Tag Archives: Rob Elliott

Building a Bizarre Streetcar


Bombardier has delayed the delivery of Toronto’s new streetcars again, so we thought “How hard can it be to build our own?”

The artist-built “Bazaar Bizarre Streetcar” running down Gerrard St E. at the Festival of South Asia next weekend, August 15 and 16.

Inspired by Toronto’s obsession with all things transit, Andrew Horne and I designed a cartoon, three-quarter scale version of the familiar CLRV streetcar. We’ve spent the last week building the streetcar at Cuppa Coffee animation studios with the carpentry expertise of set designers Kevin and Tony.

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The Bazaar Bizarre Streetcar improves on the TTC’s vehicles in some exciting ways:

  • 100% green energy: The Bazaar Bizarre Streetcar will be pushed down the street three times a day by four people.
  • Community building: The Bazaar Bizarre Streetcar has been designed the celebrate the Gerrard India Bazaar. The streetcar livery has been brightened up with a South Asia damask pattern. The cartoon passengers, who will be illuminated at night, include many traditional animals from the South Asia Region.
  • Engaging passengers: On top of the streetcar, rising to a height of four meters, are giant cartoon versions of Toronto’s animals – raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, and plenty of pigeons. The passenger windows are also crammed with dozens of fantastic people and creatures. The streetcar car drivers are an enormous cat and and helpful lady monster.
  • Musical accompaniment: When the The Bazaar Bizarre Streetcar comes to live and roll along to a new location in the Bazaar, it will escorted by a fanciful South Asian style band, playing joyful music and adding to the excitement.
  • Accurate signage: The streetcar, which will travel only a half dozen blocks during the Festival of South Asia, has helpful signs reading “Very Short Turn”.

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Tiger suits and jaunty poodles

I have two paintings in the latest Super Wonder Gallery extravaganza, The Super Big Top. This circus-inspired art show will feature the works of dozens of artists, plus games of chance, a museum of sideshow oddities, and circus freaks.

Tigress. 30"x40", acrylic on canvas, 2015. $600

Tigress. 30″x40″, acrylic on canvas, 2015. $600

Tigress is a classic Rob Elliott painting – sex and violence and cigarettes and animals – on a bright blue canvas.

Sideshow, 18"x18", acrylic on canvas, custom painted wood frame, 2006. $400

Sideshow, 18″x18″, acrylic on canvas, custom painted wood frame, 2006. $400

Sideshow features an unlikely duo of circus animals, a goat and a poodle. It’s a fun piece, and is custom framed with white-painted pine.

The Super Big Top Opening Reception is this Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission is $10.

The Super Big Top
A Group Show of Contemporary Art inspired by the Circus
Super Wonder Gallery
876 Bloor St. West (near Ossington subway station), Toronto
July 24 & 25, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Non stop dancing in heaven


If you ever caught me DJing at Gin ‘n’ Sin at the Niagara in the 1990s, or if you’ve just been to one of my parties, you know the key role James Last plays in my social life.

The German bandleader, whose rock medley-stuffed Non Stop Dancing records can be found in every thrift store bin, has died at 86 years old. The records were the sound of a square culture learning to have fun, complete with a singalong choir to help the listener get into the groove.

Great as James Last’ss medley records were, my favourite was 1972’s psychedelic rock-infused Voodoo Party, in particular the completely mad track “Mr. Giant Man”.