Summertime Fun

Re: James Brotheridge's post earlier today about the closing night musical act at Buffalo Days 2009. (MSN)

The Honeymoon Is Over

Apparently, the road to restoring the United States to greatness that Barack Obama spoke of in his acceptance speech last November in Chicago's Grant Park is a lot longer and steeper than he initially envisioned and he's had to scale back some of his policy initiatives. (The Onion) One mild warning: the link takes you to a video containing foul-mouthed language that's definitely NSFW (not safe for work).

New Dog!

There's a new prairie dog out today. You've had to wait a couple weeks for it, so will it be worth all the toe-tapping and long drawn-out sighs? You'll have to be the judge. But here's what it's got:

GAS STATION SHOWDOWN Every year we run a feature to coincide with National Aboriginal Day (June 21) and for a while there they were all starting to seem kind of the same: poverty and depressing things affect Sask. Natives! Oh noes! And racism is bad! Bad! So yeah, kind of a downer and frankly sort of creepy coming from a bunch of white writers. So this year when Carle Steel said "why can't we just review aboriginal gas bars to mark national aboriginal day?" we were all like..."yeah! YEAH!" And that's what we did. And it is a good story.

HOT SUMMER GUIDE a whole pile of interesting essays on the topic of summer, plus summer-long event listings. But I think I forgot to put the powwow sidebar in. ahh, shit. Oh well.

HOITY-TOITY BREAKFASTS Dining Dave veers off the egg-beaten path to poach some great brunches from a couple of highbrow eateries, and offers his benedictions.

HOLY CRAP, THERE'S MORE? You bet! We've got stories about why people hate nuclear power; about some grrrr! complaints from First Nations University of Canada board chair Clarence Bellegarde to the national university prof's union; about Iran; and about how politics might be about to suck less. We DON'T have my editorial on the city's screwed up condo situation (ran out of time, SIGH) but we DO have Street Wear, David Suzuki, Queen City Confidential, a bunch of Top 6 columns, film reviews, band previews, a look at the show up at Neutral Ground (reportedly excellent), uhh, listings, plus the ubiquitous "and lots more!" The paper's probably starting to get around out there now-ish, so look for your copy at our street boxes, coffee shop, restaurant and retail stands, all over the U of R and at other outlets later today. (Don't look for it at Saskatchewan Liquor Board outlets, because we got booted shortly after the last provincial election. And don't look for it at the Casino, because we got booted out of there a few weeks back. But we're still pretty easy to find.) Cheers!

Six In The Morning

1 INAC PLAYS HARDBALL WITH FNUC Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is holding back $2 million in funding until the First Nations University of Canada restructures its board. (Leader-Post).

2 SASK PARTY GOING AFTER UNIONS AGAIN? The province's construction workers and the NDP Opposition are unhappy with Bill 80, which changes the way constuction workers are unionized and opens the door for controversial unions like the Christian Labour Association of Canada (StarPhoenix). L-P political writer Murray Mandryck is on their side. Michael Fougere, Regina City Councillor (ward 4) and president of the Saskatchewan Construction Association likes the legislation and tells a reporter "We endorse the changes because we believe that providing choice for workers on which union represents them is inherently fair."

3 WHY DOES ANYBODY LISTEN TO ANYTHING ALBERTA'S DUMBASS CONSERVATIVES SAY? Alberta's finance minister, Iris Evans, tells a room full of millionaires that one parent should always stay home to raise the kids (Globe And Mail). No word on how this genius advice applies to single parents, lower-income families and anyone else with actual, normal lives who can't find a way to raise their kids in line with Grand Duchess Evan's high standards (Edmonton Sun). In fairness (i.e., to not be a total Tory-bashing snot about this), I have to say her comments about a supplemental national pension plan seem...reasonable?

4 NO SUMMER ELECTION AFTER FEDS SQUANDER SESSION I don't usually link to Globe And Mail editorials but the headline on this one was too funny not to.

5 IRAN Day six of mass demonstrations (Guardian). Hey, remember when there was all that talk coming out of the States about how Iran was part of the Axis of Evil? Good thing Western nations didn't bomb the crap out of all these democracy-loving people like Cheney and co were pushing for, eh? Jesus H. Christ.

6 PILOT DIES, PLANE LIVES Here's your weekly mid-air tragedy report. (AP/Toronto Star)

Live Tonight: Robot Versus Monster, Bif Naked

Thursday, June 18

Robot Versus Monster, Rocket Reducers, The Czar, The Kaiser, The King
The Club

Last time I heard Robot Versus Monster play, they were down at the Manhattan Room. Since then, they've been off my radar completely. It's not out of character for this bizarro punk band to pop back up when least expected. If they can stage deaths on stage complete with fake blood, a resurrection is out of the question. Also on the bill are Rocket Reducers, an Ontario punk band, and The Czar, The Kaiser, The King, a Regina post-hardcore outfit made up of previous members of Chapel Hill and Dave Schneider of the Hot Blood Bombers on bass.

Robot Versus Monster - Deploy All Monsters

Bif Naked, Scatterheart, The Manvils
The Distrikt

Bif Naked has seen her share of ups and downs in the Canadian music industry. Making her sixth album, The Promise, though, had all new challenges: namely, having to recover from breast cancer. Throughout the ordeal, Bif's remained unfailingly open to her fans through her blog and has managed to release an album that, while not reaching the popularity of '98's I Bificus, is line with her career of self-confident rock 'n' roll. Bif Naked will also be appearing with Scatterheart and the Manvils.

Bif Naked - Sick

Also Appearing Tonight
- Adam Gregory, the hit country artist with three solo albums and a guest spot on "Achy Breaky Heart" under his belt, is down at Evraz Place.
- Collin Raye, an early '90s country hitmaker, and Restless Heart are playing down at the Casino Regina Show Lounge.
- Rounding out Regina's country quotient is Brad Johner, of solo and Johner Brothers reknown, playing at the Drink.

Look Out, RFF...

... because Buffalo Days might have your lineup beat.

A lot of the choices are classic Bufallo Days selections: a bit of Can-Rock (Thornley and the Watchmen), a bit of country (Terri Clark, Johnny Reid), and a local favourite (Colin James).

The real attraction is on Sunday night. Last year, it was "Weird Al" Yankovic; this year, none other than MC Hammer, pictured above with Pat Boone. We can probably look forward to cuts from his 12 albums, a motivational speach or two from the minister, and at least one plug for his new A&E reality show, Hammertime. I don't think I'm going out on a limb by saying that he won't do the Hammer Dance.

Along with Regina, the man behind "U Can't Touch This" will be playing the New York and California state fairs and has gigs in Fresno and Las Vegas.

Top Six about the Rock -- Part One

I'm back from Newfoundland (just in time for cankerworm season... way to welcome me home, Regina) and despite the weather being pretty awful the whole time we were there, I had a great time.

Now I must confess, I'm biased. I've wanted to go to Newfoundland for, basically, ever. I don't know if I could live there -- it's waaaaay too far from friends and family, for one --- but boy-howdy did I ever frickin' love it.

And as awesome and stunning as it was to see the ocean again and scramble about rocks and hills, it was St John's that really left an impression. I think all these city hall meetings and downtown plan sessions are starting to get to me.

With that in mind, here are my Top Six Things Regina Should Import From St John’s NFLD....

1. COLOUR: Seems here, whenever a new house goes up, it gets painted beige. Oh, they’ll tell you its Sandalwood or Wheatsheaf. Khaki, Oatmeal, Buff or Miami Sand. CafĂ© au Lait. They’re lying to you. It’s beige. Which is really just brown washed out to the point where even the brown almost disappears. And you know how they make brown, don’t you? They mix the sludge left over from all the good colours.

Beige is the garbage colour. It’s pandering neutrality. They paint houses beige because they say it’s the best way to maintain property value. A prospective buyer sees it and there’s no risk they’ll see a colour they don’t like. They see... no colour. A non-colour. It’s the shade of the lowest common denominator. And while each individual house, by not standing out in any way, may benefit from being beige, as a city we are reduced by beige. We are brought low by it.

St John’s is not beige. Not within the downtown and a few neighbourhoods out, at least. I don't know what they're doing bylaw-wise to enforce it, but even new condos going up near the core are painted in vibrant hues.

For pedestrians, it means you get to walk through streets textured by warm and cool shades. It makes residential neighbourhoods more interesting to wander through. And as a result, even very simple, plain architecture -- a wooden box with a peaked roof, say -- becomes part of the tourist attraction that's downtown St John's.

I wasn't the only person taking pictures of row houses.

(Cathedral, for the record, if you ignore the infill housing, is similarly not beige. It's part of the reason I chose to live here. And the reason the streets of Cathedral are regularly featured in those glossy brochures promoting Regina to tourists. We need more neighbourhoods like Cathedral is all I'm saying.)

I've heard the reason St John's is so brightly hued is because the fishermen would come home tired of the drab colours of the Atlantic and paint up their houses in cheerful colours.

Regina is on the prairies for christssake. You'd think we'd be sick to death of beige. And you'd think the last thing we'd want to do is camouflage our city so it'd blend into the grasses.


Seems my hatred of beige got a little out of hand there. Sorry about that. I need a breather now. And this post is long enough. I'll finish up items two through six later.