Monday, August 29, 2011

Revenge of the Nerds - Fan Expo Canada 2011

Toronto was all abuzz this past weekend with tons of huge city events – the CNE, Buskerfest, the Jays were in town, Jack Layton’s funeral, Import Fest, Fan Expo Canada and some big concerts like Tom Morello and Incubus – it’s no wonder these City Girls were booked solid!

With so many great options, how does one choose the best way to spend such precious free time? By embracing the inner nerd and looking to the dark side, of course. On Saturday, August 27, Ashley put on her bravest face and stepped into a whole other universe inside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for her first taste of what the Fan Expo Canada is all about.

Saturday’s celebrity headliners included Eliza Dushku (Buffy, Dollhouse), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), Lee Majors (Six Million Dollar Man), Michael Beihn (Terminator, Aliens), Sam Trammell (True Blood) – though he cancelled last minute - and the only reason Ashley even went to the Expo this year, Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactic).

Ashley’s Personal Show Highlights:

Q&A panel with the cast of Lost Girl. The cast was hilarious and very sweet, though the moderator seemed a little… uncertain at times. The cast’s hour meet and greet signing after the panel turned into a three hour affair, they wouldn’t leave until every fan had their opportunity to meet them. That’s a good cast.

Felton of course had the largest fangirl crowd, full of shrieking pre-teens and their parents looming off to the side. There was no way you were getting close to that guy unless you were one of the 600+ fangirls who bought a ticket just to wait in line to buy a ticket for his photo op later in the day. That is unless you’re in the right place at the right time, like buying pizza from Pizza Pizza when Felton decides to cut into the line right beside you to quickly grab a pop.

Vader’s First 501st Legion of Imperial Storm Troopers were on site, walking around in their gear causing a scene wherever they turned. Ashley was fortunate enough to befriend two members pre-costume, a Scottish Storm Trooper and a lanky young lad who turned out to be Darth Vader, which definitely made photo ops a little easier later on. Also, bragging rights for being buddies with Darth Vader.

Having friends in high places can get you far. When a buddy was on-site with one of the four elite opportunities to interview Eliza Dushku, he was kind enough to invite us to the scene to watch it all go down. While it was a huge opportunity for him, it was just as cool to be standing off camera with the publicity team inches away from Eliza. She’s so much prettier in person, if you can believe it.

Sneak peak tournament play of the new Halo: CE Anniversary (release Nov 15) and a large LG 3D Call of Duty: Black Ops tournament.

But the best part of course was MEETING KATEE SACKHOFF!!! Not only did we bombard her signing booth for a bunch of blurry candid shots, but we forked over the $50 for a personal photo session with her as well. Katee is super nice, super cheerful and very sweet. AND SHE PUT HER ARM AROUND ASHLEY. Fangirl moment.

The fan base was an attraction all on its own. The creativity and passion that many people put into their costumes is amazing. A large portion of the day was spent just people watching, picking out our favourite characters and stalking them for pictures.

images (c)CityGirlScapes

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spicy Wok Fried Noodles

Living on my own for the past few months has allowed me to experiment a bit more in the kitchen and I’ve been cooking up a storm. The downside is that I no longer have guinea pigs. I wish I could say this is an original recipe I thought of but alas, no. I had something similar to this at a dim sum restaurant once and fell in love. I love noodles. Any type; rice, egg, wheat, it matters not, my knees go weak at the sight of them.

For this recipe you will need:
• 1 package of fresh rice noodles (found in any Asian supermarket)
• 1 clove of garlic, minced
• 1 hot pepper (preferably from your own garden), more if you want it spicier
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 3 tbsp oyster sauce
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1 tbsp water
Cut the noodles into 1 inch pieces and set aside.

Mince the garlic and pepper. Mine was large so I minced half and sliced the other half.

Heat the oil in the wok on medium high. Toss in the minced garlic and pepper, sauté for a few minutes until the garlic is just starting to turn golden.

Turn the heat up to high and throw in the noodles. Stir it around every couple of minutes to prevent sticking. Turn the temp back down to medium high.

Meanwhile in a small bowl stir together the oyster sauce, sugar and water, set aside. Once the noodles are translucent, pour in the sauce mixture and sliced peppers and toss to coat evenly.

Scoop into a bowl and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2011 Fall TV Preview - Episode Four

Grimm (Premiere October 21, 2011 @ 9pm - NBC)
Starring: David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Russell Hornsby

I don’t really know much about this show but I am a fan of Grimm’s fairy tales. We all know them or at least of them growing up. I realize that most of my picks are dramas and this is yet another cop drama on our slate but this one comes with a twist, I promise.

Nick Burkhardt (Guintoli) finds out that he’s descended from an elite group of Hunters called the “Grimms”, who are charged with keeping people safe from all things supernatural. Imagine being a homicide detective AND a Hunter. I’m sure it won’t be an easy task.

Why I’ll watch
: Things unknown or unknowable are thrilling. Unless it’s Paranormal Activity. That’s just a dumb movie.


Lost Girl (Premieres September 4 @ 9pm – Showcase)
Starring: Anna Silk, Chris Holden-Reid, Ksenia Solo

Supernatural seductress Bo, a Succubus who feeds on the sexual energy of humans, had no reason to believe she was anything other than the girl next door — until she drained her boyfriend to death in their first sexual encounter. Now she has hit the road alone and afraid.

She discovers she is one of the Fae, creatures of legend and folklore, who pass as humans while feeding off them secretly and in different ways, as they have for millennia. Relieved yet horrified to find out that she is not alone, Bo decides to take the middle path between the humans and the Fae while embarking on a personal mission to unlock the secrets of her origin.

Why I keep watching: I got sucked into a marathon of this Canadian series while away for a weekend and am anxious to see where the second season picks up. A pleasant taste of supernatural fairy tales driven by sexual desire and a cast of hot young things, it’s hard not to be anxious after being left hanging last season.

Fan Girl Note: Don't miss the cast of Lost Girl at Toronto's Fan Expo this weekend! Meet the cast on Saturday, August 27 @ 11:30am. I will be there.

Images from Google images.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2011 Fall TV Preview - Episode Three

Up All Night (Premieres Sept 14 @ 10pm – NBC)
Starring: Will Arnett, Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph

Two proud new parents struggle to find balance in life after the unexpected arrival of their baby girl throws them a curve ball. Up All Night takes an irreverent look at parenthood through the point of view of an acerbic working mother, along with her stay-at-home husband and opinionated parents.

Why I’ll Watch: I’ll tune into this solely because of the cast. I fell in love with Will Arnett back in his Arrested Development days and have been aching to see him back on screen ever since. Maya Rudolph always makes me laugh as well. The show itself doesn’t seem too relatable and I’m sure the focus on parenthood will probably bore me, but this was written by Saturday Night Live's Emily Spivey and executive produced by Lorne Michaels, so there’s that.


The Big Bang Theory (Premieres September 22, 2011 @ 8pm - CTV/CBS)

Normally, we find comedies with laugh tracks to be tiresome and forced. But BBT is smartly written and each character just plays out well on screen. This show has been steadily climbing in the ratings to the point that in a bold studio move was renewed for 3 additional seasons.

We can’t wait for the return of Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Howard (Simon Helberg), Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco). I think it’s safe to say we all want to know the aftermath of the drunken hookup between Raj and Penny. Whatever happens, hilarity will surely ensue.

Why I Keep Watching
: For all the nerdy references and Sheldonisms.

Images from google images

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cowboys and Indians and Aliens, Oh My! – A Cowboys and Aliens Review

You want Action? Check. Sci-Fi? Check. A Western? Check. Romance? Check. Seriously, Cowboys and Aliens has it all. Whatever you’re in the mood for, it’s in there somewhere. If that’s a good thing or a bad thing, we’re not entirely sure, but it works. Sort of.

The Old West... it’s 1873. A stranger named Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. With no memory of his past, the only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford).

It's a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been. (from IMDB)

There’s been a lot of hype about this movie since the trailers hit. How could there not be? Indiana Jones and James Bond banding together to fight aliens... what more could you ever want from a movie? And while we were initially sceptical of bringing together Indiana Jones and aliens once again after the last disastrous attempt, we’ve been anxiously anticipating our chance to explore this western fantasy for ourselves.

Craig can always hold his own as the lone cowboy. He doesn’t care what others think, doesn’t play by anyone’s rules but his own and is one serious bad ass. A bad ass with one hell of an ass which graciously fills out a pair of chaps like no other.

And though Ford’s looking a little more weathered and worn as his years add up, it’s fitting for the jaded and bitter role of the Colonel. You can’t help but imagine that after all these years in the business; Ford himself may be somewhat similar. But don’t underestimate him, he can still ride a horse and outsmart his enemy like that baby faced Indy we knew him as.

Olivia Wilde stands out in the almost all male cast as Ella, a beautiful cowgirl with a story of her own. She takes an unnatural interest in Lonergan and is determined to follow him on his course to track down the Aliens and the missing townsfolk.

And we must make mention of Sam Rockwell, who plays the passive bartender Doc. Rockwell always adds a bit of comedic relief to an otherwise serious situation with his smart lines and wit. We’d never hesitate to take him along on a ride. And the familiar face of Adam Beach was seen outside of Veronica’s comic book store, loyally standing alongside Ford as Nat Colorado, the native boy the Colonel took under his wing when he lost his parents.

The movie itself has a very classic western feel to it. The pace and feel was similar with the drawn out action sequences, not exactly what you would expect in a regular action flick. They included an inevitable run in with the natives, but it was the face off against extra terrestrials that set the whole thing apart from what you would expect, obviously.

And it’s not that it doesn’t work, it’s just... odd seeing cowboys battling aliens, being thrown from horseback and shooting rifles at monsters with creepy little hands.
But it does make for a unique take on your typical action/western film and it is worth watch. And maybe a couple yeehaws.

images from google images

Monday, August 8, 2011

2011 Fall TV Preview - Episode Two

Terra Nova
(Premieres Sept 26
@ 8pm - FOX)

Starring: Jason O'Mara, Christine Adams, Stephen Lang

This cool looking show from the Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Rene Echevarria (Castle) and Brannon Braga is about an ordinary family, participating in a daring experiment, journeys back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth. It’s the year 2149 and Earth as we know it is dying. The only choice left to humanity is to start over in the past where scientists are able to find a portal that allows time travel, and perhaps the opportunity to start anew and actually get it right this time.

Terra Nova stars Jason O’Mara as the patriarch of the Shannon family, Shelley Conn as his wife, Landon Liboiron (Degrassi!) as their son and Naomi Scott as the daughter. As with any drama, paradise re-imagined needs a villain or two and those that oppose them. As the season plays out, we’ll find out the real mission behind Terra Nova and those who seek to destroy it.

Why I’ll watch: I want to see dinosaurs chase people down and devour them.


Community / Parks and Recreation (Premieres Sept 22 @ 8pm & 8:30pm - NBC)

Community – Starring: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Yvette Nicole Brown and Chevy Chase - A smarmy lawyer whose education is deemed void by the bar is forced to attend a local community college with an extremely eclectic staff and student body.

Parks and Recreation – Starring: Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott - The absurd antics of an Indiana town's public officials as they pursue sundry projects to make their city a better place.

Why I keep watching: There are so many comedies on the air right now and so many of them have the same comedic formula, working within cubic phrases just to create the perfect punch line. It’s boring. But there are a few comedies that continue to push the envelope. Smart and witty comedies. The easy way to categorize them all? Any comedy without a laugh track. Those are what you should be watching.

Community never gets the respect it deserves. The episodes are so off the wall, dripping with nerd references, interwoven with other episodes, there is just so much effort and passion poured into each half hour and most people don’t even realize it.

Parks and Recreation is much the same. The comedic genius of Amy Poehler has never been better and the characters are so well developed and down to earth, it gives that same feel the Office did when it first came out; a relatable work environment with coworkers you wish you shared a cubicle with. Addictive comedy you can’t live without.

images from google images

Friday, August 5, 2011

No peace, no SEX!! Lysistrata – the sex strike

On a gorgeous Summer evening, we had the pleasure of seeing the Canopy Theatre’s production of Lysistrata – the Sex Strike, our first taste of outdoor theatre on the Philosopher’s Stage Downtown Toronto. We arrived early at Philosopher’s Walk in the UofT grounds and found a sweet spot to lay our blanket down between the two stages.

Lysistrata (Claire Acott) is tired of the Peloponnesian war and with the help of the women on all sides, strategizes a way to end the war by withholding sex from their husbands and lovers until a peace treaty is signed. Calling themselves “Women for Peace”, Lysistrata along with the Spartan women Lampito (Andrea Blakely) and Iris (Kathleen Black) band together to keep their men wanting them but remain unattainable, sending their men into a fit of sexual frustration.

When their lovers return on leave from the war, the women’s resolve is tested, Myrrhine (Carolyn Hall) being the first woman to waiver in the women’s treaty after her husband Kinesias (Chris Murray) returns after many months with an impressive erection. The men’s frustrations and difficulties are very apparent – as seen by the massive fake boners each male actor sported throughout the second act.

And it’s not just the Athenian men that are suffering, their Spartan counterparts are equally on edge and hard….pressed to find a willing woman to warm their beds. But the women stay united in their desire for the war to end and for the permanent return of their lovers and they do not give in to their own natural desires until a peace treaty is signed.

Lysistrata – the Sex Strike was a hilarious, fun and wholly entertaining adaptation to Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata”, addressing the question that has plagued mankind for centuries; can sex be used as a motivator? If you haven’t already guessed, Lysistrata is a piece of work over 2000 years old, and she has most certainly aged well with a theme that is still used in modern times by women to get what they want. But it’s not just about withholding sex to get their way, at its core Lysistrata is about female empowerment, the only power they were allotted at the time.

We have to wonder how all the male actors were able to keep a straight face and remember all their lines while having to wear towels over their raging fake boners bouncing about up and down the stage. We’ll freely admit that we hoped for a male wardrobe malfunction from some of the actors. Afterall, all that separated us from them was a flimsy towel. Platonic love? Yes, please.

But giant appendages weren’t the only things popping up last night; to our surprise we spotted a familiar face in the crowd. It was none other than Neil Silcox, who played Laurence in Hart House’s production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels back in January that we so enjoyed. True to our CityGirls roots, we stayed planted where we were and just stared at him boldly from across the aisle.

Lysistrata – the sex strike is only on for 2 more shows. If you haven’t seen yet, we encourage you to do so tonight or tomorrow before it’s over. Tickets are $10 at the door.

images curtesy of Canopy Theatre

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2011 Fall TV Preview - Episode One

It’s that time again! Well, not quite, but we’ve definitely fallen into the Summer TV hiatus and networks are scrambling to promote and create buzz around new and returning fall shows.

As in the past, even though we lack any real credentials to do so, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight some of the upcoming fall shows we’re excited for. Over the next month leading up to premiere time, we'll be pointing out some shows you should keep your schedule open for come Fall.

Ringer (Premieres Sept 13
@ 9pm – Global/CW)
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar leads a similarly complicated and dangerous life as she goes on the run after witnessing a murder and assumes the life of her wealthy identical twin sister, which isn’t as idyllic as it may have seemed.

Why I’m watching: Not that TV is necessarily starving for strong female characters anymore, but the return of one of the originating kick-ass tough girls is something to be celebrated. Sarah Michelle Gellar may not be slaying any vampires this time around, but her history on the small screen is enough to put my stakes in.

Castle (Premieres Sept 19
@ 10pm -
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic

Castle is a true favorite of ours. Not just because of the storylines in which the characters are not afraid to poke fun at themselves, but also the undeniable chemistry between Richard Castle (Fillion) and Kate Beckett (Katic). What is surely going to be yet another explosive and entertaining season, we’ll finally learn the fate of Kate, having been shot at the end of season 3. Surely we know she will not die, Castle without Beckett is like milk without cookies. It just won’t happen.

But the real question that has been on our minds is, what is her response going to be to Castle’s desperate whispered declaration of love as he held her bleeding body in his arms? For that and to learn of the conspiracy behind her mother’s murder, we will tune in each and every Monday.

Why I keep watching: Richard Castle really is ruggedly handsome.

images from imdb