Archive for July, 2013

TWiLiGHT ZONE: Episode #7 – ‘The Lonely’ (1959) / “I can feel loneliness too.”

Published by cctadmin on July 24th, 2013

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Ever since I was a kid staying at my dad’s house on weekends I used to love watching the old Twilight Zone episodes they’d run on TBS.  If you were lucky you could catch their annual Twilight Zone marathons which ran all weekend long; Dad would let me stay up till the wee hours taking in the classic episodes, glued to the couch with eyes droopy but fixated on the black & white screen.

Each episode stood alone & even today they make for great television viewing, with ROD SERLiNG’S familiar narrative bookending each story.  Twilight Zone was drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, sometimes horror – often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist.  It was & remains awesome.

I still enjoy a lot of those stories, but perhaps the one that has left a lasting impression is Twilight Zone Episode #7 – “The Lonely”, originally aired November 13, 1959.  “The Lonely” takes place in 2046, & is about an inmate named Corry (played by JACK WARDEN), who at the start of the episode is sentenced to solitary confinement on a distant asteroid for 50 years.   In his 4th year of confinement he is visited by a spacecraft that regularly brings him supplies & news from Earth, but the ship & its compassionate Captain (JOHN DEHNER) can only stay for a few minutes each visit, as the asteroid’s orbit & the ship’s fuel consumption rate make longer visits impossible.

This captain tries to make Corry’s stay more tolerable by bringing him things to take his mind off the loneliness, & on this particular visit he delivers a crate containing something he tells Corry not to open until the transport leaves.  This gift, as it turns out, is a robotic woman named Alicia (JEAN MARSH), & her purpose is to keep him company.  Her presence in actuality, tests the depths of Corry’s loneliness & the strength of his desire for human contact, which is really compelling to watch play out.  He’s initially disgusted at the idea of a cold, mechanical, human-like machine, & he treats her quite cruel as he views her existence as nothing more than a mockery towards him.  But slowly her human traits & displays of real(ish) emotion force him to accept & cherish her presence as if she were a real, live woman.  He comes to truly value her personhood, raising all sorts of interesting philosophical questions about consciousness, attributes of identity and perception.   It’s in these scenes I recall falling in love with “The Lonely”.

The twist of the episode comes when the ship returns for one of its quarterly visits, & Captain Allenby brings news that Corry has been pardoned after a review of past murder cases; they only have 20 minutes to leave.  Corry, it seems, can return home to Earth immediately, & he is delighted, until he learns that there is only room for 15lbs of luggage, far too little for his robot companion.  Frantically he tries to find a way to bring Alicia with him, arguing that it is not a robot, but a woman, insisting that Allenby simply does not see it for what it is.  The transport crew is surprised at the sight of Alicia at this point, thereby forcing Captain Allenby to draw his gun, shooting the robot in the face.  The robot breaks down, malfunctioning, its face a mass of wire & broken circuitry which repeats the word “Corry”.  Captain Allenby then escorts an inconsolable Corry back to the ship, assuring him he will only be leaving behind loneliness.

…As with a lot of the Twilight Zone episodes, “The Lonely” highlights a very real aspect of humanity in a very unreal surrounding.  Every human being wants & needs a degree of contact & interaction, affection with their fellow human beings.  Even those who say otherwise usually do so out of fear of rejection, as opposed to any genuine disinterest.  The existence of others provokes & encourages us physically, emotionally, intellectually, & the absence of that stimulation can serve as retribution.   So while the character Corry is serving his time on an asteroid thousands of miles from Earth, he could just as well be right here in our own community, living down the street, which is something that compelled me to identify with it so many years ago to begin with – yet “The Lonely” really does drive the point home in a beautiful way.

It also tells how extreme loneliness can give way to affection & even possible desire, how a broken man becomes whole again…For those who have yet to tap into the Twilight Zone vaults I really do encourage you to as there are many provoking gems.

Also – feel free to share with me which Twilight Zone episodes you recommend or enjoyed! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

__________________________________________________________________________________________


CC CHRONiCLES: Homecoming Unites the Past & Present

Published by cctadmin on July 21st, 2013

__________________________________________________________________________________________

LiFE has been a sorta ironic whirl-wind of a journey, particularly so in the last year: a move from our Nations Capital back to Northern life in Manitoba, a new job in Mental Health, family, family & more family.  That was just change within the first month back home!  From living the urban life in downtown Ottawa with my boyfriend to returning to my teenage bedroom at my mother’s Schist Lake home – I have found myself surprised time & time again at the experiences and opportunities.

I do believe more than ever, that you can never say never; & furthermore, that I am not a person inclined to pass up an opportunity for growth, security & happiness, not if I can help it.  What I aspire to as I get older & older, is a life of joy, passion & security – & yet one never knows just what path they will end up taking to get to this desired goal.   One can never really know what they need to get where they’re going.

We all have to to make big decisions in our lives, not just at one point but several.   A year ago for me that decision was to leave behind my Ottawa life for an allotted one years time; today its to stay even longer than I anticipated – to in fact settle in even more so.  What I suppose I’m saying is I am in the process of seducing my boyfriend to come live with me here – & buy a home – correction – my first home, where I hope we can live comfortably.   No one is more surprised by this decision than I; after all, it took everything in me to leave him temporarily behind to begin with.  There was a lot of adjusting; I cried a lot of nights in loneliness, wondering just what on earth I had committed to doing.

That said, the year has been nothing short of enriching.  NELSON MANDELA has said “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered“, & this rings true somehow – but I know that this town I call ‘home’, has in fact changed as well.  It is full of beautiful, caring, family & friends – opportunities to cultivate on professional, creative & personal levels.  The thing is now – I want my boyfriend here with me, to get a taste of this life, which I thought was never for me.  Together perhaps we can increase our lives & do what we can to prepare for whatever & wherever we choose to go next.  And truth be told, anything is possible – for all of us.

I look forward to sharing more about these developments in the next month or so; as well as the on-going work being put into my album ‘Tiny Army: The D. Holmes Sessions.”  If I refer to this project often, its because it is a big part of me; we have been working on beginning as far back as 2011 & at this point every song, every detail in development has grown to mean a great deal to me.  It’s almost as if I have been raising a child in complete secrecy – & in due time I will be revealing this vulnerable being to the world; that once its out there it will be open to every praise or criticism possible.  That’s both exhilerating & scary.  I know this ‘child’s’ worth yet I can’t hold on to it forever…or protect it from whatever forces may be.  I’m ok with that – & for me its not about deriving any one thing from it, it is however, undoubtedly about putting part of myself out there & in that, hopefully leaving something of a stamp on the world.  Is this not something we all desire?

In closing – I’ve recently been told by a few very dear people to me whom I respect – that they admire me for … essentially being who I am.  This comes as touching on one hand because I suppose we never really can tell or entirely choose how others perceive us; but I am certainly pleased if folks are in any way inspired by me to be truer to themselves.  I don’t know what that is… but on the other hand I always caution those who admire, to not underestimate their own resiliency & capacity to do the unthinkable; to invest in their dreams – dreams beyond their roles as mothers, husbands, waiters or teachers.  Never say never, & face your fears.


OLiViA’s GREATEST TiTS: The Olivia Neutron-Bomb Game / PLAY W/ ME

Published by cctadmin on July 13th, 2013

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Play with me?

I used to do this alone.  Then once I got older… I’d get friends to do it with me.

It’s real simple:  Its a process of elimination game.  All I want you to do is one-by-one, eliminate the ONJ album covers that you dislike, so that eventually you end up on the album cover you like the most! It’s fun.  Trust me! OR – you could just pick your favourite ONJ album cover & I’d be satisfied but DO!  Share with me what you consider to be THE BEST ONJ ALBUM COVER OF ALL!!!!

I enjoy this game because as a kid I would pour over my dad’s record collection, he had everything: KENNY ROGERS,  LAURA BRANiGAN, ROLLiNG STONES, ELViS PRESLEY, CHiCAGO, SHEENA EASTON, SUPERTRAMP, ONJ – the list goes on & on & on.  But I would always stop at ONJ‘s albums, place them all out on the carpet like a game of solitaire – & I would study them, admiring her beauty, & determining in my mind which covers did her most justice & were just the better overall album covers.  Some suck.  Some rule.  That’s the fun.   This is hardly comprehensive because she has many more albums – but these were generally the ones that I used.

As I’ve subjected boyfriends, friends & family to this game over the years the results have always varied.  But for today I am only interested in playing with YOU!  Thankfully people are usually not party poopers & they somehow get into it.  It’s the power of ONJ I tell ya.

Take a look.  If you feel compelled to share you thoughts – the good, the bad & the ugly (although – be gentle.  It’s OLiViA) – please do!

 


THERE ARE WORSE THiNGS i COULD DO….

Published by cctadmin on July 11th, 2013

__________________________________________________________________________________________


La STREiSAND / HELLO GORGEOUS

Published by cctadmin on July 10th, 2013

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________


THE EAGLES & THE ALLURiNG POWER of MiDDLE-CLASS DESPERADOS / HOT HOT SWAG

Published by cctadmin on July 10th, 2013

__________________________________________________________________________________________

THE EAGLES were darn alluring I have to say; it’s to be expected when you put together 5 rugged dudes who know a thing or two about music & entertaining.  This mega band  formed in Los Angeles, California circa 1971,  at a time when a lot of fantastic music was coming out across several genres, including folk, rock and country, all of which they seamlessly interwove in their own way.  They were guy’s guys that the ladies could love too – & I personally grew up on songs like Desperado, Take It Easy, Witchy Woman, Take It To The Limit New Kid In Town thanks to my mom, who to this day swoons over their easy-going rock.

Here’s to this middle-class band for inspiring a long line of artists, including myself.   Check out One Of These Nights for your listening pleasure.


ALPHONSE MUCHA’S MUSES / Serenade

Published by cctadmin on July 10th, 2013

__________________________________________________________________________________________


CC CHRONiCLES: Flashback: The inspiration for ‘Prairie Boy’ / They Say I’m Different (Torrid Productions, 2011)

Published by cctadmin on July 7th, 2013

__________________________________________________________________________________________

I wrote ‘Prairie Boy‘ in 2010 upon being invited by the GLBTTQ Community Centre in partnership with Ottawa Police Service GLBT Liaison Committee, to perform at Victims Voices Matter.  Victims Voices Matter was a two-day conference aimed to shed light on the subjects of civil rights & freedom of expression for those who have been affected by anti-gay violence.  Quite obviously this is a subject that hits close to home for me as I have known a lot of folks in my life who have been impacted by homophobia & discrimination on personal & professional levels.  I’ve had friends who have lost their lives to suicide as well as gay violence; not to mention the long lasting impacts its left on their friends & families.

Prairie Boy‘ was written from my own perspective of growing up gay in Northern Manitoba, & it was done so as much as a homage to all the gay communities as it was for a self reclaiming; the pun of ‘fairy boy’ being used as a sort of healing to my teenage self.  I recall sitting down with my guitar & being somehow inspired by this persistent image of my teenage self, who was quite shy, awkward & searching – just doing what I would do most of my free time: sitting out in nature & escaping reality by day dreaming of a world I longed to experience.  Fortunately for me I had never really experienced physical violence but I will say I was always aware of the threat of its existence, & therefore it had a great impact on my sense of identity – being bullied & ridiculed for years did bring on depression & suicidal ideations & even an attempt when I was in grade 7.

This past has always been an integral part of who I grew to be, as is the case for every human being I know; what I didn’t know then, that I know now, is that I would soon be embarking on a journey that would enable me to experience the many things my day-dreamy mind imagined, that I would even be reclaiming this former self in very healing ways, through opportunities like Victims Voices Matter & beyond.

It was an honour to participate in this experience, personally & artistically. Cathartic in a lot of ways. I’ll always remember being up on the stage & sharing this song for the first time for such cause.  It was a great platform to share a part of myself.

Upon recording ‘They Say I’m Different’ (Torrid Productions, 2011) I had the opportunity to record ‘Prairie Boy‘ with CLAUDE MARQUiS (founding member of Ottawa band The Peptides) & bring even more dimension to an already personal song. I have always appreciated how he handles the composition & supported this project.  Also, I’ve been touched in instances where I have had folks share with me their appreciation for this song, indicating to me that its touched them on some level, be it they relate or that it somehow struck a personal chord with them, to which I am truly honoured.  Truly.

It’s been almost one full year since I’ve returned to my home town, where ‘Prairie Boy‘ was inspired; I think of how the journey of life goes & ironically brought me back – & I’m thankful for every up & down that I’ve encountered on life’s journey. Allow me to share ‘Prairie Boy’ with you.

(Prairie Boy & They Say I’m Different is available for download on iTunes.com).

 


VOGUE Covers / Vintage

Published by cctadmin on July 7th, 2013

__________________________________________________________________________________________VOGUE has captured the imagination of its readers – & the culture at large since it printed its first cover in 1892.  I’ve always been fascinated by the extraordinary images that have reflected, and transformed the world of style.  VOUGE has produced some of the most beautiful, provocative & fashionable covers ever, in my opinion, from early illustrations  to photographs featuring a plethora of elegant models.  Here’s but a few I particularly enjoy….

__________________________________________________________________________________________


CRYSTAL ViSiONS / STEViE NiCKS iNSPiRED

Published by cctadmin on July 5th, 2013

__________________________________________________________________________________________

STEViE NiCKS has inspired for years; with a beautiful tone that’s husky, warm & velvety, both childlike & powerful – & lyrics that often conjure up mysticism & vulnerability.  Clearly she has invigorated legions of fans for decades – & every couple of years I open up my musical vaults & rediscover her vocal & lyrical power.  Be it her time with super-band FLEETWOOD MAC or solo she has written & performed memorable tunes – so many that recently on a road trip I played the ‘top 5 songs by ____’ game with my pal & when STEViE’s name came up I found I was hard pressed to narrow her ‘best’ down.  Below I give it my best shot:

5. Sarah (1979)

4. Gypsy (1982)

3. Rhiannon (1975)

2. Beautiful Child (1979)

1. Silver Springs (1976)

*Honourable mentions: Landslide (1975) & Edge of Seventeen (1981).