upcoming show: venus’ daughter

I had the great fortune to sit down and chat with the stars of Venus’ Daughter, a play put on by Obsidian Theatre. You may remember Obsidian Theatre from last year when I saw The Mountaintop. The show opens on February 18th and runs until February 28th at the Theatre Centre on Queen West. I got to ask the actors about the upcoming show and their thoughts on the remarkable Toronto theatre scene.

First, I sat down with Akosua Amo-Adem, an actress from Toronto. She graduated from York University’s theatre program in 2009 and has been performing in the city since then. She first got involved with Obsidian Theatre when they were workshopping the play, working through different versions of the script. I love going to see shows without knowing too much about them, just like how I try to avoid the back of books. I asked what she loved most about Venus’ Daughter and she told me it’s magical, things are unexpected and out of no where and she hopes that the audience allows themselves to surrender to it all. We also chatted about how supportive the Toronto theatre community is and how there is something always happening. It’s really amazing how much is happening in the city all the time, the theatre scene in Toronto is more than just Fringe.

Next had I the chance to speak to Meghan Swaby, who is not only performing in the show but she wrote Venus’ Daughter. Also from Toronto, she graduated from Windsor University in 2007. She came back to the city and joined b. current, which she considers her “training ground” – where she made great connections and found great mentors within the Toronto theatre community. Her first show was a one woman show called Hysteria and it was the moment that she found she could tell stories and that people wanted to hear them (you know that feeling, when people actually acknowledge your work, it’s really exciting!). She loves the agency that writing gives her, as an actor, you’re told the material that exists and you have to fit within it but if you can write, then you can create whatever you’d like. She began writing Venus’ Daughter about 3 years ago and it was in the summer that she decided that she actually wanted to perform in it. She loves opportunity to have the perspective of both the writer and actor, something people don’t normally get to experience.

And finally, I spoke with Kaleb Alexander, an actor from Toronto as well. All the cast members knew each other before coming together to work on Venus’ Daughter but it wasn’t actually how they all came together on this show, which just shows me that the theatre community is just like all other industries, everyone knows everyone. When asked what excited most about Venus’ Daughter, it was the opportunity to explore the black female form. People’s identities are shaped by so many factors and he is interested in how the play explores where strength comes from, as well as a person’s insecurities. He was also interested in how we compare to people of the past, how all experiences can be difficult but in so many different ways and how people are able to get through all the difficult things they have to endure. Speaking with Kaleb, I got even more excited about the play, I knew there was three actors so I assumed that there were three characters within the show, but in fact, he alone is playing 7 different characters, ranging from a ditzy child to a couple of doctors. Although it’s been a while (a long while) since I’ve been on stage, I can imagine how difficult it would be to be able to pay 7 distinct characters within one show.

I’m so glad Obsidian Theatre gave me the opportunity to speak to the cast prior to the show, it got me even more excited about the play. I promise to share with you more details about the play once I’ve seen it but in the meantime, tickets can be purchased through The Theatre Centre’s box office.

thirsty thursday: apothic red

I tried apothic red earlier in the week, without knowing what it was but it was certainly delicious. I was glad that when I looked it up, it was under $20 (which wasn’t always a rule for thirsty thursday, but it should be so it is now!).

I really enjoyed it, it was smooth but quite rich. When I looked up the description, I saw that it has hints of blueberries, raspberries, vanilla and cocoa, some of my favourite things. I think this would be a great wine for staying cozy in the winter (which I think is starting to fade, it’s staying light until 5:30pm now!).

Apothic Red

If you’re looking for this Californian blend, you can pick it up at the LCBO for $16.15. Have you tried the apothic red? What did you think?

eat: bannock

So, I finally went to Bannock this past Saturday. If you’re not familiar, it is a “casual” restaurant from O&B that’s basically in The Bay Queen Street. I knew I was in good hands when I arrived and saw my favourite baco noir and my “favourite” beer (that’s in quotes because I could never choose a favourite) beer on the menu.

It was a chilly winter night so I decided to try the “Arcadian Court Chicken Pot Pie”. It came with mashed potatoes, which are my weakness. Chicken Pot Pie isn’t something I’d normall order while I’m out, I’m always afraid that I’m going to be disappointed but this was one of the best meals I’ve had in a restaurant in a while.

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I wish I took a photo of that crust popped open so you could see the goodness within! My boyfriend had the turkey burger, which he said was really good.  I couldn’t try it because it was all covered in avocado and I didn’t want to be itchy all night (weird allergy). Although, his burger didn’t really come with a side, just a few chips but we were both pretty full and didn’t have dessert so I guess it’s all good.

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It wasn’t the priciest dinner but I put casual in quotes earlier because it definitely wasn’t cheap. The two mains and a drink each with tax and tip came to around $70 but it is definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in a while and in that neighbourhood, probably ever (although I’ve never been to Chase).

Have you been to Bannock? What did you think?

read this: the nightingale

I feel like it’s been too long since I’ve read fiction that I absolutely loved and could not put down. That was me with The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. No matter how short the free time I had was, I had to keep reading.

The book follows two sisters during World War II in France. The sisters lead different lives, one with a family and the other much younger, determined to make a difference in the war.  I love books that are told from different points of view, this book starts with an elderly lady (one of the sisters) thinking back to her life in France and gives the story from the point of view of both of the sisters during the wars.

This incredibly well written book is definitely worth reading, particularly if you love historical fiction. It is an interesting perspective as not many books about the war are told from the point of view of women.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently? What should I put on my list?

thirsty thursday: kapow!

Happy Thursday! Sorry the blog has been a little quiet lately, 2016 has been a whirlwind! This week’s beer is from Rainhard, like the thirsty thursday from two week’s ago – Nosbeeratu.

Kapow! is a “west coast inspired” IPA. I don’t usually love IPAs because they’re too hoppy but this one is great! It does have a bit of a bite to it but it is so refreshing. It is very popular though so if you see it in stock, make sure you grab some!

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nosbeeratu (on the left) and kapow! (on the right)

The great news is though, kapow! will soon be available in at the LCBO so it’ll be much easier to get your hands on!

Have you been to Rainhard? What did you think?

thirsty thursday: nosbeeratu

Happy Thursday. We’ve done it! Almost, we’re almost at Friday on the first full week in what feels like forever.

This week’s thirsty thursday is from a brewery I’ve mentioned in the past, Rainhard Brewing, one of the newest breweries in the Junction area. I went to Rainhard on Saturday to sample (a couple) of their beers and this was one of my favourites.

Nosbeeratu is currently only available on tap in the bottle shop and is a black IPA. I usually find IPAs too hoppy, but I really like this one. It has a great aftertaste and packs a bit of a punch at 6%.

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I’ll be heading back to Rainhard this weekend because they’re getting chacuterie boards! Beer + chacuterie? Yes, please! They’ll be available for sale whenever the tap room is open. Who doesn’t love a good snack while drinking their craft?

Have you been to Rainhard yet? Which one is your favourite?

 

 

rich and fit challenge

Happy New Years Eve, Eve! Again, not sure if it’s a thing, but I’m going with it! Also, I totally posted last week’s Thirsty Thursday a day early because I totally thought it was Thursday. The holidays always mess me up.

I’m sure many people are working on their new years resolutions. I don’t like to make resolutions exactly but I like to set goals every year. Most time I don’t achieve ALL of them but a few is a good start. I like writing them down and crossing them out. One of my goals this year is to walk 50,000 steps a week, I know it won’t be easy but I really want to be healthier – maybe you all will help me stick to it.

I’ve mentioned Jessica Moorhouse in the past. She’s the awesome personal finance blogger turned podcaster and now she’s got a challenge to help you keep a few of your resolutions. She’s teamed up with fitness coach Jaclyn Phillips to bring you the Rich & Fit 21-Day Challenge. Start the new year off right with this personal finance and fitness challenge. Who doesn’t love a little challenge and competition? Every day, starting on January 10th (give you a couple of days to get back into your routine after the holidays), they’ll send you a video for the challenge.

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Best of all, this challenge is FREE! It doesn’t get any better than that. I’ll be participating in the challenge so I’ll provide some updates as I go, hopefully it goes well!

You can find more information and sign up at www.richandfitchallenge.com!

thirsty thursday: flat rock

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve. Is that a thing? Probably not? But also, Happy Festivus (which is totally a thing).

This week’s Thirsty Thursday is a wine I first tried a couple of weeks ago at my work’s office party. I didn’t pick the wine for the event, you need someone to pick beer? I’m your girl but wine, I’m totally lost. I decided to have the red wine, since I was eating steak.

We had the 2013 flat rock pinot noir, a niagara wine. It is a very light red, if you’re like me and didn’t think you liked red wine, this would be a great one to start with. It’s fruity and spicy and so good. I actually drank wine instead of other drinks after I found out how good this wine is! And it’s local, which obviously means I love it even more!

<pre>2013 Pinot Noir</pre>

Have you tried the flat rock pinot noir? What did you think?

Have a great Christmas everyone!

teb: designing awesome crap for your home

This weekend, I had the chance to meet the guys behind teb at their space in the Design Republic at Queen and Bathurst. If you haven’t heard of these guys, they make awesome crap for your home.

wpid-img_20151212_125804.jpgBut beautiful, unique and exciting crap. These guys loathe beige and a quick tour of their site and instagram will show you this isn’t stuff you’d find in your grandmother’s house (unless your grandmother is super hardcore, in which case, I’d recommend the damask skeleton cushions).

it’s the lumber-sexual pillow, of course.

I met Terry and Matt, the masterminds behind teb. If you can dream it, chances are, they can make it for you. Both began as hobby designers, wanting to make unique things for themselves and friends and family. I guessed that they must always have the best halloween costumes and sure enough, Matt’s daughter was the best minion I’ve ever seen this year. They both started with smaller projects, including some work on real estate shows. Now their focus is on interior design. They showed me how they can 3D model your home so you know exactly what to expect, which is great, since as I mentioned, these guys are not vanilla and some people may be a little afraid to make such bold choices for their home but Terry and Matt want more edge in the world and are happy to help their customers find it.

They can also make custom furniture, like I said, if you can dream it, they can do it. They can get the fabric printed, something of course a non-designer like myself wouldn’t even consider. The day I was in, Terry’s daughter was working on a comic book bench for her home. The fabric was beautiful, black with subtle comic book detail, definitely nothing you’d find at Ikea. They love the challenge of designing something unique and fun for their customers.

But maybe you’re like me, and don’t have a knack for design, don’t worry, you can visit their space or their site to see the awesome things they’ve already created. On display, you can see some of their amazing pillows and headboards. Yet to come though, is their bondage bed, a project they are pretty excited about. They are creating a headboard that’s 50 Shades of Fun, but also tasteful, you know for when your family comes over and you don’t want them to know what you’re up to. The bed will feature secret compartments and removable buttons, you can -uh- screw other things in (remember, not vanilla). Not quite what you need? No problem, teb has you covered with these awesome bed designs.

So, if you’re looking for a very unique gift, something for yourself, something custom or a complete interior design of your home, go check out teb. Visit them at the Design Repuplic or give them a call, I promise you’ll be impressed.

dee snider’s rock and roll christmas

Wednesday night I was invited to the Winter Garden theatre to see the Christmas spectacular, Dee Snider’s Rock and Roll Christmas. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, was it a musical with a storyline or just a Christmas rock concert.

It was indeed the former. A story of a hairband trying to keep rock and roll alive, selling their souls in order to make their dreams come true. Doesn’t sound like your typical Christmas story, does it? It certainly was not, but had all the wonderful elements of a great Christmas story: a little cheesy humour, great music, glitter and Santa. The show was fun, funny and had people singing along and laughing out loud.

If you’re a fan of twisted sister, hairbands, rock and roll or Christmas spirit, you’ll have a great time at the show. Have you been to Dee Snider’s Rock and Roll Christmas?