Read the current issue DOG BLOG

The Candahar

_MG_9667The Candahar is an installation by artist Theo Sims that is modelled after a historic pub in Belfast. It first appeared at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and has since been presented in other cities including Calgary. Last weekend, it opened at the MacKenzie Art Gallery

The installation offers an immersive environment that, once you enter it, shifts your perspective in terms of space, time, culture and function. That’s especially true at certain times in the exhibition period when the Candahar actually comes alive as a full-service pub.

The exhibition runs until Sept. 4, and pretty much every Thursday evening the MacKenzie is teaming with someone from Regina or the broader art world to host a social evening. Here’s some of the social evenings that have been confirmed so far.

May 5: First Nations visual artist Dylan Miner, who is currently conducting a residency in Regina; May 12: educator Marc Spooner; May 19: actor/author Jean Freeman; May 26: performing artists Jayden Pfeifer and Johanna Bundon; June 2: visual artist Kyle Herranen; June 23: local dance troupe FadaDance; June 30: musician Marshal Burns; July 7: musician Belle Plaine; July 21: cultural theorist Jeanne Randolph; Sept. 1: MacKenzie curator Michelle LaVallee

Comments: 0

HotDocs ’16 – Day 6: Under the Gun

Day 6 - Under_the_Gun_1Under the Gun (USA, 2016): The Katie Couric-Stephanie Soechtig team seems hell-bent on exposing America’s malaises. In Fed Up (2014), they exposed the role of the food industry in the US obesity epidemic. Now they are going after a bigger fish (if possible): The gun lobby.

Using the many mass shootings down the border –particularly Sandy Hook and Aurora- as starting point, the documentary dissects the relationship between congressmen and the gun lobby, the NRA and weapons manufacturers, trade shows and crime, and gun owners and the organization that allegedly represents their interests.

There is nothing intrinsically new about American society’s trouble with guns, but the documentary presents the problem with remarkable clarity. Manufacturers develop close ties with the National Rifle Association; the NRA promotes a paranoid agenda (“the government is coming for your guns!” even though is legally unable to do such thing); people run to buy more weapons. The fact most gun owners would support background check legislation changes nothing. Or so it seems.

Not surprisingly, no NRA representatives, congressmen or gun-makers would speak on camera (to do so would be acknowledging there is a problem), but it doesn’t matter. Rationally, Under the Gun makes an ironclad case for the need of legislation. Too bad most people react emotionally to the matter. 4 ½ / 5 stars.

Under the Gun will also play Thursday, May 5th and Sunday, May 8th.

Comments: 0

Daily Aggregation: Trump Trumpets While Cruz Cries

daily-aggregation-21. TRUMP WINS INDIANA Read reports in The Guardian, The Washington Post and the New York Times. Eh, Cruz is more evil. Bernie would wipe the floor with either of these clowns. I could see Clinton shitting the bed, though. That’s worrying.

2. FORT McMURRAY IS BURNING A wildfire has entered the city and evacuations are underway.

3 ALEPPO IS DYING Jesus Christ, horrible.

4. MURRAY MANDRYK HAS A BEEF The Leader-Post’s political writer has a column on the Earl’s “humane beef” policy that’s worth a read. He makes a good point about major problems in the shrimp industry.

5. JACKRABBITS INVADE SASKATOON I like hares.

Muslim prayer plot6. I PRAY FOR THE STRENGTH TO STAY OFF IDIOT WEBSITES, BUT MY PRAYER IS NEVER ANSWERED Brad Wall wants to keep praying on the job. Meanwhile, some conservative fans are suggesting this anti-prayer petition is a Muslim plot even though it’s clearly an atheist plot. GET YOUR CONSPIRACIES STRAIGHT, CONSERVATIVE PEOPLE. Also, the conservativefans.com comment section is whackadoo.

7. CAT HAZ UR MAIL The Royal Mail threatened to suspend delivering letters to a British couple because they have a very naughty cat. The couple apologized profusely and switched from a door slot to a post box, which the Royal Mail paid for. So civilized! Bella the naughty cat had no comment.

8. THE FOX SAYS, “I HAVE A HANGOVER” Hey, how about Leicester?

Comments: 1

Foliage Report: Tuesday, May 3, Hellooo

FR 2016 (5-3-1543)

Continue Reading →

Comments: 0

More Prayer In The Legislature Stuff

The Centre For Inquiry Canada has started a national petition campaign calling on the Saskatchewan government to end the practice of opening each session of the legislature with a Christian prayer as has been done since 1905. The Centre is also calling on Premier Brad Wall specifically to cease issuing an official Christian-themed Christmas message in his capacity as premier of Saskatchewan.

Both the prayer, and the Christian-themed message, go against the grain of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in April 2015 that held that the state and its various agencies and representatives owe a duty of neutrality to all citizens in matters of religious belief or non-belief.

You can find out about the petition here.

Comments: 6

Farewell To Victor

After 20 years at the helm of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, maestro Victor Sawa is stepping down. On Saturday May 7 the RSO will join forces with the Regina Philharmonic Chorus, Halcyon Chamber Choir and some guest soloists to present a farewell concert.

The program features two iconic compositions by Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 9. You can find out more about the concert, which goes at Conexus Arts Centre on Saturday at 8 p.m., by visiting the RSO website.

To give you a taste of what to expect, here’s video from 2012 of a flash mob performance of the last movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 which is known as Ode To Joy and was inspired by a 1785 poem by Friedrich Schiller

Comments: 0

HotDocs ’16 – Day 5: Ants on a Shrimp/De Palma

Ants on a Shrimp

Ants on a Shrimp

Ants on a Shrimp (Netherlands, 2016): Much like documentaries about climate change, after a while all food-centered docs start to look the same. There lies the brilliancy of filmmaker Maurice Dekkers, who cares more about discovering what makes his subject tick than cater to foodies.

Dekkers’ subject is a doozy: Chef René Redzepi, the man behind the best restaurant in the world, Noma. In 2015, Redzepi moved his entire team from Copenhagen to Tokyo for a few months to build an entire new menu and serve Japanese patrons for a few weeks. There were 58,000 people on the waiting list.

Far from the neurotic autocrats in most cooking shows (looking at you, Gordon Ramsay), Redzepi is soft-spoken and unflappable. How does he stay at the top of his craft? He challenges himself consistently. He doesn’t care for adapting Noma’s menu to Japan. Redzepi rather discover what’s unique about his new surroundings and turn it into a dish.

Redzepi’s capacity to think outside the box leads to spectacular discoveries (scallop fudge, deep fried fish sperm). More than a mere doc about food, Ants on a Shrimp presents us a genius at work at the peak of his powers. 4/5 prairie dogs.

Ants on a Shrimp will also play on Wednesday, May 4th.

De Palma (USA, 2015): For a movie about one of the most interesting American directors, made by two renown indie filmmakers –Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow-, De Palma is a letdown. Outside of voluminous amounts of trivia (the kind you could find in IMDb), there is little insight about what makes De Palma tick.

The documentary goes through De Palma’s filmography movie by movie. While it’s undeniably entertaining to find out that Sean Connery had to be begged to do another take of his death scene in The Untouchables, the fact De Palma barely pays lip service to his Hitchcock connection indicates Baumbach and Paltrow didn’t quite press the director into revealing more substantial information.

Without any other testimony, De Palma feels like a glorified interview, with top notch archive footage, but minimal production effort. Heck, even the framing is off. 2/5 prairie dogs.

De Palma will also play on Tuesday, May 3rd and Friday, May 6th.

Comments: 0

Foliage Report: Monday, May 2

FR 2016 (5-2-1552)

More after the jump!

Continue Reading →

Comments: 0

Daily Aggregation: Privatization, Layoffs, Deadly Toddlers And Misogynist Albertans

daily-aggregation-21 R.I.P. DIEFENBABY George Dryden, human being and possible son of Saskatchewan-born Prime Minister John F. Diefenbacker, passed away following a terminal illness.

2 BUBBLES NOT POPPED The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office says a misdemeanor domestic violence charge against Trailer Park Boys star Mike Smith has been dropped. Smith and the alleged victim both denied there was any assault.

3 LAYOFFS AT EVRAZ Close to 200 workers will lose their jobs this week because the oil industry is tanking.

4 BCE BUYS MANITOBA TELECOM SYSTEM Seems appropriate timing that this happens now, just as Manitoba’s PCs return to power after more than 16 years in the political wilderness. The Gary Filmon PCs got sent into exile, in part, because they fucking privatized MTS in 1997. Oh, and according to Economy At Work, after he was punted from office Filmon got appointed to the new private company’s board of directors, where he made more than $1.4 million.

5 GUNS MAKE YOU SAFER U.S. children age three and under shoot people every week now.

6 GOODBYE DNTO The long-running CBC radio show hosted by Sook-Yin Lee goes off the air later this month.

7 MISOGYNY, IGNORANCE AND POLITICAL DOUBLE STANDARDS IN HICKSVILLE This one’s just awful.In Alberta, you get a ticket for a “Fuck Harper” sign in your car window but you don’t for calling Premier Rachel Notley a “cunt” on a truck decal.

8 COMMUNISM MEMORIAL GETS A NEW SITE, NEW DESIGN TO FOLLOW The former Harper government’s controversial and sort of crazy Memorial To The Victims Of Communism Thingy will not be built in the inappropriate location Harper wanted it built. It will be built however, so hopefully Conservatives and their supporters won’t whine like a bunch of babies about this.

9 SNAKES ON BELLE PLAINE The Regina musician announces upcoming shows and plays with Sophie, un petit serpent très mignon.

10 COLUMBUS LANDS THE THIRD PICK IN THE 2016 ENTRY DRAFT Good year to move up: the top three 2016 prospects are really good. Toronto will likely draft hyper-elite U.S. star Austin Matthews at first, while Winnipeg (#2) and the #CBJ will probably pick Finnish stars Patrick Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi. Hey, how about a superstar Finnish winger going to Winnipeg? Seems fitting, eh?

11 BATMAN V SUPERMAN WON’T CRACK TOP 10 SUPER-MOVIES* Wahn-wah waaahhhnnn. Well, it wasn’t a very good idea, was it?

*Yeah yeah, it’s still #7 all-time internationally. So I got cute with data sets to get the results I wanted. So what. Climate change deniers have been doing that for decades and people still listen to them…

Comments: 2

The Metafold

Brendan SchickYou can read more about this exhibition by artist Brendan Schick on the Art Gallery of Regina website. There’s paintings and mixed media works that allude to art styles from the Middle ages while also exploring concepts such as fractals and hallucinations as they relate to the artist’s youth.

The Metafold opened on April 29 and will run until June 30. As well, on Wednesday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. there’s an opening reception and artist talk by Schick at the gallery.

Comments: 0

HotDocs ’16 – Day 4: Tower/The Apology/Aim for the Roses

Tower

Tower

Tower (USA, 2016): A gripping mix of animation and archive material, Tower is an oral recount of the events in Austin in 1966, in which a gunman killed 16 people and wounded over 30. Thanks to abundant footage (the shooting lasted over an hour and a half, allowing considerable coverage), director Keith Maitland reconstructs the entire standoff. Every blank is filled with animation, a strategy that translates into growing tension and uneasiness.

The film is anchored by a pregnant woman who was shot early on and left bleeding in plain sight. Nobody could approach her as the sniper would have had a clean shot of any good Samaritans. While every POV in Tower is riveting, this one in particular is the clincher. The parallels between the events from fifty years ago and today’s mass shootings are not lost on anybody. The “good guys with guns” trying to take down the shooter ended up endangering those with the skills to do it successfully. 4.5/5 prairie dogs.

Tower will also play on Monday, May 2nd, and Friday, May 6th. Continue Reading →

Comments: 0

Foliage Report: Sunday, May 1

FR 2016 (5-1-1536)Another angle on this red hawt photojournalism report after the jump. Continue Reading →

Comments: 0

Sunday Matinee: A Kiss Before Dying

sunday-matineeWhen you say film noir you generally think of dark shadowy black and white movies featuring criminals and other lowlifes fighting to get ahead. The term film noir is actually a moniker placed on a large group of films made from the 1940s to the 1950s. And while the majority of movies considered to be film noir are in black and white, there are a few that were shot in colour. Today’s Sunday Matinee is the 1956 A Kiss Before Dying.
Continue Reading →

Comments: 0

Petition Circulating To End Prayer In The Legislature

The other day I posted about the Shift To Reason conference that was being held in Regina on Saturday. One initiative to come out of the conference, according to this CBC report, is a petition asking the Saskatchewan government to end the practice of opening each legislative session with an Anglican-derived prayer as has been the custom since the province entered Confederation in 1905.

The petition is a belated response to a Supreme Court ruling in April 2015 in a case involving city council meetings in Saguenay, QC that also opened with a prayer. In an unanimous decision, the court said that the state owed a duty of neutrality to all citizens in matters of religious belief (or non-belief) and that having a prayer at the start of a city council meeting violated that principle.

Following that ruling, Regina city council indicated it would end its practice of starting meetings with a prayer. While the ruling dealt specifically with a municipal council, the Supreme Court’s use of the word “state” seemed to leave open the possibility of the ruling having implications beyond the municipal level.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was quite vocal in his belief that prayer had a place in the legislature and that his government was not interested in applying the Supreme Court decision to legislative proceedings. I did a news article on this issue in April, and wrote a follow-up editorial in June, suggesting that position likely wouldn’t pass constitutional muster.

It is true that, unlike city councils, provincial legislatures (and the federal Parliament) do enjoy a degree of autonomy from the legal framework we operate under as ordinary citizens. That autonomy is known as “parliamentary privilege”. But as I noted in my editorial, it operates only in very specific circumstances and is tied to rights that are absolutely indispensable to our elected representatives carrying out their legislative duties.

As individuals, Saskatchewan MLAs can pray or not as they wish. But when it comes to a state-sanctioned prayer in the legislature, it’s impossible to contemplate a court in the 21st century holding that prayer was indispensable to MLAs carrying out their duties and that parliamentary privilege therefore protected them from an unanimous Supreme Court ruling.

Hopefully we won’t have to go through a costly legal battle to have this issue resolved. But given the Sask. Party government’s track record on stubborn adherence to patently unconstitutional positions, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Comments: 4

Jane’s Walk Regina

The eighth annual Jane’s Walk Regina is being held from Friday, May 6 to Sunday, May 8. There are eight walks on this year’s schedule among them:

Victoria Park Heritage Conservation District (Led by Bernie Flaman): A look at the buildings and structures surrounding Victoria Park which provide a complete chronology of architectural styles of the 20th century.

Far Away Place, Not So Far Away (Led by Jim Elliott): An exploration of various features of Upper Wascana Lake including the history of the Saskatchewan Science Centre, Pelican Island, Far Away Place and the Habitat Conservation Area.

Design Lessons from the Cathedral Area Neighbourhood (Led by Bill Neher): A walking discussion about the components that make for a great walkable neighbourhood and what lessons we can apply in new neighbourhoods.

Walk for Peace and Justice (Led PeaceQuest Regina): An examination of the horror of wars, past and present, as well as past and present injustices in our society, and the need to work for peace and justice.

You can find out more information on the other four walks, along with the times and gathering spots here.

Comments: 0

HotDocs ’16 – Day 3: Gulistan, Land of Roses/Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Gulistan: Lands of Roses (Canada, 2016): Proof that a great subject doesn’t necessarily make for a good documentary, Gulistan, Land of Roses has numerous opportunities to rise above the genre and squanders them all. In theory, the film is about female Kurdish squads battling ISIS, but you never see any fighting taking place. This is not necessarily a problem if the portrait of the guerrilleras were fascinating enough. Unfortunately, director Zayne Akyol never comes close to discover what makes these women tick beyond boilerplate answers.

Some morsels of valuable information do come across: The battlefield helps the female fighters avoid their expected fate in Kurdish society (subservient, hopelessly dependent). Another source of motivation is that if ISIS soldiers are killed by a woman, they’ll never get to (their idea of) heaven. These valuable bits of info get lost among a lot of waiting around, training sequences and pointless dialogue. The virtual absence of a dramatic arch seals the deal: Gulistan: Land of Roses is a bore. 1/5 prairie dogs.

Gulistan Land of Roses will also play on Wednesday, May 4th, and Sunday, May 8th.

Spaceship Earth (Canada, 2016): The problem with climate change documentaries is that after a while, they all look the same. The “we are doomed” narrative has become so repetitive is not actually helping the cause any longer. Spaceship Earth tries to distinguish itself by using the Marshall McLuhan metaphor of the planet as a shuttle and us as the crew, but it’s not enough.

While the film covers a fair variety of issues (melting glaciers, water acidity, the Koch brothers), it all comes down to energy. Sustainable sources cover less than 2% of the population’s needs (coal is still 30%!) and lack of political will is stalling progress on this area. Spaceship Earth is filled with interesting data presented in a cohesive fashion and in a pretty package, yet it misses the “wow” factor that would have allowed the film to break from the pack. 3/5 prairie dogs.

Spaceship Earth will also play Sunday, May 1st, and Saturday, May 7th.

Comments: 0

Foliage Report 2016: Saturday, April 30

FR 2016 (4-30-1657)

Comments: 0

A Duck In New York City

duck in NYCOn Sunday May 1 at 3 p.m., the Regina Symphony Orchestra is presenting this family concert at Knox Met Church. The program title is derived from a story/song created by singer-songwriter Connie Kaldor about duck born on the prairies who dreams of dancing on Broadway, and follows his adventures as he makes his way to the Big Apple.

Kaldor will perform with the RSO during the concert, which will be preceded by one hour of family-friendly activities starting at 2 p.m. Alan Denike is the guest conductor for this concert, and ticket information can be found on the RSO website.

Comments: 0

HotDocs ’16 – Day 2: Weiner

Day 2 - Weiner_1

Weiner (USA, 2016): Right before the scandal that all but destroyed his career, Anthony Weiner was a force to reckon within the Democratic Party. Passionate and eloquent, there were more than a few who saw him as a presidential card.

This documentary covers Weiner’s run for Mayor of New York in 2013, after the photos of his junk hit Twitter, but before the sexting scandal. The film is a portrait of a smart, well-intentioned man with two fatal flaws: His libido and his ego. Instead of disappearing into the shadows after the original snafu, the politician went back to the trenches at the first opportunity, despite the fact his family was still reeling from his previous indiscretion.

Even more fascinating than Weiner is his wife, Hilary Clinton’s advisor Huma Abedin. A very compelling figure, here is a woman trying to save her husband career without jeopardizing hers. As for the marriage’s healthiness, the jury is out: Abedin may stand behind Weiner, but no gestures of genuine affection are captured on camera.

The access filmmakers Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg got is remarkable. There are plenty of profoundly uncomfortable moments on display. Credit to Anthony Weiner for allowing such scrutiny. He may have wronged his family and blown his career to smithereens, but there are plenty of public figures that have done much worse and gotten a free pass. 4/5 prairie dogs.

Weiner will also play on Saturday, April 30th, and Friday, May 6th.

Comments: 0

Foliage Report 2016: Friday, April 29

FR 2016 (4-29-1547)

Comments: 0