‘Blue’ a Web Show with Network TV Quality — IFPress.com

This is an article talking about Blue and Alexz’s time there in season 3. It’s included here because Alexz has a lot to share about being on the show, the director, and her experiences on the set. Her parts are near the bottom of the article.

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‘Blue’ a web show with network TV quality
By Sean Fitzgerald, QMI Agency

Blue is a show that streams online, but feels like it should just be on regular TV.

The series, which appears on the recently launched digital platform CTV Extend and the app CTV GO, features the kind of strong acting and quality writing that could fit well with CTV’s regular televised programming. And that’s exactly what writer and director Rodrigo Garcia was going for.

“We thought, well, even if you’re working with low budget¬¬s and short forms, why can’t the material be worthy enough that it can compete with other stuff,” says Garcia, who created the series in 2012 with his business partner Jon Avnet.

Blue follows the double life of an upscale escort with a damaged past (Julia Stiles), who works as an accountant by day and tries to hide her evening activities from her 13-year-old math whiz son (Uriah Shelton).

The show combines drama and humour, putting the viewer into some awkward situations. For example, the opening sequence from the pilot features Blue trying to appear sexy to a client while repeatedly answering the phone to help her son with a complicated math problem. It’s a juggling act for the single mother.

“We all think we know people of certain professions,” says Garcia, discussing his lead character. “But things are not mutually exclusive. There’s no reason why you can’t be outstanding and very smart in areas of your life, and very damaged in others.”

Garcia, the son of late author Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Love in the Time of Cholera), helmed the 2011 movie Albert Nobbs and has directed episodes of The Sopranos, Big Love and Six Feet Under. He initially created Blue for his digital channel WIGS, which was launched in May 2012 to provide an online home for original shows, short films and documentaries that all feature strong female characters.

After partnering with YouTube for two seasons, which led to WIGS becoming YouTube’s number one channel for scripted drama, WIGS decided to bring several of its shows to Hulu in the U.S. though a partnership with Fox. And earlier this month, CTV acquired exclusive Canadian rights to all three seasons of Blue in Canada.

The newer episodes of Blue on Hulu and CTV Extend are longer, though — extending from under 10 minutes to 40 minutes and over — which was all part of the plan from the beginning.

“Back then, the idea was that shorter content worked better on the web,” Garcia says, referencing the show’s early days. “So we started off with these seven and eight-minute episodes, but we always thought, we’re going to write these in a way so that eventually they can come together in a library of longer content.”

In the new third season of Blue, now streaming online, Blue finds herself getting romantically close to a client (Eric Stoltz), while her son stumbles into a double life of his own as he tries to hide a life-changing secret from his mom. Blue also deals with the surprise visit of her free-spirited sister Lara (played by Stiles’ real-life sister, Jane O’Hara), who arrives in town with her busker girlfriend Satya (Alexz Johnson).

If you tune into Season 3, the busker character might look familiar. In the mid-2000s, Alexz Johnson starred as the lead performer in the CTV show Instant Star, a fictionalized take on the American Idol phenomenon.

Johnson, who lives in Brooklyn but grew up in British Columbia, says that she embraces the streaming revolution, and that she doesn’t even have cable anymore.

“That’s what made me so excited about being a part of this,” she says of Blue. “I was like, ‘cool, it’s a web-series?’ But it’s an award-winning, awesomely scripted web series by real writers who’ve written for real TV for years.”

Johnson, who comes from a large family with six brothers, praises Garcia’s knowledge of women — something Albert Nobbs star Glenn Close echoed when she called him “a man who understands the feminine side of life” in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer in 2011.

“Being around a director that respects women and listens to women and writes specifically around women’s struggles and triumphs…you feel like you can really open up on set,” Johnson says. “And be ballsier than you usually would be.”

She remembers one scene in particular that could have been awkward in the hands of another director.

“I had to walk around in my underwear, in front of the whole crew, and that’s just not something that I do every day,” she says with a laugh. “So, he just really sets the stage. There’s humour, and it’s light, and it’s fun.”

Garcia admits that he finds the differences between masculinity and femininity very interesting, and that he focuses on trying to take a delicate, genuine approach to women’s issues.

“I’m always trying to be very careful to not seem like I’m a letch, that I’m doing a series about undressing women, or about sexy young girls who have lesbian girlfriends,” he says. “I’m trying to see it like the character sees it, so hopefully that translates into the actors being comfortable.”

PledgeMusic: Album News + a Live Video

Today Alexz updated her PledgeMusic campaign with this update. In order to see the video you can Pledge to her campaign:

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Dearest (patient) Pledgers,

Firstly, I must thank you for your grace!

I’m aware how calm this campaign has been as of late…but all for good reason!
Thank you for being so patient.

I just came off of my supporting slot on the recent SAYMAX (Max Schneider) US/CA tour. The opportunity was presented and it didn’t take much to see the positives in getting back on the road and performing some of the new album material live as the record gets mastered. It was cool stripping down these new tracks to just me and my electric guitar. It was raw and intimate playing acoustic each night. I heard my songs and my lyrics differently every time. I can only hope it was the same for the listeners.

Cool news — I unexpectedly ended up writing some new tracks with my brother Brendan while visiting in May, one of them being “Let ‘Em Eat Cake,” which I performed live on this last tour. Although the album was close to finished, it didn’t feel quite complete to me yet. Once I listened back to the demos, it became apparent that these songs were the missing link needed to complete the album. We’re now on to mixing and mastering and the record will be completed very soon – we’re almost there!! :-)

Here’s a sneak peak of the tracks for the album in no particular order:

- Heart Like That
- I Will Fall in Love
- That Pain
- Gonna Get It
- Ruthless Love
- Heart Turns Black
- Let ‘Em Eat Cake
- Cologne
- Tears of a Dragon

The tour was rad.
I loved getting the chance to hang out and connect with the VIPs each night. Breezy Baldwin and Megan Cox were on board to help truly make it a memorable tour. Max is a sweetheart, and his team was a pleasure to tour with.

It’s going to be a busy, but exciting fall. I have plans for more touring around this upcoming album release.
I can’t WAIT to deliver this album to you.
In the meantime, be the first to watch Let ’Em Eat Cake live in Toronto from the recent tour.

All my love,
Alexz

Alexz Singing The Theme For Degrassi Season 14?

Tonight Alexz tweeted that she “may or may not” be singing the theme for Degrassi season 14. Previously, she has sung the theme for season 11 of the show. In the past Degrassi themes have been remixed for future seasons so perhaps Alexz’s version will get that treatment. When will season 14 premiere? We’not sure yet, but will keep an eye on the dates so you can find it when the show comes back for it’s next season.

Vienna Video

Here is video from Jammin’ Java in Vienna, PA when Alexz played the show this past June 18, 2014 on the Say Max Tour:

Credit:
Maria H

Alexz Johnson at the Sinclair in Cambridge MA — DejaVuBooks

This is a great article about Alexz’s show at the Sinclair. I think the author hits on a lot of why we love Alexz as well as her music and continue to support her any way we can.

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Alexz Johnson at the Sinclair in Cambridge MA

Being a writer of fiction for teens and young adults, I run a lot of stuff on Netflix for noise while I write. Instant Star was recommended several times, but not being a fan of reality television, I know, sad but true, I passed it by for a while, as it was about a winner of a reality show. My mistake! When I finally did give it a shot, one thing was immediately obvious. Someone could sing their ass off! After a bit of research, thanks IMDB.com., I learned that it was the show’s star actually doing the singing as well. Not totally unusual, but singing talent like that with acting talent to boot is rare indeed. Many try, most fail, but not Alexz.

I’m a longtime musician and I’ve opened for a few big names myself, so I know of what I speak when I say that Alexz is a rare and phenomenal talent. As I bought more and more of her stuff, it became clear quickly that not only does she have talent, Alexz is a true artist. Many people with a lot less talent are singing substandard songs to huge crowds who don’t know any better. Alexz rises above and refuses to compromise and for that, all real musicians owe her a huge debt of gratitude.

Real music has been under attack since the dawn of the music video, which made looks more important than talent. Please don’t think I’m slighting Alexz in any way, as she is a beautiful young lady and I stood beside her for pictures, so I’ve seen more than the Hollywood version. The point though, is that in today’s music world, what we find are mostly model perfect people and a healthy dose of Autotune (SP?), the bane of music’s existence. Looks, check, voice, don’t worry about that… And that’s what passes for music to the masses.

Alexz delivers real music that doesn’t have to be blessed by a marketing department that is more worried about what sells than what is good. Her music lives and breathes and goes wherever her artistic heart takes it. That’s rare today and more than welcome!

So, to the show. Upon arriving at the Sinclair, the first thing I notice is that I’m one of two guys waiting to get in. The second is that I’m OLD! I have to admit that I had no idea who Max was, so that was sort of surprising, but no big deal. Ten to fourteen year old girls are easy to see over, even at my modest height!

After most of the line went inside for the Max VIP experience, my daughter and I walked inside to find out about Alexz’s VIP thing. Big swallow, shake of the head, um, sir, she’s um, not here yet. Probably cancelled… Ouch! Yes, the disaster that is the traffic of New England caught Alexz out, as it catches pretty much anyone not willing to travel at 2 a.m. (Pun intended!) out in the cold.

Well, the nice folks at the Sinclair threw us a bone and let us into the show area before the main crowd. We ended up right in front of Alexz’s monitor and watched in mild amusement as she ran into the place, unpacked in a frazzle and did a quick, but brilliant sound check. I was close enough to hear her voice in its pure, unamplified state and it was magic!

Upon completion of the sound check, Breezy called for all of the people with VIPs for Alexz. Doh! Perfect viewpoint lost, but the VIP experience was on. I never doubted for a second! Alexz was friendly and personable and nice to talk to. My daughter and I got pictures and scooted back inside, posting up right behind the sound guy, which was elevated and a great viewpoint and close to center of the sound.

Alexz takes the stage, pretty much on-time too! Not bad considering Breezy was still parking during the sound check and Megan had to bang the cajon. At some point, I will see Alexz with the full band, but this was a great first exposure to Alexz live. Alexz and a gorgeous guitar doing what she was born to do. As she worked through the set, Megan and Breezy came and went, although Megan played almost the full set.

The tunes were from the upcoming album, featuring all four songs from the Heart LP, which I signed up for almost immediately after hearing Alexz for the first time. The set was augmented by new tunes from both the album and the television show Blue on Wigs, which Alexz plays a part in. The song Mary from the Blue recordings was familiar already, because Alexz is very generous to her pledgers. Despite some delays in the album, she sends out songs on occasion that are much appreciated!

Now, I come from a musical family. My 70 year old dad is also a huge fan of Alexz, but not much for concert going anymore. When I played ‘Thank You For Breaking My Heart’ for him, he couldn’t believe that the song was recorded in 2013. He said it very much reminded him of early Diana Ross. And when I played him ‘Walking’, the first Alexz song he heard, his reaction was immediate. “Wow, who’s that!” This from a man who still gets onstage and belts out the Elvis tunes when people ask him to.

I speak of these two songs, because they were immediate favorites of mine. I was actually walking for exercise right after downloading Skipping Stone and when ‘Walking’ came on, I actually stopped walking. It literally blew me away.

Now, being an artist and something of a musical tuning fork, I feel music very deeply. In all of my books published to date, I thanked Dream Theater for reasons not needed here. In one of those acknowledgements, I speak of being moved to tears at their 20th anniversary show at Radio City several years back. Musical perfection just affects me, especially when it’s powerful and emotional.

‘Thank You For Breaking My Heart’, even without Alexz’s introduction that it’s a true song for someone who did break her heart would have moved me to tears. Watching her bring out the pain and open herself up, while performing flawlessly absolutely did. I’m not ashamed to say that. Artists live by conveying emotion and we’re affected by others work, no doubt. ‘Walking’ once again moved me. A girl, her guitar and an outpouring of emotion is a powerful thing. If you don’t believe me, go see it for yourself.

I do have to mention the rest of the trio. Megan is amazing. She brings the right amount of keys into play and harmonizes very well with Alexz. I’d like to see them stick together for the long haul, because they work so very well together. And Breezy, wow. She’s the musical megatron. She’s the road manager, VIP tour guide, drives the blues mobile AND gets up on stage to add percussion to some of the songs. And together, the three young ladies will blow you away. If they haven’t come to your city yet, GET TICKETS!!!

Now that Alexz is a part of my creative process, she will be thanked in my novels as well. Being based in New York, three point five hours by GPS, 6 hours by the traffic from where I live, I hope to one day go see one of her local NYC shows and bring her a signed copy. Until then, I’ll continue to listen and support her in her musical endeavors, while she keeps it coming and keeps it real!

Pete Adams