My UpcomingPhoto Shoot; Help Me Choose My Nail Art!

Ok, so this isn’t going to be one of those posts that splits the atom of pop culture intellectualism—I’m not a 24hr genius factory plebes!—but it will help me get my pretty on!

So, I’m doing a photo shoot for my new Pop Culture Rainman™ photos in a couple of weeks. My inspiration will be a vintage/modern look with bumper bangs and some great makeup and styling courtesy of my friendsicles at The Beauty Team.

I’m going for this kind of look and feel…(minus the tattoos, skull and polka dots) + I think it begs to be mentioned that I would sell my left buttock for this model’s nose and cheek bones?

My Photo Shoot Inspiration Model

My Photo Shoot Inspiration Model

I’m going to inaugurate my Rainman pink umbrella and implement some really fun scenarios with the pictures in post that I hope will bring me to Tipping Point-esque brand engagement.

But alas, cart. before. the. horse.

Every woman’s modern conundrum at the nail salon is ‘what color should I get’… so imagine my inner brain crochet when it comes to deciding what sort of nail art I should employ for the shoot?!

I know, it’s a real first world problemo—I promise you I step in deeper puddles!

But for style + taste making purposes let’s see what you, my followers and daily lurkers would choose?

I will be making my choice at Pinky’s NailsToronto’s first professional Nail Art Studio and I’ve narrowed it down to these four looks, give or take some creative license changes to base color.

Which one of the following would you choose? (*Click others to see larger)

Please Vote! Can’t wait to see the results!

The Pop Culture Rainman

Red Bull Thre3 Style World DJ Championships


The Red Bull Thre3 Style 2013 World DJ Championships touched down in Toronto on November 4th, after months of anticipatory buzz.

21 DJ’s from around the world made the Thompson Hotel their nest for a week, participating in nightly elimination challenges where they put their lifeblood into action for the ultimate title — 2013 World DJ Champion.

Veteran DJ’s were on hand to headline the nightly competitions–the 21 contestants only had 15 minute sets each. Names like DJ A-Trak, Kid Koala, Skratch Bastid, Jazzy Jeff and Maseo were just a sampling of the titans in town to additionally judge the contestants, and offer up daily lecture series at the Thompson Hotel.

No stranger to the adage “you can’t dance at every wedding” I cherry picked which events or lectures spoke to me personally — and proceeded from there.

I first attended the lecture series that featured DJ Jazzy Jeff on November 6th and it was such a pleasure to listen to him wax poetic about his craft. I grew up loving his collaborations with The Fresh Prince (Will Smith’s early rap alias) and gems like “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand” and “Summer Time” were influential classics that shaped an entire generation of Hip-Hop fans (myself included).
Additionally, I saw him perform many times as a solo outfit in Montreal at the famed after-hours night club Sona, where he would blow everyone away with his signature style and epic turntable skills.


DJ Jazzy Jeff

This lecture was not just a *glimpse* into the history books, but a linear timeline of his early days in Philly, to an intricate discussion of how he’s parlayed a 25+year career that he “never could have predicted.”

Here is just a sampling of his insights.

In West Philadelphia Born and Raised…”

We used to have a lot of block parties in Philly. I remember one of the guys called Disco Doc, and [he] would have a massive sound system–so he got a reputation from having these giant speakers that were two stories high. This guy was basically controlling everyone there through the songs he played. He changed the emotions and made everyone happy and I was looking at it from his perspective, and thought–I want to be like him!

Two Turn Tables with a Mic?

I didn’t have two turn tables for a very long time. Back then you got with a crew and you wanted to find the guy in the crew whose mom and pop had a really good job and bought it for him. His [DJ skills] could have sucked but in the crew he was a king. Everyone spent their own money on their own 45’s and it went from there.

Old Schooll Vs New School

Carrying records [in crates] made you better! You sat in front of your boxes and you thought out what are you going to play. You didn’t have a plan B.”

From Vinyl to Digital

“I was one of the first DJ’s on Serato [software]. And I remember [playing] and DJ’s were coming around just to see it. It was something new–this was ‘the microwave.’ You had to show them ‘hey I’m manipulating this just like a record. Technology doesn’t make you a better DJ. If you suck before Serato you suck after Serato. The only thing this does is allow you to travel around with your music collection [on the road].

Practice Makes Perfect?

“I know this is going to sound strange but I have never practiced. As a DJ the idea of improvisation is incredible. I kind of have an idea what I’m going to play, but I always leave myself room to just pick it up on the fly. Some of the best sets I’ve ever done were when I just closed my eyes and [see where it takes me].

Death of the Rap Group DJ

Who’s 50 Cents DJ? Who’s Jay-Z’s ? Where was the cut off? At what point in time did someone decide… ‘I don’t really need this guy?’


That night I attended the Virgin Mobile Mod Club for the evening competition.
Toronto-based DJ Starting From Scratch warmed up the crowd for the first hour.


DJ Starting From Scratch

His forte is classic Hip-Hop and his skill set is so smooth, so FLUID, it’s difficult to even tell how good he is because his execution seems so effortless. He’s not overly animated with the crowd, but he has such an aura about him that he doesn’t have to be.

Metaphorically speaking, you could have hooked me up to an IV drip of his set and listened to him play ALL night long…happily.

Next up were Red Bull former champions 2011’s HEDSPIHN and 2012’s Four Color Zack who were playing in tandem–that everyone seemed to be lapping up–except for me.

I found them to be ‘messy‘ in their technical approach, their musical styles to be all over the map, and a little too self-satisfied with their comedy interludes that they would throw in between their sets. I wasn’t feeling the magic. Sorry guys.

Next were the 15 minute sets divided by four international contestants. They were to be judged on song selection, over-all style, crowd reaction and technical/turntablism skills.

It was riveting to see how in some ways geography tinted their performances, and yet at the end of the day how universal music truly is.

Well, for most of them.

First up was DJ Undoo from Romania.


DJ Undoo had all the flavor and charisma of a wet blanket. He never once made eye contact with the audience, while his music barely struck a chord. Did someone forget to tell him he was on stage playing ‘live’ to a sea of hundreds of people? This was not championship league, by a long shot.
Lost in Translation table for one?

Next up was DJ Oli Dobolli from Croatia.


His style was rather experimental. He played the famed Quincy Jones instrumental ‘Soul Bossa Nova’ which got this Canadian crowd amped up as it was the theme to the Canuk game show ‘Definition‘ and was also a huge sample in the Dream Warriors track ‘My Definition’. He also mixed Classic Rock into some Rap, some EDM, and at times some manic Dubstep plates which felt like a grenade was having rabbit sex with my ear drums.

All in all a fantastic set.

DJ Eskel83 from Germany was a bona fide performer in every sense of the word.


From the second he started his set with Biggie’s “Hypnotize” he commanded everyone’s attention. His engagement and sheer CONTROL of the crowd was something that really set him apart. At times fist pumping and lip synching with such animation that bolstered the crowd to new energetic levels. Other times, putting finger to pursed lips, so that the audience could hear a specific transition or sample.

What a TRUE showman.

Last to the stage was DJ Shintaro from Japan.


Another high energy performer, Shintaro started off his set with the theme to Super Mario Brothers, which was a cheeky ode to Japanese gaming culture, mixed in some impressive Hip-Hop tunes and some crazy hard-core Dubstep.

Grenades. Humping Rabbits. Oh My Ears!

In another caricaturized offering of his heritage, he played a traditional Koto inspired interlude–something he probably saves for his international dates. He’s in on the joke, which makes it even better, rounding out the song with his signature scratching skills. I swear I saw sparks come off the records, his scratching is that crisp.

I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I feel it’s part of his over-all allure to see this handsome exotic creature with a head of blond hair, almost albino pale skin, lip synch to some of the baddest rap tracks out there.

After some great transitions that included Queen’s ‘”We Are the Champions,” some Reggae and More Hip-Hop, he bookended his set by ending it with how he started–scratching in a syncopated awesomely synergized pace to the Super Mario Bros theme. “I see what you did there,” Host DJ Flipout would say.

*NB. Dj Shinatro ended up winning the 2013 championship title and I’m so thankful I was able to see him play ‘live’.


My next highlight was my sit down interview with DJ Maseo who to this day remains the official DJ for the rap outfit De La Soul I say this with intentional admiration as so many of the classic, integral rap groups of the 80’s and 90’s have dismantled or fled into obscurity.

While De La Soul went on to release 6 albums other albums, their original offering Three Feet High and Rising stands as their critically acclaimed triumph, teeming with creativity and a cornucopia of sampling that is considered a hip-hop masterpiece to this day.

Being asked to be part of these programs for Red Bull has been honorable and very inspiring,” says Maseo who describes the friendly atmosphere of Thre3 Style akin to “DJ [summer] camp.” I’m amongst all the ones I love and respect,” citing DJ Jazzy Jeff as the “ambassador of all ambassadors!”

While he is committed to mentoring a new generation of talent, he humbly admits that he is still a student who is learning. “I’ll never classify myself as a professor. These new artists have adapted something in their modern world with technology and it’s very relevant and significant. If there’s a generation gap then there’s a bridge that is truly being built! I’m feeling the same love in 2013 from a 22 year-old that I did in 1989 from a 22-year-old. It’s been a blessing.

While no stranger to the complexities of copyright — (De La Soul was sued by the sixties pop group The Turtles for using a sample from their 1969 hit “You Showed Me” for an interlude track on Three Feet High and Rising) and Maseo had some sobering words for Robin Thicke et al who are being sued for their mammoth hit “Blurred Lines.”

Based on the years of what’s been documented, you would think he would know better? So at the end of the day, he’s truly about to get what he deserves. He should have taken care of business. What’s publicly being said, and what’s going to be resolved, is going to be two different things. That’s what I know for a fact.

Talking with Maseo and enjoying his warm and affable company (and his signature bellowing laugh!) was a dream come true. I have always stated that ‘if you don’t know the album ‘Three Feet and Rising’ front to back and everywhere in between, you can’t know Hop-Hop!


The Timeless Masterpiece

Like whipped cream on an already generous sundae, Maseo was kind enough to sign my personal copy which topped off the entire experience for me!


Me, Myself & DJ Maseo!


The Pop Culture Rainman

I Came, I Saw, I Attended My First Ever Blogger Conference-#BlissDom 2013

Athough I’ve been a published writer for over fifteen years I’ve only recently become hip to the blogger scene. First as an exclusive contributor for the Huffington Post and in the last 6 month’s on my personal blog The Pop Culture Rainman.

In an era where it is *encouraged to spill ones own digital ink* throughout social media, writers—-› especially funny ones, have become super forces on the web.

Via personal blog sites, Youtube channels and Twitter platforms, successful bloggers (i.e. those with healthy follow counts) can receive huge pay offs in lieu of book deals, television pilots and the ambiguous apogee in social media stature; Online Fame.
One of the largest communities and resources for bloggers is the American site which boasts an online community of 92 million. BlogHer also hosts several niche and one mammoth conference, where I’ve been told the totem pole of online famedome looms large–hierarchy ‘tude included.
Blissful Thinking
In it’s fourth year, Blissdom Canada brands itself as Canada’s Premier Social Media/Blogging/PR Conference. With around 500 attendees from all over the country, Blissdom sets itself apart as a ‘kinder, gentler’ conference (how so very Canadian!) with the marrow to *inspire,* *connect,* and *teach.*
“This year we were very intentional that everyone [feel] at home,” said Shannon Mischuk co-principal at Blissdom Canada. “We want everyone to be conscious of their words and give everybody a chance to use their voice. Numbers don’t matter to us, it’s all about the conversations that take place”.
Being a blogger conference neophyte, I was excited to immerse myself in the culture, meet some like-minded individuals, and connect with some great Canadian brands. The setting was the Delta Meadowvale in Mississauga and although it’s a 3 day affair, I strictly attended Friday’s all day agenda starting at 8am.
Upon arrival I run into 10-year old blogger Hannah Alper in the lobby of the hotel, daughter of Twitter herculean musicologist, Eric Alper.
I want to help the world and promote causes I believe in, like the environment and social action” said Hannah not forgetting to promote herself as an official We Day and Free the Children speaker.
Hannah Alper: Her Future's So Bright *WE* Gotta Wear Shades!

Hannah Alper: Her Future’s So Bright *WE* Gotta Wear Shades!

Erm, Holy Impressive?!  I just stood there inhaling in her adultness and poise.
I do believe I was almost *exclusively* making my Barbie’s hump each other at her age and shame washes over me.
Mommy Bloggers Oh My!
A trend is taking shape; most of the women I am meeting overwhelmingly identify as ‘Mommy Bloggers’ in various permutations.
There were The Mompraneurs, The Yummy Mummies, The Outspoken Blunt Moms, The Karate Moms, The Happy Clappy Perfectly Positive Mommy’s, The ‘Can We Talk’ Mommy’s, The Wine Mommy’sThe-This-is-Why-We-Drink-Mommy’s, The Bacon Mommy’s (ok, I made that one up) the Glam Mommy’s and the Yoga/Pilates Mommies. (BDB ‘Big Deep Breath’!)
Mommy Bloggers
Even though I’m not a mom myself, I get the ‘sisterhood’ of it all, and I understand the large draw to these kinds of events. The Mommy Blogger revolution began from the reality that many new moms feel isolated and overwhelmed and it was a way to initially share tips, stymie loneliness and curate community. From speaking to some of these women, many are ‘desperate‘ for a night or weekend away to connect with their friends and learn about their craft.
Of course not all ‘Mommy Bloggers’ simply write about runny noses and eco-diapers, while many eschew the term itself as it can sound quite condescending and limiting.
I’m not trying to devalue or mock Mommy Bloggers, the fact is, most of the women I met at Blissdom owned this term in their titles and branding platforms. I would never insinuate that it is all they are. I mean at the core we are all writers trying to express ourselves creatively right?
Perhaps it says more about me than anything that I felt stifled by the overwhelming atmosphere of Mommy Bloggers. Hmm..projection much Ms Gold? (Fertility Woes Ovah Here!)
*Might I add, most were lovely and as kind as can be while ONLY one or two appeared to have swallowed their own vomit in my presence?

Maybe She’s Born With It…Like Hell She Is!

I look good for my age*. By all accounts, in terms of my outer dermis–I’m aging “well.”

On the topic of beauty I am of the mind that there are things we can do to stave off the sands of time, and there are those things that have been given to us on a silver platter — like good ‘ol genes.

When it comes to the skin lottery I cashed in big with my mother, whose own family members often called her a “good witch” as it would seem that she defied the laws of aging.

My mother never had any work done, never had a facial (let alone let anyone touch her skin!) slept in her makeup and used the most inexpensive cleansers. She barely had wrinkles on her face even as she was passing from cancer this past April just weeks shy of her 78th birthday.

She actually looked luminous — it baffled the palliative nurses.

I credit her for my oily t-zone which has been a blessing in disguise — keeping my skin looking naturally radiant and dewy. Thanks to her, the texture of my skin is naturally thick and practically immune to crow’s feet.

I can also admit that not having children yet or as Louis C.K. so gently puts it: “having people come out of your vagina and step on your dreams” has definitely impacted my fountain au youth. Those little munchkins g-d bless them are wrinkles in a jar, and while I yearn for one on the daily, I know my skin is the way it is, based on the dearth of kidlets in my midst.

Some of us born with unique physical gifts that do take us through life, to a point.

Maybe She's Born With It...Damn Skippy I Was!

Maybe She’s Born With It…Damn Skippy I Was!

For example in my case…those two flotation devices you’re staring at where normal people’s lips exist? Yes, those puppies of mine are in fact REAL despite incessant naysayers to the contrary who constantly ask me “who does your lips?” and are mystified when I simply say “The Lord!?” These are my natural, born-this-way lips that until my late teens were actually regarded as a curse, but have ultimately served me quite well. Once upon a time I also had a naturally thin physique whereby I got away without working out way beyond what seemed fair to most of my peers, and again this too was a blessing.

Sadly, as the sands of time sift through this ephemeral spinning wheel of life, screwing with everything from my metabolism to my hair — even my flotation devices (my lips) are starting to get smaller. Mick Jagger’s lips were once gorgeous puffed up pillows and are now sad, thin, drooping prunes. I imagine this is the trajectory my lips will eventually take, but like the Great Wall of China, mine can still be seen from outer space (for now).

Now my mother was the rare exception of ageless beauty, not the rule. I firmly (pun intended) believe that after a certain age, you’re either working at maintaining your looks or you are letting mother nature take over — and that bitch is like bull in a china shop.

Like my mother, I have been very adamant in avoiding the sun, but unlike her I’ve tried every potion, lotion, snake oil and service available on the market. I have had over 50 facials, a dozen Microdermabrasion treatments, a stab at some facial filler (marionette lines and cheeks) and of course, there’s my boyfriend “Bo” — oh…have you two not met? Bo’, short for Botox, came into my life five years ago and we have been seeing each other twice a year now on the regular. Bo has been a saviour for my trouble spot the ’11 wrinkle’ right in between my eyebrows. My ’11’ has no real defense mechanism and in my opinion is the biggest indicator of ‘le aging.’

Some women have a 1, an 11, or (the horror!) a 111.

Which 1 Are You?

Which 1 Are You?

The 11 wrinkle shows up early in life but becomes perma etched in ones facial topography by a woman’s early 30s. After years of professional furrows, my 11 wrinkle made me look hard, angry and quite frankly permanently pissed off. Bo’ has changed all that, and even gives a slight lift to the eye area. My go-to-skin-guru is dermatologist Dr Lisa Kellett M.D., F.R.C.P.(C), D.A.B.D. from DLK on Avenue in Toronto, whose own skin is like a milky diaphanous dream. Her approach is subtle and is oceans away from the permanently alarmed look that’s all the rage with certain celebrities.

Dr. Lisa Kellet

Dr. Lisa Kellett

I think the biggest ruse that women try to sell themselves, and each other, is that WE are aging naturally. While some of us are ‘maturing‘ better than others, my belief is that after a certain age most women are actively doing their personal best to slow down father time — they’re just not telling anyone about it.

I recently asked a woman slightly older than myself what her secret was after admiring her skin. She looked me straight in the eye and said “absolutely nothing” — while her freckled and wrinkled chest, compared to her face which resembled an ice skating rink told a much different story.

It was a bold faced lie and quite obviously Profractional Laser work for which I’d sell my left buttock for. Now I know essentially her skin care regimen is really none of my beeswax, but who did she think she was fooling? A wink and a smile would have gone a lot farther than a liar-liar-pants-on-fire denial.

Dr. Kellett who is fiercely private on behalf of her clientele, believes these attitudes could be changing. Either way, she operates on the “don’t ask don’t tell code of ethics.”

It is an interesting question,” says Kellett who believes that a daily skin care regimen and sunscreen are still the best defense against premature aging. “In fact, the trend now is that many people are quite open about non-surgical procedures and like to communicate what they are doing to their friends. Because these procedures are non-surgical, many women do feel comfortable talking about it since the result is a fresher, more rested version of themselves. There is less stigma in doing these treatments as opposed to invasive surgery where the effect is more dramatic.”

I’ve always been one of those gals who is transparent — to a fault, when it comes to beauty routines. While I may strive for perfection on the outside, I’m the first person to expose those pursuits, and make fun of myself in the process.

Case(s) in point:

*Compliment me on my hair and 10/10 times I’ll tell you its extensions, “my weave,” or I’ll just point to my mane and say “F-A-K-E.” For good measure, I’ll probably tell you that I have always had ‘nervous hair’ that have slowly been committing suicide since 1991. I call them jumpers.

*Tell me how my skin is looking great, and depending on how self-loathing I’m feeling, I may point to a menstrual boil on my chin and possibly get out a handy black light to show you pores the size of gum balls. I tell everyone about my ‘BO’ or my Microdermabrasions, anything about any one of my connective tissues, really.

I can’t help it; it’s how I’m built. I love to share beauty secrets with my friends, strangers, OK, the mailman — anyone who wants to know! I don’t want to hoard the information I have, but spread it around like croutons on a big, leafy friend salad.

As for my *age, my big fat lips are sealed. Like my mother, that is one disclosure that I like to keep private.

"I'll Never Tell..."

“I’ll Never Tell…”


Stay Gorgeous,
The PopCulture Rainman

PS. You can also have a look at this story on the Huffington Post Style.

Tony Robbins (*the adrenaline love bomb) Live in Toronto July 24th!

Tony Robbins Hypnotic Gaze

Tony Robbins Hypnotic Gaze

I’m bending-over-backwards-and-doing-the-splits *thrilled* to be attending the July 24th-Legacy Mastery-A Passion For Life conference in Toronto 1 week from today!

This is not my first rodeo seeing the adrenaline love bomb aka Mr. Tony Robbins either. I got my first glimpse of his supreme mental flossing two years ago when he appeared with Oprah et al in Toronto, and its one I will never forget.

The Tony Robbins Hokey Pokey ♫ …

Tony commanded the stage with his goliath frame, a golden tan and pearly white teeth that resembled small buildings. He was all presence and persuasion even before he uttered a word. That man had me jumping up and down repeating mantras and hugging my neighbours to the left and right of me; it was uhhh-mazing how he could turn a sea of people inside out with inspiration and a renewed passion for life. He was a breath mint on amphetamines and I was perma-smitten by his *everything*.

He managed to eclipse Oprah’s mammoth presence and even writing that feels illegal!!??

I vowed then & there to see him again whenever I could.

So he’s back headlining with five other ‘speakers’ whose expertise range from mastery, creativity & branding, work life balance, success and customer relations…bla bla bla de bla de lee bla.

Not to be rude, but let’s face it….EVERYONE is there to see TR!

He’s Vitamin C for your noggin’ yo’! (*I have an endless stream of metaphors for this man!)


Toronto the Beautiful, the Musical ♫


You’ve all seen that diagram of flight schedules that are in those in-flight magazines?

Hundreds of lines converging towards one city from all ports of the globe in glorious half arcs that never cease to remind me of my days feebly attempting to use a protractor and compass in math class.

Well, that visual of high traffic lines-a-converging…that’s what Toronto *felt* like two weeks ago.

Three major events were taking place simultaneously in the city, filling Toronto with palpable air of aural buzz, and mayjah foot traffic!

There was the eclectic Luminato festival, North by North East (NXNE) & the Much Music Video Awards (MMVA’s)—a veritable potpourri of musical offerings.

While Luminato boasts some fascinating programming, I mainly took in the NXNE shows scattered around the city, like croutons on a leafy, melodic ♫ salad.

NXNE has firmly placed Toronto on the map as a music aficionado’s destination, and is recognized as one of Canada’s most respected festivals for breaking in and discovering fresh new talent. It also boasts a comedy performance component, interactive panel discussions and a mini ‘music’ infused film festival—something for everyone, really. This is the place to discover the unfettered and the underground, well before they sell out to corporate filth and, well, show up in a car commercial or, say, on the Much Music awards—(more on that later).

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