Today marks the first day of POP Montreal! Our 12TH annual international music festival, that runs from the 25th – 29th of September. The POP fest is a nice way to end the summer and embrace the season change with an explosion of creativity that surrounds the city. The streets vibrate with music, art, film, fashion and conferences at every block.
Here are a few FREE events not to miss:
Tonight : POP Montreal 2013 Opening Party! 6-7:30pm , Quartiers POP, 3450 St-Urbain
Grab a complimentary drink ( or two) and snacks! To kick off the festival right with special musical guests!
Tonight : Fashion Pop / 8pm @ The Rialto , 5723 Parc
Presenting the work of this year’s most promising local emerging creators in fashion design. A panel of fashion industry judges will pick their favourite collection and the winning designer will receive a slew of prizes to help give them that push to jumpstart their career.
Madeleine Voizard & Daniel Quiroz
26- 29th of September : Puces pop @ Eglise St-Michel ( 105 St- Viateur W.)
For Art lovers, here is your chance to discover local artists at affordable prices. Eglise St-Michel ( 105 St- Viateur W.)
Friday 27th @ 4:30/ 3450 St. Urbain
” One of the most important legal minds in the Canadian Entertainment Industry, Susan Abramovitch, will be joined by startups, technology, and new media lawyer Reuven Ashtar (moderator), Secret City Records President, Justin West, and Montreal-based, Polaris Prize winning musician, composer and band leader, Patrick Watson, to discuss the development of music as intellectual property in a contemporary digital context, the cultural impact that this may be having, and how society might want to proceed.”
From Hard Facts to Fun Fiction: “Skinny Bitch” Author Kim Barnouin Pens Breezy Summer Read – By Nell Alk
Chances are, if you’re of the plant-based persuasion, you’ve become acquainted with Skinny Bitch. Heck, perhaps the bestselling book was the reason you went vegan in the first place.
A vegetarian since 18 and at 23 toying with ditching dairy and eggs (and fur—never part of my repertoire—leather, wool, down and silk), co-authors Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman encouraged me, with their refreshingly forthright tome, to transition to the kinder side. Thanks to them, I took the compassionate plunge and haven’t looked back.
Over the years since its release in 2005 (though it came to my attention in 2007), I’ve kept up with the brilliant babes behind Bitch. From Skinny Bitch in the Kitch to Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps, and everything in between, the franchise never failed to relay something new in a way that was both entertaining and educational.
Imagine my excitement when I discovered Barnouin was dropping a novel! After all their lovely lessons in health, wellness and cooking, I was eager to sink my teeth into something a little lighthearted. No ingredients needed, save for sunglasses, a towel and a tall glass of H2O. Indeed, the 44-year-old blonde bombshell had branched out and broken onto the beach read scene.
Skinny Bitch in Love, which hit shelves last month, is nothing if not a blast, a romp of a story set in Santa Monica and following leading lady and skillful sous-chef turned entrepreneur Clementine Cooper. The plant-powered protagonist not only falls in love, as the title implies, but also hits several snags along the way, both personally and professionally. And who can’t relate to that?
Now, I’m not one to fawn over chick lit, but when the heroine eschews animal products, I can’t help but sit up and take note. It’s rare to find a narrative to which I can so readily relate. It’s a guilt-free treat that I highly recommend to veggie and omni ladies alike. Next up from the ever-active author, wife and mother? Skinny Bitch Gets Hitched. (Literally can’t wait to get my hands on it, though it won’t be out until at least next summer.)
In the meantime, Barnouin took a few minutes last week to talk with me about her foray into fiction—what inspired this literary shift, what the writing process was like and why just such a story needed to be told. She also offers advice to the vegan-curious, shares why and how she went veg and hints at what’s up next (besides Hitched) for the Bitch brand.
First of all, congratulations on Skinny Bitch in Love. Had you always been thinking about getting into fiction writing?
I hadn’t. I was really happy doing health [and] nutrition [books and] cookbooks. Two years ago, with my son and my mom on vacation, I’m looking around at all these people on the beach reading summer novels. The light bulb went off. I thought, Wow, I think I want to be part of this. I called my literary agent that minute.
Have you always had the propensity to write fiction, or was this your first stab at it?
This was my very first stab at it. When I was young, I was writing like a maniac. I would write these crazy fiction stories from, like, 10 years old to maybe 13 or 14. I stopped doing it, getting into [my] teenage years, [and] I never tried again after that.
Was it a painful process at all?
Sometimes it can be. Most of the time, no. I can get in the zone and get into the characters and the story. But, other times, when I try to force myself to sit down and do it, it’s like birds chirping in my brain. Most of the time it was an absolute joy. But, there were times when nothing was coming. It does get difficult.
But, overall, it was a positive experience.
It was a great experience. It was such an exciting thing, putting characters together, putting lives together. I’m so glad I did it. I just tried to mix the Skinny Bitch brand and food and being vegan, so it wasn’t coming out of left field.
For sure. It’s seamless. So, for whom would you say the book is intended?
I think it’s for a younger generation. People in their twenties and thirties. It’s nice because those are the people who are influential. They’re the people who are coming up, who are going to be making a difference, hopefully in animal rights or nutrition or food. That would be a wonderful thing.
Agreed. And now you’re editing the follow-up, Skinny Bitch Gets Hitched. Clever title.
It’s cute, you know? They’re fun books to read. I spend so much time doing heavy research on food and nutrition. I like reading books that take me away, get me out of my head for a while. That’s what I like about these books.
Absolutely. There are endless chick lit titles on library and bookstore shelves, but none, I’d venture to guess, are coming from the vegan perspective. Which completely shifts the vibe for the better. I really appreciated that. It was very refreshing. And long overdue.
Thank you. That’s been the whole goal, ever since the idea for these books started back in 2003. It was always to make veganism become more mainstream and more “normal.” We’ve come a long way. It’s getting much more attention. I thought it’d just be fun [to] keep it going, [to] have a character like this. This is our future. This is the way people are eating now. It may be the minority, but that minority is building. It’s all about trying to spread [the message] in a nonthreatening way so people think about it.
Would you say that’s why this book needed to be written?
Definitely. There’s a need for it. It’s nice to get people talking. One of the characters—the best friend and roommate, Sara—[is] not so perfect in the vegan world. I think people can relate to her struggles. Some of the characters are aces at it. For others, it doesn’t come as easily. But, they’re passionate and they work hard, so I definitely want to spread that message.
Did you become vegan for health reasons?
I did. I was sick all the time. I didn’t have health insurance and I didn’t have a lot of money to really delve into what was wrong. I was in the bookstore going through books about food, and food allergies would come up. I thought, Maybe food can be pretty powerful. I was so naïve about food, because I ate like crap. I changed my diet, [gave] up all my bad vices. I tried vegetarian for a while and started feeling great. Then I took it a step further: vegan. The whole process took me a year. It was a gradual change. All the sickness was gone. I couldn’t believe that changing my diet could be that powerful. Everyone was like, You look so great! Your skin, your eyes, your hair. And you’re feeling so much better. What’s your secret?
Thus, Skinny Bitch was born. So, what’s your own diet like?
There are times where I think, Have I had a salad this week? [Laughs] But, I go through periods where I eat really well, and really clean, because I want to be able to have my treats. I’m not the person who sits down and has, like, four cupcakes or ten cookies at a time. I don’t go nuts. Moderation helps. I feel like my diet is balanced.
And how has this vegan ethos spread to other aspects of your life?
The first few books were co-written with Rory Freedman and she was really into animal rights. She opened my eyes to so much going on that I never knew about. That got me to look at other areas. That inspired me. That made me realize that there’s more to it than just saying, I’m not going to eat animals. It’s a matter of [living] the lifestyle.
So you put out Skinny Bitch: Home, Beauty and Style. Any favorite cruelty-free companies?
Jane Iredale has got some really good makeup. Josie Maran has beautiful stuff as well. I got some argon oil from her line and it’s just spectacular. Mrs. Meyer’s I use for home cleaning. There’s this shampoo I found in a drug store, Shea Moisture. I was amazed by it. It is so good. It’s got absolutely pure ingredients. All things you can pronounce and understand. My main thing is looking at the ingredients. Reading the ingredients of things you’re going to put on your body means so much, because your skin’s going to absorb it all. I’m trying to get people to take charge of what they’re using and know what this stuff is.
Makes sense. Any advice for people considering going vegan?
Be easy on yourself. Don’t think you have to do this overnight. Take your time, do your homework. Eventually, this is how I want to eat. So, how do I get there? It’s just a matter of slowly giving things up.
Or, if they want to cut the crap cold turkey, more power to them! They can start with Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps! [Laughs] So what’s next on deck, apart from Hitched?
A baking book. Eighty recipes of ridiculously good desserts. Easy to make, no crazy, hard to find ingredients.
Skinny Bitch Bakes [a fictional company from Skinny Bitch in Love] come to life!
I like to cook, but I love to bake. I don’t like buying treats. There [are] so many preservatives and additives. Whatever I want I can make myself. I’ve had tons of failures, but trying it again and again you figure out what works. For me, it’s my meditation. Being in the kitchen and baking is so much fun for me. I really enjoy it.
Lucky son and husband! Lastly, what can Bitch fans expect further down the road?
I want to get back into the kitchen. I might do an all-encompassing cookbook. I did the Ultimate Everyday Cookbook a couple years ago. Fiction and cookbooks are on my favorites list, so I may be going back and forth [between] the two of those.
Alas, a playground for adults! I was eager for summer vacation this year and decided to jump ahead and take my vacation a little early. I booked a ticket and was off to London, Berlin & Sweden for two weeks. While I was in Berlin I had the pleasure of exploring the OM-D Photographic playground group exhibition.
Upon entering the space, my friends and I were given two Olympus OM-D digital cameras with new SD cards to explore. With 4 floors exhibiting the work of 12 Artists, the amount of art was overwhelmingly fun!
The exhibition is designed as an interactive experience for both artists and visitors where you’re invited to discover the installations and artworks with all your senses , while forming and capturing your own ideas from and with the OM-D.
One of my favorite installations was from Sven Meyer & Kim Pörksen titled Sonic Water. They explore sound & visuals by enabling the viewer to interact with a small container of water positioned inside a speaker. As the sounds change, the camera located above the container provides instant feedback as projection.
“Depending on the frequency of the sound and the fluids added to the mix, new patterns are constantly regenerated. From chaos becomes order reflecting the harmonic laws of nature.”
Watch Sonic Water here
Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech at the University for the Arts is great advice for creative types, but I kind of think it’s just great advice for anyone. I’d never heard him speak before and he’s pretty much wonderful so listen to the whole thing.
Here are some highlighted passages in case you’re at work and don’t have speakers or if you prefer reading or if your cat is making too much noise:
“Sometimes the way to do what you hope to do will be clear cut, and sometimes it will be almost impossible to decide whether or not you are doing the correct thing, because you’ll have to balance your goals and hopes with feeding yourself, paying debts, finding work, settling for what you can get.”
“Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be – an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics and supporting myself through my words – was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal.”
“And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.”
“I would do my best in the future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. If I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work.”
“The things I did because I was excited, and wanted to see them exist in reality have never let me down, and I’ve never regretted the time I spent on any of them.”
“I hope you’ll make mistakes. If you’re making mistakes, it means you’re out there doing something.”
“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do:
Make good art.
“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.”
Full transcript available at The University of the Arts.
Adam Purple, is often coined as the godfather of the urban gardening movement, and is well known in New York for his “Garden of Eden”on the Lower East side of Manhattan. His project began in the 70′s when two buildings behind his apartment were bulldozed by the city. Looking out his window, he noticed children often playing in the filth, and leftover debris. It soon occurred to him that he could rebuild the space into a sustainable, communal garden. Within a year he transformed the abandoned lot into a green garden that soon stretched to 15,000 square feet. “By the end of the second year, he had transformed both of the lots into flowers,trees, and food crops.” It soon became a communal project within the city. More people came to help him who called themselves the “Purple Guard”. They soon had a fully sustainable garden, where they grew nuts, fruits & vegetables.
” The garden of Eden was a work of art, a place to grow and share food, and a place to learn. Though that place is gone, Adam’s ideas are not. We can still learn from the Garden of Eden. We can look down at our own two hands, as Adam Purple did, and start using them to change the world.” Amy Brost
In 1986 the garden was demolished. To learn more about the history of Adam & the Garden of Eden watch the short film “Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden.” Here:
I was on the line with aeroplan this week booking a trip and was asked for my birthdate. Sukh (my surprised agent at the other end) let me know that she not only had the same birthday, but the same year ! Chances of that ? I’ve always felt that everything is connected and there are no such things as coincidences (I’ve yet to find the connection with Sukh but this journey isn’t over yet.
The call this week got me thinking about numerology, the study of the special relationship between numbers and coinciding events.
I also rediscovered 21, the beautiful and massive coffee table book put out by Ennio Capasa for the 21st anniversary of COSTUME NATIONAL. To quote Capasa:
“ I am celebrating the 21st anniversary because this was a magical age for me in my youth looking back and because I was born on the 12th, my brother on the 21st, my father on the 12th, my mother on the 3rd (2 +1), my headquarters is in Via Fusetti 12, my first shop in Milan in Via Sant’Andrea 12, my factory in Thiene in Via Dell’Agricoltura 21- numbers have always played me!”
I’m not going to talk about all the t.v shows out there right now relating numbers to events and crimes (although they sound really neat ). I will instead ask you to pop your name into the site below and decide for yourself, coincidence or…….
Every year, new resolutions are made, some harder to keep than others. The start of a new year is a refreshing way of looking at our goals for the year. I’ve made it a point every year, to keep my resolutions realistic and focus on gaining at least one new hobby. My best pointer to keep your resolution for the entire year is to actively talk about it with friends and make it visible in your home. The constant reminder is a vital component in maintaining motivation and focus towards your goal. I like to keep a journal and write something every day about the progress of achieving my goal. This year : I want to snowshoe , learn to belly dance & sew more. My first step at learning to belly dance began in my living room last night as I watched dance tutorials on You Tube. It was fun! Our digital age allows us to learn a new hobby at the click of a button, why not take full advantage of that this year? Use the internet in a different way than you’re used to! This is something I actively plan on doing this year. This week I read a fun article from Design *Sponge on how to keep and maintain your new year resolutions.
Here are a few helpful tips from our friends at Design *Sponge:
Tips for Keeping Your Resolutions
- Keep it simple and realistic. Don’t set goals that involve big purchases or a total change in your daily routine. Small changes are easiest to keep.
- Write them down and display them somewhere you’ll see them every day. The fridge door, the back of your front door or taped to the top of your laptop work well.
- Make it public! Sometimes, if you let people know about your goals, it’s the extra push you need to get them done. Try posting your resolutions on Facebook, Twitter or your blog or sending them in an e-mail to close friends.
- Make seasonal resolutions: Let yourself dream big and put things on the list that you might not get done over the winter but that will be enough to get you moving in the right direction. Then adjust and add more as the year progresses.
- Build a support group. If your friends and family know what your goals are, they’ll be better able to keep you on track.
- Reward yourself! Set small goals for yourself and enjoy a small reward when you meet goal points along the way.
- Allow yourself a slip up or two. A few small mistakes or setbacks are only natural. Don’t let them derail the long-term goal. Shrug them off and try again the next day.
- Helpful Apps: Mint (finance), Fantastical (calendar), 30/30 (awesome timed task app), Sleep Cycle (sleep better), Fooducate (know what you’re eating), Mindful Eating, Buddhify (mindful meditation)
- Here are a few resolutions from design sponge reader’s that resonated well with us.
What is your new year resolution? We look forward to a beautiful year, filled with positivity, creativity & love.
The run to NYC yesterday was a quick one so every minute had to be well worth ! Limited minutes could only mean one thing: I would have to stick with a theme. I picked Japanese and decided on the Noguchi museum in queens.
Isamu’s Noguchi’s sculptures are beautifully natural and innovative at the same time. Each piece deserves attention, the space and high commercial brick walls are completely non-descript from the outside and offer some great shelter from the hustle of NY: think slate and wooden interlocking sculptures in a zen garden. I plan on going back when I can spend some more time taking in the pieces and relaxing in the garden, well worth the trek to Long Island City !
The next and last stop given lack of time was UNIQLO . A trip to NY these days is not complete without a stopover at what many call the (better?) Japanese version of the GAP. Tailored cuts, quality craftsmanship and collaborations with everyone from JIL SANDER to Jun Takahashi are what you will find. The 89,000 store in midtown happens to be the largest retail location on 5th, I prefer SOHO and 34th, less overwhelming !
Walking along the streets of Montreal on garbage day is for some a nightmare, others a playground. For artist Alexis O’Hara, the latter rings true. His art exhibition running from Nov 29- Dec 20th in Montreal features his new interactive sculpture piece titled “Squeeeequee! The Improbable Igloo”. Utilizing found materials, he creates an immersive sonic space constructed from 60-70 recycled speakers, all from Ecocentres or found on garbage day, creating a cozy, winter fort wonderland of sound. With carefully placed pillows and a microphone inside the sculpture, he creates a fun, inviting, memorable experience. This is your chance to echo your voice, with 4 microphones as the sole audio source for you and other howlers!
Shed your inhibitions & create dynamic sound! This cocoon of beauty from trash is a must see! Whether it’s nostalgic memories of winter fort building or making a cocoon , his sculpture is one to see and experience.
Squeeeequee! The Improbable Igloo will be on display at Maison de la Culture Maisonneuve (4200 Ontario E.), Nov. 29 – Dec. 20.