Welcome to Mez Dispenser:  The occasional rants of a promiscuous endorser.

Hi!  I’m a Toronto-based artist and organiser, with a focus on public space issues, cycling infrastructure, voting reform, transpartisan advocacy and democratic renewal. (my friends call me ‘mez’).

Due to a deep fear of commitment, I’ve skipped around from project to project.  I 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 (’10), curated the Fourth Wall exhibit (’11), and recently launched the Dazzling Notice Awards, Unlock Democracy Canada and Scenic Toronto.

In November 2010, Coach House books published Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto which I co-edited along with Alana Wilcox and Christina Palassio.

I 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, I try to embrace ideas and projects that cut across traditional boundaries between grassroots politics, electoral politics and the arts community. In my work, I attempts to weave elements of these communities together.

Some of my 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 I’m not deeply immersed in urban politics or electoral reform, I occasionally tour with The Hidden Cameras.  Right now, I’m writing a book, “One hundred remedies for a broken democracy”.

You can check out all of my projects here.

* Thanks to Ryan McLaren for dreaming up the name “Mez Dispenser”.


28 responses to “about

  1. oh shit. i have a blog.

  2. Hooray! Congratulations.

    Is there an RSS feed we can follow? I can’t seem to find a link.

  3. Hey Matt. I’m not sure why there isn’t an RSS link. I’ll look into it….

  4. great Mez. Congrates and glad you’re around!

  5. Welcome to blogging, Mez. :)

  6. ps. Matt.. there should be an orange RSS icon in your browser address bar (in Firefox) or on your browser toolbar (in IE7).

  7. Pingback: Redefining Apathy | Katherine TOms

  8. Pingback: Πως θα ηττηθεί η απάθεια των Ελλήνων. « Giorgos Vagionis Blog

  9. Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back and we’ll talk about it.


    Mandie Hayes

  10. Mez you might find Toronto Tenants Rights a good community resource.

  11. Hey Mez –
    Just watched your TedTalks with my husband. Great! I like your defence of apathy – that it is a lot about societal constructs and how we are not set up for engagement of people. Good thoughts to chew on. Still have one of your Mez T-Shirts. Hope you’re well.
    Michelle Lackie

  12. militantcyclist

    I’m really impressed with what you are up to, adding a link to you on my blog. Cheers!

  13. Hi Dave great site, just wondering if you have any rants that specifically address naming rights and advertising – you spoke about this at Whose Park Is It back in April. I’m a memebr of Active 18 (http://www.active18.net/) and we are trying to figure out what to do about a new park coming to Queen West at Lisgar.

  14. Pingback: Pumping up the protests in Toronto City Council Chambers « West Annex News

  15. Hi, Dave,
    Thanks for your stand on the sound canons and for providing comprehensive information about ear protection. Sound canons are far more dangerous than people realize. Most people are unaware that audio-processing deficits short of deafness cause learning disabilities and the full range of mental illnesses including schizophrenia. A range of physical illnesses are caused by audio deficits as well. You can learn more about that at my blog.
    Great blog!

  16. Pingback: Straight Outta Crompton – Get Your Sh!t Off My Street — Whistler Is Awesome – Whistler Blog

  17. Message from Davis Mirza (please post)
    Hi T.O friends… There will be a critical mass of bikes meeting @
    Allan Gardens on Thursday October 4th, 6PM for an evening ride to City
    Hall to save the Jarvis Street bike lanes
    The ride will be in memory of Jenna Morrison and Darcy Allan Sheppard
    (RIP). Invite your friends and family to this vigil ride. Bring bike
    signs, candles and your bells. peace~davis
    PS: There is a 30% chance of rain and 100% chance that the Jarvis
    Street Bike Lane will still be there…let’s keep it that way!!

    Read more: “Save Jarvis Street Bike Lane – Cyclists Deserve Your
    Respect!” :http://bike27.ca/post/32381425547/email-to-councillors-from-davis-mirza-rhonda-costas
    “Road-rage cabbie who hit cyclist jailed 2 years”:

  18. Pingback: Harmony breaks out at city hall with apolitical rock band | News-ON Toronto

  19. Hey Dave. Could you link this blog to Facebook somehow so it can be shared with others?

    Also, I’m heading to Toronto and am volunteering to bring the Skeena Wild Film Festival 2013 to the city streets. I was hoping you may know of a great venue that’s sorta cheap for a non profit group trying to get the East’s attention on the tar sands expansion. Any ideas? Cheers

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  23. Your blog provides me with comfort in knowing that there is a clear disconnect between the people and the system. Sometimes I feel like I am alone in my own little city in San Bernardino Ca, but when I stumble on blogs like this …I feel empowered and want to keep pushing down the barriers that are placed to keep mouths quiet and hearts cold. Keep posting!! And stay true to your goals!!

  24. Dave… I want to quote some of your remarks from your 2010 TEDXToronto talk in an upcoming book entitled the Anarchist Guide to Historic House Museums that I am publishing with Frank Vagnone with LeftCoast Press. Could I send you the details and get your OK?
    Deb Ryan
    Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design
    University of North Carolina at Charlotte

  25. Pingback: Dave Meslin’s Engagement Framework – Applications for Associations - CSAE Trillium Chapter

  26. Hi Mez … great article in the Sat. Globe!! We need more like you. Politics in Canada, at all levels, has become a huge, very expensive and near-criminal farce!

  27. Hi Dave-I’m reading Teardown now, and just had the most demeaning call from the NDP. “Are you a longtime supporter of the NDP?” Me: “No.” “Are you a recent supporter?” Me: “No”. “We love hearing the personal stories of our supporters.It costs money to get our message out. That’s why you don’t see much about us in the media. Can you donate $400?” Me: “That’s really funny. Goodbye.”.

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