Archive for the ‘Weekly Roundup’ Category

This week there were loads of things to do in Dublin (that I didn’t know about) to celebrate International Women’s Day. As I said, didn’t really participate in much so I can’t really comment too much on the goings on. Instead, I’d like to dedicate this week’s roundup to all the women who helped me get over my annoyance and disappointment in myself for not finding out sooner about all the great events I could have experienced had I not just got off my bum and done a little research!

1. Alexa MacDermot- This week I had the pleasure of whisking myself off to a La Catedral studios, which is an art studio located in Christchurch . In the area of the studio known as the Back Loft, a small yet diverse exhibition of several artist’s work was taking place. The exhibition organised by the lovely Alexa MacDermot was called Foodfight as a common theme of the work displayed was related to, you guessed it, FOOD! Some of the artist’s references to food were done in a very obvious way and some in a more subtle way. However, all the work displayed was tied together by it’s incredibly high standard. All the artist’s possess different styles and strengths but I thoroughly enjoyed all the pieces and loved the contrast between each of them and different roles that food played in all of the works. Oh and there were also THE BEST cupcakes I have ever eaten in my life at the exhibition baked by Alexa herself. The Back Loft also had padded toilet seats which whilst luxurious and undeniably swanky, I can’t imagine would be that practical with regards to cleaning. Anyway, here’s some of my favourite pieces from the exhibition and a big well done to Alexa for organising such a cool event!

2.Elvira- Mistress of the Dark- Now I’ve known about Ms. Elvira for a while. I was first introduced to her through a friend
during Halloween. She showed me an amazing picture of one of her male friends dressed in drag whilst adopting the fashions and hairstyling’s of the one and only Elvira. Since then I’ve seen her comedic talents, amongst other notable endowments, showcased on several shows including this little show I don’t really talk about much…RuPaul’s Drag Race (never heard of it? Like I said I barely ever mention it). She was also featured on one of the mockumentary news type videos that the Scissor Sisters began releasing for their phenomenal third album Night Work. Ever since, I’ve had a growing curiosity about Elvira. This weekend though I truly realised that this woman with her bee hive hair, vampira-esque makeup and slapstick brand of comedy was so up my street that I was appalled at myself for not having already formed an unhealthy obsession with her. Luckily for me my Netflix Ireland account has a copy of Elvira’s 1988 cult classic feature film debut, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, available for streaming. Now I won’t lie. To some it may seem a little bit silly and the movie doesn’t really have a hugely original plot line. However what it lacks in that area, it makes up for with numerous hilarious one liner’s from the all at once goofy and tough Elvira, so many amazing visual gags and…well….it has loads of ELVIRA! The team behind the film clearly wanted to capitalise on Elvira’s likeability as a screen presence and though as I said the movie may be a bit lacking in some aspects for some people, it’s undeniably loads and loads of campy fun. Elvira totally plays up her sex appeal and unashamedly uses her, natural assets shall we say, to achieve her goals but she’s also got this great self deprecating humour that makes her such a laugh to behold on the screen! I’m happy that I have finally begun my all consuming obsession with this wonderful woman! 
3. Laura Veirs-  This year has seen my love for the multi instrumentalist and wonderful songwriter Laura Veirs grow and grow. The first album I got was her 2010 release July Flame and it’s a beautiful listen.  Like one of my other favourite female artists Kate Bush, Veirs has an incredible ability to create cinematic soundscapes that transport the listener to destinations and times they have often never ventured before. For me July Flame took me to the mid west of America, in a time when settlers were trekking across this vast and undiscovered landscape in search of better prospects and opportunities. Here’s one of my favourite tracks from the album, I Can See Your Tracks, I love the hollering vocal harmonies that come in. They remind me of people singing in the grand canyon or miners singing down in the depths of the earth, have a listen and see what you hear.
With each album she brings listeners to different eras and places and whether it be the sea or the moon it’s always a delightfully enjoyable listen. I’ve recently become hooked on this song from her 2005 release Year of Meteors called Lake Swimming. I love the drum machine beats and computerised pizzicato strings employed in the song and the way she builds upon a really simple guitar riff to create this stunning little ditty. It’s quite hypnotic and is just another testament to Laura Veir’s versatility and talent as an artist!
4. Dame Judi Dench- “Are we Equal?” asks Dame Judi Dench in this amazing advertisement that brings up so many great and often heartbreaking points and also sees Daniel Craig don a dress. Didn’t think it was posible but after seeing this, my love for this incredible woman has grown. Sit back, watch and be amazed!

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Let’s be real. This category isn’t so much of a weekly roundup as it is a every-once-in-a-while roundup, but hey i’m trying!

  1. Santigold- Disparate Youth-  It’s been nearly 4 years since Santigold unleashed her flawless debut album, and I have to say her presence has been missed! Big Mouth was the first single from her forthcoming album Master of My Make Believe.  The single was produced by Switch and Buraka Sound System and was released for free through her website. I loved Big Mouth but once I heard Disparate Youth I really started to get excited about the Spring release of Santigold’s sophomore effort. At first I thought that the song was great but I felt like it never really took off. However upon about a million further listens, I realised the song is in actual fact…perfect. Sure maybe Santigold could have concocted a crazy unexpected middle 8 like we know only she can. However, I kind of like the fact that the track builds momentum by adding various contrasting yet gawwwgeous sounds and instead of climaxing it just sashays along, confident in it’s ability to please the listener.
  2. Lucy Lawless- Well I’ve been a big fan of Ms. Lawless for quite some time. Obviously, Xena was my favourite show as a child and then in later years her turn as one of my favourite characters in Battlestar Gallactica saw her place firmly cemented in my heart. “But where is Lucy Lawless now ?” I hear you ask. Well, right this minute Lucy Lawless along with 6 Greenpeace activists are sitting tight on the drilling tower of an oil rig ship off the coast of her native New Zealand. The group are staging this act as a means of protesting the oil drilling taking place in the Arctic, which is the destination of the ship. The weather conditions are less than ideal but the group have vowed to stay as long as they possibly can. Is there anything Lucy Lawless can’t do? If one of the Greenpeace activists could please video the inevitable Lucy Lawless ululating and throwing her chakram at anyone who tries to move her or her fellow protesters and upload it onto youtube that would be great. I wonder if Gabriel is with her?
  3. Lana Del Rey wins Best International Breakthrough at the Brits- It’s been an amazing year for Lana Del Rey to say the least. She first came to the blogosphere’s attention with her homemade video for her haunting first single Video Games. The backlash that ensued was almost immediate. It was such an awful thing to witness all these internet journalists trying to destroy this young girls career because of her perceived phoniness. People felt cheated that Lana had been marketed in a way that made out that she was a credible indie artist when she was in fact signed to a major label. Oh and let’s not forget she probably got her lips done and she has rich parents. These components seemed to give some bloggers the idea that they had a license to slate not only her music but her character and moral fibre. At the end of the day all the things that she was being criticised for have been done by so many of her contemporaries both past and present. I felt overjoyed that Lana’s album, which admittedly employs a lot of the same tricks over the course of it’s 12 tracks but is still a great pop album, reached number 1 in over 12 countries. I think she well and truly deserved the Brit for best international breakthrough and she proved the old adage any publicity is good publicity to be very true. In the end all the negativity thrown at her raised awareness of her as an artist and helped catapult her beautiful voice and music into the mainstream.
  4. The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra  Having been a HUGE fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender it should come as no surprise that I’m exceedingly thrilled to see Nickelodeon are producing a followup to the series. The show follows the life of new Avatar Korra, a teenage girl from the southern water tribe. The character is said to be partly inspired by Avatar Kyoshi from the original series who was a popular character. Although I did like Kyoshi, she wasn’t so much of a standout character for me. In fairness it was hard for her to stand out when there were already so many amazing female characters in the show. How could she really compete with the likes of Katara and Toph? The writing in the original series, whilst it did borrow from established anime movies and series (namely the Studio Ghibli movies), was top notch. The plot twists, witty banter and most importantly the character development in the show was always of the highest standard and never faltered throughout the shows run. The show follows Korra as she learns how to airbend and I cannot wait to see the adventures she gets herself into. I also can’t wait to see reappearances from the older versions of my favourite characters from the original series. YIP YIP!!!!

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This week had so many amazing contributions and news related items from an assortment of wonderful women,  so I thought doing a Weekly Roundup would be the most effective means of showcasing this fact. Here it goes…..

  1. Madonna (Feat. M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj)   So this week FINALLY saw the release of Madonna’s first single from her cleverly titled forthcoming album MDNA. I was curious to see how the collaboration with M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj would turn out. As we all know Madonna’s foray into rap with American Life was not particularly well received. Personally I loved her rap, I think people missed the irony of it and took it to seriously when I’m sure Madge’s tongue was firmly in cheek. Anyway, back to the track. It is everything I hoped for and more. It’s so much fun!!!! At first I was a little weary of the collaboration with producer Martin Solveig as I just found his song Hello featuring Dragonnette (whom I am in fact quite fond of) INSUFFERABLE. However, thankfully my fears were unfounded. The track is totally camp and Nicki Minaj’s rap actually slots in perfectly with the song. As always her Minajesty does not disappoint and delivers a witty and weird 100 mile per hour rap in about 10 seconds, good hussle Nicki! The video carries through the audio cheerleading theme into visual form effortlessly and to great results. I love the video and I think it’s just what the song needed to give it that extra something. Kudos to Megaforce, the direction team behind the video, for creating such a clever piece of visual work and well done to Madonna for still being able to crack out an amazing pop song nearly 30 years into her career!
  2. M.I.A. – Bad Girls  M.I.A.’s first two albums whilst sound wise were quite different both shared one common feature; From beginning to end they showcased Maya Arulapragasam‘s striking ability to combine elements from traditional world music from various continents with pop hooks and hip hop (dare I say) swagger to extraordinary results. I think M.I.A.’s skills didn’t translate very well into Gimme All Your Luvin’ and it’s probably one of my only criticisms of the track. Her strengths as a lyricist shine when she’s talking about Sri Lanka or issues in parts of the world that listeners in the West aren’t usually accustomed to hearing about through song. M.I.A. is at her best when she’s creating a weird concoction of eastern scales and instrumentation with catchy beats and melodies, this song showcases that perfectly. I think the video is wonderful as well, but that probably owes to the fact that it does remind me of my younger years growing up in Saudi Arabia and going out to the desert with my family and friends. Obviously, my family nor I partook in any crazy car stunt race thing but seeing all the old beat up cars and the desert brings back fond memories so thanks Maya! Her third album whilst containing a couple of great tracks did not carry the same quality level through out as her first two did but hopefully by the strength of this track her new album will see M.I.A. back on top!
  3. Sharon Needles   Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race started on Monday and I’m already TOTALLY HOOKED. At the beginning of every season, I have all the same doubts. I believe there’s no way that this new set of bitches can compete with the Queens of the previous season, whom all displayed the four pillars of Drag so effortlessly. These four pillars of course being charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. However, after episode two or three I am in love all over again. Reality TV is admittedly a bit dumb and pointless but there’s something about Drag Race that just gets to me. I think the show is amazing because finally these Queens have an amazing platform in which to showcase their talents. Finally, there’s a place on TV where this group of people, who have undoubtedly all faced their fare share of adversity and discrimination, can be celebrated. Sharon Needles (controversial name that I initially didn’t pick up on…I’ll just spell it out for all the other idiots like me who might not get it. It’s a play on the phrase sharing needles…duh) describes herself as, beautiful, spooky and STUPID. I think it’s amazing that she won the first challenge as one criticism that has been thrown at the show is that RuPaul tends to favour the prettier more “fishy” girls. Take for instance fan favourite Pandora Boxx who excelled in the comedic challenges but faltered on the style and beauty front. Pandora‘s untimely departure from the show is a perfect example of this trend.  However, Sharon is actually very weird and not at all trying to be pretty or even look like a woman, and is in fact being praised for this. I think the fact that she strolled into the show in a witch’s hat and attire says it all. I’m really excited to see the competition progress as that’s usually when the real genius of these girls tends to come out. In conclusion, Ms. Needles is bringing a fresh take on Drag to the table and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us!
  4. Jiggly Caliente-   Just skip to 1.44 seconds. Jiggly’s amazingness needs no other explanation.

Well that’s it for this week. Hope you enjoyed and stay tuned for next week’s edition to see who earned themselves a spot on my coveted list!

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