Monday, July 27, 2009
Here's to her,
That brown eyed girl.
The one who stole my heart.
The times we had,
The good, the bad,
Was a memorable piece of art.
Neither Da Vinci's Code,
Could create a greater masterpiece.
So i'll sit and wait,
For that special day,
When you finally draw it for me.
one love 3 L.MOTHERFUCKER
On my back, the ceilings cracks,
Taunting me with their numbers.
And even on my side, I still can’t find
Comfort under the covers.
Every creek and faucet leak,
Leaving me wide awake;
I just want to dream, so kill me please,
'Cause this is more than I can take!
My eyes are red in this sleepless bed.
As the dawn invites the sun,
It’s rest I chase at a zombie pace,
In a race that night has always won.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
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Johnette Napolitano's (formerly lead-singer/guitarist of Concrete Blonde) solo-cd release, SCARRED (2007/May), surprised me because she bravely held up a mirror to her fans so they could identify, for themselves, her emotional progress during the last few years. Her raw and vulnerable personal stories/tunes and worldly struggles were imprinted into the Scarred CD grooves for all listeners to formulate their own conclusions. If you love Johnette's off and on band, Concrete Blonde, do not be upset with this veering from her band’s formula. Buy Johnette’s Scarred CD here.This CD is intensely good, as well as captivating (as you conclude after subconsciously playing it for the 8th time in a row.) When she sings Amazing, I feel as though I have been privy to some innermost confession of Johnette’s, and I am trying to honour the song by listening to the honesty in her voice. And I cannot leave this song, as it is akin to speeding past a tragic car accident. One is compelled to slow down, turn around and find out how it all ends no matter how squeamish we feel. (Fortunately the song, Amazing has a far better outcome - a more lifting outcome - than your average car upset.)This album affected me and I didn’t know whether to roll my eyes, dismiss the occasional cliché, laugh or cry. So I decided to simply empty my mind, sit back and let the songs speak to me. Meanwhile, all my emotions were taking turns vying for the forefront, determining which mood should slip out first.A lot of people appear to enjoy the track, The Scientist. However, I really enjoyed Scarred and Save Me despite my brief confusion (I assumed Johnette was covering Amy Mann’s Save Me. (Another great album.)During 2007, I did a quick interview with Johnette (interview) while she was touring Canada to promote the release of Scarred, and I found her to be akin to a giant onion; composed of many layers; too many to be able to reveal during one interview - yet she welcomes the writer to give it a go.
Scarred is definitely an album worth your pennies, and Johnette's definitely a woman who demands you take the time to check out her views and voice. I enjoyed this CD and feel it is time for Johnette to turn out more. Bravo! 4.5/5
Sunday, May 10, 2009
His soul has long been sold.
He walks close alongside death;
His legs are growing old.
In fact, getting older with each step taken.
His body shakes in waves of panic,
As he walks amongst the stars.
Calm twilight, sidewalk graves,
And the highway's hissing cars.
They said he'd appreciate a mile of sun,
When he had walked a mile of rain.
But lonely storm clouds can't be outrun,
And show little signs of change.
The wetness weighs him down,
And now he struggles with each step.
His heavy eyes loathe the sight of ground,
And his lungs draw tired breaths.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Both good and disappointing news were received by many FACT fans on April 14, 2009. On the same date the Japanese rock band's self-titled debut, Vagrant/Maximum FACT, was being released, they were involved in a serious van accident on Interstate 85. The band was on their way to an Altoona, PA. gig from Montgomery, AL. when they were struck by a Chevy 'Malibu' which had crossed the median. The two vehicles collided head on, flipping FACT's 15-passenger van onto its side. (Charges are pending against the driver of a third vehicle which allegedly forced the Malibu into the median.)Drummer Eiji suffered a broken arm; singer Hiro sustained a concussion, while the other members received mild injuries. Relief was expressed at the news that tour manager, John Kim's, internal injuries were not as serious as originally reported. The most serious of the injuries were broken ribs (as reported by Elizabeth Richardson of the Times-Herald). The band cancelled their final two US concert dates as well as cleared their Canadian bookings (to be rescheduled at a later date) in order to recuperate in Japan.The members of FACT are: Takahiro (guitars, vocals), Tomohiro (bass, vocals), Eiji (drums, vocals), Hiro (lead vocals), and Kazuki (guitar, vocals).Drop the members of FACT a note at their myspace page.Visit (Label) Vagrant's website.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
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We went to see Annie on March 5th; not being a fan of the original comic strip, I certainly wasn't familiar with it from its print format, and although I will admit to having seen the movie, I must have been on drugs or something, because I had the story completely wrong.In case you're not familiar with the story, here's a brief overview:
Annie is set in the depression in New York. Annie is a resident in an orphanage, but unlike the other ‘abandoned’ children, Annie was dropped at the door with a note stating that her parents would be back for their darling daughter as soon as they had some money to support the family. The parents left Annie with half a silver locket; the other half would be produced by the parents as proof that Annie was rightfully theirs when they came to claim her. Because of this, Annie was far more independent than the other orphans, and was a frequent runaway. Miss Hannigan, an alcoholic who runs the orphanage, was constantly on the look out for Annie's next escape. Annie does successfully manage to run away, but is caught and returned to the orphanage. Meanwhile, Grace, the assistant to the very rich Daddy Warbucks, has shown up to 'borrow' an orphan for the Christmas holidays. Annie is spotted, and the deal is set. Similar to the Ann of Green Gables story, it was a boy he had in mind, but he begrudgingly agreed to keep the girl - only to decide to adopt her. Complications arise when Annie reveals that she has a 'real' set of parents out there somewhere; further complicating the issue is Miss Hannigan's unscrupulous brother and his girlfriend Lilly, who decide to pretend they are Annie parents in order to get the reward posted by Daddy Warbucks.Being a story for kids, this has a happy ending. 'Nuff said.We saw the Broadway production that is currently touring North America. So, understandably, the sets and costumes were very professional looking. Annie is being played by Madison Kerth, and although she acted well, her voice just grated - alternating between a scream and bellow. On the contrary, AnnaLisa Leaming, who plays Grace, has an absolutely lovely voice. Another standout was Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan.
Here's one for the dance floors. Guelph, Ontario's dance funk band, GreenGo are releasing the GreenGoRemix Project Vol. 1.
Exciting remixes of everyone's favorite Canadian indie rock tracks from Born Ruffians, the Rural Alberta Advantage, Women, Gentlemen Reg and The D'Urbervilles.Five tracks will be available on their myspace in a couple of weeks.GreenGo are gearing up for release of their debut full length,Borders, this April/09. 2008 saw them play many gigs and release a 3 song sampler, the Ghosts of the Future EP, which was quick to chart on campuses across Canada. Although defining their sound isn't the easiest task, it hasn't stopped people from trying. Toronto Star's Ben Rayner was quick to get behind the band,
"Darting funk fretwork and synth-driven anxiousness to keep the adrenaline up throughout...these co-ed cats really start cooking when they betray a bit of a prog fetish and suspend their frantic calls to arms in a spacier shimmer."Aside from constantly confusing critics, GreenGo have managed to sell out of their self-titled debut EP, headline Steamwhistle's Indie Unsigned showcase, and share stages with the likes of Think About Life, Woodhands, the D'Urbervilles and many more.Though the stages and the audiences are rapidly expanding with every performance, it will be awhile before GreenGo give up the turf that they tear up best: sweaty, dimly-lit house parties. The Trepid House in Waterloo, 276 Nelson street in Ottawa, and the attic at 447 Woowich in their hometown Guelph are only some of the properties whose residents have risked permanent structural damage in order to host the unparalleled electro-dance implosion. As a live review once suggested, "you might want to bring a change of clothes."
Friday, March 20, 2009
Megan Hamilton’s Canadian release of See your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard April 7, 2009 Christine Albrecht
Toronto sweetheart Megan Hamilton will release her second full length album, See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard April 7th, 2009 across Canada. The album will be released on the artist-run Familiar Music, which Hamilton founded with Steve Puchalski, Gary Peter and Shelby Lamb in 2006.
Hamilton plans to release the album in her hometown of Toronto at the Rivoli on April 9th with friends Olenka and the Autumn Lovers. As well, Toronto comedienne Kathleen Phillips will be opening the evening.
She will spend the rest of the Spring and Summer touring with her band, The Volunteer Canola, in Quebec, Ontario and beyond.
SYMBiTS marks the third collaboration between Megan and Mark and was recorded differently than her critically acclaimed Feudal Ladies Club and How We Think About Light EP. Where previously it was a homemade studio, now there was a fully rehearsed band in a professional studio. I
The session players include label mate Steve Puchalski (Deromantic) on keys; Adam White on bass; Andrew Sadoway on drums; and Craig Browne on lead guitar and back-up vocals. Megan played acoustic and electric guitars, some keys and layers of vocals.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Dave attended WonderCon down in San Francisco on the weekend of Feb. 27 to March 1. It was held at the Moscone Centre South, which was a great location within walking distance of many of the city's great attractions. This was Dave's first WonderCon, and he came back raving. WonderCon is the West Coast's second biggest comic/popular culture conference, and featured a wide range of activities. In addition to the usual comics, comics and more comics that you will find at a conference of this sort, he was also able to see a 20 min. preview of the long-awaited Watchmen film that opens later this week. The director was there, and he had exciting news about the Director's cut DVD that will be out later (there's to be a film within a film based on the pirate comic that the boy at the newstand reads throughout the graphic novel).On top of that,there were a number of celebrities of various sorts present, including Shirley Manson (of the band Garbage), Alec Baldwin (and the rest of the cast of the show Chuck), Summer Glau (of Firefly), Sergio Aragones (of MAD magazine),... and the list goes on. On top of that, there were numerous wares for sale all over the place, and a masquerade on Saturday featuring Super Heroes, goths, and steam punks. Read Wondercon Interviews
Monday, February 23, 2009
It's the rainy days
that are swept away,
when the sun cracks through the clouds.
It’s the haunting way
in which the beauty's saved,
from the city’s smoggy crowds.
It’s the way the world
hides precious pearls
on the shores of the roaring sea.
It’s yours, it's mine,
in rain or shine...
It’s beautiful B.C.
A piece of advice...
Next time you’re stuck in a rut of self loathing; when you feel like nothing can possibly get better because things could never be worse than they presently are. Whenever you think others, in far off tropical lands, have it so much better than you...
Take a look out your window and breathe it in; cuz you live in British Columbia - the greatest fuckin’ place in the entire world.
Images: ecotoursvictoria.com/, vantoptours.com, farm1.static.flickr.com, whale-images.com
Thursday, February 19, 2009
the Fesitval’s site, but here's just a sampler:Saturday, May 23 - Kings of Leon, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Decemberists; Sunday, May 24 - TV on the Radio, Calixico; Monday, May 25 - Fleet Foxes, Loch Lomond.There's a comedy stage as well, and featured there is the oh-so-lowkey Zach Galifianakis ("starts with a gal, and ends with a kiss").Not to be missed.Visit Swanktrendz
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I'm all for things that make our world a better place, and simply by googling Sola Caritas and watching a couple of ads, you too can help to make our world a better place.
Sola Caritas is the brainchild of an amazing young guy I know, David Wen. Along with some partners, he has created a website where you can help send money to charities - and it doesn't cost you a red cent! Gotta love that!
It's brilliantly simple: businesses team up with the Sola Caritas website, which in turn runs ads for said businesses. Every time you watch one of these ads on the Sola Caritas website (for free, I remind you!), 50% of the ad fees get sent to a charity. The more clicks, the more money. This brilliant idea found Sola Caritas take 1st Place at Dalhousie University’s EcoVenture 2008, (Canada’s first ever green business plan competition.)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
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Lately I've had a hankerin' for all things Seattle, and my jones didn't let up at all once I started reading my latest Earl Emerson novel. Now, in case you've never heard of him, Earl Emerson is a Seattle-based writer (he actually resides in North Bend, Washington, where they filmed Twin Peaks, for all you fans of the quirky out there) and has a day job as a lieutenant with the Seattle Fire Department.
Emerson's the author of two series, the Mac Fontana books and the Thomas Black mystery stories; it's one of his Thomas Black books that won the Shamus award (Poverty Bay was the first novel of the Regan era to deal with the topic of homelessness). Early in 2009, the first Thomas Black book in ten years, Cape Disappointment, is being released.
The book I'm currently reading, though, is the 2002 thriller, Vertical Burn. It's all about life in the world of the modern-day firefighter. Just the information alone is interesting, but Emerson strings along a pretty good story on top of that. Add to that the rush of familiarity you get when he mentions places you've been to, and you end up with a great way to spend a dreary winter weekend.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Steampunk is also known as neo-Victorianism and is often associated with cyberpunk. It takes works set in the Victorian era and combines them with modern technology. Photo of steampunk band, Outlanders from coffeeandteashow.libsyn.com
Ballet BC, BC's premiere company, is known for bringing both traditional and contemporary dance to its audiences. Not only does Ballet BC feature its own company, but it also invites other dance troups from around the world. At Christmas, the Moscow Ballet was here dancing in The Nutcracker, and in January we were supposed to see the Korean Ballet.Unfortunately, the financial crash during the Fall came at the worst possible time for the ballet company, and the resulting drop in ticket sales put Ballet BC into receivership. The media attention that was drawn to this, in the end, saved the perennial Christmas favourite, The Nutcracker, but the Korean Ballet Company was cancelled for January.In the meantime, restructuring was taking place behind closed doors , and the good news is that Ballet BC is back on its feet with much firmer footing. You can look forward to them performing The Goldberg Variations - Side 2: Adam & Eve & Steve, a world premiere by James Kudelka (along with Carmen) on Feb. 26-28 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Whistler Film Festival Snow Screen
What could be better than being outdoors at the site of the 2010 Olympics - and watching movies for free? On Feb. 21 and 22, you can go up to Whistler and do just that as part of the Cultural Olympiad.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
A few police in ol' B.C.Searched Willy's farm,and found some teeth.The rivers swelled,As numbers tolledand ANGELS fellWhere HELL runs cold.See the hate in Willy's eyes, See all the twisted ways to die.Ask the pigsFed and bigOh, if only they could talk.They'd sniff at the mudin thirst of blood,and tell you of the meat Willy brought.They'd watch the Mounties' patience boil,While digging deep through Willy's soil.They can't wipe their hands from the stench of shit,They've seen a lot, just not this sick.They've seen rape; they've seen dead,But they can't see the HATE in Willy's head. Rot In Hell! L.M.Remember The Women.
Pirate man,Is using hands,While digging cities' garbage cans.Sucking Blood,Rolling Mud,Eating - Breathing, The cities' sludge.There he sleeps,On cracked concreteWakes up wide-eyed, incomplete.With a shopping cart,He's modern art,Grudgingly fed from the bottom of our hearts.Worn out soulsIn both heart and shoes.But never stole,That he can't use...
Friday, January 16, 2009
Original Story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Brad Pitt (Benjamin)
Cate Blanchett (Daisy)
Julia Ormand (daughter)Before launching into a nit-picking, plot questioning critique of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I wanted to share some theatre observations, as well as acknowledge several of the film's merits. The original short story was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the movie's screenplay (long held by Ray Stark) had been purchased and directed by David Fincher.I purposely went to the 4:30 viewing at Colosseus Cinema on Boxing Day, during a hefty snow storm, with the smug assumption I'd have the theatre to myself. Well, apparently everyone felt smug that day as the theatre was packed and I was just able to grab the last few seats. I understand The Curious Case... had just opened the day previous, but I hadn't anticipated this faithful attendance.While watching this movie, I mentally hummed the chorus to The Faces' song, Ooh La La. I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger. Benjamin Button represents those "What ifs..." we all experience from time to time, while reminiscing those mistaken beliefs of our youth. A brief yearning to go back in time, yet still be empowered with current knowledge.After viewing "The Curious Case..." I was unable to gauge any kind of audience reaction, as this movie threw a blanket of silence on everyone, myself included. I have never attended a show where the audience didn't verbally assess the experience on their way out. If quiet introspection was capable of sound, like a car horn, our exiting would be akin to a New York Taxi Drivers' convention. A cacophony of deep thought.Both the book and the movie version of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button contain the line "I was born under unusual circumstances..." and that is where the similarities end. I readily admit that I understand the purpose of the differences as I am not fond of Fitzgerald's main character.We all hate getting older, but who would actually want to get younger as they progress through life? To be have the agonies of painful adolescence ahead of one? The powerlessness and dependency of early childhood, while cognizant of the lifetime one has experienced? No thanks. Yet that is what Brad Pitt has managed to portray to viewers, while maintaining a thoughtful and quiet acceptance of his situation.I have glanced through critics' reviews of the movie, and I am confused by their disregard of the glaring discrepencies between the book and the movie. I will volunteer to point at the elephant in the room because, after all, he's huge!Benjamin Button had the misfortune (or to some, good fortune) to be born an old man. Our character enters this world as a baby, albeit an arthritic, slow moving, cataract impaired newborn. The movie dramatically shows Benjamin being rejected by his father (after his mother dies during his birth) and subsequently abandoned. The book has Benjamin being emotionally abandoned, but nonetheless, remaining at home where his old-man behaviours are a source of embarrassment to his father who constantly demands that Benjamin behave more child-like. Aside from peripheral characters entering and leaving Benjamin during his formative years (which helps explain his varied education and philosophies) the book and movie differ in many other areas. The most serious digression from the original is in Benjamin's aging process. Fitzgerald has his protagonist born with an 85 year-old's thoughts, behaviour and attitude whereas Fincher's movie has the character physically representing an 85 year-old, but mentally on par with a newborn. As the book-Benjamin becomes more immature, in keeping with his age defying appearance, the movie -Benjamin becomes more worldly and wise while physically regressing.I understand the reasoning behind Pincher's version of Benjamin Button's aging. Overall, Fitzgerald's original character is not a likable guy; meanwhile there's something bittersweet in watching movie-Benjamin experience his first drink, first love, etc. as an 18 year-old man housed in the body of a 65 year-old senior. Movie-Benjamin is more appealing to the average viewer than 7 year-old, book-Benjamin smoking cigars, cursing, and leering at woman.The movie contains a few changes that I didn't understand as necessary. Why is Benjamin abandoned at an old folks' home in the care a single, financially strapped, black woman (Taraji P Henson)? Henson delivers an outstanding performance as Benjamin's adoptive mother, Queenie, but how necessary was this change to the story's telling? I am grateful for the entertainment of the old folks' home setting as it allowed for a nice introduction to the developing love story between Daisy (Cate Blanchett) and Benjamin (Brad Pitt). As well, some of the seniors residing alongside Benjamin at the home, provided the much needed comic relief during an otherwise somber movie. For example, the comedic, intermittent presence of 'The General' whose self-introductory line to Benjamin is consistently, "Did you know I've been struck by lightning 7 times?" We are then given a visual of The General being struck.I wondered if the writer(s) felt Benjamin wouldn't have been able to explore his 'firsts' during early manhood if his parents were around, or more vigilant? (However, that implies adoptive/foster parents are less aware of their children's behaviour or whereabouts.) As well, why couldn't his movie father have maintained the book's hardware business? Why did the movie allow a simplistic 'button manufacturer' family business? As well, if they wanted Benjamin to be perceived as an abandoned orphan, why reintroduce his father (aside from to explain an inheritance)? Finally, although less melodramatic, the movie's ending would be equally touching to view baby-Benjamin nestled in bed, near his Nana in the home of his son, Roscoe (book), than in the arms of his lover, Daisy (movie). I will admit I was sucked into the movie's predictable moment when infant Benjamin and aged Daisy lock eyes, and exchange a fleeting moment of complete recognition and love. Like a silent farewell. So corny, yet so wonderful, necessitating the folded arms, stare-at-the-ceiling-and-blink-rapidly, stance.I have always enjoyed Brad Pitt's acting yet I sympathize with him as his undeniable good looks immediately discount any acting talent he possesses; forcing him to work three times harder than the likes of Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, or Jack Nicholson. Cate Blanchett is a perfect counter-partner for Pitt, visually and in spirit and timing. The make-up/ visual effects artists responsible for the characters' aging demonstrated remarkable talent, as they allowed us to witness the characters realistically age, or de-age in Benjamin's case. Daisy gracefully ages from the feisty, stunning dancer to a bedridden senior resisting removal from her hospital care during the Hurricane Katrina disaster.Julia Ormond's character (as Benjamin's and Daisy's daughter) was so milquetoast, she could have been invisible. She was simply the vessel whose questions allowed Daisy to recollect and share her untold youth. Throughout the flashbacks of Daisy's recollections, I had difficulty determining which time period showed Pitt's and Blanchett's characters as they are in reality. The make-up effects should merit an Oscar nod.I suppose, in order to make money, it was decided that The Curious Case... should evolve as a love story, one which supports the "love can surpass both time and age" rather than keep with F. Scott Fitzgerald's razor-sharp, sardonic look at society's celebration of youth, and open disdain towards aging. If that story had been kept, there wouldn't be much to love as book-Benjamin figuratively holds a mirror up to a class-conscious society, thus reflecting the absurdity of placing importance upon appearance and material accumulation. Both the book and the movie do drive home the importance of character. It's what inside that counts. Movie-Benjamin has 'character' in spades.I enjoyed the movie, just as I enjoyed the short story (see link to story above), and I am grateful that never the two did meet. The two versions are so vastly different; combined, it couldn't have worked. Perhaps someone will come forth with a modified 3rd version; one which nicely melds the original and movie version. I have heard there is another story out which offers more depth to Fitzgerald's original plot. Perhaps this is the third view I am searching for. It is also titled the The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and is written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir (with illustrations by Kevin Cornell). For scenic views, Pitt's and Blanchett's artistically balanced acting, masterful make-up (10/10), and for allowing Benjamin to be portrayed as a likable character, I give the movie 8.5/10.