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(Re)facing The Camera

Favell(DaphneOdjig)Ages ago (okay, it was actually 1994) I reviewed an exhibition by Rosalie Favell at the Dunlop Gallery’s Sherwood Village location. The show was called Living Evidence, and it consisted of a series of candid polaroid photos that explored the nuances of a same sex relationship between two women.

Photography has remained Favell’s medium of choice throughout her career —  and portraiture her favourite genre. In 2012, in fact, she received the Karsh Award from the City of Ottawa. That award, of course, is named after the famous Canadian portrait photographer Yousef Karsh along his brother Malek Karsh.

In (Re)facing The Camera, Favell presents 283 black-and-white portraits of indigenous artists and curators interspersed with images culled from Favell’s family archive. The exhibition, which is curated by Michelle LaVallee, opens at the MacKenzie Gallery today. It runs until Nov. 22, and there’s an artist/curator talk by Favell and LaVallee on Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Above is a sample photo from the exhibition. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to who the person is? If you’re stumped, you’ll find a clue here. And here’s a link to an interview with Michelle LaVallee which ran in the Aug. 20 Prairie Dog.

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Not Who, But Watt

George-WattOn Sunday, Regina storyteller Vincent Murphy will be presenting a performance of this mini-play based on the journals of George Watt (pictured), the Scottish-born groundskeeper at Government House who in 1910 created the Edwardian garden that endures on the site to this day.

You can find out more about Watt, and the garden he created, on the Government of Saskatchewan website. Still beautiful today, the garden would have been even more remarkable back in 1910 when Regina was still pretty much a treeless dot on the vast prairies.

Not Who, But Watt will be held at Government House on Aug. 29 from 2-3 p.m. Admission is free.

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Infinitely Polar Bear

Based on a true story, this movie stars Mark Ruffalo as a father struggling to cope with a bipolar disorder that causes him to be manic depressive. When he suffers a breakdown, it forces some dramatic changes in his family’s living conditions, and his wife (Zoe Saldana) decides to enroll in business school in New York.

That leaves Ruffalo’s character as the primary caregiver for the couple’s two daughters. Infinitely Polar Bear is billed as a comedy, and it’s garnered reasonably positive reviews.

The film screens Thursday and Sunday at the RPL Theatre at 7 p.m., and Friday and Sunday at 9:15 p.m. Here’s the trailer

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SaskTel Summer Invasion

This two-day festival features free Xtreme sports competitions and demonstrations (skateboarding, MotoCross, wakeboarding, etc) during the day in Wascana Centre, and ticketed concerts at night. Last year, a deluge forced the Saturday show to be moved indoors. Hopefully, the rain stays away this year.

Headliners on the music side for Friday night include the Toronto electronic duo Torro Torro and a DJ set from Lil Jon, along with a free show by the Dead South on something called the SGI Stage which is different from the Main Stage.

On Saturday, the Main Stage acts include Lights and Dear Rouge. There was also a battle of the bands thing going on so whoever won that will be on the card as well.

You can get all the line-up and ticket info on the SaskTel Summer Invasion website. To close, here’s the SF-themed video for Lights latest single “Same Sea” off her 2015 album Little Machines

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The movie that Jayden Pfeifer is screening tonight as part of his Talkies series has some top-flight talent associated with it. First off, it’s produced by Roger Corman, and the director is the late Jimmy T. Murakami. Cast-wise, the first five credited actors are Richard Thomas (of John Boy fame), Robert Vaughn, George Peppard, John Saxon and Sybil Danning.

The flick is called Battle Beyond the Stars and it was apparently intended to function as a space-based version of a spaghetti Western that Vaughn had previously starred in called The Magnificent Seven.

I won’t steal any of Jayden’s thunder here by dishing any details on the plot, but in 2011 it was re-released on DVD and Blu-Ray as part of Roger Corman’s Cult Classics series.

Battle Beyond the Stars screens tonight at the RPL Theatre at 7 p.m. Talkies is restricted to people 14+, and admission is free with a donation of non-perishable food items to the Regina Food Bank.

Here’s the trailer

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Weekly Reckoning: It’s Built On Bluff It’s Built On Trust Edition

weekly-reckoningThe Internet runs on faith. Millions of pages sent from servers to computers every day, each full of clickable links that may or may not be what they promise to be. With every click you run the risk of seeing GIFs of wagging genitals or, even worse, Rick Astley. Lucky for you, Prairie Dog holds to higher standards. Here are some links that – I guarantee – will consist of precisely what I promise.

1. HERE IS A LINK TO PHOTOGRAPHS OF HEAVY METAL FANS IN MID-HEADBANG Although to me they look like they’re sneezing, mostly. Who can say what’s going on in these photos? We think they’re headbanging because we’re told so, but maybe they’re being exposed to pollen. While being punched in the stomach. Whatever, they’re fun photographs.

2. HERE IS A LINK TO AN ILLUSTRATED EXPLANATION OF GENRES OF MUSIC (via @cenobyte). The additional comments detract from the illustrations, but this is my favourite bit of Internet today. I always suspected that folk music songs contained an appreciable proportion of man bun.

3. HERE IS A LINK ABOUT A WOMAN WHOSE AIRBNB ACCOUNT WAS TERMINATED THAT WILL REMIND YOU WHAT THE SHARING ECONOMY REALLY IS Hint: it’s not a decentralized and empowering networked approach to generating revenue. It’s a mysterious world where your livelihood can be taken away at whim and you will be left adrift in misery and confusion because – surprise! – the individual has no power. See also: Uber.

4. HERE IS A LINK TO A VIDEO OF A GRIZZLY BEAR ROLLING DOWN A HILL The rolling starts at about 20 seconds in. So much delighted laughter and shutter clicking as the bear rolls down and down and down towards the onlookers. Not shown: the screaming, the blood, the unanswered cries to a distant god. Take a look!

5. HERE IS A LINK THAT MAKES ME NERVOUS for all kinds of reasons, including our economic future in a resource economy and the state of our climate in a fossil-fuel hungry world, but mostly because I don’t trust any news about engergy prices and global oil reserves. Mind you, I assume that most of the news we see is a smokescreen to keep us from panicking and eating each other in an apocalyptic frenzy, so make of this what you will.

*Prairie Dog Magazine, and all associated corporate and individual entities can not be held responsible for link rot, advertising content on other sites or Rick Astley.

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Regina Downtown Concert Series

There’s a double shot of live music on City Square Plaza on Thursday, Aug. 27 as part of the Regina Downtown Concert Series. This is the final installment for summer of 2015, and if you were at the Regina Folk Festival earlier this month, both artists should be familiar to you as they played teaser sets on the Main Stage on Friday night and also participated in the free daytime concerts and workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

First up on Thursday is young Regina folk/country artist Colter Wall. He’ll be playing the plaza from noon to 1 p.m. Later in the day, as part of the final Market Under the Stars of 2015, Danny Olliver will be performing from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Olliver started out as a fingerstyle acoustic guitarist, and later evolved into a singer-songwriter.

To give you a taste, here’s video from May of Colter Wall performing “Sleeping On the Blacktop” as part of Creative City Centre’s Empty Room concert series

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Exciting Goings-On Everywhere

HarperAfter lunch, I went for a bike ride in Wascana Park. When I got back, I grabbed some tea and took a wander past the Drop Zone goings-on on the Scarth St. Mall (postponed from yesterday) and into Victoria Park. I stumbled across the above bit of N.W.A.-inspired graffiti in the spoke heading south from the Cenotaph toward Victoria Ave at Cornwall St.

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Sunday Matinee: Rififi

sunday-matineeA couple of weeks ago I had written about the recently released Jules Dassin movie Night and the City and it occurred to me that while I had written about a later Jules Dassin heist movie Topkapi, I had never actually tackled his brilliant masterpiece Du rififi chez les hommes aka Rififi.

While Dassin was making Night and the City he was blacklisted by Hollywood because the whole McCarthy Red Scare/Un-American Activities hearings. Dassin hadn’t worked for almost five years because of the blacklist. He ended up in France and was asked to adapt Auguste Le Breton’s crime novel Du rififi chez les hommes. Dassin hated the novel but decided to focus only on a robbery out of the story. The movie was made on a shoe string budget but it’s success helped kick start an interest in heist films in the late ’50s and early ’60s.
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Big Boo-Boo For The Leader-Post

Die MannequinOn Thursday, the Leader-Post published a preview interview with the Toronto rock band Die Mannequin about their upcoming show in Regina at McNally’s Tavern.

They pumped the gig pretty good, giving it front page treatment in the Arts & Life section. The only problem is that the gig isn’t actually on Aug. 24, it’s on Sept. 24. So if you missed the mea culpa in Friday’s paper, don’t show up at McNally’s Monday night expecting to see lead singer Care Failure and her bandmates.  For that, you’ll have to wait until the 24th of next month.

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Symphony Under The Sky

For a number of years now, this annual kick-off to the upcoming Regina Symphony Orchestra season has been held in the space south of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Wascana Centre. This year, though, the RSO is shaking things up and holding the concert at the Motherwell Homestead.

The Motherwell Homestead is a national historic site located about an hour northwest of Regina near Abernathy. Another change this year is that’s there’s no musical acts preceding the RSO concert. Instead, there will be an opportunity for families to participate in a variety of farm-related activities that recall the experience of early settlers to Saskatchewan.

Symphony Under the Sky is being held on Saturday Aug. 29. The family activities will run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and the concert will follow from 2-4 p.m. As well this year, there’s an admission charge which grants you access to the Motherwell Homestead. You can find out more on the RSO website.

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Riders Vs. Stampeders

Action from the June 19 preseason game between the Riders and Stamps at Mosaic Stadium

Action from the June 19 preseason game between the Riders and Stamps at Mosaic Stadium

Heading into the 2015 CFL season this game, which goes at Mosaic Stadium today at 5 p.m., along with a rematch in Calgary on Halloween afternoon, were likely seen as potential first place showdowns between two traditional CFL West powers.

Seven games into the season, the Stamps, at 5W-2L, are definitely in the hunt. They sit one game back of the 6W-2L Edmonton Eskimos pending the outcome of last night’s game in Edmonton where the Eskimos hosted the CFL East leading Hamilton Tiger Cats. After their horrible 0W-7L start, the Riders, though, are pretty much done for 2015, and are now in a position to start the rebuilding process for 2016.

How far the Riders will go in rejigging their roster is a hot topic among fans these days. Do they hang on to fading veterans who are still capable of performing, but who command high salaries, and whose best days are behind them? Or do they either release and/or trade some of these veterans to contending teams to make room for younger players and hopefully stockpile some draft picks.

The Riders play their ninth game of the season on Aug. 30 in Ottawa against the Redblacks. After that, they are on the hook for the salary of any player with six or more years of CFL service. After the Labour Day and Banjo Bowl games against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, that protection extends to players with five and four years of CFL experience respectively. So if Rider GM Brendan Taman and head coach Corey Chamblin are going to make any big moves now would seem to be the time to do it.

As for this game, the Stamps are still missing their star RB Jon Cornish who is on the six-game injury list with a broken thumb. But unless the Riders have found a way during the bye week to solve all their self-destructive tendencies tied to penalties, turnovers, poor tackling and shaky defence it’s hard to envision them notching their first win of the season tonight.

You can find out more information on today’s game on the Riderville website. And in our Sept. 3 issue, we’ll have our mid-season installment of Rider Fan Forum where Cal Corduroy, John’s Chick, Earl Camembert and Ron Mexico will offer their prescriptions to cure what currently ails the Green & White.

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Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum is currently displaying two digital media works created by Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew: White Shame (1992) and Speaking the Language of Spiders (1997).

Born in the Peace River district of mixed Cree and French Canadian descent in 1958, Ahasiw was an early innovator in digital media. Some of his work as an artist and administrator was done at the Canada Council and Banff Centre for the Arts, but in the mid-1990s he spent several years in Regina, and was a founding member and first production manager for Neutral Ground’s digital media facility, which is now known as SOIL Media Art and Technology.

I spoke several times with Ahasiw about his work when he lived in Regina, and also remember him doing some live performance with Michael Toppings when he lived here too (some of you may remember The House Project Toppings did in 2000 when he took an existing house near General Hospital and turned it into a text-based art work).

In the late 1990s Ahasiw left Regina, and in 2006 he passed away while living in Montreal. In addition to the two digital media works noted above, Ghostkeeper also features works by Cheryl L’hirondelle, Adrian Stimson and Archer Pechawis and Sheila Urbanoski done in response to Ahasiw’s projects.

The show runs until Aug. 28, and there’s a reception at Neutral Ground (203-1856 Scarth) on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m.

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Et Tu, Ray?

From testimony that’s been emerging at the Mike Duffy trial in Ottawa it seems that everyone and their dog in the Prime Minister’s Office knew of the plan that was hatched whereby former chief of staff Nigel Wright would cut a check for $90,000 from his own bank account to cover the disgraced senator’s improperly claimed living and personal expenses.

Here’s a Toronto Star report that lists a good dozen or so high-profile Conservatives who either participated in or were aware of the plan which was devised to short-circuit an audit that was underway into Duffy’s expense claims and deflect blame away from the Conservatives and the PMO for first appointing Duffy as a senator, and then using him as a pitchman for the party at numerous events across the country on the public dime.

Current chief of staff Ray Novak is one of the aforementioned Conservatives who was apparently in the loop. He’s been described as Stephen Harper’s closest friend and ally, and in denying that Novak knew anything about the Wright payment, Tory campaign spokesman Kory Teneycke has previously said, “it’s unfathomable that Ray would be aware of a payment … and not tell the prime minister.”

Yet, according the Wonderland world that the Conservative hierarchy inhabits, that’s apparently what happened. Novak did know, and he, along with dozens of other PMO staffers and upper echelon Conservatives, didn’t tell the prime minister.

Writing in the National Post yesterday, Andrew Coyne penned this very moving and heart-felt column sympathizing with Stephen Harper at the extreme sense of betrayal and confusion he must be feeling now that it is emerging that he was the victim of a party-wide conspiracy to keep the whole sordid truth of l’Affaire Duffy from his delicate ears. Truly, it is one of the more Shakespearean moments in Canadian political history, and our sympathy and condolences also go out to the prime minister at this time.

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Testament Of Youth

This British movie came out last year. It’s set in the WWI era and was neatly timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War. It’s a biopic of sorts based on a memoir of the same name by British writer Vera Brittain.

Brittain’s book was published in 1933 and recalls how her dream of studying English Literature with her fiance Roland Leighton at Oxford was derailed by the start of the war and the terrible hardship that followed.

Testament of Youth screens at RPL Theatre Thursday Aug. 20 and Saturday Aug. 22 at 7 p.m., and Friday Aug. 21 and Sunday Aug. 23 at 9 p.m. Here’s the trailer

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Cinema Under The Stars

As of Tuesday at supper time, the weather forecast for Wednesday evening was looking pretty good so there should be a good turnout tonight for the final screening in Regina Downtown’s 2015 Cinema Under the Stars film series.

After all the excitement around Jurassic World earlier this summer, the film that’s screening tonight is the original Steven Spielberg concoction Jurassic Park.

Dusk is arriving ever earlier these days, so the first dinosaur roar should sound around 8:30 p.m. As usual, there will be some pre-show fun for people who show up early to grab a good spot.

To get everyone in the mood, here’s the trailer for the 1993 movie which is based on a book by Michael Crichton

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Family Fun Day

sports Hall of FameHere’s a heads up about an event the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame is hosting on Saturday, Aug. 22. The event runs from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and includes sports-themed games and crafts, a multi-sport simulator and a BBQ.

You’ll also have the opportunity, of course, to tour the SSHF. Chalk, Wheat and Diamonds: Saskatchewan ‘Ball is the current feature exhibit (photo above), and there’s also displays related to various athletes, teams and builders who have been inducted into the SSHF over the years.

Admission is $5 per person, or $10 per family (two adults, two children). And more information can be found on the Sask Sports Hall of Fame website.

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Archaeology Field Day

Over the last three months or so we’ve done a couple of articles where we’ve delved into the disciplines of paleontology and zoology. One was an article on dinosaurs that coincided with the release of Jurassic World in early June, while the other was tied to an exhibition on the evolutionary origins of pollination that’s still got a couple of weeks to run at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

With both articles we talked to scientists who are on staff at the RSM and its affiliate facility the T-Rex Discovery Centre in Eastend. On Tuesday, Aug. 18 some of those scientists, plus a few others in areas such as archaeology and biology, will be on hand for this family-friendly event where people can learn more about the work that gets done at the RSM.

The field day runs from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesday, and admission is by donation. You can find out more by visiting the RSM website.

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Sunday Matinee: Sunset Boulevard

Sunset BoulevardBilly Wilder’s black comedy/film noir/drama Sunset Boulevard turned 65 this week.

This is a brilliant film that looks at the darker side of Hollywood and fame. The movie opens with William Holden floating in a swimming pool. Holden then narrates the events leading up to his death.

Holden is a down on his luck screenwriter who is trying to sell a script to Paramount Studios. It’s turned down and while Holden is fleeing some people who want to repossess his car, he ends up at the mansion of former silent screen star Norma Desmond (brilliantly portrayed by Gloria Swanson).
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Live Cinema Season

When I was in high school, it was common practice to take one Shakespeare play each year as part of English class. I don’t think Julius Caesar was the play typically taught in grade 10, but my English teacher decided to shake things up that year, so that’s the one we studied.

It was written in 1599, and was drawn from Roman history, with the title character being a successful general who expanded the reach of the republic to what is now France and German in the Gallic Wars (c. 51 B.C.E.). Following his return, he triumphed in a civil war and ruled Rome as a dictator until his assassination in 44 B.C.E.

This afternoon at Central Library Theatre there’s a broadcast of Julius Caesar as part of the Globe on Screen series from London. Curtain is at 2 p.m., and tickets are Adults $15, Seniors $12, Students $10.

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the production

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