Archive for June, 2011

June 29, 2011

Right Hand, Meet Left Hand

There’s a lot of conflicting opinions out there about the importance of what we do. I know, there’s ALWAYS conflicting opinions. It’s what the comments section of newspapers feed on. It makes me smile a bitter smile. Those who do not value the arts cannot see its value, and I’m more and more inclined to replace cannot with will not. You fear what you don’t understand. Although you can grasp the numbers, the investment that bears fruit, somehow you cannot put the two together in your head because you do not and will not understand. I sometimes wonder if it is deliberate obtuseness.

So on one hand…
Complaints about Sun News interpretive-dance interview overwhelm watchdog

and on the other hand
Flaherty to cultural institutions: Annual funding? Don’t count on it
which leads to this
Theatre companies worry loss of SummerWorks funding will have big impact

Item: I find it interesting that so many anti-arts comments used phrases like “you doth protest too much” and “start with a blank canvas” and “struck a chord”: – you guys know those are – art terms –  right? From Shakespeare and painting and music? Should you be using them to express yourself if you are that against art?

I don’t understand what’s not to get. Aren’t things like investment and rate of return discussed in economics class? I know they are – I’ve taken economics.  I once had someone tell me that “opinions aren’t formed by facts, they’re formed by experiences.” What do you do when someone refuses the experience, and ignores the facts?

In the meantime I’m headed East again next week to check out 10X10.  And I’ve made my list of Fringe shows to see – it’s opening on July 6th. And if you think Canada Day is nothing but hotdogs and facepainting you need to check out what’s going on at Harbourfront.  And finally – it’s Pride Week.  Nope- clearly no value to be had in art around here.

Please note

June 28, 2011

Dora Roundup

Another fantastic Dora Awards- congrats to the whole TAPA team! Highlights for me include Gordon Pinsett’s dramatic reading of memorable quotes from some of the city’s theatre critics, Jon Kaplan’s impassioned speech about the work we do and the respect it deserves and Michael Hollingsworth being presented with the Silver Ticket Award. Congrats to all the nominees, all the winners and the Toronto theatre community.

So many folks covered the show last night – here’s your roundup in the order that I found them

Mooney On Theatre

The National Post Blog

The Toronto Sun



Globe and Mail

June 27, 2011

It’s Dora Day!

Are tonight! I am very much looking forward to them, I was on the Indie Jury this year and saw a ridiculous amount of theatre with some very talented and thoughtful co-jurors. I think it will be an excellent night – it usually is – the staff at TAPA always puts their heart and soul into it, and having been the program and seating coordinator many moons ago (at one point I nearly gave up and threatened to go with boy-girl alphabetical).  I know it is a MONUMENTAL task and they are to be congratulated already.

See you tonight!

Toronto’s Theatre, Dance and Opera Awards
Monday June 27, 2011
Hosted by Craig Lauzon and Michaela Washburn

6pm-7:30pm Pre-Show VIP Reception at The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
8pm Dora Mavor Moore Awards Show at the Bluma Appel Theatre at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts
10:30pm After-Party Under the Stars outside the St.Lawrence Centre on Front Street

Directed by Sandra Lefrançois
Written by Chris Earle
Lighting Design: Andrea Lundy
Producer: Jacoba Knaapen

Please note

June 26, 2011

Sunday Roundup – June 26

Things are reaching the bubbling point over here  – last week was the one-night-only concert by the incredible Theatre 20Driven To Score featured the work of three Canadian composers I didn’t know a great deal about. I did after the show. Beautifully directed by Alisa Palmer and beautifully hosted by Anne Marie MacDonald it featured Theatre 20 mainstays singing beautiful work. When their next concert comes around, you really have to check it out.

Mighty Brave Productions headed out  to Phoenix For Filmnight presented by AIGA Arizona and Filmbar – the new website for MBP is up and running and you should click on over to it.

Expect Theatre is starting to get some press on their Fringe production of AWAKE – here’s part one of CBC Radio 1′s feature by Robin Brown.

And the Fringe Fundraiser is coming on quickly as well!

What else went on?

A Little Promo and Something to Read – clients doing what they do best, and the idea of creating an email charter, which greatly appeals to me. One of the rules I’ve vowed to apply is NOT emailing back ‘thx’ as an entire email.

Why this e-flyer/poster is awesome – if you didn’t catch this, it’s time to take a look. It is awesome.

The View From My Office – a round up including other folks’ roundups of cool shared office spaces around the city.

For Those Who Think It’s all Glamour – I am still the cat. Or at least relating very strongly to the cat.  But in a wonderful end to the day, my final taxi ride home was with none other than Mr. Geography.


Congratulations NY – the bar has been raised on so many levels, including fabulous weddings and the battle for engagement photo space in the Times. Excellent. I cannot describe how happy I am for so many people.

Please note:

June 24, 2011

For Those Who Think It’s All Glamour.

The text in my Facebook ad is being twitchy-glitchy, and no WAY am I paying eighty cents a click, and I’ve run out of black ink. I’ve looked three places to buy it and the one that has it doesn’t open til 10, and I have an appointment at 11 and even so the specialty paper I’m using keeps jamming. I am this video – there is swearing in it.

The postcards are in and we’re looking for a distributor. The Fringe fundraiser is coming up mid July and we need to sell tickets to that, whenever I try to save something to my desktop it takes forever before casually responding that it’s not responding.

I have a RFP to submit for a potential client and I need to get my toes done because the Doras are on Monday. I keep tripping over the printer cable as it’s in the living room and I was designing and testing til midnight last night (hence the no black ink).  I have no idea what to blog about today – sometimes inspiration just doesn’t strike.

And I’m out of contact lens solution.


June 23, 2011

The Toronto Public Library and Theatre Ontario

Couple of things in my inbox last night, both requesting a bit of assistance and I am glad to do so.

First off – the incomparable John Goddard is retiring from Theatre Ontario and they are looking for someone to fill his shoes. I’ve known John for years, since sitting on the TAPA Board and I sincerely hope they find someone as good as he is. The link to the posting is here. Have a looksee and if you’re the person for the job, apply away, and if you aren’t but know someone who is, send it to them.

Secondly – Remember the Toronto City Services survey? The Toronto Public Library is doing their own. In a ‘behold the power of social media’ moment last night I saw this in my newsfeed. I have no idea who originally wrote it, and I don’t actually know the person who reposted it.

This message was forwarded to me and I couldn’t find it on Facebook, so I’m taking the liberty of sharing it because I think it’s incredibly important.  Please take action on this, especially (but not only) if you’re in Toronto; and please please share it widely. I didn’t write this; props to the person(s) who did.

Being Sue I checked this link and it is legit. And so I wrote my own note and hit tag.
I don’t have to explain to many my love affair with books and the library. I am long past the point of “avid” reader, I have a good twenty books on hold at any given time, and if I ever see you in person ask me about the time the library lady made that month’s book display based on my recommendation. I took pictures.  But I digress. See below.


“You may have seen in the newspapers that Toronto City Council is undertaking a series of reviews about what services the city should offer, how they should offer services, and what people should pay to use them.  They have just finished collecting public opinion through a series of public meetings and an on-line survey.  The object of all of the reviews is to hold down or reduce city spending, and “smaller government”.

The Toronto Public Library is concerned about the support for their services that will exist on Council when it comes time to allocate next years’ budget. The library has created its own survey, based on the City’s survey, and it would be great if you would spend a few minutes to fill it out.

Item: It took me less than ten minutes including the time to formulate and write something in the “additional comments” section.

It’s at

Please pass this on to your friends who will also want to express their support for public library services – particularly if they live in Etobicoke and Scarborough and North York.

Once again – I strongly encourage you to fill this out. It’s the same style/concept of the city’s survey but of course is library focused. It quite literally takes minutes to fill out.
I will share with you the comment I put at the bottom. Which I then sent to my branch (We’re friends on Facebook. “pause.” What?)

I love the Toronto Public Library. I have an average of 20 books on hold at any given time. My branch is the Parkdale branch – it is full of people from all walks of life – it is am important valuable part of the community. People of all ages from very young through adolescent to seniors are there at any given time. The staff that work there are helpful, knowledgeable and clearly love what they do.
If our current Mayor is worried about ‘customer service” then as a “customer” of the Parkdale branch, I rate their service an A+. Not everything can be privatized or contracted out. I cannot believe that LITERACY is actually on the table at a cost cutting meeting.

June 22, 2011

The View from My Office

Like many people, I work from home – so my office is the couch, the dining room table, or the balcony (not today – thank you rain).

There are more and more shared workspaces opening in Toronto and I like that. Right now I don’t have the cash to do something like that, so when I want to get out and work I wind up at the library, or a corner of my west side satellite office, or a coffee shop when I’m in a pinch.

Having some sort of space to work outside of your home is important – doing everything at home, I realized hard it can be to be productive and stay on track. Usually, social networking sites and the internet as a whole tend to be the biggest productivity inhibitors, but there are countless other distractions that always seem to pop up just as I’m supposed to be doing the bookkeeping.

I just walked by a new space the other day, and sure enough it’s featured in BlogTO today.

A new shared workspace will be opening next month near Queen and Bathurst. Tucked away behind a building on Wolesley Street across from Theatre Passe Muraille, Workplace One joins a growing list of options where individuals and small businesses can get temporary office space and access to meeting/conference rooms and other office infrastructure. Read more and see pictures.

 Along with this there’s also the Centre for Social Innovation at Queen and Spadina, as well as their Annex location, and in the next few years, their Regent Park location. Add in the ING Building at Yonge and Shuter, and there’s a heck of a lot of choice now. I think it’s a fantastic sign that society is beginning to realize that bricks and mortar offices are not a permanent necessity for many entrepreneurs today.

I was thinking about this today while getting ready to take my computer in to be serviced – determining just how long I could be without it and still work. It had nothing to do with the physical space I work in and everything to do with my brain and my files. Yes I need a roof – but it doesn’t have to be the same roof every day.

I’d be interested in hearing from people about their experiences with any of the above models and insitutiions – at some point I will need an “office space”, and being me I tend to ask around and other people’s experiences.

June 21, 2011

Why This e- flyer/poster is Awesome

we got the poster and postcard design for Expect Theatre’s AWAKE today – it’s designed by Randal Boutilier of 12thirteen design.  The posters will be 12 X 18 and the postcards will be postcard sized. Before I begin, you should know that the Fringe is a very poster-y event – everyone has posters, I’d venture to say it’s one type of festival where you MUST have them, and they MUST stand out from the crowd.So this isn’t a “to poster or not to poster?” blog post. We’re postering and this is what we’re working with.

Here’s the online version – the ones that’s emailed to all your friends and family.

There are many reasons I think this piece is awesome.

  • Fantastic image.  Absolutely gorgeous and completely relevant to the production.
  • Fantastic logo – which I’ve been using to make a lot of connected marketing collateral – the “other stuff”. I’ll show those to you at a later date. Also completely relevant to the production when you take a closer look at the individual cutout images in the wing.
  • The play description is compelling – it tells you exactly what you are in for without giving it away, so to speak. Excellent tagline as well – “This Is Real” is straightforward and compelling. And true – it lives with the play description.
  • For a poster with this much information, it’s still clean. The pertinent information is readily visible. The funders are credited without the dreaded “logo soup” effect. Even if it’s sent to you as ‘small’ – the big stuff is clear; Title, Image, Dates, Fringe. It pulls you in for a closer look. This will translate easily to other collateral including ads, web banners, colour changes, black and white, spot colour, you name it. It’s a marketer’s dream. Why?
  • Because you could crop up this poster for virtually anything, and even though that means some information will go missing, the main stuff is still there – you’d still know how to get a ticket to the show. It’s a beautifully put together puzzle of information, and each piece gives you a bit more knowledge about the production. Each section stands alone, yet is part of the bigger picture.And finally:
  • Everyone who has worked on this show is on here. Many posters/flyers credit  the performers, and sometimes the designers, and many don’t credit anyone at all. This piece shows the average person just how many people it takes to make theatre ‘go’. It’s not for ego, it’s the fact that very talented people who are very good at what they do worked on this. It recognizes the truly collaborative nature of the work that we do. It instills a sense of ownership and pride in the work – your name is literally on it. It’s also nice as a bigger picture look at our industry for those reasons.

Congrats to 12thirteen and Expect. Gorgeous stuff.

June 20, 2011

A little promo and something to read


Hello all and happy Monday! Today’s a bit of shameless promo day as Theatre 20‘s latest concert Driven to Score is opening tonight for one night only at the Panasonic Theatre. It’s a fantastically talented group of people who founded it, some will be onstage tonight, along with special guests. I’m off to see it and I can’t wait – I strongly urge you to get yourself a ticket at TicketKing.



for all my readers in Phoenix – Lisa Wegner of Mighty Brave Productions is off to Arizona next week – Join her at FilmBar for an intriguing and hilarious group of short films she’s created. Ms. Wegner will appear at the screening and do a Q and A following the screening Monday, June 27, 2011 7pm FilmBar  815 N. 2nd Street Phoenix, AZ.

I found this online the other day. I agree, and think the potential rules should be printed out and pasted above everyone’s computer, including my own. Of course I say this as I’m cleaning out my inbox.

Help Create an Email Charter!
Houston, we have a problem.We all love the power of email connecting people across continents. But… we’re drowning in it. Every year it gets a little worse. To the point where we can get trapped spending most of our working week simply handling the contents of our in-boxes.  And in doing so, we’re making the problem worse.  Every reply, every cc, creates new work for our friends and colleagues.  We need to figure out a better way.  But how? Here is the key cause of this problem:

June 19, 2011

Sunday Roundup – June 19

I can’t believe it’s the 19th of June already – although the gorgeous weather this weekend is proving that summer is thisclose to being here. A week of fewer meetings and a lot of work getting done, which is good in my view. What went on?

What You Think You Want  – how to determine what a client really wants by what they say they want. Ask the right questions and everyone is happy. And always include an Elvis tune.

Data, Audiences and My Thoughts on Margie  – an interesting post from our friends at Creative Trust on how we deal with data, and a cool publication from the Australian Government on turning your data into audiences. Also included my thoughts on the Sun TV contretemps.

Coffee and Engagement Followup – an update  on my coffee with Sean Howard and a link to the presentation he created for ISPA, thought-provoking and fun at the same time – kind of like Sean.

Impatiently Crunching Numbers – a link to the Lost Art website from the UK which is tracking the effect their arts cuts have had on the economy. It’s simple and brilliant and hopefully effective.

heh heh. Love the New Yorker.









Theatre 20, Toronto’s newest musical theatre company, takes the stage June 20 with DRIVEN TO SCORE, the second in their three-part concert series at the Panasonic Theatre.  Featuring the work of Leslie Arden, Jonathan Monro and David Warrack,  and directed by Alisa Palmer and hosted by Ann-Marie MacDonald,
DRIVEN TO SCORE brings together an incredible lineup of Theatre 20 Founding Artists – Louise Pitre (Mamma Mia!), Ma-Anne Dionisio (Miss Saigon) and David Keeley (Rock of Ages) – joined by Sterling Jarvis, Alana Bridgewater and Yvan Pednault. Tickets are $59 and $69 and are available in person at the Panasonic Box Office, through TicketKing by phone at 416-872-1212 (1-800-461-3333) or online at It promises to be amazing.

Toronto Fringe Festival guides are now available both in hard copy and online and tickets went on sale June 15 – visit the website for more information.

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