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

toronto

Listen to my story on the @RaconteursStory podcast!

As many of you know, I’ve been doing live storytelling and spoken word for about 4 years now and I’ve been really lucky with all the places I’ve been invited to speak – London UK, NYC, and all over Toronto. You can watch many of my performances on my YouTube and also listen to the rest on my Soundcloud! Anyway, one of the places I’ve performed at twice Raconteurs Storytelling, has just relaunched their podcast and I appear in episode 3 “Appearances,” where I tell my story of my ethnicity and the mild racism that comes with being othered and “exotic.”

Click here to listen! You can also subscribe to their podcast on iTunes!

And don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my Spoken Word, published writing, and more!

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Other-Worldly and Vaguely Threatening: Part 2

It seems like at least once a year, I do a photoshoot. A couple of times, it’s been for magazines, but mostly it’s for photog friends who think I give good face, as it were. My friend Graham Isador, who’s a fellow in many ways (we both do the thee-ahh-tah, we both do Live Storytelling, we both freelance the snot out of VICE), has taken up the fine art of photog’ing and we met up earlier this week on the West Toronto Rail Path to werrrrk, shashay, chantez.

Last year I said that, you know, since I’m a professional writer, I’m not interested in looking “pretty.” I want to look “other-worldly and vaguely threatening.” This shoot is kind of an extension of that idea.

But then Graham said I was “ridiculously photogenic” so of course I had to A) giggle like a twee dickhead, and B) tell all of you people.

Ah yes, one of my typewriters made an appearance. ‘Natch. Those things are my babies.

I like doing these fun little activities every once in a while considering that my daily life is super unglamorous. I spend eight hours a day banging away at my laptop, whilst still wearing yesterday’s yoga pants and rocking a mad case of boob sweat. So when this opportunity came up, I was like, “an excuse to pluck my unibrow and wear deodorant!”

But before you comment to say I look like a rain cloud of doom…..

 

Many thanks to Graham for these wonderful shots!

Don’t forget to check out Christine Estima dot com for more from my previous photoshoots and press coverage!

 


You Will Lose All Your Friends in your 30s: my latest @VICE essay

I’ve had an absolute bonkers week (more on that in a sec) so I’m slow to report that earlier this week, my latest misanthropic, bitchy essay was published in VICE. Once you get on the wrong side of 30, it’s like a plague of locusts descends upon your friendships. You better lock up your besties and buddies in your basement now and make sure they can’t chisel their way out, because your 30s are a barren wasteland.

So, uh, enjoy?

Enjoy!

* * *

The reason this week has been absolutely bonkers is because I took part in an indie theatre fest called Operation 24! Run by Parkdale theatre darlings Unit 102, Operation 24 is a 24-hour theatre challenge where plays are written, rehearsed and performed professionally all within 24 hours! “Each writer stays up until the wee hours of the morning to craft a ten-minute play. The actors and directors take that play and rehearse it all day, preparing to show it to you, our audience at 8pm the next night. 24 hours from beginning to end resulting in a dynamite night of theatre.” As you may have guessed, I was one of the writers!

At 8pm on Tuesday night, each playwright started writing a 10 minute play on our own. After LOTS of coffee and pizza, I finished my play around 3am. I sent it to my director and two actors around 3:30am and was absolutely wrecked.


Some of the other playwrights finished around 5am (and one completely rewrote his play at 7am!). At 10am, the director and actors began to rehearse. Then at 8pm and 10pm, the actors nailed 2 performances of it, memorized, staged, blocked, cued, costumed, and lit!!

It was an absolutely thrilling and brilliant experience. Longtime readers of this blog know that in my past life I was a playwright with quite a few productions under my belt, but this was the first time something of mine had been staged since 2010. I had such a great (albeit sleep-deprived) time and I’d definitely do it again, and recommend it to all the playwrights, directors, and actors in Toronto who want a challenge!

Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my theatrical productions, performances, and more!

 

 


Check me out on @CBC’s show Podcast Playlist!

Last year I performed at GRTTWaK, reading an entry from my 1996 diary which was hilarious and cringeworthy at the same time. It was a great experience where I ended up being included on GRTTWaK’s curated podcast. Well, the CBC show Podcast Playlist got wind of my performance and included it in this week’s edition, “As Seen On TV!”

 

If you want to give’r a listen, click here and fast forward to time index 48:00!

And if you want to watch this performance in full, including me trying to stifle a giggle as the audience laughs, you can watch it below!

—-

Last week I mentioned that I’d be reading at the Toronto launch of Room Magazine’s 40th Anniversary Anthology. Well it went great! A lot of people in the Canadian literary community showed up and I got to talk books, creativity, and the business with some incredibly talented and accomplished peers!

I’m so pleased that they included me in the anthology. There are more good things like this to come, things are happening and it’s all very exciting. I love being a writer, espesh a respected member of the Can. Lit. community!

As always, don’t forget to visit the official Christine Estima dot com to check out all of my published works, and all of the media attention I’ve garnered!



The Lovertine: Watch my TV interview on TFO!

tfochristine4

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!


Video: Watch me perform @RaconteursTO!

ranconteurs2016

Recently I performed at Raconteurs, a live storytelling event that happens monthly here in Toronto. I’ve performed at Raconteurs before, and as many of you know, lots of other Spoken Word events around the world like The Moth, Spark London, GRTTWaK, and Pressgang. I feel like these events bridge a nice gap between writing and performance. I don’t like to act much, I prefer to be vulnerable on the page, rather than on the stage, but Spoken Word and Live Storytelling are a nice way to meld the two.

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I told a story about trying to become the Canadian Amélie with a little help from the Bunz Trading Zone. It’s a crazy story of trying to connect with other people — complete strangers, really — and all the foibles and follies therein. You can watch it below! Enjoy!

In this new year, I have lots of things on my plate! So many upcoming publications, performances, and more! I can’t wait to share the news with you. Even though 2016 was a dumpster fire for everyone, I made some huge advances in my career and I’m so pleased with the direction in which everything is going. Small positive steps everyday lead to big things!

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Also, I have a new adventure on the horizon! On Valentine’s Day, I head to Helsingborg, Sweden for the first time! I’ve never been (even though I lived in Europe for years and years), so when a housesitting opportunity arose, so I had to take it. After Sweden, I’ll be swinging through London, Brussels, and Amsterdam to visit my friends (and celebrate my birfday! What a crazy 3 weeks this is going to be….), so if you’re in Helsingborg and want to show this wee Canadian lass around, hit me up!

As always, don’t forget to check out Christine Estima dot CALM (har har) to read all of my published articles, watch my performances, and check out my media coverage.

NewWEbSite!

 


MERRY CHRIST(ine esti)MAS: 2015 Year In Review

The essence of drama is conflict. I had a lot of both in the past few years, but 2015 was oddly light and serene. I hustled my ass off, pulled every string, worked and LIVED, and received very little flack from the universe. 2015 was THE YEAR.

I started the year in New York City where I was housesitting. On a chance invite from a friend, I attended a Moth Storytelling event. I had been listening to the Moth podcast for years, and this was a story-slam event, meaning I could put my name in a hat and possibly be called up on stage. I threw my hat in the ring, decided what I would say while I was waiting in line to get into the venue, and wouldn’t you know it….

SPOKEN WORD

Live Storytelling and Spoken Word means a lot to me and I continued to do it back home in Toronto at Raconteurs:

Storytelling is an extension of writing to me. It feeds my need to tell stories and also to be a ham. I also discovered that working out ideas on stage proved excellent for cultivating written story ideas. 2015 was also the year of–

Chris Writes All The Things

Editors this year were like, “Hey Chris, do you want to publish stuff? HERE, HAVE ALL THE PUBLICATIONS YOU LIKE.”

It was like payback for many years of only publishing maybe one or two pieces every 6 months.

Of course, this wasn’t by fluke. I busted my ass, I submitted and submitted and submitted, and got rejection after rejection, but my acceptance rate kind of skyrocketed this year. I actually found myself in the odd position SEVERAL TIMES this year where I had to reject one publication because another had already bought my piece. I was selling pieces so quick, in some instances, I had to turn people down! I ALMOST sent them the lame boilerplate rejections they had sent me for years, but nahhhhhhh.

SELLING STORIES

 

The first piece I sold this year was actually an academic essay which I sold to Palaver Journal based out of a southern University. I finished my Masters Degree ten years ago, but I can still flex my chops when I need to.

Then I sold my first piece to VICE, which was really exciting because I had been reading them since 1998 and am a huge fan, so it was great to see my pieces go across the VICE network and do really well.


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Then I sold them another piece
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And then another
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And then a bajillion more…
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I found out one of my short stories made the long-list for the prestigious CBC Canada Writes Creative Nonfiction Prize, and they profiled me on the CBC website!
IMG_7218 cbc canada writes

Then I sold a short story to GRAIN when they wanted to buy another story of mine, but I had to turn them down because another journal had already bought it, so they asked for anything else I had, and snapped up this piece right away!
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And then I cold-pitched METRO News Canada and they printed my piece in the centrefold:
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And then EVENT published one of my Nonfiction stories in this issue:
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My bio is a BOSS-ASS BITCH
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Then I sold a travel writing piece to VERGE Magazine:
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And just a couple weeks ago, another one of my serious essays about sexual harassment and the experience of reporting it to the police was published by my old friends at AufBau:

And this isn’t even all of my publications! Just a cross-section! I also sold three more stories whose publication dates are imminent, like TOUTE SUITE, dropping in a few weeks soon! So expect to read more from me in the new year!

Speaking of HouseSitting

This year, I did back…

…to back

…to back

…to back

…to back

…to back housesitting gigs.

These pictures aren’t even all of them. In total in 2015 I did ELEVEN housesits in 12 months. Considering that 4 of them lasted more than a month, and one of them lasted almost 3 months, that’s a lot of housesitting with snugglecats and dogs and not having to pay rent.

Last name Win, first name Epic.

And it’s not over yet. I’ve been housesitting for years and years now, so why stop in 2016. Starting in January, I will be housesitting in VIENNA!!

I haven’t been to Vienna since that first European clusterfuck trip in 2005 (here are some posts about that trip…. gosh this blog is old). I was last in Austria in 2012 for my Eurail Extravaganza, but I missed out on Vienna, so I’m super excited to spend a lot of time there this Winter.

I want to to everything Viennese, like eating strudel served by Michael Haneke on a harpsichord.

I’ll also be swinging through London, Prague, and Amsterdam, so the great tapestry of adventures I’m trying to build can continue!

Hey, You Never Know

One of my main mantra’s of 2015 was “Ask and you shall receive.” In the past I’ve refrained from asking for what I wanted because I assumed the answer would be no, or, more likely, I felt pretentious for even asking. Like, who the fuck are you Christine? You got some balls asking for that.  That changed this year, when I realized that the worst thing that could happen was they’d say No. And if that’s the worst-case-scenario, it’s pretty surmountable. So with that in mind, I figured no-guts-no-glory. I’m a writer, so my income is limited (obvi). The amount of funds I can allocate to quality of life (movies, music, theatre, concerts, performances, dance, festivals, etc) is extremely limited. So what did I do when I wanted to go to an event but couldn’t afford it?

I asked for free tickets.

And I got them.

BOOM.

This year, just because I asked, I gained free entry to the following:

Once: The Musical
-National Ballet of Canada performance of Sleeping Beauty
Deadmouse: The Musical 
Basquiat exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario
-secret alt-J concert
-the Stars of the Lid concert at the Unsound Festival
Joel Plaskett Emergency concert
Bettroffenheit theatrical play
-several Toronto International Film Festival movies, including
Homesick,
Disorder/Maryland,
Bang Gang,
Summertime,
Son of Saul.

If It Ain’t Broke…

Everyone knows I’m a huge flea market person (and this year I joined the super secret but now highly coveted collective of BUNZ Trading) so this year I procured a lot of fantastic antiques at bargain prices, and sometimes, for a few tokens or a bottle of wine.

I already had a typewriter, but I still went ahead and got myself a second one. Because reasons.


My two bee-yoots, side-by-side

And then I got a rotary phone. It’s a necessity in the modern world.

And then I finally hooked up speakers to my record player, so I went on a vinyl-buying binge, and got some gems like Duke Ellington (click the little volume button in the bottom right of the vid to listen!):

and the master Django Reinhard!

With these new gadgets, I am now able to open a sassy new office… in 1979.

Speaking of Music


I went to some kick-ass concerts this year. In years past I had grown a bit tiresome of concerts (I had been a music critic for about 5 years and now I have a touch of tinnitus…) but, I guess… YOLO

This year saw me at:

-Kiasmos
-alt-J
-Chilly Gonzales
-Stars of the Lid
-Hauschka
-Joel Plaskett Emergency

alt-J!!

alt-J!

I want to stuff Kiasmos into a bong and smoke them.

 

And, my, the new music I discovered this year!

FAV SINGLES OF 2015 include:

-“Emotion” by BORNS

-“Carry On” by Coeur de Pirate
-“Landfill” by Daughter

-all tracks by Tycho
-“All Clear” by Aidan Knight
-“Let it go” by Saint Saviour

-“Black to Gold” by Dear Rouge
-“Them” by Nils Frahm

-“Pretty Pimpin” by Kurt Vile

And the Oscar Goes To…


I saw a lot of films this year, and even reviewed some during TIFF for VICE. Here are the ones that haunted me long after the credits rolled:

-VICTORIA

-The Daughter

-Son of Saul

-Homesick

-CitizenFour

-Disorder/Maryland

As you can see from this list, I am not really a mainstream/Hollywood/wide-release film person. I prefer indie cinema, the ones that make the festival circuit. They usually have no money behind them and therefore can take more risks or tell stories we don’t normally see. So you can take your Chris Nolan/JJ Abrahms/Michael Bay clusterfuck and order it on DVD. Yawn.

Get Busy Livin’

As I said, I started the year in New York (housesitting). I also traveled to my hometown of Montreal (housesitting), and just recently I went to Miami (housesitting). But I really wanted to exercise my passport, so I bounced down to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize for a Mayan Adventure!

I made a short film about my experiences, I figured it was more fun than posting a bunch of touristy photos. I call it GET RICH OR DIE MAYAN. Enjoy!

To thine own selfie be true

I’ll end this post with the one thing everyone really wants to see:
BEST SELFIES OF 2015


I don’t really post selfies anymore, but I do take them from time to time. Here are the ones I took and never posted!

Remember, you only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

Happy New Year 2016, munchkins.

SEE YOU IN VIENNA!

Check Out My official website

Don’t forget to visit ChristineEstima.com for more!


My latest @VICE essay: bad-as-fuck women populate #TIFF15 films

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Check out my latest schlepp’ for VICE, this time about all the amazingly badass beautiful broads in  TIFF films this year. Writing this piece was so fun because I got to attend the pre-TIFF press screenings for two weeks. I see a lot of bad movies so you don’t have to (and some good ones). There was only one film I saw that I didn’t include in this piece, simply because there were no women in it — Son of Saul — but holy fuck, I highly recommend that film as well.

I used to cover TIFF every year as a critic, but I haven’t done it since 2011 when I was still writing for Exclaim! It was so difficult seeing like 5 films a day, and having to file your reviews by like 7am the next morning, and then doing it all over again! I swore after that year I’d never cover TIFF again, but I guess old habits die hard.

Anyway, enjoy, comment, and share! Happy TIFF’ing.

As always, don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com where you can find all of my published works and more.

NewWEbSite!

 


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!


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 me out in the latest issue of AufBau Magazine (if you can read German)

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 AufBau is a monthly Swiss-German Jewish magazine that has been around for many decades. In the 1930s, regular contributors included Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt! Their latest issue, the August/September issue, is all about Canada with a focus on Toronto’s arts and cultural scene. Knowing full well that I’m not part of “the tribe,” they still asked me to contribute two articles to the issue! The first one is about Lorne Michaels and SNL’s continued relevance in Canada, and the second details the arts and cultural festivities that occur in Toronto each year.

Now, the issue is only in German, so if you can read German, click here or click on the above image! I’m on page 17 and later on page 23. I’ve been told that the English version might appear soon on their website… if so, I will link to that as it happens.

This is the first time I’ve ever been translated into another language. I feel pretty Ausgezeichnet, as the Germans might say.

Enjoy!


Rob Ford Sucks

Now I agree that Mayor Rob Ford sucks, but ….

…Iiiiiiii just can’t endorse this message.

This is kinda bullshit…

…just like Rob Ford’s policies…


Keep calm and be strong

Spud and Poser team up to colour a school with anti-bullying LURVE.

CLEVER!

This was on that elementary school whose name I never catch on Shaw street between Harbord and College. You know it.

So glad to see this. I was bullied as a kid and the school did nothing. In fact, they blamed it on me and told me I was bringing it on myself for being who I was. They told me to “become invisible.”

Just another brick in the wall.

Yes, I can.


YYZilla’s duck wants his feathers back

This is by YYZilla, whom I have profiled before.

Steal mah feathers to make a jacket? I’m taking that jacket back, foo!


Holden Caufield made a remark about knowing where the ducks go in winter. Pretty sure this duck wouldn’t stick around Canada if it couldn’t keep it’s own feathers. Who needs down pillows or jackets anymore anyway? We have better synthetic options. Leave the duckies alone!


This was on Bathurst, between the Bathurst bridge and King street.


Super Grover flies again

 

Some of you might remember the first time (and the second time) I ran into Super Grover by THINGS.

I found this one at Queen and Dufferin early in the summer, but never got around to blogging it, because, you know …. New York.

I love this stencil and hope THINGS puts up more of them 🙂 I know of some other locations this stencil went up, but I was never able to photograph them before DA MAN got to them.


Freedom of Speech


Start!


pretty sure this is the fine work of Denial 🙂


Shaw and Argyle 🙂

Harper: turning Canada into a deathstar since 2005.


Listen Bird is having a sugar riot

college and manning.

I got a message recently from a woman who says that when she and her kids are riding around in the car, they play a game together of “spot the listen bird.” They LOVE his birds and love trying to find them! It’s a fun game suitable for the whole family.

Isn’t that graff-spraying-awesome?

manning and dundas

in an alley near college and montrose

dundas and rusholme

Check out  my Listen Bird category for more of his awesomeness 🙂