Good morning, everyone! 
Each month, we like to ask our speakers some questions so that we can learn more about all the cool things they do and be inspired by their deep talent. Please enjoy our Q&A with this month’s speaker, Margaret Edwartowski. In our opinion, she hits the nail on the head about the voice of Detroit: “midwest manners but also don’t suffer fools.” And join us tomorrow for lecture day at 8:30 at Planet Ant. See you then! 

Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here? I started out at Wayne State where I got my theatre degree.  I fell in love with and moved to Detroit during this time.  This was a very different city then, it was the mid 90’s.  Shortly after graduation I was cast at The Second City Detroit and spent years writing satirical material about the city. 

Something pretty amazing was going on in that time for creatives.  Many of us had grown up hearing Detroit mocked in movies and on TV for years.  But we all knew there was something wonderful, gritty, and above all REAL about this place.  It bonded us.  Those bonds still last.

For a long time I was inspired here by the endless opportunities to trailblaze new projects and organizations.  I spent much of the early 2000’s exploring all the possibilities available to me.  I’m also very inspired by the Detroit voice and point of view.  We have midwest manners but also don’t suffer fools or fakes lightly.  Nowadays, I’m inspired by this new generation of creatives coming up.  I was pretty stodgy and closed off to passing the torch, but I’ve come to realize there’s a lot of innovation and great ideas coming from the next generation that are worth giving a chance.

What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would be your dream project? This is a really tough question.  My time at The Second City Detroit (1996-1999) was my true creative birth.  Everything I did at Planet Ant Theatre was like a self-directed training for creating programs and finding my voice as a writer.  I’ve had a million amazing experiences with the YMCA, sharing my creativity and giving opportunities to other creatives to serve underserved youth.  But I guess my favorite project (at least right now) would be the musical I wrote, Call Me Cass about the life story of Cass Elliot.  I don’t get to sing enough, so performing that music and standing in her shoes is a pretty amazing feeling.
My dream is less about a project than an overall career dream.  I’d like to work toward supporting myself solely as a writer.  I always joke that I want my job to be to go to the mailbox for checks everyday.  I’d love to have a dedicated writing space and be able to spend many hours at it.  Right now I pretty much get an hour or so after my kid goes to bed at night.  It’s never enough.


What do you do when you feel creatively stuck? As a writer, I usually shift gears from writing to reading.  I either find a book to read for enjoyment or start reading what I’m working on from the beginning.  Reading other people’s work is often very inspiring, whether you think what they are doing is great or awful.  Either way can spark creativity.

As a performer, it’s a similar approach.  I force myself to go see performances.  (I’m terrible about making time for that.)  It brings out a competitive streak I have buried deep inside.  Sometimes as an improviser, if my sets have been stale or underwhelming, I try to focus on improving one skill the next time I play.  For example, I’ll try to focus on more physicality or giving more scenic gifts to my partners, etc.  Fix one thing rather than the whole.


Who is another creative person / organization in Detroit that we need to know about? Some dear friends of mine are starting a nonprofit called MiResonance.  It’s all about supporting musicians with accessible mental health services as well as providing space to play and create.  Their website is miresonance.org and they explain it better than I do.  


Favorite animated gif? I’ll be honest.  I literally posted my first gif comment in a thread a couple of weeks ago.  I’m cool in some way, but when it comes to gifs I’m an major old lady.

Hey, everyone.

We’re getting really excited for our talk on Friday. We have the amazingly talented Margaret Edwartowski coming to speak on this month’s theme of game and to tell us about The Detroit Creativity Project. We hope you’ll join us on Friday at Planet Ant at 8:30. Please read more about Margaret in her bio.

Thanks!!

Margaret Edwartowski received her BFA in acting from Wayne State University in 1996.   She was a mainstage cast member with The Second City Detroit writing and performing in ten revues.  Over the last twenty years, Margaret spearheaded numerous improv, sketch writing, corporate theatre and play reading programs in the Detroit metro area at venues such as Planet Ant Theatre, Gem and Century Theatres, and the Boll Family YMCA.  In addition to her acting and improvisation credits, Margaret is a playwright and has had many of her plays produced and read at local theatres including:  Planet Ant Theatre, 1515 Broadway, The Ringwald Theatre, The Furniture Factory and Performance Network Theatre.  In 2013 she won a Wilde Award for Best New Script for her play Hamtown Races.  Currently Margaret is the Executive Director of Y Arts Detroit, overseeing and creating arts education and enrichment programs, including The Improv Project - an in-school and after school improv program offered in Detroit schools in partnership with The Detroit Creativity Project.    


Each month, we like to ask our speakers to tell us a little more about their creative lives and what keeps them inspired. Please read our exchange with this month’s speaker, Laura Khalil, and join us tomorrow morning at 8:30 at PLAYGROUND DETROIT to hear Laura talk about being courageous. 

Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?Detroit is such a unique city for creatives because people can actually afford to live here and pursue their creative endeavors at the same time. In many other cities, San Francisco being a great example, residents are so consumed with making next month’s rent payment that there’s very little energy left at the end of the day to be creative.I love meeting people from all walks of life. There is so much talent and diverse career paths in Detroit. It’s really special.What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would be your dream project?My favorite project has to be performing in the Vagina Monologues. My dream project would be traveling around the country, telling stories from my life that inspire women to accept their bodies and selves exactly as they are. If I could teach people anything, let your freak flag fly. Your greatest gift to the world is to be yourself and express your talents. You don’t need to change for anyone else.What do you do when you feel creatively stuck?Go for a walk. Movement is really important. We need to get out of our heads. I’ve also found the Kaizen method extremely helpful. Kaizen talks about taking trivially small steps towards achieving a goal. So small that they do not trigger a fear response in the brain, which keeps us stuck. For example, instead of saying, “I’m going to write five chapters in my book this month,” tell yourself, “All I need to do today is write two sentences today.” You’ll find yourself going above and beyond the goals your set for yourself. Who is another creative person / organization in Detroit that we need to know about? I love what Amy Sacka (@amysacka) is doing with photography. She did a beautiful series on Belle Isle last summer and has a real gift for capturing the essence of whatever she points her lens at. 

Favorite animated gif? Miss Piggy is my rock.

Please join us on March 16 at 8:30 at PLAYGROUND DETROIT! 

About the speaker: 

Laura Khalil is a professional storyteller and advisor on marketing strategy to global technology brands such as GE, Intel and Twitter.
Raised in metro Detroit, Laura lived in France, Montreal and San Francisco, before returning to her hometown in 2016. She received her Bachelors in History and Philosophy from McGill University in Montreal and likes to take credit for bringing poutine to America.
She has yet to convince anyone of that, but will keep trying.
Laura has led an unconventional life, from being divorced and homeless at 27 to picking herself up by the bootstraps, eventually quitting the corporate life and making the leap into building a thriving remote business. She believes that the right mindset can transform lives.
A natural storyteller, Laura has a love of sharing adventures from her life. She has delighted audiences at The Moth, Risk!, Detroit Stories, Ladies Get Paid and creativity and technology conference, Intermitten 2017. She is the MC of Intermitten 2018, being held at the Guardian Building on July 12th.

We have our next speaker and venue all lined up. Looking forward to seeing everyone on March 16. More details to come soon! 

I hope you all are excited and curios (see what I did there) for this month’s upcoming event. We have the very talented Ber-Henda Williams speaking on how being curios fuels her creative life. We asked Ber-Henda a few questions about why she’s a creative artist in Detroit. Forthwith, an introduction to this talented mind. See all of you on Friday!! 

Why Detroit? Detroit is an enchanted space! It is full of creativity and SOUL
What keeps you inspired here? The other artists and place makers here
What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? My favorite project was the Portal Project. It was here the summer past. It connected us to other parts of the world through video and audio equipment.  
What would be your dream project? My dream project would be an international artist exchange with girls converging in Detroit.
What do you do when you feel creatively stuck? I go dance

One of the many things we love about CreativeMornings is the opportunity to explore different, interesting subjects through the lens of each month’s global theme. The concepts and conversations that our speakers come up with never fail to spark a new perspective.

For this month’s theme of Context, we’ve asked Sarah Gallimore to share a few things to get us ready for Friday’s talk.CreativeMornings/Detroit: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on the 15th?

Sarah Gallimore: Context is boundless.


CM/D: Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?

SG:  While I grew up in the Metro Detroit area, Detroit has only been our home for the past four years. My husband and I have both lived in numerous other cities over the past 10-15 years and this is the longest we’ve stayed in one place since leaving our hometowns. It’s safe to say we both think of it as “home” now. We were married outside in our neighborhood on a cold December day in front of a great big mural with the owner of a local coffee shop officiating and our neighbors as witnesses. The energy, warmth and generosity of our neighbors and the entrepreneurial community as a whole is what keeps me here. 

There’s no shortage of challenges to tackle or opportunities to create - making it an ideal place for a multi-faceted creative such as myself to call home. It keeps me on my toes!
As an avid outdoorist, I adore having such great access to the riverfront and a delicious variety of planned and unplanned greenspaces that you’ll find here as well.CM/D: What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?

SG: My favorite project so far was developing a business model for a program that simultaneously supported under-privileged youth in the Bay Area as well as struggling food entrepreneurs to strengthen the local food ecosystem. The first phase of the project is going strong with my former colleagues under the name of Civil Pops.

I’m about to embark on my dream project this month as a design strategist working within city government! I’ll be able to share more details on this soon. CM/D: What do you do when you feel stuck, creatively?

SG: When I’m feeling stuck creatively I do something else with my body besides sit in front of the computer scrolling endlessly through Pinterest (not that it doesn’t happen sometimes as well…). I go for a walk with my dog, I take a bath or break out my markers for some therapeutic coloring. I find something interesting to cook. I grab coffee with a friends. I engage other parts of my body and brain and I try my best not to stress if genius doesn’t strike right away. For hairy, complex problems, I try to put myself “outside” – amidst the issues I’m tackling with the people that are involved – whenever possible.  Often times - the answer to what it was I was stuck on will come relatively half way through the other activity and I’ll have to scramble for a pen and paper to capture it! This is a practice I’ve had to work on for years as both a freelancer and employee - particularly when it comes to managing deliverables within tight project schedules. A work in progress!CM/D: What’s your favorite animated gif?

SG: I have a thing for beautifully simple/clean animations but lately I’ve been falling in love with some painterly, doodley ones!

https://upload-assets.vice.com/files/2016/08/26/1472230581FrancisCab.gif

A recent fave from Francisca Borzea

___

Join us Friday, December 15th to hear more from Sarah!
Register here to let us know you’ll be there!

For this month’s theme of Death, we’ve asked Jeni De La O to share a few things to get us ready for Friday’s talk.

CM/Detroit: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on the 17th?
Jeni De La O: Reassessing, Understanding, CreatingWhy Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?
Where else? What other city has literally shaped the contours of our nation like Detroit? This city redefined the very limits of commercial potential and personal reach. This city created the soundtrack to social change and resistance that fueled–and continues to fuel–the drive for social equity and representation, and did it with a beat! Detroit has one of the richest storytelling communities in the nation and is home to the most innovative, inspiring, rooted people you’ll ever meet. What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?
Performing on the Moth MainStage was an unforgettable experience. The crowd in Salt Lake was so warm and welcoming and each of the storytellers on stage that night blew me out of the water. My dream project would be expanding Relato:Detroit to other cities (Relato:Chicago, Relato:Miami, Relato:LA, etc); expanding the platform for immigrant and bilingual storytellers. I’d love to work with storytellers from First Nation and Native communities to both highlight their experiences and showcase their languages.

What do you do when you feel stuck, creatively?
I have a long commute. When I’m creatively stuck, I imagine being interviewed by Terry Gross and explaining to her how I got out of my creative rut. I play both parts, imitating Terry’s unflappably smooth voice and picking apart the block. People stuck in traffic next to me probably think I’m crazy–but the solution usually forms itself. When I’m writing or putting together a story and I’m unsure of which way to go at some point, my rule of thumb is “if I can’t explain it to Terry Gross, it’s probably not the best way forward.” If you were not working on your current endeavors, what might you be doing instead?
Baking pies and roasting veggies.What’s your favorite animated gif?

One of the many things we love about CreativeMornings is the opportunity to explore different, interesting subjects through the lens of each month’s global theme. The concepts and conversations that our speakers come up with never fail to spark a new perspective.

For this month’s theme of Genius—presented by Wordpress.com—we’ve asked Thing Thing to share a few things to get us ready for Friday’s talk.

CreativeMornings/Detroit: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on the 25th?

Thing Thing: Thing Thing Things

CM/D: Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?

TT: Detroit is so unique, diverse, and beautiful. I am so grateful to be living here participating in real communities. There is a grit, drive, humility and expression that I haven’t found anywhere else. 

CM/D: What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?

TT: My favorite project to work on was when we were living in Venice for a month melting plastic all day working on “Making Friends.” Plastic all day - Pizza and Negroni’s all night. It was the life. My dream project would be to unite with our old comrade Eiji Jimbo to create a utopic landscape of objects in some pristine, natural oasis. Perhaps on the desert alla Arcosanti… Perhaps on a cliff-side in the Mediterranean…maybe even in some magical corner of the D…

CM/D: What do you do when you feel stuck, creatively?

TT: When I feel stuck creatively I don’t even really feel it…I just get caught in a rut thinking the same thought over again and again. I usually come out of it when i realize I’ve said the same thing to Rachel four times in the last hour without doing anything else. Working with supportive people gives you the perspective to stop yourself from being a broken record. 

CM/D: If you were not working on your current endeavors, what might you be doing instead?

TT: I’d either be in grad school or traveling through Italy. Escapist fantasies? Life investments? You tell me.

CM/D: What’s your favorite animated gif?

TT: This is really a tough one…we had to pull deep into our design values to summon this gem 

You can hear Thing Thing share more of their story in person this week during their CreativeMornings talk at True North No 8. Doors open at 8:30 for coffee, snacks, and mingling, and the talk will begin at 9:00am. As always, the event is free - just be sure to grab a ticket!

Special thanks to our sponsors this month: Adobe, MailChimp, Shutterstock, Wordpress.com, Huge Detroit, Threespot, Kind Snacks, Bikes & Coffee, Some_Things, and True North No 8.

One of the many things we love about CreativeMornings is the opportunity to explore different, interesting subjects through the lens of each month’s global theme. The concepts and conversations that our speakers come up with never fail to spark a new perspective.

For this month’s theme of Equality—presented by Adobe—we’ve asked Brandon Christopher of CANVASxDetroit to share a few things to get us ready for his talk.

CreativeMornings/Detroit: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on the 21st?

Brandon Christopher: No spoilers, friends!

CM/D: Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?

BC: Detroit is funky. Everywhere I go in Detroit, there is something funky to be found. Street art, community celebrations, people riding horses on the sidewalk, good ass music: all of it funky! How can you NOT be inspired by the funk?? I hope gentrification doesn’t wipe out the funk though!CM/D: What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?

BC: Every project is my favorite, while I’m doing it! My dream project is one that can leverage the power of art to positively impact people for generations. If I could work on a project that would live into the future the way the Great Pyramids of Egypt or the Sphinx has, that would be my dream!!

CM/D: What do you do when you feel stuck, creatively?

BC: When I feel stuck, I get in the car, turn on some music (probably jazz), and drive through the streets of Detroit. Note: Jazz is a perfect genre to listen to for inspiration, particularly improvisational jazz because through the act of improvisation, the musicians reject the notion and reality of being “stuck.” When a jazzwoman or man improvises, there are no mistakes, there is no getting stuck. 

CM/D: If you were not working on your current endeavors, what might you be doing instead?

BC: Hmmmm, I’d probably be in graduate school trying to add more tools to my toolkit! I promised myself that I would earn my Ph.D!

CM/D: What’s your favorite animated gif?

BC: Recently, I discovered a hiphop artist that I enjoy, but after listening to a few songs I couldn’t tell if he was a parody rapper or just a goofball making fun music. So, I googled him and as it turns out, he’s kind of both. In fact, one of his fans turned a comedy video into a GIF that made me smile. I’ll include it on the last slide!

You can hear Brandon share more of his story in person this week during his CreativeMornings talk at MOCAD. Doors open at 8:30 for coffee, snacks, and mingling, and the talk will begin at 9:00am. As always, the event is free - just be sure to grab a ticket!

Special thanks to our sponsors this month: Adobe, MailChimp, Shutterstock, Wix, Huge Detroit, Threespot, Kind Snacks, Anthology Coffee, and MOCAD.

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