hi everyone please check out my kickfarter


hi everyone please check out my kickfarter

Sunday, 24 August 2014




So this is the best thing

Oh this one’s pretty good

I just finished having a conversation with suzettechan about this on Twitter. Synchronicity!

The rest of this post contains spoilers for the new season premiere (Capaldi’s first episode).

I was only tracking the recent series because I haven’t watched Classic Who, but my take on Twelve/Capaldi is that this regeneration is directly linked to some of the stuff that was said in the 50th anniversary show about the Time War and how he’d been getting younger and younger since then. That line made me think about him dodging responsibility for what he’d done in the Time War by becoming younger and younger, and how after the 50th anniversary special he maybe started to understand that he’s got to “grow up” and incorporate that part of his past back into who he was. So we wind up with Capaldi as the older, more self-aware, more alien Doctor who doesn’t need the approval of others (Vastra’s heavy-handed speech), whereas the earlier regenerations (specifically from ten onwards) were more concerned with how they would be percieved by the world. 

I’ve been rewatching and am just at the start of Season 3, so Ten’s love of humanity also contrasts really hard with Twelve’s “Planet of the Pudding Brains” attitude this time around.


Science fiction films and television shows have had a long history of reusing armor or various found objects to create unique aliens from other planets. In this instance, one of the pieces of armor used for the Necromongers in the 2004 film The Chronicles of Riddick later went on to be used in a 2013 episode of Doctor Who entitled The Rings of Akhaten.  The armor for the chest, arms, shoulders and legs seem to have have been utilized, though the helmet was not.

Costume Credit: Christajnewman

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Fringe 2014: Flora and Fawna’s Field Trip


BYOV Venue 12: Varscona Theatre

Guys in Disguise
Writers: Darrin Hagen and Trevor Schmidt
Director: Trevor Schmidt

The first Guys in Disguise production I ever saw was an anarchic affair involving guns, go-go boots and Angie Dickinson. I don’t really remember the details. I just remember that I would have been on the floor laughing if I had room to fall over in that packed second-floor make-shift venue.

A couple of decades later (has it been that long? Yes, it has!), Guys in Disguise is in a proper theatre with a beautifully structured play, Flora and Fawna’s Field Trip.

The story is about two girls who have been bullied out of the Girl Guides — make that three girls: we are introduced to Fleurette (Brian Dooley) as the play progresses. The plucky girls decide to form their own troop: the NaturElles. It’s an inclusive group with one rule: no mean girls!

As the play progresses, Flora and Fawna reveal some things about themselves that made them targets of bullying, but that also made them seek out community. We also discover why Fleurette never seems to say anything.

The show has still a healthy dose of unpredictable shenanigans, but they are strategically managed through audience participation activities. Before the show began, “Flora” (Darrin Hagen) and “Fawna” (Trevor Schmidt) handed out envelopes to the audience members lined up for the show. Inside, we discovered that the stickers were used to denote lucky people who would be asked up to the stage to participate in a NaturElle Girl activity. There were also friendship bracelets that everyone in the audience was encouraged to tie around our neighbour’s wrist.

By the end of the show, we all pledged to join the NaturElles!

Guys in Disguise have always invited audience participation, from the simple act of believing a male actor as a female character, to sympathizing with outsiders like Flora and Fawna. So when they say, “Inside the fairy ring we are all equal,” it’s like they are referring to everyone in the theatre. Inside the theatre, we are all making this show together.

After the play

I went to the play with a group of people, including one whom I’ve known for decades and one whom I did not know before the play. The latter and I ended up exchanging friendship bracelets and later became Facebook friends.

The Fringe has come to represent this to me: the opportunities for reunions with old friends and to meet new ones.


More about Guys in Disguise

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Uh so in case you missed it, I’ve been doing animated recaps of every Teen Wolf episode on!!!

These are the final images of each of them in order. More to come! I’ve been having a blast doing them, I hope you’ve been enjoying them too.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Love and Death, or If We’re Treading on Thin Ice, We Might as Well Dance


BYOV Venue 46: La Cite Francophone - L’Uni Theatre
Playwright: Ken Brown
Director: Keltie Forsyth

Ken Brown starts this show by saying that this is not a typical Ken Brown show. It’s not character-driven like his epic World War II trilogy, Spiral Dive. Nor did was it conceptual, like Cambodia: A Book for People Who Find Television Too Slow.

Instead, the show is a contemplative cabaret that uses memoir, storytelling, slides, animation and music to explore love and death: the man who brought us Life After Hockey tells us that the show is about “life after love, life after death.”

Brown gets personal, but never exclusively so. He invites us to recall the emotions we experience when we’re affected by love or death. He even outright asks us about our experiences and views. Most of the time we can answer by show of hands. You don’t have to share if you don’t want to, but it’s interesting to see the variety of responses. However, there were opportunities for all-out, get-on-stage audience participation.

However you wish to experience the show, it pays back according to how much you invest in it emotionally — and Ken’s storytelling invites you to do just that.

After the play

The show certainly resonated with me. The recent news of Robin Williams’s death reminded me strongly of the emotions I felt when my closed friend died five years ago, and newer feelings of loss as I had news of another friend’s death just days before. In fact, the person I attended the play with was in the early stages of planning our recently deceased friend’s memorial. With this going on in my mind, I found Love and Death interrogative, but healing as well.

The show actually reminded me of a Unitarian Universalist gathering. (I met Ken through the Fringe, but my guest and I knew Ken’s parents through our association with the Unitarian Church of Edmonton (parentheses-within-parentheses: I’m also friends with Ken’s nephew, Brendan, who contributed to the show’s design, but through film circles: I’ve met three generations of Browns through different cultural venues).) There was no set structure, no set dogma. We were challenged intellectually and emotionally. We sang “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”. And we felt supported in our own inner journeys — even if they were left unarticulated — as we supported fellow travellers who had chosen different paths.


Buy tickets to see Love and Death, or If We’re Treading on Thin Ice, We Might as Well Dance

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Bible Bill: The Gospel Musical

BYOV Venue 16: Sanctuary Stage at Holy Trinity Church
MAA & PAA Theatre
Book: David Cheoros
Music: Nick Samoil
Director: Heather D. Swain

Alberta provincial politics are as fascinating as they are confounding. Is the political culture dominated by religious fundamentalists? Godless cowboys? Fiscal conservatives? Free-spending government? Progressive and/or utilitarian educators? The answer is: yes!

If you’ve been curious about these contradictory but persistent ideas, I highly recommend the funny, entertaining and non-polemical Fringe show Bible Bill: The Gospel Musical. It’s about Premier William Aberhart, who was premier from 1935 to 1943. However, he was influential long before, as the driving force of an evangelical radio talk show from 1925 until his death in 1943.

The play is staged as if we, the audience, are the audience of a live taping of an anniversary edition of the radio show. Aberhart is the star of the show, while his “Ed McMahon” is Ernest Manning (Preston’s dad), who would succeed Aberhart as premier. Together they expound the gospel of social credit — or at least how Aberhart interpreted the it. The founder of the movement rejected Aberhart’s attempt to combine religion and politics as “daft.”

What follows is a variety show with gospel songs (you can sing along; if you’re lucky, like I was, there will be baritones in the audience who will spontaneously provide harmony), historical overviews, selections from memorable speeches, and original musical numbers (choreographed balloon shenanigans and failed fiscal reform legislation are surprisingly compatible).

Aberhart is played by Kevin Mott (a crown prosecutor in real life!), while Manning is played by Laura Raboud (in a brilliant bit of gender-blind casting as Raboud does resemble Manning). Two younger characters, a saucy aspiring singer (Vanessa Wilson) and a button-down radio technician (Aaron Casselman), represent the next generation of Albertans, whose views aren’t necessarily the same as their elders. Musical director Nick Samoil is also on stage with the non-speaking role of the musical director of the radio show.

I commend everyone involved in the production. They carried it off with good humour and dramatized some forgotten events (and obscure economic theory!) in a way that made you feel like you were part of that history. Of course, since many of Aberhart’s ideas still influence Alberta politics, we are indeed part of that history.

After the play

I reflected on how some of Aberthart’s most popular ideas are still popular with Albertans today, especially the Calvinist attitude tying good works with modest rewards. But knowing about current problems within the “ruling” Progressive Conservative party*, it was obvious that much of Aberhart’s appeal was his persona. 

* (The term “ruling” is usually used without irony; I think it should always be written in quotation marks and spoken with air quotes: it’s not a monarchy, although the party’s 42-year “reign” makes it look like a dynasty, not a democracy.)

Aberhart portrayed himself as a benevolent patriarch who would protect us from the forces of evil (Eastern bankers) and lead us to the glory God intended for our land. In my view, Peter Lougheed and Ralph Klein did much of the same, but in secular contexts. Other premiers did not fit the persona as successfully. are we more willing to overlook the flaws and failures of premiers in the Aberhart mould than those who don’t carry it off as well?


Buy tickets to see Bible Bill: The Gospel Hour

More about the MAA & PPA theatre project

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


I originally posted this a year ago. I’m sad to say it still applies as a commentary on what’s going on in America today.

I’m guilty of watching American politics like they’re a reality television show that gets extra entertaining every four years or so. I…

Tuesday, 12 August 2014


Ms. Bacall, you are truly loved here at the Film Noir Foundation. You will always be the epitome of femininity and strength. Go have a laugh and a drink with Bogie. It’s been a while. Thank you for the amazing body of work you have given us! RIP, Lauren Bacall

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