Annual Navel Gaze 2019

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. Its a great way to take stock of the year that was, and to both put what i want for the new year into the universe, as well as create accountability by putting these goals out for public viewing.

This year’s accomplishments:

  • I was finally able to perform The Commandment at home, at the Toronto Fringe. It was a real joy to be able to share this play with the home audience. We won North (519) Best of Fringe, and performed the play three more times in Orangeville.
  • My theatre podcast Stageworthy crossed the 200 episode mark, and turns four years old in the new year!
  • The podcast for introvert’s (The Introvert’s Guide To…) that I co-host with Jess McAuley continues to grow, and crossed the 15,000 listens mark this month.
  • I got a bunch of writing done.
  • I got a tattoo!
  • I did a little travelling. The highlight was a trip to Quebec City, though I would have enjoyed that more without the fractured rib I got two days before!
  • I started a monthly pub night for creative people. This came from my noticing that I am more creative when I surround myself with creative people. So I launched a very informal monthly night of getting together and talking about whatever comes up. And while the numbers of people have fluctuated, the conversation has always been good!

Last year, I set myself some challenges like “be nicer to myself” and to lean into my introverted “stay home all the time” nature. I had limited success with those. I don’t think I was as good to myself as I could be, I think in the later months of the year, I made some strides. I did not do very well at getting out and not isolating. For example: after the Toronto Fringe, I spent almost two weeks at home not talking to anyone.

So, for the year ahead:

  • My 50th birthday is coming up in April. I want to do something to mark and celebrate it. So my plan is to go to London, England (I’ve never been and always wanted to go).
  • I want to continue to find performance opportunities for The Commandment.
  • Last year, I said that I was going to finish my Christmas play and perform it this year, which you may have noticed I did not do. I’m still working on the play, and it continues to evolve. But I am getting there. And while I’m impatient to be done, I have to remind myself that The Commandment took me a long time to write too.
  • Keep growing Stageworthy and The Introvert’s Guide To…
  • Keep writing, and do it more. While I have written relatively consistently, I haven’t done as much of it as I want. I’m a pretty good procrastinator, so I often find things to do that aren’t writing. I want to get better at not doing that.
  • I have had an idea for a new play for Keystone Theatre, and its high time I pitch that idea to the gang (and also, it would be great to get the band back together).
  • I have also had an idea for a musical for a while, so it’s time I started sketching that out. I don’t write music, but I want to have the idea straight when I find a composer/collaborator.
  • Be more social. Get out to some events now and then, even though I am more comfortable staying home. And not to talk myself out of going (like I often do).
  • I said this last year, but I’ll say it again: 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.
  • Take more photographs.
  • Post on this blog more. I realized as I was writing this that the 2018 Navel Gaze is the last time I posted.

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.


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: 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.