Archive of ‘Hoping’ category

You say you want a resolution?

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With the New Year comes new resolutions, goals you set that are meant to give your life structure and meaning against the doldrums that we call “January”, “February” and “Smarch”. We allow ourselves to indulge in so many sins during the holidays because we really believe that on January 1st, we will crawl out of bed a brand new person.

But by April, your three-times-a-week sojourns to the gym begin to wane. Your waistline stops shrinking. Everything you promised yourself you would do becomes pushed aside because of various reasons: I’m too busy. Something came up. Come on, I was drunk when I said that.

The key to achieving your resolutions is to not give up when you stumble. And you will stumble. Most of us do and that’s okay – it happens. Just remember that failure is not falling down; it is staying down and giving up. That is why my resolutions are not so much firm, set-in-stone goals as they are reasonable aspirations. Some are easily achievable, while others may take a few false starts.

There are no time limits.

And do-overs are allowed.

  1. I will choose a WordPress theme that is more easy on the eyes. (Done! How easy was that?)
  2. I will blog at least once a week. (I will also start the new blog I’ve been telling everyone about for months by the spring. Of this year. )
  3. I will cook more and spend less money at Whole (Paycheque) Foods.
  4. I will eat sensibly most of the time, with the occasional guilt-free, gluttonous indulgence.
  5. I will take up running again. No, I really mean it this time.
  6. I will try to achieve #4 and #5 for my health and not for some stupid, unrealistic definition of beauty espoused by lady mags. Sexy is a state of mind, not the size of your jeans. It’s taken me 40 years to figure that out, but better late than never.
  7. I will keep my legs free of hair, even throughout the winter. Sexy, vivacious women do not have legs like a Sasquatch. (And no, I don’t think this contradicts #6, because it only takes a razor and an extra few minutes in the shower. And let’s be honest, gents: do you really like a woman that has more hair on her legs than you do? Didn’t think so.)
  8. I will keep my Twitter posts to less than 15 a day, not including re-tweets. (Baby steps, people.)
  9. I will unsubscribe from blogs I follow because I feel I have to, and subscribe to those that I am actually interested in. Hello, peopleofwalmart.com!
  10. I will try to engage with friends in person rather than on Facebook. (I promise I won’t poke you.)

What are your aspirations for 2010?


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A Change is Gonna Come

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Barack Hussein Obama, an African-American and son of a goat-hearder from Kenya, was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America.

Read that sentence a few times and savour its deliciousness as it rolls off your tongue. In a country whose identity was shaped in large part by slavery, racism and a blind fear of the different, this is truly a momentous and historic occasion. Only a cold, cold heart could not be moved by the events of the past three months or tear up during the inauguration ceremony.

Is the hype justified? I think it is. Since his election, Obama has shown more concern towards the problems affecting his country than  George  Bush, Jr. has in the last year of his presidency. “Dubya” didn’t care anymore, and it showed.

No one in their right mind believes Obama can or will affect change right away. He inherits a country crippled with debt, riddled with despair and desperate for change; he definitely has his work cut out for him. What transcends all the promises he set out during his campaign and in his inauguration speech is hope. A hope that things will improve. Because frankly, they can’t get any worse.

As a Canadian, I watched with envy as a nation joined together in welcoming their new President. Next week, our Sleeveless Leader, who treats the country like his personal fiefdom, will unveil a budget that will more than likely lead to a third election in as many years. (My math may be off but that’s exactly how it feels.)

So, to my friends south of the border – congratulations! I hope you don’t mind our staring – we just want a little hope of our own.

REUTERS

Photo: REUTERS


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StandUp For Your Sisters

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We interrupt regular blogging for a special announcement…

postcard

Isn't this the coolest postcard?

I was approached by my BFF Daniela Saioni (and I don’t use that term loosely – we’ve been best friends for over 30 years!) to volunteer my public relations skills (such as they are) to a fundraiser she is organizing called StandUp For Your Sisters. I am proud to be associated with this project because it provides a venue for upcoming female comics in Toronto’s comedy scene and funds raised will go to Gilda’s Club.

More information is in the release below. Get your tickets now! They’re going fast!

Female comics do it standing up…for Gilda’s Club

Toronto, ON – On Tuesday, January 27, some of Toronto’s funniest new “chicks with shticks” are putting on a comedy show guaranteed to titillate your funny bone. And raise money for a great cause.

StandUp For Your Sisters, a benefit for Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, is a night of stand-up featuring 12 female comics who are making a name for themselves on the stages of Toronto’s comedy scene. Hosted by one of Canada’s funniest women, Elvira Kurt (popcultured, The Tonight Show), and headlined by Dawn Whitwell (Girl School, The Jon Dore Show), the event promises a night of great comedy to beat the winter doldrums.

StandUp For Your Sisters initially began as a way for a group of burgeoning comedians, most of whom have less than six months’ experience, to showcase their comedic talents in a scene still dominated by male comics.

“On any given night at most of the ‘mainstream’ open mics, you’re lucky to see even one woman in a lineup of ten comics,” says organizer Daniela Saioni. “Yet, when we do play these clubs, we usually do well.  Maybe it’s because more than half the audience are women. So why the lack of stage time? We decided to make our own.”

But the jokes aren’t all about sugar and spice. “Oh, some of us do get raunchy. But when a woman in her thirties does a joke about sex, it tends to resonate with the kind of truth that incites wine-through-the-nose laughter,” Saioni says.

The women decided to donate any proceeds to charity and Gilda’s Club was the obvious choice: they have all been touched by cancer in some way and thought it would be fitting to honour a charity named after the late comedian Gilda Radner – a woman who helped clear the way for women in comedy.

StandUp takes place at Hugh’s Room, a 200-seat venue located in the heart of Roncesvalles village. Tickets are only $20 in advance ($25 at the door), with all proceeds going to Gilda’s Club, and are available at http://www.hughsroom.com or by calling 416-531-6604. A silent auction will also take place and includes donations by Roots and Alliance Films.

With this much estrogen-fueled comedy, it’s a great night to come and stand up for your sisters, mothers, daughters and friends.

For more details and comic bios and photos, visit http://www.standupforyoursisters.com.

About Gilda’s Club

 The mission of Gilda’s Club is to provide a meeting place where men, women, teens and children living with cancer, as well as their families and friends, can join with others to build social and emotional support as a supplement to their treatment of choice. Gilda’s Club is a non-profit organization where membership is free. For more information about Gilda’s Club, please visit their website at http://www.gildasclubtoronto.org

 – 30 –


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Niagara Falls: It’s more than just water

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I wrote this article for the November 2008 issue of  Ontario Dentist, the journal of the Ontario Dental Association. The subject of the piece, Dr. Mike Lococo, is a wonderful man who is trying to make a difference in his community. I have published this on my blog with the permission of Ontario Dentist.

Be Our Guest

Dr. Mike Lococo Lights up Niagara Falls

The thundering waters of Niagara Falls bring many tourists to the city. Dr. Michael Lococo wants to give them another reason to visit.

“The Niagara region has casinos, wineries and beautiful countryside,” says Dr. Lococo. “Now we have world-class theatre.”

A dentist for the past 40 years, Dr. Lococo is also the co-founder of Silver Mist Productions. Established in 2006 with business partner Linus Hand, the company has staged productions of Aladdin, Jr. and Beauty and the Beast at local theatres. Beast will be returning this year to the Niagara Centre for the Performing Arts beginning December 1. There is also a production of Seussical at the Sheraton on the Falls Theatre starting December 15.

A member of the Ontario Dental Association since 1961, Dr. Lococo has had an avid interest in the theatre since he was a student at the University of Toronto. While his love of the arts took a back seat to his successful career as a dentist, he has recently focused his efforts on rejuvenating his hometown of Niagara Falls through theatre.

Over the last 30 years, industry has been shifting away from the region and with it the economic health of downtown Niagara Falls. Department stores, restaurants and other retailers were closing shop and moving out.

“The first impression visitors get is of a run-down city with boarded-up buildings,” says Dr. Lococo. “It has become a disgrace.”

After the construction of Fallsview Casino, there was a renewed interest from investors and consortiums to inject new life into the city. At the same time, Linus Hand, a general manager of Mirvish Productions theatres for 16 years, moved back to his hometown. Like Dr. Lococo, he believed the way to revitalize downtown Niagara Falls was to turn it into a world-class theatre district.

“This was the thing that is going to bring downtown Niagara Falls to respectability,” says Dr. Lococo.

The two partners started a production company and their first show was Aladdin, based on the 1993 Disney animated movie. After pooling their money and hiring top talent from Toronto’s theatre scene, the production ran in the summer of 2006. The show wasn’t exactly a hit.

“The summer was a disaster,” recalls Dr. Lococo. “We expected the tourists to come. But who thinks of Niagara Falls as a world-class theatre destination?”

The show was remounted in December of that year to coincide with the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights. Silver Mist also reached out to local schools and got busloads of kids to see the matinee productions. Word of mouth spread and Aladdin became a hit.

The following year they produced Beauty and the Beast. The response was so successful it’s being repeated this year. Actor Gabriel Burrafato starred as the Beast last year and is returning to reprise his role.

“As an actor, you like to have the opportunity for roles like this,” Burrafato says. “The production values are phenomenal. The music and costumes are Disney-certified.”

Dr. Lococo wants to expand his vision beyond downtown Niagara Falls to the entire region. “Our goal is to get the tourists here. We are the key. You get people to the Falls and it’s only a hop, skip and a jump to wine country and beyond.”

While it’s easy corralling locals and tourists to his productions, it may prove difficult getting Toronto residents away from their own theatre district. But Silver Mist isn’t competing with Toronto productions like Dirty Dancing and We Will Rock You.

Beauty and the Beast and Seussical are family shows. Our area is a family area. We’re offering the most economical vacation for families. Our dinner and hotel packages cost just as much as what you pay for one show in Toronto.

“What we’re offering is world-class entertainment at an affordable price,” explains Dr. Lococo.

Richard Ouzounian, noted theatre critic for the Toronto Star is highly complimentary about Dr. Lococo’s efforts.

“Every city ought to have someone like Mike Lococo, who loves the place where he lives and wants to see that the best theatre possible is available there. I find his energy, commitment and taste amazing and I wish we had him in Toronto.”

Despite the time and dedication that goes into producing two musicals, Dr. Lococo still practices as a dentist. He admits there are times when juggling dentistry with theatre wears thin on him and Jackie, his wife of 48 years. Does he sometimes wish he had never become involved with Silver Mist?

“If I had to compare dentistry to show biz, it’s not even close. What I’m doing now [with Silver Mist] is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he says. “It’s like getting caught in a current.

“But then you watch 1,000 kids laughing and having a ball, their faces lighting up. I think we are on the right track.”

“His heart is definitely in it,” says Gabriel Burrafato. “His passion shows when you meet him.”

Perhaps dentistry and theatre are not that different: they both make people smile.

***

For more information on show times, tickets and vacation packages visit http://www.silvermist.ca.


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Obamarama

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If I had to assemble the top ten reasons Barack Obama should be President, this would definitely be on the list:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOWlpvOPKXc]

This was taken from the YouTube account for BarackObamadotcom. I love the fact that social media is being used in the race for the presidential election.


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