Posts tagged ‘Small Print Toronto’

January 16, 2013

Totsapalooza is Turning Five!

Tots-5-Poster-Draft-a-Street-Crew1I’ve been working with a great group called Small Print Toronto. From their website:

Small Print Toronto stages creative writing workshops and literary events for children and young people. Our programming is designed to inspire them to explore a vital question:  How do stories work?

Learning to tell one’s own story and to understand those of others builds self-confidence and develops intellectual curiosity.  Our programming cultivates an ongoing dialogue between professional creators and their primary audience that invites young people to participate in the diverse imaginative landscape of Toronto.

Every city is a collection of stories; we empower young people to contribute theirs.

Before I go any further – this is a brilliantly volunteer-run organization. I was at the last Totsapalooza – Mouse City Calling and it was truly a great event – stories and rock bands and the main event was about city building. Adam Vaughan was Mayor of Mouse City, he talked to the kids about what you need to build a city, and after that – they did. Using recyclables (egg cartons, milk cartons, bits and pieces of glitter and glue) – the small folks they built a city. Amazing thing to watch.

This year?

The annual celebration of the Do-It-Yourself spirit in kid culture, Totsapalooza, turns five this year. To celebrate this milestone, globally renowned visual artist and children’s author Oliver Jeffers will make an exclusive Toronto appearance at this year’s extravaganza of stories, songs, crafts and snacks, hosted by award-winning artist-author Kevin Sylvester.

After delivering multimedia presentations of his recent picture books, such as the bestsellers This Moose Belongs To Me and Stuck, Jeffers will guide the 2-to-8 set through thematically-related crafts, like making penguins that can actually fly.

Perhaps best known for his collaborations with Ron Sexsmith, Rheostatics and Bidiniband, widely acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and producer Don Kerr will unveil his solo project and perform sets of original music. (Rumour has it that Kerr is penning a song inspired by at least one of Jeffers’s beloved tales!) 

And don’t miss a special performance by tween rap poets Rhyme Stew Crew, alongside their esteemed mentors, poet Claire Caldwell and veteran rap artist Mindbender.

“Totsapalooza: A Day With Oliver Jeffers, Don Kerr & Kevin Sylvester” promises to be a landmark party for independent spirits of all ages, which is only fitting. After all, it’s not every day that you turn five.

I love working with this group. What we’re working on? Expansion of their organization – the next step. How to become not necessarily bigger, but definitely even better. We plan to make penguins that can actually fly.

I know some of you have small people – bring them out. Cheaper than a movie and far more interesting.  Advance tickets are here.

Giving a lecture-workshop-conversation event tonight for b[ART]er – from the eventbrite page – Are you an arts and culture professional looking for a social and informative gathering? b[ART]er, a bi-monthly meet-up and mixer for Toronto area arts and culture professionals will be holding its b[ART]er – Social Media Edition on January 16, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., at Weston Family Learning Centre, AGO (317 Dundas St. West) featuring guest speakers  Sue Edworthy (Sue Edworthy Arts Planning) and Ricardo McRae (Wedge 15). Very much looking forward to it – more details and RVSP link here.


All the newsletter that come into your inbox daily? Pick two – one you automatically read and one you automatically delete. Read both. Figure out three reasons you automatically read the first one. Figure out three reasons you started automatically deleting the second one. Look at your own newsletter and make sure you have the first three positives and don’t have the first three negatives.

January 2, 2013

It’s a New Year! CharPR Prizes, Next Stage Festival and more!

155885_10152385898130175_777701615_n“It seems wrong and unfair that Christmas, with its stressful and unmanageable financial and emotional challenges, should first be forced upon one wholly against one’s will, then rudely snatched away just when one is starting to get into it. Was really beginning to enjoy the feeling that normal service was suspended and it was OK to lie in bed as long as you want, put anything you fancy into your mouth, and drink alcohol whenever it should chance to pass your way, even in the mornings. Now suddenly we are all supposed to snap into self-discipline like lean teenage greyhounds.” – Bridget Jones’ Diary

Before I go any further I have to let you know that the CharPR Prizes have been announced and you should visit their website to see who’s won. Go ahead, I’ll wait, it’s first day back and we’re all a little tottery. You back? HEE!! I KNOW, RIGHT?? Thanks so much Charpo!!!

You can win a backstage pass to Totsapalooza! Click here for details

Next Stage Festival opens TONIGHT! I’ve got all my shows booked – go book yours!

Okay then. Since the year-end roundup expanded into three posts – we’ll I’m pretty happy about that, and so I’ll keep today short. I’m not going to ask what your resolutions are, it’s none of my business, but I hope you succeed.

Some things I’d like to see or not see in the New Year – we’ll start with just a couple – we just got back after all.

post/tweet ownership. If there are more than one of you posting for your group, show etc – you have different tones, different writing styles. We know it’s not all one person, so can you please at least  initial them so we know who is who? Why you ask? because we know it’s s different people. Let us get to know you, who you are. If you develop a relationship with us (even one based on initials) odds increase that we’ll look for your posts. And it And it allows you to create a persona based on you, as well as the company.

fewer patently obvious auto-posts: I got a lot of tweets, posts, emails etc in the last two weeks of December that were auto posts. How did I know? Because I found it hard to believe that they were being posted by a human at the times and on the dates they were being posted.  Mostly it was the fact that it made no acknowledgement of the time of year – no matter what holiday is being celebrated, an indication that things are different this day would have gone a lot further in making me believe some thought had gone into those posts, rather than rote visit-my-website tweet links. Again, it’s tone of voice, just like the item above. Unless of course you precede each post with a warning that Harry-the-Holiday-Robot has taken over for two weeks. (Okay, that I would have LOVED).  Or put on the Best of Crane and be done with it.

I think that’s all for the moment. I have to get ready for Next Stage- the tent awaits!

November 20, 2012

It’s Tuesday

(I can’t think of a good title. I’m not going to force it)

TAPA AGM yesterday, always good to see other member folks and say hi and catch up. Jim Roe FTW in the category of Best Other Business ever.

Also, the Theatre Development Fund has launched the TDF Theatre Dictionary – a video guide to “theatre lingo” by TDF and theatre companies from across North America, the video on how to use it is below, and here’s the link to the dictionary.

I’m starting work with Small Print Toronto this afternoon, they are a fantastic company and I am excited to be part of helping them move to the next level of being the awesome org they are.

All for now! – Also this is interesting, and probably true.

October 18, 2012

Arts Advocacy and Girls without Hats and a Pentimento Salon

Yesterday was a great day bookended by a presentation and a workshop. I started my day talking to a room full of bright young things at George Brown – about theatre and why it is important and ended my day talking to a room full of writers, painters and filmmakers about art and why it is important, and how to share that with others. And in between ran into Chris from Small Print, postering for their next happening, Girls Without Hats.

I’ll start today talking about Arts Advocacy and the Upcoming Day at the City (more on that in another post) and end it talking about someone’s art and in between write press releases and finish a social media plan. Life is good. I’m not enjoying that as I write this it’s nearly seven a.m. and still dark, but such is the price we pay for good boots and red lipstick and great hats.

I’m going to this on Friday. Pentimento Salons are always a great time. Have a great day!

February 12, 2012

Sunday Roundup – February 12

The second week of February started off with a bang and was wondefully full of meeting new clients, working with others, and prepping for the week ahead. It’s wonderful to work with so many different companies like OCAF, and Small Print Toronto and individuals like Lisa Wegner and Marco Veltri  and others and I am booked solidly until April 15. Anything after that – let’s chat.

A reminder that Social Media Week starts tomorrow – I am doing a workshop with Parkdale Village BIA and a panel as well on women in social media.


So about last week…

Did Churchill Really Say That? Has Anyone Said Anything Since? -on Churchill’s famous quote about paying for the war with culture money.

Focused Conversations and Tiny Urban City Builders – info on a workshop I attended, and a shout-out to the upcoming Totsapalooza.

Sometime the Art Touches You, Sometimes You Get to Touch the Art – another visit to Pentimento Gallery to see what was on.

Last week was also a victory for Transit City and as always if you want the full deal go visit torontoist – they do amazing munipoli coverage.

The Star also did some excellent vehicular defining.

I think that’s it for today – it’s actually winter out there and you’d best find your gloves and stuff.



February 8, 2012

Focused Conversations and Tiny Urban City Builders

I was at an interesting workshops yesterday about Focused Conversations using something called the FAIR Conversation Method Flow. Entrepreneuse School may be over but they offer these cool workshops free of charge to grads. Part learning, art networking, it was a great use of a morning.

FAIR stands for: Facts (getting the facts, sensory impressions, information – the objective level); Associations (personal reactions, associations, emotions, images – the reflective level); Interpretation (meaning and values, significance, purpose, implications – the interpretive level) and Resolve (resolution, action, future directions, next steps – the decisional level).

I thought when I first got there it was about general conversations, but really it’s a way to have extremely focused meetings – which to me is even better. I’m not a fan of meetings – to be precise I’m not a fan of bad meetings – where there is no clear objective, when they are hijacked by one person’s ideas or comments, when there are too many people or not the right people in the room the meeting that goes on and on, the “why am I even here??” meeting. Everyone has had their share of these. And everyone I am sure has tried to figure out a way of making meetings better.

The concept I really liked about this workshop was that the method focused on two outcomes at the end of the conversation:

Rational Aim: what the group will KNOW, learn or decide by the end of the conversation; the product of the conversation eg they will explore X, they will identify Y, they will make a decision about Z.

Experiential Aim: how the group will BE different at the end of the conversation; they will be excited by a new idea, they will have experienced helpful struggle; they will trust each other’s perspectives.

I’m not typing out all my handouts, but you get the idea.  And I’ll share the opening sequence example with you. I’d love to be in this meeting!

Set Context: “Today we are having a conversation about the best way to support a new program coordinator. Remember this is not about whether we need one or not – at this point it should be taken as a given. We should have a list of strategies by the end of the conversation.”

Set Parameters: “Let’s start with some working assumptions about our conversation.” (this is the creation of participation guidelines, whether that is that everyone in the room should be there, that all opinions will be heard, that there are no wrong answers, etc).

Clarify Roles: Who is leading the meeting? Who is facilitating? (important – do not let hierarchical systems hijack the facilitator.)

Establish Available Time: “We’ll take about half an hour for this conversation.”  (this is a biggie for me. An open-ended meeting is not an effective one. Once there is a length established, people tend to get to their point more quickly. Do not let this be hijacked. If it “requires further discussion”, move on and have that further discussion at a separate meeting.)

Ground the Conversation: “Let’s start our discussion by looking at the job description of the program coordinator.

An excellent workshop in my opinion – to me an excellent workshop is well run, has handouts (email or otherwise) and contains items and ideas that you are excited to take away with you and begin implementing immediately.


Studies have shown that children are the quickest to design, to answer, to do stuff. They figure things out quickly because they don’t over-complicate, they don’t attach a huge number of issues to an action, they don’t over-think things to the point of paralysis.

I feel like the above is the type of meeting they’d have. And I bet there will be proof of this on Sunday February 26th, 2:00 pm at Revival –  PSA#8 – Totsapalooze – Mouse City Calling.


November 27, 2011

Sunday Roundup – November 27

Quieter week than I thought, but busier than expected so here we go.

City Mouse, Country Mouse – check out Small Print Toronto’s latest initiative for small city builders.

Theatre, Books, Dance and Interactive Stuff That Makes me Happy – bits and pieces of things to see and read and play with.

I mentioned last week that I am on the Social Media Week 2012 Advisory Board – they are doing Spotlights on each member – so here I am.

Old joke from Mission Paradox: “How do you build a small fortune in the arts?”

It is the second last week of Entrepreneuse School – I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone and how much we’ve learned in ten weeks. Complete business plan in hand by the 6th of December.

Tomorrow I’ll be writing about the 1164 Cabaret I attended on Friday – what a marvelous time. So many interesting people both on and off stage include one woman who is a fantastic photographer.

Sigh  – the 2012 City Budget is being released tomorrow. Tomorrow we shall see what will happen in our city, what is deemed important, what is not.

Deputations to the Budget Committee are scheduled for the 7th. I’ll be there.

November 23, 2011

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Short but worthy post today – seems appropriate given the topic.

Ran into Chris Reed on Queen Street the other morning just after Small Print Toronto‘s Mouse City Summit – judging from Chris’ over the moon mood it was a great success. I may have to borrow a child to go to see this in it’s next incarnation at Totsapalooza – sounds like an amazing time was had by all. Here’s a link to the article from The Grid about the event.

And for full-grown mouse urbanists and artists – Living the Creative Life: How do Artists support the community and vice versa?

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