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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: The Blob

The BlobA meteor crashes outside a small town. A young couple (Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut) at lover’s lane witness the crash. Before they get to the crash site a old man who lives nearby gets to the site first and discovers the meteor. The old man cracks open the meteor with a stick and a blob like substance inside crawls up the stick and engulfs his hand.

Just then the couple shows up and discover the old man. They take him to a doctor who thinks he has to amputate to save his life. Any attempt to remove the substance fails. The doctor sends McQueen back to the site to dig up some clues on what the stuff is and then goes to operate on the patient.
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Symphonie Fantastique

Works by Pettigrew (Legend of Draco) and Creston (Saxophone Concerto) are also on the bill, but the feature work at Saturday’s Regina Symphony Orchestra Masterworks Concert is by French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz. Symphony Fantastique debuted in Paris in 1830, and tells the story (in musical terms) of a gifted artist who comes to ruin through unrequited love and opium.

Joining the RSO as guest artist is saxophonist Gerard Weber. The concert goes at Conexus Arts Centre tonight at 8 p.m., and more information can be gleaned by visiting the RSO website or calling 306-586-9555.

To give you a taste of Symphonie Fantastique here’s video from 1976 of France’s National Orchestra under conductor Leonard Bernstein performing the first movement:

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Daily Aggregation: VGM Friday – River City Ransom

daily-aggregation-21. THE RIGHT WAY TO COVER A STORY An American journalist argues the way CBC handled covering the shooting on Wednesday is the way to do it right: less sensationalism, disclaimers about the shape-shifting nature of the situation and strictly informative.

2. MORE SECURITY NEEDED, OR JUST “COMMON SENSE”? Postmedia’s Michael Den Tandt says overreacting with intense security isn’t the answer, but more stringent measures are needed, which are “in now way draconian, in a democracy,” to check people in the entrance to Parliament Hill: metal detectors, soldiers armed, etc.

3. LESS SECURITY NEEDED, NOT MORE? Former diplomat Scott Gilmore says Canadian political leaders ought to be less naive and more vigilant, but reacting with paranoia and panic would be a greater risk to the founding principles our country is supposed to be based on.

4. RACISTS REACTIONS TO CANADIAN MUSLIMS Paranoia and panic, they can bring the worst out in people. Keep a cool head Canadians; fueling hatred and causing suffering upon the innocent only escalates the problem – it doesn’t fix it.

5. YORKTON EXPLOSION A canola plant blew up this morning in Saskatchewan. Officials suspect it was dust catching fire that caused it.

6. SMART METER PROBLEMS The provincial NDP is arguing the government should’ve stopped the smart meter program when eight sockets were damaged during the trial period.

7. EUROPE VS. CLIMATE CHANGE The European Union (EU) is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 per cent by 2030 with a new agreement. Some environmentalists are saying it’s not enough.

8. INTERNS VS. HOLLYWOOD NBCUniversal is paying out $6.4 million to unpaid interns following a lawsuit filed against a number of big movie studios.

This week’s song is from an old school 8-bit beat’em-up favourite on the NES that gets me jumping to work everytime. Enjoy Running Around the City from River City Ransom:

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Little Orange Man

How Do You Do – Ingrid Hansen from Michael Millard on Vimeo.

If you’re like me you might believe a puppet show consists of articulated wooden dolls manipulated by strings and sticks controlled by an evil puppet master. Actually my first introduction to the world of puppetry was when I turned five. McDonald’s had issued plastic hand puppets of their McDonaldland characters, (a blatant ripoff of H.R. Pufnstuf). My buddy garth gave Ronald a finger boner and sodomized Mayor McCheese until I snorted rootbeer through my nose.

Little Orange Man is nothing like that nor is it anything you would expect from a puppet show. Why yes she does magically endow inanimate objects with a believable life force for after all isn’t that what puppetry is all about? What separates Ingrid Hansen from other puppeteers and performances is what she uses and how she uses them. Vegetables, shoes, shadow, light, an old raincoat, dreams, performance art, social critique, and audience participation all makes it into the act.

This show was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Their wasn’t a dry seat in the house. Wear your astronaut diapers just in case. You can catch the last shows this weekend, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with a Saturday matinée at 2 p.m. /Charles Atlas Sheppard

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Town That Dreaded SundownIt’s 1946 and a young couple is assaulted while they were parked out in lover’s lane. The couple are beaten up but they’re not killed. Their attacker is a man and he wears a white bag over his head with eye holes cut out.

A few weeks later a police deputy is patrolling a lover’s lane when he discovers another young couple have been shot and killed. While the cops investigate, the growing panic in the town of Texarkana prompts record gun sales. The Texas Rangers send in Ben Johnson to investigate. A few weeks later another attack occurs and another young couple is found dead. The Phantom is eluding the police.
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Tim Williams

Based in Calgary, Tim Williams is a veteran blues musician. Last January, he turned a few heads by capturing top place in the solo/duo category at a huge blues blowout in Memphis, Tenn., that drew over 250 acts from 16 countries. You can read more about that triumph in this CBC report.

Tonight Williams is in town to play a show at the SCES Club that’s being presented by Grassroots Regina. The back-up band is the local group The Stillhouse Poets. Doors are at 8 p.m., and tickets are $15. To give you a sense of what to expect here’s video from earlier this year of Williams performing the blues standard “Walking Blues”:

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REVIEW: 1,000 Times Good Night Continues Binoche’s Streak

Juliette Binoche in A Thousand Times Good Night

A common complaint among actresses of certain age is the lack of interesting roles. More often than not, 40-and-older thespians are pigeonholed into roles like district attorney, mom of the flavor of the month or weirdly hot grandma (looking at you, Susan Sarandon).

It seems like Juliette Binoche didn’t get the memo.

The perennial French beauty continues to kill it on regular bases. In fact, some of her most interesting roles are fairly recent (Certified Copy, Clouds of Sils Maria, Camille Claudel 1915). I can’t be the only one to believe Godzilla could have been a lot better with her and Bryan Cranston as the leads, as opposed to the bored-looking Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

The ambitious -if flawed- drama 1,000 Times Good Night puts her to good use. Binoche is Rebecca, a skilled war photographer who gets too close to a suicide bombing and ends up wounded. Instead of dealing with post-traumatic stress, Rebecca must account for her actions to her family. Her husband (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones) is considering divorce, not because he doesn’t love her, but the stress of her job is proving too taxing on their daughters. Continue Reading →

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: Lifeforce

LifeforceTobe Hooper had changed horror with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974 but he struggled to recapture that glory after. He did have success working with Steve Spielberg on Poltergeist and he tried following it up with 1985’s Lifeforce.

starts with a group of astronauts investigating the tail of Hailey’s Comet. Hidden in the tail is an alien spaceship. All on board are dead and they look like weird bat-like creatures except three people, two men and a woman but they are unconscious and they look like us. The astronauts bring all three on board and return home. Earth loses contact with the ship and when it lands all the crew is dead and there was a fire on board the ship. The three aliens are fine though. they are brought to an army base in the U.K.
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Law Foundation Of Saskatchewan Lecture

mariana_valverde_newAs a professor of criminology at the University of Toronto Mariana Valverde (pictured at left) has a long history of exploring legal questions tied to sexuality. The first book she published as an academic, in fact, was Sex, Power, And Pleasure in 1985. In the early 1990s, she published another book tracing the development of moral regulation in Canada in The Age of Light, Soap and Water: Moral Reform in English Canada, 1880s-1920s. Valverde has also done academic work on the subject of alcohol, addiction, health, morality and the legal system.

Tonight Valverde will be in town to give a lecture at the University of Regina. Her talk is titled “Beyond the Criminal Law: What Local & Provincial Authorities Can Do to Regulate Sexually-Oriented Business”. Right now, of course, the federal government is in the process of recriminalizing prostitution via Bill C-38 after the Supreme Court struck down aspects of the previous law last December because of the danger posed to sex trade workers. But as Valverde will doubtlessly demonstrate, criminal law isn’t the only tool available to provide a measure of control over the sex trade.

The lecture goes tonight at Luther Auditorium on the University of Regina campus at 5 p.m. For more information call 306-585-4226 or visit the university website.

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: The Undying Monster

Undying Monster“When stars are bright on a frosty night. Beware thy bane on the rocky lane.”

The Hammond family has been cursed for centuries. The legend goes that an old ancestor sold his soul to the devil and is confined to the old estate, emerging only to take a human life to prolong his. The last of the Hammonds are living at the estate, just brother Oliver (John Howard) and sister Helga (Heather Angel).

Oliver is on his way home from a doctor friend (Bramwell Fletcher) one night and he, along his the doctor’s nurse is attacked by a creature. Oliver is injured but fine. The nurse is badly hurt and has fallen into a coma. Helga gets Scotland Yard to investigate. They send Bob Curtis (James Ellison) and his assistant Christy (Heather Thatcher). The nurse dies and now it’s a case of murder.
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1914: A Turning Point in History And Culture

If you’re in the mood for some lecture action tonight the University of Regina is presenting another talk in its series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.

Speaking tonight are Nicholas Carleton, who will discuss “Traumatic Changes in Human Psyche: A Brief History”; and Stuart Wilson, whose talk is titled “On the Economic Impact of the Great War on Canada”.

The lectures go at the JohnArcher Library at the university at 7 p.m., and more information can be obtained by calling 306-585-4213.

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: Alligator

AlligatorA baby alligator that was brought home by a young girl from a vacation in Florida is flushed into the sewers by her dad. 12 years later an evil pharmaceutical corporation has been experimenting on animals with a growth serum and they’ve dumped the test subjects into the sewers. The alligator has fed on the carcasses and is now a giant ravenous 36 foot long alligator and is roaming the sewers looking for food.

Soon body parts of sewer workers start showing up. World weary police detective Robert Forster, who has Dirty Harry’s habit of getting his partners killed, is assigned to the case. While checking the sewers Forster and a young cop run into the big gator and the cop gets eaten. Nobody believes Forster’s story until a reporter takes some pictures while getting killed. Forster then teams up with a reptile expert (Robin Riker), who was the little girl who brought the alligator to the city.
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Carnival At The End Of The World

SylviaZiemannCarnival1Above is a studio shot from an MFA exhibition by Sylvia Ziemann that’s on at the MacKenzie Art Gallery until Oct. 27. Despite her student status, Ziemann has already had some pretty significant exhibitions including Home (In)Security at Truck Gallery in Calgary in 2011 and Possible Worlds at the Dunlop’s Sherwood Village Gallery in 2010.

If you click on the above link you’ll see that I reviewed Possible Worlds for Prairie Dog. I also did a brochure essay for the Calgary show. Both of those exhibitions had an apocalyptic/survivalist vibe to them.

As you can probably tell from the above photo, Carnival At the End of the World has an equally unsettling theme. In this instance, the scenario that Ziemann’s imagining is one where mutant humanoids have taken over and are attempting to uphold our old rituals and traditions (like carnivals) — but being mutants, they put their own twist on things.

In building her installations, Ziemann pays close attention to detail. So careful viewing of her work always yields delightful surprises. She also enjoys crafting narratives through small screen video loops visible (and audible) through open doors and windows that link different elements of the exhibition together — enriching the viewing experience even more.

Again, the exhibition runs until Oct. 27.

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31Days Of B-Movie Horrors: Invaders From Mars

Invaders From MarsAs I mentioned in The Maze, director William Cameron Menzies made a couple of movies in 1953. The first was The Maze, a weird gothic horror mystery with an out of left field twist. The second was more successful, Invaders from Mars.

A young boy named David MacLean (Jimmy Hunt) is woken up during a thunderstorm. He gets up and looks out the window where he sees a large UFO land off in the distance. He tells his parents and his scientist dad takes off to check out the boy’s claim. When good ole dad returns, he’s acting quite differently. He’s cold, distant and hostile. He’s also sporting a red mark on the back of his neck. Soon most of the town is acting weird and nobody believes the boy’s story. The police place him in the care of Dr. Pat Blake (Helena Carter).
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Chicken & Wine

Chicken & WineAfter a hiatus of a year or two this informal lecture series is back for another run. The venue is the Artful Dodger (1631 11th Ave.), and the first Chicken & Wine of the 2014-15 season goes Tuesday Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. Admission is free.

Here’s the three speakers, and the topics they’ll be discussing:

Jenelle Jacobsen I Have Made You a Mix Tape. A personal journey through the Canadian indie music renaissance.

Aidan Morgan A Cultural, Chemical and Personal History of the Ampersand.

Ken Wilson El Camino de Santiago.

If you’d like to speak on a topic of interest to you at a future gathering, you can contact the organizers via the Chicken & Wine Facebook page or e-mail [email protected]

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Gala Art Auction

Perreault_Paintings_-North_East_LightsFor several years now the MacKenzie Art Gallery has hosted an annual fall fundraiser to help support various exhibition and education programming that goes on at the gallery during the rest of the year. Above, for instance, is an image from the Wilf Perreault exhibition In The Alley that is on at the gallery until Jan. 4.

Last year, the MacKenzie co-hosted the gala with the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. This year, the gallery is going it alone, but you can expect the same great food (gourmet canapes, to be specific), liquid refreshments and live entertainment. In addition, there are live and silent auctions featuring work by some of Saskatchewan’s finest artists.

The gala will be held at the MacKenzie on Oct. 24 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Dress is formal, and tickets are $90 for gallery members and $100 for non-members. You can find out more information here.

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31Days Of B-Movie Horrors: Spider Baby

Spider BabyJack Hill directed a lot B movie exploitation flicks in the late ’60s and 1970’s but one of his earliest was the demented 1967 movie Spider Baby or, the Maddest Story Ever Told.

Lon Chaney Jr., in one of his last roles, plays a caretaker of a super-messed up family. There’s three grown children in Merrye family. They all live in a decrepit mansion and the three Merrye kids all suffer what’s referred to as Merrye Syndrome. They are socially and mentally regressed and incredibly violent. There’s two sisters (Beverly Washburn, Jill Banner), the youngest likes to play “spider” and the oldest is a brother (Sid Haig) who lives in a dumb waiter and doesn’t saying anything. Chaney constantly tries to cover up their crimes. A couple of unscrupulous distant relatives, their lawyer and the lawyer’s assistant have come to take control of the estate and the siblings which leads to their secret being revealed.
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Riders Vs. Edmonton Eskimos

Edmonton vs Riders Sept 27As poorly as the Riders have played since Darian Durant went down (a 1W-4L record, while being outscored 92-12 in three road games) they still have a shot at second in the CFL West which would entitle them to host the West semi-final on Nov. 16.

To do that they have to win today, then beat Edmonton again when the two teams close out the season at Mosaic Stadium on Nov. 8. That would give them the season series against Edmonton, and enough points to finish second regardless of how the Riders and Esks do in their other remaining game (the Riders are in Calgary Oct. 24, while Edmonton hosts B.C. Nov. 1.)

Currently rehabbing his elbow injury, Durant is expected to come off the six-game injury list in time for the Calgary game. I wouldn’t expect him to play in that tilt (let’s face it, there’s only one game left to be played in Calgary this year that matters, and that’s the West final Nov. 23). But after that game, the Riders have a bye (much needed, as they haven’t had a break since mid-July) which would give the Rider QB an extra week to get ready for the season finale against Edmonton.

For that game to have any meaning in the race for second, though, the Riders have to win today. If Edmonton wins, they will pretty much sew up second and host the West-semi-final. That would be bad news for the Riders, as outside of the odd game (the 1989 West final, cough, the 1997 West final, cough) Commonwealth Stadium has been Death Valley for the Riders come playoff time.

Mind you, that’s assuming the Riders finish third. Right now, B.C.’s only two points behind the Green & White. Should the teams finished tied, the Lions hold the tie-breaker, and they do have a game in Winnipeg against the slumping Bombers on Oct. 25 that could pull them into a tie if the Riders don’t manage a win in their final three games.

If that were to happen, the Riders would finish fourth and crossover to play in the East semi-final against whoever finishes second between Hamilton, Toronto and Montreal. Then if they were to win that game, they’d play the first-place finisher in the East final with a Grey Cup berth at stake.

Since the crossover was instituted in 1997, no West team has swept the two games and represented the East in the Grey Cup so it’s obviously not easy to do. First off, you have to deal with the travel and early start times. As well, despite the generally weaker quality of play in the East, there’s usually at least one team each year that qualifies as a legit CFL power. This year, though, for a variety of reasons — injuries, stadium issues, young QB prospects still gaining experience — that’s not necessarily the case. So out of all the seasons the crossover’s been around, this might be the one year when a West victory is possible.

For the Riders, the preferred playoff route, I’m sure, would see them host (and win) the West semi-final, then travel to Calgary to play a beat-up Stampeder team in the West final. But crossing over to the East isn’t a bad second choice, and likely preferable to a semi-final date in Edmonton against the Esks.

Regardless of what scenario unfolds, the Riders obviously need a healthy Durant to have a shot. As to whether the team has a shot today, Kerry Joseph is apparently starting at QB. In past games, when Tino Sunseri has come off the bench he’s shown more than he has as a starter, so it might be a case where Joseph will do what he can to establish some rhythm on offence and then perhaps Sunseri will sub in against a tough Edmonton defence. In their previous meeting on Sept. 26 (a 24-0 Eskimo victory, game photo above), Edmonton rushed for over 300 yards. Hopefully, the Rider defence will perform better today, although without stronger play out of the offence it’s tough to win the field position and time of possession battle and the defence inevitably gets worn down as the game progresses.

Game time is 2 p.m. TSN has the broadcast, and you can find out more on the Riderville website.

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: Carnival Of Souls

Carnival of soulsA young woman (Candace Hilligoss) is riding in a car with a couple of other women. Their vehicle is drag racing another car on a bridge when their car goes out of control and crashes off the bridge. The woman emerges dazed and confused.

She later starts driving to her new job as an organ player at a church in another town but a mysterious man (writer/director Herk Harvey) seems to be stalking her. Once she reaches the town, the man keeps appearing and things start getting more and more nightmarish. She’s drawn to an abandoned amusement park. At times it’s like nobody notices that she’s around, she always uneasy and a eerie melody plays on her car radio.
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Based on Biblical stories in the Books of Jeremiah and Daniel, this opera by Giuseppe Verdi was first performed at La Scala in Milan in 1842. The titular character is the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzer II, and the opera opens in Jerusalem in 583 B.C.E. The Babylonian army is advancing, and the Jewish population living in the city faces the prospect of persecution and exile from their homeland. There’s some general sacking of Jerusalem, romance, imprisonment, prophecies, mass execution, divine retribution, and at the end one repentant and mentally unhinged Babylonian monarch.

Today and Sunday at the RPL Theatre a production of Nabucco by London’s Royal Opera will be broadcast. Curtain both days is 2 p.m., and tickets are $15 Adults, $12 Seniors, Students $10. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s an excerpt from an uncredited (on YouTube anyway) production featuring a famous scene with a chorus of Hebrew slaves:

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