Friday, February 19, 2010

My cup runith over and over and over again

I have spent the last two days, typing the words thank you over and over. Women are opening their lives and their work to myself, my camera and the world. They (you) are sharing the request with their networks and a few simple emails on my part are returning 100 fold. I feel astonished and so.... I don't have a word... can you imagine? At a time when I felt so spent, so tired I feel refreshed. Happy Friday, Michelle ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- (The orginal posting) Wanted: Women cultural workers, artists, activists, creatives, musicians, circus performers, crafters, teachers, welders, glass blowers, metal smiths, jewellery makers, loomers, photographers, bakers, designers, knitters, film makers, ,poets, dancers, etc. etc. etc. in the GTA area. Essentially any woman who produces,makes, creates, performs or embodies art, to be photographed for the That's Women's Work web site (previously Wavemakerz but now formally registered as That's Women's Work). I'm looking for a wide diversity of both women and their work! (That's Women Work defines women as folks who self identify and is always inclusive of transwomen.) I'll come to your "work place" and take a few pictures. In return you'll receive an electronic file of your photo, for your own use or promo. Your photo will appear on the website along with your name and a short bio of you and your work, written by you. Your image will not be used in any other place or capacity. (I can draft up a simple contract with the terms if anyone would like it.) I'm challenging you to think about your work as art and to think of your art as work. The Url was born on Friday February 12th, 2010 so it is bare bones right now. Check it out at or the entire process on

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tired- so tired!

There isn't enough of me to go around! Today I feel like I wish there where 20 of me. I'm not sure how to make better use of my time? As a dyslexic girl the excessive writing is pretty time consuming and exhausting.. All this technology and we are back to the written text. Time to embrace sound and video! Start up, planning, attending events, promotion, research and all this text seems like three full time jobs. And realistically it is..... I'm struggling with the idea of volunteers, I am SO AGAINST women working for free. My biz classmates suggested to get all male volunteers, spread the oppression around, funny but no. I've decided to bring my friends on board for a meeting and suggestions of structuring and for a little support- I'm lucky my friends are freakin brilliant and giving! I've decided that I will be blogging only two- three times per week, time to start focusing my time and energy, and most importantly conserving my time and energy! Happy Thursday! Michelle

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Equation for cash flow oh ya and a party

In class today we got the equation for class flow. I forgot it at school but will place it here tomorrow. Also please come check out Can feminism pay the bills? My three favs things feminism, business and a great friend all in one place for five bucks! "Can Feminism Pay the Bills?" Host: Ladyfest Toronto Type: Causes - Fundraiser Network: Global Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 Time: 8:00pm - 11:00pm Location: The Tranzac (292 Brunswick Ave.) Description $5 (no one turned away) HOST DAINTY SMITH SEX WORK ACTIVIST WENDY BABCOCK FREELANCE IMAGITATOR CARLY STASKO STACEY BE OF AIRHEARTJANET ROMERO-LEIVA FROM THE TORONTO WOMEN'S BOOKSTORE SARAH DAFOE LI KOO OF 918 BATHURST A night of creative, comedic, academic, grassroots, and musical responses to the topic of feminism and money. From personal finances to organizational funding, we've all felt the squeeze and it's time for this movement to pay up! How can we balance demanding recognition of our labour and support of non-profits we believe in? How do we talk about inequity and lack of resources when many of us have dinner on the table and a roof over our heads? How can we sell this thing to make a cool million? Come out and learn and laugh about where our collective stocks are sitting, how to increase their value, and when we should just sell. F E M I N I S T V E N D O R F A I R Cora MorrisBoardwalk Chocolates /Toronto Women's Bookstore Indigenous Crafts from Bolivia Cassandra Witteman Knotted Nest - http// Christine Covertwelveohtwo zine distro - McClungs Magazine - Gillian Manford - Sustainable Cycles - Carly Stasko - Mujeres CreativasBits of String Press - Monique Richard Ontario Rebelles Times Change Women's Employment Centre 918 Bathurst No One is Illegal Megan Speers

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why a women's only gallery?

Weight. The exposure of the gender based killings that have been revealed have such a heavy weight. My heart goes out to all women as we all grieve this loss. It is important to remember the names of the victims Jessica Lloyd and and Cpl. Marie-France Comeau as well as the potential for other women's life losses to be tied to the same man. So many missing women..

I've been asked, harassed and spoken down to by "liberal" men on why a women's only gallery. Why are men being left out?

I always quote gender violence, pay inequity and reproductive rights as my stock reply. Days like today I feel a strong pull to continue my work, with no explanations.

Call to action: This weekend make a piece of art, and post it on pole, for all to see.
(Image origin is unknown )

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Everything I need to know I learned at a Catholic Women's League Bakesale

Whether I agree with the politics (which I don't) or not, I realised today that I acquired so many skills as a child at my church's "womens" events. I definitely learned how to organize, how to bring the community together and most importantly I learned the secret strength and power of women in a movement. I learned all the old school skills from large scale fundraising to social networking (in rural areas before the Internet). I learned the value of a phone tree and acquired solid skills in building something from nothing. I learned that a simple pie or cookie can be the heart and driving force of a movement. Michelle
P.s. Image from

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To be or not to be, that continues to be the question

Today I continue to struggle with the profit versus non profit model, A quote from The Revolution Will Not Be Funded- Beyond the Non-profit Industrial Complex- By Incite!Women of Colour Against Violence really clarified what I was thinking.... "... as a whole the way in which capitalist interests and the state use non-profits to
  • monitor and control social justice movements
  • divert public monies into private hands through foundations
  • manage and control dissent in order to make the world safe for capitalism
  • redirect energies into career-based models of organizing instead of mass-based organizing capable of actually transforming society
  • allow corporations to mask their exploitative and colonial work practices through "philanthropic" work
  • encourage social movements to model themselves after capitalist structures rather than to challenge them "
Other things I've been trying to sort out: *I have seen movements destroyed, dismantled or simply dry up because of funding cuts and loss of movement's centralized headquarters or meeting places. Also I think of the chaos that ascends upon a women's org at funding and grant writing time. *Are grassroots based movements with no formally organized non profit orgs more fluid and free? Yes, there are problems associated with that fluidity, but do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? Where do the service providers fit into the equation? *I understand a movement is the people, but where does funding, space and technology come in? Are there collective models out there for fluid, marginalized communities? When does the formation of a non profit make sense? Also where does accessibility fit into the grassroots movement?

Time for a public forum! Who will organize the conference???

Agree or not opens a dialogue about non profits and administration, very interesting!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

amazing free stuff, need I say more?


Marcel Aucoin and Michael Holt present . . .The Piano Salon
music food drink talk Each month, at a Toronto home with an acoustic piano, we offer two musical performers in contrasting styles, plus a speaker who will lead a conversation on an interesting topic. This is an open, public event, so come along and bring your friends!
This month's salon will be dedicated to Haiti - we are donating all proceeds to Unicef. So come for a great cultural experience and an opportunity to help out the earthquake survivors at the same time. It will be at the home of Bill Gilliam on Sunday February 21 (instead of our usual second Sunday, which is Valentine's Day).
First, Bill Gilliam will improvise for us on his Yamaha grand piano. Then Michelle VanLooy will talk about the birth of a women's art gallery in Toronto. Finally, the band Words Around The Waist will play their quirky, theatric pop songs.
Snacks and drinks will be provided . . . bring your own contributions for extra merriment, and come ready to eat, drink, listen, and talk at the Piano Salon!
Sunday February 21st Bill Gilliam's place
30 Deforest Road (3-minute walk south from Runnymede Station on the Bloor Line) 7PM Door
730PM Bill Gilliam
830PM Michelle VanLooy
930PM Words Around The Waist
Pay what you wish: all proceeds to be donated to Unicef. About the participants... Bill Gilliam is from London, England and moved to Toronto after completing his studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has composed scores for film, dance, theatre, and new music ensembles. He has released electronic music and contemporary jazz CDs and performed improvised keyboard music in collaboration with performance artists at jazz festivals, The Music Gallery, and other alternative music venues. His electro-acoustic, multi-media production Memory Vision was a featured installation at the Canadian Music Centre during the 2007 Nuit Blanche. His latest work, Poems from a Love Triangle, is a 45-minute mock-radio drama based on the erotic love poems of Irish poet W.R. Rodgers.
Michelle VanLooy has a background in social services, domestic violence and art therapy. In her current venture she is attempting to transform the art world, capitalism and the value of women’s work, through the creation of a Women’s Art Gallery and an affordable, accessible community rental space. She is creatively fundraising and is establishing community partnerships to secure the health and future of her business. Her feminist journey of dyslexic small biz start-up can be found on her blog at
Words Around The Waist are musicians who write and play good songs. Their unique style is enhanced by explosive drumming and intricate vocal harmonies. Drama and humour are expressed in the lyrics of the three vocalists, and truth and glory are expressed in the mustache of the drummer. All four members are current or former students of Humber College's prestigious music program, where they met after moving to Toronto from the lands of New Brunswick, BC, Indiana, and St. Catherines. Their first independently produced, seven-song CD was released in September 08. They usually play as an electric quartet, but have recently recorded and performed acoustically with violist Anna Atikinson. Member Ghislain Aucoin was a recent performer at the Piano Salon. Let us know if you'd like to speak at a future salon, or host one at your home with a piano. Speakers may be expert or lay, talking on anything from the totally personal to the globally political.

Two daze grace period?

I've been in my business school start up for the last two days at the Toronto Business Development Centre and haven't written a thing. Getting back to a 9-5 sched has been trying, I feel ill until about 12:30 and riding the subway before 9am is a harsh reality! I'll be sure to update you tomorrow on my progress and recent developments! Michelle

Friday, February 5, 2010

When it rains it pours!

Oh, is that typically a negative statement? Well this is a positive one. More programming came through my email again today. Sorry it was an image so it may be challenging to read.... Click on it for a larger clear image. I've put in my calls to create events and now again, I'm waiting. It's Friday afternoon I've more than put in my 40++ hours for the week. I'm shutting down for some sewing, tea and disconnecting my brain for the rest of the day. Happy Friday! Michelle

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Nausea, heart burn, upset stomach- small bizness

Nauseous, haven't slept well in several days. The magnitude of it all is setting in, and yesterday was my first official self employment full on freak out. The world looks different with my head between my knees. Luckily I was able to connect with my friends and find my way back to centre. Yes it took 5 strong, talented, loving women, but here I am back at it today! My biggest butterflies came from a small biz program that felt my idea may not be viable. I was concerned I wouldn't get in. Capitol seems to be a big barrier to some folks. Those of us who have always had to fight for a place with little or no money look at capitol a little different than other folks, I guess. It's just another thing on the to do list. Big ups to Wendy Babcock bakesaling and fundraising her entire way through law school! I guess I'm lucky to have such a strong community around me. So I got in, in the end. But what I'm really contemplating is, if a portion of the biz, the women's art gallery should be a non-profit organization and the community rental space be a for profit biz. How does one know when to be an non-profit? Having worked in non profits for the majority of my adult life, it only seems natural to me. I really have no idea, I'm just going on instinct and what I know.What I've lived, studies, seen and worked. I suggest you too do the same. I'm going to interview a friend Scott Thompson, a board member of A.I.M. Toronto and operator of a very successful space called SOMEWHERE THERE,in Parkdale, Toronto. I'm also going to interview my amazing accountant, and my former employer at an Art Gallery. Hearing from folks out there doing it-should calm my shakkkkkky nerves! Today is all about more reading and researching. Here's what I've found... to start................. also of interest... As well as the start up and research, I have five events in the works- I'll let you know as they materialize: 1) an open mic night for women musicians and poets 2) an art-in for women artists 3) a Guinness world record attempt 4) a huge fundraiser featuring women, their lovers, their brothers and all others (get it, it includes men too) 5) a lecture at an up coming salon- I'll post the link tomorrow Busy times ahead! Not so nauseous anymore, Michelle

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

still waiting

A few showers and I still haven't completely washed Saturday's lecture off. Consciousless business is creepy. The idea of business as war is creepy. The idea of destroying "competitors" is creepy. I comprised the 11 basic principles of feminist business, but I've been thinking that maybe it should be the principles of business for marginalized people, rather than just women. I must admit during the high point of the financial crisis many of us gals where praying for the collapse of capitalism. Not just to wipe the student loans from our lives but also to slow things down, equal things out and start anew. To bust the model like a ceramic piggy bank and a hammer. Well that didn't happen and here we are in the same place, only worse. I know I make 69 cents, and on a decline thanks to a conservative government, to my male counterparts dollar and that isn't going to change anytime soon. Factor in being a marginalized, female artist and phew the walls seem tall. I am a bit worried that the rent of a central, accessible location will result in very high rental fees and barriers to the folks, I'm trying to serve. I think community partnerships, sponsors and donors are going to be essential in providing subsided spaces. What I'm reading today The Revolution will not be funded- Beyond the Non Profit Industrial Complex By Incite! Women of Colour Against Violence which is strongly contrasted by such articles as Sorta like Dove's you are beautiful campaign, ethics as an advertising technique are just that, a technique but what happens when the tides shift again? What then? What I'm thinking today idea's for art shows- Make art like a lawyer, design a new system of commerce, creation of the 31 cent coin to help employers with their equality math (this is lower for aboriginal women and women of colour!), craft this- the creation of crafts with non traditional materials, accessible art- sound, touch, texture, a video documentary workshop for those who consider themselves "housewives" etc. Still waiting............................................... Michelle

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

................................................................................................................Please ...........................wait

Okay so it has been said, that many Canadians strongly dislike the Central Canadians known as Torontoians. Love us or hate us so much is always happening here in the arts and culture scene. Sometimes so much is happening, it's overwhelming. Ah hell, sorry to say but I choose night life over snowy mountains anyday, lines outside clubs over ski trails and and a cold beer over coco... Below are two very interesting events: (the link takes some time to load) Today I'm waiting to hear if I have been accepted into the small biz start up program. Also I'm waiting to hear about the free community rental space for a free community meet up of women's artists. Today is allll about waiting........... I am not very good at waiting for things...... still not good at waiting.................................. Michelle

Monday, February 1, 2010

Real estate time!

Not a house. A website! I'm buying my own domain name. or depending on what's available. Maybe I'm toooo "A type", but the things I felt I needed to consider before I bought my virtual space are: 1) Google the name and domain name, check that it isn't already taken. A special note- be careful some sites offer a domain name check but in actuality then are just probes to find names in demand. They purchase your name then make it available at a higher cost. Check through a reputable host.

2) Is there something out there similar? For example Wavemakerz' first name was Gogather- which ended up being a Christian group, a networking site and a small employment service, we dropped the name and headed back to the drawing board. 3)Who will host your site? A host is sorta like the land that your domain (your house) sits on. Of course one needs the other to exist. Also how much space do you get? Enough to post a video, podcasts (which take alot of space) etc. or do extra charges exist?

4) I used it cost me $14.95 USD for my domain name and space for one year. I'm in no way endorsing them, but I was shocked! I thought it would be one hundred dollars or more, nope it wasn't. Also I used a money order to pay, you could also use a pre-paid credit card, now avilable in many stores.

Yup, it's sinking in right, I know it is for me? Starting a small business means that one must be open conceptually to the energy of the carpenter, interior designer, advertiser, accountant, janitor, I.T. specialist and human resources person.

One doesn't have to BE all these things, but should have good people and good supports as a sounding board. Personally, I need to trust my accountant as much as my lover, pure and simple. If you think otherwise, refer to Nicholas Cage... I'm just saying...

Found this in my email this morning. It's Toronto based, the thing I'm learning is that with the Feds hiding, programing on both provincial and federal levels are stalled. The city of Toronto however has a plethora of resources and emerging programs. The posting below is a free student initiative!


Michelle -------------- SBP Program Information Program Overview Classes for this free program will be held this spring (March 30th to April 29, 2010) on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Regent Park Community Centre. The final presentation and “Graduation” will be held at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto (St. George Campus). The in-class sessions teach practical business knowledge skills on how to put together a business plan including identifying customers, marketing and communicating the business idea (doing a business pitch), and learning how to find financing for the plan. The program is made possible through volunteers from the Rotman School of Management (Faculty, MBA students and administration staff), United Way Toronto, and financial institutions and local entrepreneurs. The Candidate Participants must be 18 years of age and older, with reasonable English communication skills. The program is ideal for people who cannot afford the price of a formal degree or diploma in business administration, but who are entrepreneurially focused and driven. Participants must already have a business idea and the desire to learn how to develop it further. Example of Ideal Candidate Already have a business idea of their own or close to identifying it Keen to develop their idea into a business plan Someone who is interested in a starting a community organization Someone who is seeking employment, but has an entrepreneurial spirit and an original idea: Professional Services (e.g., health care, daycare) Technical/Trades Services Restaurants/Food Services Art and Esthetics (e.g., hair salon, clothing, etc.) Registration & Information Session We will be holding an information session this coming March 2010 at the Library/Resource Centre in Regent Park. The program flyer and registration form are attached, and you can visit our website at: Please contact me directly for more information on the program. We look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Peter Scott Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto SBP Program Manager 416 946 3638