Archive for August, 2011

August 17, 2011

DAM! BAM! Art!

I have been remiss in mentioning two arts markets that are not only awesome, but near and dear to my heart in terms of the artists participating and the organization that put them together. It’s yet another thing that makes me proud of our city – not just the events but the folks who create them.

The Distillery Art Market  feature an outdoor market of artists, craftspeople and food artisans at the Distillery Historic District. Come see a wide variety of exhibitors – painting, printmaking, ceramics, fibre art and more!  Open Studios are open from 11am – 6pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tours of Artscape Distillery Studios will take place at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm each day of the market. Tours will meet at the Information Booth located in Case Goods Lane. The Distillery Art Market runs every weekend from April to October.


And should the Distillery be too far downtown for you, you might want to check out its uptown cousin – the Barns Art Market – an exhibition of artists, craftspeople and designer/makers that takes place once a month from May 28 – October 15, 2011 at the Artscape Wychwood Barns. The Barns Art Market coincides with The Stop’s Farmer’s Market, which attracts hundreds of people to the area every Saturday.


Both markets are running this weekend – August 20th and I highly recommend you check them out.


Over and out for today.

August 16, 2011

Continental Posting

I’m out the door for the better part of the working day, so here are a few things to take a peek at. three out of four are PSAs – I’ll post them in the PSA section when I get back. Onward!


An utterly fantastic set of library posters found on Flickr, courtesy Phil Bradley. Love these – go take a peek.





Scotiabank Nuit Blanche has announced the programming for the 2011 event. Again – go take a peek.


Small Print Toronto is at it again in terms of awesomeness and story writing contests. a story-writing contest for 8-12 year olds, designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dahl’s classic novel JAMES &THE GIANT PEACH.  Some deets:

– Craft a short story (max 1500 words) about what would happen if James, a lonely orphan living in today’s Toronto, discovered a Giant Peach filled with friendly creatures.
– Send it to roalddahlday@smallprinttoron​ by no later than FRIDAY, OCT 14th.

An all-star panel of judges – including CBC Radio host and author KEVIN SYLVESTER, authors ADRIENNE KRESS, EVAN MUNDAY and VIKKI VANSICKLE, SUSAN KERNOHAN Director of Young Voices at the Toronto Public Library, MARK MEDLEY, Book Editor at The National Post, and JANET SOMERVILLE, English Teacher, Royal St George’s College – will award prizes at the 2nd annual Toronto Roald Dahl Day.
The grand-prize winner will be published by BOOK MADAM & ASSOCIATES MAGAZINE and on the Small Print Toronto website.

and finally –

To my Vancouver peeps – have your say at the  Community Gaming Grant Review – The Review is visiting 14 communities during August and September to gather input from individuals and non-profit organizations at a series of Community Forums. Five video forums have just been added to the community consultations. Here’s a video:


August 15, 2011

Monday Stuff and Debt

I’ve been thinking about the city’s finances lately – not in a keep me up at night style, but wondering about them. The Star came out with a timely article today – I like when my questions get answered. Somewhat.

Is it bad for cities to be in debt? Not necessarily.
With all the talk of government debt recently — Toronto, $4.7 billion; Ontario, $240 billion; the U.S., $14.6 trillion — the spectacular figures and the concept of debt itself have become so abstract many people don’t even understand the conversation.
Read more…

Speaking of definitions, here’s one I found on the web because I was tired of being referred to as a “communist”, even jokingly, when I was pretty sure I wasn’t. I’m not. Tired of phrases being bandied about when the bandiers aren’t sure what they mean. See also “cultural elite”, “lefties”, and “artsy fartsys” .  I refer to the speediest rise and fall of a Facebook page since – well I don’t know. Since another one rose and fell with great speed.

And a question I asked on Facebook the other day: Hey people who rejoiced at getting back their $60 car registration fee? After you jumped up and down like a child about sixty whole dollars, please let me know what you spent your huge windfall on, and how it dramatically improved your quality of life. Am sure it will all be worth it in the end.

Such small potatoes to be excited about. We solider onwards. It’s only Monday.

August 14, 2011

Sunday Roundup – August 14

Let’s get to it, shall we?


What’s a QR Code?  – First in a series of marketing posts, as per a request from the survey. I’ll try to do more of these than I have been – you like them and it’s good for me too.

What’s a QR Code, Part Two – pretty self-explanatory. I got good results with these posts. Am glad.

There Will be No Cooking Posts, Part One – in all honesty, I have no idea why I labelled this Part One. That infers there will be more parts. We’ll see. On that note I did make awesome peach bourbon tarts yesterday – always fun to cook with Wild Turkey at seven in the morning. Found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen, which is another good recipe blog. Oh and another good book I forgot to mention on the topics is The Art of Eating In. That links to the blog that inspired the book.

PSA #2 – writing, drawing, looking, listening – a lot of interesting opportunities on the radar this week so thought I’d share. Also posted permanently in the PSA/What’s On? section of the website.

That’s the week in a nutshell.

Lockout at the St. Lawrence Centre.  Here’s why. I hope things are resolved soon, and as satisfactorily as possible for all concerned.

August 12, 2011

PSA #2 writing, drawing, looking, listening


A few things have popped up on my radar the past few days and I thought they were worth mentioning on a sunny Friday.




Theatre Ontario is looking to create a one week residential theatre training program where participants will audition for acceptance and then live on a university campus for a week while being taught by Canada’s top theatre instructors. The program will be for high school students only who are serious about becoming professional theatre artists. Please feel free to pass this questionnaire on to any youth you might know.

The Toronto Star is  launching Speak Your Mind in early September  It`s a forum for commentary, debate and conversation around the key topics driving the fall provincial election. They`re looking for two Community Correspondents from each electoral district in Ontario to cover the political scene, the candidates and the issues that are important to their area.  You can apply here – it`s a simple application.

Nomadic Residency is seeking people to participate in the creation of a newspaper. There are a variety of ways to participate,like filling out their survey, or answering one of the questions in their poster campaign, or writing an article, or making an illustration. More information is here, and the article from BlogTO  that drew my attention to them to begin with is here.

It’s the last weekend for the 2011 Summerworks Festival – you should go see something. Click here for some promo videos I posted last week, or click  for the  top ten shows according to torontoist.

TedXToronto has announced the speakers lineup for the Sept 23rd conference. I know who my highlights are. Apply to attend!

And finally we have an Akimbo hitlist from Yuula Benivolski, a Montreal & Toronto-based artist.

I`ll be posting this entry permanently in the PSA/What`s On section of the site as well. Happy Friday!


August 10, 2011

There Will Be No Cooking Posts, Part One

Someone mentioned on the survey they would like to see cooking posts.

I am the last person you want to see cooking posts from. I am a good cook, but having spent summers fry cooking in the Territories, I only keep recipes in my head, with instructions like, “put enough in” and “cook til it looks done“,  “add the rest of the wine from the bottle” and “serves forty bush pilots or construction workers“.

I’m also an improvisational cook, so a lot of time is spent saying, “yeah, we’re not gonna do that” to the recipe on the fridge. And my Nana told me when i was twelve that my hands were “too hot and heavy” to make decent pastry, so baking’s  out.

I’m not really your go-to gal on this one.

I will tell you the secret to awesome Yorkshire Pudding is hot oil, hot pan and it’s a last-minute food, and if something is burning, you can take it off the heat. (For some reason that doesn’t occur to a lot of people).

But here is an excellent post from BlogTO  today – The Best Cooking Classes in Toronto. Enjoy.

And Chowhound has an amazing message board full of information on where to go to have other people cook for you.

And a reminder that one of my fave foodie blogs Folks Gotta Eat has amazing recipes and food pix especially from Shana Hillman – I am totally making this tomato galette.

I’m also going to recommend reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, and Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton.

What foodie blogs are you reading these days?

August 9, 2011

What’s a QR Code? Part Two

So yesterday I talked a bit about QR codes, what they are, where we’re seeing them, and posted a handy infograph from mashable to explain what folks seem to be doing with them.

So what can you do with them?

I look at QR codes as a way to get even more info on to your poster or flyer. Hard copy collateral holds a certain amount of information (both sides) but a QR code allows you to bring your audience even further into the project.

I wrote about one of the best QR code non-marketing uses I’ve seen. Good read, good use, good art.

Okay. So the most basic use is to send people to your website. Backing  up a bit – does your audience know what a QR code is and how to use one? A bit of knowledge goes a long way.

I hope we’ll be seeing this a lot in the future




similar to the way the image below became ubiquitous.




Hand people the tools they need at the moment they need them.


So you could send them to your website. Fair enough, here we go:



You’re now at the homepage of So?





Maybe I should have been more specific – brought you to something new I wanted you to see.


You’re now on the new blog page. See where I’m going? Direct them specifically to something you want them to see. Why did I want you to see this? Because in the survey, it was a hands down fact that most of you were here to read the day’s blog post. The last layout wasn’t very laid out – so I’ve got a new design that allows you to see multiple posts with a little less searching. I thought it might make it easier for you to read and search previous articles. That’s right – something else I played with. You bet I read your survey comments.



Other uses? If you’re in the middle of a fundraising campaign, a QR code directly to your on-line donation page is handy. If you want traffic to a specific production, send them to that page. An audience member should never scan a QR code only to ask, “why am I here?”

My favourite use thus far is the QR coupon. Five bucks off the show. Scan the code, be taken to a page with a coupon code. Dead easy. And TRACKABLE. Because now not only can you tell who got a coupon, but where they got it from many places – put your QR codes in very specific places so you can determine which of your advertising efforts worked. Maybe there’s a split run of flyers and posters and you track where you put the coded ones. Maybe the code only goes in every second ad in the paper. Maybe you send it only to donors and subscribers first, then branch it out as you see how it’s working. I am a firm believer (data geek, stats slut, whatever) in knowing exactly how my marketing is working. QR codes are an amazing way to track. And yes – “nobody used it” is a tracking statement.

I’d like to see them in print newsletters, “scan here to read more“.  I’d like to see them added to/in place of the teasers on envelopes. I’d like to see blurbs on your sites letting people know you’re going to start using them, and what they can expect.


And honestly? Make it an actual rewarded effort. A straight up one. Make them part of the QR club – they got something good for a little effort. A call to action that is rewarded is a call to action that will be heeded again.

Remember this? Not a reward.



August 8, 2011

What’s a QR Code?

More and more organizations are starting to use QR codes in their promo materials. QR codes, or quick response codes, is a type of 2D bar code that can be decoded using your smartphone with a QR code reader.    recently, we’ve seen QR codes show up on marketing materials such as  posters, promotional posters for various products, billboards and flyers, among other things.  These have also been seen on newspaper ads, business cards, artwork, and other everyday things.

But do they really work – and when? Or why? Found a great infograph on the mashable site (another site I love)  – it’s pasted below, but click on it to see the information in greater detail.

Are you using QR codes? How? Aer they working? Are you tracking your results? Love to hear more – I’ll be talking more about QR code uses in tomorrow’s post.

August 7, 2011

Sunday Roundup – August 7

Am I the only one having a hard time keeping the days straight this month? I seem to be a week ahead of myself, bolted in a panic yesterday for something I have to do on the 11th and was convinced it was a lot closer than I thought.

Perhaps I’m excited about The Ex.

What went on?

Holiday Monday – a reminder that no matter what you call it, it’s a holiday and go enjoy. Also a cool article in the Globe about the amazing effect art has on sick children.

A Little Bit of Site Reno – survey results compiled and analyzed and so bits of the site went away, and new things are being added, based on what you said you’d like to see.

The Results Are In and You Are All Fabulous – survey results! Thanks again for your help, participation and comments!

Webinar PSA and Summerworks Opens Tonight! – cool FREE webinar about social media and not for profits – you might want to check it out.

Summer Fridays – a brief ode to summer Fridays.

Tomorrow is a Page Unveiling! – why that’s today!  Than god a page unveiling isn’t an outdoor event…
Click  for the new PSAs/What’s On? page. The main page has four links to various reputable ways to  find out what’s going on artistically in our fair city. The sub pages will be expansions of things that are on that I’d like to give some space to. The inaugural PSA is a collection of promo videos for a few Summerworks shows this year. Thanks to all who sent their videos!

If someone could send me a good link for visual art and also for film, I will gladly link it.

More pages are being created behind the scenes and I’ll let you know why when they go live. Have a great Sunday!


August 6, 2011

Tomorrow is a page unveiling!

In addition to the Sunday roundup the new PSAs/What’s On pages will be coming to life on the website – the first PSA is a showing of promo videos for Summerworks shows. The request has gone out for links via Facebook, Twitter, private message and now here. So if you have a Summerworks promo video link (or know someone who does!) send it to me – it will be part of the very first official inaugural PSA page – not post – PAGE. Come see your survey responses at work!

Chat tomorrow!

%d bloggers like this: