Top 10 Moments of 2013

I’m kinda a month late on this, but here goes.   Holy crap, 2013. You really stood out.

1. Getting Married.
I never thought I wanted to get married.. until I met Christine. We did it our own way on our 7th anniversary.  Eloped at our favourite park with two witnesses.  Was a crazy beautiful day out. Took 16 minutes and was beyond romantic.  No stress. No tight leotards. No tiny chickens. No centerpieces. Just us and the birds. I wore a bow tie. We kissed.
photo 5

2. Disney World
Christine and I jumped on a plane and headed to The Epcot Center. This place is the bees knees. We’re both super nerds so it was kinda like hanging out at a gigantic science center. Main difference between Epcot and the real world?  People at Disney do not possess any emotion other than happiness.  And if you’re hungry buying one grape will cost you 78 dollars. But we loved every second of it. Some of the exhibits there haven’t changed since the 80s, like Michael Jackson’s Captain EO.  Also I barfed on a ride called Misson Space.

photo 4

3. Leaving Kids’ CBC and Mamma Yamma
After 6 years of giving CBC my all from 2007 to 2013 with the character I created – after awards, composing music for the show and collaborating with Canadian musicians to connect with kidlets from coast to coast, I decided to leave Kids’ CBC in April 2013.  I was not happy for last year I was at Kids CBC for various reasons, so really felt it was time for me to go.  I feel so proud to have accomplished so much with Mamma Yamma over all these years.  She/we made a mark.  As many now know, I had to leave the puppet behind with the CBC when I left – and Mamma Yamma has since evolved into a second rendition of herself to maintain a brand and keep what I made going.  So, while Mamma Yamma now sounds & moves quite differently, and while her soul has changed, what I’ve realized is that my original character and my success with her will always remain a part of me. Because a long time character becomes very intricate over many years of development, I also realized that the combination of my hand and her foam can only make that first, original Mamma – which artistically, is a neat thought.  I feel groovy knowing that she’ll be a part of kids memories who grew up watching me play her for so long. My goal at Kids’ CBC was to try and work  hard to make a difference – and I really feel like I made one.

Guitar fun with Serena Ryder

Guitar fun with Serena Ryder

4. Winning a YMA Award
A few weeks after I left CBC, someone in the audience at the YMA Awards let me know that a song I wrote and starred in as Mamma Yamma, (“Wowie Woah Woah”), won Kids’ CBC the award for “Best pre-school program ages 2-5.” When I heard the news that night, I was so friggin proud.  I’d spent a million months working on the tune, so to have it acknowledged by the YMA felt great. Although I wasn’t mentioned at the podium I was flooded with supportive texts from peeps in the audience who know me and my work. It was a big accomplishment. Christine and I toasted together at home in our pajamas.  The video was smashtacular. The song is about how learning new things is awesome.

wowie

5. I turned 40.
WHAT?
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6. Making this Website  
It took me eight hundred years to get around in making this sucker.  And bless the lord stevie wonder I finally have one place to compile all my stuff, instead of in a ginourmously huge pile that my cats sleep and fart on underneath my desk.

7. Working with new people
I got to travel for a few months and work with some very creative folks.  New puppeteers, new producers, new writers. Beyond fantastic.  These folks made me raise my own barr to kick serious ass.  I like to sweat and get out of my comfort zone, so it was a super lovely match.  No better feeling than collaborating on a rad team.  Great vibes. Giant sense of humour. Zero ego. These guys slammed dunked it!!
Photo on 4-16-13 at 12.22 PM

8. Jays Family Jam
I play a little bird named Jay. Jay loves music more than anything. This past year, Jay (and I) jammed with some incredible Canadian Musicians. Clapping along in studio we had live studio audiences of kids and their families, learning all about music and how it works. The segment is called “Jay’s Family Jam”. Three cheers for TVO!

Filming with Dragonette

Filming with Dragonette

9. Scoring Zerby Derby 
Christine and I hunkered down to write an entire score for a TV show for Breakthrough Entertainment. The show is completely hilarious. We sat in the same position for 100 millionty million hours and laughed our heads off blowing kazoos and playing in our home studio.
ZB

10. Learning how to Meditate
Practicing for 20 minutes, twice a day, has changed the way I filter the goodness and badness of the world. I will never, ever stop this practice. High fives for quite times.

Happy New year to you and I wish u good things!

xo
Ali

My First Photography Show!

PosterI’m finally having my very own photography show!

I’ve taken photos since I was a little kid and have always been obsessed with my camera. In my teens I built a darkroom and spent a thousand hours inside the stink of chemicals, playing around with light.  I’d blast Motown and listen to the water drip while disappearing from the rest of the world.  Looking back, I think being in there was a form of meditation for me.

I’m a visual thinker and have always loved the idea of telling stories through pictures. When I see something that feels super real and I don’t have my camera with me it almost hurts my feelings.

Photos of my travels, musicians, work on set, sky, faces, nature, buildings and superheros waiting patiently for a sandwiches.

My show is titled “Favourite Things” and will be showing at the historic Gladstone Hotel Art Bar. I love the Gladstone.  Sometimes it kind of feels like the center cell of the city.

Opening Reception Janary 9th – 7pm to 10pm
Show runs January 9th to January 19th.

Facebook Event Page

Click! (insert camera shutter noise here)

Old, but New…Mamma Yamma iTunes Game

Mamma Yamma's Photo AdventureWell, I’m on iTunes.  Kinda.  In puppet form anyways..

So, I left Kids’ CBC as Mamma Yamma this past April, but before going I recorded the voice for a new game and it’s made it as a fav on iTunes.  Mamma Yamma dresses up and travels around the world.  I actually recorded this at home in my pajamas and sent it to the CBC.  An engineer really did a good job of making it sound less pajama-ish, because I can remember being able to hear my cat violently lick herself sitting next to me while listening back.  I’m not sure which designers created the game, but kudos to them.  I hope you receive big tech props for your work!  Looks great.

Besides some music that was left with the department, this game was actually the very last thing I did as Mamma Yamma after 6 years rockin’ the Yam. I remember recording and giving it my best, so I could look back satisfied about my last online Yam hoohaw hurrah. It’s definitely nice to have squeaked it in for the kiddies in my life to play on their iPads in their PJ’s.   In the iTunes description, she’s called an “Award Winning Yam”.  Life is so wild..

Enjoy the Game. If you listen close, you can totally hear my pajamas.

Mamma Yamma’s Photo Adventure
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/mamma-yamma-photo-adventure/id726335466?mt=8

Because We’re Kids

77_7423745106_4372_nSo November was Anti-Bullying Month. I love this.  Mostly because I was weird kid.  Slightly chubby, no boyfriends, arty.  Thing is, I pretty much figured out how to keep from emotional harm at school. Making people laugh was my survival tactic – I became an expert at dodging tongue daggers. Looking back, this might have actually helped me become a better actor.  All in all, I feel lucky because high school was a pretty nice experience.

Recently at a friend’s birthday party I ran into a girl I went to junior high and high school with. She’s now a filmmaker. Super intense, eccentric, kinda dark.  Her Art comes across as the opposite of what I make in the world, but after talking to her I found that we make things for very similar reasons.

We weren’t close at school.  Different circle of friends, but I always thought she was nice. But holy jesus, did this girl get bullied.  Think of that one kid in school who got it the worst. This was her.  She was tormented all the way till graduation.  We got into a discussion at the party and one of the first things she said to me was, “Thank you for not being mean to me”.  I started to cry.  I knew it was bad for her then, but holy shit I could suddenly see how now, even at 40, she still carried those memories with her clearly. Those kids shaped a part of her.  I apologized anyways and told her I wish I would have stuck up for her more.   I explained how I was too busy eating and pretending not to be gay.  She laughed.

I very recently made peace with the one school bully I had.  He apologized.  Almost 25 years later, it was lovely to have perspective on how everything he razzed me for actually had nothing to do with me. The guy was just unhappy and it became my problem.  I had a lot of respect for him when he said he was sorry.  The teenage kid in me smiled and high-fived him.

There are many awesome anti-bullying campaigns that exist.  “It gets Better“, The Bully ProjectPink Shirt Day, etc.  All giant leaps for us to spread the word to be gentler.

If anything, I guess November is a reminder that being nice is AWESOME.  It makes a difference, guys. Truly.  So I dunno –  maybe find your high school bully on facebook and forgive them for being an asshole. Or, say I’m sorry to someone that you might have treated really poorly.  Maybe there’s someone in your life now that you give a hard time to – or vice versa.  Adults bully each other too, but I think they just call it by a different name.

Here’s a song I covered from “The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T.” It’s a Dr. Suess film made in 1953 about a kid who stands up for himself.  Guitars by me and Christine Bougie. Strings by Drew Jurecka.

 

 

It’s Zerby Derby!

1267756_10151949261138413_1805355272_oWrote some new TV Music!  Pretty excited about this one.  It’s for Zerby Derby, a new pre-school program airing on TVOntario, TFO and Sprout.

Zerby Derby just finished wrapping it’s 2nd season and Christine Bougie and I wrote the shows theme Song and entire score.  Along side with some lovely Orchestral Midi Software, (man it was expensive) we decided a handful of tracks would have real instruments, to keep a super heartfelt and realistic/homemade vibe for the program.   Kazoos, Ukes & Whistling.  Warm, Silly & Charming.  The characters on the show are cars, boats, helicopters and trucks, who “race, build, dig and play” and learn all their lessons though making mistakes in the forest.  The “Try Again” method comes into play every episode, paired with a strong feeling of Improv.  Here are a few tracks of our scoring for the program.   Looking forward to Season 3! (Fingers crossed)

Construction Time

Zippy Race

Orchestral Purposeful

Racing Uke

Um, I made a Website!

Photo by Jen Rowsom

Photo by Jen Rowsom

Howdy.
I finally made a website. This little spot in the universe will bring you the best I have. There will be music. Dancing. Jazz hands. High kicks. Cartwheels. Maybe a few back flips. For sure there will be moon walking.
Here are a few things you can expect to see:

– Weekly Blog Post
– New Music
– Media of shows I work on (past & present)
– Personal Photography
– Upcoming new works and where you can see them
– My experiences on stuff & things & the world & how it makes sense to me

Why did I want to make a website? Over the last 18 years my adventures in Television in Canada and the US have given me an wonderful platform to use my voice to be able say a lot. For this I’m very grateful. And because those platforms were all on other folks stages & studios, I really wanted to create a space that was just for me – to share just with you.  And thankfully, I still have a whole lot more to say.

So it’s me and you. Ok?

More to come. It’s very nice to meet you, buddy.
xo
Ali