Archive | January, 2010

Trainee Producer – I'm IN

27 Jan

If you’re going to run a young talent search in Hackney, who better to produce it than a fella who knows what it’s like to perform onstage and behind the scene.

As part of Discover Young Hackney both trainees have been keeping a video diary. Curious?

The event was put on by Discover Young Hackney to inspire you creatively and open your eyes as to what’s going on in your area

http://www.discoveryounghackney.com

Dear Jack Frost

18 Jan

Lucid Lem is cold and he’s not happy about it.

Dear Jack Frost… This is a personal request from the majority of the nation of Great Britain. Can we please keep the coldness at a minimum!

This cold snap you have bestowed upon us is obviously some sort of revenge for not having your way this time last year and everyone expressing such delight and glee in your absence. We rejoiced at the fact the worst we had was rain and abit of a cold breeze to contend with.

Frosty

Ok…. Maybe that’s putting it a bit lightly – some (not all) were poking fun and you, almost taunting you by daring to come out in just a jeans and t-shirt ensemble. But why, as a nation, should we suffer because of a few individuals?

Instead of being decisive and fair by picking on the parts of the country that done the taunting (anywhere except London), you returned this winter and blew down a vicious snow storm, icy cold breaths and stark cold winds that the WHOLE country had to endure .

At first it was endearing and almost a romantic kind of feeling…then you took it too far, put down too much snow and ice, leaving us bitter, upset at the inability to escape you and sorry we ever thought you were here to entertain us, like Jordan.

So now whenever I hear that charming ditty about you nipping at my nose…I shudder in fear of what that could be. More sub zero temperatures? More debilitating snow and ice? Or even worse…another flu epidemic? I’m starting to wonder whether or not you got my first memo, you know, the one asking you to go to Australia for 3 months? It was a fair deal, you get to go to the outback for a while and we have a better than mild winter.

Come on Jack, it’s like you’re here all the time now without even trying! I mean, you already took away our summer for crying out loud! Is it because we named our flag after you? Is that it? Or maybe it’s yours in the first place? If so, take it back Jack, we’ll make a new one! We’re long overdue for reform on most things in this country so why not start there?

So I implore you Mr. Frost, as I sit here with my nose feeling like it contains a concoction of Jalapeños & black pepper, to stop this madness while you still can. You’re all cold and menacing – we get it and we’ll never disrespect you ever again. But face facts: you’ll never be as cool as Mr. Freeze.

We like new music – British Urban Collective

11 Jan

We got some new music sent in to the office. What do we do? We give it to Lucid Lem. Simples. This is his diagnosis on
British Urban Collective: Volume 1

Disc One: Electric

This album is a two disc journey into the work put in by the British urban collective group, which began in 2004. The group went national in ’08 and haven’t looked back, empowering groups of young people to write record and promote their own albums.

Words and music are two powerful entities in their own right. Together they’re often quite a wonderful recipe and have been described as the food of love. But what’s in a word? The first thing that can be said about the British Uban Collective’s offering here is the title alone. The very word urban automatically paints a picture . The Collective play on that image with a picture of a Staffy pup adorning the cover pointing  to a wonderfully (media conceived) ‘urban’ album ahead.

Listened to the album though more words come to mind here: Never judge a book by its cover.

The very first track, all the way through to the end of the CD left me pleasantly surprised. Even the subtitle of the first disc is…in a few words – delightfully misleading. The word electric in music would lead you to believe the proceeding tracks would be of the dance genre, which this album is not.

The best way to describe this first disc is as follows:

Imagine any open mic night you’ve ever been too. Then take the best of each event you’ve been too and imagine what it would sound like if they were all on one album…this is what it would sound like.

4/5

Disc Two: Acoustic

So onto disc 2, after being so pleasantly surprised by the first disc, it was a nice transition into some soothing acoustic songs by an array of artists. This title hits the nail on the head though and is a collection of some very nice, relaxing, original songs.

Grab a good book and sit back with your favourite smoothie to this one. The best thing about acoustic music is that it has a timeless feel to it, can be given as a gift to anyone, and played just about anywhere.

A thoroughly enjoyable collection of original content,  although perhaps some re-packaging would not go a miss to truly give this album a gentle rub in the right direction.

4/5 – overall mark.

Under the Radar but not out of the spotlight!

10 Jan

Siana Bangura headed out on an icy December night to give us the low down on an underage rave. Woop Woop.

Underage rave

So once again, I was on a mission. This time I had to spend my Tuesday night at the Ministry of Sound with hundreds of bursting underage ravers who were ready to party hard from 10.00pm to nigh on 5.00am the next morning.  Armed, once again, with an ‘Access All Areas’ wrist band, my pal (who was a little worse for wear) and my camera, I was set to go, report and party.

Heavy in the wave of flashing lights, thumps of bass and the sounds of Bashy, the clubbers jumped up and down, screamed and such right on through to the early hours when the doors had to be shut for another night/morn and London transport began running again in true TFL fashion.

To be fair, although Under the Radar events are definitely something to go to if you want good music, a buzzing atmosphere and a night of madness, considering the event spans for over five hours, you need to be hard-core to really enjoy yourself to the fullest.

The mixture of partiers is vast and you’re likely to see guys in hoods, indie scene kids, and your girl from next door, to name but a few. If you like your techno and electro or your bashment, grime and RnB, there’ll be something for you to move to. As I had to watch out for my camera and sanity amongst all the energy and flailing limbs as we also had to distribute our famous packs, I didn’t really make the most of the dance floor and the glitter ball-maybe being 18 at an underage club night made me feel a little over the hill…thank heavens there was an over 18s VIP lounge with alcoholic beverages, for the cronies!

Still, with such an energetic atmosphere, it would be hard to not have a good time and I can safely say that UTR put on another good’un.

The next event will be The Valentine’s Day Rave (a day after the big day, mind) on Monday 15th February 2010, during the half-term. No excuses now…it’s not like you have school or college the next day!

For more information visit the official UTR website: http://www.utrevents.com/events.php

So, I’m still yours truly, this is What’s Up Information and I’m Siana, over and out. Until the next mission, pals *salutes*!

Woop Woop

As I had to watch out for my camera and sanity amongst all the energy and flailing limbs as we also had to distribute our famous packs, I didn’t really make the most of the dance floor and the glitter ball-maybe being 18 at an underage club night made me feel a little over the hill…thank heavens there was an over 18s VIP lounge, for the cronies!

The next event will be The Valentine’s Day Rave (a day after the big day, mind) on Monday 15th February 2010, during the half-term. No excuses now…it’s not like you have school or college the next day!

For more information visit the official UTR website: http://www.utrevents.com/events.php

So, I’m still yours truly, this is What’s Up Information and I’m Siana, over and out. Until the next mission, pals *salutes*!

Be spellbound tonight

5 Jan

Lucid Lem reviews Cinderella at The Unicorn theatre

Technicalities aside, its worth seeing, affordable (tickets are less than £20) and is showing until 24th January 2010. Be spellbound TONIGHT!

The first part of the show was extremely entertaining, setting the scene of this modern tweak on this classic tale. Cinderella works on a ship called the floating Cassandra, which is a boat home for retired magicians. The boat is named after her late mother. Her father meets the evil stepmother through partaking in daily activities at a lonely hearts type of place.

Cinderella

The opening number was somewhat a muddle though with the cast (beautifully in harmony) competing with the backing track (an issue that troubled the show throughout…) The set itself was also a stroke of genius – a boat hull on a rotating disc (couldn’t tell if it was motorised or not though!)

The ugly step-sisters were another weird pairing – with one sister sounding like the character Lauren from Catherine Tate…and the other sounding French and looking like a spitting image of Strange from the Eddie Murphy classic, Boomerang.

Her fairy godmother came in the form of three retired magicians she regularly looks after (Mrs Mifflock (played by Samantha Adams), Mrs Peafendorf (Played by Julie Hewlett),  and Mr Marakovich (played by Justin Butcher).) and the carriage is of course…a giant seagull called…Gavin.

The songs were difficult to keep track of as the wrong performers were amplified with radio mics and as a result, the more powerful performers (Cinderella – absolutely stunning vocals) were nearly drowned out, but again, that’s an SM (Stage Manager) Note.

With some great one liners and brilliant characture the highlights for me were :  1. Mrs. Peafendorf constantly  mentioning herself in a third-person  and (shockingly) after one number exclaimed she needed to pee,

2. Prince Charming’s mother who wanted to turn the opportunity of her son’s wedding into a television show (a rib at reality TV shows), and her killer line at the wing…I won’t spoil that one but it’s one for the adults…!

3.  One of Cinderella’s golden lines: “It’s not a slipper; it’s a shoe. Who goes out in slippers?”

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable show, with enough adult humour (and a real-life problem amongst teen girls – again I wont spoil that one) to keep the adults interested (almost on par with the first Shrek) and enough modern references to keep it fresh and exciting throughout.

http://www.unicorntheatre.com/ to find out more. Cinderella  is showing until 24th January 2010. Suitable for 6+

Dance Revolution

3 Jan

What does it take to become a professional dancer? Akiho Schilz goes backstage at The Pied Piper to get a 101 on how to make it into the spotlight.

Bruno ‘Boom’ Perrier is a talented young man. A senior member of Boy Blue Entertainment, he has notched up a host of projects and performances, from shows at Sadler’s Wells and our very own Hackney Empire to TV projects for ITV, Channel 4 and MTV Base. He is also a choreographer in his own right and a dedicated workshop leader. His nickname, he tells me, derives from his signature move, born out of a style of krump developed by Boy Blue’s leader and Pied Piper’s principal choreographer, Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy. Bruno is currently appearing at the Barbican in the smash hit Pied Piper: A Hip-Hop Revolution. I caught up with him backstage after the show.

Pied PIper

Pied Piper

How did you start dancing? I used to play semi-pro youth football and was told to take a break for a while. Around the same time I discovered hip-hop dance classes. I went to one and never came back. I was really late coming into dance – 18 or 19 years old – I was told in a club by someone who spotted me that I should come along to their dance classes. So I gave it a go. I’ve always loved hip-hop music and Michael Jackson. And from there it just developed.

And how have you found the industry so far? It’s a difficult one to break into… In the industry, you’re always fighting. Since I first stepped into it, you realise that it’s a war. There are more and more dancers every day and fewer jobs. If you want to be a dancer getting work, you need to make sure your skills are above the others, whether that be in one particular area of dance or across the board. If you’re not versatile, you’ll just get lost in the pack. It’s cut-throat out there. If you’re not willing to go in and say, “Move. I’m going to stand here”… Well, you just have to have that mentality. I know so many dancers who are amazing but are very inward, so when it comes to auditions they shy away. Even if you’re not confident, you have to make it seem like you’re the best thing since sliced bread. The longer you stay in the game the easier it is to get work, but the hard bit is the beginning. You have to be willing and able to stamp your authority and stand your ground or you’ll get pushed to the back.

Speaking of standing your ground, one of the hardest things in the industry is sustainability. How do you keep your edge? I train every single day. Since I started dancing, it’s been non-stop. Having the edge is all about versatility, and sometimes that means training in and being aware of different styles. The industry is constantly changing. If you want to go into an audition and get a part, you have to be able to tick everything on the list just to stay in the game.

So you need to know how to market your skills? Exactly. Me, I’m strictly a hip-hop dancer. It depends what you’re talking about, too. There are two sides to the dance industry: the underground side with the battles and the crews, and the commercial scene, which is the music videos, tours with artists etc.

You’re a choreographer as well as a Boy Blue crew member. Where do you get your inspiration from? Everything really. For me personally a lot of my inspiration comes from music. The music I listen to tells me what to do. I’m very much a musicality based dancer and choreographer. I follow the beat and the piece of music I have in front of me. Apart from that, everyday objects, something I see someone do that I think is cool, things on the street… anything. I co-choreograph the Bratz, the youth group of Boy Blue. Sometimes we have themed pieces and sometimes we have straight dance. It depends, we try to cater for whatever kind of show we’re doing.

Tell us a little more about the Bratz. The Bratz are the youth company of Boy Blue; from 8-16. You come on a Thursday and do our open class taught by myself or Skytilz [Victoria Mantey]. If we see potential we invite you to Monday which is a closed session. If you’re invited to that you become part of the company. We train you up as a youngster and when you hit 16 you filter into the company. That’s the system at Boy Blue. You start in the Bratz and then at 17-21 we have the Blues. From the Blues you filter into the full company. You’re part of the education team for Boy Blue.

What does that entail and what does the role mean to you personally? I got involved in the education team for Pied Piper because I was already involved with the Bratz. As part of the education team, you have a responsibility for the kids; most of them are here because you brought them here. [For the roles of the Children of Hamelin] we held auditions across London and then again on the Barbican stage. From there we picked about 67 kids to block for the show –in groups of about fifteen per week. I feel like I’m there to watch how they’re doing and to talk to them because they remember me. I was there throughout the whole selection process so they know our names and faces.

So it’s quite interactive, then? Definitely. Some of them we teach already as they’re part of the Bratz. Others we’ve just met and of those we’ll be inviting some to the Monday sessions.

You’ve had many roles; you’ve worked as performer, choreographer, and in outreach projects. If you had to pick one, which would it be? Right now, I would say live performance. The older I get, the more I will teach, as I’ll have more to pass down. But for now it’s live performance, definitely. Getting back to the production. The tale of the Pied Piper was one that was documented in fairy tale form by the brothers Grimm.

If you could pick a narrative that exists today and transform it into dance, what would it be? I’m a big Disney fan so if I could turn a Disney story into a hip hop theatre production, that would be cool… Maybe Aladdin, that would be interesting.

Finally, any words of advice to young people out there with aspirations to work in dance and in the arts ? My best piece of advice to anyone is train. The better you are, the less someone can tell you something in an audition situation. If you can do everything -even if you’re not the size 8, the blonde, whatever you might think they’re looking for or you’re ‘supposed’ to be – if you have everything at your disposal skill-wise, no one can tell you anything. Most importantly, don’t get knocked down easily. You could do fifteen auditions and get one job out of it. But if you get disheartened by the fifth one, you’ll never get to that one which could be a huge job. You should always do it for the love and never give up. Always strive.

Boy Blue have just been invited to be Associate Producers at the Barbican for the next year. Keep an eye out for Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy’s upcoming projects. Another show is in the pipeline for 2011 and Bruno assures us it looks set to be as big as if not bigger than the Pied Piper! Catch Bruno in Pied Piper at the Barbican until January 3