Song Receives Industry Nod!

Just as we are set to officially release the seasonal single ‘Street in Winter‘, a US-based music industry professionals network has given the production high marks! Singer/songwriter Donna Creighton received requests for permission to broadcast, alerting us to the accolades.

imagesSpecial recognition was given to the production of the recording, citing Donna Creighton for Composition/Performance and moi(!) as Producer/Arranger. ‘Street in Winter‘ was recorded in 2012 in anticipation of releasing for the 2013 winter season. The advance interest has been very rewarding making the wait worthwhile. Appearing on the recording with Donna is Stephen Holowitz on keyboards, Paul Stephenson on trumpet, Julia Hambleton on clarinet, Ian McKay on drums, Louise Fagan (moi!) on vocals, with our dear friend the late Kevin Muir playing bass. The song was recorded at EMAC Studios.

musicxray 21st Century A&R specializes in connecting commercially viable musicians with industry professionals. Once a song is approved for submission, it is sent to producers who rate the song’s appeal, production values and marketability. If the song receives a high enough rating, musicxray recommends the song to targeted broadcasters. We are thrilled to announce that ‘Street in Winter‘ received the highest ratings! YIPPEE!!

imagesFurther exciting broadcast announcements will be made next week – but this one, well, we couldn’t keep it to ourselves! ‘Street in Winter‘ is just like the lovely meander down a wintry street the lyrics describe. It is destined to be added to everyone’s holiday playlists!

For an advance listen please visit Donna’s Reverbnation site. You can also purchase it for only 99cents! If you choose to buy the song, you will be making an important contribution to the continuing development of new music. And you will be able to sing it anytime you want – on a wintry drive, while ice skating in your backyard rink, decorating your Christmas tree or lying on a beach on a sunny island somewhere South! imagesMore exciting news to follow – stay tuned!

SUPERHERO PROJECT!

kidsHome grown superheroes are those whose actions improve the life of one person, the community, the world. While not likely hit by lightening, bitten by a spider or hurled to earth from a far distant galaxy, the home grown superhero has some other motivation to act with consideration of others. They inspire, nurture and build a better place for the rest of us. Our Super Powers manifest in the most extraordinary ways! If you know someone whose small gesture made a huge difference or whose idea or invention made you happy then we want to know about it! What is YOUR Super Power? Please add your story, photo, link as a comment here or on our Facebook page. We want to celebrate the homegrown superheroes!

Heroines of the Sexual Gothic

Circle poster

“a hilarious, profound and subverting evening of prose and song from among the best!” – Dave Bidini, Bidiniband, the Rheostatics, Author of 11 Books, National Post columnist, and all around great guy!

A catchy title isn’t it? It can conjure various emotions, heavily influenced by our personal experiences. Some of us will focus on ‘heroines’, and others of us the ‘sexual’ – putting ‘sexual gothic’ together is certainly provocative. What we are really exploring is how the female and the idea of the feminine is framed by social context, physical attributes that we are born with or grow into, with an author’s eye to the personal exploration of herself in relation to her characters. Add the phenomenal original scoring of the Billie Hollies and we have a presentation that is rich in discovery, drama, humour and celebration.

In Heroines of the Sexual Gothic, critically acclaimed author Susan Swan explores her relationship to some of her most intriguing characters – the giantess Anna Swan, the fiercely independent Asked For Adams and the romantically idealistic Mary “Mouse” Bradford. In traditional Gothic, the setting is a ruined castle. In Sexual Gothic, the body is the ruined castle, as each of these characters contends with physical challenges or oddities that prevent them from accepting themselves as women. Woven throughout Swan’s explorations is original music composed and performed by The Billie Hollies, Toronto’s popular woman opera noir quartet. The soulful sound of The Billie Hollies singing passages from Swan’s novels bring these characters to life, allowing the audience to powerfully connect to their own hopes and struggles. We had a debut of the idea with a 20 minute sketch at a fundraiser for the Toronto Women’s Bookstore  last June. After a winter of development kindly supported by the Canada Council, we are ready for our first presentation in London, Ontario. Thank you to The Circle, Women’s Centre, Brescia University College, UWO. Join us for this unique evening of performance – Susan Swan and The Billie Hollies have created an evening of talk and music you’ll never forget.

Directed and Produced by Louise Fagan
Assistant producer and director: Mariel Marshall

The Jeanne Adamson Memorial Event of The Sophia Series presented by The Circle Women’s Centre, Brescia University College, University of Western Ontario, London Ontario Canada

Heroines of the Sexual Gothic
Featuring Canadian Author Susan Swan and
the all-woman opera noir quartet, The Billie Hollies

Thursday 2 May 2013, 8:00 p.m.
Meet & Greet Reception with the Artists to follow the performance
Brescia Auditorium, Brescia University College, London
Tickets: $20.00; $15.00 for Circle members
Free Parking

Info & Tickets: www.thecircle.ca or circle@uwo.ca
or 519-432-8353 ext. 28288

Visit our website at http://www.heroinesofthesexualgothic.com for more info about the entire team!

Sucking out the Marrow!

This hot hot hot July weather has insisted a slowing down of the pace of the past busy months. Leaps of Faith require rejuvenation! And I have found it with some dear old friends – namely  Emerson, Whitman and, today’s favourite, Thoreau. Truly, there is something quite meaningful about sitting in the cool shade of a tree, pondering ‘what the heck does it all mean’ and reading this excerpt, almost as if for the first time:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

This is the point, isn’t it? This is what keeps us searching, looking, testing, trying, because to leave it un-turned or untried, means that we didn’t rout all that was not life. Digging deep to find the truth, the core, ‘its’ and therefore, ‘our’ reason for living. The idea of ‘sucking out all the marrow of life’ resonates with me – I’m the kind of girl that gnaws on the bone of a particularly delicious steak or pork chop, to be sure to get every last bit of yummyness. Don’t be offended, I do the same with a salad. I love my salad. See what I mean? It’s all delicious!

From these marrow-sucking experiences we learn what we like, what we don’t, where we succeed best and what makes us the happiest. We learn to live sturdily, and  Spartan-like as Thoreau states. This resonates with my love of beautiful things – both in nature and man-made, like art in all its forms. I no longer have a lot of ‘stuff’ but what I do have seems excessive in its abundance because of its meaningfulness to me! ‘Less is truly more’ if there is meaning in the ‘less’.

Hot summer days spent in the shade of a tree or with my feet in the cooling edge of the beach seem like the most sublime way to enjoy the marrow. Especially when shared with a sturdy stalwart friend. Thanks Thoreau for once again being there. You’re the best!

Seeds of Creativity

My recent collaboration with Canadian author Susan Swan has reminded me of the importance of conversation in all stages of creativity – and frankly, in life! Susan and I sat down one snowy February afternoon, to videotape a series of scripted pod casts discussing her process as a writer; what transpired was the most delicious conversation that went ‘off book’ (as we say in this ‘business we call show’ – thank you Deb Filler for that quote!). The path we set out for ourselves, the expectations we have for how that path will unfold, the assumptions we have about where we will end up, are so much better served when tossed into the compost pile! Creativity seeded with the true intention to grow then blossom in its most natural and profound beauty should be the only expectation. Sure, this needs to be managed, with the wisdom we’ve gained from our experiences and the knowledge we bring to the choices we make along the way. But to determine early on that the end result is rooted in a fixed manner, in my experience has discounted the extraordinary possibilities that will arise. Fear of this unknown, which is also about trusting oneself, has certainly seen me holding on for dear life to a result I thought was the only positive outcome. When I released that old intention from my white knuckled grip, the most incredible things happened – experiences occured that I could not have imagined! Because what I saw down that long path, was based on a familiar conversation with myself. Talking, sharing, listening – communicating! In every aspect of my life, not just my creative pursuits, when I trust in myself and those I love; when I am brave enough to both share and listen; this is when all that I imagine for my work, my life, my future, are revealed in the most extraordinary and exhilarating ways! It never fails.  The magic of discovery is profound! Have you had a similar experience? What are your white knuckle triggers? I’d like to share in that conversation with you! And in the spirit of sharing, here is a link to the conversational pod casts with Susan Swan – 3 have been uploaded (see  Podcast #3 link below) the rest to be shared in the coming weeks. And I encourage you to visit Susan’s website at www.susanswanonline.com!