“A Day in the Life” with Toronto-based Actress Lily Kazimiera

When I first met Lily Kazimiera, she was a stand-up comedian, musician/composer, and recovering poet. In the nearly half a decade I’ve known her, she has added actress, screenwriter, and editor to that list. While her time spent on each of these practices ebbs and flows, she has a commitment to art that infuses the rhythms of her daily life.

When Lily got cast in I Hate People, People Hate Me, she had never acted before, and threw herself into lessons and character studies perfecting the Daria-adjacent voice of Tabitha. When she decided to return to school for film editing, she disappeared for months on end, spending 12-hour days on campus honing her abilities. Her dedication to her many crafts is only surpassed by her dedication to her friends, family, and community.

Lily has found and realized the power of her voice, and the responsibility she has to platform and amplify others, challenging the tired stereotype of the hyper-individualistic artist and infusing everything she does with care and connection. Even provinces apart, my home and life are filled with reminders of our friendship: my shelves are filled with books she has given me, my “watched” list with movies we have seen together, and my phone with our chats.

-Written by Dr. Madison Trusolino, PhD

Lily Kazimiera
One of the ironic things about working in film and television is that it renders your life extraordinarily visually uninteresting (perhaps that’s what keeps us so drawn to working through images). Still, I’ll endeavour to combat this with as much pretentious 2012-era Tumblr energy as my little heart can muster.
Lily Kazimiera
With series creator Bobbi Summers, playing Tabitha and Jovi on the set of our series I Hate People, People Hate Me (CBC Gem, photo courtesy of Lauren Newman Photography).
…and when I’m not on a set, the vast majority of my work involves bouncing from desk to desk and screen to screen, much to the chagrin of my many doctors. For today, here is a glimpse into what the early phase of cutting a short film looks like. The fun thing about editing (and I do mean that sincerely) is how it’s usually a lot of file management until all of a sudden it’s filmmaking.
When you mostly work from home and spend a lot of time indoors, it’s important to put aesthetically pleasing things on your walls so that their emptiness no longer reminds you of the emptiness within yourself.
That said, I do actually manage to go outside every now and then. Unless it snowed the night before, it can be difficult to make High Park look photogenic this time of year, so please accept this actually nice-to-look-at photo from late September as a stand-in.
Once the day’s work is done, I usually try to play an instrument for at least a little bit as a way of cleansing my brain and allowing me to fully relax back into myself. Not that I ever play very well, mind you, but that’s fine! These last few years I’ve been trying to approach music as a mindfulness exercise and a way of physically conditioning myself, like yoga or something, as opposed to the very product-based exercise I thought of it as when I was younger. Leaning into the presence and expressiveness of it all regardless of the outcome has been very freeing and joyful (I should note here that I don’t usually photograph myself with glasses on but did so today without really thinking about it, so if I’m giving unusual amounts of “librarian” in this article, that’s why.)
Lily Kazimiera
The nice thing about capitalism is that it allows us to spend the vast majority of our waking hours earning money to cover the outrageous costs of what, in any actually functional society, would be considered inalienable human rights. If you’re fortunate enough to have anything left over after that, you can then choose to invest it in tiny boxes of plastic with which to pass the remainder of your waking time on this earth, and put them on shelves that, should anyone else see them, communicate the message: “These pieces of plastic are me, and I am them. They will outlive me, and you may use them to remind yourself of who I was once I am gone.” For me, this is one such shelf.
Lily Kazimiera
I’ve lived with chronic illness for the last four years, so most of my days end with a salt bath and some pain-relief patches to keep my symptoms from worsening overnight, and combat what we here in the sick-person business call “post-exertional malaise.” I tend to treat these baths as a sanctuary to get my mind away from screens and art and work, and cultivate a bit of the presence and reflection that I seldom slow down enough to allow during the day. Does that stop me from not-infrequently watching tv in the tub anyways? That’s between me and God! Also, I shaved my legs for this picture. You’re WELCOME, readers; I’m SORRY, feminism!

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Which ’hood are you in?

I’ve lived in the Junction for the past two and a half years now. As both a relative outsider and newcomer, I’ve been fortunate to remain immune to the cynicism about Toronto that develops in a lot of lifelong residents, and still find myself enamoured with just about everywhere in the city. When I first moved here from Alberta, I ended up living off Spadina and College, which was an amazing way of being thrown into the deep end of downtown Toronto life, as it were. Now that I’m a bit older though, the slower and more pastoral energy of the Junction’s hidden corners feels much better suited to this stage of my life. Still, I don’t feel any further removed from the city itself here than I did living smack in the middle of it. That balance between feeling insulated in your own little pocket of your neighbourhood without having to sacrifice your sense of immediate access to everything the city has to offer is something I’ve always found really special about this place.

What do you do?

A lot, yet very little! It seems like that’s increasingly everyone’s answer in this age of multi-hyphenates and material scarcity. Most notably, I act and write on the CBC Gem series I Hate People, People Hate Me, which is a dark, raunchy, cartoonish comedy about two hapless 20-somethings, Jovi (played by Bobbi Summers) and Tabitha (myself), who go on journeys of self-discovery after finding themselves ostracized from Toronto’s broader queer community. I also work as a freelance film editor and A/V artist, and enjoy writing my own screenplays, poetry, creative non-fiction, and criticism, as well as making music whenever I’m able (perhaps some of it will be made public at some point, but no promises yet). You see what I mean now about being afflicted with multi-hyphenate-itis!

What are you currently working on?

Right now, Bobbi and I are planning for a second season of I Hate People, which aims to crank the dial-up on everything about the first season. That same hilarity, sadness, strangeness, and visual ambition, only more so. Otherwise, I’m in a real short-film era! I’m currently developing two of my own; one is a non-narrative experimental piece called “Bruise Echo,” which seeks to abstractly explore the oppressive structures imposed on the queer, disabled body. The other, “Hours of Operation,” is about the politicization of trans life in public spaces, and follows a young trans woman who discovers an unexpected source of joyful rebellion lurking in the depths of her new apartment complex. I’m also editing a horror short called “Delicate Creatures,” co-directed by Francis Melling & Al Frankson. Hopefully, you will see some combination of the above on a screen near or in your house next year!

Where can we find your work?

The first season of I Hate People, People Hate Me is now available to watch for free on CBC Gem in Canada, with the first two episodes also available for free on YouTube worldwide, where you can also watch an experimental short of mine, “Reel 413 [1952-1976]”. Otherwise, you can witness my digital existence and any future activities on Instagram and Letterboxd.

 

About Demian Vernieri 599 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.