Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Sharisse Zeroonian talks film, a new series, and hilarious set tales

Writer/Director Sharisse Zeroonian and I do a deep dive into her film career, looking at her two feature films, Mouse in the Bread and Well Water and a brand new series, One Plus One Equals Two. She talks about what got her into film, and why she's stayed involved for so long. We chat about changes in the industry and the pros and cons of what those have resulted in. And there are plenty of behind-the-scenes stories from Sharisse's films and she shares a couple. 

For music enjoy two songs from Jack and the Box, “If It Sounds Too Good” and “Sugar Tea.” This is a new blues project from Keith Pevoto. Due to physical limitations brought on by Sarcoidosis, he has moved from playing bass to spending the last few years writing songs and getting his vocals in shape. The result is some amazing music that you should really check out.


Monday, September 9, 2019

Review Roundup, Edition 4

Editor's Note: This is a weekly collection of mini-reviews of music, books, comics, movies, and more that I've enjoyed. Unless indicated, no one has requested a review, but I am open to submissions or suggestions, which can be sent to citywidemax@yahoo.com


Anime
Cannon Busters
At the time of this writing I'm four episodes into this new Netflix anime series and it's already got me hooked. For fellow anime lovers, this one reminded me a lot of series like Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star, and Samurai Champloo. The writing is funny as hell, the characters are endearing in different ways, and the plot is pretty decent. I loved both the opening and ending themes, and I'll definitely be watching this one through to the end.


Web Series
Let's Play
I'm a huge, huge fan of the Webtoon comic, so when I heard that it had been adapted for an animated series on YouTube, I had to watch it. I was absolutely blown away! Each episode is roughly five minutes long, and a lot of story is packed into each one, but not so much that it's hard to watch.
The voices for the characters are spot on to what I thought they'd sound like, and getting to see them brought to life in this new medium has been so much fun. The animation is really high-quality and I'm looking forward to more episodes.


Music 
Lina Cooper—A Good Year
I was contacted by this Boston-based artist, and wanting to learn more about her, decided to check out her music. This is her first single, and before I knew it had listened to the rest of her music. Lina has a strong vocal presence, but not forced. It's a voice you can't ignore, and if I were in a loud club and she began singing, I can imagine stopping mid-sentence to hear. On this track she's joined by Misha Bogomolov—with whom she wrote the song—and he's an equally intense singer. The two work really well together, and I dare you to only listen once.


Comics
Star Power
I picked this one up on an internal dare at the Rhode Island Comic-Con and am so glad I did! The story follows Danica Maris, who is chosen to wield the Star Power, a force to be wielded to protect the galaxy. Now, Danica is far from ready to take on all the baddies in the universe, and one of the things I liked was watching her deal with the pressure of this new role.
The artwork is beautiful and the many characters really add a lot to the series. The bad guys are really bad, and those on Danica's side also bring a lot to the table. I've only read the first trade, but that is going to change very soon.


Ghosts Among the Wildflowers
I just read this series for the second time, so I thought it'd be appropriate to include it in this week's Roundup. The series follows an unlikely group of friends as they search for the Ghost Treasure, a legendary treasure that is said to be able to grant any wish. I loved this one from the first episode. The characters are such a wide, funky range of personalities, from the jivin' Gelly and loveably hyper Milly to Victoria, whose stern demeanor hides a good heart (though she'll never admit it!).
The artwork is vibrant, flowing, and so colorful that it's hard to top. As mentioned, I've read this twice, and see a third in the near future.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Epic fantasy tales and East Coast tour stories

Rhode Island-based author A. Keith Carreiro is celebrating the completion of his The Penitent trilogy—but he's not done yet. You see, this is just one-third of a trilogy of trilogies, and he takes a look at what else is planned for the series, as well as the developments that occur in The Penitent, Part III. We also talk about being an independent author and some of the marketing lessons he's learned from being at conventions and fellow authors. 




And then I'm talking tour stories with the group WazUaz, who have made a career working with their audio, visual, and physical creation. They recently completed their MoneyHoon and NewlyDead tours and have a boatload of tales to tell! They also talk about their business, a blend of music, art, and fashion, and how they've turned it from a labor of love to their new careers.





The country duo Separate Charm recently released their new single, “Me Time,” and I absolutely love it, as you can read in my recent Review Roundup. This tune has a cool opening, great instrumentals, and superb vocals. You can hear it after Keith's interview.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Review Roundup, Edition 3

Web Series 
Or So The Story Goes—Knock Knock

When the crew from OSTSG got in touch with me to check out their new series, I knew I had to do it! The story centers on a home invasion horror, based on the classic tale “Jack and the Beanstalk.” This is the company's hallmark—taking old-school children's stories and bringing them to life in a brand new, chilling way. The production value for this is great, from the cinematography to the music and the sound. You can tell that a talented crew is working behind the scenes. The cast is just as skilled, bringing a great story to life that had me hooked from the beginning.


Music 
The Low Cards—Pilgrims Wake
Following a year's worth of shows and practice, The Low Cards has released a new album with an epic opening track, memorable lyrics, and the kind of sound rock lovers should take notice of. “Pilgrims Wake” spans a wide range of styles, though most with a strong rock backbone. “Pal” is a more jaunty tune, while “Wolves” gives a slower, more folky sound. “Kingdom” is this writer's favorite, starting off strong and pulsing throughout.

Jason Fichera—For You
This new single has great production quality, with a strong emotional presence throughout. It tells the tale of what one would do for the one they value most, and I can tell Jason's been there before. This adds a lot of credibility to the song. The instrumentation is very catchy and I enjoyed listening to this a number of times for this review.


Books
World War Z, by Max Brooks
I've read this one three times, and it's not to imagine why. The book, written by the author of the Zombie Survival Guide, takes place 10 years after the end of World War Z, a global zombie pandemic that came within a hair's breadth of extinguishing the human race.
The author is collecting data on how the plague started, the fight against it, and how many aspects of the human race across the globe have adapted to the new world, all as part of a postwar report. There's something new to catch each time, and Brooks really draws the reader in with each chapter, from a survivor of the legendary Battle Of Yonkers to one of the few to escape China's infestation.


Comics 
The Authority
This particular part of the long-running Authority series centers on the group taking over the United States after seeing that the current political system is both badly corrupt and not getting anything done. Raise you hand if you agree!
The trade—which spans 12 issues—is brilliantly written, with brutal, no-nonsense dialogue that eschews some of the more common tropes of comics. The good guys aren't really all that good—none are vying for the title of Boy Scout, I can tell you that—but they are on our side, so it definitely puts things in a different perspective. You don't need to read the rest of the series to follow this one, which is another point in its favor.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Longtime defense lawyer taps into experience for courtroom series

This week's show takes a look at the career of Ed Rucker, an L.A. criminal defense lawyer who's worked in the field for decades, representing a number of high-profile clients, including John Orr, the greatest serial arsonist in American history. Some of these cases have even been adapted into nonfiction books. Following his retirement, Rucker decided to jump into the writing world with the Bobby Earl series, now in its second book, “Justice Makes a Killing.”

Rucker talks about the new book and the story behind it, but also gives us an in-depth look into the world of jury trials, the criminal justice system, and prisons, all of which made its way into his works.

And for music, I bring you “Better Off” a new single from Cara Paige. I really dug this song from the beginning, and it's got a catchy, upbeat tempo. After that it's the electro duo Mai Eve with “When You Scream.” This EDM/Rock track is similarly upbeat, but the story is a very serious one.


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Review Roundup, Edition 2

Editor's Note: This a weekly collection of mini-reviews of music, books, comics, movies, and more that I've enjoyed. Not everything here is new, but it may be new to you, and I hope you check out the work, which can be found via the links included.
Unless indicated, no one has requested a review, but I am open to submissions or suggestions, which can be sent to citywidemax@yahoo.com.


Music 
Nordic Daughter—The One
The latest release from Nordic Daughter blends incredible drumming, stellar violin, and beautiful vocals to take the listener on a wonderfully melodic trip, the kind you'll want to repeat. The violin is downright surgical, standing out amidst the strong rock notes, but not so much that it buries the rest.

“Born to Be a Valkyrie” is without a doubt my favorite. Listening to this, I see a grand battle unfold, with warriors of legend striding across the field, weapons held high as they meet their foes. If you're a fan of Celtic rock, or are just looking for something walking a different step, this one's for you.


Separate Charm—Me Time
Country's a genre that I've only recently gotten into, but this duo of Melissa Ramski and Lizzie Miller have me very curious to explore it some more. This new single is a powerhouse tune, moving smoothly from the quiet opening to a punchy tempo. This song is catchy as hell, speaking to getting out of the normal rut and having some fun. In a world where it's become easier to work your life away, some Me Time is something we could all use more of.


Audiobooks
Alien III—An Audible Original Drama
I'm a big fan of the film series, and when I heard of this recent release, which brings William Gibson's uncovered Alien III script to life, I knew I had to get it. Alongside a full cast, Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen reprise their iconic roles as Corporal Hicks and Bishop from the 1986 film “Aliens.” The rest of the cast is amazing, and the music and sounds effects really complete the experience. And frankly, this would have made a much better movie. Hey, I said I'm a fan of the series, I didn't say I loved them all equally.


Movies 
Well Water Filmmaker Sharisse Zeroonian tackles youth and the desire to grow up immediately in this wonderful comedic drama. Cora and Ben are a young couple in the midst of planning their future. While Ben wishes for a simple, stable life, Cora looks to a photography degree in New York City. The two find themselves at an impasse, unable to find a lot of common ground. It's a place familiar to many—being so young, but wanting all the trappings of adulthood. Sharisse's writing is clever, emotional, and draws the viewer into the story. The cast really gets into the roles, and it's clear they've been here before. The film is available on Opprime.tv.


Comics 
Let's Play
Another great comic from the folks at Webtoon, this series (which just kicked off its second season) centers on Sam, an aspiring game designer who publishes her first game, only to have it torn apart by a popular reviewer, one she's a big fan of. Not only that, but said reviewer becomes her new neighbor!

That alone would be enough to craft a great story, but this comic is chock-full of many characters, from Link, Sam's longtime friend (and maybe more!), her somewhat overprotective father, and of course, her faithful canine companion Bowser. There's a lot more, and each have earned their place in this series. This one had me from the first episode, and I've been hooked ever since.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Musical journeys from London to Nashville to Atlanta

Kicking off this week's program is London-born and Atlanta-based hip-hop artist Poni Capri. She's got a new EP out called “Dark Candy,” which touches on her time in the world of drugs and gangs and how she's made her mark as a musician and model.










The Nashville-based folk duo of Lost Hollow tell us all about their adventures in Europe, plus their new release, Looking for Happy and the release show planned later this month. Included in the album is the song “Shine On,” which is dedicated to the memory of Sancy Shaw, who died tragically in a drunk driving accident.



Plus, there's great music from both guests. From Poni, we've got “Chosen” and “Rich Sex,” and Lost Hollow brings us “Shine On” and “We Are One.”