How I’m Beating Seasonal Affective Disorder in the Garbage Year 2016

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I want to listen to sad music

The results are in: 2016 is a dumpster fire. Personally and professionally my year has been fine but everytime I check in on current events it seems like the world is going to hell in a child made designer knock-off handbasket. To top it off, here in Vancouver, we’ve just endured nearly two months of rain. Despite living on the wet coast for most of my adult life I can’t deny that I’m a prairie girl at heart; I need that sweet sunshine!

So to fight the downward spiral of Seasonal Affective Disorder that I sometimes experience I’ve dedicated myself to some new routines/ habits/ tactics to pack S.A.D. and everything it owns in a box to the left. Here are five things that I’ve been doing to keep my frown upside down.

One: Log Off

After obsessively clicking on article after article trying to make sense with the world post November 8, aka the day many white people got woke to racism in America, I decided to take a break from The Social Network because it was dragging me down.

I have only enjoyed the world without status updates for a little over a week, but it’s going pretty well. I’m going to check in once a week for the next little while but I’m already convinced it’s improving my mental health.

Since logging off of Facebook I am no longer seeing fake news in my life. I’m going straight to respected news outlets. I am no longer seeing terrible articles by actors I met 8 years ago whom I kept on my friends list in the hopes that one day they’d attend one of my shows. Bonus: I’m also missing out on said actors status updates about the work they’ve booked or how #grateful they are to follow their dreams. Newsflash: I should de-friend some people.

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Oh, what’s that you had a baby/ got engaged and I didn’t hear about it? Well… me and Facebook…

Two: Move it, Move it

You know what’s better than sitting on your couch watching Netflix? Getting off of it. I have gone for a walk whenever there is sunshine or break in the downpour. I’ve also made exercise an important part of my daily routine. I go to a horrible chain gym but I love the people watching and I’m trying to get out and dance whenever I can. I have never left the gym or dance floor feeling worse. My spirits are always lifted.

I highly recommend Dance Dance Party Party (Tuesday night @ Mt Pleasant Community Centre 8:15 PM), it’s only $7 to drop in.

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Three: Get Cultured

Last week I managed to get to see a play, a sketch show, attend a literary event, and I went to a square dance. AND I pulled this off without Facebook! Do you know how hard it is to find people to hang out with you last minute without that site? I pretty much forgot who I knew in the city. I persevered and scrolled through my phone’s contact list and connected with friends and with culture. My heart was touched and my perspective was lifted above the clouds. Art is going to be what pulls us through these dark days and I’m not just talking about winter.

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Four: Chocolate! Coffee!

Get some caffeine in your body! It’s working for me. I usually have coffee between 11:30 AM and 2 PM and chocolate between 5 PM – 8 PM. My body is quite sensitive to stimulants so a little bit at the right time really does the trick. Is there any science behind this? Maybe. I’m sure I could find an article online to support it, but it might be false or heavily biased.  All I can say is that it’s working for me.

Of course, if you don’t like coffee or chocolate you don’t have to consume it, but if you do let me be your enabler … in moderation.

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Five: Om

I’ve kept up a daily meditation practice for the last two years. I’m currently on a 170+ day streak. (Pats self on back). Taking just 10-20 minutes a day to focus on my breath and thoughts is like hitting a reset button in my mind. On days when my monkey mind is too chatty I switch to a guided meditation to hold my hand through the experience.

If you’re new to meditation I highly recommend trying apps like Headspace or Insight Timer.

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Other things that are working for me: dreaming about swimming in sunny weather and then playing with kittens, hanging out with friends, making sure I get my veggies, journaling, reading books, and trying to not be so hard on myself.

Some other self care I’m planning on doing soon include: a visit to Golden Feet, getting a massage, pretending that I’m in a tropical paradise at Shameful Tiki Room, and dancing at Calabash’s Class of 94 night.

Of course, if you are experiencing prolonged depression and other S.A.D. symptoms, you should go to your doctor. There’s no harm in it.

What do you do? How are you going to get through the gloomy winter this year?

 

Last Big Show of 2016

 

This Saturday, November 19 is the last Teen Angst Night of 2016.

As a Canadian I’ve been shocked and appalled by the results of the American election so I’ve decided that 20% of all ticket sales will go to the American Civil Liberties Union who work to protect civil liberties in America. My teenage self, who protested her heart out in Calgary at events like Take Back The Night in the 90s (see photo above), would want me to take action.

We need to laugh. We need to love one another.We need to listen to each other. We need to speak up.

I’ll also be sharing some of my high school dramatic political action poetry and… some of my awful journals from Christmas 95 because it’s getting to be that time of year.

Teen Angst Night

Saturday, November 19 | show at 8 PM sharp

Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main Street

Tickets are $10 on eventbrite before Friday midnight or $15 at the door.

Eventbrite | Facebook Event

This Week & Next Week

Guys, I’m involved in two different events in the very near future and I’m doing something I rarely do; I’m NOT producing them. Did I just blow your mind?

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Googled: single people and found this meme that’s totally going viral!

THIS WEEK

Thursday (aka tomorrow) I’m hosting (aka MCing) a singles event at HiVE Vancouver. It’s a little known fact that there’s no ring on my finger (except twice a week when I audition for mom parts in commercials) and I will be helping fellow solo acts navigate the awkwardness of an event where you publicly declare your dating status to the room. (Ok, no one is going to make you get up on stage and declare anything, you’ll just have to wear a sticker or something… I don’t know I’m not producing this, I’m only hosting.)

Hey, if I can get people to share their embarrassing old diaries and poetry at Teen Angst Night, I for sure can get you to talk to that cutie across the room.

Details about this Singles Mingle event can be found HERE. 

Oh you don’t want to click the link? Fine.

DATE AND TIME: Thu, October 27, 2016 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM PDT

LOCATION: Buzz #210, 128 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G9

$12 at door
$10 in advance**link above

NEXT WEEK

Friday, November 4 I’m judging Literary Death Match at the Fox Cabaret.

This is literally one of my favourite events in the world. I first saw it in London waaaay back when I was living there. Then I WON the very first LDM in Vancouver. Then I was a judge in 2012 (I think) at the LDM Edinburgh Book Festival. AND THEN I hosted LDM Vancouver #2. I’m a triple threat at this show. There are only 2* other people in THE WORLD who can say that!

Check out all the awesome people involved.

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DATE AND TIME: Fri, November 4, 2016 8:00 PM – 10:30 PM PDT

LOCATION: The Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main Street, Vancouver, BC V5T 3C9

Cost: $12 presale; $15 at the door

*I made up this fact but we can fact check this on November 4 at the show!

 

Funny People Read from Terrible Books at Say Wha?!

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I stole recent photos of this month’s Say Wha?! readers from their Instagram feeds so you could see how fun and sexy they all are. Clockwise from top right: Kyle Fines, Emma Cooper, Anthony Casey (aka Shanda Leer), and Fatima Dhowre. 

Have you ever read a poorly written novel and thought to yourself, who publishes this crap? Or come across a hilariously out of date self-help book in a thrift store? Perhaps you flipped through Sarah Palin’s/ Justin Beiber’s/ R. Kelly’s etc. autobiography and guffawed at her/his life story. Well, that’s what Say Wha?! is all about.

At Say Wha?! engaging and charismatic performers put their comedic spin on some of the worst writing in print.

I’m so excited to be bringing this show back after a long hiatus. It’s always fun and these readers are something special. I hope to see you there tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 19

Show starts at 8 PM

Cottage Bistro*, 4468 Main Street (between 28 and 29 ave)

$10 at the door

Facebook event

* Food and drinks available. Check out their website for more info.

What Happens At Novelty Act?

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I get this question a lot, “What happens at Novelty Act?”

The truth is, we never know what’s going to happen until it happens.

At Novelty Act Riel Hahn and I tell stories. We play games. We improvise. Sometimes we prepare novelty acts like the time I wore my sailor costume and tap danced to a beep-boop song I wrote in 2007. Often Riel sings a song and plays the guitar. We always sing the theme song.

I think this is the best way to imagine our show: picture two really fun ladies hosting a party. It’s like a modern day salon. A salon in this sense; A gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation.

We share ourselves. We are vulnerable on stage. We take questions from the audience. No one is forced to participate.

For me, it’s frightening and fun.

For you, it’s happening tonight. It starts at 8 PM. It’s happening in a studio in the Chinatown mall at 288 East Georgia street. It’s Pay What You Can. There will be beer, wine, cider, and tequila shots for cheap.

We hope you’ll join us.

Bonus incentive: The Georgia Straight included it as one of the 45 things you should do today. Who says we live in No Fun Couver? Not us! We are fun makers.

Two Live Shows, One TV Show, One Week!

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This is an exciting week for me.

The return of Novelty Act will be on Thursday at a special new location. It’s going to be a delightful show/party hosted by Riel Hahn and me. If you’ve never been this is a great one to attend. It’s PWYC.

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Saturday night is Teen Angst Night at Fox Cabaret with so many delightful readers including Jillian Christmas, David C. Jones, Jo Dworschak, Riel Hahn, Susan Levang,Stacey Mitchell, Kristin Proskow, Andrew MacLachlan, and Dylan Rhymer. Tickets on sale now: $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

AND This Is High School the doc series I spent three months in Kamloops working on aired last night. I was the story producer for grade 8 and one of the kids I spent most of my time chasing down is featured in that episode. You can stream it here.

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Thank Goodness We’re No Longer Teenagers!

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Canadian Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Meet me and some fantastic readers at the Fox Cabaret on Saturday, October 8 at 8 PM to celebrate our ridiculous youth.

Let me be the excuse you need to avoid your family for an evening. Or better yet, bring your folks and show them that you weren’t really all that bad, at least not compared to some of us.

What you’ve never been to a show and you don’t know what happens? OMG, it’s delightful! Brave people get up on stage and read parts of their old teenage diaries and notebooks verbatim for your entertainment. You’ll laugh with them, at them, and at yourself.

Tickets are on sale on Eventbrite $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

“But is it real comedy? It most certainly is. People love to laugh and there are many routes to arrive at that destination. Is it traditional? It most certainly is not. It’s not what the average person envisions when they think of comedy. But regular shows would kill for these kinds of laughs.” Georgia Straight

“Teen Angst Night is a good time” CFOX Radio

“It’s high time the rhyme-crazy juveniles of the world are celebrated as the poetic prodigies we truly were.” Nylon Magazine

“I like it when the definition of “theatre” gets stretched. That’s what Sara Bynoe’s doing.” … “I gut laughed the whole evening. So did the rest of the audience. It was a full house. It always is. – TJ Dawe in the Charlebois Post

Smut Slam at the Vancouver Fringe

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Fans of Say Wha?! might enjoy this sexed up event that’s happening at the Vancouver Fringe. I was asked to be a judge but I’ll be out of town at my BFF’s wedding. Here’s all the kinky details:

Vancouver, brace yourself: SMUT SLAM IS COMING. The international underground sensation–part slam, part storytelling, part sex ed, part what got said after your parents turn the lights out at a sleepover–is landing at Vancouver Fringe on Saturday, Sept 10.

Smut Slam: the finest filth at the Vancouver Fringe, told by the people who lived it: YOU.

If you have sex, then you probably have a story to tell at the first Vancouver Smut Slam, coming to the Vancouver Fringe on Saturday, Sept 10. This encouraging event for sharing also offers PRIZES from Womyn’s Ware and njoy, celebrity judges, and more!

With sold-out shows in Edinburgh, New Orleans, Boston, and Atlanta, Smut Slam clearly has the chops to bring you a fine evening of filth… and ROPE YOU IN TO HELP. The dirty storytelling open mic makes its Vancouver premiere on Saturday, Sept 10, as part of the Vancouver Fringe. You have to see it to believe it.

SMUT SLAMMERS sign up on the night to tell a 5-minute dirty story, based on their real lives, and a lucky eight to ten names will be drawn at random.

RULES: – no notes (this is storytelling) – no costumes or props (this is not theatre) – only five minutes (with a one-minute grace period) AND – the story must be real and have happened to you. Stories often are funny and/or epic win, but we want to encourage people to consider sharing their sad, disturbing, poignant, serious, simple and/or “fail” experiences, too.

TAKE NOTE: Smut Slam is queer-friendly, kink-friendly AND vanilla-friendly, fat-friendly, poly-friendly… we are very friendly. We welcome people with all types and amounts of sexual experiences to our space. We don’t welcome stories involving racism, transphobia, homophobia, sexism, or any other discrimination, fetishization, or objectification. Also, CONSENT IS KEY.

NOT A SMUT SLAMMER? Don’t worry. The audience is in for a good time at SMUT SLAM! Sit back and enjoy. All we ask is: – No interrupting. – No heckling. – No necking in the front row. Doors open at 10pm, and the smut starts slamming at 10:30. Admission is only $14 online or at the door, 18 and over please!

SMUT SLAM is CREATED by Cameryn Moore, an award-winning playwright/performer, sex activist and educator, and, oh yeah: a phone sex operator. She tours the world seven months out of the year, but is always glad to come back to Vancouver (she is bringing her fifth solo play “nerdfucker” to the Fringe this year). When not performing, taking calls, or actually having sex herself, Cameryn writes Sidewalk Smut: custom type-written pornography as street performance and literary art. Find Cameryn being NSFW on Facebook, or at www.camerynmoore.com

Teen Angst happening TONIGHT!

Teen Angst Facebook Event

You know the story: Somewhere in the back of your closet gathering dust and turning yellow with age is comedic gold. Those old journals, poems, and essays you wrote as a teenager when you thought you could do no wrong, would probably make you cringe at your former feelings if you were to read them today. Now, imagine sharing them in front of an audience. That’s exactly what happens at Teen Angst.

Teen Angst Night is a comedic reading series that began in 2000. Readers can share anything (poetry, songs, letters, journals, diaries, essays, stories, plays, lists, etc) so long as it follows these rules:

1- The work must be your own.
2- You must have written it between the ages of 10-19.
3- You cannot be proud of the work you share. It’s best if you’re super embarrassed.

The show is TONIGHT!

Tuesday, August 23 | 8 – 10 PM | Cottage Bistro | 4468 Main Street 


Reader list:

Tina Taghaddosi
Kyla del Rosario
Julia Pileggi
TJ Dawe
Robyn Roukema
Jessica Denning
Maddy Kelly

$10 at the door. Free for readers. Sliding scale available if you’re low on funds, just remember to buy a drink or a snack at the bar for letting us do the show there.

The Georgia Straight included tonight’s show in their awesome list of things you should do.

See you soon!

Three Days in Vernon, BC

Wine, stand up paddle boarding, and tears of joy/ realization. What do these three things have in common? My recent trip to Vernon.

I’ve been telling so many people about it that I figured it might be useful to a few of you if I put all my tips and tricks into one long travel post. So here goes…

My mother moved to Vernon, BC a handful of years ago and the past three years I’ve gone on a road trip with a friend to soak up the summer. It’s becoming one of my most anticipated yearly traditions. Below are a few of my favourite things to do.

DRINK

If you don’t like wine, then I feel sorry for you. Lake country, between Vernon and Kelowna, has some fantastic wineries and drinking, aka “tasting,” is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Here’s where we went this year.

Intrigue – The tasting room has tonnes of tacky “I love wine better than my cat” type knick-knacks that make it look like a bachelorette party threw up in there but their wine is VERY drinkable. I took their Pinot Gris to a party recently and it was a huge hit. If you like bubbles, they have a pink sparkling wine with the awful name I Do. I don’t like bubbles, but my friend has purchased it all three times we’ve visited.

Blind Tiger – This was the first time we had heard of Blind Tiger and I found their wines to be a bit pricier than others. To their credit they were the only winery that I bought a red wine from. (It makes me sleep funny). They are an organic winery if you’re into that and they also have a food truck where you can order wood fire pizza at a decent price.

Ex Nihilo – I find this winery to be a tad on the pricey side for the region, also I’m cheap and don’t want to spend more than $22/ bottle. They have beautiful art on the walls and a nice outdoor patio where you can grab lunch. I brought back their Riesling.

Arrowleaf – If you want to have lunch with an amazing view go to Arrowleaf. Get a cheese plate and a bottle and enjoy the afternoon pretending you’re fancy trophy wives. Their wine is also very affordable and goes down quick. I’m a fan of their Rosé.

50th Parallel – Our last stop on our wine tour is also my favorite overall winery. Their building is beautiful – big, cement, strong, and modern with this ridiculously huge lampshade over the main entrance. All their wines are fantastic but I love their Rosé the most – I bought two bottles this time. They are planning to open a large dining room in the future and I’m sure it will give Arrowleaf a run for its money.

BX Press – I don’t know if you’ve heard but craft cider is the latest booze to nerd out on. That’s why Vernon is lucky to have the BX Press. Their Alexandria Lavender Raspberry is ERMERGERD, SO GOOD!  Also delicious are The Prospector and Ginny ciders. These are not the ciders you drank when you were 19 years old, these are proper, delicious, non-saccharine adult ciders.

ENJOY CULTURE

Every small town thinks that people will visit for the murals, even Vernon, and they’re wrong. I’ve been here dozens of times and I’ve never wanted to see the murals, but if you’re into that kind of thing knock your socks off.

The best thing to do culture-wise is to take a trip 40 minutes on the highway to Armstrong and catch a show at the Caravan Farm Theatre. This summer they’re presenting Our Town (runs until Aug. 21 – go now!). I had only heard about this play and that it had a reputation of being “schmaltzy” but OMGF it’s amazing. If you’re emotionally open and prone to crying in public, like me, bring a box of tissues and get ready for a life affirming Act 3. It was a PERFECT evening of theatre. Perfect. I’ve teared up several times just telling people about this play.

“Let’s really look at one another!…It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed… Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every,every minute? – Emily  – Thornton Wilder, Our Town

GET OUTSIDE

Let’s be honest, the real reason anyone goes to the Okanagan in the summer is for 30 degree weather and time in a bathingsuit by a lake. The prettiest one of the region with its stunning deep cyan hue is Kalamaka Lake. There are a several nice beaches around it for you to get your vitamin D. We went to the biggest dirt/sand patch, Kal beach, so that I could do a thing I’ve been making fun of for ages: stand-up paddle boarding. It’s actually pretty fun, especially if you’re a jerk like I am and you do yoga poses on it to show off your sick balance and flexibility. Here’s where we rented our boards. If you’re a baller you can probably rent a boat for the day from somewhere nearby too. Lucky you!

EAT

A trip to the Okanagan isn’t complete without bringing fresh fruit and veg back to the city, so you’re going to want to checkout the Vernon Farmer’s Market (Mondays and Thursday’s 8 AM-1 PM) or any of the numerous fruit stands along the highway. We always stop at Davidson’s Orchards right before we leave to bring back frozen pressed apple juice and frozen peach pies. If you have kids, or are young at heart, I highly recommend their petting zoo and play area. Just don’t try to live up to their body standards (see below). If you’re going to a Renaissance faire and need some mead you can pop next door to Planet Bee. They also have some decent lavender honey.

Farm fat-shamming. #Farm #Donkey #Salsa

A photo posted by Sara Bynoe (@sarabynoe) on

If you’re looking for places to eat out, sorry, I don’t have any recommendations. My mom is a great cook and she has a fridge full of booze. Yes, one normal sized fridge that is full of booze. It’s amazing.

Word on the street is Ratio and Triumph are the best places to get coffee. My inside scoop is that Ratio has the best pastries and Triumph has the best coffee, but why not try them both? You’re on vacation!

On your way back to Vancouver don’t forget to stop at a corn room in Chilliwak and pick up some peaches and cream.

Summer is coming to a close now, go out and enjoy as much of it as you can. Grab a friend, some sweet booty shaking tunes (ones that tell you to put your hands in the air are the best), and hit the road. Maybe you’ll make it an annual tradition.