Edward Willett

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Not enough readers, not enough time: the end of my regular science column (for real, this time)

All right, this time it’s for real: I’m pulling the plug on my weekly science column (I haven’t written one for about a month anyway). And it’s all MailChimp’s fault. MailChimp is actually a great way to send out nicely formatted HTML newsletters, and I’m very glad to use it for that purpose. However, MailChimp also allows you to track how many of your nicely formatted HTML newsletters are opened by your putative subscribers, and in the case of the science column, it’s not pretty. I currently have 457 subscribers to my science column. When I was sending out the column as just an ordinary email, I could justify spending the time on ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 9:40, February 14th, 2013 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns, Writing and Editing |

My future city: I dabble in public prognostication

Later this morning I’m expecting a phone call from a reporter at the Regina Leader Post, who wants my science-fiction-writer take on the future of the city, ca. 2035. Of course the city has its own rather boring (well, from an SF writer’s perspective) plan for the futuristic city of Regina, which is full of lots of nice buzzwords like “sustainable” and “accessible,” exactly what you’d expect, but as First World War German Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Younger famously said (only, of course, in German), “no plan survives contact with the enemy”—and in this case the “enemy” is rapid ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 9:25, December 11th, 2012 under Blog |

Leader Post features Song of the Sword

There was a nice feature about Song of the Sword (and me) in the Regina LeaderPost on Saturday. The accompanying photo (at left: it was posted online on Global TV's Your Saskatchewan site, though with a hilariously wrong caption) was taken on the shore of Wascana Lake with Willow Island in the background: this is the exact spot where, in the book, the Lady of the Lake makes her appearance to my young heroine). The story, by Tim Switzer, begins: Looking out over Wascana Lake on foggy mornings in Regina, Edward Willett loved the thought that anything could be hidden in ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 7:54, October 25th, 2010 under Blog |

My preview of Globe Theatre’s upcoming production of Marion Bridge…

...is in today's Regina Leader Post. It begins: The 18th-century French poet Jacques Delille famously noted that while we can choose our friends, "Fate chooses our relatives." More than one family has fractured because siblings discover they have nothing in common with each other ... which is exactly what has happened to the family in Marion Bridge, Globe Theatre's next mainstage production, running Jan. 20 to Feb. 6. Written by Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor, Marion Bridge is set in Cape Breton, where the three MacKeigan sisters have come together to care for their dying mother. Aside from their last names, they have nothing in common. Theresa (Laura Condlin) is a nun. Agnes (Liz Gilroy) is a struggling actor. And then there's ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 14:02, January 14th, 2010 under Art Columns, Blog |

My preview of this weekend’s South Saskatchewan Youth Orchestra Christmas brunch…

...is in today's Leader Post. It begins: What could be better than a wonderful Christmas brunch onstage at the Conexus Arts Centre? How about a wonderful Christmas brunch followed by a performance by the South Saskatchewan Youth Orchestra? That's exactly the hard-to-imagine-a-better-than event scheduled for this Sunday. A silent auction and food kick off the event at 11 a.m., with the concert to follow. Conductor Alan Denike will lead the 45-member orchestra, made up of players whose ages range from 12 to their early 20s, in Peter Warlock's Capriol Suite, selections from Carmen by Georges Bizet, and Leroy Anderson's Christmas Festival, before finishing up with sing-along carols.

Posted by Edward Willett at 9:25, December 10th, 2009 under Art Columns, Blog |

My preview of the Regina Symphony Orchestra concert featuring pianist Hung-Kuan Chen…

...is online at the Regina Leader Post. It begins: Pianist Hung-Kuan Chen isn't one to shy away from a challenge. Neither is Regina Symphony Orchestra maestro Victor Sawa.Which is why Saturday's Mosaic Masterworks concert at the Conexus Arts Centre features Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2, which Sawa calls "arguably the toughest concerto ever written." "Normally, piano music has a bass staff and a treble staff," Sawa says. "This has three. There are so many notes he couldn't even get it on two staffs!" Because of the difficulty, the concerto is rarely heard. "Everyone is too afraid to play it," Sawa says. But not Chen.

Posted by Edward Willett at 9:47, November 26th, 2009 under Art Columns, Blog |

My review of Saturday’s Regina Symphony Orchestra concert…

...is now online, headlined "RSO scores again with movies." Here's how it starts:Halfway through the second half of the Regina Symphony Orchestra's 10th annual The RSO Goes to the Oscars movie-music concert, Maestro Victor Sawa commented on the versatility of movie composers, who may find themselves writing theme music for sharks in one movie and mood music for superheroes in the next.But it wasn't just the composers' versatility on display Saturday night -- the RSO once again proved that it can tackle any style of music with verve.It may have helped that superheroes Batman (on timpani) and Iron Man (on viola) were lending a hand, on a night that also saw a family ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:17, March 23rd, 2009 under Blog |

My LeaderPost review of Globe Theatre’s Mesa

My LeaderPost review of Globe Theatre's Mesa, which oddly enough has striking similarities to my CBC review of the same production--go figure!--is online this morning.It begins:Mesa, Globe Theatre's new mainstage production, is the story of a road trip -- a physical journey from Calgary to Arizona, and the metaphorical journey from youth to old age.Which sounds pretty heavy, so let me hasten to add that Mesa, well-directed by Joey Tremblay, is also very funny.It's 1998, and 93-year-old Bud (Sheldon Davis), is being chauffeured by his 34-year-old grandson-in-law, Paul (Curt McKinstry), on his annual winter trip to the Citrus Gardens trailer park in Mesa, Ariz. It's the first time he hasn't ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 19:10, March 21st, 2009 under Blog |

My preview of the Regina Symphony Orchestra’s movie music concert…

..., RSO Goes to the Oscars, is in today's LeaderPost.Here's a bit from the middle:For Sawa, switching from symphonies to soundtracks is natural.In a strange way, he says, "we owe a debt of gratitude to the Nazis. Oscar Hammerstein, Max Steiner, Eric Korngold, Bernard Hermann, Franz Waxman -- they all came over because they were being persecuted in Europe."The entire Hollywood sound was created by the classical composers of Europe."When we talk about classical music and how it survived the second half of the 20th century, everyone was going to the movies, they were listening to classical music."The snob factor is missing when you go to the ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:52, March 19th, 2009 under Blog |

My preview of Globe Theatre’s production of Mesa…

...is in today's LeaderPost.It begins:The premise of Mesa, which opens at Globe Theatre on March 18, sounds like the setup to a joke: "So this 30-something guy and his 93-year-old grandfather set out on a road trip together to Mesa, Ariz. ..."And sure enough, Mesa is a comedy -- but not, says director Joey Tremblay, in a "yuk-yuk, door-slamming" kind of way. Instead, he calls it a "feel-good, bittersweet, nostalgic kind of comedy."Read the whole thing.

Posted by Edward Willett at 14:23, March 12th, 2009 under Blog |