January 18, 2019

Volcanic episodes in life

Suite 16. 

I love the name of the new media studio in the northeast corner of coworking176.space in North Bay.  

The former Tweedsmuir elementary school is already a bustling hive with dozens of businesses taking advantage of the low monthly fees and flexible arrangements. 

A few months ago, my employer added it to several other similar locations where staff set up shop across the province. In another month, the Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council (IAESC) is moving into the renovated gymnasium to make room for more co-working tenants/members. I'm excited about the student conference we're convening in Toronto Feb. 6-7.

And because of my close association with Richard Fortin @rfpmedia, the visionary, with his father, Christian Fortin of ProNor Developments, making the co-working concept reality, it was a huge honour to launch my Small Town Times video podcast there.

We had created quite a buzz with RFP Media's Gateway Live infomercials flexing the creative video production muscles while promoting events. It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to more. Is there a market for me to host a news show? Time will tell.

Richard, who has brought home international experience, will actually be my next Small Town Times podcast guest. We'll be talking about the work-share vision as well as his RFP Media offerings and his broader vision for Suite 16. 

The whole podcast-style of "interview journalism" has been brewing in me like a volcano for many years. Richard and I have talked about it off and on for quite a while; same with Ed Regan of Regan Pictures, with our discussions stretching back to when the idea for a multi-media newscast was first tossed around at the Nugget. And Dave Whitehead and I almost got it together several times with plans of a weekly health and workout show. (Dave and I will actually get together soon for a podcast interview in the studio I'm setting up at home).

Of course, I've been toying with my YouTube channel Dave Dale Story Teller (recently renamed Dave Dale's Small Town Times) for a couple years. It actually all started with Greg Estabrooks of Cogeco as he dropped by for Nugget Insider views on city council business. It continued with my Nugget SoapCasts with Anthony Ricciuti.

(To view the inaugural podcast with local comedians Andre Raymond and Adam Beanish last week click HERE. To see the first of two parts of an interview with Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod click HERE.)

As anyone can imagine, I'm having a hoot right now juggling all these things while forward-thinking myself into an eruption of professional growth.

It just feels great to be doing as much as I can. Case in point, my sister Donna Cushing asked tonight if I could help promote an event her college art program is putting on for a graduation celebration. It's my pleasure to write a news release and distribute it to social media outlets, no sweat. But I also suggested the animation program at Cambrian College should be approached to create a visual piece for the promotion package. Maybe something with photos of all their art projects going into the gala flying out of a magician's deck of cards. Would be cool, I think. Right before that, a friend's daughter asked me for advice about a fundraiser they're organizing next month. I volunteered to help the same way and even offered to MC if they got desperate. More info on this event will be promoted here soon.

I was planning a spring fundraiser to follow up on the two last year, but it was pushed into September so this was a timely opportunity to help a local cause that already has most of the work done.

On the stand-up comedy front, I had one of my best experiences at the open mic held Thursday at Cecil's Brewhouse and Eatery. My act sucked, because I was too busy to rehearse, and we all fumbled our way through the night. And the crowd was the most sparse since starting this series on the third Thursday of each month since August (except for December). But the 16 customers plus five comedians were having a good time and there was a perfect energy. It seemed like everybody was bound and determined to at least smile their way through and then laugh at every chance.

It was funny how things worked out because, to tell the truth, I really didn't even want to attend despite hyping the show a bit. I was beat from a challenging week and a little pissed I hadn't found the time to work on my act with new material half-worked on various scraps of paper. So glad I didn't get lazy and while the material definitely needs work, having a chance to kick it about in front of people will help get it ready for the open mic in Powassan at the Sportsplex Saturday, Jan. 26. Fingers crossed I can focus a couple hours on it.

Photo credits: Richard Fortin captured the top image as we shot the inaugural podcast in the Suite 16 audio room Jan. 11. Ed Regan snapped one while I was on stage at the Cecil's open mic Jan. 17.


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