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Pressing rewind on technology
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Pressing rewind on technology

Last month my car window was smashed, the contents of my vehicle strewn rudely around the parking lot. 

Nothing was taken save for a single shopping-cart loonie. I couldn’t help but feel insulted on behalf of my CDs, evidently worth less than a dollar. “It’s OK, guys,” I said to my Buffalo Tom and Crowded House discs (it is always 1994 in my car). “I still love you.”

It’s strange to think that this mode of technology is now essentially disposable. I clearly remember swearing I would never give up my vinyl to switch to this soulless new music-delivery system, which is itself now consigned to the dustheap of history. (Although tell that to the two full IKEA Billy bookshelves of CDs in my tiny condo.)

There was also a period when I first started reviewing music for fun and very little profit when record labels would send out promo copies of albums on cassette tape. As a result I also have a few hundred of those, not to mention all the homemade mixtapes I made over the years, many of which contain tracks culled from the CD library at CKUW 95.9 FM, where I was a DJ for a decade or so. 

These little time capsules are precious to me. Even more valuable are the tapes made for me by friends, with their hand-lettered track listings, lovingly crafted covers and whimsical titles.

As you might have guessed, I’m not big on change. The car with the smashed window is the same one I’ve owned since 2008. (Imagine the salesman’s face when, instead of asking if the vehicle had an aux-in, I wondered if they had any with tape decks. And then imagine my nephew’s abject horror when he borrowed my car and realized he would be stuck listening to — gasp! — the radio.)

I stream music, of course — I’m not a total Luddite — but I can’t bring myself to get rid of those quasi-obsolete discs and cassettes. I just don’t trust my more obscure releases to the whims of Spotify or Apple Music. 

On the plus side, I guess I can leave CDs in my car without any risk of theft. 

By the way, for readers who had fond memories of the stacked lineups at the Spectrum during its halcyon days, featured in last week’s newsletter, artist Stu Reid provided a link to all the calendars he worked on (1987-92). 

Jill Wilson

Jill Wilson

Jill Wilson

What’s up this week:

Big Wreck (Facebook photo)

• Toronto rock band Big Wreck, led by vocalist/guitarist Ian Thornley, is touring in support of the first of three planned EPs that will be combined as a single album. Big Wreck 7.1 was released in November 2019; the show at the Burton Cummings Theatre on April 6 at 8 p.m. is a rescheduled date from Nov. 29. Tickets are limited. Monster Truck is the opening act. 

• Opening at MTC Warehouse tonight: when Jacob, a ZAKA volunteer in Israel, makes a split-second decision to save the life of a suspected attacker instead of the soldier they may have killed, his world is changed forever. Christopher Morris’s one-person show The Runner is the winner of multiple Dora Mavor Moore awards. It runs to April 16; tickets are here

• Manitoba Theatre for Young People presents Doodle Pop, a playful, almost wordless show from South Korea aimed at kids age three to eight (but plenty of fun for adults too). Ticket are available at mtyp.ca. The show runs to April 13.

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Changes and closures:

• The Manitoba Opera Gala Concert takes place Saturday at the Centennial Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. with a couple of changes. The one-night-only recital — hosted by tenor James McLennan and showcasing Newfoundland-born tenor David Pomeroy, Winnipeg-based soprano Lara Ciekiewicz, mezzo-sopranos Catherine Daniel and Lizzy Hoyt and baritone James Westman, in a program of Puccini, Verdi, Bizet, Mozart, and more — was originally intended to be hosted by soprano Monica Huisman and feature soprano Andriana Chuchman. Both have had to bow out for personal reasons.

Tickets are available at mbopera.ca.

• The newly opened Gargoyle Theatre on Ellice Avenue, which just presented its first play in February (Sonja and Richard), has announced that heavy snowfall compromised the building’s roof; the theatre will be closed until fall 2022 to deal with repairs. The Gargoyle, named for owner Andrew Davidson’s novel, is intended to be a showcase for new, previously unproduced works. 

 

Recommended

Movies: I made it to an actual theatre this weekend to see The Outfit, and it did not disappoint (Grant Park’s reclining seats and the ability to make weird swamp-water drinks add to the appeal). Starring brilliant British actor Mark Rylance as a tailor – pardon me, a cutter — mixed up with the Chicago mob in the ‘50s, the film’s action all takes place over the course of a day and night in his shop.

As Alison Gillmor says in her typically excellent review  ​​“Ultimately, The Outfit is a contained and clever exercise, packed with movie-movie artifice, from the butchers in the camel-hair coats to the big palookas speaking in stylized gangster talk. (‘Back up, English. This ain’t your purview.’)”

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