Exclaim! gives a shout out to The State of the Arts

By Michael Barclay
February 2007

Toronto The Good

In 2005, uTOpia: Towards a New Toronto (Coach House Press) was an unexpectedly successful book of essays re-imagining Toronto as a city of possibility and invention. The fact that there’s now a sequel, The State of the Arts: Living With Culture in Toronto, is either proof that the notion of Torontopia soldiers on, or proof to outsiders that Torontonians never tire of talking about themselves. This time out, there’s a tinge of whininess, a bit too much on why things don’t work instead of -- like in uTOpia’s first volume -- concrete suggestions of how they could. But essays on Toronto’s ‘creative class,’ the birth of the StillePost message board, hip-hop infrastructure and the municipal election City Idol campaign are all vital time capsule material. Carl Wilson’s closing tour-de-force of semantics and semiotics regarding the city’s newfound ‘participatory aesthetics’ is pure gold, and reason enough for the city to blow some Big Smoke up its own ass.

Michael Barclay

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