Tuesday, July 28, 2020

HOUSE OF HUMMINGBIRD Film Review 7/28/2020

House Of Hummingbird
Well Go USA
Reviewed: 7/28/2020
US Release: 8/4/2020

Rating: 4.5  / 5

(All assets provided by Well Go USA)

I’ve been looking forward to reviewing this film ever since it was mentioned to me a few months ago. “House Of Hummingbird” is a South Korean coming of age tale that is stark, bold, and compelling.

The main character is 14 year old Eun Hee. She wanders through her complicated life like an invisible woman. Her parents ignore her while they deal with their own problems (infidelity in a patriarchal society). Her brother physically abuses her when her parents aren’t home. And her other sister rebels against her parents wishes with the help of Eun Hee.

Eun Hee daydreams at school, flirts with her boyfriend, explores a lesbian relationship, and becomes infatuated with her calligraphy teacher. She is clearly looking for acceptance, love, support, and a healthy relationship from someone, anyone.

“House of Hummingbird” is a day to day drama that is hard to stop watching. It is evenly paced and it never really leads to a climax. It is a stark reality of a film that depicts life for the average South Korean teenager that doesn’t quite know what she wants from life.

Her parents are terrible role models - with their own assorted problems. Park Ji - Hoo gives one of the best performances from a young actor I’ve seen in a very long time. The audience lives Eun Hee’s life through the breathtaking performance by Park Ji - Hoo. She is lost and in need of attention one minute, determined and confrontative the next.

The drama level in “House of Hummingbird” isn’t as necessarily high as you might expect. It is depicted like a slice of a life in need of a major shot of positivity for this young teen. 


Director Kim Bora has crafted a film with a delicate but firm hand. She clearly has control over the vision of the film and she got the best out of her actors. In lesser hands the film could have become a snooze fest. Director Kim kept the pacing just believable enough to keep the audience entrenched in the world of Eun Hee and her hummingbird like exploits.

“House of Hummingbird” has garnered a lot of attention after it’s debut - rightfully so. It is a beautifully executed film that remains with you days after watching it.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Monday, July 27, 2020

THE FIGHT Film Review 7/27/2020

The Fight

Magnolia Pictures
Reviewed: 7/22/2020
US Release: 7/31/2020

Rating: 4 / 5

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) boldly states on their website - “The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union — beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.”

“The Fight” follows four ACLU attorney’s after the inauguration of 45. Each attorney has an area of expertise that they work in.

Brigitte Amiri is a deputy director at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.

Joshua Block is a senior staff attorney with the National ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Projects.

Lee Gelernt is the deputy director of the ACLU’s national Immigrants’ Rights Project and director of the project’s Access to the Court’s Program.

Dale Ho is the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project and supervises the ACLU’s voting rights litigation.

(Brigitte Amiri and Dale Ho in THE FIGHT, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

The documentary follows each attorney as they learn about potential cases, the frantic pace in which they try to assist each client or situation, and everything in between.

Of course this is a timely film with the Black Lives Matters movement, the protests, and the very recent unleashing of federal agents in Portland, OR (and potentially more democrat run cities like Chicago and Seattle).

The cases are very much David VS Goliath. What’s truly troubling is that these cases in the film are just a small, minuscule example of what is out there today.

(A scene from THE FIGHT, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)

There are small moments of levity in the film but not much. Family breaks and things that happen while on the job during high stress moments. For example - Mr. Ho forgets he was talking to someone on speaker phone when he leaves to pick up a document he thought he printed at the office print station. When he comes back to his office to hit “print” (since he forgot to) - the person on the other line starts talking to him and he completely forgot he was talking to someone. Mr. Gelernt can’t seem to work a mobile phone charger when his phone dies. These are somewhat funny but also very real if you’ve ever been in a high stress situation or career.

The ACLU is not without controversy over the years (they were founded in 1920). They are staunch supporters of the Bill Of Rights and free speech, period. The film briefly shows that this sometimes includes Nazi’s, white supremacists, terrorists, and other unseemly individuals. When the ACLU states they will protect free speech they mean for everyone. This is where the debate begins for many.

(Lee Gelernt in THE FIGHT, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)

But, “The Fight” is not about that issue. It is centered on the free speech and rights of others within the categories of the four ACLU attorneys and their teams.

I found “The Fight” interesting, compelling, disheartening, and questioning. It makes the audience consider their freedoms, the abuse of those freedoms at the hands of some politicians, and the current landscape here in the U.S.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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THE SHADOW OF VIOLENCE Film Review 7/27/2020

The Shadow Of Violence

Saban Films
Reviewed: 7/22/2020
US Release (in theaters only): 7/31/2020

Rating: 4.5 / 5

I am a sucker for a film when it drops the audience immediately into the world of the characters from the start of the movie. In this case “The Shadow Of Violence” delivers some violence right out of the gate.

Douglas “Arm” Armstrong (played by Cosmo Jarvis) is a former boxer that is now working for the much feared Devers family in Ireland. As the enforcer he is expected to do as he is told which he does. But, then a situation arises where he must make a decision between following orders or following his conscience.

((L-R) Cosmo Jarvis as Douglas “Arm” Armstrong and Barry Keoghan as Dympna Devers in the thriller film “THE SHADOW OF VIOLENCE,” a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Film.)

“The Shadow Of Violence” is much like a mob or gangster film without the glitz. It is down and dirty with a compelling story to keep the audience engaged throughout the film.

The performance from Cosmo Jarvis is understated and it completely works. With his menacing physical size it would be easy to play Arm like a brute but Jarvis does so much more with the character. His journey with his special needs son and former girlfriend as a subplot is equally compelling.

The friendship between Arm and his best friend Dympna (played by Barry Keoghan) comes across as naturally as can be and is a testament to both actors' performances. 

(Cosmo Jarvis as Douglas “Arm” Armstrong in the thriller film “THE SHADOW OF VIOLENCE,” a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films.)

Nick Rowland makes his directorial debut with a bang as does first time screenplay writer Joe Murtagh, who adapted the material from a short story by Colin Barrett.

“The Shadow Of Violence” works on every level. This film is absolutely worth seeking out.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Friday, July 24, 2020

SHINE A LIGHT Summer Interim Shows TOUR REPORT/JOURNAL with AL1CE! 7/24/2020

Greetings all - here is my report/journal that I was writing as these interviews were completed.  I left it the way it was written.  Come take a look inside.


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Thursday June 25th, 2020

“Shine A Light” Summer Virtual Interview Sessions

Guest: Max Zaleski - Without A Cause

I’m writing this entry a few days after this first interview took place. I had never had a conversation with Max - in person or online. I only followed him via socials and our mutual interest in wrestling.

I go in and out when it comes to my interest in wrestling. I am not a lifer nor am I someone that grew up watching it. I do, however, have a healthy respect for what the wrestlers go through to entertain the fans. I always will.

This was my first interview that fit under the “Eclectic Mark” umbrella in some ways. Wrestling is considered sports entertainment. The peek behind the curtain happened many years ago, unlike the early days when wrestling was secretive and only presented one aspect to the fans.

As I said in the interview, I had watched how Max publicly went about his business with his indie wrestling promotion. He was forthright, humble, but also direct. I will always support a certain ratio of local guests when I have this sort of platform that AL1CE has given me.

Max was a terrific guest. He clearly has a passion for what he does, speaks well, and carries himself in the right way. Sometimes when I “roll the dice” on guests I don’t personally know or have had an interaction with in some capacity, I get a tad nervous. But I trust my gut instinct and so far (knock on wood) it hasn’t failed me.

I felt really good about how things kicked off with this interview.

Sunday June 28th, 2020

“Shine A Light” Summer Virtual Interview Sessions

Guest: Brad Cerenzia - Centerstage Theatre

I woke up late on Sunday and checked my emails. I saw the one from Nigel (Glockler) of Saxon and thought he was just confirming the Zoom link I had sent him the night before. But, then he explained that his internet was out, the company had said 24 hours to fix it, and that he couldn’t do the interview. I suggested we test out his cell service and do a Zoom call right now to see if that would work. His cell service was spotty at best as it was only giving him one bar so my backup idea wasn’t going to work.

Also, keep in mind - he was perfectly fine with doing the interview at 7pm PDT - which is 3am his time! I told him initially we could look into doing it earlier and just recording it so he didn’t have to stay up so late but he said no it was really fine to do it at 3am. So, we went with it.

Anyway, he hoped that maybe the internet would be back on earlier than the company said but I didn’t want to wait just to find out it wasn’t going to happen. The plus of him letting me know (from his time zone) was that I had 7 hours or so to figure something else out. If he had told me minutes before the show was supposed to start, I would have had to pivot (there is a contingency plan in case a guest bails at the last minute in case you were wondering - the band and I discussed this before the tour started in May - and no I won’t tell you what it is - some things need to stay private). ;)

I got back to him and told him let’s look at a new date to reschedule the interview. During that time, I went on my socials and announced his postponement. He and the band had promoted his appearance so it was critical to get the word out as much as possible. Thousands of people had viewed those initial Facebook posts so I wanted to do what I could to let those fans know. Clearly the other issue was that I needed to figure out if there was someone else that could be my new guest on Sunday night.

As I told the story in the show introduction, sometimes the Universe just hands you one. I had a few open slots on purpose for the month of July. I wanted to wait before I invited every guest as this wasn’t really necessary. The grind of booking the tour interview slots was vastly different than these interim shows. So, I had a list with guests on it that I wanted to interview once we actually hit July. Not all of the dates, just some. Brad Cereznia was on the list. I immediately messaged Brad and lucky for me: 1. He was online. 2. He accepted the invite. 3. He could do it Sunday night. Bingo - problem solved without having to go to the contingency plan.

I told Nigel this and he was very happy and relieved that I was able to get someone to do the Sunday slot and I offered up the 12th of July for his reschedule, and it worked. So, everything fell into place. Yay!

For these interviews (so far) I’ve been approaching them a little differently. They are more loose - I don’t have a set thing I say when I go live. I have show notes but I haven’t been reading them. I don’t plan on doing them/reading them for the rest of these shows, either. Now, guest introductions - yes, I will always write those out. Guest topics to discuss - ditto.

I do my best to pay attention during the pre-show minutes to how a guest is interacting with me. This in many ways dictates where I’m going to go with the actual interview once we go live. Right behind that is once we start talking about the first topic (usually the pandemic), I then decide “does this guest need time to air things out” or can I move on to something else.

From the tour interviews, my approach to the second Eva Tavares interview changed because of the pre-show talk. The first Zarah Mahler interview also changed because of the pre-show talk. I won’t divulge what was said during those pre-show chats but some of those were the best things I had done during the initial tour in my opinion. There were other interviews where I changed course before going live but those two stand out.

In the case of Brad, I honestly had no idea he would bring up so many topical things after I asked that first question/topic. As he was talking I was thinking to myself “do I continue down this road he started on or do I steer things back to my topics I had to discuss”? It was clear we should travel down this road together and have a frank and honest discussion. I didn’t think it would go 30 minutes but I’m very glad it did. It was important. And it needed to be done.

Let me tell you - if you think doing interviews is easy, you’re a fool. Straight up. I went into detail about this in my other Tour Report but suffice to say, speaking only for myself, I give a piece of myself to each and every interview that I conduct. Some interviews more than others, but, rest assured, after every interview I feel the need to breathe and to clear my head. And I’m trying to find a way to get that piece of myself back.

When I go to a personal space, it drains me. It would be like John Coffey in, “The Green Mile” or some superhero movie where the person who saves someone’s life and loses some of their own life force in the process.

Of course I bounce back from this, we’re not talking about saving someone’s life here, but I’m just trying to illustrate that it does take a temporary toll on me.

So, with this interview, the toll was perhaps the highest of any I’ve done so far on this tour/these interim shows (it clearly was - Mark on 7/23/20). And it was worth it because my gut told me to go there and the end result was an interview worth viewing more than once.

I was all set to go into the Tea Time that night before the interview. But, honestly, after it - I needed time away to process, decompress, and to get that part of myself back that I had used up during the interview.


This format is really hard for me to adjust to. The starting and stopping with two interviews a week is great in terms of scheduling and getting other work done, but in terms of getting into a rhythm, man, it’s really tough. I’ll be interested to see if I still feel like this once these ten shows are done.

Thursday July 2nd, 2020

“Shine A Light” Summer Virtual Interview Sessions

Guest: Vanessa Campbell - “A Thousand Miles Behind”

It’s Sunday right now - so I will be writing about both guests this week. I felt good about the interview with Vanessa before it ever happened. She was timely with her responses and her tone was very positive. And sure enough - she was a great guest!

I had had zero interaction with Vanessa other than scheduling the interview. My gut told me she would be a certain way during the interview (meaning positive and easy to interview) and thankfully my gut was right.

She had a lovely energy to her and she was actively listening during the interview (she even asked me a question which was a new one). Her personality definitely helped shape the character of Tracy that she played in the film, “A Thousand Miles Behind”.

I am so fortunate to not only review new films but to also interview some of the actors as well. It trips me out sometimes when I think about it. I just saw this actor in this film two weeks ago and now here I am interviewing them. So grateful!

She absolutely stood out in the film and after interviewing her, you can see why. She was a delight and I would have her back on for another interview in a second.

Sunday July 5th, 2020

“Shine A Light” Summer Virtual Interview Sessions

Guest: Margarita Monet - Edge Of Paradise

I was scheduled to review and interview the band back in 2017. Their vehicle broke down on the way up to Seattle - and they were literally walking on the side of the road trying to get to the nearest business, etc., in rural Oregon I believe. Margarita actually posted a video when it happened on her Facebook. She also immediately got a hold of me to let me know they wouldn’t be making the show - which I really appreciated.

So, I’ve known about the band since that time. And they have most definitely grown musically and in terms of their fan-base. They were absolutely gaining traction when “Universe” was released this past fall - and then COVID19 struck. Their subsequent tours were cancelled and everything, like for all arts folks, was up in the air.

I think she was great during the interview. Talkative, sweet, and came across well. I on the other hand was off my game if you ask me. I talked way too much. I ended up editing myself out of the interview before putting it on YouTube. That is a first. I’ve never done that - ever. But I knew as soon as I was done doing the actual interview that I would need to do some edits. So a normal 41/42 minute interview got cut down to 30 something minutes. That’s how much extra I talked. Yikes!

I veered off my topic list and that was a mistake this go ‘round. Sometimes that works for me but in this case it didn’t. There was no flow to the interview from my end and I will be sure to fix that for any upcoming interviews.

She/they logged on like 4 minutes before we were to go live - which if you’ve read any of my earlier reports - then you know that always makes me nervous. I just take deep breaths and just let the chips fall where they may. Some folks that do a lot of video interviews (she had done at least one in May that I saw) I worry about less, ditto those that are timely with their communication. So, I figured she would log on before the show started - which she did - so no worries. And again, everything turned out fine, other than me gabbing too much.

And I was stone cold sober, too. I could see if I was a little buzzed where I would ramble more than usual but damn Mark …

Thursday July 9th, 2020
“Shine A Light” Summer Virtual Interview Sessions

Guest: Stephanie Mae

Stephanie and I talked about this pre-show - but I wasn’t sure where I knew her from. Then after doing my research earlier today, I figured it out. She was on a bill with Tobias The Owl in January of this year - it was the week it snowed up here. Now for you back east or other cold winter places, Seattle isn’t prepared for snow conditions in the cities as we don’t get it that often. So, when we do, we basically go into panic mode, and stay home. Well, most of us do.

I was planning on going to the show as a fan since I had not seen Tobias The Owl perform in a long while. I remember looking up the other two artists on the bill and Stephanie Mae was one of them. I liked her voice and her work so I thought this would be a good show. Then the snow came and, with my car that is crap in the snow, I said “oh well” and stayed home.

So this was the first interaction I’ve ever had with Stephanie. As you heard, she knows Tobias The Owl and is good friends with Heather Edgley = both of whom were on the show during the first leg of the virtual tour.

I really enjoyed our chat. Now this was an interview where it felt ok to talk more than normal as it reinforced what we had in common, and in some cases, what she had in common with AL1CE.

I found her very open and in some ways a kindred spirit. I definitely could relate to many of the things she spoke about and that made the interview flow in a direction that I was very comfortable with.

Based on the comments in the Twitch chat as the interview progressed, others enjoyed getting to know Stephanie as well. I would have her back on in a heartbeat.

I would love to hear that voice - live. Damn you pandemic!


I actually have a loose idea for the second leg of the virtual tour surrounding returning guests. I’m not sure if I’m going to go through with it as there aren’t as many dates on this second leg as there were on the first but we’ll see. I already have two guests from the first leg that I am having back on for the second leg - regardless of any ideas, etc. (edit - make that one guest from the first tour - Mark 7/23/2020). I also have at least two new guests that are pencilled in for the new tour as well. So, I don’t want to go all repeat guests (which I won’t) but I’m sure I’ll find a happy medium. Maybe.

Also - remember what I wrote earlier - that it’s hard to get in a rhythm with these interim shows/interviews? Yup, I was right. It’s like starting over every time I do an interview. But, it’s good practice having to feel like I'm starting all over again each time.

Sunday July 12th, 2020

“Shine A Light” Summer Virtual Interview Sessions

Guest: Nigel Glockler - Saxon

I’m not really sure what prompted me to reach out to the publicist/manager for Saxon but I’m SO glad I did. Nigel got back to me once he was forwarded my email quickly. His communication was great and everything looked good for the interview for late June. Then technology over there in the UK decided to be a poop and we had to reschedule the interview to the 12th.

Nigel’s initial email to me said that he had no problem doing the interview at 3am his time on a Sunday (Monday morning for him). I initially offered to tape it so he didn’t have to stay up that late but he assured me he was fine with doing it then.

He decided to go to sleep early, set his alarm to get up to do the interview, and then go back to sleep. I think the word is dedication, folks.

It was a bucket list moment for me to conduct a 45 minute interview with him. I grew up with his drumming and hold his playing in high regard.

He was funny and informative during the interview - it was a bit surreal to me at times and I am SO glad that everything worked out on Sunday. One of the highlights of the year for me.

Thursday July 16th, 2020

“Shine A Light” Summer Virtual Interview Sessions

Guest: Saskia - LA Guinea Pig Rescue

This was clearly my biggest departure in terms of guest interviews. But, in many ways, it made perfect sense since I love piggies and they’ve been mentioned by members of AL1CE more than once - and this lady is doing great work - so it’s not really that big of a departure - maybe just on paper.

I wasn’t sure how to go about this interview - I figured I would let Saskia determine where we would do the interview and I would just go with it (office VS the rescue area with the piggies). Since my general info sheet that I send to each guest stresses quiet areas, she picked the right place so we could hear and see her well. In hindsight I should have asked if we could see the rescue area for the last 15 minutes of the interview. But, no biggie - there’s plenty of videos on her channel that people can watch to get an overdose of piggies in action.

As of today - which is only two days after the video interview was posted - her interview has the most views out of any interview on YT - summer series OR first leg of the tour. I may have to do all animal guests for the next tour. ;) (as of tonight - she clearly has the most views - Mark 7/23/2020)

And don’t forget to check out the M/V for, “Blame It On The Rain” - I did. Hah!  :)

Sunday July 19th, 2020

“Shine A Light” Summer Virtual Interview Sessions

Guest: Alexandr Misko

I have been fascinated by Alexandr’s playing ever since I saw him perform, “Billy Jean”. I don’t even remember what prompted me to reach out to him about doing an interview but I’m sure glad I did! There’s some sort of pattern developing here. And it’s alarming that I don’t know why I reached out to more than one guest on this set of shows.

He talks about his playing like it’s no big deal and, trust me, it’s a big deal - any musician would tell you that. He is a walking phenom and I’m so very fortunate to have gotten a chance to speak with him for 45 minutes.

Due to the time zone issue (10 hours ahead of us here on the west coast) - it was decided to - gasp - do a pre-recorded virtual interview for the very first time. It would have been 5am his time - so that wasn’t going to work. So now you all know ... ;)

I’m bummed that the live song didn’t translate over Zoom or what have you. I thought it sounded odd in my earbuds when we recorded it earlier in the day but I thought let me see how it sounds when it’s aired - and yup - it still sounded odd.

I figured I would have to edit the whole performance out. I sent Alexandr a 1 minute snippet so he could tell me what he would like me to do and he agreed to remove it . He suggested adding the M/V there instead so I put the video in its place - and through some slick editing - you can’t really tell that he did a live performance (unless you watched the stream of course). I caught the parts where I talked earlier about an upcoming live performance from him as well as several other parts. Overall, it works - the interview itself was still very good and Alexandr was understanding - so no worries.

I must mention I hate it when right out of the gate I get some information wrong about a guest. In this case where he lived. I figured out where Moscow came from in my head - I was thinking Moscow TIME - since that had been a hurdle to overcome when scheduling this interview. I actually didn’t know where he was living - only that he was a college student (or possible graduated) studying linguistics. Anyway, can't win them all. I much prefer when a guest nods in agreement or says, “yes, ‘that’s right” to something I say. Then I know I not only did my homework but I also got the information correct.

For you super behind the scenes folks - we recorded this at Noon on Sunday. So it was 10pm his time. I usually get out of bed at noon on Sunday’s.  Just kidding...  sort of.  ;)

Thursday July 23rd, 2020

“Shine A Light” Summer Virtual Interview Sessions

Guest: I Ya Toyah

This was the last show of these summer interim shows. There was the option of a #10 interview/show but it would have just been my interview with no AL1CE content as they’re busy getting ready for the next tour - so it made sense just to end things tonight with this series.

I’m editing the interview right now and this interview is a perfect example of listening to the artist and going down whichever path she chooses. I only looked at my notes once and that was for the name of her doggie. The rest of it - she steered. I wasn’t going to go to the suicide prevention/dog rescue work until much later in the interview but she went there fairly early in the interview - so I went with it.

It was very clear that everything she does is important but the art collection for the auction coming up in August for the suicide prevention foundation was front and center. I really liked how passionate she is about her work. She has a drive to her and a really pleasant quality that absolutely came through in the interview.

I rambled during this interview but I left most of it in because it added to the discussion and it also gave I Ya Toyah a better idea of who I am and that I was listening to her. I watched/read a few other interviews where they glossed over her answers about the suicide prevention and dog rescue work which was unfortunate.

I’m glad the things she brought to the table resonated with the AL1CE family (band and fans alike). As I mentioned when I started booking these summer guests - I wanted to shine a light on some folks that most people wouldn’t be familiar with - but would enjoy hearing from. Her music background and outside work was pretty much a no brainer to me. The fact that she was super sweet was just a delightful bonus.

BTS snippet: During her music video we talked about tattoos - hers and mine. We were still talking about them when Scott mentioned we were back live…. :)


Well, folks, that’s it - sort of. We all know Chapter 2 of the INSIDE/Out Virtual Tour with AL1CE is less than a week away so there are no goodbyes or see you laters. It’s see you on Wednesday. :)

I enjoyed doing these interviews. The nine guests were quite diverse and the longer format afforded me time to dig a little deeper (and in some cases still “run out of time”). If you read my tour report - or were in that Tea Time I attended on the first leg - then you know I was very intentional with who I invited on the show. These summer guests were no different.

I clearly have to like or at least have an interest in what the guest does. They could check off each box in my head but if I don’t like what they do, they’re not being invited on the show - period.

But if you look at each guest - you’ll see many boxes got checked. Music being the biggest group this go around. Film/Theatre/Acting being the second group. Female representation. LGBTQ+. BIPOC. All got checked off at some point, too. Topically the addition of indie wrestling and guinea pigs (PEEGS!) worked out well, too.

So for the upcoming tour - I’m pulling from any area I so choose. No limits. Some will of course be familiar areas but some won’t be - including the format for one of the interviews. Stay tuned as I’m still working the details out on this one.

Thank you for taking the time to watch these interviews - live or on YouTube (or both). I really appreciate the support. Thank you and see you soon!

Until next time,
Eclectic Arts

BTW: It was interesting that we started with Max (who is of Polish descent) - ended with I Ya Toyah (who is from Poland). This was not intentional - pure coincidence.

In between we “visited” Peru, Mexico, Armenia, The Philippines, England, The Netherlands, and Russia via the guests - this was somewhat intentional. Did anyone pick up on this?   ;)

THE SOAPGIRLS Written Interview 7/24/2020


The SoapGirls completed this fantastic interview for me while I was on the first leg of the virtual tour with AL1CE.  So that would have been in May of 2020.  I waited to publish it until things were a bit less frantic around here.  The SoapGirls have been putting on pure punk rock live-streams on Facebook live - with different cities and themes for every show during the pandemic.

They were so awesome to interview and are definitely worth checking out.  If I can arrange a virtual interview with them in the future, I surely will.  Read on!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


(All Photos Provided by The SoapGirls (c) Andrew Ball)

Eclectic Arts:  Hi Millie and Mie!   Are you back in South Africa right now during this pandemic? How are you holding up?

The SoapGirls:  Hi Mark and everyone out there - we are currently on lock down in Cape Town South Africa.  Interestingly enough last night the government added even more insanity to the current situation we are living in a Nanny state that speaks the language of dictatorship and it is not going down.  We abhor politicians and any government that renders people into a voiceless mass.  Right now we can say that there is nothing democratic in the country - freedom of speech, freedom of movement , freedom of choice and even the freedom of being able to work has been cut off. It’s a very worrisome state of affairs and we cannot wait for the first opportunity to get the fuck out of here…We are very outspoken against the government and civil rights and human rights abuses which in turn creates a lot of stress and challenges as it is we cannot afford to be arrested as we want to get the fuck out of here as soon as is possible…….Cake and Anarchy that is what is needed right now!

EA:  What are you doing with this unexpected "down time"?  Are you working on new music or other creative projects you didn't have time for earlier?

TSG:  We don’t see this as downtime at all in fact more than ever is the need to work even harder if possible!  Prior to this “house arrest bs” we had just managed to record half of our new album so we will have lots of singles we hope to release soon.  Since we are unable to tour physically we have taken to live streaming and started a ‘virtual tour’ courtesy of crack airlines doing themed shows X-3 a week.  Although it's quite challenging since stationery among many items are deemed now illegal by the government so we are pushing our limits on a creativity level to always recreate new themes. It's keeping us alive in many ways we are lucky to have such an incredible fan base who ‘buy’ tickets in the form of donations but more than this just being able to keep our fans engaged and occupy them to keep their heads out of the ugliness we all globally are having to try to live beyond.

EA:  I understand your third full-length release; "Charlie Brown" is in the can and ready to be released. What can you tell me about the process of writing and recording it?  Also, where did the name for it come from - why "Charlie Brown"?

TSG:  We ended up changing the name to "Elephant in the Room" as it was more reflective of where we were at when we wrote most of the tracks as many of our tracks were bringing into focus the Elephant in the Room so to speak.  All of our songs are written from personal experiences we have lived through and after a long grueling tour we had a lot of emotions to get off our chest.  The recording was very difficult and at times bordered on near impossible as we were having to record with multiple power outages every day due to rolling blackouts in South Africa.

The day we started recording we were thrown into the pits of Hell by an individual who was blackmailing and harassing my sister Mie and absolute psychopath.  It was so bad that we would be recording and have to stop because the shock was so overwhelming and both my sister and I were crying so much!  In fact when Mie could not record because she was in such a state I wrote "I Stand Alone" in the middle of the night and went into the studio the next day to record it.

EA: What the fuck?  This asshole was blackmailing your sister?!  What the hell is that all about?

TSG:  A married man working within the UK music scene exploited his position to try force his way into my sisters life with very bad intent and tried for years unbeknownst to us to ruin our reputation and to get my sister to leave the band.  Being double her age he manipulated her into sharing private moments and tried to instigate a situation where she would have to leave or he would share her personal information.  He was very threatening and aggressive and the hatred I felt after seeing his threats to my sister which, again, inspired our track, "I Stand Alone".  It taught us more now than ever how important it is to be very wary of who we let into our personal space.

EA: I came to know The SoapGirls music from the Wolfman (Alex Story - the mighty Cancerslug (SlugCultRISE) and Doyle).  What was it like playing some shows with the band Doyle?

TSG:  We were completely blown away and had such a great time meeting them!  They are larger than life and fearless as well as being animal rights activists which we respect hugely and they are unapologetically themselves!  We were so ecstatic to get to interview them at the festival, play with them onstage and seeing them live is mind blowing!  They are ferocious onstage but the nicest people you could hope to meet in person.

EA:  Indeed they are!

EA:  The band name was derived from your childhood sales of soap when you were ages 8 and 9 (correct me if I'm wrong).  I understand you got to see the best and worst in people from all walks of life during this time.  People spitting at you, saying nasty things, stealing from you, etc - how did those formative years affect what you do now as a band?

TSG:  We started out selling home made soap for charity and street performing from a young age 8/9 yrs old.  It taught us early in life to grow an extra thick skin and never allow the hatred, disdain and disbelief of others to change who we are nor to stop believing in ourselves.  It certainly taught us to not give a fuck about other peoples opinions/perceptions and to believe in ourselves to the point where nothing felt impossible anymore.

We met some absolutely amazing human beings from all walks of life and even to this day we meet people that bought soap from us years ago at our shows and they are so proud that we never gave up. Even as kids it wasn’t always easy being the ones standing out and unfortunately we were targeted by the community, kids at school, parents, and even teachers!  We were bullied relentlessly, mocked, ridiculed, and attacked for daring to be different but that only fueled our fire more.  It also made us aware of how many people have no voice and aware of the need to create a platform in which we could share with others and encourage them to live life beyond themselves.  Also, to take to task any injustice from animal cruelty to human abuse to human trafficking and also embrace the fact that they don’t fit into society and even more importantly keep questioning their governments/politicians!  We understood from all the years on this journey that to be a misfit is actually a joy and the biggest form of self freedom!  We are glad that we can inspire others to embrace everything they are and to live life on their terms!

EA:  You've described your music as "Revolt Rock".  You've made it clear that there is always something to revolt against when you're The SoapGirls.  What topics are front and center today?

TSG:  As long as the Governments are fucking people over with their endless changing of laws and pushing the senseless slaughter of animals and people alike all in the name of greed and censoring our freedom we’re going to have something to say!  We’ll never stop being the voice for the voiceless, right now especially in South Africa there are so many human rights violations going on all under the guise of so called protective measures.  The fact that in 2020 people are being beaten to death for speaking out against and asking the government questions is insane!  If we give up revolting against the “system” then we become the system.  The same goes with society at large in particular the so called ‘punk’ of nowadays who seem to belittle anything that does not come from a well commercialized ideal ‘punk past’.  Where are the punks now when they should be standing up now more than ever instead of agonizing on how “not punk” others are or agonizing over what is long past?  We try to create as much awareness as we can and remind people that the government should be working for the people NOT the people working for the government!

EA:  I've seen in every live photo both of you have writing on your arms and legs.  What do you write on your bodies for live gigs?  You also wear headpieces.  What do those represent?  How important is image to The SoapGirls?  Does the band discuss how you're going to present yourselves on stage?

TSG:  Mille writes the set-list on her body as well as anti political statements, and animal activist group names, the all seeing eye represents looking beyond what society teaches you to see.  Our headdresses are somewhat ironic as they are beautiful to look at but the topics and messages we sing about are not, some people get a big wake up call as after the first song it wasn’t what they were expecting, which is important especially in today's cookie cutter society.  Everyday is a new day and depending on how we feel and the available materials we have to work with will determine what we wear onstage.  A lot of the time we will just be body painted which is hilarious as we're essentially naked, but because people can't see skin or nipples then we’re less threatening as opposed to us wearing bikinis onstage.  Sometimes we get fans to give us t shirts or pieces of material so we can make outfits out of - everything about us is DIY.  The stage that we play determines the shoes as not all of them are stiletto heel friendly and snapping a heel on stage ain't that fun, though that’s actually how Mille got the idea to take her shoes off mid-set as her heel broke and she just let loose, plus no shoes makes for better jumps!  It's always funny gauging how clean the stage was by the color of her feet after the show.

EA:  I know it was looking like you were going to be playing the US for the first time in 2019 - then that got pushed to 2020.  And, well, we know what's going on now with live events - especially for bands from overseas.  Do you think a tour will finally happen in 2021 in the US?  If so - will you change anything about your live performances to fit the more conservative US clubs and venues? (Btw: please make sure Seattle, WA is on the tour itinerary! ☺ )

TSG:  We are definitely coming to America in 2021 and it’ll be the right time.  It’s been a dream of ours for years to get that side of the world and no we won't be changing aspects of our show.  Maybe a good dose of raw uncensored and unfiltered punk rock is what America needs right now.  We’re met with a lot of hostility for how we choose to express ourselves but conforming and censoring ourselves has never been an option.  Of course we hope to keep growing our platform in America so that we have the support base to achieve this.

EA:  If you had to describe one another - what would you say about each other?

Millie:  She’s the most fierce and loyal person and friend you could ever have, super talented, doesn’t suffer fools, is determined and passionate to a fault.  If you’re lucky enough to be a member of the audience you’ll be amazed at her energy and fearlessness onstage.  Everything she does is done with heart and is 100 percent honest in her craft and in herself.

Mie:  Is insanely talented and one in a billion, it’s great to be in a band with such a brilliant artist and person.  There is never a dull moment with her around and its always a joy to be onstage with her.

EA:   Both of you are The SoapGirls but live you have a male drummer.  Have you thought about getting a female drummer?

TSG:  We’ve played with both male and female drummers over the years and gender is never something we think about.  It’s more about the energy and synergy we feel when we are playing together than the gender.

EA:  I caught the majority of your virtual tour gig this morning (well, morning here in the US).  I missed the troll comments that you put on blast later during the show.  Is this the sort of shit you have to deal with online, etc?  Trolls with nothing better to do than to harass you?

TSG:  Since we started out street performing as kids we have dealt with a lot of love and a lot of hate!  It has given us a thick skin and has kept us highly motivated to keep on going.  Social media is great for artists and bands but its also unfortunately used by bullies that enjoy the safety of anonymity and the distance a screen provides to hate and attack strangers for no reason!  We are so used to it we laugh because if you allow that kind of hatred and negativity to get to you mentally you will never feel happy again.  We take it as a good sign that we are such a threat to people highly indoctrinated by society’s rules and we want people that don’t fit in to society to take strength from our resolve to stay true to who we are!  Hater’s add fuel to our fire and it is pretty funny having a rant back at some of the serious haters.  It's all mad though because they are hating on us for living our lives and playing our music but they will never stop us!

EA:  What are some of the biggest misconceptions about The SoapGirls?

TSG:  We get judged a lot based off our appearance from being told we’re too blonde, too skinny, too pretty, not punk enough, etc.  We’ve heard it all.  Also, that we don’t write or produce our own music and that we come from a privileged background and that everything's been instant for us which is insane as we’ve been on this journey for years.

EA:  What do you want people reading this to know about The SoapGirls who know nothing about you?

TSG:  That we’re a band that is predominantly about humanity that fights fiercely for what we believe in, what you see is what you get, we are completely DIY.  We’ve been out in the public fighting for causes from a very young age and we will continue to do so.  Musically we are very diverse and our songs are always honest and reflective of the situations we find ourselves in and every song comes with a story behind it.  We are a band who has a message and we are unafraid to deliver it!

EA:  Thank you so much for taking the time to do the interview.  I really appreciate it!

TSG:  Firstly, thank you Mark for the opportunity to spread our message and music!  People need to encourage themselves and everyone around them to stand up for freedom and fight censorship and to never stop being true to yourself and to keep fearless!  One life you need to live it true!

(includes all social media links on the top left of the site)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

HEATHER EDGLEY Written Interview 7/23/2020


The following interview was started right before the virtual tour with AL1CE got going.  Since Heather was a guest on the tour - this written interview understandably got delayed a bit.  

Heather's EP comes out on July 25th as does her virtual show from the High Dive in Seattle.  Check both out if you can!

Connect with EA:  Social Media Links HERE!


(Brandon Witzel (c))

Eclectic Arts: Hi Heather! First things first - how did you fare with your schedule the past few days? (Heather and I had a conversation about schedules during this pandemic, how hard it was to keep on track, etc)

Heather Edgley:   Hi Mark!  Keeping to a schedule has been an ongoing challenge for me during quarantine because I don’t have a lot of external structure and my days are virtually free form. I want to be able to utilize this free time to be productive, enjoy my hobbies, take time for myself, and accomplish a lot with my music but I have gotten somewhat stuck on a very late, night owl schedule, which has been difficult to change. I try to force myself awake at a reasonable morning hour but when there’s nothing really pressing, pressing snooze and continuing to sleep often is more enticing than getting up to be super productive. I’m always able to knock a few things off my to do list each day but there are a lot of distractions when I’m home all day. I get a huge sense of fulfillment when I do finally get in a really productive groove because when I focus, I really get in a zone and just go for hours. It’s sometimes difficult to jumpstart the work but once I’m doing it, I can just take off.

EA: Tell me about your background please. Where were you born, raised, school, early music involvement, etc,

HE: I grew up in Bellingham, Washington and moved to Seattle in 2010 to attend the University of Washington.

Music has always been a very instinctual outlet for expressing my innermost feelings and emotions and helps me process through experiences in my life. I started writing lyrical songs as early as age 7 but I enjoyed singing even earlier than that. Singing and writing songs was just a natural part of my day. I used to make up songs and sing while I was doing chores or playing games. My family also very much enjoyed music. I have many memories dancing around the living room with my mom to Shania Twain and Brittney Spears. My dad also enjoyed playing guitar and singing and would often sing my siblings and I to sleep. When I was twelve my mom gifted my dad a keyboard for Christmas because of his interest in music. I played around on the keyboard frequently and ended up teaching myself how to play at a basic level. I didn’t learn how to read or write music but I taught myself how to play by ear and putting chords together to write songs came somewhat naturally to me. Since I had been songwriting for a few years prior to playing piano, this became the point where I started putting my lyrics to chords and created actual songs. I also began writing piano compositions at this age.

I didn’t have any formal music training growing up. I was in band in middle school and played clarinet but that’s basically the extent of formal training I experienced. I continued singing, writing, and playing music all through grade school and into college but did not sing or perform my songs publicly. I performed my original piano compositions at a few school talent shows but at the time I was not confident enough to sing my songs for an audience.

EA: I believe the first time I saw you perform you were working with Tobias The Owl as a background singer. How did you become involved in the music community here in Seattle? You've worked with many musicians as well as your own solo work.

HE: I actually met Tobias the Owl several months before I had even started playing my first open mics. I was invited to a show at Tractor Tavern in Seattle by my roommate at the time and I saw Tobias the Owl perform. I really enjoyed his music so I talked to him after his set and ended up telling him that I sing and song write as well. He asked me to send him one of my demos and after I did, he asked if I wanted to sing on his album. I was very excited about this opportunity so I jumped on it. He asked me to sing background vocals on his track “Broadest Akimbo”, which is a beautiful song. I tracked on his song and I actually didn’t run into Tobias the Owl again for about a year when I found myself at an open mic he was hosting. He’s become a good friend of mine over the years and it’s really cool to look back at how he was one of my first contacts in the local music scene and how the circumstance began somewhat randomly.

I first stepped into the local music community by playing at open mics. I met another local artist Bug Hunter early on and he and I decided to play our first open mics at the same time. Stone Way Cafe was where we both performed our first open mics and we went basically every week for a while. I had major stage fright when I first started performing but the other performers and the audience were always so kind and supportive. I discovered some other local open mics and for a while I was frequenting 3 sometimes 4 open mics a week. After regularly performing at the same open mics I started seeing familiar faces and made a lot of friends with other musicians who were starting out and playing solo. I honestly feel like I grew up in this Seattle music scene with a lot of other truly amazing and talented artists. We started out as solo musicians playing open mics. We then evolved to getting our first actual shows from these open mics at local coffee shops and bars. Then we started playing our first venue shows and formed bands and even shared bills together with our full bands at great local venues. It’s been a journey and a climb but the local music community really feels like a family.

I too started as a solo artist, singing and playing the keyboard. I met the members of my initial band mostly in the music scene and through friends and a few members have come and gone since then but I still play with a solid 5 member band right now and I couldn’t be happier. I’m really grateful for all the wonderful musicians I’ve met and had the pleasure of playing with. My current band members are Andrew Gemkow on bass, Chris Lovings on drums, Shaun Crawford on guitar, and Dylan Mines on the Erhu and lap steel.

EA: From what I've seen of the local music community, particularly the singer songwriters, there is an actual sense of community where the artists support one another. Is that what you've found? What in your opinion fosters this as there are other local scenes that are not nearly as supportive of one another.

HE: I’ve definitely had the experience that the Seattle local music community is incredibly supportive. It truly feels like a family. I’ve grown up in the scene with many of the local artists I know where we started out as solo musicians playing open mics together, then started doing our first small shows together at coffee shops and open mic venues, and then started playing our first venue gigs, built bands and shared bills together with our bands. Every local show I attend I see so many musicians I know. We’re all out supporting each other and it all feels very genuine and not just self-serving. I feel like the scene is full of genuine friendship and appreciation for one another. I feel like there’s this general feeling that we want each other to succeed because we really care about each other and we know that we all can succeed and if one of us is succeeding, it doesn’t hinder anyone else but actually lifts up the whole community. There is so much talent in Seattle. When I’m attending shows it’s not just to support the friends I’ve made but it’s also because I genuinely enjoy their music. I haven’t been a part of other music communities outside of Seattle but from what I’ve heard, Seattle is quite unique and much more supportive than other places. I feel very lucky to be a part of the Seattle music community and I really miss everyone right now during this long separation from quarantine. I hope everyone is thriving and staying well.

EA: You've spearheaded the Summer Circus shows at the Tractor Tavern and at The Crocodile. How did you come up with this idea and what can you tell me about the shows?

HE:  The first themed show I was ever a part of organizing was a collaborative event I did with another local musician Sarah St. Albin. Her and I organized a Halloween themed event called “A Night in Neverland”. Using a themed show to cultivate unique promotion was very innovative at the time and really helped our show stand out. I’ve always enjoyed themes, costumes, and found this to be a great way to continue doing shows and events.

I want people to know when they go to a Heather Edgley show it will be about the music, it will be exceptionally well orchestrated, it’ll be unique, it will be a full-on experience and it will be a blast.

I came up with the idea for a circus themed show back in late 2017. I put months of planning into the event because I knew I’d need a larger venue, a sizable budget to be able to hire and pay circus performers and a lot of promotion in order to reach the desired attendance numbers for larger venues. At the time in 2017 I had a roommate who was a circus performer and she helped connect me with some other performers. I did a lot of research to find great local bands to join the lineup for both the 2018 Summer Circus at the Tractor and the 2019 event at The Crocodile. Both shows were great successes and my goal is to continue this event each year. I had plans for a 3rd Annual Summer Circus in 2020 but Covid-19 unfortunately interrupted those plans. Hopefully I’ll be able to host an event in 2021.

I have organized numerous themed live music events over the past couple years including a spaced themed show, two Summer Circus themed shows which involved 4 live bands, a fully decorated event, and live circus performances including acrobats, aerialists, light poi performers and more. As well as partnered giveaway events. Just this year I organized an event with the theme being a celebration of love with an emphasis on self-love, called LoveFest. At this event there were 4 live bands, an in-house masseuse, a fashion guru, macramé, and many giveaways including a free massage gift card, free haircut gift card, mani/pedi gift cards and more. I, along with the other bands turned this live show into a local venue festival of sorts.

I really want my shows to stand out and feel like a full-on experience. I want to engage audiences with our music, captivate them with our performances, and make the overall experience of the show very memorable and exciting.

EA: You have a new EP coming out soon. What can you tell me about it?

HE: My debut EP, titled Losing My Mind, is a 6 track EP that will be released digitally on July 25th. Our band will be performing a live stream that’s starting at 8PM at the High Dive in Seattle. The event link is here: Ticket proceeds will benefit the social justice organization Color of Change.

The songs on this EP encapsulates a pivotal time in my life where I struggled to break free from internal and external expectations and judgments and is a movement into fully embracing and accepting myself, my desires, and my dreams and aspirations. The themes of the songs cover my struggles with depression, and the ups and downs of unhealthy and difficult romantic relationships, as well as facing all of the people who doubt and criticize you and tell you your dreams and goals are unreachable. The EP highlights a lot of struggles and low points but also is a story of the journey through those hard times and getting ourselves back out.

I didn’t want to filter myself at all when writing these songs and I think the raw authenticity shines through. I wasn’t trying to prove a point or present myself in a certain light. I just wrote how I felt and I hope people can connect with the vulnerable nature of my writing.

Another overarching message in this EP is that even when things are extremely difficult, don’t give up on yourself, don’t give up on your dreams, take breaks when you need to rest and recoup, but then always keep pushing forward.

EA: I know you've performed solo but you also perform with a full band. Where did you find your bandmates and how would you describe each of them?

HE: I feel really great about my band. I have an incredible group of talented individuals and I feel so lucky to have them contributing to my songs with their immense talents. I write the songs and core melodies but I am able to give my band mates quite a bit of creative freedom in writing their parts on top of the core song because I really trust their instincts. We’ve got a very goofy and fun vibe in our band. My band members are not just exceptionally talented, they’re also great people whom I’m lucky to know and call friends.

Andrew Gemkow, who is my band’s bassist, is the only remaining original band member. He joined the band at its origin back in June of 2017. He’s very spunky and lively on stage. I actually met Andrew because he was the bassist of Tobias the Owl. I was in awe of his bass skills and was totally ecstatic when he approached me and said he was familiar with my music and would love to play with me if I was looking for a bassist.

Chris Lovings, our band’s drummer, was actually referred to me by one of my best friends when she heard I was looking for a new drummer. Chris has been with the band since December of 2018 and is an absolute joy to have in the band. He’s an incredible player and very quick and creative. He often has great ideas on how to approach songs and our setlists. A band’s drummer is really important in connecting the group rhythmically, which Chris does but he also keeps the band in sync both rhythmically and energetically.

Dylan Mines, is our band’s Erhu and lap steel player. He joined the band back in early 2019. I was looking for some string players and Dylan was recommended to me by a friend. I saw him play live with the Humble Urchin at the Rendezvous Theatre and approached him to see if he was interested in collaborating with other musicians. He agreed to play with us for the Belltown Bash in March of 2019 at The Crocodile, Seattle and I’m super grateful he’s stuck with us since then. Dylan brings a very unique element to the band that I love. Strings are very expressive and the Chinese violin/ Erhu that he plays has such an interesting timbre. The melodies that Dylan writes become very iconic and memorable in my songs and I feel so fortunate that he wants to share his talents by adding to my music.

Shaun Crawford, our guitarist, is the newest member of our band. He joined us last Fall around September of 2019 and performed his first show with us at our Astronauts & Aliens event at The Sunset in Ballard. Shaun was a lucky find because he is so creative, such a skilled player and the kind of person who can instantly put anyone in a great mood. He’s so kind and joyful and the band really jells in a new way since he’s joined the band. Shaun responded to an ad I posted on Craigslist when we were looking for a new guitarist. He sent me a link to his Instagram and I was instantly intrigued and hoped he’d want to join the band. Shaun is exceptional at improvising melodies and keeping true to the tone of my songs.

EA: I feel based on the governor's four stage/phase plan to re-open the economy, the opportunity for local artists is going to be unprecedented this summer or early fall. This will be the first time where there is no other competition for the consumer's dollar or time. No sports, no small or big tours (yet), no theatre, no dance, etc. The options for a live event fan will be restricted to local shows for the most part. What are you working on as a local artist to capitalize on this rare opportunity?

HE: We’re definitely in an unprecedented time right now and I think it’s been a large adjustment for everyone. For me this time of staying at home has been a great opportunity to write more and work on at home recording. There was a lot of uncertainty when the quarantine first started but it does seem like it might be awhile before live shows with audiences are a thing again, at least at venues. It’s nice that we still have digital platforms to connect with fans and each other and that inspires more unique content. I created a quarantine video with my band where we each played our parts in my song “Out Of Reach” in our prospective homes and I cut that all together in one video. It turned out really cool but I do really miss engaging with others in the local scene in person. One of the biggest way I engaged with the local music scene was in person going out to local shows, and organizing and performing shows of my own. It has actually been difficult feeling limited to just social media and virtual connections but I am grateful for the opportunities to still connect with others.

EA: I know most of the artist community work day jobs to make ends meet. What do you do to pay the bills so to speak? Is it something you enjoy or is it just "a job"?

HE: The past few years I had been working part time as a legal assistant basically just working enough to make ends meet and then putting the rest of my energy and attention into music. That was really great because music is my priority. Late last year I started working a full-time job outside of music to gain a little more financial stability and save some money, which was a smart move at the time. I’m not currently working and likely won’t find a new day job for a bit because of Covid-19 but once things open up more again, I’ll likely go back to working just to make ends meet and keeping my focus on music. I really want to keep pushing my career forward and find avenues to make music profitable.

EA: Thank you so much for taking the time to do the interview.

HE: Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me!

I want to end by speaking to other artists out there who may feel defeated at times or like their dreams are impossible. I have struggled with both those feelings and thoughts many times on my journey and I’ve felt a lot of external pressures that tell me pursuing music is not a viable path but I’ve never been happier than I am when I’m pursuing my passion and performing my music. I want to encourage others to have the audacity to believe in themselves because this is your life not anyone else’s and living your truth, creating your music and your art not only enriches your life, it enriches the lives of those around you. You never know who will be positively impacted by you, your work, and your message, so keep being you and keep working towards your dreams.

(Artwork by Hannah Edgley)



Wednesday, July 22, 2020

PORNSTAR PANDEMIC Film Review 7/22/2020

Pornstar Pandemic

Breaking Glass Pictures
Reviewed: 7/22/2020
US Release: 7/28/2020

Rating: 3 / 5


(courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures)

This documentary starts as the COVID-19 pandemic shuts down much of the world. Writer/director EJ asked a handful of gay adult pornstars to film what they’re doing during the pandemic while the adult industry is shut down and the world is in flux.

The premise was intriguing to me as far as the pandemic portion was concerned. Unfortunately, like I somewhat predicted, there isn’t much going on in this documentary - just like for everyone else in the world.

We were all either essential workers and going into work or working from home. Or non essential workers that were at home trying to keep busy until things opened up again. Or folks who lost their jobs (either furloughed or layed off) due to the effects of the pandemic.

Each of the stars that are interviewed were basically doing two things - keeping in shape and keeping revenue streams open by using fan sites (like Only Fans, etc). If you are a fan of gay pornstars or specifically the ones in this documentary, you may enjoy it more than I did.

After the first few interviews, it became a bit monotonous which was no fault of the pornstars. Again, they were stuck with no work much like the rest of us. You could have asked any group of workers, porn or not, and you would have gotten something pretty similar.

The most interesting part to me was the group video call at the end of the film that the director moderated. The back and forth information from the newbies to the veterans was the most interesting part of the film as it talked more about the adult industry than the day to day of each pornstars life during the pandemic.

“Pornstar Pandemic” is available on 7/28/2020.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  HERE!


GUNDALA Film Review 7/22/2020


Well Go USA
Reviewed: 7/22/2020
US Release: 7/28/2020

Rating: 4.5  / 5

(all assets courtesy of Well Go USA)

The world of superhero films has been overwhelming ever since Marvel released their first film in 2008. The massive success of these films has put every other film studio on alert.

“Gundala” - based on an Indonesian comic book - is attempting to join the ranks of the superhero pantheon with its first entry (of a rumored eight films).

The film starts out just right. The pacing, action, and budget clearly show this film means business. I was captivated by the storyline in the first act (I went in fresh knowing nothing about the film or the comics). The down and out child who has to fend for himself may seem cliche’ but it works. He learns to keep to himself and not get involved in the events that surround him on a daily basis.

The second act of the film wanes a bit as the adult version of the character (played by Abimana Aryasatya) attempts to figure out his life and what these super powers of his actually are. The pacing gets a bit choppy here but the story is still interesting.

By the third act the action is kicked up several notches. The pacing still hasn’t found its footing like it did in the beginning of the film but it’s of little consequence. The climax is much like a big budget film from Hollywood.

Writer/Director Joko Anwar overall did a fine job with “Gundala”. Any time there is a superhero origin story, the director is saddled with the task of spending time bringing the audience up to speed on the character and also keeping them entertained. Anwar did his best on both fronts. My only complaint is the ending of the film. I understand the studio is looking at this as a multiverse franchise - but that doesn’t mean you have to end the film like you already have other films lined up. You can still end on a high note that makes sense and continues the story-line into the next film. 


Overall, I really enjoyed “Gundala”. I’m looking forward to seeing how the next film expands the narrative of the character and the world he protects.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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