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Torontopia / Broken Social Scene

Toronto's alternative-rock scene is a place where the sweetly
familial and weirdly collective rub up against the traditional
markers of stardom. BSS is the largest and the most media-ready
of the Toronto bands, but it is far from the only band committed
to a Toronto-bred arty idealism, known to some as Torontopia.

Jonny Dovercourt, a 32-year-old local rock musician and impresario,
and his friend Steven Kado, a musician with an interest in hipsterish
pursuits like urban planning, coined the term in 2002 to help give
utopian ballast to the city's sprawling but idealistic music community.
Dovercourt is so committed to Toronto that he adopted one of its
street names, Dovercourt, as his last name; his real name is Jonathan

Dovercourt has a penchant for arriving at rock clubs and bars with
books by the famed urban critic Jane Jacobs, who has made Toronto
her home for nearly 40 years. He is a public-space enthusiast intent
on defending it from corporate forces and on keeping it open to the
improvisational and the unexpected. In his effort to advance Toronto's
fortunes, Dovercourt started a weekly music series called Wavelength,
held at bars like Ted's Wrecking Yard and Sneaky Dee's.

The indie-popular Constantines, which plays a kind of blue-eyed-
soul-punk, had its breakout show at Wavelength, which is often described
as the center of the Toronto scene and its incubator. In the past six years,
hundreds of bands have played in the series, including BSS, Dovercourt's
Republic of Safety, Ninja High School, the FemBots and the influential CCMC
(Canadian Creative Music Collective), an improv music co-op featuring
the filmmaker Michael Snow. On a typical night, two or three bands,
almost always local and encompassing various genres, attract audiences
of up to 200. This month, Wavelength had its 300th show.

Linkage: NYT, Torontoist Backwash, and for the UTNE Reader crowd, the Torontopia and
Toronto The Good.


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