DC FanDome – Attending My First Fan Event.

Being a big fan of comic books since childhood, one of the biggest disadvantages of living outside the US has been that I have never been able to attend any Comic-con or any similar fan event in the past. And I have always have been DC boy over a Marvel boy, tough I kinda like both. So when it was announced a couple months back that DC was hosting their own first-ever virtual fan event online, it is needless to say that I was pumped. I cleared out my schedule for the whole and pulled off an all-nighter, just to watch the entire event live. And oh boy, it turned out to be one of best experiences I have had (certainly the best this summer).

The event was perfectly coordinated and each segment edited perfectly to make it all smooth – the people at in-charge at DC can pat themselves at the back for conducting a true fan experience. And not not just the big movie panels where all the big reveals came from, even the smaller panels and so much good content that kept me entertained throughout. But talking of the big panels and reveals – yes, they were amazing! And the last panel with Matt Reeves talking about the movie and The Batman trailer, it just brought the house down.

I was so happy with this event and would want DC to make this into an annual global experiences. I would be covering some of my favorite trailers and reveals from DC FanDome this week, so make sure to check in!

Music Interviews: Tarah & Coralie From Tarah Who?

1. Would you guys please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?
CH: My name is Coralie and I’m the drummer of Tarah Who?TGC: HI! I am Tarah, founder, singer, and guitar player of Tarah Who?

2. Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?
CH: I joined the band 3 years ago, Tarah and I were friends on Facebook. I messaged her when I was moving to LA and a few months after she asked me if I wanted to try out for her band Tarah Who?
TGC: I started Tarah Who? in 2006 when I moved to LA. II went through a lot of musicians over the years until I met and auditioned Coralie. We hit it off right away. Musically she is a really good drummer and on a personal level, we are really close friends. We are on the same wavelength when it comes to working on the project and making things happen.

3. What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?
CH: The Tarah Who’s sound is a mix between different genres like rock/punk/alternative but at the same time we have our own sound. We have a raw and heavy sound.TGC: Yeah… It is really hard for us to put us in one category. I write how I feel and I stay as authentic to the emotions as possible. I am a child from the ’90s so I have those sounds and noises in my blood but I am not trying to sound like anyone. I like what we do right now. I think that we gave Tarah Who? its own sound. I play drums and bass in other projects and it is all in different genres of Rock. 

4. What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?
TGC: I write all the songs and send the drum tracks to Coralie. She then adds her own touch and solos for the live performance. I love working with Coralie because she is professional and she knows when to follow the song and when she can add her own fills. I have worked with drummers in the past, their ego was so big, you could not tell them anything or they didn’t take their role as a musician seriously. They would just come to the show unrehearsed, assuming they knew the song because “It’s just RockBoom, Chak Boom Boom Chack” Turns out, if you don’t know the song… you are going to be lost and put all of your bandmates in a really awkward situation. Coralie is always prepared for rehearsal and for the show. She is reliable and that is truly ALL that you need to keep moving forward

5. What are some of your favorite themes to explore through your music?
TGC: I don’t really have a favorite theme per se but I think I go around the same ones unconsciously. People, reflections over life, events etc… It is very autobiographical. 

6. Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?
CH: My favorite band is Nightwish, a symphonic metal band, more generally I love classic rock and metal.TGC: I was a big Alanis fan growing up and I am sure that I was influenced by her singing and freedom of writing. Then I discovered Motorhead, Pantera, The Distillers, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Hole, L7, Garbage, TOOL, RATM, etc… I love that 90’s sound and I am totally stuck into it.


7. Where can someone looking for your music, find it?
TGC: The easiest way would be to google TARAH WHO? and pick your favorite media. Basically, we are on iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, youtube, etc… We try to be everywhere people seem to be looking for new music.

8. What’s your favorite part about touring/ doing live performances?
CH: Playing music, having a good time, and giving people some fun.TGC: Connecting with people, meeting new musicians and bands, traveling, discovering new cities, cool venues, the adrenaline and the rush of the show. Experiencing a moment that you can never truly describe. The kind of stories that all you can say is ” you have to be there to understand!” 

9. What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?
TGC: I would love for people to relate to our songs, whether it is musically, where people get the fast pace, loud drums and we all headbang together, or if it is through the stories. We can connect and think ” I totally know what you are talking about!” or if it is a more serious song like “Unbalanced” or “Human to be” I hope to inspire kindness towards each other. No matter what race or sexuality, just be kind to each other. It is super cheezy, I know.. but as I see the world we live in right now, I can tell you we are not so kind to each other. I am shocked to see what is happening in the world and how unfair people are against one another. I think that if you have a good amount of followers, it is your DUTY to influence people in the right direction. 


10. Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are your future plans for the band?
CH: Making music and touring all around the world.TGC: Our immediate plans are the releases of our live sessions: https://youtu.be/tcMErspjMy8Music video: https://youtu.be/4xfeNfJJwAsThen episode 4 of docu-series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vi4OT7QdOI
and after that, we will be headed back to the studios to record a new ep! 
All of our tours and festivals have been canceled so everything will have to be online at the moment. 

Music Interviews: A Chat With Miles From Miles and The Chain Gang.

Would you please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?

Hi I’m Miles. I sing and write songs, play guitar. The other band members are Billy Hickling (drums), Tim Bruce (bass) and Alan Dawson (guitar).  We also have a few friends that have been helping us with recording. 


Where did you guys meet and how did you form Miles and the Chain Gang?

We met in 2018 through a series of coincidences, playing open mic nights in York. Billy and I were at Ruby Tuesday one night and played together. Then we did a music and poetry gig and Tim was there, and we got chatting in the pub afterwards. Alan walked into The Three Legged Mare one night in York, en route from Scotland to Love Supreme Festival in Brighton. It was weird how it came together. 

What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?

I guess it’s just rock ‘n’ roll. Singer-songwriter stuff, a bit of soul, a bit of new wave, a bit of pain, a glimpse of sunset. 


What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?

The best bands work in a collaborative way. You all bring your skills and talents and you combine them to make something fantastic. The best bands did this – The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who. They all brought something to the party. We have been recording recently and it’s a really creative process because Tim helps with the arrangements, plays a bit of keyboards, and Billy always has ideas for percussion and rhythm patterns. My role is to come up with good songs and sing them as well as I can. There’s nothing quite like being in a band. There was a book about The Clash, called Last Gang in Town. It is like that. That’s why we are Miles and The Chain Gang. 

What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?

Relationships. Sadness. Melancholy. Connection. Reaching out. Memory. Loss. Pain. Brief moments of rapture. A little joy. Those moments when the sky opens and your soul rockets upwards. 

Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?

Bruce Springsteen. Bob Dylan. Van Morrison. Jackson Browne. The Who. Pink Floyd. Thin Lizzy. Del Amitri. Counting Crows. Billy Bragg. Joan Jett. Taylor Swift. The Jam. The Pretenders. The Police. Stone Roses.  ACDC. Rolling Stones. Bruce Cockburn. Stevie Wonder. Sam Cooke. Elvis Presley. Chuck Berry. Taylor Swift. Kim Wilde. UB40. Nirvana. The list goes on… 

Where can someone looking for your music find it?

We have a facebook page. And our video is on youtube. Just search ‘Miles and The Chain Gang’ – we’re around. 

What’s your favourite part about doing live performances?

The chance that sparks might fly. 


What kind of message would you like to give your fans through your music? 

Live now. Death is close at hand. Darkness crouches around us. We are specks in the universe. Be here now. 


Where do you guys see yourselves in the future? What are your future plans for Miles and the Chain Gang? 

I am looking forward to gigs, laughs, guitar solos, soundchecks, radio stations, microphones, merchandise, money,  hotels of varying quality, interesting crazy types in Dutch alleyways, moments of poetry, moments of exhaustion, moments of unalloyed joy, German promoters with big moustaches, hangers on, curry, beer, rip-roaring nights that you want to never end, sweat, showers, guitars and fireworks.  

Thanks for talking guys. Keep in touch. M x ……

Miles and the Chain Gang’s latest single ‘When It Comes To You’ is available on Spotify, GooglePlay, Apple Music and Amazon MP3. 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=V43RLsMBdWc

www.facebook.com/Miles-and-The-Chain-Gang 

An American Pickle – Double Seth Rogen Kills It In this Funny Satire.

An American Pickle; Dir. – Brandon Trost

Rating – //stream it once it’s free//

An American Pickle | Official Trailer | HBO Max

“An American Pickle,” a time-travel farce directed by Brandon Trost and adapted from a New Yorker story by Simon Rich, marinates crisp almost-timeliness in the mild brine of nostalgia. It’s not too salty or too sour, and it’s neither self-consciously artisanal nor aggressively, weirdly authentic. The subject, more or less, is what it means to be Jewish, and given how contentious that topic can become — can I get an oy vey? — the movie finds an agreeable, occasionally touching vein of humor.

The setup for most of the jokes is that, in 1919, an impoverished immigrant named Herschel Greenbaum, recently arrived in Brooklyn from a fictitious, Cossack-ridden anti-Anatevka called Schlupsk, falls into a vat of saltwater and cucumbers. He leaves behind a pregnant wife, Sarah (Sarah Snook). She has a son, who has a son, whose son, in 2019, is a sad-sack tech guy named Ben. When Herschel is fished out of his century-long bath, alive and perfectly preserved, he goes to live with Ben, his only known relative, setting up a cross-generational odd-couple situation brimming with comic potential.

All the more so because both Herschel and Ben are played by Seth Rogen, who does the bewhiskered Yiddish thing and the diffident millennial thing with equal craftiness. While the characters are recognizable types — from popular culture if nowhere else — Rogen brings more than mere shtick to the performances. Herschel is neither a sentimental schlemiel nor a twinkly old-world grandpa, but rather an impatient, sometimes intolerant striver with a violent streak. His pre-pickling experience of the world was hard and bitter, leavened only by the hope that future generations of Greenbaums would be better off.

Which is just what happened, of course. Herschel once confessed to Sarah that he hoped to taste seltzer water before he died, and Ben has a gizmo in his apartment that makes it on demand. He’s even less of a caricature than his great-grandpa — not a hipster or a nerd so much as a smart guy with a deep streak of melancholy. It turns out that what connects him to Herschel isn’t just genetics: it’s also grief. Ben’s parents are dead, and Herschel’s accident robbed him of the pleasures and consolations of family.


That’s some pretty heavy stuff, but “An American Pickle” is swift and nimble enough to avoid weighing itself down with schmaltz. It’s almost too thin to sustain its premise for the running time — a scant 90 minutes — and sometimes feels more like a stretched-out sketch than a fully developed feature.

The century that separates Herschel from Ben allows the story to leapfrog over quite a lot of history, including the Holocaust, Israel, socialism, and the complicated process of upward mobility, acculturation and self-preservation that is the movie’s very condition of possibility. The drama of Jewish male selfhood that preoccupied so many in the middle generations — the whole Philip Roth-Woody Allen megillah — is all but erased. Herschel had his beloved Sarah. Ben has no apparent sexual or romantic interests, or even any friends that we know about. There’s no room for women in this pickle jar.

But the flimsiness of the movie’s conceit also works to its benefit. At its best, it’s a brisk, silly plucking of some low-hanging contemporary fruit. Food trends. Social media. Unpaid internships. The inevitable conflict between Herschel and Ben turns a family squabble into a culture-war skirmish, a conflict played out in a way that feels both satirically sharp and oddly comforting.

And pickles can be comfort food. Not too filling, good for the digestion, noisy and a little sloppy rather than artful or exquisite or challenging. This one, as I’ve said, isn’t bad, and even allows a soupcon of profundity into its formula. The tough, pious ancestor and his sensitive, secular descendant have almost nothing in common, and the imaginative challenge is to find an identity that can include them both more or less as they are. What makes them both Jews? The answer turns out to be simple and, at least for this conflicted 21st-century Jew, persuasive: the shared obligation to mourn the dead.

Music Interviews: Lee Heir On The End Of Prime (UK Band) And Their Journey So Far.

Would you please introduce yourself and explain your role in the band?

My name is Lee Heir, the lead singer of Prime (UK Band). Although I have decided we won’t play live again, I am finalising our last ever recordings with Chris D. Bramley who is on lead guitar and backing vocals. 


Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?

I originally formed the group as a studio project in 2014, and in 2015 we began doing more live gigs, playing pretty much continuously for the first few years, until late 2019 when I wrapped up the band and decided no more shows.

What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?

We make rock music with blues, indie and punk influences. Now that the group is over, I want to compose more music for soundtracks and add electronic influences, but still keep the bluesy guitars in there, maybe like Ry Cooder meets Vangelis, who knows! 


What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?

It’s always satisfying when a germ of an idea becomes a fully formed song, whether it starts off with just vocal and acoustic guitar or a guitar riff and drums. It gives you the same level of satisfaction if it turns out to be a quality song, it doesn’t matter how you get there. 


What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?

I think realism is key. Be it realistic themes, events or even observations from afar from the outside looking in. On lyrics that come straight from my heart from personal experience I would never sing words that I wouldn’t sing in real life. I would also say that my music has become more autobiographical the older that I get. Maybe that will change in time, who knows. 


Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?

I love people who put their emotions out there, so Lou Reed, David Bowie and Iggy Pop are huge influences, as are sixties bands like The Kinks, the edgier or more sarcastic tracks of the Stones, and The Byrds. 


Where can someone looking for Prime’s music find it?

Look on google or any social media and you’ll find us as ‘PrimeUKBand’, apart from facebook which is @ukprime. Also check out our website primeband.co.uk which has all the music in one place. 


What’s your favourite part about touring / doing live performances?

I started to enjoy it less and less over the last few years, which is why I decided to make my future projects purely studio based. That hasn’t always been the case though… Playing live used to be everything, the buzz of playing to a new audience or venue that I’d never been to before. 


What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?

There’s no real message, I just hope you enjoy the honesty in the music, the hooks within the songs, and some pretty creative rock music. You’ll enjoy it better if you play it loud! 


Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are you future plans for Prime (UK Band)? 

My guitarist Chris D Bramley is a fantastic songwriter and I’m sure he will continue to create some very heartfelt music. His ballads especially have lots of passion to them. I don’t see any future for Prime though, this part of my life with my first real band is over, and all that’s left is some decent music. That’s enough for me and will do nicely. 

Prime (UK Band) ‘Art / Facts’ Playlist out now:

https://open.spotify.com/album/6hH240cdSmfHLrNbhessWXPrime (UK Band) CD Digipak ‘Art/Facts’ out now:prime4.bandcamp.com/album/art-facts-2014-2018-cd-digipak-pre-order-uk-postal-price
Official Prime (UK Band) ‘In Summer’ Music Video: 

Yes, God, Yes – a Smart And Funny Exploration Of Teenage Sexuality.

Yes, God, Yes; Dir. -Karen Maine

Rating –  “It’s great” / worth adding to your collection.

Yes, God, Yes is the directorial debut Karen Maine, and stars Natalia Dyer from Stranger Things, in the lead role. Developed from a short film that Maine planned on directing but later adapted it to feature-length, this is an extremely small film, in terms of budget, story, and even the run-time. Clocking at only about one hour and fifteen minutes, the film is an almost semi-autobiographical retelling of Maine’s first-hand experience of spending four days at a Catholic retreat.

Alice, played by Natalia Dyer, has been brought up in a very small town by her conservative religious parents and attends Catholic school, where sex-ed classes are taken by a priest. Not only is sex before marriage a sin, but also masturbation, and Alice is made to believe that she will go to hell if she even gets turned on by sex scenes in movies or hot boys in the class. Alice, like most girls her age, is pretty gullible and believes that she is actually committing sins by feeling emotions normal to any teenager. Set in the early 2000s, Alice experiences her sexual interaction over an online AOL chatroom, where she responds to a random dude’s creepy messages just because of curiosity and discovers masturbation. But then she is ashamed of herself and never talks about it to anyone.

At school, someone has spread a rumor about how she performed a very particular sexual activity with a guy from her class at a party, a sexual activity she that she doesn’t even know the meaning of. She asks her friend, but she has no clue either, and Alice spends a chunk of the film trying to find out what people are talking about her. But whatever it is, in order o get these accusations of her and compensate for her supposed dirty mind, she goes to a Christian retreat for four days. And this place is a straight-up horror mansion imo. Right from the beginning, with the overly friendly and enthusiastic attitude of everyone, something is definitely off about this place. Maybe it’s just my socially awkward self, but everything in the retreat is almost Get Out level creepy.

Yes, God, Yes, is a movie about masturbation and sexual awakening, but what separates it from other films of this genre is its female protagonist and conservative setting. It is not a raunchy comedy about horny guys trying to lose virginity, it is just a realistic portrayal of a girl coming to terms with her own sexuality. Maine sure finds funny moments throughout the story, but she never loses sight of realism in the central story, she rather uses the comedic moments to further develop Alice’s character and illustrate her struggles.

The teachers and elders in the story are used for jokes, but they are not the butt of jokes, they are all very misguided people themselves. If anything is joke it is religion and a society that expects young to suppress all their sexual urges, even though they know it is unrealistic. The guilt of always feeling like she’s committed a sin fills Alice with self-doubt that almost drives her crazy as she slowly starts to find out that people are doing those same things in hiding. She feels conflicted and doesn’t understand what she wants to do anymore and then she meets an old lesbian biker lady in a pub, who was once in a Catholic school too, which gives Alice a new perspective on the world. She understands that human beings are complex creatures, and it makes no sense to define them entirely by the supposed “sins” they commit. She understands that High School isn’t the end of the world, and it doesn’t matter what people are talking about behind your back, because those same people are doing equally fucked up shit when nobody is watching. She learns to give herself a chance – to finally figure out who she is.

Natalia Dyer gives the best performance of her career as Alice. So much of the movie depends on her, and she sells every moment she’s in. The rest of the cast is equally good. Wolfgang Novogratz as the lovable hunk is very charming and Timothy Simon is perfect as the strict father, a role very similar to his role from Looking for Alaska on Hulu. Karen Maine does an amazing job directing the movie. It’s hard to believe this is her first movie and she almost pulls off a Greta Gerwig, ala Lady Bird. Yes, God, Yes, is a beautiful little film about growing up and one of the best films to release this quarantine. So, if you have an hour and an hour to spare, check out the movie, you might end up reliving some your worst High School memories.

Now available in virtual cinemas and select drive-ins; available on digital and VOD from July 28.