The Price To Not Pay Is Steep (Health)

Holistic health has been on my mind as of late dear readers.


You see, I have this theory that there is a strong connection between art, healing, and health. And I think holistic health holds the key to that connection.

Holistic health is a type of healing process which considers the whole human being and not just the body parts and/or symptoms. As we strive towards optimal health and wellness, considerations of the body, mind, spirit, and emotions are all relevant.

I like to believe that we can address each of those aspects of ourselves with some basic activities. For the body, there is exercise. When it comes to the mind, reading things and a variety of things covers it off, emotions are founded in both positive relationships and pursuing our passions, but spirit is the most difficult to address.

To put it simply, I think that art is key to addressing the spirit, and if we ignore this part of ourselves, we suffer all the more for it.

Medicine For The Heart


The interesting part of this theory is that there is evidence out there which suggests a healing connection between art and the spirit, but it is not given nearly as much research as other disciplines, but it certainly can provide value. The point we need to consider most in this discussion is that each of us is drawn to different forms of art, so what heals me might not heal you as easily. And I think that has to do with our preferred learning styles.

  • Visual learners prefer two dimensional forms of art like drawing, painting, and photography.
  • Kinesthetic learners should look towards performance arts, like dance, magic, and theatre.
  • Auditory learners are best served by music, writing, and narration.

Now, outlining the reasons why I think art has the power to heal our spirit will take up far more time than a single post can give, so rather than diving deeply into it today, I will share a few of my favourite videos on the power of art for affecting the spirit.

Namely this one.


And also this one.

And definitely this one.

Health Matters

If it hasn’t been made clear yet, the aim of this post is to address health as it relates to the OECD index, making this the eighth entry in the Wellness Factors of Life series inspired by Postconsumers.

Artists matter, and I know in my heart of hearts that I will always advocate for the arts, no matter where I am or whatever the context that I am making the argument in. But timotheories isn’t just about me, it’s also about providing you with the resources you need to fight the good fight. As art makers, art facilitators, art collectors, and art enthusiasts, each of us has a responsibility to share with the world the merits of working on creative projects, from economics, to health, to politics, to entertainment, you creative cuties know that art has the power to heal. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

The spirit is the key in all of this.


theories Summarized

It is absolutely essential to reconsider the notion of the starving artist, and start to consider the notion of the starving souls who do not support the arts nor make room for creativity within their lives, it takes time to establish yourself creatively, no different than any other specialization.

Doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, politicians, professors, and teachers, I’m looking squarely at you.

So let’s invest in art, because it’s good for us.

And yes, I am theoried out for the night, so I’m gonna settle into bed with a good book, after a night of exercise, writing, and communicating with my lovely girlfriend, and know that I met all of my wellness needs. Another day, another theory satisfied.


Discover Their Stories (Women’s History Month)

Today I wanted to write about some cool cats I know. Well not personally, but nonetheless, individuals who make great art and inspire all of us to be better human beings.

Memes aside, a moment for all of the ladies who make art despite facing incredible challenges every day, is not nearly enough.

I’m doing this in acknowledgement and praise of Women’s History Month. Which is a pretty big deal if you stop to think about it.

This is not going to be a post where I pretend to know the details of women’s history, because quite frankly, I’m not an expert on any kind of history, save maybe art history, and even then I’m not actively thinking about it often enough to claim mastery. No, this is a post for me in which I get to share with you some artists which I think need more attention and why I like them. Not “like” like them, just like them as professionals. Some of them are more known than others, but regardless of stature, these creatives are important and make great art.

Now I should address some hesitations my Canadian readers will likely have first. Yes I live in Canada, and technically that means I should be celebrating this event in October with the rest of my ilk, but quite frankly, I needed something to share this week and we share a border with Americans. And in case you didn’t know they’ve been running this event nationally since 1987, whereas we only picked it up in 1992. Shocking I know.

Insert Privilege Here

It’s a privilege for me to be able to write about these women, primarily because of the internet and a post-secondary education which taught me better. And that is a sad sad thing, so my hope is that you read these little snippets and take some time yourself to learn about these artists.

Marilyn Minter is an American artist who has been active since the 1980s. Her work often features sexuality and erotic imagery. Working in both photography and painting, Minter looks at the various roles of feminism, fashion and celebrity as they relate to idealizations of identity. Having published works in major American magazines and television she is known for being controversial and never loyal to one brand, medium or group. Minter has had exhibitions all over the world including Les Rencontres d’Arles festival in France, shows in Spain and Germany, being showcased in MoMa frequently. She teaches at the MFA department at the School of Visual Arts in New York and recently had a retrospective of her work in 2015.

Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard were musical re-pioneers of what was a defunct form of music now popular once more – folk. The genre was given a boost back in the 1950s, and the duo of Dickens & Gerrard were at the forefront making friends and breaking hearts. Dickens, focused on bluegrass and acted as double bass, while Gerrard, also a singer, played both banjo and guitar, making them rather successful as both solo recording artists and as a pair. Their varied singing styles made use of both Dicken’s high-pitch and Gerrard’s love for crooning and shouting. The pair performed late into their lives but Dickens passed on in April of 2011.



Julie Taymor is an American director of theater, opera and film. She is definitely best known for directing the stage, as she has been responsible for The Lion King musical, which netted her two Tony Awards, a first for a woman at the time. She has also directed broadway musicals for Spider-man and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Taymore has an Emmy Award, a Drama Desk Award and an Oscar nomination, which is how I got to know her work. Directing films like Titus, Frida, and Across The Universe, Taymor has a natural aptitude for theatre which has spread throughout the performance arts.  Taymors work on Frida was substantial and got the film two Academy Awards – one for makeup and the other for costume design.



This might seem like a small sampling of professional women to showcase for this post dear readers, but my hope here is to demonstrate that women permeate throughout the arts, and that this is merely a drop in the bucket of talented creatives out there. And these are some of my personal favourite artists too, I could’ve listed off Tracy Emin, Cindy Sherman, Sofia Coppola, Sarah Polley, Debra Granik, Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding, Leslie Fiest, La Roux, Adele, and tons of others, but then I would just be making lists, and this is about celebrating women.

A privilege in and of itself.

theories Summarized

So where’s the wisdom you ask?  Well, I’ll leave you with this quote by Susan B. Anthony and see if you can glean something from it. And I hope for damn sure that it’s absorption rate is quick, thorough and positively altering, and not a wasted theory.

It was we, the people, not we, the white male citizens, nor yet we, the male citizens, but we, the whole people, who formed this Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people — women as well as men.
Susan B. Anthony
We’re only telling half a story in many cases, but a half does not make us whole.

Visionary Storytelling (Byron Martin preview interview)


Every good project tells a story.

A story about goals, its members, deadlines, and what is required for completion. It also requires management to understand the story they need to tell, and to deliver it with gusto. Also, a REALLY good story follows a proper story arc, no matter if it’s an urban myth, a made-for-TV movie, a comic book or a stage play. Heck, even an improvised musical follows an outline to get to where it needs to be.

When you are in theatre (or any professional setting), you have the same kinds of responsibilities as any other business operator. You set a budget, plan out the year, and set meetings to ensure everyone is onboard as things happen.

No matter what you might think, communication and teamwork are at the centre of it. When you have a vision, and you bust your ass to see it happen, time movies along quite quickly. Every self-made business person will tell you this…

Learning to coordinate others and juggle the program is at the centre of it.

If you look at it in a very simple way, there are really seven major steps to consider as the process unfolds.

  1. Define project goals.
  2. Have daily, weekly, monthly deliverables.
  3. Set and then celebrate project milestones.
  4. Build an annual budget.
  5. Assign team members.
  6. Produce progress reports.
  7. Assess risks.


It seems like an easy set list, but not everyone is up for the task. Marrying a vision to an agenda is essential.

Byron Martin has a big vision for the Edmonton arts community, and while some of the projects his theatre company Grindstone Theatre puts on, like Henry V, might start out with conversations at a local pub, he’s learned to keep track of his ideas and commit to his vision with a myriad of tools.

He has intimately committed these steps to his vision and can do them without consciously thinking about it, and he has fun at the same time. Another good friend of mine, Byron Martin is a much needed presence in the Edmonton theatre scene.

I hope you enjoy this preview of our chat.

Yes, I am out of theories for the day friends, but I’ve got a vision for 2017 and this upcoming full length Byron Martin interview is a part of it. For now let’s focus on the good things which have been shared, and the exciting possibility of another week with Gord Downie.

That’s right, I just might have another album review coming which features the Tragically Hip frontman. But that could just be a theory.


Alienating Film Critics (Cross Talk Ep. 12)


Film criticism is one of my favourite skill sets, but it’s been a hard won battle to acquire it. Even more so to know when to use it.

Let me explain something dear readers – I haven’t always felt the love when I have shared my opinions on film. Even now I don’t always getting excited when an opportunity comes up to discuss what makes for good pacing, why certain actors are better role models, and why cataloguing films is a helpful practice when hosting your party.

I think it’s predominantly because of a perception on criticism in general that I’m cautious when talking about movies. I also think this is a safe place to make a generalization that almost no one wants to be corrected when it comes down to it – we would much rather be told that our work is excellent and well received. No matter what medium we choose to create in.


It’s important to contribute to the world, but as the saying goes there is a time and a place for it. It doesn’t matter if you are discussing sex, politics, religion or business, everyone has an opinion and it won’t always line up with the other person (or people) in the room. The arts are not removed from this either.

And that’s okay.

It just means learning to read the room.


Which is why we decided to focus on film criticism in general for this week’s episode of Cross Talk. We are going to explore some of our own experiences as film critics andtalking with other critics, ways that people alienate each other when it comes to film, and how to bridge the gap to create a healthier environment. Because the reality is that criticism is here to stay, and I believe that it’s a useful tool both for protecting your time and for experiencing great content. Which is why it’s time to consider how you can alienate others with a critical approach to film, both as an expert and a casual participant.

This is episode twelve of Cross Talk. We are going to make some mistakes, have some laughs, and getting incredibly personal with this conversation. Which reminds me, Cross Talk is exactly that, a conversation about film (and potentially other mediums), it’s a way for us to take the heady academic thoughts on this art form and bring it back into the realm of the everyday, because it’s not just professionals that consume this content. We all have a stake in it.

I’m about theoried out for now friends, but I’ve got a Halloween themed album review lined up for your tomorrow. I think you’ll enjoy this one, it’s a thriller. Otherwise, please comment, subscribe, and share this video with friends. We want to hear your feedback!


Contest, Context, Concept (Fairness In Art)

My parents tried their very hardest to impart ideas of fairness in us from a young age. “Share with your brothers and sister”, “make sure that everyone gets a taste of that pizza”, “you all need to do your part to keep the house clean”, “don’t forget that it’s your turn to do the dishes”, and so it went, on and on.


Every family deals with these challenges.

But I more time I spent with fairness and other moralizations as I grew into adulthood, the more I struggled with that notion of fairness, because each of the four of us had unique interests, talents, and levels of influence within the family hierarchy.

Fairness is supposed to represent a way of making value judgments that are impartial, and many well defined roles and responsibilities are given their own value sets to help establish fairness, in particular for activities and institutions which revolve around instruction.

For example, I often think of teachers and their responsibility to uphold an objective. Yes, anyone can take on a teaching role, but professional teachers are the group I’m going to focus on.

Back to the objective of teachers.

The objective of teachers is to educate students in skills and knowledge. Where it falls down for me though is through the method of instruction employed (pedagogy) by many teachers – that they know best because they’ve been trained to know the best. Pedagogy assumes that there is an ideal way to learn and an ideal way to teach, and thus the practice concerns itself primarily with how best to teach. Professional teachers are trained in pedagogy. Now, let’s put a pin in that idea for a second.

When we come out of post-secondary education, no matter our specialization, many students with a bachelors, masters or doctorate, assume an expertise in that particular field.

And we each gain a sense of fairness particular to that subset of knowledge, but going back to the family example from earlier, the problem is that if you have four children who all grew into unique roles, for example a BFA Art & Design, a BSc Psychology, a BFA Drama and BE Drama and Chemistry, and lastly a BSc Physics and BE Physics and Drama, each family member has refined their “fairness” through a different learnt pedagogy.

So almost all university graduates walk away with a sense of rightness or righteousness, depending on how you look at it. Then some time passes, and hopefully that code eases off somewhat, because another skill that post-secondary education is supposed to teach you is to continue to pursue education throughout your life.

Which leads me to my theory for the day.

I don’t think that fairness exists in life. Shock. Gasp. Awe.


From a young age we are told to do our best and worry about ourselves, but that still stimulates us to try harder, and in a family setting, it can simultaneously instill a sense of competition amongst siblings.

Which is actually a good thing. Because life is competition.

We compete for grades, jobs, sexual partners, games (sport, video, tabletop), and status. But that ideation of fairness is just part of the conscious desire to simplify the world around us. Which lets us determine what is right and wrong, and gain a sense of control over the world.

But the world functions purely on those levels of success, so whatever morality we put into art making, education, business, and any other aspect of life is purely personal. When we stop to reflect on the problem at hand and look at the scale, it comes down exactly that.

Individually we might love something or someone, but that doesn’t mean that song is a popular song or that person should love us back. Decision-making is not resigned to one person or one subset of people, but to the broader picture of humanity.

So stop considering what you internally feel is correct or worthy, and consider what you have done for your community or the people around you and that will help guide the art you create.

It’s about impact.

The greater the impact, the more people who want to reward the efforts of the person who created that ripple. If you can move a stadium of people with your music, or entertain a crowded street with your improvised unicycle and ball juggling act, or even divide a whole city with your graffiti that addresses the automation of industry and complacency associated with it, you’re going to get recognition.

If you share your song with one person, one person cares, but if you shared it with influencers on YouTube, then you are all of a sudden an instant success.

Someone once said that life is unfair, but that’s not really true. Life is very fair, but we try and assume authority over fairness and change it. Fairness is competition, realized by what we are able to accomplish in our community.

Going back to the point I made earlier about families and fairness, I think families should work to achieve the workload, but we should cut that word right out of instruction, children need to learn their strengths and contribute to society in a way that they are best capable, and educators need to facilitate this via models of instruction, with tempered positions of authority.

But that’s just a theory.