TIFF 2018: Halloween Reboot Is Kinda Fan Fiction (With Bonus Podcast)

Halloween

Halloween

The rebooted Halloween horror franchise is a really big deal in some (bloodthirsty) circles, so Sarah was assigned to cover the film when it showcased at TIFF this fall.

Her opinion: It’s kinda fan fiction-y, but it works.

To read her whole review head over to Consequence Of Sound by clicking here.

If that’s not enough Michael Myers content, Sarah also appeared on Consequence’s themed-Halloweenies podcast to discuss the film. You can listen to that here:

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Warrior, The Bruce Lee-Inspired Show, Makes Its Debut

Warrior

Warrior

The late martial arts film star Bruce Lee is still a big deal around the world.

That’s why when the new Lee-inspired show Warrior debuted earlier this year there was a suitably large amount of attention paid to it.

Sarah wrote a primer on the new show for Asian World Of Martial Arts.

To read it go here.

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Paul Williams, Legendary ’70s Songwriter and ‘Muppets’ Guest-Star, is ‘Still Alive’

Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Legendary singer-songwriter/television guest-star Paul Williams received two Emmy nominations for his work on a Muppets special a couple years back. When he went to the awards ceremony, he received an interesting greeting from an old showbiz acquaintance.

“All of a sudden, Tom Hanks got up and he came over, and he went, ‘Oh my God! You’re still alive!” Williams tells Spinner with a laugh.

Hanks isn’t the only one who thought that Williams, the man behind classics like the Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun,” Three Dog Night’s “Old Fashioned Love Song,” the “Love Boat” theme and Kermit the Frog’s “The Rainbow Connection,” was spending more time pushing up daisies than contemplating rainbows these days. Filmmaker Stephen Kessler had just assumed his childhood idol had long since passed away until he stumbled on some amazing news while searching the Internet one night: Paul Williams was alive and well — and still famous in Manitoba.

After a brief correspondence, Kessler traveled to an event in Winnipeg to meet the singer and convince him to star in the documentary that would become Paul Williams: Still Alive, which just enjoyed its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“There was something about Paul, because of the way I connected to him on TV, that made me want to do a film about him,” says Kessler.

Williams was far less excited about the idea. After willingly stepping away from the spotlight to take care of his addictions (to alcohol and fame) and build a better life for himself and his family, the last thing he wanted to do was tempt any long-dormant demons.

“I said to Steve at the beginning there’s something really pathetic about some little old man with his cup saying, ‘Please sir, can I have some more fame?'” Williams explains.

Even the process of filming the documentary felt wrong to him, and reminded him too much of his old life as the attention-happy talk show guest who was on The Tonight Show 48 times.

“There’s something about pretending the camera wasn’t there that felt so Old World to me. An alcoholic can abstain from alcohol. Cocaine addicts can abstain from cocaine. I think at one point, I had a deep hunger, and it was for the camera being on me. I was like the food addict who was now playing with a little bit of something that was highly addictive in my life, so it’s an odd feeling, for me, to be a participant in this.”

Eventually, Williams convinced Kessler to join him in front of the camera to make the whole process feel less artificial. That was when Paul Williams: Still Alive started to take shape. Any notion of a straightforward, where-are-they-now profile piece gave way to a rich exploration of hero worship, the creative process, and a man who who finally found what he was looking for when he turned his back on fame.

Even though Williams is out of the spotlight, he still remains extremely active in the music community. In addition to his work as an addiction advocate, he’s also President of The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and continues to work on his own material.

He doesn’t listen to as much music as he used to, because he finds it impossible to do so without wanting to write some of his own, but he does enjoy current artists like Jason Mraz and Daft Punk. He played a duet of “The Rainbow Connection” with Mraz, and is now working on something with the French dance cyborgs. He’s also excited about the recently released Green Album, which features covers of songs that he wrote for The Muppets by artists like Weezer, Sondre Lerche and the Fray.

“It’s a chance for a young audience to rediscover work that I’m really proud of,” he says. “I love it. I’m a huge fan of My Morning Jacket, and I’m discovering some new acts, some really talented people.”

When he wants to calm his creative urges, he turns to reality crime shows. “‘The First 48’ is my favourite show on television. It’s as far away from the glitz of showbiz as you can get, solving two murders,” he laughs.

What he’s most proud of right now, though, is his brand new song that plays over the credits to “Still Alive,” a celebration of the peace and happiness that he has found. “I feel better about the song I’ve written for this movie than anything I’ve done in a long, long time. I think I finally wrote the song about my life.”

“I put it on the end of the film and it’s so great that he could have the last word in his own voice with his own music,” says Kessler. “It really adds something to the film.”

Williams is so proud of it that he’s a little worried people won’t get to hear his tale of self-discovery properly if they enjoy the film too much.

“I hope people don’t applaud through the credits at the end of the movie and then miss the song. Which would actually be an amazing comment on all of this. You feel like you do your best work and it disappears in applause? I don’t want the applause; I want you to listen!”

This story was originally published September 14, 2011 via Spinner AOL.

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The Weather Station & Jennifer Castle Collaboration Featured On Polaris Podcast EP 20

Polaris Podcast EP7 was live from Ottawa.

The 20th episode of the Polaris Podcast focused on a recent Polaris Collaboration Session between past nominees The Weather Station and Jennifer Castle.

The acts record two songs — The Weather Station’s “I Tried to Wear the World (feat. Jennifer Castle)” and Jennifer Castle’s “Midas Touch (feat. The Weather Station).” They’re available on streaming services and will become a Record Store Day Canada promotional item in 2019.

This and other Polaris Podcast episodes can be found on iTunes, Google Play or Spotify.

Or, to make it easy, you can listen to it right here:

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Sambo And Kickboxing Recognized By The Olympics

On November 30 the International Olympic Community Executive Board officially acknowledged that combat sports sambo and kickboxing officially exist.

While this may sound kind of weird for two sports with rich, long legacies, what it means is that their respective governing bodies can now build towards potential application to be included in future Olympic games.

Sarah wrote about this development for Asian World Of Martial Arts.

To read her story go here.

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Smashing Pumpkins Play Supposed Farewell Toronto Show

Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins

By uncompromisingly kicking-off this small venue gig with the 10-minute epic “Glass And The Ghost Children,” Billy Corgan and his Smashing Pumpkins crew set the tone for the rest of the night — they may be a huge rock band, but they’re still going to do whatever the hell they want to, when they want to and how they want to.

Regardless, two-plus hours of music and 20-some songs (considering the last third of the show deteriorated into a noodling session of cover songs and medleys) the Smashing Pumpkins proved they were not only ace rockers, but also ace facilitators of what could be described as a drunken goth-rock parody of a Promise Keepers convention.

Whether it was through pummeling the crowd with a sped up “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” or through the irony-fist-pump posturing of “Heavy Metal Machine,” it was obviously Lord Billy could do no wrong this night. It also would seem that we were witnessing the next step in Billy Corgan’s evolution from angsty grunge god to a mellower Buddha rock god, if you’ve got the comic book sensibilities to follow.

Corgan’s profuse bowing to the audience, “god blesses” and such would seem crass coming from someone of his elevated status if he hadn’t seemed so damn genuine when he was doing them. And it was ultimately this genuine affection which helped ensure the Pumpkins got over this night. The actual show was somewhat spotty, what with the aforementioned noodle-jam off going on between Corgan and fellow guitarist James Iha and the Pumpkins’ collective slavish devotion to meddle and alter their songs.

“Zero” was viciously rendered, but “Cherub Rock” seemed to be one of the few songs where the Pumpkins acted like they were just going through the motions.

Perhaps the highlight of the night came when Corgan performed a solo acoustic cover of Rush’s “Limelight.” All I’ll say about that one is that when you think about it, it’s shocking how many people know all the words to the average Rush song.

When Iha did a twisted take on Them’s “Gloria” instead as “Canada.” (“C-A-N/A-D-A/Cannnn-ada”), the crowd were more than happy to take the bait, not in small part because it gave them an excuse to shout their catcall flatteries to new bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur.

Much less the foil-for-the-frontperson she was in Hole, Auf Der Maur still managed to blow a few kisses and throw out the goat horns on multiple occasions.

Much less flattering however was what could be called the “Tribute To Howlin’ Wolf Set To The Tune Of Crawling King Snake.” This probably represented the musical low-point for the evening, despite the fact a sizable segment of the audience were actually howling along with Corgan when he’d “HOOOWWWLLL!!” into the mic.

Still, despite whatever low-lights there were, for any devotee of the Pumpkins, this was undoubtedly a night of music bliss. They pulled out old classics like “I Am One” and blistered through new tunes like “The Everlasting Gaze.” And the bonus outpouring of affection from Corgan to the audience proved that love is truly all you need.

This story was originally published March 22, 2000 via Chart Communications

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TIFF 2018: Mid90s Captures A Different Era

Mid90s

Mid90s

They probably had her at the subtle F-Zero nod, but Sarah was thoroughly taken by the tough coming-of-age film Mid90s when she saw it at TIFF this year.

The film, which was directed by Jonah Hill, perfectly captures the mood and the feelings of that era.

To read Sarah’s review for Consequence Of Sound, click here.

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