MONOGEM: Girl Of The 21st Century Retro

MONOGEM: Girl Of The 21st Century Retro

MONOGEM is creating cool retro sounds and shattering gender stereotypes
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Fresh off the release of her newest EP “100%,” I sat down with Jen Hirsh, the voice behind MONOGEM, to discuss her sound, her name and her music video for her song "WILD." The indie singer song writer’s sophomore EP, fittingly named “100%,” was deemed by Hirsh as “so right.” She continued, saying “listeners will be able to tell it’s still me. I have a lot of vocal characteristics that are carried over, but a lot of the production has definitely changed. We’ve been so lucky to explore and we’ve experimented with more vocal effects, and we're having more fun expressing ourselves musically. [Personally,] the new EP, while some characteristics have carried over from the first one, is a bit more elevated. It’s a bit more honest, a bit more real; it just feels so right and that’s why I chose “100%” as the title.”

The EP is following up the release of the music video for "WILD." The video showcases two youngsters as they have a night in. The video itself, though fun and imaginative, pushes against gender stereotypes, while creating a relatable scene for young people. When asked about the creative process that went into the video itself, Hirsh raved about the young actors who played the role of exploring teenagers. The videos production time was short, taking only about a day because of the excitement of everyone involved. Hirsh was able to be incredibly present in the making of this video. “I worked really closely and I was very involved and present for the whole shoot. I was there for the editing process and worked closely with the director and I knew that I wanted a picture that highlighted innocence and that sort of carefree child-like spirit that we all have, or had as children. A spirit that, as we got older, we suppressed. I thought it would be a really beautiful thing to see this video with these two young actors and I’m so proud of how the look was achieved”. Since Jen was able to be such a large part of the videos creative process it made the translation between the music and the visual elements completely organic to what MONOGEM is all about.

I, of course, had to ask why MONOGEM was the name Jen chose to be her stage name. “Visually I had this lunar vision in my head and a lot of the visual references for the project sort of touch on it, but also we have a kind of a throwback 80’s retro vibe, and a lot of those sounds triggered those visuals. So when I discovered what a monogem ring was, and read about it, and read that the largest one studied was found between the Gemini and Cancer constellations, which is actually a supernova reference, I thought it was the perfect name. It rang true and I’ve been rolling with it ever since.” With musical and style influences from artists like Jesse Ware, Solange, and even Prince, MONOGEM is definitely on the way to becoming the music that sets the tone for young people everywhere.

Cover Image Credit: ReverbNation

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10 TV Shows that were Canceled Before Their Time

They should have been given a real chance.
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Television shows have been a staple in many homes around the world for almost 100 years. During that time, multiple shows have come and gone without being given the opportunity to really get on their feet.

Some were of low quality and could have just been pulled because of it; while many others were excellent...but due to low ratings, were canceled by their network. I asked TV junkies on Tumblr and Oh No They Didn't which shows they thought were undeserved victims of such an injustice. Here were the top 10.

1. "Pushing Daisies"

pushing daisies

This was overwhelmingly named as the top show that got treated dirty by the network, ABC. It was bright and colorful, literally, and had a gripping story of Ned, a piemaker (Lee Pace), who had the ability to bring dead people back to life with just a single touch. He used this talent to help solve murder cases. Throw in dynamic characters, such as the private investigator, played by Chi McBride; and Olive, portrayed by the amazing Kristin Chenoweth, it's a shame this show didn't make it past three seasons. It was canceled in 2009.

2. "Selfie"

Selfie ABC

This sitcom was another casualty of ABC. It was a modern-day version of "My Fair Lady." Granted, neither its title, nor its pilot, were very appealing, but it really hit its stride on the third episode. Plus, John Cho as the romantic lead? Yes, please. Sadly, the ratings did not improve by midseason. ABC pulled it in 2015 after airing only 13 episodes.

3. "Don't Trust the B**** in Apartment 23"

Yet another show that ABC canceled (it's not intentional, I swear!). Starring a pre-"Jessica Jones" Krysten Ritter, it centered around Chloe, a party girl who intentionally tries to scare off her roommates. Featuring a fictionalized version of James Van Der Beek (yes, that James Van Der Beek), the series received much praise from critics, but its ratings did not agree. ABC canceled it midseason in January 2013.

4. "Freaks and Geeks"

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Moving over to NBC for this one, "Freaks and Geeks" starred young Linda Cardellini, James Franco and Seth Rogen. It followed brother/sister duo Lindsay and Sam Weir as they befriend different groups in their new high school, the "freaks" and the "geeks." Low ratings only allowed NBC to initially air 12 of the 18 episodes in the fall of 1999. Fan outcry caused the network to air the remaining six episodes on the Fox Family Channel in September 2000.

5. "Galavant"

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Back to ABC, "Galavant" was campy, fun and musical. With the music and lyrics co-written by Alan Menken (known for conducting much of the Disney songs we know and love), the show centered around a knight called Sir Galavant and his rivalry with King Richard. Comedy and songs throughout made it a fun story, which began airing in the 2015 midseason. Its second season kicked off with an episode poking fun at its low ratings and precarious status before ABC canceled it in spring 2016.

6. "Better Off Ted"

better off ted

Another ABC sitcom and this is a show that I had never actually heard of, but its title came up a lot in the polls. It was a satire about a single father (Jay Harrington), who was the head of the research and development department at a large corporation. Costarring Portia de Rossi, the series premiered in March 2009, but its ratings dropped each week, forcing a cancellation in Jan. 2010.

7. "Kings"

kings

Not to be confused with a Canadian show with a similar name, "Kings" was on NBC for a mere 12 episodes in 2009. It starred the always terrific Ian McShane in a futuristic version of what was eerily similar to the Bible story of King David. NBC aired the first five episodes in March 2009, then concluded airing its other seven episodes that July before announcing its cancellation.

8. "Firefly"

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I was surprised that this one did not make it higher on the list. Even today, fans still talk about the unfair treatment it received from Fox Network. The story took place in the year 2517 on various planets and star systems in space. It centered around a crew aboard the Serenity, a "Firefly-class" spaceship, captained by Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion). It premiered on Fox in September 2002, but then the network announced its cancellation after only 11 episodes were aired. Fan popularity and fan campaigns led to a movie, "Serenity," released in 2005, followed by a fan-made documentary in 2006.

9. "Rome"

rome

The only cable show on this list, "Rome" was a historical drama set in first century BC during the time when Ancient Rome was transitioning into an empire. The characters were loosely based on real people from history, but the protagonists were two fictional soldiers by the names of Lucius Vorenus, played by Kevin McKidd, and Titus Pullo, played by Ray Stevenson.

It ran for two seasons on HBO, as well as the British Broadcasting Company, from August 2005 through March 2007. Unlike the other shows on the list, its reason for the cancellation was not because of low ratings but because the show was very expensive to film. Allegedly, there is currently a movie script based on the show being shopped around to different production companies.

10. "My So-Called Life"

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Ending this list with, of course, another show canceled by ABC. Though, this one was a drama, not a sitcom. It premiered in August 1994 and starred Claire Danes as Angela Chase, an insecure teenager who encounters hardships in her social circle. The show dealt with heavy issues such as child abuse, homophobia and school violence. It received acclaim from critics, as well as a Golden Globe win for Danes. However, it succumbed to its low ratings in 1995, after only 19 episodes were aired.

Do you agree with this list? What other shows do you think should have made it on here? Do you feel like going back and watching any of these shows, and then screaming at the unfairness of its network for taking them off the air?

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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We Can't Choose Our Born Appearance, But We Can Choose Our Tattoos

For the first time in my life, I felt beautiful and comfortable in my own skin.
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On a Saturday afternoon, I received my first tattoo. Not in an act of rebellion or consummation of my newfound privileges as an adult, but rather in a calculated decision to take ownership over the aesthetics of my own body.

Without an appointment, I walked into the tattoo parlor with my friend Rachel. The musty, carpeted staircase and dim lights created an atmosphere of suspicion. I nudged her, “This is where I die, right?” “Yeah, definitely.”

There was a collection of bold artwork hung on the bright yellow walls, everything from demonic warrior bugs to naked skeletal figures, the screamo music a real punch to the ears – I’m more of a classical music fan. The women at the front desk walked me through the process and assisted me in choosing a final design.

Nothing too extravagant, I thought. Music is life–a cliche, I know, but true nonetheless. I remember playing the piano alongside my American Girl Dolls, pressing single C and D down in succession, with my thumb and index fingers.

Twelve years later, I whipped around the keyboard playing Chopin Polonaises and Scriabin Etudes. To this day, I cannot prevent my fingers from tapping away on desks and countertops, the music perpetually flowing through my body. Music made me who I am – I wanted to commemorate that. And I wanted to express who I am inside on the outside.

I laid down on the table. The tattoo machine buzzed and shocked my skin at first: “Are you alright?” the tattoo artist asked. “I’m fine.” I was momentarily in shock, but the machine felt more like a deep tickle.

We have no choice in our born appearance. However, we do have the agency to style our hair, choose our clothes, tattoo our skin, pierce our ears and various body parts, etc.

The empowerment I felt when I first took off the bandage is an unmatched experience. I looked at my body in the mirror and saw someone closer to my true self.

For the first time in my life, I felt beautiful and comfortable in my own skin.

Cover Image Credit: Christine MacKenzie

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