Diabolique Update

Earlier this year (July through October, to be precise), the Dunlop Art Gallery presented the two part exhibition Diabolique at its Central branch gallery. Curated by Amanda Cachia, the show featured 22 local, Canadian and international artists and explored the related themes of war and violence. We did two reviews on the show in prairie dog itself, and I did a couple or three blog posts as well. (DogBlog) If you check out the following link, you'll learn that the show made Canadian Art's top ten list of art exhibitions for 2009. So congrats to the Dunlop and to Amanda. Pictured above is a work by Scott Waters called Badlands that was in Diabolique II.

Regina Vacancy Rate Drops

You read that right. According to CMHC's October 2009 survey of the nation's rental market (released yesterday), the average vacancy rate in Regina is now a whopping 0.6 per cent.

0.6 per cent.

We are tied with Quebec City for the lowest vacancy rate in the country.

You will remember from our June coverage, CMHC reported that vacancies in Regina had reached 0.7 per cent in April, up from 0.5 per cent over October of 2008. CMHC predicted at the time that vacancy rates would continue to slowly climb.

They didn't.

You may also remember that back in the summer, developers who were hoping to speed along their condo conversions pointed to CMHC's somewhat rosy outlook for the rental market and argued that there is nothing more to worry about as the market is headed in the right direction.

It isn't.

We've been waiting on the provincial and the federal government for over a year now to do something about the appalling housing situation in this city. Well, the province's purse strings just cinched up tight. And housing is going to be the last thing on the minds of Harper's scandal plagued Conservatives.

It's looking like we're on our own here.

And 22 people were recently turfed from their homes in an office building and tasked with finding a place to live this winter. Expect to see more people living in hastily-converted and not-up-to-fire-code office buildings and other inappropriate structures. That's what happens when your vacancy rate essentially zero.

I'll write more on this when I've had time to go over the report in detail.

12 Days of Christmas: Christmas In July

Christmas in July (1940) is the second film directed by the brilliant Preston Sturges after The Great McGinty. Although the movie has the word Christmas in the title, that's all that's Christmasy about the movie but for my purposes that's more than enough.

Christmas in July
features Dick Powell as an office clerk who has entered the Maxford House Coffee Slogan contest. He has dreams of winning the grand prize of $25,000.

"If you can't sleep, it isn't the coffee. It's the bunk."

Three of his co-workers decide to play a prank on him and send a fake telegram informing Powell that he won the contest. They assume that Powell will find out that he didn't actually win and they can all have a laugh about. Things don't quite go as planned as nobody seems to catch on that Powell didn't win and as a result he goes on a spending frenzy, buying stuff for his mom, his fiance (Ellen Drew) and gifts for all the poor people in his neighbourhood.

For those unfamiliar with Sturges work, he was the master of the screwball comedy. Rocket fire dialogue, the occasional social commentary and outrageous slapstick were his trademarks. His movies are just damn funny stuff. He had string of classics, one right after another. The Great McGinty, The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels, The Palm Beach Story, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek and of course this film. All of them are worth watching.

Pick of the Day: Harvest King Xmas

Had tonight's Christmas party been held a couple of years ago it almost certainly would have been at the Manhattan Room. That's because most of the principles involved with Harvest King Records, both on the management and talent side, have roots in that late, great punk venue. But that club, alas, is no more. So the party's at the Exchange. Featured bands on the bill include Geronimo (pictured), Kleins96, Lazy MKs, and Orbital Express.

And if you happen to be downtown tonight, The City Streets are playing a gig at O'Hanlon's Pub. Here's video of them performing "Yer Ghosts" in the offices of the Edmonton alt-weekly equivalent of prairie dog called Vue in 2008. (YouTube) Gee, if we weren't bordering on persona non grata in Regina we could do that with bands here. Oh well.