Hedley Interview Tommy Mac with Joelle Dahan
The Scene Magazine had a chance to catch up with bassist Tommy Mac from Hedley in Ottawa. Joelle Dahan and Mac spoke about current success, past experiences and future plans.
Missy Suicide and her SuicideGirls are taking over the world with their Blackhearts Burlesque Tour.
Since the dawn of the 21st century SuicideGirls have been reinventing the term “pin-up” through tattoos and good attitudes. SuicideGirls provides a community for women who feel they are more unique than most. Through sexy photo shoots, interactive shows and new social media technologies, SuicideGirls shows women that the word “beauty” is not as narrow a definition as society makes it out to be.
Concocted in 2001 by Selena Mooney under her more infamously known guise Missy Suicide, the SG site and combined community have spread internationally touching countries across the planet.Â Two books, DVD’s, merchandise, an episode of CSI and a Burlesque Tour have all been conquered by the SuicideGirls and they do not plan on stopping anytime soon.
This year the fan favourite Blackhearts Burlesque tour has been taken on the road to Australia and Canada after screaming success throughout the U.S. The show’s prerogative and natural social media friendly attitude helped spread the demand across countries. As the performance begins the very vivacious Master of Ceremonies asks everyone to hold their phones high in the air and… take as many pictures as possible. The audience is not only encouraged to ogle the exotic dancers but to take pictures and share them via personal social media accounts. Boasting a spectacular soundtrack of heavy music infused with EDM and trance beats, the show takes crowd interaction to the next level as the dancers invite audience members on stage, both males and females, to participate in the striptease.
I caught up with bubbly and composed Missy Suicide to talk about the company’s origins and the notorious Blackhearts Burlesque tour.
How did the company start?
The company started 12 and a half years ago as a website and community where people could come together to appreciate girls that didn’t fit into the narrow definition of beauty that society was perpetuating.
I read that you got the term “Suicide Girls” from Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, in his 1999 novel Survivor. Why did that term stick with you?
It seemed like a good catchall phrase. You know, girls who chose to commit social suicide by choosing not to fit in. Nobody really claims their identity from the subgenre of music they listen to anymore; it wasn’t like John Hughes days of the 80s where people were like “I’m Goth, I’m punk” you know, everybody kind of listened to everything. But they still chose not to fit into society’s narrow definition of normal or acceptable behaviour, haha or whatever.
The term alternative it’s just… it’s mean. it makes me bristle, so “Suicide Girls” seemed like a good catchall phrase that would describe the girls who chose not to fit in.
Girls apply on the site; we get about a thousand applications a week from women around the world. They go through the application process, they talk about why they want to be a SuicideGirl and submit photos. Then our model coordinator contacts them and walks them through the paperwork process and how to submit a photo set, how to shoot a set or sets them up with a local photographer. Once they submit a photo set then they become a “Hopeful” and they get to participate in the community and their set is up for everybody to see and to get feedback on. If the community responds really positively to their photo set then they become an official SuicideGirl and their set gets “Set of the Day.” If the community is like “oh you’re really cute but your photos are not high enough quality or they don’t show your personality or you look scared,” whatever they get feedback on their photos and they can improve on them, for a second time.
How does the model coordinator choose whom to contact out of the thousands of applications?
She chooses girls that want to be SuicideGirls for the right reasons; if they want to express themselves. If they are doing it because, “my boyfriend thinks it would be a good idea” than that’s not the right reason hahaha.
Her name is Vixen Suicide.
Is there an age limit to being a SuicideGirl? What happens after you are no longer in front of the camera?
Well obviously you have to be 18 to be on the site, but on the upper end there have been girls who have been on the site since it began, 12 years ago. The oldest girl is in her 40’s.
Does the organization SuicideGirls have any influence on the individual girl’s image at all?
No, none of that. The girls are fiercely independent and individuals and that’s why we appreciate them. We wouldn’t dream of telling a girl “oh you need to get this tattoo” haha. That would be completely the antithesis of our ethos.
How much of a say do the models have in the direction or theme of the photo-shoots?
The thing that sets our photosets apart, is that the girls are completely in charge of how they’re presented and the photographer is there to bring their vision to life, which is rare in any modelling situation. Most photography situations are about how the photographer frames out the world as opposed to how the model presents herself, and how she wants to be seen.
How would you respond to criticism saying that some of the models presented by the organization are not totally alternative, or traditionally fit into “society’s narrow definition of beauty”?
I think the girls are beautiful, they are the girls I find the most beautiful in the world. They are each unique and I feel like it’s kind of silly to say like “you’re too traditionally beautiful, you don’t fit! You don’t fit in to being not fit in enough, you’re not outsider enough!” Hahaha that’s ridiculous.
Do the models have any responsibilities or requirements they have to continue doing to hold their spot as a SuicideGirl?
No, their participation in the community is completely up to them. They choose to blog or to post in groups or do whatever as much as they want. But so many of the girls have made such close friends through the site. The girls are roommates, best friends, business partners. Chances are if you ask any girl what their favourite part about being a SuicideGirl is, they’ll say, “all the friends that I’ve made.”
How would you describe the connection between SuicideGirls and music?
Well music is an intrinsic part of my life, and I think it’s probably an intrinsic part of everybody else’s life as well. We all tend to carry a soundtrack that surrounds us. We’re big fans, there are even girls who are musicians on the site. It’s what makes us tick.
How did the Blackhearts Burlesque Tour start?
The Burlesque Tour, we were doing a tour back in 2002/03 all the way to 2006/07 and it’s really an evolution how, with the website we tried to modernize classic pin ups and with the Burlesque Tour we really wanted to put a modern twist on classic burlesque. So we were doing it to a modern soundtrack and having sexy fun nontraditional non-old-fashioned burlesque back then, which nobody else is really doing on a large-scale.
We did that for a few years and it was this big endeavor. We decided to take a little break so we could focus on putting out a book, which was another big endeavor haha, and the hiatus just kept growing. There was the book, then there was the magazine, then there was being on CSI; it was tough to build up the momentum again to get things going.
Then we put our third coffee table book SuicideGirls: Hard Girls, Soft Light, last spring and we sent the girls on a book signing tour up and down the west coast, just two girls signing books at book shops and we posted it on our Facebook and Instagram and whatnot, and there were like 500 to 750 people showing up outside bookshops, so were like “alright the people want a live show and we can do something that’s way better than having two girls sign a book” hahaha. We decided the time was right to put on the Burlesque Tour again and in the ensuing 6 or 7 years that we’ve taken off, there have been lots of people that have done more nontraditional, non-old-fashioned burlesque shows, like the Star Wars Burlesque, even like large-scale spectacle performances like Lady Gaga, so we knew we really had to up our game and put on something that felt original.
We worked with an amazing choreographer and the dancers that we have are incredible. We put a lot of effort into the stage show and the costumes and the themes and music and all of it, which is really creating a unique show that I think you guys are going to love.
Are dancers members of the SuicideGirl community?
Yeah, they’re girls who are members of the SuicideGirls community. They’re hopeful SuicideGirls and new girls, returning girls that are favourites and girls that have performed with us before, girls that are new to the troop. It’s really fun and they’re all just super awesome to look at, full of personality and dancing, they just have so much charisma, it’s really impressive to see them on stage.
What inspired you guys to bring the tour to Canada?
We love Canada. Can I say the poutine? Poutine inspired us to come to Canada haha. You guys do have pretty liberal drug laws up there and you guys have health care. You guys have pretty much everything and the people are so nice and friendly and awesome.
What is the main message you’re trying to convey with the Burlesque Tour?
It’s a sexy fun time; people should embrace their sexuality and their personality and not be ashamed or embarrassed of their uniqueness. Just because you’re into sort of nerdy things like Star Wars or the Big Lebowski or whatever. That can be sexy.
Wow, no one has ever asked me that in 12 years. I chose Missy because it’s from a Pixie’s song, “Missy Aggravation” [from the song “Gouge Away”]. I thought that it fit me. It commanded authority but was still small and cute enough. It kind of summed me up, my real name is now much more popular now [Selena] but growing up it was very unique and nobody knew how to spell it or what to do with it. I chose a name that was easy to say but still kind of in charge.
Was that the beginning of the SuicideGirls monikers?
Back in 2001 it was more common to take on-screen names, everybody had their handle or their avatar and so it was more commonplace to do. We let the girls choose their names back then, and choose their online personas.
What is your most proud accomplishment with the organization?
Wow, there have been a lot of things that have happened. We were on CSI New York, had an episode that was written about us, that was a super surreal experience.
I have a folder where I keep all the emails that I get from women that have emailed me saying, “I never felt beautiful until I found your site” and there’s like 874 or something now. I think that’s probably the thing that makes me the most proud. But just showing people that you don’t have to fit into the narrow definition of beauty in order to be proud, confidence is the sexiest attribute a person can have.
Where would you like to see this go from here? You have already exploded quite a bit since you started, what does the future have in store?
I think a TV show would be really fun and awesome. That’s my next goal.
Interview and words by Griffin Elliot
Pictures from SuicideGirls.com
Squamish Valley Music Festival adds new artists to line up
Virgin Mobile Presents Squamish Valley Music Festival has added to its already stellar lineup of artists set to take the stage from August 8-10, 2014 in Squamish, BC. Full lineup below.
New artists joining the Festival include:
NAS (performing Illmatic)
The Temper Trap
James Vincent McMorrow
Reuben And The Dark
“These new artist additions represent a continuation of our grand vision for the Festival and its programming, showcasing all contemporary genres of music,” says Erik Hoffman, Senior Vice President of Talent for Live Nation Canada. “This will be an unprecedented festival experience and music sampling from around the globe and our own backyard.”
New for 2014: Campers’ Kickoff takes place on Thursday, August 7th and will feature exclusive performances for all weekend pass holders.
Artists scheduled to perform at Campers’ Kickoff include:
A Tribe Called Red
With the first two campgrounds, Diamond and Circle, completely sold out, the Festival has added two new campgrounds for festivalgoers. Guests looking to secure camping are encouraged to reserve their spot in the new Triangle and Square Campgrounds quickly.
“The camping experience is a highlight of the Festival for a lot of our guests,” says Paul Runnals, Executive Director of the Festival and Vice President of brand.LIVE. “Last year we welcomed 7,500 campers and this year we anticipate over 14,000 guests will stay on designated Festival campgrounds. As our camping capacity has increased, we’ve worked really hard to ensure that our campgrounds will be safe and enjoyable for all involved.”
All campgrounds have been developed in consultation with the District of Squamish, Vancouver Coastal Health, RCMP and Fire Department officials. Each campground will be fully secured with an 8-foot fence and will have 24-hour security, medical and operational staff. The campgrounds are being managed by MCI Group, a major worldwide destination management company.
“We have designed a fun, safe experience for everyone camping within our designated Festival campgrounds. We encourage guests who are camping to take advantage of these managed sites and support our ongoing efforts to help the District of Squamish maintain the natural beauty of the community,” says Runnals.
The Triangle Campground will be located at Squamish Elementary School and will feature over 1,000 sites. Shuttle services will be available to move guests from parking lots to the campground and from the campground to the Festival. There is also a designated pedestrian route to the festival with lighting, security, pedestrian wayfinding and traffic control staff.
The Square Campground is the Festival’s quiet family campground and will be located at Mamquam Elementary. This quiet campground will have shuttle service available to the festival site.
Sites in either Triangle or Square Campgrounds can be reserved through www.ticketmaster.ca when purchasing weekend passes. Guests who have already purchased weekend passes but have not reserved camping can request a site on the Virgin Mobile Presents Squamish Valley Music Festival website: www.squamishfestival.com/add-camping-parking/add-passes. Camping is not available for single day passes at this time.
The 2014 Virgin Mobile Presents Squamish Valley Music Festival will take place at the Logger Sports Grounds and Centennial Fields in Squamish, British Columbia, August 8, 9 & 10, 2014 and will feature over 70 performers, including:
Mindless Self Indulgence – Phoenix Concert Theatre – Toronto Live Review
Who: Mindless Self Indulgence
From: New York City, NY
Where: Phoenix Concert Theatre
When: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
Total Score: 9.6/10
Back in my high school days Mindless Self Indulgence was everything the kids were raving about. They were loud, obscene and obnoxious – a perfect soundtrack to the teenage rebellion. Combine that with their infamous onstage antics and you got a sold out show with everyone from kandi kids to goths moshing and dancing to the infectious beats. Eventually, most of my generation grew out of them, but that doesn’t mean that MSI weren’t busy making albums and touring. So, when they announced a tour in support of their latest album How I Learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence, I, as a die-hard fan, was immediately curious to see what goes on at their shows these days.
I got to the Phoenix Concert Theatre when the openers Death Valley High already started their set. Honestly, I didn’t regret being a little late for this as they sounded like any generic light-industrial band (read: they were trying to be Orgy). The guys had good stage presence though, and the singer was enthusiastically running around the stage. He even jumped into the photo pit at the end of their set to get closer to the fans in the first row. The crowd got especially cheerful with Death Valley High’s cover of Peaches – a smart move for the Toronto audience.
The audience was even more diverse than I imagined it would be. The new generations of high schoolers were front and center, moshing uncontrollably, dancing and singing every lyric thrown at them. But then, there were people in their late 20’s/early 30’s as well – metalheads, indie rockers and general office workers – getting their drink on at the bar and sticking closer to the middle of the venue. If they were there to relive a moment of their youth or if they are still fans of MSI, one thing was clear – everybody was having fun!
Mindless Self Indulgence started their set with “It Gets Worse” off their latest record and the crowd just went crazy! The kids were obviously more into newer MSI material from You’ll Rebel to Anything, If and How I learned to Stop…, while the older crowd got kicks out of singing along to jams like “Tornado”. Mindless Self Indulgence played a lot of new tunes, but they all fit flawlessly with their back catalogue. And if there was one song to unite the whole room in a perfect unison it would be, of course “Faggot”.
Jimmy Urine is still every bit of the insane hyper frontman as he always was, mixing some of his older jokes with new ones. From poking fun at 30 Seconds to Mars (“I wake up at night sweating and realize, THANK GOD I don’t have an Oscar!”) and Coldplay to getting members of the crowd to pick songs (“Now do you wanna hear “Straight to Video” or “Straight TO Video”?”) or a new moniker for himself, Urine never slowed don’t for a second. He even rapped the first verse of “Bring the Pain” without musical support upon crowd demands… and 40 bucks bribery. Lyn-Z (bass) and Kitty (drums) seemed to be in the best shape possible and Steve Righ? (guitar) delivered some mighty screams on the back vocals.
Overall, this was one of the most high energy shows I’ve ever been to, and now it is uncertain when we’ll get to see MSI in Toronto again, since they are going on a hiatus after this tour. After all, we only love you for your falsetto, Jimmy.[nggallery id = 260]
Written by: Raya P Morrison
Photos by: Alexei N Malakhov
Guvernment Nightclub to officially close Jan 2015
It’s true, after 17 years of being the leader of Canadian nightlife we will officially be closing our doors on January 31, 2015.
– The Guvernment (@The_Guvernment) May 1, 2014
TORONTO’S FAMED ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX WILL CELEBRATE THE END OF AN ERA AFTER 17 LEGENDARY YEARS
Canada’s largest and longest-running club, the institution of The Guvernment and Koolhaus Entertainment Complex has been a staple in global nightlife synonymous with international talent bookings, playful productions and unprecedented musical programming since 1996. After 17 years of innovation, inspiration, and playing host to Toronto’s most legendary nightlife events, INK Entertainment today announced that The Guvernment will officially close on January 31, 2015. Marking the end of an era, The Guvernment will host a series of sensational finale events with some of the biggest names to have performed at the club and music lovers alike as they reunite, celebrate, and commemorate their favourite party playground in its final year.
“It makes me proud to see how far we’ve come,” says Charles Khabouth, Founder and CEO of INK Entertainment. “The Guvernment is one of my proudest achievements and after such a long-lasting journey with such fond memories, we want to thank all those who made it possible and shared in our successes.”
Rated the number one nightclub in the world by NightGuide Magazine, number eight in the world by DJ Mag and voted EYE Magazine’s “Best Dance Club” in 2000 and 2001, The Guvernment and its encompassing venues, Koolhaus, Haven, The Gallery, Surface, Chroma and the spectacular rooftop patio, Skybar, have been known to truly define and transform Toronto’s nightlife scene. The 22,000 square foot space boasting 20’ high ceilings has been host to thousands of weekend revelers and Toronto’s ultimate party experience week after week.
With its sublime and notorious musical events including Freedom, Decadence, Thriller and Labour of Love, The Guvernment has continued to be the single most internationally recognized nightclub in Toronto. The Koolhaus alone has hosted the likes of The Rolling Stones, Prince, Bob Dylan, The Killers, Coldplay, Kings of Leon and Lady Gaga, while the decks in the Main Room have been graced by the most renowned names in electronic music including Tiesto, Avicii, Deadmau5, David Guetta and Armin Van Buuren to name an intimate few.
2015 will mark the end of The Guvernment, but it certainly will not be the end of INK Entertainment’s reign as one of the leading entertainment and event production companies in Toronto. As it continues to ramp up plans and bookings for the future, the venues to now host all of INK Entertainment’s key talent, concerts, shows and events will be Sound Academy and Tattoo Queen West.
True to its form, The Guvernment will of course be closing in style, giving each of its venues the send off they deserve, and the chance for the different major DJs and events to say goodbye. Open as normal through summer and autumn, the farewell will begin in the 2 or 3 weeks leading up to The Guvernment’s close, with a series of closing parties featuring The Guvernment’s closest DJs and promoters, and a grand closing weekend at the end of January.
Regarding the final parties, Khabouth says, “You know us, and you know what we do. We’re speaking to all key people and we’re not going to go out on anything other than a massive bang.”[vfb id=16]