Archive for May, 2012

May 30, 2012

Scriptease and a PSA re Edward Bond and Artists

The past two days have been all about funding apps and funding sources and cash flow and it’s been a very – numbery – 48 hours.

For a break I went to see National Theatre of The World’s Scriptease! NTOTW are three of the best comedian/improvisers I know – Naomi , Ron and Matt. The premise behind Scriptease is that they’ve gotten several well known playwrights to pen the first two pages of a script – they cold read those pages and improvise the rest of the show. Last night Michael Healey was on deck as playwright, and we were treated to a play called “Report”, featuring Lena a bureaucrat, Steve the CIA agent and Oleg, the Minister of the Interior of Khazakstan. A great time – they’re running all week with more plays and wrights so you should definitely check it out.

It’s in the Backspace at Passe Muraille, so seating is limited. If you call to find out if there are tickets still available, just buy them when you’re on the phone, instead of being like crabby guy last night who apparently called in the afternoon and had a fit when he got there last night and it was sold out. That’s how it works in theatre, folks.  In fact, I think that’s how it works in capitalism.

The Edward Bond Festival has a great event for artists to take part in  – two great events, actually – a hands-on text workshop with acclaimed Stratford text coach and teacher Ian Watson, and a once in a lifetime chance to sit in on two rehearsal sessions with Edward Bond, director David Jansen and a team of actors as they wrestle with Bond’s play Have I None. Click here for details and registering. Like the show above space is limited, so best get on that. Don`t be crabby guy.

Over and out for today!



May 28, 2012

I’ll Take Director Fury’s Advice


(not plot spoilers, but my favourite line in the movie)

Obviously I saw the Avengers yesterday, it’s one of those movies people don’t think I’m interested in but I will absolutely go and see. Excellent movie. I was saying that other than the catchphrases, the deadpan comments and sarcasm made it completely hilarious for me. And I am having a serious dilemma about who is hotter – Tony Stark or David Banner (see: sapiosexual).


After I posted my blog post yesterday on Facebook, Facebook went wonky on me. Couldn’t post comments or links or photos. Couldn’t like or reply. Couldn’t – Facebook. Oh well – glitch. And off I went to the movies.

Still broken this morning, with no signs of it being fixed or an ETA of fix.  Tried many different things to fix it – and found on the community help forum that this is happened to folks all over – so it’s not a hack, and it’s not “just me”.
Some folks might say, ” well quit mucking about on FB, and get some real work done!” But this is where I do a heck of a lot of real work. (Never fear, clients o’ mine, I can still do page work, as FB sees me as someone else when I’m doing that).

Long story short as a communicator, my main communication tool is broken. Which leads me to Director Fury’s advice.

(Item: Samuel L Jackson – 1000 yard stare. With an eyepatch. Brilliant.)

At one point the Avengers’ airship is under serious attack, on fire all over the place, all systems RFU, all hell breaking loose.  And Director Fury tells – I don’t know, Pilot Navigator Guy to head to City X.  PNG looks all frantic and says something like, “we don’t know where we are, all the computers were damaged, it’s in the middle of trying to recalibrate, we’re flying blind here!!”

Director Fury (1000 yard stare): IS THE SUN COMING UP?? THEN PUT IT ON THE LEFT!”

Sometimes we rely too much in technology to do things “for us”. And we forget that it’s a tool, not the brains behind the work or the organization. Don’t get me wrong, it’s brilliant. But we used to know how to do things before we started expecting so much of tech. Remember that people think of things, and therefore we need to remember we can work around glitches like this.  I’ve already started.

Until Facebook sorts today’s issue out (yes, it’s STILL going on) – I will put the sun on my left.

May 27, 2012

Sunday Roundup – May 27

Short week last week so I’m all mixed up yet somehow ahead of the game. What went on?

Brother Can You Spare a Five? – some crowdfunding campaigns that are on my radar

Don’t Go Changin’ – interesting article on how to help people not hate your revamped site.

Modern Dance, Canada Council Internet Gender, Summer Reading – exactly what it sounds like.

There’s another new book in the Summer Reading section – am close enough to finished to recommend.

And I’ve also realized it was a just over year ago  that I hit “go” on this website. And two weeks after that received the deposit for my first entrepreneuse marketing gig. So I do need to take a moment to say “thank you – you’re the best” to a few people and organizations from this past year:

Arts Etobicoke, Atrium Theatre, Bound To Create, Canadian Dance Assembly, Control Over Destiny, Creative Trust, Drew Nelson, Expect Theatre, Gallery 1313, Lisa Wegner, Little Revolutions, Magic and Mud Designs, NinjaTek, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, Parkdale Village BIA, Pax Christi Chorale, PM Veltri, Proud Productions, Shannon Litzenberger, Sheep No Wool, Stratical Theatre, Theatre 20.

It’s been a pleasure working with you.

May 25, 2012

Modern Dance, Canada Council News, Internet Gender and Summer Reading

Four disparate things, but I figure it’s Friday so it might be nice to graze.

From the Huff Post – What the Heck Is Modern Dance? – a question many have asked and I think this article is a good answer. “Sometimes it would seem audiences are afraid of modern dance because it’s not evident what it’s about, or what you’re supposed to get walking away from it.”

A week after Compass changes (four deadlines a year to two) the Canada Council Flying Squad is doing some reviewing of  its own.
I tweeted this yesterday:
OAC Compass deadlines down to two from four, now Canada Council Flying Squad Oct. deadline “on hold for program evaluation.” hmmm…

and a colleague responded:
@sueedworthy Result of flat-lined funding for the Councils. Will be same $$ for 6 years for most companies which means 15% behind inflation.

If that’s the case, I liked the phrasing in the press release: “With our financial situation stable for the next three years, we can move forward with this review as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure our programs continue to be relevant, cost-effective and responsive to the changing needs of the community.”

New book in the Summer Reading Section!

And finally – infographics! If you’re segmenting your marketing efforts in a boy-girl-boy kind of way,  this is kind of neat.  From

May 24, 2012

Don’t go changin’

I switched over to Facebook Timeline in December, I wanted a chance to get used to it, essentially on my own terms.  It’s been six months and the reaction is fairly whatever, but there are still folks complaining, threatening to leave, folks saying they’ve managed to “avoid” it, etc.

There are lots of valid reasons not to want to switch (or be switched) over. There are lots of times I’m irritated all to death by a company’s new web design promising greater efficiency and a better experience only to have it be the exact opposite. For the first while, anyway.

Change is good. It leads to bigger and better things. But mostly? We all just hate dealing with it. It happens when we get a new phone, or a new computer, or a new apartment. It’s different, it’s uncomfortable, we’re unsure how to use is (or where the laundry room is). It’s the change that bugs, not the new thing itself. Humans are naturally change averse.

Good article here on change aversion from DesignStaff: why users hate what you launched (and what to do about it). I liked this line: When products change and advanced users suddenly become novices, you should expect anxiety to result.

Read on!  And maybe leave early if you can, because it’s really nice out. But don’t say it was my idea.

ETA – the always fabulous Avery sent me two links about change, specifically Facebook change – enjoy!

Here’s an excerpt from an article about Zuckerburg from the April issue of Fast Company magazine:


May 23, 2012

Brother can you spare a five?

Less than a year ago I didn’t know anyone who was raising money in small increments – the eyes were on the big prize, the large gifts, suitable for naming and framing. Over the past few months phrases like “kickstarter” “indie go go” and “go fund me” have been popping up with more and more frequency in my messages, inbox, and on my Facebook feed.

Here are some of the ones I know about. Click on the thumbnails for more info on each.

The Fringe Creation Lab  Bricks and Mortar for a Movement – One of the greatest challenges of being an artist in the city is finding a financially and physically accessible space within which to rehearse and create.  That’s why the Fringe opened the Creation Lab with subsidizes rates for as little as $5/hour. Keeping the Creation Lab space rates so low is REALLY important to the independent arts scene in our city.  By supporting the Creation Lab, you are supporting creativity, innovation, and the grass roots organizations that make our city so vibrant.

Proud by Michael Healey Donations made on this page will go towards funding the world premiere of Michael Healey’s Proud in Toronto, Fall 2012. The third in a trilogy of award-winning plays about Canadian values, Proud is about what we actually want out of our politics, and our politicians. One man devotes his entire life to moving the country several millimetres to the right on the political spectrum. Will he succeed? At what cost? A Pygmalion for a country that, until Stephen Harper came along, had no need for one.


The Edward Bond Festival Campaign A one-time festival celebrating the work of the internationally renowned master playwright Edward Bond. Your contribution will ensure that all eleven encounters we are programming can be carried out as planned: six workshop readings of Bond’s works, a workshop presentation of Bond’s play Have I None with the collaboration of Bond himself before a live audience, a Symposium featuring Edward Bond and UK director Chris Cooper, and an acclaimed Ryerson Theatre School remount production of Bond’s epic play The Bundle, with a festival finale political theatre cabaret The Wrecking Ball.


Artist with Brain Injury needs refurbished computer – I suffered a trauma-related brain injury (c-PTSD) and have been living with the support of the Ontario Disability Support Program. I am at the end of my trauma therapy at Women’s College Hospital, where i am enrolled in a visual art programme.  My work is shown at the SPEAKArt Gallery, Artscape Triangle Gallery, and I will be making art live at Roncy Rocks Festival, The Annex Patio Art show and at my official Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Installation in September. I want to use these opportunities to start a conversation about brain injury. Please help me get a refurbished Macbook Pro so I can continue to create art.


As today’s complete aside I was at Panamerican Routes last night to see the opening of Blue Box. A fantastic show of ups and down, laughter and knowing glances, and a throughline to make you think. And salsa! Go catch it if you can, or see something else – it’s a great festival and full of a ridiculous amount of talent. And Aislinn Rose captured one of my favourite things – when Toronto theatre spills into the streets.





May 22, 2012

Sunday/Long Weekend Roundup and Summer Reading

What a gorgeous weekend, beautiful out every single day – from Facebook I can tell there was gardening, cottaging, relaxing, Criminal Minds marathons, BBQs and fireworks – sounds about right for May 2-4.

Last week – what went on?

Sheep Nation, Princess Aduwuaamban, and advice from the Lang Sisters – another fabulous salon at Pentimento Gallery

Info from the OAC – Reduction Policies and Compass Grants

Long Weekend! – some bits and pieces about upcoming workshops and things to read.

Most folks who know me know that I read a lot, and I especially love reading in the summer on the balcony. And most of my book-lovin’ friends usually look to each other for recommendations. With this, I bring to you a PSA – Summer Reading. If I read anything really good, I’ll post it and would love if you would share suggestions there as well.

Coming up tomorrow – fundraising gone wild! – a PSA link to every indie go go and crowdsource and go fund me campaign that folks I know are working on.

May 18, 2012

Long Weekend!

It’s the start of the summer long weekends! Maybe you have cottage plans, maybe you’re getting the boat out from wherever you put it, gardening or planting flowers or maybe you’re an artist/entrepreneur who is compromising by dragging your laptop outside to continue getting work done.

With the last thought in mind, here are a few bits to read, to try and to think about.

From the ever-fabulous Avery Swartz – How to Get Your Business Online If You Can’t Afford a Web Designer. “professional web services can be expensive, especially if you’re just starting out.  If you have some time and enthusiasm, you can create a simple website on your own, and save the big design bucks for when you’re a little more established.”

Perhaps you’re finishing up your Facebook page before you start asking people to like it all over the place – from Drew’s Marketing Minute – 9 Keys to Wicked Awesome Landing Pages. And we’ve all spent time uploading photos and things only to be told the photo is the wrong size, not big enough or realize the photo is giant and can’t be seen properly. Here’s a cheat sheet.

Another article from the always interesting Guardian – How could technology change theatre criticism for good?  “While words alone can create a rich tapestry of critical response, imagine how much richer this might be with the addition of images, video, audio, geotagging, experimental forms such as Pinterest – the list goes on. Despite having such options at their fingertips, the majority of those writing theatre criticism for the web remain trapped in the conventional print review format: a block of text that often tries to avoid spoilers. Myriad possibilities are there, but it seems we’re slow to adopt them.”

Finally I was part of a workshop yesterday for CDA (Canadian Dance Assembly) where William Yong and I and his tech partner Elysha Poirier spoke about technology and communities and using technology both to promote and create your art. It was a good discussion, thought-provoking. Head over to the Zata Omm website to see what they’re working on. Very cool, very interesting stuff.

Have a lovely long weekend, if you’re working in an office, hope you get to close early today and go for a cool drink on a patio!

May 16, 2012

Reduction Policies for Operating Grant Recipients/Changes to Compass Deadlines

Got a note from the OAC today, here’s a heads up:

OAC has established more stringent assessment reduction policies for operating grants, effective in 2012. Organizations applying for operating support that fail to meet standard in either or both categories – artistic quality and contribution, and organizational effectiveness – will see reductions as follows:

· 0 to 5 per cent reduction only for strategic priority organizations and/or operating organizations that were new within the last three years.

· 10 to 20 per cent reduction if the organization falls below standard on one assessment category for the first time.

· 20 to 30 per cent reduction if an organization falls below standard on both assessment categories for the first time.

· 30 to 50 per cent reduction if an organization falls below standard on one assessment category for the second time in the last five years.

· 50 to 100 per cent reduction if an organization falls below standard on both assessment categories for the second time in the last five years.

Over the last three years, project applications to OAC have increased by 32 per cent. As a result, creation project programs are being protected through strategic reductions to a small number of programs, including a 50 per cent reduction to Compass.

· The Compass program now has two deadlines: July 3, 2012 and November 1, 2012.

May 14, 2012

Sheep Nation, Princess Aduwuaamban, and advice from the Lang Sisters

Friday night I headed east to Pentimento Gallery for one of John’s fantastic every-so-often salons. I love going to them, there’s always a great art show on the walls, and interesting entertainment and people to meet.

Davide Luciano’s Sheep Nation is the current gallery exhibit at Pentimento – models made up as sheep to demonstrate the followers in society.  What I really thought was interesting was that he made up the models and wouldn’t let them look in the mirror til it was done – the images are their first reactions to themselves as sheep.

For the rest of the truly marvelous evening – a Cape Breton fiddler, a reading from Victoria Ward’s Little Red Riding Hood Manifesto, a great short film, Prom Storm (as always) by Kirsten Johnson, all held together by Bridgette Gall our host who effortlessly distracted us from tech set ups with impromptu soft shoe routines, and childhood stories about the Lang Sisters, who grew up down the road from her. As children, the Lang Sisters had wonderful advice on how to handle a bully that did not end with violence, but the self-confidence to know you could handle it yourself.

You know those emails you get every so often from a deposed princess in a country that is torn with strife and civil war and her husband or father is held captive and if you’ll just send your bank account number they will give you a share of the millions they will not lose if you help? Most people delete. Kirsten Johnson responds. When you tell someone “I listened to someone read emails out loud on Friday night” you would not expect the shrieks of laughter and applause this correspondence created.

We were also treated to two fifths of a jazz duo, one of whom is heading back to Korea soon.

I have saved the best for last  – as did John  – the final offering was a chat with Dr. John Nash, who is a research geonomicist (I don’t think that’s a word, but you get the idea). Ending the evening with a science guy was FASCINATING. John says he wanted to have someone where you learn something, and get answers to questions you might have from someone who really knows the answers.  We talked about e coli, and germs in animals vs germs in people and believe it or not, it was possibly the best part of the evening.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening, a proper salon and congrats to mein host – I will ALWAYS be back for things like this. Below is a deliberately fuzzy picture of my favourite piece from Sheep Nation – if you look closely, you can see they’re all reading the same latest greatest improve your life detox book that is advertised in the bus shelter. And I LOVE that her nails are did.


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