"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

masters degree

Check out my academic essay in Palaver Journal!

11196331_507162659437610_6980078287350476971_n

I recently wrote an essay about narratives of romance in spoken word and sold it to Palaver Journal, an interdisciplinarian journal based out of the University of North Carolina. I did my Masters degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. FINALLY USING IT.

The basic idea behind the essay is that the practice and process that once were associated with writing love letters is now used almost exclusively in spoken word, as the former is in decline and the latter has risen from its ashes, so to speak. So what once was written is now verbal. What was private is now public.

My essay appears in their new Spring 2015 issue out now, and you can read it online for free. You can check out the entire issue here or you can just read my essay here. I appear on page 27!

And don’t forget to check out my all-new ChristineEstima.com for all of my published works and writing samples!

NewWEbSite!

Advertisements

Check out my interview in Vancouver 24 Hours!

vancouver24hours

Recently I was interviewed by Anny Chih at 24 Hours Vancouver (Sun News Media) about how I graduated from university almost debt free. In fact, I was able to pay off my student loans in one fell-swoop, a single cheque, before interest and late fees could accrue. How did I do it? It’s all in this article!

Clicky the linky!

The basic take away from this short piece: always always always make a case for yourself. Stick your neck out. Take chances. Even if you think you’re not qualified for something, just apply anyways. What have you got to lose?

Enjoy, munchkins!


#BlogHop! Confessions of a Fiction Writer: A Cautionary Tale

 

Recently I received a charming invitation to “blog hop” about my writing experience. How it works is: a blogger/writer blogs about their writing process, and then nominates three other blogger/writers to do the same… and so it goes. Oh the blogs you can hop through in this network!

I was nominated by writer and editor Rachel Stuckey to blog it like it’s hot, a challenge I would never shy away from, and so now you get to read an insight into my life as a writer. If you’re a writer like me, or you’re interested in becoming one, hearing about the writing processes and habits of other writers is always invaluable information that you an apply to your own process.

I’ve done this before, a few years ago I was an invited panellist at my alma mater York University to speak about my experience in the writing and publishing industry. Here’s a clip from that lecture, where I was telling the students how to go about getting funding and grants for their creative writing projects from Canadian funding bodies:

A lot of the other writers in this blog-hop are travel writers, which I am as well, but I also do fiction (novels and short stories), playwrighting, spoken word, music/film/theatre/book reviews, academic essays, interviews with notable personalities, and basically anything remotely related to writing that interests me, so I cover a lot of bases.

Anyway, enjoy my insights and writing-foibles!

What am I working on/writing?

I recently finished writing my second novel! I have been editing it with the help of some outside eyes and also in conjunction with my literary agent, and it is ready to be taken to the next level. I don’t want to talk too much about this on here because I feel like it will jinx it, but  when the “next level” has been achieved, I will blog the snot out of it, trust me. I have also been working on a whole bunch of short stories and have been submitting them to literary journals which, as any writer will tell you, carries a long waiting sentence before you receive word of acceptance or rejection. So while I wait patiently, I have already begun brewing in my head the concept for my next novel! Novel number three, here we go. This one will involve some historical figures and a lot of research, so for the foreseeable future, you can find me living in the library. Ah, Old-Book-Smell. How I love thee.

 

How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

My literary agent told me recently that the reason why he was so eager to sign me to his roster is because I am a “fearless” writer. Everybody wants to be a writer. Everybody wants to write the next great novel, but most of the time, they don’t want to take the chances necessary to achieve such goals. My writing, first and foremost, has a distinct voice. I spent years crafting my style, my form, my content, and my voice. For some writers, all that stuff comes naturally. Not me. I am not naturally gifted like Kerouac or Keats. I have had to work for every writing-coup I’ve ever had. The structure of each sentence is a BIG DEAL to me. So when it comes to what I write about, and my style of writing, I have to be provocative, and take chances, and let the story go to places that make even me uncomfortable. There’s no point in writing if you’re not willing to be vulnerable.

Why do I write what I do?

Great question. I don’t think anyone has ever asked me why I write fiction.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a storyteller. I used to love crafting up little narratives in my head as a little girl and then telling Mum about them. When I was in Grade 4 and our English teacher gave us the assignment to write a short story, everyone turned in about 4 pages worth of writing. I turned in 40.

I always had my nose in a book, and would get huge book deliveries from Scholastic (remember Scholastic!!) every few weeks. I couldn’t read enough, most of the time. And I always felt the urge to tell stories, especially when new concepts and ideas would pop into my head. I always preferred making up the stories, rather than telling true stories, so fiction naturally became my weapon of choice. By the time I was 12 years old, just the sight of a sharpened pencil and a huge stack of crisp loose-leaf paper would get me all giddy.

I guess I enjoy the freedom that fiction affords. The freedom to completely own the story that you tell, and the characters therein. I love the ability to fashion wild scenarios, and explore all the dark facets of human behaviour when stuck in such scenarios. Non-fiction and memoir have to be true and grounded in reality. Fiction is beholden to neither. That is just too tempting for such a dreamer like me.

When I got my first professional publication at the age of 18, I never looked back. I was hooked.

I double-majored Theatre Studies and Creative Writing in university, and returned to both subjects for my Masters degree. Since then, I have been published in literary anthologies, literary journals, travel anthologies, daily newspapers, weekly alternative magazines, glossy mags, national and international reviews, academic reviews, and even an encyclopedia. I’ve had about five plays produced, and I’ve lectured and performed at academic and creative conferences around the world.

How does my writing process work?

I actually have a strange writing process. Firstly, I absolutely need to write my first draft by hand.

Even though I type faster than I write.

Even though this means that I have to go through mounds and mounds of notebooks filled with messy scribblings, and arrows criss-crossing all over the page.

I cannot just stare at a blinking cursor and start to write. I need to have a pen in my hand and paper before me. I think this has to do with the actual act of writing. I see it as a violent act. The violence of pressing the pen nub into the paper and scratching your words into its surface, forever defacing it. There’s something about the Violence of Writing, as I call it, that is required for me to tell a good story.

Secondly, I can’t write at home. I need to be out in public.

Maybe because writing is such a solitary and isolating experience, that the sheer presence of others makes me feel less alone.

Maybe because there are too many distractions at home (like bed and Facebook….. mmmmm, Facebook in bed….sooo tempting).

Maybe because my stories are usually set in urban areas, so it requires me to be situated amongst the populous to inspire the descriptions about life in the metropolis…

Maybe because the word Writer is synonymous with Coffee Shop, and therefore one is always apt to find themselves amongst other writers down at their local latte-hole.

Who knows? All I know is that I’m weird, man.

 

Who’s next?

I nominate Fran Harvey over at Bookworms and Coffee Monsters because she’s just gotten her first poetry publication and is ON FIRE at the moment with writing and submissions and can surely offer some keen insight into her work and process.

Onto the next blog-hop!


take me to new york, i’d love to see LA, i really want to come kick it with you, you’ll be my american boy, american boy….

April 5th was officially 
the SIX YEAR anniversary for The Spadina Monologues!
i am a powerhouse. that’s dedication. seriously, i hope half you bloggers out there have the stamina and staying power that i’m displaying up in hurrr because it’s hard out here for a blog-pimp (“blimp?”)
 over the past 6 years, there’s been travelling, there’s been love affairs, there’s been heart-break, there’s been moving-to-the-other-side-of-the-planet, there’s been reality TV shows, there’s been hollywood movies, there’s been starfucking, there’s been global notoriety, there’s been more love affairs, more backpacking, more heart breaks….there’s been money and theatre and writing and successes….there’s been disasters, epic failures, major embarrassments, and friends-turned-to-foes….and it’s all here documented.
i live in public.
you’re welcome.
here’s to another six years! and to kiboshing all the competition.
i’m still in New York City and it’s like i’m doing a graffiti tour of this amazing city. my eye is trained now to find what everyone else just walks past and ignores. it’s even on the subway, and damn is it good.
this moustache guy is everywhere.
i found out the other day that my Masters Thesis has been put online by either York University, the National Library of Canada, or Google Books (no clue which one of these hosers actually took to the time to scan all 300 pages of this bitch). i wrote this monstrosity in 2006, and at the time, the university said i was on the cutting edge of this type of research in Canada and thusly nominated me for a university-wide graduate thesis award …
i’ve got intelligencia coming outta my academic-tuckus. i double dare you to read it. I TRIPLE DARE YOU.
while i was still in toronto a couple weeks ago, i did a whole bunch of test blogging for a health and wellness publication (you can read some of the articles i wrote in my online writing portfolio), and then they invited me in for an interview where i met the CEO. this particular publication is a female-run & female-targeted with offices both in Toronto and NYC. so when i told them during the interview that i was headed to NYC for a couple weeks, they suggested i meet up with the editors based there as well. so last week, a few days after arriving, i headed to their Broadway offices and met with the editors. we had a lovely chat about the trajectory of the company and other publications they have on the horizon and what not.
the next day, they called me and offered me a full-time staff writer position. if i accepted, i’d be based out of toronto, but there were a few hints here and there that after a year of employment, there would be the option to transfer me to NYC.
i asked them to send me the contract so i could give it a once over and ask some questions….and then thought about it over the weekend.
then promptly accepted the position early monday morning.
HUZZAH!
it’s so funny because as early as february, i was lamenting (read: bitching) to a colleague of mine how poorly freelance writers are treated and that staff writers usually get all the garlands. while i LOVE freelancing, don’t get me wrong, and will continue to freelance whilst in this company, it’s great to be STAFF.
plus, as you all know, i’m all about fostering women’s voices and stories, so to be with a by-women-for-women company is the epitome of awesomesauce.
this opportunity also just kinda fell into my lap. a guy that i had a fickle fling with last year knows the CEO and knew they were looking for writers, so he thought of me and sent me a message letting me know about it.
which was nice of him, considering the last time he was in toronto in january, he caused a shit-storm (you all remember that blog post). he has since atoned for his bad behaviour several times over, so i can’t hold anything against him. i’ll forever think of him fondly as a top lad.
FANKS HOMBRE!
speaking of fickle flings of the past, it would now appear that every single one of my ex’s has a girlfriend. all of ’em! from the helper-monkey i mentioned above, to the butt-munch who broke my heart over the holidays, to my old london and NYC ex’s, to even the dudes i just casually see… fucking hell, when did everyone start pairing off?
at present, i don’t have a love life to speak of.
none whatsoever.
not even a crush!
i ain’t complainin’ mind you. it’s kind of nice to be man-free. who needs a man when you have a life?
IF YOU HAVIN’ BOY PROBLEMS, I FEEL BAD FOR YA HUN
I GOT 99 PROBLEMS BUT A DICK AIN’T ONE
(hit me)
over the weekend i went to go see a staged reading of the canadian play SIA, produced by Bridge Theatre Company, which was brought to my attention by fellow film critic Glenn Sumi who suggested i attend. i had heard about this play last summer when it went up at the Toronto Fringe, but i didn’t expect to see it in NYC! i was pretty excited to have a slice of home right in the heart of Broadway (well, 54th and 8th, more like)
Sia tells the story of a liberian brother and sister struggling to stay together before the war broke out, whilst simultaneously telling the story of a canadian traveler kidnapped during the war, and how both narratives intersect and affect one another.
and lemme tell ya, all my fellow theatre-addicts, this play, albeit brief (60 minutes? damn you fringe time restraints!), was THE BEST 60 MINUTES OF MY LIFE.

twas LOADED WITH BRILIANCE!
 it was relevant, timely, moving, poignant, heartbreaking, funny, clever, and for a mere staged reading, it was superbly acted by the performers.
also, layne’s daughter charlotte was reading the stage directions! i hadda email him and scold him for not telling me she was in NYC at the same time! also, i found out from running into her that he’s coming back to toronto next week. WAIT, WHAT? layne’s like one of my best friends ever, and he didn’t tell me!
he received a double scolding for that.
but hey, i get to see layne again next week!
last name WIN, first name EPIC.
huge crowd at the reception
the theatre was on the 13th floor of an old art-deco manhattan building, classic new york. the space was a large studio with floor-to-ceiling windows, so it kinda felt like we were experiencing theatre in the clouds. such a great atmosphere!
amber stop being so gorgeous, dammit.
there was a great talkback after the performance, and everyone from the performers, director, playwright, producers, and the audience had brilliant insights for the play and where it should go. i really hope this gets remounted soon because i would maim and mangle my own sister to see a full production of this play.
and you would too. trust me. you so would.
back to graffiti talk! this is why i’m in NYC to begin with, to research and explore street culture and graffiti art, and in my research i had stumbled across details and stories about an entire warehouse building in Queens called 5Pointz, so i knew i hadda check it out, and this was probably one of the single greatest discoveries of my time here. it’s one huge massive converted school (i think) that INVITES popular street artists to come and decorate their exteriors (and interiors). it’s almost like curated graffiti. and some of the stuff is so lovely and vibrant, that while i was there, wedding photos were being taken next to music videos that were being shot.
i was so giddy being here, look at this photojaculation!
awed at street level
it just goes on and on
it don’t matter where ya from!
hahaha rules were made to be broken
i read online that 5Pointz has been sold and will soon be turned into….wait for it….gentrified CONDOS!
ew.
people, if you’re in Queens in the near future, get yo’posterior to 5 Pointz before it’s gone!
i don’t know what ASVP is but dude’s stickers and posters are EVERYWHERE in new york! i can’t turn a corner without seeing a trace of him somewhere!
you KNOW i hadda get myself in on the action
i didn’t drink those brewsky’s on the steps but they sure add to the ‘tude i’m displaying in the photo
if my hip-hop album debut were about to drop, this would be the album cover, surely
blurred for her pleasure
what the hell was i doing here, sniffing the wall?
no no no, i retract that earlier statement…THIS would be my hip-hop album cover. nicely done, estima
aww bless.
wind blown
seriously, let me help you with that.
i mentioned in my last blog post that Jake Dobkin graciously let me interview him for research purposes. a few days later i found out that he was a panelist on the discussion of NYC street photography over at Union Docs in Williamsburg, so i headed over there to their cramped and over-heated space to attend the hotly-debated panel.
 it was actually fricken brilliant. three vastly different modes and approaches to street photography were explored and discussed and debated, but I think i preferred Jake’s approach because he was asking questions about systemic problems with street photography, rather than making hard and fast rules about what he thinks it should be.
there’s jake with his powerpoint presentation, well thought out.
… and ethnicities and the poor and the elderly and the disabled…and it goes for the cheap visual joke that isn’t always that funny…..
i took pages of detailed notes and thoughts during this talk that ended up lasting over two hours. i love how i’ve just really thrown myself into the scene here in NYC, you really gotta get your hands dirty if you’re going to discover anything about a counter-culture or sub-culture. you have to climb up a long ladder on your knees. you have to strike out for deep waters without drowning.
as i was leaving Union Docs, i walked past this amazing new piece that i didn’t see at first. it’s so powerful, and really draws your thoughts toward the socio-economic politics it’s portraying. it’s by street artist DOLK
and whoever added this dog with the shotgun is everywhere as well, cuz i’ve seen this exact same piece in soho!
speaking of soho….when you’re walking through soho…or along houston….or through alphabet city…or the east village….remember to keep your eyes averted to the north. specifically, don’t walk by any lamp post or sign pole without inspecting it….what’s so great about this one, you ask? look closer..
IT HAS A FRICKEN SHEPARD FAIREY “andre the giant obey” STICKER ON IT!!!
these posters and stickers are SO hard to find now because most of them have been taken down….street art in general has such a short shelf life, so finding something like this is a real find. a coup, if you will. if you don’t know the infamous Shepard Fairey by name, you definitely know his work. remember this poster? of course you do. well, guess who was behind it!
omfguy no way, there’s TWO stickers on this pole. BRAINGASM.
you shoulda seen me when i found these stickers. i literally squealed out loud, rushed to find my camera, and started jumping up and down giggling like a school girl as i got happy-snappy with the point-and-shoot. you’d think i’d just won the lottery or something.
speaking of winning the lottery, as i walked through alphabet city, i looked up to see ANOTHER rare rare rare find on the wall. see it?
IT’S A SPACE INVADER!! again, most of space invader’s work has been taken down or has disappeared, so finding one still lurking about is a real treat!!
GIDDY, I TELLS YA!! i actually didn’t want to walk away from it, i just wanted to stay next to it like i was in an afterglow
haw haw haw!! get it??
alphabet city and the east village have all kinds of these hidden gardens (open to the public) where former occupied space is turned into reclaimed nature.
i’m cute as a bug.
but street artists have cleverly melded some messages even in the gardens. LOVES IT.
i should  put this sticker on every bad boyfriend i’ve ever had
hoot.
yo i’ll put it blunt if that’s what you want, yo i am a cunt and that’s what you want, you take afront, just shake ya butt, just shake ya butt New York City!! WHAT?
why did i take a photo of this comic book store? remember this episode? it’s kinda my favourite episode of the series…of all time.
katsu‘s been getting a lot of press lately….but his stuff is taken down before i get a chance to see it!
this was a massively HUUUUGE mural off of Bowery….i know i’ve seen this artist before, can someone fill a sister in?
this piece off of Bowery as well was fresh, done in the past few weeks, i reckon. it was on the wall of hotel, so surely they’ll remove it soon. but it’s so lovely….same artist as above i think
seriously, who did this? I LOVE IT.
how embarrassing it would be if you knew what i was thinking of.
found this buried in a deep dark alleyway off of bleeker.
i love you too, random small sticker on a lamp post!
so amber is taking guitar lessons, and her dorky-hot guitar teacher was playing in a live jazz band at 55 Bar in Greenwich Village, so we went to check him out…..is listening to jazz in a musky bar in the village just a little too precious? yes.
was it awesome? also yes.
we’re so smiley cute.
now we’re sexy
now we’re cute again!!
i had just gone for a run in the Cobble Hill area of brooklyn earlier in the day, so i couldn’t stay too long in the night (was exhausted from all the beauty in Cobble Hill more than the run!), but i’m glad i checked out the gaybourhood jazz of greenwich at least!
i’m now crashing on a friend’s couch in williamsburg, and since i’ve been there, i’ve already bought myself a great pair of cheap second hand Chuck Taylors (fuck you The Public Butter!! trynna charge $20 for beat-up Chucks? kiss my ass!)  AND i’ve gone for a run through the area which is populated mostly by hasidic jews….
hasidic jews are a weird bunch. technically they’re not allowed to touch women, but they wouldn’t get out of my way as i was barreling toward them in my running shoes and sweat shirt. seriously, the street was LOADED  with them, i felt like i was in 1930s Poland…or a Russian shtetl….except they were on cell phones….or behind the wheel of their SUVs.
i think the hasids were staring at me because i was wearing tights and running which i guess could be considered unladylike to them. whatever, it’s a free country (wait…is it?). just cuz hasidic jews occupy the area doesn’t mean i can’t jog through it.
although i had to suppress the urge to slap one of them on the ass as i sprinted by. that woulda been hella-funny and loaded with WIN. i didn’t though, sorry raibbis!
why yes. yes you do.
look at the size of an extra large Timmy’s here!! no wonder americans are so fat, it’s like a litre of coffee!! what is this, a Big Gulp?
it’s bigger than four hands!
today is my last full day in NYC, tomorrow i return to Toronto.
being in NYC these past two weeks really has been something. I have done so much, seen so much, met some really cool people, and i feel like i’ve achieved something. a working holiday in the true sense of the word, my writing has definitely been given a shot in the arm. i am so inspired. in fact, i kinda already feel like a new yorker. i know my way around, i know where everything is, and i’m rejecting all the tourist-y bullshit-y things that people generally do in NYC in favour of a more local experience.
i could live here.
wait, let me retype that.
I (could) live here.
I live here.

>take me to new york, i’d love to see LA, i really want to come kick it with you, you’ll be my american boy, american boy….

>

April 5th was officially 
the SIX YEAR anniversary for The Spadina Monologues! 
i am a powerhouse. that’s dedication. seriously, i hope half you bloggers out there have the stamina and staying power that i’m displaying up in hurrr because it’s hard out here for a blog-pimp (“blimp?”)
 over the past 6 years, there’s been travelling, there’s been love affairs, there’s been heart-break, there’s been moving-to-the-other-side-of-the-planet, there’s been reality TV shows, there’s been hollywood movies, there’s been starfucking, there’s been global notoriety, there’s been more love affairs, more backpacking, more heart breaks….there’s been money and theatre and writing and successes….there’s been disasters, epic failures, major embarrassments, and friends-turned-to-foes….and it’s all here documented. 
i live in public.
you’re welcome.
here’s to another six years! and to kiboshing all the competition.

i’m still in New York City and it’s like i’m doing a graffiti tour of this amazing city. my eye is trained now to find what everyone else just walks past and ignores. it’s even on the subway, and damn is it good.

this moustache guy is everywhere.

i found out the other day that my Masters Thesis has been put online by either York University, the National Library of Canada, or Google Books (no clue which one of these hosers actually took to the time to scan all 300 pages of this bitch). i wrote this monstrosity in 2006, and at the time, the university said i was on the cutting edge of this type of research in Canada and thusly nominated me for a university-wide graduate thesis award …
i’ve got intelligencia coming outta my academic-tuckus. i double dare you to read it. I TRIPLE DARE YOU.

while i was still in toronto a couple weeks ago, i did a whole bunch of test blogging for a health and wellness publication (you can read some of the articles i wrote in my online writing portfolio), and then they invited me in for an interview where i met the CEO. this particular publication is a female-run & female-targeted with offices both in Toronto and NYC. so when i told them during the interview that i was headed to NYC for a couple weeks, they suggested i meet up with the editors based there as well. so last week, a few days after arriving, i headed to their Broadway offices and met with the editors. we had a lovely chat about the trajectory of the company and other publications they have on the horizon and what not.
the next day, they called me and offered me a full-time staff writer position. if i accepted, i’d be based out of toronto, but there were a few hints here and there that after a year of employment, there would be the option to transfer me to NYC.
i asked them to send me the contract so i could give it a once over and ask some questions….and then thought about it over the weekend.
then promptly accepted the position early monday morning.
HUZZAH!

it’s so funny because as early as february, i was lamenting (read: bitching) to a colleague of mine how poorly freelance writers are treated and that staff writers usually get all the garlands. while i LOVE freelancing, don’t get me wrong, and will continue to freelance whilst in this company, it’s great to be STAFF.
plus, as you all know, i’m all about fostering women’s voices and stories, so to be with a by-women-for-women company is the epitome of awesomesauce.
this opportunity also just kinda fell into my lap. a guy that i had a fickle fling with last year knows the CEO and knew they were looking for writers, so he thought of me and sent me a message letting me know about it.
which was nice of him, considering the last time he was in toronto in january, he caused a shit-storm (you all remember that blog post). he has since atoned for his bad behaviour several times over, so i can’t hold anything against him. i’ll forever think of him fondly as a top lad.

FANKS HOMBRE!

speaking of fickle flings of the past, it would now appear that every single one of my ex’s has a girlfriend. all of ’em! from the helper-monkey i mentioned above, to the butt-munch who broke my heart over the holidays, to my old london and NYC ex’s, to even the dudes i just casually see… fucking hell, when did everyone start pairing off?
at present, i don’t have a love life to speak of.
none whatsoever.
not even a crush!
i ain’t complainin’ mind you. it’s kind of nice to be man-free. who needs a man when you have a life?
IF YOU HAVIN’ BOY PROBLEMS, I FEEL BAD FOR YA HUN
I GOT 99 PROBLEMS BUT A DICK AIN’T ONE
(hit me)

over the weekend i went to go see a staged reading of the canadian play SIA, produced by Bridge Theatre Company, which was brought to my attention by fellow film critic Glenn Sumi who suggested i attend. i had heard about this play last summer when it went up at the Toronto Fringe, but i didn’t expect to see it in NYC! i was pretty excited to have a slice of home right in the heart of Broadway (well, 54th and 8th, more like)

Sia tells the story of a liberian brother and sister struggling to stay together before the war broke out, whilst simultaneously telling the story of a canadian traveler kidnapped during the war, and how both narratives intersect and affect one another.
and lemme tell ya, all my fellow theatre-addicts, this play, albeit brief (60 minutes? damn you fringe time restraints!), was THE BEST 60 MINUTES OF MY LIFE.

twas LOADED WITH BRILIANCE!
 it was relevant, timely, moving, poignant, heartbreaking, funny, clever, and for a mere staged reading, it was superbly acted by the performers.
also, layne’s daughter charlotte was reading the stage directions! i hadda email him and scold him for not telling me she was in NYC at the same time! also, i found out from running into her that he’s coming back to toronto next week. WAIT, WHAT? layne’s like one of my best friends ever, and he didn’t tell me!
he received a double scolding for that.
but hey, i get to see layne again next week!
last name WIN, first name EPIC.

huge crowd at the reception
the theatre was on the 13th floor of an old art-deco manhattan building, classic new york. the space was a large studio with floor-to-ceiling windows, so it kinda felt like we were experiencing theatre in the clouds. such a great atmosphere!

amber stop being so gorgeous, dammit.
there was a great talkback after the performance, and everyone from the performers, director, playwright, producers, and the audience had brilliant insights for the play and where it should go. i really hope this gets remounted soon because i would maim and mangle my own sister to see a full production of this play.
and you would too. trust me. you so would.
back to graffiti talk! this is why i’m in NYC to begin with, to research and explore street culture and graffiti art, and in my research i had stumbled across details and stories about an entire warehouse building in Queens called 5Pointz, so i knew i hadda check it out, and this was probably one of the single greatest discoveries of my time here. it’s one huge massive converted school (i think) that INVITES popular street artists to come and decorate their exteriors (and interiors). it’s almost like curated graffiti. and some of the stuff is so lovely and vibrant, that while i was there, wedding photos were being taken next to music videos that were being shot. 
i was so giddy being here, look at this photojaculation!

awed at street level

it just goes on and on
it don’t matter where ya from!
hahaha rules were made to be broken

i read online that 5Pointz has been sold and will soon be turned into….wait for it….gentrified CONDOS!
ew.
people, if you’re in Queens in the near future, get yo’posterior to 5 Pointz before it’s gone!

i don’t know what ASVP is but dude’s stickers and posters are EVERYWHERE in new york! i can’t turn a corner without seeing a trace of him somewhere!

you KNOW i hadda get myself in on the action
i didn’t drink those brewsky’s on the steps but they sure add to the ‘tude i’m displaying in the photo

if my hip-hop album debut were about to drop, this would be the album cover, surely
blurred for her pleasure

what the hell was i doing here, sniffing the wall?
no no no, i retract that earlier statement…THIS would be my hip-hop album cover. nicely done, estima
aww bless.
wind blown
seriously, let me help you with that.

i mentioned in my last blog post that Jake Dobkin graciously let me interview him for research purposes. a few days later i found out that he was a panelist on the discussion of NYC street photography over at Union Docs in Williamsburg, so i headed over there to their cramped and over-heated space to attend the hotly-debated panel.
 it was actually fricken brilliant. three vastly different modes and approaches to street photography were explored and discussed and debated, but I think i preferred Jake’s approach because he was asking questions about systemic problems with street photography, rather than making hard and fast rules about what he thinks it should be.

there’s jake with his powerpoint presentation, well thought out.
… and ethnicities and the poor and the elderly and the disabled…and it goes for the cheap visual joke that isn’t always that funny…..
i took pages of detailed notes and thoughts during this talk that ended up lasting over two hours. i love how i’ve just really thrown myself into the scene here in NYC, you really gotta get your hands dirty if you’re going to discover anything about a counter-culture or sub-culture. you have to climb up a long ladder on your knees. you have to strike out for deep waters without drowning.

as i was leaving Union Docs, i walked past this amazing new piece that i didn’t see at first. it’s so powerful, and really draws your thoughts toward the socio-economic politics it’s portraying.
and whoever added this dog with the shotgun is everywhere as well, cuz i’ve seen this exact same piece in soho!
speaking of soho….when you’re walking through soho…or along houston….or through alphabet city…or the east village….remember to keep your eyes averted to the north. specifically, don’t walk by any lamp post or sign pole without inspecting it….what’s so great about this one, you ask? look closer..
IT HAS A FRICKEN SHEPARD FAIREY “andre the giant obey” STICKER ON IT!!!
these posters and stickers are SO hard to find now because most of them have been taken down….street art in general has such a short shelf life, so finding something like this is a real find. a coup, if you will. if you don’t know the infamous Shepard Fairey by name, you definitely know his work. remember this poster? of course you do. well, guess who was behind it!
omfguy no way, there’s TWO stickers on this pole. BRAINGASM.
you shoulda seen me when i found these stickers. i literally squealed out loud, rushed to find my camera, and started jumping up and down giggling like a school girl as i got happy-snappy with the point-and-shoot. you’d think i’d just won the lottery or something.
speaking of winning the lottery, as i walked through alphabet city, i looked up to see ANOTHER rare rare rare find on the wall. see it?
IT’S A SPACE INVADER!! again, most of space invader’s work has been taken down or has disappeared, so finding one still lurking about is a real treat!!

GIDDY, I TELLS YA!! i actually didn’t want to walk away from it, i just wanted to stay next to it like i was in an afterglow
haw haw haw!! get it??

alphabet city and the east village have all kinds of these hidden gardens (open to the public) where former occupied space is turned into reclaimed nature.

i’m cute as a bug.

but street artists have cleverly melded some messages even in the gardens. LOVES IT.

i should  put this sticker on every bad boyfriend i’ve ever had
hoot.
yo i’ll put it blunt if that’s what you want, yo i am a cunt and that’s what you want, you take afront, just shake ya butt, just shake ya butt New York City!! WHAT?
why did i take a photo of this comic book store? remember this episode? it’s kinda my favourite episode of the series…of all time.
katsu‘s been getting a lot of press lately….but his stuff is taken down before i get a chance to see it!
this was a massively HUUUUGE mural off of Bowery….i know i’ve seen this artist before, can someone fill a sister in?
this piece off of Bowery as well was fresh, done in the past few weeks, i reckon. it was on the wall of hotel, so surely they’ll remove it soon. but it’s so lovely….same artist as above i think
seriously, who did this? I LOVE IT.

how embarrassing it would be if you knew what i was thinking of.
found this buried in a deep dark alleyway off of bleeker.
i love you too, random small sticker on a lamp post!
so amber is taking guitar lessons, and her dorky-hot guitar teacher was playing in a live jazz band at 55 Bar in Greenwich Village, so we went to check him out…..is listening to jazz in a musky bar in the village just a little too precious? yes.
was it awesome? also yes.
we’re so smiley cute.
now we’re sexy
now we’re cute again!!
i had just gone for a run in the Cobble Hill area of brooklyn earlier in the day, so i couldn’t stay too long in the night (was exhausted from all the beauty in Cobble Hill more than the run!), but i’m glad i checked out the gaybourhood jazz of greenwich at least!

i’m now crashing on a friend’s couch in williamsburg, and since i’ve been there, i’ve already bought myself a great pair of cheap second hand Chuck Taylors (fuck you The Public Butter!! trynna charge $20 for beat-up Chucks? kiss my ass!)  AND i’ve gone for a run through the area which is populated mostly by hasidic jews….
hasidic jews are a weird bunch. technically they’re not allowed to touch women, but they wouldn’t get out of my way as i was barreling toward them in my running shoes and sweat shirt. seriously, the street was LOADED  with them, i felt like i was in 1930s Poland…or a Russian shtetl….except they were on cell phones….or behind the wheel of their SUVs.
i think the hasids were staring at me because i was wearing tights and running which i guess could be considered unladylike to them. whatever, it’s a free country (wait…is it?). just cuz hasidic jews occupy the area doesn’t mean i can’t jog through it.
although i had to suppress the urge to slap one of them on the ass as i sprinted by. that woulda been hella-funny and loaded with WIN. i didn’t though, sorry raibbis!

why yes. yes you do.
look at the size of an extra large Timmy’s here!! no wonder americans are so fat, it’s like a litre of coffee!! what is this, a Big Gulp?
it’s bigger than four hands!
today is my last full day in NYC, tomorrow i return to Toronto.
being in NYC these past two weeks really has been something. I have done so much, seen so much, met some really cool people, and i feel like i’ve achieved something. a working holiday in the true sense of the word, my writing has definitely been given a shot in the arm. i am so inspired. in fact, i kinda already feel like a new yorker. i know my way around, i know where everything is, and i’m rejecting all the tourist-y bullshit-y things that people generally do in NYC in favour of a more local experience.
i could live here.
wait, let me retype that.
I (could) live here.

I live here.