Social Media

My Social Media Diet

Many years ago I discovered something. Each morning I would leave for work in a fairly decent mood. I would be freshly caffeinated and ready to take on a new day.  By the time I finished my thirty-minute commute I was angry. In the beginning… I struggled to understand how or why my mood could swing in the span of leaving my front door and arriving at my job. What event was affecting my state of emotional well being?

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Then it clicked.

My morning commutes usually had my nose deep into a novel until I discovered the free newspaper. I’m not talking about Now or Eye Magazine, I mean the mini edition of the news. It was a new phenomenon that had men and women shoving them at you as you graced the threshold of the subway station. Eventually, I was enticed and began reading them on the way to work. An unusual step for me and one I now understand I shouldn’t have taken.

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Most of my life I have avoided the six or eleven in the evening news, it has mostly been a radio droning on in the background with my ears occasionally picking up the odd important bit of news. When the paper arrived I would pull out the entertainment, fashion or Arts sections of the newspaper. Something that drove my father nuts. Why waste your time on the fluff, the real meat was in the news section he’d say. You see, my father is a bit of a newsaholic. He will read the paper cover to cover and does so every single day.

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Why was I avoiding the news part of the paper?

I have always had a dark imagination and can go down some very horrible rabbit holes and because of this hearing about the horrors of the world affected me greater than others. I’m sensitive to it. I always have been. Growing up during the 80s there was always a threat of nuclear war and that weighed heavy on me. I would go out of my way to avoid reading or talking about it. It upset me.

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Fast forward to today and the news of the of the horrors of the world still does and to the point where it will throw me into depression. I realized this one weekday as I stared down at the free newspaper that was open in my lap. That was what was making me angry. That moment the bells went off and I chucked the newspaper into the recycling and haven’t picked one up since.

Oh… but wait… welcome to our new future. Welcome to Social Media.

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When I first joined Facebook, I loved it. I was able to connect with communities, find new friends and check in on old ones. It was an actual fun place to be. Now… not so much. That fun went away when they added the newsfeed. In the beginning, it wasn’t so bad. It was generally full of horrible Meme’s and false worlds created by the user. Then… that all changed. My feed was full of fake news that people thought was real, photos of animals being tortured and many other awful, angry posts. People took on new personalities thinking that this platform was a free for all to shit out any and every thought they were having. Yes… I too was guilty of this until that moment when I realized I was doing it. I would try avoiding the feed, but it was always right there when you logged on. On a few occasions, I would deactivate my account only to realize I needed it to help promote events. I hated the fact that I relied on this social media platform to connect with audience members and communities. I hated being on a platform that wasn’t social at all.

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Then I started feeling depression creeping in again. This time I knew what the culprit was but didn’t know how to throw it in the recycling bin. I wished there was a way to promote myself, my event and run my Vintage Groups without logging on. Someday I will find a way, for now, I have a temporary solution.

Wow… that was a long way around to talk about my social media diet….

I am now limiting myself to only five minutes a day on Facebook. It can be five minutes in one shot or over a few logons. But once those five minutes are up, that is it for the day. Oh… I also don’t look at the feed. As a matter of fact, all I do is check my notifications, my events, my groups and see if there are any other events I might be interested in and then I log off.  Let me tell you, not only has it lifted that heaviness I was feeling, I realized how much of my day was wasted on there. I now have chunks of time to fill in. I’ve started drawing again. I have dedicated time to sew my own clothing. I actually feel like being social again! I’m almost to the point where I don’t even need to log on at all. There is an app for messenger, there is an app to check my pages. I believe there may be one for events, now if they would just bring back the groups app!

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This all said I do still use Instagram. The difference here is I customize what I see. I follow vintage, artists, and people I like. I am inspired by much of what I see. It is a happy place for me.

Do you also avoid Facebook? Are you willing to try the five-minute diet?

 

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Redheads Writing in Cafes #1

***I have added a new page to the blog. It is called Redheads Writing in Cafes. Here is the first entry. 

Redheads Writing in Cafes #1

I’m a full-time writer. I work for myself. I don’t go into a Corporate office space. I create my own content. I work from home. I am my own boss. This is my perfect job. This is my dream. There is, however, one problem.  When you are working at home, there are…. how shall we say, distractions. I don’t mean the television, Netflix, YouTube or other forms of entertainment. I mean laundry, cleaning, washing that sink full of dirty dishes, figuring out what to make for dinner, tidying up, re-organizing. As you look up from your laptop, you see all the things that need to be done. You still get writing done, but between the tasks that are staring you down and when you don’t complete them…. there is that pesky guilt. Now that the weather is nicer, I plan on finding my way outside my home to write.  In the backyard, parks, cafes.

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As a full-time artist, writing in a cafe every day isn’t great for the change purse… I am considering a Kickstarter to help finance this endeavor. Feed my coffee addiction.  I’m sure others would be willing to give up a coffee a day to support my cup of coffee a day… right? No? Hmmmm….  All kidding aside, many well-known artists have written their novels, screenplays, plays and poems in cafes. There is a wonderful, addictive energy that fills the walls of cafes, not to mention the lovely wafts of fresh ground coffee beans and baked goods. Ok… now, I’m just making myself hungry. Focus. You need to focus.

The point of this new page is to write about what I’m writing about… while I’m in a cafe…. Maybe I could also convince other redheaded writers to guest write or join me in the cafe. I live in a neighbourhood that has cafes a plenty. I am going to try to choose a different one each time I write and let you know a bit about the cafe.

Today, I’m sitting in a cafe near High Park, looking out at the beautiful greenery, dreaming of the 1930s, listening to Edith Piaf’s beautiful voice, flow from the speakers. I am working on my novel as well as researching the 1930s. For some, being in a cafe would distract them. I drink in the energy that surrounds me, which is the complete opposite of when I am at home writing. At home, I need the sounds of televisions and stereos turned off, the windows open, so the sounds of the outside, find their way to my ears.

The cafe I’m in is Hannah’s Cafe and Bakery. They have a really nice dark roast and I’ve had their lattes. The staff is friendly and the cafe itself spacious. Recently we came here for a writing workshop. I’m Vegan and they have soy milk, they have some Vegetarian sandwiches and salads that can be made Vegan, however, the baked goods are not Vegan. Once you are done writing, you can hop across the street to High Park.

I’m lucky to live in such an amazing neighbourhood. I am a brief walk away from the best park in the city, shopping, bars, restaurants and groceries. The hood is also home to literary and art events. There are writers, painters, musicians, visual artists, burlesque dancers, and other artisans who call this area home. Most importantly, there are cafes a plenty and if you get lucky, you may walk into the one with the Redhead.  That might be an idea for a treasure hunt. Find the cafe with the Redhead who’s writing.

Redhead’s writing in cafes.

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“Oh Hi Mark” and why The Room is the best movie of all time

“There are people who have seen The Room and those who haven’t seen The Room.” Neil Traynor

*** There will be spoilers.***

I love terrible movies.  They are my happy place.  The schlockier the movie the happier I am. I show no prejudice for genres and have watched them all from horror to sci-fi to romantic; silent; film noir; b-movies; romance; expressionist; westerns and comedy. If it’s considered a badly made movie, I want to see it. My current two favourites are Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Screaming Skull.  In my heart of hearts I never thought any movie could knock either of those off the top of my list. Who could possibly beat Ed Woods and take his title? Always up for a bad movie challenge,  I was ready, willing and open to seeing if this could take the reigns.

For MONTHS now, our good friend Neil Traynor (1) has been telling us about The Room, insistent that once we watch it, we would never be the same again. Finally we were able to arrange a viewing and as Neil said, it was life changing. It might actually be the best movie of all time. How could this be, you ask? The Room has it all. Love, sex, romance,  action, violence, blood, family values, long drawn out sex scenes, drug intervention, x-files style disappearance of actors, belly button fucking, more long, drawn out sex scenes and best of all, no plot.

I’m serious.  There is no plot. None. Nada. Zilch. Zero! Not only is there no plot, I personally feel that one of the reasons this movie has become such a cult hit, is you cannot, in anyway, describe to someone what the storyline is. There is an amazing Wikipedia page that has a very thorough breakdown of the movie, the characters, many of the issues with the movie and the production of The Room.  However, even after reading the page, you still have no idea what exactly this movie is about.  You just need to watch it.

The Room is Tommy Wiseau’s directorial debut and what a debut it is.  Oh… did I mention that he also produced it, wrote it and stars in it.  Mr. Wiseau is a bit of a mystery man himself. He is famous for keeping his past and personal life secret.  Even the Wikipedia page about Tommy Wiseau, doesn’t reveal very much. Who is this mystery man? Is he even real? A figment of our imagination?  Only way to find out, is to attend one of the many Love is Blind events happening across North America.  If it comes to Toronto or even a city near here, I will be first in line to get tickets.  After all, I need to know why Tommy Wiseau wears two belts. Although… he does have his own YouTube channel, called Tommy Explains It All (https://www.youtube.com/user/TommyExplainsItAll), yet… he explains nothing.  

Social Media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook have helped The Room’s infamy grow.

There are many memes.

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Quotes 

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Montages

and videos of critique.

 

All of this is helping to keep The Room alive. You could literally spend hours, hell, even days watching the many videos being created to celebrate this cult hit.  Oh, and I can’t forget there is a Star Wars Mashup!

The Room has a huge cult following and fan-base.  It also has  a play, a book , a video game,  a Facebook page dedicated to it, a-soon-to-be-released mocumentary, a documentary called Room Full Of Spoons and there is a movie being made about it, that James Franco is producing, directing, writing and starring in.  Sound familiar! How did this movie become such a huge hit?  It rivals movies such as Plan 9 and it’s huge fan base is dedicated and steadily growing. It is a phenomena with many, many unanswered questions.  Like the ones I have, such as:

What happened to Peter the psychologist?
Where can I rent that green screen?
Where can I find that 1880’s industrial shot?
How can it be sunny and smoggy at the same time?
Where did that new guy come from?
Will Denny survive without Johnny?
Will Lisa ever find love again?
Did Claudette survive the breast cancer?

Sooooooo many questions!

Back to my opening statement about this movie possibly being the best movie of all time.  Let’s take a moment to think about this. When I say best movie of all time, what I mean is best terrible movie of all time. When I watched it, I laughed till I was laugh crying.  I was laugh crying till my stomach hurt so bad, that I thought I was going to throw up. We discussed this movie indepth, for hours afterwards, my love and I talked about it as we were going to sleep and woke up talking about it.  All of our conversations for the next several hours have been dominated by it AND we have been quoting the movie. I have spend all of my time researching the movie, Tommy Wiseau and am agonizing over what happened to the actors, needing answers to my questions and searching to find out if a “Love is Blind” event is coming to a place near us. I have been feeling all of the emotions you would after seeing a movie that blows your mind.

How does this movie compare to my current top favourites Plan 9 From Outer Space and Screaming Skull?  The Room is definitely comparable in cult status to both these movies and over the top in terrible. Does it knock either of them off the top.  No, but it definitely ties for top spot.

You have to see this movie. It was even shot so you can watch it 2D or 3D. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V10Px9xbrbU Apparently it wasn’t shot to be a 3D movie, Tommy Wiseau just decided to shoot with two cameras, because he could.  When you watch the movie, don’t forget to say hi to Mark.

(1) Neil Traynor is a Toronto born singer/songwriter guitarist/multi-instrumentalist.

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Lizzie Luau Time!!!

Let’s show the weather how to bring the sizzle back into Summer!  This months shows are going to be HOT! HOT! HOT!

Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir — feat. The Rando Bando, Lilla Koi, Jeff Greenway with special co-host Romeo Satin!!!

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https://www.facebook.com/events/1590182707928569/

Hot Summer Nights at Hirut — feat. Myke Mazzei, Dan Thompson, Lizzie Violet and Arlene Paculan.

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https://www.facebook.com/events/676745715803103/

Spring Has Sprung?

There is a lot of awesome happening in the month of April. Along with some exciting co-writing projects, I have a feature!   I really hope the weather catches on that it is finally SPRING!  We all need to get out of hibernation mode and check out all the amazing shows happening! xo

Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir – Featuring June Morrow, Dan Thompson & The Vaudevillian

https://www.facebook.com/events/589280287875564/605149576288635/

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Spring Fling at Hirut – Featuring Michael Oesch, Marcy Rogers, Lizzie Violet & Allen Rex

https://www.facebook.com/events/348503428679075/

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Secret Handshake Gallery (feature)

https://www.facebook.com/events/960647670620812/
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November, November, NOVEMBER!

Now that we have gotten through the awesomeness of ROCKtober… are you ready for the rustlings of November?  I hope so, cause it’s crammed with just as much awesome!!!

Here is some of the amazing stuff going on!

November 6Wordspell | Featuring Tanya Neuymeyer and Lamoi.

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Doors open at 7pm | Open Mic sign up at 7:30| Show at 8|Free Times Cafe (320 College Street)

Tickets at door: $6 and up

ALL ages & genders welcome in the audience!

Open mic is open to those who identify as women, is held after the feature performances and is limited to 4 minutes per poet.

Find out more about the series at:
Group page: www.facebook.com/groups/WordSpellTO
Website: http://cytopoeticsevents.com/wordspell
Follow on Twitter: WordSpellTO
Email: WordSpellTO@gmail.com

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November 10 – LizzieViolet’s Cabaret Noir | Featuring Dom Pare, Imogene Quest and Giraffe

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Doors open at 7 pm

The Central is at 603 Markham Street.

We will have limited open mic spots (for poets, performers and musicians). Sign up starts at 7.

This is a PWYC event. (the door suggested price $5 and up)

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November 14 – Songwriters Circle of Jerks 13 …and the ladies who love them.

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Doors open at 8:30pm |Free Times Cafe (320 College Street)

Featured act is Lizzie Violet, Cathy Petch & Vanessa McGowan

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November 18th – Poetry Open Mic | Details TBA

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November 28 – The Beautiful and the Damned | hosted by DM Moore | featuring | Shawn Symms | Lillian Allen | Mark Martyre

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Doors open at 7 pm

The Central is at 603 Markham Street.We will have limited open mic spots (for poets, performers and musicians). Sign up starts at 7.

This is a PWYC event. (the door suggested price $5 and up)

Social Media VACAY

So… am posting here. Easier. This way it goes out to all Social Media outlets.

I’m off all Social Media till Sunday, if not longer. It’s too much of a distraction and am finding it’s adding to my current frustrations. Last time I took a break, I accomplished mountains of work, actually found time to visit with friends, was able to read books that I wasn’t editing and felt my stress level dissipate. It’s funny how this so called product, to help us socialize; communicate and network, actually makes us feel like crap; stresses us out and wastes precious time. The same reasons I refuse to get an iPhone.

Once upon a time, in a world before Facebook, if you wanted to get a hold of me, you called; texted; emailed or… and here’s a concept that seems to no longer exist, actually hung out with me or came to my place. I KNOW… in a place long, long ago, people used to just show up at my door with beer. Weird huh?

And… for those of you who apparently can’t figure out how to get a hold of me other than Facebook… there is this little thing called the profile page on Facecrack… with all sorts of alternate ways to get a hold of moi.

It’s a bit scary how many ways you can get a hold of me… OTHER… than Facebook and Twitter… let me name the ways… Skype, email, text, call, yahoo chat, MSN chat, BlackBerry Messenger (all you have to do is send me your pin), visit me, stand outside my window and holler up to me… It’s true… I really can’t escape from any of you.

I’ve turned all my notifications off and won’t be checking in till Sunday evening.

Good luck and may the force… or what ever helps you get through the day… be with you.

Later… Lizzie!