Archive for September, 2011

September 30, 2011

a Weekend of Culture

Many,many, many things going on this weekend – too many to list. I shall send you straight to the sources. Go, participate, learn, laugh, experience – BE. These are the things that help make this a great city. Be part of it.

For one sleepless night experience the city transformed by hundreds of artists for Toronto’s sixth annual sunset-to-sunrise celebration of contemporary art.  Discover art in galleries, museums and unexpected places. From a streetcar, alleyways and storefronts to churches, ponds and parks, choose from more than 130 destinations and chart your own path.

         Zone A        Zone B      Zone C






Culture Days is a collaborative pan-Canadian volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.  Annual, Canada-wide Culture Days events feature free, hands-on, interactive activities that invite the public to participate “behind the scenes,” to discover the world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators, and designers at work in their community.  Activities by Region

And finally…

On Saturday, October 1st, beginning at 8PM (doors at 7:30PM) Stratirical Theatre Company is hosting a fundraiser for their inaugural production, “A Workshop Presentation of Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter”.

South London Crime Boss WILSON has cordially invited you to his home for an invitation-only soiree, celebrating the Family’s victory over the war with the McCormick Family – the Irish Mafia. This will be followed by a cruise around the islands on his yacht, The Dumb Waiter,  outfitted with a casino and burlesque parlour.
But before anyone has finished their third drink, mayhem ensues! IT’S MURDER! It’s up to you as loyal friends and family of the Family to figure out WHODUNNIT. The year is 1960. Dress appropriately. But only if you want to...

**RSVP to or this event page … OR you could just show up and hope that you’re in WILSON’S good graces enough to crash the party…but you know how Wilson hates crashers!

Have a good, safe, cultural, thought-provoking arts filled weekend!

September 29, 2011

Information Overload/Information Detox

Interesting article here on Life hack – Do You Need an Information Detox?

(equally amusing to me was the google ad offering a free colon hydrotherapy consultation. Oh, Google ads – #FAIL)

I’ve been thinking about Information and just how  – MUCH of it there is lately – it may be, of course that we are officially back in the swing of things (where did September go?) and the provincial election, Toronto City Council, season openers of varying hits and misses, along with what’s going on with our neighbours south of the border and Facebook invites  and apparently a Kardashian got married and Nuit Blanche is coupled with Culture Days and there are six birthdays today and well, you get the picture. And the things I’ve mentioned are probably less than a percent of a percent of a percent of the amount of information that we are expected to consume. I say expected because it’s in our faces.

This is information overload, and as the article asks – do you need a detox?

Probably. So in the article there’s a list of things you can do, for a week or a day or something:

1. Switch off your phone when you get home from work. – not really. It’s my phone, it’s my way of  actually communicating with people, not just a work mechanism. But I could switch it off at a later time. Or put it on silent – I know I’m at overload point where the sound of it (tone or vibrate) makes me want to throw it out the window. Like right now. It’s MOO-ing at me.

2. Don’t use your phone on your way to and from work. Listen to music or read a novel. – okay this I can do. It’s fiddling with my phone, mostly, it’s killing time waiting for the TTC etc. I used to read and listen to my iPod on the streetcar. Or talk to someone, or smile at a baby. I could do that again.

3. Don’t access Facebook and Twitter for one week. – no. No I could not do this given that my work is heavily based on social media. But I could stop wandering aimlessly around those sites, looking for things, and only look at it if there’s an actual notification. Let’s say three.

4. Don’t read any material that is not uplifting and motivational. – an interesting challenge. I’ll have to think about that one.

5. Turn off all email notifications or any other social media messages. – okay we covered that earlier. I can do that. (now the phone is BLINKING at me. Slowly, inexorably blinking.)

6. Do not watch the television for one week. – does it count that all I really watch are formulaic courtroom dramas, anything in the Law and Order franchise and Criminal Minds? I guess so. Perhaps this could be treated the same way as #2 – if there’s nothing specific on to watch, then no watching or surfing.

7. No newspapers, online news or any other form of world news access. – again can’t do – we’re in the midst of upheaval at Toronto City Council, a provincial election in the next week and a bit, and I am involved in those things. But something I thought of last night was to perhaps hearken back to the days of yore, when the newspaper was on paper and it came out once a day and you read it and that was the news for the day. And occasionally something might have changed by the 11:00 news but more often that not – that was the news. I will read the news twice a day, rather than checking back in far too regularly over the course of the day.

Other options I’ve been busily working on are  – UNSUBSCRIBE. I’ve hit unsubscribe on so many things that it’s unbelievable.  It’s cut my morning email down by more than half.  Ditto my Google reader. If it’s a site I look at regularly without a reminder, there’s no need for it to be on my reader.

Something I used to do was participate in “Acoustic Sundays”. Nothing that required electricity for entertainment. And there’s been a huge cut back on the number of back-and-forths used to arrange a simple outing. I can’t stand it anymore. Remember the olden days? You’d call to say let’s have brunch and okay, let’s meet Sunday at 11:00 at the Gladstone and it was agreed to, no “can I let you know?” and there was maybe one confirmation call and everyone just SHOWED UP and ate pancakes together without any more calls, texts or emails? Let’s get back to that. Let’s go back to just showing up.

It helps that as of next Monday I start a new course for ten weeks for entrepreneurs on how to properly build and establish your own business. I’m excited. In the world I inhabit, too many times you become the marketer because someone has to do it, or you get some new software and boom! you’re the accountant. So two days a week I am back in school, which means eight hours a day of being unplugged. I will be blogging about my adventures. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, are any of those suggestions speaking to you? Are you in need of an information detox?


PS I found out my author in the library contest – I shall be lunching with Michael Ondaantje.

PPS I am entirely aware that I am probably one of your information overload bits. : )


September 28, 2011

New Day, New Digs, New Info

So I’ve spent the better part of the day at the Centre for Social Innovation, moving into my new digs (granted, I put a plant on my desk and we considered it done). I’ve met some folks, poked around and had lunch with Shana and Jini and met a new colleague Donna Walker-Kuhne. 

Donna was giving an amazing workshop  on diversifying audiences – absolutely enjoyed listening and learning and hope to work with her again in the future as she is a bright, smart talented lady and we seem to think alike on the subject of getting audiences into our theatres and more importantly, getting them back again.

Quick PSA of Note – There’s an REOI online for Artscape Regent Park – click here for the deets.

And from torontoist, who once again has been my go to source for all things City Hall  – What Went Down.

BAck to work. I think this is working.

September 26, 2011

Everything Stops for Tea

I will confess I am battling a cold that is straight out of central casting for a cold meds commercial, so I am taking a Benelyn Day or a Nyquil evening or what have you so today is a quick link from Robert Cushman:

On Theatre No One Should Take Opinion as Gospel, Not Even Our Critics

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that it’s core services review day at City Hall – the Globe and Mail is live tweeting the proceedings, as is the Star and torontoist has a handy cheat sheet of what’s on the table.

And this. Have a smile and a cuppa and a listen. Do you good. I’m off to take my Benelyn Day.

September 25, 2011

Sunday Roundup – September 25

A very political week. What went on?

Just for the Record –  things went to the committee. What’s cut, what’s not, what’s been put off

When You Post What You Post – very cool infographic on just who’s where on line and when – allowing you to determine the best time to post for specific targets

Two Links and a PSA – a link on how to work with overworked staff, a great piece from Mashable about the new Facebook changes, and the lines are open for the Fringe playwriting contest

20,000 Sigs by Monday – the Friends of the Arts Petition have gotten over 15000 signatures and is hoping to hit 20,000 before Monday’s City Hall meeting. Take a wander over and sign it – if you already have, feel free to send it to someone who hasn’t.

Other bits of news i’ved bookmarked:

Bringing our sketchbook to City Hall.  Chloe Cushman over at torontoist reported on the locally organized event Drawing Lines: Figure Studies of Toronto City Council, which invited artists and non-artists alike to come and draw the councillors in action.  I had to post this one – and I hope Councillor Carroll gets T shirts made up, I’d absolutely buy one.

Sad or happy and need a song? Found an article in the Star about a new site called Emotional Bag Check.

“The idea was to deposit your emotional data and get something back,” Robyn Overstreet, inventor of, told the Star on Thursday.
The site lets anyone, without signing in or linking to Facebook or otherwise identifying themselves, unload their woes (or “check their baggage,” in the site’s parlance). Someone else comes along, gets a random person in need of comfort, and posts a song in reply.

On a more personal note – I am  no longer a work-from-home gal- I’ve signed a lease with CSI Spadina and looking very much forward  to moving into my new work digs on the 4th floor.

September 23, 2011

20,000 sigs by Monday – from Friends of the Arts

Thank you for signing the Friends of the Arts Petition!  We’ve collected over 15,000 signatures to date (13,500 on line, 2,000 on paper).

City Council will be making important recommendations about arts support at its next meeting, Monday September 26.  Can you help us get to 20,000 signatures by then? 

Maintaining pressure will help us to make sure that arts grants are protected, that the arts community is consulted and that other critical arts items on the city’s agenda (including access to space, Nuit Blanche and museums) are maintained.

What can you do?

Forward this message to friends, colleagues and family to encourage them to sign the petition.
Volunteer to help collect petition signatures during Nuit Blanche and at other arts events across the city.
We have one upcoming volunteer training session:

Monday September 26 volunteer training: drop in any time between 5:30pm and 7:30pm on Monday September 26 at Toronto City Hall in Committee Room 3, 2nd floor, 100 Queen Street West (closest to Osgoode subway station).

If you are able to volunteer, please contact us to confirm that you’ll be there, or to request additional information at  Also let us know if you are interested in volunteering but cannot make the training time.

Toronto City Council is planning to make deep cuts to the city budget, and this puts arts and cultural funding at serious risk. Cutting the arts could be an economic and social catastrophe for Toronto: not only does the city achieve a huge return on a relatively small investment, but our vibrant arts scene is also a big part of what makes Toronto a great place to live, work and visit.  To make certain this doesn’t happen, we need your help.

Key Upcoming City decision dates:
September 26: City Council meets to review Executive Committee recommendations

*Friends of the Arts is a network of arts supporters including the following organizations:  Arts Vote Toronto, Arts Etobicoke,, Business for the Arts, Creative Trust, Lakeshore Arts, Scarborough Arts, Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, Toronto Arts Foundation, Urban Arts.

September 22, 2011

Two Links and a PSA

Am hanging out at the Centre for Social  Innovation today, getting work done for meetings at 3:00, 5:00 and 5:30. Found some links that may interest you to read.

I would say with some confidence that every person who works in an arts organization is overworked to some degree. I present you a link from Stepcase Lifehack – How to Manage a Staff That’s Overworked.

And of course we all know the times they are a changin’ over at Facebook – a link from Mashable on how isn’t just changing, but profoundly changing.

And of course, near and dear to my heart:

Call for Submissions: 2012 Toronto Fringe New Play Contest, Toronto Fringe Festival

Deadline October 24th, 2011

The 2012 Toronto Fringe New Play Contest sponsored by Exclamation Foundation in association with macIDeas.

The purpose of the Toronto Fringe New Play Contest is to support the development of new Canadian plays with sponsorship from Exclamation Foundation and macIDeas.

The contest is open to all playwrights/writers who are permanent residents of Canada.  Only one entry per playwright is permitted.
Submit a completed entry form, a copy of the script and the entry fee.  The final deadline for all entries is October 24th, 2010 at 5:00pm or when 80 entries have been received.


  • Plays must be a new, original work.
  • Plays which have previously placed first, second or third place in the Fringe New Play Contest are not eligible.
  • Plays must not have been previously produced however plays that have been work-shopped are eligible.
  • Plays entered must have a performance time of 90 minutes or less.
  • The contest is open to permanent residents of Canada.
  • One application per playwright allowed.
  • The winner must use the Fringe slot to produce the play that was submitted to the contest.

FIRST PLACE PRIZE: $1250 cash!
Plus a spot in the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival ($725 value) and consultation from macIDeas ($500 value)
Second Place: $200 cash
Third Place: $100 cash

For complete submission guidelines, please visit:

Questions?  Call 416-966-1062 or email for additional information.

September 21, 2011

When You Post What You Post (Just Who Do You Think You’re Posting To?)

Found this info-graphic on my dear friend Rebecca Coleman‘s site. Who are you talking to? Better make sure they’re in the room for your big announcement.

September 20, 2011

Just for the Record


After another all night marathon with 300+ people signed up to depute, certain councillors obsessed with not allowing people to speak at two deputations at this oh-so democratic process, children singing songs, people dressed up as Santa and Roy Mitchell – where do we stand?

Recommended for cuts/sell-off


  • Library closures
  • Community groups will be given time to save the Riverdale Farm
  • The phasing out of 2,000 subsidized daycare positions
  • community grants that makeup less than 5 per cent of a program budget
  • snow plow services / windrow clearing
  • grass cutting in parks
  • TTC Blue Night bus service

Sent back to City Manager

  • Reduction of library hours
  • Reduction of police force
  • Reduction of new affordable housing
  • Cuts to various environmental programs
  • Elimination of the the four free garbage tags
  • Elimination of the Hardship Fund

Live Blog bits from  torontoist:

Gord Perks: I get two seconds to speak to each of 89 recommendations.” [Pauses two seconds]. “That was daycare.” Goes on to say that the City is seriously lowballing revenue projections, and forcing a vote before actual revenue figures are available—the cuts may not be necessary at all. “This is not governance, this is the thing that governments do when they are not doing their job. This is wreckage.”

Adam Vaughan: “I’ve been around this place for 25 years worth of budgets. I have never seen a document that is so short of facts… I have never seen a budget process more corrupt. Not corrupt in a legal sense, but corrupt as a process… This is the most sinister piece of legislation that has ever been in front of this city council, and it needs to be stopped.”

Ana Bailão: What we’ve learned from these mtgs is that “Torontonians care about their city…. They want a moderate approach.” And another voice joining the chorus, Josh Matlow: “We are not well informed enough to make these decisions today.”He goes on to say that people want more than just the services the City is absolutely legally required to provide.

Mary-Margaret McMahon: “I will not blindly slash and burn and cut things that make our city great.” (Note: she doesn’t vote today, as she is not on the Executive Committee.)

“I don’t even know what these cuts mean”—Janet Davis. She lists all the pieces of information they don’t have.

Mihevc: “This is not a debate among Torontonians. Every single meeting has been a rally…to maintain a strong city.” And then: “What these three reports represent is the most massive change to city government in 14 years… This does not even come close to the information we require to make wise and intelligent choices.”

Some thoughtful tweets from @PraxisTheatre

Santa re Xmas bureau: “they’ve been doing this since 1956 & know what they’re doing. Don’t forget, I know what you’ve been doing.” #TOpoli

Rob Ford campaigned on the promise of no cuts. Is he a man of his word, or not?” #TOpoli

Another deputant reminds the mayor he campaigned on “no cuts, guaranteed”. “We expected more from you when we hired you.”

Lyn Adamson emotional as she shouts over Rob Ford cutting her off: “You can’t cut the vehicle registration tax and then raise TTC fares.”

Single mother now telling committee that subsidized daycare allowed her to finish high school and go to university.


And two I really liked and found somewhere:

“You have eliminated sources of revenue. You are the source of the problem.”

“I’m a member of a special-interest group called residents of Toronto.”

September 19, 2011

Another Day, Another Potential 24 Deputation Marathon

It’s been a heck of a week, with meetings and press conferences and newspaper columns and noise and this week begins with another possible record day and night of deputations.

Since I’m not a fan of wheel reinvention, I’m sending you over to the fine folks at torontoist who have much of the info you’ll ask about, including proposed cuts.  If you’re the type to have TV on in the background all day, you can watch the live stream of just what’s happening at City Council today. If you’re more of a check in every so often person, I’ll recommend you follow @PraxisTheatre on Twitter  – I do believe they will be live tweeting proceedings. Of course torontoist will be as well.

We’ll see what happens.  Meantime, here’s a quote I found last week: “@DonateSocial: “Anybody can die (nobly) for a cause… A sign of maturity is to live day by day for that cause” – anonymous


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