CMW 2016: SATE, Bleeker, Poor Young Things & The Julian Taylor Band

Every night of the week during CMW you can wander down a major street in Toronto and find music that will draw you in and keep you dancing, singing, and partying for hours… Wednesday night it was Bloor Street West, and the venue was Lee’s Palace for the Julian Taylor Band Showcase.

SATE Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016With a stacked lineup and an 8pm start there wasn’t any time wasted on Wednesday, and it was as clear as ever that Toronto loves Canadian Music Week judging by the crowd that showed up early and stayed late into another school night rock and roll show.

First to hit the stage, and one of my Top 5 Must-Sees for the week, was SATE. This Toronto rock and roll bad-ass hit the stage with all the energy we expected, predicted, and promised in our preview.

SATE brought attitude and sass in spades, and paired it with the kind of rock enthusiasm and killer voice that will make you wonder why the hell you haven’t been following her on tour just so you can see it all more often. There is ZERO doubt that the stage is hers, the room is hers, in fact, it’s all hers and we’re just there in her presence, with her permission, as she puts on her show.

Backed by a tight ship, SATE and her band rocked through their 8pm set, engaged the crowd, and started a party. If you want a little taste of what you missed… go check out What Did I Do, Know My Name, and Warrior on soundcloud now, and be ready for her album to drop on June 10.

Bleecker Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016

Next, and our biggest happy surprise of the night, were Orillia, Ontario boys – Bleeker.

These 5 dudes took the stage right around 9, still early, but with the crowd warmed up, they kept the Wednesday night party going. Youth is certainly not wasted on Bleeker, as they move all over the damn stage… this is not a “stand still and play rock songs” band, this is a “hair flipping, bouncing, jumping, dancing, sweating while they play rock songs” band. And we liked it.

With a new EP available now, and a lead single Highway that is A LOT of fun, Bleeker looks like a Canadian band that we should have our eyes on for the next couple of years.

Note: This isn’t a comparison I want anyone to blow out of proportion… but as I watched Bleeker play their set and work the stage, lead singer Taylor Perkins reminded me of a young Scott Weiland in his presence and movements and energy on the stage. Oh, and guitar player Dan Steinke, he kinda looks like the WWE’s Seth Rollins.

Tunes like Highway, Free, Still Got Drugs, and Where’s Your Money Now all made us dance and nod and drink happily, and that’s why we’ll be looking for another chance to see Bleeker play some more rock and roll very soon.

Bleecker Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016

Next in our Wednesday night adventure were Thunder Bay turned Toronto rock and rollers, Poor Young Things.

It was awesome to see another band that we highly recommended coming into CMW 2016 (right here on Trish’s Must-See list) prove us right with their Lee’s Palace set at the Julian Taylor Band Showcase. The 5 piece act were tight throughout, did an excellent job using the 3 voices of Matt, Michael, and Dave together, and were stupid handsome while they did it. Those are three pretty good check marks to have on your resume…

The crowd was very clearly into what Poor Young Things were putting out. Tracks like The Low Road, Like An Animal, Sign Of The TimesBlame It On The Good Times, and Firecracker had people in full rock and roll show mode, dancing around, clapping their hands, singing along, drinking cold beer, and enjoying their night like it wasn’t Wednesday.

Note: Trish hung out with the Poor Young Things and did some CD shopping at HMV a while back… it was a good time. Check it out!

Poor Young Things aren’t new at this whole music thing, they’ve been putting in the work, and there’s definitely more coming from them and for them in the near future. Stay tuned!

Poor Young Things Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016

Last, but most certainly not least on our Wednesday night, was the headline act, from right here in Toronto, The Julian Taylor Band!

Armed with a band that filled the stage (really, there were 8 guys up there with instruments) The Julian Taylor Band did an excellent job of owning the spotlight at Lee’s Palace from their first note.

Here’s how those 8 players broke down… 2 saxophones, 2 keyboards, 2 electric guitars, bass, drums, and microphones all over the damn place. If you want to talk about full, balanced, awesome sound – these guys brought it to Canadian Music Week without question.

Note: Earlier in the week we talked about how great the Cello sounded with the electric guitar… now we’d like to add that the double saxophone, with the double electric guitar is also awesome.

The crowd at Lee’s Palace were in full on party mode at this point in the show, and that was great because the band was laying down tracks that people could groove and dance to – and they did. It was a classic rock vibe, without feeling like a nostalgia punch, it was tight, it was cool, it was fun… there are really just a lot of simple adjectives that can be combined to tell you this show was great. If you were there, you already know that. If you weren’t, you missed out and you should be looking for a show in the near future so you can make up for it.

Big love to The Julian Taylor Band for being great, and for teaming up with 94.9 The Rock to put on The Julian Taylor Band Showcase – we can’t think of a better way we could have spent a Wednesday night!

Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016

More photos from the Julian Taylor Band Showcase at CMW 2016!

Bleecker Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Bleecker Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016SATE Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016SATE Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016SATE Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Bleecker Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Bleecker Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Bleecker Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Poor Young Things Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Dave Grant Poor Young Things Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Poor Young Things Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Dave Grant Poor Young Things Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Matt Fratpietro Poor Young Things Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016

2 years ago

Country Music All-Star Hockey Fantasy Draft

With the NHL All-Star Game coming up in Nashville on January 31, we decided to have a little fun with some hockey loving country music stars and hold a fantasy draft of our own.

2016 NHL All Star Game LogoThere are 14 players on the board, 12 skaters and 2 goalies… all picked because of their experience on the ice and/or love of the game.

There are a couple rules… and then we’ll get to the draft!

How It Works…

1. Trish and I will take turns making our picks from the list of country artists below until we each have a team of 7 players.

2. Each team must consist of 1 goalie and 1 woman skater.

3. All other players are up for grabs in any order.

4. Jason & Tom Petric and Brad & Curtis Rempel may be picked individually or as a combo, but if drafted as a pair the next drafter’s turn will have 2 picks to even things up.

The Players

Alan Doyle (Juno Cup goalie)
Brett Kissel (Family Tournament goalie, 2015)
Carrie Underwood (wife of NHL player Mike Fisher, Predators fan)
Jess Moskaluke (Floor Hockey Experience on tour with Chad Brownlee)
Chad Brownlee (former Vancouver Canucks Draft Pick)
Theo Fleury(Former NHL player)
 Cory Marquardt (Former Junior player)
 Bobby Wills (floor hockey experience on tour with Chad Brownlee)
 Tom Petric (High School player)
Jason Petric (High School player)
Brad Rempel (Juno Cup player)
Curtis Rempel (Juno Cup player)
Jim Cuddy (Juno Cup captain)
Dierks Bentley (Nashville Rec. League player)

Trish won a coin toss, so she’s got the 1st pick… here we go!

Round 1

Chad Brownlee Boots and Hearts 2015Trish: Chad Brownlee
Not a big surprise to my readers that Chad was my first choice. I watched him work his magic at The Mod Club and I have faith. His NHL career was cut short by injury but I think. at 6’2” in this field, he’s my star defenceman.

Josh: Theo Fleury
Theo Fleury spent a bunch years playing NHL hockey, played in 7 All-Star games, and won a gold medal with Team Canada in 2002… and he’s got a country album that he released in fall 2015. I’m happy with this pick!

Round 2

dierks-bentley-at-boots-and-hearts-2013Trish: Dierks Bentley
Dierks’ spends his spare time playing with the Nashville IceHoles and from what I’ve heard, he can’t get enough hockey. He carries his hockey gear with him while on tour just in case he can get in some ice time. That’s the kind of dedication I want on my team!

Josh: Cory Marquardt
The former junior player has a lot of high energy, and I’m betting his hands are just soft enough on the ice to make some plays.

Round 3

Brett Kissel CNE 2015Trish: Tom Petric
I’ll be counting on Tom as a forward and I’m thinking I’ll put him on a line with his brother.

Josh: Brett Kissel
Brett’s a big hockey fan who strapped on the pads last Christmas to play back home. We’re playing 3 on 3, so I’m not hoping for miracles here, just someone to stop some pucks.

Round 4

Petric 2015Trish: Jason Petric (picked in combo with Tom)
Jason may have spent a little time in the penalty box  during his hockey career. I’m happy to have him as muscle on my team.

Josh: Jim Cuddy
Cuddy’s a vet who knows what he’s doing on the ice. I need a captain, and his experience being the man in charge at the Juno Cup works for me!

Round 5

Jess Moskaluke Bright Lights Big City Toronto The PhoenixTrish: Carrie Underwood
Married to Mike Fisher, Carrie knows hockey. Can she shoot and skate? I hope she’s been practicing since the Oprah video in 2012. She brings a great energy and I’m glad to have her.

Josh: Jess Moskaluke
Jess is a sweetheart, but we’ve seen her amp up the energy on stage, and she spent the When The Lights Go Down tour with a floor hockey stick in her hands. Sign her up!

Round 6

High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015Trish: Curtis Rempel
Curtis grew up playing hockey and with a Juno Cup under his belt I’m sure he’ll be an asset to my team.

Josh: Brad Rempel
I’ll take the other half of High Valley, if nothing else we should create a little healthy rivalry between the brothers Rempel!

Round 7

Bobby Wills When The Lights Go Down Toronto-8020Trish: Alan Doyle
The most mature member of my team, and a lifetime lover of the game, Alan’s proven his worth in the net.

Josh: Bobby Wills
Bobby is another When The Lights Go Down alumni, and I’ll take him to skate with Jess, there’s got to be some chemistry there!


1: Chad Brownlee, Tom Petric, Jason Petric
2: Dierks Bentley, Curtis Rempel, Carrie Underwood
Goalie: Alan Doyle

1: Theo Fleury, Cory Marquardt, Brad Rempel
2: Jess Moskaluke, Bobby Wills, Jim Cuddy
Goalie: Brett Kissel

Results and Evaluation!

Trish: I’m happy with my picks and can’t help but think how awesome their team photo would look. Now if only we could make this game happen!

Josh: Trish has a great team, but I’m pretty happy with my 7 players… and I’d be happy to send ‘em out on the ice for a Country Music All-Star Hockey game any day of the week!

Now tell us whose team you think would win by voting in the poll!


2 years ago

5 Tips for Finding More New Music

We wish you guys could hear it all…

Laptop and Headphones New MusicThere is so much music being made right now. We’re lucky enough to be sent links and streams from local artists in Toronto, the rest of Canada, across the United States, and Europe. There’s just not enough time in the day to write about it all or see all of the shows or tell you about the great new stuff we’ve discovered.

But trust this, there is no shortage of talent or passion or dedication when it comes to the music scene right now.

For every record or single released by an artist/band you already know and love, there are dozens of others that you may never hear. And while that’s sucky, it’s the reality.

So how can we all discover more music to love?

Keep your eyes out for links…

All of these hungry new acts are using social media to get the word out about their music. If you see a band name you don’t recognize in your Twitter stream or on Facebook, click through and see if you like it.

Go to more local live shows…

CMW 2015 Aussie BBQ The HorseshoeI know I just said at the top that there isn’t enough time to go to every show, and there isn’t. But if you can get to 1 show a week or 1 show a month or every 2 months, whatever, you will see new acts you just might fall in love with. Pay the $10 cover and see 3 or 4 new bands plus the 1 you already know in the lineup. Have a drink or three and enjoy the night.

Note: if you have a chance to hit a festival like Boots & Hearts or WayHome or TURF, etc. hit the side stages to see new music. Even the main stage is a great place to check out early in the day before the headliners start to put on their bigger sets.

Spotify and Apple Music…

Yes there are more options for streaming music, but right now we’re using both Spotify and Apple Music to listen to music from artists we know and love, as well as new acts that we’re auditioning for future playlists. Take a chance and listen to a new releases playlist. It could be very worth it.

Share with friends…

If you start sharing new music that you find with your friends you may just find that they have all kinds of recommendations for you as well. It’s just as impossible for you as it is for us to know every new band… but if we pool our resources and experiences and new favourites, we can all be winners and have new music to love!


When The Lights Go Down Toronto Jess-8076We will continue to try and balance our coverage between established acts and new and emerging artists. We love watching artists like Jess Moskaluke and Dylan Scott blow up after we’ve already fallen in love with them. And we know that some of the other new acts we love are going to find love in the world of listeners as well.

Keep your ears open for Trinity Bradshaw, The Reklaws, Johnson Crook, Mieke, Birds of Bellwoods, Lindsay Broughton, Whitney Rose, Tim Chaisson, Runaway Angel, Livy Jeanne, Cory Marquardt, The Luke Austin Band, Meghan Patrick, and more and more and more – the talent is out there. And they aren’t going away, they’re only getting stronger.

We love music. That’s why we do this. And discovering new music is a huge part of the whole experience. Don’t miss out on that part.
You’ll regret it.

2 years ago

Making The Most Of A Rainy Day

Rainy days happen. There isn’t anything you can do about it. But if it isn’t a work day and you’re plans to go out to the park or farmer’s market have been trashed, your day doesn’t have to be a bust.

To help you out we’ve put together a list of ideas that can keep everyone busy, entertained, relaxed or some combination of those 3.

Good luck.

Board Games
Monopoly Board
‣  Monopoly: Fun for the whole family. Until that 1 person gets way ahead and starts acting like a jerk and the guy with 2 properties, no railroads and no money starts getting really upset.
‣ Scrabble: A smart game, so make sure everyone has had their coffee before you break out the tiles. And keep a dictionary handy for challenges!
‣ Sorry: Just remember that Sorry can get messy if someone feels like they’re getting ganged up on unfairly. You’ve been warned.
‣  Life: Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, make money, spend money, drive around in that car. Good luck!
‣  Anything but Battleship: I’ve never liked that game.

Uno Deck‣  Uno: Great for big groups. Keep things light hearted with lots of jokes because someone is going to be really upset when they end up being told to pick up 32 cards.
Euchre: If you’ve got a group of 4, go for it! Just be careful of the pair that have played a lot together, they can be sneaky!
‣  Poker: Bet pretzels or money, whichever you’re comfortable with. Bonus points if everyone has a hat, hoodie, sunglasses or some combo of the 3.
‣  Crazy Eights: A family classic. Pick up those cards!
‣  Solitaire: If you’re home alone you can still play card!

The Gospel According to Disney
‣  The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust [Mark I. Pinsky] An interesting work at Disney’s classic animated films. Broken into 2 time periods, 1) Walt Disney & 2) Michael Eisner. The morals, religion and themes of the stories tell a bigger story about the social times each one came from.
Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball [RA Dickey] I’m reading this book right now and I promise that if you have any interest in baseball, know who RA Dickey is, or just want to read a great story about a man who struggles with HUGE things on his way to happiness, you won’t be disappointed.
‣  Moneyball [Michael Lewis] Yes, before Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, this was a book about the way the Oakland A’s and Billy Beane were changing the way people at the top thought about baseball.
‣  The Celestine Prophecy [James Redfield] This book probably changed me more than any other when I was a teen. A story of finding yourself, faith, zen, questions and answers. This isn’t about religion, so don’t get squirmy if you’re not into that kind of thing.
‣  Any Batman comic books. Really, you can’t go wrong. Enjoy!

Orange is the New Black Poster
‣  Orange is the New Black: Season 2 is available now in case you haven’t been online anywhere and weren’t already aware. In fact, I should be watching it right now instead of writing this post.
‣  Friday Night Lights: I didn’t get into this series until this winter, and I was definitely missing out. Texas forever. Tim Riggins for President. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.
‣  Nashville: Another show that I’m watching right now. Season 1 was a blast and season 2 is shaping up to be even better. If you love country music, drama, attractive people, or the music business you owe it to yourself to check this baby out.
‣  Archer: I’m not sure what to say about Archer. If you’ve heard of it you’ve probably watched it. But if you’ve only watched occasionally on TV, you can do one better and watch every episode of seasons 1-4.
‣  Dawson’s Creek: Maybe my all-time favourite television show. The entire thing is on Netflix, from Pacey’s fling with Ms. Jacobs to the finale and the most gratifying pay-off to a love triangle ever!

Nap on the Couch
‣  Couch: A great option for rainy days. Fall asleep watching TV or reading and wake up later.
Bed: No need to explain here. We all know your bed is comfy.
‣  Floor: Sometimes a nice cool tile floor or fluffy carpet are the best place to lay down for a quick relax and recharge session.
‣  Comfy Chair: If you’ve got an awesome recliner and you aren’t napping in it, you’re doing it wrong.
‣  Bathtub: Keep the bath water low to avoid accidents. Then light a couple candles, turn on some music, turn off the lights and relax!

There you have it, 25 things you can do on a rainy day. I hope that something on this list clicks for you the next time your picnic gets washed out.

4 years ago

The Veronica Mars Movie 2: How I See It.

Veronica Mars 2 Movie Poster BannerI’m sure that Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero have already started writing the sequel to the Veronica Mars Movie. Hell, I’m sure that if I looked on the interwebs I’d find rumoured plans for a web series or new movie or something.

But I haven’t looked at all. Instead I’ve taken a minute to write the intro and some thoughts of my own about what the Veronica Mars II Movie would look like if anyone asked me what I thought.

SPOILER ALERT: These ideas will give away details about the story of 2014’s Veronica Mars Movie. 

6 months ago I came back to Neptune. The California town I once called home. After years of hiding from my past and trying to prove to myself that I was better than this sleazy city of stars and slums, I came back to help my ex-boyfriend slash star-crossed-lover beat a charge of murdering his ex-girlfriend. I know, how cliché. But what I found was that this city is in more trouble than ever. The Sheriff’s department is corrupt. The law is being bought and paid for. And more importantly, my father was put in the hospital in a hit-and-run murder attempt that killed his deputy informant.

6 months ago I came back to Neptune. The California town that I once again call home. But this time I’m not hiding from anything. I’m back to find out who has been buying the cops and ruining my city. And I’m here to make sure that Neptune elects the Sheriff they deserve. My father, Keith Mars.

Who’s your daddy indeed.

Character Updates
Veronica and Logan, The Veronica Mars Movie
Veronica, living at home with her dad while he rehabs. Passed the Bar in California and has taken up shop at her father’s office renaming it Mars Investigations and Law. Dedicated to two goals: 1) Finding out who is behind the corruption that has a stranglehold on the Sheriff’s office and city. 2) Getting her dad elected as the new Sheriff in the upcoming election.

Logan is back from his 180 tour of duty that we saw him leave for at the end of the last movie. He and Veronica are now charged with looking at each other and deciding what they have, what they are and what comes next. Again.

Keith Mars is out of hospital, in physical therapy, has told the press about what Deputy Sacks told him and he has announced that he is running for Sheriff in the special election called after the “trucker hat spy cam” video exposed Sheriff Dan Lamb’s lack of interest in the proper care of the law.

Wallace and Mac The Veronica Mars MovieWallace has been promoted to the Varsity Basketball Head Coach job at Neptune High School and has 2 students on his team that are allegedly involved in illegal activity, but swear by their innocence.

Mac has left her job at Kane Software to work with Veronica at Mars Investigations and Law. Her computer sleuthing skills have helped V. Mars build a paper trail case that should be leading somewhere, but there are still dots that need to be connected.

Dick is still Dick. Obnoxious, rude, partying and essentially harmless.

Luke Haldeman is still in the closet, not doing jail time for his involvement in the Susan Knight OD and body dumping thanks to his father’s political standing. He hates Veronica for ruining his future.

Madison Sinclair is still in Neptune and hates Veronica with the fire of a thousand suns. She has pressed charges alleging that a group of young adults (poor, Latino, Black) broke into her house, stole her jewellery, trashed her beach house and stole car.

There you have it. All of the pieces that would make for a great Veronica Mars story: justice, Logan, a Sheriff’s election, corruption, revenge… and more!

There’s a 99.9% chance that this isn’t the story that gets told if there is a 2nd Veronica Mars Movie. But I would like to think that if the right people got hold of these ideas, it wouldn’t suck.

Veronica and LoganKeith and Veronica MarsVeronica with Mac and Wallace

4 years ago

Guest Post: Kick-Ass 2 Hits the Big Screen!

Kick Ass 2 PosterLast night Trish and James checked out a pre-screening of Kick-Ass 2 and just like we did with The Avengers last summer, we’ve got a guest post from James for y’all. Please do not fret, THIS POST IS SPOILER FREE (except for what you’ll read if you click the link) and will not take away from your movie viewing pleasure.

This is why James has written this guest post: James knows his comic books, movies, games and culture and whether he knows it or not, is totally my barometer.

(He knows this stuff like I know baseball. And usually I try to be modest about what I know… but this time I mean it in a big know-it-all kind of way)

If he says something is worth reading, playing or watching, I trust him. If he says something works, I trust him.

Kick-Ass was a movie that I enjoyed on DVD when it first became available and the sequel is one that I’ve been quietly interested in since the announcement and filming and etc. Even the whole Jim Carrey thing couldn’t stop me from wanting to see what was up. Maybe it even helped.

But forget about me, this is what James has to say about Kick-Ass 2:Kick Ass 2 Banner

Continue Reading

4 years ago

How To Celebrate Rex Manning Day!

Rex Manning Day Meme BannerI know that April 8th doesn’t come until Monday… but we’ve been waiting all year for it – and it would be crazy not to be as excited as we are.

REX MANNING DAY is finally going to be here!

Now the question becomes, how do we celebrate? What do we do to honor the day that Empire Records gave us all those years ago?

I’ve got a list of things that you can implement in your day to mark the occasion. Pick your favourites and get to work!

1) Guess the colour of everyone’s underwear. It doesn’t matter if they’re light blue or not – the important thing is that if you guess enough all day long – you’re likely to be right at some point. Good luck.

2) Shave your head in the bathroom at work. I know that it isn’t directly related to Rex Manning Day. But it happened on Rex Manning Day and that’s good enough for me.

3) Throw caution to the wind and do the thing that you’ve always dreamed about. Tell someone you love them. Buy a record store. Get on stage with GWAR. Join a band and sing on a rooftop!

4) Sing along to Say No More Mon Amour. It’s a great song – no use denying it. And because we want to be helpful – here it is!

5) Introduce yourself as Warren. At Starbucks, order your venti caramel macchiato as Warren. If you meet a stranger, “Hi, my name is Warren”. And if you go to any event with sticker name tags and you better fill it out as Warren!

6) Spend some time in the photocopy room.

7) Bake some cupcakes and bring them to work in the morning a la Corey.

8) DANCE! Gina and Corey dancing - Empire RecordsIt might not be a holiday – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy this day more than we do a regular Monday.

Get out there. Watch Empire Records with friends if you can. Be awesome and enjoy the heck out of Rex Manning Day!

I know I will. Rex Manning Day ButtonHello My Name Is Warren!p.s. If you ever forget when Rex Manning Day is – you can check here:

5 years ago

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Coming Soon!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Coming Soon! Okay… so maybe soon has been used loosely here – but that’s not my fault man. I’m excited to see OSCAR WINNER JENNIFER LAWRENCE! I wanna see Katniss kick some more ass.

There was a lot of hype for the 1st Hunger Games movie and now that we’re all in on Jennifer I think we’re going to see more hype again as November approaches. Josh Hutcherson is no slouch either. His stock is rising and his star is burning bright. Heck, he even did that Red Dawn movie with the Hemsworth brother who is Thor and not Gale.

And don’t forget that we still get Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz and Philip Seymour Hoffman!

It’s a pretty awesome cast.

And the 2nd story was not bad to read.

This could be pretty darn good. And exciting. And emotional. And visually pleasing. And intense. And most of all, entertaining.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Victory Tour PostersJust look at those 2 all shined up after they won at the 74th annual Hunger Games! Everyone is so proud and the people are so excited and there’s so much shit going on in the background and underground and a revolution is coming and the people will rise and it’s going to be fantastic!

If you still haven’t read The Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins but you loved the 1st movie and you are excited for the Catching Fire – get out and read them. Reading is still the best way to ingest the story. Don’t rob yourself of that!

And don’t give me any of that they’re kids books crap. So was Harry Potter and so was Twilight and so many of you/us read those books that the excuse doesn’t hold any water when we’re talking about The Hunger Games now.

Note: I did not read nor have I watched any of the Twilight material. Why? Because, that’s why.

Now, when it comes to Catching Fire we’re all going to have to remember something… we need to get lost in the movie and the story. Now that we’ve seen Jennifer Lawrence in an Oscar winning role as an adult it may be a little bit harder to imagine her as an 18 year old at the head of a burgeoning revolution. But we’re going to have to if this movie is going to work. So try your best.

Especially exciting for me right how is the release of the “Official Portraits” we’ve seen in the last few days. I know that there are more coming. Probably of Cinna and President Snow and maybe more. Who knows.

I’m also excited for Johanna Mason to join the story!

There’s a lot of excitement.

And there’s enough time to go back and reread the book before the movie comes out.

I think that’s what I’m going to do.

Actually, it’s what I will do. No thinking about it really needs to happen.

We have just over 8 months until the release date. It sounds like a long time… but I’m hoping it goes by quickly!

Stay tuned for more images, posters, trailers and behind the scenes sneaks… I have a feeling that we’re going to be seeing a bunch of them. And I’m totally okay with that. More than okay with that.

It will be awesome!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - First Portraits
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire poster

5 years ago

After The Dark Knight Rises – Batman Reborn

Blake Finds The Batcave - The Dark Knight RisesSo, we’re now months removed from The Dark Knight Rises and the end of the Christopher Nolan directed Batman trilogy. But the legend of the Batman can not end there.


Here are the current facts that I’m thinking could be a HUGE part of the next Batman story to make it to the live action big screen:

  • The Gotham City sewers have now been introduced to the audience.
  • The city of Gotham needs to be rebuilt and will be in chaos for years to come.
  • The most dangerous criminals (and mob members) in Gotham were set free by Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and may not have all been rounded back up.
  • Bruce Wayne has left Gotham and will not be back.
  • John “Robin” Blake is no longer a police officer and has found the Batcave and all of the toys inside.

Now, if we are to take the facts that we have after The Dark Knight Rises we can start to move forward with a new story and a new chapter in the legend of the Batman.

And I’ve been thinking about it.

Gotham has had a few years to start rebuilding, improving, starting to live again. But things are not at ease. A new criminal has started terrorizing the city. He calls the sewers his home and the Gotham PD can not stop him. Gotham needs Batman. However, I don’t want to see Bruce Wayne back. I don’t want to see Blake as Robin or as Nightwing. I want to see Blake as Batman. A new Batman.

Blake will have had a few years to acquaint himself with the Batcave, the suit, the equipment and the toys. He will have trained and grown stronger and quicker and prepared. He will be ready to take over the mantle of the bat.

And so John Blake will become the Batman. Because Batman doesn’t have to be Bruce Wayne. Batman is the cape and cowl. And what Gotham needs is for someone in the cape and cowl to step out of the shadows and fight the Penguin.

The PenguinYes, the Penguin.

Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot is a mobster. And in the new Gotham, the mob is back. Things are a mess, people are trying to put their lives back together, but it isn’t that easy. It never is.

The Penguin is a shit disturber. A thinker. A man with something to prove and no qualms about hurting people to get what he wants when he wants it.

He is the type of villain that needs to be defeated by Batman.

And that’s exactly what will happen.

But it won’t be without growing pains. Blake’s Batman will have bumps along the way. He will experience hardships in his initial fights with the Penguin’s thugs. He will be both celebrated and questioned. He will have to decide whether he wants to be his own Batman or Bruce Wayne’s Batman 2.0.

The new Gotham still has holdovers to keep things familiar to us. Jim Gordon is still the Commissionaire of Police. Lucius Fox is still running Wayne Enterprises and has never given up on the thought that one day Batman may return. And Father Reilly is still running the boys home, now at the former Wayne Manor.

The pieces are available and largely in place already for this story to happen. And at this point the fans are used to taking a few leaps of faith when comic book movies get made. They need to continue to allow for those changes. They need to relax and enjoy the show.

That’s what I plan to do. Whenever that may be.

I hope it’s not too long.

Fingers crossed.

Be awesome!
After The Dark Knight Rises

5 years ago

15 Reasons We Love 10 Things I Hate About You

Look, I know that this should probably be a 10 reasons list since the name of the movie is 10 Things I Hate About You – but there are more than 10 reasons that this movie is amazing and I’m not good at paring things down. I’m also not good at putting things into any kind of order, so I’d appreciate it if you could do that in the comment sections below.

I’d love to know what your top 3 reasons are. And if it’s a reason that isn’t on this list – AWESOME! 

I fell in love with this movie when it first came out on video and in my 1st year of college we watched it once a week. I know most of the lines. I can watch it at any time. I just plain love it.

15. It’s Shakespeare!

14. Julia Stiles getting her Hip Hop on before Save The Last Dance

13. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Heath Ledger on the same screen

12. Joey “Eat Me” Donner teaching us the difference between the Bathing Suit and Underwear poses

11. Finding out that you can be whelmed in Europe

10. Appearances and performances by Letters To Cleo and Save Ferris

9. A Dawson’s Creek reference!
Bianca: Can we, for two seconds, ignore the fact that you’re severely unhinged and discuss my need for a night of teenage normalcy?
Mr. Stratford: What’s normal? Those damn… Dawson’s river kids sleeping in each other’s beds and what not?

8. Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You as performed by Patrick Verona in the stands of the high school stadium


6. Reginald’s quivering member

5. This step in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s transition from child star on 3rd Rock From The Sun to now.

4. This: “I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair. I hate the way you drive my car. I hate it when you stare. I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind. I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme. I hate it, I hate the way you’re always right. I hate it when you lie. I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry. I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call. But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.”

3. Introducing us to Gabrielle Union before she told Kirsten Dunst to bring it.

2. For teaching teenagers the difference between like and love and how you can love one thing if you don’t have the other thing…
Bianca: There’s a difference between like and love. Because, I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack.
Chastity: But I love my Skechers.
Bianca: That’s because you don’t have a Prada backpack.

1. The reminder of how charming and handsome and talented Heath Ledger was from his breakout role until he played The Joker…

5 years ago

The Dark Knight Rises & The Amazing Spider-Man: What They Got Right!

I love comic books. And not just for the costumes and adventures and colours. I love the stories and characters and little things that become myth and legend and literature when given the attention that I believe they deserve.

Because of that I am sometimes nervous for comic book movies. Studios love big explosions and fight sequences and costumes. So do summer blockbuster audiences. That’s why it’s easy to understand why character development and mythos can be left behind at times.

However, sometimes things get done right. And, as far as I’m concerned, both the Marvel and DC universes had great examples of things done right this summer with The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises.

I was totally impressed that in Andrew Garfield’s new Spidey we got a story about Peter Parker, not just your friendly neighbourhood web slinger. But also the teenager with a ton of issues and concerns and life in the way of being happy and growing up. He has a complicated family life and many, many questions. There’s more to him than Spider-Man. And there was a Peter Parker before Spider-Man.

And in Christopher Nolan’s last Batman movie I feel like we got the story we needed about the people and city of Gotham as well as The Dark Knight and Bane. We learned about the city in a post-Harvey Dent climate. We saw what the covering up of Two Face did to Jim Gordon. How a young boy named John Blake grew up in the city of crime and wanted to make it right and how Alfred Pennyworth, the man trusted with more truth than any other, battled it all inside for so long. The legend of Batman is about much more than just Batman, it’s important to see that.

To me, superhero stories are more than just the masked men. It’s the dual identities and lives and secrets. I want to see the struggle and human side. It’s the thing that makes me identify with The Batman and remember what it was like to be an awkward teenager that didn’t live under my parents’ roof just like Double P. Those human qualities are just as important to me as the crime fighting. These are characters that have been crafted and chiseled and shaped over decades by numerous writers and artists and directors and actors.

I would argue that they are as important to modern story telling as Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Holden Caulfield and Nick Carraway. We can fight about it if you want to. I imagine we’ll end up in a stalemate.

That means that the people who write the stories for comic books, television cartoons and major motion pictures are very important as well. And so I tip my hat to James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent & Steve Kloves (The Amazing Spider-Man) and Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer ( The Dark Knight Rises) for their great work. I hope that the next installments of both franchises continue in the same vein.

5 years ago

Is It Rex Manning Day?

Yesterday I was walking down the street when I passed The Cardinal Rule (5 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON) and had to do a double-take, come back and take a photo of their chalkboard sign in front of the restaurant…

I smiled. Then I Instagramed and Tweeted and started getting retweets and favorites and tweeted with @CardinalRuleTO about how they made my day.

People were so happy!

And that’s because we all love (for one reason or another, not all different, not all the same) Empire Records!

It’s a great friggin’ movie FILLED with actors and actresses that moved on to do some really huge things in their industry. And it’s fun. And the music is outstanding!

In fact, today I was looking for some info (more to come on that) and stumbled across these two lists on Wiki:


  1. “Til I Hear It from You” by Gin Blossoms
  2. “Liar” by The Cranberries
  3. “A Girl Like You” by Edwyn Collins
  4. “Free” by The Martinis
  5. “Crazy Life” by Toad the Wet Sprocket
  6. “Bright As Yellow” by The Innocence Mission
  7. “Circle of Friends” by Better Than Ezra
  8. “I Don’t Want to Live Today” by Ape Hangers
  9. “Whole Lotta Trouble” by Cracker
  10. “Ready, Steady, Go” by The Meices
  11. “What You Are” by Drill
  12. “Nice Overalls” by Lustre
  13. “Here It Comes Again” by Please
  14. “The Ballad of El Goodo” by Evan Dando
  15. “Sugarhigh” by Coyote Shivers
  16. “The Honeymoon Is Over” by The Cruel Sea (This track only appears on the revised version of the soundtrack)

Songs in the film not listed on soundtrack

  • “Can’t Stop Losing Myself” by Dirt Clods
  • “Hey Joe” by Dirt Clods
  • “Dark and Brooding” by Noah Stone
  • “Thorn in My Side” by Quicksand
  • “Little Bastard” by Ass Ponys (as Ass Ponies)
  • “I Don’t Know Why” by Sacrilicious
  • “Real” by Real
  • “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” by AC/DC
  • “Counting Blue Cars” by Dishwalla
  • “Snakeface” by Throwing Muses
  • “Candy” by Full Tilt Gonzo
  • “How” by The Cranberries
  • “Hardlight” by Peg Boy
  • “Chew Toy” by Fig Dish
  • “Power Shack” by Fitz of Depression
  • “Saddam A Go-Go” by Gwar
  • “Backdown Blues” by Loose Diamonds
  • “Tomorrow” by Mouth Music
  • “Plowed” by Sponge
  • “Surround You” by Billy White Trio
  • “L.A. Girl” by Adolescents
  • “Seems” by Queen Sarah Saturday
  • “Vinyl Advice” by Dead Hot Workshop
  • “This is the Day” by The The
  • “Say No More (Mon Amour)” by Maxwell Caulfield as Rex Manning (written for the film)
  • “She Walks” by Poster Children
  • “Sorry” by Sybil Vane
  • “Infinity” by Mouth Music
  • “Money (That’s What I Want)” by Flying Lizards
  • “Sugar High (ft. Renee Zellweger)” by Coyote Shivers
  • “Seems” by Queen Sarah Saturday
  • “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits
  • “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles
  • “I Shot the Devil” by Suicidal Tendencies
  • “Rock ‘n’ Roll/EGA” by Daniel Johnston

That’s a lot of pretty great music. And there are 3 musical moments in the flick that stand out most for me.

The first – the loudest, angriest – most intense:

AC/DC: If You Want Blood

But wait! There’s more!

The 2nd musical moment also includes one of the most beloved lines of the movie, “We musn’t dweel. No. Not today. We can’t. Not on Rex Manning Day!”
The Buggles: Video Killed The Radio Star


And then there’s the last one. The one that we all remember. The one that I’m kinda surprised Renee Zellweger didn’t turn into a record deal…


And in case you were wondering. Rex Manning Day is April 8th. If you ever hear anyone tell you different – you can send them here!

5 years ago

What’s Next For The Batman?!


I saw The Dark Knight Rises this week. And while I am not here to bust out spoilers (sorry, but it’s going to kind of happen) I do want to talk about what may come next and why Christopher Nolan or who ever will be in charge of the project should be allowed to do whatever they want with their Batman storyline.

Here’s the thing – when you walk into a superhero movie you can not expect that the story will unfold the same way it did in the pages of your favourite comic books. It’s not going to happen.

Note: Every time any book gets made into a movie people get up in arms about which is better and how (often) it’s the movie that does not live up to the expectation or excellence of the book. Comic book fans are quite the same. After decades of this going on I would think that we would all be used to the differences and be able to just move on and enjoy the show.

Now, Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have both stated quite publically that The Dark Knight Rises will be their last Batman film as director and star. However, I would not be surprised at all to see that Nolan stays on as producer for at least 2 more Batman movies, much like he is going with the Superman reboot that we will see in theatres in 2013.

A large part of me really hopes that Nolan does stay on because I want to see a continuation of the current story. I want the studio and DC and everyone involved to have the balls to move forward with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL) and a new Gotham City.

(this is where I talk about what I want to see happen and it may/will give away things that happened in The Dark Knight Rises)

We find out that Robin is the real name of John Blake at the end of the movie… but with Bale not returning in a role he’s been very good in, I hope that we skip the Robin costume and see JGL in the cape and cowl as the new Batman that Gotham City needs and deserves.

I know that Blake isn’t ready to be Batman immediately. That’s okay though, 4 years passed in Gotham between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. 8 years passed between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. There’s no reason that we can’t have 4 or 5 more years pass as Blake settles into his new home at the Wayne Manor Orphanage and the Batcave that he discovered and Gotham City is rebuilt and renewed after the tragedy and destruction of Bane’s attacks. He can train, get bigger, smarter, stronger and be prepared to take over the mantle of The Bat.

What I would love to see is movie 4 (Batman: A New Hope) as a JGL Batman movie. Commissioner Gordon (Mayor Gordon perhaps) would stay involved. I would have Father Reilly become the new Alfred in that he is the guardian of Wayne Manor and confidant of Robin John Blake. And then in movie 5 (Batman: Revenge of The Bat) we have a Batman and Robin movie with one of the orphans becoming the Boy Wonder.

It would take balls for this all to happen. It would ruffle feathers with Batman fans. It would make people mad. But it would make for a hell of a continuation to Nolan’s Batman franchise.

Now listen up, comic book fans/nerds/aficionados will be pissed if Nolan decides to start writing his own Batman storyline. But why the hell shouldn’t he be able to. For decades we’ve had DC writers taking on The Bat and writing stories that have had fans happy and satisfied as well as unhappy and unsatisfied. That’s the chance that you take. I don’t see why these movie writers should be given any less license than comic book writers.

This is the entertainment industry. Deal with it.

PS. I know that other, smarter, more in the know people have written about this. And they probably have a better hold on things than I do. But I know what I’d like to see. And this is it!

1) I’d love to see The Penguin introduced as a villain in the sewers of Gotham now that they have been introduced to us. Not in the same, deformed way that Danny DeVito played him, but in a gritty, hidden, mean gangster that has taken to the sewers for protection.
2) I would also like the see The Riddler in a serious, dangerous, cerebral character that has a menacing laugh and not a ridiculous giggle.
3) And I think that The Mad Hatter could also be introduced as a supporting villain. He stays in line with a non-supernatural world and could be a hired gun for The Penguin.
4) I would really love to see Solomon Grundy, but that’s not in the cards in a traditional way. Perhaps in an updated, more “legend has it” incarnation.

If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises yet, I’m sorry. I warned you at the start and middle that it might get spoiler-y in here.

If you have seen The Dark Knight Rises I would love to hear what you think.

And I would love to hear what you think might happen next in Gotham City!

5 years ago

Number 5 With A Splash!

Note: I was going to use the word bullet in the title, but given recent events and my post about gun violence and how I’m feeling about what’s been going on I’m happy to use splash instead.

I used to write a lot of lists. In fact, I got an awesome leather notebook with my initials in gold from a friend as a present once and wrote lists in it often.

So, today I have a some lists to share today. And I’m hoping that when you read them you’ll want to share some of your favourites too.

Note: Lists are not necessarily in priority order.

5 books that I would keep on my shelf if I was told that all the rest had to go:
1) The Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks
2) The Celestine Prophecy – James Redfield
3) Batman: The Long Halloween – Jeph Loeb/Time Sale
4) My Boring Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith – Kevin Smith
5) The Bible

5 foods that I would eat (at least) once a week, every week:
1) Steak
2) Turkey Burger
3) Fish & Chips
4) Chicken Wings
5) Sushi

5 movies that I would keep on the rack if I was told that all the rest had to go:
1) 10 Things I Hate About You
2) Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh)
3) The Dark Knight
4) Dogma

5 cities that I would love to visit on a baseball tour:
1) Chicago
2) Boston
3) St. Louis
4) New York
5) Pittsburgh

5 dream jobs:
1) General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays
2) DC Comics advanced copy critic
3) Writer
4) Independently wealthy philanthropist
5) Greeting card editor

5 people I want to meet in heaven:
1) John Hughes
2) Roberto Clemente
3) William Shakespeare
4) Aldus Huxley
5) My mom’s grand-dad

5 favourite songs to sing at karaoke:
1) Mr. Brightside – The Killers
2) Brian Wilson – Barenaked Ladies
3) Whiskey Girl – Toby Keith
4) Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler
5) Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl

5 preferred superheroes:
1) Batman
2) Green Arrow
3) Spider-Man
4) Nightwing
5) Wonder Woman

Alright friends, your turn. What are some of your top 5s?

6 years ago

And This Is Why I’m Excited For The Dark Knight Rises!

In traditional super hero mythology and comparison it’s Superman that gets compared to Jesus.

But in The Dark Knight Rises, Batman takes that place.

You know, with the whole giving everything to the people that need him. Being beaten and broken and coming back again.

That’s not why I’m writing this post. I just noticed it and wanted to point it out.

I’m writing this post because I am VERY EXCITED for The Dark Knight Rises to hit big screens on July 20.

I love The Batman. I think he’s the bees knees. He’s my personal favourite super hero.

I also totally dig the movies that Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have made together since 2005.

With their 3rd and (so far confirmed) final contribution to the Batman franchise only a few days away (check the countdown in the side bar) I am a little sad that there won’t be more. They’ve been a good team and told good stories and had some great performances from their casts.

Here are some of the reasons that I’m excited for The Dark Knight Rises.

Bane is a bad, bad man. He’s also a big, big man. And Tom Hardy just might be the man to take that on.

Note: All respect to Jeep Swenson, who I’m sure did the very best that he could with what he was given in Batman & Robin.

Tom Hardy is a talented actor I fully expect that he will deliver a great performance in The Dark Knight Rises. I’m looking forward to it. Be ready.

First there was Catwoman in Batman Returns. It was awesome. Then there was Catwoman in Catwoman. And it wasn’t awesome. And now, with great trepidation, the audience prepares for one more try.

Anne Hathaway looks to be a pretty great choice to wear the goggles and leather. Hathaway takes on the double identity of Selina Kyle in a role that demands a qualified actress and I know that I’m not the only one hoping that she gives it. Because of the history of the character this could be seen as a risky move.

Fingers are crossed that it pays off.

Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are back as Lucius Fox and Alfred. And this could be last movie that we see these 2 classic actors in together.

Both of these characters do a great job in supporting roles in the Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, I fully expect that they will do the same in The Dark Knight Rises. There will be quick jokes and hefty drama and I’m guessing there may even be something sad.

We’ll see.
JGL joins the Batman family for the first time in The Dark Knight Rises as Gotham City Police Officer, John Blake. There a lot of questions when it comes to how important his character will be in the movie. I have a feeling that it will be very, very important.

In fact, I think that John Blake will be the fill-in Batman when Bruce Wayne is broken by Bane.

I could be wrong I guess, but I think that it’s a pretty reasonable guess.

Either way, the ladies love Joseph Gordon-Levitt because he’s pretty and talented and charming and the dudes love JGL because he’s cool and doesn’t come off as a douchebag. And that love paired with his acting chops should make this a home run choice.

Christian Bale has been a pretty good Batman in my eyes. And now Bale dons the cape and cowl for the last time in The Dark Knight Rises.

There are a lot of stories out in the world about Bale’s intensity and commitment and effort in his acting roles. My gut tells me that this time will be no different. To borrow a sports metaphor, I predict that he will leave it all on the field.

Nolan and Bale have done a great job of getting the best stuff on camera. I’m looking forward to that partnership this one last time.

Look for a great performance.

I am.

Because we’re lucky people we also get performances from Liam Neeson, Marion Cotillard, Matthew Modine and a special appearance by Hines Ward.

I’m quite looking forward to this movie. I hope you are too.

Tickets are on pre-sale now.

6 years ago
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