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Live Cinema Season

Later today, there’s a screening of Richard Wagner’s 1843 opera The Flying Dutchman as performed at London’s Royal Opera House. The story itself is based on an old nautical legend about a ghost ship condemned to sail the seas forever, the sight of which was supposed to portend doom for any ship who crossed paths with her.

Wagner is reputed to have been inspired to write the opera after enduring a harrowing sea journey from Riga (Latvia) to London with his wife in 1839. The opera is generally regarded as a turning point for Wagner in his move toward more fully realized dramatic narratives in his compositions.

The screening is at Central Library Theatre at 2 p.m. Tickets are Adults $15, Seniors $12, Students $10. 

Here’s a short interview with bass-baritone Bryn Terfel on his role in the production

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The Canadian punk band SNFU got their start in Edmonton in the early 1980s. Outside of a couple of short-lived break-ups in 1990 and 2006, they’ve been staples on the punk/hardcore scene ever since, albeit with a rotating roster of musicians that’s topped 30 now. The one constant, of course, has been lead vocalist Kenn Chin (a.k.a. Mr. Chi Pig).

On Monday, July 20 the latest incarnation of SNFU is in town to play a show at the Exchange that’s being presented by local label Harvest King Records with support from Skull Central in Montreal. The tour celebrates the 30th anniversary of the band’s debut album … And No One Else Wanted to Play. The plan is for the band to play the album in its entirety during the concert.

Joining SNFU on the bill are Regina punk legends The Extroverts along with local hardcore heroes Royal Red Brigade. Doors are at 7 p.m., and tickets are $15 advance and $20 door.

To get the mosh muscles loosened up here’s video from 2008 of SNFU playing “Cockatoo Quill”

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Riders Vs. Lions

Game action from July 12 2014, when the Lions prevailed over the Riders 26-13.

Game action from July 12 2014, when the Lions prevailed over the Riders 26-13.

It’s only the fourth game of the season, but the rematch tonight against B.C. pretty much qualifies as a must-win for the Riders. The team is off to a nightmare 0W-3L start, and with four of their first five games at home that means they’ll be on the road a fair bit after next Sunday’s home game against the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Despite last Friday’s 35-32 OT victory against the Riders in Vancouver, the Lions aren’t generally regarded as one of the top teams in the league. If the Green & White lose both ends of the home-and-home with B.C. they’ll have dug a pretty deep hole for themselves.

In fairness to the Riders, they haven’t played horribly this year. In all five losses, including two in the preseason, they held leads well into the second half before wheels of various types (turnovers, failed third down gambles, special teams gaffes, shoddy defence, penalties) fell off and they ended up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

A win tonight and the Riders can start to build on some of the positives they’ve displayed in earlier games. Another loss, though, and the disgruntlement level in Rider Nation is bound to rise. So far, head coach Corey Chamblin has taken most of the heat, with some fans arguing that his self-assumed role as pseudo defensive coordinator (along with official DC Greg Quick) has caused him to lose sight of his broader obligations as head coach and that the team has suffered as a result.

Whether that criticism is fair or not, it does seem that sometimes, both this year and last, the Rider braintrust (which includes more than Chamblin, of course) could be accused of outsmarting themselves with some of their moves both on and off the football field. And when you consider that since Darian Durant’s injury in last season’s Banjo Bowl the Riders regular season and playoff record stands at 2W-11L the angst/frustration is not unjustified.

Game time at Mosaic Stadium is 8 p.m. For more information, visit the Riderville website.

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REVIEW: Can’t Step on this Ant

You don't want to see the inside of that tub up-close.

You don’t want to see the inside of that tub up-close.

Things didn’t look good for Ant-Man early on. The outrage over Edgar Wright being sidelined from his pet project, followed by the hiring of a middle-of-the-pack craftsman (Peyton Reed) were particularly worrisome signs. The commissioning of a rewrite (courtesy of comedy specialist Adam McKay) was the cherry on what was expected to be a tasteless cake, at least by comic book geeks around the world.

I’m happy to report Ant-Man is better than it has any right to be. In fact, it’s top tier Marvel. For the most part, Ant-Man is a traditional adaptation (the action sequences are clever, yet few and self-contained), but also one that gets the tone and the flow right. Ant-Man also benefits from the right cast and Marvel’s rarest of beasts: A compelling antagonist.

The Ant-Man in the film adaptation is not top scientist Hank Pym, but Scott Lang, a master burglar going through hard times. Unable to make an honest living, Lang (Paul Rudd) has no alternative but taking the Ant-Man mantle from Pym (Michael Douglas), too old and emotionally scared to use the shrinking suit. Continue Reading →

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Gateway Festival

If you’re a music fan, and you feel like making a road trip next weekend, the 11th annual Gateway Festival is happening July 24-25 at Bengough which is located about 90 minutes south of Regina near the Big Muddy Valley.

You can find out more information on the festival on the Gateway website. Top-billed performers include the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Joel Plaskett with the Emergency, Rah Rah, the Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer, Library Voices, John K. Sampson and Hayden, the Extroverts and more.

Again, the Gateway Festival goes July 24-25 at Bengough. And to get the party started here’s the video for the Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer’s 2013 tune “Shake It” off their album Checkered Past

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Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Peas And Carrots

Marla Hlady, A Case for Sound, 2009 (ongoing), custom fabricate wood boxes, hardware, mp3 players, amplified speakers, sound, AAA batteries, motion switches. Commissioned by Artengine. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Marla Hlady, A Case for Sound, 2009 (ongoing), custom fabricate wood boxes, hardware, mp3 players, amplified speakers, sound, AAA batteries, motion switches. Commissioned by Artengine. Photo courtesy of the artist.

On Friday there’s an artist talk/performance and opening reception for this exhibition at the Dunlop Gallery. The show is curated by Blair Fornwald, and includes work by Ellen Moffat, Erin Gee, Erika Lincoln, Stephanie Loveless and Marla Hlady

The exhibition title is derived from an old theatre trick where actors in background scenes repeat the phrases “rhubarb, rhubarb” and/or “peas and carrots” to simulate murmured conversation. As might be expected, sound and language are two components of the show. Specifically, the artists and curator are interested in exploring distinctions between written and spoken language and sound and image.

On Friday, there will be an artist talk by Hlady at 6 p.m.. That will be followed by a reception and separate performances by Moffat and Gee. Then on Saturday Gee will follow that up with a workshop called Strange Theremin on from noon to 4:30 p.m. where she will work with participants to create a “choir” using everyday objects and a timer. The workshop is open to teens and adults, and pre-registration is required.

Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Peas and Carrots runs until Sept. 5. And there’s also a curatorial tour with Fornwald Saturday July 25 from 2-3 p.m.

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Once Upon A Mattress

Presented by Regina Summer Stage, this musical comedy is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Princess and the Pea about a woman who passes a sensitivity test set by a prince’s mother to prove her nobility and gets to marry the prince.

The musical debuted off-Broadway in 1959, and when it moved to Broadway later that year Carol Burnett played the role of Princess Winnifred who seeks to win the love of Prince Dauntless the Drab. As you can likely guess, the musical (with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshal Barer and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Barer) takes some liberties with Andersen’s tale to spice up the comedy, and over the decades it’s proven to be a popular musical with audiences.

The Regina Summer Stage version of Once Upon A Mattress goes at the Performing Arts Centre July 16-18 at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on July 19. Tickets are Adults $30, Students and Children $27, and more information can be obtained from the RSS website.

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Ness Creek Music Festival

If you feel like a road trip up to Big River, the Ness Creek Music Festival is running July 16-19. It’s the 25th anniversary of the festival, which got its start when a bunch of tree planters who were in the area for the summer decided to celebrate their boreal surroundings with some eco-friendly music.

Because of the distance involved, this is a camping type festival, where people hunker down for the weekend to enjoy some great music and hopefully good company in a wilderness setting.

You can find out more about Ness Creek on the festival website. Headliners this year include Buck 65, Bocephus King Orchestra Familia, Slocan Ramblers, the Moondoggies and Los Texmaniacs.

Last November, Buck 65 was in town to play a Regina Folk Festival gig. I did a pre-show interview with him about his new album Neverlove that essentially chronicled the demise of his marriage. Here’s a tune off that disc called “Love Will Fuck You Up”

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Sunday Matinee: L’Eclisse

LEclisseWrapping up Michelangelo Antonioni’s informal trilogy is the 1962 movie L’Eclisse.

One of Antonioni’s main themes throughout all three films is emotional isolation. In L’Avventura Monica Vitti is looking for her lost friend with the friend’s boyfriend and only Vitti seems worried and/or concerned about her friend. In La Notte it’s Jeanne Moreau as the troubled wife who is feeling the isolation from her husband and society.

Here in L’Eclisse Monica Vitti is back as the main character, a young woman who breaks off her relationship with an older man, Francisco Rabal. Rabal is still in love with her but Vitti says she no longer is. Vitti wanders the city, drifting into meetings with her mother, friends and eventually she meets Alain Delon, a young stockbroker, who tries to win her over. Vitti finds that Delon is more interested in the material aspects of life and she finds herself disenchanted and isolated from the world around her and with Delon.
Continue Reading →

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The Riot Club

Directed by Lone Sherfig, this British film was adapted from a play by Laura Wade called Posh.

No, it’s not a biopic about Victoria Beckham (a.k.a. Posh Spice). Although the subject does relate to the notion of aristocratic privilege and luxe wealth that Beckham was channeling through her character.

Instead, Wade’s inspiration was the notorious Bullington Club at Oxford University where the scions of Britain’s upper crust congregated to essentially run amok for a few years before taking their rightful place (in their minds, anyway) as the future political and economic leaders of their class-riddled country.

The Riot Club screens tonight at the RPL Theatre at 7 p.m. Here’s the trailer:

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The Tale Of A Town

For a while now the Toronto collective Fixt Point has been in Regina with its Storymobile collecting input from local residents about what makes the Queen City special. They were at Wascana Centre for Canada Day, and also did a four-day stint at Central Library in the downtown area.

All that was done in preparation for an installation/performance that Fixt Point is presenting at Darke Hall Sunday July 12 under the project banner The Tale of a Town. The collective has made similar stops in other Canadian cities while working toward a special celebration of the country’s main street culture tied to the sesquicentennial in 2017, and on its website it describes the project this way:

The Tale of a Town is a site-specific theatre and media project aiming to capture the collective community memory of Canada’s Main Streets, one story at a time, while preserving local heritage and promoting neighbourhood culture.

Fixt Point’s Regina stop is being presented by Curtain Razors, Regina Public Library, Dunlop Art Gallery and University of Regina Conservatory of Performing Arts. The performances at Darke Hall on Sunday will be held at 2, 4, 7 and 9 p.m. Seating is limited, and you can find out more on the Curtain Razors website.

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Redneck Assholes Flying The Confederate Flag At Craven

The Redneck Asshole Flag. Also known fondly as the Stars 'n' Farts.

The Redneck Asshole Flag. Also known fondly as the Stars ‘n’ Farts.

The CBC is reporting that some dimwits at the Craven Country Jamboree are flying Confederate flags. And I hope we can all agree that’s an extremely uncool thing to be doing right now.

The excuses offered by the dimwits are of the “I don’t see the big deal,” variety.

“Everything’s getting blown up way too much. It’s just a flag,” says one of the Confederate flag lovers.

And that got me thinking. We need a flag we can fly in protest of such idiocy. Up top is my first, hasty attempt.

It’s the Redneck Asshole Flag.

Continue Reading →

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Formed in Vancouver in 1992, Moist rocketed to prominence in the Canadian music industry with their debut album Silver in 1994. Grunge was huge then, and the band, which was fronted by David Usher, had a bit of a Pearl Jam vibe and fit right in with the tenor of the times.

I remember seeing them at a sold-out gig at the 600 seat Channel One on Broad St. (which ran for a couple of years after the owners left the Hamilton St. facility)  shortly after the album came out. Within a month or two, the band broke big in Europe and parts of Asia and was on their way.

By 2000 or so they’d gone on hiatus, with Usher pursuing a solo career. But the band, with a couple of new additions, is back together now, and in 2014 they released a new album called Glory Under Dangerous Skies. 

On Saturday July 11 Moist is playing a show at Casino Regina. Tickets are $30, $35. And here’s the video for one of the big singles off Silver called “Push”

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Saskatchewan Festival of Words

If my math is right, this annual summer festival devoted to the written/spoken/sung word is creeping up on its 20th anniversary. That should happen next year, and as far as 2015 goes, you can get a complete rundown on the festival, which goes July 16-19 in Moose Jaw, on the SFW website.

Names that jumped out for me when checking out the list of over 20 presenters include Saskatoon novelist/short story writer Guy Vanderhaeghe, musician Andy Shauf, performance poet Moe Clark, fiction writer Lisa Bird-Wilson, thriller writer Andrew Pyper, non-fiction writer James Daschuk and Sean Michaels who scooped the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize last November for his novel Us Conductors.

Again, you can find out more about the Saskatchewan Festival of Words by checking out the above website.

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Craven Country Jamboree

I guess there’s been quite a surge in male musicians/groups topping the charts in country music lately. “Bro Country” is one term that’s been coined to describe the phenomenon, in which songs focusing on beer/whiskey, pick up trucks and girls in skimpy summer wear get plenty of play.

Looking at the line-up for this year’s Craven Country Jamboree, it’s probably safe to say that the “Bro Country” contingent will come away satisfied.

People are already camped out there, I imagine, and the main stage shows get going on Friday July 10. The line-up that night features Wes Mack, John Michael Montgomery, Dallas Smith and Florida Georgia Line. Saturday, Lindsay Ell, Ricky Skaggs, Brett Kissel, Craig Morgan and Blake Shelton are feature artists, then on Sunday it’s Bobby Wills, the Bellamy Brothers, Colt Ford and Jason Aldean.

You can get more details on the Craven Country Jamboree website. And to play us out here’s Lucinda Williams performing “Drunken Angel”

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Cinema Under The Stars

This popular downtown event is back for another summer in Victoria Park and nearby City Square Plaza. Crowds last summer regularly exceeded 1500 so it injected a real shot of life into the downtown on Wednesday nights.

Prior to the film (which gets going at dusk) there’s entertainment and other festivities starting at 7 p.m. The first film is Paddington [2014]. It screens on July 8, and will be preceded by a teddy bear picnic.

Other Cinema Under the Stars screenings are on July 15 (Back to the Future II [1989]), July 29 (Big Hero Six [2014]), Aug. 12 (Cinderella [2015]) and Aug. 19 (t.b.a.) Here’s the trailer for Paddington:

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John Mellencamp

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, John Mellencamp’s career stretches back to the mid-1970s when he was billed as Johnny Cougar.

Now, some 40 years later, he’s got a pile of albums to his credit, a second career as a visual artist, and pretty decent cred as a social activist. Several times, in fact, he’s had to send cease and desist notices to right-leaning politicians and organizations who have tried to use his Americana-themed songs to push their agendas.

This weekend Mellencamp is in town to play two shows at Conexus Arts Centre. Those go on Friday July 10 and Saturday July 11 at 7:30 p.m.. The back-up act is Carlene Carter, and tickets range from $46.50-$251.

Here’s video of Mellencamp performing “Pink Houses” at a Farm Aid benefit in 2005


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Sunday Matinee: La Notte

La NotteI started with Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura so I might as well continue with Antonioni’s loose trilogy about modernity and its discontents. Today’s Sunday Matinee is 1961’s La Notte (The Night).

La Notte follows a married couple through the course of one night. The couple played by Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni are and have been drifting apart for sometime. They first go visit a friend in the hospital who is dying. Moreau is taking it especially hard. She leaves telling the dying man that she’ll come back tomorrow. Mastroianni has just published a successful novel and they then attend a party celebrating the novel’s publication. Mastroianni is in his element at the party while Moreau is bored and alone. She eventually leaves the party.
Continue Reading →

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Riders Vs Argonauts

When the Riders hosted the Argos last July the final score was 37-9 for the home team.

When the Riders hosted the Argos last July the final score was 37-9 for the home team.

Both the Riders and the CFL are off to a rough start in 2015. In Week One, the Riders, Edmonton and Montreal all lost their starting QBs to injury. The Alouettes also lost their back-up QB. Toronto’s starter, Ricky Ray, was already injured, then on Thursday Winnipeg lost their starting QB Drew Willy after he took a shot to head.

In Kevin Glenn, the Riders have an adequate back-up. But it’s likely the team will be be looking to run the ball more than had originally been planned under new offensive coordinator Jacques Chapedelaine (whose offence Darian Durant had previously described as basketball on grass).

Last Saturday in the loss to Winnipeg, Rider RBs Anthony Allen and Jerome Messam racked up over 200 yards on the ground, so there is some hope there. Receiver Weston Dressler is supposed to play in this afternoon’s game against the Argos as well, so he should provide an offensive spark. On defence, the Riders were sloppy with a capital “S”, and Winnipeg took advantage of poor tackling to put up tons of yards and points in their 30-26 victory. All-star safety Tyron Brackenridge is supposed to play today, although having sat out training camp and the preseason it’s questionable how effective he will be.

The Argonauts are coming off an impressive “home” win against Edmonton in Fort McMurray. Because of the Pan Am games, the Double Blue won’t play their first true home game in Toronto until Aug. 8 (against the Riders, as it happens). But replacement QB Trevor Harris looked good in the team’s 26-11 victory over the Eskimos — although defensively, Toronto was helped when Edmonton QB Mike Reilly had to leave the game with a leg injury that will sideline him for 10-12 weeks.

On special teams, the Riders made a splash this week when they signed 45-year-old Paul McCallum to take over place-kicking duties from Chris Milo. If you crunch the numbers, McCallum does have a better success rate, although for the last 10 years he’s had the benefit of playing half the season in climate-controlled conditions at B.C. Place whereas Milo has faced the exact opposite situation at Mosaic Stadium where wind, rain and cold often wreak havoc with the kicking game. The Riders also re-signed QB Tino Sunseri to put a third quarterback on the roster now that Durant is gone for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Prior to Calgary losing in Montreal Friday night (against a rookie QB, no less) I had the Stampeders and the Hamilton Tiger Cats as early favourites to meet in a Grey Cup rematch in Winnipeg in late November. Hamilton still looks solid, and Calgary still has to be favoured in the West. But other teams, such as the Riders and Edmonton, could challenge depending on how they cope with the loss of their starting QBs.

Kick-off for today’s game at Mosaic Stadium is 1:30 p.m. You can find out more on the Riderville website.

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Secret Gardens Tour

For 18 years now New Dance Horizons has been holding this summer fundraiser which consists of a self-directed tour where people get to check out local gardens plus experience live dance performances in some of the spaces. This year NDH is partnering with Wascana Centre and WP Gardens, and the theme for the tour and performances is Trees.

The Secret Gardens Tour runs from July 10-12. Day gardens are open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and night gardens from 7-10 p.m. There’s also a reading by naturalist/author Trevor Herriot on Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon at Wascana Centre Authority’s Habitat Conservation Area. Adult tickets are $45, while tickets for children 13 are $10. You can get more details on the Secret Gardens website.

Prior to the ticketed tour, NDH is joining with the Dunlop Art Gallery to present a free performance titled Rapunzel & the Tiny Trees on Wednesday July 8. It will be held in Central Library’s Sunken Garden from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

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