TUNESDAY: “Toast” by Streetband

 

I promised I would put this song on #Tunesday when I posted Reasons to Be Cheerful Pt 3. I was introduced to this song in high school and have loved it ever since. Like “Reasons to Be Cheerful Pt. 3” it is a nonsense song talk-sung by a British guy. And I do love those.

This one is about toast. How many songs do you know about toast? Not many, huh? If I hadn’t been introduced to this song by a friend many moons ago in high school, I wouldn’t be able to name one, either!

“The upper crust was not for me,
I could tell that”

Geddit? Don’t you just love toast puns?

Go take a listen, what have you go to lose?

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Do you know of other toast related songs? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

TUNESDAY: “Powerplay” by HOLYCHILD ft. RAC

 

And when I think of time past
And wasting body tightness
I cry for all the babies
Their beauty quickly fading

Something about this music video makes me think of Arthur’s little sister, DW. Like, HOLYCHILD is DW all grown up, going to the mall with her friends, growing aware of societal pressures on women’s bodies. But, like, in a fun, catchy way that is not at all sad as it suggests.

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

TUNESDAY: “Rebirth” by Nina Diaz

 

 

I am a sucker for girl punk, especially when it has a Tarantino, western rock and roll feel.

Nina Diaz is fierce. NPR’s Felix Contreras agrees with me. Or, namely, I agree with Felix. I gotta check out the rest of this album. If I believed in god, I’d ask that Nina Diaz’ voice would come out when I sang. And if her backup band could follow me around and make me look and sound cool as I walk around, that’d be cool to. Thanks.

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

 

TUNESDAY: “I’ll make it worth your while” by Artificial Pleasure

 

Let me out, I really wanna dance so
Let me out, I’ll make it worth your while so

This song is dedicated to anybody currently sitting in a classroom, or an office space and would rather be out enjoying the sun. Bonus dedication if you are reading this midday on a Friday and would like the weekend to start.

Since it’s the 4th of July when I’m posting this, this song is also dedicated to all you Americans. As someone who cannot look away from the daily Trump-wrecks, I bet there are a lot of Americans who just want to escape the political nightmare.  I scheduled this post in May, but hopefully by the time July 4th rolls around, a miracle might have happened and the Whitehouse might be a little less orange… Fingers crossed, reader from the future.

Also, did I mention that the vocalist sounds a lot like David Bowie? That’s pretty awesome. All of the songs I’ve heard from Artificial Pleasure have a 70s classic rock/Bowie vibe, so I’m a big fan.

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

p.s. Happy belated Canada Day to all of my fellow Canadians! 150 years (give or take the many thousands of years the First Nations were on this land…)

“MAKE IT WORK” Mondays: What’s in a name?

Leslie Taylor’s Manic Neon Wasteland.

Where the hell did that mouthful come  from?

I had been reading a lot about branding, and had been interested in starting a blog for the longest time. The thing that always stopped me was the fact that you needed to define your audience. How would you describe yourself? I flip flopped. Was I trying to make a personal website, or create something for a character? Around this time I had read “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon and he recommends just putting your work out there, because it will attract a support network of like-minded individuals who will give you constructive criticism and feedback. That sounded great. So I made this blog, bought the domain name and everything.

I wanted to find my tribe. My audience then became me. I wanted to attract people who were like me. I started writing posts that shared music I liked with the hopes that other people would like that song too.

“Okay, so, then, self,” I asked myself, “What do you like?”

“Um,” I said, “I like YouTube, and Vines, and memes, and weird things like Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, and Drag Queens…. I like things brightly coloured and fast moving and funny.”

“Fast moving… almost manic, would you say?” I prodded.

“Yes.”

“What’s your current favourite colour?” I knew the answer to this question but I asked anyway. Colour is a huge component to branding after all.

“Chartuse, almost neon green… may it never go out of fashion!” I crossed my fingers and prayed to the gods and goddesses of fast fashion.

“Okay…” Where could I go with this? I wondered. “What do you like to do for fun?” If I wanted to attract people like me, I had to figure out what I liked doing on the internet in my free time.

“I like to spend my time on tumblr looking for manic comedic content, neon and bright coloured artwork and clothing… kinda like wading through an internet wasteland!”

“I have it! The perfect name! Manic Neon Wasteland!”

This of course was a fictionalization of what really happened, but somehow I was able to distill the stuff I like on the internet to those three words. I think they’re quite fitting.

TUNESDAY: “Wobbly” by Ezra Furman

 

 

Genders: my friends
I’ve just been changing genders, fluidly
cause they’ll never pin me
Down in the pages
Like a bug or bumblebeeEzra Furman has a great, grated voice. He also has a fantastic “about me” blurb that I am seriously thinking about stealing:


Ezra Furman is a guy you want to know all about. That’s why when the Internet was recently invented (ca. 2008?) Ezra snapped into action and began his two-year preparation of his blog. On this blog he will include every single thought that crosses his mind, all the songs he likes, all the bands he likes, all the songs he makes up, and everything he writes including poems prose and grunts.

Basically it’s just about music and poems. Probably just music actually.”

 

See? Doesn’t that capture Manic Neon Wasteland pretty well, too? I think so! Just substitute poems for visual art, and boom!

I love the humour in his videos (see the great stop motion adventure in his “Restless Year” music video below). I am also totally happy to send some love to genderfluid artists. His band name, when not performing solo, is super cute too:  Ezra Furman and The Boy-Friends. I love it.

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

BABY STEPS TO A MORE CREATIVE LIFE

Last week I wrote about how to live a more creative and fulfilling life. If you’d like to read my recommendations, suggested book list, please check out my post.

The Artists Way by Julia Cameron is always at the top of my list of recommendations. There is no denying that reading this book and completing the 12 week course is a life changing and fruitful endeavour. From my experience, however, it’s a deceptively hard course to complete. I don’t want to dissuade you from trying. Struggle brings growth! I tried to complete the course last year but the timing wasn’t right for me. I wasn’t ready. Don’t beat yourself up if you start and fall off the wagon. You will have learned something just by trying, I guarantee.

If, like me a year ago, you don’t think you are ready to do the full 12 week course, I have developed a “baby-steps” path to a more creative life.

BABY STEPS TO A MORE CREATIVE LIFE

  1. Read the introduction to “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron to learn about Morning Pages
  2. Write your morning pages every day. If you’re not a morning person, they don’t need to be written first thing in the morning as Julia Cameron recommends. In my opinion, when you do them is not as important as the fact that you do them. Morning pages allow you to have deep conversations with yourself. I feel like I’ve only met myself through those three daily pages of writing. Morning pages are a place where you start out by complaining about your day, planning your to-do lists, ranting about what happened yesterday, and worrying about the future… but that sort of stuff can only take up so many words. Around 1.5 pages in, I find that I run out of mundane things to talk about. This is where the real magic starts. This is where you get to talk to the real you and discover what you really want to do, how you want to spend your time, what you’ve been missing, what you’ve always wanted to try, etc. This clarity doesn’t come right away. Oh no! There are definitely days when I’ve written “I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write” over and over for a while until I found something else to write. Getting to know yourself is a slow process, but one that will happen through the morning pages.
  3. Commit to doing something you love every day. The morning pages help you discover what you really want to do. My pages revealed that I wanted to get serious about developing my multimedia art skills. I challenged myself to do a drawing every day. I didn’t say it had to be a finished, polished drawing – I just had to put pen to paper and doodle every day. If you have a musical instrument that you’ve been neglecting, challenge yourself to pick it up every day. Want to write a novel? Challenge yourself to write 500 words every day. So many artists say that the key to being a successful artist is showing up and doing the work every day. Ten to thirty minutes of practice will make a big difference, I guarantee. The habit isn’t that hard to pick up, I promise. It might suck for the first week or two as you stress about fitting it into your day, but soon a day without doing it will feel like a day wasted. Stick with it!

Other things I recommend:

Read up on Minimalism. Minimalism isn’t about getting rid of your possessions and living in a sterile black and white room; it’s about simplifying your life so that you can live your life with intention. It’s about surrounding yourself with only what you need and love so that you can live the life you want. Minimalism has many different forms and philosophies, so I recommend reading as many POVs as you can. Some of my favourite minimalists blogs are: Jenny Mustard, Zen Habits, No Sidebar, The Minimalists, and Break the Twitch

Unplug!  This one is hard, but it pays off in spades. Spend some time with no TV, no internet, no books, no music, no news, nothing! If there is one surefire way to force yourself to create something, it’s being bored and being alone with your own thoughts. Challenge yourself to do media deprivation for a day, or a weekend, or a week! Sit, observe the world around you, look out the window, sing the songs that are stuck in your head (and you may only know a few of the words), play with your cat or your dog, take a walk… all of this is good! All of it will get you out of your digital world of distractions, will help you stop comparing yourself to other people and their fabulous facebook lives, and it will plunk you, unapologetically, in the centre of your own life. That is a hard place to be, it turns out, but it is a fertile place. With no distractions, you have no choice but to ask yourself “how do I want to live my life?” If you have sympathetic roommates, or family members, ask them to join you in this challenge. I did it with LB  for a whole week and it really helped to have someone else “suffering” along side me for a week. We encouraged each other to keep going and shared our frustrations and discoveries. It was a powerful week!   

Talk to your friends and family. Ask your parents or siblings about what you loved doing as a child. There may be a favourite toy, hobby or something you always wanted to do as a kid, but may have forgotten about. Is there something you always talk about wanting to do but have never done? Something you talk passionately about? Something you would never dream of doing, though you secretly want to? A club you were a part of in high school or university that you talk about non-stop even though it was years ago? Finding out the impression you leave on the people closest to you through what you say and what you share with them can help you figure out what you should try out, or discover what you’ve been denying yourself. 

If you have your own tips and tricks, things that helped you find a life of creativity, please share them below! If you try out any of the things I recommend, please let me know how they go! You can become the artist you want to be and live a life you love. Good luck! 🙂


Note: This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products that I have used myself, enjoyed and benefited from. If you make a purchase through these sites, you’ll be supporting my dream of being an artist and living my life to the fullest, so thank you!

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TUNESDAY: “Money” by That Poppy

My friend sent me a facebook message: “Have you heard about Poppy? I have a feeling you would like her. She’s weird.” With accolades like that I had to take a look. A quick google search led me to, not her own videos, but instead page after page of “Youtube Conspiracy Theory” videos analyzing the pastel creepiness that is Poppy. I do love things creepy and weird, but this does seem a little too forced. Not enough story? I’m not sure. I do admire her dedication to the narrative, speaking in third person in all her interviews and what not. And her comments on human’s relationships with technology. It might be attention grabbing, but is it enough to maintain our attention? In the end, I admire the attempt at doing something different, putting something odd out there. Good for you, Poppy and her producer overlord Titanic Sinclair. Oh, and Titanic? 100 points to you for having an amazing name.

I want to see behind the scenes of Poppy so bad! I mean, she “reacted” to “Kids react to Poppy” by quoting herself with the same intonation and did not react at all. Her performance deserves applause at the least!

Odd internet presence aside, her music is wonderfully pop-y… geddit?

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

 

“MAKE IT WORK” Mondays: Bringing Leslie Taylor to Life!

Every Monday I want to share with you an element of my artistic process. This weekly segment is one half a personal endeavour, a journal of what I’ve been doing and how I’ve been progressing (or a document of regression), and one half an exploration into the artists process. I love learning behind the scenes information about things! I love learning how things were made, how ideas came about, what problems came up and how those problems were overcome. I know I’m not alone with this fascination, so I’d like to share my behind the scenes with you!


In 2015, I went as Princess Carolyne from Bo Jack Horseman for Hallowe’en. It was during this the creation of this costume that I was introduced to Mehron Liquid Makeup.


The coverage and colour was amazing, and once it dried it felt like I had nothing on my skin at all! I was hooked! My only goal for Hallowe’en 2016 became “pick a costume that required me to do awesome face paint”. Challenge accepted. I saw these gorgeous bellydancing wings online, bought them on a whim and decided I was going to be a, for lack of better word, “bird of paradise.” I went out and bought all of the primary colours of face paint, and this was the result: 

One part terrifying monster, one part beautiful work of art!

I knew I wanted to bring more face paint into my life. Enter Leslie Taylor. Remember my pink and red design from last week? I waited until I had the apartment all to myself and I stole away into the bathroom and got to work. I may or may not have spilled a lot of the red face paint on a pair of leggings and the floor, but that is neither here nor there.

As Gene Wilder would say, “It’s ALIVE!!!”

I am so happy with how it came out!

My next steps are:

1) Get royal blue contacts. This might be a problem since I need contacts to see, but when I’m rich and famous I can afford cosmetic prescription contact lenses, n’est pa?

2) Get a wig. In my design she has a YELLOW wig, shoulder length, with bangs. Is that the best fit with the neon jacket?

3) Face paint brings with it a new logistical issue. It is time consuming, uses expensive materials, and tends to stain my skin. If I still want to use it, I’m going to have to get strategic with my filming. The best plan would be to write as many scripts as I can and film them all in one go. Is that a sound plan?


Note: This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products that I have used myself, enjoyed and benefited from. If you make a purchase through these sites, you’ll be supporting my dream of being an artist and living my life to the fullest, so thank you!