New York City Indie Rock Duo Supersmall Release New LP, Silent Moon, and It’s Brilliant

Silent Moon by Supersmall

A week ago, on St. Patrick’s Day, I happened to randomly click on the link of a tweet by @colindempsey and listened to his storytelling/stand-up comedy performance on YouTube. The first thing I noticed was his Irish accent which always makes me perk up, and the second was that he was genuinely funny. So I tweeted to him to tell him how much I enjoyed the video and we started chatting and he told me that he’s a singer-songwriter and one-half of the New York City based indie rock duo, Supersmall. As I’m a big fan of Irish musicians, I immediately went to their Bandcamp profile and listened to a couple of tracks from their latest album, Silent Moon. I was not only immediately captivated, but I love their sound so much that I purchased the album. I haven’t been this delighted by a new music discovery since I met Melbourne based, Irish singer-songwriter Andy White five years ago. For those of you who know me, you know what that means. True love for an artist of whom I will forever be a fan, and the same goes for Colin Dempsey and Supersmall. So, please read further and better yet, listen to Supersmall on Bandcamp or their website (links below) and see if you don’t feel the same way.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(New York, NY) New York City-based, indie rock duo, Supersmall, announce their new LP, Silent Moon.  The LP was produced, recorded and mixed by Tom Beaujour at Nuthouse Recording, who’s worked with Roadrunner Records, Prosthetic Records and Barsuk Records.

A little older, a little bit more experimental, the album takes you through a daydream-like stretch of jazzy melodies, retro-rock and songs sung out to sea. A truly original sound inspired by artists such as Neil Finn and Pink Floyd, there is a sophisticated balance of poetic lyrics that span religion to untraditional love songs, honest vocals and intricate guitar—all amidst an ethereal atmosphere of keyboards, strings and trumpet.

Supersmall is composed of singer-songwriter, Colin Dempsey, and drummer, Daniela Schiller. Supersmall drummer Daniela Schiller and guitarist / lead vocalist Colin DempseyDempsey is an Irish writer and storyteller based in New York. He has performed his unique blend of indie-rock music in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and most recently, the US. Schiller is a musician, storyteller and Neuroscientist, who leads the Schiller Lab of Affective Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. In 2013, the duo released their debut EP, This Other World. The Indie Blender says, “Dempsey’s and Schiller’s experience as musicians is evident in this pristinely produced collection of dreamy folk songs.”

Indie-Music.com says the two “make a compelling duo; a very organic and natural partnership of storytellers whose lyrical content shine among these seven well-crafted songs.” They also featured This Other World on their 13 Editor Picks of 2013 list. Silent Moon is the band’s sophomore project, released February 2016.

Colin and Daniela met on the New York storytelling scene – both are also writers and big fans of good whiskey. Most importantly, they are close friends and all of this shines through on the record.

The next time you’re in New York, look them up and try to catch a live show, they’ll have whiskey.

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Craig Ferguson, I Love You But This Needs To Be Said!

DVD REVIEW

Title: Craig Ferguson: Does This Need To Be Said?
Studio/Distributor: Comedy Central
Director: Keith Truesdell
Principle Cast: Craig Ferguson, Jeff Arnold, Chris Saladin
Length: 65 minutes
Released: 2010
Stars: 3.0

Well Craig, as a fan of over ten years, and someone who has watched The Late Late Show regularly for seven seasons since you’ve been the host, I’d say that most of what you deliver in Does This Need To Be Said?, (Comedy Central’s stand-up special featuring you) has already been said by you before.  I’ve seen your stand-up show twice and the material on this DVD is nothing new.  However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t funny and entertaining.  Fresh, it isn’t.  Charming, you definitely are!

Being able to play your dancing & lip-synching performance of Oops! I Did It Again by Britney Spears over and over again at the end of your routine is worth the price of the DVD alone.  In fact, I wish you’d release a DVD collection of all your dancing & lip-synching performances with the puppets and staff that you’ve showcased on The Late Late Show because they’re awesome!  They make us grin from ear to ear, laugh out loud, and want to sing along all at the same time.  And while I have this opportunity, it’s time to get rid of that freakin’ robot already!!

Okay, now where was I?

Does This Need To Be Said? opens with Craig receiving a standing ovation from a packed Nashville theatre, while he prances around the stage to the song I’ve Got The Strangest Feeling and Chris Saladin (a.k.a. “Gunther”), in a white pseudo-bondage ensemble, fingers a flute as the classy Jeff Arnold swings his saxophone.  Ferguson’s first words to the audience are his signature, “It’s a great day for America everybody!”  After which he makes up for not being able to say f**k on his show by cussing incessantly in his charismatic way.  Sadly, it’s true that Ferguson is losing the edges of his celebrated burr and now sounds more American than Scottish, but that doesn’t detract from his delivery.  It’s just that if he’s not the Scottish comedian we’ve all come to know and love, who is he (an actor, a writer, a minion of CBS)?

Craig tells the audience that he’s there to tell them a dirty joke and he does, but not before taking 60 minutes to review his wayward youth, in which he was a member of a heavy metal band called Stag.  He riffs about the Pope; talks about talking to his 9½ year old son about sex (who carries a swear jar around after his father, in which he’s raising his college tuition); comments on Charlie Sheen; and describes how two toads taught him everything he knows about sex education.  He also offers a series of comedic vignettes on famous celebrity sex scandals including Tiger Woods, Kevin Costner and his boss, David Letterman.  Craig revisits the best day he ever had at work: when he heard that Dick Cheney had shot his lawyer in the face; the reason why Kate Winslet will never be on his show; the tale of Fabio getting hit in the head by a goose; proof of the existence of God (Siegfried & Roy – say no more!), why he loves Larry King; the horror of realizing that his balls are leaving him; the complexities of the Internet; what it’s like to be married to a woman from a posh Yankee family; and recounting his life as an alcoholic.  Did I laugh?  Hell, yeah!

The extras on this DVD – a short film of Craig arriving in Nashville and an unknown fan’s rap session about him – are boring and didn’t need to be included, but that’s not why you’d buy Does It Need To Be Said? The Full Concert Experience anyway.

As other people have said before, Craig is a positive comedian who doesn’t hurt or offend people with his humour (at least most of the time, but then there was that incident with Kevin Costner!) and yet still manages to come off as a boisterous, swearing, somewhat perverted middle-aged man.  But he pokes fun at himself more than anyone else and we can definitely see the humour in that.

What I know to be true about Craig Ferguson is that he is a wonderful, highly intelligent, multi-talented man who has the ability to move people in many different ways but for some reason he’s choosing to lean on what’s worked for laughs in the past and hasn’t created anything new and exciting in a while.  And I think it’s time for him to do that.  This man has so much heart, soul and brain power that he should have won every performance award out there by now.  Even with the same old lame gags on The Late Late Show, he’s still one of the most interesting people on television.  If you saw him interview Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Dr. Cornell West, you’ll know what I mean.  So imagine what he could do if he sat down and wrote some new material!

I’d like to see Craig take a risk and push the envelope more with his comedy.  I know he’s as much of a fan of Billy Connolly as I am, and I’d like to see him be as daring with his presentation.  His swearing doesn’t bother me, because as he said, he’s a friendly cusser and swears in good humour, but it’s the resting on his laurels that does bother me.  Craig, don’t be afraid to attract a wider audience.  While I love a double entendre as much as anyone, you’re not just a foul-mouthed Scotsman and I don’t want you to dumb down your act for the masses.  Be true to yourself and let your intellect shine!

Maybe you just need to have some new experiences to share…

One Funny Lady: Deborah Kimmett At The Octave Theatre On Thursday, September 29th!

Coming this week!!

Deb Kimmett is One Funny Lady

 

Thursday, September 29th
7:30 pm
Octave Theatre, 711 Dalton Ave., Kingston

$25 plus HST available at The Grand Theatre Box Office 613-530-2050  http://www.kingstongrand.ca

Get out the waterproof mascara because ONE FUNNY LADY Deborah Kimmett is coming to town with her one-woman show.

For ninety minutes Kimmett will regale the audience with hilarious stories, quirky characters and her fast paced jaw-aching humour. From her bang on story of cheating on her hairdresser, her addiction to fossil fuel and her hilarious views about divorce, aging and online dating, she will have the audience laughing from start to finish.

An accomplished author and story-teller, Deborah is heard regularly sparring on the CBC Radio and television show, The Debaters.  She performs often at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and has had two comedy specials on CBC’s Laugh out Loud.  A twenty-year veteran of the Second City Theatre,  the Governor General Award nominated playwright  also writes for magazines such as More and is a regular columnist in Kingston Life for which she has been nominated two years in a row for National Magazine Awards for Humour.

She is the writer and co-creator of the CTV’S new show Going Home, the author of two books Reality is Over Rated, and That which Doesn’t Kill you Makes you Funnier.  Her new novel, Out Running Crazy, is about to be published.

Don’t miss this fabulous show!

Find Deborah Kimmett on Facebook.
Watch Deb Kimmett on YouTube.
Connect with Deborah on LinkedIn.

Derek Edwards’ Blunderful Life is Freakin’ Hilarious and Entirely Relatable!

Stand-up Comedian Derek Edwards


Last night, I had the profound pleasure of attending a fabulous comedic event at the recently refurbished Grand Theatre in Kingston. Canadian stand-up comic Derek Edwards is certainly at the peak of his career and while I had seen him before in a brief set at the 1st Annual Toronto Just For Laughs in July 2007, where he had to share the stage with five other comedians plus gala host Craig Ferguson, all I could I remember thinking about him was that he was pretty good but sounded like he had post nasal drip!

As it says on his website (www.derekedwards.ca), Derek’s current tour, “It’s a Blunderful Life” encompasses “common sense and an inspired sense of the ridiculous – a potent combination for a night of great laughs.”

“A 14-year vet of the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and the only Canadian to win the prestigious Vail, Colorado, Invitational Comedy Competition, Edwards is universally considered to be among the top comics in the country. Certainly his peers think so, as evidenced by the fact that he’s a four-time nominee, and winner of Best Standup Comic – Canadian Comedy Awards, and by his Gemini nominations for Best Performance in a Comedy.” ~ Shantero Productions Inc. Media Release

The award-winning Derek Edwards took the stage promptly at 8:00 pm and for the next 90 minutes riffed effortlessly on everything that’s funny and relatable about being a Canadian, and in particular, an Ontarian. His accent is authentic, although I think he laid it on thick to pretend he’s less intelligent than he really is (Edwards is undoubtedly an extremely bright, Roadrunner-quick-witted man) and his pleasant face is capable of conveying every emotion imaginable. Originally from Timmins, Ontario, which he talked about in some detail, including his experience of being on “Pogie” (unemployment insurance) while living there; Derek is warm, personable, and seems thoroughly comfortable on stage.

He opened the show with a discussion about a recent news article that proclaims that British Columbia residents drink more alcohol (by 11 beers per year) on an annual basis than other Canadians and he thinks THAT’S JUST WRONG! He challenged Ontarians to step up to the plate and consume one more alcoholic beverage than normal so that we can lead this race!

He was very topical about current events, and covered everything from eating buffalo chicken fingers (“Chickalos”) for breakfast while being on tour and not really having any concept of what time it is; to travelling on the 401 and stopping in to the exquisite and legendary theme park that is The Big Apple; to the numerous disappointing betrayals of life which include being tricked into paying for things that he doesn’t really need, such as having to pay ridiculous vet bills for getting his dog neutered and then having the veterinary assistant suggest that he might want to buy fake, plastic testicles for the dog so it wouldn’t suffer from a lack of self-esteem after its traumatic experience at the animal hospital!

He takes every day things and occurrences that we are all familiar with such as the seasonal, greedy consumerism of chain stores and the fact that Shoppers Drug Mart asks its customers to do its Christmas shopping in a pharmacy; to how President Obama is doing during his first year in office; to the fact that Norwegians have 100 words for reindeer; to having his wife count the number of beers he drinks at a party; and connects with everyone on an emotional level that leaves them in stitches.

Kingston’s audience was so quick to get his jokes that on a couple of occasions he didn’t even have to finish them and exclaimed, “You are the best audience EVER!” He kept the entire crowd laughing non-stop and by the time I left, my face ached. In fact, I was the person to start the well-deserved standing ovation that proceeded.

I cannot recommend Derek Edwards highly enough for a night out that will guarantee you the best medicine that life has to offer: belly laughs a plenty!

Derek is at the Brockville Arts Centre tonight (Dec. 13, 2009) and at the Ottawa Centrepointe Theatre on Monday night (Dec. 14, 2009) and is on tour in Ontario until the 21st of December. If you have a chance to see this brilliant comic’s uproarious show, do NOT miss him!

My Booky Wook by Russell Brand

Book Review
Title: My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-up
Author: Russell Brand
Publisher: It Books
Released: 2009
Pages: 368
ISBN-10: 0061730416
ISBN-13: 978-0061730412
Stars: 3.5

I only just discovered the English rock star of comedians, Russell Brand, a few weeks ago when a friend of mine told me about his Live From New York City stand-up special which aired on The Comedy Network on Saturday, March 14, 2009. I caught a portion of the show near its end and was immediately transfixed by this Byronesque rapscallion! I immediately started watching his stand-up routines on YouTube as well as every interview with him that I could find and couldn’t help but fall for the sexy and hilariously naughty man-child who has made me laugh out loud with his razor sharp wit almost every day since. He is, however, such a controversial celebrity that when I posted a link to a YouTube video about him on my Facebook page, one of my “friends” who is a children’s author, left an insulting comment on my wall that went like this:

Him: You just discovered the guy that was spewing disrespect towards America and has no values? Kudos to you. Hope you don’t have children.

Me: No, I don’t have children, but I actually think the guy is funny.

Him: ah…small blessings.

He proceeded to delete me as a friend! When I wrote him a private email to tell him that I didn’t think it was very nice of him to insult me publicly and to apologize if I offended him, he replied with: “It’s always a risk one runs when they hold one up to praise and that someone is one that unabashedly demeans and insults others. I will not shrink in my loathing of such a man or anyone that would praise him in my face. Yea…might as well talk up Hitler’s finer qualities next.”

I’m here to tell you that the Essex born Russell Edward Brand – an extremely talented, remarkably intelligent, well-read, narcissistic, bipolar, vegetarian, yoga practicing, single, 33-year-old who has been sober for six years – only wants to make people laugh and exudes an earnest desire to love the world. He is certainly NO Hitler!

This obviously very conservative right winger was referring to the incident last year when Russell hosted the MTV VMA Awards and referred to President George W. Bush as an “idiot cowboy fella.” The self-admitted drugs and sex addict also made fun of The Jonas Brothers for wearing chastity rings, all in the name of COMEDY, which is his JOB. I, personally, am not offended by his comments as I understand the context in which they were made having just done so much research about him, including reading his autobiography, My Booky Wook, released in North America this March.

Russell Brand is an amusing, charming and brutally honest young man who obviously loves language and can’t help but show off his vast vocabulary (I learned what “impecunious” and “autodidact” meant by reading his book) and penchant for colourful adjectives. He came from a broken home and while his mother battled cancer three times and was often unable to look out for him during his childhood, he spent a great deal of time staying with his Nan or his playboy photographer father. Ron Brand irresponsibly left his pornography collection lying around the house for a very young and impressionable Russell to find when he should have been watching re-runs of H.R. Pufnstuf.

Brand grew up watching Blackadder, Fawlty Towers and Only Fools and Horses, which he correctly credits with comedic brilliance, and he talks about how Vic Reeves Big Night Out, a comedy show on BBC4 in the early 90’s was, “…funny and charming and specific in its language and its references. It taught me that you should never pick the first word people would think of, you have to train your mind to sift through the obvious stuff until you come to something that’s really funny.” Russell has learned this technique inside and out and has turned it into a fine art.

My Booky Wook takes Russell’s readers through his early childhood (born June 4, 1975), school years (he was kicked out of every one he went to including The Drama Centre), influential friendships and intense relationship with drugs, alcohol and sex addiction. He freely admits to some abominable behavior – some of which is revisited in the book – believes in instant karma, and while he could definitely benefit from years of psychotherapy, he feels remorse for his actions and is still seeking redemption. Russell is a study in ambivalence: equal parts vain egomaniac and introspective, deeply compassionate seeker of Spirit. There is a sweetness and light about this man that is as incredibly intoxicating as a breath of fresh air outside an abattoir.

What it [heroin] mainly does is take you right out of reality, and plant you somewhere more manageable. In short, it contextualizes everything else as meaningless…All of us, I think, have a vague idea that we’re missing something. Some say that thing is God; that all the longing we feel – be it for a lover, or a football team, or a drug – is merely an inappropriate substitute for the longing we’re supposed to feel for God, for oneness, for truth. And what heroin does really successfully is objectify that need.

My Booky Wook is a fascinating read about a beguiling person but it ends in 2005 and since then, Russell Brand has become even more famous as he’s toured in Great Britain, the US and Australia with his stand-up act and started acting in Hollywood movies. Russell, who has described himself as resembling an S&M Willy Wonka, has appeared in the movies St. Trinian’s, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Bedtime Stories and will appear in Julie Taymor’s version of The Tempest and Get Him To The Greek in which he reprises his Forgetting Sarah Marshall role as rock star Aldous Snow. It is very safe to say that we haven’t heard the last of this man and that subsequent volumes of his autobiography will likely be written in future.

However, just so you know for now, Russell writes a weekly sport column for The Guardian newspaper in London and he became famous in the UK for presenting a Big Brother spin-off called Big Brother’s Big Mouth (after years of mad cable television antics while he was whacked out of his mind on heroin), as well as hosting his own radio program on the BBC. He resigned from that job late last year after a certain inappropriate prank call with Jonathan Ross to Andrew Sachs was aired. Depictions of his controversial behavior can be found all over the Internet.

Russell often seems to forget about editing himself before he speaks (which is what lands him in so much hot water with the media) but, whether you love him or hate him, My Booky Wook confirms that he’s never, ever boring. Whether it be on Russell Brand TV, Twitter, in the tabloids or his next book, I can’t wait to read what he has to say next!

For a clip of Russell Brand in Live From New York City, click here:

Craig Ferguson’s A Wee Bit O’ Revolution

DVD REVIEW

Title: A Wee Bit O’ Revolution
Studio/Distributor: Image Entertainment
Director: Shannon Hartman
Principle Cast: Craig Ferguson
Length: 80 minutes
Released: 2009
Stars: 4.0

Actor, stand-up comedian, writer, director, producer, host of The Late Late Show on CBS since January 2005, new American citizen, and the Glaswegian with the self-professed huge c**k; Craig Ferguson, has finally released an 80 minute DVD of his stand-up comedy and it has left me wanting much, much more. Filmed in July, 2008 at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre, A Wee Bit O’ Revolution stands up very well to frequent viewings. TV’s Craig Ferguson, uncensored, is undeniably sexy and uproarious! There is a reason why he is the best thing that ever happened to late night television. His off-the-cuff monologues are totally unique and refreshing as is his self-deprecating sense of humor, double entendres, honesty, sensitivity, and willingness to share intimate parts of his life. Given the creative license to say whatever he wants in A Wee Bit O’ Revolution, Craig sets his audience on fire with his clever, witty observations about everything from his own mother, to Sean Connery (who he often brilliantly impersonates), to attending birthing classes in LA with his ex-wife before the arrival of his son Milo (who is now seven).

Craig Ferguson, son of Robert and Janet Ferguson, brother to Lynn, Janice and Scott, is an alcoholic, and did his time in rehab 17 years ago. He came to America in 1995 and headed straight for Hollywood. After several auditions that went nowhere, he landed the role of Nigel Wick on The Drew Carey Show and has never looked back. You could say that he’s never had to worry about having only 27 cents in his bank account since, although he may claim that the alimony he pays keeps that account from reaching its potential.

Craig, who had his own BBC comedy show called The Ferguson Theory (1994), has also starred in several terrific projects for which he either wrote the screenplay, or wrote, directed and/or produced the film including: The Big Tease (1999), Saving Grace (2000) and I’ll Be There (2003).

A Wee Bit O’ Revolution opens with Craig expressing how excited he is to be FINALLY playing the Wilbur Theatre in Boston; a city full of surly drunks, but, “That’s my family you’re talking about!” He talks about his love of America, becoming a US citizen last year and within a few months hosting the White House Correspondent Dinner and meeting George W. Bush, the least popular president in the history of America. Already, I’m laughing out loud, and when he lovingly describes his mother’s insane love of America and the crazy things that she’d say to him as a child and states, “She’s like an acid casualty who never took acid”, I just can’t stop laughing.

A particular highlight involves Craig reminiscing about attending his first rock concert (Blue Oyster Cult) at age 13, on his maiden voyage to the States to visit family. It was the occasion on which he smoked his first joint and when he had his “light bulb moment.” “From this moment on, I will dedicate my life to drugs and rock’n’roll.” Even more hilarious is his recount of going to see Deep Purple in concert and after months of anticipation, taking a hit of chloroform at the beginning of the show, passing out immediately, and missing the whole thing! He talks about the shame of eating pizza while on heroin and that his particular addiction was for cocaine and alcohol and how that translated to status in the rehab dynamic. One of my favourite lines from that section is, “Get yourself a sex addict! Those people can’t do enough for you.” Later, while discussing hotel porn, he declares, “Ah, the frugal orgasm…for a Scotsman there is nothing finer!”

Craig riffs on his early years in Hollywood, The Drew Carey Show, his Jewish/Scottish wedding, huge c**k (Oh, did I mention that already?), success in Hollywood, Tom Cruise (“I’m sorry, that’s twelve feet of crazy in a four foot man!”) and his interview with Matt Lauer wherein he criticized Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants while suffering from post partum depression. Oprah, the plastic surgery epidemic in LA and the craziness of new age spiritual birthing classes rounded out the show. I was disappointed that his show ended rather abruptly and felt it was just a bit short, but that didn’t stop me from watching repeatedly.

The special features on the DVD include an interview with Craig in Boston by the water (which looks like something you’d see on a local cable television station) and his heartfelt, patriotic speech, at Faneuil Hall on the 4th of July, about what it means to him to be an American citizen. They aren’t great special features but it doesn’t really matter because they are not what you’ll want to watch over and over again. A Wee Bit O’ Revolution is a must have DVD for every fan of stand-up comedy and of TV’s Craig Ferguson.

Enjoy a clip from A Wee Bit O’ Revolution on YouTube!