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…

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Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend – Saturday

I meant to post this last night, because I know you guys just love hanging off the edge of your seats to read about my life, but I was spending the majority of my night partying it up at walmart buying yellow pajamas, so you just had to wait.

As I was saying when we left off, we woke up on Saturday morning still drunk. This was odd, as we’d only had about two drinks each the night before, completely regular drinks, not doubles, not including the giant daiquiris we’d had that afternoon, which may as well have been big smoothies. We had to be at the Orleans by noon to get our tickets to the burlesque show, so we headed out right away. We looked cute as hell.

The trip was unusually short, I guess traffic was good. We rode on the bus with Batman, so maybe that helped. We got there at only a little after 11. This turned out to be pretty good, because there was already a line half way across the casino. How naive of us to think we could just walk up to the box office at noon. So we waited. Luckily the line went right through the slot machines, so we had chairs to sit on. Standing right behind us for that hour, and who had also sat on the same shuttle with us from Bill’s, turned out to be a guy from Winnipeg. Kory was totally not a douche, so we became buddies. When the line started moving – and it moved extremely quickly, it took just a minute or two to get to the front – we got our seats together.

Then it was time to head off to the famous car show, and we went together. Kory’s friend didn’t seem to have woken up that day, maybe it was another case of that Vegas mystery alcohol, so he may as well. Now this car show is pretty epic, and unlike any typical car show you may have seen. No cars are allowed more recent than 1963, and the modifications also have to be in keeping with this. I’m not a big car person, but it was awesome to see. From what I could tell, nobody saw the pretty pinup girls and the cool cars and thought to put them together, so I got Angela posing on a car with the owner’s permission, and as soon as she did about ten guys circled around to take her picture. It was pretty neat, if she wasn’t about to burst into flame I’m sure we could have had fun doing that all day. But since we had important business to attend to at the Pinup Girl Lounge, we didn’t take a whole lot of pictures. Go google them, they’re out there and better than anything I could have taken with my shitty camera phone. On the way to the tent somebody also snapped my picture and told me it was going into a magazine, probably an online one. I didn’t have a close look at the card he gave me. But that’s pretty cool, I’ll have to dig around in my purse for it some time and look it up.

Me and Laura Byrnes!

We waited in line a while to meet Micheline Pitt and Cholita, Kory close behind. Angela took refuge in the corner of the tent after her sunscreen didn’t prove strong enough. I grit my teeth and stayed zen. Towards the front of the line I spotted Laura Byrnes, founder of Pinup Girl Clothing, chatting with some friends. She was so real and cool I couldn’t help but love her. I think she spent at least five minutes talking about her bra. Me and her, we could get along. She was also nice enough to let me have my picture taken with her. Hey Laura, call me! We’ll do lunch!

Me and Cholita!

When I finally got to the front of the line Micheline was distracted with someone at the back of the tent, so I hung out with Cholita. She was really lovely. She had her hair done in that really pretty effect I’ve been seeing more and more lately where it looks like color was brushed in like a powder. I think it’s called balayage, but when I look that it up it looks so boring in comparison. Hers was light blond with this strong lavender shading. She said she did it herself. She was so nice I could have sat and talked with her all day. Then Micheline was ready to say hello, and while I didn’t get much opportunity to see what she’s like in person because of the rush, I want to like her very much because of who she seems to be online, beautiful, creative, honest, and approachable. So I’ll hold on to that until I get more of a chance. I bought a signed print of one of her awesome zombie girl paintings, and I wonder how long it will be before I manage to get a frame for it. Once all that was done, we rushed back inside.

Me and Micheline! She looks like a giant doll, and I look like a fucking dork beside her.

Well, now it was time to eat. We joined the long line for the French Market Buffet, and Kory introduced us to some of his new friends, Mark and Lisa. By now we were already exhausted, and my feet hurt like hell. But let me tell you, this buffet was the BEST. Barbeque, seafood, Mongolian, American, and pasta all in one place, including sushi, salad bars, every kind of cake and pie, and every flavor of ice cream. If only I had been hungrier. Next year, we eat there, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The plan for the rest of the day was to hang out at the pool party and take in some bands. Angela didn’t want to do this, she was feeling very sick and tired. I really didn’t want to take over half an hour back to the hotel and miss the pool party, but what else could we do? So leave we did. Poo.

Angela and Micheline. Angela hardly knew who Micheline was, but she totally didn't look like a dork beside her. How fair is that?

Once we got back she started to feel better. And it wasn’t totally boring. We caught up with our men back home, and took our time getting ready for the burlesque show. So much time in fact that we thought we would be late getting back. But the 10:30 start time wasn’t the start time at all, just the time they started letting people in. This time the line was even longer, but we already had assigned seats so it didn’t matter. Time-wise, luck was on our side that day. The show was great. Winnipeg doesn’t have much in the way of variety for burlesque, and while I’m grateful to have any at all, it was awesome to see so many extremely talented ladies doing their best in so many different ways. My hands down favorite was Miss Mosh. She looks like a platinum blond Dita von Teese with a sad face. Or maybe she was just shy, or nervous. But I absolutely loved her. In her act she danced to Harlem Nocturne, which immediately sealed it for me, but then she climbed into a giant top hat in a sparkling black gown, and after a few beats of suspense suddenly emerged as a rabbit in a sparkling white corset and ears. It was genius. I wanted her to win. Mosh, you’re fabulous, you made me a fan 🙂

How gorgeous is this girl??

There was only one thing left to do after the show but go upstairs for more bands. And sightseeing! Everybody was turned out in their best. It was the coolest thing to see all these girls in 1950s prom dresses, looking every bit authentic except for their blue hair and tattoos. Angela and I got some drinks, actually, a lot of drinks, because we didn’t want to wait in line again when we wanted more, and in Vegas they let you do that apparently. Hers was too spicy for her, so she tried to give it to me. But I didn’t want to spend all night drinking and not dancing, and I definitely didn’t want to wake up drunk again. Plus it was absolutely freezing in there. We were told it was to keep the bands’ equipment from overheating. For a while we sat and enjoyed ourselves out in the hall in a little niche with a window overlooking the casino below. Kory danced with me after that, which I had wanted to do for ages. It was awesome. Angela should have tried it but she didn’t want to. Poo.

See guys? I can be hot too! See?

Finally it was time to go home. We shared a cab with Mark and Lisa, and Mark was so nice he gave me some money for fare after they got out. That’s great, because cab fare in Vegas is super expensive. Thanks guys! We ordered a pizza but it was taking too long, I fell asleep right away and then Angela called and cancelled because she was tired too. Oh well.

Now I thought I would be including Sunday here but I assume you’re sick of reading by now. More suspense for you!

Drawn and Plastered Toys With Your Head

I was going to post about wardrobe essentials today, but I’m putting that off. Because I just saw the promo photos for our next event based on the nutcracker and holy shit this is going to be goddamn freakin amazing. I dare you to see this and not want to go. So yeah, come, or you suck. http://www.drawnandplastered.com

Body painting and our model for the Nutcracker Prince supplied by the incredibly talented Kim Brennen of http://www.mardigrasfaceart.com/, with the Sugar Plum Fairy’s outfit and rat tails by Chelsea Moir who is also playing the Sugar Plum Fairy. Check out our most talented group yet in person on December 20th at Pop Soda’s in Winnipeg. You won’t want to miss this!

Drawn and Plastered Grows More Than Ever at Pet Sematary!

It was a dark and stormy night, but all was warm and convivial inside our newest venue, Pop Soda’s Coffee House and Gallery! The venue was absolutely perfect, providing more space for the artists to work, and a gorgeous environment for our photographers to shoot in. With paintings on the walls, books on the shelves, comfy couches all around and the usual delicious drink specials, we couldn’t imagine a better place. We even had an art studio as a dressing room!
The most notable feature of all brings us to an exciting announcement. Drawn and Plastered will now be a primarily all ages event, the very first of its kind! Because we feel no one should be excluded, and young people have a lot to offer to the art community, we couldn’t be happier, and you don’t even have to give up the booze (that part still just for those over 18 of course). This should not only allow a whole new group of people to participate, but also makes it easier for those with kids who would like to bring them along. Win-win for the win!
Animals were of course included as well, so there certainly wasn’t anyone missing. A beautifully plumed bird perched on a swing, a cat and werewolf prowled together among the artists, a spider queen ruled over her domain, a lizard planked, and the evil Dr. Lazarus did her best to make their lives a nightmare, turning the event into an artist’s dream. And while our models were beautiful on the outside, you were ALL beautiful on the inside, raising money for animals in need at the Winnipeg Humane Society. Jennifer Swan won her second prize since we first began, and is now the proud recipient of a photoshoot with True Charisma Photography. We can’t wait to present the WHS with their donation later this week.
Speaking of the evil Dr. Lazarus, Drawn and Plastered has a second announcement: The addition of our fourth core family member, Sarah Putnam as model manager! She’ll be helping us take on the duties of assisting the models throughout the night, so it’s easier for them to do their jobs, and therefor easier for you to make use of them. Thanks to her and our new MC Chloe, the modelling was absolutely the best we’ve ever had, so we can’t wait to have them back on a regular basis.
And finally, the announcement of November’s theme. It may be getting cold out, but get out your bathing suits and start teasing those beehives, because this November Drawn and Plastered Stars in Pink Hawaii!

Drawn and Plastered: Victorian Asylum

The following was written by my business partner Holly Halftone for http://drawnandplastered.com/

“I had so much fun, and the atmosphere was fantastic!”
-Samantha Rech

“Cool event, nice of you to let the photographers have a go! Gotta keep an eye out for the next one”
-Brandon Greer (The Tune Podcast)

Yes – it really did happen! The first Drawn and Plastered ever took place last night (July 23rd) and was welcomed with open arms by our amazing patrons.

From 10pm-midnight we were serenaded by eerie and sometime electric violin music, ramping up to even include a few Alice Cooper songs from his asylum album, “From the Inside”.
Emilie Autumn was also heard frequently.
25 attendees took home our beautiful mix of choice music from the night, with CD cover art by Holly Halftone herself.

Sarah Putnam and Pamela McMillan, as Ophelia Opiate and Patricia Pillbocks were crowd favourites, nagging at each other on the floor and even running up on stage a couple times to rip clothing off of each other – the final time resulting in Patricia being carried off stage by our Doctor in residence, played by Lovern Kindzierski.

When Alicia and Meg (as Lily Longbottom and Penny Dreadful) finished their last pose on the stage, we did a draw for the $30 door prize from Cre8ive Supplies, which was won by Jennifer Swan – congrats! 🙂

It was so great to see so many happy and creative people enjoying the show we put on. It was exactly how we imagined it, thanks to everyone involved! So that being said, here are a nice big batch of photos from the night!

These lovely cupcakes were a gift sent to us by a future Drawn and Plastered model, Victoria Karras

 

The hat display on Rockband drums in the makeshift dressing room. I made the one in the middle, which was worn by Sarah Putnam as Ophilia Opiate.

The hair and makeup table, though the lighting was too dark to actually do the hair and makeup there.

Holly's dad Lovern, who was an amazing help to us along the way.

I was raving all night about how delicious these were. You really must try them!

The fabulous Holly

Pam getting the crazy started!

 

The ballots for our door prize from Cr8ive Supplies

 

My very good friend Jesi, of Jesi's Full Moon Gifts

Holly's mom helps Sarah with her makeup "back stage."

The always gorgeous Alicia May

Pam greets our very first guest.

Wut?

 

Sarah entertains our guests.

This guy's work actually reminded me of DaVinci.

Photographers welcome!

 

And now WordPress is REALLY starting to act up on me because of all the photos, so this is to be continued in part 2…

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!