Astrid Idlewild

Complicated, but you’d never want her to be any other way.

at the opening for Join Us EIR in the Park, 18 November 2016

Taleen Der Haroutounian

And then there’s Astrid. She’s a producer of critical works on urban history, on what the public actually signifies in public spacing, and on citizenships of being. Urban placeism and Black womanist principles guide her values and shape how she interprets participatory citizenship, place design, and equity in urban planning policy.

Astrid is a part of Toronto. She founded Denizen.TO, a civic-centred apparel & accessory shop for Toronto and Montréal. She specialized in urban design at McGill University, earning her master of urban planning in 2012 and her bachelor’s, with distinction, in urban and Canadian studies at the University of Toronto in 2009. Her novel research on illumination planning chronicles a history on artificial lighting at night and examines its qualitative impact on women’s public health, civic spaces, and fauna. She’s investigated ongoing interactions between a consumption-based citizenship, how it shaped queer enclaves during the past half-century, and the constraints of prescriptive vocations imposed on the most marginal populations found in such enclaves. She developed the Kodachrome Toronto Registry in 2011, a finding aid to help locate Toronto’s history in colour. Under supervision of Rick Salutin, she drafted a comparative thesis on the Achilles heel of Canadian content music policy. She has served on the boards of Campus Co-operative Residence Inc., and the Ontario Student Co-operative Association.

Well before Bill C–16, Ontario’s Toby’s Act, the repeal of Houston’s HERO, or the passage of North Carolina’s HB2, Astrid was the sole fore of a human rights harmonization on the continent which only now is catching up to her unintended lead. Punitive reverberations from that legal precedent rattled career aspirations as it sidelined her from participating in the responsibilities and, consequently, the rights of an everyday citizenship. Much like the corporation that lodged her into civil history, she re-branded. Unlike the corporation, she is in post-traumatic recovery and continues to cope with depression.

As a longtime deejay and sound engineer, Astrid moonlights as DJ Five-to-Midnight at places like The Handlebar and still moulds together the occasional remix or mashup to build from her first remix EP in 1996. As a photographer, she remains committed to film. Before university, she took her professional licks in marketing communications and publishing. After nearly five years of riding as a Toronto bike messenger, she retired her radio in 2010.

Some say Astrid bears this vague resemblance to Meryl Streep or maybe Liz Hanks, but that’s ridiculous.


Published credits
  • 2016. Event DJing, #BechdelBill at TIFF, Toronto.
  • 2015–16. Venue DJing, The Handlebar, Toronto.
  • 2008–09. Event DJing, Velo Social at Augusta House, Toronto.
  • 2002. Venue DJing, The Chatterbox Pub, Minneapolis.
  • 2001–02. Venue DJing, Sursumcorda, Minneapolis.
  • 2001. Event DJing, May 26th, GLITZ, San Francisco.
  • 2001. Event DJing, February 7th, pre-show set for Low, Sacred Heart Music Center, Duluth.
  • 2001. Event DJing, January 1st, New Years Eve, Rogue Buddha Gallery, Minneapolis.
  • 2000–01. Event DJing, Kitty Kat Shack, St. Paul.
  • 1997. Radio DJing, WRUR-FM (University of Rochester), Rochester.
  • 1994. Radio DJing, KVRX-FM (University of Texas at Austin), Austin.
  • 1991. Modelling, Houston Bridal Extravaganza (George R. Brown Convention Center), Houston.
  • 2006–08. Tutorship, high school ESL for new Canadians, Project Universal Minds, University of Toronto
  • 2008–09. President, Urban Studies Student Union, University of Toronto
  • 2005–07. Board member, past executive, Campus Co-operative Residence, Inc., Toronto
  • 2006–07. Board member, Ontario Student Co-operative Association, Toronto
  • 2007–08. Internship, Common Grounds, Evergreen

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