van is real

DEVOURS: Delightfully Dark Dance Music

Earlier this week, I was listening to the CBC while driving and someone (sorry because I can’t remember her name) started playing snippets of different DEVOURS songs. I immediately loved them! I’m terrible at looking for music, but I’m always desperate to find music that makes me want to dance or exercise. Within a few seconds of listening to his music, I could tell that DEVOURS fit the bill!

The CBC announcer said Devours was a Vancouver musician, so, out of curiosity, I googled whether or not Devours was going to be playing any shows in Vancouver. Lo-and-behold, I found out he was playing the China Cloud on Main on August 24th. I purchased tickets for my partner and myself. We had so much fun at the show! Devours (a.k.a. Jeff Cancade, who originates from Nanaimo) is also playing a show tonight, August 25th, as part of the Hexistential Festival on the Red Gate Revue Stage (CLICK HERE for more info about the festival).

What do you love about Vancouver?

DEVOURS: “I have a list of things that I love: the first, food wise, favourite restaurant is a place called Kinemi’s Kitchen. It’s in Champlain Heights. It fuses Asian with Italian cuisine, really interesting meals. I love it. This is a sort of a boring answer, but I also love that the Skytrain goes right to the airport. I’ve been to a few other cities, and this is like amazing in Vancouver. And then the other thing maybe just is the size of the city, it isn’t so big that it’s overwhelming, but it has everything you’d want in a city: lots of diversity, a cool arts scene, it has the downtown, it has neighbourhoods that feel kind of cozy. I don’t know it kind of has a bit of everything, so I think it’s a nice city. Is that a boring answer?”

No, I don’t think that’s a boring answer! I avoid spending money on cabs at all costs, so being able to take the Skytrain directly to and from the airport does make this city extra special.

If you’ve ever felt like a freak or an outsider, what helped you through it?

DEVOURS: “Ooh yeah, definitely feel like an outsider in Vancouver still…not so much, but a few years ago, before I started performing live here…I wanted to play music in Vancouver and music, like genre-wise, there wasn’t a lot happening here that sounded similar to my music, and so I felt like an outsider. I also am a little bit older than some of the people starting out in the scene here, so I felt a little bit awkward about that at first. Also at the time I didn’t know other gay musicians in the scene here, and so I wasn’t sure if my voice would be heard, or if there was a place for me here. All of those things combined made me feel pretty hopeless that I wouldn’t be able to find my place in Vancouver, but I think that what helped get me through it was getting involved and that is ultimately what it is.

There are a lot of people in this city that also feel like outsiders, I think. It’s not the easiest city to break into, but there is a lot of amazing stuff here and a lot of amazing people. I joined a choir actually, an East Van choir. I joined something called Shindig, which is like a battle of the bands. I just got involved and really was outgoing and forced myself to go to stuff and go to shows. I think that that’s what it takes I guess is just like exposing yourself to stuff and realizing that everyone feels a little bit weird, but that everyone wants to be friends and make friends.”

I am really going to focus on taking that last line of Devours answer to heart! It is so easy for me–as someone who gravitates towards spending time alone and because I have a lot of anxiety when I am around other people–to reinforce my self-perceived outsider status. Devours words reminded me that I will never be able to break out of feeling like an outsider until I open myself up more and realize that I am not alone. Next time I feel like a freak, I’ll remind myself that “everyone feels a little bit weird”-Devours. Well put!

Here’s a link to DEVOURS Bandcamp page: CLICK HERE. 

I just bought Devours 2016 album Late Bloomer from Bandcamp. Hopefully, I’ll use his music as motivation to get outside for a workout in the rain today!

Baths Interview

I fell in love with Baths album Obsidian back in 2013. It is dark and sad, yet also very danceable and catchy: a rare find in my opinion. Anyways, Baths (aka Will Wiesenfeld who originates from California) took the stage (in Nike running pants, which I found entertaining) at Fortune Sound Club last night.

The crowd was clearly really into his music and his set flew by (I can easily get bored at shows, but this was not the case at his show). Part way through the set he mentioned that he’s sick, but I never would have know since his voice was incredible, clear, and powerful.

If you’re feeling down and want to wallow in your sorrows while listening to some beautiful indie electronic music download some Baths asap!

 

 

 

 

24HRS: Atlanta Artist Extraordinaire

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24hrs (IG: @2fourhrs) and I (Christina/VanIsReal.com) after his show at Fortune Sound Club

What do you love about Vancouver?

I mean so far the weather was super cool, like the snow. It was like snowing, but it wasn’t too cold, so it was like super lit. And then, like, the people have really nice hospitality. It’s cool so far.

If you’ve ever felt like a freak or an outsider, what helped you through it?

The freak part? Like what type of freak? I’m just playing with you. Just following my dreams and people actually supporting what I do, like, and maybe at first people didn’t get it or understand it, but to see everyone scream my lyrics to my song, it looks like being the outsider or being different or being a freak or whatever it is helped me, and it paid off, so continue doing what you’re doing.

Here’s a link to his soundcloud: 24hrs soundcloud.

Background story from my perspective: I almost never go to live shows even though I often go out dancing to DJs, because it’s always a risk…you never know what you’re going to get. Another requirement for me if I’m going to see a live show is that I wanna hear music that lets me release some of my aggression and energy, so I gravitate towards rap shows since artists in this genre most often give me what I need out of a live show.

Anyways, I work super close to Fortune Sound Club and tonight while at work I thought I should take a look and see what was going on at Fortune tonight (Saturday, February 4th). I found out that an Atlanta rapper called 24hrs was doing a show.

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24hrs Open EP: No throwaway songs…he’s oozing talent.

Before tonight, I hadn’t heard of him and I didn’t listen to a second of his music before purchasing a ticket for myself and my boyfriend. I took a risk in spending $50 plus dollars on an artist I’d never heard (though during his show I realized I already did know some of his songs, I just didn’t know he was the artist performing them), and it was SO WORTH IT.

My job can be stressful at times and tonight my coworker and I were on the receiving end of intense anger coming from tenants of the building we work at, so I needed something to make me feel good after work. I felt reinvigorated after this show and I was on cloud nine after 24hrs let me interview him!

24hrs is such a present, confident, and fun artist. He owned the stage all the way. His music sounded so beautiful, tight, and powerful live and I am now a huge fan of 24hrs! I am always on the lookout for motivational, intense songs to add to my workout playlist, and I’ll be adding 24hrs EP Open tomorrow.

Thank 24hrs…I’m so happy to have some new special music to listen to.

Alfred Drinking Coffee and Chatting with VanIsReal

Alfred Zagloul loves coffee. This simple premise was used as the inspiration for his incredibly popular account (Alfred started his Instagram on September 1st, 2016 and he’s already up to 2397 followers as of January 17th, 2017) and it’s worked out swimmingly.

Even if you don’t love coffee (I’ve been off it for 2 weeks, but I’m sure my addiction will rear it’s ugly head again soon enough), I think his account is worth following if you use IG because his expression makes me laugh and without Alfred using any words it’s like he’s letting people know, “I feel ya”. Life ain’t always easy, but the best thing we can do is laugh at ourselves, and that’s why @alfreddrinkingcoffee is such an impactful account!

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Alfred at Revolver on Cambie.

It was my first time at Revolver and the music was my favourite part of the coffee shop: old school U2 and the War on Drugs were playing while we were there.

In addition to how amazing he is on IG, Alfred was kind, interesting, and easy to talk to in real life, so I give this “Accountant by day/Coffee Drinker also by day” (the tagline on Alfred’s IG) two thumbs up!

What do you love about Vancouver?

“Obviously, the biggest thing for me is the coffee culture in general. So, I love how everywhere you go in Vancouver, 90% of the people love coffee. Every shop that you go to has a different vibe, has a different flavour, so you get a real taste, a huge variation of tastes and flavours around Vancouver, which is really rare to see in some cities, so I love that about Vancouver.”

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If you’ve ever felt like a freak or an outsider, what helped you through it?

“Ok, so I had to really think about this. So, there’s been a couple times where I just felt like an outsider here and there, and I, honestly, the reason why I love coffee so much is because of the coffee shops themselves. So I’d go to a coffee shop, sit down and you feel like you’re a part of a group, even though you’re not really. You can just sit there and enjoy, hear some random conversations, hear what is going on around you and just enjoy the atmosphere of a good coffee shop. Usually, that’s my go-to if I ever do feel like an outsider or anything like that.”

Where did you come up with the idea for your Instagram?

“Honestly, a lot of my co-workers noticed that I’m obsessed with coffee before we did this. And they’re like, “Alfred you need to have an account.” So, we started pitching ideas and thinking about what we should do, and next thing I know here I am with colourful shirts, staring deadpan into the camera, and drinking coffee. Thought the most simple idea was the best way to go, so that’s where the idea came from basically.”

Kevin’s Key to Being an Outsider: Own It!

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Kevin Wolfhard (@kwolfhard) knows what’s up!

If you’ve ever felt like a freak or an outsider, what helped you through it?

“Always…and essentially, I mean it took me quite a lot of time to sort of figure this out, but if you don’t own being a dork, being a weirdo, being a misfit, being an outsider…it’s, you can’t live life like that.

So if you just own it, it’s the best thing in the world. It’s who you are, right? This is why I dance at the Fox. It’s the ultimate expression of who I am as a person.”

I was feeling super crappy today (damn you PMS and a lack of sunlight), so I am so thankful to Kevin for his unbelievably wise words, because they boosted me up and reminded me of what’s important in life.

Owning who you are (which I find challenging to do all the time, but it feels so good when I do own who I am) is the best way to cope with feeling like a freak!

If you want to look at some gorgeous photos, please follow Kevin on Instagram: @kwolfhard. 

“Love” Sucks (Yet I Managed to Watch 270 Minutes Of It In Less Than 24 Hrs)

This article is primarily addressed to women, so I’m going to start off with a question for all you ladies out there: Are you drop-dead gorgeous?

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(Mickey is played by Gillian Jacobs (left) and Gus is played by Paul Rust (right))

OK. Well, if you answered no to that question, then I want to let you know I’m with you. I think I’m beautiful, and I love myself, but I am no beauty queen and I don’t get attention from men in any noticeable way during my daily life. I am also not friends with guys, and subsequently, I have no platonic friends who are also male admirers (that I know of). Therefore, I was sadly very disappointed by the representation of women in Netflix’s new series produced and created by the highly-successful Judd Apatow (director of 40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, This Is 40, and producer of HBO’s Girls), and real-life married couple Lesley Arfin and Paul Rust (who’s Gus on “Love”).

Due to the female characters on Girls, which I think are relatable (maybe because I’m a 32 year-old, privileged, educated white female who lives a trendy, comfortable lifestyle in Vancouver, BC), I thought this TV series might be another example of a television show that would make me feel better about myself, and that would make me laugh at all of the crazy things people do. Well, sadly I was wrong.

“Love” perpetuates the idea that a woman can be a cruel, insensitive, and ignorant person who doesn’t hesitate to use her friends as tools, and she’ll still end up with the sweet, loyal, kind geeky guy, or find love, in the end all because she’s such a rebel (aka HOT) and complicated (aka HOT) and trying to change (aka HOT).

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Since most of us are not perfect physical specimens this narrative is quite troubling. Mickey is one of the two protagonists on the series “Love”. Mickey is played by the insanely sexy-looking (my opinion of course) actress Gillian Jacobs. I loved how Gillian Jacobs played the character of Mimi Rose on “Girls”. After Hannah (played by Lena Dunham) and Adam (played by Adam Driver) break-up, Adam rebounds with the beautiful, talented, and successful artist Mimi Rose.

Hannah is understandably threatened and jealous of Mimi Rose, and I related to that since I have felt jealous of my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend because I think she is really attractive, skinny, and from what I’ve observed of her online image, she is free of flaws. Of course, I know that’s not the truth, since everyone has flaws, but the storyline with Mimi Rose was one I connected with. Image is not reality, but it’s sometimes so hard to realize you don’t know the truth about people from an online profile. In the end, Adam finds out that Mimi Rose had an abortion and didn’t tell him, and he’s hurt and feels like he can’t trust Mimi Rose.

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Jacobs ability to portray Mimi Rose in a way that made me feel like Mimi Rose is a real person led me to incorrectly assume that I would relate to Jacobs on “Love”. Gillian Jacobs portrayal of Mickey got under my skin pretty quickly, maybe in part because I’m the opposite from a girl who always says dude, just chill man, and lies whenever it suits her fancy. My honesty has gotten me into trouble many times before, so I know I have extra resentment when I see people and characters who lie and pretend like it’s no big deal.

Spoiler alert: I’m going to start getting into more specific plot details from here on in, so if you want to watch the series with fresh eyes, I suggest you stop reading. For example, Mickey is a self-identified alcoholic and drug addict (marijuana and ecstasy were the drugs she uses over the course of the series), and after bingeing on vodka one weekend she goes to an AA meeting and lies about how long she’s been sober for. I am an alcoholic and I haven’t drank alcohol for over 7 years now, and I’ve been to AA before. It’s such a personal thing to attend an AA meeting, and I felt vulnerable sharing my experiences at the meetings I went to, so it’s kind of disgusting someone would lie in that kind of a situation.

I know I need to be more compassionate for people who are different from me though, and while it’s hard to understand compulsive lying, I can also see that if you’re ashamed of what you’re doing, then there’s a chance you’ll lie to conceal what you’re embarrassed about. Another night Mickey blows off plans with Gus to “be alone”. Then she ends up going out with a bunch of people partying, doing ecstasy with a guy played by Andy Dick and staying up all night, and by the time morning rolls around Mickey calls Gus and he’s right there ready and waiting to make plans with her for later in the day.

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Paul Rust and Creators/Writers/Executive Producers Lesley Arfin and Judd Apatow seen at the Los Angeles premiere of the Netflix original series ‘Love’ at The Vista Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)

Part of my anger towards a character like Mickey comes from my own experiences where I’ve chosen to have a sexual relationship with men who make it clear they’re not really all that into me, and that they’re not monogamous. Then I’ve subjected myself to listening to them go on about how hot the girl they wish they could be with is, or I’ve been ditched as soon as one of these femme fatales (how I judgmentally chose to see them) want some male attention. I’ve never been in the position of the girl who has all these guys chasing after her. There have been a few times when I’ve had casual sexual relationships with men who I didn’t find very attractive, but I would quickly cut things off entirely in these situations, because I don’t like stringing people along. Yep, you’re sensing that I have a superiority complex, and that’s probably annoying, but I’m letting you know how I think whether it’s right or not.

I told a guy who I wasn’t into that I didn’t think we could be friends, because if we were to go out to a bar together and I found someone attractive, I would feel bad for ditching him. He said he wouldn’t care, but I thought he would and I didn’t want to cause him unnecessary pain. I think that sometimes it’s wise to ignore what people say and go with your gut. If a guy wants to have sex with you, spend time with you, and you tell him you’re not into him, then it’s also realistic to assume he might feel frustrated or crappy if you attempt to have a platonic relationship with him. Awkward situations can be minimized or avoided if you’re willing to sacrifice the attention that comes having lots of guy or girl friends (who also might secretly or not-so-secretly be into you).

Gus meets Mickey when she’s in a convenience store, and she doesn’t have any money to pay for the coffee she just poured. Mickey starts verbally harassing the Asian clerk (and this is the first of three time total where Mickey feels the need to treat Asian people with accents like crap by yelling at them) and Gus steps in to save the day. He offers to pay for her coffee, and instead of appreciating that, she asks for him to buy her a pack of cigarettes too. Gus is an average–or maybe below average (I think he’s hot, but he’s definitely not traditionally good-looking)–guy, and since he’s immediately intrigued by Mickey (I guess beauty is hard to ignore) he gladly pays for both.

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Outside of the store Mickey tells Gus she can pay him back, and then proceeds to insult him when he says she doesn’t need to pay him back. From what I saw, Mickey’s sense of entitlement makes her really annoying and rude. Nevertheless, Gus is still into her after this short interaction and their “friendship” starts to unfold. At least the television show stays true to real-life by showing that Gus is always openly aware that he’s attracted to Mickey because of how hot she is, and doesn’t lie and tell himself he only wants to be her friend.

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(Mickey’s roommate Bertie (Claudia O’Doherty)…I want to see more of this funny actress!)

Mickey gets an Australian roommate named Bertie (played by Claudia O’Doherty) to move into her place. Bertie is my favourite character from the series. Bertie is also a sexy young white female, but not quite as model-like as Mickey, and therefore much more relatable. Early on in the series Mickey sets-up Gus and Bertie on a date. Since Gus and Bertie aren’t meant for each other, the date starts to go badly. Bertie goes to the bathroom and accidentally texts Gus a message intended for Mickey about their terrible date. Gus texts Mickey the text he receives from Bertie (originally meant for Mickey) and then Mickey texts Bertie the text Gus sent (are you following me?).

A cat-and-mouse game ensues where Mickey plays both of her friends in order to entertain herself. It’s the first night that Mickey is trying to be genuinely sober and spend time at home alone without any male attention, so she devolves into screwing over Gus and Bertie, even though Mickey’s the one who set them up on this date in the first place. Gus drops Bertie off after their horrendous date, and when he leaves Mickey and Bertie’s place, Mickey runs out and kisses Gus. He’s suddenly attractive after letting Mickey know her antics are not okay.

Also, this is supposed to be a comedy! Do you think this stuff sounds funny? I didn’t think it’s funny at all. Want something funny to watch? I watched all 3 seasons of the Showtime series “Episodes” starring Matt LeBlanc this past week. “Episodes” actually made me laugh. The entertainment I got from watching “Love” came from how easy it was to criticize the characters of Mickey and Gus.

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When I started watching “Love” last night I had 2 female friends over, and they both started asking why Mickey’s dressed like a 70s porn star and wearing next-to-nothing. So true! During the first episode Mickey is super scantily clad in a red one-piece (bathing suit?) and her nipples are very erect and apparent through her spandex top throughout most of the scenes. It’s distracting! Yes, women and men shouldn’t have to suppress or hide their sexuality since it is a part of human nature, but I think that this crosses the line to the point where Mickey is her nips, and not much more.

Based on what I have seen in my own life, I think it’s undeniable that physically attractive people are given certain privileges that other people are not. I have watched hot people speak and behave in ways that I can’t imagine less attractive people trying to pull-off. I think the reason why some beautiful folks are extra self-centred behaviour is because they can get away with it. Lots of not as hot people let very hot people do whatever they want all because us normal peeps hope the freakishly hot people might want to have sex with us.

The part that I think “Love” overlooks is that while a beautiful girl like Mickey will never be alone, people that are huge users like Mickey probably don’t end up with genuine, sweet, and loyal people. If you’re a conniving, manipulative person who puts your own needs above others at all times and lies to get what you want, then I think the people who will want to be around you in a permanent way aren’t going to be all that great. People who love themselves and respect themselves eventually walk away from the Mickey’s of the world (or so I hope).

I did a little more research and I found out something interesting that surprised me: co-creators Lesley Arfin and Paul Rust are married, and they apparently used their own relationship as a loose model for the series. This detail made me like the series a little more, and feel a little bit less offended by the sexism on the show. Is that weird?

Embrace Your Freakishness!

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After it poured outside for most of the day, it finally turned sunny out just after 4, so I got off my butt and headed out onto Main Street with the hopes of finding some sweet soul to interview.

Brittney’s look appealed to me, and when I asked her if I could interview her she obliged. Her answer to my question about whether or not she’s ever felt like a freak or an outsider, and if she has what’s helped her through it, was great. Brittney (brittney@laceembrace.com) suggests “EMBRACING IT”–how apropos considering she works at Lace Embrace. I wholeheartedly agree. As they say, let your freak flag fly!

If you’re ever interested in a corset, sexy lingerie, old-fashioned clothing, or pin-up style outfits go visit Brittney at Lace Embrace Atelier on Main (or check out Scout just off Main which is owned by the same person).