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Update: Torontoist, and Fringe 2010!

Hi there, GTS readers! It’s been a while. I really should have posted something like this back in May, but for those of you wondering why this site fell silent: it’s because someone’s started paying me to do what I’ve been doing gratis for so long.

Since May, I’ve been contributing to Torontoist.com as an Urban Planner. Several days a week, I write the daily selected events post for the site. I started out with Mondays and Tuesdays, and switched to Mondays and Fridays as of June. I’m not going to get rich as a Torontoist contributor, but it’s my low paying dream job (sort of like this Simpson’s episode); I get to write about my favourite performers, companies, and events in the city that I love!

My staff picture for Torontoist, courtesy of Shannon Gerard.

Since I’d be duplicating much of the work I do for Torontoist for my weekly GTS updates, I’ve discontinued them. I’m sure many of you were aware just how much of an enormous workload writing the updates were; they’d typically take anywhere from 16-24 hours a week. Now, I’m part of a crack team of UP writers (it’s a really great feeling to be part of a team, and to have a shared workload), and it doesn’t make sense to continue to write the updates for GTS when someone’s willing to pay me to do essentially the same thing, for a readership ten times larger (GTS’s best two month last year garnered in excess of 100,000 hits, but Torontoist passed 1,000,000 hits last month).

This has left me at a bit of a loss as to what to do with Gracing the Stage. I definitely want to continue to produce content for the site and keep it active (more active than the less two months), but darned if Torontoist hasn’t willingly accepted (and paid for) anything I’ve been of a mind (and had the time) to write about. Since I started contributing non-Urban Planner posts, I’ve written articles about sketch troupe Sunday Night Live and bands like The Balconies and Whale Tooth; video reviews for Hooded Fang and Maylee Todd; covered the Polaris Prize; and even written about police horses, in the lead-up to the G20 summit coverage (which Torontoist, by many accounts, did the best job of ANY media outlet covering – the site registered over a quarter of a million hits over that weekend). So I’ve been very busy over there (you can read all of the articles I’ve contributed to date by clicking on my staff profile).

My plans for this site include setting up and integrating a Twitter account for Gracing the Stage (something I’ve kept putting off and off), and to start using it as more of a personal blog. I’ll be posting arts-related links, short items, and video content, while endeavoring to keep it mainly Toronto-centric (but not exclusively so). Basically, I mean to channel much of the energy I usually put into Facebook (which is a bit of a waste, since I’m very snobby about FB, only accepting friend requests from people I’ve met and chatted at length with on multiple occasions) into Gracing the Stage, so I won’t be upping my work load; just re-directing it more productively, and making it more accessible.

I hope to have this revamp up and running in time for Summerworks (so, the start of August). I’ve been very busy the past few weeks covering The Toronto Fringe Festival, primarily for Torontoist; I contributed more than half of the reviews for the site’s Guide to the Fringe.

I do plan on posting capsule reviews of all the Fringe shows I’ve seen (I’m currently at 3 dozen seen, with two days left in the fest), so there will be a special Fringe post going up this weekend, that will be updated as I produce previews. Like last year, I’ve not budgeted enough time over the festival to write reviews, only having written 15 to date (9 of the best were used in the Torontoist guide). Unlike last year, however, I’ve kept pretty good notes, so I’m more confident I’ll get them all up within a week after the Fringe. Not especially useful to anyone hoping to have used quotes to promote their Fringe run, but maybe so for shows continuing on the Fringe circuit, or for companies or performers who might want to use what I write for future promotional purposes.

So, a lot of news. If anyone has any feedback about what I should do with the site to make it more useful and efficient, I’m all ears. In the meantime, I strongly suggest you sign up for Torontoist’s Torontolist mailing list, which will deliver daily updates to your email inbox, containing contests, brief news items, and the day’s Urban Planner (which means several a week are written primarily by yours truly). I don’t plan on using my own mailing list for anything other than important updates about the site, so if you want to read about what’s hip and happening in Toronto, you’ll have to follow me over to Torontoist.

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