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June 10, 2016 / victoriaandreking

Every Theatre Community Should Have Its Harold

cropped-harold-banner-2016

Not to be confused with “herald”, the Harold Awards are a novel Toronto theatre institution.

I stumbled upon the announcement for the 2016 shenanigans in NOW Toronto and after visiting the web site I said to myself “Oh I have to see this!”

These unique awards to commitment, passion and ingenuity in the labor of love which is indie theatre, have as their inspiration Toronto’s legendary “Theatregeist” Harold Kandel.  After a bit of rousing welcome music by the Uncle Red Foundation the evening kicked off with a video featuring poignantly humorous testimonials by theatre artists who had experienced firsthand the rite of passage which was having Harold Kandel in the audience.

There truly are no people like show people.

Live performance engenders a brand of solidarity very different from any you might find in film or television.  There is an immediacy and a candor in the theatre which you rarely find on set.  This is never more evident than in independent theatre which is something akin to being at sea on an old galleon in a storm: everyone on board is essential.  If you f*&k up you are definitely going to hear about it, but if you do something right you are (usually) going to hear about that too.  Also once you have weathered the storm and pulled into port you will usually be overcome by a deep yearning to do it all again.

The event.

I genuinely feel privileged to have been present at the love fest which was the 2016 Harold Awards.  Nobody knew who the f*&k I was or why the f*&k I was there – but I did, and it was wonderful to be part of it even if only as a “fly” at the bar.  Everyone in attendance was luminous and the mutual admiration, respect and good humor was tangible.

The venue.

Host to this auspicious gathering was the Cadillac Lounge, a funky, honky tonk joint on west Queen west.  The victuals included, among other things, deep fried mac & cheese, a north American delicacy I had not previously had the opportunity to sample.  The service was quick and cordial and the atmosphere jolly, a good time was had by all.

My evening at the Harold Awards definitely ranks very high on my list of experiences one is extremely unlikely to have anywhere but Toronto.  I have no doubt in my mind that Toronto’s independent theatre community is a force not only to be reckoned with, but also to be supported and applauded.

Victoria Andre King’s novel The Führer Must Die is scheduled for release in February 2017.

June 7, 2016 / victoriaandreking

Toronto Smartphone Film Festival

tsff2016_event2

The 5th Annual Toronto Smartphone Film Festival

TSFF was held June 3rd & 4th, 2016, and when I first came across the announcement in NOW my initial reaction was “Whaaaat?” but admittedly I was intrigued.

Digital cameras revolutionized amateur photography, without making professional photographers obsolete.  The smartphone film certainly will not be making professional filmmakers obsolete any time soon but It does offer individuals the opportunity to experiment and exercise their creativity – encouraging them to look at the world around them through the lens of their device, rather than merely being constantly mesmerized by what appears on it.

Due to a previous obligation I was only able to attend the Friday night opening and thus viewed only 15 of the 31 films presented in this year’s competition.  They represented a very interesting cross section of visual approaches that really got my own imagination galloping in regard to the possibilities offered by this medium.  I might even enter next year!

As far as the festival itself is concerned everyone involved was warm and welcoming and an intimate and casual atmosphere pervaded.  However, at least in my opinion, the structure and organization has a lot of room to grow.

Who participates?

The scope of any festival is only as great as the quality and quantity of projects submitted, but in order to draw a lot of submissions there need to be more incentives.  This is obviously far too new to break into genre categories – however I would have liked there to be distinction between those participants who are film professionals, and those who are genuine amateurs.  Also perhaps age categories: e.g. 16-20, 21-25, 26+ so that more youth will be encouraged to participate.

Technical Specifications:

Back in the day, in order to participate in a “Film Festival”, you had to provide a projection copy of your project on film.  I am not advocating that here, as much as I cherish the heritage of film making, digital moving images are more environmentally friendly.  What I WOULD like to see though is a more purist approach in requiring the auteurs to rely entirely on the capabilities of their chosen device and their own ingenuity.  I feel it is more challenging if it is about original ideas and creative solutions rather than an entrant’s economic ability to hire a cinematographer with his own Steadicam kit or book a professional editing suite.

Sponsors:

I was actually refreshed that cell phone manufacturers were NOT involved.  It is also great that community businesses support the festival even if just through buying advertising in the program (though I was surprised that many of the web addresses in the program didn’t work).  That said, a broader spectrum of in-kind sponsors, e.g. film schools offering courses as prizes, telecom providers and electronics retail franchises offering SD memory, external storage, accessories etc. gift certificates would be another incentive that would help generate more interest.  That could also be a great promotional tool for getting the news out there – get those sponsors to promote the festival in their smart phone departments and on the smartphone merchandising pages of their websites… at least that is what I would do.  A general corporate sponsor like TD bank is wonderful to have, of course, but it would be great to supplement that support with point of purchase advertising.

Ok, I made this film, now who is going to see it?

Film festivals are all about creative people getting exposure for their work.  Why aren’t there more broadcasters involved in the event?  Kudos to Arirang Korea for their support of this effort, but people should be able to see all these great projects after the festival at any time, somewhere OTHER THAN the festival website which, quite frankly, is not very inspiring.  All of the official entries should be available and not only the winners because that is what is going to generate maximum social media out reach.  It would be wonderful to encourage participation by more of the multicultural communities in Canada and beyond!

In the meantime, I am eagerly awaiting the awards announcements to appear on the smartphonefilm.ca website and for this year’s winning films to be made available for viewing.  I am also waiting for submissions to open up for the 6th Annual Toronto Smartphone Film Festival.

Victoria Andre King’s novel The Führer Must Die is scheduled for release in February 2017.

May 25, 2016 / victoriaandreking

Reap the Benefits of Exploring Your Discomfort Zone

Discomfort zone

Are pain and discomfort the same?

Pain is an alarm system.  Physically, it draws attention to mechanical problems in your body.  Emotionally it signals separation from your illusions.

Discomfort is part of a process.  Learning is not a “comfortable” exercise, whether learning long division or to listen to others. The process demands you step head-long into your discomfort zone to push through fears of pain and the unknown.

Physical therapy literally does this.  The only way to alleviate pain is to push up against it – to force it back until you liberate your mind and body from the fear, by implementing conscious discomfort.

Intellectually explore your discomfort zone.

Go out on a limb to test an idea.  Push through the fear of ridicule to express and apply what you learn.  That way, information is transformed into knowledge.

Emotionally explore your discomfort zone.

Push through fear of rejection to become vulnerable.  That vulnerability means weakness is a misconception.

Let go of preconceptions to see others and situations as they are not as you would like them to be.  It takes strength and effort to be vulnerable.

Explore your discomfort zone: observe your expectations.

Expectations are emotional entitlements we imagine that set us up for disappointment.  Unlike goals and ambitions, they are not part of any plan.  The only expectations that might be met are those we invest effort and discomfort in realizing.

If I expect something of you, but don’t communicate that, how can you meet my expectation?  Common sense dictates that resulting disappointment is my own fault, so…

  • Why do I feel “wronged” when others can’t conform to my expectations?
  • Why am I so reluctant to express what I want?
  • Why am I so afraid of my desires that I subconsciously guarantee disappointment by withholding information?

At work or school we expect our colleagues to acknowledge our contribution even though they may not know what that is.

At home we expect our loved ones to instinctively “know” what is important to us and why.  That would be brilliant if it were possible.

Expectation of instinctive understanding is not the biggest problem.

The problem is how hurt we feel when those around us don’t “get” it.  We are “sacrificing” ourselves for the team, company, or our loved ones but no one appreciates it.

See things from the others’ point of view.  If you don’t communicate your wants or dreams, it is understandable that others think everything is “business as usual”.  They don’t know how much time and energy you need to apply to those pursuits to feel happy.  Tell them!

It is up to each of us to create a meaningful existence, and to share the fruits of our efforts.  To that end the cliché “No Pain, No Gain” should step aside for: You are now entering Your Discomfort Zone!

Victoria Andre King’s novel The Führer Must Die is scheduled for release in February 2017.

May 16, 2016 / victoriaandreking

Do I Need A Soul Mate To Be A Complete Human Being?

Soulmate

Is there someone out there destined to be with me?

  • Can I still be complete even if I haven’t found my “better half”?
  • What if I don’t like my soul mate, or they haven’t been born yet!
  • How can I know if the one I’m with really is THE one?

Or…  Do I need to be complete in a sense BEFORE I can attract a soul mate?

Relationships are beautiful opportunities to grow and share second opinions on first impressionsThey also happen to be very hard work.  No matter how perfect people may seem to be for each other, relationship endurance hinges on willingness to bare all – and I’m not just talking about in the boudoir.

Harmonic balance between honesty and support is not easy.

Humans come with ego pre-installed.

Even individuals with low self –esteem, still have egos.  It’s that nasty little voice prodding us to be critical and or hurtful toward others that filters and colors our partner’s words and deeds to “justify” our own unkind behavior or indiscretions.

Relentless sincerity is only effective when tempered with objectivity.  That’s nearly impossible when emotionally involved with someone but at least “near” impossibility still offers some hope of success.

Where there is hope there is the possibility of becoming, and thus attracting, a soul mate.

How can I do it?

My partner and I have weathered 20 years, turning 40, 180° career shifts, raising teenagers, losing parents, moving house 9 times!  Statistically, we should have become a “statistic”.

There is a technique we call the “filter of self” and this is how it works:

Before pointing something out to the other that needs their “attention”, apply that observation to yourself. “He who has not sinned shall cast the first stone…”

Ask yourself:

  • Why does this bother me?
  • Do I do it too and actually want to change it in myself?
  • Is it aggravating an expectation I haven’t communicated?

By asking those questions you create sufficient distance to emotionally discharge the observation, the next best thing to objectivity. Maturity is realizing that most emotional wounds are created, not by what we say or do but how we say or do it.

If you hide behind confrontational behavior, you’ll evoke a defensive response.

That’s not communication.  If we want our partner to receive and consider the observation we are sharing, provoking their ego won’t help.

 

Clarity of purpose is the only compass we have when sharing potentially upsetting observations.

If your motive is to improve your relationship, confrontational attitudes should make you suspicious.  Even the most sensitive issue can be resolved when faced with love.

 

A soul mate is that person who chooses to bring out the best in you by risking all to share even the unflattering bits.  They aren’t trying to change you, but to encourage you to be the best YOU that you can be.

I gleaned that after one very traumatic marriage followed by several unsuccessful attempts at meaningful relationships and too many not-so-meaningful ones.

I asked myself what was really important in a relationship and what qualities in a person would facilitate that view, then I set about trying to cultivate those qualities in myself.

Once I started to get the hang of it, I finally attracted somebody who was trying to cultivate those qualities too.  Being a soul mate is a work in progress

Just try to enjoy the process😀

Victoria Andre King’s novel The Führer Must Die is scheduled for release in February 2017.

September 13, 2015 / victoriaandreking

100,000 Poets for Change Heraklion Crete

26 – 09 – 2015

KAZANTZAKIS’ TOMB 16:30 – 19:30

Living is art.Να ζεις είναι τέχνη.

Savoring life is talent.  |  Να γεύεσαι την ζωή είναι ταλέντο.

To be human is a gift.  Να είσαι άνθρωπος είναι χάρισμα.

To make your life poetry, is wisdom.  | Να κάνεις την ζωή σου ποίηση, είναι σοφία.

The world, not only Greece, is in crisis.  That means every human being is called to change their perception and their approach to life. 

Η ανθρωπότητα, όχι μόνο η Ελλάδα, βρίσκεται σε κρίση. Αυτό σημαίνει ότι ο κάθε άνθρωπος καλείται να αλλάξει την αντίληψη του και την προσέγγιση του στη ζωή.

When your attention is invested entirely in survival, it is easy to forget to live.

Όταν όλοι σου η προσοχή εστιάζεται στην επιβίωση, εύκολα ξεχνάς και να ζείς.

When your attention is focused on survival you are gradually consumed by fear.  Living in fear makes you easy to manipulate by politicians and mass media.

Όταν εστιάζεσαι στην επιβίωση σταδιακά σε καταλαμβάνει ο φόβος.  Ζώντας μέσα στον φόβο σε κάνει εύκολα μεταχειρίσημο από τους πολιτικούς και τα μαζικά μέσα ενημέρωσης.

On September 26th bring your loved ones, your picnic basket, your musical instruments, your paints and easel, your voice and dancing spirit and join us for a creative and harmonious celebration of life! 

Στις 26 Σεπτεμβρίου φέρε τους αγαπημένους σου, το καλάθι με το κολατσιό, τα μουσικά σου όργανα, τις μπογιές και τα καβαλέτα σου, την φωνή σου και το χορευτικό σου πνεύμα για να βρεθούμε σε μια δημιουργική και αρμονική εορτή της ζωής!

Visit http://100tpc.org/ to see how these events began and the international scope of the gatherings. 

Victoria King-Voreadi | Βικτώρια Κίνγκ-Βορεάδη www.victoriaandreking.wordpress.com

http://www.100tpcmedia.org/100TPC2012/2015/09/victoria-king-voreadi-heraklion-crete-greece-2015/

August 24, 2015 / victoriaandreking

25 Years of BS: a layperson’s introduction to Greek politics.

I first came to this enchanted land in February of 1989.  Within a year the country had held parliamentary elections three times, the battle cry in the local and international press was “Catharsis” and the Koskotas scandal had brought the dirty laundry of the House Papandreou to the fore.

Perhaps here it would be prudent to provide a wee bit of background…  Greece may have lost its monarchy – however its political life has always been governed by a handful of families.  Since the end of the Greek Civil War three households have predominated: Karamanlis, Papandreo, Mitsotakis.  I won’t go into all of the nepotistic and (at times) incestuous detail, that would require tomes to relate and would involve a style of writing I personally don’t care for – let it suffice to say that were Aaron Spelling still around he could have a field day with Greek political life.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Georgios Papandreo (the elder) had his hand in the political cookie jar since the Venizelos (Eleftherios not Evaggelos) days.  He got his law degree in Athens then studied Political Science in Berlin – strongly influenced by the then Social Democratic Party.  He enjoyed a 50 year tenure in Hellenic politics – is it any wonder that his progeny were all inducted to the Hellenic Club Politic?  He was Prime Minister until two years before the Colonel’s Junta, and had the good taste to pass away one year into their rule.

Konstantinos Karamanlis (the elder) never had a family of his own although he used his political power to “endow” all of his relatives with prime real estate and/or select government posts/contracts.  His siblings, nieces and nephews were “looked after” and received their memberships to the Hellenic Club Politic.  Their uncle lived his life quietly, with his “Gentleman’s Gentleman”, played golf, tossed out the occasional enigmatic quip to journalists and everyone said “What a worldly and elegant man.”

Konstantinos Mitsotakis (the bearer of bad tidings a.k.a. the “black sheep”) in many ways Mr. Mitsotakis, to my mind at least, is one of the most interesting figures in post WWII Greek political life.  He is one of the few extant “old school” politicians who always called the shots like he saw them, regardless of the personal political cost.  Sadly his children don’t seem to share his gift although his daughter, Dora Bacogiannis is more attractive on camera than in person and has charisma.  Mr. Mitsotakis was Prime Minister for only a brief 2 and a half year period before being usurped by none other than Antonis Samaras, founder of the Germanophile “mnimonio” – not one of the “grand old names” of Greek politics, but nonetheless a very ambitious young politician and contemporary of George Papandreo (the younger) grandson of Georgios the 1st, but I shall get to them later.

Andreas Papandreou (son of George the 1st and father of George the younger)  He enjoyed a fruitful academic career in Sweden and the United States (where he met his second wife) until he returned to Greece.  He was invited by Konstantinos Karamanlis (the elder) to participate in the Hellenic Club Politic in 1959. Unfortunately, after his rise to power in 1981 Andreas set out to fund a “Socialist” state with credit from the EEU that his mentor Karamanlis (the elder) had participated in the founding of.  The problem was he primarily funded fellow “Socialists” and voters rather than the establishment of a lasting infrastructure that would become a self sustaining complex.  He died of heart disease before his policy managed to blow up in his face.

Kostas Simitis (the technocrat) He was Andreas’ “heir” to the leadership of the PASOK party.  That seemingly mild mannered fellow ‘cooked the books’ to ensure Greece would be inducted into the EEU monetary union under the common Euro currency, to the benefit of the few and the detriment of the many.  The cost of living was summarily “rounded up” at the expense of the elderly and low income citizens in particular, while government and employer obligations were “rounded down”. That trend continued for seven years but the media focus was always on how “beneficial” the Euro was in enabling Greek industries to import first materials (many of which could have been produced or procured locally at lesser expense – not to mention the fact that the EEC imposed restrictions on the type and amounts of agricultural products that Greece was ALLOWED to cultivate).

Konstantinos Karamanlis (the nephew) took the political baton from Mr. Simitis just shortly before the extraordinarily over priced 2004 Olympiad.  His party members expected turnabout in that they would receive some sort of perks from the EEU ESPA funding programs, but much to his and their chagrin, the coffers were already seriously overstretched. The best he could do was to shrug it out until 2009, he couldn’t really promise much of anything, and his opponent was basically ignorant of the economic and political reality check Greece was facing.

Georgios Papandreou (the younger) won the popular vote in the 2009 elections with the simple campaign slogan “There is Money”… As lame as it may seem in retrospect it was sufficient to muster voters who were silently terrified after three decades of “easy living” at the prospect of 1) having their sources of funding cut off, and 2) being held accountable for their application of resources. As soon as Georgios was brought up to speed on the actual economic situation, in short the equivalent of a margin call on all of the “free” money his departed father had “invested” in his constituents on the parts of the countries International lenders, his first instinct was to call for a referendum – unfortunately he didn’t have the “cahones” to carry it out. In the interim the economic establishment of Cyprus came tumbling down with capital controls and deposit shaving to celebrate the end of “off shore” banking for former Soviet and Middle Eastern interests.

Provisional Government #1 (Papademos & Co 2011-2012) The first “bailout” package orchestrators.  Mr. Papademos had been governor of the Bank of Greece from 1994 to 2002, and vice president of the European Central Bank from 2002 -2010, it is hardly surprising that our European “partners” chose him to implement the first “reform” package.

Coalition Government #2 ( June 2012: Antonis Samaras – New Democracy Right Party, Evangelos Venizelos – PASOK Socialist Center Party, Fotis Kouvelis – Democratic Left Party) “Negotiated” the second bailout package, until the left party had to pull out to avoid betraying all of the principles it was founded upon.

Elections January 2015 (The “Great Left Hope” Alexis Tsipras) This was perhaps the cruelest moment in Greek political history, at least over the 25 years I have been living here.  People actually believed there was a possibility of genuine political change. But as it turned out Mr. Tsipras and his “team” were unfortunately ill-informed. Or at least that is how they played their hand. Realizing that he was backed into a corner Mr. Tsipras called for a referendum, what Mr. G. Papandreou (the younger) could have done back in 2009.

Referendum July 5th 2015, the truly curious thing is that Mr. Tsipras’ actions AFTER the referendum, were in direct conflict with his positions BEFORE not only the referendum but the general elections in January.  62% of the Greek voters said NO, he said YES… to everything his platform had been opposed to before the general election.

The moral of this story???  If you don’t break any eggs, you can’t make an omelette.

If you understand that, then you have a far higher IQ than most Ivy League educated Greek politicians. What will become of the general population? Good question, but as it turns out those in elected office whose salaries we pay via taxes don’t really give a damn.

April 15, 2015 / victoriaandreking

Tender Loving Care Publications

Tender Loving Care Publications coming your way!
I founded Tender Loving Care Publications as an effort to help Greek authors’ voices be discovered by English speaking readers. After more than twenty years as a freelance writer and translator in Greece, my author friends began expressing their frustration at the indifference their Greek publishers showed for foreign language markets.
The pat answer whenever they asked their publishers why they were not interested in pursuing English language markets was usually “No one is interested in Greek writers…” Occasionally they would be told that they could pay to have their manuscript translated if they wanted to… but the only effort on the publishers’ parts would be to send out a mass copy/paste mailing with the first 50 pages as an attachment. Not surprising that they never had any response…
Many publishers lack the infrastructure to judge the quality of a translation or remain up-to-date as to the submission guidelines of foreign houses. Also a “competent” translation may often homogenize all of the nuance and metaphor out of a literary work. I am asked time and again to try to “fix” poor translations but I have to tell them that the only solution is for me to translate it from scratch because otherwise the author’s voice is lost entirely.
So dear friends and colleagues help us spread the word and discover a new source of talented and insightful authors.

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