Interview With Criminal Minds Co-Executive Producer Harry Bring

 

Interview With Criminal Minds Co-Executive Producer Harry Bring

Congratulations on hitting the 200th episode of Criminal Minds. I am looking forward to the 10th season!

 

Q. How did you first get involved with Criminal Minds?

 

A. When I decided not to go back to Army Wives in South Carolina after 5 years there, Mark Gordon, who created Army Wives, offered me Criminal Minds. Two things: to be home after 5 years on the road was a blessing, and you don’t turn down Mark Gordon.

 

Q. How is working on Criminal Minds, a procedural drama, different then working on Army Wives or Melrose Place?

 

A. Procedural dramas are a lot different than serialized shows. Procedurals have a beginning, middle, and end. Serialized shows link together and you are always thinking about where you’ve been and where you’re going. Procedurals do have some “b” stories about the core cast but you don’t visit those that much.

 

Q. Do you have a favorite episode of the show? Were you a fan of it before you came on?

 

A. I must admit I wasn’t a fan of the show before joining the team. I had only watched a few episodes. Now that I’m here I’m a total fan. I guess my favorite is 824. I loved working with Mark Hamill.

 

Q. So, A.J. Cook (JJ) had some pretty tough scenes when we last saw the team. I read in an article that “[i]n order to realistically portray the torture JJ experiences in 200, Cook agreed to actually be waterboarded. She was also hung up by bonds for hours at a time to act out a scene. This resulted in her losing feeling in her arm for a month” (http://criminalminds.wikia.com/wiki/A.J._Cook). That definitely takes method acting to a new level. Who asked her to do this?

 

A. No one asked AJ to do anything special that I know of. Whatever she did to prepare for the episode was her own idea. We didn’t hang her up for hours though. After each sequence or take, the tension was released from the chains.

 

Q. We got to see Paget Brewster back as Prentiss for the 200th episode. Any plans for her to guest star later in the season?

 

A. I have not heard of any idea to have her guest star this season. Paget is very busy pursuing other projects and it would be hard for her to be available for anything here.

 

Q. Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) has always wanted the rest of the team to go after the bad guys. She is content with staying by the computer and flirting with Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore). Last we saw her, she had to fire a gun to protect Reid (Matthew Grew Gubler). How will this affect her, and additionally the team’s perception of her?   

 

A. Kirsten LOVES when a story takes her in the field. It definitely excites her. It’s been done a couple times per season. She is so valuable gleaning info for the team it’s hard to bring her into the action. There will be a Kirsten surprise for the fans in the coming months. I can’t say what that is right now.

 

Q.  I know that Kerr Smith (Dawson’s Creek, The Fosters) has an arc as a new villain, Frank Cowles.  Who came up with the MO of his character, a body part collector with a fetish for amputated limbs?  The level of creativity and wicked imagination is admirable!

 

 A. Credit to Erica Messer and the writing team.

 

Q.  Jennifer Love Hewitt is joining the show as a series regular, playing Katie Callahan. Can you tell me how that came to be and what we can expect from her?

 

A. During the hiatus there was some idea crunching as to who should be joining the show. I’m not privy to how it came about in the end. You will find Kate to be different from all female team members that came before her. She comes from a different department of the FBI and brings a lot of experience and sassiness.

 

Q. Are there any other notable guest stars lined up for this season?

 

A. Not that I have heard. I’ve been so busy with the physical end of production I have not spent any time in the writer’s room listening to story pitches.

 

Q. Who in the cast is most similar to their character?

 

A. I think all the cast has personal attributes that are woven into their on-screen performances. It is their personality differences in real life that are shown in their characters.

 

Q. Who in the cast is the most different from their character?

 

A. If I had to pick one that was slightly different it would be AJ. AJ is a lot less serious once the camera is turned off.

 

Q. Has there been any thought as to how the show will end? Is it something that has been discussed (in the writing room)?

 

A. That has not been discussed to my knowledge. There are ideas for a season finale which touches on some story fabric woven throughout the season. If you are referring to the eventual end of the series, no one is thinking about this show ever ending. ;-))

 

Q. Give the fans something about Season 10 to obsess over.

 

A. Look for the nuances of our characters personal storylines to be enhanced and explored more. There are a couple “special” episodes being discussed and I am waiting patiently myself to hear what they are.

 

 

Harry Bring (@LLPOS) is a producer and production manager, currently working on Criminal Minds. Prior to that, he has done work on Army Wives, The X-Files, and Melrose Place.

 

 

 

 

Exclusive behind the scenes action can be found at @CM_SetReport

Catch the season ten premiere of Criminal Minds (@CrimMinds_CBS)   Wednesday, Oct 1 9/8c on CBS.

Kirsten Vangsness will be live tweeting during the premiere at the handle @Vangsness

The rest of the cast can be found at the handles @shemarmoore @JoeMantegna @ajcookofficial @GUBLERNATION @TheReal_JLH

 

Annabelle Edwards is a writer living in New York. She is the founder and managing editor of Control Literary Magazine.

 

 

Review: The Bones of Us by Jay Bradley and Adam Scott Mazer

Bradley

The collaboration between poet J. Bradley and artist Adam Scott Mazer is comprised of linked poems that hit us failed lovers where it hurts. It is set up in two sections including thirty-eight poems and contains a beautiful mixture of poetry and ink drawings. Bradley’s language is urgent and bleeding, while Mazer’s black and white illustrations show desperation and terror; such as in Detention, where Bradley relates first the cheating and then the angry afterward:

We call my forearm pressed

Against your throat kindling.

A slaughter, the chalkboard

Of my back rased of all safety.

The woods,

your hair,

my hands.

This is accompanied by the image of a man and a woman, naked and tearing at each other’s flesh. It is a mix of sensual and violent: the couple’s outlet for rage.

The Bones of Us ends up as a storybook poetry collection based on the angst and despair that dwell in a broken heart. Love is lost and passion twists into hate. Anyone with an ex, one they can’t quite find the strength to let go of, could identify strongly with the tortured language, fueled by recurring themes of wine drunkenness, nature and weapons. The gritty macabre style drawings, with skulls in full smiles, bring the violence of heartbreak to the forefront, visceral and aching.

You can feel the rage and loss throughout the works, but self pity is balanced with the true depth of feeling and the relatable nature of the topic. The poetic imagery and illustrations that back it up give the reader a way in to the dark place where Bradley delves. Toothy monsters, melting flesh, blood and wine cover the pages as Bradley moves through the stages of a tormented breakup. Saying, “The first letter of your name sleeps below my wrist;/ I’m not sure what to smother it with.” And the sense of terror does sleep – this is a build up of bottled emotions: love and anger colliding. Vulnerability shines through as he reminisces on the things he loves, or loved, such as when he admits in “The Astrology of Running into Your Exes,” “As the beer bottle empties, it will remind you of her hand.” But the darker moments hold the strength of the collection, such as in “Emphysema,” where Bradley offers a metaphor for the melancholic emotional storm that accompanies this kind of loss:

Our pollution clings

to the walls of my

bedroom like a lung. Every

time the door wheezes and

coughs me out to the hallway,

I hope my sighs choke like canaries.

Bradley and Mazer strongly illustrate the torment of a messy breakup, fueled by both passion and anger. The Bones of Us ends up as a journal like confession that poignantly speaks of the darkest moments of a post-relationship state. Their collaboration of violently lascivious and anguished content lays everything out on the table: what is lost, what is lingering and even what it unspeakable.

Maria Dansdill– a young reader before writer who enjoys the classics but devours most anything she can get her hands on. If she’s not immersed in a book she’s surely jamming out to something folky. She’s a barista to make a buck and her hobbies include tennis, calligraphy and K-Dramas (^__^)

Review: First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

Small_Gold_Album_-_First_Aid_Kit          In 2008, Johanna and Klara Söderberg, two young Swedish sisters, appeared on you-tube sharing a cover and tribute to Fleet Foxes “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” where they seemed completely at home in the middle of the forest, ethereal and earthy. Their indie-country/folk vibe became a hit and they’ve since blossomed into a full fledged and highly followed duo. It was their second album, The Lion’s Roar, which secured them as artists to watch. Fans loved their big sky echo and the orchestrations that work so well with their drifty poetical lyrics.

First Aid Kit’s new album, Stay Gold, released on June 10th this summer, is as beautifully harmonious, lyrically intriguing, and folk inspired as their last. Though the same optimism and youth rings through, this album, their first produced by Columbia Records, has a deeper and more mature feel. The Söderberg sisters sing with conviction and with a sound that seems to echo through the mountainside as they reflect on their youth. The album conveys their struggles with life on the road – leaving family and friends behind and wondering if it will all lead to anything. With this sentiment, you can see that they were undoubtedly inspired by Robert Frost. With an album titled and a song named Stay Gold, we can only be reminded of Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, as they sing “What if our hard work ends in despair? What if the road won’t take me there? Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold.” Additionally, the album deals with their love for music, and their womanhood. Thoughtful, fun and poetic lyrics such as “girls just want to have fun and the rest of us hardly know who we are” from Waitress Song are relatable and searing, even when broaching a topic not many can truly understand, the life of a traveling musician.

In this album, First Aid Kit stays true to the sound that captured audiences in Lion’s Roar, but this time around they have less of a “conquer the world” feel. Instead, they speak maturely about real life struggles. The effect of these heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics is one that allows the listeners to follow the sisters on their journey, while also being able to relate them to their own lives. And they can do all this while singing along to the beautiful melodies and dancing choruses.

Rating: 7.5/10

Maria – a young reader before writer who enjoys the classics but devours most anything she can get her hands on. If she’s not immersed in a book she’s surely jamming out to something folky. She’s a barista to make a buck and her hobbies include tennis, calligraphy and K-Dramas (^__^)

Review: Amy Lee – Aftermath

aftermath

After fifteen successful years with the band Evanescence, Amy Lee has had her share of experience in the music industry. Her new solo album, Aftermath, written for the film War Story, displays little of this knowledge. While the music does have its strengths in ambience and atonality, it has its drawbacks as well; in its lack of variation and climax, and being outperformed by other albums.

The only real outlier in the album is the song Lockdown, which is closer to the style of music Amy Lee would be making with Evanescence. It is the only song on the album with a general format or a reoccurring melody. Also, it is the only song written like a traditional rock song, such as having verses, a chorus, and a repeating line reflecting the idea or the title of the song.

The electronic portion of the album was mostly influenced by Middle Eastern music, such as in Dark Water. The few songs that are electronic are relatively uneventful with little variation to the melody or the rhythm. It was a style that was over produced in the early 2000’s and has little market today.

The classically centered half of the album consists of low, ambient, disharmonious cello work which is performed marvelously by the soloist, Dave Eggar. His virtuoso style is really exemplified in the songs such as After and White Out. This was good for the film because it had a lot of dramatic dialogue scenes which needs the background noise to keep the scene progressing and not lose the attention of the viewers. Most of these pieces are also somber and mellow since the movie is serious and needs the darker, dramatic noise to back it up.

Some of the classical tracks of note are Remember to Breathe and After. Both of the pieces follow the strong cello work that is present throughout the album. Remember to Breathe is especially close to the modernist ideas of the early to middle 1900’s by jumping from note to note in a seemingly random style called the twelve-tone system. After is filled with bass chords and an ever-changing melody that is always rising out of the steady stream of notes coming from the lower octave. It is rare to hear bass chords because they often do not come out as clean or as unified as the musician or the composer hopes; however, it does make an excellent background noise to a scene that requires a more depressing mood.

Both of these pieces have something that much of the album was lacking: Climax. Understandably, many of these pieces cannot be overwhelmingly complex or dramatic since they would take away from the film. However, film sound tracks are known for being epic. Whether it be at the great battle of an action movie or the happy ending in a romance, the sound track is what makes the scene memorable. Without a climax, the songs cannot fair well on their own.

This album would not have been as disappointing if there were no other soundtracks or scores that did what this album does better. The electronic music portion was very similar to and largely outclassed by the soundtrack to the video game, Deus Ex. That album is similar in style and tone but each track has a magnitude and climax with it. The film score for Sherlock Holmes was similar to the virtuoso style with the string instruments Amy used, but the soundtrack to Sherlock Holmes is far more memorable.

The only positive thing about this album was its outlier, Lockdown. The ambient, disharmonious cello work, along with the middle eastern influenced electronic music, are generally subpar since there are other albums and songs that can do their job better both in the film, and alone on the soundtrack. All the pieces did present clever approaches and ideas which ultimately had potential but never reached it.

5.5/10

Christian Page is a student from New Mexico who has been studying music since he was nine years old.  He has made the state youth orchestra for both the upright bass and classical guitar.  He’s been studying poetry for the past year.

Review: Ryan Adams Album

ryan-adams-new-album

Review: Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams

 

Ryan Adams’ latest solo album, Ryan Adams is, well, more Ryan Adams. Fans have undoubtedly been looking forward to another solo album from the highly prolific singer and songwriter, particularly since he has only been putting out music through his own label, PAX AM, since 2010, thereby ensuring his artistic freedom. While the album is solid, with alt-country tinged rock songs, with both electric and acoustic elements, longtime fans will recognize the overall sound and mood of the album as roads Adams has travelled before, many times.

As difficult as it is to fault a man who has, as a solo act and with his bands Whiskeytown and the Cardinals, put out thirteen albums, the sound and feel of his latest endeavor lacks innovation or anything remotely fresh.

Some of the tracks do stand out, namely “My Wrecking Ball,” an acoustic number in which he invites a lost love to “come and maybe knock me down,” as his walls need to crumble. He’s feeling typical Ryan Adams alienation, as he is lying in bed alone and says, “I wish I could call you, I wish you were still around.” His voice sounds genuinely vulnerable, and less melodramatic than in some of his previous work. The track verges on being one that could have belonged on Heartbreaker (2000), his first solo album that is his strongest to date.

Along with “My Wrecking Ball,” Adams released “Gimme Something Good” and “Tired of Giving Up” before the album’s September 9, 2014 release. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, starred in the video of “Gimme Something Good,” standing around spookily while Adams moodily meandered through the black and white, foggy video. He longs for “something good,” as he finds himself “holding everything I have like it was broken.” The rock guitar riffs are reminiscent of Joan Jett in the 1980s, yet the grit of the rock is layered with a funereal organ in the background.

Adams is weary, as he proclaims in “Tired of Giving Up,” which is the main gist of the lyrically thin track in which he is tired of giving up, lying, and trying, though he hints at a possible way out – “Suppose I try to love you” – yet nothing is resolved; no happiness at all finds its way into this album.

Ryan is angsty. Even as he acknowledges love, in “Shadows,” he pessimistically wonders, “How long do I have here with you?” He knows the bittersweet side of love is that it is not guaranteed to last, and togetherness can never be counted on as being permanent. Adams married actress and singer Mandy Moore in 2009, and given his troubled past which has been well-documented in the media, one can’t help but wish him a happy ending and love. Adams, however, knows that we can only save ourselves.

That Adams turns 40 in November and is married doesn’t show much in the album. He focuses on loss in “Feels Like Fire,” telling a lover “Just so you know, you will always be the hardest thing I will ever let go” and hints at betrayal, singing, “The light reflecting in your eyes is not what it seems.” Also, his chest is on fire, in line with the fire and burning imagery that pervades the album. He also laments lost love in “Kim,” who, “walking down the street, I watched you walk away, to be with him.” Even in love, he wonders in “Am I Safe” whether he is, in fact, safe if “I don’t wanna be with you” and tells his lover “It’s complicated, I just don’t love you anymore / I just wanna sit here and watch it burn.”

In the lyrically thin track “Stay with Me,” Adams does reach out to his lover for comfort, asking her to “Hold me closer in the middle of the night,” reassures her, and declares, “I love you girl, it’s all right.” Similarly, he asks his lover in the 1980s Don Henleyesque “Let Go,” “Cross your fingers behind your back and lie to me / Tell me everything’s gonna be all right” This is as close to happiness as Adams will reveal. Perhaps he is more comfortable sharing his troubled side with his fans. Or, perhaps, this is Adams’ perspective on the world – dark, uncertain, and tenuous, wherein happiness is an illusion.

It’s almost too easy to make light of Adams’ emotional turmoil, as it seems heavy-handed as the album progresses. Of course, if a listener is in a miserable relationship, is lonely, and/or jaded by love, this album is a perfect soundtrack for misery. Heartbreaker was the musical sound of a heart breaking and broken; the emotion was raw and real. The songs of Ryan Adams seem to be a diluted continuation of the same.

Musically, the songs are strong and much what listeners expect from Adams. Though they will likely wish to hear and feel something new, his sound and lyrics emains the same.

Track List

  1. Gimme Something Good
  2. Kim
  3. Trouble
  4. Am I Safe
  5. My Wrecking Ball
  6. Stay With Me
  7. Shadows
  8. Feels Like Fire
  9. I Just Might
  10. Tired of Giving Up
  11. Let Go

Overall rating: 8/10

Tracey K. Parker is a college English instructor who earned her PhD from the University of Arkansas. The focus of her research is popular culture in literature. She also has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. Her creative work has been published in PRISM, and she is co-editor of Control Literary Magazine.

 

Ed Sheeran- Live Performance and Brief Concert Review

      

       Tonight, I had the pleasure of seeing Ed Sheeran in concert at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly. He was brilliant. The concert mainly consisted of songs from his new record “X”, with the encore including a few old classics  such as “The A Team” and “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”.

      Sheeran was at the top of his game, his vocals not only as good as his recordings, but better. The fact that he is only twenty four years old is easily forgotten. He moves around the stage with an energy and confidence that rivals some of the veterans in the industry. Showcasing his range and falsetto, he belts out each chorus, never missing a beat. Even more impressive is his ability to rap and actually be understood. With the help of a loop pedal, Sheeran delivered with just his voice and guitar, something of a rarity   nowadays.

   What made each performance was the slight nuance of each tune, altered ever so slightly by the leading man. A high note instead of a chest note or vice versa, a lyric slowed down or sped up with ease. Sheeran engaged the crowd, encouraging them to sing at the top of their lungs for every song but one.

   Later in the evening, he spoke about one of his favorite songs on the new record “Afire Love”, and how it was kind of a quiet track so a little quiet would do it some good. The audience obliged. I was blown away by the raw grit, soul, and pain in his voice. We all got lost in the narrative, and I wish that Sheeran had told them to be quiet through more of the songs, so his voice could be heard that much more.

  What appeared to be the end of the concert concluded with the song he wrote for The Hobbit, “I See Fire”.

  Minutes later, Sheeran came back and gave an encore consisting of three songs, “The A Team”, “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”, and “Sing”.

  Overall, it was a night to remember. I wish he had performed even longer.

The formal setlist can be found here

Ed’s latest album “X”, can be bought here as well as his debut, “+”.

If any of you missed it, please check out our review of “X”, which can be found here

Below, I have included a video I recorded of Ed singing “Afire Love”. I hope you enjoy this performance as much as I did.

Afire Love

Bio: Annabelle Edwards is a young writer and photographer living in New York. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gone Lawn, Eunoia Review, Crack The Spine, and elsewhere. She is the co-editor of Control Literary Magazine.