Thu, 16 July 2015
For the past few months my life has been stuck in high gear. I’ve mentioned before how the days seem shorter than ever before. If anything that’s even more true lately. I can’t seem to get a project started before I have to move on to something else. The answer is I am clearly doing more things than I used to and I’m not very effective in using my time on the things I am working on. Between my photography work, which continues to escalate, keeping up my social media sites and entertaining myself with Netflix and other TV, the time I have to maintain a podcast is fading. It’s a shame too because my Most People Are DJs podcast just turned 10 years old!
Lack of time is really a poor excuse because I did the podcast fairly steadily for around 8 years and it only started slipping the past couple years. Doing the podcast was important for me. It was my way of sharing the entertainment I was enjoying with others. Every week I’d put my thoughts together on a few topics, maybe record an interview, select a few songs I’d just come across and put it out as a 30-40 minute podcast that I hoped people had fun listening to.
The past couple of years a number of things have come about that I think in some ways now make the idea I had for my podcast become obsolete. The first was the popularity of streaming music. Today it is very easy to find and stream any music via the internet. Why should I play a track when you can just as easily stream it for yourself? There are blogs that are far better in reach and have quicker access to new music than I ever will. Social media and the sharing of ideas, likes and dislikes have also exploded in so many different forms, from Twitter to Facebook, Tumblr and so many other things, it also seems to have chipped away at anything unique I would want to say in a podcast. The past few months I have put together three to four different outlines for podcasts, only to find the content already feeling stale and outdated before I start recording.
To be honest, I have also had trouble focusing lately on any subject for more than a few minutes. I’m too easily distracted and the proliferation of digital media has turned me into a bit of a monster, lurking from one thing to another without paying any attention to the places I’ve been. I probably view more than a few dozen news and entertainment related items a day. I have always had a veracious appetite for media but on self-examination, over the past year, I am finding that I am not really satisfied with much but I am continuing to devour everything. I need to shut down some doors, block out some of those flashy headlines and stop getting trapped by “10 things that blah, blah, blah” rabbit holes.
I feel like I need to go on an identity quest where I identify the things I truly enjoy again and force myself to discard all the frivolous junk that just wastes my time. I have long envied niche podcasts that have a narrow focus on a subject and really explore it. That is what people tell me being a true nerd is all about. But, for the most part I am not anything like that. I shy away from going deep into an interest because I am afraid after investing some my time on something, I will grow tired of it and won’t follow through on the commitment. Right now, I’m challenging myself to stick to something longer than I normally would. I am watching Season 3 of the X-Files and following along with Kamail Nanjiani’s excellent The X-File Files podcast.
One obsession I have been consistent with has been my photography. Yes, I take lots of pictures at events. You can find most of them at the Metro Times Detroit slide show page and on the Framed page in most week’s print editions. I get real, emotional fulfillment capturing moments that I know people are going to like to see. It’s also the closest I come to creating my version of art for others. You can follow my photo work by visiting my Flickr and MPAD Media Facebook page.
So where does that leave the Most People Are DJs podcast? Right where it has been the last few months, on hiatus until I can sort my mind out on the direction I want to take it. I’m certainly not abandoning it, I love the podcast medium too much. But I definitely want to tweak some things and work on making MPAD compelling enough for me to do again and for you to listen to. For now this website will continue and stay tuned to my MPAD Media Facebook page because that’s where I post updates on what I’m working on. Most of all try not to give up on me because I definitely haven’t given up on you.
Category:blog -- posted at: 9:01pm EDT
Thu, 9 July 2015
Category:blog -- posted at: 9:01pm EDT
Mon, 15 June 2015
I have seen David Allie emcee a couple different events and I think he even handed me a CD that he did a couple of years with Eddie Logix. The problem was whenever a gig came up to see Cold English, the band he fronts, I always had something else standing my way. This last Saturday for their show at B One Ballroom I was determined I’d see them play. The fact that David’s sister, Mayaeni, a terrific rock and blues artist along with hip hop artist, Benjamin Miles, were playing, made the show even more enticing.
Mayaeni, who has played around the world, was using her set to show off some new tracks she’s been working on. It was a raw performance with just Mayaeni, her guitar and some percussion. Stripped to a lean essence, the set revealed Mayaeni’s knack for writing bold songs with strength and heart. She’s playing around town later this month, so look her up, you won’t be disappointed.
Benjamin Miles, a local hip hop artist took the stage next to play some tracks from his latest album “The Wishing Tree”. On stage it was just a DJ and Benjamin but he did have a dubious guy begging him to play drums throughout the set. Benjamin’s songs have a unique appeal to them, combining hip hop beats with soulful melodies and a rap style that has its own groove. Everyone was playing it loose tonight and Benjamin was no exception as he ripped into a speedy, no-holds-barred rap that ended with him laughing and dropping the mic.
Cold English, who are known for their live shows, combine a raucous rock setting with a hip hop groove, courtesy of some of the area’s best musicians and David Allie’s powerful yet still smooth raps. David embraces the live setting and tries to get crowd involvement no matter the size or interest. By song two he had a good number of the crowd singing along and by song four he’d won the place over with fists in the air and smiles all around. Cold English is the real deal, while their sound reminds me of old school Rage Against the Machine, there is also more ska and funk put into their mix. Cold English's set left an impression with the crowd as they ended the set with their latest ep closer "Right Here, Right Now."
Let's talk about the Photos!
I took pics throughout each set which is always interesting for me a small bar setting. The lighting at B One Ballroom rotates from a dark red light, to a kaleidoscope of lights and occasional bright strobes. If you’re in the crowd it looks great for a small stage, but if you’re taking pictures it’s a real pain. You never know what to expect from one second to the next. My photos as taken, are usually a mess of heavy, red hues and out of focus backgrounds. My technique is to heavily edit each photo, cropping the sides and reducing the red hue, then playing with the brightness and contrast. After editing, the pictures lack a bit of color but the subject is more distinct and the tones left actually give it some unexpected artistic flare. You can see all the pics at my flickr page.
Category:blog -- posted at: 7:59pm EDT
Wed, 20 May 2015
I’ve been going to Motor City Comic Con for quite a few years and the past few have been very exciting watching it grow so much. This year’s show had to be the biggest in MCCC’s history. They used more floor space in Suburban Collection Showplace than past years, yet, I still think they could have used more. They might need to consider looking for a new venue. The only downfall I experienced over the weekend was parking on Saturday. There is just not enough parking to accommodate the thousands that attend the show on Saturday. Despite that inconvenience, this was my best MCCC ever and I think I share that thought with most of the other attendees. Here’s a rundown on my MCCC experience and photos I took at the show. If you want to see all the photos, go to my MPAD Media page on Facebook.
Friday is friends and cosplay day
If you go back to my Megacon review, I gave the impression there was good and bad about Friday’s at a comic con. The good is the open walkways and opening excitement, the bad is the empty booths and low participation from celebs. However, with MCCC, I’m going to switch my opinion to Friday’s are the best day for a con experience for me. I go in knowing I won’t see all I want to see, but I will get time to spend with artists and friends and get a good preview to what I might end up buying. Friday at MCCC was a good mix of a nice size crowd with a sizable amount of cosplayers. I got a late start due to traffic getting but I managed to have a very enjoyable couple hours at the show. MCCC closed at 7pm, but I could have definitely spent a couple more hours on the floor.
Saturday is chaos and panel day
Saturday is the day that everybody goes to the con. It would be interesting to see a chart on MCCC con attendance over the past 10 years because I am sure it would look something like a hockey stick with a sharp increase 2012-2015. This year the staff had the crowd situation worked out pretty well, people got in quickly and the extra space helped with the traffic flow, but there were still so many people there! I almost had a panic attack and had to escape to the panels for some chill time. I was glad I did because I sat in some great panels and even managed to get a few celebrity shots I couldn’t have taken on the floor. Andrew McCarthy, from Pretty in Pink and Weekend at Bernies, was great to listen to as he has had a very interesting career in movies and now directs shows like Orange is the New Black and Blacklist. Chloe Bennett from Agents of Shield was also a pleasure to meet as I found her much more likable in person than the character she plays on AoS. She had great stories from the set and which is tempting me to give AoS another chance. The last panel I sat in on had Emma Caulfield from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ksenia Solo from Lost Girl and Jodi Lyn O’Keefe from the Vampire Diaries. Three strong and lovely ladies having fun on the panel sharing stories from their TV shows.
Sunday is time to buy day
Unless I am really tempted, I save most my buying at cons for Sunday. The deals are usually better and I come prepared to spend. This year I found a booth selling trades for $6 or 5 for $25. I also do any interviews on Sunday. I talked to the Sun Bros. who have work in anthologies and their own books. On Friday I spent some time talking with them so Sunday I came with some background and a few questions. I’ll have their interview on an upcoming episode of my Most People Are DJs podcast. I also found my friend, Jordan Trovillion from Comics Continuum and managed to get a few pictures of her.
Category:blog -- posted at: 10:19pm EDT
Thu, 14 May 2015
Here are some quick notes for this episode. The interview with Erin Brown also known as Misty Mundane is short, about 5 minutes, but I think anymore would have been overkill. The interview we done while at Motor City Nightmares, you can see my pics from the show at MPAD Media on Facebook. The song is "Blowtorch" by the Go! Team from their new album "The Scene Between". I talk about music subscription services and why I like Slacker best. I did see Avengers Age of Ultron and liked it. It's not as good as some other Marvel movies, but I didn't expect it to be. This weekend I will be at Motor City Comic Con and at Movement the week after.
My podcast affiliate for this episode is Audiobooks.com where you can get 2 free audiobooks and 1 free month when you sign up for their service and use my promo code TECH2. you can see more offers at coupon code page.
Mon, 11 May 2015
In its 26th year, Motor City Comic Con is Michigan's number one pop culture and comic book event. I've been going there since the 90's and enjoying it each and every year. This year will be MCCC's biggest show ever with more floor space, vendors and panels. The con takes place Friday, May 15 (12:30pm to 7:00pm), Saturday May 16 (10:30am to 7:00pm) and Sunday, May 17 (10:30am to 5:00pm) at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. You can still buy your tickets for the next couple days at the Motor City Comic Con website.
This year's show features over 40 pop culture and comic book guests, including:
Dean Cain: Born in Mount Clemens, Mich., Cain flew into the spotlight with his portrayal of Superman and Clark Kent in ABC’s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in 1993, alongside Terri Hatcher. Cain helped pave the way for the mainstream acceptance of comic book superheroes.
Robert Englund: Best known for his role as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street and spin-off movies, Englund attended the Cranbrook Theatre School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. and later Oakland University, where he trained at the Meadow Brook Theater.
Steven Yeun: Rasied in Troy, Mich., Yeun studied at Kalamazoo College before starring in AMC’s The Walking Dead as Glenn Rhee. He has also played roles in NBC’s Law & Order: Los Angeles, and Syfy’s Warehouse 13.
John Schneider: Schneider is best known for his role as Bo Duke in the CBS series The Dukes of Hazzard and the original General Lee Charger will joining him in hot pursuit at the event. Schneider is also known for his role as Clark Kent’s father in the WB/CW series Smallville.
Robert Patrick: Patrick’s breakthrough role came when he starred in Terminator 2: Judgment Day and proceeded to act in Striptease and the FOX TV series The X-Files. Patrick was also the voice of Piandao in Avatar, Alcide Herveaux’s father in HBO’s True Blood and most currently as Les Packer in FX’s Sons of Anarchy.
Ryan Hurst: Hurst is known for his roles in Disney’s Remember the Titans as Gerry Bertier, and Opie on FX’s Sons of Anarchy.
Emily Kinney: Kinney currently plays the role of Beth on AMC’s The Walking Dead. She also can be seen in episodes of Showtime’s The Big C, CBS’s The Good Wife, NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, and USA’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent. 25
E. Roger Mitchell: Mitchell is best known for his roles in AMC’s The Walking Dead, CW’s One Tree Hill, Selma, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Equalizer, Flight, Anchor Man: The Legend Continues, The Shield, The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Spectacular Now.
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe: O’Keefe portrayed Cassidy Bridges on CBS’ Nash Bridges and Gretchen Morgan on FOX’s Prison Break as well as appeared in TNT’s Charmed, CBS’ Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. She has also starred in the movies, She’s All That and Whatever It Takes. Currently, she plays Dr. Jo Laughlin in the CW’s The Vampire Diaries.
Michael Welch: Known for his role as the popular Mike Newton in The Twilight film series, Welch is currently on the hit Syfy Channel original series Z Nation as Mack Thompson.
Neal Adams: Adams is an award-winning comic book artist known for his imagery of Marvel characters and his most popular DC Comics’ characters and stories, such as Batman, Brave and the Bold, Detective Comics, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Strange Adventures (Deadman), Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, and X-Men. Adams is credited for changing the past “Batman persona” to the “Avenger of the night” persona that he is today, portrayed in The Dark Knight series. He is highly-regarded in the comic world, described as a “genius” by the editor in chief of Marvel Comics.
Matt Wagner: Writing comics for over twenty years, Wagner is most known for creating Mage and Grendel. Wagner has also worked on a variety of notable characters, including Two-Face, the Batman villain in the graphic novel Faces and titles, such as Sandman Mystery Theatre and Trinity, a DC Comics series featuring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. He has also produced numerous comic covers, including Green Arrow, and is writing a Green Hornet spin-off for Dynamite Entertainment.
Simon Bisley: Bisley is a British comic artist best known for his work on ABC Warriors, Lobo and Sláine. He has a distinctive style using acrylics on Bristol board and does not commonly use airbrushes but household items to achieve his creative results. Simon has also worked on such titles as Judge Dredd, Hellblazer, Deathstroke, The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, Fear Itself: Deadpool/Fearsome Four, Batman/Judge Dredd, and numerous Heavy Metal covers.
For more information regarding Motor City Comic Con guests and events, visit www.motorcitycomiccon.com.
Category:blog -- posted at: 7:42pm EDT
Thu, 23 April 2015
I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it on this episode of Most People Are DJs. I’m excited about new podcasts I’ve discovered, a new song and upcoming shows that I plan on attending. The three podcasts, all with duo hosts, that you should check into are: Buzzfeed Internet Explorer Podcast, Do you Like Prince Movies and Modern Horrors. After that, I go into a couple of the new comic book related TV shows that I have been enjoying, Daredevil on Netflix and I Zombie on CW. Both are well worth watching and I Zombie is on the bubble of renewal so if you haven’t watched it yet please give it a view. I play the song "Everthing New" song by the duo No Joy on the latest CMJ mixtape. Before the episode ends I talk about all the upcoming shows and festivals I am attending over the next month, including Motor City Nightmare Apr. 24-26, Metro Times Blowout April 29-May 2, Free Comic Book Day May 2, Motor City Comic Con May 15-17, The Smiths United May 17 and Movement May 23-25. I will definitely need some rest in June!
My podcast affiliate for this spisode is BlueHost where you can get a starter website with domain for only $3.49 a month using my special promo link.
Wed, 22 April 2015
Held annually in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center, Megacon is one of North America’s largest comic conventions. Each year I take a vacation to Lakeland, Florida to visit family around the same time as Megacon but usually missing it by a week before or after. This year I saw a window open where I could actually do both the family trip and Megacon and booked it. Given the large list of comic artists and pop culture celebrities, Megacon is one of the better independent comic conventions to attend and it’s still very affordable. I purchased my 3-day ticket in advance for only $70.
I arrived to the show on Friday afternoon around 3pm. While the show opened at noon, 3pm seemed like a reasonable time to get there to get the maximum Friday comic convention experience. The Friday con experience is a mixed bag of blessings, there are not as many people or young kids running around but there are also empty booths and celebs that don’t show up until Saturday. Even given those drawbacks, I still like Friday quite a bit, I get a good preview of the con and I can usually spend time talking to artists.
However, I wish I had arrived a little earlier at Megacon because the sheer immensity of Orange County Convention Center is an overwhelming and confusing experience. There are about 6 different places to park but none of them are close and the lots fill up fast. The parking charge of $10 is fair but I heard there were other lots charging $20-$25 for parking as well. My parking lot was by the South Hall which is quite a long walk to get to West Hall where Megacon was held this year. There are shuttle buses but I didn’t want to wait for one. The good news is much of the walk is inside and air conditioned.
Megacon is a very cosplay friendly show, since I take cosplay photos I think it’s a great bonus. There are some comic fans that find cosplayers annoying and an obstruction to enjoying the con experience, but cosplayers are here to stay and I’m all for it. For cosplayers, Megacon offers two big areas for people to congregate and mill about in their costumes and have their picture taken. Taking photos in these areas was much easier and better than trying to take them in the exhibit area.
The exhibit area was smaller than I expected. It was divided in sections of retailers, artists and celebrities. I didn’t buy much at the show so I can’t comment much on the retailers, there did seem to be both a good amount of DIY dealers selling their own comic-inspired crafts as well as retailers of comic books and t-shirts. Artist alley was represented by mostly independent artists with the trend toward selling more pinups and posters than actual comic books. I am disappointed by this trend as I like to see unique comic books creations instead of booth after booth selling their version of a Joker or Wolverine pinup. The guest celebrity area was a major disappointment as most of the celebrities are curtained off so you can’t even get a glimpse of them, they also do not allow any personal photography in this area. I skipped this area but would have at least liked a quick glance at Summer Glau.
I attended the expo again on Saturday although my game plan did not work very well. Just getting to the con was a chore. The Saturday traffic to Orlando was horrendous and it is by far the busiest day at the con. Parking was also extremely difficult. I parked a mile and a half from West Hall, with temps near 90, it long hot walk. The con itself was packed so it was very difficult to maneuver around to see any of the exhibit hall. I mostly stayed in the open cosplay areas taking photos. I only had a couple hours to spend at the con then had to make my way back to my car. In retrospect, I might have been better served avoiding Saturday and coming back on Sunday which has less of a crowd to contend with.
Overall, despite the parking and overcrowding I did enjoy the experience and people at Megacon. I’ll definitely go back but I’ll study the convention maps and have a better plan for parking.
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43pm EDT
Sun, 5 April 2015
Here's another MPAD comic-oriented episode with a review of the new teen angsty, thriller "We Can Never Go Home" by Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon and Josh Hood. It's a fantastic comic about a misft that sees a girl display some superpowers and the relationship between that ensues. A large part of the comic is centered on a mixtape which was one of my favorite pastimes, you can rean Matthew Rosenberg's thoughts on the mixtape at Paste Magazine.
I also feature a short interview with Matthew that I did back at C2E2 2013.The little interstitial music before the interview I created using Magix Music Maker. I play the song "Entropy" by Nigel and the Dropout, a terrific local band that I saw play recently. I think their sound is a great combination of everything that is exciting about current music. I en the show with some talk about going to Megacon next week, I'm very excited to go, take photos and share stories of the con in a future episode.
My podcast affiliate for this spiode is BlueHost where you can get a starter website with domain for only $3.49 a month using my special promo link.
Sun, 29 March 2015
Most nights I have to drive at least 30 minutes to get to hear some local music I really love. The suburbs of Oakland County, Michigan just is not the place to catch indie dance synth bands. Last week though I got lucky and was able to see three bands bring their unique versions of indie, dance and pop to Keego Harbor’s B One Ballroom.
The opener of the night was Marcus Alan Ward who drove up from Cleveland for the show. He started his set with an amplified version of Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets.” MAW then followed it up with a short set of R&B and funk all with a gritty rock edge. With his talents on full display, playing synth, guitar and singing, I could hear Prince, Hendrix and a more current R&B influence in his songs.
Nigel & the Dropout were on next and honestly I hadn’t heard much about them before the show but one guy told me they were his favorite local band. From their first song I was immediately blown away with their sound and visuals. They play a mix of indie electronic with soaring guitars. I would say they sound like MGMT, if they never ended up self indulgent and sucking, so that’s not really a good comparison. On most the songs they share vocals with the guitarist doing most the vocal chores. For only two guys they effectively make a lot of wonderfully, blissed out noise. Towards the end of the set one song had an epic intro that transformed into a punky, electric track. They have plenty of potential to get places and I could imagine their songs used in movies for indie club scenes.
Last up was Gosh Pith. A band I have heard a lot about but never seen play. Again just 2 guys, but the sound is a complete left turn from Nigel & the Dropout. They play an original mix of dub, psychedelic and indie dance that comes across as hazy, mysterious and kind of sexy. Under dark lighting, they both sing different parts in each song but the guitarist probably sings the most with his distinctive voice. When I met him he was kind of a low spoken guy but on stage his voice takes on this strange quality, a sort of a reggae chanting, very rhythmical and hypnotic.
My only disappointment with the entire night was there weren’t more people to make the trek out to B One because they missed a high quality show. Who knows how many more we’ll get in the suburbs of my OC?
Category:blog -- posted at: 11:33am EDT