Archive for November, 2011

November 14, 2011

Some of my best friends are Equity members

I am not an Equity member.

I mostly deal with Equity by fax or by phone about shows I am working on and the artists and technical staff involved. But I am getting the impression that the upcoming AGM is an important one for its members, so I thought I’d send you to a blog I frequently read to learn more about it from their perspective. Enter Praxis Theatre.

About a year and a half ago, Michael Wheeler wrote this post:

Why Canadian Actors’ Equity Association is important and why it has to change

In many of the circles I run in “Equity” is a dirty word. It is often uttered derisively, and under one’s breath. Something to be avoided at all costs, and dealt with only when absolutely necessary. For Canadian theatre artists trying to create their own work – dealing with this hostile force is one of, if not the biggest, obstacles to pursuing their craft. It is frequently uttered in conjunction with other dirty words.

I think this is a darn shame. Read more…

Tandem followup post this week by  Michael  & Aislinn Rose:

Why Sunday’s RAGM is a big moment for Canadian Theatre and why it’s got nothing to do with raising dues

A-year-and-a-half ago we published “Why Actors’ Equity Association Is Important and Why it Has to Change” which at the time became one of the most read posts in the history of

The piece concludes with 5 core points about why CAEA needs to reform its policies with regard to independent theatre that still remain true, valid, and urgent to this day: Read more…

So there you go – read on.

The CAEA Ontario RAGM is Sunday, November 20th at 7pm at the Wychwood Barns, located at 601 Christie Street. All members in good standing are welcome, and it’s recommended you bring your membership cards with you.

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November 13, 2011

Sunday Roundup – November 13

So many things hit critical mass this week, so there were only a couple of blog posts.

Last week was the halfway mark for Entrepreneuse School  – Monday our Sales Plans and Marketing Presentations are due which means we are speeding towards the end of classes.

Lest we Forget – a Slideshow of Loved Ones – I spent the week requesting images of loved ones who fought for our country – I think the images and stories I received speak for themselves.
Remembrance Day is a hot button issue for many people – some feel it is a time to remember those who sacrificed, some feel it is a glorification of war, some feel it remembers only soldiers and not those who were the victims. I can understand each point of view. What I am remembering on Remembrance Day is the senselessness of war, that so many had to give so much to right the wrongs of so few. I remember them all – those who volunteered to fight, those who were conscripted into fighting a war they may not have agreed with, and those who sadly and simply, got caught in the middle of the horror of  it all. I do not wish to see Remembrance Day as a divider between them and us, you and me, who suffered more, who gave up less, who was honoured and who was not. I think anyone who has had to sacrifice anything of themselves in such a conflict has paid a price we cannot co-opt, we cannot even begin to imagine.  I think it is an insult to their memory to even try to do so.  The very fact we can discuss and disagree is a testament to all their sacrifices. I will not argue about it. I will remember them all.

Little Pea’s Revolution hit the stage at the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City – very pleased to have worked with the folks on this show – Ms. Quigley is a very talented performer and who doesn’t love a sound design by Lyon Smith?

Stratical Theatre‘s inaugural workshop production of The Dumbwaiter opened last week and continues running through November 20th – I highly recommend that you see it. A nice bonus – live musical guests each night before the presentation. Another group I’m delighted to work with in my role of Associate “no, you can’t do that, sorry” Producer.

Control over Destiny Jewellery Designs gears up for its Annual Holiday Show and Sale on the 19th of November – take a wander over to the event page to see the fantastical creations up for sale.

Mighty Brave Productions is headed to Phoenix, AZ to shoot a video in the middle of the desert. Cannot wait to see it.

Bonus link – How to Create a Social Media Marketing Schedule
It’s easy to get into social media for the wrong reasons and to post too much or too little. Here’s how to balance out your social media efforts.

And Artscape has a brand spankin’ new website and it is fan-flippin-tastic.

Life is good folks, enjoy it.


November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget – A Slideshow of Loved Ones

Remembrance Day has always struck a deep chord within me. I look through photos of loved ones who fought for our country and I am struck by how young they are, the smiles for the camera, the hope and promise in their eyes. And I look at other photos of them when we knew them as “Uncle”, “Dad”, “Grandpa” and I look in their eyes trying to imagine what they saw. The stories.

My two grandfathers…Grampa and Grandad …together they won WW1 and then reunited to win WW2. At least that’s what Grandad used to tell us …

My Uncle Roy, merchant seaman, my Granny Gray, war widow, my Uncle Gordon, British Navy, and my Dad, British Army. My Uncle Gordon was only 2 years old when my grandfather, Alexander Gray, was killed in World War Two.

My grandad made it all the way to Russia from England to fight in WW1 before they found out he was under age and sent him back.

I decided this year to make a little slidshow. More stories after the pictures. Enjoy and think, and remember with gratitude. Thanks to all who sent pictures – I love that every single image came with a story from you.

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my granddad. He served in WW I and as a home guard in WW II.

My grandfather was deployed to England two weeks after he married my grandmother, in August 1943.  After months of training he began flying combat missions in early 1944.  His crew flew 35 (the maximum number allowed in Bomber Command) and, against the odds, not one member of the crew was so much as scratched.  They were nicknamed the “Jinx Crew” because anyone who flew a plane they had previously used tended to not come back from the subsequent mission.  They bombed cities, laid mines, bombed the defenses at the beaches of D-Day, the works.

My grandfather Joe Sigouin was a Captain in the Canadian Signal Corps. To this day when someone asks me what he did in the army and i say, “Signal Corps” they reply, “Oh, Signal Corps!” with a tremendous amount of respect.

Dad’s first tour was liberating concentration camps. He was 17, just after WWII ended. He did over 600 jumps, saved a guy whose chute hadn’t opened, diving to catch him before opening his own chute.

Alexander Macallan Gray  2nd Lt. in the Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment). Died Aug 27, 1940 from injuries sustained at Dunkirk.

November 8, 2011

halfway through entrepreneuse school – and some jewellry!

Time has been flying by and I realized yesterday we are at the halfway mark for entrepreneuse school. I can’t believe how much we’ve accomplished in five weeks – we all have company profiles, operations plans, value propositions and marketing plans (with tons of analysis on our customers). It’s exhausting hard work and well worth it in the end I think. A lot of us have our websites and blogs running merrily and not a day goes by where there isn’t activity in our Facebook group about the assignments, discussion about websites, accounting, where to get business cards, who will you bank with etc. It’s a good group of people with some great ideas and I’m enjoying being in class with them.

Thought I’d take a second to let you know about some of the folks I’m spending my Mondays and Wednesdays with.

Michael is the proprietor of Vams Kombucha,  a living health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with a ‘scoby’, which stands for ‘ Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeasts’. The culture is placed in sweetened black or green tea and turns it into a beverage full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and health-giving organic acids. It’s good, I’ve tried it.

Stephanie runs Coeur de Lion Textiles  – her designs mix shibori, an ancient Japanese resist dyeing technique, immersion and removal dyeing with contemporary practices of silk screening to create striking and lasting designs.  Coeur De Lion Textiles offers wholesale and retail products as well as custom design services.

Helen owns Sunrise Editing –  her tagline is Editing, Proofreading, and Copywriting Services … with heart.  I believe it.

That’s only three – as we get going, I’ll post more sites when they become available.

Also of note in the small business Category – Control over Destiny jewellery Design is having its annual Holiday Show and Sale on November 19th at Tarragon Theatre (Far Studio). 30 Bridgman Avenue – see you there – photos below of some of the work!

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November 6, 2011

Sunday Roundup – November 6

A lot of things happening this week, let’s get to what happened, and then I’ll let you in on what’s gonna happen.

I hate nickel and diming   – a sort of guest post from a chat with a friend on the fact that sometimes spending a few dollars on your event is better than spending too much time.

Holiday Shopping in Movember – link to the beginning of shows by local artisans  – buy local art and get the satisfaction of one of a kind gifts coupled with the idea that the holiday season is not owned by corporations.

Libraries and Bikes and Theatres – a library survey, a have you had your bike stolen survey and a notice about public consultations regarding the three city-owned theatres.

Artful Management and are you and Innie or an Outie? – post from Creative Trust on how your org’s admin should reflect the artistic product, and a great infographic on inbound and outbound marketing.

Saturday Bonus – CDAP – the TD Bank is supporting the Toronto Fringe’s latest endeavour – the Culturally Diverse Artists Project.

Busy week. What’s coming up?

By the time you read this, Little Pea’s Revolution will be ready to take a trip to the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York.

And Stratical Theatre will be in the thick of rehearsals for its inaugural production – a workshop of Pinter’s The Dumbwaiter.

And Control over Destiny Jewelry Design will be prepping for its annual Holiday Show and Sale.

And I will be working with them all and ever-so-pleased to be doing so. Have a great Sunday!


November 5, 2011


Saturday Bonus because it’s a fantastic initiative.
PROJECT GOAL: To encourage participation by culturally diverse artists in the Toronto Fringe Festival as a creative opportunity they may traditionally feel excluded from.
The Toronto Fringe is committed to offering creative opportunities to artists and art lovers. This commitment, along with invaluable support from TD Bank, has lead to the creation of a three year pilot project to encourage greater participation in the Fringe Festival by artists who self-identify as culturally diverse by removing some of the traditional barriers to participation, including financial concerns and a sense of being excluded from mainstream events.

Fringe Festival participants are chosen by lottery and are required to self-produce their work. Festival organizers can never interfere with the work on stage and 100% of box office receipts are returned to the artists. This has meant that the Fringe Festival has become the most accessible arts opportunity for emerging and otherwise unsupported artists to tell their stories. Nonetheless, systemic barriers have continued to exclude artists who self-identify as culturally diverse, as is clear from the participation trends we see at the festival every year. CDAP is an attempt to begin a dialogue with this community of artists and encourage them to access the opportunities the Fringe makes available.
CDAP is only available to artists who self-identify as culturally diverse artists (see below for definitions) who reside in Ontario. Applicants must also select which lottery pool applies to them and are not eligible for the National or International categories, but may apply to Ontario 60 Minute, Ontario 90 Minute, FringeKids or Ontario Dance. When considering applying to CDAP, please keep in mind that it is designed to encourage artists who have felt excluded or unable to participate in the festival and we rely on your self-identification as the only requirement for participation. Three participants will be selected by lottery.
Participants in CDAP receive the following:
– Free participation in the festival (outside of $27 registration fee) – value $725
– $1000 cash bursary to assist covering production costs
– Networking opportunities with other CDAP participants to discuss shared resources and promotion strategies
– A paid mentor, to be assigned on a case by case basis to address each participant’s needs
Participants are selected by lottery, and can apply in two categories :

Category 1: Self-identified culturally diverse Primary Contacts (see below for definitions) applies for CDAP, but indicates that if they are not successful in the CDAP lottery, they would NOT like to be moved on to the main lottery
Category 2: Self-identified culturally diverse Primary Contacts applies for CDAP, and if not successful are then transferred to the main lottery – entrants selecting this option will be responsible for full participation fees ($725 incl. HST) if drawn in the regular lottery, and will not have access to the CDAP project

(Click here to APPLY
The CDAP lottery will be drawn on Monday, November 28 at the Fringe Creation Lab – this lottery will be videotaped, but not broadcast, along with the International and National categories. Three participants will be drawn in the lottery.
After the lottery, apart from the administering of the CDAP benefits, participants will be considered regular festival companies, and will not be highlighted, identified or otherwise treated differently than any other festival participant. The participant will be required to self-produce their project and responsible for all liability and risk associated with their own project.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns or at 416-966-1062

November 4, 2011

Artful Management and are you an Innie or an Outie?

Fantastic blog post from Jini Stolk over at Creative Trust on how the admin work of an org should reflect the artistic work:

I remember my visceral reaction when I first heard George Thorn and Nello McDaniel say that the work of an arts organization – whether in the admin office, fundraising department or boardroom – should be consistent with its artistic process. It was like a lightning strike. I immediately felt that I understood and agreed; things that had been confused became clear. Of course, the way decisions were made and problems solved in the studio should be reflected throughout the organization; of course, interactions between board, staff, artists, volunteers and audiences should be based on the mutual respect and spirit of collaboration found in rehearsal

Click  and read on – it’s a great philosophy.

Innie out Outie? In-bound marketing vs. outbound marketing. Excellent infographic below, courtesy of Mashable, even more courtesy of Rebecca Coleman. Enjoy!

November 2, 2011

Libraries and Bikes and Theatres

Quick and dirty post today – my goodness, things are busy:

In my inbox today from my City Councillor Gord Perks

Dear Friends and Residents of Ward 14,
The Toronto Library Board has received a list of proposed reductions, put forward by the Chief Librarian in response to Mayor Ford’s demand for a 10% reduction from the Library budget. These reductions will have an adverse effect on our Public Library system – a system that has seen growing demand and must be protected. The suggested service reductions that would affect Ward 14 residents include:
fewer new titles and copies of books, audiobooks, DVDs and magazines;  13 hour reduction each week from Parkdale Public Library, and 6 hour reduction each week from High Park Public Library.
I have asked the Toronto Public Library Board to provide an opportunity for friends and residents of Ward 14 to share their concerns and comments. Please come share your story about how the library enriches you, your family and your community.

Monday, November 7, 2011          7 PM
Parkdale Library Branch 1303 Queen Street West
Due to time constraints, this will be the only meeting for Ward 14. If you are unable to attend, please contact the Toronto Public Library Board nmarshall(a)torontopubliclibrary(dot)ca and/or complete the on-line survey.


From the Cyclists Union: their survey on bike theft in the city, prior to the launch of their new theft awareness and reporting campaign . Had your bike stolen? Off you go to the survey.


And there will be two public consultations next Wednesday the 9th on the city owned theatres.  More info available on the Live With Culture website.

November 1, 2011

Holiday Shopping in Movember

Now that Hallowe’en is barely behind us, with sad jack o’lanterns still on the porch, it’s apparently time to think about Christmas. I saw my first Christmas commercial (for a Glade candle, so your home can smell like a very chemical Christmas in either cran or winterberry).

Moving on.

A friend had  a pic on their Facebook wall one day that said “If you want to stick it to the man, do all your holiday shopping at a local retailer.”

Fair enough. With that in mind, The Barns Holiday Art Market Call is out:

Artscape is currently accepting submissions from visual artists, craftspeople and designer/makers who wish to participate in the Holiday Art Market at the Artscape Wychwood Barns, taking place December 4th & 11th, 2011.   The Holiday Art Market will feature 25+ exhibitors – artists,craftspeople and designer/makers have the opportunity to utilize a 10’ x 10’ booth space for which they need to supply their own booth structure and/or display equipment. Participants in the Holiday Art Market will be selected by a professional jury, with consideration to diversity of medium and quality of work being sold.

Still on the subject of Art(scape) – their REOI deadline has been extended. Artscape is seeking to commission permanent art installations by local artists, arts collectives and community organizations for the Regent Park Arts & Cultural Centre (slated to open in Spring 2012). We are accepting expressions of interest by Toronto-based visual artists whose work will be installed outside the Regent Park Arts & Cultural Centre, and will reflect the social and cultural fabric of Regent Park.  More info here.

And it’s Movember! During November each year, “Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in Canada and around the world. With their “Mo’s”, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer.”

Many thanks to all the gents donating their faces to such a worthy cause.

Finally a few people have asked why I haven’t had many posts or opinions on our Mayor lately. Ina ll honesty there’s really nothing for me to say on the subject right now, his – escapades – are being covered quite thoroughly by media outlets far and wide.

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