exclusives | January 14, 2016

Lavin Weekly #21: Cohen, MacArthur, Konnikova, Tibbits, & Choir! Choir! Choir!

1. Rob Cohen’s Being Canadian Nominated for a Writers Guild Award

Congrats are in order for the Emmy Award-winning writer, director, and producer—and very funny guy—Rob Cohen: his star-studded doc on all things Canadian, Being Canadian, has been nominated for best Documentary Screenplay for the 2016 Writers Guild Awards. And this is no easy ride—it’s going up against popular flicks like Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, and Prophet’s Prey. As with so many docs, Cohen’s Being Canadian—a self-funded venture—was definitely a labour of love. As he told The Globe and Mail last April: “We started making it seven years ago, but would stop for huge gaps of time. We had day jobs, and we were also trying to schedule people in chunks ... I’d say the whole movie was made in probably two and a half years.” You can find the results of the WGAs on Saturday, February 13, 2016 after its black-tie ceremony in Los Angeles, California. Good luck, Rob!

2. Amber MacArthur Tours the World of Innovation for Bloomberg Brink

Bloomberg Brink—the business and tech-minded television series that offers a weekly deep-dive into “the revolutionaries, dreamers, and disrupters re-shaping the future of entire industries”—was recently hosted by digital adaptation and innovation expert Amber MacArthur. Also an advisor on Mark Burnett’s new CTV reality series Dream Funded: Let the Crowd Decide, MacArthur is a natural go-to for anyone looking to adapt to the lightning-quick changes of the digital revolution. For Bloomberg Brink, she profiles the start-up eSight (helping the blind to see!), the off-grid energy company WakaWaka, social media management gurus at Hootsuite, heart-monitoring wristbands, tech-trend mappers at Bloomberg, and 3D printing photo booths. It’s a veritable tour of the hottest and most exciting innovations shaping the course of things to come—with one of the most plugged-in hosts you could ask for.

3. Maria Konnikova’s The Confidence Game Given a Great New York Times Review

Maria Konnikova’s latest book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It … Every Time has received an engaged and enthusiastic Sunday Book Review from The New York Times. This comes after numerous glowing endorsements from other publications—including a starred review from Publishers Weekly that called the book “riveting and cleverly told.” Melding psychology, history, science, and human behavior, The Confidence Game examines not only why we believe in con artists (political, religious, economic, business, or otherwise), but how our sense of truth can be manipulated by so many around us. And it’s quite the absorbing read—as would befit the work of The New Yorker’s Science and Psychology Blogger. As The NY Times writes: “Konnikova has learned at least one thing from the con artists she studied: Always leave your marks wanting more.”

4. Skylar Tibbits Named R&D Magazine’s 2015 Innovator of the Year

This is big! TED Speaker and 4D printing guru Skylar Tibbits is R&D Magazine’s 2015 Innovator of the Year—and that comes with a fascinating and substantial interview and profile. According to Tibbits, who’s also the Director of MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, his cross-disciplinary work focuses on “self-assembly and how large-scale particles come together on their own. And this is proposing new possibilities for manufacturing, construction, and how we put together anything at the human scale.” Since 4D printing may usher in a world of intelligent, self-assembling, replicating, and repairing tools, objects, clothes, devices and more—at almost every conceivable scale—it might seem overwhelming for many casual observers. It’s partly Tibbits’ focus on the human aspects of such design, as well as his ability to explain the massive implications of his work with such clarity, that make him both an incredible science speaker and R&D Magazine’s top innovator.

5. Choir! Choir! Choir! Leads a David Bowie Tribute at the AGO

Toronto’s favourite choral and community group Choir! Choir! Choir! will be leading a feelings-packed tribute to the late, great David Bowie in the Walker Court of the Art Gallery of Ontario tomorrow evening, with doors opening at 6 p.m. Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman, Choir!’s charismatic founders, will be conducting a stirring rendition of Bowie’s “Space Oddity”—along with another 500 voices taking part in this massively moving vocal tribute (with ticket proceeds going to the AGO’s Education and Youth Arts programs). In case you were wondering, the AGO is a natural spot of the event: the gallery held the 2013 retrospective David Bowie. While the event is now sold out, we’re betting there might be video evidence of the performance, so check Choir!’s website and YouTube channel afterward for updates.

To book keynote speakers Rob Cohen, Amber MacArthur, Skylar Tibbits, Maria Konnikova, or Choir! Choir! Choir! for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

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