This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) introduced a gag rule that would undermine the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care, radically restrict health care providers, and impact millions of people across the country.
In 2016, nearly half of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest the Hawaiian Islands’ (PPGNHI) visits were Title X patients. PPGNHI also uses Title X funds to support insurance enrollment services, as well as education and outreach activities designed to increase awareness about family planning and the Title X program.
“This is low, even for the Trump-Pence Administration. The result of this gag rule is that people will not get the health care or information they need. They won’t get birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even general women’s health exams,” said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of PPGNHI. “We serve more than 43,000 people through the Title X program across our four states and everyone has the right to access information about their health care – including information about safe, legal abortion. This Administration has shown time and time again that it is are coming after our health, our freedoms and our rights, particularly those in marginalized communities. We will not back down. We will not be gagged. We will never stop fighting for our patients.”
The proposed rule would do three main things:
-Make it illegal for doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers across the country that participate in the Title X program to refer their patients for safe, legal abortion.
-Impose new restrictions designed to make it impossible for patients to get birth control or preventive care from reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood.
-Remove the guarantee that people are getting full and accurate information about their health care from their providers. For nearly two decades, Title X law has been clear: Health care providers cannot withhold information from you about your pregnancy options. This rule means they can.
The rule is expected to include a 60-day comment period after the yet-to-be determined date it is posted to the official Federal Register.
The domestic gag rule has never gone into effect in the United States before. The Reagan Administration tried to implement this in 1988, but the rule was held up in the courts and later retracted by the Clinton administration in 1993 after intense outcry from the medical community, including the American College of Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Reinstating this rule would prevent millions of people from getting birth control and preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers. At the same time, it would also force providers to withhold information from patients across the country.
Although Planned Parenthood health centers make up only about 13 percent of the Title X health centers across the country, they serve 41 percent of the patients who get care through Title X. Preventing those patients from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers would mean many are left with nowhere else to turn.
Title X is a decades-old popular and effective program designed to ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, how much money they make, and whether or not they have health insurance, has access to basic preventive reproductive health care like birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and well-woman exams. It has received bipartisan support from Congress since its inception. Every year it serves more than four million people, although many people who get care through the program may not even be aware that they are Title X patients.
This rule is opposed by the medical community, lawmakers, and public health experts. Major medical associations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and more oppose this rule. More than 200 members of Congress and 100 public health organizations have come out in opposition to a gag policy.
Burien PRIDE Expands with Friday Night Bingo June 1, 2018! Festival Includes Live Music, Games, Kids Area & More
Burien, Wash. (May 21, 2018) – The second annual Burien PRIDE festival, sponsored by Blissful Knead and Kaiser Permanente, will take place in Burien Town Square Park on Saturday June 2, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with FREE admission to the public. Live musical performances will grace the stage throughout the day on Saturday. In addition, the super popular kids’ area will return, as will the 21+ beer garden, sponsored by local brewpub Elliott Bay Brewing Company.
New this year: Guests are invited to join their neighbors and friends for an all-ages Drag Queen Bingo event in the Park on Friday, June 1, 2018! The theme is “Grooving to the 70’s” and will be hosted by DonnaTella Howe and Rob Johnson from 5-10 p.m. Tickets are currently available in person via Discover Burien and the night of the event starting at 4 p.m.
A portion of all proceeds from Burien Pride 2018 will benefit the local community by way of the organization’s newly formed Burien Pride Scholarship Fund, which goes toward the college of the students choice and is to be used as they see fit, either for tuition or supplies.
Entertainment will perform throughout the day and into the early evening on two stages in Burien Town Square Park. One stage will boast fan favorites “The Newlywed Game” and “The Dating Game.” Musical acts, dance routines and Zumba will occur on the main stage. A drag show will take place from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
After-parties at The Point Liquor and Eats and Black Zia Cantina will occur as the festival closes. Additional establishments will show their support of the LGBTQ+ community throughout the evening as well.
Don’t miss out on the fun this year as Burien Pride returns on Friday, June 1 for Drag Queen Bingo and Saturday, June 2 for the festival
Burien Pride is expecting about 2,000 – 3,000 attendees this year! Come out and enjoy the events!
Don’t forget to follow Burien Pride on Social Media to keep up with the fun!
I am older than 21 and younger than 50. (I was born Sept 1st 1970). “I was born a poor black child…” Steve Martin, The Jerk, seriously, I was born in Independence, Missouri (a Kansas City suburb), where I lived the first 20 years of my life before joining the US Navy. I spent five years on active duty during wartime. I was trained in personnel management, Terroristic Engagement Tactics, Human Behavior, Interrogation and Interviewing Techniques. I did and saw more before I turned 30 than a majority of the world’s population will in a lifetime.
I am an artist and try to view and approach life with the same point of view: open and creative.
After my military service, I returned stateside and found myself in the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle area is where I called home for about three years until my mother’s suicide got the better of me. I then spent five years living back in Missouri before returning to the Pacific Northwest. I settled here in Spokane, which I have called home for the last 13 years.
I have always been an artist, but it’s only been a hobby. Over the last two or three years, I have given a good deal of focus to painting. I have developed my own style and technique of acrylic on canvas to give texture and depth to the subject matter, mimicking the characteristics of oils on canvas. I also include a memento mori in each painting that further defines my style.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to announce the release of my first full length album,” says Janine, “I’ve been waiting to give this album to my fans and it seems both surreal and moving that they will finally get to experience it. I love them so much and I genuinely feel like my album is a gift I can give them in return for how much they have given me.”
A gifted visual artist and electrifying live performer, Janine recently wrapped her first-ever U.S. headline run. The “Before It’s Too Late Tour” saw jam-packed performances across the country including a spectacular finale at Los Angeles’ legendary Troubadour.
Janine first began performing at open mic nights in her native Auckland when she was but 14 years old. She soon developed her own unique amalgam of pop, indie, R&B, and hip hop, all built around her emotional songcraft, otherworldly vocals, and utterly individualistic persona. Released initially by her own Little Mixtapes Records in 2013, “DARK MIND” immediately shot Janine into the spotlight – as well as the top 2 on the iTunes Store’s “Top R&B Albums” chart. The EP -which also includes the hit single/video, “Little Bit” (featured on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop Hollywood) – received worldwide applause, with high praise coming from such outlets as MTV, Billboard, VIBE Vixen, Complex, and VIBE, which ranked Janine among their “R&B Secret Society: 26 Acts You Should Be Listening To.”
1. Be By Myself
2. Hold On
3. Don’t Love Me
4. Never The Right Time
5. Too Late
7. Said It All
10. Wrong Thing
11. Get Through This Again
“Caer embraces the wild earnestness of ’80s pop…”
“If The Breakfast Club came out this year, it would sound a lot like this deliciously alt-pop gem”
Twin Shadow (George Lewis Jr.) is back to share his new album Caer via Warner Bros. Records / Reprise Records. The album arrives in the midst of Twin Shadow touring alongside Beck and Alt-J in addition to sold out headlining shows, including next week’s performance at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Twin Shadow tour dates can be found HERE.
On “Runaway,” the final song on Twin Shadow’s upcoming fourth album, Caer, George Lewis Jr. sings: “I knew the crash was comin’, I felt it in my blood.” “Sometimes I feel like I have to take a fall to essentially get to the next phase of my life,” Lewis says about the lyric. “It’s happened over and over. I’ve been through so many musical phases and through so many relationships with friends and lovers. I always feel like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff, looking down and thinking, ‘This is the only way forward: onto the next thing.’ It’s sort of destructive, but I guess I thrive on rebirth.”
Falling is a theme that surfaces throughout the album, which is why Lewis called it Caer – the Spanish word for “to fall.” The album serves as a powerful lens through which Lewis explores his own personal sense of falling, as well what he has observed about a world that feels as if it’s declining. On a larger scale, Caer feels extraordinarily current, given what’s going on culturally and politically right now. “The patriarchy is falling apart,” Lewis says. “Our perceptions of who we are as human beings, because of technology and machines, are falling apart. We’re living at a breaking point, and a lot of the themes on the album are talking about these fault lines.” Lewis refers to such fissures on “Saturdays” (which features Haim). “It’s a love song,” he says. “‘Saturdays’ is the heaven place you go to when you’re in love or even with friends, feeling your youth. But it’s also about my feeling that the world is starting to tear itself apart and maybe we’re falling through the cracks. But when you’re laying in bed next to someone you care about, none of that seems real.”
“The French pop sensation returns with an ultra-smooth, funk driven tune” – V Magazine
“An extremely fucking good mission statement” – Noisey
“Christine and the Queens, is, thank god, back” – i-D
“French indie pop darling has made a name for herself as one of the up-and-coming names in pop music.” – Billboard
“…her stuttering vocal cadence recalls the very best of Michael Jackson…the hook is everything.” – PAPER
“Peak Janet and pure lust… feels like a fluid generation’s mantra-in-waiting” – The Guardian
Christine and the Queens today debuts the stunning video for her acclaimed comeback single “Girlfriend”. The single/video is available in French as well, titled “Damn, dis moi”.
With the original concept being developed by Christine herself, director Jordan Bahat describes how she came to him with “Charles Ebbets’ photos from the 1930’s of builders relaxing on girders 60 stories up in the air and said, ‘these are the sorts of scenes I want to create for this video.’ Along with those pictures, there were colour references from Tarsem and choreography references from West Side Story and Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad.'”
The film draws inspiration from these hyper stylized American musicals, but pulls them upside-down and inside-out for a song that is revisiting radical concepts of masculinity and gender.
“The message is both simple and radical,” says Christine and the Queens. “Simple because the video relies on energy and an effective use of choreography: more physical, sensual and assertive. Radical in terms of its aesthetics: here, the gang concept blurs the lines between ballerina and thug, as was often the case in American musicals such as West Side Story.”
The video also delivers us a more detailed unveiling of the Chris character; bigger, prouder, funnier, and damned horny whilst also illustrating the narrative of the original song beautifully.
Christine explains; “The song is like a story you tell to your friends” she continues. “Chris is the gang leader, the kind of person you look for and listen to; he does what he wants, perched up high somewhere, dangling above the emptiness…”
The single “Girlfriend” debuted last Thursday and was released to instant critical acclaim from Pitchfork, i-Dto Vice, and Billboard to V Magazine; landing on radio, Spotify and Apple Music playlists worldwide, clocking up more than a million streams over the weekend.
“Girlfriend” is Christine and the Queens’ first new song since her already iconic debut record Chaleur Humaine (titled Christine and the Queens in USA). If her debut was an introduction to Christine and the Queens AKA Héloïse Letissier, then “Girlfriend” is a bold declaration of the next chapter in her story. She’s stepping away from her debut album towards a tougher, more minimalist, and more upbeat sound, which finds its most direct expression on “Girlfriend.” The track – written and produced by Letissier- pays tribute to her long-time love of the G-funk sound, and in order to get it exactly right, she tracked down one of its pioneers, Dâm-Funk, and asked him to sing and play on it.
Besides her debut being a tremendous critical success selling 1.3 million units across the world, she toured North-America multiple times, played Coachella, Governors Ball, as well as performed “Tilted” on numerous late night shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Christine and the Queens gained rave reviews across the board from New York Times, Pitchfork to Vogue and she graced the cover of Time Magazine‘s « Next Generation Leaders » issue where she was proclaimed to be one of the most influential young creatives in the world.
Christine and the Queens will perform Radio 1’s Biggest Weekend in UK, this Sunday 27 May. She has announced a full tour of Europe, Canada and the United States for the fall. See below for the full list of dates.
20th Century Fox has just debuted the official teaser trailer for the upcoming film BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. Starring Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, and Mike Myers, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY hits theaters everywhere November 2.
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Queen fans around the world can visit PutMeInBohemian.com on a mobile device and record their best rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” for a chance to have their voice included in the movie.
Watch the Teaser Trailer HERE.
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY hits theaters on November 2, 2018!
Release: November 2, 2018
Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, and Mike Myers
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury, who defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound, their near-implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control, and their triumphant reunion on the eve of Live Aid, where Mercury, facing a life-threatening illness, leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. In the process, cementing the legacy of a band that were always more like a family, and who continue to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.
NEW YORK, NY(May 18, 2018) – Pop singer-songwriter BETTY WHO continues to embrace a new chapter of her career with the announcement of her highly-anticipated independent EP Betty Pt. 1, out June 15 – the EP is the first in a series of her conceptual new music rollout. A second EP will be released in the fall and a full-length album next year.
“This will be my first EP in five years so there is definitely an air of returning to my humble beginnings, but this EP mostly feels like a re-introduction, not just to my fans but in a lot of ways for myself. A lot has changed in a year for me so I felt like it was time to start fresh and see what could come out,” Betty explains. “Every song on this EP is so different from the last – they each have their own very distinctive story to tell, and each represent a part of my personality that I don’t think I’ve sufficiently explored creatively. For the first time in a long time, I’m not thinking about how each song flows together, I’m not worried about what people will think… I just wanted to push myself and find the songs and sounds that I’ve always wanted to put out but never had the guts to.”
Ahead of its imminent June 15 release, Betty debuts the new track “Taste” today, giving eager fans a preview of what to expect from the EP. The song – available everywhere NOW via AWAL Recordings- is a sultry, soon-to-be song of the summer that explores the thrill of an insatiable craving. “Taste” was penned by Betty, JHart, Viljar Losnegård, Sivert Hjeltnes Hagtvet & Pretty Sister, who also produced the track. The song follows the March release of “Look Back,” an energetic, dancehall-tinged anthem that arrived in the midst of her recent headline tour. Both “Look Back” and “Ignore Me,” released in January, will be on the EP along with additional new tracks.
Of the song, Betty says: “I’ve been wanting to put out a song like Taste for a while. It’s sexy, a little rock and roll with just a touch of vampire fetish. What more could a girl need?”
Betty’s vocals are also currently featured on Lemaitre’s newest track “Rocket Girl,” which was deemed the official global theme song for X Games Norway, happening now in Oslo. TIME hailed the track “a little bit Daft Punk, a little bit Justice, and a little bit party pop” and a “good way to kick off a playlist just as summer begins to come into full view.”
Next up, she will head out across the pond for a European/UK tour immediately before Betty Pt. 1’s release and then continue throughout the U.S. with performances at festivals like Electric Forest & Firefly Music Festival.
ABOUT BETTY WHO
Casting a striking presence as a performer, emanating confidence as a writer, and inspiring as an independent force, Australia-born and Los Angeles-based pop star Betty Who has quietly elevated herself to a worldwide phenomenon on her own terms. Acclaimed by Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Buzzfeed, Elle Magazine, and more, Betty’s sophomore album, The Valley, yielded a string of international hits, including “I Love You Always Forever” certified double-platinum in Australia and “Human Touch.” Total Spotify streams exceed 150 million as she regularly averages over 3.3 million monthly listeners on the platform. Beyond countless sold out headline tours, she’s delivered knockout television appearances on The Today Show, Late Night With Seth Meyers, The View, and many more aside. Betty’s commitment to charity, health, and wellness matches her passion for music. She has given performances to benefit UNICEF, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, and many more. She joined forces with Lululemon and Soul Cycle to launch the acoustic “Beats Per Moment” tour, ran a Nike marathon on the entertainment team, and partnered with a personal favorite workout app, Aaptiv, for playlisting.
Today we’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to Natasha Balakrishnan, one of the stars of the ‘Narcissus’ episode of the brand new Shadowlands miniseries.
The Shadowlands TV show is comprised of three distinct stories exploring love. In episode 1 ‘Narcissus’, Alex, a plastic surgeon hell bent on perfection, hosts a house party with an assortment of colorful guests. Amid romantic misfires it becomes apparent that the only person Alex is interested in is himself.
Natasha Balakrishnan is of South Indian origin born in Kerala, India; brought up in the middle east, Kuwait, and moved to Toronto, Canada at the age of fifteen. Natasha is a professional dancer, choreographer, and a working actor in Toronto, Canada . Her latest starring role is in Charlie David’s Shadowlands anthology TV miniseries.
Natasha Balakrishnan’s passion for dance, arts, and the entertainment field began at the tender age of five where she started off with theater/drama and dancing for local shows. Her main expertise lies in the classical dance form known as Bharatnatyam and proceeded to expand her talent with many other styles which include Bollywood, Hip Hop, Bhangra, and Contemporary incorporated with fusion.
Having performed in many platforms, Natasha Balakrishnan carried on her pursuit for dance in many different countries like New York, Germany, Kuwait, California, and India, and was further able to showcase her talent on National TV for the television show named ‘Canada’s Got Talent’ Season 1 in 2012.
She started her own YouTube channel as her outlet to creativity and passion for arts where she directs, choreographs, and incorporates acting through her concept videos. Her classical fusion choreography to ‘Taal se Taal Mila’ by A.R. Rahman has reached over a million views on YouTube. Natasha was awarded ‘First Runner Up’ and ‘Miss Congeniality’ at the 2014 Miss India Canada Pageant and ‘Miss Best Talent’ at the 2015 Miss India Worldwide Canada Pageant. In 2014, she was featured on a billboard advertisement for South Asian designer Boutique- ‘Aalayaa’.
Natasha was featured in the film ‘Dr.Cabbie’ with Bollywood stars; namely, Vinay Virmani, Isabel Kaif, and Kunal Nayyar. She performed for the Pan Am Olympic Games 2015 Opening Ceremonies with Cirque Du Soleil representing her Indian culture and heritage, including several other shows and corporate events, which include the Toronto Raptors basketball games, the WE Day concert, WE Day music video with Kardinal Offishall ft. Karl Wolf, and Holt Renfrew’s Uncrate India just to name a few.
With her professional expertise and training in the field, she has been fortunate to judge dance competitions; namely, in Detroit and in the City of Toronto, experiencing young and fresh talent on some amazing platforms. Natasha has also performed with Indian film music composer, Anirudh Ravichander, and collaborated with award winning rapper, Lady Kash, from Singapore. She choreographed for her recent song release “Supermodel”, composed for the film ‘Graghanam’; the album bagged by Yuvan Shankar Raja’s, U1 Records.
Natasha is working meticulously towards pursuing a career in films and is honing her acting skills by training with other budding artists in Toronto, Canada. She was a competitor, performer, and actor on Season 2 of OMNI Television Documentary series named “Bollywood Star”
Natasha Balakrishnan in Shadowlands anthology
Tell us about your story in the Shadowlands anthology. What were the main challenges and fears you had in your role?
Natasha Balakrishnan: I play Thalia in the Shadowlands anthology and she is someone who brings a lot of love and humanity in a world that is affected by the war where people are becoming inhumane and vile.
Her love for Alex is immense and while he is no longer the same man she fell in love with, she refuses to believe that she cannot bring him back. His narcissistic ways and his obsession for perfection has left him no room to give love to anyone but himself.
Thalia will stop at nothing to make him see clearly but when it is all too late, she recognizes the Alex she treasured is gone and must put an end to the evil that persists. My main challenge with Thalia was playing a woman from the 1920’s Berlin and really understanding her love for Alex.
How much of yourself goes into a character?
Natasha Balakrishnan: I believe that while you take the essence of you, and your passion into your work; you are playing a life, a person, which requires you to explore and tap into the spiritual, emotional, and physical being of that personality/character and its not about who you are but the life that you’re taking on and you live the reality of that character.
The stories in the Shadowlands anthology TV show were inspired by the Shadowlands book which was inspired by Greek mythology. What was your experience in creating a remix of these ancient classical tales?
Natasha Balakrishnan: When I first got the audition for Shadowlands, I was very eager and I had immediately done my research on Charlie David, his book, and the Greek Myths tied to my character and Narcissus. I was more than ready for the audition!
It was very exciting playing someone from the 1920’s; something completely out of my comfort zone and knowledge. I am thankful to Charlie for believing in me to play Thalia. When I booked the part, I did tons of research on the ‘Golden 20’s’, got coaching, watched tons of movies in that era, the types of music, and wrote a backstory for Thalia and her love interest with Alex whose characters were inspired from the Greek myths of Narcissus and his Echo.
What aspects of the Shadowlands anthology TV show are you excited for an audience to experience or discover?
Natasha Balakrishnan: I am excited for the audience to see it all! I had the privilege of watching it with my team at one of our film festival premiers and it is definitely a roller coaster ride of emotions and quite the tales that Charlie David takes you through.
I loved the uniqueness and creativity brought in each episode. They are each shot in a different time period which is thrilling. I would love to have the audience experience what Charlie David and the entire team has put together throughout the Shadowlands anthology series.
What was the hardest scene for you to do and why?
Natasha Balakrishnan: I wouldn’t say anything was particularly hard but I definitely found it a bit challenging. I had to shoot a very intense scene right when I got to set the first day. We started the shoot for the ‘Narcissus’ episode with my scene where a gun is being delivered to my house with a note to kill myself by someone who I truly love.
I had to go through many thoughts in a short spam of time and I found that a bit of a challenge; to jump in and out of emotions when circumstances prior to that scene were not shot yet. But that is what I loved most about Thalia and this film production; I felt challenged/nervous by this role and wanted to give it my all. Like the saying – “What doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you.”
Who is a major influence for you and on your creativity?
Natasha Balakrishnan: Well I surely believe that creative inspiration is sparked through influence and there are many wonderful people who inspire me everyday. My mother is my biggest inspiration because of her strength and courage to always persevere no matter what. This is a huge driving force to pursue my passion and to stay focused and optimistic.
Also, fine artists like Robert De Niro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Jennifer Lawrence, Radhika Apte, Nawazuddin, Meryl Streep, Alia Bhatt, Morgan Freeman, Amitabh Bachchan, and Leonardo DiCaprio just to name the least; inspire me to work hard everyday on my craft and to never stop learning and growing creatively.
Is there a type of role you dream of playing but haven’t had the opportunity yet?
Natasha Balakrishnan: Oh yeah of course, there’s tons I dream of playing! I definitely have miles to go and want to live a thousand lives through this career path of mine.
I would LOVE to play an action-packed role like a boxer or a marvel superhero!! I love watching strong female oriented roles and I would love to take on those.
In addition to acting, tell me about the other areas of entertainment you’re pursuing.
Natasha Balakrishnan: Apart from my love for acting, I also have an immense passion for dance, music, and poetry. I started my own YouTube channel back in 2014 which is my biggest creative outlet. I began producing, directing, and choreographing my own dance/concept videos by reaching out to local artists and collaborating with them to create art.
It’s an amazing feeling to see your vision come to life through team efforts and I truly enjoy working on them. When I first started my YouTube Channel, I just needed a platform to be creatively inclined. I never really imagined how many people I could reach out to until one of my videos went viral and hit close to 3 million views.
It’s a wonderful feeling when people around the world enjoy your work and it really encouraged me to constantly keep producing anything and everything I had the urge to create. I definitely have tons of creative stuff planned in terms of acting, dance, and music that I can’t wait to release them.
With so much going on in the world today, what’s your motivation to be a performer? Do you act to explain? To get away? To move past? To widen our knowledge? To incite a conversation?
Natasha Balakrishnan: All of the above really! Film and television is a source of entertainment, an escape, a fantasy, a story that incites conversation, and conceivably allows one to look into things that might have never sparked their interest before and I just absolutely love all of it.
I enjoy being in front of the camera, taking on different lives, and studying them. Art is a study of humanity and understanding the beings that live amongst us. Art is a universal language that truly connects people across the world and can be used as a very informative/influential tool. My motivation as an artist is to tell real people’s stories because in the words of my guru – “Art imitates reality”.
What’s next for you as a creator/actor/performer?
Natasha Balakrishnan: While I am constantly auditioning and working on my craft as an actor/performer; as a creator, I have always loved poetry/music and I write quite a bit of poetry/lyrics on my own time.
This spontaneously ventured into a very exciting new realm for me this year. I wrote, produced, sang, and creatively directed my first single with the help of a brilliant team. It is currently in post-production as I am eagerly and nervously waiting for its release.
Today we’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to Brian Woodford, one of the stars of the ‘Narcissus’ episode of the brand new Shadowlands miniseries.
The Shadowlands TV show is comprised of three distinct stories exploring love. In episode 1 ‘Narcissus’, Alex, a plastic surgeon hell bent on perfection, hosts a house party with an assortment of colorful guests. Amid romantic misfires it becomes apparent that the only person Alex is interested in is himself.
It’s the age old murder mystery question… did the Butler do it? Canadian actor Brian Woodford finds himself in a world of intrigue in the Shadowlands miniseries playing the Butler to a demanding and egocentric master in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’.
There are story connections between the three episodes of Shadowlands. You can read about them here.
Brian Woodford is originally from Avondale, Newfoundland and Labrador and is based in Toronto, Ontario. He trained in Theatre at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College before completing his training at Humber College’s Acting for Film and Television Diploma Program. Woodford attained his B.A. from Memorial University in Newfoundland.
He is an avid tennis player, and, when not doing script analysis, is busy working on his backhand.
Charlie David: When you’re approaching a script like Shadowlands and in particular with this episode it’s really quite a surreal world. How do you find anchor points to ground yourself as an actor when the story is so far outside your experience?
Brian Woodford: I look toward my past experiences in life to help develop any character I play. This is in addition to research and development work I do, as well. Drew is someone who is devoted and inspired in life and aims to do his absolute best in working for Alex.
I, too, see myself in Drew in terms of being someone who tries to be my best to those that are close to me in life. Generally, I bring different facets of my personality into all the characters I play.
Charlie David: How much were you able to relate your own experiences to create your character? And how much did you have to research or imagine?
Brian Woodford: I actually have played a butler before, in an Agatha Christie play, so, I was drawing a bit from that experience – but, Drew is much more complicated than a stereotypical butler. He is torn with his feelings for Alex.
I developed a feel for the character by drawing on a time when I was discovering my sexuality and also times when I was vulnerable and powerless. Drew really just wants things to work out right for those close to him but is a bit naïve in how he goes about it.
Charlie David: What aspects of the Shadowlands miniseries are you excited for an audience to experience or discover?
Brian Woodford: I’m excited for everyone to see the creativity that the cast and crew brought to this show. There was a lot of collaboration involved, not just with myself and my fellow cast members, but the crew as well.
There is a great special effects element in one of my scenes towards the end of the episode. Each episode very much draws the viewer into the close relationships between the characters. Also, folks can check me out in a dapper tux, jk.
Charlie David: Romance between men and between women was common place and written about in Greek and Roman mythology. Why is it important to continue sharing the type of stories in the Shadowlands miniseries today?
Brian Woodford: Visibility is so important for all minorities. More content focused on issues facing the LGBT fosters an awareness that is vital.
It also provides understanding for people who may come from different backgrounds and gives them a chance to see and discover more about issues they may not know about firsthand.
Charlie David: What was the hardest scene for you to do and why?
Brian Woodford: The hardest scene I had to do was a scene with Sean who plays the role of Alex in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’. It was my first time using a prosthetic, and it had to be placed precisely so. Well, I don’t want to give away too much – you’ll just have to watch the Shadowlands miniseries!
Charlie David: Who is a major influence for you and on your creativity?
Brian Woodford: My parents have really been a big influence on me, generally, as well as being a major source for my creativity. They always said “yes” when I was a kid wanting to act in a play or to take violin, guitar or trumpet class. In hindsight, I took a lot of music classes, haha.