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Sunday Matinee: La Notte

La NotteI started with Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura so I might as well continue with Antonioni’s loose trilogy about modernity and its discontents. Today’s Sunday Matinee is 1961’s La Notte (The Night).

La Notte follows a married couple through the course of one night. The couple played by Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni are and have been drifting apart for sometime. They first go visit a friend in the hospital who is dying. Moreau is taking it especially hard. She leaves telling the dying man that she’ll come back tomorrow. Mastroianni has just published a successful novel and they then attend a party celebrating the novel’s publication. Mastroianni is in his element at the party while Moreau is bored and alone. She eventually leaves the party.
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Riders Vs Argonauts

When the Riders hosted the Argos last July the final score was 37-9 for the home team.

When the Riders hosted the Argos last July the final score was 37-9 for the home team.

Both the Riders and the CFL are off to a rough start in 2015. In Week One, the Riders, Edmonton and Montreal all lost their starting QBs to injury. The Alouettes also lost their back-up QB. Toronto’s starter, Ricky Ray, was already injured, then on Thursday Winnipeg lost their starting QB Drew Willy after he took a shot to head.

In Kevin Glenn, the Riders have an adequate back-up. But it’s likely the team will be be looking to run the ball more than had originally been planned under new offensive coordinator Jacques Chapedelaine (whose offence Darian Durant had previously described as basketball on grass).

Last Saturday in the loss to Winnipeg, Rider RBs Anthony Allen and Jerome Messam racked up over 200 yards on the ground, so there is some hope there. Receiver Weston Dressler is supposed to play in this afternoon’s game against the Argos as well, so he should provide an offensive spark. On defence, the Riders were sloppy with a capital “S”, and Winnipeg took advantage of poor tackling to put up tons of yards and points in their 30-26 victory. All-star safety Tyron Brackenridge is supposed to play today, although having sat out training camp and the preseason it’s questionable how effective he will be.

The Argonauts are coming off an impressive “home” win against Edmonton in Fort McMurray. Because of the Pan Am games, the Double Blue won’t play their first true home game in Toronto until Aug. 8 (against the Riders, as it happens). But replacement QB Trevor Harris looked good in the team’s 26-11 victory over the Eskimos — although defensively, Toronto was helped when Edmonton QB Mike Reilly had to leave the game with a leg injury that will sideline him for 10-12 weeks.

On special teams, the Riders made a splash this week when they signed 45-year-old Paul McCallum to take over place-kicking duties from Chris Milo. If you crunch the numbers, McCallum does have a better success rate, although for the last 10 years he’s had the benefit of playing half the season in climate-controlled conditions at B.C. Place whereas Milo has faced the exact opposite situation at Mosaic Stadium where wind, rain and cold often wreak havoc with the kicking game. The Riders also re-signed QB Tino Sunseri to put a third quarterback on the roster now that Durant is gone for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Prior to Calgary losing in Montreal Friday night (against a rookie QB, no less) I had the Stampeders and the Hamilton Tiger Cats as early favourites to meet in a Grey Cup rematch in Winnipeg in late November. Hamilton still looks solid, and Calgary still has to be favoured in the West. But other teams, such as the Riders and Edmonton, could challenge depending on how they cope with the loss of their starting QBs.

Kick-off for today’s game at Mosaic Stadium is 1:30 p.m. You can find out more on the Riderville website.

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Secret Gardens Tour

For 18 years now New Dance Horizons has been holding this summer fundraiser which consists of a self-directed tour where people get to check out local gardens plus experience live dance performances in some of the spaces. This year NDH is partnering with Wascana Centre and WP Gardens, and the theme for the tour and performances is Trees.

The Secret Gardens Tour runs from July 10-12. Day gardens are open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and night gardens from 7-10 p.m. There’s also a reading by naturalist/author Trevor Herriot on Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon at Wascana Centre Authority’s Habitat Conservation Area. Adult tickets are $45, while tickets for children 13 are $10. You can get more details on the Secret Gardens website.

Prior to the ticketed tour, NDH is joining with the Dunlop Art Gallery to present a free performance titled Rapunzel & the Tiny Trees on Wednesday July 8. It will be held in Central Library’s Sunken Garden from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

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Regina International Fringe Festival

The 11 O'Clock Number, presented by Edmonton's Grindstone Theatre.

The 11 O’Clock Number, presented by Edmonton’s Grindstone Theatre.

In addition to Saskatchewan/Canada, theatre artists from the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and South Africa will be performing at the 11th annual Regina International Fringe Festival which runs July 8-12 in Regina.

You can find out more about the acts, and the five venues in central Regina that they’ll be performing at (Artesian, Unitarian Centre, Saskatchewan Express, St. Mary’s Church and MacKenzie Gallery), by visiting the RIFF website. The acts range from serious theatre to musicals, parodies, improv, dance and spoken word. So if you’re even remotely interested in live performance, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something that’s to your taste.

As with previous years, there will be a special Kids’ Fringe on July 11 at the MacKenzie Gallery. It’s free, and tickets are $10 per performance otherwise.

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The Tale of A Town

TalkofTownI’ll have more in a future blog post, but above is a photo of a vehicle and trailer that the Toronto-based arts collective Fixt Point are using to gather stories from Reginans about their memories of downtown Regina. The visit is part of a cross-Canada trip Fixt Point is on to prepare for a larger project tied to Canada’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2017.

Fixt Point was at Canada Day celebrations in Wascana Centre, then were at Central Library from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today. If you’d like to offer your memories of the downtown, they’ll be at the library Friday and Saturday during the same hours.

From information Fixt Point gathers, they’ll be putting on a performance/installation at Darke Hall on July 12. That will be blogged on down the road. And here’s a Leader-Post report where Curtain Razors’ artistic director Joey Tremblay discusses Fixt Point’s stop in Regina.

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Regina Chamber Music Festival

ChamberFestival(AfiaraQuartet)You can find out more about this festival, which runs in Regina from July 5-10, by visiting the RCMF website. In a nutshell, it’s an offshoot of Regina Summer Strings which is a summer education program for students who play different stringed classical instruments.

“This is the first season of the Regina Chamber Music Festival, a very exciting project for Regina and the first quite like it,” says organizer Catherine Cosbey. “We’re really trying to rally the community around the festival so we can build
this into an important musical event for the Prairies.

“Regina has an incredible and unique classical music culture, particularly in training young musicians,” she adds. “We want to celebrate that culture by providing an opportunity to hear world class artists, and by bringing home excellent musicians who have vibrant careers elsewhere in the world in a dynamic, community oriented series of events. A mini Tanglewood on the Canadian Prairies. And the concerts are going to be incredible, accessible, interesting, and fun!”

This is the debut year for the festival, and plans are in the works to establish a non-profit organization, so the goal is to make it a fixture on Regina’s classical music calendar. Here are the performance highlights for RCMF 2015.

Sunday 5

(Opening Night) performance by Amy Hillis and Catherine Cosbey (violins), Jonathan Ward (viola), Marilyn de Oliveria (cello) and Katherine Dowling (piano) featuring works by Dvorak, Raum, Crum and Piazzolla at Westminster United Church (3025 13th Ave.), 7:30 p.m. $20.

Wednesday 8

Performance by Afiara Quartet [pictured above] featuring works by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Lau at Westminster United Church, 7:30 p.m. $20.

Thursday 9

Performance by students in the Regina Summer Strings program of classical favourites at Westminster United Church, 7:30 p.m. $20.    

Friday 10

Performance by students in the Regina Summer Strings program in orchestral and small groups at Westminster United Church, 4:30 p.m. $10 suggested donation.

Gala fundraiser and chamber music party featuring a performance by Amy Hillis and Catherine Cosbey (violins), Jonathan Ward (viola), Marilyn de Oliveria (cello) and Katherine Dowling (piano) along with an open mike at the Artful Dodger (1651 11th Ave.), 7:30 p.m. $35.   

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Bry Webb

After you’re done doing whatever you plan on doing (or not doing) to celebrate Canada Day, consider dropping by O’Hanlon’s tonight for some made in Canada music courtesy of Bry Webb and Carl Johnson.

Carl is no stranger to Regina music audiences. In fact, he might be the current record holder for a local musician being in the most bands. Library Voices, Coldest Night of the Year and the Florals are three that I know of for sure.

Webb is one of the founding members of Can-rock legends the Constantines. He’s also released a couple of albums as a solo artist, and I believe the plan is for both guys to play solo sets.

Here’s Webb performing “AM Blues” off his last solo record Free Will during an appearance on CBC’s Studio Q in January:


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Terminator: Genisys: At This Point, “I’ll Be Back” Is More of a Threat Than a Promise

I mean, really: at this point, who hasn't played Sarah Connor?

I mean, really: at this point, who hasn’t played Sarah Connor?

The truth is, some movies are just franchise-resistant. The first Terminator was such a fantastic example of a closed loop time travel story that nobody should have ever messed with it. T2 only turned out to be such a wonderful filmgoing experience through some mystical combination of James Cameron’s estimable filmmaking prowess and Linda Hamilton’s undeniable awesomeness. Every other Terminator movie has been a farcical mess, a clumsy attempt to build a mythology that nobody asked for. T3 ended with a bummer of a nuclear apocalypse. The fourth Terminator movie, directed by the human punchline known as McG, is more memorable for Christian Bale’s tape-recorded temper tantrum than anything that happened onscreen. And Terminator: Genisys is a hackneyed attempt to build a franchise on top of the failed sequels that came before, a reboot-prequel-sequel hybrid that can’t justify its own existence.

Credit where it’s due: at least Genisys cleverly aspires to fiddle with the original Terminator’s timeline by reviving Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance in the 1984 film via a body double and some very convincing CGI work. Early in the film, we’re presented with a cute Back to the Future-style moment where a scene in the original Terminator is disrupted by a new event, but the cleverness doesn’t go much further than that. Instead, Schwarzenegger spends way too much of the film dumping leaden sci-fi exposition on the audience’s heads—in one scene, he blathers on about something called a “nexus point” and in another he holds forth on magnetism. All this dry explaining is a shame, because late-stage Schwarzenegger has a pleasant sense of humor about himself that the filmmakers could have mined for a little more fun. Instead, he’s a familiar face to guide us through a stodgy mess of a screenplay.

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To help set the stage for possible wilderness adventures beyond hot dog roasting and mosquito squishing to come this summer, Talkies host Jayden Pfeifer has picked a definite thriller of a movie to screen/mock in the form of Bigfoot: The Unforgettable Encounter (1994).

The screening goes Tuesday June 30 at 7 p.m. Admission is free, although I believe patrons are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank. Here’s the gripping trailer

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Smokin’ Hot Regina

Downtown Regina looking south from Dewdney Ave

Downtown Regina looking south from Dewdney Ave

I’m not sure if the above photo does the smoke from northern forest fires justice, but it’s definitely thick out there this afternoon. (click to enlarge the photo)

According to this CBC report, Environment Canada has issued air quality warnings for most of the province except for the southwest corner.

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Regina Afrofest

CAS-2015Summer festival season in the Queen City kicks off with this celebration of our diverse African cultures. Food, arts, crafts, entertainment, workshops and more are planned for July 3-4. On Friday there will be a free program on City Square Plaza, while on Saturday there will be a more convention music festival in Victoria Park. Tickets for that are $10.

You can find out more about AfroFest by visiting the festival website. Some of the feature performers include Adam Solomon & Tikisa Band, Casimiro Nhussi & NAfro Band (pictured), Rhythm Run, Oral Fuentes Reggae Band and Afro Ngoma Dancers and more.

Last year, AfroFest ran both days from noon to 8 p.m. And I imagine there will be a similar time frame this year.

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Weekly Reckoning: Let’s Do This Edition

weekly-reckoningAlright! Who’s with me on this reckoning thing? I’m feeling good today and I don’t care who knows it! Because it’s not important information! Keep reading!

WELL THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG Darian Durant ruptured his left Achilles tendon in yesterday’s 30-26 loss against the Winnipeg Boobobbers. Aaaand he’s done for the season, which must be a disappointment for fans, except for that one weird friend of yours who’ll say something like “Now this gives the Riders a chance to discover their strengths” as he gnaws off his own foot in despair.

IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE RIGHT South Carolina is poised to discuss the removal of the Confederate flag from its legislative grounds, but it wasn’t happening fast enough to suit activist and all-around badass Bree Newsom, who climbed the pole and took it down herself. For a brief moment, Newsom herself became a human flag as she reached the top of the pole and removed the Stars and Bars from its traditional position. Did she contemplate the oddity of that unwitting transformation? This is probably beside the point.

THEY ALSO FOUND AN ISIS OUTPOST LURKING IN A BOOK OF EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY JUST WAITING TO STRIKE CNN recently ran a hot story about an ISIS flag being flown at a London pride parade. It turned out to be pictures of dildos and assorted sex toys.

EAST GERMAN COMMUNIST DOLLHOUSES! East! German! Communist! Dollhouses!

SOMETHING HANDY THIS WAY COMES Ray Bradbury’s demolished house has been converted into 451 sets of bookends and sold to help support the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University.

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Sunday Matinee: L’Avventura

LavventuraWell I’ve written about a lot of blockbusters and cheesy action films lately so let’s class things up a bit and knock a film off of the Sight and Sound list.

Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960 classic film L’Avventura has always received mixed praise. It was originally booed at Cannes before it was screened a second time and won the Jury Prize. Antonioni’s style isn’t for everyone, he likes to use long takes and plot and characters seem to a backseat to style. Personally I like it. There’s just something fascinating about his films that while I can see people getting bored by them, I find them intriguing.
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New Horizons

Launched in January 2006, the NASA probe New Horizons received a gravity assist from Jupiter during a flyby in February 2007, and is now just days away from reaching Pluto after a journey of approximately five billion km.

When New Horizons set out, Pluto was still classed as the ninth planet in the solar system. It was discovered by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. But compared to the other planets, Pluto was always an odd-ball.

To begin with, it’s tiny (at 2300 km in diameter, it’s two-thirds the size of our moon). Its orbit around the Sun is also wacky. Whereas other planets orbit on a relatively flat plane called the ecliptic, Pluto’s orbit is tilted at a 17 degree angle. Its orbit is also quite eccentric, ranging between 29.6 and 48.8 AU. For part of its orbit, in fact, it’s actually closer to the Sun than Neptune.

Pluto is known to have five satellites — the largest being Charon. But because of its peculiar character, the International Astronomy Union took a second look at the planet in 2006 and decided to reclassify it as a Trans-Neptunian Kuiper Belt Object. Similar to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the Kuiper Belt is a vast swath of asteroids that exists between 30 and 50 AU from the Sun.

This mission is a fly-by, so New Horizons won’t be able to do an in-depth study of Pluto from orbit. Instead, on July 14 it will pass within 10,000 km of Pluto and 27,000 km of Charon before continuing on its way in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

One thing scientists are curious about is if Pluto’s tidal interaction with Charon (which is half its size, and only 19,570 km away) generates enough heat to create a subsurface “ocean” on the ice-laden body. Such oceans are rare in the solar system, and they’re seen as sites where primitive life could possibly form.

You can find out more on the mission on the NASA website. And below is a short NASA video that recaps efforts humanity has made over the last 50 years to visit via probes other planets in our solar system.

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Riders Vs Blue Bombers

Game action from Labour Day 2014 where the Riders prevailed 35-30.

Game action from Labour Day 2014 where the Riders prevailed 35-30.

Here’s a link to the Rider Fan Forum that ran in our June 25 issue. The column was timed to appear in advance of the Riders 2015 CFL regular season home opener that goes tonight at Mosaic Stadium at 6 p.m. against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

If you check out the column you’ll see that our intrepid panelists Cal Corduroy, Earl Camembert and Ron Mexico, along with our highly touted rookie out of Saskatoon John’s Chick, are reasonably optimistic about the Riders’ chances in 2015.

One of the keys to the team’s success, they observed, would be the play of the offensive line. In the off-season, the Riders severed ties with centre Dominic Picard (who subsequently signed with Winnipeg) and lost tackle Ben Heenan when he signed with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Those are two big holes to fill. The Riders also traded one of their inspirational leaders, defensive lineman Ricky Foley, to Toronto for middle linebacker Shea Emry.

Having missed most of training camp and the pre-season, defensive back/linebacker Tyron Brackenridge won’t play. Receiver Weston Dressler did suit up against Calgary on June 19, but missed some practice time this week and won’t play either.

Further to the Rider Fan Forum, one thing our panelists were unanimous about was their criticism of the off-season rule changes the CFL made to boost offence by outlawing contact between defenders and receivers five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, and restricting the ability of the lineman on punt coverage to move downfield until the ball is actually kicked.

The panelists foresaw that leading to a pile more penalties, further slowing down the game and creating lots of opportunities for game officials to impact on the outcome through bad calls. That was arguably true in the pre-season (in the Rider game against Edmonton in Fort McMurray the teams combined for 55 penalties!), so we’ll see how things play out in the regular season.

As with last year, the Green & White and Blue & Gold will meet three times this season. After tonight’s game, they’ll meet in the Labour Day Classic on Sept. 6 and then the following Sunday in Winnipeg in the Banjo Bowl. Prior to the LDC we’ll have the mid-season installment of Rider Fan Forum in our Sept. 3 issue.

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LBGT Recognition And The Commercial Factor

Please note: this was written before the Supreme Court of the United States proclaimed today that allowing gay Americans the right to marry is the law of the land. It’s not often anybody has said this in years, but … Good on America. We’ll probably have more to say about that later.

Saskatoon’s mayor and the worst-dressed politician in Saskatchewan, Don Atchison, heads for Rob Ford territory as he runs out of reasons not to take part in the Pride Flag raising at City Hall, leaving many in the culturally sophisticated city wondering how they elected a city council that thinks they live in Rosetown. Meanwhile Moose Jaw – a city overrun with Bible-thumpers since the Ku Klux Klan ran the hookers out of town in 1927 – had its own Pride Parade.
Regina’s event, which went Saturday, boasted not only 50 floats and participation from unions, human rights groups, businesses, supporters, and some political parties, but also an appearance by a two metre tall, pants-less Richardson ground squirrel, otherwise known as the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ sideline mascot, Gainer the Gopher. This is as big an endorsement from the Old Regina Families as having the Lieutenant Governor lead the crowd in a rendition of the Village People’s ‘YMCA’ from the premier’s balcony at the Legislative Building.
Almost a quarter century after Regina city council tried to undo its first ever gay pride week proclamation (and we owe a massive debt to the late Joe McKewen, the city councilor who refused on principle to give the unanimous council consent to overturn the proclamation), Regina – at least official Regina – is as far away from the bigoted philosophy of Bill Whatcott as the city is from Whatcott’s current residence, somewhere in the Philippines.
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The Water Diviner

In late April, a ceremony was held in Turkey to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Gallipoli. During World War One, the Turkish-led Ottoman Empire was aligned with the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, and at Gallipoli French and British forces, including soldiers from Commonwealth allies in Australia, Newfoundland, India and New Zealand, mounted an amphibious attack on the Strait of Dardanelles with the goal of capturing the Turkish capital of Constantinople/Istanbul.

The attack did not go well.

This Australian/Turkey/US co-production is set four years after the battle. It’s directed by Russell Crowe, and concerns an Aussie farmer (also played by Crowe) who journeys to Turkey to discover the fate of his three sons who fought in the battle and were declared missing-in-action.

The Water Diviners screens at the RPL Theatre Friday June 26 and Sunday June 28 at 7 p.m., and Saturday June 27 at 9 p.m. Here’s the trailer

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Latest Regina Survival Guide Available

Click on the map to download a pdf of the Regina Survival Guide.

Click on the map to download a pdf of the Regina Survival Guide.

Got word from Marc Spooner (who was a guest on the Queen City Catch Up podcast recently) that the new edition of the Regina Survival Guide is ready to download. And he asked us if we’d host a copy of the pdf here. So we are. Click on the image at left to download yours.

The Regina Survival Guide is an invaluable resource for low income people and people-at-risk. It lists places where you can get a free meal, find shelter and clothing, and access healthcare and needle exchanges. And it’s all laid out on a map for easy reference.

Now, maybe this is information you don’t need. But if that’s the case, there’s nothing stopping you from printing out a bunch of copies and distributing them where there might be people who’d find the Survival Guide helpful.

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Rubbish & Reason

Rubbish & ReasonHere’s a link to a review of this exhibition that’s on at Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum until July 11. It’s curated by former Regina resident John Hampton, and features new work by Quebec artists Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens.

The focus of the show, as you’ll discover if you click on the link, is economics. Specifically, the artists are interested in looking at how modern economic theory has been used as driver to dictate all sorts of policy debates in government and the broader discussions we typically have about who we are as individuals and how we see ourselves as a society.

No shortage of statistics exist for economists to gather, nor tools, such as graphs and models, for them to analyze the data and make policy recommendations. But because we’re talking about human beings who may not always behave in a rational manner when making consumer, investment, and other decisions, there’s still a huge amount of guesswork involved. Yet often we take all these recommendations and other observations about the state of our economy and society as gospel.

Neutral Ground is located at 201-1856 Scarth, and is open Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can find out more information through NG’s website.

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New Video For Rah Rah

Below is the CGI-infused, SF-themed video for the first single off Regina band Rah Rah’s upcoming album which is due out on Hidden Pony Records on Sept. 11. The album is called Vessels, and the beat-heavy, dancey first single is called “Chip Off The Heart”

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