3 STEPS TO BECOME A YOUTUBER

By Nguyen Dieu Linh

Step 1: Prepare the strategy

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Be yourself. When you become the main character in your videos, feel free to show your own personality and let people remember you through what you show. If you try to become someone else in your vlog products, you will first feel tired and boring, the bigger risk is that you are destroying your trust with your subscribers.

·      Consider your audience. Are you directed to young people? Or do you want to reach middle-aged customers? What is the theme of the vlogs you produce? Take the time to review these questions before making your way to YouTube.

·      Do not hide emotions in your video. Vlogging is like your diary. Express your feelings and tell the audience about your feelings. Your true feelings will touch the hearts and emotions of the audience, and eventually you will get sympathy from them.

·      Pay attention to positive energy sources. Learn how to allow people to influence your life only when they motivate you, not take you down. When people always criticize you, sometimes it can affect your whole day's mood, forget them.

·      Don't compare your channel with the big Vlogger. The famous Vlogger they have to trade a lot to get their current position. They also have to go through the same difficulties as you, but they persevere and continue to set realistic goals for themselves and they succeed

Step 2: Equipment needed for production and post-production

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   Prepare equipment. You don't need to have the best camcorder for your vlog. Just make sure it's a HD-quality camcorder, with good sound recording.

·      Develop attractive title strategies. Think of headlines that can stimulate curiosity or can create audience sympathy as soon as you see it.

·      Choose the right time to shoot. Choosing the right time of the day to make the recording will also affect your vlog quality. Normally, the best time to shoot is around 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

·      Simplify the wallpaper that appears on the video. Pay attention to the background after appearing in your vlog. Or you can insert or edit the wallpaper after you have finished the video. But in short, the keywords you should remember are: The simpler the better.

 

Step 3: Build brand identity

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   Combined with social networks:When you start your YouTube channel, share your videos on other social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram ... to reach your friends list first. This approach also helps improve your SEO and increase accessibility to a wider audience.

·      Listen to your audience. The content you create can call for interaction and action from the audience. Besides, regularly monitor their comments and comments about your video. If they are not satisfied, try to fix it. Moreover, sometimes the opinions from the audience can be great content creation sources for your next videos.

·      Meet the aspirations and desires of the audience. If your followers want you to do something, try doing it. Of course, you should select from the list of requests and aspirations from fans. See if fans are family, share them honestly and meet them if you can. Give away and you will get more.

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day-Time Dates

By Melissa Perdigão

 

With Valentine’s day coming up, it’s the perfect time to spend an afternoon with someone special, whether it be a long-time lover, bumble match or your bestie, cozying up in one of Toronto’s coffee shops is a wonderful way to connect and caffeinated with the apple of your eye! Check out our picks for some of the most picture-perfect java houses in the city to spend your Valentine’s afternoon!

 

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Neo Coffee Bar

Located in the St. Lawrence Market area, Neo is a perfect pick to spend a romantic afternoon. Specializing in japanese-inspired pastries crafted with organic and locally sourced ingredients, Neo Coffee Bar is king when it comes to food & drink. With high-quality coffee beans selected from top roasters (like Toronto’s own De Mello Palheta) and a selection of artisanal teas, this light-filled coffee shop has something for everyone.

 

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Early Bird Espresso

Queen West’s Early Bird is a top spot for anybody looking for an uber-healthy and picture perfect brunch plate! Order the sliced avocado toast with creme fraiche and chives for a gorgeous plate likely to make your partner swoon! Oh, and the coffee is always exceptional of course!

 

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Rustle & Still

This Vietnamese coffee shop located in Koreatown is the perfect place to try out an asian-inspired bevvy (with beans sourced directly from Vietnam!) and an array of savory and sweet snacks. Try out the vegan Banh Mi made with walnut pate and mushrooms with a purple yam latte for Vietnamese flavors with a Toronto twist!

 

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Hot Black Coffee

Impress your date with some of Toronto’s best beans at Hot Black Coffee located on Queen West. This coffee shop brews their java with a special reverse osmosis system under controlled temperatures to deliver the cleanest, purest cup of coffee in the city! How’s that for a conversation starter? 

 

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Empire Espresso

If cozy is what you are looking for, this Little Italy coffee shop is sure to warm your heart. Empire espresso delivers quality drinks and fun flavored lattes with tons of comfy chairs and pillows, perfect for chatting and catching up with the one who makes your heart sing. Share a cinnamon bun (or two) and people watch by the window for a perfect afternoon on College Street!

 

 

Revisiting Classic Games

By Jonquil Jardine

Thinking of staying in this weekend and don’t know what to do? We got plans for you. Games,

especially board games are a fun way to socialise and keep busy while staying indoors

especially during the winter season. There’s a sense of nostalgia that is associated with some

games. I think we can all agree that we tend to get caught up with technology and sometimes

forget about the simple things in life but don’t worry we got you covered. This week we

rediscover classic games that remind us of the good old days. Which one is your favourite?

Scrabble

Scrabble is not just fun but it’s also educational. The goal of the game is to score as many

points as possible by placing tiles (with letters) to create words. Wondering how the game

ends? The person who has used up all their tiles is crowned winner. Fun fact: names of people

and companies can be used in the game.

Why I like it: It simply makes you think. You have to think about words you may not usually use

on a daily basis.

Jenga

Jenga takes both physical coordination and decision making when playing. Players take turn

removing one block at a time. But you don’t simply disregard the block! The chosen block is

then placed at the top which creates an even more unstable structure. Fun Fact: you can play

Jenga solo.

Why I like it: It’s super fun and it keeps you on your toes. You never know when the structure is

going to collapse so the suspense keeps you alert.

Monopoly

Monopoly is a board game that allow players to purchase, trade and develop properties. Sounds

fun? There’s a catch. You have to take into consideration jail time, paying other players etc. The

goal of the game is to cause other people to go into bankruptcy.

Why I like it: It makes me feel like an adult with a bit more money than I have now. With money,

comes more responsibility and decision-making. After all, you don’t want to lose everything you

have, even if it’s just a game.

There’s so many distractions these days. Technology has brought us closer yet further away

from each other. By playing games, you are encouraged to interact with each other while

stimulating your brain. Which game will you have at your next games night?

Films to Watch on Netflix after 'You'

By Emma

How many of you have binged-watched the show You? It’s new on Netflix and is creeping all of us out with its stalker storyline.  Some of you might be dismissive toward the stalker films and thinking its super overdone, but don’t fool yourselves. You is a quality horror series, with the story of a bookstore manager becoming obsessed with a female writer, is sure to freak all of you out.


You will likely be a binge watch, and you will need some other things to watch afterward. With this chilly weather, why not stay inside and watch some more scary stuff on Netflix? To begin, here are three options to look at.

Train to Busan (2016)
This South Korean film tells the story of a zombie apocalypse sweeping throughout Korea. Seok-woo, who spends most of his time working, is taking his daughter Su-an to the city of Busan when the apocalypse begins.
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As people on the train begin to become infected, the main characters work with other survivors to fight off the zombies and save themselves. Unlike the classic Night of the Living Dead, the zombies in Train to Busan can run. While that’s bad news for the survivors, it makes for some great scenes for the audience!

While there is some gore, the film doesn’t make it cheap and overdo the violence. Instead, it is successful in keeping you on edge throughout the movie with a mix of suspense and shocking scenes. It’s worth a watch!


Hush (2016)
In this thriller, we see the story of deaf writer Madison "Maddie" Young. Maddie lost her hearing in her youth and lives in an isolated area on the woods. One day a masked killer appears, with Maddie as his top target. Right away, the audience wishes Maddie could find a way out of the forest.

The film has the favourite theme of the home invasion but is still unique. Maddie isn't portrayed as a victim with her hearing impairment, but rather as a strong character who works to fight off the killer.  The suspense is excellent, and the film does a great job in getting audience scared as the follow along with Maddie trying to escape. It’s a great choice if you like scary suspense!

The Gift (2014)

This film is about couple Simon and Robyn Callem, and begins with them moving from Chicago to Los Angeles for Simon's work.  Simon soon meets an old high school classmate Gordo, and things take off from there.

Gordo begins acting strange, and randomly dropping by and delivering gifts. It soon becomes apparent something isn’t right. The audience learns the backstory slowly, and the tension builds through the film. The ending doesn’t disappoint, so it’s a great film to add to your list!

With this cold weather, we are all ready to stay inside. A film is always a great idea, and thrillers are a lot of fun! Check out these ones, and let us know about any others you would recommend.

Six Artists You Need To Listen In 2019

By Sanjeev

January has come to an end and if your resolution is to discover new artists or listen to different music genres in 2019 then you have come to the right place to get your music fix.

1. Adia Victoria

The Nashville-based blues artist released her single in January 2019 titled Different Kind Of Love and fresh from her 2016 debut album Beoynd The Bloodhounds. Victoria’s genre blends Gothic blues and a hint of country and rock to add an ethereal atmosphere of storytelling.  

2. Arkells

The Hamilton-based band rocked 2018 with singles People’s Champ and Relentless off of their latest album Rally Cry. They even hosted their hometown concert Rally Cry in 2018 to promote their new album The Rally Cry Tour. Best of all, the Arkells have been nominated for this year’s Juno Awards held in London, Ontario. The group is performing in Toronto at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday, February 16. The concert will kick off at 7:30 p.m.

3. Black Thought

Black Thought is the frontman of The Roots, one of the legendary hip-hop groups in the ‘90s and the house band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Black Thought released his debut EP titled Streams Of Thought Vol. 1 and a full length album Streams Of Thought Vol.2. Black Thought is known for delivering sick verses and bars that will make you appreciate the golden age of hip-hop.  

4,.Noname

Noname is a Chicago-based rapper who collaborated with Chance The Rapper for his 2016 album Coloring Book. Noname released her debut album Room 25. She rap and jazz rap whose verse gets deep and heavy and the beat flows.

5. Tom Misch

Tom Misch is a London-based producer and artist whose work was first noticed on Soundcloud in 2014. Misch produces beat, sings, co-writes songs, and pays homage to J Dilla. Misch released his debut album Geography in 2018 which includes Water Baby and It Runs Through Me.   

6. Charlotte Cardin

The Montreal-based singer fuses jazz and pop with a hint of electronic. She released two singles this year Drive and Fous N’importe Ou.



Comment

Sanjeev

Sanjeev Wignarajah is a Toronto-based photographer who specializes in street and portrait photography. Sanjeev graduated in the journalism program at Centennial College in 2017. While studying journalism, he was passionate about photography and it changed his life. He started collaborating with his friends on film sets and co-created a magazine on Toronto’s photography scene with his classmates.

Sanjeev has shot for Centennial College for a few events and the 2017 Taste of The Danforth. He even took over CBC Radio’s Metro Morning’s Instagram account in 2016. He has made a lot of connections in the Toronto Instagram photography community. His inspiration for photography comes from watching movies on how the director and cinematographer

Sanjeev dreams of travelling like Anthony Bourdain and to write for Exclaim!, CBC Music and CBC Arts, and to freelance with Roads & Kingdoms.

You can find Sanjeev’s photography work on Instagram @sanjay28w.

5 Unique Toronto “Winterlicious” Activities

Isabella Figliano

Winter is still in full swing. That doesn't mean we need to stay cooped inside for the next two months. Throughout the GTA there are many free outdoor, and indoor, activities that are sure to keep you busy until spring rolls around.

Photo: @capocacciatrattoria

Photo: @capocacciatrattoria

WINTERLICIOUS

Winterlicious is the perfect way to explore different foods!  From January 25 - February 7 you have the opportunity to enjoy three-course prix-fixe lunch and dinner menu at 200 restaurants and 12 culinary events.  Reservations begin on January 10.

Photo: @alyssarshull

Photo: @alyssarshull

ICE SKATING

There are many outdoor and indoor skating rinks throughout the city, most of which are free, as long as you have your own skates.  Skating in Nathan Phillips’ Square is an excellent option that also gives you a great view of the city. Skating there is free but if you need to rent skates you can!  Adults skates are only $10 for two hours!

Photo: Paul Gilmore/Unsplash

Photo: Paul Gilmore/Unsplash

TOBOGGANING

Tobogganing is a fun winter activity that anyone can enjoy!  Throughout the city there are many tobogganing hills that allow for some fast sliding! Popular hills include Centennial Park Hill, a few hills in High Park, Riverdale Park, and Trinity Bellwoods.  Just bring your own toboggan, or anything to slide down on, really.

Photo: @taytay_xx

Photo: @taytay_xx

WINTER FUN AT ONTARIO PLACE

From November 23 - March 17 visit Ontario Place and enjoy their winter fun!  They have many fun activities like a Winter Light Exhibition, ice skating, roasting marshmallows and watching some classic movies in the Cinesphere.  New this year, are skate parties that feature music from local DJ’s. Admission is free!


ALLAN GARDENS CONSERVATORY

Warm up after some outdoor activities by visiting the Allan Gardens Conservatory in Downtown Toronto. Open 365 days a year the conservatory features glass ceilings that house six interconnected sections.  These sections are home to some of the most unique and beautiful plants that you’ll see anywhere in the city. The different sections inside the conservatory include The Palm House, The Cool Temperate House, The Tropical Landscape House, The Arid House, two more tropical houses and a children’s conservatory that is attached to the Arid House and hosts workshops for kids.

Photo: @hayleyjharrison

Photo: @hayleyjharrison

Top 5 Cosplays to do this Halloween

Written by Ashish Singla

Halloween is one of the most loved festivals in Canada mostly amongst children and youngsters. As we are about to reach the month of October, people will be worried about what to wear on Halloween. 

Here are top 5 cosplays to do if you want to make your Halloween scary and spooky.

1.    Eleven from Stranger Things

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Eleven is the most favorite character from this Netflix series and why not? She is a badass girl with telepathic and psychokinetic abilities which she uses to fight the monster. Isn’t it awesome? So, grab a pink dress along with a denim jacket and you are good to go as Eleven. Don’t forget to put fake blood on your nose and buy some Eggos. 

2.    Jigsaw from SAW films

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Jigsaw is a wooden ventriloquist puppet from the famous horror franchise of SAW films. If you want to be scary and wacky at the same time then Jigsaw is the perfect cosplay. All you need to do is wear a black coat-pant and see some Jigsaw makeup tutorials. So, do you want to play a game?

 

3.    Samara from The Ring –

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Samara’s character is based on Sadako Yamamura from the Japanese version of The Ring. She is a long-haired ghost which freaks the hell out of people with her look. She is still a popular character among the horror fans and if you want to take your look a notch higher then dress like Samara. All you need is anything white and you are ready to go.

 

4.    Ghost Face from Scream –

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Ghost Face is a villainous character from the classical Scream series. It’s the easiest cosplay for Halloween. You can find the ghost face masks at any local store and there are no specific requirements to dress up as Ghost Face. Just wear the mask and you are done.

 

5.    Pennywise the Dancing Clown from IT film –

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Pennywise Clown is not a normal clown who is seen at the birthday parties showing tricks to children. His creepy and deadly look is really annoying and you don’t want to mess with him. If you are thinking of being a clown then this is a perfect one for Halloween. You’ll find the costume online or at any nearby costume stores.

TIFF Bell Lightbox

By: Emma Stirling

Centred in Toronto’s vibrant Entertainment Distinct, TIFF Bell Lightbox opened its doors in 2010. Nearby other energetic venues, the Lightbox has come to be a representative of the diverse and lively culture that is growing out of the city.

The theatre hosts the Toronto International Film Festival, but the fun doesn't end with TIFF. Here are some options of what you can do at the Lightbox through the year.



The Archives:

TIFF hosts a free archive that is accessible to the public and excellent for students. It is full of films and information that will help you with any assignment. If you email or call them, they will answer you quickly with any question you may have. Many cities don’t have access to archives like this one, so take advantage of it.

https://www.tiff.net/library/

TIFF Shop:

When you are done with studying, treat yourself to a gift. TIFF Shop sells books on film you would otherwise only find in academic libraries, and high-quality gifts and souvenirs available for all ages. At the entrance of the Lightbox, it is worth checking out.   

https://shop.tiff.net

Festivals:

At the Lightbox, many other smaller festivals are held throughout the year, and they are all worth attending. Here is an overview of festivals to look for.

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival: In January, showing the best of Canadian films. While often underestimated, this festival shows you how great Canadian movies are. Full of diversity in cinema, it is definitely worth watching.

TIFF Next Wave: In February, showing films by young filmmakers. It’s free for anyone under the age of 25! All the high quality movies are made by young filmmakers, and hosts upcoming celebrities like Amandla Stenberg,

TIFF Kids: In March, showing movies for those ages 3-13. Sure it’s for kids, but it is a great event to attend with younger relatives. It may be aimed at young viewers, but these films are enjoyable for all ages.

Human Rights Watch: In April, showing films all about human rights. This festival shows diverse stories on important issues around the globe, with screenings followed by lively discussions with the filmmaker.

And that's not the end. Many other festivals show their movies at the Lightbox such as Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. When you visit the Lightbox, you should discover upcoming festival events, so keep your eyes peeled!

Parties and Exhibitions:

The Lightbox is not just home to films! Throughout the year, TIFF Bell Lightbox also is home to many parties, exhibitions, learning, and outreach events.

Coming up this Halloween, there is  Boombox, an eerie themed party with ghosts, costumes, scary exhibitions, and creepy music performances. Voted Best Annual Event in Toronto, it is one of the city’s top places to be on Halloween weekend.

If you missed it, don’t worry. As soon as Boombox is over, there will be more to take part in. Throughout the year, there are multiple events, including films shown with filmmakers present, and the website will always keep you updated.

https://www.tiff.net/films-and-talks/


Discover More:

TIFF Bell Lightbox is located at 350 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3X5

There is even more to discover at the Lightbox, and how to take full advantage of it.

Visit https://www.tiff.net for more.






Soulection: The Sound of Tomorrow Concert Preview

Soulection is a Los Angeles-based artist collective that crosses music genres from R&B, neo-soul, to electronic. The collective also produces a radio show and manages a music platform curating unique sounds soothing to the soul. 

The group will be performing at The Danforth Music Hall on Friday, October 26 as part of the Sound of Tomorrow tour. The Soulection artists that will be performing are ESTA, Da-P, Andre Power, The Whooligan, Naji, and Devin Tracy.

Photo credit: Marcela Laskoski/unsplash

Photo credit: Marcela Laskoski/unsplash

The show will kick off at 7 p.m.

Comment

Sanjeev

Sanjeev Wignarajah is a Toronto-based photographer who specializes in street and portrait photography. Sanjeev graduated in the journalism program at Centennial College in 2017. While studying journalism, he was passionate about photography and it changed his life. He started collaborating with his friends on film sets and co-created a magazine on Toronto’s photography scene with his classmates.

Sanjeev has shot for Centennial College for a few events and the 2017 Taste of The Danforth. He even took over CBC Radio’s Metro Morning’s Instagram account in 2016. He has made a lot of connections in the Toronto Instagram photography community. His inspiration for photography comes from watching movies on how the director and cinematographer

Sanjeev dreams of travelling like Anthony Bourdain and to write for Exclaim!, CBC Music and CBC Arts, and to freelance with Roads & Kingdoms.

You can find Sanjeev’s photography work on Instagram @sanjay28w.

Of Mice & Men and Blessthefall's Explosive Toronto Show

Explosive is a perfect word to describe the show that Of Mice & Men and Blessthefall put on Tuesday night at the Opera House. The heavy breakdowns in all of their songs were brought full force. Nothing lacked power.

Unfortunately, I was only able to see Blessthefall and Of Mice & Men. I felt like crap all day Tuesday and tried to rest up in time for the two main bands. I've never seen Cane Hill or Fire From The Gods, so it sucks I had to miss them. But BTF and OM&M actually make for a pretty awesome tour. Both bands have so much energy in their music and they both have music that sounds incredible live.

 

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Blessthefall

If I'm being honest, I mainly went to this show for Blessthefall. I've seen them tons of times and they never fail to put on a good show. Every time that I've seen them, they always make the environment fun and interactive, and always provide a sense of community among metal fans. Singer, Beau Bokan always communicates genuinely with the crowd and encourages fans to crowd surf during their shows. I love when a frontman/woman genuinely interacts with the crowd. It just gives me the sense that the band want to be there, not that they have to because of touring.

Blessthefall played for about 40-45 minutes, I'd say. They played their old, popular songs like "Hey, Baby" and closed out with the kickass song "Hollow Bodies". They also played their new song "Melodramatic", which I'm still not a fan of, but obviously they have to promote it. They have a new album coming out on March 23rd.

 

Overall, Blessthefall really got the crowd warmed up for the headliners, Of Mice & Men who are their new label mates. As I mentioned in my last post, BTF signed with Rise Records!

Of Mice & Men

I know I said I mainly went to the show for Blessthefall, but that doesn't mean I didn't want to see OM&M. I've been a fan of OM&M for awhile. But ever since Austin Carlile had to leave the band, I've been iffy on the band's new music. Sometimes Aaron Pauley's voice gets on my nerves after awhile and I just find their new music to be a tad generic. I was curious though to see what songs Of Mice & Men would play and how they would sound since Austin isn't singing/screaming anymore in the band - it's all Aaron now. Needless to say, I was blown away from their performance on Tuesday night! Stunned actually.

Of course, the band played mainly songs that Aaron originally sang on with Austin, but even the band's new music sounded unbelievable live! It was so heavy and just so good! They even played some songs that were before Aaron joined the band.

I was shocked when they played "YDG" which is from the first Of Mice & Men album, long before Aaron joined the band! I don't think I ever heard the band perform that song live when Austin was in the band. I get why they played it though - the band has 3 YDG-related songs, so they played all three. The new YDG song from their new album, Defy is such a good song. This was all near the end of their set, before the encore.    Midway through their set though, they did a cover of "Money" by Pink Floyd which was groovy.    And of course, one of the two encore songs they did was "The Depths" which I was so happy about. I think that's one of the best OM&M songs. It's just so full of raw emotion and is super heavy. If you've never heard that song, then you need to  listen to it .        Final thoughts    Although I was pleasantly surprised by Of Mice & Men's energetic performance, I missed Austin being there on stage. The band doesn't feel the same without him. But I'm really proud of the band with how far they've gotten despite Austin's departure. Aaron took over both the singing and screaming parts really well. And Aaron's voice sounds exactly the same as on record! Or maybe even better live.    I'm definitely going to have to give Of Mice & Men's new album, Defy, another listen after seeing their amazing performance. They really brought the energy and the sound was crystal clear on Tuesday. Check out my Instagram for some videos I took of OM&M as well as Blessthefall:  https://www.instagram.com/thequietrocker/ .    I went in mainly wanting to see Blessthefall, but I came out from the concert absolutely amazed with Of Mice & Men's performance.     I hope OM&M and Blessthefall tour more together now that they are label mates. It really was a good night full of good music. Check to see if OM&M's  Defy Tour  is coming to a city near you!

I was shocked when they played "YDG" which is from the first Of Mice & Men album, long before Aaron joined the band! I don't think I ever heard the band perform that song live when Austin was in the band. I get why they played it though - the band has 3 YDG-related songs, so they played all three. The new YDG song from their new album, Defy is such a good song. This was all near the end of their set, before the encore.

Midway through their set though, they did a cover of "Money" by Pink Floyd which was groovy.

And of course, one of the two encore songs they did was "The Depths" which I was so happy about. I think that's one of the best OM&M songs. It's just so full of raw emotion and is super heavy. If you've never heard that song, then you need to listen to it.

 Final thoughts

Although I was pleasantly surprised by Of Mice & Men's energetic performance, I missed Austin being there on stage. The band doesn't feel the same without him. But I'm really proud of the band with how far they've gotten despite Austin's departure. Aaron took over both the singing and screaming parts really well. And Aaron's voice sounds exactly the same as on record! Or maybe even better live.

I'm definitely going to have to give Of Mice & Men's new album, Defy, another listen after seeing their amazing performance. They really brought the energy and the sound was crystal clear on Tuesday. Check out my Instagram for some videos I took of OM&M as well as Blessthefall: https://www.instagram.com/thequietrocker/.

I went in mainly wanting to see Blessthefall, but I came out from the concert absolutely amazed with Of Mice & Men's performance.

I hope OM&M and Blessthefall tour more together now that they are label mates. It really was a good night full of good music. Check to see if OM&M's Defy Tour is coming to a city near you!

Comment

Lauren

Lauren is a Pickering-based blogger and aspiring model who loves to talk about rock and metal music, vegan/cruelty-free beauty and hygiene products, and anything to do with an alternative lifestyle (skull décor, gothic fashion). She’s passionate about music, animal rights, and mental health. She graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honors Bachelor of Science in psychology, and also majored in Media Studies. Aside from blogging and modelling, Lauren loves to travel, work out, and spend time with her two yorkies.

Stone Sour Concert

I'm actually kind of glad my boyfriend had to work late on Valentine's Day. That meant I could go see Stone Sour and In This Moment who was here in Toronto at Rebel. I'm so glad I went because Stone Sour put on such a lively, energetic show!

Maria Brink, singer of In This Moment, and Corey Taylor, singer of Stone Sour/Slipknot, are two of my rockstar role models, so to see both of them the same night left me feeling inspired. They both have so much control over the crowd. Both bands played for the same amount of time (75 minutes-ish) so it's safe to say everyone got a good dose of both.

 

In This Moment

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I got to the show just in time for In This Moment and I hate to say it but they were awfully boring - I think more boring than the time I saw them last April. In This Moment is all about putting on a theatrical-like show. Maria had about four or five wardrobe changes so in between songs, the energy and interest of the crowd died down in between each song it seemed. It took a long time for the band to move from one song to the next.

But during each song, ITM rocked it. They played all of their well-known songs and songs from their new album, Ritual, including their cover of "In The Air Tonight" originally by Phil Collins. I love that cover. It's so dark and eerie.

What amazed me the most was how much control Maria had over the crowd, especially as a woman in a male-dominated crowd. Actually, I think the crowd was a good half-and-half of men and women. With it being Valentine's Day, I saw many couples at the show. But anyways, it was so good to see a woman control a crowd like that which is why Maria is one of my favorite rockstars that I look up to. She has so much confidence in herself and is a strong woman. Every time she would wave her hands in the air, the crowd would just scream and continue to scream until she stopped waving her hands. And the crowd would respond well to every question she asked.

I feel bad for the rest of the band though. All eyes seem to be on Maria most of the time when the four guys are the ones who actually make the music what it is, so you can't forget about them. They played crystal clear.

 

Stone Sour

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This was my first time seeing Stone Sour in Toronto. I've seen them play at Rock On The Range a few times but never at one of their headlining shows. I actually don't know a lot of Stone Sour songs, except for their popular (and amazing) songs. But I like them enough to go see them. Honestly, every single of theirs is so good.

 

As soon as Corey Taylor got on the stage, the crowd went ballistic, chanting his name. I think even Corey was surprised. I know I was surprised. It amazed me how many people like me look up to and respect Corey Taylor. I think it's because he makes everyone feel invited and okay to be who they are. And he's also just such an amazing, versatile singer. How can you go from screaming in Slipknot to singing so beautifully and melodically in Stone Sour? He's a legend in today's world of rock music. The crowd chanted his name two or three times throughout their set. It was quite funny when he decided to be a d*ck and throw water up at some girl on the balcony level who was on her phone. It was hilarious.

Okay, I'll stop rambling about Corey now. Musically, the night was so much fun. The band sounded so good. There was a confetti gun. People were crowd surfing and singing their hearts out. It was just a very energetic, fast-paced night. Both the crowd and the guys in the band were feeding off of each others' energies. Even Stone Sour's slow songs were full of energy and emotion.

They played the song that I was so anxious to hear - "Song #3". Words can't explain how you feel when you hear one of your favorite songs live. It just makes you feel so good inside and helps you forget about everything outside the concert walls. That's the beauty of live music.

I do wish they played "Bother" since that's another one of my favorites. It's a sad song but so powerful. They ended the night playing "Fabuless" which was the perfect song to end with. It left everyone on a good note. And the band even had the blow-up figures seen in the video for the song. It was great!

You can see my videos of the show on my Instagram www.instagram.com/thequietrocker. There are clips of In This Moment and Stone Sour.

Unfortunately, the band's Hydrograd Tour is over now, but I highly encourage you to see them some time in your life. They're playing some festivals starting in April, including Rock On The Range. I have to say, the American festivals aren't complete without Stone Sour. They're your ideal rock band for a festival that just always provides a good time.

 

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Lauren

Lauren is a Pickering-based blogger and aspiring model who loves to talk about rock and metal music, vegan/cruelty-free beauty and hygiene products, and anything to do with an alternative lifestyle (skull décor, gothic fashion). She’s passionate about music, animal rights, and mental health. She graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honors Bachelor of Science in psychology, and also majored in Media Studies. Aside from blogging and modelling, Lauren loves to travel, work out, and spend time with her two yorkies.

‘Try to be open to radical possibilities as failure of all shades is often inevitable’

Manitoba Book Award winner S.M. Beiko, who was in the city recently, talks how pivotal it is to develop a thick skin to survive in this industry

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Author of the fantasy fiction Scion of the Fox, Samantha Mary Beiko was at the Type Bookstore for the launch of her latest novel. The Winnipeg-native interacted with the fans at the Trinity-Bellwoods’ bookstore, signed copies and even distributed free prints of artwork featured in the Scion of the Fox. Her first novel The Lake and the Library was nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book and Aurora Award. Her next series, The Realms of Ancient, has been signed for a three-book deal with Toronto-based ECW Press. The first book, Scion of the Fox, was released in 2017; the sequels to follow are Children of the Bloodlands and The Brilliant Dark.

Working in the Canadian publishing industry as a freelance editor, graphic designer, and consultant in the trade book and comic industries, Samantha lives with her husband and rescue dog, Lucy. In a candid interview, the 28-year-old author spoke about her love for writing, the incredible world of the Scion of the Fox, and her loving and supportive family.

 

Q1. What were some of the key events from your life that shaped up the fictitious world of Scion of the Fox?

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I was an outgoing kid in high school, but I was also extremely introverted. I spent the majority of my time dreaming and devouring any and all fantasy media in order to build a sturdier inner life to combat severe social anxiety as well as stress at home.

I became very obsessed with folklore and fantasy tales, but I also really wanted to see more of that represented in the things I saw around me—particularly the wildlife in my neighborhood which borders a forest and extensive farmland. I spent a lot of time on my own wandering the Assiniboine Forest and rural Manitoba, and building realms and people who would be as affected by the landscape as I have been.

The actual kernel of inspiration that started Scion of the Fox and its sequels came from a benign encounter in the middle of the bleak Winnipeg winter. I was walking home at night along the Assiniboine River and a red fox jumped into my path. I asked myself a wild hypothetical (which is where a lot of my story ideas come from): What if that fox followed me home and gave me a wicked mission? It really doesn’t take much, but 120,000 words later a novel was born.


 

Q2. Was there ever a time when you came very close to giving up on writing?

I think all writers, or artists of any stripe, experience occasional crippling self-doubt as the rejections pile up. I wouldn’t say I had ‘given up’ as much as I ‘took a break’ from my extensive visions of grandeur of being a bestseller like J.K. Rowling. I was 19, had only really submitted one or two books around to publishers and agents, and had a few rejections already when I was like ‘Oh, maybe it’s just not going to happen for me…’ and I tried to just focus on finishing my post-secondary degrees. Then, very randomly, an editor from ECW Press (who is still my editor to this day) contacted me saying ‘Hey, sorry I was on maternity leave, but I plucked your MS (The Lake and the Library) out of the slush pile and I think there’s something there! Let’s chat!’ I had completely forgotten I’d submitted to them at all, and a publishing contract from the slush pile is pretty rare.

That was a pretty great feeling, but being an author continues to take work and time and effort in addition to cultivating a fairly thick skin since it is an exhausting as well as a vulnerable pursuit. Eight years later, my career is going along at a nice pace, and I’m currently trying to land a literary agent. This year alone I’ve received about eight rejections out of the gate, with many no-responses. Which I celebrate by submitting to another agent!

I’ve found that it doesn’t necessarily get easier, but one does get better at saying ‘Okay, that didn’t work out. Let’s move on to the next thing and see what happens.’ I’ve also finished drafts of six new projects this year. Being a writer is sometimes much more than just putting one word in front of the next, or absorbing the blow of a rejection. If it’s something you really want to happen, you will make it happen. You just have to try to be better than you were yesterday and open to radical possibility as failure of all shades is often inevitable.

 

Q3. Has there been anything you have written/drawn you have never shown anyone?

I’ve been getting back into drawing more lately because I was a visual artist before I was a writer (I started out in art school before switching to my book publishing post-grad.) I still really enjoy making art, though, and I’d like to have it figure more into my mainstream career life, so I’ve been consciously making more time for it.

That said, I’ve been drawing a lot of nudes and erotica lately because, well, it’s something I haven’t done and experimenting is also fun! But it’s tough when you literally just launched a book for teens and you don’t want it to conflict with your public brand. I will probably share that work one of these days because I also firmly believe that demonizing erotic work just perpetuates a rigid social response to something that is beautiful and absolutely natural. But for the moment, it’s just for me. And there’s nothing wrong with that, either. Not everything has to be for public consumption, which is always a tough line to tow in this day and age.
 

Q4. How did you find your rescue dog, Sophie?

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Very serendipitously! I follow probably 10-12 local pet rescues in Winnipeg/Manitoba, and sometimes I would just troll them for the dogs that were currently up for adoption. I actually only found Sophie (then named Gizmo) through Petfinder, but when I looked her up on the rescue’s Facebook, her story was quite dire (though a familiar one.)

She’d come from Norway House, which is a Northern community about 500 km from Winnipeg. A lot of reserve communities have issues with dog overpopulation and a lot of semi-wild, ranging animals that are often targets of ‘dog culls’ (where locals will round up the dogs and shoot them.) It’s a multi-faceted issue for sure because these communities can barely afford safe housing or have decades-long boil water advisories, let alone providing care for animals or spaying/neutering. And many of these dogs operate with a pack mentality. Community members and children especially suffer from dog attacks quite frequently. So, a lot of city-based rescues will team up and go into the communities and get as many dogs as they can and find them homes.

Sophie was just another puppy who lived outside, roamed in the dumps with the other dog gangs, slept under people’s porches in the dead of winter, and never had enough to eat. When she was finally caught, and flown into Winnipeg through Earthdog Terrier Rescue, she went into foster but was immediately rejected from that home. She went to another foster, but they “went on vacation” three days later and never picked Sophie up from the kennel she was being boarded at; so there she remained for two months, with Earthdog’s funds running low just to keep her in a place which was definitely not the best situation. They were getting desperate. Without asking my husband (oops) and only after being in our new house for two months (oops again) I contacted them and said, “Yes, sure, we will foster her, send her over!”

Obviously, that failed within two weeks and she’s been ours for keeps ever since. It’s been a wild ride, but I’m glad I impulsively yanked her into my life. She is a quirky, sweet girl with a big personality, and despite the trouble she always seems to get into—destroying the garbage, eating more than one pair of my shoes, running away after the deer in our area, digging holes in the yard, stealing entire loaves of bread off the counter—I can’t imagine a life of mine that she isn’t a part of. Rescue is extremely rewarding. Adopt don’t shop!

 

Q5. What were some of the ways your husband and your family helped and supported you through the challenging process of writing a book?

They stayed out of my way! Seriously though, my husband has always been supportive of my writing (even before we were married) and never once felt it wasn’t a legitimate pursuit. He’s a doctor, but he’s also a concert-level cellist, so he appreciates the struggles and passions involved with going after an expressive dream. He gives me the space to do my writing, as well as watering the plants and feeding the fish and washing the kitchen after I’ve pulled all-nighters chasing my daily word count goals.

My parents, too, have always been encouraging. My mother always bought me any book I ever asked for and pushed me to fiercely go after my dreams no matter how ridiculous or pie-in-the-sky. My dad is not a reader in any sense of the word, and he finds the writing component extremely baffling (he’s an industrial millwright and can fix literally any machine, so the bafflement at our chosen fields is mutual), but he always thoroughly enjoys everything that has come with publishing stuff. Never once has anyone, family or friend, said to me, “Wow writing sounds like a lame occupation.” It’s a very isolated activity, but I’ve found I’m unable to get anything done unless I know someone’s got my back. Even if they never intend to read said book I’m writing. And that’s a huge thing.

 

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Anisha

Anisha Dhiman: Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman  moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much. You also visit her website www.fivequestionseries.com to check out her fun interviews.