Matthew Willson Stars as Lee Harvey Oswald in Assassins


Nov. 22 is the 50th anniversary of the shooting of JFK by Lee Harvey Oswald (and/or others if you believe conspiracy theorists like Oliver Stone). With the assassination in everyone’s mind, it seems appropriate The Players’ Guild of Hamilton is marking the tragedy with a production of Stephen Sondheim’s great and controversial musical, Assassins. This is not your typical feelgood musical:?Assassins is an acute examination of?the lives of nine individuals who assassinated or tried to assassinate the President of the United States.

Our friend Matthew Willson?plays?Lee Harvey Oswald, a part that has been portrayed on Broadway by luminaries like Neil Patrick Harris. We’re proud Matthew has such a key role in what promises to be a?bold, original, disturbing, and darkly funny production.

Performances are Nov. 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 and Dec. 5, 6, 7 at The Players’ Guild of Hamilton, 80 Queen St. South (map:? For tickets or more info, call?905.529.0284 or go here.

Assassins at the 2004 Tony Awards:

– Barton

Your Friday Funny: The Political Deceit Edition

We at VOCAB support no political party, stand for no political ideology, and endorse no political candidate (though we do have a lot of PR advice to give Rob Ford, should he want it). What we are interested in, however, is the art and application of communications, and that’s where stories like the election of Dave Wilson to a seat on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees comes in.

Not since Nobel-winning novelist Toni Morrison called Bill Clinton, “the first black president,” has a white politician in the US been able to draw upon the support of the black community in such a way. The twist here is this support seems to be wholly unintentional.

How did Wilson, a white conservative Republican in an overwhelmingly black Democratic district, pull-off a longshot razor-thin victory over a 24-year incumbent? Well, by pretending to be black. The thing is, what Wilson did, while arguably utterly deceitful, also seems to be completely legal.

Wilson’s described as a “political mischief-maker” – here’s some of the mischief he got up to:
– Distributing flyers featuring pics taken from the web of smiling blacks captioned with the words: “Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson.”
– One of the flyers also said “Endorsed by Ron Wilson,” the name of a former black state representative. Fine print underneath said “Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins.” Of course, this “Ron Wilson” isn’t the politician, but one of Dave Wilson’s Iowa relatives.
– Made a radio ad voiced by two African-American women, in which one asks, “Dave Wilson? Isn’t he the—” and the other replies, “Yes, Dave Wilson is the man who’s fighting for our neighborhoods.”
– Had a campaign site full of smiling pics of different races, but not one pic of himself.

The defeated incumbent, Bruce Austin, distributed his own flyers showing Wilson’s face and calling him a “right-wing hate monger,” but in the end, he lost by 26 votes. Wilson in turn justified himself by saying, “Every time a politician talks, he’s out there deceiving voters.” Austin wants a recount, but analysts say Wilson’s victory should hold, sending him into office for a six-year term.

And the lesson in all this? Well, apart from Wilson’s cunning use of deceptive tactics that bent, but didn’t break the rules, the main thing is if voters want elected officials who are representative of themselves, they must research who the candidates are, even if it’s just for a local community college board election. Otherwise, intentionally or not, they’ll end-up electing more Dave Wilsons in the future.

– Barton

Move Over, Simon Cowell! The Music Biz Has Some New Star-Makers


Left Photo: Mark Spicoluk (with laser-rifle) along with special guest Boba Fett; Right Photo: Dan Hand (right) with Drew Minns. (Photo Credit:?Steve Haining)

The VOCAB team rocked out till the wee hours of the morning (and also did a little work) Friday, Nov. 1 at the media showcase/launch party of Cloud Empire, the groundbreaking new full-service music & entertainment marketing company founded by Mark Spicoluk and Dan Hand.

Mark and Dan, who have 20+ years experience in the music biz and who’ve worked alongside the likes of Gene Simmons, Stereos, Lights, and Avril Lavigne, are offering targeted music business services and artist management. They’ll be discovering and nurturing the next generation of stars – something Mark’s already experienced at, having been a judge on MUCH’s disBAND and a current one on YTV’s The Next Star.?

For those couldn’t make it, here’s some visuals to give you a taste and check out the video here:


A cool t-shirt making station let guests screen-press their own souvenir Cloud Empire shirts!


Mill St. Brewery?served beers, while?Sobievski Vodka had specially-made cocktails, keeping guests refreshed all-night long.


?The new Cloud Empire offices – as cool as the people who work there.

Your Friday Funny: Horrible Clients Edition

Another client request comes in.

We at VOCAB Communications are blessed with an absolutely fabulous list of clients – they’re great businesses led by even better people. Unfortunately, not everyone in the communications world can say the same….

Well, if there’s anything the World Wide Web’s good for, it’s anonymous venting (fully justified venting, that is). ClientsFromHell.Net is where designers can blow-off steam by sharing client horror stories. Dumb remarks, perverse requests, or just plain wacky behaviour – if a client said/did it, it’s on ClientsFromHell.Net. Surreal exchanges straight out of Dilbert like:

CLIENT: Why are you taking so long to finish this flyer?
ME: I sent a proof three weeks ago and I never heard back.
CLIENT: Do I really have to sit here and make sure you remind me about what I am supposed to do?

Or such classic one-liners?as:

“I want my logo to sort of allude that I have questionable ethics.”

Check it out if you’re looking for a laugh or want to blow-off some steam after yet another frustrating client call. And remember, in communications, it pays to watch what you say or write not just to external audiences, but to internal ones too. Otherwise, your words might end-up entertaining global audiences in ways you never intended.

– Barton

Your Friday Funny: Cute Animals Edition

Of course, now he’s plotting revenge against his owner for humiliating him on the internet. (Source: @CuteEmergency)

We at VOCAB Communications believe in providing only the finest in Friday afternoon time-wasters. So without much ado, let’s begin.

Watched Keyboard Cat dozens of times and still can’t get over him? Think Grumpy Cat’s cuter than your last six dates? Or just having a stressful week? Well, let us introduce you then to @CuteEmergency and its accompanying site – guaranteed to make you say “Awwww…” at least every minute or so or your money back.

To be frank, the way some of the pets are being forced to pose by their owners in a few of the photos might arguably constitute animal abuse in certain jurisdictions, but for the most part, looking at them is like a soothing balm for one’s tired mind.

– Barton