Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 2010 Books and Movies

Hot Tub Time Machine

Silly premise, funny movie. I love me some John Cusack any day, but the 80's time travel theme was great. Completely distracting (which was needed) and had something for everyone, whether you are 20 something or 40 something. Oh, and it was filmed in Whistler, so the cinematography was beautiful.

Four Feet Up

An excellent documentary about child poverty in Canada, particularly in Nova Scotia from the child's perspective. Charming and heart-wrenching, it directs attention to the government's promise of 2000 to end child poverty in Canada. Nance Ackerman is a consummate artist, check out her other art forms as well. Well worth seeing, it's free to view at the NFB as is the following film.

Hannah's Story

A great documentary about a 10 year old Winnipeg girl who started a charity for the homeless. Hannah is very engaging and has really made a difference in the lives of homeless in Winnipeg and all across Canada.

The Invention of Lying

This movie should be funnier than it is. A world where no one lies is funnier than when someone "invents" lying. There were some really great moments and Ricky Gervais is quite good, but when they got to the preachy "man in the sky" stuff and the hokey ending, it lost it's appeal. Good airplane fodder (which is where I saw it) but not much more.

The Blind Side

Excellent film and very worthy of the best actress win by Sandra Bullock. I haven't seen many of the other contenders films but she was just amazing in this one. A white southern woman takes in a young black man, almost 18, having spent his whole life in the foster system. He's perfect for the left tackle position in football, but has never had any training. He gets so good, he's scouted for all the best college teams. Apparently it's based on a true story. It's really heartwarming, even though the viewer does feel manipulated from time to time. I cried buckets and enjoyed it a lot.

Annie On My Mind
Nancy Garden

Quite possibly one of the best books I've ever read. I've read a fair bit of gay literature, but this is the first in the young adult genre. The subject matter (a burgeoning lesbian teen relationship) was treated with dignity and with due respect to the time period it was set in, the 80s. Although there was injustice, it was one of the first novels of its kind with a happy ending. I highly recommend it to anyone, with any level of interest. It won't disappoint.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bobby McFerrin

Quite possibly the best concert I have seen. From start to finish it was novel, participatory and utterly enthralling.

Here are some standout moments:

Demonstration of the universal power of the pentatonic scale

Ave Maria with audience participation

A condensed version of the Wizard of Oz

The audience participation was absolutely stellar, from a choir of the entire audience to a smaller choir on stage to modern dance with improvised music.

He invited the Canadian a cappella group Cadence up to sing a number on their own, and to do one with them. To be honest, they weren't as good as another British a cappella group I know, but it was fun to see Bobby interacting with other musicians.

A great show, I would definitely see him again and again.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding

Absolutely fabulous. Great story, funny songs, (A History of Gay Marriage in Canada, Don't Take Your Lesbian Moms To Meet Your Girlfriend at Hooters) intimate space and good acting. I'm glad to hear the show was extended until April 11th. With all the rigamarole it took to actually get to see it, I'm really glad I did in the end. See it if you have the chance.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Although sad circumstances made this trip possible, I was glad to finally see Saskatchewan and it's Queen City, Regina. Below are some pictures.

The stunning Saskatchewan Legislature. This has become one of my goals, to see all the Canadian Legislative buildings. I've now seen 7 (Charlottetown, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Regina) of them!

Beautiful downtown Regina from the steps of the Legislature!

Really cool twin towers in downtown Regina.

The only legislature to be on it's own man-made lake. Lake Wascana and the surrounding park is just beautiful.

Hotel Saskatchewan. Another goal of mine, to see all the railway hotels. It's a difficult list, because there are the CP Hotels, bought out by Fairmont, the CP hotels bought out by other companies (like the Hotel Saskatchewan) and the CN hotels, like the Queen Elizabeth in Montreal. There are also stand alone hotels that are very old and linked to the railway, such as the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg.

Last but not least, a beautiful prairie sunset. (A bit cold though!)

I'm looking forward to another trip in the warmer weather, to explore other parts of this beautiful province.