Wooden Anniversary with the 6ix

Thanks to Facebook, it’s  now easier to get super-reflective on the stuff you’ve been up to over the past, well… since you joined Facebook…. For example, on this day, 7 years ago, I visited Lyon, France. I had a panic attack in a taxi on the way to a Coldplay concert and wasn’t quite sure at the time what was going on. I carried on anyway because I would eventually stand so close to Chris Martin, I’d hoped to catch a bead of his sweat in my mouth. I would later discover Lyon is the hometown of the first CBC employee who would call me a friend.

See how close?

See how close?!?!

On this day 1 year ago, Gill and I had our first improv set together as a duo at Winprov at the Cage. We called ourselves Exit, Pursued by a Bear. A name combining her love of Shakespeare and my desire to be chased by bears. I would later discover we were bound for more than just that one performance. We founded a monthly show for emerging and established comics to come present and perfect their material all while doing the same with our own craft. This would eventually bring us out to Halifax, where I am currently enjoying performing daily hour-long improv sets for completely new and different audiences than those from our Toronto base at the Social Capital Theatre one Thursday night per month.

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“…unusually surrealist…”

At this time, 5 years ago, I was settling into my new apartment in Toronto, having up and left my life in Ottawa. I had some big dreams, which is apparently rare for someone leaving the civil service. I was happy because if I walked a few feet away from my apartment and gazed through the trees, I could see the CN Tower, not knowing how significant that landmark would become to me. I went back to school. I was weeks away from performing stand-up comedy for the first time. Months away to writing my first comedy sketches. Years away from producing my own shows and touring the country, working in one of Canada’s most significant cultural establishments as well as one of North America’s most recognized comedy institutions, from meeting my future husband, (still not used to saying that,) meeting new best friends, new amazing colleagues & immensely talented creative partners and laughing more and harder than ever before.

I would later discover Toronto (dramatic pause) …is my home.

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Happy anniversary, you beautiful bitch.

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Non nobis solum nati sumus (It’s Latin for stuff)

I’ve realized that, as a writer, I’m not very good at writing about things that make me either very happy or very sad. Today, I will challenge myself to talk about something someone did for me that made me feel very happy about a situation that is very sad.

If any of you know my fiance Dan… (there’s one. I hadn’t announced on the Interwebs yet that I’m engaged, even though it’s been like 7 months now, so there you go.) … you know how much he hates Toronto traffic. And I mean, I know we ALL hate Toronto traffic, but he hates Toronto traffic more than anyone I’ve ever known to hate traffic. He can get pretty road-rage-y.

So, imagine my surprise and delight today when I suggested to him, two hours before I had to be at work, that there was something I wanted to get for my friend, who has recently lost someone very important to him. But, that that thing could only be collected at the Vaughan Mills mall, which if you know Toronto, is not the most accessible of shopping destinations, especially not in rush hour.

Without any protest, Dan responded: “Well, we’d better go now if you want to get it done in time.”

So off we went, in crappy Toronto traffic, to Vaughan and back downtown in rush hour traffic, with only a few minor swears along the way, all due to legitimate cut-offs. (Have you noticed how terrible people in Toronto drive?)

I’m lucky and grateful to have a partner who knows the value of helping others. And the value of helping others help others.

I feel like a shmuck for writing something nice, non-comedy-related, and relationship-y. But uh… you’re just going to have to deal with that, ok readership? Ok!

Also, thank you for visiting my blog.

Chicken Pod! (The Constant Struggle’s Newest Ep!)

Episode 6 of my brother and my podcast, The Constant Struggle, is up & we’d love it if you’d giver a listen.

This time around, Nick’s got a new writing deadline he wants to get to before he takes off to Scotland with his family. Will the trip inspire him to write something while he’s over there? We’ll see!

Will Brie survive her month of insane-work hours and continue to work on her comedy all throughout, or will she have a complete mental breakdown along the way?

Find out, by downloading the episode on iTunes or checking it out right here:

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/audio/postId/5711034?url=http%3A%2F%2FTheConstantStruggle.podbean.com%2Fe%2Fe06-chicken-pod%2F

Oh, and if you want to sign that petition to help get Kevin Smith Canadian citizenship, click here:

https://www.change.org/p/government-of-canada-grant-kevin-smith-a-canadian-citizenship?recruiter=309221733&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_twitter_responsive

Struggle On, friends!

Struggling On

logo1On a day like today, the first day this month that I’ve had to work full time hours on the weekend (just Sunday this week, in the coming weeks it’ll be expected of me Saturdays and Sundays), more than ever I feel the need to promote the latest episode of Nick & my podcast; The Constant Struggle:

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/a28d3-56ed11

This episode was taped on Father’s Day, and we discussed the grind of getting your creative work done under not-so-ideal circumstances. I have a feeling the next episode is going to talk about more of that because this month I will have even less time to do the things I love, which is pretty crazy disheartening.

It’s getting more difficult to manage the balance of work and passion. Work seems to be weighing more heavily. Too bad I’m not a millionaire, y’know?  Anyway…

In this episode, we give shout-outs to:

  • Drop & Give me 20 stand-up show (Marc Hallworth)
  • Robert Ariss Hills (improviser, graphic designer)
  • Dan Dingwall (a dude)
  • Susannah Kiernan (triple threat)
  • Ken Hall (improv guru)
  • Alexis Bernstein (networking queen & creative expert)
  • The bird clock
  • Porter Airlines

Books & Movies

  • Save the Cat (Blake Snyder)
  • Whiplash (2014)
  • Inside Out (2015)

Podcasts

  • The Moment (Brian Koppelman)
  • WTF (Marc Maron)
  • The Crimson Wave (Jess Beaulieu & Natalie Norman)

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#StruggleOn friends!

Keeping Your Head Above Water

Blink once and you’re trying to stay awake driving to Montreal in a rental car because your own recently decided the breaks didn’t want to work and the tires were on strike. Blink again and you’re over two weeks later, riding first class on a VIA Rail train, eating zucchini, potatoes and scrambled eggs that taste vaguely like ham, even though I don’t remember if it said ham on the menu, and sleeping off the two-week long blur that was the Festival St-Ambroise FRINGE Montréal.

This was my first experience ever performing in a Fringe Festival. I’ve attended some Fringe festivals in the past, notably last year in Toronto and my last summer in Ottawa, where I volunteered in exchange for a few free performances. Let me tell you folks, performing is a whole nother ball game!

But one totally worth mentioning in CCC as the next great leap into comedy performance outside the protective walls of clown college. Even though clown college helped out a bit along the way. The truth is, Fringe is tough! In general, and particularly when you have to leave half-way through the festival to go back to your day-job on those few days you don’t have shows.

I ain’t no Spring chicken any more either, if you know what I’m saying. When I drive somewhere and arrive at 2am, I find it pretty damn tough to be fresh as a daisy and raring to go the next day. Which, apparently, is crucial in promoting your Fringe show. Luckily, my trusty partner was available and on location throughout the entire duration of the Montreal Fringe, and did more than her share of promoting, being interviewed, flyering, postering and chatting to friends and strangers alike trying to promote our show.

One thing I’ve learned, is that it’s helpful to have a tag-line. And I totally just thought about that, even though it makes sense, as that’s precisely what you need if you’re pitching TV shows, or movies or whatever because inevitably, people will ask over and over again “What’s your show about?” When your show is entitled “Water Wings,” it’s sortof vague, (which is amazing and appropriate, because vague is the French word for wave… oh I amuse myself,) it helps to have a quick, catchy way to summarize it in order to peak people’s curiosities and spark their desire in seeing your show.  With help from our wonderful director Pamela Barker, we’ve settled on a theme, rather than a tag.  And that theme is transitions.  Water Wings are a major transition – they help keep you afloat while you’re learning to swim on your own.  Just as each of our scenes, in one way or another, reflect transitions, both actual and metaphorical – relationships beginning and ending, people growing and learning, half-genie/half-horses using magical powers to turn people into inanimate objects.  You know, life!

Blink once again and you’re at the airport, waiting for your delayed late-night flight to Winnipeg, ready to do it all again.

Con Round 4, Fringe Round 2, Head Spinning Round and Round

It’s been longer than I would have liked it to have been between blog posts, but there was a good period there were my sole energy was spent on trying to stay awake, and thus blogging became less of a priority.  I have a new bed now, so that seems to have helped the situation, for now.

Also, I just read something that really inspired me to keep writing my little CCCs.   So back on the saddle again I go.

Today I am beginning the first day of my 4th Second City Conservatory course.  This is, for those of you who are not aware, when we begin to write what will eventually become our own little Second City-style revue.  We’re down two (and nearly 3 for a while there) people from when we began the process in January.  (Was it January?  Let me go back and check…yup January.)  We’re starting fresh with a new teacher (this guy)  and we were just asked to read this incredible blog about creating a Second City show from the perspective of a former Main Stage director in Chicago.  I was glad to have had the opportunity to have worked at the Second City as a host, specifically because I was able to witness this process first hand. (Not through the eyes of a director, however – Melody didn’t think the surgery would be particularly beneficial on her end…)  However,  I got to see what it was like for one show to slowly absorb new material and evolve into what would become the next revue.  I saw it and I wanted so badly to be a part of it.   And here we are in Con 4, a taste of what it would be if we were performers on the Main Stage.

 

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I look forward to documenting (more closely hopefully) the process from here until our big sexy Conservatory 6 production.

***

Simultaneously, I am working at CBC still.

Simultaneously, I just moved to the suburbs.

Simultaneously, I continue to contribute my help, where possible, to the Canadian Comedy Awards Communications Committee.

Simultaneously, I try maintaining a relationship with a bear.

Simultaneously, I am working with my Water Wings partner on bringing the show a bit more up to snuff to take to Winnipeg, where hopefully we will get a bit more support from the community in terms of seeing our little comedy show and enjoying it.  We met a few days ago to discuss some modifications to the scripts, an edit here, an added dance here.  Things we can do to tweek the show and to make it better.  Not, because we didn’t think it was good before, but because these things are in a constant state of evolution.  What worked in Montreal may not work in Winnipeg.   What worked in Toronto didn’t work all the time in Montreal.  Adjustments, tweeks and rehearsals are critical within the next few days in order to ensure the show is superb by the time we bring it to Winnipeg. I had my first over-the-phone interview in French, by the way.  That was pretty excitant!  (But not in the France French way.)

I leave for Winnipeg in a week.  Holy crap.

I’ll have to miss two Con 4 classes for this.

And use up all my CBC vacation time.

But this isn’t complaining.  This is what has to be done.

 

Musical Memories: Owen Pallett

I was going to write this big pre-Ottawa-bound emotional entry about what I feel going back “home” to where a significant part of my “becoming an adult” happened. But I think what it really boils down to is this:

Fuck you Owen Pallett. I know you’re talented, but that’s not what this is about.  So go suck an egg, dick.

 

 

PS. What are you laughing at, Kevin Barnes, you prick?!