Posts tagged ‘Toronto’

July 25, 2013

it’s the LabCab Festival: Parkdale!

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This weekend! July 27th and 28th, 2013

On Queen St West beginning near Roncesvalles Ave & ending at Dufferin St noon to 6pm ALL EVENTS ARE FREE!

From their excellent website: The Lab Cab Festival: Parkdale is a free, annual multi-arts festival. Music, dance, theatre, film, poetry, crafts, kids stuff, visual art and comedy are performed in the restaurants, bars, community centres, boutiques, cafés, parks, libraries, parking lots, hair salons, flower shops, churches, clothing stores, antique stores, book stores and businesses in the Parkdale neighbourhood. Acts range from two to thirty minutes and include a range of expertise in each field: from well established artists to those just starting. The mandate of the Lab Cab Festival is to provide a home for local artists of various disciplines to experiment with new work in a fun and risk-free environment. We offer free workshops, free childcare and a free pancake breakfast.  The Lab Cab Festival is free, family friendly and community oriented.

click here for the everything that’s going on, and here for the more specific schedule of events. See you this weekend!

July 6, 2013

#TOFringe – July 6 – Day Four

Sold out show for It’s Always You yesterday – get your tickets folks!

I met a super lovely couple from Richmond. VA yesterday while in line for a show, and they were over the moon delighted with all things Fringe. They’d always wanted to come to Toronto, they realized they had enough airmiles to do so, and decided to come to Fringe for a few days. And were LOVING it. So nice to chat with them, and I hope they had a safe flight home.

Normally I don’t post on Saturdays but Fringe waits for no one and there’s far too much amazing stuff going on including an UNDERGROUND DANCE PARTY!

What’s Going On

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What I’m Seeing

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and

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was hanging around the Fringe Club/Visual Fringe yesterday post tent talk, and realized the av sideshow was about to begin. A reminder to all that alley plays are ridiculously convenient and RIGHT THERE so you probably should check out at least one.

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Fun fact: Number of my programs I’ve given to people who don’t have a program yet? NINE.

May 6, 2013

Goodbye Galas, Outside the Arts Box and The Critic Stumbles

glalas
Beautiful weekend. Beautiful day.

Three articles last week struck me during my daily stuff to read – the first two speak to each other and are from the same publication, so that makes sense – but then I was wandering around Seth’s Blog and another one struck me as fitting into this trinity of new ways of thinking.

 

Why Toronto is Saying Goodbye to Galas
I came of Arts Admin age just at the edge of big galas – the silent auctions that made thousands, five hundred dollars a plate, four thousand for a table and the It girls were always there in the grand ballroom of the It Hotel. It will be interesting to see what we do differently in the future. I don’t necessarily think the old-school gala is a great tool for engagement, not only do I want your money, I want your time. And most folks are a little short on one or the other, and usually both. I’d personally enjoy the end of the silent auction. So tired of it. So little money made in most cases. So much effort. Next up,

Arts groups thinking outside the box – and way beyond the box office  The final paragraph, the whole final section, hits quite literally close to home:

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, with 185 commercial and non-profit members in theatre, dance and opera, is exploring new strategies for survival in a volatile environment. “Toronto companies have recognized they need to embrace adaptive change, and there are many already working on it,” says Jacoba Knaapen, executive director of TAPA, noting how mobile technology is transforming the consumption of arts and culture.

Since 2011, as part of a project with Arts Research Action, a consulting group, TAPA has worked with members to explore new approaches to a range of issues, including how to attract younger, more diverse audiences. The results will be included in a report to be released next year. “There are some really deep-seated assumptions that our organizations inherited in a language that dates back to when the companies were founded 35 to 40 years ago,” observes Knaapen. “The assumptions they have inherited are part of the old way, and the old way has to change to a more adaptive model.”

In 2009-10, ticket sales for theatre, dance and opera in Toronto dropped to $132-million from $170-million in 2005-06, according to TAPA.

Grim stuff. The final piece of today’s triptych comes from Seth Godin: The Critic Stumbles. His words:
For me, the opinion of any single critic is becoming less and less meaningful as I choose what to view or engage with. And the aggregate opinion of masses of anonymous critics merely tells me that the product or content is (or isn’t) mass-friendly. I’m far more moved by the insistent recommendation of a credible, raving fan than I am the snide whispering of some people who just didn’t get it.”

You see why these articles struck me as a fit together. All talk about needing to embrace new ways of fundraising, engaging, working. Some things to think about. Many in fact – think, talk, share, engage.

 

April 30, 2013

Our Illustrious Mayor and – no, just that.

mayor_ford_180I said a few months back I was tired of writing about His Worship because I can only have this look on my face for so long before it starts to become aging, and I felt he was doing a fine job on his own of having his – antics – tracked. But Edward Keenan’s piece in the Grid last week is really quite excellent. This struck me.

But if you have essentially given up on doing the job the people of Toronto elected you to do, the job they pay you to do, then it’s all a fun game of seeing what might turn into a wedge issue in the next election campaign. Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto, thinks he gets to run again on the anti-government, these-guys-running-this-place-are-incompetent load of hooey he ran on before. Neat trick. Who knows, it could work. It worked for him last time. It’s the only political point he’s ever known how to make, and the only one he’s ever had to make.

But it’s not leadership. It is beneath his office, beneath this city, beneath the trust of the voters and taxpayers who elected him. Instead of doing his job, he’s playing a cynical, cowardly, political game. Let someone else make the difficult decisions so he can complain about them. Read the article

Why did that strike me?

Because it could happen again.

Not enough people took him seriously last time, I mean as a credible candidate. Or rather, not enough people took the people who took him seriously, seriously. Voters don’t seem to vote for candidates anymore – they vote against candidates.  Not him-not-her-dear-god-anyone-but-him-or-her.

I will say that I’ve never really seen a city so activated and involved in politics, and I think that’s a good thing.

May I humbly make a suggestion? Talk to someone you don’t agree with on politics. Find out why they feel the way they do. Find out who they want to lead, not who they’d want have a beer with. Always drove me nuts that question, there’s tons of people I’d like to have a beer with, not many of them who I’d want for mayor. More importantly, we already agree. We’re on the same page as to what we want for this city, be it culture funding or bike lanes or no casino. We’re already convinced, we don’t need to convince each other any more.

Find the people who you don’t agree with. Talk to them. Find out why, and what they’re thinking. What makes them tick, and what makes them tick off a candidate’s check box on a ballot. Last election was the classic pendulum swing, from Miller to Ford. Perhaps this time, we could find something in the middle.

And have a beer together.

April 7, 2013

Sunday Roundup – April 7

rc_fluteNo rest for the weary this week as I spent yesterday afternoon at the first of four public consultations for spending priorities for the new arts funding. Online surveys and other consult dates are here. It was an interesting afternoon, with a full house and a great deal of discussion on spending and where artists and arts workers envision this new money going. I hope the responses are taken seriously by those collecting them, and thoughtfully added into the grand scheme of things. And I hope the momentum of the past year is maintained. It needs to be.

Sometimes Hearing is Believing  The Whipping Man is running for another week and I urge you to go and see it. Some wonderful work there.

About Yesterday…

Supporting the Arts in Many Ways, Legoland and Social Influences

Arts Funding, Social Media Presence, and Where We Work

Brendan Healy wrote an extremely brave letter last week. From TorontoistIt’s no secret that many of Toronto’s theatre companies have seen the numbers of paying customers coming through their doors shrink over the last few years. Companies have had to adjust in response—a process known euphemistically as “right-sizing.” But when the artistic director of one of Toronto’s most iconic companies—which Buddies In Bad Times, “the largest facility-based queer theatre company in the world,” definitely is—has to write a letter to the citizens of Toronto (theatre-going or not) expressing his surprise at low attendance for a new play from one of Canada’s most acclaimed and accomplished playwrights (Daniel MacIvor’s Arigato, Tokyo, in this instance), there’s a problem. ADs are not usually ones to admit a show, especially one they’ve directed themselves, isn’t performing up to their expectations in the box office.

TAPA has been working for quite some time on documenting and understanding these numbers. Quick article in the Globe and Mail last week –
Healy’s actions come less than a month after he attended a meeting to which the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts invited the artistic directors of some 185 professional theatre, dance and opera companies “to discuss the current climate … the current challenges.”
Details of the March 11 meeting are confidential. Nevertheless, it’s likely attendance was discussed as TAPA, established in 1979, has been gathering statistics for almost 10 years with respect to Toronto performing arts. In a brief interview Thursday, TAPA executive director Jacoba Knaapen noted that between 2005-06 and 2009-10, ticket sales to professional theatre, dance and opera performances declined by eight per cent, going to 2.3-million tickets purchased from 2.5-million.
Read more

Giving a workshop in Social Media 101 for DTRC’s Living Creatively conference. I like the setup of this one – Tierney of Tech Soup is doing the tech part, I am doing the social part. I like new formats, and am looking forward to seeing who’s there.

Off into the day. Apparently it’s spring. I wish I could see more proof of that.

OH! Was at the opening of Opera Atelier’s the Magic Flute last night – so, so beautiful. Go and see if you can. It’s an easy intro opera – populist if you will, it’s  in English and it’s  a singspiel and it’s wonderful to see so many people under the age of twenty, heck, under the age of twelve at the opera and loving it.

March 25, 2013

Our Work Is Never Quite Done

Arts Advocacy Committee meeting last week, emails back and forth about arts funding, links posted and reposted and reminded, so of course I was all set to write an impassioned post this morning about how in terms of that 4 million in arts funding? We ain’t there yet.
Then I was on Facebook and found someone had already written one. And since I am a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel when the wheel has been invented well – I’m posting Emma’s note in full below. Read it. It’s good. If you don’t get something, it has links.
Well spoken Ms. Emma. Talk soon.
Get Arts Funding Passed
by Emma Mackenzie Hillier (Notes) on Monday, 25 March 2013 at 11:36

Hi friends,

So remember when we found out that City Council was going to approve an extra $4,000,000 to their arts budget and we all did a happy dance? We can’t quite finish doing the Snoopie until April 3 when city council will finally vote. I don’t know about you… but in my opinion it’s our job to let our councillors and mayor know that this extra funding is crucial. I mean.. I’d love it if Theatre Projects suddenly had an extra $50,000 grand to throw to companies… like my own.

Uh oh… but wait… I can hear the self-defeatists now: “But Emma… to do that would take work and I prefer to spend all my energy on creating work… except for when I’m on facebook procrastinating because art is hard to make. Administrative Work, Emma, it would take Work!!”

Yes… yes it would… if I hadn’t drafted a letter that you can copy and paste and send along to your city councillor (whose email can be found by clicking on this link http://app.toronto.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp).

Oh, wait… I hear another voice: “But Emma… I don’t really know anything about arts funding and how it benefits the sector in Toronto! How can I write and say I support something I don’t know enough about?”

Ah, well, my friend, simply click on this link: http://www.torontoartscouncil.org/ARTS-FACTS/Impact, read up, and maybe snoop around some more on the Toronto Arts Council’s website. There’s some useful stuff in there. Remember… an uninformed artist is an ignorant one (at least in my books). Know your shit, people. Otherwise how can you create for any community but the one in your own head?

So… all in all… it should take less time to fill out the letter below and send it to your city counillor than it did to read this note. Happy Arts Activism! You just did your good deed for the day… and your civic duty… two birds, one stone.

Dear [insert councillor],

I want to take a minute to thank you for your hard work on city council. As a member of your ward, who reads your regular newsletter, I want to let you know that I appreciate what you do for the members of your ward when you represent us to the city.

I’m writing to ask for your support of Recommendation ED20.5 at the vote on April 3, 2013. The arts sector is a vibrant part of our community and as an [insert title here] who works within the theatre industry I know first-hand how crucial additional funding is to the sector’s growth. The extra revenue, delivered to the Toronto Arts Council and then on to artists, will impact the capacity of theatre companies and individual artists to create work that speaks to the vibrant and diverse culture in Toronto.

I’m sure you’re aware of the reports and statistics that have been released on the impacts of arts funding, but to reiterate a few of the highlights:

Grants allocated by Toronto Arts Council directly support:

Creativity:

  • On average 900 new works of art are created annually with support from TAC.

Economy:

  • 15,000 artistic and administrative staff are paid by TAC funded organizations
  • $40,000,000 is generated annually in ticket sales
  • For every $1 granted to an arts organization by TAC, $14.95 is received from other levels of government, the private sector or earned revenue

Arts Access:

  • 15,000 performances, exhibitions, events are presented annually
  • 7.5 million people including 1.5 million children and youth attend TAC supported events annually

The impact on Toronto’s neighbourhoods and communities of increased arts funding includes:

  • creation of a more beautiful city
  • promotion of understanding between cultures
  • provision of opportunities for at-risk youth
  • attraction of business
  • increase of citizen engagement
  • support for underserviced neighbourhoods
  • increase of tourism
  • reduction of crime
  • increase of volunteerism
  • improvement of the economy
  • creation of community pride
  • increase in community organizational capacity

Toronto has lagged behind the rest of country in its arts funding; this increase was recommended 10 years ago. I’m so excited to see that there has been such progress towards the goal and I hope that you will aid in its passing. Speaking as a member of the arts and [insert Ward here] community I can attest to the passion, drive, and personal impact the work of our artists has on the Toronto community. Please support Recommendation ED20.5 and increase funding for this vital sector.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,

 

January 31, 2013

A Night of Celebration and How to Hail A Cab

From my Facebook status: what a great night. celebration of the arts and arts funding at Daniels Spectrum – Artscape’s newest creation, amazing to see so much joy and power in one room, all together, friends old and new to hug and exclaim and make plans with and then out for a bite and a drink with (A Friend) who rocks my world and home safe to finish bits and pieces and think about what good things the future will bring to the arts in Toronto. Well done, all involved. To quote Che – art is power. Fought for over a decade, celebrated tonight.

I hadn’t yet been to Daniels Spectrum it was still a deep pit in the ground when I finished working at Artscape and it is a beautiful building, with a state of the art hall for events and theatre – congrats Artscape. You’ve made another beautiful building.

Last night was truly great – the mix of folks there to celebrate this arts funding from artists to city councillors to the Mayor to children running through to their art classes – really a celebration of life. Still – a long day and I was glad to head home, which leads to

Liv+Tyler+Liv+Tyler+Hailing+Cab+New+York+City+Sx9sdY8pO4PlHow To Hail A Cabbecause sometimes we need practical, non-arts marketing advice

I am excellent at hailing cabs. A US friend of mine once said, “they turn around for you – you’d do well in New York” which is still one of the best compliments I’ve ever been paid. I may have to wear reading glasses but I can spot a taxi six blocks away and get it.

Now then – the basic trick to hailing a cab is  – look like you want a taxi. I cannot stress this enough. This means –

Standing at the edge of the sidewalk by the street;
Actively looking, not playing with your phone or talking to your friends.

Hand in the air, and get it up there – whole arm up. No sad little waves, no timid finger snapping (and don’t do that anyway, because really? Snapping your fingers at someone?)

You are on the side of the road that corresponds to the direction you want to go in. Unless you want the meter started and have to go two blocks out-of-the-way or be a partner in a U-turn turned three-point turn turned twelve-point turn and now you’re holding up traffic and folks are honking. Up to you.

Keep your arm/hand in the air. Keep scanning. Try to be on/near a corner of an intersection, as it broadens your search area. Step away from the bus stop – because then you look like you’re waiting for the bus, not looking for a cab. Someone standing on the sidewalk by the edge of the street wants a cab.

If there are no cabs coming towards you, keep that arm up anyway. Why? Because there are cabs coming in the other direction and they can now see you want a cab. Listen behind you – if you hear a little peep-peep! horn – keep your arm in the air , but check the source as it’s probably a cab. Also, cabs going by with their lights off are taken, but sometimes drivers will communicate to other drivers that there is a “flagger” at X Street West and Y Avenue. Get all the taxis on your side!

Since he is going the opposite direction you will need to communicate to him to turn around – this be done with either the over the shoulder thumb movement in te direction you wish to head, or the circle the index finger turn around movement. Either one should be accompanied by mouthing or saying the words “that way“, or “other way“.

If there is a cab coming towards you and he is picking you up, odds are good he will flash his lights to indicate “I see you”. You can respond with a thumbs up, arm down and wait and keep watching them.  In my view, these actions constitute a binding contract for services on the part of both parties, so if another cab comes peeling around the corner and tries to nab you, you must shake your head no, and point at the original taxi, thus cementing the contract. They will thank you for waiting when they pull up.

If – and this rarely happens to me, but if it does – you have flagged a cab and someone a block ahead of you steals it – sorry. It’s a pain but it’s New York rules: If someone steals your cab, it wasn’t your cab.

Bonus info: If you call a taxi and wind up hailing one in the wait time for whatever reason, you must call back and tell them to cancel it. There’s a cab on the way spending time and gas to come get you – you can’t ditch them. Besides, they now have your cell number and you are the person who calls and ditches. Poor form.

And that’s how you hail a cab.

January 20, 2013

Sunday Roundup January 20

Busy week of work and meetings and rehearsal hall and celebrations. What’s up?

Why This Holiday Card is Awesome – go look. it really is.

Totsapalooza is Turning Five! – most read post last week! Hope we’ll see you there!

b[ART]er workshop last night and upcoming teachings

Dogs and Mailmen, Grandma and The Bank flip the problem to find the solution.

Bit of a celebration last night with Friends of the Arts, to toast the funding coming towards arts and culture.

The city’s executive committee has already overwhelmingly endorsed a motion by Councillor Gary Crawford to release $6 million of billboard loot and use it to increase the 2013 budget for the city’s cultural operation from $47.6 million.

Under Crawford’s plan, another $17 million would be phased in gradually over the next four years until Toronto reaches its oft-stated goal of increasing its per capita spending on the arts from $18.30 to $25.

Congratulations to all on a heck of a lot of work and a long haul.

January 11, 2013

Money for the Arts! and Got Five?

to quote a Facebook friend:

A red letter day for the arts!! First Moore’s announcement of $2 million for Business + the Arts’ wonderful ArtsVest program and then Rob Ford‘s astounding announcement of $22.5 million over 5 years for cultural programs and grants in Toronto, and Gary Crawford‘s motion of same passing at Executive this afternoon! BRAVO BeautifulCity, Toronto Arts Council, Culture Division and all the activists and advocates who made such cogent arguments for the billboard tax and the targets set in the Creative Capital Gains Report. Hooray and Congratulations!! I do have some questions and concerns (where is the rest of the billboard tax revenue going) but you can’t argue with that kind of dough. So for today let’s celebrate! Questions can wait til later.

and from beautifulcity.ca

“This budget includes $22.5 million, over the next few years, in new funding for the Arts. This money should be used to help make Toronto an even more attractive place to live — and to invest and create jobs. It should also help engage young people across the City who find art as exciting as many kids find sports.”
Mayor Rob Ford

“I am very pleased that Toronto’s Executive Committee passed my motion to support a plan to put real dollars into a sustainable, ongoing and accountable increase to arts funding without impacting the 2013 budget. I congratulate all the hard work by the passionate, dedicated people who have waited patiently for this increase in arts funding to reach $25 per capita.”
Councillor Gary Crawford

“These funds will enable Toronto to move forward toward our goal of a $25 per capita annual expenditure on the arts. The arts sector is a major generator of economic activity, and It is especially gratifying that we can now strengthen the sector without increasing property taxes. It’s a big win for all Toronto!”
Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair of the Economic Development and Culture Committee.

“This is a real victory for the arts community who, with great passion and endless tenacity, never let the issue of fair funding for the arts community escape the notice of city council. The increased funding will help put Toronto on the global map as a creative city where the work of artists is respected and adds to our quality of life.”
Councillor Joe Mihevc

“Certain truths about what makes a Great City can transcend petty politics and prevail. The Creative Community in our great City of Toronto has prevailed and Council will begin the move towards adequate funding for a vibrant and deserving community of artists, if ever there was one. We don’t need to focus on which administration enacted this move because the engaged artists and residents who made this happen held fast to their goal across decades and multiple administrations. Congrats to Devon, to Che and ever artist who stood with them along the way.”
Councillor Shelley Carroll

“The global success of our arts and cultural institutions is a testament to the talent and drive of our artists and the prescience of the private sector to recognize the benefits of investing in the arts. Imagine what Toronto will achieve once we fulfill the decade long pledges, utilize the billboard tax for its original purpose and increase per-capita arts funding to $25.”
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam

“Young artists of Toronto deserve a lot of credit for changing the way this City funds the arts. Now it’s only fair and right to invest the new resources in young artists and to continue Toronto’s role as a magnet for creative people from around the world to come to pursue a career in the arts.”
Councillor Adam Vaughan

An excellent way to end the week.

So the other day I randomly asked you “Hey,  how’s your website? All updated? Content fresh? Some sort of back and forth with readers capability? Because we’re at that point where – come on. Have a website. The days of “really expensive” and “only a pro can make you one” are long gone. Get your website in order for 2013.

internet-high-fiveFor 2013 I’m going to keep asking you questions like that. A five minute thought, or something you can do in five minutes. If you see this picture on a post, it means there’s a “got five” question or suggestion or a something quick to read in that post.  Today? Go to the contact page on your website. Is it up-to-date? Any changes? Should you add a google map or times of business?
Five minutes. Go.

December 27, 2012

2012 Round-up

top-10-listI confess that I love year-end lists and round ups.Grat sense of satisfaction in them for me, they’re orderly, I like seeing if I agree or disagree, the whole thing.

I’ve read most of the Toronto culture (theatre) round ups – delighted to report that Proud has held its own Michael Healey was nominated for a Menschie (GridTO) for Proud, Proud made the Star’s top ten list, Maev Beaty made its top five list of artists, Proud made NOW’s top ten list of theatre productions, and Maev made NOW’s top ten list of theatre artists. I am – so very Proud. And maybe a little weepy.

With this in mind I present to you the top ten posts of sueedworthy.ca for 2012.

Dear Rob
Hands down the most popular post of the year, with literally ten times the number of
views as an average post. Given the controversies he’s faced this year, perhaps he’ll see it, read it and take it to heart.
He Said, He Said, She Said, We All Said
More controversy. More on this later.
A Picture Is Worth a K.I.S.S.
A Pinterest post – I think my second. Though I personally still don’t partake in pinning, I absolutely see the value in it for other folks and my clients.
On Family vs Public
More controversy. More on that later.
Can’t See What He-She-They Said for the Words
Word cloud of controversy. More on that later.
I’ll Take Director Fury’s Advice
Still wise words – keeping it simple. Working around things.
Did Churchill Really Say That? Has Anyone Said Anything Since?
Apparently not. Apparently there are no more good quotes about the arts. We should make some.
SWF Seeks Basic Website – must be attractive, clean and open to sharing…
Y’all loved this post. Pure information.
Who Has the Keys to the Customers?
I felt like this was an incredibly practical post that came out of a moment of sheer frustration.
My Thoughts on Starting a Theatre Company
A combination of three ideas/posts in one, all of which occurred in my life at the same time.  These sentences speak to me: “if it is in your heart to start an organization then you HAVE to do it.  The world may need it. But if your heart isn’t in it.  If you aren’t committed.  Don’t even think about starting.” 

So! About that controversy! It was an angry year this year. 2012 – year of anger and hurt feelings. A lot of it. Not without reason. A lot of tempers flaring, and walking away or being sent away and arguments days, weeks, months later. Folks who couldn’t take a side, folks being forced to take sides, folks who wanted to be told what side to be on, and a lot of divisiveness throughout.I said, you said he said she said.

“You know I can’t take sides but-”

This was a public statement, that was a private one, she told me this, I told him that.

Exhausting. I will say some good thought and opinion pieces came out of this year, that we all learned something, somehow, somewhere. I just wish it didn’t take such controversy to bring us all out to the table. A lot of fiercely smart talented people out there – I’d like to hear more from them on other matters.

Tomorrow – kind of another list, but with pictures and things that made me happy. The above list was what you all clicked on the most – tomorrow will be the things that clicked inside of me.

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