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Elliott Brood

Formed in Toronto in 2002, this alt country trio has carved out a pretty decent niche for itself with its multi-instrumentation and often dark and surreal lyrics. Considering that the band’s name was reportedly derived from a murderous female character in the 1984 baseball flick The Natural (Harriet Bird, actually) the band comes by its dark side honestly.

In 2014 the trio released their sixth full-length album called Work & Love. And on Wednesday Feb. 10 they’re in town to play a show at the Exchange that’s being presented by the Regina Folk Festival Concert Series. The back-up act is Nick Faye, and you can find out more information on the RFF website.

Here’s video from 2014 of Elliott Brood playing a song called “Jigsaw Heart” off their latest album:

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20160204_220815When I was checking out last Saturday’s Globe & Mail I found a pretty major boo-boo in a weekly column 2014 Giller Prize-winning author Sean Michaels has where he discusses music he’s been listening to lately in relation to broader issues that are playing out in society.

Anyone want to play along by identifying the boo-boo themselves?

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Love Songs: A Diatribe

Sabryn R-800In the run-up to Valentine’s Day, Golden Apple Theatre is presenting a new work created and composed by the company’s artistic director Robert Ursan.

Love Songs: A Diatribe stars Regina-born, Toronto-based Sabryn Rock (pictured) as a young woman who has taken more than her share of lumps in the game of love. Past rejections have made her somewhat insecure and neurotic, yet she still holds out hope of one day finding true love.

Love Songs: A Diatribe runs Feb. 9-13 at the Artesian on 13th with curtain each night at 8 p.m. You can find ticket information on the Golden Apple website.

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The Hi-Strung Downers

Hailing from Calgary, this quartet’s name perhaps conjures up the idea of a rootsy bluegrass band with a lot of acoustic string instruments. But they actually lean more toward rockabilly, and they apparently have a weakness for “woman done me wrong” style love/break-up songs — at least, if this 2014 profile in the now defunct Calgary alt-weekly Vue is to be believed.

On Friday Feb. 5 the Hi-Strung Downers are in town to play a show at the Lancaster Taphouse in southwest Regina. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s crowd shot video from October of the band playing a song called “Going Down to the Courthouse”

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Living With Lions

Formed in 2007, Living with Lions is a Vancouver-based punk pop band. In their nearly 10 year history, they’ve endured three line-up changes, but are still going strong.

Living With Lions achieved a bit of notoriety with their 2011 album Holy Shit, which was designed to resemble a famous book that often has the word “Holy” attached to it, including liner notes that resembled verses from said book. The subtitle “The Poo Testament” also got worked in at some point, and it was all too much for then Conservative Heritage Minister James Moore who lambasted the group for their irreverence.

Anyway, Living With Lions is in town to play a show at the SCES Club on Thursday Feb. 4. Joining them on the bill are fellow Vancouver punk act Youth Decay, along with three local punk/hard rock acts: Castaway, Almost Alien and Between Now and Then.

Doors are at 7 p.m., and tickets are $15. Here’s video of a 2013 song by the band called “In Vivid Colour”:

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The Royal Streets

Based in Kitchner-Waterloo, the Royal Streets are a six person folk rock group. They released their debut album Kings & Queens in March 2014 and followed that up with a three-song EP called Story Weekend in November 2014. The band is composed of Algernon Friolet (vocals/guitar), Michael Demsey (Ggitar), Jillian Dowding (vocals), Eric Stirtzinger (guitar), Samuel Keating (drums) and Julia Bannard (keys).

The Lumineers, Sam Roberts Band, Arkells and Hey Rosetta are some of the influences that the septet admits to, and on Thursday Feb. 4 they’ll be in town to play a show at the University of Regina campus bar the Owl.

To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s the Royal Streets performing their song “Story Weekend”:

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Isn’t It Romantic

Every year in the run up to Valentine’s Day, Regina Lyric Musical Theatre presents a musical lunch at the Hotel Saskatchewan that in addition to the fine food on offer at the hotel typically features as entertainment a program of well-known Broadway, pop and jazz tunes.

This year’s event, which is directed by Jane Ursan, is called Isn’t It Romantic. It’s being held on Sunday Feb. 7 and on V-day itself Sunday Feb. 14 with start time at noon. Tickets are $50, and more information can be found on the Regina Lyric Musical Theatre website.

To close, here’s Ella Fitzgerald’s 1957 recording of Rogers and Hart’s classic show tune Isn’t It Romantic:


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Weekly Reckoning: Checkon Yourself Before You Reckon Yourself Edition

weekly-reckoningIt’s a reckon every second around here.

WENCHES WELCOME HERE Local vanity project owner Jason Hall is in hot water this week after an ad for event staff at Kitschbomb Stonehall Castle asked for applicants’ measurements. Hall seems to be under the impression that his reputation as a landlord is making him a target for ire, rather than the fact that he asked for women’s exact measurements.

FINALLY, SOMEONE WITH THE RIGHT IDEA Slate’s Daniel Engber takes a look at the state of the world and decides that the best solution is to eradicate all of the mosquitoes. What a great idea! Even if they’re not showing up to the party with Zika and malaria and chikungunya and that old dengue fever, they’re still making off with our blood and leaving nothing but itchy bumps behind. Let’s whip these welters.

I’M STARTING TO THINK THAT FLINT IS JUST DYSTOPIA’S TEST LAB You think that lead content in Flint’s water is a disgrace? It’s so much worse than that.

Y IN THE SKY January 28 marked the 30th anniversary of the Challenger shuttle explosion. Jason Kottke has a round-up of stories on the disaster.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: CETAPHILE? I’m aware of how tortured and ridiculous that pun is, but these are ridiculous, torturous times. Especially when you discover that Justin Trudeau wants to ratify the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, or CETA.

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Sunday Matinee: Out 1

sunday-matineeFrench filmmaker Jacques Rivette passed away January 29 at the of 87. Rivette was a French director who was part of the French New Wave although he doesn’t quite get the recognition like François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol Agnès Varda and Éric Rohmer do when you mention French New Wave.

Like his fellow New Wave filmmaker Rivette started his career as a film critic at the Cahiers du cinéma. His first film was Paris Belongs to Us He started making it in 1957 but it wasn’t released until 1961. It wasn’t as well received as other French New Wave films at the time and Rivette continued working at Cahiers du cinéma until 1968.
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Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story

BD-122300February is Black History Month in Canada. At Regina Public Library there are two events that I’m aware of that are being held to commemorate the month.

The first goes Monday Feb. 1 at Central Library, and involves a dramatic reading by Peterborough playwright/musician/actor Beau Dixon (pictured) of his one-man play Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story.

Without giving to much away, it is set during the Springhill Nova Scotia mining disaster in October 1958. Coal mines in the Springhill area had spawned previous disasters in 1891 and 1956. The 1958 incident involved a mine collapse over 1000 m below ground. Of the 174 miners in the shaft at the time, 75 died and 99 were rescued.

The title character in Dixon’s play was a miner at the time, and was later recognized for his heroism in aiding other miners. The reading goes tonight at Central Library from 7-9 p.m., and you’re asked to register on the RPL website.

The second event goes at Central Library on Monday Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. It’s titled An Evening Under African Skies and it features traditional storytelling with Mary Chipanshi and Chimuka Simasiku. Again, you’re asked to register on the RPL website.  

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Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

Born to a wealthy New York family in 1898, Peggy Guggenheim moved to Paris at the end of World War I and immersed herself in the vibrant arts scene of the interwar period. Through her contacts, and savvy critical eye, she amassed an outstanding collection of avant garde art by some of the 20th century’s most famous abstract and surrealist artists.

Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray and Piet Mondrain were some of her early acquisitions, and with the shift to New York as the hub of contemporary art following the outbreak of WWII, she added works by the likes of Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell and Willem de Koonig to her collection.

During her lifetime, she exhibited her collection in various museums. A Peggy Guggenheim Museum continues to exist in Venice, and some of her collection is also included in the Guggenheim Museum in New York that was begun under a foundation started by her uncle Solomon.

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict is a 2015 documentary that looks at both her passion for art, and her passion for life, which had a strong bohemian character that included numerous love affairs with prominent artists such as Max Ernst and Samuel Beckett.

The film screens tonight and Sunday at 7 p.m. at the RPL Theatre. Here’s the trailer:

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Laska Album Release

Laska is a Regina-based pop rock trio consisting of Austin Rosom (guitar/vocals) Landon Leibel (drums/vocals) and Mitch Goetz (keys/synth/vocals). They’ve been together for a couple of years now, I believe, and tonight they’re doing a release show for their debut album It’s Morning at the Exchange.

Joining Laska on the bill are two other local pop rock acts: Bears In Hazenmore and Orphan Mothers. Doors are at 8 p.m. with the show at 9 p.m., and tickets are $10.

Here’s a short video announcement by Laska about their release show:

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A Soldier’s War

SoldiersWarWritten by Joshua Ramsden, this play was inspired by real-life events and traces the experiences of five WWII soldiers through various stages of the conflict from the time they enlist through basic training, deployment overseas, landing in Europe during D-Day and ultimately returning home at war’s end.

A Soldier’s Story is presented by the Globe Theatre as part of its Shumiatcher Sandbox Series.  It’s directed by Judy Wensel and features Jeremy Hilsendager, Kenn McLeod, Greg Ochitwa, Josh Ramsden and Devon Wesnoski in the starring roles.

The play runs Jan. 28-Feb. 6, with curtain at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available on the Globe Theatre’s website.

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Beer Bacon Bands

This is the second annual celebration of the three Bs mentioned in the title. The event goes Friday Jan. 29 and Saturday Jan. 30 at Conexus Arts Centre.

If you check out the Beer Bacon Bands website you can learn more about all the food and drink vendors that will be showcasing their products at the event.

As far as the live music goes, bands that have been booked to perform include the Dudes, Johnny McCuaig Band and your choice for Best Regina Band of 2015 the Dead South.

Beer Bacon Bands runs from 7 p.m. to midnight both nights at Conexus. To close, here’s the Dead South performing “Honey You” off their debut album Good Company:

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If you’ve got nothing on your plate tonight, consider dropping by the RPL Theatre for the first instalment of Talkies 2016. Host Jayden Pfeifer has definitely picked a winner, as the movie being screened is the 2000 Sci-Fi crapfest Battlefield Earth.

Based on a novel by L. Ron Hubbard, who is best known out of literary circles for being the found of Scientology, the movie was the pet project of one of the movement’s most famous adherents John Travolta.

Battlefield Earth is set in the year 3000, where humanity has been enslaved for centuries by a bunch of evil aliens called Psychlos. It was a critical and box office disaster, and went on to receive a then-record nine Golden Raspberries as the worst movie of 2000.

The screening goes tonight at the RPL at 7 p.m. Admission is free with a donation to the Regina Food Bank. And to close, here’s the Battlefield Earth trailer:

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Council Meeting Warp-Up: Blue Dot Be Praised (And Put On Pause)!! Country’s Greenest Council Creates New Asphalt Nation Of Timhortonistan!!

I live tweeted much of the Jan 25 council meeting while in the same room as my 5-year old (who was playing Minecraft). That was pretty nice. What wasn’t so nice was thinking about having to explain to him how our city council postponed signing onto a declaration saying that a healthy environment is a human right because they needed to get a report from administration about the possible implications from being party to such a declaration. You know how it is, signing on to a non-binding feel-good doc like that isn’t something you leap into recklessly.

“But, kiddo, let me tell how later in the same meeting, they didn’t even hesitate to approve a Tim Horton’s for the city’s northeast that will boast a 69-stall surface parking lot. Can you think of a better use of our green-space than that? Incidentally, the parking required by law for that site would be nine stalls. This new Tim Horton’s will have a parking lot nearly eight times larger than that. Talk about overachievers!”

“But yeah. Council cares about the environment. So no need to get discouraged. Enjoy the planet we’ve bequeathed you, my son. Probably shouldn’t think too hard on the climate. But at least you won’t have trouble finding a place to park while you drink a boiling cup of bitterness.”

You can follow along with my live-twittering next council meeting on my @PDCityHall account. A city hall report will likely appear in next week’s Prairie Dog magazine. And Aidan and I will no doubt discuss it during the the next meeting of the Queen City Improvement Bureau, which is a radio show we do every Thursday at 7 pm on 91.3 CJTR, Regina’s community radio station.

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Regina Restaurant Week

After all the fun and excitement of the holiday season, January is typically a slow month for the hospitality industry as people tone down their spending and calorie consumption and seek to escape the typically frigid weather by cocooning at home.

But January’s just about done, and in order to showcase some of the new and renovated restaurants that have sprung up in the downtown over the last few years Regina Downtown Business Improvement District has partnered with over a dozen local establishments to organize a special showcase that runs Jan. 27-Feb. 10.

You can get all the details on Regina Restaurant Week here. But what each participating restaurant is offering is a special price fixe dinner with the choice of one appetizer, entree and dessert for a set price.

Restaurants that have signed on so far include Beer Bros, the Capitol, Copper Kettle, Crave, Diplomat, Famosa, Fat Badger, Flip, Golf’s Steakhouse, Malt City, 20Ten and Victoria’s Tavern.

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Weekly Reckoning

weekly-reckoningWho wants to reckon?

HOW THE BIRDS FLY I watched this animated map of bird migration patterns for an embarrassingly long time. Check out the bird that only goes as far south as Cape Breton. What’s that bird thinking? But then, I suppose that if you’re spending your summers at Ellesmere Island, a rocky outcrop at the end of the Maritimes seems like a good deal.

NOW WITH 3 PER CENT MORE WAGYU If you’re thinking of sampling the menu at Toronto’s uber-fancy Azure Restaurant & Bar, you might as well trawl the aisles of your local Safeway. Organic? Not really. Homemade? Nope. Wagyu steak? Not at all.

MAWR SEKRIT BOWIE Even from the grave, David Bowie isn’t done with us. It turns out that the prolific artist had decades of unreleased material, some of which we may get to hear in 2017. Yay! Also, they’re rebooting Labyrinth! Non-yay.

GETTING DOWN WITH THE REPTILE AGENDA Is your spirit dead? If not, take a look at this dating site for Lizard People. This honestly feels like something from the weird old days of the Internet, when bored people had time to code strange sites (instead of going to California and forming a startup).

FILES ARE GETTING X-EY After many, many years, the show that dominated the ’90s is back for a six-episode miniseries. The first episode is apparently not the best? But who cares, it’s X-Files.

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Sunday Matinee: The Magician

sunday-matineeIngmar Bergman had just came off of a couple of big successes when he made The Magician (Ansikte) aka The Face in 1958. Bergman had made The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries in 1957 both masterpieces.

The Magician seems to get lost among all his other films but it’s still a great film.
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The Headstones

If you’re up for a blast from the past in a Can-rock context, the Toronto punk band the Headstones are playing a show at Casino Regina on Tuesday Jan. 26. The band was a fixture on the Canadian music scene from the early 1990s until their break-up in 2002. They reformed in 2013, and have been playing fairly regularly since then.

The band’s highest profile member was front man Hugh Dillon, who in addition to music has carved out a pretty decent career for himself as a TV/film actor highlighted by his starring turn in Bruce MacDonald’s 1996 punk mockumentary Hard Core Logo.

Again, the show goes at Casino Regina on Tuesday. The back-up act is Thunder Bay-based rock band Poor Young Things. To give you a sense of what the Headstones sound like now, here’s the video for “Farawayfromhere” off their 2013 album Love + Fury:

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