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Kathleen Gyllenhaal Speaks About Her Latest Film In Utero

I had the privilege to speak with the very earthy and inspirational Kathleen Gyllenhaal.
An acclaimed writer – film maker – producer – mother – married to Stephen Gyllenhaal whom she collaborates on many projects with.
Her latest offering was directing a documentary film titled ‘In Utero’ which is a fascinating look at how the mother’s physical – mental – emotional and lifestyle environment may be effecting her unborn child.

At first I felt ‘oh wow – what else can we put on our shoulders as women!’

I was so relieved to discover we are all just doing the best that we can.
‘In Utero’ is a well thought through film with intriguing professional perspectives encouraging us to really think about it all.

Watch the trailer below at In Utero Film and find out how you can host a screening.

IN UTERO FILM

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Bernie Taupin the Voice Behind Elton John

Today in 1973 music lovers fell in love with Elton John and ‘GoodBye Yellow Brick Road’ so it seemed fitting to learn more about the man behind the lyrics of some of music histories most notable songs.

“My favorite thing is coming up with titles. The majority of the songs I’ve ever written. I’ve always thought of the title before I’ve written the song.”

Elton John’s long-time song writing partner Bernie Taupin  was born in 1950 at Flatters Farmhouse in the southern part of Lincolnshire England. He was not a diligent student but showed an early flair for writing. His maternal grandfather a classics teacher and graduate of the University of Cambridge, his mother studied French Literature, his father a farmer.  They taught him an appreciation for nature and for literature and narrative poetry, both of which influenced his early lyrics.  At age 15, he left school and started work as a trainee in the print room of the local newspaper The Lincolnshire Standard with aspirations to be a journalist. He soon left and spent the rest of his teenage years hanging out with friends, hitchhiking the country roads to attend youth club dances in the surrounding villages, playing snooker in the Aston Arms Pub in Market Rasen and drinking. He had worked at several part-time, dead-end jobs when, at age 17, he answered the advertisement that eventually led to his collaboration with Elton John.

In 1967, Taupin answered an advertisement for talent placed in the New Musical Express by Liberty Records man Ray Williams who was searching for new talent. Elton John answered the same advert and although neither Bernie nor Elton passed the audition for Liberty Records, Ray Williams recognised their talents and put them in touch with each other. The pair have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. The team took some time off from each other for a while between 1977 and 1979, while Taupin worked with other songwriters, and Rod Stewart, Cher, The Motels, John Waite, Starship and Alice Cooper all recorded Taupin’s songs.

Bernie’s unique blend of influences gave his early lyrics  a nostalgic romanticism that fit perfectly with the hippie sensibilities of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Taupin sometimes wrote about specific places in Lincolnshire. For example, ‘Grimsby’ or ‘Caribou’  was a tongue-in-cheek tribute to a nearby port town often visited by Taupin and his friends. More famously,’Saturday’s Alright For Fighting’ was inspired by Taupin’s experiences in the dance halls and pubs of his youth. More often he wrote in more general autobiographical terms, as in his reference to hitching rides home in “Country Comfort.” These autobiographical references to his rural upbringing continued after his departure for London and a life in show business, with songs such as ‘Honky Cat’, ‘Tell Me When The Whistle Blows’ and ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, in which he thinks about “going back to my plough.”

Taupin’s most important influence was his interest in America’s Old West, Tumbleweed Connection found in recent songs such as ‘This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore’. When Taupin and Elton decided to write an autobiographical album in 1975, Taupin dubbed himself “The Brown Dirt Cowboy”, in contrast to Elton’s “Captain Fantastic.”

“Basically it takes me very little time to write a song. If I find myself taking more than an hour to do it I usually forget it, and try something else. I like to work quickly; I never like to waste any time. I never write half a song and come back to it later at all. It all has to be done at once. I lose interest if it doesn’t.”

The 1991 film documentary Two Rooms described the John/Taupin writing style, which involves Taupin writing the lyrics on his own and John then putting them to music, with no further interaction between the two. The process is still fundamentally the same, with John composing to Taupin’s words, but the two interact on songs far more today, with Taupin joining John in the studio as the songs are written and occasionally during recording sessions.

It has been 49 years of music collaboration for Bernie Taupin and Elton John and the world would not be the same with out the beautiful music they have made together.

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Charlotte Brontë – Born A Writer

“I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wrap my existence about you–and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.” ― Charlotte Brontë

Do you ever think about where such beautiful words, thoughts and feelings are born from? How do they find their place in a world that would rather often times keep them penned to a place with no voice to be heard. So happy to have discovered the work of Charlotte Brontë and her siblings. What a wonderful world to behold, crawling out of darkness.

At the tender age of twenty, Charlotte Brontë sent a sample of her poetry to England’s Poet Robert Southey. The comments he offered urged her to abandon all literary pursuits – he wrote:

“Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties, the less leisure will she have for it, even as an accomplishment and a recreation.”

His timely response indicates the political difficulties women faced as they tried to enter the literary arena in Victorian England, domestic responsibilities were expected to require all their energy, leaving no time for any type of creative pursuits. Despite a lack of support from the outside world, Charlotte Brontë found sufficient internal motivation and enthusiasm from her sisters to become a successful writer and balance her familial and creative needs.

a-charlotte-bronte

Charlotte was born in Thornton, Yorkshire on April 21, 1816,  being the third child of six children. Unfortunately their mother died of cancer and Charlotte and her four sisters, Maria, Elizabeth, Emily and Anne, and their brother, Branwell, were raised primarily by their unpleasant, maiden aunt, Elizabeth Branwell,who provided them with little supervision. Not only were the children free to roam the moors, but their father allowed them to read whatever interested them -Shakespeare, The Arabian Nights, Pilgrim’s Progress, and the poems of Byron were some of their staples.

When a school for the daughters of poor clergymen opened at Cowan Bridge in 1824, her father Patrick Bronte decided to send his oldest four daughters there to receive a formal education. It has been said that Charlotte’s description of Lowood School in Jane Eyre accurately reflects the dismal conditions at this school. Sadly Charlotte’s two oldest sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died in 1824 of tuberculosis they contracted due to the poor management of the school. Following this tragedy, Patrick Brontë withdrew Charlotte and Emily from Cowan Bridge.

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With deep grief over their sisters’ deaths and desperately searching a way to alleviate their loneliness, the remaining siblings began writing a series of stories, The Glass-Town, stimulated by a set of toy soldiers their father had given them. In these early writings, the children collaboratively created a complete imaginary world, a fictional West African empire they called Angria. Charlotte explained their interest in writing this way:

“We were wholly dependent on ourselves and each other, on books and study, for the enjoyments and occupations of life. The highest stimulus, as well as the liveliest pleasure we had know from childhood upwards, lay in attempts at literary composition.”

It seems that if one is born to be a writer – no time – no era – no man can stop what is meant to come forth and lay embedded in written words for all time.

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Diana Krall Plays Vancouver

a diana krall

Diana Krall  was home playing Wallflower at The Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver last night. The backdrop of photos and video art leant an ambience that brought you to another place and time. She is lovely, quirky and it feels so good to call her our very own. Definitely in our top five concert experiences. It has been a rough year for this princess of song and during an emotional moment she says ‘there are no tears in baseball and there are no tears in jazz.’ Diana sings about what is most important to her, family and love. May be her latest offering Wallflower is a compilation of 70’s heartbreak songs, but a broken heart never felt so good. A beautiful show from an amazing talent. – Fresh Independence

By: Elysa Gardner

Diana Krall’s voice sounds even more sultry than usual as she greets a visitor in a midtown recording studio. “My kids had colds, so now I have a cold,” explains the singer/pianist and mother of 8-year-old twin boys.

As fans know, Krall’s resistance has been down lately. Last September, she was diagnosed with pneumonia and had to postpone the release of a new album,Wallflower, initially due Oct. 14, and a tour that was set to launch Nov. 7.

 Krall, 50 (though you wouldn’t know it to look at her in a leather jacket and skirt) hit the road Feb. 25, with dates scheduled through August. She feels ready, though she admits, “I’m a different person than I was. I have to watch my health.”

Krall adds, “I’ve had a really, really tough year.”

She’s not just referring to the pneumonia. Krall’s father died in December, after a long illness. When the subject comes up, her eyes well with tears. “It’s been shattering,” she says. “I’m shattered. I don’t know what to say — it’s too raw, too close to me still, to talk about it.”

The tracks on Wallflower — new readings of pop classics made famous by, among others, the Eagles, the Carpenters, Elton John and the Mamas and the Papas, plus a previously unreleased tune by Paul McCartney — were obviously recorded before she lost her dad, though they have a sense of melancholy that is “always there,” Krall says, in her music. “It’s what I find truthful and beautiful.”

Though known primarily for her interpretations of jazz and traditional pop music, Krall wanted to record “music that I share with my peers. … I didn’t want to do a jazz record.”Wallflower was produced by a pop veteran with a jazz background: Krall’s fellow Canadian David Foster, who also plays piano or keyboards on most tracks.

“It was a luxury, because I couldn’t play piano like that,” Krall insists. “He put the songs in really difficult keys. Now I’m cursing him, because I’m thinking, how am I going to learn to play them in those keys?”

Outside the studio, Krall’s partner is Elvis Costello, whom she married in 2003. “I think it’s such an incredible thing to be in our house,” she says. Their work styles are different: “I have the jazz musician’s curse of being hyper-sensitive to everything. Elvis can sit with the kids running around, in a totally cuckoo space, and focus.”

Their sons, Dexter and Frank, play piano and congas and listen to all kinds of music, their tastes in rock ranging from the Beatles to Elbow. “They’re also really into Adventure Time, which I love, and Over the Garden Wall,” the Cartoon Network series.

“My life is all about Forbidden Planet and other cool things,” Krall says. “They’re at a cool age. Every age is, but they’re really into discovering things. Frank came up to me the other day and said, ‘You’ll really like this show — it’s got jazz in it.’ This is how he’s negotiating with me.”

For all her eagerness to play live again, in fact, Krall says, “All my choices are impacted by the love I have for my family. … It’s important for you to do your work, but it’s also been important for me to come home and read to my children and have the luxury of having time with them.”

Before leaving the studio, Krall pauses at the door. “I hope I’ve said a lot of joyful things,” she says, and exits smiling.

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