Browsing articles in "Creative Discontent"

It’s all who you know

May 8, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life  //  No Comments

One of the coolest things about our wedding is the number of artists we have involved. And not, for the most part, people that we’ve hired — you know, that string quartet who just comes in for the wedding and doesn’t know the couple at all.

No, the artists who are involved in our wedding are mostly close friends, and are mostly professionals who are doing what they do as a part of the wedding. Our circle of professionals includes theatrical designers and managers, musicians, filmmakers, visual artists, choir directors, photographers. Not to mention Colin and I using our own professional skills — producing, composing/arranging, design, marketing and communications, etc. — as we’re planning the day.

I’m excited to give these artists a forum to work in; I’m excited that they’re giving us their best and that they’re highly trained and qualified for these jobs. I’m excited that we can expose some Calgary and area artists to an audience that may not otherwise know of them or know what they do — and trust me, as details are finalized and we know exactly what people are doing for us, we’ll be giving them all the free advertising we can manage.

We have a fantastic community of artists surrounding us, and we’d be foolish to not take advantage of the expertise and talent available.

One more reason

Feb 17, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life  //  No Comments

One more reason why it’s great to be a Canadian during these games: CTVolympics.ca. Yes, I was a little peeved at CTV last week when they continually showed footage of the fatal luge crash (come on, I did not need to see that), but in the days since, I’ve realized that, in other ways, they’re doing really well these Olympics.

In the past few days, I’ve been talking to my American friends and discovering how incomplete NBC’s coverage is: No live streamed coverage of most events, tape-delayed TV broadcasts of anything major, online access restricted to only customers of certain internet service providers.

And yet, on CTV’s website, there are no fewer than 20 separate streams available for viewing at all times, whether online-only streams of events, online viewing of one of their channels, or past events on demand. Everything is available all the time. Every sport, no matter how obscure, has equal ability to be watched live. CTV is not deciding for Canada that hockey and curling (the only sports streaming live on NBC’s website) are the only sports that need to be available in real time.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m fairly fed up with how far behind Canada is in a lot of things. Cell phone plans and prices are atrocious and make me want to cry. Online shopping still sucks, since a far smaller percentage of Canadian stores or chains offer it (for instance, Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire only allow you to check inventory online, not actually make purchases), and if you do order from the U.S., shipping is often astronomical. I don’t know of a single Canadian ATM that’s as comprehensive and intuitive as the Bank of America ATM, where my cash deposits are credited within hours, instead of the 7-day waiting period that Scotia Bank forces me to endure. And I could go on…

But not in this. In this, it’s so nice to be vindicated; to see that for once, Canada is where we should be.

Nice going, NBC.

And minus the sarcasm, well done, CTV.

True North Strong and Free

Feb 13, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Culture, Reviews  //  No Comments

Yesterday was a good day to be a Canadian, but beyond that, it was a good day to be a Canadian artist. The level of artistry, skill, technical ability, and talent that went into the Opening Ceremony last night was amazing, and it made me proud to be a part of a community of artists that has the skill to pull that off. Beyond that, it was a great day for Calgary artists. The composer/music director, Dave Pierce; the assistant music director, Donovan Seidle; and the choreographer, Jean Grand-Maître, are all Calgary-based artists with huge international successes.

However, aside from the dampening of the day for the most obvious reason (and my heart just aches for the Georgian team and the Kumaritashvili family), there’s something that has been nagging at me for weeks. The more I hear of the controversy and ill-will surrounding the Games in Vancouver, the sadder it makes me. The Olympics in Calgary were such a great experience for the city — culturally, they put Calgary on the world stage, and the arts and culture (not to mention both amateur and professional sports) have flourished so much in the last 22 years due to the foundation laid by the Games — they seemed to draw the city together, not tear it apart. Read more >>

Nights on the town

Feb 11, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Culture, Real Life, Theatre  //  No Comments

The other day, I participated in a focus group that was part of a study commissioned by a theatre company in Calgary, to explore theatre-going trends and opinions in the city. The focus group that I was part of was one of three types: people who have been to the theatre within the past six months; people who have been in the past (2 or more years ago), but not more recently; and people who have never been to the theatre. Of course, this one was the first type, and most of the people there were even more frequent than every six months. I think that I was the only theatre professional in attendance, but most of the others were season ticket holders, and many regularly attended shows presented by more than one company.

The first question we were asked was, “What is your ideal night out in Calgary?” Read more >>

Best of all worlds

Jan 25, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life  //  No Comments

One of the things that disappoints me most about Calgary is the lack of foresight in the city’s planning. It’s a city that has exploded in the past decade, and the foundation hadn’t been laid in the decades before to sustain such rapid growth. It’s still a city that’s scrambling for its infrastructure to catch up to the population growth, and while it’s growing well in many areas, there are many where the city is being held back by its own short-sightedness.

Imagine what it would be like today if city planners had believed, 40 or 80 or 100 years ago that Calgary has the potential to be a world-class city — to someday stand up against any great city in the world in its arts and culture, industry, nature, and people. Imagine what it would be like if, when it was a city of 100,000 people, city planners had dreamed — and planned — ahead to Calgary as a city of 5 million, instead of seeing it grow to a small city in the something-hundred-thousand range. Imagine how much further ahead we could be now if, instead of playing catchup with roads and transit and infrastructure, the city was able to allocate those resources differently. If Calgary had the resources to be a city friendly to a large population, rather than struggling to sustain it and finding ways to both grow and retroactively fit at the same time.

What would it look like now if the dreams had been bigger then?

I’m on the brink of several new adventures, both career-wise and otherwise, and I’m looking at the steps ahead and finding ways to dream big. As I’m stepping out into a career as a freelance producer and consultant, what does it mean to dream big — and more than just dream big, to plan big? To lay the foundation for whatever success I want to see come my way? To create a starting point that can lead to something big — or to something smaller?

If I plan for the best, the smaller result will always fit into the larger foundation. Being over-prepared for a more humble end point is never a bad thing, but anticipating something small can be disastrous when the opportunity for something bigger comes along. What a waste of time, money, energy, and potentially opportunity it is if I have to do the work to retrofit myself or my projects to sustain something grander than anything I’d originally dreamed.

So tell me. What does it mean for you to lay the foundation with an eye to the best possible outcome?

The Coffeehouse that serves no coffee

Jan 14, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Career, Creative Discontent, School  //  No Comments

By the time December 18 hit, I was pretty ready to be finished with school. I’ve loved it, but it’s been a long few years, made even longer by the fact that Colin and I were doing long-distance through the entire thing. No matter how ready I am to move on, though, there are always those things that are hard to leave behind. Things I wish I had a bit more time with.

Besides the obvious — friends, In-n-Out, my Starbucks employee discount, and the weather — it was hardest to leave behind the Coffeehouse Theater. I’d spent three semesters as resident producer, along with my good friend Michael, and if there’s one thing I wish I’d had more time to work on and leave my mark on, that was it. Read more >>

Let’s get back to business

Jan 11, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Career, Creative Discontent, Real Life, School  //  No Comments

Well, Christmas is over, and I had absolutely no contingency for any sort of regular updates during the last month of school and over the break, but it’s time to get back to posting regularly. For that matter, it’s time to get life back into a routine of some sort, even though I don’t really know — yet — what that routine will look like.

It’s been a wonderfully relaxing few weeks; time for both Colin and I to decompress from our very busy fall seasons. We’ve spent more time sitting in front of the TV in the past 3 weeks than we did in the rest of 2009 combined. I think the past few weeks have included season 1 of Dexter and Weeds, seasons 1 and 2 of Chuck (in preparation for the season 3 premiere last night), season 2 of Friends… and I know I’m missing something, but those are the ones that stand out right now. Read more >>

Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life, Television  //  No Comments

Happy New Year!

I’ll be back to posting regularly very soon; in the meantime, I hope you had a great Christmas and a chance to take some time to relax and reflect.

It’s 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day, and I’m finally heading to bed — Colin and I have our own little New Year’s Eve tradition of choosing a season of TV to marathon, and then parking ourselves on the couch all day to get through it all. Today (yesterday?) we started at 4 p.m. with the last four episodes of Chuck, season 1, and then moved on to season 1 of Dexter.

(We have a thing for death on New Year’s Eve, apparently — the last two years have been seasons one and two, respectively, of Dead Like Me, and we also have Pushing Daisies, which we didn’t get to tonight, but which we’ll be watching in the next couple of days.)

But today, it was 16 episodes in 16 hours, almost to the minute — including food and bathroom breaks.

Sounds like a pretty perfect New Year’s Eve to me.

Crème and Caramel

Dec 5, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Culture, Real Life  //  1 Comment

This cracks me up:

I work at Starbucks, and you may have seen that our new Christmas drink this year is a Caramel Brulée. Spelled that way. At least, in the U.S. it’s spelled that way.

I was looking through the signage for it a few days ago and discovered that the spelling on Canadian signs is “Caramel Brûlé,” which is actually correct. “Caramel,” in French, is masculine, and the past participle of “to burn” (brûler) is brûlé. If the noun was feminine (as in “Crème Brûlée”), there would be the additional “E” on the end, but because it’s masculine, there isn’t.

So… what’s up with that, Starbucks? Is it because Canadians would be more likely to recognize the error? Because Americans are used to the spelling of Crème Brûlée (with less understanding of the actual origin of the dessert name) and wouldn’t notice the difference (and they’ve even omitted the accent circonflexe over the U!) — or would think that it was misspelled because it’s not what they’re used to?

All I know is that when I pointed it out to my co-workers, they were insulted that Starbucks didn’t give them the benefit of the doubt to name the drink correctly. They may not have known the conjugation of the verb, but they were rather insulted that Starbucks assumed they would rather have the misspelling as the name of the drink than have it named properly across the continent.

Take the Name

Nov 25, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Career, Creative Discontent, Faith, School, Theatre  //  No Comments

I can’t think of that ninth commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” without my mind jumping to “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.” Two separate commandments, but they go hand in hand, to me.

More than just an admonition against swearing, particularly blasphemous utterances, that third commandment is a reminder that, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, we literally take the name. Whether it’s identifying as God’s Chosen People or as Christians, something about our very identity invokes God’s presence. Read more >>

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