Getout!

Yukoners have gawked at swans, rubbernecked at geese and goggled at ducks, but the sky continues to reveal its chirping secrets. Migrating birds continue to make a beeline for the Arctic Circle, sprinkling colour and mystery into Yukon forests and landscapes along the way.

WILDLIFE

Another bird-themed event somehow

Yukoners have gawked at swans, rubbernecked at geese and goggled at ducks, but the sky continues to reveal its chirping secrets.

Migrating birds continue to make a beeline for the Arctic Circle, sprinkling colour and mystery into Yukon forests and landscapes along the way.

Weekend on the Wing, Tombstone Park’s annual birding festival, kicks off this weekend. Explore the mysteries of birds through a series of wildlife walks and talks that would send any avian enthusiast into fits of enchantment.

To non-birders, the activity rivals trainspotting as one of the world’s most boring. But hundreds of camo-pant and binocular manufacturers count on birder support.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Tombstone Territorial Park.

Playing God

The lakes shall be seeded with fry, and from their glistening waters shall rise scores of rainbow trout.

Fi! Fi! To the Hidden Lakes, where the seed of a new fish generation will be sown to grace the hooks of tomorrow’s anglers.

Friday, 6 p.m. at the Whitehorse Fish Ladder.

SPORTS AND RECREATION

‘Tri’ means three, and ‘athlon’ means athlon

Why settle for a swim, when you can follow it up with a muscle-shattering bike ride and run?

The City of Whitehorse Triathlon has again returned.

Competitors can go for the Olympic Distance (swim 1,500 metres, bike 40 kilometres, run 10 kilometres), or settle for the euphemistically named Sprint Distance (swim 500 metres, bike 20 kilometres and run five kilometres).

Sunday. Phone 668-8325 for more info.

LOCAL MUSIC

The other ‘ville

Grasstowne, Knoxville, Tennessee’s finest bluegrass impresarios, are bringing their fast-driving skills to the cowering and undeserved masses of Whitehorse.

Blissful harmonies, lightning-fast mandolin, rollicking banjo, soulful resonator guitar and fiddle—damn good fiddle.

The bluegrass season has just begun, isn’t it about time you got your first fix?

Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Old Fire Hall.

Older, wiser, less pimply

For eight years, the Yukon-based Peters Drury jazz trio toured Canada and the United States.

Now, two years after they parted ways, the trio has returned to mount a one-night-only performance at the Yukon Arts Centre.

Each audience member will receive a CD of trio bootlegs, as well as a sampling of the three artists’ newest projects.

Come Eat a Cat, the Yukon’s newest quartet of folksy young string players, will kick off the evening. Sweet Georgia Brown never sounded so smooth.

All concert proceeds benefit Yukon Learn’s literacy programs.

Friday at 8 p.m. at the Yukon Arts Centre.

COMEDY

Coasters Comedy Night doesn’t suck anymore

New hosts, new set-up, new comics; the glory days of Coaster’s Comedy Night have returned.

Want to hear 40-minute-plus monologues about petty personal problems? Too bad, because you’ll only be getting real jokes, real stories and genuine hilarity.

Catch a new generation of mirth this Wednesday. Fun for the whole over-19 family.

10 p.m. Wednesday at Coasters.

FILM

Can you yell ‘movie’ in a crowded firehouse?

A lone, nameless hero enters a town held hostage by bandits. Holding allegiance to nobody, the hero brings swift and brutal justice to the tyranny he surveys.

So goes the plot of countless American westerns.

However, as with Super Mario, hibachis and other mainstays of American culture, the Man With No Name archetype had its origins in Japan.

In 1961, legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa released Yojimbo—the tale of a nameless, masterless samurai (a ‘ronin’) who arrives in a town divided by two criminal gangs.

Cunningly playing the gangs against one another, the ronin brings peace to the town and ample scenes of sword-slashing violence to the movie-going public.

Co-presented with the Japanese Canadian Association of Yukon.

Sunday, at 8 p.m. at the Old Fire Hall.

CRAFT

When commodities go artisanal

Paper, the oft-scorned technological laggard of our increasingly digitized society, can actually be quite beautiful.

Papercrafters have a surprising array of skills at their fingertips.

At an upcoming workshop series, learn them all, from manila hemp to cotton to oriental fibres.

You will soon be such a connoisseur of high-grade paper that the low-grade newsprint you now hold will stun you with its hideousness.

No experience necessary.

Friday 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Arts Underground.

Fun fact: Paper inscribed with the visages of dead prime ministers can be exchanged for goods and services.

CRAP

Buy a pressure cooker, help Rover

Historically, Whitehorse garage sales are dismal affairs: a 20-minute drive to an address on the outskirts of Copper Ridge will typically yield only a pair of greasy vases and a scratched Loverboy LP.

This weekend, shelve your crippling yard sale disillusionment and motor on down to the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter.

Typewriters, pet rocks, chia pets and Tom Clancy novels are all patiently waiting for your dollars.

Need a new Lite-Brite kit? Today’s the day.

The sale has a strict “no-exercise-equipment” policy, so you’ll have to go elsewhere to get your hands on a Thigh-master.

Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. at the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter.

All funds go to the shelter.

OBSOLETE WEAPONRY

And he took unto him bows and arrows

The longbow conquered Europe. Now, it only conquers the hearts of people who like to propel arrows into things.

On Saturday, bows of all shapes and sizes will gather on Grey Mountain and make hay targets wish they’d never been born.

Compound bow, recurve bow—it doesn’t really matter as long as it makes a sharpened stick go really fast.

Saturday, 9:30 a.m. at the Outdoor Archery Range on Grey Mountain Road.

Call 335-6688 for details.

HISTORY

But what is it good for?

On June 5, 1977 the Apple II

—widely considered the world’s first practical personal computer—went on sale for $2,638, and remained part of the company’s line until 1993. Visicalc never looked so good.

Overlord

On June 6, 1944, German soldiers manning Hitler’s indomitable “Atlantic Wall” awoke to see history’s largest armada steaming towards the west coast of France.

Canadian forces landing at the code-named Juno Beach faced concentrated machine-gun fire, as well as hundreds of fortified heavy guns. Suffering upwards of 50 per cent casualties in the initial first-wave attacks, more than 15,000 Canadians would be on French soil by nightfall.

Leaders from across the world, including US president Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, will gather in Normandy on Saturday to commemorate the landings.

It’s all fun and games until 77 spectators are accidentally killed

On June 11, 1955, a Mercedes Benz veered off the track of the 24-Hour Le Mans and exploded into a hail of white-hot flame and wreckage on the track’s main grandstand, killing 77 spectators.

To this day, it is the most catastrophic event in motorsports history.

Shaken, governments in France and Germany placed temporary bans on the sport. Switzerland imposed a complete ban on auto racing that held for more than 50 years.

Horrified executives at Mercedes Benz pledged never to build another race car, a promise they would keep for more than 30 years.

Amazingly, the event did little to change the safety standards of European race tracks. Jamming hundreds of people mere inches from speeding automobiles continued to be common practice for several more decades.

Immolation-o-rama

Forty-six years ago this Thursday, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc sat down at a busy intersection in Saigon, Vietnam, coated himself in gasoline, lit himself on fire, and then prayed quietly until his body eventually succumbed to the roaring flames that engulfed him.

The monk was protesting South Vietnam’s lack of religious freedom.

Photos of Quang Duc’s self-sacrifice remains one of the most poignant examples of suicide-by-fire, or self-immolation—with US President John F. Kennedy calling it the most emotionally significant news photo in history.

But it is far from the only one.

Scores more Vietnamese monks would follow in Quang Duc’s footsteps, for reasons ranging from political to religious.

Five Americans would choose death-by-fire to protest US involvement in Vietnam. A practice that would be resurrected once more, in 2003, by a Chicago protester opposed to the Iraq War.

Of course, the sedate calm of Thich Quang Duc’s suicide has rarely been repeated.

As one would expect, many self-immolations end in immodest screaming.

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