Year of the Snake 2013 (from Buenos Aires)

So, I’ve been living in Buenos Aires for the last 3 weeks…1 month (not sure..time has warped itself), and I am working with a talented bunch of people at The Argentina Independent covering all sorts of stories in Argentina as well as important events/issues in South America in general. I will be posting my favourite photos to my website, but as we are constantly publishing content, I thought it best that I link some of my stories on this here blog. Please excuse any defragmentation of my grammar in English, as I am doing my best to learn Spanish and it requires deconstruction and unconscious communication.

This past weekend I celebrated Año Nuevo Chino with local porteños, and let me tell you- they are REAL serious about it. I was nearly trampled over by people wanting to cop a feel of the dragon for good luck. Please check out the photo essay I edited/published today- a collaborative effort- HERE.

This year, the water snake guides us with an air of mystery, cleverness and even seduction. The snake is a trickster, and she is very efficient in getting what she wants. Even in times of retreat, we should not mistake her stillness for inaction, as she is only planning her next play. Let this be the year that we move smoothly through our tasks, quickly and quietly!

Medium is the Message

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this idea Marshall McLuhan had- ‘the medium is the message’….it started with a struggle to accept a relationship now gone cyber. Our generation, I believe, has the advantage of having known what the world was like (or at least our own world) without cyber identities and social media online. I distinctly remember the day that my father’s advertising studio received their first desktop PC and nothing was the same after that. As my wise friend Kate pointed out last night, the WWW is still pretty young! Of course, most obtrusive is Facebook. So, if we can say Facebook itself is the message, what is it trying to say? I’m fascinated with this question, and I have some thoughts of my own, but I’d like to hear what other people think. If Facebook itself could speak, what would it say? Please send me an email or Facebook message. I want to compile different responses and will publish a final collection later. It should be entertaining.

Thanks!

CLASSE Disbands

On Wednesday, The Montreal Gazette reported that CLASSE is disbanding following former spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois’ pending legal battle.  This past July 19th, leaders of the Quebec student movement, Marianne Breton (Jeunesse Militante magazine), Audrey Deveault (Dawson Student Union) and Hugo Bonin (CLASSE) came to visit Ryerson U to share their own stories and to incite some action from Ontario students, who as Marianne joked, are looking pretty content with the state of their educational system right now (and I have to agree).

One of my favourtie points was made by Hugo when he commented on how the inaccessibility of education will dramatically affect the *type of education we see, and therefore the type of people/professionals we have in the world. If students believe that they’ll only find a job through business, marketing and the like, what will become of our philosophers, and our artists and our writers? I think this is a really important and frightening thing to consider.

Should the Quebec government be allowed to come up with new rules for restricting protestors (which I would argue are unnecessary) smack in the middle of a campaign? To me this is a little like creating new voter registration rules right before voting day to try to discourage and weed people out of exercising their rights.. What do you think?

>>>See more info HERE

Reaction to anxieties of my generation: unsolicited advice column

Lately, I can’t help but to feel that so many people of my generation (1980s/90s born) are struggling with great general anxiety about their lives and the feeling of being completely lost in trying to decide what to devote their lives to. I feel inspired and compelled to respond. (DISCLAIMER: Please know I have no clinical experience or psychology background…aside from my own discoveries made through working with cognitive behavioural therapists and teachings from other, more qualified people) This is how I feel about it- STRAIGHT UP.

1. First of all, accept that a lot of people at your stage in life right now feel the same way, but chances are, no one can see it on your face- so LET GO. For many people, the fear of looking crazy is enough to make them crazy. The irony is that they are often the only one who knows.

2. ACCEPT that your feeling haunted by the question of what to devote your life to means you recognize your own power and importance in the world and you’re committed to contributing, devoting, and to doing something meaningful- This is a gift and we are all better off for it. You are worthy!.

3. Times have changed. Today it’s very common for young professionals to have multiple career changes before finding something that works- especially in an economy which isn’t prepared to accommodate the real number of qualified and educated candidates. Like love, you can’t hurry these things. So let’s just do stuff and hopefully we’ll find something we like, huh?

4. In my opinion, we’ve been over-schooled. What we all know best is how to think..a lot. We’ve been taught that we need to spend years theorizing to be worthy members of society…Let’s stop thinking. How do we do this? Move. Dance. Work. Problem solve. Create. Sing. Build something. And know that your behaviour is changing your brain’s patterns over time.

5. BECOME AWARE of the sources of your anxiety. What are you really afraid of? Failure? Well, too bad..we’re all going to fail…likely more than once. Outside pressure? Is it really there? Or did you just make it up? Change? Guess what- it’s the only thing you can count on. Say hi to your new BFF. There’s also a very physical aspect of anxiety which is environmentally created. Pay attention to the energies around you and don’t underestimate the power of physical movement and exercise. Unaccessed energy will probably manifest as tension and frustration internally.

6. GET REAL with yourself about the addictions and dependencies that are helping you cope. It’s ok, We ALL have them- food, pot, relationships, alcohol, reality tv. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms, but we need to recognize and be honest about how these affect us in the long term, since in some cases, their affects will be counter productive.

7. PERSPECTIVE. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re probably someone fairly privileged, as am I, to live in North America and have lots of choice- too much in fact. Perhaps, as our generation revives and continues to appropriate ancient traditions and customs, we need to learn and practice gratitude and be humbled by just how much freedom we have. But embrace limitation- limitations are the walls you need to bounce off so that you don’t fly away.

Bizarre Lives: #1 Peter Camani and the Screaming Heads

BIZARRE LIVES:: I will be devoting a section of my blog to stories of bizarre and intriguing people and their lives/or alternatively, places and their owners. If you have anyone/place in mind, please forward your idea to tborody@gmail.com.

Last summer, a friend invited me 165 miles north of Toronto to an old farm land. At the entrance, a massive white gate made of steel spider webs arched between 2 giant brick pillars.

We open the gates to a stone castle- fantasy film worthy- with a two-headed dragon chimney at the top and peacocks running free range.

There we met Peter Camani, owner and lone resident of the enchanted Midlothian Castle (Midlothian Ridge) near Burk’s Falls Ontario and creator of the Screaming Heads sculpture garden (see photo below). Peter began building up his empire in 1989 and continues each summer. Camani is a painter, sculptor and filmmaker as well. His home remains his largest project yet and it continues to grow.

Inside the castle of endless stairs and hallways and secret rooms, lie the remnants and bodies of many creative projects past. Masks and baby heads are mounted in various places; eyeballs rolling off the dinner table. Bubblegum machines and skeletons hanging overhead; a dead butterfly aquarium in the bathroom and upstairs, costume rooms where we would transform ourselves into gypsies and venture into the woods to dance.

Bitch List Item published in the new RED Issue!

After struggling to find a Book City near me in the pouring rain today, I was finally rewarded with the satisfaction of finding my Bitch List item published on page 23! (only took about 6 months!) Pick up the RED issue to read my short and sweet piece on the Flaming Lotus Girls, the badass feminist fire art collective from San Fran’s underground.

You can find Bitch Mag at Book City, Pages, She Said Boom, Suspect Video and the Toronto Women’s Bookstore.

Canada Arts Connect features my interview with Freedom

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I’ve recently learned of a really useful new resource for local artists in different mediums- Started by Editor in Chief  Desiree Ossandon, Canada Arts Connect is a site packed with loads of contests, articles, reviews, promotions and job postings for local Canadian artisans. CAC serves as a community resource and has picked up speed as readers pour more and more information into it.   They’ve also just published my recent interview with Marsya Maharani, Curator of Freedom Clothing Company, so check it out here!

 

Dual blogging update

Update update!! I am now periodically blogging for Carousel Recommends, so please check there periodically for short pieces on some of my favourite new Canadian artists!

One that I’ve currently got my eye on is Toronto-based print/illustration artist Jennifer Linton who was featured in the latest Issue of Carousel (27). Her themes- the familial, the home, anxiety, sexuality- have struck a cord and her work has definitely inspired me to explore the capability of 2-d art to represent such important topics.

Check out my latest blog post and some more of Jennifer’s work here!

Carousel Issue 27 Toronto Launch Party

April is National Poetry Month!!

Livewords will be hosting Carousel’s launch party for issue #27 at The Black Swan Tavern! Come out to hear some alcohol induced spoken word! Also come out to see me!!!

Thursday April 7th @ 7:30pm – 10:30pm

Black Swan Tavern, 154 Danforth Ave.

The event will feature the following readers:

Laurie D Graham

Julie Cameron Gray

Jim Johnstone

Christine Walde

Natalie Zina Walschots

Liz Worth

*PLUS* to start the event:

Kimberly Dawkins

Ian Hanna

Allan Sutterfield

Nikki Ward

Event details HERE!