Masters Update

Been an intriguing tournament so far, and there was some great shot-making today, led by Phil Mickelson’s eagle-eagle-birdie run on 13, 14 and 15; the second eagle courtesy of a 140-yard chip shot.

That stunning five-shot turnaround propelled Mickelson ahead of second-round leader Lee Westwood. But the plucky Limey rallied and ended the round with a one-stroke lead at 12 under par. Tiger Woods, after a great start on opening day, looked to be on the verge of slipping out of contention with putting woes until he ran off a string of three birdies on 13, 14 and 18.

Going into the final round, Woods sits four strokes back.  He’ll be paired tomorrow with South Korea’s K J Choi in the second-last group before Mickelson and Westwood tee off. Choi also sits at minus 8. And one stroke back of them is Fred Couples. At 50, the affable tour veteran is bidding to become the oldest champion in Masters history.

Has the potential to be a great final round, I think.

Pick of the Day: Jake’s Gift

This is a fundraiser for the 2010 Regina International Fringe Festival which runs this summer from July 2-6. Featured is a performance of Julia Mackey’s award-winning one-woman play about an elderly Canadian WWII veteran who returns to Juno Beach near Normandy in 2004 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

Jake’s Gift played to sold-out audiences at the the 2009 RIFF. Tonight’s performance is at the Royal Sask Museum. There’s a reception at 7 p.m., followed by the performance at 8 p.m. Tix are $30 at the door. For more info call 527-2732.   

Musicwise, there’s a couple of CD releases tonight. At the Club, Tyler Gilbert is debuting his new disc. Performing on the same bill are the Co-Accused and Rajina. Next door at the Exchange, there’s a CD release by Winoski & Horn. At the Fainting Goat Restaurant Joelle Fuller is playing. Finally, at the Distrikt, Crash Karma is playing. It’s a Canadian supergroup of sorts, featuring members of I Mother Earth, Our Lady Peace and the Tea Party. Read the Leader-Post piece in Thursdays paper. Found the quote from Edwin about there being no egos in the band  a little tough to believe.

Blue Jay Banter

How about those Blue Jays? Led by a redhot Vernon Wells (pictured), who in the team’s first four games has batted .500 with seven hits in fourteen at bats, four homers, and seven rbi. Pitching has been inconsistent, although starter Ricky Romero and reliever Kevin Gregg have both had strong outtings. The Jays stole one against Baltimore today, but they let one slip away on opening day against Texas thanks to a shaky Jason Frasor. Pre-season prognosticators predicted the Jays, who are in definite rebuilding mode, might lose as many as 100 games this year. After four games, they sit at 3-1 and in first place in the ultra-competitive AL East. 

 I don’t expect it to last. But thus far the Jays look capable of playing exciting, competitive ball. At this point in their development, what more can you ask for?

Pick of the Day: Barbara Powell Lecture

Hosted by the Humanities Research Institute, this year’s lecture at the University of Regina (Education Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.) is being delivered by Indiana University professor Mark Roseman. An expert on recent Jewish and modern German history, Roseman’s talk is titled: Making Sense of Mass Murder: Holocaust Perpetrators in Perspective.

Mass murder comes in many different forms, I suppose. There’s serial killers, terrorists, people who commit multiple homocides in a short period as with a school shooting. Judging from the title of his talk, Roseman intends to focus on state-sanctioned acts of mass murder.

The Holocaust is probably the most notorious example, at least in recent history. But in the 20th century alone there’s been numerous other state-sponsored genocides. Some that come to mind include the Ottoman Empire’s attack on ethnic Armenians in the latter stages of WWI; Soviet purges of Ukrainian nationals in the inter-war period; Mao’s campaign to suppress counterrevolutionaries following the 1948 Communist Revolution in China; the Khmer Rouge’s massacre of millions of Cambodians in the 1960s; the Rwandan genocide in the mid-90s; and ethnic cleansing that occurred during the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the same decade.

Realistically, I don’t think you can ever make sense of mass murder. At least to the extent of justifying or rationalizing it. That’s not Roseman’s intention, of course. Rather, I suspect he’s interested in delving into the darker side of the human psyche and determining what it is that drives large collectives of people, whether through active or tacit means, to commit such heinous atrocities.

Should be an enlightening, albeit disturbing, evening. 

Musicwise, Foam Lake is at O’Hanlon’s Pub (the band, not the town) with Shulyer Jansen and poet Patrick Swan in support. And earlier at the Club, The Maddigans are playing with Everyone Everywhere and So Next Week backing them up.

Pick of the Day: Lullabye Arkestra

Got a tired kid on your hands? Looking for a way to get them to fall asleep. Do not — I repeat — do not take them to see this show at the Exchange tonight. Because if you do, rather than pacify them, you’ll turn them into a mosh pit-crazed demon.

Based in Toronto, Lullabye Arkestra (pictured) are a husband and wife duo. Manning the drums is Justin Small, while Kat Taylor-Small plays bass.  Both chip in on vocals, giving them a sound that Pitchfork described in a recent review of their CD Threats/Worship as an “unholy alliance between sweaty 1960s Stax soul and ’80s hardcore speed metal”. To get you in the mood to rock out here’s the video for their song “We Fuck the Night”(YouTube)

Also on tonight, there’s a launch for three books of poetry being published by Thistledown Press. It’s at the German Club (1727 St. John) at 7:30 p.m. Featured will be Bernadette Wagner (This Hot Place), Andrew Stubbs (Endgames) and Sharon Plumb (Draco’s Children).

Also the Tansley Lecture and Thistledown Press Book Launch

Pick of the Day: Spring Needle Cleanup

Not exactly the social event of the year, admittedly. But unfortunately a sad reality of modern life.  According to organizers at Street Project, throughout Saskatchewan various needle exchange programs handed out around 4 million needles to 5000 injection drug users in 2009. Doing so helps limit the spread of blood-borne diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C in the province.

In a perfect world, of course, people wouldn’t use injection drugs. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Neither do we even live in a world where governments proactively embrace proven harm-reduction strategies like safe-injection sites. Far from it, in fact. Thus, the need for events like this.

With the snow now virtually gone, volunteers are gathering today to sweep through the Core and North-Central areas to remove used needles that had been discarded over the winter. If you’re free for a few hours and want to volunteer call 766-7799.

Also on tonight is Combat Improv at the Exchange where local improv artists will assemble at 8:30 p.m. to practice their craft.

Pick of the Day: Zachary Lucky

Not a hugely busy night for stuff going on in Regina, but I did dig up this concert at the Club by Saskatchewan-based singer-songwriter Zachary Lucky. I don’t know a ton about him, other than that he tours a fair bit, and that he has roots in rural Saskatchewan. Here’s video of him performing his song “Tired Words” in Dauphin awhile back. (YouTube)

Backing Lucky up is Edmonton-based singer-songwriter Amy Seeley (pictured) who lists among her influences Tori Amos, Iron & Wine and Sufjan Stevens. The paino appears to be her instrument of choice.

Should be a nice quiet night of quality music.

Pick of the Day: Franklin & the Noble Knights

I’m jumping the gun a bit with this post because the show at Conexus Arts Centre isn’t actually until tomorrow. But because it’s a 3:30 p.m. matinee I thought I’d provide all our loyal readers with an an advance heads-up.

Tuesday’s production day for our April 8 issue, which will be jammed with info on all the rank stuff that’s been happening lately with repect to Project Hero, SCN, provincial budget cutbacks and whatnot, not to mention news on a much anticipated CD release by a popular Regina band and a performance at New Dance Horizons, soI won’t be able to catch this live-action version of the popular kids TV show, but I’ll definitely be there in spirit.

When I was a grub many moons ago, I and my siblings actually had two turles as pets. We named them Herman (after the Munster family patriarch) and Harriet, although I don’t think their gender was ever definitely determined. We used to feed them raw hamburger and take them for walks in the grass in the summer time.

This was back before all the fuss about pet turtles being a vector for spreading salmonella  to children. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, it’s illegal now for small turtles to be sold as pet. So tykes today, if they’re in need of a turtle fix, have had to resort to TV shows like Franklin.

Not quite the same as owning an living/breathing turtle, admittedly, but then the likelihood of catching salmonella from a cartoon turtle is virtually nill. Unless you let your kids are snack on under-cooked chicken/eggs while they’re watching Franklin, that is.

F.Y.I.

See they’ve started installing traffic lights on 11th Ave facing west between Albert and Broad in preparation for it being converted to two-way traffic later this year as part of the Downtown Neighbourhood Plan. I noticed that when I was out for a stroll this afternoon. I know it was windy, but jeez there sure was a lot of garbage blowing around.

Duke vs. Butler

Don’t know a freaking thing about Butler University or the University of Butler, or whatever it’s called. Not the city/state it’s located in. How big its student body might be. Or who some of its famous alumni are. But tomorrow night its NCAA Men’s Basketball team will take to the court in Indianapolis to battle traditional NCAA Men’s Basketball powerhouse Duke University for the 2009-10 championship.

This is a match-up that couldn’t possibly have been predicted at the outset of the 64 team tournament . But with upsets abounding (Hello Kansas, Hello Kentucky, Hello Syracuse, etc) Duke vs. Butler is what we’ve got. If Butler does the improbable and wins (they’re currently seven point underdogs) someone in Hollywood will be making a movie about their title drive in a few years time guaranteed.

Tip off is at 7:21 p.m.

Pick of the Day: Big Fan

With major league baseball kicking off its 2010 season tonight, and CFL teams gearing up for the opening of training camp in two months time, I decided to make Big Fan my pick-of-the-day. It’s written by Robert Siegel, who scripted The Wrestler, and stars Patton Oswalt as a New Yorker who crosses over the line from fan to fanatic in his obsessive love for the local NFL team the Giants.

Later this fall, as part of celebrations surrounding the Saskatchewan Roughriders 100th anniversary the Dunlop Art Gallery is planning an exhibition on the nature of fandom in this age of celebrity and spectacle. Should be a provocative show. For a taste of what’s to come, check out Big Fan. It screens at the RPL Theatre tonight at 7 p.m. Here’s the trailer. (YouTube)

And if you’re up for a double-bill, Veit Helmer’s Absurdistan screens at 9 p.m. The film, which is in Russian with English subtitles, qualifies as a romantic comedy, although it’s setting (an Afghanistan-style town where the women go on a sex strike to motivate the men to work harder to improve their community) is not exactly typical of the genre. Neither does it star Jennifer Aniston and/or Vince Vaughn. Here’s the trailer. (YouTube)

Pick of the Day: Articulate Ink

This was a bit of a tough call, I must admit, as also on tap for today is an appearance by legendary cheesemeister Michael Bolton at Casino Regina. But ultimately, I decided to go with the opening reception at the Exchange for a show of prints by this Regina-based collective. With contributions from three artists — Michelle Brownridge, Amber Dalton and Caitlin Mullan — Articulate Ink is a relative newcomer to Regina’s arts scene. The goal of its founders is to  develop a thriving printmaking culture in the city through the creation of an accessible, environmentally-friendly printmaking facility.

Tonight’s reception begins at 8 p.m., and will feature a set by the local band The Bystanders at 9 p.m. The show itself will run at the 8-Track Gallery until June 10.

Pick of the Day: Jason Collett

If you check out the cover story in our March 25 issue by James Brotheridge you’ll find pretty much all you need to know about this concert at the Exchange by Jason Collett, Zeus (pictured) and Bahamas. Here’s a link to the story.

Also on tonight are gigs by B.A. Johnson and the Jump Off at O’Hanlon’s Pub. At the Club, Wax Mannequin is playing with the Burning Hell backing them up. Finally, Korn is headlining a show that, because of the demand for tickets, has been moved from the Agribition Building to Brandt Centre. Special guests for tonight’s show are Five Finger Death Punch and Still Well.

As promised in my 14 Days Top Six blurb in our March 25 issue, here’s a video that references that classic Korn appearance in a South Park Hallowe’en episode a few years back. (YouTube)

News Flash Update!

For everyone out there who doubted the veracity of my earlier post about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban flying into Regina today to discuss the possibility of erecting a $760 million domed stadium in downtown Regina, I’ve subsequently learned that should the project proceed U.S. mega-starlet Jessica Simpson (pictured) has announced plans via a tweet on TMZ to move to Saskatchewan and start dating Rider QB Darian Durant.

How cool would that be?

Pick of the Day: Clark and I Somewhere Else In Connecticutt

This is the second installment in Curtain Razor’s Moveable Feast performance series. Unlike the first one, the wildly successful Haircuts By Children that ran at the Room in early March, no one who attends will be getting their ears lowered or otherwise having their appearance altered. What they will do is be treated to a provocative piece of theatre by Vancouver-based Rumble Productions & Theatre Replacement.

Clark and I Somewhere in Connecticutt is inspired by an act of salvage by James Long in 2005, when he discovered seven photo albums and travel journals in an alley near his east Vancouver home. Along with several friends and colleagues, he subsequently embarked on a quest to discover the origins of the material, which essentially documented a family’s history between 1950-87.

The work is being presented at the MacKenzie Art Gallery tonight and Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Tix are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $12 for students. For more info call 522-0080.

Also on tonight is a gig by local indie-folk rockers the Lonesome Weekends at O’Hanlon’s Pub. Backing them up is the dark and moody local solo act the Lambtadas. As well, Intergalactic Virgin is playing at the OUTside Club at 2070 Broad.

News Flash!

Tout Riderville is abuzz with the rumour that renegade Dallas sports franchise owners Jerry Jones (who helms the NFL’s Cowboys) and Mark Cuban (who owns the NBA’s Mavericks) are scheduled to fly into Regina later today to discuss the possibility of joining forces to build a $760 million domed stadium in the heart of downtown Regina. The stadium, which would be the new home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, would be modelled on the $1.3 billion gem (pictured) Jones built in Arlington, Texas to house his beloved ‘Boys. It opened in 2009.

Like the dome that local movers and shakers like Regina Chamber of Commerce head honcho John Hopkins, Rider CEO Jim Hobson and the Regina Hotel Association have been championing, Cowboys Stadium features a retractable roof. Because of the longer CFL field and endzones, the proposed Regina dome would actually occupy more land than Cowboys Stadium. That would boost construction costs somewhat, but that would be offset by cost savings arising from the Regina dome’s smaller size (39,000 seats vs. Cowboy Stadium’s 80,000). As well, the giant HDTV that hangs above the field (which in Arlington stretches nearly 60 yards from one 20-yard line to the other) wouldn’t be quite so big.

When contacted, officials for both Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall declined to comment on whether the rumour is true. If it is, then Jones and Cuban are supposed to fly into Regina International Airport on the latter’s private jet this afternoon to discuss specifics of the proposed project.

In building Cowboys Stadium, Jones received significant financial assistance from Arlington taxpayers. Jones and Cuban are expected to seek similar concessions from the municipal and provincial governments before committing to a deal here.

Still, the duo are said to be keen on the idea of building the stadium. Not only are they anxious to become players in Saskatchewan’s booming economy, they’re also salivating at the prospect of exploiting the natural marketing tie-in between the Cowboys, who have long been dubbed “America’s Team” because of their popularity state-side; and the Riders, who enjoy similar popularity among CFL fans in Canada.

Stay tuned for more on this story as the day unfolds.

Roughrider Documentary Now In Doubt

For all the SCN-haters out there, and general anti-government types who, judging from the comments they’ve been posting on various websites in relation to the SCN story, want a personal veto on every tax dollar spent by governments in Canada, you might want to check out the lead story in today’s Leader-Post sports section. It’s on preparations that are underway in Regina and across Saskatchewan to celebrate the Saskatchewan Roughriders centennial in 2010. In his article, Ian Hamilton notes, and I quote, that a one-hour documentary on the Roughriders had been in the works, but “its status has been muddied by the recent closure of SCN.”

Gee, maybe SCN isn’t quite as irrelevant and inconsequential in our million channel TV universe as you’ve made it out to be? Here’s a link to Hamilton’s story. And don’t forget, there’s a rally at noon today in front of CBC on Broad St. to protest the station’s closure.

Pick of the Day: These Three Cities

Playing at the Club tonight is the Toronto-based pop rock quintet These Three Cities. I don’t know a ton about them, other than that they’ve been around since 2006. Founding members include Jeff Beadle (vocals, guitar) and Matt Rocca (keys), and their debut EP was called Kickapoo Joy Juice. If  their press material is accurate, they have a full-length CD that’s set to be released this summer. Other members of the band include Mike Speer (drums), Troy Williams (guitar, vocals) and Charles Dumaresq (bass). Here’s video for an acoustic version of their song “All Sewn Up” (YouTube)

Pick of the Day: Hedley

I was out in Victoria when this tour, which also features Boys Like Girls, Stereos and Fefe Dobson, touched down last week. Overall, the concert got a lukewarm review in the Times-Colonist, with the three back-up acts being singled out for special criticism for the generic brand of pop-punk that they favour. The reviewer wasn’t a huge fan of Hedley (pictured) either, but did concede that they brought a degree of professionalism and energy to the stage that made their performance at least moderately engaging. Teeny boppers will abound at this gig at Brandt Centre tonight, so be forewarned.

If you’re 19+, you might prefer to check out a gig by Captain Keenan at the Cathedral Village Freehouse. Fronted by Winnipeg-based brothers Patrick and Tom Keenan, the band also includes bassist Joey Penner and drummer Kelly Castle. The brothers have been active in the Winnipeg music community since the mid-90s. You might remember them from the rock band Jubal.  Both have also recently released solo CDs. Patrick’s is titled Washed Out Roads while Tom’s is called Romantic Fitness. I’ve given both a listen. Lyric-wise, they’re strong, and their roots-rock sound should benefit from being revved up a bit in live performance.

In addition to being a musician, Tom also works as an actor. In our February 25 issue, in fact, we previewed a movie that was screening at the RPL in which he had a starring role. Here’s a link to the article.