Everybody In The Club Gettin’ Tipsy (Gorillaz, Humanz review)

 

Hosting a party is easy, as long as you can get your different friend groups to play nice, keep everyone engaged, and don’t disappear for a smoke or three.

 

Gorillaz – Humanz

released April 28, 2017
******* 7/10

Gorillaz are an English virtual cartoon band created by Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett of Tank Girl fame. This band is made up of 2-D (lead vocals, keyboards), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar and vocals), Noodle (guitar, keyboards), and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion).

The fictional universe of Gorillaz is constructed by the music Albarn creates and their personas have been formed by the collaborations Albarn has orchestrated with other artists whom have made sense creatively with the otherworldly sounds of the band. Plus Hewlett adds visual flavour in album covers, concept art, and music videos, among other things. And all of this has worked over the current four phases of Gorillaz history. None of it ever feels quite real, and yet it is familiar because the quartet address issues of our time, albeit through their cartoon lens of mystery.

It’s all quite heady and fun.

And that’s because Gorillaz are combining rock, rap, electronica, reggae, pop, trip hop, and an assortment of other sounds together to evoke the feelings needed to build these worlds, and Albarn has been fairly consistent throughout this journey.

But it’s also been seven years since The Fall, and the end of Phase Three – Escape To Plastic Beach.

Phase Four – We Are Still Humanz catches us up on what has been happening with Noodle, Murdoc, Russel, and 2-D, and its been interesting. Lots of references to their time at Plastic Beach, and even incorporation of social media into their lives, but of particular note is how Gorillaz used YouTube to tease the albums release, adding new videos about a month ahead of the official worldwide release date.

Featuring performances from Anthony Hamilton, Jehnny Beth, Mavis Staples, Vince Staples, Peven Everett, D.R.A.M., Jamie Principle, Danny Brown, Grace Jones, Zebra Katz, Del La Soul, Benjamin Clementine, Kelela, Popcaan, Pusha T., and Kali Uchis, each track runs its own course; some faring better than others, but the interludes helping to form a post-apocalyptic story following the US presidency of Donald Trump.

And it’s entertaining. A party for the end of the world, with each room being all the more appealing and with its own decor. Though I have to wonder if staging a house party with club music is really the right solution to the scenario at hand, after all, you’re still at the house. On top of that consideration is the challenge that frontman 2-D is notably absent from a lot of the tracks, this seems to be more of a free-for-all than a bonafide representation of these artists as a voice for Gorillaz.

That said, it’s kinda exciting to see the younger generation getting excited about artists unfamiliar to them through the looking glass that Albarn so deftly supplies. This is his project you know, and he’ll invite whoever he wants to party with him. Plus, he’s cool enough that these new friends will rub off on you.

theories Summarized

If you’ve ever listened to Clint Eastwood or Feel Good Inc. before, you can probably forgive Gorillaz for sounding a bit disjointed on this effort. Besides, the interludes help give this record a sense of continuity, even if 2-D isn’t there often enough to keep up with his hosting duties. Maybe Murdoc will finally step in, we know he wants to be lead anyway.

Tim!

Sweetheart Swing (Sugar Swing Ballroom)

Did you know that one of my very first posts (read: the fourth one) was about dancing, dear readers?

Just over two years ago, and hot off the heels of New Years Eve, I wrote a cute little post about a social night. A night at what was then called Sugar Swing Dance Club.

Dancing With Myself

Some of my learnings from that night were clear to me and still ring very true – I wanted to be healthier, have more social intelligence, and feel inspired to make visual art by whatever creative experience I exposed myself to. Well, those of you that have been there from the start of timotheories definitely would remember that post. I mean, it’s only been about 330 posts ago, so of course you’d remember, right?

It’s back when we were young and beautiful.

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Other things I learned that night quickly disappeared from my memory – the names of my fellow dance lesson participants, what songs played, what I wore, and most importantly, the dance moves I learned.

Definitely the dance moves were forgotten.

Hey Ya!

But you see, a lot has happened since then, I went on some dates, changed jobs no less then three times, moved, bought a lot of movies and albums, and made a ton of new friends while I learned how to edit videos. I even reconciled a broken bridge with one of my oldest friends. And now I’m in a newish relationship, one that is going rather swimmingly and which makes my heart pitter patter.

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But to pause the love thoughts, the reason why I forgot the dance moves is because I did it ONE TIME, of course I forgot the moves. And so I decided to get my girlfriend a Sweetheart Swing couples dance package for Christmas, so that I could learn some more moves, she could ease herself back into dancing, and we could do something arts related together.

We had our first lesson at the new Sugar Swing studio last week.

Our instructors are neat, the new building is nice (but still in construction), and the location is ideal. It’s been a good idea so far, and I hope to share my learnings when it’s all said and done (hint: February post).

But now you’re probably wondering the details. This is a timely post after all.

The Sugar Foot Ballroom is now located at 10019 – 80 Ave, Edmonton Alberta, and is open
both Friday and Saturday nights for drop-in lessons and social dances. If you are interested in taking a program of any sort, like the package Mysticque and I are taking, then you should definitely check out the lessons page of the Sugar Swing site! Other than that, I don’t any theories to share. At least until Sunday!

Tim!

A Product Of Time (Exercise)

Ah yes, physical exercise. You know that process wherein you harm yourself through activity to strengthen or maintain your fitness level?

When we get right down to it, fitness means being able to perform physical activity. But that’s not all of it. Now I know you know that I know that you want to know what else it also means, so let’s be honest with ourselves for once – having that energy and strength to feel as good as possible doing what you want to do is crucial. Gaining in fitness, even a little bit, is good for your overall health after all. It’s important when you decide to lift that 5 x 6 strainer, it’s important when you decide to hit the high notes, and it’s sure as shit important when you decide to perform that headspin or barrel roll.

I know what you’re thinking my friends.

It’s probably very strange to come to a website which proclaims it focuses on the arts, and which also admits that it sometimes dabbles in philosophy, sociology, marketing, and even psychology because of course theories are not unique to the arts. This I know. But writing about exercise? What does exercise have to do with anything timotheories? But I promise you that what I’m heading towards is important.

I’m going to share a quote from a Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Arnold: The Education of A Bodybuilder. Mostly because I want to make a point, but also because I intend to read the book and this is a good reminder that I should share it with you in the near future.

It was the summer I turned fifteen, a magical season for me because that year I’d discovered exactly what I wanted to do with my life. It was more than a young boy’s mere pipe dream of a distant, hazy future – confused fantasies of being a fireman, detective, sailor, test pilot, or spy. I knew I was going to be a bodybuilder. It wasn’t simply that either. I would be the best bodybuilder in the world, the greatest, the best-built man.

He later admits that family, friends, and strangers all thought he was crazy. It wasn’t a popular sport at the time, but he burned with purpose and passion for life. It was an exhilarating experience for him every time he did it. He did it despite all of the criticism. This is how you should feel whenever you are making anything creative. Do it for you and no one else, that is your day to day motivation. We’ve gone down this path before friends.

Now when you think of your higher purpose, you should make work that is meaningful and important, and people will begin to reach out to you.

But it’s not that simple, after all.

Your motivation is fickle, your mind is weak. It cannot handle stress and pressure without proper support. No matter how much strength of will you think you have, taking care of your physical self is key to maintenance.

You see dear readers, exercise affects your body in so many different ways than just strength and energy. It also forces your lungs to work faster and increase your maximum capacity of oxygen. Your heart becomes more efficient at supplying properly oxygenated blood to you, and your resting heart rate improves too – Not to mention your decreased blood pressure. And osteoporosis is a real problem as we age, but when we exercise with weights we can better maintain healthy bone mass. Last, but most definitely not least, your brain health is directly related to exercise.

Our brains release a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) when under stress, and exercise stresses our brains. After the exercise is complete BDNF provides repair and protection to our neurons and calms us down.

AND our brains release endorphins when we exercise. So we get post-workout euphoria and reduced physical pain and discomfort while exercising.

BDNF and endorphins are triggered by regular exercise which will help with your mood and better your cognitive abilities. That’s why you need to exercise routinely. Exercise allows you to be the best version of yourself, for yourself, so that you can lift those canvases and drop those beats. It’s essential.

But you know what, that’s just a theory.

Tim!

Setting The Mood (timotheories October)

 

I work for the largest national furniture retailer in North America, as my day job. Now I don’t work directly in a store, but the corporate office which effectively operates in service of the 200+ stores that comprise the retail fleet. I’ve had the distinction to work in a few areas of the business, but predominantly in the marketing department. And this is including, but not limited to print, broadcast, in-store signage, media buying, the online catalogue, and now photography.

I’ve gotten pretty good at predicting what the needs of the business are, and where the executive team is headed when it comes to major decisions. After all, my major strengths have always laid with project management, communication, negotiation, and creative problem solving.

Which means that I’m confident about how to set the mood in most settings, whether one-on-one or group orchestrated.

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As you know, that means when it comes to timotheories, it’s important to me to build relationships with my local community, get involved in events that effect my city, and turn attention towards our burgeoning creative minds.

With that said, October is shaping up amazingly well. Let’s block off that disclaimer, first though.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – October

Stimulating Sundays – (10/02) Cross Talk Ep. 10, (10/09) Cross Talk Ep. 11, (10/16) Megan Warkentin interview preview, (10/23) Megan Warkentin interview, (10/30) Just ‘n Time Games Ep. 1
Melodic Mondays – (10/03) Every Time I Die, (10/10) Bon Iver, (10/17) Green Day, (10/24) Kate Tempest, (10/31) Michael Jackson
Theatrical Tuesdays – (10/04) The Shallows, (10/11) Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, (10/18) Ghostbusters, (10/25) Cafe Society
Wisdom Wednesdays – (10/05) Bryan Lee O’Malley, (10/12) Exercise, (10/19) Posterconsumers.com, (10/26) Lucien X. Polastron
Timely Thursday – (10/06) timotheories October, (10/13) Thanksgiving, (10/20) 11 O’Clock Number pt. 2, (10/27) Halloween

Can’t believe it, but I only get to write out the phrase all killer, no filler only two more times. But it really is. If you can’t tell, I’m ramping up on the number of Cross Talk episodes released each month AND we’re finally going to see the first ever Just ‘n Time Games episode at the end of the month, so stay tuned for that!

And I can’t believe I have to write this for the third time, but Megan Warkentin will finally get to see the spotlight this month, and because I feel bad, she’ll get a preview interview too!

Wondering what we’re going to talk about on Cross Talk? Well episode 10 was The Global Film market, but episode 11 is a little bit different. We’ll get a bit more intimate and talk about what someone’s taste in film says about their personality.

And those are all of the theories I can come up with for now friends. Please leave some comments, to let us know what you want to see in coming months and subscribe to the blog too! Have a fantastic long weekend to my Canadians, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tim!

Talkin’ About My Generation (Nextfest 2016)

It’s Thursday time! it’s Thursday time!

And you know what that means… personal updates, calendar occasions, or local events!

Let’s spin the wheel and find out. Tick, tick ticktick tick tick tickticktick ticktickticktickticktickticktick ticktick tick tick tick tick tick

And the wheel stops on local events!

Which is fantastic because I want to write about a local event today – it’s an event that started exactly one week ago and which will be wrapping up this Sunday, an event called Nextfest.

Nextfest is a multi-disciplinary event which showcases the talents of dancers, musicians, actors, writers, and visual artists. It has been around since 1996, which means this year marks the 20th anniversary of the festival.

Founded by Bradley Moss and now run by festival director Steve Pirot, Nextfest is a celebration of the next generation of artists. Those up-and-comers who are undiscovered and just sorting out their individual voices. It is a well known festival in the Edmonton arts community and if you are talented & lucky enough to be selected to participate, you just might be one of the 700+ artists that gets featured in the event.

To top it off, if you are a visual artist, you might even have the tremendous opportunity to grace the cover of the festival program. Which is pretty dang cool.

I’m probably going to date myself somewhat by writing this, but I remember when I think about this event I am transported right back to when I graduated from the UofA in 2007. 4 of my friends and members of my graduating class were invited to showcase their work in the exhibition and that was my first exposure to the festival. It was a lot of fun and the parties were fantastic. Then a couple of years past by and then my girlfriend at the time was also invited to exhibit her work, which gave me even more exposure to how the production worked and incredible amount of time spent by the artists and the festival organizers.

So when it came time to see my little brother participating on the theatre side even more years later, I had a deep respect for Nextfest and a belief in it’s inherent significance for the Edmonton landscape.

Which is why I decided that this year would be a great time for my re-entry into the mix and an opportunity to attend the Nextfest Visual Art Niteclub, a gallery event hosted within the larger framework of Nextfest and tonight happens to be THE best night to attend the gallery.

the Nextfest Visual Art Niteclub features art making all night, a play, live music, and performance art pieces for small audiences of 1 or a few. The event is licensed, all ages, and FREE. I’ve already been down to meet with the curator Steven Teeuwsen, and meet with one of the artists, who MAY be doing an interview with me shortly.

So come on down to Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre tonight and enter in the west door between RBC and Bonnie’s Lounge – It’s gonna be awesome. And that’s all I’ve got for this week folks, I’m out of theories, so I’ll see you on Sunday!

Tim!