Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dora the Awarda

Jian Ghomeshi hosted the Doras last night, which was a treat. He was funny and charming and a little bit bitchy, and briefly touched on the Billy Bob thing, which made the audience go nuts.

Highlights for me were Alison Sealy-Smith's cheeky speech about Albert Shultz putting A Raisin in the Sun in the Soulpepper season, Elicia winning for her work in the Sound of Music, and Marlene Smith receiving the Silver Ticket award. You can find out who all the winners were here. Agokwe, a new play by Waawaate Fobister, really cleaned up. The saddest part of the evening was realizing I'd missed most of these fabulous plays and musicals and can't now go and rent them from Blockbuster.

This was my first time at the Doras and I'm really glad I went. I saw a bunch of people I hadn't seen in awhile: friends from theatre school, former castmates and teachers, random people I sometimes see at auditions, and Derrick Chua. Always Derrick Chua.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Joshi's Holistic Detox - Day 8

I had cravings for ice cream and booze yesterday.

I did not give in to them.

Tonight I'm attending the Doras where I'm sure I'll be tested by wine and cheese and a multitude of squares. Perhaps I'll hide a package of gluten-free cookies in my purse...and eat the ENTIRE THING. Maybe I'll play up the whole detox thing and throw around words like "macrobiotic" and "holistic" and then they'll think I'm so Hollywood and be very impressed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Joshi's Holistic Detox - Day 5

Food so far today:

- hot water with fresh lemon juice
- Rice Krispies with rice milk, honey and a banana
- California Classic salad from Fresh

Tonight I will have the leftover chicken I made the other night.

Last night I made fresh vegetable juice again, this time with carrots, ginger and spinach. I find that when you put a lot of carrot in there, it makes everything else much more palatable. The juicer seems to require a lot of effort to take apart and rinse out, but in reality it takes less than five minutes and I'm just being a baby if I don't use it for that reason.

I've been feeling motivated to try out new recipes, and have already made two this week: the chicken and this coconut tofu and rice. I've got a chickpea recipe in mind that I want to try this weekend. I've also discovered a good beverage option for when I'm craving something other than water. Fruity herbal tea on ice is delicious and detox-friendly.

For snacks, I've been munching on rice cakes, snow peas, bananas and the odd gluten-free cookie (sweetened with cane juice).

No problems to report so far.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The final chapter.

10 Marias: 1 Year Later aired last night. I watched it anxiously, happy about some of the clips they showed, unhappy about others. Wishing they had done my hair and makeup for me (that is, after all, the best part about being on television).

Competing on How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? was a great challenge for me. It has undoubtedly made me a better auditioner and, against all odds, has given me a lot of confidence as a performer.

But I'm happy to have moved on. The whole theatre and television auditioning process seems far more civilized to me now, merely because there aren't five cameras on me while I'm doing it. Rejection is private and par for the course, not tragic and public. And best of all, no casting director has ever asked me to sing anything by Chaka Khan. (Insert smiley-face emoticon to denote tongue-in-cheek tone)

Thank you, CBC and Mirvish and Temple Street and, of course, Andrew Lloyd Webber. We had some good times. And now I bid you adieu.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Joshi's Holistic Detox - Day 3

I've been eating Rice Krispies with rice milk and honey every morning. Turns out the second ingredient in Rice Krispies is sugar, but who am I to be militant? Last year when I did the Isagenix cleanse I ate a Peanut Buster Parfait on one of my "fast" days. That's just how I roll. Today I brought a can of bean soup for lunch, but have noticed that it's actually bean WITH BACON so I will not be eating that. Even I can't convince myself that bacon is an acceptable detox food.

Yesterday I ate a tofu and rice curry for lunch, and a California Classic salad from Fresh for dinner. I slept deeply and was so zonked I could hardly get up this morning, but I think that's because I was out in the sun too long yesterday afternoon. Tonight I'm making chicken and vegetables, with fresh veggie juice as an appetizer - made with my first-ever juicer. It's a great way to get lots of veggies into your system very quickly. So far I've experimented with carrots, ginger and beets.

So, yeah. I'm super healthy. So there.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Guelph Mercury interview.

Here's another interview about the Maria documentary from the Guelph Mercury. One thing to note: I didn't just release an album - I recorded my songs about two years ago, but I think someone at the Maria camp thinks I just did it, so I keep seeing references to it. Meh. That's okay. If people want to think I just released an album, I suppose I can let them. It ups my cool factor.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Joshi's Holistic Detox - Day 1

I am on my first day of Joshi's Holistic Detox, a cleanse developed by Nish Joshi, a specialist in holistic healthcare. This detox requires that you cut the following foods out of your diet:

1) Red meat
2) Caffeine
3) Wheat
4) Fruit (except bananas)
5) Refined sugar
6) Most dairy products
7) Alcohol

I figure the first three shouldn't pose a problem, though I do like me some baked goods. I will miss my Tim Horton's steeped tea and Cobb's cinnamon scones. And cheese. And fruit. And chocolate.


Just kidding, I'm not bailing on it yet. It's only been 5 hours. And there's no way this cleanse can be as difficult to maintain as this one was. I think I can make it the full 21-days. Updates to follow...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

GUEST POST - Janna Polzin

Janna was my roommate in the Maria mansion, and is now the alternate Maria for the Sound of Music, performing Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons. I invite you to stalk her here.

If I had to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life, I always used to say Rice Crispy Squares. But then I think about it, and realize that I might just start to hate them. But then I think about it some more, and I realize that when those babies are warm and marshmallowy it must be what heaven tastes like.

I could go for some basic fresh bread and butter.

But I'd need some chocolate in my life too. Preferably a Caramilk of some sort. And then chips, cause they balance the choco out. Miss Vicky's Salt and Vinegar? Or, as I'm sure Kyla will agree, Sweet Chili Heat.

Enough product placement.

Clearly I can't answer this question.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Globe and Mail interview.

The Maria documentary is fast approaching (next Wednesday, June 24th at 9pm on CBC) so I've been doing some interviews. Here's one from the Globe and Mail.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Heavy doors.

My major pet peeves are as follows:

1) People throwing garbage out of car windows;
2) Being guilt-tripped in a supposedly joking manner that doesn't sound very funny at all;
3) Heavy doors.

Yes, heavy doors. Why do I hate them so much? And I do hate them.

Y'know what I'm talking about? Those doors that weigh, like, 300 lbs for no apparent reason? And you go to open them and nearly wrench your shoulder because you predict the door will be a normal door, but when you pull it you only get it about halfway open and then it hits you in the side as you try to squeeze through? Yeah. I hate those things.

I am sure they have a purpose. Perhaps they are fire doors? Yes, probably. (I'd like to apologize to the many fire fighters who read my blog and who are currently shaking their heads at my ignorance. "Of course they're fire doors," they're thinking. "Why must you torture us with your stupidity?")

But fire doors or not, they make me cranky. I like to project any latent anger that has built up during my day onto these inanimate objects, as though they are somehow to blame. "Curse you, door! Why must you make my life more difficult?"

It's a cheap form of therapy, I suppose.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How can you not love this face?

I love these new photos of my niece Eden that my brother Dave just posted. So much personality, and just over a month old!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Carol Burnett answers your (dumb) questions.

I saw Laughter and Reflection with Carol Burnett at Massey Hall on Friday night. It was an honour and a joy to see her live, candidly answering anything the audience threw at her. Other than a few clips from The Carol Burnett Show, Friday's show consisted solely of a question and answer period. I have mixed feelings about this format. The quality of the show is largely dependant upon the quality of the questions, and there were definitely some time-wasters. Luckily, Carol was usually able to spin dead questions into relevant answers.

Almost everyone started their question with "My family and I? We're all really big fans? And we just want you to know? That we watched your show every week and we think you're really great. Thank you so much for being here tonight." Which is all nice and fine and everything, but I'll bet that Carol already knows that you're a fan because you bought a ticket to see her tonight, so you can probably just get to your question.

And then sometimes - quite often, actually - the question was either "Can I get your autograph after the show?" or "Can I come up on stage to give you a hug?" to which Carol would politely say, "Oh, honey, I wish there were some stairs here so you could come up, but..."

Thank goodness there were no stairs.

I wanted to ask her, "What would you say is the number one thing you need to accomplish to make a sketch work?" but I wasn't surprised that they never got around to me. There were so many people there and everyone was desperate to ask their question.

One of my favourite stories Carol told was about re-shooting a scene from Annie, after she had had chin surgery. The director wanted to re-do one of the musical numbers, taking it from when Carol had gone into a closet (when they'd filmed it months earlier), and picking it up when she came out of the closet, to which Carol predictably offered, "But when I went into the closet two months ago, I had no chin...and now, I have a chin, so..." And the director, John Houston, gave her the best direction of her life: "Well, just come out looking determined."


You can see Carol's interview on The Hour here. She talks about the chin story, it's great.

It was a lovely evening at the theatre. Since returning from New York I've decided I want to start to take advantage of all the wonderful theatre we have right here in Toronto. Speaking of which, I'm FINALLY going to see Janna play Maria in The Sound of Music on Saturday. Can't wait!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

When you say "under the seat in front of you" you mean "wherever I want to put it", right?

This article, written by an anonymous flight attendant, lists 7 ways to be an annoying airplane passenger. My favourite is #6:

Act like you don't know the meaning of "under the seat in front of you."

I am guilty of taking this directive, which is given on every flight and is very simply stated, to mean "We don't really care where you put your purse, we just have to say this because it's in the rule book." 

Turns out they really do care. They really want you to put your carry-on luggage that you haven't stored above (because you know it's just going to be a pain later when you have to ask the guy next to you to please move so you can get your chapstick) under the seat in front of you. Why am I, someone who is otherwise pretty good at taking direction, one of the culprits of this blatant disregard for safety?

I always always put my huge purse right in between my feet, which are NOT under the seat in front of me. Why can't I take this simple direction? Why must I wait until one of the attendants notices and shames me into correcting my mistake?


Upon consideration, I've decided that it's because upon entering an airport we are stripped of our independence - we have to answer to authority figures and we can't argue with them or we'll be sent to our rooms - or, well, we won't get on the plane. And so we revert back to childlike tendencies of not only waiting for direction, but knowingly breaking the rules (in little ways, so as not to get kicked off the flight) because we figure if it's really that important the flight attendant will tell us so. The mom isn't just going to tell the 3-year-old not to play in traffic; she's going to hold his hand tightly as they cross the street. We are that three-year-old, waiting for the flight attendant to hold our hand.

But maybe, as the writer of the article implies, that's asking a bit much of the flight crew. They're not there to give us diapers for our babies, or to lift our heavy luggage into the overhead compartment. They're there to serve us food and beverages, direct us to the washrooms, hand out customs cards and, most importantly, keep us safe.

So let's put our damn bags under the seat in front of us already.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dance, everybody. Dance tonight.

Here are some photos of me that my mom recently scanned. In the first one I'm wearing my costume for "Clowns", my grade 5 musical in which I played Leah Ballerina. I remember being really nervous that I'd have to wear a skimpy little tutu, but thankfully my mom made me this adorable costume. You can't tell from the photo, but it was less a tutu and more a full skirt. Phew, says 10-year-old Alison.

I still remember the lyrics to the solo I sang:

The flowers in the garden will dance tonight, it's easy being happy in the moonlight.
Today they were soakin' up the sun and rain, and now it's time to dance again.
Dance, everybody, kick up your heels. Dance, everybody, see how it feels.
To step to the left and step to the right, turn yourself around as you dance all night.
Dance, everybody, dance tonight.

This photo shows me playing the violin, which I gave up at the ripe old age of 8 in order to focus on the piano.

And here I am playing the piano. Do not be fooled by the smile on my face; getting me to practice must have been akin to pulling teeth. Thanks, mom! Hey, I really am thanking you later, just like you said I would.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Maria Documentary.

A few weeks ago I got a call from Temple Street Productions inquiring about my availability. Strange, I thought. Why would the producers of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? be looking for me? Did they want my banner back? Were they going to ask me to star in a Canadian version of the Bachelorette? I didn't know.

It turns out they were trying to get all of the Marias together to shoot a documentary about our experience on the show, and to find out "if there's life after reality t.v.". I told them that yes, I felt very much alive, and would be happy to join them.

I was excited to see all the girls, but felt some trepidation leading up to the shoot. There were questions I knew I'd be asked on camera ("How did you feel about your microphone not working? What was it like being the first one voted off?") that I wasn't looking forward to answering, mostly because I wasn't sure what I'd say.

I was only available for part of the 2-day shoot, which was true for many of the girls. I was still in New York City the first day, but Temple Street had a car waiting for me at the airport that evening and took me directly to the CBC. The second day I had to leave halfway through the morning to attend a callback for the Grand Theatre. I booked that show, by the way! You can check it out here.

Still, they were able to get the 10 of us together on the morning of the second day. As we sat in vans outside Maria School (which is really Graydon Hall in North York), waiting for the camera guys to set up, it was almost as if no time had passed since March, 2008 when we were 10 of 50 hopefuls, arriving for the first day of "school" and giddy with anticipation of whatever lay ahead. That was back when we had no idea we'd be flying to London to perform for Andrew Lloyd Webber. Or that we'd be singing on the hills in Salzburg the following May.

It was fun sharing memories with the other girls. We laughed (while crying on the inside) as we remembered our week one wardrobe. We cried (while crying on the inside) about some of the song choices, once again trying to make it clear to the public that WE DIDN'T CHOOSE OUR SONGS. David Connolly, our live-show choreographer, chatted with us at one point. It was great to see him! He's currently working on a production of High School Musical in Halifax, which Donna is in. Sadly I missed Gavin's visit, and Elaine's.

My favourite part of the whole experience was sitting on a rooftop patio drinking sangria with Janna, Elicia, Katie and Kyla. GOOD TIMES. It was warm and sunny and we were full of fruity wine punch. This took place right before our personal on-camera interviews, so please do take that into account when you watch the documentary.

All in all, it was a pleasant experience. But now? I think it's over. Right? Like, we're not going to do another documentary a year from now about the documentary we just did? The Maria Documentary Documentary: is there life after documentary shows about reality shows?" No, I don't think they'll do that.

The one hour special airs at 9pm on June 24th on CBC. You can click here for more details.

Monday, June 1, 2009


When I saw the Diamond Shreddies print ad last year I was so impressed with its simplistic brilliance that I had to phone a friend and tell him about it. I love seeing companies use humour and intelligence in their marketing, to the point that I will go out of my way to purchase their product. 

Conversely, when I see badvertising it makes me angry and upset and committed to boycotting the offending company. And don't tell me I should be blaming the ad agency that the company hired to do their advertising. You know when it comes down to it Bell said yes to those ridiculous "er" ads and that the CEO of Koodo gave the go-ahead for those creepy cartoon people.

I'm boycotting the movie The Hangover, not just because the trailer makes it look painfully unfunny, but because of print ads like this:

This is a perfect example of badvertising. We have a picture of a man who we know, because of the title of the movie, has woken up the night after getting really drunk only to find that he is missing a tooth. Having dumb stuff happen to you while drunk is neither funny nor original, so I'm already bored. Then, and this is what really killed this print ad for me, they write Am I missing a tooth? below the picture. Really? Did I need you to write that? Now I'm offended because you clearly think I'm stupid. I'm standing in a stuffy subway car, surrounded by sweaty, angry people and the last thing I need is to be insulted by your ad. 

If we must endure this constant inundation of advertising in our lives, I demand of it one of three things: 

1) I am made to laugh;
2) I am made to feel clever;
3) I am made to care.

If you're not going to accomplish any of those things, I'm not going to buy your product. Even if I have to live on nothing but Shreddies for the rest of my life.