John Waters: The Full Interview

John Waters and Gary Varro at a dinner held during Camp, Trash, Filth

Our June 8-21 issue featured a cover story on legendary American filmmaker, author, artist and provocateur John Waters. It was in advance of a June 24 appearance he made in Regina as part of Camp, Trash, Filth organized by Queer City Cinema artistic director Gary Varro.

Waters’ contract stipulated no media while he was in town. He did agree to two pre-appearance phone interviews from his home in Baltimore. I snagged one, and wrote the above mentioned cover story, along with a second story using recycled and new material for the CARFAC SASK newsletter.

Now that both articles have been published, I thought I’d stitch together a fuller picture of my 25-minute interview with John Waters.

Could you offer a snapshot of what it was like growing up in Baltimore?

Well, the ’50s were horrible. You might know them from watching television and hearing doo-wop music and seeing cool cars, but it was a time of terrible conformity. That’s why rock ’n’ roll went crazy. That’s why Elvis Pressley was a Martian who scared the whole world. Then beatniks started, and hippies, then punks, grunge, gangstas, and now hackers. So there’s my history.   

Your family may not have understood what you were doing, you’ve said, but they were still supportive. What about life outside your home in Baltimore? Did you ever feel repressed?

I felt repressed, certainly, by people I went to school with. Most of the teachers I had too, especially in high school, would never encourage what I ended up doing for a living. I didn’t care that much, though. I wasn’t bullied because the bullies thought I was crazy, so they left me alone. And I created a lot of friends in my mind and even a character for myself. And I had a career as a puppeteer when I was 12 for children’s birthday parties. I also wrote stories that would horrify people at summer camp, and the counselors would call my parents. So that was always my comfort. Continue reading “John Waters: The Full Interview”

I Mother Earth

I Mother Earth got their start in Toronto in the early ’90s. Grunge was king back then, and the band, which featured brothers Jagori Tanna (guitar) and Christian Tanna (drums) and vocalist Edwin, definitely fit into that genre.

The band released two albums — Dig (1993) and Scenery and Fish (1996) — before Edwin embarked on a solo career. Two more albums followed with Brian Byrne as lead vocalist — Blue Green Orange (1999) and The Quicksilver Meat Dream in 2003 — before the band went on hiatus.

I Mother Earth got back together in 2012. And while they haven’t recorded any more albums, they have released a couple of singles.

On Saturday Oct. 8 I Mother Earth is in town to play a show at Casino Regina. Tickets are $35, and to give you a sense of what they sound like now here’s the audio for their 2015 single “The Devil’s Engine”:

Talkies

The is likely the final Talkies of the 2015-16 season. If you’re a fan of snakes, you’ll likely enjoy the offering that host Jayden Pfeifer has lined up — none other than the 1997 creepy-crawly classic Anaconda about a National Geographic crew who picks up a stranger in the Amazon and finds themselves having to deal with an unexpected menace.

Jon Voight, Ice Cube and Jennifer Lopez star in the flick, which screens Tuesday June 28 at 7 p.m. at the RPL theatre. Admission is free with a donation to the Regina Food Bank. Here’s the trailer:

Theory Of Obscurity

If you like a bit of subversive political disruption with your documentary film viewing, the RPL Film Theatre has a great double-bill for you this weekend.

Theory of Obscurity is the first film in the queue. Its a 2016 doc by Don Hardy that examines the 40-year career of the anonymous sound and video collective called The Residents. Known for their avant garde music and innovative multi-media works, The Residents have released  well over 100 albums, music videos and short films during their four decades together.

The second film is directed by Joh Nealon and Jenny Raskin, and is called Here Come The Videofreex. It’s focal point is a counterculture project created on the sly by Don West at CBS in 1969. To provide content, he hired a group of young videographers/journalists who went by the name Videofreex. They subsequently travelled the U.S. interviewing counterculture figures such as Abbie Hoffman and Black Panther member Fred Hampton. Any hope West had of bringing their material to air on CBS was quashed by higher-ups, although Videofreex did go on to set up a pirate TV station in 1972.

Theory of Obscurity screens at the RPL Friday June 10 at 7 p.m., Saturday June 11 at 9 p.m., and Sunday June 12 at 2:30 p.m. Here Come The Videofreex screens on the same days at 9 p.m., 7 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Here’s the trailer for Theory of Obscurity:

 

Kingdom

Michel Boutin: Frog (2015) Enamel on canvas
Michel Boutin: Frog (2015) Enamel on canvas

On Saturday June 11, the Dunlop Art Gallery is hosting an artist talk and reception at its Sherwood Village branch location for a four-artist exhibition called Kingdom. As used in the exhibition, the word Kingdom references the taxonomic term that biologists use to describe various categories of life.

Kingdom is the second largest grouping below domain, and scientists are apparently somewhat split on the number of kingdoms of life we have on Earth. The U.S. typically cites six kingdoms, while Europe and other locales stick with five.

Animals and plants are two kingdoms common to both taxonomic systems. And under both systems, people are classed as animals. In this exhibition, four artists with roots in northern Canada explore the relationship between humanity and our fellow members of the animal kingdom.

Curated by Wendy Peart, Kingdom features work by Michel Boutin (Prince Albert), Nicholas Galanin (Sitka, AB), Tim Moore (Round Lake, SK), and Judy McNaughton (Prince Albert). The talk will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, with the reception to follow.

A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline

This is a remount of a show the Globe Theatre has presented before about the life and career of country music legend Patsy Cline. The musical was written by Dean Regan, and this version is directed by Geoffrey Whynot with Devra Straker in the title role.

The performance is being held at Casino Regina from June 9-18, and more information can be found on the Globe Theatre website.  In addition, the play will be performed as part of the Globe Theatre’s 50th anniversary gala on Wednesday June 22.

The gala will features a number of special guests including Prince Edward and his wife the Countess of Essex, the Globe Theatre’s founder Ken Kramer, and former artistic director Susan Ferley. The gala is at Conexus Arts Centre, and you can find more information here.

To close, here’s video from 1958 of Patsy Cline performing one of her biggest hits “Walkin’ After Midnight”

Harvey

For people of a certain vintage, anyway, the definitive version of this heart-warming story about a good-hearted man who is befriended by an Irish spirit called a pooka which, in his instance, resembles a six-foot tall rabbit, is the 1950 movie starring James Stewart.

The movie itself, though, is based on a 1944 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by American playwright Mary Chase.

Starting Wednesday, Regina Little Theatre will be presenting a production of Harvey at the Performing Arts Centre at 1077 Angus St. June 8-10, curtain for the play will be at 7:30 p.m., with two performances on Saturday June 11 at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. For more information visit the RLT website.

Here’s a bit of a trailer for the 1950 movie

The Naked Magic Show

Years ago I did a preview article for a performance by two dudes from Australia who were part of a touring company that went under the title Puppetry of the Penis. I’m not sure how I got roped into doing it, but at the press conference I attended the performers demonstrated a couple of the tricks they did during their act — which involved stretching, folding and otherwise manipulating their penises and scrotums to form various objects in the style of genital origami.

I don’t think any origami is involved in this touring act, which hits Conexus Arts Centre on Monday June 6. But The Naked Magic Show does come with a R-rating, and apparently involves two male magicians who perform a variety of magic tricks while sans clothing.

“Nothing up my sleeve” is a standard magician’s disclaimer, and in this instance that’s definitely true. The curtain for The Naked Magic Show is at 7 p.m., and you can get ticket information on the CAC website. Here’s a little G-rated sample of what to expect:

Young Benjamins

Formerly a quartet, this Saskatoon-based indie folk band seems to have scaled back to a three-piece since it released its debut album Less Argue in 2013.  Three of the four original members are still involved, though, and tonight Neusha Mofazzali, Veronique Poulin and Brynn Krysa will be in town to play a launch show for their new full-length Losing Our Shadows.

The gig is being held at the old McNally’s Tavern in 22 block Dewdney Ave. The back-up band has yet to be named, but the show should get going around 10 p.m. and there’s a $5 cover.

I couldn’t find anything new off Losing Our Shadows so here’s the video for a song of the Young Benjamin’s 2013 LP Less Argue called “Out There (In The Wild)”

Glories Of Gloria Revue

Charles Atlas Sheppard did a preview of this clown-based show in our mammoth May 26 Best of Food & Drink issue. As Charles noted, the lead performer, Mooky Cornish, has worked in the past with Cirque du Soleil, and studied the concept of clown as it exists in a number of different cultures.

Glories of Gloria Revue co-stars Cal McCrystal, who has has an extensive background in clown and other types of physical comedy. The performance involves a twist on an old trope, where instead of a person running away from a humdrum life to join the circus, a circus artist abandons the big top to try to make it big in a smallish Saskatchewan city.

Glories of Gloria Revue will be held at the Artesian tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, with children 12 and under admitted for $7.

The Man Who Knew Infinity

Once you get beyond the basics of addition and subtraction and multiplication and division, mathematics quickly becomes a pretty esoteric discipline that not a lot of people have a lot of understanding of or interest in. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its share of compelling stories and characters.

Based on a book by Robert Kanigel, this bio-pic commemorates the life and career of one such individual. Born into poverty in India in 1887, Srinivasa Ramanujan became a self-taught expert in math with a special focus on number theory, infinite series and continuous fractions.

During the height of World War I he journeyed to England to study at Cambridge under British mathematician G.H. Hardy where he encountered resistance based both on his ethnicity and his revolutionary ideas.

The Man Who Knew Infinity, with Dev Patel as Ramanujan and Jeremy Irons as Hardy, screens at the RPL Theatre Friday June 3 at 7 p.m., Saturday June 4 at 9 p.m., and Sunday June 5 at 2:30 p.m. Here’s the trailer:

Government Opts For Investment (And Debt) Over Austerity in 2016-17 Budget

SaskFlag_605I’m writing this in advance of heading to the Legislature this morning for a press conference by Saskatchewan Finance Minister Kevin Doherty prior to him delivering the province’s 2016-17 budget this afternoon.

Based on my understanding of the embargoed copy of the budget that I obtained on Tuesday, despite all the gloom and doom that had been forecast, this doesn’t really qualify as an austerity budget. Yes, revenues from resources are down substantially from where they were a few years ago (around $968 million according to a government background document). But instead of slashing programs and department budgets, government spending will actually increase this year to $14.458 billion from $14.295 billion in 2015-16.

Budgetary allocations in most instances either remain the same as last year (as in the case of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and Creative Saskatchewan), or even increase, as in the case of funding for Health, Municipalities, Education, Agriculture, Highways and a whole lot more.

What’s more, these increases are being achieved with only a modest jump in the deficit from $427.2 million to $434.2 million. Tougher medicine may lay in the future, as the government says the budget marks the beginning of a process of “transformational change” in how it delivers programs and services.

Questions that will be asked as part of this process include: What programs and services should be the role of government? Are they being delivered in a cost-effective and efficient way? Could programs with similar objectives be consolidated to save delivery costs? Could different governance models provide administrative savings while still meeting the needs of Saskatchewan people?

Where all that will lead is anyone’s guess. But for now, the government is holding off on any tough decisions related to our altered fiscal reality in the wake of a global slide in resource prices.

Oh yeah, and one more thing. The government is planning to borrow another $1 billion this year to help tide us over. Similar to the $700 million it borrowed last year, the debt isn’t included in the deficit calculation. As noted above, it’s projected to be $434.2 million, but when you throw in an extra billion dollars of debt the true shortfall is $1.434 billion.

If this was a NDP government presenting this budget, I can well imagine what the outcry would be from the various chambers of commerces, taxpayers federations and independent business associations that are out there. So we’ll see what happens later today.

Thicker Than Water

ThickerThanWaterWritten by Heather Morrison, this play is presented Sum Theatre as part of the Globe Theatre’s Shumiatcher Sandbox Series. The play opens Wednesday, and runs until June 11, with performances Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The central character in Thicker Than Water is a 29-year-old woman named Laura (played by Judy Wensel). As the play opens, she’s waiting in her apartment for a phone call. From there, additional characters appear representing three generations women, which puts Laura in a position of having to confront her mother’s past and her own future through a broader exploration of issues related to mental health, motherhood and the age-old question of nature vs. nurture.

Again, Thicker Than Water runs at the Globe Theatre Wednesday through Saturday from June 2-11 at 7:30 p.m. You can get ticket information here.

Government Town

Government Town is a local indie folk-rock band. They’ve snagged at least a couple of wins/nominations in our annual Best of Regina contest for Best Regina Band and Best Album categories in past years.

Numberwise, the band’s an octet, with the following members: Michael Harmel (Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica); Chris Leier (Guitar),  Brad Vance (Bass), Miles Hoste (Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar), Neil Kapoor (Violin), Alan Valente (Keyboard), Tashia Walters (Back-up Vocals) and Jayson Brinkworth (Drums).

As you might imagine from the range of instruments listed above, Government Town has a lot of potential ingredients for the musical stew it cooks up. Their song-writing also typically is heavy on story-telling, and they’re not shy about drawing on their prairie roots in the songs they create.

On Friday, June 3, you’ll have a chance to see what Government Town has been up to lately when they launch their full-length album (which goes by the title III) at the Artful Dodger. Jerry Knoll is the back-up act, with the show starting around 8 p.m.

Tickets are $10, and to give you a sense of what to expect here’s the video for the first single off the new album called “Home”

Talkies

As is typical with this popular comedy series hosted by Jayden Pfeifer, the movie that’s being screened is one of those “so bad it’s good” type flicks. In fact, it’s a bit of a cult classic.

Released in 1975, The Giant Spider Invasion is pretty much as the title describes, with a bunch of giant arachnids from space descending on a sleepy town in Wisconsin.

The screening goes at the RPL Theatre on Tuesday May 31 at 7 p.m. Admission is free with a donation to the Regina Food Bank. Here’s the trailer:

Prairie Puppetslam Cabaret

PuppetSLAM Cabaret 2016 photo 03Over the last few years there’s been a bit of a puppet culture emerging in Regina. There’s been a couple of puppet film and live performance festivals, plus the odd stand-alone event involving a similar mix of film and performance.

On Tuesday May 31 the Prairie Puppetslam Cabaret is being held at the Artesian on 13th. Doors are at 7:30 p.m., with the performance beginning at 8 p.m. I haven’t heard details yet on what will be on the bill, but the performances are described as being “adult-themed”. As well, there will be a special guest appearance by clown artist Mooky Cornish who has a background in performance with Cirque Du Soleil.

Again, the Prairie Puppetslam Cabaret goes on Tuesday at the Artesian and tickets are $15.

Red Sox Vs Weyburn Beavers

regina red soxThe Regina Red Sox opened training camp last Sunday, and as of mid-week players were still trickling into town after winding up their college seasons down in the U.S. So until the team gets a few more practices in, and actually takes the field in a few games, it’s pretty much impossible to tell how they will stack up against the rest of the teams in the Western Major Baseball League.

Last season, the Red Sox didn’t post the best regular season record, finishing just below .500 with 23 W and 25 L, but they caught fire in the playoffs, making it all the way to the WMBL final before being swept by the Lethbridge Bulls in three straight games in the best of five series.

Regina baseball fans will have their first chance to see the 2016 Regina Red Sox in action when they host the Weyburn Beavers in their home opener at Currie Field on Sunday May 29 at 2 p.m. The Sox play their first three games at home before they hit the road, in fact, so fans will have a great opportunity to get an early read on the team. Following the home opener, there’s games against the Yorkton Cardinals on Tuesday May 31 at 7 p.m. and the Moose Jaw Miller Express on June 2 at 7 p.m.

To find out more about the 2016 Regina Red Sox coaches and players visit the Red Sox website.

Requiem For An American Dream

This 2015 documentary by Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks and Jared Scott is probably not for the faint of heart — at least as far as the willingness and ability of the viewer to grapple with complex ideas about the state of democracy in the Western World in the 21st century.

Filmed over a four-year period Requiem For An American Dream focusses on American intellectual Noam Chomsky, and sees him break down the steady march of our society toward neoliberal nirvana where wealth and power, over the last number of decades, have been concentrated into fewer and fewer hands — leaving massive numbers of Americans on the outside looking in as far as the so-called American Dream goes.

The documentary screens at the RPL Film Theatre Friday May 27 at 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday May 28 and 29 at 7 p.m. Here’s the trailer:

The Pack A.D.

For long-time Prairie Dog readers the Pack A.D. need no introduction (but here’s one anyway in the current issue). A garage rock duo from Vancouver consisting of singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller, they’ve been featured several times in the magazine when they’ve passed through town.

Since getting going in 2007, Black and Miller have released five albums. They recently released a new single called “So What” which will appear on their next album, and on Saturday May 28 they’ll be in Regina to play a show at the Exchange.

Tickets are $15 advance, and more information can be found on the Exchange website. Here’s the video for the Pack A.D. song “Animals” off their 2014 album Do Not Engage