What this blog is about

It's an art blog.
Mostly about theatre... but also a healthy dose of pop culture, politics and shameless self-promotion.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney owns Marvel Comics

Mickey just bought Spiderman for $4B

Marvel charactersFrom today's Globe and Mail:
The Walt Disney Co. (DIS-N) said Monday it is buying Marvel Entertainment Inc. (MVL-N) for $4-billion (U.S.) in cash and stock, bringing characters like Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse and WALL-E.
Not sure what to make of this yet...

I'm thinking The Incredibles crossover with the Fantastic Four maybe?

Maybe not, but Broadway Spider-Man's cash-flow troubles may just have been solved.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I have great friends

All of a sudden my email was filled with Facebook notifications

I import this blog to my Facebook profile automatically. Generally, if I do an interesting post, I'll get more comments on FB than on my blog. But, in most cases, there's not too much activity on either format.

That is, until Wednesday's post was imported to my profile.

Below are some of the responses to that post. I feel like I need to share them with the wider blogosphere because 1) they reminded me that I'm not alone with these feelings, and 2) other artists feeling the same shit can benefit from my friends' wisdom.

I just wanted to thank you all for reading and responding, and how much it meant to me.


might need a good vacation somewhere new and something that will inspire - India maybe... become a yogi..:)

Dig a new well my friend.

Can I just say I relate? You're right, getting stuck in the past is not a good place to be. But recognizing how where you are is different than where you want to be is a good thing.

In my experience it all comes and goes in waves. Much like life. No sense stressing when the tide is going out, just trust that it will come in again.

I totally relate too... But one thing I've found helpful is to not give myself the option of waiting for creative inspiration (which frankly, for me, rarely comes) and to treat my passions like a job. I try to write something. Every day. Whether I want to or not.

check out http://www.dailyom.com/ You can subscribe and get a "daily om" emailed to you each day. They're freaky with their timing, things I'm feeling or thinking about (or stressing about) seem to be the next day's topic.

I can relate too... What I found familiar - besides being discontented with joe-jobs, that's what I always call them too! :) - was how I compare the present self/situation with past triumphs/failures - for me, it is not very helpful as it results in alot of "I should's", and takes me away from what is happening in the present.

There is a serious tendency in this profession to forget that we are humans first and performers second. It is impossible to give anything to your art or your job if you haven't anything left in you to give. ...It's hard to be a professional story teller if you don't take some time to generate a few stories of your own. Live your life. See other peoples' work from time to time to remind your self what you enjoy about theatre and what you'd like to change. But live your life. How else are you going learn what it is you have to say?
This one takes the cake:
I think you need one of these.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The well is dry

What the hell is up with me, lately?

I'm trying to own my current bout of creative malaise. I'm trying to investigate why I feel so tired and uninspired lately. Why I've stopped writing. Why I feel like I have nothing to offer.

It's weird. I don't know how to answer these questions.

I'm not depressed or sad or anything. In fact, outside of my creative life, things have been better than ever. I love my wife, our house, my family and, well, I've had worse joe-jobs.

I'm a little frustrated about my lack of progress in my creative/producing endeavors as of late. And more than a little nostalgic for days of yore. By end of August in 2006, I had completed 2 acting gigs, 2 directing gigs, received 2 grants, a reading for my play and had the rest of the year and my next season already mapped out. In 2009, I've done one acting gig and received one grant... and very little sits on the horizon.

Eeyuck. I don't want to be that guy. I don't want to be stuck in the past. I hate thinking about that shit, and I'm sorry that I wrote it down.

But I'm trying to own it. So there it sits in my post.

My biggest concern right now is that I feel locked in by a number of factors. Yes, my joe-job is not terrible--but it's not good either. It pays well, it's stupid easy, but it has nothing to do with what I want to be doing with my life and will not lead me there. At the same time, I have more responsibilities than I did in my twenties (family, mortgage, etc.), and I can't just quit and hope that something better comes along. I'm not sure if there is something better: we all know that artists need supplementary income. Do I want to go back to waiting tables? Hell no. Do I want to teach? No -- that's not a secondary job, that's another career entirely. I don't know what I want to do.

I also feel locked in by my artistic choices. I feel like whenever things get rocky, I drop everything and move on to something new. Which is irresponsible and wasteful. I want to follow through. But at the same time, I'm spinning my wheels on this current thing. WTF am I supposed to do? I'm afraid if I try break my bad habit, I'm going stay stuck in the same creative void for even longer. Another year? Two?


Before starting this post, I checked out my very first post on this blog, and two things caught my eye. I wrote,
Another word about this blog. About 2 or 3 years ago, my good buddy Shaun told me that all he wants to do is wander the earth and spread righteousness. I'm gonna try to emulate that here.
And then I quoted from my superhero play:
"There are two kinds of people in this world: those who might imagine a whole other, fantastic reality from the world we know… and those who participate in that reality."
-- Shady Character (Episode 2)
What happened to that guy?

Monday, August 24, 2009

In defence of Canadian Heathcare

GDP Spending on Healthcare

Interesting math concerning our socialist... I mean, 'single-payer' system...

Please forgive this post, for I make a lot of big assumptions and generalizations below.

If you're like me, you might feel somewhat divided about President Obama's efforts to reform the American Healthcare system. Yes... you want him to succeed, you believe that he's doing the right thing... for Americans. But at the same time, what he's really advocating is a two-tiered system, something that I'm profoundly against, here in Canada.

But I think that a person can be both pro-AmericanHealthCareReform and pro-CanadianUniversalHealthCare at the same time, because their system is so much shittier than ours.

Forget the GDP arguement. It's often repeated that Americans spend a higher percentage of their country's GDP on healthcare than any other industrialized nation. But that doesn't really mean anything to anyone. The real questions are how much do I spend on healthcare, am I getting value for my money, and are others getting better value for less?

It's suprisingly complicated to try to get answers for any of these questions. Trying to figure out how much an average Canadian spends on healthcare is difficult because spending is based on taxation, and taxation in Canada is progressive (meaning that your income tax percentages differ based on how much you make -- American taxation is also progressive BTW.) We also have sales taxes and corporate taxes, which means that there are pools of money going towards healthcare that aren't coming directly from your wages (some may argue this point, though). Finally, because healthcare is administered provincially rather than federally, there's no real national percentage of how much of a Canadian taxpayer's dollar is invested into health.

As such, if you're not a professional statistician and you're only armed with Google and some basic math skills, any answers you'll find will be way over-simplified. I'm not a professional statistician, and my math skills are a little suspect, but apparently I had some time on my hands, so I did a little digging.

Wikipedia has nice little compartive chart in its Taxation in Canada page that lists average Income Tax rates in different countries. The below info is from that chart --

In 2005, a Canadian who was:
Single with no children, paid 31.6%
Married with 2 children, paid 21.5%

In 2005, an American who was:
Single with no children, paid 29.1%
Married with 2 children, paid 11.9% (wow, no wonder they have deficit problems)

Now, this doesn't mean much unless you know how much income you're paying tax on. According to Statistics Canada, the average household income in Canada in 2006 was $53,634. Meanwhile, the median US household income in 2005 was approximately $46,000, at least according to WikiAnswers.

Okay... some of these sources are legit, and some are less so. I reference two different years when comparing annual household incomes. There's no accounting for the difference in currencies. But, for brevity's sake, let's call it even.

Using the above numbers, simple math tells me that --

In 2005, a Canadian who was:
Single with no children, paid about $16,948 in personal income taxes
Married with 2 children, paid about $11,531 in personal income taxes

Now... how much of that went towards healthcare? Because I live in Ontario, I'm going to use this jurisdiction as a base. In 2009, Ontario is projected to spend 43 cents of every tax dollar on healthcare. In 2008, it was 46 cents.

If we round this to about 45% of the provincial budget, and we pretend that sales/corporate/miscellaneous taxes don't exist, we can see that this equals about:
$7,627 for single persons, spent on healthcare annually
$5,189 for families with 2 kids, spent on healthcare annually

How does this compare to America?

Well, I found this tidbit on About.com:
The federal government tracks average spending on health insurance for people with job-based coverage. The most recent figures are from 2005, and indicate that the average individual's job-based premiums were $3,991 that year, while families spent an average of $10,728.
Something's off here... the American tax system seems to be geared towards giving families a break on taxes. But, compared to my numbers above, American families pay way more on health care coverage than do Canadians.

Futhermore, as far as I'm concerned, if you're paying job-based premiums, that's really no different from a payroll tax. It's a benefit, sure, but if that money wasn't going towards health insurance, then it would be going into that employee's wallet. Thus, I think it's only fair to add this to the Americans' average income taxes... how much was that again?

According to our numbers, in 2005, an American who was:
Single with no children, paid about $13,386 in personal income taxes, for a total of $17,377 with healthcare costs added in.
Married with 2 children, paid about $5,474 in personal income taxes, for a total of $16,202 with healthcare costs added in.

And these people are considered lucky because they have insurance through their employers.

However, these numbers (inaccurate as they are) are even more damning when you consider:
-How much I inflated the Canadian costs by not including sales or corporate tax revenue in my equations... I just assumed that healthcare is paid for entirely by Income Tax, and that's not the case at all.
-That the Canadian's tax dollars cover everyone, not just those who can afford premiums, and even those who fall upon hard times and are in most need of healthcare will still be covered.
-That the Canadian system cannot disqualify a taxpayer for "pre-existing conditions" or any other kind of nonsense.
-That all of the revenue generated for healthcare goes towards healthcare, rather than lining the pockets of insurance company execs or stockholders.

Our system is not perfect. But it's a helluva lot better than theirs.

I know this is supposed to be an arts blog. But, what more can I say when this post on Parabasis sums up this issue so much better than I ever will.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wow, did you see that storm last night???

Toronado hits GTA

Check out crazy pics and vids over at Blog TO

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The next step...

Interesting first release choice for MarvelMotionComics.com

This is pretty cool.

If I'm not able to get a proper staged version of my Superhero LIVE! play produced, pursuing something like this might be my next option.

Or... maybe pursuing something like this might lead to a proper staged version of SHL!...


Monday, August 17, 2009

A little something cool; a little something inspiring...

Back from vacation, here are some neat links

Hey kids;
Sorry I haven't blogged in a while: was on a little vacation and just got back. I never know what the protocol is for vacation non-blogging ...

... erm... that's not entirely true. This is the appropriate post while on vacation. But I worry about announcing to the world that my pad is empty whenever I take off for a few days.

But maybe that's a pre-historic attitude for a blogger in this here 21st century, digital/information age. After all when you look at somebody like Jeff Jarvis, a news-media critic and social media analyst who recently decided to blog to the world about his prostate cancer, you kind of feel like a luddite when refusing to share about your little trip to NYC. (We had a great time BTW.)

I'm totally inspired by Jeff's transparency, moreover because I don't think I could do it if I were in his shoes. I hope he has a speedy recovery... and since he lives in America, I hope like hell he's got good insurance.

On to something a little lighter...

There's quite a bit of interest bubbling about James Cameron's newest movie since Titanic: Avatar. I hadn't heard very much about it, until my film buddy started excitingly telling me about over sushi last week. Then I come across a cool interview on the L.A. Times' Hero Complex blog. Here's part 1 and here's part 2.

My favourite portion of the whole interview is right off the top when it notes that Mr. Cameron is indeed a "Canadian" filmmaker.

... Except, when's the last time he did a Canadian film?