Thursday, August 23, 2007

Climbing off the couch

It is getting close to that time again. The time when we start frantically reviewing movies for your pleasure, remembering that we need to write all the articles we had weeks to finish but were too busy drinking and playing GH2 to really think about, time to get everything together, pull up the proverbial socks and put out the next ArtScene paper.

This month we are focusing on music. Local music, music festivals, musicians who have gone on to do bigger things and even a music movie. (Forgive me Todd, I still think it is a classic.) You will be able to check out our play by play on the Merritt Mountain Music Festival. (Contrary to popular belief, Reba was not touching herself.)

You may have noticed the wait has been longer this time around for your dose of ArtScene. We are toying with some timing options. Don't worry, we are still committed to bringing you all the fun and excitement that we can muster. And just wait till you see what's in store for October. But I don't want to spoil anything, so for now keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming September issue of ArtScene!

Friday, July 13, 2007

On the Road Again

Well my bags are packed, I 'm ready to go...
Alright, it is the afternoon of the day of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival trip and I am counting down the moments till we are on the road. It is easy to see I am the more excited one of the bunch, but come on, it's Merritt!

This will be my first time at the big festival, and going as press still feels like I am ripping someone off somewhere. The idea of a press pit is a little daunting, really, here in Williams lake the press pits consist of three people who know each other taking turns asking questions. I think this may be a little different.

So off we go in the Grand Caravan, for those of you who may care. All the seats are torn out but the front ones and the futon is tossed in the back. Oh ya, that's right, we are going in style. There are three coolers in the back, that's right, three. One for beer, one for food, and a little one for whatever doesn't fit, or even for dragging around. You never know. All the windows are plastered with the ArtScene newspapers. I would love to say it was a big promotional tool, but really it was the result of all the cheap double sided tape-on velcro attached curtains falling down, but we will stick to the promotional idea. I like it better. Oh ya, and my big bucket of SPF 70 sunscreen. I am pretty fair and I have two colors to my skin - insanely white (and I mean the moon beams reflect off the whiteness of my ass kinda white) and beet red. That's it, no variants. So it will be interesting to see if I can still move after the weekend.

So off we go into the wild blue yonder. Keep an eye out for postings, we will be sure to take plenty of pictures, and for all of you who have asked me to kiss Reba for you - I will do my best, but please when I am arrested, pitch in for bail.

We're back!

Okay, so it's pretty easy to tell when we're hard at work on a new edition of ArtScene, because this blog goes almost completely dead. It's not that we don't love this little spot, and we'd certainly never say that the printed ArtScene magazine was our favourite of the two, but the fact it is, the printed version has a deadline. And if we don't meet that deadline, bad things happen.

So, we met that deadline, and ArtScene #3 went to press last Tuesday. It should be out among you now, in the traditional locations, so go pick it up if you want to read about holistic health (or not-so-holistic health) and all sorts of other goodies.

Issue #4 looks like to have a pretty major focus on music, with some stories on the Merritt Mountain Music Fest, the Bella Coola Music Fest, and more. On top of that, there will be some coverage of the upcoming theatre production of "Dinner and Drinks" which is on stage at the Limelight on August 10, 11, 17, and 18. I wrote and directed this particular show, so I'll probably be sitting down to interview myself over a few drinks, to get at the heart of the most pressing questions around the production. It might sound like an easy interview, but I can be terribly evasive, even when talking to myself.

We're off to Merritt this weekend. Look for some quick recaps when we get back (or, perhaps, some moblogging if my cell phone still works out there, and if I can get it set up before we leave.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Denial and procrastination go hand in hand

The week before ArtScene is to be out on the shelves and right on cue it feels like my brain is going to blow up. All the writing that I have procrastinated about is biting at my heels, and there isn't enough coffee in the world to keep my eyes in a steady focus.

Thankfully I have to start my day tomorrow looking into the healing properties of massage. Poor me. I think I am ready to get a full on rub down and I am positive I will have glowing reports on that one. If I don't fall asleep. I better write my questions down before I get there. I may be a little goo-like when I leave.

Aside from all my mumbling I am really looking forward to this issue. Look for Todd's journal on the wonders of canned goodies. I won't tell you much, but I had tears in my eyes this morning and a coworker almost needed CPR.

One week till Merritt. I know it is a bit of a stretch calling going away for the weekend to hang out with musicians and drink beer work but... What are you gonna do?

So off I go to put my mind to some things that will make you, the reader, happy and smiley. Well, maybe a little Animal Crossings first, after all ... I have days.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Heading for the Hills

Well the realization that the next paper has to be prepped in just over a week to be on the shelves in 2 is being balanced with the other realization that it means that it is only 2 and a half weeks until the Merritt Mountain Music Festival.

Now, for someone who is not that enthusiastic about country music, I am ridiculously excited about this event. It could be the waiting press passes at the door. It could be the chance to interview big-wig Reba McEntire. It could even be the excitement of such a huge iconic concert atmosphere. Or it could be the 2 acres of beer gardens and the notion of checking out the illustrious "Campsite C". I think it is a combination of all of the above.

It is refreshing to have the big dilemmas be things like "What do I wear?" "What do I bring?" "Can I find a cooler big enough for all the beer and BBQ that need to come along?" "How fast can I learn the words to the new Carrie Underwood song?" "What is the new Carrie Underwood song?" "Can I still fit into my old beer t-shirts?"

By the time the trip comes along the 3rd installment of ArtScene should be on the shelves, it will be time to unwind, and to start prepping for the fourth. What better way to do that than to get stinking drunk with thousands of people on a river bank while listening to a cowboy hat wearing guy in jeans sing about his sad tale of love and loss.

Be sure to stay tuned for the whole sordid account. It should be one heck of a journal.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Hostel 2 and Torture Porn

Horror films have been sort of...odd...for the last few years. I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but at a certain point, the traditional Hollywood horror film kind of died out (if I had to guess, I'd probably place it not long after the release of films like "Jason X" or "Freddy's Dead" -- the arguable death-knells for those two franchises). Suddenly, 90% of the horror films released in North America were either remakes of Japanese horror films -- like "The Ring" and "The Grudge" -- or remakes of classic American horror films -- like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Amityville Horror."

There was nothing new, and while some of the Japanese remakes were good, some of them stunk, and most of the American remakes weren't even worth the cost of a rental.

Then along came the Saw franchise and Hostel -- now with a part one and a part tw0 -- to sort of reinvigorate things. And, at least for horror fans, they were interesting films.

But there's a whole lot of hatred around these films too. One particularly label that's been tossed around is "Torture Porn" and, to be quite honest, it's not a label I'm fond of.

I watched the original "Hostel" on DVD a few weeks ago, in preparation for the second, with that phrase in mind. And when I hit the theatre to see "Hostel Part 2" I had the phrase in my mind as well. But I just don't see it. I don't see how either of these films -- or the films in the Saw franchise -- are really any worse than the slasher films of the 1980s. And, to be perfectly blunt, I find the whole "Torture Porn" debate rather stupid.

Horror films are a bit like rock and roll. Every generation, the music gets louder, angrier, more dangerous. Each generation needs to up the ante over the previous generation. They have to be certain that this is not their father's rock and and roll.

Horror films work much the same way. "The Exorcist" and "Rosemary's Baby" in the 1970s upped the ante over films like "Psycho" from the 60s, and the slasher genre that was born in the 1980s with films like "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" were upping the ante over the horror films that had come before them.

And that's all we're seeing with the current generation of horror films.

"Hostel" and "Hostel Part 2" are actually interesting to watch with this perspective in mind, because, structurally, they're very, very, very similar to "Friday The 13th" except without a summer camp and an unstoppable killing machine in a hockey mask. But you do get 20-somethings acting irresponsibly, taking drugs, and having casual sex. And in horror movies, those are pretty big no-nos.

The biggest difference between the "Saws" and the "Hostels" of today is that, instead of faceless, unstoppable monsters, the monsters are average ordinary people. People like you or me. Which, I think, is part of what ups the ante. The scares of slasher films are quick to disappear because their stories are so drenched in fantasy. Freddy Krueger isn't really going to visit your dreams, and Jason Voorhees isn't going to survive thousands of bullet, knife, and axe wounds, to show up at the last minute and kill you.

Even though you could argue the believability of the concept behind "Hostile," you have to at least concede that it could happen. And that does make it considerably more chilling than its thematic ancestors.

As for the "Torture Porn" debate, my feelings are simple. Words are chosen and used for specific reasons, and the phrase "Torture Porn" has been chosen and used because of the implications associated with it. It's being used to make the films seem ugly and degrading and inhuman, which, really, they're not. They may not be films of the caliber of "The Godfather" or "Citizen Kane" but they're still perfectly entertaining films for fans of the horror genre.

The people who use the term "Torture Porn" are simply people who didn't enjoy the movie, but who realize that writing "I didn't like it," doesn't really have enough bite.

But calling a movie you don't like "Torture Porn" is a bit like calling a person you don't like "a filthy pedophile." Not only is it cruel and unnecessary, it's also deceitful.

As for Hostel 2...meh. Kinda better than the first, also kinda not. Worth catching on video if you liked the original, but not really anything to rave about.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What Street Party could learn from Mardis Gras

When we're brainstorming an issue of ArtScene, we tend to just yank any idea out of the air and run with it as far as we can go. Sometimes that gets us to some interesting places, sometimes that gets us to some entertaining places, and sometimes that just gets us to some odd places.

The "What Street Party could learn from Mardis Gras" piece was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek look at decadence of the New Orleans festival, and how we could take some inspiration from that decadence.

We yanked the story from print mostly because there wasn't room for it, but also because -- of the stories we had to choose from for the yanking -- this one seemed like it had the most potential to offend. It wasn't our intention at all to offend the Street Party -- in fact, we're quite fond of them -- but sometimes the best of intentions pave the road to hell. And sometimes they just piss people off.

I'm running this story here with the disclaimer that we do not hate the street party, we do not think there's anything wrong with the street party, and do not think the street party need to do anything to improve. Though, you know, I wouldn't complain about the whole "beads for breasts" thing.

At first glance, there seems to be little in common between the Williams Lake Street Party, and the Mardis Gras festivities that occur annually in New Orleans. Yes, they are both street festivals of some degree, but the similarities pretty much end there.

But should they? Thousands of people from around the world descend on New Orleans every year in January to participate in the weeks-long party, and then spend the next several months recuperating from the experience. It's obviously a massive boost to their tourism revenue, and perhaps other regions -- ours included -- could learn a few tips from the event. Here's a few thoughts on ideas that could be borrowed from Mardis Gras and adapted into our own Street Party.

#1. Everyone Loves A Parade.
Yes, the Williams Lake Stampede is opened each year with its own parade, but that's just one. Mardis Gras has a parade every single day of the festival. I'll say that again -- they have a parade every single day. Now, granted, its conceivable that many of the floats are recycled day after day, but it's not like anyone will notice, what with the whole being drunk thing.

#2. Costumes aren't just for Halloween
One of the best things about roaming the streets of New Orleans during Mardis Gras is having the opportunity to see a wide variety of complicated and creative costumed, worn by the wilder of the revelers. And because the whole Mardis Gras thing is pretty darn decadent to begin with, many of the costumes are designed to show maximum skin. And there's nothing wrong with bumping into that sort of thing on a stroll through downtown.

#3. Beads, beads, beads.
Strings of beads have been handed out to participants of Mardis Gras since at least the late 19-century, but it's the more recent tradition of women baring the breasts in exchange for them that is the Mardis Gras tradition worth borrowing. They're already tipsy, they're already scantily clad, why not flash a little bit more skin in exchange for a worthless gift being handed over by a sweaty male who's smiling just a little bit too widely? To fit a bit better with the timing of Street Party during stampede season, we could exchange beads for bolo ties.

#4. "My Parents Went To Street Party And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt"
Mardis Gras is a marketing dream, helped considerably by the fact that, as a holiday, no one company can claim exclusive rights to selling Mardis Gras products. And, of course, everyone wants to bring a souvenir of their trip back home, whether as a keepsake for themselves, or something to give to the relatives who couldn't make the festivities in the first place. After incorporating these other suggestions into the Williams Lake Street Party, we'll be sure to have enough tourists rubbing shoulders on our streets that the sort of money we could make from the sales of souvenirs would be literally astronomical. Which is good, because the clean-up job required after everything is said and done certainly won't be cheap.

Don't get me wrong, There's no problems with our current Street Party -- it's an enjoyable street festival, with an incredible amount of information to offer. But there's room for improvement in everything, and if you're going to look to improve, why not reach for the stars?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

One ends, another begins.

It is official. ArtScene is out on the stands, the articles are being read and causing stir everywhere. The one thing about controversy is that you know it is being noticed. "there is no such thing as bad press as long as they spell your name right."
But enough about that.

It is a great feeling to have the physical paper in the hands (trust me, if you don't believe me go out and get one, it will make you happy and full of energy and vigor). It is good to see the job well done, to be able to sit and think for a little bit, to take a mini break from the everyday and regroup. So that was done. Regrouping. And you know what was realized? We need a theme for next month!

You got it. That is the other side of a job well done in this sort of business. There is another one right at it's heels. Now I know how Feodor Vassilyev's wife felt. (look it up, it will make sense)
I am looking forward to this coming month's issue. Not that I haven't been thus far, but this one promises to have fun research. I am not going to tell you what the theme is yet, I am going to give you a chance to actually pick up this months issue first. But just to let you know, we are thinking about your entertainment next month already, and it should be a bucket of fun.

I am off to relax for my last day of peace and quiet before the race starts again. Make sure to write in to us and let us know how we are doing so far.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Issue #2 is in your hands (and if not, why not?)

ArtScene #2 went to press Monday night and should be on the streets as of today. Go find a copy. It's awesome beyond words.

I swear, on Tuesday night, after the Quesnel paper and the Williams Lake paper went to press, I actually felt the stress physically lift from my body. It was a really strange experience, and was immediately followed with an almost overwhelming exhaustion. Which led to much good sleeping last night, and vague sense of contentment today, for those interested.

Just dropping in a quick update for what you'll be finding on the blog here in the next few days. We're going to be doing some interviews with the musicians who'll be playing at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, and we'll be looking for suggestions for things to ask them. As well, look for a review of Hostel 2 (which will likely turn into a rant about the "torture porn" label that some critics have been slapping on movies late), a discussion of the finale of the Sopranos, and a story that didn't make the cut for the print edition of ArtScene #2. And, of course, other miscellaneous silliness.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Looming

So the deadline is looming now, as deadlines are likely to do. ArtScene #2 is officially hitting the press on Monday, and officially out on the streets on Wednesday. The layout is trucking along at a good pace, thanks for asking, with only about four pages left to rough out before I have to settle into the nit-picky stuff. Like, for example, what's going on the cover.

Which, yes, should probably be done by now. But isn't. I just can't seem to find an image that grabs me properly, and I'm beginning to think I may have to go with a different front page feature story. I'm against going theatre on the front, as it was our big feature last month, which really only leaves the festival tour guide story. And unfortunately a lot of that is promoing a lot of out-of-town goings-on. Not sure I want to make that a big feature either.

No need to stress. There's still some time.

Locked in the DVD review pages last night. For those curious, the films reviewed this issue are:

The Fountain
Deliver Us From Evil
Pan's Labyrinth
Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus
Death of a President
Bubba Ho-Tep (the arguable classic for this issue).

What did we think of the films? Well, obviously, you're going to have to wait until ArtScene #2 hits the streets to find out. But I will tell you this: There was some considerable debate over the quality of The Fountain.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

It does have it's perks

As we are getting ready to put out the next ArtScene, with all the chaos and deadline hairiness, it is good to note that the paper does have it's perks. A couple of us were treated, last night, to a fantastic dinner at and tour of a nearby resort. Which one? Not going to tell you, but you can read about it in the next ArtScene. The food was lovely, the scenery divine. I know where my next get-away is going to be. God knows I need one.
It is good to remember sometimes that every now and then it is good to rejuvenate, refresh, renew, refuel and all the other re's that make a person feel good. There is far too much stress and pressure on us in our daily lives that taking a break should be a necessity as opposed to an idea. Be it a mini vacation, a day holed up in the house with nothing but bubble bath and a book, or a 3 month trek across the Andes, it is good to get away sometimes.
But, until then, I still have to run amok and make sure I have earned the retreat! So off I go mumbling obscenities about deadlines and ad space...

Sunday, June 3, 2007


Pictured: See? It's not just me who knows the true beauty of cheese -- this apparently random scribbling was found on the wall in the backstage area of the Prince George Theatre during festival. Cheese IS yummy!

Due to circumstances well within our control, we are delaying the publication of the next issue of ArtScene by one week. You could try to say that it's because we're a bunch of lazy drunkards who didn't get their work done on time, but we prefer to think of it as taking the necessary time to ensure that ArtScene #2 is the best gosh-darn publication we're able to put together. This is how much we care about you -- our loyal fans -- and how badly we want to ensure that our product doesn't disappoint.

On top of that, there's a whole lot of other stuff going to press this week at the Cariboo Advisor office, and we're a little short-staffed for the next few days, so playing the waiting game seemed like the best idea.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The crunch gets crunchier...

Majority of the layout work on ArtScene #2 will be taking place over this next weekend (the work being occasionally broken up by bursts of playing my recently acquired Guitar Hero 2 for the Xbox 360 -- I think I'm a confirmed addict at this point). Most of the stories are now done, though I'm still trying to track down a few details for the Stampede story, and have yet to actually take any steps towards getting the Station House Gallery piece done. Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps I can just give up on sleeping.

No idea what's going on the cover yet, otherwise I might post a shot of it, just to whet some appetites (the appetites of the one or two people who stop by here, assuming even those many do. They may not. Who knows.)

We'll actually have a letters page this month two, even though it took some begging and pleading to actually get the letters. Apparently playing on people's sympathies isn't as effective as I thought it would be. That, or people don't care if the wife and children of a letters page starve to death when the main bread-winner of the letters page family loses its job.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Where does the time go?

Well, it is down to crunch time. This is the point where we here with ArtScene have to put down the video game controllers, well, for a little while anyhow, stop with the beer .. oh who are we kidding? Ok, really, it is time to get things organized for the next issue of ArtScene, coming soon to a newspaper rack near you!

What a busy time this has been. With being involved in other things, like theatre - which is safe to say will steal every ounce of your free time and your soul, and make you love every minute of it - and family - they still know what I look like, they have a picture, I may need to update it - trying to maintain some small semblance of a social life, and another new project - because who really needs all that free time? It is a challenge to juggle everything. But we do make a valiant effort! Even if half of the writing is done in an alcohol fueled frenzy the week before production.

We have watched a bunch of great flicks that I think you may find very interesting. Some even caused debate! Those are the best ones I think, though they can make for stormy departures. I mean, can I help it if I am a moody artistic type?

The Theatre festival was a huge success, find out all about the adventures in the upcoming issue. There was parties, awards, celebrations, bears, and prayers for death. How can you go wrong with all that?

I also spent a bunch of time going through a slew of festivals all over the Cariboo this summer for all of you. Goodness have I got my summer planned. (really need to update that picture for the kids) Looks like there will be something almost every weekend, now I just need to stock up on some spf70. I have two colors, incredibly white, or deep scalded red. I prefer the first.

So off I go to try and finish off the advertising and editorials before the end of the week without having my brain ooze too much out of my ears ... must remember to stop at the cold beer and wine after work.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Crunch Time

Got back yesterday afternoon from a weekend trip to Prince George for the Central Interior Zone Drama Festival. Had a blast, even if it was mostly busy and hectic with little downtime. Fortunately (or unfortunately, if you ask my bank account) there was enough downtime for some shopping at Future Shop and a spiffy little bookstore.

The event will be featured in a journal-esque format in the next issue of ArtScene. And, if our freelancer for the show is able to pull her own story together, there will be two entirely different perspectives on the event -- one from the side of the "Sylvia" production (by me) and one from the side of "Looking for Normal." And one will likely involve more references to liquor than the other. That'd be mine.

The next seven days are pretty much the crunch time for ArtScene #2, during which I'm going to be writing my arse off because I didn't get enough writing done during the rest of the month, and then -- sometime following Thursday -- starting work on laying the whole thing out, so it can go to press sometime around the weekend, to be on the streets sometime next week.

All of this, of course, I'm trying desperately not to think about. Because that's really only about a week. Seven days. Of hell. Or it would be, if I was thinking about it. Which I'm not.

Periodic updates to come over the next week as I slowly lose my mind.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What to expect from ArtScene #2

The brainstorming is done, and we now have a pretty firm idea of the sort of content that you'll be seeing in the second action-packed edition of the ArtScene. We don't want to give too much away (because, obviously, if we did, you wouldn't have any reason to pick it up from your local newsstands) but we can let you in on a few things.

Coincidentally, our two themes this month almost interconnect, making the June issue of ArtScene *almost* a summer travel guide. We'll be featuring a list of festivals going on in and around the area for the next few months, in case you'd like to attend some of them, and we'll be putting around a survival guide for the William Lake Stampede for those who don't care much for the rodeo. Because not everyone is real big on the cowboy thing, but not everyone remembers that there's more to the stampede than cowboys on horses. There's also cowgirls in tight jeans.

There will also be a wrap-up of the Central Interior Zone drama festival from two sides of the same coin — the Williams Lake Studio Theatre's production of "Sylvia," and the Williams Lake Studio Theatre's production of "Looking for Normal." This feature will include the work of our first unpaid freelancer, so be nice to her.

On top of all this good stuff will be the regular features you're already coming to know and love — movie reviews, Dr. Cranky, contests, and more.

ArtScene #2 will be on the stands in June.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Have your say...

Here at the ArtScene blog, we're always wanting to try out new things. First on that list of new things to try out (which is arguably new, because the blog has only really been around for a month, so we're still going through the "what should we do with this space phase) is a semi-regular poll, which you'll see in the right-hand column. Too much sex in ArtScene #1? Not enough? Let us know. Or don't. It's all up to you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Review: Spider-Man 3

I attended a screening of "Spider-Man 3" Sunday night. Which is to say I went to the movie theatre and watched it, just like everyone else. Except that it sounds more professional to refer to it as a screening. So I did.

Because of the monthly publishing schedule of ArtScene, I don't see much sense in running theatrical film reviews in its pages. Odds are, by the time the issue made it to the street and was picked up and read, the movies covered would have moved on, so a review wouldn't accomplish much more than reminding people of all the potentially great films they missed out on seeing. Or that they did see, and now don't need to be told if it was any good or not.

But the occasional film review on the blog...that's not a bad idea at all. After all, blogs are immediate. I could have a review available online the same night that I watched film (I mean, attended the screening) if I was a bit more on the ball. Even so, two days later is still pretty immediate compared to a monthly publication schedule, and the deadlines involved in it.

I'm off on a bit of a tangent here, though. Let's talk about Spider-Man.

I haven't followed Spider-Man's adventures in the pages of a comic book in years, but when I was younger, he was at the top of my list of favoured super-hero characters. So as each film in this now-trilogy has been released, I've anticipated with the sort of glee that comes from having the opportunity to revisit something from your youth as an adult.

The first two films were exceptional examples of comic book movies that worked. The third continues that trend, though I confess, it's a slightly weaker film.

"Spider-Man 3" falls victim, in a large part, to being too much of too many. There are too many new characters, too many villians, too many subplots, and unfortunately the one spot where we could have used a little bit of too much -- storyline -- falls short.

Which is strange, because there's an awful lot going on. An awful lot of little stuff, crossing this way and that way, but as far as a single, from beginning to end narrative goes...I'm not actually sure there was one.

"Spider-Man 3" feels very much like the third part of a trilogy, requiring an awareness of the previous two films much more than "Spider-Man 2" did. "Spider-Man 2" -- while it was still a sequel -- managed to be a self-contained film in its own right. Unfortunately, "Spider-Man 3" seems more interested in tying up plot threads from the previous two movies to stand on its own.

Having said all that, it is a spectacular, summer action film, with some of the best comic-book-esque fight scenes I've ever seen on the screen (one of the best coming in the first third of the film, leaving the final, exciting climax a little short on action in comparison). Tobey McGuire is still a bang-on Peter Parker, and new arrivals Thomas Hayden Church and Topher Grace fill their villainous roles more than competently.

If you're expecting a deep, philosophical, examination of the human condition, you're probably not going to see "Spider-Man 3" anyway. If you want to see some high-speed, web-slinging action, you likely won't be disappointed, if you overlook some of the problems that are probably unavoidable in a story as ambitious and jam-packed with content as this was.


IMDB Random Keywords:
Revenge / Laboratory / Blockbuster / Particle Accelerator / Newspaper

Sunday, May 6, 2007

One down, potentially hundreds to go...

Well the first ArtScene is on the stands, in the hands of the community at large, and I am thrilled to see it in it's form. Being involved from the go ahead to now and beyond is an exciting ride.

It seems like just the other day that Todd and I sat over drinks banging out what was to become the content of the first issue of ArtScene. The level of anticipation was high then, as I took on my parts. I have been a little rusty in writing, and it was good to get into the swing of things, and at the same time, scary as hell putting it back into use. I can remember, as a youth, writing about everything and anything. Short stories, poetry, ramblings, scripts, and then putting it down for a long time. It is so good to be getting the gears going again. Who said you can't be creative and have a career?

I am very happy to report that the reviews for the first ArtScene Newspaper have been phenomenal. We have received many kudos for the paper, for the content, for the writing, and for the concept in general. I can't wait to get going on the next one. It really is a great publication. If you haven't seen one yet, you should definitely pick one up.

Our next agenda is getting together again for another content meeting. The weekends meeting has been postponed, though we will be mapping it out much sooner rather than later. The hopes are for a bigger publication, so we are wanting to be prepared with enough entertaining content to keep you, the readers, and us, the writers, amused and coming back for more. Because, let me tell you, it is just as fun to write it for you, as, hopefully, it is to pick up and read.

Here is to another fantastic issue!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

What to do on Mother's Day if you're a cyborg

This was originally written by Todd as a humourous sidebar for the Mother's Day Feature. It was drastically modified and run over the course of three pages in the folio filler space (that's what we call the little grey-boxed blurbs at the bottom of each page).

As originally envisioned, it was going to be about what to do if you don't have a mother in general, but after some consideration, it seemed like making fun of orphans might not actually be that funny, so we modified the subject so that it was about cyborgs specifically. Because, like orphans, they don't have mothers. But unlike orphans, they're harder to offend. This is that version in its entirety, as an unedited, first draft. Enjoy.

If you’re a cyborg from the future, sent back in time to kill a young boy who will eventually become the leader of the underground human army, you probably don’t have a mother. Which can make things awkward on Mother’s Day. Here are a few tips on things you can do to pass the time while everyone else is celebrating the beauty of motherhood.

If you were supplied with a cell phone that can send messages into the future, you could call the mad scientist who laboured for years to bring you to sort-of life. He’s probably the closest thing you have to a parental figure, and if he’s like most mad scientists, you’re probably the closest thing he has to offspring. A hunch-backed lab assistant doesn’t really count.

Most cinemas have a variety of films to choose from, so make sure you avoid films described as “Touching,” or “A heart-wrenching drama about family.” It’ll just remind you of the mother-vacancy in your life. Instead, watch something brutal and violent and filled with blood and dismemberment. It’ll help you to stay focused on your mission. “300” might be a good choice.

Whether you want to slave over the stove to fix yourself a five course meal, or just dial up the local pizza joint for a delivery order, spending a little “You” time at home can help wash away the blues. Feel free to have a few too many drinks. Go ahead no one’s watching. And if they are, you can probably spot them with your X-Ray / Infrared vision. And at that point, they won’t be watching for long.

Sometimes experiencing mindless violence vicariously isn’t good enough. Sometimes you need to have a hand in it yourself.

In retrospect, I think the Folio Filler version of this was actually funnier.

Celebrating Mothers

Even though it was our first issue, and even though it ended up a little smaller than we had originally thought, there were still a few pieces that didn't make the final cut. Here's a look at a handful of "Mothers" through history, penned by Juli Smith, that was intended for the first issue of ArtScene.

Mothers Day. It brings up notions of home cooking and hugs, bandages and talks, scolding and love. A salute to the image of Supermom, a woman who is always attentive, never misses a soccer match, bakes brownies from scratch, keeps the house clean and inviting while cooking gourmet and running a company, the woman who never sleeps, hardly eats and can still fit into the jeans she wore in high school. Or at least that is what we are supposed to believe. A day to celebrate mothers everywhere. To show the women in our lives that the sacrifices they have made are not unnoticed, that there is some thanks for the job they do. One day to give her a break, and tell her that she is special and her work is superb.

The first mothers, the ones who started it all, do they get a fair mention in the whole Mothers Day process? In most religions, most traditions, we were spawned from one mother; the beginning, the Alpha, the first maternal symbol. On one hand there is Eve, meaning living one or life, mother of all mankind – depending on who you talk to; she is the original mother, created by God himself as the perfect parent for man kind. Made from a rib, mother to nations – that’s an awful lot of children. The first to succumb to temptation, the woman who had the nerve to bite the apple – see all mothers are not perfect. Though imagine the stress of having to go out and replenish the earth, could lead a woman to drinking, at that point a little bit of fruit wouldn’t seem quite so bad. Or on the flip side Mother Earth. The birthplace of all things created. The arms which hold us in her grasp when we curl on the green grass. The subject of oh so many bumper stickers, and the feature of neopagan goddess worship, “Gaia”, earth, the symbolic meeting of the witch, the virgin and the crone.

The beginnings, as real or imagined as they may be, are wonderful, but to coin a phrase “what have you done for me lately?” What about the real women who have made our planet just a little better?

Mother Theresa, not really a mother at all, well, not in the whole giving birth sense of the world, though when looking up good mothers, her name is inevitably at the top of the list. Is it because she had a great sense of style, or perhaps an eloquent way of speaking? Or rather is it because of all the time she spent with 3 changes of clothes and a bible changing kids lives one by one? Perhaps it is because everyone could relate to being one of those that she cared for; in her own words, "the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." From 1950 at the start of her diocesan congregation which would become the Missionaries of Charity, to her death on September 5, 1997, nine days after her 87th birthday, Mother Theresa was a pioneer for women, mothers and sisters, daughters, wives, a tangible sense of good in a world that can be, at times, lacking that quality. But there is more to good mothering than self sacrifice and world media coverage. Or at least one would hope there is.

There are mothers who have overcome amazing feats: The wife of Feodor Vassilyev from the village of Shuya, who, over the span of 30 years in the 1700’s, gave birth to 69 children during 27 pregnancies. The poor woman produced 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four quadruplets. That has to deserve a medal of some sort, a moment of silence, a vacation in the Bahamas, a concubine for her husband to give the poor woman a little bit of rest. I would hate to think about the poor state of her innards, not to mention her mind. Oh the diapers!

Or what of the great and powerful works of Ms Angelina Jolie? Working on starting her own United Nations, her multi-cultured babies and her sexiest-man-alive partner form the Ultimate Dream. Looks, money, charity, goodwill ambassador, travel, love and good squishy feelings. All this while managing to look like a goddess and speak adoringly about your fantastic sex life. Yes, this woman is so perfect a mother that even Mother Theresa would hate her just a little bit I am sure.

But no matter who you are: soccer mom extrodinairre to world travelling socialite mom to the modern day version of Roseanne Barr, this Mothers Day is for you! Take some time for yourself. Grab a bag of Purdy’s and sit back, you deserve the break. Let someone else run the world, just for the day – God knows you’ll have to clean it up tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

One down...

The first issue of ArtScene hit the presses yesterday, and should be on the streets today. As I write this, people should already be picking it up, browsing through it, and going, "Wow, this is pretty cool!"

I've got two copies in my living room right now. I flipped through them earlier, and I must say it looks pretty good to my eyes, though I was already pretty much in love with the idea even before we started, so I suppose I'm not the most unbiased.

The next week or two we'll see what the general public's reaction is like, even as those of working on the content for the ArtScene start pulling together ideas for the next issue. There's a brainstorming session planned for Friday after the regular workday, because brainstorming always works a little bit better when there's a drink or four involved. Because in brainstorming, there are no bad ideas. Just ideas that, for whatever reason, you choose not to use. And some of the best not-bad ideas come out after inhibitions have dropped a notch or two.

There's something mildly psychotic about putting the first issue of a publication to press only to turn around and immediately start work on the next issue. There should be time taken for celebration, time to rejoice in the job that was done, and the product that was made -- and it's a product, I think, that everyone associated with it is incredibly proud of. Unfortunately, with only four weeks to pull the next one together, there's little time for celebration. Though perhaps we can take a moment on Friday to toast the inaugural issue.

Look for a blog update on Saturday following the brainstorming, with some ideas on what you might be looking forward to in ArtScene #2.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

What is ArtScene

ArtScene is the upcoming arts and lifestyle publication from the people who bring you the Cariboo Advisor. It's about what's going on in your community, in your country, and around the world. It's about everything that's fun and frivolous, like music and movies, food and drink, art exhibits and theatre. And it's being designed with the very same fun and frivolous fare that is its focus.

And what exactly does that mean? It means you're going to enjoy the heck out of reading it. Or so we're all really, really hoping.

The first issue hits the streets the first week of May. We don't want to give away too many details about it quite yet, but you can look forward to feature stories on the upcoming Williams Lake Studio Theatre production of "Looking for Normal" and some shopping suggestions for Mother's Day, along with a whole lot more good stuff.

And if you want to help us out with our Mother's Day feature, we're looking for letters from *you* about your mother. Tell us why your mother is the coolest person on earth, or tell us how she scarred you for life -- it makes no difference to us. Just tell us about your mom. And tell us by email at

And check back here from time to time for updates on the production of our very first issue, stories that were deemed too racy to see print, and all sorts of other rubbish.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This is the ArtScene Blog.

Thanks for stopping by.

And what is the ArtScene blog exactly? Well, we could tell you, of course. But then we'd have to kill you.

More information coming. And soon. We promise.