Sounds of Sputnik Emerge ‘New Born’

gia on the move musicToday’s music release from Sounds of Sputnik comes on the heels of Saturday’s ‘blue moon’.  Yup.  We went there.

Hallmark U.S. shoegaze label Moon Sounds Records has officially released the debut LP by Russia’s Jagermeister Indie Award Winning band Sounds of Sputnik, entitled ‘New Born’ feat. Ummagma.

The ‘New Born’ LP presents a palette of ethereal guitar, powerful drums, lush bass, and clever guitars, topped off with gossamer female vocals. Sounds of Sputnik paired up with Canadian-Ukrainian dreampop duo Ummagma to co-write, produce, and record this album. Ummagma’s Shauna McLarnon and Alexx Kretov also both contribute stunning vocals.

Rooted in a shared love of melodic dream pop, post-rock and shoegaze, both Sounds of Sputnik and Ummagma bring their own influences from Lush, Curve, Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine, together with Hammock, Jesus & Mary Chain and The Twilight Sad to create brilliant “dream noise”.

“The lyrics are about the crappy situation we’ve gotten ourselves into as a society – and for us as individuals too, and a hopeful way out of this,” explains Shauna McLarnon of Ummagma.

The ‘New Born’ LP also features contributions by several legendary guests: drummer Graham Bonnar (Swervedriver/ Brian Jonestown Massacre) on ‘Overdrive’, and remixes by Malcolm Holmes (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark), psych rock producer Fran Ashcroft (Damon Albarn, Lords of Acid), Russian producers Morozov and Oleg Mezherovsky, and Brazil’s Mind Movies. British producer Marc Joy (Lights That Change, Primal Scream, Oasis, Bernard Butler, Mike Peters, Golden Fable) provided mastering support.

After an 8-month hiatus to write and rehearse new music, Sounds of Sputnik shall play their first live show with their new line-up and repertoire at Moscow’s Teatr Club on Wednesday, May 25. (Info in Russian here)

Keep up with Sounds of Sputnik 
Keep up with Ummagma 

MOCA, L.A. Unveils 1st Madworkshop by Sonia Liu

gia on the move art installation moca On the radar this week is the installation of 24 year old ArtCenter College of Design (Pasadena) student, Sonia Liu’s multileveled communal seating system to debut on the plaza at the Grand Avenue location of the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles on Thursday, June 2, 2016.

Entitled sanke, the work will be introduced by the artist in conversation with MOCA’s Director, Philippe Vergne at 4 pm, followed by a private reception at 5 pm. This is MADWORKSHOP’s first public exhibition since its inception in 2015.

Unlike any other outdoor seating for public spaces readily available on the market, Sonia Liu’s sanke system includes attached outdoor tables and seating for 10-12 in multiple heights and shapes, all on the same dining structure. Fabricated with durable, weather-resistant materials in a mixed palate of natural wood finishes and glossy colors, the sanke tables were designed to explored the ways public space is used in the digital age, encourage human interaction and engender a sense of togetherness, even for those dining alone.

“This innovative approach changes the way we interact in a communal space,” said David Martin, FAIA, Co-Founder of Madworkshop. “In a smartphone culture trending toward human isolation, the sanke design promotes human connection without forcing the issue.”

In keeping with MADWORKSHOP’s mission, craftsmanship is at the core of the sanke project. Liu chose cost-efficient materials and created simple construction and fastening methods with manufacturing and installation in mind. MADWORKSHOP is planning for mass production of the sanke tables and, as part of its mission, is currently seeking manufacturing partners.

For more information about the MADWORKSHOP Foundation please visit madworkshop.org.

Unbelief Plagues Treehouse Productions’ “Next Fall”

Reviewed by Marc Wheeler

gia on the move marc wheeler theatre reviewsGeoffrey Nauffts’ tragically beautiful gay love story Next Fall tells the tale of a most unlikely pair: Luke (Tom Berklund), a devout “born again” Christian and Adam (Jay Ayers), a wry, 15-years-his-senior atheist. Nominated for a Best Play Tony Award in 2010, Next Fall is a richly layered exploration of love, faith and sacrifice that has the potential to get us, one way or another, to believe.

Key word: potential.

In the hands of Treehouse Productions’ disastrous staging of Next Fall at MACHA Theatre, it’s not that we’re of little faith, it’s that we’re of little reason to believe in much outside a welcome ending to our tribulations.

Take the opening scene. We find ourselves in a hospital waiting room with Luke’s mother, father and two friends. Luke’s been in a terrible accident and is in a coma. When Adam, his boyfriend of five years, finally arrives after taking the quickest flight home he could get from an out-of-town high school reunion, he’s somewhere on the emotional scale between “I’ll take a number four combo” and “Why’s there nothing good on TV?”

Wait, what? I thought you said he rushed back home when he heard his boyfriend’s been in a horrible accident and is in a coma?

I did.

I don’t know what director Robin Long was thinking. I don’t know how Ayers was cast. But Naufft’s heartbreaking, provocative script is often not to be found in this mess of a production. Ayers is in over his head, often wandering the stage as if lost in the desert looking heavenward (for what — guidance?) He doesn’t seem to understand the material, often emphasizing what’s written on the page instead of the essential subtext we need to make sense of his dialogue. And emotions? Forget it. You won’t find many from him in this intended tear-jerker.

As for chemistry with his romantic co-star (whose faith he condescendingly mocks) — if only we could believe. If this odd coupling weren’t perplexing enough, he shatters all hope of its believability.

Berklund, on the other hand, makes for a handsome devil of a Christ-lover as Luke. Charm and sex appeal he has in spades. In that sense it’s understandable why Adam would — at least initially — fall for him. His performance is endearing, and yet, what’s missing is a clearer sense of Luke’s internal struggles, especially in the face of pointed questions asked of him on the logistics of his faith. It can’t be easy being a Rapture-believing, gay Christian actor in New York City who views his own homosexuality as sinful. How does he make it work? Where’s his fight — or even his justifications? On a lesser note, his praying before meals doesn’t require him moving his lips — we get it.

Supporting roles (Zachary Barton, Stephen Mac Howard and Rachel Miles) are for the most part adequate, despite flubbed lines from a couple of them. There’s one standout that deserves attention, however: John Shartzer as Luke’s friend Brandon. Shartzer is brooding and pensive, his inner demons on full display without overdoing it. A thoughtful, guarded and tormented soul, he gets through life gliding over, even steamrolling, the paradox that lives inside him.

Jim Fry’s chintzy set consists of simple walls and chairs, setting the stage (literally) for this mostly amateurish production. That being said, stagehands dressed in hospital scrubs is a nice effect, continually reminding us of the bleak reality that is our present moment in a play that jumps back and forth between seasons. Also, gorgeous original piano music from composers Yaron Spiwak and Matt Walker (also serving as producers) and Haim Mazar make for satisfying interludes.

Next Fall is a tall order. Nauffts’ script requires a director’s complete understanding of its complexities and ability to express its unlikely love story through a cast who not only make sense of the material but also make it work. Unfortunately, in the hands of Treehouse Productions audiences are left expressing the sentiments of Mark 9:24 which plead:

“I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Now playing a limited engagement through May 22, 2016

MACHA Theatre/Films
1107 N Kings Rd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Thursday, Friday and Saturday – 8 PM
Sunday – 7 PM

Running Time:
2 hours, with one 10-minute intermission

Tickets and info:  nextfallweho.com

What’s a Girl to Do in “Mrs. Warren’s Profession”?

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

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gia on the move tracey paleo theatre reviews

Jenna Tovey and Susan Hardie in Theatre Palisade’s, “Mrs. Warren’s Profession”

What was immediately noticeable in the recent run of Mrs. Warren’s Profession at Theatre Palisades Pierson Playhouse was not so much the gender equity confab hardly downplayed in George Bernard Shaw’s 100-year-old play, but the freshness with which director Sabrina Ann Loyd illuminated a piece born in a time of heavy-handed, suffocating, Edwardian, sexual double-standards between men and women. In 1902, when Mrs. Warren’s Profession was first produced audiences had to have been electrified by the racy ideas of female equality and challenges to societal custom where lower class suppresion, gender bias and parental ownership were the social status quo.

Theatregoers today tend to pigeonhole the classics as ‘dated’, old museum pieces, not worthy of the kind of respect or real reflection they might have been accorded in their original productions. This version of Mrs. Warren’s Profession however, aided by a simple set design and straightforward stage direction, claimed a modernity that was thoroughly encouraging.

There were dull moments to be sure. Long cadences of dialog drawn out by the actors’ struggles for the accent work (not including Jenna Tovey/Vivie, whose command of the text was impeccable), occasional slow going repartee and age-old ideals about women expended by all the characters, of course. But listening to Shaw’s dialog, given perspective through Lloyd’s pointedly, even-paced guidance, exquisitely magnified the extraordinary peripherality of the men, who indeed have the upper hand in most things, and are generally either surprised by or occasionally find useful, the intelligence of women here – although far from reverentially. Contradictory to the times and the setup in this instance however, it is their female counterparts who claim utter dominance in the play.

The story centers on the relationship between Mrs. Kitty Warren, a former prostitute and current brothel owner and her daughter, Vivie, an intelligent and pragmatic young woman who has just graduated from university, and has come home to get acquainted with her mother for the first time in her life. Mrs. Warren, arrives with her business partner Sir George Crofts who is immediately attracted to Vivie and makes an offer of marriage. Vivie however is romantically involved with George Gardner, a spendthrift, social-climbing, pastor’s son who sees Vivie as his meal ticket. As the visit progresses the unsettling question of Vivie’s birth father continually arises making every relationship a bit dicey. The real conflict comes into play however when Mrs. Warren confesses what  she does for a living and the reason for her choice.  Now a Madame, she became a prostitute to support her daughter and give her the opportunities she never had.

That is where it gets ‘hot’. The two women, vastly different in breeding, bearing and lifestyle yet exactly alike in will, go head to head when Vivie laudes her mother as a champion but then criticizes her for not leaving the profession now that she is rich enough to no longer need it.

Each accuses the other of being ‘hard’ and they are both right. Neither can nor will bend and the consequence is that Vivie walks away from her mother and her wealth permanently, for an independent life – same as her mother – only in what she sees as a more respectable path.  The truth though, is that Vivie’s choice is no more elevated than Mrs. Warren’s. It’s quite possible that Vivie, in the long run will have chosen the more ardous life that her mother worked so hard to elevate her from.  Only time will tell. The dilemma between the two women is an interesting confluence and Vivie by no means solidly emerges a heroine, or Warren for that matter.

Overall, the production is a triumph for Lloyd, who has painstakingly put together a vibrant conversation about women’s issues through a 20th century classic.

Theatre Palisades presents George Bernard Shaw’s social commentary “MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION” directed by Sabrina Lloyd and produced by Martha Hunter and Sherman Wayne by special permission with Samuel French. The cast features (in alphabetical order) Brooks Darnell, Susan Hardie, Craig Jessen, Frank Krueger, Ken MacFarlane and Jenna Tovey.

No More Performances

Penny for the Workhouse

gia on the move music

Penny for the Workhouse are one of the most wholly committed to ‘Folk n Roll’ UK bands with the eccentricity of Syd Barrett or early David Bowie combined with the olde worlde swagger of Victorian London… it’s weird and wonderful stuff. Somehow, tracks like ‘Willow Tree’ and ‘Smoker at the Window’ manage to sound thoroughly contemporary whereas ‘Old’ evokes the image of a music hall in the early 1900s.

Denim for EveryBody is True Religion

gia on the move fashion whats hot now#WhatsHotNow

True Religion Jeans has launched a unique Athletic Fit ($229) for men and Curvy Fit ($199) for women with more comfort at the waist and more room through the hip and thigh.

Fit for an Athlete: the Athletic Fit is designed for men looking for a tailored jean to fit their muscular build – space-focused at the hip, thigh, knee, and leg opening, yet Geno Slim and Ricky Straight fit proportions.

Flaunt Your Assets:
the Curvy Fit is designed to highlight and flatter true hourglass frames. Tailored with a contoured waistband, the Curvy jean provides a smooth look and features a shorter front rise and higher back rise to prevent gaps in the back. Currently available in Skinny & Bootcut. New washes jean in white will be available in stores early June and a Distressed Skinny fit in store late June/early July.

gia on the move fashion whats hot now

Gucci Memoir : Chronicle of a Not So Secret Love

bookshot-spine-cropIn the Name of Gucci: A Memoir, by Patricia Gucci (Crown, on sale May 10) is the first book written by a direct descendant of Guccio Gucci—Patricia’s grandfather and the company’s founder. It chronicles her life as the secret love child of Aldo Gucci and Bruna—the woman he fell in love with when she was just eighteen, and remained at his side until his death at 84 years of age. What started out as an affair became a lifelong commitment and for the last 20 years of his life, long after he had been estranged from his first wife Olwen, it was Bruna who was considered his wife in the US, culminating with their marriage in the 1980s. Woven throughout the book is the complicated, but loving father-daughter relationship between Aldo and Patricia Gucci, the first woman in the family to be elected to the Gucci board of directors, and who ultimately became his sole universal heir.

gia on the move fashion

Patricia Gucci with her father Aldo Gucci

This is a daughter’s bittersweet tribute to her beloved father which traces Aldo Gucci’s marketing brilliance and stamina in establishing Gucci as one of the world’s most iconic brands. He was the first Italian to set up an Italian luxury goods retail operation in the US, opening on Fifth Avenue in New York, Worth Avenue in Palm Beach and Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, paving the way for the ‘Made in Italy’ phenomenon throughout the world for countless others to follow in his footsteps.

Meet Patricia a her book signing and conversation with Wall Street Journal reporter Marc Myers on Friday, May 13, 2016 at 7pm at The Strand bookstore located at 828 Broadway (at 12th Street) New York, NY 10003

Connect with Patricia Gucci:

WEBSITE: http://PATRICIAGUCCI.COM
FACEBOOK: inthenameofgucci/
INSTAGRAM: patriciagucciofficial and #IntheNameofGucci
TWITTER: #IntheNameofGucci