Secret Gardens Tour

hieronymous-bosch-the-garden-of-earthly-delightsFor 17 years now New Dance Horizons has been holding this July fundraiser. What it involves is a self-guided tour of Regina and area gardens with special performances by local dance artists at various locations on the tour. Each year, there’s a different theme and in 2014 it’s The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Art history buffs will likely recognize that phrase as the title of a 15th century triptych (pictured above, click to enlarge) by Early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch. The painting riffs on Biblical themes tied to Heaven and Hell. The left panel references the creation story from Genesis, while the right panel is meant to symbolize damnation, with the centre panel depicting a garden that’s kind of a cross between paradise and a pretty neat acid trip.

There are nine Regina gardens on the tour, along with three satellite gardens and a stop at historic Bell Barn in Indian Head. The gardens will be available for viewing Friday July 11 from 6:30-9:30 p.m., Saturday July 12 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 7–10 p.m. and Sunday July 13 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets are $40, and more info can be found at NDH’s website.

Regina International Fringe Festival

donkey_derby_71-editTen years and counting, that’s how long the Regina International Fringe Festival has been around.

It’s yet to reach the size of other better established fringe festivals in Canada, including the PotashCorp Fringe Festival which goes July 31-Aug. 9 in Saskatoon. But it’s probably fair to say that it’s enjoyed steady growth and continues to gain traction with theatre audiences in town.

The 2014 festival runs July 9-13 and will feature 18 provincial, national and international acts. The performances will be held at four venues: Artesian on 13th, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Unitarian Centre and St. Mary’s Anglican Church.

In addition to the regular festival aimed at adults and older youth, there will be a special Kid’s Fringe on Saturday July 13 at the MacKenzie Gallery. It’s free for parents and children alike, while tickets for the main fringe are a very reasonable $10 per performance.

There’s also a special fundraiser on Saturday night with a cabaret performance by Sharon Nolan and Paul Hutchison at the Artesian at 9 p.m. Tickets are $25.

To learn more about the fringe artists at this year’s festival, and to get a schedule of when they’re performing, visit the RIFF website.

One of the artists you’ll find mentioned is Gatineau-based Tess McManus (pictured above). The work she’ll be performing is called Tales She Tells. It’s a show she wrote and produced herself, and it concerns a young woman’s struggle to reconnect with her mother by revisiting Irish folk tales that she remembers her mom telling while she was growing up.

Beat Nation

beat-nation-tour-7.580.560.sOrganized by the Vancouver Art Gallery, this exhibition is subtitled Art, Hip Hop & Aboriginal Culture. The exhibition is co-curated by Kathleen Ritter and Tania Willard, and includes work by over 15 young aboriginal artists.

Some, like Kent Monkman (pictured above) and Bear Witness (from A Tribe Called Red) are well-known in contemporary art circles, while others such as KC Adams and Jackson 2Bears are artists on the rise.

You can find out more about the exhibition, which opens at the MacKenzie Gallery on July 4, here.

We’ll likely do a review in an upcoming issue, but for now I’ll just observe that most if not all of the artists have a solid grounding in the traditions of their respective First Nations culture. But through exposure to media and their own lived experience they also have a keen understanding of contemporary Western culture.

In Beat Nation they use a blend of traditional and contemporary art media to explore their own identity plus comment on various social and political issues related to their communities and broader Canadian society.

The opening reception on Friday coincides with an opening for an exhibition at the Dunlop Art Gallery called Tragedy Plus Time. I’ll have more on that show in a July 4 blog post. But I believe the plan is to have a shuttle bus run between the two galleries to help people attend both events. Then on Saturday July 5 there’s a curatorial tour of Beat Nation starting at 2 p.m. The exhibition runs at the MacKenzie until Sept. 7.

Neige Bleue

Festival PHENOMENA 2012 à MontrealThe title of this dance work translates as Blue Snow. It’s choreographed by Montreal artist Tony Chong, and will be performed by Chong and Carol Prieur at New Dance Horizons (2207 Harvey St.) on Sunday, July 6 at 6:30 p.m.

The performance (the photo above is from a 2012 show in Montreal) is inspired by the idea of the wicked witch as a metaphor for women who live their lives outside of societal norms. For centuries, that’s led to persecution, whether it’s related to the desire of Christian authorities to stamp out paganism as in the Middle Ages, or the broader issue of patriarchal power and the need to enforce certain behavioral standards on women.

In addition to the performance there will be a screening of the Rob King film Silk Cyclone about a collaborative choreographic process undertaken by Robin Poitras, Margie Gillis and Susan McKenzie — all of whom have danced in long-flowing silk garments in different performances over the years.

Tickets range between $25 and $30 and more information on this event can be obtained by calling NDH at 306-525-5393.

Whose Live Anyway?

This goes Friday night at Casino Regina Show Lounge. It’s a touring version of the Emmy nominated improv show Whose Line Is it Anyway? which stars Ryan Styles, Greg Proops, Joel Murray and Jeff B. Davis.

The group’s website promises 90 minutes of improvised comedy and song and things should get going shortly after 8 p.m. Tickets are $60 or $65. To give you a sense of what to expect here’s a 2013 excerpt from the TV show which also features Colin Mochrie:


A few years ago, I saw the Royal Winnipeg Ballet do a version of French composer Georges Bizet’s famous opera at Conexus Arts Centre. It was pretty fiery and spectacular.

Today at 2 p.m., the RPL Theatre is showing the traditional opera about the tragic love triangle between the beautiful gypsy Carmen and her suitors the solider Jose and toreador Escamillo. The performance is by London’s Royal Opera, and it’s a digital broadcast. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors & students.

To give you a sense of what to expect here’s video of the opening aria (Habanera) from a December production at the Royal Opera House:

Bath Time

Bath TimeI don’t have massively strong memories of what the Prince Edward Building at the corner of Scarth St. and 11th Ave looked like in its prime. It was built in 1906, and was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by the Dominion of Canada’s chief architect David Ewart. Over its 100 plus years of life it’s served as a post office (from 1906-56), city hall (from the early 1960s to 1976) and, since 1980, as the home of the Globe Theatre.

The building is designated as a municipal heritage property, but over the last while it’s become a bit of an eye-sore, with a fair amount of grime on its exterior walls from traffic exhaust and other pollutants, along with a significant amount of droppings (and even the odd broken egg) from pigeons that roost in its various nooks and crannies.

In January, the Globe announced that it was purchasing the building from its previous owners.  There’s still some structural work that needs to be done, but today a crew was out with a pressure washer giving the building a scrub-down. Once the gunk is cleaned up from the sidewalk it will brighten things up a bit at that corner.

Jazz Fest Regina 2014

Regina Jazzfest 2014 runs June 10-15 in Regina. In addition to free daytime concerts by local acts in the vicinity of City Square Plaza and Victoria Park there are also the following ticketed events. And more information can be found by visiting the Regina Jazz Society website.

Tuesday June 10: David Braid (solo piano) at Darke Hall, doors at 6:30 p.m. $30 adults, $20 Students, Kids $14 and under $10.

Thursday June 12: Belle Plaine & Her Seven Piece Band at Bushwakker, 7 p.m. $15.

Friday June 13: Jeffery Straker at Ramada Plaza, doors at 6:30 p.m. $25 adults, $20 Students, Kids 14 and under $10.

Saturday June 14: Alexander Brown Quintet at Ramada Plaza, doors at 6:30 p.m. $30 adults, $25 Students, Kids 14 and under $10.

Sunday June 15: Father’s Day Brunch with the Brandi Disterheft Trio at Ramada Hotel, doors at 9:30 a.m. $40, $35 Seniors & Students, Kids 14 and under $25. 306-347-2224.

Spring Free From Racism with Lorraine Klassen performing a tribute to Nelson Mandela at City Square Plaza, 1 p.m. Free.

Salsa Party with Iroko Project and Andino Suns at Ramada Plaza, doors at 6:30 p.m. Adults $20, Students $15, Youth 14 and under $10.

To close, here’s video from 2013 of Brandi Disterheft (on upright bass) and a group of musicians performing “Live Compared To What” at Lincoln Center in New York:

Les Vepres Siciliennes

Between 1850-53 the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi produced his greatest masterpieces: Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La traviata. He followed those works up with Les Vepres Siciliennes in 1855. It’s based on an historical event known as the “Sicilian Vespers” in which a group rebels took up arms in 1282 in a bid to overthrow Charles I of France who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266.

The history of the uprising is too complicated to get into here, although there were apparently competing claims to the throne tied to Germany and France and pope Urban IV backed Charles I who eventually seized control. Charles I had designs on expanding his empire into the Mediterranean,  and while his reign in Sicily apparently wasn’t oppressive in any way, locals still rebelled.

This afternoon at 2 p.m. at the RPL Theatre there’s a broadcast of a performance by London’s Royal Opera of Verdi’s Les Vepres Siciliennes. Tickets are $15 Adults and $12 for Seniors & Students. To give you sense of what to expect here’s a nine-minute excerpt from a 2013 production at the Royal Opera House:

Big Yellow Taxi — Cathedral Village Arts Festival Kick-Off [UPDATED With Pics]

Photo by Visual Memories - Ken Jones

A crowd of around 200 gathered outside Connaught School this morning to kick off the 2014 Cathedral Village Arts Festival with a singing of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi.”

Gee… I wonder if they were trying to make a point about something?

Here’s some audio from the event…

I’ll try to get some pictures up later  [UPDATE: Ken Jones of Visual Memories sent me a few pics of the event, I’ve added them to this post. Thanks Ken!] but right now I’m off to the CVAF picnic in Les Sherman Park (that’s the park around the Neil Balkwill Centre). And I’m dressing warm because once again the festival seems to be starting out on a rainy, chilly day. But you know what they say, “If every pork chop were perfect, we wouldn’t have hotdogs.”

And speaking of hotdogs, the picnic will feature hotdogs. And coffee and music and face painting and more. Check out the picnic events listing here.

If you’re wondering what other awesome the CVAF crew has planned for this week, there’s a complete guide to this year’s Cathedral Village Arts Festival available online and there’s a print guide in every copy of Prairie Dog!

Continue reading “Big Yellow Taxi — Cathedral Village Arts Festival Kick-Off [UPDATED With Pics]”

Cathedral Village Arts Festival

If you picked up our May 15 issue you should have received a copy of the program guide that we do each year for the Cathedral Village Arts Festival. It’s your best source of info on all the music, theatre, dance, spoken word, visual art and other creative activities that will be going on in the Cathedral neighbourhood over the next week.

The 2014 festival theme is Fabric of Life, which reflects the importance of the arts in the development of the Cathedral community. The festival has a kick-off parade and picnic starting today at 11:30 a.m. The parade route runs along Elphinstone St. from 13th Ave. to Les Sherman Park at Elphinstone & College Ave. From there, the picnic takes over.

The festival runs May 19-24, and will include a Street Fair next Saturday along 13th Ave. that’s always a big draw. In addition to Prairie Dog, paper copies of the guide are available at most venue sites. More information can also be obtained by visiting the CVAF website here.

Regardless of how you acquire the guide, if you check it out you’ll see that one band that’s performing is Andino Suns at Holy Rosary Park Saturday evening at 8:45 p.m. They’ll be preceded by Brass Buttons at 6:30 p.m., and Jeffery Straker at 7:30 p.m. Here’s the video for Andino Suns’ 2013 song “Cantando el Pajaro”:


Spring One Act Cabaret

Tonight and Saturday night Regina Little Theatre is presenting this biannual fundraiser which also is held in the fall. There are four one-act plays on the bill. Here’s a brief synopsis of each:

Chemistry Lessons, a farce by George Freek about a chemistry teacher who experiences some romantic bumps on the road to the altar; Faugh, a comedy by Jerome McDonough about a group of co-habiting Fine Arts students; a comedy by the Frantics called Her First Period in which a father provides cell phone advice at a bus stop to his daughter about what she needs to do deal with the onset of menarche; and a drama by Jennifer Fell Hayes called Nothing In Common about a pregnant teenage girl and an older woman who is desperate to adopt the baby.

The cabaret is being held at the Regina Performing Arts Centre, and begins each night with food and drink service at 6:30 p.m., with the plays to follow at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 and can be obtained by calling 306-779-2277.

The Homemaker

HomemakerPresented by Hectik Theatre, The Homemaker is a one-woman cabaret created and performed by Laura Anne Harris (pictured).

Apparently based on family folklore related to a great aunt, it recounts the story of a French-Canadian woman from Albertville, SK named Janette Pettitpas and her struggle to combat a drinking problem while also fulfilling her duties as a wife and homemaker in the pre-feminist era. A dollop of Catholic guilt gets thrown into the mix as well.

The Homemaker premiered at the 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival last summer. The cabaret will be presented at New Dance Horizons’s performance space at 2207 Harvey St.  from May 7-10 at 8 p.m. Tickets are adults $25 and students $15, and more information can be found at Hectik’s website.

More Survey Fun

Voting has ended in Best of Food 2014. Results are now being tabulated, and assignments will soon be doled out and blurbs written for our Best of Food issue which hits the streets May 29.

If you still have a hankering to participate in on-line surveys, though, you have two opportunities courtesy of the Saskatchewan Partnership for Arts Research and the City of Regina.

SPAR’s survey is part of a broader project to study Saskatchewan’s arts ecology as it relates to the practice and appreciation of the arts and other creative activities in the province. If you’re an artist you’ve perhaps been contacted already to participate. If you haven’t, it’s not too late. Visit this site, and along with members of the general public, you’ll find information on how you can register for the study, and fill out the survey.

The goal of consulting with members of the arts community and the broader public is to get a sense of how people network with each other and various arts organizations, community group, patrons, businesses and whatnot to both survive and thrive in the arts. The deadline to complete the survey is May 14.

The City of Regina survey relates to a cultural plan that is in the final stages of being developed. The plan is intended to provide strategic direction for the evolution of arts, culture, heritage and creative industries over the next 10 years. If you visit the Design Regina website you’ll find a draft of the plan, along with a summary of support materials collected over the past few years. You’ll also find an email address to provide feedback. Comments are being accepted until May 12.

To close, here’s the latest video by Regina hip hop artist Def 3 for his song “So Far”. It’s the first single off his new album Wildlif3 which will be available June 24. The mural that’s being painted, by the way, is at a new medical marijuana vapour lounge called the Scarth Club that recently opened at 1422 Scarth St. in the Warehouse District:


Corps BaraPresented by New Dance Horizons as part of its House of Dance Series, this performance features recent work choreographed by Connie Moker Wernikowski. In the 1980s and ’90s, Moker Wernikowski was the head of the Youth Ballet Company of Saskatchewan. Ballet is one obvious influence for her then, but she’s done plenty of work in the contemporary dance realm too. And the title refers specifically to Moker Wernikowski celebrating her 60th birthday this year and her 40th year as a dance professional.

With Sixty/Forty she’ll be assisted by guest artists Katrina Currie, Darren Lacey and the Corps Bara Dance Theatre (pictured) out of Calgary. Themes to keep in mind when you’re viewing the works are lullabies, the traditional practice of women making bread to feed their families and spiritual healing.

There’s performances Thursday (April 24) at 7:30 p.m., Friday (April 25) at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday (April 26) at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. The performance is being held at 2207 Harvey St., and tickets are Adults $20, Students & Seniors $15, with the Saturday matinee being $15 for everyone. More information can be had by phoning 306-525-5393.