Overly gifted

Hey 514 entrepreneurs, get in touch to have your holiday products pimped, and look here for pointers to this week’s best hip hop shows, including Jai Nitai Lotus, Peer Pressure at Tokyo Thursdays and araabMUZIK.

I traditionally start to use the arrival of “the holidays” as an excuse to take off an hour here or a day there sometime around the fourth week of September, but like most of us, I gag at the arrival of shiny ornaments in the Jean Coutu aisle still haunted by leftover witch noses on the day after Halloween.

In my corner of the Southwest, one discount store even had window-painted trick-or-treating characters staring down Santa two panels over, and I noticed that shit at Thanksgiving. And I dunno exactly where else this is a phenomenon, but in my new ‘hood, the apparent competition for largest, loudest, gaudiest outdoor crèche is on and poppin’ from the first weekend of November. By next Monday, tops, I’ll be zig-zagging my way through caravans of wise men on camels just to get to the dep.

I’m not interested in any debates about the commercialization of the season and all that noise. In fact, I’d love to see people giving gifts they truly get behind and receiving in kind things they will actually enjoy. And I like to see people get paid.

Last year around this time, a few people hit me up about specialty-type items they had on offer for the holidays and a lot of them were pretty cool. I ain’t Martha Stewart though. I didn’t know what the fuck to do with them.

All this has me thinking that this year, I wanna actually devote some time and space here for local small-scale entrepreneurs to get a fair shot at the almighty Xmas dollar. I have a few things already in mind, and if I can get enough interesting submissions or proposals, in the coming weeks I’ll either create a list or write a Top 10-type feature, something along those lines, to help interested parties find each other.

I’ll give you some examples of what I’m looking for. Last year I remember the homie Shogun was taking orders for homemade rum cakes and scotch eggs. Someone else hit me up about crazy-ass cupcakes and pimped-out cookies, and someone else still with a holiday wing ’n’ beer concept.

Then, all kindsa people are doing custom hoodies, caps, shirts and jewellery, many of which boast city-centric designs that can pull major weight in the “hot gift” lane.

Canvases and custom painting are on high offer in the graphic arts world. Maybe you sell a service: haircuts, DJ lessons, visual production.

And the quality of local CDs this year has been amazing. I’d love to help get a whole bunch of them wrapped in festive bows and played on the ol’ family phonograph come the yuletide. So here’s that part where I ask for crowd participation: If you have something worth giving, e-mail me at shinecultmtl@gmail.com with descriptions, pictures, all that good shit, and if it’s dope, I’ll be in touch. Obviously the more original, the better, and note that I won’t be plugging plain old download links or whatever. I do that all year ’round anyways, and face it: no one is gonna download themselves your mixtape for Christmas.

Next week, I’ll recalibrate the bi-weekly Shine On features. Meanwhile, here’s what’s decorating the streets this week.

Wednesday – As featured in the November print issue of Cult MTL, producer/MC Jai Nitai Lotus takes it to the stage tonight at O Patro Vys, launching his brand-new LP Something You Feel. The event promises a fierce live back-up presence comprised of friends from Kalmunity and beyond, graphics by Nik Brovkin, beats by Simahlak and Karma Atchykah on hosting duties. Five bucks gets you in, $10 gets you the CD, too. Check here for a little taste of the live show.

Thursday – Taigenz, aka “Mr.514,” holds down a pre-release party for his upcoming mixtape. His Made in Muntree showcase at Cabaret Underworld also features Aiza, Music Notes, Purpsy Purps, WhoSane and host Hypemann P. Up the Main, Peer Pressure in the Bldg brings A-Rock, Hatchmatik and Shaydakiss back to Tokyo Thursdays.

Further north, Cadence Weapon returns to the DJ booth at Nouveau Palais for Eat to the Beat.

FridaySlang Rap Democracy II: Deciphering the Cypher is the big show, but it’s actually not a show at all. A panel of local talents, curated by Markings and co-presented by Concordia U prof Marc Peters, meets in the EV building from 7–10 p.m., free of charge and open to all.

“Who we are, where we’re at, and where we need to be” is the hot topic, picking up from last winter’s first installment. Check Cult MTL on Friday for an interview with the organizers and to hear a little more what it’s all about, but meanwhile the video on the event page will also give you an idea.

Afterward, head to Underworld where Mook Life Futurists Present: Zero Gravity. Tronald Trump, Tommy Kruise and Pro-V make it float like the clown from IT and CeasRock grabs the mic.

Saturday – Beatbox maven X-Wam huffs, puffs and blows down the BBAM! Gallery at 3 p.m., gratis. And freaky people, get ready: araabMUZIK puts his button-pushing calisthenics routine on at the SAT. The ex-Diplomats producer is a dancefloor darling and Montreal can’t get enough. Give yourself the gift of wisdom and find out why. ■


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