An Open Letter to Lady Gaga: from my haus to yours

Kat Leonard:

Dear Lady Gaga… please take heed… :) xoxoxox

Originally posted on A new chapter of Lisa Anita Wegner's storytelling.:

Lisa Anita Wegner Lisa Anita Wegner

Dear Gaga,

My name is Lisa and I am a filmmaker, performance artist, curator, storyteller, light bender and space/time traveller. You inspire me tremendously, and I am writing to express my appreciation for what you have sparked in my work, beginning with Queen of the Parade, my first large-scale performance/fashion/video installation and the work that put me on the map as an artist. 

Rise and Fall of The Queen of Jupiter 2016 Rise and Fall of The Queen of Jupiter 2016

In 2008, I had hit hard times – I lost my film production company, all my savings, my heart and my mind. I collapsed getting to the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 and spent the next two years largely unable to function. In the Trauma Therapy Department of Women’s College Hospital, I found art therapy. I started a daily art-making practice that saved my life. I had gone offline and expressing myself in art and…

View original 560 more words

Get Your Mic On! I’m interviewed at Fine Productions!

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Not every conversation Harrison Fine, Karl Machat and I have is appropriate for public consumption, but this one is.
We did this interview for Get Your Mic On, “the informative podcast hosted by you: recording artists and music industry leaders. Designed with an intention to educate, Get Your Mic On features a new guest co-host each episode.” This time it was me!

Who is Harrison Fine? Many wonderful things!
Personally, he is an upbeat and down-to-earth lover of life full of fun, a good friend always ready with a hug.

Professionally, he is a musician and sound engineer. Head to FineProductions.ca to find out more! This is what I hijacked from there…

[Toronto’s Harrison Fine of FINE Productions doesn’t just usher you into the studio and produce you. He wants to know what makes you tick and why you create the music you do. The award-winning producer, engineer, mixer and songwriter wants to get personal. A recording artist himself — presently readying a new electronic solo project under the alias Opus Eyes— Harrison is well-connected in the songwriter and indie music community, voted Best Producer in Toronto from NOW magazine. Within that world, he takes time to pick the right artists to produce, assessing their lyrics, arrangements and instrumentation. “I do a lot of pre-production,” he says. “If you don’t have good stuff to start, you can’t get good songs in the end.”]

Who is Karl Machat? Also many wonderful things!
Personally, he is a quiet quick-witted genius, a good friend always ready for a hug.
Professionally, he is a musician and mastering engineer. Find out more at Mister’s Mastering House. I stole this from there…

[With over twenty years professional industry experience including quality assurance and duplication, his credits are on hundreds of albums and singles released in Canada, United States, and abroad. A musician himself, he knows and understands both the technical and creative worlds, and gives an empathetic ear to a musician’s needs. An avid listener, with lots of patience, and just a plain passion for music, Karl has the knack for putting the artist and their music in just the right place.]

If you’re looking for original soundscaping or some engineering on your own original work, I highly recommend contacting these dudes. If you’re looking for some good company, I hope you meet these guys. If you’re looking to spend 25 minutes with the three of us but don’t feel like leaving your seat, plug in here and jib jab along with us! Harrison, Karl and Kat.

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Kat Leonard, Harrison Fine, magic spell, Karl Machat

Enjoy your day, everybuddy, from us 3!
:)

New Project Announced: Myselfie!

Myselfie: A snapshot to share.

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I recently did a meditative exercise whereby one mindfully describes their own body parts in a grateful manner. As I was exploring, it came to me that this is my next show. It is is still a work in progress but I aim to create a piece of work that will inspire positive self-love and self-esteem. My goal is to create a meaningful spectacle of word, body part selfie images, song and dance that I can tour with in order to engage and empower, especially within the preteen and teenage group. I may have to mind the cheekiness– though I’m of the belief that a fresh amount of cheek is honest and healthy. I welcome you to join me in this journey and provide feedback as I work this show.

Upcoming dates I will be previewing and workshopping Myselfie bits:

April 30 at Habits Gastropub as part of the WonderFest Comedy and Storytelling series.

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May 3– that’s my birthday! at 3030 Dundas West as part of the Super Tash CD Release bash!

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May 30 at Hirut in Toronto…
More deets, dates and dots to come!

And I encourage you to partake in this exercise of going through your body parts in a mindful way. Don’t forget your innards! Here is an example of how I tackled the exercise, in the form of an excerpt from Myselfie.

I feel superbly blessed and I am taking this time to give thanks for what I’ve been given. Behold… Myselfie.

Dear, all everything beating and breathing in the universe, thanks for giving me head. And face. And other great bits. Thank you for my soft silky hair, for being so enticing to others that I benefit from frequent petting. …

Smile, thank you for being there for me and others. You have lightened and heightened a good many mood. They say you light up a room when you arrive, and I know this to be true because whenever I walk into a room with you, everyone within is illuminated–and all the jubilant light reflects back at me. Thank you for the readiness and ease with which you come out to play. You are a weapon for good and I brandish you gladly. Get it? Gladly? …

Feet. I like your shape. I love your toes. I love how they cascade down in size but for the second one that reaches out beyond the crowd. I love that you signify traits that so many of us strive to be in tune with and hope to be courageous enough to act upon… to stand out from the masses even if it means wrecking the visual of the status quo, to reach and grow beyond our own backyard, to be anchored to others yet free on our own. All these things are so important and hold me up, just like you, my sweet feet. You allow me to hold my poise as I run wild and dance with no restraint, as I walk in stride with friends side by side, as I follow those I admire and blaze a path for others… Dear feet, thank you for bringing us to this spot right here right now and thank you for taking us to our next adventure– which is always only a few steps away. 

Thank you, my dear body, for the collective chaos and cacophony and clownery you are. I explode with passion both joyful and painful from the inside out and know that I am alive and moving forward. You and me are in this together. There is no you without me or me without you. Together we are myselfie. 

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Do it! Do the exercise! It’s fun! And while you’re at it, drop a selfie!

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People Profile: Annalisa Falco!

Meet Annalisa Falco: Early Childhood Educator! 
anna
A delightfully sweet and funny lady, a nurturer and empowered; be still my beating heart!
What is your career?
• I am an Registered Early Childhood Educator.

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

• The greatest challenges I face in my career are keeping my emotions under control. Working with children can be very rewarding, however, it challenges me to be more patient, compassionate and understanding.
• I would say the greatest reward is developing deep and meaningful relationships with my students. It’s a really nice feeling when some of my kindergarten students accidentally call me mom. It shows how they view me as an important figure in their lives, and it’s so nice they see me as their teacher and caregiver.

What is your advice to others embarking on similar career?

• The best advice I could give to someone who is embarking on a career in education is to be confident in your values and teaching skills. I remember my first year in my classroom I was very intimidated by the whole school atmosphere. Working alongside with another teacher I was very nervous about speaking in front of the whole class and it was very overwhelming for me.
• I believe to be a good educator you have to have patience, compassion and understanding. These values will help make your career and personal life more enriched with love and care. Being a RECE, has made me a better person and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

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

• Five years ago, I really didn’t expect to be where I am today. For a long time, I battled with depression and I was always confused about my life journey. But it came a point where I was like, “Okay I cannot live like this anymore!” So I started to take long walks, exercise, eat healthier, and go to therapy. But the one thing that really turned my life around was when I started my own gratitude journal. I wrote in it every day and my life progressively improved in all areas of my life. I learned to count my blessings instead of my hardships.

Where will you be in 5 years?

• I’m going back to school this year to get my degree in Early Childhood Education and then I’m planning to go to teacher’s college to get my master’s in education. So in five years I hope to be done school.
• Another goal of mine is to start my own non-profit organization to help empower and educate people about self-acceptance and living a fulfilling life. Within these 5 years I hope to inspire change and to have started a movement to enrich people’s lives through art, music and motivational speaking.

What would you say to your 8-year-old self?

• I would tell my 8-year-old self that she is beautiful and that she is worthy of love and belonging. I would tell her that life is not a race it’s a journey. And most importantly I would tell her to leave the past in the past. To let go of the pain and sorrow, because the only gift we have in life is the present. I would tell her that hope and faith is what will get you through the most challenging times and to surround yourself with people that love and accept you for you who are.

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

• I would tell my 80-year-old self, “Congratulations, you made it this far, and you don’t look a day over 40!” I would praise her for all the good things she’s done in her life.

How lucky are you and why?

• I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! I’ve been blessed with a very supportive and loving family. I have faithful and caring friends. And I’m extra lucky because last year I fell in love with my soul mate and every day is a dream come true because I am loved by my family and friends.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

• I think what I noticed over the years is how people are surprised by my thoughtfulness and generosity. I’m the type of person that surprises people with love letters and small gifts. Also, when people first meet me their surprised by my sense of humour and outgoing personality because at first I’m quite shy and quiet.

What makes you laugh?

• I love to laugh! I try to find humour in everything! I find joy in making silly jokes or random comments. I come from a long history of funny family and friends too. My boyfriend makes me laugh the most because our sense of humour is exactly the same so we’re constantly cracking jokes when we’re together. We probably have a million inside jokes; we’re pretty much that crazy couple at the party!

What is fun for you?

• I have the most fun when I’m spending time with my family, my friends and my dog. Going out for dinners, long conversations, and my job can be very fun because kids really do say the funniest things. I especially love to pretend play with my students, to hear their laughter and see the smile on their faces when I make them laugh is truly priceless.

What makes you question humanity?

• I think it is so interesting how technology has enriched but also handicapped our society and culture. I think it’s sad how disconnected we are sometimes when it comes to the internet and cell phones. For example, I was at the mall in the food court and there was a father and daughter sitting in front of each other at a table and instead of talking to each other they were both on their iPads.

What is your favourite quote?

• I love quotes so it’s really hard to choose just one but one of my favourite quotes is this one that my boyfriend sent to me:

“Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness, yet become something beautiful.”

Anything inspiring you’d like to point our attention to?

Here’s a link to the United Way of Peel. Right now I’m volunteering with them as part of their Young Leader’s Council. I find United Way of Peel inspiring because they help support people in the community through various sectors such as empowering the youth, and helping the less fortunate. http://www.unitedwaypeel.org

Other inspiring organizations I really like are: virgietovar.com. She’s a very highly educated activist and amazing woman. She believes in losing hate not weight.

Reesee Zigazaga is another amazing woman who created Abuse Survival Stories it’s another great non-profit organization that works to give a voice to people that suffer from abuse, a platform to share their stories and freedom from the pain of their past. http://www.abusesurvivalstories.com

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I hope you enjoyed learning about Annalisa as much as I did! Wishing everybuddy an inspired and empowering day! Let’s all make the most of our interactions with ourselves and others. What if we had everything today that we were grateful for yesterday? I think that’s a wonderful way to live. Dare to live! Dare to love! :)

Do You Love Your Body?

aaaablog

 

The illustrious Adrianna Prosser had me as a guest blogger for Everything But The Cat!
I talk about loving your body inside and out, touching on nutrition, mental health and Johnny Depp. How could I not?  Enjoy! :)

 

New Show Announced-A Night Of Laughs!

A night of laughs?! Yes please!!!



Black Swan 154 Danforth Avenue, Toronto March 28, 2015 at 10pm $5

Please join us for a laugh- a whole nightful! :) 

New Show Announced! 



Amsterdam Bicycle Club, Toronto!

Thursday March 12! Doors 8:30 Show 9:15. Hope to see you thurrrrr! :) xo

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…

View original 67 more words

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!

WonderFest2015Poster

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! 

:)

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