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Airbourne

Hailing from the port city of Warrnambool in the south-eastern Australian state of Victoria, Airbourne has been rocking hard since 2003. They’re a staple of commercial radio in Regina, so it’s only fitting that the band’s gig at the Owl at the University of Regina tonight is being presented by 104.9 the Wolf.

Doors are at 8 p.m., and Glorious Sons and Flash Lightnin’ are also on the bill. Tickets are $22.50. To give you a sense of what to expect here’s the video for the latest single “Back In The Game” off Airbourne’s 2013 album Black Dog Barking:

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REVIEW: The Boxtrolls or The Dangers of Segregation for Kids

The-Boxtrolls

Most animation companies play it safe. All apparent risks are calculated and potential backlash is taken into consideration. Portland-based stop-motion animation company Laika is more forward. Laika’s three films so far (not counting Corpse Bride) have gone beyond heart-tugging tales peppered with comedy. Coraline explored the tricky relationship between mothers and daughters, while ParaNorman surveys the fear of the unknown, and the negative consequences that come with prejudice.

The Boxtrolls think at an even at a larger scale. The title creatures are an inoffensive community of scavengers and tinkerers who are targeted by Archibald Snatcher (voice of Ben Kingsley), an exterminator hoping to rise his social status by eliminating the “threat”. Via deceit and propaganda, Snatcher decimates the population of boxtrolls without as much as a beep from the public. Luckily, the few remaining goblins have an ace in the hole. An abandoned kid they found long time ago and may change the general perception of them.

The terrific animation (assisted by a 3-D printer) and slightly off-center sense of humor further distinguish The Boxtrolls. Two of Snatcher’s assistants (voice by Richard Ayoade and Nick Frost) provide meta-commentary and the biggest laughs during end credits since 22 Jump Street.

The one problem with The Boxtrolls is that the main character –Eggs, the kid raised by the creatures- is not as strong as previous Laika leads (Coraline, Norman) and is often overshadowed by supporting characters. Even his sidekick, a spunky young girl hoping for carnage instead of cute, misunderstood critters, is more appealing than bland Eggs.

Regardless, The Boxtrolls is less of a chore for parents and has more substance than regular children fare. Three prairie dogs.

The Boxtrolls are now playing.

Comments: 4

Arsenic And Old Lace

Written by American playwright Joseph Kesselring, this dark comedy opened in New York in 1941. The play was a legit hit on it’s own, but most people probably know the story best from a subsequent 1944 Frank Capra film which starred Cary Grant as the beleaguered drama critic trying to cope his eccentric family (a delusional uncle, homicidal brother and two spinster aunts with a fondness for offing lonely old men).

From Oct. 1-4 Regina Little Theatre will be presenting its version of Arsenic and Old Lace at the Performing Arts Centre. Oct. 1-2 curtain is at 7:30 p.m., while Oct. 3-4 it’s at 8 p.m. For ticket info you can visit the RLT website. And to give you a sense of what to expect here’s the trailer for the 1944 movie:

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Weekly Reckoning: Authoritardian Edition

weekly-reckoningGood afternoon, everyone! Can you believe this weather we’re having? No. No, you cannot believe this weather we’re having, because weather is only the visible aspect of a system so complex that it embodies the paradox of chaos as the avatar of such an incomprehensible and terrifyingly sublime order that we can only understand it as transcendent perfection. It may be most useful to say “No, I can’t believe this weather, but I do believe in this weather.” Then, when your friend gives you the quizzical side-eye, hand him or her a little photocopied pamphlet with smeary illustrations and walk on.

Let’s have some news.

1. “CANADA HAS FAILED TO UPHOLD THE HONOUR OF THE CROWN” Strong words from Matthew Coon Come on Canada’s intransigence on aboriginal issues and our ongoing shabby performance on the global stage.

2. A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THE AUTHORITARDIAN MENTALITY So it seems that a gay employee at a Taco John’s restaurant in South Dakota was given a name tag that said “GAYTARD” in big block lettering. Note to abusive employers: be subtle about your deranged bullying and don’t leave a paper trail. Which in this case is a name tag.

3. KIRBY ESTATE SETTLES WITH MARVEL Well, that only took forever, but it seems that the estate of the man who helped create of Marvel’s most enduring (and profitable) characters will be getting some piece of the action.

4. “BITTERSWEET,” MRS. FORD MUTTERED, AND DISAPPEARED INTO MEPHITIC CLOUDS OF BARBECUE SMOKE THAT HUNG OVER THE CROWD AND COHERED LIKE SOME GASEOUS ORGANISM OF PURE PROTEIN Rob Ford made his first public appearance since his cancer diagnosis at the annual Ford Fest barbecue. Reporters were on hand to collect comments.

5. PEOPLE STILL AWFUL A Saskatoon church cancelled a funeral after a volunteer told the deceased’s wife that they ‘did not want his kind there’. Apparently the obituary photo of the not-alive and not-likely-to-bother-anyone man depicted him wearing a Sons of Anarchy t-shirt. It’s not clear whether the volunteer mistook the deceased for a gang member or just really disapproved of the creative stagnation that set in on the TV show around season five.

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Sunday Matinee: Badlands

badlandsThis will be the last Sunday Matinee for a while, starting Wednesday and for the entire month of October it’s another 31 Days of Horror. Sunday Matinee will return in November. Today’s Sunday Matinee is Terrence Malick’s first film, the 1973 movie Badlands.

Set in the 1950’s the movie stars a very young Sissy Spacek who falls in love with a young psychotic Martin Sheen. Sheen kills Spacek’s father and gets her to run away with him. For a while, they live peacefully out in the wild but eventually they are discovered and go on the run. Sheen’s encounters with people get more and more violent. The film is narrated by Spacek who kind of romanticizes the events that happen around them.
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Ziggy Marley

Ziggy Marley was 12 when his dad, legendary reggae artist and political activist Bob Marley, passed away in 1981. For children of famous artists who chose to follow in their footsteps, the road can never be easy, as they’ll inevitably be compared to their more famous parent. But with a swack of studio and live albums to his credit, six Grammy awards, and some solid accomplishments as a humanitarian and activist in his own right, Ziggy Marley has carved out a pretty decent career for himself.

Thursday, Oct. 2 he’s in town to play a show at Casino Regina. Doors to the show lounge open at 7:15 p.m., and tickets are $45/$52. To get everyone who’s got plans to attend in the mood, here’s the video for his song “I Don’t Want To Live On Mars” off his 2014 album Fly Rasta:

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Every Time I Die

These dudes hail from Buffalo, and have been around as a band since 1998. I’m pretty sure they’ve been through town before, and if you’re into hardcore (with dollops of southern rock) you’ll doubtlessly be excited to learn they’ll be headlining a show at the Exchange on Monday, Sept. 29.

The band is touring in support of its seventh full-length From Parts Unknown which was released on July 1. Sharing the bill are two other metal bands Counterparts and Expire. Doors are at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $20. To get everyone pumped, here’s “Decayin’ With The Boys” off Every Time I Die’s new album:

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City Still Making Infographics…

WWTP Timeline Infographic…Hilariously bad ones, that is.

Gentlefolk, I present you with the city’s official Wastewater Sewage Treatment Plant timeline. I love how it leaves us after handback in 2044 right where we started: A plant in need of replacement and EPCOR winning the P3 contract.

Don’t think of it as a timeline, think of it as a Circle Of Prophecy.

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REVIEW: Denzel Goes Bronson in The Equalizer

The-Equalizer

The Equalizer update starring Denzel Washington is a throwback to 80’s action movies in more ways than one: Not only is a remake of the underrated Edward Woodward TV show. It’s the kind of movie in which the good guys are really good, the bad ones are beyond redemption and there are no grey areas in sight.

This is not necessarily a problem. The good vs. evil conflict is the foundation of the most stories worth telling. But The Equalizer nurses higher aspirations and doesn’t quite get there. As an action movie, it’s a joy to watch, with effective set pieces and fitting resolutions. As a revenge fantasy, it’s too heavy handed to have a meaningful impact (“The Old Man and the Sea” and “Don Quixote” are alluded to, unironically).

The film is true to its source, at least in the setup: Robert McCall (Denzel), a former black ops agent, is trying to sweep away his tempestuous past and carry a monk-like lifestyle. He is successful for the most part, other than a nagging sleeplessness that takes him to a 24-hour diner on regular basis. Continue Reading →

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Royal Canoe

If you were at the Regina Folk Festival in early August, you perhaps saw this Winnipeg-based alt-rock band in action. If you didn’t, or you’re keen to see them again, the RFF is giving you that chance Tuesday Sept. 30 via their Concert Series.

With their 2013 album Today We’re Believers Royal Canoe garnered a Juno nomination for Alternative Album of the Year. That won them a support spot on a tour with the London (UK) band Bombay Bicycle Club. They’ve also played Sled Island, the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, and jazz festivals in Vancouver and Victoria. So they’ve been a busy band lately.

Tuesday’s show goes at the Exchange (doors at 8 p.m.) The backup band is Saskatoon’s Close Talker, and tickets are $20 advance and $25 door. To give you a sense of what to expect here’s the (semi-surreal) video for “Birthday” off Today We’re Believers:

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Accident Tonight At Broad & 12th

Broad Accident ILooks to have been a pretty major accident at the intersection of Broad and 12th Ave. tonight around 6:30 p.m. Walking up to investigate from Scarth St. Mall after I’d spotted the emergency lights, I saw a guy on a bike turn right off the north-east corner sidewalk at Hamilton and 12th and just about get ironed by a car heading south on Hamilton and about to cross the intersection on a green light.

He escaped injury, but that possibly wasn’t the case in this collision. In addition to the police in attendance (photo above), there was an ambulance you can see after the jump.

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It’s The 2014 Best Of Regina Final Ballot!

bor2014-web-banner2You can vote here, and you can talk about Best Of Regina stuff in the thread below. And there’s lots to talk about! New and/or resurrected for 2014 categories include: Best Bus Driver, Best Political Hack, Best Public Mural, Best Cab Company, Best Roller Derby Athlete, Best Preschool, Best Facebook Friend, Best Place To Buy Jeans, Best Place To Get Frisky, Best Wild Critter, and even Worst Thing To Happen In Regina.

Also, no Daily Aggregation column today (TOO BUSY). I know you’re sad. Here’s a video of a dog being sneaky to cheer you up!

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A New Market For Fowl Supper Tickets, Pickup Trucks, And Rider Gear

The New Yorker has a real fascinating story about a York University professor who has been studying the learning and social habits of endangered orangutans in the wild. Of course, this has to be mentioned …

“I grew up in rural Saskatchewan,” (Anne) Russon, who now works and teaches at York University, in Toronto, told me. “And, for me, that is exactly what orangutan social life is like. There are communities, but they are very broadly dispersed. It might be fifteen miles to your cousin’s place, or another twenty miles to the next nearest relative, but everybody knows everybody.”

Pardon me while I go pick the fleas off Brad Wall.

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Regina Musical Club

On Sunday, Sept. 28 the Regina Musical Club kicks off its 2014-15 season with a performance by soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen. As with the other four performances in the season, it will be held at the University of Regina Theatre at 2 p.m.

If you visit the RMC website you’ll see that a season subscription goes for the very reasonable price of $95 for adults and $75 for students and seniors. For individual concerts, tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors, children $5, while U of R Students with ID are admitted for free.

Other performances on the calendar include:

One Piano, Four Hands (piano duet) on Sunday Nov. 9.

2014 Recital Competition Winner Amy Hillis (violin) on Sunday Jan. 11.

Ensemble Caprice (a Baroque quintet) on Sunday April 26.

Karen Donnelly (trumpet) on Sunday May 24.

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Daily Aggregation: Coming Out

daily-aggregation-21. CLIMATE SUMMIT WRAPS UP Speeches and promises, some harsh criticism, some reflectionmore reflection,  and a reminder that Canada’s prime minister is an enemy of global warming action.

2. HUMAN BAGS OF FECES BEHEAD ANOTHER PERSON Unacceptable. Yes, it’s a complicated problem. But for now let’s just enjoy the widespread agreement that Islamic State militants are turds.

3. SOME WEATHER It’s unseasonably warm. (See what I did there?)

4. SIAST NO MORE The college changes its name to Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

5. CONSERVATIVES TALK TOUGH BUT ARE WIMPS ON RUSSIA Our oil-loving government avoids putting sanctions on Russian oil companies because money talks and it told them not to have any principles.

6. CONSERVATIVES STILL HOPELESSLY OUT OF TOUCH ON POT Sigh. Legalize it already.

7. INDIA CONQUERS SPACE Great! I hope the country conquers misogyny next.

8. MAYBE THE U.S. SHOULD NUKE SMALL TOWN AMERICA? No no no, that would be extreme.

9. “FORGET THE STICKS. DIG OUT THE CARROTS” The Leader-Post has a right-on editorial on Regina Transit. I hope the paper remembers it’s “we should invest money in public services” argument the next time someone ponders writing an editorial endorsing smaller government or calling for tax cuts (which  — spoiler alert — pay for public services like transit).

10. “THE DARK GUY IN THE MIDDLE” The Vancouver Sun makes a joke and gets in trouble. Racist? Maybe, but I doubt it. Kinda think it’s the opposite, actually. But given the amount of racism in both society AND hockey, it’s just too soon.

11. ROB FORD’S WILD NIGHT New details on the incident that led to Rob Ford entering rehab. Addiction is a hell of a thing. It’s too bad Ford has been an angry, mean homophobic jackass — he could’ve had a ton of support for his problems. Ultimately, sympathy is better saved for down-and-outers who don’t have the backing of multimillionaire families.

12. GETTING BENT OVER THE iPHONE 6 My next phone apparently bends? Uh oh.

“I’M GAY. GET OVER IT.” A Pennsylvania state senator who wants the state’s hate crime laws expanded to protect LGBT citizens comes all the way out of the closet with style. He’s funny, he’s inspirational and he’s worth 107 seconds of your time. (via Paul Constant at The Stranger)

Comments: 5

Godsmack

Mondays are usually pretty slow going in Regina.

But not next Monday. That’s because on Sept. 29 the veteran Massachusetts-based hard rock band Godsmack will be in town to play a show at Brandt Centre. The band is touring in support of its latest studio album 1000hp which was released on Aug. 5.

Sharing the stage with Godsmack will be fellow American hard rockers Seether and Pop Evil. The first drum beat/bass chord/guitar note/vocal should sound at Brandt Centre shortly after 7:30 p.m., and tickets range from $51-$71.50.

To give you a sense of what Godsmack has been up to lately here’s the video for the title track for their latest album “1000hp”:

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Daily Aggregation: Cute Stingrays

daily-aggregation-21. UN CLIMATE CHANGE UNDERWAY IN NEW YORK The U.S. president addresses the United Nations; city’s mayor calls climate change “an existential threat”;  Canada’s oil-loving, environment-hating prime minister doesn’t show up; protesters are getting arrested; here’s a piece on the science of climate change denial; here’s a video of what climate change looks like; and The Guardian has a live-blog.

2. MEET THE NEW BRUNSWICK The province punts its Progressive Conservative government for the Liberals. Probably.

3. MIKE DUFFY’S TRIAL STARTS APRIL 7 It’s gonna be a good one.

4. REGINA RAISES BUS FARES I’m really not sure this was the way to go. We should be helping Reginans to change their unsustainable behaviours, and Regina’s bus system is already punitive — not enough routes, not enough frequency, no service on holidays, too hard to figure out how to get where you want to go. This seems to me like a job for up-front investments to increase ridership. Fare hikes, if necessary, should come later.

5. SASKATOON BUS LOCKOUT CONTINUES Ugh.

6. EBOLA ON THE RISE Also ugh. Here’s more.

7. ISRAEL SHOOTS DOWN A SYRIAN PLANE Oh no they didn’t.

8. YOU HAD ME AT “CLEAVAGE ROW” But you kept me with this story about a modernizing society’s struggles with women’s autonomy and freedom, and the conflicts and contradictions that come with sexual objectification.

9. LAVALANTULA! This summer me and some friends brainstormed some ideas for future SyFy movies and one we kept coming back to was “Sharkcano”. Because we felt strongly that SyFy needed a monster movie with a volcano. Well, I guess great minds think alike because SyFy has announced their latest B-movie monsterfest and it’s called, yep, Lavalantula (starring Steve Guttenberg from Police Academy!). “Fire burns, lava bites.” Sounds, ah, is awesome the right word? Why not! But I hope SyFy realizes we’re gonna need a Sharknado Vs. Lavalantula movie. I can see the tagline: “It’s a sauna out there”; “Get steamed”; “Don’t get poached.” Epic.

A STINGRAY SAYS HELLO Animals are weird and adorable. (via Laughing Squid.)

Comments: 8

Tanya Tagaq Wins 2014 Polaris

I’m wondering if Tanya Tagaq doesn’t have an outside shot. It would be a bit of an upset, but it would be in line with what the Polaris was conceived to be when it first started.

Above is a comment I made in response to a blog post James Brotheridge did when the short-list for the 2014 Polaris Prize was announced on July 15. James suggested in his post that Shad was the likely front-runner to take home the award and the accompanying $30,000 prize.

It’s not that I disagreed with his assessment, but having had a chance to review the Inuit throat singer’s album Animism when it came out in May, and having seen some critical buzz developing around her in the succeeding months, it seemed possible to me that the Polaris jury might opt to make a statement by awarding her the prize.

And last night in Toronto that’s what ended up happening, as Tagaq picked up the award at a star-studded gala that included a performance by her. As I noted in my CD review, Tagaq’s album is as much performance art as music so it’s very definitely suited for the stage.

You can read more on last night’s gala in this CBC report.  And to give you a sense of  what Tagaq is like as an artist, here’s video of her performing in Mexico in 2010:

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Art Garfunkel

It’s probably fair to say that once the folk duo Simon & Garfunkel parted ways following the release of Bridge Over Troubled Water in 1970 that Paul Simon enjoyed the higher profile solo career, topped by the Grammy award-winning Graceland in 1986. But Garfunkel had a solid solo career too, with 10 albums, some published poetry, and a bit of stage and film acting, to his credit.

And, of course, there’s been periodic reunions with his former musical partner, including a famous 1979 free show in Central Park in New York that drew over 500,000 people.

On Thursday, Sept. 25, Garfunkel will be in town to play a show at Casino Regina. Doors are at 7:15 p.m., and tickets are $60/$68. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s video from a few years ago of him performing his 1979 solo hit “Bright Eyes”:

Comments: 2

Daily Aggregation: Big Eyes

daily-aggregation-21. WORLD DEMANDS ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE Yesterday was a rallypalooza. Locally, 150 people with informed concerns about humanity’s future rallied in the Queen City. Ahead of the U.N. climate summit (which starts tomorrow), the Rockefeller family says it’s disinvesting from fossil fuels. Also: The Wall Street Journal sucks.

2. “A TORRENT OF UGLY WORDS AND HATRED” Vicious online comments by Ragged Ass Barbers supporters land Regina in the national radio spotlight.

3. WILL COUNCIL RAISE TRANSIT FARES? Story here. Seems to me that if we want to encourage people to use more sustainable transportation (and we should),  we should be careful about harsh prices. Meanwhile in Saskatoon, a transit lockout gets real.

4. QUEBEC, BIG TOBACCO AND  A $17 BILLION LAWSUIT Final arguments have begun in Quebec superior court.

5. U.S.A. TO SPEND A TRILLION BUCKS ON NUKES OVER THREE DECADES Well, I guess $30 billion a year isn’t so bad OH WAIT, YES IT IS. I expected Obama to be a better president — and I don’t just mean “better than a Republican stooge”.

6. ISIS THREATENS CANADA Evil shitheads.

7. NEW BRUNSWICK GETS ALL ELECTIONEY The province hits the polls.

8. TORONTO MAYORAL CANDIDATE THREATENS TO DE-FUND PRIDE EVENTS BECAUSE SOMETIMES PEOPLE EXPRESS DIFFERENT OPINIONS ABOUT THINGS What an assholish, anti-freedom-of-speech thing to say.

9. AIRSHIPS ARE COOL And there’s a new one. Wet blanket caveat: helium is not a sustainable resource.

KEANE EYES There’s finally a trailer for Tim Burton’s upcoming Margaret Keane biopic. Looks somewhat interesting.

Comments: 10