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LONG WINTER with FUCKED UP, HOLY FUCK, THE SADIES, KIDS ON TV, MAYLEE TODD, ODONIS ODONIS, RITUALS and TASSEOMANCY at the Great Hall (1087 Queen West), Friday (February 8), 8 pm, all ages. Pwyc. torontolongwinter.com.
Toronto's Long Winter is about to get even longer.
Wiarton Willy may have predicted an early spring on Groundhog Day, but followers of the local music scene tend to measure seasons in concert listings. Fucked Up developed their Long Winter series partly to relieve the November-to-February live music lull, but it's been so successful that they're extending it.
When I call Fucked Up guitarist Josh Zucker, I'm expecting him to be in a reflective mood, prepping for the fourth and supposedly final edition of the Great Hall music/art/film/dance/food series. Instead, between trips to Kinko's, he tells me they're planning a Long Winter in March, and he's also in the process of gathering documentation to apply for a Toronto Arts Council grant so they can do it all over again next year.
"It took people a while - and us as well - to figure out exactly what this thing was, but it's really started to take shape," he says. "I think some people have been skeptical, especially some of the kids who may be coming from a strictly punk and hardcore background. But the response has been great."
Local punk and hardcore scenes are often lauded for their ability to instill a sense of inclusiveness and community in young fans, but niche scenes can also seem insular to outsiders. Long Winter, says Zucker, is an attempt to bridge the gap between diverse arts scenes by presenting them together in an all-ages venue.
"I was fortunate to grow up in a really tight, active DIY scene," says Zucker. "But I think if there had been stuff like [Long Winter] that included other kinds of art that I hadn't been exposed to, it would've been a huge eye-opener."
Friday's edition of the series features contemporary dance, indie video games, art installations, a "rave" and the Canadian premiere of the feature film Marvin, Seth & Stanley (which stars Alex Karpovsky from the HBO show Girls).
It also features musical headliner
Holy Fuck, whose expletive of a moniker was once cited by the Conservative government as reason for the cancellation of the PromArt grant program. The irony that they and Fucked Up are at the head of a high-minded arts series seeking grant funding isn't lost on Zucker.
But he and his band have gotten used to defying expectations.
"If you were following us 10 years ago, that [fact] might not have been obvious," he admits. "But neither would much of what we've done in the last decade."