The Roots of King Cabernet

If you find yourself in Winnipeg one night and there’s one show you don’t want to miss, it’s a King Cabernet show. Boasting the best music, striking visuals, frequent performances, and King Cabernet’s own outsized personality, they stand apart from any other events out there. For anyone beyond the point where typical clubbing is the go-to form of entertainment, but a quiet night in just isn’t a valid option, these events offer the perfect elixir. With shows like this, with such tangible motivation and drive, it’s impossible for a curious party-goer not to wonder how it all got started.

King Cabernet started DJing on Saturday late night radio for CKUW ten years ago, at the time also attending Mod Club at the Pyramid every Thursday. Wanting the opportunity to DJ in public, the moment came 6 years later when he chanced to speak with DJ Aaron “The Invisible Man” Young, a Mod Club DJ who was bar manager at the late great pub J. Fox’s. Aaron was then DJing “It’s a Mod Mod Mod World” nights, during which 8-10 people would play 10 favourite songs. King Cabernet, who’s real name is Kevin, expressed an interest in doing a mini set at one of these events, but Aaron did him one better and offered to let him do events monthly. After working out the concept of playing old 60s movies while playing retro music, CINEMA GO GO was born, featuring Kevin billed as DJ Cabernet

“Aaron chose that name because, he said, ‘Kevin, you’re always the best dressed man in the room, you have the best taste in movies and the best taste in music. You are, in short, a cabernet,’ ” says Kevin. “Personally, I think he just wanted to watch some movies on a slow night.”

Over time it became evident that Sunday nights weren’t ideal for the emerging events, but a friend, Evan Quiring – writer and artist for the comic book Los Luchadores Mysterioso – had reunited his lucha mask-wearing surf guitar band The Rockdoras and were slated to play J. Fox’s one Saturday.

“I decided if we couldn’t bring people to Cinema Go Go maybe we could bring Cinema Go Go to the people, and DJed between their sets while projecting the whole time old drive-in trailers onto the screen behind the stage. At this point Aaron said it clicked for him: A crowd that enjoyed the kitschy visuals and enjoyed my taste in music made him want to push and promote me more, and I ended up doing a gig there with short lived 50s rockers The Blackbirds one night in early October.”

During this time the then DJ Cabernet was teaching himself the rudiments of film editing and taking intriguing high impact scenes from old filmes noires and 30s exploitation films like Reefer Madness, to play these essential parts of the films while the music played. Somehow, it all synced up. “I realized once and for all the whole ‘Pink Floyd recorded Dark Side of the Moon as an alternate soundtrack to Wizard of OZ’ was complete bullshit. The brain naturally syncs up visuals and sound no matter what. One could swear what’s projected on screen is a music video for the song and it isn’t. I realized then I now had a gimmick to distinguish me from other DJs: I had an encyclopedic knowledge of bizarre & obscure films and a means to take clips from said movies and show it as well as just play music.”

That night turned out to be key in a number of ways. Amongst the crowd were The Blackbirds, comprised of Andrew Maxwell, an early supporter of DJ Cabernet, and two people he’d end up teaming up with at various points in the future: local rockabilly sensation Greg Arcade, and Rafael Reyes, guitarist for the Mexican folk/spaghetti western/prog rock band Mariachi Ghost. Also in attendance was Greg Ash, bar manager for the Yellow Dog tavern who was there enjoying his night off. Ash enjoyed DJ Cabernet’s set so much that he asked if he would play at the Yellow Dog. Cabernet leapt at the chance. The first SHINDIG! event was held there in November 2010, just a few months before the closure of J. Fox’s.

King Cabernet (right) and Mod Marty at Bond and Burlesque

At first, DJ Cabernet considered SHINDIG! little more than a hobby. But little did he know about the impact that the shows would start to generate. It soon became clear that SHINDIG! was the most stable ongoing event around, and before long DJ Mod Marty, another dapper guy who looks like he stepped right out of an episode of Mad Men, asked if he could do a guest spot. Since DJ Cabernet was starting to get a little too burned out and doubting whether or not he should continue, this was perfect timing.

Working with Mod Marty turned out to be just what DJ Cabernet needed. When Marty was playing he had the freedom to socialize with the crowd. That night, the two became partners. In a remarkably fortuitous turn of events, it became obvious immediately that Marty understood perfectly the vibe he was trying to achieve with the music: scuzzy garage rock, gritty soul, and sleazy sax jazz. Along with the movie clips DJ Cabernet began to incorporate featuring GoGo dancers, LSD dream sequences, and car chases, all the elements combined to help make a night at the Yellow Dog (which is actually a very nice place) seem to be a night at some trashy dive bar circa 1967.

From that point on the success of SHINDIG! continued to rise, but Kevin remained aware that the shows were still falling under the radar. Something had to be done. So he decided to team up with the Rockdoras at Pop Soda’s Coffeehouse & Venue. Since the place had such a bohemian air about it, and since Keyboard player Vanda liked promoting shows with themes, he suggested making it an Andy Warhol themed event. The group loved it, and a date was immediately set.

Image from the MOTOWN GETDOWN!

At which point the Rockdoras broke up, and DJ Cabernet was left with a date but no band to play with.

“I could have just given up the date to someone else, but I kept mulling over the idea of doing a Warhol event and in what was either a moment of inspiration or possibly desperation, I called up Rafael and asked if he’d be interested in putting together a Velvet Underground tribute band. In what I now see was an EXTREME stroke of luck, I was apparently talking one of the city’s biggest Velvet Underground fans who leapt at the chance to form such a band.”

From there the project became more and more elaborate; Warhol ran three movies at a time at his parties so there needed to be three projectors running his movies at the party. He had dancers so DJ Cabernet and Mod Marty had dancers. Warhol decorated his loft in silver so they used silver tinfoil to cover the stage. They even recruited some local pop artists to display their wares as well.

King Cabernet considers this theme for a first-time event the kind of thing which is both the best and the worst to do. The enormous challenge in channeling an artist with such broad forms of expression necessitated reaching out to many types of creative people to help pull it off.  But once you’ve gotten over such a big hurdle, all other challenges seem small my comparison. It was a baptism by fire, and subsequent events have proven to be significantly easier.

“Looking back, I know why I poured so much blood, sweat & tears into organizing and promoting the event. I was extremely frustrated with my day job, and being turned down a promotion at work after years of working in an in-between capacity made me seriously wonder if I was any good at management. Actively organizing such a large-scale event that ended up filling up Pop Soda’s to capacity and that had rave reviews from everyone who attended was a vindication for me,” he says. And he’s right. There are some things that the 9-5 working world just can’t teach you that your passions can. Indulging in these passions isn’t just a luxury, but a necessity. Some say they do it to stay sane, but I believe it’s about even more than that. These are the things that complete you, that help you to become more of who you really are.

Of course, by this point DJ Cabernet was more than just a DJ, as his best friend Craig pointed out. He offered up an idea for a new name, something that would roll off the tongue. Kevin liked the idea, as it played with his own initials and he felt it sounded like that of an obscure Batman villain.

King Cabernet was born.

To be continued…

GlamChix Artistry

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I’ve known Kathy Cruz for years, and I have so much respect for her and what she does. She’s a talented photographer, an ambitious and hard worker, a super sweet person, and a great mother. How could I not want to share her with the world? So I asked her to share her story with me.

Kathy got her start in photography in 2008, when she took photos of projects at her engineering firm to be published in the company newsletter. This was the seed that would eventually grow and blossom into a whole new career, and she started learning photography formally by taking night classes at the PrairieView School of Photography here in Winnipeg.

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“I loved the classes because we would explore different places in the city, and find something and make it look like art, so I would focus on textures, lines, and patterns. Then we would print our work and have other photographers critique it. So it’s a lot of learning,” says Kathy. I’ve seen this influence first hand. Kathy is so much fun to work with, because she’s incredibly spontaneous and not afraid to get in there and experiment. I’ve spent hours aimlessly wandering the city with her and her camera, where she sees the art in everything we come across, from cathedrals to fire escapes and back alleys. We’ve even shot on my roof. It’s a very different approach than that of most of the photographers I’ve worked with, and it doesn’t feel like work at all. Kathy will get the shots some other photographers wouldn’t bother with – she captures opportunities, and with them the beauty of our city.

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When classes were over she started taking portraits of her own friends and family and investing in a full range of equipment, while primarily shooting in her home. In 2009 she registered her business as KatCruz Photography. She continued to learn about business, and KatCruz Photography evolved. One of the key ways in which this happened was the addition of a makeup artist.

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Kathy found Cherry Je through Facebook, and it turned out that the two had gone to the same high school. Cherry was the perfect fit for the job. The two started scoping out work through Model Mayhem, and it was at this point that Kathy found me. My Model Mayhem profile states that I don’t seek to be a prop in a photographer’s work, but rather to work fully with them as a team. I have experience working behind the scenes in directing, styling, editing, and more, most of which I learned hands on with the amazing photographer TJ Pendragon. This might be a turn-off for some, but it turned out to be just what Kathy was looking for. She never stops learning and evolving, and she wanted me to help guide her in how to work with a model. It was a perfect match. For our first shoot I gave her a few ideas on how to come up with a concept (we went with turning a favorite song into a photo through the use of mood), recruited another photographer and neighbor of mine for support and backup, and dove right in. I showed Kathy how props can be extremely helpful for a model unsure of how to pose, and encouraged her to get past her shyness and direct. Kathy says, “She made sure that the end result was what I wanted to see on the photo. It was hard, but after seeing her photos it made me realize that this is what I wanted to do.”

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After gaining more experience with Cherry by her side over the next three years, Kathy decided to venture into the realm of boudoir photography. Again I was chosen as the guinea pig, and I was honored to help out. Kathy and Cherry want to send the message across that every woman should feel good about her body no matter what size or shape she is. I’m not large by any means, but I definitely don’t look like a typical model either, and I feel like this struck a balance that would help their first project of this sort communicate this message while still keeping it somewhat straightforward. This was a positive experience for all of us. Kathy really enjoyed it and learned how to let the camera show some love for curves. I was surprised I could handle the job without feeling too self-conscious, but the photographer has as much to do with that as the model themselves. Kathy and Cherry made me feel extremely comfortable in what was by far the least amount of clothing I had ever worn in front of  the camera.

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This preliminary shoot worked out fantastically, and after this the pair started gaining some clients. “We love looking at their faces after they see their photos, and [when they] brag about it to their friends, and message us the experience that they felt during that photoshoot…all of that is priceless.”

This year, KatCruz Photography became GlamChix Artistry, offering both photoshoots and makeup services. Kathy finds that working with a partner is hugely beneficial, because you get to share your experiences and learn from each other. She also took a class in makeup artistry in case Cherry isn’t available, to ensure their clients will always get the full range of service that they offer. It’s clear that Kathy’s education and experience is incredibly well-rounded, and that she works hard to be the best she can be, so no matter what you’re looking for she’s got it covered.

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GlamChix artistry focuses on glamour, fashion, and boudoir photography with prices starting at $200. Makeup for weddings or other special events starts at 60$. When you consider all the years of hard work and talent involved, this is nothing to scoff at. These women care about their clients and want to make sure they’re giving them a fair deal.

“Like any business, it has its ups and downs. We’re still learning things as we go – what works and what doesn’t, and what makes us unique compared to others. We get people who would inquire about our services and feel that we charge too high, which is frustrating because little do they know the work that’s involved. It’s not just a click of the camera and putting it in a CD. It’s the value as well. From consultation to preparing for a photoshoot (artistic vision, wardrobe, makeup and hair, equipment used), hours of post processing, custom printing, to picking up and delivering the product. With all of that, we make sure we deliver custom images that you’ll be proud to display for years. And that’s what you pay for.”

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You can check out their blog full of useful pro makeup tips and more here at http://www.katcruzartistry.blogspot.ca/

Bookings can be done through Facebook or at (204) 688-8107.

 

Book Reviewing for Sub-Genres Winnipeg

Sorry I haven’t posted today’s scheduled article yet, I forgot to upload some pictures last night. I swear I’ll be getting to it ASAP. However right now I have some pretty cool news to share, so consider this a bonus post for May.

Considering I write in social media for a living, it’s nice to stretch out creatively once in a while. Just spread my ass all over this big damn page and say what I really feel. This blog here of course is one of those places, and because it’s mine I get to say “ass” as much as I want, but I’ve just been given a new one writing book reviews for Sub-Genres Winnipeg. Of course I’m an obsessive reader, but what I read doesn’t tend to fit the theme of this glamour-centric little part of the internet, so reviews here have been rare. If any of you ladies and fabulous dudes DO give a crap about history and ghost stories and whatever else I find myself buried in, please let me know. Ask and you shall receive.

To start with, these reviews will for the most part be style-oriented, because I started out by submitted my old stockpile of reviews that you’ll find archived here. But over time this will broaden. Currently I’m working on a review of The Nun’s Story, which shockingly enough involves not just prayer and serenity (and the same outfit every day) but murder and intrigue. And it’s based on true events! So if you’re sick of listening to me babble on about pin curls and corsets, hop on over to the Sub-Genres site. I’ll take requests on a limited basis so if there’s something you want reviewed that I’ve read somewhat recently or plan to read soon, you got it.

Happy reading!

http://www.subgenreswinnipeg.com/book-reviews.html

Holly Hui Hair

I like my red hair. It’s the color that perfectly borders natural and wild, because it can go either way depending on the shade. It’s also just a sexy color. Photographers use me for my red hair too, so if I had a more standard or freakish color I have the feeling I wouldn’t get asked to do pictures half as much. The thing is, it’s been red since I was 19. And I have a tendency to get bored. Before it was red, it was blond, white, black, blue, and green. I changed it a lot. But one color I never actually got to do was purple. It was one of the first colors I intended on trying but I chickened out once my hair was bleached and never quite got around to it again.
Enter the “ombre” dye job. You’ll know this as the big Hollywood trend of girls with long brown roots gradually lightening into blond on the bottom half. Obviously those colors are not for me. But I like the idea of having two hair colors at once, especially ever since I saw Megan Massacre on NY Ink with her fire engine red and black ombre hair while I was just dying for a change of some sort. Suddenly after a bit of google image searching the solution became all too obvious. I wanted ombre hair, bright cherry red at the top, into deep purple at the bottom. Fuck yes.

The trigger

It also occurred to me that instead of seeing Becky and having to bring her a print-out that would require me to go out and buy color printer ink, I should see Drawn and Plastered’s resident hairstylist Holly Hui. I really must say, Drawn and Plastered is really lucky. We have the absolute most talented and awesome people out there working for us because they’re so awesome and support what we do. I’m so proud to say that Holly Hui is one of them. Obviously I couldn’t possibly go wrong here.

The inspiration

The location was definitely different than the fancy salon on Corydon I’ve been going to for the last five years. I wasn’t at all familiar to the area. So that turned my nerves up a little. But as soon as I saw Holly there I relaxed. I gave her my usual middy instructions and told her I wanted the longest part to be at the bra line, however gave her permission to take off more if she had to to get rid of split ends. This scared me as it was quite a bit shorter than I’ve had it for a long time. I also got bangs because I figured it’s been about 13 years, so if I’m going for different, let’s toss that in there too. I’d been toying with the idea for way too long not to. That was even scarier. But having trust will get you far. I held my breath and kept quiet.

Your first time seeing this unstyled is also mine. And how brave am I for posting a picture in absolutely no makeup and stupid pink pajamas?

When it was over I looked…normal. It’s the first time I used Matrix hair color, so it’s going to take some time for it to build up to the brightness and contrast I’d like. The bangs and the smooth straight style also looked unusually modern for me. So I looked great, but didn’t feel like myself. Of course we both knew all it would take was for me to play around a bit at home. The whole point of a middy is versatility afterall, and my bangs were cut long in keeping with this, just barely short enough for me to see. Holly also razored one side so I could wear them to the side without having a corner, and when I curl them up they’ll look very Bettie Page. The length should make them relatively easy to blend in and hide too.

Yep, there are bangs in there!

And later that very night. Who invented this sorcery!

Side note/tip: I quickly found just how easy blending bangs really is. Take the bangs along with a portion of hair from behind them, and backcomb the roots from behind to mix them together with a teasing brush or fine toothed comb. You want the teasing to be really tight, so you wonder how you’ll ever manage to comb it out again. When you let go you’ll have some odd pieces randomly sticking out. Just tuck them underneath with a pin and have the longer part of your hair fall over the ends of the bangs. Hairspray liberally. Ta-da! And I mean it was *quick* – it look less than a minute and you would never know they were ever there.

As soon as I got home I got to curling it in my regular style. This was challenging because a lot of the layers were quite a bit shorter, so it was difficult to get everything into the rollers. Nevertheless it somehow seemed to take quite a bit less time, since there were no more ratty ends, and a shorter length means less hair to roll up, and less maneuvering to reach the ends of it. Once the rollers were taken out, my hair was fuller and bouncier than ever. There was so much less weight that with some backcombing and hair spray it would virtually stick straight out with very little effort. Then with a little combing of the bangs to the side and a bit more spray, I was easily able to get myself into a style that felt really great for me. Very Joan Holloway.

After the first time styling it myself. I’m me again!

Now I don’t know if it’s because it was shorter, the layers were shorter, the products that were used, or the fact that I saw Holly, but out of the now three times that I’ve had this particular hair cut done this is the first time that it physically feels like I expected the middy to feel. Before it just felt like my hair, only the look was different. This time it feels so light and soft, like it could just float away. It feels luxurious and easy and the complete opposite of being buried in hair. It feels fantastic. And it actually made a big difference in my day, like I was wearing silk pajamas instead of jeans. I just had to mention that.

By the end of the night I was in love. I was no longer ambivalent about bangs, and the huge messy curls I had made me feel awesome. Of course anything that makes you feel like Christina Hendricks, Dita, and a spy can’t be anything but all sorts of awesome. Mike is super happy too.

Having trust in your stylist will get you far. If I didn’t have that,  I wouldn’t have done it. And I’m so glad I did. You can trust Holly Hui.

For more about asking your stylist for a middy see https://victoriablack4.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/vintage-hair-part-1-the-haircut/ and https://victoriablack4.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/i-got-a-middy-and-a-word-about-setting-lotion/

I Got a Middy! And a Word About Setting Lotion

Well, a modified middy. And I LOVE it. My hair was nearly to my waist, limp and shapeless, and I hadn’t had a hair cut in 6 months. It was taking me an hour to curl, and it felt like it took as long to comb. I felt buried. I was extremely close to hacking it off myself. So I made the appointment.
I had studied the middy a fair amount, and looked at a crap load of pictures. It’s a little hard to find pictures of it unstyled, but I landed on a good one, where the length of the layers were modified to be longer and less awkward so that the cut didn’t need to be curled to look right. I took this picture, a picture of the same girl with her hair styled, and a picture of Lauren Bacall, along with a mental list of instructions with me to Tonic.

Lauren Bacall, an awesome woman with awesome hair.

My stylist, Becky, didn’t know what a middy was, as far as I could tell. But she followed my instructions to the letter. Split ends gone, a U-shaped hemline, and lots of box layers with no texturing or feathering. My length rose to the bra line at the back up to just barely past my shoulders at the front. The result was a cut that looks very modern when left straight, elegant when softly curled, even surprisingly high class and professional, but that when set in curlers looks authentically forties or fifties. It’s a beautiful and very cool cut. Becky is awesome. I think I might even go shorter next time.

My hair as styled by Becky, and a horrible display of photographic skill.

In fact, the way she styled it, trying to imitate the picture of Lauren Bacall but using modern tools that didn’t quite do the job, was so sleek and elegant that I liked it even more than my own big fluffy “Hollywood” style of curling it.

My hair before, “Hollywood” style, before it has a chance to collapse under its own weight.

I wanted to recreate this, but punched up with a little more vintage. It didn’t take long to figure out how. My usual set was too curly, and just a curling iron wasn’t curly enough, and too time consuming. So I ended up doing 8-10 big curls instead of 15-20 little ones, radiating outward from the crown, with the thin side of the part smoothed out with the curling iron used like a flat iron. It took 10 minutes to curl instead of an hour, half an hour to dry instead of five hours, and barely a minute to smooth out. Perfect. As far as a perfectly vintage look, I finally got it down, and I love it enough to share. Tutorial to follow in the next article.

Perfect vintage hair, minutes before static and bad quality hair spray ruins it. I’m working on that too.

So if anybody in Winnipeg wants a stylist who will listen to them and give them a great do, go see Becky at Tonic!
Now, there is something that I failed to mention in my curling tutorial, and that’s about setting lotion. Setting lotion is a product that will make your hair fuller and keep the curl for longer. The most popular kind is Lottabody, and you dilute it in water. I’ve heard of different ratios, 1/5, 1/3, 1/2. You’ll have to figure out what works best for you based on your hair type. If it’s too thick it won’t spray out properly and your hair won’t curl. But the stuff does wonders. Alternatively you can use mousse or spray gel. Don’t use hair  spray until AFTER you’ve finished styling though, or it will be too stiff to work with.
So there’s my little update. I’m learning a lot more about styling lately too so when I can get my thoughts on that in order I’ll be posting another. See you soon!

The Burlesque Show Was Great!

Not so much an article, just a regular ol’ blog post.

So we went to The Best of Burlesque tonight and let me tell you it was an AWESOME show. It was super sexy, super fun, and wow do those girls ever have talent! It had so much great stuff to offer I would probably forget some if I tried to tell you about all of it, but as far as the highlights go there were fire performers  outside the theatre, a hilarious 50s housewife performance by Heather Witherden, and an awesome finale by guest performer Miss Rosie Bitts in which she pops a huge balloon and gets showered in gold glitter. It was positively ethereal. We met her after the show and she is so sweet and so much fun to watch on stage, I instantly became a fan. I must also say that I am a huge fan of the house band Johnny Pancreas and the Diabetics, too. Do they have CDs? Because I want one.

It was so cool to see everybody in the lobby all dressed up in their vintage gear. Everybody looked fabulous. And just as I said in the Stop Staring! post, I did have people asking where I got my dress, including a guy, and had my picture taken by a stranger who wondered if it was custom made! Didn’t I tell you the tailoring on these babies is perfection? If anybody is interested I’ll post some pics for you all of our great time out.

Coming soon will be another guest post about wardrobe in the film industry. It’s going to be really interesting so I hope you all keep checking back so you can check it out.

Don’t miss the next show! I’ll see you there!

Moonlight Madness Burlesque May 12th at the Park Theatre

Is there anyone who doesn’t just love burlesque? If you didn’t I’d be inclined to believe that you’re either half crazy or sadly misinformed. My dad certainly proved this when I arranged to have the very lovely and talented Miss La Muse perform for us at our wedding social. He was very angry with me about it, because he thought burlesque was equivalent to nudey bar type stripping, and it wasn’t until after the (very clothed) performance that I received a swift apology.
Burlesque isn’t just about nudity. It’s about the tease, humor, music, old school glamour, and so much more. There have been performances in which nothing was removed but a glove. It’s not about the stripping down so much as the way it’s done, and that’s with an incredible amount of style. Burlesque is a fabulous all-encompassing performance, a real show, and a treat that all adults can enjoy.


And that’s why I see burlesque as such a high art form. It’s the most fun and yet realistic portrayal of sexuality. And it’s deeply psychological. You certainly don’t need to see a fully nude woman in front of you to get the full effect of the performance.
As the president of Moonlight Madness Burlesque, Winnipeg’s sweetheart of society Miss La Muse is a master at this, and I’m proud to call her a friend of mine. I’m genuinely impressed by her commitment to the art, and the skill with which she performs it. Her shows are a real treat and I really enjoy watching her success grow.


So I’m urging all of you who live in the Winnipeg Area to attend Moonlight Madness Burlesque’s next performance, The Best of Burlesque Show & Fundraiser at the Park Theatre May 12th at 8pm. You’ll get to experience great music, comedy, and some very beautiful ladies, not to mention that the money will be going to the Red Cross for assistance in the earthquake relief effort in Chile. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Tickets are available at the Park Theatre and Kustom Kulture in Osborne Village for 10$. 15$ at the door or 10$ for those dressed in vintage or burlesque attire.
Have fun!