October 2018

Trunk Stubs

Trunktober: Supernatural


This October we’re focused on one thing and one thing only… watching as much horror-related programming as possible to prime the pop culture pump in celebration of Halloween. Our consuming will be taking place nightly, and while there’s no rhyme or reason to how we’re going about choosing our scary screenings, we’ll do our best to tell you how we did it so that you can watch them as well.

Title: Supernatural

Episode: “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester”

Directed By: Charles Beeson

Starring: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Ashley Benson, Robert Wisdom, Don McManus

We Watched On: Netflix

Trunktober Approved Because: You didn’t think we’d get through an entire spooky season without throwing our favorite monster-hunting series a bone, did you? In this episode, the Winchester brothers get into some demon-raising trouble on Halloween, which could mean a whole lot of evil being let out into the world unless they can stop it. Which of course, they do!

Biggest Scare: Boiled alive while bobbing for apples. Kind of puts a damper on a perfectly good Halloween party.

Here’s a look at this week’s brand new episode.

read more
The Featured Presentation

Alex Russell

Photo By: George Byrne

With Game 1 of the World Series set to kick off later tonight, we thought it was a great time to take a look at the new baseball movie “Brampton’s Own,” which is available now on Digital HD. First up, we’re talking with star Alex Russell, who plays Dustin, a minor league baseball player who returns to his hometown after leaving years before to chase his dreams. The film, which is written and directed by Michael Doneger, also stars Rose McIver, Spencer Grammer, Scott Porter, Jean Smart and Riley Voelkel.

We recently sat down with Russell to discuss the risk/reward of working in independent cinema, striking a balance with your goals, and why his time on the CBS series “S.W.A.T.” is unlike anything he has experienced in his career thus far.

TrunkSpace: “Brampton’s Own” is not the first independent project you’ve worked on. As an actor, is there a bit of a leap of faith involved with signing on to work on an indie, not knowing when (or even if) a particular film will see the light of day?
Russell: I think you always have to go off your gut instinct and your response to material. If I come across great material and a great role and sign on to it and the film turns out great but never sees the light of day, to me, it’s a risk worth taking. I’m less concerned with whether it’ll have eyes on it and more concerned about the quality. And the quality of Michael’s script was through the roof, truly.

TrunkSpace: What was it about “Brampton’s Own” and the team behind it, particularly Michael Doneger, that gave you the confidence to jump into the work and take on the character Dustin?
Russell: As I partially touched on in the previous question, the script was truly wonderful. I laughed, I cried, I went on that old, ideal “roller coaster of emotions” every writer hopes to send you on. When I met with Michael shortly thereafter, it sealed the deal. I knew, first from his script and then from how he spoke about the story, that he knew exactly what he was doing.

TrunkSpace: Dustin sacrifices a lot in the pursuit of his dream to be a professional baseball player. Did you discover parallels in his passion for baseball and your own for acting that helped you to understand and connect with his journey and who he is as a person?
Russell: I’m a big family man and have a very strong relationship with my hometown and the friends and family I have there so I’ve never lost touch as a result of my work the way Dustin has. However, I think most people in the pursuit of something great can lose perspective and begin to place waaaaaaaaaayyy too much importance on their goals. Goals are great, don’t get me wrong, but nothing is worth missing out on life. Balance can be a hard thing to strike. This movie offers a very healthy perspective for highly motivated and work-focused people. Not placing all your happiness in the hands of one result or outcome, I think this is key. That theme is a major one in this film and it’s one I’ve had to become familiar with over the years in order to live a happier, healthier life.

TrunkSpace: When you’re working on a film where your director is also the writer, does that become an extra tool in your toolbox? If you have a question, does it help lead to a better understanding of where your character is coming from and ultimately where he is headed?
Russell: Absolutely. It’s great having two important roles living on inside the one person. Questions about a scene that would be geared towards a director can often go hand in hand with questions about a line. Michael was always there, wearing both hats at once.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with your work in “Brampton’s Own?”
Russell: This is tricky. Ummm… I don’t know, I don’t think I have a favorite scene of mine.

Actually, I’m really happy with my work in the scene when I’m asking my sister for a job. There was a Newton’s Cradle on the desk and I kept clicking the balls back and forth to annoy her – I don’t believe this was scripted – and I found it funny when it was kept in the scene.

TrunkSpace: What we love about a movie like “Brampton’s Own” is that it is original. It isn’t “Based On The…” or a “Sequel To…” or a “Remake Of…” It’s just a great original story, which seems to becoming more and more of a rarity in the world of film. How important is independent filmmaking these days to giving audiences more than super heroes and super franchises?
Russell: I think it’s massively important. It’s important as a vehicle for new filmmakers and creatives with new ideas to come through and up in the ranks, keeping the industry fresh and on its toes. I also think it’s important for studios to keep making “mid-level” studio movies. We’re at a point where it’s million dollar indies or the next 200 million dollar franchise installment – both of which I love – but almost never the in between movie; the 30/40/50 million dollar film with, yes, great action, set pieces and A-listers, but where the STORY is the star. It’s tricky because these days, it’s hard to get people to go and watch that movie. They wanna take their kids to see the blockbuster. I think something’s gotta give. The whole thing is cyclical and I feel we’ll have a demand for this kind of movie again before too long.

TrunkSpace: You’re currently in your second season of “S.W.A.T.” for CBS. (Props to David Lim who also stopped by recently!) From what we could tell, portraying Jim Street is the longest you have ever spent with one character thus far in your career. What has that long-term character journey been like – knowing who he is, but at the same time, still learning as new scripts arrive week after week?
Russell: It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and I have to say, it’s awesome! I love Street. He’s my buddy now and I feel I can rely on him week after week to take me on a fun, new adventure. I love learning more about him and myself as the show moves forward.

TrunkSpace: Does working on a show the size and scope of “S.W.A.T.” take some getting used to, both in terms of the workload and the attention that it can bring?
Russell: I suppose the longevity of focus and hard work is new for me. I’m used to movie schedules where you bust your ass for a few months or a few weeks and then you’re done. I must be getting more used to it now though. This year is flying by compared to last year.

Russell with the cast of “S.W.A.T.”

TrunkSpace: What we love about your career is that you are still very involved in the Australian film industry as well. As your profile continues to rise and you achieve more success within the industry as a whole, does it become easier or more difficult to pursue various avenues? Is there more freedom in success, but less time to enjoy it?
Russell: I think the more successful an Australian actor becomes in the US, the more avenues there are to pursue back home and even elsewhere. The network shooting schedule can make it tricky but not impossible. I’m grateful for the Aussie roles that my American career has helped afford me. I love being a part of stories on both sides of the pond. It’s like having my cake and eating it too. And I love cake.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Russell: I think no. I like not knowing what’s ahead. Part of the fun is taking the ride and enjoying the twists and turns. The unknown, the potential of what could be. This excites me. I think getting a glimpse of the future would kind’ve be like a spoiled surprise. And I love surprises.

Brampton’s Own” is available now on Digital HD, including iTunes.

read more
Listen Up


Photo By: Jiro Schneider

Singer/songwriter Zjál is not afraid to put everything she has into her music, both emotionally and financially. In fact, she feels it’s necessary in order to turn a dream into a reality. After an exploration of creative self-discovery, the Australian-born R&B artist released her debut EP “Home” into the universe, and while putting herself out there induced its share of fluttering butterflies, she’s ecstatic by the response her music has received thus far.

We recently sat down with Zjál to discuss the meaning of success, reinvesting in herself, and why she went through a personal rebirth.

TrunkSpace: Your single “Home” was just released. The title could mean a lot of things, but what did it mean to you and why did you feel it deserved to mark your debut?
Zjál: Well, as the sayings go, “Home is where the heart is,” “There is no place like home.” Home for me represents both the safety and protection I feel in the arms of someone I love, and also my inner sanctuary and place of comfort and stability – a place where I can release all inhibitions and love fearlessly. I wanted to debut with “Home” because it allowed me to showcase a part of myself which is honest and truthful. I wanted to lead with something real. I wanted people to know me as openly as I could show them… and vulnerability is something I’ve always struggled to share, but with vulnerability comes bravery. So leading my debut with “Home” is an accomplishment for me not only musically, but personally also.

TrunkSpace: So much of an artist goes into creating an album – creatively, emotionally and physically. How much did completing the album, calling it a wrap, mean to you and your journey in music thus far?
Zjál: It was a huge relief actually. Emotionally the whole process threw me around a bit. As an independent artist you go into something like this with EVERYTHING on the line. This isn’t just a game. It’s literally risking everything for a dream no one can see but you. And you just hope that the people you are working with understand that fact and don’t treat you like just another client, or just another song. There are no guarantees that you’ll even have a quality track when you’re creating. It’s literally a process of expression with no boundaries and no guarantees. Then you’re faced with the choice of either staying true to your art or doing whatever just to make a dollar. It’s really scary. This is my whole life, I have nothing else to my name right now except my career. All my money goes straight back into investing in my music. It’s all about letting go and trusting yourself, so once this project was wrapped it was a huge accomplishment for me.

TrunkSpace: Did you have butterflies releasing the single into the world? Was a part of you hesitant to let go of it and allow the universe to take control over it?
Zjál: When you release new music it’s like exposing yourself to EVERYONE and EVERYTHING and that has always given me butterflies. It takes strength to be vulnerable and to give yourself over to the world. But I think it’s taken so long for me to get to this point that I had to make myself completely detached from the release process. It sounds strange, but I had to completely surrender and allow the process to happen without putting any expectation or fear into it. On a level I guess I was kind of numb. Everyone was asking, “Oh my gosh, how do you feel? Are you excited?” And as much as I was excited and happy, I couldn’t allow myself to think too much. I had to trust that the release would take on a life of it’s own and I was just a bystander in the whole process. As long as I love what I’m doing and I’ve stayed true to myself then whatever else happens I can deal with. It also feels natural like I’m on my path and taking it all in from a different level. I’m so grateful for all the love that “Home” has received I still do not think it has even hit me yet, to be honest.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with “Home” and everything that went into making it a reality?
Zjál: Knowing I had creative control over everything is the thing I’m most proud of. My manager and I discuss everything in detail before I’m comfortable to release anything, we workshop it all openly before making any major decisions. I’m so grateful to have someone who puts my well-being before anything else. The fact that I have the last say in everything I do means everything to me. Another thing I am proud of is seeing my song being received with so much love. As an independent artist it is really satisfying to release a project and have it reach people so positively. Because I went through a complete overhaul and operated in the past as Yasmine Amari, some of my loyal fan base stuck with me, yet I’m mostly rebuilding myself as an artist from scratch. Through operating as my new title, Zjál, I’ve needed to work extra hard to rebuild my career from the ground up, which takes time. I feel as though to even get to this point is a blessing and I am grateful I have had the support and wisdom from people who truly care about me to keep me focused on my path.

TrunkSpace: As you just mentioned, you recently went through a personal rebirth and discovered your voice. What prompted that creative change of gears?
Zjál: Two reasons motivated the change. One, I was going through a lot in my personal life and needed to cut out everything and anyone that wasn’t serving my highest good. I needed to completely start again. Becoming Zjál was my new beginning. Two, creatively, in my past, I felt like nothing was coming out like I wanted it to. A lot of the time I felt like no one really ever understood my vision, or couldn’t grasp what I was yearning for. I believe you become your surroundings and the genres I was surrounded by never felt right for me. It was hard to find producers who could satisfy my craving and produce the sound I wanted. I didn’t feel as though my intention was being understood by the environment I started in, I had a different vision compared to the prominent musical styles of Australia, that’s when I decided to take my chances and booked my ticket to LA, literally risking everything to seek people who I felt could help me generate the product I’d always been hoping for. People are so lucky if their upbringing and environments compliment their artistry, but I feel like I was always like a fish out of water. That’s what prompted me to truly discover my own voice. It is something that is still always evolving and developing though. It’s a process. I finally feel as though I’m on my path. This is only the beginning.

TrunkSpace: Life is all things… all emotions. “Home” strikes us as that kind of emotional melting pot where the ups and downs are reflected throughout the listening journey. Was that something you set out to do in creating the EP?
Zjál: Yes, I always make sure to put my heart into everything I do and hope it resonates with others. The overall EP focuses more on the ups rather than the downs. There are a variety of emotions incorporated throughout. Love, playfulness, empowerment and strength. I wanted to completely build a new foundation based on positive vibes. I feel like my mind is constantly exploding with concepts and my heart is overflowing with emotions, but this EP is a perfect blend of how I wanted to enter the industry. Everything I write is inclusive of personal experiences and feelings, I can’t work any other way. I usually write every lyric on my own, but for this project I collaborated with some great songwriters, but even then, I always make sure every single line I sing aligns with how I feel and who I am as an artist. If something doesn’t sit right, it doesn’t get used. This is something I am fierce about. (Laughter) And personally, I only really listen to music with meaning. I love songs that resonate with me on a deeper level, so in my own music I love to give back that same energy, in the hopes of connecting with like-minded people.

TrunkSpace: With that said, lyrics are clearly an aspect of songwriting that you have a great connection to personally. What does your writing process look like and are you someone who is constantly creating? Do you have a hard time shutting off your brain?
Zjál: I have a very hard time shutting off my brain. Unfortunately, I’m an expert at overthinking… something that I am overcoming day by day. My mind never sleeps. If I hurt, I write it. If I love, I write it. Everything provokes me to put my thoughts into lyrics and poetry. That’s where meditation kicks in. Or sometimes when I cant stop thinking, I have to distract myself with a movie or completely turn everything off, like literally be in silence. I go through everything completely sober, so music forces me to express myself as a healthy outlet for everything I feel. Yet another thing that comes with sobriety is you can never numb your emotions, you must feel every single aspect of everything you go through. This is how I choose to live and I’m proud of it but it definitely takes super human strength in mastering ones mind, which is why I choose to infuse everything through my creativity. Poetry is my healing. Music is literally my therapy.

Photo By: Ryan Postas

TrunkSpace: What is your favorite lyrical snippet off of “Home” and why?
Zjál: My favorite line of home is the opening line. “I just wanna get up out the day, and into YOU.” The literal meaning being, I’m so done with all the noise, all the distractions, fakery, small talk and drama of everyday life. I need to jump into the sanctuary of your arms where all my pain goes away. I need to listen to your heartbeat, get into a place where I feel safe and content. Where my energy feels balanced, where my heart is most at peace and I feel is the safest place in the whole world. Nothing means anything without this love.

This is literally how I feel every single day…

TrunkSpace: Outside of the music itself and the concept of creating, what is the most important skill an artist needs to be successful in today’s busy world?
Zjál: If we are talking on success in the music industry per se, I would say ‘business skills’ are the most important thing to master aside from your creativity. Even though an artist should always focus on the art, I feel it is necessary to be aware of how the business side of things work and what you could potentially be dealing with when building your career. I would always say learn as much as you can about the industry your stepping into regardless of how much of the business you’ll be involved in or not. In order to protect yourself and your art it’s always best to be aware. On a deeper level though, I suppose the term ‘successful’ will differ based on how one defines success. For me, I feel like I am successful when I’m living unapologetically and fearlessly in my truth no matter what it is. So in my case, some traits I try to live by, are authenticity, bravery and vulnerability. A lot of obstacles can come up and throw us off our paths, so I feel like being honest with ourselves through creativity and in our personal lives is necessary to survive in such a turbulent society. If you define clearly what ‘success’ means to you, and work every day to master yourself and your skills, you will always succeed.

TrunkSpace: Creative people tend to be hard on themselves and their art. Where are you hardest on yourself and how do you overcome creative self-doubt?
Zjál: (Laughter) Great question. I haven’t overcome self-doubt, it haunts me every step I take. I am an absolute perfectionist and am honestly way too hard on myself, but I manage to find a way to act in spite of it through working on self-love and self-acceptance. Again, meditation helps with that and gets me to refocus on my higher purpose. Writing also helps release any self-judgment or criticisms. I get sooooo self-conscious over the dumbest things, like facial expressions when I sing, to overthinking what I say in videos, to even filming myself singing to post online then deleting it because I never feel like it’s good enough. That’s the reality of what most artists go through if their art means a lot to them. I love the quote, “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” (Robert Hughes)

I think the doubt comes from fear… and fear is there because we love what we do so much it terrifies us. But that’s a good thing. It helps us know how strong we are and what we do means something. So I’m still working on overcoming self-doubt every single day…

TrunkSpace: Beyond the single, what’s next for you as we finish out 2018 and look forward to the new year?
Zjál: I’m really looking forward to traveling and continuing to promote my debut single, “Home.” Soon I’ll be in rehearsals in preparation for my live performances, which I’m really excited about. I’m eager to get back on stage and connect with everyone who has been showing me all this love! It always means a lot to me to be out and about meeting people. Then I’ll be dropping my next single off my EP in the new year so I can’t wait to share that! I’m continuously writing, so getting back in the studio is something I’m really excited about, too. But I’m literally just going with the flow and enjoying riding this wave and feeling blessed to be able to live my dream!

read more
The Featured Presentation

Elle Callahan


Chilling Out is where TrunkSpace talks all things horror and genre with those who work in the projects that give us the thrills and chills to keep coming back for more. This time out we’re chatting with Elle Callahan, writer and director of the new film “Head Count,” which is currently touring the festival circuit.

We recently sat down with Callahan to discuss screening her film alongside an audience, how her love for the genre came from telling scary stories around campfires, and why she likes playing in a cinematic sandbox that has no rules.

TrunkSpace: You recently had your world premiere. Do you enjoying being a part of the audience and observing other people watch your film?
Callahan: It’s pretty surreal. It’s also very scary, but it’s a very rewarding experience. You learn a lot as a director watching an audience view your work. It was great. I’m really happy that our world premiere was here in LA, mostly because we shot the film out in Joshua Tree, so it’s kind of a foreign landscape to LA audiences. I have a love/hate relationship with viewing my films with an audience, because I learn something new every time, good and bad, so I usually sit in the back of the theater, and I just watch for reactions and take notes for next time. I like the scenes when they start squirming, if they’re hiding, if they’re scared or when they laugh. I think it’s very useful to be there and experience it with them.

TrunkSpace: It has to be especially valuable when it comes to the horror and thriller genres because you’re able to see in real time if the scares work the way you wanted them to?
Callahan: Yeah, exactly. And it’s so satisfying as a horror director when you hear that collective gasp in the audience and you’re just like, “Yes, it worked! They’re uncomfortable!”

TrunkSpace: What has been the journey like for you in terms of bringing “Head Count” together? Had it been percolating in your head for some time?
Callahan: Yeah, I always loved scary stories growing up, and I went to film school at USC. In school, I wasn’t really sure what my first feature film would be about. I was young and still growing, and when I felt like it was the right time, I just went back to those scary stories. That’s what got me into film in the first place, verbally telling stories to my friends around campfires. I’m from New England, so we would go camping a lot.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned learning as a filmmaker by screening it alongside an audience, but throughout the process, what did you discover about yourself as a director in making this particular movie?
Callahan: I went into the process thinking that I was gonna have everything locked down and totally under control, because as a director, we’re very controlling people. That’s our job. And I found that there’s a lot of improvising that happened. And I was surprised, because you think with horror, you really plan out these scares, and then we got on set, and I found that I started directing to get reactions out of my crew. It was a lot of me trying to play tricks on my own crew to get reactions out of them because they were like my audience as we were making the film. And that was really fun, and I didn’t expect that at all. There’s a lot of improv in comedy, and I have a lot of friends that have chosen that path for their film, and I was not expecting it in horror. It was a pleasant surprise.

TrunkSpace: As you mentioned, directors are controlling by their nature and necessity. So, do directors become controlling people, or do controlling people become directors?
Callahan: (Laughter) Oh my gosh, that’s a great question. I guess growing up, I liked to have everything organized, and I liked to be in charged. I also loved to collaborate, and that’s why I went into film because it’s really the art of collaboration. But you do need someone where everyone is stemming off from, and that comes from the mind of the director. And I think the best types of films are just a positive collaborative experience where everyone feels that they’re in a safe space to voice their creative opinion and have it all mesh together to make one final piece of art. It’s weird, because I don’t like to talk about my first film possessively as my film, because so many people put their own creative lives and minds into it that I really find that it’s a big group project.

TrunkSpace: You also executive produced the film. Did Producer Elle ever have to tell Director Elle that, “You can’t do this,” “Let’s not go that far,” because of whatever time or budget constraints that popped up?
Callahan: Yes, that was very difficult. Being a producer and a director is so hard, because as a director, you have to fight for, and push for, the creative good of the film, and as a producer, you have to fight and push for just physically getting the film made and not running out of money and time… and peoples’ patience.

There is a pivotal scene in our film involving a character and a cliff.

TrunkSpace: In a horror film, what could go wrong?!?!
Callahan: (Laughter) I know.

We shot it and it went all right in terms of visually how it looked, the trick of the eye that I was trying to create. And Producer Elle was like, “We need to move on.” But director Elle was like, “I want to do this again. I want to shoot this again. It could be better. This is not going to live up to the visual shock that the scene really deserves.” We took a day and rearranged the schedule, and I got a lot of push back from my producers on it, but in the end, my director hat really needed to take priority there.

I think with my next film I’m gonna focus more on directing, because I need to push more for those creative moments. I look back and sometimes I think that the producer in me was a little too heavy handed, and I really want to push to do more next time.

In a way, you became your own hand cuffs. I learned a lot, and I have so much respect for people that wear multiple hats, because it’s really hard. It’s really hard to do both.

TrunkSpace: Horror as a genre seems to have a built-in audience. As a filmmaker, is it appealing to jump into a film knowing that, in a way, you’re going to have eyes on it based on the interest in the genre as a whole?
Callahan: Yeah, it’s really freeing, because I think horror is a very… there’s a wide range of horror films. You can get slashers and more atmospheric creepy films, which I think this one is definitely more of a slow, tense build. It’s not littered with jump scares. And it’s very freeing to also be in this world where anything can happen. You have monsters, and you could have magic if you want, or you could set it in a world that’s different from ours. You really have no rules. You can do whatever you want, and your object is just to scare people and entertain them. And it’s fun. It’s very reminiscent of telling stories when you were younger, because you can pretty much make up anything, and there’s really no laws.

Head Count” is currently touring the festival circuit. For more information, click here.

read more

Trunktober: The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell


This October we’re focused on one thing and one thing only… watching as much horror-related programming as possible to prime the pop culture pump in celebration of Halloween. Our consuming will be taking place nightly, and while there’s no rhyme or reason to how we’re going about choosing our scary screenings, we’ll do our best to tell you how we did it so that you can watch them as well.

Title: The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

Directed By: Not Listed

Starring: Christine McConnell, Colleen Smith, Michael Oosterom, Mick Ignis, Drew Massey, Adam Mayfield, Dita Von Teese

We Watched On: Netflix

Trunktober Approved Because: Part Food Network and part twisted “Fraggle Rock,” this is a series so quirky and unusual, it’s hard to imagine such a thing could even get greenlit, but we’re thankful it did. Imagine it this way… If Lydia Deetz from “Beetlejuice” created a show based on the writings of “The Handbook for the Recently Deceased,” and in doing so, became the Martha Stewart of the afterlife, this is what the show would look like.

Biggest Scare: This isn’t a scary show, but the elaborate curious creations that Christine cooks up in the kitchen are terrifying, mostly because we know our versions could never come close to looking as amazing.

read more
Listen Up

Lonnie Holley


Artist. Musician. Philosopher. Lonnie Holley is all of those things, and with his latest album “MITH,” the lyrical craftsman has created a visceral album that he had to make, not because the world demanded it but because the world inspired it. It is a free-flowing record reflective of the times filled with a haunting voice that has something very important to say, and we are listening.

We recently sat down with Holley to discuss seeking answers as an artist, finding them as a human, and why he has a PhD in material.

TrunkSpace: Could you have conceived “MITH” 10 or 20 years ago or is it uniquely influenced by the current social and political climate we’re living in?
Holley: I think it is definitely influenced by the times we are living in and I’ve changed so much as a musician in the last 10 to 20 years, but the ideas on “MITH” are not new to me and things haven’t just gotten bad for many people in America. We see more struggle now, but it’s not a new problem.

TrunkSpace: We read that the song “I Woke Up in a Fucked-Up America” sort of served as the springboard for the album as a whole. Since that concept first came to you, do you feel like you’re waking up with more clarity on the state of things or more confusion?
Holley: I feel like both. Sometimes I think I’ve started to understand things and think that it’s as bad as it can get and then I hear about my country locking up babies. I travel a lot and meet so many good people. The country and the neighborhood I wake up in is a good place, filled with good people. I was just at AfroPunk in Atlanta and I met some wonderful people. We have to live where we live and try to make those places better for all of us.

As an artist I’m always seeking answers but as a human I don’t always find them. So sometimes I have to create them for myself.

TrunkSpace: We live in very divided times. Does music – art – help bridge those divides?
Holley: Art and music have always been the salve for the times we’ve lived in. I’ve said it before, but my mother and father, and grandparents and their grandparents woke up in a fucked up America. Our idea has always been that we have a great idea about a country, but we haven’t always been able to achieve what we set out to build. Art helps us understand the whys and why nots. Sometimes it’s all we got.

TrunkSpace: Was “MITH” an album that you had to make? Was there a sense of personal contemplation and possibly even emotional healing in seeing it brought to life?
Holley: Yes, but I think that’s true for every piece of art and every piece of music I make. I had to make it. And it heals and soothes and comforts, but soon it’s time to get back to work. “MITH” has been a long time coming. It takes a long time to put out a record. And it lasts forever so you want to get it right. It may sound weird but I listen to it a lot. I wasn’t making something just for other people. Mostly that stuff is for myself first. And I listen and listen and even I learn things I didn’t hear at first.

TrunkSpace: From what we understand, you never do the same thing twice when it comes to a song. With that said, how do you view what we, the audience, hears on “MITH?” Is it a blueprint for a bigger Lonnie Holley journey that we can discover by digging deeper into the art and man himself?
Holley: My art and music is like a continuing story. A lot of the ideas on “MITH” are ideas that I return to. My friend Matt Arnett (who I’ve known since he was just about a boy, because his father collected my work and was really the first person to understand my art and what I was trying to say) has helped me share my music with the world. He encouraged me to share it. He produced the record with me. When I have an idea and we wrote it down, he always says, “Is that a big idea?” Which forces me to think about what I want to say. When I feel like the idea is big enough, it makes me want to keep exploring it.

And I’ve got a great band I play with a lot and we sometimes come back to some of the songs, but they’d never be the same. I don’t want them to be the same because I’m not the same man who sang that song last year or last month or even yesterday.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Holley: All of it. I’m most proud that Jagjaguwar really made the outside and the inside and all of the package look exactly like what’s on the record. It feels like it sounds. It was a lot of music. It took two albums to fit it all, and even then there were songs that didn’t fit. But they made it so beautiful that sometimes I just want to sit and hold it and I forget to actually listen. It takes a team to make something like “MITH” happen, and my name is on the side of it, but there are a lot of names inside of it. I’m most proud that I got to work with all those great people.

TrunkSpace: You’re 68. Is it a bit of a trip to think that the next generation of voices are listening to yours, absorbing what you’re saying and applying it to what they’ll be voicing 10 or 20 years from now?
Holley: I made a record that I needed to make. I hope those songs help people to better understand things. They helped me. I’m always surprised when people tell me they’ve heard my music. I never thought they would or even expected they would. I put my words into physical things like my art. My friend Thornton Dial said once that, “Art ain’t about paint. It ain’t about canvas. It’s about ideas. And I got ten thousand left.” I understand what he meant. And I ain’t ready to stop.

And if my words can help someone else find their words, then I’m pretty contented with that.

Holley’s art.

TrunkSpace: Is one of the benefits of difficult times – periods of national/international contemplation – that artists have more to say? That they become the voice for those who don’t have a platform?
Holley: In a word, yes. No one is born to be an artist. Our times make us that. I didn’t know what art was. I don’t remember ever hearing that word. So if you’d have told me when I was 10 that art would save my life, I’d have wanted to meet this Art guy.

TrunkSpace: Where do you feel most at home creating? Is it in a visual capacity? A musical capacity? Do the two intersect?
Holley: I think of my music and my art as being Siamese Twins. I go back and forth and do both together. I’m always making art and singing. If I sing and it isn’t recorded, there is no record of it. But if I make something, it exists and I can see it. And touch it. But I sing about the things I make art about and I make art about the things I sing about.

TrunkSpace: You make art out of things that others discard. People themselves often feel that way – pushed out from society. Outcasts. Do you have a connection to those things that you use in your work that goes beyond what your artistic eye sees in them?
Holley: I think all humans are like butterflies, in a way. I sang a song about the lifespan of a butterfly and I asked how much we could do in the lifespan of a butterfly? But I think I’m also like a bird making a nest. I pick up materials that other people think have lived their cycle and are finished. I then use that material to make something beautiful or ugly or whatever. Art isn’t always beautiful to look at. Sometimes it best not be beautiful if the message it needs to tell isn’t beautiful. My art is like a nest or a cocoon. It comforts and soothes me. And hopefully makes someone else think. The materials I use in my art have been great teachers throughout my life. When I didn’t always have a parent there or someone to teach me about the world, the material did that. I earned a PhD in material.

MITH” is available now on Jagjaguwar.

read more
Trunk Stubs

Trunktober: Pumpkinhead


This October we’re focused on one thing and one thing only… watching as much horror-related programming as possible to prime the pop culture pump in celebration of Halloween. Our consuming will be taking place nightly, and while there’s no rhyme or reason to how we’re going about choosing our scary screenings, we’ll do our best to tell you how we did it so that you can watch them as well.

Title: Pumpkinhead

Directed By: Stan Winston

Starring: Lance Henriksen, Jeff East, John D’Aquino, Kimberly Ross, Joel Hoffman, Cynthia Bain, Kerry Remsen

We Watched On: Amazon Prime

Trunktober Approved Because: We loved this revenge-based monster movie as kids, so we were worried that our impressionable young minds would have put it on a nostalgic pedestal that it could never live up to. Surprisingly, it holds up pretty well, and for an ‘80s horror movie, the performances aren’t as bad as you’d expect. Some of the subtle things that Henriksen does – removing a piece of dirt from his dead son just before he’s going to bury him – elevate the film in ways that our childhood brains could never appreciate.

Biggest Scare: The demon Pumpkinhead is a great design, but his hands… and the way they grab its victims… creeps us out today just as much as they did when we were kids.

read more
The Featured Presentation

Giles Panton

Photo By: Liz Rosa

Giles Panton is perched higher than a stone tower after joining up with Season 3 of “The Man in the High Castle,” which premiered on Amazon Prime earlier this month. Portraying Billy Turner, the newly-appointed minister of Propaganda for the American Reich, the Vancouver native reveled in the multi-layered role and is prepared for Billy’s journey to turn heads.

Well, our heads are turned.

We recently sat down with Panton to discuss his “Supernatural” roots, Bronies, and the totally “freaking” awesome things he has tucked away in his closet.

TrunkSpace: First we have to clear the air. We’re big “Supernatural” fans around here, and being a Vancouver native, naturally you have appeared on the long-running series. Is it a bit of a rite of passage for Vancouver-based actors to make a stop in the “Supernatural” universe?
Panton: Absolutely. It’s like “The X-Files” of this generation. It totally felt like a stamp of approval.

TrunkSpace: “Supernatural” has a massive fan base, one that has kept it chugging for well over a decade. Another brand you’ve worked on that has a big fan base, one that still surprises us to this day, is “My Little Pony.” Having worked on the series as a voice actor, do you have any inside insight into the world of the Bronies? What has made that world and its characters build a fan base that no one anticipated?
Panton: It truly is such a unique phenomenon. I don’t know if anyone predicted that “My Little Pony” would pop like that – anyone who could make those predictions would have the golden ticket in this industry! It was a bit surprising that so many adults connected with the show, but at the same time it makes sense. Everyone is looking for a community, and the world can be a pretty mean place – just look at how people interact online sometimes. At its core, “My Little Pony” is just a wholesome and fun show with a message about acceptance and friendship that is surely needed in today’s age. I think a lot of people resonated with that and came together. My not-so-secret goal is to get myself into a “My Little Pony” convention as a guest so that I can see it all firsthand. I think the whole thing is pretty amazing!

TrunkSpace: We mentioned your voiceover work, but “My Little Pony” only scratches the surface. Was voice acting always part of the plan or has it become a pleasant surprise of your performance career?
Panton: It was 100 percent a pleasant surprise. But looking back it’s a perfect fit. I’ve always been quite hyper in general and have been making crazy voices for years. So now instead of intentionally annoying my friends or making them laugh… I get to do the same thing to a group of strangers and call it a job!

TrunkSpace: As an actor, when inhabiting a character, do you approach the process the same in animation as you do with on-screen work? If not, where do the differences lie?
Panton: There are a lot of similarities, and I’m realizing that more and more as I continue to grow as an actor. Both on-screen and animation work require the same ability to accept an imagined world as being real. I tend to use a lot more body work in animation as I’m discovering a character, but that is mainly because playing animals or monsters can be so wildly different than playing a person! But on the same note, there are similarities. I mean, the movements of people can tell you a lot about their character or personality, and this is just the same as an animal or cartoon character. Overall I’d say that doing voice acting and film acting complement each other and have helped me improve in both fields.

TrunkSpace: Joining this newest season of “The Man in the High Castle,” your role is certain to turn some heads. Is it hard not to view this particular job as a possible career game changer?
Panton: I am very excited about High Castle. It is such an amazing project to be a part of. It is definitely impacting my career positively, and the feedback I’ve received so far has been fantastic. When it comes to the idea of being a ‘game changer’… I have a very good feeling about it but this industry is unpredictable, so it’s hard to say anything definitively. At the end of the day a person’s drive, determination and attitude is what plays the biggest part in their career path, and every new role is a step forward. But this job will absolutely turn heads, and I’m grateful for that.

TrunkSpace: In the series you’re playing Billy Turner, the newly-appointed minister of Propaganda for the American Reich. Just in description alone it sounds like a meaty, multi-layered part to play. What were you most excited about when you first learned you were cast as Billy, and what did you go on to love about him the further into his development that you traveled?
Panton: I was excited about being on High Castle. I was creating so many waves and it meant so much to be a part of a project that is tackling such heavy subjects. And Billy was a great surprise. He is very multi-layered and complex, but simple at the same time. He’s a career-focused guy who wants to climb as high as he can while still keeping his head on his shoulders… literally. High Castle is a very cut-throat world. I guess, in a weird way, what I loved most about him was how much of a mirror he is to how complacent we can be as a society… his character has highlighted how easy it is for people to turn a blind eye to things so long as they don’t feel they’re directly affected. In a lot of ways, Billy represents one of the worst tendencies that people have… out of sight, out of mind.

TrunkSpace: What sort of emotions were you juggling in the weeks prior to the premiere of this new season of “The Man in the High Castle?”
Panton: I was nervous and excited. Mainly excited. I knew the show was something special, and I was hoping to add to that. You never know how things will turn out but now that it’s premiered I’m really proud of what we made.

TrunkSpace: As you look back over your career, what job do you think you learned the most from – the one you’ve applied continuously to your career moving forward?
Panton: “Flash Gordon” was my first big job. It was a Syfy show. I learned so much on that set by studying the leads, producers… everyone really. What really stuck with me was how much work this takes – the dedication, the insane hours. At the end of the day everyone is working together to build the best project they can. I was so honored by that and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.

TrunkSpace: You’ve played a LEGO character, a character who has been forever preserved in plastic glory as a toy. Be honest with us… is there anything greater than holding a plastic poseable version of yourself?
Panton: I have a closet filled with my different LEGO characters’ toys. And I will admit… nothing has felt quite like being immortalized in plastic toy form. It’s freaking awesome.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. Here goes. If you had a chance to jump ahead 20 years and see exactly how your career played out, would you take that opportunity, and if not, why?
Panton: Nope. That would take the fun out of it. I think life is more exciting when you don’t know what is going to happen next.

The Man in the High Castle” is available on Amazon Prime.

Tarzan and Jane” is available on Netflix.

read more
Trunk Stubs

Trunktober: Sometimes They Come Back


This October we’re focused on one thing and one thing only… watching as much horror-related programming as possible to prime the pop culture pump in celebration of Halloween. Our consuming will be taking place nightly, and while there’s no rhyme or reason to how we’re going about choosing our scary screenings, we’ll do our best to tell you how we did it so that you can watch them as well.

Title: Sometimes They Come Back

Directed By: Tom McLoughlin

Starring: Tim Matheson, Brooke Adams, Robert Rusler, Chris Demetral, Robert Hy Gorman, William Sanderson, Nicholas Sadler, Matt Nolan

We Watched On: Amazon Prime

Trunktober Approved Because: Yes, this was a made-for-television movie from the early ‘90s when Stephen King stories were being told on the small screen with great regularity, and it certainly feels like a Movie of the Week at times, but there’s still something eerie about it that works even when the corniness does not. The fact is, sometimes we come back to watching “Something They Come Back” and we enjoy it just as much as we did when we were preteens.

Biggest Scare: “Show him the face.” Yes, THE face!

read more
The Featured Presentation

Troy Doherty

PHOTOGRAPHY: Brett Erickson/GROOMING: Helen Robertson

Landing a role on a television series is a major achievement, even when you join the cast in its fifth and final season. For Troy Doherty, who boarded TNT’s “The Last Ship” as the scrappy Clayton Swain, a cadet in the U.S. Naval Academy, he’s savoring every second of his voyage, even while casually suggesting “spin-off” to the universe. (So what say you, Universe?)

We recently sat down with Doherty to discuss the last days of “The Last Ship,” talking trains, and why music and acting go hand in hand.

TrunkSpace: You’ve joined the fifth and final season of “The Last Ship” as Clayton Swain. Do you think there was less pressure coming into a project in its fifth year knowing that it was also taking its final bow? Was there something kind of freeing about not having to worry if it will or won’t continue forward?
Doherty: Whether it’s the first season or the fifth season, I feel like there is always pressure when it comes to filming a worldwide show like “The Last Ship.” With that said, I wish it could’ve lived on past five seasons. It’s such a great show and I’m just so happy to have been a part of it.

TrunkSpace: Is there a level of what “could have been” had Clayton’s story continued beyond Season 5?
Doherty: With such an incredible writing staff, we can only imagine the possibilities. I know the fans and I would love to see where his adventure could have taken him. Spin-off?

TrunkSpace: There’s only a handful of episodes left, but what emotions do you juggle as you gear up for a new project to be released, particularly when it comes to something like “The Last Ship,” a series with a very loyal fan base?
Doherty: I’m beyond excited. We finished filming “The Last Ship” just about a year ago, so I’ve been looking forward to this for a while! My emotions at the moment are a giant amalgamation of excitement, gratefulness, honor, confidence, and happiness.

TrunkSpace: As far as his personality, what elements of Clayton were you the most interested to tap into? What is it about him as a character that made the job itself so interesting?
Doherty: Clayton isn’t your run-of-the-mill Naval Cadet. When both of his parents died from the plague, he needed to fend for himself. He isn’t afraid of the fight, whether it’s physically or mentally. He isn’t afraid to stand up and ask the hard questions. I really liked that about Clayton. He isn’t doing this for personal gain – he is doing it for the greater good. Clayton to his core is a good person and really cares. As an actor, that really resonated with me.

TrunkSpace: In terms of on-screen work, 10 episodes is the longest you have ever spent with a character on the episodic side of things, which is what you will be doing as Clayton. What was that experience like for you, getting to spend an extended period of time with one character?
Doherty: I really loved being able to dive into a character. It’s not every day as actors we get to really develop a character over time. Being able to play Clayton for four months was a great experience for me. Being able to see the character grow into something new over time was fascinating. I think the fans are really going to love how Clayton develops.

TrunkSpace: In the world of voice acting, you’ve quadrupled that amount of work, appearing as Emery in over 50 episodes of “Chuggington,” a series that those of us here with young children know all too well. From what we could tell, that was something like eight years of your life. What is that like, committing yourself to something for such a large period of time, and at the same time, getting to do so with a level of anonymity?
Doherty: “Chuggington” was so much fun. It was originally a British kids’ show that was brought over to the United States. All of the animation had already been completed. When it came to recording my character of Emery, I needed to match the mouth movement of the British voice actor. It was such a different experience than just being able to record it on my own. Timing and inflection of each word needed to be precise. At the time, I never really thought about the anonymity of it. I was just having fun!

TrunkSpace: Was voice over work always part of the plan or did it become a pleasant surprise of your career trajectory?
Doherty: It was always part of the plan. I love performing. It doesn’t matter if it’s on a worldwide show like “The Last Ship” or if I’m in my sweatpants behind a microphone. I love it. Being able to walk into a booth and do all of the crazy voices I do at home really makes me happy about what I do.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Brett Erickson/GROOMING: Helen Robertson

TrunkSpace: Do you approach inhabiting a character in animation the same way that you do with on-screen work? Where are the similarities and where are the differences?
Doherty: I think so. If my character is chasing after someone, I need to be able to sell it with just my voice. So, what easier way to sell it than running in place? To be the character isn’t just in the voice, it’s in your posture, the way you move your hands, everything. It’s the same as if I was doing it on set. Except on set, you actually get to see me.

TrunkSpace: “The Last Ship” takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. If you knew things were coming to an end for our big ball of blue known as Earth, how would you spend your time? What would be on your end of days bucket list?
Doherty: Well, I’d love to spend it with my family. I came into this world with them, so I guess it would be poetic to go out with them. Plus, my family knows how to have a good time, so I know we would go out with a bang! As for my bucket list? I’ve always wanted to go skydiving. To be falling through the air having a catch with a tennis ball would be pretty great.

TrunkSpace: You’re also a musician with an EP, “Citizen’s Arrest,” out now. Do you view your musical career separate from your acting career or do they all fall under one creative umbrella?
Doherty: I think they go hand in hand. I’m an artist, whether it’s singing, acting, or cooking. From a practical sense, there have been numerous times I’ve had to sing or play an instrument for an audition. So yes, they fall under a creative umbrella! I consciously choose to follow my creativity, wherever it takes me.

The Last Ship” airs Sundays on TNT.

read more
CBD Products