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January 2018

Trunk Stubs

The Greatest Showman

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Movie: The Greatest Showman

Rated: PG

Genre: Musical, Drama, Biography

Release Date: December 20, 2017

Run Time: 1h 45m

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson

Director: Michael Gracey

Reason We’re Watching It: Michael Gracey delivers some of the most stunning visuals to grace the silver screen with outlandish dance numbers that feature the full-on circus treatment, including elephants and tigers jumping through flaming hoops. The songs and score are catchy and stick in your brain like the trapeze artists stick to their hoops and silks. This is also a family friendly film for all ages, delivering solid entertainment that everyone can enjoy together.

What It’s About: “The Greatest Showman” is a biographical musical about P.T. Barnum (Jackman) and the beginning of show business. Barnum grows up a penniless child and becomes a self-made success thanks to the help of his family, business partner and the fantastical human oddities that fill his center stage each night. It’s a movie with heart, diversity, dreams and hardship.

Whoah! Rewind that!: There is a business meeting scene in a bar between Jackman and Efron that involves shots… lots and lots of shots! It’s as hilarious as it is mind blowing to watch these two drink, sing and dance at the same time. We’re hoping those shot glasses were digital, because if they weren’t… they must have broken thousands trying to slide them back and forth so perfectly.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Almost all of the performers in “The Greatest Showman” provided their own voices for each song… BUT perhaps even more impressive than singing, Zendaya did ALL of her own trapeze stunts in the film. Keep that in mind when you watch her flipping back and forth or twirling from the ceiling with nothing but a rope.

What? You want another cool factoid? Okay… Both Hugh Jackman and Zendaya have played characters in the Marvel universe!

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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Sit and Spin

Ruby Boots’ Don’t Talk About It

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Artist: Ruby Boots

Album: “Don’t Talk About It”

Label: Bloodshot Records

Reason We’re Cranking It: Nomadic by nature and longing for the adventure of the road, we gravitate towards the kind of music that plays out like a multi-city soundtrack. If we were leaving on a trip tomorrow with nothing but horizons and questionable decisions laid out in front of us, “Don’t Talk About It” would be our musical accompaniment. Ruby Boots just called shotgun!

What The Album Tells Us About Her: Ruby Boots (real name Bex Chilcott) has a gypsy soul that she’s not afraid to leave exposed. Whatever she’s looking for, she’s searching for it through her music and taking us along on the journey with her.

Track Stuck On Repeat: There’s so much to like on this album, but the title track is a beautiful blend of old and new, a musical mosaic of different genres, including a sprinkling of 60s pop that has us feeling nostalgic and itching to hit the replay button.

Coming To A City Near You: Keep an eye on upcoming cities/dates here.

And that means…

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Wingman Wednesday

Katherine Ramdeen

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Photo By: Ryan West

Last week the “Supernatural” fandom was treated to the storytelling potential of the spin-off “Wayward Sisters.” Eager viewers received a long-awaited look at how the characters who would make up the new series come together to serve as another Winchesterless line of defense against all varieties of evil. One of those characters, Alex Jones, has had parts and pieces of her story told throughout the course of “Supernatural,” popping up occasionally as an ally of the demon-hunting brothers Sam and Dean. But what “Wayward Sisters” offers is a chance to see beyond the surface layer of these recurring characters who are adored by fans, and instead, delve into the core of who they are and why they are, something that is extremely enticing to the actress who portrays Alex, Katherine Ramdeen.

Able to breathe a little easier now that the fandom has seen and embraced the direction of “Wayward Sisters,” Ramdeen hopes to explore the character and universe for years to come. Refreshingly candid and admittedly awkward in social situations, she is modest and surprised that people care about who she is, but is preparing herself for a wider spotlight should the spin-off make it to series.

We recently sat down with Ramdeen to discuss why “Wayward Sisters” works, the areas of Alex’s life she’s most excited to explore further, and why her background in psychology helps her to tap into the characters she portrays.

TrunkSpace: Now that the “Wayward Sisters” episode has aired, are you able to breathe a little easier knowing how the fandom received it?
Ramdeen: Yes, and actually it’s interesting, because I knew that it was going to be good, just from reading the script and shooting it, but actually seeing it edited, I’m like, “Holy fuck, it’s actually really good!” It’s really good. I was just talking with Robert Berens yesterday morning. He was like, “Oh, it’s been really warmly received by so many places, and you know what, I noticed that a lot of people, they like Alex. They like her, her story, her character.” That was really exciting to hear, because I obviously want this show to happen.

TrunkSpace: So often with a spinoff, it’s either too close to the original or too far removed from the source material, but “Wayward Sisters” really felt like the perfect blend of both. It is its own thing, but at the same time part of the world “Supernatural” created.
Ramdeen: Yes, exactly. It’s artistically different. “Supernatural” is such an iconic show. It’s been around for what seems like a billion years. I was a kid when it came out. I don’t know how to describe it. I feel like watching “Supernatural,” it’s very comfortable almost. Maybe it’s nostalgia, I don’t know. But it’s a comforting show to watch. Then “Wayward Sisters” is like, you start off and… it’s not comfortable. It’s the same universe, but it’s just shot differently. It’s different enough so that you’re like, “This is a different show, but it’s also still ‘Supernatural.’”

TrunkSpace: The great thing about “Supernatural” is that, although they hunt monsters, at the core it is a show about family, and that seems to be a theme that will be carried over into “Wayward Sisters.”
Ramdeen: Yes, totally, and I think that’s what’s really important, because I think that’s the really important thing about “Supernatural” and why people like it, so that’s a good thing for us to have.

TrunkSpace: You touched on the longevity of “Supernatural.” If “Wayward Sisters” was to go 13 seasons, would you feel creatively fulfilled getting to play the same character for that long?
Ramdeen: Oh, that’s a really good question. That’s really interesting. My first instinct is yes, because I think that for me acting, I love Alex. I don’t know how I would get sick of playing her. This is my guess, but I don’t know, because I can only imagine what it would be like. If “Supernatural” can do it for 13 seasons, and we have a lot of the same creative team coming from that, should this be green lit, then I think the writing won’t be a problem. I mean, it’s like a family already. I remember actually, the last day of shooting Wayward… when I was wrapped, it was sad because I didn’t want to go. I don’t know, presumably I would love to do it for as long as I could.

TrunkSpace: If “Wayward Sisters” gets picked up, what are you most excited to explore with your character that you haven’t been able to delve into within the “Supernatural” universe?
Ramdeen: Oh my God, there’s so much – so much. I talked about this at length with Robert Berens and the rest of the cast. We don’t know where her parents are – it was never really discovered. They didn’t talk about it. Her parents were gone for some reason. They didn’t say how they were gone. Then she lived with her grandmother. Then she was kidnapped. Then her grandmother is really old. And then she has no family. She is presumably an orphan. So it’d be interesting to know, does she have any family? Is she really an orphan? That would be cool to find out.

As far as Alex’s particular character development, I would love to explore the conflicts that she has with killing things, because she grew up killing people, and not necessarily all of them were bad people. It was sort of Dexter-esque. She’s underage, she’s in a bar, and she’s taking home men that want to be with her. That’s really messed up. She feels like this is kind of justified. These people are bad people. But of course, as we saw in “Don’t You Forget About Me,” anytime that she has been an accomplice… it would interesting to explore that, and to learn more about her guilt.

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network, LLC All Rights Reserved

TrunkSpace: When we first met Alex, she was very angsty and now, especially in the “Wayward Sisters” episode, she has sort of suppressed that. Do you think that angst is still a part of her or has she moved on from it?
Ramdeen: No, no, no, no, it’s definitely still part of her. That’s a lot of stuff to go through for a person and so her behavioral response is to feel… to kind of act out but she… it’s still within her and I guess it’s something I’d be interested in seeing her deal with.

One of my friends that watched the episode, they told me that they thought that Alex gave off this vibe of being sort of dead inside, which was interesting. I wasn’t aware of that but it actually does make sense in that I guess she has a lot of pain and kind of the only way for her to survive right now is just to soldier on.

TrunkSpace: We kind of viewed the performance as, from Alex’s perspective, she needed to be strong because she knew there was a chance Claire couldn’t hold it together, so it fell on her to be the glue.
Ramdeen: Exactly. Yes. That’s actually a really perfect way of putting it.

TrunkSpace: In terms of your own personal journey, one of the things that we found interesting was that you studied psychology. Does that background help you to discover the characters you’re playing and their motivations?
Ramdeen: Oh my God, this is a great question and I love this question. It was interesting because studying psychology, that is the study of human behavior – why people do the things they do. When I discovered acting, I realized the parallels were crazy. They’re so similar because acting is all about living, the behaviors of people living their stories, and why they’re doing things. And the way to dissect a character, the way to try and understand a story, is very similar to what, say, a social psychologist would be doing – trying to understand a person or their neuroses. Actors have a lot of those too, so that’s just part of the parcel.

TrunkSpace: And given all of the different types of personalities involved in the business itself, it must help you with that aspect as well?
Ramdeen: Oh my God, yes. And you know what though, honestly, it’s show business, you know? I’m not great with business. The thing is, I know it’s not going to make sense, but I’m rather socially awkward and I don’t like going to parties and… I’m just not good with most people. So I’m not good at that but it’s an interesting part of the job because it is absolutely necessary for an actor to do these things. An actor has to go to an awards ceremony, an actor has to go to a premiere, so it’s interesting, the business side of the industry and me dealing with it because it’s sort of… I’m not gonna say that it’s another form of acting for me, I don’t equate them, but it’s definitely something that I think being an actor helps me with – dealing with situations that I might find awkward. Like interviews, actually.

TrunkSpace: Totally. It’s an odd thing. You have a stranger asking you questions and in a way you’re having to present yourself and your projects.
Ramdeen: Yes, exactly and I’m so self conscious because… this is something very new to me. Wayward is the biggest thing in my career, I guess it’s like the “big break.” I’d say it’s a big break. I don’t have that perspective because I’m within it and all the craziness, but from the outside perspective, people are like, “Katherine Ramdeen, who’s that?” With that being said, I just don’t wanna come across as, I don’t know, not great because of my, maybe, social ineptness. Also, I curse a lot and that’s really hard to stop and so I don’t want to make people feel bad or their kid can’t meet me or something because I’m gonna swear.

I consider myself very chill, or relaxed, or laid back, or easy going, so I think my casualness is weird for the industry because it’s different. It’s like the thing with presenting – I feel like I’m not presenting. I feel like I’m just this person who is an actor and I happen to be normal and just like everyone else.

Photo By: Ryan West

TrunkSpace: So with all of that in mind, if “Wayward Sisters” became this huge success, would you be comfortable having that massive spotlight shining on you?
Ramdeen: I can’t comprehend that but I’m getting a little taste of that. I’m doing “Supernatural” conventions – I did two last year. I went to Blackpool, England and Seattle, and this year I’m doing three so far. I just came back from Orlando this weekend and I’m going to Vegas and then somewhere in England again. With that, I go to these conventions and these are fans and these are people that really like me and they would pay money, I guess like a box office fee, to see me. And that’s just absurd – that’s just crazy. I can’t understand that. I feel sort of like an imposter or I feel like, “Why do you wanna?” It’s a weird feeling, so to have that on just a bigger scale… I guess people always say that they get used to it so I assume you would get used to it. I don’t think it’d ever stop being weird or undeserved, because I think there’s a lot of people on this planet that should be getting recognition for a lot of different things than they get. I think it’s really interesting, celebrity, but anyways…

I think I would just take it because it comes with the territory and I want to be an actor and I love acting and I love telling stories and I just love making movies.

TrunkSpace: You touched on the fans who come out to the conventions, and one of the things we have always loved about the “Supernatural” fandom is that it’s almost like a secret club. Those who know and follow the show are extremely passionate about it, and those who don’t, may not even know it’s still on the air.
Ramdeen: And that’s actually one of the things about “Supernatural” and being part of this potential universe, if the spinoff goes… man, the fandom is just amazing. They’re just all really nice people. Going to these conventions and meeting them, it is a family because people just are nice to each other and it’s like going over to a friend’s house and being like, “Oh, so I have a bunch of friends, we’re just all hanging out and talking.”

Supernatural” airs Thursdays on The CW.

The fandom is still waiting to hear if “Wayward Sisters” will be ordered to series. Stay tuned!

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Opening Act

Gun Outfit

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Artist/Band: Gun Outfit

Members: Carrie Keith, Dylan Sharp, Daniel Swire, Adam Payne, Henry Barnes

Website: Our website got taken over by a weird pro-gun algorithm and now we don’t have one.
Instagram here.
Twitter here.

 

Hometown: Olympia, WA, Carnation, WA, Newton, MA, LA, Claremont, CA. We’re from Los Angeles.

Latest Album/Release: “Out of Range”

Influences: Don’t want to say.

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Keith: Western Expanse.

TrunkSpace: Your latest album “Out of Range” was released in November of last year. What we loved about the album is that it really has a “feel” to it. Was creating a sort of audible environment something you set out to do when putting the album together?
Keith: Of course, that’s why we recorded at Gauchos and pay for tape and went broke mixing it – we are an actual real band writing original romantic songs.

TrunkSpace: As a band you have plenty of previous recordings under your collective belts, but was there something that you set out to do differently with “Out of Range” that you hadn’t tackled in the past, either creatively or through the process itself?
Keith: I think this is why they don’t give me the interviews because I’m like, “What the hell kind of question is this?” and they’re like, “That’s the most common interview question.”

TrunkSpace: It many ways, it’s almost like we can hear the landscape through your music, as if you have somehow connected the world around you to the notes themselves. Do you believe that an artist’s surroundings can directly impact the art being created?
Keith: Thank you. No, I don’t think so. I think it’s about the interiors.

TrunkSpace: The Gun Outfit sound has gone through a lot of changes since you first started writing music together. Internally, where do you hear those changes the most?
Keith: I just threw away a box of “Dim Light” and sent another box to Croatia to a fan just so I don’t have to look at them again. I don’t like looking back.

TrunkSpace: Has the band already moved on from “Out of Range” creatively to new material, and if so, will we hear even more changes to the sound between that album and what comes next?
Keith: I mean, we did get J.J. Cale’s drum machine and a euro agent but we haven’t even played GO “Out of Range” outside Los Angeles county so it’s not like we are moved on from it, that wouldn’t be proper. We are about to tour it in the UK and Europe.

TrunkSpace: What does your songwriting process look like? How do most Gun Outfit songs go from inception to completion?
Keith: Roll the dice, make a little poem, get the band together, get the money together to go into the studio – voila.

TrunkSpace: What has been a personal highlight for you from your Gun Outfit journey thus far? What has the experience given you that you never thought you’d find when it all first came together?
Keith: I never thought we’d stay a band. That’s the best part. And when we hit the city we stayed together and it wasn’t easy but it’s love.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular aspect of the process that you enjoy most? Is it songwriting? Recording? Performing? Something else entirely?
Keith: Just depends. I mean, you try really hard to make it happen and it usually doesn’t work out but sometimes it does and that makes you want to keep it going – whatever it is.

TrunkSpace: Social media makes it possible to reach anybody anywhere these days, but at the same time, it seems more difficult than ever to get people engaged. How do you approach getting the word out about Gun Outfit and to break through all of the surrounding noise that seems to inundate people on a daily basis?
Keith: Just post it and don’t worry, which is probably why we aren’t popular with promoters because we don’t really care about focusing on that so much.

TrunkSpace: As you look towards the future, where do you hope to see Gun Outfit go? What do you hope to accomplish together moving forward?
Keith: I pray we get through this tour without catching the plague. I’d like to play more college radio… I like going on air.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Gun Outfit in 2018?
Keith: Only hits.

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Wingman Wednesday

Dan Donohue

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Donohue in “The Last Tycoon”

With the first season of “Damnation” officially in the books, it is time for any and all of you who have yet to watch the crime drama to set your binging sites on this gritty yet refined gem from USA Network. With a stellar cast and pacing that leaves you instantly wanting more, the series is a stream dream, so fire up that DVR, get yourself comfortable, and saddle up for one hell of a storytelling ride.

We recently sat down with “Damnation” star Dan Donohue to discuss the recipe for its success, what a new show needs to do in order to rise above the competition, and how Batman blew his mind.

TrunkSpace: “Damnation” has received great reviews, but more importantly to the long-term success of the series, fan buzz. What do you think the series offers viewers that has not only baited them, but has sunk the hook as well? What are its biggest strengths?
Donohue: The show has, indeed, received a terrific response – which is gratifying. Fans have jumped on board and are, clearly, holding on tight. “Damnation” is quite a ride. The heart of what makes this show so special is the brilliant story. It unfolds in a masterful way as each character reveals their history, their motivations, and their most guarded secrets. The writing is the thoroughbred on who’s back rides the incredible directors, production team, casting directors, designers, and actors. Each day, on set, you could feel how proud folks were to be a part of it. That pride is reflected in every shot of “Damnation.”

TrunkSpace: What was it about your character Calvin Rumple that first drew you in? Does he offer you something from a performance standpoint that you have yet to tackle in your career?
Donohue: When I was cast, I had only read the first episode. That was all that was available to read at the time. I knew the role would recur, but I wasn’t told what Calvin’s trajectory might be. What was clear, though, from that first script – and what made me particularly excited to play him – was the built-in conflict, the inherent danger, and the potentially bumpy, and perhaps sobering, ride ahead for Calvin Rumple. I thought, I want to be in the driver’s seat while Calvin navigates through this minefield in front of him.

TrunkSpace: For those who have yet catch up with the series on their DVR, where does Calvin fall into things within the “Damnation” universe and what is his journey?
Donohue: Calvin Rumple runs Holden Savings and Loan. At first glance, he seems to be on top. He’s got his shiny shoes on the necks of the local farmers. Of course, the farmers aren’t happy about that. They have been pushed into a corner and are about to come out swinging. So Calvin is in a precarious position. He wields a fair amount of freshly-inherited power. That power feels good to him – he wears it like an expensive new suit. But underneath that fine tailored wool is a sheep. Calvin has lost his moral compass – or, conveniently, set it aside – and he has wandered off the path into dangerous territory.

TrunkSpace: We recently spoke with your costar Sarah Jones and one of the things we pointed out was, whereas many series get attention for the names involved in a cast, “Damnation” delivers with sheer talent. So many of those involved in the show are just wonderful character actors who always bring their A game when they’re on screen. How does this cast compare to the casts of other productions you have been involved with?
Donohue: This is one of the strongest and most unique group of actors I’ve had the great good fortune to work with. I feel extremely lucky to be in the mix. I’ve learned so much on set watching each one of them raise the bar.

TrunkSpace: “Damnation” premiered at a very busy time in the TV landscape. Not only are there a countless number of new series debuting on cable and streaming platforms, but dozens upon dozens of returning series have been airing as well. In your opinion, how does a new, original series make its mark and find an audience in this very crowded golden age of television?
Donohue: A good question. It’s a brave new world, to be sure – a particularly fertile era for cinematic storytelling. There are so many good shows being produced – all competing for an audience. I think that trying to be all things to all people is wasted energy. A new series needs to have a distinctive fingerprint. What you hope, I suppose, is that the singularity – and the quality – of a great show wins out.

TrunkSpace: You’ve guested on some incredibly popular series over the years, from “Longmire” to “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Is there a character you played briefly over the course of your career that you would have liked to explore further, and if so, why?
Donohue: The world has been rough on the on-screen characters I’ve played lately. In the past two years, I’ve played several guest star roles who’s lives have ended horribly. One character was burned to death. One was fatally shot in the head. Another was fatally shot in the head. One was drowned, turned into a zombie, and then fatally stabbed in the eye. Oh, and one was shot in the ass. Fatally.

At a glance, revisiting any of those particular characters doesn’t seem likely. (Though, I was incinerated in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – quite literally turned to dust – and my character still made it back for another episode.) The truth is, I’m available. Even for the dead ones. Happy to do flashbacks, plot twists, zombies, ghosts, and apparitions.

But seriously, last year I played a small but wonderful recurring role, Caldecott Riddle, in the first season of Billy Ray’s, “The Last Tycoon.” Tycoon is based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald and set in 1930’s Hollywood. The first season was exquisitely done – so rich and heartbreaking. Sadly, Amazon didn’t pick up Tycoon for a second season. That’s one I would love to come back to were it picked up by another studio. Such a terrific story. And so much more story there to be told.

TrunkSpace: Beyond your on-screen work, you are also a voice actor, recently giving live to Shriv in “Star Wars: Battlefront II.” What did it mean for you to become a part of the ever-growing “Star Wars” universe? Did it fulfill any childhood dreams?
Donohue: Working on this role in Battlefront II was like being transported back to 1977 to play “Star Wars” in my backyard. I absolutely loved playing Shriv. I did both voice and motion capture for him. Shriv is a lovable curmudgeon. He’s someone who’s been through it all – twice – and he’d rather not go back for thirds. Shriv a big-hearted, large-craniumed, hugely loyal, malcontent. A bit of an Eeyore. I’ve been an enthusiastic “Star Wars” fan from the beginning. To say I never dreamed I’d play a new character in a “Star Wars” story one day would be a complete lie. As a kid, I dreamed that dream all the time. I spent countless hours imagining it. I’ve never read the book, “The Secret.” It wasn’t even written back then. But I secreted the shit out of that “Star Wars” dream back in the day. I very much hope Shriv has a long life in the “Star Wars” galaxy. And in our own.

Donohue in “Damnation”

TrunkSpace: Your voiceover work also lead to you becoming Brother Night in the animated series “Justice League Action.” Does playing a DC Comics villain give you some instant comics fandom cred?
Donohue: Heck, I have no cred at all. Also, no game. But that’s not DC’s fault. “Justice League Action” was a blast. I worked with some amazing folks on it. I remember, my first day recording Brother Night, I arrived at the studio early and with no clue who I might be acting with that day. I had only been there a minute or two when in walks Kevin Conroy, himself – the voice of Batman.

Voice of Batman: “Hello.”

Voice of Dan: “Hello.”

(Mind of Dan: Blown.)

And then, before I’d even processed my excitement about working with Kevin Conroy, in walks Mark Hamill. I thought, Holly crap! This is for real!

TrunkSpace: Comic content continues to rule the big and small screens. Is there a particularly character from any comic universe that you’d like to slip into the tights of?
Donohue: I don’t have sights on any particular comic characters at the moment – other than ones I’m currently working on. I have roles in two upcoming comic book-based video games. And I play a recurring character in an upcoming animated series. I’m extremely happy the genre is thriving. So many imaginative and exciting stories and such fantastic characters – old and new. It’s an actor’s playground.

TrunkSpace: As you look forward, what kind of career do you want to have? If it was in your control to pave your own path, what would that path look like?
Donohue: I think my path would look much like it does now – at least in shape and direction. I’ve been a working actor for 30 years now. I hope to act for 30 more. I love telling stories through the characters I play. I love bringing a character’s story to life. But when it comes to measuring success, I tend to gauge mine by whether or not I feel my work is improving – whether or not I’m growing as an actor. To me, it’s disheartening and distracting to think of it any other way.

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Trunk Gaming

Game Review: Ookujira

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Game Title: Ookujira – Giant Whale Rampage

Platforms: IOS, Android

Price: FREE

App Version: 2.31

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when perusing the games in your app store. There are at least a gagillion choices… that’s right, we ran the numbers and there are a gagillion games to choose from (don’t fact check that, just believe us). So, how do you decide which of these colorful games becomes your next gaming addiction/reality escape while you’re waiting in line at the DMV or sitting next to your crazy sister-in-law at a forced family gathering? Well, that’s where TrunkGaming comes in. We’ve spent countless caffeine-fueled hours looking for the perfect time consumer of a game, and our pick this week is “Ookujira – Giant Whale Rampage” by Rieha Creative. Grab your snorkel and mobile device and hide your wooden boy doll, cause this ain’t your Geppetto’s whale!

What do you do when the world is invaded by evil alien robots and human technology proves to be no match for this alien tech? Isn’t it obvious? You turn to a giant whale to save all of humanity! This is a highly addictive side scrolling tap-and-go sort of game. The mechanics are simple enough and it’s easy to catch on to quickly and start enjoying the gameplay. You are tasked at saving the world as a giant whale out of water. You tap once to make your whale leap out of the ocean and into action. You need to keep the whale on top of the buildings, so there are mid-air jump options that help you achieve this. Once you’ve mastered the air jumps and landed on rooftops like you’re Spider-Whale, you are hit with the task of diving on buildings. You tap the dive button, and your whale dives down quickly crushing a building or anything else in your path. This is especially useful for crushing those pesky robot ships. Just when you’re thinking that is more than enough to handle, you start collecting holographic-looking diamonds. We’re not sure what they are to be honest, but they’re basically like Mario’s golden coins. Once you accumulate enough of these holographic diamonds, you can utilize them to cash in on in-game purchases without using that precious real human money. The purchases include power-ups for your whale that will aid you in your fight against the robots. You could go through and play this game entirely for free, which is a plus. However, if you really, really want a cool-looking robot whale, you could fork over the 99 cents to get a new whale skin to play as.

There are two different “modes” you can play in “Ookujira.” One is the classic arcade mode, which has you playing through different countries and fighting robot alien tech with nothing but your fins and flippers. Arcade mode is probably best to start out with until you get the hang of the game mechanics. The other mode is called slalom. The objective of slalom is to maneuver your whale through the laser gates being held by floating robots. You can also crush buildings along the way to gain extra points and ultimately more of those collectible holograph diamonds. We found both modes were enjoyable and easy to navigate.

Visually, the game is quite beautiful as well with pastel-like colors. If you appreciate a great color scheme that is pleasing to the eye, then you will appreciate the time and care they spent crafting the environments and characters in this game. We found the colors were also not so harsh and bright on your eyes, which is great, because you can play longer before starting to resemble Droopy the cartoon dog.

Ookujira” is rated 9+ for cartoon-like violence, but we think this is a bit harsh, unless you consider a whale crushing a building violent. We think kiddos of all ages would get a good laugh out of this and adults will find it absurdly entertaining. The premise alone is ridonculous and worth a download. So, what are you waiting for? Dive in and take the plunge with “Ookujira – Giant Whale Rampage” and make those robot aliens pay!

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Wingman Wednesday

Rich Ting

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Photo By: Ryan West

Rick Ting is simultaneously living two dreams.

As an actor, the Los Angeles native is firing off a career catapult, working in projects that are both creatively-fulfilling and watercooler-worthy, such as “Waco,” which premieres tonight on Paramount Network.

As a person, he is furthering lifelong interests. Training in martial arts even before he entered school, Ting has idolized Bruce Lee since he was just a boy and now finds himself starring in “Warrior,” an unfulfilled project of the iconic martial arts legend that is set to debut on Cinemax later this year.

We recently sat down with Ting to discuss his “Waco” journey, how he approaches playing non-fictional characters, and why landing a role in “Warrior” has impacted him so profoundly.

TrunkSpace: You’re set to star in “Waco” for Paramount Network, which premieres tonight. When you’re working on a project that is not only based on actual events but is also telling the story of actual people, does it put you in a position to approach the material in a different way than you would a fictional piece?
Ting: Yes, definitely. As an actor, I want to embody and completely resemble the real character/individual as accurately and specifically as possible. Having the opportunity to speak with the individual, his/her family members and friends as well as visiting places or locations that are significant to that individual character’s past and/or present life (i.e. schools, neighborhoods, work places, churches, vacation spots, etc.) are all examples of the character developmental process that I focus on. I am not only grateful to be working as an actor in Hollywood but to have the opportunity to be cast as an actual real-life person is truly an experience that ultimately flatters and humbles me. As a result, my detailed prep work and character research as well as my overall commitment in representing these characters on film is my way of honoring them and what they have accomplished and contributed to the world.

TrunkSpace: The story that “Waco” is telling, although dramatized for television, was in and of itself a very dramatic series of events that captivated the nation in 1993. As someone who was involved in the project, what do you think viewers will take from the series that they won’t find through watching one of the many newsmagazine programs revisiting the events?
Ting: I would say that “Waco” differentiates itself from other newsmagazine programs due to the extreme accuracy and specificities detailing the actual events that occurred in 1993. “Waco” is extremely true, real, and overall, convincing. I will not forget when I ran into Taylor Kitsch (who plays David Koresh) at the gym in Santa Fe, New Mexico (where we were filming on location). He was so skinny and emaciated that I honestly believed it was the real David Koresh working out on the stationary bike. The accuracy and close resemblance of all the characters in the series as well as the actual Waco compound are truly outstanding.

I remember watching the final scene where we completely burned the compound to ashes. To say the least, it was surreal, as it resembled the exact scene I remember watching on the news as a young teenager when the real Waco compound caught on fire and millions around the world watched it burn to the ground. I am excited for the fans to see our series as it accurately depicts the critical events prior to and during the entire 51-day siege of the Branch Davidians’ Waco compound.

TrunkSpace: From what we understand, “Waco” is telling the story through multiple points of view. Do you think that will help give the audience a different perspective on what transpired?
Ting: Definitely. I think it is very crucial in creating a complete picture of all the events that transpired as well as the various views and insights from everyone involved in the Waco situation ranging from the F.B.I., A.T.F., Branch Davidians, people of Waco, innocent bystanders, news reporters, etc. From what I have seen while filming, I believe that the audience will be exposed to a side of David Koresh, played by Taylor, that is unfamiliar and untold from the original media coverage.

TrunkSpace: In the series you play Lon, an FBI sniper. What is his journey through the course of “Waco?”
Ting: Lon Horiuchi is an F.B.I. Hostage Rescue Team (H.R.T.) sniper and former U.S. Army officer. He was the critical sniper that shot Vicki Weaver during the F.B.I. siege at Ruby Ridge in 1992. (In 1997, Horiuchi was charged with manslaughter for the death of Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge, but the charges were later dropped.) He was involved in controversial deployments during the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff and 1993 Waco siege. As a result, the series opens with the events at Ruby Ridge and follows Horiuchi’s involvement all the way to the siege of the Waco compound in 1993.

TrunkSpace: 2018 seems to be gearing up to be an exciting year for you. Beyond “Waco,” you’re also set to star in the upcoming Cinemax drama series “Warrior,” which is inspired by the writings and work of Bruce Lee. In our research we read that this was a sort of dream project of Lee’s. Does it feel like you’re involved in something special, having an opportunity to be a part of a project that fulfills the unmet dreams of such an icon?
Ting: Of course! It was such an honor to be not only cast for this amazing project but to also be playing the real character of martial arts legend and close friend of Bruce Lee, Bolo Yeung. This project has impacted me in so many ways due to my childhood connection with Bruce Lee, as he was the sole reason for why I began studying martial arts at the age of four years old and continues to be one of my lifelong idols. Having the opportunity to work with his daughter, Shannon Lee, as well as director/executive producer, Justin Lin, executive producer, Danielle Woodrow, and writer, Jonathan Tropper – words cannot express how honored I am to bring to life an idea, vision, and dream of the legendary martial artist and my childhood idol, Bruce Lee. Ironically, throughout my life, I have often been referred to and called “Bolo” or “Chong Li” from my family, close friends, and numerous athletic teammates. Known for his notorious characters in “Enter the Dragon” and “Blood Sport,” Bolo Yeung has been someone I have also idolized due to his muscular physique and overall strong character acting. Being cast as Bolo in “Warrior” represents the biggest win of my career thus far as I am portraying the most iconic and hyper-masculine Asian character known throughout the world in a TV series written and created by the greatest martial artist of all time. I would never have imagined I would be given such an opportunity as a four year old child watching both Bruce Lee and Bolo Yeung in “Enter of the Dragon.”

Ting as Metallo 2 in “Supergirl.”

TrunkSpace: What’s really cool about “Warrior” is that it is wholly original, and yet, still has the cachet of a built-in audience because of Lee’s name attached to it. That’s a bit of a rarity in an industry that is increasingly becoming driven by sequels, prequels, and reminaginings. Do you get the sense that action fans will be all-in on the story knowing that it not only has roots that reach back to Lee, but that the creative team behind it is also so well-versed in the action space?
Ting: Most definitely! “Warrior” is not just another kung-fu action show with “everyone” knowing martial arts and having exceptional fighting skills. It focuses on the political, racial, economic, and cultural backdrop of San Francisco during the late 1800s. The creative team behind “Warrior” wanted it to be a real drama with a martial arts, action element. They wanted to keep it “real” and accurate of the time period as well as showcasing only a few characters that have exceptional fighting skills. The writer and producers have told me that they are determined to highlight specific fight scenes throughout the series in order to show the quality and high-level skill of martial arts fighting. Fans will definitely be captivated and drawn in whenever a select few characters, including myself, appear in a scene. They can anticipate danger, fear, conflict, and as a result, a “fight” will most likely be the outcome of such high-tension scenes.

TrunkSpace: You secured a dual J.D./M.B.A. before deciding to pursue acting. We have to ask… how did that conversation go with family and friends?
Ting: (Laughter) Well, my mom has always been a true supporter of my career dreams and goals. She has known about my childhood dream to pursue a career in acting and was 100 percent supportive when I broke the news to her that I wanted to move back to Los Angeles and pursue my acting in Hollywood. My dad, however, had always wanted me to go to medical school and have a career as a doctor, so the decision to turn down med school and continue my education in law and business already proved difficult at that time. It was definitely more difficult to update him later upon the completion of both law school and business school that I would turn down various offers from different law firms and pursue a career in acting. Over the years and throughout my projects, my dad has slowly accepted my chosen profession but I cannot thank my mom enough for all of her past and continued support, encouragement, and love that she has shown me throughout my journey in the entertainment industry. My close friends have all shown me tremendous support as well, always excited to see me on the television or big screen wherever they are in the world.

TrunkSpace: Was there ever a moment where you second guessed yourself and considered not taking that leap of faith with your creative interests?
Ting: Yes. In 2009, I had the opportunity to film a feature film in Vietnam that was funded and supported by the Vietnam government commemorating 1,000 years of Hanoi (the capital city of Vietnam). It was a period piece based on true characters that were all significant in the history of Vietnam. It was not only my first time in Vietnam but also my first time being outside of the U.S. Filming is a lot different in Southeast Asia than Hollywood and as result, I encountered a multitude of cultural, racial, economic, and social adversities while filming this feature film. There were constant delays and conflicts with shooting on various locations and long-story short, I ended up filming in Vietnam for almost 1 ½ years. (I also booked a Korean drama series that happened to be filming in Vietnam at the same time, which allowed me to film both shows simultaneously.) I was homesick, exhausted, and had multiple episodes of food poisoning and sickness. I remember one day in particular where we were on location in the dense jungles of North Vietnam (where Ho Chi Minh was said to have retreated and eventually died). I was sitting on a small plastic stool in the middle of the bamboo forest. It was 98 degrees Fahrenheit and over 100 percent humidity. The local village children had snuck their way into our set and had positioned themselves high in the trees among the bamboo stalks. If I had not inadvertently looked up towards the sky, I would have never seen the 50 or so children literally hanging out in the tops of the bamboo stalks all staring down at me as I rested. It was at this very moment, as sweat profusely ran down my face and chin, that I thought to myself, “What the hell am I doing in the jungles of North Vietnam?” There was no water, no restroom, no craft service station, no medical staff or personnel on set, no trailers, no catering, no English-speaking personnel, no security – nothing. It was just me in layers of traditional Chinese-inspired clothing sitting on a red plastic stool with local village children all staring at me from high above. I will never forget this moment in my journey as an actor as it always humbles me when I’m filming on a Hollywood set with all the simple amenities and luxuries, such as bottled water and porta potties.

Photo By: Ryan West

TrunkSpace: So often people take the “safe route” with their career decisions and ultimately end up regretting it later in life. “Had I known now what I know then” kind of stuff. That being said, knowing what you know now, can you imagine an alternative reality where you zigged instead of zagged and didn’t go for it with your acting? What does that look like? Would you feel fulfilled?
Ting: Honestly, I have always trusted my gut and instincts. Knowing absolutely nothing about the entertainment industry, I followed my gut instincts on what to do and who to trust. I have been extremely lucky throughout my journey as an actor staying very close to the road map I created for myself upon entering the business. I would say my only regret would be paying for the numerous head shots that every agent and manager would continue to find flaws with during the early stages of my career. I did not realize how difficult and expensive it would be to just obtain a classic theatrical headshot that everyone would agree on.

TrunkSpace: People change throughout the course of their lives. The core you is always the same, but interests and motivations find different nesting spots. Today, in 2018, what motivates you to continue to pursue acting and other creative endeavors?
Ting: Throughout my early life, I was always searching for something that would “wake me up in the morning and get me out of bed.” In college, I heard all of my classmates discuss their future plans and career goals but I still had not pinpointed exactly what I wanted to do. I always knew regardless of what I chose as a future career that I would need to absolutely love it, be it, and live it everyday of my life. From being a history major at Yale while completing all of my pre-med requirements to earning a joint J.D./M.B.A. dual degree in graduate school, I still did not know what I wanted to do with my life. My parents taught me to always keep working at something and never stop. If I didn’t know what to do, then I should just keep doing what I was currently working on. And that’s exactly what happened. An offer at a law firm in downtown Los Angeles brought me back to L.A. where I coincidentally received my first job offer to work on a Warner Bros.’ feature in the summer of 2007. My dream of being an actor in Hollywood had began and since, I continue to be motivated by the unknown factor of what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. When I was four years old, I began to study martial arts because of my motivation and inspiration from Bruce Lee. So many decades later, I am now continuing my childhood idol’s idea, dream, and vision he created prior to his unfortunate death. Never would I have thought that I would be starring in a project created by the greatest martial arts legend of all time while continuing the pursuit of my dream of being a Hollywood actor. Bruce Lee was quoted saying, “Running water never grows stale, so you got to just keep on flowing.” Similar to what my parents preached and taught me when I was a child, I continue to stay motivated, committed to my craft, and “flowing.”

TrunkSpace: You’re a 1st degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, Jeet Kune Do, and Wing Chun. Are martial arts still a big part of your life and do they help you to stay grounded and focused on things outside of the entertainment industry?
Ting: Martial arts have always been a significant part in my life. It established the foundation of not only my biomechanics as an athlete but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual structures of having self-discipline, self-respect, self-control, and perseverance. I believe that with the culmination of both my martial arts training and the morals and lessons established by my parents at a young age, I have been able to stay focused and committed on being not only an obedient and respectful son but also a well-grounded individual.

TrunkSpace: Are there any parallels to studying martial arts and studying the craft of acting? Do they intersect anywhere, either in principal or training/focus techniques?
Ting: Most definitely. Martial arts emphasize and strive to teach self-discipline, self-control, integrity, focus, commitment, balance, and perseverance. All of these qualities apply to not only the craft of acting but to life in general. Throughout the various adversities we are confronted with and face in everyday life to our individual careers to our personal relationships, I am grateful and extremely thankful for my parents allowing me to begin my martial arts training at such a young age so that all of these values and foundational qualities could be installed and integrated into my early development as a young child. I believe that these same qualities co-exist and intersect with my training as an actor, and I continue to use all of the tools and techniques from my martial arts background to help me grow and mature as an actor.

Waco” premieres tonight on Paramount Network.

Warrior” premieres on Cinemax this fall.

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Sit and Spin

Porches’ The House

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Artist: Porches

Album: “The House”

Label: Domino Recording Co.

Reason We’re Cranking It: The Oomph! Oomph! Oomph! of the beats in our chest are a pleasant distraction from the pounding of the daily grind in our heads, but it is Aaron Maine’s whimsical yet identifiable lyrical presentation that keeps us invested.

What The Album Tells Us About Them: You can’t have a porch without a house and you can’t have “The House” without Porches. While Maine’s third album under the Porches name gives us impressions of artists who have come before (Sean Lennon’s “Into the Sun” comes to mind), it is wholly originally and entirely his.

Track Stuck On Repeat: The vulnerable vocal delivery by Maine on “Country” makes this flash of a track (clocks in at just 1:53) an instant replay. Beautiful and memorable from start to finish, we long for more time in the “Country.”

Coming To A City Near You: Porches hits the road in February. Check out the list of cities/dates here.

And that means…

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Trunk Stubs

Somebody Feed Phil

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Series: Somebody Feed Phil

Where To Watch: Netflix

Episodes: Season 1/Six Episodes

Starring: Phil Rosenthal (And occasionally his parents and brother.)

How Do I Know That Guy?: If Rosenthal is both unfamiliar to you and yet strikingly recognizable at the same time, it’s probably because you were a fan of the long-running sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Rosenthal created the series and it’s clear to see that star Ray Romano was channeling the mind behind it, and in the process, doing a bang up job!

Reason We’re Watching It: Yes, the dishes looks delicious, but there are a million food-meets-travel shows out there. What makes “Somebody Feed Phil” different is the heart of the host being fed. Rosenthal doesn’t only just connect with the food he’s sampling but with the people behind each meal. In a show marketed to be about food, what it ultimately becomes is a show about being human, and for us, that’s a winning recipe.

Our Favorite Episode: Like Rosenthal points out in the episode, the country of Vietnam gets a bad wrap, but between the ear to ear smiles of its people and the delectable food coming out of Saigon, this episode was both eye opening and eye edible.

We’re Inspired!: Thanks in large part to our favorite episode about Vietnam, we hunkered down in the kitchen and attempted to make our own batch of Pho, a popular Vietnamese soup. It’s now even more popular with us. Somebody thank Phil!

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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Trunk Stubs

Kickboxer: Retaliation

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Movie: Kickboxer: Retaliation

Rated: R

Genre: Action, Drama

Release Date: January 26, 2018

Run Time: 110 Minutes

Starring: Alain Moussi, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Christopher Lambert, Mike Tyson, Sara Malakul Lane

Director: Dimitri Logothetis

Reason We’re Watching It: “Kickboxer: Retaliation” is even more hard hitting than the original relaunch of the franchise, “Kickboxer: Vengeance.” The fight sequences are great and packed with stunning choreography. You get to see Mike Tyson throwing punches, Jean-Claude’s signature kicks, Alain’s great stunt work and Lambert’s iconic voice and screen presence. Oh, and the cinematography is gorgeous in between the kicks to the head.

What It’s About: Kurt Sloan (Moussi) is preparing for a big MMA title shot, but he is abruptly abducted and transported to Thailand, where he is forced to fight a genetic freak that dwarfs any foe you’ve seen Sloan face before. He doesn’t go it alone, though. He receives training from Master Durand (Van Damme) and Briggs (Tyson).

Whoah! Rewind that!: It’s tough to pick a single moment that you’re going to want to watch over and over again, because the jaw-dropping fight scenes are all worth viewing a few times. We loved the comedic elements sprinkled in throughout the punches as well.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Van Damme was originally supposed to star as Johnny Cage in the “Mortal Kombat” movie alongside Lambert, but the Muscles from Brussels had a scheduling conflict – he was busy playing Guile in the “Street Fighter” flick. “Kickboxer: Retaliation” finally unites Van Damme and Lambert… let Mortal Kickboxing Begin!

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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