Love Ranch has the air of a docu-drama. But it’s actually straight fiction. It does, however, offer some insight into the rise of legalized brothels in Nevada in the mid-1970s.

Currently in Ontario, a group of sex trade workers are embroiled in a legal fight to have prostitution decriminalized. That’s not a popular position, I know, and it does give rise to all sorts of moral and legal questions. In the summer of 2009 I spoke with Valerie Scott, head of the Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC) for an article I did on the court challenge. It was SPOC’s position that laws related to keeping a common bawdy house, living off the avails and communicating for the purposes of prostitution force people who work in the industry to operate in sketchy areas of cities. That may put them out of sight, and perhaps even out of mind for many citizens, but it also exposes them to all sorts of violence and abuse. That, in turn, violates their constitutional right to safety and security.

Love Ranch is set in the mid-70s. It stars Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci as a husband and wife team who opened and operated one of the first legal brothels on a ranch outside Reno. The film screens at the RPL tonight at 7 p.m.  Here’s the trailer. And for more on SPOC here’s a link to their website. If you visit the latter, you’ll learn that the Ontario Superior Court is supposed to deliver a decision on its constitutional challenge in the next few days.

Also on tonight, the Pats open the home portion of their 2010-11 season with a game at Brandt Centre against the perennially tough Brandon Wheat Kings. After missing the playoffs for the last two years, the Pats have a lot of room for improvement. Missing are big guns like Jordan Eberle and Colten Teubert. In the off-season, long-time GM Brent Parker stepped down and was replaced by former Moose Jaw Warrior boss Chad Lang.

The Pats struggled during the pre-season. And frankly, I don’t see them doing well this year. In some preseason forecasts, they were picked to finish in 21st spot out of 22 teams in the WHL. But that doesn’t mean they can’t lay the groundwork for future success in seasons to come. For that to happen, though, they’ll have to shed their rep for being chronic underachievers and start playing as a true team and not a collection of often talented, but undedicated, individuals.  Game time tonight is  7 p.m. Tix are Adults $17, Senior $14, Student & Disabled $8. 543-7800.