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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Stage West Calgary - "80's Solid Gold 2"

80's Solid Gold 2
Stage West Calgary
until Feb 7, 2016

The Saturday Morning 

"Somebody-Asked-Me-To, So Here-I-Go" Review:

"80's Solid Gold 2"

(at Stage West Calgary until Feb. 7, 2016

Who says sequel's are bound to disappoint? 

Filled with razor-sharp humour, and sight gags that even take a bit of time to manifest before you crack up at their ingenuity, "80's Solid Gold 2" at Stage West Calgary is set to become another favourite for the run it will enjoy now and on into the new year.


Man, casting makes these shows tick, and in the case of the sequel that includes a broad selection of musical tracks from the era, there are so many that are sure to find a wide enough array of styles to appeal broadly to most audiences, and then some. 

Well, and the actual cast too - many returning after absences, some lingering almost long enough at Stage West that they are just about needing to update their driver's licence information, and some new faces. 

All in all, they get to represent most of the successful and significant songs of the decade that offered possibly the most diverse and innovative sounds in musical history.

As usual, I have to hold back much of my commentary for the official Calgary Herald review I'll be putting together as soon as I post this one (link as soon as that is live to share!).

However, I can tease you with just a few of the names that get showcased in fine form here:

Don Henley, Bryan Adams, The B-52's, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, rockers AC/DC, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi...the list is extensive, and there is little to disappoint with how their songs are re-imagined, or respectfully recreated over the two acts.

Effective use of stage-length video screens (this was the era of MTV and Much Music after all), some of the best costumes for a revue, and bang-on choreography had tables around me entirely caught up in the experience for the media night presentation. 

Again, as soon as that official Calgary Herald review goes live, I'll post a new link to direct you there. 

In the meantime, enjoy a sumptuous holiday dinner along with this upbeat, terribly fun sequel to 80's Solid Gold.

4 out of 5 stars...

(All photos courtesy Stage West Calgary...)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My latest humour column - Snowman Weight Loss Program

In my latest REM column, I wonder how those often husky-looking snowmen might try losing a few pounds.



Wednesday, November 04, 2015

All My Life's A Circle...

Funny how life is.

After spending years writing with a scattergun approach,  across a wide variety of spectrums and publications, my determination back in May to focus on blues, folk and roots music has taken me right back home, literally with respect to the Canadian market, and figuratively. My first professional writing credit was for the music business back in Winnipeg in 19xxxxxxxxxxx.......mumble mumble...

Today I'm getting re-tweeted and Facebooked all across the country thanks to a good decision, and good people that continue to support me.

Check out today's online feature, and thanks everyone for helping me find my way, despite my own best efforts to remain lost in the crowd.

Mercredi Beaucoup....


Friday, October 30, 2015

What's Happening, Calgary?

It feels like forever since I've posted something new here, so maybe it's time to link to a few pieces I've had run lately in my online Calgary Herald space.

How about a preview of Rosie & The Riveters/Steve Seskin, tonight at The Calgary Folk Club?

You may have missed Winnipeg's Red Moon Road at the Ironwood Stage & Grill earlier this week, but you can get a big jump on their January 2016 appearance at that very same Calgary Folk Club mentioned earlier - btw, the companion podcast is a hoot regardless of your availability to see the show...

I caught Vancouver's The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer in Bragg Creek a week or so ago, but it was even more fun chatting with Harpoonist Shawn Hall before their show. Don't miss the companion podcast!

Man, all this typing....

Why don't I just link you to my online Calgary Herald space??

Why, there's a veritable WEALTH of interesting reading there!



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Steve Hill Coming Back To Calgary

I talked to blues rocker Steve Hill back in June, ahead of his show at the Ironwood Stage and Grill, which I then made sure to attend.

Glad I did, he was absolutely amazing live - between his deep, urgent rhythms that straddle traditional blues and classic rock, there was that image of him whacking away at a cymbal with the drum stick attached to the head of his guitar - the only word that sufficiently describes the experience is "intense".

Here's a link to the podcast interview from back then.

This was the preview feature online in The Calgary Herald, and this was the followup after seeing him live.

Don't miss out - get your tickets for Steve Hill TODAY!


Friday, October 16, 2015

Growing Up Canadian - Street Hockey Memories

This is my latest real estate column, but it's more about the quintessential rite of passage for many Canadian kids. Back when I was this age, it would have been a predominantly male endeavour.

Read the piece here...


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Two Days Ago, John Lennon Would Have Turned 75...

My piece from yesterday's online Calgary Herald, which has already been linked online at,, Entertainment 24x7, The Edmonton Journal, The Windsor Star,, The Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon Star Phoenix,, Vancouver Province - among others

Make sure you leave your own mark before your time is up...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Finding the "Perfect"House - my latest humour column for REM

Finding the just-perfect home is hard, especially if one house is too hard, and the other is just too soft...



Sunday, September 13, 2015

Legendary Songwriter Don McLean, Calgary

Don McLean
Chrome Showroom

My takeaway from seeing this iconic singer songwriter last night has to be how he has chosen to live the life he wants to live, which may have cost him somewhat in his career.

That seems like small potatoes, given that he remarked he's been touring now for 47 years, and has made a bunch of money from artists covering his songs - I'm sure he's done pretty well with his own interpretations of those tracks as well :-)

Which is all to say that it made his show even more remarkable that I had anticipated, and even more special given that he does not confine himself to a pre-determined set list, rather just sharing his own songs and those that have inspired him along the way.

Last night we were treated to songs by other iconic singer songwriters going back as far as Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison, to Elvis and Marty Robbins and more. His take on the classic story song El Paso was every bit as engaging as the original, almost going so far as to make it his own. 

That said, he shared his pride and preference for Elvis' cover of his own gorgeous And I Love You So, which sounded just fine in his own rich voice, which was up to full par for the two hours he stuck around, including a lengthy three song encore.

Along the way, there were many familiar songs (his hit cover of Orbison's Crying), and lesser known album cuts like Crossroads and King Of Fools - which I will have to track down now...

Of course, he is blessed or cursed with American Pie, which despite my having seen easily hundreds of amateurs and lounge acts play repeatedly over the years was nothing short of ASTOUNDING when he launched into an extended version that was heavy on sing-a-long participation. The whole night was filled with that, by request of the man himself - he often sat alone with his guitar or accompanied by piano to make the showroom an intimate space.

Vincent (Starry Starry night) during his encore brought about as enthusiastic reaction as did American Pie. Not all his output has equaled some of those monster successes, but there was not a single moment last night that felt like padding or a misfire. 

That's exactly why he will continue to fill rooms wherever he chooses to play, and we're fortunate that last night was here in our town...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Stage West Calgary's "The Wedding Singer"

Stage West Calgary 
"The Wedding Singer"

Sept 4 - Nov 8

Courtesy Stage West Calgary

Stage West Calgary Presents 

"The Wedding Singer"

(based on the New Line Cinema film)

And there you have it - the latest season at Stage West Calgary opens, and explodes off the stage in their uproarious presentation of the Broadway production based on Adam Sandler's comedy hit film "The Wedding Singer". 

Filled with vastly likeable and talented actors, there is never a dull moment in this love story that overcomes the odds!

As always, I have to hold back content here for my upcoming (official) Calgary Herald review, but in this preview review, I suppose I will set the tone for what is to come there - mainly a glowing endorsement for audiences to get on over to the facility and settle in for the ride. 

It's the most fun you'll have in a seat!

Courtesy Stage West Calgary

Bringing back some familiar faces, and introducing some new talent to SWC audiences, "The Wedding Singer" tackles a typical Hollywood love story - I'm not giving anything away by saying all's well that ends well, love will find a way, true love wins - you know the drill...

The winning combination for this show is the exceptional writing, exciting choreography, and a chance for almost every member of this well-cast group of actors to either solicit a laugh, or steal a scene. 

As likeable as both lead actors are (Elicia MacKenzie, Aidan Desalaiz - they are both way beyond likeable, really), they are constantly getting upstaged by supporting roles that have been fleshed out for maximum effect by this book's dialogue and comic situations.

A petite powerhouse, a lady-adverse keyboard player, a big lug with a mullet, an ex-girlfriend with big hair and a bigger voice - there's just so much to like about this comic take on relationships set in New Jersey in 1985. If you've seen the movie, you'll have a general idea of the story, but this production is almost even sweeter than the source material - directly smoothly and surely by regular contributor to Stage West Timothy French. 

Courtesy Stage West Calgary
        Well, I had better wrap this recap up - I've got my newspaper review to write. I will name names. I will provide even more incentive for you to go see this show.

I will give it a hearty 5 out of 5 stars...

Link to be posted here when that is ready for your viewing pleasure - this show is already ready for that.



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Latest Interview & Feature: Singer/Songwriter Dennis Ellsworth

Just gone live now in my Calgary Herald space online - an interview and podcast-enhanced feature with PEI musician Dennis Ellsworth, ahead of his upcoming album release.

Read the piece here, and there are links in there that will take you to a music video, as well as my podcast :-)



Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

Summertime Open Houses - my latest real estate humour column...

Back when I was still selling real estate, my summer weekends weren't spent enjoying BBQ's and beer - I was most often sitting in a home for three hours.

But why?

NOW I come up with better options - doh!

Read my latest REM column here!



Friday, July 24, 2015

Brock Zeman, At The Ironwood

Review of new CD to follow, but 

to get to my photo slideshow from Brock Zeman, Blair Hogan, and The Northwest Passage live at The Ironwood Stage & Grill Tuesday night...


Friday, July 17, 2015

Songwriter Due To Hit Ironwood Stage Next Week - Brock Zeman

Can't wait for this one - his latest album is stellar, and I can't wait to see his music come to life onstage!

Read the feature in my online Calgary Herald space, and click on the link to listen to the full audio interview....



Friday, July 10, 2015

For The Birds - my latest humour column...

You don't even have to say "based on a true story". You really can't make this sort of stuff up.

But you can exaggerate how things unfolded a wee bit...

My latest REM column, a feathery tale of me versus nature - any guesses who wins??



Thursday, July 09, 2015

Interviews: Stage West Calgary's "Rumours & Dreams A Look Back At Fleetwood Mac"

I sat down with Randy Johnson (co-creator, director) and Stephan Dickson (choreographer) for Stage West Calgary's latest musical revue - read the feature here!

Includes a full video link to the interview as well...



Sunday, July 05, 2015

Stage West Calgary presents "Rumours & Dreams" - A Look Back At Fleetwood Mac

Stage West Calgary
"Rumours and Dreams - A Look Back At Fleetwood Mac"

(playing June 25 - August 30, 2015)

photo courtesy Stage West Calgary

I should precede this review by stressing that Stage West Calgary's latest ensemble musical revue is just that, a theatre-styled retrospective with a slender storyline that unites the musical numbers. It is NOT a Fleetwood Mac cover band show in any way, shape or form, which is pretty obvious once the lights come up onstage.

As a matter of fact, this revue show touches on the music of other influential bands as well, those that had immediate connections to the band - such as Jefferson Airplane and Heart. Those connections are discussed by the show's co-creator Randy Johnson, in a video interview and feature that will appear online in my Calgary Herald space over the next day or so. My official Herald review will appear there soon as well.

This Fleetwood Mac production occasionally mirrors the band itself - explosive power, subdued and delicate melodies, and a few misfires. It is ironic that as a bit of an overture, the show starts both acts with Tusk - a song from that double album of the same name. Despite achieving sales and chart hits that would make it a runaway success in this current fragile music era, it was considered by many critics to be a self-indulgent flop. Personally, I love the song, and always love to hear those drums and recurring chant, so I wasn't among those in that camp. 

However, it is a pretty accurate reflection here. This cast is composed of so many talented singers that have helped propel productions here before -  like Katie Beetham, the award-winning powerhouse star Lady Of The Lake from the just-closed Spamalot. 

Add in Aurianna Angelique (Love Train), Andrew McGillivray and Brent Thiessen (80's Solid Gold), plus Nikki Ponte, marking her second Stage West show during The Calgary Stampede (Uptown Country Girls) as some of the familiar faces that are back. Each of those singers and actors have moments here that sparkle, especially in some of the re-imagined versions of these iconic songs.

It is that statement, in how these songs are so iconic, that there are a few stumbles. If you've grown up wearing out those albums, then the cds that replaced those, it may be that you have a certain expectation of those tracks, as they were recorded and cherished.  But that said, it's not enough to discourage you from being in the seats there to hear the standouts, of which there are many. Never mind the always stellar house band, led by the musical director Konrad Pluta.

A slow start, a few meanderings that mirror the band's career in a spooky sort of way, but overall, the effort has more shine than a gold or platinum record. 

3.5 of 5 stars

Rumours And Dreams - a look back at Fleetwood Mac runs at Stage West Calgary 
June 25 - August 30, 2015

I will post links soon to that video interview with co-creator and director Randy Johnson, and choreographer Stephan Dickson, there's some great commentary on the show and their careers as well.

And check back as well for my official Calgary Herald review!

photo courtesy Stage West Calgary

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Buck Rogers In The 5th Century

You don't realize how much you depend on technology until it doesn't work.

Then, you don't realize how much your skull can contain the pressure of exploding brains until you discover that your head is poised to erupt in fury and frustration...

That was some of the fun I had along with the rest of my recent experience attending an annual conference this past weekend with the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, in Indianapolis. While the balance of the experience was exceptional, losing contact with the outside world was NOT!!

First off, Microsoft Outlook decided that based on my consistent travels at home between Wal-Mart and McDonald's any other day of the week, the fetching of emails in Indiana meant I had been hacked. So, to PROTECT me, they froze every aspect of Hotmail, which meant I had to login and jump through their authentication hoops. Easy-peasy, like threading a cooked sausage through the eye of a needle...

That simple task, meant to cheerily protect me even though THEY COULD USE THE GODDAM SECURITY INFO THEY HAVE ON FILE INSTEAD OF THIS BLANKET PROCESS, took a day, as I was unable to access my codes.  I had chosen not to take a roaming package. The last time I did that, I exceeded it with a text to my wife, where I said "Hi!", exceeding my limit by 400 MB, and costing somewhere around (I kid you not) $600 for the 4 days I was away on that trip. 

At any right, bygones...

Live and learn I say, when I can afford to.

The reason I couldn't get the code was due to that lack of roaming, which prevented iMessage from working. iMessage is a great feature when it works, but it uses data, which is prevented when you have that feature off - so Microsoft staff were patting themselves on the back, assured that they had indeed prevented identity theft with this clown in Indiana who was not receiving the authentication texts. Whose head was swelling to the size of those exposed-brain Martians you saw in 60's movies...

I did eventually sort everything out, and will be exploring new options for an email provider, and likely a cell phone provider while I'm at it.

When I returned to Calgary, I got a call the next day informing me that my flight was "randomly chosen from hundreds that day to win $999" - a classic scam. 

So, I did manage to get exposed to something after all, which has now resulted in opening a fraud file with the RCMP. 

Technology WILL be the death of me...


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Steve Hill @The Ironwood Stage

Wish I had brought my real camera - damn...

The astounding Canadian blues rocker Steve Hill killed it last night at The Ironwood Stage - read all about that here!

Enjoy - I sure did...


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Do YOU see 11:11??

The timing for this month's humour column is even more timely, given that Mrs. That Dan Guy and I just went to see the latest Avengers movie.

We caught in in Theatre 11, and the snacks we bought totalled...I kid you not...$11.11 exactly!

Here's my reflections on the importance of numbers in real estate.

Read my column here.



Monday, June 15, 2015

Better Act Fast - Show TONIGHT at Wine-Ohs!

Talk about last minute notice - my column just went live online minutes ago for a show that happens TONIGHT, Calgary!

Check out Lindsey White when she brings here Renegade project to town - read my preview interview feature here, which also links to an audio podcast.



Sunday, June 07, 2015

Check out new office comedy web series

I was recently introduced to a great new project that is swinging for the bleachers the next few days at The Banff World Media Festival. With a great cast, tight writing, and what would be a nice spotlight on Calgary talent, I highly recommend you check it out:

"Word Of Mouth" web series

All of the episodes for Season One are available for viewing.

Here's a link to my Calgary Herald feature, and chat with co-creator/director John Kissick.



Friday, June 05, 2015

Montreal Bluesman To Hit Ironwood Stage

Steve Hill has carved out a successful path for himself with his past two albums, the latest earning him more than one mantel full of awards. 

I chatted with him for this Calgary Herald feature - he will be here in Calgary June 20th at The Ironwood. I would recommend you check it out, I sure expect to be there!


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Buddy Guy Live

The man is a legend, who pays respect to fellow legends when he plays live - you had to be there:

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Little Light Reading Going Into The Weekend...

Seeing as how I didn't link here to my last column online in The Calgary Herald, I will do that now.

Here it is!



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

JUNO Nominated Singer Songwriter chats about career

Roxanne Potvin

Had the pleasure of chatting over the phone recently with singer/songwriter Roxanne Potvin, who discussed her career, her musical inspirations, and the tour she is currently out on the road for right now. 

She is quite accomplished!

Read the feature from the online Calgary Herald link, and click on the link in there for the full audio interview!



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Holiday Weekend Roundup - Of Forgotten Linkages :-)

I have been remiss - and at shameless self promotion no less!!

I have failed to drop a few links from my past few published pieces, so here we go:

1) My latest REM (Real Estate Magazine) column:

2) Catch my review of Yukon indie roots artist Gordie Tentrees at Ironwood Stage & Grill, along with Oklahoma-based Jaxon Haldane, who is originally from my own hometown of Winnipeg!

3) Surf on over to for the collected preview, interviews and review links for Tom Wilson aka LeE HARVeY OsMOND (Junkhouse, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings), as well as Calgary roots and soul artist Brent Tyler!

4) I had the great pleasure of interviewing the 2014/2015 Arts Commons Blues Artist In Residence, Kat Danser - click here to read our interview


Friday, May 15, 2015

A Historic (and fitting) Finale To My Theatre Writing Days

Scene from "Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)" courtesy Workshop Theatre

You really can't make this stuff up. As I have mentioned before, I have been completing a few outstanding theatre company reviews before I shift my focus to music writing. It has been a difficult decision, but as a freelance part-timer, I was under about three feet of water, and there was no end in sight. Plus I was declining even more invites from larger and larger companies, as well as dropping the ball with ones I had committed to. That's no way to be a professional.

Well, the last theatre company that I had the opportunity to wrap things up for was Workshop Theatre, a company near and dear to my heart. Back when my theatre writings were only appearing in this very blog space, they were the second big outfit to bring me in, after many months of Stage West Theatre reviews.

My first review ran back on May 14th, 2010, for play called The Coarse Acting Show. Essentially a farce with less slamming doors and more falling moustaches, I was invited back on and off, before getting regular invites there as well as having the number of companies grow as the reviews moved into The Calgary Herald, online.

My last official theatre review then should have run yesterday, but didn't go live until this morning.

Had it run yesterday, it would have been EXACTLY five years to the day after the first one - go figure...

That means I've been blessed with an amazing five year run (even longer at Stage West, which I will continue for personal reasons), AND that you only have TWO more nights to catch:

Workshop Theatre presents - Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), which is a terrific time based on the award winning play written by female Canadian playwright Ann-Marie MacDonald, which isn't something I typically point out, but is very pertinent to this production.

I certainly hope to continue to support the amazing theatre companies here in Calgary, and truly wish them the best of luck as they continue to produce astounding work.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Shifting My Focus (Not My Ford, Just To Be Clear)

Well, I've made a lot of vague statements here over the last little while, and discovered while out at an event this weekend that particularly secretive strategy might not be in my best interests, at least as far as clarity moving forward is concerned.

So, let's clear up a few things, shall we? Shall I?

Yes, I shall...

For all the years I've been doing this blog, I've used the scattergun approach - which has most often produced regular daily blogs, but a complete lack of consistency within those posts. 

One thing that started out as a lark ended up bearing fantastic fruit - my "Nobody Asked Me To, But Here I Go Anyway" entertainment reviews opened doors for a wealth of writing opportunities beyond my personal blogspace.

Long story short, I ended up writing a recurring review column for The Calgary Herald, primarily for Stage West Theatre Restaurant here in Calgary.

Over the years, that expanded to an online feature, and eventually my own Calgary Herald blog space. 

That led to an explosion I could not have foreseen in my wildest dreams - requests that grew exponentially from theatre groups, live music, comedy, opera, authors, and more.

In short, a recipe for disaster for a part-time endeavour. 

So, I started a few weeks ago with my vague ramblings here, but I should have just been upfront and clear, and I have been as of the past few weeks. I sent out a notice to the theatre companies that have been so supportive of my work, but as the music and comedy aligns more with my future plans, had to be discontinued.

I will continue to do the reviews and preview interviews for Stage West Calgary, as they opened the door in the first place, and often align with those new priorities. I certainly hope to continue to support those amazing community theatre companies as best as I can, and I wish them much continued success - they perform often at levels above and beyond expectations. 

So, in a nutshell, I am going to be focusing primarily on music, most specifically singer/songwriter folk, roots, blues and indie artists, but there may be a few exceptions - I will be reviewing Micah Barnes new jazz cd New York Stories for example. 

I've got some big ideas I've already pitched, more coming soon, and hope to update you on those as soon as I hear. 

I also hope to update much more regularly, as I revamp that site, my main website, and this blog space over the next little while.

There have been a few casualties - I gave up my daily posting on Twitter, and even daily posts here, despite feeling that I have needed to do that regardless of what I was posting at any given time. I'm actually getting more traffic and new followers than I had been before - go figure!

Thanks for your support if you've stuck with it, even after some drastic changes, and welcome aboard if you're a new follower - there's more change coming, but I hope it all makes for interesting and informative reading!


Saturday, May 09, 2015

Neil Sedaka Pleases The Faithful, Grey Eagle Resort & Casino

Neil Sedaka
Grey Eagle Resort & Casino
May 8, 2015

Neil Sedaka fans apparently span multiple generations, as last night's appearance at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino seemed to prove. While there where many fans from his early days (early 1960's and on), we were sitting beside a much younger gentleman who knew each and every lyric of every song, and was not shy about singing along wholeheartedly. Good on him...

For the entire audience, Mr. Sedaka brought back floods of memories, and melodies that have not begun to waiver even a little as time has passed. Instantly recognizable piano hooks made song introductions completely unnecessary as he worked his way through hit after hit, sometimes standing and dancing at the front of the stage, but most times settled in at his grand piano.

The show opened with a video montage reminder of his influence since he began writing songs, after 11 years as a concert pianist. 

Artists as diverse as The Captain & Tennille, Johnny Mathis, Dame Shirley Bassey, Queen, Frankie Valli, Engelbert Humperdinck, The Carpenters, Tom Jones, Carole King, Neil Diamond, Connie Francis, Bobby Darin, ABBA - even Elvis Presley covered his songs over the years. But he sure can still do a great job himself playing them!

Given the wealth of selections to choose from (over 700 songs), I'd say he did a pretty good job of taking us all back through the years, to his earliest successes (Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Oh Carol) up through his re-invention in the early 1970's with fan and producer Elton John (Laughter In The Rain, The Hungry Years, That's When the Music Takes Me, Solitaire). He didn't perform his duet with Elton John (Bad Blood), but that was included in the earlier montage...

As a mobile DJ in several Western provinces for years, I played so many of those songs to death over the years at weddings and dances. I never did tire of that at the time. Once he made his comeback I played those albums and 45's just about as much. 

Last night, he played some new songs, and they're as good as anything he's done before.

Looks like I'll be visiting iTunes as soon as I finish this review...



Friday, May 08, 2015

My Calgary Herald Review: Stage West Calgary's Spamalot

They may have spelled my name wrong, but click here for my (online and already appeared in the physical paper) Spamalot review, for Stage West Calgary!



Saturday, May 02, 2015

My Conversation With The Creative Mind Behind LeE HARVeY OsMOND

Tom Wilson
Lee Harvey Osmond
"Beautiful Scars"

Still can't believe I was chatting over the phone with the creative mind (genius) behind Canadian music acts like Junkhouse, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, and LeE HARVeY OsMOND...

Tom Wilson shared over 20 minutes of thoughts on his career, the music industry and his place in it, as well as his addictively hypnotic new album "Beautiful Scars".

He agreed to the interview ahead of his appearance May 9th at Bragg Creek Performing Arts. 

In addition to Tom, I had the pleasure of meeting Calgary's Brent Tyler over the phone, as he will also be on that bill - as well promoting a brand new album, which I look forward to seeing performed live.

Check out my online Calgary Herald feature, which also links to both those audio interviews, and some videos from each artist.



Friday, May 01, 2015

Tasman Jude keeps the reggae real, and current!

I had a terrific chat with the co-founder of Grand Prairie's Tasman Jude, a reggae band that tours relentlessly, and that has paid off in spades for them.



Thursday, April 30, 2015

Madcap Rush Of Interviews


That old gag about being busier than a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest (apologies to one-legged men, but congrats if you have won your own butt-kicking contest) seems appropriate as I check off my to-do list before I head off on a solo trip to Winnipeg.

I'm conducting and/or editing FIVE interviews, attending a reading, and penning a review before I leave Sunday morning, and as well I'm waiting for my latest Stage West Calgary review to go live.

Looking at what I'm trying to do, and spending time every day since Monday writing notes to Calgary arts organizations I will no longer be able to cover as I set my laser beam on the future has been an exercise in franticness. 

On the plus side, I am improving my math and time management skills by 1000%...

Onward and upward, at least until I collapse!!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Chicken Scratch - The Final Post...

(posted by weekend/weekday/whenever guest blogger Charles D. Chicken...)

Well folks - that's a wrap.

As Banjo Boy prepares tah reinvent hisself online, this berd is set tah fly tha coop, an settle inta retirement. Ah'm just tryin' ta decide between LilyDale Farms Active Living Centres, or anuther place that sent brochures - Foster Farms Home For Robust Poultry. They both seem like very nice places...


Well, it's been a heckuva ride, I can say fur sure! 

Seein' as how I wuz often THA HIGHEST RANKED POSTS, I have no idea wut that hairless baboon is gonna do after ah'm gone, but that's hiz problem, not mine...


Yup, ah'm gonna find me a sweet young chick, and mebbe travul a bit, see that wurld. 

Ah hear Bavaria is nice in Ocktober.....


If yews is kurious as tew wit ah been up tew over tha years, just type in "Chicken Scratch in that little box up on tha left.

Otherwise, here are a few highlights, in mah farewell video clip, which is apparently too long ta imbed in this here blog post, so ah had ta save it in the smallest format possable. Way ta save a few bucks, dude...

Watch it with yer magnifrieing glasses.... 

"Adios, Farewell, Bite Me..."

Cluck fer good, hoomans!!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Liffey Players Drama Society Presents: Gardner McKay's "Sea Marks"

Liffey Players Drama Society
Gardner McKay's "Sea Marks"

I had a chance to catch up by phone with director Bill Torrie, who is at the helm of this latest presentation from Liffey Players Drama Society.

Read the feature in The Calgary Herald, which has a link to the audio interview!



Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Early Bird (Blog) Review: Stage West Calgary's Production of "Monty Python's Spamalot"

Stage West Calgary presents:
"Monty Python's Spamalot"

The "Early Bird, Before My Official Calgary Herald Review Runs" Reflections On Stage West Calgary's "Spamalot"

(5 out of 5 stars, because it would just be over the top to give it 7...)

"Non-stop Killer Bunny"

"Such a hilarious show!"

"Laughed till I cried"

"Hilarious and great performances"

"Completely on point!"  

"When word gets out about @StageWestCgy's #Spamalot you'll need to buy your tickets from scalpers!"

Those are just a few of the Tweets after the media night showing of the latest production over at Stage West Calgary, "Monty Python's Spamalot". Having done official and unofficial reviews for this facility since about 2009, I can't ever recall a show generating so much enthusiasm after a performance. And this from primarily grizzled, jaded media people!!

Well, that last comment in quotation marks probably says it best, and not just because that was my own Tweet. This is about as perfect a performance you will see, with a cast that glimmers brighter than King Arthur's chainmail leggings. 

I understand that the director is typically tasked to cast, and in this case, J. Sean Elliott has outdone himself. This production is every bit as good (I think even better) as the version I caught in the Grail Theatre, which you can read about in the preview feature and interview that ran yesterday, with Elliott and choreographer Phil Nero. 

Nero as well has outdone himself with this effort, which speaks volumes given his past work at Stage West (Fiddler On The Roof, and the award-winning Chicago). Musical Director Konrad Pluta even gets some stage time here in this, when he isn't ensuring the exemplary sonic efforts of his house band.  

Katie Beetham, Kieran Martin Murphy
Photos courtesy Stage West Calgary, John Watson

I had better start leaving descriptions and kudos and keen reviewer-ly observations out so that I have something left for my official Calgary Herald review.

Let's just say that the cast is perhaps the best yet, which I know, I say for just about every show here, but this one really is! This time Stage West has set the bar so high that it's like Excalibur has been placed on a rooftop tower above the facility, if you can understand that what I wanted to do there was make a witty comparison between the legendary sword, and a raised bar. 

Perhaps I need to work a bit more on that for the next review...

As reluctant as I am to single out individual actors, the leads (Kieran Martin Murphy as King Arthur, and Katie Beetham as The Lady Of The Lake) are at the top of their games in this outing. But everyone else has brought their own best game as well.

I'll have a link here when the Herald review runs, but for now, it is YOU that had better run, gallop or  sprint over to Stage West Calgary, for this exceptional production of "Monty Python's Spamalot"!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Stage West Calgary Presents Monty Python's "Spamalot"

If you're in the Calgary area, you can look forward to..well, you can always look on the bright side of life, for one thing...

"Spamalot" is here until June, and I chatted with the director and choreographer ahead of Media Night.

Read the feature in my Calgary Herald space online, and there is a link therein to the YouTube channel podcast interview with those fine gentlemen... 

Phil Nero & J. Sean Elliott



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Three Interviews Coming Up!

Busy for the next few days coordinating at least three interviews with either cast, creatives or musicians, plus I just had another request arrive that I'll be working on next week.

That means more theatre and show reviews, at least until my theatre portion winds down with the next few shows - I'm going to be focusing primarily on music, with a bit of an occasional diversion into comedy.

Still have to get the word out on that...

As the world turns....


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Vancouver's Spoon River discusses album, tour

Had a chance to talk by phone with Tavis Triance about his psychedelic rock band Spoon River, and their upcoming swing through Alberta.

Read that feature in my online spot in The Calgary Herald. There's a link to my audio podcast, and a direct embed of their trip music video.