Norman Maen: from Ireland to Swine Lake with Muppets

Norman Maen had many challenges as a professional choreographer working on both sides of the Atlantic during the 1970s. But as Arts columnist Brian Brennan reports in his new time capsule piece, none was more demanding than Maen’s assignment to devise a

Time capsule: Frankie Laine

Frankie Laine had been one of the most successful of the big-voiced balladeers who emerged in North America in the late 1940s and 1950s. But as Arts columnist Brian Brennan reveals in his new time capsule piece, Laine first made his name

F&O’s first magazine feature wins kudos

Congratulations to F&O founding feature writer Brian Brennan, whose story Canada’s Mayor — F&O’s first original magazine feature — won Runner-up, Best Feature Article, in the 2014 Professional Writers Association of Canada Awards.  Here’s what we said on our Frontlines blog to announce the piece when it was published September 30, 2013: When river

AIDS activist and playwright Larry Kramer on HBO

This Sunday, North American television watchers will at last have a chance to watch American playwright Larry Kramer’s pioneering work on AIDS – an adaptation for Home Box Office of his blistering 1980s play The Normal Heart. When it was first staged

The pluck of one Irishman

Cheers to all on St. Patrick’s day. The Irish celebration has spread through much of the world alongside the popularity of Irish pubs. Today F&O‘s resident “Irishman” won’t be wearing green, and he certainly won’t hoist a green beer. (Dye in beer

History for Sale: The King Brothers Ranch

Truth is not always stranger than fiction: sometimes they combine, to create a good yarn. Historian and author Brian Brennan writes in F&O about two eccentric ranchers, Maurice and Harrold King, characters of both myths and outlandish facts. An excerpt of Kings

Kings of the Ranch

By Brian Brennan April , 2016 This month a historic cattle ranch was added to a major conservation site in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, drawing renewed media attention to the two eccentric brothers who originally owned the ranch. Although they saw the

A “gangrenous limb” speaks

One-time media tycoon, British Lord and American convict Conrad Black generated controversy recently when the Calgary Public Library Foundation named him the recipient of the Bob Edwards Award. The honour is bestowed annually in the Alberta city on an outspoken Canadian author.

What Might Have Been

By Brian Brennan The recent headlines in Canadian newspapers have been all about things that didn’t happen. In Toronto, the headlines have been about a mayor who didn’t step aside or undertake to seek help after admitting he’d smoked crack cocaine while “in

Naheed Nenshi’s unlikely stardom

There are strange doings in Alberta, the Canadian province that’s often compared to America’s state of Texas. Alberta has been characterized by its Go-Get-‘Em attitude, cowboy hats, and an economy based on oil and gas extraction, especially the oil sands in its