YOU'RE BUSY. IT's FINE.
Get to know me in whichever way suits you best.
I’m a creative consultant, writer, educator, live events host and radio maker hungry for a good story and a great sandwich.
I’m a creative consultant, writer, educator, live events host and radio maker hungry for a good story and a great sandwich.
Currently based in Southern Ontario, I work as the Director of Operations & Communications for a JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter and public speaker. I’m also a regular writer, producer and host for CBC and CBC Podcasts, and have my own Canadian Podcast Award-winning show about queer origin stories called You Made Me Queer! on the Sonar Network.
Prior to this I spent four years in Tokyo as an international director and education manager for Peace Boat, a Japan-based NGO/NPO and a steering committee member of 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate ICAN.
In 2016, I graduated from the Master of Design program at York University with a focus on open-access storytelling in urban public space, where I continue to teach as an undergraduate course director. I also hold certificates in teaching, business/consulting (York University) and TEFL/TESOL (ITTP Prague) and a Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance with high honours (Sheridan College).
As a designer and creative strategist, I’ve worked for clients including CBC, Symbl Cannabis, Canadian Stage, Tokyo Metro, JINS Eyewear, ECC Foreign Language Institute, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Design Exchange, OPHEA, Caravan Stage Company, Buddies in Bad Times, Art of Time Ensemble, York University, and the NDP, as well as many artists, organizations and entrepreneurs.
First off, I just want to say how nice it is to get to spend this time with you out here on the open road. I mean, would you look at this landscape? It’s just – I’m not religious, you know this about me, but – if heaven looked like this, I wouldn’t mind ending up there one day. And to have this kind of one-on-one time with you… let’s just say I’m not taking it for granted.
[sips gas station coffee, grimaces, nods in acknowledgment of its unapologetic flavour]
Listen, in case we don’t make it back from this little pilgrimage of ours, there are some things I need to get off of my chest. According to my website, I’m a creative consultant, writer, educator, live events host and radio maker hungry for a good story and a great sandwich. But that’s the short list. Once I was the personal chauffeur for jazz musician Branford Marsalis. Another time, I performed selections from Hamilton on a stranger’s lawn for her 50th birthday. I’ve also been a go-go boy.
[watches hawk make lazy circles in the sky]
Currently based in Southern Ontario, I work as the Director of Operations & Communications for a JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter and public speaker. I’m also a regular writer, producer and host for CBC Podcasts, and have my own Canadian Podcast Award-winning show about queer origin stories called You Made Me Queer! on the Sonar Network.
Prior to this I spent four years in Tokyo as an international director and education manager for Peace Boat, a Japan-based NGO/NPO and a steering committee member of 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate ICAN. I had the chance to live and work closely with survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki along with an inspiring roster of progressive politicians, activists, and artists. It was the hardest and most humbling “job” I’ve ever had.
[adjusts FM radio in search of a station, finds none]
In 2016, I graduated from the Master of Design program at York University with a focus on open-access storytelling in urban public space; I continue to serve as a course director in their undergraduate design program. I also hold certificates in teaching, business/consulting (York University) and TEFL/TESOL (ITTP Prague) and a Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance with high honours (Sheridan College). And I once binged an entire podcast series about the Heaven’s Gate cult in a single day; I still find myself wondering exactly who and what those folks were thinking about when they strapped on their Nike Decades in anticipation of their fabulous trip to the stars.
If you want to vet me – and I won’t hold it against you, after what happened to you last time – I’ll give you a boost: as a designer and creative strategist, I’ve worked for clients including JOMO, CBC, COCOSOLIS, Symbl Cannabis, Canadian Stage, Tokyo Metro, JINS Eyewear, ECC Foreign Language Institute, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Design Exchange, OPHEA, Caravan Stage Company, Buddies in Bad Times, Art of Time Ensemble, York University, and the NDP, as well as many artists, organizations and entrepreneurs.
Finally, in case you make it back and I don’t – no, no, let me finish – I’ve buried my most precious possession in an economy-size can of Folger’s coffee under the southern on-ramp to the Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll need a good shovel, but if you can find it, it’s yours.
And I guess that’s everything you need to know about me.
What about you?
A VISUAL LEARNER WITH TIME TO KILL?
You're the one I've been waiting for. Make yourself comfortable, dim the lights, and get ready for the lukewarm saga of a wayward arts nerd.
A gold-star day for me, a dark day for this pony.
ACT I: PONY! PONI! PONÉ! (1983-2001)
I was born in the town of Oakville, a suburb of Toronto whose chief industries once included strawberry farms and a basket factory that burned down on three separate occasions. A gregarious child who only occasionally wet himself with excitement, I've always been both blessed and saddled with a general enthusiasm to DO IT! Here I am beaming from astride my first mount; in lieu of a high horse, I settled for a Shetland show pony.
Through my childhood and adolescence, our family frequently moved back and forth between Canada and the United States. This gifted me a bilingual fluency in North American television, chocolate bars, and measurement systems — and a lifelong deficiency in staying still.
When I was five years old, I tripped over a beach ball and split my head open on my grandmother's porch. The resulting head injury was similar to that which would make Harry Potter famous and those used to relieve many 20th-century serial killers of their legal culpability. It remains my default excuse for any poor decision.
• In the first grade, I gently misunderstood the parameters of a game of Little Red Riding Hood and bit a child so hard they bled. Subsequent recesses were spent indoors with the librarian.
• From age 9 to 13, I obsessively attended The Art of Acting, a drama camp run by the Oakville Parks & Recreation Department. When my teacher revealed herself to be a pagan, I immediately quit lest she lead my velcro shoes to hell (update: paganism is great! Happy Saturnalia!). This might explain my limited success in Act II.
ACT II: POOR MAN'S MICHAEL CERA (2002-2010)
Like so many fools before me, my feral hunger for approval lead me to the performing arts. I graduated from Sheridan College's Music Theatre Performance program and began my career playing sailors, cowboys, and a whole host of the other two-dimensional male stereotypes that populate the plays and musicals of theatre's "golden era" (i.e. three-hour minstrel shows with mid-century social politics).
As my career progressed, I became Toronto's go-to "Michael Cera-type," auditioning for and not booking a variety of projects casting an awkward tree monster who struggled to maintain eye contact. I appeared as "Dateless Nerd" in a Diet Pepsi commercial and played a singing and dancing dog in two separate productions. I got pretty close to that elusive "big break," but never sealed the deal. Blame my head injury!
Lead astray by Lisa Loeb, I also wrote a lot of music. Most of this has been scrubbed from the internet, but (as of this writing) you can still find one of my albums on Spotify in their Twenty-Something Urban Malaise playlist.
• I auditioned for a role that would ultimately go to Kieran Culkin in the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which is the closest I ever got to telling Michael Cera that he ruined
• A habitual nail-biter, nothing could end my audition faster than the director asking "Could you show us your hands?"
Moments after my thesis defence, whose Q&A was dominated by the question "can you please lower your voice?"
ACT III: DESIGNING MYSELF OUT OF A JOB (2010-2016)
In search of a more stable industry, I turned to graphic design (whoops!). Through a series of fortunate events, I landed an apprenticeship at Canadian Stage, an avant-garde theatre company that bridged the gaps on my resume. Things went well.
I quickly tired of income, friendships, and leisure time and decided to go to grad school. York University's Master of Design program taught me that a) capital-D Design is a Trojan Horse for a slew of sociopolitical issues that are much more important than Photoshopping shoes; b) I loved teaching; and c) I did not want to be a full-time designer. I was disillusioned to see how so much of the industry was working to pave over other people's stories. Instead, I dreamed of a way that I could use my creativity for good (spoiler: I'm still working on it. Neo-liberalism really gets in the way of this one).
A long-time scribbler, I started a side career as a journalist. My first assignments were theatre reviews for Toronto's best alternative weekly newspaper, for which I doled out stars to plays, musicals, and one very special show in which a Lady Gaga impersonator gave birth from atop an upright piano.
• To distract myself from the stress of grad school, I started long-distance running and studying Japanese. The former would become a minor obsession; the latter would become especially useful in ACT IV.
• I also spent long stretches of this period living through Europe and North America making activist circus opera aboard a tall ship with a gang of theatre pirates called Caravan Stage Company. We'll come back to that in ACT V.
Still breathing? Great! Now's a good time to get another box of Junior Mints. While you chew, here are some other points of interests you might find amusing:
• Throughout the '10s, I had to pleasure to live in Paris, Sicily, Tokyo, New York City, New Orleans, and San Francisco, travelling to more than 60 countries for both work and pleasure. I got clostridium perfringens in Sri Lanka and HFMD in Japan (neither of which are STIs).
• I learned French, which would make it easier to learn Italian, which would make it harder to learn Spanish, which would all be useless when I studied Japanese.
• I broke two toes! Ask me how on our next Zoom call.
From the deck of The Ocean Dream. The ship was sold for scrap during the pandemic and has been beached in Alang, India since 2021.
ACT IV: I LEFT MY HAIRLINE IN MILFORD SOUND (2016-2019)
After convincing myself that it was almost impossible to be an ethical designer, I pivoted to fulfill a lifelong dream of living in Japan. I'd first gone there on a high school exchange program almost twenty years before and was relieved to discover that the social discourse still included Pocky sticks and Sailor Moon.
Most of my first year was spent teaching and writing for English-language publications. Then, I had the enormous luck to be selected as an instructor for Tokyo-Based NGO Peace Boat. Over the next three years, I participated in five voyages (docking in more than 40 countries), leaving the organization in the role of international director. We sailed with atomic bomb survivors, heads of state, and one particularly punk Glaswegian academic who helped me find a very nice thrift store in her home city.
As anyone who has ever worked for an NGO or non-profit will know, you wear many hats and for very little compensation. It reminds me of that bit from Dickens: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of white-knuckle work hours and squeezing myself into a bunk bed for four months at a time in a windowless berth." I learned a lifetime of skills and left practically bald.
• The ship operated on the principle of "peace through cultural exchange." Each voyage welcomed approximately 1,100 passengers between the ages of two and ninety-eight; the official age of our mascot, a vessel-shaped fairy with human legs, was unknown.
• The onboard cinema screened a surprising number of films in which a devastating shipwreck was either the inciting incident or morbid conclusion: Life of Pi, Captain Phillips — and yes, Titanic.
• As many folks who've spent time at sea can attest, cruise wifi is every expensive and notoriously fickle. We went for long stretches without internet access, which was slightly frustrating but enormously freeing.
A Canadian Podcast Award is designed to fit comfortably in the cupholders of most Hyundai Elantras.
ACT V: A FACE FOR RADIO (2019-2022)
During my final year in Japan, I began working with CBC to develop a mini-series based on my experience travelling Europe and North America with a band of theatre pirates. Caravan first aired in the fall of 2019 and let to a new side career writing, producing and hosting for radio and live events. I continue to contribute to a variety of CBC programs including The Doc Project, Personal Best, and Commotion.
From 2021 to 2023, I hosted and produced my own comedic interview podcast, You Made Me Queer! on The Sonar Network. The show invited a fantastic parade of 2SLGBTQIA+ guests to reframe their queer origin stories as joyful accusations. Guests included Olympic gold medalists, RuPaul's Drag Race alumni, television icons, and even my very first high school boyfriend. YMMQ! earned some lovely recognition, including four Canadian Podcast Awards, thirteen nominations, and an opening act slot for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee at the 2022 Hot Docs Podcast Festival. No Grammys, though. *shrug emoji*
Hosting a bi-weekly chat show for three years taught me a lot about how to hold a conversation (take that, childhood head injury!). This led hosting and moderating duties at major events across Canada, for which I have to read many books and watch many TV shows — except when there's a writer's strike, when my line of questioning is limited to favourite ice cream flavours and the PG-equivalent of "Who'd ya rather?"
• Things I've learned in conversation: The Mandalorian's Emily Swallow is a karaoke champion, the original voice actress of Dora the Explorer sometimes travels with a life-sized Dora doll in a duffel bag (TSA loves it once the alarms go off), and The Bear's Jon Bernthal once played on a Russian baseball team.
• Getting to know someone in conversation requires a lot of active listening, which has significantly improved my hit rate with the Koodo customer service department.
You're not a big baby, but I'll support you as if you were one.
ACT VI: You and i (THE PRESENT)
This is the point where our stories intertwine. You're looking for a multi-faceted arts professional who uses proven methods to deliver unconventional solutions.
Tired of glassy-eyed formalities, your idea of collaboration is daring, personable, action-oriented, and kind. At the end of the day, you want something done well and on time — but you want to have fun doing it.
But enough about me. Let's hear about you.