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Talkies

The is likely the final Talkies of the 2015-16 season. If you’re a fan of snakes, you’ll likely enjoy the offering that host Jayden Pfeifer has lined up — none other than the 1997 creepy-crawly classic Anaconda about a National Geographic crew who picks up a stranger in the Amazon and finds themselves having to deal with an unexpected menace.

Jon Voight, Ice Cube and Jennifer Lopez star in the flick, which screens Tuesday June 28 at 7 p.m. at the RPL theatre. Admission is free with a donation to the Regina Food Bank. Here’s the trailer:

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Sunday Matinee: The War Of The Worlds

sunday-matineeH.G. Wells classic novel The War of the Worlds was published in 1897 and it took almost 50 years before it was adapted to the big screen, although it was infamously adapted for radio in 1938 where listeners believed that the radio play was a real news report.

Wells’ novel was the forerunner for alien invasion stories and while aliens appeared in movies since 1902’s A Trip to the Moon the big alien invasion movies that Hollywood loves didn’t flood the screens until the 1950’s.
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Sunday Matinee: 99 River Street

sunday-matineeThere are many cool film noir movies that most people probably have never heard of. Take today’s Sunday Matinee for example 1953’s 99 River Street.

John Payne is a washed up boxer who drives a cab now. He has a temper and is jealous of his wife. His wife Peggie Castle is having an affair with a crook played by Brad Dexter who has stolen some diamonds and murdered the diamonds owner but can’t get rid of them because of Castle and murder. Worse Payne discovers his wife’s infidelity so Dexter murders Castle and frames Payne.

Payne’s only friends are his dispatcher and an actress (Evelyn Keyes) who is in love with Payne. Payne is forced to punch his way to clearing his name and bringing his wife’s murderer to justice.

The movie is excellent. It’s dark, surprisingly brutal and tense. Payne is likable as the ex-boxer cabbie out to clear his name and director Phil Karlson was excellent at crafting dark crime thrillers.

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On Today’s Awful Hate Crime In Orlando

Well fuck this horror. Dan Savage covers the massacre comprehensively here. Jeet Heer weighs in here. The Guardian has its usual excellent coverage here. There’s a candlelight vigil at Q Nightclub in a few minutes (8 p.m., 2070 Broad St.). It’s open to all ages and everyone’s welcome.

A few additional thoughts:

1. On religion Faith-based bigotry has got to end. Doesn’t matter if its Christians, Jews, Muslims or Rastafarians — there needs to be be zero tolerance of any beliefs that any alleged deities oppose LGBTQ equality. We saw again today that bigoted religious ideas have deadly consequences for LGBTQ people. If your church/synogogue/mosque/faith community is prejudiced against queers, leave it for a better one (or if you’re tuff, fight back and change it).

2. On conservatives Both in Canada and south of the border, conservatism has become synonymous with both unrestricted gun owner rights and homophobia. Guns case in point: in 2014 then-Justice Minister Peter MacKay wore a shirt supporting ownership of assault rifles. What an asshole. And homophobia? Two words: Brad Trost. Canada’s Conservatives only reversed their bigoted official position on same-sex marriage a couple of weeks ago — kinda late, guys. I want to live in a country where conservatism is an honourable, reasoned and legitimate political position. It hasn’t been for a long time (with a few rare exceptions). Fix your shit, conservatives.

3. On guns Look at any bullshit situation and it’s almost always about the money. For example, it’s blatantly obvious the National Rifle Association and other lobby groups allegedly fighting for Americans’ “right” to own assault rifles without restrictions are doing it because there’s big money in guns and money matters more to them than people’s lives. They don’t give a shit about anyone’s rights. It’s about profits. That said, it’s also obvious a lot of individual gun nuts support unlimited gun ownership rights because they think the threat of violence their weapons create keeps the socialists, feminists, minorities, atheists, gay agendavists and “libtards” from getting too uppity. Gun nuts want people to be afraid of them. It’s the only way their bigoted ideas can get respect these days. Something to keep in mind. See you at the vigil.

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Sunday Matinee: Fantastic Planet

sunday-matineeComing from Criterion in two weeks on June 21 on Blu-ray is the 1973 French/Czech science fiction animated movie Fantastic Planet.

Weird, tripping and surreal the movie is set on an alien planet that is ruled by giant blue aliens named Traags who have brought humans (Oms) to their planet as pets and animals. A human named Terr who is raised by a Traag and ends up learning their knowledge, language, etc. Terr escapes and runs into wild oms and then tries to fight back against the Traags.

Fantastic PlanetThe movie won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973 and while not a big hit in the U.S. it has gained a cult following over the years. Director René Lalou would make two more animated feature length films. The next would be in 1982, Time Masters with the legendary comic artist Moebius designing the look of the film.

His last was in 1988, Gandahar, retitled Light Years by Harvey Weinstein who bought the North American distribution rights, redubbed the movie and reedited as he loves to do with all foreign movies that he buys. Sadly neither movie has been available in North America for a long time now. Hopefully with Criterion releasing Fantastic Planet, the rest of René Lalou’s films will get a new releases.

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Theory Of Obscurity

If you like a bit of subversive political disruption with your documentary film viewing, the RPL Film Theatre has a great double-bill for you this weekend.

Theory of Obscurity is the first film in the queue. Its a 2016 doc by Don Hardy that examines the 40-year career of the anonymous sound and video collective called The Residents. Known for their avant garde music and innovative multi-media works, The Residents have released  well over 100 albums, music videos and short films during their four decades together.

The second film is directed by Joh Nealon and Jenny Raskin, and is called Here Come The Videofreex. It’s focal point is a counterculture project created on the sly by Don West at CBS in 1969. To provide content, he hired a group of young videographers/journalists who went by the name Videofreex. They subsequently travelled the U.S. interviewing counterculture figures such as Abbie Hoffman and Black Panther member Fred Hampton. Any hope West had of bringing their material to air on CBS was quashed by higher-ups, although Videofreex did go on to set up a pirate TV station in 1972.

Theory of Obscurity screens at the RPL Friday June 10 at 7 p.m., Saturday June 11 at 9 p.m., and Sunday June 12 at 2:30 p.m. Here Come The Videofreex screens on the same days at 9 p.m., 7 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Here’s the trailer for Theory of Obscurity:

 

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Kingdom

Michel Boutin: Frog (2015) Enamel on canvas

Michel Boutin: Frog (2015) Enamel on canvas

On Saturday June 11, the Dunlop Art Gallery is hosting an artist talk and reception at its Sherwood Village branch location for a four-artist exhibition called Kingdom. As used in the exhibition, the word Kingdom references the taxonomic term that biologists use to describe various categories of life.

Kingdom is the second largest grouping below domain, and scientists are apparently somewhat split on the number of kingdoms of life we have on Earth. The U.S. typically cites six kingdoms, while Europe and other locales stick with five.

Animals and plants are two kingdoms common to both taxonomic systems. And under both systems, people are classed as animals. In this exhibition, four artists with roots in northern Canada explore the relationship between humanity and our fellow members of the animal kingdom.

Curated by Wendy Peart, Kingdom features work by Michel Boutin (Prince Albert), Nicholas Galanin (Sitka, AB), Tim Moore (Round Lake, SK), and Judy McNaughton (Prince Albert). The talk will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, with the reception to follow.

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One Take Super 8

We’ve written on the One Take Super 8 film festival before. The 2016 festival goes Thursday June 9 at the RPL Film Theatre at 7 p.m. For the last month or so, 20 local filmmakers have been hard at work developing their ideas and getting their film equipment in place. And tomorrow night they unveil their three-minute marvels.

Should be fun.

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A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline

This is a remount of a show the Globe Theatre has presented before about the life and career of country music legend Patsy Cline. The musical was written by Dean Regan, and this version is directed by Geoffrey Whynot with Devra Straker in the title role.

The performance is being held at Casino Regina from June 9-18, and more information can be found on the Globe Theatre website.  In addition, the play will be performed as part of the Globe Theatre’s 50th anniversary gala on Wednesday June 22.

The gala will features a number of special guests including Prince Edward and his wife the Countess of Essex, the Globe Theatre’s founder Ken Kramer, and former artistic director Susan Ferley. The gala is at Conexus Arts Centre, and you can find more information here.

To close, here’s video from 1958 of Patsy Cline performing one of her biggest hits “Walkin’ After Midnight”

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Harvey

For people of a certain vintage, anyway, the definitive version of this heart-warming story about a good-hearted man who is befriended by an Irish spirit called a pooka which, in his instance, resembles a six-foot tall rabbit, is the 1950 movie starring James Stewart.

The movie itself, though, is based on a 1944 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by American playwright Mary Chase.

Starting Wednesday, Regina Little Theatre will be presenting a production of Harvey at the Performing Arts Centre at 1077 Angus St. June 8-10, curtain for the play will be at 7:30 p.m., with two performances on Saturday June 11 at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. For more information visit the RLT website.

Here’s a bit of a trailer for the 1950 movie

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Sunday Matinee: Anomalisa

sunday-matineeI love the films of Charlie Kaufman. Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Synecdoche, New York which is the first movie that he wrote and directed (the rest he just wrote).

Kaufman has a unique outlook of the world and while many of his stories deal with an offbeat idea, he can capture the human condition perfectly. His movies are often funny and sad at the same time. His second directorial effort is Anomalisa which is a stop-motion animated movie based on his play of the same name.
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The Naked Magic Show

Years ago I did a preview article for a performance by two dudes from Australia who were part of a touring company that went under the title Puppetry of the Penis. I’m not sure how I got roped into doing it, but at the press conference I attended the performers demonstrated a couple of the tricks they did during their act — which involved stretching, folding and otherwise manipulating their penises and scrotums to form various objects in the style of genital origami.

I don’t think any origami is involved in this touring act, which hits Conexus Arts Centre on Monday June 6. But The Naked Magic Show does come with a R-rating, and apparently involves two male magicians who perform a variety of magic tricks while sans clothing.

“Nothing up my sleeve” is a standard magician’s disclaimer, and in this instance that’s definitely true. The curtain for The Naked Magic Show is at 7 p.m., and you can get ticket information on the CAC website. Here’s a little G-rated sample of what to expect:

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Young Benjamins

Formerly a quartet, this Saskatoon-based indie folk band seems to have scaled back to a three-piece since it released its debut album Less Argue in 2013.  Three of the four original members are still involved, though, and tonight Neusha Mofazzali, Veronique Poulin and Brynn Krysa will be in town to play a launch show for their new full-length Losing Our Shadows.

The gig is being held at the old McNally’s Tavern in 22 block Dewdney Ave. The back-up band has yet to be named, but the show should get going around 10 p.m. and there’s a $5 cover.

I couldn’t find anything new off Losing Our Shadows so here’s the video for a song of the Young Benjamin’s 2013 LP Less Argue called “Out There (In The Wild)”

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Glories Of Gloria Revue

Charles Atlas Sheppard did a preview of this clown-based show in our mammoth May 26 Best of Food & Drink issue. As Charles noted, the lead performer, Mooky Cornish, has worked in the past with Cirque du Soleil, and studied the concept of clown as it exists in a number of different cultures.

Glories of Gloria Revue co-stars Cal McCrystal, who has has an extensive background in clown and other types of physical comedy. The performance involves a twist on an old trope, where instead of a person running away from a humdrum life to join the circus, a circus artist abandons the big top to try to make it big in a smallish Saskatchewan city.

Glories of Gloria Revue will be held at the Artesian tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, with children 12 and under admitted for $7.

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Foliage Report 2016: The Gifenning

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And that’s what Spring 2016 looked like. Pretty damn exciting, I’d say. I can hardly wait for 2017!

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Daily Aggregation: The Worst In You

daily-aggregation-21. ABOUT A BUDGET Here’s CBC, the Leader-Post, the Leader-Post againCBC again, CBC’s Stefani Langenegger, the L-P’s Murray Mandryk and Prairie Dog’s Greg Beatty on yesterday’s budget. I’d normally include a link to CJME but Brad Wall’s first post-budget interview was with radio host and former progressive Conservative MP John Gormley and that’s just lame. No link for you, CJME!

2. MEANWHILE, REGINA MAYOR MICHAEL FOUGERE IS SUSPICIOUS OF “TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE” Does it mean “downloading”?

3. TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION, ONE YEAR LATER CBC catches up with Murray Sinclair, chair of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, one year after the Commission released its 94 calls to action.

4. CANADIAN PRIDE Yesterday, PM Justin Trudeau raised the LGBTQ pride flag on Parliament Hill for the first time ever. “It hasn’t been easy, it hasn’t been automatic. A lot of people fought for a long time for this day and for the many days that led up to this day to happen,” he said.

5. JOHNSTONE DEFENDS CARBON CAPTURE Hey Paul Dechene, you might be interested in this May 27 Bruce Johnstone column I just noticed — especially after what you wrote earlier this week.

6. BRITISH NEWSPAPER EXPOSE U.S. CITIES’ LEAD-LINED WATER TESTS This is what journalism looks like. Also what a failing country looks like. Also why you shouldn’t trust anyone who complains about “red tape”. Red tape is the stuff that makes sure drinking water gets tested for unsafe levels of lead.

7. CLIMATE CHANGE MAKES WEATHER WACKIER You knew that but here’s an update anyway about facts that only talk show guests and scumbag propagandists argue with.

8. CHINA’S UNELECTED LEADERS DON’T LIKE TOUGH QUESTIONS What a big baby.

9. ARE GORILLAS DANGEROUS TO PEOPLE? TL;DR: Potentially, if they’re feeling threatened.

10. SYRIAN REFUGEES HELP ALBERTANS A nice story about people helping people.

anti-abortion propoganda in street box-6-2-201611. ANTI-ABORTION TWITS GET OUTTA MY PROPERTY Look what I found in a Prairie Dog street box this morning! Unfortunately it got torn into little bitty pieces on the way to its photoshoot somehow but I put it back together as best I could.

12. I THOUGHT NEOLIBERALISM SUCKED BEFORE IT WAS COOL TO THINK NEOLIBERALISM SUCKED Business-friendly free trade agreements that export jobs, reckless tax cuts for the wealthy and austerity policies that make people poor and wreck economies suck so very much.

13. SOUNDS LIKE SPIDER-MAN 4 WOULD’VE BEEN GREAT Here are some details of director Sam Raimi’s aborted plans for a Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man 4 and I love them. The villains would’ve been the Vulture and Mysterio, who would’ve been played by Bruce Campbell — he’d have been a lot of fun in the role. It’s really annoying how Sony shat the bed with Spider-Man 3 (the studio insisted on Venom — a stupid villain) and a way-too-soon reboot. At least Spider-man is in the Marvel movie universe now as a result.

VIDEO: “THE WORST IN YOU” Check out the latest from Andy Shauf, whose new album The Party is out now and getting rave reviews.

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The Man Who Knew Infinity

Once you get beyond the basics of addition and subtraction and multiplication and division, mathematics quickly becomes a pretty esoteric discipline that not a lot of people have a lot of understanding of or interest in. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its share of compelling stories and characters.

Based on a book by Robert Kanigel, this bio-pic commemorates the life and career of one such individual. Born into poverty in India in 1887, Srinivasa Ramanujan became a self-taught expert in math with a special focus on number theory, infinite series and continuous fractions.

During the height of World War I he journeyed to England to study at Cambridge under British mathematician G.H. Hardy where he encountered resistance based both on his ethnicity and his revolutionary ideas.

The Man Who Knew Infinity, with Dev Patel as Ramanujan and Jeremy Irons as Hardy, screens at the RPL Theatre Friday June 3 at 7 p.m., Saturday June 4 at 9 p.m., and Sunday June 5 at 2:30 p.m. Here’s the trailer:

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Government Opts For Investment (And Debt) Over Austerity in 2016-17 Budget

SaskFlag_605I’m writing this in advance of heading to the Legislature this morning for a press conference by Saskatchewan Finance Minister Kevin Doherty prior to him delivering the province’s 2016-17 budget this afternoon.

Based on my understanding of the embargoed copy of the budget that I obtained on Tuesday, despite all the gloom and doom that had been forecast, this doesn’t really qualify as an austerity budget. Yes, revenues from resources are down substantially from where they were a few years ago (around $968 million according to a government background document). But instead of slashing programs and department budgets, government spending will actually increase this year to $14.458 billion from $14.295 billion in 2015-16.

Budgetary allocations in most instances either remain the same as last year (as in the case of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and Creative Saskatchewan), or even increase, as in the case of funding for Health, Municipalities, Education, Agriculture, Highways and a whole lot more.

What’s more, these increases are being achieved with only a modest jump in the deficit from $427.2 million to $434.2 million. Tougher medicine may lay in the future, as the government says the budget marks the beginning of a process of “transformational change” in how it delivers programs and services.

Questions that will be asked as part of this process include: What programs and services should be the role of government? Are they being delivered in a cost-effective and efficient way? Could programs with similar objectives be consolidated to save delivery costs? Could different governance models provide administrative savings while still meeting the needs of Saskatchewan people?

Where all that will lead is anyone’s guess. But for now, the government is holding off on any tough decisions related to our altered fiscal reality in the wake of a global slide in resource prices.

Oh yeah, and one more thing. The government is planning to borrow another $1 billion this year to help tide us over. Similar to the $700 million it borrowed last year, the debt isn’t included in the deficit calculation. As noted above, it’s projected to be $434.2 million, but when you throw in an extra billion dollars of debt the true shortfall is $1.434 billion.

If this was a NDP government presenting this budget, I can well imagine what the outcry would be from the various chambers of commerces, taxpayers federations and independent business associations that are out there. So we’ll see what happens later today.

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Thicker Than Water

ThickerThanWaterWritten by Heather Morrison, this play is presented Sum Theatre as part of the Globe Theatre’s Shumiatcher Sandbox Series. The play opens Wednesday, and runs until June 11, with performances Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The central character in Thicker Than Water is a 29-year-old woman named Laura (played by Judy Wensel). As the play opens, she’s waiting in her apartment for a phone call. From there, additional characters appear representing three generations women, which puts Laura in a position of having to confront her mother’s past and her own future through a broader exploration of issues related to mental health, motherhood and the age-old question of nature vs. nurture.

Again, Thicker Than Water runs at the Globe Theatre Wednesday through Saturday from June 2-11 at 7:30 p.m. You can get ticket information here.

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Foliage Report: Tuesday, May 31

FR 2016 (5-31-1732)-3

Look at Aidan there; he’s plumb tuckered out! That’s okay; watching this tree grow for a month would exhaust anyone. Right now he’s probably wondering, “Is that it, Steve? Are you done for another year?* Or will there be one last Foliage Report wrap-up extravaganza tomorrow?” Well, no one knows what the future holds, Sleepy Aidan. But: possibly.

Oh yeah, more photos after the jump. Continue Reading →

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