They also offer a delectable smoked duck which has to be ordered in advance. Still, lining up in the cold for a table only to be rushed though one's meal by impatient servers isn't for everyone. While we wholeheartedly recommend their goods, you'll most likely find us across the street, at the Main, where seating is usually plentiful, the smoked meat usually comparable, and one is afforded the time to chat and doodle on the place mats. Like their more celebrated neighbour, they smoke their own.
* * *
And let's not forget the bagels. Many cities lay claim to have the better bagel, but the Company has traveled all over and unanimously agrees that New York has nothing on Montréal when it comes to the hand-formed buttery rings of boiled-then-baked dough.

(The mush-mouthed St. Viateur Bagel has got to be one of the greatest
mascots of all time (photo by Cottonwood Fields))
Tradition dictates that the members stop on the way out of town, each picking up a dozen St. Viateur bagels to take home. These prized bags of bread are subsequently frozen and carefully consumed in the hopes of tiding oneself over until the next opportunity to get to Montréal.
* * *

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


by Heywood McGillicuddy, Chairman:
Bonjour Montréal
, the Company assures you that it will be present once again at Expozine.
* * *
Naturally, our own Reverend Aitor will be there hocking his Unflattering Portraits on both sides of the language barrier
Align Center(photo by Reverend Aitor)
Samedi le 14 Novembre, 2009
1:pm - availablé
2:pm - availablé
3:pm - le lunch
4:pm - Laura
5:pm - availablé
* * *

Sunday, November 8, 2009


by Erkuden Sakana, Company Secretary:
Principal shooting has finally begun in earnest on the next Misanthrope Specialty Co. production.

Heywood and Cotton shoot their contributions to what will
eventually be spliced into
the Company's next film
(photos by Reverend Aitor, D.D.)

The members' excitement was palpable as they all took advantage of the unseasonably warm weekend in their respective attempts to get a few scenes under their belts. Adding to their current giddiness is the novelty of working in 16mm; a privilege few in the Company had known before.

The Montréal contingent gets in on the action
(photo by Heywood McGillicuddy)

As is usually the case, this work in progress remains untitled. A fitting moniker will be voted on once editing is complete [hopefully] early-ish in the new year.

* * *

Speaking of being in pictures, the always awkward Reverend Aitor found himself on the other side of the camera some time ago, as the subject of a short profile by Aaron Vincent Elkaim and Jason Quinton.

(Aitor smokes and fidgets through a short documentary
about his Unflattering Portraits)

The piece, shot last winter, was long unavailable due to the hacking of Mr.Elkaim's website the cyber-thug known to his victims as rudeboy. It is now up and running once more.

* * *

Monday, November 2, 2009


by Erkuden Sakana, Company Secretary:

Dia De Los Muertos
(photo by Mayte Mendia)

Because family obligations and general holiday malaise have always precluded a Company Christmas party, the Misanthrope Specialty Co. prefers to conduct its annual internal festivities on one holiday all it's members subscribe to: Dia de los Muertos.

A fresh batch of message cards, inspired by the ocasion
(photo by Erkuden Sakana)

And although production was a little lax at this week's congregation due to the fact that the festivities fell on a Sunday this year, the members did manage to buckle down long enough to work on their yearly collaboration of Day of the Dead-related art

"Calaveras 2" by Heywood McGillicuddy and T-Bone

As a result, the Company is pleased to offer its "Calaveras 2" art print via our Etsy store at the celebratory price of $4.99. But don't delay, as prices are subject to be jacked up to the more reasonable $9.99 come Sunday November 8.

Epistolary subscribers: fret not. You will all be receiving your complimentary print along with this month's mail-out.

* * *

Saturday, October 31, 2009


by Rufus Spaulding, Cub Reporter:

If you find yourselves ambling aimlessly along Queen Street West this coming Sunday, and find that you are five dollars too rich, then why not use said five bucks to checkout Hotel Canzine at the Gladstone Hotel?

(poster by Ethan Rilly)

If you venture upstairs -- and you may as well -- you'll find the fine folks from City of Craft have transformed a run-of-the-mill hotel suite into what insiders are calling the City of Craft General Store. This store within a zine fair within a boutique hotel will feature among its many goodies for sale, things we make. Things like our ever-popular hand-made greeting cards.

(Exhibit A)

Furthermore, Aitor has agreed to show up and scribble out a limit number of his every-bit-as-popular Unflattering Portraits. If this strikes you as a cool thing to do, we suggest securing and appointment.

(Exhibit B)

Sunday Movember 1
2:pm - Grant Hallas
3:pm - Ewan Williamson
4:pm - Donnie T. + Mary M.
5:pm - " " " "

To book an appointment, simply click on the comments section at the end of this posting and claim any hour that isn't already claimed. Portraits take about thirty to forty minutes per person (couples, oddly enough, count as two persons) and are done by donation. Pay what you think it's worth.

* * *

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


by Heywood McGillycuddy, Chairman:
Shooting for the Company's new movie is slated to begin shortly, and our members have been spending every spare moment at the Bunker and Clubhouse, studying and conducting workshops in a concerted effort to hone their filmmaking skills. This is the Company's first foray into analogue film in a long time.

(photo by Reverend Aitor)

It's been several years since T-Bone and Cotton had their Super 8 equipment stolen at gunpoint one shitty night in Tangier. Since then, our members have grown shamefully accustomed to the much more forgiving medium that is video -- what with its auto focus, instant playback, limitless shooting ratios, and the ability to fix things up in post-production. Mistakes made on video are relatively inexpensive compared to mistakes on film. The latter is far more costly and fragile a commodity, requiring more care and forethought than we'd been investing in our quick and dirty video productions.

The Company's amassed collection of 16mm cameras

And so, our members are putting their all into mastering the new old hardware before shooting begins next week. Our Minister of Acquisitions has outdone herself yet again, almost singlehandedly building the Company's motley collection of donated, borrowed, purchased and otherwise procured equipment into an arsenal to behold.

* * *

Monday, October 19, 2009


by Erkuden Sakana, Company Secretary:
A number of things have transpired since the posting of the last Meeting Minutes; some of it worth mentioning.

"And So To Bed" -- Just one of this week's Inductees
by the Misanthrope Specialty Co.

One such happy development has been the gradual return of most of the quarantined members' health. Fevers have subsided, headaches dissipated, lungs cleared and mucus membranes exsiccated. No longer a threat to the public health, these former vomiting retches now walk among you as free men and women once more.

An opening of previously initiated work at last night's congregation proved the recuperated members' time locked away in the Bunker was not spent idly.

Rufus demonstrates that it wasn't all been germs and pigs at the Bunker
(photo by Lydia Caulpepper)
The Bunker, unlike Headquarters or the Clubhouse, respectively, is furnished with neither an internet connection nor television. This left the infirm with little to do between naps other than draw and has subsequently resulted in an impressive stack of completed drawings submissions for their colleagues to elaborate upon.
* * *

Thursday, October 15, 2009


by Erkuden Sakana, Company Secretary:
The Misanthrope Specialty Company has recently made a number of significant acquisitions in Lower Canada; not the least of which is a new place for members to lay their hats and friends when in Montréal.

photo by Reverend Aitor

The new Company branch, overlooking scenic Parc Lafontaine has been tentatively been dubbed "Hindquarters" by the Headquarters staff. Though its christening won't be put to a vote until Sunday's congregation, unofficial consensus indicates the moniker will in all likelihood become official.

* * *

Another interesting addition to the Company assets comes in the form of a most extravagant. housewarming gift from recent ally, Michel Courtemanche.

New additions to the family (photos by Heywood McGillicuddy)

While not quite as advanced as Courtemanche's own Hawk robot butler, having one's coffee brought in via vintage Omnibots does a lot to console one after getting a glimpse of what luxuries one is missing when choosing the life of a cash-strapped Toronto artists over that of a French-Canadian entertainer.
* * *

Monday, October 12, 2009


by Heywood McGuillicuddy, Chairman:
It is Thanksgiving week-end here in Canada, and so there was no Sunday Service to report about.

(photo by Reverend Aitor)

* * *
Should anyone find themselves wondering the streets of Montréal tonight, ungrateful and without any kin with whom to endure yet another tedious turkey dinner, we welcome you with open legs to our annual Thanks For Nothing potlatch feast.
* * *

Friday, October 9, 2009


by Tallulah Lastname, Interim Secretary:
We enjoyed ourselves so thoroughly in Mount Royal, that most of us extended our stay, wearing out welcomes on sofas all across the Plateau.

Our reluctance to leave town left us wishing we'd never lost our Côte-des-Neiges offices to last summer's shit storm and prompted the vote to find a fresh foothold in the City of Saints.

Not ones to waste any time, our fearless Chairman and Impresario have stayed behind and are presently pounding the cobblestone in search of new digs. It's also been decided the new office will be above ground, out of turds' reach.
* * *

Monday, October 5, 2009


by Tallulah Lastname, Interim Secretary:
Another Puces Pop, another satisfying trip to the City of Saints.

la poutine de La Banquise, c'est la meilleur
(photo by Heywood McGillicuddy)

While this is chiefly a whirlwind business trip, we did manage to partake in some of the revelry Pop Montréal had to offer.

As is usually the case when carousing here, much of Saturday night was spent elbowing our way up Mont-Royale and down Saint-Laurent, true to the Montréal habit of chasing the rumoured better party. An endeavour made no easier by the fact that none of us are in the habit of sporting cellular telephones. It's asthough every weekend is New Year's Eve here.

"My Stars!" One of this week's inductees.

We did eventually stumble upon Laura Barrett's utterly charming show at Le Cagibi. Miss Barret and her accompanying orchestra managed to delight us all despite the puzzlingly murderous glances of the staff and the venue's strict policy of only selling drinks when accompanied by an overpriced food order. Five bucks for a brownie? Va te faire foutre, connard! It's a good thing they sell beer at the corner store in this town.

Nervertheless: Laura Barret. We recomend her as heartily as one can recommend things to strangers.
* * *
Our new Montréal friend, Michel Courtemanche graciously invited us to hold our Sunday Session at his spacious Mile End studio. Our colleagues still stuck in Toronto overcoming the swine flu were green with envy when we reported that at Monsieur Courtemanche's digs, cocktails are brought in by a robot butler.

Truth be told, it sounds much more exciting than it actually was.

* * *
Not too surprisingly, the themes stirred up by the Company's run-in with pig sickness still linger in much of this week's output. Not just in the pieces we brought along to finish, initiated by those still confined to the bunker, but in many new pieces begun this week.

(photo by Lydia Caulpepper)

Perhaps we, not unlike Picasso, we are going through our "Flu Period." I suspect this phase might stick around atleast as long as the virus does.

* * *

Thursday, October 1, 2009


by Erkuden Sakana, Company Secretary:
Headquarters has just received word of a most generous surprise, courtesy of our Hollywoodland benefactor.

For those of you not currently subscribed to the Misanthrope Specialty Co.'s Epistolary Service, below is a taste of what you're missing. The following is an excerptfrom the e-mail T-Bone sent this evening.

(photo by T-Bone)

"I'm staying in an ugly little place just outside Rolla, Missouri. Hiked into town for a beer and a couple of tins of beans to cook on the hot plate. When I came to in my room I was greeted by two things I knew weren't there before I left. The ominous stink of fresh bug poison and an equally ominous cardboard box placed in the exact center of the room.

(photo by T-Bone)

"I sat on the lumpy bed for what must've been hours. A tin of beans in my hand, breathing in the insecticide fumes, staring at the plain brown box with no return address or markings of any kind. Ready to smash it into the carpeting at the first sign of sound or movement from within."

And that's all you get from the horse's mouth. Rest assured, the box that had Mr.Bonaparte so perturbed contained not bad news but great news.

(photo by T-Bone)

As it turns out, T-Bone's new friend tracked him down to his motel and had a gift couriered over to further assist the Company in it's motion picture-making endeavors. A vintage Bell and Howell 16mm camera is nothing to sneeze at.

(photo by T-Bone)

The Company wishes to publicly thank Mr. Busey once again for his invaluable allegiance to its cause. Much of what's to come would not be possible without him.

It should also be pointed out that T-Bone would never have gained entrance into Busey's world had it not been for that fateful night that Mr. Van Hest helped him and his comrades interlope their merry way into that L.A. party this past summer. For this he, too, is owed a world of gratitude.

* * *

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


by Tallulah Lastname, interim Secretary:
(Puces Pop logo by Pin Pals)
Yes it's true, the Misanthrope Specialty Co. is heading into La Belle Province this weekend to hock it's wares at the Puce Pop Marketplace. Drop by 105 St.Viateur O Saturday and/or Sunday; we'll be there. See the sights, hear the sounds, taste the smells.
* * *

(photo by Reverend Aitor)
As an added bonus, the Good Reverend has agreed the make himself available to scribble out Unflattering Portraits of those who dare sign up for one.

Saturday October 4th:
1:30pm - Josée T.
2:30pm - Available
3:30pm - lunch break
4:30pm -David + 1
5:30pm -Gorka Coria

To book an appointment, simply click on the comments section at the end of this posting and claim any hour that isn't already claimed. Portraits take about thirty to forty minutes per person (couples, oddly enough, count as two persons) and are done by donation. Pay what you think it's worth.
* * *

Monday, September 28, 2009


by Tallulah Lastname, interim secretary:
Attendance at Sunday's congregation was nearly halved by a particularly feverish attack of the dreaded swine flu among many of our peers.

(photo by Cottonwood Fields)
In an attempt to contain outbreak, our feverish colleagues have been quarantined to the Bunker, under the altruistic care of Lydia Caulpepper, our newly appointed Company Nurse. With the public's best interest in mind, Lydia wishes to point out a disconcerting irony: all of our members who opted to get last year's flu shot have fallen prey to the H1N1 virus. Food for thought.

(photo by Heywood McGillicuddy)
But the Misanthrope Specialty Co. isn't one to just sit around idly in the face of a pandemic. The wheels keep turning. Once an interim Baliff and Secretary were appointed to fill in for our fallen bretheren, it was business as usual at Company Headquarters.

"Up Too Late" by the Misanthrope Specialty Company
It isn't unusual for unoficial or subsconscious themes to creep their way into an evening's session, so it's no surprise that so many images of illness, convalescence and even pigs turned up in much Sunday's yield.
* * *