Tag Archives: Brad Morden

Creating spaces and showing up: my last Words to Live By show

25 Aug

I can’t believe it has been two years since I accidentally started Words to Live By! It was meant to be a five-part series over the summer, but there was a demand to continue a monthly show.

Several people said this kind of series was missing from Ottawa’s spoken word scene and there hadn’t been a show like this since the Oneness Poetry Showcase.

A beautiful and intimate atmosphere. (Rebecca Jones)

An intimate atmosphere at Pressed for our first show. (Rebecca Jones)

I really wanted to create a space to encourage first-time performers, up-and-coming poets and women. We’ve had many people courageously share their poetry for the first time, while others have had their first featured performance.

Artemysia Fragiskatos first poetry feature. (Jenna Tenn-Yuk)

Artemysia Fragiskatos’ first poetry feature. (Jenna Tenn-Yuk)

Benoit Christie performing during the open mic. (Jenna Tenn-Yuk)

Benoit Christie performing during the open mic. (Jenna Tenn-Yuk)

It has been beautiful to see people step out of their comfort zone, and recognize the power of their voices and stories.

“Open mic with the bestest people in the world. Thank you for providing space for all those wonderful poets and incredible human beings. Learning to own my voice and be my kind of beautiful 🙂 Jenna, thank you for introducing me so lovingly into the stage…the warm feeling is still spreading from my chest to my smile. Thank you for being your awesome self and organizing the best show in town. I look forward to it every time.”

It has been such a pleasure showing up and creating a place for individuals to own their voices and be their kind of beautiful. Often, we just need the opportunity, encouragement and space to realize how awesome we are.

Many great memories at Words to Live By. (Artemysia Fragiskatos)

Many great memories at Words to Live By. (Artemysia Fragiskatos)

If you’re around tomorrow on Tuesday, August 26, it’d be awesome to see you for my last Words to Live By show at Pressed Cafe. I’m also excited to let you know that Artemysia Fragiskatos and Brad Morden will be continuing the show.

Doors and open mic sign-up are at 7pm. Come by, share some poetry and celebrate our two-year anniversary with us!


Pecha Kucha photos and upcoming shows

24 Jun

I just wanted to share some photos from my Pecha Kucha talk last month. It was a great and creative experience to present my talk in 20 slides for 20 seconds each. This format definitely keeps you concise and focused!

I also enjoyed many of the other presentations and it was awesome to see what other creative people in Ottawa are doing. You can check out the rest of the photos here.

Encouraging others to use their voices. (Caro Ibrahim)

Encouraging others to speak their voices. (Caro Ibrahim)

You are awesome! (Caro Ibrahim)

Don’t forget! (Caro Ibrahim)

I’m also featuring at Words to Live By tomorrow on Tuesday, June 25 with Brad Morden. I’ve been writing a lot of music and poetry lately, so look out for some new work.

The open mic sign-up is at 6:45pm and the show starts at 7:30pm at Pressed Cafe. We had many new voices at our last show and would love to hear more.

I have other exciting events and opportunities coming up and will definitely keep you posted!

Some upcoming shows and workshops

10 Dec

These past few weeks have been super busy and exciting. I’ve performed, led workshops and gave a TEDTalk at Ottawa’s first TEDxSandyHillWomen. It was an amazing experience, and people told me they really connected with my talk and spoken word poetry. I can’t wait to share it with you when it’s online!

Speaking at TEDxSandyHillWomen. (Terri Figuereido)

Speaking at TEDxSandyHillWomen. (Terri Figueiredo)

Last month, Words to Live By had a great show of spoken word and folk-hop featuring Ian Keteku, Lucia Misch, Brad Morden and I, at the University of Ottawa’s Alumni Auditorium. It was a lot of fun and some people even got their dance on!

The crowd dancing to some folk-hop with Brad Morden and Ian Keteku. (Jenna Tenn-Yuk)

The crowd dancing to some folk-hop with Brad Morden and Ian Keteku. (Jenna Tenn-Yuk)

This month, we’re back at Pressed and will be featuring the talented poet and writer, Kay’la Fraser. Come share some of your words and check out the open mic before Kay’la’s set. The show is tomorrow on Tuesday, December 11 and starts at 8pm.

I’m also giving a spoken word workshop that same day at the University of Ottawa. I love giving workshops and providing a space for people to connect and share their voices. I’ve met some really great people and it’s awesome to see the beautiful work they create during the workshops. Details are here.

You also don’t want to miss OH MY JAM at Raw Sugar Cafe this Friday, December 14 at 8pm. I’ll be performing some spoken word and music along with Tanya Davis and V of the 2012 Capital Slam team. These female voices are incredible and it’s going to be an awesome show.

I hope you can make it out to one of these workshops or shows. If not, I have other places and things you should check out. When I was in Montreal this past weekend, my friends took us to Kazu, a Japanese restaurant in Montreal. The place is tiny and intimate, and the food is great.

My friend also has the coolest coffee maker. I don’t drink coffee and I don’t know anything about coffee, but this contraption was like a science experiment! My friend says it makes the smoothest coffee, so I guess that’s important, too.

The Cona coffee maker. (Jenna Tenn-Yuk)

The Cona coffee maker. (Jenna Tenn-Yuk)

Words to Live By poetry show at the University of Ottawa

21 Nov

New name. New location. Four talented poets.

Words to Live By (formerly Spoken Word at Pressed) will be doing a special show at the University of Ottawa’s Alumni Auditorium this Saturday, November 24. We’re partnering with the uOttawa Poetry Slam Club and Capital Poetry Collective to bring you Ian Keteku, Lucia Misch, Brad Morden and I.

Ian Keteku is the 2010 World Poetry Slam Champion and has performed his poetry and music all over the world, and continues to plant seeds of poetic justice globally. Ian is also part of the critically acclaimed spoken word troupe The Recipe. He has shared the stage with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Ursula Rucker, members of the Wu Tang Clan, K-OS, critically acclaimed poet Saul Williams and others.

Lucia Misch grew up at an astronomical observatory near San Jose, California, and moved to Canada when she was eighteen. She placed second at the 2011 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam, was a member of the 2010/11 Vancouver Slam Team, a two-time South Bay Youth Slam champion, and the winner of the 2010 Vancouver Labour Slam.

Brad Morden is an Ottawa-based poet/musician often seen walking the streets of the nation’s capital ukulele in hand, poem on the tips of his tongue.

I’m also excited to share some spoken word and music, and to be part of this great lineup. Doors open at 7pm and tickets are $10 at the door. Words to Live By will be back at Pressed in December.

Finding your sweet spot: living out of your passions, dreams and gifts

29 Oct

You know what’s exciting? Discovering your “sweet spot,” that place where your passions, dreams and gifts meet. It’s that space where you come alive and often tap into all the beautiful parts of your life.

You can tell when you see those people who are living out of their sweet spot. Their enthusiasm and passion are contagious. You can’t help but be encouraged, inspired or desire to discover what makes you come alive as well.

Over the last several years, I’ve been living more and more out of my sweet spot. It has taken a lot of personal development, self-reflection and figuring out my purpose and passions.

It’s neat to look back and see the steps in my journey that have led me to this point where my desires, strengths and vision are unfolding right before my eyes. Like a knee injury 10 years ago that opened up music and writing for me. Or studying journalism and becoming passionate about the importance of telling our stories.

In an old journal entry I wrote almost two years ago, I was recognizing my desire to help people find and speak their voices.

“I feel very excited right now! I sense one of my roles/passions is helping people find their voice and use it… My heart is for people to use their voices and to know how valuable they are. We each have a story worth telling.”

When we follow our passions, live out of out gifts and stay focused on our vision, these dreams can actually happen. Our work, goals and day-to-day activities become  a lot clearer and exciting to pursue.

If you’re in school like me or may not know what you want to do, you may be asked similar questions and comments like this: “What will you do after school? Where’s your degree going to get you? You need to make sure you get a good job and make lots of money.”

These questions can be quite annoying, but you know what has helped me deal with these types of comments? Focusing on my vision and passions, as opposed to a specific career. I tell people I’m passionate about helping individuals find and speak their voices. I could live out of that purpose while working in communications, journalism or maybe teaching.

There are many different careers and venues to tap into my passions, but this broader way of thinking opens a variety of doors and helps me to look outside the narrow box many of us believe we need to fit. I’ve also found it helpful to be open in the uncertainty, change and other curve balls that have come my way.

What passions and activities make you come alive?

This week, I see a variety of ways I’m living out of my sweet spot and tapping into my passions and strengths. Today, I performed some spoken word and music on Photogmusic LIVE on CHUO 89.1FM. I had a lot of fun hanging out with Ming and sharing more of my creative side with the world (you can check out the interview below).

Playing some music on Photogmusic LIVE on CHUO 89.1FM. (Ming Wu)

I’m also leading a spoken word workshop tomorrow on finding and speaking your voice at the University of Ottawa. I’ll be leading biweekly workshops every other Tuesday and the seminars are open to the public.

Tomorrow night, the Capital Slam team is featuring at a monthly show I started with Brad Morden at Pressed. We had a great turnout at our last show in September featuring the Urban Legends team. There were also some newcomers who stepped up to the mic, which was awesome to see!

Some members of the Urban Legends team performing at Pressed. (Jenna Tenn-Yuk)

It’s so exciting, rewarding and life-giving to be living out of my sweet spot. I can’t believe I have the opportunity to do these activities and share my passions with those around me. I encourage you to see what you’re passionate about, and not be afraid to discover and live out of your sweet spot. 

What is your sweet spot? How can you live out of your passions, dreams and gifts more?

Spoken word poetry is back at Pressed

25 Sep

During the summer, I started a poetry show at Pressed called, Spoken Word at Pressed. We had some awesome features, great open mic performances and it was a place to showcase local poets.

Sean O’Gorman featuring at Pressed. (Rebecca Jones)

When the five-part series ended in August, a number of poets and audience members asked what they would do on Wednesday nights. I told them we’d be back in September and here we are, continuing be a space for you to listen to some inspiring words and to share your voices.

A number of people also said this kind of series was missing from Ottawa’s spoken word poetry scene. There hasn’t been a series like this since the Oneness Poetry Showcase.

I’m excited to be collaborating with spoken word poet and musician, Brad Morden, to bring you some up-and-coming poets, as well as seasoned veterans. We’re also coming up with a new name for the show, so please let us know if you have any suggestions!

Our first show will be tomorrow on Wednesday, September 26, and will feature the Urban Legends team. The team will be sharing some powerful words before they head to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Saskatoon this October. Come listen to some great poetry and share your voice!

Pressed feat. the Urban Legends team
Date: Wednesday, September 26
Location: Pressed (75o Gladstone Ave)
Time: 7:30pm (open mic sign-up); 8pm start

Along with Urban Legends, Ottawa will be sending the Capital Slam team to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word Nationals in Saskatoon. Check out some fundraisers to support these poets and other upcoming poetry shows.

Poets Against the Machine feat. the Capital Slam and Urban Legends teams
Date: Friday, September 28
Location: Mercury Lounge
Time: 7:15pm

Capital Slam feat. the Capital Slam team
Date: Saturday, October 6
Location: Mercury Lounge
Time: 6:30pm

Voices of Venus feat. Lady Katalyst
Date: Wednesday, October 10
Location: Venus Envy
Time: 8pm

Urban Legends Poetry Slam feat. Cannon 2x
Date: Friday, October 12
Location: Carleton University Architecture Building
Time: 7:17pm

Summertime reflections and singing one of my favourite jazz standards

24 Sep

I can’t believe the summer is over and the fall has just begun. The fall is my favourite time of the year and I love the colours of the leaves, the crisp air, and wearing pretty scarves and boots!

The fall is also a time of new beginnings, especially for students who have flooded schools again. Orientation week gave me a flashback to my undergrad where I was very involved in a number of student clubs.

As the seasons change, I’ve reflected on the great memories, random adventures, and how I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone in new ways over the summer. Here are some summertime reflections and one of my favourite jazz standards covered by yours truly.

  1. Starting my blog. I’ve been meaning to start a blog for many years and have finally come around to doing so. It has been exciting to share my spoken word poetry, music and lessons I’ve learned, such as seeing my scars as a beautiful roadmap of my story. I’ve also enjoyed connecting with you, and I hope to hear more of your stories and ways you are using your voices.

    Using my voice. (Ming Wu)

  2. First acoustic set. I’ve always loved to sing, but never believed my voice was worth hearing outside of the shower. I did my first show focusing on my music at Ming Wu’s 4in1 Acoustic Sessions. This time, my spoken word poetry was used to compliment my music. It was nerve-wracking, yet exciting to put this part of my voice out in the world.

    4in1 Acoustic Sessions. (Brian Cote)

  3. Poetry at Pressed. I started a poetry series at Pressed over the summer and we had some amazing features, including Sean O’Gorman, Elle P, El Jones, Danielle Grégoire and V. There was great feedback about the openness and intimacy of the show, especially with the open mic component. The show is starting again this Wednesday, September 26, and will feature the Urban Legends Team. I’m excited to be working with spoken word artist and musician, Brad Morden, to create more open spaces for people to share in Ottawa’s poetry community.

    A place where you are heard. (Rebecca Jones)

  4. Random adventures. I love adventures with friends and family and it has been a really fun summer! I saw a lot of great shows, including some amazing musicians at Osheaga and Cirque du Soleil’s, Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.

    Incredible dancing and acrobats at Cirque du Soleil MJ. (Jenna Tenn-Yuk)

  5. Jamaica. This past summer, I went to Jamaica with my family for a family reunion and to explore my roots. It was a fun, thought-provoking and exciting trip, and will hopefully bring me one step closer to home.

    Exploring Jamaica. (Jenna Tenn-Yuk)

This post wouldn’t be complete without one of my favourite jazz standards, Summertime. I’m accompanied by my talented friend, carlo a, of Sea Change. Thank you to Kathleen Clark for filming this video.

I hope you had a wonderful summer and I look forward to seeing you all layered up for the fall!

What are your summertime reflections?

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