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James Marsters Reflects on Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Legacy


James Marsters performs at Saskatoon Expo. (Photo: courtesy Calgary Expo)

James Marsters performs at Saskatoon Expo. (Photo: courtesy Calgary Expo)

When asked what he liked most about playing Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, James Marsters doesn’t hesitate: “Getting to mess with Sarah Michelle Gellar.”

Marsters says while Gellar was great to work with, he enjoyed having a bit of fun at the expense of the show’s lead. He adds that in Hollywood the lead actor or actress is usually treated like royalty on set, whether they’re nice people or not.

“When they called the beautiful word ‘action,’ I got to mess with her,” Marsters says. “I would constantly try and make Sarah forget her lines.”

Marsters breaks into the punk-rock vampire’s trademark British accent: “Hello love, I’m going to ruin your day.”

“I really enjoyed just messing with the poor girl.”

Spike was only supposed to be a short-lived character, but he became so popular with fans that show creator Joss Whedon was forced to keep him around. Spike became one of the most iconic characters in the beloved series, and stuck around until the series finale.

Marsters has a straightforward answer for why Buffy is still such an enduring part of popular culture, “Because it didn’t suck.”

He says the show owes its success to the great actors, Whedon’s genius and the team of talented storytellers. Many of the writers are now major power players in Hollywood, and work on all the big shows like Battlestar Gallactica, Lost and Mad Men.

Marsters says Whedon gave the writers the chance to take risks with their writing: “He asked writers to come up with their worst day, the day they don’t tell anyone about, that keeps them up at night. Their dirty little secret. And slap fangs on top of that pain and tell the world about it.”

He says the writing was packed with so much nuance, that sometimes it was a challenge to fit everything into a tight shooting schedule.

“Filming for me was constantly a question of ‘Are we getting what’s on the page to film?'” Marsters says. “That’s not that easy to do when there’s so much good stuff in the script. You’re basically at war when you’re filming and the enemy is time. Time always wins the battle and it’s heartbreaking when the script is really good, and you read through the script afterwards and think, ‘We didn’t achieve that one little flicker or interesting thing that was described.’ It’s painful.”

The show left a mark on television and pop culture, breaking the conventions of genre storytelling and weaving in powerful and realistic depictions of death, loss, love, addiction, abuse, and other issues alongside a fantastical plot filled with vampires, demons and other monsters.

Marsters says the show is still relevant today thanks to its portrayal of teenagers struggling with life’s most important questions.

“How do you make it out of your teenage years without giving up on the world and giving up on yourself?” Marsters says. “How do you get to the point in your life where you realize the world is really messed up, and your parents don’t know everything, and your teachers barely understand the subject matter? How do you decide to keep trying? It’s a struggle. I’m not a teenager anymore but I still struggle with that one. How do I not give up?”

One of Marster’s favourite episodes was “The Body,” where Buffy struggles with her mother’s death.

“All of the vampires and jokes and stunts were stripped out of it and you watch a teenage girl lose her mom,” Marsters says. “We all saw the characters were strong enough to stand on their own as people.”

After Buffy, Marsters remained a pop culture fixture, appearing in shows like Smallville, Torchwood and Caprica; being a voice actor for cartoons and videogames; and narrating the audiobooks for The Dresden Files detective novels. He’s also a member of rock band Ghost of the Robot, and a solo musician.

Marsters will be in town for the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (April 27-30), and is playing an acoustic solo set at Cowboys on April 28.

“Calgary’s a real fun place to come to,” Marsters says. “I’m really looking forward to playing music in Calgary because you still love guitars. There are few places left in the world that appreciate guitars and Calgary’s one of them. LA’s not a place that is welcoming to six strings anymore. They’re more into drum machines and keyboards right now.”

His show will include music from all the way back to the first song Marsters ever wrote in New York City in the 1980s, music from Ghost of the Robot, and new songs that haven’t been recorded yet.

He says while he loves both music and acting, songwriting allows him to reveal a more personal side.

“It’s very scary but also very liberating to be that honest in front of a large group of people.”

10 Reasons Disney Fans Will Want to Visit Calgary Expo

If you’re a Disney fan, you’ll want to visit this year’s Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo in Calgary, AB from April 27 – 30! There are fun activities for all ages including a kids’ zone, a costume contest and costume parade, and a chance to hear from your favourite actors and actresses from Disney movies during fun panels and audience Q&As.


Photo courtesy Calgary Expo

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Interview with Scott Shriner from Weezer

Weezer-2017-Atlantic Records

By Caroline Green

’90s music staple Weezer is setting out on tour with new music (the very catchy tune “Feels Like Summer”) with Canadian dates in Edmonton (April 4), Calgary (April 5), Dawson Creek (April 6), and Penticton (April 8). Caroline Green, for Where Calgary, got a chance to interview bassist Scott Shriner in advance of the shows:

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Cosplay Ideas for Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo

For four days every spring, it’s not unusual to see wizards, superheroes, princesses, and time travelling doctors wandering the streets of downtown Calgary and taking public transit. When costumed folk of all ages begin to appear, it means that the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo is underway!

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo's Parade of Wonders. Courtesy Calgary Expo.

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo’s Parade of Wonders. Courtesy Calgary Expo.

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40+ Things to Do in Calgary this April

From naked magicians to stubborn politicians, here’s more than 40 events to keep you busy this April.

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Night Owls: Insider Tips on Calgary Nightlife

Sub Rosa (Photo: courtesy Anstice Communications)

Sub Rosa (Photo: courtesy Anstice Communications)


There are endless spaces and places in Calgary to enjoy until the wee hours of the morning. From late night eats to one-of-a-kind nightlife experiences, these are some of our city’s finest!

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Popping the Cap on Calgary’s Beer Scene

(Photo: Jason Dziver)

(Photo: Jason Dziver)


There’s no better time to love beer in Calgary, which now boasts 17 breweries making flavourful craft beer. With most using Alberta-grown barley, drinking local beer celebrates terroir as much as drinking wine in Bordeaux. You can find local beers on tap at most local restaurants; it’s part of cowboy culture that Calgarians support Calgarians.

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Where to Dine Awards: Calgary’s Best Restaurants 2016

Whitehall (Photo: Neil Zeller)

Whitehall (Photo: Neil Zeller)

It’s no secret that Calgary spent much of the past year in a recession, but that didn’t slow down the creative efforts in Calgary’s restaurant scene. Diners were hungry (pun definitely intended) for new and diverse offerings, and restaurants new and old responded. Here we present the top three restaurants in 24 categories as voted by our readers*. Cheers!

By Breanna Mroczek
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Sunrise Sour at Añejo Restaurant

Sunrise Sour at Añejo Restaurant. (Photo: Amanda Zelichowski, courtesy Añejo)

Sunrise Sour at Añejo Restaurant. (Photo: Amanda Zelichowski, courtesy Añejo)

(Photo: Amanda Zelichowski, courtesy Añejo)

(Photo: Amanda Zelichowski, courtesy Añejo)

Raise a glass of this piquant cocktail to the dearly departed on Día de Muertos. Inspired by a classic New York Sour, bourbon is replaced by Hornitos Black Barrel Añejo tequila — which is an ideal substitute for bourbon-based drinks as it undergoes a similar aging process in deep charred oak barrels — and mixed with orange juice, a splash of lemon juice, egg white, and agave, then finished with a Cabernet Sauvignon float and a couple bourbon-soaked cherries.

♦ Añejo Restaurant, 2116 – 4 St SW 
   587-353-2656, anejo.ca

Recipe for Sunrise Sour:

1.5 oz Hornitos Black Barrel Añejo
1.5 oz Orange Juice
0.5 oz Lemon Juice
0.25 oz Agave
Egg White
0.5 oz Cabernet Sauvignon

Add the Hornitos Black Barrel, orange juice, lemon juice, agave, and egg white into a Boston shaker. Dry shake, then add ice and shake again. Pour over fresh ice into a double rocks glass, and using a bar spoon, float the Cabernet Sauvignon on top. Garnish with bourbon-soaked cherries and enjoy!

Where to Celebrate Wacky Holidays in Calgary

April is Grilled Cheese Month, the ideal time to head to Naina's Kitchen for an ooey-gooey ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar). (Photo: courtesy Naina's Kitchen)

April is Grilled Cheese Month, the ideal time to head to Naina’s Kitchen for an ooey-gooey ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar). (Photo: courtesy Naina’s Kitchen)

National Noodle Month: March
Noodles: the best food ever, or simply amazing? Kick off the festivities at Paper St. for a ramen burger — who needs buns when you have noodles? If your broth to noodle ratio ends up uneven at Jinya Ramen Bar, order a kaedama (noodle refill) for a second helping.

National Absinthe Day: March 5
Teetotalers, avert your eyes! This day is dedicated to the charming little beverage known as absinthe, which boasts an alcohol content of about 55 – 75 percent. Invoke the Green Fairy with Bourbon Room’s four-person absinthe fountain, or (careful, now) sample your way through five varieties at Avec Bistro.

Worship of Tools Day: March 11
No, not your ex — the useful kind of tool. If you’re bereft of tools to worship, visit Lee Valley, a family-run business that has it all from woodworking to gardening. About a third of the tools they sell are of their own design.

Waffle Day: March 25
There can be no waffling when naming the best sweet, bread-ish breakfast food — it’s clearly waffles. Get your waffle on with sweet and savoury variations at Buttermilk Fine Waffles or check out Starbelly’s weekend brunch buffet which features its own waffle station.

National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month: April
Archer said it best: grill… me… a cheese. Naina’s Kitchen is well known for their stuffed burgers, but their grilled cheeses are underrated hidden gem — the ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar) is the work of a genius.

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day: April 2
Peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butter jelly time! Now that the song is stuck in your head (you’re welcome), let’s move on to where you can celebrate this illustrious day. For true PB&J cred, you need Tubby Dog’s Cap’n Dog: a hot dog slathered in peanut butter and jelly, then topped with a sprinkle of Cap’n Crunch cereal.

National Beer Day: April 7
Not to be confused with every other day of the year, this is the day to enjoy a nice, cold bottle and/or glass of suds. Make the day extra special with a sampling of the world’s finest craft brews at Craft Beer Market, which boasts more than 100 beers on tap.

Movie Theatre Day: April 23
This is the perfect time to hearken back to the movie experience of yesteryear at Calgary’s indie movie theatres: The Plaza in Kensington and downtown’s Globe Cinema.

Pinhole Photography Day: April 30
To take a photograph, you need two things — and no, a camera lens isn’t one of them. Pinhole photography uses the simplest of cameras: a light-proof box with a tiny hole in it. Dianne Bos is a renowned pinhole photographer, and naturally her work will be on display at Newzones on this most appropriate day.

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Valentine’s Day can be kind of hit-or-miss, but Houseplant Appreciation Day and Drink Wine Day are a guaranteed good time. Here’s where to go in Calgary to celebrate some of the more “interesting” holidays.

Bean Day: January 6
Beans, beans, the musical fruit… enough said. The humble bean doesn’t get much attention, but all that changes today. Go to Native Tongues Taqueria for frijoles piled on tacos and tostadas or, if you prefer your beans baked, head to Holy Smoke BBQ for Southern baked beans with a side of barbeque.

Old Rock Day: January 7
Alberta is absolutely littered with old rocks — like, 60 million years old. It’s well worth the day trip to Drumheller’s Royal Tyrrell Museum to see one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaur fossils, plus other fossilized flora and fauna from prehistoric eras long before Alberta was Alberta.

Houseplant Appreciation Day: January 10
This is the day to really show your houseplants how much you love them. Perhaps an extra splash of water? If your houseplants didn’t survive your, um, previous lack of appreciation, start fresh at Plant with incredible tropical, succulent, cactus, and airplant terrariums, or take a workshop and learn to create your own little plant world.

National Pie Day: January 23
The pie’s the limit on this holy day. The question is, savoury or sweet? At Pie Junkie, the answer is both — maybe one to stay and one to go?

Inspire Your Heart with Art Day: January 31
There are lots of ways to inspire your heart, but art is definitely one of the least risky and most rewarding ways. Pay a visit to the Esker Foundation to see their new exhibition Earthlings (starting Jan 21) — otherworldly, surreal, magically figurative ceramic sculpture and works on paper by seven contemporary artists.

National Hot Breakfast Month: February
Not to be confused with National Breakfast Month (September), this month is dedicated specifically to hot breakfasts — not lukewarm, and definitely not cold. Yellow Door Bistro has just the thing, a weekend hot breakfast buffet with a changing menu that highlights seasonal ingredients and creative takes on traditional breakfast fare.

Umbrella Day: February 10
Rain, snow, sleet, or even sunshine — let not a drop of it touch your skin on this day dedicated to your own portable canopy. If you don’t own such a canopy (also known as an umbrella), pick up a Hudson’s Bay striped one at The Bay or choose from dozens of other styles.

Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day: February 18
Though it may seem a bit odd to be breakfasting on frozen treats in the middle of the winter, we must nobly soldier on. Village Ice Cream opens at 11 am, which is technically still morning, but if you’re more the breakfast in bed type plan ahead and pick up a pint or two to go.

Drink Wine Day: February 18
If ever you needed an excuse to drink wine, here it is. There’s simply nothing we can do, we must obey the day. Get to Murrieta’s Bar & Grill or Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro for whites, reds, ports, sparkling, and maybe a little food. Don’t overdo it on the snacks though — this isn’t Eat Food Day.

International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day: February 23
We strongly suggest that you let your dog handle the appreciation on this illustrious day. Help ensure your fuzzy friend makes the most of their soon-to-be-favourite day with a gourmet biscuit from Bon A-Pet-Treat! Pet Bakery in the Calgary Farmers’ Market. They also make dog cakes that are so enticing you’ll want to try a bite (don’t, though).

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Christmas is great and all, but you just don’t hear enough about Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies Day or Look For Circles Day. Here are some of the places in Calgary to celebrate the more unusual holidays in November and December.

On Look For Circles Day, take a gander at public art piece Travelling Light. (Photo: Sakib Pratyay)

On Look For Circles Day, take a gander at public art piece Travelling Light. (Photo: Sakib Pratyay)

November: Peanut Butter Lovers Month
Suffering from an insatiable desire for peanut butter? Never fear, the doctor is in at RE:GRUB Burger Bar — the Doctor Peanut milkshake, that is. It’s infused with peanut butter and topped with peanuts, peanut butter cups, and Reese’s Pieces, plus a plastic syringe filled with a shot of extra peanut buttery goodness.

November 2: Look for Circles Day
It would be cheating if we told you where all the circles are, but here are a few hints: visit the Chinese Cultural Centre and look up — way up — to the spectacular domed ceiling. Keep an eye out for the public art piece Travelling Light (aka the Giant Blue Ring) on your way to the airport at the interchange of Deerfoot Trail and 96 Ave NE.

November 3: Sandwich Day
There’s an overabundance of places to celebrate this day (what a great problem to have). Make the pilgrimage to Holy Grill and discover to-die-for panini, or head to Grumans Catering and Delicatessen for a reuben crammed full of thick-cut smoked meat and tangy sauerkraut.

November 12: Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies Day
To order a pizza with the works except anchovies, you must go to a pizzeria that actually has anchovies — otherwise you’re just shouting into the void. Pizza Bob’s thin crust and Stromboli Inn’s thick, fluffy crust pies both fit the bill. And if you love anchovies… well, you’ll just have to come back another day.

November 28: French Toast Day
Breakfast epicures have enjoyed French toast since the days of the Roman Empire, so it’s only fitting that it has its very own day. Honour the deliciousness with Diner Deluxe’s French toast stuffed with brie cheese and Canadian bacon.

December 2: National Fritters Day
Mention fritters to a Calgarian and you’ll likely be sent straight to Chicken on the Way, a beloved institution that has been serving up huge, salty-sweet corn fritters and juicy fried chicken since 1958.

December 4: Wear Brown Shoes Day
Black, white, red, blue, chartreuse? No! Only brown shoes will do. If you don’t have any, get yourself shod at Fluevog Shoes or Arnold Churgin Shoes. From heels to sneakers, remember: if you’re out on the town, your shoes must be brown!

December 14: International Monkey Day
2016 is the Year of the Monkey, so it’s especially important to pay homage to these adorable primates. Visit them at the Calgary Zoo, home to three species of monkeys: Eastern black and white colobuses, Japanese macaques, and mandrills (the largest monkey species on Earth).

December 16: National Chocolate Covered Anything Day
For some folks, every day is Chocolate Covered Anything Day. But if you need some guidance, get to Cococo Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut for the classics like chocolate covered almonds and chocolate covered orange peel.

December 17: National Maple Syrup Day
Maple syrup is the lifeblood of Canadians. If you’ve never had the pure stuff you might not understand the hype, but one taste and you’ll be convinced. A Taste of Quebec at the Calgary Farmer’s Market has the real deal, plus over a dozen maple infused delicacies from maple sugar pie to maple beef stew. Heritage Park’s Haskayne Mercantile Block (no admission fee required) also stocks syrup at Railway Café and Switzer’s.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Sure, we all know about Halloween and Thanksgiving, but do you know when National Taco Day or Chocolate Cupcake Day are? We’ve listed some great places in Calgary to celebrate fall holidays in September and October, no matter how wacky they are.

September is National Chicken Month! In Calgary, celebrate with some delicious fried chicken to-go at Cluck ‘n’ Cleaver.

September: National Chicken Month
Did you know that September is deemed National Chicken Month? Celebrate this beloved bird at Cluck n’ Cleaver, where mouthwatering southern-friend chicken is the star of the show, along with homemade buttermilk biscuits, side salads, and homemade cookies. Also check out the popular chain Nando’s — famous for their mouthwatering peri peri sauce — which recently opened a funky, brand-new location on 17th Avenue.

September 3: National Beard Day
Get your facial hair a gift of grooming products from Kent of Inglewood, or pop by a barber shop such as Tommy Gun’sCannibale Barbershop, or Johnny’s Barber and Shop for a trim.

September 9: National Teddy Bear Day
Head to the Toy Shop at Heritage Park for a vintage-style teddy bear, or find a new furry friend at Livingstone and Cavell Extraordinary Toys.

September 16: National Guacamole Day
Watch as your server makes guacamole table-side at Añejo, or dive into the fresh guacamole and chips at Native Tongues. Make a return visit on October 2 for National Taco Day. Be sure to add a margarita for the celebration!

September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day
Arrr, matey! Anchor your ship and enjoy a few rum cocktails and snacks at the Caribbean-themed Ricardo’s Hideaway. It’s a perfect spot for a pirate and fellow crew members.

September 21: National Mini Golf Day
Summer may be over, but you can still perfect your put at Winsport or Shakers Fun Centre.

September 24: National Cherries Jubilee Day
Did you know that the cherry jubilee was invented for Queen Victoria? Dine like royalty with this sweet treat at Hy’s Steakhouse. It’s an off-menu item, but also their signature specialty so you can order it any time.

September 25 – October 1: Banned Book Week
Celebrate diversity in literature and the freedom to read with banned books-printed notebook, socks, or a fun heat-reactive mug from the Calgary Public Library Store.

September 28: National Drink Beer Day
There are hundreds of places in Calgary to celebrate this day, but we recommend looking for ones with beers from local breweries on the menu: Big Rock Brewery, Wild Rose Brewery, Village Brewery, Dandy Brewing Company, Toolshed Brewing Company, and Banded Peak Brewing. Last Best Brewing and Distilling, Brewsters, and Trolley 5 Restaurant and Brewing are all brewpubs that create their own beers in-house.

September 29: National Coffee Day
It’s not hard to find a coffee shop in Calgary, but on this day especially we recommend visiting a local cafe. Get hyper-local and head to Phil & Sebastian, Analog, or Rosso; these cafes all serve their own locally-roasted beans.

October: National Pizza Month
Order up some tasty pies at local favourites Una Pizza + Wine, Without Papers, Pulcinella, Posto, PZA Parlour, or Double Zero. Don’t worry, we won’t hold it against you if you celebrate all month long!

October 1: National Vegetarian Day
Take a break from meat and head to The Coup or White Rose Vegetarian Kitchen for an all-vegetarian menu, or to Ten Foot Henry or Charbar where over half of their menus are comprised of meat-free dishes.

October 10: National Porridge Day
It’s time to celebrate this underrated breakfast item! Order up a bowl at Blue Star diner (we recommend the pumpkin and toasted walnut) or at Yellow Door Bistro for their steel cut oats with a homemade coconut cream and sliced peaches. Diner Deluxe also has a delicious oatmeal with a caramelized banana topping.

October 14: National Egg Day
Get crackin’ on October 14 and visit OEB Company for their amazing menu selection featuring dozens of options for eggs benedict, classic egg dishes, and omelettes.  At Bro’Kin Yolk all four of their eggs benny specialties are served on a homemade waffle.

October 18: National Cupcake Day
We know you don’t need a reason to indulge in a chocolate cupcake, but celebrate this day at Crave or Sweet Relief Pastries where delicious cupcakes (of all flavours!) are baked fresh daily. Sweet Relief Pastries even has a cupcake “happy hour” from 5 pm – 6 pm on weekdays where all cupcakes are only $2 each.

October 21: National Champagne Day
Order up a bottle of bubbly and toast this amazing day. Or, really indulge with a champagne dinner at Chef’s Table restaurant — you’ll be served a five course meal and six drink pairings from noted champagne brand Tattinger.

A Taste of the Tropics: Tropical Cocktails in Calgary

From tiki to tropical we’ve rounded up some fun tropical cocktails that will transform any day into a beach day. Whether you grab a coveted patio spot or not, you’ll be saying “aloha” to paradise.

Lava Bowl at Proof Read more…

Magical Harry Potter Events in Calgary

Potted Potter. Photo by Brian Friedman

Potted Potter. Photo by Brian Friedman

Harry Potter Magical Midnight
Sunday, July 31 at 12:01 am
Re-live the rush of lining up to buy the latest Harry Potter book right at midnight with the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eighth book in the series. Most Chapters and Indigo locations in Calgary will be open late so you can be the first to buy the book, or pick up your pre-ordered copy and a free tote. Chapters Chinook is kicking things off at 10 pm with Butterbeer lattes from Starbucks and activities (including house sorting). Chapters Shawnessy is hosting a costume contest (so dress up like your favourite wizard, witch, elf, or giant) and playing Harry Potter trivia. If your little ones can’t stay up until midnight, visit Chapters or Indigo during the day on July 31 for fun Harry Potter activities and stories.
Tickets: Attending the event is free, but the cost per book is $23.99.

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