Thursday, August 30, 2012

GRMLN— Jangly Guitars and Backbone

Born in Kyoto, Japan and raised in Southern California, 19-year-old Yoodoo Park is the man behind indie rock outfit GRMLN.  In the summer of 2010 in between sessions on his surfboard, Park began recording guitar-driven dream-pop in his garage to soundtrack the journeys in his car. Park chose the name GRMLN to echo the feelings of otherworldliness and disconnect he felt during those summers. Currently a student at the University of California Santa Cruz, Park pens songs there when he's away from his makeshift recording studio and his live band, in which he plays with his brother. Entitled Explore, Yoodoo's debut EP is just that: a young artist inspired by the scenery of his coastal surroundings, discovering and developing his singular voice to create a wistful palette of blues, greens and golds.

On Explore, Park pairs clean, jangly guitars and strong backbones of bass with his yearning, muted vocals that employ reverb to soften, not distort. GRMLN's sound may be unmistakably Californian, but there's a sense of nostalgia that pervades Explore, hearkening back to Park's roots in Japan, where he still spends every summer. Tracks like album opener "Relax Yourself (Dolphin Cry)" and the smoothly slow-burning "Live.Think.Die" encapsulate the wistful aesthetic of Explore, with twinges of shattered heartbreak and melancholy tales of wasted youth darkening the album's summertime mood.

"Patio" brings Explore to a close on a restless note with one of the album's most soaring melodies, bolstered by haunting harmonies that build a feeling of despair lingering on far after the album's final minor key. Explore is a bittersweet portrait of a young man, making music to catalogue his memories as they slip away with every passing California sunset. GMRLN will release his Explore EP on October 23rd with Carpark Records.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Star Trek Titan: Fallen Gods

Though the United Federation of Planets still reels from Andor’s political decision that will forever affect the coalition, Captain William T. Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan are carrying out Starfleet’s renewed commitment to deep space exploration. While continuing to search the Beta Quadrant’s unknown expanses for an ancient civilization’s long-lost quick-terraforming technology— a potential boon to many Borg-ravaged worlds across the Federation and beyond— Titan’s science specialists encounter the planet Ta’ith, home to the remnant of a once-great society that may hold the very secrets they seek. But this quest also takes Titan perilously close to the deadly Vela Pulsar, the galaxy’s most prolific source of lethal radiation, potentially jeopardizing both the ship and what remains of the Ta’ithan civilization. Meanwhile, Will Riker finds himself on a collision course with the Federation Council and the Andorian government, both of which intend to deprive Titan of its Andorian crew members. And one of those Andorians— Lieutenant Pava Ek’Noor sh’Aqaba— has just uncovered a terrible danger, which has been hiding in plain sight for more than two centuries...

Michael A. Martin has covered a lot of ground as Star Trek author, penning tales spanning from TOS, Enterprise and Deep Space Nine to Titan, Section 31 and The Lost Era. Now he continues his impressive run of Trek novels with Star Trek: Titan: Fallen Gods, out today from Simon & Schuster. Here’s the official description of the adventure:

Though the United Federation of Planets still reels from Andor’s political decision that will forever affect the coalition, Captain William T. Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan are carrying out Starfleet’s commitment to deep space exploration. While continuing to search the Beta Quadrant’s unknown expanses for an ancient civilization’s long-lost terraforming technology— a potential boon to many Borg-ravaged worlds across the Federation— Titan’s science specialists encounter the planet Ta’ith, home to the remnant of a once-great society that may hold the very secrets they seek. But this quest also takes Titan perilously close to the deadly Vela Pulsar, the galaxy’s most prolific source of lethal radiation, potentially jeopardizing both the ship and what remains of the Ta’ithan civilization.

As time grows short for both Titan and Ta’ith, Riker confronts the most vexing ethical conundrum of his career: Will he execute a politically motivated order forcing the Andorians aboard his ship to leave against their wishes… or will his loyalty to his crew compel him to jeopardize his entire career by defying Starfleet Command?

Michael A. Martin's solo short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He has also coauthored (with Andy Mangels) several Star Trek comics for Marvel and Wildstorm and numerous Star Trek novels and eBooks, including the USA Today bestseller Titan: Book One: Taking Wing; Titan: Book Two: The Red King; the Sy Fy Genre Award-winning Star Trek: Worlds of Deep Space 9 Book Two: Trill— Unjoined; Star Trek: The Lost Era 2298— The Sundered; Star Trek: Deep Space 9 Mission: Gamma: Vol. Three: Cathedral; Star Trek: The Next Generation: Section 31— Rogue; Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #30 and #31 ("Ishtar Rising" Books 1 and 2); stories in the Prophecy and Change, Tales of the Dominion War, and Tales from the Captain's Table anthologies; and three novels based on the Roswell television series. His most recent novels include Enterprise: The Romulan War and Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many.

His work has also been published by Atlas Editions (in their Star Trek Universe subscription card series), Star Trek Monthly, Dreamwatch, Grolier Books, Visible Ink Press, The Oregonian, and Gareth Stevens, Inc., for whom he has penned several World Almanac Library of the States nonfiction books for young readers. He lives with his wife, Jenny, and their two sons in Portland, Oregon. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Expectation Escalation

How many of us, as creative artists, are regularly paralyzed by the seemingly overwhelming tasks in front of us? The biggest obstacle to surmount is also the biggest asset we have... our conceptual nature! We tend to see the greatness of the finished product in our minds, but we're unable to understand or deal with the smaller chunks of tasks required to get there. It's this inability to define the "next thing" that causes us to shut down, completely discouraged by how impossible it is to do anything worthwhile. I call it "expectation escalation"—comparing everything we do to the best thing we've ever done— and "comparisonitis"— comparing everything we do to the best things anyone has ever done. (I'm guilty of both on a regular basis and it freezes my creative possibilities when I allow it.) Because the world tends to be driven by results, we are pulled right along with it. Process loses all value and we get swept up into the current of "what have you done for me lately?" We want greatness, but we're not always willing to pay the price for it. So what is the price of greatness? 


We forget that nothing happens all at once. No great work of art, entrepreneurial venture or feat of architecture appears spontaneously out of thin air. Each required months or even years of experimentation, learning, crafting and even blood, sweat and tears. This is in addition to the years of training each artist had to forgo and undergo in order to simply begin such a project. The thing to remember is that we are not going for the quick pay off. If the goal is to use your creativity as a means to get rich quick or to be famous... best wishes! But please know that you will eventually find yourself right back in the place of the beginner, desperately looking for meaning in what you make. If, however, you pay the price to develop disciplines and discover who you truly are as an artist, then you have something sustainable and meaningful to say. Art and life... is about improvisation, discovery and awe. It is about leaning over the edge and staring deep into the abyss. It's about staring into our own inadequacies and, just as we think we might come up short, finding the answer that we need was there all the time. As we create we not only reveal a reality, we reveal ourselves. It is important that we not allow expectation escalation and comparisonitis to suffocate us. 

UPBEAT Radio's Profile

upbeatradio's Profile
Irreverent. Informative. Hilarious. Entertaining… and Cool. That is and will always be the vision. UPBEAT Entertainment News Syndicate plans to "redefine" Internet talk radio fueled by raw enthusiasm, and has joined a very supportive media group for a long"episodic run" at creating a diverse following. Internet Radio is quickly becoming the medium of choice for many professional broadcasters. Local as well as national television and radio networks have begun streaming on the Internet. From informational to entertainment, this form of broadcasting reaches a larger audience than any other form of broadcasting in history

We were recently picked up by CBS Radio, TuneIn as well as ClearChannel Digital and iTunes and now reach WELL OVER 10.5 million listeners! The number continues to grow.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Listen to Audio: Joe Manganiello True Blood

Listen to Audio: Joe Manganiello True Blood

We just call him "Joe"... but Joseph "Joe" Michael Manganiello born December 28th, 1976) is a classically trained American film and theatre actor. He holds a BFA in acting from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. He played Flash Thompson in the original Spider-Man film series, and was known for his recurring roles in television on ER, How I Met Your Mother and One Tree Hill, before landing his breakout role as werewolf Alcide Herveaux on the HBO television series True Blood for which he has garnered both popular and critical praise. In 2011, Manganiello was voted "Favorite Pop-Culture Werewolf of All Time" by the readers of Entertainment Weekly. He has since split his time between True Blood and feature films such as the Steven Soderbergh-directed hit Magic Mike and the all-star ensemble, What To Expect When You're Expecting. Aside from his work in film and television, Manganiello is active with several charities including Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the Los Angeles

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Deidre Hall— How Does She Do It?

I had the unique opportunity to interview one of my mentors/inspirations on my radio show, The UPBEAT Entertainment News Syndicate Radio... Mom, Actress, Producer, Author, Comedienne and Genuine Person... Deidre Hall. I met Deidre when I was an artist/illustrator... she was so incredibly supportive that I have to confess, it gave me the profound belief and support to reach higher and never ever stop. I loved her book and the energy it exudes... How Does She Do It [originally titled Does This Mascara Make My Ass Look Big]... is insightful, funny, witty and helpful. Unlike other books of this nature, How Does She Do It allows you to feel connected to so many woman who have also searched for a sense of confidence and motivation on a number of levels, both internally and externally.

So, how do those gorgeous women you see on television keep it all glued together, year after year? How in the world do they still look eerily like they did when you watched the show in the eighties with your Grandma? Deidre Hall, best known to many as the ever-patient, impossibly good Dr. Marlena Evans for more than thirty years on NBC's Days of Our Lives, is obviously having fun with this. Along with co-author and longtime pal Lynne Bowman, Hall is sharing beauty secrets, personal stories and professional tips gleaned from decades in front of an unforgiving camera lens. They start with "What Beauty Is and Why It Matters," moving right on through how to get the sleep you need, how to stand, how to move, apply makeup, dress, style hair, groom hands and feet. There are so many candid and comprehensive discussions of permanent makeup, hair removal, plastic surgery and cosmetic dentistry, weight loss, and even great notes on fragrance. Expect to find some truly pro-level techniques you didn't already know, along with a different twist on things you thought you already knew, all wrapped in a surprisingly charming package from one of television's most beloved legends.

Deidre Hall and Lynne Bowman open up in this truly impressive book with an endearing look at their own Moms, [both clearly beautiful women in their own right], and the message conveyed is abundantly clear: Beauty is absolutely timeless, priceless and subjective; it's the creative tools that have changed. To that end, Hall and Bowman go into detail about many of the beauty methods available in all areas today. They present the levels of the beauty preparedness one must have as something akin to the US Terror Alert Scale. If you find yourself laughing in agreement and recognition, prepare to do so throughout the entire book. Their sense of humor and self-deprecating attitude is made manifest as they detail many areas of beauty tools and treatments, such as: Sleep, posture, makeup, lighting, shopping, skin care, permanent makeup, hair care, plastic surgery, exercise, weight loss, dental work, and fragrance. 

Each of these specific dynamics is given a healthy treatment; no stone or eyeshadow palette is left unturned as Hall and Bowman spice up the book with pictures and anecdotes from their own careers and quest for the ultimate beauty tips, tricks and tools in each field of beauty they cover. As in their first book, the overall tone is not at all pharisaical; my favorite line, for example, is, "The girl who put down the books and slept will also look way better at the exam, by the way." Hall and Bowman make it so precisely clear that they are both sharing all of their long-earned knowledge in each of the areas. It's clear they are just as enthusiastic to learn and experiment as much as we, the readers, are. Deidre Hall and Lynne Bowman are scintillating and the friendship these women share with each other and with everyone else is one that feeds and nurtures our souls as well as our psyches.

An innovative brand/style that is so much more than beauty book... it is indeed a journey taken by two close friends, told with warmth, affection, compassion, humor and deeply personal observations... and when the topics get a tad bit serious, insights from professionals are infused into the lessons. The advice is candid and to the point but delivered as though you are sitting at the kitchen table having a cup of coffee and exchanging crucial information learned from the ladies. Everything from hair, make-up and exercise to simple tips on eating right and how to be the best "you" that you can possibly be. Trust me, if you read it, you will absolutely adore it! Bowman and Hall's suggestions aren't just fun to read; they REALLY DO work.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Molly Ringwald Novel— Very Savvy

When it Happens to You is a smart, fresh, on-the-mark "novel in stories". In eight interrelated tales, Ringwald offers a savvy look into personal relationships in today’s society. While the stories feature contemporary themes, they come across as both modern and timeless. The main characters, Greta, Phillip, and Charlotte, are your typical American family, experiencing the same trials and triumphs that happen to families across the globe everyday. Yet experiencing these through the lens of heartbreaking and redemptive stories makes us understand their daily struggles and temptations. Much like in the Paul Haggis movie Crash, the tales and the characters are interrelated, which I totally loved and think is a major reason why this novel works. The stories could stand alone as sharp and tender life lessons, but when presented as a collective whole, the book truly stands out.

The novel comes full circle as it starts out with Greta, Phillip, and Charlotte embarking on an evening drive to watch the Harvest Moon. The conclusion of this first story serves as an appropriate allegory for the surrounding tales as each brings to light a new character to be examined, pondered, and savored. In the context of Ringwald’s quiet yet powerful language you find yourself fitting the pieces together like a puzzle, discovering how this person connects to either Greta or Phillip or Charlotte. While the basic premises are very elemental and something we can all relate to as we endure the human condition together, the linguistic usage by Ringwald is at once both charming and tragic. Embedded throughout are little nuggets of hope and surprise, and while each character’s soul is exposed with a harsh lens, there are no judgments passed. It is up to the reader to decide how they want to feel about that person. Sometimes you will feel anger. Sometimes you will feel sadness or pity. But you will not be apathetic to anyone by any means.

This book would be perfect for reading groups because the messages it brings are universal and can be related to by anyone. It is really a great conversation starter because it draws on contemporary hot-button issues such as infertility, infidelity, and transgenderism. There is no debate that this book is definitely a winner. Pick up a copy of it once it officially hits the book shelves and experience for yourself the literary talents of Molly Ringwald!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Paws— Bash Out Infectious

PAWS bash out infectious, lo-fi, garage pop-rock that can quickly shift from cute melancholia to an unnerving territorial roar. On top of the pulsating fuzzy noise the three-piece produce, sit dreamy melodies that bare the bones of their author. Lyrical topics slide between sarcastic self-analysis and, onto more so than often, brutal home truths. Phil, the band's resident lyricist sums the album's themes;  "All of the lyrics are pretty much a documentation of the past 2 years. A lot of crazy things have happened in our lives - some good, some horrific. I'd like to say that there is a strong feeling of positivity and hope running throughout this record, light piercing through some distinctly dark times. We're playing in this band to keep going and stay alive."

PAWS rose out of the demise of a living room recording project, that after losing a member, was renamed and redirected into a raw nerve of DIY punk/garage that's vibrant yet familiar and built on the traditions of English pop from Buzzcocks to Yuck. The band has spent its tenure opening for the likes of No Age, Wavves, Happy Birthday, The Babies, Harlem, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and Black Lips and that DIY spirit pops up in the fact that they've done so in spaces as diverse as bathrooms, skate parks and a particularly difficult show on the top of a double-decker bus.

True to its name, Cokefloat! is, as the band puts it, "like a sugar high...with the sugar comedown." Recorded with Rory Attwell (of Test Icicles) at Lightship95, a floating recording studio located on a boat moored at Trinity Buoy Warf in East London, the album has managed to capture the punch of the band's live shows. Listeners can practically hear the energy vibrate out of the speakers and feel the band's smiles radiate through the ruckus with their stories about love, insecurities, self-alienation and paranoia. Wrapped in artwork designed by comic artist and friend of the band Jessica Penfold, the album is the perfect audio allegory for its namesake. Slurp it up. Feel the buzz.