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Hunting Hills High School presents Ranked The Musical

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Students at Hunting Hills High School are excited to bring a relatable musical to local audiences next month.

Ranked, The Musical runs March 13-16 at the Memorial Centre in Red Deer. The show is rated PG.

“We looked at a number of different shows and we knew we wanted to do something contemporary,” said Piper Rempel, Director. “The show is extremely relatable in that it talks about struggles that teens go through with their parents, school, expectations with friends, anxiety, learning how to balance life and fitting in.”

Because the show is not as well known as past productions, Piper said students had to dive in head first, and as rehearsals have evolved, they have lived up to that challenge.

“We have really talented kids. Our poster design, our technical design – it’s all things the kids have to come up with,” she said. “Our pit band is playing parts that have never been played before. It’s all really incredible to see.”

About 70 students between the cast, tech and pit band have been rehearsing since last fall.

“When we introduced the production to them, they were surprised because it wasn’t a big name,” said Taryn Martinek, Choreographer. “We told them there were lots of reasons that we picked the production, and as soon as we started rehearsing they got it and they have never looked back.”

Both Piper and Taryn encourage the community to come out and support the students as they bring this new story to Red Deer.

“People can expect for songs to get stuck in their heads – it’s great music you have never heard before,” said Piper.

Taryn added the production was a risk, but it has been extremely rewarding to see it unfold. “We want to get the community out and take the risk with us,” she said.

For tickets or for more information, click here.

Entertainment

Elon Musk funds conservative actress Gina Carano’s wrongful termination lawsuit against Disney

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From LifeSiteNews

By Doug Mainwaring

‘As a sign of X Corp’s commitment to free speech, we’re proud to provide financial support for Gina Carano’s lawsuit,’ said X’s head of business operations.

Actress Gina Carano is suing Disney-owned Lucasfilm for wrongful termination from Star WarsThe Mandalorian, and Elon Musk is paying her legal bills  

Carano was fired in 2021 after she posted to social media, including X (formerly Twitter), conservative opinions on hot-button issues such as gender pronouns usage, Black Lives Matter, election fraud, the COVID-19 lockdowns, and mask mandates.  

Disney “bullied Ms. Carano, trying to force her to conform to their views about cultural and political issues, and when that bullying failed, they fired her,” explained Gene Schaerr, Carano’s attorney, in a statement.  

The suit explains that at one point, Disney/Lucasfilm demanded that Carano “participate in a Zoom call with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and 45 employees who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, going so far as to say that her willingness to endure such harassment and humiliation was a ‘litmus test’ for her.”  

Following her termination by the entertainment giant, Carano’s agent, United Artists, and her entertainment attorney, dropped her as a client. 

Elon Musk is making good on his promise 

Elon Musk has followed through on the promise he made last fall to fund the legal bills of people treated unfairly by employers over their posts on X/Twitter.      

“As a sign of X Corp’s commitment to free speech, we’re proud to provide financial support for Gina Carano’s lawsuit, empowering her to seek vindication of her free speech rights on X and the ability to work without bullying, harassment, or discrimination,” said Joe Benarroch, X’s head of business operations.  

Carano announced her lawsuit on X on Tuesday: 

After my 20 years of building a career from scratch, and during the regime of former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Lucasfilm made this statement on Twitter, terminating me from The Mandalorian: “Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm & there are no plans for her to be in the future. Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural & religious identities are abhorrent & unacceptable.”    

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” explained the MMA fighter turned actress. “The truth is I was being hunted down from everything I posted to every post I liked because I was not in line with the acceptable narrative of the time. My words were consistently twisted to demonize & dehumanize me as an alt right wing extremist. It was a bullying smear campaign aimed at silencing, destroying & making an example out of me.”      

“Artists do not sign away our rights as American citizens when we enter into employment,” she added.  

The 59-page civil suit, which was filed in California federal court, begins with a clever, iconic Star Wars-style introduction:  

A short time ago in a galaxy not so far away, Defendants made it clear that only one orthodoxy in thought, speech, or action was acceptable in their empire, and that those who dared to question or failed to fully comply would not be tolerated. And so it was with Carano. After two highly acclaimed seasons on The Mandalorian as Rebel ranger Cara Dune, Carano was terminated from her role as swiftly as her character’s peaceful home planet of Alderaan had been destroyed by the Death Star in an earlier Star Wars film. And all this because she dared voice her own opinions, on social media platforms and elsewhere, and stood up to the online bully mob who demanded her compliance with their extreme progressive ideology.

Defendants’ wrath over their employees’ social media posts also differed depending on sex. Even though “the Force is female,” Defendants chose to target a woman while looking the other way when it came to men. While Carano was fired, Defendants took no action against male actors who took equally or more vigorous and controversial positions on social media.

But the rule of law still reigns over the Defendants’ empire. And Carano has returned to demand that they be held accountable for their bullying, discriminatory, and retaliatory actions—actions that inflicted not only substantial emotional harm, but millions of dollars in lost income.

The lawsuit cites many examples of appalling social media posts by other Disney/Lucasfilm personalities that went unaddressed and unpunished:  

In several social media posts, original Star Wars star Mark Hamill made comparisons of Americans who support President Trump with Nazis while also asserting that Trump is the KKK’s candidate. 

Co-star Pedro Pascal, who played the role of the Mandalorian, often expressed positive views on the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ+ rights, and protests for abortion rights. He also compared Trump to Hitler.  During Pride Month, 2020, he posted two Disney-owned Muppet characters, Bert and Ernie, drawn as activists waving a transgender and LGBTQ+ pride flag and promoting “Black Lives Matter” and “Defund the Police.”  

Co-star Pedro Pascal’s June 27, 2020 social media post. Schaerr-Jaffe LLP court filing on behalf of Gina Carano

Disney even rehired Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn in 2019 after terminating him in 2018 for horrific social media posts years earlier such as “I like when little boys touch me in my silly place,” and “The Expendables was so manly I ****d the ***t out of the little pussy boy next to me! The boys ARE back in town!”  

Yet Disney failed to offer to reinstate Carano, and turned a blind eye to Hamill’s and Pascal’s offensive posts.  

“I would love to pick up where I left off & continue my journey of creating & participating in story-telling, which is my utmost passion & everything I worked so hard for,” said Carano on Tuesday.  “It has been difficult to move forward with the lies & labels stuck on me, backed & encouraged by the most powerful entertainment company in the world.”  

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Netflix in Canada—All in the name of ‘modernizing’ broadcasting: Peter Menzies

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From the MacDonald Laurier Institute

By Peter Menzies

Canada’s content czars are stuck in the past and trying to drag everyone back with them

Next week, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will go live with its efforts to wrestle the internet and those who stream upon it into submission. Whether it fully understands the risks remains unclear.

There are 127 parties scheduled to appear before a panel of commissioners at a public hearing in Gatineau starting November 20. The tone-setting opening act will be Pierre-Karl Peladeau’s always-scrappy Quebecor while the UFC will throw the final punches before the curtain drops three weeks later.

The list of presenters consists mostly of what those of us who have experienced these mind-numbing hearings refer to as “the usual suspects”—interests whose business plans are built around the Broadcasting Act and the requirements of related funding agencies.

The largest Canadian companies will ask the CRTC to reduce its demands upon them when it comes to feeding and watering Big Cancon: the producers, directors, actors, writers, and other tradespeople who make certified Canadian content.

Quebecor, for instance, will be arguing for its contribution to be reduced from 30 percent of its revenue to 20 percent—a draw it proposes be applied to designated streamers. More money from foreign companies and less from licensed domestic broadcasters will be a recurring theme.

But there will also be a new slate of actors—those with business models designed to entertain and attract consumers in a free market—who will be staring down the barrel of CRTC Chair Vicky Eatrides’ stifling regulatory gun for the first time.

Disney+ is set to take the stage on November 29. Meta, the Big Tech bete noire that refused to play along with the Online News Act, is up on December 5.

But the big day will almost certainly be November 30 when Netflix locks horns with the Commission and what appear to be its dangerously naive assumptions.

More than half the streamer’s 30-page submission is dedicated to detailing what it is already contributing to Canada.

Some examples:

  • $3.5 billion in investment;
  • Thousands of jobs created;
  • Consumers are 1.8 times more likely to watch a Canadian production on Netflix than they are on a licensed TV network;
  • Le Guide de la Famille Parfaite—one of many Quebec productions it funded—was in Netflix’s global top 10 for non-English productions for two weeks.

Netflix is insisting on credit for what it already contributes. It has no interest in writing a cheque to the Canada Media Fund and takes serious umbrage with the CRTC’s assumption it will.

“The (hearing) notice could be understood to suggest that the Commission has made a preliminary determination to establish an ‘initial base contribution’ requirement for online undertakings,” Netflix states in its submission. “The only question for consideration would appear not to be whether, but rather what funds would be the possible recipients of contributions.

“Netflix submits that this is not an appropriate starting point.”

It gets worse. The CRTC is considering applying some of the non-financial obligations it imposes on licensed broadcasters such as CTV and Global to the streaming world.

Executive Director of Broadcasting Scott Shortliffe told the National Post recently that “Netflix is clearly producing programming that is analogous…to traditional broadcasters” and that it could be expected to “contribute” in terms of the shape of its content as well as how it spends its money.

In other words, the CRTC’s idea of “modernizing” broadcasting appears heavily weighted in favour of applying its 1990s way of doing things to the online world of 2023.

If that’s the case, the Commission is entirely unprepared to deal with the harsh truth that offshore companies don’t have to play by its rules. For decades, primary CRTC hearing participants have been dependent on the regulator. In the case of broadcasters like CTV and cable companies such as Rogers, their existence is at stake. Without a license, they are done. Which means they have to do what the Commission wants. But if the regulatory burden the CRTC places upon the offshore streamers doesn’t make business sense to them, they are free to say, “Sorry Canada, the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze. We’re outta here.”

This is most likely to occur among the smaller, niche services at the lower end of the subscription scale. The CRTC has to date exempted only companies with Canadian revenues of less than $10 million. Any company just over that line would almost certainly not bother to do business in Canada —a relatively small and increasingly confusing market—if the regulatory ask is anything close to the 20 percent commitment being suggested.

Ditto if the CRTC goes down the road Shortliffe pointed to. It would be absurd to impose expectations on unlicensed streamers that are similar to those applied to licensed broadcasters. For the latter, the burden is balanced by benefits such as market protection granted by the CRTC.

For streamers, no such regulatory “bargain” exists. Too much burden without benefits would make it far cheaper for many to leave and sell their most popular shows to a domestic streamer or television network.

The Online Streaming Act (Bill C-11), which led to this tussle, was originally pitched as making sure web giants “contraibute” their “fair share.”

So, as it turns out, was the Online News Act (Bill C-18).

That legislation resulted in Meta/Facebook getting out of the news business and Google may yet do the same. As a consequence, news organizations will lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Many won’t survive.

Eatrides and her colleagues, if they overplay their hand, are perfectly capable of achieving a similarly catastrophic outcome for the film and television industry.

Peter Menzies is a Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a former newspaper executive, and past vice chair of the CRTC.

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