Category Archives: Music & Film

Music from the Just Announced Sask Jazz Fest Headliners!

John Legend, Colin James, Ben Harper/Charlie Musselwhite and Tegan & Sarah Included

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Winter has taken its time leaving after overcoming its stay once again but with more headliners being announced, the countdown for Saskatoon summer is officially on! The 28th Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival has released a second list of headliners to now include the following: Continue reading

Movie Review: Noah

Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic is bizarre and ambitious

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Noah is the kind of ambitious, messy and insane epic I never thought a studio would green light. It’s to be expected that director Darren Aronofsky would make such a film, but that a major studio gave him over $100 million to do so is astounding. Aronofsky’s previous films like Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream created dream scenarios about characters bewitched by obsessions—be it their artistic disciplines or their drug habits. But they were also small movies, obsessed with personal lives and how the minds of their characters constituted their entire realities. Continue reading

OOKAY and ETC! ETC! This Thursday at HiFi

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This Thursday at Calgary’s legendary indie dance club we are proud to present a huge show.  We have Mad Decent artists Ookay and ETC! ETC! sharing the stage alongside Hai Karate residents Smalltown DJ’s and Ivan Rankic.  It is not a show to be missed!! We went a little big on this one. Mad Decent is killing it!! Continue reading

Juno Fest 2014 in Winnipeg

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Canada’s music industry descended on Winnipeg this weekend for a series of events leading up to Sunday night for the Juno awards.  Spareparts sent some of the store staff and I out for a night of live Juno Fest music in Winnipeg. We decided to venture out and check out some of the venues that had live performances on Friday. We started at Le Garage Café and Pub located in the heart of the cities French quarter, St. Boniface. Continue reading

A Review of The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Watching a Wes Anderson film is kind of like taking a walk through a museum of anthropology; you go to marvel at the rich iconography, fantastical costumes and artifacts of another time. It’s really not such a bad place to hang out for a few hours. The Grand Budapest Hotel is Anderson’s latest theatrical spectacle and as you might expect from some of his other films, the reel is full of oddball characters, absurd situations, ornate backdrops, witty dialogue and of course, Bill Murray.

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Meet Gustave H. (played the fabulous Ralph Fiennes) the Concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel who takes to referring to both friends and foes simply as ‘Darling’. Gustave is a dapper gentleman that represents an age of elegance and refinement gone by. With his well-manicured moustache and love for his perfume L’Air de Panache, he divides his time between grooming his protégé, Zero Mustafa, the new Lobby Boy, and bedding the rich old dames who visit the hotel. You’ll never meet another on screen character that can deliver the F-bomb with such cultivated zeal.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

“You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that’s what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant… oh, fuck it.”

When the concierge’s geriatric lover Madame D is found dead, he is named to inherit an invaluable painting in her possession, which enrages the departed’s villainous son Dmitri (the also fabulous Adrien Brody). Chaos ensues as Gustave and Zero scramble to clear his name and the two impart of a series of misadventures that involve incarceration, evading police and a high speed chase on a toboggan.

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“You’re looking so well darling, you really are. I don’t know what sort of cream they put on you down at the morgue but, I want some”

There are so many great cameos by the usual troupe of actors devoted to Anderson’s films but Willem Dafoe really takes the cake as J.G. Jopling, the nefarious hit man who works for Dmitri. Dafoe’s dark and sinister presence is only confounded by his ridiculous overbite and buzz cut that reminds you of a homely lap dog.

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The storyline takes place in the fantastical alpine country of Zubrowka, which was actually filmed in a border town between Eastern Germany and Poland. Anderson went to great lengths to bring his version of Oz to life by creating imaginary bus lines, newspapers and passports to really give audiences a strong sense of the country. TGBH has this wonderful Soviet charm about it that is simultaneously beautiful and severe, mixing grandiose architecture and stunning culture with the harsh truths of brutal authority and poverty. Like Gustave, the pastel pink Grand Budapest Hotel stands as a symbol of romance and opulence in an otherwise crumbling and lackluster reality.

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You can’t help but fall in love with everything about this movie. The deadpan humour, the salute to the old world oddities, the story of young love and even the bizarre death scenes that will make you laugh. This is a movie that you have to see this year and you’ll be glad you did. As Gustave put it best, you’ll be so happy you’ll be “dancing like gypsies”.

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Why Divergent Doesn’t Work

Five reasons the latest YA phenomenon is thoroughly mediocre

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I saw Divergent a few days ago and unlike the hordes of teenagers powering it to success at the box office, I wasn’t impressed. It’s not like Divergent was as ludicrous as Twilight, with caesarian section via fangs and sparkling vampires, but also unlike Twilight, it wasn’t a fascinating trainwreck. It’s a dull, calculated product. It seems like a committee created Divergent, hoping to fashion a rival The Hunger Games. The similarities with Suzanne Collins’ trilogy are numerous. Plucky female protagonist: check. Stoic male love interest: check. Dystopian future society: check. Society divided into arbitrary factions: check. Evil urban intellectuals ruling society: check. Poor people wearing rags being enemies of said intellectuals: check. Adolescents committing violence against each other: check. Themes of revolution and class oppression: check. I could go on. Continue reading

Tunesday Spotlight: Tokyo Police Club

New music from the Canadian indie band’s newly released third album.

Tunesday Spotlight: Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club is one of my favorite bands, and they’re gracing music lovers with a brand new album of nine infectious indie pop rock tunes. Forcefield was just released and maintains the consistently bouncy melodies the band’s known for while moving into a somewhat more grandiose territory; the album’s opening track, “Argentina”, is a ballad in three parts that runs a total of eight and a half minutes long (epic numbers compared to the band’s average of two to three minutes per track). Continue reading

Chuck Ragan Album Review – Till Midnight

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Chuck Ragan, The Ever Burning Light

The legendary American songwriter Chuck Ragan returns from life on the road to give the people Till Midnight.

Having recently organized The Revival Tour as well as releasing the book The Road Most Traveled, it seemed impossible that Chuck would find time to return to the studio, but some dreams really do come true. The last few years and a million miles of road have amounted to ten incredible stories on the full length record Till Midnight out on Side One Dummy on March 25. Continue reading

History Lessons From My Dad’s Record Collection

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I traveled back home last week for a trip that was a little overdue to visit my family and friends.  I had a wonderful time catching up with old pals and had the amazing opportunity to see some of my friends that are just starting new projects that I have no doubt will soon be institutions in that city.  I have a deep sentimental attachment to Saskatoon and I try as much as possible to tell all of my new friends about the rich culture that exists in the little city that could.  I wasn’t able to bring much back with me to Calgary because I flew but there was one thing I was not leaving Saskatoon without.  It was a record I discovered 8 months ago while preparing to move.  I found this record on a very unproductive day of packing that was mostly spent digging through my late father’s record collection after I discovered it.  It was quite the emotional day (it will be 15 years since his passing this April) – a trip down memory lane. A chance to reflect and discover all at the same time.  What I did not expect was to pick up a record and learn a story from my family’s past that involved war, famine and genocide. Continue reading

You Need to Start Watching Canadian Movies

Five films to showcase how good Canadian cinema can be

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I’m not as big a fan of Canadian movies as I should be. Even though I’m an independent writer and director born and raised in Canada, Canadian cinema has never excited me the way Japanese or Korean or Hong Kong cinema has. Canada has made greater artistic strides in music and literature than in cinema. We’re not one of the great cinematic cultures and people, myself included, don’t pay much attention to Canadian film. And that’s a shame because there are a lot of solid Canadian films to find out there if you’re willing to look for them. Continue reading