Category Archives: Uncategorized

Team Shout Outs! (Romperoom Styles)

Standard

So this month has gone by very very VERY quickly. Where do we start!?

  • Daniel Trinh came by and took some GORGEOUS photos of the band last weekend and we now have some amazing photography for the site. It’s soo easy working with Dan and we are soooooooooooo excited to do a formal, stylized photoshoot in the coming months.
  • Our website is still in the works! I made it a bit more difficult than it should have been for our website producer, Chris Mallon, by not transferring some name servers recently……SO SORRY CHRIS! But he’s on it and the first version of the site should be up very very shortly. Had a great Mobile meeting with Nik Papadakis – omg – so super informative. Mobile is a medium that is definitely on our radar.
  • We are so lucky to have some amazing mentors/advisers and we had a chance to chat with Fleur Leslie, at Small World Music (Chair of the Board of Directors).  She sat down with us and helped talk us through some business planning with engaging teams, building robust contact database and focusing what our core business will be and how it might expand in the next 3 -5 years (always daunting especially when you’re only really 2 months in – but vision helps steer this creative ship!).
  • We have a real space to work out of at the Centre for Social Innovation down at Queen and Spadina.  AMAZING energy and people in that place – super stoked to be working out of there!

Which brings us to the time for Marco’s vlog – we’ve met with our growing MineOwn Media team over the past month and Marco wanted to send out some love – in song form and highly inspired by Romperoom – “and I see Timmy and David….”  they never saw Bandana or Tanuja or Nik Papadakis for that matter – but in Marco’s vision of the Romperoom Shout Out – he sees us all!

A short, short, very short story…

Standard

Think of Memory, Migration and Monsoons….. The last post was dealing with works in progress.   Moving forward Quill4 (a contributor to The Workrooms)  is sharing a shorter work to keep up the momentum.  It’s always awesome to share little pieces of your projects when you’re creating.   This is a piece from a previous project:

Wrote this in 2008 for the North Shore Writers’ Festival Short Story Contest  

In Mumbai, skies would gape open and bare teeth. Taxis would awaken from slumber, their drivers clutching wheels like guns, ready for battle in the streets. Crows would descend, operatically unafraid, into the wet jostle for space and survival. And Mohan would open his eyes and walk to the window with a grateful pace.

‘Dr. Mo, will this hurt?’, and once again Mohan was exploring the metal laced mouth of Tim Stewart, who had the talent of being a thirteen year old comfortable enough in his own skin to talk at all times, to anyone, anywhere, and even with motionless lips. Tim’s utterances, however many, however nasal, were unforced, sourcing from some deep well of expression within him. Mohan thought about his own words, how they tended to meander, river-like, hugging curves of thought but never spilling honestly onto the shore. All the levies might break under all that pain, and that hope that held him prisoner to dreams, that shackled him here to this dentist’s office where his own name sounded foreign. ‘We’re actually done…you can close your mouth.’ Tim’s eyes had widened. ‘Are you okay Dr. Mo?’, and then unexpectedly, due to the youth of the inquirer, ‘Do you miss home?’. It was motherly, the intuitive concern, the complete lack of conceit. Perhaps, for once, Tim’s words deserved a response that matched their true worth. Mohan nodded truthfully, feeling as if the crows had suddenly burst into the office, as if the monsoon itself had released its blessed rains.

Oh my god – what have I done.

Standard

It’s been 6 months since a last post because I’ve been doing a whooooooole lot of thinking. And some of that thinking is finally moving into action.  After much contemplation and discussion with some brilliant hearts and minds – I am going to live my creative life in full……

Over the next 18 months (Aug 1 2011 – Feb 2013),  I’ll be working with an amazing team to build a record label that integrates commerce building and community building in order to continue building my own musical career.  Growing up with punk+alt rock in the 90’s that whole DIY thing kinda got stuck inside my mind.  If an opportunity does not exist – make one.

Yes – I’m pretty much insane to be leaving a full time job to attempt to build a competitive business in what is essentially a failing industry.  But there seems to be potential….and I find the allure too tempting.  This adventure is going to be really really hard and very trying (not only for myself but my family and friends who are providing their love and support).  Who knows – at the end of the day,  I could have very little – but – in the end I suppose I will have a story to tell my own children, (in particular daughters) one day – “that’s right sweetheart, mommy tried to be a rockstar back in the day……”  I never want to say to my future unborn children (and anyone else for that matter)   you can live your dreams without at least attempting it.

Needless to say – I need help (in so many different ways…but let’s start with the practical stuff no?)……

We are building a team.   Maybe you are interested in the music, the industry or the idea of being part of a social enterprise, but if you’re interested in giving some of your time, energy and talents to this endeavour that would be soo totally rad  🙂  Even if you have NEVER tried any of these things but have a huge interest and passion – please don’t shy from contacting us! (Lord knows I’ve never tried this before….)

There is a short list of potential ways you can get involved – if there’s something else you think we need, or that you could help out with – or are interested in pursuing – totally let us know!!  We are located in Toronto – but you don’t have to be.  We are all about building a team that’s engaged and excited by music, culture + community and good times.

THE LABEL: Building a viable social enterprise,  (commercial business that is steeped in community based values) to ensure a safe and accessible studio space, as well as development and promotions support to amazing community based artists!

THE BAND: Building Sing Bandana Singh, writing new music (alt rock), gaining more exposure, doing more shows!

Support that the Band + Label will need:

  • Marketing Team: these would be people who are interested in helping to create electronic marketing campaigns (integrating Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Fanbridge) that are meanginful and not spammy!
  • Members of a Community Team: team members who talk to as many other people as they can about the music and upcoming events the feel and how others can get involved; this may also include going to amazing events all over the GTA to learn about other like-minded artists.
  • Founding Team:
    • this is a core group of maybe 4 people or so – who would create the working vision, with a strategy to execute to build the organization.   This would be a team that would also be focused on how to turnover interactions with the music and media into revenue and profits in order to create a sustainable organization.
  • A concert booking agent: maybe you’re just really interested in working in music and events – we’d LOVE to talk to you!
  • A publicist (or publicists):
  • Artists – do you play? Or know someone who does?  The band is always interested in collaborations and live events and if you want to pitch some arty music ideas – we’d love to hear them!

Layers of Modesty Conceal the Glow

Standard

Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there.

Out there – in the deep dark void that can be scary and mean and just not nice.  Sometimes out there is even better than you could have imagined.  I suppose you just can’t know.

This weekend I was hanging out with a great friend and were discussing (like we always do) the inertia that fear creates in our lives.  Every once in a while, fear is a truly important flag keeping us from being really hurt.  Most times it’s just in the way.

Who knew that one of the world’s most prolific street photographers never shared a single photograph during her lifetime and her brilliance was found out by accident through an auction of her belongings after her death (we found this story via TVGawker.com– once you get past the cliche announcer it gets pretty good):

Whether or not she was a brilliant photographer doesn’t even matter – look at how gorgeous her perspective is in the photographs!  So stunning – some of them are lovely stories in a single frame. But think about the hundreds of photographs that were ugly and awful – the shots that came between the beautiful ones.

You have to give yourself a shot no?  I mean – seriously – wouldn’t it be better to benefit from your efforts while you’re still alive – instead of waiting for someone else to acknowledge and benefit from your efforts once your dead?  (However, it’s obvious that Vivian Maier was an extremely private person and artist – but you have to wonder whether it was fear or privacy that drove her to keep her story for herself).

Just give it a try! That’s what everyone keeps telling me.  A wise man once said- inertia’s a bitch.  The tortoise in me is moving one step at a time.  But I have to keep moving.  I have a ton of entrepreneurial friends whom I really admire – they just do stuff! Even if they’re not quite sure what it is they’re doing….they are willing to give it a try.

Also, you have to do the stuff you’re not so great at over and over again, until you get really good at it.  As a musician, at first I always found recording to be really scary – I mean it’s going to be recorded forever!  But then, after recording little by little, it’s now easy-peasy!  But currently, shows are really scary, but they’re exhilarating too! A great show can really make you feel like you are a part of a story – or – that you would like to share your story. I’ll be doing my best going out there and doing these scary things – feel free to join me- it’s nice to have company when you’re scared.  😉

—————-

Sing Bandana Singh performs Thursday January 13th at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave. Toronto).  Doors at 7pm.  Performance at 7:30pm  $10.  19+.
Music: http://myspace.com/singbandanasingh
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bandbandana
A Heroic Entertainment Production.

The El Mocambo and Me

Standard

What a lovely break I had over the holidays – a whole week off from the 9-5pm.  It was simply fantastic!In that time I ate, drank, danced and booked a show!

Thursday Jan 13th at the El Mocambo in Toronto – It seems to be a very enigmatic place.

I always like doing shows/events in unusual places – now El Mo (as it is lovingly called in Toronto) is not an unusual place per say – it is a licensed bar that hosts live music.  BUT – it’s been around FOREVER! It was the first bar to get a liquor license in Toronto!

The history of the building goes back to 1850!  This is crazy for a city that is infamous for having very few historic buildings. Oh – and you know a little band called The Rolling Stones played and recorded Love You Live at the El Mocambo back in 1977.  No biggie. 🙂

But what I find most intriguing is the current owner.

Now – I’m getting all of this information from the El Mocambo website, Wikipedia and newspaper articles – so take it as you will.  Abbas Jahangiri, the owner of the El Mo is a serial entrepreneur who has taken a vow of poverty.   His previous professional history includes leading an engineering team, CEO of a real estate development company as well as being a principal for a national dance company  (when you are on the El Mo site – click on History and Owner).  In 2003 he took a vow of poverty and has dedicated his life to helping the most vulnerable in society.  Including daily 2am-6am service and distribution of food and survival needs for hundreds of Toronto’s homeless. Very intriguing no?

I’m most intrigued by his conviction in his change of lifestyle.

Rock n’Roll isn’t a selfless industry – it is fueled by narcissism and vanity……..

Shameless Self Promotion

 

…..so it’s super interesting to come across people who try to find balance with the rock n’roll attitude and the gravest societal needs around them.  These are two extremes and Mr. Jahangiri seems to live at both ends.

I wonder if he will be at the show?  It would be awesome to grab a conversation with him – what couldn’t you talk about?!

Music is about great stories – I have a feeling that the El Mo has more than a few good tales to tell.

—–

Sing Bandana Singh performs Thursday January 13th at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave. Toronto).  Performance at 7:30pm  $10.  19+.
Music: http://myspace.com/singbandanasingh
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bandbandana
A Heroic Entertainment Production.
.

I’ve been bad. Here’s a story.

Standard

I’ve been down and out and under inspired recently – it’s a bad habit to get into!

I’ve been letting the things I can’t control, overwhelm me – so instead – here is a little short story that’s been in my books but hasn’t gone anywhere – if you want to add to it, change it, insert characters – please feel free to do so (just link back here please!):

————–

There are nights when you remember things long forgotten. What is this sensation of remembering? It is not always regret, nor fondness. Memories run away with us occasionally and take us to a time that never actually existed; we forget how memories can be hyper-complete: hyper-coloured, hyper-emotional, hyper-beautiful, hyper-real. But no – they are only memories. He has only memories and they are rotting his mind. If he were to let go and make new memories he would be sure to regret them. The future merely becomes the past – the past merely interrupts the future. What is a mind to do?

Picking Up the Pen…

Standard

Why do I write? Why the resort to the pen? Expression, escapism, the need to feel productive, to merge the airiness of imagination with the earthiness of ink and paper, but my reasons have also changed with time. I was made acutely aware of this when reading my very first diary entry, dated December 1999 (let me defend myself in advance by stating that I was 14 ).I opened with the words “welcome people of the future”(I was also proudly nerdy)…I will not disclose the full contents of this first entry to save myself the embarrassment….but the overarching theme was an introduction of myself and my surroundings, documentation to be preserved for the future, something along the lines of a time capsule. The tone was an attempt to be impersonal, objective, a historian of sorts observing the flux of the world. “The world right now is in a stage of technological revolution” I wrote. I listed items “electrical fans”, “computers”, “wrist-watches”. I draw an elegant floral embellishment along the margins. Calm, cool and collected. I was trying to write to an audience, not self. However my efforts proved in vain… the first entry was an anomaly…my writing soon became infused with teenage politics, and rants, personal triumphs and dismay. Exclamation marks abounded. Underlined, capitalized words sprouted everywhere. Red ink came out, and pink, and silver. Words were blacked out with decisiveness, sometimes whole pages torn out in an attempt to discount the past and in a yearning to move forward unhindered. Plans were plotted, apologies to self were made, confessions were worded. Molehills became mountains, which shrunk into molehills again as perspective was gradually regained. There was absurdity and hilarity and silliness, the element of the ridiculous was dominant, but there was also something very redemptive in that brand of writing. An unburdening of thoughts. I also tended to gravitate towards writers with a fearless approach to the personal, Sylvia Plath, Osamu Dazai, Anne Sexton. I still keep a diary today but the tone is decidedly different, still personal, but not as zealous, perhaps a few steps closer to the objective historian but still ultimately subjective, as a diary is ultimately meant to be. Re-reading my old diary has made me aware of how the impulses to write, or draw, or creatively express in any other way, can be so varied. There are many reasons to pick up a pen, or a camera, or an instrument or a paintbrush, and they change by the days, and hours, and minutes. This is what can make art so unpredictable at times, but also so exciting and surprising. And yet there is also great comfort in the routine of it, in its rituals, I love stationary to this day because I enjoy the physical feel of writing as much as its less tangible rewards. So why do I pick up a pen? The reasons are many and complex I suppose, but I guess when I get old and grumpy it’ll give me something to do 😉

Discipline, Determination and other dreadful words that start with the letter D

Standard

Art is exhausting.

Let me tell you – art is exhausting.

 

 

To be an artist you need to think and feel with intense emotion and dedication and then translate your heart and soul to the average non-artist who is too preoccupied with why your art doesn’t make sense – they think about the works instead of experiencing the works.

Do you know why, so many people fantasize but never actually become artists? Because it’s damn scary that’s why! We don’t idolize cocaine fueled rockstars,  famously suicidal painters or happily hedonistic hip hop artists because of their celebrity and scandalous lifestyles (at least not in the beginning); we idolize them because they have balls.  They get up there and they command, not demand respect.  They have presence, they have sexual charm, they have courage.

But without discipline and drive and determination (oh my!) artists can implode and ironically by being so open, so giving, so vulnerable – by being the very things they need to be in order to fulfill the sense of esteem and meaning in their lives – they lose themselves.

Artists need incredible discipline and self restraint balanced with freedom of self expression and experimentation.  This is no easy task.  To make things more interesting, many artists have supplementary jobs (what the non-artist would refer to as a “day job” although we artists do work, in the afternoon, mid morning, evenings and even wee morning hours as well).  Attempt to do all of this mentally and emotionally fulfilling/draining work and work a full time job at the same time – it can be an energy sucker.

Quil4 has done a lovely job of having a single post every month – I’m trying to get back on the 1 post every 2 weeks band wagon.  It’s not the frequency of the activity – it’s the persistence and doggedness of seeing something through.

I’ve been working on a 5 song – a  5 song EP for 2 years now – I’m almost done….so close! But the closer you get to completing it you start to wonder – what the hell am I doing?!  Why has this taken so long? What is the point again?  That’s when determination kicks in and the questions morph into: Why have I pushed through for so long? What compels me to continue forward? What is the next step?  Artists – we need to have that discipline, that determination, that drive:  whether a project takes two days, or twenty years as long as you complete it and do so with some intention – you will find success.  Now granted – there is of course the little business voice in the background also saying – so….2 years eh….at some point you’ll want to see a return on your investment and possibly start generating some revenue from your works specifically in the hopes of becoming independent of your supplementary job. Well – duh – of course silly.  Seeing a project through to completion also means being flexible – it’s taken me 2 years to get to where I am because I didn’t want to be sitting in a pool of debt to see my works come to life.  A rational decision – balanced by the experimentation and freedom of the works themselves.

Everyone is working hard these days regardless of what they do.  But if you think your artist friends are just dreaming madly into the night sky – hopefully you’ll think twice about that and possibly offer them a cupcake and some tea. Be kind to your artist friends! And Artists – be kind to yourselves! Remember – every little step helps -every blurry photo – every wrong note – every writer’s block – with every mistake, you learn –  with every mistake you are moving forward.

The Twelfth Night, the Immigrant Experience, and other Thoughts…

Standard

Sand in her hair, corset drenched, Viola from the ‘Twelfth Night’ finds herself on a windswept beach in Illyria, understandably disoriented after surviving a shipwreck she asks “What country, friends, is this?” and then, more pessimistically “what should I do in Illyria?” For the audience it’s the start of Shakespeare’s great comedy about identity confusion, ignorance, insanity, (the Bard understood the hilarity of the human quest to make some sense), but our heroine’s opening lines also speak of the age-old anxieties of arriving on foreign shores.

Feelings of being displaced, uprooted, unsure, of being barefoot and without home, whether of one’s own volition or not, of wading into the problematic muddiness of self-definition. I attach the immigrant experience to all of this and more (nostalgia, loneliness, reinvention, hope…). When I reflect on the journey my own parents and grandparents made from India to the Middle East to Canada, knowingly entering the unknown, weathering the tempest, I think about the idealism and courage that accompanied that decision to carve out a place in the world, and the ability to feel that free and that powerful. As for myself, being a child when I followed their nomadic trail there was no real choice, I was more like Viola and less of the narrator, I wasn’t following a dream or planning ahead, my ship was blown off course, it hit some rocks and I was where I was. My surety and clarity crumbled away. I went to school and felt stupid. Some loud-mouthed kid criticized the colour of my hair. In P.E. I played soccer and scored against my own team (unknowingly, not with purposeful rage). It was challenging for all of us, I was just more aware of my own discomfort. I remember our collective happiness when yellow flowers began sprouting miraculously on our front lawn; and then our collective astonishment when our neighbours complained to the municipality that our mini garden of Eden posed a health hazard, because dandelions shouldn’t be grown in such abundance and certainly not with such enthusiasm. J  I became increasingly aware of how others saw me, how I sounded, I wanted to know the magical formula for ‘normalcy’ that others had memorized. W.E. Dubois eloquently called this mad state of mind “double consciousness” : “the sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” Mad and sad is this pursuit because there is no clear measurement or formula for what is normal or natural, nor should our worth be quantifiable. What seems most natural to me is diversity, you see it everywhere in nature, it defines life on this planet. Of course it took me a while to come to this and other realizations. Before moving to Canada, when I was quite young I possessed a world and inter-planetary view that was highly distorted (to put it mildly). I lived in Sharjah, which is in the United Arab Emirates, which is a pint-sized country that sprouts futuristic skyscrapers, (which from an airplane window is simply an expanse of sand), and I literally believed that I lived in the center of the universe; that my world was wielding the conductor’s baton used to produce the celestial ‘music of the spheres’. Sharjah was Earth, Earth was Sharjah, it represented what was ‘normal’ and ‘familiar’, warm and fuzzy. Other countries I believed were literally on other planets (seriously I believed this). What proof did I have? None. All I can say is thank goodness I received an education. My world was the ‘known world’, everything outside its boundaries was shrouded in mystery, everything else was ‘different.’ And what did not have a name (since I did not even know certain countries existed) was simply consumed in darkness.  My young ignorant, egotistical self had a lot to learn, many things I still had to name and less tangible forces I would try to define; I had (and still have) a fertile imagination; I was definitely a sheltered child, the youngest living in an extended family setting; and, of course, at that age, I could not see too far past my own needs and happiness. It was a very comfortable and cohesive and solid sense of self, and the only kind I needed at the time. I can perceive now the danger that accompanies this sort of comfort, this retreat to the familiar, this labelling of what ‘normalcy’ encompasses and what ‘difference’ means. My sense of place is no longer so firmly cemented in terms of geography, but is grounded in what I have learnt and keep learning from my experiences, and from those of my family. My grandfather’s stories of adventures at sea, of putting a padlock on his school’s doors so he wouldn’t have to attend class, of playing cricket in Mumbai’s lanes, still resonate deeply with me. He is one of the best storytellers I have ever met.

At the end of the Twelfth Night shipwrecked Viola reveals her true identity, gets the man of her dreams and lives happily ever after in Illyria, so it’s fair to say that she learns to settle in. Despite the hardships faced she finds her sense of place, and as one of the stronger, more textured17th century female characters, all I can say is ‘more power to her.’ Idealism renewed, stability restored, the play ends with a bountiful feast and yet in subtle Shakespearean fashion, a final song darkens the mood, suggesting that this sense of idyllic comfort is always short-lived, that “the wind and the rain” of change is as old as this world, that Viola’s journey into the unknown has no end in sight.

B is for Blog is now ‘The Workrooms’

Standard

Hi Guys!

Hope you have all had a great long weekend (if you’re in Canada you’ve been enjoying a lovely Monday off!)

This image is from my phone

Tomorrow people will be going back to school, back to work, back to the grind – and yet – it will be new; a new school year, a new work week after a long break; a bit of a fresh start.

We at B is for Blog are thinking about doing the same – September is a great time to make change! We have changed the name of this blog to simply:

THE WORKROOMS

This is happening for several reasons:

a) This space is a workroom – there are bits and pieces of stories, ideas, essays, conversations; this space is being used as a working studio not as a publishable magazine
b) It’s not really about just B anymore (to be honest it was kinda creeping me out)
c) We hope the change in name will also make it more appealing for everyone to join in the creation of the page! It’s a work in progress and always will be – this is a testing ground, a playground, a stomping ground for all!

I personally love September – it feels more like a meaningful change than New Years to me. The season’s are changing, the weather is changing, we get new chances at things we’ve tried before; we get second chances at the things we’ve tried again and again – there’s just something really lovely and fresh about September.

You can now find us directly at http://theworkrooms.com

(The old address –https://bsingh83.wordpress.com -will automatically re-direct you to the correct place too! – there’s no missing out!)

Isn’t it just a lovely time to make change?

Your pal,

B