Art“Vanitas” by Collage Artist Ashkan Hornarvar



Vanitas by Ashkan Hornavar.

GeneralSite to See: Kid Casting

 
Oh, Kid Casting. Just another reason to love the internet.
 

 
Why? Because as founder Dave Shumka writes, “You know when a movie has a flashback and you see the character as a kid? Sometimes that’s awesome.”
 

 
Some are cute, some are weird, funny, or remarkably similar (Once Upon a Time in America, whoa), and others, remarkably not. Either way, once you start looking, it’s pretty darn difficult to stop.
 


 
Another cool thing that happens: occcasionally you’ll recognize both actors, like Jennifer Connelly in Once Upon a Time in America (above), Camilla Belle as little Sandra Bullock, or even the annoying kid from those Santa Clause movies (just knew he had to make an appearance) as little Robert Downey, Jr.
 

 
And, because I just don’t feel like waiting ’til Thanksgiving to get into the holiday spirit:
 
 
 

MusicArtist to Watch: Warm Weather

Warm Weather is a band whose name really captures its essence; from the vocals, to imagining yourself lounging on an empty beach, it just makes you feel so warm. The music is a blend of kaleidoscopic indie rock and a beachy, harmonious quartet. Think if Beach Boys met Grizzly Bear. Or Vampire Weekend, just less… uptight. Hailing from the east, these guys are now located in sunny LA, where they are working on their next EP. We caught up with Justin Lerman for an interview.

 
 
How did your band come to exist on the mean (warm?) streets of LA?
Warm Weather actually came into existence all across the country. On our road trip from Philadelphia to LA the band was formed. Ryan and I are originally from Philly and Brendan was a buddy of mine from Dartmouth College, who we picked up at his home in Minnesota. I had collaborated with both Ryan and Brendan separately, but the three of us had never all been in the same room until we met on our trip across the country. To pass the hours on the road, we plugged a portable keyboard into the car speakers and wrote and sang songs on the way. Those songs were the basis for our first EP, “Dances”it wasn’t until we arrived in L.A. that we started playing shows and recording.
 
How do you hope to inspire your fans? What do you want fans to get out of your music, especially “Older.”
Our music is meant to convey emotions and feelings. We want the listener to be taken somewhere when they listen to a track. Our first EP, “Dances,” has a very summery feel – it’s happy, it’s lethargic, it’s bittersweet. At least that’s how I feel about it, but the nice thing about music is that the experience can mean something different for every listener. We just hope to evoke a meaningful experience in our audience. “Older” is a song about growing up – or maybe not wanting to. Sometimes we just want to let life take us where it will and forget our worries — but you can’t do that forever; we all grow up and we have our responsibilities. Realizing that is bittersweet. The ending of our EP, which is “Older” is almost nostalgic for childhood. 
What would you be doing if you weren’t (or when you’re not) making music?
Personally, when I’m not writing music, I’m writing words. I’m interested in screenwriting and one of the reasons I originally moved out to L.A. was to explore that career. I’m still doing that, but things are just little more complicated with Warm Weather. I can’t really speak for the other guys in the group, but I get the feeling from Ryan that it’s always been music or bust and Brendan is such a talented guy and brilliant musician, he could do anything he wanted in or out of music. 
 
Fill in the blank: Warm Weather is forever grateful for …
Warm Weather is forever grateful for the support of our friends and family. Without them, we’d never be able to explore our creativity so fully. We’ve had individuals like Nick Breton of Truth Studios just giving us their time and resources to help us make our music – it’s that kind of kindness and generosity that makes it possible for artists to create. 
Your harmonies are quite something … Did you always sing so pretty or was it something practiced?
Haha, thanks. Ryan and I sang together all throughout high school. We were in another band then called Cereal Heroes and we were also in our high school a cappella group. From the beginning of our career writing music, vocal harmony has been at the center of our creative interests. We just love singing together and the sounds of the human voice. Brendan and I sang together in our college a cappella group The Dartmouth Aires, and actually Brendan and I just finished filming the NBC show “The Sing Off” with the Dartmouth Aires, so turn on the TV Monday nights at 8 and you can actually see Brendan and I harmonizing quite regularly.

Warm Weather’s Coney Island off of The Dance II

Any good touring stories?
Well the band just formed earlier this year and since Brendan and I have been busy with “The Sing Off” we actually haven’t had the opportunity to do a full tour yet. We’re currently looking into dates for a 2011-2012 tour.  
Do you have pre- or post-show rituals?

Well, before a show we like to sing through our songs. It’s just fun and locking in the harmonies in a small circle can really bring you back to the roots of the music. Post-show rituals usually involve beer and friends.

Best show?
Honestly, I think our best show was our first – at the Whisky A Go-Go in West Hollywood. It was awesome to play a stage frequented by the Doors, the Who, and other legendary performers. We got the chance to perform “Dances” in its entirety and it was just a blast.
Of course, that begs the question … any disaster shows?
No “disasters” quite yet – but we did book a show at the Hollywood House of Blues, which sounded like it was going to be awesome…and ended up just being a tiny side stage near the bar and removed from the main ballroom. We essentially rocked out for three people sipping on cocktails. It was still fun, but decidedly less cool than playing the House of Blues sounds like it should be.
How does fashion inspire you?
You know, I’m not sure if I’m the most fashionable guy in the world, but I will say that when I put on a “fashionable” outfit that I feel fits my personality, it makes me feel more comfortable in myself and my creativity – it’s amazing how little things like that can change your entire mindset. If I ever get in a funk, I just take a shower a put on my favorite clothes and all of a sudden – I’m back.
What else inspires you? Other artists?
Plenty of other musical artists inspire me. I’m personally really into groups like Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective and classic groups like The Who, The Kinks, Queen, Beatles, Beach Boys – all those classic big vocal groups.  I’m also a huge fan of movies and books, but who isn’t? 
Favorite movie?
“Back to the Future” – it’s fun, it’s funny, it’s sci-fi/action adventure, it’s well written, well acted. It sounds like a hilarious choice for someone who loves movies, but I can’t help it. That movie is classic and always entertaining.  

Favorite musician/band?
I find it difficult to pick a favorite here. It fluctuates between The Who, the Beatles and The Beach Boys for me. I go through phases of obsessions with these three groups. It could be nothing but “Tommy” for a month or maybe “Sgt. Peppers,” who knows. That’s how I tend to consume music: one artist, one album, over and over until I’ve got my fix for awhile.
What’s next for Warm Weather?  
We’re about to put out a second EP before we start working on our first full length album. In the meantime, we’ll be playing LA local shows and writing and recording the new tracks
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Warm Weather is the second band to be featured off our digital album (free with every order, hell yeah!). Heard the digital album? Then we want to hear from you! Let us know what you think about Warm Weather and the Lulu*s Digital Album. Check out more of Warm Weather with their facebook, tumblr, and bandcamp.

GeneralABC’s Once Upon a Time: Have You Seen It?

So, here’s the story:
 
Prince Charming (Josh Dallas, Thor) is engaged to some beezy princess from another realm, but falls in love with Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin; He’s Just Not That Into You, Something Borrowed), who is on the run from the evil queen and tries to ambush the prince’s carriage.
 
 
The Queen is now uber pissed, Snow White eats the apple, Charming saves her, yada yada.
 
 
The wedding day arrives, and everybody is happy and celebrating.
 
 
Okay so there’s the story we all know. Here’s how it changes. On their wedding day, the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla; Swingtown, Boomtown) curses them, saying that all of the Enchanted Forest would be taken to a place where time stands still and where there are no happy endings. In their bliss, they kind of ignore it until Snow gets pregnant and freaks out. She goes to see Rumplestiltskin, who is locked up in the castle dungeons. He says there is nothing they can do to prevent the curse, but that their unborn baby would show up when she was 28 years old to save the day.
 
 
Eek! So, when they have their baby, they hide her in a magical tree (of course), which transports her to the Real World, while the rest of the Enchanted Forest is covered with a spell that makes them all forget who they are and places them in the Real World:  the town of Storybrook, Maine.
 
Fast forward twenty-eight years. Emma, (Jennifer Morrison, House M.D.) a bounty-hunter, is confronted by ten-year-old Henry (Jared Gilmore, Mad Men), who claims to be her son whom she gave up for adoption ten years ago. He shows her a book of fairytales, which he believes are all real, and tries to convince her that she is really Snow White’s daughter. 
 
 
So, long story short, Emma tries to return Henry to his home, which is, of course, Storybrook. Upon arrival, Emma meets Henry’s adoptive mother, Regina, who is the mayor of the town and the Evil Queen herself. She, and Rumplestiltskin (who gave her the curse in the first place) are the only people besides Henry who know what’s going on.
 
And then we meet the rest of the characters:  Jiminy Cricket is a pyschiatrist, Little Red Riding Hood is a slutty bar waitress, Rumplestiltskin is still a creep, Snow White is a teacher, and Prince Charming is in a coma. Of course.
 
 
Regina tries her best to get rid of Emma, pulling stunts like booting her car and throwing her into jail. Luckily, there is a hotty mcgee for a Sheriff. 
 
 
And, she has a chainsaw. Awesome.
 
 
The problem is, Regina doesn’t want to admit that Emma really is Snow White’s daughter and that she is here to break the curse. Duh. Once she realizes who she really is, her effort to get rid of Emma increases…at the same rate that Emma begins to believe that the stories are true.
 
We’re only four episodes in, so if you haven’t started watching yet, you still have time. Last week we were introduced to Cinderella, who also makes a deal with Rumplestiltskin (you’d think they’d learn…). And soooo much more! Can you tell that I love this show?
 

 
So, enough! I can’t give you any more spoilers! Go watch for yourself at abc.com and tell me what you think!
 
(Pics courtesy of abc.com.)

GeneralEasy Vegan: Homemade Cranberry Sauce


If you’ve ever wanted to make your own cranberry sauce from scratch, now is the time! This is honestly one of the easiest recipes in the world, and can be made with a variety of sweeteners and optional ingredients like herbs or citrus. Check it out:
 
Ingredients:
1- 12 oz. Bag of Cranberries
1/2 Cup Water
Your Favorite Vegan Sweetener*
1 Sprig of Fresh Rosemary
1 Sprig of Fresh Thyme
 
Directions: Tie the rosemary and thyme together with a bit of pure cotton twine or string. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. The berries will begin to burst and create a jam. Stir often for about 15 minutes, and sweeten to taste. Cool and store in the fridge. Sauce will last for weeks!
*Popular vegan sweeteners include agave nectar, demerara sugar and maple syrup. Regular white and brown sugar is sometimes processed using non-vegan methods. See a list of vegan friendly sugar companies here.