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Weekly Reckoning: I Rode In A Tesla S Today Edition

weekly-reckoningIt’s true! I got to ride in a Tesla S today, courtesy of electric vehicle service company Sun Country Highway. The legroom was plentiful, the seats were comfy, and that thing goes from 0 to 100 km/h in about four seconds. It’s eerie to feel a sudden force pushing you back in your seat without an engine roar to comfort you.

1. TONIGHT IS OSCAR NIGHT NIGHT! The Academy Awards, that bastion of conservative, sort of racist assholes, are happening! Our resident film critic Jorge Ignacio Castillo has already given his predictions and I’m sure that there’ll be some live Oscar blogging on this site as well.

2. FOLLOW THE DENIAL MONEY TO CLIMATE LIES Bad news for the last few climate change deniers out there: leading climate change denier Wei-Hock Soon is a liar who has been less than forthcoming about the source of his funding (it’s energy companies).

3. WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE? BOSTON IS FULL OF SNOW In fact, there’s so much snow that a bicyclist built an awesome tunnel through a snow bank.

4. I’M ALMOST LOOKING FORWARD TO MY FIFTIES With less than a decade to go before I hit the mid-century mark, I sometimes mull over that moment when I step unequivocally into middle age. But British television personality Mariella Frostrup has some thoughts on the changing societal roles of the 50+ set that kind of cheered me up.

5. OUR DYSPEPTIC SUN IS HERE TO GIVE YOU PERSPECTIVE Sure, plenty of things are happening here on Earth, but take a look at these solar flares! Just one burp from the sun dwarfs any of our tiny, insignificant little movements on this forgotten mossy rock spinning through the vast cold dead machine of the Universe. Happy February!

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Academy Awards 2015: I Foresee Predictability – UPDATED

This movie may win an Oscar.

This movie may win an Oscar.

One of the biggest problems of turning the Oscars into veritable presidential campaigns is that the element of surprise has been all but eliminated. With all the awards handed in advance and the momentum measured to a fault, we know the winners well ahead of the event. Sure, Birdman and Boyhood are fairly even forces, but as the later begins to fade, the former is at the peak of its powers.

This is how it will go down.

Best Picture

American Sniper: Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan, Producers.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers.

Boyhood: Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers.

The Imitation Game: Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers.

Selma: Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers.

The Theory of Everything: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers.

Whiplash: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers.

Will win: Birdman. Hollywood loves to reward itself.

Should win: Whiplash. Original, visceral, exciting. Too good for this crowd.

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Sunday Matinee: History Of Comic Book Movies Part 5

SupermanMoving into the 1970s, most of the comic book adaptations were still just made for TV. Ironically enough the first major movie in the ’70s was an adaptation of the defunct EC Comic series Tales from the Crypt.

Amicus Productions bought the rights to the comic and adapted a couple of the stories for the movie. Hammer Films director Freddie Francis and actor Peter Cushing were brought on board and the movie was a hit for Amicus. They made a sequel in 1973 called The Vault of Horror which featured mostly Tales from the Crypt comic stories. Both films are pretty good.

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Storytellers Festival

February is Aboriginal Storytelling Month. For a number of years now, the local arts organization Sakewewak Artist Collective has held a Storytelling Festival to celebrate. Typically, the festival incorporates traditional oral storytelling, along things like music, film and visual art that also have narrative angles.

You can find out more about the 2015 festival, which runs Feb. 24-28, on the Sakewewak website. Here’s some highlights:

Tuesday 24

Featured is a screening of Welcome to Kanata at Artful Dodger, 7 p.m.

Wednesday 25

Workshop at the university’s Aboriginal Students Centre with Ryan McMahon from 2-4:30 p.m., followed by a poetry slam and music by InfoRed at Artful Dodger at 8 p.m.

Thursday 26

Storytelling by Ryan McMahon, Shauneen Pete and Kevin McKenzie at Artful Dodger, 7 p.m.

Friday 27

Performance by Peter Morin at the MacKenzie Gallery from 4-8 p.m., followed by music at Artful Dodger with Kinder Scout and Snake Oil Salesmen at 9 p.m.

Saturday 28

Reading of work by Bill Stevenson and storytelling by Ryan McMahon and others at Sakewewak Artist Collective (2150 Albert) from 3-6:30 p.m., followed by an art opening for Indigenous Survivance at 7 p.m.

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Mid-Winter Blues Festival

Presented by the Regina Blues Association, this annual festival gets going with a free satellite series on Monday, Feb. 23 with the main ticketed festival running Feb. 26-28. Here’s a breakdown of who is playing where when.

Main Festival (Ticketed)

Thursday 26

Apollo Cruz, Spellbound, Billy Hughes and Double Down, and Richie Pollack and Someone Else’s Kids at the Exchange, 7:30 p.m. $20. All ages.

Friday 27

The Perpetrators, J.W. Jones, Tinsley Ellis at the Regina Performing Centre, 7:30 p.m. $35. All ages.

Saturday 28

Tracy K & Her Right Hand Band, Rick Vito and the Lucky Devils, Rick Estrin and the Night Cats at Casino Regina, 7:30 p.m. $40 door. 19+.

Satellite Festival (Free)

Monday 23

Evan Chambers & the Third Alarm at Bushwakker, 8 p.m.

Tuesday 24

Mill Street Blues Band at Lancaster Taphouse, 8 p.m.

Wednesday 25

Call Me Mildly Band at Bushwakker, 8 p.m.

Saturday 28

Shane Reoch Trio with Jeff Mertick Band, Billy & Karen and Az Paris at Bushwakker, 1 p.m.

Stillhouse Poets with Brian Templeton Duo and Big Bad Storm at Lancaster Taphouse, 2 p.m. All ages.

You can find more information on most of the acts on the Regina Blues Association website. And to get the groove going here’s the Perpetrators performing Smokes ‘N Chicken:

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Hometown Hero Andy Shauf Returns

When Andy Shauf came back onto the stage for an encore, it was to big applause. Foot stomping, shouting, the whole bit. He played “Hometown Hero”, the first track off his latest album, The Bearer of Bad News, on his own, and then quickly slid offstage.

There’s no doubt that he could’ve played a lot longer last night at Artesian on 13th, who co-presented the show with the Regina Folk Festival Concert Series. He played what felt like a normal-sized set, but the crowd was eating it up. Regina isn’t quite his hometown, but we’ve certainly taken him in as if it was.

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Front Row Centre Dance

A few years ago I saw a Royal Winnipeg Ballet production of Moulin Rouge at Conexus Arts Centre. Like the 2001 Baz Luhrman film, the ballet was inspired by the famous Paris cabaret of the same name. The RWB version was created by Jorden Morris for the company’s 70th anniversary in 2009, and involved a romance between an artist and a young dancer recently arrived in Paris in the 1890s.

This isn’t a live production by the RWB, instead its an HD film that is being screened at Galaxy Theatre on Feb. 22 with an encore performance on Feb. 25. You can find out more on the Galaxy website. And to give you a taste here’s the trailer:

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Daily Aggregation: R.I.P., Fast Forward Weekly

daily-aggregation-21. GOOD BYE FAST FORWARD, WE HATE SEEING YOU GO Absolutely rotten news out of Calgary today, as we learned that the city’s long-running alternative newsweekly paper, Fast Forward, is being shut down by its parent company, Great West Newspapers. You can read more here and here. This sucks.

2. MOUNTIE WHO TASED A DUDE TO DEATH IS GUILTY OF… PERJURY Is that a fancy word for killing someone? Confused.

3. HERITAGE BUILDING IDENTIFIED IN REGINA, CALL IN THE BULLDOZERS! This city, I tell ya.

4. MORE DEATH ON SASK. HIGHWAYS Fuck.

5. THE SECRET LIBRARY There’s controversy over the Saskatchewan government’s investigation into building a library to house public records… which is what the Saskatchewan Archives Board does… which the government has cut funding to. What?

6. GREEK BAIL-OUT EXTENDED Good.

TRAILER: THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. Hmm, this remake looks like it’ll be fun. Makes sense, the director is Guy Richie. Hey, have a good, and safe, weekend.

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Moving Forward, Never Forgetting

Moving Forward IICo-curated by Michelle LaVallee and David Garneau, this exhibition features work by 11 First Nations and Metis artists on the theme of resilience and the challenge of grappling with the legacy of colonialism and the residential school system while still striving to heal and build a positive future for individuals and communities affected.

You can find out more about the exhibition on the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s website. The exhibition will consist of largely new work by the 11 artists, and will also include residencies at the gallery by Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Adrian Stimson, and Peter Morin.

Moving Forward, Never Forgetting opens at the MacKenzie on Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. There will be a reception that night, and it will be followed by a curatorial walkthrough on Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. We’ll have a review of the exhibition in an upcoming issue of Prairie Dog. The exhibition runs at the gallery until April 19.

Pictured above, by the way, is a still from Skeena Reece’s 2013 HD video Touch Me that is in the exhibition. Image credit: Pete Hagge & Skeena Reece.

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New Dog!

2015-02-19The new physical, dead tree Prairie Dog is on its way out into the city, and the online paper is up and ready for your inspection. Here are a few things worth looking at in the latest edition.

AFTER THE ACCIDENT Regina’s arts community lost several very important people in a car accident this month. Carle Steel and friends remember the much-loved victims.

A SNOOP TOO FAR Greg “Gregory” Beatty interviews critics of the Harper government’s new secret police bill. A good read.

CONWAY AND DIAMANTOPOULOS On the opinion pages, John kicks the living shit out of Stephen Harper’s ridiculous and ugly new monument while our old friend Mitch laments what the rising tide of religious extremism is doing to freedom of the press. Gwynne Dyer and David Suzuki have columns too. Opinionpalooza this week!

LITTLE POD, BIG FLAVOUR Join Jason Foster on an odyssey to discover beers’ bitter best weapon: hops. I love the delicious I.P.A.s and you should too.

MATERIAL GIRLS Gregory “Greg” Beatty reviews the Dunlop Art Gallery’s latest all-women show even though he’s a dirty, stinkin’ white male who just reeks of privilege. What an asshole.

BEST OF FOOD AND DRINK 2015 Hey, lookie! Nominations are open!

There’s lots more too.  Pick up the new Prairie Dog wherever better free magazines are available.

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Daily Aggregation: Infinite Hotels

daily-aggregation-21. BEST! OF! FOOD! Hark! It’s time to celebrate the city’s ever-growing food and beverage scene by nominating your favourite Regina restaurants, pubs, food people and stuff like that. We have 90 categories this year–lots of new things and a few shuffled out just to mix things up (see you again next year, Best Ice Cream!). As always, this is a FUN THING TO DO so you should CLICK ON THIS LINK.

2. DID A FIGHT OVER FIRE SERVICE LEAD TO CHILDREN DYING? Ugh.

3. SUSPECT SURROUNDED The latest on a fugitive who’s accused of killing one teenager and abducting another.

4. WELCOME TO STRIP SEARCH SCHOOL  A Quebec school might get sued after its principal strip searched a student. I think it’s nuts that any principal would WANT to have the authority to strip search students; seems like a recipe for ruining a career.

5. WALMART IS RAINING RAISING WAGES It’s true. Here’s the problem with it.

6. OLIVER SACKS IS DYING The neurologist who wrote books like Awakenings and the wildly entertaining and freaky The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat writes about his diagnosis with terminal cancer.

7. THE TELEGRAPH IS IN TROUBLE Did a legendary conservative newspaper protect an advertiser at the cost of its credibility? Sure looks like it.

8. YOUR NEIGHBOUR WANTS TO COME IN Also, your neighbour is not human.

9. VANILLA ICE CHARGED WITH BURGLARY Weird and stupid.

10. DID THE ONTARIO LIBERALS BRIBE A PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATE TO NOT RUN? Well, that wouldn’t be very democratic of them, would it?

11. ALBERTA PC LEADER SCREWS UP FREEDOM OF INFORMATION SYSTEM Good example why politicians should listen to their experts — their own “clever” ideas can be really destructive.

VIDEO: THE INFINITE HOTEL PARADOX The excellent blog Kottke alerted me to this concept and video, about an important thought experiment used to help us understand why we can’t comprehend infinity. I bet Brad Joyce will like it.

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Film & Performing Arts Opportunities

Paul NolanThe last few years, with successes such as Tatiana Maslany’s run in Orphan Black, Paul Nolan (pictured) on Broadway in Jesus Christ Superstar and at Stratford in The Grapes of Wrath and more, Wolf Cop winning the CineCoup competition, and Jeffery Straker winning the Vina del Mar song competition in Chile, there’s been plenty of opportunities for performing artists and filmmakers from this area to strut their stuff on the national and international stage.

In the next 10 days two organizations with national reach will be in town to troll for talent for their respective programs.

First up is the Vancouver Film School. On Thursday, Feb. 26 it will be holding an information session for people interested in studying filmmaking, along with animation, games and graphic design. The event will be held at the Double Tree by Hilton on the corner of Broad & Victoria Ave. with a 6 p.m. start time. You can access registration information for the free event, along with learning more about the VFS, here.

On Sunday, March 1, another B.C.-based organization, the Canadian College of Performing Arts, will be in Regina as part of its cross-Canada auditions for aspiring singers, dancers and actors. The auditions will be held at the Sask. Express building (2272 Pasqua St.) starting at 11 a.m. The CCPA is located in the beautiful city of Victoria, and you can find out more about its programs, and register for the audition, here. Alternately, you can call 250-595-9970.

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Rosewater

Inspired by the true-life story of Iranian-born journalist Maziar Bahari, this movie recounts how he was arrested while in his birth country to cover the 2009 presidential election between hard-line incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and moderate challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

Ahmadinejad ended up winning by a 63 to 34 per cent margin, but there were allegations of widespread electoral fraud that sparked street protests. In the crackdown that followed, Bahari, who was then working for Newsweek, and had also appeared on Jon Stewart’s satirical Daily Show, was arrested, jailed and tortured.

Rosewater, of course, was directed by Stewart. The movie screens at the RPL Theatre Thursday Feb. 19 and Saturday Feb. 21 at 9:30 p.m., and Friday Feb. 20 and Sunday Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. Here’s the trailer:

 

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Andy Shauf

Although it’s not styled as such, this qualifies as an album release for one of Regina’s leading singer-songwriter talents. On Feb. 3, Shauf released The Bearer of Bad News. It’s his first full-length, I believe, and joins the 2012 EP Sam Jones Feeds His Demons  in his discography.

Friday, Feb. 20 Shauf is playing at the Artesian. The concert is being presented by Regina Folk Festival in partnership with the Artesian, and you can expect a healthy dose of tunes off the new album. Here’s an excerpt from the RFF promo on Shauf:

The Bearer of Bad News explores themes of uncertainty, curiosity and spirituality. The unsettling stories came as Shauf wrote both at home and on the road. Musically, the record took shape in his modest home studio in Regina, where Shauf spent four years recording each song himself.

Joining Shauf on the bill is the solo act Marine Dreams. Doors are at 7 p.m., with the show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 advance, $20 door, and you can find out more on the RFF website. To close, here’s video from 2014 of Shauf performing a song off his new album called “Lick Your Wounds”:

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Cinema Politica

Cinema Politica is a national film series that features topical documentaries on different challenges we face as Canadians and global citizens in the early 21st century. It has the tagline “screening truth to power”.

On Wednesday, Feb. 18 the Regina chapter will be screening the 2012 documentary The End of Immigration? It’s by Montreal filmmakers Marie Boti and Malcolm Guy, and it takes a critical view of abuses that have cropped up with the temporary foreign worker program where people are brought to the country to work marginal jobs with virtually none of the legal protections that Canadian citizens have. The free screening will be held at the Artful Dodger at 7 p.m.

On Wednesday, March 18 another Cinema Politica screening will be held at the same venue at 7 p.m. It will feature Swiss filmmaker Urs Schnell’s 2012 documentary Bottled Life: The Truth About Nestle’s Business With Water.

Here’s the trailer for The End of Immigration:

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Tom Cochrane & Red Rider

Most Canadians probably know Tom Cochrane as a solo act. He’s been recording and performing under his own name since 1991. But before he reached that point in his career, he spent six years fronting a band called Red Rider, and that’s where he cut his teeth in the music game.

Tomorrow night (Tuesday, Feb. 17) Cochrane’s in town to perform with his former bandmates Ken Greer and Jeff Jones at Casino Regina as part of the band’s Take it Home Tour. That name’s derived from Cochrane’s newest album Take It Home which was released last week.

Tickets are $65, $70, and can be obtained through the casino box office. To close, here’s the video for a song Cochrane released in 2014 called “Sunday Afternoon Hang”:

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Sunday Matinee: John Wick

John WickTaking a break from the history of superhero movies this week so today’s Sunday Matinee is the recently released on Blu-ray/DVD and VOD film John Wick.

I had no interest in seeing John Wick when the film was released in theatres. It just looked like another action revenge flick with Keanu Reeves in the title role and two first time directors at the helm. But the movie got some good reviews and it did fairly decent at the box office. But more importantly I kept hearing that it’s a pretty good film so I decided to watch John Wick.
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Tru Love

Directed by Kate Johnson and Shauna McDonald, this 2013 Canadian drama tells the story of a 60-year old woman named Alice, reeling from the recent death of her husband, who decides on the spur of the moment to visit her daughter Suzanne in the big city.

They have a strained relationship, and Suzanne ends up enlisting a friend named Tru (described in publicity for the film as a commitment-phobic lesbian) to spend time with her mother.

Tru Love has garnered some decent reviews. It screens Sunday Feb. 15 at the RPL Theatre at 9:30 p.m. Here’s the trailer:

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Speaking Of Sun News

Yeah, with the blizzard and minus 40 windchills, today was the kind of day where you wonder if Earth even has a Sun to keep us half-assed comfortable and warm.

If we didn’t, of course, it would be a helluva lot colder here. So obviously we do. And NASA has just released some time lapse photography of our home star taken by its Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The SDO was launched in 2010, and from a geosynchronous orbit 36,000 kilometres above Earth it’s been studying the Sun and observing all the turbulent activity that occurs on the surface driven by its 15.7 million K core temperature and all the atomic reactions that are going on.

It’s pretty spectacular. So check it out if you want. And here’s a NPR report on the footage

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Saskatchewan Book Award Nominees Announced

dumontYesterday at the University of Regina a press conference was held to announce the nominees for the 2015 Saskatchewan Book Awards. According to SBA administrative director Courtney Bates-Hardy, 90 titles were entered for consideration in 11 writing and three publishing categories. Because some titles were entered in more than one category, the total number of entries in the 14 categories was 196.

You can find a complete list of the nominees on the SBA website. By my count, the book that received the most nominations was Rose’s Run by Dawn Dumont (pictured). Published by Thistledown Press, it’s up for four awards: Book of the Year, Fiction, Aboriginal Peoples’ Writing Award and Saskatoon Book.

You can find a synopsis of Rose’s Run on the Thistledown Press website. But in a sentence it involves a single mother of two with some sketchy lifestyle habits who decides to turn things around by running in her rez’s annual marathon — which inadvertently spawns a whole bunch of humorous situations, along with a demon known as witikow.

Among the remaining nominees, there’s shout-outs for three catalogues produced by the Mackenzie Art Gallery for the exhibitions The Vaults: Art From the MacKenzie Art Gallery and University of Regina Collections; 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.; and Wilf Perreault: In the Alley (published by Coteau Books). Trevor Herriot’s The Road is How: A Prairie Pilgrimmage Through Nature, Desire and Soul was another multiple nominee for Best Book, Non-Fiction, and Regina Book.

The 22nd annual Saskatchewan Book Awards will be held Saturday, April 25 at Conexus Arts Centre. The evening begins with a prairie buffet at 5:30 p.m., followed by the awards at 7 p.m. Current Regina Public library writer-in-residence Arthur Slade is the emcee, and tickets are $50.

The awards will be preceded by the RPL’s Readers’ Summit which will be held at Central Library from April 23-26.  You can find more information on that event here. It involves readings and keynote addresses by different SBA nominees, along with Slade and Saskatoon mystery writer Anthony Bidulka.

We’ll have more on the summit and the SBAs in mid-April.

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