Thursday, April 22, 2010

CBC Radio: Good Enough to Marry

Listen to my piece about a new book called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough on CBC Radio's The Homestretch


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rich by 40 & Portobello Market West

They drove fifteen hours to be there. Alana Clauson and Sophie Jourborne of Unik Print Shop made the trek from Northern British Columbia to Calgary for a mere two day stint at the new Portobello West Market. The fashion and art show took place last weekend on the Stampede Grounds, inside the Big Four Building. It is the second time the market has come to Calgary, and the first for Unik.

Although the market is a small one, with about thirty vendors, the selection is unique and diverse. Olga Cuttell, whose prints, pendants, and knick knacks were on display on the show, says there is an appetite for her kind of work in Calgary. She has also been a part of the Portobello West Market in Vancouver.

“People in Vancouver are spoiled with so many markets,” says Olga, “Calgarians are hungry for something hand-made, which is nice. Customers here are very relaxed and excited by the work.”

Many local vendors at the market also sell online, like Natalie Gerber and Christine Norman of The Killer B’s. The Portobello Market West will make another appearance in Calgary next fall, and happens in Vancouver on the last Sunday of every month in the Rocky Mountaineer Station.

Later in the week, Lesley Scorgie released her new book, Rich by 40. Her book launch was held at Pages Bookstore in Kensington, and attracted a healthy number of fans. Scorgie first came into the public eye when she was just seventeen years old. At that time, she was was featured on The Oprah Winfrey show as an ordinary person with extraordinary wealth. Scorgie started investing her meager income before she started high school. After university, she wrote her first book, Rich by 30.

The new book is written for young couples, who are making “more sophisticated choices,” she says.

Scorgie says young couples often make the mistake of thinking they are in total agreement in money matters, when that is rarely the case. “Financial compatibility is just as important as choosing someone who is aligned with your personality,” she said.

The book outlines the steps young couples, and singles, under forty years of age should take to increase their “net worth” and reduce their debt. In her book, Scorgie admits she did not come from money but rather began at an early age to take control of her financial future.

“I don’t believe in get rich quick schemes,” says Scorgie, “That kind of thinking brought the market to its knees over the past two years. But people who were in it for the long term, they are now seeing some returns ... they’re okay now. It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you plan to be rich you can get there.”

Published in National Post, April 17 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Elton: Behind the Scenes of the Ballet

Jean Grand-Maitre presents a complex, toe-tapping portrayal
of the legendary Sir Elton John

Half a dozen couples stand, stiff and silent as mannequins, on the hardwood floors of a large dance studio. They seem to be embracing; their faces close to each other as if whispering a secret.

The room is hushed as rollicking gin-house piano music fills the air. There is a clap, and a sharp voice begins to count, yelling: “One! Two! Three!” in time with the music’s beat. With each shout and clap, the dancers move swiftly into a tightly controlled pose of classical ballet: one woman is lifted high above her partner, another’s leg is resting above a shoulder, and another is angled away from her mate, tango-esque. The process is repeated; every clap of hands and shout reveals a new pose.

It is, purposefully, a tableau reminiscent of the opening scene in Bob Fosse’s Cabaret: mechanical and slightly disjointed, yet performed with the stunning agility and grace of highly trained dancers. There is something both beautiful and tragic in this sequence, like watching over and over the moment a carefree child is struck frozen by fear. And then, bizarrely, there is a man on roller-skates weaving his way between the partners. The music is almost deafening; familiar but new as well. Behind him struts a sinister, bowler-capped fellow, clicking his heels like a hedonistic jazzman. It is a captivating scene.

Click Here to continue reading this story
on Avenue Magazine's website

Published in Avenue Magazine (Calgary & Edmonton editions) April 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Calgary fans the Flames til the end

The Calgary Flames have lost their chance to play for the Stanley Cup this year. A final game against the San Jose Sharks earlier this week clinched it. A few days earlier, though, the team’s hometown of Calgary had kept the dream alive with a Saddledome jam-packed with red jerseys. The Flames played the Phoenix Coyotes and won.

Spirits were still high here after an impressive performance by Flames captain Jerome Iginla at the Vancouver Olympics. Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is another fan favourite, widely cited by analysts as having the best season of any player on the team.

The Flames had played erratically, however, loosing nine games in a row, and the expectations were low. Despite all this, the mood at the Phoenix – Calgary was upbeat. The Warner family travelled from Manitoba to see the game, and even Habs fan Tracey Kendrick donned The Flames jersey.

“We didn’t really even expect them to win,” said Mrs. Warner, “But maybe we brought them some good luck.”

Though they came on the ice a bit slow, by the third period The Flames were organized and aggressive, leading to a 2-1 victory over The Coyotes. Since their defeat by The San Jose Sharks, talk of why and how the team is playing has escalated. Calls for Coach Darryl Sutter’s exit and a batch of fresh players have been loud and strong.

Flames fan and hockey blogger Derrick Newman says the Sharks-Flames game was a “microcosm of the entire season. They had 39 shots on net yet failed to score more than one goal. Flames fans now will watch as other teams charge towards the cup. They will be able to watch what good hockey should look like. Fast paced and skillful players is the game now; the game has changed and Sutter has failed to adjust.”

The expectations from and critical analysts alike can be tough. Craig Cripps, president of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, says it’s something that emerging sports talent understands well.

“The pressure is enormous. We try to prepare our players and their parents for that,” he says, noting the rising pressure around his own league’s tournament this month, “The fact is that The Flames and The Oilers have had a lot of success ... and they are professionals who are paid to perform. This is a fast-paced industry. Players at the junior level understand that when you get there, if you don’t perform, you can find yourself out of a job or on another team pretty quickly.”
Published in National Post, April 10 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

CBC Radio: The Family Treasure Hunter

Listen to my piece on CBC Radio - Calgary about
a man who re-unites people with their lost family treasure ... sort of.

Click Here to Listen