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Luminato: Enana Dance Theatre Presents… Julia Domna

Luminato: Enana Dance Theatre Presents… Julia Domna

Its the last weekend of the Luminato festival (where did the time go) and at this stage of the fesitval I can say with confidence that Female Spirit is live and direct. What better spirit to embody than the phenomenal Julia Domna of ancient Rome, and this is exactly what Enana Dance Theatre did. Born in the second century, and said to be an ancestor of the Kings Priest from the famous temple of Baal. She was a woman who appreciated art, had a keen sense when it came to politics, and as they say well read. And of course we all know she snagged the furture Emperor Septimius Severus. Enana Dance Theatre, was founded in 1990 by Jehad Mufleh and still under his direction, they are coming live and direct from Syria, and making their North American debut at this year’s festival.  Sooo you can just imagine how the theatre was bursting at the seams with Syrian pride, I’m mean people were actually waving flags… I know intense.

The curtain rose and immediately there was an eruption of colour, light and sheer energy… seriously like who does a 360 headspin in  first five minutes, right the Enana Dance Theater. I knew the word on the street is that Enana is far from a dance troop, but gosh darn… I wasn’t is expecting live acrobatics, singing and belly dancing!!! I broke my attention from the headspin I suddenly noticed  the stage was transformed into the Roman Empire from pilliars to the temple cravings. The next dance number literally had like 50 people, mouth dropped, they had me!!! I like was like 50 dancers and y’all are throwing, flipping and lifting people while like half the time singing…INSANE.  And the choregraphy was filled with line changes and formations, partnering that spanned the stage, genius. The costume design by Sahab EJ Raheb and Viktoria Tanji brought the story to life even more laden in sequins, beads, and feathers that glistened with every twist and turn. They were truly a spectacle, I couldn’t even keep up with the costume changes after like the tenth one I stopped counting (serioulsy, and I ain’t talking just simply ripping off a pants and shirt). I can’t shut up about this performance… it wasn’t because it was the best I have ever seen!!! Simply, because the performers actually conveyed the saga of Julia, you could feel the power, sadness, lost and pain.

xoxo                                                                                                                                                                       xoxo                                                                                                                                                                       Pinkie

Luminato: One Pure Longing: Táhirih’s Search

Luminato: One Pure Longing: Táhirih’s Search

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that this year Luminato has the underlying theme of the Female Spirit.  So of course when I heard a story of  Táhirih, one of the most influential poets and theologians of the Babi faith was a part of the festival I couldn’t miss. Just in case you have no idea who Táhirih is here’s the 411. In 1848, at the Conference of  Badasht, Táhirih unveiled herself  in public to an assemblage of men, the unveiling caused a great deal of controversy and the Báb named her Táhirih (meaning “the Pure One“) to show his support for her. She was soon arrested and placed under house arrest in Tehran, after a  few years she was executed in secret on account of her Bábí faith. Can we say inspiration!!!

This uniquely creative piece entwines dance, movement, poetry, cross-cultural songs from Iran, First Nations and African Americans, silk/aerial work and lamentation into a vivid multidisciplinary theatrical journey. A culturally diverse cast Akosua Amo-Adem, Kate Digby, Marya Lowry, Matthew Romantini, Meegwun Fairbrother and Shohreh Haghiri under the  direction, performer, playwright and teacher Erika Batdorf .

Opening scene the curtain raises the stage seems to be constructed in a sloping wave like pattern and is illuminated in a red hue. Just as my eyes begin to adjust I can see a figure draped in a veil on the highest slope and as the figure began to walk they revealing the other figures scattered on the wave. The Persian chanting/singing begin on the far left and right of the stage are two figures one male and the other female. In the centre is a lone female figure whom I envision is the voice of Táhirih. To be honest I felt as though I couldn’t wrap my head around the piece, like how did the aerial ribbon fit in with the ripping of the curtain, and Persian singing. For once I was really baffled… I had to stay for the Q&A!!!

The Q&A is where the piece came to life and was truly illuminated for me… it is where I found the voice, I guess my voice. This was an intimate encounter where the cast deconstructed this deeply spiritual, prayerful and truthful process. Erika created a work that had a faith based process; from prayer to rejoicing to chanting it forced the cast to work in a truthful real way. The inspiration is somewhat revealed by Erika who mentions the International Women’s Playwrights Conference she attended in Indonesia, where during her performance she mentioned Táhirih. It seemed that every women at the conference regardless of race or creed approached Batdorf asking about this great woman and How they could find their own voice? Let’s just say that go the ball a rolling… This ball catapulted us into finding a our REAL voice, voice that always speaks during oppression.

After leaving Buddies in Bad Theatre, really felt good with a sense of empowerment. What’s even better is on subway platform at Yonge I bumped into Akosua (the voice of Táhirih), I showered her with praises and she was simply blushing. The blabbermouth I am I had to ask her everything, which she answered gracefully… the best part ever is she was nice enough to accept my request for an interview (that will becoming soon, she deserves a lil break). As Askosua said to me before she hopped on the westbound train… the pulling down of those veils is sign of having a voice and using it no matter what the oppression.

xoxo                                                                                                                                                                       Pinkie

DÉCLASSÉ-FIED: MuchMusic Video Awards 2010

DÉCLASSÉ-FIED: MuchMusic Video Awards 2010

Special MMVAs weekend roundup! Backstage antics, eavesdropping on Miley Cyrus, party-hopping observations, and general judgments.

The MuchMusic Video Awards. An annual summer spectacle featuring the hottest in music, movies, and television, defining all that is relevant in pop culture these days.

The weekend of madness began Saturday evening when I hit The Block party – a four-venue event spread across Queen St West where celebrities can mingle and pick up some swag, marking the official commencement of the MMVA weekend. Umbra was stop number one, followed by a private performance from The Raveonettes, who rocked the small cottage warehouse-like space across from MuchMusic headquarters. Local artists and MMVA nominees in attendance included Lights, Down With Webster, Raveonettes fan Fefe Dobson (totally jamming perched on a windowsill), Carly Rae Jepson, party scene staples Degrassi kids, and assorted industry insiders. The two other locations were New Era and Upper Lavish, all of which were packed with party people.

Day 2 and it’s showtime! Post-apocalyptic concert experience hearing aid-necessity aside, excitement was both seen and heard, with masses of (mostly) teen girls packing the blocked-off streets, awaiting red carpet arrivals and the 9PM show, lining up way too early to be labeled sane.

The MMVAs are known for outrageous antics on the red carpet, usually featuring alternative modes of transportation such as a time machine car (Karl Wolf), or ice cream truck, which was Katy Perry‘s choice of eccentricity. Oh, and her red carpet dress resembled that of something off a Siren’s sale rack. I kind of hope it was an ode-to-Jersey Shore. Love for Katy Perry.

Miley Cyrus was this year’s MMVAs co-host, taking the reigns from the Jonas Brothers, hosts from the year prior. Does anyone remember the Jo Bros? A year ago, three moppy-haired kids ruled the world of tweens and pages of Tiger Beat, while Justin Bieber was still busking on street corners in Stratford, Ontario. Fast forward to 2010 and J-Biebs is the new princess on the block, sexually confusing prepubescents around the globe. Why is Bieber-mania larger than the Jonai ever were? Maybe it’s because Nick, Joe, and Kevin all took a vow of chastity, while Bieber is a lil’ player who hits on all of his female interviewers and frolics the beaches of Bahamas with Kim Kardashian. Someday, that could be you! Or until next year when a new overnight teen superstar dominates the hearts and charts.

Spotted: Miley Cyrus in the MuchMusic building bathroom, blabbing on and on (from the stall) to her on-guard mom about Liam, her boyfriend, not wanting to go to some premier without her when he totally should because he’d obviously be the hottest one there, while mom nodded in agreement at every statement. Miley even suggested he take her little sister, Noah, who would supposedly enjoy it. She is 10 years old. It may sound like me ‘n Miles were hanging out in there for 15 minutes, but on the contrary, girlfriend talks really fast, and after an assessment in the mirror, she walked her tall, thin, gangly self out to awaiting wranglers. Yay for awkward eye contact.

Miley performed twice, singing Party in the USA and closing the show with Can’t Be Tamed. She wore scrap material bound together by less scrap material, leaving nothing to the imagination of what an underage girl might look like, garnering gasps from press people watching the feed from the media room. Not that Perez Hilton hadn’t already fully exposed Miley when he blasted a crotch-shot on his Twitter last week. But alright, we get it. Your animal instincts cannot be toned down. You are no longer under the contractual control of Disney. The self-proclaimed celibate star gyrated and grinded on stage, over-sexualizing her 17-year-old self. She doesn’t need sex, she has fame. It exploits her enough. I was behind the stage, guilty-pleasure karaoke-ing to her tunes, when a sudden pyro explosions of fireworks blasted into the evening sky, scaring the sh*t out of every smoke-break casual bystander. Someone yelled “It’s not G-20 YET!”. People actually screamed in fright. That’s the reaction you receive, Miley.

This year’s guest list held an assortment of celebutantes, including Kristin Cavallari, Whitney Port, Miley’s on-screen Hannah Montana BFF Emily Osment, Gossip Girl‘s adorable Jessica Szohr, performances by Katy, Biebs, Miley, Ke$haDrake, Stereos, DWW, Marianas Trench, Hedley, and my new obsession, Adam Lambert aka Glambert.

But let’s talk about the biggest stars in all of the land, ever, Jersey Shore’s Snooki and Pauly D. It’s as if they’ve floated in off another planet and have hypnotized the entire population with intoxicating hairspray and blinding skin tones. Snooki is 4 ft. tall (give or take,) and Pauly D’s hair is symmetrically sculpted with jizzy residue. When asked what he thinks of The Situation‘s hot new rap single, he refused to comment on whether or not he likes it, instead reiterating that he’d spin it during a DJ set, that’s it. Personally, I want to petition for a Snooki/Situation collaboration. Snooki herself is far from looking real, by the way. She posed at the media wall and made her signature obnoxious “Heh?” snarly honking noise when asked for one more photo. Bitch vibes, is all I’m saying.

Fun fact: CTV news reported police finding a seemingly suspicious army vehicle parked in an alley downtown, and being overly-alert due to the upcoming G-20 Summit, they decided to investigate it. Turns out, it was only Perez Hilton’s bulletproof transportation. Security precautions he needs. Making the city rounds, Perez Hilton’s One Night in Toronto “private” MMVA afterparty looked more like a reincarnation of the Betsey Johnson 2010 fashion show. Ashley Tisdale was hustling out as we walked in, so that should have  been an indication to not venture in any further. Apparently, Hilton was handing out passes to the public crowd, and that entire gaggle decided to show up. Snooki and Pauly D were introduced on stage, and musical acts including Darelle London, Danny Masterson aka DJMOMJEANS, and Katy Perry’s DJ BFFs Mia Moretti and Caitlin Moe. According to Perez’s Twitter, Kid Sister and Katy Perry showed for a surprise musical appearance around 1AM. Long gone by then, the next scheduled stop was Ultra.

Ultra’s rooftop patio was packed, with rumours of MMVA performers Adam Lambert and Ke$ha showing up wafting away into the starry night sky. Actually spotted: MuchMusic VJs Jesse, Liz, Devon, and Sarah, MTV’s Dan and Jessi, the cast of The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Bedouin Soundclash, and, of course, Degrassi’s Adamo Ruggiero and Lauren Collins. Drinks were flowing on the steamy summer’s eve, and this bold dude’s classy after hours suggestion seemed like an appealing way to end a long 2-days-in-heels weekend. Pool party idea shut down, we headed to the Horseshoe for 4AM last call and final farewells.

90210‘s Shenae Grimes and I backstage.

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Thanks for another funtabulous time, MuchMusic! See you in 2011.

Red Carpet Photos+ Live shots via
Words and Photos by Melania Fedyna

Three Times the Charm

Three Times the Charm

The breeze is in the air and that means that the T.O. is in full swing, Luminato Toronto Festival of Arts + Creativity is the icing on the cake. What better piece of cake to enjoy than The National Ballet of Canada and its triple bill Pur ti Miro, Opus 19/The Dreamer and West Side Story Suite. I know two years in a row I have been honored with media access.

Pur ti Miro

Sonia Rodriguez and Patrick Lavoie in Pur ti Miro Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

The first feature of the trio is the world premiere of a new work by Jorma Elo, Pur ti Miro which is a gift from THE VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE, THE NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA. Elo a Finnish-born choreographer  praised  for the swiftness and physicality of his work, that  entwines both classical and contemporary roots. Elo, has spread his talent worldwide from the Finish National Ballet, Cullberg Ballet and even Nederlands Dans Theatre who graced Luminato last year . Pur ti Miro is based on the a rapturous love duet from the opera L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Cornonation of Poppea) a recount how Poppea, mistress of the Roman emperor Nero, is able to achieve her ambition and be crowned empress. Set to the music of Beethoven and Claudio Monteverdi, the curtains rise.  From the first movement of Tanya Howard and Ji?í Jelinek draped in that splendid robe, one is engulfed by the aura of euphoria and sprinkled with love dust. I noticed early on that the bones of this piece were classic with the body and lines of Elo himself swiftness, grace and meaningful limb movements. I’m no ballet master, but I peeped a bit of the flashy Russian Imperial style tricks my old teacher Oskana use to throwdown. What marvelled me was how Elo was able to isolate the body while also allowing it to move in its entirity, its simply unreal. The speed is insane and with the massive tulle tutus made by costume designer Holly Hynes, I believe I became slightly dizzy. All I can say is the piece was truly beautiful made you want to feel what love is really all about.

Elena Lobsanova and Robert Stephen in Pur ti Miro Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Opus 19/The Dreamer

Second on the bill was the creatively unique Jerome Robbins piece, Opus 19/The Dreamer, set to Sergi Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major. The work was created in 1979 by Robbins for Mikhail Baryshnikov while with the New York City ballet and as the name would imply it envelopes one in a bubble of a dream. The music and dance are one as the would be Dreamer (Guillaume Côté) takes centre stage and beyond him are a group of six men and six women who in the strangest way seem to imitate the dreamer. The sense of being in a dream was further conveyed with the flowing blue and white costume of the dancers that exaggerated as dancers swirled with these tiny rapid side steps, expressive limbs. Through Côté’s dance we can feel his desire to belong movements reflective of a helicopter limbs spinning… all of a sudden out of the group one of women (Xiao Nan Yu)launches herself at him. In that he is focused in his partnering as they weave through the dancers, but you can still feel the yearning to belong. As if he knew he would awake from his dream.

West Side Story Suite

Artists of the Ballet in West Side Story Suite
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Finally and I’m sure what many have been waiting for the crowd favourite the American classic is wrapped up in one dynamic package in Robbins’s West Side Story Suite. This is one of the few ballets on the planet that require dancers to sing, talk… did I mention all the while dancing!! What’s even better is there’s no leotards here its jeans, Chuck Taylors, ball jackets and swing skirts. The opening scene is classical on all terms with the snapping fingers and the dance-off between the rival Jets led by “Riff”  Noah Long outfitted in khakis, loafers pretty much a GAP commercial and Sharks led by “Bernardo” Jonathan Renna fully equipped with that Latin Fever in red, fuchsia, pink tees/jackets with black jeans and converse sneakers. I was in heaven I heard all my faves “Dance at the Gym,” “Somewhere” and “America”. I was grinning from ear to ear, and so excited Robbins was able to convey the trials, struggles of urban life for an immigrant, while also showing us the power of love. Can we just say the whole entire Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts were on their feet!!

Piotr Stanczyk with Jonathan Renna and James Shee in West Side Story Suite Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

OMG… I wanna give a shout out to the dancers that made their debut during this performance;  Christopher Stalzer as Tony, Tiffany Mosher as Anita, and  Jillian Vanstone as Maria (I loved you). I wish you the best of luck!!!  All I can say is a love the ballet, and I look back some 15 years ago wondering  how I could have ever fallen asleep.

xoxo                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pinkie

DÉCLASSÉ-FIED Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

DÉCLASSÉ-FIED Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

This week, in ridiculousness: Jodie Foster vs. teenager, loco Lohans, Sarah Palin, more Bieber, Miley vs. Perez Hilton; life fail, and I’ll be at the MMVAs.

Best. Story. Ever. Jodie Foster has been accused of assaulting a 17 year old boy at The Grove. Apparently, some kid accosted her as she was leaving the theatre with her kids, trying to get a photo and autograph, and dun dun dun…..that’s when Foster struck. According to the teenager’s father, “She came after him, poked him in the chest and said, ‘Do you even have a mother you slime ball?’” Totally visualizing this alleged scenario. Jodie Foster’s victim’s parental unit claims his kid was a huge fan. I’m calling bullshit. A teenage boy is a Jodie Foster fan? I was a Jodie Foster fan as a 7 year old girl idolizing her bell-bottom wearing 70′s on-screen rebellion.

A police report was filed with Jodie’s first name spelled incorrectly, information that would have been supplied by said “victim”. Way to be a fan. She fired back saying the punk was a paparazzi, with the kid’s father calling it a ridiculous statement, that he just has a “nice camera”. Seeing as this traumatic Academy Award-winning assault occurred in the parking lot of a public place, one would think a simple conclusion to this misdemeanor would be watching the security video, right? Well, the particular incident’s monitoring tape has mysteriously disappeared. And so the plot thickens! I will be following this story as the poking accusation develops.

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The Lindsay Lohan saga continues. I could care less, but my easily unimpressed monotone inner voice is being trampled by the amazingly frivolous antics of LL, so much so that the need for over-sharing becomes quite necessary, causing an equally ironic tiresome essay about the daily struggles of Lindsay Lohan. So, in the past week, Lindsay has set off her alcohol-monitoring SCRAM bracelet (which she contemplated decorating with Chanel something or other, and yes, that is forbidden), denied violating the SCRAM rules, partied at celebrity crack den Chateau Marmont as per usual, got another bench warrant for said violation, dropped 10K for the slip-up even though it was someone else’s drink that trickled down her spray-tanned leg, and finally, was dropped by her assistant. What a dizzying monsoon of erratic unimportance. It’s a hard-knock life, Gingy.

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In other superfluous Lohan news…

I hope you’ve booked your seat on the Hampton Jitney because a new club is about to open up. Brought to you by father-of-the-year Michael Lohan, the new ho-down hotspot is to be called Controversy. Moment of eye-rolling for that gem, please. The Lohans are quite the entrepreneurial fame-whoring Brady Bunch, with ML wanting his son to help manage the joint. I do not wish to acknowledge the existence of this hole any further.

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Sarah Palin has been hit with the boob job accusation. Her denial: “’No, I have not had implants. A report like that is about as real and truthful as reports that [my husband] Todd and I are divorcing or that I bought a place in the Hamptons or that [my son] Trigg is not my own child,” the former governor of Alaska, 46, told the host after being questioned point-blank.” To me, that all seems plausible. Especially the Hamptons hang out. In close proximity to Controversy, no doubt. But fake tits might distract during hunting season, so I’m going to go with obvious lame rumour on this one. Albeit a hilariously amazing one.

Above, the white crew neck that began the distorted right-wing hullabaloo.

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Lady Gaga‘s newest musical short film for single Alejandro just premiered. It is basically Lady Gaga as some robotic world leader-ice queen goddess with unlimited access to peroxide, being stifled in a Siberian nunnery and corrupting its overly sexually expressive in-patients. Anyway, it’s loaded with bowl cuts. Martina Dragonette totally did that ‘do first. This pertains to you too, Rihanna.

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Justin Bieber. Frolicking in the Bahamas during a photoshoot with Kim Kardashian. One must be careful if planning to spend time with Justin. A while back, Biebs jokingly Twittered that Kim was his girlfriend and she was immediately inundated with @’d death threats from insane Bieb-a-holics. This 16 year old is such a little player. He hits on any and all female interviewers. Keep holding on, tween dreamers. Everyone loves a restraining order.

Portia and Ellen 2.0

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A rough situation with a rap demo. That is all.

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Check out Miley Sluts-R-US making me proud, performing at London’s club GAY.

Kidding. I’m sure she’s still wholesome. But Perez Hilton is in trouble for posting a full-on crotch shot of Miley Cyrus, blasting the link on his Twitter. It has since been removed, but the photo showed Miley in a car with her vagina hanging out. This is being considered child porn distribution, as Miley is only 17. Fake or not, I’m hoping for serious legal backlash concerning Perez aka Mario Lavandeira. As much as respect as can be given for creating an empire out of nothing, PH uses his mediocre influence to exploit and bully. Bottom line, he is a douche bag. That’s it.

Regardless, both Perez and our princess of conservativeness will be attenting this Sunday’s MuchMusic Video Awards, and yours truly will be backstage observing the hectic shuffles and frantic flusters of stressed publicists, getting stuck in a high-traffic hallway between a wall and Kim Kardashian’s ass (true story). She won’t be present, but I can’t f*cking wait to get style tips from Snooki. Debauchery tends to develop up in Toronto, so stay tuned. Remember 2009?

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I will be out and about all weekend, prowling for scandal and pussy punches outside of after-parties. Of which, there are many, when every mediocre celebretard and their illegitimate career takes on vodka-induced hosting duties. Follow @pinkmafia4life for real-time updates from the streets of shame. Unless I involuntarily die of Bieber Fever. It’s possible.

Movie Review: SUCK

Movie Review: SUCK

The popularity of Vampire-everything has reached a fevered pitch. I’m pretty fenced on the genre. On the one hand, Anne Rice and True Blood are both dope, but on the other, Twilight and every person associated with the saga is fist clenchingly abhorrent. Enter SUCK, a rock and roll vampire flick that is one part comedy, one party musical and totally Canadian.

The Good:

The movie follows indie band, The Winners, touring their way down to New York for CMJ. Along the way, the female bass player (played by Jessica Pare) is turned into a vampire and they start to gain fans. Soon, they all turn into creatures of the night and infamy and record sales soar. Written by and staring Rob Stefaniuk, SUCK is at it’s best in the soundtrack and cameos. Everyone from Iggy Pop to Alice Cooper, Henry Rollin, Alex Lifeson and even Moby have roles in the movie. In fact, Moby plays the jerk off front man of “most popular band in Buffalo”-Secretary of Steak so well that I laughed out loud in most of his scenes.

The Bad:

The only thing I didn’t like about the movie was that it seemed a bit rushed. I would have liked more than two scenes and a montage alluding to the bands success; there could have been a lot more of the funny dialog and a lot less full songs being sung.

I’d give it 3.5 outta 5 stars. Not quite something I wanna buy for the DVD collection, but I certainly wouldn’t balk at seeing it again in a theatre. SUCK is playing as part of NXNE’s film conference in June.

For more on movies playing at NXNE, CLICK HERE

Interview with Erich Weiss, director Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry documentary

Interview with Erich Weiss, director Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry documentary

“A film is never done, its just finished.” Erich Weiss’ “Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry” untangles the story of American tattoo subculture and the heroic pirates that have kept its legacy alive. In an era where paper bagging the to-be-tattooed was a method of concealing artist identity, Sailor Jerry (born Norman Keith Collins) was an man driven by passion and the desire to bring innovation to pirate solidarity.

“I probably could have filmed making the movie itself. It became more about the adventure of getting interviews than anything else.  With some of the guys, it took me a year and half just to find them.”

Today, a corporate brand but once a single man influenced by Hawaiian culture and a stint in the marines, “Jerry left specific instructions that Ed Hardy, Mike Malone and Zeke Owen take over the shop after he died.” And since his death, these men have developed a brand of rum and clothing line, and his artwork has been licensed to Converse.

“Through the years they’d worked together these men became three parodical sons.  They all had a different take on everything, and it was interesting to be able to capture that on film.”

North American tattooing has evolving from discrete Pacific war momenttos and through the “Lyle Tuttle rock and roll” years.  And roaming through Sailor Jerry’s “gold water conservative” stance on ink has revived the “inundated” reality TV era, according to Weiss. “I understand it’s about people making a living but the ones who started in this business did it because they loved it and now a lot of people come up to me and tell me they have a new faith in tattooing.”

Forget industry prowess or artistic integrity,  Hori Smoku conquers hipster tank tops and the tragic fermentation of kanji.  Erich Weiss, Sailor Jerry and the full battalion of his pirates have finally landed gracefully behind the glass of wild history and have enriched a culture wanted dead.

Born in Philadelphia, Weiss started directing film in 2003.  He’s mastered visuals for John Legend, and has worked with Kanye, Eagles of Death Metal, Spank Rock, and The Buzzcocks. He’s now taking on his second full length documentary about the roots of fonts and design. Modestly, he calls the project ‘stoic’, but in copy there is always more than meets the eye.

DÉCLASSÉ-FIED Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

DÉCLASSÉ-FIED Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

MTV Movie Awards edition; The Jersey Shore takes over, Sandra Bullock seduces Scarlett Johansson, Tom Cruise dances, and Twilight proves eternal.

Sunday night were the something-annual MTV Movie Awards; infamous for the scandalous antics which occur during the live broadcast. Host Aziz Ansari did a decent job wrangling the shrieking fankids’ attention spans into focus while the golden popcorn statuettes were handed out. Although this year proved rather tame, the censorship department were most likely suffering a stroke every time someone deposited change into the swear jar, failing to bleep more than a few f*cking f*cks — this witnessed by nearly one million Canadian viewers, the show’s largest audience ever.

The evening began with an hour Jersey Shore pre-show, with LMFAO “Djing” the red carpet party, amidst arrival interviews and outfit inspections. We learned that JS’s J-WOWW is launching a glamourous clothing line called Filthy Couture, and that Snooki skanked up her Dolce & Gabbana dress by cutting off the entire bottom half. This seems sacrilegious on very many levels.

I want to know if this whole Jersey Shore culture has been embraced or if the entire world still laughing at these jokes behind their tanned backs? Are they completely oblivious to this mockery? Because I don’t imagine anyone worshiping the ground Snooki passes out on. Unless, of course, said worshiper has extremely low self esteem and hair spray-clouded judgment. It’s kind of like a Paris Hilton thing, but I’ve come to embrace Paris as a functioning member of life via her non-fluorescent skin tone and decent fashion sense.

I’m so over laughing at theses tools’ ridiculousness because the attention they garner goes straight to their heads (not minds). Especially over this shirtless situation. Not that I was ever under it.

This just in! I take back what I said up there about being over Whoresey Shore, as I just caught a shot of Mike “The Situation’s” blue velour Ed Hardy logo track pants hanging out the side of an Escalade. This courtesy of a sneak-peek we got of season 2 of our beloved reality program. The first 10 minutes of season deux premiered Sunday night during the live MTV red carpet broadcast with the cast in tow. This time around, the heard is road tripping down to Miami and causing destruction along the way. I’ve always thought that Vinny seems like the only potentially respectable suitor in the bunch. Also, Angelina is back, so really excited for some ball-busting. Other tidbits to look forward to: Pauly D thinks all Miami beaches are topless, Snooki has a life-changing experience discovering fried pickles in Hickville, and The Situation still looks 40.

The awards “ceremony” started off with your average annual film nominee scene parodies, featuring Aziz Ansari. He opened the show with a short and sweet stand up speech, questioning the legitimacy of 3D films, and, of course, Twilight.

The first award went to Kristen Stewart — whom I actually do not mind. Those who ponder how she survives the actressing industry being so “awkward”, wondering if she has some sort of chemical imbalance causing frequent trip ups, always fumbling and mumbling, need to know that not everyone injects themselves with bubblegum and fake cheer. However, I do despise the entire Twilight phenomenon (but so does K-Stew). Allegedly. I say allegedly because it’s probably wishful thinking. Kristen and “hunkorwhatever” Robert Pattinson also won for Best Kiss. Here they are, attempting to reenact said “best kiss”.

Check out Russell Brand and Jonah Hill on the audience Kiss Cam. There was a similar occurrence at a Lakers-Celtics game recently, when two of my favorite men (Jason Bateman and Dustin Hoffman) decided to mack up on one another.

Here’s the dude from The Hangover performing an interpretive dance with Ed Helms on piano, straight from the movie. Ken Jeong picked up an awards for Best WTF Moment. Deserved.

Tom Cruise caused quite a stir with his ingenious Tropic Thunder character reenactment of ferocious producer Less Grossman. Tom invaded the stage as fictional Less, breaking it down with Jennifer Lopez to Ludacris‘ Get Back. There were suspenders and gyrations. Ying Yang Twins Larry King vs. Lady Gaga would be proud.

Best Scared-As Sh*t Performance award went to Amanda Seyfried for Jennifer’s Body – another under appreciated something I like, contrary to the judgements of society. I actually enjoyed this curious gem of a film. It’s not that it’s misunderstood, but probably just generally bad. It was full of metaphors for the plagues of girlhood and lame computer-generated gore, and I enjoyed it to its fullest potential. So, congrats, Amanda. (Who noted the film’s low viewership during the acceptance speech.)

Katy Perry performed her new single California Gurls with Snoop Doggy-Dogg. She was channeling 50s California beach chic with a hint of jewel-studded superhero robot, descending from the rafters atop a vintage surf board. We got a preview of Katy’s new video which is full of visual deliciousness, slightly resembling 2006′s sweets-themed Fergalicious. Just saying.

To a storm of applause, Sandra Bullock was honoured with the MTV Generation Award. Betty White, Bradley Cooper, and Scarlett Johansson proudly presented her with the award. And it wouldn’t be MTV without some girl-on-girl; Sandra kissed Scarlett in honour of her Best Kiss nomination with Scarlett’s absent husband Ryan Reynolds. Via her speech, Sandra has officially given us permission to resume making fun of her – not that there is much to roast her with. Sandra is a true example of elegance and class in Hollywood, and deserves all the praise and appreciation she already receives.

Christina Aguilera was the second musical performance. Stop comparing new Xtina to Lady f*cking Gaga. Why don’t you just skip a generation and call her Madonna, while analyzing Gag-factor along the way? It would make just as much sense.

This is Aziz accepting Zach Galifianakis‘s Best Comedic Performance award as fictional Taavan – stylist to the stars.

World-wide sensation Twilight picked up for best movie, of course. Fangirls and vampires and werewolves, oh my!

Full list of 2010 MTV Movie Awards winners:

Best Fight: Beyonce Knowles vs. Ali Larter (Obsessed)
Best Female Performance: Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga: New Moon)
Best Breakout Star: Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air)
Best Scared-AS-Sh*t Performance: Amanda Seyfried (Jennifer’s Body)
Best Kiss: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga: New Moon)
MTV Generation Aaward: Sandra Bullock
Best WTF Moment: Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Best Villain: Tom Felton (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)
Best Badass Star: Rain
Best Male Performance: Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga: New Moon)
Global Superstar: Robert Pattinson
Best Comedic Performance: Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Best Movie: The Twilight Saga: New Moon

(Images via

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And now, in Canadaland news, A MuchMusic Video Awards update: Drake and Hedley have been added to the list of performers, which already includes Katy Perry, Bieber, Ke$ha, Glambert, Down With Webster, Marianas Trench, and 2010 co-host Miley Cyrus. Something for fangirls of every demographic.

Pop culture column, DECLASSE, appears every Tuesday on Knee Socks Beat Cleavage

You gotta fight for your right to get arty

You gotta fight for your right to get arty

Okay, okay.

Throw out all 23 shades of black in your closet – the art world is not as boring as you think. Or that’s the point of  ArtStars* as we’ve come to know it, and my name is Nadja Sayej, and I’m the crazy host. Crazy as in clown get-up, screaming at passers-by on the sidewalk, crazy as in TMZ for the art scene. But what happens behind the scenes?

I’ll show you what’s under my skirt — and talk-the-talk off the microphone (seriously, whenever I go to an opening without the camera crew, at least one person will say: “You’re not recording this, are you?” As if I have a secret spy cam wedged between my cleave – maybe I’ll put THAT on my Christmas wish list). Instead of just barging through You Tube, you can find ArtStars* chatting away on Pink Mafia ’bout the dirt on us, the next hotspot we wanna hit, the stuff you don’t wanna miss and taking a step back before moving forward on the boundaries we’ve broken.

1. Against Life 1

Every summer for the past five years, Extermination Music Night has been the party to get your urban exploration on — and maybe to step on a broken glass window before stumbling home at dawn. Army boots. Check? The co-founders Daniel Vila and Matthew McDonough split ways (don’t know why, none of my business) and now Vila, a tour de force behind Double Double Land, has started up a reincarnation called Against Life (which is not necessarily pro-death, either).

When I say these parties are alternative, I mean fucking alternative: What didn’t make the edit in ArtStars* 12 – Extermination Music Night was the no-washroom “let me dig for a napkin inside the camera bag to wipe myself – wait, there’s only plastic wrappers from the DV tape” policy, the “oh *snap*, why did I wear heels when I’m climbing Mount Avalon?” case and “Omigod, there’s art world Dynasty dramz because someone stole Yuula Benivolski‘s head sculptures.”

These parties are choose your own adventures – you RSVP through email, get an e-map the day-of and wander like a tourist around what you thought was yours. Usually, the locations are in abandoned, off the trodden path places (abandoned buildings, warehouses and bridges). The cops sometimes show up. I wish there were more parties like this in the city; (my favourite wax poetic EMN moment: Watching the Huckleberry Friends at the end trail of a million tea lights).

The buildup is crazy and this party won’t disappoint. PLASTIC FACTORY is headlining (Slim Twig, Carl Didur, Anthony Nemet and Mark Roberts) with art projects by Natalie Logan, Julia Kennedy and Jeremy Bailey.

THE *SNAP*: Don’t bring your I.D. if you don’t want the cops to ticket you for trespassing. And don’t worry if you’re lost – just follow the cluster of bicycles.

Saturday, June 5, Midnight, location held secret until the day-of the event. RSVP to againstlifetoronto [at]

2. Power Ball 12: The Ball That Started It All

Omigod, don’t even get me started. When we covered the Power Ball last year, there was a hot tub out back, blow jobs in sculptures and curators fumbling over our cleave. This was the first episode that I had to call a friend from the edit suite to ask: “What kind of trouble will we get in if we release this episode?” We sometimes still get the cold shoulder from some of the characters here – and were told by the media peeps at the Power Plant this year that they ran out of media comps. In other words (unless we’re just paranoid), we’re not invited back. So if you haven’t watched this classic: ArtStars* 5 – The Power Ball, now is your chance to see why we’re kept at bay (and why Andrew Harwood, pictured above as Madame Zsa Zsa, was a bigger hit than ourselves).

This year, Fritz Helder is playing, mayoral candidate Keith Cole, Xpace director Derek Liddington and old favourite Kelly Mark are all doing art projects – but if you watched our AGO Massive Party coverage, you’ll see these snooty fundraisers have nothing to do with art. That said, we suggests you sneak in through the back fence or lift the lip of the white tent – that’s the way most artists get in (unless a lawyer friend splurged on a bunch of tickets and generously donates them to their favourite ArtStars*). Whatever you do, don’t arrive fashionably late, the rammed open bar shutters early at 1 a.m., and I hope you’ve got a flavor for tropical martinis). This was the first time we were snapped by the paparazzi in Chanel.

3. Matmos, So Percussion and Gastric Female Reflex

Primary Colors promoter Alex Coleurs (I wish he’d change his last name to Colors), is moving away to Baltimore for sound engineering school in September – so it’s one of his last shows. Don’t miss it! They’re always super fucked up and fun.

He also put on a refreshing show at DeLeon White Gallery, also known as ArtStars* 23 – Wham City, but if you watch very closely, you’ll notice we forgot to bring a microphone.

While Matomos will surely draw the crowd (he remixed Bjork, remember), don’t miss local openers Gastric Female Reflex who also run this handmade record label called Bennifer Editions. It is seriously the only place you can get records wrapped in what feels like mail art.

Venue alert: Meta Gallery is inside Rolly’s Garage, a former mechanic’s garage, seriously one of the best venues in the city – rich with history, neighborhood drama and sass.

Friday, June 11, 8:30 p.m., Meta Gallery, 124 Ossington Ave., $8, holyholyholyrecords [at] Advance tickets (recommended) available at Soundscapes (572 College Street) and Rotate This (801 Queen Street W). This is an all ages event.

Oh, and what’s that about Richard Kern?

The boob inspector who turned down a shoot with Diana McNally, photographed us for our latest episode, ArtStars* 40 – RICHARD KERN. He pays his models typically $150 per session, but since we forced him into a shoot on the ArtStars* cam,  the 56-year-old artist who shoots dazed-out, Lolita-esque teens offered this pic as a “trade for portfolio.” That means no pay, but here’s the picture. He held the camera up high and said “look absent.” I think it might have worked.

ArtStars* is also syndicated by Torontoist.

DÉCLASSÉ-FIED Tuesday June 1, 2010

DÉCLASSÉ-FIED Tuesday June 1, 2010

Michelle “Bombshell” McGee admits to Anti-Semitism, Lindsay Lohan’s career roadblock, Heidi Montag has high hopes, and Justin Bieber is out of control. Presenting, an accumulation of social distortion we consider feature-worthy headlines from recent pop-culture happenings.

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As if destroying the seemingly ideal world of Sandra Bullock and Jesse James was not enough activity, Michelle “C*untbag” McGee has been parading her stripper-body around the media, whoring herself out in a new Ashley Madison TV spot — a website that caters exclusively to those seeking extra-marital affairs. Stopping by Toronto’s eTalk, McGee attempted to defend her ways by throwing her two kids into the mix, saying “I will do what it takes to support my children.” So basically, she means that as long as there is filthy money to sustain a life of screwing with others’, raising your children into corruption is totally acceptable. Her justification of the recent cheating scandal is as such:  ”In a twisted type of way, I guess Sandra should be thankful that I did come forward and let her know that her husband did cheat on her.” And just because she’s not “twisted” enough, dissection of her Nazi costume party reveals true ignorance and stupidity. “No not racism. Anti-Semitism? Yes. If that was the intention of putting the costume on.”

It must be difficult to be a normally functioning member of society after your head has been repeatedly prodded with tattoo needles and skewed ideology. I feel bad for her, in a twisted type of way. You can witness Part 2 of this interview tonight @ 7PM on CTV or stream it in full online at

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In other WTF news, let’s discuss the idea of all sassy Hollywood mistresses hanging around one another. What would saunter through your mind if you saw Michelle “Bombshell” McGee rolling with the double-trouble Rachel Uchitel? They’re not actually part of this particular twat-pack, but really, other other women? Alleged sluts Joslyn James (Tiger Woods), Melissa Smith (Jesse James), January Gessert (Reggie Bush), and Gina Rodriguez (David Boreanez) were caught on a shamelessness-affirming girls night out, sharing with TMZ their catch phrase of “Pull out or I’m keeping it!”. That just about says it all, except: Did these women form some sort of distorted alliance to prowl on the espoused? Sorority house sleepover bonding over scandalous sexts and lessons on how to cry “used” while promoting a Playboy spread between tears of vanity and boom-I-got-your-boyfriend cackles? Also, these winners seem to have some sort of affiliation with Michael Lohan, so that really solidifies their overall significance. Don’t forget that Michael Lohan is dating a twink who happens to associate with Jon Gosselin‘s special someone. Allegedly (via my own investigations). Keep it in the family, people. The reality show business (sans reality) is always preying on “fresh” meat. Yawn.

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Lindsay Lohan
‘s most recent cinematic endeavour has been self-sabotaged due to her erratic carelessness. Lindsay was all set to play dress up and emulate 70′s porn star Linda Lovelace, but due to complications concerning skipped alcohol education classes and late court appearances, production of this potential Oscar contender has to be postponed. Lindsay can’t leave the Los Angeles area due to an alcohol monitoring bracelet and weekly drug testing. The Texas-shot biopic titled Inferno depicts the life of porn star Linda Lovelace, famous for her skilled participation in 1972′s Deep Throat. How about the film studio just assemble a montage of paparazzi-shot clips of LL out and about on any given Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday? Should be enough for a feature and spattering of scandalousness.

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Heidi Montag wants to reprise Megan Fox‘s role in Transformers, after Foxy was dropped/signed off/assorted other rumours. I guess Heidi would fit right in with the robots and their bionic guns, or whatever. Check out her self-made audition tape. Girl’s got ambition, but this isn’t MTV. Side note: Heidi and Spencer Pratt are no more. What’s Harry Henderson going to do now that Heidi is heading toward major movie stardom without him? There’s some profiteering to be done!

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Another questionable couple update; Marilyn Manson and Evan Rachael Wood are still/again dating. Hot Topic sales continue to rise. (Image via Dlisted)

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Onto Justin Bieber aka hit-me-on-my Bieber,  The Beav, lesbian, etc. JB has reportedly caught diva fever after snapping at a crew guy, spewing “Don’t ever f*cking touch me again”. I’m sure it was a shriek like that of a dried-up suburban housewife, dismissing the once-a-week propositions from her desperate husband. Bieber has obviously denied this (via Twitter), but he has a tendency of walking into glass doors, so.

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Speaking of haggard, I leave you now with this important life lesson brought to you by The Real Housewives of New York‘s Countess LuAnn. “You don’t have to be rich or famous to be unforgettable, HAW HAW!” Is there a reason as to why the male extras in this Venus commercial-esque video exude more femininity than Cougar LuAnn? Soak up the glamour. CLICK HERE TO WATCH.

Pop culture column, DECLASSE, appears every Tuesday on Knee Socks Beat Cleavage

House of Tattoos is Privately Open to the Public

House of Tattoos is Privately Open to the Public

Layers of clothes are coming off quicker than ever this season and this weekend House of Tattoos gave Toronto a reason to show off some extra skin.  Via Facebook last week, a message unveiling the details of a “Tattoo party” event struck our Curiousity.  Offering simple tattoos for low prices to celebrate the opening of a private studio in Corktown (22 Bright Street, just east of Queen and Parliment),  Kay and I (Dominique) clicked attend to find out what this new place was all about.  Whenever you see a business in a house usually your first impression is “how sketchy…” For this studio though, that was NOT the case, as soon as we walked in the door we were among friends. The walls were red and black, and unlike the typical downtown shop, there was nothing tribal framed on the walls or snake tanks weighing down the room. It was relaxing. We had a great chat in a warm environment and the artists were engaging and friendly. The passion in their voices and the banter about their art was a nice change from the peircingly cold and unfriendly studios of the past. They describe the fulfillment they get from happy masterpieced clients and really emphasize a love for their careers and their craft.

Karen AKA Kitty Sixx, closed down Sister Salvation, her all girl tattoo shop in the west end last winter and traded it in for a home studio just off the beaten Queen Street East path. Rocking a badass Junko Mizuno pony girl on her sleeve and confident in her work, Kitty “got sort of tired of the whole shop mentality”. Together,  she and her business partner Josh are “pushing away from the standard ideas of tattooing and focusing more on bringing art back to people.” They’re really into custom work and with the rise of private tattoo studios in the city, House of Tattoos is a great alternative to the cliché ‘airport’ style downtown shop. Nestled between the homes of a jewelry designer and a musician, and at the crook of Corktown’s whirly and historical Bright Street, they cater to the masses. “We get a lot of working, middle class types coming through and we’re able to offer much more affordable pricing. Shops charge a lot and we don’t have that overhead anymore. It’s really nice. ” Like guerilla rock shows, this environment focusses less on business and more on art.  “I kinda felt like running a shop was more like babysitting. There’s no rush feeling anymore. I’m a lot calmer now and can sit up late and draw at night.”  “If you get a good tattoo you’re going to tell a hundred people, if you get a bad tattoo you’re going to tell a thousand people” a reminder from Josh.  Judging by their canvases, House of Tattoos is in the know and worth the trek east.

If you want to get inked in a welcoming and warm environment, stroll over to Bright Street (just east of Queen and Parliment) and see Josh or Karen or shimy shout at (647) 688-5245 to book an appointment. We highly recommend this studio, believe your eyes.

RIP Will Munro

RIP Will Munro

After a long battle with cancer, Will Munro, entrepreneur, artist, DJ, friend and cultural ambassador to Toronto died today at the age of 35.

Personally, I only knew Will as a casual acquaintance. We had met at his monthly event, Vazaleen several times and I have photographed him for my column in Xtra just as many, but his influence on me runs much deeper than anything I’d call casual.

When I moved to Toronto seven years ago, I found it hard to find a crowd or group that i identified with as my own. Until I went to Vazaleen. By then it had moved from a monthly residency at the El Mocambo to Lee’s Palace. The first time I went, I was hooked. Vazaleen was the place where I could be queer without having to be gay. His creativity with the space (complete with TVs airing art porn everywhere you looked) and bookings (I once had a Beatles moment screaming through tears with a packed room while ESG played) and the everchanging rainbow of the city’s freaks and geeks was unparalleled. Vazaleen so inspired me that it was from those party’s that I got the idea to start PinkMafia.

I have made so many good friends that I met at Will’s parties, on dance floors, in strip bars (his birthday at Remmington’s is a particularly fond memory) and back rooms of venues. And Will holds a place as one of three DJs who has consistently surprised me with records I had never heard, and still loved immediately, even in later years when he was just mulling about on the decks at his cafe The Beaver in the west end.

Everyone I have ever met who’s had the pleasure of spending even a few minutes with Will, has nothing but great things to say about him.

He was a true inspiration and a trailblazer for Toronto. His energy was infectious and magnetic, and his loss will be felt for years to come. RIP Will Munro 1975-2010.

There is a memorial, guerilla dance party at the hockey rink in Trinity Bellwoods park tonight starting at 8PM for those who’d like to pay their respects.

Heineken Behind The Lens – Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2010

Heineken Behind The Lens – Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2010

It’s that time of the year. For the entire month of May CONTACT photography festival has been taking over Toronto. If you want an insiders look, each Saturday afternoon the Heineken Behind the Lens Tour goes behind the scenes with photographers and other cultural experts as they share their insight from an insider’s vantage point. Each tour,walks through a different Toronto neighborhoods, always ending with a cold Heiny.

This years festival is based on the works of Marshall McLuhan and his theories on the pervasive influence of photography

Check out deez pics that our pal Morad sent us:

(The colourful mural is David Lachapelle and was on the queen west walk. The billboard on the AGO is Barbara Kruger and was on the City Centre walk)

To sign up for the next 2 weekends go to the facebook event



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