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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Does this make me look patriotic?

I notice every so often a family in the crowd, within the Italian Pavilion, that are Canadian. The giveaway is usually what they're wearing: an Oilers t-shirt, or Team Canada apparel from HBC or some Lululemon gear. But also, that they're usually slim or fit, and there is just a look that Canadians have. It's a look of kindness, politeness, knowing, and nice smiles.

During one of our shows at the beginning of our week I noticed a very cute sister and brother, who were wide eyed, front and centre watching our show. The young boy wore a red "Canada" apparel sweatshirt, and the perfect pair of Mickey ears. His sister had on a Minnie Mouse dress.


We used them in one of our scene's, and at one point I quickly asked them if they were from Canada and the older sister nodded and said "Yes". I soon figured out who their parents were, and they had big smiles and were enjoying the show.

After our set was finished and my cast mates and I were returning to our trailer backstage I suddenly burst in to tears. I was overcome with missing my country, not sure exactly what I missed as I am happy to be doing what I love, and happy to be in this new chapter, but I was homesick for Canadians. I miss how Canadians talk, and I miss our cynicism, and our black humour, our disdain for the news, and our healthy food options. I was missing The Great Giffoni's magic shows, even though what I'm doing now is like a giant birthday party all day long - filled with cute kids that dress up like little pirates and princesses.

I'm finding myself wanting to wear a maple leaf, does this make me look patriotic? Who'd of known!! But, I'd prefer it if you would refer to me as a  European-Canadian, thanks ;-) 

I calmed down, realized what I felt was completely normal, and the next day at work the family came back! That's a nice feeling when you have guests return to the show, and The Ziti Sisters have many! The kids were picked to be the flower girl and boy in the wedding scene, and they did a great job.

Yesterday, the cats came back (for the third time!). This time the dad was selected to be in our "History" scene, and so I had the opportunity to chat with him, and found out they were from Calgary, and I let him know I was from Victoria. He asked me how I liked it here, and I told him "It's different", and he replied "You miss home".

It was nice to see them again, having them around really comforted me, I hope they had a great time.

----

I got a cool email the other day from a musician that had the same accordion as my "Camillo" and was curious to know more about it.



I informed them that our accordion's were definitely siblings, and that the story behind our  accordions goes something like this: the Canadian Accordion Institute had Robert DeCamillis order up accordions for them, and he went to the Guerrini factory - who would personalize accordions for you when doing mass orders. Bob created the 'Camillo' name from his own last name. This was during the 1960's, and now these Guerrini "Camillo's" are floating around.

My emailer received the "Camillo" from Richard Bell, who had passed away, and used to play in The Hawks (with Ronnie Hawkins, before they were The Band), played in The Band after Robbie Robertson left, and also played with Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band.


I had met Bob "Camillo" DeCamillis several years ago at an accordion festival in Victoria BC, where he began bidding on my accordion - which wasn't up for sale to begin with. He was very sweet and bought several items from my "Squeeze Me - Accordion Chic Apparel" line.




-----

I had a random memory pop in to my mind just now about how a woman in the audience (a couple of weeks ago) informed me mid-show that "See the man in the cowboy hat? He plays the accordion too". Oohhh... okay.
I was left wondering why I was told this, and thought "Do the other Ziti's have friends of actors come up and tell them "See that woman in the visor? She does community theatre"."
Right near the end of our show, still doing a show... the woman yells to me "Lady of Spain! He plays that all the time!"

 

BTW: I don't play this song 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Welcome to the Accordionist's Corner

The Accordionist's Corner
I have a treasured corner in my apartment. Two out of three of my accordions that are down here in Orlando with me live in it, and my growing gallery as well.

I received a print of the portrait Jeff Felker painted of me. I am so honoured and touched that he did this. He's extremely talented, and I recommend you check out his portfolio immediately: http://studiologica.com/

“silently to and from the heave of the water” - 30x24 oil on canvas 2010


I've been doing a lot more photography these days. I am loving it.


My cast mate/friend Heather and I did a shoot this past week, and I am very pleased with the results.


It's been 7 days since my boyfriend left to return to Canada, leaving me in this strange world the locals call "Orlando". The deep South is America at an extreme. I am surrounded by paranoid, stay inside the lines, do what your told, corporation following, big box store consumerists - who are the worst drivers I have ever experienced, and yes I have been to Montreal ;-)

It's cool though. I have a great job, and am getting to know this city as the days go on. Finding the areas, that once you cross you realize there are many pockets to this city where the people never even breathe in the Mickey Mouse air. They don't work for an amusement park, and their jobs do not rely on tourism. Very similar to Victoria, BC (tourism versus everything else).

For awhile there I felt like a ghost when I would view my Victoria friend's Facebook profiles. My Dad described a similar feeling of when he returned to his hometown in Winnipeg after he and his family were stationed (through my Grandfather, who was in the Canadian Military) in Germany for 3 years.

A good friend of mine, who moved to Toronto, ON about 4 years ago, had this chat with me about how people in Victoria seem to write you off the minute you move away. What is with you Slacktoria? Are the lentil bean cakes getting to you? Is it raining again? How's that blue bridge holding up? I heard it snowed 1 cm, and you could see it on the hood of your cars if you looked at it from the right angle...

Oh well. The ghostly feeling has disappeared, and perhaps it's like losing your cell phone: you get the numbers back from those dearest to you, and all the rest just float away to the deserted address book island.

It is nice to hear and talk with more people now, who are scattered all over the globe, then ever before! Sincerity, loyalty and integrity is what I appreciate in friendships the most, and being able to tell me a very dirty joke.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Top 10 of 2010

When you look back, things are always better... Here are my top 10 performance moments of 2010:

10. Jingle Eve
This was my first gig here in Orlando, FL - outside of my work with Disney. It took place down in the Ivanhoe Village and it was a great opportunity for me to have a look in to what happens here in the various parts of Orlando.


9. Alison and Sal's Wedding Reception, Starling Lane Winery
A beautiful couple asked me to play at their wedding reception located at the Starling Lane Winery, in West Saanich, BC. It was pouring rain when I arrived, and the plan was for me to play once their vows and commitment had been announced. I did this, with the help of the catering company, and played within the gorgeous cathedral/atrium like structure - which the ceremony was held in.
I then made my way to the tasting area, where all the wedding guests hung out as well to keep dry from the rain. 
It was a lot of fun playing next to the barrels of wine, smelling it in the air, and performing amongst the conversations, laughter and accidental smashing of wine glasses.


8. Alex and I at The Fort Cafe
It is always a pleasure to create music with my friend Alex. He has a great mind, is very easy to collaborate and perform with, a fantastic person, and a lovely friend.
At this gig, we were on the line up for Accordion Noir's "An Evening of Pleasing Squeezing" held at The Fort Cafe, in Victoria BC.
It was an intimate setting, and a nice little venue for Alex and I to perform our experimental accordion/synth set up.

Here is a video from that performance:




7. Victoria Pride Parade
It was my goal from the start with my gypsy band back in Victoria BC, to play in the Victoria Pride Parade, and so when the stars aligned and we were asked to play in the parade I was more then excited. Not only did we play in it, but we lead the parade as well!
Getting 8 musicians to jump in to the backs of Kabuki Kabs isn't easy, but having them wear no pants IS!
 


6. Opening for Tom Fun Orchestra
I had the opportunity to have my gypsy band and I open for the amazing Tom Fun Orchestra, at Hermann's Jazz Club in Victoria BC in the middle of August 2010. This was a big deal to me because when I had first started my gypsy band, Tom Fun was a band that I admired and sought out to be similar to. I loved their exciting energy that is felt in their music, and aimed to have that same "party" feel in our performances.
The band members of Tom Fun are good people. I hope to play with them again :)





5. The Great Giffoni on Mayne Island
Performing with The Great Giffoni opened my eyes to the realization that I LOVE performing for children. I would look forward to the next birthday party, reception, festival that David Gifford would call me up and see if I was available for.
The combination of The Great Giffoni's charming magic show, Princess Muffin, and the funny little kids would always brighten my day.
His Magic show headlined the Mayne Island Fall Fair, and I had never been to Mayne Island. The trip was lovely, the beaches there are great, and I had a lovely time at the Teddy Bear's Tea Party :)



4. Eastern Bloc Party @ Logan's Pub
This show was HUGE. Literally. I had put together this show, and had asked both The Bolting Brassicas and The Carnival Band to be a part of it. All together there was about 40 musicians involved in this gig.
The audience was amazing, and made the night what it was. This night of massive alternative marching bands was a great end to the summer in Victoria BC, and a great last gig with my band before I moved to Florida.



3. TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival
Guilt & Company, located in Vancouver's Historic Gastown, was a great venue for some of the many performances happening during the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival during the end of June of 2010.
I had the pleasure of being a part of this festival, and getting to play with Sam Davidson (Brasstronauts), Colin Cowan (Analog Bell Service), Ali Siadat (Mother Mother), and Bobby Siadat (You Say Party and Gang Violence).
A big THANK YOU to Guilt & Company for asking me to be a part of these two great nights of music, for being able to play with those fantastic musicians, and having the opportunity to be a part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.



2. Victoria Celebrates Canada Day
My gypsy band and I played the main stage at the annual Canada Day event this past July 1st, 2010. Being a native Victorian and having grown up in the Garden City I had been going to the Canada Day festivities every year. To have the opportunity to play for your own city, at this grand event, is kind of a big deal!
Looking out from the stage to see all of the inner harbour, the Empress Hotel, Government Street, and having 40,000 people looking back at you felt GREAT!
I had a blast, I had great mics on my accordion (thanks to my friend Alan Zisman) and the sound and production team were fantastic to work with.  It was great performance and a huge accomplishment!


1. Walt Disney World: The Ziti Sisters
Well here we are, in Orlando FL. Seriously? Pinch me.
I get to dance around with little princesses and mini-Minnie Mouse's all day, and play my accordion while I do it. Okay!
This has been one crazy ride so far, stressful to go from submitting footage, auditioning through Skype, to filling out Visa applications, to packing up and selling off unnecessary belongings, saying goodbye, and coming to a strange new land where everything feels backwards. This is the life of a gypsy accordionist.





Looking ahead at 2011:

I stopped making New Year's resolutions a long time ago. I make resolutions and goals more then once a year, and review them regularly. I keep up with them, create new ones, finish old ones, and make big decisions all year. I recommend you do the same. Keep a day timer, make "To do" lists, sync your Google Calendar with your Blackberry, and keep yourself on track! Be aware of what you're asking for from the universe, you never know where you might end up!

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