Month: October 2014

DAWN GOLDEN (aka Dexter Tortoriello): Interview

DEXTER TORTORIELLO has released his first album under the pseudonym DAWN GOLDEN and it is called STILL LIFE.

I had never heard of Dexter or Dawn Golden prior to seeing him open for METRONOMY at the Imperial on October 26th, 2014, but I am now a fan. He seemed to grab the entire audience’s attention by pouring out his emotions via his big voice, and by playing electronic sounds in a way that filled the room with his heartbreak, pop culture influences, and surprisingly danceable dark music.

Dexter Tortoriello and I: fan friendly at the Imperial in Vancouver.

Dexter Tortoriello and I: fan friendly at the Imperial in Vancouver.

I asked Dexter if he had any experience feeling like an outsider. “Dawn Golden” explained that he has felt this way for most of his life. When I asked him what music helped him through it, he said that the song US ONES IN BETWEEN by SUNSET RUBDOWN has inspired him the most during painful times. After his set, Tortoriello sat selling his own records. I observed him have a genuine conversation with the three fans in front of me, which impressed me. Some artists seem to think it is cool to be arrogant. I do not feel this way, and Dexter doesn’t seem to either. I appreciated his open demeanour.

DAWN GOLDEN (this is the name he used to introduce himself to the audience) suggested new fans begin with ALL I WANT from STILL LIFE. I WON’T BEND is my DAWN GOLDEN favourite so far.

DAWN GOLDEN vulnerable and impactful.

DAWN GOLDEN vulnerable and impactful.

Tortoriello’s best-known musical project so far has been as half of the duo HOUSES. With his band member (and girlfriend) MEGAN MESSINA, HOUSES released 2 albums: ALL NIGHT in 2010, and A QUIET DARKNESS in 2013.

METRONOMY Lead Singer JOSEPH MOUNT’s INTERVIEW: Teen Angst, Smashing Pumpkins, and Stanley Park.



I saw METRONOMY perform at the Imperial in Vancouver on October 26th, 2014. The band were a cohesive unit in their coordinating white outfits and they had a fantastic retro set. METRONOMY was impressive, fun, and everything I hoped they would be live!

Their press person never got back to me about an interview, so after the show I waited outside in front of their tour bus for over an hour at Main and Hastings, which is not an ideal area. Finally lead singer JOSEPH MOUNT came out and gave me an interview that far exceeded my expectations (he could have had an attitude or not felt like talking after their active show).

METRONOMY consists of lead singer/guitarist/keyboardist JOSEPH MOUNT, saxophonist/guitarist/keyboardist/back-up vocalist OSCAR CASH (who is also Mount’s cousin), bassist/back-up vocalist GBENGA ADELEKAN, and drummer/back-up vocalist ANNA PRIOR.

METRONOMY at the IMPERIAL in Vancouver October 26th, 2014.

METRONOMY at the IMPERIAL in Vancouver October 26th, 2014.

METRONOMY performing THE UPSETTER off of their album LOVE LETTERS at the Imperial.

METRONOMY was started by JOSEPH MOUNT in Devon, England in 1999. While one of the original band members left the band, and there have been additions along the way, there have been 4 albums released under the name METRONOMY:

  • Love Letters (2014)
  • The English Riviera (2011)
  • Nights Out (2008)
  • Pip Paine (Pay The 5000 Pounds You Owe) (2006)
Oscar Cash is Joseph Mount's cousin and fellow band member.

Oscar Cash is Joseph Mount’s cousin and fellow band member at the Imperial on Main and Hastings.

METRONOMY are impeccable live!

METRONOMY are impeccable live!

ST.VINCENT: Film Review

Film poster: source.

I had no idea about the plot line of ST. VINCENT prior to seeing it in the theatre last week, but the cast (and “buzz” about the film) sold me: BILL MURRAY, MELISSA MCCARTHY, NAOMI WATTS, JAEDEN LIEBERHER, CHRIS O’DOWD, and TERRENCE HOWARD. Writer/director THEODORE MELFI‘s movie is touching, funny, and it wasn’t too long (which means a lot in my books).

It is about what transpires when a young boy and his mom move next door to a grumpy old man (who has a heart of gold). The plot line is not ridiculously original, but I think everyone can relate to the desire to love again before all hope is lost, and experiencing companionship with the least likely of people. I recommend seeing it!


Words of Wisdom from ISABELLA MANFREDI about how to survive bullying at school: “It’s where, if you can make it past 18, if you can graduate from high school, it will never be that hard again. EVER!” 

THE PREATURES (minus drummer Luke Davison) l to r: bassist Thomas Champion, singer Isabella Manfredi, singer and guitarist Gideon Bensen, and guitarist Jack Moffitt.

THE PREATURES (minus drummer Luke Davison) l to r: bassist Thomas Champion, singer Isabella Manfredi, singer and guitarist Gideon Bensen, and guitarist Jack Moffitt. Photo credit: me (Christina Travis)

THE PREATURES rule! This quintet originates from Sydney, Australia and they first formed in 2010.

They are undoubtedly a full-fledged rock band. While I’m not the biggest rock fan in general, I’m a fan of this band because they write catchy, melodic songs that make me wanna jump around! Also lead singer ISABELLA MANFREDI‘s voice can show vulnerability and incredible power from one note to the next.

I saw the band perform live at Electric Owl on Main Street in Vancouver tonight (October 22nd, 2014). They are confident (as they should be) live performers. This is their first time playing in Vancouver, but I bet they’ll be back soon after the impression they made tonight.

I spoke them about their first full-length album BLUE PLANET EYES, which was released this year. Their first EP was released in 2012 and is called SHAKING HANDS. Their second EP came out in 2013: IS THIS HOW YOU FEEL?

Me (Christina Travis) and ISABELLA MANFREDI (I think she is like a raven-haired DEBBIE HARRY). So beautiful...and down-to-earth!

Me (Christina Travis) and ISABELLA MANFREDI (I think she is like a raven-haired DEBBIE HARRY). So beautiful…and down-to-earth!

ISABELLA MANFREDI and THOMAS CHAMPION spoke in-depth about how they were bullied at school. Manfredi and Champion thoughtfully discuss how young people who are being bullied today can make it through the pain and torment that bullying creates.They also talk about their favourite thing about Vancouver so far: FOOD!

MANFREDI recommends musicians DESTINY’S CHILD, BOB DYLAN, THE STONE ROSES, WEEN, CAKE, and BRANDY as being a few examples of music that helped her deal with her schoolmates being cruel to her at school.

The tracks I gravitate towards the most from BLUE PLANET EYES are BLUE PLANET EYES, SOMEBODY’S TALKING, and IS THIS HOW YOU FEEL? (though I embarrassingly called it “Is That How You Feel?” during the interview–I was very nervous!). The band graciously overlooked my error and simply corrected it themselves when they said the title of the song.

I managed to snag a picture with drummer LUKE DAVISON since he missed out on the group shot.

I managed to snag a picture with drummer LUKE DAVISON since he missed out on the group shot.

Another song of theirs that I think is awesome is called BETTER THAN IT EVER COULD BE. It was released as a single and is not on their album or EPs.

THE PREATURES are signed to Mercury Records Australia. ISABELLA MANFREDI won the prestigious Vanda and Young Songwriting Competition (the band writes together, but the award can only go to one individual) in 2013. The prize money was $50,000 and the win was for the song IS THIS HOW YOU FEEL? The band used the money to pursue international release opportunities. 

Some other entertaining quotes that MANFREDI gave during the interview are: “Revenge is a good motivator”(so true…the only satisfying revenge is when you work hard so that your life is where you want it to be, and you don’t give a crap about those who ignored you or put you down). Success is the best revenge! When she said “Don’t read fashion magazines!” I thought that was pretty smart as well (Vogue screwed with my head as a child).

Frontwoman Isabella Manfredi on October 22nd, 2014.

Frontwoman Isabella Manfredi on October 22nd, 2014.

Their live performance was tight! The band clearly has lots of fun performing together and their rapport was contagious, as the crowd was really into the music.

Thanks to THE PREATURES for the wonderful interview and live show!

RICO UNO (The Freshest) Interview

Forgot to get a pic of Rico and I when I interviewed him...but ran into at #FortuneHootUp tonight

Forgot to get a pic of RICO UNO and I when I interviewed him…but ran into him at #FortuneHootUp event Oct.20/14.

If you live in Vancouver and you’ve even been to the BILTMORE CABARET or REPUBLIC, or any other number of bars and clubs, you’ve likely had the pleasure of getting to dance to RICO UNO‘s amazing work as a DJ.

I had the privilege of asking him a few questions about his life, his passion for rap, his favourite up-and-coming rapper (YOUNG THUG), and where he wants to take his career in the future (rap producer).

If you are a fan of rap and fun, inspiring music with a dark (a.k.a realistic in my world) edge go to (link) or (link) to download some of his mixes for free. I’ve also just typed in RICO UNO on soundcloud and I’ve found his music that way as well.

KEVYN AUCOIN: Makeup Artiste Extraordinaire

KEVYN AUCOIN was more than a makeup artist to me, he is one of my heroes. Along with people like OPRAH WINFREY and MOLLY SHANNON, KEVYN AUCOIN taught me that I have the biggest influence over how I see myself.

Yes, I have had a past boyfriend tell me my nose is crooked and that I have a pointy chin. At the time, these comments only reinforced my pre-existing insecurities about my looks. But KEVYN AUCOIN‘S work reminds me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and dare I say it, I think I am beautiful.

And I’m not about to get plastic surgery to gain confidence: he taught me to appreciate what you’re working with.

The more I practice loving what I’ve been given to work with, the more beauty I see in myself (and others for that matter)!

Identity and one’s self-image are not stagnant. As long as I can re-imagine myself in a new light, I have the potential to embody these initial imaginations. REINVENTION is central to Kevyn Aucoin’s approach to make-up and life, as he became famous for making over celebrity women into other past celebrities.


LISA MARIE PRESLEY transformation was one particular standout I remember from when AUCOIN turned her into MARILYN MONROE.

Sadly on May 7, 2002 KEVYN died due to kidney and liver failure. I incorrectly thought he died of a brain aneurysm, but this is not the case according to Wikipedia. He was born on February 14th, 1962.

It is sad that someone who contributed so much to my life, and to the lives of many others, died at the young age of 40, but I will never forget him.



KIRSTEN DUNST: So Underrated

I recently realized how much I love KIRSTEN DUNST. She’s born in 1982, and I’m born in 1984, so I’ve been a fan of her since I was a kid and I watched her in LITTLE WOMEN and INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE.

Bachelorette (2012) Movie Poster

BACHELORETTE movie poster: source.

Since she flies under-the-radar most of the times I forgot, until recently, that she is an amazing actress. She chooses really interesting projects to work on. Even though she is perfect-looking in my opinion, I can’t hate on her, because she portrays people with genuine flaws and is relatable.


I talk about other films of hers that I’ve loved as well in these videos, so if you’re not yet a fan of KIRSTEN DUNST please watch. Or if you want to reignite the love you already have for her, my suggestions may help!


TV: HBO’S The Leftovers

VIDEO RECAP: I quickly talk about how fun the BAS and AB-SOUL show was at Fortune Sound Club. Then I spend most of the time explaining why I am loving THE LEFTOVERS from HBO.

JUSTIN THEROUX is one of the stars of the show, and there are many other talented actors in it, too. THE LEFTOVERS centres around the disappearance of many people (The Pope and Gary Busey included) who disappear on October 14th (I’m not sure which year the story is set, but it’s up-to-date looking).

People are left mourning the disappearance of family members and there is a new “cult” gaining strength as well. The cult requires it’s members to dress in off-white and white and they can’t speak out loud.

It’s hard to make sense of it all right now, and that’s a good thing, since I’ve only finished the first 3 episodes. The community Theroux plays the police chief of is the focus. There are strange things happening, but it is strangely realistic to me too.

Give it a looksie if you have the time and want something a bit dark (a.k.a. just like real-life to me)!

AB-SOUL at FORTUNE: Gentlemanly Ways!

AB-SOUL-Fortune Sound-Oct 15th, 2014.

I’m 5’1 and I often go to hip-hop shows alone. It can be so annoying how pushy and aggressive guys are (tonight one guy tried to put his hands around my waist and then grabbed my butt when he walked by me later, even though I had already asked him twice not to touch me).

It doesn’t stop me from going to enjoy the music I love live, and I can stand up for myself…but, the following video shows that AB-SOUL and his “crew” ain’t down with pushing the ladies around:

FYI: “smashing” can refer to having sex (i.e. “I wanna smash” means a guy/girl wants to have sex). People can also be smashed around and that double meaning is what they’re talking about:

“It ain’t even that type of party. Smash the girls, but you don’t smash the girls. What the f%$# is going on?”

Thanks to AB-SOUL and his compatriots for setting the tone. It didn’t stop guys from being pushy (alcohol probably makes that impossible). Still, this is the first time I’ve been at a show where the male artists ask the men in the audience to respect females and give them space.

THE SHOW WAS INCREDIBLE! I sweat buckets and ended up with crazy, frizzy hair but it was all worth it. Ab-Soul is a very engaging performer, his songs are awesome, and he deserves to be the centre-of-attention up there on the stage.



NYC Rapper BAS: Interview at Fortune

I attended AB-SOUL‘s Vancouver stop on his THESE DAYS tour at Fortune Sound Club tonight (October 15th).

Thankfully, I got to see his opening act BAS perform as well (“These Days” is Ab-Soul’s most recent album–2014).BAS spoke with me shortly (though it’s hard to see his face due to poor lighting) after the show.

Original source: BAS' instagram page @FIENDBASSY..onstage at Fortune.

Original source: BAS’ instagram page @FIENDBASSY..onstage at Fortune. AIR!

BAS had me dancing and he’s a big guy, but he puts his all into his performance and moved around and inspired others to get their butts moving too. BAS‘ album is called LAST WINTER…give him a listen! He has two other mixtapes as well called QUATER WATER RAISED, VOL.1 and QUATER WATER RAISED, VOL.2.

BAS’ birth name is ABBAS HAMAD and he was born in Paris, France and he grew up in Queens, New York. He is signed to J.COLE‘s DREAMVILLE RECORDS.

On whether or not he can recommend any uplifting music: “Um…I don’t know. Honestly, it’s all about what the song means to you…you know, you got to find those songs that take you to a better place. It’s different for everybody.” Words of wisdom!

Is there anything that you love about VANCOUVER so far?: “Great weed and friendly people.” 

Sounds like a Vancouver-fan to me! Thanks to BAS!