10 Things Benjamin Longman Loves

Singer, songwriter, photographer and small-business owner Benjamin Longman shares his love for matinees at The Plaza Theatre, open mic nights at Koi and wings from Mug Shotz Sports Bar & Grill

Photograph by Sheen C. Zilinski

A man of many interests — singer, songwriter, photographer and small-business owner — Benjamin Longman has made fast work of creating a name for himself in Calgary. Since his move to the city from England four years ago, Longman has released three EPs, performed at the Calgary Folk Music Festival and launched Film Drop YYC, an independent film-processing service and vintage camera retailer. With two drop-off locations, Film Drop YYC collects, processes and scans film to send back to Calgary photographers in an accessible fashion. “I want to make it easier for people to explore film photography in a time when it can feel out-of-reach,” Longman says. Here are 10 things in Calgary he loves.

 

Civic Tavern

“Being English, I need to know what my local pub is at all times, and this is the true spirit of a pub. It was formerly the Hop In Brew, but it hasn’t changed a bit. It’s still one of my favourite spots in the city.”

 

The Film Fridge at The Camera Store

“The Camera Store is such an incredible resource. It’s like a Canadian hub for photography. I shoot HP5 almost exclusively, but I love the entire film fridge at The Camera Store.”

 

Live Music at Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar

“It always feels so close and comfortable in there. There’s something about the nice blues on the walls, low lighting and a wonderful selection of tea and coffee — it’s like a living-room show.”

 

Salt and Pepper Mug Shotz Suicide Wings from Mug Shotz Sports Bar & Grill

“Mug Shotz in Ogden has the best wings I’ve ever had in my life, and the best selection of wing flavours I’ve ever seen. The salt and pepper suicide sauce has such a natural spice that doesn’t kill me, but has great flavour.”

 

The Restricted Section Show at Betty Lou’s Library

The Beautiful and the Damned From Betty Lou’s Library. Photograph by Jared Sych.

“It’s a classic burlesque show, 1920s and ’30s style, and it’s transformative. You go in there and suddenly you’re taken on a journey to a completely different era. Plus, the cocktails are amazing.”

 

Dollar Sales at Recordland

“This sale is not on every day, but when it is, all you need is some time and $20 and you’ll find incredible stuff. The shop has records floor-to-ceiling. I get lost in the back room for hours.”

 

Matinees at The Plaza Theatre

“I love all the retro pre-show announcements from the 1980s and ’90s. There’s just something about seeing a movie in an old theatre like that.”

 

Tea Trader’s Yin Hao Jasmine Tea

Photograph by Jared Sych.

“The space is incredible. It’s upstairs, and you open the door to a narrow staircase and you immediately smell every tea ever made. The Yin Hao jasmine loose leaf is very delicate and floral. I’ve never found a better tea.”

 

Photo Books at the New Central Library

“I find photo books the best way to really sit down and find inspiration or [discover] new photographers. The New Central Library has a great selection, and it’s a gorgeous building to sit in and unplug.”

 

Tuesday Open Mic Nights at Koi

“It’s one of the friendliest open-mic nights I’ve ever been to in my life. There’s so much community, and you’re guaranteed to hear someone brand new and someone that will absolutely blow you away.”

Find out more about Film Drop YYC at filmdropyyc.com.

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This article appears in the August 2019 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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