I asked Ryan Shores 10 questions and this is what happened…(NSFW)

Logo

 

I’m not really sure how I discovered Ryan Shores. If I had to guess, the most likely scenario is that somewhere between browsing my favorite blogs and Twitter feeds, his unique brand of humor caught my attention. Not only has Ryan kept me laughing, he’s also a fellow horror enthusiast and one Hell of a nice guy 🙂

Ryan Shores is a bit of cult phenomenon. His first appearance on the comedy scene was in 2008 with the debut of his book, “Lotto Scratchers & Tall Cans”. Since then, he has not only qualified for the 2013 World Series of Comedy, but has remained endlessly busy touring and producing the wildly popular show, “The Degenerate Podcast”. If you haven’t already met Ryan Shores, you are in for a treat. So grab a beer, kick up your feet, and let’s go “Cruisin’ with the Tooz”!

1. What are the best and worst parts of being a professional comedian?

The best part of being a comic is finding out which of your feelings and thoughts are shared by everybody, and which ones are specific to just you (aka- “not funny”). The worst part is the 90% of comedy that takes place OFF stage. i.e., finding bookings, traveling alone, killing time all day in a crappy town/motel, getting screwed by promoters, occasionally taking financial hits and for ALL OF THAT – you get 10-25 minutes (longer when you’re headlining) to make that worth it… And some nights it’s not. If you travel to, lets say, Colorado to play a club, and somewhere between the plane landing and arriving at your Ramada, you discover your expenses will be outweighing your pay, and then you spend all day watching whatever is on TBS in the middle of the afternoon, and you’re lonely and bored, and can’t drink (you cant show up to the gig wasted) ….Then you FINALLY get to the club and no one is really into what you’re saying, and some drunk fat guy keeps yelling “SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THE BRONCOS!!!!” – you just say, “ugh, what was the point of tonight this week?” – those are moments of discouragement, that usually require 3 good shows in a row to get canceled out in my own brain.

2. Where do you find inspiration for your jokes?

For me, inspiration comes from walking around, looking around and occasionally getting super irritated. I am not a comic that can just SCHEDULE time to write stuff. I can’t just sit at a table and say “Okay! Time to be funny! What’s funny??? What should I joke about today??!?” – it’s gotta come organically. Something has to happen to, or in front of me, to make me go, “Oh, I think there’s something I can use here!” –

The benefit of that technique is that it requires practically ZERO discipline on my part- but the downside is, if nothing happens for a while, I could go months without a new joke to try.

Ryan 2

3. I’m a big fan of “The Degenerate Podcast”. How would you describe the show?

I guess I’d have to go with “trash talking in an organized fashion” – it’s a low budget show, but I’m proud of it sometimes. Basically, the formula we use when taping, is to talk like no one is listening (to not hold back), but put in the effort as if we had a billion listeners. We drink beer on the show, but no one is allowed to show up so drunk or high that they can’t perform. I can’t stand that. I have been very adamant with the cast since day 1, “Don’t be self conscious, say whatever you want, but show up with your brain working and CARE about whatever it is that you’re saying, no matter how stupid or trivial it is.”

4. Who was your favorite guest on the show?

I think Rob Brouillard from the band “The Strikers” was my favorite guest thus far because we were able to bring him out of his shell a little bit by the end of the episode. Rob’s a very nice guy, and a very well-liked musician, and so he’s very hesitant to say anything negative about ANYONE, and not just on tape! In person too. Which I think is a VERY admirable quality. I wish I had that. But by the end of a 2-hour episode with us, we had him spilling his guts a little bit about a few bands he’d toured with (for better or worse) and a few other things he may have otherwise remained respectfully mum about. It was some of the most fun I’ve had on the show.

5. Finish this sentence: “When I read the things that people say on social media I ___________.”

Sarcastically respond (out loud) “that was the GREATEST story…. I have EVER heard.”

6. What are your other interests besides comedy and drinking?

I’m a big fan of all things horror. I have been since I was 3. I collect horror art and old 1950’s EC horror comics. I also have a large VHS horror collection… Haha.  I also have an interest in sharks. I spend about an hour or two every day researching sharks as a hobby. Their different species, migration patterns (what’s known of them), feeding habits, most common dwelling temperatures, etc… It’s this weird habit I’ve had for years.  I have a large collection of guitars as well, but I’ve kinda neglected them in recent years.

7. If you could ask Charles Bukowski one thing, what would it be?

I’d say, “I loved your work in Black Flag.” (Kidding)  – If I had a chance to meet Charles Bukowski, I’d ask him if his writing was cathartic, or depressing, or both. I’d ask him how often he talked to himself when he was alone, and whether he found himself to be his own best company or if being alone with his own thoughts for too long was difficult at times. And more specifically I’d ask him to compare Los Angeles now to his h        yday, to determine what the MAJOR differences are, besides, iPhones, hashtags and social media “stars” hanging out places.

 8. Which comedians have influenced you?

I always REALLY liked George Carlin and Jerry Seinfeld as a kid. I probably listened to “You’re All Diseased” (Carlin) and “I’m Telling You For The Last Time” (Seinfeld) more times than those comedians rehearsed and performed those routines, however it never made me wanna be a comedian…. The person who inspired me to get into standup was Henry Rollins. When I was in college, I listened to NOTHING BUT Rollins’ spoken word in my free time. I REALLY loved how he called out everyday bullshit, and I REALLY wanted to do that too, but I knew I didn’t have any business doing “spoken word”… When you’re 23 and haven’t done shit in your life, and no one has ever heard of you, nobody is going to want to listen to you tell really long, single-subject stories that may or may not have any value to them… Plus, people that do “spoken word” are typically pretty arrogant and WILDLY untalented – so I chose to start learning how to do traditional standup to accomplish that same goal: make fun and yell about things that annoy me.

Ryan 3

9. I’ve often heard you say “Cruisin’ with the Tooz”. Is this a reference to the book by John Matusdak, or are you just trying to confuse people?

I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED ME THAT!!! It’s BOTH!!! I really like looking up what happened to random pop culture people that no one thinks about anymore. It’s a hobby like researching sharks for no reason… Anyway, one day, I decided, “I wanna know what ever became of the dude that played Sloth in ‘The Goonies’!!” – which is how I stumbled across John Matuzak (aka “The Tooz”) – that dude was a riot! He got kicked out of the NFL for beating up a coach, made a little noise in Hollywood for a couple years as an extra/bit-part actor then died of a cocaine overdose. But BEFORE HE DID, he published his auto biography, titled “CRUISIN’ WITH THE TOOZ!!!” … For some reason, that title made me crack up so hard that I just started yelling it at the end of my shows with ZERO explanation to the audience and posting it on various social media platforms as like a faux-catch phrase. I never explained why, and people just kind of accepted it as random nonsense. People even started shouting it at shows, having NO IDEA what it meant…. And occasionally, people will get curious and google it, and be even MORE confused! Like, “The guy from the Goonies??? Thats who he keeps randomly referencing??? Why???” – so it’s like a private joke for me (and now you), and also a silent nod to the late, great John Matuzak…. Now someone please add me to his Wikipedia page as a footnote!!!

10. By now my readers are very interested in tracking you down and studying your body of work. Where can they find you? 

www.ryanshores.com

Facebook.com/ryanshores138

Twitter: @ryanshores138

Instagram: Ryan_shores138

Every episode of “The Degenerate Podcast” is available on iTunes for free, with new episodes every Friday (or Saturday if someone fucks up).

A peek into the decadent world of Little Miss Risk…

Header

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Tristan Risk.  For those of you who haven’t discovered her yet, you’ll want to set aside some quality time to scope out her ridiculously fun website.  Famous for her smart mouth, seductive stage performances, and insightful writing, Little Miss Risk is a fascinating character.  Hailing from Vancouver, she’s a delightful combination of all things sultry and spooky, with a hint of comedy that will knock you on your ass.  A talented darling of the stage and screen, Tristan also spends her days as a Corsetier, model, blogger, and all around connoisseur of mischief.

I was familiar with Little Miss Risk’s work through the burlesque community, but really developed a crush on her recently after viewing the horror hit “American Mary”.  My favorite character in the movie was the charismatic Beatress, so when the credits rolled by, I was delighted to learn that the actress portraying her was none other than the astonishing Tristan Risk.  It was then that I decided that I must get all of the gorgeously gory details on the girl who has so effortlessly captivated audiences worldwide.

1. What’s a average day like for Little Miss Risk?

It depends on season. If it’s winter that means waking under the cover of darkness and if I’m at home, feeding my crows outside. Daily routines include yoga, seawall run or gym time, at least one sojourn though East Van daily. Regular activities in a day can include a photo or film shoot, performance where (spoiler alert) I wind up in a state of undress, or learning a ridiculous life skill like hanging from my hair or bending a nail with my ass. Usually coffee and smiles are involved throughout the day.

Lunch

2. What qualities do you think make a great entertainer? What sets you apart from other performers?

It might seem redundant, but one of the best qualities an entertainer can possess is the DESIRE to entertain. I see a lot of performances that aren’t authentic because the person behind them is hiding behind large costumes or props when they aren’t giving their whole heart. A great entertainer is present, and is sharing the moment with their audience. Creating that special bond between exhibitionist and voyeur rather than a performer thinking about laundry and an audience member texting.

I think what differentiates me from other performers is my arts bleed across one another. My visual art gets into my costume concept, if I’m shooting film, I try to appear naked in it, I use my body to tell stories and create visual art as a kinetic sculpture. I think the inability to compartmentalize it and to still have a sense of humour in whatever my project is serves as a pretty good signature of style.

3. You’re somewhat of a Vancouver historian. What’s it like living there?

I was born and bred in Vancouver. I have never lived anywhere else in my life. Yet I’ve travelled fairly extensively over the years as a performer and have seen much of Europe, North America, The South Pacific and Asia. And every time I have to say I adore coming home to Vancouver. We are spoiled by all the gorgeous  natural surroundings of mountain and ocean, and while keeping some of our original architecture of ‘old school’ Vancouver becomes a challenge, it’s still a wonderful place to live. Add to that the the general public is fairly attractive, in good health, and smokes a lot of pot, it truly is Lotus Land. I really encourage anyone who’s not come to check it out. But don’t trust the travel guides – hit me up and I’ll direct you to the things you HAVE to see!

Window

4. Who are some of your favorite burlesque stars?

Of the Legends? I’m a fan of Tura Satana (who also graced screen and burlesque stage as well), Dusty Summers, the first nude magician, and Satan’s Angel who first spun fire tassels! From the new school I’ve tremendous respect for Dita Von Teese and Catherine D’Lish for bringing the ‘show’ back to ‘showgirl’, my ladies in Sweet Soul Burlesque, Melody Mangler, and Burgundy Brixx from the Vancouver crew. I adore many of the NYC ladies, and Eve Champagne and Tronicat in Germany! Much love! But I’m amazed at the new and fresh talent. Especially here in Vancouver where I’ve heard our burlesque scene is likened to what Seattle was to Grunge music. I’m always surprised and impressed with all the high concept art performances, the merging of sideshow/fetish/magic/tribal styles and the drive that all these performers have. It’s very humbling to be around.

5. You were incredible as the character ‘Beatress’ in the movie ‘American Mary’! What was it like playing that role?

At the risk of sounding like I went too far down the rabbit hole, I feel a lot of myself is in Beatress. Fragments and portions of my personality. Some of them twisted into parodies, but it’s still there, and with Beatress I feel she was an extension of some of these personality facets. Playing her was such fun, since everyone liked the character, and more than a few crew were walking on eggshells around me until I realized they were trying to be polite and not stare – they thought the fx make up was my real face! But getting to twirl around set crooning like Beatress and making people laugh on set was the most fun! For my first major film role I feel lucky to have hit the jackpot.

6. The Soska Sisters are a pretty intense duo. Any fun stories you’d like to share?

The Soska sisters are divine creations. I’d have never had half of the opportunities I’d have been offered if not for them taking a chance an casting an unknown ecdysiast in the role of Beatress. I also recognize that a role like THAT does not always come into one’s lap. So let me start this by stating that I am very grateful for the chance to play Beatress and have two such gifted and kind friends. As for one of our fun moments was we ‘discovered’ a hidden pool at this hotel we were staying at. There was one main one, and then other one that you practically required a sherpa guide to get to, but this other had a hot tub. So another friend of mine was there with us and we dressed like mermaids and had a mermaid party in the hotel pool. The looks we got trucking the tails down the hall, over our shoulders were priceless, not to mention the puddle-trails that followed us to our room. I’m pretty sure they knew it was us, but the hotel security footage from that must be priceless…

I also have a bad habit of delivering them ‘stripper coffee’ as I tend to be a (annoying) morning person. It usually means I wake up two hours before anyone else, go get coffee, then knock on the door and when they answer, be topless. Again, the hotel security footage would be solid gold here.

Mermaid

7. Little Miss Risk is a wonderful balance of sex appeal, humour and horror influence. What are some of the things that inspire you the most?

Antique erotica (trust me, humans exhausted all options WAY before the Internet) and taking from forbidden and taboo subjects of the past. Old school Alice Cooper is as big an influence as Zigfield and Dita. I’ve a fascination with myth and folklore and a lot of myths and legends inter wired into cyberpunk concepts often meet in my brain. I have a collection of vintage brooches which I like to arrange amidst tarot cards to see if one can influence the other and then I can bring them to life onstage. 🙂 I’m pretty sure too that I’m not the only one guilty of having a large collection of coffee table books with art and artists that inspire me as well….

8. What is something about you that people may be surprised to learn?

That I like to surf. I don’t do it often, and I’m not terribly good at it, but when I get the chance I like to ride the waves. I also plan to get a professional mermaid tail made so I can have tail when travelling! I also have a terrible compulsion to doodle raccoons pushing wheelbarrows as well.

9. If you could travel in time, when and where would you go?

1888 – Montermarte, Paris

1925 – Paris

1978 – CBGB’s, New York City

1945 – The Cave Supper club, Vancouver

1986 – Vancouver, at a Skinny Puppy recording session

10. What are some of your favorite magic tricks?

I love quick change magic, and Pepper’s Ghost, which is one of the hardest illusions to recreate since it’s so fundamental that the venue be set up properly for it. One of my favourite magicians, and good friends, Dr.T, has shown infinite patience with me, usually when we do our duo stuff. He’s done the Fringe circuit for a few years, and I always find myself clapping like a five year old when I see him do his acts.

Ghost

11. I’ve heard that you began performing by accident.  I know there must be a great story…please elaborate!

Oh lord, it’s true! I emcee’d my first show when I was seven for my granddad’s church show… after getting the stage and a taste of the mic, I never looked back. I got into burlesque entirely by accident. A friend was having a party for her boyfriend and wanted someone to jump out of a cake and do a Marilyn Monroe striptease thing. I volunteered to do it (the cake was the most ghetto cardboard/sparkle/glue gun affair that you can imagine). Apparently it was a hit, and he asked me to ‘open’ for their band the following week. Since then it’s been difficult keeping me off of a stage and clothes on, but I’ve not heard any complaints yet.

12. I absolutely love reading your blog!  What post was the most fun to write?

It’s like trying to pick who’s your favourite among your children. I do rather like throwing down on burlesque or Vancouver history and any chance I get to write about my favourite RPGs and their relevance to my current state of affairs makes me smile. And when in doubt, post photos of yourself or people/things/places that inspire you.

13.  Any exciting projects on the horizon that you would like to talk about?

Ooh, well I’ve got three films being released come 2014, which is pretty exciting for me. One is Astron 6’s The Editor, and two short films, one is a secret and the other is Jill Sixx’s The Callgirl where I’m also with Laurence Harvey (of Human Centipede 2/3). Very stoked about all of these and looking forward to doing a few more films come 2014… Not sure when I can spill the beans on those, but there’s three projects lined up so fingers crossed I can let you know sooner than later. I’m also working on a coffee table book with Shimona Henry that I’m hoping to release next fall so things are coming down the pipe all over!

I could have gone on forever asking Little Miss Risk a million questions, but she had some trouble to start and I couldn’t bear to interrupt.  If you’re in the mood for some sassy tweets you can track her down at @littlemissrisk.  For burlesque bookings she can be reached at sweetsoulburlesque@gmail.com.  Love letters can be emailed to littlemissrisk@gmail.com

Special thanks to Shimona Henry for the beautiful images!

Face On By Tamara – Photographer extraordinaire!

I’ve known Tamara, the lovely lady behind Face On By Tamara, for several years.  She is an incredible photographer, and as I recall, our friendship began when we collaborated on some images for the Poison Candy® line. I’ve worked with many photographers, but Tamara captivated me with her ambitious nature and take no prisoners attitude when it came to getting the perfect shot.  Many times I have asked for a simple catalog style shot and gotten not only the ideal image, but a host of unexpected photos in various locations.  She is brilliant at converting any space into a studio, once turning her garage into the perfect bordello for a Moulin Rouge inspired collection.  When Tamara organizes a photo shoot it becomes more of an adventure for model and photographer alike, the gorgeous imagery being a pleasant side effect of playtime.

Tamara impresses me not only with the quality of her work, but also with her kindness and incredible multi-tasking skills.  I am so grateful that she was able to find the time in her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me as I have wanted to interview her for this blog for quite a while!

 
When did you develop a love for photography?   

I have always loved photography ever since I can remember. I remember asking my parents for a camera at six years old. I have lots of talented artists in my family, I use to pose for my uncle who is a artist. He would take photos of my cousin and me in victorian dresses and paint portraits referencing the photos. I loved seeing the outcome.  I also use to model when I was younger and always loved collaborating with photographers to make art.

How old were you when you got your first camera?  What/who were your first subjects? 

I received my first professional camera when I was 26 years old. My husband bought me my first professional camera after my first son was born. My son Noah was my first subject . 🙂 As a teenager I would do photo shoots with friends all the time using film cameras.

What valuable lessons have you learned over the years?

I have learned so many valuable lessons over the years in this business, and I learn more everyday. Most importantly, never give up, it doesn’t matter what equipment you use or how much money you have…its what you do with your abilities that matters. Your dreams can come true if you work hard enough!

You have so many diverse styles of photography in your portfolio.  What types of photos are your favorite to shoot and why?

I have always liked many styles of photography and never wanted to limit myself to just one style. My favorite photo style to capture are my makeover photo shoots. I started with make over photo shoots and thats my passion. Its very rewarding to make over normal women into rockstars!

 You are a super busy lady!  What is an average day like for you? 

Ha! My average day starts with my boys jumping all over me in bed, being a taxi driver, making sure the family is doing what the should be, emailing, consulting with clients, booking clients, retouching photos, being a mama, cleaning the house, more retouching,  taxi driver, getting prepared for upcoming shoots, playing with my kids, and more retouching photos! 😉

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

My advice for aspiring photographers is to ask lots and lots of questions, even if you feel like they are dumb. I keep my camera and sketch pad with me everywhere I go! I scribble drawings of ideas for photo shoots, make up looks and business ideas! If photography is your passion….and you really, really want it, you go get it! You don’t dream it…. you do it! I literally woke up one morning told my husband, ” I’m gonna do make up & photography!” ,that very day I started advertising and I never looked back. You must be ready to give up your life for some time….you will loose friends, but will also gain many! You will have haters, people will tell you your not good enough, or think your stupid because you don’t know every technical answer to a camera question, believe me….I get judged a ton, let God be the judge and let him be your defense! Let your work speak for itself 🙂  Don’t listen to negative people, stay positive! You CAN do anything you put your heart too! You have to be ready to give everything you have in you in order for your photography business to succeed. You will fail over and over, and learn from each mistake.

I love to inspire other people to do what they dream, live your passion….its not impossible! “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible.”  I am self taught. I practiced, read, watched, questioned, slept-dreamed- loved photography and makeup with all of my being! Never give up!  I have had my share of ups and downs, you have to get back up and keep on going….It’s a ton of blood , sweat and tears…but it is all worth it when you can take a step back and say-  “Wow, I did it!….I’m living my dream, I’m supporting my family, and my job is my passion!  I can be a stay at home mommy ,that is a true blessing. When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.

What do you think sets your work apart from other photographers?

My work sets me apart from other photographers because I am self taught, I see things outside of the box. I have developed my own creative vision and style of photography and make up. I always try to be different.

You are also very skilled at makeup and hair artistry.  Did you know your way around a makeup kit when you first started out?   

Thank you, I love make up! I knew my way around a make up kit at age six! 🙂 My mother and grandmother had fancy make up tables and I would gaze at them when they were putting their “face on” . I wanted to be just like them. I started doing makeup before photography. Once I decided to combine my two passions of make up and photography I knew I had found my dream career!

 

Be sure to check out Tamara’s blog on her official website!  Stop by her Facebook page to check out her amazing portfolio and say hello 🙂