Archive for February, 2010
Last year, some of you may recall, I wrote a blog post called ” Taking A Stand ” ( Feb. 23rd 2009 ) which had to do with Anti-Bullying Day. This year, the date to wear our pink shirts etc. to let everyone know that bullying is NOT acceptable any time, any place is Wed. April 14th, 2010.
I have cut and pasted below part of my post from last year, as it pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject:
Anyone who has either witnessed bullying, or been a victim of it, can tell you how damaging and far-reaching the effects can be. Although physical attacks are horrible, it’s the psychological damage that can be done to a victim that can be even more scary. The effects of a bully’s cruel words can last well into adulthood.
I have seen many talkshows where victims of bullies want to face them, and tell them how they ruined their lives, and the sad thing is: many of the bullies either don’t remember the person, don’t remember doing it, or say ” it was a joke “. Well, it’s not a joke.
Bullies tend to pick on people they view as “weak” – kind, gentle, sweet people, who can’t/won’t fight back. Obviously, the bully has self-esteem issues him/herself, or they wouldn’t need to appear ” tough ” or “cool “, or whatever their warped mind perceives their actions to make them. As an adult, it’s easy to see that bullies have unhappy lives themselves, or they wouldn’t feel the need to try and make someone else feel lower than them. As a child, however, the victim of a bully only feels worthless. Public humiliation only re-enforces these feelings.
Unfortunately, bullying does not stop in the schoolyard. There seems to be one in every workplace, as well. It may not be as obvious ( they may not physically or verbally threaten others ) but they may just be loud and obnoxious, boss others around ( delusions of grandeur, perhaps ? ) and act like they own the place. What I don’t get, is why does society tolerate any of this ? What ever happened to being nice to one another ? I guess that takes more effort, and many people aren’t capable of caring about anyone beyond themselves. ( victims of bad parenting, I daresay . )
Anyway, I hope that everyone who cares about others will wear pink on April 14th, support all the victims of bullying, and send a clear message that bullying is not acceptable, and definitely not cool.
You can find more info on this year’s events here.
Pink Shirt Day 2010
Since I started doing some singing and acting a few years back, there have been several times when I have either had to get professional headshots done, or full-on photoshoots. I, like most people, do not particularly like having my picture taken. We all have certain features we don’t mind about ourselves, and we all have things we’d sooner not see too closely, in the wrong light, or at a bad angle.
Personally, I think about 95% of pictures I have seen of myself are not very good. I know we are all most critical of ourselves, but you have to admit, we’ve all seen not-so-flattering pics of pretty much everyone we know - it happens. I guess I always assumed that if you paid good money to a professional photographer, you would end up looking good, somehow. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
I have been to quite a few Vancouver photographers, and I have to say that the only one who truly ” captured my essence ” ( in my opinion ) was the magnificent Kevin Clark. I first met Kevin and his wife in 2005, when we did promotional shots, as well as the cover shot for my CD, “I’m Beginning To See The Light “. They were a class act from the moment we walked in there. His wife ( also a Makeup Artist ) totally respected the fact that I have my own ” look “, and that I’d pretty much done my own makeup before arriving. She did a bit of ” tweaking ” to prepare me for the camera, but she let me look like me, which made me totally relaxed.
She and Kevin were both super nice, great people, and I liked them both instantly. The photoshoot was definitely one of the most fun things I have ever done – it was my 1st real photoshoot, and I’ll never forget it. It was every little girl’s fantasy – to feel like a princess for a few hours – to look in the mirror and not mind what you see. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am naturally a very shy person, but during that session, I felt anything but shy. It was nice for once to not feel self-conscious, to just relax, and let the real me shine through. Kevin totally brought that out of me.
I would highly recommend Kevin Clark to anyone who is looking for good quality promo/headshots in the Vancouver area. To this day, I have never seen any pictures of myself that have been so “true” to what I look like, as his were.
Heather Photoshoot 2005
When my 1920′s – 1950′s Big Band/Swing/Lounge CD ” I’m Beginning To See The Light ” came out in 2005, I knew it was going to be difficult to get much promotion, since nobody knew who I was. I didn’t have any famous person endorsing me, or any financial backing of any kind – I paid for everything myself, and people basically heard about me by word of mouth. Friends, family and co-workers were wonderful – they came to my CD Release Party, bought CD’s either there, online at CD Baby, or from me directly, and they told their friends and families about me.
My dream was just that people would like my CD, and that perhaps, with some luck, I would ” break even ” financially. Well, I did get a lot of positive feedback regarding the CD, and that made me very happy. It is always great to hear that people like something you have done – it makes you feel that maybe you were right to believe in yourself for once, to take a chance , and do something that is important to you, something you truly are passionate about. Sadly, when virtually no one knows who you are, for the most part, nobody really cares to give you a chance, in ” the Industry. “ I never even came anywhere close to ” breaking even ” in terms of the money I had to spend to make the CD.
I remember my Dad being quite upset that the local Vancouver Radio Stations weren’t putting my songs into rotation. He asked me about the whole ” Canadian Content ” thing on the radio stations, and he felt it was ridiculous that I couldn’t get anyone in my own city to care enough to play my CD. It seemed as though if you weren’t either rich or famous, you would never be given a chance. ( When you think about that, how can an “unknown” artist ever become known, if no one is willing to give them some exposure ? )
On June 24th, 2005, I received an e-mail from a Radio Show Host in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His name was José Luis Ajzenmesser, and he told me he had a radio show entitled ” La Guagua “, and at that time, it had been on the air for about 14 years, primarily playing Jazz. He said he had come across some of my song clips online, and he really liked what he had heard. He then asked if I would mind sending him a CD, so that he might play some of my songs on his show in future. I had no idea who this man was, and I will admit, at first, I wasn’t sure about it all. I am not in the habit of mailing things to complete strangers, and I didn’t know anything about him.
After exchanging several more e-mails, and finding out that he truly did host a radio show, and genuinely liked my music, I decided to mail him a CD. I thought perhaps he would listen to it, and maybe play one of my songs on his show some time, at best. Well, after he received my CD and listened to the entire thing, he e-mailed me back, and told me how much he loved it. Obviously, that made me feel good, since he hosted a Jazz Show on the radio. I thought it was very kind of him, and I didn’t think much more would come of it.
I got yet another e-mail, telling me that he was going to dedicate half an hour of one of his shows to my CD, on Sept. 1st, 2005. I could not believe it. A complete stranger had heard bits of my songs online, and liked them so much that they were willing to play my songs for half an hour straight. This was not in my city, or even my Country, but in Argentina. I was completely blown away. José was true to his word – he talked about me on his show, played 6 of my songs, and an online friend from Buenos Aires translated for a few of us while the show was on, so we’d know what he was saying about me. That was one of the most amazing, kind things anyone has ever done for me. He even played ” You Belong To Me ” ( my personal favourite ) twice, because he said he always loved that song since he was younger, and he enjoyed my version so much.
I will never forget that wonderful man for dedicating that half hour of his show to me, and my CD. It’s nice to know that somewhere in the world, a complete stranger was willing to take a chance on an ” unknown artist “, and play my music for his listeners.
I have to wonder if things will ever change here, though… why won’t radio stations support more local artists, and give them a chance to be heard ? It just seems wrong to get more support from a stranger than in your own city …. any thoughts ?
It probably comes as no surprise to many of you that I have a thing for Ancient Egypt. I first saw King Tut’s exhibit in Ontario in the 70′s, and that was it for me. Since then, I have always been drawn to the art and artifacts of Egypt’s past. To me, nothing can compare – it simply takes my breath away with its beauty.
My dream trip has always been to go to Egypt and see the Pyramids. If I could only have one more trip in my entire life, that is the one I would pick – it is definitely on my list of things to do before I die.
I guess that is a big part of why I love Las Vegas so much – the Luxor Hotel makes me feel close to fulfilling those travel dreams. The first time we went to Vegas, we stayed at the Luxor, and we’ve stayed there many times since.
Golden Luxor Statue
I get my Egyptian “fix” each time I stay at the Luxor – there are always new things to look at, every time you go – it is constantly changing. Last time we were there, there was word that they were going to phase out the Egyptian-themed shops etc., which doesn’t seem to make much sense. We wondered if they may be thinking of closing the hotel or something – after all, why would an Egyptian-themed Hotel scale down the Egyptian things in it?
Fabulous Gold Egyptian Mirror
Not only is the hotel decorated with fabulous Statues etc., but the rooms are furnished much in the same manner – I always wish I could commission someone to re-create these amazing tables, chairs etc. for me.
- Luxor Room
For now, I have many fond memories of the numerous times I have visited the Luxor Hotel in Vegas. I have collected a few things over the years, surrounding myself with replicas of various works of art I like the most. It is said that hope is what keeps us going. I certainly hope that some day, I will be in a position that I will finally be able to see Egypt in person – then, my life will be complete.