I am sitting in Jessica Jalbert’s private limousine, waiting on the cool autumn tarmac of the Edmonton International Airport for the world famous rock star’s plane to land.
A screaming current of teenagers awaits Jalbert as her plane rests its heavy bulk on the runway. The chaos of the scene is barely mediated by the wall of riot police that line a corridor through the crowd. I can see Jalbert meandering through, giving signatures and waving to her admirers. As she settles at last into the vehicle, it begins to slowly pull forward, parting the frenzied, oceanic motion of the dense crowd.
The previously unknown Jalbert rocketed to world fame this year after signing with Joe “The Joe” Gurba’s major record label, Old Ugly. She returns to Edmonton for the first time since embarking on a six-month tour across Europe, Russia and Asia. In her wake, she has left a startling uprising afflicted with the newest teen phenomena — Jalbertmania .
“Fame hasn’t changed me,” she tells me, lighting a cigar as she settles back in her seat. The limousine is flying down the highway, 160 km/h traveling north on the Queen Elizabeth II.
She continues, in public and private, to deny any connection to the increasingly apparent criminal undertones of Gurba’s media and shipping empire. “Neither I nor any of the members of my touring team participate in any smuggling acts on the behest of Mr. Gurba.” Her tone belays the robotic legality of a well-practiced response. “If you will excuse me, I usually do not speak on the day of a show.” We pass the remainder of the ride in silence.
Jalbert will perform tonight at Wunderbar, the swanky Old Strathcona club operated by the nefarious Craig Martel, and a well-known hangout of Gurba and his Old Ugly cronies. After the private event, packed with an array of Edmonton’s alleged criminal elite, Jalbert will immediately fly to Las Vegas and begin her year-long residency headlining the “Brother Loyola” themed Cirque Du Soleil show. (Tyler Jack Butler)
THIS STORY IS FICTION. TONIGHT IS NOT.
JALBERT. LOYOLA. FISHER. CATGUT.
GRUNGE. FOLK. TODDIES.
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