But it’s the music that emanates deep within Egbo-Egbo’s soul – his piano as a constant appendage, his jazz, classical and pop leanings and the constant intermingling and pushing of musical genres – that reveals the creative standard of the man. As a Toronto-based pianist, composer, producer and sound designer, 2018 marks the official release of his new musical work, appropriately titled A New Standard.
The twelve-song album contains a wide selection of entries originally created by a number of legendary composers over the last two centuries. They are, naturally for Egbo-Egbo, culled from disparate genres: classical, jazz, and curiously, even rock music. In A New Standard, Egbo-Egbo lovingly performs a fun and up-temp version of Sigmund Romberg’s and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise,” as well as a rollicking account of John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.” that merges brilliantly into the classically jazzy and beloved theme song from the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon by composers Paul Webster and Robert Harris.
In a more contemporary sense, Egbo-Egbo’s rendition of Bob Dylan’s”Make You Feel My Love” brings a wonderfully fresh and emotional sense of affection to the beloved classic, but surprisingly, there’s also a perfectly lonely interpretation of Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)” found on the new compilation, whose aural sense of isolation any fan of the band might expect and adore. This time, it’s just with a piano.
Biff Bam Pop’s consulting editor and regular contributor, JP Fallavollita, got the chance to steal Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo away from his busy schedule to talk music, his home city of Toronto, and the release of his latest album, the shimmering and wonderful A New Standard. Read the rest of this entry
Michael Eklund is one of the hardest working actors around. Along with starring on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and Wynonna Earp, he’s a familiar face to movie fans. The Vancouver-based Eklund has been featured in Chokeslam and The Sound (with Rose McGowan) in 2017 alone. He’s currently starring as the lead in Stegman Is Dead, a new crime film directed by David Hyde and co-starring Michael Ironside (V, Total Recall, The Machinist). In Stegman is Dead, Eklund plays Gus, a low-level criminal hired by Don (Ironside) to retrieve an incriminating video tape.
I first discovered Michael Eklund’s work in 2011’s The Divide, where he stole the entire film about survivors of a nuclear holocaust. When I had the chance to talk ask talk to him over email about his work, I jumped at the opportunity. Eklund is smart, articulate and passionate, and in possession of outstanding acting abilities. On that note, here’s our interview:
Andy Burns: You, sir, are one of the hardest working actors I have ever seen. Before we even get into Stegman is Dead, talk to me about why you like to stay so busy, and how you stay organized?
Michael Eklund: Well, that is nice of you to say. However, I would disagree. It seems to me that every time I turn on the television or see a film there are more and more extremely talented actors and film makers creating and displaying amazing work. It is a very exciting time right now for artists as well for the audiences. There are no more excuses. If you are not working then you can literally pick up a camera and create your own work. Write something. Shoot something. Create something. Art can be created anywhere. And it isn’t limited to anyone or any kind. The work that is coming out from all territories of the world is inspiring. The bar is being raised at an accelerated rate like no other time I have ever seen. It just keeps getting better and better. The gap, or rather, the road block in the way of working and creating and being permitted to work and create has been closed and removed. You seriously have no reason or excuse nowadays to say that opportunities are not there. We live in a time with the technology present that we are able to create our own opportunities and if you are not then you have no one else to blame but yourself.
I know I could be doing more. Creating more. And if I don’t someone else will. And you don’t want to be caught sleeping at the wheel, because if you are you can be sure that the next artist is going to run you off the road. If I don’t stay busy then I will find myself rolled over in a ditch with my hazard lights on and help isn’t on its way because everyone else is too busy to stop. So being organized is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. If you don’t have your stuff figured out or don’t have your shit together than you better do it quick and you better do it now because in this business no one owes you anything. It no longer is a question of how you do. It is an answer of you must do.
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Artist John Bolton has had a long and storied career in comic books and sequential art. He made the jump from working in English magazines such as Warrior, to burgeoning American periodicals like Epic Illustrated, in the early 1980’s. He’s been working in and around the mainstream comic book industry ever since, as comfortable drawing superheroes as much as he is painting fairies, vampires and demons.
Drawn to the genres of fantasy and horror as both an illustrator and painter, Bolton has worked alongside some of the greatest writing names the comic book industry has known, including Chris Claremont on Marada The She Wolf and Black Dragon, both for publisher Epic Comics. With Neil Gaiman in The Books of Magic for DC Comics, he created the look of the reluctant boy-wizard, Timothy Hunter, based on his eldest son. His acclaimed graphic novel series, Shame, alongside writer Lovern Kindzierski, is where Bolton’s efforts most currently dwell, with the first three acts being recently complied into a single hardcover volume.
There’s a sense of wonder, amazement, power, and sexuality inherent in Bolton’s work, combined alongside an overt menace that makes a viewer full of trepidation. Even when his sense of horror is not manifest, nothing is ever as it seems in Bolton’s completed visual offerings.
On the eve of an infrequent visit to Toronto via the 2017 edition of Fan Expo Canada, JP Fallavollita caught up with John Bolton in an exclusive interview via email, and asked him about his process, his female-driven subject matter, and his recent work on Shame.
Biff Bam Pop! Founder and Contributing Writer Andy Burns, and other interviewers, had a chance recently to chat with actor Topher Grace, who folks might remember from That ’70s Show and as Venom in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, and now stars in Netflix’sWar Machine with Brad Pitt. Come join us for this fascinating discussion after the jump.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with Canadian actress Carolina Bartczak, known for her work in Smurfs 2 and Brick Mansions. In X-Men: Apocalypse, opening this week in North America, Carolina plays the small, yet pivotal role of Magda, Magneto’s (Michael Fassbender) wife. Meet me after the jump for the interview.
Marie Gilbert Interviews John Paul Ruttan and Ella Ballentine of Against the Wild 2: Survive the Serengeti
A few days ago, I posted a review of a new film, Against the Wild 2: Survive the Serengeti. I really enjoyed the film and, so will you. I also had the pleasure of interviewing the producer/director Richard Boddington which you can read here. I wanted to ask the two young stars of the film what they loved best about doing this film. Join me after the jump with my interview of John Paul Ruttan. Read the rest of this entry
I was asked to view a film called Against the Wild 2: Survive the Serengeti which was written, produced and directed by Richard Boddington. The review of the film will be followed by an interview with Boddington. What if your backyard was the Serengeti and your children were lost? Read the rest of this entry
The word on This Changes Everything, the latest documentary film from the socially charged husband and wife team Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein, is starting to spread. After debuting this past September at the Toronto International Film Festival to resounding applause from its audience, the film is already premiering around the world in a unique and ultra-relevant way.