vancouver blogger

Asher Penn: Producer of Maggie Lee’s Documentary Mommy

I love watching documentaries but sometimes it can be hard to find ones that are exciting, interesting, and that tell really personal stories. I believe there’s lots of them out there, I just don’t always know where to find them.

If you’re a docu-film-fan like myself, please watch Maggie Lee’s MOMMY (click here for a link to rent or purchase the film on Vimeo–it’s worth it! I spent $15 to see it tonight at The Cinematheque–my first time seeing a film there–and it was worth every penny).

The movie is 55 minutes long. Mommy involves Maggie Lee telling the story of her mother’s life as well as her own, and letting us see what Maggie Lee experiences in the aftermath of her mother’s death. The film is funny and honest. It is also sad, touching, and heartbreaking. It made me feel a lot of things and it made me reflect on my own relationship with my mom, because I can’t imagine what I’d do if my mother died suddenly.

This film is unique from many other documentaries that I’ve seen in that it has beautiful, vibrant visuals: words, drawings, colours, flashing lights and other artistic creations that make Mommy that much more engaging and gorgeous to watch (Maggie Lee is a successful artist so these touches make sense). As well, I want the soundtrack to the film (at the Q and A after it we were told it’s on Spotify). The music was energizing, painful, and fun. The movie is so much more than just a few things, and the many things it is are superb. I have a short attention span, but this film held my focus throughout. I love Maggie Lee and how vulnerable she was in letting the viewer see what she went through after losing her mother.

Mommy was so easy to watch and the film sped by too quickly–I wished there was more!

After the viewing, I talked to Asher Penn who produced and took part in the creation of the film with Maggie Lee. Asher is currently working on a documentary about Gabor Mate. Watching film to overcome feeling like a freak or an outsider is something Asher suggests doing: I agree!

Mental Health and Pop Culture: Value of Kanye, Kid Cudi, Pete Davidson and Timothee Chalamet Hanging Out

 

VIFF ’18: CANADIAN SHORT FILM DIRECTORS’ Sophy Romvari (Pumpkin Movie) and Nathan Douglas (La Cartographe)

I took a risk and went to see a compilation of short films today (I usually stick to watching full-length feature films) made by some Canadian filmmakers at VIFF ’18 today. It was well worth it! The films were all entertaining, thought-provoking, and beautiful.

At the Q&A after the film, I had the pleasure of getting La Cartographe director Nathan Douglas and Pumpkin Movie director Sophy Romvari to answer the question, “If you’ve ever felt like a freak or an outsider what helped you through it?”

Thanks to Sophy and Nathan for sharing! Looking forward to seeing what these young filmmakers create in the future.

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!

 

 

 

 

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.