Month: November 2014

Fun Times at FRESHEST AND FRIENDS

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Last night I went to watch THE FRESHEST DJ quartet at their monthly showcase at 303 COLUMBIA. I had never been to the bar before, but I’ll be back again soon. The interior was really artsy with white, exposed brick walls, and lots of little cozy pockets and a generous-sized dance floor.

KUTCORNERS played my new fave song 7/11 by BEYONCE

KUTCORNERS played my new fave song 7/11 by BEYONCE

I love rap music, so I was very excited to go let off steam and dance last night. I arrived around 12:45 and the place was packed with lots of attractive and well-dressed people. About half the crowd was dancing and I got to see some impressive moves.

This lovely lady is my BEST-DRESSED choice for the night.

This lovely lady is my BEST-DRESSED choice for the night.

DJ SEKO, DJ MARVEL, KUTCORNERS, and RICO UNO comprise THE FRESHEST. They are my favourite DJs in the city since they play the best hip-hop around. In my opinion, they cut the songs so that it’s never boring or formulaic.

DJ SEKO cleverly did a video set so I could watch BEY while dancing: amazing!

DJ SEKO cleverly did a video set so I could watch BEY while dancing: amazing!

THE FRESHEST are interesting to me because I think that anyone trying to make a name for themselves in the entertainment industry can benefit from branding themselves, instead of just haphazardly doing their thing without any forethought about what they want to represent.

Beautiful ladies abounded at FRESHEST AND FRIENDS

Beautiful ladies abounded at FRESHEST AND FRIENDS

Their “GOOD LIFE SUNDAYS” at REPUBLIC on GRANVILLE STREET is an example of The Freshest’s methodical approach to connecting with their audience. Who doesn’t want to live the good life? I know I do, and therefore I’m showing up to anything that claims to promote it (and they follow through on their claim).

I think that these guys get that 2 heads, or in this case 4 heads, are better than 1. What they can do alone is multiplied by teamwork, and above all else they have helped me to have tons of FUN every time I come out to see one or all of them DJ.

Around 1:45 a Vancouver-based rapper DKAY CASTILLO, who I was previously unaware of, performed. I loved all of his songs! Though I had already been dancing for an hour non-stop, I still couldn’t help but move to his music. I hope to interview him in the future, and I am going to find his music online very soon.

 Thanks for creating FRESHEST AND FRIENDS and I can’t wait for the next one!

My necklace got in the way so I took it off, hid it behind a table and forgot it there. Oh well, $10 at topshop.

My necklace got in the way so I took it off, hid it behind a table and forgot it there. Oh well, $10 at topshop.

DAWN PEMBERTON: INTERVIEW

DAWN PEMBERTON and I

DAWN PEMBERTON and I

I had the pleasure of interviewing Vancouver-based musician DAWN PEMBERTON tonight at Fortune Sound Club. When I arrived, Dawn was hard-at-work setting up merchandise for her show. Yet, when she greeted me she was patient, friendly, and wonderful to speak to.

Ms. Pemberton’s first solo album, called SAY SOMETHIN’, is the cause for celebration at Fortune tonight. I asked Dawn which songs she recommends new fans start-off by listening to and she suggested:

  • DEEPER
  • SAY SOMETHIN’
  • GIVE IT DO IT TO IT

I asked Dawn my usual question about whether or not she has ever felt like a freak, an outcast, or a loser, and if so what music helped her through it. Dawn said MARVIN GAYE and ELLA FITZGERALD are two specific musicians who have helped her through feeling like an outsider.

DAWN PEMBERTON celebrating SAY SOMETHIN' at Fortune Sound Club

DAWN PEMBERTON celebrating SAY SOMETHIN’ at Fortune Sound Club

Pemberton also stated that “Anything that feels good” is the right type of music to help uplift you. Also she said “Any kind of music actually has been lifesaving”. So true!

I asked Dawn what she loves about Vancouver and her response was “fresh air”, “ocean”, “mountains”, “the crows”, and “maple trees in the fall and cherry blossoms in the spring”. I strongly agree!

Dawn’s show was filled with good, positive energy and it was a packed-house! It is clear that Dawn has developed a big Vancouver following over the approximately 20 years she’s been performing.

Dawn’s voice is warm, beautiful, and powerful and she had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand at the show tonight. Thanks to Dawn for the interview. When I asked Dawn if she wanted to share anything with her fans, she wanted to let people know her music is “from the heart” and that “it’s been a long time comin'”. About SAY SOMETHIN’ Dawn says “Give it a listen because I think you’ll like it”. It was blatantly obvious at the show tonight that many people more than like Dawn’s music: love is a more appropriate word!

MORVERN CALLAR (Film): Loneliness and Lies

I rarely elect to sit on my big comfy chair to watch a movie, and instead I tend to “multi-task” while watching a film at home. This usually means watching movies while I’m surfing celebrity gossip sites on my laptop as I sit at my kitchen table.

Yesterday, I put on MORVERN CALLAR starring SAMANTHA MORTON from 2002. I became so engrossed in the story that I needed to move away from my computer and focus entirely on my television.

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SAMANTHA MORTON as MORVERN CALLAR: source.

The film is directed and co-written by LYNNE RAMSAY, who is from Scotland. The two other screenwriters are LIANA DOGNINI and ALAN WARNER (who also wrote the book the film is based on).

I ended up coming across this film when I was looking up the actress DOLLY WELLS (who I’ve recently enjoyed watching on the HBO series DOLL AND EM) on IMDB.com. I saw the title MORVERN CALLAR and I clicked on the link to find out more.

The synopsis for the film explained that SAMANTHA MORTON’S character, named MORVERN CALLAR, comes home to find her boyfriend has killed himself in the apartment they share. He leaves behind a note and a copy of the novel he has written. He also asks her to send it off to the list of publishers he has provided. Morvern follows her deceased boyfriend’s directions, but she decides to put her own name on the book and to represent herself as the author of the novel.

SAMANTHA MORTON as MORVERN CALLAR: source.

I was feeling lonely yesterday. The strangest thing is that when I go searching for comfort (of the positive sort), I am usually able to find it. Watching this movie was just what I needed to be reminded that I am not alone.

This film reminds me of how important art is in my life. Seeing Morvern and her sad existence, as she feels totally isolated while trying to cope with her boyfriend’s suicide, immediately made me feel better about my sense of disconnect from others. The way Samantha Morton portrays Morvern is astounding, heartbreaking, and touching.

Morton’s portrayal of Morvern, and the depiction of this level of loneliness on film, reminds me that there are other people out there who think and feel in ways that are similar to how I do.

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I cannot say that I can particularly relate to the details of Morvern’s life. I have never known anyone who has committed suicide, and I have never appropriated someone else’s work as my own. Nevertheless, as a viewer I felt sympathetic for Morvern. I have experienced abuse during my childhood. I can relate to wanting to escape and block-out reality when something bad and traumatic happens. All you want to do is forget about it, but Morvern chooses to take this initial response way too far. In a very real sense she is a villain, but a pitiful one at that.

What I know is that the only way things get better is by directly dealing with trauma and pain head-on. This is not something Morvern is capable of or willing to do. The effects of her decision to completely cover-up her boyfriend’s suicide, and to take credit for his artistic work, make it clear that she is not an innocent person. In fact she is quite sick and twisted in ways that I hope never to be.

MORVERN CALLAR: source.

There is a definite humanity that Morton brings to the role. She refuses to make Morvern into a caricature as a way of justifying her disturbing choices. How can I really know how I’d react to someone I love taking their own life? I hope I never have to experience finding a loved one dead in the home we share. So as Morvern tries to continue on and pretend as if nothing has happened, the film shows that she cannot escape the tragedy no matter how hard she tries.

I do not want to give away more plot details, but the film is somber and made me cry at times. Life is hard, and there is so much pain. It really is up to me to appreciate the moments I do feel good, because hard times are unavoidable. I knew SAMANTHA MORTON was a talented actress. I enjoyed her work in CONTROL and SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK. Now I am a huge fan. How she can show so much genuine sadness emitting from her eyes indicates she is an artist, or one who lives to perform in an authentic and realistic manner for the sake of others as well as herself.

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I also watched another film called RATCATCHER written and directed by LYNNE RAMSAY. It is equally sad. A pre-teen boy named JAMES (played perfectly by WILLIAM EADIE) is rough-housing with his friend in the local pond when his friend accidentally drowns. James’ life is already hard enough, as he lives with his parents and two sisters in a housing project in Glasgow.

William Eadie

WILLIAM EADIE in RATCATCHER: source.

Though he did not cause his friends death, as he was already walking away from the pond while his friend was drowning, he feels guilty about the death. Like all of us, James searches for moments of happiness, and he finds companionship with an older girl named MARGARET ANNE (played beautifully by LEANNE MULLEN). The notion that childhood is a mere social construct created by middle to upper class people is blatantly obvious in this film.

I strongly recommend MORVERN CALLAR and RATCATCHER.

Catch-Up on THE COMEBACK Before Season 2 Starts

I had seen about half of an episode of LISA KUDROW‘s and MICHAEL PATRICK KING‘s HBO series from 2005 called THE COMEBACK a while back, but I never really gave it a chance. I remember hearing one of the Olsen twins saying that it was one of their favourite series, and that stuck out to me for some reason. I kept hearing about the show despite its cancellation after one season.

Poster for the TV series The Comeback

The Comeback poster: source.

Well, after a 9 year hiatus, the show returns for its second season next Sunday November 9th on HBO, and I am very excited to watch it! Yesterday I downloaded season 1 of THE COMEBACK, and I watched all 13 episodes over the last 2 days.

Since I consider myself to be reality TV addict, the show’s premise is perfect in my mind: KUDROW plays VALERIE CHERISH, a washed-up sitcom actress who agrees to film a reality show about her life while working on a new sitcom.

The Comeback

The cast of the fictional sitcom ROOM AND BORED on THE COMEBACK: source.

The new sitcom has 4 young, “hot” stars living together and Valerie Cherish is playing the supposedly unattractive, old aunt named AUNT SASSY. The sitcom is called ROOM AND BORED and it’s super cheesy and insulting to women, and lots of groups of people for that matter. For example, Cherish stands up to the writers when she is expected to say a line about a batch of puppies potentially turning into Korean BBQ. Cherish previously starred in a popular courtroom sitcom called I’M IN IT. When Valerie is complaining to the white, male writers she cites an example from the last season of I’M IN IT when there was a Rodney King joke too soon after the riot. She thinks it led the show to be cancelled.

Lisa Kudrow aka Valerie Cherish as Aunt Sassy: source.

Being racist towards Korean people and making fun of Rodney King’s death is not funny in any way, shape, or form. What makes the show smart and funny is the way it identifies how so many popular sitcoms on supposedly “politically correct” stations regularly air material that I find to be totally unfunny. There are shows I’ve seen where it seems like every joke is based on stereotypes of others. The humour on THE COMEBACK is self-reflective. Valerie is learning how to be a better human being, not just hate on others. This is the type of humour I relate to and feel good watching.

Therefore, I did not find the show to be racist or sexist. Instead it was refreshing and hilarious to see the challenges Valerie Cherish faces while trying to ensure the sitcom isn’t offensive to viewers. Yet, Valerie is not perfect. She assumes her Asian make-up artist is Korean, and apologizes to her for the offensive joke. The make-up artist points out she is Japanese. Valerie tries to cover her own ass by saying that she wouldn’t want to offend the make-up artists’ Korean friends then. The make-up artist asks why Valerie assumes she has Korean friends. There’s lots of awkward social situations like this one on THE COMEBACK that are funny and realistic. I think we’ve all either observed these scenarios or been a part of them (on both ends) where you, or someone else, is trying to be sensitive but end up creating the opposite effect.

The Comeback ep 10 bath

Valerie Cherish taking a bath (wearing a swimsuit of course, since she doesn’t do nudity): source.

The reality TV film crew is led by LAURA SILVERMAN (SARAH SILVERMAN‘S sister) as the character JANE. You often see that the lines between Valerie’s own personal life and her connection to the crew are blurred. For example, one of her fellow co-stars shows up incredibly late for lunch. While Valerie is waiting, she unsuccessfully tries to coerce Jane to join her at the table, so she doesn’t feel like a loser being filmed eating alone.

VALERIE CHERISH is an inspiring character because she always tries to put on a brave face. Valerie tries to pretend she is A-OK at all times, even though the film crew captures all of the degrading and embarrassing things that happen to Valerie during her pursuit of a successful acting career. LISA KUDROW puts her dramatic acting chops on display also. There are painful and tender moments where Valerie has tears in her eyes, even though she is smiling. I could feel her pain, and I connected to how much it hurts to be rejected. The series has so many funny situations that happens. It was comforting me and making me laugh like crazy. Valerie’s step-daughter is like 10-12 years old and yet she refuses to eat carbs, smokes, and says “Bananas” (one of celebrity stylist RACHEL ZOE‘s trademark lines).

valerie-cherish

Valerie on the set of her sitcom Room and Bored: source.

It is an outstanding and intelligent show. Even though the first season aired in 2005, it is especially relevant today. I think it accurately represents why audience’s have become increasingly attracted to seeing people play themselves on reality television. “Being yourself” on reality TV creates a kind of pressure about authenticity that leads to a lot of fakeness. But, at the same time, since these reality shows are capturing people at home, or in semi-natural situations (or with their families like on KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS), the viewer gets exposed to honest and vulnerable moments in reality stars lives. These moments are almost always quite unflattering and reveal the person’s ego. But for me, these moments usually lead me to love my favourite reality stars even more, because I realize they are human. Even though they look perfect in still-life images or on Instagram, nobody is perfect and confident at all times. Reality TV makes that abundantly clear, and THE COMEBACK brings that message home and then some!