Toronto

Redheads Writing in Cafes #4 and Why I Support Local Indie Artists

Just to warn you. There may be swears.

The last few days have been lovely. Wednesday, I hung out with my sister from a whole other family, October. Thursday, live music at C’est What with Neil Traynor and band. Had another productive cafe writing session with Heather Babcock and John Oughton on Thursday, Saturday, my fella and I crammed in watching Street Poetry in High Park, a second viewing of the cherry blossoms and then dinner and live music in The Junction. After an amazing few days of enjoying local independent art, music, and poetry with the people I love, fellow creatives, why do I not feel content? Why instead am I feeling contempt? Here’s why.

This has been nagging at me, scratching at my gray matter for some time now It’s been bubbling just below the surface, pulling at me, like that song, that sits on the tip of your tongue and it’s driving me mad. I have talked to others about it. I’ve occasionally posted status messages about it and tried to get people’s attention and their consideration for it. Now… now I’m at my wit’s end and I’m pissed. No, I’m fucking angry. It’s time to make a change.

Ok.

Ok…

Those were the swears. I can’t promise those were the last.

What initially pushed me to the brink was a group of four women who were in their early twenties. As we were having our writing session at a local Mom and Pop run cafe Thursday, these young women were standing in line waiting to be served. A long line. The cafe was busier than normal due to the cherry blossoms in High Park. When they were about three people away from being served, one of the young women loudly exclaimed, “I want to support local, but they are too slow here. Let’s go to Starf*cks.” (she didn’t call it that and used the proper name, I did. Guess who will never be sponsoring me.).  Did these women not notice the cherry blossom festival chaos across the street and consider it might be affecting the businesses in the hood? If you really wanted to support local, wouldn’t you be patient? Wouldn’t you take how busy the shop was into consideration?  I did.

This, however, isn’t what I want to talk about. It was what triggered everything.  Thursday night, a good friend was playing with his band at a popular downtown venue. When it came time to pass the tip jar, we went around to everyone who was, what we thought, enjoying the music. We asked everyone to throw in a loonie or toonie to help support local music. Some put money in funds (mostly other artists), while the corporate types (I have another name for them, but won’t write it) declined — very rudely in most cases. This really bothered me.

I’ve put on many events and attended an even greater number of them. I’ve observed when the tip jar is being passed around, for the most part, artists will always put money in, even if it is whatever loose changed they have in their pockets. Artists will go out to other artists events without batting an eye. We support each other, promote each other, help out at each others gigs, artist supporting artists. This, sadly, does not help us grow, help us get noticed outside of our community and when we try to get others to come to events or if they are at an event, put a few dollars in the tip jar, they don’t or rather won’t and they make you feel awful for asking.  On Thursday night, we received snarky comments and evil stares when we asked. I felt that we were asking for their first born (no thanks) or for a donation of blood. (again no thanks) It was frustrating.

Once upon a time, artists were revered. If this was the 1920s or 1930s we would be looked upon at a higher level, would make a nice living from our art and be respected. Why is it, in 2017, we are looked down upon, brushed off and disrespected? We are asked to work for free and when we do get paid, it’s for way less than minimum wage.  We struggle to get anyone, who isn’t an artist to come out to events (when was the last time our families, workmates or other acquaintances came to see us).  We work hard to promote our events, prepare for the events and then put on the show.  How do we get people to start supporting local artists? How do we get them out to events? How do we get them to respect us?

This city is full of performers, writers, playwrights, theaters, bands, songwriters, singers, visual artists, photographers, poets, spoken word artists, designers, painters, sculptors, magicians, burlesque, comic artists, comedians — the list goes on. How do we get the average Joe to support us? How do we get the city and venues to support us?  And speaking of venues, how to we keep the supportive ones going?  I see my fellow artist struggling every day to get their art out there and to survive financially. I see musicians like Cynthia Gould trying to get awareness out there through her TO Rock Cult Facebook page. Yesterday I witnessed Street Poetry trying to raise awareness. I applaud these artists and all the others that are making an effort, but my question, the thing that is bothering me, nagging at me is how do we as one huge collective, make this happen on a bigger scale? How do we get the populous to once again respect and revere artists?

I will keep promoting, supporting and helping my fellow artists. I will continue to walk around venues asking everyone to put some money in a tip jar. I will keep posting and voicing out how much we need to support independent artists, but I need help. Cynthia needs help. Every person who is fighting to survive as an artist needs help!  Here is where you can help. Everyone who reads this, please share it. If you see an artist’s having an event, go to it, buy their art, books, CDs, merch. Post about their events, tell your friends. Better yet, gather your friends and bring the to events. If you are an artist, keep promoting your fellow artists. Let’s, as one huge collective get the rest of the world to see us!

Share this post.

Share other artist’s posts.

Let’s make change happen.

SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS!

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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I’m free! FREE!

Now I can officially start writing full-time! So glad jury duty selection is over. It was an interesting experience. Similar to the the first time I was called for jury selection, yet different in many ways. I also found it much more stressful. A combination of sitting for long periods in the court room(s) and not really being able to write or even read for that matter. I had grand plans of getting lots of writing done. That wasn’t going to happen.

The roster was jam-packed for our turn as potential jurors.  On Monday, it seemed as if we were called up as soon as court started and each time we returned to the lounge, called back up again. Tuesday we spent half the day in the courtroom waiting to see if we would be selected for jury duty.  Yesterday was the only day that we spent a long bit of time in the lounge and even then, it was hard to concentrate. Each time a new bailiff, registrar or the manager walked into the room, all eyes were on them. We all wondered if we were about to head to another courtroom. Between that and the loud bantering of the two gentleman behind me, I couldn’t concentrate (which I can do with ease in a noisy coffeeshop). At least I was entertained by their conversation, on their strategy to get out of jury duty, if called up for selection.

On Wednesday when the manager came in to release us from jury duty selection, he half joked, “See you all in three years.” Personally, I hope that I’m not back there in three, four or even five years. I’ve done jury selection FOUR times now. I think they can remove my name from the pool now. (yes, I could get called again — once you are in the pool they can call you once every three years for as long as they want)

I am in the process of figuring out vlogging on and all the ins and outs of YouTube, so stay tuned for that. I am going to also be blogging a lot more often. Minimally, weekly, but am hoping to blog every other day. AND I can now livestream on Instagram, so I will do live vlogging. I’m incredibly excited to have a killer camera to use for vlogging. Part of figuring out vlogging, will be the how-to’s of software. I currently have iMovie and am also going to check out other options.

Please see all the links below. Please add me on Instagram and subscribe to my Twitter and YouTube channel. 🙂

The SPOOKTACULAR month of October!

Boo everyone!  Did I scare you?  No?  Then get ready to be scared.  October is chock full of creeptacular shows, some even featuring ME!

October 14th — PussyBasket~CoUNT FANGS~ Jenna Syde, Lynn Crosbie, Marcy Rogers, Lizzie Violet, and The Canadian Romantic

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Event Invites:
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/events/681176598648838/

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October 19th — Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir feat. TOPoet.ca D S Campbell & Conflicting Plaid

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Event Invites:
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/events/913976675322656/
Bands in Town — https://www.bandsintown.com/event/10593945?affil_code=fb_145297655629084&artist=Lizzie+Violet%27s+Cabaret+Noir&came_from=74

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October 25th — Cabaret Noir Presents Heather Babcock — also featuring Kat Leonard, Valentino Assenza & Neil Traynor

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Event Invites:
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/events/608851415884694/
Bands in Town — https://www.bandsintown.com/event/10648682?affil_code=fb_797498440303573&artist=Cabaret+Noir+Productions&came_from=74

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October 31st — Autumnal Soiree at Hirut feat. Lizzie Violet, Joani Paige, Peter Eastmure and Joseph Kargi

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Event Invites:
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/events/1687221958157515
Bands in Town — https://www.bandsintown.com/event/10648776?affil_code=fb_797498440303573&artist=Cabaret+Noir+Productions&came_from=74

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/

Arlene Paculan and Lizzie Violet have been nominated for NOW Magazine’s Readers Poll

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Arlene Paculan and Lizzie Violet have been nominated for NOW Magazine’s Readers Poll. Past winners of The Best Original’s Musician (Arlene) and Best Original’s Spoken Word (Lizzie), we would be so very grateful if you would vote for us!

Arlene Paculan was nominated for Best Songwriter and I was nominated for both Best Spoken Word and Best Poet.

Voting closes September 18. Check out the results November 5.

Arlene Paculan‘s nomination — http://bestof.nowtoronto.com/2015/nominees.cfm?category=152&subcategory=1368]

Lizzie Violet‘s nomination — http://bestof.nowtoronto.com/2015/nominees.cfm?category=154&subcategory=1374]

http://bestof.nowtoronto.com/2015/nominees.cfm?category=154&subcategory=1372]

A little bit about us.

Arlene Paculan creates soulful pop with passion. The Filipino-Canadian’s recent successful debut album, “Everything Begins with Love” has been embraced by Canada’s largest broadcaster, the CBC, with airplay on radio. Arlene was interviewed with producer Sandy Mowat, on the popular radio show “Fresh Air” and was selected as a featured artist by Mark Rheaume (CBC National Music Director).

Arlene has graced many stages across Toronto, including The Gladstone Hotel, Yonge & Dundas Square and Mississauga Celebration Square. In addition to her performances around the GTA, she has also performed in LA, NYC, Anaheim, Halifax, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Montreal. In 2012, Arlene played at TD Toronto Jazz Festival and she will be performing again at the 2015 season for the full length of the festival at Habits Gastropub. She has opened for Canadian songstress Jill Barber, as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration and performed at the Beaches International Jazz Street Fest.

Arlene is a graduate of the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts in Toronto and also studied piano through the Royal Conservatory of Music. Arlene plays cover songs from 1930s to the present, but it is as a singer songwriter that she has made her name in Toronto. Her debut EP album “I’m Worth It” was released under the production team, Kuya Productions. Rob Rapiti from BLR Entertainment has described her voice as “haunting, yet passionate”. Who knew such a ‘beautiful, natural singing voice’ could come from such a shy little girl who used to whisper in conversation growing up?

Before songwriting, Arlene has graced the stage as an actress, garnering the roles in such plays and musicals as Juliet (Romeo & Juliet), Nancy (Oliver), Rizzo (Grease), Laurey (Oklahoma), Kate (Shotgun Wedding), Puck (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Tiger Lily (Peter Pan), and Josie Pye (Anne of Green Gables).

Arlene is also a TV personality who has appeared in several Canadian TV shows and on stage and is a music promoter whose WonderFest tour showcases local talent and offers free workshops to all ages. For this, she was awarded 2014’s Hazel McCallion Volunteer of the Year MARTY Award in acknowledgment of her work encouraging others to take up music and learn to write songs or do anything creative in their daily lives.

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“Love the groove, love the singing. There’s an effortlessness & natural song personality [in her singing]”
-Dan Hill – internationally renowned Canadian Singer-Songwriter

“[She has] a beautiful voice, really, really nice singing voice.”- Grant Lawrence of @[NjQyMTgzOTU5MjA4MTA3Omh0dHBcYS8vY2JjcmFkaW8zLmNvbS86Og==:cbcradio3.com]

“I liked the song “Closer to You” a lot. I really liked “Get Over yourself” also. Very cool!”
-Bif Naked – Juno Award Winner and Canadian Artist

YouTube: @[NjQyMTgzOTU5MjA4MTA3Omh0dHBcYS8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2FwYWN1bGFuOjo=:www.youtube.com/apaculan]

Writer, editor, Spoken Word artist, and playwright, Lizzie Violet is known for her dark themes of poetry, prose and storytelling, Lizzie has been performing her Spoken Word on stages across Toronto for the past five years and has featured at Wordspell, Livewords, The Beautiful & The Damned and Wonder Women IV and V, Free Times Best of Open Stage, Pride, Plasticine, Secret Handshake Gallery, The Redhead Revue and Nuit Blanche. She recently won the top poet award at The Best Originals for her original work.

Lizzie is a former editor for Tightrope Books (Fatty Goes to China by Royston Tester and several editions of The Best Canadian Essays) and Books of the Dead Press (Best New Werewolf Tales, Volume One). She is currently working on a multi-media Spoken Word performance, a poetry manuscript and a radio play.

For more information about Lizzie Violet, ironic anecdotes and upcoming listings please check out her blog, @[NjQyMTgzOTU5MjA4MTA3Omh0dHBcYS8vbGl6emlldmlvbGV0LndvcmRwcmVzcy5jb20vOjo=:lizzieviolet.wordpress.com.]

Her poetry has been published in the below magazines.

Chlamydia Is Not a Flower – CAROUSEL 30/31
Woman of Strength and Faithless – Northword (June 2013)
The Hum After – The Big Art Book 2013
She Dances The Banda – Nest 2013
Freedom & Choice – The Quilliad October 2013

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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