Seeing Savages Live

Savages band

(Image via Wonderland Magazine)

I have a ticket to see London-based Savages at the Biltmore tonight.  I admit, I’ve been a huge skeptic.  Simon has been obsessed with their post-punk sound for months and when he first had me listen to them, I couldn’t get past the fact that lead singer  Jehnny Beth’s voice reminded me of Rush’s Geddy Lee.  And that was it, I was completely turned off.

But, Simon persisted (ie. had me sit at his desk and watch a long and intense live performance of theirs) and I decided that I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to see them live.  Especially since I’ve heard from other friends that their live performances kick ass.  Maybe in real life, her voice won’t scream Geddy Lee to me.  At least that’s what I’m hoping.

According to a Wonderland Magazine post published last October, their performances are intoxicating.

Jehn’s gain-friendly post punk band with musicians Ayse Hassan, Gemma Thompson and Fay Milton – have whipped up a storm of buzz in recent months, grounded almost utterly on word-of-mouth, some guarded press coverage and a clutch of otherworldly, sublime live performances that seem to have intoxicated audiences.

I’ll try my hardest not to feel intimidated.  Below are two of their best songs, Shut Up and Husbands.

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Our New Piece

glock

On November 9th, Simon and I hit up Unassisted, a group photo expo down the road from our apartment in which two photographer friends were participating.  We had a great time and met a lot of cool people but left the exhibit empty handed.  After three days, however, our friend Sven Boecker‘s stand-out image of an Austrian-made glock was still haunting us.  We contacted him and told him we wanted to buy it and soon after, the 5 ft by 4 ft image, created by layering 24 individual photos, was OURS.

We had the piece in our apartment for over a month before we actually hung it due to weight and time constraints.  This puppy weighs 40+ lbs and we needed Simon’s engineer dad to determine whether our walls could support it.  In the days leading up to hanging it, I felt very uneasy about having the photo in our apartment.  I was still blown away by its presence and loved the image but given the tragic recent school shooting and gun controversy, I was afraid that displaying it on our wall might signal that I am pro gun.  If you know me well, you know my weapons of choice are high fives and chest bumps.

I told Simon about my apprehension, and he explained that, like all pieces of art, its meaning depends on both the viewers’ interpretation and the artist’s intent.  He was right.  My initial reaction to the piece was one of surprise at how a weapon associated with death and pain could paradoxically be captured in such a beautiful and intriguing way (remember I said this image haunted me for days).  Briefly, Simon’s take on the piece was that he found it very interesting that Sven chose to enlarge something that is physically small but has a huge social impact to a size that more closely reflects that impact.

I finally asked Sven about his intent with this piece and his response was very insightful.

“It is kind of an extension or almost a metaphor for a struggle I have had within photography.

From a very early age, I was hyper fascinated by really well-engineered objects, particularly cameras. Specifically my parents’ camera.  My wanting to be involved in photography was born out of a fascination with the instrument rather than a passion for imagery.  This continued well into working as a photographer.  It was only probably 8 or 10 years into my career that I identified this as a bit of a problem as I was not allowing myself to develop at all.  At some point, I decided that I needed to overcome my fascination with the camera as an object and start focusing on creating images.  This is something that I still struggle with.  My photo of the gun was made by using my actual skills to create an image, transcending my love of the camera as an object.  To show another very finely-engineered object in the same way that I once viewed the camera: with total fascination of engineering, craftsmanship, texture and quality and a complete disregard for utility.

In the end, ignoring utility, a glock is not too different from a Leica camera.  But, when we start to explore utility, both objects also have similar power.  They are both able to protect, save, exploit and destroy.  A single photo has the power to be as liberating or as destructive as a round from a gun.

They are essentially tools that are very close cousins in both operative function and delivery of consequence.  My photo of the glock, while ignoring utility, I think does invite debate on whether it is the object itself that can be judged on its own or if we need to consider, more importantly, the function of its user.

Having said all that, my intention was simply to use my learned skill as a photographer to show people how I see finely-engineered objects.”

We hung it above our bed because it is the only wall in our apartment that can support its weight. Unintentionally, it reflects how fucked up it is to sleep with a gun by your pillow “for protection.”


My Favourite Pieces

Mama

Sometimes I feel like I am forgetting pieces of her.  So I am writing some of my best memories down.

She had the softest cheeks.

She hummed when she cooked.

She had Turkish coffee phone dates with her friends.

She loved soap operas.

She was jealous when we liked her friend’s cheese burek more than hers.

Her hair curled into an afro.

She loved it when people said I looked like her.

She had the cutest accent.

She was always knitting.

She loved chillin with her sisters.

She climbed trees for fresh figs.

She made the best spaghetti bolognese.  And baklava.

She nicknamed every chipmunk in our backyard “Zoe”.

Instead of buying her Christmas gifts, she asked that we donate money.

She had mad gardening skills.

She wanted every family photo to be taken in front of her plants.

She and I danced in the kitchen to Croatian music.

She said the best reason to have kids was to eventually have grandkids.

___

She is missed.  xoxo

Mom and I

MomMe and mom


My New News

Hi readers!

I know, I know, it’s been a while.  I’ve been hustling for the past few weeks, getting in the swing of things at my NEW JOB!!  For those of you who don’t know, I’ve recently been hired as a Personal Shopper at the new Vancouver TOPSHOP, which opened on October 18th.  At 33,000 square feet, it is the second biggest TOPSHOP/TOPMAN in the world.  Why here?  I’m pretty sure it’s to lift Vancouverites out of the yoga-pants wearing hole they’ve dug themselves into.

I met the rest of the Personal Shopping team a mere two and half weeks ago and we are already like one big (very-well dressed) family.  From closing down a bar together last Friday to organizing a baking party tonight, we are addicted to each other.  Fortunately, we were trained by the best of the best, Sarah from the Manchester store and Phil from Oxford Circus, so we’re totally prepared to make your sartorial dreams come true.  You: tell us what event or non-event you are attending, eat cupcakes, read art books and fashion mags while relaxing in our luxurious suites.  We: do all the work for you and make sure you are fully satisfied.

See below for some photos of our digs (ahem, the changeroom is bigger than my bedroom).

(Images via TOPSHOP Canada)

I dressed MuchMusic VJ Liz Trinnear for our opening night party.  She looks brilliant if I do say so myself.  And she charmed the pants off of me. ❤

(Photo by Noreen)

Call us directly at (604) 689-2335 to book an appointment.  Trust me, it’s an experience like no other. And it’s FREE.


Concert Announcement: Beach House at the Commodore!

(Image via Clashmusic.com)

I was beyond pumped to discover that Baltimore dream pop duo Beach House released its fourth full-length album, Bloom, last month.  Teen Dream was my favourite record of 2010 and pretty much defined my time in Paris.  With Bloom, Victoria Legrand’s voice takes me back to my time abroad; dreamy, magical, addictive.

In support of their new material, Beach House will be performing at the Commodore Ballroom on Monday, October 1st.  Tickets went on sale today, June 16th, via LiveNation.  Don’t be stupid by missing out.  The mysterious and beautiful Victoria rivals Karen O as the coolest girl in rock music today.  Seeing her live will no doubt put me over the edge.  I imagine the experience will be as profound and intense as seeing Warpaint live last year.

Michell Eloy of Paste Magazine describes Beach House’s latest offering.

Steady percussion; repetitive, almost hypnotic guitar; reverberated piano; sparkling synthesizers—they’re layered and arranged in a way that amplifies the band’s distinct sound.

To see what he means, watch Beach House with Jools Holland on the BBC Two.

And check out their new video for Lazuli:

The dreamy duo will also be performing shows at the Kool Haus in Toronto on October 13 and Astra Kulturhaus in Berlin on November 10.


Unstoppable – Santigold at the Commodore in Vancouver

(Photo via Weallwantsomeone.org)

Santigold performed her first show in Vancouver – ever – on Saturday.  My partner in crime Aynsley and I were two lucky bitches with tickets to the sold-out show.  Aynsley took me to see Grimes for my birthday and I scored her a pass to last night’s show for hers.

Promoting her new album Master of My Make-Believe, Santigold performed with so much energy that she had the entire sold-out crowd dancing and singing.  On either side of her were two extremely-talented, beyond cool dancers.  Their choreography started out restrained with props but as the show progressed, there were booty shakes, high kicks, animal-inspired moves and way more.  I tried so hard to remember their dance moves so my friends and I would have something do to other than bad dance* on the dance floor in the future but if we attempted a dinosaur dance at our next house party, I know it wouldn’t translate well.

Santigold nailed it in so many ways; beautiful singing, elaborate costumes, jaw-dropping choreography, high energy, strong lyrics and a fully-engaged audience.  A performance like hers is why I love going to concerts.  Every aspect was so inspiring, I immediately felt the urge to get creative and make something (probably annoying crafts because my creative talents are limited).

Santigold crowd surfed three times, had 2 costume changes, and busted a move in front of a great white horse once.  It was hands down my favourite concert of the year thus far.  No doubt every girl in the room wanted to be friends with her or straight up be her.  Readers, if you trust my judgment on one thing only, GO SEE SANTIGOLD.

*bad dance is a dance whereby my friends and I try the most absurd and awful dance moves we can think of.

(Photos taken by me, last photo is me and Aynsley)


Tokyo Part Ichiban: Sounds

I’m back from Tokyo but am still there in spirit (and sleep schedule, damned jet lag). It exceeded all of my expectations and surprised me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Some of my biggest surprises were the sounds of the city (or lack thereof).

The Streets and Subways:

For being the largest metropolitan area IN THE WORLD, Tokyo can be amazingly quiet. I believe we only heard two cars honk and one baby cry (which turned out to be a white baby, mind you) during our entire visit. The city is incredibly efficient, organized and clean and offered many moments of serenity in what I thought would be a crazy concrete jungle.

The (there’s no fancy way of putting this) Toilets:

My bottom will surely miss the heated seats but I was astounded to see a computerized hand rest with an assortment of little buttons offering various options, one of them being a music note that makes “flushing sounds” to mute away any undesired noises. Now that’s something many office restrooms would benefit from.

The Music Scene:

While I was disappointed to learn that I was missing both Morrissey and Noel Gallagher by a matter of days, this eternal Britpop fan got her fair share of Oasis, The Smiths and then some being played everywhere from bars to underwear shops (these are my kind of people). But the biggest treat came from a local band called Molice that we were fortunate enough to catch on our last night in Tokyo, at a tiny venue in Shibuya area called O-Nest. (I was thrilled to hear that there were over 80 music venues in Shibuya alone – again, my kind of people). Check out Molice’s track Ms Panic, my favourite performance of the night:

Fortunately, I get to feed my J-Rock fix tonight at the Waldorf Hotel in Vancouver for Next Music Tokyo vol 4 (exquisite timing). Join me  for performances by the Zazen Boys, group_inou, Charan-Po-Rantan and Praha Depart! Show starts at 8pm, advance tix $8, more info here:

Mata nee! (see you soon)