Blog

Regina A Winner, According To The Sumner Brothers

The Sumner Brothers enjoyed playing in Regina and seem like rad dudes.

The Sumner Brothers play the ExchangePlenty of bands send out an e-mail before they play in a city. Few e-mail after.

The Sumner Brothers, a Vancouver folk group, opened for the Deep Dark Woods on Saturday, March 6 at the Exchange. A few days after, they sent out an e-mail with the subject line “Regina Wins!”

The e-mail said:

We really had a great time @ The Exchange. The crowd, never having heard us before was so welcoming, made us feel right at home. So thank-you for that. And the late night Denny’s was a good time too…If you ever wanna see some shit get weird…yeah.

We hope to see you all again real soon Regina Folks. Until then take good care, and come say hello on facebook & myspace and all that.

I couldn’t make it out to this show, unfortunately, but it’s always great to see a band enthused about having played in Regina. Rock on, Sumner Brothers!

Rosie LaRose’s Top 6: Sask Party Oopsies, Government Spending, Chiropractors

1 SASK PARTY’S 9-11 BOO-BOO  Nancy Hoeppner, you should be Keith Olberman’s next Worst Person In The World. Oh, if you were only important enough (Globe and Mail).

2 YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK Yes, the Conservatives really watch government spending … (Toronto Star)

3 RECALIBRATION MY AUNT FANNY We don’t seem to like anybody. My bet is that the federal Liberals are waiting for Justin Trudeau to run for the leadership. (Globe and Mail).

4 TOUGH ON CRIME? SURE… Let me get this straight.  A male who’s not white gets pulled over by the cops after speeding and drinking while driving and doesn’t get tasered? And Rahim Jaffer gets charges of cocaine possession dropped? So much for Stephen Harer’s tough-on-crime, tough-on-drugs philosophy … (Toronto Star) Meanwhile, Buckdog the Saskatchewan blogger takes a trip down Memory Lane With Jaffer … (Buckdog)

5 REMEMBER WHEN SASKATCHEWAN WASN’T BROKE? Chiropractors in the province do … (CBC Saskatchewan)

6 NO RELATION AT ALL  Seriously. (CBC)

Pick of the Day: EDAM

In my 14 Days top six in our Feb. 25 print issue I promised video of this Vancouver dance troupe. I opted not to follow through on that. Instead, I’ve posted a great still photo to give you a sense of what EDAM is like.

Tonight and Friday night at the Jacqui Shumiatcher Room, Conexus Arts Centre at 8 p.m. the troupe will be performing two works choreographed by Peter Bingham. Bingham is a master at what is known as “contact improvisation”. That’s a form of dance that, to quote the press release, “emphasizes flow and the cooperative exchange of weight between partners.”

Our society doesn’t exactly have a huge comfort level with physical intimacy. Especially as Canadians, we like to keep our distance. Contact improv is certainly one way of disrupting that convention.

Bingham has headed EDAM since 1989. Here, his company will be performing Slip and Basement Suite in D Minor. The former is a duet in both dance and music forms, with a pianist and cellist (Linda Bardutz of Saskatoon) performing a composition by Bach. In Basement Suite, meanwhile, dancers improvise to the shifting moods and inherent mathematics of the music.

Also tonight, the Nash Memorial Lecture is on at Campion College at the University of Regina at 7:30 p.m. Speaking is Geoffrey Williams on The Incarnation and the Stories We Live By. There’s also a Coffehouse Controversy at Chapters at 7:30 p.m. Speaking is Nicholas Jones on Canada, a Safe Haven for Perpetrators of International Crimes? Musically, Zerben is at O’Hanlon’s Pub with Dagan Harding; Zachary Lucky, Andy Shauf and the Bravest Ghost are at the Club; and Redbeard’s Rolling Stone tribute is at McNally’s. Finally, there’s a performance by the renown vocal ensemble The Vancouver Chamber Choir with conductor Jon Washburn at Christ Lutheran Church (4825 Dewdney Ave) at 7:30 p.m.  Tix are $20 at the door.

Review: Under the Dome

Stephen King's Under the Dome
Stephen King's latest novel, Under the Dome

Like a lot of people, I first heard about Under the Dome, Stephen King’s latest novel, because of its door-stop size, a staggering 1,074 pages. However, what sold me on the novel early on was the cover.

With Just After Sunset, King had moved away from terrible illustrated covers like he had for Cell and Duma Key. Originally, King had wanted the Under the Dome cover to have no text on it at all, but even with his name and the title on the front and the spine, the image is suitably epic for a book of this scope (though Whitworth, being the contrarian Hater that he is, wasn’t impressed when I showed it to him).

Under the Dome‘s Chester’s Mill is a Maine town put under a bubble. A barrier drops down over the town, cutting it off from the rest of the U.S.A. The immediate effects are calamatous – a plane explodes against the barrier, cars crash into it, and body parts severed.

In the wake, “Big” Jim Rennie, the town’s second selectman, starts making moves to consolidate his power. At the same time, Dale Barbara, sometimes-drifter, Iraq-war vet, and the hero of the novel, is tapped by the military to try and keep things under control while the Dome is still up.

Of course, things are never under control. This is a Stephen King novel, after all.

The human reaction to this mysterious confinement is the focus of King’s novel. There’s nothing supernatural to the real horrors of this book. Ignorance rules and drives people to turn against those who were once their friends through self-centeredness or mob mentality.

A lot of seemingly-awful characters are fleshed out and made more sympathetic as the novel goes on. Rennie, however, is mostly a constant. He’s the only one who approaches big-E Evil over the course of the book. A lot of the terrible events following the graphic set-up of the Dome is due to the monster of Rennie’s ambition. If you wanted to find a critique in this book, it would be in the ignorant, exclusionary, and power-hungry desires of Big Jim.

RPL Open House

Tonight from 6:30-8:30 p.m. the Regina Public Library will be holding an open house at the Core Ritchie Neighbourhood Centre (445-14th Ave) to gather input from area residents and other interested Reginans on design concepts for the new Prince of Wales branch. To help create a cluster of community services in a convenient location, the new library will be built as an addition to the Core Ritchie Neighbourhood Centre (that’s a photographic rendering of the new facility above). Construction is expected to begin later this year.  For more info call 777-6114.

Six In The Morning: Science, Sanctions, Aussie Creeps, Corey

I’m out of the office today after a fun, character-building working weekend and long-ish Monday and Tuesday. Hooray for me! But just because I’m not there doesn’t mean there’s no news to post links to. The news does not stop because one dude has a time-in-lieu Wednesday. And Dog Blog hungers for news. This dog must be fed!

1 TRY DOING YOUR FANCY CLIMATE SCIENCE WITHOUT MONEY, FREELOADERS The Conservative government, which either doesn’t believe in or doesn’t care about climate change, has effectively destroyed an important climate research team. (Globe And Mail) Yeah. This is the Tories: “You can’t bother us with your “science” if we take your money away, nyah nyah.”

2 FSIN/FNUniv DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT, FINALLY The Federation  of Saskatchewan Indian Nations asks the U of R to manage its money. Time to restore funding. (CBC)

3 AUSSIE THUGS BEAT CANADIAN IN WHEELCHAIR Assholes! (Toronto Star)

4 ANOTHER STADIUM PITCH Read all about it. (Leader-Post)

5 LOG ON… TO FREEDOM! The United States removes Internet sanctions on several countries including Cuba. (Guardian)

6 RIP COREY HAIM Drug addiction sucks. (TMZ)

Pick of the Day: Medea

 

This play, which is being presented by the University of Regina Theatre Department from March 10-13, is based on Euripedes’ ancient Greek tragedy, but it’s an adaptation by American philosopher and writer Robinson Jeffers. It was written in the early 1940s, and became a Broadway hit starring Dame Judith Anderson. Jeffers was a definite character. D.H. Lawrence, the Englishman who authored such classics of erotic fiction like Lady Chatterly’s Lover and Sons and Lovers, was a close friend. He lived in a stone house in Carmel, Calif that he built himself and named Tor House and Hawk Tower. He was an outdoorsman extraordinaire.

With Medea, Jeffers had a great story to work with. Most people are probably familiar with the story of Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece. Well, when Jason returns home to his wife Medea after being away for years, he quickly dumps her and takes up with King Creon’s daughter Glauce. Pissed, Medea proceeds to exact revenge.

To get the juice of ancient Greek legends flowing for this four-day run of Jeffers’ play here’s the trailer for the classic 1963 adventure flick Jason & the Argonauts with stop-motion special effects by Ray Harreyhausen. (YouTube)

Also at the university tonight there’s the 2010 Stapleford Lecture. It’s in the Rex Schneider Auditorium at Luther College. Speaking at 7:30 p.m. is Dr. Anne Doig, president of the Canadian Medical Association. The title of her talk is Quality Care For Patients, Above All. It’s related to an initiative the CMA has undertaken to develop a Patient Quality Charter to promote  patient-centred care.

And at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the first night of the Sakewewak Storytellers’ Festival kicks off with a world music concert produced by Ramses Calderon and featuring musicians Sam Minevich, Michel Medrano and Carter Powley. The Festival switches to the Performing Arts Centre then. March 11 it’s Stories From St. Laurent by Yvonne Chartrand and Marie Clements. March 12: Urban Poetz, an aboriginal hip hop showcase. Both start at 8 p.m. Finally, March 13 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. there’s a forum on traditional knowledge.

City Council Wrap Up: Sewer Bugs and Infrastructure Woes

Infrastructure was the big topic of discussion at last night’s council meeting. Not only was the Water and Sewer Utility budget considered and passed, but Mayor Fiacco gave a summary of discussions that took place at the recent Big City Mayors Caucus meeting in Moncton which were focused on Canada’s growing infrastructure deficit.

According to Fiacco, Canadian cities are labouring under a $123 billion infrastructure deficit. The potholes everyone was complaining about during the election are just one symptom of the problem. Sewers, water pipes, streetlights, sidewalks and roads: it’s all in bad repair. And as Fiacco pointed out, that $123 billion only represents how much municipalities are falling behind. The federal and provincial governments also have their own infrastructure deficits to deal with.

To begin the process of working out a solution to the impending doom by imploding sewer pipes that most cities are facing, Fiacco is spearheading an Infrastructure Summit to be held in Regina from January 26 to 28 in 2011. His idea was unanimously approved by the Big City Mayors and several municipalities have offered to help out. And at last night’s meeting, Regina’s council confirmed the dates.

Continue reading “City Council Wrap Up: Sewer Bugs and Infrastructure Woes”

Six In The Morning: Jobless Future, War On Science, Palin

1. JOBS NOT PART OF CANADIAN RECOVERY: Thanks in part to Stockwell Day’s slash and burn approach to employee relations, last year’s lone source of new jobs — the public sector — just dried up. If the economy recovers at all in 2010, it’ll do so without boosting employment. Thanks for the help during tough times, Stock. I thought your government’s goal was to get people back to work? (Globe and Mail)

2. BOOKSELLERS BRACE FOR AMAZON INVASION: Canadian booksellers are calling on the Heritage Minister to halt Amazon’s plans to open a distribution hub here. (Globe and Mail)

3. SORRY KID, YOUR SCHOLARSHIP’S BEEN FNUC’ED: Looks like the FNUniv administration was dipping into scholarship funds when their general coffers were low. Advanced education minister, Rob Norris, is asking the Ministry of Justice to look into $400,000 missing in scholarship funds. (Leader Post)

4. HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, WOMEN… LOVE, BRAD WALL: Whitworth is telling me that on CBC radio this morning they reported that today, the day after International Women’s Day, the Sask Party government canceled a domestic violence program in Saskatoon. Nothing’s up on their website yet. Oh lookit, the Star Phoenix has it covered. (Star Phoenix)

5. CREATIONISTS AND GLOBAL WARMING DENIERS COMING TOGETHER AT LAST: This is from last week but worth reading. Creationists in the States are using the public’s growing doubts about climate change to help shoe horn their batshit crazy ideas about people living with dinosaurs in the garden of eden into science classrooms. That creationists find the arguments of climate deniers compelling really should be the final nail in the denier’s coffin. Think it’ll work out that way? Yeah, me neither. (New York Times)

6. WE’LL SWAP YOU ONE DANNY WILLIAMS FOR YOUR SARAH PALIN: She probably just wanted to be liked, you know, when she admitted before a crowd in Calgary that when she was younger her family would scoot across the border to get treatment from the Canadian healthcare system she now vilifies. Liberal bloggers and pundits in the States are tearing her apart for it. Poor kid. Isn’t it cute how she’s pretending to run for president.This Hour Has 22 Minutes can do the rest of the heavy lifting on this story. Go get her, Marge!

Pick of the Day: Queen … It’s a Kinda Magic

Scaramouche! Scaramouche! Can you do the fandango?

This thing called love, I just can’t handle it.

Mama, just killed a man, put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he’s dead.

I could continue. Queen has many memorable songs. I never had the chance to see them live. But I do have a DVD of the band performing sold-out concerts at the Montreal Forum in 1981 and at Live Aid in London in 1985.

This show at Conexus Arts Centre tonight is what it is, I guess. There was only one Freddie Mercury. If you go, all that I ask is that you treat it as theatre, not music.

 And for a shot of the real deal, here’s Queen performing “Somebody to Love” from the Forum gig. (YouTube)

International Women’s Day Is Yummy

Our friends at the Regina Folk Festival brought us cupcakes for International Women’s Day! They’re FANTASTIC. I ate the one with the gummy fishies and it was SOOO GOOD. Thanks excellent rocking supercool folk-women for using your hard-won powers of equal personhood to bake our all-boy staff such delicious cupcakes! YUM!

Six In The Morning

1 HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY Canada ranks 50th in female politicians world-wide. Maybe we need some affirmative action? (Toronto Star) 

2 UH OH, HERE WE GO? When politicians say their next budget will “be about getting government spending under control, reducing the size of government,” it’s bad, bad, bad, bad. (CBC)  Saskatchewan NEEDS public spending: schools, libraries, hospitals, roads, welfare and arts and culture benifit us all and need to be supported. Big government is not the problem. BAD government is the problem. Let’s hope we don’t have one here. The Saskatchewan Legislature returns today.

3 THE CUTS COMETH  Treasury Board president Stockwell Day, a radical Christian who for some reason wields massivepolitical power in this country, just vapourized 245 positions on government boards and agencies. As usual, arts and culture takes a hit. Observation:  in the photo with the article he totally looks like Star Wars’ Galactic Emperor Palpitine, who once famously dissolved elected government and gave power to regional strongmen who answered to him. UPDATE: Holy crap, while I was writing this the Globe totally swapped out the awesome photo for a less sinister pic of Day. But he STILL looks like the Emperor. (Globe And Mail)

4 CANADIAN SPIES QUESTIONED CAPTIVES I had no idea people thought CSIS agents wouldn’t have questioned  Afghan POWs. Regardless, story’s here. (Toronto Star)

5 THE OSCARS HAPPENED And for the first time ever a female director won a shiny statue. Also, too bad they forgot to mention Farrah Fawcett in ths memorium section. Ebert writes on the awards here. (Roger Ebert)

6  PART OF THIS STORY IS MISSING A Regina woman is in hiding after her home was torched and pet cat killed while she was in the hospital giving birth. The story doesn’t say anything about this (because it’s, you know, journalism, not, ahem, reckless speculation), but anyone want to calculate the odds that an angry, disturbed and jealous man is involved? Happy International Women’s Day. (CBC)

This Week At City Hall

Proposed Rose St Condo Tower“What no pic of city hall?” Not this week. Thought I’d change it up and if you’re wondering what’s with that rendering of a condo tower you’ll have to hang on until the RPC blurb.

Monday, March 8
CITY COUNCIL (5:30 pm): A representative from In-Pipe Technology will be making a presentation to council this week in an attempt to encourage the city to get on board with their sewage treatment system. In-Pipe is promising to reduce our carbon footprint and lower the costs of sewage processing. Yay. I think. I’d like to tell you what In-Pipe’s technology is that they’re so proud of but based on their submission, I’m none the wiser about it. This could get the award for the worst written, most vague submission to council that I’ve ever read. Looks like In-Pipe has a history with council so maybe if you’ve been following things for years you’d know what’s going on. Still, until I hear more, I’m staying skeptical of this technology.

Also up for consideration this week, the Water and Sewer Utility Budget will be presented for review and council will finally be deciding if it will keeping $42.4 million it borrowed for the Global Transportation Hub (and didn’t need) and reallocating those funds for capital projects.

Council will also receive a report from the mayor about the goings on at the Big City Mayor’s Caucus.

Wednesday, March 10
REGINA PLANNING COMMISSION (4:00 pm): The committee will be looking at a request to build the high-rise apartment building that’s in that picture at the top of the post. It’s slated to go up at 2055 Rose Street and if built it’ll replace a swath of surface parking. (Good riddance, I say.) The building looks pretty nifty — not really my cup of tea architecture-wise but I’ve seen worse — and according to the report it’s been built to conform (for the most part) to the Downtown Neighbourhood Plan even though that has yet to be incorporated into the Official Community Plan.

Looks like it’ll be condo units which isn’t a bad thing. But rental and especially affordable rental is what the city is really desperate for right now. Regardless, I’m glad to see some more residential slated for downtown — makes the place more lively — and I’ll be glad to see some surface parking disappear.

Natch, one of the concerns expressed to the Planning Department was over what this new tower would do to on-street parking in the neighbourhood because, of course, we must have copious amounts of parking or the world stops turning, but the building will have more than two stalls per unit built right into (ie, not splayed out over city blocks) the development, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Anyway, looks like the Downtown Neighbourhood Plan is doing its job by encouraging developers to build better buildings. So, at present, I’m hopeful this is a good sign of things to come. What do you think? Am I crackers? Naive? Tell me, tell me.

As usual, you can download agendas and schedules on the city’s website.

Pick of the Day: Armchair Cynics

 

As far as band names go, Armchair Cynics is pretty cool. There’s a lot out there too. Armchair cynics, I mean. People who sit on their ass a lot and bitch about how shitty/lame/boring stuff is. Ain’t it the truth? And by sitting there bitching you’re helping improve the situation … how? Oh right, you’re just sitting on your ass.

Mind you, I suppose it could be worse. You could be one of those insufferable Facebook “activists” who’s out to change the world one mouse click at a time (and yes, those were sneer quotes back there, in case you were wondering). Both of you are pretty disengaged, but at least with you we don’t get much in the way of sanctimonious attitude.

So, anyway. Armchair Cynics are a Victoria-based rock band. They first came to my attention with their 2005 EP Killing the Romance. Disc was 25 min. 32 sec. long, had seven pretty rockin’ tunes, was co-produced by Chad Kroeger, but we won’t get into that now.  In October 2009, they released their first full-length Starting Today. Tonight, they’re at the Exchange with another band called We Are Maurice. Here’s video of the former doing their song “Ablaze” (YouTube).

 And for anyone who’s not an armchair cynic, today’s International Women’s Day. If you feel like celebrating there’s a gathering at the Institute Francais Theatre at the University of Regina from 8:45 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Coca-Cola Case

March 11 at 4 p.m., the National Film Board documentary The Coca-Cola Case is being screened at the University of Regina in the new theatre in the Lab Building. Written and produced by German Gutierrez and Carmen Garcia, the film serves as a devastating indictment of the Atlanta-based multi-national for its union-busting activities in Columbia, and Guatemala that includes the funding of para-military groups in those countries who intimidate and even assassinate union leaders. According to the filmmakers, since 2002 over 470 labour activists have been brutally murdered. Here’s the trailer (YouTube)

Lovely In The Fog

My goodness it’s a beautiful night. A lonely night, too — not a lot of people outside for the most gorgeous evening of the year.

The picture’s a little blurry but I think that just makes the scene nicer. I have some other shots but this is the one that captures the mood.

Maybe I’ll put those after a jump.

Now don’t you wish you lived here?

Continue reading “Lovely In The Fog”

Pick of the Day: Ribs of Sky, Ribs of Stone

We’ll have more on this exhibition by Joan Scaglione in a later issue. But it’s definitely worth a visit to the MacKenzie Art Gallery to see. It consists of 18 cedar canoes — some simple ribbed structures without hulls, others resembling fully functioning vessels, although I wouldn’t trust any of them on the open water.

Consistent with the historical role they played in the life of First Nations and Metis people, along with early European fur-traders and explorers, Scaglione elected to portage her canoes into the gallery. The day she did (January 7), the mercury plunged to minus 37.5 degrees C, and the windchill was around minus 50.

If you missed media coverage of the portage, there’s video included in the show. It probably wasn’t her intention to do it on such a bitch of a day, but the fact the portage was undertaken in the dead of winter does lend an intriguing interpretive slant to Ribs of Sky, Ribs of Stone that I elaborate on in my review.

The stone, by the way, is a reference to the half-ton of black slate that’s also part of the installation. As far a metaphors go, it’s a pretty potent one for the harsh and unforgiving nature of Canada’s wilderness landscape.

Ribs of Sky, Ribs of Stone is on at the MacKenzie until April 11.

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Tim Burton has made another adaptation or at least a follow up to the popular Alice in Wonderland novels by Lewis Carroll. For a kid’s story, I’ve always found the novels to be kind of disturbing in an entertaining sort of way.

There have been adaptations of the story for over a hundred years now. The very first was a silent film from 1903.

The story has also been the inspiration for several cartoons – some of them borrowing the plot and working their own characters into it.

One of the more surreal adaptations was from Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer. In 1988 he made a full length stop motion version called Něco z Alenky (Alice).