Erin’s Favourite Things

Erin's Favourite Things image - with a candle and book by a rain-splashed window

Okay. Come with me on this very self-indulgent blog post. It is the week between Christmas and New Years, I am living in my feels because this is the time where I get to. I am watching a competitive makeup show and enjoying a glass of wine from my new “Riverona High School Fencing Champion – By Default” mug. (When do you ever get to have merch that is about you? When!? This is the coolest.) And I am also about to give you the ultimate cheatsheet for becoming my friend and/or boyfriend. Because this is a list of Erin’s favourite things.

What? Why?

Because earlier this year, one of my favourite podcasts Hey Riddle Riddle did “Favourite Things” Brackets on their Patreon. They have a host named Erin Keif. It started with Erin’s Favourite Things (in bracket form) and then it expanded to the other two hosts and their editor and one of their most popular guest hosts and… anyway. It was delightful.

I’m not going to do a bracket, because how could that even work with just me? And also, maybe I’m hopping on the “Erin’s Favourite Things” SEO, but who cares? It’s my name too!

Also, I’m doing 50 things because that is what Erin Keif did. Please enjoy some wholesome and fun stuff from two women who would like to do the splits. And if you wanna bracket it… who am I to stop you?

Erin’s Favourite Things

  1. Diet Coke on Fridays
  2. The part of The Hold Steady’s “Sixers” where this riff happens (You should listen to the entire song, but this moment is the reason why this was my #2 most listened to song this year)
  3. Uggs. I wore them when they were trendy, I wore them when they were cheugy, I wear them now.
  4. When it’s raining exactly the right direction outside so you can open the window and read or sleep without any of your things getting wet
  5. When the entire Riverona cast breaks because Joel David Taylor slapped Principal Prince and came up with an unreasonably funny ad lib
  6. When your niece or nephew demands that you flip them upside down “again and again and again and again
  7. When you find a new recipe that is both delicious and good for leftovers so you can meal prep on repeat
  8. That moment where your podcast is the exact same length as your walk
  9. Pantyhose/tights that are exactly the right size and still compressive, despite the size chart making zero sense
  10. How hard this part of Taylor Swift’s “Now That We Don’t Talk” sticks in my soul (especially “with important men who think important thoughts”)
  11. Rose gold anything
  12. The last 20 minutes of a Paint Nite where finally you start to feel like you’re a good visual artist
  13. Megan Baldrey’s tinted lip balm from Wild Briar Body Care
  14. When you’re in a fitness class and the instructor perfectly times the beginning of jacks with the beat drop
  15. Cambozola
  16. Having an amazing theatre project that other people are equally excited about
  17. Friends’ Trips with Claire
  18. Rom-com novels about sports boys that have a secret soft side
  19. Those rare moments when you finally overcome your time blindness and arrive at something early enough that you can circle for parking or read your book without being stressed about time
  20. When Kevin Weir introduces me to a book series that scratches an itch I didn’t know I had
  21. Gerard Bertrand’s Cote Des Roses rose. And not just because of the bottle.
  22. Transforming any Starbucks seasonal drink into an americano misto and then going for a walk with said hot beverage
  23. Seeing plays with my mom and then debriefing them afterwards
  24. When I’m out in public and see someone who I know but I think they won’t recognize me, but then they say hi to me!
  25. Vertigo Theatre opening nights
  26. Clean sheets and freshly moisturized legs
  27. The moment that Hans Wackershauser takes a joke too far that it becomes a joke again
  28. Para-social relationships with people I actually know on Instagram but don’t get to see nearly often enough (you know who you are!)
  29. When an actor walks into an audition and they are absolutely the right person for a role (Sarah, Mike, this is about you!)
  30. Getting needlessly fancy cocktails with Claire and Kendra
  31. When you’re thinking about someone you haven’t spoken to in a hot minute and they text you at that exact same moment
  32. Aerin Amber Musk perfume
  33. Ice cream with cookie dough or brownies in it
  34. When people do really good TransAtlantic accents or vague 1940s movie impressions
  35. Every single Seanan McGuire book, especially when you forget you had a pre-order and it’s delivered to your ereader
  36. Cooking mushrooms and onions in butter (or, honestly, anything in butter)
  37. When you arrive at an airport 45 minutes before you needed to and you just get to hang out, have a bevvie and not stress
  38. The Bath & Bodyworks Champagne Toast scent
  39. Sibling cooking nights (yes, Kevin Weir, Darci and Bryan, I’m talking about you)
  40. Titanic (the James Cameron movie. All of it.)
  41. When you can hang out with your partner’s family or friends without them and it’s cool
  42. Similarly, when you are equally friends with both parts of a couple (Mike and Meg, Hans and Megan, I’m looking at you!)
  43. When you let your hair air-dry and it does exactly what you want it to do
  44. Backyard fire pits
  45. Having a solo beverage and a book while in a bar or cafe
  46. Surprisingly comfortable 5-inch heels that are also cute
  47. Waking up early but also naturally
  48. When you go to a farmers/craft/holiday market and all the vendors are friendly but not too friendly, so it’s not awkward
  49. Hotels with heated towel drying racks
  50. Discovering someone else you just met or don’t speak with often is also super into that very niche thing you love and you both talk about it excitedly together.

That’s it. I’ve been looking forward to this post literally all December and, even if it doesn’t help me garner new friends and/or boyfriends, it helped me realize what I care about. I’ve always been relentlessly positive but it feels so good to deliberately articulate things that make me this way on the blog.


So! What are some of your favourite things!? And do you think we can make this a bracket? Many of the things are universal, so I think we could!

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Naughty… But Nice (Theatre Thursday)

Naughty... But Nice publicity shot
Picture courtesy of Forte’s Facebook page –
this moment is right before a really great boy band number about being seated at the Kids’ Table

On this, the last Theatre Thursday of 2023, I am writing about a theatre event that is ending in 2023. And, okay, yes – I understand that theatre is ephemeral and exists only in the moment and also pretty much every local show in Calgary is ending in 2023 anyway because runs are short. But that’s not the point. You’ll understand what I mean if you read the title. Today, I am writing about Forte Musical Theatre’s Naughty… But Nice

What Is Naughty… But Nice?

Ah. You must be a new reader who didn’t experience my Naughty… But Nice post from 2021. To quote myself from the past “Naughty But Nice is a comedy musical theatre revue – all original songs, all sassy, all funny.” It’s also a yearly tradition and this year is the 10th incarnation. 

It’s also the last year. Forte has announced that there is another holiday show coming next year, but this is the last time that we’ll be able to hear such classics as “Bailey’s For Breakfast”, “Why Do I Live Where the Air Hurts My Face?”, and, my personal favourite, “Just Another New Year’s Eve”. (I thought this song was new in 2021. I have discovered that I was wrong but I don’t care because it’s still my favourite.) 

Why See It This Year?

Other than because it’s the last one? Because this year is a delight. It is such an amazing celebration of all the things that make this show what it is. There is not just one but two songs about sleeping with Santa. Scott Olynek gets to sing his song, “Bailey’s For Breakfast”. The audience gets to vote on songs when there are various songs that fit a specific niche. (One of which is New Year’s Eve songs… and my performance was lucky enough to include my fav from above.) 

There is a medley where the performers mash together, like, 50+ classic Christmas songs and carols. There is also a medley to include a bunch of popular NBN songs that aren’t in this production. And there are new songs. And the show ends with a video completion of clips from the past ten years, which is enough to make you cry.

And Eric Wigston is a goddman delight in his first year in the show.

Now, if I have one small criticism, it’s that this particular compilation of Naughty… But Nice songs makes a show that is heavy on dude solos and light on solos for Katherine and Katelyn. But maybe that was in part because of the songs that my particular performance voted on? Hard to say.

So We Should See This Show?

Anyway. Just go buy tickets. If you’re reading this post on the day it comes out, there are four more performances (though tickets are selling fast). And if you can’t make it to NBN – that’s okay. Forte is dropping another new show in the spring and I will do everything in my power to see it and write about it here. 

I love local theatre.

Oh! And also also – they dropped a music video to perennial classic “Why Do I Live Where the Air Hurts My Face?”. Check it below. (Important note – Justine Westby now lives in Florida. Coincidence? I think not.)

Why Do I Live Where the Air Hurts My Face?

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Beer Exchange Day 6

Beer 6 wrapped

It’s sort of delightful kismet that I’m posting about Beer 6 today. As you may be able to tell from the above photo (if you’re a Full Circle Theatre super fan and follow our YouTube channel), Beer 6 was enjoyed while I was live streaming! On Sunday night, a group of Riverona performers got together to play some games and chat about the show to raise awareness of our IndieGoGo Campaign. And tonight our campaign closes! Such synergy! 

But this post is not about Riverona. You have already read enough posts about that show. (And you’ve definitely read more in the future.) This post is about Beer 6… well, technically Beer 4, but I drank it as Beer 6 because of Weir reasons. Anyway, I’m not going to overcomplicate it. Just follow me through the cut!

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Holiday Plays in Calgary

It’s Day 7 of Blogmas and it is snowy out. I guess we all knew this was coming eventually, but it feels like a night for hibernation. So, while you’re hibernating, feel free to read this post and make plans for a night when you are ready to leave the house. Because this post is all about Holiday Plays in Calgary.

Holiday Plays in Calgary graphic
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Riverona – Nov 12

Another Sunday, another Riverona rehearsal.

This day was a bit of a unique day because we actually started out by having a production meeting between myself, Claire, Megan, Hans, and Kevin. (The team that writes the Riverona script.) There are many forms a production meeting can take and most of them are significantly more professional than what ours look like. (I assume. Because we meet in a place with great food and drinks then proceed to discuss every element of the production and make sure someone has every element in hand. Or we decide we don’t care about that element anymore. haha.)

We spend most of our writing or production meetings at First Street Market, by the way. If we’re not currently in production, catch us there on a Tuesday evening, y’all.

Image of FCT working on Riverona at First Street Market
Yes, Feb 28 was a Tuesday.
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Riverona – Nov 8

Hello Riverona friends and fans! I’m here with another recap of a rehearsal that will maybe make theatre purists lose their minds about our process. So before I share what we did on Nov 8… just know that we had a very talented cast who is very familiar with our weird vibes. Look at how cool Hans Wackershauser, Sarah Nearing, and Joel Taylor all look in this show photo from Riverona Ep 1: Two Households by Hannah Anson and also know that all three of them are in Episode 2.

Riverona Ep 1 Production Photo of Joel Taylor, Hans Wackershauser and Sarah Nearing
Joel (Benvolio) is definitely saying “seeeeeee”(x). IYKYK.

So anyway. Controversially, maybe… on Nov 8, our fifth rehearsal, we did a stumblethrough of the entire show.

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Beer Exchange Day 11

Oof, this post is going to be a late one going up. (Though… still on the correct day! It’s still going to be Day 21, which is the day it is supposed to be going up. Which makes me a success!)

Anyway, today I finally watched Tick Tick Boom, which I should have watched a month ago because 15 year old me would have been aghast that it took so long to watch a thing about Jonathan Larson, but life is life and here we are. I loved it.

I also watched Spiderman: No Way Home but I will say absolutely nothing about it because I understand very much that people have feelings about spoilers.

So, with all that nothingness out of the way, let’s move onto the penultimate beer of the Beer Exchange – Beer 11! Follow me through the cut, mes amis!

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Naughty But Nice (The At Home Week)

Real talk time. I totally get that I’ve been writing about a lot of “going out and having festive fun” things so far this Blogmas. And I know that’s not everyone’s vibe. Maybe your going out comfort level is different than mine. Maybe you always prefer “home” to “not home”. Maybe you just need a little break because you’ve been out too much. Maybe you live where the air hurts your face.

We all have our own reasons to prefer to be at home. So, this week, I will be featuring activities that I’ve done at home this holiday season and ideas to keep your home time festive.

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Bonding in Musicals – Theatre Thursday

Wicked
Here’s a fun picture of the time I did Popular for a talent show thing in high school. In my defense, it was 2003-2004 and incredibly timely and not overdone at that point. Musicals!

I feel like sometimes when I write about theatre topics (especially some of the more serious ones like fear in theatre or auditioning for shows), the most important thing about why we do theatre doesn’t come across. Creating something is fun. It’s scary and exhausting and hard work, but it’s also fun. I find theatre especially remarkable because it is a collaborative creative experience, when so much creation is very solitary. Recently, someone commented to me they enjoyed doing musicals more than straight plays because they found that the cast bonded better during musicals.

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Fear In Theatre – Theatre Thursday

First Theatre Thursday of 2018, ya’ll, and I’m treading onto some probably already well tread ground… fear. And Theatre.

You Mean Stage Fright?

Now, I don’t mean stage fright – I think most peoples’ minds immediately pop to stage fright when they think of acting, but it’s a totally different fear. “Oh my gosh, I could never do that, I’m so afraid to talk in front of groups!” you say. I hear it all the time.

Like a jerk (or like most actors), I’ve never suffered from that fear, though. At my day job, I take literally any opportunity to talk to the class… you need someone to give exam instructions? I’m your girl. And I’ll probably think I’m hilarious while doing it. That being said, I’m not going to pretend that I’m not nervous before I go on stage. Of course I am, even when I feel confident – I want to do a good job and I think when you stop feeling a little bit nervous about a big project, that’s when you stop caring about what you do.

Acting In a Play Isn’t Like Delivering an Exam Spiel Though, Is It?

You’re right, it’s not. I free-style my exam instructions like crazy, when I’m in a play we spent approximately 1-2 hours rehearsing for every minute that takes place on stage. Combine that with a lack of fear of public speaking, and you get nerves, but not fear… because all the big risks happened during rehearsal!

For instance, I’m in a show right now. (When am I ever not in a show, am I right?) Tonight was the first night that I put my script down and delivered my lines completely from memory. My script is my security blanket, I will hold it until the last possible second even if I’m not actually reading from the book in my hand. It’s a real crutch.

So, tonight I put the book down. And it was terrifying. I was anxious all day. Even though there was a support system – our stage manager had the script in front of her and I could say the word “Line” at any time, at which time she would tell me what line I had forgotten – I still didn’t want to do poorly. I didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of my well prepared colleagues who didn’t make the mistakes I made.

Obviously, I love to overthink things.

But I took the risk, I swallowed the fear and I did it. And it was fine.

So, What DO You Mean By Fear?

I may have tipped my hand by talking about taking risks in the previous section… but the fear in theatre is wrapped up in the vulnerability actors need to experience to be successful in theatre.

When you see an actor sobbing, screaming or laughing on stage, they truly go somewhere inside themselves that allows them to experience that emotion.

When you see a ridiculous piece of physical humour, the actor had to test out that physicality in rehearsal. They had to try something out, make a big offer and know that maybe this huge thing they were trying wouldn’t work. The thought might have crossed their mind that if it didn’t work, they would be embarrassed – or something deeper – in front of their colleagues.

No wonder actors drink right? J/k, j/k. (Maybe not j/k…)

In a good rehearsal hall, you take the risk. You make the big offer and if it doesn’t work, you make another big offer and keep trying until something works. It doesn’t matter because you know your colleagues are right there with you – you will just all keep working together to make the show amazing.

I’ve been lucky enough to always be in good rehearsal halls.

Ophelia in Shakespeare's Heroines
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