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!

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!

It can start with a phone call ‘Hi, do you have a minute to chat?‘ or an email ‘Hey, not sure how busy you are these days but I have an idea to run by you…‘and I am swept into a story project.

As a Creative Development Producer  I bring an artist’s perspective and producer’s strategic opinion to a project. How can this story be creatively told while keeping the logistics and finances in control. What is the best way to develop the production with this particular artist or company, keeping their unique vision at the core?

With this mindset I have been able to bring a concept from idea to the fullest expression of itself regardless of its scope. Whether the Olympic Torch Relay Celebration held outdoors on Christmas Eve to a crowd of 10,000 and a live to air televised audience, or with a single singer/songwriter in the studio recording a new composition, this approach has remained the same. How can I best tell this story? In what medium will it find its voice – is it film, music, dance, written word, television, stage?

Throw out the templatesforge the right connections, build on past experiences and trust your instinct. There is little artistic fulfillment in repeating a set pattern of how to stage a show. Why copy someone else’s method of filming when your individual perspective is so compelling? Yes we begin with certain norms, a set of standard practices, then move from there. Not for the sake of being different, but because our voices are unique.  

Finding an audience is the  honest indicator of how effective the process of development was. If the book is read or the show’s ratings are solid then the project connected. And the bottom line is that any project I have worked on has required an audience as an indicator of success financially and artistically.

Typically when asked what I do, I respond with   ‘I tell stories’. Telling stories that engage, reveal, enlighten and connect us I believe is the thread that runs through the seemingly disparate productions that have filled my life. It’s a fabulous way to spend the day!

I am delighted and excited to share the news that Canadian author Andrea Nair has just this week, released the revised edition of her hit novel stripped down running. Andrea and I worked on this latest edition last year, and now after the tweaks, final proofs, re-vamping, this newest version is available on-line as an E-Book.  Visit Andrea’s site for a peak and an inexpensive preview download price of only $5! www.andreanair.com (The paperback version will be available in late Spring).

While doing research for her Master’s degree, Andrea felt compelled to write a real-life story of resiliency where the reader could both relate to and be inspired by the main character’s journey. The result is this story of Hannah, a woman who seemingly has everything yet finds herself on a path of self-destruction that reveals an inner turmoil that threatens to destroy all she has and is. You will be drawn into Hannah’s story as stripped down running takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and ultimately personal acceptance.

The official Canadian Launch of the paperback and E-Book will be in April 2012; the New York Launch will be in the later spring. Check back here for more details – and I will be sure to announce on all the social media options at my disposal!

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!