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Annual Navel Gaze 2018

As I say every year, I don’t do New Years resolutions. Instead, I take a look back at the past year and take stock of the things that happened, the things I accomplished, and then look a head to the new year and see what I want to accomplish.

Here’s a look back at things I accomplished in the past year.

  • I launched a podcast for introverts with my friend Jess McAuley. After attending a friend’s birthday and feeling awkward and foolish at not knowing how to interact with people, I spoke to fellow my introvert, Jess and together we launched “The Introvert’s Guide To…” in which we try and tackle a new issue each week and figure out how to navigate what seems like an introverts world.
  • I performed The Commandment at the Fundy and Halifax Fringe Festivals, received rave reviews, and was named Outstanding Solo Show at the Fundy Fringe.
  • My Theatre podcast Stageworthy crossed the 150 episode threshold.
  • I think I finally figured out how to finish the Christmas solo play (as yet untitled) that I’ve been working on for about three years.
  • I moved again (which I wasn’t happy about, but it worked out). My landlord sold the building, and I got one of those notices that says the new owner is moving into my apartment, so out I went. Apartment hunting in Toronto is a terrible experience, full of scammers and people over charging for closets. I hope I don’t have to do it again for a very long time. But I do have a bigger apartment, in a nicer neighbourhood, so I guess that’s a win.

On the other hand, while I’m super happy about this stuff, I have to admit that there’s some other stuff I’m not so happy about.

  • While I’m generally pretty content being an introvert, and staying home, I do feel like I’ve been isolating myself a bit. It’s all well and good to be a homebody, but not at the expense of close friendships.
  • I’ve also come to the realization that I have not been kind to myself this year. I have avoided a number of social engagements because “no one really likes me”, which is something I chalked up to introversion, but I have come to realize instead is a self-esteem thing (and I haven’t thought about self-esteem being an issue for me in a long time). So, I need to find ways to combat what my brain tells me, so that I isolate myself a little less.
  • I’m also not good at forgiving myself. An important step in recovering from a fuck up, is to be able to forgive yourself for making it. Which I have not been particularly awesome at.

So that’s the year that was. Now let’s talk the year ahead.

  • As I said last year, I want to find more performance opportunities for The Commandment. I did that this year, let’s see what can be done this year.
  • Finish the (as yet untitled) Christmas play (which I describe as a Christmas play for grownups that like a little horror in their holiday), and perform it. Which means I’m in the market for performance space. Ultimately, my ideal situation I would love to be able to perform The Commandment in the summer, and this new piece in Nov/Dec.
  • Write more. I have this new apartment where I’ve created this working space. I should use it. I always said I wanted a work space and that if I had one, I’d be able to write more. So now, it’s time to prove that true.
  • Keep Stageworthy growing. The podcast turns three years old at the beginning of January, and so I want to expand its reach. Interview some bigger names more regularly, get a little more out of the Toronto theatre bubble and talk to more people in other places, and generally grow the audience.
  • Get more traction with The Introvert’s Guide To…. We had a good start, but then needed to take a bit of a hiatus. The goal is to continue consistent podcast production, and to engage with the community a bit more to try and find out what they want, and what questions they want us to tackle. So far, Jess and I have been able to come up with some good topics, but there are times we struggle, so hopefully, by connecting with other introverts, we’re able to get a larger pool of topics than we’re able to come up with on our own.
  • Be kinder to myself:
    • Recognize that my tendency to believe that people don’t actually like me is not a part of being an introvert, and is just a story I tell myself, which means it’s something I can unlearn.
    • Say yes to more social engagements, and don’t talk myself out of actually going.
    • Do more things with friends. Yes, being a homebody is nice, but you have to go out sometimes. It’s better to connect with people in person, than digital.

How was this year for you? What are you most proud of? What are you looking forward to next year?

Nuit Blanche 2018 picks

As I write this, tonight is Nuit Blanche. Normally, I have posted my picks for what I think might be the must see installations at least a week before, but this week got away from me. 

A couple of things before I begin. First: I really miss the paper program. I used to go and pick up the paper program as soon as it was released a few weeks before the event, and I would read it, and then read it again. I took my time with it. While I agree that we need to reduce paper, the website just isn’t the same for me. I don’t spend as much time with it, and and so I find it a little difficult to get as detailed as I used to with it. Second: let’s face it, I’m not going to Scarborough on my Nuit Blanche adventure, so I’m not really going to be looking at those installations. While I understand why Nuit Blanche was split in this way, I don’t think it was a good idea. Splitting up the event into sections so far apart that there’s no way to walk between them is a terrible idea. So I won’t be including any of the Scarborough installations in my picks. 

Some things that you probably won’t find on my list: video installations and photo installations. I’m usually very disappointed by these. Too often, the “installation” is just photos on a wall, or a projector showing a video on a wall. I like installations that transform space and make me see a familiar location in a new light. Going to a building and just seeing a projection on a wall just doesn’t do that for me.

As always, there’s no way to know, until the night of, what any of these will be like, which will be stunning and which will disappoint. These are some that I think might be interesting. What are you looking forward to?

International Dumpling Festival, 2018

If you know me at all, you know I love me some dumplings, so you have to know that this installation speaks to me (and my tastebuds) on a profound level. I don’t know how this one will look, or if it will be visually stunning. But, really, if I get to eat some dumplings, I think I’m going to be happy with this one.

Radical Histories, 2012–2018

Radical Histories sounds like it could be interesting. A shroud covering the roof edge of city hall.  If it is anything like the picture on the NBTO page, then it could be visually stunning. But there’s also the chance that this might be one of those ones that leaves me saying “that’s all?” when I finally see it. Only tonight will tell.

Make Your Mark, 2018

Can we talk about this one for a second? Using glue, the artist has taken a little cast of a number of the tips of people’s fingers. You know, like we used to do in grade school, but on a massive scale. Is it just me, or does this sound a little gross? I’ll go see it for sure, but there’s something about it that isn’t speaking to me.

Continuum: Pushing Towards the Light, 2018

This one is definitely on my list. The new bridge between The Bay and The Eaton Centre has been a favourite on instagram and for photographers since it was installed, and I cant wait to see it transformed by dancers, and circus and light.

Do Angels Exist, 2018

This one has a heart-rending origin story, but sounds like it will be both moving and visually stunning. As a kinetic sculpture of moving luminescent images, this one is likely to be memorable. And as it is inspired by the loss of the artists mother and and exploring grief and loss, this one could also be quite moving as well.

Passage

I have been impressed in the past with some of the installations at the Bata Shoe Museum, and this one sounds like it could be one of those transformative installations. This one transforms an alley into a passage full of light and motion. Sounds like one to see.

Awesome Covers: Jump

Can we talk about Paul Anka covering Van Halen’s Jump as a swing version of the song for a second?  Yeah, that’s a thing that happened. And its worth listening to.

 

Awesome Covers: Crash Into Me

The Dave Matthews Band is not a band that is often covered (to my knowledge). A lot of their songs are too intricate or too much like a jam for a cover band. But Scary Pockets has taken the challenge and created something really fun and interesting with their cover of Crash into Me with Julia Nunes on vocals.