Meet Murdoch Athletics Captain: TJ Callas

TJ Callas is your Captain. At just 20, he is pursuing a double major in Cyber Forensics and Information Security as well as minoring in Screen Production. TJ is working full time as an intern (Graduate Reporting Engineer) with Empired LTD, a casual retail team member with Super Cheap Auto, training six days a week as WA Athlete (State and National Representatives) and is the Sports and Athletics Captain of Murdoch University. Hailing from Guinea, West Africa 9 years ago TJ has come a long way. As a youth, he was faced with many traumas relating to language barriers, racism, and his own mental health. He says, he owes his success all to his sports and athletics. Today TJ is working hard on his own Athletics Program dedicated to helping youths overcome their trauma. I decided to find out more.

Hey TJ, give me a run down on your involvement in athletics.

So basically I’m a 100m and 60m sprinter as well as a long jumper. My best for the 100m is 10.54, 6.86 seconds for the 60m and 7.20m for the long jump. I train 6 days a week. I am also a Level two Athletics Australia coach with WA Little Athletics as one their coaches for Little Athletics Programs for Schools (LAPS) teaching and demonstrating the fundamental skills of athletics at all levels of athletics discipline which includes running, jumping and through as well as train the Murdoch Vikings Athletics team.

How well did Murdoch Vikings do in the Uni games last year?

We did really well. Last year Murdoch was represented in nearly all event disciplines. Every athlete made it to the final, placing us in the top four or five). 9 out of 13 Athletes made it to either the final or semi-final of his/her competition events. Overall we won 3 medals (two gold and one silver) and we broke a 32 year old record.

What is the main goal for your athletics?

I am hoping to qualify and compete at the Commonwealth or Olympic Games as a 100 meter sprinter. I don’t believe in excuses I believe in results, however with work, uni and training full time it’s very hectic, but I take every opportunity that comes. This is why I tell myself that “I will persist until I succeed”. It does not matter how or when I get there, all on my mind is to make it to one of the games one day by God’s help.

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When did you start using sport to overcome your trauma?

When I first came to Australia I didn’t speak English well, so I used sport to help me learn the language, meet new people and becoming more confident in myself. At that time I didn’t know what depression and anxiety were. I used to get bullied, and when I went through puberty I started to feel insecure about myself at times. When I was in year 8 I encountered racism, as I was the only black kid in the whole school during that time. So to overcome this I started to hang around people who did sports and I associated myself with them. I found when I was doing sport I just focused on what was in front of me instead of worrying about people or other things in my life.

You have a dream project that you’re in the process of creating.  What’s it all about?

Sports Assisting Youths (SAY) is a project I am developing alongside NFP to help youths of this generation grow stronger so they may face their everyday fears and overcome trauma, with the help of athletics. The aim is to have a facility that includes an indoor gym, swimming pool, basketball court and an oval. The facility would be available on a 24/7 basis to anyone who might at any moment be experiencing traumas in their life and cannot see a way out.

What is your goal for this project?

I want to ease the amount of suicide rates among youths. Today too many youths harm themselves due to depression, anxiety and lack of confidence. Reflecting on myself, I once suffered from depression but with the use of sport, it has helped me overcome the many failures, breakdowns, and traumas in my daily life.

How can people help your project or follow your journey?

You can find me on Social Media here:

Facebook Page: facebook.com/athleticsmylife/     

Instagram: @tjcallas

SnapChat: t.callas  

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Interview & Photography by Harry Cunningham

Raviv’s Revelation Review 2017: Lazybones

Life is unpredictable and everyone has their own problems to solve. Lazy Bones is an Australian film directed by Michael Jones. Lazy Bones explores the life of main-character Ben who is an aspiring stand-up comedian and also works as an Uber driver.

The thing I liked about this film is the relatability and authenticity of the storyline. I found myself feeling sympathetic for Ben, as I could relate to a lot of the things he was going through during the film. I liked how the story line had a lot of balance. There were comedic scenes which gave contrast to the deep and meaningful ones. I also liked the technical production of the film. The interesting camera views and angles gave the storyline a unique feel.

However, there were some flaws in the film’s production. I didn;t like the shaky camera and some of the framing for the shots. How could the camera shake so much if it was on a tripod? Sometimes the subject was offscreen when it should have been in the middle. While the story is engaging, the plot is unclear and sometimes confusing. For example, all I saw was the story of a man trying to get his life in order. Lazy Bones plot was almost non-existent.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film. Although there were some problems with the technical aspects of the film. The story made me invest in the characters, particularly the main protagonist Ben. 7 out of 10 for me!

RATING: 7/10

Raviv’s Revelation Review 2017: Baxter and Me

 

Dogs are a man’s best friend. And a woman’s best friend. This film follows the journey of director Gillian Leahy, as she faces many adversities throughout her life. The film explores and reflects Leahy’s relationships Leahy shares with her present and past, four legged friends.

I like how the film explores the intimate relationship between Leahy and her current dog, Baxter. From the sentimental scenes of her and Baxter in the house to the hard-felt scenes toward the end, these were the highlights for me. These scenes presented the pure and unconditional love between the two. Another thing that I enjoyed about the film is that the story is very engaging. The film showed many photos of Leahy’s early life and you can see her journey in her life.

 

“Too many dogs died in Leahy’s life. I understand that most of them were accidents, but can she mention some of the dogs that didn’t die!?”

 

This life, however, is not without its faults. The biggest issue is how utterly boring it is. Seriously, it just drags on for so long. It doesn’t help that the story line travels back and forth, between past and present. I think that if the film explored a single interesting part in Leahy’s life, for example, a drama-recreation or a current representation, it would have made me enjoy the film more. Another problem I have with this film is that some of the scenes are not necessary and waste so much screenplay! They do nothing for the story or atmosphere and go on for too long. These drawn out scenes resulted in my lack of understanding of why the scenes were there, as well as whether I should continue watching. Too many dogs died in Leahy’s life. I understand that most of them were accidents, but can she mention some of the dogs that didn’t die!? It’s depressing and it seems like she was cursed. I felt no emotions from hearing Leahy recount the tragic fate of all the dogs because her narration lacked substance.

Overall, I did not like it. If you are a woman and have dogs, maybe you might like it. I certainly did not. 2 out of 10 for me!

RATING: 2/10

Raviv’s Revelation Reviews 2017: Becoming Bond

James Bond is one of the most iconic characters in the world of literature and pop culture. Originally being a series of books written by Ian Fleming, it has turned into a series of films where many actors play the role of Bond. One of those actors is an Australian model called George Lazenby. This film is a documentary-drama on the life of Lazenby before, during and after playing James Bond.

Let me tell you- this film is amazing! I love the way the documentary mixes Lazenby’s interview with the drama re-enactments. One of the best things about this film is how personal it is. In some moments, Lazenby replaces his vocal audio with the audio of the characters which creates a more authentic feel. The film also creates genuine moments where we feel the emotions from the characters. For example, when something happens to the Lazenby character, the “real-life” Lazenby reflects on it.

Everything is beautifully made and authentic. Throughout the whole film, I couldn’t think of anything I disliked. Everything seemed so legitimate, which made it seem so much more believable. In my opinion, many documentaries lack this quality. By showing the ups and downs of Lazenby’s life, it allows the viewer to learn from him and reflect on their life.

Overall, this film is perfect! A must-watch documentary that has elements of re-enactment from actors and news archives. 10 out of 10 for me!

RATING: 10/10

[REVIEW] Toro Y Moi – Boo Boo

[REVIEW] TORO Y MOI – BOO BOO

Toro y Moi (aka Chaz Bundick) takes you on a drive through dreamy landscapes of sound, stories of lost love and a search for connection, in his latest 80’s inspired R&B pop-electronica project: Boo Boo. Boo Boo shows how much the Singer-songwriter-producer has grown sonically and lyrically. There’s no doubt that Chaz’s 2017 release Boo Boo is a solid and well thought out project. However, it seems Chaz is still holding back from his full potential. 

The album kicks off with layers of drawn out synth, which builds a vast, dreamy sonic landscape. The opening track “Mirage” set’s the tone for the rest of the project. Chaz busts downtown rhythms, adding more layers of vocals, claps and synth. Throughout the rest of the first quarter, it seems Chaz is in a state of confusion, reflecting on himself and his past relationship as he realises “Mona Lisa” (the girl he’s deeply in love with) got tired of his lack of commitment – “My baby got fed up with my ego”.”Pavement” takes a dark and twisted turn. Haunted, deep piano keys chime to reveal a feeling of emptiness as voices echo around the track before finding some sort of groundedness in Chaz’s whisper-like lyrics (the breakup?). Chaz attempts to find his feet in “Don’t Try”. He tries to make sense of the dark situation he’s in, “Woke up only cos I had to”, “Don’t try and understand what you are”. “Windows ” echoes new-wave R&B before the instrumental “Embarcardo” slowly opens up a new chapter in his life. Chaz is in love again, which is shown in one of his more upbeat tracks  “Girl Like You”.

He’s tired of playing games and is confident she’s the one for him – “I can meet you downtown, take you where you want to be tonight”. Chaz experiments with contemporary hip-hop and R&B tones as he uses vocal production reminiscent of up-and-coming rapper-producer Nav – “From the bottle, no cup”. Finally, he’s found the connection he was looking for. In “You and I” he realises she was there all along, and that he was just thinking too much.

The 12 track LP shows that Toro y Moi, creatively,  hasn’t slowed down. Boo Boo adds another dimension to Chaz’s variance in sound as he introduces elements of contemporary R&B and hip-hop covered in nostalgic 80’s soul. Boo Boo is personal and tells a story, but I think even Chad feels the emotion is a bit over the top (as the title mocks his own soft side). The album feels washed out at times, and occasionally goes overboard with the nostalgia, losing groundedness throughout its journey. But overall Boo Boo is a solid production, creative and accomplishes what it set out to do. Perfect for a scenic sunset drive (As shown below).

FAVOURITE TRACKS: Mirage, Girl Like You, Labyrinth

RATING: 7.8/10

Spotify

Apple Music

[REVIEW] Young Thug – Beautiful Thugger Girls

Young Thug is truly one of the leading contemporary creative forces in Hip-Hop’s wave/ evolution of trap-pop sub-genres. ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls’ isn’t much of a stylistic advancement in terms of his start-stop flow and roaming, stream-of-conscious lyrics – preaching about his extravagant lifestyle. But there’s a difference in tone that reinforces Young Thug’s originality.

Thugger rides the recent wave of organic sounds worked into trap, however there’s no flute instrumentals here. Similar to Post Malone’s 2016 single “Go Flex”, ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls’ seamlessly fuses R&B vocals, acoustic guitar instrumentals and trap kicks. The 14 track LP gives an insight into the numerous relationships around the 26 year old. Whether it’s with the women in his life, his 8 kids or his self perception. Although I wouldn’t look too deeply into this project’s inner meanings.

It’s stacked with bangers, but it’s not what you’d expect. Stand out tracks like “Daddy’s Birthday” present hooks that are mellow yet punchy -“New coupe, new shoes, ooh” “Red bottoms, I’m kicking shit, yeah I’m flossing on you fools”. “You Said” fully exposes Young Thugs talents as he serenades and flows over fast Spanish guitar work- “Say now, ooh, ooh, ooh”. Young Thug stays true to his original description of the album being a “Singing album”. However, toward the middle of the album, his tracks become more shallow and bland.  “On Fire” takes a minimalist turn compared to the rest of the album. The instrumental plops and bobs, expose Young Thug’s lacklustre repetition of simple, throw away flows. Even his feature with Snoop Dogg and Lil Durk was a slight disappointment. Although his creative lines gave the track some humour – “Roll up some gas, I’m not talkin’ a car”. The album ends on a positive note with “Take Care” followed by “For Ya’ll (feat. Jacquees)”. “For Y’all” is Spanish-trumpet-and-Flamenco-guitar-pop which keeps building on the good vibes. Thugger’s creativity paid off once again, as he produced a menu of tracks that have organic originality and are catchy as hell.

FAVOURITE TRACKS: For Y’all, Relationships, Daddy’s Birthday

RATING: 7.5/10

STREAM: Spotify

 

[REVIEW] Okja

Science Fiction/ Drama (2017)

Director Bong Joon-ho brings a whole lot to the table with his latest Science fiction/ drama; Okja.  As a lover of independent films, this one caught my eye. However, to my surprise, it was filled with many familiar faces from Hollywood. These included Tilda Swinton (Hunger Games), Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad). However, this wasn’t necessarily beneficial for the film. The story follows a young South Korean girl who lives in the mountains with her Grandfather (a farmer) who was nominated to look after a genetically modified Super-Pig as part of a 10-year competition. The Super-Pigs were designed to put a stop to world hunger in an ethical and sustainable way – but is this the case? Okja is taken by the multi-national corporation and Mija begins her rescue mission to save her beloved animal.  The film served as consistent entertainment throughout, from the heartwarming bond between Mija and Okja to the comedy and the shenanigans of the Animal Protection Rescue characters. There were also many various on-edge moments regarding Mija’s mission to save her beloved pig from becoming extremely tasty bacon.  The story was creative and thought-provoking, the cinematography was outstanding. As a viewer the film definitely made me reflect on my own eating habits and the ethics of farming. Not for very long though as I was enjoying various mince filled party pies throughout the viewing (laughs). However, I feel like the most annoying characters in the film were the ones from Hollywood. Jake Gyllenhaal played an estranged animal doctor who only showed his love for animals on camera. Although his character was probably meant to be disliked – it was too much for me. Giancarlo Esposito always does an amazing job of being a villain with untouchable power and Mija’s actor (Seo-Hyun Ahn) honored her career’s debut.

Conclusion:

Okja is a great film for these cold Perth nights. So put on some extra layers and dive into the 2 hour Netflix Blockbuster. Heartwarming but it will keep you on the edge of your seat. Beautiful cinematography 4/5.

[NEW MUSIC] No Scrubs – TLC is back

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Your favourite 90’s divas TLC are back and in great shape after 15 years.  It’s been a long road for the trio of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes who created smash hits Waterfalls, No Scrubs, Creep, and Unpretty. The full-length self-titled LP features a total of 17 tracks. Some of the stand-outs include “It’s Sunny” a summer pop track with instrumentals from “Boney-M – Sunny”, “Perfect Girls” a mellow RNB acoustic groove hooks “Perfect girls ain’t real” which could have easily been on their classic debut “FanMail”. “Aye MuthaFucka” pumps a confident club jam that proves there’s still no messing with TLC.

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Steam now on:

Spotify

Apple Music

 

 

 

[REVIEW] Kung Fu Panda 3

 

Dreamworks is one of the best animation studios in the world. They are responsible for a huge chunk of people’s childhood, especially for me. Dreamworks make great, popular franchises and stay true to their name. From Madagascar to Shrek – they all had great ideas, stories and characters. This is also the case for Kung Fu Panda 3. Kung Fu Panda 3 was directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni and features the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman and many more.

The main thing that makes a good sequel is the ability it has to reflect on the past. Sequels should be able to either explain the events of the previous movies or mention the events of the previous movies. Kung Fu Panda 3 does this right from the beginning. The main plot of the film revolves around Kai, a yak, stealing chi from different masters and turns them into his jade army and it is up to the Dragon Master Po to stop him.

Things that make this film great: 1) Master Oogway is back! 2) It explains a lot of the things that have happened in the first film. So if you have questions after watching the previous titles, this one should answer all of your questions. That is not all! The main antagonist, Kai, is a super-badass! He literally steals the master’s Ki (part of Chinese philosophy and medicine) turning them into fully coated green zombies which are under his control! That is awesome! He is definitely a great villain. Not only that but the humour is great! There were a lot of laughs especially when Po gets shocked that all of his friends and become green only to say to Matis “Except for you Mantis you were already green” was awesome!

Things that I slightly disliked: 1) The Furious Five play a little role in this film except for Tigeress, 2) It still keeps the annoying gimmick of Po being amazed of his powers and 2.5) Jackie Chan’s role in it. I didn’t mind him playing a secondary character in ‘The Karate Kid’ because he had great scenes, but his character of Monkey doesn’t get much exposure in the film.

Other than those things, I really enjoyed it and think it’s the best of the series so far. It has an interesting plot with an awesome villain. I give it 4.5/5!

If you want me to review something please let me know via the comments below or via the Facebook page.

Ruby Red Fatales – FRINGE REVIEWS

Advertised as a war set comedy/cabaret, ‘Ruby Red Fatales’ provides relief and enjoyment from the first haunting dance to the last cheeky remark. What began as a typical (but sexy as all hell) 20th-century burlesque dance, quickly changed its tone to one of romance and humour.

While not intentionally serious, the romantic story-arc does gently pull on the heart strings. This provides a great counterbalance for the fusion of slapstick comedy and obvious double entendres that flitter about.

For me, there is two stand out points to this show: Firstly, the highly effective blend of comedy incorporated into song. It’s just a beautiful way to experience laughs that’s both appropriate to the context of the story, and refreshingly different from stand-up.

Secondly, and a point that I often find underrated, is an atmospheric jazzy band playing in the background. With a score seamlessly integrated into dialogue and song, you begin to forget they’re there. Sorry guys – Please take it as a compliment!

I would recommend this specifically for people who love a mixture of comedy and theatre over stand up. Or, any musicians who are after an appreciative evening – look no further.

If you’re a purist and rather isolated genres rather than a fusion, perhaps look towards something else. This show is the whole package, but that comes at a cost. That cost (for some) is a compromise between the different aspects of theatre.

Worth a see? Yeah, go on. Go grab a few drinks and head over for the late start to cap of your night. Is it for everyone? Probably not. Some people hate fun, so decide if that’s you.