28 June 2013

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the government apparently wants to cover up any evidence that we may have been saved from annihilation by smokers repelling aliens and the video isn't available anywhere that i could find.

however, it is not entirely lost, since there is a record of it at the canadian council for tobacco control.

also, according to the trailer park boys message forum, the voice of the compliant alien co-pilot who never opens his mouth except to say the iconic line "i agree smedley", was provided by show star john dunsworth.

ironically, john dunsworth was also my drama coach for a year or so in elementary school, when i thought i wanted to be an actress. his techniques were unorthodox [in a good way, not in a creepy "i'm gonna need therapy after this" kind of way], but i never did end up becoming an actress. until i flexed my frustrated actress muscles in "conversion". which you can see on saturday.

27 June 2013

our adventures through the hearing glass

so dom and i went on air to talk about conversion and the upcoming screening we're having at the musee des beaux arts here in montreal.

the gentle folk of symbiose on cibl 101.5fm here in montreal brought us on at their peril to discuss the film, the screening and our upcoming projects.

i have had a long relationship with campus/ community radio and i've always respected what cibl has been able to accomplish. when i used to live the somewhat sketchy east end of the city, their studio was located down the street and around the corner from me. now, however, they've moved into swanky new digs right at the corner of st. laurent and ste. catherine, where their signal is broadcast not only over the airwaves, but also outside, to curious passers-by.

all this to say that it was an honour to be invited. here's a little photo essay i did while the whole thing unfolded, which was probably annoying as hell to the people trying to interview us.

anyway, like i said, the new studio is pretty plush. here's the entrance...


even when you look back out at the reception from the broadcast room, which, incidentally, has windows everywhere, encouraging people to stop and wave and hammer on the glass, or pee on it. because no one knows what's going to happen in montreal on a tuesday night.


if you look out the windows not facing the lobby, you have an awesome view of the tranny bar across the street. bienvenue. 


this is one of our hosts, working hard and getting kind of annoyed that his guests keep taking shots on their phones rather than, you know, being professional. 


this is the screen he's looking at, which controls everything and tells you what to do. i believe it will become self-aware next year.


our other host was locked in a lightless closet somewhere behind us. we didn't think it was polite to ask what he'd done to deserve this.


clearly, the studio was designed by bees. 


behold, the men in black.


time to say my piece...


so if you'd like to hear what we had to say and didn't hear the original broadcast, here's the link where you can listen to the whole thing. our interview starts around the halfway point. note :: the show is in french, so it will really help if you understand a little. if not, you can just giggle at my accent. 

for those of you in the montreal area, you can check out the screening of "conversion", our completely indie feature film that chronicles the [mis]adventures of two thirty-somethings trying to make it home in the middle of the night! here are the details: 

saturday, june 29, 2013 at 8 p.m. 
maxwell-cummings auditorium 
1379 sherbrooke st. west, montreal [in the north building of the musee des beaux-arts]
take the 24 bus, which stops directly in front or metro peel and walk north to sherbrooke street at the corner of crescent

it's ONE NIGHT ONLY and FREE, so grab the chance while you have it!

24 June 2013

making faces :: summertime blues? nars has the cure!

i keep mentioning how my infatuation with nars took hold because of their product names. not just the ubiquitous "orgasm", but the fact that they have products named after classic low-brow films ["night breed" and, of course, "deep throat"], marlene dietrich ["scarlet empress", "lola lola", "blonde venus", etc.], under-appreciated cinematic classics ["night porter", "blade runner"] and some of my musical icons ["blondie", "heart of glass", "new order", transeurope express"]. so when i heard that nars was releasing a blush called "boys don't cry", it was pretty much a done deal. i knew it was coming home with me and it didn't matter if the blush turned out to be green. because it's called "boys don't cry".

it's released as part of a collaborative collection with french designer pierre hardy of two super-sized blushes and a half a dozen nail polish duos. one of the associates at murale described them as being sets "one for the fingers, one for the toes", which i hadn't thought of, but which actually makes perfect sense. thus far, i've limited myself to the one blush, but there's nothing to say that's final.

emblazoned with hardy's geometric cube pattern, "boys don't cry" is an intense red-coral that reads very warm in the pan, but that looks more neutral on application. it's a matte finish [the gold pattern is an overspray that disappears almost immediately, but doesn't look like a heavy or dead-seeming matte. in fact, it brightens the cheeks quite noticeably.

it is a colour that pale ladies [like me] will want to use lightly. there's a ton of pigment, which means that it's a little too easy to overdo it and end up with the sunburnt/ drunk look. not what you want. even lightly applied, it's going to be a fairly intense blush, but i like the fact that it blends so nicely and evenly, allowing for quite a natural flushed look.

boys don't cry
by way of comparison, mac "salsarose" is a bit pinker, but the two are definitely in the same ballpark. rouge bunny rouge "florita" is much softer- which should give you an idea of the intensity we're talking about.

l to r :: mac salsarose, boys don't cry, rbr florita
the only drawback to this blush is that it's more expensive- a lot more expensive- than a regular nars blush; $48cad compared to $30. that's a big jump, but the compact is a lot larger and the intensity of the colour basically means that you're not ever going to run out. it also means that "boys don't cry" is the same price as a chanel "joues contraste" blush, which is a lot smaller.

it's a limited edition piece, but it's still widely available wherever nars is sold, along with the other elements of the pierre hardy collection. nars are generally excellent about making sure that everyone gets a fair shot at finding their limited items before they're discontinued, which is just one more reason to love them.

here's the blush in action. [for those of you following my sci-art adventures, i'd call this one a bright spring look, although it's not nearly as intense as one could get with a bright spring colour palette.]



products used ::

the base ::
marcelle beauty balm "light/ medium"
mac paint pot "painterly"
nars radiant tinted moisturiser "terre neuve"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"

the eyes ::
chanel e/s "sable emouvante" [shimmery peach. warm brown]
chanel e/s "tiger lily" [soft tangerine with white shimmer]
nars e/s "mekong" [espresso brown with gold shimmer]
stila e/l "lionfish" [shimmery bronze brown]
urban decay 24/7 e/l "underground" [shimmery taupe]
korres volcanic lash mascra "black"
givenchy noir couture mascara "brun satin"

the cheeks ::
nars blush "boys don't cry" [bright coral red]
chanel poudre signe [white-gold highlight]

the lips ::
chanel rouge coco shine "antigone" [strawberry red]

and of course, i can't let this post go without posting...

23 June 2013

seasonal colour analysis for cats

thinking a lot about colour and seasonal palettes lately has made me aware of the shades that make up everything around me. that has manifested itself occasionally in me trying to "drape" dom while he wonders which of my neurons are misfiring now and, of course, to me marvelling at the beauty that makes up our fur-children.

so just for fun, i thought i would do a quick analysis of each of them. now there is an important caveat: colour analysis is based primarily on the skin and how it reacts to other colours around it. obviously, being covered in fur, cats can't "react" to colour in the same way. so really, this is more about training the eye to recognise the makeup of colours rather than performing a true analysis. also, cats don't especially like draping sessions.

so we have five cats to look at today, representing a broad spectrum of fur, eye and paw/ nose leather shades. let's start off easy:

seth





bright winter, no question. the sharp black and white contrast immediately puts him in the winter camp, but there's a faint warmth to his black patches [which i cannot get to show up in photos] and, of course, he has those bright spring yellow eyes. in fact, his eyes are light and cool enough that i would almost say he was a true winter, but i find that the predominance of white on him plus the hint of sunshine in his black patches pushes him out of purely cool territory.

lulu




ibid. she's actually even more of a bright winter than seth. her eyes are deeper, yellower and have a strong hint of spring green in them. she has more black, but there is still an overall springy lightness to her- in every way. that said, her high contrast colouring still clearly makes her a winter blend. no one else can wear black and white so well. [unfortunately, the only good shot i could find of her eyes has a green curtain next to her, which amplifies that colour, but you'll have to trust me that her eyes are really gold with a hint of green.]

simon






as exotic and dramatic as he looks, i would peg simon as a soft summer without a second thought. he's predominantly a hazy, misty grey, but there is a hint of autumn's rusty brown all through him. he's never a pure cool colour. his colours are never extreme, either- the distance between the blue-grey of his nose to the incredible turquoise of his eyes is a short one, with colours blending into one another. he has a symphony of colours happening in him, but no contrasts at all.

any time someone dismisses the soft summer colour palette as dull or mousy, i'm going to use simon as my counter argument.

julia





this was a little trickier. calico is a high contrast colour pattern, but julia is a dilute calico, so rather than bright orange, she has soft warm tan patches and rather than black, a pigeon grey. that said, there are still clearly elements of warm and cool and noticeable contrast within her. so to make a judgment call, i had to take a step back.

despite the blocks of colour, the overwhelming impression i get from julia is one of softness. it's not just the fur, either. she looks much softer than her brother [seth], who has the exact same kind of fur. yes, there are contrasts, but none of the shades look bright- even her white looks a little muted when you compare her to seth and lulu. her white is also a little warmer, meaning that two of her three colours lean warm. her eyes are a very delicate yellow with a lot of grey- they don't have the spring warmth of lulu's or the dazzling brightness of seth's. but they do have the subtler elegance that you see in simon's, they're just a bit warmer.

so what's like a soft summer but warmer? soft autumn. and that's what julia is. very ladylike, refined warm with just a hint of coolness throughout.

hecubus




this one took me forever and it's actually a good lesson in thinking about colour. i puzzled over the apparent mismatch of the brown and buff tones of his fur with those dazzling clear blue siamese eyes- eyes without an iota of yellow of brown in them. those eyes are purely cool, which made me struggle, because i couldn't match them to any of the palettes that came to mind when i thought about his fur.

he's not high contrast or saturated enough to me a winter, not colourful enough to be a spring. autumn? that seemed possible, but there was no autumn blend i could think of that aligned with those eyes.

then this morning, he jumped up on my lap and i, of course, started petting him. that was when it came to me. i had been wrapped up thinking about his colour, but i hadn't properly looked at it. the fact is that while he may be made up of warm sounding colours- brown and deep cream- there isn't actually any warmth when you look at them. his sable points is as cool as brown can get without actually turning grey and his cream patches are more ivory- white mixed with that same cool brown- than buttery. once i realised that he's actually completely cool-toned, the eyes make perfect sense. hecubus is a true summer; purely cool, but with far less contrast than a winter.

i hope you've enjoyed our little peek at feline colour analysis. i can say that thinking about it has made me more aware of colours and the necessity to get beyond an initial impression of them. i'm not certain i've changed the cats' lives, but their lives don't really need changing. they have it pretty good.

19 June 2013

who's on team edward?

so i tweeted this the other day:
sparkle sparkle

"ffs, edward snowden is not the issue!"

that was in response to the sudden shift in media priorities from the rightness or wrongness of the american government dropping in for a peek-a-boo at their citizens' personal exchanges to talking about the man who leaked details of the operation to the guardian newspaper. is he exaggerating the extent of the problem in order to get media attention? does he fancy himself a rebel in the mould of julian assange? is he trying to make a political point against a president he doesn't like [snowden is apparently a libertarian republican who supported the candidacy of ron paul]? should we, the onlookers/ victims treat him as a hero or traitor?

the point of my tweet was to throw my opinion out there: we shouldn't give a shit. because ultimately, what we should be talking about [and don't think that this kind of program is limited to the united states, just because that's the one that got leaked to the media] is whether or not we are willing to allow our elected representatives to appoint or hire groups to monitor our personal and heretofore private communications in the name of national and international security.

since virtually every aspect of the program is in dispute, it's virtually impossible to talk about the specifics of what was recorded, retained and used to what end. so what we're left with is a very general discussion of safety vs. liberty. but as much as it's a very general discussion, it's also a very realistic, practical one. it's about how much you trust people. not just the government. everybody.

and that's where edward snowden becomes very much the issue.

you can argue about the improved safety provided by monitoring web activities, emails, phone calls and text messages all you want. maybe they have helped. in fact, it's kind of hard to believe that they wouldn't help to some degree, provided you know where to look. but the fact is that edward snowden, a high school dropout who got hired at a contractee of the u.s. government was able, after three months on the job [still technically within the probation period in canada, although i don't know how that works in other countries- my point is that it's not long to be on a job], to download some pretty sensitive and incriminating files and apparently had access to this entire program. after three months.

yes, edward snowden's response to this was to grab as much information as he could and hand it over to the media to expose what he felt was an invasion of privacy. but he could have just as easily handed it over to the mob. edward snowden could have been just about anyone and apparently, the government's methods of vetting employees could use a little upgrading. i've been at my job for over a year and i'm not allowed access to our budget files. if i need to look at something, i get an electronic copy mailed to me so that there's no danger of me messing with the master document. and i don't think that's a lack of trust, either. i think that's just the realisation that it's not the best idea to give everyone the keys to the kingdom.

so the questions we're asking shouldn't stop with "am i comfortable with the government mining my personal communications" but should logically continue to "am i comfortable with anyone that my government might contract and any of their employees having access to my personal communications?"

in my case that comes down to a simple hell no.

you could make a case that monitoring increases security, but my argument would be that as long as anyone who has access to your systems can lay their hands on the information [and remember, it's not like edward snowden hacked into a mainframe from a remote location- he just downloaded files, like we all do at work and at home], you're actually decreasing security in another very serious way. because all of the information collected [and we will probably never know how long it's held for] can be captured and given to anybody. how secure do you feel now?

so no, the specifics of who edward snowden is- his beliefs, his motivations, his goals- aren't particularly important. but his role as an employee and his access to all of our private communications absolutely is. because we don't know how many other edward snowdens there are, downloading that data and sharing it with their friends, their political allies, people offering them money or people threatening them. we don't have a way of finding out who all the other edwards are and we don't know who's on their team.

17 June 2013

making faces :: 40 lashes

well, i don't know if it's quite forty, but i thought that it might be a fun idea to do a "lightning round" series of reviews on mascara.

mascara is the one thing- even more so than lipstick- that i cling to in my makeup routine. it's the thing i'm least likely to leave the house without. but i sometimes find it less than exciting to review, because you don't have the excitement that colour products can bring. the differences tend to be fairly subtle, especially in photographs.

so here's a quick review of this mascara fiend's findings in the field. for the purposes of comparison, i've given each a grade.

armani :: eyes to kill extreme
this holds the distinction of being the only armani product ever to disappoint me. i make no secret of how much i love most of their products and this mascara isn't bad, but i found that the formula was very thin and wet, especially when fresh. i found i liked it more after i'd been using it a week or so [not uncommon for me], since at first, it tended to make my lashes quite spiky until the newness had "worn off" and the formula had thickened a little. once this happened, it was actually a very nice product to work with that gave great results. i would have liked it quite a bit, except... there's a chemical, inky smell that greets you every time you open it. it's strong, too, strong enough that the act of putting on mascara became unpleasant. it doesn't linger on application, but it's enough to take a very good product down a few notches.
grade :: b+

benefit :: they're real
the company that showed me the potential of a mascara made me nervous when they launched a new one a couple of years ago, but i really shouldn't have worried. this is a nice formula with a long, flexible, rubbery brush and one of those nice round, bulbous tips- great for getting at the lashes on the outer and inner corners and giving yourself a full, lush fringe. despite the big talk, it's not a super-dramatic mascara. it can be built up for some more serious flutter, but i find it a great everyday option. the drawback? you kind of need to use the brushes tip and multiple coats to get proper coverage. for some reason, it's a mascara that just doesn't seem to apply evenly without some work. it can look great, but it's a product that takes a bit more effort.
grade :: a-

benefit :: bad gal
this was my first mascara obsession and for old times' sake, i bought myself a tube a few months ago. either my eye lashes have thinned, the formula has changed, or my standards have gotten higher [actually, none of those things are mutually exclusive]. it's endearingly huge brush just didn't seem to give me the coverage or the drama that i remembered. given the choice now, i'd opt for "they're real".
grade :: b-

cargo :: lash activator
cargo aren't known as a prestige brand, so when i saw one of their mascaras priced at around the same level as chanel and ysl, i was taken aback. turned out they were onto something. i got a sample of this in a gift bag and was completely blown away. the length of time that the sample lasted me alone was shocking- i was able to wear it fairly regularly for a couple of months- but the quality was truly amazing. from the first application, it gave me a beautiful fringe with a fair amount of impact. it's better for lengthening than volume, but it's not bad on volume either. i liked the flexible wand and had no problems getting full coverage of both top and bottom lashes. best of all, it left my lashes quite soft. it is also supposedly good for lashes, although this is hard for me to judge, since i wasn't wearing it alone or everyday. an overlooked gem.
grade :: a+

chanel :: inimitable intense
i knew when i got this that it was so crazy hyped that there was no way it could live up to all the expectations. well you know what? it almost does. compared to a lot of the mascaras on this list, it has a smaller brush, which means it can take longer to coat your lashes, but allows you more precision. i'm sort of split on whether i like it or not. it's fantastic for length and very good for volume, but what really stands out to me is its ability to curl. now, i don't want to annoy you, but that's not actually an area in which i need a lot of help. my lashes have a pretty decent curve on their own. but certainly, this formula helps. the one real problem i noticed is that the product dries out surprisingly fast compared to other high end mascaras. it's great while it lasts, but if you're using it every day, it just isn't going to last that long.
grade :: a

chanel :: le volume
new on the scene is chanel's volume-oriented formula. at first blush, it's very similar to inimitable intense, but it is slightly better at providing volume. if what you really want is a curling formula, it's not quite as amazing as its inimitable cousin, but for my lashes, i like it better because it helps create the illusion of fullness. so having thought they were very similar, i do have to admit that you can go with the name: le volume is your best bet if you want volume and some length, inimitable is your dance partner if you aim for more length plus some curl. i've only worked with a sample size of this one, but i find that even the sample has a better lasting time than inimitable intense, so i really do have to give it the edge.
grade :: a+

dior :: diorshow
talk about hype. i was promised that this would be the be-all, end -all of mascara but in the end, i was let down. i don't find it particularly amazing for length or volume and its a bit messy to work with to boot. the large brush is actually more unwieldy than anything and makes it a bit tricky to get full coverage if, like me, your lashes sit on a fairly deep curve. the formula is nice and lasts a long time, but it's a bit prone to clumping and spiking, which i really don't need. word to the wise: it has a scent. it's a delicate floral and it dissipates on application, but you'll definitely notice it. i actually quite liked it, although it struck me as weird at first. there are dior products that i like far better.
grade :: c+

givenchy :: noir couture
daaaaaammmmnnn. this is one i got as a sample and went back for more. i'd been planning on trying their phenomen-eyes mascara, but got swept up in the launch of this new one with its mysterious figure-8 brush. and what's not to get swept up in? it's a phenomenal formula, long lasting, non-clumping, soft and wonderful for length. it's pretty good on building volume as well, although perhaps just a little behind the best formulas. the real gem here is the coverage it gives. that magical brush can go to work on every lash, no matter how awkwardly placed and won't leave a smudgy mess in its wake. an absolute joy to work with.
grade :: a

mac :: plushlash
mac have an undeservedly deserved bad rep when it comes to mascaras. yes, many years ago, they were awful. i was a 100% full-on mac addict and i still didn't buy their mascaras because a girl has to have some standards. but the fact is that there have been improvements and some of those- like this hardworking little character- got lost in the shuffle. plushlash is a a particularly nice formula if you're looking for volume- better than the much-hyped diorshow in my books. the lengthening is decent and the lasting power is good. it's a large brush, but i find it easier to manoeuvre than many in that same category. it does tend to dry out fairly fast and the quality fades quickly as the formula starts to dry, but it's still a very decent mascara and deserves your attention.
grade :: b+

mac :: opulash
a tale of two mascaras. the first: a lovely dramatic formula that covers lashes, making them fuller, longer and richer. the second: an infuriating mousse-like formula that becomes dry on application and prone to flaking. opulash has great potential, but even if you don't get the flaking effect, you are likely to have lashes that are a bit... crispy. i wanted to love this, because it looks so wonderful at first, but i just couldn't. so sorry...
grade :: c

mac :: false lashes
this is another possibly underrated mac mascara, although how underrated it is will depend on what you're looking for. if you're looking for length, this is your baby. it's great at delivering long, wispy lashes to bat at your paramour. however, if length isn't what you're looking for, you might just want to keep looking. it's not a great volume builder and doesn't give any kind of curl that i saw. it just has that wonderfully fluttery, feather-lashes. the downside is that i find this is one formula that fades- not that the product dries up quickly, but my lashes first thing in the morning looked far, far more fabulous than they did later in the day. i hate it when that happens.
grade :: b

smashbox :: full exposure
honesty up-front: smashbox is a brand that has yet to really impress me. the one thing of theirs that i liked was a lipstick that i got as a freebie with a concealer i bought, because the formula was being discontinued. other than that, i've been way, way short of impressed with anything they've done. i got full exposure as a sample and while that doesn't necessarily give one the time to explore a product that a full-size version does, it was more than enough for me to realise that i never wanted to spend my hard-earned money on a full tube of the stuff. it gave neither length nor volume and clumped my lashes together in weak little bundles. there aren't many times i'd say that i'd be happier with no mascara at all, but it was really difficult for me to see an upside to this one.
grade :: f

yves st. laurent :: faux cils
saving the best for last? well, maybe. if i'm being very honest, faux cils does have a couple of flaws that are obvious straight out of the box: the first is that the formula is a little bit greasy, which can lend itself to unsightly smudges. the second is that there's so much product that comes out at first that you can end up with clumping. [luckily, that creamy formula is easy to comb out, but it's still a flaw.] after a few uses, though, this becomes just divine. i've purchased the "noir radical" multiple times and it really is the most intense black i've ever seen. plus it delivers gorgeous, super-dramatic lashes that are long, thick and coyly curled. it's so beautiful you could almost forget those early-on problems, especially since there's a lot of product packed into a tube and it just doesn't dry out. in this case, it's not as flawless as the best formulas, but i love the end result so much that i hate to count its flaws against it [especially since they resolve themselves through use]. nevertheless...
grade :: a

yves st. laurent :: baby doll
what's this? something new? i'm actually trying this out for the very first time today. impressions thus far? oh my. it doesn't give quite the theatrical flourish of "faux cils", but it's flawless straight out of the tube, very clean to work with, and fourteen hours after application, it's still going strong.
grade :: too early to tell, but all signs are positive...

for certain there's more to be said on this subject, because it's certain that i'll be trying out more formulas as time goes on. but this is my list for now.

all the accompanying images were taken from this post, although there's no telling where they got them from...

have a favourite mascara? still searching for your holy grail? feel free to share.

encore?

soft moon :: terrific performance, but should an
encore really have props?
lately, i've gotten back into the habit of attending shows. actually, i never lost the habit, but there was an extended period when the shows that were happening in montreal just didn't excite me that much. but in the last few weeks, there's been joel dittrich at elektra, the ryoichi kurokawa/ emptyset show at mutek, soft moon performing with the excellent local post-post-punk troupe dekoder and, most exciting of all, the canadian debut of william bennett's afro-noise project, cut hands. that's a great diversity of performances in a variety of different spaces and the contrasts got me thinking of the things i appreciate about live music and one thing in particular that i don't like.

it's quite easy to see the appeal of a live show- at least to me- the energy of a crowd can augment the thrill of seeing a favourite artist, plus there's that combination of the familiar and the unknown- you'll be hearing things that you've heard before, but often done in different ways, or interspersed with unexpected reactions/ interactions. at its best, it can be euphoric and i've been lucky enough to see a lot of shows that fall into that category. even when you know the music and can sing along [if that's your thing], there's always that excitement that comes from seeing it done with your own eyes [we are after all, visual creatures] and from feeding off the collective energy in the room.

the thing that i don't like- something that actually annoys me more and more each time i see it done- is the "expected encore". there was a time when an encore was a treat- you hollered and stamped and ballyhooed long enough that the band felt compelled to come back and do something to sate your longing. often, that would be a song they never did as part of their normal set, or a cover of someone else's track. in fact, encores used to be panic-inducing, because it the band would have played all the songs they came prepared to perform as part of their regular live set. now, however, it's just assumed that there will be encores and, what's worse, it's often the biggest numbers that get saved for the part that's supposed to be unplanned. surely that's cheating.

i've seen enough shows to know that it's perfectly possible to get a fully satisfying set without forcing the audience to beg for part of it [some of the shows that i mentioned above were great without relying on this]. and as audiences, we should expect that an artist is going to give a fully satisfying performance [or at least try their damnedest] without having to interrupt themselves for the sake of cheap theatrics.

there are times when encores are legitimately demanded, because the set has been so wonderful that the audience just can't bear to let it go. but those should surely be the exception. when you know from a band's set list what three tracks they're going to play as encores, it sort of diminishes the impact. and even if you don't, you know that if there are a couple of major "hits" [i use the term in its broadest possible sense] missing from the main set that it's a lock you're going to get an encore that includes them. and although we all know that live shows aren't as spontaneous as they seem, it does seem a bit insulting all around to have to go through the steps of a ritual whose outcome is predetermined.

i've certainly been part of howling throngs in my time, playing my little part to perfection, but i find that my patience gets thinner as my tolerance for bullshit decreases. every time i see this bizarre little sub-clause of the social contract kick in, i hear a small voice in my brain groaning "you know you're coming back. we know you're coming back. just bloody get on with it."

if a band or artist wants to take a break, that's fine, but don't pretend that things are ending when we all know perfectly well that they aren't.

i don't know how you curb this tendency, since it's become part of the expected sequence of events in the rock show and both sides are acting out their part, but i have some hope that it's something that will fade from popularity and go back to being something that really is reserved for the most exceptional performances.

14 June 2013

it turns out i am an intolerant person

source
i'm lucky when it comes to allergies. aside from the fact that i seem to get strange bouts of them from nothing and everything a few times i year, there's nothing that i have to take pains to avoid. a peanut is not an object of fear for me. when i have had reactions, they've generally been of the mild contact dermatitis sort- which is sort of what you'd expect from someone who tries a lot of different types of cosmetics and skin care.

but as it happens, i'm not 100% allergy-proof when it comes to foods. relatively late in life, i discovered that i have a problem with grapefruit. it took that long, because the couple of times i tried it as a child, i found the flavour of grapefruit so detestable that i wanted it nowhere near me. so it wasn't until i was in my thirties that i thought to try it- as part of a coulis served over grilled fish in a restaurant. i still found it unpleasantly bitter and far too acidic to be palatable, but the next day, i also felt like i was auditioning for the role of an unfortunate crew member in one of the "alien" films. i was at work and barely able to concentrate i was in such pain.

i thought at first i was blaming the grapefruit out of convenience, so i made myself try the stuff again to be sure a few months later. same results, case closed.

of course, my little study didn't prove anything. after all, i didn't have any of the classic signs of an allergy- no swollen throat, no hives, no breathing difficulties- which led me to downplay its importance.  i couldn't really be allergic to something if it didn't kill me, right? well, i know that's not how it works, but it does show a certain level of ignorance on my part about what food allergies actually are. we confuse things by referring to some allergies as "intolerance" or "sensitivity" [which are different from true allergies in ways that only doctors and scientists truly need to understand] or saying that we just don't digest certain things. it's easy to tell when you don't digest things. without getting into too much detail, most people have a lot of difficulty fully digesting corn. [take a moment to think about that if you need to.] the point is, simply not being able to digest something isn't especially dangerous. allergies [and intolerances and sensitivities] are.

but because what happened to me didn't fit my understanding of what a serious allergy was, i didn't take it too seriously.

source
last night, i was given a beverage with an eerily familiar bitter taste lurking in its ruby depths. it was a mix and, since i didn't think there was a huge amount of citric evil in it, i sipped away, happily convinced that the worst that was going to happen to me was that my stomach would be a bit sore later on. in fact, i didn't sip all that much, because the more aware of the grapefruit-ness of it, the more some distant alarm bell sounded in my brain.

i spent the majority of last night writhing in the most profound pain i'd felt in many years. of course, i was trying to keep relatively quiet, so that i didn't end up frightening dom again, but it was an effort. at one point, i completely lost the line between sleep, wakefulness and hallucination. i think i was in all three worlds at once.

in fact, i had almost the full list of gastrointestinal symptoms of anaphylaxis- minus, thankfully, the loss of bladder control- along with the dizziness, confusion and panic that are the nervous system's part of an allergic reaction. [acute allergic reactions aren't just about the hives and the breathing- there are lots of ways the body can find to freak out.] truly one of life's less pleasant experiences and, i'm fairly certain, quite a bit worse than either of the previous reactions i've had. [it's possible that i actually consumed more citric evil this time.]

what this has taught me is simple: this has gone beyond a simple case of a food that doesn't agree with me. i have a tough time digesting pistachios if i eat too many of them, but it's nothing i can't live with. my entire being, from my gut to the seed of my soul rejects grapefruit. and even if it's unlikely that some will sneak into my food without me noticing, i owe it to my body to check if i have any reason to think it might be lurking and take what steps i have to to make sure that the closest thing to grapefruit that ever touches my lips is fresca.

i'm lucky. i could have an allergy to something like gluten, which would require a wholesale overhaul of my eating habits, or sulphites, which would cause problems with anything dried, canned or somehow preserved [even naturally], as well as soy, vinegar, any prepared meat, basically any condiment and anything sweetened with sugar or sugar syrup. have fun going to a restaurant with that list.

your body will let you know in short order if it really can't handle something. be prepared to listen.

p.s. :: grapefruit is actually evil and trying to kill you. that's not me being paranoid. ask your doctor some time how many medications are screwed up by eating grapefruit. or just follow the link.



12 June 2013

about last night

i really have to stop doing this.

apparently, while he was off in the land of nod, i awakened dom making giggling noises. whatever was going on in my head, i assure you it was friggin' hilarious, but when i tried to explain it to him, all that came out was "i was spitting food!!" which really he didn't find funny enough to warrant being disturbed in the middle of the night. i'm not even sure if he realised that i was trying to explain the joke to him, or if he thought i'd just been sitting in bed, happily spitting food on myself and giggling.

if you've ever had the experience of someone not getting a joke that you think is absolutely hysterical, you know how frustrating it can be. and if you've ever had the experience of being frustrated by something when you're half-asleep, you know that frustration can quickly escalate to childish rage, because you just can't rationalise what's happening.

so my brain got a full charge of child rage and then- and this was really the biggest mistake- fell back to sleep.

wherein it plotted its revenge.

its revenge was to give me some bizarre nightmare where some guy got poisoned while "the great muppet caper" played in the background and the police were investigating and questioning everyone and i did my interview and totally aced it, but then i stood at the front of the room where we were all being held temporarily and i was wearing a dark red silk dress that had a bit of a tear under the armpit and i started jumping up and down and laughing and repeating "i did it! i did it!" because i wanted everyone, police and colleagues, to understand that i'd been so damn clever and gotten away with murder. [although i apparently hadn't thought through the strategy terribly well, because normally if you've gotten away with murder, you don't want to publicise.]

in the real world, outside of my muppet movie murder meltdown, this manifested as me cackling in a profoundly evil and disturbing way. it started off quiet enough, but grew louder and crazier in short order. and then louder and crazier still.

having had enough, dom poked me in the side and said "honey, you're scaring me".

at which point my laughter became a scream. and not just a quick "eeek!!", either. instead, the steady stream of laughter became a steady stream of

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA


09 June 2013

making faces :: j'adore dior encore

i feel like dior is one of those brands that gets the short shrift from me. at least, i think that's how i feel, undeservingly bad.
rowan ellis :: bluebird of paradise
because i don't really know what a short shrift is. i just assume it's something that's bad and more that it's

it's true that i wasn't blown away [at all] by their fabled diorshow mascara. but i did really like their hydrating concealer until i found the new nars radiant creamy concealer, which works a little better for me. and their nude skin foundation and powder have both served me well. my greatest problem with dior is that i often feel that their colour selections mirror things that i already have in my considerable stash, whereas other brands have tended to come out with things that felt more unique to me. so all of my dior desires seem to get put perpetually on hold, while i'm off grabbing things that seem a little more immediately "necessary".

i have to say that i fell in love at first sight with a couple of their recent releases though, including- surprisingly for me- a palette of blue eye shadows from their "bird of paradise" summer collection. i also stumbled across a brand new display of cream blushes, which quite took my breath away- another surprise since i'm not normally a cream blush fan.

the shadow palette in question is called "blue lagoon", which for those around my age might conjure up  cheesy images of a young brooke shields stranded on a tropical island, gradually learning how to repopulate the world with her co-strandee. indeed, the shades of the palette do have a disturbing late disco/ early 80s vibe to them, in that they appear very bright and blue and mostly pastel. the truth is that the colours, while they have good pigmentation, are much more subdued than you might think. that's either going to be a bonus or a disappointment.

the first shade is an intense baby blue and this one actually is quite bright, although it blends out fairly easily. it is going to have some impact. it's not exactly matte, but there isn't a lot of shimmer to it. it's a satin finish that gives a very clear, pure colour.

blue lagoon colour #1
i don't have a lot of shades like this in my collection. shu uemura sky blue is brighter and has a gold shimmer that makes it warmer.

l to r :: shu uemura sky blue, blue lagoon
the lightest shade in the palette falls a little short of a true highlighter for me and is a little deceptive because it doesn't look like a highlighter at all. i think that this shade is the reason why some people have been disappointed in the palette as a whole, because you really would expect the light, almost icy blue that you get from looking at the colour in the pan.

FLY WITH ME...

08 June 2013

the law of the letter

this is an odd bit that i wrote a little while ago. i think i meant to add more to it, but i never got around to that and, reading it, i do think that it functions fairly well as is.

*

Funny now, I thought I heard you, heard those footsteps in the snow,
heard the light click-click of heels along the winter's last ice
that's grown slick with the inexorable thaw, the sweet retreat of the east wind,
the toothless roar of March's latest tantrum sounding out the rite of Spring for all of us
is how it's been these last weeks.
And yes, it does seem strange without you, so perhaps it was just to give myself some comfort
that I imagined I heard your spider-like steps.
Perhaps I wanted to think you'd come back to get me.
Perhaps I thought you were back, wet and frozen and angry
ember-eyes glowing like Chinese lanterns inside that bony cage of a skull;
you always needed some meat on your bones.
But that's my foolishness, finding devils in the air when I exhale
and it wasn't you come back to hunt me down, but just some dead branch
flinging itself, exhausted against the road.
It still gave me a start, alone as I was, up late as I often am.
They tell me I should take something for all these complaints I've developed, these mundane cramps
and bursts of pain that swell in every pocket and dimple from my throat to my feet.
I think it's this that makes me old.
And when I think that, I'm surprised, because it doesn't seem that long ago that I
had energy for everything, a long walk through the feral forest,
a stroll by the creek to hear the ancient footbridge sigh beneath our weight.
You gave me the vitality I needed.
Now, I'm told I need bitters for my liver, more zinc, more iron, more copper, until I think I need to start a mine to meet my needs just to stumble, bored and bitter, through another day.
But we know that's not it, you and I.
I could douse the surly flames in my gut with milk and gold, but I would not be myself again.
For that, I need you, in all your terrifying glory
rising from the dead light at the end of the dark season.
I sit and wait for that, imagining your footsteps to bolster hope.

06 June 2013

dj kali and mr. dna @ the caustic lounge 05.06.13

sometimes, the sound gods are angry. things got off to a late start last night, because the sound equipment was trapped underneath a theatre group doing improv in the back room until nine. then it got delayed more because something had eaten the main cord up front. then we set up in the back and everything was fine, although you could only hear what we were doing in the back room, whereas we usually find our way into both. 

nevertheless, it was a lot of fun and it was great to see all those of you who came out. and for those of you who didn't... this is what you missed...

mr. dna

primal scream :: burning wheel
blur :: music is my radar
talking heads :: making flippy floppy
david bowie :: boys keep swinging
the cars :: candy-o
crash course in science :: second glance
second layer :: courts of wars
orchestral manoeuvres in the dark :: electricity
celibates :: coming alone
frank alpine :: dark places
skinny puppy :: morpheus laughing
future of the left :: you need satan more than he needs you
god :: on all fours
shellac :: wingwalker
jello biafra w/ nomeansno :: chew
killing joke :: wardance
flipper :: ha ha ha
the jesus lizard :: bloody mary
urge overkill :: god flintstone

dj kali

the vanishing :: lovesick
death in june :: nothing changes
sanity plexus :: squalor
devo :: uncontrollable urge
wire :: blessed state
chrome :: the need [um, not sure about this...]
pop 1280 :: nature boy
sleep museum :: butterfly
clock dva :: velvet realm
nocturnal emissions :: don't believe it's over
clair obscur :: the pilgrim's progress [instrumental]
staccato du mal :: desespero
novy svet :: en possession de te

04 June 2013

making faces :: burberry bits

during my brief sojourn in the west last month, i did have the time to stop by the holt renfrew there and
see one of the only two burberry makeup counters in canada. i'm not in the least bit happy that this collection has been limited to the toronto and vancouver flagship stores, especially since we have a beautiful flagship store here in montreal. and now that i've actually gotten to try burberry products, i'm even less happy about the limited availability.

burberry are still newcomers to the cosmetic world, having launched their collection just a few short years ago. they've already become darlings of the makeup mafia, with virtually all of their products garnering rave reviews from ladies who know their stuff. as you might expect from a design house, the products are pricy and even by the standards of prestige brands, their prices are high, but it's worth noting that you tend to get a fair amount of product. which is especially nice when you're limited as to how often you can get to a counter to try things out on your skin.

the colour selection across the line is restrained, quietly conservative, understated and classy. in fact, burberry have done a bang-up job of creating a collection that reflects the same design principles they espouse in their fashions. you won't find any neon brights or glitters, but what you will find, in spades, are sumptuous shades you can wear every day, but that don't look "everyday".

usually when i'm trying a new brand, i like to grab a couple of different products and with burberry i certainly could have, but i was so tempted by their single eye shadows that i ended up grabbing two of those. [i would have bought more, except that there was also a chantecaille counter, which i'll get to in a later post.]

PLEASE PROCEED...

03 June 2013

mental health mondays :: we've been saying this for years

there have been many, many, many controversies that have plagued the development of the latest diagnostic
and statistical manual of mental disorders, but in the debates over how conditions were included, excluded and evaluated, something new has slipped into the crazy playbook, something that coffee drinkers would salute as basic common sense: caffeine withdrawal is now considered a mental disorder.

so if you've been telling people for years that they shouldn't talk to you before you've had your coffee, or arguing that you're a different person when you're caffeine-deprived, you can now relax, because the psychiatric powers that be agrees with you.

in the most basic terms, this means that psychiatrists acknowledge that going without caffeine, when you're a junkie, can mess you up. however what's not clear- and what won't be clear until some brave soul decides to test it- is how much it can mess you up. does it mean that you can show signs of irritability and have an official name for it? does it mean that you can bill your morning joe to your group insurance plan? most importantly, if i stabbed someone in the eye for looking at me funny this morning before i'd had coffee, do i have a legal grounds to argue diminished capacity?

i really can't wait until the first "coffee killer" goes on trial. i'm kind of hoping that it isn't me.

in the meantime, you now have official license to call yourself an addict and claim that all the problems in your life are purely the result of being in the grip of the demon caffeine.

you're welcome.

01 June 2013

this is what happens when i try to do laundry

so, i was quite insistent that i had way too much house work to catch up on to allow myself to spend my saturday doing things that i might enjoy. but under the guise of killing time until the unbearable heat and humidity subsided a little, i decided to try my hand at doing a "found footage" video, the type of which dom has become so adept at.

i've only ever done one other video by myself and that was all stuff i shot on my phone, so this is still pretty new creative territory.

the idea for this one actually came from martin, who suggested that dom should do some kind of video based around the terrifying and beautiful tornado footage that's been so abundant lately. i passed that suggestion on to dom, but he didn't seem that interested. i was about to start arguing that doing a video about storms and climate and fear was a goddamned incredible idea, but then it occurred to me that arguing with an artist about what they should use as inspiration or subject matter ranked really high on the list of stupid arguments.

but while i was mulling over the subject last night and enjoying a pretty incredible show by ryoichi kurokawa and the empty set [part of mutek], the link with the dustbowl of the thirties sort of connected in my head.

this is what i came up with.

coming storm from Kate MacDonald on Vimeo.

the bad news is, i still have a lot of laundry to get done.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...