Browsing articles tagged with " thoughts and musings"

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?

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 >>

Through the wardrobe

Nov 20, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Reviews, Theatre  //  No Comments

Last week, I went to see PCPA’s production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It was a decent production — technically very good, relatively strong acting overall — and while there were things that I nitpicked about it and directing choices that I would have made differently, I really did enjoy the show.

I’ve talked before about adaptations and maintaining the integrity of the work, and there are certain movies or adaptations that I won’t see because I enjoyed the original too much to risk being disappointed by an adaptation that falls short. If the story is misinterpreted or characters don’t look the way I think they should or the overarching themes are viewed differently than I’ve always seen them (not to mention the disturbing propensity for adaptations to change the endings of the original work), it can turn the experience of a beloved story into a bittersweet (perhaps more bitter than sweet) shadow of what it should be.

I realized last weekend, though, that while that may be my immediate reaction to many adaptations, it’s actually the middle ground for me. On the one side, there are adaptations where I have little or no attachment to the original. Most comic book movies, for instance. I have virtually no attachment to the generative works, and while I fully recognize that I am experiencing the work on a very limited level, I’m enjoying it on its own merits and I am happily ensconced in my ignorance of the work. Read more >>

A story with dubious source material

Nov 4, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Career, Creative Discontent, Faith, Television  //  2 Comments

I work with a lot of really talented people.

I have classmates, colleagues, and peers (and organizations, for that matter) with impressive lists of accomplishments and accolades. I could make a very long list of people who have received awards and honors; been the first whatever-it-is in their school, field, or industry; participated in world premieres; been accepted to prestigious programs — and the list could go on.

Which has gotten me to thinking lately about humility, pride, false humility, and arrogance.

It can be a little unnerving to listen to someone spout off a list of accomplishments, or to hear someone say, point-blank, “I am the best in my field.” It can be uncomfortable to listen to someone speak of their own achievements, especially without a self-deprecating tone or a “humble,” aw-shucks overtone to the information.

And yet… Read more >>

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