Women don’t forget about your health too! #getthepap

Cue the wave of complaints and compliments for those growing moustaches this November. While this month is definitely off to a hairy start and lots of us have balls on the mind I thought I would take a quick second to talk about something us ladies rarely do. Last week was Cervical Cancer Awareness week, and the Canadian Cancer Society wants us ladies to know that pap tests save lives. I make sure to get checked annually but as extra motivation:



This is Shannon’s story.

Shannon Pethick was just 32-years-old when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She hadn’t had a Pap test in six to seven years, which finds changes in cervical cells that could lead to cancer. Once found, these changes can be treated before they become cancer. Shannon is now cancer-free but sadly the radiation treatments she underwent put her into menopause at 32 and she’s unable to have children.

Shannon wants to prevent other women from going through the same thing, and as a Canadian Cancer Society volunteer she’s educating women about the importance of Pap tests. If you’d like to chat with Shannon she’s available by Skype, on Twitter, Facebook or even to chat over a cup of coffee.

I really encourage everyone to keep this conversation going, because at the end of the day the more people talk about this, the more people will feel comfortable getting themselves checked. Please share and follow the conversation on Twitter, or check out the Canadian Cancer Society website for more information.

Online Shopping and Manicures

I spend an extraordinarily large part of my day online; I get most  of my news, and plan my life through social networks. I think  it would makes perfect  sense for me to extend my online activities towards also shopping online. I’m already in front of a computer screen, so why not simplify my life even further. Despite always being online, I am the kind of girl who likes brick and mortar stores, having the option to price match and return items without blinking an eye, this is why I’ve been so hesitant to shop online.

Rayanne invited me to be her guest for a Bing.ca event, where there was a demo of their new online shopping portal. Who can pass up the opportunity to have a free manicure and cocktails in exchange for a little bit of learning, maybe even some shopping? Having it at a snazzy venue like Sassafraz doesn’t hurt either.

It has been a really long week, and I had been looking forward to last night(November 25th 2010) immensely. It was a low key (but still exciting) event where ladies were there to be pampered and find out ways to make their lives easier by using online shopping as an alternative (especially at this time of year) to malls and crowds. I got my nails done with the trendy “You don’t know Jacques”

my fancy manicure

and then went to go watch a demo of how it works. All I can say is WOW, the tool is so clever, in between historical price watching, being able to see if it’s a good deal on a sliding scale as well as cross border comparisons, they have really thought of everything. The representatives from Bing were truly knowledgeable and showed genuine love for the product. I even made the ONLY guy in the room Anthony Wolf show me how to online shop for men and picked his brain for fashion tips this holiday season.

I have to give a huge high five to the organizers of this event. On occasion, I’m invited as a blogger to events that I walk away feeling a bit underwhelmed. Last night was really fun and gave me a lot to think about in terms of my shopping habits. It took away all of my hesitation towards online shopping, and I will certainly use Bing as a go to for camera gear price comparisons and to buy those cute shoes I forgot to buy in-store.

Thanks to the ladies at High Road for having me.

Crisis Response, Community Management and YOU.

I have to commend Kristie Wells and Chris Heuer for all their hard work on Social Media Club. In the day and age where everything we say and do can be broadcast instantly I have never met two such people with such honor and integrity both offline and on.

They have recently been dealing with a few trolls who chose to hijack the work that they have been doing for 4 years. Kristie addressed what happened here.

I wanted to share my experiences with a similar circumstance.
In my case I had a situation where a community event was hijacked from me.

It’s a little known fact that I hopped on board to organize The “Toronto Twitter Brunch” back in 2009. I chose dates and restaurants and reached out to the membership that the “stewards” had neglected. I was eventually made an admin on the page. I planned an event at a restaurant that could cater to the demands of the earliest forms of a tweet up. Imagine my surprise when an event that had been posted for days suddenly got changed, the time was changed, and someone else’s contact and reservation information was put into the information box. I immediately changed it and found that it was changed back. After this game of cat and mouse I received a Facebook message from the other admin person on the group, there was a series of messages back and forth and not once did the person who instigated the event changes choose to hop into the conversation. The end result was that I was booted as an admin and all the hard work I had done in the past was overshadowed by the need to grandstand and take credit for my hard work.

Please understand that I’m not asking for credit for spearheading the event. I did not start it, but I did make sure it had momentum. The second I exhibited any signs of leadership that’s when my services were no longer deemed necessary. I have never really addressed what happened until today, I’m sure you can understand why.

The reason why I emphasize SO closely with Chris and Kristie is directly related to my story. Have you ever put your heart and soul into something only to find someone else taking credit for your work. Have you ever been in the position where you feel powerless against the wrongs you have experienced?

I am an experienced community builder, both offline and on. I have been active within online communities since the early 2000’s and have been planning community events since my early teens. I live and breathe community and it’s because of experiences like this that I continue to work harder on making sure my community events are inclusive and to give credit where credit is due.

I would love to hear your stories about how you addressed adversity with regards to community building. Feel free to comment or respond on twitter @rochlatinsky

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Tiff 2010 Festival Music House night 4: Diamond Rings, Born Ruffians,Zeus, Beast, Gord Downie,

First, a huge thank you to Casie for the opportunity to cover this event. For those of you who know me, it’s pretty obvious I’m a huge music fan, more specifically local and Canadian music. The Tiff Festival Music House had been showcasing some incredible Canadian talent during the Toronto International Film Festival, and I knew I couldn’t miss the last night of the series. Diamond Rings, Born Ruffians, and Zeus are some of my favourite bands. Better yet, they are all beyond incredible live.

I got there in the middle of Diamond Rings set, but within seconds, I was in my own zone dancing along to his catchy tunes. Dressed in a bright pink tank top, skinny white jeans, high top sneakers, gold chains and the best application of blue eye shadow I have ever seen, it’s nearly impossible to have a bad time when he’s on stage.

For me the primary reason for coming to the event at the stunning Roosevelt Room was to see the Born Ruffians play. These 4 gentlemen are not only easy on the eyes but also remarkably talented musicians. They started their too short of a set with Oh Man, a new song from their recently released album Say It and continued to crank out the new tunes, by then the audience was getting bigger and slightly rowdier, which is what a Born Ruffians show should always be like. I took lots of photos and some video and tried not to look crazy being the only person in the front row that knew all of the lyrics. They closed with Foxes Mate for life, which is a quintessential Born Ruffians show closing song by then my throat was hoarse singing along and my mouth hurt from smiling.

Born Ruffians

Lots of schmoozing happened and I bumped into some old pals . Wound up with lots of ridiculous not so internet worthy photos.

Eventually Zeus took the stage. The room was almost packed to the gills and their guitar heavy but still catchy songs kept with the overall spirit of fun and camaraderie. By then, my camera was dead and my body well lubricated. So I danced some more and called it a night shortly after they ended their set.

I couldn’t have asked for a night to be any more fun then this was. It makes me glad I do what I do and inspires me to keep doing it.

Canadian Music Week Night 1/5

Canadian Music Week /Festival has been a test of endurance. My overly ambitious plan of seeing nearly 20 bands play in 5 days was only slightly dampened by the weather. Stay tuned for the 5 installments of my Canadian Music Week experience and of course, the inevitable show reviews.

Wilderness Of Manitoba
With the mantra in mind of ;“Slow and steady wins the race”, I decided to kick off my week with a quiet night close to home. Having never stepped foot in the Painted Lady, the familiarity of yet another small bar on Ossington sunk in. I made my way to the back of the room just in time to catch the beginnings of Wilderness of Manitoba. Their choruses of beautiful harmonies and melodies have never sounded better; Will Whitman and Melissa Dalton’s voices truly compliment each other in all the right places. I have seen them play on more then one occasion, but this is the first time I have ever truly tuned into the intricacies of the Wilderness of Manitoba’s songs until that night where it hit me that this band makes some of the most beautiful music on the planet. It’s not just Will and Melissa who can take all the credit the band is rounded up by the equally talented Scott Bouwmeester, Stefan Banjevic and Sean Lancaric. Who really shone in the new material, which was mentioned with the promise of a new LP being to be released in the early summer. Their current album: Hymns of Love and Spirits is the perfect album to play while enjoying the fleeting moments of sunshine in the day.
Dead Letter Chorus
I also stayed to catch Australia’s Dead Letter Chorus, a band that had a decent amount of buzz leading up to their showcase. I have come to think of the music scene in Australia as this perfect compliment to that of Toronto. Canadian Music Week / Canadian Music Festival is primarily a platform for newer artists to build an audience. What better opportunity to do so with Dead Letter Chorus. There is just something about the band that I didn’t like,maybe it was Gabrielle Huber’s almost too sweet voice. Maybe it was the fact that four well dressed under groomed men playing instruments as a backing band are a dime a dozen. Truthfully they played a really dynamic set. They had great stage presence and audience interaction but it shouldn’t take until the last song that was coincidentally written about the Great White North for me to even get into a band.

I decided to call it an early night because I knew that the next 4 days would take a lot out of me. In retrospect that was a great plan, that and bringing a few pairs of earplugs.

(this post is also found onTunesinTO

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Wavelength 500 Anniversary Show. Friday February 12th 2010, Sneaky Dee’s

I walked into Sneaky Dee’s for night three of the annual Wavelength anniversary show, and was instantly hit with a sense of nostalgia. This restaurant/bar has played host to some of my fondest memories. With countless breakfasts, late night nachos and pitchers of beer consumed, not to mention the abundance of bands whom I’ve seen grace the stage. I equate Sneaky Dee’s to have the same kind of impact as the bar “where everybody knows your name”. You can walk in at any point in the day and you are bound to run into a familiar and often friendly face. I haven’t been to Sneaky Dee’s much since Wavelength’s move to the Garrison, so it’s fitting that one of the last remaining places of my youthful shenanigans would welcome back their former Sunday night staple Wavelength.

There has been a lot of press lately about the Sunday night series that acted as a launching pad for bands like Broken Social Scene, The Constantines, and Holy Fuck. This once motley crew of citizens with good intentions have taken that initial ethos of community and creative outlet for lots of people on the fringe and implanted themselves firmly in everyone’s minds and hearts.
In it’s tenth year, the people involved have splintered off onto their own side projects, constantly bound together by the aptly titled Wavelength. In Doc Pickles’ opening monologue at Wavelength 498, he talked about this circle and this wavelength that goes on and on. It couldn’t be more fitting

Putting nostalgia aside, the bill for night three was as eclectic as can be. Recent additions to the Toronto Music Scene Young Mother kicked the night off, after Johnny Dovercourt filled in for Doc Pickle’s very big MC shoes. I first saw them play at Wavelength 490 not too long ago, this 5 piece consisting of a both a tenor and alto saxophone player left are recent additions to the Toronto music scene. I appreciate the low-fi fuzziness of what they do; their set was full of energy but nothing too original. These days bands using things like old televisions as instruments are a dime a dozen. It is a shame because it seems like they were on the right track and nearly missed it. Nevertheless continuing with the trends, I see enormous potential in Young Mother, it is definitely to their advantage that they are a good-looking bunch.

Another band I have been hearing a lot about lately is the Magic Cheezies. Their short energetic set really got the crowd dancing. Once again, another band just cutting their teeth in a very competitive sub genre, their stop start antics reminded me of the Viking Club, Eric Warner’s now defunct band who were a launching pad for my own involvement in the Toronto Music scene. Both The Magic Cheezies and Young Mother have made solid starts in continuing to contribute to everything I love about what Wavelength is all about.

I cannot fault the gents behind Wavelength for living up to their history of booking bands they specifically want to see. It’s just a shame that Laura Barret’s 11pm set time meant that most people were finally streaming in, eager to catch up with old friends it was next to impossible to catch most of what’s generally a fun and quirky set from the back of the bar. Even as I squeezed my way up front mid set the it was easy to spot abundance of people clearly at the show for the From Fiction reunion. To go from Young Mother and Magic Cheezies to an adorable Kalimba player backed by her very talented friends on minimal instruments made for an awkward transition into the later part of the night. The reality is Laura Barret plays the kind of music that generally finds a home as an opening band. It’s a shame because Robot Ponies accompanied by hilarious dancing of fellow band mate and partner Ajay Mehra confirmed that despite the chatty crowd, she totally deserved the prime spot.
It still amazes me that Kevin, Jonny, Doc, and Ryan managed to get so many bands to reunite for this auspicious occasion. The special treat of night three was that, not one but two bands bound together to play one last hurrah,(or fingers crossed reunite long term). So with my dancing shoes firmly on I stayed put waiting for The Bicycles to take the stage. It’s nice to see that camaraderie still exists despite a band breaking up. Their way too short set full of familiar songs left my heart ready to explode despite a kerfuffle with two ladies standing in the front row. A few words were said about how it’s not fun or good to fight. Despite Johnny Dovercourt’s encouragement of the band playing an encore they were half packed up by the time he took the stage.
I didn’t have the opportunity to stick around for From Fiction, but I did follow the tweets . So here’s to another 10 years of inspiration and let this be YOUR motivation to go out there and book/play shows.

Also seen on TunesinTO

Review : Andy Kim Christmas Show December 9th (Mod Club)

The Andy Kim Christmas Show is now in it’s 5th year. It is slowly becoming a must do holiday tradition. These days charity concerts featuring famous musicians are a dime a dozen. They come and go as the causes get neglected the other 365 days a year. So imagine my surprise to find out that this year’s recipient of the funds raised was the Regent Park School of Music . A wonderful local organization dedicated to providing less fortunate children access to music and music lessons. Andy Kim put it the most appropriately when he said “ Being able to learn music is one of the greatest gifts in life” .

With Andy’s wise words in mind, this year’s lineup reflected the broad spectrum of demographics and local talent. On Wednesday December 8th 2009, the Mod Club played host to an all star lineup including The Beauties, Andy Kim, Divine Brown, Kim Mitchell, Gentlemen Reg. and Broken Social Scene. At the last minute Divine Brown bowed out, but never fear Andy Kim saved the day by performing an extra set which included a crowd favourite Sugar Sugar

I really liked the format of the night, short sets which were supposed to a mix of both artist’s original materials and Christmas materials. The bands really brought their heart and soul out for the cause. I thoroughly enjoyed Kim Mitchell and Gentlemen Reg, but the highlight of my night were The Beauties. They blew me away, I had been hearing buzz about their standing Sunday night gig at The Dakota Tavern for quite some time, believe me when I say the buzz is totally justified. Their Fairytales of New York covers is one of the best live covers I have seen in a long time. I strongly urge you to go check them out if you have the chance.

The big draw for me was Broken Social Scene. You never know what to expect when the bill says members of Broken Social Scene will be performing. I wish I could say I was used to them being full of surprises but I would be lying. Seeing a near full band of core members coming out to support such a great cause renews my faith in the holiday season. Not only that but it gives me hope that no matter how big a band can be they tend to try their hardest to do the right thing and give back when they can. Nevertheless I found their set a bit self indulgent, as much as I love to hear new Broken Social Scene Material a charity benefit is not the time to workshop them.

I do however see this becoming a holiday staple for many years to come and I know I look forward to what Andy Kim will pull out of his sleeve next year.

Also seen on TunesinTO

Where the Wild things are Sountrack Review

Where the Wild Things Are is a beloved children’s book, which is the latest in that genre to get a big screen adaptation. Directed by Spike Jonze, the buzz surrounding this film has been building. It’s fitting that the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack is one of a movie that also revolves around children, because we are all kids at heart.

Karen O who is best known as the over the top front woman of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s assembled an all star line up of collaborators whom she affectionately calls the Kids. The list of musicians who make up the Kids is quite extensive; it’s a veritable who’s who of the music world and they certainly bring everything they have to this magical soundtrack. The Kids include members of Karen O’s own band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Raconteurs , Deerhunter and Queens of the Stone Age.

What makes this soundtrack so refreshing is not only the musicianship, but also the fact that the story is still present despite having the film passing by on the screen. From the first moment of Karen O saying, “I could use a story” until the end, the consistency of the musical elements, continue to surprise me. For those who are looking to start a “wild rumpus” this is an excellent soundtrack for your own adventure.

Cross Posted to TunesinTO

The Night I spent in the bar knitting to alleviate boredom.

It’s no secret that I spend a lot of time at the Boat (158 Augusta, Toronto). It is an incredibly warm venue run by some very lovely people. Including the brains, balls and heart of the operation Keith Hamilton

I see a lot of bands passing through including some of my most memorable shows to date. However tonight was an exception to the memorable show genre. I was hardly paying attention to the first band playing except to occasionally adjust my earplugs to try to drown out the lead singer’s awfully tone deaf singing.

The second band, Bury the Bully seemed that they would be a band that has some possibly of being good. This was gauged, by the fact that their merchandise display was one of the best I have ever seen. However, when your manager gets up to leave before the end of your set, it becomes pretty obvious that your band is clearly lacking something. I found their sound to be incredibly outdated, by this I mean that they pretty much sounded like clones of the already homogeneous radio friendly garbage I tune out of daily, and have managed to ignore on a daily basis.

The sad thing is that this four-piece from Whitby, Ontario  seem like nice, earnest guys. Almost too clean cut to be playing the kid of music that they do. Instead, what I experienced was pretty average, cookie cutter music. Every falsetto note hit was fairly predictable. I really only clapped at the end of each song out of instinct not enjoyment. The poor lead singer felt the need to talk to an almost empty room as if they were playing a huge festival like the Warped Tour. This coincidentally is the only medium I really see them having any sort of success in. My humble opinion is such purely because they are forgettable enough to warrant a repeat invitation, they would be able to blend well enough into the large lineups so as not to detract from the equally droll headliners. Perhaps I am being too critical, only time will tell.


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