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26

Mar

Andrew W.K. and I talk Pizza and Bodily Fluids

Andrew W.K. and his Pizza Guitar created by ESP. photo by Andrew W.K.

I knew well in advance I was going to talk food with Andrew W.K. during our interview. He’s known for two things: being the King of Partying and loving Pizza. The rock musician is known for his fast paced singles like “Party Hard” and “She is Beautiful”, and his concerts are typically a blur of dancing, head banging and of course, partying.

We immediately launch into food. “Are you bringing the Pizza Guitar?” I ask.  The Pizza Guitar, pictured above, was given to WK by the Japanese company ESP.

“The pizza guitar!” WK laughs, surprised I had picked up that detail from Pitchfork. The guitar has many toppings, and I wonder if WK would like it less had it only come with cheese and pepperoni. Apparently WK will eat anything on pizza except pineapple. “No more sweet things” WK says, noting that while he used to really enjoy sweets he now prefers spicy.

Pizza is WK’s post-show snack for all of his concerts, but he never eats before a show. With the amount of physical activity he does during a performance, he would definitely get sick if he ate more than two hours before hand. For some reason, drinking is fine as long as it isn’t carbonated.

“I’ve never puked, but I’ve been puked on before” WK says, “But it’s not the worst bodily fluid to be covered in. I’d say diarrhea is worse.” He immediately lists off bodily fluids from least offensive to be covered with to the most offensive: “Sweat, spit, then puke, then diarrhea, then blood.” Having been to several Andrew W.K. concerts, I’m no stranger to his comfort with bodily fluids. His most recognized insignia is a portrait of himself bleeding from the nose. With the fan base that likes to gets rough, WK insists it’s all in good fun. I start mentally picking out a disposal outfit to wear to the concert.

Andrew W.K.s most recognizable look. Photo by Andrew W.K. 

Thankfully our conversation turns back to Pizza. “I tell people this all the time, but Canada has the best pizza,” he says, telling me we have better pie here in Canada than some better known destinations, and he’s toured them all. He asks for my recommendation for after his March 27th show at Mavericks, and I immediately scramble. Ottawa has no shortage of amazing Pizza restaurants (Zazaza’s being a favorite), but what was going to be open at 2am on a Thursday night when his show finished? Ottawa was a government town, and one that didn’t cater to the weeknight partiers.

I explain this to WK, which leads me to my second question: how to get Ottawa to party. Sure, we’ve all got a friend who can party longer than we can. But can they get down as long as Andrew W.K, The King of Partying? I ask him how he prepares for his concerts, looking for pointers. After all, he turns the majority of his shows into giant blowouts, and an intimate space like Mavericks bodes well for that kind of atmosphere.

 “This show is different – it’s without my band. I love touring with my band, I love playing with them but this is a different kind of show.” WK will be performing solo on stage with a drum machine and his keyboard. The best part for him is that he almost gets to be part of the crowd, which is what really feeds him as a performer. He plays off the energy of the people in his audience as much as they get into what he’s playing.

Maybe that’s the secret to great partying: pay attention to the people around you and feed off their energy. You’ll have to see for yourself this Thursday night, and for God’s sake don’t eat too much Pizza beforehand.

Mavericks hosts Andrew W.K. March 27th, 2014 alongside We Were Sharks! And Robots! Everywhere!!

Read the full published article here

19

Mar

Fevers Revamped!

Fevers band members from left: Martin Charbonneau, Mike Stauffer, Sarah Bradley, Colin MacDougall and Jim Hopkins. Photo by Shooter McNally.

In preparation for my interview with Fevers, I put on their newest album No Room for Light and ended up listening to it for two days straight. Their music is the perfect balance of electro-indie pop that you can both relax and dance to. On top of being incredibly talented, the band is also impossibly humble about their music. Supporting vocalist Colin Macdougall sat down with me for a phone interview to tell me why they were trying to change this mindset. “It’s a very humble group of people, and that makes us very dynamic as a band. But the fear is that you undervalue yourself as a performer.”

Fevers has reason to shed their reserved persona. The band has been together since early 2011, and since releasing their EP Passion is Dead they have played in festivals across Ontario and shared the stage with some incredible performers. Included in the list was Joy Formidable, and watching their performance was a turning point for the band. “They just… They just killed it. Their stage presence was just huge.”  MacDougall says. The band realized then that they need to bring more of a performance aspect to their shows.

“We don’t want to go an ‘act’; it’s more a focus on the parts of who we are that we really want to shine through. We’re trying to have a bit more of a persona.” MacDougall says, “Nothing groundbreaking or particularly novel, but trying to get beyond getting up on stage and re-producing our record. It’s a very common thing for bands to do, and I think we were falling into that trap.”

The band plays at The Black Sheep this Friday, Mar. 21 2014 in Wakefield. As a true testament to their love for their fans, they hired a bus to shuttle fans to Wakefield and back. What can the fans expect for making the trip? “We kind of have a new look, new approach to the live show. We kind of went underground a bit to try to move up a notch or two on the live performance.” MacDougall says, “Adding more visual elements- we’re adding a light show to it. We also spent a bit more time focusing on how we lay ourselves out on the stage, how we interact with one another and how we interact with the audience.” The Black Sheep serves as a test run for Fevers attempt at a new persona as its familiar territory for them. Fevers has played the Sheep twice before, and it’s a favored venue for them.

In preparation for the show, the band has changed the layout of their rehearsals to better mimic a staged performance. “Not in a circle where we all look at each other, but actually set it up more like it’s going to be on stage. We always do a little pre-show pep talk, and do a better job of talk ourselves into the moment. We normally say ‘This is great, we love each other, let’s not take for granted that we get to play shows for people’,” He says. Hopefully the band will be able to shed their sheepish demeanor this Friday, as they certainly don’t lack in talent.

‘Fevers’ plays this Friday, Mar. 21 2014 at The Black Sheep in Wakefield. Their shuttle bus leaves the Museum of Nature at 8pm sharp, load in @ 7:30pm.

Find more info here: http://www.theblacksheepinn.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=338

You can follow the band on twitter @feversband and both albums are available on iTunes, as well as on their website at www.feversband.com

Find the published article here: http://apt613.ca/fevers-revamped/ 

20

Feb

Why Dean Blundell is the Everyman’s Whipping Boy

On Jan 6, one of my favorite radio personalities was fired for Homophobic remarks and ‘Offensive On-air jokes’. R.I.P The Dean Blundell Show, of 102.1 the Edge in Toronto. The Edge has remained on every car stereo i’ve owned and driven. Their taste in music was (and arguably, still is) right on par with what the youth and young adults of today want to hear (hooligans!) and their mix of hard rock with EDM, Indie and occasional hip-hop made me rarely seek another station. 

Along with their music, there was the added bonus of the radio personalities. As a teenager, their off-color humor and monotone sarcasm aligned perfectly with my developing mind. I wanted to be Josie Dye’s best friend, blaze with Barry Taylor and ask Bookie and David Cross everything they know about music. But the best of all was my morning drive to school/work and listening to The Dean Blundell Show.

The Dean Blundell show was actually a three man group comprising of Dean Blundell, Todd Shapiro and Derek Welsman (former contrbuter Jason Barr). It ran from 2001-2014 when it was cancelled because of the above mentioned ‘Homophobic remarks’ and ‘Offensive On-Air jokes’. We’ll go ahead and ignore the second part of that, since the show ran for 13 flipping years, fueled solely and completely by offensive jokes. 

Being Homophobic is incredibly close-minded and old-fashioned. Religious fanatics and gay-fearing individuals need to relax, and above all realize the pointless ‘war’ against gay people having rights is as effective as the war on drugs. Being homophobic is almost seen as a mental disorder these days; most logical people either don’t care or fight in the favor of equality. Not to mention with so many high profile people coming out of the closet like Ellen Page and Anderson Cooper, the taboo has flipped from being gay to being against gay. 

In September 2013, Dean Blundell and Derek Welsman made homophobic remarks on air about a rape case Welsman was a juror in. The comments they made were pretty cringe worthy, and i’ll spare you. They definitely deserved to be punished, issue an apology and have their metaphorical, if not their literal, wrists slapped. But to be fired? And Especially with that as the reason?

The Dean Blundell show has taken the piss out of every race, religious denomination and sexual preference. Blundell was reprimanded in 2010 for mocking Justin Bieber, something everyone from my mother to his own takes part in at least once a day. He attacked everything from Biebers fans, to Biebers pre-pubescent appearance, stating things like “Save your energy for puberty” and calling Bieb’s a ‘Chugger’, a slang term for male prostitutes for those of you… unfamiliar with the world of male prostitutes?

Alright, so Blundell has no shame. But his material is barely authentic; One article[1] slams Blundell for drawing attention to Bieber’s feminine features, calling him a ‘He-she-it’. Is Blundell directly attacking the LGBT community? The article suggests, but neglects to point out that a website Dedicated to lesbians who look like Justin Bieber (Yup, its a place: http://lesbianswholooklikejustinbieber.tumblr.com/). Yes, Blundell lacks tact. And that’s also exactly what he’s been paid to do for 13 years. Did his Bieber fueled rant mean he hates gay people because they might look like Justin Bieber? No, but he knew that calling Justin Bieber gay would insight the most hilarious of reactions from Biebers predominantly female followers. The guy is paid to push peoples buttons, and he was damn good at it.

In his statement after his firing, Blundell points out that if he was as homophobic as people claim, he wouldn’t have had so many LGBT community guests on his show over the years. This was seen as a Paula-Deen-like excuse (“I have plenty of black employees!”), but its fact. Blundell may have sounded hateful, but was he actually? He hosted a variety of people on the show, and they all knew going in and during that he was likely to mock them and they came armed. Every guest on that show had the equal opportunity (see what I did there) to turn Blundell’s own frat-boy ‘hate’ around on him and make his viewers laugh at his obvious lack of culture. How many of those guests left threatening to sue? Few, and the show is broadcast live so major scuffles and verbal throw-downs would have been noted if they had happened. They also ran some off-color competitions too, like Find Todd a Fiancée. Where were the angry pro-marriage riots then? Where were the ‘protectors’ of the sanctity of marriage during a competition where Todd would (theoretically) marry a random chick decided by votes?

No, Blundell and his show are controversial, but not homophobic. There’s a difference between saying things and believing them, like when you meet anyone of racial denomination who can tell you the worst jokes of their ethnicity. I’ve had incredibly wealthy, hard working 5th generation Canadian ‘black’ friends reel off the most cringe-worthy lazy N-word black jokes for anyone listening. My lesbian friends joke loudly and brashly about muff-diving like its the next Olympic sport, and are too prudish to change in front of other women at the gym. My completely straight, often married male friends will threaten their other straight, often married friends about shoving cocks down their throats during poker games. Blundell isn’t alone in his shock-jock sense of humor, and his following was comprised of that demographic almost entirely. Shortly after Blundell was let go, The Edge posted statistics that its listeners had dropped by 50% during that time slot (sorry, Fred). Why? Is it because Dean Blundell’s listeners were all homophobic, white supremists cleverly hidden in Toronto, one of the biggest cultural mixing pots in the country? No, it’s because all of his dark humored listeners have disbanded to find another show they can relate to. In this day and age, everything is so forced towards being politically correct that it drains the color and passion out of any real fight. All one has to do to support a cause these days is Like a page, show up in a faceless crowd or post on a personal blog. Do you think Blundell would have had his wrist slapped if Justin Biebers fans didn’t care enough to be upset? He was crucified for everything from bullying to hating gay and transgendered people, but all I got from his rant was that he really didn’t like the Biebs, a feeling most Canadians reflect. He’s a mocking a pop star, not a random average child with developing self-esteem, and furthermore Blundell is in his 30’s— Did anyone really see his rant as anything either than the next generation being appalled with the current?

Apparently so. You can’t throw around controversial subjects for too long without one angry PTA mom breaking through. Todd Shapiro (the sexy bastard) was let go in spring of 2013 for comments made, and Jason Barr was let go in 2010. It was only a matter of time before the axe fell on Blundell, especially since he had been the last man standing of the old radio-show DJ’s my generation had grown to love from the Edge. It’s no longer considered cool to joke about anything controversial, unless you first preface it with ‘you know, i’m not homophobic/racist/hateful, but…” and while that brings me relief from the people who are actually homophobic/racist/hateful (they’re awkward to talk with..) it makes me sad that we can’t have an understanding in society of what is meant in jest and what is a deep-seated belief.


19

Feb

Food for thought this Humpday! Don’t disappoint the Jesus now, kids

Food for thought this Humpday! Don’t disappoint the Jesus now, kids

15

Feb

Unmotivational Motivation

I have long since battled with de-motivation when it comes to fitness. Its no secret to anyone who meets me that while I enjoy being active, I really loudly and brashly dislike having to keep to a ‘fitness schedule’. I want so badly to be one of those people talking about Leg Day, sharing the proper way to flex in a mirror or drinking everything I can out of a shaker cup. But sadly, even after two years of working in a gym I still have childlike curiosity walking up to any machine with things that I can pull, and the only ‘form’ I have is the waiver they hastily had me sign when I walked through the door.

image

This sums up all of my pre- and post exercise feelings. Photo: TMZ.com

Completely ignoring all of that, being in shape is still something that I passionately feel people should do. Do I think everyone must now run out and join a gym? Oh god, no. You should, if you really need help being motivated. A good place to start is where everyone around you is transitioning into being better looking. But being better looking isn’t why I think its important.

Active people are just happier. It’s really that simple. I don’t strictly mean endorphin’s, the bodies gracious numbing happiness that washes over you once you’ve got your blood moving. They’re great, and without them I would likely be severely less cardio-inclined. No; its not the endorphin’s. You benefit mentally as well as physically when you exercise. When your’e active, your brain has an outlet aided by physical exhaustion where you can just work through your day. If you find yourself being someone who wakes up and stares at the ceiling at night, try doing a light jog before bed. That half hour forces you to commit your body to doing something the mind can auto-pilot on, and that’s when you think through your day. Post jog, your body is tired and your brain is too damn tired to bother worrying about it any more.

On top of being mentally beneficial, there’s the being-in-shape upside as well on the waistline. You know, deep down, you never feel better than when you are in your ‘ideal shape’. You know that person, that guy or girl you looked like when you had mono at 18, or hit your ab and pec peak at 21- that person you’ve pictured yourself as still looking like all these years later, and are always surprised when that person doesn’t show in the changeroom mirror. When your jeans fit and don’t cut in, when your bathing suit shopping and you think ‘not bad’ instead of ‘how can I cover more..’, that’s where you want to be.

So, you have being mentally happy AND physically happy, whats the hold up? Oh snap, you actually have to put effort in. There are more painful ways of getting thin fast, like lipsuction and tongue-mesh surgery (yep, thats a thing: http://www.vice.com/read/tongue-mesh) But those are both aforementioned painful, not to mention expensive, and finally *fucking* painful. DON’T BE LAZY. And If you’re going to be lazy, do it the right way.

My fitness mantra is ‘Get Fit Enough To Be Lazy’. If you draw out the last bit as you breathe, its pretty soothing AND distracting to your other yoga compatriots. If you get in what most people would consider ‘OK’ shape, then really all you have to do is coast. You can be 50 years old, in bomb condition, and never really having to do much either than just be active when you can. People who live their teens as athletes often find this ease of transition; and their fitness routine never becomes more than playing shinny with their buddies and kicking around a soccer ball with the kids. 

My parents have long been active people, and so strongly believed kids should go outside and play that my brother and I didn’t even touch a video gaming system until we were teenagers. My childhood was riddled with their encouragement in sports. I was always enrolled in at least one competitive sport, and this carried far into high-school when my mother coached the rock-climbing team my brother and I were on. As an adult, I look for any inspiration I can possibly grasp, and that’s opened a few very cool doors. I joined a roller derby team back in 2012, and anyone who thinks the game looks intense should watch the practices. I enroll in bootcamps when I can find them (as i’m motivated by being competitive), pole dancing classes (an amazing full body workout, sex not included) and paddle boarding. I’m also fortunate enough to have friends who are like-minded, and mildly competitive enough to engage me while working out. Working in a gym for years did very little for self-motivation in terms of fitness, and really only benefited me in the sense that I was more informed on when bootcamps and exercise classes were running.

So with all of this in mind, I encourage you to consider the following before writing off my advice altogether, and picking up another cookie:

1) It isn’t about living longer, its about living happier. And that means functionality. It doesn’t matter if you only plan on living to 60 if you die of a heart attack at 47. Things like falling and breaking a hip can end people at 70, so why not strengthen the bones with some load bearing exercise? Its not the difference between dying of cancer or old age, its the difference between dying at 55 painfully and dying at 85 peacefully.

2) Once you have any ‘big goals’ under wraps (losing 20 lbs, being able to touch your toes), its all smooth sailing. Really. I wouldn’t lie to you about this, I live it. Its especially easier if you realize half the things you like to do are already ‘exercise’ i.e. walking the dogs, chasing your kids, or just going for a walk around the block at night. Every city typically runs cheap rec-leagues, and we’re not talking plain soccer and baseball. Most now offer ball-hockey leagues, the aforementioned roller derby, etc. 

3) Diet is important. I’m not saying restrict, refrain or boycott anything until you have consulted a nutritionist or a doctor. Don’t go on some crazy fad diet your friend is on because they ate a bad bagel and now think they’re gluten sensitive; Do stick to the obvious choices like lots of veggies and protein. 

4) Don’t go on the internet if you do have big goals. Don’t read fitness blogs and take supplements pimped by a guy from Jersey Shore, go to a gym and see if they offer free consultations with trainers. Gyms aren’t as scary as people often think they are, and I have had two friends accomplish huge goals with trainers who were absolutely against them. Not everyone can afford a trainer, myself included, but I have had countless friends get direction and realistic expectations/timeline from sitting down with professionals, and at the very least they can suggest classes or bootcamps that might fit your need. 

5) Be realistic. I don’t mean about weight loss, I mean about the greater picture. Don’t say you’re going to go to the gym 5 mornings a week if you won’t, because you’ll quickly become disheartened and give up. Try like, 2 times a week and throw a wild card third form in there (rec league, block walk, washing the dishes twerk). Its a commitment, but fitness isn’t marriage. Its more… That crazy acquaintance you work with and have lunch with twice a week. You like them, but you aren’t spending every waking minute with them. And get rid of the bathroom scale. Yes, for real. If you can’t have a healthy relationship with it, it’ll be your undoing. Everyone always hears “you put on muscle when you lose fat, so your weight won’t change but your size will” and not believe a damn word. “How can you get smaller without losing weight??” You’ll fervently demand at the scale, which will blankly stare back at you because not only does it get asked this a lot, but it was made in china and does not speak English. Let me drill this in: You will become thinner but you will not become lighter at first. Yes, a few weeks in, this will plateau and your muscles will overtake the fat, and your weight will start to drop. P.S. This doesn’t mean your going to look like the next Arnold, so calm your tits. You’re becoming LEAN.

Alright, that’s it. Just live longer, alright? Be able to not just play with your kids, play with your grandkids. Don’t just get into those old skinny jeans, get into NEW bomb jeans.

You can do it, because I can. The bar is set that low.

12

Feb

The day I decided to blog

Idle hands are the Devil’s supposed playground. While you could argue my hands aren’t the most angelic even when fully engaged, having a lot of free time on my hands has started to tip my mentally into dangers waters.

I have decided to start a blog on all things I enjoy and think are worth talking about. Fitness, fashion and all things fun.

Good times ahead!

Jean