Top 4 Quasi-B Movies That I Love

After taking a bit of a break for Easter and then getting sidetracked by other work, I’ve come back with a film list I haven’t done before.

I started thinking about some of the films that I love, films that maybe many people don’t talk about anymore or even remember.  Films that may not have the best acting, cinematography or even the best story and yet I love because they are memorable and in some cases, really make me laugh.

Sometimes, you just really need a film that makes you laugh hard enough for it to stick in your mind. These top 4 films aren’t all quite “B Movies” but I think they mostly qualify.

1)Joe’s Apartment

This film is FAR from being Jerry O’Connell’s most memorable piece of work in his filmography. Heck, I’d bet $10 that most people don’t remember this movie even existed and if they did, they’d remark on how Jerry isn’t exactly leading man material. Well, I’d always had a soft spot for Jerry since his Slider days and this film was AWESOME!

What’s not to love about a film that doesn’t take itself seriously and features singing, dancing cockroaches? I just about keel over every time the cockroaches come on screen, every time I watch this movie. Yes, they’re disgusting, yes they trash everything and no one in their right mind would want them as roommates and yet-it’s hilarious.

It not only prepared me for the worms of the Men In Black franchise, I also found out much later that the lead cockroach is the one & only Billy West! Yes, fellow Futurama fans, Fry was a cockroach (I think Professor Farnsworth would agree with that)!

Hilarity Factor: 7/10

2)Amanda and The Alien

Years before I became a fan of Roswell and an ardent fan of the amazingly talented Shiri Appleby, Colin Hanks, Brendan Fehr, Jason Behr & the highly underrated Nick Wechsler, the premise of Roswell or maybe it was more like ET, showed up in a TV movie I’ve only managed to find a few times.

Similar to the premise of Jeff Bridges’ Starman, it starred Nicole Eggert as a lonely Bohemian artist who comes across an attractive alien who must change host bodies every few days. On the run from the government, Amanda agrees to help him hide and they fall in love.

Yes, it had the clinched love story of aliens falling in love with humans and clinched story in general of the aliens living among us.  Yes it was also cheesy as all hell and no, it’s not a movie that ages well to stand the test of time. But somehow, even after all these years, I have a soft spot for it. Maybe it’s because it was the first movie of that type that 8-year old me had ever seen. But regardless, it holds a nostalgic soft spot for me.

Nostalgic Factor: 6/10

3) Embrace of the Vampire

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been a HUGE fan of vampires and different facets of vampire lore ever since childhood, so long before the God awful Twilight craze started.

I’ve always loved Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles and the related Mayfair Witches, read a ton of other standalone vampire lore books (such as Thirst by Michael Cecilione, with BDSM elements) and been a fan of TV series such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel and Blood Ties (which suffered from being on the WRONG network!) The 1994 film Interview With The Vampire & 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula remain my ULTIMATE two favorite film adaptations of vampire books and the documentary Blood Sucking Cinema is on my top documentaries of all-time list.

Embrace of the Vampire, on the other hand, holds none of this legendary status and yet, still remains memorable to me. It was the first project I’d ever seen Alyssa Milano in for one, as part of her pre-Charmed days. But mostly, I think it was memorable because it was the first film that had a TON of vampire sex. Other films had sexual scenes such as From Dusk to Dawn & Bram Stoker’s Dracula (and later, the much-maligned Queen of the Damned, which I still love) and Interview With The Vampire contained subtle homosexual overtones, but Embrace had full-on heterosexual vampire sex.

This film was anything BUT subtle in that aspect and I think it played into early fantasies I’d had involving immortality, becoming a vampire and yes, even being seduced by one. Of course, the older I got, the more the downside of living such a life (or un-life) as it were, became more apparent through Stuart Townsend’s portrayal of Lestat de Lioncourt in the aforementioned Queen of the Damned and how Angel turned back into Angelus in the Buffy universe, but it’s still a fantasy I entertain from time to time.

Sexy Factor: 7/10

4) Kangaroo Jack

OK, so this film isn’t a B-movie by any stretch, more of a bigger budget Australian buddy cop comedy, but that’s why I said quasi at the beginning of this list. Even though it’s not a B-movie per se, it IS the second entry on this list that has Jerry O’Connell, this time alongside Anthony Anderson.

For those who don’t know, this movie takes some of its cues from this news story, where a couple of guys accidentally hit a kangaroo in Australia, decide for some reason, to dress the kangaroo in their clothes and take a photo. Once the photo was taken, the kangaroo regained consciousness and basically bounced away with all their possessions.

That’s basically the premise of the movie in a nutshell, except Jerry & Anthony are best buddies who have to deliver a bag full of money to a contact on behalf of Jerry’s mobster stepfather, played perfectly by Christopher Walken. And as it so happens, the money is inside the sweatshirt Anthony puts on Jack, the kangaroo who runs away. Oh and did I mention that Jack talks?

It’s a crack film to end all crack films and there’s just something about talking animals that always makes me keel over with laughter. No, it’s a not a great movie and yes, you have to suspend disbelief and stop yourself from yelling at the screen at how boneheaded the characters are, but somehow, a talking, rapping kangaroo in a hoodie makes up for that.

Hilarity Factor: 8/10

For more on the films that I find awesome, check out my post on the amazing Storyhive library and the top 10 most badass publicity campaigns in film & TV!

Case Study: Managing Unit Publicity and PR Campaign for the 2017 Crazy8s Film Event

website_banner_2017_films1

THE CHALLENGE

As unit publicist for the Crazy8s Film Event, developing the PR campaign for the film event as well as managing the publicity for all 6 winning teams during production, on set and during post production meant that I had educate the media that this was a film event, not a film festival. Being a film event meant that the top 6 winning teams won THE RIGHT to have their films produced and edited in 8 days with in-kind sponsorship donations in the form of cash and equipment, rather than submitting finished films to win awards.

The teams were:

cypher-poster

CypherA coming of age hip hop story about a Korean American teenager who finds a platform to confront the pain of his past in LA’s underground hip hop scene following the 1992 riots.

anh-hung-poster

Anh Hung-a story of how sibling bonds are forever changed when a young girl discovers the truth of her family’s (and her older brother’s) activities outside the law.

the-prince-poster

The Prince-a young dancer and her uncle, an actor, struggle with their identity as Middle Eastern Canadians following a violent confrontation on public transit.

no-reservations-poster

No Reservations-a satirical take on pipelines where the roles of the homeowners and the oil/gas company executives are reversed.

Undertaker’s Son– A young man in an 1880s Western town is forced to confront some long buried feelings about family when he joins his father for his first day of work as a undertaker for the family business.

woodman-poster

WoodMan-A man made of wood befriends a woman online and comes to realize how some of the lies he’s been telling himself has kept him trapped for years.

Additionally, I was also responsible for working with the teams to develop the official press kits that properly reflected their experiences and positioned the proper ‘story hooks’ for each of the 6 films to mainstream and online local and international media. With this year’s group of films focused on subjects outside popular genres such as horror, LGBT, romance and straight up comedy, developing the PR campaign was less about pitching to genre-specific media and more about doing research into each media outlet and what the types of films the journalists/bloggers/podcasters usually reviewed and scheduled interviews for.

THE SOLUTION

public-relations-concept-in-the-pr-industry1

After conducting extensive research into key media outlets and influencers and the topics they covered, I focused on pitching all 6 teams based on 3 parameters:

  • The hooks/subject matter/genre of each film
  • The background/experience of the director/producer teams (ie. whether they’d won awards, notable projects they’d worked on)
  • The ages of the director/producer teams (as some media outlets skewed more towards audiences between the ages of 20-35)

Following these parameters, I pitched all 6 teams to select podcasts and blogs in Vancouver, New York, Toronto and Seattle along with local radio stations and newspapers. Over the course of the six weeks, I followed up with key media outlets through both email and conversations via social media and continue to pitch each film based on topics of interest. I also worked with the Vancouver Sun to set up an official production blog for all teams to blog about their experiences with Crazy8s and share their journeys from writing the scripts to location scouting and casting.

RESULTS

crazy8s-2017-opening-gala

Through story pitching and social media campaign management, I secured national and international press coverage for all 6 film teams and the film event including but not limited to: radio stations such as Roundhouse Radio and Co-op Radio in Vancouver, broadcast media outlets such as CBC Vancouver, Novus TV and Vancouver TV, podcast media such as Endeavours Radio and print media outlets such as The Georgia Straight.

National and international outlets include Under the Noise Podcast (New York), About to Review (Seattle), Never Sleeps Network (Toronto) and Short Film Fan (Toronto)

 

 

Be Your Own Storyteller: A Guide to Successful Inbound PR

In PR, conventional wisdom dictates that you do one of two things to get press in different areas for your clients, company or event: 1) draft a media kit, stocked with company/event backgrounders, info on the key people involved, PR releases and maybe photos and send them to a journalist covering that area OR 2) draft a traditional one-page PR release that details who, what, where, why and when, send it to the correct journalist and cross your fingers to hope for press.

There are 3 issues that come up with both these approaches: 1) Journalists don’t work off your promotional calendar. 2) Journalists need to give their readers what they’re looking for. 3) Journalists are absolutely drowning in pitches.

How does these 3 issues affect the media kit or the PR release you’ve sent the journalist of your choice? Let me elaborate on each of them individually so that you know understand why the traditional media kit or PR release doesn’t always work to get press.

First of all, the reporters you contact for press have their own deadlines and editorial calendars to work with. Chances are, they’re not waiting around for your press package announcing a new product or your company opening its doors. Secondly, journalists have a duty to tell a great story that’s newsworthy and relevant to their audiences and they may have a different angle or similar story to yours that has already been featured recently, which means they’ll pass on your story. And lastly, journalists are so inundated with traditional PR pitches on a daily basis that yours could easily get lost in the pile because your traditional pitch looks the same as 500 others.

So how do you go about standing out from the piles of PR releases? Here’s a list of awesome ideas to help you stand out from the crowd and build better relationships with media.

storytelling-marketing-speak

1) Craft a narrative your customers care about: A news story on your newest product, service or office is going to focus its implications on how it will affect your industry or geographical area, depending on the publication. What your customers and your audience care about the most is how your products, services or new location will benefit them. Does your product make running a business or lifestyle changes easier for them? Does a new location make customer service more seamless for them?

Releases should reflect how your customers think and talk about your products and company. Eliminate any nonsensical terms and flowery language that your customers won’t understand and speak to them in ways that they’ll respond to; instead of catering your releases and blog entries to impress reporters.

about-starbucks.png

2) Think outside the box: You might not have a big event or huge product announcement always on the horizon but there’s always an opportunity to get noticed.

Does your company do a fun scavenger hunt as a team-building event every year and raises funding for a local cause? Or maybe you have employee perks that are unheard of in your industry. It might not be immediately press-worthy, but by posting your own blog post on your website about it, you keep customers engaged and you drive traffic to your website.

Don’t be afraid to think beyond the usual for content formats as well. Use formats to your advantage. For example, when oneforty was bought by HubSpot, the PR release was formatted entirely in tweets, which caught the attention of the Wall Street Journal and many other outlets.

Skew the traditional PR release altogether and get your fun story across with an infographic or two or even a video.

When you’re trying to show that a senior VP at your company is an expert at a given topic, don’t pitch that to the reporters first. Publish a blog post with some of your VP’s insights and then send it to reporters so that they know it’s relevant.

Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun and don’t be afraid to be creative!

3) Create Awesome Content

The-Massive-YouTube-Beauty-Ecosystem

Typically, in a traditional PR release, you focus on applying the ‘who, what, where, why and when’ approach to content, which although informative, isn’t really all that exciting. Reporters are people just like you and they respond better to content that’s fun and exciting, not a bland template.

Focus on what makes your story unique and worth reading, make it shorter and more concise, maybe even add a few ‘Share This’ or ‘Tweet This’ links to encourage reporters to share your content.

Don’t wait around for reporters to take notice, get your company out there. Research a few high-profile industry blogs out there and see if you can guest post. That will help drive traffic to your website and result in potential media coverage because it establishes you as an authority in your field.

The first step in successful inbound PR is to learn how to tell your story first. That includes creating your own infographics, blog posts and whatever other fun content you want to generate attention. It’ll help you gain valuable traffic to your website and attract coverage.

Inbound Marketing that Journalists Will Thank You For

Journalists today unfortunately don’t have all the time in the world to research for story angles, find the right phone number or email to reach a publicist or your marketing team. So do what the best companies do: make it as lightning quick, easy and intuitive for journalists to get the info they need.

That’s why your website should have a press page containing the contact info of your media relations professional, company backgrounders, recent news etc. and any other associate materials a journalist would need. Some best practices for a press page include:

Provide real contact info: Give reporters the name and contact info of a real person that they can talk to rather than a generic company email. It shows that you care about the kind of response they’ll receive
Decode You ‘About Us’ section: Make sure the description of what your company does is crystal clear to journalists. Use illustrations or diagrams to showcase your business in visual terms if it becomes too lengthy to explain in words. If a reporter doesn’t understand what you do, there’s no way they’ll be able to explain it to their readers in an article, so keep it short, concise and specific.
Include profiles of your executive team: Most of the time, reporters want to know information about your CEO, CTO, CFO etc. are in order to develop stories. Provide high-res photos, bios, social media profiles and maybe a quote or two for reporters to investigate and reference. Having the info readily available makes it hassle-free for journalists to get the content they need.
Other helpful industry data: if a reporter is working on a story about your industry, chances are she will also need statistics and data to help capture market growth or trending topics. So putting a few industry stats and info about trending topics could make their lives easier and increase the likelihood that they will return to your website with a similar request in the future.
Add social media sharing buttons: Make it easier for employees, customers and media alike to share your news with the world. It’ll help the conversation start on social media about what your company’s up to.
Share your coverage: When your company is covered in an article or blog post, interviewed in a video or mentioned in print, post a link in it on your Press page. When you build a long list of coverage over the years, create a news coverage page so journalists know exactly where to go to find the buzz about you.

Building Relationships With Media

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First and foremost, respect their role. A journalist’s job is not to sell or promote your product no matter what outlet they write for. Their job is to capture relevant news for their outlet, tell a great story and make sure that they give a fair and reasonable assessment of your company, product or service. By recognizing that, you’ll get better results, manage expectations more carefully and build lasting relationships.

Make sure you’re also patient about reaching out to journalists. Only contact the ones that cover the area you want covered and only do so when you have something of value to offer them and their readers.

Here’s 5 Tactics You Can Use to Identify, Reach Out To & Engage With Journalists in Your Space

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1. Do Your Homework-You can usually find basic contact info for the reporters on their outlets contact pages for editorial staff or using the ‘contact me’ button at the top of a story. You can use Excel spreadsheets or Google Docs to build your lists. Make sure you include their contact info, a link to their recent coverage, Twitter/Facebook profiles and a short bio.
2. Leverage Social Media-Use Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to monitor how and when reporters are talking about topics in your industry and respond with helpful tips and links. You can use Hootsuite to create notification lists based on subjects you’d like to pitch to journalists to see when they’re talking about it.
3. Take Time to Personalize-Refer to the journalists you contact by name, take the time out to personalize your outreach as well. If you know they’d rather prefer a friendly email, send them one.
4. Test, Learn & Apply-By using a program such as MyEmma, Constant Contact or MailChimp to send your emails, you can see who opened your emails and track who clicked your links. You can also track which emails bounced or who didn’t open the email. It will help you plan your next steps on who to follow up with, with a second email and where you have to update contact info.
5. Give Before You Get-Add value when you contact the reporters-comment on their status updates, promote their content and maybe give them sneak peeks of your business. Media relationships are a two-way street, so make sure you offer them value.

Check back here every week to learn more about how to make the most out of Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest, create awesome inbound marketing content & get fans engaged! Read THIS to learn how to make the most of Twitter & Vine.

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Ads

With love in the air this month, how are you celebrating? Are you surfing online stores to find that perfect gift for the love of your life, making something by hand or just sitting down to a fantastic meal?

While I’m uncertain about what kind of surprises will come my way personally, I couldn’t help but be curious about how the world of advertising and business chooses to observe Valentine’s Day. After all, you see print ads in magazines, ads on network television and billboards all over every major city for holidays such as Christmas-what kind of ad campaigns would there be for Valentine’s Day?

After doing some research, I found more than few creative ads as well as a few heartwarming campaigns that have become some of my favourites that I would love to share with you all.

Without further ado… (in no particular order)here are some of best Valentine’s Day ads I’ve ever seen .

1. Watch Out. Love Is In The Air. (Heineken)

Love is in the Air-Heineken

Love is in the Air-Heineken

I chose this one because I love how the fog rising from the ice-cold bottle of Heineken forms the image of Cupid shooting an arrow. It’s somehow much more artistic than other beer ads I’ve seen and it definitely speaks to the theme of love without being too sentimental.

Original Link: designtaxi.com   

2. Levi’s

Valentine's-Levi's

Valentine’s-Levi’s

I like this one because it’s about more than selling a pair of jeans. It’s got some sex appeal, but more than that, it has some genuine affection in it. It’s also simplistic with no taglines or further imagery to obscure the visual of impulsive young love.

Original Link: Creatives in Love

3.  Love Needs  a bit of UpKeep(Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5)

Love Needs a bit of UpKeep-Wilkinson Sword

Love Needs a bit of UpKeep-Wilkinson Sword

Beyond being a reminder to the men in our lives to shave, the message in this ad is definitely true-and not just for Valentine’s Day either. We all have a tendency to forget that love isn’t just magic, that it doesn’t stay constant, nurtured or grow; if the people involved in the relationship don’t want to put in the time and the energy to make it work. It’s a lesson I learn every day, but every once in awhile,  it’s nice to have a reminder.

Original Link: Valentine’s Day Campaigns

4. A perfect day to try out a few new positions (Toyota)

New Positions-Toyota

New Positions-Toyota

This tough-in-cheek ad from Toyota is naughty without going overboard and it also reminds to spice up our love lives every once in awhile. And guess what, you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to do that either.

Original Link: Creatives in Love

 5. Mother Nature please, the room is already paid (Tampax)

Mother Nature-Tampax

Mother Nature-Tampax

Speaking as a woman (without going into details), I will say that it’d be absolutely amazing if an occasion such as Valentine’s Day could control this aspect of life. The ad message gives it a little attitude, a little spunk AND it definitely reinforces the notion of not letting anything-even Mother Nature- stop you from having a good time.

Original Link: Valentine’s Day Campaigns

6. Oops, I Forgot Valentine’s Day Again! (Miller Genuine Draft)

I Forgot Valentine's Day Again-Miller Genuine Draft

I Forgot Valentine’s Day Again-Miller Genuine Draft

I love this one, not only because it’s creative, funny and sweet, but because it’s a genuine effort on the part of one significant other in the relationship to make up for missing Valentine’s Day. The idea of a personalized coupon book makes for a great actual Valentine’s Day gif, too. I should know, I made my sweetheart one for our first Valentine’s Day together.

Original Link: Creatives in Love

7. Love is the language that unites people. English is what translates (Wise Up Intelligent English)

Love is the language that unites us all-Wise Up Intelligent English

Love is the language that unites us all-Wise Up Intelligent English

This one is adorable and so very true. You don’t have to speak the same language or be from the same culture to be in love. Love is a universal language after all and it can bring all kinds of people together. This one in particular also speaks to me because the boy is Chinese, which is my culture. My partner’s cultural background is also in Eastern Europe, Ukrainian, actually and being able to reconcile the two and have a mix of both in our relationship is a source of new discoveries for us both.

Original Link: Valentine’s Day Campaigns

8. I just called to say I love you (Brasil Telecom)

I just called to say I love you-Brasil Telecom

I just called to say I love you-Brasil Telecom

For anyone who has ever had to spend Valentine’s Day or any significant chunk of time away from their loved one, this ad will definitely speak to you. Even just a short phone call is enough to show that you care. I’ve phoned my sweetheart in the past and received phone calls. It doesn’t have to be a large extravagant gift, it’s the thought and the effort that counts.

Original Link: Creatives in Love

9. Happy Valentine’s Day (Nutrient Water)

Happy Valentine's Day-Nutrient Water

Happy Valentine’s Day-Nutrient Water

The various poses of those having fun, in love and experiencing so much joy paint a simple picture. To be in love, happy and healthy is the best feeling in the world. After all, if you’re not healthy, how can you enjoy yourself? Using people in various poses to spell out the words was creative and I definitely commend Nutrient Water for that.

Original Link: Valentine’s Day Campaigns

10. Valentine’s Day is no time to be apart (Wonderbra)

Valentine's Day Is No Time to Be Apart-Wonderbra

Valentine’s Day Is No Time to Be Apart-Wonderbra

This naughty ad does make a good point without being too overboard in the risqué department. Valentine’s Day is a time to spend with the love of your life. But in what capacity, is up to you.

Original Link: Creatives in Love

Some old favourites I couldn’t resist adding…

This next one isn’t really an ad…but it does have to do with Valentine’s Day and it’s one of the sweetest things I’ve seen.

Valentine’s Day-Google

This one happens to be an ad, but a TV ad rather than a print one and it is definitely my top favourite from Super Bowl 2010.

Parisian Love-Google

New Year, New Look, New Services-& Some Brand New Content!

Happy 2013!

Happy 2013 to you and yours in Vancouver & Victoria!

With a new year, there are many new and exciting changes to In Retrospect Writing Services!

New Sophisticated & User-Friendly Design

I’ve created a new design and layout that better reflects the In Retrospect brand and it also looks more sophisticated and more user-friendly for all of my readers to navigate my blog. It wasn’t my intention originally, but the color scheme also fits with the winter season, the holidays and the New Year, so I hope you all enjoy!

Up-To-Date Portfolio, Media & Info Pages

On to all the new and updated pages, all linked and up for viewing on the navigation menu.  For those of you who have read about how In Retrospect Writing Services got started and about me, I’ve updated both sections with a short and sweet story on how everything came to be.

I’ve updated my list of clients and portfolio to reflect the latest projects I’ve worked on AND the list of publications I’ve written for is constantly expanding as I work to build up my experience in the media industry and magazine publishing.

Brand-New Services

With a new year comes a desire to focus on providing new services and expertise.  I will continue to offer clients my expertise in copywriting, social media and blogging. But I’m also expanding my focus to include the bigger picture of strategic planning, public relations consulting, corporate communications, project and event management.

Not only can my clients trust me to create marketing collateral, blog posts, websites and social media status updates, I will be offering them my experience and skills in creating strategic communications and public relations plans as well as marketing strategies. I will manage, develop, implement and execute each project from beginning to end; not just one website, one status update or one campaign, but the entire marketing picture.

Brand New Content

This year, in addition to blogging about my experiences, my travels and events on everything related to tourism, food & wine and interior design/architecture; I’ll also be focusing on marketing tips for businesses, top ten ad campaigns and reviewing business books and other publications.

Posts will be done, to the best of my ability, twice a month with each month featuring a marketing/business related post as well as a fun post on food, travel, events or interior design. Here are some examples of posts that I’m working on:

  • Top 10 Sports Ad Campaigns
  • Common Misconceptions About the Communications Industry (And Those In It)
  • Top 5 Dishes & Spirits I’ve Tasted in Victoria-Not in a Restaurant
  • Top 5 Associations to Network In No Matter What Industry You’re In
  • Discover Little Known Secrets As a Tourist in Your Home Town

Stay tuned for more exciting news, content and tips for your businesses as well as fun events, experiences and topics from all around BC, especially Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland!

Coming Soon…….New Year’s Resolutions in Marketing for Businesses

Thanks for reading and keep your eye on In Retrospect Writing Services for more exciting projects, content and news this year!

—Lilian

February 2012 Issue of the Village Vibe Is Out: Good Deeds and Good Health Go Hand in Hand @ Fernwood Yoga Den

The February issue of the Village Vibe is now out and in this issue, I interviewed Lola Storry and Rachel Sadava on their new yoga studio, Fernwood Yoga Den.

I’m not a yoga practitioner by all means, but Lola and Rachel’s enthusiasm won me over and their approach to yoga is different from anything I’ve ever heard of.  Their experiences and their focus on providing yoga to people with mental health issues and who are recovering from trauma is both inspiring and it’s created a niche in the yoga marketplace.

I really enjoyed talking to the girls about the studio and this article managed to make it on to the front page of this issue!

I hope you enjoy reading it, because I certainly enjoy writing it and I’m definitely proud of it. 🙂

-Lilian

February Issue of the Village Vibe