ToddStar Photography: Blog https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Todd Jolicoeur - ToddStar Photography (ToddStar Photography) Thu, 14 Jan 2021 22:01:00 GMT Thu, 14 Jan 2021 22:01:00 GMT https://www.toddstarphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u361074693-o1004530405-50.jpg ToddStar Photography: Blog https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog 120 80 A Dirty Dozen with BLUE STAHLI - January 2021 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2021/1/a-dirty-dozen-with-blue-stahli---january-2021

According to a recent press release: “Regarded for his slick, genre-bending electronic rock, Bret Autrey - commonly known as Blue Stahli - produces cyberpunk anthems of the fringe zeitgeist: Doom/disco; Industrial/pop; Chillwave/glitch-hop; avant-garde inspiration from David Lynch and Philip K. Dick merge with the saccharine excess of 80s and 90s straight-to-VHS films to define the tempest at the core of Blue Stahli - visceral connection to a massive range of sonic emotion. Bret returns to his tracking roots on Obsidian, the third of the trilogy of albums following Quartz (released on 10/2) and Copper (11/13). Using modern tracker Renoise to craft the newest iteration of the Blue Stahli sound, his latest music is a window into his journey through being his mother’s caretaker as she battled malignant brain cancer and mourning the loss of his biggest champion after she passed away in 2018 while additionally reconnecting with his family origins after the loss of a major cornerstone. His mother’s piano is where many of these songs were crafted with its raw, untuned tones making appearances on some of the recordings.” We get Blue Stahli himself to discuss new music, reflection on his past, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Someone just seeing this album pop up, may not know that it’s the third album in a trilogy of albums, called the “deadchannel_Trilogy,” all released about a month apart from each other. The musical styles of each record are every bit as thematic as the ordering of the albums, and the accompanying video content that’s been surrounding all of this. The album Quartz was like a blast of reconnection to 90s cyberpunk action and things that inspired me back then, while the album Copper is an electronic expanse and is quite a bit weirder than a lot of stuff I’ve done previously. Obsidian is the combination of those two, and also serves as the “destination” from Quartz, while Copper is the road trip in between. Diehard fans may have seen a small glimpse of a few of these tracks via my Instagram stories when I was initially working on them. So someone may have that moment of recognition and think “oh THAT’S what that turned into."

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I have to credit my mom for that. When I was a kid, she rescued an old beat up piano from being taken to a dump. She wanted to have some bit of music in the house, even if it was a piano that was supposed to be junked. I would mess around on that piano and teach myself little melodies. Hell, when I started making electronic music, I would even sample it along with my ratty guitar amp via a cheap Radio Shack microphone straight into the computer. I pay homage to all of this on the Copper album by including that very same piano in some of the tracks. What made me want to actually BE a musician was the fact that music is what provided me with a lot of catharsis during incredibly difficult times. When life was too much, I would escape into headphones, and later, long drives listening to music. The fact that it felt like such comfort (even if it was fleeting) made me want to do that for other people, even if the stuff I’m creating only really makes sense to me.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

More than there being just one specific song or performer, I was big into making mix tapes and mix CD’s of various songs to either fit a mood, serve a purpose (like night driving), or just be a wild mix of different genres. I think the fact that most of what I listened to was strange collections like this, as well as being way into movie soundtracks that had a range of different bands, that guided the way I viewed music and albums. In listening to these things that would swing wildly from different genres, I would always think “why can’t it just be one band that does all of this?”

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

90s sci-fi/horror/cyberpunk flicks on VHS, old electronic music made on oldschool DOS/Amiga tracker software, long road trips across a vast expanse and losing yourself in an album, the way David Lynch makes films, and the way that playing a guitar through copious amounts of reverb when it’s past midnight just *feels* different and more of a moment to live in rather than during the day.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

The ultimate dream would have been to work with David Bowie. The way he was able to traverse so many genres and bring a unique artistic flair to everything he did was unmatched.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Blue Stahli is a range of beat-heavy electronic music that also incorporates rock. That’s probably the most concise way to put it. I honestly never really pay attention to comparisons or get hung up on it since I do a range of different genres, and that may only be applicable to one element, and I totally get that it doesn’t quite fit neatly into a box.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I’m the only member of Blue Stahli, so I guess that would all fall to me. The extent of my cooking skills stops at “somehow not exploding the microwave when heating up a burrito”. Though the burrito does in fact explode. Hopefully I get the hang of it some day.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

While it’s not someone I’ve seen in person, I probably have to go with Joe Pera because I was just enthralled with every aspect of his show ‘Joe Pera Talks With You’.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

For me, it’s the fact that I have an outlet when dealing with difficult things, or if it’s just something I’m excited about. All the way from discovering a new production technique that I want to explore, to the heavy stuff of dealing with loss and grief by connecting it with art. I’m literally not good at anything else, and am extremely fortunate to make my living by making weird music. I’ve enjoyed making most of the music videos and the extra video content for this trilogy, so sticking with a creative path would rule. Though before going full time making music, I had also spent some time working in medical in a small capacity. While that can be incredibly stressful, even at a small level, there’s also something huge to the fact that some of that stress has been in the service of helping someone.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I would love for someone to ask if it was possible to save yourself from being trapped in a vat of salsa armed only with an endless supply of chips. It would force me to see if this was possible . . . for science. Conversely, I would get tired of people constantly asking me to please just use the various ropes, ladders, and other lifelines thrown to me to escape this salsa vat, as it would distract me from my spicy hypothesis.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Oh absolutely, everyone has those, but I’m more focused on the here and now. Recently I lost my mom to a horrific battle with brain cancer, and dealing with something like that (especially in a caretaker role) only reaffirms how little time we have, and how many things ultimately don’t matter in the long run. I hope everyone focuses on doing what they can with the time we all have left.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I wouldn’t want to ruin the magic of great albums by stumbling in, but it WOULD be amazing to just be a fly on the wall to see how some of the singular moments you love came together. Just something like being in the room while Billie Holiday sang “Gloomy Sunday” would be incredible.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Definitely the moments that are missed from not being able to see family. I’m looking forward to the day when everyone can get together without worry.

BLUE STAHLI LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) Interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2021/1/a-dirty-dozen-with-blue-stahli---january-2021 Thu, 14 Jan 2021 22:00:58 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with KEVIN CALI from DREAMSHADE - January 2021 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2021/1/a-dirty-dozen-with-kevin-cali-from-dreamshade---january-2021

According to a recent press release: “Modern metal band DREAMSHADE have announced their fourth album A Pale Blue Dot. The record arrives on March 5, 2021. Pre-orders are live here. To celebrate the release of the album, the band has shared the new track "Lightbringers." Watch the animated visualizer video here. The album includes two features — New York-based Italian pop singer Rose Villain and Darkest Hour's John Henry. The closing song "Save This" boasts a very special collaboration — the band included gang vocals from 517 Dreamshade fans from 70 different countries, all shared through WhatsApp. Because #technology.” We get frontman Kevin to discuss new music, reflection on his past, and much more...

1.Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

I think the new album will be a great return! Something we have been looking for a long time. The way we wrote the new songs was an experience that took the band to the next level in my opinion. We worked in complete harmony and each of us contributed and worked hard to achieve the final result. All of this has led to free writing without worrying about anything or anyone. There were difficult moments that brought despair within the band but we managed to get out of it and get back to being in top form. In fact, each song contains nuggets that the listener will be able to discover spin after spin. I find it really interesting to be able to offer music that doesn't end only at the first listen but that every time surprises you and makes you want to listen again and immerse yourself in our sound. This makes our songs a constant astonishment. We have always enriched our music with everything we like without having limits. A constant search for sounds that distinguish us and make us feel fully satisfied with what we do.

2. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I feel lucky because in my family music has always been part of our life. I am the youngest son and I remember that when I was a child and I was with my parents or my siblings they made me listen to everything. Pop, rock, reggae, metal, disco, etc.... and any style of music that came out of the speakers I remember that I was fascinated by. One day the band Europe was playing "The Final Countdown" on a TV show and I immediately fell in love with that kind of sound. Those melodies, their movements, the long hair, the distortion of the guitars had captured me and transported me to a new world. I was 4 years old and I had a little toy guitar, I went up on the coffee table we had in the living room and pretended to be them haha. I remember begging my parents to show me the video recording of that program again and again because I always wanted to hear that song that ignited something inside me. I think it was then that I realized that music would forever be a part of my life.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Surely if I have to think about what my musical influences have been I would definitely say that the music from the 60's to the 80's that I listened to with my father has certainly ignited a flame in me. The 80's and 90's Pop music that I listened to with my sister and the Rock / Metal that I listened to with my brother then kicked off everything that brought me to today. It is certainly not easy to mention five artists or bands because there are many that have meant and still mean a lot to me. But if I have to name a few for you guys I would definitely say Queen, Metallica, R.E.M., Led Zeppelin, Misfits, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Johnny Cash, Elvis, The Beatles, Madonna, Depeche Mode, Eiffel 65 and many more.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Without going too far I think my first thoughts go to James Hetfield from Metallica because it’s thanks to him that I approached guitar and vocals when I was a young boy.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I believe our music is really a mix of everything we love to hear and that has inspired us over the years. It contains a set of different musical styles. Of course we do it in a metal key but every listener could find influences of all kinds. I find it interesting that everyone can draw their own conclusions from what they hear and it is certainly not us who have to interfere or judge the way it is done. The beauty of music is that everyone can interpret it in his/her own way and if I disagree with a review or another point of view, I certainly wouldn't want to make them change their mind! We love to focus on what we do and try not to leave anything to chance. I believe that to make your sound always fresh and unique you must always have an open mind to new challenges. Fortunately I don't remember any comparison that made me cringe haha.

6. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I can say with certainty that the cooks of the band are Fernando and I haha... and maybe Luca a bit too. Let's say we are the ones who always make themselves available when it comes to cooking. Honestly, I've never seen the other guys at work in the kitchen, I always look forward to an invitation to dinner tho! As for the drinks I think we are all on the same page, some more and some less, but over the years we have accumulated some experience with drinking and enjoying the moments ;). Honestly we really like each other and enjoy spending time together. And if you are looking for the man who cracks out the acoustic guitar and entertains audiences and friends surely that is Fernando haha. I remember a tour in Russia when one evening after the show we went with some fans and friends at their place and Fella and Rocco (former member) even after I went to bed they stayed up to play all night with the few who were awake.

7. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

If I have to think of the latest celebrity who deeply affected me I would definitely say Joaquin Phoenix with his speech at last year's Oscar Awards. A speech on the importance of love, sharing, compassion and solidarity for the weak. An incitement to support and help each other to grow and move forward in search of redemption. I saw myself in all his words. I found a deep connection that unites his point of view with the message that our lyrics and music want to convey to our fans.

8. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is freedom of expression. Through music you can vent your imagination, you can communicate your feelings and why not even your frustrations and fears. You can give joy, happiness and carry any listener wherever you want. Music is everyone's freedom, it's a journey that takes you wherever you want and as I said before, everyone can interpret it in their own way. Surely there is also the live aspect of being a musician. Being able to take your music on tour, get to know the fans and put a smile on their faces is just priceless. You confront yourself with experiences and realities that only in these situations you can live. If I could no longer carry out this activity my dream job would be to be able to work in a music shop like I used to do when I was a boy. I loved that job!

9. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Honestly I never thought about it. I'm open to everything... so come on guys, bring it on! Ask me what you want ;)

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

No honestly there isn't a moment in the past that I think was a misstep or that I would like to change. Looking back, I certainly cannot complain and I am proud of many achievements I have achieved in my private life and in my music career. Maybe sometimes I think I could do more, I'm very self-critical of myself and I don't seem to put the right effort into it. It may happen that you can get lost during your life but the challenge is then to be able to find yourself again and redirect yourself on the right path. But perhaps it’s just those phases of fragility and uncertainty that happen to everyone.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

The first thought I had is definitely Clayman by In Flames. If I could magically go back I would have liked to be part of this recording session. I find it was one of the albums that marked an era. This record like others in the genre in those years brought Swedish melodic metal beyond all borders and marked the history of this genre which then influenced bands all over the world.

12. Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Surely Covid-19 has taken away our freedom for various reasons. Not being able to perform live is certainly an aspect that we miss a lot. It is a situation that is creating distance between us as human beings. There is always a certain tension and discomfort in relating with people precisely because you have to be careful and respect certain directives. It becomes more and more complex to face everyday life and what I miss is definitely being able to be free to live carefree and without worries. Hope that soon we will have the opportunity to hug my loved ones without being afraid of contagion.

DREAMSHADE LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

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(ToddStar Photography) Interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2021/1/a-dirty-dozen-with-kevin-cali-from-dreamshade---january-2021 Thu, 14 Jan 2021 18:10:27 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with RENE MATA from REACH NYC - January 2021 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2021/1/a-dirty-dozen-with-rene-mata-from-reach-nyc---january-2021

According to a recent press release: “REACH NYC, who came to prominence in the hard rock scene in the '00s and were signed to Lava/Atlantic, have returned with the fittingly titled new single "Back From the Dead." It's their first new song in 17 years and features Papa Roach's Jacoby Shaddix. The band has premiered the "Back From the Dead" video over at Revolver. "Back From the Dead" will appear on Reach NYC's new EP, out in 2021 via The Orchard.” We get vocalist Rene to discuss new music, reflection on his past, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

It’s our first song in 17 years. We are beyond grateful and excited! I have my brother Jacoby Shaddix guesting on it.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve been into music since my parents bought me Kiss' Dressed To Kill when I was 5. Since I was 5 lol.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Jane’s Addiction Nothing’s Shocking changed my life.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Jane’s Addiction - Ritual de lo Habitual, The Cure - Disintegration, NIN - The Downward Spiral, and The Clash - London Calling.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Kurt Cobain.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Honest & personal.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Nick will crack out the acoustic guitar, Danny will cook, and I don’t drink.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

The first time I met and hung with Bruce Springsteen.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I have my dream job. I work in music!

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

What music means to me??  Everything.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I have no regrets. Everything that happened has gotten me what I have now. An amazing family awesome friends.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Nirvana - Nevermind.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Live music and hugs.

REACH NYC LINKS:

FACEBOOK

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(ToddStar Photography) Interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2021/1/a-dirty-dozen-with-rene-mata-from-reach-nyc---january-2021 Thu, 14 Jan 2021 17:12:41 GMT
LIVE: GWAR – September 18, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/live-gwar-september-18-2019 Venue: Majestic Theatre

City: Detroit, MI

Date: September 18, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

GWAR is one of those bands that tours relentlessly, yet I always seem to miss them when they roll through Detroit - this run was going to be different. After a busy day in the office, I was able to get everything lined up and over to the venue for a 10:30 pm start time.  I was finally going to witness the chaos of a GWAR show first hand.  Walking into the venue and seeing all of the GWAR fans around, I started second guessing my choice of a pinkish polo shirt... it seemed everyone in the place was wearing either black or white.  I made my way to the photo pit before the band was to take the stage and made sure to locate the nearest exit... from blood, bodily fluids, and whatever else may come my way.  The stage was setup and I had the feeling this show was going to be worth the wait - and it was.  From the moment the lights went out, the video started to roll, and we were thrust into a trial - the crowd and band whipped each other into a frenzy that was not going to die down anytime soon.  After the video and some character dialogue, the band took their places on stage and proceeded to deliver an interesting show full of theatrics, GWAR classics that had the fans going nuts, and very solid playing from the band.  Kicking the show off with "Fuck This Place," the band came out firing on all engines and proceeded to give the fans what they wanted... music, a show, and overall mayhem.  There was a beheading and much more to behold while rocking out.  While I don't know a lot of the bands catalog, I was impressed with the stage presentation and the way they played to their fans - there is a real love-love relationship at a GWAR concert, as witnessed in Detroit last night.  The band loves their fans, which was evident by the amount of planning and work that goes into a show like the one the band put on tonight, with video graphics and feeds, special effects, talking props, etc.  The fans cannot get enough of the band and all of the miscellaneous characters along the path during the show, including the use of 'blood' and other bodily fluids throughout the show and the reintroduction of some old family friends.  Whether they are your cup of tea sonically or not, this is a band that delivers entertainment and is not to be missed when they roll through your town.

Complete set of GWAR show photos HERE

GWAR LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

TOURDATES

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/live-gwar-september-18-2019 Thu, 19 Sep 2019 18:16:07 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with MONE'T HA-SIDI of 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - September 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-dirty-dozen-with-monet-ha-sidi-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---september-2019 According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get performer Mone't Ha-Sidi to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine. What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine? Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

My Rafiki act was inspired by my love of the Lion King as my favorite Disney film. I first envisioned it as a zombie act. Then I thought why not do Rafiki himself to the Circle Of Life with a twist. I just upgraded the costume to a new look that will be making i's first US appearance at the Michigan Burlesque Festival. I have two Simba tattoos & I am a Leo, so this act does show one of my fandoms and my brand of humor.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

At 18, I wanted to be a stripper... but instead worked at Chuck E. Cheese - often being the rat himself. I was head of the Drill Team that performed with my high school marching band, so I have always felt comfortable performing. I never really thought to pursue it until I was turning 30 and now 11 years later, burlesque has allowed me to see the world and express myself through its art.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers?

The biggest influence on my existence has been music. I have been to at least 400 concerts and I have 37 Smashing Pumpkin tattoos. A song will often be the first step in creating an act and for me it's more about how a song makes me feel vs it's popularity.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

I have a dream of doing a comedy duet with April O. Peel. The two of us just talking in the park was fun and inspiring, and we both have the same sense of humor that I think an act together would be bananas. Wocka wocka.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

Bruce Campbell from the Evil Dead series called me "Disturbing yet enticing." That's going on  my tombstone and it's pretty accurate.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

My first act was to Siouxsie & The Banshees "Peek A Boo." It was a song I discovered in 4th grade and always loved. I am currently blueprinting to bring it back but as a completely different act. I use many different genres, but as a kid born in 1978, I am biased toward the alternative genre from the 90's.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I wish people could see the person beneath the corset & fishnets. I'm known for my activism within the community. People assume a lot based on that. I just want our industry and ultimately the world to be a better place for everyone - and that shouldn't be controversial.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

I am often humbled by sharing the stage with so many talented people, but I will say finally meeting Jeez Loueez was magnificent.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

Best - my tassels have led me to travel the world. Worst - Burlesque is not immune from the world's social ills.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I have never been asked this question.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I wish I would have used my voice in a moment of injustice... instead of after.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I hope to get Rafiki on the BHOF stage. I hope that diversity and inclusivity become human nature and not a forced practice.

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-dirty-dozen-with-monet-ha-sidi-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---september-2019 Wed, 18 Sep 2019 15:35:23 GMT
LIVE: LEELA JAMES – September 15, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/live-leela-james-september-15-2019 Venue: Sound Board inside MotorCity Casino

City: Detroit, MI

Date: September 15, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

Leela James rolled into Detroit on a Sunday night and a packed Sound Board located inside MotorCity Casino couldn't wait for her to take the stage and entertain us all.  With a catalog of killer track behind her, including the latest EP Are You Ready that she performed with The Truth Band, the crowd was in for a killer night of music, but most of us got more than we expected as the night unraveled.  With a three piece band and two background singers, Leela tackled song after song as she moved from center stage to left to right and back to center again, making sure each person in the venue was able to feel like they had a front row seat.  While she showcased songs from her last two full length releases, 2014's Fall For You and 2017's Did It For Love, it was her banter and introduction of the 2019 single "That Woman" that whipped the female component of the audience into a venue, as she spoke directly to her Queens in the audience.  My personal favorite, "Say That," made an appearance in the set, but I wasn't complaining about any of the songs she pulled out and performed, as it seemed be to culled from my iTunes Leela playlist.  After running through more than a few songs, she started bringing her "party people" on stage and before we knew what was going on, we were all submersed into a Sunday Night Dance Party DJ'd by none other than Leela herself.  She played her favorites, fan favorites, and even played songs she said were her dad's favorites.  After her impromptu DJ set, she slowed things back down and took us out with more songs from her bag of musical tricks.  The crowd stayed up and danced the night away, swaying and moving in their seats or standing in the aisles.  This was one of the best and most entertaining shows of the year, IMO.  Leela doesn't have many dates left on this current tour swing, but if you are in Napa or Oakland, CA and dig R&B and Soul, make sure you get to one of her shows - you will not be disappointed.

Complete set of LEELA JAMES show photos HERE

LEELA JAMES LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

TOURDATES

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/live-leela-james-september-15-2019 Tue, 17 Sep 2019 19:51:25 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with LUSHES LAMOAN of 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - September 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-dirty-dozen-with-lushes-lamoan-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---september-2019 According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get performer Lushes Lamoan to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine. What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine? Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

The latest act I put together was originally created for a video game show with comedic troupe, Black Sheep Burlesque. I really wanted to have fun with it since this was my return to performing 4 weeks postpartum and I was uncertain of how I would physically feel. I wanted to do something cartoony yet classic (Like me) and as cheesy and childlike as it sounds I made a giant sandwich board cut out of Miss Pac Man. I performed to the Pac Man theme song spliced with that 80’s tune from Dirty Dancing, "Hungry Eyes." It was so silly, everyone loved it! I wanted to put that costume to further use by doing what I do best; Gritty, grimey classic bump n grind. A few years ago I spliced together some music I used to perform to. Upon discovering that the fusion worked well, I sat on that track waiting for the inspiration to design the perfect costume. Little did I know that inspiration would be Miss Pac Man. The costume is out of this world sexy with bright color, and lots of movement, it is really fun. This new act is 8 minutes of smashingly brilliant in your face beauty (Like me).

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I have always been an entertainer. It is what I was born to do. I started as a youth, showing off in show choirs, later moving into theater, then film, music videos, documentaries, and am published in multiple books and have even been on television. I was an international performer by the age of 18! (oh man that was 18 years ago..don’t do math, don’t do math!!?! I’m still 21) I was on an independent sketch comedy show; the producer told me I looked like pin up model. This inspired me to try to model, I kept looking for opportunities to get booked, but I was constantly being turned away. Sad face. I didn’t give up! Years later when I was 23 (but still 21, don’t do math, DON’T DO MATH!) I came across a Spag pin up calendar featuring the Michigan hearse club. I met up with the troupe director and went to the Burlesque show to see if I liked it, before trying it, and I did. It was at that show that I first witnessed SATORI CIRCUS and Sprockethole. At the show SATORI blew my mind in an astonishingly confusing sort of way, and I loved that, I love being perplexed. Sprocket was so cute and sexy! I wanted to be up there like her. That night I said to myself, self, YOU can totally “do it”, and I have, I have been “doing it” ever since. Nothing and no one will stop me from sharing my love of dance and nudity.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers?

I am inspired by classic icons such as Mae West and Bettie Paige. Later I learned about our legends, thanks to my Spag Sister the late Sparkly Devil, Rest In Paradise. I’m very blessed to know Lottie the Body, I am good friends with Mama Toni Elling, she calls me her name sake and Val Valentine gifted me her patterns and sanctioned me to use her blacklight costume. I do admire a few Neo performers. I’ve always loved Mrs. Tickle (NY), not only are her costumes incredibly amazing, but her acts rock my brain cells. She is able to create mind blowing stories through her movement, song choice and costuming. I am also head over heels for Waxie Moon (WA). Waxie is poetry and has the grace of a thousand butterflies, being known for having a beautifully breathtaking way of bending gender norms. Thank you Waxie for being a pioneer in the gender bending movement. Of course I have mad love for the incomparable Roxi D’lite. Who is absolutely divine, inside and out. She is a real treat, a true D’lite! I’m so happy she’s home to Detroit! **cough, cough** <insert shameless promotion> Did you know Roxi has a monthly show, the Whoopie Room. Its at Sid's piano bar (formally the Broadway Cafe and Theater) it’s the best show in town! **cough cough** <end shameless promotion>. Next question please.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

I’m always willing to work with people, that is how we grow as a community by having unity. It just makes our industry better, stronger. There is no unity in division and exclusion. Community over competition. I miss performing in overtures and closing group acts. We always had them in Spag and When I was regularly producing monthly shows with the Detroit Dizzy Dames. I do love creating and collaborating... especially with my mentor SATORI CIRCUS. We have been told we are soul mates on stage. We have so much fun that the audience feels it too.Horrey fun!!! **singing** Wouldn’t ya like to have fun? Fun! Fun!Hows about a few laughs?I can show you a good time!!!! **end singing** **cough cough** <insert shameless self promotion> I’ll let the cat out of the bag! I am currently collaborating with a few other seasoned performers on a big project that will unfold within the next few months. Plans had to be put on hold due to my pregnancy. I appreciate any support and all of your patience. <end shameless self promotion> **cough cough**

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

My performance style is authentic, captivating and memorable. I don’t stick to just one style. Diversity is what keeps my creativity alive, it gives producers a choice when booking me and keeps the audience guessing what I’m going to do next. I’ve been told I am an exclamation point amongst the periods, a breath of fresh air, a true professional. I’ve been known to f¥<k the audience with my eyes and send shivers up their spines with my pelvic thrust. That is my speciality. Classic grimey bump n grind. Beautiful, yet, vulgar. In the golden age this style was referred to as Burlesk. No, that is not a spelling error. There is a difference between burlesque and Burlesk. I would love to teach you, if you would let me.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

My favorite is kicking it old skool by performing with a live band. I have performed with everything from a trio to a full orchestra. It gives me life. When collaborating with a band performances are organically raw which takes skill to execute, and effectively enthrall the audience. I don’t just stick to one genre of music, doing the same thing feels stagnant and routine. The music has to move me, make me feel. I also have to make sure it’s a song I can listen to on repeat, a million times, for forever. That’s like being in purgatory with your best friend. I do get lots of compliments on my music selections and editing execution. My very first burlesque act was to The Cramps "Bikini Girls With Machine Guns." I still have the zebra print bikini that I made. Due to my current worldview I don’t feel comfortable performing it anymore. It is controversial and I would have to change it, but change is good.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

Personally: I’m really from Detroit! Detroit proper, east side; 48205 just south of the red zone, if you don’t know what that means you’re lucky. Currently living on the west side, in Big Sean’s childhood home. I don’t think a lot of people understand Detroit pride. Growing up and going to school in this devastated city was hard, it was brutal. Many people wouldn’t have made it, it, being life. I always joke about what I learned in school. I learned to run, fight and dance, not exactly in that order. Even though there were constant tribulations, life was fun and I have unbelievable stories. Outsiders Just don’t understand what it was like here. When traveling it was almost a burden to say I was from here. Now everyone wants to be from Detroit. Old Detroit is still here, we never left and we are just as hungry as ever and hustle even harder, we know how to survive on instinct. I have to remind myself to always come from a place of love and be humble, forgive people for they know not what they do, know not what they say... and... I know there has been a lot of talk about me, sometimes not in the kindest way. I ask that you believe what you see not what you hear give people a chance, give me a chance. I work incredibly hard and am very giving and kind, I’ve just been hurt a lot, but I wouldn’t change anything. I like me. My experiences taught me empathy and have helped shape me to be the good and to see the good in others. I’m also able to read people. I’ve been conditioned to be as tough as nails. That is a gift. I grew up rough, I am a survivor, I am proud warrior, I am grace and love…..I am a true Detroiter. Say nice things about Detroit, say nice things about us.

Do not take this personally: When you are in an audience, just because you are in a big room separated by darkness and lime light does not mean the performers can not see or hear you. Because we do. Please be kind. All Entertainers work hard, we are dedicated to the craft. It takes a lot of courage to be this vulnerable. Even though performing is not for the thin skinned we don’t need our audience to make our skin thicker. Most of us performers, regardless of hierarchy, are already hard enough on ourselves. If you don’t like what you see, keep it to yourself and save it for the car ride. We don’t need to hear the unnecessary whispering, and neither do the other attendees. We do need your support, we need your patronage, not your judgments. If you do like what you experience, share your thoughts with the performer. Make sure to let us know how much you enjoyed the performance. Don’t be scared of us, most of us are just shy and awkward. A monetary tip is always greatly appreciated. Handing a tip directly to the performer ensures that, that performer gets that tip! A great way to meet a performer is to wait till after the show to give the performer a tip. That makes us happy. We like you and we like that you like us.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

I treat everyone as everyday people because at the end of the day that is who we are, everyday people, regardless of what or how we do our individual lives. As odd as it sounds I don’t get star struck; I think it may be a Detroiter thing or maybe its because stature never really mattered to me or maybe because I’m extended family with some big names in burlesque and have famous friends. To me they are who they are not what they do. I have even worked with the late great blues legend Johnnie Bassett, Rest In Paradise. Most of us Detroiters are ingrained with the mindset of one day you’re here and the next day you may not be. Live for today because tomorrow is uncertain and yesterday is already gone.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

For me the best part of being a burlesque performer is the creative outlet and the abundance of confidence I have. I’m fearless in my skin and with showing it. I’m proud to be me, even with my perfect imperfections. If I could turn back time 18 years to being that young pin up girl yet have the knowledge and confidence I have now, my life would be completely different and I probably wouldn’t have stayed living here. I believe I lost opportunities for personal growth by remaining here seeking opportunity when there was none, yet creating opportunity for others while Detroit was in a transition of rebirth and repopulation. People know not what was here before them, and it seems like they don’t care. There were people living here and trying to work here. There was an art scene. There was a burlesque scene too, it may not have been huge or the best but it did exist and still does, dont let there be a demise of our local cultural history! We all worked so hard...and we played even harder. Oh how we had fun. Last year I got a death moth tattooed in plane view to remind myself to evolve or die. Over the last two years I have dedicated a life of sober living and have become a mother, not just to my burlesque kids. Now that Detroit has changed and is continuing to, I realize I must once again change too. I will achieve this by remaining humble and keep working hard...still not giving up. There was a time in my burlesque life that I thought I would have to retire due to Lisfranc, an incredibly rare yet serious injury. I went to the specialist; my first question was am I going to be able to dance again?!!? I was told I would not be able to wear high heels, or work as a bartender/ server... I was basically being told my life was over... that I had to change my life... my life was no longer my life but my injurys! I couldn’t walk... I couldn’t dance... I couldn’t work... I was devastated... I was in physical and spiritual pain and my mind suffered. I became jaded... bitter... I was no longer me. When I was able to walk again, I immediately went right back to dancing, then back to the hospitality industry and eventually back to dancing in stilettos regardless of pain and against orders. figuratively, I ran, I ran for my life! After all that is what I learned growing up. Thank you to everyone that helped during that difficult time in my life. It’s been one heck of a journey healing my body, now I am working on healing my mind and spirit. If I did have to hang up my dancing shoes I'm certain I would still be involved in the arts somehow, I draw, paint, sew and am a thespian... the show must go on!

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Do you want ALL of this money? Yes, Thank you!

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I would have quit drinking sooner. Yea, I don’t drink even tho my name is lush. I love my sober life. If I had been sober I would have never let my guard down, I would have been clear headed enough to see through people’s transparencies and to avoid dangerous situations. I wasn’t cautious about who I let into my home and my circle of trust.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I’m just thankful to have a creative outlet that I can be as naked as possible. I would like for people to recognize and remember that Detroit's burlesque resurgence was about 20 years ago, it was just very underground, like many amazing things. I want to be remembered for being original, a Detroit original.

LUSHES LAMOAN LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-dirty-dozen-with-lushes-lamoan-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---september-2019 Tue, 17 Sep 2019 01:43:13 GMT
LIVE: LINGUA IGNOTA – September 10, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/live-lingua-ignota-september-10-2019 Venue: Deluxx Fluxx

City: Detroit, MI

Date: September 10, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

With her latest disc - Caligula - recently released, Lingua Ignota is hitting the road to support the effort.  A lucky crowd that packed into Deluxx Fluxx in Detroit on a Tuesday night was able to catch the second date on the tour.  After an opening set from Hamilton, Ontario's Vile Creature, Ignota proceeded to set up her keyboard and computer, as well as an interesting "stage" setup that included a clear backdrop and some randomly placed lamps that provided a lot of backlighting as well as occasional and sporadic front lighting.  Her powerful music seemed to entrance most of the crowd, myself included.  While the dark music and theme of most of the lyrics tend to draw aggression, the Lingua's shifting of vocal gears between droning, chanting, screaming, and on some tracks some of the most beautiful vocals I have heard in a small venue in a long time.  The vocalist knows her crowd and plays to them from deep within her soul.  While performing, whether playing the keyboard and singing or running a prerecorded track and stomping around through the crowd, Ignota stays true to herself and the music.  While the show clocked in at just about an hour, it was entertaining and worthwhile for everyone in the club.  We can only hope she will be able to bring this charismatic and provoking show back to Detroit sometime soon.

Complete set of LINGUA IGNOTA show photos HERE

LINGUA IGNOTA LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

TOURDATES

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/live-lingua-ignota-september-10-2019 Thu, 12 Sep 2019 02:40:51 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with KITTY & ERIS of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - September 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-dirty-dozen-with-lottie-a-la-west-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---sept-2019 According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get performers Kitty & Eris to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

Kitty: Our newest act that we will be performing at MIBF is called “Fossse Style” I have been wanting to use this song for forever! It has such jazzy classic feel, then a big surprise with the bass drops and trap. We love big props, so using a ballet barre for it just felt perfect.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

Eris: It was a natural progression from circus and flow arts for me. I wanted to continue to bring those elements to dance and burlesque. I look up to no one except the almighty Bob Dobbs.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

Kitty: I just love any kind of physical comedian. Lucille Ball is my fairy godmother for sure! Also, I really look up to Satori Circus, but only because he’s taller than me.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Kitty and Eris: We want to create a Satori Circus and Konrad Lee Impersonator act. They have given us their blessing, so its on!

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

Kitty: We are pretty enigmatic. One minute we are doing a comedy act like Bob Ross, Our Magic Act, or Circus Bear. The next we are doing serious modern dance and duo acro acts. The one thing we really like to do is add a surprise element to every act either through a comedic gag, or just a really abrupt mood switch.

Eris: not exactly a review, but that one time I threw gummy leeches out in the crowd during our leech nurse act and it hit this lady in the face.  I will never forget the sheer terror on that lady’s face!

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

Kitty: We are kinda all over the place in genres, so that’s a hard question to answer. Our first song was an 8bit Sonic the Hedgehog circus song. We performed that act so many times in the beginning of our duo partnership, I know it so well!

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

Kitty: The time that we put into our acts is the biggest thing. We worry about every little detail and take it very seriously. I may seem really silly sometimes, but I am extremely sensitive and always striving for perfection. The biggest misconception is that we make a lot of money. It takes performing an act several times before we even make what we put into them.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

Eris: I honestly don’t get star struck by anyone really. No offense, I just do my own thing.

Kitty: Red Rum is amazing and everything she does is a spectacle!

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

Kitty: I love being able to tell a story. Burlesque allows for such creative control. It is just so empowering to do exactly what you want and have people screaming for more of it! I found burlesque when I got sober five years ago and it has been a great outlet for me. The worst part is that I don’t get out very much outside of burlesque events. I literally haven’t seen a concert in over five years. If I could no longer be a performer, I would definitely teach new performers.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Kitty: I wish people would ask me how I make my vegan banana bread! Here is my recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vegan granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or soymilk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar Save $
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Grease bottom only of 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.
  2. In large bowl, beat sugar, bananas, coconut oil and vanilla until smooth. Stir in almond milk and vinegar. Add flour, baking soda and salt; stir just until moistened. Stir in walnuts. Pour into pan.
  3. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and crack in top of loaf appears dry. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove from pan, and place on cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour, before slicing. Wrap cooled bread in plastic wrap, and store in refrigerator.

Oh, and I’m sick of answering if Burlesque is anything like the movie.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Kitty and Eris: Our biggest situation is knowing our worth. We have been at this for years now and deserve to be compensated as professionals. Many of the acts we do have required special training and technical ability. It is hard to stand up for ourselves sometimes and demand that we be paid fairly. We also understand that each show has a different budget though, and do try to work with really great producers on a reasonable rate.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

Kitty and Eris: We for sure want to keep leveling up our duo acro skills and hope to bring more fire acts in the future. We hope to be remembered for our strange and funny acts.

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-dirty-dozen-with-lottie-a-la-west-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---sept-2019 Wed, 11 Sep 2019 14:37:22 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with TAD SNUG of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - September 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-dirty-dozen-with-tad-snug-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---september-2019 According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get performer Tad Snug to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

I have at least three more routines currently in the works, but my latest fully developed routine is actually my debut act. The song "My Type" by Saint Motel is sort of about this dude who sees himself as a total Lothario at the club, but is actually sort of begging anyone, please, to just come home with him. I thought, perfect, that totally works for me, because I tend to gravitate toward comedy especially in situations where I’m not super confident (...like doing burlesque for the first time). The actual “stripping” aspect of the act, the sort of desperate rending of clothes I do, is very much my personality as well. I’m definitely an oversharer and tend to bare my soul to those around me really quickly. And the fashion. . . I wanted 70's, cheap, and clashy, and I ran with it. I love that costume. I’d wear it every day if I didn’t think I’d get canned for wearing tearaway pants to work.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I’ve always loved performing in any capacity, but I didn’t really do much as an adult until my roommate and I joined the Michigan Rocky Horror Preservation Society shadowcast last year. Rocky Horror is a longtime love of mine; I discovered it in high school and quickly became obsessed. As an adult, and as a trans guy who isn’t always comfortable with his body, joining the cast was a really cool way for me to project confidence and, I dunno, fake sexy? Which ended up giving me ACTUAL confidence. As we grew more into the cast, we learned a fair few of our castmates were alumni of the Detroit School of Burlesque and were burlesque performers themselves. Dotty Dart is on our leadership panel, and does periodic burlesque double features with our cast. I was nervous as hell, but it was the natural next step and it’s been a great experience so far! Dotty has definitely been a great mentor for me and Bebe, who consider ourselves burly babies of the Haus of Dart.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

My top three are Dotty Dart, Delta Van Damn, and Dish Delish (wow, all D names). They’re very different in terms of performance styles, but all eclectic, unique powerhouses in their own right, and excellent friends. I couldn’t ask for better guides into the burlesque community.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

I would love love LOVE to collaborate with anyone in the Black Sheep Burlesque family, but my number one choice would have to be my best friend and roommate, Bebe Rose. We spitball ridiculous act ideas all the time, and we’re definitely in each other’s heads—I feel like it would be the most natural thing in the world.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

My performance style is. . . you know in The Birdcage, when they’re just about at the end of the dinner and Robin Williams is in the kitchen chugging wine straight out of the bottle while his voice gets higher and higher in panic? That feeling. I would describe my style in two words as “Horny Trainwreck”. It’s not so much a review (keep in mind I’m pretty new), but I did have a fan tell me that during my “Sadchelor” act I should use pull MORE glitter-filled scarves out of my junk. I use two full tubes of glitter! You ever tried panic-peeing before a show with a scarf full of loose glitter in your undies?! There’s already enough risk for disaster! I’m not playing with those odds!

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I joked before I even started, while I was brainstorming ideas for my first act, that I wanted to be known as the Dude Who Only Dances to Ska. I feel like that would be a fun (if really stupid) thing to be known for. I’ve definitely kicked around ideas for an act set to Reel Big Fish’s "Cannibal." "My Type" cracks me up even more now, I have to say. Although I do find myself a little unable to separate it from the act; every time I hear it I do the motions (which is maybe not such a great thing while I’m, say, at work. . . or driving).

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I feel like there’s this weird mystique surrounding burlesque, like it doesn’t really feel like a touchable or achievable thing to a lot of people. It’s not something “regular people” can do; you have to be a very specific type of thin, but also curvy, and also blonde, and also the perfect type of pinup model, and also be classically trained, and also and also and also. . . But the reality is that it’s just like any other hobby or skill. Anyone can do it if they want to! I think the biggest misconception about me personally is that I have any idea what I’m doing.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

I find myself being starstruck by every performer I get to share the stage with, but I would have to say I was incredibly starstruck by Hermione Stranger, of Black Sheep Burlesque. Gorgeous, funny, talented—the total performer package.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part for me is getting to act. I love acting. I love having the opportunity to be someone else for a while, to really get inside the head of a different character, even if it’s only for three and a half minutes. The worst part. . . is probably actually buying costuming and props. Just the spending money part. Actually putting everything together is a blast, but it’s hard to remind myself of the end result when there are cartoon moths flying out of my wallet. If I could no longer perform. . . well that would be depressing. But I do also write a lot of fanfiction, and do a lot of weird art. I tend to work through my issues in loud and colorful ways.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

“May I give you this stack of crisp $100 bills?” Why yes, yes you may. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get tired of answering questions related to burlesque. As a person I love questions, the more awkward the better. And I’m still experiencing so many new things that I want to talk about!! Ask away.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

My career is really still starting. I think if I could go back in time and give myself any message, it would be “Sew the goddamn bias tape on.”

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I would really love to be named as someone’s dream collaborator. That would mean the world to me, honestly. And I’d love to be known as a Cool Dude who created a little bit more space for trans and queer folks to celebrate themselves in local burlesque.

TAD SNUG LINKS:

 

 

 

 

TWITTER

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

 

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-dirty-dozen-with-tad-snug-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---september-2019 Mon, 09 Sep 2019 15:35:23 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with PIXEL UNIVERSE of 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - September 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-dirty-dozen-with-pixel-universe-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---september-2019 According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get performer Pixel Universe to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

 

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

Most of my acts are pop culture mashups inspired by either the character I am taking on or the song. Once I have a character and a song, that’s when I start building the act with the goal of adding more to their story. One act that I’ve only done once is Frank-N-Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I used the song "She Blinded Me with Science" by Thomas Dolby to create a prequel in which Frank is fretting over Columbia destroying his lab.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I had always been mesmerized by burlesque acts I had seen at the Dirty Show and Theatre Bizarre, but I didn’t really consider performing until I saw classes being offered at the Detroit School of Burlesque. Even after I took the intro class, it took me a while to commit to act building and it wasn’t until I started doing drag that I found what worked for me.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

Locally, Leena Allure is perfection and I love everything she does. In general, my heaviest influences come from the drag world.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

I recently collaborated with Fannie Smith on a comedic burlesque show for Planet Ant’s competition Versus. I reached out to her for it because we both pursue a wholesomely dirty aesthetic.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

As the chameleon of camp, I would describe my style as campy and character-based. All of my acts have a structured story. I did get a useful note from a friend on one of my acts, the Morton Salt Girl. At the end that act, I do a large glitter pour as my final reveal. I start off pouring a tiny amount of salt out of the small spout and, when it isn’t coming out fast enough, the character rips the lid off the can to make a spectacular sparkly mess. A friend asked if I had trouble with the lid after a show. I didn’t, it was feigned stress, but I now have the note that I need to do a better job showing that to the audience. Another person he was with got it, but my goal is for everyone to be in on it.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I use whatever inspires me or works with the act. The first song I used was I"’m Only Happy When It Rains" by Garbage. I use it for my Morton Salt Girl act. It’s a band I love, so starting out with it made a lot of sense.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

Performers are people. We love what we do and we love that you love it, too.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

I am not sure if I’ve had that particular feeling (performers are people).

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

Best: Creative outlet with a wonderful community. Worst: Burlesque is not cheap. Burlesque and drag are heavily intertwined for me. If I wasn’t doing either of those, I would probably be doing more improv and comedic art.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I don’t really have anything I want to be asked. The question I hear maybe a little too often is “How did you think of X?” There isn’t a lot of thought that initially inspires an act. It usually just comes to me and then the rest seems obvious along the journey. I never feel like I have an adequate answer to that question.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I am pretty early in my career, so I don’t necessarily have one key moment. I would say that seeing more shows would be something I would go back and change. Younger me should have gone out more.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I did a drag fundraiser this year for the Detroit Women in Comedy Festival. After the show, an audience member came up to me and thanked me for my performance and said it reminded him that being queer is punk rock and he was inspired to express himself more. I want to achieve more moments like that for audiences where they feel they can do amazing things or be themselves because of what they saw on stage.

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-dirty-dozen-with-pixel-universe-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---september-2019 Mon, 09 Sep 2019 14:11:21 GMT
A Few Questions with FOXY TANN of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - September 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-few-questions-with-foxy-tann-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---September-2019 According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the MC and performer Foxy Tann to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I feel like burlesque found me actually. I have been performing professionally in one capacity or another since I was 16. When I moved to Minneapolis, I spent years working in regional theatre, touring childrens theatre, and circus. I started a show at The Gay 90's in DT Mpls in 1997 that was burlesque in it’s entirety, but I didn’t know it. I was just having a hell of time working in a 50's lounge, armchair traveler genre. I thought it was hilarious - and it was! We did that show for a couple of years and I floated around and finally saw a show billed as burlesque and I saw Catherine D’Lish perform her spider web act and the bird cage act and i was like well now we are talkin’ here! This is something that I am already doing, just with a bit more naked. And what’s wrong with a little bit more naked?

2. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

I would say more so performers of yesteryear and drag queens to be honest. Rusty Warren, Joan Rivers, the female blue comics of the 50’s and 60’s - Lip Synchca, Miss P from the Parliment House in Orlando, Deena Cass from The Garden in Des Moines. I also adore Don Rickles and Rodney Dangerfield! They are geniuses and absolutely masters of their craft!

3. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

The first song I ever used to solo was "Tell Mama" by Etta James. I emerged out of a giant clam! Etta is tried and true. I have done multiple acts to Etta! I tend toward 70's funk and blues. I like the structure of blues songs because it makes it a little easier to choreograph. But there are a lot of songs that I love but just wouldn’t work for me on stage as an act. Sometimes things just aren't meant to be.

4. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I want the general public to know that there really isn’t anything dirty about what is going on at as burlesque show. Seriously! you will see more raunchy stuff in your average music video. What is happening is a celebration of every body and every sexuality. It’s a bunch of people who have decided that they have something to say and burlesque has provided a way for them to say it. on their own terms. with their own vision. And that is the difference between burlesque and commercial stripping... commercial stripping is about portraying someone else's fantasy, burlesque is about portraying the performer’s fantasy!

5. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

A couple of years ago, at The Burlesque Hall of Fame in Vegas, I had the privilege to meet Rusty Warren in person. I cried at her, and was utterly unable to make any sense but i was able to get across that I loved her work and that i had been stealing her material for years and thank you!

6. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

I think the best part of being a burlesque performer is that  i get to choose the manner of my artistic expression. In plainer words I get to do whatever I want artistically! Not many performance genres offer that. I make my own hours, I decide where and when I am going to work. I decide how I am going to work. I have an autonomy that most  people don’t get, and it’s wonderful. On the flip side is the fact that I am constantly on the hustle, trying to find or generate more work, there is no stability, no insurance, no 401k. And the other side of being in complete control of my art is that I am in complete control of my art. I have to build, make, choreograph, market, and fund and work that I want to present. And sometimes it is really difficult to manage all of those things at once. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining at all, I love my life. I have been allowed to be a citizen of the world because of burlesque... I owe my current lifestyle to the strippers of yesteryear and I thank them!

7. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I hope that I will be remembered for being a person who opened doors and held them open for new people wanting to get into performing. So many people pull the ladder up after they have climbed it... I don’t want to be like that, I want to turn around and lend a hand up to whomever wants to make that climb. No one did it for me and I could have used a helping hand multiple times in my career. I hope to provide that to a bunch of people before I am done. And I also pray that people remember me for being a kick ass hilarious emcee of massive, unseen before talent!

FOXY TANN LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-few-questions-with-foxy-tann-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---September-2019 Sun, 08 Sep 2019 21:24:48 GMT
LIVE: TED NUGENT – August 27, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-ted-nugent-august-27-2019 Venue: Lexington Village Theatre

City: Lexington, MI

Date: August 27, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

As his tour winds down, Ted Nugent decided to grace the quiet Lexington community with another show full of rock classics, riffs, and overall Motor City Mayhem.  Armed with guitars and his rhythm section of Greg Smith on bass and Jason Hartless on drums, he dropped into town on a Tuesday evening in late August and the town reacted - giving him ANOTHER sold out show at the venue (his fourth in four years).  Switching it up and saving the "Star Spangled Banner" for later in the show, Nugent and his band ripped into the music right away, setting the stage for the remainder of the evening.  With a ton of songs in his catalog, it was a small surprise as he played through his set, song after song.  The fun of a Nugent show is watching and listening as he plays riffs and solos in each song that take you back to the days when you first heard some of the songs and others when you picked up your own air guitar and played those same solos and licks with him as the music blasted through your stereo.  The audience was treated to the staples and fan favorites that seem to fill out the set list tour after tour with a couple deeper tracks being thrown in for good measure.  Another fun facet of Ted's show is seeing how he controls the flow of the show musically, but also engaging the crowd with his banter between songs.  He may be a Michigan boy, but somehow a part of his soul and roots were cultivated in Lexington, as he seems to settle in and make the stage his own.  As he seems to skip the material form my personal favorite disc, two of my favorite classic Motor City Madman track hit the set early when "Stranglehold" and "Motor City Madhouse" fronted the evening, so I was able to settle in and dig the show after storing the camera gear.  If you can't check out the last couple dates on his current swing, keep an eye on his site folks... Ted is far from done and I can't wait to see him tear up Lexington again next year!

Complete set of TED NUGENT show photos HERE

TED NUGENT LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

TOURDATES

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-ted-nugent-august-27-2019 Thu, 29 Aug 2019 14:16:27 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with LEENA ALLURE of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - August 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/a-dirty-dozen-with-leena-allure-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---august-2019 According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Leena Allure to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

Currently I have 4 acts in the work and each act feels like it's an extension of my personality. I have one that will have a bit of dramatic flair, another one that is a bit old school, one that gets a bit naughty, and one that pays tribute a pin up idol who has influenced a lot of my make up and fashion sense. As for my recently debut, It was to the song Roxanne from Moulin Rouge. It was me celebrating my newly found freedom of expression. It embodied everything I was feeling at that moment. It contains pieces of costumes I had to put on hold from 2 years and it embodies a sexier side of me. A bit more tease, a bit more play, and all the bits of things that I held back because I didn’t want to deal with the repercussions later.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I have been a full time burlesque dancing since January 2016. I did dabble in burlesque a few years prior, but never really found my voice or style. It was the end of 2015 that I knew I needed a more creative outlet in my life. I was running on fumes in the pin up community and every single day was becoming the same routine over and over. So, I uprooted my life for the 10th time and started down the burlesque path and never looked back. This is when I started adventuring down into Detroit more and found this whole new world to explore. The Burlesque community was tiny. Usually the only way to see a dancer would be at an art show that may have 1 or 2 performer in it, and it was almost every weekend I was making my way into Detroit just to perform at one of these types of shows. This all changed when Holly Hock and I got together. I admire Holly because she really has the drive, determination, and attention do detail. She established an all burlesque dancer show, The Detroit School of Burlesque, and always works to help build the community. She proved that she has the follow through to make things happen. I was happy to support her in anyway I could and we teamed up to create a space that allows all types of people to feel beautiful and creative.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

My main influence would have to be Dita Von Teese. Not just because I get referred to her a lot, but because she is the reason that burlesque has became main stream. She has more than proven her skill sets, sells out every show, and has established herself far beyond just burlesque. It really is all her hard work that is truly inspiring. Also, let’s not forget Dirty Martini, every time I went to Dita’s show, she is the one I left talking about. She works a stage, she has a silhouette to kill for, and knows how to entertain an entire crowd even with a simple twirl of the tassel. I actually got to meet her at Michigan Burlesque Festival last year and she is wonderful to chat with as well. But, if we talk local. Ms. PussyCat and Lily LaRue was my first exposure to live burlesque and both were so different. Ms. Pussycat has this wild crazy energy about her and Lily was a classically calm posed beauty. It was wonderful to get a peak a both styles at one time and now realizing how much they both set the stage for my ideals about burlesque.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Currently I would love to work with Margaux Royal. We get mistaken a lot for each other, but we both have a totally different style to our performances. It would be fun to explore what we can come up with. I do have a fear of set choreography, though I think she would be the Perfect Jane Russel to my Marilyn Monroe if we did a Little Rock routine.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

My style would be Strip Tease Story Telling. When I put together a routine I think of the character that I want to represent. I think of how each piece represents a part in the song or the story I'm trying to tell. I get pretty meticulous about how each movement will flow into the next. Figuring out where there should be a bit more tease, a dramatic pause, and where I have free time to play with the audience. I want to create a build up to the final reveal. Could it be rhinestone tassels? Could it be googly eye skulls? just never know.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

My VERY first act was to Ludo - "Skeletons on Parade." This was a Halloween show and I knew I wanted to do that classic image of the a skeleton dancing around in a top hat. I searched all styles and genres of music and this was the one song that I could picture the whole routine in my head. It was a simple act at first, the reveal was a full body skeleton suit with tassels sewn on it. At that time I wasn't fully comfortable with the idea of getting half naked in public, but each act after that was just a bit more comfortable and a bit more revealing. Now it's a wonderful reminder on how far I have came since the first time. Not only do I still use that act with a completely upgraded costume and reveals. I now happily love my body and run around without a care in the world that my skeleton is on parade. As for my go to music it is probably Celldweller. I have a few acts done to his music already and every time I hear it on my play list I always feel very inspired and energized again. I used his music for my Apocalypse act and my Mechanical act which are probably my most creative and I love performing them the most.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I hear about how people are scared to talk to me. I get told a bunch of reasons but most say they were intimated by me or thought I was stuck up. I try to reach out to people first, but I'm so bad at small talk. I’m one of those people who would say happy birthday back to someone that said it to me. I always make the joke that I'm so bad at talking that this is why I strip. The wonderful part of being a teacher at the Detroit School of Burlesque is that as much as I teach our students, they also teach me. They help be get over my social awkwardness. I like that I'm available to them in a casual setting and they feel comfortable talking about their day to me or ask me questions. I enjoy being able to share my knowledge and I love seeing how much they grow as a person and as a performer.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

Dannie Diesel. She was booked for Dirty show this year and was a power house to behold. She knew how to work that stage and make it her own. Even just the few moments I chatted with her afterwards she was wonderful. Very easy going and a fun loving personality to be around. It was actually after I got to chat with her in the dressing room at Speakeasy Sundays is when I started getting star struck. She has the biggest heart out of anyone I have ever met. She is passionate, devoted, and has a drive to live life to the fullest. I have so much respect for her. Her passion and drive to share and protect the history of burlesque and all her knowledge is truly awe inspiring.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

Best part of burlesque is the freedom to create. There are so many styles of burlesque that there is no limit or restrictions as to how much to reveal or how crazy you want to get. The worse part is the mental game of thinking whether or not you are good enough. There was a moment this year that I was considering leaving burlesque. My personal life was getting more strenuous and I was made to believe my burlesque was the cause of all problems, HA!. I announced I wasn’t going to make any new costumes. I started planning to sell off some of my costume pieces and slowly start to fade away from the community. Maybe fall back into my pin up lifestyle or work on getting into cosplay. As much as my personal life was falling apart burlesque was the one thing that was always there. The one thing that made me feel good about myself and the one that I kept holding on too. It really does make you a stronger person.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I get asked a lot of questions and I never shun away from any of them. I tend to be an open book. But very rarely I get asked the one question that makes me feel established in the community, and that is when someone directly asks me for help. Worse questions would be when some random person asking me to fulfill some fetish of theirs.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I am actually pretty happy in my current situation. I'm doing things now I never thought I would have be been capable of a couple of years ago. I moved into my own Apartment and all that was funded by the money I have been saving up from doing Pin Up and Burlesque. Though there is a moment that happen 2 years ago that I wish I could absolutely take back. Though looking at it now, it was a learning situation that gives me a new perspective on how to help others get out of unhealthy relationships. This situation took a hard hit to my performances. I let another person's insecurities manipulated me into proving that burlesque wasn’t that important to me. It was a lot of mental games of being picked apart by someone that you thought cared about you. When you think you finally found a happy supportive middle ground only to be shunned afterwards. It's a mind f*ck. Even the little bit of burlesque I was trying to be apart of was still a burden because it took the attention away from them. Lesson: Don't ever sacrifice something your love for someone that forces you to change for them. None of my family or friends gave up on me, they have always been supportive of my art form. Even my burlesque family was always there and my love of performing never dimmed.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

This is a new step in my life. All the opportunities are now possible. I can now refocus my love of burlesque into new outlets and new passions. Even striving for a chance to maybe one day perform at the Burlesque Hall of Fame. Things are no longer out of reach. I’ll always strive to improve, to dance, and create well rounded acts that all can enjoy. I hope that I’ll be remembered. Even if its a foot note as a helping hand to another, or maybe, when I’m old and grey,  I’ll be remembered as one of the local legends that helped inspire Detroit to keep pushing forward with freedom of expression and self love. Because you really do learn to appreciate your body, your mind, and your abilities when you have the freedom to dance around in your underwear.

LEENA ALLURE LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

TWITTER

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/a-dirty-dozen-with-leena-allure-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---august-2019 Mon, 26 Aug 2019 20:00:36 GMT
LIVE: MARTINA MCBRIDE – August 23, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-martina-mcbride-august-23-2019 Venue: Promenade Park

City: Toledo, OH

Date: August 23, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

The ProMedica Summer Series in Toledo OH featured country legend Martina McBride on a comfortable August Friday night - and the packed park couldn't wait for the show.  After a couple good opening sets, the stage was changed over and setup for Martina and her band to take over and fill the night with music and good vibes - and she delivered.  Kicking the evening off with the one-two punch of "Love's the Only House" and "My Baby Loves Me," the evening was off and running on a killer note.  The band was tight, McBride was all smiles and high energy feeding off the crowds excitement as much as her own.  Slowing things down a bit, she pulled "Valentine" out of her catalog and kept the show rolling with another certified hit.  Next up was "Diamond" - the lone track of the evening from her latest release, Reckless.  Another great song from Martina's catalog popped into the set when she and her band ripped into "I Love You."  A pair of covers - Lynn Anderson's "Rose Garden" and Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)" were thrown into the mix before two more songs from her own repertoire - "In My Daughter's Eyes" and "Anyway."  This was then followed by another couple covers when she shifted gears and played Roger Miller's "King of the Road," paired with Van Morrison's "Wild Night."  My favorite moment of the evening came next when Martina and her band played the emotionally charged "Concrete Angel," one of my favorites from her career that I had never before heard live in several appearances I have attended [RIP Saige].  As McBride worked toward the end of the set and evening, she played fan favorites "Wild Angels" and "This One's for the Girls" which got women throughout the venue singing, dancing, and enjoying the music and each other's company.  With a string of songs that have meaningful lyrical content, the icon led her band through the best pairing of the evening when she closed out the set with "A Broken Wing" and "Independence Day."  Coming back out to extend the fun and excitement for everyone in the venue, she played three more great songs, with "Blessed," an older track from 1995, "Two More Bottles of Wine," and a song I have enjoyed hearing her cover tour after tour when she closed the evening out with Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."  She might as well ask for it, because she certainly delivered it this evening - she gave Toledo her best and the crowd took it note after note.  With only a date or two left on her current tour, you can still grab tickets for her holiday tour... don't miss out!

Setlist: Love's the Only House - My Baby Loves Me - Valentine - Diamond - I Love You - Rose Garden - You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man) - In My Daughter's Eyes - Anyway - King of the Road - Wild Night - Concrete Angel - Wild Angels - When God-Fearin' Women Get the Blues - This One's for the Girls - A Broken Wing - Independence Day - Blessed - Two More Bottles of Wine - Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Complete set of MARTINA MCBRIDE show photos HERE

MARTINA MCBRIDE LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

TOURDATES

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-martina-mcbride-august-23-2019 Sun, 25 Aug 2019 03:15:58 GMT
LIVE: THE BACON BROTHERS – August 18, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-the-bacon-brothers-august-18-2019 Venue: Lexington Village Theatre

City: Lexington, MI

Date: August 18, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

I love hanging out and shooting shows at more intimate venues, especially when lesser known artists roll through town.  I was able to catch The Bacon Brothers on their current Shakey Ground tour as it stopped for a double-header at the cozy Lexington Village Theatre.  With no opener on the agenda, the packed house was treated to over 90  minutes of music from the brothers - Michael and Kevin - and their band.  From the opening notes of "Play!" on through the one-two punch encore of "Only a Good Woman" and "Peace Dance/Footloose," this show was full of great music that saw the band working together from song to song, whether it was coming across with solid guitars, rhythm section, and vocals on a great track like "Tom Petty T-Shirt" to "Perfect Pitch" that saw four band members display their ukulele skills.  Most of the songs in the set were new to me, as I wasn't very familiar with the bands catalog before the show, some totally new music was played tonight with opener "Play!," as well as  "Bigger Than A Song" and "The Way We Love" being tossed into the set.  One of my favorite tracks of the night was from the 2018 self-titled release - Tom Petty T-Shirt stuck with me from the last note until now... I can still hear the chorus bouncing around my brain as I write this review.  Other highlights from the show was the cool vibe of  "So Cal Smooth," the sentimental lyrics and great lead vocals from Michael on "Don't Lose Me Boy."   The main part of the evening closed out with a great cover of Tom Petty's "Don't Do Me Like That" as well as a killer trio of songs made up of "I Feel You," "Beneath Perfection," and "She's Easy on My Eyes," which all demonstrate the diversity in sound and influence of the band.  I cannot wait for the opportunity to see the band play again some time and hear the songs live... after listening to the songs on iTunes, there is something special that comes across when the brothers and their more than capable band deliver these songs in a live scenario.  Hopefully neither of the brothers day jobs keeps them out of Michigan for very long.

Setlist: Play! - So Cal Smooth - Don't Lose Me Boy - Tom Petty T-Shirt - Interlude/493 - Strung Out - Bigger Than a Song - A Road We Know - The Way We Love - 36 Cents - I Feel You - Beneath Perfection - She's Easy on My Eyes - Perfect Pitch - Picker - Two Rivers - Don't Do Me Like That - Only a Good Woman - Peace Dance/Footloose

Complete set of THE BACON BROTHERS show photos HERE

THE BACON BROTHERS LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

TOURDATES

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-the-bacon-brothers-august-18-2019 Mon, 19 Aug 2019 20:59:15 GMT
LIVE: GLADYS KNIGHT – August 11, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-gladys-knight-august-11-2019 Venue: The Aretha

City: Detroit, MI

Date: August 11, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

Seems to be a run on big shows moving through Detroit lately and another that hit my schedule as a big one (and a bucket list legend for me personally) was a recent appearance from Ms. Gladys Knight.  This performer brought all the hits and some covers and blessed a capacity crowd at The Aretha on a Sunday night with an energetic show full of great music, cool banter, and a ton of smiles, both from the stage and the audience.  As Ms. Knight hit the stage, the crowd applauded her entrance and quickly settled in for a night of classics.  Knight waved to, pointed at, and acknowledged friends, fans, and everyone else in the audience as she moved from side to side on the stage and made each of us feel as if she were singing directly to us, even if just for that moment.  A killer few moments for me was during the opening sequence of the set [when us photogs were allowed to photograph this extraordinary performer] was when she broke into a Michael Jackson cover.  Ms. Knight delivered on every level and brought her A-game... not that I expected any less from her at this stage in her career.  If you get a chance, click on the tour dates link and check her out when she comes to a town near you!

Complete set of GLADYS KNIGHT show photos HERE

GLADYS KNIGHT LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

TOURDATES

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-gladys-knight-august-11-2019 Fri, 16 Aug 2019 16:35:42 GMT
LIVE: ANTHONY HAMILTON wsg LEDISI – August 10, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-anthony-hamilton-wsg-ledisi-august-10-2019
Venue: The Aretha

City: Detroit, MI

Date: August 10, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

There are cool shows that hit my radar that just scream for me to attend and check them out, photographically and sonically.  One such show is the recent stop for Anthony Hamilton and special guest Ledisi.  After a short set from opener Tweet, the stage was changed over and readied for Ledisi to entertain the crowd with a killer set of hits from her catalog.  Full disclosure - I am a big fan of Ledisi and couldn't wait to see her on this tour date.  From the minute she hit the stage, she entertained with her songs, her anecdotes, and her banter with the packed house, who seemed to be as excited to see her as I was.  The show kicked off with one of my favorite songs of hers, "I Blame You."  The song got me into the groove and ready to not only photograph this awesome performer, but to enjoy an hour or so of her music.  As she moved from song to song, she talked about current events, including upcoming elections and mass shootings to drive home the point of how important love is in every facet of our lives.  There were also lighter moments when she discussed relationship dysfunctionality and poked fun at members of the audience that she knew were either "sitting next to" their dysfunction or attending the show with someone else's dysfunction, which garnered tons of laughs and cheers from the crowd.  Her set rolled from there, pulling songs from various discs over the last few years.  With her songs and performance, I am positive she converted a lot of those that came to the show not quite knowing who she was or what she was about - although based on the reaction to her songs and show, I am not sure that number was very high.

Next up was the headliner and other than some great R&B, I wasn't sure what to expect.  After a short set change, the anticipation and excitement in the packed venue grew minute by minute, until the moment arrived when Anthony Hamilton's band kicked the show off and soon he appeared center stage and ignited a fire within the female component of the audience.  While the songs sounded great and his voice carried from the sound system and across the crowd nicely, his control of the stage and the ebb and flow of the show was the real star of the show.  When he went from song to song, he made women swoon and allowed each guy in the place to catalog the songs that would come in handy later when trying to set a mood.  With seven studio discs to pull from , there was no shortage of music.  The songs flowed from the stage and the audience danced, sang, snuggled, and more to each song as the moment dictated.  The audience matched him in energy from song to song and the women seemed to get louder with each moment as the night wound to the end.  I didn't know much about Anthony Hamilton going into the show, but you can bet once I got home, I was online ordering up a couple of his most recent discs to add to my collection.  
 

Complete set of ANTHONY HAMILTON show photos HERE

ANTHONY HAMILTON LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

Complete set of LEDISI show photos HERE

LEDISI LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-anthony-hamilton-wsg-ledisi-august-10-2019 Wed, 14 Aug 2019 18:30:26 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with WEDENSDAY WILHELM of 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - August 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/a-dirty-dozen-with-wedensday-wilhelm-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---august-2019 According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Wednesday Wilhelm to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine. What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine? Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

My latest routine was actually set to Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda". I chose to create this act because when I would listen to the song, I thought it would be hilarious to use a stuffed snake and engage in a little "floor f***ing". I start in a safari dress, with the snake draped over my shoulders, and finish in am outfit similar to what Nicki wore in the music video. I also knew I wanted to use tassels to throw it back to my debut act which used a cover of "Baby Got Back."

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

The moment I was drawn to Burlesque was actually at the MIBF 2016! I saw some amazing performers and was drawn to the more goofy acts I saw and knew I had to give it a try! Shrimp Cocktail, Leena Allure, amd Kitty Hawkk were some of my favorites from that show, and they showed me the side that wasn't the standard classical burlesque style.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

Kitty Hawkk, Eva La Feva, Shrimp Cocktail, Tommy Gun, Darynn Storm!

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

This is such a difficult question because I would love to work with so many people! Eva La Feva for sure, she has such an elegance and humor to her acts and she is such a wealth of knowledge.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

I describe my style as pretty goofy, laced with a lot of James Bond (seriously, I have 4 James Bond acts presently), ass shaking, and sparkles. No one has said anything that has made me cringe!

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I really like to use music that my audience will be able to engage with right away, and I tend to pick more upbeat music, disco, fun covers of a song everyone knows, movie themes (again, 4 James Bond acts). I always wanted to do a Princess Leia act to "Slave 4 U" by Britney Spears, so I ended up putting together some fun instrumental covers of Star Wars themes (mixing disco, surf rock, jazz) with the Britney Spears to get a unique blend of music for the act. My first act was to Richard Cheese's cover of "Baby Got Back." I loved how goofy the song was and how perfect it was for using tassels! I will always remember it as my debut music that went further than I ever expected.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I think when it comes to burlesque, you can forget that so many performers have a normal "muggle" life too! I have a full time day job, and I also practice aerial arts, and weight lifting. Anyone who wants to perform certainly can, regardless of your background. And if you don't want to perform there are so many ways to be involved, stage kittening, stage managing, emceeing, raffle, producing, costuming, and others I'm sure I am forgetting!

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

When I was a stage kitten for Dirty Show and met Chris Harder, and Roxie D'Lite for the first time! They were awesome, and it was so surreal to meet such big performers.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

I love knowing that I am an inspiration to other performers, it is always so humbling to be complimented, especially by a new performer. I had a new performer come to me and say that when she saw me at the MIBF she wanted to perform because of it, and that made me cry happy tears. The worst part is keeping it a secret from my "muggle" life, but for various reasons it needs to be separate. My other artistic outlet is aerial arts, I train Silks, Lyra, and Pole! I bring the Silks and Lyra to the burlesque stage as well!

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

It might be corny but I always want someone to ask about something they enjoyed! If they liked my pasties, or costume, usually there is a story there, so I'd love to share those details more often.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Putting too much pressure on myself to keep creating new acts, I would have given myself some more time in between to plan a little better and make them stronger, in the end I don't regret it as I can actually put together an act somewhat quickly now!

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I really hope to get the opportunity to perform at Theater Bizarre or The Dirty Show in some way, shape or form some day! I really hope to be remembered for my humor and being relatable. I love to share tips and tricks and support our new performers, and encourage everyone along the way! I love to stage manage student showcases and encourage/ease nerves back stage.

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/a-dirty-dozen-with-wedensday-wilhelm-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---august-2019 Tue, 13 Aug 2019 17:06:48 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with RUBY CLARET of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - August 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/a-dirty-dozen-with-ruby-claret-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---august-2019 According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Ruby Claret to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

It's been a while since I've made anything new for myself. I'm currently working on my first group choreography for an upcoming space themed show. I wanted to do something a bit more beautiful and serious with this act. The costuming is inspired by each of the planets and the movement is based in modern dance. I tend to keep my real life very separated from my performance life, but space is an interest of mine in both my real and performance lives.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I had been living in Chicago for a while and was having a hard time making friends, so I decided to look into dance classes. I grew up dancing so it seemed like a logical choice. I settled on taking an intro to burlesque class and after performing in my first student showcase, I knew that it was something I wanted to do as a career. I remember having this moment on stage, as I did my first clothing reveal, where I felt so confident in who I was as a person for the first time in a long time. It felt like I had revealed a truth about myself, and from that point on, I've been using burlesque to learn more about who I am.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

I've always admired Po' Chop. The way that they tell a story through movement is awe inspiring.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

I absolutely love my current duet partner Heather and Lace of Chicago. She is wonderfully supportive and incredibly creative and puts everything into every act she is a part of. Although we already collaborate, I hope that we will continue to bring all our dream acts to life together.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

I usually describe my style as comedic burlesque. The majority of my acts have funny aspects to them.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I do have a playlist of potential burlesque songs, but for the most part, I come up with the act concept first and find a song that fits. I tend to gravitate to songs from the eighties with femme vocals.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I think the biggest misconception about burlesque is that it's always glamorous and sexy. While it can be those, I find that it's so much more than that. It gives me a place to be goofy, to be sad, to explore the fluidity of gender, and so much more.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

I am always star stuck by Jean Wildest of Chicago. They are an amazing choreographer and always invoke incredible feeling in everything that they do.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

My favorite part of performing is getting to share my strange art with the world. It feels amazing to share that part of myself and to feel that it's appreciated by an audience. The worst part of performing, for me, is having to hustle for gigs. I'm not very practiced with things like cold emails or networking, so that aspect of performing stresses me out. I enjoy many other forms of artistic expression, but my favorites are knitting and working with watercolors.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I wish more people would ask about the joy of performing. I could talk about why I feel the need to perform and what drives me as an artist all day. I wish that people would stop asking performers "what's your real name?" There are a ton of reasons that performers don't use their day time names, but for many of us, it's an issue of safety.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I can't think of a specific moment that I would do over, but with learning any new skill there are things that I wish I could go back and tell myself. Mostly, I would tell myself to do the things that scare me. At the beginning, I spent so much time in my comfort zone, which is understandable since burlesque is quite a vulnerable art form. I wish that I would have pushed myself to reach out to more producers or apply to more festivals.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

On a personal level, I'd like to be able to travel and perform. For the rest of the community, I'd like to help cultivate a welcoming environment for new performers. As someone who struggled to break into the scene, it would mean a lot to me to be able to help newer performers learn the ins and outs, while also giving them an opportunity to practice their art.

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/a-dirty-dozen-with-ruby-claret-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---august-2019 Tue, 13 Aug 2019 00:07:49 GMT
LIVE: STYX – August 8, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-styx-august-8-2019 Venue: SoundBoard at MotorCity Casino

City: Detroit, MI

Date: August 8, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

Styx is a band that makes the annual trek through Michigan (I get to see them in different cities every year) and 2019 was no exception when their tour landed them in Detroit at SoundBoard inside Motor City Casino.  As JY mentioned at some point during the show, this was the band's first appearance at the venue - and based on both the bands reactions and those of the capacity crowd, I would bet it isn't their last.  Kicking off the show with high energy, the band tore into one of my favorites of theirs - "Gone Gone Gone."  This track gets the blood pumping, the foot tapping, and  the contagious chorus lends itself to an early sing along.  With the opening number out of the way, the band then leans back into the catalog and hits the crowd with the one-two punch of "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" and "The Grand Illusion."  This combination keeps the crowd on their feet and the air filled with singing and good vibes.  The audience came to rock along with the band tonight, as the two fed off of each other all night long.  Next up, the band slowed the set down for a moment to drop the classic ballad "Lady" into the evenings festivities.  The bands most recent release, The Mission, has a few songs in tonight's lineup including the set opener.  Another favorite of mine from the disc, "Radio Silence," made reared its musical head and the crowd seemed to dig it, even if they didn't know it.  There didn't seem to be one moment during this show when the crowd made their beer and bathroom runs - they were riveted by the bands performance and selection of tracks from the minute the band went on until the final note was played and the house lights came up.  There were few surprises this evening as the band stuck to a  minimal new material and relied heavily on their catalog of hits, but that was not drawing any complaints from the audience, as they soaked up all of the arena rock classics the band threw at them when songs like "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)" and "Rockin' the Paradise" were played to perfection for all to enjoy.  The interplay between the band and crowd during song introductions was fun to be a part of and the band seemed to be enjoying themselves just as much as we were.  Getting anecdotal info about songs, including "Crystal Ball," we were welcomed into Styxworld for the evening and no one was in a hurry to leave.  Other songs dotted the musical landscape for the show, but as the band worked its way toward the end of the set, "Too Much Time on My Hands" drew a big reaction from the audience just before "Come Sail Away" led us to the encore.  The band left the stage momentarily, only to return with two songs the crowd had been waiting for, starting with a song the band hadn't performed for years and drug out of the closet a couple years ago, "Mr. Roboto."  After turning the energy up for that one, the guys had an ace up their sleeve and we all came together to rock the final song of the evening when "Renegade" came blasting through the venues sound system.  Be sure to see Styx as they wind down the final few months of the year and traverse the country bringing their classics to a city near you.  

Complete set of STYX show photos HERE

STYX LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

TOUR DATES

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/live-styx-august-8-2019 Mon, 12 Aug 2019 13:37:19 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with LOTTIE ELLINGTON of 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - August 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/a-dirty-dozen-with-lottie-ellington-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---august-2019 According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Lottie Ellington to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

Photo credit: Ashley Loth of Sound Snap Photography 1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

This particular act was developed as my theme song for 2019. No matter what the universe throws at me, I just keep saying “You can’t stop me”! In April I had a hysterectomy to remove fibroid tumors, then in May I took over as Headmistress of Boom Boom Basics Burlesque and Performing Arts Studio in Richmond, Virginia. I also produced my first show in February, so I have had a lot of challenges and a lot of on the job learning as I step in to my new role.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

From the first show that I attended in 2009 I was hooked! I attended as many shows as I could, but I was finishing up work on my Masters Degree so I had to put my passion for burlesque on the back burner. Once I finished graduate school in 2010 I immediately registered for classes and I haven’t stopped performing and learning since. The first performer that I looked to as a guide or idol was Boo Boo Darling, she was still in Richmond then and I loved her use of comedy in Burlesque.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

I have so many people that I look up to, first would be Momma Toni Elling, without her and Lottie the Body there would be no Lottie Ellington! I love Nasty Canasta, Perle Noire, Egypt Blaque Knyle, Jeeze Louieze, Foxy Tann, The Main Attraction, Ray Gunn, Bazoka Joe, Amber Ray...

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

I’m not sure that there is any one person that I would want to collaborate with, but I would love to be able to get costume advice from Danger Doll, hosting advice from Foxy Tann and movement coaching from Perle Noire.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

I would describe my style as unexpected, I like to switch things up by doing classic style numbers to hip hop music, I like to do funny numbers, but I can also do serious dramatic numbers. The one review from the media that made me cringe was “Parents Say Fire Twerking Teacher” that headline really hurt. First because people were calling for me to lose my job and second that was the first number that I had created that had twerking in it. The song was “Twerking In The Rain” which was a silly parody of singing in the rain.  After my Michigan Burlesque Festival footage of that number went viral my entire life was upended.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I have always dreamed of performing to the Dave Matthews Band at one of their concerts.  There have been a few occasions where I have seen other performers use a song I had in mind, but when that happens I just keep it moving and create something else. An instructor once told me “if other people are using your song that means you didn’t go deep enough into your art”. As a result I use that as fuel to dive deeper into my concept or idea, I find an interesting cover of the song, I find a song that has the same emotion either way I just get on with it. The first song I ever performed to was "Closet Freak" by Cee Lo Green, the song talks about how everyone fears that their freak flags will be discovered and how important it is to embrace and claim those parts of you that are flawed or freaky. After all these years, I still love this song and what is stands for.

Photo credit: Ashley Loth of Sound Snap Photography 7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I wish audience members knew that I am “people” I’m just a regular person. I’m a little odd and I’m socially awkward. I wish people knew how much love I put into my performances I genuinely love being on stage. I wish people knew that Burlesque is a lot of hard work, it’s late nights, it’s social media, it’s writing, it’s blisters, it’s hot glue gun burns, it’s tears because I can’t get my sewing machine to work. Burlesque is a labor of love. I think the biggest misconception about me and my burlesque journey is that I am famous.  I’m not famous, I’m infamous which is not the same. Until I went viral, I was just another mediocre burlesque performer just trying to make art. I’ve had to work hard to put my life back together, I’ve had to work hard to not let trauma change me.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

I was star struck just recently when I had the honor to perform with Jessabelly, SpICE, Carmel Knowledge and Twirlisha Divine at Venessa Chevelle’s Afrotease, an all POC burlesque show!

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part of being a burlesque performer is without a doubt creating, performing and sharing my art. The worst part is producing, it’s hard having that things to worry about at once.  If I could no longer perform I would continue teaching, producing and helping other performers.

10. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Nope! Every step, every decision was an opportunity to improve and get better.

11. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I hope to be a good teacher and headmistress, I hope to leave my community with a legacy full of strong and influential burlesque performers.  I want my students to grow beyond me and my wildest burlesque dreams. I want to see burlesque offered as an elective in collegiate dance programs, I want people to be able to express themselves without fear.

LOTTIE ELLINGTON LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/a-dirty-dozen-with-lottie-ellington-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---august-2019 Wed, 07 Aug 2019 21:13:04 GMT
Almost A Dirty Dozen with SHRIMP COCKTAIL of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/a-dirty-dozen-with-shrimp-cocktail-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Shrimp Cocktail to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

The most recent act I've developed is my "Lunchbox" act.  I had done an act to the song "Lunchbox" by Marilyn Manson a while back, but there was no theme, more of a classic burlesque routine.  I had this idea for this song, to go out on stage, dressed as a school girl, and just eat out of a lunch box onstage.  I wanted to do a new act for my next show, the 4th Annual Boobstock, Two Nights of Pasties, Love, and Music.  This was perfect, because it was weird, and also a great excuse to have a meal on stage.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

The first time I saw burlesque, was at a Rocky Horror Picture Show live cast show, and I was IN LOVE.  I knew that moment I wanted to know everything about it and eventually do it for myself.  Prior to that, I had been in cover bands, wrote my own music, and sang, as well as in show choir, and an acting program. Honestly, I pull most of my inspiration from pop culture.  Specifically television and movies, and this was especially true when I first started.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

I LOVE Bambi the Mermaid, Bunny Galore, Eileen Galvin, Kater Tot.  There are definitely sooooo many more, but I'd say those are probably my top choices.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

100% Eileen Galvin.  Her and I have such a great chemistry, and I always have a good time with her.  I know that if we collaborated on something, it would be the most ridiculous, wonderful thing.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

I drop on the deck and flop like a fish.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

There are SO MANY songs that I've wanted to use, just because I like them.  I always have to remind myself that some just are meant to be use in one of my acts.  The first song I ever used was "These Boots are Made for Walking" by Nancy Sinatra for an act as a Fembot from Austin Powers.  Eventually, that act transformed into me stripping as Austin Powers.  I have not performed that act since my first year performing at the Michigan Burlesque Festival.  That was one of the first acts that I had done that I really felt proud of.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I think the biggest misconception about me is that I'm naive. I'm not going to say I'm not, but I think others believe I'm a lot more naive than I really am, and don't take me seriously.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

100% Dirty Martini.  I had talked to her online before, but meeting her in person, I pooped my pants (figuratively. Ok, maybe a tad literally).

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part is getting to be whoever I want, whenever I want, on my own terms.  I love creating new acts and personas within Shrimp. Shrimp Cocktail is the woman of many faces, and I love getting to let that out.  The worst part is the (pointless) drama.  I'd love to get back into singing with a band again, or being a mermaid at a Renaissance Faire. Or maybe woodworking.

10. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I'd change my start.  I wish I had a better start to performing, and I think about how that's effected me every day.

11. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

One achievement that would END ALL - I would love for Tom Kenny to host my SpongeBob themed burlesque show.  That is the DREAM!  My two worlds colliding - I'd EXPLODE. I want to contribute big laughs to the local burlesque scene.  I just want to put a smile on people's faces, and produce fun shows with talent from all over!  I want to bring the funnest shows that anyone has ever seen to our scene.

SHRIMP COCKTAIL LINKS:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/8/a-dirty-dozen-with-shrimp-cocktail-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Mon, 05 Aug 2019 17:06:52 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with HEATHER AND LACE of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-heather-and-lace-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019
According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Heather And Lace to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

I created a Hades act (not Disney) to "Kiss From A Rose". It's a kind of retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth. The song made me smile every time I thought of Hades dancing to "Kiss From A Rose". I based the look off of a webtoon I like to read called Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe. I think the awkwardness of some of the movements in this act mirror my own awkwardness at times. I'm really happy with how this act turned out!

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I had seen notices for burlesque parody shows and finally decided to give it a shot. I was cast in that show and spent two years performing in shows with that theater. When I started performing solos Red Rum's "Another One Bites the Dust" act really stuck out and Slightly Spitfire's "Shake it Off" act really resonated with me. They both showed me what a beautiful and versatile art form this is and I loved it.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

I admire so many, I find something to admire in almost every performance I see. Creativity sparks creativity!

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Shirley Blazen, Bailey Irish, Jean Wildest for people I know Bob Fosse or Anne Reinking if we're just fantasizing.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

My performance style is a combinations of dance, costuming, and story telling. I usually pull from two of those for each act if not all three... plus a healthy dose of goofiness for good measure.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I have a number of songs by Stevie Nicks and DePeche Mode that I want to use in the future but I like to listen to Pandora to get ideas. My first solo was for a holiday show so I used the jazzy piano version of "Oh Christmas Tree" (from Charlie Brown). I like that I can dust that act off a few times a year, the song makes me happy.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I don't really have anything I wish the audience knew, I tell the audience what I want them to know onstage in my acts.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

I fangirl all the time over performers I love. The last ones were probably Willie LaQueue, Chazie Bly, and Red Rum.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

I am in control of what I produce and no one dictates how or what I put out there. The worst part is the constant hustle, it is difficult to find a good balance between creating and performing and everything else. I have my degree in theatre and design, so I guess I would do that more.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Don't have a questions I want to be asked, but am so tired of people asking what my husband thinks of me doing burlesque. It's none of your business either way so why do you care?

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I would have started everything sooner than I did. I wish I would have had the guts to audition the first time I saw the notice for a burlesque parody, but I got there eventually and that's all that matters.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I am hoping, that with my company, we can create a safe space for people to create and show their art. As many people as we can, all are welcome at our table!

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-heather-and-lace-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 14:15:36 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with ADA VICE of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-ada-vice-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Ada Vice to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

Funny you should mention it, I’m currently working FOUR different acts at the moment, to be debuted next month for 2 different events. Crazy? Yes! Awesome? Hell yes! In the works are: A cheerleader routine. Yes, your sweet Ada was a cheerleader for 6 years of her life back in the day, and boy oh boy it still runs deep! A chemist act where things are about to get all sorts of sexy and sciency up in here! See those two at the “Back to School” Tease a Go-Go on August 17th in Lansing!  Plus two new 1920’s esque routines. One ultra-dark and vampy, and the other is vintage circus-esque! Both 20’s routines will be debuted at the August Speakeasy Sunday at Cliff Bells in Detroit on August 18th. Honestly with all my routines I generally get a spark of an idea just while I’m doing the daily stuffs (usually driving). Whether it’s a song that strikes my fancy or a costume idea or even just a general feel or theme for an act, and then I run with it!

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I’ve truly always been fascinated and titillated by the ye old days performers, in all their wonderful forms. Old Hollywood actors & actresses, Moulin Rouge dancers, anyone from Vaudeville, theater performers, portraits of the splendid “Gibson Girls”. Anything with incredible costuming or makeup, I was positively smitten. Couple all of the above with a want (need?) to run around nekked (seriously, ask Mama Vice, she’ll tell ya the stories) and you’ve got the recipe for a burlesque performer on your hands. I’ve been a pinup model for years and years, and it would occasionally interweave with the local burlesque community. So then a little bit after I had my son, now almost 2, I asked my husband for burlesque 101 classes from the Detroit School of Burlesque for my first ever Mother’s Day present. Luckily he obliged me, and I’d say the rest is history!

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

Oh my word I don’t even know where to begin! Originally, as with many others, Dita Von Teese was (is) a big inspiration. She was my first taste of the burlesque revival back in the day, and I’ve admired her ever since. Such an icon. Then I discovered Medianoche. I fell positively head over heels. Her musicality, intensity, costuming... she’s intoxicating! Everything she does leaves me wanting more! Now that’s a performer. I relatively recently also came across Pearls Daily, and my word, such a dynamo! She sings, dances, and my gahh the passion! All wrapped up in a fiery redhead package! I admire that passion that she brings to every single performance so damn much.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Tila Von Twirl! She’s a wickedly talented dynamo based outta Chicago, and my gah her floor work!! If you’ve ever seen me perform, you know I love me some floor work!

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

I say classic with a twist! I may look the part of old timey swan about glamour girl most times, but then I’ll get down n downright dirty in the next moment. Probably the most cringe worthy thing I hear, and hear it FAR too often is: “You must wish you were born in another time!” Mmmmm that’s a hard NOPE for me. I will admire the clothing, architecture, decor, & general stylings of many a bygone era, however I will never long for the way things were.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I’m a classic girl at heart who loves some good ol bump n grind instrumental tunes, and sometimes even more so when an artist puts a classic twist on a modern song. All hail Postmodern Jukebox foreva and eva, amen. The first song I ever used was a modern tune called "Strip & Swing," and it just made me wanna strut and bump! When I hear it now, as I relatively often do as the act is still a current in my repertoire, it leaves me feeling fulfilled, and damn proud that I’ve done & continue to do something that brings me so much joy in so many ways.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

To be quite candid, it’s that I struggle greatly with anxiety + the occasional bout of depression. I know there are many of us out there that do, and I just wanna say I see you, I’m with you. To all those performers,  audience members, & general people alike who get out there and do the damn thing, whatever it may be (burlesque or not) day after day. You’re putting yourself out there and I applaud each and every one of you. It’s hard. REALLY damn hard sometimes. Burlesque is wonderful & also kinda terrible in the way that as a creative YOU are your art. So you’re literally putting yourself, your body, your creativity your all out there for everyone. It’s amazing AND insane AND I love it.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

First time: Last year meeting Dirty Martini at MIBF 2018. Talk about another icon! Kind, talented, passionate, gorgeous and so much more. What’s not to be star struck about! Last time: Getting to perform with both Medianoche & Perle Noire at the 2019 Dirty Show XX. Both are so warm and kind, and are absolute powerhouses. I truly was, and still am, in awe of these two insanely talented women.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

Best: getting to share so many different facets of yourself with so many different people. Also, the costuming! One of my absolute favorite parts of creating an act is dreamy up & executing my costuming. Worst: The anxiety of putting yourself out there (see answer to question 7)

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’m with Hannah the Hatchet here. The slightly tired question of “where did you get your sparkly lipstick?!”

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Well my anxiety tends to make me a chronic over analyzer who goes over and over and OVER things that I’ve said or done. You know the ol shoulda woulda coulda. I’m working really hard on reframing my thoughts and treating “missteps” as learning moments, and not dwelling needlessly on them.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I’d love to perform internationally one of these days! I hope to be remembered for spreading the gospel that is burlesque to any and all that’ll watch/listen, while growing our local burly community and honoring the powerful women that paved the way for us! I wanna make our legends proud!

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-ada-vice-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with CABANA MACABRE of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-cabana-macabre-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Cabana Macabre to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

Lucy the Vampyr came about as an idea when I was in a production of Lucia di Lammermoor a few years ago. I made a joke about Lucia di Westenra would make a great opera, and that the Mad Scene ("Il Dulce Suono") would be better if it were her rebirth as a vampire, rather than a murderer. It turned in my head for a while before I committed to the idea, inspired by Eiko Ishioka's bridal costuming for Lucy in "Bram Stoker's Dracula." The music I chose, "The Diva Dance" from "The Fifth Element," which includes the first movement of the Mad Scene as an intro, was a great opportunity to show off my pipes. Lucy returns to her sepulcher as a vampire, and attempts to seduce her fiancé. Lucia returns to her wedding party, having slaughtered her lover, without realizing what she's done. I have a deep connection to both of these pieces, and it make sense to fuse them in this way.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific  performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

Old Hollywood movies got me into burlesque. I considered it one of many facets of vaudeville, but didn't consider it as a career option until I was in my late 20s. I have been singing professionally since I was 15, and when I started doing burlesque I really wanted to incorporate singing into the routines. Movie musicals were a big inspiration for me, especially Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Adelaide from Guys and Dolls.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

My own performances are very much influenced by Mae West, Elvira, and Vincent Price. I find myself inspired within the community by performers like Vita DeVoid, Franki Markstone, Marcy Richardson, and Siomai Moore.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Broody Valentino. He did an amazing Sunset Boulevard number at Burlypicks last year that I still think about regularly. I would love to see what Golden Age rabbit holes he and I would go down.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

If someone has never seen me perform, I'd emphasize the singing. I am trying to bridge the gap between winking humor and shameless showiness. I want to sing all the songs rumored to be impossible, and do it while stripping. If it isn't a challenge, is it really worth doing? A cringey review from a fringe festival a few years back had them wondering if they were supposed to be laughing or crying over my character, and while I didn't write that show it still stung a little because I clearly wanted people to laugh.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

My wheelhouse includes the Great American Songbook, Broadway, opera, and classic torch songs. This is mostly for practical reasons, as it's important to connect with the audience. If the tune isn't in English, it might as well be familiar. They may not know it's "Carmen," but they know how the song goes. The first song I ever did in a burlesque show was "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison, inspired by Dean Stockwell in the movie Blue Velvet. I dressed as a sexy lady Sandman and sang it an octave up for maximum creep factor, imitating a Theremin with my whistle tones. I haven't performed it since, but I'd love to do it again because it felt nice in my throat. It set me on the path of horrorlesque, and reminds me to keep doing things I like because people aren't going to know they like it too until you show them.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

Audience members often compliment me on my talent, and I wish they knew it was NOT talent. It is hours a day of practice. Hours. Every day. For the last 18 years. I think if you can talk, you can sing. Talent is about 5% of it, but determination, education, and discipline make up the rest. As for misconceptions, I've never known anyone to say anything inaccurate about me. I'm a pretty open person.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

I met Fancy Feast at the Savannah Burlesque Festival last year and she was absolutely sweet and amazing. I bought a dress from her once, and every time I wear it, I have to tell everyone "This used to belong to Fancy Feast!"

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part is creating art that is both concrete and ephemeral, with opportunities to improve upon both aspects with every performance. I make a costume, and I perform an act, and if I like it and want to do it again, I upgrade. The worst part is slaving over an act, getting lost in the details and then ultimately not liking what I've done. I've just wasted time. If I could no longer perform, I would probably be dead. I don't see any avenue in which I'm not performing in some way. If I lose my voice, I'm going to go back to swallowing swords. If I lose all my limbs as well, I'm still swallowing swords. I'll just need an assistant.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I'd love to be asked about something completely unrelated to performing and be able to give a thoughtful and eloquent answer. Like you ask me how to make chicken and dumplings, and I succinctly describe the recipe.  The question I'm tired of answering: "Is it hard?" YES it's hard! Why else would I do it?

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I wish I hadn't stuck around with exclusive troupes as long as I did. I could only perform within themes, and only when we had shows. I much prefer freelancing and submitting acts I've already created.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I want to be successful enough in burlesque to have a tour pay for itself. I want to travel all over the place and have it be financially successful enough to where I can have enough cushion to experience the museums and signature foods of everywhere I go. I want people to call out of work and cancel their plans because I'm going to be performing in their city. On the local level, I just want to elevate the caliber of every production I'm in. I see a $20 ticket and I wonder "if it was just me in this show, did I put on a $20 show?" If everyone asked themselves that, I think the scene would step up and everyone, especially the audience, would be more rewarded by the experience.

CABANA MACABRE

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MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-cabana-macabre-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with MISS AZZURE SERVICE of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-miss-azzure-service-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Miss Azzure Service to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

Music is almost always the driving force behind my acts. Recently, I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole and found myself giggling manically from the song playing in the other room. I already had a costume piece that I was dying to have an excuse to wear, and This. Was. It. I revel in ruining wholesome childhood icons and have great glee in creating acts that explode our pop culture into itty bitty teensy glittery pieces. Post Modernism is fun.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

Years ago, I took a class from Femme Fatale Fitness, LLC in Dayton, Ohio. I have always performed in some facet or another, but under the coaching of Champagne Shock, I felt like all my previous experiences had an artform to coalesce.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

I adore Dusty Summers, Dirty Martini, Blanche Debris, Ginger Snaps (of Austin TX), and of course, Champagne Shock. I watch every performance I can of theirs, and would literally would take any class I could to learn from these strong and fun women. They are all glorious.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Zorah Giddy, from my troupe Femme Fatale Burlesque. Her energy is infectious.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

Irreverent and tongue in cheek by default, my love of classic bump and grind gleams with every shimmer of rhinestone, shimmy of hips, and disarming smirk--regardless of music. I tend to be unphased by most things in this art. I’m here to perform out of love for burlesque. I’m not easily swayed. There is such a vast variety of amazing performers that I’ve been honored   the stage with every show; entertainers who provide a smorgasbord of fun for everyone. If I’m not an audience member’s flavor, my cast mate will be.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I keep a rotating playlist of music that inspires me and an ongoing notepad of choreography and costuming ideas on my phone. I’ll never be able to perform them all and I’m always happy to peruse my lists to develop a new act. My first song I ever used was Stealers Wheel “Stuck In The Middle With You” from the Reservoir Dogs Soundtrack. I still can’t listen to that song without mindlessly dancing (Vic Vega 4 EVAH). Your choreography never really disappears.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

If you’re in Burlesque to make money, you’ll be sorely disappointed. You do this for the love of the stage, the love of performing. The costuming is pricey and takes hours of work. Tip your performers. As Dolly Parton said, “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.”

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

This past Burlypicks Ohio, I was utterly star-struck when I had to share a little corner with Shrimp Cocktail. She’s a riot and a joy to watch onstage. I totally fangirled on her and tried my best to not make things horribly awkward. She’s awesome.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best thing on stage is when I hear an audience person exclaim “Oh my GAWD!” It screws me up every time, in the best way. I have a helluva time not breaking persona and giggling like a candy-fueled six year old.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

How do I book you? The answer is contact me via Instagram (azzure_service) or on Facebook (Facebook.com/AzzureService). I happily answer in a timely manner to most queries.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

If I could retain all the knowledge I currently have and go back in time, I would have ignored naysayers and began performing burlesque sooner. It has practically saved my life and has given me motivation to create and thrive.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

World Peace….haha (thanks to the movie Miss Congeniality). In all seriousness, I hope to garner attention the bloom and growth of the burlesque community in Western Ohio through my troupe, Femme Fatale Burlesque, and other fabulous performers. Great entertainment is on stage regularly in Dayton, it’s well worth a trip.

MISS AZZURE SERVICE LINKS:

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-miss-azzure-service-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with HERMIONE STRANGER of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-hermione-stranger-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Hermione Stranger to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

I have always leaned toward nerdlesque and weirder performances, but decided recently to try a more classical number — but with a comedic twist. That’s how I ended up developing this pseudo-classic routine that I call “Shitty Stripper.”

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

When I lived in NYC, I signed up for classes at New York School of Burlesque just for fun. I never intended to perform, but eventually was coerced by my classmates to get on a stage for a student showcase. After that, I got booked for a show at Coney Island Freak Bar and just kept going!

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

Initially, I was inspired by the strange and funny acts I saw at The Slipper Room in Manhattan. My greatest influence was my teacher, though, the famous Jo Boobs Weldon.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

I’m not sure!

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

I’d describe my style as comedy burlesque.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I don’t stick to a certain genre, but tend to prefer popular music versus classic. I feel that song choice is probably the most important thing when I’m coming up with a concept for an act. It’s got to make sense for the idea and the character.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I’ve struggled with stage fright and body image issues for a long time. So, performing burlesque is kind of how I conquer both of those issues in one fell swoop!

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

Every time I meet Foxy Tan at MiBF!

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part about being a burlesque performer and producer is having a creative outlet for my wacky ideas. The worst part would be that it can be expensive and time consuming! If I stopped performing burlesque I would probably join an improv troupe.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’m tired of my mom asking, “WHY STRIPPING????”

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

When I first started producing shows I made a lot of mistakes, but I feel that I’ve learned from them and don’t regret my missteps!

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I want to perform my Voldemort number at the Coney Island nerdlesque festival!

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-hermione-stranger-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with MABEL SYRUP of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-mabel-syrup-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the producer Mabel Syrup to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

It has been a while since I have truly developed a new routine. I have been so busy being a producer, stage manager, and a full-time mom of twins, that I haven’t had the chance to get on the stage much in the past 2 years. But my newest creation, not just a revamped act, was featured at the Halfway to Halloween show this past spring. It was a more emotional dance number to “The Sound of Silence”. I did the routine as a ghost to fit the theme of the show, but I tried to tie that physical representation to a story line. The dance piece was to show the effects of human trafficking and objectification, and what it could lead to. I’m pretty sure no one in their right mind understood that message when watching that, but that was the emotions I manifested while creating its choreography. The only downside was the stage size was cut down substantially, so a lot of the moves had to be taken out last minute, but it still worked out pretty good and I am sure I will revamp it and bring it back out of the closet again at some point. It is one of those acts that no one believes I do, because I am clown (literally), so it is a treat to have these randomly laying around. ; )

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

My roommate Jenna at the WAR Haus (an old punk house) in Ann Arbor in 2007 asked me to help her start a burlesque troupe. She used to do it in Mississippi, and felt Ann Arbor needed that same vibe going on. She had to ask me several times, before I finally agreed to help her out a little here and there. I wound up diving full-in immediately, and becoming owner/director of the troupe, as well as a performer and the class clown. We called ourselves The Tickled Fancy Burlesque Company. We were a large burlesque company (at one point we had 13 members!), and none of us knew what the hell we were doing. Maybe 1-2 of us actually knew anything about burlesque, the rest of us were just artists and punk rockers who were bored and this sounded like fun. We got to the point where we were producing burlesque theater, not just burlesque, and the people loved it! I performed with them for 5 years, before I took my performing career on a solo adventure, and joined up with my burly sistah Valencia Starling to produce other great things, like Venus Rising: an all women art exhibition, and the Michigan Burlesque Festival. Nobody really guided my burlesque career in the beginning, besides Jenna who made me start. But over the years, I have gained so much knowledge and still to this day get inspired by so many of the performers I have had the privilege to work beside. The world is full of talented people, and I am lucky to know a good handful of them.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

I have huge admiration for so many performers, for myriads of reasons. As I stated, the world is full of talented people. My list is too long.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

My burlesque sistah, and partner in clowning, Valencia Starling. She is far more talented than she gives herself credit for, and she puts up with my clowny antics. We have done several pieces together over the many years we’ve known each other, and I love every one of them so darn much. They are all more vaudeville, and just a ton of fun to perform. She moved to Kentucky so I don’t get to play dress-up with my bestie anymore and I miss it.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

I am a vaudeville clown with big tits. I will give you the most confusing emotional rollercoaster of your life. Are you laughing? Are you scared? Are you turned on? Gotta watch me to find out! I don’t really let other people’s thoughts about me or my acts bother me. I try to be a decent person to everyone, and I perform for myself and just try and have fun with it all. There are always going to be people who don’t like you. But for every hater, there are a dozen fans.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I use songs from all genres and eras. It just depends on the mood I am going for, or the particular show theme. I try to stay away from too many songs with words. I feel the lyrics can influence the act, and I’m not interested in making music videos. I’m interested in telling my own story. But again, it depends on the mood or theme I am going for. I performed with my burly troupe in a couple of group numbers before I had a solo piece. We did choreographed fan dances to “Sing, Sing, Sing” for a zombie carnival and some other random traditional songs. My first solo piece, I decided to break away from the traditional dances we were doing, and do a clown routine to “Fancy Pants” by Ween. It was a super silly act, where I took off about 12 layers of clothing, before I got to my birthday suit. It has since been revamped and now I perform a version to “Big Girls” by Mika. The song “Fancy Pants” will always hold a special place in my heart. It was only after doing that particular act, and all the laughing I received during it, that sparked my love for clowning around, and the clown character has stuck with me since.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I don’t always do clown. I actually dance, and perform to other styles of burlesque too. But nobody seems to know that, because I tend to get hired more for my comedy and clown styles.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

Dirty Martini, always. I have worked with her, and have talked with her now, on several occasions and at many different places. And to this day, she still gives me butterflies. Once I actually started to do my research on what the heck burlesque was and where it came from (mind you, many years after I was already performing), she was one of the performers that truly stuck out to me. She is such a nice person, and is so talented it is ridiculous. She is pretty much the only person I have been star struck over. Can’t explain it. She’s just amazing.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part of being a burlesque performer is being backstage with other performers. It is a whole different kind of a show back there. The worst part of being a burlesque performer is being backstage with other performers. It is a whole different kind of a show back there. I will always be a performer, one way or another. Before burlesque, I was in a band. I have acted in movies, plays and commercials. And you know, I am a clown. Literally. If I couldn’t perform at all, for physical reasons, I like to write. And I have one hell of a memoir going for me. And I have children, so my artistic skills will be cherished for at least a dozen or so years, while I finish their school projects for them the night before they are due.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Surprisingly, nobody has asked me this in the 12 years I have been a burlesque performer - What does your mother think of all this? The answer: She is extremely proud of me, and used to buy clothes and art supplies for my burlesque troupe just because she saw them and thought of us. She shares and likes pretty much ALL of my photos on social media, and is probably my biggest supporter. The question I get the most and hate answering is - What is burlesque? Sure, it has its history and I could go off on where it originated and when it came to America and became over sexualized blah blah blah. Google can also tell you all that. What people should be asking is, what does burlesque mean for you? What it means to me might be completely opposite of the next performers view of burlesque. Everybody’s journey to, and definition of, burlesque is different.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Not really. All mishaps are learning experiences and opportunity for growth.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

As a performer I still have not performed internationally, which is on my burly bucket list. As a producer, I would like to see the Michigan Burlesque Festival in a larger and more accommodating venue. We love our current location, but our production is getting larger and more upscale, and we would like to keep growing that momentum. I guess if I had to pick just one legacy, at the end of the day I would want to be remembered at the producer of the Michigan Burlesque Festival, and the clown that gave the burlesque community and fans a chance to connect and network with hundreds of talented burlesque performers from around the world.

MABEL SYRUP LINKS:

TWITTER

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-mabel-syrup-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with DARRYN STORM of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-darryn-storm-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Darryn Storm to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

My latest act was for the most recent Black Sheep Burlesque show “Bottom Forty: Burlesque to the Worst Songs Ever” I chose the song ‘Kiss From a Rose’ by Seal. I’ve always had a thing for super cheesy songs, and this one happens to be one of my go-to karaoke songs, as well. So, knowing it inside and out made it a no-brainer. The concept, and thus costume, were created out of the idea of a super dramatic 90’s music video. All drama and seriousness, and cheese. Can’t forget the cheesiness of it all! My sense of humor is like that of an old man. I love my dad jokes, and puns. This routine allowed me to kind of play with that visually.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

My fellow performer, Tommy Gun, is basically 100% behind me getting into burlesque.  She introduced, and sort of gently pushed me to the world of burlesque. It took a little warming up for me to get behind the whole idea of it, but once I realized that I got to do my favorite thing in the entire world (dance!) and I didn’t need to wear pants...I was sold! I’ve been involved in dance since I was 3, I even have a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Dance, and a Dance and Movement Minor.  I knew I wanted to do something that allowed me to dance as much as possible, but until I learned about burlesque, I was lost.  So, I owe a majority of my happiness to Tommy.  Love you, girl!

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

As far as influential performers, I don’t have any who majorly stick out. I look up to every single performer I’ve had the pleasure of seeing perform.  Every time I get to see someone-anyone-perform, it renews my love of the craft. I’d like to think I’ve been influenced by everyone.  Now, in terms of admiration, I’m basically in love with Shimmy LaRoux and Leena Mynx Allure. I had the amazing opportunity to perform with both of them only a month after I debuted.  Any chance I get to see them perform, I’m completely blown away. They’re both on this entirely different level. Like, Goddess-level. I have so much respect and admiration for them both.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Oh boy. This is a hard one! I actually have an entire list of people I’d love to collaborate with. No really, it’s written down in my burly journal, and everything. Most of the Michigan performers are on that list!  Growing up in the dance world, group routines and working with others is what I know best. As such, I’ve been planning lots of collaborative acts - just need to approach everyone!

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

My style is very dance-heavy. I like to move. I like to make my body work. I’m a bigger gal, so popping out some splits in the middle of an act is a fun way to surprise the audience. Or dancing en pointe!  Once, I had a fan approach me after a show. She gushed about how much she loved my act, and how I’m one of her favorite performers ‘even if I was larger.’  Like, did you need to include that last sentence? It made the conversation super awkward.  Burlesque has been great for my self-esteem, but then to get little statements like that throw me back a bit.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I have an entire playlist created in iTunes called ‘Burly Music’ that houses all of my future potential songs.  The styles and artists range from Jason Derulo, to kpop artists like BTS, to Queen, to In This Moment, and Van Morrison.  Someday, I hope to get to use all of them. But more often than not, a routine I’m creating for a specific theme just doesn’t fit with the songs on the list, so then I have to find new songs. My list just keeps growing. The first song I ever performed to was an electro-swing cover of ‘Song of Storms’ from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time video game soundtrack.  Funny enough, I didn’t realize the name of my song, and my stage name, were related until after I started choreography. But now, I love that my first song was so appropriate to my stage presence. I’m super happy every time I hear my song, whether it’s my actual version or the original.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I get a lot of people telling me that I’m brave for doing burlesque. It’s not bravery. It’s simply that I’ve found something that I love to do.  If you think you’d like to try it, then just try it!  At worst, you don’t like it and you move on. At most, you find something that gives you immense joy, and a community of amazing people that will continuously lift you up - even when you can’t lift yourself. Especially then.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

Back in May, I was fortunate enough to perform in Indianapolis for an entirely orange-themed showcase called ‘Fresh Squeezed: A delightfully Citrus Showcase’ put on by the amazing Vivacious Miss Audacious!  I got to meet so many new and wonderful performers that night. But out of everyone, I’d have to say I was incredibly star-struck by Ethel Loveless.  I found myself having a hard time trying to talk to her because I suddenly became so shy!  But she was such a warm, and inviting person. Her presence just made me feel so happy. And watching her perform was such a treat! I hope I get the chance to perform with her again, someday!

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part about being a burlesque performer is simply being on stage.  Hearing people cheering me on fuels me. Not only am I up there doing what I love, but to hear that people are also loving what I do...there’s no words.  Worst part, would definitely be that I’m in a lot of rhinestone debt, currently. Ha! But seriously, I also suffer a lot of anxiety leading up to a show. I’m constantly worried that people aren’t going to like my act. Additionally, when people praise me or my acts, the impostor syndrome kicks in and that’s never a good time either. If I couldn’t perform burlesque anymore, I’d probably kick my martial arts and gym time into overdrive.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’m not sure if there is a question I’ve been wanting to answer.  But I’m open to any and all questions!  I don’t get many questions, so nothing’s gotten tiring, yet.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Not really. I tend to live my life without regrets.  My feeling is that even if you’ve messed up, you’ve learned something. What’s the point of being perfect all the time if you never learn anything? Sure, it would be nice to go back and be less awkward when I was taking burly 101 classes, or to tell my beginning-self ‘Just go down to pasties. You’ll love it’ but those are all things that helped to shape me not only as a performer, but just as a person in general.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I’m still really new to the amazing world of burlesque, I have many goals I hope I get to achieve someday.  Getting into the Michigan Burlesque Festival had been my latest goal, and I’m still a bit shocked I’m in.  In terms of huge goals, I’d love more than anything to be able to perform around the world. I hope that I will be remembered for being that performer who loved and supported every performer she ever met.  Also, a person who helped to inspire others to go after their dreams and ‘what-ifs.’

DARRYN STORM LINKS:

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-darryn-storm-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with LULU MUNROE of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-lulu-munroe-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Lulu Munroe to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

My latest routine is a sea anemone balloon act, which uses balloon animal balloons rather than your traditional globes. Much of my initial inspiration these days comes from the show themes of my troupe, Boston’s Rogue Burlesque. I was looking on Pinterest for some ideas for our spring show, “Under the C-Cup: An Aquatic Burlesque,” and was struck by the image of a balloon sea anemone Halloween costume. After a vague call for suggestions on Facebook, I had my song - “Manah Manah” from The Muppets - which I combined with a snippet of dialogue from Disney’s Finding Nemo, and voila! I had “Manah Mananemone.” The piece is the perfect blend of who I am as a “real person” and Lulu: goofy, flashy, but rooted in classic burlesque.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I’ve technically been a performer since the age of two (although my mom would probably claim since birth!) and have training in both theater and dance. I answered a call for a burlesque apprenticeship about two years ago and haven’t stopped since! I’ve grown since my early performances, which relied heavily on my dance abilities, but I continue to draw on those talents when the need arises (like with my Dirty Dancing tribute that I’ll be presenting at this year’s Michigan Burlesque Festival).

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

Dirty Martini is my number one - I saw her on tour with Dita a couple of years ago and I couldn’t take my eyes off her from the moment she stepped onstage. Her stage presence, her movements, the ease with which she captivates a crowd - she’s everything I aspire to be as a performer.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

It’s a little off-the-wall, but I’d love to do a routine with a cat! I know, a tad ridiculous considering all the incredible performers out there, but I can imagine having some kind of string costume that is unwound by playful feline. In reality, I’m sure the cat would have zero interest (or end up clawing me to shreds), but a girl can dream, right?

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member or a fan has made that made you cringe?

I’d describe my style as “classic burlesque with a dash of mischief and a dollop of dork.” I’ve only been performing for 2 years, so thankfully I have yet to deal with any harsh reviews or criticism!

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I know I want to do a routine to Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek.” I don’t know when or what, but it’s marinating in the back of my mind! My first song was a dance remix of “Let’s Misbehave.” I feel in love with it after hearing it on the show “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” and it still puts a huge smile on my face whenever I hear it!

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I think the biggest question I get is, “Is burlesque feminist?” My answer? I don’t know. I do know that when I’m onstage, I have the power: the power to reveal, or not to reveal. It’s a few minutes of allowing myself to be vulnerable with an audience, who more often than not, wants you to succeed and wants to be entertained. It’s a gorgeous, symbiotic form of performance art that makes me giddy every time I step onstage.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

Ooo, it’s a tie between Egypt Blaque Knyle and Dirty Martini. Egypt’s a powerhouse in the world of burlesque and I about melted into a puddle when I took her class about two years ago and she revealed she had seen my latest act and loved it. I met Dirty Martini at last year’s Michigan Burlesque Festival, and although she is a kind, lovely woman, I could barely form a sentence in her presence!

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The community! I’m so lucky to be in an incredibly supportive, nurturing troupe that performs in a city with such a close-knit burlesque/circus/drag community. I owe much of my success to Rogue and to Burlesque Boston. The worst part? Maybe the persistence of glitter? (I can’t think of any negative things right now; check in with me in five years!) Thankfully, I also work as a theater artist and choreographer, so if I ever had to leave burlesque, I could still get my artistic fulfillment!

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I love when people ask how I got an idea for a routine. My numbers have been inspired by so many different things; it’s a delight to go down those twisty paths. I’m pretty tired of the “So you strip? Do creeps ever bother you?” questions. They can lead to some enlightening conversations, but many people have already judged you and are only looking for a way to express that judgement.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I was briefly with a troupe that did more harm than good in regards to my mental health and body image. However, it did result in a few incredible friendships, so I’m not sure I would want to completely erase it from my timeline.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I just want to make people smile. There’s so much joy in burlesque; I want to spread that to my audience and my community. If someone hears “Manah Manah” and thinks of a balloon-popping sea anemone and smiles, I’ve done my job.

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-lulu-munroe-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
Almost A Dirty Dozen with BEBE ROSE of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/almost-a-dirty-dozen-with-bebe-rose-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Bebe Rose to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

My latest developed act is my Guy Fieri/Flavortown act, and it is pulled from my real life! I’ve been tagged in Guy Fieri related posts and memes constantly since I dressed as him for Halloween a few years back. I had a few people joke that I should do a Guy Fieri burlesque number since I decided to start performing, but it didn’t really become an actual idea until I came across the song, I ended up using. He has such an iconic look that deciding on a costume was easy!

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I saw Super Happy Funtime perform a few years ago, and that was the first time I realized that burlesque could be more than just the classic style. I knew I wanted to do it but had no idea where to even start. It was just something that I sat on until I joined the Michigan Rocky Horror Preservation Society and met Dotty Dart. She was so patient with all my questions, cast me in “Science Friction Double Feature” (our cast-featured burlesque show), and encouraged me to apply to Burlypicks all within a year of meeting her. I owe a lot to her guidance, and sort of half-joke that she’s my Burlesque Mom.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

So many! Dotty Dart, Darryn Storm, Delta Van Damn, Tommy Gun, Dish Delish, and Veronica Lockhart are just a few local performers I’ve admired for a while. Kitty Glitter, Florence of a’Labia, and Phaedra Black are also huge influences for me. Honestly, I could probably fill a whole novel with all the performers who inspire me.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Tad Snug! He’s been my best friend for years and we bounce ideas off one another constantly. We’ve talked about putting a collaborative number together, and I would love for us to make that happen in the very near future.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

My performance style is evolving into “Things That Should Not Work, But Weirdly Kind of Do”. I mean, who would ever think that Guy Fieri and burlesque would go together?

6. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I get a lot of comments about how “brave” I am to do burlesque. I’m not brave; I’m an attention-seeking Leo! What better way to ensure that all eyes are on me for a while than by stripping on stage with a spotlight? One thing people should be aware of, though, is that if you compliment me, I may cry. Don’t let that stop you, just please come with tissues.

7. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

It had to be meeting Darryn Storm backstage at the first Lounge Cat Collective show. I’ve loved her work and getting to know her a bit was a little surreal.

8. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part so far would have to be getting to meet and work with so many amazing people. The amount of support and positivity that I have been met with is almost overwhelming, in a good way. The only downside is that I now seem to be allergic to free time! But, if I didn’t have Burlesque, I’d still have Rocky. I also like to crochet (badly), so if performing entirely were off the table I would have that.

9. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

“Hi, would you like to perform for Guy Fieri himself?” (Seriously, if you have connections, hit me up.) A question I don’t like is “Would you ever do a classic number?” I am so awkward and have a hard time being “sexy” without feeling ridiculous. For now, I’m happy making people smile doing silly stuff.

10. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I think the only thing I’d change is that I would have started sooner!

11. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I would love to produce my own all fat/plus size show someday down the line, even if it was just a one-time thing. As a fat performer, I want people to see me as a force for body positivity and joy. I want to make other fat performers feel safe and let other fat people who may be thinking of starting burlesque know that there is space for us and that we have value as performers.

BEBE ROSE LINKS:

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/almost-a-dirty-dozen-with-bebe-rose-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with HANNAH THE HATCHET of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-hannah-the-hatchet-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Hannah The Hatchet to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

This spring I debuted an act to No Doubt’s iconic song “Just A Girl.” The costume is all powder pink, very girly, 50’s inspired. I do a classic slow peel to the upbeat song and progressively get more angry/passionate/sexual throughout the song. This act was inspired by my deep feelings of frustration and anger at living in a world where women are seen as objects and valued unequally. It was and is a sort of cathartic F-U to the Man, that I very much needed to get out of my system. I was lucky enough to then work with Obscura Broadcasting and Detroit composer and musician Jarrod Champion to turn this act into a short film. Jarrod and I working with Bunky Hunt were able to compose a cover of the original song in a jazzy fashion which I personally sang over which made this act feel even more personal, as I got to put not only my body but my voice into it.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I have been performing since I was 10 years old (not counting dance recitals starting at 5, haha!). I was lucky enough to start an all-girls pop-rock band when I was in 5th grade with five of my best friends. We stuck together playing music through high school performing all around Central NY. I was the lead singer and have always enjoyed entertaining a crowd! As for burlesque, my mother got me into it! She started a burlesque troupe with some gal pals in Ithaca, NY when I was 16. I join the Whiskey Tango Sideshow when I returned from college in 2015. Starting as a stage kitten, then choreographing group acts, and finally moving into my solo career over the years! My mom still does burlesque—we perform as a duo, having travelled to perform together in The New York Burlesque Festival, Ottawa’s Capital Burlesque Expo, and her in Detroit at the Michigan Burlesque Festival 2018! Even now, loving states apart we often call each other up to get feedback on act concepts and share costuming tips!

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

I would say Madonna, Audrey Hepburn, and Gwen Stefani would be my first influences as they were the women I listened to and watched and learned from in my childhood. They shaped who I am as a woman and therefore who I am as a burlesque performer because the two are so intrinsically tied. In burlesque be biggest influences are Gypsy Rose Lee, Angie Pontani, Calamity Chang and Perle Noire. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to personally learn from and work with the latter three women in the past few years! All three truly are not only amazing performers but are teachers, mentors and bad ass businesswomen!

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Gal Friday. Because I want to be her when I grow up.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

I don’t really like to box myself into any one performance style. I want to always be pushing myself, trying new things and finding what feels good for me as an artist. I had an audience member once tell me —in fact show me—how I should exit the floor after my performance! She clearly was well intentioned but the manner in her deliver was as if she was trying to give me a ballet master class on the spot. I smiled and nodded as I balled up my fists behind my back—nothing worse than having someone tell you how to do your job right after you get off stage!

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

Music is so important to me on a deep, deep level! I grew up in a household full of musicians and create music myself so I so deeply appreciate how a song can give emotion to an act, set a tone, and help tell a story! Though I perform to all genres of music, doing burlesque, and more specifically living in Detroit and doing burlesque, has thought me so much about jazz! The first act I ever did was to Tommy Dorsey’s “Opus One” which at the time I just picked because it was classic and upbeat, but interestingly at the time I had very little understanding or appreciation for jazz, haha, so funny that that’s where it all started!

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I prefer wearing men’s pants, no make-up and enjoy dancing around like a freak—the elegant glamour gal just comes to me naturally, sometimes I’m not sure why!

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

Red Bone at Capital Burlesque Expo—she is just the most down to earth person! She complimented our duet and I nearly fell over. I’m so stoked she’ll be at MiBF this year! (Buy her Glam Jam—it’s the best body glitter!!)

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

Best! Getting to be whoever the F*** you want! Worst! Getting to be whoever you want can be confusing sometimes!

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Tired of answering: how do you do your sparkly red lips?! ...I was performing in Chicago last weekend and the MC did a bit about how she was starting to charge the audience members $5 to answer that question—Ha! I loved it, might have to start doing the same ;)

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I don’t really believe in missteps, or at least I try not to dwell on them too long, but in general I would like to have told myself /continue to tell myself today that sometimes less is more!

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I really would like to have the opportunity to work with, honor and learn more from our Burlesque Legends, across the nation, and more specifically our local legends, Toni Elling and Lottie the Body. They have paved the way for women in burlesque and I would like to learn from them and honor them!

HANNAH THE HATCHET LINKS:

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-hannah-the-hatchet-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with TIFFANY CARTER of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-tiffany-carter-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the Burlesque Legend Tiffany Carter to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine? Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

My latest routine was to the song “Imagine” as a group number. I created this idea from a dream as I have all my routines past and present.  It was a thought because of our terrible turmoil in our world today, politics, etc. I always loved this song and it represents that this is what Burlesque has done for me and I just wish the rest of the world could do the same.  So, yes - a very emotional piece for me.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I started dance lessons at a young age studying tap, ballet, etc. into my teens. I loved Modern Jazz dance as a child I would make up routines to my dad’s albums and create all sorts of fun. I was always going to be a dancer; I just didn't realize it would be in burlesque.  I am so thankful it is.  I had wanted to be a showgirl in Vegas but found out I was too short then so went onto audition for topless dance - it goes from there.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

Back in the days my best and most loved dancer was Juliet Prowse. I’ve seen her perform many times in the 70's.  I also loved Mitzi Gaynor. As of today, I love some of these great new performers. One that comes to mind right away is Imogene Kelly from Australia - she blows me away every time I see her.   Roxi Dee is great and Kalani Kokonuts, etc. I have several favorites today.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

I have called upon some to collaborate to do group numbers I have done right here in Vegas as they have also helped do routines for BHOF such as our own Lily Star.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

I’d say I am a bi of old-style burlesque or classic, and somewhat of the 70’s and 80’s routines burlesque, as things were really changing then into more of routines such as character numbers like my Cat Number.  What I love most is to hear ‘Wow that was so sexy,” which I usually do from the routine I’ll be doing in Detroit.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I use a lot of Motown, Barry white, and some Jazz. I hate a lot of the old cliché of music; some of it bores me. I am deaf, so music choices are very difficult for me anymore.  I must be careful with that.  Back in the early days, we did a group number to “Hey Big spender” at the Pink Pussycat in Hollywood which was 1 of my first songs I remember.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I wish the audience knew how much some of us went through back in the day to become who we are today, so they would appreciate us now.  I think most of them do. Times were difficult sometimes - especially with different laws in different states or going topless to fully nude. That I am a mother of 2 and grandmother of 7 which is my most prized and best accomplishment in life.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

This year at BHOF - Imogene Kelly. What an amazing performance!!!! There are so many more performers of today I could add to this list - the ones I mentioned before and Coco Lectric (my burlesque daughter) and Michelle L’mour. The guys are amazing in today's burlesque.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part of being a burlesque performer back in the days was that we made a living off this and could travel all over doing what we loved.  The worst part was the misconception of what we were and assumed to be "very loose” or to put it bluntly - hookers!!! I once did a talk radio show and the announcer told me after he really thought I wouldn't be able to handle the questions so well. In other words, the dumb blonde… really??? I am a legend now so if not performing, which we don't often, I’d love to help others develop their career. In that traditions, I am so happy to announce I will be the legend at Burlycon this year!!  Yeah!!!!

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Hehe you just asked it!!!  I’ve never been asked that!!!   What questions am I tired of answering? None, it’s all good thank you.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Granted I did same things getting started in the late 60's I am not proud of, but you can't change it, so I learned from it and became a better performer because of it.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I still would like to see some of Europe and perform there; I never did back in the day, as I was a working mom and didn't go too far except one trip to Japan. At the end of the day, I just want to be remembered as one of the best Legends and when I hear some stories of what happened to participants after taking my classes. My son said to me once, “Mom I don't regret one minute of my childhood!!!”  That was the best thing I could have ever heard from my child.

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-tiffany-carter-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with MARGAUX ROYALE of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-margaux-royale-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Margaux Royale to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine? Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

The latest costume I am working on is an act that is inspired by the turn of the century, Ziegfeld Follies dancers (circa 1910). It will be a red peacock deco design with lots of iridescent velvet, bead work, red stemmed peacock feather, multicolored rhinestones, and red tassels. The music and dance movements will be reflective of that era. This act will be debuted at July's Speakeasy Sunday at Cliff Bells. I am a vintage enthusiast and am inspired by all things from the past. I incorporate vintage clothing, jewelry, props, music into all my acts. There is always something. They don't call me the "vintage vixen of tease" for nothing! I hardly ever purchase anything new anymore. Thrift stores, antique shops, Etsy, eBay, and brick and mortar vintage clothing shops are my go-to. For the 2019 Michigan Burlesque Festival I will be performing my Storyville Strip act. It is a historically accurate strip tease of an 1880's prostitute in New Orleans. It’s a slow burn, like most of my performances, but I think it will really transport the audience to a time when layers, and layers, and layers of clothing were the norm and how it must have been so enticing and teasing to have to wait that much longer to see a woman fully naked. I feel very connected to New Orleans, there is a special energy there, always a great burlesque scene and centuries of history. 

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I started as a model and in my early 20's I started to really be drawn to vintage shape wear, lingerie, and hats. I was always comfortable with being naked, never really though much of it. If I was comfortable with a photographer, some real magic could happen, and stunning images could be captured. Through modeling I discovered Bettie Page and the American artist Olivia De Berardinis. Olivia does these stunning paintings of women and Bettie was her muse for many years, just as Bettie continues to be many people’s muses. Then through Olivia I discovered Dita Von Teese. Olivia began to paint Dita in the early 2000's. After I discovered burlesque, I did lots of research. I purchased many books and vintage items relating to burlesque and showgirls. Of course, I was inspired by Dita, but Dita was inspired by those before her (which I equally admire to this day). Women such as: Lili St. Cyr, Ann Corio, Zorita, and Sally Rand.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

PAST: Lili St. Cyr and Sally Rand. PRESENT: Dita Von Teese, Vicky Butterfly and Miss Mosh.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Leena Mynx Allure, lots of people say we look like twins or sisters or something. It would be very fun to play with that on stage.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

Elegant glamour, a slow burn strut, that exudes so much feminine mystic and energy that you are entranced, dazed, ...bewitched. It’s funny, lots of people tell me I remind them of Dita Von Teese. One would think this would be the ultimate compliment (which it is), but as a performer, one wants to make a mark as themselves... not someone else. It makes me cringe sometimes, but I must remind myself it is very much a compliment. It reminds me of something I read by Dita, regarding Olivia de Berardinis. Upon Dita's first encounter with Olivia, Dita exclaimed "I would love for you to paint me!" To which Olivia replied, " But I already have, many times." At the time Dita was very much in her Bettie Page phase, not her full Dita self. Dita took that comment, self-analyzed, transformed, and then became Olivia's new muse.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I like all types of music, though I do tend to really prefer music from the 20's through 60's. It all just depends on the act... I do have a new act where I am challenging myself to blend classical music with a newer electronic song. It will be stunning. The music I used for my first performance was "The Bogus Man," by the Bryan Ferry Orchestra and "Since I Fell For You," by Dinah Washington. The Jazz Age Album by the Bryan Ferry Orchestra still makes my heart flutter, so well done.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I hope that the audience appreciates when I use vintage or even antique items. It creates another level of authenticity and magic. I think the biggest misconception about me, well, I have been told I am a bitch. Am I allowed to say that? haha

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

I performed in the 2019 Dirty Show XX and one of the headliners was Medianoche. She was one of the first performers I feel in love with when I saw her perform at Duane Park in NYC. I also got to see her and meet her when I attended the 2018 New Orleans Burlesque Festival. It was surreal to be in a show with her! The Dirty Show XX was a five-day event and we sat next to each-other in the dressing room every night. I made sure that the first night I got the fan-girl stuff off my chest, after that it was very comfortable, chill, and silly backstage. We are all just humans.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part of being a burlesque performer is the control. Control over the costume you wear, the music you select, the gig you accept, how you decide to wear your hair or makeup. Burlesque is a pedestal for me to be my super teasing feminine and glamorous self and no one asks: "Why are you so dressed up?". Which happens in my day to day life. The worst part is that you must be more aware of your body, like I try not to get any bruises or mosquito bites, or ingrown hairs! If I no longer performed burlesque I would sell/model vintage clothing as another artistic outlet.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I can't really think of anything. I do know one of my favorite questions or comments by an audience member was: Are you even real?

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

No.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I would love to travel and perform overseas. Places such as England, Japan, and Australia. I want to be remembered in the Burlesque scene the same way I want to be remembered in the muggle scene. I want to be remembered for my elegance, beauty, and commanding feminine power/energy. Good music, a beautiful costume/outfit, lipstick, heels, they are such powerful tools. I want women to know how to use and harness these things to benefit themselves and inspire others around them.

MARGAUX ROYALE LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-margaux-royale-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with LOON A TIK of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-loon-a-tik-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Loon A Tik to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

My latest routine is a Thigh Master Parody inspired by “In Living Colors” Kelly Caulfield”.  I am a nerd and therefore there are Easter Eggs in the performance for those who know the history of Suzanne Summers, Three’s Company and the Thigh Master.  The acts reflects my real life in I try to find the humor in everything.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I started to attend a monthly “Nerdlesque “show in Las Vegas. I love themed shows. Well I would get disappointed at the lack of real attention to the theme, but would tell myself, “Don’t criticize, you don’t know what it is like tell you do it” My man ended up enrolling me in a local burlesque school in Vegas (Which was a waste of money) ( Before the classes first performance I booked a gig with Penni Piper’s Nerdlesque show and that was history, I was the only regular performer from June 2014 tell June 2019 (when the Producer closed the doors).

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

I have had many influences through the past four years. Living in Las Vegas I am very honored and privileged to have access to so many Burlesque Legends.  The person whom has really helped me through the ends and out of Burlesque in the beginning I really owe a great amount of gratitude to Legend Tiffany Carter. Miss Lily Star - Teacher Chorographer and great friend is ALWAYS a continued influence in my life and burlesque career.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Julie Atlas Muse…… Because, what can I say she is Julie Atlas Muse. Dirty Martini would be a close second.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

Theatrical. Guaranteed to make you laugh, smile or cringe.  I try not to pay attention to comments that have no real value, if there is a critique or suggestion , I am always willing to listen (and debate) I already anticipated that I will not be everyone’s cup of tea and if they are talking about my act, they took notice. Good or bad they have noticed.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

My music selection has a lot to do with the inspiration of my act. In general I like to skew the interpretation of the lyrics. I like when audience members tell me they will NEVER look at the song the same way again.  My first act was to a 70s love song "Sharing the Night Together" by Dr Hook. My act is about a serial killer looking for their next victim. That song to me set the precedent for what I think people expect from my performance (which is usually a twist or punch line at the end).

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

That I am approachable. I have natural resting bitch face and am very sarcastic. People can find me scary, stop and have a chat with me I think you might be surprised.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

I guess the closest to being start struck 3 years ago at BHOF 2to fly, OMG they were amazing and totally my cup of tea.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part is being able to have a creative outlet for my mind’s eye.  The worst part would be how catty some other performers can be; a lot of them have a “do as I say not as I do” in this community attitude, but on the flip side I have made some Wonderful true and caring people in the community.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

There is not one question that I wish I would be asked, I just wish people would ask the me if they have any question, I will always give you my honest opinion if you ask. The number one question that I have heard over and over again ….How do you come up with ideas.  I am a Nerdlesque performer and most of the time I want to answer the question with… I watched a movie, cartoon, read a comic etc.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I do wish that I would not have been more confident that in the beginning of my career I let people walk over me. But Five years later I am much more of a confident person.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I want to remember for being me. At the end of the day I want to keep the Burlesque scene alive. Burlesque is one of the feel things a woman can start at 40 and still have 20+ years to continue.

LOON A TIK LINKS:

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-loon-a-tik-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with TOMMY GUN of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-tommy-gun-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Tommy Gun to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

My newest routine is an aerial silks piece that I performed at Black Sheep Burlesque’s XXX Box video game themed show earlier this month. Ant Hall is one of few venues I can rig at, so I knew I wanted to do a silks piece! I’m not a huge gamer so with the suggestions of some friends I landed on the character Samus Aran from Metroid. This made the costume super easy, as her zero suit uniform is perfect for silks (more skin coverage = less silk burn). For the music, I’ve been wanting to use something from Ratatat, one of my favorite bands, for a while now. This seemed like the perfect opportunity, so I sifted through their catalog and narrowed it down to song that fit with the routine I put together. Half of that routine was something I happened to be working on already in my silks class. I just really liked the flow of it, and it had some great poses in it that I knew would look great on stage!

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

Back in 2006 I started performing in a Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast in Flint, I feel like RHPS is a gateway for a lot of burlesque performers! Later I started seeing more burlesque performances and becoming more interested in it specifically. One instance that really stands out to me is watching Hayley Jane perform at the World Steam Expo (this might have been 2012?), and my friend leaning over to me and saying how brave she must be, and how he could never imagine doing anything like that. That’s the first time I remember specifically thinking to myself “I could totally do that! I want to do that!”

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

Two performers that I really look up to are Florence of Alabia and Shrimp Cocktail. I saw them both perform at the Michigan Burlesque Festival in 2015 and they really inspired me to get my butt in gear and get myself on a stage!

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Ray Gunn! Aside from the obvious name similarity, I really admire his physicality and athleticism. This is something I like to feature in my acts as well, and I feel like I could learn so much from him.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

This is a tough one! I like to take on different styles and genres, but I like for my acts to always feature something that will make the audience say “wow!” ...and booty shaking. Can’t forget the booty shaking. Honestly the thing that makes me cringe the most is when my name is spelled wrong. It’s one ‘n’ people!

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I have a list in my phone of songs I might like to use and act ideas. It seems like every time I get to cross one off, I add three more! The song I debuted to was a cover of "Get Lucky" by Flash Mob Jazz. It makes me smile whenever I hear it!

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I’m a normal person! I get a lot of people that come up to me and say they could never do what I do, that I am so strong and talented! But I didn’t pop out of the womb this way. I’ve been training in various aerial arts for 5+ years. With dedication you can develop these skills too!

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

Last weekend I had the honor of performing at Hot in Topeka at the Jayhawk Theatre in Topeka, Kansas. The headliners were Jacqueline Boxx and Valerie Veils. I was totally intimidated by them at first but of course they were both so kind!

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

So, I have terrible anxiety, but weirdly performing gives me some relief from that. When I’m on stage I can forget everything else and just be in that moment. On the other side of that though, preparing for a performance can be very stressful! What if something goes wrong, what if no one likes me, etc. If I could no longer perform, I would continue practicing aerial.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I can’t think of anything! I’m a pretty open book.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I don’t think so. I’ve had less than stellar acts and performances but it’s all part of learning about yourself, and what does and doesn’t work for you as a performer.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I have lots of personal goals regarding acts I would like to create and stages I would like to grace! Someday I would also like to get into producing. I feel like I’m bringing different types of acts to the table in our local community, and I know I have already inspired some people to pursue skills they might not have otherwise. This is a wonderful feeling and I hope I can continue to push myself and inspire people to push themselves!

TOMMY GUN LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-tommy-gun-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with DOTTY DART of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-dotty-dart-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Dotty Dart to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine. What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine? Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

The most recent act I developed and performed was my Sims act. It was for a video game themed show. I've been playing that game since I was a kid, so it was a natural choice for me. As for the costume, that was easy! I was able to pull pieces I already had since the Sims is just an everyday life simulation game. The inspiration for the whole act came from my husband who casually said it would be funny to somehow rig an oven to catch on fire. My imagination ran with that. Of course, without the real fire. 

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I've always had a craving to be onstage but was usually too nervous. I did some school theater but when I was around 23, I started with the Michigan Rocky Horror Preservation Society in Wayne, MI. I was able to act and costume in a different way but ultimately lead me to burlesque. I honestly draw inspiration from anyone I perform with. There's so much talent in this area. 

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

I admire quite a few people in the Detroit scene but on a grander scale, Dirty Martini is amazing. Her humor and grace onstage are phenomenal. I also am a character performer, so I have to say that Redrum is a huge inspiration. They're characterization and costumes are out of this world. 

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

I'd probably have to call one of my best friends, Loretta La Rioux. We've collaborated before and she always puts up with my extra ideas. 

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

Honestly, I tell people that most of my solo stuff will leave them scratching their heads and asking, "what the hell?" While ultimately making them laugh.  I haven't gotten too much negative feedback (thank god!) But anytime someone says I'm sexy I have to fight back laughter. 

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

I don't stick to just one genre of music. Honestly, it's whatever fits my picture of what I want. Songs tend to just hit me when they're right. My husband is a musician and I've always wanted to use one of his songs but haven’t had the opportunity to just yet. The first song I ever used was The Way I Walk by The Cramps... There was no significant meaning.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I'm lucky enough to where I feel like I can and do portray what I mean while performing. If there are misconceptions, I haven't heard them yet haha. 

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

Probably last year at the Michigan Burlesque Festival when I got to perform with Dirty Martini. 

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part by far is getting to show the world my 'funny'. It's empowering. The worst part is my own insecurities and concerns. If I didn't do burlesque, I always have Rocky Horror to fall back on.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I love to know how they come up with their acts. What inspires them. The answer to that for me is just sheer dumb luck. I don't like being asked how much I either spend or make on acts.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Not particularly. I've had not so great acts but honestly, I've loved every single part of this journey. 

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I'm working towards it, but I want to create an amazing space for performers to come and feel safe while they perform in an amazing show. The Lounge Cat Collective is that venture for me.

DOTTY DART LINKS:

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-dotty-dart-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with KITTEN VON MITTEN of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-kitten-von-mitten-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Kitten Von Mitten to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine. What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine? Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

The piece I am currently developing for MIBF is kind of the culmination of all the things that contribute to my style, who I am as a person and some of my most recent struggles and experiences. But it will still contain PLENTY of over-the-top, ridiculous components. I’m definitely going to start the routine by making people laugh--which is how I always connect best with an audience. I will also use a lot of my raw and sexier moves while telling almost entire pieces of the story in my performance with just my facial expressions.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I took a series of classes in California way back in 2009. My instructor told me to take it further, but it just never panned out and then I moved back to MI and came out to the Detroit area. And there didn’t really seem to be much going on at the time. But Lilly Rascal, Hot Tawdry and Gurl Haggard were major inspirations when I was still developing my style.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

From an influence perspective, again I would say Lilly Rascal was a huge influence along with Foxy Tann in regard to emceeing. As for performers I admire, locally I adore the f*ck out of Mabel Syrup, Kitty Hawkk and Eris, Darryn Storm and Dotty Dart. There’s also a lot of change being done in the local community that I believe is definitely for the better and there’s a lot of new local shows and producers that are to thank for that.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

I am still overdue to fight Kitty Hawkk onstage, and I am pretty sure that Shrimp Cocktail and I could put something pretty amazing together.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

My tagline answers that question: The T-Rex of Burlesque. Anyone who expects burlesque to be like the Pussycat Dolls.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

The first song I ever used was "Portions For Foxes" by Rilo Kiley and it’s a pretty great theme song for my life. One of my favorite songs I perform to is called "Nothing But The Water" by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I sing the first portion acapella and then dance to the rest and sing again. My daughter insists on listening to in anytime we’re in the car and she calls it “The Water Song”. Whenever I perform it, I can hear her little voice singing it with me.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I have zero performing or dance background. I think people think it takes a certain type of history or qualifications to get up onstage--but you just gotta do it is all.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

I filled in for Jeez Loueez hosting last year’s Dirty Show 19 and it felt so insane to be standing in for the absolute best. Finally meeting Lilly Rascal was huge and also Dirty Martini at last year’s MIBF.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

Having something outside of myself where I get to express a side of myself without having to censor anything. I’m not sure what I would do instead of burlesque, I just began singing onstage and would love to explore that more.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Wanted to ask - Pastie application: I am team Krazy Glue. Tired of - Yes burlesque is stripping. Just don’t even go there.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I wouldn’t have done as many shows. Trying to produce acts at a faster pace than I could keep up with.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

To truly enjoy it first and foremost. And I’d like to dip my toes into singing more. Just being the one and only T-Rex of burlesque that pulls unsolicited pictures of myself from forbidden places and hands them to audiences.

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-kitten-von-mitten-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with ALFIE JEAN of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-alfie-jean-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019
According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the musical performer Alfie Jean to discuss music, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest setlist / routine.  What drove you to choose the particular pieces of music that make up your set for shows?  How do you determine how to pair up your musical performance with your love of vintage apparel?

My latest set is a little risque compared to majority of music up until lately. I love making people laugh and showcasing my comedic writing. So, I decided to combine it all in my music. As for my love of vintage apparel, I wear it almost daily. Unless I am at my day job as a veterinary assistant where I have to wear scrubs. However, I am ALWAYS in vintage hair/makeup. I think having a brand as a musician is a huge thing. So, I always make sure to be vintage from head to toe for gigs.

2. What got you into singing jazz and playing the ukulele, and can you tell us about the moment you realize you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

When I was younger, my Grandfather listened to Sinatra and the Rat Pack all the time. I didn’t realize it was Jazz until I was in high school, when I discovered my admiration for Ella Fitzgerald. I fell head over heels for the Jazzy sounds from the 40’s and knew I wanted to sing it once I heard the tune "It’s Delovely" written by Cole Porter and sung by Ella. That genre really fills my heart and I don’t have much other joy singing other genres besides my originals. I started playing Ukulele five years ago. I had been singing for most of my life in choirs and with my band Fifth Avenue, but I wanted to play whatever songs I wanted! I needed accompaniment, tried piano and guitar… didn’t stick. A huge idol of mine has always been Marilyn Monroe, just like every other young pin up! My favorite film is Some Like It Hot, in which it features Marilyn playing the Uke. She heavily influenced my decision to play. Once I picked it up, I was bitten!! Couldn’t put the darn thing down!

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

I am influenced by the voices of the jazz eras, Ella, Billie, Peggy Lee. As well as, some modern jazz voices like, Diana Krall, Kat Edmunson. My recent writings, that I will be performing for the Burlesque Festival is influenced by Rusty Warren. A comedic musician from the 60’s and 70’s that was the first to speak of sex from the female perspective, publicly. She looked like a lady, red hair in a perfect beehive, glamorous gowns and stones. However, she let it roll! Singing songs like, "Bounce Your Boobies!" I own the majority of her records and many evenings are spent with a bottle of wine laughing my pants off! Rusty, even though she's from a time gone by, is my biggest idol. She motivates me to be, ME! Let my personality really shine in every way possible, even in my music.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a set or write songs with, who would it be, and why?

 

One collaborator would honestly be Magenta DeMure. We both come from a relationship with theatre, but she is a very creative writer. Which will be showcased at the festival. I think we could sit down write a dirty story and some saucy jokes that I could put to music and it would be gold.

5. How would you describe your musical / performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

My musical performance is kitchy, modern vaudeville, a bit of comedy, bantar, music with vintage undertones. All done with a voice and Ukulele. I haven’t had many public reviews as of yet with my music. I believe the comment that will always make me cringe and question my musical abilities, is being told I’m flat… “You might as well be in the next room.” Was the comment that will always stick with me… I know I’m not perfect and I have off days, but god smite me if I am aimlessly flat all the time. What made this worse is that it was said to me by an older jazz cat in my local community. Though, you shouldn’t care about negative comments, deep down I wanted to impress this old man.

6. When it comes to the vintage component of your performance, is there a certain era or style that you gravitate to? What was the first vintage item you ever acquired?  Do you still have it and if so, does it hold any specific sentimental value?

I wouldn’t say I gravitate to one era or the other. I suppose it depends on the show. If it’s straight Jazz I will be pointed to styles from the 40’s, the more elegant, old Hollywood looks. If it’s a fun festival gig, you bet your bottom I’m wearing a novelty swing skirt with a petticoat under and a top. Which would be more of a 50’s vibe. My first piece was a light blue one piece vintage 50’s swimsuit, given to me by my best friend in High School. Unfortunately, I lost this in a move I did a few years ago.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you and your musical performances (both jazz and ukulele), or your love for vintage in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and choice of musical direction?

I suppose the biggest thing to know, would be that I haven’t always been this confident. I always get other women say, “You’re so confident up there, I wish I had half of that.” It took a long time to get here. Personally and musically. When I first started singing in front of people I would shake and shiver and  I definitely couldn’t look at anyone. I went through a metamorphosis really. From being a quiet shy girl. Which most people expect you to be anyway. I have learned to embrace myself with open arms and I am focusing that in my performances as much as possible. There’s only one me, better let it shine. A lot of people think that with the way I dress or the music I sing that I’m stuck up. Especially at Jazz shows. This isn’t the case at all! I am super nice and welcome everyone!! I have gotten some people question the pin up style. On one side, that I want to actually live in the 50’s and have no rights. No. I dress this way because it is 100% flattering to my figure and it makes me feel amazing! The other side is that if I tell people I dress pin up, they will think I prance in lingerie? I am not sure how that comes across? I mean I do in private or a shoot or two, but hardly on the day to day.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a performer and who was it?

I went to see my favorite modern band. Lake Street Dive. Rachel Price, the lead singer, has the most spot on intonation it’s fuel to make you cry. She hits every note with ease as in her recordings. To hear it in person, had me starstruck for sure.

9. What is the best part of being a singer / songwriter?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part is being able to share a part of myself with others that they can relate to. I try and write real songs, that come from my experiences or the experiences of those around me. I try to be honest in my writing and it’s quite relieving to get stuff off your chest in a creative way. With that brings the part I don’t like. I feel very harshly. My heart is on my sleeve and it’s tough not to write a song about all the feelings. If I was no longer a performer, I would probably paint a lot! I enjoy acrylics and canvas. I don’t get a lot of time to do it anymore, but I miss it. I suppose if I didn’t write music or perform, all of my efforts would go there.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

A question I wish I were asked would be about my writing process. I don’t get to go into depth with the way I write or how I came into a song. The way I write is silly sometimes. I can gain inspiration from simple things, like a street sign or a joke that was said amongst friends. For my original, The Recipe of Love I will be performing at the Burlesque Festival, there was a fortune cookie that was opened that said, “Always remember, every exit is an entrance into something new.” well… You can get where that would go! A question I’m tired of answering is not so much a question, but a statement. That is “ Oh are you the singer?” When I'm loading in. Well, yes I am, however why is it that women are always instantly categorized as a singer in a band? I mean, I’m an instrumentalist as well!

11. Looking back over your musical career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

One misstep in my musical career, hmm… had to think about this.. I think my biggest misstep in my music would be that I am classically trained. Now, on the other hand, I'm grateful for this as well. It pushed me to pay attention to my body, to project, to sick over colds and to have a better ear. However, when it comes to Jazz or the original tunes I don’t feel my voice is as free. I question certain things, even if they sound good, they aren’t “correct”. I pay attention to my voice way too much. If I’m not placed well or if I’m feeling tension where I shouldn’t, it distracts me a lot. Again, this was something I really had to dig for. It’s a bittersweet situation, because a part of me wonders if I had kept going with it if I would be even better now. Who knows?

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the performance world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local music and performance scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I would love to tour one day as an excuse to travel, maybe even Europe, if they would have me! At the end of the day, I want to be remembered for being genuine, authentic and encouraging to other women to be who they want to be and not be afraid to let it all out and cuss a little here and there!

ALFIE JEAN LINKS:

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-alfie-jean-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with MIDNIGHTWATERFAIRY of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-midnightwaterfairy-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019
According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Midnightwaterfairy to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

The most recent piece I been working on is my mermaid number, the costume was created by both me and my partner who runs a company sparklesmackpasties. They helped me sew the tail and make my pasties and I stoned my tail myself. The music I chose was a mix between a few songs one is from a old Russian Little Mermaid movie because it catches the feeling of the ocean and what it’s like to be underwater more then any sound I have heard (and also loved this song ever since I was 6 when I first saw the film) but also the second song is "The Seed" by Aurora, who is a magical soul that creates beautiful music with strong meanings of love and unity. This song fit perfectly! It says when everything is poisoned and destroyed we won’t be able to eat money. All of this together created this number where I try to reflect the stars off pure clean water to remind people how beautiful the land was before we destroyed it... the skills are of course contortion where I perform on canes. The art of contortion was created in some parts of the world as a religion to reflect nature around you and that is what I am trying to do.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

Definitely my Martina Marracino and Gabe Gabriel - they where the first to hire me for a full time cast spot for their aerialist queer circus, but then I ended up seeing burlesque and fell in love with all the Glamour.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

My main influence was probably Dita Von Tease - I was obsessed with the corsets and the sparkles she brought to the stage so of course I had to follow with adding as much crystals to a costume I can! Aside from that there are definitely many different artist from circus and music that I draw inspiration from.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

Probably Adam Divine... I feel like it’s we work along side each other for so long it’s about time we did something together.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

My performance style I’d say a good description is ethereal! One cringe comment I got from the internet was "it’s better when a girl does it," but also I have a hard time listening when people describe my acts in front of me cause it gets uncomfortable no matter what they are saying good or bad.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

My music is a huge part of my act people don’t even understand how many hours I go through listing to all my tracks to find the perfect song. I normally go for music with a good lesson behind it or world music because it leave so much more room for interpretation for the audience member. The first song I ever performed to was "Stay" by Shakespeare's Sister... it meant so much to me because struggle with love is something I seemed to go through a lot so could connect and feel those emotions so much stronger to share on stage.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

I would like people to know about my art is that I work hours a day maintaining my skills to perform and grow. That way I make sure I am the most flexible I can be for each performance. I think the misconception in my burlesque is that some people find my burlesque to be more of a circus act though I feel like contortion and flexibility has always been in burlesque.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

The last time I was starstruck was Dita Von Teese when she came to perform in Minneapolis.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The best part of being a burlesque performer is to be able to express my art the beautiful sparkling sexy fashion. The worst part would probably be the judgement that comes from peoples discomfort who don’t understand it. If I couldn’t do burlesque I’d probably go to into circus or painting.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I wish people would ask me more about the meanings behind my numbers because I normally put a lot of thought and back story behind each number. On the opposite side I am tired of being asked how much I train - haha - it’s a lot!

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I would probably go back and change how nervous I get before certain shows so I had a clearer head to perform.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I would love to incorporate awareness about the planet and it’s life. Also, show how sexy androgynous is; that people can realize there isn’t a need for gender roles we could all be and do what we need for are spirits to grow and evolve. I want to contribute a drive to the community to inspire them to work hard and create more art!

MIDNIGHTWATERFAIRY LINKS:

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-midnightwaterfairy-of-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with PHAEDRA BLACK of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-phaedra-black-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019
According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Phaedra Black to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

This piece was created as a sort of “Fuck You” piece. I had submitted to a show and was told by the producer “I haven’t seen you perform in 3 years, but I don’t think this is your style.” We all get rejected and can move on from our lives, but this one just felt mean spirited and ignorant. So, I decided to put all my anger into an act. I had a beautiful corset I bought a couple years ago that I hadn’t paired with an act yet, so I used that corset as inspiration for the color scheme. I listened to various Spotify playlists to find music, and came across this song that set the mood that I wanted. It was really interesting to listen to with various dings and cranks to it, a lot of sound bites that inspired movement. As I continued developing this act, I utilized moves that represented me grabbing my power back, as well as freeing myself of worrying about other’s opinions.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

I’d always loved performing. I grew up loving to sing and play pretend as other creatures. I learned to play the flute and I joined the chorus at school. But performance opportunities were few and far between in my small town. I went to college to study theatre, but realized pretty quickly I was the big fish in the small pond that was just dropped off in a middle of an ocean. While I received my degree in theatre, I was too scared to pursue acting. Fast forward about 8 year later, I was really itching to get back on stage again, but just didn’t know where to start. At the same time, I met this guy online who one day invited me to a burlesque show. After his reassurance I wouldn’t be the only girl there, I agreed to meet up with him. It ended up being the best first date I went on. As our relationship progressed, we saw more and more shows, and I got to know his friend, Rhonda Vous, that was in the troupe. It clicked in my head that “I can do this,” when I saw Frenchie Kiss doing a Parisian tassel twirling act. It was reassuring to see someone who’s body type wasn’t typical slender showgirl getting the crowd wild. That guy bought me my first set of burlesque classes, and I just took off from there. I’m now married to him!

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

Seeing Rhonda Vous and Frenchie Kiss perform in the Chicago Starlets shows inspired me to get up on that stage. I started taking classes with Michelle L’Amour at Studio L’Amour, and I’m so happy that I learned the basics and honed my skills with her. Even as someone who doesn’t perform classic pieces, I felt it was imperative to have a firm understanding of the foundational moves. Ms. Pixy had an indirect influence on my career by building the foundations of Gorilla Tango Burlesque, a group that produced scripted nerdlesque shows, and where I was able to work and connect with other nerdlesque performers. I look up to Cruel Valentine for their fierceness, and Angela Eve for her gorgeous costuming, energy on stage, and her savviness as a business woman.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

April O’Peel. I’ve never met her in person, but every time I see her perform, she’s a riot and so creative!

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

Expressive, joyous, and inviting! One time, an audience member came up to me and said, “You are SO BRAVE.” I could tell that for this person, it wasn’t meant to be a back-handed compliment, so I treated the comment with kindness. After all, it was based on a projection of her own insecurities and admiration for someone that could seemingly overcome them. But to be brave, you have to be scared, but performing is so much a part of who I am, being scared never crossed my mind.

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

The first song I performed to was "The Man That Got Away," originally performed by Judy Garland, though the version I had was performed by Lita Roza. I ended up retiring this act because ultimately, the slowness of the song didn’t match with my performance personality. Now, I don’t have a specific genre I aim for, but I seem to gravitate to higher beat songs with some theatricality to them. I could see myself performing to a Queen song someday.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

Being a burlesque performer takes serious time management and organizing skills. Since this art form doesn’t pay our day-to-day expenses, most of us have day jobs outside of performing. So we have to squeeze in our practice time, class and skill building time, research outside of the 40 hours a week we dedicate to earning a paycheck as well as our friendships outside of the burlesque world.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

Last year, when I was attending BHOF, I was sitting next to the 2018 Queen of Burlesque winner, INGA, during the showcases. I worked up the courage to say hi and congratulations. But yeah, whoa!

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

It sounds weird, but when I’m just walking around in my everyday life, I feel like it’s my cover for my super hero identity. That is, if flinging your clothes off in front of an audience makes you a super hero. I also enjoy the aspect of thinking of ridiculous scenarios, then getting to put them on stage for others to laugh along with you. The worst part is trying to have your voice heard above all the noise, so people will want to see the ridiculous art you create. If I wasn’t able to perform any longer, I would probably do a lot of singing in the shower. I would probably also try out a different hobby, maybe sew more.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I would love for someone to ask me if they could deposit a million dollars into my bank account. Obviously the answer is yes. I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m tired of people asking me certain questions yet.

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Early on, I did gripe a lot on social media about not being booked for shows. It just lead to some interactions that make me cringe looking back at them. But really, it’s hard to pinpoint anything I want to do over, because all of my experiences, good and bad, have lead me to where I’m at now.

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

I dream of one day opening up my own burlesque rehearsal studio and performance space in Chicago. I want to make stage time more accessible to other artists.

PHAEDRA BLACK LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-phaedra-black-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with TIGGER! of THE 2019 MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-tigger-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019
According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Tigger! to discuss routines, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine.  What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine?  Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?

Hmm. I think one of my latest acts is DAZZLE. I was commissioned to create a new act for Taylor Mac's Holiday Sauce show. I had previously performed my signature "Father McTigger" Priest strip in the show's original incarnation. Another option was my traditional holiday act: Virgin-Mary-aborting-the-Baby-Jesus act. But this time we discussed having me create a completely secular act for the new version. The show already deconstructs Santa Claus & Jesus & much of Christian mythology. So I decided I should simply be a Gift. I immediately decided the song should be Siouxsie & the Banshees' "Dazzle." I had several reasons for choosing it. I've always adored Siouxsie, and Hyaena is one of my favorite S&tB albums. The sound is so sweeping & grand, with a bit of a melancholy undertow. I could visualize the entrance right away. The closest the song comes to a chorus is the refrain: "Dazzle, it's a glittering prize. Dazzle, it's a glittering prize!" An obvious fit for a burlesque present. And finally, my brilliant friend Machine Dazzle was going to costume this act, so it's also a nod to his magnificent work. Once I had my basic idea & my music, those two elements guided me to create choreography that helped to tell my story. That's usually how I develop my choreography. It's all in service of the storytelling. I reject the idea that our lives onstage are not real, just like I reject the idea of a "real name." Performing is my job & my passion. It is every bit as real as somebody's cubicle or their social security card. That said, I'm an actor. My degree is in theatre, and acting is what I've done all my life. I've basically been "acting like a stripper" since 1992. So I tend to create characters to tell my stories. But of course, I often put a lot of myself into those characters. It's just expressed in very different ways. But all of these characters came out of me, so there are always links between me and my characters.

2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?

Those are two different questions. I've been a performer all my life, since church pageants at 5 years old. I always planned to be an actor. My degree is in Theatre. I also formed a performance art group in college. I've always been interested in alternative modes of performance, but it's all theatre to me. I was already known in NY's downtown theatre scene as "the Naked Actor" because I kept taking my clothes off in so many plays. I've always enjoyed that provocation & I've always battled against puritanism. I didn't use the word "burlesque" at first or even have that concept in mind. There was no burlesque scene in downtown New York in the 1990's. No burlesque revues or venues or audiences, certainly no men I'd ever seen stripping in a burlesque context. I was a big fan of legendary performance artist Penny Arcade since I first saw her in 1990. She came to see me in an original play based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (in which I stripped naked, again). After the play she said to me, "Look, I know you're a trained actor. But I'd like for you to be an erotic dancer in my show Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!" I always say YES to genius. So I started dancing in Penny's life-changing show in 1992. I taught myself pole-dancing and developed my moves & stripper skills onstage over hundreds of performances. We toured all around Europe & Australia in 1993-94, where I was the (Erotic) Dance Captain. And I've been acting like a stripper ever since. My burlesque acts started as a lark. I was frustrated with the tendency in downtown theatre of preaching to the choir, performing for audiences who were already on the same page. I wanted to surprise real people, people who might never chat with me, people who just wanted to enjoy a night out. I wanted to hit them with shows that were fast & funny & subversive (and naked, of course). I was still committed to the politics & experimentation of my theatre pieces, but that had to be hidden inside little bon-bons of entertainment. I was asked to join a group of friends doing guerilla circus performances in the back of an East Village bar. I knew I couldn't follow a fire-eater with my Chekhov monologue, so I created these mini stripper-theatre pieces. Our only awareness of burlesque was from the musical Gypsy or a few old photos of the glamour girls from the 1940's & 50's. This was before the internet, after all. It took me a while to recognize my kinship to those women, because I looked nothing like them, but I eventually I realized that burlesque was the perfect word to describe what I'd been doing.

3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?

Influences are all around us. Early formative influences include: Alice Cooper & Iggy Pop & David Bowie for their visceral rock'n'roll theatrics. Carol Burnett & Phyllis Diller & the Muppets for their over-the-top hilarity that owes so much to old-time burlesque comedy. Historic influences include Oscar Wilde, Antonin Artaud, Bertolt Brecht, Marcel Duchamp, Dada, Theatre of the Ridiculous, etc. My best friends continue to inspire me, like Julie Atlas Muz & Dirty Martini, of course. But performers who work outside of burlesque influence me too: Taylor Mac, Machine Dazzle, Basil Twist, Justin Vivian Bond, Tabboo!, Dina Martina, and my mentor/drag mother, Penny Arcade.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?

The friends I named above are all dream collaborators! I've probably collaborated with Julie Atlas Muz & Taylor Mac more than anyone, and those collaborations are among my favorite performing experiences ever.

5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?

I prefer to let others describe me. Even the name Tigger! was a private nickname from an old boyfriend. I don't know what it's like for others to see my performances. Back in college my style was dubbed "Search & Destroy." Some of my favorite press has included: "a fantastically watchable naughty satyr" in Edinburgh, "disturbing, funny and oddly riveting all at once" in Vancouver, and "the Taboo-Defying Dynamo" in New York. It was lovely to have a review simply call me "a brilliant satirist" because satire is at the heart of my art. I've been very fortunate with my reviews (at least anything that's been said to my face). Not that I haven't encountered lots of negative reactions. I've been banned & threatened, even physically threatened, for the content of my work. I never seek that negative response out, but I am a provocateur. I'm supposed to provoke & subvert & challenge (maybe even threaten) the status quo. I want to trigger audiences & I want to be triggered when I'm in the audience. So I've learned to see a kind of compliment in those negative experiences. I know that I'm not everyone's cup of tea. If all you get is praise, you're not pushing any envelopes. Perhaps the most cringe-worthy review would be if anyone ever calls me "competent."

6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use?  What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?

No. I started with rock'n'roll, but I always want a wide variety of musical styles. I'm especially wary of the artists I admire most, like Bowie. Because for me, Burlesque celebrates Losers. It is NOT about being the coolest kid in the room. So I often use songs I despise, provided they help me tell my story. And I'll use those really cool songs too, provided they help me tell my story. I use all kinds of music for my acts, as well as spoken word. In one act that I love to perform the only sound is recorded applause. Storytelling is always the bottom line. Another tricky question, since I gradually developed performances since about 1990, but I didn't think to call them burlesque until 1997. The first solo act I performed as Tigger! that'd definitely be considered a burlesque stripper act was done to Alice Cooper's "Is It My Body?" I've loved that song since I was about 6 or 7, thanks to my big brother's records. Like many things I love, Alice Cooper scared & confused me at first. It's a natural song for stripping--about performance, identity, fandom & lust, all with a raunchy groove. I also love songs that ask questions! Burlesque acts (all art, really) is most effective when it asks questions. I don't perform that act anymore, although pieces of ideas helped me to create my Tawny the Tigress character later on. But I will always, always love that song.

7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general?  What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?

The beauty of burlesque is that audiences shouldn't need to know a damn thing about us or about burlesque. The entertainment should suck them in. Whatever we do with their attention once we have it is up to us. What they make of our performances is entirely up to them. We have no control over that. Perhaps I'd like people to remember that the word "burlesque" means to mock, to parody, to lampoon. It should challenge conventions, and it should always have a sense of humor. I have this reputation for being a rebel, a rule-breaker, an envelope-pusher. (There are several of us in the burlesque scene.) I promote that reputation because I love it. But some folks seem to believe that those of us with that reputation don't give a damn. That we don't need as much precision, that we just do whatever we want & don't care about the consequences. WE CARE A LOT! I rehearse certain acts & stunts more to make them appear loose & spontaneous, but actually it is carefully choreographed chaos, with just a little wiggle room to keep it lively. I always aim to be a provocateur, never a saboteur! The difference between those two is immense. It takes a lot of careful planning to choose the buttons we want to push & then try to push them in just the right way. I'm challenging myself as well as certain conventions. Sometimes I've miscalculated, and regretted the outcome. But I have never "not cared." I fight against censorship. I believe audiences can handle far more than they are usually give credit for, that they should be able to choose for themselves whether or not they want to see something. And I believe it's important for all of us to see some things we weren't prepared for or expecting. I try to communicate exactly which rules I want to break (or appear to break) with the producers beforehand. I have never, ever tried to get banned. I always fight for the show to go on. But after those last-minute backstage negotiations (usually via a messenger because censors are cowards), once I realize that I won't get to do what I love for that audience? You can bet my next thought is promoting that shit. I'll say, "They banned my act in Rome! They tried to ban me in San Francisco!" The better to prepare future producers & audiences for what I try to accomplish. This is very important to me. This is political. I always say "FUCK 'EM IN THE HEART!" instead of "Break a leg." And I mean it. It's aggressive but not violent (unlike "Break a leg"). It's sexual too. But it is especially about Changing People with Radical Love. Being a so-called Bad Ass is ALL about caring, a whole lot.

8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?

That's a tough question because I came up with the best in the biz: Dirty Martini & Julie Atlas Muz & World Famous *BOB* & Miss Astrid & Bambi the Mermaid & Angie Pontani, et al. We were friends & collaborators & partners-in-crime before any of us were burlesque stars. Hmm. Some Burlesque Legends have made me feel star-struck, even though they've since become dear friends. The first time I saw Satan's Angel perform I lost my fucking mind! Talk about fucking me in the heart! The Legends also repeatedly give performances that make me cry my eyes out like nobody else.

9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer?  Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?

The stage & the dressing room are my Home. My Sanctuary & my Altar. It is sacred to me. Burlesque performers are Freedom Fighters! This is an important cause. I get to explore my dreams, nightmares, and fantasies onstage & share them with a room full of people. I get to make connections with complete strangers all over the world & share something intimate with them. I get to be the playwright, director, choreographer, costumer, and the entire cast of my own shows. I also have to be the agent, manager, promoter, secretary, and baggage handler. Probably the worst part is when I have to leave my lovely home & my lovely husband for gigs. But that all fades as soon I step into the dressing room, where I tend to find myself with several dear friends, who are also inspirational artists. Not any kind of performer? Yikes! I don't care whether the shows I do are called burlesque or performance art or theatre or obscene filth. Definitions are the least interesting part of any art form. But I've been performing all my life. Performer is who I am. I don't know who or what I'd be without it. Hmm. Directing & teaching performers. Then I'd still be contributing to the performance world.

10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Can I buy you a drink? And the answer is "Yes, thank you!" I really don't know. There are plenty of questions that I've been asked many, many times. But I resist the urge to cut & paste my answers from previous interviews. I can't help but repeat myself on certain questions because the answers still hold true. However, I try to answer as honestly as I can in that moment. (I will say that I'm not a big fan of these kinds of questions that ask us to complain about our burlesque lives. Everybody can complain about their jobs, but who wants to read it?)

11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I mentioned before that there are a couple times that I miscalculated my rule-breaking, when I ended up pushing the wrong button or envelope. Years later, I still relive & regret those times. I wish I could take it back. I've also had to turn down some amazing opportunities. When I was performing in France in 2007, they asked me to stay & perform through the summer. I couldn't just stay there and abandon all the work/show/life commitments I'd already made in the U.S. over the next 3 months. But ohhh, if only I could have said OUI!

12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world?  At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?

The one thing I want to change goes way beyond the fishbowl of the burlesque world. As I said: Burlesque performers are Freedom Fighters! Art is so powerful. I do burlesque in the hope of changing the world! The world--this country right now, in particular--desperately needs to change. We all need to change this culture on matters of sex & sexuality & gender & skin color & intolerance. All of those issues are in burlesque's wheelhouse! I want to help make that change happen. I hope to be remembered as a Freedom-Fighting Artist-Activist who made a difference while making it fun. I hope to be remembered as a faggot who truly FUCKED 'EM IN THE HEART! (with all the Radical Love that implies).

TIGGER! LINKS:

FACEBOOK

MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) burlesque interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-tigger-of-the-2019-michigan-burlesque-festival---july-2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
INTERVIEW: CHERIE CURRIE - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/interview-cherie-currie---july-2019

According to her bio: "Cherie Currie's extraordinary life reads like fiction. From a teenage rock star to becoming an accomplished Chainsaw Carving artist, Cherie has always taken the road less traveled. Cherie Currie has been an artist her entire life, but only in the last several years has her creativity led her to the craft of professional wood carving. She is most reknown as a performer. Cherie Currie rocketed to international stardom as the teenage lead vocalist for the now legendary all-female rock band, The Runaways, alongside bandmates Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Sandy West & Jackie Fox. The multi-talented Cherie continues to act, record and perform around the world. Recently, she added the role of record producer to her impressive resume, and opened her own Chainsaw Art Gallery in Chatsworth, California. Cherie has competed and won awards at three world Chainsaw Art competitions." As she embarks on a new adventure with Brie Darling, we grab some phone time with Cherie about a week before their debut album, The Motivator, is released. We get Cherie to discuss new music, a possible tour, and much more...

Cherie: Hey Todd.

Toddstar: Cherie, how are you?

Cherie: Good, we've lost five minutes. Gosh darn it.

Toddstar: That's all right. I'll make use of whatever time I can get. Let's talk about something so exciting, The Motivator dropping in one week on Blue Elan records. What can you tell us about this project that once people get their hands on it, they might not grab the first or second time they listen through.

Cherie: Oh, I think this record just speaks for itself from the downbeat. It's a great record. I think that what we're going to do is introduce a whole lot of a new generation to some great music of the late 60's and the 70's. One, which is from The Kink's, which was the 80's. But these are just great songs. These are the feel good songs that used to give me that dopamine feeling when I was a kid. You know? Nowadays I think that music lacks this kind of exceptional music. So Brie and I and Dave Darling, we just did our very best to bring the songs to more present time. And every single one of them are just great.

Toddstar: You said that from the downbeat this really takes off. And so it does, I mean from the opening notes of "The Motivator" and then into one of my favorite Stone songs of all times "Gimme Shelter," all the way through to the end of the record. This thing is just good vocals, good music, and just great songs. What is it about these songs and this project with Brie that made now the right time to do it for you?

Cherie: Well, to be honest with you Todd I was out of the business. I was putting my house up for sale. I was in escrow for some land up in Lockwood Valley and I just wanted to be a chainsaw carver and be out of this business. It just seemed to me like it was done for me. And I think what this record proves is that when you think it's done and you let go of everything, something great comes your way. I guess I needed to release all the past, all the disappointments in order for this door to open. And it was the easiest record I've ever made. A lot of these vocals are just first pass vocals or key checks. These songs, I mean that's all I seem to listen to is classic rock because it just brings me back to better days. We're just in such turmoil today and I just love that. That's my way of escaping, is music like this. I don't know. You're probably way too young, but...

Toddstar: You've only got me by a few years. So...

Cherie: Well then you know what our lives were like when these songs were hits. And you know I still long for those days. I think that this music is really soothing to me. I'm just so happy with everything about it. And Dave Darling being such an amazing producer, of course six time Grammy nominated producer, I think that he really shines on this record with his ability to arrange these songs that are really staples in our lives from childhood and being able to breathe new life into them.

Toddstar: Well getting into the songs again, we talked about the opening track and "Gimme Shelter." You guys just nailed that song in my opinion. Which song wound up making the disc that you kind of fought tooth and nail or you just didn't think it would be right for you and Brie to tackle?

Cherie: I've never fought tooth and nail about any of it. I didn't sing "Gimme Truth." I really honestly didn't see how that song was going to... That was not a song I'd ever heard before, by the way. Not that I wasn't a big Lennon fan, I just never heard the song. And Dave would say, "Trust me on this." And then Brie went in as she always did to do a scratch because she lives... Her husband is Dave Darling. So she would go in to do a scratch and they sent me her scratch vocal and I said, "Oh my God, well this is done." I didn't have that vision. The original is quite different from what Brie and Dave did. And then of course me stepping in and doing some really cool backgrounds and support for that song was a challenge for me because I've always been the lead singer. But I can always do higher harmonies by ear. Lower harmonies have always been a bit of a challenge for me. And Dave came up with such amazing harmonies that I had to master in order to get it right. But that was the one song that I just didn't seem to grasp. But boy, was I wrong.

Toddstar: Yes, it's another good one. And I'm like you, I was not familiar with that song when I first heard it through. So I had to Google and see who it was and all that good stuff and learn about the song myself.

Cherie: Oh, I'm so glad I'm not alone Todd.

Toddstar: The album comes out next Friday on August 2nd. What's the difference for you now when you're releasing new materials to back in the day when you were in a band or when you were doing solo materials? Are you still giddy, excited, and nervous or is this just part of the job now?

Cherie: Well, I think when you get to be my age at 59 a lot of that giddiness has been lock on. This business has changed so dramatically that even good hard work doesn't make a hit anymore or money, which used to be how hits were made way back in the 70's, in the 80's it took a record company with a large corporation type bank account to be able to make these songs. And from what I heard through someone that had had quite a few hits that it costs about $100,000 to make a hit; paid directly to the moderators of the record or of the radio stations. So nowadays, I don't even know how that happens. But to believe so much in the music and Dave Darling and Brie and myself in this union, it's a, again, it astonishes shows me that I could go from leaving this business, I mean, Todd, to all of a sudden here I am talking to Todd. And about a new record that I just feel that Brie and I, who've been really pushed aside for the majority of our careers, that we can do this together and do all the things that we never were allowed to do or felt that people didn't want us to do. Now we can really fulfill our dreams on stage and in the studio. And that to me is a relief because when you get to my age you think, oh what a shame. I didn't get that opportunity. Hopefully that this record will do really well. We get to go in the studio and do another one. We've got a four album deal and we see what happens. But this is all just, I think for me at my age it's got to be, you know?

Toddstar: When your last studio release with your sister, Messin' With The Boys (1980) came out and you rode that out, did you think you would still be doing this in 2019?

Cherie: Oh boy. No, I did not think that. I thought I was going to be like Janis Joplin type that whose life ended when she was 27. I mean, those were days that were just very different from today. A lot of drugs , a lot... Which were the norm. If you weren't doing cocaine or Quaaludes there was something wrong with you. So I didn't even expect to see this this age and I'm so grateful for it. If any young people are listening, my Gosh, this life is tremendous and so worth living. It really is. And got a lot of kids going through a lot of hard times right now with social media. And it's very difficult to survive these days I believe. I'm so glad I didn't grow up in these times. But just one of these young people happen to hear this interview and are feeling a little down. Let me tell you boy this life is worth every breath. Hang onto it.

Toddstar: You mentioned the word stage and I see rumblings in the press releases and the record release that there's a tour on the horizon. Is that a full length plan? Are you guys kind of hoping to get something? Because I know back here in Detroit we'd love to get you on a stage.

Cherie: Oh thank you. Yes. I love Detroit by the way. Fond Memories of Detroit from 1976 on. No, we definitely. We've signed with TKO, a great booking agent. And we planned a tour in the fall. But we have a lot of tricks up our sleeves that we're hoping we will be able to pull off. Of course me being a chainsaw artist for the last 19 years, I would love to be able to incorporate that into our shows. But these are really baby steps in putting together a performance that's going to wow people. We need to wow people. And it's just so much fun that I don't have to ask is this going to be okay or is that going to be okay? We're just going to pull out all the stops.

Toddstar: Well, you mentioned chainsaw a couple of times. What to you is the biggest connection between your former life as a musician and the chainsaw work that made that a good jump for you?

Cherie: Well, there's nothing like being responsible for every stroke. Because the thing is I find that I've blamed a lot of people for a lot of things and rightfully so. But the great thing about being a chainsaw artist or being anybody that has their own business is that it all falls on you. Every stroke, everything I do and I'm alone doing it, I'm not... I don't have somebody telling me what to do, how to do it, what I've done wrong. The thing is, I by name when I signed my name with that chainsaw on that base, I know that I've given it everything I got and that it's truly a creation of mine and mine alone and I love that. I don't have anybody breathing down my neck and it's very freeing. And of course it is quite a brutal job. It's pretty violent and brutal and all that kind of very dirty job. But I just absolutely love it. It's the most freeing thing I've ever done. I wouldn't have continued doing it for 19 years if it wasn't something I truly love.

Toddstar: Is this something you will continue doing even with the resurgence of your musical career?

Cherie: Absolutely. In fact, once I'm done with my interviews today, there's only a couple after you. I'm going out there to do some carving. It really helps me balance the little bits of stress that we have in this business, in the musical business or with the album coming out to be able to relieve that stress by going out there and carving. The phone's not ringing. I have no phones out there. It's a really great way to decompress.

Toddstar: Well, I want to thank you so much as a fan of you, your music, your legacy. I want to thank you for the time you've given me today. I know you've got other interviews coming. We want to make sure everybody picks up the album, they can grab it on Amazon, they can grab it at Blue Elan records.

Cherie: Todd, thank you so much and I love Detroit. I would love to come out. I was out there, I think about three or four years ago. I just love Detroit. I'll always have fond memories. It was the first place The Runaways ever stayed that had bulletproof windows. I remember that clearly. A little bit of fear went through me, but I love Detroit. And thank you Todd.

Toddstar: Thank you so much Cherie and hopefully we'll see you back here in Detroit soon.

Cherie: You absolutely will my friend.

CHERIE CURRIE LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

THE MOTIVATOR

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(ToddStar Photography) interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/interview-cherie-currie---july-2019 Mon, 29 Jul 2019 20:21:06 GMT
INTERVIEW: LAWRENCE GOWAN of STYX - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/interview-lawrence-gowan-of-styx---july-2019

According to a recent press release: "Legendary and multi-Platinum rockers STYX--Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars), James “JY” Young (vocals, guitars), Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums) and Ricky Phillips (bass), along with the occasional surprise appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo—kicked off their 2019 headlining tour January 11 in Phoenix, AZ. After 14 years, STYX’s sonically sweet 16th studio album and its most ambitious, most challenging, and most rewarding album to date, THE MISSION, was finally released June 16, 2017 on the band’s label, Alpha Dog 2T/UMe. It debuted on various Billboard charts." We get keyboardist / singer Lawrence to discuss new touring, new music, and much more...

Toddstar: Lawrence, I appreciate you taking time out, as you mentioned before, we got the transcription. We seem to be doing this annually, so it's more like chatting with a friend than talking to a rockstar.

Lawrence: That's okay. That's more than okay.

Toddstar: Well, since we last talked, you had some dates at Caesar. But more importantly, you've got some dates coming up in Michigan with Styx.

Lawrence: We do. Let me see now, so you're talking about the Caesar show that we did with Gowan last September, the Gowan Show was there? Did you make it to that show, by the way? Were you at that show?

Toddstar: No, actually I was out of town that weekend, so I never did make it out. It's still a bucket list for me to see a Gowan show.

Lawrence: Okay. All right, good, good. Keep it in the bucket. So, yes. Well, current I'm calling you from California. That's where we are today. We played in Tucson, Arizona last night. I mean, Styx are on track this year to play at probably just over 90 shows by the end of the year if I'm counting them up. Then we did nine Gowan shows at the beginning of the year, like I February, late February, and now we're doing another nine Gowan shows in December of this year. Those ones will all be in Quebec. So, I'll be able to use names like your last name. Anyway, so that's it. We're basically sandwiching as many Gowan shows between the giant Styx schedule as we possibly can. I'm really enjoying doing as much as I can, whenever I can these days. I guess the highlight of this year so far with Styx is that last month we played a sold out show at the London Palladium in England, and then two days later we did a sold out show in Oslo, Norway, and then two days after that we did about 40,000 people at Sweden Rock, a big rock festival in Sweden, and then came right back to America and blasted right on again up until you and I are speaking right now. So, it's been a really strong year globally for Styx, and just seeing the audiences don't seem to be diminishing in the slightest. If anything, they're increasing every year. We're going to keep doing it for as long as the Gods of rock smile on us.

Toddstar: What is it, in your opinion, that is that magic glue that keeps the fans and Styx coming together year after year after year, show after show? Because, like you said, your shows are growing in number as far as attendance. What is it that is that common bond, do you think?

Lawrence: I think it's a combination of... you know, I ask myself that same question. I don't really have a definitive answer to that, but I just have tiny little theories that come into my head. I think first of all, start with the big picture, is that it's classic rock. Rock music is the giant musical statement of the last half of the 20th Century. I may have said that to you before Todd, but I've witnessed that in my life. And so to narrow that down a little bit further, I would say that melodic, strong melodic content, finds a place, lodges it somewhere in people's brains that they draw upon it more than they may even be aware. And when they come out and see a great rock show, back to those songs, they've connect to part of their youth or part of their ongoing existence to, it further deepens that bond and they become very much addicted to it and in my mind, it's the best addiction you could have because it just doesn't seem to let you down. We, as a band, are capable of delivering, and do night after night, a show that meets those expectations that people have when it comes to something that's that curiously important in their lives. It's amazing just how much the... I mean, I can go to what'll sound like melodramatic stories, but last night on the way to the bus... again, I don't want to over emphasize things or use this as nothing more than an example. It was one of the people that were hanging there by the bus after the show, wanted to get their record signed or whatever. One lady said, "You know, during your show three years ago I had a scarf on my head because all of my hair was coming out because I'm having cancer treatment," and apparently I leaned down and tucked a pick, a guitar pick, under her scarf that was on her head during the show, just as a laugh, right? You know, just to give her something to kind of grin about. And there she was last night, big full head of hair, totally cancer free, and just saying how much music had saved her attitude about everything. She attributed that a lot to her recovery. Now obviously, there'd be no scientific proof that would support that. I think the chemotherapy would win that argument, but your attitude towards things can lift and be so much more connected in a positive sense to life in general when it's done through the medium of music. So, that's a rather lofty statement, but I'm just reporting what I've seen, quite honestly.

Toddstar: Well, you hit on something, and you said something that I couldn't find any closer to that truth, in that music never lets you down. I mean, you talk about people saying music is their mistress and it's the one love that you'll always have, that won't let you down.

Lawrence: That's what I've come to. Once you've lived a few decades, as I have, you begin to develop some of your own philosophies based upon what you've witnessed and what you've experienced. That is the one thing. I've seen so many things in life let people down eventually, but music just doesn't seem to have the capacity to allow that to happen. We connect with it in the most profound way and rock music is the music of our lives. Look, last year, the Oscar going to Bohemian Rhapsody, because so many people just loved it. They loved the story of that band and the songs that resulted from Freddie Mercury's sometimes very difficult existence, and yet music was the thing that saved him and through his channeling it to the world, it saved a lot of people. I won't say saved them, but it's enriched their lives to a degree that is really notable.

Toddstar: I agree. To build on that whole thing about never letting you down, Styx is one of those bands that especially never lets me down, whether it's from the photo pit for those first three songs, or easing back into my seat through the rest of the set. You guys, year after year after year, put together a set list and in the last couple years you've added a song that the fans were clamoring for, but for me, from the minute "Gone, Gone, Gone" kicks in, it's a show that doesn't let you down. How do you guys, I don't want to use the word manipulate, but tweak the set from year to year so that you guys are still interested, yet you know the fans will still come along for that ride note after note?

Lawrence: You know, I think it's just part of our personalities that we're driven to see what will raise it one more percent higher, and part of that is driven by the audience, you know, that thirst for that. But, part of it is right within the band. We really like impressing each other. It's a weird thing. I mean, we're all just kind of trying to have the other four or five guys look at you after the show and go, "That was really great what you did there." And each guy just seems to have that built into their DNA, and I think that the combined effort of that leads to some form of improvement that happens year after year. Now, at some point, we're going to hit ... it's going to plateau. We're aware of that, but kind of say, "Not yet." We like to say, "Not yet." Like Game of Thrones. What do we say to the God of Death? "Not today." It's just that we know that we have this window in our lives when we still have all of our capabilities to actually improve on something and that's the show, and that's what we devote our attention to, and it puts a big smile on our faces.

Toddstar: You mentioned that you guys all kind of leave the stage hoping that you impressed the other guy. You guys are all accomplished. I mean, Ricky and his bass, Todd and the drums, you on keyboard and vocals. I mean, you guys are all accomplished musicians on your own, and in your own right, yet you guys all drop the facade and ego at the door when you guys hit that stage as Styx. How easy is it for you guys to complement each other, knowing that I'm also that accomplished? You know what I mean? Or should I say how hard is it to compliment the other guy?

Lawrence: Well, that's like a family almost. Impressed isn't the right word. It's more to do with when you notice that someone else is really putting something extra into it all the time. You know? You just feel suddenly that you've got to point that out to them. You have to just say, "Look, you played this solo tonight better than you've ever played it," or "You sang this part so dead on," and it works the other way too. Sometimes it's like, "There's one note that you're hitting that's not quite hitting the bell tone exactly right. Let's work on that." I love when that happens. That's even better, because that gives me something to focus on the next night. We go, "Okay, that X spot there ..." We had, for example, in "Rockin' the Paradise," we weren't holding the 'dise' part of 'Paradise.' We weren't holding it one extra beat, which kind of, in a weird way, sounds like it’s nothing, but when you've got four voices hitting that and there's a bell tone that happens from that, giving it that one extra beat in fact does increase the effect of how strong it can hit. It's down to like the fine points like that, that we will rehearse something and sure enough, our front of house engineer will notice that and go, "Something's better about that." And that's when we kind of get a good moment of looking each other in the eye in a way and going, "Okay, we haven't lost it. We still got whatever it is." And I think whatever that is, it's that desire to improve upon something that really is down to the fine strokes. That's really what it is.

Toddstar: This incarnation of the band is as strong as the band has ever been, in my opinion. You guys just year after year seem more fine-tuned when you hit that stage and you play through the catalog, whether it's the old classics or the new classics. But, for a guy like me who loved the generation EPs, especially The Mission, it's been awhile since we've heard some new music. I mean, is there still that desire for you guys as a unit to put together new Styx music, or do you guys really just want to enjoy the catalog?

Lawrence: No. What the audience doesn't see is just how much new stuff gets gone through behind the scenes, and it's funny, the 14 year gap between Cyclorama and The Mission, it's funny when we say, "God, we think of all this music, all the things that we've worked on, tried out, tested in various ways over the years, it's amazing that the audience only hears the tip of the tip of the iceberg," so to speak, and that's a good thing. That means that we're looking for a level of quality that doesn't let them down. So, The Mission accomplished that. Since The Mission has come out, there's been lots of new stuff that we keep hacking at and jamming on, et cetera, et cetera. And honestly, within the band that's the biggest buzz of all is when we hit on something that is like, "This has got the quality to it. This has got the finesse and then..." It's beyond quality. I was just saying it last night about the new things we were working on. I just thought it achieved that. It's the connection to what the band has done in the past. You can instantly connect the dots between the classic material, the historic legacy material, let's call it that, and something new that we're doing. When there's that undeniable connection, we suddenly feel like that's going to affect people. That's going to lead us to a good place. So, we're always looking for that. We're fishing around for that, and I think that's the most satisfaction of all, is when we find those little nuggets and go, "This is going to be really good one day when we get the chance to completely finish it off and put it out."

Toddstar: That's great, because again, I can't wait for more Styx music. But, in your 40 plus years doing this, and you've been doing this a long time, you've graced a lot of stages. You've graced stages with performers. Did you ever think when you kicked this off that 40 plus years later you'd be essentially one of the front men in Styx, and not that you're the leader, but you're standing up front. You're not behind a curtain. You're not playing background harmonies and stuff. You're actually one of the front men. Did you think 40 plus years ago if someone had said, "Hey, by the way, you're going to be one of the guys on the front of the stage with Styx in 2019," would you have ever imagined it?

Lawrence: Well, you know, we all play our position, and quite often the position chooses you in a way because your talents wind up being kind of filtered down that alley, just because that's how it works out. For myself, there are times when I look across the stage and I'm so reminded of the very first band, professional band, I had. It started when I was 19 years old, and I was more or less doing the same thing with that band as I'm doing with this band today, and in all of my solo years as well. I happen to be the guy who's up front, but it's the power of the whole presentation and everybody that's on that stage that makes it so strong. So, I'm really just playing the same position that I've always played and just I think I am filled with more and more gratitude as time unfolds to be able to still do that and do it to a level where it can put a few thousand people on their feet at the end of the night with big smiles on their faces or be part of something that does that. No career, yourself included, I don't think anyone has a career that unfolds or plays out the way that they've scripted in their, pre-scripted it, in their head. Life takes you to where it takes you, and you basically have to adjust your take on it and your philosophies and your little mottoes according to that, and that's kind of where this conversation started. But, there are times, I will admit, quite often I will spin my piano around and see the giant Styx logo behind me on stage and go... it's like the Talking Heads song, "How did I get here?" It's pretty amazing, quite honestly. I do enjoy it. I guess it's a little bit like whenever you have that euphoric moment when something kind of works out despite your own preconceived notions of how it would go. It often exceeds what you really conceived originally because it was unpredictable.

Toddstar: Back to that euphoric moment when you turn around and see the Styx logo, looking across the stage, do you get that same thing when you look across, and you see Tommy or J.Y., all of a sudden Ricky's flanking you on your platform or Todd is just going crazy behind you, do you get that same euphoric feeling where you almost have to take a breath and just stop?

Lawrence: You see, I know them as people so well because we're on a tour bus together, we spend a lot of days of the year together. But, yes, to answer that question. They become a little bit mini superheroes in a weird way once we're on that stage and I am consistently noting that this is a very fortunate position to be in, to be on a stage with this guy and this guy and this guy and this guy and this guy. Because, it's funny, Todd's mom was at the show last night, and she was saying, "How do you guys keep the show so... it's always more entertaining than it was the last time." I had to say to her, "I'm often just as entertained as the audience when I turn around and look. I just feel like I've got really great seats for the show. I'm seeing a really good show unfolding from my vantage point and I kind of understand why the audience are reacting the way they are, because I am a little bit inside too."

Toddstar: Yeah, I can imagine it's like a little kind on a playground for each of you as well, knowing that you're doing what you love, you're doing it with some of your friends and you're being rewarded with that instant feedback from the crowd.

Lawrence: Yeah, it really is that. You know, I compare it to a lot of little things in childhood in a weird way, when you're impressed that you're getting to kind of hang around with guys that you never thought you would necessarily get an opportunity to hang around with.

Toddstar: Sure. Now, you're one of the cool kids Lawrence.

Lawrence: Yeah, well what flashed into my head is I remember playing road hockey as a kid and suddenly when a couple of the guys who were maybe one or two years older than you or are definitely better players than you, when they suddenly ask you to kind of be on their team or you somehow end up on their team, you're pretty knocked out. It's kind of like that. So, it's nice to have an emotion that I can relate to a childhood kind of excitement when I'm onstage with these guys, quite frankly. I've never quite thought of it that way, but that just popped into my head.

Toddstar: That's awesome. I know you're busy, so I've got one more for you before I cut you loose, if you don't mind. With everything said and done, again, you've had a soaring career. You've got Gowan, your band. You've got Styx, you've got everything you've done, the disks you've played on. What's the one thing you still want to do musically and professionally that you haven't done? What is still on your professional music bucket list Lawrence?

Lawrence: Honestly, I'm always hopeful that the best thing I'm going to do is the next thing. That's constantly on my mind. The next thing we do is going to top everything that's happened prior to it, and the drive to do that, I think, is the ongoing goal really, is to see if that exists and how do I get to it and hopefully it'll happen. Hopefully before the clock runs out, that will emerge.

Toddstar: Well, I hope you get that, and I hope that when that next thing comes around that you're still looking for that next best thing.

Lawrence: Yeah, that's truly the best way to live.

Toddstar: And for me, the next best thing in my mind is August 8th, here in Detroit, when you guys are playing Soundboard. I can't wait for that show. I can't wait to catch one of the best shows around.

Lawrence: Well, that's great Todd. I look forward to seeing you very soon.

Toddstar: Sounds good. We'll talk to you soon.

Lawrence: Okay Todd, cheers. Nice to talk to you again. Let's do it next year.

STYX LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/interview-lawrence-gowan-of-styx---july-2019 Mon, 29 Jul 2019 17:17:58 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with OLIVER NIKOLAS SCHMID of LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-oliver-nikolas-schmid-of-lacrimas-profundere---july-2019
According to a recent press release: "You must have chaos within you, to give birth to a dancing star." (Friedrich Nietzsche). That must have been what the Schmid brothers had in mind when Christopher (former vocalist, and still songwriter and indispensable asset of the band) came up with the title and cover of their new album Bleeding The Stars. Without chaos, no creativity – and both are the driving force behind every new adventure. Adventures that, as of now, Lacrimas Profundere (Latin for shedding tears) have experienced in 30 countries, far away from LA’s dazzling theatres." We get guitarist Oliver to discuss new music, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Nuggets?? The record label did the barcodes wrong at the first editions. Ah and the song titles inside the booklet are not in the right order… and, no I should shut up now, otherwise nobody will buy this album again mate…

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Had a car accident many many years ago, before it, I wanted to make it as tennis player, but to be honest, the talent was more like "he always tries." After that accident I was not able to play tennis anymore and learned guitar by myself with songbooks of bands I adore. It costs me month of every day practice till I was able to play that shit and I think this was the day I realized it…

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I was in a club in my hometown where they play metal, ahh the good old times, this club is closed since many years. There was this long haired rocker and he wears a shirt of Paradise Lost of Shades of God album. Never heard of this band, but I liked the design and was looking for that album, what can I say, this was the start.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Twenty years ago my three favorite bands were Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride! Today my three favorite bands are Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema. So I did not change that much, except that I mess up the order with increasing age, laughs. Ah, I forgot to mention Primordial and Dark Tranquility.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Puh, ähm my dream came true as our publisher drops me a line to Ricky Warwick to write a song together. The result called “Head Held High” is still one of my favorites and he still my Idol, no he is much more. But, that’s not the question, but I really adore the collaboration, he is such a nice guy, so, I would do it again, so Ricky, just drop me a line bro.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Take Type o Negative, a piece of Dark Tranquility, HIM and My Dying Bride and the sister of Paradise Lost is gardener and Primordial are sitting above the tree. Think in this description you’ve got the root of the lacrimas tree. Some season it grows more into goth, next time more dark, it depends.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Living this adventure and to see so many different cities. Hey, if someone told me 25 years ago that I will fly to Beijing, Shang Hai, Tokyo, Seoul, Moscow, Dubai, Helsinki… ah there are so many, I would say, are you out of your mind?

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Man I hate it, I hate these guys with acoustic guitars everywhere they are and play bad covers of bad bands. Cook? Julian is not bad as cook, Dominik also, I wash the dishes… everything´s fine, if there is NO acoustic guitar guy in my room.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Yesterday after our show in Munich.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Painting pictures, or playing tennis, but both I've tried and failed…

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Hahaha, every fuckin single year I did a misstep or even more. But I always stand up and we’re still around, so...

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Silent Enigma of Anathema. The whole atmosphere of this album is breathtaking. Probably the album if listened the most and Diana Read Peace of Germans Dark Millennium.

LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) Interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-oliver-nikolas-schmid-of-lacrimas-profundere---july-2019 Mon, 29 Jul 2019 16:01:01 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with DUSTIN RYE of THEM FIXES - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-dustin-rye-of-them-fixes---july-2019  

According to a recent press release: "Hard Rock duo THEM FIXES has released their debut EP, Electric Prophetic, with a full streaming of the single, "Kill the Nights." Them Fixes is 2 dudes steeped in Nashville dive bars striving to climb new sonic heights by combining minimalist ingenuity, copious amounts of energy, and riff oriented rock." We get Dustin to discuss new music, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our debut release is pretty straight forward. It definitely follows a theme lyrically from start to finish that has represented the journey of the band thus far. We wanted to put our best feet forward so we made sure to include as much killer with no filler as possible.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I was 13 when I began to play guitar and from the moment I started learning Silverchair songs I knew it was something I wanted to do. When I formed a band in high school the comradery was what really cemented it. I knew I always wanted to play in a band and from those bonds through music.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

There's is a lot to that one haha!  Early on when I started digging in I was a Warped Tour kid and I loved Pop Punk but as I got older I started to discover more Hard Rock/Stoner Rock bands like Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Fu Manchu and others that led me down a path that opened up into Blues as well. Jimi Hendrix is one of my guitar hero's til this day. Not to mention we are super big fans of Royal Blood.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Jimi Hendrix, Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, Mike Kerr (Royal Blood), and Red Fang.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Queens of the Stone Age for sure! Their rawness and groove is amazing and it would be awesome to see what would come out!

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I would describe it as Hard Rock / Grunge genre wise. Fuzzed out, riff oriented rock, mixed with High energy and just enough dynamics to cool it down when need be. I had one guy actually say we sounded like Five Finger Death Punch only with 2 people one time and to be honest I for the life of me cannot see how one would draw that kind of conclusion haha!

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Hmmm...I'd say it’s the journey. It's a hard road, but the experiences, people, and writing music with my best friend and hitting the road to perform it is something that’s hard to describe.

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Shawn and I do really well to split the bill on food and drinks! Definitely no acoustic cracking out haha! We keep the "Wonderwall" to a minimum.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

It was years ago and not in this band but we met Bobby Capps of .38 Special after a gig one evening. He really dug our set and took us to show us his studio in Nashville. It was pretty rad.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I have no idea actually. Most likely something that deals with people. I'm a very people person and I love being in crowds.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

This is a tough one. Because this current project in a way is a do over. We've had the opportunity to start something fresh and apply what we've learned and heard. It's been a blessing.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Deja Entendu by Brand New.  That record defined a large portion of my musical taste for quite some time and still does outside of this project. It was one of the first CD's that lived in my CD player and helped me get through a lot in my early high school and college days.

THEM FIXES LINKS:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) Interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-dustin-rye-of-them-fixes---july-2019 Mon, 29 Jul 2019 15:41:54 GMT
INTERVIEW: DONNIE VIE - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/interview-donnie-vie---july-2019
According to a recent press release: "Original songwriter/lead vocalist of Enuff Z’Nuff, Donnie Vie, is back with his latest solo album, Beautiful Things, which was released on June 7th via Deko Music on CD/LP/Digital, with the first single "I Could Save The World" out on May 24th. The album also features special guests Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big), Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish) and Mike LePond (Symphony X), and will be issued as limited edition LP bundles." We get Donnie to discuss new music, touring, and much more...

Toddstar: Donnie, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule for me.

Donnie Vie: Thank you for caring.

Toddstar: Hey, we always care - I've been rocking and rolling with Donnie Vie for a long time.

Donnie Vie: Well, that's awesome. That's why I do it.

Toddstar: I'm really excited that you're still doing it and that you've got this great new album, Beautiful Things.

Donnie Vie: Thank you. Yeah, I'm really proud of it and happy to be a part of it too.

Toddstar: Well, it was released back early June, so you're about a month and a half in, month and a week in. What can you tell us about this album that your fans may or may not grab the first or second time they listen to this disc?

Donnie Vie: Well, if it's a new listener, I think there's nothing to know. You just listen to it, and you like it or you don't. So far, everybody that's heard this said really nice things about it, and I'm very happy with it, and I think I'm not too shabby of a writer and a singer, and so that's my thing is I have to be happy with it. I haven't felt 100% on any of the Enuff Z'Nuff records. I haven't felt like I got to really make the record I wanted to make. It started off with the wrong lineup of guys to begin with, but it was nothing against those guys, but that doesn't gel. It doesn't make sense on paper. It doesn't make sense. Everything's got to gel and work together, and that's how things become something, you know what I mean? Not with everybody working their selves, but there's agendas, and there's egos, and there's this and that, and also mine. I'm an artist. I'm not a rock star. I'm an artist, and I get into the passion of the art. It's my blood, sweat and tears that goes into these songs, and for somebody to cockblock my creativity, after a while that wears thin on you. This is the record I always wanted to make. This is a really good, solid record. It's very melodic. It's got a lot of harmonies, a lot of cool things in it, a lot of colors, no buzz saw guitars drowning everything out, and it's still in the fashion of what anybody likes about me. I took all that with me, you know? I think it can appeal to a broader range of people because it's, we're kind of in the middle there. It's like the pop people that love pop music, it was too heavy for them, and the ones that like heavy stuff, it was too poppy for them, so we're kind of stuck in the middle there once we got rid of Frigo and all that shit. This is a regular pop rock and roll record. I know a lot of heavy metal guys and stuff that love this record because they're musicians, and they've been influenced too. They just went different directions. They do different things, but I think it's really great. I think that some cool people got involved and helped me make it, and the songs came. I went four years without writing a song. Four fucking years, and that's never happened to me in my life since I started writing. I always got a back fucking log of my brain. I have to shut my brain off, there's so many. These ideas are beamed into me from somewhere else, and it's my job to follow the song and let it take me where it wants to go. And I don't fight the song, and I don't write like other people. I write with the vibe and the inspiration of the song, you know what I mean? For me, it's a life. Every song is like a little life, like my children and my creations, and I don't want them... If you have children, you don't want to send them out into the world unprepared or half-cocked. You want to give them the best upraising, and that's what I do. I don't sit down with the intentions of writing a song. When it comes to me, then I get to it, and I do my job to it, and hopefully I don't fuck it up with my buffoonery, you know what I mean? I took a couple, three, four years to do some self-improvement. Some health issues, Hepatitis C. My teeth, I ground those down in a motorcycle accident. My bones were all, I busted a bunch, a shattered ankle. Plus, the motorcycle accident fucked me up, and then I got arrested and a warrant. I had an old warrant in Michigan for some shit my sister did, and the only way to get out of that would have been to have her put to jail, and she just had a baby and just got out of that shit and she's just got married, so I figured I had been praying for God to change my life. It was so, so desperately terrible and just despairing, and I was so sad and miserable, and just every day would just wish that I wasn't here. Why would you leave me here like this, and then some father or mother on their way home gets smashed by a truck in a car, and they're fatherless, and stuff, like a family? So why would you leave me here? Because you're not letting it go anywhere, but they still keep me. It's cruel, but I said to whatever the higher power, I said, "Take me or fucking do something to help me change this because I can't do it myself." God knows, after that one, it's hopeless, and I was getting off the plane coming back from like Europe, and they were waiting for me because I had an old warrant. I prayed for that. You've got to be careful what you pray for. But everything, hindsight is insight, you know what I mean? At the time, things might not be pleasant, but you've got to go through unpleasant things to get to the other side of things, and God knows I needed it. It was like a 15 month program they offered me, and I took it, and it was all about just taking time for you. Everything else has to be put on the back burner. All of the chicks, all your... whatever you do. So, I could never do that before because there's always something that has to happen. Maybe there's not a bunch of it, but there's enough of it that you don't have the opportunity to do these things or can afford them. And so, I got my Hepatitis C cured, got my teeth all fixed up again, my bones and shit back in order. The sciatic shit and all this other stuff, my eyesight. All this stuff I get. I cost Michigan... "You're going to arrest me? Well, I'm going to cost you three quarters of a million dollars." And that's what I did. I also enriched and found my spirit and got it back, man. You can lose your spirit. You'd be walking around, and you're dead. Your body's still walking. Your brain knows enough to know that you're dead, you know what I mean? And you're walking around still, and you're dead. It's like, that's when your spirit or your soul or whatever, it's just taken enough abuse. It's just like a battered wife, "I've just had it with this", and they leave, and it left me. And so I'm in this program, and I finished it up. I did everything successfully, got all healthy and clean, and this and that. And then, I was debating on... When this happened to me, I didn't think I was going to be doing this anymore. My intentions were not to, like, "If they don't love me now, they're never going to love me," and, "This is pointless." It's like, "I can do this for myself and not be disillusioned or heartbroken." But then, after the program, I hadn't had a song idea in all that time. I was like, "Well, maybe it's run its course. Maybe it, all this, everybody always gets, "Oh, he writes it so effortlessly," and stuff but maybe that's all turned off. Soon as I was in that position and questioned that, as quickly as that, the song I Could Save the World popped into my head, and I was like, "Fuck," and I demoed it and I said, "This is a cool song." And then, the next one came, a song called Breaking Me Down. That came a couple of days after I finished I Could Save the World, and I was like, "Well, these are cool." I said, "These are really cool." And then came a song called Fly, and then on and on and on. I was like, "We're back in business. We're going to do this." And I'm going to do it in a positive way and do it right this time. No buffoons, get out of the clown car, fucking do it right and present myself and what I do in the best possible presentation, what makes sense and everything, and that's what I think... It far exceeded my expectations. It really sounds like a really good rocker, and the guy that co-produced it and mixed it did an amazing job, and the guys that contributed, like Paul Gilbert and Roger Manning from Jellyfish, and these guys from Symphony X. There's fucking guys from all different kind of shit playing on this thing, but we're all meeting at the one thing, it's like a good song. It's a good song no matter what style it is, and everybody... Jonny Polonsky, all the guys, it sounds great. I didn't intend to play as many instruments and stuff as I ended up playing on this because I'm kind of a hack. I never really sat and practiced and noodled because that's not my thing. I'm a singer, and I play the guitar and stuff, or piano, out of necessity to have something to sing to while I'm writing, you know? I've gotten better and better and I get by on it, but I'm playing a lot on there, but I really like the way it all came together. And it's all vintage stuff, vintage gear. There's no Mesa Boogies and Marshall Stacks and shit like that. It's all really cool, older stuff that sounds cool like 1960 guitars and shit like that. It's the real deal, and it sounds like the real deal, you know?

Toddstar: Listening to it, I dig it top to bottom.

Donnie Vie: Are you satisfied with it? You said you've been a fan.

Toddstar: I dig it and I've been a fan. Again, it's hard to mention Donnie Vie and not talk about Enuff Z'Nuff, but I've been a fan from the early on through. Never been fortunate enough to see a Donnie Vie solo show, and hopefully we can get you back in Michigan.

Donnie Vie: Oh, I forgot you're in Michigan. I should've seen the thing. Good thing I didn't say the line about, "I got captured by hillbillies, and then held for ransom."

Toddstar: Here in Detroit, we'd love to get Donnie Vie in one of these venues up here.

Donnie Vie: If something makes sense to do it, I do a storyteller's thing with acoustic guitar and a grand piano, and I just touch on all of the stuff that I only got to sing one time in my whole life when we recorded it and never sang it again. Out of all those songs, there's so many songs that I did with Enuff Z'Nuff. And the fans, they're just tired of hearing the same old... If you want to hear the same old songs that we played for 20 years, Enuff Z'Nuff's still out there. You can go get your 80's on. You can go check it out, and me and him have buried the hatchet, and so nobody's... I give my blessing. Do your thing. That's what you want to do, and I'm moving on. I need to evolve. I need to go, "I've been there, I've done that." I know where that goes, and it's unhealthy for me. And so, the live band I'm putting together right now.

Toddstar: Well, you mentioned piano. "Instant Karma" is amazing. I love the video itself. I love the musical piece of the video, but the pictures of you on the pier with the piano, to me it speaks volumes not only about the direction you're headed personally, but also musically. I just love that visual. What's it about that track that made sense for you at this point? Because it's not your first Lennon cover - you've done "Imagine." What about "Instant Karma" spoke to you at this point in your career and in your life?

Donnie Vie: Actually, it was completely by chance that I even ended up using that because I ended up... I was in the hospital since right after Thanksgiving for like a month and a half with my pancreas that liquefied on me, and so they told me I was going to die and everything. We had already started to try to launch the record, and I had to pull back on it because I can't do anything. And so I was frustrated, and so I said, "Well, I got this demo sitting around," and he said, "I like it." Obviously, I think I sing it pretty well. And so, people came to my aid and in a big way. Somebody decided to put a grand piano out on the fucking middle of Lake Michigan on a pier. Who does that? The other guys with the studio, and we got 500 kids in the student body of the school singing, "We all shine on", with the posters. It really came together by chance, and out of a bad thing came a good thing. And when we were done with it, I'm like, "What am I going to do with this, though?" It's not on my record, and I don't want to just put out a John Lennon cover with a video, because like, "Who's this guy? Who does he think he is?" Shit like that, right? So I was like, "All right, well, what would John do with it?" He would go with a cause. Some kind of cause, something that could help something. And so, I know I can't do anything about cancer or leukemia or this and that. I started looking into other things that need awareness and one was anti-bullying. The statistics on that are ridiculous. One third of all youthful deaths are suicide, and half of those are from bullying, and if you look at the end, when he rolls the credits... Have you seen the video?

Toddstar: Yes - really like it

Donnie Vie: When the rolls of credits start, I just do that to show you how young these fucking kids are, man. From like nine years old. My nephew's 11 and I don't think he knows what suicide means, the word, but kids at nine, eight years old, killing themselves, committing suicide because of these punk pieces of shit that pick on them because they weren't raised right because we've done away with the spanking. You know what I mean? And so, I figure among like two cousins, one hung themselves and the other one overdosed himself on purpose because of this problem. And they even left notes saying, "I couldn't deal with this anymore." I didn't have a very pleasant childhood and I was scared of people and stuff. I got bullied a little bit, but mostly by my mother. But you know, so, so I'm definitely the anti-bully, but you know something that I can't really do anything about, like maybe help bring a little bit of awareness to it even in a small way. But we haven't really pushed that thing yet. It's kind of sat and floated it out there. I got people that are going to different organizations in support of them, and one of them, there's one of them they went to, my PR chick, she goes to, finds this one organization, this anti-bullying thing and like we got, we did this video... "Who's the artist?" And she goes, "His name is Donnie Vie. He was in a band called Enuff Z'Nuff." "No! No, we will not have that guy!" And I was like, "Wow. Ouch." You know, it's like, "Sure, all right, well, it's come back to bite me on the ass. When you're trying to do a good thing." But obviously, I won't be doing it through those people, but they may jump on later if they see that things have changed, everything's changed. I'm not that character, I'm not frustrated, I'm not miserable any more. I'm healthy now, I'm sober now, I've got good people around me and good things are starting to happen, and we're snowballing in a better direction than I used to snowball into avalanche of bullshit, you know what I mean? So, I'm not biting off more than I can chew, I'm not setting my sights on anything further than tomorrow, and today just take care of, live in the moment. I've never done that voice traced this back to a certain thing. It's like, "You're just going to get heartbroken and heartbroken and heartbroken," and I was killing myself doing that, so now that the ego is gone, all that stuff, there's nothing too small. I'm not going to sit in a fucking 500 feet place and play to 50 people. I'm not going to do that, that's disheartening. And, I'm not going to go on a tour because you might have three good shows that we... but then you've got four or five nights that you got to go pay the bus and shut, you got to go play Joe's Burgers in South Dakota for a fucking $750 for the whole band for the night, so that's when my demons start float to the top, because my spiritual alley and my spirit, my soul, can't deal with that. And you know, it's like the temptations around and it's not healthy for me to be out there doing that. There's no reason to be doing that, because you're not really playing anybody, you're not making any money, its like, "Why go kill yourself for nothing?" But you know, that's my whole approach and you know, the album cover's really cool. It's all the fans, and that's what they believe was beautiful, and that's what I set out to do and it came out really looking nice. It's on vinyl too, which is been a long time since I got one on vinyl. They're asking me, "What color are you wanting the disc?" I go, "You mean, what color I want the disc? It's black. What color of records did you listen to when you're growing up? You got pink records? Bloody green? Clear?" I said, "It's black records!" And I want to see them scratched in a couple of years because people play them so much.

Toddstar: Until recently the whole vinyl experience was lost on a generation.

Donnie Vie: Ain't it how funny that CDs took over vinyl, and now vinyl's taking over CDs taking it back?

Toddstar: Yeah, I'm just hoping cassettes don't make a comeback.

Donnie Vie: Oh my God, I used to love cassettes though. I used to love cassettes because I can record something and go listen to it in my car immediately, you know? Everything sounds good if you listen to it full blast in your car.

Toddstar: Definitely. Donnie, as an independent artist now, you rode the wave of late 80's and 90's with bands and labels, and you know you were on Arista - a big label at the time. What for you is the biggest change being an independent artist now, versus riding that wave that happened back then? Because now, nobody gets those big contracts and long term contracts.

Donnie Vie: Yeah well, me personally, now that I'm thinking clearly, you know when you're in with the big machine behind you and stuff like that, you're a product so you're churned out like whatever else is out there. You are in a band with other guys and stuff that aren't necessarily the right guys, you can't do what you set out to do. If you start out with your intentions of, "I'm going to be a rock star," when then you're not going to be an artist. You're going to be a, you're going to be inside there, you're going to be replacing this guy in L.A. Guns, shit like that. But if you stick to your guns, and that's what being an independent artist, at least I'm fulfilled with what I'm doing. I don't care about money, I never did care about money. And if I had money, I would have killed myself with it, you know? So everything's for a reason. Hindsight is insight, and it's a big difference, so certain perks to one thing, but the perks to the big thing, being on TV and all that shit, are kind of very detrimental to your soul and your health. You know what I mean? Because if you're caught in a tornado of bullshit and drugs and partying and chicks and fucking and sucking and all this shit, your craft, your art, takes a big back seat. It gets on the rumble seat. It's sitting in the back seat. It's way back there. And it's like, it's playing so little part in it, you're just doing enough to get by now, just to keep going. Keep the money rolling and shit like that, and that's not what artists are in it for. Like a guy that paints paintings and stuff, you don't sit there and paint the same fucking painting over and over and over again because one sold. If they do, I guess it's another thing I don't know what I'm talking about. So that's why I don't talk about too many things that I don't know what I'm talking about. Which is most things.

Toddstar: I know you're busy and I know you have got things to do, but with this album coming out what's your hope with this album? Are you hoping that more of the people who kind of know who Donnie Vie is reconnect with who you are now;, are you hoping to kind of marry old fans with new fans?

Donnie Vie: I just hope that as many people can hear it and appreciate it as possible, that's the intentions when I'm writing, just to, you know, because you always hear, people tell you, never fail to tell you, "You changed my life with this," "You changed my life with that." But you don't realize that when you're an artist and stuck in rock band stuff, how important these songs, you know, we're buffoons. Buffoons like me write these songs, but it's changing and saving somebody's life, and you don't realize, you don't think about that. And so, when you do think about that, you do get letters and you do get people telling you, "I would have killed myself this day," and this and that, "But I listened to your shit, and I knew somebody else understood," and that's why I put them out there. I write from the soul. I write from my hip. Shoot from the hip, you know. I don't hide anything, I've never been ashamed of anything. It is what it is. That's the thing. You've got to do things for the right reasons, and you can't bite off more than you can chew, and you can't be looking at anything that you can't see in your present vision, you know what I mean? Don't be looking over something and trying to look over this to see... you're just going be disappointed and you're not going to do a good job. And don't be writing for money. You know, Jani Lane saw me there. He goes, "There's a difference between writing for yourself and writing to make money," and I said, "Well, I guess go," and he went the money route, but look what happened to him, he was miserable. He fucking hated “Cherry Pie” and those hits, more that I hate “Fly High Michelle” and “New Thing” and stuff like that. “He really hated them and look what happened. He ended up dying alone, the alcohol poisoning, broken hearted in a fucking Motel 6.

Toddstar: His album Back Down To One is one of my favorites.

Donnie Vie: Yeah, he's amazing artist and I never knew it. I used to slag those, I used to slag everybody, I was a total asshole. Then you'd meet them and you find out. I'd be in doing interviews and they'd be asking me questions. “Why you keep asking me about these turds?” Shit like that. Nobody tells me that we start to tour with them next week and I might as well talk some shit and I got to hide for a couple of weeks, so Chip smooths things over. I can't come out.

Toddstar: When the day is done and you take that stage for the final time and the lights go down, what's the song that you would want, that you written, that you would want as your epitaph? What's the one song you want to be remembered for, whether people know it or not?

Donnie Vie: I would like to think it hasn't been written yet. I don't think I can pick one of all of the songs that I have that I would say, you know, “After this song I'm done, I'm going to die." I don't think I have that one yet. I've got another one coming in right now. So that's, it's like I say, I'd like to think of it as it hasn't been written yet. I got another call coming in right now, we good?

Toddstar: You got it, we're good brother.

Donnie Vie: Thank you. Have a good day.

DONNIE VIE LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

 

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(ToddStar Photography) interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/interview-donnie-vie---july-2019 Mon, 29 Jul 2019 15:13:24 GMT
LIVE: THE FLAMING LIPS - July 26, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/live-the-flaming-lips-july-26-2019 Venue: Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park

City: Indianapolis, IN

Date: July 26, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Jeffrey Everett (http://www.jeffrey-everett.com/)

The Flaming Lips returned to Indy on a gorgeous Friday night hot off the release of their 15th LP, Kings Mouth. They took the stage to the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey as Wayne Coyne coaxed the audience into hysteria. A blast from the CO2 canons and massive balloons fell over the crowd as they tore right into the first song “Race for the Prize.” Coyne came out waving their signature silver Mylar balloon reading “F*ck Yeah Indianapolis.” The Lips were just beginning the elaborate stage production. The background was adorned with giant LCD lights that pulsed throughout the night. Next up was a giant inflatable pink robot that set the background for “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.” Coyne explained the song was not about a battle with robots but supporting and believing in one another through difficult times. Wayne headed out into the crowd next riding a faux unicorn as he donned rainbow wings. Steven Drozd pulled out a voice-boxed guitar for their rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Coyne accompanied with a pair of gigantic synthetic hands with lasers shooting out from the palms. The lights shot out to the stage, audience and then onto a huge disco ball that sprayed a glow throughout the outdoor amphitheater. The night would not be complete without crowd surfing in a Zorb ball to the tune of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” A Flaming Lips concert is truly a spectacle to behold. Bandleader Wayne Coyne has so much charisma and infectious joy about him that it spreads throughout the audience. A Lips show is a surreal trip that makes them a must see experience. Catch them on the summer tour 2019 and check out their new concept album King’s Mouth released in April.

Setlist: Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 - Race for the Prize - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1 - There Should Be Unicorns - She Don't Use Jelly - True Love Will Find You In The End - Feedaloodum Beedle Dot - The Star-Spangled Banner - The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power) - Eclipse - All We Have Is Now - Over the Rainbow - Do You Realize??

THE FLAMING LIPS SHOW PHOTOS HERE

THE FLAMING LIPS LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

TOUR DATES

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/live-the-flaming-lips-july-26-2019 Sat, 27 Jul 2019 19:08:10 GMT
LIVE: REO SPEEDWAGON – July 23, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/live-reo-speedwagon-july-23-2019 Venue: SoundBoard at MotorCity Casino

City: Detroit, MI

Date: July 23, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

REO Speedwagon delivers song after song, show after show, and year after year.  Almost a year to the day, I was able to hit a local venue with camera in tow and check out the band behind one of my first - and still favorite - albums, 1980's Hi Infidelity.  That album - actually I first owned it on cassette - helped me to see how a rock band could be rock and pop and ballad all in the course of 40 minutes without abandoning their sound and their fans.  Tonight's show kicked off in the same way that disc did all those years ago, with "Don't Let Him Go" getting cranked through the sold to capacity Sound Board's sound system.  The audience jumped in along with the five guys on stage and we all were off to a rocking start.  Next up was "Music Man" and that kept the music flowing and the energy high.  After that another track from that killer 1980 release, "In Your Letter" was unleashed and the crowd sang along with Kevin Cronin and the band was firing on all engines.  It was finally time to put the camera away and just enjoy the show.  The audience was treated to a one-two punch of "Keep Pushin'" and "Can't Fight This Feeling," the latter of which saw Cronin address the crowd for the first time of the evening.  Another classic "Tough Guys" came ripping through the speakers and the crowd was as energized a few songs into the set as they were when the lights first went down.  A couple deep tracks from early in the bands catalog "Son of a Poor Man" and "Golden Country" made an appearance in the set and longtime fans of the band couldn't get enough.  "Take It on the Run," one of the bands Top 10 hits from the previously mentioned 1980 release, got a lot of voices singing along throughout the venue and led into another REO classic, "Time for Me to Fly."  One of the best back-to-back pairings in the setlist brought the rock quotient way up when the band broke into "Back on the Road Again" and "Ridin' the Storm Out." The guitars were perfect, the rhythm section kept perfect time, and the vocals were spot on.  The end of the set featured "Keep On Loving You," which saw lots of hands being held, kisses being shared, and overall moods soaring high.  "Roll With the Changes" was great as usual and led into a surprise cover of Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold," featuring Dave Amato on lead vocals that helped wind down the show.  The band closed out with one of their earliest tracks, "157 Riverside Avenue."  While the setlist from the next night in the venue featured a couple more tracks from the Hi Infidelity record - "Someone Tonight" and "I Wish You Were There," tonight's set gave us all a glimpse of the bands foundation and origins.

Setlist: Don't Let Him Go - Music Man - In Your Letter - Keep Pushin' - Can't Fight This Feeling - Tough Guys - Son Of A Poor Man - Golden Country - Building The Bridge - Take It On The Run - Time For Me To Fly - Back On The Road Again - Ridin' The Storm Out - Keep On Loving You - Roll With The Changes - Stranglehold - 157 Riverside Avenue

Complete set of REO SPEEDWAGON show photos HERE

REO SPEEDWAGON LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

TOUR DATES

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/live-reo-speedwagon-july-23-2019 Thu, 25 Jul 2019 17:54:30 GMT
Almost A Dirty Dozen with MARK WOLFE of UNVEIL THE STRENGTH - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/almost-a-dirty-dozen-with-mark-wolfe-of-unveil-the-strength---july-2019
According to a recent press release: "UNVEIL THE STRENGTH----featuring Mark Wölfe, Andy James, Matt Snell, Matt Guillory, and Tim Hassemer (former members of Five Finger Death Punch, Sacred Mother Tongue, Invidia, Flatline, Devolved, and Stratovarius)--has released the official music video for their single "Hell's Never Over." "Hell's Never Over" was directed by Matt Zane (Society 1). Unveil the Strength, a quintet composed of former members of iconic bands such as Five Finger Death Punch, Sacred Mother Tongue, Invidia, Flatline, Devolved, and Stratovarius are returning to the soul of hard rock: writing and performing real songs with real meaning. Says Matt Snell, bassist for Unveil the Strength, “We want to put the grown man back in metal – that spirit is being lost in the shuffle. We’re going back to the roots, to real fucking metal." We get Mark to discuss new music, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

"Hells Never Over." The first prechorus. The lyrics are pretty personal. “I’ll fight until my lungs collapse”. With every track we try to partner for a cause and on this one it was Heart Support. Heartsupport.com does an amazing job and provides mental health for music fans and artists. It was started by the singer for August Burns Red Jake Luhrs. Heart Support is in the trenches walking the walk and being the change they want to see. We are honored to be a part of it.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I come from a family of musicians. My mother was a singer, my oldest brother a guitar player, my middle brother a bass player. Family was and is my biggest influence. When I was younger no one really knew what to do with me. They wanted me to be a drummer but I was horrible lol. Then when I was nine my brothers asked me to sing Nobody’s fool at one of their gigs I think it was a go cart track. After that it was done, that was the moment. After high school I actually stopped and didn’t do it again until after I was out of the military. I found music again as a way to cope with my PTSD and anxiety. It was a major factor in saving me from myself.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I’ve always been attracted to larger than life frontmen. I feel like it’s a lost art. Pantera, Dream Theatre, Iron Maiden, Dio, powerful voices. I hate to be so typical but I feel like the fundamentals are just something you can’t forget. You have to give respect to the OG’s that have been grinding no matter what trend hits the scene.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Phil Amselmo, Bruce Dickenson, James Labrie, Billy Idol, Phil “fucking” Collins. BTW you have to say it that way. Steve Perry, James Hetfield, Mike Patton. Sorry I can’t do 5. There are way to many badasses out there.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Ozzy . He is Ozzy he’s one of The Godfather’s of metal vocals he doesn’t need an explanation. Lol. I’m just kidding but not really.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Big, heavy,  melodic, a little electronic, vocals chants, and ripping solos. Oh I don’t know? Everyone gets called something I guess. Honestly we just focus on what we’re doing and keep writing songs. Sorry kids words or comparisons won’t hurt me. I’ve been to War.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

When you impact someone’s life in a positive way. Music is a powerful weapon.

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Never. Honestly it’s because I just don’t pay attention to those things.

9. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

You mean this isn’t the dream job? No I would probably still be in the gun club working for someone doing something. In case you don’t know what that is. I mean the military or a contractor.

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

No. Mistakes and failure are how you learn and I wouldn’t change a thing.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Vulgar Display of Power by Pantera - it has so much attitude and so much angst. I feel that record really made screaming vocals kind of a new animal. In my opinion it was ground breaking. The Real Thing by Faith No More - that record was so far ahead of its time it’s ridiculous. 1989 was not ready for that machine. Heavy synth popular today, rap rock popular today, a little progressive, popular today.

UNVEIL THE STRENGTH LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) Interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/almost-a-dirty-dozen-with-mark-wolfe-of-unveil-the-strength---july-2019 Thu, 25 Jul 2019 02:10:40 GMT
INTERVIEW: HOLLY HOCK - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/interview-holly-hock---july-2019 According to her bio: "Miss Holly Hock not only launched her own monthly burlesque revue called Speakeasy Sundays, but has won numerous awards, including Performer of the Year and Master of Tassels. She has exhibited art in the Dirty Show Erotic Art Exhibition, the Damned Show among others. She was featured in the Pretties for Pitties pinup calendar and helps produce “Titties for Pitties,” a yearly Detroit burlesque charity benefit. Holly founded the Detroit School of Burlesque in 2016, the first of its kind. The DSB promotes body positively and empowerment through the art of the tease, featuring a full 8-week curriculum and special guest instructors." We get Holly to discuss the school, performing, the Detroit burlesque scene, and much more...

Toddstar: Holly, thanks as always for taking the time out to talk to us.

Holly: Of course.

Toddstar: Well, let's talk about everything going on in your world right now. I'm very excited. Less than, a little less than two weeks, the July 2019 edition of Speakeasy Sundays. How's that program going for you? You have been selling out show after show after show.

Holly: Yeah, it's been pretty crazy. It is definitely a bigger response than I ever expected, but I worked really hard to try and create a really unique show and give more opportunity to people this summer that maybe they would never see otherwise.

Toddstar: What is it about that venue, and we'll get into Detroit in a minute, but what's hard about Cliff Bells that really kind of sets the right tone for not only for burlesque, but your specific show?

Holly: Well, I really liked that venue because I wanted to create something that was kind of a nod to the way that burlesque shows have been in the past where you get dressed up and it's really and entire experience. You have dinner, you have cocktails. It's usually a special occasion or a date night. So I really wanted an upscale venue, sort of like a special night out deal and that venue just lends itself perfectly to it.

Toddstar: I'd agree with that. I love the venue. I've seen the show more than once there and it's a great thing. Building on that, back in 2016 you established the Detroit School of Burlesque. What's it about the Detroit scene? What keeps you here? You see so many burlesque performers that will actually kind of jump ship once they get established in a town and try and conquer new territory. Yet you've really embraced Detroit.

Holly: When I got here there just really wasn't a lot happening. So I wanted to kind of create opportunity and after just getting involved in the shows that were happening and then starting to produce my own, I just kept getting asked over and over like "Where can I learn to do this?" and I saw a need for this school. So I created the school and just kind of fell in love with the scene. There's just so much diversity here. We have everything from really like off the wall, comedic, avant garde acts to super classic acts. So I just kind of fell in love with the city and it was kind of like a blank canvas to create this new opportunity for a lot of performers.

Toddstar: You do a cool blend of local talent and you also bring in talent from out of town. What is it about bringing out of town talent that's important to you when promoting a Detroit show?

Holly: Well a few things. Like I said, I just really like to be able to give Detroit an opportunity to see performers from New York and Chicago and California and really all over the place and we've even had international performers before. So I like to create an opportunity for Detroit to experience new performers but also for the performers to come to Detroit and experience our scene here and the city and what our audiences are like.

Toddstar: You talk about bringing talent and who's the one talent that you've been able to book in a show that you really didn't think you'd ever get but figured you'd try?

Holly: I mean it's kind of funny because when I first started, there were all these names that I thought of, was awestruck by, and it was like, "Oh, if I ever got a chance to work with these people it would be amazing," but now it's like they're my close friends. So that's kind of interesting how that happened, but I think the one that I was most nervous to reach out to was Electrocute because she's just such a giant power house of a performer.

Toddstar: When it comes to these shows, you do theme shows. What draws you to certain themes for shows and then how do you go about picking your talent for those specific shows?

Holly: I don't really do theme shows. We typically only do about two a year. We usually do the movie night and 20's and 30's night. So the movie night show, I just think it's a really fun twist to see what people come up with and every year we feature Red Rum as our headliner for that show and she has to be one of the most talented makeup and special effects artists I've ever seen. So it kind of was created around her and wanting to showcase something drastically different than what we usually do. Speakeasy Sundays and our 20's show, I just always loved that era and people will have a lot of fun dressing up and bring on the suits and the flapper costumes and things like that. So just kind of been a fun, reoccurring show for us, but I pick the acts basically just based on what I think that would just create a good show and be entertaining and I try to have a pretty diverse show. Where was that some things that are funny and some things that are classic and some things that are more lighthearted and more serious and sometimes we do applications, but most of the time it's just based on performers that I've seen or worked with over the years.

Toddstar: Well we talked a little bit about the School of Burlesque and it was exciting when you were able to put in your own funding and then some crowd funding to be able to put a storefront out there. The coolest part about that is you now take these performers and you showcase them in your shows. I mean I know several of the performers in speakeasy kind of came up through the ranks. What's it like for you as a teacher to see your students taking that step and getting out on that stage and then taking it maybe to the next level?

Holly: It's always a really kind of emotional, proud moment. I'm usually kind of over in the corner getting emotional about it. It's just, it's really cool to watch their journey because like so many of the performers, started out really shy and like, "I don't know if I should do this," and "I don't know if I have the confidence to do it," and then they get up on that stage and they're giving me a run for my money and they're just killing it. So it's really a cool thing to watch from day one and see them grow and be able to help mentor them and see how they develop as a performer.

Toddstar: You talked about being in the corner, but you sometimes have a little table set up and you can watch. You're literally watching everything they're doing. It's like you're taking it in - not only for the performance, but maybe see if there is something that they borrowed from you or you can borrow from them. Is it more of a critique situation or is it more of you just really enjoy it?

Holly: I just really enjoy the entire art of burlesque. I want to see them just as much as I want everyone else to see them. So I really get drawn into their performances and that's what I love about burlesque. You get kind of lost in it. So a lot of times I have no idea what's happening around me and because I'm just so drawn into performers, story and their facial expressions, and the drama of it. So I'm just enjoying it.

Toddstar: Stepping back for a second, again you've got Detroit School of Burlesque, you've got Speakeasy Sundays where you're the producer. You wear every hat just about. How different is it for you to approach say a festival or when you do the Dirty Show where you're more just putting on the performer hat and getting out there. So a different mindset for you when you're performing as just a performer or performing knowing the whole show is riding on your shoulders?

Holly: It's definitely a lot less stressful. One, I'm just performing. It kind of feels a little odd to me though because I'm so used to producing that I always feel like I'm forgetting to do something if I'm just performing, but I don't really think it's too much different. It's just a little bit my attention is just a little bit... when I'm only performing and not to do the thing I get the opportunity to kind of go out and talk to the crowd and meet people and do a few more things that I don't always get to do when I'm producing since I do have to do a lot of different jobs.

Toddstar: You always make yourself accessible, whether it's before show if you have a minute and you recognize somebody. You'll stop and say hi for a quick second then excuse yourself, but you always come out during their intermission and say hello. You always hang out afterwards for photos. How important is that to you to bond as a performer to the crowd that's there to enjoy the show?

Holly: Oh, it's super important to me. A lot of times, most of the time performers will do two acts at Speakeasy and I always only do one unless it's a special occasion, but the reason that I do that is because I want to make sure that I still have intermission and that part of the show and after the show to be able to talk to people and to thank them for coming because if we don't have an audience then none of us have any opportunities to do this. So I just always want to make sure that I'm accessible to people, to chat with them and say hi or answer questions about classes or just thank them for being there. Because it is super important to me and I want people to know that. That it's a really personal thing to me and it actually does mean a lot when somebody buys a ticket to a show.

Toddstar: Well it's always fun watching you because you come up with some cool routines. I've seen quite a few over the years. What's the one routine that you did that will always stick with you no matter how long you do this?

Holly: Oh, that's hard. I mean they're all, because it is an art form, they're all super personal to me. There's always a story behind every act. So they're all really, really important to me I think. Probably like two for very different reasons. My current lavender act that I do. It's a really classic act, but it was just something I'd been thinking about for a really long time and something that I poured a lot of work and money and time into. So that one is definitely one of my favorites and then I created something completely opposite side of the spectrum that is an anti suicide act that was very, very difficult for me to put together. I actually contemplated not doing it multiple times and when I finally did it, I just kind of had this feeling that was the right thing to do. People needed to know that they're not alone and that other people are sharing their struggles and after I debuted the act, which I think was, I think that was 2017, maybe 2018. I had people contacting me for over a month just saying like, "Thank you for doing that. You don't know how bad I needed to hear that," overwhelming response and I only did the act that one other time after that. The same thing happened. People were just, there were people that were crying after the show and I felt really bad for kind of dampening the mood, but I think it was something that was really important and I think it's interesting how we can use the burlesque stage as a platform to say something really important.

Toddstar: Well it's funny to me because it's more than just burlesque. It is getting to know you guys personally because it comes out in your performance whether people realize it or not. Part of who you are is actually being portrayed to the audience. You guys are stripping in more than one way. It's not just a physical thing when you guys are taking clothes off. You're actually stripping yourselves and bearing your emotions as well. That said, has there ever been a routine where when you got done you were just, you almost regretted putting it together because it either didn't come across or get received the way you thought it should?

Holly: No, I haven't really ever regretted an act. I definitely think that acts evolve and every time you do an act you kind of think, "Oh, well there's a part where I could do something a little bit different where I could upgrade this costume piece." So I do think that I'm always trying to talk myself and always trying to improve and make things a little bit better than the last time. Whether that's just that I had more energy or I was more polished or had to figure out a more interesting way to remove a piece of clothing, but I tend to spend a lot of time on an act before I debut it. So I can't say that I've ever really regretted an act.

Toddstar: Okay. I know you're busy. I know you've got class. So I got a couple more quick ones for you if you don't mind. What's the one or two songs out there that you've always wanted to put a piece together to and you haven't yet.

Holly: Well, one kind of ridiculous song that I'm actually working on right now. I've been working on it for a little while, is a cover of the Phil Collins Song "In the Air Tonight." Everyone knows that iconic drum breakdown, you know? Everyone gets really excited about that. So it's been something I've kind of been thinking about for a while and then I just didn't really know how to use it and what that act is going to be like and then it all kind of just like hit me and so I'm actually working on that one right now.

Toddstar: Oh very cool. I ask because I see things all the time. I've always thought that Ozzy Osbourne's "Tattooed Dancer" would be a perfect fit and I have yet to see anybody perform it.

Holly: So put it out there and somebody else will come after that. There are like 20 of them now.

Toddstar: Just to close out Holly, you've performed nationally, you've been headliner, you've migrated to where you're producing your own show, and now have your own school. What's still left on your burly bucket list to do?

Holly: I want to travel more. I'm trying to get back to traveling more the end of this year and into next year, but I definitely want to become an international performer. I've been so focused on Detroit that traveling a lot has kind of taken a back seat, but I would really love to get overseas and perform in some other countries as well.

Toddstar: Very cool. Well again, thank you so much for taking the time. I can't wait to see you in a couple of weeks and say hello and I urge everybody to get out there and pick up tickets for the August show if it isn't sold out already.

Holly: Yeah, definitely. Thank you so much.

Toddstar: Awesome. Well thanks a lot. We'll talk to you soon, Holly.

Holly: All right. Thank you.

HOLLY HOCK LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

DETROIT SCHOOL OF BURLESQUE LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

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(ToddStar Photography) interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/interview-holly-hock---july-2019 Thu, 25 Jul 2019 01:16:35 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with ALEX RICHICHI of THE OFFERING - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-alex-richichi-of-the-offering---july-2019
According to a recent press release: "Boston's THE OFFERING are anything but orthodox. The high-flying quartet have a way of cleverly suffusing all their influences-from black and death to heavy and modern to thrash and power to nü and hardcore-into their story-like songs. Over time (and across many refinement sessions), THE OFFERING have developed their all-in dynamic into a signature sound. Their debut album, HOME, is set for a worldwide release on August 2nd, 2019." We get singer Alex to discuss new music, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

After signing with Century Media with our EP, the band had a line up change and consequently a sound change. With our debut LP, we strived for more sincere songs with the intention to provoke an emotional response from our listeners and attempt to progress metal in a more youthful and expressive way. The full length was produced in house by Nishad George (our guitar player/wizard) and was mixed and mastered by Fredrik Nordstrom (the one and only). We have had a few singles come out but, we are excited for the full album to be released. There are Easter eggs and nuggets all over the album. Listen closely, and good hunting!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I grew up in a pretty stereotypical white-washed postcard town. The kind of town that celebrates drawing in the lines and discredits individuality. Small minds focusing on liberal arts, pointless athletic dreams and breeding obedient workers. My childhood best friends’ sister was not this. She wore black, had a fucking Les Paul (and actually could play it), and ran punk and ska shows out of her basement. Like a black sheep, these shows were not only taboo for the town but, outright demonic. I got to attend these shows as the youngest member of the crowd because, well I was sleeping over anyways. These shows opened a new world for me. Showed me that expression and anxiety, and individuality can be harnessed, beautiful, and bring like minded people together. It was like an Eden of Hot Topic and spiked bracelets in a hell town of Abercrombie and Lacoste.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

It wasn't even a big band. Probably some high school hobby band from the Buffalo area but, these basement shows happened when I was like 12-13. Sadly, too young for people to go to shows now (I have serious opinions on the age restriction of music venues and events, but that's for another time). A band called Queen City Knights (they probably don’t exist anymore) changed my life. Not only was I thrown into my first circle pit but, the guys in the band, noticing my age and wide eyed awe, treated me like an equal. They spoke with me after the show, gave me a free T-Shirt, CD, and made me feel included. It's things like this that changes a kids life. It's not a big thing to an average person but I will forever be grateful to them.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Linkin Park, Queen, Billie Holiday, D’Angelo, and System of a Down.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Bon Jovi. Look man, it would be for my mom. She loves him, and I don't think I could give her a better gift than to give her a song where her two favorite artists are singing. She deserves a gift like that.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I hate describing our music. Especially because of how convoluted the sub genre thing has become, combined with everyone's need to group things or identify/categorize things. Usually I just say, we are a metal band. We as a band try to make music that provokes a sincerely emotional response from our listeners and take inspiration from every corner of the music spectrum (including other genres) to do that. Once I was introduced to a friend of a few guys in the band. When I was being introduced, he threw his hands over his head, clenched his left wrist with his right hand and said, “manowarriors!!!” Haven't spoken to that guy since.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

So I would be the one who cooks band meals, and be the only one smoking and drinking in the “Rockstar” sense. We have rare moments of band parties and get sloppy, but not frequently. The guys in the band are particular about their diet and food and we hardly share meals but, when we do, I cook eggplant parm. Our drummer Steve, a real character, is always the first and only person who brings out the acoustic guitar… it's hilarious.

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Gene Hoglan. We have met a lot of “famous people” but, something about Hoglan that made me unable to approach him. It’s not just his playing, which is legendary but, the caliber of people that respect him. Respect is the keyword here.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part about being a musician is having an outlet to explore the human condition. I am allowed to keep my head in the clouds and distinctly ponder the mysteries of life. I have a passion for old books and the grind of treasure hunting. I would be a full time collector and seller of western esoteric literature and alchemical artifacts.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I wish interviewers would ask more about the lyrical content. So much time and effort is put into the literature. Multiple meanings, puns, play on words, hidden messages, counting of syllables, themes, interpretation, etc. I don’t always write straight forward and usually have some kind of esoteric meaning. It amazes me people don’t dive into the lyrics like I dive into books and authors. Describe your music is the hardest and worst question. I am constantly changing my answer and will constantly be changing the way my music sounds.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Lots and lots and lots. Most of my early attempts at musical stardom and popularity was cringe worthy. Desperate attempts at covers, copycat singing, cocky showboating, and clothing choices. I wanted to be seen more than anything... how naive of me. But, these are the things that make us grow as performers and people. We learn through past trials and it’s those lessons that steer us to the direction we were destined to go.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

D’Angelo - Voodoo. It would be a master class in musical excellence. Period. The record for me symbolizes taste, excess, soul, expression, and mastery. This is the kind of record worth spending a lifetime striving for. Just look at the credits list… it explains itself… plus D’Angelo’s voice is silk, Questlove is on a different producing level, and J Dilla was featured. What else could you possibly want to see in a recording session?

THE OFFERING LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) Interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-alex-richichi-of-the-offering---july-2019 Wed, 24 Jul 2019 20:05:29 GMT
A Dirty Dozen with MR. STRANGLER of PORN - July 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-mr-strangler-of-porn---july-2019
According to a recent press release: "France's industrial rockers PORN have released a new single titled "Evil Six Evil". Mr. Strangler, the main character of a trilogy started in 2018 with the release of The Ogre Inside - Act I, is embracing his true self on the new album The Darkest Of Human Desires - Act II. He chose a dark path, being what he has always been: a killer. The track "Evil Six Evil" (read: evil seeks evil) is about his family rejecting him when they understood what he is, calling him an Evil person. Thus, he left that family to look for other evil persons to start his Death Cult." We get Mr. Strangler to discuss new music, influences, and much more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our last album, The Darkest Of Human Desires – Act II (February 2019) is the second part of a trilogy. The Ogre Inside – Act I is an album about inner struggle, about dark desires, how society can oppress your will. This is a fight no one can win, the Ogre that devours you from the inside always wins. The album is an invocation, a way to set the Ogre free, embrace your ”true”self and allow your darkest desires to express themselves. It's an incitement to act. In this trilogy, The Ogre inside won this inner struggle, giving birth to Mr Strangler. In The Darkest Of Human Desires – Act II, Mr  Strangler, by embracing his «true-self», expresses his dark impulses without limitations and has no boundaries.  With his crew, Mr Strangler commits murders and massacres. He  also invites everyone to make a step forward and act, invites you to express your darkest desires and join his death cult. For Mr Strangler and his team, the Ogre is released ! Let the massacre begin !  Let the darkest of human desires be : murder.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Since the day I have played music for the first time. It's all about doing music, creating. It's not that much about career, I always knew that I would create music, novels. I am a writer too, wrote a sy-fy novel and short stories. I am working on a new novel, a prequel of my first novel: Contoyen. So I love to create characters and build stories, even in my musical work.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I was very influenced by The Cure. Our name, PORN, come from their album PORNOGRAPHY. I am also very influenced by David Bowie's career. I have read a lot of his interviews, and those about the business side are very interesting. He is an example of an artist and the way he controlled his career.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

The Cure, David Bowie, The Doors, Type O Negative, and Fields of the Nephilim.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Our current album, The Darkest Of Human Desires – Act II, was mastered by Tom Baker. The guy is responsible of the mastering of so many great albums: The Downward Spiral (NIN), Antichrist Superstar (MM), Hellbilly Deluxe (Rob Zombie). So I will try to work with another great producer.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I would say that we are doing Industrial rock / Gothic Metal music. I don't care about the comparison. In fact they are all right. If someone think that we sound like something, he is right... it's all about taste!

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician

There is nothing good! When you do it properly, with your guts, it's all about pain.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We don't do such thing. We are very annoying and not kind at all.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Eva Lovia

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

A professional killer.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Nope, no moment like that.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

The same as previously, I am not that type of person. I am always moving forward!

PORN THE BAND LINKS:

FACEBOOK

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(ToddStar Photography) interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/a-dirty-dozen-with-mr-strangler-of-porn---july-2019 Wed, 24 Jul 2019 19:46:20 GMT
LIVE: ROSANNE CASH – July 15, 2019 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/live-rosanne-cash-july-15-2019 Venue: Royal Oak Music Theatre

City: Royal Oak, MI

Date: July 15, 2019

Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

There are legends in rock and roll that I have been fortunate enough to cover - a lot of them are my favorite artists.  There are musical legends that have so far evaded my camera lens, but on July 15 2019, I was honored to witness and photograph a phenomenal live show from the one and only Rosanne Cash when her tour stopped in Michigan at the Royal Oak Music Theatre.  Promoting her latest disc, She Remembers Everything, Ms. Cash and her band took to the stage and wowed the crowd with a killer setlist full of songs from her last two releases, her catalog, and even some fun and cool covers.  Kicking the set off with one of my favorites, "A Feather's Not a Bird," I was ready to dig in and enjoy the evening.  She followed that with two more songs from her 2014 release The River & The Thread with "The Sunken Lands" and "Etta's Tune."  The storyteller-like intro to each of these tracks increased my enjoyment of each and added to the bond between the artist and the capacity audience this evening.  As she kicked into the next phase of the show, she reminded the audience this was going to be a night celebrating her music - especially the latest release.  As the show rolled on, she played a few songs from the disc including "The Only Thing Worth Fighting For," "The Undiscovered Country," and one that I go back to time and time again on the disc, "Particle and Wave."  After introducing the audience to this songs live - some for the first time and others simply a refresher course - Rosanne and band jumped head first into some great covers, including some tracks she recorded for previous albums including "Long Black Veil" and "Sea of Heartbreak" from The List and two cool covers... "Ode to Billie Joe" and The Beatles "Things We Said Today."  With a very tight band backing her, Rosanne nailed two older originals when she pulled "Blue Moon With Heartache" and the title track from an early disc Seven Year Ache.  Cash peppered the back end of the set with more songs from her last two releases, embracing the Americana sound throughout the show when she played the latest releases title track "She Remembers Everything" and "Money Road."  Closing out the show with a cover from her King's Record Shop disc, Rosanne capped the evening with the Johnny Cash penned "Tennessee Flat Top Box."  The crowd left the venue with smiles on their faces and a song on their lips.  Be sure to grab a ticket when this killer show makes its way near you.

Setlist: A Feather's Not a Bird - The Sunken Lands - Etta's Tune - The Only Thing Worth Fighting For - The Undiscovered Country - Crossing to Jerusalem - Not Many Miles to Go - Particle and Wave - Long Black Veil - Sea of Heartbreak - Ode to Billie Joe - Things We Said Today - Blue Moon With Heartache - She Remembers Everything - Everyone But Me - When the Master Calls the Roll - Money Road - Seven Year Ache - Tennessee Flat Top Box

Complete set of ROSANNE CASH show photos HERE

ROSANNE CASH LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

TOUR DATES

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(ToddStar Photography) live review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/live-rosanne-cash-july-15-2019 Wed, 24 Jul 2019 18:41:44 GMT
MUSIC REVIEW: CROSSING RUBICON - Seeing Red https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/cd-review-crossing-rubicon---seeing-red
Label: Imminence Records

Release Date: July 19, 2019

Rating: 86%

I really dug the debut release from Crossing Rubicon, 2016's No Less Than Everything.  That said, I couldn't wait to wrap my ears around a new collection of tunes.  Disc opener "We Will Rise" took me a bit by surprise, at is comes across a lot harder than most of the previous material.  I was looking for some maturity and growth but not a lot of deviation from the last effort.  "I Will Remain" tones down the aggression a bit and allows us to take in the vocals and absorb them along with some great guitar work.  The cadence of the track is great and keeps the track moving along, even with the change in tempo after the bridge.  "We Own The Night" kicks off with a great riff that runs on repeat until the drums and Jeanne Wawrzyniak's bass join the fray and help to anchor the track as Scotty Anarchy dives in on vocals.  The heavier vibe through the verse grows and helps twist the song into a great rocker that grows through the chorus.  This track should go over well in a live scenario,  if it hits the setlist.  "Culture Of Silence" comes charging with a cool riff, some heavy handed drums, thumping bass, and a chant like vocal that gives this song a different vibe than others on the collection .  The verse kicks in and this song takes shape and joins some of the other cool rock tracks on the disc.  The different vocal textures on the chorus and bridge help this song stand out without jumping too far off course.  "Coldest Of Wars" builds on the sound from other songs on the disc without sounding rehashed or repetitive.  The chorus is catchy and the cadence of the track through the verse is contagious, giving the disc another track that will get fists in the air when played live.  "Embrace The Pain" has some killer percussion to kick the song off and the guitar riff over top the drumming blends well.  The tempo kicks in and the vocals seem to accelerate along with the songs groove.

"Army Of One" is a cool rocker that gets the foot tapping and the head banging, without being over the top.  The layered background vocals add depth to the chorus and lead singer Anarchy flexes his vocal muscles throughout the track.  This is one of the better tracks near the front of the disc.  "On Wax Wings" slows the pace and seems to deviate from the rocker path cut by the previous tracks on the disc.  The vocals are mellow, even when the musical accompaniment kicks it up a notch leading from verse to chorus and back again.  I have heard it a few times and still don't know how to digest this track when played alongside the other songs on the disc.  Lead single and title track "Seeing Red" is an interest track in that is successfully marries a harder CR sound with the mainstream rock sound of a lot of their material.  The vocals are tempered and keep flowing alongside the musical foundation provided by the guitar and chugging rhythm section.  The twin guitar attack of Zach ATM Lambert and Patrick Humphrey elevates this song and keeps things interesting with the main riffs and fret work swirled into the mix and the solo at the bridge.  "Active Aggression" has a different vibe and groove from the minute the track kicks in until the last note is played.  The bottom end from the rhythm section keeps things flowing and the guitars add punch to the track.  At times it seems the song is trying hard to be a Korn track, with layered vocals that don't match up along with manipulated sounds - not that this is bad, it just isn't my thing.  "Viva La Revolucion" has a cool vibe and guitar lick that opens the track.  The bass and drums that jump in give the track a layered feel.  Scotty's vocals a bit mixed through the verses, but solidify at the chorus.  Be sure to check out the guitar solo on the bridge - it's one of the better on the disc. Disc closer "225" takes us out on a heavier note and feel.  The rhythm section leads the charge when the track starts off, but the guitars mix in nicely as the song unfolds.  The song features some cool percussion and drumming from start to finish.

Tracklisting: We Will Rise - I Will Remain - Army Of One - We Own The Night - On Wax Wings - Culture Of Silence - Seeing Red - Coldest Of Wars - Active Aggression - Embrace The Pain - Viva La Revolucion - 225

CROSSING RUBICON LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

SEEING RED - ITUNES

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(ToddStar Photography) cd review https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2019/7/cd-review-crossing-rubicon---seeing-red Mon, 22 Jul 2019 20:34:13 GMT
INTERVIEW: WARDEN - July 2017 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/interview-warden---july-2017 According to a recent press release: "Los Angeles, CA based electronic producer Warden once again shakes up expectations with his newest and most in your face release, "Carpe The DMs (Feat. Sisterwife)," and the duo further ramps up the audaciousness with a wildly outrageous music video. Originally premiered on The Music Ninja, the parody themed video was directed by Tim Hsiung and the multi-talented Sisterwife." We get Warden to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, his influences, and more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Carpe the DM’s pokes fun at today’s internet culture and mishaps. It’s based around, drunk texts, douchey bros slapping high fives, and drink girls falling over outside the club.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My parents took me to my first show ever when I was about 11 or 12. It was No Doubt and The Faint and left a huge impression on me. I remember watching the keyboardist in The Faint and seeing the crowd respond to him and thinking “I wanna be that guy. I wanna make people move like that.”

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Skrillex, Moderat, Gesafflestein, Jamie xx, Kill The Noise

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

I’ve been really obsessed with this dude Moody Good lately. I think it’d be super fun to work with him and learn from him. He is mad talented.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

Dark, Heavy, Euphoric. If dubstep, house, hip hop, and techno had a baby.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Coming up with crazy concepts then actually seeing them come to life. Best thing ever.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Well since I’m a producer/DJ it’s usually me that does all that alone in important. I love to cook, drink and sing all at the same time.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Maybe stand up comedy/actor. I don’t know honestly, I’d probably still work on music all the time even if I was full time at something else. I couldn’t get away from it if I wanted to.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

I don’t really believe in missteps. I think everything no matter what is a learning experience and some are tougher than others but you just have to keep your head down and grind through it. There are no do overs, there’s only shredding.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

When The Faint recorded Danse Macabre. That album introduced me to both dance music and punk which really shaped my taste and got me to where I am now.

 

WARDEN LINKS:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/interview-warden---july-2017 Thu, 27 Jul 2017 20:33:11 GMT
INTERVIEW: KOBRA PAIGE of KOBRA AND THE LOTUS - July 2017 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/interview-kobra-paige-of-kobra-and-the-lotus---july-2017 According to a recent press release: "Kobra and the Lotus are set to release their new album and Napalm Records debut Prevail I this Friday. Prevail I is a rock juggernaut full of blistering guitars, pounding rhythms and haunting vocal melodies that take the listener on a sonic journey leading them out from the darkness and into the light!" We get Kobra Paige herself to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, her influences, and more...

Hey Todd, thank you so much for your patience. As soon as we started touring, I couldn’t keep up and slipped behind a little! I’m very grateful for your support towards Kobra and the Lotus \M/.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

This is without a doubt our most thoughtful music yet. It will take multiple listens for people to strip through the layers and notice/find all the details. I believe the diehard supporters are the people who will grow attached to the weird sounds or guitar nuances in the background. They will find the sounds and will expect to hear them live and begin to feel like it’s a part of their favourite things within the music. Even a sonar bass drop at the beginning of a verse can become something to attach to when caring for the music!! I know this because I do it myself with favourite artists!!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My father got me into music. He’s a beautifully gifted pianist and I grew up falling asleep to classic composition lofting threw the air at night. My parents used to put Vivaldi on a discman and put the headphones on my mother’s stomach when she was pregnant with me as well. I don’t know if it’s strange luck or there is some bizarre science around this  but the Vivaldi ended up being  my first musical love as a young child…I even have some of The Four Seasons tattooed on my body. Eerie! I didn’t know I wanted to be a rock musician until my dad took me to see Judas Priest. It was game over the anything else from that moment on. I was 15.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Vivaldi, and the fifth is open to a million possibilities from Beyonce to Ville Valo to Matt Barlow to Jeff Loomis to Marty Friedman to  Sebastien Bach to Devin Townsend to Type O Negative!!! Can of open worms! Especially as I grow older :O.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Honestly….Eminem. Please Eminem!!!!

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

Melodic, heavy, vibrant, metal, and hard rock with kick ass guitars!!

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Connecting to other people and also connecting the world through a global language. Exposing how relatable we truly are and also reminding people that there still is goodness in the world and they all have it.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We all cook! I’d say Marcus gets the drinks in but then again so does Brad and it’s game on! Jasio will always be strumming or playing something nice if a guitar is in his hands =-).

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

I would be an integrative pediatrician and also work with Lyme patients specifically!!

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

No, not at all. We wouldn’t be in this specific moment in time if we did anything differently. Unfortunately, there are very tough lessons that come in life but that is for anything. Driving a band has been very challenging but I’m getting smarter with working within the industry and can’t regret any of the scrapes or bruises.

10. I you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Oh man I would be a part of Led Zeppelin... the ambiance was unbelievably magical.

 

KOBRA AND THE LOTUS LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/interview-kobra-paige-of-kobra-and-the-lotus---july-2017 Thu, 27 Jul 2017 20:02:52 GMT
INTERVIEW: ERIN SPERDUTI of PARANOVA - July 2017 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/interview-erin-sperduti-of-paranova---july-2017 According to a recent press release: "Phoenix, Arizona Progressive Rock band Paranova, who met 100% of their goal on Pledge Music will independently release their debut record titled Hyperhollow on July 7th. Their single "Headline" has already caught the attention of local radio station ALT AZ 93-3 who spun the song on the Homegrown with Mo Show. Paranova will be hitting the road this month on a headlining run in support of the new release." We get bassist Erin Sperduti to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, her influences, and more...

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

To start, this release was the result of about a year and a half of writing music together. It took many nights of writing and re-writing all the parts and details, but we feel that we have finally put together a product that we can be proud of. We really wanted to craft a sort of concept album, and that is exactly what we did. The majority of the album is a thematic analysis of how humans disregard their best interests in favor of shallow, fleeting feelings and actions. This subject is where the album title and main track, “Hyperhollow,” draws its inspiration from. That part may be a bit less obvious to the listener at first.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

We were all raised in really supportive homes, and we tried so many different hobbies as kids. Between football, dance, acting, and countless other activities, we really tried to find our niche early on in life. But none of these hobbies enriched our lives nearly as much as picking up an instrument. Music opened up a whole other world for all of us, and it proved to be pretty addictive. You get to challenge yourself to get better at your instrument all while creating soundscapes together, all the while channeling the emotions that are most relevant to you at the time.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

This differs greatly between all of us, and I think that’s what keeps writing interesting. But if we had to group together some names, I would list the following:

  • The Mars Volta. Omar (guitarist/composer) is a personal hero to our guitarist Dylan, and this particular band inspires us to take risks when songwriting and recording.
  •  Karnivool. Their album Sound Awake was introduced to us about 2 years ago, and ever since, we have been entirely in love with this band. There is no such thing as wasted time in this album. This band is a huge influence to the instrument tones and song structures of our own music.
  • Nothing More. One of the best live bands we have ever seen together (…and we have each seen them about 7 times now!) Not only is their live show absolutely electric, but they are able to incorporate political themes into their music flawlessly.
  • Bruce Springsteen. This one is a bit of a wild card, but he has influenced me more than anyone else. The way he is able to tell stories and express feeling through his music inspires me to write the best lyrical content I possibly can.
  • Tool. Um, duh! They’re just incredible. Every instrument is highlighted in a complimentary way. They are masters of composition.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez (At the Drive In, The Mars Volta.) Music seems to come as naturally as breathing does to him, and practically all The Mars Volta records leave us in awe every time we listen to them. I think that he has just about mastered music. We are all inspired by Omar, but especially Dylan (guitarist). He is actually planning to get a tattoo sleeve depicting the full plot of Deloused in the Comatorium (an album by The Mars Volta.)

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

We just say that we are an Alternative Rock band, to keep it broad. We explore a lot of different genres as well, like metal and jazz, but keeping it general has always been our approach. We want people to get curious enough to listen to the music instead of putting our sound into a box.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Getting to create something. I’m a firm believer that everyone needs some kind of creative outlet, and music satisfies that urge for all of us.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Good one! Well, Owen and Logan (drummer/singer) are either at the gym, at work, or drinking Coors Light. Dylan (guitarist) falls asleep with a guitar in his hands before the party even begins. As for myself, I eat the food and pet the dogs.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Being a musician! As a musician, being successful and making an income making music is still my dream job.  Very few hard-working and deserving musicians are lucky enough to get to a place where they can make money doing what they love, so it is the dream and the goal for all of us.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

Fortunately, nothing too significant comes to mind. The only thing I can think of is that we really wish we recorded live drums on the record instead of programmed drums. We just couldn’t afford it, as is the case with many fund-it-all-yourself endeavors. We’re still proud of the final product, though.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

In the Court of the Crimson King (King Crimson). This album defied all recording norms of the late 1960’s. With purely raw instrumentation and relatively elementary recording technology, King Crimson was able to achieve an incredibly huge sound compared to the popular music that preceded them. To go back in time and see how they came up with the song structures and soundscapes that they did would likely inspire us endlessly.

 

PARANOVA LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/interview-erin-sperduti-of-paranova---july-2017 Thu, 27 Jul 2017 19:26:38 GMT
INTERVIEW: JOSH TODD of JOSH TODD & THE CONFLICT - July 2017 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/interview-josh-todd-of-josh-todd-the-conflict---july-2017 According to a recent press release: "JOSH TODD & THE CONFLICT have unveiled the powerful new music video for the title track off their debut album, Year of the Tiger, out September 15th on Century Media Records. The clip, directed by the renowned Chris Cuffaro (Pearl Jam, George Michael), is the first of three videos shot as a mini-concert this past May in the band’s hometown of Los Angeles. The other two videos will be released over the next few months. See below to check out the new video and access the pre-order links for the new album. The band will be touring world-wide throughout 2017/2018."  As frontman Josh prepares to support the new release with press and touring, we were able to grab a little of his time to discuss the new release and much more!!

Toddstar: Thank you so much for taking time out man, I appreciate this.

Josh: My pleasure.

Toddstar: Well, let's jump into the good stuff. Josh Todd & the Conflict, Year of the Tiger. I have been spinning this thing since I got the download. I can't stop listening, man. What is it about this album that you feel takes what you do to the next level?

Josh: Man, it's passion. It had coming up on two years since I put a record out, and I really was in a position, kind of back against the wall once again in my career, and I had to dig deep and make the record of my career again. That's the way I felt inside. It may not have seemed like that, but I got with Stevie, my guitar player and songwriting partner, and he also co-produced the record, and he plays in Buckcherry as well, a long-time friend prior to even being in a band together. And it was a labor of love for us. We were in the same boat in our lives, and we were really into this music, and we have a great band now with Sean Winchester on the drums, who played with Everclear and Bow Wow Wow, old punk rock bands, and Greg Cash on the bass who played with Dorothy. It's just such a great group. I just can't wait to do this live a lot. I've done a handful of shows with these guys, and it's been amazing. We've got stuff coming up, and we're gonna start hitting it hard in the fall. But to answer your question, it's just, I really love what I do, and I'm a student of the game. I want everything to be great, I want, when I look back on it when it's all said and done to be like, "Man, I'm really proud of this body of work." So I'm so glad that you have the record, because I've been sitting on it since March. I've done a bunch of press, and some of the people haven't gotten the record, and the people that have the record are really into it, and it makes me so happy. That's like the big payoff, you know?

Toddstar: Well, the fun part for me is - and I've been a fan forever - what you did with Buckcherry in the beginning, and then you jumped into You Made Me, which I thought was just such a good turn for you. But this kind of really marries everything you've done in my mind, even going into this Spraygun War stuff.

Josh: Yeah, it really encompasses everything that I'm about, and that's why I love it, dynamically as well.

Toddstar: From the jump of "Year of the Tiger," that's what made me think of Spraygun War, is it took me right back to that same kind of groove. I don't want to call it rap-rock, I don't want to call it nu-metal, it's none of that shit; this is Josh Todd & The Conflict. And it shouldn't be confused with any of that other stuff, because it really is you and Stevie and the other guys in the band, but you can tell it's you guys.

Josh: Yes. There was a good quote, I talked to this guy earlier today, and he's like, "IF GNR, Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against The Machine made a record, this is it. And it sounds nothing like any of those bands." And I was like, "That's awesome, give me that quote, I love it."

Toddstar: And this is cool, and I want to get to the cover on it in a minute, but looking through these songs, which of these songs really kind of fought you guys tooth and nail? Were there any songs that just didn't work the way you wanted them to in the beginning?

Josh: Yeah. First of all, "Year of the Tiger" was one of the first songs we had written, and that kind of was the song that was the foundation of the record. It was like, "Oh my God, this song is so great. This makes me want to just fucking do a bunch of crank and drive recklessly through the streets of Los Angeles, and shoot guns..." I was just like, "This song, this is it." That was the song that was like, "We know what we got now, we know how special this can be," and we just started writing like there was no business. So that being said, I'll tell you the songs that came easy, like "Rain," I wrote a cappella; I wrote it just with my voice. I wrote all the lyrics and melodies for the verse and the chorus, and I went to Stevie when I was like halfway through the writing process, and I go, "This song, I want like a 'We are the Champions' beat, and I want you to rip a solo like Brian May rips a solo, something memorable and iconic. That's what I want in the middle, and then put some music to it." And we just got a tempo, and I sang it a cappella down, and I came back the next day and Stevie had all the music done. And it just came out real quick, and it was amazing. We're actually doing a concept video to "Rain" right now, it's gonna be amazing, and Billy Jane is directing it, he did a couple Buckcherry videos, and we just have a really good relationship with him. He's super talented. And then songs like "Fucked Up," for instance, which we just dropped on the internet, that came together... it was good, and the music was good and we had a good chorus, but I couldn't get the verses to work. So that was actually the third verse I'd come up with, and it was kind of off the beaten path of what I would normally write, which was really cool. I remember just coming in being so fucking frustrated with the song. I was like, "If this verse doesn't work, I'm done with this fucking song, and I don't want to hear it again." And he's like, "All right." And I just ripped it out, and we were like, "That's it, we got it." So songs like that, and I'm trying to think of what the other songs ... You know there were just songs, like I said, that sometimes you write a song and it just comes out. Usually hits are really easy, like "Year of the Tiger" wrote itself really quick, and "Rai"n wrote itself really quick. But songs like "Push It" we had to work on a little bit. I remember that was like the third chorus I'd come up with. I really liked the verse, but I could get a chorus to pop. And then, that was like the last one I wrote, and again, I was at my wit's end. I'm like, "I don't want to re-approach this song ever again." So usually, that's when it all happens, right when you're at that frustrated moment, and you have a breakthrough, and then that becomes the song that it needs to be. So that's all I can say about that so far.

Toddstar: You mentioned "Year of the Tiger," and I had the same kind of thought you had. You talked about doing crank and just driving through LA. The first thing I thought is, it would be the perfect soundtrack for like Grand Theft Auto or something like that, it just had that groove and that feel to it that pushed you to that edge. But what I like is, you get a track like Atomic, and it's got the same feel without sounding rehashed.

Josh: Yeah.

Toddstar: How is it you can come up with and without rehashing the sound, how is it you kind of weave that magic?

Josh: You know, the "Atomic" was a song that Stevie and I wrote electronically, right? And then, it had just been lying around for a while, and I'm like, "This song is so fucking good, we've got to make it a rock track." So we broke it down as a four-piece band, and it just popped immediately. It translated really well. So that song was really effortless, and I don't know, maybe the fact that I approached that song electronically makes it sound the way it sounds with a rock band, so that could be the reason. I don't know, but we just want to take the best songs that we got and put them on a record, and that song made the cut. There were some songs that didn't make the cut, but Atomic was one of the last ones that kind of came and slid underneath the rug there to get on the record.

Toddstar: Well you said the key words, "There were some songs that didn't make it," so now do we have to look forward to some B-sides, some stuff creeping out?

Josh: Yeah, there's a B-side called "Bullet," and it's really good. We play it live and I'm like, "I feel like it's better live than it is recorded," but everybody likes the song. We just felt, Stevie and I did, it just wasn't as great as the rest of the record. So it's definitely a B-side out there that you'll be able to find when the record gets released.

Toddstar: Awesome. Josh, when you look over this list of songs, which songs do you feel hold up against other huge hits throughout your career, going way back?

Josh: Wow. I think "Rain" is a smash hit. It's a first-time listen, it's one of those songs that is just... everybody we've played it for has just loved it. So, hopefully that'll happen on radio, you just never know. The timing and the song and everything has to be aligned to be right. There's a song called "Good Enough" on the record which is a slower kind of acoustic song with a droning beat, and it's one of my favorite songs on the record. Songs like "Story of My Life" and "Push It," and as far as competing with radio songs that we've written in the past, are fucking great. So they hold up with all of the stuff that I've done in the past.

Toddstar: That said, what song was a huge radio hit that you thought, "Not a chance."

Josh: "Crazy Bitch," for sure. I just, I didn't see it coming, I didn't see that song getting on the radio because of the lyrical content. I just didn't know what it was gonna do, and it became this phenomenon. So I'm really grateful, that's what you work hard for is to get a hit. I didn't think "Lit Up" would be a hit either because of the lyrical content, and it became a hit. So those songs were a surprise for sure.

Toddstar: You talk about going out and touring this, is this the one where you're gonna try and hook up with somebody, and go out and put a package together, or are you looking to bring this to the masses and play every little place you can put your hands on? I've seen you guys at The Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan so many times, it's so much fun seeing you at a place like that, because you're so close and so accessible.

Josh: This would be a great band for The Machine Shop. We love The Machine Shop man, there's always a great turnout when I'm there, and I'm really grateful for all of Michigan. We've had so many memorable shows, great rock fans. So we're gonna do whatever it takes to break this record, so of course we want to be on a package tour, we want to get in front of large audiences, because that's the quickest way to the top. And that's definitely where our mindset is gonna be, that we'll do it all. We'll go play The Machine Shop one day and go play a theater the next day, and go play a big radio festival the next day. It doesn't matter; it's the same approach to everything. When I go on stage, I have the same mindset, I want to give 110%, I want to give people their money's worth. It means a lot to me that people are working hard and they... The average concertgoer goes to maybe two shows a year, so I think about that when I go on stage, it means a lot to me. So, I want to make sure that I leave it all on stage, that I don't leave anything left in the tank.

Toddstar: And that's admirable, especially like you said, in the day and age when people can't get out to a rock show for 10 or 15 bucks sometimes.

Josh: Yep.

Toddstar: Other times I've seen you, you are so accessible, and so friendly to the fans. I can remember one time seeing you outside, and you were actually on your skateboard, and all I did was roll down my window and yell out "What time to you guys hit the stage?" And you turned around, you said "What's up?" You responded, and you kept going. What's it about the fans, or what drives you to connect with the fans the way you do? Because so many guys in your position would have kept going, or said "Fuck off" or just moved along, but you didn't. What about that connection is there for you?

Josh: It's all about the connection. I mean, writing songs is about connecting to your audience. So, it's like without the fans and people showing up, there is no Josh Todd & The Conflict, there is no Buckcherry. So it's this synergy, and I always like to remain humble and teachable, and that's really important to me. So I don't put myself above anybody else. I can't say that I haven't been grumpy, and people have approached me when I've been grumpy. Sometimes I've been short with people because I'm grumpy, or somebody's being kind of obnoxious or whatever, I have those moments. But most of the time I'm very approachable, and it's all about just being at one with everybody else, because that's what it's all about.

Toddstar: You're bringing up Josh Todd & The Conflict, you're talking about touring it, and you've still got the Buckcherry thing going, but how much of this Josh Todd & The Conflict, how many times have you guys said, "Let's pull out one of those tracks from You Made Me, let's do this one."

Josh: We have so much content, so it's like... And this record's so good that we just want to play all of it. So we're playing all of it, we're also playing "OMG" from the Spraygun War EP, there's some Spraygun War songs that we are converting, and you just never know what's gonna happen when we get on stage as far as the songs we'll get into.

Toddstar: But you've always had that dynamic when you've played live, that's why it's always so much fun to come see you. Getting back to that though, what made you pick "Erotic City" of all songs to cover?

Josh: You know, Stevie and I are huge Prince fans, and it's such a goddamn shame that that guy's gone. I really thought that he was going to be this guy that was gonna live til he was very old and have a voice for many years, kind of like Stevie Wonder, and just be always raising the bar. So I was really blown away by his passing, along with the majority of the world. And everybody went out and played Prince songs live, and I just kind of laid low and was like, when it got time to the songwriting, I was like, "We've got to do a Prince song, let's do "Erotic City." I want nasty Prince, and let's make it a Conflict song." And that's the challenge, taking a song from that genre of music and making it into your own, and I think we did a great job with "Erotic City." So I hope everybody likes it.

Toddstar: I love it, and what I liked about it, and it kind of builds on what you said about taking a song from another genre is, you took a song that's well-loved, man, and you really made it your own without changing the groove of the track. How important was that to you that you kind of Josh Todded it and Conflicted it without changing the whole breakdown of the track?

Josh: Yeah, you can't change the groove, because that groove is very special. I think, just being a songwriter, you know that going in, that you have to keep the integrity of your song, or there's no point in covering it. You want people to be able to go, "Oh, it's that song," and relate to it right away out of the box. So that's the challenge, keeping the groove and keeping the integrity of the song, and kind of making it your own. And that's what I put to Stevie, I'm like, "You gotta have that hook in there. Wah-uh-uh-uh, you gotta have that in there and do it on the guitar and make it sick, but we gotta have this heavy groove underneath." I put it to him, I gave him direction, and he came back with great stuff. And it was just a softball for me singing over it.

Toddstar: Well that's something you guys have always done, you've always come up with great tunes that are good to get your groove on to, so this was the perfect touch for you. On a more serious note Josh, looking back over your career, any missteps that you'd like to have a redo on? Is there just anything, looking back where you say, "Fuck, I wish I could redo that?"

Josh: God, there's just so much. I mean, I don't have regrets, but there's so many moves I wish I didn't make, because I made desperate decisions at times because of money and stuff like that. And that's what I wish I would have changed, and there will be no more of that in the future. And just some people that I got in the business with where I just knew better, it wasn't a good idea, and band members, and just a lot of stuff... but you know what? It's all a learning process, and I learned from all of that, and it got me to new levels in my career because of it, it really motivated me. But there's a lot of stuff that I could have done without, because I'm already very motivated.

Toddstar: Well listen man, I know you're busy, and you've got to get out there and promote this disc, because everybody should put their hands on this.

Josh: Yes, I agree.

Toddstar: This just really takes what you've done and takes it to the next level, in my opinion, and I can't wait to see this live in Detroit, Flint, or anywhere close.

Josh: Thanks so much.

Toddstar: Thank you for your time, and can't wait to see you hit Detroit, and maybe we'll catch up then.

Josh: Yes sir, I appreciate it. Take it easy.

 

JOSH TODD & THE CONFLICT LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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(ToddStar Photography) interview https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/interview-josh-todd-of-josh-todd-the-conflict---july-2017 Thu, 27 Jul 2017 18:35:08 GMT
NEWS: ON TOUR NOW - Legendary rock band, WAR https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-phantom-5--play-to-win-out-october-13th (New York, NY) Multi-platinum-selling band, WAR, have announced several additional shows on their 2019 tour, which will see founding member Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan backed by Stuart Ziff, Marcus J. Reyes, Scott Martin, Stanley “The Baron” Behrens, Rene Camacho and Sal Rodrigues.

WAR has been sharing their timeless music and message of brotherhood and harmony for almost five decades to millions across the globe, selling more than 50 million records since its formation, including ten Billboard Top 10 hits. Top 40 hits include the timeless classics “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” “Low Rider,” “The World Is A Ghetto,” “The Cisco Kid,” and many more. Fifteen of WAR’s albums have achieved Gold Status in the US and many of them have gone multi-platinum, including Eric Burdon Declares War, Black Man’s Burdon, All Day Music, WAR Live, The World Is A Ghetto, Deliver The Word, Why Can’t We Be Friends, Greatest Hits, Platinum Jazz, Galaxy, The Music Band and Best of WAR and More.

Former President, Barack Obama, placed “All Day Music” on his summer playlist, just the latest example of WAR’s influence being felt in modern times. With samples and nods by artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Flo-Rida, Thomas Rhett, Tupac, Smash Mouth, Janet Jackson, Dave Matthews, Korn, and countless others, it is evident that WAR remains a household name.

The group has been honored numerous times by the City of Los Angeles for its community involvement, as well as many other communities throughout the world, and in 2018, LA Weekly selected WAR as one of the top 10 concerts of the year.

WAR have not only sealed their status as a household name but have also proven that their music and message continue to be as relevant today as they have always been.

WAR - Upcoming Tour Dates:

Sat., June 9 - Rolling Hills Casino - Corning, CA

Fri., June 14 - Alameda Country Fairgrounds - Pleasanton, CA

Sat., June 15 - BBQ, Brews, and Blues Fest Eldorado Casino - Reno, NV

Sat., June 22 - Pittsburgh Jazz Festival - Pittsburgh, PA

Sun., June 23 - Sound Board at Motor City Casino - Detroit, MI

Sat., June 29 - Pechanga Arena San Diego - San Diego, CA

Thurs., July 4 - Kit Carson Park - Taos, NM

Fri., July 5 - Frontier Days Festival, Arlington Heights, IL

Sat., July 13 - Edgewater Hotel - Laughlin, NV

Sun., July 21 - Great South Bay Festival - Patchogue, NY

Wed., July 24 - Wednesday Light Nive - Stamford, CT

Thurs., July 25 - Party in the Park - Rochester, NY

Sat., Aug. 3 - Vanport Jazz - Portland, OR

Sat., Aug. 10 - Heart of America Hot Dog Festival - Kansas City, MO

Fri., Aug. 23 - Lakeside Casino Outdoor Theater - Osceola, IA

Sat., Aug 24 - Skokie’s Backlot Bash - Skokie, IL

Sun., Aug. 25 - The Hudson Gardens & Event Center - Littleton, CO

Sat., Sept. 7 - Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA

Thurs., Sept. 12 - Latin Legends Cruise - Long Beach, CA

Fri. Sept. 13 & Sat., Sept 14 - Latin Legends Cruise - Ensenada, CA

Sun., Sept 15 - Grape Festival - Lodi, CA

Sat., Sept. 21 - Huachuca Music Fest - Sierra Vista, AZ

Sat., Sept. 28 - Turning Stone Resort Casino - Syracuse, NY

Thurs., Oct. 10 - Big Fresno Fair - Fresno, CA

Thurs., Oct 17 - Manship Theater, Baton Rouge, LA

Sat., Oct. 19 - The Theater at MGM National Harbor - Washington, DC

Fri., Dec. 6 - The Rollings Center at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino - Dover, DE

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-phantom-5--play-to-win-out-october-13th Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:08:26 GMT
NEWS: LYZZÄRD set release date for FIGHTER RECORDS debut - reveal first track, cover https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-lyzz-rd-set-release-date-for-fighter-records-debut---reveal-first-track-cover
Fighter Records is proud to announce the signing of Lyzzärd, one of Portugal's finest and most promising heavy metal acts, for the official release of their debut album, Savage, which was originally self-released earlier this year as a limited CD-R pressing.

 

Formed back in 2013, Lyzzärd released an EP entitled Release the Hounds in 2014, where their music was turning into pure heavy metal, until the recording of their debut album, Savage, during the last months of 2016. This work reflects the true spirit of the band, showing fresh and powerful heavy metal rooted in traditional '80s bands combined with a modern approach in the vein of bands like Enforcer, Ambush, Skull Fist, White Wizzard, and Striker.

 

Official release date for Savage will be September 27th through Fighter Records on CD format. Lyzzärd will re-launch an official video-clip of the song "Katana" next month, so watch out for it. In the meantime, hear the new track "Fire" at Fighter's official YouTube channel HERE.

 

Tracklisting for Lyzzärd's Savage:

  1. Nightwatcher
  2. Heavier than Life
  3. Savage
  4. Yakuza
  5. Fire
  6. Living in the Dawn
  7. Queen of Vengeance
  8. Survivor
  9. Metalzone
  10. Maniac (Michael Sembello cover)

 

MORE INFO:

www.facebook.com/lyzzardofficial

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-lyzz-rd-set-release-date-for-fighter-records-debut---reveal-first-track-cover Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:56:41 GMT
NEWS: 41st ANNUAL JAMBOREE IN THE HILLS CELEBRATED COUNTRY MUSIC WITH 4-DAY LINEUP https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-41st-annual-jamboree-in-the-hills-celebrated-country-music-with-4-day-lineup
Nashville, Tenn. (July 19, 2017) – Jamboree In The Hills returned for its 41st year in Morristown, Ohio, to the delight of generations of returning fans and eager new faces alike on Thursday-Sunday (7/13-16). Each year the small town in Belmont County turns upside down for campers traveling from all over the U.S. to experience a four-day Country music party unlike any other.

 

Headlined by Country’s hottest stars including multi-PLATINUM Thomas Rhett (Thursday), two-time and reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean (Friday), seven-time GRAMMY award-winning trio Lady Antebellum (Saturday), and with more than 50 hit songs Sawyer Brown (Sunday), alongside red-hot performers such as Kelsea Ballerini, Chris Young, Brothers Osborne, RaeLynn, Kane Brown, and Brett Young, JITH yet again proved why it’s one of the longest-running and best-loved summer Country festivals in the world.

 

In addition to high-energy performances of hit Country songs of the past and present, special moments included Chris Young (alongside Shane Owens) stopping by the campground to surprise an estimated 1,000 guests during the festival’s first year of their “Jambo After Dark” after-party and Country music legend Tanya Tucker returning to the JITH stage after making her first appearance in 1983. The spectacular Friday night fireworks display also had guests of every age reminiscent of years past as it spanned a montage of JITH performances starting in 1977 through this year.

 

Click here for festival photos.

 

Deeply rooted in cherished traditions, JITH continued one-of-a-kind fan-favorite rituals such as their “Redneck Run” each morning – giving guests the chance to line up early and race to claim their prime concert spot for the day. A creative cooler contest also took place which fans impressively start building their own custom coolers a whole year in advance to compete for the ultimate prize.

 

“The best part of Jamboree In The Hills is the fans. Their deep-rooted love of this historic festival shines through in every aspect of its traditions," shares Kelly Tucker-Jones, General Manager – Jamboree In The Hills. "This festival is more than Country music, Jamboree In The Hills is family and friends from the staff to the fans – we all feel like we are one unit that gets to spend the best weekend of the year together year after year!”

 

From decked out campers to personal swimming pools, the lively campsite of trailers even housed enclosed “Jambo Glam” lodging for the first time this year – offering powered “glamping tents” which were equipped with a hospitality staff and exclusive access to air-conditioned restrooms, showers, a well-stocked lounge area with snacks and morning coffee, and a community gas grill.

 

Jamboree In The Hills 2017 was co-presented by WTOV9, WOVK-Wheeling, WPGB-Pittsburgh, WCOL-Columbus and iHeart Country. To find out more about the festival, please visit www.jamboreeinthehills.com and Facebook.

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-41st-annual-jamboree-in-the-hills-celebrated-country-music-with-4-day-lineup Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:53:17 GMT
NEWS: Between You & Me Sign To Hopeless Records And Release New Single "Overthinking" https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-between-you-me-sign-to-hopeless-records-and-release-new-single-overthinking
July 19th, 2017 - Melbourne, Australia - Australian-based band Between You & Me has signed to Hopeless Records. The band self-released their debut EP, Paper Thin, in 2016 and have toured with bands including As It Is and With Confidence. "Overthinking" is Between You & Me's new single, which you can now stream on Spotify and Apple Music or watch the new music video here: smarturl.it/OverthinkingVideo.

 

Between You & Me consists of members Jake Wilson, Jai Gibson, Chris Bowerman, Jamey Bowerman, and James Karagiozis.

 

Vocalist Jake Wilson shares his excitement about becoming part of the Hopeless Records family stating, "Signing to a label like Hopeless Records is one of those things you always strive for and work towards when you're in a band. But when we were closing in on a dream of ours it still felt very surreal. I'm very humbled and thankful that Hopeless saw something in us that was worth putting their time, money and faith in."

 

In regards to the new single Jake explains, "When I was writing 'Overthinking,' I think I was just having one of those weeks where I was fed up with waking up for the same boring job everyday. I was getting dragged down by my job and I was left with no energy to pursue my passion, which is writing music. In the song I face the struggle of feeling like I've missed my chance to make my passion my career."

 

The band is confirmed to play a run of Australian shows this summer. Tour dates can be found below.

Tour Dates:

Australia Tour w/ Trash Boat:

8/21 - Sydney, AUS @ Brighton Up Bar

8/22 - Wollongong, AUS @ Rad Bar

8/31 - Melbourne, AUS @ Wrangler Studios

9/2 - Melbourne, AUS @ Bang!

 

Socials:

https://www.facebook.com/BYAMAUS

https://www.twitter.com/byamaus

https://www.instagram.com/byamaus

www.hopelesssrecords.com

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-between-you-me-sign-to-hopeless-records-and-release-new-single-overthinking Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:49:15 GMT
NEWS: Chicago Open Air - America’s Greatest Metal Experience Unites 70,000 Fans https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-chicago-open-air---america-s-greatest-metal-experience-unites-70-000-fans
The rock and metal community came out in force for the second annual Chicago Open Air festival, July 14, 15 and 16 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL. There were 70,000 in attendance for America’s Greatest Metal Experience which featured a rare U.S. festival appearance from rock legends KISS, and one of the first performances from Ozzy Osbourne since reuniting with guitarist Zakk Wylde after a decade apart.

 

The three-day festival featured over 40 music performances, also including Saturday headliners Korn, plus Rob Zombie, Slayer, Godsmack, Megadeth, Stone Sour (who currently hold the #1 spot on the Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums Chart with Hydrograd), Seether, Anthrax, Lamb of God, Meshuggah, Amon Amarth (with an elaborate stage production featuring a Viking ship façade and a Nordic battle), and many more on the Main Stage and the BlackCraft Stage.

 

Check out Chicago Open Air video highlights here: www.facebook.com/chiopenair/videos/450241542020687

 

Chicago Open Air also gave the stage to up-and-coming acts like the Boston-based extreme melodic metal band Aversed, who was handpicked by their fellow students to play the festival as part of a Berklee Popular Music Institute program, and Michigan metalcore act For We Are Many.

 

Chicago Open Air brought fans, media, and bands from around the U.S. and throughout the world to Chicago. Media outlets came from as far as England, China, Mexico, Canada, and Finland, while bands represented the best from the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Poland, and South Africa.

 

Clay Busch, Vice President of Marketing for Danny Wimmer Presents explains, "After the incredible debut of the Chicago Open Air festival in 2016, we knew we had to come back even bigger and better in 2017. We have our great heavy metal family in the Chicago area to thank for welcoming us back so strongly and showing us there is a community of fans here that enjoys coming together in the spirit of music. We look forward to building on that relationship in the years to come and solidifying Chicago Open Air as America’s greatest heavy metal experience.”

 

In addition to music, a number of special events, onsite attractions, and festival partners make Chicago Open Air a must-attend destination.

 

The festivities got underway with the Chicago Open Air Kickoff Dinner at Kuma’s Corner (2900 W. Belmont) on Thursday. The event was hosted by Jose Mangin from SiriusXM’s Liquid Metal and attendees enjoyed Kuma’s famous heavy metal-themed burgers, appetizers, and craft beer.

 

Chicago Open Air featured a variety of unique entertainment offerings to go along with its incredible music, food, and beverage lineup, including the Monster Energy Experience (featuring signings with Chicago Open Air artists), Headbangers Bier Hall: Presented by Decibel Magazine (a metal themed dive bar featuring national and regional craft beers and artist inspired beverages), the Jack Daniel's Experience, The Music Experience, Ellefson Coffee House, Caduceus Cellars & Merkin Vineyards Wine Garden, Heavy Tiki  Bar, Kuma’s Corner, BlackCraft apparel shop, FYE Fan Experience (hosting signings and pop-up performances with artists from participating record labels Roadrunner, Century Media / Another Century, Nuclear Blast / SharpTone Records, Spinefarm and Razor & Tie), Fxck Cancer and the Dyin 2 Live Dreams program, and the Take Me Home animal rights advocacy foundation.

 

Chicago Open Air is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, Live Nation and Toyota Park, with the support of the Village of Bridgeview and Bridgeview Mayor Steven Landek.

 

Chicago Open Air sponsors include: Monster Energy, Jack Daniel’s, FYE, Revolution Brewing, BlackCraft Clothing, Ellefson Coffee, Dyin 2 Live / Fxck Cancer, Take Me Home Animal Rescue, The Music Experience, Razor & Tie, Nuclear Blast, Sharptone, Spinefarm, Roadrunner Records, and Century Media Records.

 

www.ChicagoOpenAir.com

www.facebook.com/chiopenair

https://twitter.com/chiopenair

https://www.instagram.com/chiopenair

 

About Danny Wimmer Presents: Since 1993, music industry veteran Danny Wimmer has been producing concerts and festivals, both large and small. In 2011, he formed Danny Wimmer Presents, which now produces several of the largest rock and alternative festivals in the U.S. By combining A-list talent with local cuisine and culture, DWP has become recognized within the industry for delivering the highest-quality entertainment experiences to fans, artists, sponsors, partners and host cities. DWP creates memorable and all-encompassing festival experiences, leaving both consumers and partners with lasting and meaningful impressions. With 580,000 fans attending all DWP festivals in 2015, and 10 billion media impressions, DWP will continue to add new music festivals to its already stellar portfolio, which includes Rock On The Range, Monster Energy Aftershock Festival, Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville, Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion, Louder Than Life, Bourbon & Beyond, and Monster Energy Rock Allegiance, among others.  www.DannyWimmerPresents.com

 

About Live Nation Entertainment: Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world's leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, Live Nation Media & Sponsorship and Artist Nation Management. For additional information, visit www.livenationentertainment.com.

 

About Toyota Park: Toyota Park is located at 7000 South Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview, IL. It’s the heart of soccer for much of the Midwest and a must-see destination for world-class concerts and other sporting events. Toyota Park is conveniently located in Bridgeview near I-294 and-I-55, within an easy drive from every corner of the Chicago area. Just 15 miles from Chicago's Loop, Toyota Park offers ample parking and is served by PACE buses and shuttle links with the nearby CTA Midway Orange Line station.  www.toyotapark.com

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-chicago-open-air---america-s-greatest-metal-experience-unites-70-000-fans Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:44:29 GMT
NEWS: ACCEPT - Third And New Album Trailer Revealed! https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-accept---third-and-new-album-trailer-revealed

Heavy metal pioneers ACCEPT are back in the game with a new studio album! The record entitled The Rise Of Chaos, will be unleashed on August 4th, 2017. The band's 4th studio release through Nuclear Blast will continue the tradition of its three predecessors - Blood Of The Nations, Stalingrad, and Blind Rage - with grandeur and precision.

 

Today, the band releases their third album trailer in which Wolf Hoffmann explains the album title and why it fits so perfectly in today's world. If you want to find out about the connection between the new ACCEPT album and the rise of chaos in our world, watch the clip here: https://youtu.be/LN_X0g1lcM4

 

Wolf states: "The more you look at the news nowadays, the more the album title fits because times get pretty chaotic these days. Things seem to be getting more and more extreme. Violence and terror will often result in even more violence. Stephen Hawking or somebody once said that in a hundred years from now, there won't be any more people on this planet. We will be all extinct one day because we might have killed ourselves. Who knows? But it's certainly an interesting thought..."

 

"The Rise Of Chaos is something I have been thinking about often. Wherever we go - there is some hidden as well as some visible destruction and it kind of changes the world we know. What was there today - can be gone tomorrow and it’s somehow irritating, because it happens on so many levels and no one knows what comes next. The cover portrays our last stage set-up - but now clearly “destroyed" - like… after a catastrophe", explains Wolf Hoffmann.

 

Watch the new video clip of 'The Rise Of Chaos' here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFqFYHFNeCc

 

You can purchase the limited edition 7inch vinyl single of the title track 'The Rise Of Chaos' in different colors here: http://nblast.de/AcceptRiseOfChaosNB

Get the digital single, here: http://nblast.de/AcceptDigital

Listen in NB Novelties playlist: http://sptfy.com/2zZF

 

Vinyl single track list::

A: The Rise Of Chaos

B: Dark Side Of My Heart (live @ BYH 2015)

 

Watch the new video clip of "The Rise Of Chaos" here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFqFYHFNeCc

 

The Rise Of Chaos is available in the following formats:

  • CD Jewel
  • Orange/Blue Swirl Vinyl (Limited to 700 worldwide)
  • T-shirt bundle ( T-shirt + CD + Poster)

Pre-order the new album: http://nblast.de/AcceptRiseOfChaosNB

Get the digital version of the new album, here: http://nblast.de/AcceptDigital

 

Below is the track list for The Rise Of Chaos:

  1. Die By The Sword
  2. Hole In The Head
  3. The Rise Of Chaos
  4. Koolaid
  5. No Regrets
  6. Analog Man
  7. What’s Done Is Done
  8. Worlds Colliding
  9. Carry The Weight
  10. Race To Extinction

 

The cover artwork of the new record was created by the Hungarian artist Gyula Havancsák.

 

And if this wasn't enough, ACCEPT will celebrate the album's live premiere exclusively on August 3rd, on the day before its release, as a part of a special show at Wacken Open Air, Germany. The set will consist of three parts, which represent the band's creative power:

 

Part 1 will bring fans a classic ACCEPT set, packed with new and old hits.

Part 2 will present another premiere: Wolf Hoffmann will be playing tracks from his solo album Headbangers Symphony, released in 2016, with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra for the very first time. On this record, Wolf has covered famous opuses by composers such as Beethoven, Vivaldi, and Mozart, in a metal guise. And in Part 3, all elements can be seen and heard together: ACCEPT will make the holy Wacken ground shake by sharing the stage with the orchestra, supported by a complex multimedia show.

 

This unique concert experience will take place on this year's Night To Remember which makes it even more special. The Night To Remember is a celebrated, long-lasting Wacken tradition; for one night of the festival a selection of established bands will do something unique and special with their performance.

 

Wolf Hoffmann stated: "It's always impressive to see how bands take this evening seriously and how much love the artists and the organist team put into their work to get a varied result. It's a great tradition which underlines and documents the top-notch level of the international rock community like nothing else. We also want to present something that ACCEPT has never done before, we hope we can give something really special to the fans."

 

"ACCEPT have been and are still a very important part of Germany's heavy metal scene. We're really looking forward to having them with us once more. With this epic concept, the Thursday evening will be one to remember for sure," stated Thomas Jensen, organizer of Wacken Open Air.

More info: www.wacken.com

 

ACCEPT live 2017:

08/03/2017  Wacken Open Air *SOLD OUT*

09/07/2017    Saban Theatre - Beverly Hills, CA  USA

09/10/2017  Drum Logos - Fukuoka, JAPAN

09/12/2017  Umeda Club Quattro - Osaka, JAPAN

09/13/2017  Bottom Line - Nagoya, JAPAN

09/14/2017  Nakano Sun Plaza Hall - Tokyo, JAPAN

09/17/2017  170 Russell - Melbourne, Australia

09/26/2017  Irving Plaza - New York, NY

11/17/2017  El Teatro Flores - Buenos Aires, Argentina

11/19/2017  Sala del Museo - Montevideo, Uruguay

11/21/2017  Teatro Cariola - Santiago, Chile

11/23/2017  Sala Garcia Lorca de la Manzana de la Rivera - Asuncion, Paraguay

11/25/2017  Festival del Diablo III -  Bogata, Columbia

11/27/2017  Peppers - San Jose, Costa Rica

 

More on The Rise Of Chaos:

Pre-order your physical copy of The Rise Of Chaos, here:

 
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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-accept---third-and-new-album-trailer-revealed Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:37:35 GMT
NEWS: BIG HUSH PREMIERES MINDFREAK VIDEO FOR “COUGH” https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-big-hush-premieres-mindfreak-video-for-cough

Fresh off the announcement of their forthcoming debut album, dream pop quartet Big Hush has released a mind freak of a video for their track “Cough.” Taking a deep dive in the darker realms of their bedroom rock sound, the D.C. band combines pop songwriting with the opulence of shoegaze in one technicolored soundscape. Watch the video via IMPOSE today.

 

“‘Cough’ is about being caught in a rut for so long that you lose touch with yourself and grow complacent about the shape of your life,” Big Hush says of the track. “The song is a plea that you could make to a friend, or yourself, to fight the easy temptation of viewing one's identity as reducible, or static. We're not as hard-wired as we think; we can always try to be better.”

 

Featuring members of Pygmy Lush and Flasher, Big Hush thrives in the gray area between harmony-laden melancholy, off-kilter punk, and cacophonous shoegaze. Fiercely embracing a collaborative spirit, Big Hush’s songs are imbued with the tension and tenderness requisite of intimate friendship.

 

Originally conceived as two separate albums, Big Hush’s debut LP, Spirit/Wholes, was recorded throughout 2014 and 2015. Chronicling a complex and gossamer aesthetic, the album’s ten tracks explore dense textures, complex arrangements and lush harmonies with a searing clarity.

 

Spirit/Wholes is due out via Robotic Empire on August 11. Catch Big Hush on tour this summer.

 

BIG HUSH — ON TOUR:

July 21 @ Hardywood (Richmond, VA)

July 22 @ Radio Shack (Raleigh, NC)

July 25 @ Neutral Grounds Coffee (New Orleans, LA)

July 26 @ Drkmttr (Nashville, TN)

July 27 @ Jan’s Room (Bloomington, IN)

July 28 @ The Comet (Cincinnati, OH)

July 29 @ Cole’s (Chicago, IL)

July 30 @ UFO Factory (Detroit, MI)

July 31 @ Happy Dog (Cleveland, OH)

August 1 @ Everybody Hits (Philadelphia, PA)

August 2 @ The ER (Boston, MA)

August 5 @ Hole In The Sky (Washington D.C.)

 

Spirit/Wholes Track Listing:

  1. Soft Eyes
  2. Pay To Play
  3. Say Anything
  4. Cold Shoulder
  5. Cough
  6. Walk On
  7. Wholes
  8. Honey
  9. Wrong House
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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-big-hush-premieres-mindfreak-video-for-cough Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:28:43 GMT
NEWS: Yoke Lore announces Aquilo dates & dances through LA in new video “Only You” https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-yoke-lore-announces-aquilo-dates-dances-through-la-in-new-video-only-you
Yoke Lore started 2017 with a bang, playing shows alongside Wild Child & Urban Cone and making his SXSW debut. In spring, Yoke Lore joined Overcoats, Shura & The Pains of Being Pure At Heart for a slew of dates; this summer, he's playing a handful of festivals as well as supporting Brick + Mortar before heading out with Aquilo this fall on their US tour.
 
Yoke Lore, the new musical venture of Adrian ​Galvin, previously of Yellerkin​ and Walk the Moon​. Galvin grew up in an artistic family, his mother a director and his father an actor and sculptor. He was immersed in painting, photography, and ballet from an early age, eventually finding his first musical passion in the drums. While pursuing music, his artistry in other disciplines has not faltered, even lending his own artwork as the cover of his 2016 debut EP. Far Shore EP achieved over 4 million Spotify streams, 3 Hype Machine​ top ten singles, and songs from the EP were featured in MTV’s The Real World and Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet. Galvin’s newest EP, Goodpain, has racked up over 2 million Spotify streams in a short period of time and includes the #1 Hype Machine song “Goodpain”.
 
Upcoming tour dates:
7/21 San Francisco, CA // Rickshaw Stop
7/27 Buffalo, NY // The Waiting Room *
7/28 Lakewood, OH // The Foundry *
7/29 Cincinnati, OH // Woodward Theater *
8/1 Indianapolis, IN // The Hi-Fi *
8/2 St. Louis, MO // The Firebird *
8/3 Lawrence, KS // The Bottleneck *
8/4 Colorado Springs, CO // The Black Sheep *
8/5 Denver, CO // Globe Hall *
8/19-20 Jones Beach, NY // Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival
10/3 Cambridge, MA // The Sinclair ^
10/4 Philadelphia, PA // The Foundry ^
10/5 Washington, D.C. // Rock & Roll Hotel ^
10/6 Brooklyn, NY // Music Hall of Williamsburg ^
10/7 Toronto, ON // Horseshoe Tavern ^
10/9 Columbus, OH // A&R Music Bar ^
10/10 Chicago, IL // Lincoln Hall ^
10/11 Minneapolis, MN // 7th Street Entry ^
10/13 San Francisco, CA // The Chapel ^
10/16 Los Angeles, CA // El Rey Theatre ^
11/16-18 Las Vegas, NV // Emerge Music + Impact Conference
* with Brick + Mortar
^ with Aquilo​​​​​​​
 
find Yoke Lore:
f a c e b o o k
s o u n d c l o u d
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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-yoke-lore-announces-aquilo-dates-dances-through-la-in-new-video-only-you Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:23:40 GMT
NEWS: Stepping Sideways Release "Path Of The Hero" Lyric Video https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-stepping-sideways-release-path-of-the-hero-lyric-video
(July 19, 2017 - New Orleans, LA) - American rock quintet Stepping Sideways has released their new lyric video for their debut single, "Path Of The Hero" and are premiering it exclusively on New Noise Magazine.

 

Produced by Jonathan Dolese of Konkrete Studios, the debut single serves as a driving force in what's to come from the band's upcoming EP set to release later this year.

 

"We are all incredibly excited about the release of our lyric video for "Path Of The Hero". This song is about the many difficulties that we face during our life here on Earth. In dealing with these challenges we have all had moments where we have come to a crossroad and are in need of guidance. It is during that moment in time that we need to be shown the "Path Of The Hero"." - Guitarist, Joey Vasatka

 

Watch the lyric video for "Path Of The Hero" below. The single is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.

 

Connect with Stepping Sideways:

Facebook | Instagram

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-stepping-sideways-release-path-of-the-hero-lyric-video Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:42:15 GMT
NEWS: ANNA OF THE NORTH share video for latest single "Someone" https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-anna-of-the-north-share-video-for-latest-single-someone
Anna of the North today share a self-directed visual for ‘Someone’, shot on location in Miami, Florida.

 

Of creating the video, Anna says “It’s a video made in Miami but it’s certainly not a stereotypical Miami video. The ‘party’ side to cities like Miami can feel vacuous, making them the loneliest places in the world, so it’s a fitting backdrop to the story. It’s set the day after a big night, when you instantly regret something that happened. It’s about the internal battle of the day after; trying to accept that you’re human and how hard it is to forgive yourself for your own mistakes. It gets more desperate throughout as the realisation sets in.”

 

The second single to be taken from their highly-anticipated debut album ‘Lovers’, ‘Someone’ journeys through a swaggering opening and a head rush of synths, which then make way for Anna’s tender vocals, before the chorus explodes into a blockbuster-scale road trip.

 

Today also sees the band announce a full EU tour for the Autumn whilst Friday will bring the release of Tyler, The Creator’s album Scum Fuck Flower Boy featuring vocals from Anna of the North on ‘911 / Mr Lonely’ (alongside Frank Ocean) and ‘Boredom’.

 

Due for worldwide release on September 8, ‘Lovers’ is an album deeply rooted in heartbreak, a subject that courses through the veins of all ten tracks – through the turmoil, the guilt and the tentative joy of finally letting yourself move on.

 

In three years since the release of debut single ‘Sway’, the Norwegian-Kiwi duo of Anna Lotterud and Brady Daniell-Smith have paved the way for their full-length debut following a run of singles which have notched up over 60 million streams, multiple No.1 spot’s on the Hype Machine charts and rotation on Radio 1, Triple J and Beats 1.

 

Now they offer up an emphatically assured debut LP, its clean, springy beats and shimmering synths underpinned by the rich, emotive clarity of Anna’s voice. Recorded in Oslo and mixed in Copenhagen and London by Luke Smith (Foals, Depeche Mode), Lovers is a coherent but endlessly varied beast.

 

The story of the project began five years back. Anna was working in a shop in a small town near Oslo, settled with her first love whilst anticipating a life of routine and normality, when a customer came in and changed her life. Polite and well groomed, the woman, a stranger to Anna, began making daily visits, browsing for hours but never buying a thing. One afternoon, for reasons Anna will never know, the woman approached her and implored her to abandon the traditional life she had planned out, and go and expand her horizons. The plea jolted something in Anna, and in an act of uncharacteristic spontaneity, she booked a flight to Australia, leaving behind the life and the person she thought she’d spend her life with.

 

Her time in Australia was fulfilling but turbulent. She fell in love again, only to have her heart broken as suddenly and inexplicably as her decision to leave Norway in the first place. That’s when she met Brady Daniell-Smith. Brady, who’d been struggling with his own complicated relationships, was performing an acoustic show in Melbourne; Anna was in the audience, drinking with friends. Becoming friends, he encouraged her to find solace in songwriting, discovering they could make music together as a way of exorcising the demons of their love lives and the project was born. He jokingly started calling her “Anna Of The North” and the name stuck.

 

It’s the two of them combined that make Anna Of The North’s sparse, brooding electro-pop so potent. Brady, who’s from New Zealand and grew up partly in Australia, injects elements of the countries’ bright, vibrant electronic scene to their music; Anna brings the glacial minimalism of her Scandinavian roots.

 

Anna of the North’s debut album Lovers is due for release on September 8 via Honeymoon / +1 Records / Different Recordings.

 

‘Lovers’ – Album pre-order

 

Live Dates:

10 Aug 2017 – Way Out West, SW

18 Aug – Pukkelpop Festival, BE

23 Aug – Hudson Ballroom – Sydney, AU

24 Aug – Northcote Social Club – Melbourne, AU

26 Aug – Maroochy Music & Vis Arts Festival, AU

09 Sep – Bestival, UK

26 Sep – Omeara – London, UK

12 Oct – Obaren, Stockholm, SW

13 Oct – Vega Ideal Bar, Copenhagen, DK

14 Oct – Häkken, Hamburg, DE

16 Oct – Auster Club, Berlin, DE

18 Oct – Sugarfactory ADE Live, Amsterdam, NL19 Oct – Yuca, Cologne, DE20 Oct – Pop Up du Label, Paris, FR

09 Nov – Parkteateret – Oslo, NO

18 Nov – Room 2 P12 @ Transardentes, Brussels, BE

10 Nov – Det Akademiske Kvarter – Bergen, NO

Tickets are available from https://www.annaofthenorth.com

 

Connect:

www.facebook.com/annaofthenorth

www.soundcloud.com/annaofthenorth

www.instagram.com/annaofthenorth

www.twitter.com/anna_ofthenorth

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-anna-of-the-north-share-video-for-latest-single-someone Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:37:30 GMT
NEWS: JUDAS PRIEST ANNOUNCE NEW MOBILE GAME AVAILABLE TODAY https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-judas-priest-announce-new-mobile-game-available-today
Sony Music Entertainment and legendary heavy metal band Judas Priest announced today that “Judas Priest: Road To Valhalla,” a new mobile game for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is now available in the App Store.

 

Game download link to App Store here: http://apple.co/2uG3i3n

 

The app features stunning new visuals and gameplay set to the iconic songs “Halls of Valhalla,” “Breaking the Law”, “Turbo Lover”, “Electric Eye”, and “Painkiller” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.”

 

Judas Priest: Road To Valhalla innovates by making isolated song stems (eg drums, vocals, guitar) from the 2016 ‘Battle Cry’ album available to players exclusively within the game.  Using an innovative visual mechanic, players must fill “stem meters” to construct the full song and progress through each level of the game.

 

“When we set out to make this game, we wanted to give fans a new kind of visual listening experience” said Rob Halford, who also appears in a series of exclusive video clips throughout the game.

 

“For the first time, we are making individual stems of our songs available to fans to give them a new and interactive way to engage with some of the best songs from our catalog.”

 

Video trailer for game here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ6bjtdH5s4

 

“Judas Priest: Road To Valhalla” is a joint collaboration between Judas Priest, Sony Music Entertainment, Trinifold Management LLC UK and Babaroga, a leading mobile game studio.

 

“Metal maniacs are you ready to join Judas Priest on the Road To Valhalla.....? We are excited to have you take charge and lead the way on the bike and the tour bus! Let the molten metal mayhem begin with the thrill of the ride! Can you claim victory on this perilous journey that leads you into Valhalla...?”

 

Have a blast and enjoy!

Rob, Glenn, Richie, Ian and Scott

 

About Judas Priest: There are few heavy metal bands that have managed to scale the heights that Judas Priest have during their 40 year career - originally formed during the early '70s in Birmingham, England, Judas Priest is responsible for some of the genre's most influential and landmark albums (1980's 'British Steel,' 1982's 'Screaming for Vengeance,' 1990's 'Painkiller,'etc.) and for decades have been one of the greatest live bands in the entire heavy metal genre including an iconic performance at Live Aid in 1985 - they also brought metal to the masses by their appearance on American Idol in 2011 - plus Judas Priest were one of the first metal bands to exclusively wear leather and studs -  a look that began during this era and was eventually embraced by metal fans throughout the world!

 

And soon, the worlds of metal and gaming will collide head-on, with the groundbreaking new game, ‘Road to Valhalla’!

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-judas-priest-announce-new-mobile-game-available-today Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:35:15 GMT
NEWS: PROJECT .44 Tap Original KMFDM Multi-Instrumentalist EN ESCH for Remix EP, Out Today https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-project-44-tap-original-kmfdm-multi-instrumentalist-en-esch-for-remix-ep-out-today
Longtime friends PROJECT .44 and original KMFDM multi-instrumentalist En Esch have teamed up again (the first was in acting role as Esch starred in PROJECT .44's 2007 video "I") to bring a menacing new track that echoes the classic sounds of its players. What happens when you take the voice of all of those great KMFDM songs (Esch), the guitar from those legendary Ministry tunes (Svitek) and the bass from those Thrill Kill Kult dance hits (Levi)? You get "Murder Weapon" - the new track on an EP being dubbed project .44 vs. En Esch.

 

The EP features a studio mix of the song and three remixes: a dance floor stomper by En Eschthat harkens back to KMFDM's classic mainstay "Godlike", PROJECT .44's tribal percussion assault on the tune, and NYC's Panic Lift (Metropolis Records), giving it a chilled out, spooky vibe. The physical version also includes a remix of the track "Chicago", which will be on the band's upcoming full-length release (download here). The EP was recorded at Tribeca and Sviteknology Studios in Chicago, engineered by Louis Svitek and T. Castillo, and mastered by Wade Alin.

 

When asked, PROJECT .44 founder, Harri5 stated, "There was this song that just needed En Esch's voice on it, and when you hear it, you'll know why!"

 

Order "Murder Weapon" here via iTunesAmazon or stream via Spotify.This song is a prelude to the forthcoming PROJECT .44 album (the storm before) reform and the recently released Trash Chic (Distortion Productions) by En Esch.

 

In celebration of the release, PROJECT .44 will perform with 3 Teeth tonight at Reggie's Rock House in Chicago, IL. Doors are at 7:00pm and tickets are $15. The show is 17+. For more information, visit: http://www.reggieslive.com/show/3teeth/

 

project .44 vs. En Esch EP line-up:

  • Chri5 Harri5: Vox, Programming, Keys
  • Louis Svitek: Guitar
  • Charles Levi: Bass
  • Ken Pillar: Drums
  • MTL: Percussion
  • En Esch: Vox, Additional Programing

 

About PROJECT .44: Firmly established within the niches of CMJ/New York, TOG/Austin, Gothstock/Hartford and many more live music showcases, as well as solid radio play from Chicago's Rebel Radio (hard rock/metal) and Q101 (alternative), along with numerous college stations and podcasts worldwide, PROJECT .44 has the genre melding sound that is heavy enough to be metal and different enough to be alternative. As Q101 DJ/Program Director James Van Osde put it, "it's aggressive, it's electronic ...it's just plain good!" Hailing from the industrial/tek-metal capital of Chicago, where pioneers like Ministry paved the way for more recent grads like Static-X, PROJECT .44 continues the tradition of Chicago's knack for mixing pulverizing guitar licks with catchy dance beats. It is the forging experience that Louis Svitek (Ministry) provides when laying down the tracks that the band transfers to the stage explicitly and explosively. PROJECT .44 's 'chaotic' live show is a direct derivative of the aggressive nature of their music in which no spectator has seen before. Two hard pounding percussionists flanked by players who attack their instruments, each other and whatever else is around. Their impressive stage show has garnered them slots on tours with Thrill Kill Kult, Pigface, Lords of Acidand many more taking them all across the USA from LA to NYC and back again.

 

About En Esch: En Esch, born near Frankfurt / Main, has lived and worked in Hamburg, Chicago, New Orleans, NYC, Los Angeles and currently Berlin. The classically trained percussionist is best known for his distinctive vocals and charismatic stage performances. He is a skilled multi-instrumentalist, programmer and composer and has enjoyed success with KMFDM and the diverse ensemble Pigface since the early 90s. End of the 80s, En Esch and the electro-industrial outfit KMFDM moved to the US. A tour supporting the band Ministry was the starting point for their stunning career. Featuring bands like Rammstein as opening acts, KMFDM pioneered the crossover between techno/dance and heavy metal with their signature industrial sound. En Esch composed, recorded and co-produced on the first 10 albums and multiple singles of KMFDM including hits like: "More'n'Faster", "Godlike" and "Juke Joint Jezebel". En Esch & KMFDM also appear on various soundtracks of Hollywood movies like: Hideaway, Johnny Memonic, Mortal Combat, Bad Boys etc.

 

Follow these artists:

www.project44music.com

www.EnEsch.com

www.facebook.com/project.44music

www.facebook.com/EnEsch

www.wulirecords.com

www.INgrooves.com

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-project-44-tap-original-kmfdm-multi-instrumentalist-en-esch-for-remix-ep-out-today Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:32:46 GMT
NEWS: Leave the Universe Announces Debut EP 'N.W.O.' with Politically-Fueled Title Track https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-leave-the-universe-announces-debut-ep-n-w-o-with-politically-fueled-title-track
SAN DIEGO, CA | JULY 19, 2017: San Diego's alt-rock/trap project Leave the Universe recently returned from 9 months in London, where they were writing and creating their debut EP N.W.O.With clear influences in the U.K.'s historical punk rock scene, Leave The Universe seamlessly blends alternative rock, post-punk, and electronic music, while exploring themes such as politics, insanity and love. Today, the band is thrilled to the official release date for the N.W.O. EP, set for September 1, 2017. Along with this announcement, Leave the Universe teamed up with IMPOSE Magazine to premiere the leading, title track, "N.W.O." Short for "New World Order," this song is a politically-fueled call-to-arms that was written the day after the last U.S. presidential election. Singer Cameron Cole explains: "That day I saw the perfect example of a system where the general population was like pieces being moved in an elaborate game by the powers that be for the benefit of a select few. I don't think that people realize how much power they truly have in the fact that the game masters need the the people in order to thrive. People are kept in check by a fabricated system of money. This song is meant to be a reminder that we as the people do have the power to change a flawed system if we can stand together, instead of against each other, and recognize the true enemy. We have to power to create a new world."

 

Best described as alt rock/trap, Leave The Universe seamlessly mixes an alternative/emo band sound with the underlying production of hiphop/trap. Lead singer Cameron Cole and guitarist Kalin Pugh spent a year building a strong core following in their home of San Diego before moving to London and forming the Dead 30 Artist collective with Austin Arthur and the rest of the members of The L.I.F.T. While in London, LTU completed their first studio EP titled N.W.O that they plan to release in September. The band explores themes of breaking barriers in subjects such as politics, isolation, mental insanity and love, from a very aggressive and external point of view.

 

Head to IMPOSE Magazine today to stream "N.W.O." the  debut, title track off Leave the Universe's forthcoming EP, which is to be released September 1, 2017 via Dead 30 Records. Visit LeaveTheUniverse.com for more information.

 

N.W.O. Track Listing:

  1. N.W.O.
  2. Paralyzed
  3. If You Find Me

 

Follow Leave The Universe Online:

LeaveTheUniverse.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

YouTube

Soundcloud

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-leave-the-universe-announces-debut-ep-n-w-o-with-politically-fueled-title-track Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:30:43 GMT
NEWS: CHARLOTTE OC's new video, "Medicine Man," Features Prima Ballerina TILER PECK https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-charlotte-ocs-new-video-medicine-man-features-prima-ballerina-tiler-peck

July 18, 2017 (Los Angeles, CA) — The video for Charlotte OC’s “Medicine Man,” produced by philanthropist Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions, premiered July 13 on Vevo and can be viewed HERE.  The video for the song, from the U.K. artist’s debut album Careless People out now on Harvest Records, features a powerful performance by Tiler Peck, the prima ballerina and principal at New York City Ballet (NYCB). The soul-baring performance was shot in a single take by cinematographer Mark Wolf, who followed Peck around the dance floor with a handheld camera. The video was exclusively debuted just last week (July 11) by Interview magazine (check it out HERE).

 

The moving confluence of pop music and classical ballet in the new video marks the genesis of a partnership between Allen’s Vulcan Productions and Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Steven Cantor that features classically trained ballet dancers performing to pop music.  Cantor’s credits include Dancer, Devil's Playground, What Remains and ESPN 30 – for 30 Chasing Tyson.  The video is intended to help make the art of ballet more accessible to new audiences.  Allen, a long-standing supporter of the arts, has a special interest in making the classical arts, including ballet, meaningful and relevant to younger audiences.

 

Peck, who is also a producer on the video, is known for taking extraordinary risks as a dancer and for her otherworldly athleticism. Born in Bakersfield, California, Peck was two years old when she began her dance training and joined NYCB as an Apprentice at age 15. She was promoted to soloist the following year and a principal by 20, making Peck one of the youngest dancers at that time to achieve this exalted position.  Working with acclaimed choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, Peck uses her body as an extension of Charlotte OC's vocals, showcasing her musicality and theatrical sensibilities as a ballerina.

 

Written by Charlotte OC, the stripped-back “Medicine Man” captures the dizzy thrill of falling head over heels in love.  Charlotte recorded Careless People – which takes its title from a passage in The Great Gatsby – at Hollywood’s legendary Sunset Sound with producer/former Ima Robot member Tim Anderson (Solange, Youngblood Hawke, Halsey). The album’s eleven original songs include the singles "Darkest Hour" and “Shell.”   NYLON predicted, "It's only a matter of time before you get hooked on this U.K. singer and songwriter's gorgeous sound" and SPIN said she “channels the bewitching allure of Stevie Nicks and the big-throated finesse of Alicia Keys." "What sets (Charlotte OC) apart is that she hybrids her goth metaphysics with deep soul," observed Interview, while Elle declares, “Careless People combines the emotion of Joni Mitchell with the languorous magic of Lana Del Rey….(OC’s)  is the kind of vocal that soars--not in the way birds do, but rather that of jet engines….a star in the making." Charlotte, who recently made her U.S. television debut on NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers, has also developed a reputation as a formidable live performer, delivering highly praised performances on tour throughout the UK and Australia and in the US at SXSW and Governors Ball.  Upcoming U.S. tour dates will be announced soon.

 

“It was a dream to bring together these renowned talents and unite the power of their art forms,” said Vulcan Productions General Manager and Creative Director Carole Tomko. “Combining Christopher’s amazing choreography, Tiler’s stunning performance, and Steven’s masterful directing elevated the power of the song to a whole new level.  It also showed the range and beauty of classical ballet in our changing cultural landscape. With this ‘Pointe to Pop’ video, we hope to showcase the enduring relevance of classical ballet – and transform how audiences experience it.”

 

"The song and video are about that feeling of powerlessness you sometimes feel when you fall completely in love with someone, says Charlotte OC.   “The idea that you are almost surrendering yourself to a feeling, or a power that is greater than you and how that kind of love (although terrifying at times), can make you a better person and want to achieve great things.  Tiler captures this perfectly through her performance which is a true extension of the song and it was a fantastic experience collaborating with her.”

 

Said Peck, “The stars aligned when Charlotte and I were introduced; this was a dream collaboration for me. Charlotte's soul is evident in her songs and that is exactly what I hope people see when I dance; my soul, uninhibited.”

 

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Soundcloud

https://CharlotteOC.lnk.to/CarelessPeople

 

About Vulcan Productions: Vulcan Productions is dedicated to the power of storytelling. We produce content and large-scale campaigns that entertain, inspire and change the way people understand the world’s toughest challenges. Our films, television series and digital content spark ideas and turn action into measurable impact. Founded by Paul G. Allen and Jody Allen, Vulcan Productions creates content across all platforms, and spotlights Mr. Allen's work in wildlife, science, climate, oceans, education, technology, current social issues, history and the arts. Our award-winning projects include The Ivory Game, Unseen Enemy, Racing ExtinctionNaledi: A Baby Elephant's Tale, Academy Award®-nominated Body Team 12Mind of a GiantWe the EconomyWe the VotersOcean Warriors#ISurvivedEbolaGirl Rising and The Blues. Upcoming releases include STEP. For information on Vulcan Productions and our leadership in generating change through impact storytelling, visit vulcanproductions.com.

 

About Stick Figure Productions: Since its formation in 1999, Stick Figure Productions has developed and produced films and series for over 40 studios, television networks and digital platforms. Founded by Oscar nominated filmmaker, Steven Cantor, Stick Figure specializes in character driven stories that take viewers on emotional journeys with their central characters. Whether profiling Amish teenagers or boxers or bail bondsmen, journalists or rock bands, Stick Figure brings its unique ability to build characters and artfully reveal tension to every project they undertake.

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-charlotte-ocs-new-video-medicine-man-features-prima-ballerina-tiler-peck Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:27:43 GMT
NEWS: Dreadnought Release "A Wake In Sacred Waves" on Oct. 16 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-dreadnought-release-a-wake-in-sacred-waves-on-oct-16

July 19, 2017, Denver – Dreadnought, the Denver-based, co-ed foursome whose sophomore album, Bridging Realms, was featured on a variety of year end lists in 2015, return with A Wake In Sacred Waves on Oct. 6 via Sailor Records. Decibel Magazine shares the first new music from the four-song, 51-minute album, streaming new song, “Within Chanting Waters” (http://decibelmagazine.com/blog/2017/7/19/track-premiere-dreadnought-calls-you-within-chanting-waters).

 

“Each album is loosely based on an element,” explains singer/guitar player/flautist Kelly Schilling. “Lifewoven was earth, Bridging Realms was ether, and this is our water album. You could think of them like Zelda temples. We wanted to make this a little bit darker and heavier because we were going through heavier parts of our lives. This record tells a story about the process of life and death. A sea creature evolves into an apex predator, takes over everything, and then falls from grace. It mirrors humanity’s own existential struggle.”

 

The band, which features drummer/saxophone player Jordan Clancy, bass player Kevin Handlon and singer/keyboard player Lauren Vieira, recorded the album at The Boar’s Nest (Salt Lake City) with SubRosa’s Andy Patterson recording and mixing the collection.

 

Dreadnought is currently on tour with more dates to be announced soon.

Tour dates:

July 19 - Covington, KY @ Madison Live w/ Winterhymn, Automaton

July 20 - St Louis, MO @ The Sinkhole w/ Path of Might, Dracla, Dibiase

July 29 - Denver, CO @ Moe's BBQ w/ Free Slamander Exhibit (members of Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum)

 

http://dreadnoughtdenver.com

http://dreadnoughtdenver.bandcamp.com

www.facebook.com/dreadnoughtband

 

Photo credit: Travis Heacock

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-dreadnought-release-a-wake-in-sacred-waves-on-oct-16 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:22:51 GMT
NEWS: Vinnie Moore and Gus G Locked and Loaded for "Gunslingers" Tour 2017 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-vinnie-moore-and-gus-g-locked-and-loaded-for-gunslingers-tour-2017
Guitar wizards Vinnie Moore (UFO) and Gus G (FIREWIND, OZZY OSBOURNE) will hit the road for some shows together in November and December, 2017. This is Moore's first solo tour since 2015, and will mark the first time these two powerhouse players have toured together. The show will feature music from both guitarists' impressive catalogs.

 

"Gus and I met years back in Greece. I brought him up onstage to jam a couple tunes with me and we had a great energy together and had a blast. I knew that night that I would like to do some shows with him at some point. He's a very talented guitarist. Am really looking forward to some Gunslingin' with Gus"

 

From his first release Mind's Eye in 1987 through 2015's Aerial Visions, Vinnie Moore has set the standard for instrumental guitar albums by delivering soulful songs that feature his signature crackling guitar solos along with memorable melodic lines.

 

Gus comments, "Touring with Vinnie Moore is yet another dream come true for me. His album "Mind's Eye" has had a huge impact on me as I consider it somewhat as a shred guitar "bible". I spent countless hours learning his licks as a teenager. We met and got to jam few years ago and have become good buddies since. I'm looking forward to returning to the US and playing guitar for you & sharing the stage with Vinnie! See you soon!"

 

GUS G.'s  latest album "Brand New Revolution" was recorded with Jay Ruston (Stone Sour, Anthrax, Steel Panther, etc.) and mixed by Mike Fraser (Metallica, AC/DC, Van Halen, Aerosmith, etc.) and featured various vocalists including Mats Leven (Candlemass), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Jeff Scott Soto (x-Yngwie, TSO), Jacob Bunton (Alder, Lynam).

 

"Brand New Revolution" entered the sales charts in his native Greece at # 18, in Japan (International artists chart) at # 44, in Belgium at # 69 (Wallonia) and at # 187 (Flemish), additionally reaching the following results in the USA: #22 (New Artist), #87 (Indie Chart) and #37 (Hard Music). The album is available here:

 

Tour dates are as follows:

November 2017:

28  Derry, NH             Tupelo Music Hall

30  Cleveland, OH      Agora Ballroom

December 2017:

01  Detroit, MI             Token Lounge

02  Joliet. IL                The Forge

03  Milwaukee, WI      Shank Hall

06  Sellersville, PA     Sellersville Theater

07  Brooklyn, NY        St Vitus

08  Stanhope, NJ        Stanhope House

09  Somerville, MA      Once Ballroom

 

Visit the following for updated info:

www.vinniemoore.com

www.gusgofficial.com

https://www.facebook.com/Vinnie.Moore.Official

https://www.facebook.com/officialgusg

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-vinnie-moore-and-gus-g-locked-and-loaded-for-gunslingers-tour-2017 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:15:01 GMT
NEWS: LANY's Debut Album #32 on Billboard Top 200 and Top 10 on Digital Album Chart https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-lanys-debut-album-32-on-billboard-top-200-and-top-10-on-digital-album-chart
The up and coming Los Angeles trio who has been dominating your Spotify playlists has finally released their self-titled debut album LANY that landed #32 on Billboard's Top 200 and Top 10 Digital Album Charts. Their new song "Super Far," co-written by Grammy winning songwriter Ryan Tedder, breaks Spotify's Top 200 Charts and Top 50 Viral Songs Globally with over 6.7 million listens in only two weeks. PRESS HERE to listen.

 

The album, which was released on June 30th via Interscope, features 16-tracks including their viral hit "ILYSB" that currently has over 65 million streams alone on Spotify. The album sees them tap into the trials and tribulations of relationships, feelings of displacement and the endless search for love and a place to call home, very real issues for a band that has been almost constantly on the road for the past two years, playing 135 shows in 2017 in 28 countries alone and 117 in 2016, making them one of the hardest working bands. The band just left for their world tour and will headline a 32+ U.S. run as part of The LANY Tour: Part 2. Tickets are on sale now via thisislany.com/tour.

 

LANY - Paul Klein, Les Priest and Jake Goss - have amassed a huge live fanbase with over 5.6 million monthly listeners on Spotify and combined streams of over 206 million. LANY was the most streamed artist in 2016 through the Spotify Discover feature, with "ILYSB" also holding the title of the most streamed song. The band recently made their television debut performing their single "ILYSB" on Late Night with Seth Meyers. "ILYSB" recently reached over 65 Million streams on Spotify alone and the acoustic as well as remix versions have racked up another 25 million combined Spotify streams. PRESS HERE to watch their debut television performance.

 

Stay tuned for more news on LANY and for additional information as well as to buy tickets to an upcoming show, please visit www.thisislany.com/tour.

 

The tracklisting for LANY by LANY is:

DUMB STUFF

THE BREAKUP

SUPER FAR

OVERTIME

FLOWERS ON THE FLOOR

PARENTS

ILYSB

13

HERICANE

HURTS

GOOD GIRLS

PANCAKES

TAMPA

PURPLE TEETH

SO, SOO PRETTY

IT WAS LOVE

 

Festival Dates:

Sept 1               Seattle, WA @ Bumbershoot

Sept 15-17       Del Mar, CA @ Kaaboo

THE LANY TOUR: PART 2:

Sept 25            New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues 

Sept 26            Houston, TX @ House of Blues 

Sept 27            Austin, TX @ Emo's 

Sept 28            Dallas, TX @ House of Blues

Sept 29            Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom

Oct 2                Orlando, FL @ The Beacham Theater

Oct 3                Ft Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution

Oct 5                Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works

Oct 6                Atlanta, GA @ The Buckhead Theatre

Oct 7                Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle

Oct 9                Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore Silver Spring

Oct 10              Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts

Oct 11              Boston, MA @ House of Blues

Oct 14              New York, NY @ Irving Plaza

Oct 15              New York, NY @ Irving Plaza

Oct 17              Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew's Hall

Oct 18              Toronto, ONT @ Danforth Music Hall

Oct 19              Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall

Oct 20              Chicago, IL @ House of Blues

Oct 21              Chicago, IL @ House of Blues

Oct 23              Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue

Oct 24              Kansas City, MO @ TBD

Oct 25              Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre

Oct 26              Salt Lake City, UT @ Rockwell at The Complex

Oct 29              San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore

Oct 30              San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore

Nov 1               Las Vegas, NV @ Vinyl at Hard Rock

Nov 2               Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren

Nov 3               Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern 

Nov 4               Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern

Nov 6               Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom

Nov 7               Seattle, WA @ The Showbox

Nov 9               Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre

Nov 11             Edmonton, ALB @ Union Hall

Nov 12             Calgary, ALB @ MacEwan Ballroom

 

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud

http://thisislany.com

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-lanys-debut-album-32-on-billboard-top-200-and-top-10-on-digital-album-chart Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:11:23 GMT
NEWS: Alternative Rock Band Color Til Monday Announced Dates with Sea of Trees https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-alternative-rock-band-color-til-monday-announced-dates-with-sea-of-trees
San Diego, California Alternative Rock band Color Til Monday have announced dates with Sea of Trees and Goosey Grey that kicks off on August 2nd at Parks and Rock in Anaheim, CA. In addition, the band is newly endorsed by Dirtbag Clothing and will be participating in the Dirtbag Clothing Sponsorship Program.

 

The band self released their 5 song EP titled Make Your Mark earlier this year and it can be found at the following links:

 

Color Til Monday originated in San Diego California with an Alternative blend of different influences. The band formed in December 2015, looking to be a part of something greater than the mundane everyday life. Color til Monday stands for staying up late before their work shifts and making time to get together to make a difference in a creative way. They present their struggles through art and music in hopes to reach the zombified public that seems more bored than ever before. They plan to take out their creative markers and "Color til Monday." Stay original, stay beautiful, stay you! There has only ever been one you and there has only been one Color til Monday!

 

Color Til Monday is:

  • Jennie Campos - Vocals
  • Jerrin "Moogz" Foote - Drums
  • Jeffrey Lee - Bass
  • Ramiro "Savage" Cazares Jr - Guitarist
  • Ben Hailey - Guitarist

 

For More Information please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/colortilmonday

www.instagram.com/colortilmonday

www.twitter.com/colortilmonday

 

Photo Credit: Cisa Salinas

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-alternative-rock-band-color-til-monday-announced-dates-with-sea-of-trees Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:06:26 GMT
NEWS: THE AGONIST Release Video For "The Raven Eyes" https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-the-agonist-release-video-for-the-raven-eyes
As THE AGONIST get ready to hit the road, the band has released a video for their song "The Raven Eyes".  The song is taken from their Napalm Records debut Five, which was released late last year. (Order yours HERE)

 

Watch the video for "The Raven Eyes" HERE.

 

Guitarist Danny Marino speaks about the song and video, "Writing this was a departure for Vicky and I but it may have been one of the most rewarding as songwriters. It allowed us to explore sounds and emotions we've always wanted to but could never quite get to in a metal setting. Also, working with Igor Khoroshev (Yes) really helped bring out the full depth of Vicky's piano and string arrangements. The lyrics were originally inspired by stories of the renaissance plague doctors. FTB Visuals was able to take these themes and create a modern world storyline with an equally dark overtone that captured the painful emotions in the song."

 

The band is currently preparing for theirfirst ever headline Canadian tour. The tour starts August 4th in Montreal, QC and runs through August 29th in Regina, SK.  A complete list of dates can be found below:

THE AGONIST:

08/04/17 Montreal, QC @ Foufounes Electriques

08/05/17 Toronto, ON The Rockpile

08/06/17 Kingston, ON @ Overtime Sports Bar

08/10/17 Rimouski, QC @ Bar Le Match

08/11/17 Moncton, NB @ Le Coude

08/12/17 Halifax, NS @ Gus Pub

08/14/17 Jonquiere, QC @ Salle le 4 Barils

08/15/17 Quebec City, QC @ L'Anti Bar & Spectacles

08/16/17 Trois-Rivieres, QC @ Rock cafe le Stage

08/17/17 Gatineau, QC @ Minotaure

08/18/17 Rouyn, QC @ Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda

08/20/17 Thunder Bay, ON @ Crocks

08/22/17 Saskatoon, SK @ Vangelis Tavern

08/23/17 Edmonton, AB @ Brixx

08/24/17 Prince George, BC @ Generator Cabaret

08/25/17 Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre

08/26/17 Kamloops, BC @ The Dirty Jersey

08/28/17 Calgary, AB @ Palamino

08/29/17 Regina, SK @ The Exchange

08/30/17 Winnipeg, MB The Park Theatre

 

More on THE AGONIST and Five: THE AGONIST is a Canadian extreme metal band from Montreal, Quebec, formed in 2004. The current line up consists of guitarists Danny Marino and Pascal (Paco) Jobin, bassist Chris Kells, drummer Simon Mckay, and vocalist Vicky Psarakis, who joined in March 2014 following the departure of vocalist and founding member Alissa White-Gluz. Both Psarakis and White-Gluz use growled and clean vocals. To date, THE AGONIST has released four studio albums; the latest, "Eye of Providence", was released in February 2015. Touring extensively since their first album, they have shared the stage with bands such as Arsonists Get All the Girls, Epica, the Faceless, Chelsea Grin, Kamelot and Visions of Atlantis.

 

Five was produced by Mike Plotnikoff at West Valley Studios.  Mike has engineered and produced such artists as Buckcherry, Flyleaf, My Chemical Romance, Apocalyptica, P.O.D, Halestorm, Skillet, Seether, P.O.D. Three Days Grace, Aerosmith, and Kiss

 

Maor Appelbaum handled the mastering at Maor Appelbaum Mastering studios.  Maor has had the pleasure of mastering recordings for major international acts such as: Faith No More, Yes, Starset, Ill Nino, Dokken, Fates Warning, Sepultura, Yngwie Malmsteen, Armored Saint, Lita Ford, Butcher Babies, and more.

 

For More Info Visit:

http://theagonistband.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheAgonistOfficial

https://www.instagram.com/theagonistofficial

https://twitter.com/theagonist

 

Photo Credit: FAYA

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-the-agonist-release-video-for-the-raven-eyes Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:03:55 GMT
NEWS: Colt.22 To Release Debut Album ‘Freedom/Freewill’ on August 25 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-colt-22-to-release-debut-album-freedom/freewill-on-august-25

(Los Angeles, CA) – Los Angeles alternative indie-rock band Colt.22 will release their highly-anticipated debut album Freedom/Freewill on indie label Elite Frequency Group with distribution by The Orchard on Friday, August 25th. Colt.22 is a collaboration between two experienced music producers and writers, John “Fingazz” Stary and Travis Pavur. Their mission is to draw upon influences of the past and fuse them with the sound of now. This fusion has a powerful reaction, like the recoil of a gun, firing out lyrical content like bullets of self-awareness and knowledge. They blend Stary’s gritty emotional vocals and driving beats with Pavur’s solid rock guitar riffs. A compilation of 11 songs, Freedom/Freewill is an exploration of blues, rock, and electronic music that uses heavy anthemic chants layered with harmonies.

 

Pre-order Freedom/Freewill - http://apple.co/2t32elP

 

The video for the album's first single "Call To Action" is a tribute to cult classic films like Kill Bill and Sin City. Following Los Angeles parkour stunt group Substance Over Hype, "it's got gunfights, martial arts, and car chases and is generally bad ass" (Ghettoblaster Magazine).

 

Both, Fingazz and Pavur, met in 2011 while working on a project for Interscope Records. Fingazz is a platinum award certified hip-hop producer best known around the globe as one of the few masters of the "talkbox," which has been featured on records by Snoop Dogg, Mike Posner, Far East Movement, Flo Rida, Tyga, Bryson Tiller, Just Blaze, and many more.  His sound can be described as "Future Funk" and his song “Winning” won on So You Think You Can Dance. In contrast, the New Orleans-born Pavur is a rocker through and through. He has recorded and produced countless up and coming rock acts from his own Los Angeles studio, Golden Beat Recording. Currently, he is an engineer at the historic Valentine Recording Studios as well, working with acts like Lana Del Rey and Eagles of Death Metal. During their time at Interscope, the two lived together in a Hollywood Hills music collective. They immediately hit it off and began working together with an intense focus to fuel the world with a new alt rock sound. Enter: Colt.22.

 

About Elite Frequency Group: Elite Frequency Group (EFG) is a new Project-Based Music Company.  EFG curates collaborations along various styles of music in pursuit of one goal: making great music. Unlike a traditional label, EFG focuses on one-off project deals. The group will still provide full infrastructure to a project, however, they leave artists the freedom to create without being “owned" by the label.  EFG works closely with brands and traditional entertainment outlets to help its artists find success with sync opportunities, sponsorships, and expansion into other areas like film and television. See more at EFGmusic.com.

 

For more information please visit:

https://www.colt22.rocks

https://www.facebook.com/colt22.rocks

https://twitter.com/colt22rocks

https://www.youtube.com/elitefrequencygroup

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-colt-22-to-release-debut-album-freedom/freewill-on-august-25 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:01:36 GMT
NEWS: GRAMMY® WINNERS FLEETWOOD MAC TO BE HONORED AS 2018 MUSICARES® PERSON OF THE YEAR https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-grammy-winners-fleetwood-mac-to-be-honored-as-2018-musicares-person-of-the-year SANTA MONICA, Calif. (July 19, 2017) — Two-time GRAMMY® winners Fleetwood Mac will be honored at the 2018 MusiCares® Person of the Year tribute on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, it was announced today by Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the MusiCares Foundation® and the Recording Academy™. Proceeds from the 28th annual benefit gala—to be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City during GRAMMY® Week two nights prior to the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards®—will provide essential support for MusiCares (www.musicares.org), which ensures music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical, and personal need. The evening's tribute chairs are Shelli and Irving Azoff, Dorothy and Martin Bandier, Kristin and James Dolan, and Anna Chapman and Ronald Perelman.

 

Fleetwood Mac are being honored as the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year in recognition of their significant creative accomplishments and their longtime support of a number of charitable causes, including MusiCares, the premier safety net of critical resources for the music industry.

 

"Our 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute is a celebration of firsts—the first time our annual signature gala will be held in New York City in 15 years, and the first time in the benefit's history that we will honor a band," said Portnow. "This excitement is only matched by the genuine thrill and privilege of paying tribute to Fleetwood Mac, a legendary and influential group of artists whose music has provided the soundtrack for music lovers around the world."

 

"It's a tremendous honor to be the first band to receive the MusiCares Person of the Year award," said Mick Fleetwood on behalf of Fleetwood Mac. "Independently and together, we all set off on a journey to spend our lives as artists, songwriters, and musicians. None of us did it alone and there were plenty of helping hands along the way, so we applaud and celebrate MusiCares' guiding principles of giving musicians a helping hand and a place to turn in times of need. We are very appreciative of this recognition."

 

As one of the best-selling bands of all time, Fleetwood Mac have sold more than 100 million records worldwide and established their place in rock and roll music history. Having created a distinctive sound that endures today, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Their 1977 album Rumours remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. In 2015, the band's classic and most successful line up—comprising Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Stevie Nicks—reunited for the first time since 1998 for the On With The Show tour. The tour sold out arenas across the globe and showcased classic hit songs from Fleetwood Mac's career such as "The Chain," "Go Your Own Way," "Dreams," "Don't Stop," "Big Love," "Little Lies," and "Rhiannon," among others.

 

The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute ceremony is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week and was last held in New York City in 2003. The celebration culminates with the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The telecast will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

 

Established in 1989 by the Recording Academy, the MusiCares Foundation offers health and human services and programs to members of the music community, including emergency financial assistance for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities, and car payments; medical expenses, including doctor, dentist and hospital bills; psychotherapy; and treatment for HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, hepatitis C, and other critical illnesses. MusiCares offers nationwide educational workshops covering a variety of subjects, including financial, legal, medical, and substance abuse issues, and programs in collaboration with health care professionals that provide services such as flu shots, hearing tests and medical/dental screening.

 

The MusiCares MAP Fund® provides access to addiction recovery treatment and sober living resources for members of the music community. Staffed by qualified chemical dependency and intervention specialists, MusiCares offers Safe Harbor Room® support, sponsored in part by the Bohemian Foundation, to provide a network to those in recovery while they are participating in the production of televised music shows and other major music events. MusiCares holds weekly addiction support groups for people to discuss how to best cope with the issues surrounding the recovery process. The MusiCares Sober Touring Network is a database of individuals across the United States who can take music people to recovery support meetings while on the road.

 

For more information, please visit www.musicares.org. For breaking news and exclusive content, please "like" MusiCares on Facebook and follow @MusiCares on Twitter and Instagram.

 

The Recording Academy represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, the Academy honors music's history while investing in its future through the GRAMMY Museum®, advocates on behalf of music creators, supports music people in times of need through MusiCares, and celebrates artistic excellence through the GRAMMY Awards—music's only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement. As the world's leading society of music professionals, we work year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.

 

For more information about the Academy, please visit www.grammy.com. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @RecordingAcad on Twitter, "like" Recording Academy on Facebook, and join the Recording Academy's social communities on InstagramTumblr, and YouTube.

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-grammy-winners-fleetwood-mac-to-be-honored-as-2018-musicares-person-of-the-year Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:56:23 GMT
NEWS: Android Lust Announces Sixth Studio Album Berlin https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-android-lust-announces-sixth-studio-album-berlin
July 19th 2017-Los Angeles, CA Electronic/Industrial artist Android Lust announce the release of her sixth studio album Berlin (Crater Vol 2).

 

A city is a living thing. Through the generations that pass through it, the historical eras that change it, the culture and art that thrives and evolves within it, a city develops a personality of its own. This identity is vast, ancient, and sprawling, distinct from all others, resting in the very bricks and timbers like DNA. A person trying to know the city fully would find it impossible, as a being from three dimensional existence would fail to comprehend life in five dimensions. The soul of a city can only be glimpsed in snapshots of time and space.

 

Berlin, the sixth studio album by Android Lust and the second in her Crater series, is just such a snapshot. "I am inspired by cities. The Human Animal was my New York record", says Shikhee of her 2010 venture, and for her followup to 2013's Crater Vol. 1, she set her sights on the German capital. "Berlin has always attracted me for many reasons. It spawned more than a few of my musical heroes." For a few weeks in 2015, she immersed herself in the metropolis, exploring museums, famous studios, abandoned buildings, and more, recording audio everywhere she went.

 

The Crater series has seen Shikhee, the sole creator behind Android Lust, shift focus from songs to soundscapes and sonic sculptures. Through the ambiance of busy streets, lonely alcoves, even the Berlin wall itself, the soul of the city is sensed, but never fully revealed. This is Shikhee's snapshot, manipulated, augmented, and abstracted through her meticulous layering and sound design. Berlin ruminates on a city of riveting history and immeasurably rich culture by focusing on the atomic level of aural signatures and building up from there into a unique and powerful record that propels Android Lust beyond anything she's done before.

 

Berlin will be released August 18th. You can check listen to the first single Daughters Of Dawn right HERE

 

Track list:

  1. Eclipse I
  2. Eclipse II
  3. Daughters Of Dawn
  4. Insects
  5. Heart Tunnel
  6. Crawl
  7. In Memory
  8. Plaza Steps
  9. Madness In Men
  10. Eventide

 

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-android-lust-announces-sixth-studio-album-berlin Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:22:05 GMT
NEWS: Dashboard Confessional and The All-American Rejects Cover Each Other https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-dashboard-confessional-and-the-all-american-rejects-cover-each-other

photo credit: David Bean

Less than a week ago, DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL and THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS set out on a summer-long adventure. To commemorate the tour, both bands covered each other. Dashboard Confessional chose “Move Along” and The All-American Rejects settled on “Hands Down”. (Dates Below)

 

“When covering a song, we try to adhere as closely as we can to the most recognizable earmarks,” explains Chris Carrabba. “Most importantly the melody. The fun comes in the choices the band can make around those earmarks. We had a blast making ‘Move Along’ ours. The song has so much color and power it was easy to feel inspired by it.”

 

Tyson Ritter adds, “’Hands Down’ is an open-hearted story of young love. In the original recording, the vocal performance is something that carries you through that tale of pure discovery. Vocally, my immediate intention was to play the opposite. For the musical canvas, we wanted to take all the candy away from this song and feed it nothing but opiates, leaving you feeling as if the instrumentation itself was the nerves the lyrics were expressing.”

 

Listen to their renditions over at Consequence of Soundhttps://consequenceofsound.net/2017/07/dashboard-confessional-and-the-all-american-rejects-cover-each-other-to-celebrate-co-headlining-tour-stream/

photo credit: Eliot Lee Hazel                                         

After the release of his debut album 2000’s Swiss Army Romance, Dashboard Confessional, the solo moniker for Chris Carrabba gained the loyalty of fans through his honest heartfelt lyrics. The following year, Carrabba entered the studio to record The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut. As a result of the sudden success of his second solo effort, Dashboard Confessional exploded and was everywhere from MTV to VH1 to MTV2 to magazine covers (Spin, Alternative Press, Guitar World Acoustic). Fans even copied Carrabba’s style down to his haircut.

 

By 2002 three other musicians had joined the band and Carrabba was asked to perform on MTV Unplugged and the subsequent live release marked the first time that many of the songs were recorded with a full band. Later that year, the band’s first breakout single “Screaming Infidelities” off of The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most won the MTV2 Award at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. Their third studio album A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart and was certified gold by RIAA. The band went on to release three more albums (Dusk and SummerThe Shade of Poison TreesAlter the Ending) over the next six years. To date, Dashboard Confessional has three RIAA certified gold-selling albums (Swiss Army RomanceThe Places You Have Come to Fear the MostA Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar) and has had numerous songs featured on TV (Cougar TownOne Tree HillScrubsAll My ChildrenLaguna BeachNCISCold CaseClone High) and in movies (Shrek 2Spider-Man 2Made of HonorSydney White).

 

Known for stadium-size sing-alongs steeped in pop panache and rock ‘n’ roll danger, cheeky wit, and raucous concerts that border on religious experiences, The All-American Rejects confidently waltz against the grain. Their 2017 EP and fifth full-length album continue a near two-decade tradition of ballsy, brash, and bold pop rock anthems. The band first shook up the scene with their 2003 platinum-selling self-titled debut. Its double-platinum 2005 follow-up Move Along spawned the platinum smash “Dirty Little Secret,” while 2008’s gold-certified When The World Comes Down yielded their biggest hit to date: the quadruple-platinum “Gives You Hell.” In total, sales have exceeded 10 million worldwide as Billboard ranked them on its Hot 100 Artists of the 2000s list and Billboard 200 Artists of the Decade list. Most recently, Kids In The Street notched acclaim from Rolling StoneEntertainment WeeklyUSA Today, and more. It’s only the beginning though…

 

Dashboard Confessional is Chris Carrabba (vocals, guitar), Scott Schoenbeck (bass), Armon Jay (guitar, keys), Ben Homola (drums).

 

The All-American Rejects is Tyson Ritter (lead vocalist, bassist), Nick Wheeler (lead guitarist, backing vocals), Mike Kennerty (rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist) and Chris Gaylor (drums).

 

Tickets: https://www.dashboardconfessional.com

Jul 21          Myth *                                                           St. Paul, MN

Jul 22          Stir Cove at Harrah’s Casino *                 Council Bluffs, IA

Jul 23          The Pageant *                                              St. Louis, MO

Jul 25          Express Live! #                                           Columbus, OH

Jul 26          Fillmore Detroit #                                      Detroit, MI

Jul 29          Tag’s Summer Stage #                              Big Flats, NY

Jul 30          Sands Event Center #                               Bethlehem, PA

Aug 03        Central Park Summer Stage #                  New York, NY

Aug 04        Foxwoods Resort Casino #                       Mashantucket, CT

Aug 05        Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion #        Gilford, NH

Aug 06        Blue Hills Bank Pavilion #                        Boston, MA

Aug 08        Stage AE #                                                    Pittsburgh, PA

Aug 09        Festival Pier #                                              Philadelphia, PA

Aug 10        Wolf Trap #                                                   Vienna, VA

Aug 12        Ascend Amphitheater #                              Nashville, TN

Aug 13        Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amp. #     Charlotte, NC

Aug 15        Ravinia Festival %                                        Highland Park, IL

# The Maine 

* The Social Animals

% Dashboard Confessional and The All-American Rejects

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Spotify

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-dashboard-confessional-and-the-all-american-rejects-cover-each-other Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:19:06 GMT
NEWS: Rhonda Vincent and Daryle Singletary Debut at No. 1 on Bluegrass Albums Chart https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-rhonda-vincent-and-daryle-singletary-debut-at-no-1-on-bluegrass-albums-chart
NASHVILLE, TENN. – Music buyers take a stand to show that Traditional Country Music hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s loved, alive, and well, as the incredible new project American Grandstand landed its first week on Billboard’s Top Current Country Albums chart at No. 10. It is No. 1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart, and No.1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album Chart for the week of July 29, 2017.

 

Not since George & Tammy and Conway & Loretta has there been a vocal duet performance like Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary. This week marks yet another indication that buyers love the authentic, unaltered voices of two of the greatest singers in this generation of country music.

 

“The New Queen of Bluegrass” Rhonda Vincent and country hitmaker Daryle Singletary share their thoughts as they celebrate being at the top of the charts!

 

Daryle says, “I just want to say how excited Rhonda and I are on the chart debut of American Grandstand. We really didn’t know what to expect, but this CD has charted way beyond our expectations and we can’t say thanks enough to every single person that supported our efforts and purchased the new duet project. God Bless Country music and Country music fans. We love ya’ll!!”

 

“This is so special! I don’t know what makes me happier, #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts or a Top 10 Album on the Current Country charts!” says Rhonda. “Either way, I am thrilled beyond words, and thankful to each of you who purchased and sent your love for this new music! Thank you for your incredible support of Traditional Country music, and if you don’t have American Grandstand please go get it!”

 

This chart-topping project was released on Upper Management Music, and features 12 amazing songs; with originals like the title song written by Rhonda Vincent, along with country classics like the first single “One,” that was written by hit country writer/performer Ed Bruce and originally performed by country legends George Jones and Tammy Wynette.

 

This dynamic duo is off to a blockbuster start, with rave reviews, and a momentum that started with their numerous Nashville performances at the CMA Music FestMusic City Roots, and The Grand Ole Opry.

 

“American Grandstand” is available now at AmericanGrandstand.com and wherever music is sold.

 

Fans can catch “The Most Award-Winning Band in Bluegrass Music History” Rhonda Vincent & The Rage on the road throughout the remainder of the year, as the IBMA “Entertainer of the Year” and 8-time “Female Vocalist of the Year” winner makes stops at festivals and venues throughout North America, plus a return visit to Europe’s Bluegrass Capital - Prague, Czech Republic www.rhondainprague.cz in September, along with a stop at Switzerland’s Most Prestigious Country Music Festival in beautiful Gstaad.

 

American Grandstand Track Listing:

  1. Above and Beyond
  2. One
  3. After The Fire Is Gone
  4. American Grandstand
  5. Slowly But Surely
  6. As We Kiss Our World Goodbye
  7. Can’t Live Life
  8. Golden Ring
  9. We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds
  10. Louisiana Woman Mississippi Man
  11. A Picture of Me Without You
  12. Up This Hill and Down

 

Rhonda Vincent On Tour:

Jul 19 Sheridan, WY – Whitney Center for the Arts

Jul 20 Livingston, MT – Music Ranch Montana

Jul 22-23 Darrington, WA – Darrington Bluegrass Festival

Jul 27 Hiawassee, GA – Georgia Mountain Fair

Aug 03-04 Thornton, NH – Pemi Valley Festival

Aug 05 Milan, MI – Milan Bluegrass Festival

Aug 11 Hebron, CT – Podunk Bluegrass Festival

Aug 17 Marion, NC – North Carolina Bluegrass Festival

Aug 18 Gettysburg, PA – Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival

Aug 19 Salyersville, KY - Magoffin County 14th Annual Community Day

Aug 23 Rhonda - TV Filming

Aug 25 Keene, Ontario, Canada – Greenbridge Celtic Folk Festival

Aug 26 Washington, PA – Wild Things Park

Sep 02 Fort Fairfield, ME – County Bluegrass

Sep 06 Prague, Czech Republic

Sep 8-9 Gstaad, Switzerland – Country Night Gstaad

Sep 14 Kodak, TN – Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival

Sep 15 Conway, MO – Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival

Sep 16-17 Flagstaff, AZ – Pickin’ in the Pines

Sep 23 Vine Grove, KY – Vine Grove Bluegrass Music Festival

Sep 30 Hartselle, AL – Hartselle High School Auditorium

Oct 19 Breman, GA – Milltown Music Hall with Daryle Singletary

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-rhonda-vincent-and-daryle-singletary-debut-at-no-1-on-bluegrass-albums-chart Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:13:34 GMT
NEWS: Grunge/Glam Queens Sharkmuffin premiere new single "Where's My Mimosa" via BUST https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-grunge/glam-queens-sharkmuffin-premiere-new-single-wheres-my-mimosa-via-bust

Sharkmuffin is Tarra Thiessen and Natalie Kirch, a duo of Brooklynite sirens bred from the waves of the Jersey shore. Influenced by everyone from Nirvana to The Ronettes, Sharkmuffin adds a unique jagged edge onto ‘60s beach pop meets ‘90s alt sound, a genre lovingly dubbed “opti-mystic glam-grunge.” With several cross-country tours (including many return trips to SXSW) and no shortage of killer tracks, Sharkmuffin has been creating a veritable whirlpool of musical chaos.

 

Their latest installment is the stick-your-tongue-out cheeky “Where’s My Mimosa” from their up-coming EP Split Cassette, a split with psychedelic punk meets rock band The Off White. The tracks screams out for intersectional feminism. Thiessen explains to BUST, “Lyrically in ‘Where's my Mimosa?’ I poke fun at myself for feeling like an annoying white girl who can afford to occasionally go to brunch and eat avocado toast. In today's world where it seems like many feminist indie rock bands are a group of, or include cute slim white women who intentionally or unintentionally use their sex appeal to further their careers, it's important to acknowledge this privilege and realize how painful it is to continue reinforcing these standards. Feminism is for all women (and men) and we need to support more diverse images of women and work towards a more inclusive music community.

 

I am very thankful for the life I have, and believe women should be able to express themselves in any way they want, but I am also self-aware of those who aren't as lucky and hope we can create an open dialogue with our music in discussing issues like these."

 

Split Cassette will be released July 21 via Little Dickman records. Check out Sharkmuffin’s upcoming US tour dates below.

 

SHARKMUFFIN TOUR DATES:

7/20 -- Muchmore's Brooklyn, NY (Split EP Release Show)

7/21  -- Bond Street Bar -- Abury Park, NJ

7/23  -- Pacecloud -- Providence, RI

7/24 -- Cafe 9  -- New Haven, CT

7/25 -- Mr Smalls Funhouse  -- Pittsburg, PA

7/26 -- The Barbary -- Philadelphia, PA

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-grunge/glam-queens-sharkmuffin-premiere-new-single-wheres-my-mimosa-via-bust Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:10:55 GMT
NEWS: Horror Metal Group TERROR UNIVERSAL Announce Debut Full-Length Album Details https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-horror-metal-group-terror-universal-announce-debut-full-length-album-details
Masked horror metal frontrunners TERROR UNIVERSAL - featuring current and former members of Machine Head, Soulfly, Upon A Burning Body and Ill Nino - are thrilled to announce their signing with Minus Head Records, home to buzzing metal and alternative artists All Hail The Yeti, Death Valley High, Incite and Kill the Precedent.Furthermore, the band will release their upcoming debut full-length album, entitled Make Them Bleed, on Friday, October 13, 2017 via Minus Head. More album details are set to be announced soon, but you can pre-order the album right now via Bandcamp.

 

"It is both an honor and a pleasure to sign with Minus Head Records," says TERROR UNIVERSAL drummer Massacre. "Label owner and CEO Brad Hardie has a strong passion for heavy metal and understands the elements needed to break a band like TERROR UNIVERSAL in the marketplace. It is very seldom in this industry that a label cares that much about their bands. We are ready, and we are here to dominate."

 

Minus Head Records owner and CEO Brad Hardie adds, "Very excited to add TERROR UNIVERSAL to the roster. Their combination of metal with horror lyrics and imagery is exactly the kind of thing we look for! Can't wait to unleash this beast of a record!"

 

Make Them Bleed Track Listing:

  1. Welcome to Hell
  2. Passage of Pain
  3. Dig You a Hole
  4. Dead on Arrival
  5. Through the Mirrors
  6. Your Time Has Come
  7. Make Them Bleed
  8. Into Darkness
  9. Spines
  10. Piece by Piece

 

TERROR UNIVERSAL are no strangers to being on the road, as they have shared many stages with international acts such as Korn, Asking Alexandria, Hellyeah, Papa Roach and Fear Factory. The band is on tour right now in the states with rotating openers and labelmates Incite. See below for all remaining confirmed tour dates.

 

Remaining TERROR UNIVERSAL Tour Dates with Incite:

7/20 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon

7/21 Spokane, WA @ The Pin

7/22 Jerome, ID @ Diamondz Event Center

7/23 Salt Lake City, UT @ Liquid Joe's

7/24 Colorado Springs, CO @ Sunshine Studios

7/26 Las Vegas, NV @ Adrenaline

7/27 W. Hollywood, CA @ Whiskey A Go Go

 

Terror is coming your way! Stay tuned for more details on the album, plus track and video reveals, coming soon!

 

TERROR UNIVERSAL online:

www.terroruniversal.com

www.facebook.com/terroruniversalofficial

www.twitter.com/terroruniversal

 

TERROR UNIVERSAL is:

  • Vocals: PLAGUE
  • Drums: MASSACRE
  • Guitars: THRAX
  • Bass: DIABOLUS
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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-horror-metal-group-terror-universal-announce-debut-full-length-album-details Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:07:59 GMT
NEWS: HARTS Premieres Debut U.S. Album 'Smoke Fire Hope Desire' via Culture Collide! https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-harts-premieres-debut-u-s-album-smoke-fire-hope-desire-via-culture-collide
New York, NY - July 18th, 2017 -GQ Australia's Artist of the Year (2016), Harts, has exclusively premiered his highly anticipated debut US album Smoke Fire Hope Desire via Culture Collide TODAY in advance of the official release this Friday July 21st (Washington Square/Razor & Tie). "Harts' infectious beats brim with audacious guitar riffs, heady bass lines, ebullient horns, and velvety vocals," says Culture Collide. "Blending soul, funk, jazz, hip-hop and rock .. one listen to Harts and the parallels in his songs and arrangements is clear. This is music you feel." PRESS HERE to stream the album now!

 

The 14 tracks on the album came to life in Harts' bedroom studio with the virtuoso acting as an architect building, playing and recording every single note. The electrifying lead single "Peculiar," flaunts a hummable guitar solo between orchestral horns, slinky bass and an urgent and chantable refrain. While "Fear In Me" ponders the state of the world, the funked-up strut of "Power" gives way to an uplifting message and another electrifying display of six-string fireworks. "Hope" delivers a hip-hop inspired bounce over a hypnotic refrain, and the album culminates in a 6-minute blues-inspired odyssey "Ain't Too Far Gone," which respectfully pays homage to some of Harts' heroes, Buddy Guy and B.B. King.

 

The album title "Is a play on that old saying, 'Where there's smoke, there's fire,'" Harts admits. "I added a positive second line, Where there's hope, there's desire.' That phrase really sparked the whole context, which means hope and desire are a direct response to smoke and fire. There's a lot of sadness and trouble in our world, but there's still a lot of love being born." Complete track listing can be found below.

 

To celebrate the release, Harts has embarked on a series of exclusive U.S. dates. After successful shows at Milwaukee's Summer Fest and School Night show in Los Angeles, Harts will be bringing his live show to Chicago, NYC, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia and more.Please see full routing below!

 

Smoke Fire Hope Desire Track Listing:

  1. Smoke
  2. Fear In Me
  3. All Rise
  4. Fire (Interlude)
  5. Peculiar
  6. Power
  7. Deeper The Hole
  8. Hope
  9. Unfamiliar
  10. Wisdom
  11. Realize
  12. Here I Go
  13. Desire
  14. Ain't Too Far Gone

 

Harts Upcoming Summer Tour Dates:

July 29th - Chicago, IL @ Wicker Park Fest

August 2nd - Washington D.C. @ DC9

August 3rd - New York, NY @ South Street Seaport

August 4th - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

August 5th - Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory

 

For More Harts:

http://www.hartsmusic.com

https://www.facebook.com/Hartsmusic

https://www.instagram.com/hartsmusic

https://twitter.com/harts

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-harts-premieres-debut-u-s-album-smoke-fire-hope-desire-via-culture-collide Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:04:40 GMT
NEWS: Yoke Lore dances the pain away in new video, "Only You" | "Good Pain" EP available now https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-yoke-lore-dances-the-pain-away-in-new-video-only-you-good-pain-ep-available-now
Yoke Lore started 2017 with a bang, playing shows alongside Wild Child & Urban Cone and making his SXSW debut. In spring, Yoke Lore joined Overcoats, Shura & The Pains of Being Pure At Heart for a slew of dates; this summer, he's playing a handful of festivals as well as supporting Brick + Mortar - see below for routing!

 

Yoke Lore, the new musical venture of Adrian ​Galvin, previously of Yellerkin​ and Walk the Moon​. Galvin grew up in an artistic family, his mother a director and his father an actor and sculptor. He was immersed in painting, photography, and ballet from an early age, eventually finding his first musical passion in the drums. While pursuing music, his artistry in other disciplines has not faltered, even lending his own artwork as the cover of his 2016 debut EP. Far Shore EP achieved over 4 million Spotify streams, 3 Hype Machine​ top ten singles, and songs from the EP were featured in MTV’s The Real World and Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet. Galvin’s newest EP, Goodpain, has racked up over 2 million Spotify streams in a short period of time and includes the #1 Hype Machine song “Goodpain”.

 

Upcoming tour dates:

7/21 San Francisco, CA // Rickshaw Stop

7/27 Buffalo, NY // The Waiting Room *

7/28 Lakewood, OH // The Foundry *

7/29 Cincinnati, OH // Woodward Theater *

8/1 Indianapolis, IN // The Hi-Fi *

8/2 St. Louis, MO // The Firebird *

8/3 Lawrence, KS // The Bottleneck *

8/4 Colorado Springs, CO // The Black Sheep *

8/5 Denver, CO // Globe Hall *

8/19-20 Jones Beach, NY // Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival

11/16-18 Las Vegas, NV // Emerge Music + Impact Conference

* with Brick + Mortar

 

find Yoke Lore:

f a c e b o o k

s o u n d c l o u d

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-yoke-lore-dances-the-pain-away-in-new-video-only-you-good-pain-ep-available-now Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:44:33 GMT
NEWS: SARA EVANS GEARS UP FOR "WORDS" – OUT JULY 21 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-sara-evans-gears-up-for-words-out-july-21

Nashville, Tenn. – July 18, 2017 – Multi-platinum country star SARA EVANS is gearing up for her highly anticipated new album, Words, out July 21. Check out Entertainment Tonight for an online exclusive behind the scenes look at the making of Words. Tomorrow, USA Today and The Tennessean will offer a first listen to the full album before its release while Taste of Country will roll out an exclusive cover story with Sara and an in-depth look at the inspiration behind Words. For more great stories behind the project, tune into Sirius XM and catch “Y2Kountry Presents A Sara Evans Album Premier!” starting Friday, July 21 at 11am eastern. Visit siriusxm.com/y2kountry for additional airdates and times.

 

Fans can catch Sara on the road this week with shows July 20 in Tulsa, OKand an album launch date concert on July 21 at Billy Bob’s in Ft. Worth, TX. From there, she will travel to New York City for appearances on July 24 with AOL, Paste, and Facebook where she will be #FBArtistoftheDay. On July 25, tune in to see Sara perform on nationally-syndicated talk show “Live with Kelly and Ryan”! She will wrap the whirlwind week with shows in Ohio (July 28) and Michigan (July 29).

 

Words, which includes the “sleek” lead single “Marquee Sign,” is available for pre-order now at saraevans.co/words and releases everywhere on July 21 via Sara’s own Born To Fly Records. The 14-song collection features fourteen separate female songwriters, including powerhouses Ashley Monroe, Caitlyn Smith, Hillary Lindsey, Hillary Scott, Liz Hengber, Sonya Isaacs and more. The album marks a creative reunion for Evans, pairing her with frequent co-producer Mark Bright (2005’s Real Fine Place, 2014’s Slow Me Down) while Tracy Gershon and Craig Dunn provide A&R direction.

 

Family is at the forefront of Words as daughter Olivia Evans (14) sings on “Marquee Sign” and Sara’s siblings Matt Evans, Lesley Evans Lyons and Ashley Evans Simpson provide harmonies on “Night Light.” In “Letting You Go,” Sara pours out her heart for son and oldest child Avery as he prepares to embark on his senior year of high school.

 

Pre-order Words today:

LISTEN TO “MARQUEE SIGN” - iTunesApple MusicAmazon DigitalSpotifyGoogle Play

 

About Sara Evans: Multi-platinum entertainer SARA EVANS is at the top of her game. With five No. 1 Country singles including “No Place That Far,” “Suds In The Bucket, “A Real Fine Place To Start,” “Born to Fly,” and “A Little Bit Stronger,” which spent 2 weeks in the top spot and was certified platinum by the R.I.A.A., Sara thrills audiences across the U.S. playing close to 100 shows each year. Her “stunning, country voice” (Rolling Stone) has earned her the prestigious Academy of Country Music Top Female vocalist accolade as well as numerous American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Country Music Association, CMT and Grammy Awards nominations. In addition, the CMA awarded Video of the Year honors for her hit chart-topping single, "Born to Fly" from her double-platinum album of the same name. In 2014 Evans released her critically acclaimed seventh studio album Slow Me Down, which debuted at #2 on the Country Album Chart and landed in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart, winning over fans and media alike and dubbed her best album to date. Named one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People," Evans’ career also includes the platinum-selling studio albums Real Fine Place and Restlessand the gold-certified No Place That Far. Sara continues to forge a bold, creative path with the launch of Born To Fly Records, distributed by Sony RED, and will release her highly anticipated eighth studio album, Words, on July 21, 2017.

 

In addition to a prolific country music career, Sara is an accomplished author, lifestyle blogger and Red Cross ambassador who in 2008 was presented with the national Crystal Cross award for her work with the disaster-relief organization.

 

For more information on Sara Evans, visit:

SaraEvans.com

ARealFinePlace.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-sara-evans-gears-up-for-words-out-july-21 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:32:30 GMT
NEWS: Carbin x Milz x Top $helf Release New Noise Single “Pull Up” https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-carbin-x-milz-x-top-helf-release-new-noise-single-pull-up

Los Angeles, CA  - Bridging the gap between bass house and trap is "Pull Up" by newcomers Carbin, Milz, and Top $helf. Driven by blaring horns, foreboding sirens, and electrifying stabs, this high-energy track pierces through the soundsphere and commands attention.

 

Hailing from Oregon, rising bass star Carbin has been captivating listeners with his expansive roster of original tracks and remixes, which has earned the budding artist support from Adventure Club and Excision. Releasing two EPs XL and Gains under Electrostep Network within the last year, Carbin’s body of work is a refreshing addition to the bass music scene.

 

The elusive Milz built a following for himself through his trap rework of Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike vs Ummet Ozcan’s festival banger “The Hum,” which has amassed over half a million plays on Soundcloud. This spring the emerging bass artist remixed Lookas’ “Can’t Get Enough” alongside Dryxo, which YourEDM applauded for “taking call and response phrasing to its fullest potential.”

 

Completing the trifecta on “Pull Up” is Top $helf, a burgeoning artist known for his hybrid trap sound. Coming off his first EP Bring the Fire, Top $helf released his massive track “Poppin’ Percs,” along with a staggering list of originals and fire remixes, setting the precedent for his signature fusion of growling bass, trap rhythms, and grimy wubs.

 

New Noise is Dim Mak’s new music discovery imprint that focuses on cutting edge sounds from burgeoning artists across the genre spectrum. Launched in 2010, New Noise got its start as a compilation series highlighting fresh faces handpicked by Steve Aoki and crew. By 2015, the platform evolved into a bi-weekly, free-download model based on singles. New Noise’s current incarnation is a copyright free model that allows the budding community of Twitch gamers and amateur YouTube content creators to use New Noise music in their videos and live streams sans purchase or fees, all in exchange for linking back to the artists and their music.

 

Carbin: Facebook - Twitter - Soundcloud - Instagram

Milz: Facebook - Twitter - Soundcloud - Instagram

Top $helf: Facebook - Twitter - Soundcloud - Instagram

DIM MAK: Online - Facebook - Twitter - Soundcloud - Twitch - YouTube - Instagram

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-carbin-x-milz-x-top-helf-release-new-noise-single-pull-up Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:14:11 GMT
NEWS: RADIO MOSCOW Reveal Artwork & Debut Single off "New Beginnings", Add Fall US & UK Tour https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-radio-moscow-reveal-artwork-debut-single-off-new-beginnings-add-fall-us-uk-tour

Southern Californian rock trio RADIO MOSCOW has just delivered the masters of its fifth studio album, “New Beginnings”, which is set for release via their new label home, Century Media Records, on September 29, 2017.

 

The album’s striking cover artwork was created by artist Courtney Cole and photographer Dana Trippe with lettering coming from Robin Gnista. “New Beginnings” was recorded at Lost Ark Studio in San Diego with Mike Butler, produced by the band’s own Parker Griggs and mastered by Mark Chalecki at Little Red Book Mastering.

 

As a sneak peek at what to expect, check out a video of a radio session take of the album’s first track, “New Beginning”: https://www.vuhaus.com/videos/radio-moscow-new-beginning

 

“New Beginnings”  Track Listing:

New Beginning (WATCH)

Deceiver

Woodrose Morning

Driftin'

No One Knows Where They've Been

Last to Know

New Skin

Pacing

Pick up the Pieces

Dreams

 

"New Beginnings" will be released as regular black and limited-edition colored LP+CD (including a poster designed by Robin Gnista) as well as on CD, and all digital/streaming platforms.

 

Right on time with the release of their new opus, the band has confirmed the “The Drifting Tour”, which will drown Europe from September 26 to October 31 in waves of fuzzy, hard rocking riffs and sweaty, cranked up blues!

 

Prior to that, RADIO MOSCOW will perform at several European festivals as well as head over to the UK for a mini tour in August with support coming from The Groundhogs. Furthermore, a US west coast tour has been recently added. Full dates can be found listed below.

 

Formed in 2003, the power trio led by Stratocaster genius Parker Griggs carved their own sonic niche fusing crunching, heavy Sabbath-style chords with fiery ‘Hendrixian’ solos and a raw intensity that is addictive and captivating. From the self-titled debut back in 2007, which was produced by Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, over to last year’s “Live! In California”, RADIO MOSCOW proved to be not just a cheap time machine but a direct descendant from the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll!

 

RADIO MOSCOW LIVE DATES 2017:

8/12    Dortmund, DE - Junkyard Open Air

8/13    Cernoy, FR - Celebration Days 

8/14    London, UK - Borderline #

8/15    Hastings, UK - Paintworks # 

8/16    Bristol, UK - Exchange # 

8/17    Birmingham, UK - The Castle & Falcon 

8/19    Saint-Nolff, FR - Motorculto Festival 

8/25    Costa Mesa, CA - The Wayfarer 

8/26    Los Angeles, CA - The Resident 

8/27    San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill 

8/29    Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge

8/30    Vancouver, BC - The Cobalt 

8/31    Seattle, WA - Chop Suey 

9/1    Boise, ID - The Olympic 

9/2    Salt Lake City, UT - Crucial Fest

9/3    Las Vegas, NV - Bunkhouse

9/26    Paris, FR - Backstage ^ 

9/27    Nantes, FR - Le Ferrailleur ^ 

9/28    Bilbao, ES - Kafe Antzokia ^ 

9/29    Gijon, ES - Casino Acapulco ^ 

9/30    Porto, PT - Hard Club ^ 

10/1    Lisbon, PT - RCA ^ 

10/2    Madrid, ES - Caracol ^ 

10/3    Barcelone, ES - Rocksound ^ 

10/4    Montpellier, FR - Secret Place ^ 

10/6    Pratteln, CH - Up in Smoke ^ 

10/7    Athens, GR - Desertfest ^

10/9    Roma, IT - Traffic ^ 

10/10    Altroquando, IT - Zero Branco ^ 

10/11    Torino, IT - Blah Blah  ^ 

10/13    Antwerpen, BE - Desertfest ^ 

10/14    Groningen, NL - Vera ^ 

10/15    Cologne, DE - Underground ^ 

10/16    Wiesbaden, DE - Schlachthof ^ 

10/17    Vienna, AT - Arena ^ 

10/18    Innsbruck, AT - PMK ^ 

10/19    Etagnieres, CH - Croc The Rock Festival ^ 

10/20    Munich, DE - Keep It Low ^ 

10/21    Dresden, DE - Beatpol ^ 

10/23    Hamburg, DE - Hafenklang ^ 

10/24    Copenhagen, DK - TBA ^ 

10/25    Stockholm, SE - Undergangen ^ 

10/26    Gothenburg, SE - Sticky Fingers ^ 

10/28    Bergen, NO - Garage ^ 

10/30   Hannover, DE - Chez Heinz 

10/31    Berlin, DE - Festsaal 

# with The Groundhogs

^ with Kaleidobolt

 

Radio Moscow line-up:

  • Parker Griggs (vocals, guitar)
  • Anthony Meier (bass)
  • Paul Marrone (drums)

 

Radio Moscow online:

http://radiomoscow.net

www.facebook.com/radiomoscowband

www.instagram.com/radiomoscowband

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-radio-moscow-reveal-artwork-debut-single-off-new-beginnings-add-fall-us-uk-tour Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:37:58 GMT
NEWS: WHEELHOUSE RECORDS’ WALKER MCGUIRE MAKES GRAND OLE OPRY DEBUT https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-wheelhouse-records-walker-mcguire-makes-grand-ole-opry-debut

Nashville, TN (July 18, 2017) – Wheelhouse Records’ breakout duo Walker McGuire (comprised of Jordan Walker and Johnny McGuire) made its momentous Grand Ole Opry debut this past Friday, July 14.

 

Walker McGuire performed two songs in the legendary hallowed circle, including its debut single, “Til Tomorrow,” and crowd-pleaser “Lost” (from its forthcoming album) for a sold-out audience on a bill that also featured Opry members Connie Smith and Jeannie Seely, Carly Pearce, and genre mainstay Jamey Johnson. Rounding out the monumental evening, Walker McGuire invited longtime friend and producer Mickey Jack Cones to play guitar alongside them as part of the duo’s backing band.

 

Walker McGuire has been busy crisscrossing the U.S. touring in support of “Til Tomorrow,” which continues its ascent at Country radio and has garnered 20 MILLION Spotify streams to date. They were recently lauded as a Rolling Stone Country “Top Ten New Country Artist You Need To Know.”

 

Purchase and stream “Til Tomorrow” here: http://smarturl.it/tiltomorrow

 

For tour dates and more information on Walker McGuire, please visit: www.walkermcguire.com/tour

 

About Walker McGuire: Signed to BBR Music Group’s Wheelhouse Records, Walker McGuire (comprised of Jordan Walker and Johnny McGuire), take an opposites-attract approach to their music, fusing electrifying “brotherly” harmonies with a fresh new take on modern country.

 

After meeting onstage at a writers round just days after moving to Nashville, Jordan – the “super country” guy, raised in Texas with a love for classics like Keith Whitley and Dan Seals – and Johnny – the quintessential “rootsy” guy, a Kansas City native schooled by left-of-center icons like Tom Petty and John Prine – discovered a yin-and-yang musical connection that fit together like puzzle pieces – and the duo Walker McGuire was born.

 

The budding duo’s buzzworthy debut single “Til Tomorrow,” which has garnered over 20 MILLION Spotify streams, impacted Country radio on April 10, 2017 as a Top 3 Most Added song. They are currently working on their debut project for Wheelhouse Records, due out later this year.

 

Walker McGuire Social Links:

http://walkermcguire.com

https://www.facebook.com/WalkerMcGuire2012

https://twitter.com/Walker_McGuire

https://www.instagram.com/walkermcguire

 

Photo By: Chris Hollo

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-wheelhouse-records-walker-mcguire-makes-grand-ole-opry-debut Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:35:05 GMT
NEWS: Black Satellite drop "Valkyrie" video via Loudwire https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-black-satellite-drop-valkyrie-video-via-loudwire
July 18th, 2017 - New York City, NY - Rock duo Black Satellite have premiered the visuals for their single "Valkyrie" exclusively via Loudwire! Fans can stream the video here: goo.gl/faLCxz. The track comes from the band's debut album Endless, released on July 7th. The project is available for streaming and purchase across all platforms. For more information, please visit: https://blacksatellite.band

 

Filmed in Pennsylvania's Concrete City, the visuals for "Valkyrie" epitomize the song's hard-hitting lyrics. Loudwire noted that the duo, "definitely capture a mood with their new song as the melodic guitars lay the foundation below Vale's increasingly intensifying vocals." Lead vocalist Larissa Vale remarked, "'Valkyrie' was a way for me to take control of my innate fear of death by externalizing it." She continued saying, "We definitely wanted this video to capture the essence of the song." It's evident that they succeeded. Abandoned, desolate, and covered in graffiti Concrete City served as the perfect backdrop to one of the duo's most dynamic singles. "We traversed secluded paths stepping over shotgun shells at our feet, and passed a lot of buildings with "GET OUT" spray painted on them. We found exactly what we were looking for."

 

"Valkyrie," the band's debut single, comes from their brand new album Endless, premiered via Billboard. "The album is a visceral reflection of our growth and maturation over the last few years," Vale told Billboard, "Endless signifies our ability to finally leave the past behind after a period of feeling like we would be trapped in it forever." Mastered by Ted Jensen (Muse, Marilyn Manson, Arcade Fire), the album paints an almost cinematic landscape, with each track revealing a new facet of the duo's style and complexity. Billboard described, "Syrupy vocal hooks abound, drizzled over whole mountain ranges of studio-shined guitar tapestries." Pairing influences ranging from Alice in Chains to Yo-Yo Ma with personal, emotional experiences and stories, Black Satellite have crafted a unified body of work that showcases their undeniable range. Vale remarked that with Endless, "We not only confronted our fears head-on, but were completely immersed in them."

 

Called a "rock band beyond definition" by idobi Radio, Black Satellite have been crafting mind-blowing alt-rock for over six years. Comprised of Larissa Vale (vocals) and Kyle Hawken (guitar), the duo came together in their hometown of State College, Pennsylvania and quickly formed a loyal bond that created the foundation for Black Satellite. The sound they've developed is a culmination of a deep-rooted partnership contributing to their instinctively cohesive writing style. Since their official start the band has been praised by New Noise Magazine, Alternative Press, and more for their out-of-this-world sound. Billboard lauded the band saying, "New York City-based duo Black Satellite has unabashed, big-time arena-rock aspirations."

 

"Valkyrie" comes from Black Satellite's debut album Endless, released on July 7th.

 

For more information please visit:

https://blacksatellite.band

https://www.facebook.com/BlackSatelliteOfficial

https://www.instagram.com/blacksatellite

https://twitter.com/BlackSatellite

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-black-satellite-drop-valkyrie-video-via-loudwire Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:13:14 GMT
NEWS: My Morning Jacket Announce Lineup for One Big Holiday 2018 https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-my-morning-jacket-announce-lineup-for-one-big-holiday-2018
Cloud 9 Adventures and The Bowery Presents have announced the lineup and event details of the fourth edition of One Big Holiday, My Morning Jacket’s all-inclusive concert vacation, as the event moves to the beautiful Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Held over four nights from March 2-6, 2018, My Morning Jacket will be performing three full shows, joined by a striking lineup that includes Portugal. The Man, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Spoon, Broken Social Scene, Toots and The Maytals, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Sylvan Esso, , Moon Taxi, J. Roddy Walston and The Business, and Hurray for the Riff Raff. Late night jams and DJ sets will continue the party each night, including Britt Daniels DJ set, Made of Oak, and return of the fan-favorite Patrick Hallahan & David Givan DJ party.

 

One Big Holiday curates a full event schedule for the ultimate experience that extends way beyond the music, bringing artists and fans together in paradise. This intimate vacation is a fusion of music, fun, and adventure. Days are filled with artist-led workshops, poolside contests and games, specialty programs, daily yoga, and a planned theme night. Guests also have the opportunity to book preferred off-site excursions to explore the natural beauty of the surrounding region. Following the event, every guest will receive a download code for each My Morning Jacket show at One Big Holiday, to be redeemed by Live Downloads.

 

My Morning Jacket commented, “OBH 4!  Delighted to experience One Big Holiday with you all again. Stoked for the change, and this time we embrace The Caribbean!  After three years of launching into Mayan orbit, we are ready to share new constellations, beauty and wonder.  We can’t wait to see you there!”

 

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is a luxurious all-inclusive resort set along a stunning beach coastline with a background of lush jungle just north of Punta Cana. All meals, beverages, concerts, and activities are included in the event package price, providing guests with the ultimate vacation. Guests can choose from a wide variety of well-appointed room categories with incredible amenities spread across the spacious resort, which are all within walking distance to the main stage and late night parties. Resort trollies circle throughout the resort in frequent rotation, providing quick access to any area of the property. With 13 pools surrounded by a Venetian-style canal, nine diverse restaurants, OBH curated food areas, an expansive Spa with hydrotherapy center, a top-notch fitness center, a Nicklaus designed golf course, and the largest casino in the Dominican Republic, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana provides guests with a complete all-inclusive experience in a remarkable setting.

 

One Big Holiday is again partnering with the charitable organization Positive Legacy, encouraging artists and fans to participate in a day of service and cultural connection in the local community as a way of giving back. In addition to the day of service project, the event will feature an auction and a donation drive to benefit the local community. All proceeds from the auction will go toward the ongoing Positive Legacy charitable projects in this region.

 

Booking Details:

The pre-sale for returning guests to One Big Holiday will be July 25, 2017 at 12pm ET.

The public on sale will begin on July 26, 2017 at 12pm ET.

* Roll Call members who did not attend a previous One Big Holiday will have the opportunity to opt into the pre-sale by filling out a form through the MMJ website beginning on July 18 and ending on July 21 at 11:59pm. Find complete booking information on mmjonebigholiday.com

 

One Big Holiday is produced by Cloud 9 Adventures, in partnership with The Bowery Presents. Cloud 9 Adventures is an industry leader in concert vacations on cruise ships and at all-inclusive resorts, producing a multitude of events including Jam Cruise, Holy Ship, Panic en la Playa (feat. Widespread Panic), Dominican Holidaze, The Avett Brothers At The Beach, Zac Brown Band’s Castaway with Southern Ground, Strings & Sol, Closer to the Sun, and more to be announced. The Bowery Presents is an independent promotion company based in New York City known for providing the best concert experience for fans and artists at Terminal 5, Mercury Lounge, the Bowery Ballroom, Rough Trade NYC and Music Hall of Williamsburg, among others.

 

Cloud 9 Adventures - Changing the Live Music Experience, Changing the Way Fans Vacation. http://www.cloud9adventures.com

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-my-morning-jacket-announce-lineup-for-one-big-holiday-2018 Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:06:54 GMT
NEWS: BATTLE RAIDER premiere new track at "Deaf Forever" magazine's website https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-battle-raider-premiere-new-track-at-deaf-forever-magazines-website

Today, Mexican heavy metal warriors Battle Raider premiere the new track "Flying Fingers" at Deaf Forever magazine's website. The track hails from the band's highly anticipated sophomore album, Battle Raider, to be released August 21st via Fighter Records. Hear Battle Raider's "Flying Fingers" in its entirety exclusively HERE.

 

Having released their debut album, Hard Flyer, in 2015 and obtaining a good international following, Battle Raider have been deepening their epic brand of pure heavy metal on their self-titled second album, a much more mature and defined work that was recorded during the first half of 2017. Any fan of bands like very early Queenrsyche, Cirith Ungol, Iron Maiden, early Fates Warning, Crimson Glory, and even Manowar will for sure adore this new album by Battle Raider!

 

In the meantime, hear the aforementioned new track  "Flying Fingers" exclusively HERE, courtesy of Deaf Forever, Germany's defenders of the true. Also, hear the previously revealed "Battle Raider" at Fighter Records' official YouTube channel HERE.

 

Tracklisting for Battle Raider's Battle Raider:

  1. Flying Fingers
  2. Battle Raider
  3. Hard Flyer
  4. Atlanteans of Gold
  5. Early Fantasy
  6. Tartan Piper Alpha
  7. Commander
  8. A Sioux Prayer

 

MORE INFO:

www.facebook.com/battleraideroficial

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(ToddStar Photography) https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-battle-raider-premiere-new-track-at-deaf-forever-magazines-website Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:05:16 GMT
NEWS: The ALTERNATIVE PRESS MUSIC AWARDS Makes Triumphant Return to Cleveland https://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2017/7/news-the-alternative-press-music-awards-makes-triumphant-return-to-cleveland
CLEVELAND, OH - The 2017 Journeys Alternative Press Music Awards Fueled By Monster celebrated its fourth year with a stellar lineup of presenters, an array of spirited performances and the evidence that rock music in all its myriad sounds and subcultures remains as vibrant as ever. This year's APMAs took place last night (July 17, 2017) in the venerable KeyBank State Theatre, located in Cleveland's renowned theater district, where a capacity crowd immersed themselves in a genuine award show setting, with the venue's magnificent features further heightening the excitement of the evening. In addition to the joy felt by those experiencing the show in the intimate setting of the State, the excitement went international via a worldwide broadcast via Amazon Music and Twitch.

 

Hosted by Black Veil Brides and Andy Black frontman Andy Biersack, APMAs v.4 was a feast for the eyes and ears of those tuning in. Starting with a high-spirited version of "Good Time" by All Time Low (whose wisecracking guitarists Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat emceed the show's two previous years), the event went straight vertical from there, powered by an array of inspired performances. This year's selection of once-in-a-lifetime collaborations were Japanese rock ambassadors ONE OK ROCK teaming up with Goldfinger frontman John Feldmann on"I Was King"; New Years Day-led by AP's sultry red carpet co-host Ash Costello-showed that sisters were doing it for themselves with some help from Halestormfrontwoman Lzzy Hale on a cover of "Only Happy When It Rains" by alt-rock icons Garbage. Fearless Records' Punk Goes... series came to life when Grayscale performed a cover of Justin Bieber ("Love Yourself") before enlisting State Champs' Derek DiScanio to rock out Sean Mendez' "Stitches." Plain White T's performed a dialed-down acoustic version of their 2005 hit "Hey There, Delilah," while metal mavericks Nothing More also left their amps off for a compelling three-song set that included "Go To War," "This Is The First Time (Ballast)," and a compelling version of Skrillex's "First Of The Year." Things heated up once again when The Pretty Reckless threw some fire with "Hangman"; Pierce The Veil delivered a rousing performance of "Circles," as well as a stirring cover of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun"; brooding rockers Starset captivated the crowd with "Satellite"; and Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness visited "Cecilia And The Satellite" and other moments in his career from his days in Something Corporate ("I Woke Up In A Car") and Jack's Mannequin ("Dark Blue"). Wiseguy savants Waterparks essentially wrote pop-punk's next chapter with "Stupid For You," Dance Gavin Dance revved up the crowd with "Betrayed By The Game," while Sleeping With Sirens enlisted a youth choir to perform "Legends," the first single from their impending album.''

 

The APMAs keeps to the beat of culture, which is why the event featured a powerful "drum explosion" from three of music's finest drummers: Adrian Young of DREAMCAR and No Doubt; Sum 41's Frank Zummo and very special guest Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots. The trio brought the house down with a dazzling display of impeccable musicianship andshow-biz flash. Not to be outdone though, show host Biersack and his wife Juliet Simms delivered a heartrending performance of international superstar Adele's "When We Were Young." While rock and punk were the order of the night, the APMAs repped the city's hip-hop cred in a big way, with a tough performance from old-school avatars Bone Thugs ("1st Of Tha Month," "Crossroads," "Coming Home") and electrifying next-gen prime mover Machine Gun Kelly ("Gunner," "Let You Go").

 

This year's set of honorary APMAs "Skullys" included the introduction of the new Influencer award, which was given to musical polymath John Feldmann for his multi-faceted and highly storied career working with artists across all genres. Icon Award recipient Laura Jane Graceof Against Me! was recognized for her advocacy in the transgender community, promoting awareness and cultural understanding. After receiving this year's honorary Icon award from PVRIS' Lynn Gunn and Mina Caputo of NYC metal unit Life Of Agony, Grace took the stage with Against Me! for some life-affirming versions of "I Was A Teenage Anarchist" and an amazing medley including "Delicate, Petite And All The Things I'll Never Be," the Supremes' 1964 hit "Where Did Our Love Go," and "True Trans Soul Rebel" - two of which featured passionate, crowd-stirring duets with Caputo.

 

Nü-metal progenitors Korn were given the Vanguard award for their significant influence in the realm of heavy music. This year's Philanthropic Grant award sponsored by Hopeless/Sub City was given to Cassie Wilson, the founder of Half Access, whose organization (halfaccess.org) supplies information regarding various music venues' ability to accommodate disabled patrons. Wilson was brought to the stage by Dan Campbell, frontman for strident pop-punk outfit, The Wonder Years.

 

Music fans may view encore presentations of the show via Amazon for a limited window of 72 hours. Go to music.amazon.com/apmas to watch the entire show before 7 p.m. ET, July 20.

 

For recaps and other show information, visit www.altpress.com/apmas.

 

See below for the full list of all the APMAs 2017 award winners:

ARTIST OF THE YEAR presented by Monster Energy: PANIC! AT THE DISCO

ALBUM OF THE YEAR presented by Journeys: Misadventures, PIERCE THE VEIL

SONG OF THE YEAR presented by Epitaph Records: ANDY BLACK, "We Don't Have To Dance"

BEST MUSIC VIDEO presented by Journeys: STATE CHAMPS, "Losing Myself"

BEST NEW ARTIST MUSIC VIDEO presented by Journeys: WITH CONFIDENCE, "Voldemort"

BEST VOCALIST  Lynn Gunn, PVRIS

BEST GUITARIST presented by PRS Guitars: Jordan Buckley, EVERY TIME I DIE

BEST BASSIST: Fieldy Arvizu, KORN

BEST DRUMMER presented by Guitar Center, Remo and SJC Drums: Frank Zummo, SUM 41

BEST LIVE BAND presented by Eleven Seven Music: FALLING IN REVERSE

BEST HARD ROCK BAND presented by Metal Blade Records and Blacklight Media: THE PRETTY RECKLESS

BEST UNDERGROUND BAND: SILENT PLANET

DEDICATED FANBASE presented by Fearless Records: TWENTY ONE PILOTS

HONORARY AWARDS: ICON AWARD presented by Laura Jane Grace, AGAINST ME!THE

INFLUENCER AWARD: JOHN FELDMANN

VANGUARD AWARD: KORN

PHILANTHROPIC GRANT presented by Sub City/Hopeless Records: Cassie Wilson of Half Access, presented by Dan Campbell of the Wonder Years.

 

Alternative Press acknowledges the awesome city of Cleveland for its support of its fourth annual award show. We are grateful for the immeasurable kindness and support from all the local companies, city organizations and music fans who attended. AP is proud to call Cleveland home, and it is committed to strengthening the city's reputation as the rock capitol of the world.

 

The APMAs is produced by Mike Shea, Joe Scarpelli, Allyson Vecchione and Amber Funk.

 

About Alternative Press: For over 32 years, Alternative Press continues to be on the forefront of discovering new artists, breaking news and reporting on the latest trends in music and youth culture. Since its early days as a pasted-up fanzine in the mid-'80s, Alternative Press is one of the largest music magazines in the world. AP provides in-depth interviews and exclusive photos, making it an essential collector's piece for a passionate fan base, as well as digitally through various mobile and tablet formats. AP has expanded its digital reach via an enhanced mobile app and Altpress.com, one of the world's fastest-growing websites. The site has become a necessary destination for up-to-the-minute breaking news, coverage from our national APtv correspondents, exclusive multimedia premieres and much more. Additionally, the brand has been successfully extended through live events, beginning with the launch of the AP Tour and the company's inaugural AP Music Award Show, which trended No. 1 worldwide on Twitter and Facebook. Independently owned and operated, AP continues to reach millions of fans, offering them insight to the hottest artists and cultural trends first.

 

About the APMAs: Each year, the APMAs command a worldwide trending presence- reaching millions of viewers and spurring unprecedented social media frenzy. Former main events have featured performances and appearances by today's biggest rock stars- including Twenty One Pilots (watch "Car Radio" with Issues' Michael Bohnhere), Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy and Hayley Williams of Paramore- as well as musical legends such as Marilyn Manson, Aerosmith's Joe Perry, Slash, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins. Additionally, the APMAs have presented extraordinary collaborative cover performances, combining the legendary talents of Joan Jett and Slash, Halestorm and Slipknot/Stone Sour vocalist Corey Taylor, Rob Halford of Judas Priest and BABYMETAL and many more (watch performancehere). If you missed out on the fun last year, check out the 2016 ultimate highlight reel here.

 

About Journeys: Journeys is a leader in the teen specialty retail scene, with more than 840 stores in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Journeys uses fashion savvy and merchandising science to keep in step with the fast-paced footwear and accessories market for 13- to 22-year-old guys and girls. Journeys offers a wide variety of trendy, relevant brands that cater to teens who seek the hottest, new styles. The Journeys store is more tha