Ron Nurwisah, Boy Reporter

Boy Reporter is a Toronto-based journalist and blogger. He frequently writes about urban life, visual arts, culture and anything else that strikes his fancy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More Reasons Why I don't Like Starbucks

First it was targetting local, indie coffee shops, now it seems Starbucks is trying to drive music stores out of business. Hear Music, the Starbucks label, is apparently a huge mover in the nasty business of selling music.

I have to admit, that not all of the Hear Music catalogue is bad. A lot of it is quite good actually, but I'll still go to my local record store simply because the surly clerks at Rotate This or the friendlier ones at Soundscapes actually know and care about the music they're selling.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Adventures of Boy Reporter in BlogLand

I foregoed some sleep to hang out with the artists at the Whippersnapper Gallery at their wacky art event, "Sleep is for Dead People". 24 artists stayed up real late, 24 hours late, and made art. I post about it on TOist. And uber photoblogger Sam Javanrouh takes photos of it here.

Also my review of Dionne Brand's What We All Long For. Highly recommended, even for those who don't live in Toronto.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

______ Asian Man

The blogosphere has got Angry Asian Man. Online comics has Secret Asian Man and frustrated Asian men everywhere have the proclamations of Bitter Asian Men (I do find the crying Panda quite funny).

Also May, Asian Heritage Month, is almost over.... so make sure you hug your favourite Asian. After this month, we'll conveniently be hidden on the cultural back shelf until someone needs to trumpet tolerance and racial diversity.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Better Way? Better Than What?

The TTC Marketing team needs to get fired....NOW! The ad campaigns are ineffective, uncool and the slogan "the better way" isn't nearly edgy enough to punch through when you've got companies like Nike and Apple putting up floor to ceiling, wall to wall ads.

I saw an old London Underground mug the other day at Ideal Coffee with the slogan "Nothing beats the system." The slogan is so tongue in cheek, smart alecky and ballsy compared to the soft-sell of "the better way."

Also when you've got people cooking up products like this and this on their computers and on a pittance, and the best thing that the TTC marketing team can come up with are a bunch of lame brain teaser ad... well that's just sad.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Boy Reporter --> Boy Activist? --> Boy Politician?

I spent most of yesterday afternoon watching city council struggle its way through the postering by-law. The by-law was finally sent up to the mayor's office where David Miller and Staff will try to craft a balance between the free spech aspects of postering (community groups, NGOs, etc. who poster b/c it's cheap and effective) vs. the "litter/blight on the community aspect" that so many suburban councillors seem to firmly believe in.

I'm constantly amazed by the small-mindedness of so many councillors who see postering as an eye-sore or one councillor's assertion that "the people of Toronto would rather have a clean and beautiful city rather than free speech."


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Blog Issues

A number of people have told me that they're still going to I haven't been updating that site for a while, for up-to-date boyreporter goodness please go to

By September I'll be migrating the site over to movabletype which means I won't have to deal with Blogger and its annoying templates and interface.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A Day Full of Politics

I've been keeping one eye on Toronto City Council because they're voting on the postering by-law. Unfortunately this meant that I missed the breaking news that Belinda Stronach jumped off the S.S. Harper and joined up with Team Martin.

Also, I'm sad that I won't be able to help take down the Liberals in the BC election. Gordon Campbell has hacked social services in that province, the NDP didn't do a great job running the province considering how long they were in power but giving the Liberals free rein of the province wasn't that much fun either. I'm actually more interested in seeing how BC will vote on all the interesting voting reform initiatives.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Toronto the Good

When I first found out about Spacing Magazine I fell in love with the idea of a magazine dedicated to Toronto's public space. I've written one piece to the mag which is now online and will have pieces in the next issue.

Spacing is also having a fundraiser at the Steamwhistle Brewery Distillery District next week. It's only 10 bucks (20 if you can afford it!). I'd love to see you there.

Monday, May 09, 2005


If you haven't already subscribed to Maisonneuve's MediaScout, what are you waiting for? MediaScout is Maisonneuve's daily analysis of what the Big 6 media outlets are covering (Four papers and two TV news programs). The sages at MS break down the papers and show you what they're leading with, how the newsrooms are spinning the stories and any missteps in coverage.

Go, now!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Now That's Good Eatin'

One of things I did when I was in NYC was visit the Museum of the Chinese in the Americas, a little museum tucked right in the middle of Chinatown. The museum was showing an exhibit on Chinese restaurants in the US, which is also lovingly reviewed here by Gish Jen.

Chinese restaurants have been on my mind a lot lately because of Cheuk Kwan's great 13-part documentary series which is screening around Canada because of Asian Heritage Month.

If there's a single type of business that speaks of the immigrant experience in Toronto, restaurants would have to be it. Once any nationality or ethnic group reaches a certain size it seems that invariably a restaurant pops up in Toronto. Interestingly, I still can't find a decent South East Asian place in Toronto (one that serves decent Singaporean, Malay, Indonesian)....

Friday, May 06, 2005

Reflecting on 9-11

I finally got around to reading William Langewiesche's American Ground, his long feature turned into book on the 9-11 recovery efforts. Langewiesche, who writes for the Atlantic, managed to get access to the site less than a week after 9-11 and was there for months afterwards. It's probably one of the best pieces of long-form journalism in the last couple of years and well worth getting (it's already hit the syllabus at Ryerson).

Reading Langewiesche also prepped me for Joel Meyerowitz's 9-11 exhibit which is currently showing at Contact. Meyerowitz' a NYC street photographer is showing some large format photographs of the site at an old empty building turned into a gallery on King St. W. They're a perfect compendium to Langewiesche's wonderfully reported book.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sweet Sweet Vindication!

I'm Putting This Up In As Many Places As I Can

I'm using the power of the blogosphere to get the word out. The posters are available from the Toronto Public Space Committee to download or you can buy a package of 50 and start your very own anti-Nike campaign. I also post about it on Torontoist.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Those Randy Classical Music Fans

One of the things that has always pissed me off about the contemporary marketing of classical music are the really really lame attempts at sexing up classical music. Bond, Vanessa Mae, that annoying new tenor quartet. They're sooo mainstream and heavy handed....

Let's put this hot, young soprano in a short skirt and this hot young tenor in a leather jacket and tight pants and those classical music buyers will just swoon! WRONG! I'm not sure how to make classical music "sexy" again, or whether that's even really worth it. Much of the music can be challenging and simply doesn't fit in the 5 minute snippets, mp3 driven culture of music today. British classical music writer Ivan Hewett argues that the sexiness of the music is just below the surface. With most opera it's not below the surface it's right there (Rigoletto is about a duke who sleeps around and how one jilted dad seeks revenge, Don Giovanni = Don Juan, etc.)

Monday, May 02, 2005

PBS: Yet Another Arm of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy

A story in the NYT reports that the Republican chairperson of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting thinks that PBS should change its liberal bias. Uh, isn't denying PBS funding to do its job enough damage guys?