Grey Goose Notable: Marcello Cabezas has partnered with Grey Goose, the World’s Best Tasting Vodka, to celebrate an exclusive series of Grey Goose Notables: young professionals and entrepreneurs who are influential taste-makers. For the next 10 weeks, we will feature two unique Notables who have made it – young professionals who have reached success beyond their years. We’ll show you how these Notables enjoy what they’ve earned – how they entertain friends, where they travel, what drives them from the office to the golf course – and how they celebrate life and all it has to offer. So, raise a glass as we toast to the Grey Goose Notables…

Marcello Cabezas is a culture maverick – he is known for creating proprietary experiences for the urban adventurer. An actor, producer, and tastemaker in his own right, he has a slew of productions under his belt – notably the stage production of Bullet for Adolf with Woody Harrelson, this year’s Canadian film Textuality, and the amazing Open Roof Festival. Marcello is a driving force in Toronto and Canada’s arts scene.

Marcello was very involved in the arts during his formative years, as both a patron and performer. He went to Upper Canada College and then on to the University of Western Ontario, after which he attempted to pursue work that fused business and creative environments – places like Leo Burnett, BBDO, and JWT. But he hit a wall, and at 26 “had an awakening. I felt I wanted pursue and explore a career as an artist; producing was where I wanted to go.” He attended the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City, where he started his work specifically producing and creating cultural experiences in the city.

Since then, Marcello has been lauded by critics for his acting and for the work he produces. He is the Artistic Producer at MacIdeas and the recipient of the 2004 Bright Light Innovation Award from Toronto Star for innovation in producing and marketing, as well as a recipient of the Arnold Edinborough Award – which recognizes a business professional under 40 who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and volunteerism in the arts.

Marcello is also the co-founder of POV Film Camp, the 2nd largest film program for at-risk youth that introduces them to the film-making process and inspires them to become storytellers in their futures. And he is a founding member of Artbound, a spectacular endeavour in support of Free the Children that works towards raising funds needed to build sustainable infrastructure in developing countries and helping underprivileged children live better lives and break the cycle of poverty.

Marcello’s impact on the arts scene is significant and notable. He aims to “be a conduit and approachable guide for infusing culture in everyday life for Toronto and Canada.” He wants the world to be excited about what he produces, and is a leader in purveying and developing experiences and opportunities for new actors and local designers. He sees Toronto as being at a crossroads, where it’s “time to listen to young, progressive thought-leaders.” Marcello’s endeavours have opened doors and cracked windows for aspiring artists, and he is only part-way through his cultural journey.

Marcello Cabezas is a notable, and to him, notability is being, and living in the moment and discovering arts and its benefits on a culture.

If there was one location that every person must see, what would it be? Why?
I have to say two. One is Canada. Yes, that is a pretty broad “location,” but I feel we as Canadians at times will forget how beautiful and how rich with culture and personalities our country is. Getting to know this would make more people invest their energies in continuing to build our country, rather than leave, and exporting their talents to other markets. The other “location” is where your parents were born. To understand where they grew up is respectful but also very telling.

What is your general life philosophy? / What advice would you want to share with others?
Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is it. Live now. I live each day like this. I develop crushes on ideas, things, people who challenge me and are open to what is next, taking risks, making a statement. I love finding this collective energy that opens my mind, and encourages the impossible to become possible. I yearn for realness in everything I do and everyone I encounter. There is no sense in trying to be someone you are not.

What is it about you that you feel attracts others to you?
People feel I have a genuine curiosity about life and people along with a desire to connect like-minded souls and energies. Rarely thinking about the upside for me, but desiring to create magic and legacy. They would say I have a (clear throat) “oh Marce” sense of humour that challenges people to talk about things they at times have never done before. Someone said to me “you are like an approachable guide to experiencing life without inhibitions.”

How do you enjoy life? What are some of your life indulgences?
I have become very conscious to end my work day at a reasonable time, like 6:30 to 7pm. Then it is time to rejuvenate. That could mean going to a film, play, or anything cultural. It feeds my mind. I feel I not only need to consume culture to give me a competitive advantage as a culture producer, but it also feeds my soul. To think, to go outside of my comfort zone, to challenge myself. Often I will go alone, but I do enjoy sharing with people, and discussing after.

Ultimately, I do enjoy being around and meeting new people. This can come in the simplest form, but it is something I look forward to. To learn. To grow. To experience newness.

I love travel wherever possible. Of course, New York City is a must a few times a year, and I just got back from Barcelona – amazing.

Please describe what entertaining looks like to you? What makes the perfect host?
One of the best compliments I have ever received is that my sincere ability as a host comes from the notion that I am a hospitable person. I love taking care of people. It feels natural. And being a conductor of new experiences that they have never experienced before. I think my talent may come in the notion of understanding each individual experience and the needs of each guest, and making someone feel special, but also part of a group. Ultimately, I love when new people share something and truly connect.

When entertaining at your home, what is your one staple item that you must serve, and why?
Something to toast with. I see the breaking bread scenario at any level as a celebration of the human condition and of people connecting, of being alive. That is worth a toast and a moment of reflection.

What is more important when entertaining; the space, or the people in the space, and why?
Definitely the people. I hosted a much talked about underground dinner party series called the Lucky 12, or L12, and what really made it was the cross-section of different people from all walks of life. It creates an even playground. Also, I like to have a no cell/Blackberry/iPhone rule.

What is one of your favourite lounge/restaurants? Why?
I guess I am kind of a sucker for feeling at home when I am out. Going where people know you, what you like, and can handle the finer details of any situation. Where there is no attitude from the staff; they make you feel welcome. I am one of the founding members of the Spoke Club in Toronto, and enjoy nights there, mostly mid-week. It’s chill, simple and quaint. It’s also great to connect with like-minded people you may not know, or run into an old friend. Happy accidents, not planned. I love that.