Archive for February, 2013

February 26, 2013

You Can’t Spell Carpet Without Art – but Art Isn’t Carpet


A few weeks ago I was at a fantastic gallery opening, beautiful gorgeous work that didn’t just speak to me, it nuzzled right up and whispered sweet nothings in my ear. Pieces were about three by four feet on average, and prices between $1800 and $2200. Out of my price range, absolutely worth the price, but out of my range. I remember stamping my foot and wondering why I wasn’t rich. (It was pointed out to me by the curator and another artist it’s because –  I’m also an artist. Point taken.)

There was a little sign saying that in addition to the pieces on the wall, smaller versions were also available, and I got really excited for a second, thinking, oooh – maybe I can afford a smaller one!

Then I remembered – art isn’t carpet. You don’t pay by the square foot.

Last night having an excellent conversation with some fellow artsfolks, and how a show did not get picked up as the producing company could not take the risk of selling an hour-long show to their ticket buyers. It wasn’t long enough.

Theatre is not the psychic (or other) hotline. You don’t pay by the minute.

People pay per view for boxing matches that can last two or three minutes in total.
People pay hundreds of dollars for bad seats at a hockey game (3 periods, 20 min ea. = 1 hour).

Granted some theatre is so mediocre or bad that am sure folks wish they could have paid by the minute and left after 37 of them. However.

We need to remember that we are paying for the experience as a whole. Not by the brush stroke, word or monologue. It’s not an auction. And if you are hesitant to program something that is less than 70 minutes remember:

1) you can always expand the experience – pre and post show chats. Dinner prix fixe with a partnering restaurant that matches the work. Art installations and live music in the lobby.

2) Times have changed – the two or three acts with intermissions are not as frequent as they used to be. I am more surprised to see two acts with inter in a program these days than to see 90 minutes no inter. And don’t forget – people are busy. More often than not there is a sigh of relief or dance of delight at the thought of being home before ten.

Art is not carpeting. It’s not by the foot.  Th experience isn’t better or worse depending on the length of the show. The experience is better or worse depending on the quality. A yard of dupioni silk is the same length as a yard of burlap. It costs more because it’s better quality, and may be more desirable – but it’s still only three feet long.

February 25, 2013

facebook likes, facebook interactions – Monday infographics

people like stuff a heck of a lot. and people rarely unlike a page once they’ve liked it – it’s either housecleaning to make room for other stuff to like (the like garage sale) or because you/your page has done something to irritate them. How much are people liking things? A lot. And often.


facebook likes

Okay so everyone is liking things. But are we liking and wandering away, never to speak again until the like garage sale mentioned above? That’s no good. We need INTERACTION.

I’m sending you over to Rebecca Coleman’s site to see an infographic about THAT.


February 24, 2013

Sunday Roundup – February 24

Last Roundup for February – De Chardin Project closed last week, and 4.48 Psychosis closed Saturday night, and by next roundup, Laws of Motion will have opened. So much going on – all these are followed by Ching Chong Chinaman, The Whipping Man, The Charge of the Expormidable Moose, Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! and Aromas. Got theatre? Yup.

Noticed last week there were a few problems with  – images not loading, pages taking forever to load. Hopefully it’s been resolved on their end, because I did notice it had an effect on my site stats and hits, and I can’t blame people  – slow or not loading sites don’t get traffic. Fingers crossed. Times like this I’m glad there’s a roundup – here’s what might not have loaded for you last week.

Last week…

things going well and not so well in the socialmediaverse

Three Directors Talk Back and Baby’s First Opening

Video Thursday

I obviously do a lot of writing in my work, and for fun as well. Words make me happy,  well written words delight. And any number of people want a blog, have a blog, say they want or need a blog, are writing a blog, etc. so when I found this article… one of the comments struck me as mighty true “although we “publish” more content than ever before, our writing skills (often) get in the way of effective communication.

I thought it was a great Sunday read, and something many of us should take a look at – enjoy!

Want To Be Taken Seriously? Become a Better Writer

February 21, 2013

Video Thursday

My lord it’s cold out. It’s getting to that time of year where we start actively disliking our heavy winter boots, and being annoyed by the amount of time it simply takes to dress to go somewhere.

I was out in it anyway for a meeting with Cahoots Theatre Company and it seems we will be working together in the next few months and I look forward to it.

Man, it’s cold out – videos for you to watch!

First up is Andy McKim – Andy is the AD of Theatre Passe Muraille and they have gotten super good at audience engagement. In this video he says, “we need a sea change in institutional culture if we are to have any impact on issues of engagement.” I completely agree. You should bookmark this and watch it in pieces. Think about it, make notes, take notes, make changes, come up with ideas.

No coals to the castle, this was a really good keynote – you’ll see why I have so much respect for Andy.

Next up! This one has indeed gone viral and once you watch it you’ll see why – it’s mesmerizing, painful in its beauty and very very true. I know sometimes we start watching a video online and then start doing other things as well, but this seven minutes is not the time to multi-task. Attention must be paid.


Got Five? This one might cost you seventy-five cents. Call directory assistance from your provider – cell phone, landline etc and try to get the number for your organization, asking for your company name as people know it/refer to it. Can you get the number?

Check your website on your smart phone – iPhone, Blackberries, Androids, all of them – see if your contact number is immediately visible on your main page, and bonus points if it’s set to dial/connect when you click it.

This has been a PSA for anyone standing in the cold a block from your organization (where they are supposed to be right now) and trying to get a hold of your company by phone.

February 20, 2013

Three Directors Talk Back and Baby’s First Opening

Tonight’s post performance for 4.49 Psychosis is not just worth seeing for the show, but staying to hear directors Vikki Anderson, Brendan Healy and Jennifer Tarver discuss what it’s like working in Kane’s worlds. Moderated by J. Kelly Nestruck.
Some tickets still available: 416-368-3110 or
Can’t make it? You can post your questions on the Necessary Angel FB page, or tweet with #4.48psychosis

My Communications Coordinator Lisa continues  blog posting for the company. Read on.


Baby’s First Opening!

Toronto-20130214-00538Last Thursday marked the opening of4.48 Psychosis at the Berkley, as well as my first opening with Sue! The night, with the exception of a terrifying taxi ride to the theatre*, ran very smoothly… We arrived at the Berkley early to set up the press kits. Medical charts and candy hearts decorated our media table and personalized pill bottles awaited the reviewers. As people started pouring into the space they stopped to say hi to Sue and she made sure to introduce me as well. I’m always hearing about how small the Toronto arts scene is, how everyone knows everybody else, but had never really witnessed it until 4.48’s opening. There were lots of hugs and European-style cheek kisses. One day I will master the double cheek kiss, instead of just making squeaky noises into people ears. (Unless that’s what you’re supposed to do?)

I met Jon Kaplan, who I’d been emailing with earlier in the week (rookie mistake: I sent a press release to listings@____, guys if you want to post an event, don’t do that) as well as a couple others who I’d seen around the Comedy Bar many times but had never officially met. And I was reunited with the Tarragon’s Renna Reddie who I hadn’t seen since we met at improv camp over a decade ago!

Once all the introductions were finished and everyone had grabbed their kits I was free to find a seat in the quickly filling theatre. I found a one high on the left side and was able to look upon the faces of the audience. There were so many that I now recognized… and many more to get to know. After the show finished Sue and I spent some time talking with a few more people and I met Lisa Walter whose work was on display in the foyer of Berkley. It wasn’t a formal introduction. I accidentally photobombed a photo she took. I guess it’s one way to meet people. Though next time I think I’ll stick to the “Hi, I’m Lisa” routine.

On the cab ride home Sue and I agreed that it was a great opening. I was happy to have seen the thought-provoking show. It brings you into a world fraught with mental instability and challenges you to reside there until the play’s close. The movement to break the silence and stigma around mental health issues has been growing, and I believe Sarah Kane‘s play helps do this. Go see it… Sue and I won’t be there to welcome you with charts and candy hearts, but I’m sure there’ll be someone you know there or someone to introduce yourself to… through a photobombs or handshakes, whichever you prefer.

4.48 Psychosis runs until Feb. 23!

*it was a terrifying cab ride, although irritating would be my choice of words. Between GPS and Pearly’s, I need a driver to know where he’s going. Still, major props to you for hailing – that ability is a huge bonus point for me. – se

February 19, 2013

things going well and not so well in the socialmediaverse

So many articles lately on examples of social media done well and things going not well. It’s a grey paperwork admin kind of day, so I thought I’d round them up for you and let you see for yourself.

Remember Oreo and the Superbowl? Article on how you can do it too: Four Ways to build on Oreo’s winning strategy

Love this – teaching spelling via twitter. Makes me happy, seeing real world situations used to teach. Grade Two students fix spelling errors

Inside HMV’s Twitter Disaster – am sure you heard about this one, and makes me think of a previous post I wrote, Who has the Keys to your Customers?

And of course, most recently – Burger King Twitter Account Hacked

And before you say, but these are huge companies, they have tons of staff etc etc remember – you can always apply ideas. And if you need an example of a small company doing it, oh so wrong – click here. I’ll say that Steps One through Four made me shake my head, but Step Five was what made my jaw drop.

Go get a coffee and do some reading.

February 17, 2013

Sunday Roundup – February 17th

schoollifeFamily Day tomorrow, so a long weekend for many. A reminder that today’s the final day for The De Chardin Project in the TPM Backspace. And 4.48 Psychosis doesn’t have a Sunday show, but does have a Monday show. Meanwhile;

I Didn’t Know The Pope Could Quit

Ticket Deal – 4.48 Psychosis Preview (this deal has expired, now BTW)

I Do Not Have Calvin’s Technology

This Valentine is Awesome, and 4.48 Psychosis opens tonight

Monday is Family Day So I’m Working on this Instead

And since it’s Sunday, and a long weekend, it’s possible you’ll be cooking later, lazier breakfasts today and tomorrow – so here’s a bonus link that seems appropriate:  How to Cook Bacon Perfectly Like a Chef.

Have a good weekend, no matter what you’re doing.



February 15, 2013

Monday is Family Day So I’m Working on this Instead

563239_10152573164710721_1150205865_nWonderful opening night for 4.48 Psychosis last night – a full house of folks deeply touched and moved by the work. It’s a deep piece, let’s face it, it requires a bit of work and thought on the part of an audience member. I strongly encourage you to go and see it, it’s running til the 23rd. There’s some amazing artwork on display in the lobby, and live music – it’s an experience the moment you enter.

On that note – I love doing press kits. I love doing the little extra thing that ties into the work – like the fans for Awake in 2010, or the mini flash mob for the same show in 2013. The lobby display for Proud was set to resemble government files on each member of the creative team.  Last night’s press kits were set up to resemble medical charts, complete with blue chart paper, tagged and labelled for each reviewer. My favourite part was the personalized prescription bottles for each of them, instructing them to “take two before 8 pm”. (They were rocket candies. I’m not drugging people pre or post show). Anyway – I like it.


Family Day on Monday which means a long weekend for most. I found a couple of interesting links on LinkedIn, and have forwarded them to a couple of folks who are working on similar ideas as I am. I  think we spend a great deal of time figuring out manifestos and missions and user manuals for our orgs, but we don’t do ones for ourselves, and given that the people are what makes or breaks an organization.  A vision statement about your business is one thing, self-knowledge in the form of a personal user manual is another. I think it’s possibly even more important to do one as a freelancer/contracter – you are your organization.
I don’t think for a minute this is a “weekend project” – but it’s nice to have a day or two to focus and get started.

I’m going to be working on these (for myself)  in the next little while and thought I’d share the ideas with you.

Do You Have A User Manual?and
Five Steps to Creating a Personal User Manual

There will be a Sunday Roundup, but no post on Monday. Have a great long weekend!

February 14, 2013

This Valentine is Awesome, and 4.48 Psychosis opens tonight

I have some great designers in my mental rolodex – I’ve got Avery Swartz, and Blair Francey, and Randal Boutilier off the top of my head, and this year I added Kinnon Elliott. And like Randall’s Christmas card,  Kinnon has created an awesome design for today, click on the image to see it.Well done Kinnon.

Excellent preview article for 4.48 Psychosis in this week’s NOW Magazine – we open tonight so today is a day of press kits and paperwork and getting ready. When I first read the script, I wasn’t entirely sure how they were going to approach it, but after seeing some rehearsal and definitely dress rehearsal I think they’ve taken a very weighty piece and made it accessible. It’s dark, to be sure. And it’s thoughtful and approachable and the performances, direction and design all do really good things together. I’m looking forward to it.

And this? Made me very happy on a marketing level, a fundraising level, a turn-it-around level and a human level.
Supporters pledged to raise $100 for every minute the group plans to protest… (The fundraiser)… exceeded expectations, bringing in $41,529 (as of their posting).


February 13, 2013

I Do Not Have Calvin’s Technology


And so I have hired someone. Her name is Lisa, she’s awesome and smart and fun to work with and we get stuff DONE. Please welcome her, you will be hearing from her, in fact the first thing I asked her to do was write a blog post. She’ll be writing more in the weeks to come.

A Company of … Two!

As of today I’ve been officially welcomed to the Sue Edworthy Art Planning team. As of today we can officially use the word ‘team’ because there’s two of us.

Here are a few reasons I’m looking forward to working with Sue:

  • Experience: Working in this team of two means I won’t get lost in the crowd. Sue will be training me as I work alongside her. I have a lot to learn but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
  • Exposure: Working with Sue means I get to experience every aspect of the marketing and communication world. There are no departments or specific project leaders. I think my official title is ‘Communications Coordinator’ but we kind of just made that up. I’ll get to do a bit of everything: press releases, grant proposals, social media outreach, and even budgeting (ahh!)
  • Attitude: Sue is equal parts business and casual with touch of sass (sarcasm –  Sue do you hate being called sassy?). Her realistic nature is going to help keep me focused and motivated.
  • Familiarity: Of which I have little. I’m new to Toronto and can’t wait to become familiar with the artists, producers, and behind-the-scenes brains of the Toronto Arts and Culture world. I’d also like to memorize some important, applicable acronyms (LOL and NSFW don’t count).
  • Content: Sue’s current client list is full of exciting people and projects. I’m going to get to see a lot of great theatre in the next few months! (And so will you!)

As I type this Sue and I are sitting in the Gladstone  sipping on a celebratory glass of wine and staring at our computer screens. Sue just asked hers to PFO. (Hmmm sassy, much?) It’s a perfect close to our first day.

Item: Sure you can call me sassy. Once. And I keep track. Welcome aboard Lisa, glad you’re here – SE

Item 2 – This is Sue Edworthy Arts Planning’s 400th blog post. Seems momentous. Thanks to all who subscribe, follow, read, share and re-tweet. You are much appreciated.

%d bloggers like this: