The Toronto Star recently profiled Deadboy, who, as most of you know, has been a friend of The Spadina Monologues for months now, and I’ve always profiled his work. In the article, The Spadina Monologues got a brief but important mention in reference to Deadboy’s work and my profiling of graffiti. Check out the article, because I’m pretty sure this means I am now a Toronto graffiti authority. Called it.
My panel discussion, Brands, Agencies, and Influencers Unite, at the Social Media Week conference went really well! There was easily 100 people in attendance, and they were all live-tweeting almost every point we made.
that’s darren on the left, our moderator. him and i had plenty to chat about, as we’re both playwrights and theatre nuts. bruno is sitting next to me, we took the Via train together and shared so many experiences that by the time we got to this panel, we were ribbing each other with our elbows like old chums. he’s mah boy! next to bruno is stéphane from the NFB, and not pictured is Yves from Via Rail, who took us all out to dinner afterward. Loved them all!
first they introduced the videos that bruno and i made about our train experience, and then we began to talk about brand-agency-blogger relationships.
i was able to make several important points that i’ve been wanting to express for a while, since my life as an “influential blogger” or whatever began.
#1: most of the daily pitches i receive from brands or agencies are clearly cut n’ paste with my name jammed in at the top
#2 most of the pitches basically say, “please do my job for me. FOR FREE.”
#3 these agencies or brands will mass-email-blast their pitches to a cornucopia of bloggers, rather than actually doing research into the bloggers they’re pitching, nor understanding whether or not the pitch will be suitable for these bloggers.
#4 I blog about graffiti/street art/culture-jamming….and travel/adrenaline junkie activities ….. and theatre/film. so why am i getting pitches about Mattel’s new barbie and ken dolls? or Dunkin Donuts’ national donut day campaign? or vodka tastings? Those are beyond the voice of my blog, they don’t fit with my ethos, and my readers wouldn’t give a toss about those campaigns.
#5 brands and agencies should be more concerned about pitching to influencers whom they actually want to build long term mutually-beneficial relationships with, rather than EVERYBODY for a short period of time.
according to the panel’s program, i now am the NFB’s co-director with Stéphane.
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST. I GET STEPHANE’S PAYCHEQUE THIS MONTH. IT’S IN PRINT!
s’okay, my nametag was correct.
Via Rail put me up in the posh and luxurious Opus Hotel in the heart of trendy Yaletown in Vancouver. my room was so lush. when a single gal with an orgasmic rush of energy is given a sexy, mojo-enhancing room like this, there’s only one thing she can do.
what did you think i meant? get your minds outta the gutter!
or back in the gutter?
in the morning, with the sunshine pouring in through my massive window, i knew i was going to have a classically cool Vancouver day.
Opus’ communications manager left me a lil’ gift and an awfully kind note at the front desk too. he had heard me speak at the panel the night before. fanks Jer!
i decided to only wear black and white all day.
i let my personality fill in the colour.
summer 2011 is officially over. this was an exceptionally difficult summer.
i will not miss this summer at all.
Yet despite all of that, happiness still abounds in my life.
Life always finds a way.
September 22, 2011 | Categories: blogger, Christine Estima, deadboy, events, GIFs, graffiti, lecture, media, social media, street art, street culture, travel, tweet up, Vancouver, Via Rail | 4 Comments »
I just got off The Canadian! I boarded at Union Station in Toronto on Thursday night (the 15th), and spent three days and four nights weaving through the thick green forests of North Western Ontario and Manitoba, then zooming along the flat amber prairies of Saskatchewan and Alberta, and finally the lush and ornate Rocky Mountains of British Columbia.
The colours beyond the train windows were glorious, and they dazzled my eyes with so much beauty, it almost hurt my heart.
I’ve ridden the rail networks of Europe and Asia extensively, so I know what makes an enjoyable journey, and what makes a hellish one. This journey was luxurious, relaxed, and such a wonder. You can fit Europe within the borders of Canada, but unlike Europe, you won’t need a passport to make this journey. At each stop, the terrain changed, the people and communities changed. No two cities or town or hamlets or villages were alike. This is an amazing country we live in, and we need to explore it more, on top of exploring other countries.
We all love to fly and save time, but last year when I flew from Toronto to Vancouver, I never saw or experienced what I did on the train. I got to see what most people just pass over.
The world is a massive place, and I feel sorry for those who spend their entire lives in one place. That would be an awful waste.
The food on board was something I wasn’t expecting! Included in the price of your berth or cabin (I had a cushy cabin all to myself!), you get three squares a day, and they weren’t something just thrown together and microwaved (I’m looking at you, Europe!). I’m talking sumptuous hearty meals that I often couldn’t finish, the portions were so hearty and rich!
My single cabin had it’s own bed, chair, sink, loo, electrical outlets, towels, toiletries, a fan, and even little chocolates left on my pillow!
And the great thing about long rail journeys is the people you meet! I met some other like-minded travellers who were looking for adventure and taking adventure of everything Canada has to offer. Each night, I would encounter someone new. There was one interesting fellow from Victoria who cycled from Victoria to Halifax this year, and he’s 57 years old! He left Victoria on D-Day, and arrived in Halifax on the anniversary of 9/11. Talk about an adventurer!
Recognize the bloke in the middle? That’s Omari Akil Newton, who stars in Blue Mountain State, a huge hit on the Spike Network. Him and I spent many nights yapping it up in the dining car, he was totally cool, and a fellow West Island native too (we grew up in the same small town of Kirkland Quebec!). Even celebs take the train.
This was the journey of a life-time, one that I won’t soon forget, and I’m so grateful that my wanderlust and thirst for adventure facilitated such an experience! Tonight I’m talking on a panel at Social Media Week Conference here in Vancouver about the journey. So if you’re about, here are the details! I’d love to see your faces!
Remember what St. Augustine said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
i leave today! Via Rail is putting me on the cross-canada train from Toronto to Vancouver (with a brief stop in Jasper, Alberta) to blog, vlog, and live-tweet the train experience, and upon arrival in Vancouver, I will be speaking on a panel for the Social Media Week conference. The panel is “Brands, Agencies, and Influencers” and we’re discussing how to build personal brands, the relationship between brands and bloggers, and the ethics therein. if you’re gonna be in Vancouver on September 19th, register to hear a sistah speak here!
most of you know that i’m a huge travel junkie, so being able to explore my own country as much as i’ve explored others is a huge opportunity, one that i couldn’t pass on. it takes a bigger woman than me to refuse such a generous offer.
i’ve travelled the european rail networks extensively, and i swear by them because they’re fast, they’re efficient, and they’re inexpensive. i’ve always been a critic of our canadian rail system, so this experience is the opportune time to prove me wrong.
time to whip out my backpack and load it up with travel essentials. tell me, what does one wear to a panel discussion? business casual? i have my pencil skirts and blouses buried somewhere.
more importantly, what does one wear on a train for three days? Via Rail has set me up in the swanky sleeper touring class cabin, where i will apparently get my own shower, and my meals prepared by a kickass chef. i get my own cabin as well, NO SHARESIES!
when i rode the rails in europe, I always had to settle for the 4 bed or 6 bed couchettes shared with complete strangers who snored, had screaming children, or yipped out the window at every train platform we crossed.
one time, when travelling for over 24 hours from lisbon to budapest (it’s a fricken lonnnnnng train ride, with stopovers in paris and vienna), there were no couchettes left, and i had to sit upright in a compartment with 4 others all night. it was THE WORST.
in india, you didn’t even get a separate compartment. you just slept right out in the open, no curtains, no privacy, and everything at risk of being stolen.
anyway, ADVENTURE TALLY HO!
see ya on the west coast, suckas.
* * *
speaking of Social Media and influence, I tweeted this on the 10th anniversary 9/11:
as you can see, it was RT’d by more than 100 people, which actually happens quite a lot on my end, but that number was probably increased when it was RT’d by my main man:
now i finally know what celebrity tweeters have to endure. some people were INCENSED by those nine little words. amazing how one little pacifist sentiment can incite so much furor. some of the messages i received in response to that tweet were ripped right out of Team America, surely. most of them were xenophobic and racist comments directed toward arabs and muslims, i might add. twitter really is the only refuge for the scoundrels.
hey everybody! got an opinion? you should post it on twitter.
PEOPLE WILL SHIT THEMSELVES.
I worked at the CN Tower during 9/11. I quit shortly thereafter, as did everyone else. I don’t just mean employees, I also mean guests and customers. Towers became taboo.
i’ve been blogging about Deadboy‘s street art and graffiti for months and months now, and we talk often.
guess who i finally met?
YES YES YA’LL.
Deadboy had informed me a few weeks ago that he had been asked to participate in the street art showcase which drops in toronto on september 24th, and the official media announcement was last week at City Hall, so i went to support the man in the mask.
i actually didn’t realize he was the one in the mask until he waved at me and came over to say hi. seeing as how we’ve never met before, and i have no clue what he looks like, i just assumed he was someone else. as he got closer, i looked at his mask and was like WAAAAAIT A MINUTE, that’s the mask used in his street art!
anyway, we spoke for about an hour, and the press conference was actually super interesting. turns out the Street Art Showcase has received invitations from Bristol (banky’s hometown) and 5Pointz in Queens!
imma be out of town on the 24th (going to Peru!), but you should definitely check out the showcase. follow them on twitter for updates. support Deadboy, tell him Estima sent ya.
speaking of City Hall….
..and another one…
see what i did there?
do i think that graffiti and street art is vandalism?
the short answer to that is no.
the long answer is FUCK NO.
another brilliant and colourful Spud bomb, right across the street from MuchMusic.
CHRISSY MAD! CHRISSY SMASH!
i’ve not blogged about the Good Bike project lately, because there are just soooo many bikes to cover, and i see so many of them, i doubt i could ever photograph them all before they’re busted or ripped up. but this one on queen and spadina caught my eye because it had a name on it.
the Good Bike project ladies put Jane Jacob‘s name on another bike, so i’m wondering if Isabella Angel is an activist like Jacobs?
site specific work is the most ingenious work.
i love the idea that someone saw that sewer hole with the pylons and envisioned something else for it, something that is clever and provocative and colourful.
* * *
speaking of colourful, i was invited to the Diet Coke TIFF fest this year.
i went last year, and as you can see from my blog post at the time, it was a much smaller affair, just our little twitter crew. we all fit into 2 limos at the time. now the Toronto twitter crew has grown so much such that the attendance was easily over 500.
i didn’t bring my camera but raymi‘s photographer colleague made up for that.
there’s ameet off to the left. we met last year when he used to date a friend of mine, but we kind of run in the same circles, so we bump into each other from time to time.
this looks inappropriate.
raymi says she looks like sharon stone in this pic.
and i look like rachel weisz.
our movie would be box office poison.
my friend paul wrote a round-up of the night’s events for The Grid, and decided to link up one of my tweets about the night in the article (go to 10:30pm, and the hyperlinked “REALLY” in brackets at the end of the paragraph).
i stand by my love of veggie poutine, dammit.
and hey, i write for The Grid too, ya know.
Estelle was brilliant, and i managed to elbow my way to the front.
she’s so gorgeous.
and her shoes were fierce, miss thang.
reg and i were made into flipbooks. watch this video until the very end, where i vent my frustation in caption-form.
* * *
i meandered by a venue last night that i shouldn’t have. i saw the scooter and took off running.
go away. please go away.
September 15, 2011 | Categories: 9/11, banksy, biking, blogger, celebrity friends, Christine Estima, deadboy, events, ex boyfriend, fordzilla, GIFs, graffiti, love, peru, photography, relationships, sex, social media, Spud, Stikki Peaches, street art, street culture, the good bike, TIFF, toronto, travel, tweet up, Vancouver, Via Rail | 6 Comments »
I can finally announce some exciting news that I’ve been keeping a lid on for WEEKS now. I am an invited panellist for the upcoming Social Media Week Conference in Vancouver! I will be discussing influence, building my personal online brand, and the influence of my social media initiatives whilst on the road. The talk is fostered by Via Rail, and they are putting me on the cross-Canada train from Toronto to Vancouver, where I will blog and live-tweet while zooming through our country’s beautiful Rockies, plains, forests, and lakes. My travel junkie virus is acting up just thinking about it!
If you’re going to the conference, or will be in Vancouver from September 19 to 23, register here to attend the event.
I’ll be hanging around for a few days after the panel, so if you’re about in Van.City and want to destroy the city in hockey-fuelled riots (I kid, I kid), you know where to find me!
More details on my panel discussion can be found here.
my follow-up post will be all about Montreal graffiti. swearsies.
so for now, just indulge me.
montreal is a city rich with my family history.
my maternal family emigrated there from lebanon at the turn of the 20th century. my paternal family emigrated there from portugal around 60 years ago. almost every street, park, market, village, or mountain is stained with the faces of my family.
the look of the houses, the wrought-iron stairwells that spiral down rue berri, the distinct joual accent, the crumble and fall of the streets in disrepair, the dépanneurs hip-jointing each corner like bolts…. as if my childhood was slapping me around, waking me up.
i was remembering that dream, of that other life i used to live. i thought i had imagined it.
it had been almost 20 years since i had seen an old friend from elementary school.
we reconnected at café névé on rue rachel, and i actually remembered his mannerisms and facial expressions.
it had been so long since i had seen him, i was beginning to believe i had made him up in my head.
growing up in quebec, we were bred (like the rest of canada) to hate toronto. then when i moved to toronto at the age of 12, i found myself converted. toronto=awesome. but perhaps because i missed out on montrealer teenage rebellion and discovery, i never developed a strong connection to the city.
minus the years that i lived abroad, i’ve spent the majority of my adult life in toronto which has a vibe and culture all its own. i love it and will always fight its corner
but now, i’m entertaining a return to montreal.
even on the Métro, bouncing about as the trains’ rubber tires rolled us from station to station, i felt somewhere familiar. somewhere that i really belonged. i fought hard to carve my name with toronto’s pen knife. but there’s enough skin left on this gal to carve another.
maybe i never wanted to return to montreal because of all the painful memories.
but that’s a blog post for another day.
philip and i have known each other for donkey’s years, we did our Masters degrees together. he likes to brag that i knew him when he was “straight.”
aw pumpkin, you were foolin’ no one.
these kids were playing jump rope in an alley off of Duluth.
zero photo-editing here. if this were black and white, this could pass for a turn-of-the-century snap.
Montreal=keepers and purveyors of vintage cool.
the de Maisonneuve cross.
my grandfather, great grandfather (et.al.) are buried up there on Mont Royal.
there’s probably no space to add me into the family plot. they’ll have to bury me sideways.
we cycled through parc jarry, and then cheered on a gay softball tournament.
40 years ago, my mother worked for the Expos in parc jarry.
phil is such a blessed character. when he laughs, his body ricochets joy. blade-worthy sharp intelligence, and loves to jaunt.
he’s also my saviour when it comes to killing spiders.
from the moment I rolled into montreal on boulevard réné levesque and gave a street kid at a red light a twoonie, my french kicked in with a throttle. for the past few years, i have maintained my french daily by switching my facebook, twitter, emails, and my blackberry to french. it forces me to practice, and it paid off. i only stumbled a bit over my conjugation (fuck you subjonctif! il faut que tu fasse un bise sur mon trou de cul).
this tex mex dinner was had on a patio in marché jean talon, which i haven’t been to since i was eight or nine years old.
my Sitto used to take me every weekend with my great aunts, and although i don’t remember much, i do remember Sitto giving me a quarter to drop into the cup of a disabled man who was selling pencils. i also remember the caged animals next to the fruit stands. they don’t sell caged animals there anymore.
he’s so fierce.
piggy backs: a billion three-year-olds can’t be wrong.
getting tanked in the graffiti alleys. we bring the party.
if you missed it in my last post, here’s the video that i made of my Montreal extravaganza.
i’m fucking endearing.
* * *
Once again, I’m reviewing films for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, so if you see me around the festival circuit, or in the cinemas furiously scribbling, don’t hesitate to say hi.
If you mistake me for my doppleganger Rachel Weisz, don’t feel bad. Happens all the livelong day.
see what i mean?
Hey Rachel, if you’re in town for the fest, let a sistah know. Let’s walk the red carpets together and freak the shit outta the paps.
September 9, 2011 | Categories: biking, Christine Estima, facebook, film, Ford Canada, GIFs, montreal, movies, photography, reviews, social media, street culture, TIFF, toronto, travel, tweet up, Vancouver, Via Rail, writing | 4 Comments »