Hey, I made another video

I think I’m getting better at this. Our volunteer alumni had such a hoot being hand models. They really are fantastic people.

Hey I made a video

This isn’t the first video I’ve ever made of course, but it is the first I’ve made in my official capacity as OCAD University’s first ever 100% full-time social media staffer, a new position I was hired into about a month ago. I’ll be the first to admit it’s far from polished, perfect or even comprehensively representative of the event, but I’m on a learning curve. I spent only a few hours cutting this together with some pretty rudimentary tools, and, I discovered, not enough variety of footage. I have a colleague who’s job it is to make the really polished stuff; my role involves more grassroots, day-in-the-life, rough-cut kind of material intended to keep our content feeds happily rolling along (with strategic roots in recruitment, student affairs and marketing/communications).

I tend to keep my work life somewhat segregated from what I post over here in my blog, but hey — I’m a whole person, and this what I toil away at in my day job. And frankly, while I’m living in temporary digs with 99% of my life packed into storage, work occupies the majority of my time these days.

For those of you that don’t know, I’ve spent the last 8 years working at OCAD U as a media relations, communications and marketing expert. This work eventually came to encompass social media, and finally the institution invested in a dedicated, full-time position. So this is my new gig, and boy have I got lots of learning to do. It’s fun, it’s just the right mix of web and tech, and it’s strategic communications with some customer service/student experience thrown in for good measure. It’s community-building and it’s story telling. Considering I had a rather mediocre OCAD U student experience myself, I figure I have a lot I can contribute here. And, after 8 years doing the same job, I was more than ready for a new challenge.

That’s it for the shop talk for now!

Remembering Mr. Dressup

Several weeks ago at work I coordinated a little film shoot in collaboration with the CBC as part of their 75th anniversary celebrations, to bring together a group of artists at OCAD to remember the influence of the late, great Mr. Dressup (Ernie Coombs) on us all as kids. The spot turned out beautifully (and yay! I don’t sound like a blathering idiot!).

I don’t normally bring in my work life to my blog here, but this is one of those lovely moments that I had to share. This is why I do the work that I do. I must keep reminding myself. Enjoy!

Sleepless in Toronto

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2010 from Sarah Mulholland on Vimeo.

Monument to Smile by Agnes Winter

Monument to Smile by Agnes Winter

Last night Toronto celebrated five years of white nights, and for the first time in the history of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche I was not obligated to be at work for at least part of it. Usually I’m at least partially involved in helping get set up at OCAD, but this year their set up was largely technology and projection, so not so many hands needed on deck. Chris was away for Oktoberfest at Beau’s near Ottawa, so I tagged along with my friends Ariella, Adria and Brad for a fabulous evening on the town.

The Blinking Eyes of Everything at Church of Holy Trinity near Eaton's

The Blinking Eyes of Everything at Church of Holy Trinity near Eaton's

Usually I get out and about to see something. Last year I even made it so far as Liberty Village. But usually I’m so utterly exhausted before I even begin my expedition, I don’t last long. I’ve usually been on my feet for so many hours that I can hardly walk by midnight. But last night we started out with a leisurely late dinner at the Boulevard Cafe on Harbord St., and then meandered up to Bloor Street. I had hoped to see Philip Beesley’s Aurora at the Royal Conservatory of Music, but when we got there a line all the way to Bloor and University Avenue indicated at least a few hours wait to get in. So much for that. I hope it was good for all those who waited.

We made our way up to Yorkville through the massive hoards of people on Bloor Street to try to catch Iskootāo (Cree for ‘woman’s heart’) by Kent Monkman and Gisèle Gordon, only to find that it was fairly quiet. I had expected some performance aspect from Monkman as his alter ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle. The work itself was the giant rock that is part of Cumberland Park lit up and with sound like a large beating heart (the beating heart of a woman exists in Yorkville?). It was quite subtle and clever, but didn’t hold people’s attention for long. I wonder if there were indeed any performative aspects, and if so, how they were.

The Blinking Eyes of Everything at Church of Holy Trinity near Eaton's

The Blinking Eyes of Everything at Church of Holy Trinity near Eaton's

We then walked to Yonge and down Yonge, stopped at the Brownstone Bistro for a pee and beer break. That place had a weird vibe going on — like they were trying way too hard. Call me an art snob but that place was like another world. We sucked back our brews and moved on as fast as possible.

There was almost nothing along Yonge except crazy huge masses of people. We started to feel like we were never going to encounter an installation. Eventually we hit Yonge Dundas Square, but there was basically nothing there. Crossed the street and headed through the Eaton’s Centre to discover that the Church of the Holy Trinity, tucked between Eaton’s and the Marriott hotel, was a little undiscovered oasis. The church itself I had never been inside, and it is a real gem. The piece going on inside, The Blinking Eyes of Everything, included some projection and a few cellists playing a single note that would change only after a few minutes. It was quite beautiful.

Daniel Lanois's Later that Night at the Drive In

Daniel Lanois's Later that Night at the Drive-In

One of the other impressive installations/performances was Daniel Lanois’s Later that Night at the Drive-In. When we were there, creepy horror films like The Shining were playing on a series of screens all over Nathan Phillips Square, but all swirly and distorted, reminding me of some historic evenings spent under various influences I won’t name here. Coupled with some seriously intense music, it was equally fascinating and disturbing.

Daniel Lanois's Later that Night at the Drive-In

Daniel Lanois's Later that Night at the Drive-In

We then made our way towards OCAD, coming across some heavy duty marketing by Chevrolet for their new Cruze car. It was ridiculous. Entirely legal, but really aggravating.  We saw numerous unscrupulous marketers working the night,  taking advantage of the crowds, and while I know the City has little recourse to control it (I’m thinking perhaps some permits could be denied?) it really pisses me off. The night is supposed to be about art, not just another venue to sell shit to the masses. I was left with an impression that there were far more marketing ventures than art installations, and we covered significant ground considering we were on foot the entire time.

Ari and Adria

Ari and Adria

That said I had a great time. We caught last call at Sin & Redemption, and then I jumped on the rocket to get home. I had to catch a cab at Bathurst and St. Clair to get all the way home (another small aggravation is that the TTC doesn’t run the whole line all night, leaving us northerners out in the cold) and I was in my door by 4 a.m., not feeling too worse for wear. In fact, I was probably still a bit wired, and could have gone longer, but I’m glad I didn’t overdo it because I could still be productive today.

Anyway, thanks to my sistas Ariella and Adria, and my brotha Brad for a wicked time. Hugs y’all.

Squishy Sharp Centre

Hello Interweb, I’m still here! I’ve just been kinda busy. Work is all consuming these days, but, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Squishy Sharp Centre

Squishy Sharp Centre

Yesterday I put in about 17 hours at the office, starting at 5:30 in the morning and going until about 10:30 at night, all in the name of OCAD. But it was for a good cause — last night was the big Whodunit? Mystery Art Sale Gala Preview, and my knitted Sharp Centre for Design had been chosen to be included in the Gala’s silent auction! I got the idea for this after doing a 3D knitted letter “I” for a the poster my colleague Matt Webb designed for the new OCAD Viewbook (below). I was racking my brain what to knit for the Whodunit sale and this is what I came up with. It turned out pretty good, if not a little wobbly on it’s pipe-cleaner supported legs. No matter how I feel about it, it was definitely a hit. OCAD’s VP Finance & Administration Peter Caldwell won the bid on it and didn’t even know I had made it until he picked it up (that’s the “mystery” behind the sale). Needless to say he is very pleased and I think I scored some brownie points (he is my boss after all).

Knitted Letter

My knitted letter "I"

Letter

Let Your Imagination Unfold at OCAD

I’ve also been doing some other knitting, some more cupcakes. My mom is using them at the gift shop she works at for display. They’re also very popular there too. I’ve done a few Christmas-coloured ones as well.

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

Christmas Cupcakes

I am SO looking forward to next week, because I have most of it off! Yay!! I’ve been calling it my “mental health holiday” because I have been burning the candle at both ends for so long now that I’m about to fall over dead. I had thought I could wait until Christmas for time off but I realized about a week and a half ago that there was just no way, no how, was I going to make it without a break.

I don’t really have anything overly exciting planned, although I happen to think being able to sleep in, bum around the house, catch up on some fall house keeping and knit to my heart’s content pretty darn exciting. I may also do a little Christmas shopping (I have very little to do actually) and I plan to go to the farm at some point and visit friends and family out that way. This break should make coasting until Christmas pretty manageable. Only one more sleep until vacation!

Nickodemus’s Sun People

I’ve been a bit absent lately. The big news is last week I graduated. Okay, actually I guess technically I convocated. Because I actually graduated last fall. But it was a non-event. I did nothing to mark it and OCAD, my alma mater and my employer, doesn’t have a fall convocation event. I wasn’t going to do it originally, but when I got my official invite I decided what the hell, why not? How often to you get to invite all your co-workers to your graduation?

Anyway, it was a lot of fun and there was lots of hoopla when I crossed the stage. Now it all feels official.

I’m hoping now to settle into something of a summer routine. Work ought to be much more manageable for the next few months (notice I say “ought”, not “will” — nothing is guaranteed). I really want to get my big butt back to the gym on a somewhat regular basis and get back on track with my goal of increased fitness and hopefully weight loss. Getting back to the gym will be a major factor in improving my general mood and outlook. I’ve been feeling a bit depressed lately, and I don’t just mean that as a figure of speech. The loss of my dog, and my cat only a couple months before, has been a bigger blow than I anticipated and I find myself really struggling in those quieter moments to keep motivated and to find purpose. I know they were “just animals”, but they were also my closest, most accepting, constant and loving friends.

Also, the saga of our “place of residence” has recently reared its ugly, dramatic head, and this situation continues to fluctuate between the positive and negative on an almost daily basis. I know this is incredibly cryptic but I have alluded to the issue before, and until this resolves itself and I have something concrete to say, I’m not going to go there.

On a musical note, I have to share that I am SO loving Nickodemus’s new album Sun People, especially the ever-catchy single ‘Sun Children’. You can download the tune for free from Nickodemus’s site. Sun Children is in my opinion, a perfect summer drivin’ tune. And I just might get to play it in my new car in two more sleeps!!

Nickodemus - Sun People

Nickodemus - Sun People

Trading up for a better model

It’s official – I am the proud new owner of a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I actually graduated back in 2000 but at that time, my alma mater, the Ontario College of Art & Design, was offering diplomas. In 2002, they became degree granting, and in 2006 I embarked on the path to an upgrade. This summer I had to undergo a not insignificant surgery (don’t worry, I’m all healthy and good) which had me worried I would be set back by at least six months in finishing (can’t take courses in the fall – way too insanely busy at work), but I managed to squeeze in my last course just in time before going under the knife, after which I spent five weeks recovering.

Today I traded in my old diploma for a shiny new degree. Yippie!!!!!

City a-glow-glow

So the critics are having a hay-day as usual with this past weekend’s Nuit Blanche offerings, and I have to admit, I found it a little lacklustre, myself, with a few exceptions. First of all, there’s something magical about everyone being out exploring the city. There were people in every nook and cranny, every alleyway, practically every building.

Nuit Blanche 2008 - Downtown Toronto

Downtown a-glow

But this is also the event’s downfall. Wall-to-wall people. I didn’t get into some great stuff because a.) I was technically on the clock, but mainly b.) because the lines were just too long. All this being said, I was absolutely floored by Stereoscope by Project Blinkenlights out of Berlin.

Nuit Blanche 2008 - City Hall

Toronto City Hall - Stereoscope by Project Blinkenlights

Nuit Blanche 2008 - City Hall

Toronto City Hall - Stereoscope by Project Blinkenlights

Nuit Blanche 2008 - City Hall

Toronto City Hall - Stereoscope by Project Blinkenlights

They turned City Hall’s two towers into an incredible light show. Besides the awe of the installation itself, I think what made it such a great experience was that you didn’t have to fight any crowds to see it. You could experience it from any angle, from the street, from the upper ramp that surrounds Nathan Philips Square, from the Square itself or just anywhere nearby.

Nuit Blanche 2008 - OCAD

Nuit Blanche at OCAD

Nuit Blanche 2008 - CN Tower

CN Tower a-glow-glow

That’s what I think Nuit Blanche should be… contemporary art experiences within the city that can be both intimate and accessible, and by accessible I mean you shouldn’t have to cram yourself into a tiny room like a can of sardines to experience it.