Emily Mac’s California daydreamin’ in her first single “California This Winter”

Kat Leonard:

The sweet and fiery Emily Mac! Check it! Nice boots!

Originally posted on life with more cowbell:

EmilyMac-StairsSinger/songwriter Emily Mac released her first single earlier this week: “California This Winter,” available for download/purchase on iTunes and viewing on YouTube.

Featuring Mac’s powerful and soulful vocals, the arrangement inspired by the R&B, gospel-infused sounds of Motown, “California This Winter” is not just a lament for the season, but one of the heart and soul. The opening lines of the chorus say it all:

I can’t stand the cold of these winters no more                                                                        I can’t stand them getting right deep into my bones                                                                I can’t stand the ice that forms ’round my heart with every break…

The video features some chilly, grey scenes of late fall and winter in Toronto, the orange of the autumn leaves overwhelmed by bare branches and bleak skies in the semi-darkness, followed later by the even bleaker and chillier atmosphere of the light snow flurry on the waterfront.

But fear not, it’s not…

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People Profile: Heather Babcock!

Meet Heather Babcock: Writer and Delighter!

Heather Babcock
Heather is a gorgeous ray of sugar and spice from the inside out. Smart, sassy and sweet in a delicious combination, she delights onstage and off. I am so grateful to experience her in both settings. :)
From her blog where she is Writing To Exhale… (brilliant!)…
Heather Babcock’s maternal grandmother worked as a housekeeper for Timothy Findley’s family in the 1950s. Heather continues the working class/literary connection by working as a secretary by day and penning her poetry and prose by night. She has had short fiction published in Descant Magazine, Front&Centre Magazine, The Toronto Quarterly, Truck, The Annex Echo newspaper and the Steel Bananas anthology GULCH (published by Tightrope Books in Toronto, 2009) among others. In 2014, Heather Babcock was one of The Toronto Quarterly’s featured poets as part of their Poetry Month celebration. Heather has performed at the Beautiful and the Damned, the Plasticine Poetry series and Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir.
Heather answers…
What is your career? Is it the same as your passion?  What is your passion? 
I always say that writing is not what I do to pay the bills, but it is what I do to make my living. I am lucky that I have a great day job that allows me to focus on my career and my passion: writing.

What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? 

When I first started writing, probably the biggest challenge was finding my voice and then, in terms of publishing, finding the right outlets for my voice.  The greatest reward – for any writer I would imagine – is seeing your work in print for the first time. Betty Smith perfectly captured that feeling – one of excitement mixed with pride – in her novel A Tree Grows In Brooklyn when the main character, Francie, publishes a story in the school magazine. Francie shows the story to her mother Katie who tells her that there will be other published stories and that eventually Francie will “get used to it.”  Well, I’ve had a number of stories published myself now and I hope that I’ll never “get used to it.” :)
What is your advice to others embarking on similar career?

Toronto has a lot of amazing spoken word, poetry and art events.  I’ve met so many incredible, supportive and encouraging artists through these events.  Often a spoken word or poetry show will have an open mic. Open mics are a great way to “workshop” your writing – what connected with the audience? What didn’t? Everyone’s shy at first but the audiences that I’ve encountered have always been kind and encouraging.

What does it mean to be an artist?

The ability to see beauty where others may not even bother to look. A love for the unlovable. All of the artists that I admire, from writers Toni Morrison and Hubert Selby Jr., musician Paul Simon and painter William Kurelek, display a strong sense of empathy in their work.

5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? Why, why not?

5 years ago I read Helen Potrebenko’s 1975 novel Taxi!  Being a working class woman, I could instantly relate to the main character and her experiences as a working class woman.  I admired how Potrebenko unabashedly wrote about class struggle and I realized that I too wanted to incorporate my own experiences as a working class person into my writing.
So 5 years ago was when I started to discover my own voice as a writer.  Since then I’ve had my work published in many different literary journals, featured as a reader at events such as Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir and will have a chapbook, a collection of my short stories, published by DevilHousePress this Spring.

Where will you be in 5 years?

I am currently working on a novel and I hope to have it finished and published by then.
What would you say to your 8-year-old self?

When I was 8, I took the bus to school every day. The bus driver was a tiny woman with a short temper and a nicotine infused voice. She’d constantly yell obscenities at any driver, or kid for that matter, who got in her way. Although I had no idea what they meant, I was fascinated by the passion of her words and incorporated them into my own vocabulary.  I was frequently sent to the principal’s office much to the dismay of my parents who, funnily enough, didn’t know what half the swear words I used meant either.  So if I could go back in time and visit my 8-year-old self, I’d hand her a thesaurus and tell her to find some new ways to express herself.

What would you say to your 80-year-old self?

I would hope that my 80-year-old self wouldn’t be able to hear whatever I would say over the crashing of the waves outside of the cottage that she lives – and writes – in. :)
How lucky are you and why?

I don’t know if I would call myself lucky but I am very thankful for the wonderful people that I have in my life.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Perhaps that I’m very shy.  I can get up on stage and confidently recite the most personal story in front of an audience and yet I’ll hide in the washroom at parties to avoid small talk.
What makes you laugh? What is fun for you?

My cat makes me laugh. She’s hilarious. The best kind of fun for me is just doing nothing with someone you love.

What makes you question humanity?

Deliberate cruelty.  As Tennessee Williams wrote in A Streetcar Named Desire “Some things are not forgivable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable.”

Life is so fragile. Human beings are so fragile. We just need to be kind to each other.
What is your favorite quote?

Can I use one of my own?: “‘Working class’ should not be synonymous with ‘poverty’.”
Is there anything else you’re involved in that you’d like to plug or point our attention to? 

I will be performing with Lizzie Violet, Arlene Paculan and Dottie Dangerfield at The Redhead Revue on Saturday, March 21st at Habits Gastropub.  The show – a mix of burlesque, spoken word, poetry and music – will start at 9pm.
Please provide one of your favorite pictures of yourself and a link to something you are particularly proud of being involved in… and/or…. Something originating from someone else that you find particularly inspiring/empowering.
The photo I’ve attached is one that John Oughton took of me at the first Redhead Revue in September 2014.

I’d like to give a shout out to Bereaved Families of Ontario, a donor supported organization that provides free support programs to those who have lost a family member.  When I lost my father and my sister, the mutual support groups at BFO were a safe and supportive space; one where my grief was both acknowledged and respected. I may have been alone in my personal grief but with BFO-Toronto, I was not alone on my grief journey. Their website is: www.bfotoronto.ca
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Don’t forget to check out more Heather on her blog HeatherRoseBabcock.tumblr.com
And you can see her live at WonderFest 2015
Thursday March 5 at 3030 Dundas Street West
7:00 Doors 8:00 Show $10
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Have a glorious day, everybuddy!
:)

 

NEW SHOW ANNOUNCED: WonderFest 2015!

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Let’s Make Good Productions presents WONDERFEST!

To celebrate International Women’s Day we’re rounding up Wonder Women and Super Men to celebrate by spreading empowerment through art!

This WONDERFEST will showcase many artists such as singer-songwriters, spoken word/poets, story tellers, comedians, visual artists and motivational speakers!

3030 Dundas West
Doors open at 7pm
Show starts at 8pm
$10 at the door


We hope you can come out and be inspired to create by seeing all the incredible artists showcased at WonderFest!

Details on artists to come! WonderWomenWorld.tumblr.com

Find our Facebook event here! 

:)

NEW SHOW ANNOUNCED: WonderFest 2015!

WonderFest2015Poster
Let’s Make Good Productions presents WONDERFEST!

To celebrate International Women’s Day coming up on March 8th, we’re rounding up Wonder Women and Super Men to celebrate by spreading empowerment through art!

This WONDERFEST will showcase many artists such as singer-songwriters, spoken word/poets, story tellers, comedians, visual artists and motivational speakers!

3030 Dundas West, Toronto!
Doors open at 7pm
Show starts at 8pm
$10 at the door

We hope you can come out and be inspired to create by seeing all the incredible artists showcased at WonderFest! Details on artists to come!

Come one, come all!
:)

PEOPLE PROFILE: ADRIANNA PROSSER

Meet Adrianna Prosser:
Actor, Playwright, Geek, Beaut, Friend,
Inspiration and more!

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Fierce and fiery, friendly and funny, Adrianna Prosser is a warm spunky light in the room. Gracious and generous, she is a fun-loving arts collaborator and hostess with the mostess. As she lives life to the fullest and processes it as she goes, she has so much wisdom and comfort to share and helps illuminate what is truly important and enriching. She is a free yet grounded spirit and an ambassador to the sense of adventure itself. I am personally so very happy to know her. :)

From her website: “Adrianna is an alumnus of the joint Specialist Theatre and Drama Studies program at Sheridan College and the University of Toronto at Mississauga; of which she was recipient of the A.L. Fernie Bursary Award for Outstanding Performance and Production Achievement. Adrianna has also won the Best Performance by a Female in a Feature Role/Ensemble (Play) from Broadway World for her role as Jailer’s Daughter, and was a part of the winning ensemble cast for the 2012 Best of Fringe as Jenny in The Shape of Things. Adrianna was also a part of the cast of Unhappy Happy which won the 2013 TIFF Best Micro-Budget Feature Award.

Adrianna is also the Arts & History Host for Cranium Cookie, an educational webshow about all things Canadian.

Her bereavement piece “Everything but the Cat…” had a staged reading at The New Ideas Festival with Alumnae Theatre and received wonderfully supportive reviews. Adrianna is meeting with teachers and theatre-in-education companies to bring this piece on tour to high schools and universities in the near future. Please visit www.everythingbutthecat.net to learn how you can support or become involved in this important confessional-theatre piece.

Adrianna is also employed as a Historical Interpreter with the City of Toronto where she educates children through theatre-education programs about the Victorian Era at several city museums. Her latest play for the city museums, War for Dessert deals with the reasons for the War of 1812.”

Adri answers the questions…

What is your career?
 Storytelling.

Is it the same as your passion? Oh yes. Storytelling is a wonderfully mailable passion: I am an actor, a social media content creator and community manager, a historical interpreter, blogger, and playwright.

What is your passion? Telling stories that make people connect with themselves and others. I love being the keystone in networks too, meeting passionate people and connecting them to someone they don’t know (yet) through my introduction- I love it.

What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? Challenges are always time and money. All of those titles pay in some way or another in time and money – but time doesn’t pay bills and money doesn’t make you happy so it’s the eternal balancing act which can be taxing physically and emotionally. But really, I can’t live without a creative output and storytelling in my life. I tried, and it was hell.

What is your advice to others embarking on similar career? Always be the student: take classes, do workshops, take an online course – not only will you learn amazing new things that enhance your craft but you also meet like minded people and expand your network. It is so often not what you know but who you know! Also say yes when you are scared to say it – that fear means you are challenging yourself to get outside your comfort zone and that is where art tends to happen.

What does it mean to be an artist? It means to create without filter, without restraint, without fear – to make art (in any shape or form that calls to you) to tell your story, be it your personal story or one that begs to be told.

5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? Why, why not? Yes and no – 5 years ago my world was turned upside down: my brother died by suicide and that event tripped an avalanche of change. I lost a lot and it took a while to get myself to a place that was good again. During that time I wrote to help my bereavement & that’s how I started Everything But The Cat… as a play and then later as a blog. So most of the people and goals I had in 2010 are no longer in my life now in 2015. It’s amazing how different and totally the same I am when I look back.

Where will you be in 5 years? Hopefully still creating with passionate like minded people. I have had the fortune to have amazing people in my network who want to work with me: Cranium Cookie started as a chat in a comic book store, my children’s book was a joke between me and my partner until he pushed me to create it, my webseries was pushed forward from a facebook conversation, my mental health blog an idea between me and a guy I met on the subway! There’s so much great support around me that it’s hard not to be inspired and take action. In 5 years I want to be doing that: creating with others who believe in me.

What would you say to your 8-year-old self? Your first brother has just taken his first steps, love him because someday he won’t be here anymore – make mud pies daily. Oh and don’t let Mom throw out your Roger Rabbit sleeping bag.

What would you say to your 80-year-old self? Any regrets I can take care of at my age?

How lucky are you and why?  Oh yes, I mean I haven’t won the lottery but I have all that support (mentioned above) plus a loving family who accepts me for the human-Muppet I am. I have great friends who I can travel the world with (and have) and my significant other is just that – he’s significant and loving and grounds me. I may not have money but I do have those intangibles that poets write about. And I say thanks daily for that and the opportunities I have here living in Canada. That too is lucky.

What would people be surprised to know about you? I have darier’s white disorder which is a rare skin disorder that almost made me give up acting. I still struggle with the idea that one day I will just be a mess of spots and no one will want to look at me. (I blog about it sometimes… http://fightagainstdariersdisease.blogspot.ca/)

What makes you laugh? Great writing. My puppy McFly. Jason, my S.O., when he isn’t trying to be funny. The unexpected.

What is fun for you? So many things! Video games, thick books about everything but mostly fantasy historical novels (hi Outlander and Game of Thrones), running in the sunshine, throwing theme parties so we can all dress up, Halloween (for the same reason), playing board games with friends and family… So many things!

What makes you question humanity? My brother’s suicide. Ferguson. People I encounter on the TTC at 8:15am and 5:02pm. Reality TV. Toronto’s G20 riots.

What is your favourite quote? “to thine ownself be true” -Shakespeare, Hamlet

Is there anything else you’re involved in that you’d like to plug or point our attention to?

Check out all these awesome things I have the pleasure of participating in!

Www.youtube.com/user/craniumcookie @craniumcookie

Www.everythingbutthecat.net (we are on tumblr too: http://everythingbutthecat.tumblr.com/)

@everythingcatTO

Www.dauntlesscitytheatre.com @DauntlessTO

Www.facebook.com/gibsonmuseum @GibsonmuseumTO

Please provide a link to something you are particularly proud of being involved in… Me? :)

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Probably one of the most-inspiring answers I’ve heard to the task of providing something one is proud of being involved in is Adrianna’s answer, “Me?” Yes you!  To be proud of being a part of the project that is oneself– what a healthy invaluable gift you gift yourself. One doesn’t need much else to get through the day. I absolutely love it!
I do hope you get the chance to meet this force in real life. Either way, you can engage with Adriana here: Www.adrianna-Prosser.com @adriannap
Happy day, everybuddy!
:)

 

Monday Morning Dance Party!

Kat Leonard:

“Think ya can handle this gadunkadunkdunk?”

Originally posted on Marriage & the Single Girl:

Just ’cause she stole the Half Time Show…

today’s Monday dance party selection is….

Go, go Monday!! ;)

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NEW SHOW ANNOUNCED! WonderFest Comedy Series

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HABITS GASTROPUB
1928 College Street, Toronto 

Thursday February 6, 2015
Doors 8:30pm $PWYC (Suggested $10)

Let’s Make Good Productions presents:


Tracy Hamilton
Azfar Ali @azfarsays
Jhanelle Dennis @JhanelleDennis

Kat Leonard & The MP3 (That’s me, eh!)  @Katbandoo

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Check us out, yo! Hope to see you there! :) xo

 

PEOPLE PROFILE: Cate McKim!

 

I don’t give a fuck!

I got a whole lotta respect for the fuckery coming out of Mark Manson in his article about not giving a fuck! Some fucking tidbits:

“…stop fucking around. Get your fucks together… Allow me to fucking show you…

If you find yourself consistently giving too many fucks about trivial shit that bothers you… chances are you don’t have much going on in your life to give a legitimate fuck about. And that’s your real problem. Not the hand sanitizer…

In life, our fucks must be spent on something. There really is no such thing as not giving a fuck. The question is simply how we each choose to allot our fucks…

Fucks are cultivated like a beautiful fucking garden, where if you fuck shit up and the fucks get fucked, then you’ve fucking fucked your fucks all the fuck up.”

If you give a fuck, and if you don’t, please read Mark’s article here:
Mark Manson on not giving a fuck!

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WHISKY & SPICE HEATS UP “DAYTIME TORONTO” TV SHOW WITH DEE-LISH COOKING DEMO

Kat Leonard:

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Heather Hill, Glenda J. Fordham and moi!

 

I happily call much of Glenda’s fun today my own! I have tasted the mustard and it is divine! Heather Hill and I also performed our song Come By Here to promote She’s Listening, a benefit concert and CD to help raise funds and awareness for Ovarian Cancer Canada. Our episode of DayTime airs on Rogers Community TV Toronto on Wednesday January 7th at 10am, 3pm and midnight. Tune in if ya can! And def try to make She’s Listening at The Flying Beaver Pubaret Thursday January 8th 7pm. Good food, good music, good beaver! :) Getcher tix here! 

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Lights, camera, action!

 

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Day Time host Val Cole and we setting up!

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Sam guest-wrangled us and kept us on the straight and narrow.

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Bahar beautified us.

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Heather was already beautiful. <3

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Us 4 representin’! Kelly Hagerman, Regional Manager Ovarian Cancer Canada; Elizabeth Baugh, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Canada; us

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I may have licked Dan’s whiskey mustard and liked it.

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Look! It’s Dan shooting his segment!


Originally posted on Fordham PR:

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Toronto, Tues. January 6th: Dan Gordon, owner and chef of WHISKY & SPICE, shared some of his secrets to cooking with mustard with Rogers Daytime Toronto host, Val Cole who gave Dan a hand in the kitchen.  The show will air on channel 10 in Toronto on Wednesday Jan. 7th at 10am, 3pm, then again at midnight so you can catch it 3 times – Dan’s recipes are on the Rogers show website as well as on Dan’s site: http://www.whiskyandspice.ca

We got to the studios nice and early, giving Dan lots of time to set up (below)

20150106_11404920150106_11555120150106_11561420150106_115622I got to hang out in the “green room” with the other guests including our guest coordinator, Sam, who met everyone at the door (below)

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First up on the show was awesome dentist, Dr. Jim Hyland (below) who has launched http://www.GumGuardians.com  Dr. Jim sat with me in the green room…

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