Ten More Sleeps!

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Save the date and make a date for the next Teen Angst Night!

Saturday, March 11, 2017
Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main Street, Vancouver, BC
8-10 PM
$10 in advance, $15 at the door

Facebook event
Reader signup – Only looking for men now. Any brave dudes out there?

Teen Angst Night is a comedic reading series I have produced since 2000.

Readers at this verbatim storytelling night 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.

Sorry actual teenagers, this event is in a 19+ venue.

REVIEWS

“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

Ready, Set, GO!

On the morning of December 4, 2016 I got a phone call at 8:30 AM telling me I booked a commercial that was shooting in Santiago, Chile and my flight was leaving at 7 AM the next day.

Exciting? Yes. Did I get all my shit together? No. Tomorrow a friend of mine is flying to Chile to shoot a commercial (lucky duck), so I thought I’d share some of my insights on traveling and working in there so others can learn from my experience of last minute work travel and shooting a non-union commercial abroad.

Before you get yourself into this situation here’s what you need to have:

  • A fantastic boss and coworkers at your day job/ joe job/ side hustle who get it and are able to help you out when an amazing opportunity comes your way. Remember to buy them booze and treat them nice throughout the year.
  • A passport. Duh. Well, you wouldn’t have booked the gig if your passport wasn’t valid.
  • A positive attitude because you’re in for an adventure.

Do Some Research:

You are going to a new country. If you can take a few minutes to research the city you’re going to, do it, even if it’s on your five hour layover in the Dallas Fort Worth airport. Check to see if there are any travel advisories. Worried about Zika virus? Don’t! It’s not in Chile.

Quick reads:

My Experience:

I found Santiago, Chile to be a modern city with a European feel. This is likely because I haven’t traveled to South America before and have mostly traveled in Europe and the only other Spanish speaking country I’ve been to was Spain. The people are friendly but most do not speak english. I had a funny relationship with my driver who didn’t speak a word of english but kept speaking to me in spanish, like I was going to magically pick it up over the five days I was there. Sorry Julio, I let you down.

Shooting the Commercial: 

Nearly everyone on the production spoke english. The director and the DP were American. The same goes for the agency and the client.  The crew were locals and they were pretty much all bilingual.

I had a great experience on set but I have heard from other actors I know that sometimes these non-union commercials shot outside of North America can ask actors to do some things they wouldn’t ask you to do at home – like carry a 50+ lbs fridge on your back while walking down stairs in heels (ya, that happened). Remember to speak up if you ever feel uncomfortable.

One of the things that excited me the most was how beautifully the table was set when we broke for lunch. There was a tablecloth and cutlery was set out; it felt so much more civilized than the plastic table with fold up chairs I’ve normally used on set.

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A beautiful table set for a crew and vegetarian food! I was so lucky!

What to Bring:

Pack light. You’re only going for a few days.

Here’s what I brought: two t-shirts, one pair of jeans, yoga pants (to wear on the plane, so I could be comfortable and “stylish”), a sweater, a denim, top, a dress, a skirt, a jacket (for Vancouver and Santiago weather – I chose my vegan ‘leather’ jacket), underwear (of course), a swimsuit (sadly I never used it), a gym top, a pair of sandals (wishful thinking about going to the beach – which I did use!), a pair of running shoes (wishful thinking about a hotel gym), and ankle booties. I put all of that plus my toiletries in my carry-on.

In my “personal bag” I always have the following for airplane travel:

Antibacterial wipes because they do not wipe down the arm rests, screen, seat belt etc. Gross.

EmergenC – It might be the placebo effect working but I always pour a package into my water bottle and drink it before my flight.

Nasal Spray – I keep flying with head colds and it hurts so much. Imagine the feeling of someone shoving a screwdriver into your ear. My doctor suggested I get some decongestant nasal spray, which was something I never tried before and it helped almost instantly. Also putting a hot compress outside of your ear will help to get things moving but that’s hard to do on a plane.

Lotion – I always get so dry on airplanes so I like to travel with heavy hand cream. Remember to keep it under 100 ml (or 3.4 oz) otherwise the TSA will take it away and you’ll be sad.

Water bottle – If you’re traveling in North America (except Flint, Michigan) the tap water is fine. Fill up your bottle once you’re through security. It’s important to stay hydrated and bottled water is a sham: it has less regulations than tap water and it’s horrible for the environment. Seriously, there’s no reason to buy bottled water.* Stop doing it. Please.

Except, I’m a jerkface. Once I had settled in my hotel room in Chile I brought a 6 litre bottle from the grocery store nearby because I didn’t want to risk getting the squirts.

Zopiclone – I suffer from insomnia and I’m so thankful to have discovered this magic pill. I was able to get a few hours sleep on the plane and a restful sleep the first night because of my little blue Z. I also brought melatonin to take at my new bedtime in Santiago. I think taking it helped with my jet lag.

Vega All In One – I mostly eat vegetarian and I wasn’t sure what the food situation would be so I brought a mason jar to use as a shaker and some of my favorite meal replacement/ protein powder in a plastic bag.

Plus a book and notepad, but I hardly leave my house without those supplies anyway.

Things To Do Before You Leave:

  • Don’t worry about exchanging your money before you go -you’re rushing to get on a plane to shoot a commercial – you don’t have time for that shit! It’s likely the production will give you a per diem in American cash when you arrive. If you need money go to a bank when you get there and take money out on your credit card.
  • Learn some spanish, at least the basics. Make notes or print out common phrases. Learn numbers (so you can find your hotel room) and please and thank you.
  • Pack your smartphone & charger. They’re going to have to get a hold of you somehow. It’s a wise idea to get some sort of travel plan. If you’re traveling for work you can write it off come tax time. Warning: if you’re with Fido and going to South America you’ll run through your data in one day. I did and I’m pretty good about turning my data off. Make a note to contact your MP when you get back to work on getting better cell phone plans in Canada.
  • Get a power adapter – Just make sure it works with your computer cord. I learnt this the hard way (see photo below). If this happens to you ask the hotel you’re staying at if they have one you can borrow/buy, they often have spares because you’re not the first person to go to Shoppers Drug Mart and buy the only adapter they have even though it’s a P.O.S.
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If I’d had more time I would have gone to London Drugs where I bet there would have been more options than this “stylize” garbage converter that killed my curling iron.
  • Don’t bring your curling iron or hair dryer. Your P.O.S. power adapter likely will kill it in some way. It’s not worth it. Someone will do your hair when you’re on set. Your hotel should have a hair dryer in the bathroom and you’re on vacation, let your frizz fly!
  • Buy sunblock, bug spray when you get there. Since you’re doing carry-on you need all the liquids for your regular stuff.
  • Don’t worry about what you’re going to say at customs. They didn’t even ask me what I was doing in the country.

Santiago Recommendations

I lucked out and had two and a half free days to explore the city. Here are some of the highlights.

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  • The food! All of it. So good. The desserts! The seafood! The beer! The wine!  I want to go back.
  • Barrio Bellavista, is a vibrant cultural district. I went to Pablo Neruda’s house, La Chascona and I’m kicking myself for not buying the salt and pepper shakers from the gift store. Also in that area is a mountain that takes about 50 minutes to walk up, Cerro San Cristobal. If you’re lucky enough to go up it on a clear day you can see the Andes and the entire city. I walked up it and took the funicular down, it was scary, fun and would never pass North American public safety inspections.
  • Also in Bellavista I paid the equivalent of $5 US to get my photo taken with a llama. WORTH IT.
  • Take the metro. It’s safe and a good exercise for your brain to navigate a new transit system. If you’ve been on the NYC subway or London tube, you’ll be fine. This is where I really got to test out my beginner spanish.
  • If your hotel is anywhere near Apumanque,where I was saying, be sure to check out Parque Arauco and the designer mall nearby – unless you have an allergy to scents, because every store was heavily perfumed.

Most of all have fun and enjoy how fortunate you are to be able to do this!

Everyone else get ready. The advertising agency I worked with said they’re likely going to keep booking non-union actors from Vancouver and shooting in Chile because it worked out so well.

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Even though I didn’t get all my shit together, I still managed to enjoy my time in Santiago, Chile. 

 

Teen Angst Night is Back Tomorrow Evening

Tuesday, January 17 is Teen Angst Night at the Cottage Bistro, 4470 Main Street. Show starts at 8 PM. 
 
Teen Angst Night is a comedic reading series where brave people share embarrassing things they wrote when they were teenagers.
 
Readers at this verbatim storytelling night 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.
 
Readers:
Chalayne Beach
Emma Cooper
Riel Hahn
David C Jones
Adele Noronha
Bonnie Quan Symons
Krystle Yeung
 
Tickets $10 at the door (cash only)

I Was On SNL! Well….

A few weeks ago my father emailed me to say that he was watching SNL and he saw me on TV. The Edible Arrangement commercial I was in aired during the first commercial break. The first commercial. Ya know, the one that’s sometimes a fake commercial. Well, that’s when this aired. So, in my proud father’s eyes I was on SNL. Kinda.

Let’s Share More in 2017

Did you make a resolution to be more honest in 2017? How about stepping out of your comfort zone more often? Maybe you resolved to try new things this year? Well… I think I’ve got the perfect opportunity for you.
As many readers may know, I host and produce a storytelling comedy night where people share embarrassing and funny excerpts from their teenage notebooks (journals, poetry, letters, songs etc.). It’s called Teen Angst Night and the next show is Tuesday, January 17. There are a few spots left for readers, so if you went home during the holidays and found some embarrassing writing from your adolescence THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY to share them!
DO IT!
Or just come and enjoy the show. Details here:  Facebook event
Look at these lovely people and how much fun they’re having reading at Teen Angst Night.
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How I’m Beating Seasonal Affective Disorder in the Garbage Year 2016

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