Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year, smutlings!

Well HELLO there, strangers! Well, I should be the one being called a stranger... sorry I haven't been around for a while, smutlings!

It's another year, and who doesn't like new beginnings? Anyway, what have I been up to? Well, I spent the holidays with my family, and then took a road trip with four other friends down to Portland, Oregon for New Year's Eve. It was great to ring in 2013 someplace else other than Vancouver. Change is good, right?

Anyway, I'm ready to shed what was a tumultuous, if not memorable, 2012 to bring on a fruitful and fun-filled 2013! Resolutions? Well, so far, I've vowed to make my bed in the morning, no matter how rushed I am. Supposedly a freshly made bed is like the first accomplishment of the day, and that spins off into the rest of your day, filling you with positivity and possibility. Anyway, at least it makes my room much more bearable to look at after a long day of work.

Perhaps I should blog more. Actually, I've started up my Tumblr again! Follow me HERE!

Choir starts again on Wednesday. I always look forward to gay choir aka. the Vancouver Men's Chorus. It's given me so much, both good and not-so-good (you know what I mean). Anyway, this show is a 60s themed one, and I'm on the music selection committee, and boy are there some amazing tunes coming your way! Come see us in June!!!

Well, smutlings, me out. Chat with you soon!

Jay xoxo

Monday, May 14, 2012

New Beginnings begin with endings...

Heyo, smutlings! WOW. It's been a long time... too long since I've posted here. So what's new? Um, EVERYTHING. Well, not exactly, but it seems like things have changed for me since I've last posted on here. Still working at the college, and still singing with the Vancouver Men's Chorus. In fact, we just ended our successful SOLD OUT show run of "QUEENS", which I was honoured and privileged to have been a part of in terms of the creative process. I was part of the music selection committee for the show, where there were only 4 guys and the musical director. Back then, we couldn't of imagined how the show would've come together, but WOW. It was AMAZING. And on top, I got cast in three vocal/dance ensembles and a featured solo! But that and a whole lot of practice and rehearsal produced by far the best show the VMC has produced yet. And of course, it was the most fun to do! (But I feel like my body is screaming at me today... I'm all achy, and that cold I've been fighting has finally kicked in...)

Other than that, hmm... well I loved and lost I guess. Heartbroken, but staying strong. Taught me a lot.  The experience made me question what I really want in life, like relationships, or even career, or even what makes me "tick". So yeah, I'm going through an introspective phase of my life right now... taking stock, and changing the things that need to be changed while keeping the things that work. So I'm taking it one step at a time, starting with the things I'm passionate about and tapping into that to drive what I do in life.

Today, I give thanks for all the amazing experiences that I've enjoyed in my lifetime so far. I also am grateful for the experiences I've had with the Vancouver Men's Chorus and with my job. I am also grateful that I've made it this far, in my own way, and that in itself is good. Well, I guess I don't really talk about myself much on here, but thanks for letting me share a little piece of myself with you.

Much gratitude to you all, my smutlings.

Jay xoxo

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vancouver International Film Festival - REVIEW: Señorita


Heyo, smutlings! Reporting back from more VIFF action!

Last Sunday night, I was lucky enough to attend a screening of Señorita, a film noir-inspired melodrama from the Philippines. As some of you film festival buffs may know, Señorita got its start as a short film of the same name (which also screened at VIFF last year) and had been recently expanded into a full-length feature.

Here's the official description of the plot from the film's official website:

Wanting to quit sex work in Manila and start a new life, Donna, a transgender woman, gets her chance when an old friend asks Donna to look after her 12-year-old son Tomas while she works overseas for a year. Donna moves to a small town to look after Tomas only to find out that the town mayor who is seeking re-election is a crony of one of her regular clients back in Manila. In her efforts to break away from her past, she becomes entangled in the town's local politics and ends up leading a double life

Here, screenwriter/director/actor Vincent Sandoval delivers an honest, and at times deliciously devious, portrayal of the transgendered femme fatale, Donna. It was refreshing to see a believable transgendered character at the crux of the story, with real emotions and motivations instead of a comical, superficial (read: flaming queen) caricature as often seen in Filipino cinema. And Sandoval's screenplay shines, intelligently weaving a political backstory of town corruption with Donna's secret life as a sex worker that sets up the final climactic scene where Donna is forced to face the consequences of her actions.

Señorita is a great exploration of the film noir genre, and is an exciting example of the future of Filipino filmmaking. Highly recommended.

For tickets and showtimes, visit http://www.viff.org/festival

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011


As an avid tech affectionado and loyal Mac user for most of my life, as well as GuySpy.com's science & tech Guyd, I would like to pay tribute to Steve Jobs, who passed away today at the age of 56.
Steve Jobs was truly a one of a kind visionary and innovator, and his achievements have shaped modern day technology as we know it. Without his contributions, I know a lot of what I do would not be possible. 
We thank you, Steve. And we will always remember you. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vancouver International Film Festival - REVIEW: Cloudburst


Hey hey, smutlings! I'm back from another day of screenings at the Vancouver International Film Festival, and boy, do I have a review to share with you! I'm still grinning from ear to ear after seeing the film Cloudburst, starring Olympia Dukakis. Why? Well lemme tell you!
So here's the basic premise behind Cloudburst: The blind partner of an 80-year old grisly "bull dyke" gets put into a nursing home after a confrontation between said bull dyke and her partner's granddaughter (against the bull dyke's will, of course). So what's an enraged and lovesick lesbian gonna do? Bust her lover out of the nursing home and take a roadtrip up to Canada to get married! 
So what makes this movie so special? Olympia Dukakis portrayal of the stubborn and vulgarly outspoken Stella is simply brilliant, with comedic timing so spot on that her acerbic one-liners come at you like rapid fire. Dukakis is equally matched by Brenda Fricker's Dot, Stella's blind romantic counterpart of 31 years, and their genuine, non-saccharine love for each other squeaks through their constant spats. The screenplay by writer/director Thom Fitzgerald is comically clever and quirky, and presents us with characters that are complex and believable amidst situations that are at times quite absurd. Also Fitzgerald's exploration of same sex relationships amongst the elderly has to be commended, and Tom Harting's breathtaking cinematography exquisitly captures the natural beauty of Nova Scotia that serves as the backdrop for Stella and Dot's journey.
Although the story revolves around a lesbian couple, there's something here for straight girls and gay boys, too! Besides Olympia Dukakis being an icon in her own right, there's a hilarious scene which features full frontal male nudity - something I wouldn't expect in a movie about two elderly lesbians! Plus the 20-something aspiring dancer that the lesbian lovers encounter on the way, Prentice (played by newcomer Ryan Doucette), is quite irresistable and strikingly handsome, and he's often shirtless and in various states of undress! (Drool!)
So, to quickly summarize my review: GO SEE THIS MOVIE. I cannot stress it enough.
Cloudburst screens again at VIFF on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 4:00pm, Empire Granville 7
For tickets and showtimes, visit www.viff.org/festival
Visit the official Cloudburst website at http://thomfitzgerald.com/feature-films/cloudburst/

Friday, September 30, 2011

Vancouver International Film Festival - REVIEW: Wish Me Away


Hey hey, smutlings! I'm back! And yes, I'm back covering VIFF! I just got my media pass, and so stay tuned for blog posts about my picks and reviews from VIFF 2011! 
So I just got back from seeing two films tonight, and one really stuck out for me. Wish Me Away, directed by Bobbi Birleffi and Beverly Kopf, follows country singer Chely Wright's journey from Nashville music bombshell to gay rights activist. With hit singles like 1997's "Shut Up And Drive" and her number one country smash "Single White Female" in 1999, Wright's meteoric rise to the top of the country music charts combined with her sex-symbol status had garnered adoration from millions of country music fans and respect from the country music industry; however, the painful secret that she had been harbouring for 30 years was about to be revealed in a very big and very public way: a carefully orchestrated release of a revealing album; an autobiography-plus-nationwide book tour; and interviews on syndicated radio shows, major news channels, The Today Show and Oprah. There was no doubt that Chely Wright was taking a big gamble by becoming the first openly gay commercial country music artist in an industry that is known for not openly accepting gays and lesbians. 
The documentary was strikingly raw, heartfelt and heartbreaking, and truly conveyed the emotions that Chely was dealing with. It is an honest portrayal of a woman standing for her own truth in the face of Nashville and conservative America. Along with interviews with immediate family, friends and entertainment industry colleagues, the feature length documentary includes video diary footage personally shot by Chely herself. While coming to terms with her faith and the realization of her true self as a lesbian, the film explicitly bears Chely's crippling fear of being shunned by family, her fans, and the threat of losing her entire career. Furthermore, it shows that despite recent strides in LGBTQ rights, homophobia still exists in a fervent way. As Chely's minister/personal spiritual advisor states: “There's nobody quite as mean as people being mean for Jesus”.
Wish Me Away is not only for country music lovers; it is definitely a must see for those who may be struggling with coming to terms with their own sexual identity, as well as those who are struggling to accept the sexual identity of those closest to them.

Wish Me Away screens at VIFF on Wed, Oct 5th 11:00am, and Wed, Oct 12th 11:00am, Empire Granville 7.

Official Wish Me Away Trailer:


To obtain tickets and showtimes for all VIFF screenings, go to www.viff.org/festival
Official Wish Me Away website: http://www.wishmeawaydoc.com/

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Podcast recommendation - THE HEATLEY CLIFF


Heyo, smutlings! Just blogging y'all to recommend a new podcast! It's called THE HEATLEY CLIFF! Now it's a joint podcast done by none other than my very own big sister, Sheryl, and her good friend Amy Foster. What's it about? Well, they describe their podcast as a "modern day salon" where they discuss books, knitting, pop culture and whatever strikes their fancy!

So sit back, relax (preferably with a cup of tea) and listen to the debut episode of The Heatley Cliff, where Sheryl & Amy discuss caravans! Visit www.theheatleycliff.com to listen & subscribe to their podcast! Follow @TheHeatleyCliff on Twitter, too!