Megadeth’s David Ellefson Talks Coffee And Rock n’ Roll With PCM’s Kristyn Clarke

(PCM) As the bassist for metal giant Megadeth, David Ellefson has certainly reached rock god status, however did you know that he happens to be quite the coffee connoisseur as well?  He has created his very own coffee company, Ellefson Coffee Co and they have just recently opened their very first brick and mortar location in Ellefson’s hometown of Jackson, Minnesota.

It is truly amazing just how well coffee and rock n’ roll go hand in hand, especially when it comes to some of the Ellefson Coffee Co brews. I had a chance to sample Ellefson’s “She Wolf”, “Kenya Thrash” and “Roast In Peace” blend and they are excellent. Nothing like starting my day with rocking brew and being a dark roast coffee fan, the “Roast In Peace” blend was phenomenal. I seriously can’t wait to get my hands on some more!

I recently caught up with David Ellefson to chat about the launch of Ellefson Coffee Co, the opening of their first retail location, and his plans for the brand in the future. Being a huge rock festival junkie, we joked about the severe lack of coffee at many of these large summer events. Ellefson revealed that he would love to branch out at some of the rock festivals, and while people may not want a steaming hot cup of coffee on a sweltering summer day, a good brew over ice would work perfectly and I couldn’t agree more!

Also be sure to keep an ear out for some audio clips from this interview on an upcoming episode of the Coffee & Conspiracy podcast hosted by PCM’s Kristyn and Stephen!

Q: Two of my major passions are coffee and rock n’ roll, so we were super excited to hear that you were opening a brick and mortar location for Ellefson Coffee Co.!

David Ellefson: Yeah! First of all it’s really something that just fell into my lap. My label partner Tom, who also does my business strategy for coffee, and when we did a coffee brand with Susan Reiter back in my little town of Jackson, Minnesota. A discussion came up back in November about flipping the store over to Ellefson Coffee Company. It was the right thing at the right time and Susan, she knows how to run retail and I know how to market and brand coffee, so we just have a nice little synergy going between us.

Q: Would you like to see Ellefson Coffee Company expand to additional brick and mortar locations or is it special to have it there in Jackson?

DE: No, I am definitely open to the expansion. Our company started as a simple little mail-order based company and it was wonderful because it was profitable from the first bag we sold because we had the roasters do the roasting and the shipping and we created some nice labels with a nice little story around it. We came up with some nice names for our roasts and kind of preached to the choir right into my heavy metal fan base, so it was originally this fun little boutique project. Sometimes you start things and they get wings and they go to new levels which is exactly what the coffee has done.  I think in a lot of ways having a retail location gives some validity to what we’re doing and I think it also provides for the local economy and it brings the brand back home to where I was born and raised.  I think on every level this one just feels really good all the way around.

Q: What was amazing to me as I was doing research was just how many rockers have gone into the coffee business such as Charlie Benante from Anthrax, Green Day, Styx and even Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde. It works on such a great level.

DE: It does. In this day and age, that which doesn’t kill you only helps you live longer. (laughs) Those of us who have survived the treacherous roads of rock n’ roll, now at this point, we have other lifestyle interests and it’s fun to bring those in and have them be part of our overall brand, like who we are and what we do. I also think it is fun to bring the fans along on that journey, so we can all enjoy it together. For those of us that like coffee there’s kind of a head space around it all where we are probably of sober judgement which is good and it’s a nice feeling. There is a good synergy of our lifestyles, how we interact and we’re family guys despite the fact that we play some of the most menacing rock n’ roll out there.

Q: When did you first develop a love for coffee. It seems travelling around the globe with Megadeth would lead you to quite a few interesting locations to try some interesting brews.

DE: It really started when I first moved out to L.A. in 1983 in Hollywood. Our first drummer in Megadeth, Dijon Carruthers, he was a coffee drinker so he and I would sit together over at his apartment and drink a lot of coffee and try different things. We used different sweeteners and honey and all kinds of different stuff and that’s what really kind of prodded the inkling into my taste for coffee. I went on to travel the world through Europe and visited various cafes and even down into Latin America and into the area near the Sumatra Islands. Coffee really grows around the equator belt region of the Earth, so I started to become much more interested in it ironically from a farming point of view.

I grew up on a corn and soy bean farm in Minnesota so farming is something I know, as it was in my blood growing up. It’s funny because now I am getting hit up by growers down in Colombia and other areas of Central America as a lot of them are fans and they are also growers and they are sending me beans to roast. Guatemala sent me some stuff and it’s kind of fun that once I put it out there just this last year with my coffee company that it has really now gone to a whole other level of having the trading and export mindset with the whole thing too.

Q: You have four different brews right now. Are there any plans to expand the offering?

DE: Yeah. I think with the retail shop now I’m looking to get much more into iced coffee and the different iced beverages especially as we get into the summer. Back in Jackson, it’s a cool time of the year out there where summertime requires some cold drinks as well as hot drinks. I think we can also get into some other things that we can sell there. I’m going to have a lot of memorabilia there, I’ve got a line of clothing with the Puck Hockey brand and of course hockey in Minnesota is right there at home. So, a lot of the things … rock n’ roll, coffee, summertime, hockey … all of those things that I already have my name associated with are going to work really well out of that retail location.

We can also have it as a destination where fans can go and also a destination for shipping and ordering all kinds of different things. There is a lot we can do there!

Q: I have been thrilled to watch EMP Label Group grow with its roster. Doll Skin are amazing! Can you compare running the label with running a coffee company, even though they are kind of under the same umbrella?

DE: (laughing) My life is kind of like a big mutual fund. Everything that I’m into are sort of high risk ventures, as certainly forming Megadeth and playing rock n’ roll is as crazy as it gets, so I’m certainly used to that. It’s funny that I can see a parallel between Megadeth and my Minnesota farming upbringing being very similar. It’s very much feast or famine. You always have the stuff stored away from the cold, dark and rainy years and it’s always nice to enjoy the bumper crop years too. When you are in it as a life long profession, you tend to treat it a little differently than just sort of a one-hit wonder. I’ve been very lucky with that in Megadeth and also getting to be involved in a lot of other musical ventures as a result of that too.

With the label, it’s interesting, because there was a season when Megadeth was not operating and I think in a lot of ways that was an era … I was in my mid-thirties, I was married, my kids were real young … and it was a season for me to go to college, get educated and I started doing artist relations for Peavey and I really enjoyed being part of the business community. I think it’s kind of a thread that runs in the blood of the Ellefson’s. The Ellefson men were always astute businessmen, they were educated, so I feel business is in my bloodline and it was kind of a fun season to kind of put the bass in the background for a little bit and get involved in some other business ventures.  So, here I am and we’ve done all this great stuff over the last six or seven years with Megadeth and especially “Dystopia” has been an incredible year musically for us with all the successes that we’ve had and it’s fun now to also have a hand back over into creating the record label, creating the coffee company, managing and producing the things I’m doing with Doll Skin and its super fun to widen the horizons.

I remember on one of my report cards as a kid, my high school jazz band teacher said ‘David needs to broaden his horizons’. (laughs)  Don’t just be a rock n’ roll bass player! Broaden your horizons! I feel like now in my fifties I’ve finally kind of been able to parlay that sage wisdom into practical reality.

Q: Major congrats on the Grammy nomination for “Dystopia” by the way! I’m sure you guys are super excited about that!

DE: Yeah! For sure! We’ve been nominated for a lot of them over the years and I say every year when you get nominated again it’s that pinch me moment. The Grammy’s are the biggest music recognition in the world and you really feel that you are just a small part of a much greater community, so it’s always a thrill and very humbling to be invited back and be honored by them.

Q: Definitely. I’m always thrilled to see that they still have a rock and metal category and they have not just let that fall by the wayside.

DE: Yeah, Yeah, definitely!

Q: Can you share with me what is your ideal cup of coffee?

DE: Well, I like drip coffee. As I’ve traveled the world I’ve realized that drip coffee is predominantly a North American fancy. It’s not something throughout Europe and definitely not Latin America. Japan has embraced it, of course England has some of it. I love drip coffee probably because I grew up with it and I like that we invented a machine … I don’t really like percolated coffee … and it’s funny that something as simple as the Mr. Coffee is pretty much in everyone’s kitchen and even hotel rooms is really a marvelous machine. It’s simple to create the coffee and it’s pretty much an exact replication from pot to pot and I’m pretty good an eyeballing my own coffee. I like to do two tablespoons for every cup. In the morning I like kind of a medium roast, which for us is our “Kenya Thrash” and in the evening, I have a second cup around 4:00pm everyday, I like that coffee to be a darker roast, such as French, Italian or Sumatra and for me that would be our “Roast In Peace” that we have with Ellefson Coffee.

I like the dark a little later because it is a little less caffeinated generally and it has a darker smokier flavor. If you get a sweet tooth later in the day, which I do sometimes because I go the gym in the mornings, so when I crave something to take the edge off in the afternoon a cup of dark roast and a little sweet treat tides me over well.

Q: Are you a cream and sugar kind of guy or black when it comes to coffee condiment preference?

DE: I’m a cream guy. I don’t like sweeteners generally. I try to stay away from them because what I find with sweeteners is that it’s one of those evils that once you start putting it in your diet you begin to crave it more and more, so I try to keep it out. Usually if I do have it, I actually try to do it with honey. That is one of the things me and Dijon back in ’83 in Hollywood tried putting honey in black coffee and I really enjoyed it. So, if I do ever have a sweetener, I definitely like to stay away from high fructose corn syrup and I also try to stay away from all of the other artificial sweeteners such as stevia and all that stuff. I tend to go no sweetener or a touch of honey.

Q: I’ve never tried it with honey before, so I definitely want to give that a go now! 

DE: It gives kind of a nice thick smoothness to it! I like half and half, as cream to me, is a little too much and milk is a little too thin so I like half and half which is another very arrogant thing. In fact when I travel the world I always carry a french press with me just because life is too short for bad coffee! ::Author’s note: We totally want to print that on a t-shirt by the way::

So, I always have to protect myself. Often times when I’m away from home, like in the dressing room for Megadeth, we always make sure we have a drip coffee maker, you know some of the comforts of home. (laughs) But, I’ll get back home to America and I’ll be like I can’t wait to just use my own coffee maker, go in and get my own half and half, use my own grinder because I know how well it grinds the beans to a certain consistency I like, you know what I mean? So, as much as I have a place I record and make music and my bass is my axe, my coffee maker is also my axe. I’ve got my little coffee studio of things that make the perfect cup for me.

For more information please visit:

Ellefson Coffee Co Official Site

David Ellefson Official Site

This post came fromMegadeth’s David Ellefson Talks Coffee And Rock n’ Roll With PCM’s Kristyn Clarke - unSkinny Pop

Exclusive Interview With “20th Century Women” Actor Lucas Zumann

(PCM) When it comes to learning from a master in her craft, newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann has hit the motherlode for his recent film experience in “20th Century Women.”

The richly multilayered, funny, and heart-stirring movie from A24 opens on Friday, January, 19, and focuses on the complexities of women, family, time and connections. This is a compelling and thought-provoking story played by legendary actress Annette Bening as the mother and newcomer Zumann as her 15-year-old son.

Set in Santa Barbara in 1976, the film from writer/director, Mike Mills (“Beginners”), follows a quirky, but loving single mom in her mid-50s, Dorthea Fields, who is rearing her adolescent son, Jamie, at a moment brimming with cultural change and rebellion.

Dorthea loves Bogart and Amelia Earhart and often acts and sounds like she is from a different time, and often has difficulty connecting with her son. She enlists the help of two younger women in Jamie’s upbringing – Abbie, a free-spirited punk artist living as a boarder in their home, (Greta Gerwig), and Julie, a provocative 17-year-old neighbor, who Jamie has a crush on, (Elle Fanning).

Mills expertly recreates the warmth and passion of a great memory – but also the urgency and energy of three generations in the throes of momentous transition. For Mills, “20th Century Women,” started with his own elusive and unpredictable mother, and is a poignant “love letter” to the people who rear us – and the times that form us – as this makeshift family forges fragile connections that will mystify, haunt and inspire each of the embers through their lives.

Chicago native Zumann, now 16, made his film debut in “Sinister 2,” after having completed a role in the groundbreaking Netflix production of “Sense8,” in episodes directed by the Wachowski siblings. He also appeared in the indie film “Thrill Ride,” as well as having a featured role in the NBC TV drama, “Chicago Fire.”

His first introduction to the performing arts was in the ensemble of a 2012 production of the classic stage musical, “Oliver” put on by the Light Opera Works. When he is not working as an actor, he enjoys photography, playing the guitar, and martial arts.

PCM had the pleasure of an exclusive interview with Lucas Jade Zumann about his burgeoning career, working with Bening, family support, his love for music and more.

Bening, 58, the mother of four grown children, said she thoroughly enjoyed mentoring her young co-star.

“It was a pleasure working with Lucas,” said Bening, who is best known for “American Beauty,” “The American President,” and “The Kids Are All Right.” “Lucas is a talented young man with a great future ahead of him. I thoroughly enjoyed our collaboration.”

PCM: This is definitely not a cookie cutter movie, so why did you want to make this film?

LUCAS ZUMANN: From the moment I read the script I knew it was different from other films, so to be part of something like that at an early part of my career is super special. I knew when we all got together it was going to be a super special experience.

PCM: What were the biggest challenges in making this movie?

LZ: While I never felt intimidated, I can say that some of the hardest parts had to do with getting out of my comfort zone and being able to eventually be comfortable around each other and in our own skin.

PCM: Was there a rehearsal process, like in the theater?

LZ: Yes. There was a rehearsal process and a research process. [Director] Mike [Mills] had us do some studying. He sent me a big cardboard box of documentaries for me to get a feel for the time and the era. To keep us from worrying about focusing he gave us each individual songs, which let us have more freedom. He wanted me to listen to Talking Heads songs, and we danced to some of the songs.

PCM: What kind of music was involved?

LZ: Probably, Talking Heads more so than the hard core punk that my character Jamie listens to.

PCM: What kind of music do you listen to during your free time?

LZ: I like classic reggae a lot, as well as indie rock and indie bands and stuff like that. I’m pretty open when it comes to music.

PCM: What was it like working with Annette Bening and did she give you any acting tips or life advice?

LZ: Our rapport? It was very true to a mother and son relationship.

PCM: How so?

LZ: She taught me a lot about the whole process and she did so very politely. She walked me through the whole process, which was very helpful since I am not as familiar with making movies as everyone else is. We spent as much time off the set as we did on set. She taught me that you can’t be a good actor if you don’t understand your life and don’t understand enough to portray it.

PCM: Did you get any advice from the other ladies?

LZ: I learned a lot by watching all of them, but when it came to first-hand help, Annette was the main person who physically talked me and led me through everything.

PCM: With Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning and Annette Bening on the set, were you at all star-struck?

LZ: No, because I understood the significance these people have in the business and while I truly felt it was an honor to work with each of them, they were all real people. So while working on this project I was able to be real around them.

PCM: When did you see the finished film for the first time and what was the experience like for you?

LZ: I was getting ready to watch it at the New York Film Festival, when they sent me a link to watch it on my laptop, and I enjoyed it. But watching it later at the theater with an audience gave me closure from the whole process. I love with large audiences you find different parts of the audience reacting with emotion to various aspects. Some are tearing up or crying, some are laughing, while still others are awestruck. Everyone acts to it in a different way and get a different message from it. So I find it interesting to watch such a diverse audience watch this film because everyone relates to it different, which is what makes Mike’s words and direction so laudable.

PCM: How important has family support been for your career?

LZ: Family support is a huge factor, and one of the sole reasons I was able to make this movie and other projects. They were there to take me to the set and make sure there was vegetarian and vegan food for me there. I owe a lot to them.

PCM: How many times has your mom seeing the movie?

LZ: Three or four, so far. I’m sure she loves it.

PCM: How long have you wanted to be an actor?

LZ: I’m always been interested in acting. I started with neighborhood plays. I just really like the feeling I get when I’m in the middle of a scene, or when I’m acting. I knew right away that was something I wanted to pursue it if I was able to do so.

PCM: What’s next for you?

LZ: I am working on the TV show “Anne” based on the book “Anne of Green Gables.” Its looking really good and I am happy to be working on it. I play the part of Gilbert Blithe.

PCM: It’s a favorite book of mine. Were you familiar with it before you were cast in the new TV show?

LZ: My upstairs neighbor loved that book and shared the stories with me. Since then, I have also watched many different versions of the TV shows and the film.

PCM: Were there surprises being on the set?

LZ: This was my third film so I am familiar with being on sets, but there was nothing quite like this one.

PCM: Why?

LZ: Everyone was doing it for the passion and art of filmmaking and I hope that it really comes through on the screen when people watch this movie.

PCM: What do you hope that people will get out of this movie?

LZ: A lot of this movie is really about a series of gestures that are about being able to overcome barriers of time and age, so that people can leave with an understanding of how to truly connect with other

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Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Korn Set To Headline Chicago Open Air 2017

by Matt Bishop | January 17, 2017

After putting together monumental festival bill last year, Chicago Open Air (US) has one again unleashed a monster lineup. This year Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, and Korn are set to headline. Other featured acts slated to perform include Rob Zombie, Godsmack, Slayer, Stone Sour, Megadeth, Seether, Lamb of God, Clutch, Anthrax, Meshuggah, Amon Amarth, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Ice T’s Body Count, Crobot, Falling In Reverse, Behemoth, and many more. It all goes down July 14-16 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL. Tickets and VIP Packages go on sale this Friday, January 20 at 12pm CT via

Chicago Open Air 2017



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Interview With Acrobat Johan Prytz Who Brings The Wild West To Life In The Thrilling ‘Saloon’!

(PCM) For a thrilling way to escape the winter cold one doesn’t have to look any further than the current Philadelphia premiere of “Saloon – A Musical Acrobatic Adventure.”

The Wild West will come to life on stage in the exciting new show, swinging into the Kimmel Center’s Merriam Theater on Friday, Jan, 13, and Saturday, Jan.14. This is the 11th and newest production from the Montreal-based contemporary circus troupe, Cirque Eloize.

Front and center in this show with precise acrobatics, as well as expert comic timing, is acrobat and funny man Johan Prytz, who is front and center in this show. He blends his background in acrobatics, and comedy to the delight of audience members of all ages.

Born in Sweden, Prytz first studied at a high school specializing in sports. He moved to Denmark at age 21 to enter the AFUK Circus School of Copenhagen where he discovered the wonderful world of contemporary circus. This experience changed his perspective on life.

After two years, Prytz moved to Canada and began his four-year training at the National Circus School of Montreal, where he specialized in aerial straps. He also provides comic relief — he’s the ‘cowboy without a horse!’ He became enthralled with the art of the circus that he decided to make it his career. He calls the production of “Saloon,” the opportunity of a lifetime he is thrilled to share with audiences around the globe.

“Cirque Éloize has a long history of transporting audiences to a specific place and time through their magical performances and this newest creation will surely follow suit,” said Anne Ewers, the president and CEO of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

“Saloon, is the perfect addition to our Broadway Philadelphia season, a theatrical fusion of music and tremendous acrobatic feats that come together to tell an inspiring story.”

Inspired by the rich legacy of the Wild West, “Saloon” transports audiences to a dusty gathering place. For a perfect night of family entertainment, just swing open the “Saloon” doors and rustle up some fun for the entire family with this musical and acrobatic adventure.

The stage fizzes and pulses with infectious energy and phenomenal physical feats as 11 top-level cast members perform for a music-packed theatrical thrill-ride! Everyone in the audience should prepare to be blown away by a chase worthy of the great Westerns.

The Saloon is a wonderful playground for work of artistic exploration. It’s also a place of opportunity, one that made us want to try something different,” Jeannot Painchaud, the president and artistic Director of Cirque Éloize and the creative Director of Saloon.

“This show has the physical energy of acrobatics combined with the poetry of the theatrical approach, punctuated with humor and accompanied by amazing live music,” Painchaud said. “ Saloon is bright, funny and musical.”

Staying close to the musical roots of the artistic director and musical director, who happen to be cousins, “Saloon” mixes country extracts (Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash) with more festive, folk-inspired compositions. There are four musicians and singers on stage, and all the artists sing or play instruments.

“Saloon” director Emmanuel Guillaume has put together an acrobatic comedy with 11 top-level, multidisciplinary artists performing with exuberance and humour: “Saloon is an invitation to the party, a fertile ground for emotions where everything is permitted,” he said. “It’s also a meeting of different art forms that were already part of the rich heritage of this mythical place back then.”

Q: How did you get started with your career?

JOHAN PRYTZ: I used to be an athlete special high school in Sweden for handball players and then I broke my knee when I was 17, so I had to quit. I started juggling during my rehab and I met more people from the circus. So that took over in my life from sports. I started with a very small recreational circus in Sweden, and that led me to meet more people doing circus more seriously. When I was 20 I moved to circus school in Copenhagen. Then I did the national circus in Montreal and was picked up for “Saloon.”

Q: When did you start working on “Saloon?”

JP: We started in May. I am contracted with the show for a year and a half. I was approached late in the process; they saw I would fit better with the other comedic role. Our director gave us a lot of freedom with the writing. It was a big challenge for everyone and very fun, and he let us express ourselves as artists. It’s a very human show. The performers had a big part in creating the show, and this comes through in the fun and playfullness of the show.

Q: Have you always been funny?

JP: I would like to say yes, but if you ask some of my friends, maybe not.

Q: How do you feel you got to this point in performing?

JP: From quite early on in my career, I always enjoyed exploring physical comedy, and written and spoken comedy on stage. I always developed an interest in and taken every opportunity I could in the different comic styles and art forms. I guess it all starts out as a bit of a talent and you nurture it and much of it comes with a great deal of practice.

Q: Would you call this a family show?

JP: I would say definitely. It’s a family-oriented fun comedy. It’s an homage and parody of the western culture.

Q: Tell me about life on the road? It is good, bad, exciting or lonely?

JP: Everything at once. We travel all over the world. So there are so many experiences and we get to learn about the world, all the cultures, and we get to meet so many amazing people. Yes, it can be tiring and lonely. We live out of a backpack and in hotel rooms. There are long bus rides and airplane flights. I still have an apartment in Montreal, but I’m not there much. The other downside is that relationships back home are difficult. I have many friends from the Montreal circus community, but we never cross paths, so in that way it’s a difficult situation. We have hectic work schedules, especially during short runs in many cities. The show is physically demanding, and you have to stay rested and healthy as you travel around. Yet, today I couldn’t imagine doing a different job. So the good aspects outweigh the bad ones.

Q: Are you close friends with the other performers in the show?

JP: Oh, yes. We are one big family. This is a team of 15 artists and technical crew, so we are one family. We always hang out and make sure each of us is okay – we are there for one another if someone is having a problem. This is a family feeling, and that’s important. Your life is the tour, so it helps to have people looking out for one another.

Q: Will you please describe the show for me?

JP: It’s a Wild, Wild West Adventure. It’s a throwback to the old spaghetti westerns. There are colorful characters coming into the old saloon. It’s an action-filled, cheesy, love story; with tons of humor and crazy events. So I would say it’s a crazy action-filled Wild West adventure. There is amazing live music from the four musicians, who set the tone and bring this world to life in a whole new way.

Q: How do you rehearse the acrobatics?

JP: Mostly with individual training. If there is time during the day, in between or before the shows. If there is something that is not working well in the show, we go over it. There is two hours of prep time between each show. We make sure everything stays fresh. It is our responsibility to stay in shape and be technically prepared as well.

Q: How do you stay in shape?

JP: I undergo conditioning before and after the shows, and usually that’s enough for me to stay in shape. The show keeps all of us in really good shape. When we are off tour I go to the gym, and there is a studio where I do straps so I am prepared for when we go back on tour.

Q: Have your family members seen this show?

JP: My family came in Germany during the months of November and December when we were in Munich, Germany, since that was as close as we came to Sweden. My mother, my aunt, cousins, and friends.

Q: Have you been in Philadelphia before?

JP: No, this will be the first time and I am looking forward to seeing the city. I have a few friends from the city and I am looking forward to forming my own impression.

Q: What do you hope for your future?

JP: For now, to just keep performing and enjoy the life that we have, and move on with the show. After that, we will see where the show can go. At some point we have to figure out a career after the physical circus career. In the long run, I might stay in the circus community as a coach or in physio therapy. But for now, I am thoroughly enjoying where this show can go and all of the exciting adventures it will take us on. I am a truly lucky man.


CIRQUE ÉLOIZE SALOON at the Merriam Theater

Dates and times: Friday, January 13, 2017, 8 p.m.Saturday, January 14, 2017, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased by calling (215) 893-1999, visiting, or from the Kimmel Center Box Office. For overall information please go to:

The post Interview With Acrobat Johan Prytz Who Brings The Wild West To Life In The Thrilling ‘Saloon’! first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Interview With A Monster Calls Author Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls Author Patrick Ness Evokes Great EmotionWhen Patrick Ness wrote his children’s book ‘A Monster Calls,” he had no idea the impact his fantastical world of monsters and fairytales would have on his readers.

The 2012 book about a troubled 12-year-old boy named Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall), who is dealing with the pain of mother Lizzie’s dire illness, bullying at school, and spending time with his unsympathetic grandmother.

When Ness was chosen to adapt his best-selling book into a screenplay, he says he knew there would be some changes, but was thrilled he would be the one to make them.

“A Monster Calls,” from Focus Features opens nationwide on Friday, Jan.6, and also stars Felicity Jones as the boy’s mom, and Sigourney Weaver as his grandmother.

At the heart of the book, and the stunning film, is a rare relationship that gives way to many life lessons for Conor, his family members, as well as the rest of us.

Amid the anger, frustration and despair that this young boy is feeling, he unexpectedly summons a most unlikely ally, who bursts forth with terrifying grandeur from an ancient towering yew tree and the powerful earth below it: a 40-foot-high colossus of a creature performed in motion capture and voice over by the irrepressible Liam Neeson.

The Monster has stories to tell, and he insists that the boy hear them and powerfully visualize them. Conor’s fear gives way to feistiness and then to looking within because the Monster demands that once the tales are told, it will be time for Conor to tell his own story in return. Ancient, wild, and relentless, the Monster guides Conor on a journey of courage, faith, and truth.

The books of Patrick Ness have been translated into 37 languages. His novel for adults, “The Crane Wife,” was inspired by a Japanese fairy tale, was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and won several major awards in 2013. His novels for young adults include, “More Than This,” and “The Rest of Us Just Live Here,” which was published in the fall in the U.S. A native of Virginia, with family in Seattle, he now makes his home in London.

PCM had the opportunity to sit down for an exclusive chat with Ness, an award-winning novelist and screenwriter for a behind-the-scenes look at ‘A Monster Calls,’ his brilliant career and advice that he has for aspiring young writers who he meets at events.

PCM: When I went to see your movie, several friends of mine said that’s really not the genre that I normally enjoy, so they were kind of surprised that I came back and raved about it.

Patrick Ness: Excellent. No, we’ve just got to get people to see it.

PCM: Since you wrote the book, was it very important to you that you also wrote the screenplay for this film? Would you have let somebody else take over?

PN: It didn’t come quite as mercenary as that. I had written the book based on the original idea of the late novelist Siobhan Dowd. I feel protective of all my books but because she passed away, I’m particularly protective of this one. I had early meetings with producers and so on. This is not a story about how Hollywood gets everything wrong because I don’t believe that. I think most people want to make good stuff it’s just really hard. So lots of people engaged with the book.

 PCM: How was that experience for you?

PN: A few people suggested some softening, which I sort of blanched at a little. I thought, ‘okay, I don’t know the right answer here but maybe if I write the screenplay, I can at least begin the conversation, and say here’s what I feel is important.’ It might not work. It might not be a good screenplay but I can at least say, ‘this is why I think it works and this is what I feel is important to make it work.’ I thought that maybe somebody will respond to that and I was extremely lucky that somebody did.

 PCM: As somebody who has dealt with grave personal loss, you really struck a chord with me. Also, I found that the boy being able to let go obviously was so emotional, that it was difficult to watch at times, but I believe that you helped a little bit cathartically.

PN: That’s a good point. Kids have a really easy time with it because they see themselves as Connor and they see themselves as my concerns are being taken seriously. I feel it’s being taken seriously. So kids see it on that level, but I know that adults bring a history to it. Though, I think it ends hopefully.

 PCM: Yes, I felt that way. Are you happy with how everything turned out? Is it how you envisioned it?

PN: It’s funny making something like a movie because it’s something that everybody has opinion on. With a book, it’s almost like raising a kid. You know all their flaws, but you know all the things you love about them, and you know what’s awesome about them, and so you send them out into the world and you love them whatever people say about them. I just wanted to make something I was really proud of,  and I feel really proud of this movie, so I feel really lucky about it.

 PCM: How important do you feel some of the leading characters like Liam Neeson… could there have been a movie without him?

PN: Probably, but he’s so exactly right. I mean he’s so perfect for the role that I thought we were never going to get him. That’s the fantasy one that you pick at the top of your list, but he really responded to the book and the movie. It’s not just his voice. He does motion capture so it’s also special expressions. It’s his body movements, which just so humanizes the monster and that marvelous voice. Now, I can’t imagine anybody else.

PCM: Did you have nightmares while you were writing this? What were your own dreams like?

PN: My own dreams are incomprehensible. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and so my nightmare monster is always Big Foot until Jurassic Park, and then those first CGI dinosaurs were so primal that they had taken over Big Foot. So whenever I dream about monsters it’s always a dinosaur. I’m 45, but my dreams are much more disordered than that. I think the dreams of most writers are because their heads are just stews of ideas that smoosh together so they make no sense. I just wake up going ‘What the hell is that?’ and then turnover and go back to bed.

 PCM: I wonder, when you were growing up did you ever dream of being able to do any of this?

PN: The dream that I had was to be an author, and so the only thing I really wanted was to hold a book of mine in my hand that had been published, and. that happened. So everything else since has been kind of like a birthday cake party. I mean I’m so afraid of complacency. I’m so afraid of getting too comfortable that I keep wanting to push myself.

PCM: Please tell me more…

PN: I keep wanting to learn stuff, and so I didn’t really imagine this career. But looking back I can  see the path that I set myself on. Whenever I talk to young writers I always say my philosophy is real writers don’t write solely to be published, they write for the love of writing. Early on, I didn’t think anybody would publish a book of mine. I wrote one anyway. I didn’t think anybody would film a screenplay of mine, but I wrote one anyway. There’s a kind of stubbornness on my part of wanting to grow, to stretch and to risk.

 PCM: When you write something so transformative and so deep, does it change you emotionally? I mean that when I see a movie like ‘A Monster Calls,” I feel that I have to go home and hug my child.

PN: Yes, because I feel if I’m not feeling it then it’s arrogance to ask a reader to feel it. It’s the same principle of comedy. If you’re writing a comedy and you’re not laughing, it’s not funny. That seems like a simple thing. But whenever it felt too easy, or whenever it felt like something we’d seen before, I really wanted to push farther. I thought I could go back and do it again, and keep pushing until I hit that purity, and then I can feel the emotion of it. If I don’t feel it, then I cannot ask you to feel it. It’s false.

 PCM: Did you spend time on the set?

PN: Yes. I went there probably 12 or 13 times, and was writing all along the way. Actors come up with ideas, and you get good ideas when you get a shot at working with them.

PCM: Was it a heavy emotional set or was everybody kind of chilling?

PN: I would say more delicate than heavy. The director J.A. Bayona plays music before the scene just to create a feeling. It was a really professional Spanish crew because everybody knew they had a job to do so we could relax. We were outside Barcelona so you would finish a scene, take a deep breath and you go into the sunshine.

 PCM: What happened during the down time?

PN: We’d have delicious Spanish catering. That’s the best Spanish food I’ve ever had. We would have more than one course, and the prosciutto was so delicious my mouth is still watering.

 PCM: When you meet children, teenagers and young adults at a book signing or author event what is that like? What are they asking you? What are they saying to you? What is that experience like for you?

PN: It’s great. I get to meet teenagers when I’m not their parent nor their teachers, so I get to see them relaxed and themselves, which is lovely, because I think teenagers are really quite lovely people. They volunteer more than most any other demographic does. They really care about things. They’re really curious about things. When it comes to books, they don’t have a ton of questions. They just want to tell you they loved it and they saw themselves in it and then take a selfie and off they run.

 PCM: Do you enjoy these experiences?

PN: I think that’s great. I mean I never got the chance to meet a writer when I was growing up, so I’m very happy to meet young people and tell them, ‘if you write, don’t give up on your writing dream. After all, I was just a guy from a tiny town from a poor background. Nobody in my family and nobody in my town did anything like write a book, so if I can, why not you?’

 PCM: Talk about sharing this experience with your family?

PN:  Wonderful. My sister is sort of my number one cheerleader on Facebook. She taped Sigourney [Weaver] on “The Steven Colbert Show,” and put it on Facebook so that’s really nice. I get along with my sister extremely well. I brought her out to the screening in New York, and enjoyed sharing this with her.

 PCM: What’s next for you?

PN: I just finished a spinoff series of Dr. Who set in a high school called “Class.” It just finished airing last week on the BBC in the UK and it’s coming to BBC America in the spring. I have a new book coming out in May in the UK and September in the US, called “Release.” I will be back in the US a few times for book tours.

 PCM: I am curious, how many times have you seen the completed film, ‘A Monster Calls?’

PN: Probably 10 or 15.

 PCM: Did you cry like the rest of us during the highly emotional parts?

PN: The last time I saw it was the first time I didn’t get teary-eyed, but I still got moved. When Conor asks the monster if he will stay, that to me is the whole thing. That’s the real moment that I feel because I think that’s all he wants. He knows what’s going to happen. He just wants someone to acknowledge that yes, he knows what’s going to happen, and that it’s going to be hard, but he doesn’t have to do it by himself. To me, that’s still the part that gets to me, thankfully.

 PCM: Thank you for sharing your story.

PN: My pleasure. Thank you very much, indeed.


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Exclusive Interview: Milow The Girl Talks ‘Days Of Power’ Film, New Album, Touring And More!

(PCM) It is not very often that you come across an artist who completes the entire package. Not only is Milow The Girl aka. Sylvia G an incredibly talented performer and vocalist, but she is also a humanitarian and strong supporter of animal rights.

Having an extraordinary upbringing surrounded by various types of wild animals, Sylvia’s love for animals began at an incredibly young age. She only later in life discovered her musical ability and now has the amazing opportunity to have both of her passions working together side by side.

Milow the Girl has been hard a work recently dropping her delightfully catchy new album “Dreams” which debuted at # 1 on the AC charts and has also completed work on the upcoming film “Days Of Power” which is based upon the horror that is the puppy mill industry.  A synopis for the film which will be released on February 10, 2017 reads “On their 2010 tour, Milow The Girl and band mates mysteriously disappear. As past and present merge, they find themselves searching for answers and fighting for more than just their own lives when a concealed industry is revealed.”

We had a chance to check out a trailer for the upcoming film and it looks as if it is going to be an epic thrill ride that will keep us on the edge of our seats until the very end. We are eagerly anticipating release day!

Never one to slow down we caught up with Milow the Girl at her recent performance at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, PA at a showcase for her label Realize Records. Check out our exclusive interview below:

The post Exclusive Interview: Milow The Girl Talks ‘Days Of Power’ Film, New Album, Touring And More! appeared first on The World Of Pop Culture.

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