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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: House Of Horrors

House of HorrorsStruggling artist Marcel De Lange (Martin Kosleck) almost manages to sell one of his works when art critic F. Holmes Harmon (Alan Napier) informs the potential buyer that the work is crap thus killing the deal. De Lange is distraught and decides to kill himself. Just as he’s about to jump off a bridge he notices a man struggling in the river below. He goes down and saves the man. The man is Rondo Hatton.

Hatton is grateful for the rescue and he stays with De Lange. De Lange starts sculpting a bust of Hatton’s face. In the meantime Hatton goes out and murders a woman by breaking the woman’s spine. Hatton happens to be the notorious killer The Creeper.
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Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan has been a force on the Canadian music scene since the late 1980s. As an organizer of Lilith Fair in the mid-’90s she was one of the best-known female musicians in North America.

The mother of two daughters now, she’s probably been a little busier on the domestic front in recent years, which perhaps accounts for her lower profile as a musician.  But in January she did release a new studio album called Shine On which was reportedly her artistic response to the death of her father.

Following the album release, McLachlan embarked on a 30-city U.S. tour, and now she’s following that up with a 21-city Canadian tour. On Sunday Nov. 2 she’s in town to play a show at Conexus Arts Centre. Start time is 8 p.m., and tickets are in the $50 to $90 range. To give you a sense of where McLachlan’s at these days in her music here’s the video for “In Your Shoes” off Shine On:

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: Dr. Renault’s Secret

Dr. Renaults SecretYoung Dr. Larry Forbes (Shepperd Strudwick) has come to France to see his fiancee Madelon (Lynne Roberts) who happens to be Dr. Robert Renault’s (George Zucco) niece. A storm stops Forbes from reaching the Renault estate and his forced to spend the night in an inn.

There he meets Renault’s strange man servant Noel (J. Carrol Naish) and Renault’s gardener who is an ex-con. Noel is an odd looking man and he’s infatuated with Madelon. Forbes ends up switching rooms and the man in what should have been his room is murdered in the night. The next day Noel takes Forbes to the mansion. Later Madelon’s dog is killed and Dr. Renault suspects that Noel did it.
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Honouring The Treaties

BobRae2-239x300After a long political career which included stints as a federal NDP MP from 1978-81, the first NDP premier of Ontario from 1990-95, and as a federal Liberal MP from 2008-13, Bob Rae (pictured) moved into private practice as a lawyer at the Toronto law firm Olthius Kleer Townshend.

In that capacity, Rae works extensively with First Nations across Canada as a legal counsel, negotiator and arbitrator on various files involving resource development, sovereignty and relations with the federal and provincial governments. That’s consistent with his political career, where he often made First Nations issues an important focus of his work as a MP, premier and interim Liberal leader following the resignation of Michael Ignatieff after the 2011 federal election.

Thursday, Oct. 30 Rae will be in Regina to deliver a talk titled “Honouring the Treaties: What Does It Mean?” at the University of Regina. The talk will be held at Education Auditorium at 7 p.m., and more info can be obtained by calling 306-585-4226.

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Saskatchewan In Spain

BilboaSaskI don’t have a ton of details on this project, but above is a shot from an exhibition of Saskatchewan art that’s currently on display in Bilbao, Spain. The exhibition was previously displayed in London. I’m not sure if there’s any other stops on the tour, but it was funded at least in part by Creative Saskatchewan as a way of promoting Saskatchewan art and artists in Europe.

Adrian Stimson is the curator, and he’s travelling with the exhibition to do media interviews and host receptions.  Judging from the pictures that Adrian’s been posting there’s a pretty solid selection of artists, so overall it’s a nice showcase of Saskatchewan talent.

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: Scarecrows

ScarecrowsFive mercenaries rob Camp Pendleton and then kidnap a pilot and his daughter, forcing them to fly them to Mexico. Things are fine. They have three and half million between them, they can all live happy. Except one of them, Bert (B.J. Turner) decides that he doesn’t feel like sharing. He pushes the loot out of the plane, throws a grenade and then parachutes out himself.

He lands in a farmer’s field and that’s when the fun begins. The rest of the mercs toss the grenade out the plane before it explodes and they are pissed. Bert has hurt himself in the landing and is dripping blood. He makes his way to an abandoned farm house where he takes a truck and looks for the loot. There are scarecrows everywhere. Three of the mercs have jumped out after him and a searching the area for him. The last merc plays spotter on the plane looking for Bert and guiding the rest towards him. They all have their headsets on and they constantly taunt Bert.
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Bjork: Biophilia Live

“A captivating record of an artist in full command of her idiosyncratic powers” is how Variety described this film which documents a concert by Icelandic musical artist Bjork at London’s Alexandra Palace in 2013.

The concert was part of her Biophilia tour which followed on the heels of the 2011 album of the same name where Bjork used a number of unique instruments that were created especially for the project. Science and nature were two thematic elements that were explored in the album and subsequent tour, which also included specially designed Apple apps that listeners could download to expand their auditory experience.

Oct. 30-Nov. 2, Biophilia Live will be screened at the RPL Theatre. Thursday and Saturday the screening is at 7 p.m., while on Friday and Sunday it’s at 9 p.m. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s the trailer:

 

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David Suzuki!

Suzuki

I made the coffee David Suzuki’s drinking! We’ll never wash the mug again.

A living Canadian legend dropped by Prairie Dog’s office this afternoon! David Suzuki is in town for the Blue Dot Tour, which goes tonight at seven at the Conexus Arts Centre. You can and should buy tickets here. Musical guests include Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor and Royal Wood. It will be tons of fun. I won’t be there because I have to work. Sad face. Oh well, at least I got to meet Suzuki — and yeah, as you’d think, it was terrific spending half an hour chit-chatting with this titan of environmentalism. As anyone (well, anyone reasonable) would suspect, Suzuki is a warm, intelligent and charismatic person. If you ever have the chance to meet him, take it.

Suzuki, me, Darrol Hofmeister and designer Awesome Klassen talked about climate change and climate change denial, politics, science, science education, the Apollo program, urban sprawl and urban wildlife, and fun stuff like that (well, it was fun for us). At one point, Suzuki brought up Tommy Douglas as an example of Saskatchewan’s progressive history, and I had to break the news that a lot of people here hate “Tommy The Commie” — and in general, we’re now a less progressive province than Alberta.

I think it’s fair to say Suzuki was baffled. He thought we’d all be proud of our history. He’s right. We should be.

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Cats For Chow!

Mr. Luther Steel supports Olivia Chow for Mayor (and Ausma Malik for TDSB, in case we ever decide to have kittens.)
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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: It’s Alive

Its Alive“There’s only one thing wrong with the Davis baby… It’s Alive.”

John P. Ryan and Sharon Farrell are the Davis family and they’re expecting their second child. The baby is delivered and much to the shock and horror of the doctors and nurses, the baby is deformed. It’s been born with fangs and claws and it quickly attacks the doctors and nurses killing them all expect Sharon Farrell.

Ryan comes into the room and sees the carnage but the baby escapes. The police start hunting the infant and Ryan decides that he won’t be father of such a monster and starts hunting it down to kill it himself.
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The Supersuckers

Recently arrived back in North America from a summer tour of Europe that saw them play shows in Spain, France, the U.K. Germany and Switzerland, this Seattle-based band  touches down at the Exchange tonight.

Fronted by bassist Eddie Spaghetti, the Supersuckers have been around in both rock and country guises since 1988. In that time, they’ve gone through a whole pile of line-up changes. Spaghetti’s been one constant, for sure. And guitarist Dan “Thunder” Bolton has been along for most of the ride too. At present, the band also includes guitarist “Metal” Marty Chandler and Christopher “Chango” von Streicher on drums.

The band has seen better days, undoubtedly, although they did release a new album in January called Get the Hell. As you can see from the video for the title track, it’s a rock album, so that’s the genre that the band will likely favour at tonight’s show. Sharing the bill are Maxstone and the Regina band Tomorrow Starts Today. Tickets are $15.

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Weekly Reckoning Of The Week of Reckoning Every Week Edition

weekly-reckoningHello! It’s time to reckon with things. Lucky for us, Pope Gregory XIII straightened out time for us with his handy calendar that lets us reckon on a weekly basis. Let’s get started. Which is really to say, let’s continue.

1. BREAKING: CBC DUMPS JIAN GHOMESHI What? CBC announced today that it is ‘ending its relationship’ with Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q. CBC won’t disclose the circumstances behind the decision, but Ghomeshi is planning to sue the Corpse for a nice $50 million, citing bad faith and breach of confidence. I have no idea what went on behind the scenes or who may be in the right, but I will say this much: CBC, you had one celebrity.

EDITED TO ADD: It’ll probably emerge that Ghomeshi has been doing some truly awful things, which will make my comments look insensitive and glib.

UPDATED: Ghomeshi posts an extremely detailed defence on Facebook.

2. WHO NAMES A RACCOON DENNIS ANYWAY Actually, I have the answer for that: Saskatoon resident Wendy Hook is the mysterious raccoon-namer and -keeper. Unfortunately, the labyrinth of Saskatoon bureaucracy has no provision for raccoons as pets. The Hooks have been pleading with the city, but it doesn’t appear likely that they’ll be able to keep Dennis around. Pity the Hooks and their pet Dennis, with his undoubtedly ridiculous little raccoon hands.

3. KULTUR MACHT SPASS Don Delillo, author of the po-mo classic White Noise, reviews eight seconds of white noise from Taylor Swift.

4. “THERE MAY BE TWO KINDS OF FEMALE ORGASM AFTER ALLThis is the sort of headline I will always click on.

5. WHO WILL PROP UP OUR BOOM-FUELLED JINGOISTIC MUNICIPAL FANTASIES NOW? The Roughriders keep losing games. Come on, Riders. We can’t go back to those pre-boom underdog days. Regina is a world-class something something. We can’t build a brand new stadium to house humiliation.

 

 

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: The Haunted Palace

haunted palaceRoger Corman had a lot of success with his run of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations. Starting with the House of Usher in 1960, Corman made eight adaptations. After the first five, Corman decided to take a break and adapted a H.P. Lovecraft movie instead of a Poe story. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward became basis for the plot and the title was taken from Poe’s poem titled The Haunted Palace. To keep with Corman’s Poe series the film was marketed as Edgar Allan Poe’s The Haunted Palace and is considered part of the Poe series.

As with all of Corman’s Poe films Vincent Price plays the lead. The story starts in 1765 in the town of Arkham. Price plays Joseph Curwen, a suspected warlock who is burned at the stake. Before he is burnt, Curwen curses the town of Arkham.
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The Blue Dot Tour

Earth_Eastern_HemisphereAbove is a composite image of our home planet as compiled by NASA from various satellite and International Space Station images. From orbit, Earth is anything but a “blue dot”. But the further you travel from the planet (as many mechanical probes have done over the last five decades) the smaller and more isolated our home becomes in the broader context of the solar system, the Milky Way Galaxy and the universe itself.

That’s the message that renowned environmentalist David Suzuki will deliver Monday Oct. 27 when his cross-Canada tour stops at Conexus Arts Centre. The “Blue Dot” tour title references a 1994 book by astronomer Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future In Space) that was itself inspired by a photograph of Earth taken by the Voyager I spacecraft in 1990 when it was six billion kilometres away and nearing the boundary of our solar system.

The Voyager image provided a graphic reminder of how insignificant our reality on this planet is in comparison to the immensity of space and how precious Earth is as a refuge for us in an impossibly harsh and unforgiving universe.

Throughout his tour, which is designed to promote the idea of enshrining the right to a clean environment into the Canadian Constitution, Suzuki has been accompanied by assorted Canadian entertainers and other “friends”. In Regina, he’ll be joined by Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, along with singer-songwriter Royal Wood. The event will start at 7 p.m. on Monday, and tickets are $22-$127.

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Next Time You Get the Chance, You Really, Really Need to See Bahamas Live

“Please Forgive My Heart” path to Bahamas live staple is unlikely. The Bobby Womack track came out in 2012, and I swear Afie Jurvanen, the man behind the Toronto, ON-based Bahamas, has been covering it live ever since, even going on to record it for his iTunes Sessions EP. The song is great at showing off what’s amazing about Bahamas, on stage or not. The song’s slow build could turn into monotony in the hands of lesser artists. But in the band’s current touring lineup, Jurvanen and Christine Bougie take small moments to let their guitar work shine, the backing vocals from Felicity Williams and Tamara Lindeman of the Weather Station perfectly underpin the action and Jason Tait is still the perfect mix of power and restraint on the drums.

Bahamas are a completely killer live act, as they proved in Saskatoon on Wednesday, October 22.

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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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