This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Ride your bike to get downtown Saturday morning because it’s the kick-off for Pedal Powered. That’s the theme for this year’s Streets Alive art project. If you show up on a bike you can enter a draw for some prizes.

“It’s just a fun name, doesn’t necessarily mean anything’s powered, to get people thinking about active transportation,” said Leslie Fournier who is the center of gravity for Streets Alive every year.

Artist Christina Hartwick won’t be getting lost.

This year there will be 20 bikes on the streets and ten stores (Bakes By The Lake, Perfect Timing, the Bird House, Eclectic Café, Manticore Books, and others) will have bike related window displays made by artists.

It’s from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the official opening at 11 in the Arts District. Michael Martin and Too Nice (Reggae band from Wasaga Beach) will be there to provide some music.

The City’s active transportation committee has been involved in planning the event and Cycle Simcoe, the health unit and area bike shops will be present at the opening.

Contributing Artists

Next Tuesday and Wednesday, the City’s culture office is involved with a couple things area artists may (should) take part in.

Tuesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. there’s an information session about Artrepreneur. This is a County of Simcoe program designed to get artists information about how to run a business. The program is 13 weeks long and costs $150, so this is a good opportunity to find out if you can benefit from learning something. It’s at City Hall and you can RSVP at

On Wednesday a multi-headed hydra organized a public forum at the Opera House in the evening for Creating Space for Arts and Culture. As usual the cultural roundtable and ODAC area involved and this time a couple consultants from ArtsBuild Ontario  will be there too.

The subject is creative hubs. Huh? It’s a name given to an idea many have expressed at various times we need in Orillia, a place to go work on art which isn’t the den, the living room, the basement, garage or shed. Critically, a place where there are some resources for making art.

Obviously visual artists are the type coming to mind right away, but there are others, who need other facilities from time to time. We have no specific space in town to accommodate shooting videos or photos, some professionals (architects, graphic designers, etc.) need a bit of room to make mock ups or meet with people. There really are many reasons as can be imagined for a community space.

While it’s been a topic of discussion for several years, some of you may not know there are three different projects for just such a space underway right now.

So, this is an opportunity to hear what those are about, to hear from Arts Build what has worked in other communities, and an opportunity to share ideas of what you would like to have available for your own use.

On the latter point, the worst time to hear about a good idea is after a facility‘s doors open. The folks who have been working quietly away to establish their projects have thought of many things, but it would be rare if they thought of everything. This is where you come in. So plan to attend, it’s free.

It will be in the Green Room and Studio Theatre at the Opera House. Schmoozing starts at 5 p.m. with Zachary Lucky on hand to play some music as a warm up fir the forum. The program starts at 5:30 and you’ll be on your way by 7:30.

A Few Notes About Stuff I Saw Last Week

Friday Night Terry Savage was at the Brownstone to unveil their new album, Rollin’ Heavy. The band is down to a 4 piece from its first version with 6 players. Mike Vandyk was filling in for Grant Lauer on bass and will be for the two week road tour they are on right now. His bass work is a little busier than most bass players, so he added a little bit to the music not on the album. They also had new drummer, Steve Gurr, in and honestly, I don’t remember anything he did, which is a good thing so he must have been nice and solid.

Without piano and fiddle in the mix, for the first time I noticed Jamie Haffenden’s guitar work in live setting. Of course it’s always been there, but it stood out obviously this time around. He’s pretty smooth with picking and strumming and doing both at the same time. They had a lot of fans out and it was a good night. Listen to their first single here.

Orillia Spirit of Hope Art Show

Monday night there was an art show at the Opera House. The centerpiece of the Orillia Spirit of Hope Art Show was 25 paintings of individual buildings on Mississaga Street displayed as both sides of the street as you entered into the foyer.

The artists are all people I didn’t know, or didn’t know painted, like Mike Howell for example. Not only does he paint (he’s a former science and math teacher at ODCVI) but he’s the instructor for a Parks Recreation and Culture learn to paint program, has been for 5 years. The artists in the show are all his students, many of whom have been taking the course for 5 years.

I knew right away when I walked in this wasn’t a show with work by all the usual suspects, but for students, and as a group of students the work is pretty good and some of it exceptional. Some of the pieces were part of a silent auction to raise money for Building Hope.

Arty Stuff

June 21 is the first day of summer (fingers crossed), First Nations Day (see the list of events in Rama here) and the folks in the Arts District are having the Solstice Art Tour. Many of the galleries will be open from 6 to 9 p.m.

See stuff by Craig Mainprize, Liz Schamehorn, and Tango Artspace at 5 Peter Street; Hibernation Art is at 7 Peter; Three Crows Speak Studio and Kristine Drummond are at 9 Peter; there a new coffee and sandwich shop (Stuffed Sandwiches & Coffee) at 11 Peter; The Shadowbox is at 15 Peter; Art & Home has enough artists to field a football team at 17 Peter; and if your mom will let you cross the road Tiffin’s is up the alley next to OMAH and OMAH has Stephanie Whalen’s reception for her Reverie show. GJ Thompson Photography is putting the ‘tour’ into the event – he’s upstairs at 73 Mississaga Street East. Earlier in the day, OMAH has a tour of the Sir Sam Steele Building at 1:30 p.m.

OMAH has signed on to the Great Canadian Giving Challenge and every dollar you donate to OMAH by June 30 gets the museum an entry to a draw for an additional $10,000. You must donate on the challenge website or at Canada Helps. OMAH is also taking submissions for the annual Carmichael Canadian Landscape Show. The deadline is July 26. Check out the rules online.

The Shorts

*  Friday night St. Paul’s Centre has Canadian fiddle champion Scott Woods in concert with Naomi Bristow, Steve Piticco and Kendra Woods Norris performing as well. The show starts at 7 p.m. and you can get tickets at the Opera House box office.

*  June 19 Lakehead University has Women and Water, an evening with Kim Wheatley, Maude Barlow and Coco Love Alcorn at St. Paul’s Centre. It’s a little bit of story and song for the night. Get tickets ($19) online.

*  Ragtime pianist Bob Milne is playing a fundraiser for Hillcrest Lodge June 22 at St. Paul’s Centre. The show is at 7 p.m. and you can get tickets ($35) at the Opera House box office of at the door.

*  The Orillia Centre for Art and Culture has a contemporary dance program at the Opera House June 28. Looking For Elvis and The Man In Black are choreographed by James Kudelka and Laurence Lemieux. They tell the tale of Elvis Stoiko – wait, what?, oh – make that Presley, and Johnny Cash (I’m pretty sure they don’t mean the guy from Stephen King’s The Stand). This is the same production the National Ballet of Canada did. You can get tickets online.

*  MAT is having auditions June 22 and 24 for Unrinetown: The Musical at the Brammer Drive warehouse. For info on the roles or to book an audition time email

*  Coming up… the Hog ‘N Penny has Jakob Pearce in Friday night; Stevolution is in Saturday…  the Geneva has the Rush tribute band My Favorite Headache playing Saturday night and Eric Gales July 13; get tickets here… Steph Dunn is at Lake Country Grill June 12… the Brownstone has The Sun Harmonic in Thursday night; Supernatural Buffalo is in Friday night… the Sunday evening band concerts at the Aqua Theatre start June 23 with the Orillia Concert Band at 6:30 p.m. … June 22 is Christmas in June at the Port of Orillia… June 22 and 23 is the Coldwater and Area Studio Tour

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia; Pedal Powered Supplied)

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