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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Barney Bentall's Grand Cariboo Opry - A (Redirection To My) Review

What a night! Despite a drive on icy roads, the music was hot and plentiful inside Bragg Creek's Community Centre with The Grand Cariboo Opry.

Read my Calgary Herald review, and check out my other webpage for a bunch of pics!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Chicken Scratch

(posted by weekend guest blogger Charlie Chicken...)

Joined tha Shriners. Thair monkey died....

Also got a nice squeezebox anna green vest with tha hat...


Cluck fer now...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Last One For Today, I Swear!

Finally, my second piece live now on The Calgary Herald site, an interview with the young actor playing Peter Pan in StoryBook Theatre's latest production.

Check it out here.

There you have it - have a great weekend!!


Live in The Calgary Herald - Barney Bentall's Grand Cariboo Opry Coming!

Had to over-crop the above picture for the new Herald blog space, but my interview with legendary Barney Bengal is now live.

Click here to view! 



Pleased To Report - I'm Baa-aack!!

Well, after sorting out some issues that temporarily removed my Calgary Herald blog space, I will officially return to the newly reformatted site later today. I've got two time-sensitive posts for this weekend, so I'll post bonus links here later for those pieces once they are live.

This whole experience has forced me to look at my hodgepodge online presence. This space is a perfect example of lack of focus. It started out as a true web log - a diary of my day-to-day activities which eventually swelled into a potpourri of entertainment, humour, utter nonsense, and...the chicken.

Hard to maintain followers with that sort of vegetable stew. So, I am now going to start using my for exclusively entertainment features, this space more for the day-to-day and humour, and I'll try to unite all these micro-sites under my main website, That way people can pick and choose what they want to read.

I may even spin that chicken off on his own - of all the things I do, it is bizarre that he continues to be one of the highest viewed features - no accounting for taste I suppose.

At any rate - two more posts today linking to new Calgary Herald features, then back to business as usual. Best as I do that, I suppose.

Hey, you get what you pay for!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy (American) Thanksgiving

We've already celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada by listing all the musical artists that are now happy to see living in America - primarily Justin Bieber and Celine Dion - thanks neighbours!!

That was so long ago, we've even already finished all of our Canadian turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey fruit rollups, turkey sandwich spread, turkey tire repair compound, and turkey underarm roll-on deodorant.

So enjoy your fattened gooses, America - let the creative left-overs-fest begin for you and yours!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Matthew Good, And Humour Column...

Well, until I get this Calgary Herald business sorted out, my review for Matthew Good is on my other webpage - see that here!

Plus I found that my latest REM column is up online, so you can also take a read of that here...

More, but I'm way behind, gotta get out to my day job....


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Stay Tuned?

Well, I just posted a new interview and feature post to my Calgary Herald blog, but it appears that may not be a thing anymore.

I had been warned that this might happen, but I also seemed to receive an indication that I may be keeping my blog in this makeover of the online and physical paper.

May not be the case after all :-(

Stay tuned, if I know more, I'll update - otherwise may have to use a Plan B...

Anyone know any good Plan B's????


Monday, November 24, 2014

Chicken Scratch (Classic Edition)

Poor Charlie got yanked once again, due to three entertainment reviews.

If my column in today's Calgary Herald was available online, he'd have been shuffled yet again.

There is sort of a historical precedent for the poor bird. Let's look back at a classic Chicken Scratch, from November of 2010:

Charlie Gets The Hook

See what I mean?

Sorry Charlie, there's always next weekend...


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Workshop Theatre's production of Another Evening At Fawlty Towers

My Calgary Herald blog review is now live, after attending the show last night.

Check it out here!

Happy Sunday - go easy on the turkey folks!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Calgary Folk Club: Daniel Champagne, and Dry Bones

Calgary Folk Club

Dry Bones, 
with Daniel Champagne

Check out the pictures from last night's Folk Club, as visit the Calgary Herald Blogs section to read my review!!

What a night!

Friday, November 21, 2014

80's Solid Gold @ Stage West Calgary

Stage West Calgary
"'80's Solid Gold"

Featuring Andrew Ball, Amber Bissonnette, Katie Beetham, A.J. Bridel, Jay Davis, Joel Gomez, Jennifer Kee, Jeremy LaPalme, Andrew McGillivray, Nikki Ponte, Brent Thiessen

Directed and choreographed by Timothy French

Courtesy Stage West Calgary

The Friday Morning "Somebody-Asked-Me-To, So-Here-I-Go" Theatre Review"

Stage West Calgary's 

"'80's Solid Gold"

What a decade the '80's were for music! While Country Crossover, AM radio pop hits, Disco and Classic Rock dominated the '70's, the decade that followed introduced us to brand-new styles that expanded those catalogues, and introduced us to New Wave, Punk, Funk, Heavy Metal and more in the process. 

Sure, some of those started to emerge a bit towards the end of the '70's, but as a mobile DJ in my second decade back then, it was amazing to see not only how much these new styles made dancing more fun to watch from behind the MC table (remember The Worm, or Rock Lobster?), but how long these artists would go on to remain popular for their fans. 

Stage West has taken on the unenviable task of trying to contain the multitude of hit makers of the day, and after the conclusion of '80's Solid Gold, I think if you're still a fan of that decade, you'll be pretty impressed with what they have included.

From icons like Billy Joel and Elton John, to Madonna and George Michael, most notables are in the program, and to hit high points they may have missed, there's a terrific "Crazy '80's Mash Up In 80 Seconds", that tries to fill in the blanks. The cast also lets the cat out of the bag regarding a sequel, as there really are that many pop artists and bands that deserve a revisit.

Courtesy Stage West Calgary

Great care has been taken to instill the styles and feel of this very visual era (it was the birth of the music video age, after all), and yet not go over the top with the costumes. There's also a prevailing sense of fun as the cast gets to relay that they are poking fun as much as they are paying tribute. On that, it is important to note that these revues aren't ever really tribute acts. Many of the hits get made over, while some are startlingly close to the original. 

You have to attend just to see when the cast will lose it over John Oates moustache, not the least likely perhaps Joel Gomez who portrays him. 

There's plenty of standouts, especially in the second half which really strengthens on the power so many of these cast members bring to the party.  However, I believe I will hold back just a bit for my official Calgary Herald review, which I will post a link to here when that has run and is also live online.

In the meantime, don't hesitate to check this revue out - there are some misses among the hits, but by the end there's plenty of highlights, an abundance of great fun and memories - plus you'll get some related history lessons between the songs.

4 out of 5 stars.

Also, check out my pre-show interview with co-creator, director and choreographer Timothy French to see him discuss how he chooses his casts - he's made great choices with this one.

Click here to watch that!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ask & Ye Shall Receive

If you happen to be wearing a ski mask when you ask, you're likely to receive much quicker...


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Staring At A Blank Page

Oh, pardon me!

I did say I was staring at a blank page, didn't I?

Move along, nothing to see here today....


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Interview and Feature Posted, Fawlty Towers!

In the spirit of overachieving - three days, three columns for my Calgary Herald blog space.

Check out my pre-show interview with Steve Hansen Smythe, who reprises his role as harried hotelier Basil Fawlty here

That's it for a while folks - for my Herald blog posts anyway.

Until the weekend, then all bets are off.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Folk Club Update, and a New Personal Record!

Daniel Champagne
This weekend, I hit a new personal best - three podcasts edited and loaded, three newspaper blog pieces written, and a magazine feature I need to edit down tonight.

I still have another interview to transcribe, but I can say with certainty I've never hit that sort of production, but when it's all on deadline, you can get awfully motivated to produce!

Two pieces have already appeared, the third Herald blog will be live tomorrow morning.

This is #2, appearing today:

Daniel Champagne, Dry Bones for my Calgary Herald blog.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Director, Choreographer, Co-Creator - "80's Solid Gold"

Sat down recently with the creative force behind the latest Stage West Calgary show - which will revive the biggest hits of the 80's of the next few months.

Here's a link to our chat, and my Calgary Herald blog



Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chicken Scratch

(posted by weekend guest blogger and hair restoration expert Charles D. Chicken...)

Yes sir, as yer fizzishion, ah kin cleerly see that mah treetment is gittin' tree-mendous results - yah gotsa wild mane comin' out on top heer! Flowin' like a avalanche!! 


Ah can't explane why yew can't see it in yer mirror - mebbe yer lightin' is bad??

Have yew seen yer eye doctor lately??


It is very thin, which would explane why yew can't feel it neither. Or seem ta feel it when yer brushin'.... 

Yes, ah'm a professional medical doctor, so ah just suppose ah know more than yew do - yew'll just have to trust me!


Honestly, yew look just like Fabio with them long, flowin' locks - Delilah will try tah steel yer powers, yew Samsony devil!!

Yessir, mah work here is done.

Make yer cheque out to Charles D. Chicken, MHD.


Oh, Medical Hair Docter...


Cluck fer now - I gotta head tah tha bank straights away!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Frank E. Valley & The Four Seasons







(Wonder why he stopped at only four, and none all that exotic, when you think about it...well, who am I to judge? Pass the salt shaker, please.)


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hairy Podder & The Blood-Red Cherry

Do you think it would be obvious to JK Rowling if "someone" started a series about a young British wizard and his friends, working their way through magic school despite challenges from various dark forces?

Asking for a friend...


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Snowflakes Of November.

Well, we are usually up to our ears in snow by October here in Canada, but we got a bit of a break this year. However, the snow and cold temperatures have now arrived. If you believe the media, it is another "polar vortex". In reality, it's a "Holy #@*!, Close The Freezer Door" spell.

It's gonna be a looooong winter if it stays like this.

Maybe those exploding Mars rockets ain't such a bad option after all.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Annual Day Of Reflection

We call it different things here in Canada and down in the States, but this is becoming a bit of a tradition every year here in this space.

It ran earlier in my weekly newspaper column (on Remembrance Day of that year), and in my national column back in November 2012.

Here's my own reflection on Remembrance Day.

Take time out today to respect those that gave all for their country.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Like Grain Through The Hourglass Of Time

My hourglass is seriously plugged up, ever since I switched from sand to grain. I should have at least shucked the wheat first, as those long stems seem to be the culprit...


Sunday, November 09, 2014

Chicken Scratch

(posted by weekend guest blogger Charlie Chicken...)

Good mornin', Laydees an Gennel Men!!

Today, tha great Cluckini will attempt ta break outta a chained box, while handcuffed inside, an wearin' a strafe jacket!!


Ah will need COMPLETE silince, laydees an gennel men - complete silince! This ill ooshun demands iron-willed focus, and will completely blow yer mind, as ah removes tha constrainers that hold me prizoner. 

An I wud like ta take this opportoonity ta thank Mrs. That Dan Guy, fer suggestin' mah magic debut with this trick!!


An now, drum roll pleez, ladees an gennel men - Tha Great Cluckini asks his lovely assistant ta start that clock, as he attempts ta blow yer mind!!!

Uhh....Lovely Assistant?

Laydees an gennelmen??


Aww, cluck.........




Should there be air holes in this crate????



Hey, who forgot ta pack mah paper clip and picklock?????





Cluck fer now, I gotta chew mah way out!!!!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Calgary Folk Club Showcases Canadians

Indian City

No big surprise, it was another great night for live music, with acts from my hometown of Winnipeg, and a singer/songwriter out of rural Alberta. 

Great new discoveries, and if you click on the link to my Calgary Herald blog this morning, you'll get to see the review of the show, and have access to their own sites, as well as the interview and podcasts I held with Vince Fontaine & Matt Patershuk before the show.

Click here to view that!

Here's a few more pics from the night:


Friday, November 07, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup

I have recently looked very hard at the anatomy of a chicken, and I have had no luck with discovering what a chicken's "noodle" might be.

Why do we eat something that is clearly a fabrication of marketers?

Have a good Friday, y'all...


Thursday, November 06, 2014

Hi Ho, Silver Dollar!

The Canadian dollar (loonies, appropriately named most times) is currently plummeting, right in time for winter and the recurring Canadian desire to GET THE HELL OUT OF CANADA!!!

Ahem, my apologies - I'm not sure what came over me there...

What I hoped to relay was that right about the time that we might like to take a vacation to a warmer climate, before our 4.5 foot tall cars are covered in 14.5 feet of snow, our currency is about as valuable as a metal washer with a hole punched in the middle. Even if we held up a 7-11, we couldn't procure enough cash from the till to make the gas purchase to get there worth the while.

It is a scenario that seems to unfold every few years. Once, ever so briefly, our dollar was worth more than our well-off neighbours to the south of us. It still pretty much traded at par for some reason, but technically, it was worth more.

Now, a dollar here will buy you a Kraft noodle or two, certainly not the entire lavish dinner promised on grocery store shelves.

All we can do is wait it out, it will climb once again.

I just have to hope my igloo has enough seal meat to get me through the hard, unforgiving Canadian winter...


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

This Weekend, Live Canadian Folk Music!

Indian City

Visit the Calgary Herald blogs today to read my preview and interviews with Vince Fontaine (Indian City) and Matt Patershuk. Based on our chats, it's going to be another amazing evening of music at the Calgary Folk Club!

Visit this link to read the piece!

Matt Patershuk



Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Start Spreading The News

Before you begin to polish your shoes or boots, spread a newspaper along the floor, so as not to stain your carpet or linoleum.

You may also substitute a large strip of wax paper, an unrolled length of wrapping paper, your husband's bowling shirt, a map of the city of Toronto, a large flattened cardboard box, a small non-religious shroud, several metres of tattered fabric, an old raincoat, a dishtowel you would otherwise use while camping, a length of unattached wooden board, or a decommissioned ironing board.

If you use your imagination, there may be even more options.

Happy polishing!


Monday, November 03, 2014

A Tale As Old As Time...

Courtesy Liffey Players Drama Society

Persecution. Stigma. Different rules for men and for women - Liffey Players Drama Society offers a gut-punch in their latest production, and you cannot leave without feeling the effect of the slug.

My review is here. If you're in the Calgary area, it's a must-see...


Sunday, November 02, 2014

Moving Into Recovery Mode...

Well, the tooth extraction saga is steering towards the conclusion - pretty good by all respects. Considering the extensiveness of the surgery, I am finally starting to feel like all the parts are where they need to be to head towards long-term recovery.

The first while, I was bleeding like a soda fountain. It took 4 tea bags to help clot the wound, they recommend two before you are suggested to call the on-call surgeon. Which we did - twice!

Then we had the dangling participle - a clump of raw meat that I really felt should have been stitched to something above it. The first night, it did shrink, and yesterday it just came off - so all I can feel right now in the abyss is stitches and a blechy taste. Which is what I believe is normal at this stage.

It will be FOUR weeks before I can start to have solid food again! FOUR weeks!!!
I'll be gumming more pasta this month than an octogenarian Italian in a long-term care home....

Today, I'm going to quit icing the cheek, and try to wean myself off the pain killers. I'll miss those furry little Wiffles that hung around chatting with me during the last couple of days, but if I do feel like I need one or two, you can be damned sure I will help myself.

For now, I think the worst is over....


Saturday, November 01, 2014

Chicken Scratch

(posted by weekend guest blogger Charlie Chicken...)


Hello Mr Fox??

My, what lovely eyes ya got...

Kin ya tell me who ya see fer an optomotrist??


Ah wuz juss about ta head back ta mah coop, so...see yah!!

This right - stay right there and growl...thass a good boy...


Hey - look over there!!

It's a rabbit!!!


Adios, fur-face, ah'm outta hear!!!

Cluck fer now!

Make way!!! Chicken on that run!!!!