Chicago - Stage West Calgary

“Chicago” – Stage West Calgary
Instead of ordering take out and spending the night on your couch, a better  way to unwind after a long work week is to go to Stage West!  And after watching their latest production of “Chicago”, my husband and I agreed, it was their best one yet!  They always put on a great show, but this one was like we had a night out on Broadway!  Plus a delicious meal to start it off!  No cooking for me!  And no clean up!

Stage West Calgary "Chicago"
“Chicago” is one of the longest running musicals on Broadway.  And now, thanks to Stage West, you too can enjoy it!  Loosely based on a murder case in the 1920’s that grabbed the attention of the media, it is a satirical look at the way society turns criminals into celebrities.  Those criminals are Velma Kelly (played by Andrea Wingelaar) and Roxie Hart (played by Marisa McIntyre) who stand accused of murdering their respective lovers.  

Both lead characters are outstanding.  Great stage performance with their powerful voices and exceptional dances.  From beginning to end I loved it!  Billy Flynn played by Matt Cassidy was just as I expected him to be, handsome and evil at the same time.  Amos, played by Ed Sahely got the “awe’s” from the audience.  You couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

All in all, it really was a GREAT night out.  If you pick at least one performance to watch, it’s this one!  Well done to all the cast, band, production and crew of "Chicago" – Stage West Calgary!  

Andrea Wingelaar – Shaw TV Calgary

Stage West Director – Shaw TV Calgary -
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Pay It Forward Day

Pay It Forward Day
by Christina Rowsell
The Brighter Side

Today is the day when it's okay to "Pay It Forward".  I have to admit, it is one of our favorite days!  Today's

the day where you too can share Good News, Great Ideas & Amazing People!  Today is your day to live on The Brighter Side of life and make others laugh, smile and forget about their problems.

Today is a special day to making a positive difference!  There are all kinds of ways that YOU can Pay It Forward.  It doesn't have to cost  you anything.  Only if you want it to!  Here are some ways The Brighter Side Pays it forward:
  1. Spread the word about a charity event happening in your community.  Blog it, Tweet it, Facebook it!
  2. Smile!  Chances are if you smile at someone you may just lift their spirits!  "Smile and the World Smiles With You!"
  3. A small purchase.  While driving through the coffee drive-thru, purchase the coffee for the person behind you.  
  4. Open the door!  And not just for women and children.  Hold the door open for that busy executive who's on their way to a stressful meeting.
  5. Tell someone in your life how much you appreciate them.  It doesn't have to be over the top, a simple "thank you for all you do" will go a long way!
There are all kinds of things you can do to Pay It Forward.  The official Pay It Forward website has everything you need to know about the day, even more ideas on how you can give back!  Visit Pay It Forward here.

The Brighter Side encourages you to embrace this incredible power of giving and show each other that there is good in this world.  You may just help one person, but sometimes it just takes one person to make a difference.

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Making a difference by coming together as a community

by Tag Goulet

Tag Goulet
The Brighter Side has a quest, to make people laugh, smile and forget about their problems, if only for a moment.  And with that, we provide Good News, Great Ideas and present Amazing People.  The idea was born after seeing and hearing too many sad stories in the news.  We wanted to lift your spirits by sharing stories that inspire you.  The other thought with The Brighter Side was that those with mental illness can come to a place to find these happy and inspirational stories to have a moment of putting a smile on their faces.  So here, on The Brighter Side Blog, we want you to know that Mental Illness is not something to be ashamed of.  It is openly discussed here, to let you know that you are not alone.  So when Tag Goulet brought this to our attention, we knew we must help get the word out about this Gala Calgary Event to Support Your Life Counts.

According to a 2012 report from Statistics Canada, “It is estimated that, in 2009 alone, there were about 100,000 years of potential life lost to Canadians under the age of 75 as a result of suicides.”

The report, titled “Suicide rates: An overview” by Tanya Navaneelan of the Health Statistics Division of Statistics Canada, says research shows that mental illness is the most important risk factor for suicide. “Depression is the most common illness among those who die from suicide, with approximately 60% suffering from this condition.”

But there is a way to help.  Get involved!  Get involved in your own community events and fundraisers.  

On May 3, the Calgary women’s group Little Black Dress Affair presents “An Evening To Remember Gala for Your Life Counts!” at the Calgary Petroleum Club. Purchase tickets here www.yourlifecounts.org/lbda.

Hosted by comedienne Lori Gibbs from Comedy Now and CBC Radio’s The Debaters, and featuring live musical entertainment from Chris Ayries, Kirby Sewell and Mike Clarke. This black-tie dinner and dance event also offers keynote speakers and a silent auction, featuring such items as a day in Toronto at the race track with race car driver Kyle Marcelli and his Porsche 911. 

One of the speakers, Linda Y Young-Gardiner, has a personal interest in the cause. Five months after Linda lost her husband to illness, her eldest son Chad took his own life.

"I still hear the cries of my children and my sister that day, and that is what breaks my heart," says Linda. With three other children to care for, Linda had to carry on. She moved to Calgary, where she started a successful photography business and founded The Little Black Dress Affair (www.littleblackdressaffair.net), a networking group of Calgary women supporting community events and charities.

She also became an Ambassador and member of the Advisory Board for Your Life Counts (YLC), a nationally registered award-winning charity whose first priority is to offer immediate attention to people who are at risk for suicide. YLC also provides counseling and support to survivors of suicide attempts and victims’ families.

After her son’s suicide, Linda met and received support from Rory Butler, founder of Your Life Counts. Rory is himself a survivor of suicide and living proof that intervention works. A trained educator and professional counselor, Rory gave much input to Bill C 300, a Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention, which was passed by Parliament on December 14, 2012.

An Evening to Remember takes place Friday May 3, 2013 in the Devonian Room at the Calgary Petroleum Club. Doors open at 6 pm. To find out more and purchase tickets visit www.yourlifecounts.org/lbda or call 403-613-0979.

“We can make a difference”, says Linda. “Please support our Gala. It will be An Evening to Remember!”

Tag Goulet is co-founder of FabJob, a publisher of books on how to get started in a dream careers, and KerMingle singles networking events. Contact Tag on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tag.goulet or visit www.KarMingle.com.

James Rowsell - Aug 1971 - Aug 2007


Friends for Life

Friends for Life
by Christina Rowsell
A friend for life is someone who
understands your past,
believes in your future and
accepts you just the way you are!

I’ve always been a firm believer that people come and go in your life.  Some of your friends stop by for the duration that you need them, I like to call those ones Travelers.  And the others are Lifers.  Those are the ones that you’ll have no matter what happens in your life.  It’s equally important to have both kinds of friends.  The travelers are the ones that pop into our lives at the times we need them.  It’s the Universes way of sending those people to you to support you, challenge you, and love you.  And the Lifers are the ones that find their way into your spirit, and hold on no matter how bumpy the ride may be.  But it’s important to make sure you have human contact with both of these types of friends.  There’s really no substitute for seeing your friends in person.  As much as Facebook keeps us connected when we’re far away, you just can’t beat the real deal! 

A new study has found people are happier and laugh 50% more when talking face to face.
Based on questionnaires, the lead author, Dr. Sam Roberts(senior lecturer at the University of Chester), found our relationships are not dependent on the quantity of our communication.
The study also found talking on the phone and texting does not make people feel as good as sharing a smile.  Dr. Sam Roberts suggests that quality not quantity of communication is most important for keeping friends for life. 

It’s important to have different types of friends too.  We all need the cheerleader.  Those are the ones that support us in our decisions.  They make us feel good about doing the things we want to do.  We all need the entertainers.  They’re the friends who are constantly making us laugh.  Don’t forget about the friends of reason.  They’re just as important as the cheerleaders, but they remind you about the realistic outcomes of any situation.  And if you can find a friend that has all of these characteristics, then that’s a keeper!!  But in order to keep them around, do what Dr. Sam Roberts suggests!  No matter how far apart you are in this world make the time to meet up with them.  If you can’t afford to go see your best friend, make a date to meet half way!  It’s worth every penny.  A friend for life is someone who understands your past, believes in your future and accepts you just the way you are. 

Friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for a lifetime!
Dedicated to my friend for life who has helped me find my Happy place in life!


Good Film Time Machine: 1985

Good Film Time Machine: 1985
by Russel Lolacher of Good Film Hunting

Recently, I was looking at Robert Zemeckis’s body of work. I’d just watched Flight and really enjoyed it, so I was curious about what else he’d done. Back to the Future caught my eye because...well...I’m a fan, but I also noticed the year it came out. 1985. That year plays a pretty big part in the story of Marty McFly trying to unite his parents, so you'd think I would have remembered. But, for whatever reason, it clicked for me as a good year for good movies. I did a little digging and holy crap, was I right. This was the year for a whole heaping pile of nostalgia. It was as much about big stars as it was about actors before they were icons. Check this list out and tell me if this doesn’t bring back the memories:

Back to the Future – whiney teenager goes back in time to make sure his parents hook up. Challenge: his mom wants to make out with him.

The Goonies – misfit kids have a real pirate adventure, working to solve puzzles and avoid gangster bullets.

Fletch – The last time Chevy Chase was enjoyable. He’s an investigative reporter trying to solve a murder, get the girl and make an idiot out of himself (in a good way).

Better off Dead – a kid with the worst luck ever, and a few suicidal tendencies, tries to turn it around with a skiing contest. The catch is he doesn't ski.

The Breakfast Club – high school stereotypes take time out in detention to show and discover that they aren’t stereotypical.

Mask – a sweet kid with a disfiguring disease fights the world’s perception of him.
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure – Pee Wee Herman loses his bike. Fun ensues.

Witness – a big city cop realizes he’s kind of an jerk, especially in contrast to the Amish, while trying to catch a killer.

A View to a Kill – Roger Moore’s last kick at the James Bond can. Christopher Walken and Grace Jones play the can.

Rock IV and Rambo II – Stallone keeps the franchises that have defined his career going. If you’ve seen one of these movies, you have an idea what they're about.

The Color Purple – Steven Spielberg’s tale of slavery, rebellion and redemption. Probably Whoopi Goldberg’s best performance. And yes, that is Oprah.

Out of Africa – Two of the best actors…ever…in an epic story of a couple that have the worst timing…ever. Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, ‘nuff said.

Cocoon – Old people feel young again. Thanks aliens.

Fright Night – a kid thinks a vampire lives next door and amazingly, no one believes him. FYI: he’s a peeping tom and he's right.

LadyHawke – Two cursed lovers doomed to always be apart, must rely on Ferris Bueller to help them.

Legend – a very young and pant less Tom Cruise tries to defeat a big evil creep who stole his girlfriend. Not set in high school. 

Silverado – Four gunslingers, each with their own "I was bullied" story, help each other get some payback.

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins – A “dead” cop is made to look like an idiot until he smartens up and finds the U.S. President.

Summer Rental – John Candy just wants a fun, relaxing summer with his family. The world disagrees.

Teen Wolf – A teen becomes a werewolf (no false advertising), which is pretty cool for a while until it's not.

Vision Quest – A wrestler gets better at wrestling thanks to multiple training montages and Madonna music. I remember a lot of jumping rope.

Weird Science – A couple of nerds use 1985 computer technology (MS DOS or Pascal...you're welcome nerds) to create the perfect girl. Not a porno.
Any great 1985 movies I miss?

Get Social with Good Film Hunting:
Connect on the Blog: (http://www.goodfilmhunting.com)
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Follow on Twitter: (@goodfilmhunting)

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The Story Behind The Songs with Kevin Arsenault

The Story Behind The Songs with Kevin Arsenault
by Christina Rowsell ~ The Brighter Side
Video Story by Karen Judge - UMatter2Me

Ever wonder what their story is behind their songs?  Have you listened to a street performer and wondered where they're from?  What is their motivation?  Why are they there?  We hope this story inspires you to tell your story.

Mental Health and mental illness is not something to be ashamed of.  Today we ARE TALKING about it.  Find your form of communication and be inspired by Kevin Arsenault and HIS story and where he’s found his inspiration and reason for living.  We hear you Kevin and we want to share what makes your heart sing.  I see you Kevin!  I hear you Kevin!  You have touched my heart!

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"Can I have one?  Mom buy me that.  It's not fair!  Everyone else has one, why can't I?  How come Andy gets whatever he wants, but I don't?  You're mean!"

Sound familiar to anyone? Usually by the age of five, children are starting to develop a reasonable understanding of money and its role in obtaining what they want. How do we as parents teach the value of money to children who are growing up in a materialistic society? What should we be asking ourselves before we set up allowances?

Some questions to consider:

  1. What is the purpose of the basic allowance? Is it to teach money management? Is it to encourage some independence?
  2. Should there be opportunities to earn extra (rewards or incentives?)
  3. What is the allowance expected to cover? Just general spending money, candy, gum? Or do we want to include birthday presents, clothing etc?
  4. How much control will the child have? Do we give a nominal amount and allow the child to ‘squander’ it all on one item, knowing that there will be complaining for the rest of the week because the money is gone? Do we give a large amount and suggest simple budgeting?
  5. How much is reasonable at each age, taking into account the child’s maturity, interests and demonstrated responsibility so far?


    • When starting out, take some cues from the child. Some four-year-olds demonstrate an interest and understanding of simple money concepts. “You spent your money yesterday in that store, so we won’t be going there when we are shopping today” (may help to eliminate whining while out)
    • Keep expectations simple at first and gradually increase as the child demonstrates understanding and responsibility, e.g., a five-year-old can’t be expected to anticipate every birthday invitation. A 10-year-old will understand that waiting until Tuesday to see the movie will provide money to buy a drink as well. If the child chooses to go to the movie on Wednesday, Mom can’t be expected to pay the extra.
    • Be consistent with allowance day, i.e., every Friday evening, or Saturday morning. As adults we would not appreciate being paid when employers remembered, or had change!
    • Factor in the idea of wait time or delayed gratification with children. “Let’s go to another store and see how much it costs there.”
    • Expect children to waste some money initially. It’s part of the learning process and small mistakes at an early age may prevent big ones later.


  • Confuse allowances with consequences for behavior problems, e.g., if he hits his brother, teach him how to deal more effectively with his anger, don’t tell him he can’t have his allowance. This would tend to increase the anger to include the parent as well as brother!
  • Link allowances with regular chores or responsibilities around the home. If you tell a child you will give him $X to clean up this room. The implication is that if he doesn’t want the money, he need not clean the room. Is this OK with you? Who then cleans the room?
  • Allow them to start getting into debt or borrowing off next week’s allowance. It becomes a very difficult habit to break.
  • Use extra allowance as a way of appeasing parent guilt for not spending time with the child.

When in doubt about a situation, go back to your original intention. Ask, “What am I trying to achieve here? What is being learned by the child?”

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Making a Difference

by Tameeza Mitha

There is always something great going on in the city, and what I really love to write about specifically is those fundraisers and people who really strive to make a difference whether its local or international. This past week a few causes really tugged at my heart and I wanted to share them, not only to bring awareness to the events here in the city but also to share the success of all the hard work that goes into these fundraisers.

On April 7th, MPact, a team of many individuals including Connie Jakab, Brenda HouseInn From the ColdThe Mustard SeedThe Drop In CentreNeighbourlinkHighbanksSonshine CentreServants Anonymous and Wild Garden came together combining a wonderful evening of arts and culture as well as awareness towards the vulnerable situations many women face such as domestic violence, trafficking, eating disorders and addictions.

Not only did this fundraiser shed light to these situations but also raised funds which will be going towards “Invisible” at Theatre Grand on June 14th and 15th.

Invisible, a dance show portrays the struggles of women who feel invisible, vulnerable and shamed because of the situations they have faced. In turn, the funds raised by Invisible will be donated to Wildgarden, a grassroots organization in Calgary helping women and children in domestic violence issues as well as pregnant women in need.

I had an opportunity to talk to Connie about Invisible and the success of the fundraiser on April 7th. With the support of Calgarians, even on a cold and wintery day, the group was able to raise $4000. Not only was there a great turn out, but the entertainment showcased what Calgary has to offer in regards to the hip hop talent. In her words, “the cause inspired, the night exceeded my and my teams expectations”.  The group has raised almost 40% of the shows budget, which is $30,000 and still wants to raise over $10,000 for the cause. Congratulations to the Mpact team!  

Another event that is just around the corner is a silent auction for Craniofacial Australia which will take place on April 13th . The auction held by Greg Rowe was inspired by a family friend of his, Jessica, who has been living with Antley Bixler, a rare birth deformity which requires her to have 24 hour care. Jessica is unable to walk, talk or feed herself because of this deformity. His hope is to raise awareness to these unfamiliar disorders as well as donate a goal of $10,000 to support both research and medication for this rare disease.

To support Greg’s fundraiser, check out Shillelaghs Pub this Saturday at 6:30PM. Tickets are only $20, which includes a free drink, appetizers as well as door prizes.  There are many awesome items to purchase from the silent auction and all proceeds will be going towards Craniofacial Australia.
For more information on Invisible, contact Connie Jakab at info@mpactdance.com or visit http://invisibleshow.com

For more information on the Craniofacial Australia fundraiser, contact Greg Rowe at gregrowe18@me.com(403)-926-8834 or visit http://www.craniofacial.com.au. You can also donate online to Greg’s Fundraiser at https://give.everydayhero.com/au/greg-rowe.

Tameeza Mitha

The Face of Courage

by Christina Rowsell
The Brighter Side

My brother was a radical skier.  He was wild and courageous to tackle what the mountains threw at him.  I was always in awe of his spirit for skiing and the great outdoors.  When we were younger I credit him for the enthusiasm I had for skiing.  Mind you, he would just leave me at the top of the triple black diamond run and let me “fight” my way down.  I certainly learned how to ski in a hurry!!  There was no other way down!

Today, my brother doesn’t go close to the ski hill.  I asked him if he wanted to try it again.  He said no.  He was too afraid that he’d try to ski like he used to.  He has MS.  It’s been very sad watching his life turn around this way.  And at such a young age.  Today he’s in his early forties.  But, where would he be today if he didn’t have MS?  Who would his friends be?  I’ve seen him lose some friends who didn’t really know how to cope with this disease.  Sad thing is, he’s still the same guy on the inside.  He still loves to cook.  He loves good tasting Organic foods.  But now life is different.  

I was pleased to know that though the MS Society they help cover the costs of his new found love of yoga.  If you need just one reason to participate in the Walk for MS in your community, it’s for someone like my brother to be able to attend these yoga classes.  The Walkfor MS connects people living with MS and those who care about them. When you participate in this community event, the funds you raise give hope to the more than 2.1 million people living with MS worldwide. Register now, connect with others, and start fundraising today! Search for a Walk near you!  

My brother lives in Castlegar, and if you know anyone in the Trail/Nelson area who is looking to participate, know that the money you raise will support programs for people like him. Visit http://mswalks.ca/ to find a Walk in your area.  The walk in Trail is April 28th, Nelson is May 26th, and the one in Calgary is June 2nd. 
He’s still that same guy on in the inside and with your support you can help him and others with MS live a better life on the outside.  

FYI – Information on Yoga and MS

Researchers recruited 69 people with MS and randomly assigned them to either: a weekly Iyengar yoga class (a form of Hatha yoga, which is the most common type of yoga practiced in the US) with home practice, a weekly exercise class using a stationary bike and home exercise or a group on a waiting list for one of the two classes. These people were followed for 6 months and measures of disability, anxiety, fatigue and cognitive function were taken at the beginning of the study and after 6 months in the study. The researchers found that yoga did not influence cognitive function or mood, but it did lessen fatigue and increase energy level. The study was not designed to investigate whether yoga can help the course of MS.
This is an important finding because fatigue is one of the most difficult and hidden symptoms of MS. Yoga can be done at home with minimal investment. Personally, I recommend that beginners take a yoga classes for a month or two to learn the proper technique, as it is initially hard to understand exactly what the pose should be like. An instructor can help make small adjustments in your poses or suggestions that can make a huge difference. After that, you can continue with the class or begin a home practice using a video or audio recording.

Interestingly, the yoga in this study was developed by Eric Small, who was diagnosed with MS at age 22. Eric became a serious student of yoga after his diagnosis and credits yoga with keeping him in good health despite having MS. His website, YogaMS contains articles with details about the particulars of his approach to MS management using yoga, as well as a video for home practice.

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