This week in Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Jan. 31, 2019


I had a conversation on the weekend with Danny Webster. He’s making public an EP, Coffee, he recorded. Coffee will be available on all streaming services starting Friday and you can find his other music on Youtube

He told me he played all the instruments on the disc, except for a trumpet solo by a Humber College classmate, Paul Callander, in the second tune, Coffee, which also had some drumming by his brother, Luke. Another friend, Rachel Bobbitt, helps out with harmonizing with the first, Sit With Sadness, and title tracks.

This is no run-of-the-mill collection of 4 songs. The writing is very good, the orchestrations better, and he did something I don’t know why more bands and singers don’t as well – he double tracked harmonies to the lead vocals.

Danny said he had more songs recorded, but wasn’t happy with how they were turning out, so he left them off the album. That’s a smart move. Too many others would have used at least one more to make the standard 5 song EP format, or used more to do a full album and diluted the overall quality.

I really like the music. The first couple songs are short (1:20 and 1:40) and so good I wished they were longer. There is certainly a Beatles influence, and hints of several other styles I can’t put my finger on. The sound is enough to give you reason to instantly like the songs because they feel comfortable without sounding like rip-offs.

The last two tunes (Stay the Same and Let Me Prove It) are longer and slower paced, and a little less busy accompanied by just guitar on the first and piano on the second , showcasing Danny’s singing .

It’s so early in the year to be setting the bar this high, but that’s what he did. Coffee is outstanding and you’ll like it, of that I am sure.

20 It Is

The Orillia Museum of Art & History opened their 20th anniversary exhibit last Saturday. There’s some interesting stuff. Make sure you see the Alex Colville prints.  Don Ross and Jean Sarjeant told some great stories about the earliest days as the Sir Sam Steele Gallery and Orillia Historical Society merged. In Don’s case, he talked about starting the renovation to the Sir Sam Steele building by himself, without permits, or any safety gear – right in front of the mayor.  Always better to ask forgiveness than permission I say.

The museum also opened My World, My Eyes, My Voice, the annual student art show. It’s in the main floor Lounge Gallery. If nothing, you must see the pieces by Sarah Scott and Julia Dawson, both of Orillia Secondary School.

The next big thing OMAH has is the opening of the annual International Women’s Day Art Show Feb. 16. This is one of the premiere exhibits of the year, so leave room in your calendar for it. The Legacy Landscapes: Couchiching Conservancy 25th Anniversary show will be up until the end of March.

There’s not a lot of time, and you’d be a better typist than anyone I know if you pulled this off, but OMAH is taking submissions for the Mulcahy Publishing Initiative until tomorrow. You don’t have to have a completed work, but outlines and a chapter or two to show could work. Email OMAH with the subject header Mulcahy Initiative for details.

What’s In A Word

A short but funny story. Earlier this week Janet-Lynne Durnford posted on her Facebook page how well her promo efforts for The Vagina Monologues at the Orillia Opera House Feb. 22 are going.

It seems Facebook has a problem with the word vagina and temporarily booted all messages about the show. All the references she made to the show – the show! – have been removed. The sleuths missed the word vagina on the show’s Facebook page at V-Day Orillia 2019 – The Vagina Monologues, so you can still go there and get tickets. There’s only half the house left to choose from. It’s a fundraiser for Green Haven Shelter for Women.

County Still Has Some Money

*  The County of Simcoe has a $200,000 grant fund. Forty groups received grants in 2018. New and existing groups can apply for this year’s money by submitting an expression of interest by Feb. 1 in one of three categories (capacity building, a project, and sustaining initiatives) and the application deadline is March 15. For complete details go here

The Shorts

*  Orillia has a new studio/gallery. Photographer Greg James Thomson knows where the money is, his studio is above the Meridian Credit Union at 73 Mississaga Street East. Drop in Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the open house. If you don’t know his work, have a look here 

* A reminder to season pass holders, the Orillia Concert Association’s next concert at the Opera House with Guy Few, Leslie Fagan and Stephanie Mara is Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

MAT is opening The Diary of Anne Frank next week. They are doing an adaptation by Wendy Kesselman of the original 1995 production written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. I understand tickets have been selling very well, so get on it. Janelle Bartosek is in it. I don’t know more of the cast than that. Get tickets at the Opera House box office, 705-326-8011. MAT’s next movie night is Feb. 6 with the Japanese movie, Shoplifters at the Galaxy at 4 and 7 p.m. The other February movie night is the 20th with A Private War.  February 7 is coming up fast, do you have tickets for MAT’s Diary of Anne Frank yet? It runs for 2 weeks at the Opera House.

*  Normally stuff in Barrie doesn’t count here, but the Kempenfelt Community Players Feb. 7 – 17 production of Shrek has some familiar faces in it. Keven Scharf, Darryn Steven, Natasha Paquin, Julia Johnson and Laura Bainborough are in it. Renee Cingolani is acting in it instead of being music director like she often is, Kaleb Sauve did the costume design and Stephen Bainborough is directing. Find out more here

*  The Huronia Cultural Campus has Drew Hayden Taylor’s play, Cottagers and Indians, at St. Paul’s Centre Friday night. It’s had good reviews elsewhere and it’s by Drew, what more could you want? Get tickets ($30) here or at Manticore Books.

*  The Mariposa Folk Festival has the 8th annual Evening of Blues and Gospel concert happening Feb. 9 at St. Paul’s Centre. If you haven’t been before, why? There’s been 7 and surely you’ve heard someone other than me raving about them. I guarantee it will be awesome. Lance Anderson has Harrison Kennedy, Michelle White, Jesse Whiteley, Gary Craig and Dennis Pendrith along to play with him. Get tickets ($30) at here or at the Peter Street Arts District office. The MFF also just announced 4 time Grammy winner Jason Isbell was added to the line up alongside First Aid Kit, My Son the Hurricane and Melanie

*  The Geneva Event Centre has Yuk Yuk’s, with featured comics Rob Bebenek with Nigel Grinstead and Bryan Hatt on Feb. 9. Get tickets ($25) here or here

*  Orillia’s newest art group, Urban Sketchers Orillia, meet, have coffee, and then do sketches of the environment they are in. Feb. 20 they will meet at 4 p.m. at Mariposa Market.

*  Bill Dunlop sent a link along to a trailer for the PBS documentary about Charlie Pride he’s been working on. It’s here and the second set of concert footage is from Casino Rama.

*  Coming up… The Brownstone Cafe has Evan Leblanc in Feb. 6; the Sean Patrick Trio with The Oldest Man I Know opening and Frankie & Jimmy are in Feb. 9… the Hog N’ Penny has Alex Rabbitson in Friday night… Lake Country Grill has Caryl Alvaro in Jan. 30; Chris Lemay is in Feb. 6… Peter Street Fine Arts still has a few pieces left from the 6×6 Show, all under a hundred, actually for a hundred you could get several… The Orillia Silver Band has their Valentine’s Day concert is Feb. 16 at St. Paul’s Centre; get tickets at the door or online  .

UPDATE: The Jubilee Chorale concert details for Feb. 24 has been removed because the concert has been cancelled.

(Photo Submitted) Danny Webster album cover.

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