Travis Myers is a writer, panelist, and LGBT activist whose work has appeared in several Hogtown institutions. Travis is also hilarious and enjoys wine, which makes him a perfect guest for this show. We spoke with Travis about growing up religious and gay, fetishizing the act of argument, and the Village’s past and uncertain future. Travis also talked about why we don’t see more penises in movies, John V. Olivia, and learning to love Toronto—begrudgingly.
Mackenzie Keast is co-founder of Toronto company Distl, and a Cabbagetown resident. Raised in rural B.C., Mackenzie studied urban planning and design at Waterloo before falling victim to Hogtown’s cosmopolitan tractor beam. We spoke with Mackenzie about growing up in a brewery, converting to the Church of Toronto, and how developers can actually help poor people. Mackenzie also talked about Alpha Cities, encouraging young planners to think crazy, and his Top 3 public spaces in Toronto. (Oh, and Drake, obviously.)
Kyle Carsten Wyatt is the managing editor of The Walrus, a doctor of English Literature, and the first American to be on the show. He’s also Barry’s old boss. We spoke with Kyle about the agony and ecstasy of growing up in Nebraska, moving to Hogtown in his twenties, and why living in the Distillery District sucks. He also let Barry grill him about the ostensible shortcomings of Canada’s most awarded magazine, what new editor-in-chief Jonathan Kay brings to the table, and—surprise!—why Toronto is amazing. This episode is sponsored by Regal Bicycles.
In the first episode of Hogtown Talks‘ new podcast on movies, we meet filmmaker Bronson Allen, a Toronto mensch and one of Barry’s best friends. Barry and Bronson talk about bonding over Goodfellas, Scarborough douchebags, and the problem with TIFF. They also talk about Cumberland Cinema (R.I.P.), Toronto’s most cinematic location, and Sarah Polley’s journey into Young Adult filmmaking.
Robin Dann is a singer and songwriter and founder of Toronto band, Bernice. She grew up on the Danforth, attended Barry’s insane alma mater the Etobicoke School of the Arts, and now lives in one of Hogtown’s best neighbourhoods (we said it), Brockton Village. We spoke with Robin about growing up in a musical family, the trials of high school, and finding her musical voice. Robin also talked about her writing process, working with people she loves, and what’s keeping her in Toronto.
Mark Kingwell is a philosopher at the University of Toronto. His work in political theory, ethics, aesthetics, and criticism has made him one of Canada’s most renowned public intellectuals. And he’s the reason Barry became a philosophy major. (We’ll see how that turns out.) We spoke with Mark about his childhood obsession with Trudeau-era nationalism, living in Kensington Market as an undergrad, and the intersection of philosophy and pop culture. Mark also spoke about the tension of working within elitist institutions, civility’s relationship with political violence, and how it’s kind of hard to beat what we got going on in Hogtown.
Stephen Marche is a columnist at Esquire, novelist, and doctor of Early Modern Drama. He’s written about sex, hockey, and Megan Fox, among many things. Stephen spoke with us about his lifelong obsession with the novel, being labelled a misogynist and idiot, and why writing is not for whiners. He also talked about how Americans could give two shits about the CBC, why writing fiction takes courage, and Toronto’s future. (It won’t be boring.)
John Semley is a freelance writer living in West Queen West. The former city editor of the A.V. Club Toronto, his writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and The Walrus. John and Barry also share the same barber. John spoke with us about why he hates self-identifying as a writer, reading for pain and pleasure, and The Onion‘s failure in Hogtown. He also talked about the fine line between being an asshole and a contrarian, NOW Magazine’s knack for survival, and why you don’t have to leave Toronto to be successful.
Michael Lista is a poet, columnist for the National Post, and the poetry editor at The Walrus. The Montreal Gazette called Michael a “brilliant, erudite new voice on the Canadian poetry scene,” and Barry called him, “a great host who got me drunk during our podcast interview.” Michael’s book The Scarbourough, due out in September, is a collection of poems that takes place during the weekend Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka abducted Kristin French. Michael spoke with us about the agony and ecstasy of the ‘burbs, Biggie vs. Tupac, and being called a literary rapist. He also talked about aesthetic theory and what he’d say to the “Ken and Barbie Killers” if given the chance.