Tag Archives: Vanessa Dunn

Ep. #172: Long Night with Scott Thompson, Damian Rogers, Don Pyle, and Overnight

This episode of Long Night with Vish Khanna was recorded at the Great Hall in Toronto during the Long Winter multi-disciplinary arts festival on Friday March 13, 2015. Aside from Long Night sidekick James Keast and house band the Bicycles, Vish’s guests were Don Pyle, Damian Rogers, Scott Thompson, and Overnight. Don Pyle is a punk rock historian whose photo book, Trouble in the Camera Club, documents the rise of underground music in Toronto in the 1970s. He’s also a busy musician and producer who has overseen records by Flesh World and TV Freaks and scored shows like Queer as Folk and films like the forthcoming Portrait of a Serial Monogamist. His band Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet is one of the most significant to ever call Canada home and, at some point in the future, the American label Yep Roc will be reissuing their three albums individually and in a box set. Damian Rogers is the poetry editor at both House of Anansi Press and The Walrus. She’s also a published poet herself and her new collection, Dear Leader, is celebrating its release on Coach House Books with a star-studded book launch at the Drake Underground at 7 PM on Tuesday March 24. Scott Thompson is an Emmy nominated actor, writer, and comedian who appears on the groundbreaking NBC hit, Hannibal, and was also a featured performer in my favourite television comedy program of all time, HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show. He is a member of the iconic comedy troupe, the Kids in the Hall, who are touring this spring, including shows at the Danforth Music Hall on April 23, 25, and 26. Overnight is a band from Toronto featuring two members of the influential and no longer functioning Halifax pop band Plumtree. Sisters Carla and Lynette Gillis have kept themselves busy since the end of Plumtree and here, they played a song called “It Gets You Down” from their brand new album, Carry Me Home.

Related links: torontolongwinter.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #88: Vanessa Dunn of Vag Halen

Vanessa Dunn is the lead singer of Vag Halen, one of Toronto’s most exciting and confrontational rock bands. On Facebook, they describe themselves as “Toronto’s feminist art rock band that brings the bad with a dash of ass! Armed with a repertoire of classics, Vag Halen muff dives into the salty cock rock waters, blowing nether regions with their commitment to all things queer and all things rock.” Having seen the band myself, I can verify that that is all totally, totally true. Vag Halen storm Guelph on April 12 for a set at Kazoo! Fest at Van Gogh’s Ear. The band is on at 11:30 PM sharing a bill with Whoop-SZO, Biblical, and Legato Vipers. Here Vanessa and I discuss the pizza in Parkdale, growing up in Scarborough and celebrating the suburbs, where Vag Halen came from and what it might stand for, Katie Ritchie of the Organ, good Van Halen (David) and bad Van Halen (Sammy), how the band covers songs by different cock rock, hair metal bands who are male-centric, as an attempt to assert and understand the role of women and queer culture in such realms, the sexy, revealing attire and stage presence of Vag Halen, the power and cultural contributions of Tawny Kitaen and Miss Elizabeth, Vanessa’s acting background, whether or not we’re well past the era where musicians can get away with blatantly misogynistic and homophobic aesthetic stances, Nirvana’s decision to perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with women like Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, Lorde, and St. Vincent filling in for Kurt Cobain, why Axl Rose is the worst, most complex person, how personas or behavioural patterns in musical genres can perpetuate problematic lyrics and attitudes, running into Alice Cooper at a restaurant, Vanessa’s love of Depeche Mode and the Jesus and Mary Chain but her passion for hard rock, whether Vag Halen will ever write its own songs, the generally positive reception for the band in Toronto and Vanessa’s place as a role model, what’s new in Vag Halen’s set these days and why things are gonna get heavy at Kazoo! Fest, and nothing more.

Related links: twitter.com/VagHalen kazookazoo.ca vishkhanna.com

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