Time to pledge for Allegiance

Two mighty warriors take to the fields of battle. Though they arrive alone, each is possessed of powerful magic. What starts as single combat soon becomes a clash of armies as the rivals summon their own minions, from foot soldiers to legendary beasts. The casualties rise. One hero falls. The other starts reshuffling the decks. … Continue reading

Forbidden Planet and making the sound of the future

I helped out the Calgary Cinematheque Society’s soundtrack series today with a 10-minute speech on the soundtrack to Forbidden Planet. It actually barely scratches the surface on what’s interesting about the first fully electronic score ever composed, but if you’re curious what you missed, here it is. (Forgive the formatting; it wasn’t really meant to … Continue reading

Same Same but Different review

Written by and starring Anita Majumdar, Same Same But Different aims to be a lot of things, and succeeds at many of them. It’s a tribute to and criticism of Bollywood, with electric choreography and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Indian film. It is a commentary on societal conceptions of whiteness, and particularly Bollywood’s seeming obsession … Continue reading

The ups and downs of playRites

Premières explore new ground and reveal festival’s strengths and weaknesses For 28 years and 115 plays, the Enbridge playRites Festival has served as an essential breeding ground for new Canadian theatre. Its commitment to fostering brand-new work has given it a distinctive place within Alberta Theatre Projects’ season — the playRites plays are typically ambitious … Continue reading

Boxed Worlds: Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island

Co-operative games aren’t much fun unless they’re challenging. There’s a mild thrill that comes from saving the world from viral infection or invasion by eldritch gods, but when the results are a foregone conclusion, it’s hard to feel particularly invested. Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island (Portal Games) seems to understand this. In fact, when … Continue reading

Boxed Worlds: The Board Game Retreat

Near the end of December, I got an email from one of the organizers of Fallcon, Calgary’s largest board game convention (yes, there are multiple board game conventions in Calgary), inviting me to a “board game invitational weekend” in Canmore. It’s an annual tradition, he said, to invite “ambassadors to the hobby,” and because I’ve … Continue reading

Objects without stories

(Note: This post is quite Calgary-based, and not particularly well-researched, so take with large amounts of sodium) I’ve always been one of those people who needs to read every placard in a museum. Looking at objects is one thing, but without context to understand what makes them unique or interesting, its just so much stuff. Once … Continue reading

Rodeo Reviews: Boom

Boom is certainly ambitious. It aims to walk the line between one-man-show, documentary and multimedia experience, all in service of a history lesson for the young and nostalgia trip for the old. Filled to stuffing with archival footage, and anchored by interviews with writer/director/star Rick Miller’s family and friends, it’s intriguing on paper. It’s also … Continue reading

Rodeo Reviews: Heap & Pebble

A ridiculous premise can go a long way, but what separates novelty from something truly moving is when that premise helps get at a more difficult truth. 6.0: How Heap and Pebble Took on the World and Won starts from a place that could just as easily be a sketch comedy premise — two ice … Continue reading

Boxed Worlds: Hanabi

(First published at ffwdweekly.com) Can board games make you a better person? There are plenty of games that can hone your strategic thinking skills or stretch your creativity. Just as often, though, games turn you into a manipulative, scheming sociopath, even if it’s only for a half-hour at a time. Are those skills transferable? Absolutely. … Continue reading