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The old hacks who make The Ex-Press the glorious, old-school rag that it is.

Pop Culture Decoder: The Catch

Misty Harris uses her forensic skills and pop culture instincts to dissect the new trailer for Shonda Rhimes’ new show featuring Mireille Enos as a feisty fraud investigator By Misty Harris In the bloody wake of McDreamy, whose death left a hole in our hearts and in the men’s haircare market, a nation comes together to ask: Can we learn to love Shonda Rhimes again? If the trailer for her upcoming drama The Catch is any indication, the answer is yes. Big yes. Yes on a Post-It yes. Here’s what ABC is telling us about Shondaland’s latest: “This thriller centres on the strong, successful Alice Martin (Mireille Enos). She’s a fraud investigator who’s about to be the victim of fraud by her fiancé. Between her cases, she is determined to find him before it ruins her career.” Ok, kind of a dull description; I’ve had bathroom breaks that were more compelling. But the slick trailer suggests there’s more to this show than White Olivia Pope™ risking (gasp!) ...

From Cowtown to Maotown

Rod Mickleburgh takes a long view on Rachel Notley's longshot win that changed Alberta's political landscape overnight, maybe for good By Rod Mickleburgh I wasn’t there, but I bet a lot of tears were shed by Alberta NDP oldtimers at the party’s giddy, raucous ‘n’ rollin’  post-victory celebration in Edmonton. That was certainly the order of the evening on a similar dragon-slaying night long ago, out here in British Columbia. On Aug. 30, 1972, Dave Barrett, the 41-year old son of an East Vancouver fruit pedlar, led “the socialist hordes” inside the province’s gates for the first time, after nearly 40 years of repeated failure. Among the hysterical crowd greeting a triumphant Barrett at the Coquitlam Arena (it was a different time…) was veteran union official Rudy Krickan, who’d worked for the party since the 1930’s. His eyes moistening, Krickan told a reporter: “This is the greatest night of my life.” Barrett’s mother Rose, who put young Dave on a ...

Can’t anybody here hear this game?

Charley Gordon finds quiet the beauty of the moment amid the constant cacophony of mindless colour commentary By Charley Gordon Sports can be nice when nobody is talking. I had that realization a few weeks ago when I watched a professional golf tournament in Florida. My son and I had been given tickets. Not knowing exactly how these things worked, we walked through a gate, followed some people and suddenly were beside the third green, along with a handful of others. We saw some men walking up to the green and suddenly realized they were well-known golfers (whose names I now forget), along with their caddies. There was no spoken announcement of who they were, no shouts from the crowd. They walked, without fanfare, onto the green, where, I now noticed, two golf balls lay, and got ready to putt. It was mid-morning and the leaders of this tournament wouldn't tee off for a few hours, so the crowds were thin and a certain calmness prevailed. Part of the calmness was due to the ...

Milk: The New Mushroom Cloud

Facing the white menace: Life was so much simpler when our biggest fear was nuclear Armageddon instead of the fat, systemic antibiotics and the now-intolerable lactose in once-benign moo-juice... and we didn't even mention the dairy board conspiracy By Charley Gordon If you truly want to know what’s dangerous in the world, you have to read the Style and Living section of the newspaper. The dangers in the rest of the paper are predictable. They haven’t changed in centuries — war, flood, earthquake, pestilence, terrorism and undercooked pork. But the other dangers are changing all the time, particularly the ones that attack you in your home and in unfashionable restaurants. Keeping track of them is a bit of a chore, but worth it. Otherwise, there are diseases and syndromes that would catch you unawares. Plus, there are new letters every day that follow LGBT and you don’t want to seem insensitive. * If you want to know what’s hot now in the list of things to be wary ...

Rod Mickleburgh writes of Blythe spirit

Canadian actor Jonathan Crombie leaves a latent impression on the Canadian film landscape after playing the sweet-natured soul perpetually burned by the flinty Anne... of Green Gables By Rod Mickleburgh Social media reaction to the unexpected death this month of Canadian actor Jonathan Crombie, who so memorably played Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables, came almost entirely from the distaff side. Not too many guys were fans of the movie, I guess. Well, I’m a fan. A big one. Like many of my gender, it seems, I was originally pretty dismissive of the whole Anne of Green Gables thing. Who cares about the adventures of some spunky 11-year old orphan girl in turn-of-the-20th century Prince Edward Island? She hates her red hair. Boo hoo. Bring on Anna Karenina. But my mind was changed when I went to what I had hoped would be a party at a friend’s house, only to discover all the women heading into the TV room to watch Anne of Green Gables. Thinking they couldn’t ...
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Ex Machina dangles a divine equation

Movie review: Ex Machina Writer Alex Garland makes an impressive directing debut retooling Greek tragedy with silicon parts, writes Katherine Monk    

Fusing foodie fare with fancy film houses: A recipe for disaster – and salad

By Charley Gordon One of those fancy movie houses has opened in Ottawa, where you can order food and wine and have them brought to your seat. Many people, not thinking it through, think this represents sophistication, but it doesn’t. It represents doom. And not just for the reasons you think. Drunkenness will be a bit of problem, but more of an inconvenience than anything. It just means that when people say: “What did he say?” they’ll say it louder, and similarly with: “Hey that’s the guy who was in that other movie, with the that woman who ran off with that other guy!” There may be bit of vomiting too but you’re probably used to that by now. There are published assurances that all is working well. You can believe those if you want. It is reassuring that for some movies, you can avoid the so-called VIP experience if you choose, and just watch the movie in the traditional way, without wine and calamari. It’s also reassuring that the wine-and-calamari ...

What did Singapore’s late patriarch do during infamous UBC sit-in?… He just sat there…

Rod Mickleburgh reveals little-known encounter between Lee Kuan Yew, Jerry Rubin and hordes of hippies in the hallowed halls of The University of British Columbia - back in the day By Rod Mickleburgh So, farewell then, Lee Kuan Yew, grand patriarch of Singapore, who never saw a critic he didn’t want to jail or sue, or a gum chewer he didn’t want to fine. Much has been written extolling the great man, beloved of entrepreneurs and capitalists for creating a safe, uncorrupt haven for their money and by hordes of ex-pats in Asia for providing a tiny, perfect oasis for a few days’ R and R, coupled with a chance to down a Singapore Sling at the famed Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel. But none of the lengthy obituaries has included one of the more remarkable confluences of Lee’s long career. That occurred, of all places, on the scenic, normally placid campus of the University of B.C., where he encountered an invasion of raucous ragamuffins imbued with the heady, counter-culture ...

Rod Mickleburgh has a Burroughs flashback

The Beats go on in North Vancouver: Presentation House Gallery mounts visual chronicle of the era as witnessed by Allen Ginsberg   By Rod Mickleburgh I met William Burroughs once. It was during my magical year in Paris (sigh). I’d read in Libération that morning that the legendary icon of the Beats would be at the City of Light’s annual Salon du Livre at the Grand Palais. I thought ‘what the hell’, and went down to catch a glimpse of the famous man, who had been such a part of the Kerouac/Ginsberg Beat generation of writers. In On the Road, the book that changed my life, Burroughs appears as Old Bull Lee. An insatiable consumer of drugs, Burroughs fatally shot his wife during a crazed William Tell re-enactment in Mexico, hung out in Tangiers where the less said about his proclivity for underage boys the better, and found time to write such underground classics as Junkie and Naked Lunch, turned into a movie by the strange David Cronenberg. (My parents ...
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Getting all for KIimt: Woman in Gold

Movie Review: Woman in Gold Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds bring emotional purity to paint-by-numbers script