And, after two evenings at Fredericton’s Snooty Fox and Andrew’s romp through the bars on Barrington in Halifax one night, it seems the Maritimes have also hit the Kickstart authors – pretty hard.

Queen Anne showing off her assets in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Andrew sees his name in bright lights at Westminster Books in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He is cheering on the inside.

The famed three steeples in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.

Is this what they call a crag? Andrew and Alexander by the lighthouse on Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia.

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Multimedia westcoaster Richard Dettman (the man with the bow tie on Global TV) interviewed Alexander over the weekend for News 1130, on Vancouver’s famed AM band: business-report_20080527_kickstart-novel.mp3

We’re very honoured by the great article Donna Nebenzahl wrote in the Montreal Gazette on Kickstart last week:

http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/story.html?id=871a5e6a-fce4-4c44-baf4-780523b72354

Thankfully, it’s also been picked up by the Vancouver Province:

http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/working/story.html?id=92cdf4ce-8960-4d5f-a8f4-0249d07d5c22

Yesterday, by the Ottawa Citizen:

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/working/story.html?id=7e5a68ca-f9e0-4dfa-8ac6-1a6e2a146f5f

Today, by St. John’s, Newfoundland’s The Telegram:

http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=137746&sc=82

And it has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun, The Telegraph-Journal (Saint John, New Brunswick) and the Cape Breton Post over the last week.

For those who have been left scratching their heads after trying to find our website, we apologise. http://www.kickstartcanada.com is currently experiencing some difficulty. We’re doing everything possible to get it back up asap.

Thanks for your patience.

Andrew, Alex, and Paul

Yesterday, on CBC Radio’s Q, Jian Ghomeishi interviewed Kickstart participant Patricia Rozema on the question of whether Hollywood needs a bit of an estrogen kick. The conclusion was ‘Yeah, pretty much.” With the exception of the forthcoming Sex and the City godzilla, the cineplex is a virtual sausage fest of superheroes. Why is that? Apparently, it’s due to a bunch of things, one of which may relate to a declining proportion of women in the industry, and the rest of which are all pretty much economic.

Rozema argues that teenage boys are the only demographic that can guarantee a huge opening weekend. Why? Because they’re boys. They see a superhero movie and they need to line up for three hours on the opening day. And then they need to do it all again – dragging their girlfriends, if they’re lucky enough to have any. Where young women are increasingly making up a larger and larger percentage of appointment TV watchers, their refusal to leave their dens and hike it to the Silver City is the main reason why there aren’t any big summer movies with strong heroines.

The interview is as our interview with Rozema was – off-kilter, rambling, and hilarious. Check out the podcast of the show here.

Here’s the trailer to her upcoming kids film, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.

This past Monday, Toronto’s ROM hosted the inaugural edition of the Munk Debates, an event hosted by Peter Munk and his wife Melanie, and aimed at increasing the quality of public policy debate in Canada. While some were intrigued by the fact that the first debate centered around the US election and hosted no Canadian speakers, you can’t deny that these are still exciting times down south (for those of us who haven’t burnt out already) and it was probably smart to start with a hot topic.

The debate was technically about whether a Republican in the White House would make the world a safer place, but it ended up boiling down to Obama vs. McCain (even former diplomat Richard Holbrooke, an adviser to Hilary Clinton, didn’t really argue with the notion that his candidate’s dreams were dust).

And further, because it was a debate, those in attendance weren’t always witnessing the highest form of political discourse. I love Niall Ferguson the historian, but Niall Ferguson the debater is a bit of a cartoonish fear-monger. Though he made an excellent point about our need to pay more attention to China’s race for resources in Africa (and elsewhere), he spent much of the rest of the debate making wise-cracks and breathing fire-and-brimstone. Holbrooke, on the other side, spent much of his time winking at old political friends in the crowd and trying to flatter our minds into mush.

Peter Munk and his debaters

The two strongest players were no doubt Samantha Power and Charles Krauthammer; the former because she refused to abandon the subtlety of her arguments in the face of the boy’s school debating club atmosphere, and the latter because he made a clear, insightful, and high-minded case for having an experienced hand at the controls.

Before the debates, Peter Munk declared that he wanted an event that would shake people’s closely held opinions. It looks like he got his way. Where only 29% of attendees agreed with the idea that the safety of the world demands a Republican on the way in, 46% agreed on the way out.

I’m not sure whether that speaks to the power of Ferguson and Krauthammer’s debating skills, or to the fickle minds of those in attendance. You decide. Take a listen to the podcast of the event.

While Alex and Andrew were off busting their butts on the road promoting the book, Paul was at home in Toronto working on his short film and getting addicted to Take Me Back. TMB is a web series created by Joe Baron and Seth Mendelson- two pretty talented dudes from Montreal. It’s the awkward but very engaging love child of Saw, The Twilight Zone and a still unmade Wes Anderson film.

The story? Al (played by Seth, the Plateau’s answer to Jason Schwartzman) is a pretty boring guy with a penchant for taking old electronics apart and fixing them. One day, he gets zapped with electricity by a man in a silver mask and thrown in the trunk of a car. The next thing he knows he’s stuck in a dingy basement full of junk while a mysterious doppleganger is living his life for him – and doing considerably better, I think he’d agree.

Why is Take Me Back so good? Let me count the ways?

1) It raises the bar for online series by not being yet another predictable and unimaginative spoof/satire/parody
2) It has actually taken the time to create a unique aesthetic for itself, which would be engaging enough if the writing or acting weren’t up to par
3) The writing and acting are up to par: no leaden dialogue or gimmicks here
4) It combines genuine artistic ambition with an attention to popular taste (by that I mean: to story)
5) Because these guys actually went out and did it

It’s amazing how good something can be when you’ve got the will to create something fresh and un-sucky. If these guys can make an engaging and unique piece of dramatic programming on a shoestring, what the hell is the CBC’s excuse?

The show is comprised of ten episodes, only eight of which have aired (does that term apply?) yet. New ones are posted every Monday. Get on board.

Here’s number 1

A fountain by False Creek

Fish and Chips near Granville Island


The Marina on False Creek

House boats on Granville Island

The view from John Robinson’s beautiful apartment (where we were staying), on a rainy day, no less

Downtown from Robson

Kitsilano Beach, looking downtown

Public parks, waterfalls and progressive architecture. A lesson for all cities

The interstellar Sky Train stop near Simon Fraser University

Signing books at Blackberry Books on Granville Island

Speaking at Blackberry Books

To read the latest tour blog on Open Book, click here:

http://www.openbooktoronto.com/kickstart/blog/farming_pams_legs_and_elysium

Not too long ago, Kickstart contributor Patrick Morrow sent us an e-mail alerting us to the existence of an exciting new book called Adventurous Dreams, Adventurous Lives by travel writer Jason Schoonover. It turns out that Morrow was a contributor to Schoonover’s book as well, which looks at how 120 of the world’s most respected and adventurous explorers (the likes of Buzz Aldren, Meave and Louise Leakey and another Kickstart participant, Robert Bateman are included) started exploring in the first place.

Well, just the other day, we got an e-mail from Schoonover. He wanted to know if we’d had as much trouble getting our book published as he had. The answer was a most undeniable ‘yes’. Turns out people in the industry didn’t think that an anthology of dreams by some of the world’s greatest dreamers would find a market. And he hadn’t just asked around in Canada. He shopped Adventurous Dreams in the States as well.

As Schoonover mentioned in his e-mail, the responses were always the same: “Great idea, incredible cast and brilliantly executed BUT (the big BUT) ‘anthrologies don’t sell.'” Funny thing, we replied, we found a similarly chilly reception when we shopped Kickstart around.

Well, Schoonover finally found someone who would give him a shot (Rocky Mountain Books took a chance on him) and the book is out and proving all the nay-sayers wrong.

So there.

We never believed anyone when they told us there wasn’t a ready-made readership for our book, because we knew that people were looking for inspiration. We knew that, given all the change occurring to the way we live and work and consume, it’s becoming harder and harder to think big, take risks, and build the life you want. We knew (and it looks like Mr. Schoonover knew this too) that people want to live adventurous lives. If only they can find a way to dream them up.

Jason Schoonover at a reading McNally-Robinsons Bookstore
Jason Schoonover reading at a McNally-Robinsons Bookstore