Four Generations

Hong Kong has a wealth of street signs from different eras, but unlike Montreal, political and linguistic tensions are buried far beneath the surface. No matter what the age or style, Hong Kong street signs follow a formula: black text, white background, English above Chinese. There have been some minor variations through the years; in […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Four Generations , ,

Rue Provost

Provost Street, in the working-class borough of Lachine, is not one of Montreal’s much-vaunted main streets. It has no sidewalk cafés, no cool bars and no reason to linger. But it does have a vintage Poulet Frit à la Kentucky. I took these photos in the spring of 2007. I hope Provost and its fried-chicken […]

Patte de porc

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Boarded Up and Postered Over

Left, the Main between Duluth and Rachel in 1988; right, the former Laurier Cinema, now a bookstore, in 1988. Below, posters on a brick wall in 1996

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Sammy’s Kitchen

1970s-era restaurant sign, Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun

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Pop Art

Posters for Pop Montreal, early October, in an alley near St. Viateur in Mile End

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Fighting the Rent Hike

Every so often in Hong Kong, you’ll come across a protest banner like this one, hanging from the window of a decrepit apartment and bearing a message usually related to rents. In this case, tenants in a building near the Central street market are angry that their landlord wants to raise their rent three-fold. Rents […]

Electioneering in Plymouth, Michigan

An Obama sign in Plymouth… …and a McCain rejoinder Several days ago, American presidential candidate John McCain announced that he was suspending his campaign in the state of Michigan, and I breathed a sigh of relief. But he also announced that he was canceling a planned event in Plymouth, my hometown, and I was a […]

Posted in: Politics, Public Space, Society and Culture, United States by Matt Mucci Comments Off on Electioneering in Plymouth, Michigan , ,

Fake Signs

Panos 2013: “a collaborative project that takes the work of artists from around the world, in the form of fake road signs, and turns the streets of Lyon, France into an enormous gallery without walls.” Hmm. Sounds vaguely familiar. Maybe that’s because it seems to draw from the same way of thinking about cities as […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Europe, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Fake Signs ,

Tau Yat Piu! Throw a Vote!

It’s election time in Hong Kong. Today, hundreds of thousands of people headed to the polls to determine the makeup of the Legislative Council, a territorial legislature that meets in an old court building marked by a statue of Themis, the Greek goddess of justice. Half of the council’s 60 members represent geographical constituencies and […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Politics, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Tau Yat Piu! Throw a Vote! , , , ,

Bière Froide

Chicoutimi, Quebec

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Rebranding Park Avenue

The first banner was incongruous enough: “Avenue du Parc,” it read in a vaguely Hellenic font, set to a pale blue background. Underneath was the logo of the City of Montreal. Then, a couple of days later, I noticed other banners, these ones much more inscrutable: each featured a portrait of someone that was pulled […]

Hong Kong Doorways: Cacaphony

Whenever I’m walking down the street in Hong Kong I think about all of the information I’m missing because I can’t read Chinese: menus, advertisements, election signs, protest banners. (I’m particularly regretful I can’t read the menus.) Sometimes, though, I wonder if I’m actually being given a break, considering how many thousands of words compete […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Hong Kong Doorways: Cacaphony , ,

Strip Club Signs

Of all the kitsch that pervades Montreal’s commercial signage, little is more gaudy and outlandish than its strip club signs. In other cities, they’re discreet and euphemistic; here, they employ neon and cartoon illustrations to demonstrate what goes on inside. Nowhere is this more obvious than at Ste. Catherine and the Main, a corner that […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Strip Club Signs , , , ,