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  • A night with the Red Deer Belladonnas

    My sister and I grab a brew and a dog and snag seats in the riser behind the plexiglass. The very brave have set their lawn chairs in the primo spots down by the track, but Mish and I (being newbies) are not so fearless.

    The whistle blows one, two, three times and girls in fishnets, short shorts and elbow pads speed off around the track. The Belladonnas jammer (the one who scores points by making it through the pack) deeks and dodges through the opposing blockers, who are bent on on stopping her from passing.

    Mish leans over to me and says, “If I were a derby girl my name would be Peaches and Mean.”

    “That’s a good one.” I say. “I would be Badberry Meancake.”

    “That’s not as good,” she says.

    She’s right – I can do better. As the jams continue some of the girls rack up minor penalties for blocking from behind or using a little too much elbow – nothing serious or they’d be in the box, but just enough to rough up their opponents and rev up the crowd. At the intermission, skaters with the most minor penalties spin the penalty wheel for their punishment. As we watch two hot chicks pillow fight in the middle of the ring, I try again:

    “Orange Jerksicle? Spank’s Red Hot?”

    “Maybe get off food,” she says.

    Just then the crowd erupts as the wheel lands on Pink Cheek Alley and the emcee invites us all into the middle of the track. We go with the flow – being the good sports we are – and stand in a circle waiting to see what will happen.

    “Chastity Bonesaw. Joyce DeWhip.”

    “Please stop,” she says as a penalized skater drifts by, hands on knees, getting ‘pink cheeked’ by the enthusiastic crowd.

    We find our seats and more tattooed skaters in knee socks deliver more hard slamming blocks in front of refs in corsets and us hooting fans. It’s a fun crowd – a nice mix of girls on the town, like us, diehard fans and even a few families, who look like they’re having a terrific time together. Then again, the high energy of the skaters and the delight of the audience make it impossible not to have a good time.

    “I’ve got it,” I say as we file out of the arena to our cars at the end of the match. “Professor Rumbledore.”

    Mish sighs. “Has to be a girl, plus… you’re a nerd. See you at brunch on Sunday.”

    “Yeah – see you Sunday. Thanks for a fun night, sis.” I smile. I love her when she’s exasperated – must be a big sister thing.

    Take some time to think of your derby name and then head down to “Fresh Meet” rookie camp. Visit rdrda.ca for details and upcoming bouts.

  • 3 Reasons to Love Our Museum This Season

    Red Deer Museum and Art GalleryWe love our Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, or the MAG if you’re in the know. It’s always affordable, it tells local stories and it’s a great place to hang out (sometimes even rock out). Here are three reasons you should love it this December and January too.

    1) Hot docs for cool kids –  Reel Movie Mondays is Red Deer’s home for independent films. Sponsored by the museum and held at the Galaxy Theatre, this is your only chance to see these bold documentaries, quirky comedies and unconventional dramas. So grab your cardigan and Buddy Holly glasses and love our indie film series. If you’re more of the bowtie and monocle set, come experience New York’s Metropolitan Opera live in HD. Watch the website or RMM Facebook page for January’s upcoming shows.

    2) Think globally, rock locally – Okay Boomers, it’s time to show those Gen X and Y slackers how to really rock. Central Alberta Rocks: Old Rockers Performances on Fri, Dec 2 (7 – 9 pm) and Sat, Dec 3 (2 – 4 pm) will bring back together some of the local bands that rocked the scene in the 60s and 70s. You’re also invited to share your rock fables and teachings from that time. Your stories and a donated collection of local concert posters from the same era will be the basis for a full social history exhibition in the future.

    3) Powerful stories that happened here – A travelling exhibition from Lethbridge’s Galt Museum and the Calgary Military Museums is now on at the MAG. For You The War Is Over: Second World War POW Experiences is on now until Jan 15, 2012. This exhibit tells first-person stories of just some of the 23,000 German POWs that were interned in camps in Southern Alberta. The exhibit also explores the impact on the communities that surrounded the camps and compares the experiences of German and Canadian POWs during WWII.

    Watch the MAG website or call 403.309.8405 for upcoming exhibits, special events and ticket info.

  • Places It’s Okay to Wear Your Santa Hat

    Tobogganing – Here is a time when your Santa hat will be both festive and practical. So grab your toboggan, crazy carpet or Griswold-style super-slippy saucer and hang onto your hat. The Bower Ponds toboggan hill in Red Deer’s Waskasoo Park is a local favourite and it has smaller hills that are not too steep for the littlest ones. Or there’s the Woodlea toboggan area at 55 Street and 42A Ave with Michener Hill that overlooks downtown and an old ski hill with a steep incline.

    To a sing-along – Okay, so maybe a nice holiday brooch is more likely to fit in at the 10th annual Sing-along Messiah at Gaetz United Church. Along with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, several choirs and vocal soloists, you’ll fill the nave with your angel voices and lots of Christmas joy. Maybe just in this case though, opt for a festive sweater and let your Christmas spirit be your hat. Tickets available from the RDSO office 403.340.2948 and at the door. (Dec 17, 2.30 pm at 4758 Ross St)

    To a toy drive – Better start practicing your ho-ho-hos. Then grab your hat and something cuddly and head to Parkland Mall on Dec 2 for their “stuff a bus” toy drive. If you’re one of the first hundred kids to donate a toy, you’ll get a free picture with Santa. Then stick around for free crafts, face painting and to listen to story-time with Mrs. Claus.

    To a holiday light-up – Enthusiastic individuals all over town show their spirit by stringing glittering, twinkling lights in their yards, but the biggest city sponsored light-up is at City Hall Park. Your hat will fit right in as you stroll along the cleared paths through thousands of colourful lights wrapped up, down and all around the trees and shrubs. In past years, the tree trunks have been wrapped tightly with lights for a very cool silhouette effect – check out these pics of the park. There is also the ginormous Christmas tree – trust me, you can’t miss it.

    To a craft sale – On Saturday, Dec 3 and Sunday, Dec 4, visit Westerner Park Christmas Bazaar for 200 vendors, live entertainment, a kid’s area and holiday demos. You’ll find a huge assortment of presents from yummy gourmet delights to home décor and pet treats, so you’ll be able to cross lots of names off your nice list. Also, Santa his very self will be there, so you can tell him what you want in your stocking and get your picture taken together. Call 403.309.0241 for more info or visit westerner.ab.ca.

    Skating – There’s nothing quite like the feeling of flying across the ice on skates, frost nipping at your pink-tipped nose, the snow gently falling on your red velvet hat. Maybe you’ll master the cross-over this year or that bum-wiggle backwards technique. Bower Ponds is a great place for outdoor skating. The park is gorgeously treed, easily accessible and there is a concession for a sweet creamy hot chocolate before… and after… and in between…

    At the office party – On Dec 16 & 17, frolickers from across the city will attend the Ultimate Staff Party at Westerner Park. If all goes right, many will be in Santa hats – if not from the start, then hopefully by the time dancing starts. It’s like the holiday version of the lampshade. The evening will include an all-you-can-eat buffet (the most beautiful five words in the English language), a comic ventriloquist, a hot shot gunslinger act and two bands. For more info, call toll free 1.888.856.9282 or visit richardanddeborah.com.

    To visit Santa – Santa will be at Bower Place until Christmas Eve and kids who visit will get a special candy cane, a countdown calendar and elf ears. With you in your Santa hat and your kids in their elf ears, you’ll be ready to hit the mall for some serious shopping! Then before you rush home with your treasures, have them all wrapped up for you right there in the mall for a donation to the Central Alberta Women’s Shelter.

  • The Road to Red Deer

    The Road to Red Deer