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Issue #225 – February 1 to February 7

arts

culture

music

saskatoon

making music the once

with

into the deep Kirk Krack talks freediving the bandleader Q+A with Morgan Childs stand up guys + promised land Films reviewed­

Photo: courtesy of renita Fillatre


contents

NEWs + Opinion

entertainment

culture

Q + A with Morgan childs

listings Local music listings for February 1 through February 9 18 / listings

On leading the band. 12 / Q + A

Into the deep

Personal history

Freediver Kirk Krack talks training record-holders. 4 / Local

The history of craft on the prairies.

stand up guys + Promised land

13 / Arts

The latest movie reviews. 20-21 / Film

shirley valentine

Nightlife Photos

Touching, funny play chucks routine for impulse. 13 / Arts

We visit Sports on Tap and Winston’s. 22-25 / Nightlife

verbnews.com @verbsaskatoon facebook.com/verbsaskatoon

Editorial Publisher / Parity Publishing Editor in Chief / Ryan Allan Managing Editor / Jessica Patrucco staff Writers / Adam Hawboldt + Alex J MacPherson

ART & Production

writers of a feather

Design Lead / Roberta Barrington Design & Production / Brittney Graham Contributing Photographers / Patrick Carley, Adam Hawboldt + Ishtiaq Opal

Exploring Saskatchewan’s literary landscape. 6 / Local

Business & Operations

Simply stunning On the cover:

The Once

Exploring the past and present with The Once. 14 / cover

something to write home about

Our thoughts on Saskatchewan police using tasers. 8 / Editorial

We visit Prairie Ink. 16 / Food + Drink

on the bus Weekly original comic illustrations by Elaine M. Will. 26 / comics

comments

Music

Games + Horoscopes

Here’s your say on making travel more affordable. 10 / comments

Eric Church, Dean Brody + Stars

Canadian criss-cross puzzle, horoscopes, and Sudoku. 27 / timeout

17 / music

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Into the Deep Saskatchewan freediver Kirk Krack has trained everyone, from record-holders to Tiger Woods by ADAM HAWBOLDT

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efore Kirk Krack enters the water for a free-dive, there are certain steps that he goes through. It starts the night before, with a proper meal and a solid sleep. When he wakes up on the morning of a dive there’s more food, this time a high-carb breakfast, followed by a stretching routine. Then it’s time to for Krack to mentally prepare himself. “A long time before I get in the water I start to employ sports psychology,” says Krack over the phone from Hawaii. “I use a bunch of visualization techniques to get focused.” It is a focus Krack can’t afford to lose. See, freediving is no walk in the park. To descend hundreds of metres underwater on a single breath is about as dangerous as a sport can get — it’s right up there with BASE jumping and bull riding. So when he gets on the boat, as he lays out his equipment and then puts it on in a very specific order, Krack has to keep his mind focused firmly on the task at hand. “I look at that equipment like a suit of armour,” explains Krack. “With each piece I put on I’m slowly becoming someone else. What I’m trying to do is go away from being Kirk the family man, Kirk the father, to being Kirk the freediver.” Once he’s mentally there, Krack slows down his breathing and slips effortlessly into the water.

Here, he says, he feels at home. And as he immerses his face in the water, the coolness of the ocean begins to slow his heart rate. His mammalian diving reflex kicks in. Blood moves from his extremities to his core, and his spleen compresses. Krack’s becoming one with the water, employing special

Soon Krack was enrolled in swimming lessons, as well as sailing and snorkeling at Lac La Ronge during the summer. For his thirteenth birthday, Krack’s mother bought him scuba diving lessons. Fast forward nearly a decade. Krack is 20 years old. Not only has he

When I get to the surface that’s where I’m the most critically hypoxic. Kirk Krack

breathing techniques to help him oxygenate, relax, and lower his CO2 levels. Then, when Krack is ready, he starts his dive.

When Kirk Krack tells people where he’s from, invariably their first question is: “How in the heck did you become a world renowned freediving instructor?” The reason? Well, Krack is from Saskatchewan — a province not exactly known for its deep sea activities. But it does have a lot of lakes, and that’s where Krack’s journey to the depths of the oceans around the world began. “I grew up a water baby,” says Krack. “My parents were really into the water. When I was just months old they had me in a towel, bouncing me along the lake at Waskesiu.”

become a diving instructor, but he has also purchased The Diving Centre in Saskatoon. Fast forward again, past him selling the shop, past his move to Vancouver and his initiation into mixed-gas diving. Fast forward to the year he moved to the Cayman Islands and opened Dive Tech. “We had this Cuban freediver who came down who wanted to break a record,” says Krack. “We had all the equipment and the experience doing deep dives (at that point I’d been down 500 feet using mixed gas), so we worked with him.” And it was while working with this Cuban diver that Krack’s own interest in freediving hit a high. He would watch this man and study his methods, then on days off go out and practice the things he’d seen. Continued on next page »

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Photos: courtesy of performance freediving

Not long after, an opportunity arose for Krack to help train another freediver named Tanya Streeter. Then another opportunity sprang up. And another, and another. Eventually, in January 2000, Krack stepped away from the scuba and technical diving side of things, moved back to Vancouver, and opened Performance Freediving. It was a wise move. To date, Krack has trained seven freedivers to 23 world records. He’s been on Oprah helping David Blaine achieve a record. He’s taught Tiger Woods and Woody Harrelson to freedive. He has worked on an Academy Award-winning documentary called The Cove. Not too shabby for a small-town kid from a land-locked province.

Back in the ocean, Krack’s first kick propels him down below the surface. Down he goes, deeper and deeper, kicking intermittently, equalizing, making sure his body is positioned properly. At the 10-metre mark, there’s double the pressure on his body than when on the surface. His lung volume is cut in half. At the 20-metre mark, there’s three times the pressure. His lung volume is reduced to one-third of what it was on the surface. “The pressure, it accumulates on you,” says Krack. “Like bricks piled one on top of the other. But the human

body is very adaptable. It can adapt to extreme environments like that.” Which is true, but just because a body can physiologically adapt, doesn’t mean the human mind is mentally strong enough to withstand the stress, anxiety and anticipation of a freedive. Kirk Krack knows this, so as he plunges deeper into the belly of the ocean he remains focused and ready for anything. At a certain point Krack’s lungs become compressed enough, his wetsuit thin enough, that he doesn’t have to kick anymore. “And I just sink like a skydiver,” he says. “Like a lawn dart descending through the water column, and now I’m just managing the sink phase.” He cannot sink forever, though, and soon it’s time for Krack to make his way back to the surface. This itself is no easy task. Once he’s reached the absolute depths of his dive, Krack has to turn and kick hard because of all the pressure and negative buoyancy. But as he rises, the kicking gets less difficult. He rises and rises, past the safety divers who are in place in case something goes wrong. He rises until he breaches the surface and inhales. “But the job isn’t done there,” says Krack. “When I get to the surface that’s where I’m the most critically hypoxic. That’s where ninety percent of all blackouts happen. So I really have to focus on my recovery breathing. Make

sure I’m oxygenating myself and maintaining my blood pressure.” If he doesn’t, he can pass out in the water or lose all control of his motor skills. It’s happened to him before. Blackouts, loss of motor control, the bends, nitrogen narcosis, you name it. But that was when

Krack was a young freediver, just starting out. Now he’s a pro, a guy who teaches other pros. A guy who, when this article was written, was still in Hawaii taking a team of Navy SEALs through a breath-hold survival program. Not too shabby, indeed.

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Writers of a feather...

Photo: Courtesy of Adam Hawboldt / verb

Writing North: just another example of how far the Saskatchewan literary community has come by adam hawboldt

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azis. Reduction as violence. The FuSchnickens. Being shot by a pellet gun. If someone were to put the aforementioned gun to your head and ask what those four things have in common, what would you say? If you answered, “things that were discussed at the 2013 Writing North conference,” then you’re correct. The conference — which brings together noted authors from around province — always starts with a panel discussion in the Neatby-Timlin Theatre. This year, the theatre is filled with hipsters and scholars, young poets and grey-haired old men. Some are jotting down notes on pieces of paper, some typing away at computers nestled in their laps. Others simply listen. At the front of the theatre, under warm halogen lights, a panel of authors is seated at a long brown table. David Carpenter, a much-published local author, lobs questions at the panel, which includes writers like Candace Savage, Ken Babstock, David Poulsen, DM St. Bernard, C.E. Gatchalian. And at first all the talk is about craft and audience. Stuff

that many non-writers may find less than interesting. But then it happens. From the audience comes an odd, out-of-place comment about Nazis, and the debate swells. Eventually, the talk turns

all over the province,” says Dave Carpenter, sitting in the Broadway Roastery in Saskatoon days before Writing North, 2013. “From Cypress Hills to the Canadian Shield, from cities to all the small towns.”

Early on, writers in this province felt a lot of isolation … [t]here wasn’t really a community. David carpenter

to the ‘90s rap group Fu-Schnickens, before the award-winning poet Ken Babstock regales the audience with a tale about the time he was invited to a fellow’s house, then summarily shot after putting a pellet through a light bulb. The crowd, littered with authors who have traveled from the four corners of the province to be here, chuckles. And Writing North 2013 begins with a bang.

“What you have to realize is that Saskatchewan writers are spread

Carpenter clears his throat and continues. “Early on, writers in this province felt a lot of isolation. If you live in a big city you have literary magazines, all kinds of book stores, the bohemian vibe, writers to look over your manuscripts, you got everything a writer wants. But in the early going we didn’t really have that here. There wasn’t really a community.” On the table in front of Carpenter rests a brand new copy of the book he has spent years editing: The Literary History of Saskatchewan. Continued on next page »

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This is the first volume of a twopart series, a book that maps the journey literature in this province has taken — beginning with Cree writing of the 19th century, and continuing into the 1980s. If you open the book and flip to page 179, you’ll see an essay called “The New Generation: The ‘70s Remembered” by Ken Mitchell. That’s where you find out when and how this isolated collection of writers came together to form one of the strongest, most close-knit groups in Canada. It all began, they say, in the summer of ’69, when a group of writers met at the Valley Centre in Qu’Appelle. These individuals came together and chatted about literary markets, professional development and other such stuff. A year later, the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild held its inaugural conference. “That was the first writers’ guild in Canada,” explains Carpenter. “I joined right around the time I finished my first book, and the guild, for me, that is the community. We went through a lot together. We went through the launching of all our first books together. The

friends I made back then, in the ‘70s, they’re still my friends today.” But it wasn’t just the guild that helped build the writing community in this province. At the same time, this “school of fervent writers” also created the first system of retreats to help combat the feeling of isolation. “You can go down to Cypress Hills, there’s the Wallace Stegner residence, Fort San,” says Carpenter. “I always go to the Muenster monastery. Oh, and there are retreats at St. Mike’s, too.” And it was through these retreats, through these conferences and meetings, that a bond grew between a special generation of writers in Saskatchewan. A bond that has left hand prints all over the modern literary landscape.

Back at Writing North 2013, the festivities are in full swing. People stand shoulder to shoulder, back to back, outside the NeatbyTimlin Theatre. They drink wine and snack on food while talking books and life and football. And if you look around the corridor with the right kind of eyes,

you may be able to recognize a lot of the “The New Generation” of writers mentioned in The Literary History of Saskatchewan. The ones who started the guild and helped build the retreat system. Their hair may be thinner now, a little more grey, but to watch them — authors like Carpenter, Dave Margoshes, Robert Calder, Louise Halfe, Barbara Sapergia and so on— you can almost see them lazing around the Fort San on a fine summer day, 40 years ago, doing pretty much the same thing. But these writers, they aren’t stuck in the blissful haze of the good ol’ days. No, they’re still at the very heart of the Saskatchewan literary scene, still writing, forever building the community and making events like Writing North not only possible, but entertaining as well.

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We’re stunned Introducing tasers to the Saskatchewan police seems like a wrong move

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ot so long ago, after a five-year moratorium in the wake of Robert Dziekanski’s death in British Columbia, a decision was made by the Saskatchewan Police Commission to allow police officers in this province to use conducted energy weapons. That’s tasers, to us regular folk. Since then, comment boards on most of the media sites that carried the story have been blowing up in heated debate. Some people are saying the decision is a horrible one, and that the general public should be outraged. Others feel that using tasers is a good idea, much better than, say, using bullets to subdue a situation. Now, we are trying to be practical. We know that tasers are coming to Saskatchewan, and there’s not much we can do about it. But we refuse to buy too deep into the idea that tasers are a sensible, non-lethal alternative for police. After all, they can be lethal. And sure, some people believe that tasers are the best thing going for cops — they offer officers greater power than using pepper spray or a baton, but they’re not so deadly as opening fire on an individual … a sort of middleground between shooting and shouting. But is that really what happens? One of the most comprehensive studies on this topic comes from our Commonwealth friend, Australia. Ethicist Stephen Coleman highlights the issues facing police officers who use tasers and other non-lethal weapons, and finds that when officers in Australia had access to these nonlethal weapons, they were deployed

thousands of times more frequently than an actual lethal weapon would have been — that is to say, rather than falling back on using discourse or an alternative method to de-escalate a situation, officers would simply turn to pepper spray or tasers. The underlying issue Coleman is getting at: the indiscriminate use of non-lethal weapons. Sure, these weapons are a great alternative to something more aggressive, but that shouldn’t mean they are the first thing officers turn to, because they can (and have) a physical affect on a person. And the truth of the matter is: you just don’t know how every human will respond to massive electrical volts coursing through his or her body. So how about in Canada? A recent study out of B.C. found that since 2007 — the year Dziekanski was tasered to death by police in the Vancouver International Airport — police taser use has dropped 87%, while the use of firearms has remained fairly constant. A CBC report finds that police “appear to be relying more heavily on verbal skills and physical tools other than tasers when dealing with potentially dangerous situations.” This trend suggests that police had been overusing the weapon, that the problem faced in the past was not with tasers, but with those holding them. And with the introduction of tasers to the Saskatchewan police force, this is something we all need to be concerned about. Look, police officers are highly trained individuals whose job requires that they make split-second decisions in stressful situations. And while the

SPC is looking at implementing safety policies after a taser has been deployed, the fact of the matter remains that training in what happens before is just as important. And unfortunately, this doesn’t happen in a dynamic or realistic environment that mirrors realworld situations. As Coleman points out, this leads to the unnecessary deployment of stun guns. And while the drop in taser use is encouraging, we must remember it’s the result of a number of people dying from those weapons. Dziekanski may be the most high-profile, but he is certainly not the only victim. So if police are being less zealous in their use of stun guns, but the impact on firearms is negligible, then what are tasers really doing other than encouraging cops to zap people when they would otherwise use words, pepper spray, or a baton? And while we understand that tasers are coming to this province, it seems like a move that didn’t really need to happen. If we’re going to be forced to live with police officers who carry stun guns, it’s best they learn to use their “non-lethal” weapons as little as humanly possible. These editorials are left unsigned because they represent the opinions of Verb magazine, not those of the individual writers. Feedback? Text it! (306) 881 8372

@VerbSaskatoon feedback@verbnews.com

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On Topic: Last week we asked what you thought about cutting corners to make travel less expensive. Here's what you had to say:

text yo thoughtsur to 881 ve r b 8372

– Your opinion piece was ridiculous. Satire just obscured the message, which is valid: cheaper airfare in canada. Better luck next time.

– Standing only fights would be a great idea the cost of flying in this country is high and only getting higher something drastic needs to be done

– Nice Can-Fly ref. Loved the ironic tone of the article, I’d totally stand for an hour or whatever for a way cheaper flight.

OFF TOPIC

– Are you serious? Who in there right mind would want to just run and push a taxi. I don’t think that would even work in real life. You know flinstones aren’t real. This is stupid

– I would way rather pay a bit extra to sit than cheap to stand for a couple hours. Im to lazy.

– What about making trains or buses first class, second class, etc. like they used to. Then you can chose which class (and the corresponding fee) you want to pay

– What about those carts for two pulled by bikes? I’d pay less to have someone pedal me around in the summer. Not super fast, not super comfortable, but still gets you there.

– Love Whitehorse theyre such a cool group and seem like such a sweet couple. I’m going to go see them for sure!!! :D In response to “A Work in Progress,” Cover story, #224 (January 25, 2013)

– Loved the story about Everest. So interesting to hear what makes someone want to do that. Good luck to the young man, on his endeavour! In response to “The rooftop of the world,” Local story, #224 (January 25, 2013)

sound off – ST.PAULS AND ROYAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS OVERCROWDED DO TO DEMAND AND NOROVIRUS WHY IS CITY HOSPITAL NOT BE USED TO HELP WITH PRESSURE.

– THE Citizens of saskatoon should Demand a recount Voters! Fight corruption

Continued on next page »

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– T was disgusted to hear about university bridge needing such significant repairs. We live in a city of bridges, why the f*** haven’t they figured out a better way of dealing with them? This would be laughable if it wasn’t so devastating.

– Drive safe out there! Tons of accidents all over, ice everywhere makes it impossible to stop.

– It is unreasonably cold out there. I feel proud of myself anytime I venture outside and make it somewhere LOLOL

– Obligatory text denigrating the terrible coldness of winter, and the obviousness of it sucking balls.

– The CEO of Habitat for Humanity making 252k a year is no fiction. Its in public docs they file in the

U.S. Form 909 I think. Thats real investigative journalism Habitat for Humanity is not quite the charity they would have everyone believe. They’re crooked players in our housing crisis. Need to be exposed.

– Write about big companies in the city that don’t sponsor ANYTHING in the city. IE: Co-op refinery. If that place blew up it would take the whole city with it and we don’t have any gain from them being here. There are plenty more. These companies won’t evens sponsor a little league baseball team.

– Hiccups are usually a stomach acid thing. If you have a bad case of hiccups try eating a couple antacid tabs like Tums or Rolaids.

– A pal just invented “Highbernate” with bad spelling. Hahaha... You pass the winter getting loaded and crashing out a lot.

– The surest mark of the true peasant is a burning desire to be monarch. The surest mark of the true monarch is a burning desire to be peasant.

– The women’s protest in India this week over rape and murder. Its always like this in feudal societies including ours. Rape and abuse of women is rampant.

– Proud Idle no more movement. Before you whitewash an entire group of people as lazy or protestors or having no guiding message, educate yourself first. We want to have a meaningful conversation, but can’t do that if people are perceiving us through the lens of stereotypes

– Downtown guy where you at? Frozen somewhere? Are you a snowbird? COME BACK!

– What is it that Kelly Block has agianst immigrants? Everybody makes mistakes but everybody deserves the same justice.

– Jack Layton had to die. There was no way in hell the Canadian Establishment was going to accept a left wing Government led by him.

– The problems with the labor and left in Sask are because a whole generation thought they could pay off big mortgages sock big pensions AND fight the g ood fight!

– False self pity is always at the root of greed and selfishness. I/we had/have it hard. I/we work hard. No help from anyone. Did it all by myself. Wah wah wah!

– Do you think you’d beat the Devil in a spank’in contest?

– Considering extra foods is one of the cheapest places to shop for food is it a scam to get the money spent at super store are they not branches of the same company

– If Saskatchewan police get tasers guaranteed they’ll taser an abo to death in the first year. Racist cowardice is predictable like this.

Next week: What do you think about Saskatchewan police using tasers? Pick up a copy of Verb to get in on the conversation:

We print your texts verbatim each week. Text in your thoughts and reactions to our stories and content, or anything else on your mind.

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The Bandleader

Photos: courtesy of robyn kent

Morgan Childs takes his quartet on the road by Alex J MacPherson

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organ Childs is one of the most popular session musicians in the country. In the tradition of Buddy Rich and Max Roach, Childs has elevated the drum kit from simple percussion to high art. Now, after years in the studio and touring with other musicians, Childs has emerged as a bandleader and composer. After a stint on the road this winter, he and his hard bop quartet — Kelly Jefferson, David Restivo, and Jon Maharaj — will record their debut album. But first they have to cross Canada in the cold. I caught up with Childs to chat about live jazz, traveling to perform, and what it means to be a bandleader.

jazz is to see it performed live. My perspective on seeing things live was being able to translate these mysterious sounds that I heard on records to a visual medium. When you see somebody do something, and you can get really close to it,

Alex J MacPherson: I know you’re planning a record, but it strikes me that jazz is really meant to be heard live — preferably in a smoky little club.

AJM: You’re a young guy playing jazz. Is it important for you to introduce other young people to the music you love?

Morgan Childs: I definitely agree. I think part of learning how to play

ested in jazz it was something I really had to fight for, to be able to see the music. I had to travel. Going to Vancouver was a ten-hour drive, but I would go just to see musicians I was into. For me, I go see live music all the time, and it solves so

AJM: What prompted you to put your own band together? Is this going to be something you’ll focus on in the years ahead?

I want to make this a band that plays the better rooms in the country… morgan childs

many problems, so many questions you have about the music. It all gets solved live.

you can see the techniques to make the sound you hear in your head or on recordings. It accelerates the process.

AJM: The idea of a bandleader is an interesting one. What exactly does it mean in jazz? MC: A lot of people ask what the name of the band is. I say in jazz whoever’s leading the gigs, it’s their band. Basically what it means is that I choose most of the music, I write and arrange a lot of the music, I put the

MC: Definitely. It’s something that relates to my own experiences growing up. I come from a really small town, so when I got inter-

personnel together, and I book the gigs myself. I always try to assemble musicians that I think are going to work well together, who will share a certain group of instincts I find really fun to play with.

MC: I think part of this whole experience for me, with booking this tour and putting this band together and writing the music for these players, the impetus behind it was last winter I wasn’t working as much, specifically in January and February. I had slow months and was going stircrazy. Practicing a lot can only take you so far; I needed gigs, I needed to play with some people. I put this tour together basically to have something to do — but I think it can probably continue to be something like that in the future. I want to make this a band that plays the better rooms in the country and hopefully some jazz festivals one day.

AJM: You’re getting set to make a record. Will that be a big departure from what you’re doing live? MC: The studio experience is always different, because you’re listening back to yourself, hearing yourself in a different way. Certain things don’t translate in the studio the same way they do live. You have to adjust the way you play a little bit. But once the hang is good and everyone feels comfortable, it’s not really any different in the studio. It is possible that we’ll make a live record out of recordings made on this tour. I may even have the Saskatoon gig recorded. If you forget the mics are there, something special might get captured. Morgan Childs Quartet February 9 @ The Bassment $15/20 Feedback? Text it! (306) 881 8372

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arts

personal History

June Jacobs and the history of craft in Saskatchewan

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continuum is slow change. It refers to the gradual, even imperceptible, shift from one pole to another. It is also the story of craft in Saskatchewan. Framed as a personal history of craft in this province, Continuum traces not only the growth and development of 18 artists, but also their contribution to the larger question of how their form has evolved. June Jacobs, who curated the exhibition, selected pieces by artists she has represented over the last four decades. “I’ve been on the fringe and the edge, as sort of a participant by representation rather than in actual work, for that 40 years,” laughs Jacobs, who runs the Hand Wave Gallery in Meacham, Saskatchewan. “Whenever I went back to look at the work, all of them have grown in their work and all of them have persevered when maybe it didn’t seem like an easy route.” Continuum is a deeply personal exhibition, a selection of pieces

by alex J MacPherson

that reflects the many facets of Jacobs’ long and storied career in fine craft. She included fused glass by Lee Brady, a polished birch burl by Paul LaPointe, and even a pair of charming shot glasses by Wendy Parsons. The show covers a lot of territory, exploring dozens of shapes and forms and style. But it also highlights a much more universal idea: the willingness of Saskatchewan artists to expand their practice when progress is difficult and the market depressed. “Saskatchewan was unique in that over that 40 year period it did allow artists to exist,” she says. “You could always find a place to do your work. It sometimes put you on the fringes of society in that you were remote, but that remoteness allowed you to focus.” Perhaps more importantly, Jacobs explains, the public has always maintained an appetite for quality work — and allowed artists to evolve. “I don’t know if that exists everywhere,” she muses. “We’ve been fortunate.”

Photo: courtesy of Paul LaPointe

Like all retrospectives, Continuum points inexorably forward. What else is the future but the culmination of all that has happened in the past? If nothing else, the exhibition shows that fine craft is alive and well in this province — and will be for years to come. Continuum Through March 3 @ Affinity Gallery

A tantalizing glimpse

Shirley Valentine looks beyond the banality of routine

Photo: courtesy oF Stephen Rutherford

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atching a Liverpool housewife talk to a kitchen wall for the best part of two hours may not seem like an entertaining way to spend the evening, but Shirley Valentine extracts universal insight and meaning from the bittersweet musings of an aging woman convinced she has wasted her life.

by alex J MacPherson

“Shirley’s main question is: why is there all of this unused life?” says Nora McLellan, who stars in the new production of Willy Russell’s 1986 play. “Why are we given so many thoughts and hopes and dreams when they can’t all be used? She actually says at one point that her life has been a crime against God, because she’s never lived it fully.” Shirley Valentine is a story of discovery. Once a teenage rebel, Shirley Bradshaw has been transformed into a depressed homemaker. Trapped in an unfulfilling marriage and burdened with ungrateful children, she idles away the days and shares her innermost thoughts with the kitchen wall. As the play unfolds, Shirley is given tantalizing glimpses of the world beyond her domestic prison.

“We see Shirley with having no options, not even knowing she doesn’t have options” McLellan says. “And all of a sudden an option is given to her, and that starts the brain working. She starts questioning her husband, her life, her day to day, and asking why.” Shirley’s world is cracked wide open when a friend offers her a trip to Greece. It feels like her last chance to make a change, and she embraces it. “The message of the play is universal,” McLellan explains. “We don’t live our lives to the max, and we get stuck in our little places. The audience can certainly relate.” Shirley Valentine deals with the most profound existential questions, but the script is overflowing with wry humour and pathos. This is a

challenge for McLellan, who must mine the depths of her humanity while keeping the audience entertained — and cooking a real meal onstage, complete with chips in boiling oil. She is not concerned. “I’m an entertainer, and that’s my job in this play. I welcome the challenge, and if the [preview] was any indication, challenge well met.”

Shirley Valentine January 23 - February 10 (no Mondays) @ Persephone Theatre $15+ @ Persephone Box Office Feedback? Text it! (306) 881 8372

@MacPhersonA amacpherson@verbnews.com

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Past and Present

Photo: courtesy of the artist

The Once transform ancient melodies into contemporary masterp

P

hil Churchill used to worry about touring in Europe. When his band, a folk trio from St. John’s called The Once, first ventured across the Atlantic, he had no idea how their signature blend of tender melodies and soaring harmonies would be received by English and Irish audiences. “I don’t know if I should speak for the whole band, but I was nervous when we first started coming over here,” he says from a van bound for Bristol, the digitized voice of a GPS device droning in the background. “I was really nervous about taking what we’ve gotten from these countries and sort of force-feeding it back to them through a filter.” But Churchill and his bandmates didn’t have much of a choice. Their lives and careers have been shaped and moulded by the province they call home, and their collective identity is inextricably linked to their roots in St. John’s. Churchill’s apprehension stemmed from the fact that Newfoundland music is, at its most basic, transplanted folk that has grown and evolved free from outside influence. Fortunately, he says, British crowds embraced their contemporary take on traditional sounds: “It seems that without being really conscious of it, we’ve crossed over into doing something very different, and they seem to kind of pick up on it.” In other words, he adds with a laugh, “They’re not going, ‘Wait a sec-

ond, that song’s Irish! You bastards, you’re not allowed to do that!’”

Most people equate Newfoundland music with Great Big Sea, a band whose talent for crafting cheerful interpretations of traditional songs is eclipsed only by their ability to keep an audience on its feet all night long. The Once draw on many of the same basic influences as their veteran peers, but they have developed a sound that is entirely their own. Instead of channelling the boisterous energy of the pubs and bars from

exercise in making a lot with relatively little, and their success is derived from the most recognizable element of their sound — the indescribable warmth of three voices singing together. Vocal harmonies have always been at the core of The Once’s musical vision, and for good reason. Even today, Churchill says, singing with Hollett and Dale sends chills up and down his spine. “No matter how much we go on, and no matter how much we electrify our instruments or keyboards, I think that’s something that’s just ingrained in us as humans,” he says, explaining that harmony has figured prominently into

They’re not going, ‘Wait a second, that song’s Irish! You bastards, you’re not allowed to do that!’ Phil Churchill

which so much Newfoundland music flows, The Once write and perform songs that say as much with silence as they do with sound. Essentially a fusion of traditional sounds and melodies with lyrics that capture the angst and frustration and joy of making art in the twenty-first century, the band’s sound is anchored by Churchill and Andrew Dale, who play everything from guitar and mandolin to fiddle and bouzouki, and carried to soaring heights by Geraldine Hollett, whose voice is as expressive as it is powerful. Their albums and live performances are an

music since time immemorial. “Just go into any church and pick out a hymn book. You’re going to see it’s written by J.S. Bach, and it’s all S.A.T.B. — soprano, alto, tenor, baritone. This is the style of music that seems to have lasted and had power that reaches far beyond any other type of music we’ve been able to create.” But great singers need great songs. If the band’s eponymous debut was an experiment, the product of three individuals exploring many different avenues in search of a suitable sound, their latest release positions Continued on next page »

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Photo: courtesy of Renita Fillatre

pieces by Alex J MacPherson them as songwriters and interpreters of not inconsiderable talent. “Nell’s Song” is a waltz for guitar and accordion, a tale of loneliness and the crushing weight of age and distance. “Jack The Sailor,” on the other hand, is an uptempo romp through the annals of timeless bouzouki and mandolin riffs. “A Round Again” is a simple love song animated by finger snaps and one of Hollett’s finest vocal performances. It is a fine example of the intersection of traditional instrumentation and timeless lyrics that defines Row Upon Row of the People They Know. The title of the record was

Photo: courtesy of the artist

drawn from “Song For Memory,” a collaboration with Newfoundland poet George Murray that reflects on the meaning and purpose of years gone past. It is the strongest song on the record, as well as a concise summary of everything they have achieved to date, capturing in just four minutes the tension between past and present and future that animates not only their music, but also their view of the world. “I think all of us who create anything, that’s the one thing that will always define us,” Churchill says. “The one solace you can have in that idea,

or that fear, is that even if people don’t get the exact subject matter of the song, at the very least they’ll understand that you’re wondering: Am I totally alone here?”

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Row Upon Row is the sheer size of the sound three people can make. Recording studios allow musicians to play multiple instruments on the same track, and the record includes instruments absent from the band’s live performances, but very little is lost in translation. Seen live, The Once are as powerful and compelling as they are on Row Upon Row. This is partly because their harmonies are so rich and dynamic — but it is also the product of hard work. “There’ve been many times where we thought we had really stretched out,” Churchill says. “There’s Hammond organ on this, there’s a drum kit on this, there’s all kinds of stuff going on on this record, and we’re not going to be able to recreate it live.” To get around this problem, he and his bandmates spend hours rearranging their songs for the stage. “It was quite easy taking them from the kitchen table into the studio, but taking them from the studio to the stage wasn’t easy at all,” he laughs. But even if the songs take shape differently on stage, their source is unmistakable. And that is exactly what Churchill has always wanted. “I would like people to hear what we’re playing, and whether they know that it’s us or not, to say that band sounds like The Once,” he says. “Now that we’ve been

at this for awhile, the wishes and the dreams and the hopes start turning into the plan. That would be it.” The plan appears to be working. Hollett, Dale, and Churchill have succeeded in creating music reminiscent of old folk music and sea shanties without cleaving to any sound but their own. When their European tour concludes, they will pack up their parkas and head west. But no matter how many albums they sell, and no matter

how many concerts they play, they will always be a Newfoundland band. “We could write songs about every other place in the world besides Newfoundland, but they’re always going to come out with a sense of us being diehard Newfoundlanders,” Churchill says. “We’re just really lucky that we dig where we’re from.” If history is any indication, people everywhere dig where they’re from, too. The upshot is that Churchill doesn’t

worry about touring Europe anymore. Or anywhere else, for that matter. The Once February 12 @ The Bassment $15/20 Feedback? Text it! (306) 881 8372

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Something to write home about Photos courtesy of Adam Hawboldt

Prairie Ink combines literature and excellent food by adam hawboldt

W

alk into most restaurants at 2:30pm on a random Wednesday, and you’ll find they usually have one thing in common — a lack of patrons. But Prairie Ink, nestled by the Circle Drive overpass on 8th Street, isn’t like most restaurants. When I strolled in there one afternoon last week, I was expecting a lonely patron or two sitting around drinking tea or coffee, maybe nibbling at a piece of cake or some other kind of dessert. That’s what I expected. What I got was a restaurant more than half-filled with people. Soft folk music wafted through the air as the gentle murmur of midday afternoon conversation rose from the tables. I commented about how surprised I was with the

Ink is busy and bustling. And for good reason: the food is delicious. Though I was tempted to order the fig and prosciutto pizza (made of caramelized figs, prosciutto, garlic butter, goat cheese, lemon arugula and fresh parmesan), something kept pulling my eyes to the wraps section. That something was the roasted beet and caramelized onion wrap. Never one to argue with my gut, I ordered this interesting looking item with a pear and blue cheese salad. Excellent choice. The salad was incredible. The sweetness of the pear and the Saskatoon berry vinaigrette was cut deliciously by the sharpness of the cheese. Toss in some toasted walnuts for texture, and you have yourself one heckuva salad. And the wrap was no slouch, either. The warm beety flavour was complimented exquisitely by a creamy goat cheese and caramelized onion mixture that oozed with every bite. It was so good, in fact, I think I may go book shopping one of these days (soon), and see what else Prairie Ink has to offer.

amount of people there; Clint, the restaurant manager, told me “this is nothing. Today is a slow day.” That last tidbit of information might’ve surprised me, too, if it wasn’t for the simple charm of the restaurant. The clean, well-lit room, the walls lined with black and white pictures of famous Saskatchewan authors — everyone from Yann Martel to Guy Vanderhaeghe to W.O. Mitchell and Arthur Slade. Looking around the room at these photographs, it struck me how perfectly they suited the restaurant. See, not only is Prairie Ink located in the McNally Robinson bookstore, but in the beginning the space started out as a place for authors to read and listeners to have some coffee. Not much more. That was more than a decade ago. These days, as I’ve mentioned, Prairie

let’s go drinkin’ Verb’s mixology guide The Hemingway Daiquiri

Ingredients

Since Prairie Ink is a clean, well-lit place filled with photos of authors, it only makes sense to pay tribute to an author who loved his drink. Here is a daiquiri that Ernest Hemingway fell in love with while in Cuba.

2 oz white rum 1 teaspoon grapefruit juice 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur ½ oz fresh lime juice

Prairie Ink 3130 8th St. E | 955 3579 Feedback? Text it! (306) 881 8372

Directions

Frappe (chip or crush) some ice. Add to shaker. Pour in remaining ingredients. Empty contents of shaker into a chilled cocktail glass.

@AdamHawboldt ahawboldt@verbnews.com

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music

Next Week

coming up

Eric Church

Dean Brody

Stars

@ The Credit Union Centre Thursday, February 7 – $46.25+

@ The odeon events centre Thursday, February 7 – $35+

@ The odeon events centre Friday, March 29 – $25+

The year 2011 was a coming-out party of sorts for Eric Church. Sure, his previous two albums had gone gold in the U.S., and sure, he’d toured with the likes of Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert. But when the country artist from North Carolina released his album, Chief, in July of 2011, his rising star skyrocketed into the spotlight. On the strength of songs like “Drink In My Hand,” “Homeboy” and “Springsteen,” the album went platinum. Any way you slice it, Chief was a game-changer for Church, and he set out on tour late last month to show North America just how much game he has. So if you like your country with a splash of attitude, this is a concert you might not want to miss. Tickets available through Ticketmaster.

You’ve got to hand it to Dean Brody, his songs have the kind of lyrics that really hit home. From “Canadian Girls” to “Dirt Road Scholar” and “Bob Marley,” this British Columbia born-and-bred country artist pumps out the kind of music that resonates with people and sticks with you long after the last chords have been played. His songs are so good and so respected they have earned Brody a couple of Canadian Country Music Awards — from Album of the Year (for his most recent release, Dirt), to Male Artist of the Year. He’s taking his talents on the road in 2013, playing concert after concert from B.C. back to the Bluenose province. Tickets to see Brody are available through theodeon.ca, or via Ticketmaster.

Since dropping their first record in 2001, Stars have been slowly getting bigger and better. What started as a duo in Toronto (Torquil Campbell and Chris Seligman) soon became a quartet (with the addition of Evan Cranley and Amy Millan) before evolving into a five-piece when they met drummer Patrick McGee. As the band grew, so too did its sound — evolving from electro-pop in the early days to the sonic, sweeping indie rock they play now. Whatever they’re doing seems to be working, though. Not only have Stars been nominated for Junos and Polaris Music Prizes, but their songs have been featured on television shows from Alias to The O.C. This hot-as-hell five-piece will be rolling into Saskatoon in March. Tickets available at www.theodeon.ca. – By Adam Hawboldt

Photos courtesy of: the artist / the artist / the artist

Sask music Preview Attention Saskatchewan performing artists: Regina’s Bushwakker Brewpub will be hosting the Sask Sampler on March 23. This special event will put some amazing independent performers in front of artistic directors from the Regina Folk Festival, Ness Creek Music Festival, and the Gateway Festival. Please apply through Sonicbirds before February 26; see www.reginafolkfestival.com for more information. Keep up with Saskatchewan music. saskmusic.org

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FEBRUARY 1 » FEBRUARY 9 The most complete live music listings for Saskatoon. S

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House DJs / 6Twelve Lounge — Funk, soul & lounge DJs liven up the atmosphere at 6Twelve. 9pm / No cover Lady Deathstryke, Soul Mates, Herd of Wasters / Amigos Cantina – Go hard or stay home! 10pm / Cover TBD

Piano Fridays: Saskatoon Symphony / The Bassment - Enjoy some smooth jazz stylings. 4:30pm / No cover Roots Series: Karrnnel + Friends / The Bassment — Fiddle music for a rootin’ tootin’ good time. 9pm / $13/18 Austen Roadz / Béily’s UltraLounge — Austen Roadz throws down a high-energy, top 40 dance party every Friday night. 9pm / $5 cover Rippertrain / Buds On Broadway — It’s gonna get loud up in here when these guys take the stage. 9pm / $6 Fountains of Youth / The Fez on Broadway — A night of sweet music, also featuring Rory Borealis and the Northern Lights. 10pm / $5 DJ Eclectic / The Hose — Featuring turntable whiz DJ Eclectic. 8pm / No cover DJ Sugar Daddy / Jax Niteclub — This local crowd favourite has always been

known to break the latest and greatest Rippertrain / Buds On Broadway — It’s Young Benjamins / Vangelis — Alt tracks in multiple genres. He’s sure to gonna get loud up in here when these rock/folk music. Also appearing will be have you on the dance floor guys take the stage. 9pm / $6 Coldest Night of the Year. 10pm / $8 in no time. 9pm / $5 Peter Abonyi / Free cover Flow Dance Centre J Stax / Louis’ – Get ready Industry Night / Béily’s UltraLounge — — Hip hop for Rosebud Hosted by DJ Sugar Daddy. 9pm / $4; no from our Burlesque cover for industry staff neighClub’s DJ KADE / The Hose & Hydrant — Saskabours Variety toon DJ lights it up with hot tunes. 8pm / to the Night No cover south. Show. DJ San J / Tequila Nightclub — Come on 8pm / 8pm / out for the Bad Boyz album launch. 8pm / Cover $12 $17.50 (Ticketmaster) TBD DJ Kade Blues Jam / Vangelis Tavern — Come DJ Butterz / The Hose down and get your jam on. 9pm / No / Lounge 306 & Hydrant — cover young benjamins — Top 40 songs. Saskatoon’s own courtesy of the artist 8pm / Cover TBD DJ lights it up. 8pm / Le Groove / Lydia’s Pub — No cover Metal Mondays / Lydia’s Pub — If hard, Get out to Broadway and get ready to DJ Sugar Daddy / Jax Niteclub — heavy awesomeness is your thing, swing be entertained. 9pm / $5 This local crowd favourite has always by, listen to some killer music and get in Adam K / The Odeon Events Centre — been known to break the latest and on some concert giveaways. 9pm World-renowned DJ spinning sick beats greatest tracks in multiple genres. 9pm / Synaptic / Vangelis Tavern — An elecall night. 9pm / $15 (www.theodeon.ca) $5 cover tronic music open stage. 9pm / No cover DJ Big Ayyy & DJ HENCHMAN / Outlaws DJ Butterz / Lounge 306 — Top 40 — Round up your friends ‘cause there’s songs. 8pm / Cover TBD no better country rock party around. 8pm Vulture Kult / Lydia’s Pub — Some rock Whitehorse / Broadway Theatre — A / $5; ladies in free before 11pm rebooted for the 21st century. 9pm / $5 roots duo too good to miss. 7:30pm / F.E.R.N. / Prairie Ink — A folk singer with Skylab / Lydia’s Loft — Hit up Lydia’s to $30-35 the soul of a poet will perform in this cozy enjoy a chill, cosmic, DJ night with a deep DJ SUGAR DADDY / The Double Deuce — setting. 8pm / No cover space theme. Styles include This crowd favourite has always L.O.R.D. Funk / Somewhere Else Pub — house, techno, bass, been known to break the Prepare to be funkified by this local band. breaks and more. latest and greatest 9pm / No cover No cover betracks in multiple Dueling Pianos / Staqatto Piano Lounge fore 10pm genres. 9:30pm — Terry Hoknes, Neil Currie and Brad DJ Big / $4 cover King belt out classic tunes and audience Ayyy VERB requests. 10pm / $5 & DJ PRESENTS DJ Anchor + Modus / Tequila Nightclub HenchOPEN — Records will spin and feet will move. man / STAGE / 9pm / Cover TBD OutLydia’s The Ultimate Power Duo / Vangelis – laws Pub — The Coming at you with energy, all night long. Country open stage 9pm / $5 Rock Bar at Lydia’s has — Round up hosted many your friends of Saskatoon’s whitehorse courtesy of paul wright House DJs / 6Twelve — Resident DJs ‘cause there’s no finest performers. spin deep and soulful tunes all night. 9pm better country rock 9pm / No cover / No cover party around. 8pm / $5 Open Mic / The Somewhere Else The Pistolwhips, Pandas in Japan, Stone Mountain Music / Prairie Ink Pub — Come out to show your talent. The Groove / Amigos Cantina – A night —A rock-folk trio. 8pm / No cover 7pm / No cover filled with good times and good music. L.O.R.D Funk / Somewhere Else Pub — 10pm / Cover TBD Prepare to be funkified by this local band. Jazz Diva Series: Elizabeth Shepherd 9pm / No cover  HUMP WEDNESDAYS / 302 Lounge & DisTrio / The Bassment — Smart, sexy, hip Dueling Pianos / Staqatto Piano Lounge cotheque — Resident DJ Chris Knorr will jazz. 9pm / $13/18 — Terry Hoknes, Neil Currie and Brad be spinning all of your favourite songs Austen Roadz / Béily’s UltraLounge King belt out classic tunes and audience and requests. 9pm / No cover until 10pm; — Austen Roadz throws down a highrequests. 10pm / $5 $3 thereafter energy top 40 dance party along with Mikey Dubz + Mern / Tequila Nightclub Whitehorse / Broadway Theatre — A DJ CTRL every Saturday night. 9pm / — Records will spin and feet will move. roots duo too good to miss. 7:30pm / $5 cover 9pm / Cover TBD $30-35

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The Avenue Recording Company sweetass DJs spinning badass tunes. 9pm Undercover Pirates / Somewhere Else presents Open Mic / The Fez on Broad/ $15-25 (www.ticketmaster.ca) Pub and Grill — A rockin’ good night. way — Hosted by Chad Reynolds. Sign 9pm / No cover up and play at this weekly event. 10pm / Jett Run / Stan’s Place — Come out for a No cover House DJs / 6Twelve Lounge — Funk, night of good tunes. 9pm / No cover DJ Kade / Hose & Hydrant — Saskatoon soul & lounge DJs liven up the atmoDueling Pianos / Staqatto Piano Lounge DJ lights it up with hot tunes. 8pm / No sphere at 6Twelve. 9pm / No cover — Terry Hoknes, Neil Currie and Brad cover Castle River / Amigos Cantina — Also King belt out classic tunes and audience Dr. J ‘Souled Out’ / Lydia’s Pub — Dr. J appearing will be Little Criminals and requests. 10pm / $5 spins hot funk and soul every Wednesday Caves. 10pm / Tickets at the door DJ Von Howard + Mern / Tequila Nightnight. 9pm / No cover Piano Fridays: Troy McGillvray / The club — Records will spin and feet will WILD WEST WEDNESDAY / Outlaws Bassment - Enjoy some smooth jazz stylmove. 9pm / Cover TBD Country Rock Bar — This ings. 4:30pm / No cover is Saskatoon’s top Roots Series: Tim industry night, Williams and House DJs / 6Twelve — Resident DJs hosted by DJ Don Griffith / spin deep and soulful tunes all night. 9pm Big Ayyy The Bassment / No cover & DJ — Mixing Despise You, Wake / Amigos Cantina – Henchblues, ragThings are gonna get heavy when these man. time and two bands hit the stage. Also appearing: And old-time Rehashed and Narcissistic. 10pm / $12 don’t country, (www.ticketedge.ca) forget for your The Morgan Childs Quartet / The to come listening Bassment — Smart, soaring, hip jazz. 9pm ride the pleasure. / $15/20 mechani9pm / $15/20 Austen Roadz / Béily’s UltraLounge — cal bull. 9pm Austen Roadz / Austen Roadz throws down a high-enermorgan childs courtesy of robyn kent / $4; no cover Béily’s UltraLounge gy top 40 dance party along with DJ CTRL for industry staff — Austen Roadz throws every Saturday night. 9pm / $5 cover Dueling Pianos / Staqadown a high-energy top DJ Kade / The Hose & Hydrant — Saskatto Piano Lounge — Terry Hoknes, 40dance party every Friday night. 9pm / toon’s own DJ lights it up. 8pm / No cover Neil Currie and Brad King belt out classic $5 cover DJ Sugar Daddy / Jax Niteclub — This tunes and audience requests, from Sinatra DJ Eclectic / The Hose & Hydrant — local crowd favourite has always been to Lady Gaga. 10pm / No cover Local turntable whiz DJ Eclectic pumps known to break the latest and greatest Marilyn Manson / TCU Place — A snappy electronic beats. 8pm / No cover tracks in multiple genres. 9pm / $5 cover shock rocker like no other. 7:30pm DJ Sugar Daddy / Jax Niteclub — This DJ Butterz / Lounge 306 — Top 40 $35.50-49.50 (wwww.tcutickets.ca) local crowd favourite has always been songs. 8pm / Cover TBD known to break the latest and greatest LIFTED / Lydia’s Pub — Come dance your tracks in multiple genres. He’s sure to heart out in Lydia’s loft. 10pm / $5 Eric Church / Credit Union Centre — A have you on the dance floor in no time. DJ Big Ayyy & DJ Henchman / risk-taking country star who will have 9pm / $5 cover Outlaws Country Rock you rocking out all night long. 7:30pm / DJ Butterz / Lounge Bar — Round up $46.25+ (www.ticketmaster.ca) 306 — Top 40 your friends Throwback Thursdays / Earls — Come songs, all night ‘cause there’s experience the best in retro funk, soul, long. 8pm / no better reggae and rock provided by Dr. J. 8pm / Cover TBD country No cover DJ Big rock DJ Kade / The Hose & Hydrant — SaskaAyyy party toon DJ lights it up with hot tunes. 8pm / & DJ around. No cover HENCHBe there! DJ Sugar Daddy / Jax Niteclub — Local MAN / 8pm / $5 DJ Sugar Daddy will be rocking the turnOutlaws Wayne tables to get you dancing on the dance — Round Bargen floor! Every Thursday night will be filled up your / Prairie with pole dancing, shadow dancers and friends ‘cause Ink — Come Dean Brody courtesy of mark maryanovich much more! 8pm / $5; free cover with there’s no better out and enjoy student ID before 11pm country rock party Bargen’s finger-style Dean Brody / The Odeon — A Canadian around. 8pm / $5; ladies in acoustic guitar playing. 8pm country star doing his thing. 8pm / $35 free before 11pm / No cover (www.theodeon.ca) Doug Boomhower, Bruce Wilkinson, Undercover Pirates / Somewhere Else Hardwell presents Revealed CanaRay Stephanson / Prairie Ink — A Pub and Grill — A rockin’ good night. da / Tequila Nightclub — A night full of talented jazz trio. 8pm / No cover 9pm / No cover

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Saturday 9

Thursday 7

Jett Run / Stan’s Place — Come out for a night of good tunes. 9pm / No cover Dueling Pianos / Staqatto Piano Lounge — Terry Hoknes, Neil Currie and Brad King belt out classic tunes and audience requests. 10pm / $5 Conexus POPS Series: At the Movies / TCU Place — A night of Oscar-winning music. 7:30pm / $35-55 DJ Albert + Dislexik / Tequila Nightclub — Records will spin and feet will move. 9pm / Cover TBD

Get listed Have a live show you'd like to promote? Let us know! layout@verbnews.com

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film

These guys need a walker to stand up

Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate

Even with a stellar (but aging) cast, the new Pacino/Walken film is not up to snuff by adam hawboldt

Y

ou know that Spirit of the West song? The one that goes “You’ll have to excuse me, I’m not at my best…” Well, as much as it pains me to say this, after watching Stand Up Guys it seems like a fitting anthem for two of the finest actors of the past 40 years or so — Al Pacino and Christopher Walken. Sure, Walken was good in this

by less meaty roles in stinkers like Jack and Jill, Gigli and Righteous Kill. His latest (their latest, Walken has to be included here), Stand Up Guys, is nowhere near as bad as any of the three aforementioned cinematic aberrations. But it’s not overly good, either. Directed by Fisher Stevens (Factotum, Hackers), the film begins with Val (Pacino), a real “stand up guy”, leaving prison after pulling a 28-year

Stand up Guys Fisher Stevens Starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken + Alan Arkin Directed by

95 minutes | 14A

gets treated for priapism. Somewhere along the way we learn that during the shootout Val went to jail for, a local mob boss’ son was shot and killed. Now the mob boss wants Val dead. The kicker? Doc has been assigned to whack his best friend. The rest of the movie plays out along a 24-hour, will-he-or-won’t-he arc. Too bad the arc is kind of predictable and, at times, absurd. Like, for instance, the scene when the trio of septuagenarians (along the way Val and Doc spring their former getaway driver, played by the incomparable Alan Arkin, from a nursing home), take care of a bunch of much younger, much more menacing gangsters. And speaking of gangsters, the best way to classify Stand Up Guys is to say it is to the gangster genre what The Hammer is to boxing movies: far from a classic, but not the worst thing you’ll see all week.

Too bad the [film] is kind of predictable and, at times, absurd. Adam Hawboldt

year’s Seven Psychopaths, but he’s much more than a stone’s throw from the good ol’ days when he was lighting up the screen in movies like Deer Hunter and True Romance. And Pacino? Well, I don’t know what to say. There was a time (long, long ago) when this guy’s star burned so bright it could blind you. So much so, that at one point in time you could argue he was one of, if not the, greatest actors alive. Think The Godfather. Think Dog Day Afternoon. Think Serpico, Scent of a Woman, Glengarry Glen Ross. But those days are gone now, like VHS and the dodo, only to be replaced

stint because he refused to rat out his partners-in-crime after a shootout gone wrong. Val is greeted at the prison gate by his old pal and former partner, Doc (Walken). Having been locked up for so long, Val makes a beeline for a brothel to, ahem, take his ferret for a walk. Problem is, the darn little thing won’t stand up. So Val and Doc put their criminal instincts to work, break into a drug store and steal a bunch of pills. Doc gets pills for his health, Val takes a handful of those magic blue ones, and both are now ready for action. Back to the brothel they go. Then they go to the hospital where Val

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Shows some real promise

Promised Land may have flaws, but it’s still a pretty good flick by adam hawboldt

T

here’s something about Matt Damon. Something that makes you either want to be him, or be with him. What that “something” is, well, it’s hard to pin down. Yes, he has the kavorka. Yes, he’s smart and funny and a terrific actor and a passionate advocate of what he believes in. But there’s more. It’s something that very few A-list stars in Hollywood possess — low-key charm and a relatable charisma. And both of these are what drive his newest film, Promised Land. Which makes perfect sense, considering Damon not only stars in the film, but also co-wrote the screenplay and produced the project. His fingerprints are all over this, and it really shows. Directed by Damon’s old pal Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), Promised Land is, on the surface, a movie about fracking. You know, the controversial process of getting oil and gas out of the ground by using hydraulic fracturing. Anyway, Damon’s character, Steve, and his partner, Sue (Frances McDormand) work for a big energy company. Their job is to convince the residents

Photo: Courtesy of focus features

Steve’s company and wants to know the threat fracking will have on the town and surrounding area. Right around this time is when Dustin Noble (John Krasinski) shows up. True to his preposterous name, Mr. Noble is an environmentalist who wants to fight the good fight and send the big energy conglomerate packing. He’s also in town to fight Steve for the attention of a local beauty named Alice (Rosemarie DeWitt). But that’s all surface stuff. Because when you dig down and start fracking the essence of Promised

…it was an honest, interesting movie that oozes humanity… Adam Hawboldt

of a small town in Pennsylvania that’s on the verge of bankruptcy to sell their land in return for a hefty payday. In the beginning, everything is going well. Then problems arise. Problems always arise. This time in the form of an old high school teacher (Hal Holbrook), who questions the policies of

Land, you’ll see it’s more of a character study and a compelling human drama than a political statement. And Matt Damon is no dummy. At the heat of this drama he puts two characters who, even though they’re supposed to be the bad guys in the movie, have the ability to evoke the viewer’s sympathy.

Promised Land Gus Van Sant Starring Matt Damon, Frances McDormand + John Krasinski Directed by

107 minutes | PG

First you have Sue. Sure, she’s a tad unethical in her approach, but all the things she does to get paid are for one simple reason — to give her daughter a better life. Then there’s Steve. He’s a farmer’s son from Iowa who knows what it’s like to watch his small town get devastated by this new economy we live in. So was Promised Land any good? Sure it was. It wasn’t flawless or anything, but on the whole it was an honest, interesting movie that oozes humanity and has its finger on the pulse of present-day America. Kind of like Matt Damon himself. Promised Land is currently being screened at Roxy Theatre.

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saturday, january 26 @

sports on tap

Sports on Tap 2610 Lorne Avenue (306) 683 8921 Music vibe / Rock, and all

sporting events Featured deals / Bone-in ribs for

$8, dry ribs for $6, Grey Goose for $5, Johnny Walker Red for $4, and pints of Rickard’s and Keith’s for $5.50 Drink of Choice / Pints of Keith’s, and Titanics (4-litre pitcher) top eats / Dry ribs something new / New TVs, ping pong table, pinball machines, foosball tables, and Newcastle is now on tap coming up / UFC gear giveaway on February 2, and a Super Bowl jersey giveaway on February 3

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Photography by Ishtiaq Opal (opalsnaps.com)

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Friday, January 25 @

Winston’s pub

Winston’s English Pub & Grill 243 21st Street East (306) 374 7468 Music vibe / A modern mix

of everything Featured deals / Import Fridays

— all imports on special from 4pm ‘til close

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comics

Š Elaine M. Will | blog.E2W-Illustration.com | Check onthebus.webcomic.ws/ for previous editions!

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crossword canadian criss-cross 25. Not glossy 26. One who works in a bank 28. Passengers hold onto it 31. Ideal future husband 35. Heavy hammer 36. Canadian who directed “The Thorn Birds” 37. Line of light 38. Sphere 39. Not as much of 40. Piece of office furniture 41. Green ___ (foe of Spider-Man) 43. Sleep-inducing substance 45. Youthful years 46. Minister’s house 47. Long-handled tool

48. Move through a crowd

DOWN 1. Calm and unruffled 2. Overenthusiastic one 3. Botanical name for maple 4. Maybe 5. Gave off a foul odour 6. Commotion 7. Furthermore 8. Become less cruel 9. Widow’s inheritance 11. Send payment 12. Magnificent display 14. Victim of deceit 17. Narrow connecting strip of land

20. Windshield sticker 22. Delhi dress 24. Navigator’s need 25. Nothing more than 27. Annoying 28. Air pollution 29. Fortune-telling card 30. Odd game played to break a tie 32. Thick lubricant 33. Overly eager speed 34. Naughty child 36. Tightly packed 39. Chain part 40. Do surface damage to 42. Meadow 44. Water lily leaf

sudoku answer key

A

B

6 1 7 2 4 8 5 9 3 3 8 9 1 7 5 2 6 4 5 2 4 9 6 3 7 1 8 9 7 1 4 2 6 8 3 5 8 6 3 7 5 1 9 4 2 2 4 5 8 3 9 1 7 6 1 9 6 5 8 4 3 2 7 4 5 2 3 1 7 6 8 9 7 3 8 6 9 2 4 5 1

ACROSS 1. Button alternative 5. Play the lead 9. Tied score in tennis 10. Powdery ink 12. “Canadian Idol” winner in season 2 13. Become rotten, as eggs 15. Have an obligation 16. Animal with a horn on its snout 18. Second-largest living bird 19. Darn socks 21. Show curiosity 22. Noise at a barbershop 23. Replace with another program

5 1 3 4 6 7 8 2 9 2 4 6 9 8 3 7 1 5 9 7 8 2 1 5 4 6 3 3 2 1 7 5 6 9 4 8 7 8 5 1 4 9 2 3 6 4 6 9 3 2 8 5 7 1 6 3 7 5 9 4 1 8 2 8 5 2 6 7 1 3 9 4 1 9 4 8 3 2 6 5 7

timeout

© walter D. Feener 2012

Horoscopes February 1 – February 7 Aries March 21–April 19

Leo July 23–August 22

Sagittarius November 23–December 21

Grace and poise: normally these things are absent in you, Aries. But this week will be different. Be sure to use these virtues wisely.

Expect the unexpected this week, Leo. A windfall of something is on its way. What that is, I have no clue. Just be ready, and brace yourself for anything.

Have you been working hard lately, Sagittarius? If so, don’t expect any back slaps or thanks for all your efforts. Don’t let it get you down. Keep on keepin’ on.

Taurus April 20–May 20

Virgo August 23–September 22

Capricorn December 22–January 19

You may find yourself feeling both creative and romantic this week, Taurus. Both feelings aren’t mutually exclusive, so find a way to mesh them together.

This week you may be feeling fit as a fiddle, never better, energy and spirits both high. If not, time to reassess what’s holding you back.

There’s no time like the present, Capricorn, so don’t get bogged down in the past or look too far in the future. It’s time for you to live for the moment.

Gemini May 21–June 20

Libra September 23–October 23

Aquarius January 20–February 19

You might have an urge to strive for order this week, Gemini. Don’t kid yourself, it’s a fool’s errand. You can’t impose order on chaos, no matter how hard you try.

When’s the last time you’ve been to a museum, Libra? If it hasn’t been in the last month, now’s an amazing time for you to explore new territories.

Hey yo! Passion is in the air this week, Aquarius. Too bad you’re not going to realize it until it’s too late. Better luck next time.

Cancer June 21–July 22

Scorpio October 24–November 22

Pisces February 20–March 20

Are you afraid to take risks, Cancer? This is a week you should confront those fears. Look ‘em in the eye and say, “not today, bucko!”

Errands, errands and more errands. That’s what’s going to dominate this week, Scorpio, so make sure to plan and use your time effectively.

This weekend threatens to begin with drunken revels and end with a hangover, Pisces. Enjoy this while you can — big changes are looming on the horizon.

sudoku 1 7 9 2 4 6 8 7 5 2 1 6 3 6 9 4 7 8 5 9 3 3 8 7 3 5 9 4 2 8 2 1 4 1 6 5

crossword answer key

A

6 2 4 5 3 8 7 5 2 4 7 1 9 1 4 2 8 6 1 9 2 5 3 6 1 6 4 3 3 7 8 9 7 8 9 5

B

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Verb Issue S225 (Feb 1-7, 2013)  

Verb Issue S225 (Feb 1-7, 2013)

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