Regina doesn’t shut down over the holidays and neither should you
by Gregory Beatty
So first thing’s first: this isn’t even a Year In Review piece. Just ignore the tag in this article. We’ve got to give you some actual, useful information, right?
I do what I can. But I’m only one guy — with a limited amount of time, energy and money. Plus, since scientists have yet to solve the thought experiment Schrodinger posed with his cat, it’s still impossible to be in two places at the same time. If I didn’t face all those constraints though, here’s some arts and entertainment events I’d love to check out during this mag’s street dates of Dec. 26-Jan. 8.
Men In Dance
Leave it to a men’s dance festival to have a performance at a RV lot. As an expression of masculinity, it’s maybe not on par with a pas de deux at Canadian Tire. But it’s definitely an unconventional venue. And one that qualifies as a gendered space.
But that’s appropriate, because gender is a big part of the festival.
Co-presented by New Dance Horizons and University of Regina Faculty of Fine Arts, Men In Dance goes Jan. 5-18. All the action, outside of the Village RV show, is at the university — where NDH is doing a residency.
“When we approached the university they were super keen to partner with us for the season, and in particular Men In Dance,” says NDH artistic director Robin Poitras. “It’s an opportunity to engage with lots of different faculties: Kinesiology, Social Work, Fine Arts, Arts Education.”
Western dance forms such as ballet, Poitras says, have traditionally been very gendered — think of princely male dancers lifting and carrying petite female dancers.
“But that’s changing,” says Poitras. “With Ballet Trockadero, the company’s all men. In contemporary dance, you see every size and shape of dancer, and women lift men. Louise Lecavalier, when she was with La La La Human Steps, started throwing herself and flying in the air. So she was taking the female role further than had been seen. But she would also lift men. She wasn’t the first woman to do that, but it changed the [dynamic] for a lot of us.”
Outside of technical positions such as light and costume design, and two female choreographers with the local troupe FADA Men, this is an exclusively male affair with men dancing work created by men.
This initial spark for the festival, says Poitras, was a piece she saw by Montreal’s Sylvain Émard called Ce N’est Pas La Fin Du Monde which featured seven male dancers. “I hadn’t read the program, and I remember thinking, it’s all men — that’s unusual. It had real emotional range, from men supporting each other to expressions of kindness and generosity.”
The last deciding factor on proceeding with the festival, she adds, “was whether there was a strong enough contingent of male work in Saskatchewan because I didn’t want to do something if it didn’t resonate here. It knew it did to a degree with FADA Dance, and Youth Ballet have had all-male dance classes. And with First Nations, it’s huge. You go to a powwow, you see men’s traditional, and men’s fancy dance.”
For more on Men In Dance visit newdancehorizons.ca.
Boxing Day/New Year’s Eve
I’d have to clone myself 10 times over to check out all the music, comedy and other stuff that’s happening on these two days. For a breakdown of what’s happening on Dec. 26 and Dec. 31 peruse our 14 Days listings.
For four years now, 35 Regina musicians have thrown their names into a hat to participate in a legitimately fun, but also musically engaging event that goes at the Exchange on Dec. 27. Names are subsequently drawn to form seven bands. Those bands then have 24 hours to learn an assigned set of cover tunes. Collaboration and experimentation are mainstays of the arts, and they’re on full display here. And the cherry on top? Funds raised, which last year totaled $4400, go to a local charity. This year, it’s Carmichael Outreach.
A Roar Of Wings
We wrote on this last issue. It’s definitely worth a trip to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum to see. And to seriously think about too, because the main story that it chronicles — the extinction of the passenger pigeon, which plummeted from several billion birds in North America to one lone survivor named Martha in a matter of decades due to hunting and habitat destruction brought on by settlement, is remarkable.
Harvest King Xmas Party
Combining both a potluck and oodles a great music by local punk/hardcore bands on the Harvest King label, this seventh annual soiree goes Dec. 28 at the Exchange.
In the past few months we’ve written on exhibitions by Troy Coulterman and Wilf Perreault at the MacKenzie, and last issue we profiled a new exhibition by Bill Burns at the Dunlop. Those shows are all up over the holidays. There’s also a group show on the theme of hope curated by Holly Fay at the Art Gallery of Regina, and an exhibition of theatrical wilderness photos at the Sherwood Village Gallery by Biliana Velkova. Check the Gallery listings for details.
Rap/hip hop probably qualifies as a marginal musical genre in Regina. But it does have a solid and growing presence. And Jan. 2 at O’Hanlon’s Pub one of Regina’s emerging talents is doing a free show.
Black Label Society
If you’ve still got anything in the tank after the holidays you’ll want to check out this show by the veteran Los Angeles hard rock band fronted by Zakk Wylde. This gig goes Jan. 3 at Conexus Convention Centre.