Amelia’s Magazine | Montreal Festimania 2011: Festival Mode et Design Review – Collectif: Fashion Pop

Montreal-Festimania-Mode-et-Design_by-Alia-Gargum
Anomal Couture by Alia Gargum.

Collectif: Fashion Pop took place on Friday afternoon at the Festival Mode et Design at Montreal Festimania. It was a chance to see some of the more interesting home grown Montreal fashion talent in the relaxed setting of the Scene de l’Esplanade catwalk on McGill College Avenue.

Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop photo by Amelia Gregory
Proceedings kicked off in style with ethical home grown label White Label, medications featuring chic LBDs with cut out mesh panels.

Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Anomal Couture photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Anomal Couture photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Anomal Couture photo by Amelia Gregory
Montreal Festimania Mode et Design  Anomal Couture by Lorna Scobie
Anomal Couture by Lorna Scobie.

Next up were a series of strong black sculptured pieces by Anomal Couture.

Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Ovate photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Ovate photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Ovate photo by Amelia Gregory
Ovate by Audrey Cantwell included some great grungey knitwear but I could live without the fur accessories.

Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Dane richards photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Dane richards photo by Amelia Gregory
Montreal Festimania Mode et Design Dane Richards by Lorna Scobie
Dane Richards by Lorna Scobie.

Next up was an outrageously colourful and bold collection from Dane Richards, salve featuring appliqued images of dead pop singer Aaliyah and plenty of fringing. Read an interview with Dane Richards on Blow PR here.

Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Betina Lou photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Betina Lou photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Betina Lou photo by Amelia Gregory
Betina Lou showed a very wearable collection of muted checked swing dresses and belted cardigans, no rx reminiscent of the 50s.

Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Lost & Found photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Lost & Found photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Lost & Found photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Lost & Found photo by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Mode Design Montreal Festimania 2011 Collectif: Fashion Pop Lost & Found photo by Amelia Gregory
Festival Mode et Design by Camille Block Lost & Found
Lost & Found by Camille Block.

Finally Lost & Found wowed with a swirling tourquoise all in one pants suit followed by a series of billowing printed see through dresses.

Pop Montreal host fashion, music, film and arts events all year round. Check out their website here.

Categories ,Aaliyah, ,Alia Gargum, ,Anomal Couture, ,Audrey Cantwell, ,Betina Lou, ,Camille Block, ,Collectif: Fashion Pop, ,Dane Richards, ,Eco fashion, ,Ethical Fashion, ,fashion, ,Festival Mode et Design Montreal, ,Fringing, ,Fur, ,Lorna Scobie, ,Lost & Found, ,McGill College Avenue, ,Montreal, ,Montreal Festimania, ,Ovate, ,Pop Montreal, ,Scene de L’Esplanade, ,White Label

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Amelia’s Magazine | Two wheels good: London’s Borisbike cycle hire scheme proves its worth

Kotki Dwa gig
london borisbike by daria hlazatova
Illustration by Daria Hlazatova

To be honest, remedy I was skeptical of the idea of a bike rental scheme before the launch. If we are going to spend £140 million on cycling I’d rather see we build more bike lanes, cheap I thought. London needs to make roads safer for cyclists, and in my experience, this is the number one reason why people are put off getting bikes.

But in the weeks since 30 July’s launch, when 6000 solid, bright blue bikes where installed in 315 docking stations, my objections have been put to shame. Now, as I roll into London Bridge every morning on my trusty hybrid bike, I invariably find myself accompanied by city workers scurrying around on rental bikes. And I swear the number of ‘regular’ bikes have increased as well – the profile of cycling has shot up as everyone loves the ‘Borisbike’.

Borisbikes by Mina Bach
Mayor Boris Johnson by Mina Bach

While the need for more bike lanes prevails, there is safety in numbers as every extra bike on the road makes it safer to cycle. Over a million rides were made on the Borisbikes in the first three months, the Greater London Authority declared as it held the first appraisal of the scheme on 12 October. Once implementation costs are covered within three years, the scheme is expected to become profitable – in fact it will then be the only London transport system not to run at a loss. Only five bikes have so far been stolen, a fact the Police Cycle Task Force attributes to a sense of ‘community ownership’ among Londoners. And I think that’s true – having spoken to numerous people about this, there is a feeling that these are ‘our’ bikes. In a sometimes very anonymous city like London, where being spoken to on the tube by a stranger can actually feel intrusive, the bikes are becoming a symbol that after all, we are all Londoners.

london bike rental by genie espinosa
Illustration by Genie Espinosa

Mayor Boris Johnson‘s introduction of the bike scheme grants London a place in a worldwide club of bike rental cities. But the Borisbikes, and the the 12 cycle ‘superhighways’, were actually the suggestion of former mayor Ken Livingstone, following a visit to Paris to see the city’s ‘Vélib’ cycling scheme. This is the biggest in the world with 17,000 bikes, suggesting this is only the beginning for London’s 6000 bikes. Our numbers are soon to reach 8000, however, as the system expands beyond central London to cover all of Tower Hamlets and more of Hackney, in time for the 2012 Olympics. The bikes themselves are identical to Montreal’s ‘Bixi’ rental bikes; 23 kilos would be excessively heavy for a regular bike, but for a rental it makes it a very stable and durable ride, plus very unattractive to steal. Vandals are further deterred as most of the wires have been placed inside the frame, and the bikes also boast extra-strong tires and dynamo lights.

London bike scheme by Carla Bromhead
Cycle superhighway by Carla Bromhead

So as Londoners get on their bikes – here’s a quick guide to safe cycling in traffic:

* Claim your space. Make sure drivers can see you, and ride a good foot’s distance from the kerb. Signal clearly and look behind you before turning, and they will respect you for it.

* Watch out for cars turning left. If you see vehicles indicating to the left, stay behind, or, if there’s time, get far in front where they can see you.

* Overtake on the right if you can. Instinct will have you overtake queuing vehicles on their left – this places you in a blind spot so only do this if there’s plenty of space.

* Avoid lorries. Stay behind, or overtake on the right. But as statistics dictate that if you get injured while cycling it will be from a lorry, it’s best to just steer clear.

* Follow the traffic rules. Cyclists who plow into pedestrians to get ahead give us all a bad name. But every now and again, it might just be safer to get ahead of heavy traffic by jumping a light. But be extremely sure before you do this – and mind those pedestrians.

boris johnson by daria hlazatova
Mayor Boris Johnson by Daria Hlazatova

Sign up for the London bike hire scheme here. Read more about the scheme in Amelia Wells’ article about the launch, or have a look at our tips for getting ready for winter cycling here.

Categories ,bike rental, ,Bixi, ,Boris Johnson, ,Borisbike, ,Carla Bromhead, ,cycle superhighway, ,cycling, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Genie Espinosa, ,Greater London Authority, ,hackney, ,Ken Livingstone, ,london, ,Mina Bach., ,Montreal, ,Olympics, ,paris, ,Tower Hamlets, ,Vélib

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Amelia’s Magazine | Montreal Festimania 2011: First Peoples’ Festival Review

Mohawk Dancer by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly The Eggs
Mohawk Dancer by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly The Eggs.

At the Place des Festivals in downtown Montreal there were iridescent reindeer wading through sparkling fountains of water next to a giant suspended teepee under which loitered a colourful turtle. Children splashed happily in the water as parents munched on freshly roasted chicken and blueberry corn bread.

Montreal Festimania 2011 First peoples
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Montreal-Festimania-First-Nations-Antonia-Parker
First Peoples by Antonia Parker.

For a period between 2nd – 9th August the First Peoples’ Festival, sick part of Montreal Festimania was centred at Place des Festivals, approved with various events held at other venues across Montreal. It was a celebration of First Nations cultures from all over the Americas and beyond, cialis 40mg proving that ancient cultures remain relevant in modern times.

Montreal Festimania First Nations by Nabila Ibrahim
Montreal Festimania First Nations by Nabila Ibrahim.

First Nations Montreal Festimania 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
First Nations Montreal Festimania 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
First Nations Montreal Festimania 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
First Nations Montreal Festimania 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

We went to CineRobotheque for a showing of three short films by indigenous film makers from New Zealand, Australia and North America. Something Fishy by Ben Young featured casual prejudice used to cover up the tragic death of a young aboriginal boy. Ebony Society by Tammy Davis showed young Mauri men going against expected behaviours when their attempt to rob a house goes awry and they instead end up babysitting. In Cousins Sally Kewayosh followed the friendship of two teenagers hooked on the same skater boy.

First Nations Montreal Festimania 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Carving by Denis Charette. I particularly loved his beaver bowl.

First Nations Montreal Festimania 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
First Nations Montreal Festimania 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
First Nations Montreal Festimania 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

The Place des Festivals provided a place for local crafts people to show off skills: there were stalls selling jewellery, woven boxes and carved wooden boxes. It was even possible to watch as expert carving (with a distinctly non traditional chainsaw) took place. One evening we watched a group of Mohawk dancers demonstrate some foot stomping traditional dance. It was a great way to find out more about these rich earth centric cultures in a relaxed informal atmosphere.

Montreal Festimania First Nations by Nabila Ibrahim
Montreal Festimania First Nations by Nabila Ibrahim.

First Nations Mohawk Dancing by Barb Royal
First Nations Mohawk Dancing by Barb Royal.

Montreal Festimania First Nations by Faye West
Montreal Festimania First Nations by Faye West.

Montreal Festimania First Nations by Dan Lester
Montreal Festimania First Nations by Dan Lester.

Find out more about the annual First Peoples’ Festival by going to the Native Lynx website or at Montreal Festimania.

First Nations Montreal Festimania 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Categories ,Antonia Parker, ,australia, ,Barb Royal, ,Ben Young, ,CineRobotheque, ,Cousins, ,Dan Lester, ,Denis Charette, ,Ebony Society, ,First Nations, ,First Peoples, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Mohawk, ,Montreal, ,Montreal Festimania, ,Nabila Ibrahim, ,Native Lynx, ,New Zealand, ,North America, ,Place des Festivals, ,Reindeer, ,Sally Kewayosh, ,Short Film, ,Slowly the Eggs, ,Something Fishy, ,Tammy Davis, ,Teepee, ,Traditional Dance, ,Turtle

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Amelia’s Magazine | Montreal Festimania 2011: Festival Mode et Design Review – Brut Design, Bye Bye Bambi, AQUAOVO

Montreal Festimania design 2011 review Bye Bye Bambi photo by Amelia Gregory
Design by Bye Bye Bambi. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Sitting in bright blue containers between the two catwalks on McGill College Avenue there were a series of showcases for homegrown Montreal design talent. Here’s what I liked:

Montreal Festimania design 2011 review brut design photo by Amelia Gregory
Brut Design makes use of locally available materials and manufacturing waste to create decorative accessories inspired by Quebec’s diverse flora and fauna. Brut Design aims to reintroduce nature to the human landscape in order to minimise industrial waste and reduce its toll on the environment. We like, this web in both design and concept.

Montreal Festimania design 2011 review aquaovo photo by Amelia Gregory
Following on with an environmentally conscious theme, website like this AQUAOVO has produced the OVOPUR filtration unit that combines aesthetics with a respect for the environment. Above is a part of their display.

Montreal Festimania design 2011 review Bye Bye Bambi photo by Amelia Gregory
Montreal Festimania design 2011 review Bye Bye Bambi photo by Amelia Gregory
Montreal Festimania design 2011 review Bye Bye Bambi photo by Amelia Gregory
Montreal Festimania design 2011 review Bye Bye Bambi photo by Amelia Gregory
Montreal Festimania design 2011 review Bye Bye Bambi photo by Amelia Gregory
Lastly I was most thrilled to discover the work of design duo Bye Bye Bambi with Curious Montreal. Julie Ledru and Fred Estimbre work together on a range of projects including 3D paper sets and some fab graphic fashion illustrations.

Montreal Festimania design 2011 review Bye Bye Bambi photo by Amelia Gregory

Categories ,AQUAOVO, ,Brut Design, ,Bye Bye Bambi, ,canada, ,Curious Montreal, ,design, ,ethical, ,Fred Estimbre, ,Julie Ledru, ,Local, ,Montreal, ,Montreal Festimania, ,OVOPUR, ,Quebec, ,sustainable, ,Water Filtration

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Amelia’s Magazine | My Top 10 Favourite Things To Do in Montreal

Montreal, <a target=more about Canada 2011 view of downtown” title=”Montreal, Canada 2011 view of downtown” width=”480″ height=”480″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-47582″ />
Montreal, Canada 2011 flags
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

I had a truly wonderful time in Montreal earlier this month. Alongside the many festival goings on during Montreal Festimania there were plenty of other things to do in this fabulous Canadian city. Here’s my pick!

Montreal, Canada 2011 Poutine quebec
Montreal, Canada 2011 Poutine quebec
1. Eat Poutine
Okay, so this is not strictly a Montreal custom, but for any new visitor to Quebec it is supremely important that you try this classic meal. Poutine consists of cheesy curds on top of thin french fries and topped with a thick gravy. At posher restaurants and Poutine specialists you can also get a wide variety of variations on the theme, including a meaty topping which ensures that this really is a full meal!

Montreal, Canada 2011 -McCord Museum 2
Montreal, Canada 2011 -McCord Museum
2. Go to the Musée McCord
It costs a bit of money but it’s well worth visiting this museum, which is dedicated purely to Canadian history, in all its variety. When we visited there was an excellent exhibition of selected goodies from the museum vaults and on the second floor there was a beautifully put together history of Montreal. In another room there were contrasting panoramic views of the city 100 years ago and in recent times. On the top floor was an exhibition of First Peoples‘ contemporary art.

Montreal Festimania 2011 Bixi bike
3. Get on a Bixi bike
In London we have the Boris bike and in Montreal they have the Bixi, which is a somewhat older system but still familiar. In fact so familiar that we actually came across one of London’s own Boris bikes. We have no idea how it got there! Bike hire is cheap and it’s a brilliant way of getting around downtown Montreal, which is a small area laid out in a simple grid system with wide bike lanes.

Montreal, Canada 2011 Old Montreal
Trip to Quebec, Canada 2011 mile end
Montreal, Canada 2011 Mile end second hand shops
Montreal, Canada 2011 Mile End yard sale
4. Go to Old Montreal
It may require you working up a bit of a sweat on the aforementioned Bixi bike to get up the hill but the architecture in this part of town is staggeringly beautiful: wide boulevards and stately homes with colourful metal roofs abound. In the trendy Mile End district there are plenty of second hand stores to peruse and intriguing wall art around every corner.

Montreal Festimania 2011 -racoons
Montreal Festimania 2011 feeding racoons
5. Play with racoons on Mont Royale
Once you are in Old Montreal why not take a walk through the Mont Royale park, which is less of a park and more of a Hamsptead Heath type wilderness, especially as you start to climb the mount (take plenty of water). If you take the back route you will no doubt stop for a rest at the viewing point, only to be greeted by a tumbling family of baby racoons, one of my unexpected Montreal highlights.
Montreal, Canada 2011 -racoon
Montreal Festimania 2011 -downtown Montreal from Mont Royale
Montreal, Canada 2011 Chalet Mont Royale
Further up the hill is the Chalet du Mont Royale – more of a vast hall than a chalet, with a wide plaza in front and amazing views of downtown Montreal.

Montreal, Canada 2011 -ice pops
6. Eat fruity ice pops. In fact, eat fresh locally grown fruits in general!
I became absolutely hooked on fresh fruit pops as a tasty and healthy way to cool down during the sweltering heat at Festival Mode et Design, where there was a stall selling pops made from imaginative combinations of strawberry, mint, pineapple, blueberry and coconut. Oh how I wish it was as easy to buy fresh fruit pops in the UK – I tell you, there would be a market here for those.
Quebec, Canada 2011 soft fruit
In Quebec they like to boast of the quality of their fresh produce, and with good reason! We ate beautifully flavoursome local strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

Montreal, Canada 2011 Biosphere
Montreal, Canada 2011 Biosphere dome
7. Visit the Biosphère and the Biodome
They are fond of their Bios in Montreal. The Biosphère was designed by Buckminster Fuller for the World Fair Expo in 1967 and is now a remnant cast adrift in Parc Jean-Drapeau, an island of Montreal on the Saint Lawrence River. It is a perfectly spherical steel structure made up of delicate cells, inside which is housed the Environment Museum (which we didn’t visit).

Montreal, Canada 2011 -Casino de Montreal
Montreal, Canada 2011 Quebec Pavillion
The Casino de Montreal, including the Quebec Pavilion, are also remnants of the World Expo 1967.

Montreal, Canada 2011 Biodome
Montreal, Canada 2011 Biodome bird
Montreal, Canada 2011 Biodome penguins
The Biodome is a remnant of the 1976 Olympics, a velodrome which now houses an interactive zoo that replicates four different biospheres. We saw grooming bright orange tamarin monkeys, a sleeping otter and playful puffins – all caged in the most minimal manner possible. Needless to say the sea of children swarming around our feet were also having the time of their lives (get there early to avoid the primary school rush).

Montreal, Canada 2011 Olympic Stadium
Above the Biodome looms the much maligned Olympic Stadium; its tilting tower (the tallest in the world) and hanging roof have become a relic of badly judged design. We enjoyed the amazing concrete spirals of its ambitious carpark.

Montreal, Canada 2011 -Jardin Botanique
8. Take a walk around the Jardin Botanique Montreal
Above the Olympic Stadium is the entrance to the excellent Botanical Gardens, which is amongst the largest in the world. It features copious beds of well labelled plants from all around the world, dramatic Japanese and Chinese gardens and a brand new Insectarium, where we once again fought small children to look at beautiful bugs.
Montreal, Canada 2011 insectarium hall
Montreal, Canada 2011 -insectarium
Montreal, Canada 2011 -insectarium
Look out also for the wonderful art deco decorations on the welcoming fountains and on the outside of the main research building.
Montreal, Canada 2011 -Jardin Botanique 2

9. Dine out in style at Europa
This high end restaurant is by no means cheap but it was such an interesting and different dining experience that I highly recommend a visit for a special occasion. We ordered a set menu of four courses, but throughout our meal we were offered further unexpected dishes and nibbles so that by the end we had lost count of exactly how many courses we had eaten: I estimate it to have been something closer to 20! The food was very experimental: we ate cheese cigars, candyfloss, ice cream pops and food served in pots of dry ice. Main courses included a tagliatelle made from calamari and the largest scallops I have ever seen. Altogether an extremely enjoyable dining experience.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Jean Paul Gaultier 2011 Quinn
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Jean Paul Gaultier 2011 Barry
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Jean Paul Gaultier 2011
Montreal, Canada 2011 Musee Beaux Arts
10. Go to the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal
This museum is the jewel in Montreal’s cultural crown: two buildings connected by an underground passage which house a huge selection of modern and ancient art. We visited when the Jean Paul Gaultier retrospective was on, which is a pay exhibition well worth seeing (read my review of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk here) but there is also plenty of stuff to see for free. There’s also a really good gift shop.

Montreal, Canada 2011 Contemporary art museum
Montreal, Canada 2011 Notre dame
Montreal, Canada 2011 La Ronde
Montreal Festimania 2011 -Kiss Grill
Of course, there is so much more to do in multicultural Montreal… we also loved the Contemporary Art Museum, the Notre-Dame Basilica, La Ronde amusement park and great value Japanese food at new restaurant Kiss Grill (above). Plus, don’t miss Montreal strip joints lit up at night! But then, why not visit and discover all this and more for yourself?

Montreal Festimania strip clubs

Categories ,1967, ,1976 Olympics, ,Amusement Park, ,Bixi Bikes, ,Boris Bike, ,Botanical Gardens, ,Buckminster Fuller, ,canada, ,Casino de Montreal, ,Chalet Mont Royale, ,Contemporary Art Museum, ,Festival Mode et Design, ,First Peoples, ,Insectarium, ,Jardin Botanique Montreal, ,Jean Paul Gaultier, ,Kiss Grill, ,La Ronde, ,Mile End, ,Mont Royale, ,Montreal, ,Montreal Biodome, ,Montreal Biosphère, ,Montreal Festimania, ,Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal, ,Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal, ,Notre-Dame Basilica, ,Old Montreal, ,Quebec, ,Quebec Pavilion, ,Racoons, ,Saint Lawrence River, ,Strip Bars, ,Telus, ,The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, ,World Fair Expo, ,Zoo

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Amelia’s Magazine | My Top 10 Favourite Things To Do in Montreal

Montreal, <a target=more about Canada 2011 view of downtown” title=”Montreal, Canada 2011 view of downtown” width=”480″ height=”480″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-47582″ />
Montreal, Canada 2011 flags
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

I had a truly wonderful time in Montreal earlier this month. Alongside the many festival goings on during Montreal Festimania there were plenty of other things to do in this fabulous Canadian city. Here’s my pick!

Montreal, Canada 2011 Poutine quebec
Montreal, Canada 2011 Poutine quebec
1. Eat Poutine
Okay, so this is not strictly a Montreal custom, but for any new visitor to Quebec it is supremely important that you try this classic meal. Poutine consists of cheesy curds on top of thin french fries and topped with a thick gravy. At posher restaurants and Poutine specialists you can also get a wide variety of variations on the theme, including a meaty topping which ensures that this really is a full meal!

Montreal, Canada 2011 -McCord Museum 2
Montreal, Canada 2011 -McCord Museum
2. Go to the Musée McCord
It costs a bit of money but it’s well worth visiting this museum, which is dedicated purely to Canadian history, in all its variety. When we visited there was an excellent exhibition of selected goodies from the museum vaults and on the second floor there was a beautifully put together history of Montreal. In another room there were contrasting panoramic views of the city 100 years ago and in recent times. On the top floor was an exhibition of First Peoples‘ contemporary art.

Montreal Festimania 2011 Bixi bike
3. Get on a Bixi bike
In London we have the Boris bike and in Montreal they have the Bixi, which is a somewhat older system but still familiar. In fact so familiar that we actually came across one of London’s own Boris bikes. We have no idea how it got there! Bike hire is cheap and it’s a brilliant way of getting around downtown Montreal, which is a small area laid out in a simple grid system with wide bike lanes.

Montreal, Canada 2011 Old Montreal
Trip to Quebec, Canada 2011 mile end
Montreal, Canada 2011 Mile end second hand shops
Montreal, Canada 2011 Mile End yard sale
4. Go to Old Montreal
It may require you working up a bit of a sweat on the aforementioned Bixi bike to get up the hill but the architecture in this part of town is staggeringly beautiful: wide boulevards and stately homes with colourful metal roofs abound. In the trendy Mile End district there are plenty of second hand stores to peruse and intriguing wall art around every corner.

Montreal Festimania 2011 -racoons
Montreal Festimania 2011 feeding racoons
5. Play with racoons on Mont Royale
Once you are in Old Montreal why not take a walk through the Mont Royale park, which is less of a park and more of a Hamsptead Heath type wilderness, especially as you start to climb the mount (take plenty of water). If you take the back route you will no doubt stop for a rest at the viewing point, only to be greeted by a tumbling family of baby racoons, one of my unexpected Montreal highlights.
Montreal, Canada 2011 -racoon
Montreal Festimania 2011 -downtown Montreal from Mont Royale
Montreal, Canada 2011 Chalet Mont Royale
Further up the hill is the Chalet du Mont Royale – more of a vast hall than a chalet, with a wide plaza in front and amazing views of downtown Montreal.

Montreal, Canada 2011 -ice pops
6. Eat fruity ice pops. In fact, eat fresh locally grown fruits in general!
I became absolutely hooked on fresh fruit pops as a tasty and healthy way to cool down during the sweltering heat at Festival Mode et Design, where there was a stall selling pops made from imaginative combinations of strawberry, mint, pineapple, blueberry and coconut. Oh how I wish it was as easy to buy fresh fruit pops in the UK – I tell you, there would be a market here for those.
Quebec, Canada 2011 soft fruit
In Quebec they like to boast of the quality of their fresh produce, and with good reason! We ate beautifully flavoursome local strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

Montreal, Canada 2011 Biosphere
Montreal, Canada 2011 Biosphere dome
7. Visit the Biosphère and the Biodome
They are fond of their Bios in Montreal. The Biosphère was designed by Buckminster Fuller for the World Fair Expo in 1967 and is now a remnant cast adrift in Parc Jean-Drapeau, an island of Montreal on the Saint Lawrence River. It is a perfectly spherical steel structure made up of delicate cells, inside which is housed the Environment Museum (which we didn’t visit).

Montreal, Canada 2011 -Casino de Montreal
Montreal, Canada 2011 Quebec Pavillion
The Casino de Montreal, including the Quebec Pavilion, are also remnants of the World Expo 1967.

Montreal, Canada 2011 Biodome
Montreal, Canada 2011 Biodome bird
Montreal, Canada 2011 Biodome penguins
The Biodome is a remnant of the 1976 Olympics, a velodrome which now houses an interactive zoo that replicates four different biospheres. We saw grooming bright orange tamarin monkeys, a sleeping otter and playful puffins – all caged in the most minimal manner possible. Needless to say the sea of children swarming around our feet were also having the time of their lives (get there early to avoid the primary school rush).

Montreal, Canada 2011 Olympic Stadium
Above the Biodome looms the much maligned Olympic Stadium; its tilting tower (the tallest in the world) and hanging roof have become a relic of badly judged design. We enjoyed the amazing concrete spirals of its ambitious carpark.

Montreal, Canada 2011 -Jardin Botanique
8. Take a walk around the Jardin Botanique Montreal
Above the Olympic Stadium is the entrance to the excellent Botanical Gardens, which is amongst the largest in the world. It features copious beds of well labelled plants from all around the world, dramatic Japanese and Chinese gardens and a brand new Insectarium, where we once again fought small children to look at beautiful bugs.
Montreal, Canada 2011 insectarium hall
Montreal, Canada 2011 -insectarium
Montreal, Canada 2011 -insectarium
Look out also for the wonderful art deco decorations on the welcoming fountains and on the outside of the main research building.
Montreal, Canada 2011 -Jardin Botanique 2

9. Dine out in style at Europa
This high end restaurant is by no means cheap but it was such an interesting and different dining experience that I highly recommend a visit for a special occasion. We ordered a set menu of four courses, but throughout our meal we were offered further unexpected dishes and nibbles so that by the end we had lost count of exactly how many courses we had eaten: I estimate it to have been something closer to 20! The food was very experimental: we ate cheese cigars, candyfloss, ice cream pops and food served in pots of dry ice. Main courses included a tagliatelle made from calamari and the largest scallops I have ever seen. Altogether an extremely enjoyable dining experience.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Jean Paul Gaultier 2011 Quinn
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Jean Paul Gaultier 2011 Barry
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Jean Paul Gaultier 2011
Montreal, Canada 2011 Musee Beaux Arts
10. Go to the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal
This museum is the jewel in Montreal’s cultural crown: two buildings connected by an underground passage which house a huge selection of modern and ancient art. We visited when the Jean Paul Gaultier retrospective was on, which is a pay exhibition well worth seeing (read my review of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk here) but there is also plenty of stuff to see for free. There’s also a really good gift shop.

Montreal, Canada 2011 Contemporary art museum
Montreal, Canada 2011 Notre dame
Montreal, Canada 2011 La Ronde
Montreal Festimania 2011 -Kiss Grill
Of course, there is so much more to do in multicultural Montreal… we also loved the Contemporary Art Museum, the Notre-Dame Basilica, La Ronde amusement park and great value Japanese food at new restaurant Kiss Grill (above). Plus, don’t miss Montreal strip joints lit up at night! But then, why not visit and discover all this and more for yourself?

Montreal Festimania strip clubs

Categories ,1967, ,1976 Olympics, ,Amusement Park, ,Bixi Bikes, ,Boris Bike, ,Botanical Gardens, ,Buckminster Fuller, ,canada, ,Casino de Montreal, ,Chalet Mont Royale, ,Contemporary Art Museum, ,Festival Mode et Design, ,First Peoples, ,Insectarium, ,Jardin Botanique Montreal, ,Jean Paul Gaultier, ,Kiss Grill, ,La Ronde, ,Mile End, ,Mont Royale, ,Montreal, ,Montreal Biodome, ,Montreal Biosphère, ,Montreal Festimania, ,Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal, ,Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal, ,Notre-Dame Basilica, ,Old Montreal, ,Quebec, ,Quebec Pavilion, ,Racoons, ,Saint Lawrence River, ,Strip Bars, ,Telus, ,The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, ,World Fair Expo, ,Zoo

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Amelia’s Magazine | Montreal Festimania 2011: Fantasia International Film Festival Review

fantasia_film_fest_2011 poster by Donald Caron
Fantasia International Film Festival 2011 poster by Donald Caron.

Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, capsule Canada bills itself as a celebration of all things niche and genre. Our visit during Montreal Festimania coincided with the 15th anniversary of this independent festival, which over the years has grown to become the largest and most influential of its kind in the world. We were lucky enough to be granted a VIP pass allowing us access to any film we liked over our stay, and we decided to see quite a few!

Little Deaths
Ironically quite a few of our choices were British films that we’d failed to view over here in the UK, starting with a trio of horror shorts called Little Deaths, based around sexual perversion and gore. My favourite was a tale of domination and manipulation gone wrong: Bitch by Simon Rumley was shot in grainy London greys with a fabulous score to accompany scenes of every day mundanity as they descended into something more sinister.

Burke and Hare
Burke and Hare body
Burke and Hare follows the lives of two idiotic grave robbers operating in the Edinburgh of the 1820s. Despite the downbeat nature of this true story it was given a successful comedic twist by director John Landis, aided by an impeccable cast that includes Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis of Gollum fame.

Final-destination5-Olivia Castle
It was gone midnight when we attended the world premiere of Final Destination 5 in 3D, introduced by Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, who plays leggy lead character Olivia Castle… I’m sure this appearance was a major boon to the mainly male audience. The film was as utterly daft as its predecessors, but a lot of fun to watch with a hyped up festival crowd.

Phantom of the Opera Fantasia Film festival
One of the Fantasia International Film Festival highlights was a screening of the old black and white version of The Phantom of the Opera, made in 1925. This took place in the Barbican-like Theatre Maisonneuve in the Place des Arts, and was accompanied by a live rendition of the original full orchestral and operatic score. The auditorium was full to the rafters for this oddball story: I had no idea that the whole premise was so damn weird! The poster was designed by Donald Caron, the Montreal artist behind the fabulously kitsch Fantasia festival poster which features a flying horse: I loved them both and had to resist the urge to buy posters for which I have no wall space.

Horny House of Horror
Horny House of Horror bondage
Horny House of Horror deserves a mention for pure over the top Japanese pornographic gore: totally silly and questionable in taste, but I just about managed to sit through the 70 minutes of movie.

Cold Sweat
Argentina’s Cold Sweat was more of a chore: lacking any kind of coherent plot and drawn out far longer than was necessary. How on earth did the zombies get into the basement? It may be that I have yet to find my horror chops, but I found it hard to spend time watching this movie.

Petty Romance
Petty Romance
My favourite discovery of Fantasia International Film Festival was a wonderful rom com from Korea called Petty Romance, which followed the awkward relationship between a girl and a boy who get together to write a graphic sex comic that they hope will win them a large amount of money. It was a smart, sweet and funny reminder that the perils of falling in love remain the same everywhere in the world. I recommend that if you get the chance to see Petty Romance you skip along to the cinema pronto.

The Fantasia International Film Festival was supremely good fun and made me hopeful that I get asked to attend more film festivals in the future: there’s nothing like an enthusiastic audience for a niche film to increase the joy of the movie watching experience.

Categories ,3D, ,Andy Serkis, ,Bitch, ,Burke and Hare, ,Cold Sweat, ,Donald Caron, ,Fantasia International Film Festival, ,film, ,Final Destination 5, ,Genre, ,Gore, ,Horny House of Horror, ,Horror, ,Indie, ,Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, ,John Landis, ,Little Deaths, ,Montreal, ,Montreal Festimania, ,Olivia Castle, ,Petty Romance, ,Place des Arts, ,Rom Com, ,Short Film, ,Simon Pegg, ,Simon Rumley, ,The Phantom of the Opera, ,Theatre Maisonneuve, ,zombies

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Amelia’s Magazine | Beautiful Birds Colouring Book by Emmanuelle Walker: Colouring Book Review and Artist Interview

Beautiful Birds cover
I was aware of the gorgeous Beautiful Birds A-Z book before it was turned into a colouring book, so I was very excited to see that it had been translated into a new interactive version. I tracked artist Emmanuelle Walker down on Twitter to find out more about her spectacular avian friends. If you love birds or you’re just looking for a gloriously different colouring book to get lost in, this is one you should try.

emmanuelle walker
How did you first hook up with Nobrow/Flying Eye and how did your original Beautiful Birds book come about?
In 2013 I saw a tweet from them saying that they had a spare spread for Nobrow‘s annual magazine. I sent them a link to my work and they immediately sent me an email. They wanted to meet me.

Beautiful Birds 3
How did you choose the birds that are featured in it?
I worked from the text I received from Jean Roussen, so I didn’t get to pick the birds myself.

Flying Eye Books | Beautiful Birds – Book Trailer from Emmanuelle Walker on Vimeo.

You were a winner at the Smallish Design Awards this year, did the judges tell you why they liked it so much?
Yes it’s great! I don’t have any detail on how or why they picked Beautiful Birds but I’m pretty happy they did!

Beautiful Birds 1
Beautiful Birds  4
When and why was the decision made to do a colouring book version?
Nobrow/Flying Eye Books came up with the idea back in June, I guess it was a way to give the book a second life, push the idea further. It is also a perfect timing for it I guess, colouring books are getting more and more popular these days.

Beautiful Birds 13
What did you have to do to adapt the book? The full colour version is more obviously aimed at children but I presume the colouring book is for adults?
To adapt it I knew it had to be 96 pages, and the original version only had 56 pages so I had to find a concept that would allow to double the amount of pages. That’s why I came up with the pattern idea, because it would allow to repeat over the spread and actually double the amount of pages, but also because I absolutely love patterns and I have been working on some for my own pleasure, I thought it would be fun to colour in too! After working on small thumbnails of the layout, I started creating the patterns guide from the coloured illustrations. Then an assistant helped me retrace digitally the lines for the whole book. The colouring book is really for anyone who feels like colouring in, I wouldn’t say it’s strictly for adults :^)

Beautiful Birds  4
What has the reception been like so far?
I haven’t had much news lately, all I know is that they had to reprint 3000 additional copies just before the book came out. So I guess it’s going pretty well.

Beautiful Birds 17
How do you work? What mediums do you use, what is your studio like and what do you like to have close by?
I always start with a detailed spreadsheet, listing all the pages, and then I have columns for the thumbnails, rough, clean, final processes, when it’s still in progress the squares are yellow, when it’s done it’s green, it helps me track my work and to keep up with my schedule. Then I work on some tiny thumbnails for each spread so that the composition is perfect, working at a small scales really allows you to concentrate on the composition. Once all the thumbnails are all done and approved, I rough out every page on a small format, something like an A5 in terms of dimensions. I don’t like working on large scales. Then everything is scanned. In Photoshop I work out a general palette for the book, and then for each page/spread I do some very rough colour roughs again in Photoshop, trying things erasing, changing, tweaking the colours until I am satisfied. After that I start cleaning up the illustration, layer by layer.

Beautiful Birds 14
I have a desk space at Nexus Productions the company who represents me as an animation director. I work there on project with them sometimes and the rest of the time I work on my books and commissions from other clients. I don’t need much, the most important is probably my Cintiq (a screen on which you can draw directly) internet for references, paper, pencils, some nice things to listen to and a couple of amazing teas from around the world

Beautiful Birds 12
You’ve studied all over the world – how did you end up in your various locations and how did you end up in London?
I was born in Switzerland, when I was eleven we moved to Montreal, Canada with my family. There I studied 2D animation and started my carrer in the animation industry there. I wasn’t satisfied with what it had to offer and I knew that the Gobelins School in Paris offered a direct entry in third year if you had enough experience and passed the tests. I tried, and I got in. After a year working on our final year film, I thought I’d stay a bit longer, mainly because the winter was much warmer than the one in Montreal, but also because I felt the industry had more to offer. And then bit by bit I realised that Paris wasn’t for me for a lot of reasons but I didn’t want to go back to Montreal. I had been to London a few times for the weekend, when I was living in Paris, and I absolutely loved it’s vibe, I also knew that there were a lot of interesting companies in London, so I just made the move! It was very hard at first because I had no contacts at all and basically had to start my work network from scratch.

Beautiful Birds 18
How did you get from animation into illustration, was it a planned process or did it just sort of happen?
I have always illustrated for pleasure, and designing characters for animation series, ads and films so it’s always been part of my life, I wouldn’t put myself in the “animation-box” or the “illustration-box”.

Beautiful Birds 15
Beautiful Birds 10
What does your day to day job as an art director involve?
My work as a director is a freelance job, when I receive a pitch from Nexus I pitch an idea/concept/visuals for the project. Usually we pitch against 2 other studios, sometimes more. If I am selected I get to direct the project and start earning money. The pitches are very rarely paid… The rest of the time I am working on my books, sometimes I also freelance as an animator on 2D projects, or for other personal clients.

Beautiful Birds 5
You have a huge portfolio, what is your favourite commercial project so far and why?
I think that the Beautiful Birds book was one of my favourite projects. First of all my clients are the children, and when they appreciate my work it means more than anything. Also I feel free, I feel that my publisher trusts me and my ideas and they really let me do what I want.

Beautiful Birds 11
Have you seen any of your colouring pages completed and if so how did you feel about it? It must be quite a weird thing to see someone else’s creativity imposed on your own!
I actually haven’t seen much. I saw a few pages on Flying Eye‘s website, but not really. I am very curious though!

Beautiful Birds 9
Lastly, are there any more colouring or bird based books on the horizon?
No. Not for the moment, my next book will be about dogs, a loooooot of dogs!

The Beautiful Birds Colouring Book is out now and available here.

Categories ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Beautiful Birds, ,Beautiful Birds Colouring Book, ,canada, ,Colouring Book, ,Emmanuelle Walker, ,Flying Eye Books, ,Gobelins School, ,Jean Roussen, ,Montreal, ,Nexus Productions, ,Nobrow, ,Smallish Design Awards, ,Switzerland

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Amelia’s Magazine | Montreal Festimania 2011: Festival Mode et Design Music – introducing Parlovr

Parlovr by Sally Jane Thompson
Parlovr by Sally Jane Thompson.

Introducing: Parlovr. Also known as Parlour Montreal. Discovered at Festival Mode et Design in Montreal, price where they played a mid afternoon set in between catwalk shows on McGill College Avenue.

Parlovr album cover art
Parlovr by Parlovr.

Need to know:

The band was formed in 2006 in trendy Mile End (that’s look _Montreal”>Mile End, information pills Montreal, not Mile End, east London) when Louis Jackson (who plays guitar) and Alex Cooper (on keys) got together. Both of them sing. Drummer Jeremy MacCuish joined soon after.

Parlovr Montreal Festimania 2011 Alex Cooper
Parlovr playing at Montreal Festimania: Alex Cooper.

Their musical style has been described as Sloppy Pop. Think big Arcade Fire style atonality with infectious tunes. Created by just three lads.

The name just kind of happened: Parlour enraged another band of the same name so they decided to Latinise the name by swapping in a v for the u. They don’t mind how you pronounce it.

YouTube Preview ImagePen to Paper

Their live show is a supertastic energetic head-swinging affair, particularly from drummer Jeremy who really lets rip.

Parlovr playing at Montreal Festimania: Jeremy MacCuish
Parlovr playing at Montreal Festimania: Jeremy MacCuish.

They have toured extensively all over the world, including China, the US and Europe, supporting illustrious ilk such as the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand.

Self titled album Parlovr came out on Dine Alone records last summer. It has great illustrated cover art work. (see above)

Parlovr playing at Montreal Festimania: Louis Jackson
Parlovr playing at Montreal Festimania: Louis Jackson.

Go check them out! Find Parlovr on myspace and Parlovr on twitter.

Categories ,Alex Cooper, ,Arcade Fire, ,Arctic Monkeys, ,Atonal, ,Dine Alone, ,Festival Mode et Design Montreal, ,Franz Ferdinand, ,Jeremy MacCuish, ,Louis Jackson, ,Mile End, ,Montreal, ,Montreal Festimania, ,Parlour Montreal, ,Parlovr, ,Pen to Paper, ,Sally Jane Thompson, ,Sloppy Pop

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Amelia’s Magazine | Holiday Life: an interview with Asher Lack of Ravens and Chimes

Ravens And Chimes by Karolina Burdon
Ravens And Chimes by Karolina Burdon.

I may not be that rock’n’roll these days, but that doesn’t stop me enjoying the finest that indie music has to offer. I am therefore very excited to share with you my discovery of Ravens & Chimes, a New York based five piece with stellar melodies and great lyrics that demand a top of the voice sing-a-long.

For the past few weeks I’ve been listening to new album Holiday Life on repeat in our car as we travel back and forth to my parents’ house (which happens on a regular basis since they help me out with Snarfle care for one day a week). In fact I think I can happily say that Snarfle is just as keen on this record as I am: we frequently play it at high volume and he beats out the time of the drums with a good old fist pump from the back seat. Really, you need to hear this record (which you can, at the bottom of this blog post) I caught up with lead singer and songwriter Asher Lack.

Ravens and Chimes by Ryan Muir
Ravens and Chimes. Photography by Ryan Muir.

What are the three words that best describe the sound and vibe of Ravens and Chimes?
Big Bright Romantic? Someone once wrote that about us and it made me feel good.

YouTube Preview Image
How did you come to work on the soundtrack of one of the Twilight films, and what inspired the resulting song, Carousel?
The band was in a really dark place and we were stalled in the middle of an album that none of us felt was going well. Then, out of the blue I got an email from the label asking if we had any new material to submit for the Twilight 3 soundtrack. I had a half finished song that I thought would work well so I got everyone together and we recorded it. The result was the song Carousel which shifted the direction we were moving in and refocussed us as a group. The song was me trying to capture that feeling of loss that I had after we finished touring our first album. The friendship between the band and I that had suffered, and my relationship that had ended.

Ravens and Chimes by Gareth A Hopkins
Ravens and Chimes by Gareth A Hopkins.

It took awhile for you to write this album – what is it about?
I think this is an album about facing impossible circumstances and saying “I won’t give up.” in the face of that. It took five years after our first album to write this, record it, and get it released. After we finished touring the first album the band was in shambles. Everyone was broke and we had started recording the new album and run out of money. To add to that I hadn’t written any songs that I thought were good in about two years, so we stopped work on the new record (in Montreal) and went back to NY. We tried to earn the money to finish by touring, but our agent dropped us because we hadn’t finished the new album. On top of that the label didn’t have the money to help us finish the album so we all got jobs. Then the situation with Carousel brought us back together and gave us a sense of purpose. I had a lucky two month period where I wrote the second half of the album (Division St, Past Lives, The Parting Glass, In Rooms, and Carousel) and Rebecca and I cowrote Arrow. We went back up to Montreal and recorded these songs and combined them with the other ones we had done before and the label was blown away by how hard we worked and agreed to put it out.

Ravens and Chimes by James McCourt
Ravens and Chimes by James McCourt, inspired by capturing something for a moment, a memory, escaping, and about a sense of change being on the horizon.

Ravens and Chimes by Ryan Muir indoors
There’s five of you: how did you put the band together and what keeps you together when there are tough times?
A few of us met in college and knew each other from other bands on the scene. When times are tough I think the hard things we’ve already been through and the ability to focus on all the luck and success we’ve had together has been what gets us though.

Ravens and Chimes Holiday Life cover art
Who created the album artwork and what was their brief? I love it!
My dad is a painter so I’ve always used his images for our album art. When we first started as a band our rehearsal space was in his studio in Chelsea. Thanks so much for saying that!

Ravens and Chimes by Lizzie Donegan at New Good Studio
Ravens and Chimes by Lizzie Donegan at New Good Studio.

You’ve toured with some formidable bands, including Fiery Furnaces and Dan Deacon, can you share any stories from behind the scenes?
I remember The Fiery Furnaces tour manager accusing us of stealing their towels but I think that’s about as crazy as it’s gotten. We’re really lucky that all the bands we’ve played with have been really cool to us. Billy Bragg gave us all a big hug.  

YouTube Preview Image
What are you currently working on, stateside?
Right now we’re writing a new album and getting ready to start recording in December (hopefully). Above is one of the new songs that we played at an acoustic session in London last November. 


Why has it taken so long to release this record in the UK and where can British fans catch you live in the near future?
There were a lot of delays with the release of this record. I’m not sure why but it always takes a lot of time to put all the ducks in a row. Hopefully we’ll be faster next time! In terms of UK tours, it looks like next summer into next fall if everything comes together.

Ravens and Chimes by Anna Chapman
Ravens and Chimes by Anna Chapman.

Holiday Life by Ravens & Chimes gets a UK release with Better Looking Records. I urge you to take a listen! (then go buy the record x)

Categories ,Anna Chapman, ,Asher Lack, ,Better Looking Records, ,Billy Bragg, ,Carousel, ,chelsea, ,Dan Deacon, ,Fiery Furnaces, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Holiday Life, ,interview, ,James McCourt, ,Karolina Burdon, ,Lizzie Donegan, ,Montreal, ,New Good Studio, ,new york, ,Ravens and Chimes, ,Ryan Muir, ,Snarfle, ,soundtrack, ,Twilight 3

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