Our response to the above juxtaposition was originally going to hinge on the observation that “The Simpsons already did it.” (And so they have.) But upon learning that Kevin Bracken, the male half of Newmindspace, intends to permanently return to New York next month—putting the future of the group in the air—we must acknowledge that the lolgay takes on an unintended wistfulness.
One of Toronto’s best-known straight couples whose names your parents wouldn’t know, Kevin Bracken and Lori Kufner were alternately described as artists and activists, as organizers and ravers, as the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems. Taking their inspiration from Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Improv Everywhere, and other groups and individuals creating public-space interventions the world over, Newmindspace developed their own, youth-driven, brand of urban play as subversively political as it is whimsical. Their annual unauthorized takeover of the Financial District for Capture the Flag, for example, essentially takes the Reclaim the Streets concept mainstream, recontextualizing rarefied spaces as the domain of the public for whatever peaceful purpose the public sees fit.
But this is not a eulogy. Newmindspace is not dead, and their events will continue here and elsewhere. Although Bracken, whose resumé also includes being a longtime Torontoist contributor and a bane of Adam Vaughan’s existence, is completing his U of T degree at the end of this month and will afterward make good on his longstanding intention to go home, his relocation will be a catalyst for evolution rather than a death knell. “Newmindspace will still put on events in Toronto!” their bulletin emphasizes. “We will still do our annual pillow fight, bubble battle, subway parties, capture the flag, and lightsaber jams.
“But we want YOU to think of events we’ve never done before. We want YOU to take ownership of the urban playground movement.”
A pay-what-you-can town hall meeting is planned for Friday, December 12, at 7 p.m, at “Raw Space” (221 Sterling Avenue, #5, not far from the wafer silo). “This is a gathering on the night the full moon will be closest to the earth in 15 years. This is a night to dream big, invent the future, and shoot for the stars. We will have guest speakers, a huge brainstorming session, the Newmindspace booth, and refreshments.”
To paraphrase something once written about another local institution, Kevin and Lori built a movement out of Newmindspace—now they’re ready for the group to outgrow them.
And as for the photo? “Hahah yeah that was the south stage at Pride 2007,” Bracken tells us, “which explains a lot I think. DJ Jelo was playing, and he gets us pretty excited.”
“Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy” screencap from The Simpsons Gallery.