R.I.P. Vic Chesnutt

On Christmas Day, Athens, Georgia-based singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt passed away at age 45. Rendered a quadrapelgic by a car accident at 18, Chesnutt nonetheless was able to carve an impressive niche for himself in the genre of folk-rock alongside the likes of his hometown colleagues Michael Stipe and R.E.M. In 2004, Chesnutt played a Saturday night gig at the Regina Folk Festival. Headliners that night were The Sadies. Here's a link to a news story on his death (Music-Mix), plus video of him performing his song "Robots" (YouTube)

Boxing Day of Christmas: The Silent Partner

I know that techinically this makes 13 Days of Christmas but what the heck.

This excellent Canadian film from 1978 was directed by Daryl Duke (who directed the Thorn Birds mini-series) and was a remake of a Danish film Think of a Number (1969). This adaptation was written for the screen by a young Curtis Hanson who gone on to direct L.A. Confidential.

Elliott Gould stars as Miles - a bank teller in a shopping mall in Toronto. It's Christmas time and Gould discovers that the bank is going to be robbed. He then comes up with a plan to steal a bunch of money and blame it on the robber - a psychotic Christopher Plummer. When Plummer comes to rob the bank in a Santa Claus suit, Gould gives Plummer some of the dough and keeps the rest for himself. Plummer discovers that he's been taken and a deadly cat and mouse game begins between the two men.

This movie has many twists and turns and to reveal any more of the plot would destroy the fun of watching the movie. This was one of the earliest films from Canada to take advantage of the Canadian government's "Capital Cost Allowance" plans. And it won the Canadian Film Award for best film that year. The cast is stellar and even John Candy has a bit role in it. The film is one of hidden gems that nobody ever really knows about - in fact I can't even find a trailer or a clip of the film but it is finally available on DVD.

Saturday Morning Cartoon

It's Boxing Day so in the spirit of the season I present several cartoons with the literal theme of boxing.

First up it's the short lived I Am the Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali. The show ran from 1977 to 1978 on NBC.

A little Popeye the Sailor.

And finally we have Mickey Mouse managing a robot to fight a gorilla.

Pick of the Day: Boxing Day Bashes

I've written on the origins of Boxing Day before. It's a British tradition, and relates to the practice of wealthy people giving gift boxes to servants, labourers and other less well-off members of society on the day after Christmas (which is also known as St. Stephen's Day).

Long recognized as a civic holiday in Canada, Dec. 26, in recent years, has become notorious as day where people line-up in the frigid pre-dawn, the cash they received for Xmas evidently burning a hole in their pockets, to engage in an orgy of shopping in the hope of scoring mega-bargains on clothing, electronics and other merchandise. Crass, I know. But such is life in our consumer culture.

Over roughly the same period, another Boxing Day tradition has developed where young adults, having spent the preceding two days with family, escape to their favourite watering hole after supper to blow off a little steam and partake of yet more festive cheer. Boxing Day falling on a Saturday this year presents something of a double whammy, guaranteeing that the bars will be packed. If you're in the mood to party, here's some stuff you might consider checking out:

ORBITAL EXPRESS with Bloodwork, In Darkness and Prophets of the Dead at the Exchange. $10.
DANCE PARTY at O'Hanlon's Pub. Free.
NANCY RAY-GUNS at the Abbey Restaurant. $5.
LET THERE BE THEREMIN at the Fainting Goat Restaurant.
DAN SILLJER BAND at McNally's Tavern. $5.
And Dec. 27, THE EXTROVERTS play the Distrikt. $7 at the door.

Remember, no drinking and driving okay?