The folks at the Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts are some of the sweetest people I've had the recent pleasure of meeting. Considering the festival's mandate to support arts, inclusion, diversity, and social justice, it's no wonder we get along. (Also, it doesn't hurt that they know how to put on a unique closing party!)
toronto event photography
My career as an event photographer was purely accidental and not something I ever planned for, so it boggles no one more than myself that I not only make a living doing this, but have clients that I firmly believe in, like the lovely night I had here with the Canadian Art Foundation.
With a constantly rotating office, interesting talks and education opportunities, and exposure to different people outside of my bubble, I couldn't be more thankful. ❤️
By saying this, too, I often wonder what the next accidental career will be. I'm throwing myself to the wind, world: ready and listening!
Hanging out with alumni of How to Talk to People About Things!
HTTTPAT is one of those "things to do in Toronto" I’ve been hearing about for years, a communications course led by Misha Glouberman of Trampoline Hall/The Chairs Are Where the People Go fame. Considering the most proactive and engaged people I know in this city have gone through the program and still ring its praises (I bumped into four highly intelligent acquaintances/friends this evening), I’d say that’s all the recommendation anyone would need to take it.
Pssst, the next course starts in January and, because of its popularity, will likely sell out. (Heck, I’d join myself if my schedule could commit to all six sessions.) If you want in, head to mishaglouberman.com and sign up!
Watching the crowds roll into the Waterfront Toronto/Sidewalk Labs Town Hall, before a lively, and sometimes heated, discussion on the development proposed for the eastern waterfront and Port Lands. If you’re concerned about Toronto's community, infrastructure, transportation, housing, or industry, and want a say in the city's future, this is the time to speak up: time to flee from personal echo chambers and let them know what you think!
So fun to work the crowds at Boombox, TIFF’s annual fundraising party, held last night at Bell Lightbox -- this year, with a theme, decor, and performances inspired by 1980's FAME.
The most important news of all: proceeds from this year’s event support the wonderful Share Her Journey initiative, “a campaign to increase participation, skills, and opportunities for women behind and in front of the camera.” Navigating a largely dude-filled industry myself, I'm all for this.
Google/Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, in collaboration with Waterfront Toronto, is developing a major mixed-use innovation district through a smart-city lens along the eastern waterfront/Port Lands. Considering the vast extent of this undeveloped plot of land, right in downtown Toronto, expect BIG changes on the horizon, which will affect jobs, industry, transportation, accommodation, and infrastructure on a sweeping scale. To keep up to date on news and current developments, head to Sidewalk Toronto.
I didn't attend my own convocation, which I've been wearing as a badge of pride, much like the satisfaction I have of never having gone to prom. I was (and possibly still am) quite stubborn, and after four tiring years at my institution, jumped on a plane, hollered peace out, and got as far away as physically possible from both the event and my classmates.
It's odd, then, that I'm now an official photographer at the University of Toronto, shooting someone else's convocation, interacting with new grads, their family and friends. And from this, a surprising revelation: admittedly, I get a little verklempt, and there's a part of me that wonders if my parents needed to see it all happen, hear my name called to stage, just as a symbol of closure. On a selfish level, Lorne Michaels received his Honourary Doctorate that year, which, at the time, would've been a super big deal. And it would've prevented my smug ex-boyfriend from thinking I didn't graduate when I bumped into him the next year.
But no regrets: knowing me and any moment that requires dressing up and possibly wearing borrowed heels, I probably would've tripped and smashed my face on stage. I like to think I've lived a longer life because of avoiding it?
The folks behind Girls Rock Camp Toronto launched their inaugural Rock Camp for Grownups at the Tranzac last month. Kudos to all of these amazing ladies for going with the flow and being absolute naturals in front of the camera!
TIFF's interactive digiPlaySpace returns this weekend with tons to keep the little ones (and their guardians) occupied, just in time for Family Day! As a young kid at heart, I was kind of jealous that I couldn't put the camera down myself and join in. Get in on the lights, movement, and sounds from February 18-April 23 at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Finally got a chance to see Blind Date, the long-running improvisational stage show by Spontaneous Theatre. Pairing a trained improviser who plucks a volunteer from the audience as his or her "blind date", the 90-minute adventure dives deep into dating, relationships, and intimacy, and takes both the participant and audience on a charming and hilarious rollercoaster ride.
Originally catering to the heterosexual crowd, the show recently underwent a queer makeover, making its debut at Toronto's Buddies In Bad Times Theatre this autumn. Verdict? Absolutely wonderful and overdue. Kudos to creator Rebecca Northan and actors Julie Orton and David Benjamin Tomlinson for pulling this off!
Blind Date returns to the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto in June 2017.
You know those middle-aged women who see babies and immediately turn into Jell-O, mouths spouting an endless stream of infantile jibberish, phones filled with selfies with other people's children? That's me. But not with kids. I'm all about the dogs.
The great thing for someone like me is, thanks to my circle of dog-owning friends, I've entered a new world of fellow dog lovers, which has fortuitously landed me in an emerging career as a pet portrait photographer. I've been doing this for years and never once considered this "a thing". But it is "a thing".
It's only been a couple months since my first fundraiser shoot for Coveted Canines Rescue, which I'll admit I felt so unqualified for, but since then I've done some work with both Park 9 Liberty Village and Mars Pet Care, and I LOVE IT. Though it seems like fun and games, these subjects are adorable but absolutely challenging -- but despite having to keep their attention, getting them to stay still, or preventing pee or poop on the seamless and/or devouring all of my props, I can't think of a sweeter species to work with.
Dream job? Pretty much. And frankly, I can't get enough: if you're looking to get some private images of your pooch or your organization wants to hold a pet photo day, get in touch. COME ON, MAKE MY DAY: firstname.lastname@example.org
Norway's Royal Couple, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are in Canada this week, here to strengthen relations between our two countries. Their stop at MaRS Discovery District yesterday, where they met with both Canadian and Norwegian medical start-ups, promoted discussion on start-up culture and investment in the innovation sphere.
Four years ago, I spent time with the Toronto chapter of Democrats Abroad, watching nervous American expats teetering on the edge of their seats, ultimately witnessing President Obama earn his second term in office.
Interesting what can happen in four years -- a woman has finally worked her way to the top Democrat ticket, albeit with administrative scandals and a sexist backlash in tow, challenged by a self-proclaimed Republican and entrepreneurial misogynist, who lacks not only political experience but the maturity and diplomacy required for the role of President, alienating people in his own party and substantiating and promoting close-minded, backward, inhumane behaviour.
Though elections are generally nail-biting affairs anyway, the campaigns leading to Tuesday's big event have unfurled a disturbing battleground, exposing the worst sides of modern society. Antagonism reigns, tempers and nerves on fire.
Dear friends in the USA: Good luck. The world is watching.
Last night, I attended the first lecture in a series on gentrification in general, but more specifically, how it affects the neighbourhood of Parkdale in central Toronto.
The rental and housing market in this entire city is depressing. I'm sad about this on a personal level, but I'm working and have no interest in having children, so I can suck it up and just accept the urban life consequences.
But it breaks my heart that the ones who are the most threatened in this housing landscape, on a massive scale, are newcomers, indigenous people, single moms, seniors, and those with disabilities -- the people who already have a rough go at life as it is.
We need some low-income housing policy changes soon. Let's get writing.
Thanks to Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust, Trinity College, Toronto, Faculty of Divinity, Anglican Diocese of Toronto, Jeremiah Community, and Epiphany and St. Mark, Parkdale for making this happen.
Last night, I just spent another normal night following Kling-ons, dodging Vulcan nerve pinches, and weaving through dancing aliens at TIFF's annual fundraiser, Boombox, themed to celebrate 50 #$@%ing years of Star Trek.
Sigh. I credit Bar Volo and its annual event Cask Days for first challenging my tastebuds, introducing me to decent beer, and being consistently warm, welcoming, trusting, and fun to work with.
Alas, all nice things come to an end: Volo closes its doors for good tonight, making way for another condo development at Yonge and Dundonald. (grumble) And though it will be great to hang at the new Birreria on College and the upcoming iteration of Volo on Church, this joint is considered an institution and will be missed by many in the community.
Farewell, Volo! Wish you a good hangover tomorrow.
James Barnor discusses being a photographic pioneer in mid-1900s Ghana. His show, Ever Young, appears at BAND Gallery for the next month -- an off-the-beaten-path must-see at Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2016.
Today, on this gloveless, bike-friendly morning, I attended Wychwood Barns' Saturday market for the first time in a year. If it weren't for those damned hills north of Davenport, AND if I had a farmers' market friendly budget, I'd be there more often! [shaking fist]
Back in 1995, I was visiting friends in Oshawa, and they dragged me to my first concert as an adult. It was a chatty, slightly annoying all-ages affair, until some guy named Hayden got up on stage and ordered us to sit cross-legged on the beverage-coated floor and shut the hell up. I can't remember if everyone did -- damned kids, after all. But once he started playing, I recognized this was far from anything I'd ever heard, and I spent the hour, lips sealed, forgetting my friends were even there. Little did I know that this and his current album at the time, Everything I Long For, would frame my obsession with local live indie music through the '90s.
Tonight, this same Hayden played at the intimate Trinity-St. Paul's Church in Toronto, capping off a 20th anniversary tour, where he ran through the contents of that classic album in order -- but this time in front of a 30-40-something crowd that sat on (dry) chairs, in total silence and reverence, and didn't have to be told to do so. It's interesting what two decades can do.
Thanks, Hayden, not only for an amazing, goosebumps-inducing night, but for also providing a great soundtrack to us all for that era and beyond.
"The Green Line is a vision to connect communities through green space by transforming the Dupont hydro corridor into a 5km linear park from Davenport Village into the Annex."
Well-designed public spaces can unite communities, but bureaucratic red tape and an aversion to change often gets in the way. But with the spirit and numbers I've seen behind the Green Line project, which is done with community in mind, this vision will become a reality soon. If you're a Toronto resident and are interested in bringing communities together through parks, please support Park People + the Green Line project here!