Jane’s Walk 2009 and Vancouver Stories

Comments 6 by Rebecca Bollwitt

There’s a reason why I have a history category on my site, I love sharing about where I live and how it’s changed, re-shaped and grown over the years.

I think I’ve turned into a decent resource for West End history (although I’m constantly exploring and learning) but with over 20 other neighbourhoods in the city, there’s so much more to explore — this is where Jane’s Walk comes in.

Last May, Think City, along with 600-plus Vancouverites celebrated the legacy of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs with a series of free walking tours called Jane’s Walks. Over 30 Jane’s Walks were held in neighbourhoods all over the city – from Strathcona to the West End, Commercial Drive to Kitsilano, the Renfrew Ravine to False Creek and including famed Vancouver landmarks such as Nat Bailey Stadium and Wreck Beach.

Each walk was hosted by a citizen who donated their time to bring stories, history and awareness to their place in our city. These hosts included such Vancouver notables as John Atkin, Gordon Price, Wendy Pederson and Ned Jacobs. The result was overwhelming enthusiasm on the part of Vancouverites, with many people attending multiple walks over the two days, despite the rain. Jane’s Walk is held simultaneously in 11 cities across the country and this past year was a first for Vancouver

This year citizen volunteers will have the opportunity to lead a walk in their community, sharing their personal history tidbits or where you can find the best cup of coffee or even explaining the differences between Kerrisdale and Marpole, or the Downtown Eastside and the Downtown Lower Eastside. The walks will take place the first weekend in May, and you can find all the details here.

Leading up to the walks there will be a fundraiser called “Vancouver Stories” at Heritage Hall on Main Street March 19th at 7:00pm, tickets are $50 each and can be purchased through Think City.

It’s a cocktail party and silent auction hosted by Bill Richardson of the CBC and will also feature Andreas Schroeder, Shirley Chan and Vancouver history guru John Atkin.

If you would like to attend this party please leave a comment below including a small note about your own neighbourhood or perhaps if you lead a walk, where you would go. I’ll select a winner who will get a ticket to the cocktail party and I’ll also try and expand on their note in a dedicated blog post about their neighbourhood.

Update March 12, 2009 – the winner of the ticket to Vancouver Stories is Jen B

Vancouver Opera: Blogger Night at Rigoletto

Comments 2 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The season started with Eugine Onegin and since my review, and the first-ever Blogger Night when we experienced Carmen, the momentum in the opera realm has been growing.

The Vancouver Opera has embraced several forms of new media, from producing a manga site to managing their own blog, and it will be great to once again take part in their Blogger Night at Rigoletto this Saturday alongside Tris, Tanya, Kimli, and Monique.

Upcoming Blogger night at Rigoletto

Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi is based on Victor Hugo‘s play, Le roi s’amuse and will be sung in Italian with surtitles above the stage. I’ve been told there will be suggestive scenes, nudity, and a cage scene… whoever said the opera is boring?

Opening night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre is Saturday March 7th 2009 (@7:30pm), with subsequent performances Tuesday March 10th, Thursday March 12th, Saturday March 14th and Tuesday March 17th. Tickets can only be purchased through the Vancouver Opera and they start at about $23 (and there’s great value in group tickets and subscriptions).

There is a piece about Blogger Night in the Georgia Straight and one of the performers, the lovely Sheila Christie, has a blog post up about her experience working on the opera.

Cover Girl

Update: March 6, 2009: I was interviewed for an article in the Vancouver Courier (even though was quoted using the word “dude” it’s a great promo for the event and the Opera).

WIFF New Media Forum 2009

Comments 7 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Women in Film Festival kicks off today in Vancouver and I’ll be covering the New Media Forum today as well as other elements throughout the week.

WIFF New Media Forum

As with any other conference, the wifi is spotty so my updates today will not be in total real-time. However I will cover the day in a single blog post, highlighting the best talks, discussions, and media elements such as video and photos produced throughout the forum. You can also follow everyone’s comments on Twitter using the tag #wiff09.

A lively discussion from a diverse group of new media professionals about where to step in and how to play. From education to experience to flying by the seat of their pants, hear about what have others tried (and learned) to bridge the traditional and new forms. [Bridging Media]

The first panel today is Getting Your Feet Wired including: Bridget O’Neill, Dennis Chenard, Catherine Warren, Daniella Sorrentino, with moderator Danika Dinsmore

The focus is on new media forms and crossing them over from traditional film and production but also on the role of women – you can be an expert, you don’t need to be “techy”, you simply need to apply your skills and resources, using the best mediums possible for your audiences.

As the panelists are introducing themselves and their various journeys and projects, the big screen behind them is calling up their sites and videos – it’s a nice interactive display thus far.

Bridget produces videos online while Danika features ImprovEverywhere, organized flash-mob style gatherings of people organized online. “The bottom line is it’s all about stories, whether it’s on the internet, televisions or cell phones,” notes Danika. She mentions there are three ways to just get into this realm: take a class, a job, make partnerships with folks who know the business well, or just going for it. Each of the panelists shares their own route they have taken to get where they are, from education to the “power of collaboration”.

WIFF New Media Forum

Straying a bit from the panel discussion about the paths they have taken, we watched a few demos of video sharing tools online, which is helpful. All of the panelists share their stories of working with and creating “digital entertainment strategies”.

Daniella is handed the mic so that she can introduce the New Forms Festival as well as Midforms, which is starting tomorrow at the Great Northern Way Campus and she also through in a plug for Fearless City‘s initiatives. “When you’re creating content on the web, you’re creating content for one viewer – it’s an intimate setting. But when you share that with a group the message shifts.”

One point that all panelists drive home (and that is totally on the mark) is that audience interaction and having a conversation is key. The organic marketing power of things like “Free Hug Day” videos on YouTube are very powerful – Bridget says she’s challenged when it comes to marketing herself, and I think she’s trying to say there are so many distractions that may make efforts seem less transparent. A comment from the audience says that it’s a very female issue and we tend to shy from our successes, which should be celebrated.

Another comment from the audience speaks to music rights and how videos on YouTube ignore copyrights when it comes to music in online video. The conversation shifted from making content free and gaining an audience and then transitioning that to business platforms. From the audience, “the goal of a blogger is to get a book deal and the goal of a video blogger is to get in movies,” noting “to sustain the endeavour,” you need to break from new media to mainstream but does this show the failure of blogs or video blogs then — if they’re treated as a stepping stone.

WIFF New Media Forum

The Social Media panel now consists of Monica Hamburg, Carol Sill, Gillian Shaw and is moderated by Erica Hargreave.

Gillian is first up – being in traditional media she speaks to how the industry has changed for the better using these new tools, “It plays a part in how we deliver the news and how we tell our stories.” Carol Sill, “the internet is not something that stops and starts, you just jump in and go with the current — learn to swim.” I’m posting most of my updates for this panel on Twitter, using the conference tag #wiff09. Carol says, “Get active! Lose that old site!” Amen, Carol. “WordPress.com is great but if you plan on doing anything commercial or anything you want to make money from, don’t use it.” Again, Carol hit the nail right on the head. You *cannot* put ads on WordPress.com sites or have business content on there or you may violate their terms of use. Use WordPress but get a full custom installation – that way it’s all yours in every way. “Make sure you blog doesn’t get stuck in a proprietary system.”

“Videos can contain a call to action,” says Monica who is always a lively and enjoyable speaker. “YouTube is the most popular site, it’s not the ONLY site out there.” Awesome, thanks to Monica for mentioning that (I was getting a little frustrated with all of the YouTube talk… as I am a Viddler girl myself). Monica also says that tagging is important for searchability and also search engine rank.

There are so many websites and social media tools out there but you don’t have to be on them all, however you should place your content where there is an audience. Erica mentions that she’s not a huge Facebook fan but she keeps profiles alive and updated because there are people on there who will flow through that profile and end up where you want them: on your website.

Monica mentions that you don’t need to be paranoid about sharing information online, “we’re not perfect and that’s the beauty of [sharing].” Carol brings up the characters of the series Mad Men who are on Twitter and how creating online profiles for characters in film, TV, theatre etc. can really be beneficial when interacting with your audience beyond the screen or stage. “It’s really important to work ethically within that space,” notes Erica because there does need to be transparency and there should be engagement. “You can actually start your shows up online to build an audience before they even launch.”

Alison Reid, Director of The Baby Formula

We took a quick lunch break and ran into two interesting women on our way back. One was from the Whistler Film Festival and the other was Alison Reid, the Director of tonight’s opening night film presentation: The Baby Formula. Both were curious about how they can find the time, people, and resources to start social media campaigns for their films and projects. Having covered several film festivals and done a handful of movie promotions on my site I could offer some tips but I think campaigns and strategies need to go far beyond blogger relations (and I’d be happy to help with those as well).

Coming up this afternoon:
Emerging Trends and Technology
Panelists: Thecla Schiphorst, Jean Hebert, James Eberhardt, Shannon McKarney
Moderator: Jennifer Ouano

Monetizing Your Content
Panelists: Bradley Shende, Maura Rodgers, Amielle Lake, Rochelle Grayson
Moderator: Tracey Friesen

There will also be an “Applications” demo zone with: Strutta, tagga, HootSuite, Overlay.tv, QuickMobile, memelabs, work[at]play.

As well as some exhibitions:

  • “Egg Cinema” – Angela Smailes
  • “Tongue Tales” – Tassia Poynter & Sharon Lee
  • “I Know a Place” – Maia Iotzova
  • “Fluxus” & “Mordant” – Karin Schmidlin
  • “Murmur Video” – Maayan Cohen
  • “Lost Cause” – Kirsten Johnson
  • “Graffiti Wall” – Alex Beim
  • “Don’t Stop” – Julie Gendron
  • “Grafik Dynamo” – Kate Armstrong & Michael Tippett
  • I won’t be writing about the panels this afternoon as I have to do my weekly segment with Talk1410 followed by a quick interview for the Vancouver Opera’s blogging series, however I will be back to cover the reception this evening that is filled with interactive exhibits (and beer, thanks to Molson).

    IABC Speaker Series Meets Miss604 and Twitter

    Comments 1 by Rebecca Bollwitt

    bringing people togetherThe International Association of Business Communicators has asked me to come and speak at one of their monthly luncheons March 16th, 2009.

    I’ll be talking about how Twitter can help your business and that it is far more than a cutesy buzz word or the latest silly internet trend. It’s a powerful tool for marketing, communications, support, and all aspects of the business realm – when used properly. I’ll also have a few examples and case studies as well as my insights as a Twitter user since March 2007.

    You can book your spot at the luncheon (Monday March 16th @ 12:00pm – 1:15pm) over on the IABC website, tickets are $21 for student members, $26.25 for members, and $36.75 for non-members.

    Getting The Scoop: NHL Trade Deadline Day 2009

    Comments 7 by Rebecca Bollwitt

    With countdown clocks, a tag on Twitter, and media staff bulking up to report on one of the biggest days of moving and shaking in the NHL, the trade deadline tomorrow is quite the hot topic on and off line.


    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    Last night while recording The Crazy Canucks podcast we discussed some moves we’d like to see and how we currently feel about the Canucks roster. Two of my co-hosts, JJ and Alanah, will both be doing live coverage on their sites starting as early at 4:00am Pacific Time. JJ will also be chiming in on the Kelowna radio station 1150am and Alanah will be rocking the trade talks all day long over on her site.

    Those two will be my main (and most reliable) sources tomorrow so I’ll be be hanging on their every word on Twitter. JJ is @CanucksHockey and Alanah is @Alanah1. Richard Loat (fellow Canucks Fan Zone blogger) told me he’d be sticking to television (TSN) as well as NHL.com and I’ll also be following the topic #TradeDeadline or NHLTrade. But my question to you is, where will you be going for your deadline news?

    Update: I have imported a live feed from Twitter in the frame below, thanks to Scribble Live, it should refresh with trade deadline updates on its own throughout the day.