Roundup: October Edition

I've been very busy lately. I know I've been saying that a lot on this blog but it is the truth. I do want to have some more time to blog but I love being busy (best kind of problem to have) and with so many birthdays, events and social occasions in October, it is no surprise that I've not had a lot of time for my writing here.
November keeps rolling until mid month when things slow down ever-so-slightly. At that time I think I'll blog a bit about some creative projects I'm hoping to work on in the coming weeks as Christmas gifts.

Meanwhile, here's a few things I've been up to lately.

I filmed an interview recently talking about what the Art of Transition means to me, and what creative community building is all about.

Here it is

It's weird to watch yourself on camera! I don't think I'm this serious in real life. I don't seem like the goofy gal that lives inside my head. Being involved in the Art of Transition project has been a lot of fun and has introduced me to loads of interesting people. The video speaks for itself, but if you want the quick answer to what I'm talking about, come to the Durham Tourism Summit & Creative Awards, November 25th. It's all day and there's going to be all sorts of interesting people there, from speakers to craftspeople, dancers to food samples to arts orgs and other interesting things.

As a little side writing project I published a piece about Douglas Coupland's new sculpture in Oshawa in a new grassroots publication called SlowCity. Here's an event page for the launch of the issue.

My newest  column in the Oshawa Express is out, and it's about supporting your cultural community by participating in art classes and getting to know your peers. It's not only important for beginners, but also for emerging artists, people who want to network, or even people that want to get involved but are shy and don't know how.

Speaking of being creative, I've just come through my favourite time of year, Halloween. Costume parties are the best things ever! I also enjoy the few days following the holiday when everyone posts their costume pictures online, and I also make a point of checking out the celebrity costumes. Celebs have much bigger budgets than us, so I think expectations should be much higher.

My favourite celebrity halloween costume this year is from Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and his girlfriend who went as Axl Rose and Stephanie Seymour, a nod to her dress in the November Rain video.

I think it's a funny costume because it's a pop culture costume in the genre of Amy Winehouse (the pop culture costume that just won't go away) but relevant to pop culture more than ten years ago. Hilarious!

This year I needed three costumes, and had a very limited budget. For the first event, I dressed as the new Douglas Coupland sculpture at the RMG. For the second event, I was a lawn gnome. For the third event, my own party, I dressed as the paper bag princess! Grand total expenditures on these costumes was under ten dollars.

This is the Paperbag Princess. She's very angry in the book so I tried to look angry in photos...though I'm not much of an actor and have a very hard time holding an "angry" face...I think I'm half angry in this photo and half laughing.

The Paperbag Princess is a character in a children's book of the same name by author Robert Munsch. I loved the story as a child and have loved reading it to my niece as an adult. I think it tells a much more positive story to little girls than most of those horrid misogynist Disney princess stories.

Here's the synopsis:
Princess Elizabeth plans on marrying Prince Ronald, who is practically perfect. However, a dragon arrives who destroys her kingdom, kidnaps Ronald, and burns all her clothes so that she has no choice but to wear a paper bag. Elizabeth follows the dragon and Ronald, and seeking to rescue her fiancĂ©, challenges the dragon to burn forests with fire and to fly around the world. The dragon completes the tasks but after flying around the world a second time becomes tired and falls asleep. Elizabeth rescues Ronald, who is ungrateful and tells her to return when she looks more like a princess. Elizabeth realizes that she is better off without Ronald and sets off into the sunset to live her own life. 

I also had a pretty great idea for my costume for next year. Since I normally have a good costume idea this time of year and then forget it when I need to think of one a year later, I'm going against my personal rules of keeping costumes a secret and posting it here.

Wouldn't it be fun to be Red from Fraggle Rock?

Red is another strong female character. She's exuberant and athletic, she's cynical and teases her friends and wants to be in control. Yep, this sounds like a perfect costume for me! Also, it gives me an excuse to shop for a cute little red dress...just 11.75 months to go!

I like stronger female characters, I really feel like there is a lack of them in children's (and adult's) entertainment and media. So often strong female characters have negative portrayals. I've been wanting to catch a screening of the documentary Miss Representation.

There's one this week but I'll have to miss it due to a prior commitment. It is a documentary film about women and how they are portrayed in media. From their own website, "American youth are being sold the concept that women and girls’ value lies in their youth, beauty and sexuality. It’s time to break that cycle of mistruths. Miss believes that all people should be equally represented in our media, that our voices should be heard and that we should all be valued for our talents, capacity as leaders, and ability to contribute to the world at large."

The org behind the film created a great tumblr featuring positive, strong female halloween costumes. You can check them out here
There's a serious problem in our culture when teenaged girls and children are buying their costumes at sex shops. I like lingerie and ridiculous outfits as much as the next gal (heck, I even blog about it) but I don't think it's appropriate for halloween. On my old blog I spent a lot more time talking about feminist issues and more personal things, which I think I'd like to find a way to infuse more on this blog as well, though I've hesitated so far. Maybe I'll find that voice again soon.
So that's what's been burning up my time this month. Bring on November!

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