Welcome to Mez Dispenser: The occasional rants of a promiscuous endorser.
Dave Meslin is a Toronto-based artist and organiser, with a focus on public space issues, cycling infrastructure, voting reform, transpartisan advocacy and democratic renewal. (Friends call him ‘mez’).
Due to his fear of commitment, Dave has skipped around from project to project. He organised Reclaim the Streets (’98-’00), coordinated Toronto’s Car Free Day programming (’00, ’01), founded the Toronto Public Space Committee (2001), co-founded Spacing Magazine (’03), created the WhoRunsThisTown project (’06), produced City Idol (’06), founded the Toronto Cyclists Union (’08), started Dandyhorse Magazine (’08) launched Better Ballots (’08), organised WindFest (’10) created the Ranked Ballot Initiative (’11) and recently curated the Fourth Wall exhibit about transforming local politics in Toronto.
In November 2010, Coach House books published Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement in Torontot co-edited by Dave, Alana Wilcox and Christina Palassio.
Dave was once labeled a “promiscuous endorser” by NOW Magazine (for supporting three candidates in a single ward during a City election). It’s a fitting description, and almost became the title for this blog*. Multi-partisan, fiercely optimistic and delusionally utopian, Dave embraces ideas and projects that cut across traditional boundaries between grassroots politics, electoral politics and the arts community. In his work, he attempts to weave elements of these communities together.
Some of his favorite projects to date include the Downtown De-fence Project, the Professional Guest and the Pee-Wee Herman Picture Show, which featured members of Toronto’s indie rock community coming together to raise funds and awareness about bicycle advocacy in the city.
When he’s not deeply immersed in urban politics or electoral reform, Dave tours with The Hidden Cameras. Future projects could possibly include a transit riders’ union, a bike store, a reality TV show, and maybe another book.
* Thanks to Ryan McLaren for dreaming up the name “Mez Dispenser”.