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1585

The Last Unicorn: A Screening with Peter S. Beagle

Books & Writing

November 20, 2013

Last Unicorn 01Today marked the first Canadian screening of the Last Unicorn, touring to select theaters with writer Peter S. Beagle in attendance at every night.

The show was sold out at Colossus in Langley, with theater manager Kim requesting audience members shift down if they notice an isolated seat between them and their neighbors. Packed to capacity, many fans came dressed to impress. One five year old girl was dressed to look like she was riding a pink unicorn, several women were either Amalthea in her unicorn state or in her lady guise, and there were a few Molly, Shmedrick, and incredible Red Bull costumes as well.

The night began with Peter’s very charismatic assistant, Connor Cochran, giving an introduction to the tour and to the author. Peter was a humble man with a great sense of humor. During the Q&A, he was asked what was the most memorable thing a fan has brought for him to autograph. He said, “It’s funny you should ask that….at the last show, I was given the most unusual request to date. Other men sometimes get underwear to sign. I was given a baby. The young couple were both dressed as the Red Bull, and they had their baby dressed up as the butterfly, and I signed their baby.” (more…)

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1211

Blank Verse: Shakespeare Re-invented

Books & Writing, Interviews, Showcase, Webseries

November 18, 2013

971361_548649381860855_571585594_nWhat would it be like if Shakespeare had not existed until now? How do we define greatness in our modern culture? Who is William Shakespeare?

Those are a few of the questions that gets explored in the new webseries Blank Verse. Set in the modern-day Will Shakespeare (portrayed by Xander Williams) begins his first year in the creative writing program of Bankside University and encounters many of his contemporaries.

I met with series creator and executive producer Amanda Konkin to talk about where the idea came from and how she and her creative team went about exploring the now contemporary bard. (more…)

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1009

MegaSteakMan: Now With Swords

Interviews, Showcase, Webseries

November 14, 2013

318929_162226113858943_199443141_nSince making a huge splash online just over three years ago with their gritty spoof trailer Pokémon Apokélypse, the team at MegaSteakMan have delivered dozens of hilarious high-concept comedy sketches. Their dynamic, if not hyperactive, visual style is unmistakable. Now they are taking that pop-culture-fuelled energy, loading it into blender and pouring it into the comedic fantasy webseries Girls With Swords.

I had a chance to pry MegaSteakMan creator Kial Natale away from his editing bay for an hour for some coffee and here is some snippets of our lengthy converstaion:

(more…)

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1122

Dreamz: Waking You Up

Interviews, Music, Showcase

October 16, 2013

Dreamz - logoTo many of their fans online, they were already Team Andrew, but earlier this year, frequent collaborators Andrew Huang and Andrew Gunadie (aka Gunnarolla) cemented a pop music partnership and formed Dreamz. The Toronto-based musicians and YouTube personalities introduced their new duo with several covers of classic boyband songs and have recently released the video for their debut single “Come On” with a second coming shortly. Dreamz delivers some fun and lively melodies that manage to be both old school and contemporary with a healthy dose of the pair’s wit and charm.

We’ve had a chance to speak to both Huang and Gunnarolla about their solo work, but let’s touch base with them on how Dreamz came to be:

(more…)

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3059

EpicLLOYD: Epic Raps For Hire

Interviews, Music, Showcase, Webseries

September 24, 2013

EpicLLOYD2There probably aren’t too many people who can stake claim to having their breakout role be  a rapping Adolph Hitler. But for rapper and comedian Lloyd Ahlquist, it’s just another day at the office. Ahlquist, better known to the world as EpicLLOYD, is the co-creator for the enormously successful YouTube series Epic Rap Battles of History, which is now entering its third season.

But Lloyd hasn’t stopped there. At the same time he has been putting out original music on his own channel and created another popular series called Dis Raps For Hire. As the name implies, EpicLLOYD takes suggestions from viewers who are having issues with others and formulates a verbal smackdown in their defense.

Lloyd was awesome enough to chat sit down for a quick video chat to discuss all of his various works. So without any further ado, here we go:

(more…)

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945

Gunnarolla: A-POP, Please

Interviews, Music, Showcase

September 17, 2013

Better known to the internet-world as Gunnarolla, Ontario-native Andrew Gunadie has been bringing his original, ecclectic mix of music, comedy and vlogs on YouTube for more than six years. In that time his channel has garnered over eleven-million views, fuelled by an avid fanbase that Andrew is constantly engaging and several ongoing video series like “We Are What You Tweet”, “New State Plates” and “Songs About People”. (more…)

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1374

Alyssa Marie: For The Record

Interviews, Music, Showcase

September 5, 2013

alyssa-marieIn a genre rife with posturing and boasts about shallow excesses, Massachusetts-native Alyssa Marie stands out by bringing heart and soul to the rap world. Her words come from the gut and boldly dig into the emotion of her subject matter with an honesty and wisdom far beyond her twenty-four years.

Alyssa has been honing her craft since the age of fifteen and since 2009 has been posting verses on YouTube. In that time, her channel has surpassed two-million views and now with three releases under her belt -most recently 2012’s full-legth album HeartBeat– and another due by the end of the year, people are definitely starting to take notice.

 

GREG: I know you had started out writing poetry, and being a published poet at that. How did you transition from that into rapping?
ALYSSA: I’ve been writing poetry for as long as I can remember, I’m not really sure when or how I started to write rap lyrics. I’ve always been a fan of music and hip hop specifically and I think it started as just another outlet for my writing. It’s not like I was writing poetry then stopped and decided to rap instead; I was writing poetry first, then somewhere along the line began to write rhymes and rap lyrics. Eventually the two just merged together and created the conscious style of rap that I write now.

As your career was starting up, did you have any major influences or mentors along the way?
As far as rappers I listened to at the beginning stages of my own development as an artist, I’d say Nas, Eminem, Pac, Kis, Fabolous, Rakim, Bone Thugz, Luda, Pun, Banks, and a bunch of others that I can’t think of at the moment. As I got older I was better at finding my own people to listen to and got into some more poetic rappers.
If you download the album W!se Reborn (here), that’s who I’d call my mentor. Martin (“Wise”) was the first person to put me on a track; he offered music and life advice I still put to use every day. I don’t know where I’d be without him. Unfortunately, he passed away a few weeks after we had a falling out and I never got to tell him that, but I’ll never forget it.

Seemingly, hip-hop still really appears to be very predominantly a “boys’ club”, much more than any other genre of contemporary music. Did you find it hard gaining acceptance at the outset? Do you still?
It’s definitely a two-sided coin. On one side of it, you get the “wow” factor just being a female that can handle a mic. It’s easier to impress people and get them to show their friends like “yo, look at this chick rip it!”, but I think it’s significantly more difficult to be taken serious. You may get that first reaction which is cool, but how many people are going to download your stuff and put you in with their favorite rappers? Sure, maybe their favorite female rappers, but that’s not what I’m in it for. I don’t rap about gender specific things, I’m just trying to share my stories and be heard. It’s just not as socially acceptable in hip hop to name a female as one of your favorite rappers without putting “female” in front of it. I’m patient though, there’s enough open minded people to make it worth it.

alyssa-marie3

One thing that has always stood out to me most in your music is that really seems to come from the soul, that its very true to yourself. Is having that honest connection with your audience important to you?
It’s extremely important to me. I know what it’s like to turn to music hoping to feel understood or feel like a song was written for you. Coming across someone who you can relate to so honestly is a beautiful thing, it’s and even more intense experience being on the artist side of it. Reading mail or comments from people saying you saved their life with your words, there’s nothing that can describe that feeling. I have pride in what I do, my music is an enormous part of who I am and if I’m not truthful with that, I’m lying to myself.

Your YouTube channel is just shy of hitting thirty-thousand subscribers and over two million views. How big of a factor has that been in getting your work noticed?
YouTube has been a huge tool in escalating my music career up to now. From entering contests to remixing songs, it’s jump started my success and still serves a great purpose in getting my work out there. Though it was difficult to break free of the “YouTube Rapper” stigma, I wouldn’t be where I am without it.

Your most recent album HeartBeat went through a lot of growth from its inception to its release. Can you tell us a bit about what happened there and what your approach was?
A big majority of HeartBeat was written and recorded all in a three week timespan. It started out as a completely different project with different songs and vibes, but throughout the creation of it more than half of them were cut out and new songs were added. I was lucky to have Beatblocked be so helpful in the engineering side of it because we were literally still recording forty minutes prior to the digital release of the record.

In a recent vlog update, you teased an upcoming project called No Parades On Easy Street. Is there any more detail we can get on that?
This passed winter I went out to visit my sister who was going to school out in Hawaii. I got there and ended up falling in love with it and decided to stay with her until she came home at the end of May. We were literally eating one meal a day and could barely even afford that, but we made it work and I was able to write this new record in the process. Again, even since leaving Hawaii I’ve altered the track list and cut/added songs, but the majority was still made out there. It’s coming soon though, just tying up loose ends.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Any parting thoughts you’d like to share?
Thanks for having me, I hope everyone reading this keeps checking for me as I continue trying to figure this confusing career out.

[box] LINKS

Website: www.alyssamariehiphop.com
YouTube: www.youtube.com/alysssaMariiie
Facebook: www.facebook.com/alyssamarieraps
Twitter: www.twitter.com/alysssaMariiie
Bandcamp: alyssamarie.bandcamp.com
Pure Volume: www.purevolume.com/new/AlyssaMarieMusic
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2033

Stunts and Spells: Leo Kei Angelos

Interviews, Showcase, Webseries

August 27, 2013

With his action and stunt-filled short films, director Leo Kei Angelos has started making a name for himself online. His forays into fan films have especially made people take notice. The Vietnamese-born Angelos immigrated to the United States to pursue his dream of making movies in 2006 and with his recent move from New York to Los Angeles and the imminent release of his long awaited Harry Potter-inspired webseries, Auror’s Tale, that dream looks like its just around the corner. (more…)

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