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

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Listen to “Spray It, Don’t Say It” – my latest Spoken Word performance

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A couple weeks ago I performed a Spoken Word piece at The Spoke, a live storytelling event here in Toronto, which I blogged about here. The organizers recorded the audio of my piece for their podcast, and you can now listen to it here below! It deals with street art, graffiti, heartbeats, heartbreak, mourning, healing, hope…all the good stuff. Enjoy!

My Soundcloud also has other audio clips from some of my previous Spoken Word performances, so please check it out!

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Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more on my Spoken Word performances, my published articles, essays, short stories, and more!

 


Watch my super short documentary on Sweden!

As many subscribers to my YouTube channel already know, I like to make short documentaries about my travel adventures. I’ve made really popular short and snappy films about Peru, Thailand & Cambodia, Mexico, Guatemala & Belize, India, and even places closer to home like Montreal and New York.

In any case, seeing as how I just spent a few weeks in Sweden, I thought I might try to capture the essence of Swedish metropolitan culture and blend it with my personal journey there to find simple joys and pleasures in unlikely places.

This is the result! A very short and quick watch. Only 2  minutes and 45 seconds. It will take you longer to finish a cup of coffee.

It kinda plays like SWEDEN! THE MUSICAL haha. I guess I just like making creative, visual pieces out of things that happen in my life. Enjoy!

I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. Especially since it took me 12 straight hours to edit less than 3 minutes worth of film. How do professionals do this?

Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my short documentaries, my published works, my TV interviews, and more!

 


The Lovertine: Watch my TV interview on TFO!

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Life is strange and unpredictable. You never know what’s coming for ya. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. A few months ago, you’ll remember I was interviewed and photographed for a Toronto Life feature , which itself was a lot of fun. Well, more people saw that interview than I bargained for.

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I was contacted by the good folks over at TFO 24.7, the Franco-Ontarian TV station here in Canada.  They noticed that I speak French, and that many of my love letters are in French, and they asked if they could come over and film me for a Valentine’s Day segment.

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They came over and interviewed me for 5 hours. The finished TV segment is less than 4 minutes, it’s a lot of work that goes into making a mere 4 minutes!  They filmed me in my bedroom here in Toronto, which I have decorated with the letters, old photographs, antique furniture and typewriters, and then they filmed me at an antique shop and a café.

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I really like the way this came out. The music they use is super sweet and it makes my 9 x 15 bedroom look much larger than it actually is! I’m also a little embarrassed, just because this is my bedroom and I’m inviting all of you strangers into my tiny little corner of the world, but hey…. I WOULD DOOOOO ANYTHING FOR LOVVVVVVVE. Har har.

 

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I think this is my favourite shot in the entire segment.

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Anyway, watch the entire segment below! It’s in French, of course, but you will probably still get the gist of it even if you don’t speak French. Enjoy! Savourez-le!


Check me out in Toronto Life!

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Recently, Toronto Life, an upmarket magazine here in the 6ix, asked if they could come over to my place and interview and photograph me for a series they’re doing on people who collect weird/wonderful things. So naturally my large collection of old love letters and photographs that I bought form European flea markets had to go into the fold. If you’re a longtime reader of ye olde’ blog, you know all about my flea-marketing-proclivities. This old post from 3 years ago details one of the very first love letters I ever bought at a European flea market. I’ve also sold an article to VICE about the things I collect from flea markets.

Anyway, I really like the write-up they’ve done here on me and the pictures turned out great! Click on the image above or click here to read the article in full!

And don’t forget to check out Christine Estima dot com for all of the press coverage I have received over the years, I’ve been featured in everything from CBC Newsworld, The Toronto Star, BBC Radio, and more! Click this image!NewWEbSite!


Check out my interview + photo shoot in She Does The City

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Recently I was interviewed and photographed by She Does The City on the topic of Love & Loss. They selected people from across Toronto to speak about great love, great loss, and what happens when these two opposites collide. I really like what everyone had to say, and I think my section came out nicely. The peeps at She Does The City are super cool and awesome. Shout out to Jen and Becca.

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You can read the entire piece here. Thanks for all the support munchkins, and hope you enjoy!

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Video: Get Rich or Die Mayan

Get Rich or Die Mayan: Mexico, Guatemala & Belize from christine estima on Vimeo.

 

I’m back from my latest adventure across Mexico, Guatemala & Belize. I made this quick-paced short film to give you an idea of everything I saw, experienced & enjoyed. There were pyramids, hiking, jungle walks, cave canoeing, cave diving, swimming, snorkelling with sting rays and sharks, mosquito bites, and lots and lots of adventure! I think this short 3 minute piece gives you a good idea of what I saw, felt, smelled, touched and heard. Also, I edited it so that most shots are only a second long (we all have short attention spans, don’t we) so it moves quickly and at a fun pace! Please watch and let me know what you think!

I took some great photos as well, most of which you can see here on my Instagram, but here’s a short selection!

Get rich or die Mayan.

A post shared by Chris (@cestima) on

But my favourite photo isn’t digital or staged or even featuring me. I brought a waterproof disposable camera with me because I knew I would be exploring some cenotes whilst I was away. I took this pic with the disposable camera and I just developed it yesterday. I have no idea how a disposable camera was able to capture such a great composition and a scene loaded with so much meaning, but there you go. Digital isn’t always better.

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I’ve had some amazing adventures in my short life…. PeruThailand & Cambodia …. IndiaVancouver & WhistlerLondon…. NYC…. Montreal… and so much Europe over and over….and so many more! I hope to make more films about my adventures, and I hope the adventures never run low.

I already have some new adventures planned for the new year, more on that for another post. Also, I have more publications forthcoming in a few literary magazines and cultural journals. So stay tuned, there’s always something in the works with this-here pipsqueak.


TorontoVerve featuring my Resting Bitch Face

As I hinted at last week, I was recently interviewed and photographed for fashion blog TorontoVerve and the post has gone live. I talk about my love of typewriters, and also about my writing philosophy: what motivates me, what I like to write about it, how it provides catharsis, and how all writers need to HUSTLE! And it features my beloved 91-year-old typewriter that I blogged about here.


The photographs are pretty punk-rock. I know I’m not perfect, but hey, LOOK AT ALL THE FUCKS I GIVE.

Check it out over at TorontoVerve, and also check out the last time TorontoVerve profiled me back in 2012.


TorontoVerve sneak peak!

Last month I did a wee little photoshoot with TorontoVerve at Ashbridge’s Bay. We collab’d on a previous shoot back in 2012 and it was nice to reconnect. We both had some great ideas of what kind of themes and images we’d like to explore in this shoot, and we brought them together: typewriters and lakes! Fun fact: the water was so icy cold, we had to keep running to shore every 5 minutes because our feet were going hypothermic. Here’s to fashion, err’one.

I like to think my face in the above photo says, “You interrupted me.”

Or perhaps, “I give zero fucks.”

And this one says, “Enjoy my resting bitch face.”

The full post with all the images is coming soon but a preview-sneak-peak has just been posted. Head over to TorontoVerve and check it out, and also all the other great content posted there daily!


The All-New ChristineEstima.com 10-Year Blogiverary!

NewWEbSite!

If you’ve bookmarked this site as christineestima.wordpress.com, it’s time to update your links! I have a whole new website up and running at ChristineEstima.com! It’s my professional, sleek, clean, and fresh-to-death new corner of the internet**. You’ll find details of who I am, my career as a writer and author, my published works, the media coverage I’ve garnered, what others have said about me, recent performances, and yes, a link to this beloved blog of mine.

I started The Spadina Monologues TEN YEARS AGO in April 2005, and while most of my contemporary blogger friends from that time lost interest and abandoned their spaces, I kept mine going with an unusual degree of tenacity. In ten years, a lot has happened! There were First Publications, Artistic Awards, SO . MUCH . GLOBAL. TRAVEL , social media campaigns and amazing parties and experiences, and I somehow managed to keep catching the attention of the media and press. . . and through it all, of course, there was Street Art and Graffiti!

In 10 years, I have travelled to more cities and countries than I can actually remember. 89 stamps on my passport. I have lived in 12 cities around the world. I have had lots of ethereally-beautiful moments, and lots of disappointment … and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I am still going to keep this blog alive and continue to update it, so do check back often. The updates may be dialled back a bit and perhaps not as frequent as the summer of 2012 when I was blogging THIRTEEN TIMES A DAY (it was New York, gimme a break), but there will be fabulous content nonetheless.

So please update your links and visit the new home of Writer/Author/Purveyor of Awesome Christine Estima!

**Redesign and development by Corbin Smith, whom ya’ll should hire for your web design/development needs


Storytelling in the Spotlight

A couple nights ago, I took to the stage at Raconteurs, a live storytelling/spoken word event here in Toronto. Many of you will remember when I performed at Spark London in the UK two or three times. Since then, I developed a taste for live storytelling, probably because it feeds into my need to be a ham, and talk about myself. Womp womp.

Last month, I performed at The Moth in New York City. That experience was probably the most exhilaration storytelling event of my life. There was easily 400 people in the crowd, and the massive standing-O and cheerful roar of applause after I was done was so galvanizing and fulfilling. They’re sending me the video footage of that night, and soon Raconteurs will upload the footage of my story to their YouTube. so stay tuned, munchkins. I hope to do Spark London, The Moth, and Raconteurs again. I listen to all of their podcasts, and am glad to be featured on there too!

Live storytelling feels like an obvious step in my evolution. I double-majored Theatre and Creative Writing for my undergraduate degree. Live storytelling combines them both, you get the performative aspects and the audience pay-off, but also you get to employ the nuances of language and creative non-fiction. I can pretend I’m one of those actor-writer types like Ethan Hawke (who has also performed at The Moth, fyi).

Expect to see more of me on the storytelling stage, my dudes. Dudebros. Brojangles.

Okay I’ll stop now.

Photography by 1nspireinc


Check out my interview in Vancouver 24 Hours!

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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!


I made the front page of WordPress!

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WordPress likes to promote some of the hottest and most interesting blogs on their server, and my lil blog The Spadina Monologues was chosen as their first pick for Street Art!! This is a big deal, because not only was I featured on WordPress’s official blog, but they also sent out a newsletter to EVERY SINGLE WORDPRESS USER featuring my photographs.

I was wondering why my stats were going a big crazy.

So hello to all of my new followers and readers today! You have excellent taste.

This blog is almost exclusively about street art and graffiti, with a tinge of event-coverage and travel-stories, so if you liked what WordPress had to say about me, you’ll enjoy scrolling through the rest of this blog.

Let us celebrate this wondrous event by adding “Wind” to “Hair.”

wind in my hair on Make A Gif

Shameless?

Yes.

Unwashed hair?

Also yes.

Fanks WordPress and fanks to you, my munchkins, for your support 🙂


#FirstDates: That’s a wrap!


As I previously blogged, the second season of First Dates has come to an end, and the entire cast was on hand this past weekend to celebrate it in full-London style at Café de Paris in the heart of Piccadilly Circus. It was such a trip to have been cast in this television show. I found out recently that over 14,000 people applied to be on the show this year, and I was one of 50-some-odd people to make the final cast. That really is humbling. And also, a small source of pride:)

Here are some photos of me bonding with the rest of the cast from the omni-shambolic clusterfuck that was the all-night Wrap Party! In the above photo, it’s me and my harem of bearded men. Jonathan, Ralph, my date Paul, and Steve. I’m sure all of you have already seen my episode (the premiere episode, of course!), but if you want to see the rest of the series starring these lovely lads, be sure to watch them on 4oD!

Me and date Paul. You see, people? Despite what some audiences thought when they watched our date, Paul and I actually got on like gang-busters. We are great mates and we have nothing but love and high-fives for each other. I’m not gonna lie, throughout the wrap party, there may or may not have been some crotch-grabbing on our parts. YOU HEARD ME.

Of course, it wouldn’t have been a party unless Paul and Steve rubbed their beards ALL UP IN MY GRILL.

Here’s Mo (who was also in the premiere episode with me) and Corinne, who was featured in 3 episodes and, memorably, was reduced to tears by the infamous Rajan. Mo is such a great guy, we had such a great time getting to know each other at the party. We’re both Middle Eastern so having this experience was important to us, to show that not all Arabs are terrorists! We can be LUVAS too, ya know. As for Corinne, there was a bit of drama at the party, which I won’t get into here, so that’s probably why in this and the below photo, she’s pulling quite odd and awkward faces.

Uh…. yeah.


Back to the party! There’s Chloe, who also was featured in the premiere episode with me. Remember her dog Bentley? Aw bless. The doggie stole the show.


And there’s Saniya. Who could ever forget her hilarious comment about Mo and, uh, spaghetti. I’m still not sure I understand it.

SNOGGING STEVE. My life is complete.

Sarah Jayne, as you’ll remember from the First Dates commercial, was looking for her Prince Charming. Jonathan, the Alan Carr doppleganger, was on the hunt for a more ‘seasoned’ lady. They were such fun at the party 🙂

And that’s a wrap, people! Thank you for watching and for your support! It was quite  an unforgettable experience, and it reminded me that life is always full of surprises, as long as you keep allowing them in. There is never, ever, any excuse in this life to be bored. This chapter is closed. Onto the next!

And let me tell you, from what I’ve got planned, the next chapter in my life is going to be something else.

Just you wait.


Come to the #FirstDates wrap party on 12 April at Café de Paris

First Dates

So remember when I did that lil’ documentary series called First Dates? It aired last month, and the series is still on the airwaves until April. Well, once the show goes off the air, there will be Wrap Party here in London and you are invited. It will be at Café de Paris (between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square) on 12 April, and all the info you need to get on the list and into the par-tay is on the above poster. Most of the cast (including this wee Canadian lass) will be there, so join us in toasting our horrible, horrible flirting skills.

You’ll get to see more of my winning facial expressions like this:

… and this!

(in all honesty, this above facial expression is how i feel about dating in general, hahaha!)

…and this!

There will be laughter…

…and glances…

…and if not, you’ll be at home on your laptop, wishing you join in on the par-tay.

You can get a taste of my horrible flirts in the commercial for the show, below. So come on down, London, and watch me buy things myself. See ya on the 12th.

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BIG NEWS: Watch me in an episode of Channel 4’s #FirstDates !

I’ve been sitting on this news since OCTOBER you guys. I’ve hinted at it in the past, but couldn’t say a word until now. I was selected to appear in an episode of Channel 4’s documentary series First Dates, a fly-on-the-wall documentary show about singletons going on first dates in London. They’ve featured me in the commercial advertising the show, which you can watch above.

My episode, where I went on a lovely date with Paul, will air this Wednesday, February 12th at 10pm on Channel 4 in the UK and Ireland. After, it will be available to watch online on 4oD. I’m afraid it won’t be broadcast internationally, nor is 4oD available internationally, so unless someone uploads a torrent of this, you won’t be able to watch it unless you live in the UK or Ireland. But hopefully a bunch of my British munchkins will watch and enjoy and share!

EDIT: They’ve also uploaded my “dating profile” to the First Dates website, check me out here!

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Since the commercial started airing, I’ve been inundated with messages from people asking, “Did I just see you in a commercial for First Dates on Channel 4?!”

Haha! It’s nice to know that even though I have 2 seconds of air-time in this commercial, I’m instantly recognizable . . . The Canadian accent must be the give-away.

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I’m really excited about this because I feel like I’m starting 2014 off right. First, I am invited to lecture at an academic conference, then I am invited to do a spoken word performance at Spark London (which you can listen to here on their podcast, I’m the first performer on it!) and now I’m featured on a brilliant documentary series about love.

That’s what I love about life: it is always exquisitely unpredictable, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There are no rules to this thing, go out there and live your life, make it your own, fill it with adventure and extraordinary experiences until it’s bursting at the seams, and never look back.

Onward and upward!


Calling all Feminists!

I decided to perform another spoken word piece at Spark London tonight. The theme was “fame” so I thought I’d speak about a lil’ reality TV show I once was cast in. Enjoy!

You might remember the last time I did a spoken word piece: that was much more sombre and solemn. This is more upbeat, if a tad on the “how pathetic, but I can laugh at myself” side.

Lots of people came up to me afterwards to say how much they enjoyed my piece, and then the organizers of a curated spoken word event, also run by Spark London, invited me to speak at their next event! Which is so kind of them. Yay!

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In addition, I have more good news to report! I have been invited to lecture at the 5th Global Conference on Storytelling, to be held in May in Lisbon, Portugal! This is really exciting because almost all of the other lecturers invited to this event are affiliated with a university (Professors or PhD researchers). I am unaffiliated, I’m just a gal who wrote an academic paper that the organizers enjoyed. So if any of you little munchkins are planning on being in Lisbon (and you should, Lisbon in the month of May is quite delightful), please do come and watch me flex my academic vernacular as far as it can stretch.

I’m debating whether I should fly to Lisbon, or just take the train . . . or . . . ACADEMIC ROAD TRIP!

So many projects are in the works . . . fellowships, funding, publications, and some top-secret stuff that I really want to share with all of you but I’m sworn to secrecy! Can’t wait for these projects to come to fruition and I can finally talk about them! But, in the meantime, I send you fanks for all the support, my delicious munchkins.

Life is unfolding the way it should. It’s a my-future’s-so-bright-I-gotta-wear-shades type dealie. You better stand back, cuz the woman I’m going to be is something fierce.


Why I’m not in Germany anymore…

After my last post where I mentioned being homeless and a waif, I got quite a few private messages from you, my munchkins. It’s been about four months now, and I haven’t really talked about why I’m not in Germany anymore. In fact, most of my friends didn’t even know I had left until weeks (and for some, months) after the fact.

Truth be told, I couldn’t talk about it.

I figured the only kind of catharsis I could afford was to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and tell my story. So I did that a few weeks ago at Spark London, a live storytelling event in London. All the stories are true and told without notes. So, the above video is my true story.

I posted this on Facebook the day after the event, and the outpouring of comments and private messages from people on there was so supportive and heartwarming to affirming. Here’s a cross section:

-“I just watched the video. Then wept.”

-“your video really moved me. i watched it three times and it made me cry. you are such a brave woman.”

-“I watched your video. it was artful and cathartic…you are honest, and blunt as hell. and have fire and i like it.”

-“I’ve watched your video a couple of times and it really moved me. You are wonderful and brave…You have a lovely soul, which was visible when you bared it. Xx”

-“I just watched your video and while I knew so much of that I’m sitting on a bus, bawling.”

-“OH MY goodness. I just watched this piece you performed and it made me cry. I bet tons of people have said that. I don’t have the words to express how much empathy, anger, compassion, sadness and love that I feel for you but also for everyone who has gone through something like this – it’s so universal….just watched it again and now I’m in tears AGAIN..”

-“It may not be much of a concillation, but you are a brilliant storyteller, and we’re all very lucky to be able to hear your stories.”

-“Just wanted to say that killed me and I’m bawling at 9:45 on a Wednesday. You’re a gift to art.”

-“Oh, sniffles, your video is amazing. I don’t know how you told your story with an even voice. You’re incredible.”

-“That was amazingly profound. I am Verklempt.”

-“you are a good one, Estima.”

-“good for you for recognizing a situation that was wrong for you. Many wouldn’t have the strength to leave.”

-“your video shook me and awoke a memory in me I thought I’d long ago purged. I’m ok knowing there’s still peace to come.”

I feel like a digital age Blanche Dubois, in that, I’ve always depended on the kindness of random internet followers;)

I’m okay now. I’ve been okay since I did this event. It’s like I let it go. I’ve moved on and I’m so happy now. My life is so charmed and wonderful, and I’ll never let someone make me feel anything less than wonderful again.

And besides, I’m living here!

So I can’t officially complain.

Anyway, the lesson herein is this:

Live a life that you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, find the strength to start over again.


My Brussels photo shoot

IMG_2300Last week in Place Jeu de Balle, a photographer asked me if I would pose for some pictures. I said okay, naturally, seeing as how I’ve done that lotsa times before. We took a whole bunch of shots as the sun set over the normally crowded marché aux puces, and I think this is the best of the lot. Everyone on Facebook seems to agree. One of my friends said, “it’s not just ‘hot!’ or whatever, it is a really nice picture that looks like you, and when I think of you in my remembery, this is what you look like. You look smart, confident, well dressed (creative, based on the ensemble). Yes. C’est toi, cherie.”

Your life is in shambles, but somehow you find a way to get dressed in the morning. Even though you run back under the covers ten times, eventually your dignity wins out over your depression. You decide that happiness is not a house you might build one day. It has got to be a choice. So you put on your favourite cowboy boots that he always hated, swath on the chocolate-black mascara, and you fucking pull yourself together. Now is the time for guts and guile.

And voilà: a damned fine photograph.

 

 


I’m one of View The Vibe’s cultural tastemakers

I was asked recently to be interviewed for View The Vibe, an online magazine that profiles Torontonians in the food, beauty and cultural sectors. It was a fun little interview where I talk about travelling, writing, and crying into my lattes (sort of). I also use the word “ejaculate.”

*tumbleweed*

. . . . . .

YOU SEE CHRISTINE, THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

Anyway, check out the interview here! Enjoy and leave a comment 🙂


Check out my Graffiti photoshoot & interview with TorontoVerve!

Recently, I had a very fun photoshoot and interview in Toronto’s infamous Graffiti Alley with TorontoVerve. If you don’t know, TorontoVerve is one of the more popular street style photoblogs in Toronto, and presents a really great cross-section of the personalities and characters to be found whilst traversing our awesome little city. Also, the photos are absolutely stunning! Anyway, they asked me if I would like to be one of their subjects, and I was humbled and flattered by the invitation.

It turned into a really fun 101 lecture on Graffiti and Street Art from Toronto, which as you all know, I can yap my freakin’ head off about! We wandered together through the alley for a few hours, and I even made him hike up Spadina to show him the last Banksy left in Toronto!

Here are some of the photos of me in the alley, but for the full interview (We talk about Banksy, Spud, Poser, graffiti turf wars, and of course, Mayor Rob ford), click over to TorontoVerve now!

Enjoy!

Fanks for Nigel for the invite and for being made of awesomesauce.

(All photographs copyright Nigel Hamid/TorontoVerve)