Archive | August, 2010
By the time you read this I’ll be gone. To see this!
But, but … rainbow parties! And skateboarding!
After perusing the articles, the participants completed a questionnaire designed to measure levels of self-esteem. Unlike their younger counterparts, the self-esteem of older people rose after they read a negative article about younger people.
Maybe this is why Slate has to have a running feature where they shoot down trend pieces written by the New York Times, most of them about those crazy youngsters.
If I were to list off three entities in Canada that I loved, these folks would be near the top of the list:
Geoff Berner, the accordion-playing, drunken klezmer maniac who’s been touring behind his black humour albums for years now.
Socalled, another klezmer artist, this time one of out of Montreal who blends Jewish folk music with hip-hop influences.
And Mint Records, the Vancouver-based contender for Canada’s best label.
In a recent message to his fans, Berner announced that he would be signing to Mint, and that Socalled would be producing his new record. Holy shit:
Not to cast any aspersions on the other fine labels that I’ve worked with in the past, but I must tell you that ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to be a Mint Recording Artist. They’re enthusiastic about music, extremely well-organized, with impeccable taste (of course) and unshakeable confidence in their artists. Here’s what I plan to do with their confidence:
I’m road testing some new songs, by playing shows in Ontario and Quebec with my trio, augmented by some additional very heavy players. Then we all go into the studio in Montreal with true mad genius Josh Dolgin, aka Socalled, producing. It’s a new sound and a step further in my relentless pursuit of fucked-up klezmer.
For a taste of Berner, check out his song, “Official Theme for the Vancouver/Whistler Olympic Games (The Dead Children Were Worth It!)”.
Was pretty much stuck for something to recommend people consider doing today until I got wind of this gig at O’Hanlons Pub. This is the third consecutive Tuesday night show after gigs by Alastair Christl and Mahogany Frog on Aug. 17 and Aug. 24 respectively.
I don’t know a ton about the headliners, other than they’re from Calgary, they’re a trio (Caitlyn, Noah and Keith) and they class themselves as indie. Also performing tonight are local musicians John Fettes and Dave Schneider.
To close, here’s video of Fox Opera performing a song called “March of the Foxes“ from January 2009.
Work to do, editing, other things, ahhh! Workworkwork! But must get this list done! Here’s what seems to be going on today in the world. Work! Workworkwork!
1 HORRIBLE HURRICANE NEARS U.S. EAST COAST Well that’s swell, one day after the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Then again, I guess that’s hurricane season for you. But gee, weather is scary and mean sometimes. (Globe And Mail)
2 SPEAKING OF KATRINA Yeah, the anniversary was yesterday. Things are still bad.
3 FEBRUARY REPORT ON GUN REGISTRY FINALLY RELEASED, SAYS THE THING WORKS Gee, maybe that’s why Stephen Harper sat on it, eh? Regardless, I thought this article got interesting when it got into the topic of the NDP’s divided caucus. Sometimes people having different opinions can be a good thing. I’ll be interested to see how this all plays out. (CBC)
4 THERE ARE JELLYFISH IN MANITOBA LAKES NOW Teeny, cute little harmless freshwater jellyfish from China. (Winnipeg Free Press)
TEH BONUS NEWS ITEMS: That rally led by America’s Greatest Douchebag TM, Glenn Beck, apparently drew an audience of 300,000 other douchebags. Well, great. Also, if you haven’t yet you must read Dechene’s post on climate change skeptic Bjørn “name like a James Bond villain” Lomborg switching teams, and the Globe And Mail’s bungled IPCC reporting.
Well, this is surprising news. The Guardian is reporting that the skeptical environmentalist, Bjørn Lomborg, has a new book coming out called Smart Solutions to Climate Change in which he declares global warming to be “undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today” and he will be calling for tens of billions of dollars to be invested in climate change mitigation.
And, he will advocate for financing those tens of billions with a carbon tax!
This is a complete turn around from the position he argued in last year’s Munk Debate when he and climate-science skeptic Nigel Lawson squared off against George Monbiot and Elizabeth May.
Strange that he would have argued that climate change wasn’t worthy of a $100 billion investment back in December of 2009 and then make an about face this summer. Presumably he was researching the new book back when the Munk was taking place, if not actually writing it.
Have to say, I’m damn curious as to how he’ll justify all this. And I’m more than a little skeptical of Lomborg’s apparent change of face. Guess we’ll have to see how this shakes out.
The top story on the Globe and Mail right now is about a report from several national academies of science calling for reform of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
I haven’t read the report yet, but the recommendations are about what you’d expect considering all the hysteria over the Climategate non-scandal and the revelation that the 3000-page 4th Assessment Report contained some errors.
Shoring up the peer review process seems to be the main recommendation. Fair enough. Can’t hurt.
But the Globe also makes note of this:
He added that there was concern about the U.N. climate panel’s lack of a conflict of interest policy. The report called for development of a “rigorous conflict of interest policy” that applies to all top IPCC officials.
That line will resonate to most people who dimly remember the scandal whipped up by the UK’s Sunday Telegraph which accused IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri of financial misdeeds. But as I blogged about on Friday, Pachauri was completely exonerated last week, and the Telegraph‘s story looks to be either a big whopping screw up or, worse, a falsehood.
And, the Globe, while making this report about IPCC procedure the top story on their website (and made similar hay of the Telegraph‘s accusations against Pachauri), still hasn’t seen fit to run anything prominent about Pachauri’s exoneration.
So, while a conflict of interest policy is probably a good idea, running a story about a call to reform the IPCC without mentioning that the corruption scandal under which it has been operating has turned out to be a falsehood only serves to reinforce the idea that the IPCC has corruption problems.
Once again, anything that makes the IPCC or climate science look shaky or corrupt is big news. Corrections of the record or mention of the fact that the smear campaigns and non-scandals have done nothing to undermine the main conclusions of the 4th Assessment Report are glossed over.
So I was just trying to book a phone interview with someone who will remain nameless and was speaking to said, unnamed person’s assistant. Once we had all the details sorted and set a time, assistant person says to me:
“And you said you were with Prairie Duck?”
“No,” I said. “Dog. Prairie Dog.”
“Oh, I thought maybe you were a new magazine.”
Saturday Night a couple of hundred Despistado fans and a few new faces turned out to the Exchange, in Regina, to see the band’s final of 3 reunion gigs after their 2004 break up. For anyone that’s been hanging around the Regina indie music scene since 2004 the show was a nostalgic trip back to “the old days, the good days, the all or nothin’ days”. For a few others it appeared to be a bit less exhilarating.
Despistado’s performance was terrific. They were as together on Saturday, as they ever where in their glory days. Half-way through the show I was sure that if 10,000 people that had never heard of Despistado where at that performance, they’d have 10,000 new fans.
But, about 3 songs from conclusion people just started leaving. Not tons of people, but enough to notice. It WAS Saturday night so I’m sure other plans were a factor and the show was a late starter, with Despistado going on stage about quarter to midnight, but still – I couldn’t believe my eyes and couldn’t help, but ask “why?”. The generalized answer from most was “I’m just not feeling it”.
Despistado was great. The band was ridiculously good and their performance on Saturday was superb. It makes one think though. This band forged a strong following in a tightly knit community based around Roca Jacks and beers at O’hanlon’s Taverna – what does that look like now, to people that weren’t necessarily a part of that community? I get the sense that those people didn’t view Saturday’s show with quite the same enthusiasm most did. I guess it’s hard to truly judge the landscape, when you’re travelling 88 miles per hour.
Photos by Kim Jay.
As an expression, “Damn the torpedoes [full speed ahead]” dates back to the American Civil War. It was apparently uttered by David Farragut, a senior U.S. Navy officer serving aboard the Hartford during an August 1964 battle in Mobile Bay, Alabama. After witnessing the destruction of the armoured monitor ship Tecumseh by a submerged mine, he ordered his own ship to run the minefield in order to attack an enemy Confederate fort.
Farragut and his crew made it through safely. You’d think for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, hailing as they do from Florida in the Deep South, the idea of naming an album after an expression made famous by a Union officer in the Civil War would’ve been intolerable.
But as a DVD that came into the office recently offering a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Petty’s breakout 1979 album Damn the Torpedoes makes clear, it accurately captured the group’s mindset at the time. Having met with lukewarm success with their first two albums, and with disco at its peak in the U.S., they set out to create a classic American roots rock album. And boy, did they succeed.
As far as “making of” documentaries go, Stones in Exile is far superior. Still, as a musician Petty’s had a solid career, and as a guy he seems decent enough. So for me, this DVD was worth watching.
There’s a little bit of concert footage, but not a ton. To compensate, here’s video of him doing “Refugee” at Live Aid.
Finally saw Scott Pilgrim vs. The World tonight, with Dechene and Steel. Swell movie. Not really like anything I’ve seen, and lots of fun. In fact I predict it will be a classic — people will be watching it in 10 years the same way they watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Napoleon Dynamite now. Here’s what you need to know about this neat movie. Continue Reading →
It was a great night in Regina on Saturday. Yeah, I know the Riders shit the bed against the Eskimos and lost 17-14 in a game in which they turned the ball over six times and had a punt blocked. But at the Exchange Despistado played the last of their three planned reunion shows. They played the first gig at the Lazy Owl on Thursday, then travelled up to Saskatoon for a show on Friday, before returning to Regina for a second show at the Exchange last night.
There was a pretty decent turnout, although I don’t think it was a sell-out. A lot were familiar faces too. At least for me, and a lot of other people too I bet. That would be especially true for anyone who was part of the downtown scene in the late ’90s and early ’00s. The old Roca Jacks on 19 block Scarth was the initial hub, and it was later joined by O’Hanlon’s Pub in its pre-expansion days and to a lesser extent the old Cafe Ultimate on the Scarth St. Mall..
Speciality coffeeshops were rare back then, and people used to drop by Roca Jacks from all over the city. There was plenty of room to sit, including a spacious upstairs, and management had a lax attitude about how long people stayed, so it turned into a bit of a hangout. And the typical customer was probably a bit more savvy about the local arts and culture scene than the average Reginan. So there was a lot of creative energy, and people took an interest in bands that formed and other arts activities that went on.
In the short-time Despistado were together before their 2004 break-up they were closely tied to the downtown scene. I don’t know what the Owl show was like, but at the Exchange a healthy portion of the crowd shared similar roots in that era. Some of the people I hadn’t seen for five or more years, so that was kind of neat.
There were some new fans too, people who would have been in their early teens when Despistado was in their heyday. Along with the older fans, they’d gathered to see the surprise reunion of a band that, before it imploded on a major U.S. tour in the fall of 2004, seemed poised to break pretty big.
And boy did Despistado deliver. For not having played together in ages, they were extremely tight. Vocals, both lead and backing, were strong too. And the songs weren’t dated at all. If anything, Despistado’s music was probably a bit ahead of its time. Now that a few years have passed, years filled with the duplicity of Stephen Harper, Fox News, George W. Bush, rising Christian Fundamentalism, environmental endangerment and other societal ills, the music possesses even more vitality and relevance.
The big question now, I guess, is will the band perform together again? I heard from one music insider outside O’Hanlon’s on Sunday night that that was a distinct possibility. If it did happen, it would be a real shot in the arm for the Regina music scene. Bands like Library Voices, Rah Rah, Def 3 and some of the Harvest King roster are already garnering some serious national attention. Throw Despistado into the mix, and the scene gains even more credibility.
Concert photo above by Kim Jay.
Today is the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans in 2005 and exposed the United States’ shocking inability to look after its own citizens — who in New Orleans were mostly black and frequently poor. The U.S. president, also black (but not poor), was in that city today to mark the anniversary. Read more here. (Washington Post)
The lesson from Katrina is obvious to anyone who isn’t an idiot: it is critical governments be ready to jump in when there’s a crisis, whether natural disaster or economic. In New Orleans, government failure was apocalyptic.
And yet just yesterday, a couple of sociopath demagogues, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, hauled their lily-white posteriors to the spot where a black civil rights activist once gave the greatest speech in U.S. history. And they told a mob of white not-millionaires that they don’t need government to look after them. They just need God.
All on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s legendary speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Standing on the same steps. Before a virtually all-white crowd.
It’s beyond disgusting. And it’s not just an insult to the legacy of the great MLK. It’s a slap in the face of anyone who suffered during hurricane Katrina. Continue Reading →
For the non-football-inclined, Heritage Regina is presenting a free walking tour of Old Lakeview. It’s being led by Jackie Schmidt, and will get started at the Legislature at 2 p.m. For more info call 585-4214.
Here is my problem. I want to go see Scott Pilgrim Verses The World tonight. But it’s only playing at the Galaxy. Which is basically located in Saskatoon. So, I’m not going unless I can bum a ride or cave and take a cab for $20 (I live in the centre of Regina, just south of downtown).
Sigh. If only we had mainstream downtown theatres. Like, you know, the Capitol (demolished 1992), the Coronet (demolished 2005) or the Cornwall Cinemas (now a lame mall-basement discount department store, an anemic reminder of the excellent discount department store that was Army and Navy. Which oh yeah was demolished).
Note: no lectures about how I can see This Movie Is Broken at the RPL, please. I’m not a big Broken Social Scene fan. Nothing personal. Besides I wanna see Scott Pilgrim because that’s how this nerd rolls
America’s Greatest Douchebag (TM) is in Washington today for the Restoring Honor rally, encouraging frightened, gullible xenophobes to vote Republican in America’s November election.
And they’re listening. From the Washington Post:
Olga Sanchez, 79, of Tampa, had never before been to a rally in Washington. But Sanchez, a retired administrative assistant, watches Beck on television every day. And when she heard him announce plans for the rally, Sanchez called her younger brother, a trumpet player in the National Symphony Orchestra, and said she wanted to come.
“I’m a big fan of Glenn Beck,” said Sanchez, a registered Republican, sitting in her walker just in front of the memorial’s first step. “He is opening our eyes, teaching us the history we didn’t learn in school.”
Some might gently suggest Beck’s actually a malicious con artist who makes his money by spreading fear and hatred. But everyone’s entitled to their dangerously wrong opinion.
Sarah Palin is also speaking at this pro-Republican rally, which happens on the anniversary of a legendary civil rights speech while a black Democratic sits in the White House.
Ironically, the party Beck champions to a mostly if not ENTIRLY white crowd representing America’s crumbling middle class is the party that’s been the most committed to tax cuts benefiting the wealthy, expensive, stupid wars that have bankrupted America and of course anti-immigration bigotry, ecocide, gun proliferation, homophobia and creepy mysticism. As for Beck? He’s rolling in it. Beck pulled in $32 million between April 09 and March 2010.
But he’s a white guy wearing blue jeans and sneakers, so he’s a man of the people I guess.
It’s back to school time so how about some Schoolhouse Rock?
The show started back in 1973 and was a series of musical educational shorts that aired in between regular Saturday Morning Cartoons on ABC. The first season dealt with multiplication and numbers – thus Multiplication Rock.
This isn’t taking place at a gallery, per se. Rather, it’s being held in the backyard of a home at 2267 Pasqua Street. It’s a come and go event that runs from 4-11 p.m., and features work by a group of artists who occasionally exhibit at the Crushed Grape in the Cathedral area. Included are Rob Bos, Melanie and Ashley Rose, Derek Pennet, Ariane Nelson, Brandie Perkins, Brian Webb and Lisa Wickland. Food and refreshments are part of the mix, so if you are in the neighbourhood, stop in and check it out.
Incisive Onion News report on the biggest crisis facing America.
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