Zero Tolerance for Kick a Ginger Day

gl/2008/11/30

I’m a redhead and growing up at school in England is tough for a “ginger.” We suffer relentless name calling and teasing that pours into adult life with repeated shouts of “Fergie.” I learned to be tough at school. Facebook’s Kick a Ginger Day should not have been allowed publication.

All bullying is wrong. Yes, I do have a sense of humor but there are plenty of
children out there who suffer daily at the hands of school bullies. There should be zero tolerance.

LA Times Perpetuates “bland” British Food Myth

gl/2008/11/30

LA Times writer, Henry Chu, lacks journalistic insight and uses decades old cliches to write about a country he obviously knows nothing about.

“A few desperate homemakers did battle with “snoek,” a cheap imported fish that the government promoted but that turned out to be too dry and bland even for British cooking.”

You perpetuate the myth of “bland” British cooking. Britain has the most Michelin star restaurants in the world after France and Japan. I have lived in the USA for six years and America has some of the poorest and blandest food around. When American writers continue to print this myth of “bland” British food, I think of what America has done for the culinary world that is so much better than Britain. I’m still thinking. If I described American food as just burgers and French fries then that would be showing my ignorance because there’s certainly more to American food. So why do you describe British food as “bland?” Have you eaten at the top British restaurants? Have you eaten at the best pubs where you will find organic and local food anywhere you dine in the country? Why do American writers continue to write about a Britain that does not exist today? Should I describe America as a country of fat and stupid people who eat burgers and fries every day? That would be just as silly as describing British food as bland and their people as “stiff upper lipped.” Your cheese sucks, you don’t have real cream, your cakes don’t have the best ingredients such as butter, your bread tastes like rubber, and you overcharge for the local and organic food that Brits have been living on for generations. Now of course I am over generalizing here. We are lucky to live in California where the food is similar to British food. At home in Britain, I eat local and organic food. My family and friends have lived this way for generations. So what the hell are you talking about? Have you tasted how chicken, beef, or lamb is supposed to taste like? Go to Britain. I’ve tried the meat here in the USA and I was much better off just eating the wrapping. I am forced to buy my meat from small purveyors but I have to pay for the privilege. In Britain, eating meat that tastes like juicy, tasty, flavorful meat, is the norm and we don’t have to be upper middle-class to afford it.

I am a Le Cordon Bleu trained and educated chef, writer, and travel reporter and do have some clue about the food in both countries. I suggest you take a trip to Britain and actually learn about the real lifestyle, the real people, and the food. Talk to some Britons, believe me, we don’t think much of your food either.

Ginger Liu

 

 

 

Quantum of Solace: 007’s Aston Martin

gl/2008/11/25

Checking off the essential ingredients that make a James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace didn’t disappoint in the hard, fast action department. From the moment the cinema lights go down, the audience is thrust in to an exciting car chase in Siena, Italy, with our hero destroying yet another gorgeous automobile. This time round it’s the stunning, and expensive, Aston Martin DBS.

At the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show this week, the famous Bond car was in full view and commanding a $273,000 price tag. But one secret Bond fan paid a whopping $352,000 for the Aston Martin that was totaled at the bottom of Lake Garda, Italy, for the sensational first movie scene.

Ginger Liu

LA Nightlife: Burlesque at Monday Night Tease

gl/2008/11/26  

The dulcet infectious lyrics of the Wet Spots, “Do You Take it in the Ass,” are Lili VonSchtupp’s cue to start the show. Dressed in a black slip which leaves little to the imagination, Lili takes to the stage, bends to the floor with her ass facing the crowd, and points her finger. The music disappears and Lili faces the audience. She welcomes the crowd, simultaneously sounding off a dozen or so expletives, just, as she says, to get them off her chest. She’s now ready to start the show. This is Monday Night Tease, Los Angeles longest running weekly Burlesque show at the 3 Clubs onSanta Monica and Vine. 3 Clubs is a two roomed joint with a long bar in one room, where a sliding door takes you into the second room. Here you will find plenty of comfy couches in swanky booths, spacious tables, an elevated stage, and generous bar.
gl/2008/11/25
Tonight’s show is a special APLA fundraiser for AIDS, with 16 acts volunteering their services for the cause. The show rotates its cast weekly and presents many of the best acts around today in the burlesque, cabaret and the vaudeville world. Lili’s hilarious dry comedic performance is all double entendre and innuendo. She introduces the first act, Demonika and the Darklings, whose gothic rock and strings provides a good segue way into the burlesque acts to follow. Making a gutsy comedic performance to the stage is Lavendar La Rue. This is the diminutives strawberry blonde’s first ever burlesque performance and you can’t tell. This is comedy tease equipped with water spraying pasties. More seasoned and fuller figured performers are to come. Olivia D’ Helian is a non-stop dizzy twirl of body shaking and movement. It’s not all women who make up the show tonight. Bobby Burlesque performs a hypnotic dance routine that is almost dark magic. Bobby is an international performer and uber producer of burlesque shows, producing some of the best shows in Hollywood.

gl/2008/11/25

Originally from Iowa, Lili made her segue way into burlesque four years ago when she took professional lessons. It wasn’t long before she produced Monday Night Tease with her business partner and fellow performer, Scarlet Letter. Both have worked tirelessly to keep MNT the longest weekly burlesque show in LA, as well as regular appearances at other local events and countrywide shows. By day, Lili was a successful radio talk show producer for the internationally syndicated, Online Tonight with David Lawrence. She takes her name from Madeline Kahn’s character in the brilliantMel Brook’s movie, Blazing Saddles. Burlesque and MNT is now a full-time job for her. But that’s not typical. Most performers have day jobs and perform for the love of it, at night. “We have performers who are lawyers, managers and theatre majors,” says Lili. “My husband is a working actor, so I’m able to do this full-time.”
gl/2008/11/25
Burlesque has its roots in Victorian England with the British Blondes who first appeared in the USA in the 1860’s. Performers would mock established entertainment such as Opera, ballet, and Shakespearean drama. Within a couple of decades the genre defined itself as performance with revealing costumes for women, sexually suggestive dialogue and dance, quick-witted humor, and short showy routines with little or no plot line. By the 1930’s burlesque had evolved into strip tease and its eventual demise in its original form. In the 1990’s, a new generation, nostalgic for the old time performance of elaborate sets, colorful costumes, and raunchy humor, was reborn. Today there are burlesque troupes in numerous cities around the world, where performers travel the globe and attend annual burlesque conventions, like the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival.
gl/2008/11/25
Burlesque has its roots in Victorian England with the British Blondes who first appeared in the USA in the 1860’s. Performers would mock established entertainment such as Opera, ballet, and Shakespearean drama. Within a couple of decades the genre defined itself as performance with revealing costumes for women, sexually suggestive dialogue and dance, quick-witted humor, and short showy routines with little or no plot line. By the 1930’s burlesque had evolved into strip tease and its eventual demise in its original form. In the 1990’s, a new generation, nostalgic for the old time performance of elaborate sets, colorful costumes, and raunchy humor, was reborn. Today there are burlesque troupes in numerous cities around the world, where performers travel the globe and attend annual burlesque conventions, like the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival.
gl/2008/11/25
Many performers design or make their own costumes and most choreograph their own act. Many of the performers had taken classes after seeing a live burlesque show and wanted to have a go at it themselves. “It’s empowering women,” says Lili. Her audience is largely made up of couples, first timers, regulars, and members of The Los Angeles Burlesque & Cabaret Meet up Group, a group started by Lili and Joe P., where members receive reduced price tickets. The burlesque performers are a close-knit bunch who work very hard at their craft, and like a sisterhood, look out for one another. They are part of a greater network of performance artists, vaudeville acts, cabaret, comedy, variety, and live musical acts, which perform across the country and worldwide.
Towards the end of the night, Vixen Violette, who teaches her own Burlesque Boot Camp, wows the crowd as a vixen cowgirl in her act, ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.’ Closing the show was Dizzy Von Damn’s tongue-in-cheek performance that has her rolling over the stage floor. It’s been a long night and one that has been jammed full of hugely talented, incredibly funny, and darn sexy performers. Who knows, you may even want to take some classes.
3 Clubs
1123 Vine (Vine at Santa Monica)
Hollywood, CA 90038 
Doors: 9.30pm. Show at 10.00pm.

Photos from different MNT shows by author Ginger Liu

Quantum of Solace Bond Girl Not a Match for James Bond

gl 2008/11/25

Checking off the essential ingredients that make a James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace didn’t disappoint in the hard, fast action department. From the moment the cinema lights go down, the audience is thrust in to an exciting car chase in Siena, Italy, with our hero destroying yet another gorgeous automobile. This time round it’s the stunning, and expensive, Aston Martin DBS. Check one, our hero is in a bit of bother; check two, he’s driving a fancy sports car; and check three, he is not in Kansas. Number four on my list is Bond’s sense of humor, which is sadly lacking in Daniel Craig’s follow up to the superior Casino Royal. Fifth and sixth on my list are two of the most essential Bond movie elements of its 23rd outing: the Bond girl and the villain. I realize that this contemporary Bond movie is trying its best to be a real life story of a spy and Quantum of Solace certainly had me holding my armrests throughout the stunning violence that Bond inflicts and endures. But Bond’s villain, Dominic Greene (Matthew Amalric), the chairman of an ecological organization called Greene Planet, is about as sinister a foe as green salad. We know he’s no match for Daniel Craig’s Bond, who is an impressive killing machine. Disappointing still, is the lead lady and lover of Greene, Camille (Olga Kurylenko). She’s a delicate, skinny victim of a Bond girl who doesn’t even land on her back for the good of Her Majesty’s secret service. Where Vespa Lynd (Eva Green) in Casino Royale was tough, sexy, and intelligent, Camille fails to deliver much of any emotion.

gj/2008/11/25

But beside the nit picking, Daniel Craig is the most exciting Bond ever and demands our constant attention. The violence is obvious and has consequences; people are in pain, people scream, and people die. And more importantly, the effects, in most part, are real and more awe inspiring than much of the computer generated garbage we see today. I just wanted more: more humor, more evil bad guys, and an incredible knock-out of a female lead. Imagine Angelina Jolie as a Bond girl and then you know where I’m coming from.

Ginger Liu


 

Stacy* Clark Apples & Oranges Interview

 

I caught Stacy* Clark’s set at The Knitting Factory last week and was so blown away by her performance that I demanded an interview. Clark, a guitar playing singer songwriter, and her band performed a powerful set of guitar-heavy songs and heartfelt melodies from her album, Apples & Oranges. Clark is the Winner of the 2007 Orange County Music Awards for ‘Best Female Performer’ and ‘Best Female Artist’ 2006 Southern California Music Awards. Her music has appeared on the MTV and CBS television networks, and she has appeared on stage with Jacks Mannequin, and the Amsterdams. Thankfully, she took time out to answer a few questions.  

 

GL: Describe your music?

CS: It comes from the heart. It’s a blend of folk with electronic production and a touch of indie rock. 

GL: Tell me about Apples & Oranges?  

CS: Apples and Oranges is my full-length album that features 10 songs. It’s called Apples & Oranges because I am from Buffalo, NY and moved to Orange County. It’s a play on words but also it has a personal meaning to me.

GL: Tell me a little about your background? 

CS: I am from a small town suburb of Buffalo, NY. I grew up in a really great music environment. My grandpa was in a polka band when he was young. As kids my cousins and I would circle and dance around him while he played his music. My mother also excelled at performing on the accordion and even played one of the larger venues (Kleinheins) in Buffalo when she was a young girl. Unfortunately, my first instrument was the clarinet and not the piano. I always loved to write poems and short stories, however it wasn’t until I saw Tori Amos and Sarah McLaughlin that I knew I wanted to sing and perform. That was the turning moment when I got bitten by the ‘music bug’. That is when I got an internship at a local recording studio and worked two part-time jobs while in high school. I bought my first guitar and began teaching myself to play. I was lucky enough to meet some very supportive people during my first open-mic night that really inspired me and taught me about the local music scene. I was gigging regularly at 15. There where many ups and downs, however I never lost the drive or passion for doing music. Without it I feel empty. 
 
 

GL: You were out of action for a while with a serious blood disorder when you were younger. Tell me about the organization you helped start called Music Saves Lives.

      CS: It’s a nonprofit organization that I helped start and I’m the spokesperson for. It’s a great program that educates high school and college students to get them involved in becoming a blood donor. We also have a program that helps to find marrow matches for people who are in need of a transplant. This program is run by Russel Hornbeek. His work with the American Red Cross is truly a blessing to many including myself. It is great to be involved with such a wonderful program that has such a positive impact within the United States. It is a wonderful program that has saved thousands of lives, with hopefully thousands more to save. Last year MSL raised over 70,000 units of blood and had successful bone marrow transplant matches. You can get involved with this program and make a difference.
 
 
 

GL: What do you see are the differences in the bands and the music scene in LA and NYC?  

CS: I’ve lived in California for almost 5 years now so it’s hard to answer this. In my opinion, NYC seems to produce more indie bands that find success, fore example, The Strokes. Although LA has many indie bands made good in Silver Lake, such as Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis, Jacks Mannequin, and The Bird and the Bee, there is also a lot of pop manufactured groups that end up making it to mainstream radio. Most people in LA/NYC are transplants. I think that NYC and LA both have bands in all music genres that are very talented; hence they are music capitals to live in. I do feel that living in NYC is harder and more competitive. I feel the people there work very hard in a fast paced atmosphere with harsh weather conditions most of the year.  Where as in LA, I feel its more laid back and everyday is sunny so people tend to come out to more shows year round.
  


GL: Why did you transplant your music career to OC? 

CS: I had a gut feeling that I needed to move to California to pursue music, so I did.
   

GL: Who are your influences? 

CS: My influences are constantly changing and include: Fleetwood Mac, John Lennon, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, The Beatles, Stevie Nicks, Bjork, Jimmy Eat World, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse and Madonna, to name a few.

GL: Which musicians did you listen to in your teens? 

CS: Ha. Well my first concert was Milli Vanilli if that tells you anything. I loved disco, pop and classic rock. My parents had an 8 track in our basement. In my teens I listened to a lot of Rage Against The Machine, U2, Sarah McLaughlin, Tory Amos, Ani DiFranco, Bob Dylan, Woodie Gutheris, Pearl Jam, MxPx, Operation Ivy, Snapcase, 10,000 Maniacs, The Cranberries, The Beatles, Madonna, Sheryl Crow, K’s Choice, Everclear, LL Cool J, The Get Up Kids, Jimmy Eat World, and New Found Glory. A lot punk and hardcore.
  


GL: Do you love touring…or not? 

CS: Yes. There are always good tours and better tours. I haven’t toured enough to hate it, although sometimes you just want to be home to sleep in your own bed and shower in your own bathroom.

GL: What’s your favorite moment on tour and which venue has been a stand out night for you and the band? 

CS: One of my favorite performances was in Buffalo. I opened for Jacks Mannequin and played with Phantom Planet, Paper Route, and Treaty of Paris. Sadly my band wasn’t there, however it was really special to me because my mom was there and it was in my hometown of and at the Town Ballroom.
  


GL: How did you meet your band and could you list their names and backgrounds and what they bring to the mix? I was observing your guitarist and The Cocteau Twins sprang to mind.  

CS: I met my band through friends. My drummer Tyler DeYoung was a friend with my old drummer. Luke St.Hilarie (bass) is a friend of his. I have been friends with Brad Smith (guitar) for almost ten years. We met through a friend while he was touring in Long Island and I was living there. We’ve always stayed friends and played in different bands and it just worked out that we are playing music again. I feel very blessed because they are not only very talented, but also very genuine guys.
 
 

GL: What is your favorite song to play live? 

CS: I really like Peppermint Patties. The guitar part is a lot of fun to play. 
 

GL: What will your fans expect at a Stacy* Clark show? 

CS: A good time with some good music.  
 

GL: Which musicians do you most admire right now and why?

CS: Minus the Bear, Fleetwood Mac, and Jacks Mannequin. I just saw MTB at the Music Box in LA and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. They are so tight and have such control of off beat tempos. Watching their performance makes me want to challenge myself even more while writing on the guitar. I will always admire Fleetwood Mac because their music is timeless and most of them are still together playing shows after so many years. I saw them in concert a few times and each time I cried. Its pretty crazy when music can move you to tears. Some of their songs represent times in my life and remind me of memories that I still hang on to. Jacks Mannequin is another band that I really admire. No matter how many times I see them perform, I still want to see another show. Andrew is a master of his craft and a great person. He is one of the nicest, smartest people I have ever met. Also as a survivor of Leukemia, he works hard to raise awareness and funds to stomp out cancer. His philanthropic work includes raising funds for CHOC and over $100k for his own nonprofit, “The Dear Jack Foundation”.

GL: Which song sums up your music? 

CS: I don’t think there is just one, because each song stands on its own. 
 


GL: When you’re not playing music, what else makes you tick; what hobbies? 

CS: I love playing soccer, snowboarding, the outdoors, traveling, riding bikes, art and hanging out with friends. I also really enjoy working with MSL and other charities. 
 

GL: Do you have any favorite eating and watering holes in the City of Angels? 

CS: I love Urth for their salads and their apple juice is amazing! I also enjoy Tanta for their amazing Indian food and Malo in Silver Lake, for their chewy chips..
   


GL: How into fashion are you and where do you like to shop?  

CS: What girl doesn’t like to shop!? I like everything from designer to vintage. I’ve always had a style of my own, but wasn’t really into “fashion” until a few years ago, I learned that it’s an art of its own. There’s much to it- fabrics, fit, and form. I have learned to try on lots of clothes before just settling. My appreciation for fashion really came after watching Project Runway. It’s amazing to see all that goes into making a piece. I would make my own clothes, however I really suck at sewing.

I shop at many many places – American Apparel and Gap are great for basics. Urban Outfitter’s, Zara, has cute items that last. H&M and Forever 21 are great for seasonal trends. If you feel like digging you can also find great buys at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. I really like the accessories from Betsey Johnson, BcBg and J. Crew has some great headbands. I have a bunch of cute Betsey dresses that I love dressing up in. They just make you feel pretty. I love shoes. My favorite shoe store is Steve Madden. I also enjoy shopping online – one of my favorite sites is www.buyhollywood.com
.

GL: Do you think 2009 will see a lot of changes with a new president?

CS: I don’t think we will see changes immediately, I think they will be gradual and over time. Our country is in good hands and I believe that Obama has the strength to bring the United States to where it needs to be economically and environmentally.

GL: What are your plans for 2009?

CS: Touring, writing, recording, eat, sleep, and repeat.

GL: I’m from London. Do you plan to tour this great city?

CS: I hope to someday.

GL: You have enjoyed a lot of success in a relatively short time. Did you expect this?

CS: I have no expectation. I just work really hard and try to enjoy myself along the way.

GL: What do your family think of your career?

CS: Supportive and excited for the possibilities.

Stacy* Clark’s full-length album, Apples and Orange will be re-released next spring on Shangrila Music.

I REALLY WANT TO DIRECT

 

gl/2008/11/21

 

Watch this space for my new off shoot of my WEBZINE/BLOG/WEBASODE/REALITY TV SERIES: The Day in Life, aka: “I Really Want to Direct.” I invite people from all corners of the film and entertainment industry to take part. What people do for a living has always interested me and living in Hollywood, BIZ employees are everywhere. I will be inviting people to answer a number of set questions: the same set of questions goes to everyone, whether you are a brand new Production Assistant or a seasoned Director or Actor. I want to know what you are doing TODAY in your job, not the overall picture, although that will be covered in your introduction, together with some free publicity for you and your project (links to your website, etc). For example, if you are a Prop Master, you will describe what you are working on TODAY, no matter if you think it is interesting or not. I want to know what you are doing TODAY and why.

Of course, none of you really have to want to direct. I am genuinely interested in what you do and I’m excited to hear from anyone in the BIZ, big or small.

Each person who takes part gets free publicity and a plug for themselves or/and the project they are currently working on; links to websites, etc.  And as most Q&A’s can be conducted via email, you can also supply your own photograph, taken on the job. Although I would love to do the honors if and when possible.

I got the idea from a Nancy Meyer feature, Holiday, where Cameron Diaz’s character produces trailers. As viewers, we take for granted what we see on the screen and many people aren’t fully aware of all the uniquely important jobs involved in making a movie. We know the director, producer, and actor gets all the credit and we kind of have an idea what their job entails, but what about the Sound Mixer or the Production Manager, or the Teamster. Giving a title to your career doesn’t tell me much, which is why I wanted to narrow the Q&A down to what the Producer or the Prop Master is actually doing THAT DAY, the whole 12-16 hours. 

www.ireallywanttodirect/myspace.com